Friday, December 12, 2008
I added cream to this because I happened to have some on hand, but you could easily use milk, half and half, or even skip it all together if you want to minimize calories. The chicken broth gives it a lot of flavor on its own.
1 large box reduced-fat chicken broth (sometimes I have homemade broth in the freezer, but right now I don't)
about 3 lbs red potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup sour cream (low-fat or fat-free is fine)
1/2 cup cream, half and half, or milk
salt and pepper
In bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter and add shallot. Sautee for about a minute, then add potatoes and stir to coat with butter. Add broth, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a steady boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Reduce heat and use a potato masher to smush up some of the potatoes. You want the base to be thickened but still have some chunks of potato. Add sour cream and milk/cream. Simmer over med/low heat another ten minutes or so.
Serve with shredded sharp cheddar and chives as garnish if desired.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
You will need some type of steamer for this. A basket placed over a pot of boiling water is all that really is. I was lucky enough to have a friend with the perfect setup for tamales, but you could probably improvise with a flat-bottomed basket with 4-6 inch sides placed over a large pot or dutch oven. You can see the setup I used here.
You can find dried corn husks and Masa (the cornmeal-based flour for the tamale "crust") at most supermarkets in the Mexican section.
1 package dried corn husks
1 bag Masa Harina
1 3-5 lb beef or pork roast (I used beef because roasts were on sale)
Dried red chiles
1 white or yellow onion, sliced and separated into rings
3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
salt and black pepper
Cook the meat:
If you don't have a pressure cooker (you really should get one), you'll need to plan ahead a little and cook the meat in a crock pot with enough liquid to cover. Place meat in pressure cooker/crock pot with plenty of water (pressure cookers can't be more than about half full, but they produce a concentrated broth that you can add water to afterwards), 2 dried chiles, garlic, about a tsp each salt and black pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper (more if you want them spicier), a tsp or so each of chili powder and cumin. Cook until meat is very tender and falling apart. Remove meat to a cutting board, reserving broth, and chop very fine. Keep in the onion and garlic but remove the dried chiles. You can do this part up to three days ahead and stick the meat and broth in the fridge until you're ready to assemble.
Assemble the tamales:
Put the corn husks in a large bowl of water to soak and set aside. Pour about half the Masa (2 of the 4 lbs) in a large bowl. Slowly add warm broth and work in with your hands until mixture reaches a peanutbutter-like consistency.
Remove corn husks from water, separate and pat dry-ish. Set up your assembly line of ingredients so that you can easily make the tamales. Grab a husk, spread it with about a half-inch thickness of prepared masa, leaving about an inch down the right side uncovered. Place a line of chopped meat down the length sort of left of center, then roll up so the uncovered edge of husk makes the outer edge. Fold the long pointy end over like and envelope, and place on end (standing up) in basket. Continue until you run out of all or one of the components.
Cook the tamales:
Now, I kept finding recipes that said the tamales need to steam for two hours, but I knew we didn't cook them that long at the restaurant. I eventually found a chef's recipe for more fussily filled tamales that said steam for 30 minutes, so I went with that cook time and it worked fine. maybe the longer time is necessary for larger batches? Anyway, bring your pot of water to a rolling boil, put your tamale-filled basket on top of it, and cover the basket with some kind of lid. It doesn't have to be airtight--I just sort of dropped the lid to my dutch oven on top of the tamales. If you're using a large flat basket, a cookie sheet or something might work as a lid. Cook until done, and enjoy! I served mine with steamed a pot of black beans, fresh corn, fresh avocado salad, and my favorite salsa. A lot of people like chili over theirs, with shredded cheese and chopped onion. Or you can keep it simple with a little Cholula or Frank's Red Hot.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
1 pkg (at least 24) corn tortillas (Do NOT use flour. I mean it. CORN!)
1 large can or 2 regular-sized cans red enchilada sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz (or larger) carton sour cream
About 4 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded or chopped (I guess--I don't really measure anything. I use one whole chicken or four breasts usually.)
