Do you remember where you went or who came over for one of the biggest milestones of your elementary school life? What event you may be wondering, since at that age there are so many ‘firsts’ to choose from– your first sleep over. The youngest son finally got to have one this Fall and if you could die from excitement– he’d have been a goner. Everything had to be perfect–even dinner, so when he requested spaghetti pie (and let me know he actually meant a spaghetti pie) I knew I had to come up with something to fit the bill. He thought my idea for a baked spaghetti pie with pepperoni sounded perfect.
Some days I seriously don’t think I’d survive without my quick one pot meals. Seriously. With everything life throws at me some days having these quick and easy meals the whole family can get behind is my saving grace. It may not be actual tacos, but it tastes just as good without all the chopping, dicing, etc. Give it a try and this recipe for 15 Minute Taco Pasta will soon be just as stained and well-worn as some of the other quick and easy family favorites in your recipe binder.
Italian food seems to speak right to my family’s soul. Probably because the hubs is (almost) a full blooded Italian, and through him, my boys are pretty close. We make it a point to talk to them about their heritage since it’s something we’re proud of, and we also make it a point to teach them how to make the same authentic dishes their Nonna & Nonno made for their Dad growing up so that they too can keep the tradition going for their kids.
Usually, I’d argue that this dish makes a perfect salad for Summer, whether it’s as a side dish or a meal itself. And it does. But when it’s unseasonably warm weather-wise on the home front and were less than two weeks away from Christmas, I’m not going to rant or rave. I mean I can’t actually do anything about it, so why not just go with it?
Do you love the taste of Pierogis, Those Eastern European dumplings stuffed with cream mashed potato goodness, but dread the amount of work involved with making the dough, stuffing, and sealing them by hand? Then this here’s the thing for you. Pierogi LASAGNA. Now it’s true you could go to the frozen food aisle and just buy a bag (and I will, in a pinch) but they can’t ever compete flavor wise with the real thing. Or even with our more modernized version.
Pasta, potatoes, cheese, and bacon. Does it get any better than that? I’m pretty sure those are the hubs and sons four favorite food groups 😉
Still, they might not be the best groups to associate with, especially all at once, if you’re watching your carb intake … Or ya know, flavor.
Alternating layers of rich cottage cheese, and creamy mashed potatoes whipped together with bacon or ham and a generous serving of cheddar cheese are sandwiched between your favorite lasagna noodles before being topped with another sprinkle of cheddar cheese and crisp, crumbled bacon and oven-baked to perfection.
You need this in your life. At least once, or twice. And with the colder days and colder nights approaching, there’s no better time of year to give it a try.
12 cooked lasagna noodles
2 cups cottage cheese
3 thinly sliced green onions with a sprinkling of salt (or 1 tsp onion salt)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, with 1/2 cup separated
2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup bacon (fried crisp and crumbled) OR diced ham.
1 onion, chopped and cooked until clear
8 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
- Mix together the cottage cheese, egg and green onion, stirring until evenly combined.
2. In another bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, the mashed potatoes, the 1/2 cup of bacon/ham crumbled and the sautéed onion.
3. Line the bottom of a greased 9 x 13″ baking dish with 4 of the lasagna noodles.
4. Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture out evenly over the noodles.
5. Add 4 additional noodles and cover evenly with half of the potato mixture.
7. Top with remaining 4 noodles, remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
9. Serve warm with sour cream, if desired.
We’re interrupting our regularly scheduled program. Ice Cream/Frozen Treat Week ( # 2 ) will return bright and early Monday morning. Until then, we’re going to leave you with these snack-tactic cucumber recipe. You’re not gonna want to miss it.
This quick and easy recipe makes the perfect summer side salad. Seriously. Even better? It only uses a few simple ingredients, but it’s chock full of crispy, crunchy cucumbers and packs a ton of flavor with just the right amount of kick. It’s a great addition to any end of summer bash.
Asian Cucumber Salad
2 English cucumbers, finely sliced
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
dash of red pepper flakes
1-2 tbsp sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, oil, and red peppers flakes (if using) until evenly incorporated. Pour the dressing over the slo Ed cucumbers, tossing to coat. Let the cucumbers ‘marinate’, chilled, for about an hour.
- Before serving, sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Serve chilled, but the longer these sit they will eventually turn into Asian-flavored pickles 😉 We make sure to use them within 24 hours.
