Gougères (Cheese Puffs)

These cheese puffs are amazing and fairly easy to make.  What more can we say?!

We had these terrific cheese puffs at a lovely French restaurant over the holiday break.  So, of course, we decided immediately that we were going to make them at home!  Keep in mind the picture is close-up; these typically need to be bigger than a large grape, or even bigger than that, if you’d like!

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Baked Rigatoni

I had a craving for Italian food yesterday, but didn’t want to mess with the time it takes to make lasagna.  Heading to the store, we decided to make Baked Ziti, but our store didn’t have any Ziti noodles (WTH!).  We went with Rigatoni noodles and made such a great dish!

Ingredients:

Rigatoni noodles – 16 oz. box (or Ziti, if YOU can find it!)

Marinara sauce – we made our own, but any jar sauce is fine

One pound of ground beef, seasoned, cooked and drained

One 15 oz. container of Ricotta cheese

8 oz. Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

For our semi-homemade marinara sauce, we use a packet mix (with tomato paste.)  Following the instructions on the packet, make the sauce, and add the cooked ground beef to the sauce and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes.  We then added in some roasted red pepper and Peppadew peppers, just to give it a little more flavor!

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.  While that is cooking, combine the Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan together, leaving 1/4 of the Mozzarella and Parmesan for topping the Rigatoni.

Add in about half of the marinara sauce and fold into the cheese mixture.  Once the pasta has cooked and been drained, add it into the cheese and sauce mix and stir together until well-blended.  Place in a baking pan and pour the remaining sauce over the pasta, spreading to make sure to cover all of the pasta.  Then top with the remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan.  Place in a 375 degree, pre-heated over and bake for 30 minutes.

That’s it!  Maybe grab some Italian bread or a baguette, a light salad, and a pillow, too, because you’ll definitely want a nap when this yummy dish is eaten!!!

Sausage balls

I’ve only met a few people from the South that have never heard of sausage balls. These were always available at every event when we were growing up – baby showers, weddings, funerals, church pot lucks – you name it.

This is another recipe using a few items that are usually around the house. After you make them once, you’ll probably turn into the person who makes them for every event :)

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Creamy pimiento cheese

Pimiento cheese was a staple growing up. We almost always had it in the fridge, especially during the summer. Pimiento cheese made a comeback a few years ago back into mainstream. There are so many recipes out there that include pimiento cheese – pimiento cheese deviled eggs, pimiento cheese twice-baked potatoes, pimiento cheese potato salad – the list goes on. And trust me, we’ve tried them all. But there is something special about classic pimiento cheese that just doesn’t convey into other recipes.

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