• Mexican Breakfast Casserole

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    This picture stinks…will update the photo when we make again.   This casserole is so good and feeds a crowd.  We had it for dinner, both kiddos loved it, and then we had it for lunch today and it was just a good as leftovers.

    Definitely making this again and especially when we have guests over.

    Recipe adapted from A Spicy Perspective.

    Ingredients:

    • 16 eggs or 32 oz. carton of egg beaters
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 4-6 green onions, chopped
    • 4 quality corn tortillas cut into ½ x 1 inch slices
    • 1 ¾ c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
    • 1 tsp. salt or 1 tsp. of taco seasoning
    • Pepper
    • 1 bag of frozen hash browns – about 6 c. hash browns, defrosted
    • ¼ c. + 2 TBSP taco seasoning (1.5 packet)
    • 6 TBSP melted butter

    Serve with salsa, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, etc.

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325*
    2. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray
    3. In a large bowl combine eggs through pepper and pour egg mixture into pan
    4. In another bowl combine the hash browns, taco seasoning and melted butter, and toss to coat.  Evenly place hash browns over egg mixture.
    5. Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes until the center is set and hash browns are crisp.  You may want to put it under the broiler at the end to crisp up the hash browns.

    Mexican Breakfast Casserole:
    5star

     

     

  • Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup

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    This soup is to die for!  It’s delicious served with smoke gouda grilled cheese (our favorite combination)!  All four of us love this soup, and it’s great in the winter AND the summer, which is great because we have so much fresh basil in the summer.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 package of petite carrots, diced
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 (28 oz.) cans whole Roma tomatoes
    • 1 (32 o.z) carton vegetable broth
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 TBSP granulated sugar (may need to use more–all depends on how sweet your tomatoes are)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 16 oz. refrigerated three cheese tortellini
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
    • Grated pecorino Romano cheese for serving

    Directions:

    1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat; add the olive oil, and then add the carrots and onion and saute until soft; then add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 more minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the tomatoes until smooth and add to your crockpot.  When the carrots, onion, and garlic are soft add them to the blender and puree until smooth–you can add some of the tomato puree to help the blender along; then add to your crockpot.  Add the vegetable broth through salt and pepper, and stir to combine.  You’ll likely need to adjust the sugar, salt, and pepper after it finishes cooking.
    3. Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.  Remove lid and add tortellini and cook for 15 minutes or until tortellini are heated through.  Then stir in the cream or half and half, taste and adjust seasoning.
    4. Ladle soup in individual bowls and top with basil and and grated pecorino Romano cheese.

    Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Torellini Soup:
    5star

  • Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta)

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    This is some seriously good pasta.  Even Ellie, who doesn’t like much pasta, loves this dish.  It’s peppery and goodness with lots of pecorino Romano cheese.  It goes great with grilled steak, and the leftovers are really good too.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. angel hair pasta
    • salt
    • 2 c. finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1 TBSP (plus or minus to your liking) freshly ground pepper
    • Good olive oil (we like a basil infused olive oil probably a couple of TBSP)

    Directions:

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, add pasta and cook according to package.
    2. Meanwhile grate the cheese.
    3. In a large pasta serving bowl combine cooked pasta, cheese, pepper, and olive oil.  Toss to combine.  Add 1/2 cup or more of pasta water to help melt the cheese and combine.

    Cacio e Pepe:
    5star

  • Pasta Caprese (aka Best Pasta Sauce)

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    We love Italian, but unfortunately the kiddos don’t like ricotta cheese (gasp!).  I have finally found a lasagna like dish that everyone loves, and this has become our go to “lasagna”.  Every time I’ve made this the kiddos have asked for seconds.  That’s a score in my book!

