Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Baked Italian Casserole

8 ounces rotini pasta
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
12 ounces spaghetti sauce
8 ounces cottage cheese
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/4 pound sliced pepperoni
1 can (2.25 ounce) sliced black olives with jalapenos, drained (optional)
1 can (4 ounce) mushrooms, drained (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the package.  Brown the meat with onions and garlic. Drain noodles and meat.  Add spaghetti sauce and layer in bottom of greased 9x13 pan. If you would like to add the mushrooms or olives, mix in as well.  I chose not to add either.  Mix cottage cheese, Italian seasoning and shredded cheese together.   Spread on top of the noodle and meat mixture.  Top with pepperonis.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbling.

I didn’t have rotini noodles so I used elbow macaroni which tasted just fine.  The flavors tasted even better together the next day when warmed up for lunch.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cool as a cucumber

As spring finally rolls around, are you looking for a great new drink for the warm days of summer ahead? I recommend this delightful cocktail!

I admit, this sounds funky but it is amazing and smooth. And I don't even like cucumbers!

1 part cucumber vodka
1 part watermelon pucker
1 part lemonade
splash of 7-up or Sierra Mist

Mix, serve over ice and bring on summer!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Oatmeal Cake

This is one of my favorite family recipes EVER. It reminds me of family reunions, loved ones and sunshine.  My mom makes this for me on special occasions.

1 C. raw oatmeal                                                                             
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. boiling water                                                                     
1 1/2 C. flour
1 C. white sugar                                                                                               
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. brown sugar                                                                             
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. shortening                                                                            
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the oatmeal and water.  Let stand 20 minutes.  Beat the two sugars and shortening together.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon together and add to sugar and egg mixture.  Add oatmeal mixture last.  Bake at 325 degrees in 9 x 13 pan for 35-40 minutes.  While cake is still warm, spread with the frosting below:

Frosting for oatmeal cake:
6 Tbsp. butter                                                                                   
1 C. coconut
1/4 C. half & half or cream                                                           
1/2 C. brown sugar                                                                         
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt the butter, add other ingredients.  Spread on the cake and put under the broiler until brown.

For more of my family recipes, our cookbook is available on Amazon.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chicken Tator Tot Bake

¼ cup 2% low-fat milk
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 (10 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can of corn, drained
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
16 ounces frozen tater tots
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine milk, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, corn and chicken in medium size pot.  Place on stove top over medium-high heat.  Stir and heat until ingredients mix well; about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup shredded cheese. salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into 9X12 glass baking dish.
Sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese over mixture.  Place tator tots on top of mixture.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove aluminum foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes uncovered.

This was a nice twist on your classic tator tot casserole. I used pre diced chicken chunks from the deli.  Mine turned out a little salty.  It was very good but definitely on the salty side.  Possibly because I had the chicken strips that are packaged?  If you use real chicken breasts I think it would be better.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

1-1/4 lb. ground beef
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown meat in a large skillet. Drain fat and add tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

This is a great casserole for a cold night at home.  Easy to make and doesn’t take too long.  Can be served alone or with a side of crusty French bread.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Italian Crescent Casserole

1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained (I did half beef and half Italian sausage)
1 cup garlic tomato pasta sauce
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1½ cups shredded Italian cheese blend
¼ teaspoon dried basil leaves or Italian seasoning

Brown your meat with some minced garlic and seasonings.  Once cooked, mix in pasta sauce. Heat over medium heat until warm.  Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles. Place dough in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate in spoke pattern, with narrow tips overlapping rim of plate about 3 inches.  Press dough in side and bottom of pan to form crust and cover the pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese over dough in the pan. I also added 5 pepperoni’s across the cheese and some Italian seasoning.  Spoon meat mixture evenly over cheese.  Bring tips of dough over filling to meet in center; do not overlap.  Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheese over the dish followed by the basil. Here I added a few shakes of parmesan cheese as well.  Bake at 375°F 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes before cutting. 

This smelled so good while it was baking my mouth was watering.  And it didn’t disappoint when it hit my lips! It’s like a pizza pie or calzone or just some yummy crescenty Italian goodness in a pie pan.  Very delicious and easy to make. Molly loved it too.  Can’t wait to make this again soon. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dragon Noodles (spicy noodles)

Do you love Asian food but don’t think you have the time or skills to make it?  Just made these dragon noodles and they were phenomenal! Super easy to make and taste amazing.  Had just enough spice to  make it nice but not painful or overbearing.  Total time was just under 10 minutes and I had all the ingredients on hand except for the lo mein noodles which I found at the local Asian mart.  This recipe will definitely be going in the rotation for wonderful, quick dinners! Next time I might try adding some chopped up chicken for protein.

4 oz. lo mein noodles
2 Tbsp butter
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1 large egg
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sriracha (rooster sauce)
1 handful fresh cilantro
1 sliced green onion

Begin to boil water for the noodles. Once the water reaches a full boil, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions (boil for 5-7 minutes).

While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, soy sauce, and sriracha.  In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the red pepper to the butter as it melts. Whisk an egg in a bowl and then add to the melted butter. Stir gently and cook through. Once the egg is done cooking, turn off the heat.

When the noodles are tender, drain the water and then add them to the skillet with the cooked egg. Also add the prepared sauce. Turn the heat on low to evaporate excess moisture, and stir until everything is coated well with the sauce. Sprinkle the sliced green onions and cilantro leaves (whole) on top and serve.