Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lasagna Soup

If I could only use one word to describe this magnificent soup, I would say DELICIOUS. But, then, I kinda cheated because I started off by saying "magnificent." So, I guess I would call it magnificently delicious. But really, that doesn't do it justice - I need more adjectives!!! How 'bout this: this incredible soup is amazingly, magnificently delicious AND what's more, if you do not make this, you will be seriously missing out on some major yummy-ness and some mega praise from any and all who eat it!! I think you get the point....

Recipe from Kowalski's Market website.

2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 (28 oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 oz. fusilli or baby shell pasta, COOKED
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon until browned, about 5 min. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 min. Add garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook 1 min. more. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring another 3–4 min. or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves and chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 30 min. Add cooked pasta. Cook for another 15 minutes.  Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

In small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan cheese and pepper.

To serve, place a dollop of ricotta cheese mixture in each soup bowl; sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese. Serve hot. Don't forget the crusty bread to serve alongside the soup! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

After I made this cake a few days ago I got SO many requests for the recipe!!! So, here it is, folks! A fabulous fall spice cake! I can see this being a huge hit at Thanksgiving time (no need to tell a soul how very very easy it is to make)! Thank you to The Picky Apple blog for the recipe!

  • 1 box spice cake mix (original recipe calls for yellow cake- but trust me, use the spice!)
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease bottom of 9 x 13″ pan.  Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour mixture into greased pan. EVENLY sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture and EVENLY top with pecans.  EVENLY drizzle melted butter over pecans.

Bake 50-55 minutes. Let cool completely. I even recommending putting this in the refrigerator after an hour of cooling on the counter to help the pumpkin on the bottom firm up even more. It will be much easier to get it out of the pan when cutting and serving. Did someone say a la mode?!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bite Size Apple Pies

Well, it's that time of year picking time!! Today my family and I picked so many apples it's ridiculous! I'm dehydrating some now, I plan on making applesauce this week and of course, a crumble tomorrow...but, today I really wanted to try these Bite Size Apple Pies. I found the recipe on the Six Sisters' Stuff blog (I have changed the recipe a tad). My, oh my, they were delicious (I say "were" because they are all gone - don't worry, we didn't eat them all......that's what neighbors are for). And the best part is they are beyond simple to make!! You have got to try them!!!

1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 "round" of refrigerated pie crust
2 Tbl melted butter, divided
2 medium tart apples, peeled and each apple cut into 8 wedges
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside 1 Tbl of the sugar mixture. Unroll the pastry. Brush with 1 Tbl melted butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture.

                               Cut pie crust into 16 strips.
 Wrap one strip around each apple wedge, placing sugared side of pastry against apple.

Place on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops with 1 Tbl. melted butter and sprinkle with 1 Tbl sugar mixture. Bake at 425 for 14 - 16 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Allow apples to cool for 10 minutes before, um, I mean eating. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Croissant Pizza Roll-Ups

This is a quick, fun recipe to make for the kids! My children LOVED these! They loved dipping them into the pizza sauce, too! I think these would also be a great appetizer to serve at a football party! Also, if you want to make these low-fat, use reduced fat crescent rolls and reduced fat cheese. Enjoy!

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls
Turkey pepperoni
4 pieces of string cheese, cut in half
1/4 tsp garlic OR onion powder
pizza sauce

Preheat oven to375F

Unroll crescent rolls and separate into 8 triangles. Place 5 slices of turkey pepperoni on each crescent roll. Top pepperoni with string cheese half and roll up. Sprinkle crescent rolls evenly with garlic OR onion powder.
Place rolls on baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with a side of warm pizza sauce.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crispy Parmesan Edamame

