Lasagna 

I believe this was only the second time making lasagna in my adult life. I am kind of weird about cheese and do not care for ricotta, which has caused me to shy away from lasagna. My inlaws made it when they were visiting a few months ago and I actually really enjoyed it, ricotta and all! So I gave it a try and it came out pretty good. I served it with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. 

Ingredients: 

– 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage

– 1/2 lb. ground beef 

– 1/2 cup onion, diced 

– 2 cloves garlic, minced 

– 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes 

– 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste 

– 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce 

– 1/2 cup water 

– 1 tsp. sugar 

– basil, oregano, onion powder, parsley seasoned to taste 

– 12 lasagna noodles (I used the no-boil) 

– 1 (16 oz) container or ricotta 

– 1 egg 

– 3/4 lb shredded mozzarella cheese 

– 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 

Directions: 

In a large pan with tall sides, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until cooked through and browned. Drain the fat and return to pan. 

To the meat, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Stir everything together. 

Next add the sugar, basil, oregano, onion powder, parsley, taste and adjust accordingly. Stir to combine. 

Simmer, covered for at least 1 1/2 hours or longer. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta, egg, a bit more parsley, and a pinch of salt. 

Preheat oven to 375F. 

To assemble: grab a 9×13-inch pan and spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of noodles on top of the sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta mixture, and top with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers and add Parmesan to the top layer. 

Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Place a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drippings that may fall. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving. 

   
    
    
    
    
 

White Beans and Smoked Sausage 

I love white bean and ham soup, although my husband doesn’t care for ham too much, so this recipe appealed to me since it was made with smoked sausage and I could use beef smoked sausage. It was delicious and I served it with cornbread with butter and honey, yum! 

Ingredients:

– 1 pound smoked sausage, the oval shaped one, sliced into 1- inch rounds 

– 2 cups chicken broth 

– 4 cloves of garlic, minced 

– 1 tsp. oregano 

– 1 tbsp. Olive oil 

– 2 cans cannellini beans (white beans), rinse the beans from just one can

– 1/2 can of petite diced tomatoes (you can use more if you want) 

– black pepper to taste 

Directions: 

Begin by heating up some Olive oil in a large skillet with tall sides. Add in the sliced sausage and cook until browned on both sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, set aside. 

Drain off some of the oil from the pan the sausage cooked in. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and add the garlic. Turn up to medium heat and then reduce to a simmer. Add in the beans, oregano, and diced tomatoes. Then add in the browned sausage and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let the liquid reduce and mash up a few of the beans to make the broth a little thicker. Once the mixture gets to desired thickness, remove from heat and serve with grated Parmesan cheese and cornbread. 

   

                                 

Tortellini Primavera 

I saw this recipe on an episode of The Pioneer Woman and it just sounded delicious! My husband isn’t a big ham fan, but even he enjoyed it and so did our three year old! It’s a nice and light meal and is perfect for Spring! 

Ingredients: 

– 2 tbsp. butter 

– 1 whole medium onion, diced 

– 3 cloves garlic, minced 

– 3 whole carrots, diced 

– 1-1 1/2 cups cauliflower, chopped into small pieces 

– 1/2 cup chicken broth 

– 1/3 cup heavy cream 

– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the fine cheese by Kraft) 

– salt and pepper to taste 

– 1 cup cooked ham, diced 

– 1 cup frozen peas 

– 1 pound cheese tortellini, unfrozen

– extra parmesan for serving 

Directions: 

Begin by cooking the tortellini, cook a few minutes less than the package directions say. Drain and set aside. 

Melt the butter in a large stockpot. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the carrots and cauliflower, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken broth and cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid reduces a bit. Stir in cream and parmesan and stir. 

When the mixture is hot, stir in the peas, ham, salt, and pepper. Allow the ingredients to heat in the sauce. Once heated, add the cooked tortellini. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve with more grated Parmesan. 

   

                     

Sausage In the Oven

My husband and I always make our bacon in the oven. It works amazingly and every piece comes out crispy and there is no mess and it doesn’t leave that bacon-y smell permeating your house! He had the idea the other night to do sausage in the oven, and this seemed like a great idea to me so we gave it a try. I’m really happy I have such a smart husband, because this is the way to go and how we will be cooking sausage from now on! 🙂

Ingredients:
– Sausage, any kind will work, we usually just buy the Jimmy Dean sausage patties
– baking sheet
– tin foil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line your baking sheet with tin foil and place the sausages on the baking sheet. Once your oven reaches 350 place the baking sheet in and close the door. Let them cook for 10 minutes, and then take the tray out and flip them over. Bake an additional 10 minutes and remove the tray from the oven. Remove the sausages to a paper towel lined plate to soak up the excess grease, then toss your foil from your baking pan, and voila! All clean!
Enjoy!

