Saturday, December 27, 2014

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed small (about 3­-4 cups)
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 red pepper, diced small
1 small red onion, diced small (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drain
1/4 ­to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (depending on your taste)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6­-8 burrito-size tortillas (whole wheat, white or other favorite variety)

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss together the sweet potatoes, jalapeno, red pepper and red onion with the olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Dump the coated veggies onto a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 18­-20 minutes, tossing halfway through. The vegetables should be tender but not mushy at the end of cooking time.
  2. Let the vegetable mixture cool. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and toss with the black beans, cilantro and lime juice. Taste the mixture and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to assemble the burritos or use immediately.
  3. Place 3-­4 tortillas on a microwave-­safe plat and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 15-­20 seconds until the tortillas are pliable. Place 1/4 cup or so of the vegetable mixture in the center of the tortilla and top with a sprinkle with shredded cheese, a little of each kind. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll up. Place seam-­side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas until you have all the burritos you need (the filling can be refrigerated and used for 3-­4 days).
  4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 10-­15 minutes, until heated through and the top of the tortilla is golden brown. Adjust the baking time as needed depending on if the filling has been refrigerated or not. For a softer tortilla, wrap each burrito in tin foil and heat through. Serve immediately.
Notes: I really liked these. I think they are much better than the Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos recipe we tried before.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Beef Empanadas

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
2 jalapenos, minced
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 batch empanada dough (see below)
1 egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. To make the filling, warm the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the beef, onion, jalapenos, salt, and cumin; cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is cooked through (safe internal temperature of 160 degrees F) and the onions have softened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off heat, add the tomatoes and cilantro, and mix well to combine.
  2. To form the empanadas, divide the dough into 12 equal balls. On a well-floured surface, flatten each to a disk and then roll with a rolling pin into 4 1/2-inch circles. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling into the circle, and brush the edges of the circle with the egg. Fold the dough around the filling to make a half-moon shape, and press the edges firmly to seal. cut two small slits in the top of each empanada, and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Refrigerate any leftovers.

----------------------
Empanada Dough
----------------------

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chilled shortening, cut into cubes
4 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into cubes
1 egg, 1/3 cup cold water
1 Tbsp white vinegar

Directions

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor or a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, salt, shortening, and butter. Pulse in the food processor, or use a pastry cutter if working by hand, until the mixture looks sandy and there are roughly pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In another mixing bowl, combine the egg, water, and vinegar; whisk to blend well. Drizzle over the flour-butter mixture and stir with a fork until a shaggy dough comes together. Knead on a well-floured surface just enough to bring the dough together. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill overnight. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Notes: We fried ours instead of baking, mostly because I wanted to see if this dough recipe was closer to what I remembered eating in Paraguay than the Pumpkin Parmesan Empanadas we tried a few months ago. These empanadas are more traditional and I enjoyed them, but making them is a lot of work so this probably isn't something we will have very often.

Source: Kroger mymagazine sent to us in the mail.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

German Pancakes

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions
Place butter in 8" x 8" cake pan and put in oven to melt. (Don't let it burn!) Beat eggs. Stir in milk, flour, and salt. Mix well. Pour batter over melted butter. Bake at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Notes: Brittany usually doubles this recipe and makes it in a 9x13 pan. With two adults and two kids eating we usually don't have any leftovers.

Source: Cooking for Two

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Italian Style Meatballs

Ingredients
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound italian sausage
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tsp minced garlic
2 eggs
2 tsp finely chopped (fresh) flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add each of the ingredients into the bowl and mix well after each addition.
  3. Make slightly larger than golf ball sized meatballs and place them into a muffin tin that has been coated with non stick cooking spray. (Make sure not to overpack meatballs as you want them to cook evenly and all the way through.)
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  5. Serve with noodles and sauce for meatballs and spaghetti, or on a hoagie for a meatball sub. 
Notes: Tasty. We obviously when with the meatball sub suggestion and had these on toasted buns.

Source: Pink When

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stovetop Italian Macaroni

Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups water
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions
  1. In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the tomatoes, water, soup mix, Italian seasoning and, if desired, pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-9 minutes or until macaroni is tender.
  2. Remove from the heat; stir in Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 5 servings.
Notes: We've had similar macaroni casseroles in the past, but I think I liked the seasonings on this one more than any other we've had in the past.

Source: Taste of Home

Monday, December 22, 2014

Garlic Cheddar Chicken Strips

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, and saute the garlic until tender.
  3. In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano, pepper, and salt.
  4. Cut Chicken Breast into strips (optional).
  5. Dip each chicken strip in the garlic butter to coat, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with any remaining butter and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.
  6. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink.
Source: The Idea Room

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

Ingredients:
1 loaf French Bread
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
3/4 cups granulated sugar (we reduced to 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

Directions:
  1. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Tear French bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly place in the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over bread. Cover pan with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter pieces and cut into the dry mixture using a fork or your hands. Combine until the mixture resembles sand with a few pea sized chunks. Cover and store mixture in the refrigerator.
  4. When you’re ready to bake the French toast, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove French toast from refrigerator and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the French toast is set and golden brown.
  5. Serve warm with syrup, if desired.
Notes: AMAZING. Brittany and I both really enjoyed this when we had it for breakfast, and it may have been even better when we had it cold the next day. In my opinion it was plenty sweet without adding syrup. This is our 5th baked French Toast recipe we've posted (after Baked Apple w/ Caramel, Baked French Toast, Baked Praline, and Cinnamon Toast French Toast), and we've tried a couple that never made it to the blog. I think Pumpkin has become my favorite.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod (Thanks to Melanie for sharing the link)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Game Night Snacks


A few of my friends and I get together for a monthly Game Night. Besides socializing and playing games, we like eating tasty snacks.

