Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

When I first took a bite of this, we'll call it "spaghetti", I wasn't entirely convinced that I would like it. It was certainly different, to say the least. But, after eating (and totally enjoying) my serving, watching my kids eat theirs, and hearing them beg for seconds, I knew this one was going to be one of our new favorites. After dinner was over, I found myself craving more and I literally could not wait until lunchtime the next day to devour the left-overs. I don't know if it was the San Marzano tomatoes or the simplicity of the ingredients that made this so delicious, but I do know that I will definitely be making it again and again.

Pictures courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
From Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)*
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta. I actually mashed the tomatoes, in the saucepan, with a potato masher.

Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

*I found these at Market Street grocery store. You can also purchase at Whole Foods, or any store that caters to a specialty market. If you can't find them, use whatever brand you prefer, and I'm sure it will still turn out delicious!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes

Would you like a bite of the most delicious pancakes you've ever eaten? That was the question I asked my husband this morning after making and trying these. While this blog has no shortage of pancake recipes...this one certainly hits the spot- easy to make, ingredients that you will have on hand, and so perfectly delicious that you'll be wanting to double the recipe for next time. Originally a recipe from Pioneer Woman, this also got the stamp of approval from the ever-popular Smitten Kitchen and if thats not enough for you, then I don't know what is. Just found it here too! One piece of advice: don't skimp on the better lay some down on your griddle before you try to cook these, its worth it.
picture courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes

Pioneer Woman Cooks

7 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup (see here for a great homemade recipe)
Blueberries (optional- see below)

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat; you want it to slowly get nice and hot.

Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in the bottom of a medium bowl. Dump the sour cream in on top and stir it together very gently; it’s okay to leave the texture a bit uneven. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and stir them into the sour cream mixture, once again, being careful not to overmix.

Melt about a tablespoon of butter in your skillet or griddle and pour the batter in, a scant 1/4 cup at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, or until bubbles appear all over the surface , flipping them carefully and cooking for about a minute on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter. I put frozen blueberries on some of the pancakes before I flipped them and it was nothing short of a-mazing. If you try that, let the pancakes cook for a while longer to make sure they are entirely cooked through.

Serve in a stack, topped with a pat of butter and a cascade of maple syrup.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Easy Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I love it! I love it! I love it!

Easy Homemade Microwave Popcorn

From Makes and Takes Blog

Homemade Microwave Popcorn
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:
  1. Put 1/4 cup popcorn in a brown paper bag. Fold top over a few times and tape it.
  2. Place in microwave folded side upfor 2 to 3 minutes or until there is 5 seconds between pops.
  3. Eat plain or add flavors (such as salt, butter, sugar, etc.)
Easy Homemade Microwave Popcorn
With this system of microwave popping, you can:
  • control the amount of salt and butter
  • reuse the paper bag again and again
  • save money from buying the corn kernels, which yields a lot more popcorn
  • pop popcorn fast, without getting out the heavy machinery

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chicken Parmesan Pizza

While this was not the most elegant recipe ever made, it was good and it was mess-free, and it was quick.  A.K.A. a perfect last-minute meal.

Chicken Parmesan Pizza
From Southern Living magazine

Yield: Makes 4 servings


  • 1  (10-oz.) package frozen garlic bread loaf
  • 1/2  cup  canned pizza sauce
  • 6  deli fried chicken strips
  • 1  cup  (4 oz.) shredded Italian three-cheese blend
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh basil


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange garlic bread, buttered sides up, on a baking sheet.
2. Bake at 400° for 8 to 9 minutes or until bread is lightly browned. Spread pizza sauce over garlic bread.
3. Cut chicken strips into 1/2-inch pieces, and arrange over pizza sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.
4. Bake at 400° for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Pic courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe

I have tried many, many sweet and sour chicken
recipes over the years and they've all been so-so. Until I tried this one on My Kitchen Cafe. Not only is it relatively easy (for a dredging recipe), but it tastes almost as good as the deep-fried stuff at P.F. Chang's (trust me, I used to work there). I make this ALL the time now and Christian even requested it last week as his "break-the-fast" meal. Next time you're feeling like some Chinese, try this and, I promise, when you're done eating, you WON'T feel like you just drove through Panda Express.

I have something REALLY, REALLY exciting coming up in the next few stay tuned!!!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbl canola oil (the real recipe calls for 1/4 cup, but 2 Tbl will do just fine)

Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.

¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced - about 6-8 minutes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jello Salad

Sorry I don't have a picture, but I just got this recipe from a lady in my ward. She made this jello salad for our ward Christmas party, and it was so delicious that mom has been begging me to get the recipe for her. I've never made it, but I can vouch for it's great taste. So here it is...

