Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Ice-cream" Graham-wiches

I found a recipe for these on Southern Plate, and even though they're almost sugar-free I decided they still need some protein in them, to be better for ME. =)  I figure it won't hurt anyone else- so they should suit our whole family just fine. Here's what I've used:

Ingredients:
Approximately 30 graham crackers, broken in half
large box sugar free chocolate pudding
8 ounces sugar free whipped topping
2 c milk
1-2 scoops chocolate or unflavored protein powder
Sprinkles, nuts, mini choc chips

Directions: Prepare pudding with milk, according to package directions.  Stir in protein powder + whipped topping and blend until smooth.  Place in refrigerator to firm up a bit.  When it's firmed up somewhat, place a large dollop on a graham cracker and top with another. Dip each side into sprinkles or nuts if desired. Place in individual zipper seal sandwich bags and freeze until firm.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Revised *CrAzY* Crock-pot Lasagna

I really did used to make this several years ago.  But the last time I attempted it,it was really salty.  We're having it for dinner again tonight, and of course I felt obligated to switch it up a bit.  It's "crazy" because I used egg noodles instead of lasagna noodles.  I just like them better.  I'm writing down what I did here, and then I'll just report back if it was any good or not. I'm optimistic!

CrAzY Crock-pot Lasagna

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 small diced onion
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 26 1/2  oz can spaghetti sauce
1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 layers of egg noodles
2 eggs
16 oz carton ricotta or cottage cheese (we use cottage cheese- Bryson prefers it)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
spices to taste


Earlier this morning I browned the ground beef with the chopped onion and minced garlic.  Obviously you may do that when you're fixing to start assembling it, ahead of time, whatever suits you.  If it wasn't ground round, be sure to drain it.

Mix the cottage or ricotta cheese with 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella and the 2 eggs.  I also add oregano here, but I LURVE me some oregano- I have a huge jar of it from Sam's Club.  

Mix the diced tomatoes with the spaghetti sauce and the 1/2 cup of water.  Now you're ready to start layering!

I use crock-pot liners- I love them.  So I lined my pot, then sprayed the inside with olive oil.  I don't like when stuff sticks!  Then I covered the bottom with a layer of raw (unboiled) egg noodles.  On top of that I put half of the meat mixture.  Then a little more than a third of the sauce.  And a little more then half the cottage cheese mixture. I also hit it with some Parmesan here as well.

Next another layer of egg noodles, the rest of the meat, another third of the sauce, and the rest of the cottage cheese mixture.  hit it with another light layer of Parmesan for good measure.

I finished up with the rest of the sauce, and the half a cup of reserved mozzarella cheese.  I put it on high at 4pm, and I'm hoping it's done in an hour or two.

*** After 1 hour on high, the noodles appear to be cooked through!  Now it's ready to eat when Bryson gets home from work =) 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Mama'sTaco Casserole" (not *my* Mama's, but apparently someone's)

I saw this recipe at Southern Plate... and I'm a little leery to try it.  It is Taco/Movie Night here, so I *could* technically try it tonight... Only the BBQ sauce makes it sound awful to me?? I'm a little scared to try it mostly, but I'm posting it here in case I get to thinking I might can handle it after all....

Mama’s Taco Casserole

  • 1/4 C Margarine
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 15 ounce can refried beans
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 1/2 Cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 Cups instant mashed potato flakes
Melt margarine in saucepan. Add milk and 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix. Remove from heat and stir in potato flakes. Press mixture into bottom and slightly up the sides of an 8×8 inch baking dish. In skillet, place ground beef, re-fried beans, bbq sauce, water, and remaining taco mix. Cook and stir until bubbly. Turn into prepared crust. Bake uncovered at 350 for thirty to thirty five minutes.
Serve with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream – whatever cranks yer tractor.

My heavens it sounds awful to me still, just reading over it.  I'm going to really have to think about this for the next hour or two. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Cake

I found this recipe online, and was really anxious to try it. It takes a little bit of effort, but GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT (and make the effort) especially in this case! The batter was to DIE FOR- wanted to just eat it with a spoon. Convinced myself to fill the pans though. =) Turns out I no longer have any 8-9" round baking pans (where did they go?) so I used my smallest spring form pan, plus 3 mini bundt cake pans. They smell fab-O- but we're not frosting them til tomorrow. We're going to frost the small ones, give one to the Wheelers, probably eat one ourselves, then save our "big one" for Easter dinner. We all want to eat one now....

INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
5 egg whites
2 teaspoon strawberry extract
2 cups pureed fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup butter-softened
1 8oz package cream cheese-softened
1/4 cup pureed fresh strawberries
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
6 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9" cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add strawberry extract, pureed strawberries, and sour cream. Beat until combined.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire racks. Cool completely.

Frosting:
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add pureed strawberries and strawberry extract beating until combined. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Frost & EAT!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stove-top Chicken & Southern Dumplings


I didn't think to dump the stuff in the crock-pot today, so I'm making chicken & dumplings on the stove instead.


Chicken & Southern Dumplings
1 whole chicken (about (3 lb.) or 4-5 chicken breasts
4 carrots
4 celery stalks
1 cut up onion (skin on)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp sage or poultry seasoning
2 bay leaves
1 gallon water

4 TBSP Butter
4 TBSP flour
2 TBSP white cooking wine

*for the dumplings*
2 c flour
3 TBSP shortening
1 tsp salt
1/4 c water

Put chicken, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1/2 onion w/the skin and spices in the pot and pour the water over. Leave the skin on the onion because it will make the stock darker, and you're going to throw all these vegetables away anyway. Bring to a boil, and cook until chicken is white and cooked through.

While it's cooking you can chop the other two carrots, two celery stalks, and half onion (throw the skin away off this piece).

When the chicken is cooked, strain over a large bowl or pot, remove chicken and throw away those vegetables. When it's cooled enough, tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces. If you've used a whole chicken, remove the skin and debone the chicken. Cover the chicken and set it aside.

Melt 4 TBSP butter over medium heat, add chopped onion and cook until onion is clear. Then add flour and whisk until the flour absorbs all the butter. Turn it on high, and keep whisking. Whisk in 2 TBSP cooking wine, then slowly add back the chicken stock while whisking. Bring it up to a boil, and then reduce when it starts to thicken and add the chopped carrots and celery. Add the chicken back in and let it cook until the veggies are soft.
To Make Dumplings: In a medium mixing bowl, cut shortening into the flour and salt. Stir in 1/4 cup water (more if needed) to form a soft dough. Roll out dough on a floured surface, with a rolling pin, until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1 inch wide strips using a pizza cutter or knife. Tear off 2 inch long pieces from these strips and drop into simmering broth and chicken meat. Simmer for 20-30 min until they float and are no longer doughy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My version of King Ranch Chicken

I have Nannie's original recipe which uses canned chicken and mushroom soups, and cheese Whiz. I always make my cream-of-soup though, and I use velveeta instead of Cheese Whiz. So here's my actual recipe that I made today. I think it taste at least as good as the original, though it may take more time? If you're in a hurry, or don't enjoy cooking as much as I do, you can substitute canned soups for the sauce I tell you how to make. I will include additional instructions below for how I would handle it if I use my usual ingredients with canned instead of homemade soup.

King Ranch Chicken
3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (or chicken pieces, or 1 whole chicken)
cream soup (recipe below)
1/2 bar velveeta cheese
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 large onion chopped

2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
3 c water or milk
1 small can diced green chiles
1/2 c cheddar cheese

1 pkg corn tortillas tortillas

cheddar cheese to taste

First I boil my raw chicken with carrots, celery, onions, salt, pepper and 8-12 cups water. This makes broth, which I use for the tortillas in this dish and I save the rest for soup or something else.

Cool, de-bone (if you didn't use boneless) and save broth.

*Cream Cheese Sauce:
Melt butter in skillet on medium high-high. Whisk in the flour, until butter is absorbed. Turn flame to high, pour in liquid (milk or water) and keep whisking. I use a flat whisk, but a regular whisk will work the same. When it starts boiling and thickening, add 1/2 bar ov velveeta cheese and 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese and canned chiles; and keep whisking until cheese is melted and sauce is thick and smooth. Turn down heat to medium low. Add rotel and chopped onion to the sauce. Taste it. If you like it hotter, add more chiles or red pepper flakes or jalapenos.

Grease your 9x13 casserole dish. Soak corn tortillas one at a time in reserved chicken broth (use canned broth if you didn't have to boil your chicken). Place layer of tortillas in bottom of greased 9x13 casserole dish. Layer chicken, then sauce, then sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Repeat starting with tortillas, chicken, sauce, cheddar cheese. I make three layers. If you don't have corn tortillas, you can use corn chips.

Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes until bubbly and cooked through. Remove cover, add more cheese on top, and bake another 10 minutes or so. Enjoy!

