Food, Garden

Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole

Italian Garden Casserole (1)

It was a cold Sunday morning in January.  We didn’t have any games. We went to mass the night before, and we were in the mood for a big breakfast, a big Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole. I checked the refrigerator.  I had a ton of eggs and some bulk Italian sausage. Next I found some green and red peppers. I always have cheese in the house…always!  A bag of hash browns were in the freezer so it was then, the making of the Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole came to fruition.

Growing up, I never cared much for breakfast unless it was pancakes, french toast, or cereal.  Of course, I loved the sweeter side of breakfast as a kid.  I didn’t eat eggs…any kind of eggs. My Dad loved eggs…any kind.  He liked them prepared any way.  In fact, everyone in my house liked eggs, but me. Finally in my twenties, I slowly started to try some egg casseroles and omelets. I figured the cheese, veges, and meat must help with the taste. Well, I was right. I liked it. I married my husband, who, by the way, loves eggs…any kind, so I started to cook them.  I still do not eat eggs over easy, scrambled, or poached.  But, I have definitely grown quite fond of omelets and casseroles. On this particular weekend, I decided to make a casserole without the bread and use the hash browns as a base.  It really worked out well.  The Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole was a huge hit.  Plus it can be a Make Ahead Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole. Check it out!

Italian Garden Breakfast Casserole

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of bulk Italian Sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped Onion
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 3-4 cups of Frozen Shredded Hash Browns (country style)
  • 3 cups of Shredded Cheese (I use the Kirkland Costco Mexican blend)
  • 1 cup of diced Green Pepper
  • 1 cup of diced Red Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of diced Green Onions (from about 6-8)
  • 12 Eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup of Nonfat Milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Dried Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • Add Pepper and Crushed Red Pepper
  • Bacon Bits (Kirkland Costco brand – best bacon bits around)

Directions:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, onion, and garlic.  Stir the mixture to break up the sausage into smaller pieces.  Cook until sausage is no longer pink about 10-12 minutes. Drain any liquid.
  2. Coat a 9×13 glass pan with cooking spray. Layer potatoes (unthawed), sausage mixture, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, green/red peppers, and green onions.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole.  Season with pepper and crushed red pepper if you like. Sprinkle the top with some of Costco’s bacon bits. If you are planning to make this in the morning, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
  4. Ready to bake casserole immediately or in the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Bake casserole for 70-80 minutes or until egg mixture is set in the middle and the edges are lightly golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy!

Family, Food

Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes I never met a potato I didn’t like really it’s true.  I love potatoes! Did you know there are over 100 different varieties of potatoes sold in the US?  I had no idea.  Potatoes fall into the usual categories of russet, red, white, yellow, purple/blue, fingerling, and petite.  We cook a lot with russet and white/yellow potatoes.  Tonight it was time to bring back the cute little red potatoes.  I went for something basic – roasted red potatoes.  I’m really into roasting all my vegetables right now so why not try some roasted red potatoes!

Sometimes the best recipe for success is plain and simple.  These roasted red potatoes are so good and so easy.  In the past, I’ve used the Lipton onion soup mix recipe for my roasted red potatoes.  It’s a great one too but if you don’t have that soup mix and you just want simple, try these roasted red potatoes. This is a great side dish that will compliment any meat or fish. Check it out!

Roasted Red Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of Red Potatoes – cut in half or quartered
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of fresh ground Pepper
  • Sea Salt to your liking
  • 1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasonings (Basil, Oregano, Parsley)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 430 degrees. Meanwhile, clean and cut all potatoes in half.  Some larger ones might be best quartered.
  2. Put potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and all seasonings. Arrange the potatoes, cut side down, on a large lipped baking sheet.
  3. Roast until tender and golden brown approximately 30 minutes.  Stir and flip potatoes halfway through cooking time.

Enjoy!

Family, Food

Spaghetti Squash Italiano

Spaghetti Squash ItalianoSpaghetti squash isn’t that common dish made in most households.  In fact, I never had it growing up.  I came from that meat and potatoes kind of family with all the common vegetable sides.

Plus, let’s admit it, big squash is a bit intimidating.  It’s heavy, and hard to cut.  Can I please have a saw to cut this baby? Not to mention, you don’t ever want to drop it on your foot.  But in all honesty, spaghetti squash is really pretty easy to make.

In my late 20’s, my husband came home with a recipe for spaghetti squash from a coworker.  That’s when we first tried spaghetti squash and loved it.  Since then we’ve been making it, but we’ve tweaked it a bit to our liking and we call it Spaghetti Squash Italiano or Dad’s “famous” Spaghetti Squash Italiano…as he likes to call everything!

It’s light so it can be an awesome side dish, or it can be eaten as a meal. For those non carb folks out there, this is a great dish for you.  Vegetarians will love this too.  We added all the awesome Italian spices and cheeses hence the name Spaghetti Squash Italiano. There are so many other awesome recipes out there for spaghetti squash, but Spaghetti Squash Italiano is a must try. Check it out!

