Monday, November 23, 2009

Philly Steak and Cheese

1 lb. beef sirloin, thinly sliced
3-4 mushrooms, sliced
1/2-1 green pepper, sliced
Cream cheese

1. In a fry pan on med-hi heat, cook meat, mushrooms, and peppers until meat is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are tender.
2. Spread cream cheese on bun. Add desired amount of beef onto bun. Enjoy!

Notes: This is a little different than the traditional Philly cheese and steak sandwich, since we used cream cheese and added mushrooms. This recipe was inspired by a sandwich I had at a restaurant once. I think it would be tasty with the buns toasted.

*To make homemade buns, follow this recipe. Instead of placing dough in bread pan, divide dough (for 1 loaf) into 6-8 balls. Place on greased baking sheet and bake until golden on top.

Cabbage Buns

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
Bread dough, rolled out (enough for about 1 loaf)

1. Brown ground beef, cabbage, and onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Cut bread dough into about 4-inch squares. Place a spoonful or two of beef and cabbage mixture in center of dough square. Pinch corners together and seal edges, making sure that no beef mixture will seep out. Place on greased baking sheet seam side down.
3. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top and bottom, about 10-15 minutes.

Notes: These are a little difficult to photograph, but they are really tasty! If making your own bread dough, you don't need to let it rise before rolling it out. See also: Russian Cabbage Pie

Tater Tot Casserole

1 c. frozen peas
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 c. shredded cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
Tater tots

Layer peas, ground beef, cheese, soup, and tator tots, in order given, in 9x13 casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until heated through and the tater tots are golden brown. Serve with ketchup, if desired.

Notes: These amounts are approximate. I just kind of threw all these ingredients together. This is a recipe from John's mom. She just told us what she used to make it, but didn't give amounts.

Dijon Chicken

1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 c. breadcrumbs
2 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley (I used dried)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degree. Lightly spray pan large enough to hold chicken breasts in.
2. Whisk together Dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic, and basil. Place breadcrumbs in a pie pan or on a large plate.
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spread mustard mixture evenly over both sides of each chicken breast. Coat chicken completely with breadcrumbs.
4. Place chicken in baking pan. Bake about 10 minutes on one side. Turn over and bake another 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. If chicken browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Remove from oven and garnish with parsley.

Notes: I liked this recipe. However, I think it called for way too many breadcrumbs, and not quite enough mustard. I found the recipe here.

Oma's German Meatballs

2 lbs. ground beef
6 slices of bread, wet with water and squeeze out
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 eggs
2 cans evaporated milk
2-3 Tbsp. cornstarch
Water added to milk to make desired amount of gravy
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar

1. Mix beef, onion, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and eggs. Form into meatballs. Brown meatballs in skillet (see notes) and drain fat, but leave any beef "crumbs" for flavoring the gravy.
2. Remove meatballs from pan. Make gravy by adding cornstarch to milk and water. Cook in skillet until thickened. Do not boil hard, or gravy will curdle! Add salt and pepper to taste. Add sugar and vinegar to gravy. Add in equal amounts if more is desired to flavor to your liking.
3. Add meatballs to gravy and serve over mashed potatoes.

Notes: This is my great-grandmother's authentic German recipe. The potatoes really complement these meatballs and gravy. I had a hard time getting the meatballs to hold their shape. I saw a meatball recipe that suggested chilling the meatballs for an hour before cooking them, so perhaps that would help them hold their shape. I made half of this recipe and we had enough to feed four, plus enough for 2 the next day. We had company the night I made this and they had to go back for seconds.

Split Pea and Ham Soup

1 lb. (or 2 cups) green split peas
6 c. water
1 lb. lean ham
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 c. diced celery

1. Rinse peas and sort out bad and foreign objects. Place peas in 4-quart saucepan with 6 cups water. Bring to boil and simmer 2 minutes with lid tilted. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.
2. After 1 hour, dice ham and celery and add to peas. Add onion powder and pepper. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Notes: A nice soup for a change. It was tasty with saltine crackers.

Beef Skillet Supper

8 oz. egg noodles
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 c. water
1 can corn, drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 c. shredded cheese

1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
2. Brown beef and onion. Drain.
3. Add tomato sauce and water; mix well. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes.
4. Add noodles, corn, salt, and pepper and sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook until heated.

Notes: We got this recipe from John's mom. We used whole wheat noodles, which were tasty, and only used 1 pound of ground beef. We would have liked a little bit more of a tomato flavor, but it was a tasty meal.

