Generally, when I come up with dishes, I look for inspiration from other home cooks/chefs/Facebook posts/Pinterest/etc to help me. This recipe originated from Rachel Ray and I changed it due to my crazy schedule. I’m sharing it because it is easy, it’s fast, it makes ALOT, and it’s changeable! Lasagna isn’t an easy dish to do for dinner but this one makes it not seem so bad. It takes literally 30 minutes to make and is delicious! Try it out! You’ll see!
30 Minute Lasagna
Makes 6-8 servings
- 1 1/2 lbs Ground beef or mild Italian sausage (your preference)
- 1 lb Bowtie pasta
- 1 small container of Ricotta cheese (approximately 10 oz)
- 1 Medium white onion (chopped)
- 2 Garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 cup Fresh spinach
- 2-3 cups of Spaghetti sauce or your favorite jar of sauce
- 3 tbsp Fresh parsley (chopped- 1 tbsp set aside for topping)
- 1/4 tsp Dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp Dried basil
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- S & P to taste
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)
In a large skillet, cook the meat on medium heat and break into smaller pieces. While the meat is cooking, boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta until it is el dente (8-9 minutes). Drain the pasta and set aside. After the meat if fully cooked, add in the onion, garlic, and spices. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions have softened. Stir every minute or so.
Next, add in the sauce and spinach. Stir gently until everything is combined. Lower the heat of the skillet to low and fold in the pasta along with the ricotta cheese.
Cover the top of with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, at 400° to melt the cheese.
Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and serve. As always, enjoy!
- For a lighter option: use cottage cheese instead of ricotta and use whole grain pasta.
With the colder weather approaching and football season upon us, why not cook up a delicious chili for your tailgate. When I was growing up, and the snow would pile up, my mom would start a big batch of chili. We would eat it for a couple days, especially if we were snowed in. Although, my recipe is different in taste and texture, it still brings back memories with every bite. Give my chili recipe a try at this weeks tailgate or even for a large crowd during the holidays.
- 2 1/2 lbs Ground Beef (80/20)
- 1 large Yellow onion (chopped)
- 1 large Green pepper (chopped)
- 1 Jalapeño pepper (de-seeded and finely diced)
- 3 Garlic cloves (diced)
- 2 cans Diced tomatoes
- 1 can Mild chili beans
- 1 can Black beans (drained)
- 1 can Dark red kidney beans (drained)
- 1 can Corn (drained)
- 3-4 cups Tomato juice (depending if you want it thicker)
- 1 tbsp Parsley (chopped)
- 2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1-2 tbsp Franks hot sauce
- 1 tbsp Chili powder
- S & P to taste
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- Corn starch (approx. 5 tbsp-optional)
In a large pot, begin cooking down the ground beef on medium heat. After it has started to turn brown, add in the garlic, onion, and peppers. Cook this mixture down for about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle in 3 tbsp of corn starch. This will start the thickening process of the chili. Stir until it is all dissolved.
Add in all the beans, tomatoes, and all remaining spices except the hot sauce and sugar. Stir and then add the tomato juice. Bring the chili to a small boil and then turn the heat to low. Add the hot sauce, sugar, and remaining corn starch (to thicken even more). At this point, you can transfer the chili to a crock pot to continue cooking for 4-6 hours.
About an hour before serving the chili, add in the corn and parsley. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and/sour cream. As always, enjoy!
So let’s talk about kale for a second. It’s a green, leafy, bitter veggie that most people turn their nose up to until they try it. It’s a powerful food because it’s packed with vitamin A and K along with fiber and is great for your heart. So why not make it into a party food, that I guarantee will be a hit. These chips were made within a half and hour, are so crunchy, and so full of flavor that no one will believe that they are good for you! Give this recipe a try and I promise, you’ll have kale at every party and event you host!
- 1 bunch of Kale/ 1 bag fresh chopped Kale
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Dash of nutmeg
First, strip the kale from the stems. Wash the kale and towel dry. (bagged kale will have this already done) Break the kale into pieces, the size to your liking and place in a large bowl.
Next, pour the spices on the kale along with the oil. Toss the kale with your hands until all of the pieces are coated. Place the kale on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Heat the oven to 400°.
Bake the kale chips for 10 minutes then lower the heat to 325°. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the chips from the oven and cool completely before placing in a bowl for serving. As always, enjoy!
Kale hasn’t been a veggie that I can say I was comfortable using in my cooking. I thought it tasted bland and dry. The only flavoring, besides salt, was butter and after a while that isn’t just unhealthy but boring. Recently, I tried coming up with some salads that would be healthy, flavorful, and allow me to use fall veggies. This salad does that plus you can adjust it to what you like. For example, skip that feta cheese and use goat or blue cheese. My point, don’t be afraid to try new food out of your comfort zone. You may just fall in love with it. Get it? “Fall”! Try this recipe out and see for yourself just how delicious it really is.
