Friday, October 31, 2008

Baked Pasta Florentine

Baked Pasta Florentine

prep time: 30-40 minutes bake time: 30 minutes

Serves 8 (or 4 twice!)

10 oz frozen chopped spinach 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 Tbsp, plus ¼ cup vegetable oil ½ tsp. of salt
1 ½ pounds ground beef (or turkey) pinch of pepper
1 medium onion, chopped 1 pkg. of seashell pasta
1 garlic clove, minced 1 cup shredded cheddar
16 oz jar of spaghetti sauce ½ cup bread crumbs
8 oz. can of tomato sauce 2 eggs, beaten well

1. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions, drain and return to the pot. *
2. Cook the spinach according to the package directions, drain and reserve the liquid. Add enough water to the liquid to make 1 cup and set aside. *
3. In a large heavy pot, heat 1 Tbsp of oil over medium heat. Brown the beef, onion and garlic in the oil, stirring well to crumble beef. Drain off the fat. *
4. Stir the spinach liquid, pasta sauce, tomato sauce and paste, salt and pepper into the meat mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes, cover and set aside.
5. Add the spinach, cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, and ½ cup of oil to the cooked pasta; stir gently to mix well.
6. Spread the pasta mixture evenly in a 9 x 13 dish (or I often make two 8 x 8’s and freeze one). Top with the meat sauce and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

* I get steps 1-3 started all right at the beginning, otherwise this can take quite a while. But it times out well if you start them all together.

From my friend Jenny Adler, (but I believe it's originally from Paula Deen)

No Fail French Bread

Two of my friends had their babies on Sunday--what are the chances? So, tomorrow, I'm taking them both meals. They will be getting Jenny's Pasta Florentine and Stephanie's No Fail French Bread, along with some salad. Jenny made me the pasta recipe when I had Jon three years ago and it's been a favorite ever since. It takes a little longer than most of my recipes, but it makes a lot--two 8x8's, one to eat and one to freeze. I'll post that recipe tomorrow. For now, here's the yummy French bread recipe. Enjoy!

No Fail French Bread
prep time: 10 minutes (then stirring every 10 minutes for another 40 minutes) bake time: 20-25 minutes

Makes 2 loaves

½ cup warm water
4 ½ tsp yeast
2 cups of HOT water
1 Tbsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup oil
6 cups flour (I use half whole wheat and half regular)

1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a small bowl or measuring cup
2. In a large bowl, combine hot water, salt, sugar and oil. Let stand until warm.
3. Add yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour. Beat until smooth.
4. Add remaining flour to form soft, stirrable dough. (add a little more if it's too sticky--sometimes the humidity in the air can affect this)
5. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for ten minutes. Stir again. Repeat this step 5 times.
6. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead enough to make dough workable for easy handling.
7. Divide dough in half and use hands to form into an oblong loaf shape. Fold in sides, push through the middle and seal seam.
8. Arrange side by side on a large cookie sheet
9. Brush with beaten egg white. Slash diagonally 3 or 4 times.
10. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

This recipe is from my friend Stephanie Ross :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Company Chicken or...

I've seen this recipe with several different names, but it was given to me first as company chicken, so...that's what I'll call it on here:

Company Chicken

prep time: 10 minutes? (maybe less!) cooking time: 5-6 hours

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 block cream cheese, cut up
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. white cooking wine
1/4 c. butter
1 envelope Italian Dressing Mix

1. cut up the chicken, put it into a crockpot
2. mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl (or just dump them in the crockpot if you're in a hurry!!)
3. cook on low in the crockpot for 5-6 hours, stirring occassionally

This is great served over pasta or rice. I served it over bow-tie pasta with a little shredded parm. on top--yum! We had rolls and a green vegetable as sides. My in-laws came to visit and we had this one. Everyone loved it. :)

This recipe was given to me by my friend and neighbor, Nancy Awabdy, and a couple days later by Kim Brown! :)

Sweet Corn Bread

Sweet Corn Bread


1 cup ground corn meal
2 cups white flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
2. Combine the egg yolks, milk, vanilla and melted butter
3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
4. Beat egg whites w/ mixer until stiff
5. Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter.
6. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan (or 2 8x8’s)
7. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.

