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Tomato Mac & Cheese

Tomato and Mac & Cheese. It’s sounds like a strange combo doesn’t it?! At first, it really did sound crazy to me, but then I thought about it. One of my favorite comfort foods is grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. So why not a Tomato Mac & Cheese? See, not so strange now, is it?

The entire idea behind my recipes as of late, is simplicity. Simple weeknight fall comfort foods. I’m no longer just a mom and housewife. I took a part time job at a school, and although part time, it’s fast paced. It’s a busy busy job, and by the time I’m done there and get home, I’m beat. The last thing I want to think about is dinner. This is where planning ahead, and making things very simple come into play.

This Tomato Mac & Cheese couldn’t be easier. It looks a lot like Dad’s Glop, but don’t get fooled because it’s a totally different flavor. Probably just as easy to prepare though, which is not a bad thing at all. Tired or not, I still need to bring my family around the table. Gathering my family around the table in the evenings, sharing a delicious meal, is so important to me that no matter what, it will not be compromised. With this recipe, you can do it too, and enjoy conversation and reconnecting with your family. To save on precious time, I like to chop my onions and garlic the night before and store them in an air tight container in the fridge. That way when I get home from work, and it’s time to cook dinner, I don’t have to waste precious time chopping the veggies. At this point it’s pretty much a dump and cook recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did, and enjoy some much needed reconnect time with your loved ones.

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Tomato Mac & Cheese Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain any fat if necessary. Season with salt & pepper.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine cooked pasta, the beef mixture, soup, sauce, and milk. Heat mixture over medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Campbell's Kitchen

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Mama’s Cozy Beef Stoup

Fall, it’s not officially Fall until September 22nd. However, the kids are back in school, and guess what they are bringing home to mom, and I’m not talking about sweet art work I hang on the fridge. No, I’m talking about the inevitable creepy crud! Oh yea, my kids go back to school and in just a couple of weeks Mom’s down for the count! Some of you may have been wondering where in the heck I was. Well, I was in bed as much as possible, feeling awful with what I thought was just a cold, until it just got worse and included a fever and felt more like some kind of flu. Whatever it is,  you don’t want it.

Now, I may have taken some time off from the blog, but just because Mom’s sick doesn’t mean she gets to call in sick. Honestly, I don’t know what these people would do without me. I guess they’re lucky I survived this one, amirite? No, absolutely no sick days for mom, so I have to get creative and find ways to work, without working. Here’s where I praise my slow cooker. I was caught off guard, and unprepared for being sick, so my freezer isn’t full of prepared meals that only need to be baked. Thankfully because of that slow cooker, and some dump recipes like this Chicken Enchilada Soup from friends Ellen and Aimee over at Like Mother Like Daughter, dinner wasn’t too much of a chore. Dump it in, turn it on, go back to bed. Seriously, when you’re done here, go check out that soup. It’s fabulous!

Now this recipe I have here for you today isn’t exactly a dump and run kinda recipe. This recipe is one I came up with quite awhile ago and after being sick, and having drizzly weather this week, I craved this stoup. You may ask “What the heck is a stoup?!” Well it’s quite simple, it’s half beef stew and half soup. So it’s a stoup, and it’s delicious! Perfect for that chilly weather that’s on it’s way.
It takes just a little bit of prep time. You’re going to want to get your onions, garlic, and celery all chopped up. For the onions and garlic I use a hand powered mini food chopper to make it go quick. Then for my carrots, I use baby cut carrots so I can skip the peeling and slicing. I just cut these little guys in half. Then I toss in my green beans which are just a package of frozen cut green beans, thawed.

For the potatoes I chose red. Any waxy potato you won’t have to peel like the red potatoes or yellow. If you choose Russet or baking potatoes, you’ll want to peel those first and then dice them, or cut them into reasonable chunks like I did. Now all that’s left is to cut up your meat. I bought stew meat already cut up, but even in doing that, those pieces are usually HUGE and I end up having to cut a lot of them in half or in thirds depending. So you’ll want to inspect it, and cut the meat into bite size chunks.

