Thursday, January 30, 2014

Easy Red & White Pasta Bake

This casserole is so easy and family pleasing. It's pasta. It's cheesy. It's saucy. All the things my family loves. I've seen more time consuming versions of this kind of pasta casserole, made with homemade sauces, but this one is the short cut version. It's also a great way to use up all those partially used boxes of pasta in your pantry. This time I used a mixture of rotini, bowtie, shell, and penne pasta and it all worked great. Oh and this would make a great food storage meal also as it uses mostly shelf stable products (you'd just leave out the cheese on top, but it will still taste good).

Easy Red and White Pasta Bake

16 oz pasta (rotini or bowtie or a mix of whatever)
1, 15 oz jar Classico Alfredo sauce (or whatever brand you like)
1, 24 oz jar Classico traditional tomato basil pasta sauce (or whatever brand you like)
2 cups shredded cheese (colby-jack, mozzarella, or cheddar)

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 1/3 cup of tomato pasta sauce in the bottom. Pour half of the drained pasta on top. Pour half of the remaining tomato pasta sauce evenly over pasta. Pour 1/2 of the Alfredo sauce evenly over the tomato pasta sauce. Pour remaining pasta over. Pour remaining tomato pasta sauce over the pasta. Pour remaining Alfredo sauce over the tomato pasta sauce. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese on top has melted and the sauces are bubbly.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Turkey (or chicken) Alphabet Soup

Can you believe I'm still using the turkey leftovers from Christmas Eve? I froze a bunch of bags of diced turkey after Christmas Eve and I'm so glad I did because it makes me try new turkey recipes like this one. I found this alphabet soup on Pinterest and it was so yummy and definitely a kid pleaser. All 4 of my kids loved this one. It's a wonderful, warm, and comforting soup - perfect for the flu season.:)

* As a note: I use Ultra-Gel a lot to thicken soups, but you can use cornstarch mixed with a little cold water.

Turkey (or chicken) Alphabet Soup

3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery, chopped
12 oz package petite carrots
2, 32 oz containers chicken stock
2 cups water
4 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
8 oz alphabet pasta
2-3 cups cooked and cubed turkey or chicken
1 teaspoon onion salt
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons Ultra Gel (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water)

Melt butter in a large pot. Add onions, celery, and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add chicken stock, water, and chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil. Add alphabet pasta, cubed turkey or chicken, onion salt, salt and pepper to taste, and Ultra Gel. Stir well and bring to a boil again. Turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mini Sloppy Joe Pizzas

This recipe is great for making any kind of mini pizza, but this time I made sloppy joe mini pizzas because I had left over sloppy joe meat. I made these for my kids on a Friday night before my husband and I went out on a date and they were so happy to have these instead of the usual frozen pizza or macaroni and cheese. 

Mini Sloppy Joe Pizzas

Rhodes Rolls, thawed
sloppy joe meat (ground beef or turkey)
shredded cheese

Thaw Rhodes Rolls (as many as you think you'll need for the toppings you have - I used 11) for about 3-4 hours at room temperature, by placing on a non-stick sprayed plate and covering with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap. When rolls are thawed, but still cold, roll out with a rolling pin until thin. Place on a greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet with a silpat, and top with sloppy joe meat and then shredded cheese. Cook at 375 for 12-14 minutes or until the bottoms are golden. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Creamy Wagon Wheel Pasta and Ham

This is a great, family pleasing, 30 minute meal that's easy to throw together on a week night. I hardly ever use wagon wheel pasta, but my kids thought it was fun and this has got to be one of my baby's favorite meals ever (something about that wagon wheel pasta being easy to grab and shove in her mouth). I pick up recipes all over the place and think this one was from flipping through a magazine at my son's orthodontist's office (if I remember right it was a Taste of the South magazine). I served it with some French bread and it was quick and easy.

Creamy Wagon Wheel Pasta and Ham

1 lb wagon wheel pasta
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2, 15 oz jars Alfredo sauce (I used Classico)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon parsley
2 cups cubed ham
Parmesan for serving

Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter. Saute onions, celery, and carrots until most of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the Alfredo sauces. Cover and reduce heat to medium low, simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, peas, parsley, and ham. Cook until heated through. Add reserved pasta water as needed to loosen sauce to desired consistency. Heat through and serve with shredded Parmesan if desired.