Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baked Ziti

Ok, I have to admit that this is a very basic recipe and purists will complain that I use sauce from a jar.  Well, complain all you want.  My time is limited and I think some jarred sauces actually taste pretty good.  Pay the extra dollar for a jar of the good stuff.  It's worth it. 

This recipe is fairly simple, but the best part is how customizable it is.  Not enough ground beef?  Add sausage.  Have some fresh (or canned) mushrooms? Add 'em.  Got an onion or garlic clove sitting around doing nothing? Cut it up and add it.  


  • 12 ounces ziti or other small tube pasta
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar marinara (red, spaghetti) sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in marinara sauce. In a bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
  2. Drain pasta; add to cheese mixture and toss to coat. Spoon a third of the meat sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish; top with half of the pasta mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining meat sauce.
  3. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Taco Lasagna

I like the mix of ethnic ideas in this dish.  I normally wouldn't think of tacos and lasagna in the same dish.  But, I tell ya, they mix very well.  My daughter brought the recipe to my attention and asked if we could make it.  We tried it and enjoyed the outcome.  We have decided to make some changes each time we have made it.  We changed the size and type of pan to cook it in (from a rectangular pan to round) and ingredients (moved from corn to flour tortilla).  Have fun making it and enjoy!!!


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 (1.25 ounce) packages taco seasoning mix
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 18 (6 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar salsa
  • 1 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Place ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, then season with taco seasoning, garlic, cayenne pepper, chili powder and water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease the bottom of a 9" x 3"  inch baking dish.(Original recipe called for 9" x 13", but a round baking dish allows for layering of one tortilla between each layer.) 
  3. Place one tortilla into the prepared baking dish. Spread 1/3 of the salsa on top of the tortilla. Add layer of tortilla. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixture evenly over the salsa. Add tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the green onions. Drop 1/2 of the sour cream randomly over the green onions. Add tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup Cheddar and 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Repeat layers. Top with tortilla, spread with remaining salsa, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

French Quarter Bread Pudding

This is one of my favorite desserts.  Whenever I have some leftover French Bread this is definitely on my mind.  I used to live in New Orleans and the French Quarter Bread Pudding recipe is one of the truest recipes when compared to what you get in the Quarter.

Just looking at it makes my mouth water...


  • 1 (1 pound) loaf French bread
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cut bread into 1 inch thick slices. Arrange bread slices and pecans on a baking sheet and drizzle with melted butter; toast lightly.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla. Put bread and pecans in a lightly greased 7x11 in casserole dish. Pour egg mixture over bread. Make sure that bread slices are saturated with liquid.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.
OH, and don't forget the sauce to go on top!  Some like bourbon sauce, but I like Praline!


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Dash salt


  1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add sugar; stir to dissolve. Add corn syrup. Bring to boil; cook 15-20 seconds. Remove from the heat; add remaining ingredients. Cut pudding into squares and serve with sauce.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

So last night my daughter and I made the biscuits and gravy recipe I mentioned recently.  She made the drop biscuits and I made the gravy.  We also had some scrambled eggs on the side.  She cracked, I cooked.  Don't forget that cooking dinner can be a great family activity. 

Tomorrow night's dinner will be Brown Sugar Meatloaf.  My whole family likes this.  There are rarely any leftovers!  You can't go wrong serving it with some mashed potatoes and corn. 


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup finely crushed breadcrumbs or saltine cracker crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.
  2. Press the brown sugar in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan and spread the ketchup over the sugar.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all remaining ingredients and shape into a loaf. Place on top of the ketchup.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices are clear.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fried Rice

I'll admit that I got this recipe directly from Minute Rice.  We had a huge, Sam's Club-sized box of Minute Rice and my wife wanted fried rice.  It's one of her comfort foods and she wasn't feeling well.  I'll also admit that I had little faith in the recipe, but it turned out good!  It's quick and easy and clean up is simple due to the use of just one skillet to cook it.  I've also substituted regular frozen vegetables when stir fry veggies weren't available and it turned out well.  You can also use the skillet beforehand to brown some chicken or shrimp in soy to add a little protein to the meal.  


