Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Crock Pot Lasagna

Now, I will say, usually I make my own sauce (recipe to come in the near future) but this is an excellent quick recipe that is delicious!


1 pound (16 ounces) ground beef
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce - I used Barilla Tomato and Basil
1/2 cup water
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 whole egg
3 tsp Italian Seasoning
6 uncooked lasagna noodles


In a large skillet brown beef and onion. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Drain.

Add spaghetti sauce and water and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Mix ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tablespoons Parmesan, egg and spices.

Pour 1 cup of spaghetti meat sauce into a 4 to 6 quart sized slow cooker. Place half of the noodles
and half of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce. Cover with 2 cups meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles (If the noodles don't fit exactly break them to fit) and cheese mixture and meat sauce.

Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until noodles are soft. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and
remaining parmesan. ReCover with the lid to melt the cheese and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Do not overcook and don't try to speed up the process by cooking it on high.

*Works best with a 4 to 6 quart size slow cooker.

Nutella Rice Krispie Treats

Love Nutella? Love Rice Krispie Treats? Well then you're in the right place and these are to die for!


6 cups Rice Krispy Cereal
1 (10.5 oz) bag mini marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
1 heaping cup Nutella

  1. Measure out Rice Krispies cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and marshmallows together until smooth.
  3. Once marshmallows and butter have melted together add Nutella and stir until well combined.
  4. Pour marshmallow mixture over the cereal. Stir to coat evenly. Press into a greased pan.
  5. Stick in the fridge and let it set up. Once they have set, cut into them and eat up!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Super Easy Steak Fajitas

One thing I love is fajitas and they are so easy to make. My favorite is steak.
You will need:

thin cut skillet steak (I usually get thin cut round eye)
bell pepper
flour tortillas
fillings of your choosing such as cheese, lettuce, salsa, cholula hot sauce, guacamole, etc.

The steak is going to cook super fast on the stove top. Before you start cut your onion and pepper into strips. Heat your skillet over medium heat with a small amount of oil. Season your steaks with cilantro, salt and pepper. The steaks will cook in about 2 minutes per side. Take your steaks off the heat and cut into thin strips. Now saute your cut onions and peppers for your fajitas, do so now IN the pan you just cooked the steaks in - utilize all that flavor :)

Now you just need to build your fajitas and enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Tonight I am making a favorite in my house. Not only a favorite to eat but a favorite to make because you will not believe how simple it is! All you need is 4 ingredients*:

1 lb chicken breast
1 packet dry ranch dressing (I like Hidden Valley)
franks red hot sauce (or your favorite buffalo sauce)
rolls or buns

*You can also add Creamy Ranch Dressing, celery seed and chopped veggies of your choice if you desire.

You'll be cooking this all day in a crock pot. Put the frozen chicken in the crock pot and cover with the ranch packet. 

Then just cover the bottom of the crock pot with the hot sauce. Do not fully cover the chicken, you only need to make sure there is enough liquid in there so nothing burns.

Now set your crock pot on low and cook for 5-6 hours. At that time, take the chicken and shred it with a fork - it should shred easily. 

Add some creamy ranch dressing and a tablespoon of celery seed to your mixture if you desire (this will make everything a bit less spicy) and mix. If you want to add chopped veggies (I added onions and orange bell peppers above) you will do this now. Cook an additional hour on low.

Once chicken mixture is ready, serve on rolls and enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves

My mom is 1/4 Lebanese and actually still has family in Lebanon (I believe). When I was a kid, we went to meet her great aunt Isabel and try some Lebanese food. Now know, at that time, I was young and VERY picky. I wasn't impressed and am quite certain I didn't eat a thing. However, my mom saved the recipes she got that day and once I became adventurous... shared them with me! Looking back, I wish I had tried the food my great-great aunt made!

There are MANY different version of stuffed grape leaves and not all are of Lebanese origin. For this recipe you'll need:

1 lb ground lamb
1 jar grape leaves
1 cup UNCOOKED rice
3 heaping tsp garlic
1 1/2 tsp mint leaves
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
lemon juice

What are grape leaves you ask? Leaves from a grape plant and yes, they are edible. Grape leaves are these:

I bought these at Giant and you can find them in most grocery stores. The problem with finding them is location in the store. I have seen them in the pickle section, the ethnic section and by the olive oils. There are a few different brands out there and I buy whatever I can find.

First thing you want to do is open the leaves and rinse them off. When you open the jar, there will be three large cigar type rolls in there, like this:

Hold this roll under warm water and SLOWLY unroll them trying not to rip any (you will probably rip a few but that's OK. They will then look like this:

For this recipe you'll use about 2 rolls. Save the third for the next time you make these... because you will, they're yummy! Next you want to mix together all the other ingredients EXCEPT the lemon juice.

Now, separate your first leaf and lay it out. Take a small amount of meat mixture and roll it into a cigar shape, about the size of your thumb, like this:

Now, to roll it up, start at the bottom of the leaf and bring it up over the meat. next, fold each of the sides over the meat and then simply roll it up, careful to cover the meat all the way. it should look like this:

You want to put this in a large skillet on top of the stove, no need to put anything on the bottom of the pan. make sure the end of the roll, the seam, is on the bottom.

Continue making your little "cigars" and putting them around the pan. You can squish them all in there.

Next thing you want to do is put plain ol water in the pan. I used about 2 cups so they are slightly covered.

Then you want to cover with a pie pan so the leaves do not float.

Cook these about 40 minutes or until the meat and rice is cooked through. Halfway through cooking, add extra water so the leaves do not burn. This is very important. Also, I do not recommend making these while drinking. I made these with my friend Stacie in college. We decided it would be fun to drink while we cooked.... we left them on too long AND forgot to check them and add more water. They weren't so good... I think we may have ordered in.

Once the leaves are done, put them on a plate and drizzle with the lemon juice. Your delicious creation will look like this:

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

I love to cook (and bake)

People are always asking me for recipes and telling me I am a good cook so I decided to start sharing some of my recipes. I learned how to cook at a young age from my mom and my grandma. I received my first cookbook (complete with a little apron and oven mitts) from my grandparents for my 11th birthday in 1988. I still own that book and do use it regularly - it is starting point go-to cookbook for many things including my often raved about apple pie (which I'll get to during the holiday season).

I hope you enjoy my recipes and the stories that come along with some of them! I will try to post as often as I can... although my family of 3 will be a family of 4 as of next month. :-)

Cook, eat and enjoy or as the Italian's say... MANGIA!