Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I've always loved manicotti, but had never really tried to make it. When I was younger, I helped my mom stuff the noodles, and they just completely fell apart; I remember getting so frustrated! But it was easier this time.

1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp dried basil or 6 tbsp fresh basil

Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Boil the noodles as per the directions on the box.

Lay the noodles to dry on paper towels.

Pour two cups of spaghetti sauce in a 9" x 13" pan.

Stuff the noodles with the filling. Place in pan. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the noodles.

The recipe stated that you would be able to fill 12 noodles with the filling, but I was able to only get 8 filled when I ran out.

Bake in the oven at 350 F for 30 minutes. Top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.

Serve and gobble up!

Dry Chicken Rub

The title of this recipe is, I think, misleading. The rub for this chicken is dry, the chicken doesn't turn out dry. I'm just putting that out there.

1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp dried sage
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger

These ingredients combined are the dry rub.

1 whole chicken (4 lbs)
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 onions, quartered

Empty out the inside of the chicken, then place the garlic cloves and onion into the cavity.

Bake at 350 F for 2 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 F.

It is our custom to serve this chicken with mashed potatoes and garlic carrots. YUM!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have searched for years for a great chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe. I've tried at least five different recipes over the years, but have never been overly pleased with any of them. But then I found this one! YUM!

3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs

Beat these all together with an electric beater until smooth.

2 cups flour (see the note at the bottom of the post)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Add these ingredients and mix all together. Of course, I put in more chocolate chips than the recipe calls for. Bake at 375 F for 8-12 minutes, depending on how large you make them. They are perfect!

NOTE: If you are using all-purpose flour, you may want to use 2 1/4 cups of flour.
         If you are using bread & pastry flour, you will want to use about 2 3/4 cups of flour.
         If you are using blending flour, you will want to use only 2 cups of flour.

Cheeseburger Soup

This soup doesn't actually taste like a cheeseburger, but it's super cheesy and there is hamburger in it, hence: cheeseburger soup!

1/3 lb ground beef
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup carrots, shredded
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
4 tbsp butter
3 cups beef broth
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup flour
3 cups Cheddar cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream

In a dutch oven, melt 1 tbsp butter or margarine over medium heat. Cook and stir vegetables and beef, until beef is brown.

Stir in basil and parsley. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

In a small bowl, melt the remaining butter and stir in flour. Add the milk, stirring until smooth.

Gradually add the milk mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Stir in cheese. When the cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through. Do not boil

Serve and devour!

Hearty Beef Stew

This beef stew is great for those days when you don't want to make a huge effort for dinner.

3 lbs cubed beef stew meat
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup carrots
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp pepper
2 cups beef broth (you can use chicken or vegetable too)
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, sliced
1/4 cup red wine (white wine works too, if that's all you have)
1/4 warm water
2 tbsp flour

Put beef, flour and salt into a plastic bag and shake to coat the beef.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until the outside is browned. Transfer to a slow cooker along with carrots, potatoes, parsley and pepper.

In a small bowl, stir together beef broth and soup mix; pour into the slow cooker.

In the same skillet, melt butter and saute onions until softened; add to slow cooker.

Pour wine into the skillet and stir to loosen the brown bits stuck on the bottom; add to slow cooker.

Cook on high for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 6 hours or until meat is tender.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp of flour with 1/4 cup warm water (make sure there are no lumps!). Stir into stew and cook on high uncovered for 15 minutes, or until it is thick.

Serve and enjoy!

Creamy Cauliflower Bisque

A soup that is both hearty yet light (is that even possible? yes!).

1 lb cauliflower
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp red pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup butter
1 cup cheddar cheese

Put the cauliflower, potatoes, chicken broth, red pepper, salt, and black pepper into the slow cooker. Cook it on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Use a hand processor and puree the soup. Add the evaporated milk and butter and stir until completely blended. The evaporated milk thickens the soup.

The recipe said to garnish with the cheese, but I figured it would taste just as good if the cheese was melted into it!

Serve and enjoy!

Jeffery's Meatballs

These may very well be the best meatballs you will ever taste - I know they are mine!

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 lb ground sausage
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp ground garlic
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp parsley flakes
salt & pepper to taste
3 tbsp barbecue sauce (we always use Baby Ray's - it's a PC product)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Roll mixture into 1 inch balls.
Place meatballs on greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.