Mix the following and chill until set:
1 large package raspberry jello
1 can blueberry or strawberry or cherry pie filling
Dice 1 or 2 apples or peaches
2 cups boiling water
1 large can crushed pineapple with juice

Beat the following until smooth, and put on top of the firm set jello:
1 pkg cream cheese
4 Tbs. sugar
16 oz. sour cream

Top with nuts, pineapple chunks, or anything you'd like!

Peanut Butter Bars

Brian's birthday was last week and these delectable treats were his request for a birthday cake. I halved the recipe and it worked perfectly in a 9X13 pan instead of a cookie sheet. They have oatmeal in them, which not only gives the bar a great texture, but makes you feel like it might be slightly healthy for you (don't worry, they're not). Addicting and delicious, these peanut butter bars really deliver.
Peanut Butter Bars

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 c. peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups oats

Chocolate Frosting:
3 c. powdered sugar
4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. cocoa powder
4 Tbs. milk
1/3 c. peanut butter (or to taste)

Mix butter, sugars, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla. Add salt, flour, baking soda, and oats. Mix well and spread out on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes. Cool completely and then frost. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Can I say Mmmm?  So rich and delicious!  Reminds me of the chocolate molten cake at Chili's.  Mmm.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
From My Kitchen Cafe Blog

*Makes an 8X8-inch pan

1 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk ½ cup sugar with ¼ cup cocoa powder and set aside.

Whisk the flour, remaining ½ cup sugar, remaining ¼ cup cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk milk, butter, egg yolk, and vanilla in medium bowl until smooth. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips (the batter will be stiff).

Using a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and spread into corners. Sprinkle reserved cocoa and sugar mixture evenly over the top. Gently pour boiling water over cocoa. Do not stir.

Bake until the top of the cake is cracked, sauce is bubbling and a toothpick inserted into cakey area comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 22-24 minutes. Cool on rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Black and White Cheesecake Squares

Pic courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe

Wow. These were soooo devilishly good. They might set you back a couple pounds on your New Year's diet, but if you are going to indulge, I would definitely reach for these babies. I made them last night for a game night and they went over hugely. They are really, really rich (think 2 1/2 cubes of butter and 2 cups of sugar) so thankfully, you really can't eat that many at a time.

Black and White Cheesecake Squares
from My Kitchen Cafe

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Increase speed to medium; beat until incorporated.

Reserve 1 cup of dough; cover, and refrigerate. Press remaining dough into bottom of prepared dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, 22-25 minutes (don't overbake or this brownie layer will be too hard and crumbly). Let cool in dish on a wire rack.

Mix cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and remaining egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread over cooled base; crumble reserved dough on top. Bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack. Cut into 24 squares. Squares will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bruschetta Style Pasta with Chicken

I admit it- I got this recipe from the back of Ronzoni Healthy harvest box but have made some really great additions/subtractions to I will call it my own!:) Adults die for it and even kids love it. My nephew who infamously NEVER eats dinner had 2nds and 3rds. And I use the whole wheat blend of pasta or you can even use the protein Barilla plus pasta and skip out on the chicken.

Bruschetta Style Pasta with Chicken
1 box Ronzoni Healthy Harvest pasta (I like to use Penne Rigati pasta or bow ties)
3 TBSP Olive Oil
3 TBSP minced garlic
3 c. fresh tomatoes, diced (you can use canned but I have always used fresh)
3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP Pesto
Diced, cooked, and seasoned chicken breasts
Parmesan cheese

Cook and season chicken breast in frying pan. I like to used Italian seasoning with s&p of course. You want this to be hot so I cook this while I am boiling the pasta. Meanwhile cook olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a large saucepan until garlic browns. Add tomatoes and pesto. Then add pasta and diced chicken. Garnish with Parmesan or any type of Italian cheese.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Honey Glazed Chicken

This is a new staple meal for our family. I absolutely loved it. I served it with brown rice, and I cooked the chicken for less time than the recipe states. Chicken and rice is always a safe way to go, and this is a new flavor for me. I rarely use curry powder, but the flavors all blended so nicely together.

photo courtesy of My Sister's Cucina

Honey Glazed Chicken
recipe from My Sister's Cucina
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup butter
4 chicken breasts (you could use chicken tenders too! I used about 3 of the frozen chicken breasts from Costco cut up)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, salt and cayenne pepper together in a large ziploc bag. Drop chicken in bag and shake to coat. Melt butter and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Place flour coated chicken in baking dish and turn to coat both sides with butter. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Honey Glaze Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
Combine all ingredients. Pour over chicken until well coated. Bake for an additional 45 minutes. Serve over rice. (Keep your eye on it, mine started to burn a little bit).

