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It's Not Just Popcorn!

Who Doesn’t Love Tater-tots Breakfast Casserole

I’ve made this recipe twice now and I tweaked it even more from the original recipe from Kraft. Made it better! And sorry, it’s not low-calorie, but come on, its got tater-tots in it! Or as they are sometimes called potato tots, potato puffs, etc. I have used Great Value brand and Aldi’s brand. Both came out amazing! The pictures are from the first time I made it, since I forgot to take pics the second time. It was Super Bowl Monday the 2nd time and it sure hit the spot that morning!

First time I made it I forgot to cover it when I baked it, still came out good but it needs to be covered. Omg, sooooo incredibly delicious! It can definitely be prepared the night before and then baked in the morning. For the sausage I use whatever type of sausage I have in the house. Usually some kind of chicken sausage. I’ve used the italian style and it’s fine. the original recipe also called for 2.5 ounces of bacon! HA! I used a whole pound. Also the original called for a 10.5 ounce can of cream of potato soup. The store was out of it when I went so I used the big “family” size can. I think it’s like 23 ounces. I used it all! Makes it much creamier.

This recipe is so simple to make. You will NOT be disappointed!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 pound cooked ground sausage

4 large eggs, scrambled

1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

3 1/2 cups thawed tater tots (any brand will be fine!)

1 family size (23 oz) can cream of potato soup (any brand is fine)

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese, divided in half.(use more if you wish!)

Sour cream for top if desired

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, except for 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese.
  2. Pour into a large casserole dish making sure it’s all distributed evenly.
  3. Cover and bake for 35 minutes at 350°.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and bake uncovered another 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly!
  5. Serve hot! If you want, add a dollop of sour cream to each serving.

 

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Twice Baked Butternut Squash (two ways)

This recipe was originally a Rachael Ray recipe which I adapted.  The first time I made it I ‘twice’ baked it back in the original shell of the squash. It came out wonderful. Delicious. Filling.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

The 2nd time I made this I was all ready to put it back in the shell/skin to ‘twice’ bake it when I decided to try it in a casserole dish instead. Maybe it wasn’t as fancy or unique as baking in the skin but it was easy and less of a hassle. 

Twice Baked Butternut Squash Casserole

Twice Baked Butternut Squash Casserole

I think both ways came out excellent. Both delicious. Both filling. This was the entire meal for John and I. It was more than enough. It can easily be used as a side dish as well. If using as a side dish I would say it serves 4 people but as a meal, 2 people.

The recipe is a little time-consuming but it is well worth it. It’s a simple dish with lots of flavors. Butternut squash is also low in calories and just plain delicious so give it a try! Actually the most difficult part of this is cutting the squash in half. Make sure you have a strong knife and sturdy counter!

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

salt and pepper

fresh nutmeg

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided in half (leave out if you wish)

¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided (or use any kind of sharp cheese you want, I used a combo of horseradish cheddar and regular cheddar last time)

8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese (feel free to use full fat one also)

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided. (we use Locatelli)

½ cup chopped finely red onion

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (use less if too much for you)

2-3 scallions chopped (all parts)

Directions:

Heat oven to 425°. Halve the squash lengthwise. Be very careful! Like I said this is the hardest part of the recipe. Scoop out the seeds and mushy stuff. (you’ll see what I mean)

Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a little fresh nutmeg. If using powdered just lightly sprinkle a little bit on top. Honestly this will not make it taste like a cake or anything weird. 

Roast till fork tender, 30-40 minutes. Let it cool so you can handle it easily.

Carefully scoop out the inside of the squash into a bowl, trying to keep the skins intact. (if you’re not going to use the skins than don’t worry about it)

Mash the squash.  I have a pretty lame masher so I put the squash flesh in my food processor and blended it till smooth.  

Put the squash in a large bowl and add half the cheddar, half the bacon, half the parmesan cheese, all of the ricotta, red onions, garlic and scallions. (you can save some scallions for topping if you wish)

Mix all completely. If using the shells place the filling back into the two shells. It will be a lot but don’t worry it’s fine.  If not using the shells place into a casserole dish. (I sprayed the casserole dish with cooking spray just in case).

Top the squash with the remaining cheddar, parmesan and bacon. Put back in oven for 5-10 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

Serve!!

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish

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Cobb Salad Dip

Well seems like my attempts at getting the blog done earlier with the new job isn’t working out. Today anyway. I thought I did it and then realized that was the day before! My brain is still adjusting to all of this.

I think pretty much everyone likes a good Cobb Salad. But with Super Bowl coming up I wanted something different to add this year. Salad is too healthy for Super Bowl snacking so this is the next best thing. Cobb Salad as a dip! Minus the lettuce of course. You can serve it with celery stick if you want but it will go best with  crackers or pita chips! Yum…. I will be making this myself for the first time this weekend so I will swap out the picture for my own when I do.


INGREDIENTS:

1 cup light sour cream

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 2 ounces)

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 medium avocado, finely chopped about 1 1/3 cups, cut just before serving

¼ cup thinly sliced scallions

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

4 pieces bacon, well-browned and crumbled

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1: This can be done up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in a covered container. Stir briefly and finish with step 2.

Place sour cream, blue cheese, lemon juice, salt and Worcestershire in a medium nonreactive bowl and stir until well combined.

Step 2: Fold in avocado, scallions, and parsley, transfer to a shallow serving dish and top with bacon. Serve with celery sticks or assorted crackers, chips, etc.

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Layered Salad

This is a recipe that I am sure most people have had at least once at a party. Some call it seven layer salad also. I have added a few ingredients of my own so it comes out a little more than seven layers! The picture I have here is when I made it for my friend Dana’s baby shower back in 2004! I usually put this salad in a trifle dish but if you don’t have one you can use a large clear glass (9×12) baking dish. There are usually no leftovers either. If you want to cut some calories use light mayonnaise, 2% cheddar, turkey bacon, and a sugar substitute such as Splenda for the sugar.

INGREDIENTS:

1 head lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1 cup celery, diced

4 eggs, hard-boiled and sliced

10 oz. frozen peas

1 cup shredded carrots

1 small sweet onion, diced (or you can use red onion if you prefer)

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 cups mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar

4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (or more if you like)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place lettuce in trifle dish or 9×12 dish. Layer remaining ingredients (except for mayonnaise, sugar and cheese)  in order given.

2. Add sugar to mayonnaise and spread over top of salad like frosting. Top with the shredded cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

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