Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Penne Casserole (where you don't have to boil the noodles!)

This is really good recipe I got off of Plain Chicken. It is super fast to throw together, but it takes an hour to cook, so it's great for when you have a million things to do at home after work. You can throw this in the oven and get done what you need to.
Penne Casserole
1 jar marinara sauce (26oz)
1 c. water
15 oz ricotta
2 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 lb Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 pkg. pepperoni, chopped
8 oz uncooked penne
1/2 t. each salt and pepper
1 t. minced garlic
1 t. Italian seasoning
Combine sauce, water, ricotta 1/2 of the mozzarella, the sausage, pepperoni, parmesan and penne.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and cover with foil.  Bake at 400 for 55 minutes.  Remove foil and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbly.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sausage and Cheese Squares

These are a great choice for weekend for breakfast, or for a fast weeknight breakfast for dinner. We served it with scrambled eggs.
.Sausage and Cheese Squares
2 cans crescent rolls
1 pork sausage
8 oz cream cheese
2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Unroll 1 can of dough into 2 long rectangles. Place in ungreased 13x9 pan; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.  Cook sausage over medium heat, then drain. To same skillet, add cream cheese. Cook over low heat until melted. Add cooked sausage; stir to coat. Spoon evenly over crust in baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Unroll the second can and place over the cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into small squares.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gooey Bars

These bars are really good. Beware- they need to rest overnight (or all day if you make them in the morning) to really set up. If you can't wait and you eat them ahead of time, just know that they will be super gooey. (Can you tell I am not patient?)
Gooey Bars
2 sticks butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. walnuts, chopped (or peanuts or pecans, whatever you have)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (SCM)
4 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. chocolate chips
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes. Add in the flour, oats, soda and salt until crumbly. Reserve 1 c. of the  mixture. Pat the rest into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the SCM on the crust. Then layer on the marshmallows, chips and nuts. Finally sprinkle the rest of the crust on the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned. Let it cool and wait overnight before cutting- if you can stand waiting. If not, have a fork ready.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato

We tried these Loaded Baked Potatoes at a local BBQ place and they are so good. When I saw online that you can make baked potatoes in your crock pot, this is what I wanted to try. This is super easy for a weeknight dinner after work.
Loaded Baked Potatoes
2 lbs of pork shoulder
5 baking potatoes
cheddar cheese
BBQ sauce
In the morning before work, put the pork shoulder in one crock pot and cook on low. You don't have to add anything to the pot, just the meat. Then clean and wrap your potatoes in aluminum foil. Put the potatoes in another crock pot on low. When you get home from work, drain the pork shoulder and shred. Split each potato. Top with cheese, ranch, meat and BBQ sauce. Enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chex Apple Bars (Gluten Free)

I didn't have much of a chance to cook over the weekend. It was super busy. I did make these bars: I didn't take a picture, but they looked just like the picture. I omitted the almonds, but I think next time I would make these with walnuts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Italian Chicken Soup

I got the idea for this soup from Pioneer Woman's recipe, but like almost every recipe I use, I couldn't follow it exactly. My version is a little easier than hers and it tastes great. It also makes a lot. I have half of it in my freezer waiting for dinner another night.

This recipe calls for a chicken. One of the easiest and cheapest ways I've found to cook chicken for recipes, is to take a thawed, whole fryer and put it in my crock pot in the morning before work. Then when I get home, it is just falling apart. I pick up the chicken with my tongs and the bones just fall off. Then I take out what I need for that meal and put the rest in freezer containers for next time. For this soup, I just pulled a container out of my freezer and threw it in the soup. You can't tell it has been frozen and it makes it super fast to whip up soups or casseroles that need chicken.
Italian Chicken Soup
half a box of small shells (or some other small pasta)
1/2 a chicken cooked and shredded or a package of breasts cooked and shredded
1 large can of chicken broth
1 c. of frozen celery/onion (or chop up your own)
1 green pepper chopped up
1 can of Italian diced tomatoes
2 T. chicken noodle base
1 t. oregano
salt and pepper
mozzarella cheese
Boil the broth. Add in everything else but the cream. When the  noodles are done (after 10 minutes or so) turn it down to simmer and add in a 1 c. of heavy cream or half and half or milk. Simmer for 10 minutes or so and then serve with cheese on top.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple Bars with Caramel Frosting

These are delicious and easy to make. Beware- they are very sweet, so you might not want to cut such a large piece.
Apple Bars with Caramel Frosting
2/3 c. of butter, softened
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 t. baking soda
2 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
2 apples peeled and chopped
1 c. chopped walnuts
Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon and flour and mix until just incorporated. Add in the apples and nuts. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until done in the middle. Let cool.

1 stick of butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. half and half
2 c. powdered sugar
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add in the sugar and half and half. Bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cheesy Beefy Macaroni

This is a yummy, filling casserole. It's great for a weeknight dinner. 
Cheesy Beefy Macaroni
1 lb. of hamburger
16 oz. macaroni
3/4 of a large can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 c. dried onions
2 T. chili powder
1 T. paprika
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne
salt and pepper
1 c. cheddar cheese
1 c. mozzarella cheese
Cook the macaroni. Brown the hamburger and drain. Mix everything together. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes (Gluten Free Version)

These little guys are awesome. You cannot tell they are GF. I topped these with toffee bits. Fall sprinkles or walnuts would be good as well.
Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes (Gluten Free)
1- 15 oz. box of GF yellow cake mix
1 c. of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 eggs
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 of a box of instant vanilla pudding
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. melted butter
2 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
Mix everything together for 3 or 4 minutes. Scoop into mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until done in the middle. Let cool.

8 oz. cream cheese, soft
1/2 a stick of butter (1/4 c.)
1/2 a 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar
half and half or heavy whipping cream or milk
Beat the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Add in cream a little at a time until it is the right consistancy for frosting. Spoon into a large Ziploc bag. Cut off the corner of the bag and pipe onto the cupcakes in swirl pattern (like a soft serve ice-cream).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

I have had this recipe on my refrigerator for awhile now. Last week my aunt made these brownies and posted them on Facebook and I was inspired to make them myself. They taste as good as they look.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
1 box of 9 x 13 brownie mix (or make your own if you want)
3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 T, milk (or half and half or heavy cream)
1½ t. vanilla extract
1½ c. all-purpose flour
1½ c. chocolate chips
Make the brownies according to the directions and let cool. Beat the sugars and the butter for 3 to 4 minutes, until fluffy. Beat in the milk and vanilla. Add in the flour and beat until just combined. Then beat in the chocolate chips until just combined. Spread on the brownies and the refrigerate until cold. Cut into squares.