Monday, December 2, 2013

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

The Pioneer Woman strikes again. I didn’t know what to think about this dish the first time I read through it. It’s such a strange combo. Tomato sauce with egg noodles and sour cream and cottage cheese…then top it with cheddar cheese? Random. But delicious:) 

It’s such a great recipe to double and freeze for future dinners. And you bet I’m doing it. Good down home cooking right here.

1-1/4 pound ground beef
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 t salt
Pepper to taste
8 oz egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions (or to taste)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients. Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.

To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.

If freezing, put in dishes and top with remaining cheese, cover with foil and put in the freezer until ready to use. Remove and bake with foil on until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 40 minutes.

*From the Pioneer Woman

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lemon Bars

OOOO how I love a good lemon bar!! I never had really tried to make a homemade lemon bar until now. I don’t know why. It’s so easy not to just make them homemade! My friend, Netty, had them at one of her kids baptisms and I couldn’t believe how delicious they were. Such a light, flaky and buttery crust paired with a smooth, creamy lemon filling. I love how the top get’s crisp while the middle stays creamy. Oh so delicious!! 

For the Crust:
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
dash of salt

In a bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. Melt butter and pour over dry ingredients and mix together until dough is formed. Press into a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the Filling:
4 eggs
1/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
6 T lemon juice

Beat eggs and then add remaining ingredients. Mix well and pour onto baked crust. Bake 25 minutes. Cool completely and place in the fridge until cold. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

This is one of the most amazing cakes I’ve ever made. Do you see how beautiful and FALL it is?! It’s so perfect for the season.
I’m not going to lie, this is NOT a low fat, low calorie dessert:) But hey, it’s my philosophy that if you’re going to eat dessert, you need to eat it right. And this is just oh so right.
Pumpkin cake, crunchy streusel and whipped cream cheese frosting layered to perfection.
So next time you’re looking for a fall dessert to make, make this one. It’s so perfect in so many ways. Oh and this also isn’t a cake you’re going to whip up in 30 minutes. It’s a little time intensive, but it’s worth it, so do it:)

Crunch Topping
3 cups pecans, finely chopped
3 cups vanilla wafers (about 75 cookies)
3 cups brown sugar
3 sticks butter

Pumpkin Cake
1¼ cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1 16 oz can pumpkin
2 1/4 cups flour
½ cup sour cream
1 T vanilla
1 T pumpkin pie spice
2¼ t baking powder
¾ t baking soda
½ t salt
4 Eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 blocks (16 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 stick softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 T powdered sugar

Crunch Topping
  1. Melt butter
  2. In a food processor, pulse cookies to a fine crumb. Remove from processor and put into a medium bowl.
  3. Then pulse pecans to very small pieces. Add pecans to the bowl with the cookie crumbs.
  4. Add in brown sugar and mix well.
  5. Add in melted butter and mix until completely blended.
  6. Place one very full cup of the mixture into 3 heavily greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pans, pressing into bottom and spreading it evenly into the cake pans. There will be plenty leftover which will be baked to use on the sides of the cake.
  7. Set pans aside and begin cake.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pumpkin Cake
  1. In your mixer beat sugar and butter for about 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy, scrapping down the bowl frequently .
  2. Add in pumpkin and all the rest of the ingredients, except the eggs. Mix just until blended. Do not over blend.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides after each addition.
  4. Divide batter equally into your 3 prepared cake pans on top of the nut/cookie mixture, smooth it out and make it as even as possible in the pan.
  5. Place remaining crunch mixture in a 4th cake pan or pie dish and allow to bake for the same amount of time as the cakes.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you use 2 racks to bake on in the oven, at the halfway mark rotate the pans. Even if you have them all on the same rack, it’s best to switch them out halfway through.
  7. Allow pans to cool about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire racks and allow to completely cool. DO NOT LET THE CAKES COOL IN THE PANS. This is important because the crunch mixture will stick to the pans and you’ll be scraping it out. Now don’t worry if it sticks. Just piece it back together as best you can because remember that it really doesn’t matter because you’ll be covering it all up with frosting anyway. That’s the beauty of layered cakes:)
  8. Break up the extra crunch mix to very small bits to use to decorate the cake with.
  9. While your cakes are baking prepare a cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Whip the butter until very fluffy and white. Add the cream cheese and whip until very fluffy.
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar while mixer is on low setting
  3. Add in vanilla and mix well and whip for several minutes until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream with the 2 T powdered sugar until stiff peaks are formed.
  5. Gently fold the whipping cream into the cream cheese mixture.
  1. After your cake is completely cooled, I mean COMPLETELY cooled. You don’t want it to be warm at all otherwise it will melt the frosting. I recommend refrigerating the layers a while, especially if you had to piece the crumb mixture back on top of the cake. Then begin frosting the layers and putting the cake together.
  2. Frost one layer of cake.  Top the frosted layer with a second layer and frost the top. Repeat with the third layer.
  3. When you have assembled all the layers with some frosting between them, start to spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top.
  4. When finished frosting the cake, coat sides and top with your extra crunch mixture. Just take handfuls of the crunch mixture and carefully smash it into the sides of the frosted cake.
  5. *Store cake in refrigerator.
*Adapted from

