Friday, January 21, 2011

"Not" Kelloggs Nutrigrain Bars

"Not" Kellogg's Nutrigrain Bars

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
3/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups quick oats
12 oz. preserves or jam (any flavor)
1 Tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt butter. Combine cake mix and oats in a large bowl; stir in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Measure half this mixture (about 3 cups) into a greased 13x9x2" greased baking pan. Press firmly into pan to cover bottom. Combine preserves with water, spoon over crumb mixture in pan, and spread evenly. Cover with remaining crumb mixture. Pat firmly to make top even. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Top should be very light brown. Cool completely before cutting into the bars.

Granola Bars

Granola Bars from Not Just Beans cookbook

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips*

In a large bowl, cream sugars and butter until fluffy. Add honey, vanilla and egg. Mix well. Blend in flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients. Press firmly into the bottom of a greased 9x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes. 

*The following may be used in addition to or to replace chocolate chips:
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 - 1 cup raisins
dried apples, apricots
1/2 cup fruit preserves

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sausage and Peppers

I was going to make something else for dinner tonight but realized I had 5 green peppers in the fridge that needed to be used up so I decided to make sausage and peppers.  I don't really have much of a recipe and just made it up as I went along but it turned out really good!

Sausage and Peppers

2 lbs. Italian sausages, cut into 1" pieces
5 green peppers, seeded and cut into chunky strips
3 lbs. onions (about 5 large), sliced
4 Tbsp. butter
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Saute the sausage, peppers and onions in the butter in a large frying pan in batches or alternately, you can put the sausage and onions in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350 degrees then add in the peppers and cook an additional 30 minutes.  Add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper and just heat through.  This is great on rolls, pasta or just on a plate with a nice crusty bread on the side.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Five Cheese Mac 'n Cheese

This is a really good recipe for a homemade mac and cheese.  My children LOVE it and it makes a nice large casserole of dinner so it's great for guests as well.  The only step that I change from this original recipe is that I no longer bother straining the milk mixture but instead just pull out the bay leaf and thyme sprig, although sometimes if I don't have fresh thyme, I use a 1/2 tsp. of dried thyme in it's place.

Five Cheese Mac 'n Cheese

1 box (16 oz) cellentiani or macaroni
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 Tbsp. butter
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese, divided
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated cheddar, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
3 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup bread crumbs

1)  Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Grease a 13x9x2" glass baking dish.

2)  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.

3)  In a large heavy pot, saute bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Add onion to bacon drippings; saute until soft, 4 minutes.  Add butter to pot and melt, stirring.

4) Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until smooth and light brown in color.  Whisk in mustard.  Gradually add milk and cream, whisking as you do.

5)  Stir in thyme, bay leaf and salt.  Bring to a simmer.  Stir frequently, simmering for 15 minutes.

6)  Strain hot milk mixture into a metal bowl, discard solids.  Quickly mix in 1 cup of Fontina, blue cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere, 1/2 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup Parmesan, the cooked bacon and parsley.  Stir until all is melted.

7) Add pasta to cheese sauce, stir to coat well.  Pour into prepared dish.  In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Gruyere, 1/4 cup cheddar, 1/2 cup Parmesan and bread crumbs then sprinkle over pasta.

8)  Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe comes from my friend's mom and it's an old standby around here.  My second daughter LOVES this and goes nuts when it's on the menu.  It's also my standard "I need to take a meal to a family" dish along with a nice large salad and a nice dessert.

1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 celery seed
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2+ cups cut up cooked chicken
1+ cups frozen peas
1+ cups diced cooked carrots
1 double pie crust (I use Pillsbury or the store equivalent)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Melt butter over low heat in saucepan.  Add in onion to soften.  Blend in flour and seasonings; cook, stirring for 1 minute until mixture is bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir until thickened.  Gently stir in chicken and vegetables.  Pour into pie crust.  Top with top pie crust, flute and slit.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

**I've made up the filling and froze it in freezer bags making an easy freezer meal for later.

Wine Braised Italian Sausages with Penne

When I asked my daughter what she wanted for dinner for her 8th birthday, this is the recipe she wanted.  Of course friends laughed but hey, she loves pasta!!

1 1/2 lbs. mild Italian sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
6 sprigs parsley, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 fresh sage leaves, torn
generous pinch ground cloves
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 lb. pasta (penne, fusilli or ziti) cooked al dente and drained
1 1/2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese

1.  In a 12" saute pan over medium heat, slowly cook the sausage in the olive oil until it's well browned. Remove the sausage from the pan, add the onion, carrot, and parsley to the pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute over medium heat until golden.

2.  Add the sausages, garlic, sage, cloves and tomato paste, along with 1/2 cup of the wine.  Simmer while you scrape up all the brown glaze from the bottom of the pan.  Once the wine is evaporated, add the rest of it and cook very slowly, about 10 minutes.  Sauce will be clinging to the sausage.  **At this point, you could refrigerate the sauce for up to three days.**  Add the tomatoes and cook at a slow bubble for 5 minutes.

3.  Toss in the pasta to thoroughly coat.  Blend in half the cheese.  Serve hot, passing the cheese separately.  Makes 4-6 servings as a main dish.

Why this blog?

I have so many recipes that my family likes and my cookbook of personal recipes is overflowing.  Friends of mine ask for recipes and I like to post them online as well - but the forums where I've posted them have changed now and I've lost them.  I decided it's time to just make a blog of my recipes.  :)  Many will not have pictures - I'm just not a bit "take pictures as I'm cooking" kind of gal but maybe that will change in time.  But for now, I hope you can enjoy these recipes that my family loves.  None of these recipes are rated at less than a 9 on a scale of 1-10 for my family (anything less than that I ditch) so at least for those with tastes like ours, you should enjoy them!