Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole

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Whenever I think of macaroni and cheese, I think of comfort foods and a meal made in the middle of winter that has been slowly cooking inside my little side-dish of a crockpot. Neither of those things apply to this post; it’s the middle of summer and EXTREMELY hot outside. Also, this entree was cooked on the stove.

I don’t know that I would cook macaroni as much I do if I didn’t have children around; it seems like a entree dish fit for little mouths and just screams “CARBOHYDRATES” to me. But if I do, it’s either using this recipe that is baked overtop the stove or my son’s personal favorite that slowly cooks in a crockpot.

Here’s a recipe for your own mac and cheese lovers: 

Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole
Serves 12
No more boxed mac n' cheese! Cook this homemade macaroni overtop the stove and add to the oven to give it a breaded top, if desired, and watch how fast kids ask for this version over Kraft.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 16-ounce box elbow pasta
  2. 10 tablespoons butter, or 1 butter stick, divided
  3. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 3 cups 1% milk
  5. 12-ounce shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  6. 4 tablespoons italian bread crumbs
  7. pinch of salt
  8. pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook elbow pasta according to package. Drain in a strainer. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Well grease a 8x8 casserole pan.
  3. In a medium size saucepan, add 8 tablespoons of butter. Melt, stirring often with a wooden spoon to speed up melting process. Add flour and stir well until brown. Begin to add milk, slowly, whisking while doing so. Allow to come to a boil and remove saucepan from heat.
  4. Add cheese, stirring continuously so that it is well combined. Slowly add elbow pasta, mixing well until pasta is entirely covered with cheese. Add to greased casserole pan.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Add evenly as possible overtop macaroni. Add to oven and bake for 30 minutes.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Skinny Lasagna Roll-ups

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While making up my weekly menu this past Sunday, I realized that I use a lot of ground turkey and chicken breasts and not enough pasta. I’m sure it doesn’t seem that way from the recipes I have posted so far in this little corner of mine, but because most pasta revolves around cheese and cheese makes some of us in this household sick; I really try to avoid it as much as I really can. It’s crazy how many recipes involve a lot of cheese, especially some of my favorites. I just cross my fingers that it’ll be a side dish at a family party…

(Hashbrown Casserole)

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My husband is in the middle of a juice cleanse, so I snuck these Skinny Lasagna Roll-ups into this week’s dinners since it’s just the kids and I eating whole foods. They’re an easy prep and they’re cute. Plus they reheat well the next day if you want to take one along with you to work.

And you never know…you may never want to go back to the traditional lasagna cooking way again.

Skinny Lasagna Rollups
Serves 4
Lasagna on the go? It could be. Individual lasagna roll ups are not only cute, but they make your favorite pasta dinner a little less messy.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 16-ounces lasagna noodles
  2. 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  3. 15-ounce skim milk ricotta cheese
  4. ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
  5. ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  6. 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add lasagna noodles to a large boiling pot of water. Cook according to package and drain in a strainer while rinsing with cold water when noodles are throughly cooked.
  2. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 casserole pan so that it is just slightly covered. Set aside.
  3. Using a medium size mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and egg. Whisk well until combined.
  4. To fill lasagna noodles, place each individually across a large plate. Use a spoonful of cheese mix and thinly spread across entire noodle. Gently roll up until you've reached the end of the noodle. Add seam-side down to 9x13 casserole pan. Repeat with each lasagna noodle until you've run out of pan room or noodles.
  5. Cover casserole pan with foil overtop and add to oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and return to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve 2-3 rollups per plate.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Quick and Easy Pizza Pinwheels

I know a lot may not agree with me on this, but I think pizza gets boring if you don’t do a variety. We’ve done regular pizza dough, flatbreads, pita breads, whole wheat muffins, strombolis. stromboli. Something new was needed and quick. Otherwise it was going to be a week without pizza of any sort. That just doesn’t feel right.

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Introducing Pizza Pinwheels! They’re cute, they’re small and you can eat them in many different ways other than with just strictly sauce and cheese. But for our first try, we’re going to do just that. Experience always works best in small steps, or in this case little ingredients.

If you have a small kid, or large grownup who just LOVES pepperoni pizza and wont eat anything but pepperoni pizza – tell them that unless you have mini-pepperonis on hand or they want to help cut large pepperonis into small squares; tonight they’re having just cheese.

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Assembling them was just as I’ve assembled strombolis in the past, only instead of letting them cook through and then cut; I tightly rolled up the dough and stuck it in the fridge for a good 20 minutes. This allowed the dough to harden slightly making it a little easier to cut into small “pinwheel shapes,” or “cinnamon roll pizzas.” Just make sure that when you’re adding your sauce, you use a LIGHT amount. Thick sauce will literally seep through your dough and not only will it be a mess, but it’ll make cutting your pinwheels not so easy. Been there, done that.

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So good for such an easy little recipe! I think that not only will I repeat this recipe only with more ingredients, but these would be a great after-school or summer day snack. No more frozen pizza rolls!

Pizza Pinwheels
Serves 6
Need a different try as far as pizza goes? Try this Pizza Pinwheel recipe. They're easy to create, cook fast and are family friendly. Great for an afterschool snack or appetizer side-dish at a party.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. one 11-ounce tube of refrigerated Pillsbury french loaf
  2. pizza sauce
  3. 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease and set aside.
  3. Using a sheet of parchment paper, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour overtop. Spread refrigerated french loaf using hands and a roller until dough is flat and resembles a equal-sided rectangle.
  4. Using a spoon, spread pizza sauce lightly and evenly; leaving half an inch from the ends. Set remaining sauce aside.
  5. Add shredded cheese, spreading evenly throughout dough. Once finished, begin to tightly roll dough up, lengthwise. When finished, place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to allow to harden. In the meantime, add remaining pizza sauce to a small saucepan and simmer.
  6. When dough seems slightly hardened, slice through. Add each to well-greased baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/