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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!

 

Print Recipe
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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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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Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Have I mentioned how much of a morning person I am not? I hate mornings. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I got the night before, I just hate mornings. Unless it’s a real special occasion, you will not see me get up in the morning, and make breakfast. I’m a morning zombie. Doing stuff in the morning, does not happen. However, I still have to provide things for my family to eat. Everyone can operate a microwave all by themselves, so that opens up lots of things for breakfast! Like these incredibly delicious breakfast burritos. These are perfect for make-ahead. They’re also perfect to make for dinner! I’m a huge huge huge fan of breakfast for dinner because like I said, I’m no morning person, but on the other hand I LOVE breakfast foods.

So, if you’re like me, and it takes all you’ve got just to make coffee in the morning, you’re gonna love this! It’s super easy, and it freezes and reheats well. Perfect to zombie your way to the freezer, snag one, and stuff it in the microwave. Or for your kids to grab for breakfast without waking you up 😂. Or  you can skip the freezing, and do what I love, breakfast for dinner! Here’s all you do…

Brown up your bulk pork sausage in a large skillet until it’s no longer pink and then drain the fat. Dump in your frozen potatoes o’brien, and cook until it’s heated through and soft. Then dump your lightly beaten eggs in and stir and cook until your eggs are set.

Now comes the fun part! Spoon some sausage mixture a little off center of your tortilla, top with some cheese, and roll it up like a burrito. This took me a few tries and a youtube video before I finally got it. So not kidding. I’m not the world’s best burrito roller-er. 😆

Then just plop those babies in a lightly sprayed 13×9 baking dish. Yes, we’re going to bake them just for a few minutes, because trust me, by the time you get them all rolled up, they’ll be cold. We’re just going to heat them up in the oven is all.

Once heated through, serve them with your favorite toppings, and enjoy! If freezing these ahead of time, obviously you don’t need to heat them through in the oven. Just go from rolling them up, to packaging for the freezer.

Print Recipe
Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos Yum
Recipe By Christine Titus
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink and then drain off any fat. Add the potatoes with onions and peppers and cook and stir for 6-8 minutes or until tender and heated through. Add eggs and cook and stir until set. Stir in salt & pepper to taste.
  2. Spoon filling off center on each tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and fold sides and ends over filling and roll up burrito style. Place your burritos in a lightly sprayed 13x9 baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, just until heated through and warm. We're not trying to crisp them up or turn them brown. We just want to serve them warm. Serve with whatever toppings you desire.
  3. To freeze and reheat burritos: Prepare burritos as directed up to oven heating. Skip the oven and wrap each burrito tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a zip top freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. To use, remove from zip top bag, and remove plastic wrap. Place one burrito on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds or until heated through.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Taste of Home

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