Recipe: Meaty Baked Pasta!

We eat a lot of veggies in this house, but recently I picked up a few pounds of bulk hot Italian sausage and I was jonesing for a meaty baked pasta dish. We don’t eat a lot of meat, so 1 pound for this recipe is a lot for us. If you are a big meat eater, you can add up to an extra pound of sausage to make it extra meaty.

This recipe makes a lot, but, it keeps well for leftovers and you can freeze leftovers as well.

Meaty Baked Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 box pasta (whatever variety you like best), cooked per package directions
  • 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 T. butter or oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 32 oz of your favorite red pasta sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mozzarella, divided
  • 1 cup parmesan/romano blend cheese, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook pasta per directions, drain off the water, reserving 2-3 Tablespoons.
  3. In a large pan, cook and crumble Italian sausage. After it is cooked, drain it on a paper towel.
  4. Using the same pan, saute onion and pepper for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are clear and have started to caramelize.
  5. Add in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add in zucchini, sauce, and tomato paste- cook until sauce comes to a simmer.
  7. Add meat back in, and stir to combine.
  8. Add reserved pasta water to the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  9. In a baking dish layer sauce, pasta, cheese, and sauce. Repeat until the baking dish is full and top with the remaining cheese.
  10. Cover the baking dish with a lid or tented foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the lid/foil and cook another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  12. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread!

This recipe made a 9×13 baking dish, which will serve 6-8 people a hearty portion.

If you need more veggies in your life, add carrots, drained diced petite tomatoes, more peppers, and even a few handfuls of spinach!

This meal was so satisfying. I’ve had leftovers for lunch twice now.

I ended up with extra sauce, and I plan on making calzones with it.

Family Recipe: Tortellini Salad

This is a super easy recipe that my mom has been making for 25+ years. She got the idea from a recipe in a cooking magazine that started with a bag of frozen veggies that was thawed.

She subbed out the frozen veggies for fresh ones, added some cubed cheese, and tortellini salad became a family hit! It is great for picnics, potlucks, and family parties. It’s a staple at our July 4th party!

Tortellini Salad 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package cheese tortellini, cooked per package directions, drained, and rinsed.
  • 1 cup of your favorite Italian Salad Dressing
  • 1 cup cubed mozzarella cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained. and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small package pepperoni (or salami- your choiceof), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small can sliced black olives, drained

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine the cooked and cooled tortellini, cheese, veggies, meat, and salad dressing.
  2. Store in the fridge covered for at least overnight before serving it. Add additional dressing as needed (sometimes the tortellini soaks up a little bit of dressing).
  3. As a side dish, it serves 6-8, and as a main dish 3-4.

 

Substitutions:

  • If you are vegan, sub out vegan tortellini and vegan cheese.
  • If you are Gluten Free, sub out GF tortellini.

If you like tomatoes, it’s also great with about 1 cup of cherry/grape tomatoes (I slice them in half).

 

Faith Chapel: Food Distribution Monday June 6th and More Upcoming Dates!

Late last year I posted about the Faith Chapel neighborhood food distributions. Here is an update on more upcoming dates, and date changes due to upcoming holidays.

There is a June 6, 2022 food distribution. Sign-up for the event can be found here.

The 7/4/2022 Distribution has been moved to 7/11/2022 due to the holiday. Later in the summer, the 9/5/2022 Distribution has been moved to 9/12/2022 due to the holiday.
As a reminder, these are drive-thru-style events, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. The events start at 10:00am, but I suggest that you arrive about 20 minutes early to get in line.
The types of food vary each month, but it’s usually a selection of shelf-stable, frozen, and fresh foods. It is a great variety and plenty of food to help with your family’s food budget.

The Address:

Faith Chapel
9400 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, CA 91977

 

Free Food Distribution Monday April 4th, 2022

Per my email from Pastor Josiah- Food Distribution is going down, this Monday, April 4th at Faith Chapel.  Thank you for registering ahead of time to help the line move faster.

And as a reminder:

Faith Chapel will be having free food distributions on the 1st & 3rd Mondays throughout 2022 at 10:00am.

Faith Chapel
9400 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, CA 91977

This is a drive-thru-style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. The types of food vary, but in the past, there has been milk, cheese, eggs, canned goods, seasonal fresh produce, shelf-stable dry goods (beans, pasta, etc.).

In addition to free food, there is also a boutique open to be shopped at during these distribution times. Everything in our boutique is FREE and available to any guests that come through. You can find everything from clothes to household furnishings, kitchenware, toys, etc.

Family Recipe: Bread Bowl Cheese Dip

This recipe is perfect for potlucks, parties, basically any time you want to eat cheesy dip from a bread boule.

It’s been in the family for years. At least 25.

 

It is not healthy. It is not low sodium. This is a sometimes food for sure.

Bread Bowl

Serves 10-12 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz jar Cheese Whiz (It has to be cheez whiz)
  • 10 slices Hormel Dried Beef
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 brick cream cheese
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 bread boule (I like sourdough, but whatever you enjoy)

Directions:

  1. To prepare the bread bowl, cut a shallow square at the top of the bread. Pull it off in one piece, reserve. Pull out the soft interior of the bread until there is a decent-sized cavity. Tear the “guts” of the bread that you pulled out into bite-size pieces. Do the same with the under/soft side of the square piece that was cut off. This is now the “lid” to the bowl.
  2. On a foil-lined baking tray, scatter your little bread “guts”. these will be heated up and used to scoop the dip up.
  3. Rinse the dried beef very well. It is very salty. Once it has been rinsed and patted dry (I use a paper towel), cut into bite-sized pieces. I prefer mine to be smaller than a penny.
  4. Rinse the green onions and slice. I usually use the bottom 1/4-1/2 of each, discarding the very white end part with the roots (ick).
  5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, cheez whiz. Fold in the dried beef and green onions.
  6. Pour mixture into the bread bowl cavity, top with the bread lid. Wrap in tin foil, place on a baking tray, and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
  7. After the initial baking time, unwrap, remove the lid of the bowl and bake for another 15 minutes.
  8. During the last 5 minutes of baking, place the tray of small torn bread pieces in the oven to crisp up.
  9. Serve bread bowl HOT with torn bread pieces, crackers, cocktail bread, crudities, whatever appeals to you.

