Tag Archives: food

Easy Zesty Green Beans.

See my latest recipe–delicious green beans with three ingredients and two minutes of prep time–here!

Advertisements

Peppermint chocolate fudge.

I know this is the wrong time of year for this…but I don’t care. In my opinion, there is no wrong time of year to make fudge.

Peppermint chocolate fudge.

Peppermint chocolate fudge.

This is a twist on the classic fudge recipe my mom gave me years ago (and she makes the best fudge).  I’m pretty sure it’s the same recipe that’s on the Kraft marshmallow creme jar, but with microwave directions instead of stovetop.  Still, you know those fudge squares that you spend four bucks on because it’s just so good?  This is every bit as good (with or without the peppermint).  I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or 12 oz. Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate)
  • 7 oz. jar Kraft marshmallow creme
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 capful peppermint oil
  • 10-12 Starlite peppermint candies

(Omit the last two ingredients for classic chocolate fudge.  Which is also delicious.)

IMG_0198

Use a large (4-qt is good) microwaveable bowl.  Start with just the butter.

IMG_0199

Microwave butter until melted (usually about a minute on high will do it).

IMG_0202

Add sugar and evaporated milk.

IMG_0203

Mix well.  Microwave three minutes.  Stir.  Microwave two minutes.  Stir well, scraping bowl.

IMG_0207

Microwave another three minutes.  Stir.  Microwave another two and half minutes.  Can you guess what you do then?  (…Stir!)

IMG_0208

Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted.

IMG_0211

Add the marshmallow creme, vanilla, and peppermint oil and stir well to mix.

IMG_0212

It takes a while.

IMG_0216

Eventually it will all come out the same color.

IMG_0217

Dump it into a greased 9″ x 9″ or 13″ x 9″ pan.  You can use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it out.

This part is pretty fun.

This part is pretty fun.

You’ll need to crush the candies before using them to top the fudge.  Put the unwrapped candies in a ziploc bag.  Find a hard, undamageable surface (I used the marble in front of my fireplace; I’ve also used the driveway or sidewalk in the past).  Lay down a towel, put the bag of candies on one half of it, and fold the towel over so the bag is sandwiched between the towel layers.  Then go to town with a hammer!  I usually use an actual hammer for this, but I found this meat pulverizer in my drawer (I think my mother-in-law must’ve bought it last time she was here), which worked quite well (I used the flat, not pokey, side).

IMG_0195

Do feel around and aim for the whole candies and big chunks, and don’t hit harder or more often than you need to.  You don’t want all dust.  Also, the sharp pieces can poke holes in the bag, which is the main reason you need the towel.

IMG_0220

Use your fingers to drop the candy pieces over the fudge.

IMG_0224

Let it cool at room temperature (or refrigerate) before cutting it into squares.

IMG_0230

Then, EAT YOUR WEIGHT IN FUDGE.  This stuff never lasts long in my house!  It’s sooooo gooooooooooood…..

But, a word of warning…

IMG_0237

This is what those pretty candy pieces will look like about twenty-four hours later.  So, if you’re making this for a party or event, don’t do it the day before!  Or at least don’t add the topping until the day of.  I have no idea what causes the candies to…melt…or whatever, but it’s not very pretty.  It does not, however, affect the taste!  In fact, I actually prefer it softer, over the crunchiness of the fresh candies.

Here’s the recipe, for your cut-and-paste convenience:

(Peppermint) Chocolate Fudge

  • 1½ sticks butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup evaporated milk (5 oz can)
  • 12 oz Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate (or 2 cups chips)
  • 1 jar (7 oz) Kraft marshmallow crème
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Optional: 1 capful peppermint oil
  • Optional: 12-16 Starlite peppermint candies, crushed
  1. Microwave butter in 4-quart bowl on high for one minute or until melted.
  2. Add sugar and evaporated milk. Mix well.
  3. Microwave 3 minutes.   Microwave 2 minutes.  Stir well, scraping bowl.
  4. Microwave 3 minutes.   Microwave 2½ minutes.
  5. Stir in chips until melted.
  6. Add remaining ingredients (except for crushed candies, for peppermint fudge) and mix well.
  7. Pour into greased 9×9 or 13×9 pan (for peppermint fudge: top with crushed candies).
  8. Let cool at room temperature (or refrigerate) before cutting into squares.

