Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When It's Chilly Out, Make Chili

There are so many variations of chili and I like to experiment. We like it hot in my house! I will also sometimes add beer, tomato juice instead of tomato soup or even make a stew like chili with pork or beef. This is the basic recipe. It's even better the second day! You can also make chili cheese fries the next day with this.

1 lb or more of ground beef
1 onion diced
2 small cans Campbell's tomato soup (may substitute tomato juice)
2 cans water
1 can Bushs' mild chili beans with sauce
1 can kidney beans drained
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies like Rotel
1 TBSP Mexican Chili powder or more to taste
hot sauce

Brown ground beef and diced onions. Leave some bigger chunks of hamburger for the soup. Drain off grease. If you are adding beer you would do it at this point and bring to a boil. Add all ingredients and stir. Let simmer on a medium heat for about 30 minutes. Serve with cornbread or crackers.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Comfort Food Always Makes You Feel Better!

I started off the day on the wrong foot. Sick and tired! The family cold has made it's way through my family and settled in me. I still had to work and make the best of a crummy situation. For lunch I made some French Onion soup which I defrosted from the freezer. I freeze it in Ziploc bags in one cup sizes to use in things like crock pot pot roast.

Dinner tonight was tuna salad with shell pasta and peas which I whipped together this afternoon in anticipation of not feeling like making dinner tonight. Around 7P.M.  I decided I wanted apple pie so I made a quick apple crumble. Our ice cream this week is cookie dough as you will see in the picture. With very little planning you can make some foods that will give you comfort.

I was thinking of making a big batch of chicken noodle tomorrow but I have all the fixings for chili. So look for a chili recipe tomorrow:)

I prefer the taste of Miracle Whip for this recipe but you can use whatever you like.

                                            Cold tuna salad with shell pasta and peas

1 lb cooked and drained in cold water medium sized shells
1 can Starkist tuna in water drained
1/4 c Miracle Whip
1 cup peas drained (I used frozen)
1 stalk celery diced
1 onion diced
1 tsp salt and pepper

This recipe is great at summer picnics.

Combine the drained and cooled pasta shells with the tuna, Miracle Whip, onions, and celery. Add salt and pepper. And lastly add the peas giving a stir or two. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. You may have to add more Miracle Whip after it sits.

                                                   Just Like Mom's Apple Crumble

3/4 c flour
3/4 sugar
1 pkg instant maple brown sugar oatmeal
1 stick cold butter cubed

6 apples cored, pealed, and sliced
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450. Combine apples and cinnamon and stir with fingers til apples are coated. Place in a casserole dish. In a medium bowl stir together flour, sugar, instant oatmeal and cubed butter with a fork or pastry cutter. It should be a chunky consistency. Pour over the apples. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the apples are cooked through. Serve with our favorite ice cream.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Mac and Cheese

I couldn't remember if I posted this one before so please forgive me. My girls both go crazy over this dish. You can change up the cheeses you use or even sneak in pureed veggies. (Your kids will never know unless you use something obvious like broccoli. Cauliflower and sweet potatoes blend right in.) I was going to add bacon tonight but my family ate it all up on me. Go figure!  Normally I would add a half block of diced Velveeta cheese but today I had some shredded Kraft 4 cheese with Philadelphia cream cheese in it.

                                                                    Mac and Cheese

1 lb elbow macaroni boiled for about 8-10 minutes and drained
1 1/2 skim milk or milk of your choice
1 1/2 c cheese of your choice or 1/2 block of Velveeta diced
2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP butter
1 tsp salt
1 squirt mustard
1/4 c seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Butter a 9x13 baking pan and set oven to 350. Drain and pour the macaroni noodles into the buttered dish.
In a medium sized sauce pan brown the butter and add the flour mixing with a whisk. Brown butter and flour for about 2 minutes. Add in the milk and continue to whisk til the flour and butter are dissolved. Begin adding cheese and mix in gradually til all melted. (At this time you would add any veggie purees) Bring the cheese mixture just below a boil and remove from heat. Add the salt and squirt of mustard. Pour the cheese over the ready noodles. Make sure all the noodles are covered by giving it a stir or two. Top with the 1/4 c of seasoned bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes and enjoy. This goes great with applesauce. If I have left over cheese sauce I sometimes make chili cheese fries the next day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why is the Rum Not Gone? Bananas Foster with Rum

About two years ago my this week my family and I embarked on a four day cruise on the Disney Wonder to Nassau in the Bahamas. We purchased one of our allowed liters there in Nassau and have been nursing the bottle ever since. I even purchased another bottle when we returned there in November 2009. That one is unopened though.

