Thursday, December 15, 2011

overnight groats

I discovered this recipe a couple weeks ago after buying groats at winco. we liked it so much I just bought 9 more pounds of groats!

3/4 c. groats
1/4 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. whole almonds
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cardamom
4 cups water

Combine everything in a 2 qt. slow cooker. Cook on low 8 hours (or overnight). Mix in some berries of your choice (we like dried ones added a half hour before we eat cause then they're plump), a little brown sugar, milk, and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Southwestern Chili with Corn

I found this recipe in a Real Simple cookbook and it lives up to the name. It's simple, fast and really tasty.  It was originally a beef chili, but I tweaked it to make it meatless.  I'll include the meaty directions so you can decide how you want to make it.

1 T olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
{1/2 pound ground beef, omit kidney beans}
2 T tomato paste*
2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
1 T chili powder
3 cups vegetable or beef broth {or water}
kosher salt & black pepper
1/2 cup corn kernels

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over meduim-high heat.  Add the carrots, onion, and peppers and cook, stirring, for three minutes.  {Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.}  Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it is slightly darkened, 1 minute.  Stir in the beans, chili powder, broth {or water}, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in the corn.  Serve, {topping with shredded cheese and diced scallions.}  We love this with Pancheri cornbread.

*I used to hate using only a few tablespoons of tomato paste, because I usually ended up throwing the leftovers away. It finally dawned on me that I could freeze the extra in silicone ice cube trays.  I do that until they're solid, then throw them in a freezer bag in the freezer.  It works perfectly to throw into soups later. I just wanted to pass along my a-ha! moment*

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Since I am soy-free, dairy-free these days, I am always on the lookout for new dinner recipes that are tasty, healthy, and don't make me feel deprived.  Enter this recipe, yet another from Brooke.  I'm in love.

1 fresh butternut squash
1 T Earth Balance
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp flour
5 T nutritional yeast
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt  
ground black pepper
8oz whole wheat elbows
green mix-ins (spinach, kale, collards, etc)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cut butternut squash in half and peel.  Scoop out seeds with spoon.  Place cut side down in a 9x13 pan.  Add about 1/4-1/2 inch of water.   Bake for 45-60 min.  Once done, puree in food processor.*  

Meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce in a pot on the stove top. Add Earth Balance over low-medium heat.   In a bowl, whisk together milk and flour until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, and salt & pepper and whisk over low heat until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.

Cook your pasta according to package directions.

In a blender, blend the sauce with 1 cup of roasted squash. {I added a little more than 1 cup, and it made it extra-saucy & creamy. Yum.}

Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheese sauce & mix-ins. Heat through and serve.

*A 3.5 pound squash makes about 5 cups cooked squash – I froze my leftovers in silicone ice cube trays and will either thaw to use as baby food or throw them in green smoothies.*

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Un-refried beans

I don't remember where I printed this recipe from, but man alive, are they good.  They're so simple and cheap and I had a hard time not eating the whole batch with a spoon right out of the crock pot. These are great on tostadas, in bean burritos, as a side dish, or any other way you can imagine them. 

1 lb. dry pinto beans, picked through and rinsed
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 T garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
10-15 cranks cracked black pepper
1-2 tsp salt
6 cups water

Place onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder and pepper into crockpot.  Add the sorted and rinsed beans and the water.  Stir everything well to distribute seasoning.  Cook on high for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  After cooking, remove as much water as possible, saving it in a bowl.  Mash the beans {I used my potato masher}, adding in just enough reserved water to get the consistency you want.  Season the mashed beans with salt.  I would start with 1 tsp, taste, and add more if needed.

This recipe ends up making about six cups of refried beans, so I took the leftovers and divided them into two-cup batches in ziploc freezer bags. Cool completely in refrigerator, then transfer to freezer.  To use the frozen beans, you can just put them in the fridge in the morning and they'll be thawed by dinner.  Or, if you're like me and can't seem to plan that far in advance, you can always put the whole ziploc bag into a bowl of warm water and they thaw in no time.

testing, testing

Does anyone still read this thing? I have several new recipes that I love and will add if anyone is interested.  Otherwise, I'll just keep them to myself ...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

2 pound ground beef

2 tsp salt
1 small onion finely chopped
1 cup soft bread crumbs (dry work fine, too)
1/2 cup milk

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Form into balls (appx 1.5 inches). Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until centers are no longer pink. These freeze really well. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll make up a couple hundred and put them in Ziploc bags ready for a quick dinner or appetizer.