We've started a little website and posted some reviews and recipes. Check them out:

Cheesy Garlic Bread Swirls
Monkey Bread
Sausage Dip

While the snacks aren't meant to be the primary focus of the site, we will likely be posting a few recipes here and there. I will try to link to them, but if I forget, they can all be found under the Hungry Geek category tag at the website.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Amazing Chicken Rollups

Ingredients
12 oz - cooked and shredded chicken
1 cup - shredded colby jack cheese
1/4 cup - chopped bell peppers
1 cup - corn
2 green onions chopped
1/3 cup - salsa
1 cup - sour cream
1 tablespoon - cumin
1 salt and pepper to taste
4 clove - minced garlic
1/3 cup - vegetable oil

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Mix everything together except 2 of the cloves of garlic and the oil.
  3. Put the oil and remaining cloves in a pan and heat over medium heat. After heating, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Roll chicken mixture in tortillas and place in a 9x13 pan. Brush with the garlic oil and bake until brown.
Notes: I had a hard time getting a good photo, but these were tasty. Obviously I topped mine with salsa, but the source also recommends a dipping sauce. I feel like we've had similar things in the past.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Southwestern Egg Rolls

Ingredients
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
4 teaspoons taco seasoning, divided
1 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans (from the can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 to 1 can chopped green chiles
2 Tablespoons red pepper chopped
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese
Wonton wrappers (the larger size)
Peanut or vegetable oil

Directions
  1. Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of oil. Heat it to about 375 (the oil will drop to 350 once you put the wontons in).
  2. Season chicken with 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning.
  3. Heat olive oil and a skillet and add the chicken. Cook until no longer pink. Remove and set aside to cool.
  4. In the same skillet that you cooked the chicken in, add the corn, black beans and chiles.
  5. Season with 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning. Cook on medium low for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Finely chop the cooled chicken. Stir the chicken into the cooled vegetable mixture. Add the cheese and mix everything together.
  7. Take 1 wonton wrapper and place it in front of you so it looks like a diamond. Dip your finger in water and run it around the edges of the wrapper. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture in the middle of the wonton. Take the bottom tip and fold it over the mixture and tuck it around the mixture. Fold both side in so it resembles an envelope. Then roll flap around and seal with more water. Store seam side down until ready to fry.
  8. Carefully drop 3 or 4 wontons at a time into hot oil seam side down. Fry for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
Notes: Makes about 14. I really enjoyed these. Southwestern flavors are among my favorite. I will certainly be requesting them again. There a couple of dipping sauce recipes at the source link.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Avgolemono (Greek Style Chicken Soup)

Ingredients
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups water
2 cans (14 oz. each) fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
8 egg yolks
2 cups cooked white rice
2 cups cooked chicken breast meat, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon slices, for garnish

Directions
  1. In large stock pot, heat oil, and saute onion, celery, and carrot, for 2 minutes on medium-high until translucent. Add water, chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Beat egg yolks until light in color. Gradually add a ladle or two of hot soup to egg yolks to temper. Add egg-soup mixture back in the soup pot slowly, stirring constantly. Add rice and chicken, and heat for additional 5 minutes (ensuring chicken has reached a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve in bowls with lemon slices as garnish. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Notes: Serves 8. I thought this was quite tasty.

Source: Kroger coupon book that we got in the mail last week.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Baked Cavatelli

Ingredients
7 oz dried cavatelli or wagon wheel macaroni (about 2 1/3 cups)
12 oz uncooked Italian sausage links, sliced 1/2 inch thick, or lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 26-oz jar pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet cook the sausage, onion, and garlic until sausage is brown; remove from skillet. Drain.
  3. In a large bowl stir together pasta sauce, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese, and the pepper. Add the cooked pasta and the sausage mixture. Stir gently to combine. Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart casserole.
  4. Bake, uncovered, in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until nearly heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
Notes: We couldn't find cavatelli at our grocery store. We used home-made pasta sauce and a combination of ground beef and ground sausage that we needed to use up. This was still really good. It seems that you could have a lot of variety with this recipe by trying different kinds of pasta sauce.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens 12th Edition Cook Book

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Farmer's Casserole

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers or shredded cheddar cheese (3 oz)
1 cup diced cooked ham or Canadian-style bacon
1/4 cup sliced green onions (2)
4 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or one 12-oz can evaporated milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions
  1. Coat a 2-quart square baking dish non-stick cooking spray. Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with cheese, ham, and green onions.
  2. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture.
  3. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before servings.
Notes: Makes 6 servings. This is from several months ago and to be honest I'm not entirely sure if this is the right recipe for the photo. It looks like we used sausage instead of ham and didn't add any green onions.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens 12th Edition Cook Book 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Easy Crockpot Fajitas

Ingredients
3 Peppers (Green, Red & Yellow), sliced
1 Onion, sliced
Toppings - sour cream, cheese, guacamole, etc.

