10 Super Quick Appetizers

Hosting on a budget or short on time? These 10 super quick appetizers are perfect for your next no-fuss gathering.

10 super easy appetizers

I love entertaining and I love having people over, but now that I have kids, I am often short on time. Before kids anyone could come over with a moment’s notice. Now, I need at least a day or two to pick up the clothes, the toys and all the goldfish crumbs. I always find myself short on time and no matter how early I start, I feel like I am running behind. So today, I thought I’d share 10 super quick appetizers. These appetizers are quick to make and generally don’t take a ton of ingredients.

Boursin on Baguette

Boursin cheese

If you’ve never had Boursin cheese, you’re missing out. Boursin is a French spreadable cheese similar to cream cheese. Although garlic and herb is the classic version, it comes in a variety of flavors like:

  • Pepper
  • Fig & Walnut
  • Cranberry & Spice (seasonal)
  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Shallot & Chive
  • Basil & Chive

No recipe needed. Buy your cheese and let it come to room temperature. Cut your baguette and brush a little bit of olive oil on each side and toast on a grill pan. Spread your cheese once the toast is cooled and serve!

Baked Brie and Chutney

Baked brie is one of my favorite appetizers. This mild cheese can be found in the “nice cheese” part of your grocery store and typically comes in a wheel. It isn’t the cheapest, but it’s always a crowd-pleaser and has always been considered an upscale appetizer. I love to wrap the Brie in puff pastry or phyllo dough but if you want to keep it simple, you can bake it naked for about 7 to 10 minutes at 350. If you don’t have time to get all fancy with chutney, consider just spreading with preserves or thick jam. Even cranberry sauce or honey pairs well with it.

Brie

Cheese and Grapes or Cheese and Olives Skewers

This is definitely an easy appetizer. In fact, many grocery stores will even cube the cheese for you at the deli so you don’t have to do all the cutting. Anthos or Kalamata olives pair nicely with cheese, just make certain that grapes are seedless and olives are pitted. All you need is cubed cheese, seedless grapes and pitted olives. The skewer them using cocktail picks and place them out. You can help keep cheese cool by serving on a marble pastry or cheeseboard.

10 super easy appetizers

Cheeseboard (Charcuterie Board)

For this, you can leave cheese whole in wedges and serve with cheese knives for easy cutting. Pair with a cracker variety and/or grapes. Three or four wedges should be plenty. A great cheeseboard has a variety of hard and soft cheeses. Stick to classic cheeseboard cheeses like:

  • Blue Cheese (Roquefort, Blue Stilton, Gorgonzola, Maytag, Danish Blue)
  • Cheddar (Farmhouse, Longhorn, Extra Sharp, Aged)
  • Brie
  • Goat Cheese
  • Other Cheeses (Havarti, Swiss, Provolone, Parmesan-Reggiano, Gouda, Gruyere)

Of course I love turning this into a charcuterie board full of fruits, nuts, and salami (see pic below). But if you need to keep it simple and don’t want to spend a lot of time putting it together, a few wedges of cheese and crackers does the trick! Be sure to read my post How to Make the Ultimate Charcuterie Board for a large scale version of a cheese board.

wine & cheese
My Charcuterie Board

Bruschetta

Brushetta is a simple salad that uses Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, Parmesan, and olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. You may need to add a little salt to it. But it doesn’t take much to whip up this five-ingredient appetizer up. You will need to help cut up a baguette to serve it on. You can even let guests spread it themselves if you are worried about the bread going soggy. To prevent this, toast your baguette with a little brushed olive oil and grill it until golden brown.

Bruschetta

Caprese Salad Skewers

Caprese Salad is a three-ingredient salad – tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. A simple dressing of balsamic vinaigrette and extra-virgin olive oil is drizzled on top. For parties, I love putting it on skewers or toothpicks or putting it in small cups. If preparing in advance for a party, don’t drizzle the dressing until you are ready to serve or keep it on the side. To serve on the side you can put the dressing in a small bowl for dipping. Or if you are offering the appetizer on small plates you can keep the dressing in a small creamer pitcher for guests to drizzle.

Caprese salad skewers

Pimento Cheese

About fifteen years ago, I found a fabulous recipe for pimento cheese. I was not a pimento cheese fan. Of course, I had only ever had it in a processed variety that you get in a jar from the grocery store. No wonder I didn’t like it. Try my recipe for a fresh version of pimento cheese. I know you will love it. The recipe uses Monterrey Jack cheese. I really recommend you use that instead of cheddar which can be overpowering. It then combines fresh dill, minced garlic, mayonnaise, and of course pimentos.

You can serve it with crackers and a spreader or you can purchase some nice artisan bread from your local supermarket and spread it on finger sandwiches. Either way, it’s an easy appetizer that whipped up quickly for guests.

Monterrey Jack Pimento Cheese

This homemade Pimento Cheese is to die for. Monterrey Jack. Is blended with mayo, Pimento, garlic and dill. 
15 mins
Course Appetizer
Servings 2 Cups

Ingredients
  

  • 8 Oz Monterrey Jack Cheese shredded
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Dill Chopped
  • 2 Oz Pimento Strained

Instructions
 

  • With a food strainer, strain the pimentos until all the liquid is gone. 
  • In a medium bowl, add cheese and Pimento. 
  • Mince garlic and add to mixture. 
  • Add dill and mayonnaise. Stir well  until fully combined. 
  • Refrigerate for one hour before serving. 
Keyword appetizer, cheese, dill, easy appetizer, entertaining, monterrey jack, pimeto, pimeto cheese, sandwiches
Pimento cheese spread

Hot Goat Cheese Fondue

I first tried this hot goat cheese fondue at a local farm-to-market style restaurant here in San Antonio where I live. Once I got home, I was determined to make it myself. If you are a goat cheese fan, this Mediterranean-inspired dish is delicious and it is super quick to make. You will need a log of goat cheese (at least four ounces), cherry tomatoes, pitted kalamata olives, fresh rosemary, and extra-virgin olive oil. Baked together, it is bubbly, cheesy, goodness. You can serve it with warmed or grilled pita bread or baguette. This recipe is easy with only a handful of ingredients and is done in less than half an hour.

