Family Recipe: Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta

This recipe is easy to make, and amazing. It uses Red Pesto, which has a tomato base. It’s warm, filling, and comforting.

The first thing you need to do is roast some veggies. Check my recipe here. I roast 5-ish lbs of veggies each week, so we usually have some in the fridge.

 

Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil salted water and cook pasta per package directions. As you drain, reserve some of the pasta water (about 1/2 cup).
  3. In a large baking dish (11×13) mix roasted veggies, pasta, red pesto, and add pasta water a little bit at a time, until all the pasta is coated. You may not need all 1/2 cup.
  4. Mix in 1/2 of the cheese.
  5. Smooth the mixture down into the baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes covered.
  6. After 20 minutes, top with the remaining cheese and continue to bake uncovered for 10-ish minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
  7. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.

Serves 6-8. This re-heats well, if there are any leftovers.

Notes:

  • This dish is vegetarian, but not vegan. This is a vegan red pesto, but I’ve not tried it. To make it vegan, use a vegan red pesto and vegan Italian Cheese blend.
  • Pesto is not a nut-free product! If you have a nut allergy, be careful!
  • Feel free to use your favorite pasta (high protein, gluten-free, made from soy, etc). I do not recommend shirataki noodles- They have a weird texture and smell (seriously).

 

New Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

This is a super easy, yummy recipe. My kids love it because it’s cheesy, and vegetarian (important for my big kid). I’m making a big batch for dinner this week, with plenty of leftovers!

It freezes well so you can make a bigger batch and have some for later.

Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag MorningStar Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles (12 oz)
  • 3 cups cheese, divided (I use Mexican blend)
  • 1 large (28 oz) enchilada sauce (I like green)
  • 16-19 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bag (12 oz-ish) fajita blend (that’s onions and peppers)
  • spray release

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with spray release.
  2. Layer torn tortillas, black bean crumbles, fajitas blend, tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  3. Layer until pan is filled, top with cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.
  5. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and diced black olives (optional, but a family favorite). I serve with a Mexican Caesar Salad, or Cilantro Lime Rice-a-Roni.

To make this dish vegan, use vegan cheese.

Mexican Cesar Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of your favorite lettuce/lettuce blend (romaine and bibb is great!)
  • 2 tomatoes cubed/sliced
  • ½ cup purple onion, cut into rings
  • 1 small can corn, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ c ranch dressing
  • ½ c your favorite salsa

Directions:

  1. Combine the salsa and ranch together, chill in fridge 6-8 hours before servings. This allows the flavors to blend.
  2. Toss the veggies in a chilled salad bowl with the dressing.
  3. Top with ¼ c crushed corn chips/tortilla chips for some added crunch!

Serve topped with grilled chicken breasts for an entree or without meat as a side dish.  Serves 3 as an entree, serves 6 as a side dish.

 

Recipe: Copycat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole

I don’t really like Cracker Barrel, and there isn’t one close to us, but these potatoes are delish. In some places, these are called Funeral Potatoes. While doing my weekly meal prep this morning, I realized I had all the ingredients and decided to make a pan. It’s a great side dish for any holiday event. I improved it a bit as well.

I’ve included substitutions to make it vegan below.

Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Serves 6-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bag frozen hashbrowns, defrosted
  • 1 can condensed cream of soup (I used cream of mushroom because I have a vegetarian in the house, other people use cream of chicken)
  • 8oz sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar, but Colby jack is good too), divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1T. butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
After being baked. It was..sampled.

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees, Spray a 9×11 baking dish with spray release.
  2. In a small pan, saute onions in butter until translucent- about 5-10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine soup, sour cream, 1 cup cheese, hashbrowns, and sauteed onions.
  4. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish, top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 60-70 minutes.
  6. Serves 6 as a main dish or up to 10 as a side dish.

This casserole is great reheated and is good for up to 3 days in the fridge, but it won’t last that long.

Vegan substitutions: In lieu of dairy sour cream and cheddar cheese, use your favorite vegan brand. In place of soup, use your favorite white sauce and 1/4 cup diced mushrooms. Saute onion in your favorite spread or oil. If you need a good white sauce recipe, there are directions in this recipe.

Family Recipe: Frito Surprise!

It’s not a surprise. And I can’t believe I’ve never posted this recipe before. My grandma invented it one summer, driving across the country in a Winnebago full of kids, my grandfather cruising the highways and byways of America.