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kids Granola Bar Bites


I think I’ve found a gem here. These are SO good and the kids are crazy for them! I made a batch on Monday, just to try them out, and they were gone by Thursday. Bryce asked for them in his lunch EVERY day and they even asked for them for dessert after dinner! I think I tricked them with the Mini M&Ms. I don’t care, all I know is that they love them, I love them and they’re a healthy snack. Win, win, win!

2 cups rice crispy cereal
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds (or nut of your choice)
4 T ground flax seed
3 T chia seeds
3 T wheat bran
1 T olive oil (or coconut oil if you have it)
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup Mini M&M’s

In a large saute pan, toast the oats and nuts until fragrant. Then combine them in a large mixing bowl with the rice cereal, flax seed, chia seeds, and wheat bran. Add oil and vanilla and stir until well distributed. 

In a microwave safe bowl, heat the honey for 1 minute 30 seconds. It will be bubbly and hot when it’s done. Remove the hot honey mixture and stir in marshmallows until they melt. If they don’t melt all the way, put them back in for an additional 10-15 seconds. Stir peanut butter into honey/marshmallow mixture until completely combined and smooth. Pour over dry mix and stir until everything is coated evenly. 

Let rest about 5 minutes to cool down and then sprinkle in M&Ms. Gently stir to distribute them.
Using 2 sandwich bags with your hands in them, take small handfuls of the mixture and shape them into balls and them place them on a lined cookie sheet. By the end, the M&Ms might be kind of smash from being warm, but it doesn't matter because they're still good...just smash away! 

Refrigerate or freeze until set. After they’re set, you can put them in a large Ziploc bag or airtight container, but store them in the fridge. Then enjoy the goodness!

*Adapted from

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Italian Sausage Pasta

I saw a form of this on Pinterest, and knew I needed to make it. The original was kind of a spicy Mexican dish, but I thought it would be better Italian style. Our family LOVED this dish!! The best part to me was that it took about 25 minutes to make and it’s ALL IN ONE PAN! I needed a dinner like this to put in my rotation because I’m so burnt out on dinner. There’s basically no prep and you put everything in one pan, put the lid on, set the timer and dinner’s done in about 15 minutes. Life saver. An I can’t believe how delicious it is! LOVE, love love it.

1 lb smoked sausage (beef or turkey), cut into bite sized pieces
8 ounces penne pasta
1 small onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, add about 1T olive oil and heat on medium high. Add sausage, onions and garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, milk and pasta with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to medium low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Then enjoy this one-pot wonder! This fed my family of 2 adults and 3 small children perfectly with no leftovers. Enjoy!

*Adapted from

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Homemade Oreos

I’m such a slacker on here. I made a bunch of new recipes a few weeks ago then realized that my camera was in the shop and had no way to take pictures of them! So dumb. I’ve been in a cooking slump. It seems like it’s been going on for some time now…what the heck?!
I’ve made these so many times. Too many times:) My cousin, Jami, made them for me while I was there about a year ago and they’ve been one of my favorites since then. I get RAVE reviews EVERY SINGLE TIME I make them. The only thing is that they need to be made fresh. They’re not the “make the night before” cookies. They don’t take any time at all, so that makes up for it. ENJOY!
1 box Devils Food cake mix
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil
1/2 recipe Perfect Buttercream (found here)
About 20 Chocolate Cream Oreos, crushed in a food processor

In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, eggs and and oil until moist. Mixture will be thick. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of batter onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. (You can make them bigger, but I like to keep them bite-sized and plus it makes more. If you make them bigger, you’ll only get about 12-15 cookie sandwiches. If you make them smaller, you get about 20-25.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes depending on the size. They’re ready to come out when the tops start to crack.
Let them sit for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing them to a cooling rack.
Prepare the buttercream, recipe found here. After it’s good and fluffy, fold in the crushed Oreos. Then frost one cookie and put another on top. Now don’t be stingy with the filling:) You want them good and plump. Then watch them disappear before your eyes.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

7-Up Biscuits

So I needed a bread to make at the last minute on Sunday and got online to see what I could find. I really wanted rolls, but didn’t have the time. I’ve made several biscuit recipes that I love, but wanted to see if there was something else out there. That’s when I found these.
I will never make another biscuit! They were so flaky, buttery and delicious. Not to mention super fast. Because of Bryce’s birthday party I happened to have 7-up on hand which was awesome since we never have soda in the house. Also since I didn’t have Bisquick, I ended up making my own, which I ‘m also going to keep using. If you have people coming over at the last minute and need something quick and delicious, try these!!

