Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hitting All the Key Components

This recipe was another home run recipe in my book. Imagine sweet buttery crescent crust joined with the salty crunch of corn chips, a mild spice from taco meat and subtle creaminess from tangy sour cream... and then add cheese. DELICIOUS! That's all there is to it. Hope you enjoy!

Superspeedway Taco Pie

1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (1 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
1/2 c. water
1/3 c sliced green olives (which I omitted)
1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated crescent roll
1 1/2 to 2 c. crushed corn chips
1 (8 oz) container sour cream (about 1 c.)
4 oz shredded Cheddar cheese or 6 slices American Cheese
Shredded Lettuce, if desired
Avocado Slices, if desired

1. Heat oven to 375F. Cook ground beef in 10 in. skillet until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix, water and olives (if using). Simmer 5 min.
2. Meanwhile, seperate crescent dough into 8 triangles. Place triangles in ungreased 9 or 10 in. pie pan, pressing to form crust. Sprinkle 1 cup of the corn chips over bottom crust.
3. Spoon beef mixture onto corn chips in crust. Spread sour cream over beef mixture. Cover with cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 to 1 cup corn chips.
4. Bake at 375F for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cut into wedges. Serve immediately with lettuce and avocado.

Couple notes: I choose to omit the olives since I'm not really a big fan. I also did not use the lettuce or avocado this time but would like to try it in the future and maybe a little chopped tomato. I served broccoli on the side, instead, to include a veggie. Also, next time I think I will try to lighten it up by replacing the ground beef with ground turkey or maybe shredded chicken. I'd also try substituting low fat sour cream for the full fat version.

Happy Eating!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An A+ and a Needs Improvement

I've got two recipes for you today. The first is one that was delicious smelling while baking but, when I tasted it, it let me down. It's not that it was awful and I needed to dispose of it immediately. I don't know that I'd even say I'm going to throw the recipe in the trash bin. It just wasn't up to par. (Stay tuned in this post though, because the second recipe is definately worth EVERYONE trying!)

A note about this recipe: I originally found this recipe in one of those recipe magazine/booklets that they have in the grocery check out aisle that was put out specifically by Stove Top Stuffing. The recipe in there didn't not contain veggies and so that is how I made it. I have found several reprinted recipes since then that does contain veggies including the actual Stove Top website. That is the copy of the recipe I am posting here because I think it would be delicious and definately adds a little nutrients to the dish but you can easily remove these and serve a veggie on the side.

Stove Top Stuffing Easy Chicken Bake

1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 in. bite-size pieces
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup, undiluted
1/3 cup sour cream (may want to consider using a light sour cream)
1 bag (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed, drained (give or take as you prefer)

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package and set aside.
2. Mix chicken, soup, sourcream and vegetables in 13x9 in baking dish and top with stuffing. (The recipe I used called to put the chicken down and then pour the soup mix over top and then top with stuffing mix. Other recipes I've seen directed you to mix chicken with 1 c. of veggies and then, again, top with soup and then stuffing.)
3. Bake 30 min or until chicken is cooked through.

The second recipe for posting today is a Tangy Pork Roast made in the slow cooker. This one, as I said, is definately a keeper. It was so tender and had a wonderful flavor. As the title says, it had a tang to it, but there was also this sweet in the background. I served it with Fontina Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Green Bean Casserole. (Thank you to Green Giant and their frozen boxed sauced vegetables for the casserole.) This meal was absolute heaven on a plate to me. My two year old son also gobbled it down. He even wanted a second helping of the pork which he doesn't normally ask for seconds of the protein. I WILL be making this one again.

Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast

1 large onion, sliced
2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin roast - (I used a regular petite pork roast, not a loin roast.)
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
A couple dashes hot pepper sauce, or to taste

1. Arrange onion slices evenly over the bottom of the slow cooker, and then place the roast on top of the onion. In a bowl, mix together water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and hot sauce; pour over roast.
2. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours OR on High for 3 or 4 hours. (I choose the low and slow versions which tends to give a slightly more tender finished product.)

Something else I want to touch base on in this post is sales. I know I've mentioned it before but I think, as a mother and wife, it is partly my duty to save as much money as I can. Both these meals were products of using the sales flyer. It really does pay off to look through your local flyers and to clip coupons. Both the proteins used here were bought on sale. In addition, the side vegetables were bought with a coupons AND on sale. The stuffing mix was bought with a coupon. The potatoes were on sale. If you don't buy your local Sunday paper (which is the issue that usually contains both the sales papers and coupons) you can usually grab a copy of the flyer in the front vestibule of your local grocery store. Swing by a couple days in advance and take it home to plan your week's menu around the sales. Also, alot of the websites (such as Green Giant, Pillsbury, Kraft, and many others offer printable coupons on their website or join a coupon website where you can get endless deals.) I see it this way; there are lots of benefits to taking a little extra time to do things to save money including having a little extra money to buy that dress you were eyeing up in your favorite store window or an extra book to read to your child at night. Especially in this economy, who couldn't use a little extra cash.

Whether you look for the deals out there or not, I hope you all take the time to cook for your friends and family and try these meals and enjoy them as much as we did or more!