Chicken Fajitas
1 Package of Taco Seasoning
Flour or corn tortillas

Beef Fajitas
1 1/2 - 2 lbs thin sliced beef, cut in strips
1 packet fajita seasoning

Instructions
  1. Slice peppers and onions then place them on the bottom of the crock pot
  2. Put chicken or beef on top of peppers and onions
  3. Sprinkle seasoning packet on the top.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs (or high for 3-4) for chicken. Add 1-2 hours for beef.
  5. For chicken: it may look burnt but it's just crispy. Shred chicken up and mix in the juice.
  6. Serve with tortillas and all the toppings - sour cream, guacamole, cheese, lettuce, etc.
Notes: One straight month of posts! I cheated a little and combined 2 recipes from the source into one for this post. We had the chicken variety with sliced rather than shredded chicken. Brittany made homemade tortillas! Very tasty. If you prefer crispy veggies then you should probably wait until the last little while to add them (there is a comment on the beef fajita page linked below that says the last 20 minutes - I'm not sure if that would be long enough).

Source: eat at home chicken / beef

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Take-Out Fake-Out Beef and Broccoli

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless, beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef consomme or beef broth
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. sauce (from the crockpot after dish is cooked)
Frozen broccoli florets (as many as desired)
White rice, cooked

Instructions:
  1. In the crockpot, whisk together beef consomme, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.
  2. Gently place your slices of beef in the liquid and toss to coat.
  3. Turn crockpot on low and cook for 4 to 6 hours.
  4. When done, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cooking liquid to create a slurry, pour into crockpot, stir to mix well. 
  5. Toss in broccoli florets.
  6. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up the sauce.
  7. Serve hot over white rice.
Notes: I really enjoyed how this beef turned out. See the source for better photos.

Source: Table for Two

Monday, October 6, 2014

One Pot Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Pasta Skillet

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Hillshire Farm Smoked Turkey Sausage, sliced
1 cup diced onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic (about two fresh cloves)
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
8 oz dry pasta (any small pasta will do)
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese
1/3 cup chopped scallions, for garnish

Instructions
  1. Add olive oil to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions and sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, milk, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cover for about five minutes to allow cheese to melt. Top with sliced scallions and serve.
  4. Makes about 4 servings.
Notes: Another tasty sausage recipe.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Southwestern-Style Chicken Burgers


Ingredients
1 slightly beaten egg
1/4 c. finely crushed nacho-flavored or plain tortilla chips
3 Tbsp. finely chopped green sweet pepper
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. uncooked ground chicken (we used ground turkey)
2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers, sliced
4 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, split and toasted
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced
4 lettuce leaves
1/4 c. bottled salsa

Directions
  1. In a medium bowl combine egg, tortilla chips, sweet pepper, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Add chicken; mix well. (Mixture will be wet.) Shape chicken mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick round patties.
  2. Place patties on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from heat for 14 to 18 minutes or until no longer pink and an instant-read thermometer  registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit, turning once halfway through broiling time. Top burgers with cheese. Broil for 1 minutes more or until cheese melts.
  3. Serve burgers on toasted rolls; top with avocado, lettuce, and salsa.
Notes: These were really, really tasty! We used ground turkey, since that is what we were able to find at our local grocery store. I am sure these burgers would be really good with chicken, too. We had plain tortilla chips, but I am interested in trying this recipe again with nacho-flavored tortilla chips.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 12th edition.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rotini and Sweet Pepper Primavera


Ingredients
14 ounces asparagus spears
8 ounces dried rotini or gemelli (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 large red or yellow sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup halved baby pattypan squash or sliced yellow summer squash
1 10-ounce container refrigerated light Alfredo sauce (we used homemade Alfredo)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh tarragon or thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Fresh tarragon (optional)

 Directions 
  1.  Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus spears. Bias-slice asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding asparagus, sweet pepper, and squash to pasta the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain. Return pasta and vegetable mixture to hot saucepan.
  3. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan combine Alfredo sauce, the 2 tablespoons tarragon, and red pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes or until heated through. Pour sauce over pasta and vegetable mixture; stir gently to coat. If desired, garnish with fresh tarragon.
 Notes: Tasty and quick!

