Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baked Ziti

Mmmmmmmmmm, cheesey goodness...

Hello there! Tonight's meal is Baked Ziti. I love how easy this dish is to make. My first time having baked ziti was at the Olive Garden. It was a good, but I wanted to try it at home with a little less sauce and a lot more cheese! This recipe is super simple to make, but takes a little time to prepare, mainly for the penne.

What you'll need:

3/4 Box of Mini Penne noodles
1 bottle of tomato sauce (Traditional Ragu with meat sauce works best for us)
1 1/2 bag of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 lb ground beef

Mixing Bowl
Large Pot (for cooking noodles)
Skillet (to cook beef) - I use an electric skillet for this set between 300 and 325
non-stick Casserole dish (mine was 9x9)

And the steps:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Bring water to boil in large pot on high heat.
3) Lower temp on stove to medium high, pour Mini Penne into pot, stirring occasionally. Let cook for 7 minutes or until pasta is just slightly tender.
4) While Penne cooks, cook and brown ground beef in skillet, "scrambling" beef so it is in little pieces.
5) Once ground beef is cooked, pour sauce over beef and set skillet to warm.
6) Drain pasta.
7) In mixing bowl, mix pasta, ground beef, and sauce. Add one bag of cheese in three parts, mixing each thoroughly.
8) Pour into casserole dish, with second bag of cheese sprinkle over the top of the dish to cover.
9) Cook in oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
10) Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

There you have it! If you like different cheeses, try asiago and Parmesan mixed with the mozzarella for a slightly different favor.

Good luck and good cooking!


Monday, March 28, 2011


I just started to coupon over the last weekend. I thought it was going to be difficult, but it turned out to be rather easy and so fulfilling when I saved so much money.

Today I needed to go to Walgreens for a few items, Advil mainly. While there I grabbed an ad to see if anything caught my eye. I saw a coupon in the circular for 60 cents off of Halls cough drops, which is nice, they're only $1.99 a pack. Normally I wouldn't consider it though, Halls are one of those things that I only pick up when I'm sick. I remembered, however, that I had clipped a similar coupon from the Sunday ads for 75 cents for the cough drops. The wonderful thing being that Walgreens honors both coupons. So the $1.99 cough drops turned into 64 cent cough drops!

I also saw that there was a sale on the Dove product line, this included deodorant, lotion, hair products, and bath soap. Items that I had coupons on each of! The sale was 4 items for $15 and after purchase, I would receive a $5 register rewards. Register rewards are coupons that print out at the register that work like real dollars, so I would get a $5 coupon to use the next time I made a purchase at Walgreens. For $3.75 each, I purchased two bottles of Dove body wash (normally $5.49) , deodorant (normally $4.49), and anti-frizz hair serum (normally $5.99). So just on the sale I received a $6.46 savings. On the body washes I had coupons for $1.00 each and the other products I had 75 cent coupons. All together I saved $9.96, plus I got $5.00 in register rewards! Not bad!

I grabbed Carmex lip balm for $2.99, which I had a Walgreens coupon for $1.00. So I saved on that as well.

Lastly I purchased Advil, mainly because my head was pounding. I purchased Advil 50 count for $6.29 and Advil PM 20 count for $5.79. I had a $1.00 coupon for the regular Advil and $1.00 coupon for the Advil PM, plus an additional coupon for $3.00 off two Advil products. I ended up saving $5.00 off the two products.

All together I purchased:
Dove Bodywash ($5.49) $3.75
Dove Bodywash ($5.49) $3.75
Dove Deodorant ($4.49) $3.75
Dove Anti-Frizz Serum ($5.99) $3.75
Carmex Lip Balm $2.99
Advil $6.29
Advil PM $5.79
Halls Cough Drops $1.99

Total: $38.52 is the cost before the sales on the Dove products, they were rung up at $3.75 each on the receipt since the deal was 4 for $15, the cost on the receipt is $32.06 because of that.

I used $10.85 worth of coupons, subtracted from the $32.06:

The grand total receipt was $21.21 (before tax)!!!

With the sales and the coupons I saved a total of $17.31! I also received a $5.00 register rewards to use on my next visit. That's some great savings!

In my next blog about couponing, I'll explain what tactics I used to get these savings. Until then, happy cooking and saving!


Well hello there!

Hello everyone and welcome to my new blog, Kratrina Cooks!

I am Heather, better known as Kratrina on the interwebs. I am a self-described geek, who loves all things sci-fi, video games, and music. Most recently I have taken a huge interest in cooking and being thrifty.

The purpose of this blog will be to show how to cook good, tasty recipes that are easy to make. I will go through recipes with detailed explanations so that even the novice cook can make a wonderful dinner. As a beginning cook myself, I see all these wonderful recipes but feel that I am not capable of making them. What I hope to do here is show how easy these recipes are to make so that everyone can make them at home.

I do work a normal 40 hour a week job, but that doesn't mean that I do not have to cook when I get home from work. I am always looking for ways to cut down on time to cook meals as with our schedules we tend to eat late in the evening. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, so we can all get the best recipes possible!

Along with the cooking, I hope to high light my newest favorite hobby, couponing! I never imagined myself being a couponer until I started getting into it this weekend. It's so simple and the savings are actually amazing! I'll give tips on how to get the most for your money as well!

So thank you for checking in on me, we'll speak again soon!


It will be a journey ...