Katie's Spagetti Sauce

Okay, I don't claim to be a great cook. There are only a handful of things that I think I make really well and this spagetti sauce happens to be one of them. I have combined a few different recipes to come up with my own. My husband loves this recipe, which means a lot considering he went to culinary school. I love the way it makes the house smell while it is simmering too!

1 pound ground beef
1 pound sausage
Brown, drain, and put in saucepan
Add onion powder and minced garlic to taste

Add 1 can mushrooms, drained
Add 1 large can crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
2 small cans tomato paste
2 cans water (tomato paste cans)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp basil
1 1/2 Tbsp oregano

mix up and bring to boil
simmer 4-5 hours or until tomatoes lose their sharp taste.

This recipe makes a ton of sauce. I usually freeze half or plan on leftovers for the next day or two. It is nice to have some frozen for when you need to take a last minute meal to someone or need a last minute dinner at home.

*Variations - when I am trying to eat healthier I use ground turkey meat instead of beef and sausage. Sausage can also be left out if you prefer just ground beef. Sometimes I do all of the spices to taste instead of measuring out.

I have been trying to make some healthier choices for my family so I tried to get my kids to eat whole grain or whole wheat pasta. They weren't having it. A good friend of mine told me about this pasta and said her kids will eat so I thought I would give it a try. They did not mention a thing....they ate it and didn't even know it was different and healthier. I now use this anytime we make a pasta dish.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

I got this delicious recipe from my sister's sister-in-law, Carynn. Carynn has some great recipes and this is one of them. It is so quick and easy.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bunch green onions
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 can green chilis
1 tsp. cumin
garlic powder to taste
salt, pepper to taste

Boil chicken until no longer pink (can be boiled from frozen)
Shred while still hot
Brown green onions in a little oil, then add chicken and all other ingredients

Serve in fried corn tortillas with a little cheese on top. Heat in the microwave to heat the cheese for a few seconds. Can add tomatoes, sour cream, and lettuce but good with just cheese too.

*Now, since I am trying to watch what I eat, I skip the cheese and fried tortilla. I use the carb balance soft flour tortillas. That is what I used in the picture, with a little cheese :).


Caramel Crunch Bars

So when Hilarry diets, she looks at recipe blogs. She then posts her findings to my Facebook wall to bake then ultimately get fat. That is true friendship. This is a great recipe to gain a few extra pounds!!! Good find Hilarry!

Caramel Crunch Bars

*Makes one 9X13-inch pan of bars*

80 club crackers (I used multi-grain)
1 cup butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup fimrly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butterscotch morsels

Line an ungreased 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an extension of foil on either end. Line the foil with 1 layer of club crackers, cutting to fit if necessary (in my 9X13-inch pan, the crackers lined up evenly without the need to trim).

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, milk and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 miutes, stirring constantly. (Begin timing 5 minutes from when you see the first bubbles.) Remove from heat and spread half of butter mixture evenly over crackers. (In this step you have to press into place or else the crackers move...so press the mixture down in small sections over the crackers.) Place another single layer of crackers evenly over butter mixture, cutting to fit if necessary. Spread remaining butter mixture evenly over crackers. Top evenly with remaining crackers.

In a small saucepan (or in the microwave), combine peanut butter, chocolate morsels, and butterscotch morsels. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over top of crackers. Cover, and chill for at least 1 hour. Lift foil overhang and remove bars from pan. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.


Easiest, Yummy Lasagna

(Again, this picture was another victim of the missing camera. Oh iphone, I love you but your food pictures are crap.)

I am not kidding when I say I rarely make recipes that include more than 6 or 7 ingredients. The second I see spices or sauteeing in a recipe, I'm out. If it requires me to run around the grocery store looking for random ingredients that I don't normally buy, I want no part of it. Hence, I love this lasagna recipe. Trust me when I tell you that even though it's beyond simple, it's also beyond good. Preston took leftovers for lunch 2 days in a row and he does not do leftover. Now that's saying something!

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb. cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
18 slices of mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
8 lasagna noodles (oven ready)

1. Brown the ground beef. Add the spaghetti sauce. Heat it through and set on low.
2. Combine cottage cheese and sour cream in a bowl. Mix well.
3. Put a little of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 pan. (Enough to cover bottom). Then put 4 of the noodles right on top.
4. Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture on top. Layer 6 slices of mozarella.
5. Put half of remaining meat sauce on top of the mozzarella. Sprinkle half of the parmesan.
6. Make one more layer, starting with noodles.
7. Top with remaining mozzarella.
8. Cover with foil at bake for 1 hour at 350. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

I think this recipe might be another one that could be made healthier with fat free cottage cheese, light sour cream, and fat-free mozzarella. Next time!


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

My good friend, Elise, can frequently be found on Sunday night doing a cookie "drive-by" to our house (and others in our ward!) Her cookies are always to die for and after to complaining to her on Saturday night about the size of my butt, she brought me these healthier whole wheat chocolate chip cookies the next night. They're seriously YUM! The best part? You won't hate yourself in the morning...unless you eat all of them in a single sitting like I did.

Forgive the ghetto i-phone pic. Our camera was temporarily MIA but has since returned (hallelujah!)

1/2 c butter (1 stick)
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 egg whites
1/3 c water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 c whole wheat flour
semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

I wonder how they would taste if you replace the sugar and brown sugar with the Splenda versions. Might have to try that.