Now I have in my life made pie crust from scratch but since baby #3 came along, I'm simplifying even more which means store bought pie crust & less mess & dishes!
So grab your pie crust & favorite pie or tart pan (I don't have an official tart pan!) and set your crust in. Then comes the mozzarella cheese. Feel free to shred your own or just use the pre-shredded kind like me because as far as I'm concerned it melts into yummy cheesy goodness with a lot less work! (Side note: Pre-shredded cheese was one of my favorite things about coming back to America!)
Next comes all those tomatoes. Depending on what you have you can just slice up some big ones & place those slices on top or if you have a bunch of cherry tomatoes I think it's super cute to cute them in half and line them on top of the cheese in big circles. Finally sprinkle on the fresh or dried basil and, if you want, a little drizzle of olive oil.
Finally pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is all melty. You'll probably want to let it sit for 5-10 minutes when you take it out of the oven to make sure the cheese isn't too gooey when you eat it. All that's left is enjoying!
What's your favorite way to use up all those end of the summer tomatoes?
With (hopefully!) less than 4 weeks to go until we meet #3 we're busy in baby prep mode, which includes digging out the baby boxes, wrapping up lose ends, and stocking the freezer with meals! The other day I made these great Cheesy Beefy Enchiladas and shared about it on Facebook & Instagram and of course there were requests for the recipe (because it really is amazing!). Since I wasn't planning on doing a whole recipe post there aren't any step by step instructions with pictures but I'm sure you'll figure it out!
Freezer Meal Tip:
Don't have lots of 9x13 pans? Always forget to buy aluminum pans for freezer meals? No problem!
I always line the bottom & sides of a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, fill it up with my enchiladas, casserole, or whatever and pop it in the freezer. At least a day later, I grab it out of the freezer, place a piece of aluminum foil over the top, flip over the casserole, & out it pops. Then I wrap it in aluminum foil, label & pop it back into the freezer until you want to enjoy it!
To Enjoy: Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of a 9x13 pan (it'll make clean up easier!). Then take your casserole out of the freezer & unwrap the top and place original casserole & tin foil back into a 9x13 pan. Defrost in the fridge for 24 hours before proceeding with the recipes directions.
What are your favorite freezer meals? I'm hoping to make a few more (and keep making them even post-baby because it really does save time & is so easy!)
Ice Cream Month is here! Yum!
Last year Iinterviewed Dan's Grandpa Pete, the biggest ice cream lover I know, in honor of Ice Cream Month. He likes to eat ice cream with all sorts of things including this recipe, his Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal a la Mode.
Our family had the privilege of living with Grandpa Pete & Grandma Mary for a few months after our RV was frozen solid a few winters ago. If Grandpa Pete was the first one up in the morning we'd often get treated to this delicious oatmeal for breakfast! I don't think exact measurements were ever used so I just guessed, that way you can easily recreate it yourself!
Start by chopping up your apples into little pieces & tossing them in a big microwave safe bowl. I leave the apple peel on when I chop it up for some added fiber goodness!
Next toss your oatmeal into the same big bowl and add the milk. You do make your oatmeal with milk, right? If not, seriously consider starting now. Did you know that by making even a small instant packet of oatmeal with milk instead of water you're adding 4 grams of protein to your breakfast?
Stir the oatmeal, apples, & milk together and then microwave it for 2 minutes on high. Then check & stir every minute until it's the consistency that you prefer. Oatmeal is actually one of the few areas that #DairyManDan & I have differing opinions. #DairyManDan likes stick-to-your-spoon-and-roof-of-your-mouth thick oatmeal and I prefer a more creamy smooth "runny" oatmeal. Since I was cooking & it looks better for pictures, it took our oatmeal a total of 5 minutes to reach perfection.
Then stir in your cinnamon & raisins before scooping into individual bowls.
And of course, the most important part comes last. Top each of those bowls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which will, of course, start melting right away creating even more creamy goodness for breakfast! This is where you can use discretion & determine how sweet you want your (or your kids') oatmeal. All that's left is to enjoy!
Do you have any unique ways you enjoy ice cream? I'll be sure to let Grandpa Pete know!
And because everyone loves to SCREAM for Ice Cream Month here are some other dairy farmers sharing their favorite ice cream recipes, stories, and more! Check 'em out!
Happy June Dairy Month! This month couldn't pass without another amazing dairy recipe! This one tops the list for so many reasons... it's packed with dairy (sour cream, cream cheese, milk, and Parmesan cheese!), it's perfect for making two at a time and freezing one for later (score!), and of course, it's delicious!
It's not a one-pot wonder but it is a two big pan wonder! In all these pictures I'm doubling the original recipe so I can freeze one for later. So let's started...
First things first... heat up that oven to 350 degrees and start boiling some water to cook those noodles however your package says (or just taste a noodle like I do!). Helpful hint: use a BIG pan... it'll be helpful later!
Next, chop up the onion to toss in the pan. See that handy-dandy chopper? It has saved me many tears, onion tears, that is. I LOVE my chopper! Then press some garlic into the onion pan.
At this point if Dairyman Dan walks by the window (because he's probably not in the house but in the barn or outside) he'd says something like, "Yum, that smells delicious!" To which I'd reply, "Of course it's onions & garlic, they always smell good!"
