Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pasta Bake

This is, without a doubt, the easiest thing I make. Justin kind of made this meal up a couple of years ago (I was way impressed). It's perfect for those days when it's getting close to dinner time and you haven't thought about what you are going to make (I can throw it together in less than 5 minutes - literally)! And, as a special bonus, my whole family likes it!! Even super picky Clayton!

-1 jar of pasta sauce (whatever kind you like - I usually experiment with different flavors)
-1 bag of pasta noodles (bow tie works well, although lately I've been using tortellini and ravioli, but you need to buy a little more if you go with the stuffed pastas)
-2 cups cheese (I use cheddar, but you could also use mozzerella)

-Preheat oven to 375
-In a 9x13 pan (I usually spray a little pam in it), dump the pasta.
-Pour in the whole jar of pasta sauce, then fill the empty sauce jar with water and add that also
-Stir the stuff right in the pan to mix it (I love that this meal only uses one dish)!
-Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
-After 45 min. take the aluminum foil off and top with cheese. Put back in the oven uncovered for about 7 min (until cheese is melted)
-Wait for it to cool a little and then serve!

This meal usually makes enough for leftovers! This is one of my very favorites! Serve with a little garlic bread and a salad and no one will guess that you threw it together in only seconds!

Chocolate-Cherry Fudge Bars

These are so good. Jared even likes them and he doesn't really like chocolate.

4 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Baking Chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 pkg. (4-serving size) Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
3/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries with 7 Tbsp. of the juice reserved, divided
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil. Set aside.
MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add granulated sugar; mix well. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and dry pudding mix; mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cherries and 1/3 cup of the reserved cherry juice; spread into prepared pan.
BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack.
MIX cream cheese, powdered sugar and remaining cherry juice until well blended. Drizzle over cooled dessert; top with remaining 1/4 cup cherries. Use foil handles to remove dessert from pan before cutting into bars. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Polynesian-Glazed Meatballs

These are great! Landon and Jared love them.

1 tsp. oil
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup Barbecue Sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cans (8 oz. each) pineapple chunks, drained, liquid reserved
12 oz. (3/4 of 1-lb. pkg.) frozen cooked meatballs
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
HEAT oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions; cook 5 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.
STIR in barbecue sauce, ginger, garlic powder and reserved pineapple liquid. Add meatballs; mix lightly until evenly coated. Cook 10 min. or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook rice as directed on package.
STIR pineapple into meatball mixture. Serve over the rice.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Brunner Pizza

Mom's Pizza Recipe - submitted by Theresa

Pizza (Put together by Marrae Brunner)

Preheat oven to Bake 450* (Bake 450* 12 minutes)
(I use convection bake and cook three at once.)
Put in pizza stone/s first if you have 'em (not necessary).
I heat my stones for a half hour or so.
Spray pans(I use stainless steel)with Pam(I tried olive oil, but it sticks).

Pizza Dough: (2 lg. 16" / 3 sm. 12")

5 1/2 cups flour (I use 3 white,2 1/2 wheat)
2 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil

I mix this in a bread machine - easy peasy.
You can mix it by hand and knead for 8-15 min.
Let Rest 5-10 minutes, while you make sauce.
Divide and roll, pat, or toss into pizza pans (I use stainless steel)

1 16 oz can Tomato Sauce/Puree (tomatoes only-no sugar or extras-Progresso)
1 6 oz. can Tomato paste (I use one that is tomatoes only-Cantadina)
1 1/2 tsp each dried Oregano, Basil, Garlic Pdr (fresh is even better)
Stir to blend.
Spread sauce on to shaped pizza dough crust.

1 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated (Preciou/Frigo-I don't use pre grated)
Our favorites are pepperoni, ham and pineapple, green/red peppers, olives mushrooms, tomato slices and any other vegetables that sound good.
More exotic options: artichoke heart, BBQ chicken, taco style
Lower fat style: Karl likes to use cottage cheese instead of mozzarella.

Sprinkle Toppings over cheese and bake for 12 minutes.
Let cool a minute before cutting.
Slide onto a cutting board so you don't cut your pans up.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Cafe Rio Pork Salad

I got this recipe from a girl out here and it is one of my new favs! It is so easy but it tastes like you spent a lot of time on it (so I like to feed it to company). It tastes just like the pork taco salad from Cafe Rio!
2lb. Pork Tenderloin (boneless)
1.5 cups salsa (whatever kind you like)
1.5 cups brown sugar
Tortilla chips
Whatever toppings you like on a taco salad (I like lettuce, rice, black beans, cheese, olives, tomatoes, avacado, salsa, and sour cream)

1. Put the pork tenderloin in a crockpot. Add the salsa and brown sugar. Mix them a little to combine and drizzle over the pork. Cook on low heat for 5 hours.
2. After 5 hours, take out the pork and shred it. It will be super tender so shredding it is easy (but watch out, it's HOT).
3. Put the shredded meat back in the crock pot for 30-45 minutes. This will allow the meat to soak up the remaining juices and become extra tender and juicy!
4. While that is cooking, chop your veggies and prepare your rice and beans (if you are using those).
5. Once the pork is done, serve it on top of crushed tortilla chips, and add your toppings!

Alternative serving suggestions(we have done these before and, while I prefer the salad, these are really yummy too):
1. Pork sandwich - serve in a hamburger bun with a little Miracle Whip. This is a great leftover lunch!
2. Real simple - serve over rice with a veggie and a simple side salad.

This is a delicious meal that is sure to please! And, as a bonus, it freezes amazingly well!! So I like to make extra and freeze some for a night when I want a yummy meal, but don't feel like cooking!