Skillet Lasagna

As a former Pampered Chef consultant, I am pretty familiar with their Skillet Lasagna.  It is one of Pampered Chef’s top recipes on their website and for good reason – a whole meal cooked quickly on the stove top in one pan.  But then I discovered the “America’s Test Kitchen”, and they have their own recipe for Skillet Lasagna.

I liked the flavor of the marinara sauce and ricotta cheese mixture of the Pampered Chef version, but I really enjoyed the diced tomatoes in the America’s Test Kitchen version as well.  So, I combined them into one super duper recipe.  Please don’t boil the noodles separately as I’ve seen some recipes suggest.  It is a complete waste of time and extra pot.

And thank you Lori for encouraging me to post this.  The photo isn’t wonderful due to the thick cloud cover, but the recipe is worth posting because it is  easy and delicious.  And that is what matters more.

**I have updated my pumpkin pancake recipe and eliminated the applesauce because the pureed pumpkin I believe is making my pancakes too moist.  Tried white whole wheat today in them and it was very tasty too.  This weekend I’m making another shortbread recipe trying to replicate Panera’s and a old passed down recipe for made from scratch white bread.

Skillet Lasagna
serves 5-6

1 – (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 Tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
1/2 tsp. salt
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (I omit this because of the kids)
1 lb. total of ground beef and ground pork; or just ground beef
10 lasagna noodles, broken into 2″ length (less messy performed inside a kitchen towel)
8 oz.  favorite pasta sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup more to top
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 Tb. dried parsley
1/2 Tb. dried basil (optional)
1 cup ricotta cheese

1.  You will need a large 12″ non-stick skillet with a lid.  (I like my Caphalon if you need a suggestion).  No, that is not Pampered Chef.
2.  Dump the entire can of diced tomatoes in a big measuring cup.  Fill the rest of the way with water until you get 1 quart of liquid.
3.   Meanwhile…. Turn the burner to medium heat and heat the olive oil.  Add onion and salt.  Stir once in a while for 5 minutes.
4.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes.  Stir about 30 seconds.
5.  Add meat and cook until brown/done.
6.  Sprinkle the lasagna noodles (already broken) on top of the meat.  Dump the diced tomato mix on top of the noodles and the pasta sauce.  I try and make sure the noodles are in contact with the liquid.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes.  Stir once in a while.  The pasta should be tender at the end.
7.  In a small bowl, mix the Parm cheese, mozz cheese,  parsley, basil, and ricotta.
8.  Season the pasta with salt and pepper to taste.  Dollop the ricotta mixture on top of the pasta.  Cover and remove from heat for 5 minutes.
9.  Sprinkle another 1/4 cup. shredded Parm on top and serve.

Back to Reality: Chicken and Biscuits

I know, I know.  We can’t eat donuts all day long.  And we ate all of the donuts in one day.  Someone had to sacrifice and experiment to make sure all those toppings were good right?    So here is a quick and easy recipe that I cobbled together using Alton Brown’s Biscuit recipe as the topping.  I didn’t want to make a pie crust and now that I read that the Pillsbury pie crust contains nasty artificial colorings and junk, I really don’t want to get it anymore.  When does pie need Yellow #6??  (I can’t remember the exact number… but it has it in there.)  The biscuits Pillsbury makes in a can contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil.  Yuck.

This is Chicken Pot Pie with biscuits instead of pie crust.  I had some leftover cooked chicken and this baby whipped up in 35 minutes.

Chicken and Biscuits
yield 9 servings

16 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, etc.)
2.5-3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of chicken
3/4 cup milk
Season to taste (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, etc.)
1 cup cheddar cheese

For the Biscuits:
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, cold
2 tablespoons shortening, cold
1 cup buttermilk, chilled

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a great big bowl, mix the frozen veggies, cooked chicken, cream of chicken milk, seasonings and cheese.  Dump into a 13×9 pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.
2.  While that bakes, in another large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
3.  Use your hands to rub the butter and shortening into the flour.  Try to do this part quickly so the  fat doesn’t melt.  Make a hole in the middle of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk.  Knead together.  Gently fold the dough 5-6 times.  Roll 1″ thick and cut with a 3″ biscuit cutter or cookie cutter or even a glass will work in a pinch.  Reroll the dough until you have little left.
4.  Now your casserole should be beeping that it is done and you put your yummy biscuits on top.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.  The biscuits will be light gold on top.

Feel free to top with more cheese, fried onions, etc.

Biscuit recipe from Alton Brown.

Chili Cheese Corn Dog Casserole








Our local grocery store recently had a deal on hot dogs – $1 each – and I had a 50 cents off coupon.  I bought 20 packages of hot dogs!  So, I had to figure out how to use them.  This recipe uses a whole package of hot dogs and is quick to assemble.  It is made faster if you use a corn muffin mix like Jiffy.  I just made the batter homemade because what’s another bowl to throw in the dishwasher?  And it’s whole wheat instead of refined flour.

I would NOT recommend the corn muffin recipe below as a substitute for real corn muffins.  They make a great topping for this recipe, but as muffins they come out heavy and hard like doorstops.

This recipe has been Man-tested and Man-approved!

Chili Cheese Corn Dog Casserole
yields 9 servings

1 pkg corn muffin mix (or see below for homemade/whole wheat version)
1 c. green bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. onion, diced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 pkg. hot dogs, cut in bite-size pieces
1 can (15 oz) chili beans
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 c. cheddar cheese, divided

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the corn muffin mix per the directions on the box (or use recipe below).  Spread half of the batter into a 8 or 9″ square pan.
2.  Saute in large skillet the green bell pepper, onion and olive oil until the onions are translucent over medium heat.
3.  Add bite-size hot dog pieces and stir in for 3-4 minutes.
4.  Stir in chili beans, brown sugar, garlic powder, and chili powder.  Heat through.
5.  Stir in 3/4 c. of the cheddar cheese.   Spoon the entire mixture into the square pan over the corn muffin batter.
6.  Spoon the rest of the muffin batter on top of the chili beans mixture.
7.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top.  Bake another 3 minutes or just until the cheese begins to melt.  Cool for a few minutes and serve.

Homemade Whole Wheat Corn Muffin Topping

1 c. cornmeal
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbs. honey
1/4 c. melted butter or margarine
1 cup buttermilk (or the old 1 Tbs. lemon juice and 1 cup of milk trick)

Stir together cornmeal, flour, powder and salt.  Add the eggs, honey, melted butter and buttermilk.  Stir until just combined.  Don’t overmix.

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