Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Easy Skillet Lasagna...My Way

Today's recipe is one I originally found here. While it's delicious when made as described in this link, I've tweeked it a little to make it better suited to our tastes & easier to make. ('Cause we all know I am all about easy-to-make recipes :)

(One side note, my changes do affect the nutritional value so making it "my way" will not result in the same Weight Watchers Point Value if you are a WW person.)

Easy Skillet Lasagna...My Way

1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 pound ground beef, browned & drained
1 large onion, chopped (I about 3/4 to 1 cup frozen chopped onions)
1 can mushrooms (or you can use 1 cup of chopped fresh mushrooms)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 cans (14.5 oz each) Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons parsley
7-9 lasagna noodles (fully cooked & cut into 1" peices)
Personally, I think this would be much better with macaroni, but for some reason Toby has a great aversion to macaroni shaped pasta (don't ask me why, I have no idea) so he suggested bow tie or penne pasta. I agree any of these options would probably be good as well.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onions & cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add garlic & mushrooms & cook for about 1 minute.
Add in cooked hamburger, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, sea salt, & pepper.
Cook mixture until it thickens up a bit & mixture is heated through.

Add noodles to skillet & stir well.
Add cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, & Parmesan cheese.
Stir in parsley.
Cook another 2-5 minutes or until mixture is thick.

Serve immediately with additional basil or parsley if desired.
Makes approx. (4) 1 cup servings.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Since getting this recipe in a email years ago, I've since seen similar ones on websites via Pinterest. Including a site here that has about 2 zillion types of cakes you can make in mugs...ok, maybe not 2 zillion but A LOT! Anyway, this is the only one I've personally tried (& I only post recipes on here that I've tried myself) so I'm going to share this one. If you try one of the others from the above website, let me know how they turn out :)

Labeled as the most dangerous cake recipe ever ('cause let's be honest, do we really NEED to be able to make chocolate cake in 5 minutes with stuff we usually always have around the house?)

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

4 Tblsp. flour
4 Tblsp. sugar
2 Tblsp. cocoa
1 egg
3 Tblsp. milk
3 Tblsp. oil
3 Tblsp. chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug & mix well. Add the egg & mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk & oil & mix well. Add the chocolate chips, if using & vanilla extract & mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave & cook for 3 minutes.@ 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't freak out!

Allow to cool a little & tip out onto a plate if desired.

This is enough for 2 if you really want to share....

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I enjoy Christmas baking (when I have the time) & I have an absolute FAVORITE Christmas goodie: Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Years ago, Crisco came out with Crisco Sticks & on the packaging was a recipe for the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can still find a similar recipe here.  These quickly became known in our house as the best chocolate chip cookies ever. I've given them as gifts to teachers at Christmas time & had them request them again even after they no longer had Livi in class LOL! And, in case your wondering, Santa LOVES them! :)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup (3/4 stick) butter flavored Crisco shortening
1 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tblsp. milk
2 Tblsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, optional (I've never put nuts in my chocolate chip cookies)

Heat oven to 375. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies. 

Combine butter flavored Crisco, brown sugar, milk & vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Beat egg into creamed mixture. 

Combine flour, salt, & baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips (& nuts if using). 

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls approx. 3 in. apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake one sheet at a time at 375 for 8-10 minutes for chewy cookies or 11-13 minutes for crisp cookies. DO NOT OVER BAKE!! 
(This I can not stress enough!!! We prefer chewy, gooey cookies. I usually bake mine for 8-9 min. Take them out & let them sit on the cookie sheet for approx. 1 min. Then I take a spatula & literally slide them off onto the foil on the countertops. They are still squishy & appear to not be done. You could not pick them up at this point. When they cool completely they are perfect!)

Makes about 3 dozen cookies. 

**If nuts are omitted, add an additional 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips...let's be frank, I just dump the whole bag of chocolate chips in :) 

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up." ~ A. A. Milne

In most cases, the quote above rings true. However, in the case of this blog, I'm doing things a little backwards. When I started this blog, I was new to blogging. There's a lot I didn't know (& a lot I still don't know - LOL - about blogging). One thing I didn't understand was the use of labels. Since I've now realized how much easier it is to search when posts of have labels, I'm going back through & adding labels to the old posts. I'm attempting to label posts with main ingredient (ie. chicken, pork, etc), if it's a dessert, soup, main dish, etc. & if it's a crock pot recipe, microwave recipe, etc. Hope this helps with finding recipes :)

Robert Redford Dessert

I've heard this recipe called "The Next Best Thing To Robert Redford Dessert", "The Next Best Thing To Sex Dessert", "Better Than Sex Dessert" & I'm sure it has many other names. Personally, being better than Robert Redford in my opinion doesn't take much...now if it was "The Next Best Thing To Ian Somerhalder (or Adam Levine)"...well, anyway, the point is this is a fairly simple dessert that tastes INCREDIBLE!! I got the recipe from the wife of an old boss.

I know you won't be surprised to hear I've modified it a bit. I've increased the powdered sugar, cream cheese & cool whip so that that layer would be thicker in a 9 x 13 pan. You could cut the amounts of these 3 ingredients in 1/2 if you want a thinner layer. I also came across a picture of this dessert made with BOTH a layer of chocolate & a layer of lemon pudding. I'm not a big fan of lemon pudding, but it might be interesting to put double pudding layers in. I don't see any reason you couldn't use other flavors of pudding as well.

Robert Redford Dessert

1 cup flour
1/3 cup nuts, optional
1 stick of margarine, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
16 oz of cream cheese
2 cups of cool whip
2 small packages of instant pudding mix (chocolate or lemon - I've always used chocolate)
2 3/4 cups milk
cool whip to top with (the recipe uses a total of 2 tubs of cool whip)


Mix flour, nuts & margarine & press into bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool. Mix powdered sugar, cream cheese & cool whip. Place over cooled crust. Beat pudding & milk til smooth & thick. Place over previous layer. Top with whipped cream.

Refrigerate for several hours or over night.