Spaghetti Pie

Last week I had some leftover meatballs from making the Turkey Meatball and Green Olive Casserole and wanted to make spaghetti. Someone was talking about Million Dollar Spaghetti and while I read the ingredients and realized I didn’t have everything at home to make it, I remembered that I used to make a spaghetti pie. So I decided to make it, with the meatballs instead of the meat sauce, and it was awesome! My husband was a huge fan and it’s now going to be one of our go-to meals!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. of ground beef (or about a dozen or so meatballs in this case)
  • 8 oz. spaghetti noodles – cooked to al dente
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg – slightly beaten
  • 2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce – I normally make my own
  • 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella (or sliced fresh mozzarella)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Take your cooked spaghetti noodles and toss them with the Parmesan cheese and the egg. Press into the bottom of a 9″ pie pan to form a crust. Make sure the push it from the center so that it goes up the sides as well
  3. Mix the meat into the spaghetti sauce and pour into the center of the ‘crust’ for the filling
  4. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top (or if using fresh mozzarella – places slices closely together) to form the top crust
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown and becomes bubbly. Let it stand for about 15 minutes and cut into wedges and serve!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup <– Made in the crockpot!!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice SoupIt’s that time of year again. When it starts to get cold enough where everyone loves soup, unless you’re weird like me since I can eat soup any day of the year, warm or cold! I have made this recipe a handful of times now and I think I have finally perfected it! So here you go!

Ingredients

  • 6-7 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 large can of chicken breast in water (I use a 13 oz. can that we get from Sam’s Club)
  • 2 packages of Rice-A-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice blend (including the seasoning packets)
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4-5 oz. of Heavy Whipping Cream

Directions

  1. Peel and cut carrots into 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces
  2. Cut celery into to 1/2″ pieces
  3. Dice onion
  4. Drain the can of chicken and put in the bottom of the crockpot. Use a fork to separate pieces
  5. Add the onions, carrots and celery
  6. Pour both boxes of rice, along with the seasoning packets on top
  7. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper
  8. Pour chicken broth on top of everything and give it a quick stir
  9. Turn the crockpot to high for about 3-4 hours
  10. Before serving, stir in the heavy whipping cream

This is the easiest soup to make and everyone loves it. When I had family in town, I cut up all the veggies and stored in a container in the fridge and used part of a rotisserie chicken. When I woke up in the morning, I threw everything in the crockpot and it was ready for lunch. My mom has since made this for herself and my dad (and gave me the idea of using the canned chicken when I didn’t have a rotisserie chicken on hand). Everyone will ask for seconds and you won’t have any leftover!

Chicken and Stuffing in the Crockpot

chicken-and-stuffing
I found this photo on Pinterest, but when going to the website, there wasn’t an actual recipe. So I decided to try it based on the photos and see how it went. Here are the things I used:

 

Ingredients:

3 large chicken breasts
1 box Stove Top chicken stuffing
1 can cream of chicken
12 oz. fat free sour cream
1 bag of frozen cut green beans
About 1 cup of chicken broth

 

I layered everything according to the pictures and put it on high in my slow cooker for about 4 hours. Here is what I found out. The stuffing created a coating on the chicken and the tops of the breasts didn’t cook well – so I had to turn them about 3 hours into cooking. The stuffing didn’t absorb any liquid so it was still dry, so I mixed it with the soup/sour cream and green bean mixture at the same time that I turned the chicken breasts. I also put about 1/4″ of chicken broth at the bottom of the crock pot so that there was some liquid. I found that the chicken was dry even after only 4 hours. So…this definitely needs to be tweaked. I’m thinking of a way to coat the chicken so that it doesn’t get dry – maybe cream of chicken over top of that first and then mix the stuffing with chicken broth so that it doesn’t get dried out. Either way, I haven’t given up on this yet, I just need to work with it a bit! If you have suggestions, let me know!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m not a fan of all of the green beer, but I do love delicious food and corned beef and cabbage is super yummy! Last year was my first time trying to make corned beef and cabbage and I have to say, it turned out ok but I’m not all that crazy about how soggy the cabbage gets and that the flavor is sort of sucked out of it. I love cabbage raw and when I eat cooked cabbage, I like it to have some crunch to it. So this year, that was my goal. This is what I came up with – make the corned beef and veggies in the slow cooker and the cabbage completely separate. BEST decision ever! Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 3 Celery Stalks, cut into 2-3″ pieces
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3″ pieces
  • 1 Medium Yellow or Sweet Onion, cut into wedges
  • 5-6 Medium Red Potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Package Corned Beef Brisket (mine was just under 3 pounds), including the Pickling Spice Packet that comes with it
  • 1 head of Green Cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Butter
  • White Vinegar – to taste

