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Simple Ravioli Casserole

Happy Friday everyone!

I don’t know about you guys, but my whole week was full of frustration and technical difficulties, so I’m really really happy it’s Friday. Have you ever heard that song from Brad Paisley called Crushin’ It? Yea, that’s my theme song currently! LOL!

So enough with things being difficult! Lets do something simple! I love simple. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m all about simplicity. Keeping things simple, means you don’t have to rush. It means more time with those you love, less stress, and maybe even make space to relax with your feet up while enjoying your favorite wine. So lets keep it simple.

We’ll start with this Simple Ravioli Casserole.  All you need to round out this delicious dish, is a nice crisp green salad, and some crunchy garlic bread. In fact, that’s what I did. I tossed together a quick Caesar salad and baked up some of that garlic Texas toast you find in the freezer section at the store. Talk about simple eh?

First of all, you want to take that frozen ravioli and cook it in a big pot. Which takes almost no time. I mean, seriously. Takes longer to boil the water than to cook these suckers.

Now, spread a little bit of your pasta sauce on the bottom of your 13×9 dish.

Then we simply start layering. Start with half of your ravioli.

Then the rest of the pasta sauce from the first jar, and then sprinkle with some Italian seasoning. Just sprinkle to your own taste.

Spread on the cottage cheese. Oh yea, did I mention that this dish is loaded with cheese? You got the cheese filled ravioli, the cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese and some Parmesan cheese. Cheese cheese everywhere cheese!!! YUM!

Here comes more cheese. Put some of your mozzarella on, and then some of your Parmesan. Now… are you ready for this? Repeat the layers one more time. The rest of your ravioli, all of the pasta sauce from jar #2, Italian seasoning, cottage cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan. Now you’re ready for the oven!

Isn’t she a beauty?! Just about half hour in the oven, uncovered, at 350 and there she is! Let her rest for about 5-10 minutes while you toss together a salad and warm up some bread.

I hope you all enjoy and have a marvelous weekend!

 

Print Recipe
Simple Ravioli Casserole Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
  2. Layer half of the ravioli on top of the pasta sauce. Then spread remainder of first jar of pasta sauce evenly over the ravioli. Sprinkle pasta sauce with Italian seasoning, to taste. Next spread 1 cup cottage cheese, and 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan over mozzarella.
  3. Repeat the layers 1 more time. Ravioli, all of pasta sauce from jar #2, Italian Seasoning, cottage cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  5. Yield: 8
Recipe Notes
  • This dish makes a lot and is perfect for potlucks or big families. You can also split it up between two smaller casseroles to bake one now, and freeze the other. To freeze, just assembled casserole up to baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then add a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Mark and date it, and freeze. When you're ready to eat it, thaw in the fridge, bake as directed.
  • This also reheats really well for lunches the next day.

Adapted from Taste of Home

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Simple Antipasto Skewers

I gotta tell ya, folks. There is nothing like living out in the country where it’s peaceful, neighbors aren’t sitting on top of you, lots of wide open spaces. My favorite part though, the awesome parties and gettogethers! Particularly this time of year, Spring and on into Summer. Not that Fall is boring. Oh good grief no. Fall is when most of the bonfires get lit, those are really my favorite. Speaking of which, we were invited to our “neighborhood” friend’s home for the last fire of the season. Not the last shin-dig, but the last fire anyway. These gatherings are always fun and always a “pitch-in” or potluck, which in my opinion, makes it a lot more fun because I absolutely LOVE sharing food with good friends and family.

And of course a raging fire always adds entertainment.  Sometimes someone or a few someones will pull out their instruments and start playing music. This has been known to happen from time to time.

As the sun goes down, the fire burns on, and it gets more relaxing and more enjoyable than ever. Plus by this time, I’ve sampled everything on that buffet table and am so full I can hardly move! It’s tough when everything is so darn good, and then they have to bring out 4 or 5 different desserts 😂. But it sure is a hoot and I’m looking forward to more. As the weather heats up we’ll all gather at one of the two swimming holes, and usually  have a potluck afterwards. Good times!

So… what did I bring? I’ve been dying to share this with you! It’s so simple but everyone loved it.

Yes! Simple is even in the title! These are so cute, and such a perfect size appetizer. Awesome for potlucks because they don’t need any utensils. Not for serving and not even for eating! They travel well too. I piled them in a 13×9 foil baking pan. You know, those throw-away kind, then just covered the top with aluminum foil. Easy, delicious, and a crowd pleaser to boot! So here’s what you need:

A package of cheese tortellini, black olives, salad tomatoes, Pepper Jack cheese and Mozzarella cheese, 4-inch bamboo skewers, and a light house Caesar dressing. Don’t get confused with the creamy Caesar dressing. That’s all there is to it! Just cook  your tortellini according to the package directions, drain and rinse in cool water and set aside.

