Sausage and Pepper Baked Ziti

My family loves baked ziti and I was craving comfort casserole. This recipe feeds many so cut in half or make 2 portions and freeze one. Make it meatless and leave the sausage out.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of ground italian sausage, I used sweet

1 package of chopped peppers, I purchased these in the produce department

1 cup onion, chopped

1 16 ounce box of ziti

2 jars of your favorite marinara (spaghetti) sauce, use what you need. I had about a half a jar leftover

1 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the dry kind that you shake out)

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

3 eggs

1 package/container Parmesan shreds (grated)

2 pounds grated mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, brown sausage with peppers and onions. While your sausage is cooking, you can boil the ziti noodles. Cook according to package directions. Drain grease from sausage and drain pasta. Put pasta in a bowl and toss with a small amount of marinara sauce. Set both aside.

In a medium size bowl, add ricotta, eggs, dry Parmesan and parsley and mix thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

I used a large 9 x 15 casserole dish, prepare with nonstick cooking spray. Spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of casserole dish.

Layer half of your ziti in the bottom of your pan. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture and top ricotta with the sausage and peppers.

Top sausage and peppers with marinara sauce and grated Parmesan.

Add half of your mozzarella cheese on top of the Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layers. Bake 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Serve with a salad, garlic bread and glass of vino. Manga! Enjoy!

Broccoli Casserole Rewind

My favorite vegetable is green beans. My Daughter in Love Danielle loves broccoli. She wondered what my green bean casserole would taste like if I used broccoli instead of green beans. We decided to try it Christmas Day as one of our side dishes. It was wonderful. I have rewound the recipe, taken out the green beans and added frozen broccoli florets.

Ingredients:

2 packages of frozen broccoli florets, steam in the bag, cooked to package directions
1/2 cup onion, diced fine
2 Tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce (secret ingredient that rocks this recipe)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup of sour cream
2 cups of cheese
1 large container of French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet on the stove. Add flour to pan to make a roux. Cook for one minute. Do not burn! Add onion, salt, soy sauce, sugar and sour cream. Stir to blend. Add broccoli and toss in mixture to coat. Pour into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Top with cheddar cheese. Distribute onions on top of cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. I usually check halfway through the cooking time to make sure the fried onions are not getting too brown, if they are, tent with foil.

***Tip: This dish can be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated without the onion topping on it. Take it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before you need to bake it. Right before baking, add the French fried onions. This can be a big time saver when trying to prepare a holiday meal.

Four Ingredient Appetizer

Nothing better than a quick easy recipe with few ingredients. This appetizer probably takes you longer to go to the store and buy the ingredients than it actually takes to make it. I saw this recipe on the Today Show, it was from Dylan Dreyer. What a great hostess gift to your dinner hostess. It’s so hard to guess what wine is preferred, arrive with a delicious treat. Win win!

Ingredients:

1 loaf of baguette bread

1 container Allouette cheese spread, I used garlic and herb

Deli sliced roast beef

Red fancy pimentos

The 4 ingredients

I toasted my bread, it’s not necessary. You can put the bread on a cookie sheet and broil it or use your toaster. Spread a generous smear of your cheese spread on the bread. Place roast beef on top of cheese and top with pimento. Easy peasy and delicious. Enjoy!

Quiche Danielle

I named this quiche after my daughter in love Danielle because I created it for her and she told me that it was her favorite thing I have made for dinner. This quiche is vegetarian, I used organic ingredients. She loved it and my son and I did too.

Ingredients:

1 8 ounce container sliced white mushrooms

3 cups of spinach leaves

1 medium onion, sliced

2 teaspoons sugar, optional

4-6 ounces of Swiss Cheese, grated

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 Tablespoons butter, divided

4 eggs, plus 1 yolk

1 cup of heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a quiche pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a skillet, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté mushrooms until soft and cooked. Set aside. Repeat oil and olive oil with spinach. Cook until wilted. Melt last Tablespoon of butter and olive oil and add sliced onions. I also added 2 teaspoons of sugar to caramelize the onions, not mandatory but I added it. Set aside. It’s fine and I prefer letting the ingredients cool before then custard mixture is poured over them.