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Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman and boy is it yummy! My family always made scalloped potatoes and ham growing up so when I stumbled upon this the other day I knew I had to try my hand at it. It was absolutely delicious! You can search her original recipe online, but in this one I scaled it back a little bit and I’ll give you my measurements. It was plenty for our family of three with a big Tupperware of leftovers for tomorrow 🙂

Ingredients:
– 6-7 russet potatoes, washed and dried
– 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
– 2 cups diced ham
– 1/2 cup half and half
– 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1/8 cup all purpose flour
– black pepper to taste
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 8×11-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat up some olive oil, and add the onion. Sauté about 2 minutes or until they start to turn translucent. Add in the ham and cook for about 4 minutes and thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and set aside.
Slice up your potatoes very thinly, about 1/8 inch thick and set aside.
In a glass mixing cup, add the heavy whipping cream and the half and half. Heat for about a minute or so in the microwave, until warm. Whisk in the flour and the pepper until completely combined. Set aside.
Combine the jack and cheddar cheeses in a bowl and set aside as well.
Now we’ll move on to assembly:
Take your casserole dish you prepared earlier and start with a layer of potatoes, next spoon 1/3 of the ham/onion mixture on top, followed by 1/3 of the grated cheese mixture, and pour 1/3 of the milk mixture over the top. Repeat this three times finishing with a good layer of cheese on the top. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 50 minutes in your preheated oven. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Check the potatoes for tenderness after the 20 minutes is up, you may need to put it back in for an additional 10 minutes or so.
Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve with a side of veggies.
This is a very toddler friendly meal also! 🙂

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Boneless Country Pork Ribs

Hubby and I are not big traditional rib fans, we both have an issue with all the fat there is and just don’t really like the messiness of ribs either. My inlaws feel the same way but made this awesome recipe for us the last time we were visiting. They are still pork ribs, but are boneless and have virtually no fat. I found a big pack at Costco for under $20.00 and what I made tonight was only 1/3 of the package! The ribs were so tender and about fell apart as I was scooping them out of the crockpot, they are pure meat and like I mentioned before virtually no fat. A+ in our book! 🙂 Even our two year old gobbled them up, and if you have little ones, I’m sure you know what a struggle it is to get them to eat some days!

Ingredients:
– 7-8 boneless country pork ribs
– salt and pepper
– red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper if you want some heat
– 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Directions:
Place your ribs in the crockpot, season them with some salt, pepper, and cayenne and/or red pepper flakes. Pour a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce over the top. Cook on low for 8 hours. I served ours with a side of pasta and a veggie, but bread would be good and so would corn on the cob or potato salad for summer. Super yummy and so easy! Also you can add a bit more BBQ sauce on for more “saucy” ribs and to create more of the traditional messy rib experience 😉

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Sausage Spinach Skillet Pasta

Sorry, I know that’s a tongue twister! This recipe is similar to another one I have on here (Creamy Sausage Pasta) however this one has spinach added to it, yum! I also didn’t use as much heavy cream this time around. You can certainly get away with not using it, but I did personally miss it. If you haven’t tried out my first version of this, then you probably wouldn’t even notice, but since I’ve been to the “dark side” I know what it’s lacking! 😉 I promise you, you cannot go wrong with either recipe though, they are both a favorite around here! Think of this recipe as hot dogs and macaroni and cheese classed up! It’s SO scrumptious! My toddler even loves it, and that’s saying something! 😉

Ingredients:
– 16 oz. smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
– 1/2 large onion, diced
– 1 can (14.5 oz). Rotel, mild
– 2 cups chicken broth
– 2 tbsp. heavy cream
– 8 oz. uncooked pasta, any pasta will work
– 3 cups fresh spinach
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Begin by sautéing your sliced sausage rounds until they are nicely browned on both sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Drain off the excess grease and return to the pan. Add in the onion and cook until the onion has softened.
To the skillet, add the Rotel, chicken broth, and the heavy cream. Stir to combine, and dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.
Next, add the uncooked pasta, submerging it as best as you can under the liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil, once boiling reduce the heat to simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer for about 10 minutes, the pasta should be tender at this point.
Stir in the fresh spinach, one cup at a time. You want to make sure the spinach is wilted before adding more, because it will overcrowd the pan if not.
Sprinkle on the shredded cheese and place the lid back on the skillet, so it melts the cheese.
Now, go and enjoy your grown up “hot dogs and Mac and cheese”! 😉

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