Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ranch Mac & Cheese

By George, I do believe I've found it!!! I have been on the hunt for yeeeeears for the perfect homemade Mac & Cheese recipe, but none that I've tried ever 'wowed' me. Well this Mac & Cheese definitely 'Wowed' me! This was sooo good! And I didn't even have to bake it! Aside from cooking the pasta, everything was done in the Dutch Oven (which you know I love!). If you don't have one, then a deep skillet will work just fine. I actually added MORE ranch to my own serving by drizzling some ranch dressing over top my plate...mix it up and you've got a very ranch-y flavor, which I happen to love. If you want a little less ranch flavor, then just leave it as is. The packet that's added to this gives it just a hint of ranch...not at all overpowering though. When Heath came home last night, he heated a bowl of this up and ended up going back for more! Even HE liked it (which is saying something since the guy normally whines whenever I make Mac & Cheese). I absolutely recommend this recipe, it's by far the best I've made, and I'll definitely be making it again!


'Ranch Mac & Cheese'
Source: Noble Pig


1 package (16 oz.) elbow macaroni
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon garlic pepper blend
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Colby cheese
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1/2 cup crushed saltines
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Cook macaroni according to package directions, however, do NOT use salt in the pasta water.

2. Meanwhile in a Dutch oven, combine the milk, butter, dressing mix and seasonings; heat through. Stir in Monterey Jack and Colby cheeses until melted. Stir in sour cream.

3. Drain macaroni; stir into cheese sauce with the saltines. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

I'm always on the lookout for new pork chop recipes, and this particular one was simple to throw together. I wasn't quite sure how the honey/lemon/soy sauce combo would taste, but I dipped my finger in it after mixing it all together and was surprised by how good it was! I thought for sure it would be super sour, what with the amount of lemon juice that's used, but not at all. The honey really tones it down. The original recipe calls for you to cook the chops then remove them and warm the honey mixture in the same pan, but I just left the chops in the pan and poured the mixture over top of them. I then covered them for a bit and let them simmer while I was making the noodles. In my opinion, letting the chops cook in the sauce makes them a little juicier and lets the taste of the sauce kind of seep into the meat. Anyway, this is a great recipe that's simple to make for those lazy nights when you just want dinner done already.


'Honey Garlic Pork Chops'

4 bone-in pork loin chops (6 ounces each)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, brown pork chops on both sides. Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until juice run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160.

In a small bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice, soy sauce and garlic. Pour over the chops and cover. Simmer for 5-8 minutes. Serve with honey mixture poured over top the chops.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gourmet Deli Turkey Wraps

Ok, so, I realize this is not something that most people would just whip up real quick for lunch, but this recipe has been sitting in my 'Recipes to Try' folder forever. I decided last week that I just needed to make it already. It was very, very good. The pears and the blue cheese were a nice combination, and the red wine vinegar dressing was outstanding (thanks Lindsay, for that bottle you gave me before you moved!) I think these wraps would be great if you're having someone over for lunch, or if your hosting something in the afternoon, like a bookclub or wives function. Once you have all the ingredients, you can make a bunch of them, then just slice them in half and set them out on a serving platter. I LOVE cranberries, so I added probably double what the recipe called for. While the ingredient list for this may look a little overwhelming, especially for just a wrap, I absolutely recommend trying these. They really weren't difficult to throw together once you have all the stuff. So glad I FINALLY made these!

'Gourmet Deli Turkey Wraps'
Source: Taste of Home

2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 pound sliced deli turkey
6 flour tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
4 cups spring mix salad greens
2 medium pears, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
6 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the water, vinegar, oil and pepper; shake well.
Divide turkey among tortillas; top with salad greens, pears, cheese, cranberries and walnuts. Drizzle with dressing. Roll up tightly. Secure with toothpicks. Serve immediately.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Blueberry Cheese Rolls

Why is it that some of the simplest recipes are some of the best? That's the case with these rolls...they are super simple, and SOOOO good. I made them for the first time this past weekend and was surprised at how tasty they were! In fact, as I sit here typing this, I have more in the oven right now! Since it's only Jesse and I here, I didn't use the whole roll of crescents. I split it in half, used two rectangles, and put the other half in a baggie to make tomorrow (these don't strike me as something that will re-heat very well). I have the leftover  sugar/cream cheese mixture in the fridge as well so I can make fresh rolls tomorrow. This would be perfect to serve if you have company staying at your house. They're easy to throw together, you can make a bunch at one time, and they look pretty fancy! And you can switch it up a bit by using any type of fruit you like. I can definitely see myself making these pretty often!


