Thursday, September 18, 2014

Penne Pasta Bake

This dish is crazy easy and devoured by all.

1 box of penne
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 jar of a quality Alfredo  sauce - I have found that all Alfredo sauce is not created equal. Skip the value brands and go for a good quality sauce. I like new the Newmans brand.
2 cups of mozzarella cheese-divided
Parmesan to top

Cook the pasta as directed on the box. In a large bowl mix marinara and alfredo, add the hot pasta and combine. Add 1.5 cups of cheese and stir it until the cheese is evenly distributed. Pour into a 9X13 baking dish and top with the remaining cheese and grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and bubbly, maybe 20-30 minutes but I really don't know the exact. I just watch it.

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 quarts of canned tomatoes (diced or whole)
1 garlic clove
1/4 onion
2 1/2 t. Knorr Caldo con sabor de Pollo (Chicken Flavor Bouillon) (this can be found in the mexican section of most grocery stores, Walmart and Costco) I am sure you can use chicken bouillon cubes as well.
1-2 quarts of milk
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
basil, oregano, pepper to taste


There is no exactness to this - you have to do it to taste, desired thickness, and desired amount - it can be easily halved. This amount easily serves 10 people.

Place tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and chicken bouillon in blender on high. Allow to run for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy bottomed pan on med-high. Add flour and mix, making a nice roux. This may need more or less flour. You want a thick paste (almost too thick) consistency. While stirring, allow to cook for a few minutes, taking care not to burn. Place sieve over pan, and pour tomato mixture into roux, straining out all seeds. Quickly stir into roux, making sure to
eliminate any lumps. Continue stirring until entire mixture is smooth, heated, and on the brink of 
boiling. Add milk (once again - to taste and desired thickness), stirring constantly. Heat stirring constantly, but do not bring to a boil (this will curdle the milk) and serve. Season with pepper and fresh basil to taste. 

You can garnish with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese or I like to serve this with mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A few of my favorite "challenge" recipes

Here are the recipes I told those doing the "challenge" that I would post for you... some of my favorites!

1 cup peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or your favorite nut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup flaxseed (you can omit this and do 1 cup of coconut instead of 1/2)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional (if you're doing the challenge make sure you use a "challenge worthy" chocolate chip)

In a medium pot set over medium-low heat, melt together nut butter, honey, and coconut oil, stirring until smooth. Remove from stove and stir in oats, coconut and flaxseed. Pour mixture into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Spread into an even layer, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, and firmly press down with the back of a spatula or clean hands. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Slice into squares or bars (I like to cut 3 rows of 6 bars each) and remove from pan. Store in refrigerator.

6 cups natural popcorn, popped
1/8 c coconut oil
1/8 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Pop popcorn.  Melt oil and honey together, then add vanilla and salt.  Coat popcorn with mixture.

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 box wheat linguini
16 oz bag stir fry vegetables
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth
Cooked cubed chicken (if desired)

Melt together peanut butter, milk, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, and garlic.  Spray large pan and dump veggies in.  Cover and cook on med-hi for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, cook linguini.  Once veggies are tender, add prepared peanut sauce and then broth slowly (stop when you reach desired consistency of sauce).  Add chicken, if desired.  Turn heat to low and cook until warms through.  Toss in linguini.

2 tomatoes, diced
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 chopped avocados
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all together in a bowl and enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Southwest Rice and Bean Salad

 Let me tell you, this stuff is AMAZING! My sister in law made it for me when I had Jonah. I was eating it and thought I must have had five days of hospital food because this stuff is unreal. But I have made it again and again and it just really is that good. Anyone I make it for raves and chows it down. As one of the missionaries said the other day, "I thought I thought I was going to  hate that but it was like the best thing I've ever had". Have I convinced you yet, let me finish by saying it comes together really fast and easy, make great for left over and did I mention it is delish! 

:side note, it is called salad, yet its a warm dish, you figure that one out:

  • 5 cups cooked rice, warm or at room temperature (white, brown, wild rice or a combination!)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1 (12-oz.) can corn, drained
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 pickled jalepeno pepper rounds (found in the glass jars next to the olives, usually)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  1. Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in blender until peppers are finely minced. Toss with salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Now this is the strange ingredient of the batch. But don't be afraid and skip it. They are not hot and adds a great flavor. And trust me, once you make this, you will have not problem using up the whole jar. Fun fact: this company is a client of Jons-true story.

    I think all my current favorite recipes include this beauty.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pasta Al Forno

As mentioned this is a great go-to dish when making meals for someone. I often double it, or just freeze half so I have a meal for another day...Marianne made this for me after I had Raleigh, she was given the recipe by Natalie Paul. This is my version, I believe Natalie makes her own marinara so the original is a bit different.


1 jar of your fav. marinara (I use Newman's Own Marinara)
1 box penne pasta
1/2 lb ground beef
fresh mozzarella

White sauce:
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2 1/4 c milk
pinch nutmeg
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

Start water boiling for penne, then make white sauce in separate pan: Melt butter. Then add milk, and flour. Whisk constantly until boiling. Once boiling turn temp. down to simmer for 20 min, stirring occasionally. Let cool 10 min.

Cook penne and drain. Brown meat and drain, then mix in marinara sauce w/ meat.

In a 9X13 casserole dish layer penne, white sauce, a couple handfuls mozzarella, then marinara/meat and mix all together. Top with mozzarella (I always put a little shredded parmesan on top too!) and cook uncovered 25 min @ 350 or until a bit crispy on top and heated all the way through.