Friday, November 20, 2009

Good Ol' Fashioned Hog Maw

The name is incredibly unappealing and the picture doesn't do it any justice, but the flavor = amazing!  Think of it as a meatloaf made with sausage...

2 pounds ground pork sausage
5 potatoes, peeled, cubed, and rinsed
20 baby carrots, sliced into coins
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 head cabbage, sliced, diced, however you like
Salt and Pepper

Place sausage in a large bowl.  Add each vegetable one at a time, mushing together to distribute.
Once mixed together, you have two options:  Crock Pot or Oven.
In the crock pot, cook on low for 7-8 hours.  You may want to put a little water on it if you are afraid of it getting dry.  If you are cooking in the oven, place in a casserole dish or roasting pan, and cook for 1-2 hours on 375 degrees F.  I usually throw a little salt and pepper over the top for while it cooks.  Don't salt too much, unless you know that your sausage isn't salty!

Note:  the "REAL" way to make this is to stuff your "meatloaf" into a cleaned pig's stomach to cook.  If you want to be that authentic, go ahead.  Personally, I don't like to eat that part, and find it a waste of $8 to buy something just to cook the hog maw in.

My review:  One of my favorite home cooked meals.  Being cooked in the pig's stomach will undeniably give it a better flavor, but it is still delicious when cooked just like a meatloaf!  Serve with some flaky, buttery rolls.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

White Enchiladas!

These were inspired by Pioneer Woman's White Chicken Enchiladas... but unfortunately, I didn't buy all the right ingredients, and ended up improvising.

2 cups cooked, shredded Turkey or Chicken (great for Thanksgiving leftovers!!)
2 cups Chicken Broth
8 whole corn flour tortillas (cafe style tortillas)
1 medium-large onion, diced
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
1 jar (4 oz) pimientos, diced, drained
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1(8oz) container sour cream
2  cups Colby Pepperjack mix cheese (or you can use cheddar, monterey jack, colby, whatever you like)
Salt and Pepper to taste (mine didn't need this...)

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Throw in your onions and saute for a minute or so.  Add the chicken, half the chilies, half the pimientos, and 1/2 tsp paprika.  Stir together.  Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and stir.  Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to get hot and bubbly.  Turn off heat and sit aside.
In another large skillet, melt the butter.  Sprinkle in the flour, and whisk together, cooking over medium heat for one minute.  Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth.  Whisk together and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the other half of the chiles and pimientos.  Reduce heat, stir in sour cream.  Add 1/2 cup grated cheese and stir to melt.  Add 1/2 tsp paprika.  Check the flavor and add salt and pepper if needed.
Spoon your chicken mixture in each of the tortillas, top with cheese, and roll up.  Place seam side down in a 9x13 baking dish.
Pour the cheese mixture over the tortillas, and top with whatever cheese you have left (or any other cheese you want to add).
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Once you take them out of the oven, sprinkle some parsley flakes over the top.
Serve with picante sauce, if you like.

My review:  These were delicious!  I love enchiladas, but don't like a lot of the red sauce.  This got rid of that, because the white sauce was awesome.  They were gooey, cheesy, and had a bit of a kick to them.  Great way to use up some leftover turkey!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spicy Chicken Lo Mein

Sorry for the lack of a good picture.  This was one of those dishes that just doesn't photograph well!  And, since it gets dark so early, I don't have my natural light to help anymore!!

1/2 lb. spaghetti or thin linguine, uncooked
1/3 cup  Kraft Light Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips(you can also use pork tenderloin)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced or cut into thin strips
1 small onion, diced or cut into thin strips
(you can also add mushrooms, green peppers, yellow peppers, sprouts, etc.)  (or a frozen bag of peppers and onions works too!)
1/2 cup chicken broth (if using pork, use beef broth)
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (leave this out if you don't want the spicy part)

Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package.
Heat dressing and crushed red pepper in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, veggies, and garlic; stir-fry 3 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Add broth and peanut butter; stir-fry 3 to 4 min. or until chicken is done.
Drain pasta; return to pan. Add chicken mixture and soy sauce; mix well.