'Blueberry Cheese Rolls'
Source: Kraft Foods


1 pkg. (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
4 oz.  (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup  blueberries, divided


Heat oven to 375. Unroll dough into four rectangles; firmly press perforations together to seal.
Combine cream cheese and sugar; spread onto dough rectangles to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top evenly with blueberries. Bring opposite corners of rectangles together; press together to seal. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 min. or until golden brown.



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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oven Baked Ribs

Well, these were supposed to be 'Slow Cooker Sweet and Sassy Ribs', but I was pretty busy yesterday morning, and by the time I remembered to get the slow cooker going, it was 2pm. They needed 7-8 hours to cook, so that just wasn't gonna happen. Instead I made these, which I've been making for years. I don't really like things grilled, save for maybe burgers and steaks, so I always make my ribs in the oven. I absolutely love them, but Heath prefers them grilled, so he just tolerates these. This recipe is so simple, and if you line the baking dish with a couple layers of aluminum foil, it makes clean up a breeze. As for cooking times, I generally follow the 'hour per pound'  rule. I made exactly 1.5 lbs of ribs, so they cooked in an hour and a half. Not bad at all. You can use any type of BBQ sauce you prefer, but may I recommend this...

Sweet Baby Ray's Raspberry Chipotle. It is SOOOO good. It's the only flavor BBQ sauce I buy anymore. Sweet Baby Ray's is all over the place, and they have a tone of different flavors, but I highly recommend this particular one. Ok, well hope you all are having a great weekend thus far, and I'll see you tomorrow with a book review!


'Oven Baked Ribs'
Source: Myself

1-1 1/2 lb rack of ribs
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 bottle of favorite BBQ sauce

Heat oven to 350. Cover 13×9 baking dish with foil and spray with Pam. Place ribs in center of pan. Sprinkle ribs with garlic salt and coat with 2/3 the bottle of BBQ sauce. Cover and cook 1-2 hours (depending on the size of the ribs. Generally cook an hour per lb). Uncover, pour remaining BBQ over ribs and cook uncovered an additional 10 minutes.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Barbecue Beef and Potato Bake

Wow...this was SO good! I've seen those containers of BBQ Beef a million times at the grocery store, and always wondered what they were for, or why people would buy them. Pulled BBQ isn't that difficult to make, and I assumed the pre-made stuff would be bland and nasty...WRONG! This was fabulous, and Jesse actually ate his entire serving! I was shocked that he ate it all cause I gave him such a comically large serving. Taking pictures of anything made in a casserole dish (and making it look somewhat decent) can be quite a challenge. Especially when it's not a solid piece of something. I removed a huge corner of this from the dish to give myself some room to maneuver my piece (the one I was photographing) out of the dish as neatly as possible. I placed the monster slab on Jesse's plate, and figured whatever he ate from it was fine. I NEVER expected him to wolf the whole thing down...and still have room for ice cream afterwards, lol! (That boy will always leave room for ice cream). Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this. I think the kids will love it, and it's so simple to throw together. In fact, I think I'll be making this while we're living out of our RV for a few days during the move. Not too many ingredients, quick to throw together, only 35 minutes of baking...perfect for the camper! Oh, and if you're wondering what the 'Container of refrigerated BBQ sauce with beef' looks like, it's this...

and the best pre-made mashed potatoes I've found are Diner's Choice

though not everyone carries them. I know our Wal-Mart doesn't have them...if that's the case, then the Country Crock potatoes will work just fine.


'Barbecue Beef and Potato Bake'

1 container of pre-made mashed potatoes (Diners Choice or Country Crock)
1 container (18 or 20 ounces) refrigerated original barbecue sauce with shredded beef
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
1 cup French-fried onions

Heat oven to 350. Spray 8 × 8 baking dish with cooking spray. Make potatoes as directed on package. Spread half of the potatoes over bottom of baking dish. Layer with beef, 1 cup of the cheese and remaining potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake about 30 minutes or until hot.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Sprinkle onions around edges of baking dish. Bake uncovered 3 to 4 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and onions are brown.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

World's Easiest Baked Chicken

I've been making this chicken for quite some time. I have no idea where I found the recipe, but for how simple it is, I don't think anyone out there can really claim it. There is NO EXCUSE for not making this chicken. I think the only thing that may be easier than cooking this would be picking up the phone, and having your dinner delivered to you. Three ingredients...and that's including the chicken! For awhile, I was pretty irritated cause this is one of Heath's favorite dinners. I just couldn't get how, out of ALL the different things I've cooked, some easy, some kind of difficult, that THIS would be one of his favorites! I guess less is more sometimes, and less would certainly describe this recipe. I was hoping that, since this is smothered in soup, Jesse would eat it, but there was no fooling him. They boy just doesn't like chicken. He'll eat fruits and vegetables all the live long day, but try giving him chicken, and he'd rather starve. Oh could definitely be worse :) Anyway, this calls for Cream of Chicken soup, but I've also used Cream of Mushroom. You can use one of those two, or any other soup you may enjoy. Cream of Celery would probably be pretty good too. You don't have to, but I usually turn my chicken halfway through cooking. This comes out soooo moist and literally falls off the bone! Very easy and very good. In fact, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a more simple chicken recipe out there!


