Monday, May 31, 2010

Apple French Toast Casserole ***

We loved this!  I've been trying to find a good overnight french toast-type casserole.  Since we all love apples and cinnamon, this seemed an obvious choice.  It was so yummy!  Not to mention that it looks so pretty when you invert it onto a cake plate.  The bread firms up nicely, and you can hardly taste the egg mixture at all.  My favorite parts were actually the crusts of the bread, since they had a chewier texture to them.  The butter/brown sugar doesn't carmelize as strongly as many of the other recipes have, which was a nice change.  It kept the sugary flavor from being too overpowering.  I used Granny Smith apples, and they worked perfectly.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

4 tablespoons butter
3 large apples, peeled and sliced thinly 
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 slices Italian bread, 1 inch thick
4 large eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add apples.
Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
Add brown sugar, water, and cinnamon and continue to cook and stir for 10 minutes until apples are tender.
Spoon mixture into 13x9 baking dish.
Cover apples with bread slices, making sure to cover the entire surface.
Trim the bread to fit if you must.
Beat eggs until foamy, then beat in milk and vanilla.
Pour egg mixture over the bread slices.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove the dish from the refrigerator and let it stand while oven is preheated to 375 F.
Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, or until bread is golden and firm.
Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
To serve on a platter, run a knife around the edges of the casserole, place platter on top of casserole, and carefully flip.
To serve individually, use a spatula to remove serving, place serving plate on top of serving and carefully flip so apple side is up.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Easy Skillet Casserole ***

I spent all evening in the kitchen, getting our breakfast and lunch made for tomorrow (Memorial Day), so this was the perfect meal to throw together in the process.  The kids had a "picnic" on the floor and watched Goonies with dh while I cooked, and this made a nice, easy meal (cooking and clean-up) for them to eat in front of the TV.  I said it last time, and I'll say it again.  The Worcestershire definitely makes the dish, as far as I'm concerned.  Otherwise, it would just be mac-n-cheese with hamburger meat.  As usual, I subbed ground beef for ground turkey.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 (12 ounce) package macaroni & cheese dinner mix

Brown beef in a large, deep pot with onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Worchestershire sauce.
Cook macaroni separately according to package directions.
When beef is cooked add tomato paste and prepared macaroni.
Mix thoroughly.
Cook over low heat until thickened. Add grated cheese on top, if desired. Cover and set aside for 5 mins before serving.

2/24/10: No question. This one was a hit. The boys all loved it. All 3 of them, lol. I liked it. It's nothing special, but it's easy enough and has a nice flavor to it. I really like the Worcestershire cooked with the meat. That adds an extra little flavor dimension to it. I used ground turkey with no problems. Definitely a keeper for us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

4-Cheese Penne Pasta Skillet Sensation ***

This one was originally printed on a recipe calendar where I used to work, but I've made so many changes through the years that it's turned into something else completely, lol.  We still love it, though.  I'm not going to lie.  It's better with the regular penne pasta, but the cheese does a decent job of masking the texture of the whole wheat.  It's a fair trade, right?  ;)  It makes about 4-6 servings, but I normally double it if I want enough for leftovers the next day. 

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

6 oz penne or other tube pasta
¾ lb ground beef
1 (14.5-oz) can chunky pasta style stewed tomatoes
1 cup sliced green onions
1 (3-oz) pkg cream cheese
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook pasta as package directs; drain. In skillet, brown meat. Salt and pepper to taste; drain. Add tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, until slightly thickened. Stir in onions and cream cheese. Toss with remaining ingredients. Cover 2 minutes to melt cheese.
Yield: 4-6 servings
* Amy’s notes: I used ground turkey, fire roasted tomatoes, and whole wheat/whole grain pasta.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Arabian Spinach **

As I've mentioned before, we were given quite a bit of fresh spinach from a friend of dh's (thanks again, D & K!), and I've been trying out a few new recipes.  The last one was Spanakoryzo, which was absolutely delicious!  This one was good too.  I wasn't too sure about putting cumin in the spinach, although I truly adore cumin in general.  I just didn't know how well it would mesh with the spinach.  I needn't have worried, though.  It was actually the ingredient that I believe pulled together the spinach and the chickpeas.  Dh wasn't overly excited about it, but he ate it.  He just said it was okay.  I loved it, but there aren't very many spinach recipes that I'm not crazy about, lol.  I'll definitely do this one again.  We had it with the Spaghetti-Pizza Casserole, and they went very well together.  Interestingly, some of the Parmesan I sprinkled on the spaghetti got on a few bites of the spinach, and it was really good.  I'm thinking that I might be able to get dh and the kids to be a little more accepting of it if I add a little Parmesan in next time.  It's worth a shot anyway, right?  ;)  The only other change I made was to do about 4 ½ cups of spinach, just to use up what I had.  I really don't think that 3 ½ would have been enough, though.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 ½ cups fresh spinach, washed and shredded
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and cumin seeds; then fry for another minute.
Add the spinach, in stages, stirring until the leaves begin to wilt.
Stir in the chick peas, butter and season with salt and pepper.
Reheat until just bubbling, then serve hot.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chicken and Ravioli Carbonara **

This was just okay for us.  The ravioli themselves were good.  The sauce was nothing spectacular, though.  I used Zesty Italian dressing for cooking the chicken, and that was yummy.  The times seem to be off quite a bit in the recipe.  I cooked the chicken for about 7 minutes (recipe says 4), and it never did "brown."  I cooked the ravioli in there for about 7 more minutes (recipe again said 4-5), and the broth never evaporated.  After all that time, the chicken got pretty dry.  My biggest complaint, though, was the overly saltiness of it.  But then again, I've been craving water like there's no tomorrow, so that could very well be just me.  Dh and the kids loved the ravioli part. 

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Betty Crocker magazine)

2 Tablespoons Italian dressing
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch strips
¾ cup chicken broth
1 package (9-oz) refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
½ cup half-and-half
4 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired

In 10-inch skillet, heat dressing over high heat. Cook chicken in dressing 2-4 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown.
Add broth and ravioli to skillet. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered about 4 minutes or until ravioli are tender and almost all broth has evaporated.
Stir in half-and-half; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 3-5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and sauce is hot and desired consistency (cook longer for a thicker sauce).
Sprinkle with bacon, cheese, and parsley.