Now toss in your ground beef and mash it up. If you're like me, you'll be excited to use your Mix N Chop, which is perfect for browning ground beef... I can't believe I use to fight partial frozen ground beef with a spatula! When the beef is almost brown toss in the green peppers. Since mine were frozen I just eye-balled how much to put in.
No here's where I deviated a bit more from the original recipe. I had some tomato juice so instead of tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water I just used the tomato juice (which is essentially the same thing with some other added veggies - bonus!). Then sprinkle in the Italian Seasoning, stir it up, & let it simmer.
By the way, make sure to check those noodles if you forgot them... the kids, who help me "check" the noodles, usually don't let me forget!
Now onto the good part... Put your cream cheese & milk in a microwave safe bowl & cook them on medium in the microwave, stirring every 90 seconds or so. Because I doubled the recipe the whole way through it took my cream cheese about 5 minutes to melt. But every microwave is different so keep checking & stirring at the 90 second mark! Keep stirring it until you get a nice smooth sauce.
When I made this I had some of our farmer-owned dairy coop's cream cheese on hand... this stuff is amazing! I don't always have it on hand to use but we love when I do! It's so amazing that some of it travels all the way to Korea to make premium cheesecakes!
At this point you're going to want to make sure that your cream cheese mixture is in a big bowl or that the pan that your noodles were cooked in is big 'cause it's all going together!
If you have your noodles all drained, combine the noodles, the cream cheese, the sour cream, (just 1 cup) the Parmesan cheese and the corn starch because we're freezing it! Stir well and be in awe of all the creamy dairy goodness!
Next you'll have to decide if you're baking both right away or freezing one for later. I suggest freezing one. So that my freezer doesn't hold one of my baking pans captive until I bake the second casserole I line one of the pans with aluminum foil, freeze it, and then remove it when frozen to wrap up and store until it's time to bake it. I'm using 9x13 casserole/cake pans but any 2 quart baking dish should work fine.
Now you're ready to assemble. It's pretty easy - two pans, two layers in each pan. First put half of the cream cheese/noodle mixture in each pan and then top with half of the ground beef mixture in each pan. Finally step is to sprinkle the remaining Parmesan Cheese on top.
Pop one in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until it's bubbly. The other one, pop in the freezer until it's frozen solid (12-24 hours, I'm not exactly sure how long really... I usually forget until the next time I open the freezer!)
Then take it out, serve with salad or veggie on the side and of course a tall glass of milk! And at our house probably some $1 Italian Bread from Walmart, which reminds us of our time living overseas in the bread basket of the world!
Once the second one is frozen, take it out of the freezer, take it out of the pan and wrap the whole thing in more aluminum foil and write on the top:
"Sicilian Casserole: Thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Bake covered 25-35 minutes and then uncovered 5-10 minutes until bubbly. "
That way you don't have to remember, plus if you end up wanting to drop off a meal to a friend or neighbor, it's all ready to go!
With all this yummy cheese, this casserole will help you get your #Dairy3forMe! Three servings of dairy a day, including milk, cheese, & yogurt is so HEALTHY plus it's Dairy-licious!
Pledge to get your 3 servings a day! Let me know if you do!
It just so happens that as dairy farmers we not only love our cows we also love all the delicious foods they give us! Really if you think about it it's pretty amazing what can be made from milk... cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, ice cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, cheese (I guess I already said that but there's SO many options I had to say it again!), butter, and of course, a cold glass of milk, and many, many others, not to mention all the variations on the above!
To switch it up a bit every so often I'm going to start sharing some of our household's favorite recipes that include yummy dairy products! Some will be long-standing family traditions, some new discoveries, and some menu mainstays, and all delicious!
** Warning: I'm not a food blogger.... So far I rarely remember to take a picture of the finished product let alone the whole process so you'll just have to imagine each step! I will give you some of my personal pointers & tips though!
First up is a new recipe to our family! My sister-in-law is a Pampered Chef consultant & over the years I've fallen in love their kitchen products! During a recent Facebook party this recipe popped up and I knew we had to try it! To make a long story short I came to own this amazingly beautiful LARGE round stone and my fridge just happened to be filled with cream cheese (this recipe's secret dairy ingredient!) and eggs, perfect for this brunch pizza!
I'm a pretty basic simple cook... not a lot of fancy ingredients around our house. But I do also like to start with real foods that aren't packaged or processed as much since they're both cheaper & better for you. So most recipes get a little tweaking!
For this I recipe I browned the sausage on the stove & then added some frozen peppers - I use frozen green peppers in all sorts of things! Next it took a few rounds in the microwave to smooth out the cream cheese & then we added farm fresh eggs from some friends, although we use store bought all the time too!
The trickiest part was cutting the biscuits horizontally - I used a big serrated bread knife. Honestly I rarely use pre-made refrigerated biscuits but it did make this recipe go faster & they are yummy! I used my super awesome Pampered Chef roller to squish the biscuits all together but I think a glass or your fingers would work just as well!
Then all that's left is sprinkling, pouring, a little more sprinkling. Now let's talk cheese for a moment. The original recipe called for provolone cheese but I'm not sure I've ever had provolone cheese in our house, so we used boring (and so delicious) ol' cheddar! Next it was stuck it in the oven and of course waited for it to come out! We'll be making it again for sure!
Growing up a city-girl, after marrying my dairy farmer husband and spending a few years abroad, we came home to expand the family dairy farm and want to share our journey & farm life with you!