Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cheater's Lasagna

Another already long week at work. The moon has been full and it is evident everywhere!  I have always put a lot of stock into the moon phases as a teacher and this week so far has not disappointed! LOL!

Tonight as I shopped for our annual tailgating weekend at Texas A&M, I wanted dinner in a hurry.  I have desserts and cheese balls to make in anticipation of our crowd on Saturday when we beat IDAHO and all the veggies and such to pack in the RV so we are ready to grill!! We are excited that both our big girls will be in Aggieland to be with us and are excited about their friends ring dunks and getting to visit with both them and their parents and our other special friends while at the tailgate and other events.  The weekend can't get here fast enough!   

Considering dinner, I thought of my love for lasagna, but wanted my own take on it.  So, with a little help from some jumbo pasta shells, store bought spaghetti sauce, cheeses, and browned hamburger meat I have a updated version I call 'Cheater's Lasanga'! 

I learned early on that as a cook you don't have to follow all the rules.  You can tweak recipes and come up with new reinvented ones that can be just as fabulous!  This new lasagna recipe is right up there with some of my favorites.  I hope you'll try it and learn to experiment more in the kitchen.  I think the thing that turns most developing cooks off are long winded recipes with ingredients that are not found in their local groceries.  Don't make life hard.  Pressing the easy button in the kitchen is done a lot of my house and you should try it! Use what you have and you'll find that you are more creative in the kitchen than you think!

Cheater's Lasagna

2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
1 package of jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
2 - 16 ounce cans of store bought spaghetti sauce
     - I prefer Hunts 4 Cheese Spaghetti Sauce
1 cup Colby Jack Cheese
1 - 16 ounce container of Ricotta Cheese

Brown ground beef and drain.  Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.  In a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish place one can of Spaghetti Sauce.  Spoon half of Ricotta Cheese over spaghetti sauce in 1 tsp. sections over sauce.  Please cooked pasta shells over mixture.  Add second half of Ricotta Cheese in 1 tsp. sections over pasta.  Place browned hamburger meet over mixture.  Sprinkle Colby Jack cheese.  Pour second container of spaghetti sauce on top of mixture.  Cook on 425 until mixture is bubbly and cooked through.  

Enjoy....recreating lasagna is as easy as you make it!  So cheat away!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Snickers Cookies

Exchanging recipes are the heart of what cookbooks and friendships are for me. Just the other day at a meeting a colleague and friend just knew I had heard of the recipe I share with you today.  I hadn't and immediately went out and bought the ingredients so that I could make these Snickers Cookies asap!  I finally made them tonight, two weeks later and am so glad I did.  My middle daughter will be proud they came out slightly browned as I tend to over toast bread and desserts as I get distracted!  :o)

So give it a try...the variations on this recipe could be endless with all the candies available in our market and grocery stores.

Snickers Cookies ala Sigrid

1 roll of ready made sugar cookies, sliced in 1 1/2 inch rounds -do not roll with out with rolling pin -
1 package of Snicker's Mini Candy Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice sugar cookies rolls in to 1 1/2 inch slices (see pictures).  Place one Snicker's Mini Candy into the center of each round and form sugar cookie dough around the candy, much like when you played with play dough as a child.  Place Snicker cookies on a cookie sheet and bake until slightly browned. 

Cool and serve with a big glass of milk.

These are at the top of my list now.  Get cooking.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Golden Pork Chops and Rice Casserole

I've told you how much I love to cook with Campbell's Soups right?  It's a staple in my pantry and one of the easiest ways I know to throw a dinner together in under five minutes!  The other night I was a little exhausted.  Work had gone long and the family was hungry.  So out came the Campbell's Cream of Celery Soup and Cream of Chicken Soup, a package of pork chops from our show piggy from last year, two cups of rice, water, spices, and a stick of margarine!  With a side of green beans and garlic toast...dinner was served in an hour while I caught up my youngest daughter on her homework. 

Below is the's just my variation.  You can use most soups and make a meal as good as this one give it a try. 

Golden Pork Chops and Rice Casserole

4 pork chops
1 can Campbell's Cream of Celery Soup
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups rice (I prefer Uncle Ben's Rice - not Minute Rice)
4 -5 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1 stick of margarine cut in 1 tsp. squares

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish with Pam spray or coat in margarine.  Add soups, seasonings, water and whisk.  Sprinkle rice over mixture evenly.  Add pork chops.  Place margarine over pork chops.  Cook uncovered for 1 hour or until dish is slightly browned on top and meat is done.

Get cooking!