Thursday, December 29, 2011

Slow Cooker Lasagna


pound bulk Italian sausage
medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
cans (15 ounces each) Italian-style tomato sauce
teaspoons dried basil leaves
teaspoon salt
cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
cup grated Parmesan cheese
uncooked lasagna noodles


1Cook sausage and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, basil and salt.2Mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. (Refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks.)3Spoon one-fourth of the sausage mixture into 6-quart slow cooker; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with 5 noodles, remaining cheese mixture and one-fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with remaining 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture.4Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender. (Note: some of the reviewers cooked theirs for 5 hours and said it was too long so try 4 hours)5Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into pieces.

Something as simple as chopped fresh parsley will dress up this lasagna. Sprinkle on the parsley just before serving.
For lasagna with a kick, look for hot or spicy Italian sausage. Links can be used if bulk sausage isn't available. Just squeeze the meat out of the casings and cook as directed.

Grands! Easy Taco Melts


lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef, cooked, drained
1 1/2
cups Old El Paso® Thick ‘n Chunky salsa
can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated biscuits
cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Mexican cheese blend (2 oz)


1In 10-inch nonstick skillet, mix cooked beef and 1/2 cup of the salsa. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.2Press each biscuit into 6-inch round. Spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese onto center of each round. Fold dough in half over filling; press to seal. Place on greased cookie sheet.3Bake at 375°F 9 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with remaining salsa.

Caramel Apple-Marshmallow Tarts

box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
cup apple pie filling with more fruit (from 21-oz can)
cup miniature marshmallows
tablespoons caramel topping


1Heat oven to 400°F. Unroll pie crusts on work surface. With 4 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut 4 rounds from each pie crust.2Spoon about 2 tablespoons pie filling onto center of each pie crust round. Firmly fold edge of crust over sides of filling, ruffling decoratively. Place on ungreased large cookie sheet.3Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle marshmallows over filling. Bake 3 to 4 minutes longer or until marshmallows are puffed and just beginning to brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Just before serving, drizzle about 1 teaspoon caramel topping over each tart.

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach and Tomato Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6-8

1 (20-ounce) package cheese tortellini
1 pound  skinned and boned chicken breasts
1 ½  cup  Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing, divided
1 teaspoons  Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 ½ cups fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2  cup yellow bell pepper, diced

1. Place chicken in a zip-lock bag and pour 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette in bag with chicken.  Marinate for at least 2 hour, but best if marinated overnight.  Take chicken out of zip-lock bag and discard marinade. 
2. In a grill pan, grill chicken breasts, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side until cooked through.  Place yellow bell pepper slices in grill pan and grill about 2 minutes on each side.  Once cooled, dice chicken up in small bites.
3. Whisk together remaining ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing and mustard in a small bowl.
4. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Let cool 10 minutes.
5. Toss together pasta, chicken, balsamic mixture, spinach, and remaining 3 ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve immediately, or, if desired, cover and chill 1 hour before serving