Goat Cheese Fondue

Goat Cheese Fondue

This delicious new take on fondue fuses Mediterranean flavors like Goat Cheese, Kalamata Olives, Fresh Rosemary, Olive Oil and Sweet Tomatoes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-4 Small Sweet Tomatoes
  • 4 Oz Goat Cheese
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 6-8 Kalamata Olives Pitted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • In a small dish, place goat cheese and place in the over for 5-10 mins until softened. 
  • While in the oven, pit olives (if not pre-pitted) and separate rosemary from stem.
  • Once goat cheese is semi soft take out of oven and spread the cheese to fully cover the bottom of the dish. 
  • Sprinkle fresh rosemary. Add 3-4 tomatoes and add olives
  • Turn broiler on low and place cheese in oven
  • Melt under broiler for approximately 5 mins. Pay close attention to the cheese as things can burn quickly under the broiler. 
  • Once melted, remove from oven. Drizzle olive oil on the top. Best served with warm bread.

Fried Ravioli with Marinara

Can we just agree that most things taste better fried? Okay, well maybe not everything. I definitely enjoy things fresh, but for an appetizer, fried ravioli is really good and it is a little more refined than say that fried cheese sticks that grace every sports bar in America. You will need fresh ravioli. It does not matter if it is cheese or meat filled. Heat up some vegetable oil to 365º F and fry your ravioli for 2 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle salt and a small amount of grated parmesan on it. Plate a small bowl of marinara sauce for dipping. Easy peasy!

Quesadillas

Maybe it’s because I’m Hispanic, but quesadillas are so good! Sure you can always do chips and salsa if you want to really make it easy, but if you are looking for something a little more filling for your guests, you can always warm up some quesadillas. You can do a wide variety of different kinds. You can keep it simple and just do cheese (The best Mexican cheeses for quesadillas are Oaxaca, Asadero, Chihuahua, and Manchengo) or you can add meat or pico de gallo. You can keep them warm in a tortilla warmer until guests arrive. Then serve with guacamole, sour cream and salsa for dipping.

I hope you enjoyed this 10 super easy appetizers. Don’t forget to pin this post for later (you may need it). What is your favorite appetizer? Do you have a go-to dish? Tell me in the comments.

Hot Cranberry Orange Cider

Hot cranberry orange cider is a delicious hot punch that is perfect for holiday parties in the Fall and Winter.

Hot cranberry orange cider

I love cranberries. I get so excited when I see them finally appear in our grocery store. Once Fall hits, I make a wide variety of cranberry foods. From cranberry-orange muffins to white chocolate and cranberry cookies, I love making things with cranberry. I’ve had this recipe for a few years and I’ve grown to love it. This recipe actually calls for cranberry juice which you can get year-round. However, I love to add a few whole cranberries to the punch when I serve it. We’ll get into all that later, but for now, let me tell you about this easy punch recipe.

We love entertaining around Christmas time. In fact, for the last seven years, I’ve been hosting Christmas for our family. I always set up an awesome hot chocolate bar that family and friends rave about! You can see my post on how to set up your own hot chocolate bar. I even have the best slow cooker hot chocolate recipe that you’ll ever try! Be sure to check those out before you leave.

How to Make Hot Cranberry Orange Cider

When I found this recipe years ago, it came with specific instructions to make over the stove. That is how I am going to share the recipe today, However, you can make the entire recipe in the slow cooker (e.g. crockpot) if you like. This recipe calls for several things, frozen concentrate and cinnamon imperials. Don’t know what those are? Cinnamon hard candy. Kind of like starlight mints except they are cinnamon flavored. You can find them at your local grocery store in the candy section.

This recipe calls for no actual sugar or cinnamon. Instead, it uses the sugar in the candies to sweeten the tart drink. The recipe instructions direct you to melt down the cinnamon candy by boiling it with the cranberry fruit cocktail which essentially turns the candies into a cinnamon syrup. Yes, the candies will still melt if done in the crockpot, but it will take a while. Until they are fully melted they can be a choking hazard, if someone doesn’t realize they are in there and they go for a cup before they are dissolved. Trust me, this can happen, even with adults. So I’d still recommend that you dissolve them on the stove. Then if desired you can transfer over to a crockpot afterward. I normally do just that, so the punch can stay warm as guests serve themselves. The recipe also calls for whole cloves, so you want to make sure you strain those out before serving. The stovetop method ensures your punch is ready in 30 minutes.

Cloves

Serving Hot Cranberry Cider

When you serve it, you can serve it directly in your crockpot. I recommend providing a ladle and spoon rest so avoid your countertop or surface from getting sticky from the ladle. If you don’t want to serve it in a crockpot and want a more classy look, they sell chafing punch bowls on Amazon. They are way more sophisticated than crockpots for your holiday parties.

By the way, if you are using a crockpot, allow me to introduce you to my best friend. A couple of years ago I discovered the slow cooker liners and they are awesome. I don’t typically buy disposable stuff, but these are awesome especially around the holidays. During the holidays my crockpots are used almost on a daily basis. The only thing I hate about using them is all the soaking and scrubbing in between uses. This totally eliminates the need for both. Just take and toss when you are done and then wash your crockpot without the elbow grease.

When I serve it, I often serve it in my old depression glass punch bowl or in cute Santa mugs. These Santa mugs (below) are from Pottery Barn. They are exactly like my mother’s vintage ones in her kitchen. You can also put it in Mason jar mugs. Another favorite of mine. I serve the punch with whole cranberries which I put in the punch while being warmed and I garnish with a cinnamon stick.

hot cranberry orange cider
santa mugs

Hot Cranberry Orange Cider

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 24

Ingredients
  

  • 64 fl oz Cranberry Juice Cocktail
  • 2 Cups Water
  • ½ Cup Cinnamon Imperials (candy)
  • 12 Whole Cloves
  • ½ Cup Frozen orange juice concentrate
  • ½ Cup Frozen lemonade juice concentrate

Instructions
 

  • Combine cranberry juice, water, cloves, and cinnamon candy into a large stockpot.
  • Boil mixture until candies are fully dissolved. Reduce heat to low.
  • Add lemonade and orange concentrates. Remove cloves.
  • Transfer to a crockpot or heatproof serving bowl. Keep heat on low. Serve with heatproof mugs or punch cups. Garnish with cinnamon and whole cranberries if desired.
Keyword citrus, cranberry, holiday, holiday party, holiday punch, lemon dressing, orange, punch
Vintage Green Punch Bowl

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole has become a family favorite of ours. My family begs me to make this dish every Thanksgiving. So today, I’m sharing these easy fall dish that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Easy Sweet potato casserole

When I was a child, both my grandmother and my mother always made candied yams for Thanksgiving. Candied yams is a traditional thanksgiving dish. First, they used canned yams. I don’t mean to offend if you use canned vegetables. I actually love to can food. But the yams always seemed mushy and soggy. Candied yams then top them with marshmallows, cherries, even pineapple. It was never a favorite of mine. I just didn’t care for the combination. So for years, when people passed them to me, I passed them right along.

