Friday, November 30, 2012

Lasagna soup & crusty garlic bread

This is such a good tasting soup, absolutely delicious....  YUM YUM YUM is all I can say :) My recipe is an adaption from a recipe I saw on Pinterest.  I chose to do things just a little differently.. as always... I thought it needed some adjustments and this turned out oh so good.... The house smelled good and I could not wait to eat this soup...I served this with crusty garlic bread.. (recipe follows)...

And don't let the long list of ingredients scare you.. you are like me and probably have the majority of these things already in your pantry.  If you don't have something leave it out.. or substitute another kind of  pasta what you have and what you like.  My family loves mushrooms, so I use them, also with the green pepper, if you don't like it substitute it for say a yellow or red pepper or just leave it out entirely. Whatever you do... make this soup soon, you will love it... Enjoy

Lasagna soup

1 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef (use very lean meat so no excess fat has to be drained)
1/3  of a roll of sausage ( I use Bob Evans)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 of a green pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup red wine
2 boxes beef stock, divided
4 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 can mushrooms, drained (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 T worchester sauce
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 spaghetti sauce jar of water
16 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 4 oz can tomato paste
1 lb. package of campanella or any ruffled pasta
3 beef bouillon cubes

seasonings of your choice ( I used Italian seasoning,garlic & onion powder, dried thyme leaves, salt & pepper, paprika, basil, parsley flakes, rosemary, Mrs. Dash, dash of cinnamon and a pinch of red pepper flakes)

Cheese mixture
1 container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozerella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t each garlic & onion powder
pinch of salt & pepper
Mix cheese mixture well in bowl.  Place in fridge to let flavors mix.

In large soup pot, add olive oil, green pepper, onion, carrot, & celery.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables start softening. Add ground beef & raw sausage.  Cook breaking up with a spoon until no longer pink and vegetables are soft.  Add minced garlic clove and cook for a couple of minutes until garlic is fragrant.  Add wine and stir for a few minutes or until wine is cooked into the meat mixture. Add tomato paste stirring well into the meat mixture cooking for a couple of minutes. Add 1 box of  stock, tomatoes, water, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, worchester sauce, brown sugar & seasonings, stirring well to incorporate the ingredients making sure to mix well.  Bring to a boil turn down heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Turn heat up to medium high & add pasta to boiling soup mixture stirring well to separate pasta noodles.  Cook according to package directions to slightly aldente. Taste seasonings and adjust if necessary. Remove cheese mixture from fridge.  In bowls place a scoop of the ricotta cheese mixture and ladle the lasagna soup over the top, stirring slightly.  Top with additional shredded parmesan & a little mozerella.  Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.
**Note** When this soup sits the pasta keeps absorbing the liquid.  So I added 1 additional box of beef stock to make this a little more "soupy".  You can just add a little more water as well. 

Crusty garlic bread

1 stick of butter
1/4 t garlic, onion powder
1/4 t Italian seasoning
1 loaf french bread cut lengthwise down the center

Preheat oven to 400. In pan melt butter, add seasonings stirring well.   With a  pastry brush spread butter mixture over the bread and place the 2 halves of the bread together.  Wrap bread in aluminum foil & place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until hot.  Open foil and seperate bread and place butter side up in the pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until crusty.  Remove from oven and serve with soup.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sugar Cookie bars

I have seen a sugar cookie bar recipe floating around online for quite some time and I have been wanting to try it... until I read the reviews... they were not very good...not only did the reviewers say that the cookie bars not taste so good they didn't cook up correctly..the edges were overdone the middle of the cookie bars were needless to say I didn't use the recipe that I saw online.. thank goodness for online reviews... so I modified a basic sugar cookie recipe and kept my fingers crossed to see it if would turn out okay.. .and this one did ..yeah..not always the case but worked out... you can make your own buttercream icing or use a canned one... or just skip the icing altogether..but why would you... delicious... but my mom doesn't like her sugar cookies iced so I am thinking if I make these for her I would just sprinkle the raw dough with coarse sugar crystals (sprinkles) before baking the bars.  It would make it pretty and taste good too... however you make these cookies.... Enjoy

