Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Squash and Lentil Stew

So, I saw this in the October Family Circle and showed it to hubby.  "Umm, no" was his answer.  So I saved it to make one night when he wasn't home but I ended up making it tonight when he WAS home.  Out of 10, he scored it an 8.5 and the two younger kids scored it a 9.  For hubby to rate it a 9, it has to be almost perfect.  A 10 is only for the absolute best recipes so an 8.5 is pretty good!  I think next time I make it, I'll add some kielbasa because I just think it would taste yummy but you can change out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and make it totally vegan!!  It's nice that it's versatile!!

Squash and Lentil Stew

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium butternut sqush (about 2 3/4 lbs), peeled, seeded and diced (5 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 can (14.5 oz) light and fat free chicken broth or low sodium vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups small brown or French green lentils, picked through
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1.  Heat oil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add carrots, celery and onion and cook 5 minutes.  Add squash and season with chili powder and ground cumin.  Cook 1 minute.

2.  Stir in broth, tomatoes, water and lentils.  Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in salt.  Simmer, uncovered an additional 10 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and serve.

Makes 6 servings
Per serving:  361 cals., 8 g. fat (1 g. sat fat), 17 g. protein, 62 g. carbs, 20 g. fiber, 795 sodium, 0 mg. cholesterol

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Morning French Toast

This is our standard Christmas morning breakfast.  I make it the night before and it is the first thing we do before we open presents - putting it in the oven.  By the time we're done with gifts, it's finished and we can have a great breakfast together.  It's WONDERFUL!!

Holiday Morning French Toast

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3-4 tart apples such as granny smith, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1" slices
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. cinnamon
cinnamon sugar mixture

1.  Combine brown sugar, butter and the 1 tsp. cinnamon in a greased 13x9" baking dish.  Add apples and cranberries, toss to coat well.  Spread apple mixture evenly over bottom of baking dish.  Arrange slices of bread over the top of the apples.

2.  Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and the 2 tsp. cinnamon until well blended.  Pour mixture over bread, soaking bread completely.  Cover with a piece of foil that is sprayed with non-stick spray.  Refrigerate for 4-24 hours.

3.  Bake, covered with aluminum foil, in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 40 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle the top with the cinnamon sugar mixture then bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.  Serve warm.  For an eye-catching presentation, loosen edges of baking dish and invert onto a large serving platter.

**If you are going to bring this to a potluck, cut the bread into cubes since it's easier to serve.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Debbie's Really Good Meatballs

I have been on the hunt for a good meatball recipe and a friend of mine came up with this one.  It's the best recipe I've found so far!!  

Deb's "Really Good" Meatballs

1 lb. meatloaf mix (beef, pork, veal)
1 lb. ground turkey
3/4 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs (I use 4C unsalted)
3/4 cup grated Locatelli romano cheese (the powdery kind)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup or so warm water (this softens the bread crumbs)
1 extra large egg
(optional: 1/2 to 1 tsp. crushed garlic)

Mix with hands until thoroughly blended. It will be quite soft.

Form into balls and place on a rimmed baking sheet that has been sprayed with oil.

Bake at 375 degrees* until browned, but not necessarily cooked through. These don't do well pan-fried. They fall apart. (*One of my notes says 450 degrees or broil, so you choose!)

Continue cooking in a pot of sauce until done.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shrimp Scampi

OK - This is beyond easy and as long as I have lemon juice in the house, I usually have the ingredients on hand.  I mention the lemon juice because apparently I tossed my bottle that I had in the fridge after Superstorm Sandy and I had to run my hubby out to the store to pick up some more.  That's something I ALWAYS have here.  LOL  I got the recipe from our newspaper, Newsday, years ago and I usually triple it just because we're a big family who loves this stuff.

Shrimp Scampi

3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. white wine
1 tsp. dried parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. cleaned shrimp

Place oil, butter, wine, parsley, garlic and lemon juice in a large frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often for 1-2 minutes.  Add shrimp and cook through until pink, about 3 minutes.  Serve over cooked pasta.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Provencal Summer Vegetable Bake

Oh YUM!!  MAN, was this good!!  It did end up producing a lot of extra sliced vegetables so I did another small tray of just the roasted veggies and they were good too.  :)  It definitely made more than 4 servings and "slicing" doesn't really work well but scooping to serve did.  LOL

Provencal Summer Vegetable Bake

2 medium sweet onions, halved and sliced
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 tsp. herbes de Provence, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper, divided
1 large eggplant (about one pound), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise
3 large summer squash (combination of zucchini and yellow squash), ends trimmed
1/2 lb. russet potatoes
3 plum tomatoes
4 oz. goat cheese

1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add onions and 1/4 tps. of the salt.  Cook 8-10 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Stir in beans, 1/2 tsp. of the herbes de Provence and 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Pour mixture into bottom of a 9x13" oven safe baking dish.