As I chop everything up, I just toss them into the slow cooker. Then I just toss it lightly to combine it all.

Now you dump in your crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Then in a small or medium bowl, combine your two cans of chicken broth and your 1/2 cup flour. Whisk that together until it’s smooth and totally combined. Then dump that into the slow cooker along with your beef consomme. Then give it a good stir to combine everything together. Now cover it, and set it to low for 6-8 hours. Mine took 6 hours, but please keep in mind that all slow cookers are not created equal.  Sometime before you are ready to eat, and the meat is totally cooked through, give your stoup a taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. If you add more thyme or morjoram, let it cook for about 30 minutes to an hour to let the flavors get all happy together. I checked my stoup at 5 1/2 hours and the the meat was cooked and safe to taste. So don’t worry about breaking the stoup. It won’t break if you take the cover off that far into the process I promise. The seasonings as written in this recipe are on the light side because everyone’s tastes are not the same. So please adjust to your liking.

Now you’re ready to ladle your stoup into bowls, serve hot with some crusty bread for dipping, and enjoy!

 

 

 

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Mama's Cozy Beef Stoup Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In the slow cooker, add beef, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, green beans and potatoes.
  2. Pour crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce over beef and veggies. Add in bay leaves, salt, pepper, thyme and marjoram. Stir to combine.
  3. In a small – medium bowl, whisk together chicken broth and flour until combined and smooth. Pour chicken broth mixture along with beef consomme into the slow cooker and stir once more to combine.
  4. Cover, and cook on Low 6 to 8 hours. About an hour before it's finished, you may wish to taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. See note.
  5. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve with crusty bread, and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

I use baby cut carrots in this recipe as a time saver, so I don't have to mess with peeling and slicing. However, if you prefer, you can of course peel and slice carrots. I would guess probably about 5-6 medium carrots should do.

I didn't really measure my potatoes, I just cut some up until it looked like enough in proportion to the rest of the veggies. You can use any kind of potato you want. I chose the red because it's what I had on hand, and also, I don't have to peel those. Huge time saver. If you use russet potatoes or baking potatoes, I recommend peeling those. But yellow or red are fine with peelings on.

The measurements for the seasonings in this recipe are on the light side. So be sure to taste test your stew about an hour before it's done, then if you need more seasonings, feel free to add more to your taste, then cover and let it go for the rest of the time. Don't worry, you won't break the stoup. I do this with this recipe often.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

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Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Over Rice – #SundaySupper

When our wonderful host Em Beitel at Sunday Supper started asking for rice recipes, this recipe for Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Over Rice was the first thing to hit my brain! I absolutely love this dish over rice. I know it’s mostly a chicken dish, but it just wouldn’t be the same without rice in my opinion.  I love rice, and especially in a dish like this. This dish has a delicious sauce, but it’s a thin sauce. It’s not thick like a spaghetti sauce. That’s where the rice is a beautiful thing! It soaks up all that sauce and you don’t miss a single delicious drop.

Just a few days ago, I shared an easy Individual Baked Ziti recipe that is full of flavor yet low in fat. Well guess what folks? So is this Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Over Rice. Just look at all those pretty veggies! This dish is full of bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. Lots of tomato going on in there, and lots of seasoning. Great thing about cooking at home, you get to control how much seasoning. Want less salt? Use less salt. Super easy and fast for busy families. Prep  your veggies the night before and store in the fridge. In the morning, put it all in the slow cooker, turn it on low and let it cook while you’re at work, or running errands or otherwise busy. Or  heck… take a nap!

These are a few reasons why I love my slow cooker so much. In the market? This is the slow cooker I  have, and absolutely adore it! Some recipes, usually soups and stews, will say to stir occasionally, but to do that you have to open the lid, and that’s taboo when slow cooking. You’re not supposed to open the lid. Plus, the entire idea behind a slow cooker is to dump dinner in it and forget about it. You can’t do that if you have to stir every now and again. So…this slow cooker, has an auto stir system. Problem solved!

End result, you are left with a beautiful dish of deliciousness. No one would ever guess that this dish, is healthy, and since I’m a Weight Watchers girl, I calculated this recipe at only 3 SmartPoints per serving. SmartPoints aside, even if you just want to add more healthy meals to your rotation, you’re going to love this.

