Friday, April 24, 2009

Spaghetti Bake

My family really likes this and I love it because it's super simple and few pots/pans to clean.

There's no real measurements nor necessary items, put in your favorites with a few shelf staples and viola!

1 small box of spaghetti noodles, cooked
1lbs ground beef, cooked and drained
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
3/4 cup sour cream (MUST have this ingredient or substitute with some cottage cheese)
various shredded cheeses (sharp cheddar and mozzarella make a good combo)
1/2 tsp dried marjoram

optional items
sliced mushrooms
diced pepper
black olives

Cook noodles, drain and set aside. Cook ground beef , with diced onion and sliced mushrooms if you would like and you may season with salt and garlic powder. Mix sauce, beef, noodle and sour cream together. Stir in shredded cheddar (1.5 cups or so) and some Parmesan if you have it on hand. Pour into a 9X13 pan, top with marjoram, shredded mozzarella (1 cup or so) and additional Parmesan if you would like. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Easy peasy and tasty!

Over-used Recipes Swap

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ham Leftovers

I believe ham may be one of the two most popular meats on the table at Easter (lamb being the other). With so many having ham on this most special of holidays, I thought we could share our favorite ham leftovers.

So please share your favorite use for left over are a few of mine. I have previously provided my favorite use of a ham bone and another favorite for leftover ham is quiche. We had quite a bit of left over ham today so my husband requested ham salad....YUM!

Here is my not so specific ham salad recipe:

Put into to your food processor -

2 handfuls of ham chunks (I used plain smoked ham, not glazed or spiced ham)
1 slight tblsp diced onion
6 small gherkins and a bit of the pickle juice
3/4 cup mayonnaise or to taste
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Process until desired chunkiness and thoroughly mixed. Leave in the refrigerator overnight for superb flavor!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Banana Muffins

We had some overripe bananas that needed to be used so I made some deliciously moist and dense banana muffins! These muffins have a delicious banana flavor without being overpowered with spices. And because they're so moist, no need to slather with butter or cream cheese.


1 cup bread flour
1 cup grounds oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 4 bananas)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease muffin pan (makes approximately 18 muffins).

Process oats for 30-45 seconds in your food processor to a course flour. Then combine in a large bowl with flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in vanilla, eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Could be made into a loaf, just adjust pan size to 9X5 loaf and baking time to around 1 hour. If you like nuts, toss in some chopped walnuts or chocolate chips. But in my opinion, these are perfect as written!

I don't have a camera as my husband has it at work taking pictures for his portfolio. If the muffins last until the end of the day when he gets home I'll try to snag a pic for you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

This recipe comes from Bon Appetit magazine. A friend made this for us and my husband could not get enough. He's been asking for me to make this for some time, now. He even used one of his special dinner coupons that I gave him for our anniversary.

This recipe actually comes from Otto, Mario Batali's NY Pizzeria. It is so delicious, as is! This might be one recipe I'll never tinker with.


Basic Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup coarsely grated peeled carrots
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes in juice

10 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from crustless French bread ground in processor)
2 large eggs
1 cup (about) all purpose flour
6 tablespoons (or more) olive oil, divided
3 cups coarsely grated well-drained fresh water-packed mozzarella,* divided
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram


basic tomato sauce

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and thyme; sauté until carrots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice; bring to boil, coarsely crushing tomatoes with potato masher or fork. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to generous 5 cups, about 1 hour. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm sauce before using.


Place chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken breasts to 1/3-inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Spread breadcrumbs on plate. Whisk eggs to blend in medium bowl. Spread flour on another plate. Coat both sides of chicken with flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chicken to skillet and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed (chicken will not be cooked through). Transfer chicken to platter. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 1 layer of chicken over sauce. Spoon 2 cups sauce over. Sprinkle half of mozzarella, Parmesan, and Pecorino over. Repeat with remaining chicken, sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, and Pecorino. Bake until cheeses melt and chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and marjoram and serve.

*Available in 1/3 -ounce, 1-ounce, and 8-ounce balls at many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Italian markets. Regular mozzarella can be substituted.