1 can whole green chiles
8 ounces shredded cheddar or Mexican blend or casserole blend cheese
Mix enchilada sauce and tomato sauce in a small bowl or large measuring cup and pour a small amount in the bottom of a rectangular baking dish (just enough to cover the bottom with a thin layer).
In another bowl, mix chicken, cream of chicken soup, and half the sour cream.
Cover the sauced bottom of dish with a layer of tortillas. It's fine if they overlap substantially, but don't leave any gaps. I use 8 per layer in my 9X13 dish. Cover tortillas with half the chicken mixture, spreading to make a somewhat even layer. Tear half the chiles into strips and arrange over chicken. Sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese, then drizzle with a thin layer of sauce. Repeat layers, starting with tortillas, using all the remaining chicken mixture and chiles, 1/3 of cheese, and another thin layer of sauce. Top with last layer of tortillas, then pour all remaining sauce evenly over casserole. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove foil, add remaining cheese, and bake another 10-15 minutes until most of sauce has been absorbed and the whole thing is bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting or it will not retain it's shape when served. Serve with remaining sour cream as garnish.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Aprox 3-4 lbs beef roast (cheap cuts work fine), trimmed of excess fat
3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
1 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper (half if you want less heat)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 jar pepperoncini peppers (be careful not to get the really salty, bitter ones. I often find the store brand ones to be the best. Kroger's store brand pepperoncinis are awesome.)
Place the roast in crock pot (no need to brown first). Add water to be even with the thickness of the roast, but not covering the top. Sprinkle all seasonings over roast. Lay onion rings and crushed garlic on top, along with 6-8 pepperoncinis. Cook in crock pot until completely tender and falling apart (time depends on how fast you need it--you can cook it all day on low or about 6 hours on high, usually).
Remove meat to a large platter or shallow bowl and let sit just until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, strain broth into a large bowl, discard solids (you can keep the onion if you want but the peppers will be gross and you're going to put more in anyway). Return broth to crock pot, then shred the meat and add to the broth. Put in 1/2 cup of pepperoncini juice and simmer another half hour at least (or just let it sit if it's going to be awhile or you are taking it somewhere). At this step, I also add a few more coarsely chopped pepperoncinis (or the banana peppers that come sliced in rings), but you can opt to serve these as a garnish if you prefer. Serve with a large slotted spoon.
Friday, November 21, 2008
These are my mom's instructions, which are not super exact, but I've watched her make the dressing many times so I know how it should look and feel and I'll try to describe that here.
***Corn Meal Mix (sold next to the regular corn meal but already has some flour and leavening built in)
buttermilk (you can add 1 tsp vinegar to a cup of milk, but it won't be as good)
5 biscuits, rolls, or slices of white bread, or two hamburger buns (Seriously.)
1 cup each chopped celery and onion
1 stick of butter
1 can cream of chicken soup (oh hush, you won't even know its there)
chicken broth as needed (get the box that you can keep in the fridge and use as needed)
poultry seasoning (My mom says either or but I say why not both? Unless poultry seasoning already has sage...hm, check label.)
***Note: Do NOT use a boxed "corn muffin" mix like Jiffy. It will be way too sweet and won't make enough. I mean it!
Okay, Step one, cut a whole in the box...wait, that's not right. Step one, make the cornbread according to the directions on the bag, using the buttermilk and eggs from the list. Use the same pan you will use for the dressing--a large rectangular or oblong baking dish, like 9x13. You can do this in advance or just while you do the other prep work.
Meanwhile, chop your onions and celery and sautee it all in the stick of butter
Crumble the cornbread all up in the pan. Add whatever form of white bread you are using--either five biscuits, five slices of bread, or two hamburger buns, also crumbled up (just tear it with your hands). Add the cooked celery and onions with all the melted butter, the cream of chicken soup, and enough chicken broth, a little at a time, to give it all a soupy, pudding-like consistency. Salt and pepper generously and add the sage/poultry seasoning (a generous tsp, maybe), mix it all up to one big homogenous mass, and spread in the pan (it should have surface tension and be thicker than cake batter). Bake uncovered until golden-brown on top, about 30-45 minutes (I'm going to say 375 degrees). Enjoy!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
A month or so ago I got a random urge to make tamales from scratch, so I did. I doubt y'all want to make tamales from scratch, so I'll spare you the step-by-step (but it was actually really easy and they tasted great and I'll tell you how if you want). I wanted some quick and easy sides to serve with them, and the idea for this salad popped into my head, even though I do not eat avocados. Or raw onion. It's basically guacamole that's not mushed up, but Stacey liked it so much that she requested I make it again a couple weeks later, so I thought it was worth sharing.
