Lighter Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

It’s Wednesday folks, and I don’t have a wine to share with you! 😱 I know, right? Imagine how I feel! Being wineless. It happens though, but don’t worry! I’ve got an amazing pasta salad recipe for you though! It’s that time of the year where people fire up the grill, host cookouts, or get invited to cookouts and outdoor potlucks. When the grill masters get that itch to fire up the grill, that’s when it’s the perfect time for pasta salads, potato salads, fruit salads, you name it cold salads to make their grand entrance! This one in particular will steal the spotlight, and if you’re still working hard  to eat healthier, like I promised myself I would, or if you just want to keep your lovely figure, don’t worry! This beautiful salad is all lightened up. It tastes absolutely sinful though. I found the original recipe over on Life in the Loft House, and thought to myself “how can I lighten this up so I can enjoy this without feeling guilty?” Well, here’s what I came up with! Come on in the kitchen and I’ll show you how simple this is. Another one of my favorite things about the salad. Simple!

So first, you’re going to cook your Rotini pasta until it’s al dente. That should take about 8 minutes or so. While that’s bubbling away on the stove, dump your mayo, sour cream and ranch dressing mix in a large bowl.

Then whisk it up real good until it’s all combined. When your pasta is finished cooking, drain that, and rinse it in cold water until cool. Set the pasta aside and cut your grape tomatoes in half.

Now add your pasta, bacon (which I used a pkg. of real bacon pieces), tomatoes, olives and cheese to the large bowl with the dressing.

Toss gently to combine. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. I hope you enjoy this delicious, creamy pasta salad as much as we all did.

 

 

Print Recipe
Lighter Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rotini and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, dry ranch dressing mix, garlic powder and milk with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Add pasta, cooked bacon pieces, tomatoes, olives and cheese. Gently toss to completely combine everything together.
  3. Cover and chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

If after chilling in the fridge, and your salad seems a little dry, just add a little milk and stir to combine to moisten it up.

Slightly adapted from Life in the Lofthouse

Share this Recipe

Light and Refreshing Berry Fruit Salad + Kids In The Kitchen

Monday already!? What a busy weekend we had over here! The weekend just flew by. The weather here was so incredibly nice, you couldn’t resist firing up the grill, spending time with friends on Saturday and having a great potluck (or pitch-in as the native Hoosiers call it) with tons of delicious food, and then spending a beautiful Sunday with family, once again firing up that grill for a wonderful meal. We had soooo much food this weekend and I have sooo much to share with you. The first thing I must share with you though, is my favorite part of this weekend. My daughter spent some time looking at recipes (just like her mother) and decided she wanted to make something for me. She knows I absolutely LOOOOVE love love love fruit salad. Her and I share a deep love and passion for all things strawberry. So she came across a recipe over at Kristine’s Kitchen Blog. We modified it just very slightly, and came out with a brand new favorite fruit salad! My daughter was SO excited! She went to the store with her Grandma, shopping list in hand, and bought all of the things she needed to make this.

I gotta tell you guys, one of my favorite things to do is cook with my kids. For the moment, it’s just the one out of the four that seems interested, but that’s ok! We have so much fun. And it’s so important to get your kids in the kitchen and cook with them. My mom and grandma did with me. I think the first thing my mom taught me how to make was spaghetti sauce. I’m not 100% certain, but it’s definitely the one I remember the most. I enjoyed it, but as I got to be a teen, I swore I wanted nothing to do with it anymore or anything else domestic related. 😂😂😂😂 So here I am many years later, a stay at home mom, and all things domestic, loving every minute of it.  Here’s the thing guys, when those kids show interest in helping, no matter what it is, harness it. Let them help. They want to be part of something. They want to spend time with you. Don’t wave them off, bring them in the kitchen with you. There’s always something they can do.

Because I believe so heavily that kids in the kitchen is so important, I want to make it a regular on my blog. Maybe it will give you some ideas to try with your kids, or grandkids, nieces, nephews, what have ya. So let do this! Come join me and Andrea (age 10) in my kitchen while we introduce you to this beautiful fruit salad!

