Classic Baked Ziti

 
I can’t even begin to tell you just how amazing this is! The key ingredient in this recipe is Napa Valley Bistro – Porcini Mushroom Pasta Sauces! I strongly encourage you to use this pasta sauce because it really does make this dish. I will admit this sauce is a little pricey but it’s well worth it. This is a quick and easy recipe to put together and makes a great freezer recipe. This is only a half recipe the full recipe which would require you to double everything below would be cooked in a 13X9 pan.
 
Ingredients: 
  • 1/4 lb. lean ground beef
  • ¼ lb. Italian sausage
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 Jar (32 Ounce) Pasta Sauce
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounces package ziti pasta, cooked and drained
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Small can of mushrooms
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large skillet, cook ground beef, sausage, bell pepper onions, and garlic over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until meat is browned and the vegetables are tender; stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, and oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the cooked ziti noodles.
  6. Spoon 1/2 of the ziti mixture into a pie plate or a medium size baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
  8. Top with 2 cups sauce, then remaining ziti mixture and remaining sauce.
  9. Cover and bake 30 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  11. Return to oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until heated through.

 

Neely’s Spicy Sweet Potato Fries (Chips)

 
One of my favorite cooking shows is Down Home with the Neely’s! I love this husband and wife dynamic duo! They have such amazing chemistry in the kitchen that I find watching their cooking show both educational and entertaining. I saw the Neely’s making spicy sweet potato chips that I later turned into fries and knew I had the try them because I love sweet potato fries and I love spicy. As always they delivered with an amazing recipe that I am in love with. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes paired with the spiciness of just the right spice combination makes these fries a sweet and spicy delight! The only thing I changed from the original recipe was changing them from chips to fries.
Ingredients:
  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, well scrubbed

 Directions:

  1. In a deep-fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, heat enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  3. Using a  sharp knife, thinly slice the sweet potatoes into 1/8-inch thick rounds. Add the sliced sweet potatoes to the hot oil and fry, in batches, until crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray and immediately sprinkle with the seasoning mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Homemade Pizza with Pizza Hut Style Pizza Dough (Bread Machine)

This was a super simple meal, and it turned out fantastic! I love pizza but in most cases I don’t love it enough to drop $30-$40 in pizza. Our favorite pizza place is $40 for two pizzas. Although they are fantastic this is pretty great too. We had fun making them, and more fun eating them too!! They say this is a copy cat recipe of pizza dough, but I am not sure how close to true it is, but I will tell you it’s delicious!
Ingredients:
  • 1 -1/3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 -1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon msg (Accent*)
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Directions:

1   Add ingredients (except for cornmeal) to machine bread pan in order as per manufacturer’s instructions.

2   Set to “Dough” cycle.

3   Lightly grease one 9 x 13-inch pan or individual pans and sprinkle with cornmeal.

4   When the dough cycle is complete, roll out dough and place in pan.

5   Let rest in pans for 10-15 minutes.

6   Add toppings of your choice.

7   Bake at 350°F until done (approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of toppings).

8   I made these as 4 personal pan pizza’s so each person can choose them toppings.

Chimichanga Casserole

 

I love this recipe one, because it’s great, two it’s inexpensive, and three it’s easy! What more can you ask for? On those nights when you don’t have time to make a big dinner this is a recipe for you. This is also a great make ahead freezer meal. My friend Michelle also uses it for OAMC (One a Month Cooking) It’s also very adaptable. You could add chicken, beef, beans… you name it. I love the versatility.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (2 1/2 pounds) frozen chimichangas (I use El Monterey)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup
  • 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Coat a 13x9x2 baking dish with non-stick spray
  3. Add chimichangas cutting to fit in a tight single layer
  4. In a medium size bowl, mix together milk, soup, and 1 cup of the cheese
  5. Pour mixture evenly over the chicken and the burritos
  6. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins

Slow-Cooker Stroganoff

 
I have to start off by saying that I do not like stroganoff  actually I despise it because it has sour cream in it, and I am not a fan of sour cream. In my opinion stroganoff is good until you add the sour cream. My husband on the other hand loves it. When I found this recipe online I thought I would give it a shot. 
 