It’s similar to Frito Pie, but it’s a little beefier. Ya know, when you have seven growing kids, you gotta add a bit more.

My friend Kara asked for the recipe yesterday, and I thought I’d share it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (you could use ground turkey, but honestly this recipe is not anywhere near healthy)
  • One can of Hormel chili with beans (It has to have beans)
  • One bag Fritos
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • one canned sliced black olives, rinsed and drained
  • Two tomatoes diced
  • One avocado, pitted and sliced
  • sour cream
  • salsa

Directions

I like cooking Fritos Surprise in an electric skillet, but you can cook it on the stovetop in a regular skillet.

  1. Crumble and fry the ground meat (drain as needed).
  2. Add the chili and cook until heated through.
  3. Top with Fritos and cheese.
  4. Cook on low until cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add tomatoes, olives, and avocados.
  7. Dish out portions and top with sour cream and salsa as desired.

It serves about 6-9, depending on how much you eat. And it’s really good. In true grandma fashion, serve it with fruit salad and bread and butter.

Holiday Recipe Round Up!

Most of us are home for the holidays, and that means that we are at home cooking.

If you are looking for some new recipes to tempt your taste buds, here are a few of our family’s favorite holiday recipes:

 

New Recipe: Baked Tortellini

00169 (1).jpgThis recipe is dead simple. Make it as complicated as you want. Use jarred sauce, make your own from scratch, or take a jar of sauce and church it up yourself. Whatever.

Frozen pasta, fresh pasta, heck, you can even use the shell stable/dried tortellini. You could use ravioli if you wanted.

You can make this Vegetarian, Vegan, Chock Full o’ Meat, Gluten-Free, it’s up to you.

This is one of those recipes that’s a big hit at potlucks too. It’s pretty inexpensive, and we always have the ingredients in one form or another to make a batch.

Baked Tortellini

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of Red Pasta Sauce.  I usually make a big batch of this sauce and portion some out just for this recipe. If you use jarred sauce, I recommend  you add 3-4 cups of veggies (carrots, onions, celery, bell peppers, zucchini, chopped/diced tomatoes, etc.)
  • 22-30 ounces of Tortellini/Ravioli, cooked per the package directions (this will probably take a couple packages)
  • 2 Cups Italian Cheese blend

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta per the package directions. Drain.
  2. Pour pasta sauce into a baking dish (I use a 9×13), toss cooked pasta in sauce.
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-ish minutes until food is bubbly, and cheese is brown and delicious looking.
  5. Serve with hot French Bread or Garlic Bread and a green salad.

This serves 8-10 people as a main.

 

If you are vegan, substitute in filled pasta and cheese that works for you.

Family Favorite Recipe: Mountain Man Breakfast Casserole

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This is a great old Boy Scout/backpacking recipe. We eat it when we go camping, cooked in a dutch oven. You can cook it at home in a baking dish in the oven if you aren’t out cooking in a field.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 4.38.58 PM.pngIngredients

  • 1 bag O’Brien Potatoes, approx 28 ounces- defrosted
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage (like Jimmy Dean) cooked, crumbled and patted to absorb the excess oil
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sour Cream and Salsa (for a topping)

Directions

  1. Mix the sausage,  1 cup of  the cheese, and potatoes in a bowl
  2. Pour sausage/egg/cheese mixture into a 9×11 baking dish
  3. Scramble eggs and milk and pour over sausage/egg/cheese mixture
  4. Top the dish with the remaining 1 c. cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20-35 minutes until the eggs have set and the dish is brown, bubbly and delicious.
  6. Serve with Sour Cream and Salsa.
  7. Serves 8-10 at home 4-6 when camping (fresh air makes you hungry).

If you have any leftovers, it’s great in a warmed tortilla the next morning as a burrito! I’ve also been informed that this is really good with avocado slices on top.

 

Modifications for special dietary concerns:

  • You can make this vegetarian by using soy sausage crumbles.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
  • This recipe cannot be made vegan.

Meal Plan Monday!!

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I need to go to the grocery store this week, so this is what I’ve planned based on what we have on-hand and what’s on sale.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • D: Waffles and fruit

Weds:

Thursday:

  • D:  Grilled chicken and grilled veggies 

Friday:

  • D: Pizza (I’m making a batch of dough to stash in the freezer, so we’ll bake a few up and have pizza!)

Saturday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Sunday:

  • D: Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).