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Taco Bake with noodles for the noodle and taco lovers

One of my favorite foods is pasta and Gary is a big fan of tacos, so when I make Taco Bake using a box of macaroni and cheese dinner, we both enjoy it. The ground beef is browned and seasoned with a packet of taco spice and the macaroni is combined with the cheese sauce and sour cream. Layered in an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish, topped with cheese and baked. When ready to serve take of oven, cover with crushed tortilla chips, salsa and cheese. It's a great company meal served with a nice salad. If desired, top the taco bake with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes before serving (and maybe a slice or two of fresh avocados).

Taco Bake

14 ounce package Deluxe macaroni and cheese dinner

1 pound ground beef

1 package taco seasoning mix

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sour cream

1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup thick and chunky salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare macaroni and cheese dinner as directed on the box. While the macaroni is cooking, brown your ground beef; drain. Add taco seasoning and water and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream into the prepared macaroni and cheese dinner. Spoon half of the dinner mixture into an 8-inch by 8-inch square or round greased baking dish. Put meat mixture on top and then one cup of the cheese and the remaining macaroni mixture. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and top with salsa and remaining cheese and bake uncovered for an additional five to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top taco bake with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes before serving.

A slice or two of avocados also is delicious and I like to add crushed tortilla chips on top with the salsa and cheese.

Farmer's Market Squash Saute'

2 zucchini, sliced

2 yellow squash, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup shredded low-moisture part-skim Mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Choose zucchini and yellow squash that are small to medium in size and have firm, shiny, smooth skins. Cook zucchini and squash in hot oil in large skillet on medium heat three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook three minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in mozzarella and basil. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Servings: 4

Two-Minute Hawaiian Pie

1- 20 ounce can crushed pineapple , do not drain

1 package (6-serving size) instant vanilla pudding and pie filling (do not make the vanilla pudding according to the package directions. Just add the dry mix right in with the other ingredients)

8 Maraschino cherries, drained

8 ounces sour cream

2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut

1 9-inch prepared shortbread pie crust

In a large bowl, combine the crushed pineapple with its syrup, the pudding mix and sour cream; mix until well blended. Spoon into the pie crust; decorate with the sliced pineapple and cherries, then sprinkle with the coconut. Cover and chill for at least two hours before serving.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Life is like an onion. You peel off one layer at a time and sometimes you cry.

GARY'S TIP: When you return home after camping, tuck a fabric softener sheet into each sleeping bag before rolling it up. The bag will smell fresh for the next camping trip.