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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tomato Squash Sauce with Pasta


Ok….this picture is NOT really pretty but believe me….this is the tastiest thing I’ve ever cooked.
This is ACTUALLY supposed to be soup, however, it comes out a little thin for my tastes and when I added pasta it became AMAZING!
Tomato Squash sauce with Pasta
Ingredients

1 large Zucchini
3 medium carrots
1 celery stalk
2 medium yellow squash
1 large white onion
4-6 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons Thyme
4 cups Crushed Italian Tomatoes
2 cups water
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 pound pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups Chicken Broth
Red pepper flakes
Salt
2 Bay Leaves



Instructions:

Chop Zucchini and Yellow Squash into small cubes. Chop the carrots and celery into small pieces. Julienne the onion.

In a stock pot add the zucchini, yellow squash, celery, carrots and onion and cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender, approximately 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional one minute while stirring. Add the thyme, bay leaves and red pepper flakes (add enough to thinly cover the surface) and cook for an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, broth and water. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste. Remove the bay leaves.

Now you will need to blend the mixture. NEVER fill the blender more than half full of hot liquids or you’ll be SORRY! Blend in batches and add the blended mixture to another bowl. Once the entire mixture is completely blended add the heavy cream.

Serve over cooked pasta and top with Parmesan Cheese.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes



Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes *recipe adapted from Goddess of Scrumptiousness Recipes*

Ingredients:
500 grams spaghetti pasta (cooked al dente)
1 pound chicken breast fillets (sliced into 1 inch chunks)

For the chicken marinade:
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt (not table salt)
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to sauté the marinated chicken)
-  Add all the marinade ingredients into the chicken and marinade for 20 minutes (if making this dish in pronto) or over night (if making this dish the next day much better).
-  Saute the marinated chicken in extra virgin olive oil until cooked (about 4-5 minutes) then set aside.

For the garlic gravy:
½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced (approximately 4 tblsp)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (* I added 1 additional tblsp*)
2 ½ cups chicken stock ( I used a 14.5 oz can)
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup parsley, chopped (to sprinkle/finish the pasta)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups whole cherry tomatoes



Place sauté pan over medium heat and add butter and olive oil.
-  Saute garlic until fragrant and soft.
-  Add the flour and cook for a minute.
-  Add chicken stock and simmer gravy until thickened then add the chopped basil.
-  Season with salt and pepper.
-  Add the sauteed chicken in the gravy then toss the cooked spaghetti into this  sauce.
-  Add the cherry tomatoes and finish the dish with the chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese (serve extra on the side).
Makes 5-6 servings


I allowed the chicken to marinade for a full day. Brooks gave this one a 10!!! Love to make my husbands tummy happy :)

Bainigí sult as an bia

Crock Pot Lemon Chicken


Crock Pot Lemon Chicken  *recipe adapted from Plain Chicken*

This is maybe the BEST recipe I have made in a Crock Pot! The Chicken was ridiculously juicy and you barely have to give any pressure with your fork before it just falls apart! Here is the original recipe:

Crockpot Lemon Chicken
1 lb chicken breasts
1 packet Italian dressing mix
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chicken stock
egg noodles or rice

Place chicken breasts, Italian dressing mix, butter, lemon juice & chicken broth in the crockpot.
 Cook on low for 6-8 hours. When finished cooking, shred chicken with 2 forks. Serve chicken over egg noodles or rice and top with juices from crockpot.


Adaptations:

Ok, I had only 1 packet of Italian dressing mix and I trippled this recipe so I used this recipe for Italian Dressing Mix from allrecipes.com

Also, I added 1/4 cup of chicken stock per pound of chicken. I didn't have any lemons so I used bottled lemon juice but it worked wonderfully.

It is delicious over egg noodles and I added a little Parmesan cheese and it was yummy! Brooks gave this a 10/10!!!

Bainigí sult as an bia


Friday, August 3, 2012

Homemade Fruit Snacks


These are AMAZING!! Not the prettiest snacks but they are so yummy!

What you will need:
1 Silicone ice cube/chocolate candy tray (make sure it is COMPLETELY Silicone or they will not come out)
1 (3 oz.) box of Jello (any flavor BUT I find the sugar free DO NOT work as well)
2 (.25) packets of unflavored gelatin (found in the baking isle)
1/3 cup water
1/2 small can of crushed pineapple (drained)

Place a small sauce pan on the burner and turn to medium heat. Add water. Add all gelatin to the water and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the pineapple. Pour into the Silicone mold. Let sit for AT LEAST 20 minutes. In order to decrease the stickiness place the mold into the fridge for at least 20 minutes before taking the snacks out of the mold.

