Friday, April 25, 2008

Stuffed Shells

This is a recipe passed down from my Mom ... it's a quick and easy crowd pleaser and is also a great dish to prepare for someone else (had a baby, is sick, shut-in, etc.) and also great for potluck dinners. This is also another one that can be prepared ahead of time and frozen before the final "cooking" of it.

Stuffed Shells


1 1/2 lbs hamburger meat
Jumbo pasta shells
1 large jar of Prego spaghetti sauce
1 large bag of shredded Mozzarella cheese
palate pleasing "seasonings"


Step 1 - brown hamburger meat with your choice of seasonings. I use salt, pepper, onion, green bell pepper, Emeril's Essence, garlic powder.

Step 2 - Boil jumbo pasta shells

Step 3 - drain grease (if necessary) ... add "some" Prego sauce to meat, not all

Step 4 - in a Pyrex dish, pour a thin layer of Prego sauce on bottom of dish

Step 5 - drain pasta shells and begin stuffing each one with the meat sauce

Step 6 - layer the shells in the dish on top of the thin layer of sauce

Step 7 - Pour remaining Prego sauce over entire dish

Step 8 - If you are preparing this to fix later, wrap with plastic wrap and either refrigerate or freeze.

Step 9 - If you are cooking now, place in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes

Step 10 - Remove and add Mozzarella cheese over the top of the dish

Step 11 - Return to the oven until cheese melts (about 5-10 minutes)

Step 12 - Serve hot!

comments: This dish is SO super easy and so very good ... it goes well with a salad and french bread. I have made this dish many times over! If you are preparing this dish as a "gift" to someone in need or for a dinner ... remember to send a bag of cheese with it, with instructions of steps 9-12.

rating: 4

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mexican Chicken

I absolutely love this recipe ... all credit must go to Paula Deen though, for it is one of "her recipes". This is another one of those "all inclusive" meals ... serve with a salad and some type of bread and you've got a meal! Very tasty!

Mexican Chicken


1 pkg of chicken
1 can of Cream of Chicken
1 can of Cream of Mushroom
1 can of Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 can of Rotel (Original)
1 pkg of Soft Tortillas
1 bag of Cheddar Cheese


step 1 - wash, season and boil chicken (I use salt, pepper, onion, and Emeril's Essence)

step 2 - cut into small pieces

step 3 - in a large bowl, combine cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and cheddar cheese soups. Add Rotel and mix thoroughly.

step 4 - add in chicken
step 5 - in a Pyrex dish, butter entire dish including sides

step 6 - layer soft tortillas (I always tear them into small pieces and place around to cover the entire bottom of the dish ... this way when you go to serve it, you won't have to cut it, you'll be able to spoon it out (very handy).

step 7 - layer chicken/soup mixture

step 8 - layer soft tortillas

step 9 - continue this layering process until all of chicken/soup mixture is used.

step 10 - make sure top layer is soft tortilla pieces

step 11 - add cheddar cheese

step 12 - at this point ... if you are making ahead of time - cover and refrigerate until needed. Or, if ready to prepare - bake 30 minutes in 350 degree oven. I keep aluminum foil laid across the top of my dish until about 5-10 minutes before dish is finished - so the cheese doesn't get too done.

once again ... I opted to make this dish ahead of time and served it at a dinner the next day - thus the reason for no pictures of the final result!

comments: YUMMY!!!! I love me some Mexican Chicken! Very good dish ... I used to make it so often that Nathan banned it from the kitchen for a while! ha! Another thing that I like to do ... instead of layering in a Pyrex dish ... I use about 12 of my small "single serving" baking bowls and layer all 12 of them individually ... and then put up in the fridge/freezer and when company comes or I need a "quick meal" - you have a single serving ready! All the same steps are required ... oven requirements are the same and I use the types of bowls that can go in the fridge, freezer, oven and dishwasher ... so it goes straight from the fridge to the oven! Very handy! And very good!

rating: 4.5

Taco Bake

This recipe is a variated version of the original recipe that was given to me by my aunt last year ... the reason it's variated, is because I lost the recipe and wanted to make it, so I did my own thing ... I think it turned out better (no harm done - it wasn't her recipe, she was just passing it along). A very good recipe for dinner parties or when you need a good appetizer dish!