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
8 oz softened cream cheese, I used the spreadable kind
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
3 cups flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl with electric mixer, mix together the butter, cream cheese & shortening.  Add the eggs, sour cream, sugar, vanilla & almond extract, mix well until combined and smooth.  In small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda & salt.  Add slowly in 1/3's mixing with mixer after each addition.  Spray a 1/2 sheet pan with nonstick spray. Place dough onto sprayed pan and with a rubber spatula spread cookie mixture to an even layer.  Bake for 22-25 minutes. Start checking the cookies at 22 minutes, mine were puffed and the middle was just slightly underdone, so I cooked for a few more minutes and they ended up a light golden brown and the edges were golden and pulled away from the pan.  Let cool completely.  Frost with your favorite frosting. Enjoy. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Leftover Shepherds pie

Well it is the day after Thanksgiving and we survived!!! With leftovers...lots and lots of leftovers...ok..not so many leftovers but enough to think what on earth am I going to do with them???? Soup...yes... pot pie, ahh don't feel like making the crust (am still battling being sick with a sinus/ear infection) so thought ah yes... shepherds pie...using up turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, some bacon I had laying around... so this came together quickly and really deliciously :)  which is a good thing..especially when I didn't feel like doing much today... use what you have... the leftover green bean casserole was just a throw in, not a necessity, you can add whatever cooked/frozen/canned veggies you have, and you can use any "cream" soup (etc. mushroom, celery, chicken...)  Enjoy

Leftover Shepherds pie

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
2 cups mashed potatoes
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups frozen,mixed veggies
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 chopped red onion
1 cup leftover green bean casserole
bacon, (I had 1/2 of a chunk of slab bacon, but it equals about 4 slices, diced)
1/3 cup milk
seasonings of your choice, I used (seasoned salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder, thyme,dried parsley flakes, poultry seasoning)
2-3 T. half & half

In a skillet brown the bacon for 2-3 minutes stirring until halfway cooked, add onion.  Stir until bacon is done and onion is soft.  Remove from pain and drain grease.  Add frozen veggies, turkey , bacon/onion mixture, soup, sour cream, green bean casserole, milk & seasonings stirring until mixed, cook over medium heat until mixture is hot and bubbly.  Pour into a greased oven safe dish (use a deep enough dish to be able to add the mashed potatoes over the top and it will be bubbling so it doesn't run over the top of the dish).  Heat potatoes (if using cold leftover) adding 1/2 cup parmesan and 2-3 tablespoonfuls of half and half.  Mix potatoes mixture well and it should be spreadable. Spoon potatoes over turkey mixture and flatten out to an even layer.  Place in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over the top and place back in oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted...Remove from oven... Enjoy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ribbon Jello Salad

This was my Grandma (who just passed away) famous holiday Ribbon Jello salad recipe. She made this for the holiday's and my family absolutely loved this... Enjoy

Ribbon Jello Salad
1 large pkg. lime Jello (prepared according to pkg directions)
1 small pkg. lemon Jello
1 c. hot water
1/2 c. marshmallows
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. mayonnaise

1 c. cool whip
1 large pkg. cherry Jello (prepared according to pkg directions)

Prepare lime Jello according to package directions. Pour into 9 x 13 inch pan (a clear glass pan is really pretty with this cause you can see the layers). Chill until almost set.

Dissolve lemon Jello in the 1 cup hot water in top of double boiler. Add marshmallows and melt. Remove from heat. Add the crushed pineapple and cream cheese. Beat with rotary beater until blended. Cool fold in mayonnaise and cool whip. Chill until thickened. Pour over lime Jello. Prepare cherry Jello according to directions.Chill until almost set. Pour over pineapple layer. Chill till firm several hours. Cut into squares and serve..

