Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

I started with a recipe I found on Food Network and tweeked it to some of my own preferences! It turned out so good that my hubby was cleaning out the casserole dish to eat the last bits of it!
here is what you need:
2 - 14 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes
1 jar of Berttoli pasta sauce. I used the olive oil, basil and garlic.
1 half of an onion diced
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 small container of sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small bell pepper diced
2 bay leaves
1 T of italian seasoning
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 cup of red wine
1/2 cup of water
 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef cooked and drained of grease
1 box of angel hair pasta uncooked
1 block of sharp cheddar shredded
1 bock of Monterey Jack shredded
1 bag of a mixed Italian cheese blend.
  preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a large soup style pot place the first 14 ingredients. That should be all the way up to the water and bring this all up to boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let this simmer for 45 minutes and then add the ground beef and let simmer another 15 minutes. now get out a 9x13 casserole dish and place a layer of sauce in the bottom. break half of the noodles of the sauce in a layer. Then sprinkle with half the Monterey jack and half of the cheddar.Then start over again and place a layer of sauce, and break the other half of the noodles over the top and then sprinkle the other half of the Jack and the cheddar over this. now put all the rest of the sauce you have left over the top of the cheese and place in the oven for 20 minutes. remove from the oven and sprinkle the bag of mixed Italian cheese over the top and place back in the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for about 5 min. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mushroom Lasagna

This stuff is better than mac n cheese comfort food!!! Made this just to try it out myself and after altering it just a tad from the Cooking light recipe I found...well it turned out magnificent and it made two pans...One of those pans I froze for a later date!
You do however need time to prepare this dish. Its not a throw together like you might wish but it is well worth the time and effort!
1 1/2 C boiling water
2 oz dried mushrooms of mixed variety ( i found these at Target)
2 T of butter
2 T olive oil
1 1/4 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
1 package of chopped baby bella mushrooms
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1T of thyme ( I like fresh from the herb garden but dried works too!)
6 cloves of garlic
3/4 C white wine
4 oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese
2 T chopped chives
3 C 2% milk
almost 1/4 C of all purpose flour
no boil lasagna noodles ( I found great whole wheat ones at Target)
1 cup of parmesean/ mozzeralla mixed cheese

Heat oven to 350.
Put the dried mushrooms into the cup of boiling water. cover them and let rest for about 30 min.  Strain them through a cheesecloth or something similar and save the juices. I actually used my gravy separater becasue it has a strainer on top. 
melt butter in pan . throw in shallots, baby bella mushrooms and salt and pepper. Saute till browned and add 3 of the chopped garlic cloves and the thyme. let saute for 1 minute then add the white whine and let reduce just a bit. Scrape the pan and loosed all those brown bits. Then remove from heat and add cream cheese and chives. ( I used green onions instead of chives sometimes)  Add the reserved mushrooms and stir this all up an set aside.
In a new pan heat oil and the other 3 chopped garlic cloves and saute them for a bit. Add the reserved mushroom juices and little salt and pepper. stir flour and milk together really well and add to the pan and stir with a wisk. this mixture will start to thicken just slightly.Turn off the heat when it starts to thicken.

Now get two pans (unless you plan to feed a big group). I used to small square cake pans (the disposable ones) and you spray with cooking oil. Then put a layer of the white sauce down. Place noodles in one layer on top of that then put a layer of mushroom mixture and keep repeating this process. pour leftover white sauce over top noodles and put the cheese all on top and then I pressed this down just a tad so i could make sure everything was level and submerged properly. Then you place it in the oven for 45 min or until that cheese is all brown and bubbly!
Remove and let set for about 5min. Slice and enjoy!!!
(note if you do the two pan thing then you only bake one and cover the other and let it get cool. then you can place it in the freezer for another time!!)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Baked Potato Soup

I was asked particularly for this recipe and I hope that anyone who tries it enjoys it as much as we do! I must apologize that there is no picture to go with this recipe. I made the most perfect bowl and it's picture was taken for the E.C. Link but then I myself forgot to take a picture. Oh yes, Thanks to some of my amazing friends I will be featured in the upcoming edition of the E.C. Link for the "Southern Spice" article! But the pretty bowl of soup well..... it was inhaled by my brother before I sat down to eat my first bowl!! So lets get down to the recipe!

 10 -12 good size potatoes washed and sliced in half ( hot dog style...long ways)
olive oil
1/2 cup of water
bacon grease
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of whipping cream
3 cans of chicken broth
1 onion diced
1 package of bacon fried and grease reserved
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 8oz container of Dairy Fresh sour cream ( you can use another but look for a high milkfat content or it will curdle when added to the soup which will taste the same but not look as pretty)
diced green onion
small cubed sharp cheddar

heat oven to 375 degrees and then on a rimmed cookie sheet i place the halved potatoes sliced side down. salt them really well ( like to use the big grains of kosher salt) then put olive oil all over the tops of them. Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. pull from oven and pour the water in the pan and kinda give the potatoes and little shake. Set the potatoes back in the oven (that is now turned off) and let them sit for an hour or so. They will actually absorb the water making them even softer and more flavorful.  Once cooled pull potatos from oven and spoon out the insides into a big pot. I take a fork and kinda mash the bigger pieces but otherwise i like the variation in the chunks of potato. Pour in the chicken broth and the whipping cream and put the pot on what i call a simmer. Add a bit of pepper. You do not want this to boil....you only want to warm it. Now in the pan you fried the bacon in you need to drain all but about 1/4 C of grease maybe a little more ( the more the merrier)  and put in your onions and garlic and let cook till translucent. Then add your flour to this pan and let the flour soak up the bacon grease and coat the onions. when the flour has soaked up the grease add to the potato soup mixture in the big pot and stir....you notice the mixture starting to get thicker.  Stir in your sour cream. let this soup simmer and get happy for about 30 min. but do not let it boil...you just want it to get hot and stay hot.
now you have some time to chop up your green onions and cube your sharp cheese and crumble your bacon and have it ready to go.
now dip up a bowl of this creamy rich soup and top with green onion, cheese and bacon! Enjoy it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

my mac n cheese

I know everyone has started their new years diets but when you need some serious winter comfort food....well there ain\'t nothin like a big bowl of my favorite Mac n cheese to make me feel just a little better. Okay let\'s get started with the best part...lots of cheese. 2 1/2 8oz. blocks of extra sharp cheese shredded (yellow or white both are fine)
1 8oz. block muenster cheese shredded
1/2 block of cream cheese
1/2stick of butter
3tbs flour
1tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
4 cups of 2 percent or whole milk
1/2 box of shell style noodles uncooked.
Butter and flour goes in a big pot with and cooks for a few minutes. Stir it and let the flour simmer for a few minutes. Whisk in milk and let come to a boil while constantly stirring. Then add salt and pepper and shredded sharp cheese and turn off the heat and whisk. Add cubed pieces of the cream cheese and stir till smooth. Spray a large casserole dish with non stick spray add noodles and pour cheese sauce over top. Stir gently to coat and even out noodles and sauce. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir gently . Spread muenster cheese all across top and let bake another 15 min or till top begins to lightly brown. Remove from oven and enjoy!