Recipes and Cooking

Pizza Spaghetti Bake

Pizza Spaghetti Bake

Pizza Spaghetti Bake

In this Pizza Spaghetti Bake, I will write down what I did because it was good!  Yet, I will also write in what I will add/do differently.  I feel like all recipes need to be tweaked in some form or fashion, so this is pretty typical for me.

Ingredients

Beef

Onion

Minced Garlic

Pepperoni, chopped (and some whole for the top)

**Next time will do a pound of beef and a pound of sausage.**

Seasoning

Italian Seasoning

Rosemary

2 packets of spaghetti mix

1 jar of spaghetti sauce

**Next time, I will add a jar of pizza sauce.**

2 cans of mushrooms, drained

Chopped spinach

Panko

Parmesan

Cottage Cheese

1 egg

Mozzarella

Penne Noodles

Directions

Boil noodles and drain, according to directions.

Cook beef, chopped pepperoni, onion, garlic, seasoning (sausage if being used) and drain.  Put back in the pot.  Next, add mushrooms and chopped spinach.  Then, add the Italian seasoning, Rosemary, and spaghetti packets.  Mix well.

Next up, add the spaghetti sauce (and about a quarter of that same jar put some water to add).  If you are also using pizza sauce, add it.  Mix well.  Add in some panko, parmesan, a couple of handfuls of mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the egg.  Stir and keep warm until your noodles are done.

Finally, mix the meat mixture with the noodles and spread it in a greased 13×9 dish.  Top with mozzarella and whole pepperoni.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

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Chicken Alfredo Soup

Chicken Alfredo Soup

Chicken Alfredo Soup

Just go ahead and slap your mama.  Dang it.  This Chicken Alfredo Soup is now tied for first place for Big Daddy.  The other two being Easy White Chicken Chili with Cream Cheese and Pizza Soup Recipe.  Frankly, I am impressed with myself.

Ingredients

3 cans of chicken, drained (feel free to use chicken breasts because you can use the broth)

Seasoning

Onion

Garlic

3/4 c. butter

3/4 c. flour

1 c. heavy cream

Sour Cream

Chicken bouillon

Water

Parmesan

Mozzarella

Pasta

Directions

Saute up the cut up onion and garlic in butter.  Once sauteed, add in your flour and cook that down a bit.  Get your whisk out and add 2 c. water.  Whisk that all in really well.  Now, I wish I could tell you how much chicken bouillon I used, but I used that paste.  I think I did about 2 Tbsps.  Sprinkle with your seasoning.

Once that is incorporated, add more water and just keep stirring.  I did this in my Instant Pot on saute mode, by the way.  You will notice your “roux” is getting thicker.  I think I did about 5 c. water.  You can adjust accordingly.  Add your chicken and parmesan.

Moving On

Let’s talk pasta, real quick.  I used bowtie pasta.  In my pot (not the instant pot), I brought my water to a boil.  Once it came to a boil, I seasoned it and added my pasta.  Drain and then add to your roux.

Next time, I might use a couple of boxes of Ditalini pasta or maybe cut up fettucini.  The bowties were fine and good, but I think I want a smaller type…like a small rigatoni.  Ugh, I just need to go and look at all the types or maybe make my own.  Do you know what would be good?  Putting in cheese tortellini.  Cause, yum!

Anyway

Once I got all of that in the pot, I added the heavy cream and sour cream.  If you cook this in an instant pot, you have to keep stirring because it will start to burn on the bottom.  Baby it!  In the end, I added about 2 cups (I know, I know) of mozzarella.  Keep tasting to adjust the seasoning.  Now, remember, you can always add seasoning but you can’t take it out if you put too much in there.  Start small and add as you like!

Dang, this was good.  Had my Oak been here…I would’ve slapped her face 🙂  Then, she would have slapped me back LOL.

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Meals for the Week (or More)

Meals for the Week (or More)

Meals for the Week (or More)

Hot on the heels of yesterdays post, these are my Meals for the Week (or More).  As I clean out my food areas, I do some “spring cleaning.”  This is where I make my spice mixes, if I am running low.  I make “cream of” soup mixes (mushroom, chicken, etc).  Also, I make packet mixes.  This can be Lipton Onion Soup Mix, Spaghetti, Chili, Taco, Fajita, Stir-fry, Ranch, or Italian mix.  I store all of these either in baggies or small mason jar.

