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In Association with

Rush Hour Recipes


by Brook Noel

Sammy’s Favorite Noodle Bake
Before I became the Rush Hour Cook™, there were two recipes that my family would actually request that I prepare—(the rest of the time they banned me from the kitchen.) Below, you’ll find one of them.

1 package of penne pasta
1 container fat-free ricotta cheese
1 bag of part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 pound lean ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce (Ragu™, etc.)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions. While pasta is cooking, brown beef over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Drain.
Add mushrooms, onion and garlic. Return to heat and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until onion is transparent. Add the jar of spaghetti sauce and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. While this is simmering, combine container of ricotta cheese and 2/3 of your mozzarella cheese in a bowl.

Drain noodles. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and then layer your ingredients, beginning with a pasta layer on the bottom. Cover with meat, then cheese. Repeat layers. Bake for 30 minutes. Top with additional mozzarella cheese and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with a warm loaf of French bread.

Sammy’s Favorite Noodle Bake is also a great recipe for bulk preparation and freezing. I usually divide the bake into two dishes. I cook one and then package the other for the freezer. You can also purchase individual-serving-size aluminum tins at your local grocer. Use these tins to make individual bake servings that can be cooked up for lunch or on


Super Stroganoff Supper
According to Cook’s Illustrated, the essential problem with stroganoff is that since it’s made with a pan sauce, not as a slow braise or stew, it doesn’t have time to develop much flavor. Instead of slathering the meal with spices and extra ingredients to increase flavor, they offer a few simple tips…

  • Cut beef sirloin into thin strips—not thick.
  • Brown the mushrooms in pan before the beef.
  • Use white wine rather than red—consider adding a bit of chicken or beef broth, as well.
  • Use onions in place of shallots.

I have incorporated these tips into my favorite recipe below. You’ll love this… and it’s good for you, too! Who says great tasting dishes can’t be low in fat?

1 1/2 pound sirloin, cut into THIN strips
3 tablespoons flour, if using broth
1 (12 oz.) jar of beef gravy or broth
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup sour cream (nonfat or low fat)
1/2 bag of egg noodles

Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain. Brown mushrooms and remove from pan. Brown meat in same nonstick skillet. Sift flour into small bowl, add broth, and whisk well to avoid lumps. Add broth/flour mixture to skillet. Add garlic and seasonings. Continue stirring over low heat until meat is cooked and sauce is smooth. Return mushrooms to the mixture. Lastly add sour cream, stirring gently until heated through. Serve over egg noodles.

No-Bake Scrumptious Chocolate Peanut-Butter Squares
Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
11/2 cups peanut butter
8 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. Mix sugar, syrup, and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for two to three minutes or until boiling. Remove carefully (mixture will be hot) and stir in cereal and chips until coated. Transfer mixture to greased pan. Press down the mix until flat and even. Once cool, cut into squares and serve.

Gramma Harriet’s ‘Red Hot’ Apple Crisp

6-8 Granny Smith apples, peeled
1/4 cup Red Hot™ cinnamon candies
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut apples into 1/4 ” thick slices. Arrange in a 9 x 13 buttered baking dish. Sprinkle on the Red Hot™ candies. Mix butter, sugar and flour till crumbly and then cover the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until bubbly.

Excerpted from The Rush Hour Cook Presents Family Favorites by Brook Noel. Copyright © 2002 Brook Noel. Excerpted by arrangement with Champion Press Ltd. $5.95. Available in local bookstores or call 877.250.3354 or click here.

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