Saturday, January 31, 2009

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Ok, I am well aware that you really can't have brownies for supper but sometimes I just need to do a little baking. I have never made brownies from scratch. These were so easy and so tasty and yes, very naught but I still just had to share. Enjoy.


* 1 pound unsalted butter
* 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
* 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
* 6 extra-large eggs
* 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
* 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
* 2 1/4 cups sugar
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the prepared sheet pan. Spoon the peanut butter over the top of the chocolate mixture and using a knife, swirl it through the chocolate mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into large squares.

This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten.

Carabonara Deep-Dish Pasta-Crusted Pan Pizza


* Salt
* 2 packages fresh linguini, 9 ounces each
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 pound pancetta, cut as thick as bacon, chopped (I just used bacon)
* 3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
* 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
* Salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 4 large eggs
* 1/2 cup cream (I use half and half or whole milk, what ever is in the house)
* 2 cups ricotta cheese
* A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (I used dried)
* 1 cup shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese (Mozzarella here)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat water for pasta in large pot, salt it and add pasta for 3 minutes.

While water boils, heat a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Drain pasta, add to pan and toss. Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with salt and pepper. Beat eggs with cream and pour over top of pasta. Let eggs begin to set up, about 1 minute, and pat pasta into even layer to make the pizza pie crust. Place in oven and cook 5 to 6 minutes.

Mix together the ricotta and parsley. Remove pie from oven and smooth the ricotta over the top. Scatter with the provolone or mozzarella and return to oven. Bake 8 minutes more until cheese is melted and golden at edges. Cut into wedges and serve.

Words to the Wise:
This is a recipe of Rachael Ray's. I just copies it from the Food Network site. I have made this a few time for the family. We love it! It is really good weekend food.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tex-Mex Chicken Skillet

1lb box Whole wheat Penne pasts
3 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
1 1/4 cups Salsa
1 can corn (frozen will work as well)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup Cheese

  • Cook pasta according to directions
  • In a large skillet grease bottom of pan and cook chicken, about 2 minutes
  • Add salsa, corn and peppers
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 10 minutes or unitl chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally
  • Drain pasta
  • Add to chicken mixture, mix lightly and stir in cheese.
  • Let stand about 5 minutes before serving
Words to the Wise:
I love this dish and so does the family. It is still a pasta dish so the kids love it but it has different flavors than another spaghetti dish. I have also added black beans to this recipe in the past. It just adds more texture and bumps up the fiber.
This recipe is from Kraft Food and Family.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baked Pasta Casserole

1lb pasta, penne or rotini
1lb ground meat, I usually use ground turkey
1 green pepper
1 small onion
1 jar Spaghetti sauce
1 can condensed cheese soup
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Mozzarella Cheese

  • Heat oven to 350°F
  • Cook pasta according to package and again, if you have not noticed I use whole wheat pasta
  • Cook meat with peppers and onions until meat is no longer pink
  • Stir in sauce, soup and seasoning along with some pepper to taste
  • Drain pasta, return to pan and then mix with sauce
  • Put mixture in a greased baking dish (9 x 13 works best) and sprinkle cheese on top.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
Words to the Wise:
A super easy meal that can be made in advance. This also freezes very well. If going to freeze, just double the recipe. Yet another kid pleaser. My kids have not met a pasta dish that they don't like.
This recipe is from the Taste of Home magazine.

Green Bean Chicken and Rice Casserole

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans green beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (6-ounce) box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions (I use Uncle Ben's Wild Rice but I don't use the seasoning packet, its just too strong)
Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat butter or oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour into a greased baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
Words to the Wise:
I usually use Rotisserie Chicken. I will buy one large chicken and take the meat off the bone and then I have cooked chicken for easy meals. This one large chicken, I usually get enough for 2 recipes. These chickens will usually be discounted by the store at the end of the day. So sometimes it pays to be a late shopper. The is another kid pleaser.
This recipe is adapted from a Paula Deen recipe.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Summer Squash
Red Pepper
Frozen Peas, thawed
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella Cheese

  • Heat oven to 400°F
  • Chop all vegetables into 1 inch pieces
  • Place on a large baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. You want the veggies coated so that they won't stick but not dripping in oil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and return to pot
  • Pour sauce over pasta and stir in vegetables along with peas. I use about half of a bag (if you forget to thaw them, no big deal just toss them in).
  • Mix everything together. Once combined but in a baking dish. (For my family I use 2 smaller baking dishes because this freezes so well and then I can get 2 meals out of it.)
  • Sprinkle with cheeses and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through
Words to the Wise
My kids love this dish and it is a great way to get them to eat vegetables. The don't even know that they are eating veggies because they are covered in sauce and cheese.
Also you can really use any veggies that you want in this dish. If you don't like one on the list then skip it and use your favorites. There is not a right or wrong amount either. The more you use the bigger the dish and the more for freezing or left-overs.
And if you want to know, if is an original creation made by me.

Spaghetti Bake

1lb cook whole wheat Spaghetti, cooked
8 oz 2% Velveeta Cheese, cubed
2 cans tuna
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Parmesan Cheese

  • Heat oven to 400°F
  • Cook pasta according to package
  • Once pasta is cooked, drain and let cool
  • Add sauce, cheese and tuna to a zip lock bag, once cool add pasta
  • Mix all ingredients together in bag
  • Poor mixture into a grease baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or cheese is melted and heated through.

Words to the Wise:
This is a very good recipe. The kids really liked it. But the whole putting everything in a bag and mixing it together is not such a good idea, especially of the pasta is not completely cool. I say just leave the pasta in the pot and mix all the indigents together. It is much cleaner that way.

Live and learn, right?

This recipe was based on a recipe that was featured in Kraft Food and Family.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Three Cheese Chicken Pasta Bake

1lb whole wheat penne
1 package frozen spinach, defrosted.
3 boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 can (14 oz) dice tomatoes
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup Mozzarella
Grated Parmesan Cheese

  • Heat oven to 375 °F.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Sprinkle chicken cubes with Italian seasoning and then brown in large skillet that has been coated with olive oil. Cook about 3 minutes
  • Add sauce and tomatoes and bring to a boil
  • Simmer another 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked
  • Add cream cheese and spinach (makes sure that all the water is squeezed out of the spinach, easiest way is to ring it out in a clean kitchen towel).
  • Drain pasta; return to pan and the combine with chicken and sauce mixture
  • Stir in Mozzarella cheese
  • Poor into grease baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minute or until cheese is melted and dish is heated through.

Words to the Wise:
This was a real winner. It was so good and creamy. The kids ate it up, even the spinach. This recipe was found in Kraft Food and Family magazine

Sausage Beans with Rice

1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Olive Oil
1lb lite smoked sausage
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can great northern beans, rinsed
1 cup instant brown rice
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • Coat a large skillet with olive oil, saute the onion, green pepper and garlic until soft.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Simmer until rice is cooked about 15 or 20 minutes
  • Serve
Words to the Wise:
You gotta love a one pan meal!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Answer to the Question, Hopefully.

I love to cook. There is nothing that gives me more joy than cooking for my family. But even though I love cooking and preparing dinner for my family, it can be a very daunting task. The simple question, "Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?" can sometimes bring me to my knees.

Now I am not the best cook in the world and I don't claim to be the healthiest one either. Because lets face it, there are just some nights when Tuna Helper is all I have in me. But there are a few things that I love to make for my family that they will both eat up and it is good for them.

I am starting this blog because I want a way to better organize my recipes and I thought it would be cool to share them. Because lets face, what mom is not looking new things to answer that dreaded question, "what's for dinner?"