2 ripe but not over-ripe avocados
1/2 a small purple onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
Dice avocados into medium-sized cubes (cut them in half lengthwise, remove the large pit, use a small sharp knife to cut down into each half in a grid pattern, turn each half inside out, and easily cut the resulting cubes from the peel). Place cubes in a small glass bowl and add tomato and onion. Cut lemon in half and squeeze both halves over avocado mixture (I put my hand underneath to catch the seeds and let the juice run through my fingers). Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of sea salt or other coarse salt. Voila!
Most grocery stores sell won ton wrappers, although I bought them super cheap at an Asian market near my work. There are about a billion in a package, but I usually get two just to be safe if I'm cooking for a crowd. (I'm usually working with an unknown quantity of leftover filling and just make them until I get tired of cooking and my guests get tired of eating, so outcome amounts for this recipe are inexact, to say the least.) You will need a food processor to grind the filling. If you end up with extra, freeze it and use it later in lasagna or stuffed pasta like jumbo shells.
1 lb Italian sausage (in bulk or removed from casings)
1 bag or box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as possible (I put it in a thin dish towel and wring it out)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3-5 cloves garlic, minched
1 small onion, chopped
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped (optional)
Brown sausage, crumbling as it cooks. Dump into strainer over a bowl and leave it there for a minute. Sautee onion in small amount of remaining fat for two or three minutes. Add mushrooms and cook a few more minutes, then garlic for about 30 seconds before you dump the sausage back in, along with sausage. Stir and cook until everything is well combined.
Process filling in food processor until it is a consistent texture with no big chunks, but not total mush. It should be just wet enough to hold together in a meatball-type configuration. If it seems too wet, add some bread crumbs or cracker crumbs to tighten it up a bit.
Now, make a little assembly line. At one end is a large, deep skillet with about an inch of hot oil in it. Next to that is a plate, next to that a stack of won ton wrappers, next to that your bowl of filling. Somewhere near the wrappers and plate you need a small bowl of water. Lay wrappers on the plate--as many as you can fit without them overlapping. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edges of each wrapper. Now, grab a little bit of filling, make a little ball (dosn't have to be rolled tightly or anything), and put it in the center of the wrapper, then repeat with all the other wrappers. Fold each wrapper over its filling so the edges touch, then press edges together firmly. I sometimes make a little fold to reinforce this but I'm not sure that's totally necessary. Carefully place each ravioli in hot oil, filling skillet but not crowding it (I usually keep adding as I make them, but you can do distinct batches if you don't like things to be at different stages of doneness in the same pan). Once the underside looks golden, gently flip them. Move to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve, but serve as soon after cooking as possible.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
1 lb ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes and green chiles, like Rotel
2 cans condensed minestrone soup
2 cans Ranch Style Beans (use chili beans if you can't find Ranch Style)
Brown ground beef in the bottom of a Dutch oven or large pot. Drain fat. Add everything else, stir, and simmer for 20-30 minutes. That's it! Garnish with sour cream and/or shredded cheese if desired.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
AKA, what I had for dinner last night. Years ago, I found a very simple recipe for "Chicken with two lemons" that I have made time and again ever since. I found the exact same recipe on line just now, so I'm pasting it here, but you could use any roast chicken method you like. (I can't usually get the skin to crisp and puff up as described, but it still looks and tastes delicious.) If you have some marinara in the freezer or (gasp!) can find a good jarred variety (not in my house!), this is really a simple and satisfying meal. I didn't have any prepared last night and it was still quick and easy to make a simple sauce while the chicken baked and the polenta boiled. And don't be intimidated by polenta--it's super easy and delicious. People just like to complicate peasant food and make it fancy, but you don't have to. Serve the chicken alongside the polenta and sauce, and add a nice spinach salad or green veg if desired.
