Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pork Loin with Apples and Mushrooms

I have no idea where I found this recipe but oh my word, it's SOOOOOO good!!!  Definitely try it!

Pork Loin with Apples and Mushrooms

3 lb. pork loin
1 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Splash of dry white vermouth, about 2 Tbsp.
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup apple cider (or apple juice)
1 cup whipping cream
3 Tbsp. butter (divided)
3 small apples - peeled, cored and cut into 1/8 inch slices (I used Macintosh but use any tart apple)
3/4 lb. fresh sliced mushrooms

Season the pork with the thyme, salt and pepper.  Place roast in a lightly greased metal roasting pan.  Bake at 450 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour and 15 minutes (to 160 degrees internal temperature).  Remove the roast to a platter, cover with foil and let it rest while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Place the roasting pan over medium heat on stove top and add the cider, stirring to scrape up the drippings.  Add the vermouth, broth and cream.  Bring to a low boil.  Cook 15 minutes on low until thick, stirring often.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.

Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet and add the apples.  Cook at medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes.  Remove apples from skillet and keep them warm in the oven.  Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet and add mushrooms, cooking until tender.  Stir in the cream mixture.  Mix and cook over low heat until heated thoroughly.

Place some slices of pork on the plate, spoon the mushroom sauce over the pork.  Serve with the apples.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Annie's Crockpot Chili

I originally got this recipe from All Recipes but it was too spicy for my daughter and I had to modify it. I think I found a good solution by replacing a lot of the chili powder and hot pepper sauce with unsweetened cocoa.  It still has a great depth of flavor but is mild for sensitive tummies.

Annie's Crockpot Chili

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
3 (15 oz.) can beans, drained (can use black, kidney or pink)
1 (15 oz.) can chili beans in sauce, undrained
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. bacon bits
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/2 cup beer
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1.  Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.  Crumble the meats into the pot and cook until evenly browned.  Drain off excess grease.  Place meat in at least a 6 quart crockpot (this makes a LOT).

2.  Add the remaining ingredients to crockpot; stir well.

3.  Cook on low for 7-10 hours.

4.  Serve in bowls sprinkled with cheddar cheese and sour cream.  It is very good also served with corn chips or tortilla chips.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Korean Beef

So, the other day, an online friend of mine posted on Facebook asking what she can make for dinner.  A friend of hers gave her this recipe and my friend ended up making it and RAVING about it.  Then another online friend tried it and same response.  So, when that happens, I'm not stupid!  I try it!  It was easy to make and I doubled the recipe using turkey meat for the second pound of meat so that it would feed my family of 6 and all I can say is that this is now going to have regular appearances on our menu!  I'm sure you can even make it and freeze it for a fast dinner (pick up Chinese food rice on the way home from work and toss some broccoli in the micro and you're done)!  Here is the link to the recipe that was given on Facebook.

Korean Beef

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper (to desired spiciness)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced
hot rice

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown beef with garlic in the sesame oil.  Drain most of the fat and add the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper.  Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.  Serve over rice and sprinkle with green onion.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Morning Glory Muffins

These are wonderful for breakfast and a favorite around here.  They are a lot of work but worth it.

Morning Glory Muffins

2 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
4 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins, plumped in brandy or apple juice and drained
1 cup coconut, shredded
4 cups shredded carrots
2 apples, shredded
1 cup chopped pecans
6 eggs
2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Lightly dust the raisins with flour.  Add the coconut, fruit and nuts; stir well.  Add the eggs, oil and vanilla, stirring only until combined.

Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Muffins should "ripen" for 24 hours for maximum blending of flavors.

Taco Soup

This is a staple in our house.  I can easily keep all of the ingredients on hand and even precook the chopped meat and freeze it so it's a GREAT recipe to dump into the crockpot on a busy morning and let it cook all day.  :)

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 oz) can chili beans, with liquid
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, with liquid
1 (15 oz.) can corn, with liquid
1 (8 oz.) can tomato paste
2 cups water
2 (14.5 oz) can peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chile peppers
1 (1.25 oz.) package taco seasoning mix

1.  In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef and onions until browned over medium heat.  Drain, set aside.

2.  Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker.  Mix to blend, and cook on LOW setting for 8 hours.