For my family, the best part is tearing off pieces of the bowl to eat once most of the interior dip has been eaten.

Bread Bowl makes a great dish for THE BIG GAME, which is this coming Sunday.

Free Food at Faith Chapel throughout 2022!

Pastor Josiah emailed this morning with some great news to share!

Faith Chapel will be having free food distributions on the 1st & 3rd Mondays throughout 2022 at 10:00am.

Faith Chapel
9400 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, CA 91977

This is a drive-thru-style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. The types of food vary, but in the past, there has been milk, cheese, eggs, canned goods, seasonal fresh produce, shelf-stable dry goods (beans, pasta, etc.).

In addition to free food, there is also a boutique open to be shopped at during these distribution times. Everything in our boutique is FREE and available to any guests that come through. You can find everything from clothes to household furnishings, kitchenware, toys, etc.

To speed up the food lines, please RSVP here. 

Family Recipe: Frito Surprise!

It’s not a surprise. And I can’t believe I’ve never posted this recipe before. My grandma invented it one summer, driving across the country in a Winnebago full of kids, my grandfather cruising the highways and byways of America.

It’s similar to Frito Pie, but it’s a little beefier. Ya know, when you have seven growing kids, you gotta add a bit more.

My friend Kara asked for the recipe yesterday, and I thought I’d share it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (you could use ground turkey, but honestly this recipe is not anywhere near healthy)
  • One can of Hormel chili with beans (It has to have beans)
  • One bag Fritos
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • one canned sliced black olives, rinsed and drained
  • Two tomatoes diced
  • One avocado, pitted and sliced
  • sour cream
  • salsa

Directions

I like cooking Fritos Surprise in an electric skillet, but you can cook it on the stovetop in a regular skillet.

  1. Crumble and fry the ground meat (drain as needed).
  2. Add the chili and cook until heated through.
  3. Top with Fritos and cheese.
  4. Cook on low until cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add tomatoes, olives, and avocados.
  7. Dish out portions and top with sour cream and salsa as desired.

It serves about 6-9, depending on how much you eat. And it’s really good. In true grandma fashion, serve it with fruit salad and bread and butter.

Little Caesar’s Pizza: Free Pizza This Week!

It’s pizza time! We order pizza every Friday. Usually, I go pick it up, but this week, we might spring for delivery, because if we do, we’ll score a free Extramostbestest pizza (that’s a pizza with TONS of pepperoni or TONS of cheese) when I order online through their app and use coupon code EXTRAPIZZA6. This coupon code is good through 8/22/2021.

Family Recipe: Chicken Fajitas Soup!

This Recipe is easy and tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 t. avocado oil
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced.
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces (leftover rotisserie chicken is great for this)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (about 14.5 ounces)
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (about 14.5 ounces)
  • 1 packet fajitas seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 c. uncooked rice

Toppings: Crispy Jalepenos, cheddar cheese, avocado

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, saute onions in oil until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, stirring often. Cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add in peppers, celery, carrots, and can of tomatoes. Cook over medium until celery is tender (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add remaining ingredients and cook over low, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

This recipes serves 8-10. It freezes well.

Substitutions/tips:

  • This can be made with beef instead using cooked chopped beef and beef stock in place of chicken.
  • Or make it vegetarian omitting meat and substituting veggie stock.
  • If you have an abundance of fresh tomatoes, substitute 5 tomatoes (peeled and chopped) in place of the can of tomatoes.

Copycat Recipe: Souplantation Cheesy Garlic Foccacia Bread

It’s so good, it practically evaporates.

When my big kid found out that Souplantation (or Sweet Tomatoes, depending on where you live up) had closed permanently due to the pandemic, he cried.

When you have food texture aversions, you rely a lot on your favorite standby foods and restaurants. I was on a mission to try and recreate one of his Souplantation favorites, which was the Cheesy Garlic Focaccia Bread.

I started with my pizza dough base (the recipe can be found here). And here’s where it gets crazy (and by crazy I mean this is not super healthy, so don’t eat it daily). The remaining ingredients are:

  • 1/2 cup melted butter (that’s 1 stick)
  • 2T. granulated garlic
  • 1t. of each of the following: dried rosemary, dried tarragon, dried oregano, dried basil
  • 2cups+ Italian cheese

Directions:

  1. Make dough as directed here. I only let it rise once for this recipe.
  2. While dough rises, combine melted butter, garlic, and herbs. Set aside.
  3. Once the dough is down rising, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  4. Separate dough into two pieces and roll out to fit onto your pizza pan (I use a cookie sheet that is covered in tin foil and sprayed with spray release).
  5. Spread half of the herbed butter onto the dough, top with cheese. Repeat for the other half of the dough.
  6. If there is any butter left, drizzle it over the bread.
  7. Bake at 450 degrees for 11-14 minutes.
  8. Remove from the baking sheet and slice into long skinny pieces to mimic the Souplantation feel.
The garlicky, herby, buttery goodness….
Cheese and more buttery goodness. Into the oven it does!