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 12th edition.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pumpkin Parmesan Empanadas

Ingredients
Crust
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
9 Tbsp well chilled shortening, in small chunks
2/3 to 1 cup milk
Vegetable oil

Filling
1 Tbsp shortening
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
3/4 tsp salt
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Directions
Combine flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Add shortening. Cover and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pulse while adding milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, just until dough holds together when pressed into a ball. Shape into 3 round disks. Wrap in plastic. Chill 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

For filling: Heat shortening in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook 7 minutes or until tender. Stir in brown sugar, thyme and salt until evenly blended. Stir in pumpkin, ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Heat 1-inch deep vegetable oil to 350 degrees F in large skillet over medium heat. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each to a 6-inch circle on lightly floured surface. Brush edges with water. Spoon 1/4 cup pumpkin mixture onto each circle. Fold dough in half to cover filling. Press edges with fork to seal.

Cook empanadas in hot oil 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway through cooking time. Drain on paper towels. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: Makes 12 empanadas. I love pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bars, and pumpkin cookies, and I more or less lived on empanadas while I was a missionary in Paraguay, so when I saw this recipe I really wanted to try it. I was not disappointed - liked these a lot. Having said that, though, the crust was completely different than any I ever had in South America. It was flaky and more like a pie crust. Brittany said she will probably use this crust recipe the next time she makes Natchitoches Meat Pie.

Source: This recipe was attached to a large bottle of Crisco vegetable oil that we bought a while ago.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cajun Pasta Supper

Ingredients
8 oz. Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 (14 1/2 oz) can stewed or diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (4.6 oz) package PASTA RONI Garlic and Olive Oil with Vermicelli
8 oz uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning*
* Substitute: 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions
  1. Cook and stir sausage and bell pepper in large skillet over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes or until sausage is browned. Drain fat. Remove from skillet; set aside.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups water and tomatoes to same skillet; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta, Special Seasonings packet, shrimp and Cajun season; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Gently boil uncovered 8 to 10 minutes or until pasta is tender and shrimp turn pink, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in sausage mixture; cook 1 to 2 minutes longer or until heated through.
Notes: Serves 4. Like Homestyle Southwest Skillet that I posted last month, this is Pasta Roni with add-ins. We don't really like shrimp so we had it with just sausage, but I still liked it.

Source: I cut this off the side of a Pasta Roni box several years ago when I was in college.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Malibu Chicken

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
5 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 thinly sliced pieces of ham
4 slices of swiss cheese

Malibu Dipping Sauce
2 Tablespoons Grey Poupon mustard
3 Tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon honey

Instructions

Chicken
  1. Combine egg yolk and garlic and pour into plastic bag. Place chicken inside bag, seal shut making sure no extra air is inside, and make sure the chicken gets coated with egg yolk/garlic mixture. Place in fridge and marinate chicken for 4 hours.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix panko, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper and dump evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
  3. Remove chicken from bag place chicken in baking dish. Coat the chicken with mixture and bake at 350 degrees F and depending on the size of your chicken breasts cook for 40 minutes to one hour or until chicken is cooked through. Monitor it starting at about 40 minutes. 
  4. Place one slice of ham and once slice of swiss cheese over the top of each piece of chicken and bake addition two minutes until cheese is melted.

Malibu Dipping Sauce
Combine Grey Poupon mustard, mayo, yellow mustard and honey in a small bowl. Stir to make sure all ingredients are evenly combined. Use to dip chicken in.

Notes: Tasty! Much better photos at the source.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Wheat Chili

Ingredients
5 cups water
2 1/2 cups uncooked wheat berries
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
4 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 cups diced onion
Shredded cheese and chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions
1. Start browning the ground beef in a skillet and add in the onions. Stir often.
2. While meat is browning, add water, wheat, paprika, chili powder, oregano, sugar, pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce to slow cooker.
3. Drain the meat of excess grease and add the onions and beef to the slow cooker.
4. Cover and cook on LOW for 11-12 hours or on HIGH for about 7-8 hours (or until wheat is soft and plump).
5. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and seasonings.
6. Ladle into serving bowls and top with cheese and cilantro, if desired.

Notes: Makes 8 servings, ideal for a 6 quart slow cooker. This is from the source: "This is one of those recipes that you can add or subtract ingredients. I think next time I'll add in some green pepper and maybe swap out a can of tomato sauce and add a can of diced tomatoes." Also: "you may use hard white wheat, soft white wheat, hard red wheat...often found at health food stores or in the bulk section of the grocery store".

Monday, September 29, 2014

One-Pan Enchilada Pasta

Ingredients
2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 of a small onion, diced
1.25 pounds of taco seasoned ground turkey meat or 1.25 pounds of lean ground beef and packet of low-sodium taco seasoning
2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
1 19oz can of red enchilada sauce
8oz (about 2 1/2 cups) of dried rotini pasta
2 cups of freshly shredded Colby Jack cheese
green onions
black olives

Instructions
  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil over medium low heat until softened.
  2. Add ground turkey meat and cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon until browned.
  3. Once turkey meat is cooked through, add pasta, chicken broth and enchilada sauce to pan.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.
  5. Cook on low, with pan covered for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and let simmer for additional 5 minutes until pasta is tender and sauce has reduced.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of cheese.
  8. Top pasta with additional cup of cheese and melt under broiler for a minute or two, or place lid back on pan and let heat from the pasta melt the cheese.
  9. Garnish with black olives and green onions.
Notes: It has only been 3 months since we tried this recipe, but I really don't remember what I thought about it. So that means it was somewhere in the middle - I didn't dislike it and I didn't think it was amazing.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces
1-2 cups frozen broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup cashews, chopped or whole (unsalted works best )
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water or chicken broth

Directions:
  1. Layer chicken, cashews and vegetables in the crockpot.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients except water and pour over chicken in crockpot. Add water or broth if necessary so mixture is almost completely covered.
  3. Cook for 2-4 hours on high or 4-8 hours on low.
Notes: I didn't like this as much as I wanted to. The flavor of the vinegar was a bit too dominant, so I think if we try this again I would go with less vinegar.

