Monthly Archives: July 2017

Lighter Three-Cheese Pasta Bake

Happy Friday everyone! Wow did this week go flying by, or is it just me? I’ve been so busy with back to school stuff that it just seems like it flew by! Can you believe it’s time for back to school already?! I managed to get all of the school supplies, sports physicals are done, we’re working on clothes, and more paperwork for the schools. It hardly leaves time for anything else it would seem.

However, if you are a planner like I am, you probably plan ahead your meals. Or at least your dinners. One thing I have been doing lately is planning budget friendly meals, mostly because of the expenses of back to school. With budget friendly meals, it always helps to have at least 1 meatless dish a week, and lets not forget to keep it healthy! Budget friendly doesn’t have to mean “bad for you”.

So, I’ve got a great meatless casserole for you today! Originally I found this casserole over on Krystin’s blog, Lil Luna. Her recipe is phenomenal! Don’t get me wrong! In fact I love it so much, I really wanted to make it a bit healthier so I can enjoy it more often. Plus I made a few other minor changes to make it more of a meal. By the way, if you don’t want this to be a meatless dish, you can always add some chopped cooked chicken, turkey or ham to it as well.

So here’s what I came up with to lighten it up, and twist it a smidge. First of all, you want to get your ziti pasta cooking. Cook that according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. While that’s boiling away, heat your broccoli cuts according to package directions. Now I bought frozen steamable broccoli cuts, so I just had to plop the package down in the microwave and nuke it according to what the package said. Drain  your pasta, put it back in the same pot, add your broccoli.

Now, take your Alfredo sauce and sour cream and mix that together real good.

Then dump that sauce into the pot with your ziti and broccoli. Toss that together until it’s all evenly coated.

Spread half of the noodle mixture into a lightly greased 13×9 dish.

Now combine together your ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, salt & pepper.

Spread that evenly over the pasta mixture in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top of the ricotta mixture.

Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake it at 350 degrees F. until bubbly and the cheese has melted.

Just look at that cheese! Using light roasted garlic Alfredo sauce, light sour cream, ricotta cheese made with part skim, and reduced fat mozzarella cheese, you’re still left with a rich, creamy, delicious pasta casserole. By the way, no one in this house had a clue I used light or reduced fat anything in this recipe. Now I can enjoy this casserole more often with reduced guilt!

One last note, to make it a bit more healthier, and if you wish, you can replace regular ziti pasta with whole grain or whole wheat ziti. We are just not fans of whole wheat pasta, but that doesn’t mean  you aren’t! Enjoy!

 

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Lighter Three-Cheese Pasta Bake Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare ziti according to package directions until al dente; drain and return to pot.
  2. While ziti is cooking, heat broccoli cuts according to package directions. I used steamable, so just used my microwave.
  3. Once ziti is drained and returned to the pot, add the broccoli
  4. Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti and broccoli until evenly coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish.
  5. Stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Spread evenly over pasta mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Recipe Notes

Feel free to add meat to this dish if you want! Just throw in some chopped cooked chicken, turkey or ham with your pasta and broccoli.

Substitute whole grain or whole wheat pasta if you like.

Adapted from lilluna.com

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Amazing Blue Cheese & Bacon Burgers

This summer has been quite amazing so far! We’ve had a lot of cookouts, and a lot of time spent with family and friends. Although back to school is coming, and coming fast, it may feel like summer is coming to an end. In reality, we still have quite a bit of summer left! So lets not waste it! Fire up that grill! I’ve got something amazing for you!

I recently had my dad visiting from South Carolina. Although some would say my dad is a very picky eater, I wouldn’t classify him as picky. I would put him in the “simple” category. He’s a very simple person when it comes to food. He’s all about easy, traditional, and a meat & potatoes kinda guy. So for me, that’s super easy to cook for. I know the man pretty darn well, and I know that there are three things he loves a lot! That’s burgers, blue cheese, and bacon. So I created this Amazing Blue Cheese & Bacon Burger for him, which I slightly adapted from a Kraft. Before I get into the recipe, I just want to let you know that although I mention McCormick Grill Mates specifically, this is in no way a compensated post. I just really like the stuff.