    ******I also make just the sauce from this dish and use it in all my Italian cooking.  It is the BEST pasta sauce…can’t ever go back to the jar stuff…yes, it really is that good!  This is our go to red sauce for all dishes we make.******

    Adapted from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 TBSP olive oil
    • 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
    • 2 35-oz. cans Italian tomatoes (like San Marzano)
    • Crushed red pepper to taste
    • Salt to taste
    • Sugar to taste (I usually use about 2 TBSP, but it all depends on how sweet or sour your canned tomatoes are)
    • 2 c. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (I use a fine microplane grater–if you use a larger shred, your amounts will need to be adjusted downward since with the fine grater there is a lot of air taking up the 2 c. space)
    • 1 lb. Campanelle pasta or pasta of your choice
    • 1 lb. pearl mozzarella
    • 1 c. shredded fresh basil leaves

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and blitz until you reach a desired texture (we prefer smooth with some chunkier pieces). Then add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper, if using, to the skillet.  Season with salt and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, to reduce until you get your desired consistency.  We like a thicker sauce, so I simmered for about 30-45 minutes. Taste and add sugar and salt as needed.  Add the Pecorino Romano cheese and stir to combine.  If you use finely grated the cheese the cheese will “melt” into the sauce quite easily.  Taste again adjust seasoning as necessary.
    3. Bring a pot of water to a boil; add salt; and cook pasta according to the box.
    4. When pasta is al dente, add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce, and toss to combine.  Add the fresh mozzarella and chopped basil.

    Serve with garlic bread, salad, and fruit and enjoy!

    Pasta Caprese:

    5star

  • Broccoli Salad

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    The kiddos and I really enjoyed this broccoli salad.  Steve not so much, but he doesn’t like these kinds of salads in general.  It’s kind of like cole slaw but with broccoli instead of cabbage.  The dressing and craisins bring a nice sweet contrast to the bacon and broccoli.  The flavors just work.  This is a great one for picnics and potlucks too.

    Ingredients:

    • 8 c. fresh raw broccoli florets
    • 1/2 c. red onion, finely diced
    • 1/2 c. cooked crumbled turkey bacon
    • 1 c. craisins

    Dressing:

    • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 c. light mayonnaise
    • 2 TBSP white vinegar

    Directions:

    1. In a large bowl combine broccoli through craisins.
    2. In a small bowl mix sugar, mayo and vinegar until smooth.
    3. Add dressing to the bowl and toss to coat and chill.

    Broccoli Salad:
    4star

  • Ginger Scallion Noodles

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    This side dish is so simple yet so good.  We seem to always have a batch in the fridge, whether for a dinner side or just to snack on.  Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
    • garlic, minced
    • 3 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 1/3 c. grape seed oil
    • 6 TBSP vinegar (we use 3 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar and 3 TBSP ancho vinegar from a local specialty shop)
    • 2 tsp. soy sauce
    • 2 6 oz. packages of Wel-Pac Chinese Chow Mein Stir-Fry Noodles (or any egg noodle or any noodle you like)

    Directions:

    1. Combine green onions through soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add salt and then add noodles and cook according to directions.
    3. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water and then add to mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.  Serve chilled.

    Ginger Scallion Noodles:

    5star

     

  • Courtney’s Frittata

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    Our good friend Courtney gave me this recipe.  We had it a potluck breakfast/brunch.  It is beyond good.  Both kiddos loved it, so I knew I needed the recipe.

    I adapted the recipe by replacing the goat cheese with feta, because at least 2 of the 4 of us don’t like goat cheese, and I also replaced the eggs with egg beaters to “lighten” the dish up a bit.

    I made it for dinner and we got 2 dinners out of it, and the leftovers were just as good heated up as the dish was the first night.

    This dish is sooooo good that you can proudly serve it to company!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
    • Butter
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • ½ bundle of asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
    • 1 c. cottage cheese, drained
    • 8 oz. goat cheese or 6 oz. crumbled feta (reduced fat)
    • 14 eggs or large carton of egg beaters
    • Cavender’s Greek seasoning

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*.
    2. Thaw spinach and squeeze it out in paper towels to get all water out.
    3. Heat butter in a pan and caramelize the onion.
    4. Heat water to boil, add some salt, and blanch asparagus until just tender.
    5. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and sprinkle with spinach through cheese; beat eggs with seasoning (or sprinkle with Cavender’s add the egg beaters and sprinkle with additional Cavender’s).  Pour into dish and swirl contents a little with a knife.
    6. Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes, or until just set.

    Courtney’s Frittata:
    5star

  • Beer Mac-n-Cheese and Beer Bread

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    If you like homemade mac-n-cheese you’ll definitely enjoy this version made with beer and bacon.  It’s so creamy and so flavorful.  If you don’t like bacon, leave it out, but bacon is a favorite in our house.  It was kid approved by the man-cheese eating kiddo (the non mac-n-cheese eating kiddo wasn’t home for dinner).  I added chipotle Tabasco to mine and that put it over the top for me!