*If you don't want to make homemade cream sauce: You can combine 1 can cream of mushroom + 1 can cream of chicken soups in a microwavable bowl if that's where you want to heat it up, or in a sauce pot for heating on the stove. Add can of rotel, chopped onion, canned chiles and 1/2 bar chopped velveeta cheese and heat in microwave (or on stove) until it's warm and velveeta is melted. Mix in cheddar cheese and start layering.

Chewy Brownies from the Jr League

I'm thinking I'll go ahead and try this brownie recipe from the Jr. League's cookbook. I haven't had a whole lot of luck with homemade brownie recipes. I mean, they're chocolate and I'll eat them. My boys will eat them, but remind me that they "don't taste like brownies". We'll see how it goes.


Chewy Brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

6 tablespoons baking cocoa

2 cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts (optional, I left them out!)

Directions: Combine the butter and baking cocoa in the top of a double broiler over simmering water (or use two different-sized pans if you don’t have a double broiler). Cook until the butter is melted, stirring frequently. Remove the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the sugar and eggs quickly. Fold in the flour, vanilla and nuts. Pour into a buttered 8X8 inch or 9X9 inch baking pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes; do not overbake. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour. Cut into squares.

Makes 12 servings.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crockpot Green Enchilada Chili?

It's not freezing here, but I am cold. And it's damp if not out right raining. The high today is 50-something, but I'm not optimistic I'll warm up. So here's what I'm doing for dinner tonight. It's technically "movie night" at our house. We've gone from pizza-movie night, to taco-movie night. Since D doesn't eat any real food anyway, I'm thinking B and I will not be upset that we're having this instead of traditional tacos. =)
Crock-pot Green Enchilada Chili Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds chicken
1 1/2 cups Las Palmas green enchilada sauce
(or a large can)
2 (14.5 oz) cans chopped or diced tomatoes
4 cups pinto or kidney beans (or mixture of both)

1 onion, diced (or 1 tablespoon dried, minced onion flakes)
1 TBSP garlic
1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cilantro
1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder


Directions:
Pour enchilada sauce and canned tomatoes into the bottom of a 6 quart (or larger) crock-pot. Add beans, onion and spices. Stir to combine. Place chicken on top.

Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until flavors have combined. When the chicken is cooked through and tender, you might need to pull it out and tear it into bite-sized pieces (depending on what kind of chicken you started with). Or you could shred it- which is my FAV- but B doesn't like it that way.

I'm planning to serve with flour tortillas, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. I'll try to remember to take pictures and update the recipe!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Baked Tilapia


Found some frozen tilapia filets in my freezer, and I'm thinking we need to eat them. I was leaning toward parmesan fish, but hubby doesn't particularly care for parmesan at all.

tilapia filets (I'm using 4 that were frozen)
2 cups rice (I used brown rice- I had to cook it ahead of time)

chopped or sliced carrots
broccoli florets
cauliflower florets
sliced onion
(or those bags of mixed veggies in the freezer aisle at the grocery....)

1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp olive oil
Lousianne Cajun Seasoning (or whatever you like best)


Inside a casserole dish place a 24" or so piece of aluminum foil. You might want to spray the foil, like with spray olive or canola oil, or pam or whatever you normally use). Put rice on the bottom inside the foil. Then place steamed mixed vegetables on top, and drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic. Next lay the fish filets down, and drizzle fish on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with cajun seasoning (or whatever spice you choose). Close up aluminum foil into a sealed packet. I was thinking mayo instead of olive oil might be nice too, but my hubs doesn't like mayonaise. So I went with the olive oil. I also added lemon pepper,garlic salt and a TBSP of butter to the rice when I cooked it.

Bake in oven at 375°F for 30-40 minutes or on grill at low temp for 20 minutes (until fish is white/flakey/cooked all the way through). I'm excited to try it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Macaroni Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1-2 cups elbow macaroni noodles
1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 can or jar of spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce
1 small can mushrooms or 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 small chopped onion
crushed garlic if you have it
1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese (or mozzarella, or whatever you have)

Brown hamburger meat w/onions, salt, pepper and garlic until brown. Drain the fat off, add dry macaroni noodles and all the other ingredients. Put it in a casserole dish, cover and bake at 350° for 45 mins - 1 hr 15 mins (until it's hot and bubbly and the noodles are cooked/soft). I usually uncover it after about 30-40 mins and add more cheese to the top. =) I can't remember adding extra water, but several people have mentioned cooking the noodles first- but I'm certain I don't do that. I'm making it tonight and will see if I need to add a cup or 2 of water for the noodles to absorb....