Grandma's Rolls

Pic courtesy of Sister's Cafe

Ok, so I really believe I am cursed when it comes to baking bread. It NEVER turns out for me. I decided to give it another shot this week, though and found this recipe on one of my faves, the Sister's Cafe, and guess what??? They turned out beautifully! Let me tell you, Christian has been saying ALL week that these are the best rolls he's ever tasted. They are creamy, soft, and fluffy. You really must try them.

Grandma’s Dinner Rolls
adapted from The Sister's Cafe

2 rounded Tb yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
1 cup warm milk
½ cup sugar (2/3 c for sweet rolls)
6 Tb shortening (I know, I don't like using shortening, and I sure you could sub butter, but it worked)
2 tsp salt
4 eggs (I only had 3 eggs, so I substituted 1 egg for 1 Tbl ground flaxseed with 3 Tbl water)
7-8 cups flour (I used half white whole wheat and half all-purpose white)

Beat first 7 ingredients until smooth (it's not going to be completely smooth b/c of the shortening). In an electric mixer with a dough hook, add flour one cup at a time until dough forms a ball, cleaning off edge of bowl. Knead 5 minutes (or 10 minutes by hand). Let rise until double. Punch down dough and let rise until double again. (To make this easier, I leave the dough in the mixing bowl with dough hook, covered with a damp towel. When it has risen double, I turn on the machine briefly to gently punch down the dough. Then I cover again with the towel and allow to rise again.) Punch down again and divide into 3 parts. Roll out each part and form into rolls. *I prefer butterhorn rolls: roll each segment of dough into a circle. With a pizza cutter, cut into fourths then each fourth into thirds - making 12 pie shapes. Roll each one up starting at the wide end. Place on cookie sheet and let rise briefly. Watch carefully as rolls will rise very quickly now after 2 risings. Optional: dust lightly with shortening or non-stick spray before baking, it makes the rolls glossy. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes, until lightly browned.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

Strangely and wonderfully unique. The cinnamon gives it such a different taste. Gotta make!

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

My Kitchen Cafe Blog

Rub Ingredients:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/2 lb. total), each tenderloin cut into two chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil

Glaze ingredients:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat the pork with the spice rub. Heat the oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet that is ovenproof (I used my cast iron skillet) over medium high heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Brown the pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in the skillet.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat on top of each tenderloin. Roast in the middle of the oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 140, about 25 minutes. Let pork stand in the skillet at room temperature for 10 minutes. The temperature will rise to about 155 while standing.

Baked Potato Soup

I got this recipe from a friend here where we live. I love it! Its very hearty, and goes great paired with a salad. A perfect, warm, comfy dinner. You need to make this.

Baked Potato Soup

2 large baking potatoes
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onions (or regular onion if you don't have this)
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. dried dillweed
1/4. tsp. dried, crushed thyme
4 c. milk
3/4 c. shredded cheese

Prick potatoes with a fork 3-4 times. Rub olive oil all over them and then roll them in salt. Bake at 450 F for one hour, or until tender. Cut potatoes in 1-in. cubes. Or, you could scoop out the pulp and discard the skins, if you prefer (I like the skins). In large saucepan, cook green onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour, dill, thyme, salt and pepper (to desired taste). Add milk all at once. Cook and stir one minute more. Add potatoes (or pulp, if you took that route) and 1/2 cup cheese; stir until cheese melts. Garnish each serving with remaining cheese, onion or bacon. I don't use these garnishes because I think the soup is great without it...its up to you. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

A good variation on an ordinary dinner. I enjoyed the chili powder base to the cream sauce.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

One 10¾ oz. can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup
8 oz light sour cream
1 cup Pace picante sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Ten 6-inch flour tortillas
1 large tomato, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, mashed and mixed w/ a little sour cream and picante sauce (quick guacamole)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
2. Stir soup, sour cream, picante sauce and chili powder in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, stir 1 cup of the sauce mixture with the chicken & 1 cup of the cheese.
4. Spread about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side-down in prepared dish. Scoop remaining sauce over the filled tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray. Place sprayed-side-down on enchiladas and cover tightly.
5. Bake for 40 minutes or until enchiladas are hot and bubbling. Top individual servings with tomato and onion. Add a dollop of guacamole, if desired.
Servings: 6

Chocolate Chip Vanilla Pudding Cookies

What?  Vanilla pudding cookies?  That's right.  Fun new variation on the ordinary chocolate chip cookie.  Definitely a good recipe.

