5.5 weeks just the kids and me.
1 week on vacation.
1 week celebrating my baby’s first birthday.
That’s a lot of days doing very little cooking. It’s no surprise my scheduled posts have petered out and there wasn’t much to pull from the archives to share.
The moment has finally come to share a poorly photographed original recipe.
I made this Mac & Cheese just shy of one year ago. At that point in my life I had a two week old. Daylight Savings Time had ended and the dark Ohio nights were cold. What’s a better pick-me-up than some macaroni?
I decided to save another dish to wash by making my macaroni in a Dutch oven and putting it directly into the oven instead of transferring it to a casserole dish.
Wing-it Mac & Cheese
- 1/2 lb elbow noodles
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2 C whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions to al dente.
- Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute onion until tender. Add minced garlic and saute one minute. Stir in mustard, S+P, and flour.
- Whisk in the milk. Bring to a gentle bubble. Add in the cheese a handful at a time, stirring until melted before adding more. Once all the cheese is incorporated, fold in the cooked macaroni noodles.
- In a small bowl, whisk the panko and Italian seasoning. Spread over the macaroni. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Bake 30 minutes. Allow macaroni to rest 5-10 minutes before digging in.
Fun fact: It’s National Lasagna Day!
It’s quite baffling to realize that I have had this blog for over two years now and have yet to share my lasagna recipe! I played off of it for a fancier version with lasagna roll ups last February.
No-boil noodles are the secret to making this dish easy to whip up. They don’t have that wavy shape of traditional lasagna noodles, but they make spreading ricotta on them as simple as spreading butter on toast. I like to sneak in extra veggies, too; bell pepper and onion join the ground turkey and I mix chopped fresh spinach in with the ricotta cheese. A double helping of cheese (mozzarella in every layer with the ricotta) doesn’t hurt anything either!
When I would have to travel for work I liked to prepare a lasagna the night before I left so my husband would have something to eat in my absence. (It’s also a great option to take to someone’s house in the event of a new baby’s arrival!) I most recently made this particular lasagna (read: this [poorly] photographed lasagna) the night before I took the little man to Florida for a friend’s wedding.
I’m happy to report that even my little man loved my lasagna! I was astounded by how much he devoured. I do think it was my favorite lasagna to date! I have a couple of theories as to why this one tasted better: whole milk ricotta cheese and Parmesan Romano marinara sauce – both of which are Kroger brands.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 bell pepper, diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 lb ground turkey (you could increase this up to 2 lb if you like a meatier lasagna)
- 1/2 C chopped baby spinach
- 1 container (15 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
- no boil lasagna noodles
- 3 C shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 jar (24 oz) marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute onion and bell pepper in olive oil. When onion is translucent add the garlic and cook 60 seconds. Add the turkey to the pan and cook through, breaking up as you go. Seasoning with S+P.
- In a bowl, combine the spinach and ricotta. Season to taste with S+P.
- Layer the lasagna: Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Spread some of the ricotta mixture on the noodles and place in the dish (break up noodles as needed to fit your dish – I used a total of 7) ricotta side up. Top with half of the turkey mixture, half of the remaining sauce, and half of the mozzarella. Repeat with a second layer.
- Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and cook another 5-10, or until bubbly and golden. (Note: If you prepare the lasagna ahead of time, remove from fridge while oven is preheating and add an extra 5-10 minutes to the covered bake time.) Allow lasagna to cool for 5 minutes before cutting or it will fall apart.
I have a confession to make. And it’ll probably show my age, or lack there of. The theme for today’s #SundaySupper is Retro. That means food from the 50’s-70’s. I was stumped. The only thing I knew about retro food was from a challenge on Next Food Network Star one season. The contestents were given a dish considered retro and had to modernize it. And from that the only dish I could recall was Tuna Noodle Casserole. (Oh, I think pork chops and applesauce is one?)
So, that’s what I made. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’d never had tuna noodle casserole, at least not that I can remember. The only time I eat canned tuna is as a tuna salad sandwich from a sub shop during Lent. This casserole was a perfect opportunity to try something new Friday night. I was very pleased to not only enjoy it hot out of the oven, but reheated in the microwave! I never, repeat, never eat leftover fish. Leftover shrimp is iffy, too. But when my husband reheated a bowl for lunch and it smelled amazing I had to get myself a serving, too.
And now for a little history behind Tuna Noodle Casserole: This casserole dish became popular in the 50’s due to it’s simplicity, quickness, and low cost of packaged ingredients. This comfort food staple became a potluck standard. (Source: Wikipedia)
A big thank you to Heather of Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks for hosting this fun event! Be sure to scroll past my recipe to see a list of blast-from-the-past recipes. I am looking forward to seeing the gang’s retro recipes and expand my little culinary world.