Serve with corn chips, tortilla chips, sour cream, cheddar cheese or whatever else you like.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ham and Bean Soup

I originally got this recipe from All Recipes and it's the recipe by Pat Keene.  I found last Christmas' ham bone in the freezer when taking an inventory so I decided to make this soup.  Oh man, it's SOOOOO good!!!  I didn't need to add any additional ham to it because the bone had plenty of meat when the soup was almost ready.  This is a wonderful soup for fall or winter!

Ham and Bean Soup

1 (16 oz.) package dried navy beans
7 cups water
1 ham bone
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups diced ham
1/2 cup or more sliced celery
1/2 cup or more sliced carrots

1.  Rinse beans.  Put into stockpot, cover with water.  Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes.  Place pan in sink and add 1/4 cup baking soda to the bean/water mix and stir vigorously until the foam is gone.  (This helps to get rid of some of the "gas" in the beans supposedly.)  Drain and rinse the beans VERY well.  Put beans back in pot and add water, ham bone, onion, pepper and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour 15 minutes.

2.  Remove bone and scrape off any meat and add back to soup.  Add in carrots, celery, salt and diced ham.  Continue cooking for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

** Very good when cooked ahead and refrigerated overnight**

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Crockpot Cranberry Pork Roast

I can't believe I haven't posted this here yet!!  This is an old family favorite that is full of great flavor and since pork is so inexpensive right now, a great budget meal!!

2 1/2-3 lb. lean boneless pork loin roast or rib roast
1 (16) oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup port wine or cranberry juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 small lemon, thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden seedless raisins
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. diced candied ginger
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water
cooked rice

Place pork roast in 3/12 quart slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, combine cranberry sauce, port wine or cranberry juice and sugar.  Stir in lemon, raisins, garlic, ginger, mustard, salt and pepper.  Spoon over roast.  Cook on low (covered) for 6-7 hours or until meat is 170 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.

Remove roast from cooker and cover with foil to keep warm.  Turn crockpot to high or pour cooking juices into a saucepan and put on medium-high heat on the stove.  Combine the cornstarch and water until cornstarch is dissolved then add to juices.  Cook, stirring until thickened.

Slice roast and pour the gravy over the meat.  Serve rice on the side.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Crockpot Sweet Garlic Chicken

Saw this on Facebook and had to try it.  I used frozen chicken breasts (from the big 10 lb. bag from Costco) so this was a PERFECT recipe to try since I had no thawed chicken at all.  Definitely got a thumbs up from everyone in the family.  I served it over rice with green beans on the side.

Crock Pot Sweet Garlic Chicken 

4-6 chicken breasts

1 cup packed brown sugar 
2/3 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda (diet or regular)
2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons water
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken (frozen, thawed or fresh) inside slow cooker. Mix together brown sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper together. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. 

Take chicken pieces out of slow cooker (mine basically fell apart) and pour remaining sauce into saucepan. Place saucepan over high heat. Mix together corn starch and water, pour into saucepan, and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and turns into a glaze. Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two (it will continue to thicken as it cools down). 
Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if desired. This can be served over rice or noodles, I also like it with a baked potato on the side (It's good on top of the potato too!)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Crockpot "Refried" Beans

Oh my gosh - these are perfect!!  How inexpensive!!  How easy!!!  How yummy!!!!!!  The original recipe is from Pennies & Pancakes and I only changed it by not adding the salt as they cooked (because I remember hearing that salt will make the beans tough??) and adding it at the end.  I wasn't even home for a lot of this cooking and I cooked it on low for 4 hours instead of 2 because, well, I wasn't home in 2 hours.  :)  But still they are perfect and now I have a big batch of beans for dinner tonight and the freezer.

Crockpot "Refried" Beans

2 lbs. pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped
4 Tbsp. jarred minced garlic (or 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced)
Up to 2 1/2 Tbsp salt (wait to the end and add a little bit at a time and taste)
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. cumin
10 cups hot water

Rinse the beans in a colander.   Pick out any bad beans or stones.

Combine all the ingredients in the crockpot.  Remove any floating beans.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours and then LOW for 2 hours.

Uncover and remove extra liquid (I only drained off a little bit - like a quarter cup?).  Leave enough liquid to reach the desired consistency when the beans are mashed.

Mash beans with a potato masher to desired consistency.

