Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baked Linguini with Meat Sauce

This is one of Alex's favorite meals. We have it every Valentine's day and it is pretty delicious. It's super dense and filling too be prepared to have a ton of leftovers! It's kind of the same layering idea as lasagna. I would say that it's easier to make than Lasagna but uses just as many dishes to make it :)

My kids love this pasta too. It might just be because I serve it with asparagus...and given the choice between pasta and asparagus they go with the pasta! At any rate they gobble this up!

Baked Linguini
1 lb. linguini
1 lb. ground beef
1 (26 oz) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 T. sugar
1 (8 oz) brick cream cheese
16 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

Boil linguini noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook beef and drain. Add tomato products, garlic and sugar to the meat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and green onion.

Drain pasta and place in the bottom of a 9x13 in. baking dish. Cover pasta with cream cheese mixture and then meat sauce. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 min. or until heated through. Top with cheddar and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cheesy Corn Dip

Have you ever looked at the picture for a recipe and thought it was going to be delicious but then when you read the ingredients it was totally different than you thought? So I saw a recipe for corn dip in a magazine and cut it out with the intent to use it. But I was just going off the picture. By looking at the picture I assumed it had tomatoes and cheese in it. But then I realized it was really pimentos and barely any cheese. So then I decided that I would just make up a recipe that I thought encompassed the flavor I was imagining the picture to have :) So here's what I came up with! It's basically how I make queso and then I added some corn. Quick and easy! Enjoy!

Cheesy Corn Dip
1 can tomatoes with diced green chilies (do not drain) -I use Rotel
1 (16 oz.) brick of Velveeta (diced into 1 in. cubes)
1 can sweet corn with red and green bell peppers (drained)
1/4 cup flour

Cut up cheese and place in large saucepan. Add the whole can of tomatoes and chilies (do not drain). Melt cheese over medium heat until totally blended with tomatoes and chilies. Drain corn and add to the cheese mixture. Add flour and whisk into dip until smooth. Allow to thicken. Serve warm with tortilla chips. (I kept mine in a crockpot on warm for the entire party so that it didn't get to thick)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Angel Food Cake Trifle

This is another delicious recipe from my friend Juli! She gave it to me a few years ago and I've used it several times for parties, holidays, etc. It serves a lot of people and it is super easy to put together. It's great in the summer because if you buy the angel food cake (which I always do) there is no baking involved. The original recipe called for just strawberries but I kind of combined it with another recipe I had and added some blueberries, bananas, and kiwis. My 3 year old helped me put this one together and she was super excited to tell everyone how fancy it was! Give it a try!

Juli's Angel Food Cake Trifle
1 large box vanilla pudding (prepared according to package directions)
1 angel food cake (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 regular sized box raspberry jello
1 cup boiling water
1/2 carton strawberries sliced
2 kiwis chopped
1 banana sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
2-3 cups whipped cream (I prefer to make my own but cool whip would work too)

Prepare vanilla pudding according to package directions and refrigerate until set. Meanwhile, chop up angel food cake and fruits. Place chopped cake in the bottom of trifle bowl. Combine raspberry jello with 1 cup boiling water. Allow to cool slightly and pour half over cake. Arrange fruits on top of cake (reserving a few pieces for garnish). Pour the other half of the jello mixture over the fruit. Cover with prepared pudding and top with whipped cream. Arrange a few pieces of fruit on top as desired. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to let jello chill. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Buttermilk Heart Pancakes

Happy Valentine's Day! I got this idea from pinterest. They had a big fancy recipe involving red velvet and buttermilk pancakes. I cheated and used food coloring. I'll explain that later. But first...a quick rant...what is the deal with red velvet? It's in like everything! Pancakes, cheesecake, muffins, cookies, etc. I'm just not a big red velvet fan and they keep tainting otherwise delicious things with it. Why now? Why the sudden craze? ...and we're back!

So, back to the recipe at hand. You can use any pancake recipe you want. I've included a recipe here since this is a recipe blog and all. Just divide the batter in half, dye one of the halves another color and then mix and match the hearts.

I loved this idea! Now I don't have to spend a bunch of time making pancakes into shapes. Just make regular circle pancakes using your favorite recipe and then cut the shape out that you want. Think of all the holidays you can cover using the same method :) Snowmen, easter bunny, turkeys, whatever! For birthdays you could cut out the child's age. So easy! Just promise that you will use this new found power for good!

