Cook of the Week: Julie Johnston recipes

Johnston has put together two of her own cookbooks in three-ring binders. (Lauren Wood)

Johnston has put together two of her own cookbooks in three-ring binders. (Lauren Wood)

Italian Casserole
1 pound ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
3 to 4 cloves minced garlic
2 to 3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Other spices (optional)
1 (12-ounce) package medium egg noodles
Lemon pepper seasoning
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
21⁄2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Brown meat and onion. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and any other desired spices. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Cook noodles in water seasoned with lemon pepper until tender and drain. Combine noodles with sour cream.
In a greased 9×13-inch casserole, put a layer of noodles, a layer of meat sauce and a layer of cheese. Repeat layers. Top with grated Parmesan and dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Serves 8 to 10.

Easy Ham Pot Pie
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Veg-All, drained
1 can of corn, drained
2 cups cooked, cubed ham
1 stick butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
Combine soups, vegetables and ham in a bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl, melt butter then add flour and milk and stir until smooth.
Pour vegetable mixture into a greased 9×13-inch casserole. Pour flour/milk mixture on top and spread to cover all. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Chipotle Blackened Chicken
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon chipotle rub
Cut bell peppers into thin strips and sauté them in oil. Brush chicken with oil and rub all over with chipotle rub. Add chicken to the pan and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and cover, if desired. Once peppers are tender, remove them from the pan and keep them warm while chicken continues to cook. Once chicken is done, remove it from the pan and place it on serving plates. Top with sautéed peppers.
Serves 2.

Bacon-Dressed Brussels Sprouts
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
10 ounces bacon
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
Clean Brussels sprouts, removing outer leaves if desired, and cut in half through the core. Steam sprouts until tender.
Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and crumble. Reserve 1⁄4 cup drippings in the pan and add sugar and vinegar, warming mixture until sugar dissolves. Add crumbled bacon back to pan. Pour mixture over steamed sprouts and toss. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Chicken Sausage and Vegetable Sauté
1 (12-ounce) package Johnsonville chicken sausage
8 ounces rigatoni or penne pasta
1⁄4 cup reserved pasta water
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
1 to 2 cloves minced garlic
1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini squash, sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 jar Ragu Sundried Tomato and Herbs pasta sauce
Cook sausage links in a pan in the oven on low heat, turning a few times. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1⁄4 cup of pasta water.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion, garlic, pepper and zucchini in olive oil. Add Ragu sauce. Add reserved pasta water to loosen the mixture a bit. Cut up the sausage and add to skillet. Cook until done to your liking.

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