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chocolate Breakfast Bread Pudding casserole

I love breakfast casseroles... things you can just throw together and bake in the oven... no muss no fuss... I always make a couple for Christmas morning...usually a savory & a sweet one... the savory one has meat, veggies ( bell peppers, mushrooms, onions etc.) and lots of cheese, and the savory one has cinnamon sugar custardy goodness...yum.. makes me hungry just thinking about them... I usually assemble them the night before cover them with foil place in the fridge and let them soak overnight.  It usually takes a little extra time to cook cause they are cold, but with all that present unwrapping on Christmas morning nobody seems to notice.

 I also make the same casserole and let it soak only for a couple of minutes before baking in the oven and it is just as easy.  I decided when discovering the sausage that I had cooked for the savory breakfast casserole had been eaten (imagine that with 3 boys in the house:)  LOL, that I needed a plan B for this mornings breakfast.  I was going to do the cinnamon custardy one but thought I am in the mood for chocolate... which btw.. I am always in the mood for... :) so outta necessity and cravings this casserole was born... my family said this was the best breakfast on the I am thinking it turned out good... shew :)  Make this for your family and enjoy :)

Chocolate Breakfast Bread Pudding Casserole

2/3 of a loaf of sliced bread torn into small pieces
8 eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup milk + 1 more cup milk divided
3 T cocoa powder
Maple syrup & Powdered sugar (optional)for serving

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a baking dish (I used a white oval Pyrex dish).  Place 1/2 the bread in the bottom of the casserole dish.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the bread.  Cover the chips with the other 1/2 of the bread mixture.  In a large bowl or Pyrex measuring cup add the eggs, cocoa powder,pinch of salt, sugar, cinnamon and the 2/3 cup of milk.  Beat mixture with a fork mixing very well.   Pour mixture evenly over bread in pan.  Pour slowly the remaining milk over the mixture.  With your hands press the bread down soaking it into the chocolate custard mixture making sure all the bread is soaked.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-30 minutes, start checking the casserole at 45 minutes.  It should be puffed up and the center set being careful not to burn it.  I usually take it out after about 50-55 minutes.  Serve with maple syrup and or powdered sugar.  Enjoy

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Peanut butter granola

I love granola... it is good so many different ways....sprinkled over yogurt, put into parfaits with yogurt & fruit, with a little milk poured over it...or just it that way... lots of different ingredients to add.... I like it with dried cranberries, blueberries...different kinds of nuts..all kinds of things.... I am developing several granola recipes... wanting to include bags of granola with my holiday goodie baskets...yum...
I used smooth peanut butter, but crunchy would work just fine too...maybe add 1/4 cup more. Also thinking of adding honey roasted peanuts next time instead of the trail mix...also the trail mix that I used has nuts and dried fruit in chocolate chips which would melt in the cooking process.  You can add 1 cup of chocolate chips (or whatever flavor chips you like ex: white, peanut butter etc.) to the cooled mixture.    Whatever you do make this soon... Enjoy

Just a note that this does not have a strong peanut buttery taste.  It just has a slight peanut butter taste.

Peanut butter granola

4 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 t salt
1/4 t vanilla
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
1/3 + 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
3/4 t cinnamon
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup whole raw almonds  (can use other kinds of nuts too)
1/2 cup trail mix

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place oats, coconut & almonds on a large baking sheet (with sides on it), mix well.  In saucepan add peanut butter, maple syrup, light corn syrup,cinnamon, salt, vanilla, water, oil and honey.  Melt mixture till bubbly stirring constantly.  Pour over oat mixture and stir with spoons well until all is well coated.  Spread mixture to an even layer and place into oven and bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and stir well then spread back out to an even layer.  Bake for 10 more minutes, remove from oven, add trail mix and stir mixture well.  Spread mixture back into an even layer and bake for 8-10 more minutes or until mixture looks lightly toasted.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  With spoon break mixture apart into large chunks.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy