Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spaghetti Daube in Creole Gravy

I actually made this some time ago. This is much richer than a tomato pasta sauce and it is delicious.  It made a ton but it freezes well so you can enjoy it several times without all of the prep work!  I sliced the meat so it was more chunky but you can shred the meat if you like to swirl your spaghetti!

Spaghetti Daube in Creole Gravy
Deep South Dish Spaghetti Daube in Creole Gravy
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

3 to 5 pound beef chuck or rump roast
2-3 tablespoons of canola oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 (28 ounce) cans of whole tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup of beef broth (or red wine)
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
8 turns of the pepper grinder
1/2 teaspoon of Slap Ya Mama, or your
   favorite Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon of dried parsley
1 large bay leaf
Grated nutmeg
Cooked spaghetti noodles
Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Set roast aside to come to room temperature.

Pour enough canola oil into the bottom of a heavy, stainless stockpot and heat to medium high. Add onion, celery and bell pepper and cook until softened, but not brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Using a pair of kitchen shears, coarsely cut up both cans of the whole tomatoes right in the can; add to pot. Add the tomato sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, parsley, and bay leaf. Pass a whole nutmeg over a microplane 3 or 4 times and stir in the beef broth and Worcestershire; bring up to a boil. Cut the roast in half, add it to the pot, cover, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for 2 to 3 hours or until beef is tender. Don't allow the meat to boil! Keep it at a very low simmer.

Remove the beef from the pot, slice into 1/2 inch slices (if you are making Daube Glace, reserve some of these whole slices) and then shred pieces with a fork, add the shredded beef back to the tomato gravy. Let it continue to low simmer, covered, another 15 minutes, or just hold the pot on very low until you are ready to serve. You can also leave it as whole slices if you prefer, returning the slices to the gravy to simmer a bit, and then serving the slices on top of the spaghetti noodles, with a bit of sauce spooned over the top.

Boil the spaghetti noodles according to package directions; drain well. Return noodles to pot and add a couple of scoops of the tomato gravy, stirring to coat all of the noodles. Turn the noodles out onto a large platter and pour sauce over the top, or plate noodles individually and add a couple of hearty scoops of the meat and sauce.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Chicken Chili

I love the fall season. It is not freezing outside yet and the colors are absolutely beautiful! This is also a good time for soups, stews and chili! This recipe is quite good. I am not sure where I got it from. I had never tried Chicken Chili and I would see it occasionally in a blog or on a cooking show so when I was flipping through my recipe binder (years of collecting), I came across this recipe. It was fate so I made it.  This was very comforting and slightly addictive. I liked that it was creamy with a little kick of spice.

Chicken Chili
Serves 6-8

2 pounds diced chicken, about 3 cups (white or dark, cooked or not, whatever you have)
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder - not garlic salt)
2 (two) 15.5 ounce cans Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or any light colored bean - great northern, pinto, black eyed peas)
4 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (more if you like it hot)
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 (one) 4 ounce can green chilies (optional)

sour cream
shredded cheese (pepper jack, cheddar, etc)
chopped scallions
chopped cilantro

Heat a heavy-bottomed soup pot over med-hi heat. If using leftover chicken, skip this first step. If using uncooked chicken, lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper; saute in a little oil until browned (no need to cook completely at this stage). Remove chicken; reserve. In the same pan, saute onions until slightly browned; add salt, pepper, garlic, cayenne, oregano, and cumin. Continue to cook for a few minutes to "bloom" the flavor of the herbs. Add chicken stock, chicken, beans, and optional green chilies to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, heavy cream, and parsley. Garnish and serve.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ducks helping to wash car

My husband was washing the car this morning and he was surprised by six ducks playing in the water that was pooling at the end of the driveway.

Here they are hanging out as the car is washed.

You could tell they were very comfortable being around people. 
We could get really close and they did not run away.

 They would even come closer if you encouraged them.

They got a treat for helping to wash the car. 

They were fun to watch.  We think they wandered over to our yard from the condo complex behind our house that has ponds. My husband said they are fun until they start messing on the driveway. Haha!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Quick and Easy Dessert - Strawberry Shortcake

I love this dessert because it is easy to make and you can be creative if you like.