These tasty Parmesan Edamame make a healthy, delicious snack or side veggie (hey, I know edamame aren't veggies, but they are green and I'm pretty sure they "count"). The key to getting them crisp is to make sure they are COMPLETELY dry before you mix them with the "fixings" and roast them! I laid them out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels for an hour and then blotted any excess water off the top with more paper towels. Don't skip this step! If you do, it will yield mushy edamame and I cannot be held responsible for the way they turn out! Enjoy!
Frozen edamame defrosting on paper towel lined cookie sheet
1 12oz bag of frozen, shelled edamame, completely thawed and dry (please read my intro above on this critical step)
1 Tbl olive oil
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt (course ground is preferred)
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400F

Line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix edamame with 1 Tbl olive oil. In a separate small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, onion powder, salt & pepper.  Sprinkle Parmesan mixture over oiled edamame and gently stir to coat. Arrange Parmesan edamame in a single layer on a greased, foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Check edamame and give them a little stir with a spatula. Let them cook another 5 minutes. Simple, easy, that's it! Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sausage & Pasta Bake with Rose Romano's Red Bell Pepper Marinara

I am a serious bell pepper lover (especially red bell peppers). I love them raw, I love them fire roasted; in sauces and get the picture! So, it was a no-brainer for me when I was asked by the folks behind Rose Romano's Italian Peppers to create a recipe using their delicious marinara with red bell peppers sauce.

Last month a gorgeous box arrived at my doorstep filled with four artisan jars of this amazing sauce. Rose Romano's red bell pepper marinara is very versatile- it compliments eggs, meat, rice, vegetables, sandwiches, etc....but to me, it was begging to be made into a rich, creamy pasta! And so I created the recipe below with a busy mom in mind. This recipe was quick and easy to make, yet, thanks in part to the rich flavor of the red bell peppers, it tasted as if I slaved over it all day! All my family enjoyed it immensely and asked that I make it again! I surely will! And I hope you will give it a go, too!
Rose Romano's can be purchased online through their website (click here) or on

2 mild or hot Italian sausages
1 c. Rose Romano's Italian Pepper Marinara with Red Bell Pepper
1 c. crushed tomatoes
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. half & half
2 c. shredded Parmesan, divided
1 lb. pasta shells or penne
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350F 

Cook pasta for only five minutes in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain pasta and set aside. Remove the sausages from their casings. Cook in a large skillet, breaking the sausage up into small pieces with a spatula or back of a wooden spoon. Once sausage is fully cooked, remove skillet from heat. Add Rose Romano's and crushed tomatoes to the skillet and stir.

Add heavy cream, half & half, salt and pepper to the sausage mixture; stir. Add 1 cup of shredded Parmesan and stir. Very carefully, add half of the pre-cooked pasta to the sausage mixture. Stir well to combine. Repeat with remaining pasta.
Pour pasta into a 9X13 glass dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Serve with a side salad and a good crusty bread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Landi's Cranberry Chicken

I think the Forgotten Chicken recipe I posted a couple weeks ago might be the most talked about recipe I have posted to date! Friends are emailing me about it; ladies at the gym are telling me how easy it was to make; neighbors are saying it is on their menu for the week! Hearing these responses from my readers really made me think about what kind of recipes busy moms want to see more of....ENTER Landi's Cranberry Chicken! This super simple (and yummy!) chicken recipe was passed on to me by my friend, Landi. It has four ingredients! Yep, folks, just four! I served this super easy chicken alongside a salad and Roasted Smashed Potatoes (you gotta try those, too!).

*I only used two chicken breasts to make this recipe. If you plan to use three or four breasts, increase the amount of Italian dressing by 1/2 cup, making it 1 1/2 cups total. Enjoy!