Roast Chicken With Two Lemons
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash the chicken thoroughly in cold water, both inside and out. Remove all the bits of fat hanging loose. Let the bird sit for about 10 minutes on a slightly tilted plate to let all the water drain out of it. Pat it thoroughly dry all over with cloth or paper towels.
3. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt and black pepper on the chicken, rubbing it with your fingers over all its body and into its cavity.
4. Wash the lemons in cold water and dry them with a towel. Soften each lemon by placing it on a counter and rolling it back and forth as you put firm downward pressure on it with the palm of your hand. Puncture the lemons in at least 20 places each, using a sturdy round toothpick, a trussing needle, a sharp-pointed fork, or similar implement.
5. Place both lemons in the birds cavity. Close up the opening with toothpicks or with trussing needle and string. Close it well, but dont make an absolutely airtight job of it because the chicken may burst. Run kitchen string from one leg to the other, tying it at both knuckle ends. Leave the legs in their natural position without pulling them tight. If the skin is unbroken, the chicken will puff up as it cooks, and the string serves only to keep the thighs from spreading apart and splitting the skin.
6. Put the chicken into a roasting pan, breast facing down. Do not add cooking fat of any kind. This bird is self-basting, so you need not fear it will stick to the pan. Place it in the upper third of the preheated oven. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over to have the breast face up. When turning it, try not to puncture the skin. If kept intact, the chicken will swell like a balloon, which makes for an arresting presentation at the table later. Do not worry too much about it, however, because even if it fails to swell, the flavor will not be affected.
7. Cook for another 30 to 35 minutes, then turn the oven thermostat up to 400 degrees, and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Calculate between 20 and 25 minutes total cooking time for each pound. There is no need to turn the chicken again.
8. Whether your bird has puffed up or not, bring it to the table whole and leave the lemons inside until it is carved and opened. The juices that run out are perfectly delicious. Be sure to spoon them over the chicken slices. The lemons will have shriveled up, but they still contain some juice; do not squeeze them, they may squirt.
Ahead-of-time note: If you want to eat it while it is warm, plan to have it the moment it comes out of the oven. If there are leftovers, they will be very tasty cold, kept moist with some of the cooking juices and eaten not straight out of the refrigerator, but at room temperature.Polenta
1 1/2 cups coarse ground yellow corn meal
4 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated or shredded
1/2 stick of butter
Bring salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Slowly whisk in corn meal in a steady stream. Cover and allow to boil and bubble over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. In about 20 minutes, mixture should resemble a creamy but thick porridge (this is basically grits) and start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Turn off heat and stir in butter and cheese. Turn into a shallow baking dish (I have a smallish 8X10 rectangular dish that seems perfect for this amount of polenta) and smooth slightly, then let set for at least 10 minutes. To serve, just cut squares with a spatula and spoon sauce over. Delish!
Monday, October 20, 2008
I'm sneaking this onto the "dinner" blog under the auspices that it could be dessert, but I'm more likely to make it as a weekend breakfast treat or to serve with coffee at playdates. Yummy whenever you make them!
