Monthly Archives: August 2017

Individual Baked Ziti

We’ve probably all had baked ziti at least once in our lives, or any kind of baked pasta with a tomato sauce, and usually those dishes are quite heavy. If you’re trying to lose weight, or watch your waistline and keep it trim, pasta is probably the last thing you’re going to want to fix. Well, folks, I have a secret. What I have here, is a delicious, healthy, filling, and not so heavy pasta dish you CAN have and eat with pride if you are like me and are watching those calories. Or, in my case, watching points. Yea, I’m one of those Weight Watchers girls. In any case, these cute little Individual Baked Zitis lack no flavor.

Another big plus, the family will love it too. They’d never know they were eating something healthy and low in fat. My kids just LOVE individual, personal sized foods, they’re fun! For me though, I love this because it’s already portioned out. I don’t have to think about it. Just scoop it right out of the pan, and you got yourself a serving!

To make these cute little things, you’re going to need a couple of jumbo muffin pans (6 oz cups) or you can use cute little 6 oz ramekins.

Don’t eat it alone though, you don’t want to forget your veggies! For us, I decided on a simple tossed salad with low-fat Ranch dressing. Steamed broccoli would be another great choice to serve alongside these cute little ziti muffins.

However you decide to serve it up, you’ll be happy to know, if you’re a weight watcher, that this recipe is only 4 SmartPoints per serving. That number was calculated by using Barilla ProteinPlus Penne pasta. I know the recipe is Ziti, but you can use Penne. Keep in mind, depending on the brand of your ingredients, that SmartPoints number can go up or down, but not usually by very much.  I hope you and your family enjoy, as much as my family and I did!

Print Recipe
Individual Baked Ziti Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente; drain.
  3. Meanwhile, coat twelve jumbo (6 oz) muffin cups with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon Parmigiano-Reggiano in bottom of each and tilt ramekins or muffin pan to evenly cover bottoms.
  4. After draining pasta, return to pot. While Pasta is still warm, immediately stir in 3/4 cup of mozzarella and the ricotta. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together egg white and water until smooth. Add egg mixture to the pasta and stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
  6. Evenly divide pasta mixture into prepared muffin cups. Press down lightly with spoon to pack it. Sprinkle each with about 1 tbsp remaining mozzarella.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and noodles begin to brown at edges. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes, perfect time to toss together a salad!
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp Parmesan over the top. Remove each ziti from the pan using a spoon; sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan over top. Remove each ziti from muffin pan with a spoon. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
  9. Yields 1 ziti per serving.
Recipe Notes

Slightly adapted from Weight Watchers The SmartPoints Cookbook.

1 serving = 4 SmartPoints

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Fabulous Greek Burgers with Feta and Tzatziki Sauce – #SundaySupper

Sunday Supper and I are back, and this time we want to gather around the picnic table. That’s right, we are bringing you some awesome ideas for your Labor Day cookout. Whether you choose to spend it on the lack, in a friend’s backyard, or in your own backyard, you won’t want to miss these recipes. So, take the day off, gather your friends and family, choose your picnic spot, and celebrate the last hurrah before Fall!

What I’ve chosen to bring to this Sunday Supper table for Labor Day, is a nice big juicy burger. I love burgers, and because I love them so much, I prefer to make them at home rather than eat them out at a fast food place. The quality is so much better, and nearly the fat and calories you’ll consume at your local fast food joint. Another plus side to making them at home, you discover how versatile burgers can be! You see, this isn’t just any burger. This, my friends, is a Fabulous Greek Burger with Feta and Tzatziki Sauce, and it’s oh so easy, so delicious, and truly fabulous.  You’re gonna love it!

So lets start with the Tzatziki sauce. If you’ve never had Greek food, and you have no clue what in the world this sauce is, it’s just a cucumber/yogurt sauce, to put it simply. Seriously though, if you’ve never had this sauce, it’s gonna blow your mind when you try it. I very slightly adapted this sauce from one of my favorite blogs, Recipe Runner. To make the sauce, take your peeled and diced up English cucumber, non-fat plain Greek  yogurt, a little lemon juice, dill, pressed garlic, salt and pepper and combine that together. Then I put it in a blender, pulsed a few times until smooth. Cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready for it. Nice little make-ahead dealy there.  😉

For your burgers, you’ll want an extra large bowl so you have room to work with.  In this large bowl, mix your ground beef, crumbled fetta, red onion, garlic and hamburger seasoning. The best tool for mixing it up real good, your good clean hands. Once it’s all combined, I separate it out evenly into 6 large meatballs.