This casserole makes six servings.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 1/2 lb wide egg noodles
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 3/4 C milk
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 tbsp spicy mustard (I used El Diablo Steakhouse)
- 1 C frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese, divided use
- 2 cans (5oz) tuna in water, drained and flaked
- Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat broiler.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and carrot until carrots are almost tender. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until flour is absorbed and mixture is thick.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Melt in the cream cheese and 1/4 C of the Paremsan. Add mustard and season to taste with S+P.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the noodles and tuna. Place casserole in a lightly greased broiler-safe casserole dish. Top with remaining Parmesan. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
*This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light at http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tuna-noodle-casserole-0*
Bodacious Breakfasts and Appetizers:
Made in the Shade Main Dishes:
Swell Side Dishes:
The Bee’s Knees Beverages:
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I have a confession to make. I served this for dinner on April 10th but saved it until today to post. Yes, I pulled out the Halloween decorations in the spring just for these photographs!
A Halloween tradition in my house is to have Sloppy Joes before going out Trick-or-Treating. Last year I posted a recipe for Turkey Sloppy Joes and thought it’d be fun to post a variation of the Sloppy Joe for my blog’s second Halloween. Tonight I’ll be making another fun variation on the sloppy joe – Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes!
But why did I make it in April? The answer to that question is simple: I was pregnant. There were two things I was craving – yellow mustard and tater tots. I saw this recipe for Sloppy Joe casserole on Pinterest and instantly had to have it. Instead of using the suggested Manwich Sloppy Joe sauce I used this recipe to make my own. This sauce recipe includes yellow mustard. Two birds – one stone!
This is our first Halloween with our little one and my little man will be a pumpkin. As he isn’t yet four months old we aren’t exploiting him for free candy, but we’ll be handing out our own to the neighborhood trick-or-treaters. (I just couldn’t resist putting him in an adorable little costume!) This is also our first Halloween in Ohio and we’re living in a great family neighborhood – there’s a bus stop right outside our house – so I’m anxious to see if we have more visitors than we ever got back in the Florida Panhandle.
Sloppy Joe Casserole
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped (or any color you like, but as it’s Halloween!)
- 3/4 C ketchup
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 C cream cheese
- 1 can (15 oz) corn, drained
- 2 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 lb tater tots
- chives, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat brown ground beef. Add onion and pepper. Cook until the beef is cooked through and drain any fat.
- In a small bowl whisk together ketchup, mustard, garlic, powder, and brown sugar. Add to the beef and simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Melt in cream cheese. Stir in corn. Season to taste with S+P.
- Pour the beef mixture into a 9×13″ baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. Place the tater tots in a single layer on top of the cheese. Bake 20 minutes until bubbly and tater tots are golden.
*This recipe is adapted from Karly at http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2013/08/19/sloppy-joe-tater-tot-casserole-2/ and Tamara at http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sloppy-joes-ii/ *
I hope you have a wonderful Halloween and a safe night Trick-or-Treating.
Today is my beautiful sister-in-law’s birthday. Audrey is another member of the Auburn family. She is finishing up her last year in Hotel & Restaurant Management. I have to admit, I am jealous of her path. She absolutely loves her classes and her job (working at the Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center. With her experience working the both hotel & restaurant sides of the conference center, the whole world is open to her following her graduation. Literally. She’s expressed dreams of running a hotel in Vegas, of working on a cruise ship, or even moving overseas. And here’s for my big head-in-the-clouds dream: Someday she’ll open up her own hotel and I’ll be the chef in her restaurant. 😉
Wedding Photography by Cher Hanna
When I asked Audrey what recipe she’d like featured on Sew You Think You Can Cook for her birthday she responded with “Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole.” There wasn’t any hesitation, there wasn’t any doubt. This dish is her favorite – and I can see why! The creamy chicken casserole uses few ingredients, is easy to assemble, is full of flavor, and definitely qualifies as comfort food. We served it with broccoli and crescent rolls to sop up the extra sauce.
This recipe comes from one of my mother-in-law’s friends and looks to be an adaptation of a Paula Deen recipe. I made a few tweaks – I halved the recipe and it fed 3 perfectly. (To serve 4 I’d add another chicken breast but keep the sauce quantities the same.) The recipe I have calls for cooked, shredded chicken. But we decided instead to cut chicken breasts into tenders, brown, and then layer into the casserole dish. If you opt to use shredded chicken I highly suggest serving this casserole over rice. We liked the adjustment of chicken tenders because it gave the illusion of a lighter meal, providing the opportunity to have as much or as little of the sauce as desired.
Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
- 2 large chicken breasts, cut into tenders
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 C sour cream
- 1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup
- 1/2 – 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Season chicken with S+P. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat brown chicken in olive oil.
- Place chicken in a lightly greased 7×11″ casserole dish.
- Combine sour cream and chicken soup. Pour over chicken.
- Place crackers in a plastic bag to crush into crumbs. Add the poppy seeds and combine. Top casserole. Drizzle with melted butter.
- Bake 35 minutes, until bubbly.
Note: This recipe feeds 3. To feed four add another half or whole chicken breast but keep the remaining ingredients as indicated.
If you’re looking for a super simple weeknight meal look no further. This chicken and potato casserole uses only 5 ingredients and creates only 3 dirty dishes (knife, cutting board, casserole dish)!
Thankfully, Stuart isn’t afraid of helping out in the kitchen but I still didn’t want to assign him anything too complicated. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it was a perfect! Not to mention delicious – this will definitely be a go-to recipe when life gets too hectic. The flavor all comes from the Italian dressing – so be sure to buy a bottle you know you like, or make your own.
Chicken and Potato Casserole
- 3 chicken breasts, cut in half length-wise so they’re thin
- 1 1/2 lb baby potatoes, cut into thirds
- 1 1/2 – 2 C Italian dressing
- 2 lemons, sliced into rings
- Fresh rosemary (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease casserole dish.
- Season chicken with S+P and place in bottom of casserole dish. Top with potatoes and spread evenly.
- Pour dressing over chicken and potatoes.
- Place lemon slices on top of potatoes along with the rosemary, if using.
- Bake for 55 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender and chicken cooked through.
*This recipe is adapted from Kim at http://www.cravingsofalunatic.com/2014/04/chicken-and-potato-bake-with-meyer-lemons.html*
If you are looking for a comforting side dish look no further. The perfect potato side dish made it’s way into my inbox on March 20th via Food Network’s Recipe of the Day email.
It’s rare when the Recipe of the Day is one that perfectly fits my menu or pantry items but this one arrived just in time to use up the bag of potatoes that were starting to get questionable.
And I got to break out the mandolin I got for Christmas! While I peeled potatoes Stuart slice away – he loved how quick and easy it was.
- 2 1/2 lb red potatoes
- 2 C half-and-half
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8″ casserole dish.
- Peel and slice potatoes to 1/8″ thick slices. This is easily done with a mandolin but if you don’t have one slice as thinly as you can.
- In a large pot combine potatoes with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until mixture has thickened.
- Pull out the garlic clove and pour into prepared casserole dish. Give it a shake so the potatoes settle evenly.
- Bake for 1 hour until bubbly and golden on top. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it – if you don’t it’ll still taste fabulous but won’t look as beautiful.
*This recipe is modified from Food Network Kitchens*
An absolute must have on the Thanksgiving table is Papa’s Sweet Potato Casserole. This recipe originated from Stuart’s grandfather. I have to admit that I have changed the recipe to decrease the amount of sugar.
The first time I made this casserole I substituted real pureed sweet potato in place of canned yams at my mother-in-laws recommendation. I looked at the recipe and the large quantity of sugar in the casserole frightened me, so I halved it. Even still it was way to sweet for my family members. Since then I’ve decreased the sugar even more and even reduced the amount of heavy cream. I must confess, every time I make this it turns out a little bit differently. Using fresh sweet potatoes means that I might not have the exact amount of puree once I pull it out of the food processor so I eyeball the heavy cream until the mixture reaches the perfect color.
On Thanksgiving I never have enough SPC! I even double the recipe allowing me to make one version with pecans and one version without. (My dad is allergic to nuts) To save on kitchen counter space, I make the casserole filling on Wednesday leaving only the topping to make and add right before putting in the oven Thursday.
Papa’s Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3-4 sweet potatoes
- 1/2 – 3/4 C heavy cream
- 1 1/2 stick butter, divided use
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1/2 C flour
- chopped pecans (optional)
- Prick potatoes with a fork and bake at 400 degrees F for 60 minutes until soft.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Peel potatoes when they are cool enough to handle.
- In a food processor puree sweet potatoes with heavy cream (you may need to do this in batches).
- In a large bowl, combine potatoes, 1 stick melted butter, sugar, vanilla, spices, and eggs. Pour into a casserole dish.
- Make the topping: combine brown sugar, flour, and 1/2 stick melted butter. If using pecans add to this mixture as well. Cover casserole with topping and bake 30-40 minutes, until it no longer jiggles.