Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Make Ahead Pizza Pasta

This recipe is adapted from one my friend Jolene posted on her facebook page. It looked super yummy, so I adapted it based on what I already had on hand and also to make a large batch and freeze some. Turns out it made so much that I cooked one 8x8 pan for dinner the first night and froze 2 more 8x8 pans. I've already tried one of the frozen batches as I didn't want to post this recipe until making sure it worked, and it was just as great the second time around.

Penne Pizza Pasta

2 lbs of ground sausage (I used 1 hot, & 1 mild)
2 jars spaghetti sauce
16 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz chopped fresh mushrooms
1 lg bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg pepperoni slices (cut into pepperoni slices into 4ths)
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 boxes dreamfields penne (or 26 oz. of other penne pasta)

In a large skillet, brown the sausage and onions. Next add veggies, seasonings, and sauce, and allow to simmer while cooking pasta. Cook pasta as directed on box, drain, and add to the sauce mixture. In a large bowl, blend shredded cheeses. Fill 3 8x8 pans half full with pasta mixture. Next top each pan with a cup of the shredded cheese mixture. Top of each pan evenly with the remaining pasta, and then the remaining cheese. cover and Freeze 2 pans for later.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees until cheese melts.

When preparing frozen pans, allow to thaw overnight and then bake at 350 for about 45 min, or until warmed through.

Source: adapted from Jolene Howard's recipe

Happy Birthdays!

Last Sunday it was my time to host girls night. Since it was so nice outside, I did some burgers on the grill and some of the famous Mac-n-Cheese. It was also going to be the last girls night before the literal Birthday of Court's baby, and the last girls night before Ali finally enters her 30's! To celebrate both joyous occasions, I decided to make a cake. I searched for great recipes for cakes, fillings, and icings...but decided to be lazy and get help from Betty. (Crocker that is!)

Yummy Birthday Cake

1 box of Devil's Food Cake (you'll need eggs & oil)
1 jar Chocolate Frosting
1 jar Buttercream Frosting
1 pint of Strawberries

Cook cake as directed on box for 2 9" round pans. After cake has cooled, slice each cake horizontally to create 4 layers. Frost the bottom 3 layers with chocolate icing on the tops only. After assembling the layers, frost the entire cake with buttercream frosting and decorate with strawberry halves.

Source: Me

Welcome Drake Holden G. born at 6:53AM on Thursday, March 26!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day...Again!

With the gigantic pile of corned beef left over from yesterday's post, I decided to throw together one of my favorite sandwiches for dinner.

Reuben Sandwich

2 slices Marbled Rye bread
Corned Beef Brisket
2 slices swiss cheese
Thousand Island Dressing

Butter bread slices. On the other side of each piece of bread spread thousand island dressing and top with swiss cheese slices. Add corned beef and sauerkraut to one slice and press sandwich together. Grill over medium heat on both sides until golden brown.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I couldn't pass up a chance to make a Irish themed dinner! I love Ruben Sandwiches, so I had already put that on this week's menu, and thought why not make my own corned beef the day before. I found this very highly rated recipe and loved that it used a crock pot.

Corned Beef & Cabbage

1 medium onion, cut into wedges
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pound baby carrots
3 cups water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet, cut in half
1 small head cabbage, cut into wedges

Place the onion, potatoes and carrots in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Combine water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, pepper and contents of spice packet; pour over the vegetables. Top with brisket and cabbage. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Source: allrecipes.com

Opa! Indeed!

I love Greek food, and when I saw this simple recipe for Chicken Gyros, I knew I had to try it. I love regular lamb gyros, but I'm short on lamb and a spit for the yard, so I figured a chicken breast substitution would be a little easier to prepare.

Chicken Gyros

1 lbs chicken breast
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onions
4 (pocketless) pitas
feta cheese

Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
Preheat the grill pan. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and then grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending what size/type chicken you are using. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
Meanwhile, warm your pitas. Top the pita with the chicken, tzatziki (see recipe below), tomatoes, onions, and feta.

Tzatziki Sauce

16 oz. Fage Yogurt (or other plain yogurt)
1 regular cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Combine and allow to refridgerate for at least 30 min. before serving.

Source: Adapted from Ellysaysopa.com