The original recipe calls for ribs, but I really couldn’t rationalize that in my head plus I had a chuck roast I had gotten on sale I wanted to use it.  The recipe actually turned out really good. It’s a super simple recipe that doesn’t really require much attention. I really enjoyed it even with the sour cream. My husband thought it could use more sour cream, so if you are inclined certainly add more sour cream than the recipe requires.
 
 
Ingredients: 
  • 5 Tbsp. flour, divided
  • 2 tsp.  smoked paprika, divided
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3 lb.  chuck roast
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 pkg.  (8 oz.) whole mushrooms, halved or 1 can of mushrooms
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves  garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup  beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup  Sour Cream
  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) egg noodles

Directions: 

  1. Cut chuck roast into 2 inch pieces.
  2. Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp. paprika and 1/2 tsp. salt together. Add to the cut up chuck roast; toss to evenly coat.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add roast pieces; cook 5 min. or until evenly browned, turning occasionally.
  4. Place roast pieces in slow a cooker; top with remaining paprika, salt, vegetables, garlic, pepper, broth and Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Cover with lid. Cook on HIGH 6 hours (or on LOW 8 to 10 hours).
  6. Meanwhile, cook noodles as directed on package.
  7. Drain noodles; place in large serving bowl. Add meat mixture; stir.

Original Recipe 

Country Comfort Potato Casserole



Visually this is not a very appealing recipe, but it’s a fantastic side dish. I made this to go along without Easter dinner and everyone would crazy over it. I received more compliments than I expected too, and a ton of recipe request. This recipe is called comfort casserole for a good reason. Who needs a hug when you can add potatoes? Add a little ham in there and it would be comfort casserole. We all really enjoyed this recipe and I bet you will too!
 
Ingredients:
  • 2lbs. Red Potatoes cubed
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • 4 ounces of sour cream
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions:
  1. Boil 2lbs of cubed red potatoes until tender. 
  2. Pan fry 6 slices of bacon then allow the bacon to cool, and dice.
  3. Reserve one tablespoon of bacon
  4. Remove all of the bacon grease from the pan, but one tablespoon.
  5. To the one tablespoon of bacon grease and remaining bacon add a half cup of sliced green onions sauté until soft.
  6. To the bacon and the green onions add a half of cup of sour cream and mix diligently, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Fold potatoes into the cream sauce, and coat evenly.
  8. Add the diced potatoes mixture to a baking dish
  9. Sprinkle cheese and reserved bacon to the top of the potato mixture
  10. Bake on 350 for 15-20 minutes 

Mississippi Roast with Au Jus

This has quickly become a family favorite. I can’t even begin to tell you just how great this recipe really is. First off its super easy to make because you are simple dropping everything in the crock pot and letting it do all of the work. Second this recipe is do die for! The flavor of the meat along with the sauce it produces is something special. I had a feeling it would be good, but I had no idea it would be this GOOD. 
 
I was a rock star with my family that night. I don’t think I have ever gotten that many compliments. I ended up serving the roast on toasted white bread then I served the au jus on the side for dipping the sandwich in. My husband said it was the best French dip sandwich he had ever had in his life. I know this recipe has been passed around a few times so I don’t really know who the original poster is, but I do know who I got it from and that is “A perfectly lovely ordinary day.”  If you don’t make this recipe you are truly missing out.
 
This story does have a heartbreaking end though…. That night after dinner my husband and I were already dreaming of the leftovers for lunch when all of the sudden a 5lb. block of mozzarella cheese hit the covered container containing our delectable dinner and shot it across the kitchen and it broke up and splattered all over the place. I don’t know what made me want to cry more the loss of the fantastic roast, the money that was wasted, the fact that my lunch for the next day the eat was scarfing down as fast as her mouth would move, or the fact that it was going to take me an hour to clean up the mess. *SIGH* I guess we will just HAVE to make it again 😉
 