My hubby is a diabetic and I didn't want to be cruel to him so I decided to make this on a night when he would be sleeping. Bananas Foster. I prefer to use brown sugar but I had to use what I had on hand white sugar.

Here is the recipe with the brown sugar. If using white you need stir it in the butter until it becomes light brown. Also when you add the rum use a piece of spaghetti and stand away as the alcohol will flame and needs to burn out.

Bananas Foster

4 TBSP butter
2 TBSP brown sugar or white
1/4 cup rum
5 bananas sliced anyway you like
vanilla ice cream

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the brown sugar and stir in with a whisk until dissolved. Add the rum and flame with a long match or a piece of uncooked spaghetti. Once the flame is out add the bananas and heat for about 2 minutes. Ladel bananas over waiting ice cream. This is family safe as the alcohol burns off.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Something New Today....

In my house we are always trying out new recipes. Sometimes I make 2-3 new things a week. My kids have a pretty broad palette. I ask that they try out things once and if they don't like them they don't have to eat them. My hubby and my two children do not like onions but that hasn't stopped me from incorporating them into our diet.
Here is a pic of my daughter trying escargot on the Wonder and she actually liked it!

I was in my doctors office the other day and saw this recipe for Lamb Tagine. Then the problem. When I got to my grocery store they didn't have lamb. So I settled on veal. They say you can substitute chicken but I used my chicken earlier this week in Arroz con Pollo.

Veal and lamb both have different tastes so I am not sure how this will turn out. I browned the veal in some EVOO and flour before dumping it into the crock pot and use the chicken broth to reduce get the brown bits out of the pan. I have it set to cook all day when I am at work. I have always wanted to eat at Marakesh at Epcot and am thinking about being there when making this.  I added only 2 sweet potatoes. It came out very sweet but my family ate it all up.

from Women's Day magazine:

Recipe Ingredients

    • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
    • 2 lb boneless leg of lamb or lamb stew meat, cut into 1 1⁄2-in. pieces, visible fat trimmed
    • 1 cup each dried apricots and prunes
    • 1 Tbsp each minced garlic and pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
    • 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
    • 1 box (10 oz) whole-wheat couscous
    • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, optional

Recipe Preparation

    1. Mix onion, lamb, apricots, prunes, garlic, pumpkin pie spice, salt, pepper and bay leaf in a 4-qt or larger slow cooker. In a bowl, whisk broth and tomato paste until combined; pour into slow cooker. Nestle whole sweet potatoes into stew. 2. Cover and cook on high 5 to 6 hours or on low 7 to 9 hours until lamb and potatoes are tender. 3. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board; discard bay leaf. Cut potatoes into wedges. 4. Prepare couscous as package directs; serve with stew and potatoes. Serve with almonds if desired. Variations 1. Use 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead of the lamb. Cook on high 4 to 6 hours or on low 6 to 8 hours until chicken is tender. 2. Substitute 4 lamb shanks (12 to 14 oz each) for the leg of lamb or stew meat. Cook on high 6 to 8 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours until lamb is tender. 3. Instead of whole sweet potatoes, add 4 carrots (halved lengthwise, then cut into 1-in. pieces) and 2 cans (15.5 oz each) chickpeas, rinsed. Finishing Touches Top with sesame seeds instead of almonds. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or mint. Before serving, add 2 tsp grated orange

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicken and Puff Pastry Turnovers

I saw this recipe on the Today Show a few weeks ago. I finally got around to buying all the ingredients today. My grocery store didn't have the Gruyere cheese so I using Swiss. I made 8 of them or two per person.

                                   Chicken and Puff Pastry Turnovers

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere (I am using shredded swiss)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Dijon mustard
Cut 2 sheets of thawed frozen puff pastry (one 17.25-ounce package) in half to form 4 rectangles.
Dividing evenly, top half of each rectangle with a mixture of 1½ cups shredded rotisserie chicken, 1½ cups grated Gruyere, and ½ cup frozen peas.
Seal the pastries and brush the tops with beaten egg.
Bake at 400 degrees F until golden, 20-25 minutes.
Serve with Dijon mustard.
Serving Size
Serves 4

Monday, March 21, 2011

Easy Biscuit and Chicken Pot Pie Revisited

Tonight dinner was my easy biscuit and chicken pot pie. It can be made within 25 minutes which is wonderful for me when I work til 6. Here is the link with the recipe:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Shopping Trip and Menu for the Next Week Plus Reubens

I went grocery shopping yesterday. I spent a bit over my budget. I wanted to spend around $60 but ended up spending $82 and saving $39 in coupons. I also got $10 off instantly off at checkout for buying 6 General Mills Cereals and earned a free milk for next time.