Of course, in my house, there’s usually a salad involved. This recipe pairs very well with a nice crisp Caesar salad. I hope you enjoy this healthy and delicious recipe as much as we did, and it brings your family together around the table too!

Simple Rice Recipes for Dinner #SundaySupper

What’s for dinner?

Rice is for dinner!

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.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore over Rice Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of your slow cooker (5-6 qt), add crushed tomatoes, wine, tomato paste, Italian seasonings, salt and black pepper. Whisk together to thoroughly combine. Add chicken thighs, onion, garlic, mushrooms & bell peppers.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Mine took 4 hours.
  3. Serve over hot cooked rice, and garnish with black olives.
Recipe Notes

You can serve this over anything you like, mashed potatoes, noodles, whatever you prefer. I chose rice because the sauce is thin, and the rice soaks up all that deliciousness.

Per Serving: (1 thigh and about 3/4 cup vegetables): 3 SmartPoints. (Does not include rice)

Adapted from Weight Watchers The SmartPoints Cookbook

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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!

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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.

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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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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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Penne Marinara Casserole with Brown Sugar Bourbon Smoked Sausage

Ever find yourself without a plan for dinner? I’m a planner, it’s what I do. I have to have a plan for just about everything and that includes dinner. Sometimes though, plans fall through, or I forgot a minor detail that turns out to be a huge big deal! This is how this Penne Marinara Casserole with Brown Sugar Bourbon Smoked Sausage was born. My plan for dinner fell through because of a few forgotten ingredients and so I found myself at the last minute digging into my freezer and cabinets saying to myself “Now what?!” Since I live way out in the countryside, just jumping in the car and going to the store for forgotten items just isn’t all that feasible, or appealing. 😂

This turned out to be great though! It wasn’t a disaster at all. My kids gobbled this casserole up, and I gotta say, I enjoyed it too. You can use any variety of sausages in this casserole, but the Brown Sugar Bourbon Smoked Sausage is what I had on hand. I really liked the subtle sweetness it gave the dish. It’s not overpowering at all, just a background sweetness. You’ve just got to try it! Here’s how to make it! It’s easy peasy!

First you want to get your water going for your pasta, and cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Just until al dente (cooked, but firm to the bite). While that’s doing it’s thing, you can brown up your ground beef (or turkey if you prefer) along with your onion and garlic. Once the beef is cooked, then just slice your sausages into coins, like above. Toss that in the skillet with the beef.

Toss your pasta sauce and seasonings in along with your sausage and stir it up to combine. Then just let it simmer and heat through while your pasta finishes cooking. Once the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot.

Take your meat mixture, and dump that in with your pasta and give it a good stir.

Transfer the pasta to your prepared casserole dish, and top with the cheeses. It is now ready for the oven!

Pop that in a 350 degree oven, and in about 10-15 minutes (or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through) you have a delicious dinner.

Full of two different kinds of meat and cheesy goodness, what more do you need?! Perhaps a fresh, crisp green salad to go along side it wouldn’t hurt. 😉

 

 

Print Recipe
Penne Marinara Casserole with Brown Sugar Bourbon Smoked Sausage 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. Spray a 2 1/2 – 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef with onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.
  4. Slice sausages into coins, and add to the skillet along with pasta sauce and seasonings. Stir to combine, and let simmer to heat through while pasta finishes cooking.
  5. When pasta is cooked, drain thoroughly and return to pot.
  6. Stir meat mixture into pasta and transfer to prepared baking dish.
  7. Top with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  8. Bake for 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese melts and heated through.
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Mashed Potato Hot Dish

This casserole is the perfect dish to serve your family on busy weekdays. You probably have all of the ingredients already in your pantry. This dish has a lot going on for it. It’s budget friendly for one, it’s easy to put together, and it tastes fantastic! All you need to round it out is a simple salad to serve on the side. Easy Peasy! Oh, and one other thing I love about this recipe, it’s topped with my favorite mashed potatoes. I make double the mashed potatoes for what I actually need in this recipe, so there are leftovers that I can serve as a side dish the next day. I mean, if I already have to make them, I might as well double up. That makes for an easy dinner the next day, since I don’t have to worry about a side. The potatoes go with anything, meatloaf, chicken, steak, pork chops. Oh I can name a million things that go with mashed potatoes, and trust me, after you taste these, you’re going to want more.

