Ruthie's Kitchen

Ruthie’s Red Sauce

45 oz. Jar traditional or smooth marinara tomato sauce

1-2 lbs. choice of meat (hamburger, sausage, etc.) 

1-2 onions diced

2 TBSP minced garlic

2 TBSP Italian seasoning 

½ tsp salt

1 tsp sugar
½ tsp black pepper

Brown meat in stock pot on medium heat.  While the meat is cooking dice onions.  If there is a lot of grease in the pan drain or soak up with a paper towel.  Add onions to the meat.  Letting the onions cook with the meat gives great flavor to the meat.  When the onions are almost translucent add the garlic.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes and then add the tomato sauce.  Turn heat back to simmer and add remaining ingredients.  Let sauce cook covered on low for several hours if time permits.  Sauce is also very good prepared the day before, left in the fridge overnight and reheated the next day.  Always heat on low and covered as the sauce will splatter.

Serve over your favorite pasta or layer with pasta and top with mozzarella to make a casserole.  Additional veggies or spice can always be added to taste.  This basic sauce can be used in a variety of ways. 

swiss chard
Chicken and Garden Greens Casserole

Cooked and cubed chicken
8 servings cooked rice (2 c. uncooked)
3 cans cream of chicken soup
Cooking greens
White cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

I use leftover crockpot chicken, however much chicken is left and I cube it.  I call these round 2 meals.  It is a good idea to have plans for leftovers.  It is a way to use up what you have in the fridge, but to give it a different spin. 
Prepare rice according to the directions, but if you are using just regular white rice it is usually 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid.  Put in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 18-20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
While the rice is cooking clean and trim the cooking greens.  Kale, Swiss chard, beet tops any of these will work.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and cover the bottom of the pan with greens.  Not too much.  You need to leave room for the chicken and rice mixture.
Preheat oven to 350⁰.
Once the rice has finished combine the soup, chicken and rice.  If you happen to be short a can use 2 and half a can of milk.
Mix till everything is evenly saturated.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Just remember canned soup is high in sodium.  Now spread this by the spoonful over the cooking greens.  Top with one more thin layer of greens and cover with grated cheese.  Use a cheese that will melt well.
Put in the oven uncovered for about 30-40 minutes.  It is done when the cheese has just begun to bubble and brown.
If your casserole dish is very full put it on a cookie sheet.  This will catch any spills and give you more to hold onto when taking it out of the oven.
Let it cool for a few minutes before serving so that it will be easier to dish out and stay more presentable.
My kids love this dish.  And I love it because it is easy, has greens in it and I can make it ahead of time!
PS.  For picky eaters I put the chicken and rice mixture in a separate dish, top with cheese and bake alongside the healthier version.

Taco Seasoning
 1 TBSP chili powder

½ tsp garlic powder

½ TBSP dried minced onion

¼ tsp Italian seasoning

½ tsp paprika

1 ½ tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a fork.  Store in an airtight container.  Triple this recipe to have plenty on hand.

1 ½ lbs ground beef

¼ cup taco seasoning

1 TBSP flour

¼ cup water
Brown beef.  Drain. Add seasoning and flour.  Once this is mixed in the water can be added.  Let simmer until mixture is happy.  Serve.

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