4 cups Bisquick (or all of this homemade recipe found here)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7-up
1/2 cup (1stick) melted butter

Mix Bisquick, sour cream and 7-up in a large bowl. Dough will be very soft. I actually had to add a little more Bisquick until I was able to handle it to knead it. Knead and fold dough until it comes together. Flour your counter and pat dough out until about 1 inch thick. Cut them out using a cookie cutter or cup about 3-4 inches wide. Melt butter and put into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place biscuits on top of melted butter. You should end up with almost exactly 12 biscuits. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned on top. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Creamy Coleslaw

For Father’s Day, Justin wanted pulled pork sandwiches, so I decided to find the best coleslaw recipe out there. This one caught my eye because it had buttermilk in it and buttermilk makes everything better:) It’s a runnier sauce, but I LOVED it. I also loved how it got better and better each day it sat in the fridge. So delicious!

28 oz. bag of Coleslaw mix
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2T white vinegar
2 1/2 T lemon juice
2t Dijon mustard

In a large bowl, combine everything but the cabbage mix. Whisk until smooth. Add the cabbage mix and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring every once in a while. Stir well before serving. It gets better with time!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Avocado Chicken Salad

Made this. Loved it. Then I made it again because I didn’t feel guilty AT ALL because it’s delicious, easy AND healthy:)

1 cup shredded chicken (I use canned chicken and it’s great)
1 avocado, mashed
1 lime
1-2 T cilantro depending on how much you like it
salt and pepper

Add chicken and avocado to a bowl and mix. Add lime, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Eat with crackers, in a sandwich or on my personal favorite, Bagel Thins. Enjoy!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Snickerdoodle Brownies

I love a good Snickerdoodle. These just go beyond anything you’ve ever known about a Snickerdoodle! They ARE a brownie even though they’re not brown:) They are dense and chewy, with a crisp top. Nothing better. They were so easy and different, which I always love. Enjoy!

2 1/3 cup flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 3T brown sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir it together and set it aside.

In your mixing bowl, combine the butter, 1 1/4 c sugar, and the brown sugar. Mix together until creamy and smooth. Mix in 3 eggs, one at a time, and finally the vanilla. Whip until smooth and fluffy.

Mix in the flour mixture. It will be thick. Spread the dough into the baking dish.
In a another bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and the cinnamon, and sprinkle it all over the top of the dough. Run a knife through the dough zig-zagging one end to the other. Bake for 25-30 minutes, and then cool completely before cutting, if you can stand it!

From *

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Taco Pie

I knew this would be an instant hit in our family. It’s so easy and a delicious twist on a classic dish. A taco on top of a bed of crescent rolls….mmmmm. And it’s a perfect amount to feed our family. I LOVE not having leftovers!!

1  package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup sour cream 
1/2 cup pepperjack cheese
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 small bag corn chips, crushed
Any other taco toppings that your family likes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lay crescent dough flat on the bottom of a greased pie plate. Place into the oven and bake according to package directions, which is usually about 11 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat about 1t olive oil in a pan. When it’s hot, add the onion and and garlic and saute until onions are soft, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef.  Break up the meat into chunks with a spoon or spatula while cooking. Add the taco seasoning and stir together until well mixed.

When the dough is done, remove from the oven and spoon the taco meat over the crust in an even layer, then a spread on the sour cream, add half of the corn chips, then a layer on the cheese and then top off with the rest of the chips. Return to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Top with your favorite taco toppings such as lettuce, tomato, olives, onions, salsa, or avocado. Enjoy!

*Adapted from Blog Chef

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rainbow Cupcakes

These were really fun and the kids LOVED them! I made them for a dinner with a rainbow theme and it really brought it all together.
They’re not hard at all and actually didn’t take that long either. You just separate out a white cake mix into 6 different bowls and color them with the colors of the rainbow. That’s it! Then I topped them off with my whipped cream cheese frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

1 box white cake mix (and all the ingredients listed on the box)

Make the cake according to box directions. Separate into 6 different bowls and mix in  red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple food coloring gels into the different bowls. Spoon about 1T of each color into each cupcake liner, trying to layer the colors. I ended up using 1/2 the batter in full sized cupcakes and half in mini cupcakes. Mini cupcakes are always so fun, especially for parties! Then top with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows.)  I topped the regular cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles and the mini ones with one Skittle. 

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

16oz (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
2T powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip until very light and fluffy with your whisk attachment. In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream and 2T powdered sugar  until stiff peaks are formed. Fold into the cream cheese mixture. DO NOT OVERBEAT. When incorporated, pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy the colors of the rainbow!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Oh wow. This cake is delicious. If you’re in the mood for cinnamon rolls, but don’t want to wait for them to rise, make this!! It only takes about 30 minutes and it tastes like a hot, fresh cinnamon roll. I’ve already made this several times and the pan is licked clean almost immediately. YUMMY!

3 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1 cup sugar
4 t baking powder
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan., Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 T flour
1 T cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Cream together until smooth and a little runny. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick (like a frosting) add more milk. Pour over hot cake. Serve warm. YUM!

* Adapted from

Monday, April 1, 2013

Layered Jello

Lately my kids have been OBSESSED with Jello. They are all about it. So I thought it would be fun to make a pretty, layered Jello for them for Easter. I’m not going to lie, this takes some time people. But look how cute it is!! And it tastes amazing. Now my kids call it sandwich Jello because you can pick it up and eat it like a sandwich, which happens to be the perfect thing for kids!
And just imagine the possibilities! 4th of July, birthdays, parties. Oh, and it’s sure to impress. Our guests loved it and we all sat and enjoyed  eating all the different layers one at a time. So if you feel the urge to make a beautiful Jello, and you have 2 hours of your life to spare (ha) make this awesome Jello!!

4 3-ounce packages of Jell-O
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 packets unflavored gelatin
Water as directed

Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and wipe out the excess with a paper towel. Set the pan aside.

Mix 1 package of Jell-O with 1 1/4 teaspoons (1/2 packet) of unflavored gelatin. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir to combine completely. Pour the first layer into the prepared pan and refrigerate in a completely level shelf of the fridge for 20 minutes.

While the first layer is setting, mix 1 cup boiling water with the can of sweetened condensed milk in a smallish-medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Allow it to stand for 2-3 minutes or until the gelatin has absorbed the water and it becomes grainy. When it is ready, add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir completely. Allow to come to room temperature.
When the first layer of Jell-O has set, carefully pour 1 cup of the sweetened condensed milk mixture over the Jell-O layer and return the pan to the refrigerator. Chill for 15 minutes or until set.

After you return the pan to the refrigerator, repeat the Jell-O step (1 package Jell-O + 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin + 1 cup boiling water). If you do it immediately after you put the pan back in the fridge, it should be room temperature by the time the sweetened condensed milk layer has set up. Pour it over the milk layer, chill, repeat with milk, then Jell-O, then milk, then Jell-O. You should begin and end with Jell-O layers and have 4 layers of Jell-O with 3 layers of milk in between. As you go, if the milk begins to set up, place the bowl in a larger bowl or a shallow pan and add some hot water to the larger pan/bowl to keep the milk mixture from setting up.

When the last layer has set up, carefully cut into cubes or use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes. If you run the cookie cutter or knife under hot water for a few seconds and then dry it, it will help make pretty final cuts/shapes.

*From Our Best Bites

Friday, March 22, 2013

Birthday Pancakes

I was going with a sprinkles theme with Camryn’s birthday, so I thought Funfetti pancakes would be a great way to start the birthday celebration! I’m convinced that it’s a new tradition for our family. The kids ate them up and kept asking for more. Probably because it’s basically cake in pancake form:)And what kid doesn’t love sprinkles?! You’re kids will surely feel special if you present a tall stack of these pancakes to them on their big day.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cake mix
1 T sugar
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/4t salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (regular milk can be substituted)
1/2 cup milk
2T butter, melted
1t vanilla
1/3 cup (or 1.75oz bottle) sprinkles

Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cake mix, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the milks, butter and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until fully mixed. Fold in the sprinkles.

Scoop portions of a scant 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle, leaving room for the batter to spread into larger rounds. When the pancakes begin to bubble, flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. We like to eat ours with whipped cream. They’re basically little cakes, so syrup seemed a little much for me. The kids LOVE whipped cream, so I thought it was quite fitting.