So lets get cooking!

There’s nothing to it really.  You’re just gonna take your ground beef, garlic and onion, and toss that in a large pan. Brown  up that hamburger and drain the fat if necessary. Then add your green beans, cream of chicken soup, and salt and pepper. Next layer!

Cheese! Oh yea. You’ve got to have cheese. If you’re worried about the fat content in this recipe, don’t be worried! I’ll let you in on a little secret. I used low fat cream of chicken soup, reduced fat cheese, 1/3 less fat Neufchatel cheese (instead of full fat cream cheese), and light sour cream. No one noticed! Just as I suspected. If you’re worried about the beef, switch it out for ground turkey. It’ll work out just the same and be fabulous, just the same. In fact next time I’m going to use ground turkey. So there go, don’t be scared, now put that cheese layer on. Next layer!

The mashed potato layer. These potatoes are easy to make, and this is also where the cream cheese, sour cream, butter and ranch dressing mix comes into play. But like I said above, you can lighten it up. I did! So spread that deliciousness over the cheese.

No, I’m not kidding. More cheese. That’s your final layer. Now plop that in the oven at 350 and bake it until it’s bubbly and the cheese is melted. About 20-25 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time for me to clean up those pans I used, and toss together a crisp green salad.

Enjoy!


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Mashed Potato Hot Dish Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender; drain well.
  2. Return potatoes to large pot and add cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, sour cream and butter. With an electric hand held mixer on low speed, blend ingredients together. Once combined, turn to faster setting and whip potatoes until smooth. Cover and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until no longer pink and onion is soft. Drain if necessary.
  4. Stir in soup, green beans, and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Transfer beef mixture to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Top with 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese. Top cheese with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle top of potatoes with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Recipe Notes

This recipe makes double Mashed potatoes than what you will need for this casserole. I like to make extra and then eat the left over potatoes as a side dish the next day. If you don't wish to do that, then just cut the mashed potato recipe in half.

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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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Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken

As soon as the weather just hints at warmer days to come, I start craving that warm weather food! You know, like grilled burgers, cold salads, corn on the cob!!! OMG Corn on the cob! One of my favorite things to eat during the warmer seasons. I saw a pile of it at the grocery store on my last trip, and took a peek at them, and they were beautiful! Can’t believe I only bought 3! I knew I was only really feeding it to myself and kids, but it was perfect corn! I’m hoping they have some more when I go back this week. Oh, and yea, just myself and my kids on the corn. If I haven’t mentioned this before, my husband is to corn like a vampire is to garlic. Not kidding. He hates the stuff. Not even corn bread! He won’t touch it. I could complain, but honestly, more for me!! HA!

Another one of my favorite foods during the warmer months are shredded (or pulled) meat sandwiches, put on a hamburger bun or Kaiser roll, dripping with delicious sauce, and topped with yummy coleslaw (or like my kids, put the coleslaw on the side). I normally decide on the main dish and THEN figure out the side dish, but since I saw this corn, it came first and I needed a main dish. I wanted something that was really going to wow my taste buds, and make my kids cheer my name. I have thousands of recipes in my files, but seriously, nothing jumped out at me 😂 so I hopped on over to Lemon Tree Dwelling, one of my favorite food blogs. If you haven’t checked it out, you should! Cathy over there, really knows how to wow your taste buds! I took one look at her Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken and already knew it was perfect! So that’s what I’m sharing with you today, is her perfect, delicious, out of this world, Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken. You can’t go wrong with this one folks. It’s so easy, and one bite, you’ll think you’re in heaven! Here’s my insanely bad picture, (😂 I’m trying to get better! I swear!) and her wonderful recipe. Make this!! Take it to a potluck, or just serve it to your family because it’s pure love! You won’t regret it!