Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alisa's Veggie Puh-Sgetti! (Spaghetti, for Normal People)

1 lb ground beef (or turkey or sausage)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
20 baby carrots, diced
1 (8oz) package mushrooms, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb spaghetti, cooked as directed (make sure to add kosher salt to the water!)
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Cook ground beef and veggies in a skillet on medium high heat, until ground beef is browned and veggies are cooked.  Drain off any fat or liquid that may have gathered in the pan.  Pour the sauce over the meat and veggies.  Stir in the pepper.  Turn the heat down to low/simmer, and cover for 15 minutes.  Stir, and serve over spaghetti noodles.

My review:  This is my favorite way to make spaghetti, with lots and lots of veggies in it!  Yum!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Baked Chicken Pot Pie

1 (10 oz.) package of frozen peas and carrots
1/3 cup butter (6 1/2 tbsp)
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp pepper
1 3/4 cup (1 can) chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2 - 3 cups chicken, cooked and chopped OR 1 large can chicken, drained (you can also substitute Tuna)
1 box Pillsbury (or store brand) pie crust, for 9 inch, 2 crust pie

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in flour, onion, salt, and pepper.
Stir constantly until mixture is bubbly, and remove from heat.
Stir in chicken broth and milk.
Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil for one minute, while stirring.
Stir in chicken and peas and carrots.  Remove from heat.
Roll out one pie crust, and fit into the bottom of an 8x8 square baking dish.  Make sure it goes up the sides.
Pour chicken mixture into crust.
On the other crust, make a few cutouts, or at least one in the middle.  It's fun to use a small cookie cutter for this.
Place the crust over top of the chicken mixture, and fold the sides in, pressing them to seal with the bottom crust.  Use the cutouts to decorate on top of the pastry.  (Or if you're gross, and like to eat dough like me... eat it!  I won't tell...)  Make sure to press all your edges together into the pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown.

My review:  This was my first ever attempt at making baked chicken pot pie.  I've always liked the frozen ones, but wanted to try it myself.  And this was delicious.  It needs a lot of salt and pepper, but I like to do that myself after cooking.  This was a really quick meal to prepare, too.  I can't wait to have it on a cold day, because it's comfort food at its finest! 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apple Cake in an Iron Skillet, à la Pioneer Woman

I've had a brand new cast iron skillet (made by Paula Deen!) sitting around just begging to be used.  When this recipe showed up on Pioneer Woman this week, I knew it was meant to be...  And I know it's a lot of butter, but you just have to trust P-Dub.

4-5 small Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 6 equal wedges.
1 3/4 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored, and chopped finely

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the 1 3/4 sticks butter in an oven safe (9-10 inch) skillet, on low/medium heat.
As soon as the butter is melted, stir in the the 3/4 cup of sugar.
Place the apple wedges in wedge side down.  Don't pack too tightly or leave too many large gaps.
Allow to cook over medium/low heat while you mix up the batter.
Mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and eggs.
Add sour cream and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
Gradually add flour mixture to batter until just combined.
Stir in the chopped apple.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and drop globs of batter evenly over the apples.  Then, using a spatula or table knife, spread the batter evenly across the apples.
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Let the cake sit in the skillet for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate or cake stand.
Eat warm, with a side of vanilla ice cream, for pure decadence.

My review:  YUM!  what a perfect fall dessert.  This was every bit as good as it sounded and looked on PW's website.  I need to find a few friends to share mine with, as 2 3/4 sticks of butter will not look good on me.... :-)

Easy BBQ Ribs

Pork Boneless "Country Style" Ribs, amount desired (you can also use beef ribs, if you like)
3 tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup water
Your favorite BBQ Sauce

Arrange ribs in your crock pot.  It's okay to overlap.  Pour in the vinegar and water.  Salt and pepper the ribs, as desired.  Cook on low for 8-9 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.  15 minutes before serving, pour the BBQ sauce over top of them.

Arrange ribs in an oven safe dish.  Pour the water and vinegar in, then salt and pepper.  Cover with aluminum foil, and cook for 1 hour on 350 degrees F.  Pour the BBQ Sauce over top, and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

My review:  This is one of my favorite cold weather go to recipes.  These are delicious, and make great leftover pulled pork sandwiches.  Best served with a big baked potato and green salad!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

2-3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
Salt and Pepper
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable Oil

3/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp Ketchup
1/2 cup Vinegar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Garlic Salt

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Dip in flour, then in egg.  Fry in hot oil until lightly browned on all sides, but not cooked through.  Place in a single layer in a baking dish.
Mix all sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken.
Bake for one hour at 325 degrees F, turning every 15 minutes.
If you like extra sauce, make a second batch on the stovetop.  Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, and then let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced, for about 8 minutes.
Serve over rice.

My review:  This was so easy and delicious.  It tasted just like it was from a Chinese restaurant, and all the ingredients were things that I keep in my kitchen at all times.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ramen Stir Fry

This recipe is very simple and delicious!

1 pound beef boneless sirloin, cut into strips  (you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups water
2 packages Oriental flavor Ramen noodle soup mix
1 package (16 oz) frozen stir fry vegetables (also called Oriental blend) (you can also make your own with fresh vegetables, if you like)
1/3 cup stir fry sauce

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Cook beef in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring until brown.  Remove beef from skillet and keep warm.
In the skillet, heat the water until boiling.  Break up noodles into the water (I like to leave mine still pretty big).  Stir until slightly softened (about 1-2 minutes).  Stir in the vegetables.
Heat to boiling again.  Boil for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are cooked.  Stir in the contents of seasoning packets from ramen noodles, stir fry sauce, and beef.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot.