1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll dough
Indeterminate amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips, any size
Heat oven as directed on dough package. Unroll dough and separate into triangles on cookie sheet or baking stone. Sprinkle an even layer of chocolate chips onto each triangle, leaving the bottom narrow point clean for about an inch or so. Press down lightly on chips to help them stay in place, then roll each triangle up as you would for croissants, starting at short straight edge. Bake until golden and serve warm.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
1 lb thin spaghetti, angel hair, or other long, thin pasta
1 lg (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 pkg small or medium raw peeled and de-veined frozen shrimp
1-2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional spiciness)
one or all of the following: fresh or freeze-dried* basil to taste, Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic seasoning blend, Old Bay seafood seasoning, salt and pepper
Place frozen shrimp in a colander, run cold water over them for a few minutes, and leave them there to thaw a bit. Start a large pot of salted water for pasta. In a large, deep skillet, heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) and sautee until fragrant but not browned. Add wine or stock and reduce slightly (simmer 2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes with their liquid and any seasonings except basil (frsh herbs lose their flavor in intense heat and should go in toward the end of cooking). Bring to a good simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When your water comes to a boil and you add the pasta, it's time to add the shrimp to the sauce (overcooking shrimp makes them tough and gross--you just want them to turn nice and pink). Both should be ready about the same time. Toss pasta with sauce or spoon it over, as you prefer. Serve with crusty bread and a nice salad.
Monday, October 6, 2008
1. some kind of meat (bacon, ham, ground beef, whatever you want to try!) (optional)
2. spinach (frozen, thawed and chopped)
3. some kind of shredded cheese
4. a diced onion
5. 1/2 stick of butter
6. a cup of Bisquick and milk OR a frozen pie crust
7. four eggs
Cook the meat.
Melt the butter.
Combine the spinach, butter, meat, cheese, and onion in a mixing bowl.
Pour combination into pie crust OR add cup of milk and cup of Bisquick and pour that into a pie tin.
Whip your eggs (is whip the right word?) and pour on top.
Bake until eggs are done and slightly brown -- about 25 minutes at 375.
We had ours with bacon and mozzarella cheese last week, in a frozen pie crust. I'm going to try hamburger meat with chedder and the Bisquick this week. It made WONDERFUL lunch leftovers!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Here's what I have done with my bargain meat, to very tasty results:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Cut whole tenderloin in half cross-wise to make two shorter lengths. In a gallon-sized zip-lock bag, create about 1 cup of marinade. I use about 1/2 cup of Italian dressing (I like the Kraft Tuscan), about a tbsp of spicey mustard, 2 or 3 tbsp of Dale's marinade (it's way too salty full-strength but works great this way) or Worcestershire sauce, a shake or two of montreal steak seasoning, and a little water. Add the pork to the marinade and let set for at least half an hour. Grill until a meat thermometer says it's done.
The first night, I serve half of the meat with mashed potatoes, a green veg, rolls, etc.
If you aren't familiar with the Cuban sandwich, it is a very specific type of pressed sandwich that is always made with the same ingredients. The only variation seems to be mustard or no mustard. Mayo is an abomination!
2 loaves wide Italian bread (like French but usually wider and flatter and a little softer) or 1 package hoagie rolls
1 half of grilled pork loin, heated
1 pkg good quality sliced deli ham
1 pkg sliced swiss cheese
Sliced dill pickles (get the flat, un-ridged "fast food style" ones if you can)
Cut Italian bread (if using) into sandwich-sized lengths and split lengthwise (to make a top and a bottom), spread with mustard, and set aside.
Slice pork loin about 1/2 inch thick. I actually don't cut full slices, but kind of cut it off at differing angles so that each piece is not as wide as the whole. (Does that make sense?) On each roll, layer pork loin, a few slices of ham, swiss cheese, and pickles.
Now, if you do not have a sandwich press, like I don't, you have to get a little creative for the pressing part. What has worked for me is lining them up on a warm griddle and them mashing them with a cookie sheet, flipping to heat on both sides. I've also done pretty well just arranging them in a large skillet and pressing them with a large sauce pan or Dutch Oven (do people still call them that?) As for the waffle iron experiment, well...
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I serve this with a plate of mixed stir fry type vegetables (carrots, water chestnuts, onions, sugar snap peas, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini) that we cook using this grill wok thing we have (basically a big basket to cook all the vegetables on the grill), and rice. I'm going to try Amanda's fried rice with it.
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
2 cups of milk
shredded parmesean cheese (or mixture of cheeses)
Melt enough butter to coat the bottom of a medium sized saucepan. Add the minced garlic, sauté until fragrant (don't let them burn!). If you like garlic, add a few cloves, if not, then maybe just one. Add the heavy whipping cream and the milk. Let them warm up. Stir in the flour. Keep stirring it. Keep stirring it. Don't let it settle at the bottom. Keep stirring it.