Enjoy!


Fried Cheesy Bites.

One of the things I miss the most about Indiana is Culver’s.  The closest one from where I live now is a good two hours away, so I haven’t been to one in a while now.  There are two things on the menu that I miss in particular: they have best frozen custard (I like my Concrete Mixer with peppermint syrup and crushed pieces of Heath bar), and I could eat my weight in their Wisconsin Cheese Curds.

I’ve really been craving those cheese curds lately.  So the other day, I loosely followed this recipe that I’d pinned ages ago, and made my own fried cheesy bites of heaven (okay, so they’re not as good as Culver’s’, but they’re still stinkin’ good).

Easy fried cheesy bites.

Easy fried cheesy bites.

They’re super easy to make, and you only need a few ingredients.

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • Vegetable oil (enough to submerge your cheesy bites in your pan)
  • 4-5 sticks of string cheese (any kind)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

IMG_0619

First, fill your pan with enough oil to submerge your coated bites in (the amount will vary by the size of the pan).  Heat the oil on medium heat while you start on your prep.

Assembly line!

Assembly line!

Put the flour in one bowl, the egg (beaten) in another, and the bread crumbs in a third.

Experimentation time.

Experimentation time.

You’ll need four to five sticks of string cheese.  I’ve made these three times this week, and I used all mozzarella the first two times, and decided to experiment with mozarella/cheddar and colby jack the third time.

IMG_0625

Chop ’em up!  How small you go is up to you; I like cutting mine pretty small so there’s more of them to munch on (yes, I understand that it’s still the same amount of cheese, no matter how you cut it).

IMG_0628

Dump them in the flour.

IMG_0629

Using a spoon, stir cheese pieces to coat them in flour.

IMG_0632

If you have a little strainer like this, use it to shake out the excess flour.  If not, just use your hands: pick up each piece and shake off the excess flour before dropping it into the beaten egg.

IMG_0633

(The strainer works much better than doing it by hand.)

IMG_0636

Dump the floured pieces into the bowl of beaten egg.

IMG_0637

Using a fork, stir the cheese pieces to coat them in egg.

IMG_0640

Next, move them a few at a time into the bread crumbs.  Shake off excess egg; I find it’s easiest to fish a few pieces out of the egg with the fork, then pick them up with my fingers to shake them off and drop them into the bread crumbs.

IMG_0641

Stir with the fork to coat the pieces in bread crumbs.  Make sure that none of them are stuck together; you want each piece to be coated on all sides.

IMG_0648

Now they’re ready for frying!  Drop a couple pieces into the oil to see how hot it is.  If they turn dark golden brown within seconds, it’s too hot–take your pan off the heat for a few minutes and turn your stove down a little when you put it back on, and then fry your bites in batches of a stick’s worth or so at a time, monitoring them so they don’t burn.  If your trial bites stay pale (the oil should still bubble around them), then your oil’s not quite hot enough yet, but you can dump all the pieces in at once and they’ll fry slowly as it continues to heat.  They turn out fine both ways (so long as you watchfully don’t let them burn).

IMG_0649

Take them out when they’re a nice golden brown.

IMG_0650

Put paper towels on your plate to absorb excess oil.  Let them cool for a few minutes–but not too long, because they’re best hot!

Look at that glorious, golden, cheesy goodness...my mouth is watering now....

Look at that glorious, golden, cheesy goodness…my mouth is watering now….

So they’re not quite Culver’s, but they’re pretty darn good, and super easy!

IMG_0655

For your cut-and-paste convenience:

Fried Cheesy Bites

  • Vegetable oil (enough to submerge bites in pan)
  • 4-5 cheese sticks (any kind)
  • ⅓-½ cup flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • ⅓-½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  1. Heat vegetable oil in pan or skillet over medium heat.
  2. Chop cheese sticks into small bite-size pieces.
  3. Coat cheese pieces in flour.
  4. Shake excess flour off of cheese pieces.
  5. Drop cheese pieces into beaten egg and stir to coat.
  6. Shake off excess egg from cheese pieces.
  7. Coat in bread crumbs, taking care to coat all sides of each piece.
  8. Drop coated cheese pieces into hot oil; fry until golden brown.
  9. Remove golden brown cheesy bites from oil and let cool slightly on paper towel.