I got 50 bonus box tops for my DD's school too! If you bought three Grands rolls you got free eggs. And if you bought their meal deal which was boneless skinless chicken breasts you got free carrots, onion, and shrooms. On top of that it was double coupon day so I saved another $10.00 there getting a whole bunch of pantry items for little to no cost. It's a shame that my store only lets me double up to 5 coupons. I would love to go coupon crazy!

So the plan at least til Wednesday is:

taco salad over tortilla chips and with french dressing
Tonight Reubens with the left over corned beef
biscuit and chicken pot pie
oven fried baked tilapia
arroz con pollo or tortilla chicken soup
bubble pizza made with biscuits
sausage gravy over biscuits maybe a breakfast for dinner at the end of the week
chicken picatta

homemade shamrock shakes.. I didn't get to have one at Mickey D's
root beer cupcakes

Easy Pleasy Reubens

Left over corned beef sliced
1 can Frank's Kraut 2 TBSP kraut per sandwich
2 TBSP Thousand Island Dressing per sandwich
Beefsteak Rye bread
Swiss cheese
butter (we use Country Crock for Spreading)

This is just as easy as making a grilled cheese but a thousand times better! I like to get all my ingredients out and assemble the sandwich in the grilling pan. I first butter one slice and place in a hot pan and smear the Thousand Island on with a spoon add the kraut, and the corned beef. Top with the cheese. Butter the top slice of bread. Spread the remainder of the dressing on the back side of the bread and top the Reuben. Flip over after about 2-3 minutes when a nice crust forms. There is just something about the left over BBQ sauce from the night before that adds something to the sandwich.

I have a taste for soup today so I might make us some tomato.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

BBQ Corned Beef, Honey Glazed Carrots, Cabbage, and Balieys Irish Cream Cheesecake

I worked all week so I made our St. Paddy's Day food today. Our menu was  BBQ corned beef brisket, honey glazed carrots, new potatoes, and for dessert Baileys Irish Cream cheesecake. The extra corned beef I will be making Reuben sandwiches with tomorrow. For the potatoes I would normally make smashed new potatoes with heavy cream but I forgot the heavy cream so I ended up removing all the eyes and quartering them. I mixed in some butter and minced garlic. When quartered they will boil in about 25 minutes.

BBQ Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 4lb corned beef brisket
2-3QT. water
corning spice pack
1 cabbage quartered
BBQ sauce of your choice

Boil brisket in water for 55 minutes per pound or around 3 hours for a 3lb brisket. Pre-heat water to 350. Remove brisket  from water and move to a roasting pan. Save juices. Baste the corned beef with your favorite BBQ sauce and bake for 30 minutes to 1 hour until meat is fork tender. While the corned beef is baking place the quartered cabbage in the reserved corned beef water and boil for about 25 minutes. Drain and serve. Boiling the cabbage in the reserved liquid gives it a flavor similar to when you make greens with ham hocks.
Honey Glazed Carrots

l lb carrots cut into 1 inch coins
1/4 cup honey
water for boiling
1 pat butter

Boil carrots in salted water for 25-30 minutes until fork tender. Drain water and add honey to carrots. The heat from the boiled carrots will melt the honey. Finish with a pat of butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake

2 pkgs. lite cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c Baileys Irish Cream
1 Oreo Cookie crumb pie crust

Cool Whip 8oz container
1/4 tsp mint extract
1 Skor Toffee bar crushed

Pre-heat oven to 325. Bring a sauce pan full of water to a simmer. Mix the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and Baileys with an electric blender. (it almost looks like the cream cheese won't mix but it does) When combined add to Oreo pie crust. Carefully lift cheesecake and place in a roasting pan. Pour the simmering water around the cheesecake and fill halfway up the cheese cake pan. Move to the oven and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when placed in the center. Cool. Place in fridge for a hour or two.  Topping recipe ahead....

