Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Publix Apron's Baked Ziti

Oh how I miss Publix! It is the only thing I really miss about not living in the south (besides my family and friends, of course). One of the things I loved at Publix were the Apron's meals. They were always good, easy, and they kept all the ingredients you needed for them together. I also loved that were side suggestions. If you live by near a Publix and haven't tried the Apron's meals- DO, you won't regret it. Anyway, I have been making this recipe for years, and it is always a crowd pleaser.

Baked Ziti

1 pound ground round
one 4-ounce can diced chiles
1 cup frozen diced onion (I just use a medium onion)
sone 26-ounce jar tomato basil pasta sauce (0r whatever you have on hand)
one 14 1/2-ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon pesto
12 ounces dry ziti pasta (approximately 3/4 box)
vegetable cooking spray
3 cups fancy shredded Italian blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Fill one saucepan 3/4 full with hot water. Cover and place on high heat to boil for pasta.
3. In second saucepan over medium-high heat, add ground round, chilies and onion. Cook until meat is browned, breaking up meat as it cooks. Drain well.
4. Add pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, Italian seasoning and pesto into the saucepan, and mix well. Reduce heat to simmer.
5. Check pasta water for boil. When boiling, add ziti and cook per packagedirections for al dente (about 9 minutes) and drain.
6. Spray baking dish with cooking spray.
7. Pour ziti into baking dish, top with sauce, mix to coat all pasta. Cover with shredded cheese, place in oven and bake approximately 12-15 minutes. (Makes 8 servings.)

Paula Dean's Chicken and Rice Casserole

After my last post about not loving casseroles, I have another one :) Seems I do like them afterall. This is a great one to take to a a friend for dinner! Plus, it is Paula Dean, so you know it is good.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 cups diced, cooked chicken 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans green beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 (4-ounce) jar pimentos
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (6-ounce) box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat butter or oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined.Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti

I am not a huge casserole fan normally, as I don't love using cream of soups (and I am too lazy to make my own) because I don't know what is in them. However, I do have a few that I really like- this is one of those recipes. It makes a HUGE quanity, so prepare to eat it for days, or serve it to a crowd. This has a lot of ingredients, but it comes together pretty quickly. Oh, and everything Pioneer Woman cooks that I have tried has been wonderful, and pretty easy!

Chicken Spaghetti:

2 cups cooked chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (I use one mushroom, one chicken- I am sure you could sub. whatever if you don't like mushroom)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely diced green pepper (I just use a whole small green pepper)
1/2 cup diced onion (I use a whole small onion)
1 4 oz jar of pimentos (drained)
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces (I use angel hair, it is all I ever use for spaghetti)
2 cups reserved chicken broth from pot
1 teaspoon Lowry's season salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup additional cheddar cheese.

Boil chicken (P.W. uses a whole fryer, I just use chicken tenders, it is easier.) in large pot, reserving water to boil pasta in. Boil pasta until al dente- DO NOT over cook. When spaghetti is cooked combine with remaining ingredients, except the additional cup of cheddar. Place mixture in casserole dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cafe Rio Salads

There are a ton of Cafe Rio recipes out there, I like these the best. You can use these for burritos, or for the famous salad. Serve in a warm tortilla, with shredded lettuce, pico, avocado, cheese, etc. We are having these for dinner tonight! YUM!

Cafe Rio Pork:

5ish pound pork roast
12 ounces taco sauce
1 tbsp. cumin
1 cup brown sugar
20 ounces Coke (not diet)

Place roast in crock pot and cover about half way with water. Cook 12 hours on low. Drain off at least half of water/drippings (I drain almost all of it), and add remaining ingredients. Cook on low another 6 hours.

Cafe Rio Rice:

2 cups rice
4 cups water
4 chicken bullion cubes (I use a few scoops of better than bullion)
1 tsp cumin
6 green onions chopped
6 sprigs cilantro chopped

Put all ingredients in rice cooker, cook on until liquid is absorbed

Cafe Rio Tomatillo Dressing:

1 packet hidden valley buttermilk ranch
1 cup mayo
1 cup buttermilk
3-4 tomatillos
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. lime juice
handful cilantro

Put all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth. Chill before serving, the longer you chill the the thicker the dressing will be.