Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Smothered Steak

Mom has made this for years. I cut the amount of oil down by more than half and added onions, which made it a little healtheir but didn't add much to the prep. In fact, it's easy to make and is comfort food at its best. The extended baking time makes the meat fall-apart tender. This is wonderful with mashed potatoes.

Smothered Steak

1 1/2 lb round steak, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c flour, plus extra for dredging
black pepper to taste
3 c. beef broth
1 large onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 8x11 glass casserole dish with cooking spray. Combine flour and pepper in a small bowl. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Dredge steak in flour mixture and cook in skillet until browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Use tongs to remove steak to prepared casserole dish. Cover steak with onions.

Whisk flour into remaining oil. If too dry, add a tablespoon of oil at at time until the lumps are out of the flour. Slowly stir in beef broth, stirring constantly. Cook over medium-high heat for about five minutes, or until thickened. Carefully pour gravy over steak and onions. Cover dish tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Bake for one hour at 350. Reduce heat to 200 and bake another hour. Can sit, covered, for up to an hour before serving.

Serves 4.

Friday, November 4, 2011

White Bean & Bacon Soup

I am nearing the end of my preceptorship at the hospital; because I'm working second shift, it means I'm staying up weird hours. To keep myself awake in the middle of the night, I've taken to cooking. This is what I made at 4am - and I can hardly wait to dig in when I eat it for supper tonight! It's yet another Pinterest find (from Centsational Girl), and besides being easy, it's also quite economical.

White Bean with Bacon Soup

1 lb dry cannellini beans (soaked as directed)
3 14.5 oz cans chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 tbsp butter
2 bay leaves
¾ cup diced peeled carrots
5-6 strips cooked bacon
¾ cup lowfat milk
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare dried cannellini beans as directed on package (with overnight or quick soak) in a large pot, drain any remaining water. Melt butter in a small skillet. Add onion and brown until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add broth and onions to beans in pot and bring to a low boil. Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes.

Add carrots, bay leaves, bacon, and salt and pepper and cook for another 25-30 minutes on low heat until beans and carrots are soft. Remove bay leaves, add milk, then with a hand mixer or in a blender, puree half of the soup until it becomes creamy. Add salt to taste. Reheat in pot to desired temperature. Serve warm with breadcrumbs, croutons, and/or diced bacon on top accompanied by breadsticks or sourdough slices.

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

Lately, just about everything I've made has come from Pinterest. I just can't get enough. This recipe (and another that I will post soon) marks my first attempt at using wine in my cooking. Next time I will buy the real thing, instead of cooking wine, but when you're in a hurry, you do what you gotta do.

This delicious pasta from Homemade by Holman was a big hit. Well, B didn't like it, but he doesn't like anything, so I'm not counting him. Jeff thought it was wonderful. I made it with whole-wheat pasta, but next time I think I'll skip the healthy stuff and go for regular. Usually I don't mind whole-wheat, but this time it overpowered the subtle flavors of the white cheddar and wine. Plus it just doesn't look as pretty. I also made a couple of minor edits; adding Parmesan to the sauce and omitting some of the thyme and the red pepper flakes. This was easy to make and tasted divine. It's definitely on my make-again list!

White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix together mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and sprinkle over chicken pieces. When pan is hot, add chicken and onion and brown, stirring until cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil.

1 pound rotini or macaroni
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 T Dijon mustard
8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c heavy cream
1 T fresh oregano
Parmesan cheese to taste

Heat water to boil in a large stock pot for pasta, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente and drain according to directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Add wine, garlic, and mustard. Cook until mixed and heated through. Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk and cream, stirring to combine. Cook about 5-7 minutes more until mixture begins to thicken. Add cheeses and stir to melt. Add chicken and pasta and toss gently. Add oregano and serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Classic Chicken and Rice Soup

Oh, Pinterest, how I love you! I've found several wonderful blogs to follow from the Pins on the site, which gave me even more stuff to pin! :D

This yummilicious - yet super-simple - chicken & rice soup came from the Picky Palate. I was a bit surprised at the Dijon mustard, but it just gives the soup a little depth. I used a lot more than 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and the soup has a nice, peppery, warm flavor. Otherwise, I pretty much followed the recipe as-is (except for the parsley. Too lazy to bother with it!). Good stuff, lemme tell ya!

Classic Chicken & Rice Soup

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
7 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked white rice
1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add onions; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minutes. Add celery and carrots, cooking and stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Stir and reduce heat to low. Simmer until ready to serve.

Seres 8

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This recipe was originally a pasta salad that I found on Pinterest. It evolved quite a bit after we realized how greasy the hot wing sauce made the dish (especially when you reheated the leftovers). It separates when it's heated and becomes rather icky. We solved the grease problem by holding the hot sauce until you're sitting down with a big bowl of the pasta. This also lets you control how much heat (and heartburn!) you want. Now it's just about perfect, and Jeff devoured the stuff. I don't like buffalo anything, and even I thought it was pretty good.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

16 oz. penne
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup milk
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
3 cups cubed cooked chicken

10 oz blue cheese crumbles (2 small containers)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Frank's hot wing sauce
Ranch salad dressing

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, milk, soup, garlic powder, and onion powder until smooth. Stir in chicken, blue cheese, and mozzarella. When pasta is cooked, draine (do not rinse) and pour into chicken mixture. Carefully stir to combine. Transfer to a 9x11 or 1.5-qt casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top turns golden brown. Serve with hot sauce and Ranch dressing.

