Crock Pot Cheesy Macaroni & Ham Dinner

This is a yummy combination of some of my favorite foods.  This is comfort food to the max! You don’t want to fix this and forget it as this has a pretty short cooktime, for a crockpot meal.

Ingredients:

2 cups milk

1 can evaporated milk

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 cup Velveeta cubed
1 pound diced ham
1 tsp onion powder
2 cups uncooked mini pasta shells
It is very important that you spray the liner of the crockpot liberally with cooking spray. Trust me on this, otherwise, your meal will stick to the edges and be rather disappointing.
Add the above ingredients into the crockpot. Set the crockpot on the lowest setting and cook for 2 hours.  Cooking any longer than this will basically make the pasta fall apart.  I chose to add about a cup of cooked leftover broccoli pieces right before serving. This is totally optional.
Quite a simple and yummy meal!

Gnocchi

A few years ago, my husband and I were watching a cooking show on PBS. This meal was made and we thought it sounded good. However, we didn’t write the recipe down! So we went from memory and tried to make it. As it turns out, my son just loved it, althought the rest of the kids didn’t. This is definitely not a low-carb, low-cal meal. It is simple and filling.

Gnocchi
Serves: 6

1 package frozen gnocchi (I have a hard time finding this frozen now, I can find this in the fresh pasta area of the store)
16 ounces cottage cheese
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

Cook gnocchi as directed on package. Drain. Add 3/4 to full container of cottage cheese. Add crumbled bacon. Serve piping hot.


Serve this with a crispy Italian-style salad and crunchy bread and you are good to go.

Johnny Marzetti

Johnny Marzetti
This is an old family favorite from my husband’s childhood. It is so easy and so yummy. Serve it with a green salad and garlic bread and the meal is complete.

Johnny Marzetti

2 cups macaroni
1 cup cheddar cheese, chunked
1jar spaghetti sauce
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse. Return to saucepan and add spaghetti sauce mixed with cooked ground beef. Heat through. Stir in chunks of cheddar cheese.

Optional: After adding spaghetti sauce, may stir in cheese and bake in 350 degree oven until heated through.


Mac & Cheese

This is another one of those not-written-down recipes from my mother. It is not fancy, nor difficult, but I loved it as a child and so do my children. I prefer this to the mac & cheese in the blue and yellow box and it is just a simple to make.

Stove-Top Macaroni & Cheese

2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
Velveeta cheese
milk
salt
white pepper

Cook the macaroni as directed on the package, being careful to liberally salt the macaroni as it cooks. Drain in a colander and set aside. In that same saucepan, melt a chunk of Velveeta cheese and a splash of milk until the cheese is melted, stirring constantly. The amount you use depends on how cheesy you want this to be. I use about 1/3 of a loaf of the Velveeta, give or take, and about 2 tablespoons of milk. Season with salt and white pepper. (I think my mother used the white pepper for the flavor and so my brother and I would not “see” that there was pepper in the mac & cheese. It doesn’t taste “right” without the pepper.) Once it is melted, stir in the cooked macaroni and heat through, stirring carefully. This will brown and burn quickly if the burner is turned up too high. Serves 4-6.

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap~Baked Spaghetti Casserole

I think my family prefers this spaghetti recipe over any other I’ve ever made.
Baked Spaghetti Casserole
Serves: 6
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 pound  ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
28 oz. spaghetti sauce
8 ounces mozzarella cheese
spaghetti
In a separate bowl, bring cream cheese and sour cream to room temp. Add Italian seasoning and mix until smooth and combined.
In a skillet, brown hamburger and onion; drain.
Stir in spaghetti sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
Cook and drain noodles according to package directions.
In a greased 9-1/2 x 11-inch pan, spread the cream mixture.
Next layer half of the noodles,
hamburger sauce,
and cheese.
Repeat layers.
Cover with foil and bake at 350-degrees F. for 1 hour.
To Freeze: Line entire pan with greased foil prior to layering ingredients. You can bake and then freezer or freeze prior to baking (I prefer to freezer prior to baking). After casserole is frozen, remove hardened casserole in foil, label and date. Write cooking instructions on foil. To use, thaw in refrigerator overnight and then bake as directed if not yet baked or simply reheat in microwave if previously cooked; or, to cook directly from the freezer, bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours at 350-degrees F.
Hop on over to Grocery Cart Challenge for more recipes.
I know that I got this recipe from the internet but I never did jot down the source. So if this looks familiar to you and you know who created this, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

This is a very easy meal to prepare. If you cut out a corner of a plastic baggie and use this to pipe in the filling, it takes no time at all. I usually serve this with meat added to the spaghetti sauce, but this could easily be omitted to make this a meatless meal. These also freeze up well. What I plan on doing today is to fill each shell and then flash freeze about 1/2 of the shells before adding the sauce for use later (since I’m only cooking for 4 today).

Stuffed Pasta Shells
Serves: 8

16 ounces jumbo pasta shells
4 cups cottage cheese
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs — lightly beaten
1 pinch garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook shells according to package directions. Place in cold water to stop cooking. Drain.
  2. Mix together cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, and garlic powder. Rub the dried herbs in the palms of your hands to pulverize them, and stir into the cheese mixture. Stuff mixture into the shells.
  3. Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 15 x 10 inch pan. Place shells open side up, and close together in pan. Spread remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.