Saturday, February 22, 2014

Oldie but a goodie!

We were invited to my niece's house last night for the Duke and SU rematch.  The last time they played, the game went into overtime with a win for SU.  Hubby and the kids went to the game that night because I was on my Super Bowl extravaganza.  Last nights game was going to be a little different, but at least I didn't get score updates via text messages or looking at the ESPN app.  We were asked to bring either an appetizer or a desert.  Knowing our tendency to be a bit late, I chose the dessert. 


I am sure this recipe has been blogged about many, many times before.  It is a very easy dessert that is so, so good.  I believe it is at its best when it is still warm. There are are times when I put a  slice into the microwave for about10 seconds to give it a just out of the oven taste.  Thank you Paula Deen for one of our all time favorites.

Gooey Butter Cakes



1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. 
Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well.  Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.  Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Baked Ziti like no other!

Last Saturday Morning while planning out our weekend we were watching Food Network and the Pioneer Woman was on.  We will watch the her show occasionally if we find an interesting recipe on there, but generally this is not one of our regular shows that we might DVR for later viewing.  Yeah, you guessed it ... the Barefoot Contessa and Giada might get taped if it looks like something new. But she made a baked ziti dish that was more than just ziti, sauce and cheese.  This was a layered casserole where the ziti was pre-coated with the cheese and the sauce was home made.  It looked like a hearty dish to make and serve with a green salad.

We made our Saturday trip to the grocery store and got all the necessary supplies to make this dish.  Saturday night was already taken up by our Daughter's friends coming over to get ready for the Sadie Hawkins dance at school so we didn't want to make the ziti for Saturday night.  We picked up extra sausage and cheese  so that I could whipped up an old recipe I had for Sausage roll and ordered some pizza for the kids to have while they got ready.

Our daughter on the far left and her friends
So Sunday after church we began the prep work of making the sauce.  While that was cooling we ran off to our son's basketball game.  Following the game we brought a friend of his home for dinner.  Once we got home we got right to work in finishing up this dish,.  Time was limited because we had tickets to a local college basketball game, but dinner came together relatively quick.  The ziti was delicious and it will spoil me for any other ziti dish I have now.  A very hearty dish and plenty of leftovers, two nights worth to be exact.

The Pioneer Woman's Baked Ziti


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound Italian sausage
Two 14.5-ounce cans tomato sauce or marinara sauce
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ziti
1 1/2 pounds mozzarella, grated
One 15-ounce tub whole-milk ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for sprinkling
2 eggs


Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute until starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook until browned. Drain off almost all of the fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper. Stir, bring to a simmer and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove 3 to 4 cups of the cooked sauce to a bowl to cool down.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add some salt. Cook the ziti until not quite al dente.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, the ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, eggs and some salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).

Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps). Add the cooled reserved meat sauce and toss to combine.

Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta and the remaining sauce and mozzarella.

Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A quick dinner all prepared in 1 pan!

It has been a couple of busy weeks.   Basketball games (high school middle school and even a college game), our daughter's senior night for Varsity Basketball, kids taxi to and from practices and even a trip to the SuperBowl.  Yes, you heard right...I had a chance to go to the Super Bowl.  It was an opportunity from my work that was provided by our NFL affiliation and our work with a Childhood Obesity Foundation.  Great experience!  



Well, back to crazy life around the house.  We needed a quick dinner one night last week that was not fast food, but homemade and would be filling.  We had another game to go to and a late pickup of our son from his practice. I prepared this within 25 minutes and had this on the table when hubby and our son came home.  The best part was that it was from Cooking Light.

Now the picture is not the most flattering but the dish tasted delicious!   But wait until you see the next recipe.  Wow, this one was delicious......  Keep looking for the next post.

Parmesan Chicken and Rice


1 tablespoon olive oil 

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion 
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms 
  • 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked instant rice
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add chicken; sauté 4 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned. Add wine, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.
  2. Stir in rice and broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheese and parsley.