Press and shape your large meatballs into hamburger patties. I take my meatball that’s nice and packed tight, put it between wax paper, and smoosh it. Then peel the paper back, and shape the sides, patting out as needed. Then I line a baking sheet with wax paper and place my patties on that so that it’s ready for and easy for the Hubster to take them out the grill. My work is done here! It’s all on him now. 😆

And ladies & gentlemen, this is one of the reasons I love that man so much. Perfectly grilled, fabulous, juicy burgers and toasted buns. To assemble, just slather the bottom bun with that beautiful, mind-blowing Tzatziki sauce, top that with a beautifully grilled burger that’s loaded with feta and goodness, add your tomato slice, and top with baby spinach leaves, and then your top bun. Now finally, sit back, relax, and enjoy this burger, which happens to be our new favorite. Yes, even the kids!

Need something to go with it? Got ya covered! Serve this yummy burger up with a side of my Greek Pasta Salad. Perfect accompaniment! Have a safe and fun Labor Day folks! I hope you have found some inspiration for your own BBQ.

Labor Day Menu Ideas

Scrumptious Labor Day Sides and Starters

Delicious Labor Day Entrees

Luscious Labor Day Desserts

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
Fabulous Greek Burgers with Feta and Tzatziki Sauce Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Cuisine Greek
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Greek
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. SAUCE:
  2. Peel and dice cucumber. In a medium bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until well combined. Fold in the cucumber. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. BURGERS:
  4. In a large bowl, mix all burger ingredients except for buns, spinach and tomatoes.
  5. Shape into 6 patties, and place patties on the grill over medium heat.Cover and cook 5-8 minutes, turning once, until a meat thermometer reads 160 when inserted in the center of the patties.
  6. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of sauce on the bottom half of each bun. Top with a burger, tomato and spinach. Cover with top buns and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Sauce slightly adapted from reciperunner.com

Burgers adapted from Betty Crocker

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Wine Pairing Wednesday – Cupcake Pinot Grigio

Every time I visit the wine section in any store, I always see Cupcake. I’ve never actually tried any of their wines until recently. Cupcake is not an expensive wine, folks, but if you’ve been following me, you’ll know that I’m no wine snob, and haven’t posted an expensive wine on my blog yet. Honestly, I stood in the alcohol aisle of my local grocery store, trying to figure out what I wanted to try. I knew that I was going to have a nice sit down Sunday dinner, and I would have someone to share the bottle with, and I also knew what I was serving. With all that in mind, I decided on a Pinot Grigio. But not just any Pinot Grigio, I decided on Cupcake. Why? Well, it’s new to me, and with a name like Cupcake, it has to be good!

I was not disappointed. Cupcake’s Pinot Grigio is a beautiful crisp white wine, with flavors of pineapple, pear, and a hint of lemon. They are very subtle flavors, but for my taste buds, it makes for a unique and delicious wine, set apart from the other Pinot Grigios out there. I was quite impressed by the fact that it’s such a delicious and enjoyable wine and it cost me less than $9.00. Yep, not kidding. Less than $9.00.

So what do you pair it with, you ask? Well, do you remember not too long ago I posted a recipe for Make-Ahead Bacon-Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, and I went on about a delicious chicken marinade, as well as some slow cooker barbecued green beans? Yea, that’s what I paired it with. It was the perfect pairing for that whole dinner. Any chicken dinner would be perfect to pair this Pinot Grigio with.

What else can you pair it with? Wines like this Pinot Grigio pair very well with flaky fish, green veggies, and of course cheese. My favorite cheeses to pair with this wine is Gruyere, fresh mozzarella and Boursin.

If you decide to give this delicious, crisp wine a try, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and let me know what you enjoyed pairing it with.

Some of my favorite wine tools I can’t live without (contains affiliate links):

 

{I am in no way being compensated by Cupcake Vinyards for this post. All opinions are my own.}

 

 


Cinnamon Toast Snack Mix – #SundaySupper

Well, my lovely SundaySupper family and I have done some great Back to School recipes for you, we gave you Back to School Lunch ideas and some easy, quick Back to School dinner recipes for those hectic extra curricular activities nights, whether it’s sports, choir, band, cheer, drama, you name it! Those nights can get rough when it comes to dinner time.

“What about snacks?!” You may be asking yourself. Don’t worry! We would never leave you hanging! We know these kids come home from school just starving, and need something to hold them over until dinner. At least my kids do, I swear they think they’re dying! 😂 Thanks to our wonderful SundaySupper host for this Back to School Snacks event, Cricket Plunkett from Cricket’s Confections, and the rest of us SundaySupper folks, we’ve got you covered for snacks!

So lets get started, shall we? I’ve got a real simple snack mix that I like to whip up for my kids. It makes a lot, so I don’t have to replenish the self serve snack area very often. For this particular snack, I create individual snacks using those zipper snack bags, and just put them in what I call The Snack Bag. This way, my kids can come home, drop their stuff, and grab their own snack without me having to drop what I may be doing. Some folks  have a whole section of the fridge with different snacks to choose from, but so far my snacks don’t need to take up space in the fridge. For me, that’s a huge bonus!

In this snack mix, I have two different types of cereal consisting of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Vanilla Chex, mini pretzel twists, and later, we add some white chocolate chips. In my recipe ingredients list there are nuts listed, however, my poor Andrea is allergic to all things nuts, so obviously I leave them out. Me, loving all things nuts and not allergic, oh they’d be wonderful in this mix! So feel free to add those or leave them out. I start by taking the cereals and pretzels and tossing them in a bowl. Then I melt the butter, and add honey to the melted butter. Then drizzle that all over the cereal mixture. Toss it really well to coat.

Then spread it out between two baking sheets. I line it with foil for easier clean up. Now it’s ready for the oven. Bake it at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, stirring once during baking. If you don’t stir at least once, you may end up burning some of it.

Once totally cooled, you can toss your white chocolate chips in, and then store the whole thing in an airtight container, little zipper snack bags, or however you wish to store it. Just make sure it is stored so air won’t get to it.

That’s it! That’s all there is to it. I told you it was easy and quick! And the best part, it’s so good! I have a hard time keeping my hands out of that snack bag. I just constantly remind myself, “that’s for the children!!” 😆

When you’re finished here, you might check out some more ideas for back to school snacks from my #SundaySupper friends:

 

Sunday Supper Best After School Snacks

Cookies

Fall Flavors

Healthy Snacks

Savory Snacks

Sweet Snacks

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
Cinnamon Toast Snack Mix Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil, and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cereals, pretzels and nuts if using; set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt butter and stir in honey. Mix well to combine.
  4. Drizzle butter mixture over cereal mixture and mix well.
  5. Spread between your two prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring once. Cool completely.
  7. Once totally cooled, stir in white chocolate chips.
  8. Store in an airtight container.
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Greek Pasta Salad

It’s still August, Summer isn’t over yet! It’s still hotter n’ all get out around here in Southern Indiana, and in my mind, Summer isn’t over until the last cookout (aka Labor Day)! However, I don’t know about you, but we grill all year around here. Rain, sunshine, snow and sleet 😂. There’s a reason we had a covered deck built.  What we grill during those colder months are different than what we grill in the warmer months though. There aren’t any hamburgers, or ribs, or corn on the cob, or noodle salads. Usually, we are grilling things like steak and pork chops, and the grilling is a lot rare of an occurrence than in the warmer months too.

For now though, it’s still Summer! So lets get the barbecue on, because I’ve got a wonderful pasta salad to go with whatever you are grilling, and it makes a lot so it’s perfect for a cookout with friends and family. What’s better than hanging out friends and family and sharing awesome food?! Nothing, that’s what.

