Friday, June 8, 2012

Baked Mostaccioli

I made this last week using the pasta sauce recipe previously posted. YUM. I love pasta.

Ingredients needed, in addition to pasta sauce:

1 # box of Mostaccioli pasta [or Penne]
16 oz Ricotta [your choice of whole or low fat]
1 1/2 C of Shredded Italian blend or Mozzarella
1 1/2 C of Shredded Cheddar [I used Sharp]

Cook your pasta sauce. I cooked mine 3 hours.

Note: reserve 1 cup of sauce for topping.

Cook your pasta al dente and drain into a large bowl.

To the pasta:
Crumble in Ricotta. [or scoop out small spoon portions - helps distribute evenly]
Add 1/2 cup of each shredded cheese.
Add pasta sauce [remember to reserve 1 cup]

Pour into baking dish [dishes].
Top with remaining sauce.
Top with remaining shredded cheeses.

If baking immediately bake at 350* for 1 hour.
If refrigerated, let sit at room temp 30 minutes and bake until hot & bubbly.
If frozen, thaw and bake until hot & bubbly.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Pasta Sauce

I'm making baked mostaccioli today. No pics cause it's not ready yet. Here is my basic pasta sauce recipe. I use ground beef or italian sausage depending on what dish I am making. I also tweak it for shrimp and grits. The house smells yummy!


  • 1 # of beef or italian sausage
  • 1/2 vidalia [or yellow] onion, diced
  • 2 TBS minced garlic [jar]
  • 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 regular can of diced tomatoes [no salt]
  • 2 TBS basil [dried]
  • 2 TBS oregano [dried]
  • 1/2 TSP black pepper
  • 1 TSP onion powder
  • 3 TBS sugar
  • 2 TBS tomato paste

Cook the beef [or sausage] with the onion and garlic.
Drain fat.
Add the tomatoes, paste and spices.
Simmer on low for an hour or two.

Canned tomatoes may differ in acidity, adjust sugar to taste.
Dried spices differ by brand and age, adjust to taste.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Southwest Chicken Stew

No time to cook... and my corner of Kansas is going to be cool this week. Not that I let warm weather keep me away from a good soup.

This is made in a crock-pot.

8 to 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained [reserve juice]*
1 jar mild chunky salsa*
1 can fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1/4 or 1/3 cup diced onion
1 TSP dried Parsley
1 TSP Onion Powder
1 heaping TBS Cumin

* to spice it up a bit substitute one or both:
Rotel instead of diced tomatoes
Medium salsa instead of mild

In a large bowl mix everything but the chicken. Ladle about 1/2 on the bottom on your crock-pot. Layer your chicken and add the remaining mixture on top.

Cover and cook on low about 6 hours. As you stir the chicken will shred.
If it is too soupy uncover and cook on high about an hour to thicken.
If too thick add your reserved tomato juice.
This all depends on the amount of water that cooks out of your chicken.
4 - 6 servings

Options for serving:
  • with saltine crackers
  • with tostito chips or strips
  • with a piece of good bread
  • with a squeeze of lime juice
  • ladled on a bed of basmati rice
  • topped with shredded cheese
  • diced cilantro wilted into each serving
  • sour cream 
You could also cook this in the oven until the chicken is done and serve the chicken whole with the mixture as a side accompanied with a salad.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Peach Bread

I'm not a fan of a lot of sweets but this is yummy.

Peach Bread

Preheat oven to 350*
Grease a loaf pan or mini pans

1 Cup flour
1 Cup sugar
1 Stick butter or margarine
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup peeled, mashed peaches [about 2 to 3 depending on size]

Cream sugar and butter.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Add peaches.
Add flour and baking soda.

Pour into greased pans and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until done.

For smaller pan sizes begin checking at 30 minutes as ovens vary.

Confession: I slathered a little butter on mine :)

[Edited from questions received]


Friday, April 27, 2012

Tart treat

Higher temps are coming...

2/3 Cranberry juice
1/3 Pineapple juice
Splash of lime (big in 1/4 wedge)

Just eyeball the portion according to the size of your glass.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Simple comfort

It has been a stressful week. I needed some comfort, in a bowl.

This simple dish reminds me of the wonderful comfort from Mama's kitchen.

Hamburger Pasta Goulash

2 lbs of ground beef (85/15)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 TBS minced garlic
3 cans of diced tomatoes (no salt)
2 to 2 1/2 cans of water (adjust to desired thickness)
1 1/2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni
3 TBS tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste*

In a dutch oven cook ground beef, garlic and onion. Drain fat.
Add diced tomatoes, water and tomato paste and simmer on low (covered) for one hour.
Bring to boil and add macaroni. Lower heat and cook 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and cover. Let sit 10 minutes before serving

* I add pepper only.
Sometimes I add 1/2 of a diced bell pepper while cooking the beef.