Heart Pancakes
1 cup all purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 T. cooking oil

To make batter: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture and set aside. Combine egg, buttermilk and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (batter will be lumpy). Add additional buttermilk to thin batter, if desired.

To make heart pancakes: Divide batter in half and dye one of the halves your desired color. Cook pancakes over medium heat. Make sure to cook pancakes slowly so that they don't brown too much. Once pancakes are done cooking cut out hearts using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Mix and match colors to get the desired effect.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

3-ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

My sister gave me this recipe many years ago. It started out as a weight-watchers recipe but then I added chocolate chips know... Anyway, they have 3 ingredients and are super easy! They are also very dense and moist. The pumpkin makes them much more filling than normal mini-muffins. I heard a funny joke about mini-muffins and how it's easy to just eat one or twelve. So true! Hopefully I'm not the only one who can accidently eat like 10 mini-muffins before I even notice whats going on.

Anyway, I made these for a church function a while back and forgot to post about it. Better late than never...

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 box cake mix (I like to use spice cake but chocolate and yellow cake mixes work well too)
1 (15oz) can pumpkin (not the pie mix)
1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Mix all ingredients together until moistened and smooth. Fill mini-muffin pan with batter. Bake at 350 degrees. For timing use the cupcake directions on the back of the cake mix. Yields between 3-4 dozen muffins. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pasta Bake ( w/freezer meal option)

Well, since I've kept you waiting for a new post for such a long time...I'm going to do 2 posts today! Bonus!

Not only that but my first post is really two recipes! My sister-in-law sent me a new cookbook for Christmas. This cookbook features recipes from the website: Our Best Bites. While I haven't checked out their website yet, I plan to do that soon based on the yummy recipes we've sampled from their cookbook! Click on Our Best Bites to check it out!

My husband loves Alfredo! I do too but feel pretty guilty about the giant calorie intake associated with it's deliciousness. So when I found this Guiltless Alfredo Sauce recipe in their book I had to give it a try. And while it's not totally guiltless (It still has a bunch of delicious parmesan) it is significantly better than regular Alfredo recipes. Subbing low-fat milk for cream and reducing the butter significantly make this recipe great!

I've made the sauce twice now, once we just had it over noodles and once I used it in their Bacon Artichoke with Penne Bake. Both were delicious! In the penne bake I considered putting spinach in. I still think it would be yummy but decided that having artichokes and spinach in the same dish might send my family over the edge. It was a good thing I decided against it too...because even though I chopped the artichokes into tiny little pieces my husband still spent the night picking them out of his pasta. Even though I love artichokes, I tried this recipe again subbing 1 1/2 cups peas for the artichokes and my husband and kids were thrilled with the change so I will probably do that from now on. Anyway, without further ado, I give you Guiltless Alfredo Sauce and Bacon Artichoke with Penne Bake courtesy of Our Best Bites!

Bacon Artichoke Penne Bake 
(Adapted from Our Best Bites)
1 lb. penne or farfalle pasta
2 jars Alfredo sauce or 1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (below)
3 Chicken breasts, grilled and chopped
5-8 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
1 (14 oz.) jar artichoke hearts (they suggest using marinated but I just used plain. Also, you can substitute peas for picky eaters...aka...husbands!)
3-4 green onions, sliced
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, prepare guiltless Alfredo. Drain pasta and toss with sauce and remaining ingredients (setting aside 1/2 cup Mozzarella for later). Season to taste. Place pasta mixture in an 8x8 dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly!

Freezer Meal Prep Instructions:
Cook pasta and chicken. Slice or chop chicken. In a medium bowl toss pasta and chicken with sauce, bacon, artichoke hearts, green onion and 1 cup of the mozzarella.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place pasta in a disposable 9x13 pan.  Top with remaining mozzarella. Cover with a double layer of foil. Label and Freeze.

Freezer Meal Cooking Instructions:
Place pan on a large baking sheet and remove foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 90 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce 
(from Our Best Bites)
4 cups low-fat milk (I used skim and it worked fine)
2/3 cup (6 ounces) low-fat cream cheese
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 T. butter
3 tsp. minced garlic
2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I had leftover shredded Parmesan and it melted down fine)

Blend milk, cream cheese, flour and salt in a blender until smooth. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add garlic. Saute garlic 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add milk mixture to the pan and stir constantly until it comes to a simmer (about 5 minutes). Keep stirring until sauce thickens (about 7 more minutes). Remove sauce from heat and whisk in Parmesan. Cover immediately and let sit 10 minutes. Serve immediately in your favorite pasta dish.