OK, I know some people start out with an actual roux for this (mixing the butter and the garlic) and I've tried that and it just makes this really lumpy. For some reason, adding the flour after the dairy has worked for me. I went through a thousand batches of inedible alfredo before I finally got it (this was back in Massachusetts when I had nothing better to do than cook anyway).
When it gets frothy (it will get frothy on the heat) move it and dump in some of the cheese and stir it back in, putting it back on the heat again to get it bubbling, then off the heat when it gets too bubly). I use this four cheese blend (in the little plastic containers near the deli) that is delish. I use most of the cheese in the container when I make alfredo.
Serve this over anything. Toast, even. It is soooo good (but not really good for you). Liz will eat it better if it's on the ring shaped pastas or medium shells than on long noodles.
Alternates: add some chunks of ham to make it carbonara; mix it up with some spaghetti sauce for a creamy, zingy sauce.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons Modified Baby Bam (ingredients below)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
5 cups of mixed types of Chex-like cereal (I like rice and wheat)
1 package (1 of the inside plastic wrapped packages) of Rye Melba Toast
Goldfish, pretzels, cheez-its, whatever else you have on hand
Turn on oven to 250 degrees.
Place the butter in a large baking dish or roasting pan and put in the oven to melt.
Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and add the Worcestershire sauce, Modified Baby Bam, seasoned salt and garlic powder. Stir well to combine.
Add the remaining ingredients and gently toss with a large wooden spoon to coat evenly. I take the plastic bag of the Melba Toast and kind of break them up while they're in the bag--not to crumbs, but to bite-size pieces, then I open the bag and dump them in with the Chex. These are really good with the buttery spices soaked into them.
Return the baking dish to the oven and bake about 1 hour, until crisp and golden brown, removing from the oven every 15 minutes to stir.
Baby Bam is an Emeril Trademark thing. I have modified it somewhat so it's like this:
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
I store this in a little plastic container and I use it to spice my pumpkin seeds when I bake them, too.
½ cup butter or margarine
Monday, September 15, 2008
Seriously, I was asked to bring in our family's favorite recipe for school to post on the board and I sent in this:
1 box of shake and bake
a package of pork chops
a container of Bob Evans ready to serve mashed potatoes
head of broccoli
Open pork chops. Put in shake and bake bag. Pour in shake and bake topping.
Put in a casserole and BAKE for 35 minutes in a 425 degree oven.
Heat broccoli in microwave. heat potatos.
HOller at family that dinner is ready.
THAT is the kind of meals we have at our house. some kind of a meat, a fresh vegetable I nuke in the microwave..and either some pillsbury rolls, a loaf of bread, or those mashed potatos you get in the cheese section of the grocery store.
Sometimes I get a little wild and we will substitute....Egg Noodles for the potatos and my family thinks I'm the bomb.
BUT...BUT...I do have a casserole that my family loves. I think its okay - its certainly not UNCOMMON. YOu might know it as Tater Tot casserole. I call it Lazy Eileen's Casserole.
Here ya go:
1 Bag of Ore Ida Tater Tots (Yes, you MUST use this brand - they have a special seasoning and crunch up nicely
1 Pound of Ground Meat (I use turkey..you could do beef)
1 Can of Cream of _______ Soup. You pick your type...broccoli, mushroom, chicken
A little evaporated milk (don't use the sweetened kind..did that once YUCK)
Cook your meat and drain it.
Put PAM or some kind of nonstick on your casserole dish.
Dump the meat in the dish.
Dump the cream of ____ soup in the dish, add some evaporated milk.
No, I don't know how much to add...make it soupyish.
Dump the tater tots and stir it up some more.
Dribble some more milk on the tater tots, but not all of it.
Add a lid
Put in 425 degree oven for 35 minutes. Check it to see if it is bubbling yet. Keep checking until it starts bubbling. Remove lid for 10 minutes to brown up the tater tots.
