Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sausage Gravy over Biscuits

This meal is one of my family's favorites, but I should admit that it's not one of MY favorites. But at 5-to-1, that means we have this at least once a month. Happy family = happy life, right?

Usually this recipe is called "S.O.S" and served over white toast. I decided to fancy it up a bit & serve it over fresh biscuits.

I make the gravy from scratch, but you can buy powdered mixes if you want REALLY fast & easy. Look for mixes called "Country Gravy" to get the same flavors. You can also use pre-made biscuits or a pre-made dough (like Pillsbury) for the biscuits.

Sausage Gravy over Biscuits
Serves 6

12 freshly made biscuits (use your favorite recipe)
8 Tbsp butter or margarine
8 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 - 1 tsp pepper
4 cups milk
16 ozs cooked breakfast sausage (not maple flavored)

Start biscuits baking & sausage browning before you start making the gravy.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt & pepper. When butter is melted, stir in flour/salt/pepper mixture all at once. Cook over low heat, stirring/whisking mixture until smooth & bubbly.

Stir in milk & heat to boiling; stirring/whisking until smooth & thickened.

Pour cooked sausage onto a paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess grease. Dump cooked sausage into finished gravy.

Stir to combine.

Serve sausage gravy over freshly cooked biscuits.

We always pair this with some fruit to balance out the richness of the gravy.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Italian Ground Beef Squash Casserole

Okay, so I forgot to take a picture of this before we cut into it, so this is the best you get. :)

This recipe came from Facebook - Live Better Health Coach This is a recipe that is a lean and green meal with Medifast. We really liked it. It had alot of flavor and is healthy.

Italian Ground Beef Squash Casserole
Recipe says serves 2 if you are following the Lean and Green program

5oz cooked 93% lean ground beef (could also use ground turkey)
2/3 cup reduced fat mozarella cheese
1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese (I only had non fat so I used that)
1/2 cup tomato puree. (I pureed a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and used 1/2 cup of that and froze the rest)
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup sliced yellow squash
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tsp reduced fat parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with pam and set aside. Combine tomato puree, garlic powder, salt, basil, and oregano until well blended. Brown ground beef and measure out 5oz of ground beef. Add to tomato mixture and stir until blended together. Layer the sliced zucchini and squash in the bottom of a 8x8 casserole dish. Pour ground beef mixture over vegetables. Spread the cottage cheese over meat mixture. Top with mozarella cheese and then sprinkle parmesan cheese over that. Bake for 25 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookie & Brownie Pie

We had a 10 for $10 sale recently on those pouch cookie mixes & brownie mixes for 8x8" pans. I couldn't turn down the great deal (plus coupons, of course), but now I have 20 of these mixes...

I didn't want to use them for the same old thing, so I got creative! And it was a great success!! :)

This was delicious still warm from the oven, topped with vanilla ice cream & chocolate or chocolate syrup. I think it would be delicious plain too!


Chocolate Chip Cookie & Brownie Pie

Makes 1 9" pie

1 pouch chocolate chip cookie mix, prepare dough according to package directions

1 box brownie mix for 8x8" pans, prepare batter according to package directions

* Preheat oven to 350*F. Lightly butter (or use cooking spray) 9" pie pan.

* Spread brownie mix in bottom of pie pan.

* Drop cookie dough by mounded spoonfuls on top of the brownie batter. (see picture below)

* Bake for 28-30 minutes.

* Serve & enjoy!

Here's a picture of the finished product. We enjoyed this for my daughter's pre-birthday dinner with her grandparents.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pasta & Veg Italian Casserole

I found the inspiration for this recipe in the booklet that came with our microwave. I know - weird. I wasn't sold on microwaving it & wanted to change some things so I experimented. It turned out great!

This recipe is a good one for using up those half-boxes of pasta & the leftover veggies in your fridge. It's a great way to disguise leftovers. :) Plus it's cheesy-good!


Pasta & Veg Italian Casserole

16-ozs pasta, cooked until tender (I had a half-box each of rotini & penne - use whatever you have on-hand)

2 cups each of two veggies, cooked - 4 cups total (I used peas & broccoli since that's what I had in my fridge)

3 cups marinara sauce

1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375*F.

Stir cooked pasta, leftover veggies, marinara sauce & 1/2 cup mozzarella together in a large bowl.

Pour into a 9x13" baking dish.

Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.

Bake for 20-30 mins, until heated through & cheese is melted on top.

We served this without any sides - it has everything all in one!


You can add meat to this recipe easily. Browned ground turkey or beef or Italian sausage would be good (browned with Italian seasonings would be great). I think leftover cooked chicken would be great too.

Beans would be a great addition if you wanted a more filling meal & still wanted it to be vegetarian. Kidney or cannellini beans would be great. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) would be yummy too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Polska Mac-n-Cheese Casserole

I found this recipe in a Halloween-themed ad for Hillshire Farms products a few years ago. They called it "Spook-tacular" Smoked Casserole. It was similar to a from-scratch mac-n-cheese with polska recipe I've posted before, but this one uses fewer ingredients & bakes up without much prep. Hmmm... Sounds good to me!