I think it’s safe to say that we all look forward to pizza night every other Friday. Some nights, it means placing an order on the computer and having it delivered about 45 minutes later. Other nights, it means Mom thawing out the pizza dough the night before and getting busy with a variety of toppings. It could be your traditional pepperoni, or even as funky as Mac & Cheese pizza. We love pizza. Period. But then, naturally, you’ve got those ‘oops’ moments. You know the ‘pizza night’s come up again, and even though you told yourself multiple times, posted sticky notes, and tied a ribbon around your finger, you still forgot to thaw the dough out’ moments. And it’s 30 minutes until you told everyone to be at the table. See, an ‘oops’ moment. Luckily for me, one of my guys favorite pizza flavor combos will forever be meatlover’s.
And what’s not to love? Especially for a meaty, hearty kind of appetite. Where else are you going to find beef, pepperoni, sausage, ham, and occasionally bacon thrown together into one incredible dish? This is my pizza night savior on those no-dough nights. Instead of a traditional pizza crust, I opted to mix there favorite flavors with some pasta. And man, oh, man is it good! All their promised favorite flavors, mixed with some fun pasta shapes.
And it’s customizable. Use whatever pasta is your family’s favorite shape. I didn’t include them in the recipe, but add in some ground beef, or swap it for something else. The sons consider it a real treat when I sprinkle some crispy, crumbled bacon over top the pepperoni and cheeses. So whether you forgot to plan ahead like moi, you don’t want to do delivery, or it seems like too much work, with this meal you won’t have to let that stand in the way of you and your family enjoying your next pizza night.
Meatlover’s Pizza Casserole
1/2 lb bow tie pasta
1 lb mild pork sausage
2 (26 oz) jars spaghetti sauce
1 large onion, diced
1 lb cooked ham, cubed
3 (8 oz) bags of shredded mozzarella
6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1. Cook pasta according to the package directions, or until al dente. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.
2. Add the sausage, onions, garlic, and oregano until the sausage has cooked through and the onions are translucent. Remove them from heat, drain if necessary, and set aside.
3. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Add some sauce to the dish, just enough to lightly coat the bottom when spread out.
4. To create the first layer, add 1/3 of the cooked pasta and spread it out evenly into the dish. Cover the pasta with 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Sprinkle one bag of cheese out evenly overtop. Sprinkle two tbsp of Parmesan out evenly over the mozzarella. Add the cooked sausage mixture and spread it out evenly.
5. For the second layer, spread half of the remaining pasta into the dish. spread half of the remaining sauce out over the pasta. Sprinkle another bag of mozzarella and two tbsp of Parmesan evenly over top. Sprinkle the diced ham out evenly to finish the layers.
6. To prepare the final layer, add all the remaining pasta, the rest of the pasta sauce, the last bag of mozzarella and the rest of Parmesan, and finally top with all the sliced pepperoni.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
It was the day after Christmas, and all through the house children were playing with plenty of arguments over tv time and game systems for their parents to dowse.
The wrapping paper was all picked up and Santa’s supplies packed away with care, when I realized, ‘Oh, crap!’ Dinnertime soon would be there.
The sons’ were all asking, wondering what there was going to be to eat.
And this Mom had nothing. I’d never even thought to pull out any meat….
None. Nada. Zilch.
It was then that a little light from heaven shone down…right into my fridge. And my heart and belly (and my Mommy-conscience) leapt with joy! (Let’s be honest, what was I going to rhyme with Zilch or fridge?!)
Pasta with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and vinegrette dressing…maybe even a little Feta cheese.
An easy, meatless meal? Yes, please.
Oh, had I been craving some good pasta lately. And the lasagna I’d had for dinner on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas day still hadn’t cut it.
And thus to us, a new recipe was born.
Mediterranean Tortellini Pasta Salad
1 lb tortellini
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
For the Dressing
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste
Note: Serving a crowd? No worries! The recipe easily doubles. Just don’t cry any crocodile tears over the empty bowl that comes home and the fact that you have no leftovers to enjoy later on.
1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Soak the onions in a bowl of clean, cold water. Drain after 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl add the onion slices, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, cheese, and tortellini. Gently toss them together.
4. In a different bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk everything together until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the tortellini salad and gently mix until everything’s nicely coated with the dressing. Serve this salad warm or at room temperature.