For topping mix 1/4 mint extract into the Cool Whip. Spread over cooled cheese cake. Place Skor bar in a plastic baggie and smash with a rolling pin. Sprinkle toffee bits over the Cool Whip. Cut into 8 pieces.

Note: the 1/2 cup Bailey's makes the cheese cake taste really strong. None of the liquer cooks out. I am not sure how adjusting it to 1/4 cup would affect the recipe. Also the mint topping is strong too. So probably just a drop next time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cheeseburger Salad

I saw this recipe either on Rachael Ray or on for Cheeseburger salad a  few years ago.  I have adapted it to our own taste. Geez Rachael is a genius! Rach made hers with a mustard style dressing but I prefer to let my family choose their own.  Here's how I made it today. I made them on a Hamilton Beach indoor grill and they cook up in about 7 minutes.

1/2 lb ground beef (makes 8 mini cheeseburgers)
1 handful of bacon bits (I like Oscar Meyer natural bacon bits)
salt and pepper
1 head lettuce
8-10 pickles diced
2 Roma tomatoes diced
2 carrots sliced into coins
dressing of your choice
1 slice of Kraft American cheese divided

Combine the ground beef and bacon bits and form into small patties. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a indoor grill for 7 minutes or until cooked through. In the last minute place divided cheese onto each of the hamburgers.  Serve ontop of lettuce and add the toppings you enjoy. (serves 4)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some Recipes From My Zatarains House Party

Here are some of my recipes from the Zatarain's House Party. The theme was Cajun so I added one of my favorite dishes Chicken and Andouilee Etouffee'. It's a tomato flavored gravy with the holy trinity (onion, celery, and green pepper) and chicken and sausage. I make it mildly spicy so my family can add their own heat.

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Etouffee'

1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c flour
1 onion diced
2 celery stalks cut length wise into 3rds and diced
1 small bell pepper diced
2 andouille sausages cut into slices about 1/2"
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
rice and hot sauce for serving
salt and pepper
1/4 c water

In a large skillet heat oil and add flour. With a whisk move flour around the oil making a paste. Continue to stir til the flour becomes a light brown. Add veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes or until veggies become semi-soft.  Add tomato paste and sausage cooking for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook in broth on medium high heat til no longer pink. Add 1/4 cup water and stir in. Sometimes the gravy gets thick. I also add 10 dashes hot sauce at this time. Serve over white rice.

Zatarains Root beer Cupcakes (I made mine semi-homemade)
Makes 24 cupcakes
1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 tsp root beer extract (look for in a cake supply store)

Frosting (I changed mine from the Zatarains recipe)
1/2 package cream cheese softened
1 stick butter softened
1 lb confectioners sugar
1/4 c flour
1 tsp root beer extract

Pre-heat oven to 350. Make cupcakes per box directions mixing in the 1/4 tsp of root beer extract. Use cupcake tins. It makes for easy clean up.

While the cupcakes are baking combine the cream cheese, stick of butter, confectioners sugar, and flour,  and beat til creamy with a electric mixer. Put mixture covered in the fridge til ready to frost.

Cool cupcakes on a wire rack and once cool frost with the frosting. Hide them from your family as they will be a big hit!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today Was my Zatarain House Party

Today was my Zatarain house party. is a website that features different house parties. They send you coupons to try out merchandise and share coupons with your friends. This is the second one I have done. Today we ate cornbread, jambalaya, chicken etouffee, dirty rice, creole mustard potato salad,  and rootbeer cupcakes.
Here are some pics of the food: Rootbeer cupcakes
A little bit of everything!
Chicken Etouffee
Dirty Rice

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crock Pot Hearty BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

There are things I am short on lately time and energy. When I get home I want to relax and who doesn't? Today I made on of my family favorites: Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Here it is:

1 2-3 lb pork shoulder or roast
1/2 c water
1 diced onion
salt and pepper
your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays)

Season pork shoulder. Place water in crock pot with onion and then place in meat. Cover and set crock pot for high 4 hours or low 8 hours. Remove pork from crock pot. Shred with two forks. Drain water from crock pot and place pork back in crock pot. Add as much or as little sauce as you like. Serve on hard rolls or hamburger buns.
serves 4-6

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mexican Style Lasagna

I took a look at my pantry yesterday and saw a few boxes of unused ready to bake lasagna noodles. I decided to make a Mexican style lasagna. It made a great lunch for today too! I started it a bit late but we still ate by 6 which is awesome!