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen stir-fry vegetables, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cups Minute® White Rice, uncooked


  1. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add eggs; cook until set, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet.
  2. Add broth, vegetables and soy sauce to skillet; bring to boil. Stir in rice; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in cooked eggs. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I was in the mood for something with a breakfast feel at dinnertime tonight.  These take a little bit of time, but the flavor is great and it's quite easy.  I like to fill them with Nutella or fruit (apple is best in my opinion). 

Nutella Banana Crepes


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. In a blender combine eggs, milk, flour, salt and oil. Process until smooth. 
  2. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brush with oil. Pour 1/4 cup of crepe batter into pan, tilting to completely coat the surface of the pan. 
  4. Cook 2 to 5 minutes, turning once, until golden. Repeat with remaining batter. 
  5. Spread desired filling and roll
  6. Cover with desired topping

Friday, October 29, 2010

Orange Soy Pork Loin

Ok, if you haven't noticed, I like pork.  Pork Loin is one of my favorites.  I love the combination of flavors in this one.  It's easy to cook and everyone in my family enjoys it. 

If you're not a fan of Rosemary, cut back a bit as it is a bit strong of a flavor in this one. 


  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 (5 pound) boneless pork loin roast


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, red onion slices, rosemary and garlic. Place the pork roast in a baking bag, and set in a roasting pan or baking dish. Pour the orange juice mixture over the roast, making sure to coat entirely. Close the bag according to package instructions.
  3. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours in the preheated oven, until the internal temperature of the loin is at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove from the oven, and let stand for about 10 minutes to settle the juices. Carefully open the bag and remove the roast. Slice and serve with a little of the drippings drizzled over.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Corn Bread to go with your Baby Back Ribs

I found this recipe when my bag of corn meal exploded and I had to find a use for it.  I think this is one of the best recipes I have tried.  I like it as a great side when I make my Baby Back Ribs. 


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quick Baby Back Ribs.

I can't hear the words Baby Back Ribs without starting to sing the Chili's commercial jingle..."baby back ribs..bbq sauce."  This is quick and easy.  I'm going to give two different ways to cook it that depend on what you have available: gas grill or charcoal.  {singing} baby back ribs...bbq sauce {/singing}


  • 1 cup mesquite chips, soaked
  • 1 (2 pound) slab baby back pork ribs (make sure membrane is removed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika (or regular if you don't have Hungarian)
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (or regular if you don't have ancho, but it won't taste as good)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce


  1. Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect heat - a pile of charcoal on one side, nothing under the food. Once it is going, throw some soaked mesquite woodchips on it.
  2. Remove the membrane from the ribs if the butcher has not already. Combine the salt, pepper, paprika, chile powder and thyme; rub onto the ribs. Cut the slab of ribs in half.
  3. Place the ribs over indirect heat, and close the lid. Cook for 20 minutes, then brush with barbeque sauce. Cover, and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes.
 alternate directions for gas grill:  we cook them in the oven at 500 for 15 minutes, then on the grill for 15.  It won't have the mesquite flavor, but will still be awesome. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Drop Biscuits and Gravy

I love Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast.  I love Biscuits and Gravy for lunch.  I love Biscuits and Gravy for dinner.  This is an incredibly easy recipe for a quick meal that everyone will love.  I serve mine with eggs on the side with some hot sauce!


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine, melted
  • GRAVY:
  • 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Combine milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir in butter until melted. Sprinkle with flour. Gradually stir in milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Serve over biscuits.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bacon Cheese Frittata

Ok, we have a lot of eggs and bacon, so I thought I would make something quick tonight that capitalizes on these two items. My choice is a Bacon Cheese Frittata. A Frittata is a dish kinda like a Quiche or an omelete , but without the crust of the quiche and the folding of the omelete. 

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, butter, salt and pepper. Pour into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with onions, bacon and cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
 That's it!  It's pretty easy.  And tasty!  I serve it with some potatoes and toast.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sweet Pork Loin Roast

This is one of my favorite pork dishes to make.  It's sweet and we joke that it's almost like pig candy.  It's very easy to make and doesn't use a lot of ingredients. 


  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly flour an oven bag. (I use foil if I'm out of oven bags)
  2. In a small bowl, blend brown sugar, applesauce, and ginger.
  3. Place pork roast in the prepared oven bag. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the roast. Seal bag, and cut several small slits in the top.
  4. Cook the roast 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C)