Easy Macaroni and Cheese

Total Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. box whole-wheat noodles
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to box.
  2. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  3.  Stir in flour and continue for about 1 minute.
  4. Add milk, cream cheese, salt and pepper and whisk until completely incorporated.
  5. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir well.
  6. Pour over cooked noodles and mix.

Notes:

Recipe Origin: Magazine

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Baguette, Spinach and Gruyere Casserole

Notes: I made this for our daughter’s 1st birthday lunch at the house. It was a crowd-pleaser. Not too difficult to make but it seems very sophisticated.

Servings: 6 | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 2 hrs 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz fresh spinach, rinsed well
  • 2 loaves French baguettes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 oz gruyere cheese, grated
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups whole or 2 % milk
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • grated nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium stockpot, bring 1 & 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add spinach, cooking 2 minutes. Drain in colander; press out any remaining water by placing spinach in a cotton, kitchen towel and squeezing out moisture. Chop roughly and set aside.
  2. On an angle, cut French baguette bread into 1/2″ thick slices. Using a basting (or pastry) brush, lightly oil both sides of each slice with olive oil. Spray your favorite casserole dish (13×9×2″ or 11×9×3″) with non-stick cooking spray, and line the bottom of dish (and sides if necessary) with the prepared bread, slightly layering and overlapping the slices.
  3. Over medium heat, warm a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Add sliced mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add ground cumin and spinach, stirring to combine.
  4. Layer cooked onion/mushroom/spinach mixture over the bread, spreading evenly. Layer shredded Gruyere over the vegetables, spreading evenly. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk eggs and milk with salt and pepper to taste. Gently and evenly, pour egg mixture over the layered bread and vegetables in casserole dish. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour to let the custard mixture absorb into the bread.
  5. After 1 hour, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and remove casserole from refrigerator. Uncover and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until cheese begins to turn golden brown and just crispy. Knife inserted near center should come out moist, but relatively clean.
  6. Remove from oven, allow casserole to cool slightly, then cut into portions for serving. If desired, garnish individual portions with a pinch of ground nutmeg. Serve warm with green salad or fresh fruit.

Recipe Origin: The website I first saw this recipe on doesn’t exist anymore. Thankfully I printed it out.

Baked Italian Penne

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 ox penne
  • 1 lb ground mild italian sausage
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 – 14.5 oz cans crushed tomatoes (I like the fire-roasted kind)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. 
  2. Boil salted water. Cook penne and cook 11 minutes. Drain. 
  3. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion and garlic. Saute while breaking it up with the back of a spoon, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Add mushrooms, and sauté 3 minutes. Add pepper, Italian seasoning and tomatoes to the skillet. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. 
  5. Combine sausage mixture with pasta, spinach, mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. 
  6. Pour into 9×13″ baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on top. 
  7. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. 

Notes: 

Recipe Origin:  Back of the pasta box recipe. I was surprised at how good it is.

Italian Baked Penne

Prep Time: 20 minutes |Total Time: 35 minutes | Yield: Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 1 lb Ground Mild Italian sausage
  • 2 cups onions, diced (can use frozen)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (can use jarred)
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 – 14.5 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Boil salted water in large pot. Add penne pasta and cook until al dente, 11-13 minutes. Drain
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion and garlic. Saute sausage, while breaking it up, until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and sauté 3 minutes. Add pepper, Italian seasoning and tomatoes to the skillet. Simmer, stirring every now and then, about 8 minutes.
  5. Combine sausage mixture with pasta, spinach, mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
  6. Pour into 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.

Notes:

Recipe Origin:  Back of a pasta box!

Wondertime Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 25-30 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes | Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. extra-sharp cheddar, grated
  • 4 oz. Monterey Jack, grated
  • 4 oz. Velveeta, cubed
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 6 slices extra-thick bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. elbow macaroni cooked and drained
  • 1/2 c. plain dried bread crumbs
  • 2 oz. Parmesan, grated

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Put cheeses (except Parmesan) in the top of a double boiler (if you don’t have one, set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with about 1 inch of water in it) and melt over simmering water, stirring frequently.
  2. Gradually add milk, whisking until completely smooth. Whisk in mustard, bacon, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour into a 9-by-9-inch baking dish, add macaroni, and toss to coat.
  4. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan; sprinkle over the top. Bake until crumbs are browned and cheese is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes.

Notes:

Recipe Origin: Wondertime. Great magazine that is no longer.

Wondertime Lasagna

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 60 minutes | Yield: 1 lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey (or cooked chicken, Italian sausage, andouille, etc.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I would use 3 or 4 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 26 to 28 ounces (about 3 cups) pasta sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons white wine (optional)
  • 12 ounces (3 cups) freshly grated mozzarella
  • 8 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups cooked, well-drained spinach, peas, or other vegetables (optional)
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400. Spray a 9-by-13-inch dish. Thoroughly cook the ground beef, garlic, and herbs in a large skillet, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat. Stir in pasta sauce and bring to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Season to taste and add the red wine, if using. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add cream cheese, turn heat to low, and whisk until smooth, about 6 minutes. Season to taste and add the white wine, if using.
  3. Spoon half the meat sauce into the pan as evenly as possible. Sprinkle 1 cup grated mozzarella over the meat mixture. Top with 3 or 4 lasagna noodles. If using vegetables, toss them evenly over the noodles.
  4. Pour the cream-cheese sauce over the noodles and cover with another cup of grated mozzarella. Arrange 3 or 4 lasagna noodles over the cheese, then spoon remaining meat mixture over noodles as evenly as possible. Top with the rest of the mozzarella and the grated Parmesan. Bake until brown and bubbling, 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Notes: I like to add finely diced carrots, and I like to add a few more lasagna noodles. You might as well double the recipe and make 2. It’s not much more work than making 1. I always know someone who has a new baby, or a sick family member, or has just had surgery. Everyone needs a little help sometimes.

Recipe Origin: Based on Wondertime recipe. Great magazine that is no longer.

Northern Italian Lasagna

Prep Time: ? minutes | Cook Time: ? minutes | Total Time: 2 minutes | Yield: Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups milk

Filling:

  • 1 ¾ cups crumbled firm tofu (drained)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can cut tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped carrot
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon vegetable bouillon granules
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup light cream or milk

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan (or Dutch oven) cook tofu until browned.
  2. Add undrained tomatoes, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, tomato paste, bullion granules, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper to tofu. Stir.
  3. Stir in wine and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat.
  4. Boil gently, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  5. Cook pasta in boiling water just until tender; drain. Rinse with cool water.
  6. Combine cheeses.
  7. For the sauce melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour, pepper, nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add milk; cook and stir until thick and bubbly (don’t let burn!).
  8. Arrange a single layer of the pasta in the bottom of a greased 13”x9”x2” baking dish. Spread 1/3 white sauce over noodles. Spread 1/3 Tofu “meat” filling over white sauce. Spread 1/3 cheese over tofu. Repeat layers of pasta, sauce, tofu mix and cheese 2 more times.
  9. Cover with foil and bake at 350degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand 10 minutes.

Notes:

Recipe Origin:  We’ve made this probably dozens of times. No one ever suspects there is tofu in there. It tastes just like the lasagna my friend’s Northern Italian mother makes.