Serves 6

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken

I've been eating this since I was a kid. Mom edited a recipe from a book that (to me, at least) looked to be at least 100 years old. It's simple - both in content and preparation - and is one of the kid-friendliest meals I've ever made. Even Braeden eats it, and he doesn't like anything that isn't mac & cheese or peanut butter.

You can use reduced-fat soup and fat-free milk with no problem if you so choose.

One caveat - the milk in this will curdle if you cook it too long or too fast. It's a good idea to make it the first time on a day you can be home to keep an eye on it. My first slow cooker burned it if I cooked it longer than 4 hours, even on low. The one I have now does well on low for 6 hours. It's hit-or-miss, so give it a trial run before you leave it on all day while you're gone.

Crock Pot Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 10-oz can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 c butter or margarine
1/2 c flour
salt & pepper to taste
2 c milk
cooked rice

Spray bottom of slow cooker with cooking spray. Cut chicken into large cubes (2 inches is good) and place in slow cooker. Pour soup over chicken and stir well to coat.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 2 minutes (keep stirring!). Pour over chicken and stir to mix well. Cook on low 6 hours. Serve with rice.

Serves 6.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Make this Pinterest Recipe #2 - tried and approved. (See, I am doing more than just look!) The recipe came from Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour (how hysterical is that?). I tweaked it ever so slightly - leaving out the pepper because I didn't have one, adding a can of kidney beans, and using the whole can of enchilada sauce - and ooooh, it was tasty! Super filling, too, especially since I used whole-wheat pasta. I also used a reduced-fat sour cream without any problem. You could try low-fat cheese, but it probably won't melt as well. I might give it a go next time, though. This is not the spiciest dish I've ever had, but you could use chipotle chili powder or cayenne to crank up the heat a notch or two.

For the record, this stuff makes a ton, but it sure is good!

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

2 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 10-oz can red enchilada sauce
2 10-oz cans green enchilada sauce
1 15-oz can beans, rinsed & drained (your choice - I used kidney but black or pinto would work too)
2 c shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
1 c sour cream
16 oz penne
tomatoes, sour cream, avocado, and/or green onion for garnish

Cook penne according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions in hot oil until nearly translucent. Add garlic and bell pepper; continue cooking until tender. Stir in cumin, chili powder, chicken, enchilada sauce, and beans. Bring just to a boil and stir in cheese until melted. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Add pasta. Garnish as desired.

Serves: at least 6, maybe 8.

Peanut Butter Pie

This ain't your momma's peanut butter pie, y'all.

Actually, it would be more appropriate to say this ain't my momma's pie... because it was her recipe I overhauled. The original was great - a super summery treat that I haven't had in years but have been craving something awful. I decided it needed to be, shall we say, edited.

And here's what I did: swapped out the graham cracker crust for a Nutter Butter crust, added caramel ice cream topping (because it really does go fabulously with PB), and added chopped Reese's cups. Mmmm....

Peanut Butter Pie

24 Nutter Butters
7 tbsp butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 c peanut butter
2 c powdered sugar
2/3 c milk
8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
8 oz bag Reese's minis, coarsely chopped
caramel ice cream topping

Crush Nutter Butters in a ziploc with a rolling pin. Stir into butter and press into ungreased 8x10 glass dish. Sprinkle all but 1/2 cup Reese's over cookie crust. Cream together cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and milk with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread mixture over crust and sprinkle with reserved Reese's. Drizzle with however much caramel you want. Refrigerate at least an hour to allow it to set up.

Serves 1. (Cause I ain't sharing!!! Okay... realistically it could serve 12, no problem. It's pretty rich. But still, that's only if I'm feeling really generous - which I'm not.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

A week or so ago, I saw a pin floating around on Pinterest that said something along the lines of "Thank you, Pinterest, for making me feel creative when I've actually been sitting at the computer for three hours." Let the record show that this recipe is adapted from one I found on Pinterest!

I am so not a slacker!

This came from this recipe at myrecipes.com, but I had to do some significant adjusting because I just didn't have all the ingredients. What you see below is my version I rarely do that when I'm baking, but I have to say the experiment worked pretty well. It's a tad dry, but that probably has as much to do with the fact that I'm still trying to get used to a new oven and all its quirks. Hey, if nothing else, I used up the bananas that were going to go bad, and I feel confident that the entire loaf will be eaten!

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

3-4 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 c no sugar added applesauce
1/3 c creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, beat together banana, applesauce, peanut butter, butter, and eggs, using a mixer on low speed. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat until blended. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice until just blended. Spray a 9x5 bread pan with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (dark pans may require less cooking time). Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Serves 12.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mexican Grilled Cheese

Don't run away screaming when you find out what's on this grilled cheese. Promise? Okay. Good.

