Philly Cheese Steak Casserole

Philly Cheese Steak Casserole

I feel like it is often hard to take an appetizing picture of a casserole, but hopefully I’ve managed to do this one a bit of justice! This recipe hit my to-make list fairly quickly after I found it, which isn’t always the case.

To be honest, it wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped it was going to be, but I think the fault on that is my own. The original recipe called for 5 cups of egg noodles, but I used a 12 ounce bag, which measured out to be a little more than 6 cups. Because of that, I think I didn’t quite have enough sauce for the amount of pasta I had. In the future, I’d probably use the same amount of pasta, but bump up the amount of milk and cheese a tad to compensate.

The other change I made was using ground beef, where the original recipe called for cube steak. That might be more authentic to a Philly Cheese Steak, but my cube steak went bad before I had a chance to make this recipe. Using the 90/10 ground beef that I had also brought the calorie count down a little more from what I had estimated using the cube steak, so I’m satisfied with that! As usual, I used frozen, diced peppers and onions, and just cooked them along with the ground beef.

All in all, it was a good recipe that I will likely make again with just a few tweaks to the sauce level. I shared a portion with one of my coworkers who gave it a thumbs up! If you make this, I’d love to hear what you thought, or any changes you made!

Philly Cheese Steak Casserole

Philly Cheese Steak Casserole
Adapted from: Of The Hearth

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
5 cups egg noodles
1 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices provolone cheese (I used 8 slices to cover the top of a 13×9 pan)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Begin preparing the egg noodles according to package directions. In a skillet, cook the ground beef, peppers and onion until the meat is browned and the vegetables are soft.
When the egg noodles are done cooking and have been drained, combine them with the steak, peppers, and onion in a greased 3-quart casserole dish, or 13×9 pan.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour to make a paste. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Stir in the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, parsley, onion powder, salt, paprika, and cheddar cheese. Slowly increase the heat to medium, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Stir the mixture into the ingredients in the casserole dish. Top with the provolone cheese slices.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the provolone cheese melts.

Philly Cheese Steak Casserole

BLT Ranch Pasta Salad

BLT Ranch Pasta Salad

There are many versions of BLT Pasta Salad floating around out there. I’ve been intrigued by the idea for awhile, but all of the recipes I found were basically just using ranch as the sauce and that didn’t seem like it was going to be exactly what I had in mind. Until this one. It uses a kind of herb marinade for the pasta before adding the sauce that I was really intrigued by. I ran across one similar to this somewhere on the internet, though I’m no longer sure where. (I always delete recipes off Pinterest once I make them, but apparently I deleted this one too fast!) A google search tells me that the marinade method is from America’s Test Kitchen, but I’m not willing to enter my credit card information for the 14 day free trial to verify that. I bring you this recipe from my kitchen stained scribbles!

This would be excellent as a side dish for your BBQ, to take to a summer cookout, or let’s face it, just as dinner! I chose to use lighter versions of the mayo and ranch dressing to save calories for the pasta and the bacon. I don’t think you’ll notice the difference, and the recipe below reflects that. Feel free to use the full fat versions if that suits your fancy though! I guarantee this will be many lunches and dinners for me this summer!

BLT Ranch Pasta Salad
BLT Ranch Pasta Salad

8 oz (1/2 lb) of cavatappi (corkscrew pasta, or elbow macaroni if preferred)
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup lite Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise
1/4 cup lite ranch dressing
1 teaspoon white vinegar
12 oz bacon
1 pint grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
2-3 cups romaine lettuce

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and then rinse in cold water. Drain again and place into large bowl while still moist. Add the parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Dijon mustard. Stir to coat pasta, and let sit at room temperature for approximately 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook and crumble your 12 oz package of bacon. (I recommend baking your bacon, personally!) Halve your tomatoes and prepare your lettuce.
Mix the mayo, ranch and vinegar. Add to the herb-marinated pasta, and stir until well combined. Add the bacon, tomato, and lettuce and stir gently to combine. (You can also reserve part of your bacon to decorate the top of your dish, if you’re less lazy than I am!)
Serve and enjoy!

BLT Ranch Pasta Salad

Key Lime Pie Bars

Key Lime Pie Bars

My love for sour citrus is not limited to all things lemon. I’ve got plenty of love for lime as well! As soon as I saw the recipe for these Key Lime Pie bars, I knew I had to make them. Plus this is the first bar I’ve seen with a crust made out of animal crackers instead of graham crackers, so I had to know what that was about. (Verdict: good! Though I should do a better job of crushing them up next time. The only food processor I have is teensy, so I had to process in batches!)

I actually found a bag of key limes at the grocery store, but feel free to make these bars with whatever regular limes you can get your hands on, they will be just as good. Plus you’ll have the added bonus of not having to zest and squeeze so many tiny key limes!

I found this recipe through Simple Savvy Recipes, and it was for a 9×13 pan of bars. Posted below is the recipe as found on Brown Eyed Baker, for an 8×8 pan because that’s the route I probably would have gone if I’d seen that one first. Both are linked under sources in the recipe, so you can take your pick.

Key Lime Pie Bars

Key Lime Pie Bars
Source: Brown Eyed Baker and Simple Savvy Recipes

5 ounces animal crackers
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
Pinch of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
½ cup Key lime juice
¾ cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing the extra foil to hang over the edges of the pan. Lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Crust: Process the animal crackers in a food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds. Add the brown sugar and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

Filling: Stir together the cream cheese, lime zest and salt in a medium bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk until completely incorporated and no lumps remain. Whisk in the egg yolk, then add the lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the crust and smooth into an even layer. Bake until the filling set and the edges are beginning to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, run a paring knife around the edges of the pan and lift the bars from the pan using the foil overhangs. Cut into 16 squares and sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Key Lime Pie Bars

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