We combine the following to make a "sweet/sour" sauce:

2 cups ketchup
1 cup grape jelly or marion berry jam

Monday, April 25, 2011

Basic Pizza Crust

1 Tbsp yeast

1 cup hot water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 1/2 - 3 cups flour

Dissolve yeast with water, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. I usually let the dough rise for about 20 minutes for a lighter crust. This dough can also be rolled out immediately, if you are in a hurry. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.

Chicken Lime Tacos

This recipe comes courtesy of my sister-in-law Christy!

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
1 Tbsp chili powder
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1-1/2 cups chunky salsa (I use my own canned salsa)
Taco Seasoning, to taste.

Place chicken in crockpot, mix together lime juice and chili powder and pour over chicken. Cook chicken for 5-6 hours on low. Remove chicken, shred and return to crockpot with the juices. Add corn, beans and salsa and enough taco seasoning to give it a bit more kick. Add more salsa if mixture appears a little dry. Stir and cook for 30 minutes on low or until heated through.

I serve this mixture with tacos, nachos, salads and quesadillas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mexican Wedding Cookies

1 c. butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
nuts chopped

Mix thoroughly, roll into balls. Makes about 72. Put all on 1 cookie sheet. Bake at 250 for 1 hour. Shake in bag of powdered sugar.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

kale & tomato rice

here's one of our faves. got the idea from a dish made with kale and tomatoes and just kept adding ingredients to make it tastier and here's what I got.

1 1/2 cups cooked white rice (I make mine with vegetable stock instead of water)
2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup raisins
2 cups finely chopped & rinsed kale (about half a bunch)

In a heavy skillet saute the garlic & onions in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until golden. Add the tomatoes and raisins. Stir occasionally for 3 to 5 minutes until tomatoes are heated through and raisins start to plump. Add the kale and cook until wilted about one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the rice. Salt to taste.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Mandy and I made this when she visited last month and I made it again last night. So tasty and easy. It's not really a recipe, but more a list of ingredients. Sorry, there are no real quantities.

1 recipe pizza dough (I used 1 1/2 cups wheat flour and 1 cup white flour instead of the 3 cups of flour)
BBQ sauce
rotisserie chicken, shredded and then coated with BBQ sauce (its a great way to use leftover chicken or you can cook your own chicken in BBQ sauce)
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/3 to 1/2 depending on taste)
black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
pepperoni (optional)
shredded mozzarella (about 2 cups)
shredded cheddar (about 1/2 cup)

Heat oven to 400.
Assembly: Roll crust, or press into 10x15" jelly roll pan. **If you don't have a pizza stone, I recommend prebaking the crust for about half the cooking time. This will prevent your crust from getting soggy and will give you a nice crisp on the outside, soft on the inside texture.**
Pre-bake just the crust for about 10 minutes. While the crust is cooking, assemble all your pizza toppings. Remove crust from oven. Spread about 1/4 cup BBQ sauce on crust (its really personal preference) Top with whatever toppings you are using. I added black beans to make a vegetarian version for my roommate (so technically it is a BBQ black bean pizza). Top everything with mozzarella and then just a bit of cheddar cheese. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and hot (I'll also put under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to brown the cheese slightly) Slice and enjoy!

**I made my pizza crust in the morning and covered and placed in the refrigerator (the recipe says it doesn't need to rise, but I always think letting a yeast dough rise once makes it softer) When you get home from work or about 1 hour before you want to start assembling your pizza, remove the dough to the counter to come up to room temperature.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beach Street Lemon Chicken Linguine

Michelle is at it again--making another amazing meal. We had this last night at Sunday dinner and it was fabulous! My vegetarian roommate even said just the noodles with the lemony sauce were delish (no, she didn't eat the chicken!)

1 lb linguine
1/2 c olive oil
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon
1/2 c chopped green onion
1/4 c parsley
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 T Cajun seasoning
1 T lemon juice
2 T minced parsley
1 T brown sugar
1 T soy sauce
3 chicken breasts sliced ( or 16 large shrimp)

Combine marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag, add chicken. refrigerate for 1-12 hours. Cook marinated chicken in skillet with all juices, until chicken is done.

Cook linguine in salted water, drain and rinse. Combine first 5 ingredients in bowl and add pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss in Parmesan cheese. Serve chicken with juices over linguine. Delicious!