Oriental Chicken Salad

1 c. canola oil
6 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
3 dashes tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame seed

3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
2 small heads iceberg lettuce
4 green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, cut diagonally
2 small cans mandarin oranges
1 pkg fried wonton strips

Blend all dressing ingredients except for sesame seeds. (It works well to put them into a small jar with a tight lid and shake it up well.) Add sesame seeds. Mix all salad ingredients. Toss with dressing.

Notes: To make fried wonton strips--buy wonton skins in produce section. Cut squares into strips. In pan with enough oil to cover, cook on medium-high heat until strips are brown, then drain. This will only take a few seconds. We only did half of this recipe and it was enough for us to eat dinner, plus lunch the next day. We didn't use a whole package of wonton skins, so we have a lot in our freezer to use later. They were a fun addition to the salad. I found the recipe here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Creamy Chicken Chowder

Water (plus chicken bullion, if desired for more flavor)
Diced potatoes
Chopped carrots
Sliced celery
Chopped onion
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 can cream chicken soup
Chicken breast, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup butter
⅓ cup flour
2 cups milk

1. In a large pot, cook chicken and vegetables in enough water to cover ingredients. If desired, add more chicken bouillon to make flavor stronger. When done cooking you should have about 3 cups broth.
2. In separate pan, melt ¼ cup butter. Add ⅓ cup flour and mix.
3. Stir in 2 cups milk and stir until thickened over medium-high heat.
4. When just starting to boil remove from heat and add 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add the can of cream of chicken soup.
5. In the pot of broth and vegetables, add the cheese sauce and stir until well mixed. Soup is great with fresh bread and a garden salad.

Notes: This comes from Brittany's family cookbook. Very tasty!

Tinfoil Dinners

ground beef

There aren't really any specific directions for these - you can pretty much make them however you would like. We sliced the vegetables and shaped the ground beef (which can be seasoned to your liking) into patties. We then wrapped a patty and veggies in 2 layers of aluminum foil, which was sprayed with cooking spray, and cooked them in the oven (400 degrees) until the vegetables were tender and the meat was done, which took about 50 minutes. Each dinner had its own aluminum foil wrapper.

Notes: These, of course, are also great when cooked in the hot coals of a campfire. Make sure tinfoil is wrapped tightly and any openings are on the top, as juices will leak out during cooking otherwise. I like to top mine with barbecue sauce.

Spicy Orange Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3 T butter

2 T brown sugar
2 T vinegar
1 C orange juice
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. dried basil
1 small can mandarin oranges (optional)
ground ginger (optional)

Combine flour, salt and pepper in bag. Shake chicken pieces until coated. Brown on both sides in butter in skillet over medium heat. Drain off fat. Combine sauce ingredients and add to skillet. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until tender. Optional: add drained mandarin oranges and heat about 5 minutes.

Notes: This recipe comes from a blog called This Week for Dinner. On that blog, the author suggested cooking chicken and sauce in a covered skillet, but tipping the cover a little to thicken sauce towards the end of the cooking time. She also makes 1.5x amount of sauce, but we tried that and ended up with too much sauce. We also tried the ginger, and may have added too much. I suggest skipping the ginger or starting small and adding to taste. Overall we thought this was pretty tasty, and we'll likely try it again.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Strawberry Banana Pancakes

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 beaten egg
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup milk (or buttermilk)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 - 1/3 cup strawberry yogurt

1. Sift together dry ingredients in mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Combine eggs, oil, milk, bananas, and yogurt.
3. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
4. Bake on hot griddle (350 degrees F).
Makes about 12 pancakes.

Notes: We had a couple of over-ripe bananas, so Brittany decided to add them to her normal pancake recipe. She also added the yogurt just for kicks. (Remove the bananas and yogurt for a regular pancake recipe.) We didn't really notice a strawberry flavor in the pancakes once cooked, so we topped them with homemade strawberry jam and fresh strawberries (yummy). Maybe using more yogurt/fresh strawberries or only one banana in the batter would have allowed the strawberry flavor to come through. Also, the texture of the pancakes was different than normal pancakes due to the banana.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jack-O'-Lantern Pot Pie

1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. flour
1 chicken bullion cube or 1 tsp. chicken base/chicken granules
3/4 to 1 C. milk or water (you can also use chicken broth for the liquid and chicken flavor)
1 cup mixed vegetables
1/4-1/2 cup broccoli
1 1/2 C. chicken, cooked and cubed or shredded

