Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nothing to do with cooking...

But I love reading Jill's blog at She's freaking hilarious. And, to make it even better, she's giving away a Dyson vacuum! So, head on over there and read about her life with an adorable toddler...and life in general. BUT, if you win that vacuum, I'm gonna be should be MINE!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Yummyness!

I'm still stuffed from 3 Thanksgiving meals (yes, 3!) and can't even think of turkey right now, but I did want to go ahead and share the recipes I made because they were super yummy and I want to have them for next year! Hope you had a great holiday with family :)

Cranberry Sauce (a combination of a couple of recipes, but basically this one by Alton Brown)
1/4 c. cranberry juice (NOT cocktail...the 100% juice)
juice from one orange (approx. 1/4 c.)
1 c. honey
zest from one orange
1 bag fresh cranberries

Bring the cranberry juice, orange juice and honey to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes, adding zest after a couple of minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the cranberries, and continue to simmer for 12-15 minutes (no more than 15). Continue to stir every minute or two. The cranberries will begin to burst, and I used a wooden spoon to kind of mash up the cranberries in the last few minutes of cooking.
Remove from heat, let cool for a few minutes, then pour into either a mold or serving bowls. Refrigerate overnight.

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole (I believe it was basically a recipe by Paula Deen, but of course now I can't find the original recipe)
2 bags frozen broccoli (1 family size, 1 large size I believe)
1/4 c. chopped celery*
1/4 lb. chopped mushrooms*
1/4 c. chopped onion*
*I eyeballed these measurements, and probably used more celery and less onion.
2 T butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 lb. velveeta cheese
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Steam the broccoli in salted water for just a couple of minutes (basically to heat thru). Drain well--I drained it in the colander, then spread the broccoli out on a few layers of paper towels to absorb as much water as possible.
Saute the celery, mushrooms, and onion in the butter until very soft. Add the soup and velveeta, stirring often, until the cheese is melted and everything is combined well. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Combine the broccoli and cheese/soup/veggie mixture well, then pour into a greased casserole dish. Top with the cheddar cheese.
Either 1) put into a preheated 350* oven for about 20 minutes and serve; or 2) if made ahead of time, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking, and cook at 375* for about 30 minutes.

Streusel Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (From Tyler Florence's recipe)
This may be my favorite sweet potato recipe!
6 small to medium sweet potatoes
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, room temp
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. toasted pecan pieces
1 c. (or a few handfuls) mini marshmallows

Scrub and prick the sweet potatoes, then bake in a preheated 400* oven until soft (about 45 minutes or so).
While the potatoes are baking, make the streusel: combine the butter, sugar and flour with a fork until crumbly. Add the cinnamon, salt and pecans.
(I made this the day before, so at this point, I put the streusel in the fridge, along with the cooled sweet potatoes.)
Cut the sweet potatoes in half length-wise, and use a fork to kind of tear up the insides (does that make sense?! haha). Place them in a baking dish, flesh-side up. Top each half with a generous amount of the streusel mixture, covering as much of the potato as possible. Sprinkle marshmallows over the streusel.
Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 375* oven for about 45 minutes, removing foil for last 15-20 minutes. (If you are making this directly after baking the potatoes, I think you can keep the oven at 400*, and just bake uncovered for about 20 minutes).
The streusel should get crispy, and the marshmallows will melt and brown. SO yummy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Olive and Feta Stuffed Chicken

Okay, this is seriously awesome. I didn't know what to make for dinner, and called mom on the way to the grocery. She suggested this, and I made a few tweaks since Wesley would be eating it with me. I am seriously thinking I'll make it again tomorrow night!

olive oil
boneless skinless chicken breast
about 8 kalamata olives, diced*
about 1.5 T crumbled feta (I used the garlic herb kind)*
about 1/3 bag of frozen spinach
salt and pepper (and/or seasoned salt...I used Crazy Salt)
*I put both the olives and feta in the food processor to dice since I was feeding this to Wesley.