More Upon More

Combining condiment jars is always fun (enter sarcasm) because my kids cannot seem to see an already open thing of ketchup.  So irritating.  I fill up the cereal canister, the snack cracker canister (we occasionally have mice so I try to keep things in airtight areas).  When I do this, I also make my grocery list.  This method just works for me.

Finding Suppers

I cook 5 nights a week, most weeks.  Sundays, I do not cook and Thursdays my husband makes me pizza. The rest of the time is me cooking.  Occasionally, my husband and son in law will grill, make steaks, or chicken strips.  Let me tell you, I do not complain.  So for the next week or so, this is what I have already on hand when checking my food areas.

Menus

Thursday (writing this on the 21st):  Pizza

Friday:  Hamburgers/hotdogs/fries (it is treatment day for Hunter, so I don’t cook)

Saturday:  My son in law is making his chicken strips and we will probably have leftover vegetables and mashed potatoes

Sunday:  I don’t cook

Monday: The men are grilling out.

Tuesday:  Brunzi Baseball Casserole, corn, green bean Casserole

Wednesday:  Chicken Alfredo Soup and Minestrone

Thursday:  Pizza

Friday:  Baked Spaghetti and french bread

Saturday:  Tenderloin, mac and cheese, Italian potatoes, and Lima beans

Sunday:  I don’t cook

Monday:  Parmesan Crusted Round Steak, baked potatoes, green beans, corn

Tuesday:  Martha’s Tacos and probably Shiro Wot

Wednesday:  Baked Penne with spinach, bread, and salad

Thursday:  Pizza

Friday:  Freezer meal, broccoli casserole, corn pudding, green beans

Saturday:  White Chicken Chili and Chicken Noodle Soup

Grocery Run

I will need very few things to complete these meals, so in reality, I’m saving money by not going to the grocery store!  This makes me so happy because that “extra” money can be spent stockpiling on something or house repairs…which we need many.

I challenge you to cook with what you have!  Limit your grocery budget to  $100 or less per week.  Save the leftover money and then either put it in the bank, use it to had to debt to help reduce that bill, or do repairs.  You can do it!

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Pizza Soup Recipe

Pizza Soup Recipe

Pizza Soup Recipe

Is it a secret that I love soup?  I don’t believe it is.  So, without further ado, here is my Pizza Soup Recipe.  It’s a keeper!  Bart says it is tied for first for his favorite soups. This soup is tied at first.  The other being White Chicken Chili.  I did this all in the Instant Pot but you can do it on the stovetop!

Ingredients

2# sausage

2# ground beef

Pepperoni

**Can add any meat you want here or combine your favorite meat toppings in this soup.  Also, if you like a lot of veggies on your pizza, chop them up and add them here because you want to cook them down a bit.  I would like to use peppers, but my husband doesn’t care for that.  Mushrooms would be good!**

1 onion

Minced Garlic

Seasoning

Italian Seasoning

Rosemary

1 jar of pizza sauce

Water (I believe I filled up the pizza sauce jar 3x and put it in there.  Eyeball it.)

2 cans of Tomato Soup

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Mozzarella

Directions

On the saute mode (Instant Pot), combine the meats, onion, minced garlic, and seasoning.  Cook until done, drain if you need to.  Once done, put it back in the pot and add your Italian Seasoning and Rosemary.

Next, add the sauce, water, and soups.  Stir well and then place the lid on, seal, manual, for about 8-10 minutes.  Everything is cooked, so you just want to meld the flavors.  Once done, use the quick release.  Stir in your mozzarella.  Again, put as much in there as you want.  I think I may have used 2 cups cause we like cheese!

Enjoy!

**Oh, my original plan was to add a box of Ditalini noodles in it.   I would have boiled them in saltwater on the stovetop.  Then drained it and then added it to the instant pot.  For me, I have found that if I cook noodles, that small in the IP, they get mushy.**

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Shelf-Cooking Co-Vid19 Style

Shelf-Cooking Co-Vid19 Style

Shelf-Cooking Co-Vid19 Style

Shelf-Cooking Co-Vid19 Style.  With Co-Vid19 rearing its ugly head, I have not been out of the house.  I lied.  Twice.  I have been out twice.  Both of these times has been to take Hunter to treatment in Nashville.  So, grocery shopping is through pick-up, when my son works (at a grocery store), or my husband picks it up.  Also, the school has been bringing food, for the week, for 3 kids.  That helps tremendously.

Yet

There are some things my kids will not eat, by themselves.  Now, they are not picky eaters, but they prefer it to be cooked in something.  So, what I’ve been doing is separating out the breakfast foods, lunch foods, snacks, and fruit.  They eat all the breakfast stuff throughout the week.  Also, they eat most of the lunch food throughout the week.  Yet, there are things like raw broccoli and cherry tomatoes that they will not eat unless I use it another way.

I do not waste food.

Plain and simple.  I am not a short-order cook and I do not throw things away.  That is how I was raised and that is how I raise my kids.  With all that being said, I stockpile the carrots.  For one, my kids do eat those. Secondly, I can cut those suckers up and put them in any casserole.  Thirdly, carrot bread or carrot cake.  Yes, please.  Fourthly, soup.  Put them in any soup.  Fifthly (I’m starting to giggle now because what do I do when I get up to tenthly?  Is that even a word?), put them in a saute pan with some butter and brown sugar.  It’s a good thing.

Next up, cherry tomatoes.  Once I have a baggie full, I either give them to one of my older daughters who both love them.  Also, I juice them for chili or soup.  I chop them up and saute them in any pasta dish.  You can do a multitude of things with those things.

Now, onto this recipe and broccoli.  My big girls love raw broccoli.  Sadly, my other 5 kids do not.  My son-in-law calls them “the trees of the devil.”  He is a bit extra.  You can make broccoli soup or Chicken and Broccoli Braid.  Also, you can use it to make beef and broccoli stir fry.  Lots of things.

Odds and Ends

Today, however, I had a 1/2 bag of a lot of things.  Noah had brought home some leftover hamburgers and cooked bacon from work.  I had a couple of bags of this and a bag of that.  Then there was a 1/2 a bag of another thing.  I put all those together and I made 2 casseroles.  Honestly, I didn’t think it would make that much.  I’m cooking one casserole for tonight and I’m freezing the other for another night.  We also have leftover breadsticks from the pizza we ordered last night, so that is a side dish.  I think I have a couple of cans of corn.  Voila.  Dinner is served.

Beef, Broccoli, & Extras Casserole

2# ground beef

onion

garlic

seasoning mix

Worcestershire sauce

Brown all of this together, drain if needed.

In a 13×9 dish, grease it (preheat oven to 350).  On the bottom of the dish, place the meat mixture.

Step 2

**Now, this is what I had, on hand.  Tweak this to what you have.  Just have fun with it.  If it sucks, you will remember what not to add!**

2 c. chopped fresh spinach

carton of fresh mushrooms, chopped

fresh broccoli, chopped

cooked bacon, chopped

Cheddar cheese

Layer each of these components on your meat mixture.

Step 3

In a bowl, add 2 cans of cream of mushroom (can use chicken or celery) and 16 oz. sour cream.  Once combined, spread over casserole.

Next up, add cheddar cheese (any cheese will do, this is what I had).

Lastly, I had a 1/2 bag of leftover tater tots.  I lined them on top.  Mainly because I wanted to get rid of the bag.  Another reason was that I had no potatoes to cook up.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, covered, and then another 12 minutes or so, uncovered.  Really until your tater tots are done.  Now, I did not pre-blanch or steam my broccoli.  I was afraid it would get mushy.

On freezing this dish, I did not cook it first…again, the broccoli issue.

Other Options

Now, you can change up your cheese.  Also, you can add in zucchini, squash, cauliflower, or carrots.  You can change up your soups.  Instead of tater tots, use instant or regular mashed potatoes to put on top.  If you don’t want to do that, on the bottom of the dish, add egg noodles or rice.  The sky really is the limit.

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Tater Tot Casserole with Cheese

Tater Tot Casserole with Cheese

Tater Tot Casserole with Cheese

My OCD dictated my Tater Tot Casserole with Cheese.  On a good day, I’d just sling them on there.  Tonight, they each had a place, and frankly, that makes me happy,  I do believe I’m going insane.  Insane, people.  It’s fine.  I am fine.  We are all fine.

Tater Tot Casserole with Cheese

2# ground beef

Lipton onion soup mix

Worcestershire sauce

1 can cream of celery (normally I use cream of mushroom, but that’s what I had)

Sour cream, 1 c.