This is a very easy salad, with plenty of things for the kiddos to help with. I started off by pitting the cherries, and cutting up the strawberries into bite size pieces. Then I had Andrea pretty much do the rest, starting with rinsing and patting the berries (very gently of course) dry.

Then once she patted them dry, she put them all in a big bowl. I used the largest bowl I have, to make sure she had enough room to gently toss with ease, when it came time for that.

This is the part where we stood back and commented to each other how pretty that looked. The berries are just so vibrant in color. I love naturally beautiful fruit salads. Our next step was to mix the very simple, yet incredible dressing. We got a small bowl and mixed together some lime juice and some honey. You can use fresh lime juice if you want to, but we used bottled.

Once that was all mixed up, it was time to drizzle that all over the berries.

Then you very carefully and gently toss to combine it all and coat the berries in that wonderful dressing. Andrea has watched me in the kitchen so often, and we have of course done some cooking together before, that she is fully aware that the cook gets to taste! We did not skip this step. We tasted, we were both very dramatic about how wonderful it already tasted, and then had to cover it and put it in the fridge before we sat there and just ate the whole thing right away! This salad is so incredibly light and refreshing, even after a big meal like what we had. Perfect light dessert. You could serve it with a dollop of whipped cream if you wish. We could not wait to share this with our family! Everyone (except my berry hating husband) absolutely loved it! Andrea got a lot of praises for this.  I hope you and your kids enjoy this salad as much as we did!

 

Print Recipe
Light and Refreshing Berry Fruit Salad Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Rinse and very gently pat your berries and cherries dry.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice and honey. Pour over fruit and toss gently to coat.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Fruit salad is always best served the same day it's made, but it's still good the next day.
Recipe Notes

Very slightly adapted from kristineskitchenblog.com

Share this Recipe

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

Share this Recipe

Healthy Pineapple Green Smoothie

So here it is, May 9, 2017. Like a lot of people, I kinda made myself a promise at the beginning of the year, as cliché as it sounds, I was serious about it. Most people say they’re going to lose such and such amount of pounds. I on the other hand, didn’t want to make myself any promises I couldn’t actually keep. So I promised myself I would live a healthier life, starting this year. The reason for this promise to myself, is because I feel tired all the time, my energy level is actually a joke. I also had a heart attack a couple years ago, and I hadn’t even hit 40 yet! If that’s not a wake up call to watch your health, I don’t know what is! So, this year, I’m as serious… as a heart attack. LOL too soon?

Anyway, for workouts, I’ve been on again off again. It’s still 2017, I can still live up to my promise! So, climbing back into the saddle, it’s time to take those workout sessions serious, let myfitnesspal help me, and eat better. I don’t diet, by the way. I call it “eating better”. Diets are these things that just set you up for failure, by depriving you of the things you love. If you love chocolate chip cookies, there’s no reason in the world you can’t have one. It’s all a matter of how many of those cookies you have. Speaking of things I love, and I do have a sweet tooth, I love fruit. Fruit is like a two-fer for me. It’s healthy AND it’s sweet! Can’t beat that! So what I’ve got for you today, is a wonderfully healthy smoothie. I use this as a snack actually. A post-workout snack to be precise. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but after a good workout, I’m starving! We all have to hydrate and replenish after a good workout, and this is my favorite way to do that! Check this out….

Don’t you go poo pooing about spinach. Spinach has so many healthy things going on for it, I’d have to take all day to list them. But here’s a few, a little blurb taken from foodfacts.mercola.com: “Health Benefits of Spinach: Low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.” If you need more reasons to eat your leafy greens, visit that website. Don’t like spinach? Or it just sounds weird in a smoothie? Don’t worry! You can’t taste it. You get all of the health benefits, without the flavor of spinach. Between the vanilla Greek yogurt, apple juice, banana and pineapple, it tastes like a tropical fruit smoothie. And the fruit, not only does it have awesome vitamins like Vitamin C to help boost your immune system, but it also helps to hydrate. This, my friends, is a perfect post workout snack. Or just a snack. YUM!

