Crock Pot Lasagna

So I haven’t had a kitchen for about a month.  It’s starting to drive me crazy.  Fortunately, everything should be done within the next week.  In my desperate attempt to not eat out for every meal I have looked online for some great crock pot recipes. I was shocked that there was a lasagna that could be made and it turned out great!

The meat has to be cooked, (we have a camp stove so that helped me) but the lasagna noodles should remain uncooked. As long as there is sauce covering them, they will soften and come out perfect. Since every crock pot cooks different, I recommend you try to keep an eye on it the first time you make it so you know how long you should cook it for future times. Trust me, you will want to make this again and again!

Crock Pot Lasagna

1 pound ground beef, browned
1 large onion, chopped
1 small (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 jar (24-28 oz) of pasta sauce
1 12 oz package lasagna noodles
12 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
12-16 oz water

(you can also season with oregano, garlic, Italian seasoning, etc)

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* Brown ground beef in a deep skillet over medium heat. Drain

* Add onion, tomato paste, pasta sauce, and desired seasonings. Cook until heated through

* Slowly stir in the water. Sauce should still have some consistency

* In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses

* Spray a light coating of cooking spray into crock pot

* Spoon meat and sauce mixture on the bottom of the crock pot

* Add a double layer of uncooked noodles. Break pasta to fit (see photo below)

* Top noodles with cheese mixture

* Repeat layering of sauce, single layer of noodles, and cheese mixture until all ingredients are used (make sure you completely cover the noodles with the sauce mixture, otherwise exposed noodles may over cook)

lasagna steps

* Cover and cook LOW 4-6 hours

Oh my goodness! Pizza Casserole

I was searching for some creative meals to freeze for future meals when I came across a recipe for pizza casserole. My toddler son will eat anything but my husband is the picky eater. He doesn’t like to eat chicken more than once or twice a week and he could eat pizza every day, and he pretty much does. This seemed like something he would really enjoy and I thought it would be a great meal to make for families with kids (who mostly seem to love pizza).

It was so delicious! I was immediately glad that I made the recipe for 2 pans so we have another one in reserve. As with any casserole, you can substitute, add, or omit ingredients as you fit. If you love lots of toppings on your pizza, add some sausage, olives, green peppers, and whatever else! I used pepperoni but if you omitted it and just had the cheese it would still be just as great.

The recipe is for 2 – 9 x 13 size pans. The idea behind it is to wrap one and stick it in the freezer and then bake the other one for dinner that night. One pan should easily feed 4-6 people. Our household of 4 adults and 1 toddler ate one pan and there was still about 1/4 left.  If you don’t have room in your freezer or you just want to cook one pan, use half of the ingredients and still bake for the same amount of time.

tip: I find cooking in the disposable baking pans are much more convenient (and you don’t have to put your nice baking dishes in the freezer). Walmart and some dollar stores usually have good deals on these pans and you can usually wash and reuse them a couple of times, just to get your money’s worth!

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Pizza Casserole

2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
garlic powder to taste
2 jars (24-28 oz) of spaghetti sauce (I used a 3 cheese blend)
1 16 oz package of spiral pasta (like rotini)
4 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
About 8 oz of pepperoni

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* Cook spiral pasta until softened (but not mushy)

* While pasta is cooking, brown ground beef in another pan

* Drain excess grease and add chopped onion. Cook to soften onions. Add garlic powder (optional)

* Once pasta is finished cooking, drain and set aside

* Combine cooked ground beef mixture with pasta in a large bowl

* Add both jars of pasta sauce and 2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Mix well

* Divide contents of mixture into 2 separate 9 x 13 dishes

* Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella over each pan, and add pepperoni or other desired ingredients

* Wrap and cover one pan and put in freezer

* Place other pan in oven preheated at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted

* Serve with Parmesan cheese (if desired)

To cook other pan: Thaw overnight in refrigerator and bake preheated at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.

Breakfast is Served!

So this morning I went to a playdate with a couple of moms and their kids.  We had a lot of fun, I always enjoy Zach socializing with other children. I wasn’t under any obligation to make anything because I heard back from the host the night before but that didn’t stop me from trying to think of something delicious to make to impress the ladies.  In the morning I whipped up this amazing cinnamon roll pull apart cake.  I never made it before but I knew that all of the ingredients tasted great on their own so I felt that it was a safe bet.  I think I’m going to have to make it on a Saturday morning for the hubby because it was heavenly.

Amanda’s Cinnamon Roll Cake

1 can cinnamon rolls (8 count) with icing
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 medium apple, peeled and cut into small chunks

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* In small bowl combine butter and apple chunks and microwave for 1 minute

* Mix sugar, vanilla, maple syrup, sour cream and mixture from microwave

* Cut each cinnamon roll into quarters and drop into bowl, stirring gently to cover rolls

* Spray cooking spray into a loaf pan and spoon mixture from bowl into pan

This is what it looks like before baking

* Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown

Fresh from the oven!