Fast forward to my twenties. I can recall watching a morning program where Martha Stewart was a guest and was sharing her version of sweet potato casserole. Oh my, this dish looked divine and I’ll never forget what she said. She said it tasted like sweet potato pie without the crust. Now that I had to try. (I dare say, it is better because of the praline topping). So that day I headed to the store for my first try of sweet potato casserole. It was a huge hit at Thanksgiving. To this day, my family will pass over the pies to have the sweet potato casserole. I often get asked to bring it to Fall parties. Trust me, it’s delicious! What really makes this superb is the praline topping.

Making Sweet Potato Casserole

Over the years, I’ve tweaked Martha’s recipe based on my own experience. I’ve also been influenced by other versions. You will need a nice deep casserole dish. I personally love baking it in stoneware because it is so easy to go from oven to table. I also highly recommend using raw, fresh sweet potatoes. You can cook them any way you like (bake or boil). However, I have found that boiling them makes them much easier to mash because they are very tender. Baking also takes much more cook time.

Now, if you want to save yourself some time in the kitchen or want to save some real estate on your stove on Thanksgiving Day, you can always cook the potatoes the day before and store in the fridge. Then you can take them out when you are ready for them and create your casserole. I’ve been asked if you can prep the whole casserole the day before. Yes, you can. However, you’ll need to make sure you put it in a metal pan instead of glass or stoneware. Putting an ice-cold dish in a piping hot oven can cause the glass to shatter. Also, you may need to increase the cook time to an hour if your casserole is refrigerator cold.

Sweet Potato Casserole

One of my favorite kitchen tools I’ve ever come across is this brown sugar keeper. If you haven’t discovered this, you don’t know what you are missing. It contains a terra-cotta disk that keeps your brown sugar soft and fresh. And it isn’t just for brown sugar! They also sell little terra-cotta discs that keep lots of things soft and fresh. Things like cookies, baked goods, marshmallows, baker’s coconut and granulated sugar. Anything that you want to keep soft. Best of all you can use them forever. Just wash them with soap water whenever you want to put it in a different food container.

Brown sugar

How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole

You will need about 3-4 lbs of sweet potatoes. It is up to you if you want to peel before or after boiling. I prefer to peel after so they aren’t too waterlogged. Once peeled, transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Mash your sweet potato with a potato masher. I typically don’t mind lumps in mashed potatoes, but for this recipe, I recommend working out as much of the lumps as you can. In a separate small bowl, beat your eggs, then add them to your potato mixture. Then you will add your pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, milk, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, butter, and mix well. You will then pour the mixture into an ungreased casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, you will create a sugary praline topping. You will mix brown sugar, butter, flour, and pecans until it resembles a coarse mixture. The sprinkle atop the potato filling. You’ll bake it in the oven uncovered for about 45 mins. If you love this recipe, you should try another Fall favorite of mine Slowcooker Pumpkin Spice Latte. I make it every Thanksgiving as well! Your friends will ask you for that recipe also.

Easy sweet potato casserole

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is a lot like sweet potato pie without the crust. This delicious sweet potato dish with praline topping is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Deep casserole dish
  • potato masher

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Large Sweet potatoes peeled, cut into large chunks
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs Slightly beaten
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar packed
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ Stick Unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), melted
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

For the Topping

  • ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar Packed
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter melted
  • ¼ Tsp Kosher Salt
  • ¾ Cup Pecans Chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ground

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • In a large stockpot, add peeled, cubed sweet potatoes with a pinch of salt into boiling water. Bring boil to high heat and then reduce heat and cook until potatoes are very tender (about 20 mins).
  • Drain potatoes in colander and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Smash potatoes using a potato masher.
  • In a small bowl, slightly beat eggs then add to the potato mash.
  • Add milk, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, melted butter, vanilla into the bowl with potato and egg mixture. Stir ingredients well until fully combined.
  • Transfer to an ungreased baking dish. Spread the mixture out so that it is even across the dish.
  • In a small bowl combine the ingredients for the topping – brown sugar, pecans, all-purpose flour, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Sprinkle topping over the pumpkin mixture.
  • Place into the oven uncovered. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
Keyword casserole, casserole recipes, chocolate dessert, fall, praline, side dish, sweet potato, thanksgiving

Storing and Leftovers

If you have any leftovers you can store them in an air tight container for three to four days. Leftovers are easily warmed up in the microwave or in the oven.

Friends, thank you so much for joining me today. I know that 2020 has been an exceptionally hard year. But I encourage you to make the best of it. FaceTime or Zoom with family and friends. Write some gratitude lists as a family. Focus on what is going right instead of all the things that wrong this year. There are always reasons to be grateful. Until next time friends. Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving.

Signature

Authentic Mexican Champurrado

It is sweater weather! Today on My Beautiful Mess, I’m sharing a family favorite. Authentic Mexican Champurrado is a thick, earthy, Mexican hot chocolate, perfect for those crisp, Autumn nights.

Fall is my favorite season. I love all things Fall. The bonfires and chilly nights, pumpkins and falling leaves. It’s heaven. I am definitely a pumpkin spice girl and if you haven’t checked out my Pumpkin latte recipe, you don’t know what you are missing! It’s the best ever and uses fresh pumpkin instead of artificial flavors. But I don’t just enjoy pumpkin lattes in the fall. I also love hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Since I’m Latina, I also love Mexican versions of this chocolatey drink.

