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Beef & Pasta Casserole Recipe

Beef and Pasta casserole

Beef & Pasta Casserole

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Most days I am motivated to cook; I have a full plan in mind of what our supper will be.  But sometimes I have no clue.  Those are the nights we have a “surprise” for dinner.  There are times its even a surprise for me, even thought I’m the one cooking!  ;)  Go figure.

I made this recipe this week.   It was a “surprise”.  I didn’t have much in the house and not a whole lot of time to cook because it was late.  This is what I made and we liked it.  I’ll definitely make it again.  Hope you like it too!

Beef & Pasta Casserole

Ingredients:

-  1 lb of pasta – Rotini or Farfalle would work best.  I used Orecchiette because I had it on hand.
-  2 tablespoons olive oil
-  1 onion chopped
-  2 cloves garlic chopped
-  1 lb ground beef – browned and drained (you could use ground turkey)
-  28 ounces of chopped tomatoes
-  1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
-  1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella)
-  1/2 cup bread crumbs – can be either dry or fresh
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
-  salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
2. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil for about 5 mins.  Add browned ground beef, tomatoes and oregano.  Cook 4 more mins.
3. In small bowl combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Set aside.
3. Pour the combined beef, onion, tomato mixture into a large baking dish.  Add pasta and grated cheese and mix well.
4. Sprinkle the top of the pasta with the bread crumb mixture.
5. Cook under broiler for 2 mins to give the bread crumbs/Parmesan mix some color.   Serve with tossed salad.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe




California Chicken Recipe

California Chicken

California Chicken

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This past week we finished up the work on our patio so I couldn’t use our grill for a few days.  I love grilling and its definitely my preferred way to cook but I had to resort to Plan B.  I wanted to make some chicken and remembered this recipe that I used to make before my move from NJ.

I don’t know why this recipe is called “California” Chicken, I’m guessing because you use a lemon.  Who knows.  :)  All I know is that it is super yummy, no matter what state its called.  I used to make this recipe a lot so when grilling wasn’t an option this week, I thought of this recipe.  I think you could make it on the grill if you put the chicken in a foil pan.  I will have to try that.  Anyway I’m glad I found the recipe again because this was always a favorite.  Its quick to prepare and tastes good…  a great combo!  The chicken stays nice and moist.

Hope you like it!

California Chicken

Ingredients:

-  Approximately 3 lbs of chicken (I used chicken thighs)
-  2 tablespoons oil
-  2 teaspoons minced garlic
-  2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
-  4 tablespoons lemon juice
-  1 tablespoon honey
-  1 teaspoons dried oregano
-  1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
-  salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cut off excess fat from chicken.  Place chicken skin side down in a baking dish, large enough to hold the chicken in one layer.
2. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken.
3. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.
4. Turn pieces and bake for another 20 mins. Baste the chicken during the last 20 mins.
5. Remove to a serving dish.  Serve with pan drippings if desired.

If you prefer to use chicken breasts – shorten the cooking time by 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe




Father’s Day Recipes

Father's Day Recipes

Father’s Day Recipes

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I was trying to think of a special recipe to post for Father’s Day.  I was thinking .. brunch … barbecue … snacks…  dessert… But instead of picking one recipe, I decided to look on the web and find some good recipes for each of these categories.   I founds some unique recipes ranging from breakfast burgers to bacon chocolate chip cookies.  I can’t say those cookies would be a hit with me, but I know someone in my house who will love them!

  • Food Network – Probably has more recipes than you will ever need listed on “Make Dad a Father’s Day Feast”.  They have main dishes, side dishes, desserts, breads.. you name it.  You will find the recipe for the bacon chocolate chip cookies here.
  • Martha Stewart also has a bunch of Father’s Day recipes on her site.  She has a whole section on cooking with beer which includes a scrumptious looking Chocolate-Cherry Stout Cake with Dark-Chocolate Glaze.
  • Kraft has a lot of recipes, all set into different categories for Father’s Day - Father’s Day breakfast,  appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts.
  • Southern Living’s Father’s Day Brunch Menu has some tasty ideas.  One being sausage gravy which was something I was not used to having when I lived in NJ.  When I hear people talk about “gravy” here in Ohio, I first thought they were talking about tomato sauce for spaghetti since I know some people call tomato sauce “gravy” but nope!  Its sausage gravy for “biscuits and gravy”.
  • Rachael Ray has some great recipes for Father’s Day.  After looking at her recipes, I say these can be made any day!  I’m thinking of making one of these recipes soon for myself – the No-Cook Avocado Bisque.   ;)

Let me know if you make any of the recipes on these sites and how they turn out.

Enjoy!  And Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

 

Gigi Howe




Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

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The strawberry season is starting! You can even check out a couple of Strawberry Festivals in NJ this weekend.  Some of the stores are also having good deals on strawberries.   You can get a $0.50/1 Strawberries rebate through Checkout 51 and there is the $0.50/1 Driscoll’s Product printable coupon if your store has the Driscoll berries included in the sale.  This week at Meijer, I was able to pick up strawberries – 5 containers for $5.   The raspberries were also on sale for that price, so I bought 5 of those too.  I put most of the raspberries in the freezer.

Anyway, the strawberries looked beautiful and tasted great.  They looked so good that they motivated me to bake something.  My mom used to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, that I loved, and she also made a rhubarb crisp that was delicious.  I wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp and that is what I did!  The rhubarb can be tart and tangy.  This recipe has a little tartness to it, but its not like eating a lemon.  ;)  If you think you would like it sweeter, add a little more sugar.   I hope you enjoy this crisp as much as we did.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients:

-  1 pound rhubarb stalks (do not use any leaves), sliced 1/2 inch thick
-  2 16 oz containers of strawberries (I used a little more, closer to 2 1/2 containers)
-  1 1/4 cups sugar
-  1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
-  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-  4-5 tablespoons cornstarch (depends on if you add more berries)

Topping:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 c. butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries and sugar. Let sit for 10 mins.
2. In the meantime, combine flour, brown sugar, oats and nutmeg. Mix well. Add butter and blend.
3. Add lemon juice, vanilla and cornstarch to the rhubarb/berry mixture. Mix well and then pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish.
4. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the fruit.
5. Bake for approximately 40-45 mins.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe




Rice Salad Recipe

rice salad

Rice Salad

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I’ve been searching for a rice salad recipe for a while.. you have your pasta salads, potato salads, why not rice?!   I’ve tried a few but they have been bombs.  This one was good.  I made it for the first time this week.  The recipe does not call for asparagus but I had some leftover, so I added it.  I tend to like to tweak my recipes.  You can add whatever vegetables you like.  I can see adding some shrimp to this recipe and turning it into a nice summer meal.  But right now, I will give you the basic recipe.  Add whatever you like.  I served it as a side dish and also had it for lunch one day.  Its tasty and refreshing!

Rice Salad

Ingredients:

-  1 cup uncooked rice (I used white)
-  1/2 cup mayonnaise
-  1/2 cup sour cream
-  2 cloves of garlic minced
-  1/2 cup celery diced
-  1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
-  1/3 cup chopped pepper (I used red)
-  2 scallions chopped

Directions:

1. Cook rice as directed and let cool.
2. Combine mayo, sour cream and garlic.
3. Mix prepared vegetables, rice and dressing together in a large bowl. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe




Colorful Pasta Salad Recipe

colorful pasta salad

Colorful Pasta Salad

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Happy Memorial Day weekend!  Am I the only one who feels like this year is racing by?  Not much we can do about that, but I am totally enjoying the warmer weather (and I’m sure I am not alone).

I’m sharing a recipe today for a pasta salad.  I like to make this one every once in a while as a change from the traditional mayo based salads.  What’s nice about this recipe is you can be creative and add more (or less) to the basic recipe.  My recipe just includes vegetables which I shred and slice with my food processor (makes it a lot easier).  I like this recipe because it tastes good and it also looks “pretty” with the different colors of the vegetables.   You can add cheese, ham, beans, pepperoni, more vegetables.. whatever you like.  And you can turn this recipe into a meal.  If you don’t care to make the dressing, you can add any bottled vinaigrette.

Colorful Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

- 1 lb box of pasta – spirals or farfalle work best
-  1 – 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes – halved
-  2 carrots shredded
- 1 red, orange or yellow pepper cut into thin strips
- 1 cup or 1 can of black olives
- 1/2 small red onion chopped

Dressing:

- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 minced garlic clove
- salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook pasta as directed, drain and let cool.
2.  Combine prepared vegetables, olives and pasta in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together ingredients for dressing or put through blender.  Pour dressing over pasta and vegetables and mix well.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe




Blueberry Pound Cake Recipe

blueberry pound cake

Blueberry Pound Cake

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I love this time of year when we start seeing good berries in the stores.  I love berries, pretty much every kind.  Blueberries might be my favorite if I had to pick one, but its really a tough choice for me because I like them all.  Just this week, I planted some strawberry, raspberry and blackberry plants in my garden.  I am going to pick up some blueberry plants too.  Love them!  I’m hoping that the local wildlife won’t like them as much as me.  ;)

Anyway, I got a little off track there!  I have a few REALLY good blueberry recipes.  I decided to post one today and maybe I will post another one in a few weeks. This recipe was my mom’s.  It was always a hit.  I don’t know if it is my favorite blueberry cake, but its in the top two.  This cake is moist and tasty.  Everyone I have made it for has loved it.  I hope you do too!

This recipe includes an icing.  I never ice it.  Its funny because until I looked at the recipe again today, I had totally forgotten about the frosting.  So I will say that’s optional.

Blueberry Pound Cake

Ingredients:

- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup butter or margarine softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- 2 cups blueberries

Optional icing:
- 1 cup confectioner sugar
- 1-2 tablespoon milk

Directions:

1. Lightly grease and flour a 10″ tube pan.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Sift 3 cups flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
3. In small bowl combine brown sugar, with tablespoon of flour and cinnamon and mix well.
4. In large bowl of electric mixer beat butter with granulated sugar and vanilla until fluffy (medium speed).  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each egg.
5. At low speed beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with sour cream or yogurt (which will have 2 additions).
6. Turn 1/3 batter into pan spreading evenly; sprinkle with 1/2 of the berries and 1/2 of brown sugar mixture.  Repeat layering of remaining batter and berries and sugar mixture.
7. Bake 60 mins. or until cake tester is clean.  Cool in pan on rack for 20 mins.  Gently remove from pan.  Mix confectioner sugar and milk until smooth.  Spread on cake.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe




Strawberry Avocado Salad Recipe

strawberry avocado salad

Strawberry Avocado Salad

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With the good prices on strawberries this time of year combined with Driscoll’s printable coupon, I thought to share this recipe today.  Its simple to make.  Even simpler if you decide not to make your own dressing. You can use a store bought poppy seed dressing or a raspberry vinaigrette, both would be tasty with this easy salad.  Its a nice change from the traditional tossed salad.  I like to change things up once in a while! ;)

You can also add whatever other toppings to this salad, you have a lot of freedom to make this your own creation. Try adding cheese, nuts, sunflower seeds, bacon, etc. I’m giving you the nuts and bolts recipe, you can expand it in any way that you think you would like to try or you can keep it simple and just use the ingredients listed. Let me know what you experiment with and add to the recipe!

Strawberry Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

Salad:
- 2 cups strawberries sliced (1 16 oz container)
- 1 ripe avocado sliced
- approximately 3 – 4 cups of lettuce, spinach or combination of greens
- 1/2 pecans or walnuts (optional)

Honey Lime Dressing:
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 – 3 tablespoons honey
- salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients for the Honey Lime dressing and mix well with a whisk or put them all in a jar, seal the lid tightly and shake well!  Pour dressing over greens, avocado and strawberries.  Toss and serve.  (You will most likely have dressing leftover.)

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe




Crock Pot Mexican Soup Recipe

Crock Pot Mexican Soup

Crock Pot Mexican Soup

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Hola mi amigos!  Pretty amazing that I can’t remember too much more of than that after taking 4 years of Spanish in high school, okay, I might be exaggerating.  ;)

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I decided to find a Mexican recipe to post today.   Although this recipe is called a “soup”, it is extremely hardy and it is definitely more of a meal.  You can serve it with a salad and some bread, or better yet, torillas.  I have seen other recipes like this before, but I have tweaked mine a bit and made a few changes.   Of course, you don’t have to only make this recipe on May 5th ;)  And another plus for this recipe is that its made in a crock pot!

I hope you like it!

Crock Pot Mexican Soup

Ingredients:

- 1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned and drained
- 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
- 8 oz frozen corn
- 1 can kidney beans (slightly drained)
- 1 can black beans (slightly drained)
- 1/2 can chicken broth
- 2 bell peppers chopped (I used 1 red and 1 orange – looks prettier)
- 4 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper chopped (optional)
- 1/2 envelope of taco seasoning OR 1 teaspoon of chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 lb processed cheese or cheddar cheese – cubed (you can use less)
- salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Put all of the above ingredients into your crock pot, mix well.  I add the jalapeno to my soup and do not put in the spices.  So you can make this soup whatever way you think you will like it.
2. Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hrs.

Enjoy!  And ¡Buen apetito! :)

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe




Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Recipe

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

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A friend shared this recipe with me a while back and I have made it twice (so far). Which is really pretty good for me because one comment (complaint) I hear about my cooking is that I never make the same thing twice!!  We like this recipe at our house.  Its pretty easy to make and if you have leftover ham, like I did from Easter, its a good way to put it to good use.  Also a few of the stores have boneless chicken breasts on sale this coming week.  :)

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Ingredients:

-  1 lb pasta
- 2 uncooked boneless chicken breasts
- 2 cups of cooked ham, cubed
- 1 small onion chopped
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 stick butter, melted
- salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook pasta as directed, drain and set aside.
2. Cook chicken breasts and onion in pan with a little olive oil.  When chicken is done, cube it (or put in your food processor for a quick chopping – that’s what I did).
3. In the pot where you cooked the pasta, add cream cheese, milk and Swiss cheese.  Cook until smooth.  Add cubed ham, chicken and cooked onions.
4. Add cooked pasta and mix well.  Pour mixture into a large baking dish.
5. In frying pan, melt butter, add Panko bread crumbs (or use fresh bread crumbs) and cook until slightly brown.  Sprinkle crumbs on top of the pasta mixture and serve.

Enjoy!

Printable Recipe:

Gigi Howe











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