I had all the ingredients on-hand, but could think of modifications too. Like substituting broccoli or green beans for the peas. Or substituting a different pasta, one you have on-hand. Or substituting fat-free products for the cream of mushroom soup, the milk & the cheddar. Or even substituting cream of something for the cream of mushroom... I'm sure you can think of a few too.

The real taste-kick though is one that you shouldn't substitute - the lightly browned polska kielbasa! It's YUMMY! Brings such a great smoky flavor to the mac-n-cheese. It's definitely one part you don't want to leave out.

So whether you bake this up at Halloween-time ("spook-tacular"!) or any old night you want a warm & cozy meal, it's a winner. My family declared it "A KEEP!"

Polska Mac-n-Cheese Casserole
adapted slightly from Hillshire Farms

Prep time: 10 mins
Bake time: 45 mins
Serves: 6

1 16-oz pkg turkey polska kielbasa (original recipe calls for smoked sausage)
1 10.75-oz can fat-free cream of mushroom soup
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups or 8-oz uncooked penne pasta
1 1/2 cups french-fried onions, divided
1 cup or 4-oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 375*F. Cut polska kielbasa into 1/4-inch slices.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add polska; cook & stir for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine soup & milk in a 9x13" baking dish. Stir in uncooked pasta, browned polska, 1/2 cup french-fried onions, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and peas. Cover baking dish tightly with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove foil & top with remaining 1 cup french-fried onions and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake for 3 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

We paired this with broccoli - YUMMM!!

Change the polska kielbasa to chicken or smoked sausage.
Change the cheese to Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack.
Change the peas to broccoli, carrots and/or corn or green beans.
Change the cream of mushroom soup to cream of chicken (if using chicken).

These are just a few I thought of - get creative!! Let me know if you find a new combo that works!

Enjoy -

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crusty Baked Chicken


There's something special about fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy that makes me swoon. But fried chicken is usually too much for me. All the spattering grease, the "is the breast done first or the wing?" questions, and the heat in my kitchen - all too much most of the time.

Usually, I just want quick-n-easy. Delicious, but fast. My family's schedule explodes in the Fall. So many things to do, so many places to be. I need something in 30 minutes or less most nights. Frying a whole chicken (or two, honestly) is too much.

But baked "fried" chicken is definitely an option! Using thin chicken cutlets or small(er) chicken breasts is even better - from prep to table in 20-25 minutes. Perfect!

Crusty Baked Chicken

3 lbs thin chicken cutlets or small(er) chicken breasts
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 cup instant potato flakes
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (not fresh, use the Kraft kind)
2-4 Tbsp melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 400*F. Line two baking pans or rimmed cookie sheets with foil, spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

In one bowl, beat together egg & milk.

In another bowl, stir together potato flakes, garlic salt, paprika, poultry seasoning & Parmesan cheese.

Dip chicken, one piece at a time, into the egg/milk mixtue and then roll in the potato flakes mixture to coat evenly on all sides. Place coated chicken in baking dish. Repeat with all chicken pieces. Chicken pieces should not touch in the baking pans.

Sprinkle leftover (if any) potato flake mixture on chicken pieces and drizzle with melted butter/margarine.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until internal temp reads 170*F with a meat thermometer.

Serve & enjoy!

You can use a cut-up 3# frying chicken for this recipe with the following changes:

Bake at 400*F for 35 minutes, turning chicken only once.

Increase oven temp to 425*F and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and juices from thigh pieces run clear when pierced with a fork. Internal temp should be 170*F.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bruschetta Chicken

This recipe comes from my friend Rachel who shared it when we were altogether in a recipe group. I haven't made it in a while, but I'm glad I found the recipe to try out again. My whole family enjoys this one.

**If you are doing a Medifast lean and green meal, this recipe will work, just make sure to measure out your portions correctly. You will need a smaller oz chicken breast to make up for the cheese**

Bruschetta Chicken
4 chicken breast
8 Tbsp Sun Dried Tomato Dressing - Divided (Kens has a really good Fat Free one that tastes great with this recipe and there are some Lite ones that are good also)
1 cup finely chopped tomato
1 cup mozarella cheese
Fresh basil chopped or 1 tsp dried

Marinate Chicken Breasts in 4TBSP dressing. I put mine in a bag in the morning and marinated all day. The recipe says for 20 minutes.

Combine 4TBSP dressing, tomatoes, cheese and basil in a seperate bowl. Set aside.

Place large sheet of aluminum foil on half of grill. Grill one side of chicken on un-foiled grill for approx 6 minutes. Then flip over onto foil and evenly divide tomato mixture onto each of the 4 chicken breasts. Close the lid of the BBQ and cook for approx 8 minutes or until chicken is done.

Yum! Enjoy!


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