Serve warm.  Store in air-tight containers in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks or freeze in containers or zip lock bags for later use.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

BowTie Pesto Pasta Salad

I tried this earlier in the summer and it was delicious but I forgot to write it up - and almost lost the recipe!!  So since I want to make this for dinner tonight - and NOT lose the recipe, here we go:

BowTie Pesto Pasta Salad

1 lb. bowtie pasta
8 Tbsp. pesto
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup spinach, diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
4 Tbsp. Caesar dressing

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse well with cold water.  Add remaining ingredients to the pasta, mix well and refrigerate until serving.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Grilled Orange Sesame Chicken Wraps with Asian Cole Slaw

Tried this new to me recipe tonight and again, a hit with the fam!!  I got it from The $5 Dinner Mom and it was perfect for the hot weather.  It was quick to prepare and didn't cost a lot of money which is a definite bonus.  I already had most of the ingredients so only had to pick up the burritos, pineapple and cole slaw mix.  9++ rating from everyone at the table AND my dairy allergic daughter could indulge with the family as well.  :)

Grilled Orange Sesame Chicken Wraps with Asian Cole Slaw

3 chicken breasts, cut thin horizontally, about 1.5 lbs.
2 cups orange juice
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (I had them but decided to use about 1.5 Tbsp. sesame oil instead
4-6 burrito sized whole wheat tortillas
pineapple or other fresh fruit

Asian Cole Slaw

1 12 oz. bag cole slaw mix
1/3 cup mayonaisse
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. ground ginger
couple dashes of pepper

Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish or resealable plastic baggie.  Add the orange juice and toasted sesame seeds (or sesame oil).  Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hour up to overnight.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, ginger and pepper.  Pour over the cole slaw in a larger mixing bowl and toss well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grill chicken breast until done.  Remove to a plate or cutting board and slice into strips.

Assemble the wraps by adding some Asian Cole Slaw and sliced chicken to the burrito.  Roll and eat.

Serve with pineapple or other fresh fruit.  My husband put the cut up pineapple onto the burrito and thought it was fantastic!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

We just finished these tonight and definitely another hot weather hit!!  VERY tasty when served on a nice ciabatta roll.  I would think these could be made in larger quantities easily as well and frozen!

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 - 1 cup of your favorite Caesar dressing
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (or 2 tsp. of dried)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
12 slider buns,  4-6 hamburger or other buns

Place chicken in crockpot with about a cup of water.  Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from cooker using a slotted spoon and drain the water from the crockpot.  Shred the chicken and return to crockpot.  Pour dressing over chicken, stirring to make it to the desired consistency (we got to to a nice moist chicken salad consistency).  Add Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper and stir well.  Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes on high or until mixture is hot.

Serve on buns and top with the lettuce, extra dressing and/or dressing as desired.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

OK - Saw these on Tasty Kitchen and had to try them because they looked great.  Well, they ARE!!  Because they don't cook that long in the oven, they are perfect for hot weather to have something a little different.  I served them with pasta salad and green salad and it was a hit across the board.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

12 Hawaiian rolls split
12 slices deli ham
6 slices deli provalone cheese, halved

4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. poppy seeds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a rimmed sheet with foil.  Assemble the sandwiches with a slice of ham and a half slice of cheese on the bottom half of each roll and top with the top half of the roll.  Place the assembled sandwiches close together on the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.  Microwave until the butter is just melted, about 30-60 seconds.  Add the poppy seeds and stir until combined.

Drizzle the butter mixture evenly over the sandwiches.  Bake in the oven until the cheese has melted and the butter mixture starts to caramelize, about 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pork Chop Suey

I found this recipe in the October 2012 issue of Woman's Day and it was yummy!  I just made it again tonight for the family and it's still as good as it was when we first tried it.  It's a GREAT recipe for a fast meal if you prep the food ahead of time.  Tonight I had hubby pick up Chinese rice from the Chinese food place - two quarts cost me $5.50 but since I was almost out of rice in the pantry, it was welcomed (HOW did that happen - to run out of rice????).  With the rice, it's a complete meal and delicious!

Pork Chop Suey

1 cup long grain white rice
8 oz. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/4" slices
kosher salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4" wedges
2 stalks celery, cut in 1/4" diagonal slices
8 oz. small mushrooms (halved or quartered if larger)
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 1" piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp. cornstarch

1.  Cook the rice according to package directions.  Season the pork with 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper.  Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork and cook, stirring once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.

2.  Add the broccoli and 2 Tbsp. water to the skillet and cook, covered, until broccoli is just tender.  Transfer to the bowl with the pork.