Source: Sally Cooks

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chicken Bacon Ranch Tortilla Pockets

Ingredients
3 cups shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken works great!)
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 packet (1 ounce) ranch dressing mix
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
8 – 8″ flour tortillas
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix the room temperature cream cheese and ranch seasoning. 
  3. Add chicken, cheese, bacon, and green onions. Stir to combine. 
  4. Spoon 1/8 of the chicken mixture (about 1/3 cup or so) down the center of the tortilla. Fold up both short ends of the tortilla and fold over one of the long ends. Brush the open edge of the tortilla with beaten egg and fold over creating a rectangular tortilla pocket. 
  5. Repeat with remaining tortillas and place seam-sides down on the baking sheet. Brush pocket tops with oil and sprinkle with salt. 
  6. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. 
  7. Serve ranch dressing on the side to dip tortilla pockets.
Notes: Another tasty recipe! We had these a while ago but I remember liking them.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients
5 assorted bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
1 pound of ground Italian hot sausage.
1/2 head of cauliflower, grated or chopped into a rice consistency.
1 small (8 ounce) can of tomato paste.
1 small white onion, medium dice.
5 cloves of garlic, minced.
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano.
2 tsp dried thyme.

Directions
Mix all ingredients and stuff into seeded bell peppers. Place in gallon zip lock bag and freeze. On cooking day, place in slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Notes: If you don't pay attention, the cauliflower can fool you into thinking it is rice. I remember Brittany was excited that the kids ate the cauliflower without realizing it was cauliflower. These held up well in the freezer, and we liked them, but Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers is still our preferred recipe.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

Ingredients
12 ounces linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
  2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in milk, heavy cream, goat cheese and Parmesan until cheeses have melted, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add red peppers and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in pasta and gently toss to combine; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan, if desired.
Notes: I think Brittany like this more than I did. Perhaps it was the goat cheese, an ingredient that I am not used to.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grilled Lime and Chile Chicken with Mango and Red Bell Pepper Salsa

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 tsp chile powder
1 tsp. garlic puree (also called ground garlic)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground cumin (or less to taste)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
Mango and red pepper salsa

Directions
  1. Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts. If desired, cut small slits crosswise down the length of each breast. Put chicken in single layer inside Ziploc bag. Mix marinade ingredients and pour into bag. Let chicken marinate in refrigerator 4-8 hours, turning occasionally if possible.
  2. Spray grill grate with non-stick spray or wipe with paper towel dipped in olive oil. Preheat gas or charcoal barbecue to medium high. (You can only hold your hand there for 2-3 seconds at that heat.) Put chicken on grill top side down. To get nice grill marks, cook about 4-5 minutes, then rotate 45 degrees and cook 4-5 minutes more on same side. Turn chicken over and cook until it feels firm, but not hard to the touch when you press it with your finger, about 15-20 minutes total cooking time, depending on the exact temperature of your grill.
  3. This chicken could also be cooked in a stove-top grill pan with ridges or a George Foreman Grill with good results.
  4. Serve hot, with mango salsa if desired. 
Notes: The source suggests this recipe for the mango salsa, but there are lots of others to try online. We used some that Brittany had previously made with a different recipe. Also see this page for suggestions on how to get nice, juicy grilled chicken breasts every time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

Ingredients
2 Pounds lean ground beef
1 Package onion mushroom soup mix
1/2 Cup crushed saltine crackers
1 egg
1/4 Cup milk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 Cup flour
2 Cans cream of mushroom soup
1 Package brown gravy mix

Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together beef, onion mushroom soup mix, crushed saltine crackers, egg, and milk.
  2. Using your hands, shape beef mixture into 8 patties.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Dredge the patties in flour to coat and brown on both sides.
  5. Place the browned patties into the slow cooker (overlapping is ok)
  6. In a medium bowl, prepare the brown gravy according to package instructions.
  7. Mix in both cans of mushroom soup; pour gravy mixture over the patties.
  8. Cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, or until beef is done.
Notes: This recipe was easy and very tasty. We needed the full 6 hours to cook the beef through.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chili-Beef Stuffing Bake

Ingredients
1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing Mix
1 lb. lean ground beef, cooked & drained
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder

Directions
  1. Mix contents of Stuffing Mix pouch, 1 1/2 cups hot water and 1/4 cup margarine, cut-up, in large bowl just until moistened; set aside.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in 12 x 8-inch baking dish. Top with stuffing.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Notes: Quick, easy, and tasty. I also like this recipe because I came up with something similar on my own while attempting variations on Chicken Stuffing Casserole during my college days.

