This is a favorite pasta dish in our house!  As a big family, we love a hearty recipe that makes enough for left-overs too!  This is also one of my favorite freezer meals and/or take a meal to someone dish!  I often will split the recipe - cook half and put the other half in the freezer for another day OR I'll just make a double batch for a few freezer meals!  I can just throw a salad together, add some garlic bread on the side, and bellies are happy!


Serves 12

1 - 16 oz Box Mostaccioli Pasta (Ziti makes a good substitute)
1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
1 Bell Pepper, finely diced
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 - 26 oz Jar Spaghetti Sauce
1 Can Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup, undiluted
1 1/2 Tsp Italian Seasoning
3/4 Tsp Ground Pepper
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook mostaccioli according to package directions (I like to al-dente/firm for baked pasta dishes) and drain.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet brown hamburger with peppers, onion, and garlic, drain.  In a large bowl (or the pan you're going to cook in), mix together spaghetti sauce, soup, Italian seasoning, ground pepper, and hamburger together.  Then, stir in mostaccioli and 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese to beef mixture.  Transfer to 2 11x7" baking dishes (or one deep 9x13) and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover pan with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes (about 30 minutes if using 9x13" pan), remove foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

If preparing from freezer: Thaw in refrigerator overnight, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking, and bake covered in preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.


Banana Bread Coffee Cake

Love banana bread?  Love coffee cake?  Looking for a way to use up some ripe bananas?  You're going to love this yummy coffee cake with bananas added!


Banana Bread Coffee cake

3/4 Cup Butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Mashed Bananas (about 3 ripe bananas)
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Crumb Topping:
2 Cups Flour
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
6 Tbsp Butter, melted

In a small bowl, mix filling ingredients and set aside.  In another small bowl, stir together dry ingredients for crumb topping, then add melted butter until large crumbs form and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9"x13" pan and set aside.  Cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla - beat on high until smooth.  Mix dry ingredients with whisk in separate bowl, then slowly add into butter mixture until just combined - add buttermilk and bananas.  Spread half the batter into the pan, sprinkle filling evenly over batter, and spread remaining batter on top.  Use a butter knife to gently swirl the filling into the batter.  Sprinkle crumb mixture over the top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean.


Best Ever Meatloaf

This last Sunday, I was in a total comfort food mode and decided to try this new meatloaf recipe I came across over on another blog.  I'm adding it here with no picture because we LOVED it that much and this blog is still very much a place for me to "store" my tried, true, and favorite recipes.  Seriously though, it was scarfed down before I could even attempt to get a picture!  Plus, at this point, I'm pretty sure everyone knows what a meatloaf looks like! Hopefully at some point I will capture one and get it added to the recipe!

Some notes on making this...use lean meat, the leaner the better or you may just have a really juicy meatloaf that crumbles when you pull it out of the pan - it'll still taste amazing though, I promise.  LET IT REST!  I'll say it again, let it rest - this helps it stay together when you're serving it!  If you don't have any apricot preserves, feel free to use any jelly you have on hand - grape, orange marmalade, etc would all taste fantastic too!

If you try it, leave me a comment!


Best Ever Meatloaf

2 lbs Lean Ground Beef, Ground Turkey, or Ground Venison
1 Sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 Cup Milk (can add up to a full cup if needed)
1/2 Cup Ketchup
1/3 Cup Onion, finely chopped
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

3/4 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Apricot Preserves
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 5x9 loaf pan lightly with cooking spray - set aside.  In a large bowl, combine ground beef, crackers, egg, milk,  ketchup, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Mix together until thoroughly combined - use your hands, they really do work the best for the job (sans germs and rings of course).  Put meat mixture into the pan and spread evenly.  Plan loaf pan on rimmed baking sheet (for any accidental overflow of juices) and put in oven.  Bake for 90 minutes - add sauce half-way through baking.  Let meatloaf rest for 15 minutes after removing from oven before slicing and serving.

In a small bowl, mix together ketchup, brown sugar, apricot preserves, and Worcestershire sauce.  Spread half or so of the sauce over the meatloaf halfway through baking.  The remainder can be used for more dipping/topping. 


Banana Cake with Browned Butter Icing

I have had this recipe pinned on Pinterest for a long time and finally was able to make it!  This is a great addition to any bundt cake lovers recipe collection!  Only thing I did differently from the original recipe was use my beloved browned butter icing recipe.


Banana Cake with Browned Butter Icing

3 Cups Flour
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
3/4 Cups Butter, softened
2 Cups Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
2 Large Eggs
4 Bananas (the riper the better)
1 Cup Sour Cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

1/4 Cup Butter
2 Cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 Tsp Vanilla
3 Tbsp Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter and flour your bundt pan.  Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl - set aside.  In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, then add vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Slowly mix in bananas, then sour cream until well combined.  Gradually add in dry ingredients/flour until just combined.  Pour into prepared bundt pan and tap pan flat on the counter a few times to help batter settle.  Bake for 60-75 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.  Transfer to cooling rack for 20 minutes before inverting out of pan.

Melt butter in small saucepan on stove until it turns a light brown color.  Whisk browned butter into powdered sugar and vanilla, then add milk until desired consistency.  I let mine cool a minute or so before pouring slowly over cake to help avoid it running off too quickly.