Italian Enchiladas

This is a delicious vegetarian casserole. The name is because it is Italian fillings in tortillas, but don’t worry, it is actually a good combination! Again, no picture, because of the way we prepared them (to be frozen) so as soon as I can, I’ll get pictures up!

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Ingredients:

1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well (I squeeze it with my hands)
1 8 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 15 ounce carton ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 8 ounce packages shredded Italian cheese blend (I just used cheddar), divided
8 flour tortillas
1 15 ounce can stewed Italian tomatoes (I used regular and added more Italian spices), with liquid
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian spices (oregano, marjoram)
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
3 ounces Parmesan cheese

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine spinach, corn, ricotta cheese, egg, meat (if used) and half of the cheese.
Lay all tortillas on counter and divide spinach mixture among them in a line down the center of each tortilla.  Roll tightly and arrange, seam-side down, in a greased 9 X 13″ pan.
Use same bowl to combine tomatoes with liquid, tomato sauce, Italian seasonings, basil, garlic and a little salt.  Spoon mixture over tortillas.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese
Bake uncovered a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.  Return to oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Can add cooked chicken.
Freezes really well.
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Crispy Baked Burritos

These are easy go make and are very flexible with what is put inside. Black beans, lentils and refried beans can be exchanged for pinto beans; meat or eggs can be added as well as any other Mexican topping. Once again, I didn’t take any good pictures, so I’ll make them again soon!

Ingredients:
4 cups pinto beans, cooked and drained
8 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups cheese
10 tortillas
2/3 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
black olive, chopped
lettuce, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray large casserole dish.
In food processor, combine beans, tomato sauce, salsa and chili powder.
Fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup bean mixture and 2 T. cheese.  Roll and place in pan.
Bake for 11-14 minutes uncovered.  Remove from oven.
Make two strips of salsa down tortillas.  Sprinkle with black olives.  Bake 2 minutes more.
Top with sour cream and serve.

Lasagna

 Okay, I’ve made lasagna twice. Once for 200 people and again to make five casseroles for our bulk cooking day. I’ve always thought lasagna was picky to make, but it’s actually fairly easy. My one added thought on this is to use disposable pans; I absolutely hate scrubbing out the baked on gunk from this recipe! I managed to get recipes of the fillings and assembling them, but none of the finished product. I’ll get to that soon.

Ingredients;
Hamburger Layer:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
16 ounces tomatoes, drained and chopped
8 ounces tomato sauce
6 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons basil
Noodle Layer:
8 ounces lasagna noodles
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
Cheese Layer:
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 9″ X 13″.
Brown ground beef, onion and garlic together.  Drain.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and basil.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Cook noodles in boiling water with salt and oil.  Drain and rinse.  
Beat eggs.  Add cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Layer in pan as follows:
1/2 noodles
1/2 cottage cheese mixture
1/2 Mozarella
1/2 meat sauce
Repeat layers.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.  If refrigerated, bake for 45 minutes.

Notes:
-Use a ziploc bag with ricotta filling and squeeze it out.

Hamburger Corn Casserole

This is our best loved casserole, according to the family. It is too simple to make and tastes good cold. This isn’t my best picture, but it will do till I get another. 🙂

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Ingredients:
1 pound hamburger
3/4 cup onion, chopped
12 ounces whole kernel corn, drained
3 cups noodles, cooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown meat and onions.
Add rest of ingredients.  Pour into a greased casserole dish.
Top with cracker or chip crumbs or bread crumbs and butter.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Sloppy Joes

I don’t like Sloppy Joes. I served a huge vat of the stuff to about a million teenage boys and after that, I had a hard time eating it. Also, I don’t really like sweet in savory dishes, so I would probably not add the sugar (ketchup is sweet enough). My picture that I took looked disgusting because it was a bowl full of it. I will get a better picture where it is plated properly and actually looks appetizing!

Ingredients:
2 pounds hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup water

Directions:
Brown hamburger and onion.  Drain.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer one hour or heat in crockpot on low for 8 – 10 hours.  If too liquidy, remove lid for an hour.
Serve over toasted hamburger buns.

Freezes really well.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Perhaps one of the easiest casseroles as long as you stick with the amount of rice in the recipe. We have tried adding more and it ends up a crunch, dry, disgusting casserole. Unfortunately, this was the last recipe we completed on our bulk cooking day and I didn’t get pictures that do the recipe justice. I will try it again soon and post pictures!