Friday, April 16, 2010

30-Minute Green Chicken Enchiladas

I got this recipe from a recent issue of Cook's Country magazine and added the half-and-half to suit my husband's tastes.  (He's become more and more anti-spicy over the years, even mild spicy, but I love him in spite of his deficiencies.)  This is quickly becoming one of our weeknight go-to meals because it's so quick and tasty.

2 (10-ounce) cans green enchilada sauce
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-sized pieces (about three cups) OR 2 (12.5-ounce) cans cooked chicken breast, drained and broken into pieces
2 ½ cups shredded Mexican cheese blend OR shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
½ cup half-and-half, whipping cream, or whole milk, optional

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Puree enchilada sauce and 1 cup cilantro in a blender.  Combine 1 cup enchilada sauce mixture, chicken, and 1 ½ cups cheese in a large bowl and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wrap tortillas in a clean kitchen towel and microwave until hot and very pliable, 30 to 90 seconds.  Top each tortilla with approx. ¼ cup chicken mixture, roll tightly, and place seam-side down in a greased 9”x13” baking dish.  Spray tops of enchiladas lightly with cooking spray.

If desired, mix half-and-half, whipping cream, or whole milk with remaining enchilada sauce. Pour 1 to 1 ½ cups sauce mixture over top of enchiladas, then top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.  If desired, sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro and pass remaining enchilada sauce at table.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

This cake is very rich and delicious! I frost with either butter cream or chocolate cream cheese frosting (which makes it even more decadent!)

1 cup baking cocoa
1 cup boiling water
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup sour cream

Dissolve cocoa in water; let stand until cool. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (start and end with the dry ingredients) Beat until incorporated after each addition. Add cocoa mixture; beat well.

Pour into 3 greased and floured 9-in round cake pans. Bake 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.

**For my nieces birthday cake, I stirred in 1 pkg of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips before pouring it into the pans for baking. I then frosted it with chocolate cream cheese frosting and garnished it with more chocolate chips.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Peruvian Breakfast Tacos

Really, this is just breakfast burritos with Edam cheese, the only melting cheese here and it is wonderful cheese anyway, and cilantro, and aji, the Peruvian equivalent of jalapenos but even more flavorful and a lovely orange color even though they are called aji verde! Tomatoes, green onions and cilantro round it out! So yummy and such a pretty plate of condiments!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fish Tacos with Honey-Cumin Slaw and Chiptole Sauce

1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko crumbs
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup vegetable oil for frying

2 cups 3 color coleslaw blend
1 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 (7 inch) (8 inch) flour tortillas

  1. Place the tilapia chunks in a flat dish and pour 1/2 cup lime juice over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the honey-cumin sauce by whisking together 1/3 cup lime juice, honey, vegetable oil, and ground cumin a small bowl. Set aside until needed.
  3. To make the chipotle mayonnaise dressing, place the mayonnaise, chilies, adobo sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper together in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  4. To bread the fish, place the flour, eggs, and panko crumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste. Dip the fish pieces first in the four, coating evenly, and shaking off any excess. Dip next in the eggs, and last in the panko crumbs, patting the pieces to help the breadcrumbs hold. Set the fish aside on a plate.
  5. To cook the breaded fish, pour 1 cup vegetable oil into a skillet to 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C) over medium heat. Cook the fish, turning until all sides are golden brown, and flesh is easily flaked with a fork. Drain on paper towels. Brush the fish with the honey-cumin sauce.
  6. Mix the coleslaw and cilantro together in a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the chipotle mayonnaise dressing, and pour the remaining dressing over the coleslaw mixture. Toss to coat evenly with the dressing.
  7. Place the tortillas on a flat surface, and spread each with 1 tablespoon reserved chipotle mayonnaise dressing. Divide the fish between the tortillas. Top with the cilantro coleslaw.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oatmeal Berry Muffins

I got this recipe somewhere, but I have no idea what blog I pulled it from. All I know is this was adapted from Joy the Baker and that Matt and his coworkers polished off a double batch in record time.

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 T canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup frozen berries {I used raspberries, blackberries & blueberries}

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray with Pam. {If you want to freeze these, use Pam instead of liners.}

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil, egg and extracts. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in berries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Cool on a rack.