My review:  This was such a quick and easy meal to throw together!   It tasted pretty similar to what you get in a chinese restaurant, but was still pretty healthy!  Next time, I think I will add more veggies, like some pea pods and mushrooms, even some cabbage!  I also want to try making it with pork.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Parmigiana

What really MADE this dish was the sauce.  Way worth the effort.  This dish was amazing delicious.  If you would like step by step pictures, step over to Pioneer Woman's site, where she gives the play by play of amazingness.

4  Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Trimmed And Pounded Flat
½ cups All-purpose Flour
Salt And Pepper (to Taste)
½ cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
¾ cups Wine (white Or Red Is Fine)  ( I used Rosé)
3 cans (14.5 Oz.) Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Sugar
¼ cups Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pound Thin Linguine

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.
Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.
At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook linguine until al dente.
Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.
Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Pour in crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking time, add chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.
Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.
Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.

My review:  The sauce was to die for.  So was the chicken.  Mmm and I found some wheat linguine that was out of this world bursting with flavor.  (Have you tried wheat pasta??  I think it has more flavor.  I've been converted).  Make this, immediately.

Pudding Poke Cake

1 cake mix, prepared by the box instructions
2 (3.9 ounce) packages instant pudding mix
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 cups milk

First of all, you have to pick your flavor combination.  Yellow cake with chocolate pudding is good, it tastes like boston cream pie, or you can try these other flavor combinations mentioned by Kraft on their website:  For variety, experiment with these flavor combinations: yellow cake mix and Butterscotch, Chocolate, Pistachio or Chocolate Fudge Pudding Mix; chocolate cake mix with Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut Cream, Banana Cream or Chocolate Fudge Pudding Mix; white cake mix with Butterscotch, Chocolate, Pistachio, Vanilla or Banana Cream Pudding Mix.

I was feeling very autumn-y, and decided to take advantage of the pumpkin spice limited edition pudding, and paired it with a yummy spice cake!

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for one 9x13 inch cake.
Remove cake from oven and poke holes through cake with the round handle of a wooden spoon. Holes should be at 1 inch intervals.
Combine the pudding mix with the confectioners' sugar and gradually stir in the milk. Beat with an electric mixer at low speed for not more than 1 minute. Do not over beat.
Before pudding thickens, pour 1/2 of the pudding evenly over the warm cake and into the holes.
Allow the remaining pudding to thicken slightly then spoon over the top, and spread to frost the top of the cake. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Store in the refrigerator. Good to serve with a big dollop of whipped cream!!

My review:  Yum!  This is really good, and moist.  It comes in second to my love for jello poke cake, but believe me, it's not far behind!!  I would like to try mixing the 1/2 of pudding used to frost the cake with some cool whip before frosting.  I think that would thicken it up and give a good flavor.  I will do that next time!  Another option would be to only make 1 of the boxes of pudding, and then frost with Cool Whip.  oh, the possibilities!! 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

This is another recipe from PW's recently released cookbook.  BUY IT NOW!  Again, I have halved the recipe, because I am not cooking for dozens of hungry cowboys and cowgirls, and I'm going to give those measurements here.  If you've got a big crowd, double it.  If you suck at math and can't double it, buy her cookbook and she'll do the work for you!  :-)

1.5 pounds cube steak
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup milk for the gravy
1 1/2 cups flour
1/6 cup flour for the gravy
1 tsp Lawry's season salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp season salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying

Beat the egg and 3/4 cup milk together in a small bowl.
Mix the flour, season salt, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper together, in a large bowl or a pie plate works really well too!
Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper, then dip into the egg milk mixture on both sides, flipping to coat.  Then place the meat on the plate of seasoned flour and turn to coat.  Place the meat back into the milk mixture, then back into the flour.  (This creates the deliciously thick amazing crust!)  (and yes, it's messy!)
Repeat with each piece of meat, laying the finished ones on a plate until you're finished.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Fry 3 pieces of meat at a time, cooking each side until golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, maybe longer.
Remove to a paper towel lined dish and repeat until all meat is cooked.  (at this point, I put the meat on an oven safe dish, and had my oven on the "keep warm" setting, and let the meat in there to stay warm)
After the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl.  Without cleaning the pan, return it to medium low heat on the stove, and add 1/8 cup grease back to the pan.  Allow the grease to heat up.
Sprinkle the 1/6 cup flour evenly over the grease.  Using a whisk, mix them together, creating a golden brown paste.  If it seems too oily, add a bit more flour.  After a couple minutes, the paste will be golden brown.  At this point, you will pour in 1 cup cold milk, whisking constantly.  Whisk to combine, then let the gravy come to a slow boil.  It will thicken gradually, but if it seems too thick at first, add some more milk. Season generously with season salt and pepper.
Place your meat on the plate, and smother with some delicious gravy!  Great with a side of mashed potatoes!

My review:  OMG.  I hadn't had this in years, not since one day at Denny's.  The crispy breading on the steak, and the gravy are amazing.  The flavor was just awesome, and it was a really good "comfort food' dish.  This was the first recipe in the PW cookbook that I just KNEW I had to try, partially because I had some cube steak in my freezer that needed to be used.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seasoned Potato Wedges

I wouldn't call this a recipe, just a "preparation suggestion".  Either way, these are a favorite at my house, and they will be at yours, too!

Russet Potatoes, washed, cut into wedges
Lawry's season salt

Deep fry the potato wedges until they float to the top of the oil and are browned to your liking.  (I like mine crispy, so this takes about 10 minutes).  Once they are ready, get them out and place on paper towels to blot the extra oil out of them.  Sprinkle Lawry's over the potato wedges.
 You can eat them at this point, or you can keep following me...
Place in a baking pan in a single layer, and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Often, I will make these ahead, and if whatever else I'm cooking is in the oven, I'll throw the wedges in to keep them warm, and for them to get a little bit more crisp.

My review:  You can't go wrong with potatoes.  Really. 

Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf

Did I mention how much I love The Pioneer Woman's new cookbook??  I want to buy it for everyone on my Christmas list, except that most of those people don't like to cook, and it would be wasted, and that would make me sad.  So, tonight I ventured into making her meatloaf, adjusting it to serve four, which I will share those measurements here...

1/2 cup milk
3 bread slices
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Lawry's season salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup parsley
2 eggs, beaten
6 thin bacon slices

Tomato Gravy:
3/4 cups ketchup
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Hot Sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak in for several minutes.
Then, combine the ground beef, milk soaked bread, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.  Pour in the beaten eggs.
With clean hands, mix the ingredients until combined.
Form into a loaf on a broiler pan.
Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking underneath.
To make the tomato gravy, pour the ketchup in a small mixing bowl, and add the brown sugar, dry mustard, and Tabasco.  Stir until combined.
Pour one third of the tomato gravy over the meatloaf.  Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another third of the gravy over top.  Bake another 15 minutes.
Serve the remaining tomato gravy as a dipping sauce.

My review:  This had such a delicious, savory flavor.  John's first reaction was "it's wrapped in bacon, awesome!".  We both loved it.  Very, very good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stuffed Shells

1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 box Jumbo Shells
30 oz. Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Shredded Mozzerella
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook shells according to package.  Drain and run cool water over them to cool.
Mix ricotta, half the mozzerella, parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, using a fork.
Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish.
Stuff a spoonful of cheese mixture in each shell, and place in a single layer on the sauce.  Cover the shells with the remaining sauce, then the remaining mozzerella.
Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 35 minutes.
Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving to allow cooling, and for the ricotta mixture to firm up.\

My review:  Yum! I always thought of stuffed shells being a lot of work, but they aren't at all.  And they are so worth it!  Delicious! Serve with garlic bread and a big green salad!  (and don't burn your garlic bread like I did...)