Enjoy!

 

 


Corn Flake Chicken.

This is my very favorite chicken recipe.

Corn flake chicken.

Corn flake chicken.

I’m a picky eater.  I don’t actually like meat (of any kind).  But this chicken dish is all crunch and garlic powder, which overtakes the chicken taste, and I love it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

  • 1 lb thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • 2 cups corn flakes
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 stick butter

Preheat the oven to 350.

CFC 02

Start by grinding up two cups of corn flakes.  My method is to dump them into a pie plate…

CFC 03

…and use a bowl (like a mortar and pestle) to grind them.

CFC 04

How finely you want to grind them is up to you; I try to avoid too much powder, but don’t leave any flakes whole.

CFC 05

Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper, to taste.  I like a lot of garlic powder.  (Like, a lot.  Picture clouds of pale powder puffing up as I toss the flakes to mix it all up.  So. Good.)

CFC 06

Mix the spices thoroughly into the corn flakes.

CFC 07

Melt the stick of butter in a bowl or shallow dish.  (I melt it in the bowl I used as a pestle for the corn flakes; I’m all about fewer dirty dishes!)

CFC 08

Next, set up your assembly line!

I intentionally use thin-sliced chicken for this recipe because I like the corn flake-to-chicken ratio to be as high as possible.  I’ve tried it with larger chicken breasts, and it just isn’t as good!  I’ve stopped buying thin-sliced for everything else, to save money, but this one is worth the higher price.

CFC 09

Dip (and submerge) each piece of chicken into the butter.

CFC 10

Coat it with the corn flake mixture.  (I roll it around a few times, then pile corn flakes on top of each side and press them into the chicken to get as much as possible to stick!)

CFC 11

Arrange the coated chicken in the baking dish.

CFC 12

Once they’re arranged, I sprinkle any remaining corn flakes over the whole dish, and pour a little bit of the leftover butter in for good measure (I love butter…).

CFC 13

Pop it in the oven, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

CFC 14

Done!

CFC 15

Delicious golden goodness…

And for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Corn Flake Chicken

  • 1 lb thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • 2 cups corn flakes, ground
  • ½ Tbsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix corn flakes, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in shallow dish.
  3. Dip chicken in butter, then coat in corn flake mixture.
  4. Arrange coated chicken in baking dish.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 


Chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

I have trouble finding ways to eat protein.  I hate the taste of pretty much all meat (I’ve come to tolerate chicken; I do like turkey bacon and chicken nuggets, however), nuts give me massive headaches, eating eggs regularly makes me feel sick….It’s difficult.

One of my favorite ways to get a little extra protein, though, is my chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

Chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

Chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

As with all other protein sources, my body rejects it and makes me feel sick if I make it too often, but boy is it yummy!  I would drink one of these every day if I could.  (I envy all you people who can, you know, eat food….)

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients (not pictured: ice...because, you know, it melts).

Ingredients (not pictured: ice…because, you know, it melts).

  • Ice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp Nesquik chocolate powder
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder, vanilla flavor
  • 1 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips

And, of course, a decent blender: I love my Ninja.  It came with two single-serving cups, with blades that screw right onto the cups, and both blades and cups are dishwasher safe.  I swear, I would never use my blender if I had to wash a pitcher by hand every time!  This blender rocks.  (And no, no one paid me to say that.  I wish they would, though–it’d be easy money!)

Ice.

Ice.

Start with ice.  I fill my cup about halfway, but I like my shake thin enough to drink easily through a straw.  Add more ice if you want it a bit thicker.

Milk.

Milk.

Add one cup of milk.  (I usually use skim, but all I had on hand today was Kaylie’s whole milk.  Any kind will work.)

Chocolate powder.

Chocolate powder.

Add two tablespoons of Nesquik chocolate powder.  And don’t use that sugar-free crap; you can totally taste the difference with this stuff!  Don’t be one of those people.

Peanut butter.

Peanut butter.

Add approximately one tablespoon of peanut butter.  Peanut butter is one of those things that is a beast to measure out, of course, so I just eyeball it.

Protein powder.

Protein powder.

