Monday, December 24, 2012

Breakfast Overnight Casserole

This is originally a Bisquick recipe. I've made a few changes to add more flavor. We have this for Christmas morning every year. Just pop it in the oven while you are opening presents!

Breakfast Overnight Casserole

1 to 2 cups diced fully cooked ham
12-15 ounces frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon instant chopped onion
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups milk
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried ground mustard
1 cup original or reduced fat Bisquick
4 eggs

1. Grease 13 x 9 baking dish. Mix ham, potatoes, bell pepper, onion, and 1 cup of cheese. Spread in baking dish.

2. Stir milk, Bisquick, salt, pepper, mustard, and eggs until blended. Pour over potato mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover and bake 1 hour, or until light golden brown around edges and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

I compiled this recipe from other suggestions on the net, and from my own experiences in making it. I hope you enjoy!

Beef Stroganoff

1 lb top sirloin or tenderloin, cut thin into 1-inch wide by 2 1/2-inch long strips (often time I will use elk or leftover steak for this, just skip the 1st step of browning the meat).
3 tbsp butter, divided
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 package Lipton Onion Soup mix
2 tbsp minced dried onion
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup water
1 can reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in large skillet on medium heat.  Increase the heat to med-high and add strips of beef.  Brown quickly, seasoning with salt and pepper on each side.  When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté until browned and tender. Add soup mix, minced onions, mustard, and Worcestershire.  Stir until dissolved.

Add wine, water, and mushroom soup. Stir and continue to heat until thickened and bubbly. Add meat back into the skillet with sauce.

Reduce heat to medium- high. Add sour cream, nutmeg, salt (careful with salt as onion soup mix is pretty salty) and pepper to taste. Stir and cook 5-10 more minutes.

Serve over egg noodles (my preference), rice, mashed potatoes, or other pasta.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Best French Dip

This is definitely one of our "go-to" recipes for the colder months.  Quick, easy, and comfort food indeed!  I sometimes will add a can of cream of mushroom soup over the pot roast as well, and we enjoy it that way too.  It gives it an extra amount of creaminess which we like.  This is the fancy way to make french dip, but sometimes I don't have mushrooms, onions, and cheese to do it this way.  Believe me, it's just as good without!    This recipe is for 8 servings, but feel free to size it down appropriately for your family.  I don't mind having leftover sandwiches for lunch the next day, and I usually have even more leftover meat and au-jus which I use for homemade hash on a following day.

French Dip

2-3 lb Beef chuck roast, pot roast, or other roast cut of your choice (should have some fat content to keep the roast moist)
1 package Lipton Onion Soup mix
1-2 beef bullion cubes (depending on size and to taste)
8 french or sourdough hoagie rolls
4 tbsp butter, divided
Johnny's garlic bread seasoning (can substitute mixture of 1/2 garlic powder and 1/2 Parmesan cheese)
8 slices provolone cheese
10-12 button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, halved and sliced

Place roast in crock pot.  Pour about 2 cups of water in the base of the crock pot. Pour Lipton onion soup mix over roast and into water.  Cook on high for 8-10 hours (meat should be falling apart).

Once ready to serve, remove roast from crock pot, turn the pot off, and let roast stand on plate for a few minutes.  Shred.  Add beef bullion to juices in the crock pot and let dissolve.  Add more water if needed, depending on amount of au-jus you want.

Saute onions and mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter until browned and wilted.  

Open hoagie rolls and butter both sides.  Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic bread seasoning.  Broil 2-3 minutes or until browned in oven.  Remove from oven and add 1/2 slice of cheese to each side of bun.  Broil 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Top each bun with generous amount of shredded meat and mushroom/onion mixture.  Cut in half and serve with a dipping cup full of au-jus from the crock pot. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

This was my first attempt at butternut squash soup, and I was pretty pleased with it!

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 large sweet potato, peeled and rough-chopped
1 cup baby carrots
1 large onion, rough-chopped
1 stalk celery, peeled to remove the stringy bits
32 oz chicken broth
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp curry powder
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half-and-half
Sour cream, shredded Parmesan, and bacon crumbles, for garnish

Roast the butternut squash in a 400 degree oven, uncovered, flesh side up, for 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender.  You can also microwave the squash flesh side down on a plate with a few tsp of water for 6-7 minutes each half, to speed up the process. Let cool.

