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

Ingredients

  • 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.

 

Panera Style Mac and Cheese

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A Panera opened up on Monday in our town. We ended up going on Wednesday night and we had to wait 10 minutes in line to take our order and then about 40 minutes to get our food. The line was going out the door pretty much the whole entire time we were there. I wanted to go before that but I waited. It was well worth the wait. I now want to make my own bread this weekend and make my own sandwiches like that at home. I had the Smoked Turkey Bacon Club sandwich and couldn’t finish it all so I ended up taking the rest of it home for lunch the next day. It was super yummy. The kettle chips there are pretty amazing too. So is their mac and cheese. The only thing I didn’t like about this recipe was the mustard. I don’t recall any mustard flavor being in the mac their mac and cheese. I can’t wait to go there and try everything else.

Here is a recipe similar to the mac and cheese Panera has at their restaurant. I wish they sold bags of pre shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese in the grocery stores. You can find the extra sharp cheddar cheese that’s the orange color everywhere but not the white. This was in a brick and I admit that I actually like buying the bags of shredded cheese at the super markets. There’s nothing wrong with that I think.

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Recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen
Ingredients:

16 oz. package shell pasta
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups 2% milk
4 oz. white American cheese, chopped into small pieces
8 oz. extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (optional)

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente, drain and return to the pot; set aside.
Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
Slowly whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and bubbles, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in cheeses, a little bit at a time, stirring until cheese melts completely. Add mustard, salt, and hot sauce, and stir until well combined and sauce is smooth.
Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Caprese Orzo Pasta

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Another caprese dish. Yep, they never get old!

I cooked a little bit of garlic in some olive oil in a pan and added the orzo. Cooked that for a bit and added in 2 cups of water. The water eventually all obsorbed and the orzo became almost like risotto. I added in some parmesan cheese to the orzo and then cut up the 3 main ingredients to the caprese part. Tomatos + Basil, + Mozzarella. Yum! I loved this.

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Ingredients

1 cup of orzo
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp olive oil
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
1 tomato diced or you can use grape tomatoes
2 tsps of basil, finely diced
1/2 cup of cubed mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan cook the garlic with some olive oil. Add the one cup of dried orzo and stir so the orzo becomes toasted. Add the 2 cups of water and wait until the orzo has absorbed all the water.

While the orzo is cooking prepare your mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Once the orzo is cooked, stir in 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and the rest of the ingredients.

Two Timing Pasta Bake

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I recently posted on my facebook page how Alfredo sauce in a jar tastes like crap.  One person said that it smells like feet and I would have to agree with that. People were also asking questions on how to enhance alfredo sauce and I think this recipe does a good job of that. I like the combination of alfredo sauce and marinara sauce together and with extra added cheese this dish will not smell like feet! I guarantee it! It almost reminds me of pasta dish I had once at Bocca de Beppi’s.

I’ve been really sick of Winter lately. The first day of Spring is in a couple of days and we are still expecting a lot of snow here. I’m ready for thunderstorms, the tall hills of snow banks to go away so that  we can see where we’re driving at when we turn a corner, planting my garden, and wearing my new jean jacket that I just love. Heck, I might as well just wear it and not wait for Spring to get here. It’s so cute and goes really well with colored denim!

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Recipe from Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour

Two Timing Pasta Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 box 16 ounces of penne pasta
  • 1 jar 15 oz alfredo sauce (your favorite)
  • 1 jar 24 oz marinara sauce
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

Step 1
Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Mix the sauces together in a large bowl.
Step 2
Add the mozzarella and stir to combine. Then toss in the penne and toss to coat.

Step 3
Pour pasta into 9x13 baking dish and cook on 350 for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Add extra cheese on top and bake until melted if you wish.