Preheat oven to 375. In an ovenproof pan, heat olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Cut the chicken to create a pocket. Combine the olives and feta, and stuff into the chicken. Season outside of chicken, and brown well in the olive oil. Once browned, add the spinach to the pan, season, and cover. Put the pan in the oven, cooking until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. YUM!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Taco Soup

I did the in the crockpot, and it was the easiest thing ever!!

1 lb of chicken (either cut boneless skinless breasts into small chunks, or I got a package of "stir fry chicken pieces" or something to that effect)
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of corn (I used a small can of shoepeg)
1 can of black beans
1 can of mild Ro*Tel tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 packet of taco powder
1 packet of ranch powder
Approx. 1 c. of water (I added some awesome Glory chicken base to it--I use this stuff all the time!!)

And it can't get any easier than this: throw everything into the crockpot (don't drain any of the cans), cook on high for 4 hours, then eat! I actually cooked some cheese tortilini and threw that in the bowls when I served this to make it a little more hardy. It really didn't need it though. It can be served with Fritos, cheese and sour cream.

2 notes:
1) If you like spicy, you could use regular Ro*Tel tomatoes, but honestly, it was plenty spicy for Wes and I with the mild ones.
2) This is a similar recipe to the Sante Fe Stew, but it's thinner (and a little bit easier b/c you don't have to cook the chicken first).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Barbeque Chicken AND Pork!!

I made WONDERFUL bbq chicken for dinner tonight (along with grilled corn and Cesar salad. Yum!), and am making bbq pork for the Wofford Homecoming tailgate this weekend...go Terriers!! So, here are these two recipes. I'll have to let you know after Saturday how the pork goes over! (And of course, the measurements aren't exact...although this time I did at least use measuring spoons/cups most of the time)

BBQ Sauce
Whisk together all of the following ingredients over medium low heat. Let simmer for approximately 45 minutes, whisking often.
2 c ketchup
1 c apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Worcestershire
3 tbsp prepared mustard
¾ c sugar
½ tbsp garlic salt
½ tbsp black pepper
½ tbsp paprika
½ tbsp dry mustard
3 shakes cayenne pepper
2" cinnamon stick

BBQ Chicken
1 c. Zesty Italian dressing
¼ c apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp onion flakes
½ tbsp paprika
½ tbsp black pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Combine all marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Marinate the chicken for at least a few hours (we marinated it overnight). Grill the chicken, brushing with BBQ Sauce for the last 5 minutes or so. Serve with BBQ sauce if desired (but discard the sauce you used to brush the cooking chicken!!).

BBQ Pork
1 c. Zesty Italian dressing
2/3 c. prepared mustard
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Liquid Smoke
2 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp garlic salt
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp seasoned salt (I use Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt)
1/2 tbsp dried mustard
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
5-6 lb. Boston Butt Pork

Combine all marinade ingredients, whisk together well (I used my immersion blender with the whisk attachment) so that ingredients emulsify. Place pork in a Ziploc bag, pour marinade over it. Seal, squeezing out air, and let marinate for 24 hours. We will EITHER be cooking this in the oven at very low heat overnight, or in the crock pot overnight. I'll let you know!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cucumber Salad

1 Large Cucumber thinly sliced
1 small white or red onion thinly sliced
3/4 c white or rice vinegar
1/2 c water
3/4 cup sugar
1 T dried dill
2 tsp red chili flakes

Over medium high heat, combine all marinade ingredients. bring to a boil, remove from heat and add onions (if you'd like them to soften a bit). When the marinade has cooled, add the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour (Even better the next day) & serve!

Grilled Red and Green Cabbage Slaw

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup tarragon vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil plus additional for brushing
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 medium head of red cabbage (about 1 3/4 pounds), quartered through core
1 medium head of green cabbage (about 13/4 pounds), quartered through core
1 bunch green onions (about 6), trimmed

I used cider vinegar and olive oil instead, then added just a touch of sesame oil and reduced the sugar and oil by half. I've also made it with fresh rosemary (I think I like it better this way!) instead of taragon.