In a soup pot, place sweet potato, carrots, onion, and celery.  Pour in chicken broth until veggies are covered.  Simmer on medium heat until veggies are tender, approximately 20 minutes. 

Scoop out the flesh from the squash and add to the pot, with the remainder of the chicken broth.  Add spices and simmer 15 minutes. 

Use an emulsion blender to puree the soup in the pot, or remove from saucepan and use a stand blender if necessary.  Place soup back in the pot and add half and half.  Season with more spices if needed. 

Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream, bacon crumbles, and shredded Parmesan cheese.  I served with a slice of garlic Parmesan cheese toast.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Warm Your Soul Tuscan Soup

My husband actually asked for this soup again! I think that makes it a winner. I found this recipe on my meal planning site, and modified slightly. I recommend that site also if you want to consolidate to do lists, shopping lists, meal planning, and family calendars.

Warm Your Soul Tuscan Soup

1 lb Italian sausage
32 oz chicken broth
1 can evaporated milk
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups diced red potatoes, skin on
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups chopped kale
Shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Brown Italian sausage over medium heat, breaking up into small pieces as it browns. Pour broth, evaporated milk, onion, potatoes, and seasonings in crock pot.  Add browned sausage. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours. During last 20 minutes, add kale and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve topped with a spoonful of shredded Parmesan.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BBQ Oysters

My hubby and I decided to try oysters bbq'd in the half shell this summer, and we absolutely love them since!  We get to where we crave them! Oysters can be tricky to shuck. I found some good how- to videos on You Tube that helped. I recommend an oyster knife too!

BBQ Oysters

8-10 oysters, cleaned, shucked, and in 1/2 shell
1/4 cup butter, melted
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp Sriracha (or other hot sauce)
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp parsley

Combine butter, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, Parmesan, and parsley in small bowl. Freeze 20 minutes or until firm. Scoop rounded spoonfuls onto each oyster, dividing equally among all oysters. Place entire oyster in half shell on a hot BBQ grill (we prefer charcoal). Close lid, cook for 8 minutes. Remove from grill and serve.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clam Chowder

This is the BEST recipe I've found for clam chowder.  Don't leave out the red wine vinegar.  It really makes the flavors POP!  I was skeptical at first, but this is really great. I have modified this to my taste, but the original recipe link (or close to) is at the bottom.


Clam Chowder

1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup carrots, finely diced
2 cups finely diced potatoes (I leave skins on)
1-2 cups chicken broth
4 (6 1/2 ounce) cans minced clams, and juice (less if you don't like as many clams)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup butter (not margarine)
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half-and-half (cream)
salt & pepper to taste

Chop vegetables and put in large soup pot.  Drain clam juice over chopped vegetables.  Set clams aside.  Pour chicken broth over veggies, enough to cover.  Simmer over medium-low heat until tender (about 15 minutes).

While veggies are simmering, melt butter over medium-low heat in a 2 quart saucepan.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Slowly add half-and-half, whisking the entire time to keep smooth and lump free.  Continue stirring and heating until mixture is thickened and smooth (about 10 minutes).

Add cream mixture to veggies/broth in soup pot, reducing heat to low.  Add red wine vinegar, clams, and salt and pepper to taste.  (Usually with the broth, salt is not needed).  Heat through, but do not boil again. 

I also like to add leftover salmon/steelhead, scallops, shrimp, and any other seafood to make a seafood chowder.  If adding other seafood, you can reduce the amount of clams needed.

Original Recipe:  Clam Chowder

Dutch Babies

Dutch Babies

1/3 cup butter
5 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat eggs, flour, and milk until blended (will be pancake/waffle consistency).

Place butter in 9x13 pan and place in the oven to heat and melt butter.  Once butter is melted, pour mixture into pan with melted butter, and bake at 400 for 30 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Top with powdered sugar and lemon curd, syrup, or jam. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 rotisserie chicken carcass (or turkey from thanksgiving) with enough meat left on it for soup (usually about 1/2 eaten)
2 bay leaves
2 lemons, halved
6-8 stalks chopped celery
6-8 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
Chicken flavored bullion (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 batch of homemade noodles (I found a good tutorial here: Egg Noodles)

Place chicken carcass in a large stockpot with bay leaves.  Squeeze lemon into pot and place lemon halves in with chicken.  Cover with water and heat on medium until boiling.  Simmer until meat is falling off bones and broth is golden brown in color, approximately 2 hours.  Add more water as needed.  Meanwhile, chop veggies and make noodles.