Pie Crust:

2 C. sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 C. shortening
5 to 7 Tbsp. milk

1. Saute onion and garlic in butter in saucepan. Add flour and mix well.
2. If using chicken bullion cubes or granules, mix them in water or milk. If using chicken base paste, mix it in with flour mixture.
3. Add liquid to flour mixture and mix with a whisk. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. If soup is not thick enough, add some flour to some cold milk or water; pour through a fine mesh strainer into pan to keep lumps out. Cook until thick. Remove from heat; set aside and keep warm.
4. If using frozen or fresh vegetables, cook until tender. If using canned vegetables, you do not need to cook them.
5. Add chicken and vegetables to soup. Heat through. Set aside and keep warm.
6. (Directions for pie crust) In a large bowl, sift flour and salt together. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until pieces are pea-sized.
7. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of milk at a time over the flour mixture, gently tossing with a fork after each addition. Repeat until moistened.
8. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball. Flatten each ball on a lightly floured surface, rolling from the center to the edges until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut Jack-O'-Lantern face out of one piece of dough.
9. Place piece of rolled out dough without cutouts in pie pan (tip: gently fold crust into quarters, lay in pan, then unfold, being careful to repair any small tears); add filling. Place the dough with Jack-O'-Lantern cutouts on top of the filling, sealing edges.
10. Bake at about 425-450 degrees until crust is lightly browned and filling begins to bubble. If the edges begin to brown too quickly, you can put foil around the edges to keep them from burning.

Notes: This was very tasty, but it took a lot of work to make. It can be made much quicker by using diluted, canned cream of chicken soup instead of making your own. You can also use pre-made (unbaked) pie dough. The amounts for the filling are approximate. I made about twice this amount, and had enough left over for another pie. The inspiration for the Jack-O'-Lantern pie came from a Jack-O'-Lantern Sloppy Joe Pie recipe that John received in an email (it can also be found here). The cream of chicken soup recipe is from my sister, Kimberly. The pie crust recipe is my mother's.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

Juice of 1 lemon, approximately 3 Tbsp
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 lb chicken breasts

1. Combine all marinade ingredients.
2. Place chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken.
3. Seal bag and place in fridge overnight.
4. Grill (or cook in frying pan). Note: If you cut your chicken into smaller, bite-sized pieces and then marinate it, you can get away with only letting it marinate for 5 or 6 hours instead of overnight.

Notes: I believe this is the last of recipes from Karrissa's Kitchen that Brittany had on her list to try. We baked the chicken instead of grilling it or frying it, and parts of it turned out a little dry. It was still tasty, though.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lasagna Roll-Ups

1/4 lb ground beef (we used more)
2 Tbsp onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 dash cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/4 tsp onion powder
6 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion and garlic until the beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat from the pan. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt and cayenne. Simmer for 10 minutes. Spread half of the meat sauce on the bottom of a greased 9” baking dish.
2. In a bowl combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley and onion powder. Spread ¼ cup of the cheese mixture evenly over each lasagna noodle. Roll up and place seam side down in rows in the baking dish. Top with remaining sauce.
3. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. About 5 minutes before the dish is finished cooking remove from the oven and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and cook until cheese has melted.

Notes: This is another recipe that Brittany found at Karrissa's Kitchen. The original recipe is from Blog Chef. Go to the Blog Chef page if you want to see step-by-step photos and an end result photo that looks different than regular lasagna (unlike my photo). The recipe more or less tastes like regular lasagna as well - it is just a 'fun' way to make it. For another variation, check out the Lasagna Toss recipe I posted a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pork Chops with Orange Rice

4 pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/3 c. uncooked rice
1 C. orange juice
1 can chicken with rice soup, undiluted

1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Salt and pepper pork chops and brown in oil on both sides.
2. Sprinkle rice in a greased 9"x9" baking dish. Add orange juice.
3. Place pork chops over rice.
4. Pour chicken with rice soup over chops; cover. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes longer or until meat juices run clear and rice is tender.

Notes (1st time we had this): This recipe is adapted from a recipe found here. I did only 2 pork chops (they were big) and had a hard time fitting them in the pan. It may be a good idea to use a bigger dish. There was no temperature given in the original recipe, so I baked the chops at 350 degrees. I had a difficult time getting the rice to cook, which may have been because of the pan size or the temperature. If you wanted to skip buying a can of chicken and rice soup, you could probably just use chicken broth or stock instead. John and I both enjoyed the flavor of the rice. It was a nice change.

