Simple & Sweet Chili Mac

Simple and Sweet Chili Mac Simple & Sweet Chili Mac

 

In our penny-wise minds, there are few dishes that scream frugal more than macaroni and cheese. Don’t you agree? Some nights there just isn’t enough energy or even time to give to a full-on, oven-baked, gourmet dinner. And some nights you just bust out a box of the mac.

It’s ok. I promise, I do it too.

And if you aren’t one of us closet macaroni makers, then you are way ahead of the game and I need you to teach me your ways!

tradish logo 300x300 Simple & Sweet Chili Mac

I’m a big fan of taking simple recipes and throwing in a little of this or a little of that to make them a little bit different. You can call me inventive if you’d like. One of my recent inventive meals was a little twist on Ragu’s Family Favorite Chili Mac. It honestly is already so yummy like it is, but a big favorite with my girls is corn sometimes in our chili so I thought why not add a little sweetness?

This entire recipe has only 5 ingredients and can be whipped up before you can say Bob’s your uncle.

Ragu Old World Sauce Simple & Sweet Chili Mac

It’s really easy to use Ragu Old World Style Traditional Sauce to create the base for the mac. You simply season it to create whatever flavor you going for and in this case, it’s chili mac!

Each jar of Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes making it its richest,  thickest recipe. Ragú® has the Authentic Italian taste American family’s love and a variety of great tasting, quick and easy to make family favorite recipes.

Chili Mac 1 Simple & Sweet Chili Mac

 

And of course if you aren’t a huge fan of corn in your chili then you can leave that out. But I really like the sweetness that it adds to the kick of the chili powder!

You can visit Ragu’s facebook for additional quick, easy and delicious recipe ideas too. And be sure to enter the Ragú Better and Better Sweepstakes for a chance to win great Authentic Italian themed prizes and a grand prize trip to Venice for a family of four!

Simple & Sweet Chili Mac
Recipe Type: Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine: American
Author: Adapted from Ragu’s Recipe
As easy as macaroni and cheese, this chili mac takes the cake!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey or beef
  • 1 jar (1 lb 8 oz) Ragu Old World Style Pasta Sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
Instructions
  1. Cook ground meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned.
  2. Stir in pasta sauce and chili powder. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in macaroni and can of corn and heat through.
  4. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream, if desired!

Abbreviated Sweepstakes Rules: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older.  Ends 5/6/14.  To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit www.RaguSweeps.com.  Void where prohibited.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ragu brought to you by Yummly. All of the opinions expressed are 100% my own.


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Easy Spasagna

Spasagna 3 Easy Spasagna

 It’s been an awfully crazy last few months here in the Pennywise Cook household. You may have noticed by my lack of posts. I’ll catch you up soon.

In the meantime, I have managed to create a really tasty spin on an original Ragu recipe that I wanted to share with you guys. I made a few changes to this recipe for Ragu No Boiling Lasagna that was a huge hit at our house. At one of our favorite restaurants around here, they have this dish that is a mix of lasagna and spaghetti and it is absolutely to die for. It has something to do with the way the noodles are mixed with the cheesy goodness that makes it so amazing.

You know me. I like a challenge.

Spasagna Easy Spasagna

 

If we’re being honest here, and I’m not ashamed of honesty, I kinda made it up as I went. And you never know if things like this will actually be edible so it was a 50/50 situation. This one made it in our Hall of Fame for yummy dishes!

Side story: As I’m preparing to take pictures of this tasty dish (and trying my darnedest not to eat it),  there wasn’t enough light inside so I took my Spasagna outside on the balcony to take pictures. My 2 year-old comes outside and shoots a very inquisitive look my way. Then in a very puzzled tone says, “Momma, why are you taking pictures of macaroni?”. I died laughing!

You know you’re a food blogger when….your 2 year-old asks why you’re taking pictures of macaroni! I won’t even get into the conversation I had with her informing her it wasn’t macaroni, but “spasagna”. Talk about a really confused toddler.

Ragu Tra dish Easy Spasagna

 Back to the recipe! This one is SUPER easy. It uses Ragu Old World Style Traditional Sauce so you know it has to be simple. I love that stuff. I used the meat flavored kind since I didn’t plan to add any meat. Each jar of Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes making it its richest,  thickest recipe. It’s affordable (especially with coupons, y’all!), tastes great, and makes any recipe a breeze. Ragú® has the Authentic Italian taste American family’s love and a variety of great tasting, quick and easy to make family favorite recipes.