In your quiche pan, layer mushrooms first. Add spinach next, finishing with the caramelized onions.

In a blender, add 4 eggs plus 1 yolk, heavy cream, salt, pepper and mustard. Blend until all ingredients are combined. Pour over mushrooms, spinach and onions. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until firm, not jiggly in the center. Enjoy!

Copycat Chicken Salad Chick Pimento Cheese

Since moving to Florida in 1978, I have embraced all things southern. Born and raised in Southern California, my Mom was from North Carolina. I would say I am a southerner. 😉 I am a frequent diner at Chicken Salad Chick. One thing I enjoy is their pimento cheese. It’s made a little differently than what you think pimento cheese you have seen before. This one is made with grated cheese that you grate yourself. No package grated cheese. Even the restaurant grates theirs.

Ingredients:

1 8 ounce package of sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot’s)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 teaspoon of pepper, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon of salt, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 4 ounce jar of diced pimentos, drained and blotted with paper towels

2 Tablespoons of finely minced onions (can be grated) or more if desired

Grate cheese using the largest holes of a box grater or food processor. Set aside and refrigerate. In a small size mixing bowl make the dressing for the pimento cheese. Combine mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, pepper, salt and garlic powder. Whisk ingredients together to combine. Add drained dice pimentos and onions, stirring to incorporate. Now it’s time to add the cold grated cheese to this mixture. This is delicious as a sandwich, a burger on crackers or just by itself. Enjoy!

***Chicken Salad Chick sells a spicy version of pimento cheese and it would be the same recipe adding chili powder/and or red pepper flakes. You determine the heat.

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

My Dad found a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese in Southern Living Magazine. He asked me if I would make it for him. This is very creamy and cheesy, just the way I love macaroni and cheese. I realized at the grocery store I was going to have to modify this recipe because they did not have the tools and equipment to make it just like the original recipe. For example, no way to grate cheese and my grocery store did not sell a grater. So here is my version, a modified version.

Ingredients:

1 box (16 ounces) large elbow macaroni remember to make your water salty like the sea

6 Tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup of grated sweet onion

2 teaspoons of dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or more for heat

6 Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour

3 1/2 cups whole milk

1 3/4 heavy cream

2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, divided

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta al dente according to directions on the box. Spray 13 x 9 pan with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, mustard, nutmeg, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and flour. Cook 2 minutes until golden. Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Bring to a boil and whisk occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low and whisk occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire Sauce. Add 1 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Stir until melted. Add in pasta and combine. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover the top with remaining cheeses. Place baking rack about 6 inches away from broiler. Put macaroni and cheese under broiler for about 2 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let sit about 10 minutes after it’s removed from the broiler. Yields 10 generous servings. I paired my macaroni and cheese with a Caesar Salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!

Recipe inspired by Southern Living Magazine.

Monica’s Delish Dip

I tried this delicious dip at my grandson’s birthday party. My gorgeous daughter in love made this and I knew when I tried it, I had to share it with you. I doubled this recipe which feeds a crowd, this can very easily be cut in half for smaller crowds.

My son and his beautiful wife.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground sausage, I used mild but hot would be great too

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

2 small packages of original Velveeta

2 cans of Rotel, original

1 can of corn, drained

2 cups of grated cheddar cheese, I used sharp

Add cream cheese, Velveeta, Rotel, and corn to your crockpot. Cook beef (I seasoned mine with pepper and garlic salt), drain and add to crockpot. Cook sausage, drain and add to crockpot. Cook on low for a couple of hours until everything is nice and melty. Stir in additional grated cheese. Once the grated cheese has melted, maintain the dip recipe on low. Serve with you favorite dipping chips. I used Frito Scoops but any sturdy chip works. Thank you Monica 💗💗💗 for the recipe. Enjoy!