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Black Bean Enchiladas

These easy-to-make great tasting enchiladas are sure to become a favorite of family and guests alike.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
3/4 cup medium salsa
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
Chopped avocado, black olives, sour cream and cilantro, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 11×7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cumin; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in corn, salsa, beans and 1 cup of the cheese. Remove from the heat.

2. Stack tortillas on a microwaveable plate. Cover with a paper towel; microwave on High for 1 minute to soften. Place 1/4 cup of the bean mixture along center of each tortilla. Roll up tightly; place seam sides down in baking dish. Spoon remaining bean mixture on top. Pour enchilada sauce over all, spreading to cover all tortillas. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese.

3. Bake covered for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly around the edges. Garnish with the remaining ingredients, if desired. Makes 10 enchiladas.



Easy Ravioli Bake

This delicious cheese-filled ravioli recipe makes fixing dinner a simple and easy affair; something every family cook can appreciate!

1(26 to 28 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce (of your choice)
1 (25 to 27.5 ounce) package frozen cheese-filled ravioli
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Spread 3/4 cup of the pasta sauce in bottom of baking dish. Arrange 1/2 of the frozen ravioli in a single layer over sauce; top with 1/2 of the remaining pasta sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers once, beginning with the ravioli. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

3. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil; bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in the center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 8 servings.



Peanut Butter Snacking Cups

Peanut Butter Snacking CupsDSCN2585These delectable munchies are quick-to-make and are ideal for after-school snacks and late-night refrigerator raids.

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8 ounce) container non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 (4-serving size) box vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling
1/4 cup strawberry preserves

1. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups. In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Press about 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture into each cup; top each with 1 tablespoon of the whipped topping.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, gradually add milk to the peanut butter, blending until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat at low speed of electric mixer until well blended, about 1 to 2 minutes. Fold in the remaining whipped topping.

3. Top each cup with 1 teaspoon of the preserves. Freeze for about 4 hours. To serve, peel off papers. Makes 12 snack cups.



Ginger Pineapple Mold

DSCN2587This delightfully cool and refreshing Jello dessert, (I found the recipe in an old Jello recipe book), is the perfect addition to your Labor Day weekend fun!

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple slices in juice
2 (4-serving size) or 1 (8-serving size) lime or apricot flavor gelatin
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup ginger ale or cold water
1/4 teaspoon ginger

1. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice. Cut pineapple slices in half; set aside. Cut the remaining pineapple slices into chunks.

2. Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water. Add the reserved pineapple juice, ginger ale and ginger; chill until slightly thickened.

3. Measure 1 cup of the gelatin. Arrange some of the pineapple chunks in a 6-cup ring mold; top with measured gelatin. Chill until set but not firm, about 10 minutes.

4. Fold the remaining pineapple chunks into the remaining gelatin; spoon over gelatin in mold. Chill until firm, about 4 hours; unmold.

5. Garnish with halved pineapple slices, halved cherry tomatoes and crisp greens, if desired. Makes 5 cups or 10 servings.



Easy Cheesy Manicotti

easy-cheesy-manicottiThis delicious easy-to-make manicotti recipe from Betty Crocker is a great make-ahead dinner idea. Keep one handy in your freezer for one of those hectic days when you are short on time and energy!

1 (26 ounce) jar chunky-style tomato pasta sauce
2 (9 ounce each) boxes frozen spinach, thawed & well drained
1 (12 ounce) container small curd cottage cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (8 ounce) package manicotti shells (14 shells)
1/4 cup water
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In an ungreased 13×9-inch baking dish, spread about 1/3 of the pasta sauce.

2. Stir together the spinach, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese oregano and pepper. Fill the uncooked manicotti shells with the spinach mixture; place on sauce in baking dish.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining pasta sauce and water; pour evenly over the shells, covering completely. Cover and bake for 1 hour.

4. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese; cover and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until the shells are tender.

Note: You can assemble this recipe, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before cooking; then bake as directed. Or cover tightly, label and freeze for up to 1 month; bake for about 2 hours.



Minestrone Casserole

minestrone-casseroleThis is the perfect recipe for using those wonderful vegetables from your backyard garden or purchased from your local farmer’s market!

2 cups uncooked mafalda noodles
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini or summer squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (15 ounce each) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup refrigerated basil pesto

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook and drain the noodles as directed on the package using the minimum cook time.

2. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper; cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are just tender. Uncover and stir in the zucchini and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute longer.

3. Place the noodles in an ungreased 2-1/2-quart casserole. Stir in the carrot mixture, beans, tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the cheese, the salt, pepper and pesto. Cover and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until hot in the center. Top each serving with the remaining cheese. Makes 6 servings.



Mixed Vegetable Bake

mixed-vegetable-bakeThis is a wonderful recipe for using those delicious home-grown vegetables from your garden or purchased at your local farmers market. Serve it with grilled steak or chicken for a real dinner treat!

4 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 large onion, cut in half and into 1/4-inch slices
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place the potatoes, onion and carrots in baking dish; toss with 1/2 each of the oil, garlic, thyme, tarragon, salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, toss the bell pepper and zucchini with the remaining oil and seasonings; stir into the potato mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring halfway through bake time. Makes 6 servings.



Vegetable Barley Soup

vegetable-barley-soupIt was so cold and cloudy yesterday that all I could think about was a big bowl of tasty hot soup so I went searching through some recipes in a Taste of Home magazine I had purchased a couple of years ago. This is the one I chose because it contained a lot of healthy vegetables, required no meat and was so simple and easy to make in my slow cooker.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1-1/2 cups fresh baby carrots, halved
1-1/2 cups frozen cut green beans
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups water
2 cans(14-1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth
1 cup medium pearl barley
1 bay leaf
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained

1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine the first 8 ingredients. Stir in the water, broth, barley, bay leaf and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or until barley and vegetables are tender.

2. Stir in the tomatoes; cover and cook on high for 10 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Discard the bay leaf before serving. Makes 12 servings.