Besides that, there are just 4 other ingredients in this recipe. And it isn’t very time consuming either. That’s a big thing for us these days. My girls have no patience and neither do I!

Spasgna 2 Easy Spasagna

You can visit Ragu’s facebook for additional quick, easy and delicious recipe ideas too. And be sure to enter the Ragú Better and Better Sweepstakes for a chance to win great Authentic Italian themed prizes and a grand prize trip to Venice for a family of four!

Easy Spasagna
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Author: Pennywise Cook
Spaghetti never tastes so much like lasagna! This twist on a traditional lasagna is an easy go-to meal for the family.
Ingredients
  • 1 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 1 jar Ragu Old World style Pasta sauce
  • 1 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 and 1/2 c mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Prepare 1 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles according to package directions.Be sure to season the water with a little salt before dropping your pasta!
  3. Once cooked, let cook in strainer.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tub of ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, and 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  5. Mix cheese mixture with cooled noodles and flatten into a greased baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle with 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and pour entire jar of Ragu over noodles. Bake an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Cut into squares and serve!
Notes
You can use regular noodles, but I prefer whole wheat for added nutrition!

Abbreviated Sweepstakes Rules: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older.  Ends 5/6/14.  To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit www.RaguSweeps.com.  Void where prohibited.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ragu brought to you by Yummly. All of the opinions expressed are 100% my own.


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Simple Sausage Mac

Simple Sausage Mac 4 Simple Sausage Mac

Are you ready for Halloween yet? Well you better get that way because it’s on Wednesday! Can you really believe that we have already reached the end of October? I’d really love for someone to explain to me where the rest of this month has slipped away to. Maybe I’m just getting old or maybe time is speeding up. Either way, I’m going to hold on tight.

The weather is finally starting to cool off around here. I absolutely love the fall. Well, let me just say I love being cozy. I hate being cold, but I love being cozy. I’ve got a bunch of warm and comforting recipes coming up that I can’t wait to share with you. The fall is really when I have the most fun cooking. You can make up a big pot of something that sticks to your bones.

One of the first “comfort foods” that comes to mind practically anytime I hear that phrase is macaroni and cheese. It doesn’t get much more comforting than that. I’ve seen mac & cheese turn a frown completely upside down! Especially when it’s homemade. The boxes are good, but homemade is better.

And you know that here in the south, macaroni and cheese is considered a vegetable at most meat and threes….

Simple Sausage Mac 2 Simple Sausage Mac

The only issue that I’ve ever had with macaroni and cheese is that it’s so good that I eat too much. Well that and the fact that it needs a little bulking up so that it can be worthy of being called a meal. After all, we wouldn’t want to make mac & cheese only a side dish. It’s worthy of being the main attraction with a little adjustment.

Simple Sausage Mac 3 Simple Sausage Mac

One of my favorite things about this macaroni and cheese is the secret topping. No longer a secret because I’m about to share it with you! We’re heading for Thanksgiving and there will be deals out the wazoo on stuffing mix. THAT my friend is a little something extra that can give macaroni and cheese a little spice. Breadcrumbs are great, but stuffing mix adds a little more crunch and even some nice flavor. I used Stove Top’s version for this. You can use whatever you’d like of course.

Simple Sausage Mac 1 Simple Sausage Mac

I bulked this up with sausage to give it a little flavor and to make it meaty. So yummy and extra comforting. I’d almost make this for a brunch!

Recipe adapted from Butter Busters Cookbook.

Simple Sausage Mac
Recipe Type: Side Dish, Main Dish
Author: Adapted from Butter Busters Cookbook
Bulk up your everyday mac & cheese and make it meaty. Perfect for dinner any night of the week!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Turkey Sausage, Browned and Drained
  • 3 tbsp Melted Butter (light)
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups Skim Milk
  • 1 tbsp Melted Butter (light)
  • 2 cups Elbow Macaroni, Cooked
  • 1 tbsp Onion, Grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups Reduced fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 c. Crushed Cubed Style Stuffing Mix
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine 3 tbsp melted butter, flour, salt, and pepper in a small sauce pan. Slowly add skim milk and whisk well. Bring to boil, then lower temp until thickens. Set aside.
  3. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place half of the macaroni in the dish. Spread half of the cooked sausage over the noodles. Sprinkle half of the grated onion, salt, pepper, sauce, and cheese. Repeat layer. Drizzle 1 tbsp melted butter over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Sprinkle crushed stuffing over the top. Cover and baked for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

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Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells 4 Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells

I am always on the lookout for ways to change up everyday meals. Meatloaf and pizza are good. Don’t get me wrong. But sometimes, they just get old and boring. I have a lot of fun experimenting with food. It’s kind of a hobby of mine. It’s why this blog exists!

Stuffed shells are a family favorite. There are so many variations and concoctions that you can stuff them with. My latest creation? Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells.

Sloppy Joes are so simple to whip up on a week night for dinner, but guess what? They are sloppy! (whodathunkit?) I was thinking that if we could eat them in shells, they might stay contained and actually be easy to eat.

Hey, we could get rid of that sloppy and just call them Joes! Joe Stuffed Shells……hmmm. Nah. You could possibly call them Not-So-Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells. That’s too long. I give up. We’ll stick with Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells.

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells 3 Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells

These aren’t made with the canned Sloppy Joe sauce. It’s homemade and extra easy. I even got to use a green pepper from my garden in it. I’m sure that you’re wondering about the cheese sauce on top there. Well, you see, my husband likes to add cheese to just about everything. And following suit, he asked if I could drizzle some cheese sauce on top of the shells too. I did this for him. Feel free to add it if you like, but they are still just as great without the cheese sauce.

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells 1 Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells

Just as I suspected, these were quite neat to eat! Much neater than a messy old Sloppy Joe Sandwich. My husband isn’t a huge fan of Sloppy Joes themselves. We came to the conclusion after this meal that it was in fact, because they are sloppy. The shells make it really easy to keep all the yummy and sweet meat inside. Which means that you’ll most likely end up eating them with your fingers.

We did and we’re not ashamed!

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells 2 Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells

The best part about this meal is that it’s super affordable. With the meat of your choice (ie ground beef, ground turkey, even chicken!), a few handy sauces, and simple spices, these shells comes together in no time and don’t even require baking.

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Shells
Recipe Type: Main Dish,
Author: Pennywise Cook
Believe it or not, Sloppy Joes don’t have to be sloppy when you make them in shells like this!
Ingredients
  • 1/2 Package Jumbo Shells (you can make an entire box, but you won’t need it)
  • 1 lb Extra lean Ground Beef
  • 1/2 c. Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Green Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. Ketchup
  • 1/2 c. BBQ sauce (your choice)
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar (I used Splenda Brown)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • For Cheese Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 c. Skim Milk
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Reduced Fat)
Instructions
  1. Prepare noodles according to package. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and green pepper. Drain and add in all other ingredients. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until warmed through.
  3. Stuff shells with meat mixture.
  4. For cheese sauce- melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add the skim milk. Melt in the cream cheese stirring until smooth. Add in shredded cheese until melted and smooth. Drizzle over stuffed shells.
Notes

These could even make little appetizers at a party!


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Basil Ricotta Mac and Cheese

Basil Ricotta Mac and Cheese 1 Basil Ricotta Mac and Cheese

Isn’t it funny how there is never enough time in the day? I can have a completely clear day planned with maybe one thing on my to-do list and half the time I don’t even get that one thing accomplished. Of course, I do have a tendency to go off on tangents. My husband makes fun of me beceause I can barely get a sentence out. In fact, the other day I was telling him something and in the middle of my sentence remembered something else and began to tell him about that instead. He looked at me with the funniest face and said, “Did you just interupt yourself?”. I stopped and thought about it for a moment and then decided yes, I did in fact interupt myself! Leave it to me!

Much like my thoughts getting side-tracked, I easily get distracted when I’m cleaning the house. I’ll be cleaning one thing and come across something that just bothers me and I have to clean that. All the while forgetting about my original intention. It may take me the whole day (and sometimes week) to get the original mission accomplished.

A near future goal of mine is to create a cleaning list for the week. I’ll let you know how that works out. 🙂

Needless to say, time gets away from me sometimes. And on those days, we either have a fend for yourself night for dinner or I whip something up that doesn’t need a lot of work. Mac and cheese is always a great go-to option. Always a pleaser for the kiddos and the picky husband as well.

It’s not exactly the best grown up meal. So when I was having a “day” the other night I decided to liven it up a bit and use up some ricotta cheese that I had in the refrigerator and add a little bit of basil. And to make it more of a meal I added some ground turkey. It was fantastic and even pleased my 5 year old!

Hey, maybe she’ll eat her peas now. Nah….

Basil Ricotta Mac and Cheese 2 Basil Ricotta Mac and Cheese

Basil Ricotta Mac and Cheese
Recipe Type: Pasta, Main Dish
Author: Pennywise Cook
This grown up version of everyday mac and cheese is sure to please everyone!
Ingredients
  • 2/3 Box Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 c. Flour
  • 2 c. Milk
  • 2 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese + additional for topping
  • 1/4 c. Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 c. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Basil, Chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. {reheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare macaroni a couple minutes less than directed on the box. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, brown ground turkey and stir in ricotta cheese. Add in seasonings and basil.
  4. In a saucepan, stir together flour and milk and cook to a boil until thickened. Then stir in shredded cheese. Mix well.
  5. Mix together pasta, ground turkey mixture, and cheese mixture. Pour into a greased baking dish and top with additional shredded cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and breadcrumbs begin to crisp.

 


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Zesty Squash and Zucchini Over Gnocchi

Zesty Squash and Z1 Zesty Squash and Zucchini Over Gnocchi

Around these parts we are big fans of squash and zucchini. I buy it all year ’round because it’s one of few vegetables that I know my family will eat. Trying to find new ways to invent the wheel, or in this case make a squash and zucchini dish can be a difficult task. However, I got a little inspiration from this recipe and turned this summer recipe into a warm and spicy winter dish.

If you’ve never tried gnocchi before, this would be a nice starting point for you. Gnocchi is basically mashed potato and flour rolled into little dumplings. They are usually quite tasty to kids as well as adults alike. Since I made up this recipe, I conquered making my very own gnocchi! Sure it’s made out of instant potatoes, but it’s still homemade gnocchi all the same. Look for that deliciousness soon…

Zesty Squash and Z 41 Zesty Squash and Zucchini Over Gnocchi

Back to the squash and zucchini! Start out with some nice warm extra virgin olive oil in a pan and then saute up onions and garlic to start off your sauce.

Zesty Squash and Z 21 Zesty Squash and Zucchini Over Gnocchi

Throw cubed squash and zucchini into stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce along with some very zesty spices to create one smokin’ pot of goodness. But in all honesty, the crushed red pepper flakes provide a LOT of heat. If you like that, you can add more. If not, 1tsp is plenty.

Zesty Squash and Z 31 Zesty Squash and Zucchini Over Gnocchi

Then it’s time to add in the smooth and starchy gnocchi to cool down to spiciness. Toss it together and serve. You can use any pasta that you’d like. I just like the fluffiness that the gnocchi gives with the zestiness in this dish.

Zesty Squash and Zucchini Over Gnocchi

Zesty Squash and Zucchini Zesty Squash and Zucchini Over Gnocchi

Take your squash and zucchini and turn it into a saucy and spicy main dish!

Ingredients

  • 3 Medium Small Yellow Squash, Cubed
  • 3 Small Zucchini, Cubed
  • 1 14.5 oz Can Stewed Tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Onion, Chopped
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Garlic Powder to Taste
  • Dash of Cumin to Taste
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes- This is the heat!
  • 1 Package Store Bought Gnocchi (I use whole wheat or make your own)

Method

  1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. They will generally be finished when they float to the top.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent.
  3. Add in squash, zucchini, tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat until squash and zucchini start to become tender.
  4. Toss in gnocchi and mix well.
  5. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over top. (optional)

Notes

This is really a pretty dish! Might be good for entertaining when you need to impress. Just make sure that you don’t get it too spicy in case your guests don’t like too much heat.

http://pennywisecook.com/zesty-squash-and-zucchini-over-gnocchi/


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