Once the chicken is done simmering, remove stockpot from stove and strain over a bowl/pot, reserving all broth.  Leave chicken to cool in strainer and add broth back to stockpot.  Add veggies to pot with broth and return to medium heat, adding water to cover veggies if needed.

Once chicken is cool enough to touch, separate bones from meat.  Discard bones, lemon halves, and bay leaves.  Place the chicken meat back into the stockpot with the veggies, adding more water as needed.

Simmer soup on medium-low heat until veggies are crisp-tender, or about 20 minutes, adding pepper and chicken bullion to taste. Add cinnamon and nutmeg.

Once veggies are nearly done, turn the heat up to medium-high until the soup is at a boil.  Add noodles by handfuls, and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender.

Serve with homemade bread or rolls!  My favorite homemade bread recipe is this one:  Grandmother Bread


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tomato Basil Pizza

This is adopted from a Pampered Chef recipe we've loved over the years. This is off the top of my head and my modifications so hope you enjoy!

Tomato Basil Pizza

1 package refrigerated pizza dough (I use Trader Joes)
2 cups mozzerella (divided)
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (depending on taste)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced garlic
4-5 tomatoes, sliced (enough to cover pizza)

Preheat oven to 375* F.  Mix 1 cup mozzerella, garlic, mayo, Parmesan, and basil in a bowl.

Grease pizza stone.  Spread pizza dough to the edge of the stone. Spread remaining 1 cup of mozzerella over dough. Lay slices of tomatoes over the cheese. Scoop dollops of basil mixture over top of the tomatoes and flatten to thin layer with back of spoon or fingers.

Bake for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

Let pizza cool for 5 minutes before slicing into squares to serve.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

German Apple Cake

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday, but it also happens to be the birthday of a great friend of mine.  My hubby wanted ice cream cake, so we decided to try Cold Stone for his. I offered to make a cake for my friend, and this is the cake she decided on. It just so happened I had a bag full of apples from my parents' farm.

German Apple Cake 

2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (I use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one 9 x13 inch cake pan.
In mixing bowl, beat oil and eggs with electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla and beat well.
Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Slowly add this mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. The batter will be very thick.  Fold in the apples by hand using a wooden spoon. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cake tests done.  Let cake cool.  Once cake is cool, serve with a dusting of powdered sugar, cream cheese frosting, or butter rum sauce (my fav).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sesame Chicken

My family loved this dish.  I modified it only by using sesame oil, as I think it gives more of a sesame flavor to it.

Sesame Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would be fine too)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp sesame oil (could also use olive oil or canola oil, but sesame gives more flavor)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional - doesn't really add heat, just adds more flavor)
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds

Season both sides of chicken with lightly with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles.

*You can also sprinkle more red pepper flakes on top if you want more heat.

Original Recipe:

Sesame Chicken

Baked Penne

Modified slightly from original recipe, because I always seem to have leftover spaghetti sauce!

Baked Penne

5 cups spaghetti sauce (leftover)
1 tub(10 oz.) Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme, divided (I used reduced fat)
1 cup Kraft Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
3 cups cooked penne pasta

Heat oven to 350°F.

Combine spaghetti sauce, 3/4 cup cooking creme and 1/2 cup mozzarella in saucepan; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until mozzarella is melted. Add pasta; mix lightly. Spoon into 2-qt. casserole; top with remaining cooking creme and mozzarella. Cover. Bake 20 min. or until heated through, uncovering after 15 min.

Original Recipe:

Baked Penne

King Ranch Chicken

This was a HUGE hit.  Everyone loved it!

King Ranch Chicken

3 large chicken breasts, cooked
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, chopped (I used minced onion flakes)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 jar (8oz) Cheez Whiz
Dash of Tabasco
Dash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and pepper
Tortilla chips, crushed
8 oz cheddar
4 oz mozzarella

Dice the cooked chicken breasts.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the soups, onion, tomatoes, Cheez Whiz, Tabasco and Worcestershire Sauce until blended.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Line the bottom of a casserole dish with the crushed tortilla chips.  Place the chicken on top and pour over some of the mixture.  Add a layer of  half the Cheddar.  Repeat the process, topping with Cheddar and mozzarella.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly.