Notes (2nd time):  Instead of using a can of chicken with rice soup, Brittany made the rice on the stove, using 1 cup chicken broth and 2 cups orange juice and 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice. She also added a little butter and some orange zest at the end.  It turned out a lot better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mitch's Chicken Roll Ups

4 cups cooked chicken (we shredded it)

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

Salt and pepper to taste

4 Tbsp chopped green onions

2-3 pkgs. Pillsbury crescent rolls

Bread crumbs (we seasoned them with some Italian seasonings)

Melted butter


1 can cream of chicken soup
¼ cup sour cream

Flatten individual crescent rolls. Combine the rest of the ingredients, except bread crumbs and butter, in bowl. Place small amount of chicken filling on roll and fold together, sealing edges. Dip in melted butter and roll in bread crumbs. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Combine cream of chicken soup and sour cream; heat through. Serve roll-ups with gravy or sauce.

Notes: This is a recipe that my former roommate, Mitch, made a couple of times for the dinner group I was in when I started this blog. The roll ups can be frozen after baking. For variations on the same idea, check out Chicken in a Blanket or the other Chicken Roll Up recipe we have on the blog. They are all really tasty.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spicy Honey Chicken

2 tsp vegetable oil

2 tsp granulated garlic (we used garlic powder)
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (we didn't have this, so we left it out)
8 boneless chicken thighs (we had bone-in, so that's what we used)

1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Use kitchen shears or knife to trim off any excess fat from chicken pieces. Pat dry.
2. Drizzle oil over chicken and rub in with your hands to lightly coat all the pieces.
3. Toss chicken with the spice rub to coat all sides well.
4. Grill chicken a few minutes on each side, until cooked through.
5. While chicken is cooking, warm honey in the microwave so it's not so thick. Add the vinegar and combine well. Reserve 2 Tbsp honey glaze for later. Take the rest and brush on chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling. Drizzle remaining glaze over chicken before serving.

Notes: Brittany found this recipe on Karissa's Kitchen blog, but apparently the original is found at Our Best Bites. Both sites have a link to a spicy honey chicken salad that sounds really tasty. We don't have a grill yet (maybe someday), so we baked the chicken. It was still delicious. I'm sure we'll have this one again sometime in the future.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mexicali Chicken

2-4 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp oil
1/2 cup salsa
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 avocado
2 Tbsp green onion

1. Spread mustard over chicken.
2. Heat oil and put mustard side down and cook, turn over.
3. Combine salsa and lime; spoon around chicken and simmer uncovered until chicken is cooked.
4. Top with avocado and onions.

Notes: I found this recipe on a blog called Karrissa's Kitchen. John thought it was good, but not as good as it sounded from the recipe. That might be because he isn't a big fan of the kind of salsa we have right now. I thought it was a nice change, but nothing special.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Polynesian Crockpot Spareribs

3-4 lbs pork spareribs
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 cup chicken broth

Place ribs in the bottom of your slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low for 8 - 9 hours. If the ribs are fatty boil for 5 minutes before placing in slow cooker.

Notes: This was really tasty! When I looked at the ingredient list I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but Brittany, my parents, and I all really enjoyed it. It tasted like a sweet pork recipe I've had at a restaurant somewhere. I found the recipe on a website called Tasty Crockpot Recipes. We think it would be good shredded and on a sandwich or in a wrap as well.

Mozzarella Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

2 chicken breasts (or 1 for each person)
1 small tomato, sliced
about 4 mushrooms, sliced
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh or dried basil

1. Place chicken breasts in an oven-safe pan or casserole dish. Top with tomatoes and mushrooms. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese and basil on top.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear.

Notes: This is a pretty simple recipe. I got the basic idea from my sister Kimberly. She likes to pour canned tomatoes on top of the chicken and add cheese and basil on top. That is tasty, too! You can change the amounts, depending on what you like.

Sausage, Beans, and Rice

1/2 package smoked polska kielbasa (Polish sausage)
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans, reserve about half the liquid
Salsa (to the consistency you like)

1. Slice sausage into 1/2-inch thick circles. Fry in a large pan until it is golden on both sides.
2. Add green pepper and onion to pan. Saute with sausage until tender.
3. Add kidney beans, with about half of the liquid, and salsa until you reach the desired consistency. It shouldn't be too runny, but not real thick, either.
4. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve on top of rice.