Burgers, in my opinion, are always simple. Especially since I don’t run the grill. If you have yourself a personal grill master, all you have to do is mix it all up, smash some patties together and present them to the grill master! Your work is done! I happen to absolutely love my grill master.  😉

So take all of the ingredients listed, except for the bun of course, and mix it all up. I use my hands for this. Clean hands of course! Sometimes, you just gotta get down and dirty to get all those ingredients mixed up completely. It works really well. I do the same thing when I make meatloaf.

When it comes to the bacon bits, please don’t use that dried up nasty crunchy stuff like Bacos. I am using Real Bacon Bits which are located with all of the other salad toppings, usually in a plastic resealable bag. It makes a world of difference. You can also fry up some bacon and crumble it. The real bacon bits just save me that step and make it more convenient.

Feel free to top your burgers with your favorite toppings. We had lettuce and tomato for ours, but you could add pickles, and onion and all sorts of things. The sky’s the limit! Whatever you like!

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this juicy burger! I kept this very simple by serving it with some potato salad. But you could do a pasta salad, or perhaps from potato wedges or fries. What do you like to serve your burgers with?


Print Recipe
Amazing Blue Cheese & Bacon Burgers Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, blue cheese, real bacon bits, steak sauce and hamburger seasoning. I use my hands (clean of course) to mix it all up. It works so much better than a spoon and really gets it all incorporated into the meat.
  3. Divide meat into equal portions and shape into 8 patties (for hamburgers) or 12 patties (for sliders).
  4. Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear. Place buns, cut side down, on grill for the last 2 minutes to toast the buns.
  5. Fill buns with burgers, and desired toppings.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. Serves: 8 hamburgers or 12 sliders
Recipe Notes

Slightly adapted from Kraft

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South of the Border Hot Dogs – #SundaySupper

My wonderful #SundaySupper family has put Creative Hot Dogs on this Sunday’s menu. I love hot dogs! I swear I could live off of them. There are so many great ways you can serve up hot dogs, or include them in your meals. They are more versatile than one might think, as you’re about to find out. This is all largely thanks to our wonderful event hosts Stacy from Food Lust People Love and Mary Ellen from Recipes, Food & Cooking.

So lets do this! Fire up the grill, prepare the microwave, pre-heat the oven, get out your roasting sticks and light that fire! However it is you like cooking your hot dogs. I’ve got some South of the Border goodness for you that you are going to want to give a try! Your family will love this. If you don’t like spicy food, don’t worry, you control the heat. Make it super spicy, medium spicy or not at all spicy. You pick!

Personally, I enjoy hot dogs on the grill, or roasted over a fire. For this recipe we grill them, but you can cook them any way you wish. But first, you’ll want to prepare the taco meat. I used ground beef, but you can use ground turkey if you wish to cut down on the fat. Just brown it up, and then add a packet of taco seasoning and the water called for on the packet. Simmer as per the instructions on the packet.

While you’re preparing the taco meat, you can get the cheese sauce heating up in a small saucepan. All it is, is a can of condensed Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup. It was a bit too thick for my liking, which you can tell after it gets warmer. I just added a tiny bit of water at a time until it got to where I wanted it. One can is plenty of cheese sauce for 8 hot dogs, but I used two cans because I served some of the cheese sauce on top of fries to go along with this delicious hot dog.

Once the taco meat is cooked, and the cheese sauce is heated through, you can put them both on low, slap a lid on the pot and pan, and all that’s left to do is grill those dogs and build it! Split the hot dog bun, liberally spread guacamole over the inside of the bun. Then add your hot dog, top with taco meat, cheese sauce, crushed Doritos, and any other taco toppings your little heart desires, like red onion, sliced black olives, jalapenos, salsa, etc. The sky is the limit! You may want a fork and knife for this one.

Now dig in, and enjoy! Perhaps serve it like I did, alongside some cheesy fries. YUM!

