Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beef and Spinach Lasagna

Here we are the end of October.  Almost all the leaves are gone from the trees.  Our lows have been down to freezing but our days have been beautiful.  Mostly we have been in the 60's but today we hit 72 degrees.  I am enjoying this fall weather and I hope snow holds off until December. 

Winter is on the way more deer are coming down from the mountain.  Bill walked outside last evening and a deer was standing right next to the house.  We are seeing less squirrels and chipmunks I guess they are ready for their dens.

This time of year I enjoy more comfort food like soups and casseroles.  Tonight I fixed Beef and Spinach Lasagna since it is just the two of us and will be enjoying all week.  

Beef and Spinach Lasagna

1 lb lean ground beef
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
salt and pepper, to taste
3 1/2 to 4 cups pasta sauce (jarred or homemade)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 10oz package fresh baby spinach
1 30oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 eggs
1 9oz box no boil lasagna (I use DeLallo)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat brown ground beef, add oregano, red pepper flakes, onions and garlic. Cook until ground beef is no longer pink.  While ground beef is cooling heat olive oil in a big pot, add garlic and spinach.  Cook spinach until it is almost completely wilted.  Add to beef mixture. Add 1/2 cup pasta sauce to the bottom of a deep 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Add enough pasta sauce to beef mixture for it to be wet but not soupy.

In a bowl combine ricotta, 1 cup parmigiano, 2 eggs, salt and pepper to taste mix together. Place 5 lasagna sheets over sauce, overlap if needed. Place 1/2 of cheese mixture evenly over lasagna. Sprinkle with 2 cups mozzarella.  Spread evenly 1/3 of the meat mixture on top of the cheese and repeat. Keep enough of the meat mixture to top the last of the lasagna before topping with the last of the mozzarella and parmigiano cheese.  Cover with foil and place on a cookie sheet, cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350º oven for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for additional 25 minutes.  Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

Saying a nightly prayer for the East Coast
Until Next Time,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chai Banana Bread

I love these crisp cool fall days.  Days like this make me want to bake.  I noticed my bananas were getting heavily spotted and beyond where I would eat them. (although Bill loves them this way) Before he could eat them I decided today I would make some banana bread.  But instead of the traditional banana bread I decided to add Chai spices to the recipe.  

Patting myself on the back *What a great idea* first off this bread smells amazing while it's baking and the spices kick this bread up to another level.  Husband approved too.  I knew he would love it he loves  banana bread and my hot chai tea.

Chai Banana Bread

3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/3 cup water
1 cup oil
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cardamon
 5 ripe bananas, mashed

Mix together in a large mixing bowl sugar, eggs, vanilla, water and oil.  Sift into sugar mixture flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and cardamon. Fold in bananas and divide batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans.  Bake in a pre-heated 350º oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Your friends and family will love receiving this Chai Banana Bread this Holiday Season.

Until Next Time,


The Chicken Chick

Also shared at  Celebrate-Creativity and Foodie Friends Friday  grab a cup of coffee and see what creative items Lisa and her fans have shared.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Classico Pasta Sauce - Chicken and Peas Alfredo

I use to make a big pot of homemade pasta sauce every month.  Then one day I didn't have time to make it so I ran to the store and bought a jar of Classico.  My husband loved it and said it was every bit as good as my homemade and I'm not spending hours making homemade.  That was way too many years ago to count and I've been using Classico every since.

I love there is a Classico sauce for any dish you want to make from a simple pasta dish to lasagna to pizza. I'm always trying new combinations with items I have on hand and my family is always pleased with the results.

Today I had some chicken breasts that I needed to use up and decided that a Alfredo pasta dish would be perfect.

Chicken and Peas Alfredo

3 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
cajun seasonings
1 lb dry Mostaccioli pasta
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
1 15oz jar Classico Four Cheese Alfredo Sauce
12 oz bag frozen peas, do not defrost
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Pre-heat oven to 375º. Rinse and dry chicken breasts sprinkle with salt, pepper and cajun seasonings both sides.  Place in oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until done.

Fill a pot with water, add salt bring to a boil add Mostaccioli pasta and cook for 8 minutes (it will finish cooking in the oven) drain.

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium heat add half the garlic and cook for 5 minutes (do not brown). Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, add wine (or chicken broth) and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add to a large bowl.  Cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and add to onion mixture, add Classico Four Cheese Alfredo Sauce, frozen peas and cooked pasta to bowl and mix together.

Pour pasta mixture into into a large buttered or sprayed casserole dish.  In the same skillet add butter and melt.  Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, add bread crumbs stir until butter is incorporated, add cheese and mix completely.  Sprinkle over pasta dish and bake in a 375º oven for approx 30 minutes until it is heated through and bread crumbs have lightly browned.

Click HERE for a coupon on your next purchase of Classico

Until Next Time,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baking Partners Challenge #3: Cupcakes or Muffins

It's that time of month again...Baking Partner Challenge.  This month it is Cupcakes or Muffins and I was so happy when I got the recipes....Pumpkin.  I love pumpkin, just ask my family I have been know to pumpkin them out. 

