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Cheesy Pasta & Broccoli

Cheesy Pasta & BroccoliThis cheesy broccoli and pasta dish is always a favorite at my dinner table. I especially like how easy it is to make. I sometimes add a little cut-up cooked chicken to make this an all-in-one dinner.

1 (16 ounces) package penne pasta
4 cups frozen broccoli flowerets
1 (10-3/4 ounces) can cream of mushroom soup
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; add the broccoli during the last 4-5 minutes of the cooking time. Drain well.

2. In a 12x8x2-inch shallow baking dish, stir together the soup, milk and pepper. Add the pasta broccoli mixture, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes or until hot and the cheese is melted. Makes 8 servings.




Happy Thanksgiving




Applesauce Spice Cake

Applesauce Spice CakeYou will enjoy old-fashioned goodness in every bite of this wonderful cake!

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter (room temperature)
2 cups applesauce
1 large egg
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. In a large mixer bowl, beat the sugar and butter until creamy. Add applesauce and egg; blend well.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt; add to applesauce mixture and beat until well blended. Stir in the raisins and nuts, if using.

3. Pour into a well-greased 10 cup bundt pan; bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 to 60 minutes.

4.  Combine all the glaze ingredients until smooth; drizzle over cooled cake. Makes 12 servings.



Great Northern Bean Soup

Great Northern Bean SoupThere’s nothing more heart-warming on a chilly day than a steaming bowl of soup. My family especially likes this one!

1 (16 ounces) package dry great northern beans, sorted & washed
4 quarts water
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped
1 to 2 cups cut-up cooked ham*
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Place sorted and washed beans in a large pot; cover with the water. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the beans are tender and liquid has been reduced and slightly thickened, stirring occasionally about 2-2-1/2 hours.

* Left over ham is great in this bean soup, but you could substitute 3 to 4 slices of bacon, if you prefer.

Note: Some cooks say to pre-soak the beans and that’s fine if you want to but I have always cooked my bean soup this way with great results every time.

Delicious cornbread muffins are the perfect companion for this flavorful bean soup.



Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Oatmeal Cookie BarsThese wonderfully rich tasting oatmeal cookie bars are sure to disappear in a flash!

1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

1. In a large bowl, combine the oatmeal, water and butter; let sit until butter is melted.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.

3. Add the sugar, brown sugar and eggs to the oatmeal mixture; blend well. Add the flour mixture a little at a time mixing well after each addition.

4. Spread mixture into bottom of a well greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.

5. In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; stir in the brown sugar and milk until blended. Remove from the heat and add the coconut and pecans. Spread over top of cooked base. Allow to cool before cutting. Makes 24 bars.



Spicy Beef Skillet

Spicy Beef SkilletIf you and your family enjoy spicy foods, this easy skillet dinner is sure to please everyone at your dinner table.

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups penne rigate pasta (or pasta of your choice)
1 (10-3/4 ounces) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 (4 ounces) can chopped green chilies
1 (2.25 ounces) can sliced ripe olives
1 cup salsa (I used Pace Thick and Chunky hot)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef and onion until meat is no longer pink and onions are tender; drain.

2. Add the water and bring to a boil; stir in pasta. Cover and simmer over medium heat until pasta is tender; about 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the soup, green chilies, olives, salsa, salt and pepper; cover and simmer until hot and bubbly. Remove from the heat; sprinkle cheddar cheese over meat mixture. Cover and let stand until the cheese is melted. Makes 6 servings.



Skillet Chicken Dinner

Skillet Chicken DinnerThis recipe is perfect for those long days on the job. You can have this delicious chicken dinner ready and on the table in about 30 minutes. It’s  great cold weather comfort food too!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups water
2 cups small shells pasta (or pasta of your choice)
1-1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1/2 cup milk
12 ounces processed cheese (Velveeta), cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup sour cream

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken in butter until meat is no longer pink. Add the water and bring to a boil; stir in the pasta. Reduce heat to medium; cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli florets; cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until the broccoli and pasta are tender and just a small amount of water remains in the skillet.

2. Stir in the milk, cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, stirring frequently until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.



Angel Biscuits

Angel BiscuitsThese delightful buttermilk biscuits are so good, they’re like a little taste of heaven! There’s nothing better for breakfast than one of these fresh hot biscuits smothered in butter and your favorite jelly or jam.

5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
2 cups buttermilk

1. Sift together the first 5 ingredients; blend shortening into dry ingredients using a pastry blender.

2. In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; add to the flour mixture. Stir in the buttermilk; blend thoroughly.

3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out and place on an ungreased baking sheet with sides touching.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen biscuits.