 

Print Recipe
Healthy Pineapple Green Smoothie Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Beverages
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Beverages
Cuisine American
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from garnishandglaze.com

Share this Recipe

Awesome Beef Enchiladas

Cinco De Mayo 2017 has passed! Not that I need an excuse to devour Mexican food, but if I ever do, that will be my excuse. Mexican food is my favorite kind of food, in fact most of my menu this week is made up of Mexican inspired food. Italian is a close second. I do cook a lot of Mexican and Italian inspired recipes. We had a lovely couple over to our home on May 5th. My husband has known them since he was just a kid, and had not seen them in quite some time. So I knew I wanted to make something really good, and since it was Cinco De Mayo that they came over for dinner, it wasn’t difficult for me to figure out the menu.

This recipe is my very first recipe that I developed as my own. I have made it several times in the past, and it always goes over well with my family and company alike. It’s super easy, and it makes a lot, so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd or taking to a potluck. I always make two pans of these because one is never enough, even for just my family. Plus, they reheat really well and we like to have leftovers for lunch the next day. Since I had not made this recipe in quite some time, simply because I’ve been too busy trying out new recipes, I felt it was the perfect dish to serve to our very special guests. Needless to say, it went over great with them too! Super easy and quick, and all you really need is some tortilla chips and salsa to serve along with them. You can top these with anything you like. We had sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, salsa and verde sauce. You could even top these with some shredded lettuce and fresh chopped tomato if you wish.

So, you want to try them? Good! Let me show you how easy this is. First, you want to prepare your Spanish rice mix according to the package directions. I do this well in advance so it’s cool enough to handle when I’m ready to roll these babies up. You can use your favorite brand of Spanish rice mix. I use Zatarain’s.  Set that aside. When you’re ready to start cooking the whole… enchilada… (HA!) just brown up  your ground beef in a very large skillet, stock pot, or dutch oven. Crumble it up as you go until no pink remains.

Once it’s cooked through, remove it from the heat and drain any fat if necessary. Now add in your prepared and cooled Spanish rice (warm is ok, you just don’t want to burn your fingers here in a minute), some cheese, and some enchilada sauce. I don’t measure the enchilada sauce, I just add some. You want the mixture to be moistened with the sauce, not drowning in it.

Now, mix it all up.

Now the fun part! Spoon some of this delicious enchilada filling onto one end of a tortilla and roll it up.

Place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. A 13×9 baking dish should hold 10 enchilada’s.

Once you have all of your enchiladas rolled up and in the baking dish, pour the enchilada sauce over them. As much as you like. We like ours saucy. Then cover in cheese. I use a lot of cheese. You can never have too much cheese. I use about two cups of cheese on each baking dish. Then top with sliced black olives. Into the oven at 375 it goes!

You’re gonna bake these for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Remember not all ovens are created equal, so check them at 15 minutes and go longer if needed. You want the cheese melted and the sauce bubbly.

Let it sit for just a few minutes, then dish ’em up, top them with whatever you like to top your Mexican food with, and enjoy! Don’t be afraid to spice this up if you like things spicy. Add jalapenos to your toppings, use hot enchilada sauce instead of mild. Add spicy chiles to the filling. Whatever your family likes, mild or spicy, this is the perfect dish. See, nothing to it! I hope you and your family and/or friends enjoy this as much as we do.


Print Recipe
Awesome Beef Enchiladas Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare Spanish rice mix according to package directions, using the diced tomatoes and butter (I do this in the microwave). Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two 13x9 glass baking dishes.
  3. In a 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in the prepared Spanish rice, about 1 cup of cheese, and some enchilada sauce (you want it moistened, not drowning).
  4. Spoon enchilada filling onto tortillas; roll up and place steam sides down in baking dish.
  5. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over tops; sprinkle with remaining cheese and black olives.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  7. Serve with sour cream, salsa, or any of your favorite Mexican toppings.
Recipe Notes
  • Let the enchiladas sit for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven, for easier serving.
  • Don't be afraid to spice this up if you like things spicy. Add jalapenos to your toppings, use hot enchilada sauce instead of mild. Add spicy chiles to the filling.
  • Top with your favorite Mexican toppings like sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cilantro, shredded lettuce, fresh chopped tomato, taco sauce, salsa verde. The options are endless.
Share this Recipe

Wine Pairing Wednesday

What day is it?! WEDNESDAY!!! And what do we do on Wednesday?? WHINE!!! Oops.. I mean WINE!!! 😜 Although we might whine if we didn’t have any wine. That could… cause a… ruckus…. anyway! Lets do this!! As usual, I am not being compensated for this post. All opinions are truly mine.

