Red and white pasta

I found this recipe on here via Pinterest. In fact, it’s all over Pinterest, as it should be! It’s great! I added some Italian sausage because we’re meat eaters around here, and I had some in the freezer anyway. This is great without being too spicy, and is so quick to throw together on a weeknight! I actually divided the mixture and froze half of it in a zip top bag — bonus, two meals for one prep! This is definitely worth adding to your rotation.

Red and white pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, browned and crumbled
  • 1 (15 oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 (24oz.) jar marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta for three minutes shorter than package al dente directions*; drain
  2. Stir Alfredo sauce, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and cooked sausage together in a large bowl, then add cooked pasta and stir to coat
  3. Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking dish (I coated mine with olive oil for easier cleanup) and bake at 350F for about 25 minutes or until dish is bubbly; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted

Notes

For cooking the pasta, if the package says “cook for 12 minutes for al dente” then cook for 9 minutes; you’ll be baking it in the sauce, and mushy pasta is not your friend.

I’m never sure what to serve with pasta dishes besides the obvious garlic bread. What do y’all do? Would love your side dish suggestions!

Coca-cola pot roast

I’m freezing. Are y’all freezing? It’s prime comfort food time for me, and this delivers.  A librarian printed this recipe out for me once and I promptly lost the paper; I make it from memory now, and I’m not sure of the original source. Regardless of its origins, it’s hot and tasty and definitely fall-off-the-bone tender.

Coca-cola pot roast

Ingredients

  • Chuck roast, about 4 pounds
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (coarse/kosher salt, ideally)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 packet French onion soup mix
  • 1 can Coca-cola
  • Baby carrots or chopped carrots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stovetop
  2. Season the roast with salt and pepper, then sear the roast on all sides in the Dutch oven till it’s nice and brown
  3. Sprinkle over the garlic powder and onion soup mix, pour in the Coke and add in the carrots around the roast; put a lid on it and stick the whole thing in the oven
  4. Cook till the internal temp of the roast is 165F; this will take about three hours or so depending on your oven and the size of the roast. Let it rest for about ten minutes before serving

… and may I suggest serving with mashed potatoes? Trust me.

Bonus: you can also make this in the slow cooker so it’s ready when you get home at night. Please to enjoy.

Cheeseburger macaroni

I found this recipe at KevinandAmanda.com and it is such a keeper! I’ve made it three times already, and it easily converts to a freezer meal — something I’ll be needing before too much longer with baby girl on the way. It’s got a little kick of spice to it without being overwhelming, and it’s just such a comfort food. It’s everything you wanted that supper-in-a-box to be. ;)

Cheeseburger macaroni

Ingredients

    • 1 lb lean hamburger meat
    • 1 pkg taco seasoning
    • 1 can Ro*tel
    • 2 cups beef broth or water
    • 1 cup elbow macaroni
For the sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Brown the hamburger meat and drain off any grease, then stir in taco seasoning, Ro*tel, broth or water and macaroni. Bring to a boil then turn down to medium/low and cover; simmer for about 12 minutes or until macaroni is tender
  2. While it’s simmering, make the cheese sauce: in a saucepan melt the butter then whisk in the flour. Cook while whisking for about five minutes until the roux turns light brown, then keep whisking while you pour in the milk and bring to a boil. Keep whisking (see a trend?) until the mixture is smooth and thick, then remove from heat and stir in the cheddar cheese till it’s completely melted in. Add in the salt and pepper, then pour over the hamburger mixture and stir it all together. Supper is served!

Notes

To make this a freezer meal let the macaroni cook for only about six minutes, but complete other steps as written. Pour the whole thing into a casserole dish then cover with a layer of plastic wrap then a layer of foil; when it’s cooled off, pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to heat it up, thaw it in the fridge overnight, then bake at 350F for 30 minutes or so until heated through.

Polenta pizza

As promised, another recipe from The Cousin! May I say that this pairs beautifully with margaritas? :)

We made two sheet pans of this to feed the assorted family we had collected at the house that night; The Cousin wrote down the recipe for one sheet pan for a more reasonable size.

Polenta pizza

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups dry polenta
  • 9 cups milk
  • 2-3 cups Parmesan cheese
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Brink milk to a boil (it is so, so likely to boil over so don’t walk away), and slowly add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk then a wooden spoon as it gets thicker
  2. When mixture is starting to thicken stir in Parmesan cheese and salt; continue cooking, stirring fairly often until it is “uber thick” (so sayeth The Cousin)
  3. Spread onto greased sheet pan and cool uncovered in fridge until firm
  4. Top at will (see below) and bake at 400F until cheese is melted

Topping ideas:

  • The Cousin recommends fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and fresh tomatoes. I totally concur
  • Classic toppings like pepperoni, sausage, etc? Also good
  • Sun dried tomatoes on pizza rock my world. I highly recommend
  • Other than that? Go crazy! Let me know what you come up with

Honey soy chicken

Y’all, I have somehow done it again. AGAIN I have a lovely camera lens that is now in two pieces. I don’t even know how, but I do know that iPhone photos of food aren’t quite the same. Better than nothing, though, right?

This is based on the Honey Roast Orange Chicken recipe from The Minimalist Cooks at Home by Mark Bittman. The Yankee and I both loved it!

Honey soy chicken

Ingredients

  • You will need:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (lower sodium kind is great)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Combine everything but chicken in a bowl and whisk to combine
  3. Lay chicken breasts in a single layer in a cast iron skillet or baking dish and spoon over about half the sauce
  4. Bake at 375F for about 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through, turning over halfway through cooking to keep it evenly coated in the sauce
  5. When chicken is done move it to a plate to rest, then pour remaining sauce into the skillet; cook uncovered on medium high until sauce reduces and thickens
  6. Slice chicken into strips (against the grain) and serve over rice and vegetables, using thickened sauce to finish it all off. So tasty!

This was so fast and easy. Let me know what you think!

Taco pasta bake

This is an interpretation of a dish I saw at Carrie in the Kitchen (originally at About a Bit of Everything). It’s SO tasty, but rather unphotogenic — as I suppose a lot of casseroles are.

Regardless, you should try this. Just, you know, don’t sign it up for a food modeling contest.

Taco pasta bake

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces dried pasta
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can Ro*tel

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cook pasta in salted water for two minutes less than lowest time recommendation on box (e.g. if “cook 7 minutes for al dente” then cook yours for 5 minutes); drain
  3. Brown ground beef and drain any grease; add water and taco seasoning, stir, and let simmer uncovered 5-10 minutes; stir in cream cheese, cooked pasta and RO*TEL
  4. Spoon into greased casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese; bake for 20 minutes or so until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown around the edges

Bonus: this freezes like a dream! Make two and freeze one covered in a layer of plastic wrap then a layer of foil — just remember to remove the plastic wrap before baking!

Taco sauce

I looked around at a lot of different taco sauce recipes and none of them seemed exactly right to me, so I kind of cobbled together my own according to what I had on hand. Very tasty!

Taco sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 small can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or so until all the flavors get to know each other pretty well
  2. Store in fridge, cute jar label optional.