I adapted the recipe from Jana Laurene's blog, which has been making the rounds on Pinterest. I have made these a couple of times, and learned a few things in the process. First, I have never been a fan of plain avocado, and even though I salted it to death, that part was still a little bland. So I tried it with my homemade guacamole (recipe here), and oh my word, it is heavenly!!!

Second, cook the bacon in the skillet, and wipe 95% of the fat out. Cook the grilled cheese in what's left. It adds to the sandwich, I promise.

Third, use a sweet, crispy apple - like Honeycrisp or Jazz. You really want that sweetness to offset the other flavors.

It's complex, but delicious. You gotta try it.

Mexican Grilled Cheese


sourdough bread
spray butter
apple, thinly sliced
pepperjack cheese

Cook bacon in large skillet until browned. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wipe out most of bacon fat, leaving a tiny amount to cook in. Spray one side each of two slices of sourdough and lay in skillet, sprayed side down. Layer enough pepperjack to fully cover each slice of bread. Spread guacamole on one piece. Press apple slices into guacamole. Layer bacon over apple, and turn the other piece of bread over the bacon. Cook the whole thing over medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is browned. Then enjoy the heck out of this awesome grilled cheese!


Funny how taste buds can change with age. I had always been the person to have the kitchen hold the guacamole. That nasty-looking green stuff reminded me a little too much of the contents of a dirty diaper. Ew.

But not long ago, I tried the creamy guacamole concotion at Abuelos, and kinda fell in love. Then I had some homemade guacamole at a friend's house, and I decided I was hooked. But neither Jeff or I liked the store bought stuff, so I began the quest to make my own. I think this is perfect, so I will share! (Don't you feel lucky?)

Keep in mind that this is to taste; you might want to add more salt, less cayenne, more lime - I suggest starting with the amounts below, then adding to taste once it is all mixed up. Since I started with fairly conservative amounts, it should be adjustable for everyone. I mix this up in the container I plan to store it in, so it doesn't make much of a mess - just the cutting board, knife, fork, and bowl. Can't beat that!


1/4 red onion, finely chopped
7 grape tomatoes, finely chopped
juice of half a lime
dash cayenne
1 tsp Kosher salt
3 avocados

Combine red onion, tomatoes, lime juice, cayenne, and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Cut avocados in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Using a fork, mash avocado into onion mixture until desired consistency (I like mine really mushed, but others like big chunks.) At this point, you may want to add more lime, salt, and cayenne. Add it a little at a time until it suits you. Store in fridge.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

This cake is out of this world, especially when it is warm out of the oven. It's ten times better than plain old pumpkin pie, and it has practically no calories. Okay, so maybe I exaggerated on that last part, but you can just have a Diet Coke to compensate. :)

Pumpkin Pie Cake

1 29-oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)
4 eggs
1 13-oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 c chopped nuts

1 c melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Beat together pumpkin, eggs, evaporated milk, and spices in a large bowl. Pour into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture, then sprinkle nuts over cake mix. Pour melted butter over top. Bake for one hour. (It won't look done, but if goes longer, it will dry up.) Serve plain or with Cool Whip.

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

I got this recipe from a Taste of Home cookbook years ago, and these are officially my favorite cupcakes ever. The PB cups act as a frosting, so these are a nice quick & easy option. I actually prefer the Wal-Mart brand PB cups to Reese's, because I think the smoother texture of the peanut butter works better for this particular recipe. (Don't be hating, now!)

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

1/3 c shortening
1/3 c peanut butter
1 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c milk
16 mini PB cups

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Fill paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup batter. Unwrap peanut butter cups and place in center of batter till the top of the cup is level with the batter. Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted at an angle toward the center comes out clean.

Butterfinger Cake

This bad boy is rich! It is one of those that tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge - assuming, of course, that it lasts that long.

Butterfinger Cake

1 German chocolate cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 large butterfinger bars, crushed
8 oz Cool Whip

Prepare and bake cake as directed. Remove from oven and punch holes in cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour milk over cake. With oven turned off, place cake back in oven for a few minutes until milk soaks into cake. Sprinkle candy bars over cake. When cooled, top with Cool Whip. Refrigerate.

Mississippi Mud Cake

I've found that there's more than one version of Mississippi Mud Cake. Ours is more like a brownie loaded with marshmallows and a thick layer of frosting. If the frosting is warm enough, it should be pourable. This will make it much easier to frost the cake. We like to use more than 12 marshmallows, though - in fact, we usually cover the cake in them!

Mississippi Mud Cake

2 c sugar
1 c shortening
4 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
2 c chopped pecans, divided
12 (or more) large marshmallows
1 box powdered sugar
1/3 c cocoa
1 c butter or margarine, melted
1/2 c evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 300. Cream sugar and shortening in a large bowl. Using a mixer, beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa, and salt. Stir into first mixture. Stir in pecans. Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place marshmallows on cake. Bake 10 minutes longer at 350. Remove from oven. While cake is still warm, mix remaining ingredients and frost cake.