{These freeze very well. I just let them cool on the rack, then put a dozen into a gallon freezer bag and froze laying flat. I just took a couple out of the freezer and put them in a ziploc the night before and put it with Matt's lunch in the fridge and they were thawed and ready to eat by breakfast time.}

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

I don't think I'll ever bother to buy pre-made breakfast sausage again.

2 lbs ground pork*
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well.  Shape into 2 1/2" patties, about 1/2" thick.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Cook half of patties until well browned and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.  Wipe out skillet and repeat with remaining butter and patties.  Yield: 16 patties.

*You can usually find ground pork next to the ground beef.  Do NOT use lean or extra lean ground pork--it won't have enough fat in it to cook up properly.  You can also check the butcher's counter in your grocery store for ground pork breakfast sausage, which usually has just sage added; reduce the sage in the recipe to compensate.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

1 pork tenderloin (1 lb)
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut the tenderloin in half; place in crockpot.  Whisk remaining ingredients together and pour over tenderloin.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours, until pork is cooked through and tender.

Remove pork from crockpot and use two forks to shred.  Stir sauce in crockpot, then add pork back to pot.  Toss well and allow to heat through.

Serve on hamburger buns or split kaiser rolls.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Shinsel spaghetti

I know, I should have posted this a long time ago. I just always fudge the amounts, so it's hard to say how much of everything I actually put in! Here's a good guess anyway!

1-1.5 lbs. ground beef (or sausage)
2 cans Stewed Tomatos (15 oz cans)--can use italian style or regular, but DO NOT DRAIN
2 cans tomato sauce (8oz cans--or 1 15 oz can)
1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. salt OR 1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp oregeno
2-3 bay leaves
2 beef bullion cubes
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 lb. grated cheese (or to taste)
8 oz package of spaghetti noodles (regular--thin doesn't turn out so well)

Start water to boil in large pot. In a large skillet brown hamburger. Drain excess fat and add tomatos, sauce, sugar , herbs, etc. (Can also add other add in's as desired--tomatos, peppers, etc.) Simmer sauce while your noodles are cooking. Drain noodles. Return to pot. Pour sauce into pot with noodles. Add cheese. Stir. Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Healthified Crispy-Coated Chicken


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

1 c finely crushed multigrain tortilla chips
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
shredded romaine
salsa (I really like it with Mango salsa, my husband liked regular)
Avocado slices
In a shallow bowl combine tortilla chips, oregano, cumin and pepper. Place egg in another shallow dish, beat lightly. Dip chicken in egg and then chips.
Place chicken on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake about 25 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Serve on a bed a shredded romaine with salsa and avocado slices.
* Whenever I make any type of crispy, breaded chicken I put a cooling rack on my pan and put the chicken on top of it. This cooks underneath and keeps the bottom from getting soggy.

Go-To Meals

Quesadillas- cook and shred chicken, add taco seasoning. Use chicken, cheese, black beans, veggies- whatever you like and heat between 2 tortillas either in microwave or on griddle. (I make the chicken ahead of time and freeze it and then this is very quick and easy).

Quick Chili

Tiny Spicy Chicken

Cranberry Meatballs

Soup- just add browned ground beef, a large can of tomatoes or water, whatever veggies I have (carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, peas, corn, beans, etc) and some seasoning (salt, pepper, bay leaf, garlic- whatever your in the mood for) and let simmer until veggies are tender.

I also think taco soup is very quick and easy- everyone seems to have their own favorite recipe

Quick Chili

This isn't my favorite chili recipe, but it only takes about 15 minutes and I always have the ingredients on hand.

browned ground beef
1-2 cans kidney beans
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
diced onion
chili powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Mix, heat and eat.

Tiny Spicy Chicken

It's not really spicy- more like sweet and sour.

3/4 c sugar
4 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 c vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
* 1 undrained can pineapple tidbits (the recipe doesn't actually call for this- I just add it and really like it)

Mix all ingredients and pour over 2-3 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

request: aimee's spaghetti

This is a pretty-please request for Aimee.  Will you post your famous spaghetti recipe so I don't have to call you every time I want to make it? I swear I had it written down but can't find it for the life of me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sweet Potato Minestrone

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large stalks celery, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
5 cups vegetable broth
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, sliced thin
1 can cut green beans
5 cloves garlic, minced

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, with the juice, broth, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and garlic. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

The sweet potatoes make this a little bit sweet (go figure), and it's actually pretty filling. You can also add a can of cannellini beans to it if you like that sorta thing.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Go to Meals- Beef Stroganoff

This is one of my favorite and easiest recipes. We'd have it a lot more often if I could just remember to thaw some hamburger before I leave for work. When I make this, I serve it with bright colored veggies- just so it is prettier.

