Chicken Nugget Casserole

Casseroles are always fun to me, but I like the variety of different textures and flavors. This dish has good variety and tastes like chicken parmasean and pasta. The chicken has it’s own flavor, the pasta has it’s own texture, the cheese adds a bit more savory flavor to the dish, and the dices tomatoes added more fresh flavor and additional texture. My chicken nuggets are always precooked, but your best bet would be to bake them early if you are nervous about them being cooked through, or you can bake for double the recommended time on your package. My nuggets said to bake for 15-20 minutes, so I baked them for 40. This dish created 4 1/2 adult sized meals.

  1. Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add 8 oz Farfalle, and boil for 10-15 minutes until al dents. Strain and place into a 7 x 10 casserole dish.
  2. Heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Add to the pasta 10-15 frozen chicken nuggets and mix. In a large sauce pan, add 1 jar of pasta sauce and 1 can of diced tomatoes. Heat until hot and bubbling.
  4. Pour hot sauce over your pasta. Cover with 1 1/2 cup mozzarella, then bake for 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before eating.

Macaroni Salad With Tuna

My mom started making this version of macaroni salad when my brother and I were little. We used to only make egg based macaroni salad, but then my mom found a recipe for imitation crab salad, and from there it became a tuna salad since tuna is a lot cheaper than even imitation crab. The tuna gives the macaroni salad a light flavor that is refreshing in the summer. We’ve also added celery to this in the past, especially if you or your family doesn’t like the flavor of onion.

  1. Boil 1 1/2 cup macaroni until al dente. Strain pasta and rinse with cold water.
  2. Transfer into large serving bowl. Add 1 1/2 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 can of strained tuna, and 1/2 cup diced onion. Stir.
  3. Serve right away or refrigerate before serving.

Mini Manicotti With Lasagna Noodles

Manicotti is a classic Italian dish. Last week I had a family member pass away, so to be able to do something productive, my mom and I made several meals to take as a gift. Besides bread and other family classics, we made lasagna. We had extra of everything, so I decided to make Manicotti as a different form of lasagna. I did make this dish with a meat sauce I had left from the lasagna, but you can choose to do whatever you wish. I also forgot this time when making them, but in the future, it would taste good to add an additional tablespoon of Italian seasoning. The green would be nice for the dish and the cheese would be a bit more varied with some seasoning.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Break 6 Lasagna noodles in half using the edge of the counter.
  2. Generously salt water. Add broken noodles one at a time and stir continuously to keep from sticking together. Boil for 10 minutes until noodles are flexible.
  3. Rinse noodles and submerge in cold water. Set at your assembly area.
  4. Grab a 7 x 11 baking dish.
  5. Mix together in a bowl, 1 cup of small curd cottage cheese, and 1 cup mozzarella. Also, brown 1/2 pound of ground beef, mix in 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce and set aside.
  6. Begin assembly by placing a cooled noodle in the bottom of your baking dish. Place 2-3 Tbsp of cheese mixture near one end of the noodle. Roll up the noodle starting on the side with the cheese mixture. Place in open spot in dish.
  7. Repeat step 6 until there is no more room in your dish, or until you run out of noodles. Pour over top the sauce and meat mixture. Spread evenly over the noodles. Top with 1 cup of mozzarella.
  8. Heat oven to 350 F. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cheese is melted and browning. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Dinner Rolls

Dinner rolls are a nice filling side that I love to serve with Italian food. I like placing butter on hot rolls and enjoying them, or having cooled rolls sliced and filled with spaghetti. These dinner rolls are not sweet and are better as a side with a bigger meal rather than a meal by itself. I really enjoyed these rolls and will enjoy them with many meals to come. I have frozen most of them since it is just Josh and I, but if we were traveling more, I would likely be giving them to someone as a gift. I like to make my white bread as a gift, but these will soon join them. It also took me 2 1/2 hours to proof with my yeast starter, and I baked my rolls for 25 minutes, but they didn’t have too much color, just a light browning.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour, 1 cup starter (1 cup water, 1 cup four, and 1 packet of active yeast), 5 Tbsp melted butter, a pinch of salt, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup milk. Mix until dough cones together.
  2. Divide dough into 16 pieces. Roll into balls and place on a large baking sheet. Let rise for 1-3 hours until doubled in size.
  3. Heat oven to 350 F. Bake for 20-30 minutes until tops are browned and top is firm.

Chocolate Cake Review

Chocolate cake is a classic dessert. This cake recipe makes a soft and flavorful cake that makes your mouth water. The flavor of this cake is delicious. It’s also not overly sweet or bitter. Icing could help this cake taste a bit more like a cake, since it’s almost a cake textured brownie, however you don’t have to add icing to enjoy this cake. If you choose not to add icing, I recommend adding 1/4 cup chocolate chips that I will include in the recipe below. This addition to the recipe adds more variety to the texture and flavor of the cake, that would be needed if you don’t add icing. This is a light cake that doesn’t require tiny pieces. I think this cake is very good and I would recommend this cake. It’s a good cake that is a step above the average store bought or frozen cake.

Original recipe here.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup boiling water.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Add batter to the pan. Add 1/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips spread evenly over the batter.
  4. Baked for 35-40 minutes. Let cool before adding frosting, or serving as is.