Dad's Favorite Chocolate Cake

This is the cake Dad likes best. His mother made it for years, and she always called it "Mrs. Pace's Chocolate Cake." Doesn't matter what you call it - it's rich and tasty and ooey gooey. :) Dad likes it with buttercream frosting; I personally prefer chocolate. You can use whatever you like.

Dad's Favorite Chocolate Cake

3/4 c water
1/2 c cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together water and cocoa. Stirring frequently, cook until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool while mixing remaining ingredients.

In a medium bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, and oil. Sift in flour, soda, and salt. Stir in well blended. Pour in lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake 30 minutes.

Apricot Nectar Cake

We've made this many times over the years, and although you could use other types of nectar, apricot is definitely my favorite. It can be a little difficult to find, though - usually it's with the fruit juices, but I have found it in ethnic foods a time or two.

The cake can be baked in an angel food cake pan, bundt pan, or, as we prefer, a 9x13 cake pan. You may need to adjust times accordingly. Either way, it comes out ridiculously moist and delicious.

Apricot Nectar Cake

1 pkg lemon cake mix
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 can apricot nectar, divided
4 eggs
1 c powdered sguar

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine lemon cake mix, sugar, vegetable oil, 1 cup of apricot nectar, and eggs. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. For angel food pan, bake 25-30 minutes. For 9x13, bake 30-35 minutes. Allow cake to cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk powdered sugar with approximately 1/4 c apricot nectar to make glaze. Add nectar or powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. Pour over cake. Allow to sit an hour or so before serving.

Peanut Butter Crunch Cake

This cake doesn't have frosting, and it doesn't need it. It had a streusel-like topping and is delicious warm.

Peanut Butter Crunch Cake

1 pkg. Duncan Hines Moist yellow cake mix
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c chunky peanut butter
1 c water
1/4 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer to use mini chocolate chips)
1/2 c peanut butter chips
1/2 c chopped peanut

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9x13 pan. In a large bowl, use a mixer to combine cake mix, brown sugar, and peanut butter at low speed until crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture. To the remaining mixture, add water, oil, and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Stir in 1/4 cup each of the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Pour batter into pan. Combine reserved mixture and remaining chips; sprinkle over batter. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Miss Frances' Blueberry Surprise Cake

One summer I interned at a Wal-Mart Distribution center in South Carolina. The customer service coordinator was Miss Frances, a precious older lady who liked to bake. She brought this cake in one day, and it is to die for, I promise.

Miss Frances' Blueberry Surprise Cake

1 can blueberry pie filling (Lucky Leaf, heavy syrup)
3 c. sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c sugar
1 c butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c. cake flour
3 tbsp butter
1/4 c sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 9x13 cake pan with foil and generously grease the foil. Sift flour once. Add baking powder, soda, and sugar and sift into mixing bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat well to blend. Spread half the batter evenly in prepared pan.Spoon pie filling on top, spreading gently but evenly. Spread remaining batter over pie filling as evenly as possible. Combine flour, butter and sugar to make a crumb topping. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake 45 minutes. Cool in pan before serving.

Gooey Butter Cake

This is a classic, made popular again by Paula Deen. Personally, I prefer my version to the slabs you buy at Wal-Mart, but hey - that's just me. :)

True story - this is the first cake I ever made by myself. I was about eleven years old, and I was so proud of my handiwork. I popped it in the oven, and waited... and waited... and waited... An hour later, it still wasn't done, and I couldn't figure out why.

That was when Mom kindly reminded me that you actually have to turn the oven on before items inside will get warm. :)

Gooey Butter Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 stick melted butter
8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 box powdered sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Mix cake mix, one egg, and butter. Press into a 9x13 cake pan (light sprayed or greased). Cream together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and eggs. Pour over cake layer. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until slightly browned.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taco Stuffed Peppers

I needed a freezer-friendly recipe for a friend who'd just had a baby, and amazingly, I didn't have a single dish that fit that bill for the hot summertime. Everything I freeze is what I consider a winter dish - soups, chilis, etc. After a little digging, I finally settled on stuffed peppers, but I knew I didn't want to make the standard tomato soup version. I lumped together ideas from several different recipes and came up with this version. The picture only shows four peppers - I could have easily filled six. I had a little leftover filling, and it was wonderful on baked potatoes.

Taco Stuffed Peppers

6 bell peppers, any color
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c. cooked rice
3/4 c. salsa or picante sauce
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1/2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, brown beef and onion. Meanwhile, cut tops off peppers and scoop out seeds and membranes. Rinse thoroughly and drop in boiling water for no longer than two minutes. Remove with tongs and set upside-down to drain.

Once beef is cooked, drain excess fat. Stir in rice, salsa, taco seasoning, and cheese. Spoon into peppers. (If desired, top with extra cheese.). Place peppers in a cake pan lined with foil. Bake for 35 minutes. If tops are becoming too brown, lightly cover with foil.

Once cooled, these can be frozen. Wrap individually in foil or freezer paper. To reheat, microwave on high for 5 minutes, or bake 30 minutes at 425.

Serves 6.

Nutella-Mocha No Bake Cookies

I confess: I have never been a fan of no-bake cookies. I know that's probably sacrilege at its worst, given that no-bakes are nothing more than a combination of the two greatest foods in the world - peanut butter and chocolate - but it's true. I just didn't care for them.

Lately, though, no-bakes have been popping up on Pinterest (you can follow me @ mandalee65). So has Nutella. And so has this funky coffee thing.

So I got to wondering... what if I swapped out the peanut butter in no-bakes for Nutella, and added instant coffee in place of some of the cocoa? In my head it sounded divine, but I wasn't sure it would play out that way in my mouth.

But oh, I was so right. Holy cow, they are incredible! So naturally, I must share. :) The only change I will make is cutting the butter down to 1/2 cup instead of one full cup.

Nutella-Mocha No Bake Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1 3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
1/2 c. Nutella
3 c. quick-cooking oats

In a double boiler, heat butter, sugar, milk, cocoa powder, and coffee granules until thoroughly dissolved and right to the point of boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in Nutella until melted. Add oats. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Cool in refrigerator, then store in airtight container with wax paper between each layer of cookies.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chocolate Gravy

I think this must be an Arkansas thing - I've never heard of it or seen it anywhere else. Nanny made it for us when we visited, and it was such a treat. She didn't leave a recipe, so Mom had to figure it out herself. Thankfully, she did, so this treat wasn't lost to us.

Chocolate Gravy

1 c sugar
3 heaping T cocoa powder
2 T flour
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c water

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened. Serve immediately with biscuits and butter.

Crispy Coated Chicken

This is a quick & easy recipe - but leftovers aren't great, so only make as much as you need.

Crispy Coated Chicken

1 pkg. onion soup mix, crushed
2/3 c. fine dry bread crumbs
dash pepper
1 egg or 2 egg whites
2 T water
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 T margarine, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Combine soup mix, bread crumbs, and pepper in a small bowl. In a second bowl, beat together egg and water. Dip chicken into egg, then coat with crumbs. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet. Drizzle with margarine. Bake 30 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Red, White & Blue Salad

I don't often post salad combinations (I feel weird calling a salad a "recipe"), but this is one of my very favorites, and truly worth posting. I'm not going to bother with amounts, because it just doesn't matter. Add as much or as little as you want. This is delightful when summer berries are at their best.

mixed salad greens (spinach, arugula, etc)
strawberries, sliced
bleu cheese crumbles
cooked chicken, diced
bacon or real bacon bits
olive oil
white balsamic vinegar
1 packet splenda
black pepper
kosher salt

Top the greens with the berries and bleu cheese. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook chicken and bacon together until heated through. Transfer to salad. In the same skillet, add equal parts olive oil and vinegar (careful - it tends to splash. You may need to lift the skillet off the heat entirely.) Stir in splenda packet until dissolved, and add fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste. Drizzle evenly over salad.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Strawberry Daiquiri Cake

Okay, so this is almost the same thing as the Lemonade Cake, but the taste is so different that I thought it warranted its own post. :)

Strawberry Daiquiri Cake

1 strawberry cake mix (I like Duncan Hines)
6 oz. frozen strawberry daiquiri mix, thawed (Bacardi)
3/4 c. powdered sugar
8-oz tub Cool Whip

Make cake according to directions. Allow to cool 15 minutes, then poke holes all the way through with a knife. Whisk together daiquiri mix and powdered sugar until smooth and pour over cake. Refrigerate until absorbed into cake, then frost with Cool Whip. Store in refrigerator.

Monday, August 1, 2011

State Fair Subs

I think this recipe came from either a Taste of Home or Quick Cooking book. Jeff can't get enough of these. It's a great cold-weather sandwich, suitable for football parties and the like.

State Fair Subs

1-lb loaf French bread
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t salt
1 lb sausage
1 lg onion, chopped
2 c shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400. Cut bread in half lengthwise. Hollow out top and bottom of loaves, leaving a one-inch shell. Cube the bread you just cut out. In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, pepper, and salt. Add bread cubes and toss to coat.

In a large skillet, brown sausage and onion. Drain excess fat. Add to bread mixture, stirring gently. Spoon into bread shells and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Wrap in foil, allowing a pocket at the top so the cheese doesn't stick. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Mrs. Betty's Strawberry Cake

A super-sweet lady at Mom's church brought over this cake after Mom had surgery. It was a fantastic cake, and I promptly had to get her recipe. The note on the recipe said that it was best the longer it stayed in the fridge, but I wouldn't know - I think it only lasted two days!