Notes from Brittany: The amounts are approximate. My sister Stephanie made this while I was visiting her. I tried to copy it according to memory.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Meatball Sandwich

Mushroom Marinara Sauce:
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
6 oz of button or cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp white sugar
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Sauce Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and saute until tender; add the garlic and cook for 60 seconds, stirring frequently. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for at least 2 hours.

1 lb lean ground beef
7 button mushrooms, diced finely
1/4 sweet yellow onion, diced finely
1/4 cup of Italian style breadcrumbs
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 egg
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp olive oil (for cooking)

Meatball directions:
Put the onions, garlic and mushrooms in a food processor to chop, otherwise chop them as small as you can. Combine all ingredients (except for olive oil) together gently. Form into small meatballs and set aside. Once the meatballs are prepared. Heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 tsp olive oil. Cook the meatballs until golden brown on all sides. Remove from skillet and place the cooked meatballs in the mushroom marinara.

Put it together:
Place meatballs with some sauce on hoagie buns. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Place in a pan, under the broiler and melt cheese (watch carefully so it doesn't burn). Top with basil and serve. Enjoy!

Notes: Brittany found this recipe on a blog called For the Love of Cooking: here. I more or less copied and pasted the recipe from there. It made enough for probably 6-8 sandwiches, although we ate the leftover meatballs and sauce with spaghetti a couple of days later, so I'm not sure. We liked the sandwich, but I think we will try other meatball recipes before trying this again, as the mushroom marinara wasn't our favorite.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tortilla Soup

1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 C. beef broth
4 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. tomato juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 fresh jalapeno, chopped and seeded
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 C. shredded chicken
Tortilla chips
Top with: sour cream, shredded cheese, tomato, avocado

1. In 4-qt. pot, saute onion and garlic in oil.
2. Add broths, tomato juice, cumin, chili powder, jalapeno, and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour. Add chicken pieces.
4. Pour soup in bowl, add chips and toppings.

Notes: This recipe comes from Brittany's sister, Stephanie, and I think it is delicious. The list of ingredients is long, but it is easy to make. Makes 4-6 servings.

Mexican Goulash

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup onion
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
3 cups tomato juice
1 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder

Add macaroni to boiling water and cook for 7 minutes. Cook the beef, onion, and pepper in cast-iron skillet until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat. Add tomato juice, macaroni, and spices. Simmer until liquid is almost absorbed. Makes 4-6 servings.

Notes: I found this recipe online somewhere three or four years ago, but had never tried it until now. Brittany and I both thought it was a bit lacking in flavor. If I make this again, I might try doubling the spices or adding something else. The recipe I found also had the following line: "Cook in crockpot 2 hours or until completely heated." From the way it was written I couldn't tell, but I think it was meant to be an alternative way to cook it.

Spaghettio Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Spaghettios

Brown the ground beef; drain. Stir in soup and Spaghettios. Heat until warm. Serve over mashed potatoes. Makes 4-6 servings.

This is something my mom used to make when I was younger. I'm not sure if she made up the recipe or found it somewhere. For a while it was my favorite meal, and I even remember requesting it on my birthday one year. Nowadays I don't mind having it once or twice a year, but probably no more than that.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chicken Piccata

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 pound total)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brined capers
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

1. Cut the chicken breast halves horizontally, butterflying them open. If the breast pieces you are working with are large, you may want to cut them each into two pieces. If the pieces are still thick after butterflying, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat hammer to 1/4-inch thickness.

2. Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces in water. Dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture, until well coated.

3. Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces. Do not crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to a plate. Cook the other breasts in the same manner, remove from pan. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce.

4. Add the chicken stock (or white wine), lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Plate the chicken and serve with the sauce poured over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

Notes: Serves 4. Brittany found this recipe here, on Simply Recipes. Not my favorite combo of flavors, but the capers and lemony flavor was a nice change. If you are like me and don't know where to get capers, we found them by the pickles.

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

1 tsp olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 Anaheim chili, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Corn tortillas
1 can of chili beans
1 - 2 jars of enchilada sauce
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream
Green onions, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the diced onion, chile, and jalapeno. Sauté for 3-4 minutes; add the ground beef and all the seasonings. Cook until beef is done.

Place the tortillas in some wet paper towels and microwave for 60-90 seconds or until soft and pliable. Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray then pour some enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan, making sure to coat evenly.