Ingredients:
  • Chuck Roast (I used a 4 pound roast any size will work)
  • Hidden Valley ranch dressing
  • McCormick Au Jus mix
  • 1 stick of butter (I used margarine)
  • 5 pepperoncini peppers
Directions:
  1. Add Chuck Roast to the crock pot
  2. Sprinkle Hidden Valley ranch dressing on top of the roast
  3. Sprinkle McCormick Au Jus mix on top of the ranch
  4. Put a stick of butter on top of the au jus
  5. Put about 5 pepperoncini peppers on top. (Find in the pickle section of the store)
  6. Do NOT add water.
  7. Cook in crock pot on low for about 8 hours. (Mine was done in 6 on low)
Take Note: You can discard the pepperoncini peppers when the roast is done if you would like. My husband ate them on his sandwich and loved them. 
*The pepperoncini peppers really do send this dish over the top so don’t skip them*
 
 
I forgot to add the peppers before I took the picture

Fiesta Oyster Cracker Mix




I love these crackers. Not only are the inexpensive to make but they spicy (not hot) and yummy!  This recipe makes a great grab and go snack for a holiday party. You can use any ranch dressing, but the fiesta ranch adds a nice tangy zip to the crackers. If you need something quick and easy for a holiday party these would be great. Leaving them in a paper bag over night is a MUST! This will help absorb the excess oil. 
 
Ingredients:
  • 2 TBS of Fiesta Hidden Valley Ranch Dry Mix (I have used regular ranch also)
  • 1 bag of Oyster Crackers
  • 1/3 cup veg oil ( I don’t suggest Olive oil because it alters the flavor)
  • 2 paper bags (lunch bags)
 
Directions: 
  1. Add oil, and Fiesta Hidden Valley Ranch Dry Mix to a bowl and mix well
  2. Fold in the Oyster Crackers and mix until they are well coated
  3. Evenly distribute the Oyster Crackers into two paper bags
  4. Close your paper bag up well and shake. Shaking every once in a while for a few hours (the purpose of the bag is to absorb the excess oil)
  5. Remove from the paper bags after they have sat for three hours and store in an air tight container
  6. Enjoy!

Easy Fried Cheese

I found this recipe while watching Guy Fieri’s “Guy’s Big Bites” on Television. He made this recipe look easy and in truth it really was. The flavor is fantastic, and these cheese sticks make great appetizers. I had fun making them, and loved eating them. No doubt you will too!
 
Ingredients: 
  • 4 cups canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 8 ounces mozzarella string cheese, individually wrapped
  • 16 thin slices salami, 2 1/2-inches in diameter
  • 8 egg roll/spring roll wrappers

Directions: 

  1. In a medium saucepan, add oil and heat to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium shallow bowl, whisk eggs and milk thoroughly. In another medium bowl mix panko and Italian bread crumbs.
  3. Dredge 1 entire side of egg roll wrapper into egg wash. Place 2 slices of salami in the center of wrapper, towards the edge closest to you. Place 1 stick of cheese on top of salami. Roll wrapper edge closest to you over the filling. Tuck ends and continue to roll until it forms an egg roll shape.
  4. Dredge rolled wrapper in egg wash again, and then thoroughly coat in bread crumb mixture. (Wrappers can be frozen for future use at this point.)
  5. Add 1 to 2 rolled wrappers to oil at a time, cooking 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Be careful not to overcook, or cook on too high of a temperature as wraps may explode. Remove fried cheese to a paper-towel lined plate and serve immediately

Creamy Easy Spinach Dip

Spinach dip is one of my favorite dips to have during the holiday season we always have it on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. I rarely make it any other time of year. Why… no idea! I guess it’s just the holiday’s that make me crave it.  I was think today it would be excellent in a wrap.
 
If you don’t like spinach don’t let that stop you from making it because to be honest with you… you can’t even taste the spinach. It’s an excellent dip that goes a long way for a group but it’s also inexpensive and very tasty. I grew up on this dip and now my family is growing up on it too. Enjoy!
 
Ingredients: 
  • 1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach, chopped or 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (8 ounce) package vegetable soup mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped 

Directions: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
  2. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours over night would be best.

MAKES 4 cups dip.

Original Recipe Source