3.  Add the remaining Tbsp. oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.  Add the celery and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 2 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, ginger and cornstarch.  Add to the skillet along with the pork and broccoli and cook, tossing until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds.  Serve with the rice.

Makes 4 generous servings (although we fed 6 with leftovers, although I did use the other piece of pork tenderloin to just cook in the oven and served it with this too).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chicken Soup Starter

When we have anyone come down with an illness, the first thing they want is homemade chicken soup.  But I know that I don't always have time to get a good homemade chicken soup made right at that moment so a few years ago, I started using this method to get "Chicken Soup Starter" in the freezer and it's been an amazing gift.  To have that liquid gold ready to go - and to be able to get homemade chicken soup in front of a sickie in about 20 minutes is priceless.   I will always make this when we have a roast chicken for dinner because it's like free food!  Rather than tossing the carcass, make this and toss it when you're done.  It's amazing how much it breaks down making the stock!

Here is my batch from today:

The recipe isn't much of a recipe but more of what I just toss together that sounds good and it always makes a great soup.

Chicken Soup Starter

1 chicken carcass from a roasted chicken
2 small onions, cut in half (can leave skins on - even the dark ones)
1 head of garlic, most of the papery skin taken off and then cut into 1/4s (it seems like a lot but it's not and garlic is SOOOO good for illnesses)
3 stalks celery cut into big chunks, including the leaves
3 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1-2 tsp. salt (you can add more later so go lower for this)
about one teaspoon of each of the following dried herbs or whatever combo you prefer:  thyme, parsley,  rosemary, dill, sage
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
water to cover

Put the chicken carcass and all other ingredients into a 7 quart crockpot.  Set the crockpot on low and cook for 12 hours or so.  I will put this together after dinner and then deal with it in the morning after I'm done with breakfast.

After 12 hours, set a colander over a large stockpot and pour all of the contents of the crockpot into the colander.  Let it sit for 5 minutes to make sure you get all of the liquid out, pressing if you need to assure this.  Cover the stockpot and refrigerate then put the colander into a large bowl and refrigerate until cool enough to handle.  You will now pick through all the solids and discover just how much meat was still left on those bones!  Most of it will be little shreds of meat but that is OK.  Pick through and get all the meat you can, watching for the small little bones and any tough stuff that's in there.  Discard the solids.

Remove the stock from the fridge and skim off the fat that has gathered at the top.  Now you have gorgeous stock and plenty of chicken meat.  Divide the stock and meat into smaller freezer containers of your choosing.  I like to use containers that hold about 4-6 cups so that I can get a few bowls of soup out of the starter.  Label and freeze your starter.

When it's time to serve it, pull it from the freezer, set it into a bowl to thaw enough to remove the starter from the container and set into a pot and put on the stove over a medium low heat.  As the starter is melting, cut up one or two carrots, one or two stalks of celery and prepare a small amount of either rice or egg noodles.  Add the vegetables to the starter and cook until tender.  When it's ready, add the rice or noodles and serve.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Meatball Minestrone Soup

I saw this recipe online at Jamie Cooks It Up and decided to try it.  Hubby and the two littles were home to try it out and we got ratings of 9.5 to 10!!  So it's a keeper!!  I actually assembled it Saturday night and plugged it in Sunday morning before church.  We had a meeting at 5 pm so I figured we'd eat early but hubby wanted to eat afterwards so the soup ended up cooking for almost 12 hours!  But it was still absolutely delicious!!  I could see using just browned chopped meat (turkey or beef) in the recipe or even leaving it out for a vegetarian soup if you use vegetable stock.  DEFINITELY try it out!!

(photo credit: from Jamie Cooks it Up since I forgot to take a picture before we ate it!)

Meatball Minestrone Soup

2 (14.5 oz.) cans Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups carrots
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans
6 cups (about 1.5 lbs.) Italian meatballs, fully cooked [purchased frozen or homemade]
1 (16 oz) box ditalini pasta or elbow macaroni [I found that I used only about 1/4 of this)
1 (10 oz) can tomato soup
Parmesan cheese

[I'm typing the directions more in my own words because they had listed a lot of steps to basically say "Toss it all in".  LOL ]

1.  Into a large crockpot, mix all ingredients but the macaroni, tomato soup and cheese.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

2.  Add 1 can of tomato soup into the soup and stir.  Cover the soup and let it heat through.  This will thicken the soup just a bit.

