Spaghetti Squash Bake

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This recipe makes a huge batch and gets better over time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Bake – Mom-Makes original 

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, baked and shredded
  • 3-4 cups roasted veggies – I used zucchini, broccoli, bell pepper and mushrooms
  • 3-4 cups marinara sauce – I used this recipe
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • Parmesan cheese

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread out the spaghetti squash into the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish. Combine the marinara sauce and the roasted veggies in a pot to warm slightly, then pour the mixture over the top of the squash. Top generously with the cheeses. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

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Stromboli

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If you couldn’t tell, this family loves pizza and “pizza-ish” recipes! This is a simple and satisfying meal and makes for easy school lunches 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Stromboli – adapted from The Spiffy Cookie

**I made two with this recipe**

  • 2 lbs pizza dough, divided (I used this one)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce, plus more for dipping
  • 2 cups grated cheeses (*I used mozzarella, Monterey jack, Romano and Parmesan*)
  • 5 ounces pepperoni (*I used Applegate Farms*)
  • 4 ounces of deli ham (*I used Applegate Farms*)
  • Olive oil, garlic powder, pizza seasonings and salt for topping, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Spread pizza dough out on baking sheet to be approximately 10×16. Spread pizza sauce over 2/3′s of the dough lengthwise, leaving a 3×16 rectangle of plain dough along one of the edges. Top sauce with half the grated cheese, pepperoni and ham.
  3. Roll up like a jelly roll lengthwise starting along the long edge of dough topped with all the fillings and ending with the plain strip of dough on the bottom of the roll. Repeat for the second dough ball.
  4. Brush the entire Stromboli with oil and sprinkle the top with seasoning if desired, and gently cut slats in the top of the dough every 1-2 inches. Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes and slice into pieces. Serve with more pizza sauce.

Hungry for more? 

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Portobello and Kale Pesto Pizza

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Pizza Bites

One Big Pizza

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As I rolled out this batch of dough, I realized it would not fit on my stone. Rather than split it in two, I pushed it into the perfect sized rectangle for my half sheet pan. I’m glad I did, and this pizza was so stinkin’ good. I used this Italian chicken sausage that I crisped up in a large skillet, while the crust was par-baking in the oven. I used at least four types of Italian cheeses on this and flavored the crust with olive oil and other seasonings. My family loved this pizza and my son requested it for his birthday dinner 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

One Big Pizza – 

For topping the crust:

  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • kosher salt
  • dried oregano

*Optional Equipment – pizza stone and a silicone pastry brush

Directions –

Preheat oven to 475. Place a pizza stone on a rack placed on the lowest level of the oven.

Roll out dough onto parchment lined sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 5 minutes.

Top the crust with pizza sauce and bake for another 5 minutes.

Spread about 1/2 the shredded cheese on the top, and bake for another 5-7 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, paint the crust with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and kosher salt, sprinkle with oregano all to taste. Top with browned sausage and the remaining cheese, bake until golden brown and bubbly – about another 7 minutes. Take a peek at the bottom of the crust to make sure it’s golden brown – if not, continue baking until it’s done.

Chicken and Potato Soup

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Quick Post: Florida is experiencing 80 degree temps lately with ridiculously high humidity – but I know you Northerners could still use some warming soups. This is perfectly comforting, rich and creamy; and I wish that it was cooler here so I have a good excuse to make some. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken and Potato Soup – adapted from Damn Delicious

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, (*fresh if you have it*)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth (*I used homemade chicken stock*)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions –

  • Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in potatoes.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in chicken and cheese, a handful at a time, until smooth, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed.
  • Serve immediately

Mushroom, Caramelized Onion Macaroni and Cheese

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This isn’t something that I get many chances to make, so as soon as I saw it I sent a text to my vegetarian food-loving friend. As expected, she was all in for this fancy mac and cheese! It was so good – full of savory flavors from the caramelized onions and meaty mushrooms. Don’t substitute any of the cheeses; they’re worth every penny – besides, when I make her lunch I get a date night 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Mushroom, Onion Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, for cooking the onions and mushrooms
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced in semi-circles
  • half a pound of button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound pasta shells, boiled until just undercooked
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs

Directions –

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  When heated, add the sliced onions and saute until translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook until the onions are completely browned and thoroughly cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Spoon caramelized onions into a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the quartered mushrooms and stir to coat in fat. Allow the mushrooms to soften and brown, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper , and remaining thyme and reduce the heat to low. Cook until mushrooms are browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until mixture is combined. Add the milk and whisk together until mixture has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Add scant teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, beat the egg. Add a few tablespoons of the warm cream sauce to the egg and whisk together. Once the egg is warmed, add it back to the cream sauce and whisk well to combine. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheeses. Stir until melted and combined. Add the cooked pasta, onions and mushrooms and stir until all is coated in cheese sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a  a 9×13-inch pan, and scoop the pasta mixture into the greased pan then top with panko crumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread crumbs are browned and the pasta is sizzling. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
**Pasta can be made a day ahead and left in the fridge unbaked. Just add the bread crumbs just before baking.