Seasoning

Cheddar

Spinach

Tater Tots

Directions

Brown beef with seasoning.  Drain if necessary.  Add in some Worcestershire sauce and the Lipton onion soup mix.  **I have a gluten-free, copycat Lipton onion soup mix recipe.**  Once that is done, add in your chopped spinach and mix well.

In greased 13×9 dish, place the meat/spinach mixture on the bottom.  Next, in a bowl, mix the sour cream and cream of celery together.  Pour that over the meat.  Then add a layer of cheddar.  End with the tater tots and be sure and season the tots.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.  You might want to add a few minutes if you put frozen tots on there.  Mine were already thawed out.  Again, it was good.  My crew gobbled it up.

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Traditional Pound Cake Recipe

Traditional Pound Cake Recipe

Traditional Pound Cake Recipe

I am going to weigh a thousand pounds by the time this quarantine is lifted.  Cooking is something I enjoy doing.  It brings me peace.  So, with that being, I haven’t made a pound cake in a month of Sundays.  Here is my Traditional Pound Cake Recipe with a powdered sugar glaze.  Forgive the “angel food cake” look because I couldn’t find my bundt pan.

This is a cake that you have to “baby” but I’m telling you, my KitchenAid mixer, it made all the difference.  You can use your hand mixer, as well.  My mixer died a long long time ago, bless its sweet heart.

Ingredients

1 pound butter, softened

3 c. sugar

6 eggs, room temperature

4 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. milk

1 tsp. almond extract

Vanilla extract, 1 tsp.

Directions

In a bowl, place the pound of butter and mix the crap out of it.  It should be a pale yellow, whipped look.  On a medium to high speed.  **Why am I singing the song “Whip It.”**  Good grief, now it won’t leave my head.  Dangit.

Where was I?  Oh…PSA…do not try and “sip” the almond or vanilla extract.  My son-in-law learned a lesson on that one.  Just passing in the kindness to everyone.  God love him.  Him’s a special boy LOL.

Quarantine.  Bunny trail.  I cannot focus.

Cheesecake…no…Pound cake.  I can do this.

Once the butter has been whipped, add an egg in one at a time.  Whip it till the yolks are blended.  Next up, get your milk and flour.  Go in this order:  a bit of milk, whip, a cup of flour, whip, repeat ending with flour.  Mix it until it is smooth.  Lastly, add in the extracts.  You can leave out the almond extract but it was good.

Grease a bundt pan (yes, I used an angel food cake pan).  After you grease it (spray or crisco), then you need to get some flour and swirl it around in there.  Add your batter.  Bake at 300 for about an hour and 40 minutes.  I started checking it at 1:30 but I did up it to 1:40.  It was done.

Icing

Eyeball this…I think I did 2 c. powdered sugar, a tsp of vanilla, and enough heavy cream (you can use 1/2 and 1/2 or milk) to thin it out.  I ended up making WAY too much, so Big Daddy drizzled all the leftovers over each slice that he eats LOL.  My daughter put it on the cake.

For the love…it is good.

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Copycat Lipton Onion Soup Mix Recipe

Copycat Lipton Onion Soup Mix Recipe

Copycat Lipton Onion Soup Mix Recipe

I went to make Tater Tot Casserole tonight and realized I had no Lipton Onion Soup Mix. What does one do during quarantine?  I concocted a Copycat Lipton Onion Soup Mix Recipe.  This is enough for 2 packets, so if you are using this, 1/2 it if you just need the equivalent to one packet.

Ingredients

1/2 c. minced onions

4 T. beef bouillon granules

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 T. parsley

1/4 tsp. paprika

Directions

Put it in an airtight container or a ziploc baggie.  Use immediately or store for up to a month.  You can also double or triple this recipe and keep it in a mason jar.  I don’t use this often.  Always, though, I put it on a roast.  Also, I put it in my Tater Tot Casserole, which I will post that recipe tomorrow.

Anyway…

I’ve been cooking up a storm during the quarantine.  Well, who am I kidding…I cook all the time.  Honestly, I feel like that is all I do is cook, clean, or educate.  The highlight of my day is driving down the road to see Kevin the pig.  He is my neighbor’s pet pig that lives in the front yard.  If you want to join in on the fun, I post daily on my quarantine log with my crew over on my Facebook page.  Come on over and “like” my page and join in.  Let us all in on what you are doing during this bizarre time in history.

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Easy White Chicken Chili with Cream Cheese

Easy White Chicken Chili with Cream Cheese

Easy White Chicken Chili with Cream CheeseI tried something out of my wheelhouse with this Easy White Chicken Chili with Cream Cheese.  It was a HIT!  Big Daddy loved it and didn’t want me to change a thing, which is huge.  I did this in my Instant Pot but you can just do it on the stovetop.

Ingredients

3 cans of chicken, drained (you can boil and chop chicken breasts)

1 onion

Garlic

Seasoning

Oregano

Cayenne

Paprika

Cumin

Oil

**Coriander (I didn’t have this)

**Cilantro (I did not have this, so I didn’t use it.  I don’t like Cilantro anyway)

1 can green chiles

2 cans white beans, drained

Chicken bouillon

Water

Cream Cheese

Monterey Jack

Directions

In instant pot, I added just a bit of oil to keep it from sticking.  Then, I added the 3 cans of chicken, garlic, and onion.  I sauteed until the onion was tender.  Next, I added the spices, green chiles, white beans, and chicken bouillon (I used the powder and mixed it with the water.  You can use chicken stock).  Mixed it well, while it was still in the saute mode.  Next up, I mixed in the cream cheese and let it melt down.  Lastly, about 6 c. water.

I put the lid on and put on “soup” mode for about 15 minutes.  Once that beeps, I do a quick release.  That’s when I add the Monterey jack cheese.  Just stir that up until it is melted.

Now, For the Tricky Part

So, you can put 1 c. of white beans in a food processor, with a bit of the broth to puree it.  Add that to your soup to thicken it up.  Some people may like it more broth-y and just let it be.  What I did, was put both cans of beans in and I added some instant potato flakes to thicken the soup up.  You can also put some cornstarch in cold water, bring the soup to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture and mix till it thickens.

Lots of options.  It was good!

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Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

My friend told me tonight that I am the only person she knows that can make anything into a casserole.  So, here is tonight’s dinner…Chili Cheese Dog Casserole.  Honestly, this quarantine is about to drive me insane.  I had my whole month’s worth of menus written out and organized.  Now, I cannot find the list.  I’m so discombobulated.  Big Daddy asked what was for supper.  I told him I didn’t know and that we were all gonna starve because I don’t know what to do.  So, Bug and I came up with this.  It was good.  I’m going to, in true fashion, write how I cooked it and what I will do differently.  That’s just how I roll.

Homemade Drop Biscuits

2 c. all-purpose flour (Please note you can use self-rising but then you will need to omit the salt and baking powder.  Plus, they will spread a bit more)

1 T. baking powder

1.5 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. melted butter

1 c. milk

Cheddar *optional

Onion powder *optional

Garlic powder *optional

Chives *optional

Italian seasoning *optional

Basil *optional

Oregano *optional

Directions

Heat oven to 450.  Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together.  Add in melted butter and milk.  Stir just until this is moistened.  Then you can add the optional ingredients.  For this recipe, she added onion powder and garlic powder.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  When the bottom gets brown, they are done, so be careful not to burn the bottoms.

Chili

2# ground beef

Onion

Seasoning

Minced garlic

Brown all of this together and drain if necessary.  Once drained, add in 2 packets of chili mix and stir well.

Boil 2 packs of hotdogs and drain.  Once drained, cut them up in bite-sized pieces.  Add that to the meat mixture.  Then add 2 cans of tomato sauce, 1 can of green chilies, 2 cans of chili hot beans, 1 can drain and rinsed kidney beans (though I will leave them off next time).

Assembly

In greased 13×9 pan, take your biscuits and tear them up on the bottom of your dish.  Then, layer the chili/hot dog mixture.  Next, the cheese.  Then another layer of biscuits, chili/hot dog mixture.  Lastly cheese.

Now, this made a full pan of just these layers.  I did add in another 11×8 dish.  I layered the biscuits on the bottom, then the chili mixture, and then the cheese.  Both dishes were eaten.

Bake for about 30 minutes.  My whole crew liked it.

Different?

I would leave out the kidney beans.  Pinto beans have been thrown out there for me to try.  Refried beans could be an option.  Replacing the layer of biscuits with a layer of rice has been mentioned.  Rotel tomatoes and chilies could be added.  Cumin maybe.  The possibilities are endless.

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