Cut up strawberries (make sure to make at least two cuts on each berry) and sprinkle sugar over to coat every berry.  Let sit on counter for about an hour or place in refrigerator overnight. The result will be strawberries with a delicious sweet syrup. You can also do this with peaches!

Next cut angel food cake or a pound cake into the size chunks as you desire for your dessert. Place the cake on the plate or bowl, top with fruit and syrup, add another chunk of cake, then more fruit and top with whipped cream.

To be creative, you can add blueberries, bananas for raspberries to strawberries right before serving. If you use store bought cakes and Cool Whip, this dessert is so quick and simple along with delicious for your family or guests!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yummy Salad for Dinner or Picnics

This salad was not only beautiful but extremely tasty.  It was easy to make and perfect for picnics. I used bagged Italian greens by Dole and I made sure I drained the oranges thoroughly and towel dried the strawberries before added to the salad. I also think blueberries would have been a delicious addition.  I will add them next time. 

Salad with Fruit and Gorgonzola
Lettuce - Bag of Dole Italian Blend or a mixture of your favorite lettuces
2-3 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
6 oz mandarin oranges (Dole has best flavor and the segments are whole)
1-2 cups strawberries, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
Kraft Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

Prepare sugared walnuts:
Place sugar and walnuts in small skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts and coats nuts. Place on wax paper to cool.

Assemble salad:
Place lettuce in bowl and toss with half of the fruit and cheese. If you are going to eat salad immediately, you can toss in some of the dressing. Top salad with remaining fruit and cheese along with the walnuts. Drizzle on additional dressing.  If salad is to be eaten at a later time, dressing can be added upon serving, it is still delicious.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken

I love Baylee's posts! She has done a great job and I hope she will add future posts! PLEASE ENCOURAGE HER!!!  She is also on me to take more pictures as I cook.  I get into cooking and completely forget about the camera. Also I can be accident prone, like last night, I dropped the camera into a bowl of chicken and noodles!! Baylee helped make the noodles so she did take lots of pictures. That recipe will be coming soon!

To honor Baylee, I am doing today's post on one of Baylee's favorite macaroni and cheese dishes.  She is all the time asking if I posted it yet.   Here you go Baylee!!!

First off we love macaroni and cheese and as the kids got older, I was able to start to add in onion, bacon, different types of cheeses, or even vegetables, but I have always been in search of super creamy with super taste.  I cannot tell you how often I made mac and cheese and it was bland, looked curded, or was dry! I came across a recipe in a magazine that was for Smoky, Creamy Mac and Cheese. It had bacon, cheddar cheese, Philadelphia Chive & Onion Cream Cheese, and Velveeta in it so I thought how can it not be creamy with all of these cheeses.  I did have to adapt the recipe since I did not have all of the ingredients and I was looking for a dish that I could use as a main entree. I replaced the bacon with chicken breast and I was incredibly pleased with the outcome.  It was super creamy and cheesy along with being addictive!!  I think we all had seconds. This original recipe was the side dish winner in a Philadelphia Cheese recipe contest.  Just based on the creamy cheesiness of the dish, I can see why it won!! 

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken
2 cups of uncooked pasta  ( I used fusilli as it holds the cheese better)
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
4 oz Velveeta, cut into cubes
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1 cup of chicken, cooked and cut up (I used a large breast and season it well with chicken seasoning)
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup Panko crumbs
2 tsp butter, melted

Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large saucepan melt butter and stir in flour until smooth.  Gradually add milk and bring to boil. Cook and stir for 1 -2 minutes as sauce thickens. Stir in the cream cheese, Velveeta and cheddar cheese.  Make sure the heat from stove is turned down to ensure that cheese melts well into the sauce. Add in the chicken and transfer to a greased 8 inch square baking dish. Combine the Panko crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle over top.  Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pasta Gnocchi with Sausage & Tomato

Baylee here againn!

Tonight for dinner, we made gnocchi, but this time we used frozen gnocchi instead of making our own. (Last time we tried making our own out of potatoes but it tasted awful) The frozen gnocchi is much much better. We just used the store brand. Nothing special.