Directions

  1. In a larger oval slow cooker (this makes it way easier since the meat fits better!) place the celery, carrots, onions and potatoes.
  2. Place your corned beef brisket on top of the veggies fat side up.
  3. Sprinkle the pickling spices all around and add your sprigs of thyme.
  4. Add 6 cups of water – this should cover most of the meat.
  5. Cover and cook on high for about 5-6 hours or until corned beef is tender.
  6. About 30 minutes before the corned beef is done, chop up your cabbage and place in a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Sprinkle generously with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper. Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the cabbage is the consistency you prefer. I left mine still sort of crunchy.
  8. Towards the end – splash the cabbage with white vinegar. I put probably about 4-5 tablespoons of it in there because we really like vinegar in my house!
  9. Serve corned beef (slicing it against the grain) with the vegetables and cabbage and enjoy!

Facebook Hashtags – ugh!

Ever since Facebook announced that they were launching their ‘support’ of hashtags, I thought it was an awful idea. Sure, sure, Twitter is getting bigger and bigger – so let’s follow their footsteps. BUT, we won’t offer everything that Twitter offers. (For those of you who just don’t get hashtags – it basically means that if you include a (#) in front of a ‘keyword’, it links in your status and people can click on that link to view a public stream of everyone that has used that hashtag. For example #tbt or #throwbackthursday is very popular right now. You must not use spaces though, otherwise it will not work.)

What bothers me about this, besides the fact that Facebook is just following the pack, is that there is absolutely NO documentation out there helping developers out when it comes to embedding these streams anywhere. If I want to, I can embed any hashtag stream from Twitter, but yet, I can’t from Facebook. So if I’m running a campaign for a specific hashtag – do I only target my Twitter audience?? I’m guessing Facebook just needs to get on top of this and get an API developed but at this point, it’s frustrating! If you’re going to jump on the bandwagon of hashtags, you better be able to support it, and at this point – Facebook is one giant disappointment.

/End Rant

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

I must try this recipe! And make some super gooey grilled cheese sammiches to go with it!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz. can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh basil
  • parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, sauté garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes.
  3. Add the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan to break them up.
  4. Add the juice from the whole tomatoes, as well.
  5. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar.
  6. Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and stir in heavy cream and basil.

Garlic Spaghetti

I was flipping through the channels one day and ran across a Garlic Spaghetti that Melissa d’Arabian was making on Food Network. If you don’t like garlic, this recipe is not for you. It has a wonderful garlic flavor and was absolutely delicious. I was really amazed at how much the butter cut down the acid in the tomatoes and really mellowed out the flavor. I will put the original recipe and then the things I did to ‘modify’ it. We also made some cheesy Texas Toast to go along with it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 9 cloves of garlic – I used HUGE pieces of garlic since we love it
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons of butter – I ended up using 8
  • 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes – I used a 28 oz. can because that is what I had
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. spaghetti – I used Thin Spaghetti and next time will try fresh Tagliatelle
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped basil
  • Grate Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, cook the garlic in the olive oil for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the garlic from drying out.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the butter and tomatoes and stir until well blended and the butter is melted.
  3. Stir the garlic and oil into the tomatoes and butter and add salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Toss the sauce with the spaghetti and place in a nice serving dish.
  5. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Mayonnaise Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Say what???? Mayonnaise in a cake you ask? Why yes!