Spray grill rack with nonstick spray. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk vinegar, sugar, 1/2 cup oil, mustard, and tarragon in medium bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Brush cabbages and green onions with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill cabbages until dark grill marks form, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Grill green onions until charred on 1 side, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to work surface.
Chop green onions and cabbages; place in large bowl, discarding cores. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.
It's even better the second day!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pot Roast

2 lb. pot roast
olive oil
½ c chopped onion
1 c beef broth
minced garlic
½ c red wine
Tbsp Wooster
2 tsp Italian herbs
½ to 1 tsp liquid smoke
black pepper
Brown roast in olive oil, remove roast, brown onions, add roast and everything else; simmer for 2 ½ to 4 hrs. (You can also do this in the slow cooker)
**My notes…I did this in the crock pot—low for 8 hrs. When I got home, I added a small bag of baby carrots for the last hour or two. Right before we were ready to eat, I melted a pat of butter in a small pan, added a spoonful of flour to make a roux. I whisked in all the liquid from the crock pot and slowly boiled until thickened into a gravy.
Also, this about overflowed my crock pot! You may want to cut back on the size of the roast and amount of carrots added.

Two Chicken Crock-Pot Recipes

Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken
Chicken breasts (diced)
Jar of salsa
Can of black beans, drained
Can of corn, drained
Combine in slow-cooker, cook all day over low, and serve over rice. You can also put in other things like black olives, peppers, etc.

Slow-Cooker Italian Chicken
Chicken Breasts (diced)
Can of tomato sauce
Can of artichoke hearts, drained
Jar of roasted red peppers, drained
Italian Seasoning
Combine in slow-cooker, cook all day over low, and serve over pasta with parmesan cheese.

Easy Veggies and Rice

1 onion, diced
olive oil
¾ c. chicken broth
1 large can petit diced tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (multiple times) well
frozen chopped spinach
wild rice, cooked according to package directions
seasoned pepper
parmesan cheese

While cooking the wild rice, sauté the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent and soft. Add in the chicken broth, and simmer until reduced to less than half. Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes and black beans, season with salt and pepper. Simmer to reduce any remaining liquid. Stir in frozen spinach, cook for 5 or so minutes until spinach is cooked through. Serve veggie mix over rice, sprinkle with parmesan. Only takes about 15 minutes!

“I Say It’s Homemade” Spaghetti Sauce

1½ lbs. lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 whole bulb of garlic, pressed (or only a few cloves, if you prefer)
Olive oil
Small yellow squash, thinly sliced
Small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I usually use Ragu)
1 can RoTel tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 small can of sliced black olives, drained
¼ c. catsup
½ c. red wine
1 T Italian seasoning (or fresh herbs, if available)
Dash or two of Tabasco
Dash or two of Worscestershire
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown the ground beef, drain.
2. Sauté onion and garlic in a small amount of olive oil; add squash and zucchini and cook for just a few minutes.
3. In a large pot, combine all ingredients.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook for at least 45 minutes, better if simmered for at least 1½ hours.

Red Rice

Red Rice
From Southern Living
10-12 servings

Prep: 10 min
Cook: 50 min
Tomato paste tends to scorch easily, so be sure to stir as directed.

1½ cups uncooked long-grain rice
8 bacon slices
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2½ cups chicken broth
1½ (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

1. Rinse rice with cold running water 3 minutes or until water is no longer cloudy. Drain and set aside.

2. Cook bacon in a 3 1/2-qt. saucepan over medium heat 10 minutes or until crisp. Drain and set bacon aside, reserving 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings in pan.

3. Sauté onion in hot drippings in saucepan over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until onion is tender; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.

4. Stir in rinsed rice, chicken broth, and next 3 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring mixture every 7 to 10 minutes.

5. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Stir in crumbled bacon and 3 Tbsp. parsley; garnish, if desired.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Awesome London Broil

NOTE: This recipe is taken directly from

1 London Broil, approximately 1 to 2 lbs.
1/2 c. soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS. vegetable oil
2 TBS. ketchup
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Poke holes in your LB with either a fork or the tip of a sharp knife. Dump all ingredients except the LB in a large ziplock bag. Close the bag tightly and give it a good shake or 10 to combine all the ingredients. Drop your LB in the bag and smoosh the marinade all over it, then place the bag on a flat dish and refrigerate overnight or at least for 8 hours, turning the bag over once.When ready to prepare, heat your grill and cook the LB for approximately 4 minutes on each side for rare, 5 minutes on each side for medium rare and 6 to 8 minutes on each side for medium well to well. I highly recommend serving this cut of meat on the rare to medium rare side as the more well you cook it the more tough it will be regardless of the marinade or the slicing. Gah. After your LB is grilled to your liking, let it rest off the heat for at least 5 minutes to evenly distribute the yummy juices throughout the piece, ensuring juicy slices from end to end! Cut thinly along the bias of the meat.. meaning cut it width wise and not length wise. Enjoy!

Roasted Tomatoes

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
4 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm or at room temperature.

**OR: put all marinade ingredients in a ziploc bag, mix well. Add tomatoes, make sure all get coated well. Remove from marinade with a slotted spoon, place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with remaining marinade.

Hamburger Pie

**makes 2 pies!

1½ lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, diced (more or less to your taste)
¾ c. milk
¾ c. mayonnaise
3 eggs—beaten
1½ tbsp. cornstarch
2 to 2¼ c. grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 frozen pie crusts

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Brown ground beef with onions, pour off fat. In a large bowl, mix beef, milk, mayo, eggs, cornstarch, and cheese. Add salt and pepper. Slit bottom of piecrusts, pour meat mixture equally into each. Bake for approximately 1 hour, covering edge of crust after 15 minutes. Uncooked pie can be frozen. To cook frozen pie, either thaw in refrigerator, or preheat oven to 450°. Cover crust edges, bake frozen pie for about 15 minutes before changing temperature to 350°. Continue baking for about 1½ hours.

I use lean ground beef, skim milk, low fat mayo, and the roll-out refrigerated piecrusts.

Chicken Enchiladas

olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes (or smaller)
2 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
16 oz. light sour cream
4 green onions, chopped
2 (4.5 oz) cans diced chilies
2 c. shredded Mexican-blend cheese
8 oz. block of light cream cheese, cut into 8 long strips
8 large flour tortillas
jar of enchilada sauce (16 oz?)

Preheat oven to 375, and spray a large casserole dish with olive oil (13x9).
Over medium to medium-high heat, saute chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp. cumin. When almost cooked thru, add in onion and garlic, cooking till translucent.
In a large bowl, mix sour cream, 1 tsp. cumin, green onions, chilies, and 1 c. cheese. Add in chicken mixture (if it has a lot of liquid in it, drain that off first...gross I know).
Spoon about 1/2 c. of filling in the center of each tortilla, then lay a strip of cream cheese on top. Fold up ends of tortilla, then roll up to seal. Place seam side down in casserole dish. You will probably have to cram the enchiladas in the casserole to get them all to fit!!
Pour the jar of sauce over the enchiladas, then cover with tinfoil. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until filling is heated thru, and sauce begins to bubble. Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top, baking for another 5-10 minutes till cheese is melted and bubbly.

Santa Fe Stew

Santa Fe Stew

2 lbs. ground chicken, venison, or beef (or combination)
1 onion, diced
2 packages Ranch Dressing mix
2 packages Taco Seasoning
1 16-oz. can of each of the following (do not drain):
black beans
kidney beans
pinto beans
diced tomatoes with chilies (you can use 2 cans)
1 large can of diced tomatoes
2 cans of white corn
2 cups of water (can be discarded if you’d like less broth)

Brown meat with onions, drain. Stir in the 4 seasoning packets. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 2 hours.

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, green onion, and tortilla chips