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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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Cheesy Ham and Potato Bake

There’s something about hot gooey cheesy casseroles that is just so comforting on rainy days. Like this Cheesy Ham and Potato Bake, with it’s creamy and cheesy goodness. It’s easy to and quick to put together too, which is another added bonus. There’s no chopping involved here since I use frozen potatoes O’brien which already has the onions and peppers. No need to thaw anything so that takes away a lot of the brain work, and believe me, after a long day, I don’t want to think anymore!

All you have to do is dump all of your ingredients into a bowl and mix it up. If you’re not a fan of broccoli, or don’t have any on hand, any frozen vegetable will work. Cauliflower would be great, carrots, green beans, whatever you like. Or maybe even a combination of veggies. Just try to keep it between 12-16 ounces of veggies and you’re golden. If you have leftover ham, this recipe is perfect to help use it up. However, I didn’t have leftover ham, so I bought ham already cubed and ready to go from the grocery store. No chopping involved. Just open the packages and dump.

Spread that deliciousness into a prepared glass 13×9 inch dish, sprinkle with as much or as little Parmesan cheese as you desire, and it’s ready for the oven. I think a grated Asiago cheese would be awesome on this in place of Parmesan, or maybe even a mixture of the two. This dish is really versatile folks.

Pop that baby in the oven, and in 1 hour dinner is ready to enjoy! Add a delicious tossed crisp green salad to accompany this yummy casserole, and you’ve got a well rounded meal, with little effort.

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Cheesy Ham and Potato Bake 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 375 degrees.
  2. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine potatoes O'brien, ham, broccoli, soups, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Mix well.
  4. Spread into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until bubbly and lightly browned.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from allrecipes.com

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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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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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