Growing up, my aunt Karen used to make this cake for us all the time. I believe she would make it with peanut butter frosting if I remember correctly. She is an amazing baker – takes after my Grandma Sutton I hear. She even spent years making and decorating cakes! I however, did not get the amazing baker gene. I love to cook because I don’t like to measure, so baking is a struggle for me.

I’m also not the most patient person in the world (*go ahead and snicker if you know me, we all know it’s true!) so baking is tough, I want to be able to taste along the way and make it better as I go, and well, you just can’t do that with baking. You have to follow a recipe and then bake it and then let it cool, and then possibly frost or whatever to it before you even get to take a bite. It’s like torture! That and I’m not a huge fan of sweets anyway.

If you’re anything like me, then this recipe is definitely for you! Mayonnaise cake is a chocolate cake, a very subtle chocolate cake. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet and it’s SUPER moist! It’s also super easy to make :) Here it is!

mayonnaise cake

For the cake:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
  • 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. Sift and blend flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  2. Add mayonnaise, water and vanilla. Stir until mixed well.
  3. Grease a 9×13 pan and pour batter in evenly.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

For the frosting:

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 16 oz. of powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy

 

Everyone loved the cake and super loved the frosting – even if it sounds odd, just try it! It’s delicious! If you don’t eat it right away, make sure you put it in the fridge.

Vegetable Tian

Ok, so I’ve never heard of Vegetable Tian before, but I saw a picture of it and decided that I wanted to try it. Here is my photo of it:

Vegetable Tian

So for dinner last night, I decided to make it with some Boca Burgers. Not just your normal Boca Burger either, the Bruschetta flavored ones. (See photo below).

boca-bruschetta-patties

 

While we were making the Boca Burgers, I decided to throw on a nice thick piece of fresh mozzarella. So we ended up with open faced Boca Burgers with mozzarella…YUM! It turned out great! When I started to eat the Vegetable Tian, I couldn’t believe how much flavor there was! Not only that, but Kevin (my fiancé) loved it…and he’s not really a big fan of cooked tomatoes. I was surprised that the veggies still had a good crunch to them as well! So I decided to share this recipe – and a photo, because I think everyone should try this!

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Vidalia Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1-2 small to medium Zucchini
  • 1 medium Yellow Squash
  • 1-2 smaller Potatoes
  • 1 medium to large Tomato (I used a beefsteak tomato)
  • Dried Thyme
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dice the onion and saute with the garlic in some olive oil until the onions are softened.
  2. Thinly slice the rest of the vegetables.
  3. Spray the inside of a square or round baking dish with some non-stick spray (Or the culinary AquaNet as Guy Fieri calls it). I used an 8″x6″ glass Pyrex dish. Spread the softened onions and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Stack up your veggies vertically, alternating veggies. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and thyme.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and place it back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until your cheese is a golden brown.

Enjoy!

Pickle Loaf

I got this recipe from a friend. His wife used to make it for us when we would have company potlucks all the time and it was always a hit. Recently we had a little potluck at my current job and I had to fight to get any of it! Everyone has at least tried the ham/cream cheese/pickle roll-up at least once in their life…well, this is a billion times better! Try it when you have some people over, I guarantee that you won’t have any leftovers…because even if you have a little left, you’re just going to eat it yourself!

Printable Version

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of French Bread
  • 1 pound of ham cut up – I take thinly shaved sliced and chop it with my slap chop, works great!
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley – I use the Italian flat leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • dill pickles

Directions:

  • Cut bread lengthwise and scoop out the center.
  • Spread a thin layer of mayo on the bread and set aside.
  • Mix ingredients together and spread on both sides of the bread.
  • Line pickles on the bottom half of the bread and close. (I chopped up the pickles and put a full layer of chopped up pickles on the bottom half of the bread before I closed it).
  • Wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.