'Creamy Baked Chicken'
Source: Who Knows

1 chicken, cut up (I always use drumsticks)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (or any other 'Cream Of... ' soup)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350. Place chicken in a greased 13×9 baking dish, skin side up. Blend soup and cheese in bowl, spread evenly over chicken. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and brown. Remove chicken and spoon sauce over top.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers

There's a bakery in my hometown of Groton, CT called the Village Bake Shop. They make the most amazing sandwiches/soups/wraps/pastries in town. Years ago I tried the 'Thanksgiving on a Bun' sandwich, only that day they happen to be out of buns so they served it to me on 8-grain bread...AMAZING! It is now my most favorite sandwich in all the world, and I ALWAYS manage to stop there whenever I'm home, always asking for it on 8-grain bread instead of the bun (to this day I've never had it on the bun). These burgers reminded me of that sandwich, so I was pretty excited to give this a try. I did tweak a few things here and there, most notably; serving it on 12-grain bread instead of the Sesame Seed buns. I spread some Mayo on the bread (don't knock it till you've tried it), and these were capitol D-lish! Like a warm version of my favorite sandwich. I initially wasn't planning on giving Jesse any of this (I made him something else for dinner), but as I sat eating mine, he kept asking for a bite. So, I took one of the patties and cut it up for him on a plate and he loved it. Ate the whole thing...this after he had already finished his own dinner! I've never had turkey burgers before, but these were wonderful, and I will most DEFINITELY be making them again!


'Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers'

1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 cup turkey-flavored stuffing mix (uncooked)
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1-1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 tablespoon canola oil
6 lettuce leaves
6 sesame seed hamburger buns, split (or a heavy grain bread)
6 slices jellied cranberry sauce
**1/3 cup turkey gravy, warmed (optional...I used Mayo on my bread)

In a large bowl, combine whole-berry cranberry sauce, stuffing mix and thyme. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into six patties. In a large skillet, cook burgers in oil over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165 and juices run clear. Place burgers on lettuce-lined buns or thick grain bread; top with a spoonful of gravy (if desired) and a slice of cranberry sauce.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sage Chicken and Potatoes

Blogging a little earlier than usual today...Jesse and I are headed to the beach to watch Daddy-O's boat pull in! We've lived here for 2 1/2 years and have never see it come or go. Jesse was either too young, or they were leaving/returning during his nap-time, or it was way too early in the morning. But not today! This was Heath's last run for the next couple years, so we're VERY excited about having him home each night while we're on shore tour for a couple years.

Anyway! This was last nights dinner, and it was definitely good. Kind of like a mini pot roast, just with chicken...and a lot less cooking time! Now, don't get me wrong, this does need about an hour to bake, but that's not too bad. The vegetables weren't as soft as when you put them in a slow cooker, but they weren't hard either, and the gravy absolutely makes this. There are many different types of jar gravy's out there (Heinz, Campbell's, etc.), but I HIGHLY recommend getting Boston Market's Chicken Gravy. If your grocer doesn't have it, then I guess Heinz will do, but what a shame. Boston Market sure knows how to make gravy. Also, I couldn't find dried sage leaves, so I bought a container of rubbed sage. I have no idea what the difference is, but it tasted just fine. Overall, this was a great dinner, and I'll definitely make it again. I always love all-in-one recipes that include the meat AND veggies!


'Sage Chicken and Potatoes'
Source: Betty Crocker

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
3 medium unpeeled russet potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (3 cups)
1 1/2 cups baby-cut carrots
1 jar (12 oz) home-style chicken gravy
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper blend

Heat oven to 400. Spray 13 × 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange chicken, potatoes and carrots in baking dish. In small bowl, mix gravy, Worcestershire sauce, sage and garlic pepper. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray. Cover baking dish with foil, sprayed side down. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until vegetables are tender and juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Biscuits and Gravy

I was in the mood for some comfort food this morning, and what better than some Southern Style Biscuits n' Gravy? I don't think people realize just how easy sausage gravy is to make. I know I always expected it to be some big production that took hours of simmering and stirring...I couldn't have been more wrong. I mean, you CAN make it that way. I've seen recipes that call for tons of bacon fat, pounds of sausage, and in some cases, over-night simmering. If you're wanting to take that route, have at it! Personally, I prefer this simple recipe that takes about 15 minutes from start to finish! If you're cooking for a larger group, it's simple to double or even triple this (the recipe below serves 2). Serve over some of your favorite biscuits, and you got a tasty (and filling) breakfast!


