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