Place a spoonful of undrained beans on the tortilla followed by a large spoonful of the beef mixture. Roll and place seam side down on the baking sheet. Continue until baking dish is full. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over each enchilada then top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the tin foil and continue to bake for 5 additional minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes before serving. Top the enchiladas with sour cream and green onions.

Notes: Brittany found this recipe here, on a blog called For the Love of Cooking. Our enchiladas fell apart when we took them out of the pan, but they were still very tasty.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Barbecue Chicken with Bacon and Swiss

Chicken breasts, thighs, drums, or whatever you want to use
BBQ sauce
1 slice of bacon per piece of chicken
1-2 slices Swiss cheese per piece of chicken

1. Cut bacon slices in half and cook in a frying pan until they reach desired doneness. Set aside on a plate with paper towels.
2. Place chicken pieces in a casserole dish. Pour desired amount of your favorite BBQ sauce over each piece of chicken. Make sure each piece is covered with sauce.
3. Place bacon on top of chicken, putting 2 half slices on each piece of chicken. Place sliced Swiss cheese on top.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Notes: This recipe is so simple, but it is really tasty. It adds a little variety to plain barbecue chicken. I found a recipe similar to this online, but I can't remember where. I just went off of memory on this one. It's pretty hard to mess up.

White Chili

1 lb. great northern beans, dry
2 lbs. chicken, cooked and chopped or shredded
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (4 oz.) mild green chilies
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Fresh chopped cilantro, to taste
6 C. chicken broth
Sour cream
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Soak beans overnight. Cook beans until soft.
2. Boil chicken. Save broth to use for soup. Chop or shred chicken & set aside.
3. Saute onions in oil. Stir in garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves, cayenne, and cilantro.
4. Add onion and spice mixture to beans; add broth and simmer.
5. Add chicken and warm chicken through.
6. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and cheese on top.

Notes: Brittany cooked the beans in a pressure cooker. The chili turned out a little thin, so she mashed up some of the beans to thicken it up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

American Hamburger Soup

1 or 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
2 c. peeled, cubed potatoes
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
3/4 c. diced celery
2 tsp. minced parsley
1 tsp. sugar
2 c. canned tomatoes
2 Tbsp. minced green pepper
1 large bay leaf
1 small chopped garlic button
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 qt. (6 cups) water
1/2 tsp. allspice
3 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. barley or rice
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Brown ground beef with chopped onions
2. Put browned meat and remaining ingredients into a large kettle. Bring to boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for several hours.

Notes: This one takes a long time to cook, so you'll need to plan ahead. Makes at least 6-8 servings.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thai Peanut Chicken

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, sliced (we chopped it)
1/4 c. catalina dressing, divided (we used French)
1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
1 1/2 c. water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) spaghetti, broken, uncooked
2 c. broccoli florets
1 c. thin carrot slices

1. Heat 2 Tbsp. of the dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook & stir 5 min. or until cooked through.
2. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing, water, chicken broth, soy sauce & peanut butter. Bring to a boil. Add spaghetti; cover. Reduce heat to medium low; simmer 5 min.
3. Stir in broccoli & carrots; cover. Simmer 4-6 min. or until spaghetti is tender. Serve.

Notes: Serves about 4. B and I both liked this and will likely cook it again some time. It would have been good with some peanuts in it as well, in addition to the peanut butter, since there was only a hint of peanut flavor.

Source: I got this recipe from my sister, Karen.

Stuffed Peppers

4 bell peppers, cut in half and seeds removed
1 lb. ground beef
2 1/2-3 c. cooked rice
2 small cans tomato sauce
Chili powder to taste
Pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese

1. Brown ground beef. Combine cooked rice, tomato sauce, chili powder, and black pepper and add to ground beef in skillet. Allow to simmer.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Carefully add bell pepper halves into water. Let them boil for about 5 minutes, or until they are darker green in color. Remove from pot and place in a 9"x13" baking dish, cut side up.
3. Spoon rice mixture into bell peppers. Place any remaining rice around the peppers. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.
4. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.

Notes: Next time we make this, we will probably try using red bell peppers for variety. Canned tomatoes might be a night addition in place of the tomato sauce. Mozzarella cheese could also replace the cheddar cheese.