Harvest Kale Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
- 4-5 cups Fresh kale (wash, dried, chopped, and stems removed)
- 3/4 cup Dried cranberries/cherries
- 2 Sweet Potatoes (cubed and roasted)
- 1/3 Feta cheese (crumbled)
- 1/4 cup Almonds (chopped)
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp Ground cinnamon
- S & P
- 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 4 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp Olive Oil
- Pinch of ground pepper
- 1-2 tsp Sugar
First, preheat the oven to 375°, peel and dice that sweet potatoes. Toss in the olive oil, cinnamon, garlic powder, and S & P. Place on a cookie sheet, lined with foil. Bake the potatoes for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
While the potatoes are cooking, prep the kale, almonds, and dressing. (Dressing: combine all the ingredients and whisk together) Place the salad in a large bowl. Add the cooled potatoes, salad dressing and remaining ingredients. Toss gently, refrigerator for one hour, and serve. As always, enjoy!
Disclaimer: This is a Rachel Ray recipe that I have altered to my liking
Craving Buffalo wings? Love a messy sloppy Joe? Want something a little healthier with and whole lot less guilt? This is your dish! The first time I made this for my husband, he had 3 sandwiches and enjoyed the leftovers the following day. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and whole lot of flavor packed into a meal that literally takes 20 minutes to prepare. Try this recipe, of Rachel Rays’, that I have altered to be less runny, a couple less ingredients, but just as delicious!
Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes
- 1 1/2 lbs Ground Chicken
- S & P to taste
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup Carrots (diced)
- 1/2 cup Celery (diced)
- 1/2 cup White onion (diced)
- 2 Garlic cloves (grated)
- 2 large Whole Pickles (diced-optional)
- 1 medium can Tomato sauce (10-16oz)
- 1/2 cup Chicken stock
- 3 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4-1/2 cup Franks Hot Sauce (1/2 cup-Medium heat)
- 6-8 Hamburger buns
- 1 cup Blue cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup Blue cheese dressing (optional)
First, preheat a large and deep skillet on medium to high heat. Add the ground chicken and season with S & P to your liking. As the chicken begins to cook, break into small pieces (like taco meat) and turn the heat to medium. Cook the chicken thoroughly.
Add in the chopped carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Season again if you would like. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the veggies have started to soften. Stir frequently. If the veggies are approximately the same size, they will all cook perfectly together.
Once the veggies are cooked and meat has started to brown a bit, combine the tomatoes sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and chicken stock into a bowl. Pour over the ground chicken and veggies and turn the heat to medium low. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add additional hot sauce to make the sloppy joe spicier and/or tomato sauce for a runnier texture.
Serve on toasted buns. (5 minutes at 400°, in the oven) Add blue cheese dressing to the buns and pour on the chicken sloppy job mixture (about 1/3 cup) onto the bun. Add chopped pickles and blue cheese crumbles. Serve and enjoy! This is a very messy meal but it is totally worth it!
Since fall in right around the corner, and we all want something warm to eat, why not try a soup that is not only delicious but is great for your waistline. My turkey meatball soup is jam packed with veggies that can be changed to your liking. For example, I didn’t include butternut squash but the next time I make it, it sure will include it! Use veggies that you have from the farmers market or your own garden. And surly, don’t skimp on them either. This soup freezes well and is awesome the next day.
Turkey Meatball Soup
- 1 1/4 lb Ground turkey (85% lean)
- 1 Carton chicken stock or broth
- 1 can Great Northern Beans
- 1 Medium onion (1/2 chopped fine for the meat, 1/2 rough chopped)
- 2 Garlic cloves (finely chopped and separated)
- 1 cup Carrots (chopped)
- 1 Celery stalk (chopped)
- 1/2 cup Bread crumbs
- 1/8 cup Fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 box Frozen spinach (defrosted and squeezed) or 2 cups fresh spinach
- S & P to taste in soup and meatballs
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- 2 tbsp Butter (unsalted)
- 1 Egg
- 1/8 cup Milk
- 2 tbsp Greek dressing
Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with tin foil. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, fine chopped onion, 1 garlic clove, bread crumbs, half the parsley, garlic powder, S & P, egg, milk, and Greek dressing. Use your hand to mix and form the meatballs. It should make about 12 regular size meatballs or 24 mini meatballs. Bake for 35-40 minutes and cool for 5 minutes before putting the meatballs into the soup.
While the meatballs cook in the oven, in a large pot, melt the butter on a medium to high heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes to soften the veggies. Add the garlic, beans, chicken stock, parsley, and S & P. Stir and cover for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the spinach. Add the meatballs after they have cooled from the oven.
Cover and simmer the soup for about an hour. Serve with garlic bread or biscuits. As always, enjoy!
If stock is used, you may need to season the soup more with salt than you would with the broth.
ATTENTION: Informational post, no pictures.
