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Fall is in full swing which means we get to cook those wonderful oven and crock pot baked dishes or hot dishes or casseroles or whatever you want to call them. I whipped this up in just a few minutes tonight and it was so dang good I ate almost the whole thing before the family came home. Actually, they never came home. Yippeee! More for me! P.S. This dish is gluten free for all ye who live that new dietary direction and you won't even notice!

Ingredients
  • 1 Jar Kirkland Marinara
  • 2 1/4 Cups Solare Gluten Free Penne Pasta
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 8 Oz Whipped Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Freshly Shredded Light Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Cup Freshly Shredded Parmesan

Preparation
  1. Brown ground beef. DO NOT DRAIN.
  2. Place 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of crock pot.
  3. Mix the remaining marinara sauce with the ground beef that HAS NOT been drained.
  4. Once the beef and marinara mixture has warmed, mix the whipped cream cheese into it until almost melted.
  5. Layer in the following order: 3/4 cup pasta, 1/3 of meat sauce, 1/3 cup of each cheese. Do that three times.
  6. Close the lid and cook on low for 3 hours.

Nutrition
Serves 4 with a little under 500 calories per serving.

© Russell W Peterson | DayParentDad.com | 9.04.14
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I find it quite amusing when a company titles their product: Epicurean. I think few of them really know what it means. The free online dictionary defines it as: Devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, especially to the enjoyment of good food and comfort.

Yet, Epicurus was more complicated and interesting than that. He shunned superstition and divine intervention for a philosophy that claimed pleasure was the only good. Some mistake his philosophy to be about Hedonism. But really he was about simple pleasure through modest living and knowledge. Pleasure was the good, knowledge was the key.

I think this is the perfect recipe to represent an Epicurean lifestyle. A simple recipe that tastes good with a little knowledge of what and how ingredients go together.  Nothing divine here.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 to 3 jalapeno(s) finely diced (depending on desired heat)
  • 4 cups cooked assorted beans (Epicurean mix from Costco)
  • 3 medium potatoes diced 
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian recipe)
  • small container of salsa
  • 1/2 cup chicken gravy or 1/4 cup cream (substitute soy based dairy product, a little cornstarch in water, or vegetable gravy for vegetarian recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small bag frozen corn
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt if needed

Preparation
  1. Cook the jalapeno(s) and onion in the olive oil for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat in Dutch oven or heavy pot to release the flavors.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 2-3 hours covered.
  4. You could substitute taco seasoning for the spice mix indicated herein.
  5. Top with a bit of finely shredded English cheddar cheese and some sour cream.


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Nutrition
About 290 calories per serving.

Tips
  • This recipe can also be prepared in a crock pot.
  • This makes a large pot and extra can be frozen for up to 3 months.