Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spaghetti Dinner under $10

Hi friends!  I'm so sorry it's been awhile since I have posted.  This month has been a crazy month, so please forgive me.  I promise I'll get back on track.

Well you all know my goal with this blog is to make fast, cheap, and delicious meals.  Last night I was looking through my pantry deciding what to make for dinner.  Now you have to realize that it was already 6pm and I hadn't planned anything, so it had to be fast.  Instantly I knew I was going to make pasta because it's fast, and I knew I had all the ingredients.  I decided on spaghetti because we haven't had that in my house for awhile.  Now, I want to convince all of you that making your own spaghetti sauce is so much cheaper, and much more delicious then buying a jar.  The great thing about making your own is that you can make a bunch and then freeze some so you always have it on hand.  

This sauce that I made last night cost a total of $6.50  Then all I had to do was cook the spaghetti noodles which you can find for under a dollar most of the time.  I guess this is one reason why I love pasta so much.  It feeds an army for such a little amount of money.  Okay, on to the sauce.

2 tsp. dried Basil
3 Tbs. Fresh chopped parsley or 2 tsp. dried
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. dried Oregano
A heaping spoonful of cream cheese (optional.  I use this if I have it on hand)
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 lb. Mild Italian sausage browned, and drained
2 cans diced Tomatoes with juices
4 oz. Tomato paste
1 12 oz can Tomato sauce
1 tsp. chicken bouillon crystals
1 can mushrooms, drained (optional)
salt and pepper
 1 package spaghetti

In a pot heat up some olive oil and toss in your onion and garlic.  You are going to cook this on medium heat until fragrant and the onions are translucent.  Dump in all of your tomato cans.  The diced, sauce, and paste.  Sprinkle in all of your herbs and then stir.  Cover and let simmer while you brown your meat.

In a saute pan brown your sausage and drain.  Add the meat to your sauce.  Next you are going to add the cram cheese, mushrooms, chicken bouillon, and the salt and pepper.  Cover and let simmer for about 15-20 min.  You want all of the flavors to really cook into the sauce and get the sauce thick.  (If for some reason your sauce isn't thick enough just stir in some more tomato paste.)

Next cook your spaghetti according to the package instructions.  Make sure to salt your water and keep about 1/4 cup of the pasta water when you drain your pasta.

After the pasta is cooked and your sauce has simmered for 20 min.  Add a few heaping ladles of sauce to your spaghetti and toss.  (This sauce recipe makes enough for a family of 4.  Since I have 2 people in my fam I freeze the remaining.)  Serve in a big pasta dish and sprinkle with Parmesan reggiano.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Marshmallow Brownies

So I had to share a recipe that I found on pinterest and just about died over because they look amazing, and after making them and tasting them tonight I can say that they truly are to die for!  So here's the recipe...

1 c. margarine
2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla

Soften margarine and blend in 2 cups sugar and cocoa.  Beat together and add 4 eggs, one at a time.  Add flour, salt and vanilla.

Spread on large (10x15x1 inch) greased cookie sheet.  Bake 25 minutes at 350.  Remove from oven and cover entire top with 1 package of miniature marshmallows.  Return to oven for 3 minutes, until soft and puffy.  Cool and frost with chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:
1 stick margarine (1/2 c.), softened
1/4 cup milk
1-2 tsp vanilla (depending on your taste)
3 cereal spoonfuls of cocoa
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar or milk until you reach desired consistency and spread on top of bars.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cream Cheese Sopapilla

 Whenever I am craving a delicious danish this is what I go for.  I normally always have the ingredients at home, and it's so fast and easy you will find yourself making it all the time.  I don't know about you, but anytime I can use pillsbury crescent roll dough or puffed pastry, anything that is already made I'm all for it!  So here is a quick and easy dessert, breakfast, snack, anything you want really.  I promise you are going to LOVE it!

2 8oz. pkgs. of Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 pkgs. crescent roll dough
1/4 cup Butter, melted
Cinnamon and Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl mix the softened cream cheese with a rubber spatula until it's creamy.  Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well.

In a 9x13 pan, spray with nonstick cooking spray and unroll the crescent dough into 1 big strip.  Make it to length and width of the baking dish so the bottom is completely covered.  Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the dough, and add the 2nd roll of dough in top so it's completely covered.  You are basically making a sandwich with the dough and cream cheese.