Summer canning

Waiting on peppers... we're out of pepper mustard! (similar recipes call it pepper butter)

42 Jalapeno peppers (wash, remove stems & seeds)
2 C Prepared yellow mustard
1 Q Cider vinegar
6 C Sugar
1 T Salt
1 1/2 C Flour (approximately)
1 1/2 C Water

You can combine varieties of peppers for a milder flavor (Anaheim, Banana, etc)


Remove stems & seeds (from most or all) peppers. Wear gloves for this task. Grind them up in a processor.

Place in a large pot and add the mustard, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over a medium heat.

Lower heat while you combine flour and water to make a paste and add to mixture, taking care that the paste isn't lumpy. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.

Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
(Most recipes don't call for the water bath process, but I do it anyway)

Makes about 7 pints or 16+ half pints


Friday, March 2, 2012

Corny Beans

Corny name, huh?

I like having a quick side-dish idea. This one works with many entree choices: tex-mex, chicken, pork chops and even as a chip-dip. A better choice to pair with your lunch sandwich.

I serve room temperature or cold after it has been refrigerated.

Equal portions of corn and black beans [rinse]
Diced onion to taste
Lime or lemon juice to taste
Cilantro [fresh] to taste
Chopped tomato

On this day I combined corn, black beans, onion and lime juice and served with roasted pork loin.

For a tex-mex side or chip-dip I add a handful of chopped cilantro, chopped tomato and a tablespoon of cumin or taco seasoning and use red onion. Cilantro is one of those things you either hate or love. I love it.

This is really awesome with fresh corn!

Simple I know. With making menus and supper choices I will take all the help I can get.


Friday, February 24, 2012

No knead bread

Homemade bread is devine! This isn't my recipe but I do experiment with the basic recipe by changing the flavors with dried spices, garlic, onions and such sprinkled and incorporated.

This is very economical, fun and yummy! It's hard not to smile when serving a slice, roll or bread bowl that you made.

Basic recipe

Working with yeast is still something I struggle with. That is why I love using the master recipe for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes.

I won't post the recipe here since I have linked it above.

Simple ingredients

All mixed up


This batch below is the Vermont Cheddar recipe [from the book]. I forgot to slash the top of the bread but it turned out fine. I made individual serving sizes.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Check marks for the bucket list

Can you believe I took this trip in September and didn't blog about it?!

I don't really have a bucket list but I did get to experience eating at Paula Deen's "The Lady & Sons" and her brother Bubba's "Uncle Bubba's" in Savannah, GA.

Clay, Gale & Barry...posing with the restaurant behind us.

While I didn't get to meet either I was happy that Lenata "Jelly Roll" Jones was working the day we had lunch at The Lady & Sons. She was happy to stop making bread for me to snap a quick picture. And, the bread was w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l.

Hoe cake and cheese biscuit!

I had the Chicken Pot Pie for lunch. Isn't is pretty?

Here I am with my two favorite guys!

And, thanks to Chris for making our lunch a fun meal.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cheese dip...Punkin style

Hopping back to the post to link up with the weekend potluck. Make this version the next time a cheese dip is on your menu.

I couldn't call it cheese dip...that is boring. This is the version my cousin, Teresa, aka Punkin, served us while visiting with her back home in Alabama. It really takes the standard cheese dip to a new level! I made half of the recipe, as shown below. You can easily double this for a crowd.

4 oz Velveeta cheese
1 Sausage roll*
1 Rotel [do not drain]
1 Cream of Mushroom soup
1 Cream of Onion soup

Mix the soups and rotel in a crock pot. Cube the cheese and add to the mixture. Brown and drain sausage and add to the crock pot.

Heat and enjoy with chips or bread cubes.

*Control your heat by the type of sausage you use. To intensify the heat add a second can of rotel, but drain it.

I often use store brands... this is what I got when I sent Barry with my list :)

Love and miss you, Punkin!

Gale Wall & Teresa Wilson

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tortilla Casserole

Get ready for some YUM!

2 1/4 lbs. Ground beef
1 medium yellow onion - chopped
1 16 oz jar of Salsa
4 oz of Sour Cream
1 can Rotel Tomatoes - drained
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can Ranch Style Beans - drained
12 small Corn Tortillas - quartered
1 small can of sliced black olives
4 cups Mexican mixed cheese

Cook beef and onion together and drain. Add salsa and sour cream.
Mix cream of chicken soup and beans.

Layer a 9x13 casserole dish with half of the quartered corn tortillas and then layer with half of the following:

Beef mixture
Rotel tomatoes
Soup / bean mixture

Repeat layer and top with sliced black olives.

Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve with extra salsa.

You can determine the spice level by your choice of Rotel and salsa.