Chocolate Chip Vanilla Pudding Cookies

From Our Family Treat Blog

1 cup butter (the unsalted kind), softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 (3.5 ounce) box of instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
Semi-sweet chocolate chips (as much as you prefer)

Cream together the butter and the sugars. Then add pudding mix, eggs and vanilla. Once all combined, add the baking soda and flour. Mix well. Then add chocolate chips. Make sure to grease your baking sheets and bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes.

Here's what Cooper looked like after devouring 2 (one was allowed, one was stolen)...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup

Are you tired of soup recipes yet? I just LOVE soup when it's cold outside! I made this last night even though I knew it would be risky with a family that doesn't eat cooked vegetables. And success- they loved it! I don't know how many of you have eaten at Zupas in Provo, but it is sooooo good and this is one of their recipes. Bon appetit!

Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup
from Just Cook Already

2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 can (13 3/4 to 14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 head (2 1/2 pounds) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I just used regular mustard and it was fine)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup pepper jack cheese

In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook 2minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 1/2 cups water; add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Garnish soup with remaining cheese to serve.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicken Cream Cheese Soup

I made this for dinner last night for the second time and was reminded how good it is. My husband, who claims to "hate" cream cheese even loved it. Perfect for a cold night (which we've been having quite a few here in Albuquerque). I have made the whole recipe below and it makes a LOT of soup. Last night, I made only half of the recipe and it will feed Christian and me for 2 nights.

Chicken Cream Cheese Soup

1 lb chicken (breasts or combination)
1 onion, diced
1-2 Tb butter
2 handfuls baby carrots (about 2 cups sliced small)
4-5 potatoes, peeled, diced small
1 c milk
1/4 c flour
8 oz package cream cheese

1. Put chicken in pot and cover with water; boil until cooked. Take chicken out of water but keep the broth. When chicken is cool, shred.
2. Saute onion in butter. Put onion in pot and add carrots and potatoes. Add 3-4 cups of broth or enough to cover vegetables. Add bouillon cubes or soup base for flavor (I add 4 bouillon cubes). Bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are tender.
3. Mix flour with milk and add to soup. Soften cream cheese in microwave then add to soup in little pieces and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baked Ziti with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

After watching this and then reading this, I decided that I would try and make some changes in our family dinners seeing that my take on food has forever changed. So, I made this last week and ate it for no less than 6 meals in a row- it was that satisfying and delicious. You have got to try it.

Baked Ziti with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Modified from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 Tbs. minced fresh basil (fresh is a must!)
1 lb. ziti or penne (I used Barilla Plus penne)
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded (2 c.)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400 F. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for the pasta. Meanwhile, cook the oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often until the garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in the basil and salt. (You can add 1/4 tsp. sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes here, but I didn't use it and it still tasted great). When the pasta water is boiling, stir in 1 Tbs. salt and pasta. Cook until almost tender, but still with a bite. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, drain the ziti, and return to pot. Add tomato sauce and pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce. Spread half the pasta in an oiled 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and half of the parmesan cheese. Repeat. Sprinkle fresh basil on top, if desired.

Bake until cheeses turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Caramel Popcorn

I know that we all love the caramel popcorn recipe in the family cookbook....however, this one is almost as good and a whole lot easier. I totally recommend it when you need a quick, delicious treat.

Caramel Popcorn

From Or So She Says Blog
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups marshmallows
2 bags microwave popcorn

Pop 2 bags of microwave popcorn. Melt 2 sticks of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar in the microwave. Stir until caramelized. Add 2 cups of marshmallows and microwave for 2 more minutes. Stir and add to popped popcorn. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Cocktail Sausages

A really delicious and easy appetizer! First thing gone at the table!

Bacon-Wrapped Cocktail Sausages

Recipe from Our Best Bites

1 14-oz. package Lit'l Smokies

1 12-oz. package lean bacon

3/4 c. brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the slab of bacon into thirds.

Wrap 1/3 of each slice of bacon around each sausage and secure with a toothpick and place on the baking sheet. I took a picture of this, but my husband informed me in no uncertain terms that that picture was completely inappropriate for a family-friendly food blog. Let's just say Freud may have had something to say about it...

Anyway, repeat with remaining sausages and bacon. When I was making these, the stars somehow aligned and this package of Lit'l Smokies and Hormel Black Label bacon matched up completely--no leftover bacon, no leftover sausage. Sprinkle brown sugar over sausages and bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes or until bacon has cooked and is starting to brown.