Mexican hot chocolates have a unique flavor to them. Instead of strait chocolate, sugar and milk, they are made with aromatic spices. Like many Mexican desserts, they are also less sweet than American varieties. Traditional Mexican hot chocolate has bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, cayenne pepper and/or chili powder. The pepper and chili powder added is only a small amount. In fact, you’d probably never know those spices are in there. Today, I’m sharing another special hot chocolate variety. Authentic Mexican Champurrado.

A Quick History Trip

Hot chocolate actually originated in Mexico, and Central and South America. Cocoa beans are indigenous to this area. The Aztecs and Mayans made hot chocolate before the European old world. The Spanish explorers would eventually bring it back to Europe. Because sugarcane was native to Asia, the original versions of this drink were very bitter and an acquired taste as the chocolate was drunk in its pure form.

When Spanish colonists began drinking it they added sugar, sweetening it to the yummy drink we know today. But back then in the sixteenth century, cocoa beans were such a commodity that only the rich and aristocrats could afford it. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine a life without chocolate!

Making Authentic Mexican Champurrado

Mexican Champurrado is a warm hot chocolate drink, but it has a slightly different spice palette than traditional Mexican hot chocolate. Instead of chili powders, the drink is made with vanilla, star anise, cinnamon, and piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar). But the biggest difference is that corn masa is added to thicken the drink. This changes the texture quite a bit from traditional hot chocolate drinks. First, it is fairly thick and the texture will be different because of the grain that is in it. When I was a child it reminded me of a chocolate cream of wheat. If it is too thick, you can add some more milk to thin the consistency. As you bring it to a boil, the starches in the masa will break down and act as a thickener. You will need to stir and whisk constantly with a molinillo to avoid any lumps. It should not be grainy or gritty. If it is, you haven’t boiled it long enough.

For the chocolate, you can use Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate tablets. Incidentally, if you want to make traditional Mexican hot chocolate, just use these tablets with milk as I find they are the perfect blend of cocoa, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon which gives it that authentic flavor. Also, you will see that the recipe calls for simmering whole spices in water and then using that fragrant water to add to your chocolate mixture. I highly recommend using this method over ground spices. You will know your water is reading when the water is brown and fragrant. Strain the cinnamon, cloves and star anise out and add the spiced water to your Champurrado mix.

Tools

If you plan on making this often, I recommend buying a molinillo. A molinillo is a wooden Mexican whisk. It helps to froth the milk manually and breakdown the chocolate while blending the spices. The one in my kitchen is well-loved as it has been passed down to me. To use the molinillo, place the whisk head in the hot chocolate pan and roll the handle in the palms of your hands. Other than that all you really need is a large saucepan and of course your favorite mugs for serving. If you don’t have a molinillo you can use a regular whisk, it just won’t froth the milk as well as the molinillo. I find using a whisk doesn’t really alter the taste in any noticeable way.

Serving Champurrado

Champuraddo is very popular on Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) which is the same week as our American Halloween and during Las Posadas during December. We often enjoy it fireside. I love serving authentic Mexican Champurrado with some Mexican desserts like homemade churros or conchas (pan dulce).

Just like American hot chocolate, you can serve it with whipped cream or marshmallows and a cinnamon stick, but it isn’t necessary. I personally think everything is better with whipped cream. If you want, you can also add alcohol or liqueur to it and turn it into an adult hot chocolate. Champurrado does not store well, so drink it up while it is fresh and piping hot.

Authentic Mexican Champurrado

This Mexican style hot chocolate is thick and earthy with aromatic spices like cinnamon, vanilla, star anise, cloves, and piloncillo
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine latin, Mexican
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Molinillo
  • Strainer

Ingredients
  

  • Cups Whole Milk
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Star Anise
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Whole Clove
  • 1 Tbsp Piloncillo crushed, to taste
  • ¾ Cup Pinole, coarse ground masa flour
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate Drink Tablets

Instructions
 

  • In a small saucepan, add water and cinnamon stick, clove, and star anise. If you are using a vanilla pod instead of vanilla extract, add it to the water with the other spices. Boil the water and spices until the water is fragrant (about 10 mins). Then allow it to steep for an additional 2-3 minutes. Strain and reserve spiced water.
  • In another saucepan over medium heat add milk. Add the Mexican chocolate drink tablets and the pinole. Using a molinillo, roll the handle in the palms of your hand to froth the milk and dissolve the pinole and chocolate tablets. If you don't have a molinillo, you can use a whisk. Continue until fully dissolved and chocolate mixture is thickened (about 10 minutes).
  • Remove from heat. Add piloncillo. Let rest until sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes)
  • Add the fragrant water. Stir well and serve.
Keyword atole, champurrado, chocolate, hot chocolate, mexican hot chocolate, milk

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Simple Homemade Flour Tortillas

They are little rounds of heaven. You’ll be surprised to know how easy it is to whip up a batch of simple homemade flour tortillas tonight for dinner. Today, I’m sharing my authentic recipe straight from our Tex-Mex kitchen.

simple homemade flour tortillas

Homemade flour tortillas are one of the best things on the planet. Growing up in my Hispanic family, I loved it when my mom had a steaming hot, fluffy stack of homemade tortillas waiting for us. I loved smearing butter all over freshly warmed tortillas. They were so good.

Lately, I’ve been making them often. First, they are great for lunches for the kids. I grill them up with cheese and make quesadillas for their lunch. Sometimes I have some leftover meat, but not quite enough for a meal, that’s when I shred it up for tacos or quesadillas. I’m a little embarrassed to say that it doesn’t matter how many tortillas I make, we always seem to eat them all!

So today I’m going to show you how easy it is to make simple homemade flour tortillas right in your kitchen. They are far superior to store-bought ones and once you get familiar with making them, you won’t want the rubbery, chewy mass-produced ones.

Ingredients

Tortillas are a wonderfully easy bread because they require few ingredients. In fact, you may already have what you need. First, all you need is all-purpose flour. There is no need to use any kind of special flour. As I mentioned before, tortillas are unleavened bread, so you don’t need leavening agents like baking powder or yeast. However, you can add baking powder to make them fluffier if you desire. Really, all you need is flour, lard, water and a pinch of salt.