So, some of you may wonder, “is she a wine expert?” The answer, no. Heck no! I just really love wine. I am however learning things about wine pairing and what not, and I figured I might as well take you all on the great wine adventure as I learn. Some of you may even wonder “Is she a wine snob?!” Oh dear, no. No no no. Hardly. Most of the wine I consume, is cheap. I don’t usually pay more than 17.00 for a bottle of wine, and that for me, is expensive. I’ll drink it out of a dixie cup too, I don’t care.  I also know that just because I’m eating white meat like chicken, doesn’t mean I have to drink a white wine to pair it “properly”. I’m here to tell you what I think pairs well together. For me, there really are no rules when it comes to wine. To prove that, I’m going to go where no wine snob would ever dare to venture. The forbidden boxed wine!!! Dun dun duuuuuuunnnnnnn……..

And there’s one of them. In all it’s boxy glory. Now, I’ve chosen Franzia brand for this post, only because it’s the cheaper of the box wines. You’re probably thinking “hahaha! Like there’s an expensive box wine.” Actually there is, and maybe I’ll get into that in another post, but for right now, we’re going with ultra cheap. It fits my purpose for this particular Wine Wednesday post. For this post, it’s not about drinking it, it’s about cooking with it. Yes, you can drink the Chardonnay if you want to, if you like it. I personally don’t care to drink these two wines I’m featuring today, but I do keep them on hand for cooking. So lets talk about that. The first and foremost reason I choose cheap box wine to cook with, is because all of the flavor for cooking is there, without the expensive cost. Also, I know I’m not going to drink it because this kind is not my thing, and sometimes I never know if I’m going to need a little wine to add to whatever I’m making. Box wine is perfect for that. It has a long shelf life after opening, unlike bottles. If you open a bottle of wine, you really should use it within a day or two, and if you don’t like it to drink it, well, that’s just wine down the drain and that makes me sad. So, box wines for the win on shelf life after opening. Makes keeping it around for “just in case” a lot easier.

So my favorite thing to use the Chardonnay for is when I make cheese fondue for my husband and I, when we get a chance to do a little at home date night. We both are cheese lovers, and our favorite restaurant in the world is The Melting Pot. After we moved to Indiana, we found that we didn’t live close to one anymore. The closest Melting Pot is about 2 hours away. So armed with one of their cookbooks, and a wonderful electric fondue pot complete with the little fondue forks, I bring The Melting Pot to our dining room. The last time I was at the restaurant, I asked the manager what kind of wine they use in their fondues. He admitted they use… wait for it… box wine! No joke.

That’s not all you can use the Chardonnay for. A lot of cream sauces are made with a dry white wine such as Chardonnay, like a sauce you’d find in a Shrimp Scampi, it’s also great for deglazing the browned bits from the bottom of a pan to make a pan sauce for fish, chicken, pork and mushrooms. Basically speaking, it’s a great sauce wine. Maybe that’s where “lay off the sauce” comes from? 😝

Now for the red. This is the red I choose to keep on hand. The Cabernet Sauvignon works well in any recipe that calls for red wine. It has a strong flavor, so when it cooks down, it leaves behind a beautiful rich flavor. I love using this in my spaghetti sauce. I’ve also used it in a few marinades for beef.

Remember, I like to bring the Melting Pot to my dining room. They have a beautiful cooking style or broth, that you cook your meats in that we adore called Coq Au Vin. I use this red wine in that when I make it at home.

Anywhere you need a rich flavor, usually used with red meats, you’ll want this on hand. The number of things you can make using red wine is amazing! Anything from braised meats to chocolate cake. Yep, that’s right, you can make dessert with red wine. So you see why I keep these two on hand?

The next time someone poo poos about box wine, you can enlighten them, and let them know that box wine does have it’s place on the shelf with the others. I know some folks who enjoy drinking these two particular wines, but for me it’s only for cooking. That’s not to say I don’t drink box wine. I do, and perhaps I’ll get into that another Wednesday.