Taco Bake


1 to 1 1/2 lb hamburger meat
1 pkg of taco seasoning
1 large can (1 lb) of refried Beans
(2) cream cheese, softened
1 large jar of Picante sauce
1 large bag of Cheddar cheese


step 1 - cook and season hamburger meat with Taco seasoning ... I also do my regular seasoning of salt, pepper, onion and garlic.

step 2 - spread refried beans in the bottom of a pyrex dish or large baking dish

step 3 - layer cream cheese

step 4 - layer hamburger meat

step 5 - layer Picante sauce

step 6 - layer cheddar cheese

step 7 - at this point ... if you are making ahead of time - cover and refriderate until needed. Or, if ready to prepare - bake 30 minutes in 350 degree oven.

step 8 - serve with Tortillia Scoops

(I do not have pictures of the final product, because I opted to make this ahead of time for an event after church yesterday)

comments: This is a VERY tasty appetizer and I love the "cream cheese" in it as an alternative to sour cream. So very yummy, that I usually end up eating way too much! I would totally recommend this recipe. Another variation is to use Mexican Cheese instead of Cheddar.

rating: 4.5

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Peanut M&M Cake

I love peanut M&M's ... so I had to try this ... and if you love peanut butter or peanut M&M's - you will like this recipe. It is so very simple to make and a great recipe to try if you want to give ordinary cake a little "kick".

Peanut M&M Cake


1 box of cake mix (chocolate or yellow) - (I used yellow butter)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup peanut M&M's
1 16oz vanilla frosting
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
peanut M&M's to garnish


step 1 - preheat oven to 350 degrees.

step 2 - make cake batter as directed on back of box.

step 3 - stir in 1/2 cup flour

step 4 - add 1 cup peanut M&M's, mix well

step 5 - pour batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan/dish

step 6 - bake 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean

this was the bottom of the cake ... a lot of the M&M's settled on the bottom ... you could also flip the cake out of the pan before frosting ... then the top layer under the frosting would be a layer of M&M's ... mmmm

step 7 - allow cake to cool completely

step 8 - mix frosting and 1/4 cup peanut butter together

step 9 - frost "cooled" cake and garnish with peanut M&M's

comments: a simple, fun cake to make ... I loved biting into a "surprise" of peanut with melted chocolate all around it from the M&M ... the icing was also very nice - just the right amount of peanut butter added to the vanilla frosting. I think I would like to try this recipe again and make cupcakes.

rating: 3.5

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Crescent Chicken Casserole

I've been wanting to try this one for a while ... it sounded so good to me ... and it was good ... and very easy to make ... however, LeAnna assisted me and got way too much cheese in the topping ... I'm sure if you follow the directions exactly, it won't be as cheesy of an experience as it was for us!

Crescent Chicken Casserole


1 8oz package of shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 (8-count) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (10-3/4oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk


step 1 - boil chicken, season to your palate pleasing and dice

step 2 - preheat oven to 350 degrees

step 3 - butter casserole dish

step 4 - add 1/2 cup cheese to chicken and mix

step 6 - separate rolls, and spoon chicken mixture onto each roll

step 7 - roll up

step 8 - place in buttered casserole dish

step 9 - in a saucepan, melt together soup, cheese and milk

step 10 - pour mixture over rolls

step 11 - bake for 30 minutes in 350 degree oven

step 12 - remove and add remaining cheese and put back in oven to melt

step 13 - spoon out and serve!

comments: a very good dish ... but ... poor LeAnna, she wanted to help and made most of the dish -(with way too much cheese) but she had fun! It was very good, but I would like to variate and try some Rotel in the "mixture" - maybe next time!

rating: 3