Monday, July 13, 2009


1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
1 small-medium eggplant, chopped (see notes)
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt to taste
1/2 to 1 green pepper, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
Tomato sauce or tomato soup (see notes)
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
Pinch thyme

1. Saute onion and garlic in enough oil to cook them until tender. Add chopped veggies until cooked, adding more oil if needed.
2. Add salt to taste. Add tomatoes and spices and enough tomato sauce or tomato soup to desired consistency.
3. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice or on its own like a soup.

Notes: Eggplant will brown quickly, so chop it right before you cook it. Also, eggplant absorbs a lot of oil, so be careful how much you use to cook the eggplant. You can use leftover spaghetti sauce in place of the tomato sauce, or whatever tomato-based sauce or soup you have around. The recipe doesn't call for it, but we like to add in some spicy sausage.

Thanks to Kimberly for this recipe.

Sweet & Sour Chicken (2)

3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbs. tapioca (or flour mixed w/ pineapple juice)
2-3 lbs chicken, chopped
1 small can pineapple, with juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Crockpot directions:
1. Layer carrots, onion, and bell pepper on bottom.
2. Sprinkle tapioca over top.
3. Add chicken.
4. Mix remaining ingredients and pour on top.
5. Slow cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high 5-6 hours (this seems a bit long to me...see notes)
6. Serve over rice. Makes 4-6 servings.

Oven directions:
1.Prepare as above, except place in casserole dish or 9x13 pan.
2. Bake for about 1 hr. at 350 degrees.

Notes: Tasty and easy to make. We did it in the oven, and the chicken was a little dried out after an hour, so I suggest less time or using frozen chicken. The crockpot directions also seem a little long. I would think the chicken would be overdone after that much time. The (2) in the recipe name is there because I have another sweet and sour recipe on the blog, here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

1 lb. ground beef
2 cans tomato soup
2 cans green beans
4-6 servings of mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Paprika (optional)

1. Brown ground beef in large skillet or fry pan. Drain.
2. Add tomato soup, green beans, and enough water to reach desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a casserole dish or 9x13 baking pan.
3. Place dollops of mashed potatoes over top. You can also spread the mashed potatoes (this is how J's mom makes it).
4. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top of potatoes in the last 5 minutes of baking.

Notes from B: This is also how J's mom makes it, and I can never get it right...the picture shows the cheese under the potatoes. I always made it without cheese and garnished with paprika on top. This is a recipe you can be creative with.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pizza Pot Pie

1/2-1 lb. spicy ground sausage
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
Garlic powder
Onion powder
2 C. broccoli
1 1/2 C. diced mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 lbs. pizza dough
Olive oil or cooking spray
Parmesan cheese

1. Brown ground sausage. Remove from heat.
2. Add crushed tomatoes, pepper, salt, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste. Add broccoli and mozzarella cheese.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. In 6 10-ounce ramekins, evenly divide tomato and meat mixture.
5. Roll out pizza dough and cut circles with a paring knife that are 1 inch wider than the ramekins. Place over ramekins and press down to seal, making sure to pull the dough over the edge of the ramekin.
6. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (I just used cooking spray) and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut a small slit in the top of each pot pie with a paring knife.
7. Bake until the pizza crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. Serves 6+.

Notes from B: These directions are a mixture of what I actually did and what I would change next time I make this recipe. It is based off of a recipe I saw on the Food Network a while ago. I used frozen broccoli, and it turned out kind of watery. I think I would use fresh broccoli next time. I also used tomato sauce instead of crushed tomatoes (since that is what I had) and I think that also contributed to the watery consistency. I think it would be much better with crushed tomatoes.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
1 can tuna
3 c. cooked egg noodles
1/2-1 c. frozen peas (can also use canned)
Bread crumbs (optional)

1. In a casserole dish, combine cream of mushroom soup, milk, and sour cream. Add more milk or sour cream to reach desired consistency.
2. Add cheddar cheese. Flake tuna into the mixture.
3. Gently add in egg noodles and frozen peas and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Top with bread crumbs, if desired.
4. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly, about 20 minutes (depends on how hot your oven bakes).