Add one scoop of protein powder.  I like this vanilla-flavored stuff from Sam’s Club.

Chocolate chips.

Chocolate chips.

Add one tablespoon of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Or two tablespoons.  Or half a cup.  You know, sometimes it’s just one of those days when you need half a cup of chocolate chips.  Don’t judge.

Assembled.

Assembled.

Mine always ends up a little past the “max fill” line, but I’ve never had a problem.

Love my Ninja cups!

Love my Ninja cups!

The blade screws right onto the cup…very handy.

Ready to blend!

Ready to blend!

Screw onto blender…

Blended!

Blended!

…and blend!

IMG_9967

Done!

Chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

Chocolate peanut butter protein shake.

And for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake (435 calories/31.5 grams protein)

  • Ice
  • 1 cup skim milk (90/8)
  • 2 Tbsp Nesquik chocolate powder (60/0)
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter (95/3.5)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (120/20)
  • 1 Tbsp chocolate chips (70/0)

Combine all ingredients and blend thoroughly.

Enjoy!


Dinosaur Meat (or, Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes).

The year my husband and I got engaged, we flew to California to spend Christmas vacation with his immediate and extended family.  It was the first time he’d brought me home, and I got lots of stories from his childhood.  One of my favorites was that when he was young, he believed for years (the first time my mother-in-law told the story, I think it was until he was ten; he gets older every time she tells it! 😉 ) that this particular meal was made of actual dinosaur meat.  (He defends his younger self by reasoning that he’d heard of mammoths and such being found relatively intact, preserved in ice.  Why not dinosaurs, too?  And why wouldn’t they sell the meat to grocery stores?  Why would parents lie about such a thing?  Aw, he was so trusting.)

So, we call this meal “Dinosaur Meat” in our house.  (It’s actually corned beef and cabbage with potatoes.)

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes.

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes.

We make it every year for St. Patrick’s Day, and a couple other times just for fun.  It’s an easy crockpot meal, and it smells soooo gooooood.

Seriously.  Half the time, I make it just so I can smell it cooking all day.  I don’t actually like corned beef (super picky eater here; I make this one for the hubby), but I love the way it smells.  So. Good.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

  • Slab of corned beef, with seasoning (mine was a little over two and a half pounds)
  • Head of cabbage
  • 6-8 red potatoes

And, of course, you’ll need a crockpot.  And I like to use these slow cooker liners to cut down on clean-up, but–fair warning–they end up leaking once every three or four times I use them.  Like this time.  Which is why the first half of the pictures show a liner, and the second half don’t (it leaked so badly this time that I just pulled the liner out from under the cooking meat).  But they do help the other sixty-six to seventy-five percent of the time….

Quarter potatoes.

Quarter potatoes.

First, wash and quarter the red potatoes.

I am the master of making things fit.  (You should see me pack a suitcase.)

I am the master of making things fit. (You should see me pack a suitcase.)

Begin arranging potatoes in the crockpot.

Of course you can just dump the meat and potatoes in the crockpot any which way, but I prefer to fit as much in there as is physically possible.  I always arrange a ring of potatoes around the bottom before I put the meat in.

Add meat.

Add meat.

Add the meat.  (See how nicely those potatoes cradle the meat?  No wasted space!)

Add rest of potatoes.

Add rest of potatoes.

Add the rest of the potatoes.

This is why we buy corned beef.

This is why we buy corned beef.

This is the packet of seasoning included with store-bought corned beef.  This is what makes it smell so heavenly.

Sprinkle seasoning.

Sprinkle seasoning.

Sprinkle the seasoning over the meat and potatoes.

Cover with water.

Cover with water.

Add enough water to fully cover the meat and potatoes.

Turn it on.....this is an important step.

Turn it on…..this is an important step.

Cook it on high for 6-8 hours.  You’ll want to flip the meat over every once in a while, but otherwise, just sit back and enjoy that wonderful smell wafting through your house.  (I don’t even know what it is in that packet that makes it smell so good….it just does…..mmmmmm……)

When you get to 1-2 hours from the end…

Eighth cabbage.  Quarter, then halve?  Halve, halve, halve?  Whatever, you want eight chunks.

Eighth cabbage. Quarter, then halve? Halve, halve, halve? Whatever, I like it in eight chunks.

