Thursday, October 30, 2014

Make Ahead Pizza Casserole

As usual, anything with pizza in the title catches my eye immediately. I know that it is usually a sure fire hit with the kiddos and it is going to be a meal that I don't have to fight with them over. I also liked the idea of "make ahead" so that got me excited as well! I doubled this recipe so that I could throw the extra pan in the freezer and have another go round of it in the future... We've actually already eaten the second pan - that's how good it was and/or how busy our schedules are! :) I mixed up the meat a bit, since I had some italian sausage in the fridge and used a pound of beef and a pound of italian sausage. I love the taste of italian sausage but not the fat that goes with it, so this was a nice way to use it! It was a great meal at our house, hope you enjoy as well!

Make Ahead Pizza Casserole
(recipe found at

1 pound mild italian pork sausage
2 cups water
1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with sweet onion, undrained
4 cups uncooked rotini pasta (use gluten free noodles if desired)
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese blend

In a skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain. In ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish, mix water, pizza sauce and tomatoes. Stir in cooked sausage, uncooked pasta and olives (pasta should be completely covered with sauce). Cover tightly with foil; refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350°F. Stir casserole; cover with foil and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover baking dish; stir mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; bake uncovered 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

I had a really rough day today... Between things going wrong with the house, the kids having issues and a million other fires that I felt like I had to put out I had enough - it was time to do some baking!! As my husband teases about himself "I had to eat my emotions!" That doesn't bode too well for the eating healthy trying to lose the summer weight idea that is going on right now, but I guess - you have to have those days!! So, peanut butter it was... I found this recipe and it was dubbed "the best peanut butter cookies ever", so you know that I had to try it!! Seriously, they were so delish!! Soft and melty in my mouth and just what I needed. I know these won't stay in the cookie jar for long!

Peanut Butter Cookies
(Recipe found on pinterest via

1 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the sugars, shortening, butter and peanut butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until well combined. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the cream mixture. Roll the cookie dough into tablespoon size balls. Roll the cookie balls into sugar. Place on the cookie sheets- DO NOT mash with a fork in normal “peanut butter cookie” fashion. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Nacho Bake

The boys in my house are SUPER into nachos right now... Anytime we go anywhere to eat that they are on the menu, they know immediately what they are ordering! So, when I saw this recipe, I knew that it was a no brainer that we had to try it! I should have made 2!!! These were literally inhaled before I could get the rest of the food on the table and they were quickly asking for more. So, definitely a redo in our house...

Bacon Cheeseburger Nacho Bake
(recipe found

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (8 oz) velveeta, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup cooked real bacon pieces (from a jar or package)
3 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Diced pickles, if desired
Ketchup, if desired
Mustard, if desired
Lettuce, if desired

Heat oven to 350. Spray 13x9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic salt over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked. Add cubed velveeta and bacon; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat Place half of the chips in bottom of baking dish. Top with half of the beef mixture. Repeat layers. Top with shredded cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately with pickles, ketchup, mustard and/or lettuce, if desired.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oven Baked Chicken

For my second son's pick of the week he requested chicken legs... he didn't care how I fixed them, he just wanted chicken legs! :) I have had this recipe saved for a while and decided that it was a quick and easy way to make them up. They were super yummy and I loved the crunchiness that came with them, even with out deep frying. It was a hit with the whole family and it tasted great as leftovers the next day as well!

Oven Baked Chicken
(recipe found on

1 tablespoon butter
2/3 cup Bisquick
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cut-up whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds or I used 12 chicken legs)

Heat oven to 425. Melt butter in 13x9 baking dish in oven. Stir together bisquick, paprika, salt and pepper; coat chicken. Place skin sides down in dish (dish and butter should be hot). Bake 35 minutes; turn chicken. Bake about 15 minutes longer or until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Asian Beef and Broccoli

I was on a bit of an Asian kick this past week and while I was making the Asian Grilled Pork Chops, I decided that I would try this Asian Beef and Broccoli! It had a lot of the same ingredients, so it worked well for the shopping list! :) I usually just throw my roasts in the crock pot and call it good, but I decided to pull one out and try it with this recipe. It was worth the extra chopping that I had to do. I loved the taste of this recipe and the kids thought that it was pretty delish as well. I served it over the hot brown rice and it made for a perfect week night meal!

Asian Beef and Broccoli
(recipe found in Parents Magazine)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1/2 cup dry roasted cashews
brown rice

In a bowl, mix soy sauce, 3 tablespoons orange juice, sugar, ginger and garlic. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray and add beef and soy sauce mixture. Stir, cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Just before beef is done, microwave broccoli, covered on high 4 minutes. Drain any liquid. Transfer beef to a bowl, shred it (if desired) and add broccoli. Cover and set aside. Place a small fine-mesh sieve over a small saucepan. Pour juices from the slow cooker into the pan. In a bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Add to saucepan. Cook on medium and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in marmalade, remaining 3 tablespoons orange juice and pepper. Add about half of the swauce and cashews to the beef and broccoli mixture. Toss to coat. Serve over brown rice and additional sauce.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blueberry Sauce Crepes

I had a few blueberries left and decided that for an after school snack for the kids I wanted to make some blueberry crepes. I went looking for my recipe for crepes and discovered that I had to let my batter rest for 4 hours. Well, being the non planner that I sometimes am, I didn't have 4 hours. That meant that I needed to look at making a different crepe recipe. Well, I found this one and I knew that I would enjoy it since it includes vanilla and I love me a little vanilla flavor! :) The kids loved these crepes as much as the other recipe that I have made and they were all inhaled as soon as I made them!

Blueberry Sauce Crepes
(recipe found on

1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
cooking spray

Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt; set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the blueberry sauce. Combine blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small pan. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until juices are bubbly and fruit is tender. Remove from heat and set aside. Lightly grease a nonstick frying pan, or a crepe pan, with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup batter and swirl to completely cover bottom of pan. Cook until edges of crepe curl-up and underside of crepe is golden brown; about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the crepe and continue to cook for 1 more minute, or until lightly browned. Remove crepe from skillet and repeat with remaining batter. Coat pan with cooking spray in between each crepe. Place blueberry sauce down the middle of the crepe and roll up. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hot Pepper Plum Jam

After I made my regular plum jam, I started remembering this raspberry chipotle jam that I had at a party one time. It was a simple recipe for an appetizer that included covering a block of cream cheese with a jar of this jam. You then used crackers to spread it on to. It was delish!! So, since I had a few hot peppers still on the vines of my raised beds I decided that I needed to make another batch of jam and include the hot peppers. It turned out fabulous and although it isn't the raspberry flavor that I LOVE so much, it was still pretty tasty!

Hot Pepper Plum Jam

2 quarts chopped plums
1-3 cups sugar (based on taste)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 hot peppers, diced (leave seeds in for a hotter jam)

Chop plums into chunks, removing seeds as you go and leaving peelings. Place in large pot and add remaining ingredients. I started with 2 cups of sugar and added another cup about halfway through. Mix well, cover with lid and turn heat to medium low. Bring to a boil and remove lid. Remove lid and continue to boil until thickened to the thickness that you desire for your jam. Mine took about 2 1/2 hours so be patient. Once jam is at the desired thickness, add to jars and seal. Place in a hot water bath to seal jars. For this I just place the jars in a big pot, fill with water to cover the jars and then bring to a boil for 20-30 minutes. Remove from water bath and wait for your jars to "pop"! Serve over a block of cream cheese and with triscuits, wheat thins or other crackers.