Friday, January 30, 2009

Rotini with Chourico and Bacon

Pasta is one of those dishes that you can adapt and change up according to what is on hand or what you're in the mood for. It's the reason why I always have spaghetti, egg noodles, macaroni etc in the pantry.

Last night's dinner was a quick one, I had spent the day nursing sick kids and wasn't feeling well enough to be in the kitchen, so this is what I came up with. Kids love it, I loved it, Curt loved it and so did his co workers. True comfort food!

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Rotini with Chourico and Bacon

8 oz spaghetti, cooked
1 lb bacon, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 chourico, cut into small cubes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small can of mushrooms
salt and pepper
garlic powder
onion flakes
milk


Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While that is cooking, in a big skillet spray with nonstick spray, add the bacon, chourico, mushrooms and the spices. Stir well and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes or so until bacon and chourico are cooked. If you like the bacon crispy, just cook it until it starts crisping.

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Add the mushroom soup and stir well to combine. Finally, stir in some milk, just enough to thin out the soup and make it a nice creamy sauce. Remove from heat.

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Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Mix everything well to incorporate the sauce into the noodles. Sprinkle some parsley and serve.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Apple Biscuits!

Here I was fixing dinner when the kids asked me if I would make something for dessert. I said yes, but then I realized I really didn't have anything on hand and am out of eggs.

This to me is what I love about cooking because you create something out of nothing and using just what you have available. It's at these times that I've ended up with really good recipes.

So I grabbed a few apples and a big can of large buttermilk biscuits and set to work....or rather, while I was fixing the steaks, I set everything out for Jasmine and instructed her and SHE made them. You wouldn't believe the happiness and excitement exuding from this child :)

One of the things I really like about these Apple Biscuits is that they're not rich and super sweet, just perfect!

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APPLE BISCUITS

1 can of large buttermilk biscuits (8)
2 apples peeled and cored and chopped into chunks
cinnamon
brown sugar


In a small bowl, mix together the apples, cinnamon and brown sugar. Just eyeball it and add more or less as needed.

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Open the biscuits in half and spoon some of the apple mixture into the middle.

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Squeeze the seams together to seal and using a fork or a toothpick or whatever, poke 3 or 4 holes on the top.

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Bake in a 375 degree oven until golden brown.

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Now take a big bite....yum, look at that apple....

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Steaks with Pepper Sauce

This is a recipe for a Pepper Sauce that I make to go along with my steaks. It's one I learned to make a LONG time ago and one of my dad's favorites, I remember him requesting me to make it for him many many times.

It's easy to fix and delicious, you're left with this creamy peppery sauce that goes perfect over steaks.

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STEAKS WITH PEPPER SAUCE

Steaks (you can pretty much use anything, except for frying steaks, you need something thicker)
Small onion, chopped finely
olive oil
salt and pepper
paprika
garlic powder
butter
1 can evaporated milk
cornstarch

On the steaks I sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder.

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Then I roll them up and cover with some saran wrap and pop into the refrigerator for a couple of hours. It's even better if you leave them overnight to really get those flavors in.

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Meantime, in a small saucepan....add a little bit of olive oil, the onion, salt and pepper and some butter. Cook over medium heat until onion is cooked. Keep adding little bits of water to prevent it from sticking or drying out.

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Once the onion is cooked, check the spices. This is a pepper sauce, my husband likes it pretty hot so I just keep adding crushed peppercorns until he is happy with it. You could certainly make this mild and add only a little bit if your kids don't like spicy stuff.

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Cook for a few minutes and then add the can of evaporated milk, mix well. In a separate little bowl or cup....add about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and a little bit of water and mix well until smooth and free of lumps. Add to the sauce and stir until thickened, remove from the heat.

Now it's time to get the steaks going. In a big skillet, add some olive oil and the steaks. Cook until steaks are done, turning them over a few times and adding little bits of water at a time so they don't burn.

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Serve the steaks with rice or mashed potatoes or fries.

I like to put a whole bunch of gravy on the steaks AND whatever side I'm having with it, tonight it was rice.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Turkey Tenders!

My kids LOVE chicken nuggets and chicken tenders, and while I do make those for them a lot, I sometimes like to change it up a bit and use Turkey instead.

They can't really tell the difference and it's cheaper than the chicken. What's not to like right?

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TURKEY TENDERS

2 lbs turkey breast cutlets
flour
salt and pepper
garlic powder
milk
vegetable oil

In a big ziploc bag, mix the flour, salt and pepper and garlic powder. Shake to mix well.

Cut the breast cutlets into strips.

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Pour some milk into a medium bowl. You don't need a lot, just about a cup or so, if you need more you can always add. Dip the strips into the milk and then dump them into the flour mixture.

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Close the bag and shake it up well to coat every side.

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Fry in vegetable oil about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

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Serve with Ranch dressing or Honey Mustard or whatever your family prefers.