…wash and cut your cabbage to add.  I like to cut it into eight chunks; it fits better into the crockpot that way, and the pieces are more manageable.

Add cabbage.

Add cabbage.

Add the cabbage to the crockpot.  Add more water as necessary.

Hey, where'd that liner go?  Did you even notice?

Hey, where’d that liner go? Did you even notice?

I check it every so often to make sure it’s all mostly submerged, and stir it around a bit to cook more evenly.

Done!

Done!

The potatoes and cabbage will be nice and soft by the time it’s done, and the meat should be fairly easy to pull apart.

Please ignore the dirty dishes on the counter.  (I have children.  We make memories.)

Please ignore the dirty dishes on the counter. (I have children. We make memories.)

I make my husband handle the corned beef, because I don’t like meat.  He fishes it out of the crockpot and uses forks to shred it in a bowl or in the container we’ll put the leftovers in.

15

…and he samples it repeatedly, until I forcibly pry the forks from his fingers and push him away from the counter so I can take another picture before dishing our servings.

Shredded.

Shredded.

He claims that the larger grain of the meat was one of the reasons he believed his parents about it being dinosaur meat.  Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

Dinosaur meat!  And some other stuff.

Dinosaur meat! And some other stuff.

We told Kaylie, our three-year-old, we were pretending it was dinosaur meat, and then somehow the cabbage got renamed “alien brains”, too, so now this meal is just really weird.  (Any suggestions on what we should call the potatoes?)

Dinosaur meat, alien brains, and potatoes.  One of these things is not like the others...

Dinosaur meat, alien brains, and potatoes. One of these things is not like the others…

For your cut-and-paste convenience:

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes

  • 1 slab corned beef, with seasoning packet
  • 1 head cabbage, quartered
  • 6-8 red potatoes, quartered
  1. Arrange meat, seasoning, and potatoes in crockpot.  Cover with water.
  2. Cook on high for 6-8 hours.
  3. Add cabbage for last 1-2 hours of cook time.

And that’s how we make dinosaur meat!  Enjoy. 🙂


Frozen Pineapple Cranberry Bites.

Summer’s coming!  At least, I think it is….so this seems like a good time to introduce you to a great summer snack!

Frozen pineapple cranberry bites: three ingredients.

Frozen pineapple cranberry bites: three ingredients.

This one’s super easy, folks.  Just three ingredients:

Three ingredients: crushed pineapple, whole cranberry sauce, and vanilla yogurt.

Three ingredients: crushed pineapple, whole cranberry sauce, and vanilla yogurt.

  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 14 oz can whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
Dump.

Dump.

Dump all the ingredients into a large bowl.

Mix.

Mix.

Stir to mix.

Spoon into mold.

Spoon into mold.

Spoon into a freezable tray (I use my silicon mini-muffin trays).

Freeze.

Freeze.

Pop ’em in the freezer for a while.

Done!

Done!

Aaaaaand, they’re done.

See?  Super easy.

07

I pop all of mine out of the tray and store them in the freezer in an airtight container, with foil between each layer.  Whatever doesn’t fit in that gets tossed into a freezer bag; they stick together a little that way, but it’s not too bad.

08

It’s better than sugary popsicles on all those hot days coming up, right?  (They are coming, right?)

Fun with shapes!

Fun with shapes!

There’s always too much for just two trays, and I’m never in the mood to freeze them in batches, so I used one of my Christmas trays for the remainder.

Snowflakes!

Snowflakes!

These snacks hold their shape pretty well!  At least until they start melting…

Cooooooold!

Cooooooold!

I think it’s been about a year since I last made these for Kaylie; she was a bit taken aback by how cold they were!

And for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Frozen Pineapple-Cranberry Bites

  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 can (14 oz) whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Pour into freezable tray (e.g., silicon muffin tray).
  3. Freeze at least 3 hours.

Now, all we need is some warmer weather! 🙂


Pesto Cream Pasta.

Confession: When it comes to cooking, I like to cheat.

There are some things that are better made from scratch (like pizza dough), but if I can take a shortcut by using something pre-made, or dried instead of fresh (I killed all my herb plants), I tend to do it.  It’s easier, and often cheaper, and those are things I value more highly than making a dish taste marginally better by sticking to a complicated or labor-intensive recipe.