*From Seeded at the Table

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Favorite Snack

I've found my new favorite snack. I've got a HUGE sweet tooth that I'm currently trying to tame:) This is SO beyond delicious to me. I feel like I'm cheating and eating some sort of dessert. I've also found my new favorite yogurt:

I'm not much of a Greek yogurt all. I tried several and was disappointed by the taste and texture. But this one...YUMM. I love how it has a great taste, has double the protein, AND is still only 80 calories. Love it. I personally prefer the vanilla flavor over anything. I also use this yogurt in my breakfast every morning with some cottage cheese, Fiber One and some strawberries. I'm tellin ya...GOOD! Anyway, back to my favorite snack. If you're a peanut butter fan, you'll absolutely fall in love with this!!!! And you also won't feel so bad because it's packed with protein, fiber, is SUPER filling, but is still only around 200 calories. 

1 small container vanilla Greek yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
1 T peanut butter
1/8 t cinnamon
1 apple cut up

Mix yogurt, peanut butter and cinnamon until smooth. Devour with cut up apples and ENJOY!!!

Pin It

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cream Cheese Lasagna

 It's no secret that cream cheese is one of my favorite things. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it! I love making lasagna, but never do because I never have ricotta on hand. I love how the cream cheese takes the place of the other cheese in this dish! I also love how perfect it stands up. Sometimes lasagna can get soupy, but this is the perfect combo of sauce and cheese. I love a twist on classic dishes!
1 box of lasagna noodles (about 9-12 noodles)
2 quarts (64 oz.) Aunties Spaghetti Sauce, recipe found here (or storebought is fine if you must...:))
1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage
2- 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
11/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Italian Seasoning
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large sauce pan, brown the sausage over medium heat, breaking into small pieces. Once the meat is fully cooked, add the spaghetti sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
Boil the noodles in a large pot of salty water, according to package instructions. Remove the noodles and lay them out on wax paper.

Spray an 9X13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Smear 9-12 noodles with an equal portion of cream cheese. (The number of noodles used depends on the width of the pan.)

Start assembling the lasagna: One large scoop of meat sauce on the bottom, 3-4 noodles across (cream cheese side up), 1/3 of the mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat. After the third layer of noodles with cream cheese, pour the rest of the sauce over the noodles before adding the last layer of the mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle the top with Italian Seasoning.

Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes—until the cheese is toasty and the sides are bubbling. Wait at least 10 minutes before cutting.

If making this ahead, cover well, refrigerate, and bake for 40-50 minutes to heat through!

*From A Spicy Perspective

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tortellini Soup

This is my NEW FAVORITE FOOD! It is beyond delicious AND beyond easy. You can either put it in a crockpot or can cook it on stovetop. I love it’s versatility. I love how it’s delicious the next day for lunch and dinner:) I just love it, OK! You will agree with me in saying it’s your favorite meal as soon as you make it. 

1 lb Jimmy Dean Sausage
16oz package frozen tortellini
1 small package fresh baby spinach
2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes
4 cups or 1 box chicken broth
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Brown sausage and then put all ingredients into the crockpot or soup pot, chunking up the cream cheese. If using the crockpot, cook on low for 3-4 hours. If doing stovetop, cook on med-low for about an hour or so, until tortellini is tender. ENJOY!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

I was noticing that the kids wanted to eat a granola bar almost every single day. I get freaked out about my kids eating the same thing day after day after day especially when it is store bought and there’s no way of knowing what’s really in it. That’s when I decided to try a homemade granola bar recipe.
I made several batches until I came up with the best in my opinion. I like my granola bars nutty and chewy and sweet. I also like them chock full of fiber:) These are delicious and my kids eat them up. The best part about them is that you can basically make them your own by adding whatever you like. Try them and you’ll love them!

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon or other spice you like
2 1/2 cups additions such as: dried fruit, seeds nuts, flax seed, bran cereal, puffed rice cereal, crushed pretzels, marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc. My combo is 1/4c flax seed, 1/2 cup bran cereal, 1 cup puffed rice cereal (for good crunch), 1/2 cup toasted almonds (chopped) and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
1/3 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
6 T olive oil (you can use other oils or melted butter)
1/4 cup honey (you can use maple syrup)
1 T water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper with non-stick cooking spray. 

Process 1/3 cup of the oats in a blender or food processor until finely ground.
If necessary, chop up dried fruit and nuts. Stir together all dry ingredients. Whisk together oil, honey, peanut butter and water. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients then spread into prepared pan. Press firmly into the corners and edges so the top is even.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the sides start to brown. They may feel underdone in the middle, but will firm up as they cool. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes. Then take them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Let cool completely before cutting.
I got about 14 bars out of one batch. Keep them in an airtight container or wrap them in plastic wrap for an on-the-go treat. Enjoy!