Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti
Adapted from: Paula Deen

8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used dried)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Season Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
2   cloves garlic, chopped
1 diced green bell pepper
1 diced onion
3 cups cheddar jack cheese blend
2   small bay leaves

In a medium sized pan, mix your tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, garlic, onion, bell pepper, bay leaves, and seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and you will simmer this mixture for an hour.

After the hour of cooking time, brown your hamburger meat and add to the sauce mixture.

Prepare your pasta according to the package directions - I used thin spaghetti instead of angel hair. I drained my pasta, and put it back in the pot... then mixed in enough of the pasta sauce that it kept the noodles from sticking together - about 1/2 - 2/3 of the sauce.

Preheat your oven to 350. Once all the components of the dish are ready - ladle a good amount of the sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Put 1/2 of your cheese. Repeat all of the layers again with cheese being the top and final layer. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
Inspired by: Better Homes & Gardens

packages long grain and wild rice mix 
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons butter 
1 can condensed chicken rice soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

I roasted my chicken wrapped in heavy duty foil on 425 for about 20 minutes. Then cooled this until I was ready to prepare the rest of the meal.

Prepare the long grain & wild rice according to the package directions. Chop your celery and onions, and sautee in a pan with the butter until they are slightly soft. I didn't cook mine much longer than the time it took me to get the rice going and chop up my cooked chicken. This left our veggies with a tiny bit of texture and crunch that we really enjoyed in the finished dish.

While the rice finishes cooking, mix in a LARGE bowl - chicken, onion, celery, soup, sour cream, wine, and basil. I mixed all these ingredients together - and had cooked my rice in a large enough pan that when the rice was finished - I could pour all the ingredients into the pan and mix it together until well combined.

Pour the entire mixture until a 2 qt (or 2 liter) pan - cover the top with the Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. We then turned on the broiler to brown our cheese for a minute or two.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole

Stuffed Bell Pepper Casserole
Courtesy of: my Mom

1 pound of ground beef
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
Garlic Powder
2 cans diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
1 can corn, drained
2-3 cups cooked medium grain white rice
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Season your ground beef with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. In a large skillet, brown your ground beef and drain off any excess fat. Add in your bell pepper and onion and sautee until soft. In another pan, prepare your rice. Add in your tomatoes and corn.

Once the rice is prepared, mix it in with the meat and vegetables. Combine everything thoroughly, and top with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

*As a child, I never would eat a true stuffed bell pepper - so this was an alternative to get me to eat it. To this day, I love this casserole - it is so simple, but so tasty!

** Sorry the photo isn't good quality - I didn't think about taking a picture until later and ended up with this. Next time we make it, I'll get a new photo to share. 
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Taco Dip

Taco Dip
Adapted from: Paula Deen

1 pound lean Ground Beef
1 package Taco Seasoning
3/4 cup Salsa (I used Clint's - our favorite!!)
1 pint Sour Cream
3 ripe Avocados
2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese (grating your own has more flavor)
Tortilla Chips

Brown your beef, and mix with Taco Seasoning according to package directions. (Most have you add water) Cool for about 10 minutes. Mix the salsa and sour cream in with the taco meat. Layer in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Top with chopped avocados. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of everything, and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serve warm with tortilla chips. I put the remaining salsa out along with the dip as well.

Paula has you do it more in layers, (5 layers to be exact) but when we made it about a year ago it was dry - so we made this adaptation and it worked perfectly. The meat layer is much more juicy and it ends up making a nicer consistency for the dip in my opinion.
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Caesar Pasta Salad

Caesar Pasta Salad
Courtesy of: A Bountiful Kitchen (via Pinterest)

1 pound Pasta (I used veggie spirals)
1 package Grape Tomatoes, halved
1 head Romaine, chopped
1 half pint Grated Parmesan (I went for the good stuff from the deli)
1 bottle Girard's Caesar Dressing
1 package croutons (I used Texas Toast Caesar Croutons)

Boil the pasta according to the package directions, drain and rinse with cold water. I then put it in the fridge for a couple hours until it was cold.

Just before you're ready to serve the salad: in a large bowl - mix the pasta with about 1/2 of the bottle of salad dressing. Add in the halved tomatoes, chopped lettuce, Parmesan, and croutons. Mix well, and add more dressing as needed.

For another fun serving idea - you could mix everything except the lettuce... leave the leaves whole, and pile the pasta and tomatoes on the leaves.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Momma Bird Pasta

Momma Bird Pasta
Courtesy of: My little brain thinking of ways to fix things with lots of veggies for my kids to eat

3-4 Chicken Breasts, cut in bite sized pieces
2 Zucchini
1 Onion
1 bag Baby Spinach
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 lb Pasta (use your favorite shape)
1 jar Pasta Sauce (I used Classico Tomato Basil)
1 jar Alfredo Sauce (I used Classico)
1-2 cups shredded Mozzarella

Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain and mix in both of the pasta sauces. (I mixed it in the same large pot I boiled the pasta in) Set aside until the other mixture is finished.

Cut your chicken breast into bite sized pieces, coat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder; and begin browning in a large skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil. Add in your onion once the chicken is just about done cooking. (You could add in some sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms at this stage too) Grate your zucchini and add to the pan. Cook until the liquid is evaporated. Add in the baby spinach and wilt. As the spinach is wilting, add in the Parmesan cheese to the mixture. Mix the chicken and vegetable mixture in with the pasta and sauce until well combined.

** Note, it was perfectly yummy and fine to serve it just like it is at this point. I made it at nap time though, so I took it to another level.

Pour the entire mixture into a casserole dish of your choice and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Then bake until bubbly and cheese is browned at about 350. Ours was cold when I baked it so it took about 30 minutes or so, but if yours is hot when you add the cheese - it should only take you another few minutes to wait for the cheese to melt.
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