Serve with a smile.
Feed 4 with lunch leftovers for the next day.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
1 can of biscuits (I get the storebrand kind.)
1 can cream of chicken soup
Combine soup and three cans of water in pot (I often make this in the crock pot early in the day. The flavors really meld well and the sauce gets nice and thick.) Add chicken. Tear each biscuit into quarters and toss into the liquid.
On crock pot, keep it on lowest setting for no more than four or five hours. On stove top, boil 10 minutes then reduce to warm for as long as wanted. Salt and pepper to taste.
1 c. cheddar cheese
2 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. Bisquick
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 tsp. pepper
assorted veggies cut up (I use shredded carrots, diced onion, zucchini, bean sprouts, and a handful of assorted frozen veggies--that big Costco organic bag)
In a hot wok, saute the veggies in a bit of olive oil or butter.
When the veggies are a bit tender, toss in the two eggs to scramble up with the veggies.
Add the rice.
Drizzle all with soy sauce to taste.
Let is sit on warm for a few minutes.
I serve this as a vegetarian meal, but you could add thinly sliced beef, shrimp, chicken, or pork, just as you'd find on a restaurant menu.
package of Zesty Italian powdered salad dressing (you will need vinegar)
8 oz cheddar cheese
1/4 large onion (sliced)
1 large cucumber
Boil the Rotini, drain and rinse with cold water until they're chilled. Dump into a large bowl
Prepare the salad dressing according to packet directions and pour over noodles.
Cut up the cheese and the vegetables and put into the bowl (I slice the cucumbers, then cut the slices in quarters; I do the same with the onion).
You can add red peppers, or celery, or carrot shavings or pepperoni, or whatever else you like or happen to have on hand. I make such a big container of it because Mike and the kids love to take it for lunch the next day. I usually serve this as a side with hot dogs or sandwiches for dinner.
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
dash Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, or Frank's Red Hot
10 to 12 hamburger buns, split and toasted
In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, and celery until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain off excess fat.
Stir in tomato sauce, seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, pepper, and Tabasco sauce.
Simmer, uncovered, until mixture reduces to desired consistency, about 25 to 35 minutes. Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of ground beef mixture into each bun.
I serve with cheddar cheese and slices of tomato on top.
Makes about 10 to 12 sandwiches.
Friday, September 12, 2008
1 lb (or so) chicken parts (boneless or bone-in both work)
1 1/2 cups rice*
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can water
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 375. In a large rectangular baking dish, spread uncooked rice evenly to cover the bottom (you can add more rice to make more, just remember to add a little extra water or broth if you have some). Blend soups, water, and salt and pepper, and pour about half over the rice. Stir to make sure all of rice is coated in liquid. Arrange chicken pieces on top and cover with remaining soup mixture . Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes (if you use boneless chicken pieces and white rice, you may be able to cut this to 30 minutes). Uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until most liquid has been absorbed.
*I prefer to use brown rice whenever possible, and it will work for this if you add about 1/2 a cup of additional water to the soup mixture and cook for the full time.
1 bag frozen whole green beans, steam-in-the-bag variety
about 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Italian dressing or vinaigrette (I love the new Kraft Tuscan Italian)
Finely minced garlic or thinly sliced purple onion, optional
Steam beans in microwave according to directions. Place in a wide, shallow bowl, and top with halved tomatoes (and garlic/onions if using). Add a little dressing, just enough to coat, and toss. Add more dressing as needed. Best if allowed to sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1-2 large tomatoes
1/2 cup light oil (canola)
1 clove garlic
1 can of flat anchovies
parmesan cheese (I get the shredded by the deli)
croutons (boxed is fine)
This is not a traditional caesar salad, but it's close enough and really yummy.
smash up the clove of garlic and let it sit in the light oil
in a big bowl, mix up the greens, chop up the tomatoes, and dump in the can of anchovies. I use kitchen shears to cut up the little fishies. You can skip the anchovies if you must, but I love them.