2.  Meanwhile, cut eggplant, squash, potatoes and tomatoes into 1/4" thick slices.  Toss vegetables with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. herbes de Provence and 1/8 tsp. pepper.  Arrange vegetables on top of onion-bean mixture in 1 layer, overlapping slices; pack tightly.

3.  Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and crumble goat cheese on top.  Bake 15 minutes more.  Cool slightly and slice into 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Country Herbed Meatloaf

I got this in an old issue of Country Magazine years ago but it's still a hit today!

Country Herbed Meatloaf

Herb Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil

2 lbs. ground beef or meatloaf mix
1 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. milk
2 eggs, beaten

In a skillet, heat oil on high.  Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt pepper and sugar.  Remove 1 1/2 cups of sauce, set aside.  To the remaining sauce in the pan, add the water, bay leaf and basil.  Simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine all of the meatloaf ingredients with the 1 1/2 cups reserved sauce.  Press into a 9x5x3" loaf.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, drain.  Spread 1/2 cup of the herb sauce over the top of the meatloaf and return to the oven for 15 minutes.

Serve the meatloaf with the remaining herb sauce.

Applesauce Stuffing Meatloaf

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet!!  This is an amazing meatloaf that is just so different!!  It's a definite family favorite.

Applesauce Stuffing Meatloaf

2 lbs. meatloaf mix (beef, veal, pork) or any other meat you want to use
1 chopped onion
1 cup applesauce
1 cup herb stuffing mix
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with your hands.  Plunge your hands in warm water to get the feeling back.  Form into a loaf shape in a baking pan or put into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Old World Sauerbraten

Even though it's June, it's been cool this year for the last few weeks and so hubby asked if I could make one of his favorite meals one more time this season - sauerbraten.   Here's the recipe I've used for years.

Old World Sauerbraten

2 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 beef rump roast (5-6 lbs.)
2 onions, sliced
1 cup vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 bay leaves
6 whole cloves
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4-5 Tbsp. ketchup
12 gingersnaps, crumbled

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Brown beef on all sides.  Add all the remaining ingredients except gingersnaps; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 3 hours.  During the last 30 minutes, stir in gingersnaps.  Remove meat, discard bay leaves and cloves.  While slicing meat, bring gravy to a boil to reduce and thicken.

Serve with red cabbage, mashed potatoes and whatever veggie you'd like.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

I got this recipe from  They were DELICIOUS!!!!

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

3 lbs. red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
2 tsp. kosher salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup light olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place the trimmed and quartered potatoes in a large mixing bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to distribute the oil and spices.  Pour the seasoned potatoes into a baking dish.  Roast them in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Potatoes should be tender and the skin should be crisp.

Man-pleasing Chicken Thighs

Yep - these were man pleasing alright!!  Along with woman pleasing, kid pleasing and young adult pleasing!!  I got them from  I served them with lemon roasted potatoes and green beans.  YUM!

Man-Pleasing Chicken Thighs

1 1/2 lb. chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
fresh rosemary if desired

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Line baking dish that will hold the thighs in one layer with foil.  Place thighs in pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix together mustard, syrup and vinegar then pour over thighs.  Turn thighs to coat well.

Bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes until thighs are done.  Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Sprinkle with fresh rosemary if desired.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cola-Braised Brisket

Here was another keeper.  Easy and yummy - a great combo for a recipe!!  I got it from the March 30, 2012 issue of All You Magazine

Cola-Braised Brisket

2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. pepper
1 4 lb. beef brisket, trimmed
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 onions, thinly sliced
2 cups cola
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1.  Combine brown sugar, salt, paprika, onion powder and pepper in a small bowl.  Rub mixture all over brisket.

2.  Warm oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Cook brisket until browned on all sides, turning with tongs, about 7 minutes total.  Transfer meat to slow cooker.

3.  Arrange onions on top of brisket.  Whisk together cola and tomatoes in a large bowl and pour over onions and brisket.  Cover and cook on low until meat is fork-tender, about 7-8 hours.