Ingredients:
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 package onion soup mix
2 cans mushroom soup
2 cans water
chicken pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix rice and soup mix and put in a greased casserole dish.
Mix soups and water and pour some over rice.
Place chicken on top and add remaining soup.
Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Serve with rice (if wanted)

Bulk Cooking

Wow! I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get this post up… So I learned something new two week ago. I figured out that three teenage girls can make 27 casseroles in nine hours. That’s a rate of three casseroles per hour. Even waking up at five that morning, we still had a lot of energy left at the end of the 12 hours at our friends’ home (I calculated nine hours not including the shopping, pranking and taking a few breaks during the day). Shopping was fairly fast and inexpensive; the only thing that made it difficult was the fact that the Winco we were shopping at was set up completely opposite to the one I’ve shopped at every week for five years. 😛 We got the Chalupa on first because it is a slow-cooker meal – we literally left it there for five or six hours. After that we prepped common ingredients, cut all the onions, browned hamburger and grated cheese. Funny story. They had a huge block of cheese for us to use. No, I mean HUGE. We had a hard time cutting through it (it kept bending the knife blades), so we broke off hunks of cheese bit by bit. Who do you know who randomly has a 40-something pound block of cheese in their fridge?

This is actually the size of the cheese!

Once we finished the ingredient prep, we made Italian Enchiladas, Crispy Baked Burritos, Lasagna, Sloppy Joes,Hamburger Corn Casserole and Chicken and Rice Casserole. I’ll try and get these recipes up soon but all of my pictures didn’t turn out how I wanted or I didn’t take pictures. Panning the meals at the end of the day and seeing them all lined up on the table was so satisfying.

Most of the completed meals. 

I had a feeling the cooking would get tiring, but when our friend, Gracie (you can check out her awesome blog here) is working right alongside, it makes time fly! We had loads of fun cooking, listening to music, taste testing, washing dishes, and chatting at about a million words per minute. Even as we left, everyone was talking about the next time we do this, so… how ’bout some notes and goals before next time comes around:

-Maybe some more absolutely fool-proof recipes, perhaps one more chicken, one more pork and two more vegetarian. Also work on getting some freezer breakfast recipes.
-Take large bowls, large/deep hotel pans, favorite knife, large colander, large pot and large frying pan. We went through every bowl we had at least twice.
-Always bring extra disposable pans (which are about $2.50 cheaper from the dollar store than any other store, probably because they’re worse quality)
-Brand new Scotch Brites make cleaning up a lot easier..
-I use a duotang on a clipboard with copies of each recipe and shopping list/budget. It made shopping and cooking much easier because all my things were in one place.

Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti

This is my favorite biscotti recipe.


Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup white chocolate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour jelly roll sheet. 
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.  Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries and chocolate. Divide in half. Shape each half into a 10×2″ loaf. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for five minutes
Cut diagonally into 1-in. slices. Place side down on pan. Bake 8 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Nutella Biscotti

I love Nutella and these were delicious dipped in milk or hot tea.


Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1 cup Nutella
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 egg white
raw sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour jellyroll pan.

In large mixing bowl beat together eggs, egg yolk, and sugar until combined. Add Nutella and mix well.  Combine flour, salt and baking powder.  Add to egg mixture. Gently add chocolate chips
Divide dough in half. Form 10×2″ loaves. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.
Cut diagonally into 1″ slices. Bake 8 minutes per side or until crisp.

Peanut Butter Biscotti

I guess I should read the recipe before I make it… I totally made this by the cream method, like cookies. It still turned out deliciously, though.


Ingredients:
10 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chunks (apx 6 oz)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour jellyroll pan.
Melt butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally.  Continue to cook until the butter browns and gets a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes.  Let cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and pale yellow, about 2 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar while beating.  Then slowly add the butter and vanilla until evenly mixed, about 30 seconds more.  Add the peanut butter and mix until combined.
While mixing slowly, add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing just until absorbed.  Fold in the peanuts and chocolate pieces.
Divide the dough evenly into thirds, and put each portion in the center of a baking sheet.  Shape the dough with slightly wet hands into logs about 2 inches wide and 15 inches long.  Bake until set and brown around the edges, about 25 – 30 minutes.  For even baking take care to rotate the pans – top to bottom and front to back – about halfway through.  Cool logs on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board.  Cut logs crosswise, with a long serrated knife at about a 45 degree angle, into 1/2 inch thick cookies.  Place cookies cut side down on the baking sheets.  Bake until crisp, about 8 minutes more.  Cool biscotti on the baking sheets.  Dip in or drizzle with chocolate, if desired.  Serve.