Since I have had several requests for tips and tricks when I am cooking/faking, I figured I’d better start brainstorming. First off, I’m sure these aren’t all of tips and tricks but these are the ones I use pretty frequently. Secondly, they all work! I will never share something that isn’t of use or won’t work when you try it but with that being said; follow the instructions. Many of mine will be up for debate until you try them for yourself. I’ve tried alternatives that I have come across through the internet and through others. If there is a tip you are questioning or one you don’t see on my list, feel free to ask me below in the comments. I’d be happy to test them or may have a direct answer for you!
- Hard boiled eggs– Completely cover in cold water. Add 3 tbsp white vinegar and cover. Bring them to a boil on the stove, lower to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave covered for another 5 minutes. Place the eggs in an ice bath for 5 more minutes. The skins should remove easily in the ice water and the yolk is perfectly cooked with no gray ring.
- Pasta water– Bring water to a roaring boil and place 1-2 tbsp salt in the water. Add the pasta and wait until the water is boiling again. Stir the pasta and turn the heat down at least half way. The water will continue to boil just not as frantic. Cover and with a low boil, the water does not boil over.
- Cutting onions-Refrigerate the onion a couple hours prior to cutting and place knife in the freezer 5 minutes before chopping. It may not stop you from completely tearing up but it will minimize the effects.
- Thickening soups, stews, etc.– Gravy: 2 tbsp corn starch and 1/3 cup of warm water. Mix until smooth and no lumps. Soups and stews: 2 tbsp flour and 1/3 cup warm water or milk. Mix until smooth and no lumps. Macaroni and cheese: always use flour to conduct the rue. Cornstarch does not act the same and you will have a much thinner consistency.
- Fresh herbs-chop small enough to fit in ice cube trays. Fill with olive oil or melted unsalted butter. Freeze and use in different recipes such as oven baked chicken or pot roast.
- Tomato based foods– for soup, sauce, or any tomato filled dish; store in plastic containers or zip lock bags. Steel or aluminum will break down after the acid in the tomato is on it for so long. Wooden bowls will begin to absorb the tomato and it makes it almost impossible to remove that tomato stain.
- Excess cookies or brownies– freeze in air tight containers or zip lock bags for up to six months. I freeze all of my Xmas cookies so I can enjoy them months later. (you’re welcome 😊)
- Cast iron pots and pans– never, ever, EVER put them in the dishwasher. Always wash by hand with warm soapy water and oil after every use. This will ensure that they remain a true cast iron with no rust. Put a couple drops of oil in the dried pan and rub the pan with a paper towel.
- Bacon– Yup! Let’s talk bacon! Bake it, don’t fry it! Why? More crispy, completely flat, little to no mess. Line a baking sheet with non stick foil. Preheat the oven to 375° and bake until crispy (about 20 minutes). You’ll never go back to pan frying ever again.
- Prepping fruits and veggies– Why? It makes for a quicker and smoother transition when cooking a meal. How? Chop, dice, peel, etc. to the same size. They cook evenly and look pretty when serves.
- Prevent fruit and veggies from turning brown– toss in 1 tsp or lemon/lime juice or vinegar. It won’t flavor anything but it will keep it from turning brown and looking old. Also, sanitize the same way. Add a cup of water with the lemon/lime juice or vinegar. Toss the veggies/fruit in and place on paper towels to air dry.
- Melons– how to tell if they’re ripe? Cantaloupe and watermelon should have a yellowish color on the skin. A watermelon will have no smell but a cantaloupe will have a sweeter smell to the skin. Pineapples will not be bright green. They will be starting to turn yellow and if you gently pull on a leave it should easily come loose.
- Buttermilk– if you can’t make it to the store, just combine 2 cups whole milk, 2-3 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp cooled melted butter. Stir it together and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. It should thicken a bit.
- Sinking chocolate chips or berries– toss them in 1 tbsp of flour and add them to the recipe. They won’t sink to the bottom.
- Hot peppers– place the peppers in an ice bath for at least 15 minutes prior to cutting. This will help with watering eyes, or in my case, choking from the spicy fumes. Remove all the seeds since they contain additional heat. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and lemon juice. Avoid contact with eyes for at least an hour.
- Small lemons and limes– place them in the microwave for 10 seconds and roll with your palm. This with allow you to get as much juice as possible from them.
- Garlic– if raw garlic is too strong, roast a couple cloves in the oven. Place the cloves in tin foil with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Form a packet and bake it for 20 minutes and 350°. The garlic will be less intense, a little sweet, and just squeeze out of its skin.
- Restaurant style home fries– bake the potatoes for 25 minutes at 350°. Cut them into squares and fry. Season with seasoned salt and they will taste like diner style home fries. You can freeze them after they are cooked for a quick breakfast during the week or for additional filling for burritos.
I hope these tips, tricks, and ideas help you in the kitchen as they have myself. Please, leave me comments of you have questions abut any you see here or any for the future. As always, enjoy!