Pour the melted butter over the top of the dough and cover every inch of dough.  Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.  Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the dough is puffed up.

Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chocolate Oreo Dream Cake

 Yesterday was my nephews Birthday so my sister and I set out to make the best Birthday cake on the planet.  I must say, we did it!  This cake is so easy and to die for!  I always love using boxed cake mixes but just stepping it up a bit so they taste delicious, so here's the amazing recipe.
From Real Mom (because I ate it before we got a picture)

For the Cake
1 Boxed chocolate cake
1 cup Vegetable oil
1 cup Full Fat Sour Cream
4 beaten Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 Jello chocolate pudding package

For the Filling
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Sugar
2 cups Cool Whip
12 Oreos roughly chopped

For the Icing
1/3 cup. Cocoa
6 Tbs. Butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
5-6 Tbs. Milk
4 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350

For the cake, combine everything and mix with a hand mixer until creamy. (Beat the eggs just a bit with a fork before you mix them in)  The batter will be thick.   Coat 2 round 9 in baking pans with parchment paper and spoon the thick mix into the pans.   Bake in the oven for 30-40 min.  I checked mine with a toothpick after 33 minutes and it was finished.  Just watch yours really close.

When they are done remove from oven and place pans on a cooling rack.  After 10 minutes hold the sides of the pastry paper and remove the cakes from the pans.  Let sit on cooling rack until completely cooled.

For the filling mix the cream cheese and sugar together with a hand mixer until smooth.  Then add everything else in and mix until well combined.  (I stick my oreos in a plastic bag and hit it with my wooden rolling pin to get the easy oreo bits).  I normally finish by mixing with a wooden spoon so everything is pressed out and all the chunks from the cream cheese are smooth.  You want every inch to have oreo bits.  You are going to put this in the middle of your 2 chocolate cakes, so now it's time to prepare your cakes.

Take the first cake while it's sitting up and cover the top of the cake with the oreo cream.  Spread it around to cover the whole cake.  Take your 2nd cake, turn it upside and place on top of the cream.  Continue to spread the cream around so you can't see any spaces through one side of the cake to the other.  Once your cake is smooth and the cream has filled your cake it's time to make the frosting.

For the frosting put everything in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer until it gets to your desired consistency.  I normally add 1 Tbs. of milk at a time so it doesn't get to runny.  Don't worry if it does though, because you can thicken it by just adding a but more powdered sugar.  When you get the chocolatey taste and consistency that you want, you are going to frost your entire cake.  Let is sit in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving and you're done.

I promise you will be the Mom of the century!!!  This is the most amazing cake, and just adding those few extras to the boxed cake mix makes this taste like a bakery cake!  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Easy Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This casserole is so easy and delicious.  I made it last night, put it in the fridge and then popped it in the oven this morning.  I love it for Sunday breakfast because it's the day I sleep in and making breakfast isn't part of my relaxation day.  So I prepare it on Saturday night and bake it up all yummy and delicious on Sunday morning.  I can't tell you what a hit you are going to be with your significant other when you make this breakfast!

10 eggs lightly beaten
4 cups of milk
1 lb. Mild ground Sausage, cooked and drained
4 1/2 cups of Bread cubed
2 cups Sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tsp. Parsley
2 tsp. Basil
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup dried Onion
a sprinkle of Garlic Salt

Preheat oven to 325

In a skillet cook the sausage until no longer pink.  Drain.  In a 9x13 baking dish, spray with nonstick cooking spray, lay the cubed bread in the bottom, sprinkle the dried onion over it, sprinkle in the parsley and basil, dump in your sausage, and sprinkle with garlic salt.  Beat the 10 eggs and the pour that over the sausage.

Now if you are making this the night before, this is where you cover and put in the fridge.  Do everything except the cheese and then refrigerate over night.  Before you you put it in the oven if you are fixing it the day before, let it sit out for about 15 minutes to bring it back to room temp.

Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top, cover with aluminum foil and then bake in the oven for 1 hour.  After the hour is finished, remove the aluminum foil and bake for about 15 minutes.  When it's finished remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!