Happy Eating!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Highlights Recap for December & January

Once again, I've started a food blog and, once again, I've let it slip away. It seems the further I let it slip, the sillier I feel coming back to it after so long so the more and more I put it off. Well, the ends now! I will not feel bad for letting my blog go for a couple of weeks and coming back! Better late than never, right? It's about sharing food amongst friends, not who's the most organized and diligent with their posts! So, that being said, here are a few recipes from the last couple months that were stand outs. It is, by far, not all the recipes I've tried recently. It contains mostly recipes that were worth sharing that I have pictures for or recipes that I felt really need to be shared so everyone can have a taste. Hope you all enjoy them!

A deliciously rich dip marries macaroni! This one got mixed reviews but I loved it and so did my 2 year old son who licked the bowl clean not once but twice and then again the next day for leftovers! I don't have a picture for this but, if it got that much spinach in my son it was worth making the top of the highlight list in my book!
Spinach & Artichoke Mac 'n' Cheese
From Rachael Ray's Look + Cook

    1 pound semolina or whole-wheat penne                          
    2 tablespoons evoo                                             
    3 tablespoons butter                                           
    1 medium onion, finely chopped                                
    3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated                      
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour                                
    1/2 cup dry white wine (I used chicken broth)                  
    2 cups whole milk                                              
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste                
    1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped artichokes, defrosted and drained (I couldn't find frozen so I used jarred artichokes and drained and chopped them.)
    1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a kitchen towel
    1 1/2 cups shredded Italian fontina cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top
    1 1/2 cups grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta, salt the water, and cook the pasta to al dente.
2. While the pasta water come to a boil, place a medium pot over medium-low heat with EVOO and the butter. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until very soft, about 10 min
3. Heat the broiler and position the rack in the middle of the oven.
4. Turn up the heat under the pot to medium-high and sprinkle the flour into the pot. Cook for about 1 min, then whisk in the wine and cook for another minute to burn off the alcohol. Whisk the spinach, and salt and pepper to the sauce and simmer until thickened and the vegetables are warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add 1 cup of each of the cheese to the sauce and stir until melted.
5. Toss the prepared sauce with the cooked pasta and transfer to a casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining Fontina and Parmigiano over the top and brown under the broiler for about 3 min.

The next recipe also had mixed reviews but was delicious in my book and rather easy. I made it with peas on the side and my son and I gobbled both down.

Enchilada-Style Casserole
From Campbell's Casseroles and One-Dish Favorites (published 2009)

    2 10 3/4-ounce cans Campbell's condensed cheddar cheese soup   
    1/2 cup water
    1 16-ounce jar Pace chunky salsa (used mild and only half the jar)
    4 cups cubed cooked chicken (used rotisserie picked and shredded)
    12 corn tortillas or 8 flour tortilla (6-8 in.), cut into strips (I used corn and cut in thirds and then strips for bite-sized pieces)
    1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz) - You KNOW I used more approx1.5 to 2 cups

1. Mix the soup, water, 1/2 cup salsa (I used 1/2 the jar) and chicken in a bowl. Stir in the tortillas. Spread the chicken mixture in a 13x9x2 in shallow baking dish. Top with the cheese. COVER
2. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Serve with remaining salsa (which I didn't because of putting extra inside the casserole).

Another easy throw together meal that passed the test with even my husband was a crescent recipe. Deliciously cheesy, one pie was supposed to serve 6 to 8 and only fed my husband, 2 year old son, and myself! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! No room for enjoying this the next day.

Italian Crescent Pie

    1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained                        
    1 cup basil and garlic tomato pasta sauces (from 16 oz jar)    
    1 8-ounce can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls     
    1 1/2 cups shredded italian cheese blend (6 oz), divided       
    1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves                                
1. In 10-inch skillet, mix beef and pasta sauce. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Separate dough into 8 triangles. Place dough in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate in spoke pattern, with narrow tips overlapping rim of plate about 3 inches. Press dough in side and bottom to form crust; sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon meat mixture evenly over cheese. Bring tips of dough over filling to meet in center; do not overlap. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the basil.
3. Bake at 375°F 15 to 20 minutes.

Note: Would be even better if you added cooked bacon or pepperoni but also wonderful as is.

The next recipe I took what was laying in my fridge and tweeked a recipe I think I saw a while back. That's one of the wonders of cooking... it's about learning techniques and then changing them up to suit you and your family and what you like. This time, it was because I had the cheese that need to be used so this was born.

Kelli's Sundried-Tomato Cheese Filled Chicken Breasts

3 chicken breast halves sliced in 1/2 horizontally to make 6 THIN breasts
2 eggs, beaten and mixed with a splash of water to make an eggwash
Bread Crumbs (as needed for coating)
2 tbsp. olive oil

Add oil to large skillet over medium high heat. Spread cheese onto one side of each breast. Roll, starting at smallest end, and secure with toothpicks. Roll each bundle in egg wash and then again in bread crumbs to coat. Place in skillet with hot oil. Cook until chicken is cooked through (about 15-20 minutes total), making sure to turn onto all sides as to cook evenly. Remove toothpicks before serving!

Well, that's all I have time for now! There are plenty more recipes I'd love to share (some with pictures, some without) but they will have to wait until this busy mom has more time. Hope you all love these recipes and it sparks your interest for more to come!

Happy Cooking and Eating!