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My favorite, Honey Mustard....YUM!

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Kids prefer the Ranch dressing, which is also really good.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fish Shepherd's Pie!

I'm pretty lucky in where my children love fish so this is one of those comforting meals that I make once in a while, I adapt it and change it out by adding in carrots or corn or green beans or whatever. It's always a different veggie that goes in, today I used peas.

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FISH SHEPHERD'S PIE

1 lb flounder, cooked
Mashed potatoes ( I used 6 medium potatoes)
olive oil
garlic powder
onion flakes
salt and pepper
paprika
cream
1 cup peas
1 beaten egg and a little bit of milk


Cook the fish, then shred making sure you get any bones out. I still tell the kids to be careful when they're eating in case one of the tiny little bones got away.

In a skillet, add a little bit of olive oil, the fish,

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garlic, onion, salt and pepper, paprika

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and the peas.

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Cook over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the cream (I just eyeball, I think I used about a cup). Continue cooking for a minute or so more until it is heated through.

If you see that it's too watery, add a sprinkle or so of cornstarch and using a wire whisk beat well until combined and thickened.

In an oven proof dish, layer half of the mashed potatoes, the fish mixture

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and the remaining mashed potatoes.

Beat an egg with a little bit of milk and then pour over the potatoes. Using a spoon, spread it out evenly to cover the top.

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Bake in a 400ยบ oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Sunday is my "refill the cookie jar" day. I usually bake a huge batch of cookies because quite frankly, my family loves cookies. Between the kids and my husband, that cookie jar is always empty.

So the cookie of choice yesterday was the Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie. YUM!

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HERSHEY'S Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
Credit: hersheys.com


Ingredients:

* 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 eggs
* 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
* 1 cup chopped nuts(optional)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until creamy.

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Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.

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Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.

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Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

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3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 5 dozen cookies.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Barbecued Ribs!

My family absolutely LOVES Ribs but I don't make them too often because they can be quite pricey at times.

These are pork ribs which are our favorite, I think they have more meat to them than the plain old beef ribs.

Pop these beauties in the crockpot in the morning and by dinner time, you will have succulent delicious ribs falling off the bone. YUM!

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BARBECUED RIBS

Pork ribs (I used a rack, I think it was about 2 lbs or so)
1 1/4 cups ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp Onion flakes
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup water

In a small bowl stir together all the ingredients, except the ribs and water.

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Cut the ribs into smaller portions, add them to the crockpot and pour the sauce over, add the water and cook on HIGH for 5 hours.

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I love how they just fall off the bone....enjoy!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Barbecue Turkey Chili!

I've been enjoying the Taste of Home Crockpot Cookbook and I've found quite a few great recipes in there.

Today, it's raining, it's cloudy, it's dark and gloomy and it's a bit nippy and I'm feeling a little under the weather, so this chili was the perfect meal for tonight's dinner. All you need are a few cans of this and that and you're set. Serve with some cornbread and you have a tummy warming, filling, comfort meal.

I doubled the recipe because hubby loves having leftover chili to take into work.

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BARBECUE TURKEY CHILI

Ingredients:

* 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) hot chili beans
* 1 can (15 ounces) turkey chili with beans
* 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
* 1/3 cup barbecue sauce

Directions:
In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine all of the ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or until heated through and flavors are blended.

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Yield: 4-6 servings.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chicken Tex Mex Bake!

I got this recipe from one of my Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks. I will say that the taste was pretty good, but there are a few things I would change next time.

For one, I will use chicken tenders instead of the canned chicken, I'm not a big fan of the canned taste. I also think that I will fry up the chicken tenders AND the onion before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.

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CHICKEN TEX MEX BAKE

2 12-1/2 oz. cans chicken, drained and shredded
2 10 oz. cans mild red enchilada sauce
10-3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. can diced green chiles
14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. onion, diced
1/2 t. pepper
10 flour tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares and divided
1/2 c. sliced black olives


Combine first 5 ingredients and half of the cheese;

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mix well. Blend in sour cream, onion and pepper; set aside. Arrange half the tortillas over the bottom of a 13"x9" baking pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Spoon a layer of chicken mixture over tortillas.

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Repeat layering, ending with chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; top with olives.

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Cover lightly with aluminum foil; bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serves 8.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Slow Cooker Easy Chow Mein!

Simple to make and was pretty good too.

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EASY CHOW MEIN
credit: Taste of Home Crockpot Cookbook

Ingredients

* 1 lb ground beef
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 bunch celery, sliced
* 2 cans (14 oz each) Chinese vegetables, drained
* 2 envelopes brown gravy mix
* 2 T soy sauce
* Hot cooked rice


Directions

1. In a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a slow cooker.

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Stir in the celery, Chinese vegetables, gravy mixes and soy sauce.

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Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours or until celery is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.