Sunday Supper Creative Hot Dog Recipes

Cheesy Dogs

Meaty Dogs

Regional Dogs

Tex Mex Dogs

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Print Recipe
South of the Border Hot Dogs Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain.
  2. Add taco seasoning mix to ground beef along with 3/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and alow to simmer for about 5 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat condensed soup, let simmer until heated through. If it appears to be too thick, just add a very small amount of water until desired consistency.
  4. To assemble: Top buns with guacamole, hot dog, taco meat, cheese sauce, crushed chips and any other desired toppings.
  5. Serve, and enjoy!
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Delicious Ranch Potato Salad

The weather here is just perfect. A beautiful 78 degrees which is perfect for me! Not too hot, not too cold. It’s wonderful, and it’s got me wanting to gather up the clan, and go to a park for a picnic. I don’t know about you, but I love picnics. Ever since I was a kid, my favorite picnic food was potato salad. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t have a picnic without potato salad! It just wouldn’t be right. It also wouldn’t be right to make the same old potato salad over and over again either. I don’t know about you folks, but I like variety. I get bored with the same ol’ thing.

So lets switch it up! I’ve created this Delicious Ranch Potato Salad, and I served it at a potluck cookout very recently. It was a huge hit with my family and friends, and I know it will be with you and your family too. Like most potato salads, this one is super easy. You can even make it a day ahead of time.

First you want to get your potatoes cut up and into the pot of salted water, get that boiling. While those are cooking, take the rest of your ingredients and combine them in a large bowl. I like to use my giant Pyrex glass bowl for almost all of my salads. I like the extra tossing room.

Once your potatoes have cooked and are fork tender, which will only take about 8-12 minutes, you’ll want to drain them well. Then add them to your dressing mixture in your giant bowl. Toss it all together, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. I use red potatoes in this recipe. I prefer to use a waxy potato in potato salads like red potatoes, fingerling potatoes are new potatoes. The waxy potatoes hold up much better, where as starchy ones like russet potatoes tend to fall apart too easily, and turn your salad into mush. Ew…

 

Print Recipe
Delicious Ranch Potato Salad Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Clean and cut potatoes into chunks, then place in a large pot with salted water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to keep it at a gentle boil and let cook until potatoes are fork tender,, about 8-12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Once potatoes are done, drain well, and add to the dressing mixture and toss to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let flavors mingle and chill.
Recipe Notes

You can make this salad a day ahead of time, just keep covered in the refrigerator. Light ranch dressing may be substituted for regular to save a few calories.

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Raspberry Lemonade Sparkler

Welcome to Summer! Has it been crazy hot where you live? It sure has been  here in Southern Indiana for the past few weeks. When it gets close to the 90s with humidity on top of it, I’ve got to find a way to beat the heat. Out here in the country, we like to visit our “neighbor’s” house, who happens to have a very lovely swimming hole. Complete with a fun slide to slide down and make huge splashes in the water. It’s a ton of fun, and my kids love it.

Another thing I like to do on a nice hot summer day, sit on a shady porch with good company, and share a delicious, refreshing, ice cold beverage. It doesn’t have to be an adult beverage, but in this case, it is an adult beverage. I introduce to you, the perfect hot summer day beverage, my Raspberry Lemonade Sparkler.

You’re going to love this cocktail. Not only is it super simple to make, but it’s incredibly refreshing, and absolutely delicious.

When you make this drink, be sure you are using Pink Moscato Champagne and not just Pink Moscato wine. You want the bubbles in this beverage. It makes a HUGE difference in the final outcome.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful cocktail as much as I did, and as always, when drinking an adult beverage, please drink responsibly.

Now, go mix one of these up, take it to the porch, sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Print Recipe
Raspberry Lemonade Sparkler Yum
Course Beverages
Cuisine American
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Course Beverages
Cuisine American
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour Raspberry Lemonade into a glass with ice to a little more than halfway.
  2. Add a splash of grenadine.
  3. Top with champagne.
  4. Garnish with frozen raspberries and lemon slice.
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