Super Easy Spaghetti Sauce

quick-and-easy-pasta-chunky-tomato
This is a quick and easy, semi homemade marinara sauce that can be used for spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, or anything else you see fit. 

Ingredients:
-Ground Beef (1 to 1.5 lbs of your choice of ground beef or turkey. If you wanna mix it up a bit try this, 3/4 to 1 lb. ground beef, 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage)
-Pasta Sauce (I use the Walmart Great Value brand – Chunky Garlic & Onion Pasta sauce in the glass jar)
-canned tomatoes (I use the Great Value brand died tomatoes, Italian flavor)-drained.
-fresh onion – chopped
-chopped (or canned) mushrooms and diced bell pepper, optional
-spices (I use garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper, Italian seasoning blend, and a pinch of white granulated sugar.)

Directions:
Brown your ground meat with the fresh onion (and bell peppers if you choose to use them.) and some garlic powder and salt & pepper. Drain the fat.
Add the pasta sauce and can of diced tomatoes, and use the seasonings to taste… don’t be stingy with the garlic and don’t forget that pinch of sugar!  (Also, use a couple tablespoons of water to swish around in the sauce jar to get it all out, this will also help thin down this thick and chunky sauce a bit.)
If you choose to use mushrooms, add them to the sauce as well.
Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Enjoy with your choice of pasta. Top with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Fried Apples

DSC_0021_thumb1
Easy and Delicious!

(I should warn you that I never measure anything, so these portions are just an estimate for you to go by.)  
Ingredients: 
Apples (I use about 6-8 Fuji apples)
Brown Sugar (about 1/2 cup, more or less to taste.)
Butter (I used Country Crock Churn Style – about 4 tbl spoons)
Cinnamon (don’t be stingy! -I used about 4 tbl spoons)
Granulated white sugar (about 4 tbl spoons)
*Optional- ground/dried  Ginger & Nutmeg  (about 1/2 tsp each)
Thickening agent- a couple table spoons of flour or cornstarch a little water or apple juice and maybe a dash of lemon juice and vanilla extract

Directions:
If you choose to peel your apples, do so now. I peel mine. They cook quicker and I simply prefer them that way.
Slice and core your apples. (the thinner your slices, the faster they cook- I slice mine fairly thin.)
After cutting your apples (I like to ) put them in a strainer and give them a good rinse.
Mix the white sugar, cinnamon (and Ginger & Nutmeg) in a small bowl.
Also mix your Thickening Agent ingredients in a bowl- it should be a soupy consistency, like runny gravy.
(I get all the ingredients ready to go & put ’em in separate bowls so that when I start cooking, it’s easy to add ingredients. Plus, this gives me an opportunity to clean up the mess I’ve made so far!)
Get a large, deep frying pan (with a lid) and melt the butter and brown sugar over medium to med-high heat. Add the apple slices.  Toss the apples to make sure they are coated in the butter mixture and simmer them covered for about 5-10 mins, stir them every few minutes, as you notice they start to cook down a bit. Then you add the Cinnamon/Sugar mixture and stir. Then add your thickening agent and stir. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes until the apples reach the desired texture.  (If you  make them too thick, just add a bit of water or apple juice. )
Serve warm. Makes a great side dish for any meal, or even a light dessert. 🙂

Oreo Surprise

Oreo surprise
A super easy and super delicious desert. It’s perfect to take to cook-out’s or pot luck.

Shopping List:
1 package Oreo’s, regular or double stuffed (I use the Walmart brand, Great Value – Double Stuffed Twist & Shout)
1 large container of Cool-Whip (again, I used the Great Value)
2 boxes Chocolate pudding (the regular sized boxes that require 2 cups of milk)
Milk (I use 2%)

Directions:
Prepare pudding (put 4 cups of milk into a large bowl and empty both packets of pudding mix into it and blend well.)
Add 3/4 of the Whipped Cream (saving a little bit for garnish), stir lightly.
Crush Oreo’s (I crush them by hand a few at a time, into a bowl, then pour them into the mix)- Remember to set aside a couple handfuls for garnish.
Add crushed Oreo’s to the pudding/whipped cream mix. Stir lightly.

Now gently add the remaining Whipped cream and smooth over the top, then sprinkle the rest of the Oreo crumbs across the top.

All finished!
Refrigerate for a few hours then enjoy with a tall glass of milk. 🙂