Here's the recipe...

1 lb of ground beef (I always go as lean as I can find)
1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic
Strain the beef grease before you add...
2 cups sliced mushrooms (there aren't any in the pictures because I was out)

Saute until the onions are clear and then add

1/3 c red wine
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Continue cooking until the meat is cooked throughout.

Then add...

1/2 c sour cream
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook until heated throughout. Serve on noodles or rice.

PS if you don't cook with wine, use 1/3 of a cup of beef bouillon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Go To Meals

Howdy all,

We have a few go to meals, some which I do in the crock pot in the morning when I know I have a busy day ahead.

Creamy Chicken--You can just bake this for an hour or put it in the crock pot and cook all day. I take chicken breasts and 1-2 cans of Cream or Chicken or Mushroom (whatever I have) and throw them in the crock pot with a can full of water, sprinkle with salt, pepper, maybe some powdered Italian dressing mix, and let it cook. About 20 minutes before you are ready to eat, throw in a half a block of cream cheese or a whole block if you have many chicken breasts and 2 cans of soup. At this point I take my tongs and break up the chicken, it is so tender it just comes apart easy and then stir up the mixture with cream cheese and cook for about 20 more minutes. Once it is all ready, I either pour it over rice or mashed potatoes and open a can or corn or carrots or something for the side, or a salad. Its really creamy and yummy and so easy. If you do it in the oven, just cook it for 45-60 minutes and add the cream cheese with 20 minutes left.

We also do nachos a lot for go to meals, you can do them vegetarian and just open a can of black beans or whatever kind of bean you have (refried is great too), sprinkle them on tortilla chips that are spread out on a cookie sheet, top with your favorite toppings, we do cheese, sauteed onions, sometimes add chicken or beef, then pop them in a 325 oven for a few minutes until it is all melty and yum.

Another favorite of mine is Monterrey Chicken found here
I like this because I can make twice as much as I need and then take a leftover breast and shred it for Barbecue Chicken Pizza the next day or add in some Frank's Red Sauce after you shred it and make a really yum Buffalo BBQ Chicken and serve it on a green salad with ranch, or a sandwich/wrap for a great little kick.

I agree on the omelets comment made before, they are cheap and easy and fast!

I also keep tomato soup and cheese on hand for tomato soup and drilled cheese sandwiches.

I also love to make chicken salad. I keep some cans of cooked chicken on the shelf from Sam's. They are quite good and great for quick meals. I can take a can or two of chicken and drain it, then add a can of chopped pineapple, 1/2-3/4 cup of Mayo (lite is okay), salt, and pepper and sometimes a little lemon juice. Throw that on some bread and its a great sandwich.

Another crock pot one is for soup. I take a couple of chicken breasts, about 6 cups of water, and a cup or so of dried Great White Northern Beans. I put them all in the crock pot with a medium sized can of chopped green chilis. Add spices, like cumin, Mrs. Dash, etc and just cook on high all day. There is no need to pre-soak the beans, just sort them, rinse them and put them in the crock pot. This make an easy and tasty White Bean Chicken Chili. I serve it with a dollup of sour cream and tortilla chips and shredded cheese.

Hope that helps!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Go-to meals: Hawiian Chicken

This is SOOO yummy and takes no time to prepare in the crock-pot! My mom showed it to me while visiting for during the Christmas break.

Put some boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a crock-pot.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (or slightly less) soy sauce
1 can of pinapple tidbits (8 oz)
Cook on High for about 3 hours

Serve over rice and some stir-fry veggies (I just buy a bag of my favorite frozen kind of stir fry veggies--cooking them in some of the juices from the crock pot when it's done cooking adds a little bit of extra flavor.) Enjoy!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Request: Go-To Meals -- Here, here!

I'm a little late on the bandwagon, but I'd like to second the request for go-to meals. We could desperately use ideas around our house these days. I'd also love to get ideas for freezer meals that turn out well; I've had good luck turning a few of the recipes on here into freezer meals (doubling the recipe, freezing half for later) but I'd love pointers, tips, or even just links to your favorites for freezing.

