Friday, October 23, 2009

Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti

This is a great week night dinner. Easy to throw together, delicious, and great for leftovers.

Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti
Source: Woman's Day Magazine
8oz uncooked ziti pasta
2tsp oil
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cubanelle peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
12oz spicy or sweet Italian sausage
1c part skim ricotta
1 1/2c shredded part skim mozzarella
1/4c grated Parmesan
2c marinara sauce
Heat oven to 400. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, onion, and sausage. Cook until sausage is browned. Remove from heat and cut sausage into 1/4in slices.
Mix ricotta, 1c mozzarella, and Parmesan in large bowl. Drain pasta, toss with cheese mixture, sausage mixture and 1c marinara sauce.
Pout pasta mixture into a 2qt shallow baking dish. Pour remaining marinara on top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered 20 minutes, or until bubbly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies

These cookies tasted just like brownies! I thought they were amazing and very easy to put together. I will definitely be putting them on my Christmas cookies list.

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies
1 1/2c flour
3/4c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2tsp salt
12tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1c sugar
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in egg. On low speed, mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half, and form into 2 disks, each about 3/4in thick. Wrap disks in plastic, chill until firm, at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.
On lightly floured sheet of waxed paper, using floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/4in thick.
Using 2in to 3in cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Place on baking sheet, spacing them 1in apart.

Bake until surface is dry to touch, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
Decorate as desired.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Italian Sausage Lasagna

This is my go to lasagna recipe. It is also the best lasagna I've ever had. I love this recipe and will not be switching. Betty Crocker knew what she was doing when she wrote this one!

Italian Sausage Lasagna
Source: The Big Red Cookbook from Betty Crocker

1lb bulk Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2c)
1 garlic clove, crushed
3tbs chopped fresh parsley
1tbs chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1tsp sugar
2c diced tomatoes (from 28-oz can), undrained
1c (15oz) tomato sauce
12 uncooked lasagna noodles (12oz)
1 container (15oz) ricotta cheese or small curd creamed cottage cheese (2c)
1/4c grated Parmesan cheese
1tbs chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2c shredded mozzarella cheese (8oz)
1/4c grated Parmesan cheese

Cook sausage, onion and garlic in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, sugar, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered about 45 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Heat oven to 350ºF. Cook and drain noodles as directed on package.

Mix ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and the oregano.

Spread 1 cup of the sauce mixture in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Top with 4 noodles. Spread 1 cup of the cheese mixture over noodles; spread with 1 cup of the sauce mixture. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with 4 noodles, the remaining cheese mixture, 1 cup of the sauce mixture and 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining noodles and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin White Chip Bars

It's fall. So, that means it it time for pumpkin! I love baking with pumpkin. Not only does it taste great, but it makes everything so moist. These bars are very good and the recipe will be going in the keep pile. The original recipe called for adding macadamia nuts, but I opted to leave them out.

Pumpkin White Chip Bars
2c flour
2tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground cloves
1c butter or margarine, softened
1/2c sugar
1/2c brown sugar
1c pure pumpkin
1 large egg
2tsp vanilla extract
2c white morsels
2/3c coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 15x10in jelly-roll pan.
Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugars in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 1/2c morsels and nuts. Spread in prepared pan.
Bake 18-22 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.
Place remaining morsels in heavy-duty plastic bag. Microwave for 45 seconds. Knead bag. Microwave at 10-15 second intervals, kneading until smooth. Cut tiny corner from bag. Squeeze to drizzle over bars. Cut into bars.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Vegetable Bake

What a great alternative to our usual potato packets and steamed veggies. We really enjoyed this side dish and will be making it more when the weather cools down and we are using the oven more.
Three Vegetable Bake
Source: Very Best Baking
3c coarsely chopped red potatoes
1c peeled and coarsely chopped parsnip (I used onion)
3c broccoli or cauliflower florets
3tbs butter, divided
2tbs flour
1 can (12oz) evaporated fat free milk
1 vegetable flavored bouillon cube
1/8tsp white pepper
1/4c seasoned dry bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350.
Microwave potatoes and parsnip in covered, medium, microwave safe casserole dish on high for 9 minutes. Drain. Return to dish and top with broccoli.
Melt 2tbs butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Gradually stir in evaporated milk, bouillon and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes or until bouillon is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened. Pour sauce over vegetables.
Microwave remaining butter in small, microwave safe bowl for 10 to 20 seconds, or until melted. Stir in bread crumbs until combined. Sprinkle over vegetables, cover.
Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, bake for an additional 10 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Honey Chicken Marinade

I modified this recipe from one I found on It was really good. The honey gives the chicken a nice sweet taste, but is also really subtle.

Honey Chicken Marinade
1/4c soy sauce
3tbs honey
2tbs cider vinegar
1 1/2tsp garlic powder (I used 3 cloves garlic)
1 1/2tsp ground ginger
3/4c olive oil
2 green onions, chopped
1tsp black pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together. Marinate chicken breast for at least 2 hours, but not longer than overnight. Cook in your favorite way (I prefer grilling).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Yum! What a treat these were. The perfect combination of yummy pork chops and sweet apples. We will definitely be making these again. I enjoyed my apples and pork chop with a baked sweet potato and a glass of sparkling apple cider.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops
Source: Adapted from
1/2c soy sauce
1c apple juice
olive oil
4 3/4in thick pork chops
2tbs brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8tsp ground nutmeg
2tbs butter
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Marinate pork chops for at least 2 hours in the soy sauce and apple juice.

Preheat oven to 425. Drizzle pork chops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast pork chops for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let juices settle.

While chops are roasting, combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Add butter to a warm skillet and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops.

Continue cooking sauce until slightly thickened. Spoon sauce over apples. If desired, sprinkle with pecans.

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