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!



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

Share this Recipe

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

Share this Recipe

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Casserole

Any recipe that has a name that starts with “Cheesy” will have my full and undivided attention! We love cheese around here. In my opinion, you can NEVER add too much cheese. The more cheese, the better it is. There’s just something about that ooey gooey goodness that is so incredibly comforting. Especially when you add pasta to it

This recipe makes a ton. I’m not gonna lie. 😁 I had enough to feed an army, I’m not kidding. That’s not always a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with leftovers. I meant I didn’t have to cook the next night and could take the night off. What’s bad about that? Also, since it makes so much, and it’s soooo good you’re going to want to share it, it’s perfect to take to a potluck. Not going to a potluck anytime soon? No big deal, you can turn this one casserole into two separate casseroles and cook one tonight, freeze one for later! I’m a huge fan of cooking ahead and stashing homemade meals in the freezer. They’re better for you than what the freezer section at the grocery store has to offer, they taste better too, and those nights you just don’t feel up to cooking, no problem! Dinner’s already made. Just have to pop it in the oven.  Anyway, lets get on with this recipe so you can go make it for your family.

It’s not a difficult casserole to make, as most casseroles aren’t. First we’ll start with the elbow mac. Cook that according to the package directions until they are al dente (cooked, but firm). While that’s cooking, throw some steamable frozen broccoli in the microwave and cook that according to the package directions, and set aside. While that’s all going on, you can be shredding your cheese.

I bought the sharp cheddar already shredded, so I got to skip that step. I know, I’ve heard it a million times, and people everywhere are saying this, that pre-shredded cheese in the package, do not melt as well as shredding it yourself. I disagree, because I’ve never had that problem. Like ever. Maybe I’m lucky, I doubt that strongly, but hey! Maybe that’s my super power. Pre-shredded cheese melts for me. The only kind of cheese I have found this to be true, is pre-shredded Parmesan. That really doesn’t melt as well as shredding it yourself. So, for the Gouda I had to do myself, and I recommend you do the Parmesan yourself too. Stop and snack a little, it’s ok. Who is going to know?! 😋

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to chop up your chicken.

Now, the best part, making the cheese sauce! Just a little butter and flour, whisked together, and cooked only for a couple short minutes to get that floury taste out. Then slowly add your milk, cream and seasonings, whisking all along the way until it’s nice and thick. Then you add your cheese, handful at a time, whisking until melted. NOW, we get to mix it all together!

Oh man… look at that cheese!!! 😍😍😍 Mix all that yummy together, and spoon it into your prepared 13×9.

Toss your topping ingredients together and sprinkle on top.

Pop that beautiful thing into the oven to bake, 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. Check it at 20, you don’t want to over cook this or it can dry out. You just want it to be nice and hot and bubbly.

All that’s left is to serve, and enjoy!


Print Recipe
Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Casserole 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 400 degreees.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. While macaroni is cooking, steam broccoli in microwave according to package directions, set aside.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Whisk in flour and let cook 2 minutes while stirring. Slowly whisk in cream, milk, and seasonings. Cook over medium heat while stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and stir cheeses until melted.
  4. Toss cheese sauce, pasta, broccoli and chicken together. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over macaroni.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or just until hot and bubbling. Do not overcook, you don't want it to dry out.
Recipe Notes
  • If you are pre-cooking chicken for the purpose of casseroles, I season my chicken breasts with Garlic Pepper prior to cooking them. You can just salt & pepper them as well, or season to your liking. I do not recommend leaving them unseasoned. The more flavor the merrier!
  • No cooked chicken on hand? No problem! Grab a rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store deli, or check out the freezer section and grab a package of fully cooked grilled chicken breast strips.
  • Freeze Option: You can split this huge casserole into two casseroles. I like to use the throw-away foil baking pans for this purpose. Prep casserole as per directions above up to baking, pour into your aluminum baking pan, wrap with a layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil, tightly. Label and freeze. To use frozen casserole, thaw in the fridge. When ready to bake, bake as per directions above.
Share this Recipe