Monthly Archives: May 2012

Italian Cream Cheese Tortellini Bake

This was a HUGE hit in our house last night and (bonus!) it makes a lot of pasta, so there are plenty of leftovers to go in lunch boxes for the next day or two.

4 cups tortellini, uncooked
1 pound Italian bulk sausage, cooked
40 ounces pasta sauce
3/4 cup Philadelphia Italian Herb and Cheese Cooking Creme
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil, optional

Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain pasta when finished cooking.

Add cooked sausage to pasta sauce; simmer on medium heat 2 min., stirring frequently until heated through. Remove from heat.

Whisk cream cheese spread, milk and Parmesan in large bowl until well blended. Add pasta and basil; stir gently until pasta is evenly coated.

Spread half the meat sauce onto bottom of a greased casserole dish. Cover with pasta mixture and remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes minutes.

We had this with a green salad and some grapes.

What did the family think? Everyone loved it and had seconds. Our youngest said he liked it so much that he was going to have 100ths.

Where did this recipe come from? It was adapted from a recipe at Once a Month Mom

photo from Michelle’s Tasty Creations

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Italian

Poor Man’s Stroganoff

There are many, many, many versions of stroganoff out there. Everyone in my family LOVED this one which is HUGE for me. HUGE. There was zero complaining. That is rare around here, folks.

1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef, turkey or chicken
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
Egg noodles, cooked per instructions on the bag

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the grease.

Stir in the flour and tomato paste to the meat mixture and mix to combine well. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 1 minute.

Add the broth and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring to combine all the ingredients. Simmer vigorously for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened.

Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Cook until flavors blend, about 5 minutes on medium heat. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream, mixing well to avoid lumps.

Serve over egg noodles.

What did the family think? Two thumbs up from everyone!!!

Where did this recipe come from? adapted from a recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

photo from Campbell’s

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Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

My husband absolutely LOVED these! I think what makes these stand out is how the tortillas are prepared. They turn out hot and crispy and the cheese inside gets all melty. Yum! This could also easily be made into a vegetarian dish…just leave out the chicken and add some more beans and rice.

1 cup cooked rice, warm
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream
6 burrito-sized tortillas
Cooking spray

Mix rice together with chili powder and cumin.

Then add chicken, black beans, onion, cilantro and lime juice .

Spoon desired amount of sour cream down the middle of each tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over sour cream. Add chicken and rice mixture down the center. Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open. Spray the outside of tortillas all over with cooking spray.

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps.

Serve with salsa.

We had these with some cantaloup on the side.

What did the family think? Hubby and I really liked these. Like I said before, it’s the crispiness of the tortillas that really make these stand apart from other wraps like this you might have had. The kids had plain quesadillas.

Where did this recipe come from? Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

photo from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Mexican, Vegetarian

Goose Eggs for Breakfast

Several weeks ago on MommaCooks’ Facebook page I had mentioned some new foods I had tried lately and some that I wanted to try, like lychee fruit, which I still haven’t tried yet. Well, we have some neighbors down the street who raise chickens, geese and some dairy goats. When we walked down to their house last night to pick up some chicken eggs they had one goose egg for sale. The boys were so excited, so we picked up one goose egg to go along with our chicken eggs.

Trying a goose egg was not on my list of new foods to try, it wasn’t even on my radar, but that’s what we had for breakfast this morning…scrambled goose egg. Since we only had one goose egg, we mixed in a few chicken eggs as well. What was the verdict? We all decided the goose egg did taste a little different than chicken eggs and that the eggs turned out more yellow because the yolk is a lot bigger. Everyone gave it a thumbs up!

Goose egg on the left and chicken egg on the right.

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Filed under Breakfast, Definitely Making it Again, Everybody Ate It, Six Ingredients or Less, Super Easy to Make, Vegetarian

Chicken Ranch Tacos

I think the reason I liked these so much was just because they are different than what you normally get when you eat a taco. The ranch dressing adds a nice little twist.

3 cups cooked chicken, cut up
1 pkt. taco seasoning
1/2 cup Ranch dressing, plus extra for garnishing tacos
Taco shells, hard or soft
Cheese, grated

Heat a skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken and heat until warmed through. Sprinkle on dry taco seasoning. Do not add any water! Heat for 5-7 minuted until all heated through powder is stuck to the chicken.

Add Ranch dressing, stir and heat an additional 2-3 minutes to warm through.

Serve in taco shells with all the fixings you love. Drizzle a little more ranch on top and enjoy!

What did the family think? Hubby and I liked them. Our kids have never liked ranch dressing, so I wasn’t surprised that they weren’t too thrilled with these tacos, but if everyone in your house likes ranch dressing, then you’re probably safe.

Where did this recipe come from? Do You Smell That!!?

photo from Do You Smell That!!?

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Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Mexican

Penne with {Almost} Homemade Pasta Sauce

I like regular marinara sauce, but my favorite types of sauces are ones with a little dairy mixed in with the marinara. (In my book, dairy makes just about everything taste better.) This creamy tomatoey sauce did not disappoint.

12 ounces whole wheat penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium tomatoes chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
Grated parmesan cheese, garnish
Optional add-ins: meatballs, shrimp, Italian sausage

Cook penne according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Add in spinach and cover skillet. Let spinach wilt for 2 minutes.