Traditionally tortillas are made with lard. I think lard makes the best version of tortillas. The tortillas seem to have a fluffier, smoother texture with lard. I highly recommend using lard above any other fat. However, if you don’t have lard on hand you can substitute other fats. You can also make them with butter, shortening and even vegetable oil in a pinch.

You can buy lard at the store in the butter section. It costs around the same price as butter and it stores in your fridge for months. You can even make lard at home (see video below). That’s right, don’t throw those drippings away!

Tools

Many people are discouraged from making tortillas for one simple reason – rolling out circles, I know I underestimated how hard it is to roll out a perfect circle. Like really hard! Personally, I don’t mind if mine aren’t perfect, but others do. I will say that it takes lots of practice to roll them out, so don’t get discouraged if they aren’t perfect. I guarantee you regardless of their shape, they will still taste amazing! So you can use two different methods to make them. You can roll them out using a rolling pin or you can use a tortilla press.

homemade flour tortillas

Tortilla presses are great because you put your ball of dough in, clamp down and it presses out your tortilla to the perfect thickness and size. It definitely makes them more uniform looking. Using a tortilla press also seriously cuts down on time. It takes far less time to press them as it does to roll them out. So if you are making them for a weeknight dinner, this really speeds it up. I highly recommend using a cast-iron one. I love mine.

Frankly, you don’t need any special tools to make tortillas, but I’ve used my stand mixer to speed things up as well as using a pastry blender if I am doing it by hand.

Also, if you make tortillas often, you may want to invest in a tortilla warmer. They really do keep them warm for a long while. They are fairly cheap too. If you don’t have a tortilla warmer, place a clean dishcloth inside a covered dish and slip them into the dishcloth to keep them warm.

Cooking the Tortillas

To make tortillas you’ll combine your ingredients – flour, salt, hot water and your lard. If you want them to be fluffier you can also add 1 teaspoon of baking powder. If you are substituting a different fat for lard such as vegetable oil or shortening you will use the same measurements as lard which is ⅓ cup. Mix the dough with a dough hook attachment on your stand mixer or you can use a pastry cutter to cut in the lard.

You can divide your dough into sixteen portions. That will make about 16 small 6″ tortillas or you divide into twelve pieces and it will yield about a dozen 8″ tortillas. I typically make 8″ ones.

Tortillas need to be cooked one at a time unless you have a long griddle, in which case you can do two at a time. Place the tortillas down on a griddle with medium heat. Cook for about 2 mins on each side. You will likely see the tortilla puff as it cooks. That is totally normal. Flip it over. The cooked side should have some light brown spots That’s how you know it is cooked! Then repeat on the other side.

How to Store Them

So you can choose to warm your tortillas all at once or you can choose to warm them up over a period of a couple of days. Store the ready-made tortillas in your fridge in a zip lock bag. You can separate them with wax paper so they don’t stick together. I recommend taking them out of the fridge about ten to fifteen minutes before you are ready to warm them up so they cook quickly and evenly on your griddle. I think they cook better that way than when they are a stone-cold temperature.

Simple Flour Tortillas

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Breads
Cuisine Mexican

Equipment

  • Griddle

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Lard, cold
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Tsp baking powder optional

Instructions
 

  • Add flour to a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk salt and baking powder (optional) to the flour. Baking powder is optional but will give you a fluffier tortilla. Alternatively, instead of mixing by hand, you may use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
  • Add lard to flour mixture and cut in with a pastry blender (or if using a stand mixer mix on low. You can also you use your hands if you don't have tools. You do not need to need the dough, only mix.
  • Slowly add water until a tacky dough forms
  • Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface. Divide dough into twelve pieces. Roll each piece into a ball about the size of a golf ball.
  • Heat a griddle on your stove at medium-high heat.
  • Begin by flouring your rolling pin to prevent dough from sticking. Take a ball of dough and roll it evenly into a 7-8" circle.
  • Place a tortilla on the hot griddle. The tortilla will puff as it cooks. Cook on each side for about 30 seconds. Flip regularly until you see light brown spots on the heated side.
Keyword bread, easy bread, flour, mexican bread, mexican food, tortillas, unleavened bread

That’s it! Enjoy your homemade tortillas with your favorite Mexican food dish. Be sure to check out some of my favorites like perfect Spanish rice and Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.

Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

This yummy recipe leaves out all the heavy carbs and grains for a protein-packed, easy low-carb meatloaf that will be your new family favorite.

Easy low carb meatloaf

I’ve got a new recipe for you. Well, it is new to you but old to me. That’s because this is actually my grandmother’s recipe. I’ve been making this for years and when I got on the Keto diet, I thought I should share it with others for those looking for a low-carb meatloaf recipe. Hold up, don’t run away. I hope you give this recipe a chance. I know there are a lot of people out there who cringe at the idea of meatloaf. Admittedly, I’m not a meatloaf fan of the other recipes I have tried in the past. This is the only one I like!

Meatloaf is a nice hardy dish to serve your family. Here in the south, it is comfort food. I love serving it with a steaming heap of buttery mashed potatoes and some greens like Southern-style green beans or roasted Brussel sprouts and bacon. By the way, if you are looking for another easy weeknight recipe, take a look at my Easy Chicken Tetrazzini recipe before you go.

Making Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

One thing that is nice and different about this meatloaf is that it is low carb. If you are doing a special diet like Paleo, Atkins or Keto, this is going to be great for you. Obviously, if you are doing Paleo, you’ll want to try and use grass-fed beef. Lots of meatloaf recipes call for breadcrumbs, stuffing, or other grains to form the loaf shape. This recipe uses absolutely no breadcrumbs or other grains. The only carbs in it are from bell pepper, onion and a small amount of tomato sauce. Instead of using breadcrumbs to hold the meat together in a loaf, this recipe uses protein – one large egg. The egg acts as the binding agent.

The other thing that makes this meatloaf unique is that it uses ground breakfast sausage. I highly recommend using Jimmy Dean Breakfast sausage. I like to use the sage version for added flavor, but you could also use the regular or even the hot if you wish.