In a small bowl, add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and egg. Whisk it up and pour it over the salad. Then add the oil, careful to not get the garlic in. Toss the salad, serve with croutons and parmesan cheese.
breakfast meats (bacon, sausage)
hash browns of some sort (I actually use Crispy Crowns)
I make these in bulk to freeze and then we wrap them in a paper towel and microwave them for lunches.
Each burrito contains a little more than 1 egg (I can get ten burritos from a dozen eggs). I scramble them in the pan and then dump them in a big bowl for the assembly line.
I cook the Crispy Crowns and the bacon in the oven. The Crispy Crowns on a baking sheet and the bacon in a broiler pan to let the grease drip off. Sausage is good, too, but I don't like sausage, so I tend not to use it.
Then just put whatever you want in the tortilla--eggs, cheese, potatoes, Crispy Crowns, bacon, onions, mushrooms, whatever!--wrap it up tightly and then wrap it in aluminum foil.
Alex likes his with just egg and cheese, so I make a bunch with just that, but everyone else likes everything in them. You can serve them with a side of salsa to dip it in as you eat.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
This is super easy -- just have to plan ahead because it's in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours.
~ 1 pound breakfast pork chops (thin sliced, boneless)
~ 4-5 potatoes, peeled and cubed (I'm a big potato fan, so others might like fewer
1 bottle Italian dressing (I use store brand fat free)
In a casserole dish, place the pork chops. Add the cubed potatoes on top. Pour the bottle of dressing over the mixture. Cook at 425 until potatoes are tender -- most of the dressing will be absorbed by then. (Takes about an hour and a half)
I serve it with a green salad and garlic bread.
This recipe can also be increased as much as you want if you need to serve a lot of people by adding a regular-sized can of broth and another package of pasta for every 2-3 additional people. The basic recipe serves 4-6, depending on their appetites.
3 pkgs refrigerated ravioli or tortellini (like DiGiorno or Barilla)
1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 box or large can chicken broth (low sodium or fat free works fine) or aprox 4 cups homemade broth
1 cup water
1 pkg sliced fresh mushrooms
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
In the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sautee the sliced mushrooms (you can chop them up smaller if you prefer) for 2 to 3 minutes or until they soften. Add minced garlic and sautee for about a minute (never brown garlic--it becomes bitter). Add broth all at once, along with tomatoes and their liquid and the water. Season with salt and pepper. When broth mixture comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions (usually about 7 minutes). That's it! You can add some fresh basil or something if you want, but if you've chosen your pasta well, it should be flavorful without heavy seasoning.
1 can refrigerated flaky layers biscuit dough (it's very important to get the flaky layers and not any other kind), like Hungry Jack
Heat oven to temperature on package. Take each individual biscuit and roll it between your hands like you're making a play-dough snake, until it's a little wider than your palms. Tie in a knot (it should be just long enough to tie with no long ends hanging out). Bake on a lightly greased or sprayed cookie sheet or stone until golden (it may take a little longer than the package says). Brush finished rolls with melted butter or garlic butter, sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Yummy!
1 cup brown rice
1 to 1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Rotel)
1 can chili beans or ranch-style beans
Large flour tortillas
Shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc. for garnish
Start rice cooking with 2 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan.
In a large, deep skillet that has a lid, brown meat and drain fat if needed. Add tomatoes w/ chiles and beans to meat without draining (unless you use beans packed in unseasoned liquid instead of the chili beans). Stir and season as desired with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, etc. (If you're not good with spice amounts, start with 1/2 tsp of each and then add a little more if needed.) Simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is at least half-way cooked (about 15 minutes). Dump rice with its remaining water in with meat mixture, stir, and cover. Simmer another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender. Serve wrapped in tortillas or over crushed tortilla chips or in a "taco" salad. This recipe makes a ton, too, so it's great for lunch the next day.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
1 Can of store-bought pizza sauce (I like our store brand, it doesn't have any added sweeteners)
pizza cheese (I buy the bag of mixed cheeses)
I brush a little bit of olive oil onto the crusts, then everyone just adds their own stuff how they like it. I serve with salad. Little kids love doing this.