While that’s cooking, you can cut your cheeses into cubes.

Then just toss everything together in a bowl. I mean everything, including the dressing. I used about 1/2 cup of dressing, I’m not really sure honestly. You want everything coated really well. This is your marinade. So if you feel like you need to add more than 1/2 cup, please do so. You won’t hurt it, I promise. Cover that with plastic wrap, and tuck it into the fridge for an hour to let it get happy.

Once it’s happy, you can start threading it all onto skewers. I made mine about 2 hours before I had to leave, so in that case, you’ll want to cover your skewers and store in the fridge until it’s time to serve, or take them somewhere. That’s it. You’re done!

See, crowd pleaser! Even the kiddos loved them! Happy entertaining folks!

A few of my favorite things used in this recipe:

  • 4-inch bamboo skewers – I always keep these on hand. They’re perfect for last minute appetizers, or to make cute snacks or lunches for the kids.
  • 13×9 foil baking pans – I also like to keep these on hand. They’re perfect for taking a dish to potlucks, also for doing some freezer cooking.
  • Pyrex Mixing Bowl – I love that these do not cost a lot of money, and they don’t break quite as easy as other glass mixing bowls. They are also preheated oven, microwave, fridge, freezer and dishwasher safe.
Print Recipe
Simple Antipasto Skewers Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Appetizers
Cuisine Italian
Servings
skewers
Ingredients
Course Appetizers
Cuisine Italian
Servings
skewers
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water; set aside.
  2. Cut cheeses into cubes.
  3. In a large bowl combine the olives, tomatoes, tortellini and cheeses.
  4. Pour dressing over and stir to coat well.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for an hour to marinate and get happy.
  6. On each skewer, stick on there a pepperjack cube, olive, tortellini, mozzarella cube, and top with a tomato. Repeat for each skewer.
  7. You can make long skewers if you prefer if you have enough ingredients, and also depending on how many people you are feeding. I really like the small appetizer size for a large crowd.
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Baked Spaghetti Casserole + Wine Pairing

I know, I’m a bit late for Wine Pairing Wednesday. But to make it up to you, I’ve got a two-fer! Not only are we going to talk about wine, and maybe call this Thirsty Thursday 😂, but I have a great recipe to share with you that pairs perfectly with this beautiful wine!

Meet Los Andicos. A red wine, Malbec,  from Mendoza, Argentina. I found this at Aldi to be honest with you. If you have an Aldi nearby, you should really check out their wine and beer selection. They have some interesting things there and I love trying new wines. Not to mention they’re cheap too. I paid about 6.99 for this bottle. This is the third bottle of wine I have tried from off of Aldi’s shelves, right in this price range of 6.99 – 9.99 and I have not been disappointed. So lets talk about the Malbec a little bit. I have seen it labeled as a full bodied red and also a medium bodied red. I think both might be true. I am not a full bodied red fan. When I hear full bodied red, I instantly think of Cabernet Sauvignon which is my “cooking” wine and I don’t care to drink it. I was a little hesitant about trying the Malbec since the bottle says it’s a full bodied. However, this tastes like a medium. Odd, but whatever. It’s delicious! Most full bodied reds pair well with heavier meats like the Cabernet. For the Malbec, it’s softer with less tannins than other reds. “What the frack is a tannin” you ask? Good question cause I had no idea either. I had to look that one up. According to vinepair.com, “Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that exist inside grape skins, seeds and stems. The scientific word for these compounds is polyphenols. Polyphenols release from the skins, seeds and stems when they soak in the grape juice just after the grapes have been pressed and are what give certain wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, their characteristic dryness or astringency. You experience the effect of tannins any time you drink a wine that creates a drying sensation in your mouth. Depending on how dry your mouth feels, you can determine whether a wine is high or low in tannins. We say a wine that is high in tannins is tannic.” So now we know! With that said, since the Malbec has less tannins, you’ll want to pair this with leaner meats like barbecue beef, ribs, rich red sauce pastas. I hear it also pairs very well with duck. For cheeses, you might consider mild cheeses like Gouda, Gruyere or Provolone.

I paired this with pasta. Which brings me to the recipe! Yes! Baked Spaghetti Casserole. This recipe comes out with layers of texture and flavor. The pasta is rich and creamy, and the meat sauce is saucy, and the cheese is so cheesy! I Served this up with some Garlic Texas Toast and it was out of this world! Especially when paired with this lovely Malbec.

Grab your ingredients! Lets get started!

You’re going to want to get your pot of water for your pasta on the stove first and cook your spaghetti according to the package directions. While that’s going on, you can go ahead and brown your ground beef right along with your chopped onion and minced garlic.  Once that’s all cooked through, drain any fat if necessary, then dump your spaghetti sauce into the skillet, along with about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and combine it with the meat.

Once your spaghetti is cooked, drain it, but don’t rinse it. Put it directly back into the warm pot and add your cream cheese. Stir until it’s melted and combined, then add your sour cream and combine that.

Now just spread your noodle mixture in a greased 13×9. You can also split this up into two 8×8 casseroles and have one to freeze.

Then, spread on your meat sauce.

Top with a ton of mozzarella, and a sprinkling of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, and it’s ready for the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.

Once it’s finished, let sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving, which is the perfect amount of time to bake up some of that Garlic Texas Toast, and open that bottle of Malbec. Enjoy!


Print Recipe
Baked Spaghetti Casserole Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain, do not rinse, and return to warm pot.
  3. Add cream cheese immediately to the spaghetti, stir together until the cream cheese has melted. Add in the sour cream, and stir to combine.
  4. Put spaghetti mixture into a greased 13x9 baking dish.
  5. In a large skillet, add ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook and stir until the meat is no longer pink. Drain if necessary.
  6. Add the pasta sauce and Italian seasoning to the meat and combine.
  7. Spread meat sauce over pasta in the dish.
  8. Top sauce with Mozzarella and then the Parmesan.
  9. Bake at 350 for 30- 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese has melted.
  10. Let it stand for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.
  11. Freeze Option:
  12. You can make this, and instead of using a 13x9, divide it up between two 8x8 baking dishes. Assemble casserole as per the directions. Do not back, but instead, wrap in plastic wrap, and then a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to bake, let casserole defrost in the fridge, then bake as directed.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from food.com

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Cheesy Garlic Crescents

I’ve got a real treat for you folks today! You’re gonna love these! I was fixing some kind of tortellini skillet for my family for dinner one night, and I had decided I wanted to serve some kind of bread to go with it. I really really didn’t want to do the standard Texas Toast Garlic Toast. You know, the box buy in the freezer section? Not to poo poo on the product, we love the stuff, but I really wanted something different. Something my family would oooooh and aaaahhh over. So naturally, I visited one of my very favorite food blogs, plainchicken.com. Stephanie has a lot of recipes that will make anyone oooooh and aaaahhh over, and the cool thing is, is that they’re easy! Here’s where I found her recipe for Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls. So I set out to make that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find Garlic Bread Seasoning. So, I ended up changing her recipe a little bit to fit what I had on hand. I shouldn’t really say “unfortunately” because this turned out so flippin’ flantastic! You’re really going to want to try this! It’s a great accompaniment to any Italian meal, or it would even be an awesome app to serve while watching the game. Serve it up with some heated marinara sauce for dipping. Your fans will love you! This is insanely easy, here’s what you do….

Gather up all of your ingredients. I really did use 4 tbsp of butter, so, never mind that little stack there in the picture. You’ll want your can of crescent dough, your mozzarella string cheese, butter, oregano, and what I’m starting to call my house seasoning, Garlic & Wine Seasoning from The Melting Pot. I swear, everyone should have some in their kitchen. I always make sure I have at least two bottles of it. I don’t want to run out! It’s good on veggies, baked potatoes, I’ve used it for seasonings in salad and casseroles. Heck we’ve even used it for popcorn seasoning. Anyway, on with the recipe… So you got your stuff. Lets move on.

Separate your dough into 8 triangles. Combine your melted butter and seasonings, then heavily brush that on top of the dough. Don’t be shy about it. I mean paint it on there good! We want flavor! Now, take half of a mozzarella stick, and place that on the long end of your triangle dough, and roll it up. Repeat with the rest.

Place them on a baking sheet. I foil lined mine for easy clean up, and I also gave the foil a little spray of cooking spray. I am not sure if they would stick otherwise, and didn’t want to take the chance. A little cooking spray won’t hurt them! Now, take the rest of your butter mixture, and pain the tops of your rolls. Pop them in the oven at 375 and bake until golden brown. Then sit back and enjoy the praises from your loved ones. Oh by the way, I’ve been told I need to double the batch next time. These flew off the plate so fast, I was lucky to get a picture, and they still wanted more! Eeesh! Next time, I will double it. 😂😂😂😂

 

 

 

Print Recipe
Cheesy Garlic Crescents Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Breads
Cuisine Italian
Servings
rolls
Ingredients
Course Breads
Cuisine Italian
Servings
rolls
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine melted butter, garlic & wine seasoning, and oregano.
  3. Separate crescent dough into 8 rolls. Cut string cheese in half.
  4. Heavily brush half of the butter on top of crescent rolls. Place one half of string cheese on the long end of each crescent roll. Roll up and place on baking sheet. Heavily brush rolls with remaining butter mixture.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until rolls are golden brown.
Recipe Notes

slightly adapted from plainchicken.com

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