The flavor I used was Kroger brand Cherry and they are the yummiest i have ever tasted. I plan to get shaped silicone trays and use the same flavor as the shape (i.e. orange/lemon slices with orange or lemon flavored jello, strawberry shape with strawberry jello, etc.) as I think they would make cute gifts.

*****UPDATE*****

Pouring WITH the pineapple in the mix is REALLY messy. Place a small bit of pineapple in the mold before pouring the gelatin mix in. It's MUCH easier!

Also, if you like your treats on the tart/sour side add about a teaspoon of lemon juice. YUM!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cheesy Enchilada Casserole


Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef

1 lrg Onion
2 1/2 cups of salsa

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1/4 cup Italian Salad Dressing
Taco Seasoning ( I made my own Taco Seasoning, found here. Cumin was already in this so I didn't add it to the dish)
Taco size Tortillas
1 small bag frozen corn OR 1 (15 oz) can of sweet corn, drained
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups Mexican Blend Cheese

Directions
In a large skillet cook the beef and onion. Stir in salsa, beans, corn, dressing, sour cream and taco seasoning. Once cooked spoon a generous about of the meat mixture onto the bottom of a large baking dish. Sprinkle with the Cheese Blend lightly. Layer tortillas on meat mixture. Continue alternating meat mixutre and tortilla layers until the dish is full. Sprinke the top with a generous dose of the cheese blend. Top with foil that has been sprayed with a cooking spray OR use non-stick foil and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Review
Brooks gave this an 8 out of 10. My biggest dish was dirty so I didn't get to layer many times, however, Brooks thinks he'd like it more with more layers. If you are going to double this recipe (which we do so we have left overs for Brooks' lunch) use a LARGE skillet.

**UPDATE**
Brooks says that heating an individual slice of this in the microwave takes about 3 minutes (depending on size). I heated a single slice up in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes.
.
Bainigí sult as an bia

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pepperoni/Pizza Rolls


I am married to a man that LOVES pepperoni. In any shape, way or vessel. The man is a pepperoni NUT.

Growing up in West Virginia he and his family frequented a bakery callled "Tomorrow's". Their slogan is "tomorrow's bread today". They do have delicious bread. I love their pizza dough. Brooks? He LOVES their Pepperoni Rolls.

I feel bad because we rent and have a very small freezer and when we visit West Virginia he can only bring back so many pepperoni rolls because we don't have room.

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and I thought, "with a few modifications to meet my husbands tastes this could work!"

This recipes is adapted from the blog *Riches to Rags*

Ingredients 

3 cans of Grands Buttermilk Biscuits (8 to a can)
Pepperoni slices (you could also use little sticks)
Blocks  of cheese (Colby Jack, cheddar...I used mozerella string cheese)
Egg wash (1 beaten egg with a little water)
Parmesan
Garlic Powder
Pizza sauce (optional..to dip)

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the blocks of cheese into 24 pieces. Take one raw biscuit and flatten with your hand (not too thin). Lay down two pieces of round pepperoni slices. Stack the cheese on and then top with two additional pieces of round pepperoni slices. Repeat 23 more times. Place completed rolls into a (preferably glass) lasagna pan.

Crack one egg into a bowel and add a tblsp of water and beat until fully integrated. Take a culinary brush and brush the egg wash lightly on top of the rolls.  Lightly sprinkle with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Make sure you go easy on the egg wash on top. As you can see mine are Golden Brown and delicious, however, some of the dough was still a bit raw. Thankfully, there was enough risidual heat in the oven that another 2 minutes did the trick.  

Ok, this is the orignial recipes. The only things I modified were
#1. I did not use Italian Seasoning
#2 I cut Mozerella String Cheese into thirds for the cheese
#3 I used 4 pieces of pepperoni (two on bottom and two on top of the cheese)...because, as I said, my husband LOVES pepperoni.

Results

My husband gave these an 8 out of 10. However, he said they tasted a whole lot more like Pizza Rolls than Pepperoni Rolls. Which isn't a BAD thing because we like Pizza Rolls....but I was going for more of a pepperoni rolls thing. His suggestion to make them less like Pizza Rolls is to 86 the garlic powder all together, no parmesan sprinkling and use Cheddar cheese inside instead of string cheese. 

However, he did say that these are delicious for Pizza Rolls and asked to take some to work tomorrow for lunch :) 


**UPDATE**

These heat up VERY nice in the microwave. I heat up about 4 of them in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes. Dipped in a little pizza sauce 4 of these will TOTALLY fill you up.