Source: Cut out from a box of Stove Top Stuffing several years ago.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Crockpot Orange Chicken

Ingredients
4 – 5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, thawed
3/4 cup Smuckers Sweet Orange Marmalade
3/4 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
2 tbsp. Soy Sauce

Directions
  1. Cook chicken in crockpot on HIGH for 3 hours.
  2. After 3 hours, drain juices from crockpot.
  3. Mix together BBQ sauce, orange marmalade, and soy sauce.
  4. Pour mixture over chicken, and cook on high for 30 more minutes.
Notes: We both thought this recipe was okay, but it did not have the flavors we expected from its name. The barbecue sauce makes this reminiscent of the Tangy Chicken we've got on the blog, and I think I would pick that one over this one.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mozzarella Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients
8 slices rye bread
4 quarter-inch slices of fresh mozzarella
3 plum tomatoes, cut into thick slices
1 cup fresh basil pesto (see recipe below or use the store-bought stuff)
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Basil pesto:
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
  1. Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still rough-textured.
  2. If you have a panini press, turn it on to warm up; otherwise, set a skillet over medium heat. 
  3. Assemble sandwich by smearing insides of bread slices with pesto. Arrange a layer of sliced tomato and season with a few turns of fresh pepper. Layer the mozzarella slices over the top and then place another piece of bread on top to make the sandwich.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over skillet's surface and place sandwiches on the hot skillet or panini press. If using a skillet, place another heavy skillet over the top to form a "press". Turn after 2 to 3 minutes and replace weight. The sandwich is ready when golden brown and mozzarella has melted around the edges.
Notes: I really like pesto sauce, so I really enjoyed these grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ranch Chicken Tacos

Ingredients
3 cups cooked chicken, cut up
1 pkt. taco seasoning (chicken or beef)
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
taco shells
lettuce
cheese
Ranch dressing
tomatoes
other toppings as desired

Directions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken & warm it for a few minutes. Sprinkle on the dry taco seasoning. Do not add any water! Heat for 5-7 minuted until all heated through & powder is stuck to the chicken.
  2. Add Ranch dressing, heat an additional 2-3 minutes to warm through.
  3. Serve in taco shells with more Ranch dressing and other desired toppings.
Notes: We've had a LOT of different taco recipes, and sometimes it is hard keeping them straight. I remember liking these, but I think there are others I would prefer (like Wild West Sizzlin' Chicken Tacos, for example).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Baked Italian Sandwiches

Ingredients
French bread
Butter or margarine
Provolone cheese
Deli ham (or other lunch meat)
Italian bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
Eggs (1 or 2)
Milk (1 or 2 Tbsp)
Onion (optional)
Green pepper (optional)
Spaghetti sauce, for dipping

Directions
  1. Turn on your oven to 425 degrees. Put a chunk of butter or margarine in the bottom of a 9x13 (or larger) baking dish, and put it in the oven as it’s pre-heating so the butter can melt. Use enough butter to lightly coat the bottom of the dish.
  2. While your butter is melting, take the bread and slice it to desired thickness.  
  3. Mix some bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a dish. 
  4. Beat the eggs and milk in another dish.
  5. Optional: Saute some onion and green pepper to add.
  6. Dip one side of one piece of bread in the milk mixture.
  7. Coat it well in the crumb mixture.
  8. Set it in the pan, making sure it gets coated with some of the melted butter.
  9. Add a slice of cheese.
  10. Add desired amount of lunch meat.
  11. Add the sauteed veggies (optional).
  12. Top it off with another slice of cheese and another slice of bread coated in bread crumbs and melted butter.
  13. Put the assembled sandwiches in the oven for about 5-8 minutes on each side, or until the cheese melts and the bread gets toasted. 
  14. If desired, broil them on high for 1-2 minutes at the very end to get a nice brown crispy finish on the bread. 
  15. Serve with warm spaghetti sauce in individual dishes for dipping.
Notes: We had this over two years ago, but I remember liking it a lot. If I had posted this recipe when we first had it, instead of leaving the photo forgotten in a folder, I'm sure we would have made it again. See source for step by step photos.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mushroom Pork Chops

Ingredients
4 pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch garlic salt, or to taste
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Directions
  1. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the chops over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms, and saute for one minute. Pour cream of mushroom soup over chops. Cover skillet, and reduce temperature to medium-low. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until chops are cooked through.
Notes: This was a tasty recipe. Our pork chops were a bit thicker than I like, but I didn't have any complaints about the sauce.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tangy Chicken Stir-Fry

Ingredients
3/4 cup Miracle Whip
3-4 chicken breasts, cubed
Garlic salt or 1 clove fresh garlic
1 bag frozen California blend veggies
3-4 Tbsp soy sauce
Rice

Directions
Mix chicken and Miracle Whip in frying pan. Sprinkle with garlic salt or pressed clove. Saute for 5 minutes (or until chicken is cooked). Then add bag of frozen vegetables and soy sauce and cook for 5-10  more minutes. Serve over rice.

