Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

If you like Italian food at all, you will LOVE this casserole. It is full of yummy goodies like pepperoni, pasta, sausage and cheese. And, best of all, it is a super easy weeknight dinner. All you need to do is make a salad and you have an awesome meal. Of course, I didn’t make a salad. That would be too healthy for us. We just gorged on the pasta and called it a night. Another BIG plus to this casserole is that both of my kids at it. It was a little Christmas miracle. This would be the perfect casserole to take to a potluck because it is so quick and easy and it makes a lot. Enjoy!!

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

From the AJC

8 ounces (about 3 cups) uncooked spiral pasta
1 pound Italian sausage (casings removed) or ground beef  (I used hot turkey Italian sausage)
4 cups spaghetti sauce
1 (4-ounce) can mushrooms, drained (I left these out)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (6-ounce) package sliced pepperoni
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (I used pre-shredded Italian blend cheese)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On the stovetop, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. Return the pasta to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saute pan over medium heat, cook the sausage; drain. Add the sausage, spaghetti sauce and mushrooms to the pasta and stir to combine. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and half the pepperoni slices.
  3. Spread pasta mixture into a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Top with the mozzarella cheese. Arrange remaining half of pepperoni slices over top. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

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Filed under Casserole, Cheese, Pasta, Pork

Orzo with Everything

This recipe is completely and totally awesome. I know I say that about many of the recipes on here, but this one is. Really.  It has so many delicious things in it!! Sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, fresh basil and pine nuts. Oh how I love pine nuts. I love them so much that our friend Matt commented that I must have put $30 worth of pine nuts in this salad because it had so many in it. I buy my pine nuts for a deal at Costco so I might go a tad overboard with them.  If you don’t want to mortgage your house by putting in so many pine nuts, don’t sweat it. Just put the amount called for. But, please, please don’t leave them out. This also has radicchio in it which is not a veggie I normally use. But, it  made this salad taste great. It is pleasantly bitter and added a nice little bite. If the weather is nice for you this weekend, throw some chicken on the grill and make this pasta salad. Your family will love you for it.

Orzo with Everything

from Cook’s Country August 2007

1 TBS salt

1 pound orzo

½ C. sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed, patted dry, and minced

½ C. pitted Kalmata olives , halved

1 head radicchio, cored and chopped fine

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

½ C. pine nuts, toasted

½ C. chopped fresh basil

Dressing
¼  C. Balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves , minced

5 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1. For the salad: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot over high heat. Add salt and orzo to boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain pasta and let cool to room temperature. Combine cooled orzo, tomatoes, olives, radicchio, Parmesan, pine nuts, and basil in large bowl.

2. For the dressing: Combine vinegar and minced garlic in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

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Filed under Pasta, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Veggie

Vortex Potato Salad

There is a bar and grill in Little Five Points (in Atlanta) called the Vortex. The Vortex is well-known around here for having an atmosphere that is a bit rough around the edges as well as having the best burger in town. Not only do they have great burgers, but their potato salad is rockin’. I clipped this recipe out of the AJC a long time ago and have been making this potato salad ever since. It is quite peppery, but we like it like that. I also really like that it has more sour cream that mayo in it. If you are lookin’ for a change of pace from your family’s tried and true potato salad recipe with yellow mustard and hard-boiled eggs, give this a try. It sure isn’t granny’s potato salad.

Vortex Potato Salad

4 lbs medium red skinned potatoes

1 small red onion, finely diced

4 ribs of celery, chopped

1 heaping TBS ground black pepper (This is a lot, but it is so good. If your family is sensitive to heat or you just don’t like it, reduce the amount).

1 ¼ TBS Lawry’s seasoning salt

2 tsp. salt (I don’t use this extra salt)

1 ¼ C. sour cream

½ C. mayonnaise

¼ C. red wine vinegar

  1. Cook the potatoes with skins on at a slow boil for about an hour. Cool potatoes in cold water before cutting into eighths.
  2. In a separate container, put onions and celery. Add black pepper, seasoning salt, sour cream, mayo and red wine vinegar. Mix well.
  3. Add the potatoes to the dressing and mix well. Chill before serving.

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Filed under Potatoes, Salad, Side Dish

French Dip Sandwiches

I know that ya’ll are probably thinking that I have either abandoned this blog or that I have been feeding my family McDonald’s for the last month.  Things have been super hectic here and while I have been cooking quite a bit, I haven’t found the time to blog. I promise that I have quite a few yummy recipes to share, so don’t give up on me.