3.  Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.  Either place a portion of pasta in the bowl and serve the soup over the pasta or add in the pasta straight to the soup and stir.

4.  Serve with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

I don't know why but I was in the mood for Shepherd's Pie this week so I went searching for a recipe and found what I thought would be great.  I was right!  I made a few modifications and here's what I got - a definite keeper!

Shepherd's Pie

3 lbs. ground meat (I used turkey, lamb and beef)
2 medium onions, minced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen peas and carrots, thawed and heated for 2 minutes in the micro to cook a little
ground black pepper
3 lbs. russet potatoes (about 6 medium), peeled and cut into large cubes
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk or heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender.  Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.  Add butter and milk and mash them to a smooth consistency.  Set aside.

2.  While the potatoes are cooking, cook the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the meat into small pieces with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes.  Drain the meat through a fine-mesh strainer, reserving the drippings.

3.  Return 2 Tbsp. of the reserved drippings to the pan and heat over medium-low heat until shimmering.  Add the onions and 1 tsp. salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the broth and wine, scraping up any browned bits.  Stir in the drained meat, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and rosemary.  Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the peas and carrots and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer the mixture into a deep 13x9" casserole dish.

4.  With a large spoon, dollop the mashed potatoes over the meat filling.  Using a spoon or rubber spatula, smooth the potatoes out into an even layer and push to the edges of the baking dish.  Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheddar.

5.  Place the casserole in a preheated 400 degree F oven and bake for 35 minutes.  You might want to put a piece of foil under the casserole in case it bubbles over so as to keep your oven clean.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

6.  You can make this ahead of time up to before baking and cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and then foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.  (If frozen, the casserole must be thawed completely in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before baking).  Increase baking time to 1 hour for a cold casserole.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gorgonzola Steak Burgers

OK - We really didn't know how to name these but this is what hubby and kiddies came up with so we're going with it.  Our local pizza place had a burger advertised on Facebook last night that looked so good but the roads were slick so we didn't go to have it.  I decided to try to recreate something like it and man, was it a success.  This one rated a 10 by Joanna, an 11 by Bob and a 12 by Robby.  Off the charts good!!

Gorgonzola Steak Burgers

2 lbs. chopped meat
1 Tbsp. butter or oil
4 medium yellow onions, sliced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 jar (12 oz) beef gravy
4 oz. Gorgonzola or bleu cheese
8 slices Texas Toast - frozen or homemade - toasted

1.  Form meat into 8 patties - or less if you want to make them nice and big.  Fry in a pan until browned.  Place into 9x13" baking dish.  Set aside.

2.  Add butter or oil to pan and heat.  Add onions and mushrooms; cook until onions are carmelized, about 8 minutes.  Add red wine, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and thyme.  Simmer on medium high until most of the liquid is gone.  Pour this over the burgers.  Open the jar of gravy and pour over the onion/mushroom mixture.

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and pour the Gorgonzola or bleu cheese over the top and return to oven for about 5 minutes.

4.  To serve, place a burger on a slice of toast and pour on extra gravy from the pan to coat well.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Awesome Enchiladas

I got this recipe from All Recipes and it's REALLY good!!!  It's a little labor intensive but it's well worth it.  I usually make way more than the recipe calls for (I used 11 tortillas tonight) and finish out a second pan with cheese enchiladas as well.  Hey, if I'm making them.....

Awesome Enchiladas

2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies, drained
1 (1.25 oz) pkg. mild taco seasoning mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped and divided
1 cup water
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. onion powder
10 burrito sized flour tortillas
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
1 (28 oz.) can enchilada sauce

1.  Cook the chicken breasts in water until cooked through.  Let cool then shred, set aside.  Meanwhile, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and chili powder in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, then turn off heat and cover to keep warm.
2.  Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the onion, cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the shredded chicken, chopped green chilies, taco seasoning, HALF of the bunch of chopped green onion and water.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice, onion and garlic powders, simmer an additional 10 minutes.
3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Stir one cup of the soup mixture into the bottom of the 9x13" dish.
4.  Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture.  Sprinkle cheddar over the chicken then fold the tortilla over filling and place seam side down in prepared pan.  (reserve half the cheese for topping)
5.  Pour enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas.  Cover with remaining cheese.  Sprinkle reserved onions and olives over the top.  Bake until filling is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes.