Category Archives: Main Dishes

Yummy Vegetable Pasta (Slow-Cooker Recipe)

Cooking in a crock pot is so easy and convenient, and there are lots of great recipes you can make. I found some really good ones to try in my review copy of the new cookbook Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good. There are lots of great full-color photos in this book that has 100 slow-cooker recipes which include:

  • Vegetable Pot Pie with Biscuits
  • Lasagna in a Soup Bowl
  • 4-Cheese Artichoke Dip
  • Honey Baked Chicken
  • Holiday Ham with Apricot Glaze
  • Garlicky Mashed Red Potatoes
  • Cider-Baked Apples
  • Pumpkin Spice Créme Brûlée

Such a great variety of recipes to choose from! I decided to try the Yummy Vegetable Pasta because I was in the mood for something comfort food-like, and this sounded like just the thing to make! The recipe was easy to follow and the only thing I did differently was add a cup of chopped zucchini, since I happened to have that already. Fresh sliced green beans would be a nice addition, too, if you want to add in an extra veggie or two.

This pasta dish smells great while it’s cooking. And you do have to stir it well before serving, since the spaghetti may clump together a little. But it’s very good and cheesy and yummy, just like the recipe name says! 🙂

YUMMY VEGETABLE PASTA from Stock the Crock (with a few little changes)

Makes 6 to 7 servings

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, with juice or 1 quart canned stewed tomatoes, with liquid (I cut the stewed tomatoes into large chunks)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped zucchini and/or 1 cup sliced green beans
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pound spaghetti or fettuccine, divided
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided (if you want this dish to be extra-cheesy, use 3 cups!)
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons sliced fresh chives, for garnish

Grease the interior of the slow cooker crock with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, stir together the chopped onion, chopped green bell pepper, stewed tomatoes with their liquid, sliced mushrooms, and oregano (also stir in the chopped zucchini and/or green beans, if using).

Place 1/4 of the vegetables in the bottom of the crock. Top vegetables with half of the pasta, breaking pasta, as needed, to fit. Sprinkle the pasta with half of the Cheddar cheese.

Spoon in half of the remaining vegetables. Top with the remaining pasta, breaking the pasta as needed; the remaining Cheddar cheese, and the remaining vegetables.

In the bowl used to mix the vegetables, whisk together the soup and milk. Pour over the ingredients in the crock.

Cover and cook on low 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until the vegetables and pasta are tender.

Before serving, stir the sauce through the pasta and vegetables. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Scatter fresh chives on top just before serving.

Another nice thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t take super-long to make–3 1/2 to 4 hours isn’t bad for a slow-cooker recipe. Have you been making any great-tasting meals in your slow-cooker?

Sharing at Happiness is HomemadeMeal Plan MondayWeekend PotluckInspire Me Monday.

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Salad Burger

Just about everyone loves a good burger! I thought I’d try a making a healthier burger after I received some samples from Hilary’s. Their products are made with minimally processed ingredients and are free from common allergens. They sent me their Worlds Best Veggie Burger and Curry Veggie Burger, and I really liked them both. You can actually see bits of the fresh veggies these are made with, which make them seem even healthier than your average veggie burger. Hilary’s also sent me a few salad dressings to try: Spicy Island Dressing, a creamy,  tangy, slightly spicy take on Thousand Island dressing, and Beet Vinaigrette, a slightly sweet vinaigrette with some balsamic vinegar mixed in. Both flavors were very good and low on calories–30 per serving for the Spicy Island and 50 per serving for the Beet Vinaigrette.

I created this Salad Burger using the Curry Veggie Burger and Spicy Island Dressing, along with items I like to put in salads–cucumber, tomato, onion, banana pepper, black olives, and avocado. If you’re not into veggie burgers, you can use a beef burger cooked your favorite way–the toppings go great with beef, too! It’s a reeeaaallly good burger, so I hope you get a chance to try it this soon!

SALAD BURGER

Makes 1 burger (for larger servings, multiply the ingredients by the number of burgers you want to make)

  • your favorite cooked hamburger patty (you can use a veggie or beef burger-I used Hilary’s Curry Veggie Burger)
  • 1 whole wheat roll or hamburger bun
  • 3 to 4 thin slices of cucumber
  • 3 to 4 slices of banana pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons of mashed avocado
  • 1 Tablespoon sliced black olives
  • Romain lettuce or your favorite lettuce/salad mix
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons creamy salad dressing, like a Thousand Island or Ranch flavor (I used Hilary’s Spicy Island Dressing)
  • slice of tomato
  • slice of yellow or red onion

Put the top and bottom of a hamburger bun face up on a plate, or slice a large roll in half and place both sides face up on a plate.

Place your cooked burger on the bottom bun. Top burger patty with cucumber slices, banana pepper slices, sliced black olives, and mashed avocado.

On the top bun, spread the creamy salad dressing, then place a slice of tomato and slice of onion on top of the dressing.

Carefully put the bottom and top buns together and serve.

These burger toppings taste great together and you don’t need to use any ketchup or mustard–there’s plenty of toppings and flavor without those. It’s a great burger and very filling–perfect if you’re craving something really good and on the healthy side! Do you like veggie burgers or do you prefer beef?