Before I show you how to make this lovely, easy, and so flavorful salad, a big thanks goes out to Katya over at Little Broken for the amazing Greek Vinaigrette that I use in this salad.

You want to start by getting a big pot of water to a boil, and then adding your pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and then drain and run under cold water to cool. While that’s going on, you can prep your veggies.

Once you have everything chopped up, toss your veggies, olives and feta together in a very large bowl.  Add the cooled, cooked pasta, and toss together.

Then make a batch of the dressing, which consists of olive oil, red wine vinegar, pressed garlic, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour that over the salad, and toss to coat completely. It is now ready for the fridge. Cover your salad and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Because pasta likes to soak up dressings like this one while it sits, I make a second batch of the dressing and have it ready in the fridge. Then when it comes time to serve, I pour my reserved dressing over the salad, and toss again to coat. Delicious!

Print Recipe
Greek Pasta Salad Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Salads
Cuisine Greek
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Cuisine Greek
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool; set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, prep vegetables. Toss onion, cucumber, tomatoes, olives and feta together in a very large bowl. Add cooked pasta, toss together and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients. Pour over pasta mixture, and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate salad for at least 2 hours before serving.
  4. In another bowl, or a mason jar, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients again. Whisk to combine well, or put lid on jar and shake to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve the salad. Just before serving, shake or whisk reserved dressing, and pour over pasta salad. Toss to coat, and serve.
Recipe Notes

I make a reserved batch of the vinaigrette, because the pasta tends to soak up a lot of the dressing as it sits. Adding additional dressing before serving will make sure your salad isn't dry, and of course bring extra fresh flavor.

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Make-Ahead Bacon-Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Ahh… Sunday Dinners. Do any of you get together with family for a Sunday dinner? Or perhaps maybe Saturday works out better?  It doesn’t matter what the day, but I find it very important to have a nice sit down dinner with family that involves a bit more than the usual rushed weeknight fare, and also involves more than just my household family. We extend the invitation to family close by, like my in-laws. We enjoy being able to sit down and catch up with each other after a long week. Unfortunately my family live on the other end of the United States, in Washington state, but fortunately, I like my in-laws.  😂 The kids enjoy it too. It’s important to include the young kids into the conversation at the dinner table. Even Joe has a good time and brightens the room with his smiles.

Speaking of smiles, I got a lot of smiles for these mashed potatoes I made for just such a meal occasion. For Sunday dinner, I made The Best Chicken Marinade, which is a recipe I found over on Mom on Timeout, and absolutely delicious! I highly recommend it, and I also made Slow Cooker Barbecued Green Beans I found over on Spicy Southern Kitchen. By the way, another recipe you should definitely check out after you’re done here.

Right away, I’m sure you can see how easy this special Sunday dinner came together. I got chicken marinating, plus my own personal Grill Master, so make ahead #1. Then my potatoes, which are make ahead #2, and green beans done in the slow cooker make ahead #3. I had pretty much everything done and my feet up by 1 pm! All that was needed to do was pop those potatoes in the oven and dinner was served! Folks will think you slaved all day over this meal, and that’s ok. Let them think so, and take the credit! I do! 😆

So here we go! As usual, just peel your potatoes and cut them into little chunks. I used russet potatoes, so I peeled them. I have not used any other kind of potato with skins, I just didn’t want skins for this recipe. No other reason really. So cover those with water, and set on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil them until they are fork tender. Then drain them and return them to the pot.

Oh yea, and did I tell you I cut out a lot of fat but left all the flavor and richness? You bet! Less fat, no sacrifice! So add in your light sour cream, your neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese), and salt and pepper.

Grab your hand mixer and whip those potatoes until smooth, and cream cheese has melted. Now stir in your chives, reduced-fat cheese, and your real bacon bits. Combine that real well, then spread into a greased 13×9 baking dish. Drizzle the top with melted butter and sprinkle with some paprika. Here’s the part where you can decide to go ahead and finish it off and pop in the oven, OR if you’re preparing this ahead of time,  you can cover it and refrigerate until you’re ready.

30 minutes before you are ready, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temp. Then shove it in the oven, covered, for about 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake about 20 minutes more.

All that’s left is to serve it up, and enjoy! Don’t forget the wine! 😉

Print Recipe
Make-Ahead Bacon-Cheesy Mashed Potatoes Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover. Salt the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat; partially cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Drain potatoes and place in a bowl. Add sour cream, neufchatel cheese, salt & pepper.
  4. Beat with hand mixer until smooth and cream cheese has melted.
  5. Stir in fresh chives, cheddar cheese and real bacon bits until combined.
  6. Spread in a greased 13x9 backing dish.
  7. Melt the butter and drizzle over the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.
  8. At this point you can choose to cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or bake right away.
  9. When ready to bake, if you've refrigerated your potatoes, let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 20 minutes longer.
  11. Enjoy!
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Dad’s Glop – #SundaySupper

Oh my we have been busy with back to school lately haven’t we?! Speaking of busy, things just get busier once school is in full swing. Before you know it there’s sports, and band, and fundraisers, and just all sorts of things going on all year to keep the kids and the parents busy! Thanks to #SundaySupper and our gracious host Em from Life Tastes Good for this back to school dinner event, we’ve got some fresh ideas for those busy weeknight dinners.

This one, is one of my favorites, and my family’s favorite too. Some people call it Goulash, others may call it American Chop Suey, but around here, we call this Dad’s Glop. Doesn’t sound appetizing does it? Well I can assure you it’s amazing. Not just amazing, but it’s quick and perfect for busy dinner nights.

There’s a reason for the unappetizing name though. There were occasional times when my dad would be in charge of dinner. I grew up with both of my parents working, so sometimes mom had to work late, or maybe wasn’t feeling well, or whatever the case that kept her out of the kitchen, and so it was up to dad. I remember asking him what was for dinner, and his answer was…. “Glop!” No joke. That’s what he said. He’s a funny guy, and apparently, this is Glop. My father isn’t just a funny guy, he’s a very simple guy, and folks, cooking doesn’t have to be a gourmet feast. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Simplicity can be so wonderful. Just like my Dad’s Glop. My brother still makes this from time to time for his family. I remember him calling me and asking me “what’s the recipe for Dad’s Glop?” I had to stifle a giggle before I told him how to make it. His response, “That’s it?!” Yea… that’s it.

So how simple? Well, let me show you how simple my dad likes to keep it, and hopefully you’ll give it a try yourself, and enjoy it as much as my family and I do.

First, grab a large pot and get some salted water started on the stove to boiling. While you are waiting for the water to boil, you’re going to want to chop up a small – medium onion and about 4 or 5 medium-large garlic cloves. I have a little hand chopper I use for both the onion and the garlic, which saves time for me because I’m really no good with a knife. I can’t do what I see Chefs on TV do. So anyway, you’ll want to brown your ground beef with the onion and garlic until the beef is no longer pink.

Drain your meat if necessary. Depends on how lean your beef is. Then add your favorite pasta sauce (homemade if you can your own would be great!) I like to  use a Tomato & Basil pasta sauce. Just 1 jar will do ya. Then add some black pepper to taste, and about 1-2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning. I just sprinkle it in until it looks like that (above). It’s really just to your taste.

Stir that all up in the pan real good and heat it just until it starts to bubble. Then cover it with a lid and lower the heat to simmer. Stir occasionally. By this time, your water should be boiling, or about to. Just dump your elbow noodles in the boiling water and cook as per the directions on the package; drain.

Now combine everything together in that same large pot. Mix it all up really good. Now you are ready to serve!

You can serve this with some cheesy garlic Texas toast, and a quick tossed salad like I did and you have a very family pleasing, quick weeknight meal!

I hope you give this a try, and enjoy Dad’s Glop!

Here are some more idea’s from my #SundaySupper friends!

Back to School Dinners

Beef and Pork

Pastas, Soups, Rice and Stews

Poultry

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
Dad's Glop Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus Inspired by my Father, John Soden
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet brown ground beef with onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink; drain and return to skillet.
  3. Add pasta sauce, pepper, and Italian seasoning to beef in skillet. Mix thoroughly. Bring just to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring ocassionally.
  4. Add elbow macaroni to boiling water and cook according to package directions; drain and return to large pot.
  5. Add beef mixture to macaroni and stir to combine. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

To round out this meal, serve with garlic bread and a tossed green salad with your favorite dressing.