* Let cool for 10 minutes and flip upside down onto serving dish. It will look watery on top but it’s normal.

* Drizzle icing from cinnamon roll container on top of the cake

Final Product

 

 

New dinner recipe!

So, I found this recipe here while looking for a chicken recipe for the family.  We recently moved in with the in-laws for a couple of months while an in-law suite is being built.  I wanted to make something that would be delicious because it’s always nice to impress the in-laws. Following is what I did, as I skipped a lot out of the original recipe.

 

Crescent Roll Casserole

2 cans (8oz each) of crescent rolls
2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup onion, diced
6 oz cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

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* In small bowl combine softened cream cheese and softened butter. Must be very soft so they blend together

* In a large bowl combine all chicken, onion, and 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

* Add cream cheese butter mixture and mayo. Mix should not be dry, if it is add more mayo. and mix all ingredients until mixed welll

* Unroll crescent rolls and preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13 pan (I used PAM cooking spray)

* Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture onto each crescent roll, flatten just a little to make rolling easy and roll each triangle starting with the bigger end

* Place each crescent roll seam side down and wet the tops with a little water or egg wash. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup cheese on top

* Bake for 30 minutes or until crescent roll dough is cooked (will start to brown on sides)

* After rolls are done sprinkle remaining cheese on top and serve once melted

* Most important of all, enjoy!

These were such a hit! Everyone had seconds and my father in law even had thirds! I served them with a side of mashed potatoes, but you could serve with vegetables or any other side.  If you look at the original recipe you will see I omitted the entire beginning involving the soup part. This is because I figured the soup would make everything soggy. The recipe I provided you yielded very nice, perfectly cooked rolls that came out of the pan beautifully and were absolutely delicious.

Cheesy chicken goodness!

 

Happy Birthday to Zachery! Snack time!

So my son had his 1st birthday last month. We have been crazy busy with traveling on vacation, moving, and then celebrating birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and more! For Zach’s birthday we had a casual cookout in the yard and it was such a perfect day for it! I made some fruit, veggie, and cheese trays. I also carved a watermelon in the shape of a shark and put pieces of fruit in his mouth (mango, cantaloupe and kiwi). It was my first attempt and I think it came out okay. Following are the pictures of all that I had made. We also had hamburgers and hot dogs and some baked beans and potato salad. Yum!

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My little guy is growing so fast!

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A Family Favorite: Mexican Casserole!

This is a regular dish in my house, and it’s a great way of sneaking vegetables into dinner! I love casseroles because you can add anything to them and they still come out pretty great. You can also substitute for full flavor or low fat versions depending on your diet. This recipe is great for us because I usually substitute for low sodium varieties of ingredients and it still tastes delicious! Also, it’s easy for the little one to eat it because the texture is soft.

Amanda’s Mexican Casserole

1 pound ground beef, chopped fine
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1 packet taco seasoning of your choice
15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
15 oz can Goya low sodium black beans, drained
5-6 tortilla shells (you will be tearing them into smaller pieces
12-16 oz sour cream
12-16 oz shredded cheese, Mexican blend or cheddar

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* Brown ground beef and add onion, cooking over medium heat in a deep pan

* Add taco seasoning and water as instructed on packet

* Add drained cans of tomatoes, corn, and black beans, stirring in one at a time until blended well

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* Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with a layer or tortilla shells by tearing them into pieces to fit (see below)

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* Spoon mixture of ingredients from stove top into pan, enough to cover the tortilla shells

* Spoon sour cream on top of mixture and add another layer of tortilla shells

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* Add the remaining mixture, add more sour cream if desired and sprinkle half of cheese on top

* Place in preheated oven at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted

* Add remaining cheese, leave in for 5-10 minutes and take out to cool

* Serve to happy people!

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Easy Dessert: Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

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These cookies are so delicious and look like more work than they are. I love looking like I spent hours slaving away in the kitchen when in actuality I didn’t. I got the recipe from the Duncan Hines website after I was able to get a couple boxes of red velvet cake for free. I love couponing 🙂  Anyhow, here is the recipe I used- I hope you like it!

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

1 box of red velvet cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 container of cream cheese frosting

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* In medium bowl, combine and mix well the cake mix, eggs, and melted butter. (side note: I didn’t melt the butter completely and it took a lot longer to mix, so make sure to melt it!)

* Make 1 Tbsp balls and drop about 2 inches apart. Using a 1 Tbsp will keep them uniform, which is important to make a nice looking cookie sandwich. See (blurry- sorry) pic below:

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* Preheat oven to 350F, bake for 10-12 minutes

* Cool completely

* Using a butter knife, spread a liberal amount of frosting on bottom side of one cookie. Take another cookie, and gently spread icing on cookie, making a sandwich, like an oreo. I twisted the non frosted cookie clockwise to get the icing on the rest of the frosted cookie and didn’t squeeze it down too much so the frosting wouldn’t smash out. It is hard to describe the technique, but it really isn’t hard, just experiment with what works best for you.

* Let the icing harden a bit for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!