My only contribution in the go-to meals department isn't so much a recipe as a technique I use a lot for chicken and pork chops. For chicken, we use bone-in, skin-on pieces; for pork chops, we usually go with bone-in center cuts. The bones and skin add a lot of flavor.

In a large skillet, heat approximately 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (don't use EVOO or butter; they'll burn) over medium-high heat until shimmering and just beginning to smoke. Pat meat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add meat to skillet skin side down; cook until well browned (you'll know when it's ready because the meat will release easily from the skillet; if it sticks, it isn't finished cooking.) Turn meat over, cover pan with lid, and reduce heat to medium. Cook through. This usually takes no more than 10-15 minutes and can take a lot less, depending on how thick your meat is.

We love this because you can do a lot of things with it: sprinkle on any herb or spice mixture you like with the salt and pepper; top chicken with fresh tomatoes and basil, salsa, just about anything; or deglaze the pan after the meat is done and use the fond to make a quick pan sauce. If I pull a pack or two of meat out of the freezer once a week, I can whip up a couple of last-minute meals when I need them.

To go Meals: Southwest Chicken Casserole

This is the quickest, easiest casserole I've come across. It uses almost all pantry items and it's pretty tasty too! Hope you like it!

1 can chicken chunks, drained
1 can diced green chiles (approx 4oz)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded cheese (chedder or mexican blend)
2 Tbsp dried minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups water
2 cups instant rice

I just mix all of the ingredients in a microwave safe casserole dish, approx. 9X13", adding the rice last. The mixture is about the consistency of soupy pancake batter. Cover the dish and microwave for about 15 minutes. All done!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Request: Go-To Meals

Mandy (and Matt and Maddy) let me be the first to respond.  Here are a few of my go-to meals:

Zucchini and Corn Quesedillas (you can even eliminate the zucchini and they'd be delish!)
Quesedillas are a definite go-to meal for me - the possibilities are endless.  Just use whatever beans and veggies you have on-hand (fresh or frozen)

Spiced Lentil Tacos - letils are cheap and can be stored for a very long time. And, just use what toppings you have on had at the time.

I'm also a big fan of any type of pasta dish.  Its easy to keep dried pasta and even jarred sauce on hand.  You can jazz-up your sauce with additional veggies (fresh, frozen or canned) or even some meat. You can also do a variety of baked dishes - just mix your pasta, sauce and whatever cheese you have, toss in a greased casserole dish, top with more cheese and bake at 350 until bubbly and cheese is melted (I'm guessing around 20 mins)

Omelettes are also easy, fast and can be made with ingredients you have on hand.  Sautee some veggies in a little olive oil, add beaten eggs and cook until eggs are firm - top with cheese before serving.  Serve with toast and some fruit (fresh, frozen or canned) and you've got a great meal.

And, if all else fails microwave popcorn and cold cereal are acceptable meals in my book!  Hope this helps.

Request: Go-To Meals

Like everyone else, I'm super busy this time of year and am also trying to stretch out my trips to the grocery store to see if that saves me any money.  Put those together and you'll probably find me around 4pm wondering what on earth I'm going to make for dinner.  This is where you come in.  What are your go-to quick, easy, tasty meals that you can make at a moment's notice with ingredients you probably already have on hand?  Matt and Maddy thank you in advance.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sweet and Sour Hamburger

This is one of my favorite meals (as well as Josh's and Garet's). Mel requested the ingredients for it, but this is the actual recipe not the "I don't know 4 or 5 tablespoons" or "until it looks the right color".

Sweet and Sour Hamburger

1 lb. hamburger
1 c catsup
4 T. Worchestershire sauce
5 T. vinegar
5T. sugar
1/3 c. water

Brown hamburger, drain off grease. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve over rice.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Grandma Z's Christmas Butter Cookies

These are super yummy and very rich. They freeze extremely well and can be made up a month ahead of time. They are, however, NOT a low-fat food. :)

1 cup sugar
1 pound butter
4 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla

Cream sugar and butter together then gradually add the flour. When flour is incorporated, add vanilla. Roll out 1/4" thick and cut into desired shapes. You don't want the cookies too big -- keep it simple. I use a round cookie cutter, cut one circle and then overlap the cutter to form two crescents and an oval type shape in the middle. Place on a baking sheet close together (but not touching). Bake at 225 degrees for 1 hour. Immediately glaze hot cookies.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp cream

Cream together and apply with fingers to hot butter cookies.


