Sunday, January 5, 2014

Penne with Tomato Basil Cream Sauce



I saw an episode of Pioneer Woman and was inspired to create this recipe.  I can’t even link to her blog because I don’t even know the recipe she was doing, just saw it part way through and used some of her ideas to create something that I thought was new and that our family would like.  It was funny, Brady was helping me and I was pouring ingredients into the pan.  He asked, “Aren’t you going to measure anything?”  I said, “no, don’t you trust me?  I know what I’m doing, I’m the cook”

This is what I came up with:

1 lb Turkey sausage (I like Jenni O or Honeysuckle white- I use the breakfast sausage and not just ground turkey- I love the flavor)  (I’m on a turkey sausage kick lately, its healthier and has more flavor that regular ground beef)

Brown the sausage and remove from the pan

Saute 1/2 an onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic in the sausage drippings and a little olive oil

Add 1/2 cup chicken stock

Add 1 jar or your favorite Pasta Sauce- I used and we LOVED it Ragu Parmesan and Romano

stir until bubbly

Add 1 cup of cream (I used heavy whipping cream)

Salt, Pepper to taste

Chopped Italian Parsley and Fresh Basil

Add to pan and simmer until thickened

Pour over Penne pasta, or your favorite pasta and Enjoy!!  (WE DID- for 2 nights)

Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos

Baked Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos


My whole family LOVED this recipe from Six Sisters Stuff here.  I used some leftover chicken from a Rotisserie Chicken and some leftover Prime Rib Roast .

1 8 oz package of cream cheese

4 cups meat (chicken, beef or whatever you have leftover)

12 slices of back cooked and crumbled

2 cups of cheese (their recipe called for Monterey Jack, but I only had Colby Jack- what I always have)

1/2 package dry Ranch dressing mix

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salt, and pepper to taste

20 flour tortillas

cooking spray

salt for the top

Mix filling and fill and roll tortillas tightly.  Place seam side down on cookie sheet.  I make 10 at a time and save the rest of the filling for the next night.  They are best freshly cooked.  Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.  Cook at 425 for 15-20 min.  Tastes great dipped in Ranch, Sour cream, or Salsa Ranch (equal parts of ranch and salsa).

Sage Ciabatta Stuffing


I must apologize for the bad picture.  This was taken with my very dumb phone and didn’t get a better picture before it was gobbled up (both times I’ve made it).

I have never been fond of stuffing.  I have wanted to and always go into the Thanksgiving season with the intention that I like it and am excited to make it.  However, I am always disappointed after I eat it… it wasn’t as good as I thought it should be.  I’ve been searching for the perfect stuffing recipe and trying different variations.  I think I have found it!!  We all loved this recipe..and all who have tried it have liked it.  I found the basic recipe from here.  I liked his idea, but as always, I like to make it my own, based on my family’s likes and tastes.  So, this is my version of the stuffing:

6 large square ciabatta rolls, cubed and dried in the oven at 250 degrees for 30 min.  Cook them on 2 cookie sheets and let them cool.

While the bread is cooking,  cook 1 lb sage flavored pork sausage until crispy (a little more done than you might think).  Remove from the pan.

In the drippings, saute a chopped onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic.  Add 3 or 4 stalkes of chopped celery to the pan.

Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp poultry seasoning

Chop up 1 bunch of Italian Parsley, put half into the pan and save 1/2 it  for a little later.

Pour cooled bread into a LARGE bowl that you can stir all the ingredients together.

Pour sausage mixture into it.  Shred 2 apples with a cheese grater and add to the mixture.  I don’t even peel the apple.

Add the rest of the parsley

Stir all together

Add 2- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth mixed with 1/2 cup butter.  Add as much as you like depending on how moist you like your stuffing.

Pour into a large roasting pan.  I like to use a very large one because I like my stuffing on the crispy side and the thicker it is, the more moist it will be.

Cook at 350 for 30 min covered with foil.  Remove the foil and cook longer if you like it crispy on top

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mini Meat Loaves

30-Minute Mini Meat Loaves

1 cup ketchup

4 TBSP Brown Sugar

1 1/2-2 lbs ground beef (or 1 lb beef, 1/2 lb pork,  or any other combination you like equaling about 1 1/2-2 lbs meat)

1/2 cup bisquick mix

1 egg

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

3/4 tsp garlic powder

1 small onion finely chopped

Mix together ketchup and brown sugar.  Mix meat and all other ingredients together.  Add in 1/2 cup ketchup mixture.  Form small loaves/balls… make between 10 and 12 mini loaves.  Place in a 9x13 pan and pour remaining ketchup mixture over the top of each loaf.  Cook at 450 for 20 min. or until thermometer reaches 160 degrees.