Mrs. Betty's Strawberry Cake

2 c. self-rising flour
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. canola oil
1 c. milk
1/4 c. mashed sweetened strawberries
1 sm box dry strawberry jello

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients and pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

1/2 stick softened margarine
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. mashed sweetened strawberries

Mix all until smooth - may need to add powdered sugar or strawberries to get an appropriate spreading consistency. Ice cake and store in refrigerator.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Joyce's Cheese Dip

This recipe came from the sweet wife of one of Dad's coworkers. It is so good. Although the recipe calls for 8 oz of Velveeta, I typically use a whole pound. Sometimes, if I really want to crank up the heat, I'll use Mexican Velveeta. I've also combined half sausage and half ground beef, because it was what I had on hand. Either way, you can't go wrong. It makes a lot, but can be transferred to a 3-qt Crock-Pot pretty easily if you need to transport it.

Joyce's Cheese Dip

1 1/2 lb. sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 stick butter
4 tbsp flour
3/4 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp ketchup
2 c milk
1 -oz can Ro-Tel
8-16 oz. Velveeta, cubed

In a large skillet, brown sausage and onion. Drain and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and ketchup. Stir until smooth. Slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly. Add Ro-Tel and sausage/onion mixture. Stirring constantly, heat through. Add cheese and stir until melted. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos.

Sausage Balls

Hooray for this old classic! Just in case you actually didn't have a recipe, here's our version - quick and easy. Can't beat that. Oh, and you can make these ahead of time and freeze them, too.

Sausage Balls

1 lb. sausage (hot or mild)
3 c. Bisquick
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Allow sausage to warm to room temperature. Mix all ingredients together and shape into one-inch balls. (It is a good idea to wear gloves, since this is pretty messy.) Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Meredyth's Mexican Dip

Several years ago, Mom helped me write out recipes on 4x6 cards. We laminated them, and even made dividers. Over time, the box holding the cards fell apart, and I wound up with a disorganized mess. I finally bought a new box for them (this time, one that latches!) and in the process of sorting, realized that I had not posted a single appetizer recipe to the blog.

It is well past time to remedy that, methinks. :)

Up first: a delicious Mexican dip that came from my Aunt Meredyth. Since it needs a little time to sit before serving, it's wonderful for parties - just pop it in the fridge the night before and you're ready to go! Note: although you could get away with low-fat or fat-free cheese, don't try it with the sour cream. It will separate and get funky and ruin the dip.

Meredyth's Mexican Dip

1 15-oz can refried beans
8 oz sour cream
8 oz guacamole
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies, drained
1 4-oz can sliced black olives
1/2 pkg. taco seasoning
1/2 c. chopped green onions
1/2 - 1 c. chopped tomatoes
1 c. monterey jack cheese

Layer ingredients in order in a dish. (We use a #3 10-cup square Rubbermaid container.) Refrigerate at least two hours. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lemonade Cake

I've had this recipe sitting in a file for ten years or more, and finally decided I would make it. Oh. My. YUM! It was sooo moist and light and summery - couldn't be better for a hot weather dessert. I am going to experiment with using other kinds of fruit concentrate and cake mixes - like maybe a strawberry daiquiri frozen mix with strawberry cake. Mmmm...

Lemonade Cake

1 lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Super Moist Lemon)
6 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
3/4 c. powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed

Prepare cake according to directions. Allow to cool 15 minutes. Poke holes in cake with a knife or fork. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemonade concentrate and powdered sugar. Pour evenly over cake. Refrigerate until completely cool, then spread Cool Whip over top.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ranch Potato Salad

So let me tell you about this incredible potato salad I made... Jeff's parents and grandmother came for a visit, so I thought I'd make burgers and tater salad. Thing is, I don't think I've ever made plain old potato salad - I always tried some weird recipe and it ended in an epic disaster. So I called Mom to see how she made hers and went to get the stuff. Problem: I forgot the relish. So I threw caution to the wind and instead came up with this version, which was sooooo good! I may wind up making it all summer, I liked it so much!

Note: as usual, ingredients are something of a guesstimate. I used both mayo and Miracle Whip because I didn't want to use up all of either of them - it could definitely be an either/or thing. Also, we buy the Ranch seasoning in big containers instead of little packets, so I'm guessing on the amount there, too. Doesn't really matter - just get it to a consistency you like. It's hard to mess it up, I promise. It's ridiculously simple. :)

Ranch Potato Salad

2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, diced in 1-in pieces
4 hard-boiled eggs, smooshed
3/4 c. mayonnaise
3/4 c. Miracle Whip
1/4 c. Ranch seasoning mix (probably about two packets)
1/2 lb. bacon
coarse ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with water and boil until softened, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, coat bacon generously with black pepper and cook until crisp. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine mayo, Miracle Whip, and Ranch seasoning. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and eggs. Stir mayo mixture into potatoes until thoroughly coated. Chill at least 1-2 hours. Just before serving, crumble bacon and stir into to potato salad.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Passion Bars

I pulled this ultra-rich recipe from Allrecipes.com a few weeks ago. It is so good! It goes together pretty quickly, and seems to work best in a glass 9x13 pan. Cut it into very small squares - this stuff is rich!

