Monday, June 29, 2009

Spaghetti Pie.

"This is the best spaghetti I have ever had" Gary told me just moments ago. I think that says it all. Cook and enjoy!!

Spaghetti Pie
8 oz. dried spaghetti
1 tablespoon butter
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup freshley grated parmesan cheese
1 lb pork sausage
1 tablespoon garlic powder (or to taste)
1 quart of tomato sauce (or about that much - i used the second to last jar of sauce that i canned last summer)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup mozzarella (and/or garlic mozzarella) cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Return cooked spaghetti to warm saucepan. Stir in butter, egg, and parmesan cheese. Stir until butter is melted. Set aside.

Cook ground pork mixed with garlic. Stir in tomato sauce and oregano. Heat through.

Coat a 9 inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Press spaghetti mixture on the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate to form a crust. Spread cottage cheese on the top and up the sides of the pasta crust. Spread meat mixture over that and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree over for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. To serve, cut into wedges.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Alfredo Recipes

Wednesday night for our dinner group, I made two different alfredos. I cheated a little bit in the fact that I bought jars of alfredo sauce rather than making my own, but in my defense, I was cooking for 10 people, some of which are vegetarians and others of which are picky. :) Everyone told me it was very good, but they've said that about most everything I made so I'm beginning to wonder if they are just being polite. :) So, without further ado, here they are:

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

5 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper (I use the McCormick Peppercorn Grinders)
Italian Seasoning (McCormick Grinder, again)
1 bag frozen broccoli (fresh would be even better)
1 box fettuccine noodles
1 1/2 jar alfredo sauce
a splash of milk (helped to rinse out alfredo jar)

Cook chicken in olive oil. Add pepper and italian seasoning. Once chicken is fully cooked, add broccoli. After broccoli is no longer frozen, stir in alfredo sauce. To clean out jar, add a little milk and shake and add to chicken also. Prepare noodles and toss the two together. Serve immediately.
Vegetable Alfredo

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 red pepper, sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
5-10 mushrooms, sliced
1 - 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
Freshly ground pepper
Italian Seasoning
1 /2 jar alfredo sauce (1 jar was a mushroom alfredo)
splash of milk (to rinse jar)
1 box fettuccine noodles

Saute vegetables in olive oil with pepper and italian seasoning until tender. Add sauce and let simmer. Cook noodles according to box. Combine with sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mint Ice Cream Cake

With the extremely hot weather we've been having lately, I decided to attempt an ice cream cake for our dinner group. I was a little leery to do so because I'm a HUGE fan of Dairy Queen ice cream cakes and I just wasn't sure if this would measure up. But... according to all but one review it did! The reviewer who didn't agree didn't necessarily disagree... Lucas just told me that because it was mint it was hard to compare because we haven't had a mint one from Dairy Queen. So, the next attempt will be to try and beat (or tie) the original Dairy Queen ice cream cake. :)

But, for now, I will share with you the Mint Ice Cream Cake that was made up entirely by me, so... as usual... not many exact measurements. Sorry!

Ice Cream -- whatever size comes in the rectangular box shape (2 pints maybe?) I used a combination of vanilla and chocolate chip ice cream.
Creme de Menthe Syrup, about 1/3 cup or to taste -- I got this from the ice cream topping aisle.
Oreo Cookie Pie Crust
Hot Fudge, about 3/4 jar
Mint Oreos, about 1 1/2 rows, crushed

Melt the ice cream to the point it can be easily stirred and add the Creme d Menthe Syrup. Spread a layer of hot fudge on bottom of Oreo crust. Top with 1/2 the ice cream mixture. Freeze for approximately 2 hours. Remove from freezer and add a layer of crushed Mint Oreos. Top with hot fudge (do not heat up, just spread the best you can). Top with remaining ice cream and then add remaining crushed Oreos on top. Freeze 2-4 hours or preferably overnight. Serve and enjoy! ;)

You could easily just use Mint Chip Ice Cream rather than mess with adding the syrup to vanilla ice cream. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grilled Shrimp.