Remove lid and place skillet back over low heat. Add the penne, Greek yogurt and pasta sauce. (Add cooked meat in at this time if you are using it.) Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated. Heat until just warmed through.

Divide into pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese.

What did the family think? As usual, 3/4 of us really liked. There was enough for leftovers today too which is always a bonus.

Did I change anything? The original recipe called for mushrooms, but I left them out since there would have been an uprising if I had put them in the sauce.

Where did this recipe come from? Back to Her Roots

photo from Back to Her Roots

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Italian, Lent, Vegetarian

Quick Summer Veggie Salad

I know this isn’t technically a recipe, but I thought I would pass along this idea. I also realize this dish isn’t revolutionary, but let me start from the beginning. I was at the grocery store and wanted a cool summery salad-type dish to go along with our hamburgers for dinner. I went to the deli and got some cold tortellini and veggie salad. The employee handed me the container and I looked at the label. Holy smokes! The ingredient list was a mile long. I handed it back to her and kindly told her I had changed my mind, but I still didn’t have a salad. I headed back to the produce aisle and had a lightbulb moment. I grabbed a package of pre-chopped cauliflower and broccoli and a bottle of gorgonzola and pear salad dressing.

Rinse veggies and place in a mixing bowl. Add about 1 1/2 cups of the dressing of your choice to the veggies. Toss and serve or toss and let them marinate for a while before serving. Keep refrigerated until ready to be served.

See, I told you it wasn’t life changing, but it was quick and cool. It was just what we needed to go with our hamburgers and the ingredient list was pretty straight forward.

What did the family think? Hubby and I really liked it. I thought I might be able to get our oldest to eat it, but he looked at my while I was eating some cauliflower and said, “I don’t know how you eat that stuff.” Oh well. Heavy sigh. Someday maybe?

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Side Dish, Six Ingredients or Less, Super Easy to Make, Vegetarian

Baked Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese

My kids get so tired of eating salad, but quite frankly, that’s just about the only veggie that they can both agree on. I decided to take a walk on the wild side last night though and make this yummy asparagus dish.

1 pound asparagus, trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 ½ tablespoons bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450° F.

In a medium baking dish or on a cookie sheet, toss asparagus with the oil and arrange in an even layer.

Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bread crumbs.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.

What did the family think? 3 out of 4 isn’t bad, right?

Where did this recipe come from? I got it from Holiday Food Safety and they got it from the Produce for Better Health Foundation

photo from Confessions of a Chocoholic

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Side Dish, Six Ingredients or Less, Super Easy to Make, Vegetarian

Pizza Pot Pie

First of all, I love a good pot pie…the flaky crust and all of the rich and creamy goodness inside. I also love pizza. So pizza pot pie must be the best thing ever. You could also call these Dump Pizzas or Upside Down Pizzas because you end up flipping the pizza over so the cheese is on the top and the crust is on the bottom. Be forewarned: flipping these are not for the inexperienced. It might just be easier to eat them like a pot pie with the crust on the top. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1 can refrigerated pizza dough (or make your own)
1 jar pizza sauce
18 mozzarella cheese slices (3 per pizza)
pizza toppings
ramekins or oven-safe bowls
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut 6 circles of dough about one inch larger than ramekin or bowl.

Coat the bottom of ramekins or oven-safe bowl with cooking spray.

Arrange three mozzarella slices in the bottom and around the sides of the ramekin making sure they overlap.

Add pizza toppings as desired.

Ladle the sauce over the fillings just until the ramekin is almost full.

Spray the outside of the ramekin with cooking spray, then stretch a round of dough across the top and let hang over the edge.

Bake for 12 minutes until dough is golden. Invert each pizza onto a plate and lift off the ramekin. (or just eat it like a pot pie with the crust on the top)

What did the family think? Yummers!

Where did this recipe come from? Plain Chicken

Before Flipping

After Flipping

Note: These are not the super cute ramekins I had mentioned previously on Facebook. Those are in the dishwasher. These lovely pics are from Plain Chicken.


Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Lent, Six Ingredients or Less, Vegetarian

Pesto Polenta Lasagna

We love Italian food in our house and I loved this recipe because it’s so versatile. I took the basic recipe and added kale, garlic and Italian sausage. You could add mushrooms, onions, spinach…whatever you think your family would like. This dish lends itself very easily to being a great vegetarian meal as well.

1 (18 ounce) package polenta, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 cups kale or spinach, chopped
1 lb ground Italian sausage
2 tsp garlic
1/2 (24 ounce) jar bottled marinara sauce
1/4 cup pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place polenta on a cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray.

Cook polenta for about 5 minutes, turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, saute kale, Italian sausage and garlic until Italian sausage is cooked through.

Spray a 11×7-inch casserole dish lightly with cooking spray and line it with 1/2 of the polenta.

Spread a thin layer of pesto on the polenta. Spoon half of the sauce on top of that.

Top with Italian sausage mixture.

Place the remaining polenta on top and cover with the rest of the sauce.

Bake for 25 minutes and then top with cheese and turn on the broiler until cheese is lightly browned.

What did the family think? They love anything that has cheese and pasta sauce. The kale wasn’t well received by the youngest member of our family, but there was so much else to like that it wasn’t a big deal.

Where did this recipe come from? Allrecipes

Photo from Mangia Bene Pasta

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Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Lent, Vegetarian