I still remember the day I discovered The Pioneer Woman.  I was still in the “PIN ALL THE THINGS!!” phase of my Pinterest relationship, and I admit I went a little nuts.  I even went so far as to print off several pages of cut-and-paste recipes gleaned from her website, some of which I managed to maintain the momentum to actually try within the week.  One of those was her Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce.

Pesto Cream Pasta.

Pesto Cream Pasta.

I love pasta alfredo, but my hubby finds it too plain, so the pesto in this dish gives it that extra kick of flavor.

I’m sure it’s better her way.  But making pesto from scratch?  Fresh basil is pricey, and homegrown, in my house, is, well, dead.  (Seriously.  Black thumb here.)  And pine nuts?  I think that was the deciding factor in going with jarred pesto instead of attempting to make it myself, because I have no idea what aisle the pine nuts are in at the grocery store.  (And I really am lazy enough for that to scare me away.)  So I cheated.

I’m glad I did.  Simpler works better for me, and this dish is still really good.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

  • 8-12 oz pasta (we like veggie pasta)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp jarred pesto

IMG_9238

Cook pasta according to package directions.  (I went with about 8 0z this night–for me, the amount depends on whether this is the main course or a side.)

Most things that start with butter and heavy cream end well.

Most things that start with butter and heavy cream end well.

While the pasta cooks, heat the butter and heavy cream over medium-low heat.

IMG_9235

(I get so bored waiting for things to melt or boil.  Not a patient person.)

IMG_9239

Once the butter has melted, add the pesto and parmesan.

IMG_9242

Stir to mix.

IMG_9247

When the pasta’s done…

IMG_9248

…drain it.

You know how when you make a sauce, and then pour it over something, there’s always quite a bit remaining, clinging to the sides and bottom of the saucepan and refusing to drip out at a reasonable rate?  (Again, not a patient person.)  There are two ways around this: either dump the pasta into the sauce (instead of the sauce onto the pasta), or…

IMG_9252

Dump two-thirds of the pasta back into the pot it cooked in (or into a serving dish), and pour the sauce over it.  Dump the remaining third of pasta into the sauce pot, stir to coat…

IMG_9255

…add it to the rest of the pasta and sauce.   No sauce wasted!

Pouring the pasta into the sauce is simpler, but I always end up cooking the pasta in the bigger saucepan and the sauce in the smaller one, and I’ve learned the messy way that there is not room to stir the pasta and sauce in the small one.

IMG_9256

And there you go!  Easy pasta, but not alfredo-boring.  I love it!

And for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce

  • 8-12 oz pasta
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp jarred pesto
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  2. Heat cream and butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Add pesto and parmesan; stir.
  4. Toss pasta in pesto cream sauce.

Enjoy!  (And if you have time to try it the “real” way, I’d love to hear from you how they compare!)

 


Cheesy Baked Pasta.

I love pasta.  I love cheese.  So, naturally, I love cheesy pasta.

But I don’t like it with weird stuff in it.  Like mustard, or nutmeg.  (I’m super picky.  It sucks.)

So, this is a very basic-but-delicious dish of gooey goodness.

Cheesy pasta bake.

Cheesy pasta bake.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

  • 16 oz rigatoni, ziti, or penne
  • 16 oz jarred alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • parsley, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook pasta, in a big pot.

Cook pasta, in a big pot.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Use a big pot; you’re going to have to dump it all back in there once it’s cooked and stir it in sauce.  (I used a smaller pot once.  It did not end well.)

What, you've never done this?

What, you’ve never done this?

While the pasta cooks, pour the entire jar of alredo sauce into a large bowl.  Then pour the heavy cream into the jar.  Put the lid back on and shake well.

This is how you get ALL the alfredo out of the jar.  Well, as much as is physcally possible, anyway.

This is how you get ALL (or as much as possible) of the alfredo out of the jar.

Pour the contents of the jar into the bowl.

Alfredo, heavy cream, and sour cream.

Alfredo, heavy cream, and sour cream.

Add the sour cream.

Stir to mix.

Stir to mix.

Stir to mix well, and set aside.

Beat the eggs.

Beat the eggs.

Crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl.  Beat with a fork.

Eggs, ricotta, parmesan, and parsley.

Eggs, ricotta, parmesan, and parsley.

Add the ricotta, parmesan, and parsley.

Stir.

Stir.

Stir to mix well.

Stirred and mixed.

Stirred and mixed.

Once it’s thoroughly mixed, set it aside.

Drain pasta.

Drain pasta.

By now, the pasta should be done.  If it is, drain it.

Back in the pot.

Back in the pot.

Dump drained pasta back into the pot.

Add alfredo mixture.

Add alfredo mixture.

Pour the alfredo mixture into the pot with the pasta.

Stir to coat.

This is why we needed a big pot.

Stir to coat the pasta evenly.

Spread half of pasta in baking dish.

Spread half of pasta in baking dish.

Spread half of the pasta in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Add ricotta mixture.

Add ricotta mixture.

Spoon ricotta mixture over the pasta.

Spread evenly.

Spread evenly.

Spread evenly with spoon or spatula.

Add the rest of the pasta.

Add the rest of the pasta.

Spread the remaining pasta over the ricotta mixture.

Top with mozzarella.

Top with mozzarella.

Top evenly with mozzarella.

Baking time!

Baking time!

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Done!

Done!

Remove when the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

Delicious cheesy goodness.

Delicious cheesy goodness.

So good!  It’s also good reheated–with our family size, we could easily cut the recipe in half and have plenty for dinner, but I make the full amount every time because then I get leftovers! 🙂

And for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Cheesy Baked Pasta

  • 16 oz pasta (rigatoni, ziti, or penne)
  • 16 oz jarred alfredo sauce
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz ricotta
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • Parsley, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In large pot, cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Dump alfredo sauce into a large bowl.  Pour heavy cream into alfredo jar; replace lid and shake well, then pour contents into bowl.  Add sour cream and mix well; set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, beat eggs, then add ricotta, parmesan, and parsley.  Mix well; set aside.
  5. Drain cooked pasta; return to large pot.  Add alfredo sauce mixture and stir to coat.
  6. Spread half of pasta in greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
  7. Spoon ricotta mixture over pasta in baking dish; spread evenly.
  8. Spread remaining pasta over ricotta mixture.
  9. Top with mozzarella.
  10. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.

Brown Sugar Carrots.

This is the only way I like my carrots.

I’m a pretty picky eater, but I do like a few basic vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, peas, corn, and carrots).  And this is by far the tastiest and easiest way I’ve found to eat carrots.

Easy three-ingredient carrots.

Easy three-ingredient carrots.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
Chop 'em up.

Chop ’em up.

Wash, peel, and chop the carrots as thick or thin as you like.

All good things involve butter.

All good things involve butter.

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.

Good things often involve sugar, too.

Good things often involve sugar, too.

Once the butter has melted, add your brown sugar.

By the way, I know I listed 1/3 cup brown sugar, but let’s be honest: it tastes better with more like 2/3 cup.  But that’s obviously not as healthy.  Of course, we’re dumping our carrots into butter and sugar, so how healthy are we trying to be, really?  But 1/3 cup is about the minimum amount of brown sugar that you need for these carrots to taste good, not just a little bit sweet.

Stir.

Stir.

Stir butter and brown sugar to mix.

Add carrots.

Add carrots.

Add chopped carrots; stir to coat.

Cover and simmer.

Cover and simmer.

Cover pan and simmer on low heat for at least twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.

Apparently, carrots leak.

Apparently, carrots leak.

By the way: In the beginning, two tablespoons of butter doesn’t look like enough for a pound of carrots to “simmer” in, but as they cook, the carrots leak their own juice.

Typically, once I cover the carrots and lower the heat, I move on to making the rest of dinner, and let the carrots simmer for however long it takes to get the rest ready.  I’m a big fan of overcooking vegetables, though, so you may not want them simmering for more than thirty minutes if you like to keep a little crunch.

All vegetables should taste like candy.

All vegetables should taste like candy.

And that’s it!  I’m a fan of easy.

And, for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Brown Sugar Carrots

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  1. Wash, peel, and chop carrots.
  2. Melt butter in pan over medium heat.
  3. Add brown sugar; stir to mix.
  4. Add chopped carrots; stir to coat.
  5. Cover pan and simmer over low heat at least 20 minutes.