Sharing at Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Fiesta Friday.

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Easy Marinara Sauce

Good, simple recipes are the best, especially when they don’t take long to make! I found a lot of recipes like this in my review copy of Simplify Supper, by Krista Numbers (softcover). There are lots of Italian and Tex-Mex-style dishes, as well as all-American classics like BBQ Ribs, Southern-Style Baked Beans, and Chicken Noodle Soup. And great color photos of the recipes too. Overall, it’s a great cookbook to have when you want to make a delicious dinner that’s quick and easy.

The very first recipe in the book, and the one I tried out, is Homemade Marinara Sauce and it is really good! It’s great served over pasta, but it also makes a wonderful dipping sauce (I enjoyed dipping my favorite store-bought Rosemary Sea Salt rolls in it!). This marinara sauce has a rich, tomatoey flavor and is thick and chunky. The seasonings, onion, and garlic all give it a great flavor. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it out:

HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE from Simplify Supper

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and stir about 5 minutes until evenly caramelized. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook another five minutes until garlic is fragrant.

Add chicken broth and use to deglaze bottom of pot.

Add sugar, tomato paste, and undrained diced tomatoes. Stir to combine all ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce reaches desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I love tomatoey-flavored dishes–and this sauce is perfect for tomato-lovers! And it’s always nice when you can make homemade sauce. Do you make your own homemade pasta sauces?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Chilighetti

One-Pot Chilighetti @ NancyC

Spaghetti is a favorite dish of mine, and so is chili. I never seem to get tired of them. So of course when I came across a recipe for Chilighetti, I had to try it out!

I really liked that the original recipe was made all in one pot. I did make some changes, though–instead of using tomato juice as part of the sauce, I used a combination of tomato sauce and pasta sauce to thicken it up. And I used beef broth instead of water for a more beefy flavor.

I ended up with this nice, saucy spaghetti dish. When serving, be sure to top the Chilighetti with sour cream and cheddar cheese–you’ll have a wonderful comfort-food meal!

CHILIGHETTI by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar chunky pasta sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can and 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/3 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 (1 lb.) package spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • Sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

In a large (6-quart) stockpot, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender, breaking beef up into crumbles; drain excess grease.

Stir in pasta sauce, tomato sauce, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings; bring to a boil. Add spaghetti, then reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 12 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir in beans and heat a few more minutes, until everything is heated through (if the mixture is too thick for your liking, add in a little more beef broth or water).

Serve in bowls or on plates, and top each serving with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

This is definitely a filling meal–especially when you serve it with a salad and some crusty bread or rolls. Are you a fan of chili and spaghetti, too?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Create With Joy, Show and Share, Wow Me Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Meal Plan Monday.

Easy Cheesy Lasagne @ NancyC

Easy, Cheesy Ravioli Lasagna

Easy Cheesy Lasagna @ NancyC

I first found the original version of this recipe in a Real Simple magazine at least five years ago and noticed that it’s also now at myrecipes.com. Not only is it super easy, it’s super cheesy…and a great way to make lasagna when you don’t have a lot of time! It’s actually made with frozen cheese ravioli instead of lasagna noodles. And there’s some chopped spinach in there, too. I use more Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese than the original recipe calls for, since I’m such a cheese-lover, and I love all that extra cheesiness!

Bertolli Riserva SaucesAnd of course this recipe has pasta sauce in it–I used one of the new sauces I received from Bertolli®. They recently came out with four sauces inspired by the aromas and flavors of Tuscany: Bertolli® Riserva Premium Sauces. The flavors include: Balsamic Vinegar with Caramelized Onions, Asiago Cheese with Artichokes, Porcini Mushroom with White Truffle Oil, and Marinara with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese. I used the Marinara sauce in this recipe and it has a wonderful rich flavor. In addition to the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, this sauce is made with extra-virgin olive oil, finely crushed garlic, and vine-ripened tomatoes. I’m looking forward to trying the other sauces in some other recipes!

This ravioli lasagna makes a great meal with a salad and some garlic bread. Hope you have a chance to give it a try!

EASY, CHEESY RAVIOLI LASAGNA by NancyC, adapted from MyRecipes and Real Simple

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

  • 1 (24-ounce) jar pasta sauce
  • 1 (25-ounce) bag frozen cheese ravioli, unthawed (or you can use beef ravioli)
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13 x 9 inch pan or baking dish with cooking spray and spoon in a third of the sauce, covering bottom of pan evenly.

Arrange half of the ravioli on top of the sauce (I arrange mine in rows) and scatter half of the chopped spinach evenly over the ravioli. Then top with half of the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses and another third of the sauce. Cover with another layer of ravioli (use up the remaining half), then the remaining spinach and sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheeses evenly over the top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until bubbly.

This lasagna is so yummy and cheesy and tastes especially good on a chilly day–it really warms you up! And you’d never realize when you taste it that it’s so easy to make! Don’t you love recipes like that–when the end result seems like it took hours to make–but in reality comes together in no time? Do you have any favorite recipes like that?

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