Original Recipe:

King Ranch Chicken

Grilled Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta

My whole family LOVED this dish.  One of our new favorites!  I made the homemade Cajun seasoning and it was awesome!

Grilled Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp white sugar, or to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, cajun seasoning, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pound chicken breast to 1/4" thickness. Place chicken in the gallon size ziplock bag, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (the longer the better). Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Grill chicken for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear. Slice and serve over pasta.

16 oz bowtie pasta
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (can substitute evaporated milk)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp pepper
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup butter
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain; set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt butter, add garlic, whipping cream, Cajun seasoning, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Whisk together on low heat for 5-6 minutes. In a large bowl, pour over cooked, drained pasta. Top with Cajun ranch chicken and sprinkle a little bit more shredded Parmesan cheese on top.
Original Recipe:
Grilled Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Brats and Beer Cheddar Chowder

We had this tonight for football Sunday.  I'd never made it before, but everyone seemed to like it.  I modified it slightly from the original, but the link is at the bottom if anyone wants it.

Brats and Beer Cheddar Chowder

2 large yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrot, 1 medium
3 large shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth, can sub chicken broth
1/3 cup flour
1 cup light cream, can sub whole milk
1 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons horseradish
4 -5 cooked bratwursts, halved lengthwise and sliced
12 ounces beer, plus
1 cup beer

1. In a small skillet, brown in pan with just a bit of oil, then add 1 cup beer and simmer til done.
2. Remove brats from beer, cut lengthwise, and slice.  Set aside, and reserve beer (see * below).
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat.
4. Add potatoes, onion, carrot and shallots; reduce heat to medium-low.
5. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes soften, and onion is very soft and golden brown. Add garlic during last 5 minutes.
6. Stir flour into potato onion mixture until dissolved.  Stir in broth.
7. Add milk, caraway seeds, and pepper. Cook over medium heat 20-30 minutes, or until thickened and vegetables are soft, stirring frequently.
8. Gradually stir in cheese, mustard and horseradish, reduce heat to low.
9. Cook and stir until cheese melts, but do not boil.
10. Stir in brats, and 12 oz. beer.
11. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through. *You can add a little of the beer from cooking the brats if desired. See note below.
12. Garnish with additional shredded cheese, paprika, and/or a sprinkle of cayenne if desired.

Cheesy Sausage English Muffins

This recipe was given to me by some wonderful friends in North Carolina.  It's one of my kids' FAVORITE breakfasts.

Cheesy Sausage English Muffins

5 English muffins, halved
1 lb Jimmy Dean sausage
1 cup Cheese Whiz

Slice English muffins in half and lay on a baking sheet.  Brown sausage in skillet over medium heat, breaking apart into small pieces.  Once sausage is cooked through, turn off heat and add Cheese Whiz, stirring until melted.  Top each muffin with about 1/4 cup of filling, dividing evenly amongst them.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees, until muffins are crisp and sausage mixture is browned.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Banana Bread

This is my tried and true recipe.  I always come back to it.  This was taken from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but modified to my taste.

Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp cooking oil

Add-ins (can do 1 or more):
1/4 cup caramel pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup diced peaches

Grease the bottom and sides of loaf pa.  Set aside.  Mash bananas in large bowl.  Add egg, sugar, oil, applesauce and cinnamon.  Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda just until moistened.  Stir in add-ins of your choice (our fav is pecan/caramel bits combo).

Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

One Skillet Breakfast Burritos (Feed the Freezer)

This is the general recipe I use for my frozen breakfast burritos.  We eat these on the go in the mornings and we love them.  This recipe makes 12-15 average size burritos, depending on how full you fill them.

Breakfast Burritos

12-15 four tortillas (8-10")

2 cups diced potatoes
2 tbsp oil
1 lb sausage
10 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup salsa

In a skillet big enough to hold all ingredients above, fry potatoes in oil on medium heat. I sometimes use a jar of home canned potatoes to save time on this step.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Once potatoes are soft, push them to the side of the skillet and add the sausage.  Fry until cooked through. Push sausage to the side along with the potatoes. Add the eggs to the open skillet bottom. Stir until cooked, then stir into potatoes and sausage. Turn heat off and add cheese and salsa. Stir to incorporate.  Fill each tortilla with about 3/4 cup of filling, wrap burrito style, and wrap in foil. Freeze. To eat, just pull out of freezer, unwrap, and heat on microwave safe plate for 1-2 minutes until heated through.