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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!



Creamy Tomato & Cucumber Salad

You know what I love about Spring and Summer? The beautiful salads! I absolutely love salads, and this time of year, you get the best and prettiest produce to work with. Pretty bright colors, whether it’s a fruit salad or a vegetable salad, or even a pasta salad. They are just so bright and fresh. Lots of eye appeal, not like my photos… 😉

I bring to you today, a Creamy Tomato & Cucumber Salad. It’s bright, it’s fresh, and it’s delish! Oh let us not forget it’s super easy! Another cool thing about salads, they can usually be made ahead of time. This is all of that! So lets get started. Gather up all your ingredients, which isn’t much, and pay no attention to the only two cloves of garlic on that cutting board! I actually did use 4.

So you got everything? Good, now prepare your vegetables, minus the garlic, and toss them into a big bowl.

Now, just set that aside for a minute, and grab a smaller bowl. In that, you’re going to toss in your dressing ingredients. Mayo, sour cream, garlic and freshly cracked black pepper.

Whisk that up until it’s thoroughly combined, and then, dump it on top of your veggies in the big bowl, and gently toss to coat.

Now you just cover it tightly, and store it in the fridge for at least 2 hours to let all those flavors blend. Then just before servings, sprinkle with a little sea salt to taste and enjoy!

 

Print Recipe
Creamy Tomato & Cucumber Salad Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and toss into a large bowl. Slice cucumber in half lengthwise, then cut each half again lengthwise, to give you 4 long sticks. Slice those into bite size chunks and toss those into the bowl. Alternatively, you can slice the cucumber thinly, and then cut the slices in half. However you do it, you just need bite size pieces. Slice the red onion into thin slices and add to the tomatoes and cucumbers.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, pressed garlic cloves and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Pour dressing onto vegetables, and toss gently to coat. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let the flavors blend. Add salt to taste just before serving.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from natashaskitchen.com

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Fort Awesome Beef Kabobs

There is something to be said about food on a stick. For whatever reason, it just makes it more fun! My husband and I love kabobs. The kiddos, well, not so much. I like to save recipes like this for at home “date night”. The kids get their all time favorite pizza, and later, hubby and I get to indulge in something we love, while watching a movie or TV show on Netflix. So why are we calling them Fort Awesome Beef Kabobs? Well for starters, this recipe is pretty awesome! Second, my husband calls our plot of land, Fort Awesome. Well, see for yourself. This is the sunset at the back of our property.

See, pretty awesome am I right?

Anyway, back to the recipe! I really didn’t want to wait to share this with you all since the weather is warming up in various places now that it’s Spring. My husband and I are itching to fire up that grill and make these kabobs! In fact, they are on the menu for next week’s date night.

These do make quite a few kabobs, but if you’re not hosting some friends to share these with, don’t worry! Taken off the sticks and reheated with some rice, it tastes just as delish! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


Print Recipe
Fort Awesome Beef Kabobs Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Grilling
Servings
Ingredients
Course Grilling
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whisk the vegetable oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, black pepper, and salt together in a bowl; pour into a resealable plastic bag. Add the beef and mushrooms, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  3. Remove the beef and mushrooms from the marinade, shaking off any excess liquid. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes; set aside for basting.
  4. Thread pieces of bell peppers, beef, red onion, mushroom, and garlic clove (if using) onto metal skewers, repeating until all ingredients are skewered.
  5. Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently and brushing generously with the reserved marinade until nicely browned on all sides and the meat is no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes.
Recipe Notes

If using wooden skewers, soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before using.

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