Notes: We halved the recipe and used a 12 oz bag of vegetables. I'm not sure that 12 oz was enough. I'm also not sure if the end product lived up to its name - I didn't find it very tangy. It was good but there are other stir fry recipes I prefer.

Source:  At one of Brittany's bridal showers, everyone that attended wrote down a favorite recipe as a gift. I think this was from one of my sisters.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spinach Quiche

Ingredients
1 recipe Pastry for Single-Crust Pie (I think we used this one)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
6 slices bacon, chopped
8 beaten eggs
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
1/2 cup half-an-half, light cream, or milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
Dash ground nutmeg (optional)
3 cups lightly packed chopped fresh spinach
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (2 oz)
Cherry tomatoes, cut up (optional)

Directions
  1. Prepare and roll out Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. Line a 9 inch pie plate with the pastry. Trim; crimp edge as desired. Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skilled cook onion and bacon until onion is tender and bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towels.
  3. In a bowl stir together eggs, sour cream, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and, if desired, nutmeg. Stir in onion mixture, spinach, and cheeses.
  4. Pour egg mixture in hot, baked pastry shell. Bake in the 325 degree oven 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with cherry tomatoes.
Notes: We had this recipe in April 2013. I remember enjoying it, though I may have liked Aztec Quiche a bit more. Both were tasty.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 12th Edition

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Corn Frittata with Cheese

Ingredients
8 slightly beaten eggs
1 Tbsp snipped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn or cut fresh corn
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (3)
3/4 cup chopped plum tomatoes (2)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 oz)

Directions
  1. In a medium bowl combine eggs and basil; set aside. Heat oil in a large broilerproof skillet; add corn, zucchini, and green onions. Cook and stir for 3 minutes; add tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat about 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet. Cook over medium heat. As mixture sets, run a spatula around edge of skillet, lifting egg mixture so uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking and lifting edges until egg mixture is almost set (surface will be moist). Sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Place the skillet under broiler 4 to 5 inches from heat. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until the top is just set and cheese is melted.
Notes: We made this recipe over 2 years ago, before we upgraded the camera, so I'm not very fond of the photo. I think I would enjoy this recipe, but it has been long enough I don't remember what I thought about it when we had it. We need to try it again.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 12th Edition

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Homestyle Southwest Skillet

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp margarine or butter
1 (5.8 oz) package PASTA RONI Creamy Garlic Flavor
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Mexican cheese blend

Directions
  1. In large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and chili powder. Remove from pan to drain; set aside.
  2. In same skillet, bring water, milk, margarine, pasta and Special Seasonings to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Gently boil uncovered 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Return beef to skillet. Stir in salsa and corn; return to a boil. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until pasta is slightly firm. Combine cheese with Topping; sprinkle over top just before serving.
Notes: Makes 4 servings.  This is what it is: Pasta Roni with mix-ins.  Probably not a recipe you'd want to serve to company, but I liked it all the same. 

Source: I clipped this recipe off a box of Pasta Roni several years ago when I was in college and I ate this stuff regularly. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tacos Dorados

Ingredients
corn tortillas
chicken
sour cream
Parmesan or cheddar cheese
lettuce
enchilada sauce (optional)
guacamole (optional)

Directions
  1. Cook the chicken.
  2. When the chicken is ready, shred it and set it aside.
  3. Heat up the tortillas in a frying pan or microwave to make them flexible and less likely to break.
  4. Heat up some oil in a frying pan.
  5. Line one side of the tortilla with shredded chicken, and roll the tortilla in a burrito shape. (If it doesn't stay rolled, stick it with a tooth pick.)
  6. Place rolled tortilla in the oil until it is fried. When it is golden brown and crunchy, remove it and stick it in a colander or on some paper towels so the excess oil can drain off.
  7. Serve topped with sour cream, cheese, lettuce, etc.
Notes: I thought these were pretty tasty. They reminded me somewhat of Navajo tacos. I got this recipe in an email recipe exchange several years ago. The original didn't have any amounts, so I haven't put any here. Brittany didn't have any luck with rolling the tortillas, so she folded them in half instead.

Source: Email recipe exchange.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Baked Chicken Nuggets


Ingredients
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut chicken breasts into 1 1/2-inch sized pieces. In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, thyme and basil. Mix well. Put melted butter in a bowl or dish for dipping.
  3. Dip chicken pieces into the melted butter first, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place the well-coated chicken pieces on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Notes: This is for 6 servings. When we made it we scaled the recipe down to 4 servings. I don't think we had any left over, though.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fritos Casserole

Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef
1 15-oz can chili con carne
2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1 Tbsp minced onions
1 can mild enchilada sauce (13-15 oz)
8-12 oz Fritos corn chips
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. sour cream

Directions
Saute ground beef and add onions, chili, enchilada sauce, and tomato sauce. In 9x13 pan place layer of Fritos. Top with meat sauce mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Mix together sour cream and grated cheese. Top casserole. with sour cream mixture and circle with Fritos. Bake 5 more minutes.