This was affectionately named by my sister-in-law's family . . . . I would simply call it YUMMY! This is a great idea for holiday goodie baskets/plates!

1/2 Box Crispix Cereal (4 cups)
1/2 Box Golden Grahams (4 cups)
1 1/4 cup slivered almonds (I toast them, she doesn't. It all depends on your preference.)
1/2 Bag Pretzels
1 cup coconut (this is saved for the very last)

Boil the following for 2 minutes
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup

Pour over dry ingredients. Mix in coconut last.

You can also add M&M's, peanuts, etc. . . .

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cranberry Crumb Bars

inspired by these.

For the crust:
3/4 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix flour and powdered sugar.  Cut in butter, dough will form small crumbs.  Press into a buttered or parchment lined 9x13" pan.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temp to 325.

For the filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 T flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce* (or 2 cups homemade cranberry sauce; I used leftover from Thanksgiving dinner)
2 T corn starch
1 T brown sugar

Beat cream cheese until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add sugar, flour, egg, vanilla and salt and beat well.  Pour over crust.  Stir together cranberry sauce, corn starch and brown sugar.  Pour over cream cheese filling.

For topping:
1/3 cup butter, melted
5 T brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Combine all ingredients and sprinkle over cranberries.  Bake at 325 for 30 to 40 minutes.  Edges will just begin to turn light brown and center will be almost set.  Cool completely, about 2 hours, cut into bars and enjoy.

*You could also use a variety of different fruits here.  I think any flavor of jam would be delish. (I'd cut down the amount used and eliminate the sugar due to the sweetness) Or fresh berries (just smash them a bit and you might need to add more sugar depending on how sweet they are). I think you could even use frozen (I'd thaw first and drain most of the liquid) or canned fruit (drained).  The possibilities are endless and you can definitely appeal to the tastes of your family, friends or guests.  Let me know what fun flavor combinations you use.

Cranberry Sauce

Image and recipe from Simply Recipes 

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
12 oz package of fresh cranberries
1 T minced fresh ginger, optional

Wash and pick over cranberries.  In medium sauce pan, bring water and sugar to boil.  Sitr to dissolve sugar.  Add cranberries and ginger, return to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.  Cool completely and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Skillet Chicken with Broccoli, Pasta & Parmesan

This is the closest thing to Macaroni Grill's Pasta Milano I've tried. The recipe makes it look more difficult than it actually is, I promise. It's really, really good right after you cook it and the leftovers are fantastic.

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 T olive oil
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
12 ounces penne {I used whole wheat}
4 1/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
4-5 cups broccoli {I used 4 and didn't think it was enough}
{I think I'll add 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms next time}
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed & coarsely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 1/2 T lemon juice

Season the chicken with salt & pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, of the pink color has disappeared, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the onion and 1/2 tsp salt to the skillet. Return to medium-high heat and cook until the onion is softened. Stir in the garlic, oregano and red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the pasta, 3 cups of water and the broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is very thick and almost completely absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and remaining 1 1/4 cups water. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the broccoli turns bright green and is almost tender, 2-3 minutes.

Uncover and return the heat to medium-high. Stir in the cream, parmesan and reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with more parmesan cheese.

I printed this recipe off a blog several months ago but have no idea which one. If I figure it out, I'll update this post to give credit where credit is due.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Great Harvest Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is as close as I have ever gotten to duplicating the Great Harvest Chocolate Chip Cookie!

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups brown sugar (I used dark)
1 cup butter
2 cups rolled oats
2 eggs
2 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp milk
1 pkg chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking pwd, baking soda and salt. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, molasses, and milk. Add oats and then the dry ingredients. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop dough and drop 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes (until they start to brown around the edges). Let them cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cheesecake Cookies

I got this recipe from the Dec/Jan 2010 issue of Cook's Country, and it's amazing. The filling might drip onto your cookie sheets as it bakes, so definitely use parchment paper. Otherwise they'll really stick. Oh, and I made half of these with cherry filling (which the recipe calls for) and the other half with raspberry, and they both worked really well. Enjoy!

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 (20-ounce) cans cherry pie filling, drained

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350*F; line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, then roll each ball in graham cracker crumbs. Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Using a tablespoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. Place 3 cherries in center of each indentation. Bake until golden around edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: Approx 4 1/2 dozen cookies