From time to time, I add sliced black olives to the beef mixture when I add the sauce. I also like to use ground Italian sausage in place of the ground beef, or half sausage and half beef for a different twist.

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Oven S’mores

Mmm S’mores… do you ever get a hankering for s’mores? My kids and I do, although my kids do more often than I do. We just love these little suckers, and when you get a craving for something, you just got to satisfy it! Most people are aware of this method of making s’mores. That’s what I call it, a method. It’s not really a recipe and no, it was not originally my idea. No clue who thought of it first, but whoever did, great idea!

While I was making these for my kids for probably what was the gazillionth time, I thought to myself, “you know, I’m sure not EVERYONE has thought of this.” So that’s why I’m sharing this with you today. I know, I’m a day late on National S’mores Day, but who cares? That’s the beauty of these s’mores! You don’t need a special day. Is it raining outside, and you can’t have a campfire? Is it too cold? Is it too hot? Is it storming, and your sweet tooth just said “Man we need s’mores!” It’s ok, that’s what these are here on my blog for! So check this out…

First you’re going to want to move your top oven rack to about the second slot from the top. Then turn on your broiler. Next, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, just to eliminate any extra cleaning. Then take 2 graham cracker sheets and break them in half creating 4 bottoms. Place those on the sheet.

Then, grab your marshmallows, and cut them in half the long way.

Place a marshmallow half on each of the 4 graham bottoms.

Now get your chocolate ready. Just break your candy bar so you have two squares per s’more.

Then stuff the baking sheet under the broiler, and watch very closely. Broil them until the marshmallows are nice and golden. Do not turn your back even for a second or they will burn. The browning process is super fast.

Immediately after you take these out of the oven, place your chocolate on top of the marshmallows. Be careful, those marshmallows are hot.

Then immediately place your graham tops on and moosh it down gently.

Serve immediately, and enjoy the smiles and cheers you will receive! Oh and uh… don’t forget to make one for yourself!

 

Print Recipe
Oven S'mores Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Move top oven rack so it is two notches down from the top. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up.
  3. Break graham crackers in half so you have 8 squares. Place 4 graham squares on baking sheet.
  4. Cut your marshmallows in half the long way, and place a marshmallow half on each of the 4 graham squares.
  5. Broil until your marshmallows are golden brown. Watch carefully, because they will brown quickly and before you know it, they will burn.
  6. Take them out of the oven and immediate (and carefully) place two chocolate squares on top of marshmallows, then top with the remaining graham squares.
  7. Serve immediately and watch the smiles!
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The Mama’s Ultimate Pizza

Pizza  night. Do any of you have one night a week that’s pizza night? We do around here not just because we love pizza, but because at least once a week we need something speedy. Pizza is a very quick dinner to make. Especially if you simplify things and buy the dough in the refrigerated section of the store. Super easy. Just roll it out, press to fit, and top it with whatever you like.

Here’s one of they ways this mama likes to do pizza. We call this The Mama’s Ultimate Pizza.

First I take out my baking sheet and line it with foil for easy clean up. I really hate doing dishes. Then I spray that lightly with some cooking spray. Then pop your dough out of the can, and starting in the middle of the pan, unroll the dough, and press it and spread it to fit as best you can. See mine, doesn’t have to fit perfectly. It’ll be ok, I promise. Now to ensure that the dough is cooked completely when the entire pizza is done, I slip this into the oven at 425 degrees for about 8 minutes, just to partially cook the crust. You don’t want to cook it completely through at this point. Just give it a little head start. Then set that aside.

Now I prepare my toppings. I brown up some ground Italian sausage. You can go hot or mild on this. I prefer the mild. Don’t forget to drain it.