It takes about an hour in the oven to cook the 2-pound loaf. However, it only takes a few minutes of prep time. You can even prep it the day before, then pop it in the oven when you’re ready to start dinner. I personally don’t need a sauce with this meatloaf because it is so flavorful, but you can add your favorite meatloaf sauce to it.

easy low carb meatloaf
easy low carb meatloaf

This recipe calls for simple ingredients. Ground beef, breakfast sausage, green bell pepper, white onion, one egg, a small amount of tomato sauce and salt and pepper. Just combine and press into a regular-sized loaf pan. Then you’ll cook it for one hour in an oven preheated to 375. Let the meatloaf rest for about five minutes before serving. This keeps it juicy and allows the juices to recirculate through the meat.

Storing the Meatloaf

This is a great meal for leftovers. Because of the sausage (high-fat content), the meat doesn’t dry out when reheated. You can reheat it in the oven again or use the microwave. Also, you can store in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container. I have also frozen it before and it freezes well for up to a month. Honestly, I’ve never stored it longer than that. If you are freezing it, just make sure you wrap it really well to prevent freezer burn.

dinner
dinnerdinne

Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

This yummy low carb meatloaf is all meat and few carbs and is sure to become a weeknight favorite!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 lbs Breakfast sausage Jimmy Dean preferred
  • 1 Lrg Egg
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Sm White Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 oz Tomato sauce about half of an 8 oz can
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • In a large mixing bowl, add beef, sausage, onion and bell pepper. Knead well until combined to avoid bites of only sausage or beef. You can use clean hands or use a pastry cutter to help combine them.
  • Add one egg and knead until fully combined.
  • Add tomato sauce and knead until fully combined.
  • Transfer meat mixture into an ungreased loaf pan. Press into pan to pack meat tightly. Level the top.
  • Place in oven and bake for one hour at 375°
  • Let meat rest for 5 mins before serving.
Keyword atkins, beef, beef dishes, comfort food, ground beef, healthy meals, italian sausage, keto, leftovers, low carb, meat, meatloaf, southern recipes, weeknight favorite
meatloaf

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Today I’m going to share my favorite dish to use up leftover chicken, easy chicken tetrazzini, a creamy cheesy casserole that is easy to whip up for a weeknight dinner

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. See my full disclosure policy for details.

I stumbled across this dish nearly two decades ago. When I first started making it, I learned that chicken tetrazzini was a casserole dish from the turn of the century. Some say it dates back all the way to 1908. You might think it is an Italian dish because of the name and the fact that it has pasta, but it isn’t. It was actually named after turn-of-the-century opera Luisa Tetrazzini.

Making Chicken Tetrazzini

It was very popular in the 1940s and 1950s as a staple casserole dish. In my household, it has become one of our beloved family favorites, not just because of the delicious creamy taste, but because it is a wonderful way to use leftover chicken. I also go to this recipe if I don’t have enough chicken to make it a main course. This recipe stretches a few breasts out enough to feed a family.

Apparently, that’s why it grew in popularity. During the Great Depression, it was used to make the most of the little meat families had. Housewives also used whatever pasta they had on hand. That’s why you see it with all kinds of pasta like spaghetti, broad egg noodles, linguine, even penne, and elbow macaroni. In fact, many people even use the recipe to make turkey tetrazzini with leftover turkey. I almost always do this after Thanksgiving. During the 1940’s and 1950’s some housewives even used canned tuna along with whatever cheese they had on hand. Tetrazzini is a truly versatile dish.

It may surprise you to learn that there is no universal standard recipe for tetrazzini. It was kind of a first throw-down recipe of sorts. Earlier recipes are slightly more complicated than what I will share today. Early recipes call for sautéing your own fresh mushrooms and then creating a cream sauce with heavy whipping cream, butter, white wine or sherry, meat stock, and cheese. However, thanks to the 1950’s housewife, she used a more convenient method of using Cambell’s Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken condensed soups to quicken this recipe and that is what I am going to show you today – easy chicken tetrazzini.

Roasted chicken
Courtesy of Unsplash

Start by shredding your chicken while your pasta boils. If you prefer, you can slice your chicken or meat into bite-sized chunks. Once your pasta is drained, add it to a large bowl, combine your cans of cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup. Add milk, half and half, or cream. If you are using cream you need about a cup of cream. If using half and half or milk, you can use about a half cup or change until you reach your desired consistency. We like ours extra creamy and rich. If you don’t care for such a heavy sauce, you can dilute with more milk. If you don’t have milk, you can substitute a half cup of meat stock to dilute.

You’ll add in your cheese to the cream sauce. I reserve half for spreading on top. As I mentioned earlier, housewives used whatever cheese they had on hand. I prefer parmesan because it adds a lot of flavor. But I’ve used Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, Cheddar and various combinations of cheese. Some people also like to put a topping on the top. Like toasted breadcrumbs, crunchy cornflakes or fried onions like a green bean casserole. I, however, don’t do that, although you can if you want. You may notice, I’ve omitted any salt from the recipe. That’s because there is plenty of sodium in the condensed soups and cheese. So I suggest tasting before you add any salt on your own.

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Al dente noodles and chicken are smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce in this easy casserole.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 Large Chicken Breasts, Cooked Shredded
  • 1 ½ Cups Shredded Parmesan or other cheese Divided (two 3/4 cups)
  • 1 10.5 oz Can of Cream of Chicken Soup Preferably Campbell's
  • 1 10.5 oz Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • ½ Lbs Spaghetti or other pasta
  • 1 Cup Heavy cream or half and half (or milk for a lighter sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped (Optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Cook pasta according to the package instructions
  • While pasta is cooking, shred cooked chicken into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add one can of cream of chicken condensed soup, one can of cream of mushroom soup and cream or milk. Stir well to combine.
  • When pasta is cooked, drain well, and combine with cream sauce.
  • Add half of the divided cheese into the pasta mixture and combine well.
  • Transfer pasta to a deep casserole or baking dish.
  • Spread remaining cheese on top and bake at 375 for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is bubbly and cheese is golden.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Keyword chicken, chicken breast, chicken casserole, easy casserole, easy recipe, family favorite, leftovers, pasta, weeknight dinner
chicken tetrazzini

Serving and Storing Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken Tetrazzini is a heavy dish, so I like to serve with a garden salad or other green like roasted asparagus or green beans. If you have leftovers, chicken tetrazzini will keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can microwave it or warm it in the oven to reheat it. I have never tried freezing it, although pasta normally freezes okay if placed in a good quality container to protect it from freezer burn. Also, I’d probably allow some room in the container since cream tends to expand when frozen. As I said, I’ve never tried freezing it, so let me know in the comments if you try it.

chicken tetrazzini

Thank you for joining me for this recipe. I know you will enjoy it. Over the years, I’ve really grown to enjoy using older recipes because they are tried and true and women knew how to feed a large family and provide comforting home-cooked meals every day. If you are fond of casseroles, be sure to check out my Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole and Baked Ziti.