2 Chicken Breasts, pounded (if using more, see note above*)
1 package onion soup mix
1 can of whole cranberry sauce
1 cup bottled Italian dressing

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix onion soup mix, can of cranberry sauce and 1 cup Italian dressing in a bowl till combined thoroughly. Pour into a baking dish. Submerge chicken breasts in sauce. Bake at 350F for 50 minutes. Spoon sauce over chicken when serving. You can even serve extra sauce in a little dish (I liked dipping the smashed potatoes in the sauce, too! Would also taste great over rice). Enjoy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Roasted Smashed Potatoes

These potatoes are OUT OF THIS WORLD delish. I'm just loving all things Pinterest these days! This Pioneer Woman recipe has been floating around the world of Pinterest for a couple weeks and I just had to try them. They aren't difficult to make, but, you do have to follow a few steps. Never fear, the finished product is so worth the effort that making these little beauties is a no brainer. I served them along-side Cranberry Chicken (recipe to follow later this week) and a side salad. Enjoy (I promise you will)!

12 to 18 baby new potatoes
Olive Oil
Kosher or sea salt
Fresh or dried herbs of your choice (I used dried basil)

Preheat oven to 450F

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook them until they are fork-tender (16 - 20 minutes). On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again.
Brush the tops of each smashed potato generously with more olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped or dried herbs of your choice (I used dried basil).

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Try not to burn your fingers and tongue when you pop one of these babies in your mouth WAY too soon after pulling them out of the oven! Double yum!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

French Dip Sandwich

I always think of my mom when I eat a French Dip sandwich. I remember her ordering one for me at a restaurant when I was young. She told me the sandwich was "really fun" to eat because you got to dip it into a special sauce called "au jus". And she was right! French Dips are fun to eat! And with this recipe, they are also easy to make! The rump roast cooks for half a day in a slow cooker along with the onions. How simple is that?!
I adapted this recipe from an issue of Cooking Light.

1 1/2 lb bottom round beef rump roast
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 onions, sliced
1 can beef broth
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
3 to 4 hoagie rolls (depending on how much meat you like per roll!)
1/3 c. mayo
1/2 to 1 Tbl horseradish

Rub the rump roast with garlic salt and pepper.

Place sliced onions in the bottom of a prepared slow cooker. Add beef broth and Worcestershire sauce; place roast on top of onions. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or on LOW for 7 to 8.

Slice hoagie rolls and gently scoop out the center of each roll. I like doing this because it gives the onions and meat a place to rest, and keeps them from sliding out of the sides when you bite into it.

Heat broiler. Toast cut side of rolls for 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove roast to a cutting board. Strain the liquid from the slow cooker into a bowl, reserving onions. Cut roast horizontally in half then crosswise into slices.

In a small bowl blend mayo and horseradish.  Spread mayo blend evenly onto each roll. Top with reserved onions and beef. Serve each sandwich with a little dish of the liquid (jus) for dipping. Enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Forgotten Chicken

I saw this recipe floating around Pinterest and I had to try it! If ever I have posted an easy, simple dish to make, this is it, folks! The prep time was around eight minutes. Then you put the chicken in the oven and forget about it for three hours while it cooks itself. The chicken turns out very tender and moist, while the rice is creamy AND crunchy (the top layer gets a good crunch while cooking). As a bonus, I had one whole chicken breast left over. So, I shredded it (it shredded beautifully), added some mayo and voila, I had the makings for a chicken salad sandwich the next day that fed both my husband and myself (I used pretty large chicken breasts!).
Please pass this on to all the mothers you know who have little time to cook! You can serve this with a side salad or a veggie like broccoli. And don't forget the crusty bread! Enjoy!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded if you like (I always pound my chicken for extra tenderness)
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can of cream of celery soup
  • 2 cans of water
  • 2 cups uncooked Minute Rice (I used brown. You can use brown or white rice) 
  • 1 package of onion soup mix
Preheat oven between 250F and 275F (I did 265F)

In a medium sized bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, cream of celery soup, two cans of water and two cups of uncooked minute rice together.

Spread rice/soup mixture in the bottom of a 9X13 glass baking dish that has been sprayed with PAM. Place the chicken breasts on top of the rice/soup mixture (do not overlap). Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the onion soup mix.

Cover with foil. Cook for 2 hours. Remove foil. Cook for an additional hour. That's it! Enjoy!