Baked Ziti

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Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my god this was sooooooooooooo good. I’ve already made two recipes for the Pioneer Woman’s episode that was on Saturday and they were both fantastic! Many of my friends are now making Chocolate lava cakes for Valentine’s Day now. :)

I changed a few things. I like beefier meat sauce so I left out a 15 ounce can of whole tomatoes and used a 15 oz can of whole tomatoes and 1  15 ounce can of tomato sauce. Ground beef and sausage together is a genius combination in a meat sauce. If you’re looking to make this a low fat version use lean ground turkey sausage and lean ground beef as a combo.  My husband is lactose intolerant , so I made half of the casserole without cheese. I didn’t  half the cheese portion of the recipe  on my half, and I think that is one of the reasons it was so good. Who doesn’t like extra cheese?

I really hate it the next day when you have leftovers how have of the liquid from the sauce has been absorbed by the noodles. That makes the noodles extra soggy to me. Yuck, with how meaty the sauce is I don’t believe I’ll have that problem with my leftovers tomorrow.

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Recipe from Ree Drummond


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce Or Marinara Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
  • 1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • Fresh Minced Parsley

Preparation Instructions

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.

Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).

Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.

Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Oven Roasted Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

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I shared this recipe on my facebook page about a week ago. Little did I know, that this post would soon  have over 600,000 views, 20,000 some shares, and over 100 comments! This post was so popular, that it has gained me 500 new fans in less than 5 days. Yes, all you readers and facebook page owners out there, it is possible to get new likes and fans without having to have some kind of giveaway on your website!

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Since this post was so popular, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. This is such a simple and easy meal. It takes less than 10 minutes to chop everything up and it takes 40 minutes in the oven to make. At first, when I tried this, I used this really awful spicy sausage. I got it, thinking that it wouldn’t be that spicy but holy heck, this was the most spiciest sausage I’ve ever had. Ben did not like this either. I got a better sausage that wasn’t spicy at all and this was a really fast easy meal to make. I want to try it with eggs once.  Top with cheese and some pretty greens like scallions or parsley to garnish.

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1 package of smoked sausage, sliced into rounds

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

5 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½ inch cubes

olive oil

fine sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

sweet paprika

dried thyme

a handful of greated strong cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 400*F.

Line a large baking tray (with sides) with several sheets of foil, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Put the sausage rounds, onions, and potatoes into a large bowl. Drizzle with a couple TBS of olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika and dried thyme. Toss together with your hands until everything is evenly distributed. Pour this out onto the baking tray, and spread it out as much as you can.

Place into the heated oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes are golden brown and tender. Turn off the oven.

Scatter the cheese over top of the cooked meat and potatoes, Pop back into the oven a few minutes to melt the cheese.



Crispy Chicken with No-stir Lemon Risotto

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I picked up a new magazine recently called Better Homes and Gardens. Lots of yummy recipes, the one on the front cover really caught my interest. No-stir lemon risotto was the 4 words that dragged me in. C’mon let’s face it people. Risotto is HARD to make sometimes and this one came out perfect with no troubles at all. Except for the fact that some of the lemon broth had boiled over the pot and kind of stained my oven but cleaning can fix that. I just don’t really like it when that happens.

The risotto was really rich and creamy. This dish almost reminded me of an upscale version of a casserole that my Dad used to make called Chicken Cheese hotdish, and I felt like I was eating in a fancy restaurant with this meal. Loved the chicken too, it was really crispy. Could maybe use some kind of sauce the next time?

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2 14.5 ounce cans reduced sodium chicken broth

1 1/3 cups Arborio rice or short grain white rice

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 6 ounce skinless boneless chicken breast halves

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 eggs lightly beaten

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups frozen peas

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a medium saucepan combine broth, rice, onion, and lemon juice. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. cover and simmer for 18 minutes.

2. Meanwhile place each chicken breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound chicken lightly to about 1/4 inch thick . discard plastic wrap.

3. In a shallow dish stir together bread crumbs, the 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, the oregano, and lemon peel. In a second dish stir together eggs and milk. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then into crumb mixture to coat.

4. In a 12-inch skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden and chicken is no longer pink. Transfer chicken to a cutting board.

5. Stir peas into the risotto. Cover and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in the 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. To serve, slice chicke. Place risotto on a serving dish and top with sliced chicken. If desired, top with additional parsley and lemon peel.



Cheeseburger Pasta

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I am so over Winter people, I’m ready for it to be Spring. I’m sick of -41 below wind chills, snow covered roads, my tires spinning at an intersection cause it’s so flipping icy, and freezing rain. I refuse to drive anywhere when it is like that too, but I do it anyway still. I’d rather stay home and cook some delicious food than go out. I’d rather be outside grilling burgers on the grill. We did that a couple of days ago when it was actually 30 degrees out. It took awhile for the coals to warm up, but we did it.
If you want know how cold it has been you’d see one of these sun dogs around the sun.

Cheeseburger pasta is exactly what it sounds like. Everything that goes on top of burger, but inside some pasta instead.  After eating cheeseburger pasta, I thought of all the possible burger toppings that could go in this as well like fried eggs, french fries, guacamole, etc…. French fries would be interesting. I blogged about my Humpty Dumpty Burger earlier last week, crack a couple of eggs on top and cover the pan while the cheese is melting until the eggs are cooked through. That would be really yummy!

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I also liked how this recipe was made in one pot. It was almost like making a version of hamburger helper. Would definitely make this again and try out different burger topping!
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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 pound rotini pasta
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Roma tomato, diced
2 green onions, sliced

Please visit Damn Delicious for the rest of the recipe! Thanks!