1/2 can re fried beans
1 box ready to bake lasagna noodles like Bertolli
1 15 oz can tomato sauce plus 1 8 oz can
1/2 pkg taco seasoning
1/2 c pace picante sauce
1 can black olives chopped
1 cup shredded cheese for the topping reserve 1/2 c for topping
1-2 lbs ground beef browned with onion
salt and pepper

Preheat oven per lasagna shell box directions. In a medium sized bowl combine the tomato sauce, picante sauce, and taco seasoning. Stir. Brown the ground beef with the onion and drain. Using a ladle coat the ground beef with one scoop of the sauce. Also place a ladle of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Next place the lasagna 3 across. Top each with a TBSP of the sauce making sure it's all covered. Add 2 TBSP of the re fried beans to each noodle and the same of the ground beef. Lastly sprinkle some of the cheese and black olives on each layer. The next layer lay the opposite way repeating the steps. On the final layer add the remainder of the cheese and black olives. Place in oven covered with foil for one hour or until noodles are tender. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lazy Sunday Super Fast Breakfast Burritos

Sunday. To quote the Bangles "My I don't have to run day..."  I wanted to put together something today that would be fast. Sunday is our family breakfast together. Except my oldest doesn't want to get out of bed so more often than not it has been the three of us. This is what I put together this AM. Breakfast burritos with sausage, salsa, and cheese. You'll notice the paper plates. I hate to wash dishes. I have a wonderful hubby who works every other week. It's his turn to wash dishes this week lol! PS my hubby took these pics lol
4 eggs beaten
1/4 cup milk
6 soft tortilla shells
1/2 c salsa
1/2 c shredded cheese
1/2 tube Jimmy Deans sausage with sage browned and drained
1 TBSP butter

Brown and crumble the sausage in a small frying pan. Remove to a paper plate lined with paper towel to catch the grease. Place a spray or two of Pam and the butter in a large frying pan. Even though I use a nonstick pan I like to cover my bases! Combine eggs and milk gathering the eggs in the middle of the pan pulling from the sides and tilting the pan to coat the outsides. Once scrambled turn off heat and put to the side. I have a tortilla warmer that I put in the microwave for one minute but you can use paper towels and place the tortillas in between and warm for 45 sec. Set up an assembly line. Divide up the eggs for as many portions as you have. We made 6. Place eggs in tortilla, add pinch of cheese, 2 TBSP sausage, and a dash of salsa. Repeat and enjoy.
Southwest Egg Beaters are also very good in this.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Peanut Butter Shrimp Egg Rolls

I dug a oldie but goodie out of my recipes today. Peanut butter and shrimp egg rolls. These are very easy to make and taste better than take out! I also started some crock pot chicken and broccoli. I will update with pictures and recipe later.

1 bag coleslaw shredded
2 carrots grated
2 TBSP peanut butter
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 cup ready cooked shrimp diced tail removed
1 can water chestnuts diced
3 inches peanut oil for frying
egg roll wrappers
2 TBSP olive oil
1 egg beaten

In a large frying pan heat 2 TBSP olive oil. Add cabbage coleslaw and carrots into oil and give a turn until coated. Keep diced shrimp and water chestnuts in a medium sized mixing bowl. In the frying pan cook cabbage mixture 3-5 minutes til wilted. Add peanut butter and stir til melted. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool add to the shrimp and water chestnuts and stir.

Lay egg roll wrappers flat on counter. Put 3 TBSP of the cabbage shrimp mix onto one end of the wrapper leaving about a half inch to seal the end. First fold in the sides then roll the egg roll and seal the seam with the egg wash.

Heat the peanut oil in a pan and watch for ripples on the bottom. Carefully place the egg rolls in the oil seam down. I fried 2 at a time until light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels turning the egg rolls to drain off the grease and replacing the paper towel if necessary. Let cool for 5 minutes as they will be extremely hot inside. Note: You can sub pork tenderloin for the shrimp.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fish Fridays

My hubby made a request tonight, salmon. We usually eat a lot of salmon during the summer making plank grilled salmon. Here is the recipe I made tonight in the oven.

Hosin Peppered Citrus Glazed Salmon

2 Tbsp Hosin sauce (Chinese BBQ sauce)
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp O.J.
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp lemon
4 pieces salmon

Heat oven to 425. Combine first 6 ingredients for the glaze. Spread over the salmon pieces and place in oven. Starting at 15 minutes check for doneness. Bake 15-25 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon.