Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pasta Bake Florentine

Pasta Bake Florentine
 Not only is this baked pasta delicious,
but the variety of vegetables makes it
colorful and appealing as well.


2 T olive oil
1     onion, finely chopped
1/4 c.  red pepper, chopped
1/2 c.  mushrooms, sliced
1 lb.    ground beef
1/2 t.   salt
1/4 t.   garlic salt
1/4 t.   pepper
2 26-oz. jars pasta sause
1 c.     marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
16-oz. pkg. rotini pasta, cooked
8-oz.   pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese


Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion, red pepper and mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in ground beef, salt, garlic salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned, about 5 to 7 minutes; drain. Stir in pasta sauce, artichokes and spinach until well combined. Stir in cooked pasta. Transfer to a lightly greased 13”x9” baking pan; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Serves 8

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

  Recipe from Ruth Thompson of Dublin, NH 

Ruth used this recipe to bake muffins to sell at a church fundraiser.


    18-1/4 oz. pkg. spice cake mix
    15-oz. can pumpkin
    3 eggs, beaten
    1/3 c. oil
    1/3 c. water


In a bowl, beat all ingredients together. Pour batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake ate 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden.

    Makes 2 dozen.

    Suggestion: Joan added nuts and raisins.

Fresh-Picked Frittata

Recipe from the get-togethers with Gooseberry Patch cookbook.
This custard dish breakfast treat deified its namesake since 3 inches of snowfall last evening would prevent picking veggies from a frozen garden.


    1 c. redskin potatoes, diced
    1/2 c. onion, diced
    2 T. olive oil
    1 c. mushrooms
    1 c. broccoli flowerets
    1/2 c. red pepper, chopped
    1/3 c. water
    1-1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
    8 eggs, beaten
    1/2 c. mayonnaise
    1/2 t. dried oregano
    1/2 t. basil
    1 T. Italian salad dressing mix


Combine potatoes, onion and oil in a skillet over medium heat; sauté until golden. Add mushrooms, broccoli, pepper and water; cover and cook just until potatoes are tender. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.

Spoon vegetables into a lightly greased 9-1/2” round deep-dish baking pan; top with half the cheese. Whisk together remaining ingredients except cheese; pour evenly over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until a knife tip inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let stand for 5 minutes.

    Makes 6 servings.

    Suggestion: Joan served the frittata with fresh fruit and a pumpkin spice muffin.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sausage, Bean & Spinach Stew

A hearty slow-cooker stew that is not chili.


1    lb. dried white beans, such as great northern,
              rinsed and picked through
8    cups low-sodium chicken broth
1    onion, peeled and finely chopped
2    carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2    ribs celery, finely chopped
6    cloves of garlic
8    sprigs fresh thyme
1    bay leaf
      Parmesan rind (optional)
1    lb. sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casing removed,
              shaped into 1/2-inch meatballs
1    bunch spinach, trimmed
      Juice of 1/2 lemon
      Crusty bread, for serving

  1. In a large slow cooker, stir together the beans, chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and Parmesan rind, if using. Cover and cook on hiogh heat until beams are nearly tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
  2. Place sausage meatballs on top of beans. Cover, cook until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 25 minutes.
  3. Discard the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and Parmesan rind. Stir in spinach, thencover and let stand until the spinach wilts, 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in lemon juice, season. Serve with crusty bread.

Serves - 8 to 10           Prep - 30 min.       Slow-Cook - 4 HR

Joan found this recipe in her January/February issue of EveryDay with Rachel Ray. Joan used crusty rolls from BJ’s as a substitute for bread.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin

Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin

A four-ingredient dish that packs a lot of flavor.


1    1-1/2 to 2-lb. pork tenderloin
1    14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic and onions
2    1/4 oz. can sliced black olives, drained
1    8-oz. container crumbled feta cheese


Place in a slow cooker. Cover with tomatoes and olives. Sprinkle feta cheese on top. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

Serving Suggestion:

Serve the pork tenderloin on a bed of rice and with a garden salad and fresh asparagus.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter Minestrone Soup

Winter Minestrone Soup

Since temperatures have not risen out of the single digits and the windchill has been below zero, Joan served this heart warming soup. The hearty kale stands up to the wheatberries.


1    tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4    green opinions, chopped
1/2 red or white onions, chopped
1    celery stalk, chopped
3     large carrots, chopped
4    ounces finely chopped shaved deli ham
3    cups water
3    cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1    cup wheatberries, rinsed
1     Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind (optional)
2     bay leaves
1/2  teaspoon salt
       Freshly ground black pepper
1    (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil
1    (1-pound) bag kale, chopped
4    toasted pita breads

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.add onions, celery, carrots and ham. Saute 10 minutes. Add water and next 6 ingredients (water through pepper).
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until wheatberries are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and kale; cook until thoroughly heated. Remove the cheese and rind before serving. Serve with toasted pita bread. Makes 16 cups.
Serves 8.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Trifle Madness

Heather requested some trifle recipes to fill up the bowl above.

Here are some:


This English-inspired desert is easy on the cook and the eye.

1 (4 3/4-oz.) pkg. vanilla pudding and pie filling mix
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
8 cups angel food cake cubes
(about 13-oz. cake)
3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
or orange juice concentrate
1 (21-oz.) can strawberry fruit pie filling
1 (11-oz.) can mandarin orange segments, drained

Prepare pudding as directed on package using 3 cups milk. Remove from heat; stir in orange peel. Cover surface of pudding with waxed paper or plastic wrap; cool 15 minutes.

Line bottom of 2 1/2 or 3-quart trifle bowl or glass bowl with 1/3 of the cake cubes; drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the liqueur. Spoon 1/3 of pudding over top; spoon 1/3 of strawberry filling over pudding. Top with 1/3 of orange segments. Repeat layers 2 more times. Cover; refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Garnish as desired. Store in refrigerator.

16 servings.

This recipe is from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks #142 December 1992


Brownie Trifle makes a splendid centerpiece desert.

1 (19.8-oz.) pkg. package fudge brownie mix
1 (3.9-oz.) pkg. chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
1 (6-oz.) pkg. milk chocolate toffee chips
1 (12-oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare brownie mix and bake according to package directions in 9x13-inch baking pan. Cool; crumble or cut into small pieces. Prepare chocolate fudge pudding mix according to package directions, omitting chilling procedure. Place half of crumbled brownies in bottom of a 3-quart trifle bowl; top with half each of pudding, toffee chips and whipped topping. repeat layers with remaining half of crumbled brownies, pudding, toffee chips and whipped topping. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Garnish with mint and semisweet chocolate curls. (Soften 1 ounce of chocolate 10-15 seconds at 30% power in microwave. Shave off curls with vegetable peeler.)

Serves 16-18.

This recipe is from Country Folk Art - January 1998.


This desert was a bit hit at the 1998 Thanksgiving dinner .

1 14- or 14 1/2- oz. pkg. gingerbread mix
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
(note: use 1/2 cup if you use cranberry juice cocktail option below)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups cherry-cranberry drink or cranberry juice cocktail
1 1/2 cups frozen pitted tart red cherries
1 29-oz. can pear or peach slices, drained
Easy Lemon Cream

Prepare and bake gingerbread mix according to package directions. Cool. Cut into 1-inch cubes.

For the cherry sauce, in a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Stir in fruit drink. Add cherries. Cook and stir until thickened. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Cover and cool; do not stir. (To make ahead, chill, covered, for up to 4 days.)

To assemble, in a 3-quart clear glass bowl or soufflé dish (see note below if you want to assemble it on a tray instead) spoon one-third of the Easy Lemon Cream. Add one-third of the cherry sauce. Sprinkle with half of the gingerbread. Spoon another one-third of the lemon cream over gingerbread. Top with another one-third of the cherry sauce. Arrange half of the sliced pears atop of the cherry sauce (cover and chill remaining pears). Layer remaining gingerbread, lemon cream, and cherry sauce. Cover; chill for 2 to 24 hours. To serve, arrange remaining pear slices atop trifle.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Easy Lemon Cream
Beat 1 cup whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla just until soft peaks form. Fold in 1 cup purchased lemon pudding and stir gently until combined. For creamier texture, stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice or milk.

To assemble trifle on 14X10 1/1 inch tray, double recipe. Slice gingerbread loaves into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Line tray with half of gingerbread. Cover with cherry sauce. Spoon on two-thirds of lemon cream and two-thirds of pears. Layer on remaining gingerbread. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. To serve, top with remaining lemon cream and pears.

This recipe is from Country Home - November/December 1998 
Here are some more:

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Two 14-ounce packages gingerbread mix
One 5.1-ounce package cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
One 30-ounce can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
One 12-ounce carton Cool Whip
1/2 cup gingersnaps (optional)

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding.

Crumble one batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of Cool Whip. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and Cool Whip. Sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Can be layered in a punch bowl.

Serves 20

All American Trifle 
Patriotically delicious!

1 (12-ounce) prepared pound cakes
2 pints strawberries
2 pints blueberries
1 (28-ounce) jar strawberry glaze
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips, divided
1 (16- to 24-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Cut pound cake into approximately 1-inch cubes. Rinse and dry berries. Put glaze in medium-size bowl; slice strawberries into glaze and stir gently to combine. Save one really nice looking berry to decorate top.

In clear glass trifle dish, put a layer of strawberries, just enough to cover bottom of dish. Add 1/3 of cake pieces (push down slightly), a layer of whipped topping, layer of blueberries, and another layer of strawberries. Then sprinkle with about half the mini-chips (reserve 2 tablespoons to decorate top). Repeat layers, packing slightly. Repeat again if you have room. Finish off top with whipped topping to cover. Add reserved strawberry and sprinkle reserved chips around outside edge. You can even drizzle some of the glaze (without strawberries) on the top. Serves a large group.

Colossal Carmel Apple Trifle 
A very impressive dessert. Delicious and pretty, too!

1 (18 1/4-ounce) yellow cake mix
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted, divided
1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling, divided
2 (8-ounce) cartons frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
4 cups cold milk
2 (3.4-ounce) packages vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice, or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a little nutmeg
1 (8-ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping, divided

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, using 2 (8-inch) round pans. Cool cake in pans 8 minutes, then remove to wire racks and cool completely. In a large bowl, whisk milk, pudding, and apple pie spice for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes.

Cut one cake layer, if necessary, to fit in bottom of punch bowl or large glass bowl. Poke holes in cake with a straw; gradually pour 1/3 caramel over cake. Sprinkle 1/3 pecans on, then 1/2 pudding. Spoon 1/2 can pie filling over pudding; spread with 1 carton topping. Top with remaining cake, then repeat layers. After second carton of topping, drizzle with remaining caramel and sprinkle with remaining pecans. Refrigerate until serving. 
Here are more:

Quick Tropical Cheesecake Trifle

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 15 min
Makes: 14 servings, 2/3 cup each

1 pkg. (10.75 oz.) frozen pound cake, thawed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tub (24.2 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling
2 cups cut-up fresh pineapple (1 inch pieces)
2 bananas, sliced
2 kiwi, peeled, chopped
1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam, warmed
1/4 cup BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut, toasted

LAYER half of the cake cubes in bottom of large straight-sided serving bowl.
Top with half of the cheesecake filling and fruit. Repeat layers.

DRIZZLE with jam; sprinkle with coconut.

SERVE immediately. Or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Store any leftovers in refrigerator.

Easy Chocolate Trifle

Prep Time: 50 min.
Total Time: 50 min.
Makes: 18 servings, 2/3 cup each

1 pkg. (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 qt. (4 cups) cold milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
4 pkg. (1.4 oz. each) chocolate-covered English toffee bars, crushed

PREPARE cake batter and bake in 13x9-inch baking pan as directed on package. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

ADD milk to dry pudding mix in medium bowl. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended.

LAYER half each of the cake cubes, pudding, whipped topping and crushed chocolate bars in large glass trifle bowl. Repeat all layers. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spring Fruit Trifle

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 45 min
Makes: 15 servings, 2/3 cup each

36 NILLA Wafers
2 Tbsp. orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice
3 cups seasonal fresh fruit, such as sliced peeled kiwi, blueberries and/or sliced strawberries
3 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S Premium White Baking Chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

BREAK wafers coarsely into 2-1/2-qt. clear glass serving bowl. Sprinkle with liqueur; top with layers of fruit.

POUR milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended.
Refrigerate until pudding starts to thicken. Add chocolate; stir with wire whisk until well blended.
Gently stir in half of the whipped topping. Spoon over fruit; top with the remaining whipped topping.

REFRIGERATE at least 30 min. or up to 24 hours before serving. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.