In an effort for minimal use of the stove during the heatwave we are experiencing we spent the weekend 'grilling out.' I was most excited to have this shrimp. I started with 2 pounds of shrimp (worked well with both pre-cooked and un-cooked shrimp) and marinated them all day.

Threw some foil down on the grill and plopped these babies on there. For the shrimp that was pre-cooked we only kept them on long enough to heat up and get a bit of grill flavor. For the shrimp that was uncooked we kept them on about 10 minutes (5 each side) - or until they are done.

Grilled Shrimp Marinate
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon tastefully simple green tea peppercorn seasoning

So delicious, so easy, and so good!! I need to pick up some more shrimp the next time I am at the grocery store!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad.

I've began picking spinach from my garden! The strawberries have not rippened yet, but I see that one of the local strawberry farms has some ready for picking. In our household that means it is time for some strawberry spinach salad!

Strawberry Spinach Salad.
1 large bowl of fresh, cleaned spinach
1 pint fresh strawberries (sliced)
1 small can mandarin oranged (drained)

Mix together and toss with dressing.

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon poppy seed
1/2 cup sugar

Mix well and pour over salad.

This is soooo tasty and simple and doesn't require an oven. That is a beautiful thing in our hot and humid climate!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

8 Layer Tortilla Bake

This is a meatless Mexican dish that I made for a dinner group. Everyone complimented me on how good it was, so I don't think it will let you down either. Anything with numerous layers always frightens me a little, but trust me-- this so SO easy! :)

8 Layer Tortilla Bake

8 flour tortillas, burrito size (corn tortillas could also be used)
2 cans refried beans
1 can black beans
2 cups salsa, divided
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 cups shredded cheese, any variety, I used mozzarella, cheddar and a Mexican cheese blend
** feel free to use more or less cheese, I didn't measure mine, so this is only an approximation of what I used**

Combine 1 cup salsa, 2 cans refried beans and garlic powder. Separately (from refried bean mixture) mix black beans, remaining salsa, diced tomato and chopped cilantro.

Use cooking spray to coat a pizza pan (or large cookie sheet, anything large enough to allow the tortilla to lay flat). Place first tortilla on pan and top with enough refried bean mixture to cover; top with cheese. Place second tortilla on top. Cover with enough black bean mixture to cover and top again with cheese. Continue layering like previous two layers until you reach the eigth tortilla. On the eight tortilla, spread the last of the refried bean mixture, top with cheese and loosely cover with tin foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with additional salsa and sour cream along with any other toppings of your choice. I served it with lettuce, black olives and extra tomatoes also.

I had to laugh when Lucas (my boyfriend) said, "it was really good, but it would have been better with some meat!" I laughed because it was something my dad would definitely say. So, next time I make it... I might just try adding some meat... I think it would be good with ground beef, seasoned steak or chicken. And, hopefully next time I can take a picture before it disappears!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tastefully Simple.

If any one is in need of anything from Tastefully Simple, let me know. I am having a book party. Orders ship directly to your house! I love their garlic garlic - so good with slices potatoes made into little foil packets and put on the grill!!

Their website is

Recipes coming soon. I promise!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cutting Edge.

As I begin cutting the spinach and lettuce from my garden I want to share a tool with you...

It works WONDERFULLY and better yet, the plastic sheers prevent lettuce from browning. Plus, it's a fairly inexpensive tool.

Lettuce and spinach recipes coming soon...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

With the Weather Lately...

Here's a delicious chili recipe!

I apologize for the poor picture -- but the chili was so good that the only thing I had left to take a picture was a small container of leftovers that Lucas will be eating today for lunch!

With the weather we've been having lately, Lucas suggested that I should make chili for supper, so yesterday I made a new chili recipe and it was delicious!