Passion Bars

2 c. quick cooking oats
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside. in a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. Cut in butter to form a crumbly mixture. Reserve 1 1/2 c. of crumbs and pat the rest evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. In a medium bowl, stir together condensed milk and peanut butter (this is a little easier if you warm the peanut butter first). spread evenly over crumb layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips over peanut butter mixture, then crumble remaining crumbs over top. Gently press the top layer of crumbs into the peanut butter mixture just a bit. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Serves 24.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lemony Fruit Trifle

Ever messed up a recipe and realized the messed-up version was better? heh...This is the perfect spring dessert. You can use whatever fruits you like. My version is below. It originally called for coconut cream pudding and a can of crushed pineapple to mix into the topping. I liked the lemon better, and the whole thing was completely devoured. It was most definitely a hit. :) Amounts for the fruit are guesstimates. I didn't measure; I just layered them into the bowl until they looked pretty. Also, I don't recommend using fat-free half & half or sour cream; over time, the topping will start to separate if you do. Skim milk, however, is fine.

Lemony Fruit Trifle

2 c. red seedless grapes
1 fresh pineapple, chunked (or 2-3 cups canned & drained chunked pineapple)
1 pint blueberries
6 sliced kiwifruit
2-3 c. strawberries, sliced

1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. half & half
1/2 c. sour cream
1 + 1/2 3.4-oz pkg lemon instant pudding
1 c. shredded coconut

Layer fruit in large serving bowl as desired. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, half & half, and sour cream until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat with a mixer on high speed for 2 minutes, or until it begins to thicken. Pour over fruit. Garnish with coconut.

Serves 10-12.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Asian Broccoli Slaw

This is really good, easy to put together, and refreshing for hot summer days! You can sprinkle on chopped cashews right before serving, if you like.

Asian Broccoli Slaw

1 16-oz bag broccoli slaw
1 lb cooked chicken, shredded
1 red pepper, julienned
1 cup sliced scallions

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp sugar (or 3 pkts splenda)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp freshly grated gingerroot
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil

In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine all other ingredients and whisk until well-mixed. Stir into broccoli mixture until coated. Serves about 6.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cajun BBQ Rub (for Pork Tenderloin)

This rub is so good! I do leave out the sage because I don't care for the taste of it. It would work on chicken, too.

Cajun BBQ Rub

lime juice
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp packed light brown sugar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground cumn
1 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 lb lean pork tenderloin, fat trimmed away
2 sprays cooking spray

Rub lime juice over the pork tenderloin. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl with a fork, then pat gently onto the tenderloin, coating evenly.

Broil 5-6 inches from heat, turning once, until meat thermometer reads 160, about 14 minutes


To grill, spray grill rack with nonstick spray and preheat grill to high. Set tenderloin directly over heat and grill, turning once, until 160, about 12 minutes.

Transfer tenderloin to a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes before slicing into 1/2-inch rounds. Serves 4.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chicken with Sausage and Capers

I bought my first-ever jar of capers for this dish. I had no idea the little buds were so salty! Be sure you rinse them well, or it will overpower the meal - which, by the way, is quite delicious. I added a bit more tomatoes than originally indicated, mostly because I looooove tomatoes, and I absolutely believe you can never have too many. I also couldn't find hot Italian sausage, so I used sweet sausage and added some cayenne. This reheats well, and although I ate it as is, it would be good with roasted potatoes or rice.

Chicken, Sausage, and Capers

2 tsp olive oil
3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/4 lb hot Italian turkey sausage, cut in 1/2-inch slices
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 bell peppers, any color, seeded and cut into strips
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
2 15-oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, optional

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Saute the chicken until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. In the skillet, cook the sausage, stirring frequently, until cooked through and browned. Pour in vinegar and cook until liquid evaporates. Add bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; cook, stirring, until peppers are tender.

Stir in tomatoes, broth, and capers; bring to a boil. Return chicken to skillet and sprinkle in cheese. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens slightly.

Serves 4.
220 Cal, 8g fat, 13g carb, 2g fiber, 24g protein.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rice, Black Bean, and Corn Salad

This recipe came from an older Weight Watchers book. I admit that I'd never eaten rice cold before, and was somewhat concerned about the taste and texture, but it turned out that I didn't need to worry. I really like this salad, although next time I may look for fresh cilantro instead of the dried stuff (all I could find). I adjusted ingredients slightly to suit my taste. It will definitely go into my "make this again" file.

Rice, Black Bean, and Corn Salad

1 cup cold cooked brown rice
1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
2/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine rice, corn, bell pepper, beans, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, lime juice, oil, and salt and pepper. Pour over rice mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour before serving.

Serves 4 (scant cup each). Points Plus value: 4

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cincinnati Chili

I will never forget the first time I saw a bowl of chili - with spaghetti mixed in. We'd just moved from Arkansas to Indiana, and the school menus said they were having chili - not spaghetti. In my Southern-bred little mind, that was just entirely too strange to comprehend.

But I was hungry enough to eat it anyway, and it turned out to be okay after all. And although I never quite got used to the sight of spaghetti noodles worming their way through my chili, life went on.