Spaghetti Squash Italiano

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 4 Roma Tomatoes chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4-5 cloves of fresh Garlic; minced
  • 1/4 cup of Parsley
  • 1/4 cup of Basil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup of Fresh Parmesan/Asiago cheese mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds.  Place the cavity side down in baking pan filled with a little water. Bake 20-30 minutes checking that the water hasn’t evaporated.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and gather the other ingredients.  Combine the chopped tomatoes, garlic, and other seasonings.  Let stand at room temperature to marry the flavor.
  3. When squash is done, flip over in pan.  Fill each cavity with tomato mixture.  Top with cheese mix. Place back in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Remove and scoop mixture into a large serving dish.  Use a fork to fluff squash into spaghetti strands.  A small amount of olive oil can be added but it is optional.

**Check squash to be sure it is al dente.  Don’t over cook.

Enjoy!

Family, Food

Italian Sausage Spinach Soup

 

 

Italian Sausage Spinach Soup

Soup is the perfect comfort food, especially on cold winter days.  It’s also the perfect meal for a busy family that doesn’t have time to sit down for a meal.  Soup is always our “go to” meal when we have a night packed full of practices or meetings which happens a lot.  It was one of those kind of nights.  Time to make some Italian Sausage Spinach Soup, leave it on the stove, and eat at your convenience.

Italian sausage is used in this house at least once a week. I love Italian sausage!  It probably has something to do with my Italian heritage, but it also adds so much flavor.  You can taste the extra bold flavors and spice of the sausage in this awesome Italian Sausage Spinach Soup.  This soup is also very versatile. If you are looking for a low carb option, then leave the pasta on the side.  My husband eats the Italian Sausage Spinach soup with out the pasta. The kids enjoy it with the pasta so everyone is happy. Of course, we double the recipe because we like left overs. Italian Sausage Spinach Soup is a favorite in this house.  Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 16 Ounces of Bulk Italian Sausage
  • 4 Cups of Chicken broth
  • 2 14 1/2 Ounce cans of Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
  • 2 Cups thinly sliced celery hearts with leaves
  • 1 Cup uncooked Small Shell Pasta
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasonings
  • 4 Cups of bagged Spinach Leaves
  • 4 Tablespoons freshly Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1.  Heat a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the sausage to the pan and cook.  Stir the sausage, breaking it up to crumble for approximately 10 minutes, or until browned. Drain, and return to the pot.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes, celery, pasta, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until pasta is done.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in spinach until wilted. Sprinkle each serving with fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Serve with hot Italian bread!

Optional Low Carb – If you want to add the pasta separately, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Do not add pasta as indicated in step 2.  Leave the pasta on the side.  It can be added individually to each serving.  Another note, we used a larger shell pasta because that is what we had at home.  Remember, you can get a little creative and adjust accordingly to what you might have in your kitchen.

Enjoy!

St. Louis Small Businesses

Education 4 All, Inc.

Education 4 All Inc

Education is the platform for everything in our lives no matter what your age might be.  Education is a progressive and life long process influenced by home, work, school, and community. Everyday we are confronted with situations that test our ability to communicate, make good decisions, and interact in our daily lives.  Education 4 All, Inc. was founded on all these principles.

The message of Education 4 All, Inc. can be summed up by their mission statement.

“Our mission is to help teens and adults be the best they can be at home, school, work, and in their community”.

Education 4 All, Inc. assists students, teachers, parents, and the greater community in six core areas:

1) Stress Reduction

2) College Scholarships and Preparation

3) Career Exploration and Transition

4) Classroom Management

5) Leadership Development

6) Financial Freedom

This wonderful organization was founded by Dr. Carletta D. Washington, founder/executive director, speaker, consultant, and author. Her background is extensive in the educational field with over 20 years of Leadership roles, but it doesn’t stop there.  Carletta offers so much more through Education 4 All, Inc. including her weekly Radio show on blog talk radio, as well as her online magazine, “Involved Parent Magazine”, in addition to her various books focused on parenting, education, and development.

Carletta is a dynamic individual with a true passion for the betterment of individuals and the community.  She strives to educate, motivate, and assist in all aspects of driving people to a full life of development and happiness. Education 4 All, Inc. is Carletta’s passion in life.  She is the perfect example of what an accomplished individual should represent.

The St. Louis Cooks are proud to partner with this wonderful organization. We are writing for the “Involved Parent Magazine” and have also participated in the weekly blog talk radio show.  Our relationship is ideal because our organization is also founded on the same principles of Education 4 All, Inc.  Parent involvement and family activities are so important to the overall development of our youth, including family cooking in the kitchen and eating family dinner together. There are so many values and principles that are influenced by these activities. We are educating our children in so many areas of life in more ways than we realize.  Please check out Education 4 All, Inc.

Education 4 All, Inc. is a registered 501 (c) (3) education organization.

Education 4 All Inc