One of my favorite types of shows are the ones where a guy goes around to different places and restaurants and eats the most awesome food on the planet. One of those shows that we love to watch is Man VS Food. Despite the fact that most of the challenges that Adam does would make me ralph in a heartbeat (can you say 72 oz. steak or 180 oysters?????), he does get to travel to cool places and eat some good chow. He visited a place in Brooklyn that was famous for their French Dip sandwiches and ever since Ren and I watched that, I have been obsessed with making one. So, we made them this weekend. I’ll tell ya, the only thing that wasn’t good about these is that there wasn’t enough. Now, I know some folks don’t like their bread soggy and if that is you, just don’t dip the sandwich in the au jus. But, if you like a yummy, soft, meaty, cheesy good sandwich, make this tonight. For real.

Slow Cooker French Dip

4 pounds rump roast

1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth

1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French Onion Soup

1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer

6 French rolls

2 tablespoons butter

**We put a couple of slices of provolone cheese on ours and melted it in the oven. OH YEAH.

1. Trim excess fat from the rump roast, and place in a slow cooker. Add the beef broth, onion soup and beer. Cook on Low setting for 7 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

3. Split French rolls, and spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes, or until heated through.

4. Slice the meat on the diagonal, and place on the rolls. Serve the sauce for dipping.

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Filed under Sandwiches, Sauce

Asian Slaw

There is a funny little story to go along with this slaw. The original recipe that I was going to use for this called for Broccoli Slaw. Sounds good, doesn’t it?? Well, my sweet husband went to the store for me Monday and brought home a bag of broccoli and a bag of angel hair slaw. Um, that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but that’s ok. I improvised and used the angel hair slaw anyway and it was fantastic. I wouldn’t make it any other way now!!! I know that the Ramen noodles have one million calories and were put on The Worst Foods in the History of Mankind List, but I don’t care. They are crunchy, delicious and really make this salad super tasty. If you don’t want to eat that low brow sort of thing, just leave them out. The salad will still be good, just not as good as this one. 🙂

Asian Slaw

Adapted from Crisco.com

1 package angel hair slaw

4 green onions sliced, green part only

3 carrots, shredded (or about 20 baby carrots shredded)

¼ C. Canola Oil, plus 2 TBS

1 TBS sesame seeds or more, if desired

1 (3 oz) package ramen noodles crushed (packet discarded)

¼ C. sugar

¼ C. cider vinegar

1 TBS soy sauce

1 tsp dark sesame oil

½ C. cashews

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I used more)

  1. Heat 2 TBS oil in medium skillet over medium low heat.  Add ramen noodles and sesame seeds.  Cook and stir until noodles begin to get lightly browned. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ¼ cup of oil in small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix slaw, carrots and green onions in a large bowl. Stir in the cashews and ramen mixture.  When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad and toss until coated. Serve immediately.

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Filed under Salad, Side Dish, Veggie

Awesome Chicken Satay

Last night, Ren and I had one of the most awesome dinners we have had in a long time. I absolutely adore Chicken Satay and I could probably drink the peanut sauce that it is served with. I have had this countless times at different Thai restaurants, but for some reason, never made it at home. But, I can assure you, this won’t be the last time we make this. It was outstanding and pretty easy to do. I served this with a wonderful Asian slaw that Ren devoured. I mean, he seriously devoured it. So, if you want a yummy meal to serve your family over Spring Break, try this one. You will be happy you did.

Chicken Satay

From Everyday Food

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each), thinly sliced lengthwise into 12 strips

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

  1. In a bowl, toss chicken with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and teaspoon red-pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Thread each chicken strip lengthwise onto a skewer.
  2. Grill chicken on a grill pan or grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve with spicy peanut dipping sauce.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

½  C. smooth peanut butter

¼ C. hot water, plus more if needed

2 TBS soy sauce

2 TBS lime juice (I should tell you to use fresh, but I didn’t)

2 TBS Asian chili sauce (Sriracha sauce)

1 TBS dark sesame oil (I probably used more than this since the original recipe didn’t even call for it, but I LOVE IT)

1 TBS dark brown sugar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1. Whisk the peanut butter and hot water together in a medium bowl.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients.

**The original recipe only called for ¼ cup of hot water, but I like  my sauce a little more thinned out, so I added a little bit more.

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Filed under Appetizer, Chicken, Sauce, Spicy

Black Bean Salad

I am a crappy blogger. I just can’t get my stuff together enough to post very often. Oh well. That just makes it all the more special when I do. 🙂 I made this salad this past weekend to go with grilled chicken. My dear friend Amy LOVES black beans and avocados, so I made this for her. It is the perfect warm weather salad and we eat it all summer long. It is also super yummy with tortilla chips. I had to keep the boys from eating it all with chips before we ate so we would have some to go with our lunch. I really wanted to make homemade tortilla chips to go with it but my crew shot me down with “Get off the crazy train woman”. Maybe next time.

Black Bean Salad

Adapted from Myrecipes.com

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 cup of corn, frozen or canned
3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 small purple onion, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I used 2)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Whisk together lime juice and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add corn, black beans, and remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours.

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Filed under Beans, Salad, Side Dish, Spicy