(NOTE: Instead of pecorino cheese, we just used Parmesan cheese)

Pasta Gnocchi with Sausage and Tomato

PreparationTime: 15 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4-6

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pasta gnocchi
2 tablespoons olive oil
400 g (14 oz) thin Italian sausages
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic gloves, finely chopped
800 g (1 lb 2 oz) tinned chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
35 g (1 1/2 oz) basil, torn
45 g (1 1/2 oz/1/2 cup) grated pecorino cheese

1. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and return to the pan to keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large frying pan. Add the sausages and cook, turning, for 5 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through. Drain on paper towels, then slice when they have cooled enough to touch. Keep warm.

3. Wipe clean the frying pan and heat the remaining oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the tomato, sugar and 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water and season with ground black pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes or until thickened and reduced a little.

4. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir through the sausage, then the basil and half of the cheese. Serve with the extra cheese.


This recipe is from 30 Minutes Meals: A Common Sense Guide.

I kinda like this book. It really does tell you everything. And the pictures in the book are actually accurate.

Before every chapter there are informative pictures. Like before the pasta chapter, there are pictures of all the different types of pasta and their names. Before the chicken chapter, it tells you how to store chicken , what to look for when buying... anyways basically everything you ever need to know about rice, noodles, pasta, chicken, seafood, lamb, pork, and beef.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

This is Baylee again.

Today, I decided I'd take over the blog again!

Well, this time I ACTUALLY cooked!

I was flippin' through this Favorite Brand Name Bake Sale Cookbook and I found a recipe for "Cinnamon Roll Cookies"

Little did I know that I obviously did not inherit the cooking gene from my mother...

Here's how it went...
           Alright so... I got all my ingredients out and reread the recipe (because I usually end up leaving something out or mixing it all together at once instead of reading directions)

(Full recipe @ bottom)
Cinnamon Mixture:
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cookie Dough:
1 cup Butter Flavor CRISCO* all-vegetable shortening or 1 Butter Flavor CRISCO* Stick
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

First off, combine cinnamon mixture in a small bowl.Set aside.

(Pretty self-explanatory..just make cinnamon)

In a larger bowl, combine shortening and brown sugar. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until blended well. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, ground cinnamon, and baking powder. Then add to creamed mixture. 

Here's my mistake but I don't really think it matters..  


I read it wrong and didn't add the flour so I mixed in the salt, cinnamon, and baking powder without the flour and I just added the flour separately later.

It looked fine to me.

Turn dough onto sheet of waxed paper. Spread dough into 9x6-inch rectangle using rubber spatula. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons cinnamon mixture to within 1 inch from edge. 

(I failed to read the 1-inch part too. Does it really make a difference?? I guess I'll find out..) 

Roll-up jelly-roll style into log. Dust log with remaining cinnamon mixture. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Mine looks like this so far... I hope it's normal. The book did say it would crack easily.

I have some advice: when you roll the dough, it tends to stick the wax paper (or at least mine did) so I used a spatula to scoop it up so it wouldn't tear.

Ehhhh..... I managed to fix most of the cracks but there is still one. I guess it gives it character.

4 Hours Later...

What's weird is that the rest of the recipe has two different temperatures for baking.

Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cookie sheets with CRISCO* No-stick cooking spray. 

Slice dough 1/4 inch thick. Place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. Or until lighting browned on top. Cool on cookie sheets for 4 minutes; transfer to cooling racks. Makes about 5 dozen.

I ended up baking it at 350 for 14 minutes because I cut mine too thick. My dad told me to burn some because he likes crunchy cookies but, they are already extremely crunchy cookies. So, if you're the type who likes gooey melt-in-your-mouth cookies...these are not for you.
Alright well here's how my cookies turned out!
(For the icing, I just used powdered sugar mixed with water)

The cookies in the book must be fake.
No one can make them look that perfect.

Also, next time I make something, I'll try to not pick a recipe that requires rolling the dough. Remember Palmiers?

More Cookies we've made from this cookbook:
Dishpan Cookies
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Cinnamon Mixture:
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cookie Dough:
1 cup Butter Flavor CRISCO* all-vegetable shortening or 1 Butter Flavor CRISCO* Stick
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. For cinnamon mixture, combine granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in small bowl; mix well. Set aside.

2. For cookie dough, combine 1 cup shortening and brown sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. 

3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl. Add to creamed mixture; mix well.  

4. Turn dough onto sheet of waxed paper. Spread dough into 9x6-inch rectangle using rubber spatula. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons cinnamon mixture to within 1 inch from edge. Roll-up jelly-roll style into log. Dust log with remaining cinnamon mixture. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

5. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cookie sheets with CRISCO* No-stick cooking spray. 

6. Slice dough 1/4 inch thick. Place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. Or until lighting browned on top. Cool on cookie sheets for 4 minutes; transfer to cooling racks. Makes about 5 dozen.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Cake??!!

This is Gena's daughter, Baylee!
I just decided to tell you the reason why my mother has been slacking on blog-posting.
My mom cooks most nights and she has tons of drafts of posts but the pictures are missing. Our camera's memory card is a Lexar Pro Duo something and my moms laptop only takes SD cards. We bought the adapter so we could get pictures on her laptop but the adapter works with my laptop but not my moms. Therefore, the only way we can get her food pictures on her laptop is if we plug in the card to my computer and copy the pictures to a flashdrive and move them to her laptop. Which is a long and grueling process no one wants to do. Especially if we don't have a big enough flash drive. In the mean time, enjoy this draft my mom wrote a long time ago entitled "What Cake":

One day when I was little, my aunt came over and there was a cake in the middle of the table. She called out to my mom in the kitchen and said, What kind of cake is this on the table?".  My mom called back, "What Cake".  My aunt said, "the cake in the middle of the table!" and again my mom said, "What Cake".  My aunt started to get a little frustrated and she said, "Damn it, the cake sitting here on the table!!!!".  Then my mom started laughing, she said, "That IS that name of the cake, it is called a What Cake!".

This story is from 35 years ago. I grew up in a family that did not have much money so one day when my dad came home with an Amana Radar Range we were excited. To this day I not sure how or where my Dad acquired that Radar Range but it changed the way we ate. My mom experimented with the recipes in the booklet that came with the oven. There was so much we could do with that little oven. I dug around on the Internet to see if there was a picture but I could not find the exact oven. This one was the closest one I could find. Very simple to use, put the food in and turn the dial to the number of minutes you need. If you opened the door, the oven stopped, close it and the oven would start back up if there was time on the dial.

My mom could make entire meals in that little oven. It actually continued to work for 20 years! A couple of years ago I came across two hand written recipes. One for What Cake and the other was for Fudge Cake. I was elated! These were the Amana Radar Range recipes my mom used to make and I loved them!

When I recently made this cake I did not have coconut or pecans so the topping ended up more like a syrup but it was still soooo good.  The cake is incredibly moist and the spice is just right.  Even after a couple of days the cake stayed moist.  If the coconut and pecans are in the topping it sets up into a topping that is like a praline.  This has be to my favorite cake!  I am dying to try these as cupcakes!

The recipe wasn't in the draft but I flipped through my moms cookbook and found it.
(Note: This is the recipe my grandma wrote down from the Amana Radarrange cookbook. The recipe is originally for a microwave, but I wrote down how to cook it in the oven.)

What Cake
1/2 c boiling water
1 c quick cooking oats
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 c of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 c of sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
Pour boiling water over oats and butter which has been broken into chunks. 
Stir until butter melts; set aside.
Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. 
Add to oat mixture; mix well. Add sugar, then eggs and mix thoroughly. Bake in a 2 qt utility dish 12 mins in radarrange. Turn dish often. (Modernized: Bake in a 9 x 13 baking pan at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes)
Frost with What Cake Topping.

What Cake Topping
3/4 c brown sugar
2 tblsp milk
6 tblsp butter
1/2 c chopped pecans
1 c coconut

Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a 1 qt glass casserole. Bring to boil and continue cooking one minute in radarrange. Blend in pecans and coconut. (Modern version: Melt butter in a sauce pan, add brown sugar and stir over medium heat until sugar is mostly dissolved. Next, add coconut, pecans, and milk.) Spread on cake.