Fast forward 20 years or so, and my constant search for new recipes led me back to an old one. I found a recipe for the classic Cincinnati chili (aka Skyline Chili) and decided to give it a go. It's quite tasty, though I think I will make a couple of changes next time I throw it together. First, I'm leaving out the pork. I can't really taste it, and it adds a lot of fat. Second, I'm going to cut down the cocoa powder by about half. It didn't dissolve well in the chili and it has a slightly powdery texture that I'm not crazy about. Otherwise - yum.

Even with the spaghetti.

Cincinnati Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1/4 c white vinegar
1/4 cup baking cocoa (cut this down some)
2 T chili powder
2 T Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
3 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
hot cooked spaghetti

In a large soup kettle, cook beef, pork, onions, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the remaining ingredients, except spaghetti. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 90 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve over spaghetti with typical chili toppings (sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, etc)

Serves 8.
NI (1 cup, without spaghetti): 421 calories, 16g fat, 38g carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 32g protein

Sunday, February 13, 2011

French Dip Subs

This one just left me speechless.

It is that good.

Nuttin' else to say, 'cept that they won't last long!

French Dip Subs

1 3-lb eye of round roast, trimmed of fat
1 can condensed French onion soup, undiluted
1 can beef consomme, undiluted
1 can beef broth (the Campbell's kind)
1 tbsp beef bouillon granules
pepper to taste
hoagie rolls

Cut roast in half and place in bottom of slow cooker. Pour soups and bouillon granules over the roast. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred meat with forks and place on hoagie rolls. Strain broth if desired and serve with subs.

(I'm just guessing, but a 3-lb roast should serve at least 8-10 people.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Taco Seasoning

Have you ever thought you had an ingredient on hand, only to realize when you were halfway through making the dish that you were mistaken? Today I was in a pinch for taco seasoning, and I found this fantastic recipe on Allrecipes.com. I made a slight change, using half chipotle powder for the regular chili powder. It was excellent, and I will not likely buy taco seasoning in a package again.

Taco Seasoning

1/2 T chili powder
1/2 T chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix ingredients well. Store in airtight container if not using immediately. Makes the equivalent of one package of taco seasoning.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

I made some serious adaptations to a recipe I found online, and came up with a healthier, delicious, major comfort food soup. The flavors are mild but the soup is wonderful. The original called for turkey, which I didn't have, but chicken worked nicely, too.

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

1 32-oz carton fat-free chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt, optional
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
black pepper to taste
1 10-oz can evaporated skin milk
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken or turkey breast
cooked bacon strips, optional

In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water, green onions, and wild rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender, 35-40 minutes. When rice is tender, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper all at once. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Stir in evaporated milk and cook until thickened. Add milk mixture and chicken to rice; heat through. If desired, serve with crumbled bacon.

Serves 6

Monday, January 17, 2011

Moo Shu Sloppy Joes

Have I got your attention? I combined two recipes to come up with this really tasty - albiet rather unusal - sandwich. Don't knock it until you try it - the ingredients are easy to throw together, and it's got a nice, spicy kick. (I will try to post nutrition info once I figure it out.)

Moo Shu Sloppy Joes

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. cold water
1/4 c. barbecue sauce
1/4 c. hoisin sauce
1/2 c. soy sauce
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3 c. broccoli slaw mix
8 8-in whole wheat tortillas

In a large skillet, brown beef until no longer pink. Meanwhile, mix all remaining ingredients except broccoli slaw in a medium bowl. Whisk until well blended. Drain any fat off beef. Add sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in broccoli slaw and mix until coated well. Spoon 1/8 of mixture onto one tortilla.

Serves 4.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Cream

I live in southern Tennessee. We do not expect snow. Not ever. A light dusting, a mere half inch is cause for major excitement 'round here.

So when we got blasted with 6-8 inches (depends on where you live), it was occasion for a little culinary craziness - a. k. a., snow cream. I had no idea how to make it last night, but I set out a bowl anyway. With the help of a friend, I dug up the perfect recipe. It tastes a lot like the ice cream my family made when I was a kid. So should we get a lovely snow like this ever again in my lifetime, guess what I'll be doing? :)

Snow Cream

8 cups snow
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix it all in a big bowl. That's it. You may want to use more snow, depending on the consistency you want. Really, it's not about the perfect ice cream, it's about eating ice cream made from snow!

I burrowed a hole down into the snow to pour the milk. It sorta
globs up and this much snow only made about 3 bowls' worth.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jerk Chops with Pineapple

I modified a recipe from the Biggest Loser cookbook... and oh my word. It was incredible. I am trying to use my crockpot more often, and had learned some time back that pork chops are infinitely better when slow-cooked. With just three ingredients, prep is a snap. I dumped it in the crockpot last night and it's so good I'm eating it for breakfast this morning! Next time I'm doubling it. I can't recommend this enough - it's easy and delicious and healthy. What could be better?

Jerk Chops with Pineapple

1 lb. boneless pork chops, trimmed
1/2 c. jerk marinade (I used KC Masterpiece)
1 24-oz jar pineapple chunks in juice

Spray the bottom of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer chops evenly in bottom. In a small bowl, mix marinade and pineapple (with the juice) until well blended. Pour over chops. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until chops are tender. Serves 4.