How to Make White Sandwich Bread

No bread at the store? No problem. Today I’m going to show you how to make white sandwich bread the easy way at home. No special tools required!

how to make white sandwich bread
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I’ve been baking up a storm during the COVID-19 outbreak. When all of this started, I bought tons of flour and a few pounds of yeast because I know that as long as you have those things, there are infinite kinds of bread that you can bake at home. Pizza dough, hamburger buns, dinner rolls hot dog buns. Later this month, I will show you how to make some unleavened bread (bread that doesn’t require yeast) like tortillas and pretzels. But today I’m going to share how to make white sandwich bread at home. Plain white sandwich bread is very versatile and you can conjure up lots of different lunches with some plain white bread. It’s a great recipe to try if you are new to bread baking. Once you get comfortable with simple white sandwich bread you’ll be excited to learn how to make other breads like bagels, ciabatta, baguettes, dinner rolls, buns, and pretzel bread.

Tools of the Trade

One question I get asked is, “do you need any special tools to make bread?” Not really. You certainly don’t need a bread machine. A bread machine just takes some of the elbow grease out of baking bread. You pop your dough in and it will knead and bake it for you and take a lot of guesswork out of baking bread. But let me tell you that baking bread isn’t as complicated as you might think. I was intimidated by it for years before I finally decided to learn. I was surprised at how simple it really is. You can make bread with just your bare hands and a loaf pan. After all, that is how people have made bread for centuries. However, if you would like to take out some of the work you can use a stand mixer with your dough hook attachment. That’s what I do. This recipe takes around three hours from start to finish, but nearly all of that time is rising and baking. The prep time is actually fairly quick.

dough hook
Dough hook attachment and bulk yeast

The only other thing you need is a work surface. A well-cleaned countertop is fine for that. Also, you will need a loaf pan. I have found that metal pans seem to bake bread more evenly than glass ones. I recommend using a small standard loaf pan because freshly baked bread doesn’t last very long. Unlike store-bought bread, it isn’t packed with preservatives to keep it from molding. So I keep the size small and eat it quickly.

I will however, introduce you to one of the best $30 finds on Amazon. This bread slicer was one of my best Amazon purchases! You slip your loaf inside the wooden guide and it allows you to cut perfectly sliced bread every time. I wasted a lot of bread because I wasn’t cutting it evenly or straight. This solved that problem! It even has a board underneath to catch crumbs. Incidentally, I save the breadcrumbs! Don’t buy bread crumbs from the store when you can make your own for making meatballs and breading meat.

(Click on the picture to purchase)

PRO-TIP: Always use a serrated knife to cut bread. Smooth knives will smash your bread rather than cut it.

Ingredients

So the first thing you need is yeast. Personally, I buy yeast at Sam’s Club because they sell it in two one-pound packages and it is way more cost-effective that way. Yeast is also sold in packets. If you use yeast packets you will need one full packet, plus 1/2 tsp more. I highly recommend refrigerating yeast once you open it. You can also store it in the freezer. If you have yeast in your pantry and you aren’t sure if it is still good, you can do a simple test. Pinch some dry yeast and put it in a cup. Add a pinch of sugar and a little warm water. If it bubbles after a few minutes, it is still good. If there is no or very little activity, it’s expired. The bubbling is called “blooming.”

After a few years of baking, I’ve learned that bread flour is superior to all-purpose flour when it comes to baking bread. I can definitely tell that it makes a stronger, denser, spongier bread. That is because bread flour has a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour. That said, I make this recipe with all-purpose flour all the time. There is no need to buy special flour for this recipe. Use your all-purpose flour if that is what you have. Someone asked me if they could use wheat flour for this recipe. In all honestly, I have not tried it. However, I will say that wheat flour is much denser than white flour and so you normally use less of it. Personally, I recommend finding a tried and tested wheat bread recipe instead of trying to alter this one.

When you are done baking your bread and while the bread is still hot, I recommend buttering the top. Bread tops can seem a little hard when they are baked. A simple brush of butter is all it needs to soften the top again and it makes it more like the sandwich bread you buy at the store.

dough

White Sandwich Bread

White sandwich bread is so easy to make and deliciously simple. You'll love being able to whip up soft, fluffy white sandwich bread in a few hours whenever you need it!
Prep Time 3 hrs
Course Breads

Equipment

  • Loaf pan
  • Stand mixer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 3/4 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour or Bread Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1.5 Tsp Salt

Instructions
 

  • In a stand mixer, add hot water, sugar, and yeast. Water should be very warm, but not scalding hot. Let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom (bubble).
  • With your dough hook attachment on low, add vegetable oil and salt. Slowly add flour one cup at a time. Alternatively, you can mix ingredients by hand in a large bowl and knead by hand.
  • Turn up speed slightly and continue mixing by hand. The dough should cling to the dough hook, but not to the sides of the bowl after a few minutes. Mix for another 3-4 minutes until the dough is tacky.
  • Remove dough from the hook and place the dough in a large bowl and place it in a draft-free area of your kitchen. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. If you are worried about germs from the towel, spray some cling film with some baking spray. Cover the bowl loosely with it, then cover the cling film with the kitchen towel. Let the dough rise for 1.5 hours or until it doubles in size.
  • Once risen, punch down in the center. Then shape the dough into a long oval. Tuck any excess dough underneath the bottom of the loaf.
  • Grease a loaf pan. Transfer the dough to a loaf pan and cover again and let rise a second time for about an hour.
  • When done rising, bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • While still warm, brush bread top lightly with butter before cutting and serving.
Keyword baked goods, bread, flour, sandwiches
how to make white sandwich bread

Storing Your Bread

I recommend storing your bread in a ziplock bag or an air tight container. If you bake often like I do, Amazon has some great bread bags that I use. I’ll drop the links below.

