Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pizza Casserole, Spinach Beef Macaroni Bake, S'more Cupcakes & S'mores Whoopie Pie Cookies!!

Pizza Casserole

You will love this recipe for this satisfying casserole for the slow cooker. It's always one of the first dishes emptied at potlucks, and it can easily be adapted to personal tastes I love this recipe and always use it for family get togethers. Never a bit leftover. I sneak in as many veggies as possible and the kids eat it unknowingly. I also substitute jarred pizza sauce instead of spaghetti sauce to make it taste more like pizza.

3 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce
2 jars (4-1/2 ounces each) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Dash pepper
1 package (16 ounces) wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
2 packages (3-1/2 ounces each) sliced pepperoni
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
In a Dutch oven, brown beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, salt, garlic powder, oregano and pepper; heat through.
Spoon 4 cups into a 6-qt. slow cooker. Top with half of the noodles, pepperoni and cheeses. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour or until cheese is melted.

"Pasta Pointers"
When cooking pasta, should you add oil to the water? Also, should you rinse pasta before serving.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to adding oil to the water when cooking pasta. One group believes that adding olive or vegetable oil to the cooking water prevents the pasta from sticking together while cooking. It suggests adding 1 tablespoon of oil to 3 quarts of water for every 8 ounces of pasta cooked. The second school believes that the oily residue left on the pasta can cause the sauce to slide off the pasta, making it difficult to eat. I agree and prefer to cook pasta without adding oil to the water.
As far as rinsing pasta, I suggest draining it thoroughly in a colander without rinsing when it is to be served with a sauce or combined in a baked dish. Rinsing can wash away starch that may help to slightly thicken the pasta sauce. On the other hand, pasta can be rinsed in a colander when it is to be served cold, such as in a salad.

Spinach Beef Macaroni Bake

This hearty casserole is great for a family reunion or church supper. It also will get the kids to eat their veggies.

5-1/4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2-1/2 pounds ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
3 large carrots, shredded
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 cans (28 ounces each) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or large kettle, cook the beef, onions, carrots and celery over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the tomatoes, salt, garlic powder, pepper and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Drain macaroni; add macaroni and spinach to beef mixture. pour into two greased 3-qt. baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

S'more Cupcakes

Easy cupcakes with graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate.My greatgrandkids really love these.

1 (18.25 ounce) package French vanilla cake mix
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups water
3 egg whites
24 milk chocolate candy kisses
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs, water and egg whites. Beat for 2 minutes at high speed of an electric mixer.
Divide batter evenly among paper lined cups, filling about 2/3 full. Place a chocolate kiss in each cupcake, pressing in lightly. Spoon 1 teaspoon graham cracker crumbs onto each cupcake.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 18 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and top each cupcake with 1 teaspoon marshmallow creme. Dip spoon into hot water to prevent sticking. Return to oven for about 1 minute to melt slightly. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

S'mores Whoopie Pie Cookies

This cookie is something not quite cake, not quite cookie. The pie has a dense texture with a bit of chew, and the filling is sweet and gooey. These are not the dry Moon Pies!!

3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
S’mores Whoopie Pie Filling
1 stick unsalted butter brought to room temperature
7oz. jar toasted marshmallow crème
½ cup powdered sugar
1 pack graham crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Blend butter and marshmallow crème together until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar, blend until creamy.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a minute or so, until well combined. It will have the consistency of wet sand. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa and salt. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda into 1/2 cup very hot water until dissolved.
With the mixer on low or stirring by hand, add about a third of the dry ingredients, then half the buttermilk and half the baking soda mixture, mixing each time just until blended. Repeat with another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the buttermilk and baking soda mixture, and then the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing each time just until combined.
I make these pies smaller than the classic…but feel free to increase the size to suit your needs. Using a small scoop (small Ice cream style scoop) drop batter onto greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the tops no longer appear wet and just spring back when lightly touched. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When completely cool, spread the bottom of one cookie with frosting and dip into graham cracker crumbs. Spread a very small amount of frosting on other half of cookie just to make them stick. Viola - S’mores Whoopie Pies Cookies!


Yankee Ridge Primitives said...

WOW, these all look great, def gonna try them but the cookies look like I could eat them all!

Anonymous said...

Hehe used your macaroni bake recipe for inspiration for our dinner tonight. Enjoyed listening to the music selection on your site while cooking! ;)