November 30, 2008

Simple Sausage Pasta Bake

This is so easy, but delish!
What You Need:
1 package of Penne pasta
1 jar of Prego Fresh Mushroom spaghetti sauce
1 package fresh mushrooms
1 Turkey sausage (I like Hilshire Farms)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

What You Do:
Preheat oven to 350*
Boil pasta according to package directions
Chop sausage into bite size pieces
Slice mushrooms, saute'
Grate cheese
Open jar of sauce *grin*

Drain pasta, pour into large bowl. Add the sauce, sausage, mushrooms, and 1 cup of cheese.
Mix well.
Transfer to a 13x9 baking dish
Sprinkle remaining cheese over top
Bake for 35 minutes, or until cheese is browning.
I like to pair this with French bread and fresh sautéed zucchini. It is yummy! 

November 25, 2008

Sausage and Black Bean Soup

Black Bean & Sausage Soup


  • 1 lb. sausage, browned (I used hot)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can golden hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen shredded hash browns
  • 1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes, undrained & chopped
  • 2 14 oz. cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano

Brown sausage and drain off fat. Place in crock-pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

To freeze: Place soup in gallon freezer bags (double bag). Thaw completely and place in crock-pot, following instructions above.

Honey Mustard Marinade (for chicken or pork)

Whisk together...

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 clove crushed garlic

To freeze: Place in freezer bag. Add meat of your choice and freeze. On cooking day, thaw completely and bake or grill as desired.

Savory Marinade (for any meat)

Whisk together...

1 large clove garlic
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. parsley

To freeze: Place this in freezer bag...add meat of choice (I enjoy using pork loins or chops OR chicken breast). On cooking day, thaw completely and bake or grill.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

1 1/2 lbs. chicken, cooked and diced
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, diced (or one 16 oz. bag of baby carrots)
3 celery stalks, diced
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup flour
32 oz. chicken broth
1 1/2 cups wild rice (cooked)
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. curry powder
2 cups milk

Add chicken, carrots, mushrooms, celery, onion, butter, and chicken broth to a large stockpot. Heat over medium high heat until veggies are tender. Add dry ingredients (EXCEPT wild rice). Reduce heat and stir in milk...cook through. Stir in wild rice at end.

To freeze: Double bag in ziploc freezer bags OR freezer safe plastic containers. To serve thaw and heat through.

Sausage Calzones

Sausage Calzones

I'm not sure where I found this recipe originally, but we sure enjoy it!

Recipe yields 4 calzones. The hubby and I usually split one and then freeze the rest to reheat later.

1 1/3 lb. italian sausage
2 cups ricotta cheese
handful parsley
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
handful parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped pimento
2 tubes of prepared refrigerated pizza dough (I usually use two bags of Trader Joes whole wheat could also make your own)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
tomato, marinara or pizza sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 425.

Brown sausage. Combine sausage with ricotta, parsley, garlic, parmesan cheese, pepper, nutmeg, and pimento. Roll pizza dough out on nonstick cookie sheets in 4 equal pieces. Spread 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/4 of the sausage mixture on each rectangle. (Work only on one half of rectangle of dough!). Fold other half of dough over filling, pink edges firmly to seal. If your dough tears, remove a bit of filling and repair.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. (My hint: spread foil on your cookie sheet before baking...makes for easy clean-up for the cheesy mess that oozes out during baking!) Serve with tomato sauce for dipping. YUM!

To freeze: Wrap calzones in foil before baking. Thaw completely and follow baking instructions above. OR Freeze completely bake...warm in the oven until warm through.

Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my all-time favorites. You've gotta love it when all the food groups combine into one dish that even the kiddos enjoy! This recipe came from an old neighbor, from way back when I used to babysit her little think I now have my own that age!

2 pie crusts (I make my own)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I love to use rotisserie it an extra kick!)
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
10 oz. frozen pea and carrot blend (or mixed veggies)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. thyme

Place bottom crust in pie pan (I tend to use a square 8x8...its deeper and has more room for filling!). Saute the onion and celery in olive oil until soft. Combine all ingredients (including celery and onion), stir to mix well, and pour into pie shell. Cover with top crust, pinch edges together, and prick vents.

Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes, until deep golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

**To freeze...combine filling and place in a gallon ziploc freezer bag. On day of cooking, thaw completely, make (or buy crust). Assemble and follow baking instructions!

November 21, 2008

Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake

Courtesy of Kraft Food & Family Magaizine!

1-1/2 cups multigrain penne pasta, uncooked
1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh spinach leaves
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 jar (14-1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

HEAT oven to 375ºF. Cook pasta as directed on package, adding spinach to the boiling water for the last 1 min.
COOK and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 3 min. Add spaghetti sauce and tomatoes; bring to boil. Simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in Neufchatel cheese.
DRAIN pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spoon into 2-qt. or 8-inch square baking dish.
BAKE 20 min. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min.
This was really delicious! The cream cheese gave it a very subtle creamy taste. I am VERY anti chicken + marinara sauce, but it tasted great thanks to that cream cheese!

November 18, 2008

Red Velvet Holiday Cookies

i stumbled across this recipe in a "country home" magazine and simply had to share. they are so good...not too sweet but just right! and really...who can go wrong with cream cheese frosting!?

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1 oz. bottle red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter. Beat in sugars until smooth. Add eggs, food coloring, vanilla, and lemon juice; beat until just combined. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined, scraping sides of bowl (be sure to scrape bottom or you will have marbled red and white dough at the bottom of the bowl).

Drop by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (roll into balls if you want nice "smooth" cookies). Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes...edges will be set but middle should still be slightly soft. Cool on wire racks.

Frost cooies with cream cheese frosting (recipe below). Decorate as desired...the magazine had a fancy pants picture of cocoa powder sprinkled on through a stencil of some sort...we were too lazy for that and simply used green and Christmas-y sparkles (yes...I do know it isn't even Thanksgiving and I'm already baking Christmas cookies!).

In medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed...beat half of an 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened butter (that is half a stick), 1 tsp. vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar until desired consistency.

November 14, 2008

Creamy Crockpot Fettuccine

Creamy Crockpot Fettucine

8-10 chicken tenderloins

1/4 c. green onions

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can chopped tomatoes

1 T basil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 c. heavy cream

2 egg yolks

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

8 oz. fettuccine

1 pkg fresh sliced mushrooms


1.  Toss tenders into crockpot - frozen is fine if you have the time to let them fully cook.

2.  Add green onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil & salt.  Cover and cook on low 5 hours or until chicken is done.

3.  Remove lid and break chicken up into pieces.  Stir in cream, egg yolks, and parmesan cheese.  Cover and cook on high 30 minutes to thicken.

4.  While sauce is thickening, cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain

5.  Add fettuccine and mushrooms to sauce.  Cover and cook on high 30-60 minutes.


November 12, 2008

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe is courtesy of

2 pounds bulk Italian sausage or ground beef (I've only used ground beef)
3 medium onions, chopped (2 1/4 cups)
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (6 ounces)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (12 ounces) tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Cook sausage, onions, mushrooms and garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium heat
about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.
2. Spoon sausage mixture into 5-quart slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients.
3. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours or until vegetables are tender.

This makes 24 1/2 cup servings. I usually freeze most of it in freezer/quart bags. I will never eat store bought sauce again. I love this stuff!

November 10, 2008

Bow Ties & Sausage

Bow Tie Pasta & Sausage
1 (12 ounce) package bow tie pasta
1 pound beef sausage (I used Hillshire Farms)
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used 1/4 because of the kids – I didn’t taste any heat with this amount)
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1.  Cook pasta according to directions
2.  Cook sausage and pepper flakes until sausage is evenly brown over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes, cream, and salt. Simmer until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.
3.  Stir cooked pasta into sauce, and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

November 4, 2008

Potato Cheese Soup

This is a mock Marie Callenders Potato Cheese Soup.

8 Cups potatoes; peeled and cubed
2 Cups chopped onion
4 Cups chopped celery
2 Teaspoons salt (or more)
4 Cups water
4 Cups Half−and−half
6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 Cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place potatoes, onions, celery, and salt in the 4 c of water in a large
pot. Simmer between 15-25 minutes until vegetables are tender. Put in
blender and puree until chunky. (I like mine with VERY FEW chunks.) Return soup to pot and add half−and−half, butter, and cheese. Simmer until hot. Add cornstarch if needed and simmer until film appears on top.

November 1, 2008

Beef Taquitos

© Shanna K 2008 
In the past I’ve purchased the frozen taquitos and my kids love them…however I figured if I’m going to eat this fatty goodness I should at least make an attempt at making them myself, foregoing all the preservatives and unknown meat parts that the manufacturers undoubtedly put in them! 

5 lbs roast cooked and shredded (I cooked pot roast in the crock pot the day before & only used half of it – shredding the other for this recipe)

2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

olive oil – about 1 cup (totally guessing)

garlic powder, to taste

onion powder, to taste

1 1/2 cups salsa or 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, un-drained 

36 corn tortillas


cheese sauce


sour cream



Don’t let the lengthy instructions scare you away from trying these.  They’re worth it and once you get a rhythm going, they go quickly.  This isn’t necessarily a sit down with the family dinner.  I was still preparing them as the kids and hubby ate, and I sat down myself when the last two came out of the pan.  However, these make a great freezer meal as they can easily make a few dozen.

  1. Mix shredded beef with cheddar cheese, garlic and onion powder, and salsa in a large bowl.
  2. Heat oil in small skillet on medium heat and place one tortilla at a time in the oil for about 30 seconds per side.  Remove tortilla from pan and lie on a plate to fill with beef mixture.
  3. Portion a couple tablespoons mixture onto each corn tortilla in the lower 1/3 of the tortilla.  Roll up tightly (watch your fingers, the oil is still HOT)  
  4. Place stuffed tortilla in second skillet, seam side down, on low-medium heat to brown and heat through – flipping once to brown other side.  (Several can sit in this pan as you oil and stuff the other tortillas).
  5. Serve hot with condiments.

To freeze for later, put seam side down on cookie sheets and freeze.  When firm, transfer to Ziploc freezer bags. 

To re-heat bake at 400 right out of the freezer!