The Sons’ are at it again, bringing the masses another recipe they’ve knocked out of the park.
Garlic Bread meets Spaghetti and Meatballs meets the Meatball Sub and the result is out of this world!
This recipe will leave your house smelling like a heavenly Italian restaurant and you’ll be lucky if you can keep your family from devouring it before it makes it to their plates. I think the Sons were worse than our pug that night, loitering around the kitchen and watching for any missed speck of this recipe while they waited for me to plate everything up for them.
Savory, buttery, crispy garlic bread stuffed with delicious spaghetti and meatballs… it’s a match made in heaven. How could I blame the little scroungers?!
I’m always watching the sons turn their spaghetti and garlic bread into an open faced sandwich (I’ll admit it freaked me out slightly the first few times), so I knew this would be right up their alley. And oh boy, were they sure on to something…
(The apron says it all)
Son # 2, just like his Daddy 🙂
He could easily (and quite happily) eat spaghetti and meatballs every night of the week. Which is why he nominated himself to oversee this particular meal.
It may not be the prettiest presentation, but it delivers 100 % on flavor. All the sons and the hubs gave it two thumbs up. Just make sure you have some napkins handy, because it is messy. But man, you can’t go wrong with Garlic Bread meets Spaghetti and Meatballs meets the Meatball Sub! Enjoy!
Homemade Spaghetti & Meatballs Garlic Bread Sub
recipe adapted from The Cards We Drew
frozen, or homemade, meatballs (we used about 1/3-1/2 of the package)
Parmesan, and/or Mozzarella cheese, to taste (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 box of spaghetti noodles
1 loaf of Italian bread
garlic butter (either store bought or homemade)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
2. Cook meatballs according to package directions.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the meatballs with the spaghetti sauce until evenly coated. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and then set the aside.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
5. Cut your bread loaf in half length wise, and liberally coat both sides of the inside with garlic butter.
6. Place bread in a baking dish, or on a baking sheet, with the insides facing up and bake it until the butter is melted and inside is lightly crisped.
7. Once the bread has baked, top the bottom half with the cooked spaghetti, top the spaghetti with the meatball and sauce mixture, and then sprinkle some parmesan, and/or mozzarella cheese on top.
8. Put the loaf back in the oven until the cheese is nice and melty and the sauce is heated through. Slice loaf into individual sandwiches and serve with salad for dinner.
UPDATE: The Sons’ found this gem and declared it a must share. Son # 1 putting his spaghetti on a baked potato! Bleck!!
Welcome to my life 😉
Summer and pasta salad just go hand in hand at my house. Quick, economical and delicious! Now let me beat you to it, yes I know Summer’s long gone and it’s already November. While that may be the case, another thing that go hand in hand in our home, are quick and easy meals. A hearty pasta salad is also a favorite of ours for a light dinner or a really filling lunch. So even though I’m loving living in the land of Soup, Stew, and Comfort Food at the moment pasta salad, or a version of it, still visits frequently. This is one of our favorite creamy/mayonnaise based pasta salads. I don’t make it too too often, but when I do I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. I normally make it with rotini pasta (I feel the ‘dressing’ sticks to it best), but you can use pretty much any shaped pasta you’d like.
Pasta salad doesn’t have to be the tired stuff of bad salad bars anymore (it’s 2014 people). Think of it as a blank canvas for fresh and flavorful ingredients you can toss in. Just look at all the vibrant colors we’re throwing into this one. They add one heck of a fresh flavor punch.
I urge you to try a pasta salad with ranch dressing. It’s a lovely, lovely thing.
Ranch Pasta Salad
recipe adapted from Inspired Craft Ideas
1 cup Greek yogurt (fat free is great!)
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 packet ranch dressing mix, plus extra, to taste, if desired
1 lb rotini pasta, cooked
2 large carrots
1½- 2 cups broccoli
1 cup ham
1 cup cheddar cheese
½ yellow bell pepper
½ red bell pepper
1. Combine the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix. Set aside.
2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, drizzle with a bit of olive oil so it doesn’t stick.
3. Chop the veggies, ham, and cheese into bite sized pieces. Combine with the pasta and ¾ of the dressing. Stir well, add additional dressing if it is too dry.
4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these other fan/family favorites as well.