Bainigi sult as an bia

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini



So, I have been trying really hard lately to figure out ways to add more veggies to our diets. Stuffed veggies opened a whole new world to me. This is my first attempt. Brooks gave it 10. He said it I should boil the Zucchini a little longer to make it a little more tender (I originally only boiled for 10 minutes). A 10 from Brooks is a HUGE compliment because he's basically a food snob :)

This recipe is adapted from about.com by Diana Rattray

Ingredients

1 lb pork sausage
2 large Zucchini
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tblsp minced garlic (we REALLY like garlic so I probably used 1 1/2 tblsp)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crushed slatine crackers (I used red box Zesta)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
pepper (I lightly covered the entire top of the pan while cooking the meat...I didn't measure)


Instructions

Boil the Zucchini whole for 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on it at 15 minutes. You want the Zucchini to be soft enough to 'mash' the inside easily and you want the outside tender because it won't get much more tender when baking it BUT u want it firm enough to hold the fillings).

Cut the Zucchini in halves and scoop out the meat inside. Scoop out as much of the meat as you can, however, make sure to leave a least a thin layer or the Zucchini will be too unstable to hold the filling. Put the meat in a mixing bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet brown the sausage with the onion. Once everything is cook add the garlic, the thyme, the salt and pepper.

In the mixing bowl mash the Zuchinni meat (there will look like there is A LOT of liquid but I promise the crackers and parm cheese will soak it up). Add the egg, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and cracker crumbs and mix well.

Add this mixture to the meat mixture and FULLY integrate it.

In a backing dish line up the Zucchini and scoop the filling into the Zucchini. They will be very full but that's a good thing.

Sprinkle the tops with a healthy dose of parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


Possible changes for future:

Brooks suggested adding 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar, mozerella, colby jack, etc) to help bind the filling to the Zucchini better. The filling does slide off a bit but it's still RIDICULOUSLY yummy!

UPDATE::::
To reheat extra Zucchini boats goes WONDERFULLY in the oven at 300 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Keeps the crunch of the Parmesan cheese on top. Brooks tried in the microwave and said it wasn't as good.

Also, a small amount of cheddar cheese before the parmesan cheese was delicious.

Bainigí sult as an bia

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pasta Bake


This is a really easy, quick, and tasty pasta bake!

Ingredients
1 lb pasta of your choice (do not use lasagna noodles for this)
1 jar pasta sauce
1 jar water (just refill the pasta sauce jar)
2 lbs ground meat (you can use ground beef, turkey, chicken, sausage...or be authentic Italian and use a beef/sausage mix)
Shredded cheese ( I prefer colby jack but you can use any cheese you like that melts well)

*Depending on the type of pasta sauce you use you may wish to add some spices. I typically buy a plain pasta sauce and add garlic, oregano and whatever else I feel like at that time :) You can also add veggies such as squashes, mushrooms...anything that you think will taste good. It's a very versatile recipe and easily customized to you and your family's taste.

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. You're not looking to cook the pasta all the way, as if you were going to eat it. You want to cook the pasta until it's cooked JUST ENOUGH that you can bend it. You do not HAVE to cook the pasta first, however, I find you get a lot of crunchy bits if you depend on it to be cooked soley in the oven.

While the pasta is cooking cook your meat through until it is done and drain the fat.

Next, add the pasta to a glass cooking dish. put the meat in and then stir it to mix evenly with the pasta. Then add the sauce and water and stir so it is evenly distributed. Cover with aluminum foil.

Cook at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Remove the dish and foil carefully and top with cheese. Re-cover with the foil and cook for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.

Let the dish cool for at least 5-10 minutes before eating so the sauce has time to thicken.

**UPDATE**

This heats up well in the microwave for about 4-5 minutes per slice. I tend to also re-heat things at home in the oven at 300 degrees and this should take about 10 minutes.

Bainigí sult as an bia

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pot roast


This pot roast is super yummy and super easy!

Ingredients
3-5 lb roast
Baby carrots
Golden potatoes (quartered)
Celery
Onion
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
1 packet Italian dressing mix
1 packet Brown Gravy mix
Salt  & Pepper to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cup water (no more than 1 1/2 cups)

Place veggies on the bottom, place roast in crock pot, pour on packets and salt and water.

Cook on low 8-10 hours

I serve it with white rice, however, you could serve with mashed potatoes and it would be kinda like Shepherds Pie. I find this recipe very flavorful by itself, however, it's very versatile. You could add lemon, garlic, italian seasoning....anything that you like.

**UPDATE**

As with any roast, Brooks says that this was better the next day. He did sprinkle the top of his serving with salt to counter the reheating process of the roast. He said about 4-5 minutes on high.

Bainigí sult as an bia