Easy, Stove Top, No-Roux Macaroni and Cheese

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This couldn’t be easier and it’s so tasty, quick, creamy and surprise – there is no butter in this recipe! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy No-Roux Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 pound pasta, any shape
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups shredded cheese, like cheddar, monterey jack, or colby
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions –

1. Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in the pasta pot. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. When the pasta has finished cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see tendrils of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.

3.Turn the heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.

4. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add the second half of the sauce and any extra add-ins.

Creamy Garlic Shells

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Quick Post: This pasta dish is full of garlic flavor and a great substitute for any boxed pasta mix. I served it alongside this roast chicken and this roasted broccoli – thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy Garlic Shells – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 8oz mini shells pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes

Directions: 

  1. Cook pasta in a pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside. Let pot cool off the heat for several minutes.
  2. Return pot to stove over medium heat then melt butter in olive oil. Add garlic then saute until golden brown, about 30 seconds, being very careful not to burn. Sprinkle in flour then whisk and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk while whisking until mixture is smooth. Season with salt & pepper then switch to a wooden spoon and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Take pot off the heat then stir in parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and parsley flakes until smooth then add cooked pasta and stir to combine. Taste then adjust salt & pepper if necessary

Bacon Mac and Cheese

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I didn’t have to try this before I knew it would have to be good because it has three ingredients that create pure awesomeness: bacon + three cheeses + pasta = amazing!
I decided not to make this in a skillet because I don’t have one large enough, and I poured it all in my trusty 13×9 inch baking dish instead.

Verdict: Wow! This was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. Even my picky daughter ate two servings and was more than happy to eat leftovers in her lunch 😉 The blend of cheeses, especially the nutty Gruyère works so well along with the smoky and salty bacon. I made a few changes and I have added those modifications to the recipe below – nothing major though. Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

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Bacon Mac and Cheese – adapted from Kelsey’s Essentials via Cooking Channel TV

  • 1 pound dry pasta (recommended: elbow macaroni, shells, penne, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup, plus 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked – reserve about 3 TBSP of bacon fat (*I skipped this step*)

For the Bechamel Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups warm milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Directions –

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until nearing al dente, but not fully cooked; drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, avoid browning, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring the sauce to a boil. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste. Reduce the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Reduce heat to low and stir the dry mustard and cayenne pepper into the bechamel sauce. Gradually add the Cheddar, Gruyere, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until all of the cheese has melted. Add an additional milk. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.

Add the cooked pasta to the bechamel and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. Pour the pasta in to a buttered 13×9  baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and reserved bacon fat. Coat the bread crumbs and chopped parsley with bacon fat and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the macaroni; and then top with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with crumbled cooked bacon. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

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Quick Post: These are a perfect accompaniment to your hearty chili, or for the base for some yummy sausage gravy! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Cheddar Biscuits – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 2 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions –

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack on lower shelf. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with some pea-size lumps. Mix in buttermilk and cheese until combined. With a floured hand, knead dough against side of bowl until it holds together. If it is sticky, knead in up to 1/4 cup more flour.

After kneading biscuit dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough to 1 inch thick. With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out rounds as close together as possible. Place on a baking sheet. Gather scraps; pat again, and cut out more rounds.

Brush the tops with 1/2 tablespoon melted unsalted butter. Bake until biscuits are golden brown, rotating sheet halfway through, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Parmesan Garlic Bread

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When in doubt – add more carbs and cheese, right? I wanted a quick garlic bread recipe to go along side this loaded potato soup for our dipping pleasure. The garlic/butter mixture added great flavor to this simple french loaf; and it’s less work that our favorite garlic bread recipe. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Parmesan Garlic Bread – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 1 loaf of Italian Bread (*I used a loaf of this bread*)
  • 4 TBSP Unsalted Butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  •  1 tablespoon Shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoons Parsley, minced (I used about 1 tsp of dried parsley)
  • Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your french bread in half and then take the two halves and split those down the middle lengthwise. Combine the garlic, shallots, parsley, salt, black pepper, softened butter, olive oil and Parmesan. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Slice the Italian loaf lengthwise and heavily smear half of the butter mixture on each of the halves. Bake for 7 minutes – take the bread out and sprinkle your grated cheese over top each piece. Place back in the oven until the cheese melts and is nicely browned – about 3-5 minutes. Cut into slices and enjoy!