Delicious Lasagna

I made this lasagna for my family when they came for Christmas 2016, and it was really yummy! I’d had it at book club and never forgotten it.
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds,
Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6
noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Taco Seasoning

The last time I needed a taco seasoning packet, I called a neighbor and they were out of the seasoning. I started digging for a good recipe, so that I could keep it on hand. What I found is that it is simple and fresher tasting. Add a pound of hamburger meat or ground turkey with this recipe and you will immediately notice the difference. If you prefer a slightly milder flavor, use a little less. I use ground turkey, flavored with this recipe (you can’t tell the difference from hamburger) on a salad with the Homemade Salsa on this blog as my go to meal. You can also use this recipe to flavor turkey for the Taco Soup recipe found on this blog.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Baked BBQ Chicken

This recipe is outstanding.  Bragging rights for the best and easiest BBQ chicken start here. The extra step in marinating before baking makes it all worthwhile.  I never knew baked chicken could be so yummy.  The smoked paprika gives the chicken a subtle smoky flavor.  If you don’t have that ingredient, invest now…..as we use it in the delicious fish tacos featured on this website as well.  The perfect tenderness of the chicken comes from marinating in four simple ingredients.  Enjoy!

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Best BBQ Burger

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe before. I made it about 10 times last summer. Everyone loves them and can’t figure out why. But I know the secret ingredient – a delicious, sweet barbecue sauce you mix in with the hamburger. You can make the sauce and even mix up the patties beforehand, and just throw them on the grill when you’re ready to eat. Because my family believes in living life to the fullest, we make them as sliders and serve them on delicious, sweet Hawaiian rolls. Enjoy!

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3 Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

cheese shells

There is something about stuffed pasta shells that sounds fancy and hard. There is something about making them that is easy and fun.  It’s economical and great made ahead.  

My first love is taking something to friends that maybe they don’t make themselves.  It’s hard, as most of my friends are excellent cooks.  I have made this several times over the past few weeks and everyone gives it two thumbs up.  Add a salad and a loaf of French bread and call it dinner!

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Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

My friend Judi and I walk and talk… then talk and walk.  Our talks always lead to food (shocker), the newest restaurants (big news in our small town), and the latest recipes that we have tried.  We are still waiting for Jack Frost in Texas, but when he finally gets here…..we will be ready for something good to warm our bones.  This is crockpot (from Crockin Girls)  friendly and a treat.

  • 4 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Can Cream of Celery Soup
  • 3 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Cup Celery, diced
  • 1 Cup Carrots, diced
  • 2 Chicken bouillon cube
  • 10 Ounces Can of Biscuits, but you can make your own (yeah right)
  1. Step One

    EXCLUDING THE BISCUITS put all ingredients in the crockpot and cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

  2. Step Two

    About an hour (give or take) before serving, remove chicken and pull into pieces and return to the soup mixture.

  3. Step Three

    Place the torn biscuit dough in and cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Easy Crockpot Chuck Roast

RoastLooking for some comfort food?  I am a 40 something year old that has never made a roast.  Never say never.  I made this last week and shared with family.  A huge hit and so easy that it is ALMOST embarrassing.  Almost…..  The flavor is perfect. Enjoy this wonderful recipe shared by a friend.  Bring on Winter! 

1 chuck roast (2- 3 pounds)

1/2 package of dry Ranch dressing mix

1 package of Au Jus Gravy mix (I use McCormicks found by the brown gravy)

1/4 cup of water

4-5 peperoncini peppers (full of non-spicy flavors, located near the pickles)

1/4 cup of peperoncini juice from the jar

1/2 stick of butter, pats

fresh baby carrots and mushrooms (optional)

cream of mushroom soup (optional)

Put the water in the bottom of the crockpot, Add the thawed chuck roast.  Sprinkle the ranch dressing mix and the Au Jus Gravy mix on top of the roast.  Next add the butter pats on top of the roast.  Finally add the peperoncini peppers and juice.

Cook for 8 hours on low heat in the crock pot.  The final two hours I did add fresh mushrooms and carrots. Once the roast is done, I ladled a cup of the juice (from the bottom of the crockpot) and cooked on the stove with a 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup.  I used a whisk to mix until well heated over medium heat.  Gravy perfection!