2 pounds ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons oregano
4 (14.5 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz.) can chili beans
Elbow noodles

Fry ground beef with garlic, add rest of ingredients and allow to simmer.

Feel free to add vegetables. Lucas isn't a big fan of onions, green pepper or celery, otherwise I would have added those. Also, some people don't serve their chili with noodles, so feel free to leave those out too. We ate our chili with shredded cheese, sour cream and saltine crackers. Hopefully this weather will warm up and I won't need to make chili again until the fall! :)

Indoor S'mores Bars

This recipe was one of my favorites growing up and it was really easy for me to do all by myself when I was younger. It came for the Golden Graham cereal box. I made this last week for my friends and roommates and I think everyone had them cleaned up within a day or two. :) They may look a little messy, but that's just the appearance. They stay together real well and don't melt when you hold on to them -- not that you would be holding them for long amounts of time because they are that good! :)

Indoor S'mores Bars

3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 Tablespoons butter
1 package milk chocolate chips -- the must be milk chocolate, not semi-sweet!
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz. box Golden Graham cereal
3 cups mini marshmallows

Grease 9x13 pan. Heat corn syrup, butter and chocolate chips to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in a large bowl; toss until completely coated. Fold in marshmallows 1 cup at a time. Press into pan. Let stand 1 hour. Store loosely covered at room temperate. If you seal the pan tightly, the s'mores will get a little soggy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Brushetta Pizza.

The moment I received my June/July Issue of Taste of Home I knew that I would be making the Brushetta Pizza featured on the cover. It didn't take me long either - maybe two days from the time I received the magazine to the time we were indulging in this ah-mazing pizza.

Don't know what is for supper yet? Make this.

Brushetta Pizza
(adapted from Taste of Home)

1 lb pork sausage
1/2 package turkey pepperoni
2 cups mozzarella cheese
homemade or pre-made pizza crust

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Cook and drain the pork sausage. Top crust with pepperoni, sausage, and cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is desired meltedness/color.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, and vinegar. Spoon over cooked pizza.

Cut and enjoy. If you are hesitant about not having "pizza sauce" you could open up a can and have it on the side for dipping. When I made my brushetta pizza I also made pizza fries - hence the dipping sauce. The pizza is equally delicious with or without dipping sauce.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunken Chocolate Cake with Ganache.

When searching for an "anniversary" cake to make for my inlaws I came across several "flourless cakes and sunken cakes." They all looked good and sounded even better. Since I am not a big fan of traditional cake, these recipes seemed suitable my liking as they appeared to be dense and more brownie-like than cake.

I decided to to with Julie's Recipe for the cake. I had no plans to make her fool as I am one of those people who do not enjoy the combination of chocolate/fruit. I figured I would use cool whip as it is light and not as calorie-ridden as fresh whipped cream would be. However, I had an inquiry from the recipient if her chocolate cake had that "g frosting" I used for Gary's brownie ice cream rather than the cool whip I topped my sunken chocolate cake with ganache.

I had a small sliver of cake. Perfect for a chocolate lover! It was rich and dense and smooth. Almost like a cheesecake, but not at all the same flavor as a cheesecake.

Sunken Chocolate Cake

(adapted from Dinner with Julie)

1 heaping cup of semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with a circle of parchment.

Melt the chocolate with the butter. Separate 4 of the eggs, placing in two seperate bowls. Add the remaining eggs and half of the sugar to the egg yolks. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until smooth.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating until the egg whites form soft mounds. Fold about one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then gently fold in the rest, without deflating the egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is puffy and cracked on top, and the middle isn’t wobbly. Cool the cake completely in the pan without loosening the sides; the batter needs to cling to the sides of the pan as it cools so that it can properly sink in the middle and keep its high edges.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, remove the sides of the pan and transfer it to a serving plate, leaving the cake on the pan bottom. Serves about 12.


1 cup whipping cream

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes and stir until smooth. Cook for 15 minutes and soon over cake.