Notes: This recipe uses approximate measurements. Feel free to change them according to your likes/dislikes (ie. if you like more/less peas, thicker consistency, etc.).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Brittany's Minestrone Soup

1/2-1 lb. spicy ground sausage
1 can green beans with liquid
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 can tomato soup (can also use tomato juice, sauce, etc.--anything with a tomato base)
1 tomato soup can of water
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2-3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
Chicken or beef broth (or water and bullion or granules)
3 oz. melon seed pasta (or any small pasta)

These instructions are from Brittany: In a large kettle or pot, brown ground sausage. Add green beans and tomatoes with liquid. Add carrots and potatoes. Allow to simmer while chopping zucchini and yellow squash. Add desired amount of chicken or beef broth to create the consistency you want. I just used water and chicken flavoring granules, beginning with 1 cup at a time until I reached the consistency that I wanted. Allow the soup to simmer until the vegetables are almost tender. Add pasta and continue to simmer until the pasta is cooked (the type of pasta you use will determine the length of time--look at the cooking instructions on the package). Ready to serve. Makes about 6 servings.

NOTE: This recipe is pretty hard to mess up. You can use any variation of vegetables that you want. This can be a vegetarian soup by omitting the sausage and replacing it with kidney beans or any other kind of beans.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Open-Faced Sandwich With Avocado

1 loaf ciabatta or French bread, sliced
sliced ham (one per sandwich)
sliced turkey (one per sandwich)
2 Roma (or other) tomatoes, sliced
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
Cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded


1/2 C. mayo
1/2 C. sour cream
1/2-1 tsp. cumin (start with lesser amount and add to taste)
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Place bread onto a cookie sheet and broil until crisp, but not golden. Spread desired amount of sauce onto each slice of bread. Place a slice of ham and a slice of turkey on each slice of bread. Layer tomatoes, avocados, and cheese on top. Place sandwiches back into oven and broil until cheese is melted. Serve and devour at least 3.

Notes: We've already had these twice and they are now one of my favorites. I will have to take photos next time we make them. Taco seasoning could probably be used instead of cumin and chili powder for the sauce. Just add a small amount at a time until you achieve the taste you are looking for. This amount of sauce was actually enough for 1 1/2 loaves of French bread. We had this once with ciabatta bread and once with French bread. Any harder bread will be fine.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup

1 lb. chicken
1 cup dried black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen corn
1 jar prepared salsa (16 oz)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup sour cream (to stir in at the end)
shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, cilantro (all optional)

If using dried beans, soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover plus two inches. In the morning, drain the water and rinse the beans. Add beans to a 4 quart or larger crockpot. Add chicken, broth, salsa, corn, mushrooms, and cumin. Stir. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Stir in the 1/2 cup of sour cream before serving, and garnish with cheese, avocado slices, or cilantro as desired. Makes about 6-8 servings.

NOTES: We used canned beans. We also didn't have quite enough salsa or any mushrooms, so we just used what we had. B found this recipe on that crock pot blog (here). Tasty. I like chicken + salsa + black beans + corn.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Corn Flake Chicken

Butter, melted
Corn flakes, crushed

This is a fairly simple recipe. Put the melted butter in one bowl and the corn flakes in another. Dip the chicken in the butter, then coat with crushed corn flakes. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until done (another 10 minutes or so).

Notes: Using the foil prevents the corn flakes from burning. The last ten minutes give them a little extra crispiness. This recipe adds some crunch to the chicken, but not a lot of additional seasoning. There are variations of the recipe online (like here) that use different spices and coatings to change the flavor.

Apple Sauce Chicken

4 frozen chicken breast halves or thighs
1 1/2 cups apple sauce
1 Tbsp dried onion flakes or 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees until chicken is done. Or, cook in a crock pot on low 5-7 hours or high 3-4 hours. Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: B found this recipe on a crock pot blog (here), but she baked it instead of cooking it in a crock pot. She also used onion powder instead of onion flakes. We both thought that it was tasty, but a bit unusual. I don't think I would make this when having company over, in other words, but it might be a nice change of pace for an occasional family meal. And according to that crock pot blog, the kids like it.

Chicken in a Blanket

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
12 refrigerator biscuits, each rolled out flat
1 cup bread crumbs, seasoned
8 ounces cream cheese
2 eggs

Mix together cream cheese and shredded chicken. Scoop some of mixture into each flattened biscuit and form biscuit into a ball to cover all of mixture. Beat eggs into a bowl and dip each biscuit in eggs and then coat with bread crumbs. Line a greased cookie sheet with biscuits and bake at 375 for about 12 minutes. Any leftovers can be frozen until ready to use.

NOTES: We found this recipe on the Simplify Supper web site (here). B made her own biscuit dough (see her recipe here) and bread crumbs. We both thought this was a tasty recipe, and B will probably make it again sometime. Halving the recipe made about 6 chicken balls.