4.  Transfer meat to a cutting board and allow to stand for 10 minutes.  Remove gravy from slow cooker.  Slice meat against the grain and serve with gravy.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Man, this was GOOD!!  I saw a friend posted it on Facebook and figured "We love garlic so I'll try it!"  I'm so glad I did!!  I served it with orzo with butter, cut grape tomatoes, salt and pepper and broccoli.  The recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa  Copyright 2004, Barefoot in Paris, All Rights Reserved

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

  • 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
  • 2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.
Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.
Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos

So this was weird.  Yes, it's taco meat with sweet potatoes but MAN was it good!!!  You HAVE to try it!!  I got it from Tasty Kitchen - the site started by The Pioneer Woman.

Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos

1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz.) beans (black, kidney or pinto)
6 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, salsa, guacamole for garnish

Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Brown ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and beans. Set aside.
To assemble packets, spray the foil with non-stick spray. Place 1 cup sweet potato cubes in the center of each piece. Top with a small piece of butter (about 1 teaspoon) and a pinch or two of salt. Sprinkle some chopped spinach over the sweet potatoes, followed by about 1/3 cup of taco meat and a sprinkle of cheese. Fold the sides in, then bring the top and bottom ends of the foil together in the center and fold, sealing the packet.
Repeat with remaining ingredients, placing the packets on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
*Alternately, place ingredients in a 9"x13" dish and cover with foil.  Increase the cooking time to 45 minutes.
Serve with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole.
Makes 6 servings.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chicken Florentine Pasta

I got this today from the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog and had to try it since I had nothing planned for tonight.  It was a HUGE hit with the family and will make it into our rotation.  Here is the link

1 pound penne pasta
1. 5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (more if needed)
1 bag baby spinach
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz. parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain and set aside.
Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
Heat butter and olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken chunks in a single layer and do not stir for a minute or two in order to allow the chicken to brown on the first side. Turn the chicken and brown on the other side. Cook until done, then remove chicken from the skillet.
Turn heat to medium. Add garlic and quickly stir to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Allow the liquid to bubble up, then continue cooking until it's reduced by at least half (most of the surface of the liquid should be bubbling at this point.)
Turn off the heat. Add spinach, tomatoes, chicken, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine; the spinach will wilt as you toss everything. Add plenty of Parmesan shavings and toss to combine.
Serve with extra Parmesan shavings.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Wow!  It really DOES taste like stuffed peppers!

Stuffed Pepper Soup

2 lbs. ground beef
2 quarts water
1 can (28 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups cooked long grain rice
2 cups chopped green peppers
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1 tsp. pepper

In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Yield:  10 servings

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

I tried this recipe last night and it was yummy!!  Pretty simple to put together and if you prep all the ingredients beforehand, it should take less than 30 minutes to get it on the table!!  I served it with couscous and it was great.  I got the recipe from one of those magazine cookbooks at the register in the grocery store called Shortcut Cooking.

Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

1/4 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
1/8-1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins
10 oz. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces or one 10" package frozen cut asparagus, thawed and well drained
1 cup purchased shredded carrots
1/3 cup chopped, seeded tomato (1 small)

1.  In a small bowl, stir together salad dressing, vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper, set aside.
2.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken; cook for 5-6 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (170 degree internal temperature), turning once halfway through cooking.  Add half of the dressing mixture to skillet; turn chicken to coat.  Transfer chicken to a serving platter.  Keep warm.
3.  Add asparagus and carrots to skillet.  Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender; transfer to a serving plate.
4.  Stir remaining dressing mixture, add to skillet.  Drizzle the dressing mixture over chicken and vegetables.  Sprinkle with tomato.

Makes 4 servings.  Per serving:
269 calories
12 g. fat (2 g. sat fat)
66 mg. chol
323 mg. sodium
12 g. carb
2 g. fiber
27 g. protein

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Maple Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

A friend of mine gave me some old Real Simple magazines and I looked through one the other day (February 2009)  and found this recipe to try.  We tried it tonight and it was great!!  Very simple to put together and very simple flavors but delicious.  I made it with just bone-in chicken thighs since that is what I had in the freezer

Maple-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 onion, cut into 1" wedges
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 3.5 - 4 lb. chicken cut into 8 pieces
3 Tbsp. maple syrup

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9x13" baking dish, toss the sweet potatoes, onion, thyme, oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.  Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Nestle the chicken among the vegetables and drizzle with the maple syrup.

