Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cheezy Baked Ziti

1/2 pound dried ziti
15 or 16 ounces ricotta cheese (part skim)
3 cups (or 12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups (or a 26-ounce jar) spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the ziti. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes, drain the pasta.
2. Place the ziti in a large bowl. Mix with the ricotta and half of the mozzarella. Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Spread half of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add the ziti mixture and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and the remaining mozzarella.
3. Bake uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the casserole bubbles on the edges.

Tip: Just add a tossed salad for a complete meal in a snap. Also, leftovers will freeze well.

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 25 minutes

Tuna Noodle Casserole

6 tbsp. butter or margarine
3/4 cup onion, chopped
6 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
3 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
6-1/2 oz. can water-packed tuna, drained
1/2 lb. egg noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained
1. Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet, add the chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the flour and salt and quickly stir with a fork to make a paste. Gradually stir in the milk and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Simmer, stirring continually, until the sauce is as thick as heavy cream.

2. Stir in the cheddar cheese, peas, canned tuna and finally, the noodles. Remove from the heat and serve immediately or transfer to a baking dish and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. To reheat, bring the casserole to room temperature, then bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through. If desired, sprinkle it with bread crumbs and shredded cheddar cheese first, then broil it for a few minutes to make a crisp, brown top. Makes 4 servings.

Burrito Casserole

8 small (fajita-size) flour tortillas
2 cups refried beans
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups store bought salsa (medium for a spicier taste)
Optional: 1 minced fresh jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut 5 of the flour tortillas into strips, about 1/2 inches in width and set aside. Line the bottom of a 9 by 13 casserole dish with the remaining flour tortillas. Spread an even layer of refried beans over the tortillas.
2. In a large skillet heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and beef to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes; breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it is no longer pink. Pour off and discard any excess liquid, stir in the salsa.
3. Spread meat mixture over the refried beans, sprinkle on optional jalapeno peppers. Top with tortilla strips and sprinkle on cheddar cheese. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and chopped avocado on the side.

Servings: 6 to 8
Preparation Time: 23 minutes
Baking Time: 15 minutes

Pork Chop Casserole

4 to 6 boneless pork chops
2 to 3 potatoes
1 large onion
Black pepper
Garlic powder
1. Lightly brown pork chops in skillet, Remove and put aside.

2. Peel potatoes and slice into about 8 pieces. Cut onion into slices the same size as potatoes. Place potato slices in a well-greased casserole pan.

3. Place the pork chops on the potatoes and then add a layer of onion slices. Sprinkle with parsley, oregano, black pepper and garlic powder.

4. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, poking holes in foil with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until potatoes are cooked.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

1 chicken, cooked and deboned
1 can chicken broth
1 to 2 cups fast-cooking rice, cooked
1 can mixed peas and carrots
8 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 package of snack
Chicken seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In casserole pan, mix cooked chicken, cooked rice, drained peas and carrots, and chicken broth.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chicken seasoning. Stir in Mozzarella cheese. Top with crushed crackers.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Italian Chicken and Rice

1-1/2 lbs. skinless and boneless chicken breast
Salt and pepper
1 cup white rice
One 14 oz. can tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tsp. oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Dice the chicken, season the pieces with salt and pepper and set aside. In a shallow baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, put the rice, tomatoes, onion, mozzarella, oregano, garlic and 1 cup water. Stir in the chicken pieces and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 325 degree oven, covered loosely with foil, for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer, until rice and chicken are cooked. Makes 4 servings.

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can white corn
1 package taco seasoning
1 package ranch dressing mix
1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain.

2. Transfer the ground beef to a large pot and add all cans (undrained), taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. This also works great in a crock pot.