Baked Spaghetti (So Much Cheese!!!)

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Now this cheese-filled deliciousness feeds SO many people. We had 4 adults and 2 kids eat out of it with multiple portions and it barely dented it. This is a great recipe for family gatherings and it is so easy to make. You can pair it with regular meat sauce or alfredo sauce, both recipes can be found in my food folder.

Ingredients

9×13 pan (DO NOT go smaller than this)

24 oz spaghetti (or whatever pasta you want)

32 oz mozzarella cheese

8 oz ricotta cheese

8 oz sour cream

1 and 1/4 cups half-and-half

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp dried basil leaves (optional)

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta to how you like it. While the pasta is cooking, stir together sour cream, ricotta cheese, half-and-half, mozzarella, italian seasoning, pepper, minced garlic, salt, and half of the parmesan cheese. Add spaghetti noodles and stir until well coated. Pour mixture into a pan that is lightly greased with cooking spray. Top the spaghetti with the remaining parmesan cheese (you can add whatever shredded cheese you want to as well at this time), and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes and it’s done.

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Alfredo Sauce-True Comfort Food

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Bread dipped in alfredo sauce is the definition of comfort food. Below is a recipe that I tweaked when I was looking for a copycat Olive Garden recipe. However, I have to say that my alfredo sauce is so much better than Olive Garden’s version.

Sauce pan

Wooden spoon

2 sticks of butter

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 pints (4 cups) of heavy cream

2 cups fresh parmesan cheese

4 tbsp cream cheese

Salt and White Pepper (season to taste)

Basil leaves (optional-fresh or dried)

In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic, cook until the butter is melted. Next, add in heavy cream and cream cheese and heat until bubbling, but don’t boil. Add in parmesan cheese and mix until the cheese melts. Stir in the salt and pepper, and it’s done.

Note: I tend to make this with my baked spaghetti recipe, also some awesome comfort food.

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Strawberry Jell-o Marzipan

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Recently I decided to look up a recipe for a dessert my grandma used to make. Although mine are definitely not as pretty, they taste just the same. (And we all know that taste is what counts anyways.) Obviously I found the recipe, and it’s listed below. I hope you like it!

Ingredients

Bowl

Plastic wrap

Ziploc bag

2 3oz boxes of strawberry jell-o

1 cup of shredded coconut

1 cup of crushed or chopped pecans (I recommend crushed if you, like me, don’t have a food processor)

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup slivered almonds

A few drops of green food coloring

Instructions

Take 2 tablespoons worth of the jell-o mix and set aside. Mix the rest of the jell-o, coconut, pecans, and milk with a food processor, blender, or even just your hands. Once mixed, cover the bowl very tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. While that’s doing it’s thing, put the almonds and few drops of food coloring in a ziploc bag and shake it up. Voila! We have our stems. When the mixture is done cooling, have some kind of pan lined with parchment paper (preferably) and have the extra jell-o powder in a little bowl. Take some of the mixture and roll it into a strawberry shape. Next, roll the strawberry in the jell-o powder. Then stick the stem in and set aside. Repeat until the mixture is gone. Refrigerate or freeze in an airtight container.

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Copycat Panera® Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

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Here’s my broccoli and cheddar soup recipe that I love so much. It took me a while to find one that I liked, and then I tweaked it a bit. If it’s thick enough, you can even use it as a dip. I hope you enjoy!

1 tablespoon of butter

1/4 cup of melted butter

1/4 cup of flour

2 cups of milk

2 cups of chicken stock

1/2 onion-diced

1 bag of frozen broccoli florets

1 cup matchstick carrots

1 stalk of celery-cut into small pieces

2 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil frozen broccoli until it is pretty much cooked, drain, and chop it up coarsely. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot. Next, saute the onion in the butter until the onion is semitransparent. Whisk the flour and the quarter cup of melted butter together until the flour loses its lumpy texture (add a little bit of milk to it to keep it from burning, just 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time). Whisk the 2 cups of milk into the flour mixture, then stir in the chicken stock. Simmer until the flour taste is gone. Add all the veggies and cook until the veggies are tender. Stir in the cheese until it melts, and finally salt and pepper to your taste. Enjoy!

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Hibachi Chicken, Fried Rice, Veggies, Sticky Rice, and Cream Cheese Wontons

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I couldn’t quite figure out how I wanted to do this post, but I figure just all in one place is fine. This entire meal took about an hour and half or so to complete. It was YUMMY.  Things are in sequential order, for the most part. Read it through before cooking. (See my food folder for my egg drop soup recipe, it was one of my first recipe posts.)