I’ve been asked before if you can freeze bread. In short, yes you can, but you will need to wrap it really well to prevent freezer burn. Also, make sure you freeze it before you it goes stale. Freezing won’t change staleness. If it was stale when you froze it, it will be stale when you thaw it out.

Alternatively, to save freezer space, you can also freeze dough that hasn’t risen. Make your dough and instead of letting it rise, freeze it. Once you are ready to bake, drop the frozen dough in a greased loaf pan. Get some cling film and lightly spray it with baking spray. Then cover the top of the loaf pan loosely with it. Layer a clean dish towel on top of the cling film. Let the dough thaw and rise for 7-8 hours. Then bake as normal at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins.

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make white sandwich bread. If you have questions feel free to leave them in the comments below and if I’ll try my best to answer them. Be sure to check out some of my other scratch recipes like Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies.

Monster Munch Snack Mix

Peanut butter and chocolate are the showstoppers in this yummy sweet and salty monster munch snack mix perfect for Halloween entertaining!

Monster Munch snack mix

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Happy Halloween, friend! I love Halloween. It’s so much fun even as an adult to decorate the house, dress up and make some spooktacular treats! That’s why I’m sharing one of my favorite Halloween goodies – Monster Munch Snack Mix.

I love making this with the kids and putting it out at our Halloween parties and events. It’s always loved by kids and adults alike and I’m always left with an empty bowl. I also make it and package it in cello bags as a treat for my son’s classmates and teachers at school.

Making Monster Munch Snack Mix

If you have kids, I highly recommend getting them involved. Kids love to help with cooking and since there is no actual cooking involved, this is a really fun activity. All you’re going to do is pour everything in a bowl and toss together. Even your toddler can help with that. I love doing this with our kids as part of our Ultimate Fall Bucket List.

Monster munch snack mix

This recipe calls for a mix of sweet and salty ingredients and really centers around peanut butter and chocolate flavors. It includes both Reese’s peanut butter cups and Reese’s pieces. It also includes Chex Muddy Buddies. I have found that Muddy Buddies can be hard to source at times. Sometimes my store has them and sometimes they don’t. Thank God for Amazon Pantry! I’ve included a link on Amazon in case you can’t find it at your store.

monster munch snack mix

Monster Munch Snack Mix

Ingredients
  

  • 1 10.5 oz Chex Muddy Buddies
  • 1 14 oz Bugles Corn Chips
  • 1 7 oz Mini Reese's Cup
  • 1 4 oz Reese's Pieces Candy
  • 1 11 oz Candy Corn
  • 1 5 oz Pretzel Mini Twists

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well.
  • Serve in a bowl or wrap as individual treats.

I hope you enjoyed this Monster Munch Snack Mix. Be sure to check in for the next post for some cute Monster Halloween gift tags. These are super fun for packaging your monster munch snack mix. Also, try another fun fall activity like listening to a Halloween Music Playlist!

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Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti is a meat lover’s dream. Two kinds of meat and triple cheese make this the ultimate Italian-American comfort food.

pioneer woman's baked ziti

This post is a sponsored post, meaning I have collaborated with Pioneer Woman in return for financial compensation and free products for testing purposes. This post also contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Baked Ziti is one of our favorite dishes. It’s the ultimate in Italian-American comfort food. If you like the way lasagna is baked, you’ll love baked ziti. It’s similar, but without the tediousness of layering pasta. Served casserole style, it’s filled with zesty tomato sauce, Italian sausage and gooey cheesy goodness.

Today, I’m going to share Pioneer Woman’s recipe for baked ziti. This was the first time I’ve tried it and it was yummy!!! Ree girl, this was awesome!

The Pioneer Woman

If you’ve never heard of the Pioneer Woman, I pity you just a tad. Ree Drummond is a famous blogger who shares her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. On her blog, she cooks up some good ole’ eats that anyone can cook. These days she also has her own show on The Food Network. I love her down to earth writing style that makes you feel like her best friend. Be sure to follow her blog…after mine, of course!

Making Baked Ziti

Traditionally ziti uses ziti pasta which resembles small tubes, but I’ve also used penne pasta in a pinch and found it works just as well. In Italy it’s ziti al forno, which translates exactly to “baked ziti.”

I received a complimentary jar of the Rustic Bolognese sauce. It’s very tasty and reminds me of a homemade sauce, minus the hassle! I grew up on Prego. Over the years, I’ve used all kinds of sauces. I highly recommend trying Pioneer Woman’s new line of Italian pasta sauces which now come in the following varieties:

  • Marinara
  • Italian Sausage & Peppers
  • Rustic Bolognese
  • Four Cheese
  • Garden Vegetable

In the past, I’ve used a different recipe for baked ziti, but after today, I’m switching. This is a meat lovers dream! It calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of Italian sausage! I’ve written the recipe to use ground Italian sausage because it is readily available to me at my store. If you can’t find it, you can always use regular link Italian sausage. I recommend cutting the casing lengthwise with a knife and then peeling off for easy removal. Then brown, like normal.

baked ziti

Pioneer Woman Baked Ziti

A delicious Italian-American casserole filled with zesty tomato sauce, cheese, Italian sausage basked into bubbly goodness.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs Ziti Pasta Uncooked
  • 2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Lbs Italian Sausage Ground
  • 1 Jar PIONEER WOMAN Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 15oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Shredded
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
  • 1 Lbs Lean Ground Beef

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 375
  • Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently
  • Crumble sausage, then ground beef into skillet with cooked vegetables. Cook until ground meats are evenly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Mix egg, ricotta, and parmesan until blended
  • Drain pasta and spoon into a large bowl. Add pasta sauce mixture and ricotta mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray; top with mozzarella.
  • Bake 20 mins or until heated through
Keyword bacon casserole, cheesy casseroles, italian, italian sausage, pasta, tomato sauce
pioneer woman's baked ziti
pioneer woman rustic bolognese

Pin For Later

Pin now for later! Also, don’t forget to subscribe so you can get great recipes delivered right to your inbox! If you’re looking for more comfort food, you absolutely need to try my Shrimp & Crawfish Étouffée and my Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies. Thanks for reading!