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Some favorites from 2018

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Make Easy Breakfast Enchiladas before you go to bed and enjoy an easy meal the next morning.
Make Easy Breakfast Enchiladas before you go to bed and enjoy an easy meal the next morning.
Lisa Boykin Batts | Times

As 2018 draws to a close, I’m taking a look back at some of my favorite recipes from the last 12 months.

There are recipes that stand out for me and my family — recipes that I continue to make, including a simple pasta salad recipe that was on my table for Sunday lunch last week. And I cannot count how many times I have made Overnight Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Pecan Granola — without the pumpkin pie spice! A copy of the recipe hangs on my refrigerator door because I use it so often.

Other recipes stand out as well, including lasagna my granddaughter, Sora, and I made together over the summer. Oh! And a very delicious baked spaghetti and Easy Breakfast Enchiladas that I made again this year for our Christmas morning breakfast.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the year.

Overnight Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Pecan Granola

I make this recipe often. I love eating it with vanilla yogurt, strawberries and blueberries. I also eat it as a cereal, with blueberries and strawberries and milk.

4 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/3 cup mild-tasting oil*

6 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix**

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12X17-inch jelly roll pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats and pecans. Add the oil, honey, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice mix and vanilla to the oats. Stir well to mix.

Press the oat mixture onto the jelly roll pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven - being sure not to open the oven door - and leave the oats in the oven 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Store the granola in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

* I used melted butter.

** I used 1 teaspoon of cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie spice. The author uses 4 teaspoons of her pumpkin pie spice mix that's made by combining 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ground ginger and 1 teaspoon ground cloves.

"Prep-Ahead Breakfasts and Lunch"

Lickety-Split Lasagna

I have been craving this delicous lasagna that I made with my granddaughter this summer.

12 ounces ground beef

2 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce*

6 lasagna noodles, uncooked

1 1/2 cups cottage cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat until brown, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and breaking up the meat. Remove skillet from heat. Place colander over bowl. Spoon meat into colander and let fat drain into bowl. Return meat to skillet. Discard fat.

Spoon 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish (this is the 7X11-inch size, not the larger size I have normally used for lasagna.) Stir remaining spaghetti sauce into meat in skillet. Cook over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove meat mixture from heat.

Place 2 uncooked noodles on sauce in bottom of dish. Spread one-third of the meat mixture on top of noodles. Spread 3/4 cup of the cottage cheese over meat. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese over cottage cheese. Add another layer of 2 uncooked noodles, one-third of the meat mixture, the rest of the cottage cheese, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Layer remaining uncooked noodles, meat mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Finally, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top, if you like.

Cover baking dish with foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let stand on a cooling rack with foil cover in place for 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil from dish so steam escapes away from you. Makes 6 servings.

* I used a Whole Foods sauce that had a few extra ounces. After emptying the sauce into the ground beef, we added about 1/4 cup of water to the jar and swirled it around to loosen the remaining sauce. Then we emptied the jar into the ground beef mixture.

"Better Homes and Gardens New Children's Cookbook."

Pasta Salad Primavera

My cousin Martha Cayton made this delicious pasta salad for her daughter's graduation party. She got the recipe from her sister, Betty Russell, but adapted it using bottled salad dressing. I have made it several times.

1 pound box bow tie pasta

1 bunch broccoli florets in bite-size pieces

1 red pepper cut into thin strips

1 yellow pepper cut into thin strips

1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin slices

1 10-ounce box frozen peas, defrosted

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Light Italian dressing, she used Wish Bone (around 1 cup; add more if needed when you serve)

Cook pasta according to directions on box. In the last 3 minutes of cooking time, add in carrots, broccoli and peppers. Place peas in colander and drain pasta and vegetables over peas. Cool quickly by pouring cold water over mixture.

Add pasta and vegetables into large bowl with dressing, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to cover ingredients with the dressing.

Easy Breakfast Enchiladas

My family loves this recipe. We enjoy it at lunch and for dinner. It has become a new Christmas morning tradition. Assemble this casserole the night before for an easy and delicious breakfast the next day.

1 pound bulk breakfast sausage (pork or turkey), cooked and drained

1/2 cup (or more to taste) chopped bell peppers (I use a mixture of green, red, yellow and orange)

1/4 cup (or more to taste) chopped sweet onion

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided)

1 package 7- to 8-inch whole wheat tortillas, at least 8-9

1 1/2 cups milk (I use fat-free milk; lactose-free is fine)

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon flour

Spray 9X13-inch casserole dish with baking spray.

In a bowl, mix together enchilada filling, combining cooked sausage, peppers, onions and 1 cup of the shredded cheese.

Place a tortilla on a plate. Scoop about 1/3 cup of filling in the middle and spread across the middle length of the tortilla. Tuck one side under the filling and roll up tightly, then place tortilla, seam side down, at a short end of the casserole dish. Repeat, lining the filled tortillas in the dish. (The first time I made this, I had enough filling for 10 tortillas; the second time, I was able to fill only 9.)

For the egg mixture, whisk milk, eggs, salt and flour until smooth. Pour over tortillas.

Cover dish with foil and place in refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to bake, remove casserole dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake, covered, for 35 minutes. Remove casserole dish and sprinkle about a 1/2 cup of cheese on top, Bake an additional 5-10 minutes for the cheese to melt and for the tortillas to start browning.

Serve with salsa if desired.

Baked Spaghetti

My husband and I loved this recipe! I can't wait to make it again.

1 16-oz. box spaghetti

1 to 1.3 pounds ground turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 24-oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I used Romano/ Parmesan cheese flavor)

1/4 cup water

Salt to taste

2 eggs, whisked

2 cups cottage cheese

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook spaghetti according to box instructions. Drain.

While the spaghetti cooks, brown the turkey, adding in the onions and green peppers. When turkey is browned, add in spaghetti sauce and stir to combine. Pour about 1/4 cup of water in the jar. Swirl around to loosen any remaining sauce and add to turkey and sauce mixture.

In a bowl, mix together the whisked eggs and drained spaghetti.

Prepare a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with baking spray.

Pour half of spaghetti and egg mixture in the baking dish and top with half of the meat sauce, then half of the cottage cheese and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Repeat layers with noodles, meat sauce and cottage cheese, ending with the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly on the sides and hot in the middle.

Adapted from Taste of Home

Chocolate Brownie Pie

Dress up this tasty dessert with some ice cream, chocolate syrup and a cherry on top! 

1 stick butter, melted

1-ounce block semisweet chocolate, melted

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips, if desired (semi-sweet, dark or milk; can also use peanut butter or caramel)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl, mix melted butter and chocolate, sugar, and flour, then stir in eggs to combine. Stir in pecans, chips and vanilla extract. I added the chocolate chips while the chocolate mixture was still hot, so they melted, which was fine but not my intention!.If you want the chips to remain intact, add in after you have stirred in the flour and sugar and the mixture has cooled down.

Pour into greased, 8-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Delicious with ice cream.