Enjoy ;)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Trip to Chicago

Last weekend we spent a long weekend in Chicago visiting my daughter who moved there in January. The weather was really cold but the city was great!  We loved being with Chelsea and seeing how much she loved living in Chicago. 

Friday night we went for Chicago deep dish pizza at Giordano's.  It was worth the 40 minute wait for it to cook!  We had an appetizer of fried cheese, mushrooms and zucchini to tie us over.  The pizza was sooo good and really cheesy!

Every morning we went to the The Original Pancake House on Bellevue. They serve large portions and everything we tried was really good. If you go to you can see pics of the food. You have to go early or there is a long line out the door.

On Saturday we went to Willis Tower (Sears Tower).  In the past, we always has good intentions on going to the tower's observation deck but we never found the time.  This was first on our to do list for this visit! When we entered the building, the first thing they told us was that there is an hour and half wait AFTER we purchase our tickets.  We took the elevator to the next floor to buy tickets and the line was so long! We stood there for about 15 minutes and really contemplated leaving but we stayed and it was a good choice! From the time we walked in the door until the time we left it was about 3 hours.

After the Willis Tower we headed to Portillos for hot dogs.  Darn it, we did not take a picture of all of them.  We had chili dogs, Polish dogs, and below the dog with everything. They were yummy!!

The buildings were so cool.  We loved walking around and seeing all of the architecture! 

For dinner we went to Quartino's.  This place was delicious and the service was really impressive.  The table we were given was incredible!  It was a round corner table by the window.  There were six of us so it was out of the way and perfect!  It did not take us long to decide on what to order and the food came quick.  This restaurant is a Tapas Bar so we ordered 6-7 dishes.  I can only remember 6.  Pizza, gnocchi with pesto, short ribs, Alfredo with peas and prosciutto, veal meatballs and Penne (Pic below).  This is Chelsea's favorite restaurant so I am glad we got to experience the yummy food.  For dessert we stopped at the Ghirardelli Chocolate shop for ice cream! That was divine!!!

On Sunday we jumped on the train and went to Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, and Old Town.  In Old Town we went to the Spice House and Old Town Oils. These were the neatest shops.  We tried quite a few Olive Oils before we decided on Tuscan Herb.  This week we have dipped bread in it and also added it to pasta.  It is soo good.  I will get more the next we go to Chicago! At the Spice House we bought spices for a rib rub. The ribs are marinating in the refrigerator as I type this!!

Sunday night we went to the Grand Lux Cafe on Michigan Ave.  We were lucky enough to get a window seat that faced Michigan Ave!!!  I got pasta, it was good but not great.  TJ got a Seafood salad (Pic below), it was huge and tasted really good. Chelsea got the avocado-chipotle cheeseburger that was delish. Baylee got the chicken burger sandwich.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Orleans Style Roasted Spiced Shrimp

I don't normally find recipes in the newspaper that I want to try. My husband found the below recipe and stuck it on the refrigerator so I decided to give it a try. The shrimp were pretty spicy for me but he loved them. I have made them several times.
I entered these into Mommy's Kitchen Potluck Sunday. Check out all of the great entries.
New Orleans-Style Roasted Spiced Shrimp
2 lbs large shrimp
1 stick butter
3 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp kosher sale
1 tsp dried thyme or Italian seasoning
1 tsp paprika, preferably smoked
1 tsp hot sauce
1. Arrange shrimp in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Combine all remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until butter melts.
2. Pour over shrimp and stir to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes (this can be refrigerated for up to 12 hours before roasting).
3. In a preheated 325 degree oven, roast shrimp until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve with pan juices.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breakfast Bake

Last month, my daughter came home for a visit and I looked on for a simple breakfast bake where I had the ingredients already on hand. This one caught my eye as it was made with Stove Top Stuffing, it did not have to sit overnight and the steps were very simple. I did change of the amount of the ingredients as I saw the concoction I was about to bake. It was so thick with meat it kind of scared me. I wanted to make sure it was not just bread and sausage so I increased the eggs.