Then I chop up my bell peppers. I like to use two different colors here just to make it pop. I love the brightness of the red and yellow, but you can choose any bell peppers you want, whatever colors you want. I also had the hubster slice up some red onion. He never cries when he cuts onions. He says “the idea is to not develop an emotional attachment.”  😂

And because we love meat so much, I sliced up some smoked sausage. We also added sliced pepperoni, which was already sliced, and some sliced black olives, neither of which are pictured, and again, those were already sliced. Notice I’m using cheapy paper plates to put my prepped toppings on? Did I mention I hate doing dishes? 🙃

Now the fun part! The layers! Slather on as much or as little sauce as you want, I used store bought pizza sauce. Then some pizza blend cheese, which came already shredded. (Gee, ready made dough, pre-sliced olives, pre-sliced pepperoni, ready sauce and pre-shredded cheese. This recipe was half done before I even got started! SCORE!) A little note about the amount of cheese used, in the written recipe, I was trying to be reasonable on the measurements. Honestly, use as little or as much as you want. Obviously I did! Then I spread on my meats and veggies, and then cover that in more cheese. Sprinkle some Italian seasoning over the top (that was my mom’s idea. Thanks mom!).  Now it’s ready for the oven.

Just look at that slice of happiness! Definitely need a fork for this, but totally worth it! I hope you try it, and enjoy!

 

Print Recipe
The Mama's Ultimate Pizza Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Starting at the center of the baking sheet, unroll dough, pressing it out to fit baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes just to partially bake the crust.
  3. Spread sauce over crust; top with 1 cup of the cheese. Top cheese with meats, olives, onion and bell peppers. Top with remaining 1 cup of the cheese and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  4. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the crust is a crisp deep golden brown, and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Recipe Notes

For a spicier version, use spicy Italian sausage, and sprinkle the pizza sauce with some crushed red pepper.

Use as much cheese as you like! If you like cheese as much as we do, you'll likely want to use more than 2 cups.

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Lazy Bistro Burgers

You ever get that lazy feeling? Where you’ve been busting your hump all week, you know you’re not finished, but all you want to do is as little as possible, and then just before you put your feet up in your favorite chair with a nice glass of wine, you realize you still have to prepare dinner. I love to cook, obviously, but there are days like that and it’s frustrating.

Not to fear though! I have for you today, a wonderful lazy day recipe! This recipe is so quick, and requires such little prep, that you’ll be back to that easy chair and glass of wine in no time flat! This is also perfect for a rushed weeknight meal too.

To be honest, I was not rushed when I came up with this burger. I found a recipe for a beautiful macaroni salad on Pinterest, and I really wanted to try it. So, I came up with this burger recipe to go with it. I made the salad earlier in the day, and then when dinner time came around, slapped these burgers together and YUM was all around! Everyone should have this salad in their lives, so after you’re done here, you might head over to Cooking Classy and check out her Classic Macaroni Salad. YUM!

Ok, so on with the burgers!

You only need a few ingredients. Grab 2 pounds of ground beef, an envelope of onion soup mix, about 1 tbsp of hamburger seasoning (I use McCormick Grill Mates Hamburger Seasoning), and 3 tbsp of water. With your clean hands, get into that meat and mix it all up. You want this mixture mixed thoroughly. Then all you need to do is separate it into 6 equal portions, and shape into patties. I lined a baking sheet with wax paper to my patties on, that way it made it easier for my hubby (aka personal Grill Master), to take them out to the grill.

You can choose any kind of cheese you want, or no cheese if you don’t want it. We chose Pepper Jack and it really worked well with this burger. Once you’ve got your burgers cooked, your buns toasted and your cheese melted, top your burger with whatever you fancy! We chose lettuce, tomato (we have some home grown thanks to mom-in-law), and sliced red onion.

Serve this delicious, big fat juicy burger with a side of that Classic Macaroni Salad, and you have an easy dinner, your family is going to love!

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Lazy Bistro Burgers Yum
Recipe by: Christine Titus
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine beef, soup mix, hamburger seasoning and water. Combine thoroughly (I like using my hands for this).
  2. Separate beef mixture into 6 separate portions. Shape each hamburger patties.
  3. Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees and juices run clear. Place buns cut side down on grill for the last 2 minutes to toast.
  4. Serve the burgers on the buns, and along with any of your desired toppings.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Campbell's

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