This jewel was passed to me from my mother in law when Pete and I got married, but I didn't try it until a few weeks ago. I've made it twice since then! Also, at least two of my friends have made it and loved it, too! Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Delicious Marinade for Chicken

Chicken Marinade

prep time: 5 minutes, but you must marinade overnight!!


½ cup of soy sauce
¼ cup of vegetable oil
¼ cup of red* wine vinegar
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
½ tsp. garlic powder**
½ tsp. pepper

*the color probably doesn’t matter
**sometimes I substitute 1 clove of fresh garlic

1. Marinate chicken overnight.
2. Grill it and serve!

this recipe was passed to me by my mother in law, Jan Gross :)

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

prep time: 30 minutes


1 pound of broccoli, finely chopped
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup water
16 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes
½ pound of velveeta cheese, cut into small cubes
½ cup butter
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 quart of milk
1 cup of very fine egg noodles

1. Cook broccoli and celery in 1 cup water until tender.
2. Add cheeses and butter and stir constantly until they melt.
3. Add soups and milk, continue to stir.
4. Once boiling, add noodles and continue to boil.
5. Once the noodles are soft, you can reduce the heat to low and serve. YUM!

this one is from my mom, Linnea Ross :)

Baked Ziti

Prep time: 25-30 minutes Cooking time: 35-40 minutes


6 cups(16 oz) cooked and drained ziti pasta (I use rotini)
1 large jar spaghetti sauce, divided*
16oz cottage cheese or ricotta
8oz shredded mozzerella
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 egg
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Baked Ziti
1. Heat oven to 375.
2. In a large bowl combine everything except 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce and the parmesan cheese.

3. Put pasta mixture in a 9x13 baking dish, top with remaining sp. sauce and sprinkle with cheese. (*I usually add more sp.sauce then what they say—close to two regular size jars).
4. Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes, then last 5 min. uncovered.

This recipe freezes nicely, just add 20-25 minutes to the baking time.

(I started adding a pound of hamburger to mine—Pete likes it better this way, I think it’s great either way!)

this recipe passed on to me from Heather Wright :)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

prep time: 10 minutes cooking time: 30 minutes

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup chunky salsa
8 ounces corn tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)

1. Over medium heat, saute the chicken in the oil for 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and cumin and mix well. Then add the broth, corn, onion, chili powder, lemon juice and salsa. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Break up some tortilla chips into individual bowls and pour soup over chips. Top with the Monterey Jack cheese and a little sour cream.

this recipe passed on to me from Kim Brown :)

Sticky Chicken

Sticky Chicken

prep: approx. 15-20 minutes cooking time: 55 minutes

2-3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cups ketchup
1 to 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I use probably 1 1/4 cups, but some like it less sweet, or more...)
1 T minced dry onion
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons reg. yellow mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice (you can also use vinegar in a pinch)

1. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan and whisk until mixed together all the ingredients besides the chicken.
2. Brown 3-4 chicken breasts in a skillet (I cut them in half lengthwise to make smaller, juicier pieces).
3. Lay browned chicken in baking dish (I use a smaller deep dish that barely fits the chicken in one layer on the bottom). Cover with 2/3 of the sauce, keeping the rest warm on a low burner (stir here and there).
4. Bake uncovered 40 minutes at 350.
5. Pour on the rest of the sauce and bake 15 minutes more.

This chicken is delicious served over rice, with biscuits and a vegetable for sides. If you decide to serve it with rice, begin cooking the rice about 30 minutes after you put the chicken in the oven.

this recipe was passed to me by Christina Gathany :)


First, let me say that I'm not a gourmet chef. I don't even LOVE cooking. I enjoy cooking when I have time and a good recipe. However, as a wife and mom, necessity brings me to the kitchen more often that I would chose. So, like many of you, I've gotten bored on numerous occassions. Frequently I complain to my friends about needing new recipes, and probably because they don't want to listen to me complain anymore, they give me some of their favorites. Therefore, I have gotten a pretty good collection of tasty meals--not too many are light or low-fat, but most are quite delicious. Lately, I've enjoyed cooking more and more because I've found so many good recipes from friends. I want you to share in my joy, so here you go...
Here's the address for all my facebook friends:
Enjoy! And please send me feedback!!