Sticky Rice

2 cups of uncooked rice (medium grain is preferable)

4 cups of water

Bring the water to a boil and then stir in the rice. Cover the pot and let it simmer on a medium-low temperature. It’s going to take about 20 minutes to cook, but start looking at the water level around 12 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE LID. You know it’s done when you can’t really tell if there’s water in there or not. Once it’s done, fluff the rice with a fork or wooden spoon. Take out 4 cups of the sticky rice and set it aside to cool down (this will be the rice for the fried rice). The remaining rice is your sticky rice.

Hibachi Chicken

2 large pieces of chicken (preferably breasts)

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 lemon

A bit of salt and pepper

Heat the both of the oils up. While that’s heating, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken, butter, soy sauce, the juice from the lemon, and just a little bit of salt and pepper. (If this is too much salt or tang for you, then cut back the lemon juice to just half, use only 1 tbs of butter, and 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.) Set aside the chicken and keep it warm (I just put the chicken and the juices in a glass bowl by the stove). Don’t clean off the pan, you’ll need it for your fried rice.

Veggies

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of butter

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 large white onion (I do mean large)

1 large zucchini (haha I did’t have to use spell check for that, I’m proud of myself)

A little bit of salt and pepper

You want to cook this at the same time you cook the chicken. This will not take as long as the chicken, but the chicken will be done shortly after. Heat up the oils and cut up the onion and zucchini (save 1/2 cup of the onion). Cut the onion into slivers and quarter the zucchini. As soon as the oil is heated, add the veggies and everything else. Cook until the veggies are tender. Set the veggies to the side on a plate and keep warm. Don’t clean the pan, you’ll use it for the bean sprouts.

Bean Sprouts

1 tablespoon of butter

1 table spoon of soy sauce

1 can of bean sprouts

As soon as the veggies are done cooking, add the butter and melt it. Next, add the soy sauce and bean sprouts. Save a cup for the fried rice and the rest can be mixed in with the veggies. (You can just add all the veggies back to veggie skillet and cook it all a little bit longer to blend it better.)

Fried Rice

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1/2 cup of white onion

1 cup of bean sprouts

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons of butter

4 cups of cooked rice (cool to the touch)

4 tablespoons of soy sauce

Start heating up the oil in the skillet that cooked the chicken. You can either leave the onion in slivers or dice it. Add the onion and saute it. Once the onion is tender, add the bean sprouts. Saute for a couple of minutes and scoot the mixture to the side of the skillet. On the other side, scramble the two eggs. After that is mixed well, add the rice and butter. Then after all of that is mixed, stir in the soy sauce until it is well mixed. This is done.

Cream Cheese Wontons

1 package of wonton wrappers

1 package of chive and onion cream cheese

-or-

1 8-ounce package of regular cream cheese

1 bunch of green onions

Garlic Salt

Water

Vegetable oil

Heat up the oil. Soften the cream cheese. (If adding the onions and garlic salt, just mix it together with the cream cheese.) Have a little bit of water in a bowl. Set out a wrapper, wet all of the edges, add around a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture, and fold it in half. Repeat. I normally just make about twelve wontons. Fry just a few at a time until brown on both side. Add a little salt once it’s done if you love salt like me. Serve.

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Musings of a Cop’s Daughter

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I am the daughter of a former law enforcement officer. My dad took his retirement early being that his body was pretty beat up after years of physical altercations and instances on the job. Needless to say, it was sometimes awkward in school. My dad used to go to classmates’ houses for domestic disturbances or whatnot. Lately, I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot more cop bashing. (You know, there was a time I wouldn’t even use the word, “cop.” I saw it as disrespectful.)

The older I got, the more I understood the dangers of my dad’s job. Whether it be from criminals, driving, or even crooked cops. There was something always to worry about. I understand now just why my dad was always onto me about safety, such as always keeping the doors locked, never wear heels in case I have to run or fight, keep an eye out for people around me, etc. Eventually I came to appreciate the sacrifices my dad made.

Seeing all of the negativity surround law enforcement officers now offends me greatly. Don’t blame policemen for your mistakes or the mistakes of others. Many officers of the law are under constant stress for their lives and the lives of others every day. Routine traffic stops can quickly turn deadly, all because a guy doesn’t want another ticket.

Police officers have to see gruesome scenes, even see people kill themselves while they are helpless to stop them. Forgive me for saying so, but who are you to say cops are out there to get you? Who are you to say that they’re worthless? Who are you to say that cops are racist? They see the worst of people, but they keep going out there to help people. As a society, we can’t exist without the police.

The police save many lives every day in many different ways. Are there bad officers? Yes, but there are bad people in all walks of life. I can tell you, I would trust the word of a cop over a criminal any day of the week.

Stop bashing cops. Oh, wait. You only hate them when you don’t need them. Cops are only good when they’re saving you, but you don’t care. So, have fun being on that high horse while you can. There may be a day when you need them, but they won’t be there because of people like you.

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