The first time I made it (the first picture), I only added one extra egg. The second time I made it (second picture), I added two extra eggs and only about half of the sausage. The Stove Top adds a little extra flavor but it is not overpowering. I've got to tell you, I used a 13x9 pan the first time and a 11x7 pan the second time. I think I like the deeper version with more egg and less meat. I guess it depends on your preference; both tasted great and it disappeared quickly. As a side note, you can cut these into squares and freeze for a quick breakfast before work. It heats well in the microwave and it tastes like you made it fresh.

Breakfast Bake
Adapted from Easy Breakfast Casserole by Merlot on

1 box of Chicken Stove Top Stuffing
2 cups milk
1/2 pound of cooked sausage
8 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Grease a 11x7 baking dish.
3. Mix all ingredients together and pour into prepared baking dish.
4. Bake 45-50 minutes until set.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hash Brown Casserole - Light

This recipe shaves over 100 calories and 10 grams of fat from the original Cheesy Potato recipe that is a potluck staple. It also has a lower sodium content. It tastes really creamy and the kids love it.
Hash Brown Casserole - Light version
Cooking Light September 2007
3/4 c chopped onion
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
1 32 oz pkg of hash brown potatoes diced
2 Tbsp butter, melted and divided
1 10 3/4 oz can of condensed reduced fat, reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
8 oz light processed cheese (Velveeta Light)
1 8 oz carton light sour cream
Cooking spray
2 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine onion, paprika, pepper, potatoes and 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a large bowl.
3. Combine soup and cheese in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 6 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Stir in sour cream. Pour cheese mixture over potatoes. Spread mixture into a 13x9 baking dish coated in cooking spray.
4. Combine cornflakes and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle evenly over top of potato mixture.
5. Bake for 1 hour.
Calories 181 (30% from fat); Fat 6g, Protein 7.1g, Carbs 25.5g, Fiber 1.5g, Chol 21mg, Iron 1.7mg, Sodium 494mg.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chianti-Braised Short Ribs

I saw the picture of these Short Ribs in the Rachael Ray magazine and knew I had to make them. Now, if you saw the picture in the magazine, you will know that my ribs do not look like hers! I am not sure what they did to that photo but the picture on the Rachael Ray website does not look like the magazine photo either! Maybe it is lighting!!

I had never eaten Short Ribs before so it was going to be an adventure of the taste buds. They were delicious! After they were done cooking, I saw all of the yummy vegetables in the crock pot and could not just strain them and discard, I kept them part of the dish and served over mashed potatoes! The ribs were rich but my oh my so tender and yummy! This is a keeper!

Chianti-Braised Short Ribs
Rachael Ray Magazine

8 beef short ribs on the bone (4-5 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups Chianti wine ( can use a nice Merlot too)
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tsp tomato paste

1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. working in batches, add ribs and cook, turning often, until browned, 7 - 10 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Add onion and garlic, cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the wine and tomatoes and bring to a boil.

3. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and cook on low heat until tender, about 6 hours.

4. Transfer ribs to a platter and cover to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and skim as much fat as possible from surface.

5. Transfer liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil until reduced to about 1 cup. Whisk in tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Serve over ribs.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am always looking for a great chocolate chip cookie. These are pretty good, maybe not the "ultimate" in my book, but they were pretty good and disappeared quickly. I got the recipe from the cookbook Favorite Brand Name Bake Sale. It is actually the recipe on the back of the Crisco Stick package. We loved how they were crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. If you are still looking for your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, give this one try. In the meantime, I am going to try a few other recipes.

I entered these into Mommy's Kitchen Potluck Sunday. Check out all of the great entries!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Crisco Recipe

1 1/4 firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Butter Flavor CRISCO
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans*
*You may substitute an additional 1/2 cup chocolate chips for the pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine sugar, 3/4 cup shortening, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg.
3. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture at a low speed just until blended. Stir in Chocolate Chips and nuts.
4. Drop by rounded tablespoons 3 inches apart onto un-greased baking sheets.
5. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes for chewy cookies or 11 - 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Do not over bake. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken Torilla Soup

This soup has such an intense flavor the picture does not do it justice! Last year my daughter came over to make a Chicken Tortilla Soup that her friend had made just a few days before. He had told her that his family always makes this soup and it is the best. So she memorized everything he added to the soup and could not wait to share this recipe with me. Especially once she tasted it and it was so good! When we were finished making the soup, we all sat down and with every bite each one of us kept saying how good it was. If you are used to the creamy version that Max & Erma sells, just stir sour cream into your soup and you get a creamy base with wonderful chunks of chicken, tomato, corn, carrots and celery. This recipe can be easily be cut in half; just put the whole can a corn in. You can also save time by using the tomatoes that include Jalapeno peppers or hot chilis. I have done both of these and the soup is still wonderful. The full recipe will easily feed eight to ten. When I half the recipe I get five servings.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
8-10 servings
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
2 lbs chicken, chunked
1 can corn, drained
2 lg cans chicken broth
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic
2 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili pepper
1 tbsp lemon pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
¼ flour

Cook onion, celery and carrots in a little oil and butter until tender. Add chicken and cook through. Add corn, broth, tomatoes, peppers, and spices. Bring to boil and then turn down to a simmer for ½ hour. You can adjust spices to taste. I sometimes add a little more cumin and lemon pepper. You can add hot sauce and chili pepper to add more heat. Mix ¼ cup flour with water for a thickener. Add to soup and bring to a boil. Serve with cheese, sour cream, green onion and crispy tortillas.

Crispy tortillas: cut tortillas into thin strips. Spray with cooking oil and lightly salt. Cook at 350 for 5 minutes until crispy. Watch these, they will burn easily.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

It started snowing here again this week and I have been freezing. Last night I planned out a menu for the week so that I could do some productive grocery shopping this week instead of willy-nilly shopping and having anything in the house to eat. I think we will have quite a few good meals this week with many new recipes that I have not tried before.

The soup recipe in this post was given to me by my sister-in-law Dodie. She actually sent me eight recipes and I am dying to try them all. This soup was so quick and easy to make. As it was cooking it smelled incredible in here and Baylee kept asking when it would be done. The soup is very thick with the first several bites picking up the Italian sausage and as you continue to eat it, the flavors of the tomato, beans, spinach start to come out. I put some of the leftovers in the freezer to see how it freezes. We loved this and TJ has already planned to have it for lunch tomorrow.

Pasta e Fagioli
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
46 oz chicken broth
10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup uncooked bow tie pasta
1 15 oz can of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
Parmesan Cheese

Brown sausage, drain fat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their liquid and break them up with a spoon. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add in spinach, uncooked pasta, and beans. Simmer for 15 minutes as pasta cooks. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top.

Print recipe


Monday, January 3, 2011

Palmiers - French Pastry

This is a recipe we found last school year when my daughter had to cook a french dessert and take it to school for French class. We looked for something easy that everyone would like. This is basically sugar and pastry, how can you go wrong? This is a flaky little cookie that is baked at a high temperature and the sugar caramelizes. She just recently made these cookies again and it took just minutes to prepare the cookies and cut them out. When you cut the cookie they will be pretty tightly rolled. Leave them tight, and as they cook they will spread out. I have seen these with Cinnamon Sugar and also as a savory appetizer with sun-dried tomatoes and Brie cheese. By the way if your smoke detector is close to your kitchen, it may go off! I think it is due to the heat when you have to flip the cookies over, truly there is no smoke! Our detector went off with each batch!

First thaw the puff pastry, then spread sugar out on counter.
Press the pastry flat on top of the sugar and
work the sugar into both sides of the pastry.

Start to fold in the pastry toward the center from the left
and right side of the dough. Keep folding each side
in until they meet in the middle.

Then fold it over itself.

There should be six layers.

Slice into 3/8 inch wedges and place on a cookie
sheet with parchment paper. The paper is
a MUST! Make sure they are spaced out.
They will spread.

The cookies do need to be flipped half way
though baking. Look how delicious!

By Ina Garten
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
1 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Preheat over to 450 degrees F.
Combine the sugar and kosher salt. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board or marble. Unfold the puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place the second sheet of pastry on the sugared board, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar mixture, and continue as above. (There will be quite a bit of sugar left over on the board.) Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment.
Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.