Of the 3 recipes I chose Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins which can also be made into a loaf which would be a wonderful gift for someone.  The recipe was very easy and fast to put together.  I decided to make a Apple Cider Glaze to add a little more flavor.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with
Apple Cider Glaze
adapted from Joy of Baking

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350º and place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray with a non stick vegetable spray.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, ground spices and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed add flour and pumpkin, alternating between the two in 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour.  Fold in chocolate chips. Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter. Place in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on wire rack to cool.  For Loaf: Use a 9 inch loaf pan, butter or spray the loaf pan with a non stick vegetable spray for even more "yum" dust loaf pan with cinnamon sugar. Bake in a 350º oven for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. 

Apple Cider Glaze

1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 to 1 cup of apple cider

Heat butter and salt over low heat until it is melted and remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the apple cider a little at a time until you get your desired consistency.  Dip muffins in glaze while muffins are still warm.  You can double dip the glaze letting the 1st glaze set up before dipping again.  Spoon glaze over top of loaf.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rossi Pasta Giveaway Winner picked my winner of the Rossi Pasta Giveaway

Drum Roll, please...........

from Dabblings and Whimsey


Please email me at with your mailing information and telephone number (I need your phone just incase Rossi Pasta needs to get ahold of you for shipping) so I can order your prize and get it off to you.

If I don't hear from the winner by Monday I will choose a new winner.

Until Next Time,

Monday, October 8, 2012

McCormick Bourbon Spiced Dip

I found these McCormick Gourmet Spices that make a complete dinner and thought how good they would be as a dip. The McCormick Bourbon Spiced Pork Seasonings just the name Bourbon Spice intrigued me.  Next I will be trying the recipe that is printed on the package. There are more recipes to check out at McCormick Gourmet along with the other McCormick Gourmet Seasonings.

McCormick Bourbon Spiced Dip
The McCormick Bourbon Spiced Pork Seasoning gives this dip a smoky flavor. This dip is also excellent served as a dipping sauce with fried fish instead of tarter sauce

1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons McCormick's Gourmet - Bourbon Spiced Pork Seasoning Mix
salt and pepper, to taste
Chips and Raw Veggies

Mix all ingredients together place in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours.  I like to make it the night before.  Serve with chips and veggies.

Until Next Time,

Friday, October 5, 2012

Popcorn Packed With Flavor

Since we moved and our daughter has moved away Game Day snacks has changed.  I would make enough food to feed a small army for anyone who wanted to show up to watch the game.  Now I'm down to making one snack since there are only two of us.

I packed a lot of flavor into this popcorn along with the savory is some sweet from the dried cranberries.

Rosemary Garlic Popcorn with Nuts and Dried Cranberries
The Rosemary Garlic Butter is also good brushed over the top of bread or rolls before and after baking

6 cups popped popcorn (not microwaved)
 2 sticks unsalted butter
3 large cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2  teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cups raw almonds, toasted
1 cups raw cashews, toasted
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
2/3 cup grated Asiago cheese
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

Toast nuts in a single layer in a 400 degree over for 7 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.  Keep your eye on them they can burn quickly. Remove and set aside.

Melt butter over a medium heat add garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Lower heat to a medium low setting. Stirring occasionally for the next 7 minutes, do not let the garlic brown. Remove from heat cover with a piece of foil and let sit for 3 or more hours.

Pop the popcorn and put in a large bowl.  Reheat butter on low just to let it melt but not get to the bubbling point turn off heat and remove from burner.  Add nuts to butter mixture just to coat remove and toss with popcorn.  Add cranberries to butter mixture just to coat remove and toss with popcorn. Pour remaining butter mixture over popcorn adding a little then tossing, repeat.  Add cheese and toss. Ready to serve.  Note: you can use any combination of nuts you like or have on hand.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Meatball Subs

For me this is the scariest time of the year and not because Halloween is just around the corner.  This is the start of the Holiday Season and I have so much too do in a short amount of time.  I swear the hours in the day seem to get shorter and I run out of time every year.

Here is a time saving recipe to help keep you on track.  Meatball Subs that take about an hour and the flavor is fantastic.

Mama Capone's Meatball Subs


1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups grated Romano cheese
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
3 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, minced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste


1/2 cup olive oil
12 cloves garlic, rough chop
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 28oz can good crushed tomatoes (I used DeLallo)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil, rough chop


3 dill pickle halves, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup peperoncini, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Mozzarella Cheese

Chop up pickles, tomatoes, onion, peperoncini in a small bowl add salt and pepper, mix together and set aside to allow flavors to marry.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush a casserole dish with olive oil including sides of dish. Mix the beef, cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, milk, parsley, basil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper together.  Form into 2 1/2 to 3 inch balls (do not pack the meat).  Arrange in casserole dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned.

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Sauté onions, garlic and red pepper flakes for 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, bay leafs, salt and pepper, mix together and simmer for 45 minutes.  Add meatballs to sauce and cook an additional 10-15 minutes.

Slice bread and place 3 to 4 meatballs in bread top with Mozzarella cheese and place under the broiler until cheese has melted.  Serve relish on top of sandwich.

Until Next Time,

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