My review:  I'm not a huge fan of stir fry, but I loved this.  I'm a sucker for Ramen noodles.  This was such a quick yummy dinner that was easy to prepare. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

This dish is so amazingly versatile. Once your stuff is done in the crockpot, the sky’s the limit. You can use it as the guts to quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, and burritos, or as a topper for a taco salad. I have used it as all of these, but my personal favorite is to use it in burritos, with some yellow rice and cheddar cheese. The best part is, this recipe makes enough for about 6-8 burritos, so it can feed a large crowd, or it can give you dinner for at least two nights.

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag frozen corn (1 lb.)
1 jar of your favorite Salsa
About 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breasts (2-3 breasts)

Mix the black beans, corn, and salsa together in the bottom of your Crockpot.
Place the chicken on top and sprinkle with a little pepper.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
Before serving, pull out your chicken. Using two forks, pull apart to shred the chicken.
Throw it back in the Crockpot and mix.
Now, use it however you please!

My review: This is such a nice dish to make when you know you're going to be in a rush. You don't have to stand by the stove and wait for it to be done. And the flavor it all gets from hanging out all day in the crockpot is awesome! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cowboy Kisses (Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies)

Pioneer Woman has seriously NEVER steered me wrong. This recipe is absolutely no exception.

Jalapenos, 2-3 inches in size
Cream Cheese, softened
Bacon, sliced into thirds
Toothpicks for assembly

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
The best part of this recipe is you can make as many as you want. There's no specific amount. So make as many or as few as you like.
Using gloves (unless you have a deathwish for your cuticles and any small nicks on your hands), cut each jalapeno in half. Clear out the seeds and white membranes on the inside.
Smear cream cheese into each jalapeno half.
Wrap the jalapeno with bacon and secure with a toothpick.
P-Dub mentions at this point that you can freeze them here. Which is a FANTASTIC idea. But they looked too good, so I didn't get to that point.
Bake on a pan with a rack (or if you suck like me and don't have one, a cookie sheet wrapped with tin foil worked.) Cook these little beasts for 20-25 minutes.
For the last two minutes, if they don't look brown enough, throw on the broiler and let the bacon sizzle.
You can eat them hot or at room temperature.
They didn't last past burn-your-mouth hot, but then that's us... you could be different.

My review: These were fantastic. I want to eat them as appetizers, meals, and dessert. Yummy! They weren't as spicy as I thought they might be, they were just perfect. And I can't wait to make (and eat!) them again.

Meatballs, the quick & easy way

1 lb. ground beef
1 cup Stove Top Chicken stuffing (1/2 package)
3/4 cup water
1 egg
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

(this is easily doubled, and you can always freeze half the batch once baked, for dinner another day)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Line a cookie sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
Shape the meatballs into balls, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture per meatball. This will make about 12-15 meatballs.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Combine with your favorite sauce, and serve in steak rolls with some mozzerella for meatball subs, or over spaghetti for spaghetti and meatballs.

My review: This was so quick and easy. Something I will definitely make often, since my boyfriend loves meatball subs, and I don't like the work involved in the "real" way of making meatballs...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cheddar Chicken and Potatoes

This is another recipe from the most recent Food&Family. You will be seeing a lot of these. Get used to it!

6 slices bacon
4 chicken breasts
1 lb Potatoes O'Brien (potatoes with onion and pepper)thawed
1 cup cheddar cheese
Season Salt, salt, and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook the bacon. Remove from skillet to paper towel, and then chop into small pieces.
Make sure your skillet is on medium heat, and start cooking the chicken, which will take about 5 minutes on each side. once cooked through, remove them to a plate, and cover to keep warm. (I usually put mine in the microwave to stay warm, or use the warm setting on my oven, and throw them in there)
Now, add your potatoes to the skillet. I added some vegetable oil before throwing them in, because there's nothing worse than dry, burnt taters. Cook them up until they're heated, adding salt, pepper, and season salt until your desired taste. Add the chopped bacon in, when your potatoes are about 2 minutes from being done. Once your potatoes are heated through and crispy like you like them, get your chicken breasts back and throw them on top.
Then, cover the whole mound of deliciousness with cheddar cheese, and cover to melt.

My review: This was a good simple meal. I would love to try it with real potatoes, onions, and peppers. I think that would give it a much better flavor, but would take away the quick and simple part...

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Dinner

Every time I get Kraft Food&Family in the mail, it's like my bible for cooking for the next few weeks. I usually cook about 75-80% of the recipes in it, because they are simple, and usually delicious. This was no exception...

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
1/2 pound Velveeta Cheese, cubed
1 (10 oz) package frozen broccoli, thawed

Cook chicken in a skillet for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.
Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Add the rice, cheese, and broccoli. Cover and remove from heat.
Let sit for 10 minutes.
Stir until cheese is completely melted and the mixture is well blended.

My review: This was DELICIOUS! Definitely a keeper. It was so easy, and one of those meals that is just wonderful for a cold day. The website recommends that instead a broccoli, a frozen vegetable medley would also work.

Vickie's Fruit Pizza

This recipe comes from a wonderful friend :-)

1 tube Sugar Cookies
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

Unwrap your sugar cookie log and spread it into a lipped cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Let the crust cool for 20 minutes.
While it's cooling, mix up the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with a mixer.
Spread it onto your cooled cookie crust.
Top with your favorite fruits!

My review: This is simple and delicious! Great for picnics!