Notes: We were organizing recipes recently and found this one on a piece of paper. We're not really sure where we got it. It was labeled "Shauna's Kids' Favorite Mexican Dish". Since I'm not sure who this Shauna was or why this would be considered a Mexican dish, I renamed it.  It was quick and easy to make, though apparently my kids didn't like it as much as Shauna's - mostly they just wanted to eat the chips.

Source: Printed out on a random piece of paper among many other recipes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cheese and Bacon Frittata


Ingredients
9 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 green onions, minced
3 Tbsp margarine, melted
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon, cooked and torn in small pieces

Directions
In medium bowl with wire whisk, beat eggs, milk, onion, margarine, salt, and pepper until well blended. Pour mixture into greased 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle cheese and bacon evenly over top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until set and golden brown. Makes 6 servings.

Notes: Tasty, although the onions were slightly stronger than I care for.

Source: Binder of freezer meal recipes that we received as a wedding gift (3rd month section).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls


Ingredients
8 lasagna noodles, cooked
1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium zucchini (7 oz each), grated and squeezed dry
1 cup + 2 tbsp part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
1 3/4 cups Marinara sauce
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a medium nonstick skillet, sauté garlic and olive oil over medium heat for about 1 minute; add zucchini, salt and pepper to taste and cook about 4-5 minutes, until soft.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Lay out the lasagna noodles on a clean work surface. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over the noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
  5. Ladle the remaining sauce over the lasagna rolls and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the inside is heated through and the cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil if desired and eat hot.
Notes: After a long hiatus due in part to a new baby in the family, we're back. These were tasty, although I would recommend being generous with the sauce. See the recipe at the source for some step-by-step photos.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

Ingredients
2 cups black beans, cooked
½ cup red onion, minced (we only used 2-3 Tbsp)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
4-6 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 avocado, sliced
Pinch of salt and pepper
8 corn tortillas
Hot sauce
Salsa
Sour cream

Instructions
1. In a medium bowl, add beans along with red onion, cilantro, and spices. Add a pinch of salt and lightly mash all of the ingredients together. Grate your cheese and have it ready as well.
2. In a large, non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet, add a few tablespoons of oil and heat over medium-high heat.
3. Add one corn tortilla at a time and let each get hot in the oil for a few seconds. Then add about 1/4 cup of the bean filling to one half of the tortilla. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese.
4. Using a spatula, carefully fold the tortilla over so it forms a shell. Press down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape.
5. As the first tortilla cooks, move it to the side and do a second one. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to get 2 or 3 tacos at once. If you have a griddle you can do even more at once.
6. Cook each taco for about 3 minutes per side until they are nicely browned and crispy.
7. When flipping the taco to cook on the other side, use a spatula and flip the taco toward the fold so the filling doesn’t fall out.
8. Serve tacos with toppings like hot sauce, salsa, avocados, and sour cream.

Notes: We were missing a couple of the ingredients, but still enjoyed these tacos. From the source: "Corn tortillas are resilient to heat. Don’t worry about burning them. They are very flexible. Just be sure to cook them on each side long enough to get them really crispy." 

Source: Endless Simmer


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ramen Noodle Upgrade

Ingredients
1 package Ramen noodles
1 pack noodle flavoring
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
2 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce
1/2 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions
Boil noodles with flavor pack and drain off most liquid. Toss with soy sauce, peanut butter, and Sriracha. Garnish with scallion. 

Notes: Brittany tripled the recipe to have enough for our family (except for the scallions). She also added peanuts. The 2 year-old and I enjoyed this but the 5 year-old did not.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cinnamon Toast French Toast

Ingredients
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
16 slices (from a 1-pound loaf) white sandwich bread
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Whisk the cinnamon and sugar together in a small dish. Line two large baking sheets with foil. Place the bread slices on the baking sheets in one layer. Spread each slice of bread with 1 teaspoon of butter, then sprinkle each slice with one teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Toast the trays of bread in the oven until the bread is golden, and until the cinnamon-sugar makes a caramelized crunch on top, for about 7 to10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and let the toast cool slightly.

Generously butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Cut two slices of the cinnamon toast in half horizontally. Arrange the cinnamon toast down in two rows along the width of the pan. Begin with the bottom half of one slice of toast, then fan 7 more slices in a row, finishing with the top half of the slice. Repeat with another 7 full slices and 1 halved slice of cinnamon toast in the second row. Whisk the milk, eggs, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl and pour evenly over cinnamon toast in baking dish. Let sit for 15 minutes (or overnight, if you’re preparing this ahead of time) so that the custard absorbs a bit.


Before baking, if you’ve got any extra cinnamon-sugar (you’ll likely have a tablespoon or two), sprinkle it over the French toast. Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and golden and until no liquid seeps out of the toasts when they are nudged about in the pan. Cut into squares and serve plain, or with a dollop of plain yogurt and fresh berries, or maple syrup.

Notes: It has become somewhat of a tradition in our family to have baked French toast for breakfast on birthdays.  We've tried several (although this is only the 4th I've posted here). I've liked them all! The toast on this one was pretty crunchy on the top, so we either needed a bit more custard or we needed to let it sit longer.  Still tasty, though.