    Beer bread: we’ve been making it for quite some time.  It is beyond good and beyond delicious and beyond easy!  We usually make a loaf, but this time we opted to make biscuits.  We’ll stick with the loaf from here on out because the biscuits didn’t have the same moist tenderness that the loaf has.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese recipe from A Spicy Perspective.

    Beer Bread recipe from Food Network.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. elbow pasta
    • 12 oz. Shiner Bock (or favorite beer)
    • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used cream cheese with Greek yogurt)
    • 1 lb. cheddar cheese (not preshredded)
    • 1 c. crumbled bacon

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese directions:

    1. Place a large pot water on the stove to boil. Once boiling, add generous amounts of salt and add pasta; cook pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, pour a bottle of beer in a skillet. (Choose a light crisp beer that you like to drink.) Turn the heat on high, and add the cream cheese in medium sized chunks. As the beer starts to simmer, break the cream cheese into pieces with a whisk and whisk into the beer.  Add the shredded cheese and whisk until completely smooth.
    3. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour it into the cheese sauce. Reduce the heat to low, then stir and cook another 3 minutes to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
    4. To serve, scoop the beer mac and cheese into bowls and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

    Beer Mac-n-Cheese:
    4star

     

    Beer Bread

    Ingredients:

    • 3 c. self rising flour
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 12 oz. bottle of Shiner Bock beer (or favorite beer)
    • 3 TBSP melted butter

    Beer Bread Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.
    2. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and beer and mix well. The mixture should be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. At the last 3 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter and return to oven.

    Beer Bread:
    5star

  • Caprese Chicken Pasta (Caprese Pasta Salad)

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    If you like caprese salad, you’ll love this carprese chicken pasta.  Everyone loved this dish!

    I promise there is chicken in there.  It’s just under all those delicious tomatoes, basil, and cheese.

    ***Note: I’ve also made this dish without the chicken and instead of melting the cheese I just cut the cheese up or use the mozzarella pearls and serve this caprese pasta salad cold. It’s beyond delicious and great for potlucks and picnics.  So flavorful.  

    Recipe adapted from The Novice Chef.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. pasta
    • zest of 2 lemons
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • butter
    • 4 skinless chicken breasts
    • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 TBSP olive oil, divided
    • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 10 large basil leaves, finely chopped (the more the better)
    • 8 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
    • balsamic vinegar, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to directions.
    2. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.
    3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 TBSP olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).
    4. While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 TBSP olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.
    5. Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top the tops of each chicken breast with 2 slices of mozzarella. Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.
    6. When pasta is done, transfer to large serving bowl, and add zest, lemon juice and butter, and mix to combine.
    7. Lastly, drizzle chicken and/or pasta with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve chicken immediately over pasta.

    Caprese Chicken Pasta:
    5star

  • Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

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    This macaroni and cheese and so THICK and CREAMY.  It really is delicious.  I just wish Ethan would eat macaroni and cheese, because if he did, we would definitely make this more.

    Did I mention that it’s THICK and CREAMY?  And delicious?

    Goes great with barbecue, burgers, sandwiches, and just about everything.

    I’m generally not a fan of leftover macaroni and cheese.  It can be hard, grainy, and the taste just off.  But this recipe heats up beautifully!  If you have leftovers, simply put the leftovers in a pot, add about 1/2 c. milk, and heat over low heat on the stove.  You will never know that it’s leftovers!  Seriously.

    Recipe from Shugary Sweets.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
    • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. milk (I used skim)
    • 2 c. half and half
    • 2 c. shredded white cheddar (I used Cabot seriously sharp cheddar)
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • 1 tsp. dry mustard
    • 1 lb. pasta, cooked

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to package directions while making the sauce. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
    2. In a large pot on medium high heat, add butter until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook for about one minute. Reduce heat to medium and add milk, half and half, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Continue whisking until it begins to bubble. Reduce to low and add white cheddar. Stir until melted. Add cooked pasta, stirring until combined. Remove from heat and allow to sit about 5 minutes to thicken. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. ENJOY.
    3. If you have leftovers, when you want to reheat it, add about 1/2 c. milk and cook it on low on the stove top. Worked perfectly.

    Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese:
    5star