Roast, stirring the vegetables once, until the chicken is cooked through, 55 to 65 minutes.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Crockpot Swedish Meatballs

This is an easy recipe and while it does use canned soups, you can easily find the recipes online for the homemade equivalent if you want to.  But this is a quick, easy recipe and one my family loves!!!

Crockpot Swedish Meatballs

premade meatballs (I get them at the grocery store - they are 2 lbs. - you can make your own as well)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of garlic mushroom soup
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Lawry's seasoning

Mix all together in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve over noodles.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Best and Easiest Apple Pie!!!

This week at our homeschool group, we made an apple pie that was SOOO easy and SOOO delicious that I just had to share.  It can be made in one bowl and does not require a rolling pin to roll the crust so that is why I decided it is the best AND it tastes absolutely wonderful which now just puts it over the top!  For our homeschool group, I had the kids make up three baggies of the ingredients with everything already mixed except the apples (we peeled and sliced them there), the butter (just brought it as the wrapped stick) and the oil and water) I brought that and added it there) and if you wanted to, you could make up a few baggies yourself to make an easy apple pie "mix" for busy nights!!  It's also great to get the kids involved and get their hands dirty - it's a great pie to make with your hands!!

Apple Pie

Pat-a-Pie Crust

In an 8 or 9 inch pie pan, mix with a fork:

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup canola, vegetable or corn oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. water

Mix very gently with a fork until moistened.  Pat into a ball, flatten the ball and press from the center to edges to form a crust.  Crimp edges as desired.


3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash salt
6 cups thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 6 medium)

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  Stir in apples.  Turn into pie crust.


1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter

Mix until crumbly.  Top the apples with the crumb topping.

Bake on baking sheet for 40 minutes then cover lightly with foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until apples are tender.  Cool on baking rack.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Italian Beef Stew

This is an old family favorite.  I found the recipe when we first got married and have been cooking it ever since.  It also freezes well so when I cook it, I usually cook at least a double portion.

Italian Beef Stew

1 1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
3 Tbsp. oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can tomatoes, cut up
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. pepper

In a large, heavy saucepan, brown the beef in hot oil.  Remove and set aside.  Add onion, celery and garlic to pan drippings; saute until tender.  Return beef to pan and add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is tender.  Serve alone or over noodles.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lemon Sticky Roast Chicken

This is a standard in my house and VERY much loved.  It can be cooked regular (350 until done) or with this method but I find this way turns out REALLY good and it's great when I'm busy in the afternoon.

Lemon Sticky Roast Chicken

6-7 lb. whole chicken roaster
1 tsp. each:  salt (up to 2 tsp.), paprika, onion powder, sage, garlic powder and lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 lemon

Put chicken in baking pan and squeeze lemon over the skin.  Mix all spices and rub on the outside and inside of the chicken.  Put the quartered lemon in the cavity.  Roast at 250 degrees for 5 hours, ignoring the pop-up timer if there is one.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Williams Sonoma Baked Ziti

This was delicious!!!  Hubby doesn't like baked ziti because it's just....baked ziti.  This one he loves.  He rated it a 9.5 just because he can't quite get it up to those few things that are his favorite.  :)  The kids all gave it a 9.5 to a 10 so that means it stays in the rotation!!!  I changed the recipe a bit to make sure it was enough for my family so I'll post the link to the original recipe but I'll post what I actually made.

Here's the original recipe:

Here's mine:

Baked Ziti with Eggplant and Sausage

4 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 can (16 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 lb. ziti, cooked until al dente
2 Tbsp. dried basil
1/3 cup rinsed, chopped Kalamata olives
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1.  In a 10" nonstick fry pan over medium high heat, warm 2 tsp. of the olive oil.  Add the sausage and cook, stirring and crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

2.  Discard all but 1 Tbsp. of the fat in the pan.  Set the pan over medium-high heat and warm 2 tspl of the olive oil.  Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 6 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.

3.  Set the pan over medium heat and warm the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Add the onion and cook until softened, 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add the wine, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits.  Cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juices and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

4.  Add the sausage, basil, olives, 2 cups of the mozzarella and the tomato sauce to the bowl with the eggplant and stir to combine.  Add to the pasta (use a large bowl or the pot the pasta was cooked in).  Season with the salt and pepper.  Transfer the pasta mixture to a large casserole and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and the Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.  Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 -30 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.