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

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.

Yellow Squash Casserole

Prep Time: ? minutes | Cook Time: ? minutes | Total Time: ? minutes | Yield: 1 casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  •  1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise

Directions:

  1. Boil squash and onion in salted water until tender. Drain & mash.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and pour into buttered casserole dish.
  3. Cover with foil and bake at 325 F until firm.

Notes:

Recipe Origin:  No idea.

Lasagna

Prep Time: ? minutes | Cook Time: ? minutes | Total Time: ? minutes | Yield: 1 lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onions
  • 1 TBSP chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce   (or 2- 26 oz jars)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package large curd cottage cheese
  • 1 15 oz package ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • few dashes grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Or you can soak noodles in a pot of hot tap water for 20 minutes, drain, and not cook them.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute ground beef, onions, garlic, salt and garlic salt until meat is brown. (Can add 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp Italian seasoning at this point if desired).
  3. Drain excess fat, add spaghetti sauce to beef mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Combine cottage and ricotta cheeses, 1 or 2 eggs, and few dashes of nutmeg.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray Pam in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.
  6. Line bottom of pan with three lasagna noodles.
  7. Spread 1/3 of sauce mixture over noodles.
  8. Layer 1/3 of the cottage and ricotta cheese mixture over the sauce.
  9. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella over the cottage cheese.
  10. Repeat this layering process until all ingredients are used up.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for one hour.
  12. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

Recipe Origin: No idea.

Friendly Lasagna

Prep Time: ? minutes | Cook Time: ? minutes | Total Time: ? minutes | Yield: Makes 2. Keep one, give one to a friend. Or freeze it.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz box lasagna noodles
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onions
  • 1  tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 (32 oz) jars spaghetti sauce (or thereabouts. I can never seem to find 32 oz. jars)
  • 1 (32 oz) container large curd cottage cheese
  • 2 lbs mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray Pam in a 9×13 inch dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Or you can soak noodles in a pot of hot tap water for 20 minutes, drain, and not cook them. Or you can use the kind of noodles that don’t need cooking.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute ground beef, onions, salt and garlic salt until meat is brown.
  4. Add 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  5. Add spaghetti sauce
  6. Line bottom of pan with three lasagna noodles.
  7. Spread 1/3 of sauce mixture over noodles.
  8. Layer 1/3 of the cottage cheese over the sauce.
  9. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella over the cottage cheese.
  10. Repeat this layering process until all ingredients are used up. Finish with mozzarella on top.
  11. Bake for one hour.
  12. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: I have nicknamed this “Friendly Lasagna” because it makes 2. I always seem to have a friend who needs one.

If you want to add veggies, add ½ box of 10oz frozen, chopped spinach to meat mixture while cooking. Also, can sautee mushrooms and add after meat layer.

Recipe Origin:

Someone at church gave this to me one day and asked me to make it for some teenagers that were having a lock in at the church. This is really a surprisingly easy and good lasagna!

Baked Penne with Chicken

Prep Time: 35 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour | Yield: 2 casseroles

Ingredients:

  • 6 TBSP butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate or any other pasta
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)
  • Red pepper flakes (start with 1/2 tsp next time and see)
  • Italian seasoning (start with 1/2 tsp next time and see)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high.
  5. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
    Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.
    Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Notes:

This is great to make and freeze the extra casserole. It is a bit bland for my taste, so next time I would add some red pepper flakes and more seasoning.

To Freeze: Prepare through step 4; let cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze, up to 3 months.

To Bake From Frozen: Preheat oven to 400, and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.

Recipe Origin: This is our adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe.

Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 50 minutes | Total Time: 55 minutes | Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions (can use frozen)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar or a blend of whatever)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients except the cheese in a baking dish, square or rectangular.
  3. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove foil, add cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Notes:

This is so simple, and so boring. But we love it. Can also add fresh garlic, carrots, etc.

Can also give as a gift: brown rice, lentils, dehydrated garlic and onions, bullion granules and Italian seasoning, with recipe printed out and tied with ribbon.

Recipe Origin: This is our adaptation of a Food.com recipe that was originally adapted from “The Complete Tightwad Gazette”.