I got the idea for this recipe on Betty Crocker’s website here and changed it according to what I had on hand (I didn’t have the onion, but it was still very good).  This is a keeper recipe because it was super easy, very fast and all my kids liked it.  Those are the kind of recipes I’m looking for!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lasagna Roll-Ups


I saw this recipe on the Two Peas and Their Pod Recipe blog here.   I was so excited to try it.  I’ve been in a rut in my cooking and was really looking forward to trying something new.  This looked great and I thought my kids would go for it too.  I took their recipe and, like always, did my own version.

12 Lasagna Noodles, cooked in salted water to aldente, dained, rinsed, and layed out on parchment paper to cool


1 15 oz tub of Ricotta Cheese (that is how big the Great Value container was, the TPTP blog recipe said 2 cups)

4 oz cream cheese (I added this to my recipe for the creamy texture and to make up for the less ricotta cheese in my container)

2 cloves garlic, minced (I used the squeeze kind that you store fridge that is already minced)

1 egg

2 cups fresh spinach chopped fine (the original recipe call for a 10 oz frozen spinach, but why use frozen when you have fresh)

1 cup chopped canned artichoke hearts

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning (the blend of oregano, basil, etc)

Pinch of Nutmeg

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella  cheese

Mix all these ingredients together and spread on the flattened noodles.  I had more filling left over than I could fill in 12 noodles, so I guess can add more noodles to the recipe next time.  Then sprinkle some more mozzarella over the filling and roll up.  In the original recipe they put some marinara sauce on top of the shredded cheese before they rolled it up.  I didn’t because I got ahead of myself.  However, I would have run out of sauce had I done that.  It called for 4 cups of marinara sauce and I only had one jar.  I think that I’ll probably do it the same next time too though because I think that the cheese against noodles as I rolled it up helped keep it together and not be as slippery when you cut into them out of the oven.

Place some of the Jar of Marinara sauce on the bottom of a glass rectangle backing dish (I had to use one rectangle and one square because my rectangular dish was too small).  Place the rolled up noodles over the sauce and pour the remaining sauce over the rolls.  Sprinkle with Mozzarella or Italian Style shredded cheese and cover with foil.  Cook for 35-40 min. at 350.

I’m excited to try this again.  I’d like to try and add some ground beef or ground turkey next time… maybe to the sauce before I pour it over the rolls, or add some finely shredded chicken to the cheese mixture.  So many fun things to do inside the Lasagna Rolls!!  And the best thing is… my kids LOVED them and said they wanted to eat them AGAIN  TOMORROW!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Homemade Cereal Bars/Breakfast Cookies


I got this great recipe for a Breakfast cookie from my friend Marrianne and I have loved experimenting with it.  My kids love these and they are loaded with lots of great stuff and you can mix them up and change them every time you make them.

1 stick of butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup of either: pumpkin, banana, or applesauce depending on the flavor you want the cookie to be

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups rolled oats (you can use instant or regular)

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup coconut

Now this is where it gets fun…..

you can add… 1/2 cup of any of your family favorites to add to the flare of the cookie

Our favs……  craisins, dried apples, dried blueberries, almond slices, pecan pieces, a few chocolate chips, etc.

Mix and bake at 350 for 10 min. 

Sunday Beef Stew


An Easy Crock Pot Beef Stew

1 1/2 lbs.  Stew Beef (I bought a big package from Sam’s and split it in half)

5-6 peeled carrots

6-8 Red Potatoes

1/2 onion

Place Crock pot setting on Low.  Layer Beef in bottom.  Sprinkle, Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt, and Steak n’ Shake (or other steak seasoning) over beef.  Add carrots and potatoes.  Add more salt, pepper, garlic salt, and steak seasoning. 

Mix together 2 cups beef broth and 1 can cream of mushroom soup.  Pour over veggies and beef.  Cook on Low for 7 hours.

After 7 hours, use 1 pkg brown gravy mixed with 1/4 cup cold water.  Pour into sauce to thicken.  Use a mixture of 1 TBSP flour to 1/4 cup water to thicken as needed until the desired consistency is met.