'Biscuits and Gravy'
Source: Taste of Home

1/4 pound bulk pork sausage
2 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1-1/4 to 1-1/3 cups milk
Warm biscuits

In a skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add butter and heat until melted. Add the flour, salt and pepper; cook and stir until blended. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over biscuits.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup

As this soup was cooking, I was pretty skeptical about how it would taste. It made the whole house smell like V8 (which isn't a surprise since there's a whole bottle in it), and while that isn't a bad thing, I'm not such a fan of the stuff that I wanted my dinner to taste like it. Well, no worries may smell like V8, but it tastes like yummy Mexican chicken soup! This was VERY good, especially if you add the cheddar and sour cream. It makes a lot, so this is a great recipe if you're having people over, or if it's a busy day for the family and everyone's running on different schedules...this would be perfect to leave sitting out on the counter on warm and let the family eat a bowl of it whenever they can. It cooks up pretty fast too, only 3-4 hours. I'd definitely recommend it if you're heading out to one of the kids games, or dropping them off for practice. You can start this pretty late in the day but have a hot dinner by the time everyone gets home. I'm absolutely going to be making this again. Heath will love it!


'Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup'
Source: Taste of Home

1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup water
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can (32 ounces) V8 juice
1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (I used Goya)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn, thawed

*For garnish- sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, minced cilantro*

In a large nonstick skillet, saute chicken in oil until no longer pink. Add water and taco seasoning; simmer, uncovered, until chicken is well coated.

Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the V8 juice, salsa, beans and corn. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through. Serve with cheese, sour cream and cilantro.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Banana Bread

Aside from using packaged mixes, this was my first time making 'real' banana bread and I can't believe how easy and fabulous it was. Never again will I buy the pre-made mixes. This took no time at all to prepare and was so moist and flavorful. I had purchased a few too many bananas in my quest to find out what was giving Jesse digestive issues (turns out it was chocolate milk!), and they were browning faster than we could eat them. I figured I'd look around for a good banana bread recipe, and, as always, I started with Taste of Home. I didn't have to go any further. This recipe had great reviews, and the ingredients were all things I had on hand (save for the walnuts, I did have to buy those). This calls for buttermilk, but I used regular whole milk. Mainly because I didn't have buttermilk, but also because I thought buttermilk didn't make much sense. Also, the original recipe says to bake this for 1 hour 20 minutes...yeeeeah, that was a wee bit too long for me. I checked on it when it still had 12 minutes left, and it was DEFINITELY done. In my instructions here, I'm only putting down an hour as the bake time. If you still need more, then you can add a few more minutes. My stove is pretty run-of-the-mill, so 80 minutes was just much too long. Well, hope you give this a try cause it was definitely tasty! Have a great weekend, and I'll see ya tomorrow!


'Banana Bread'
Source: Taste of Home

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk (or regular milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in nuts.

Pour into a greased 9 × 5 loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

***If using mini loaf pans, bake for only 40 minutes***

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Salmon with Creamy Pesto Sauce

So, it should be pretty obvious by now that I love Salmon. I prefer it baked, so if you visit Kraft Foods, where this recipe originated from, you'll find that it was originally 'Grilled Salmon in Pesto Sauce'...I changed it to fit my personal preference. I also cut the sauce down quite a bit since I only made one salmon fillet (Jesse was pretty adamant about his extreme dislike for this particular fish) and it worked out great. I hardly ever cook with pesto, so this was something different for me, and I really liked it. Couldn't have been any easier either. Melt some cream cheese and milk in a small pan, stir in the pesto and there you have it...pesto sauce. I may just keep this recipe to myself since it doesn't strike me as something Heath would really care for, but that's fine with me. Something quick and easy to make myself whenever he has to work favorite type of recipe!  :)


'Salmon with Creamy Pesto Sauce'
Source: Kraft Foods

4 Salmon fillets (1 lb.)
Lemon juice (optional)
1/4 cup Milk
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp. Pesto
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Heath oven to 350. Squirt each fillet with lemon juice (to taste). Bake chicken on greased foil lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook cream cheese and milk in saucepan on medium heat 2 to 3 min. or until cream cheese is completely melted and sauce is well blended, stirring constantly. Stir in pesto. Serve fish topped with sauce and parsley.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Kraft calls this recipe 'Chicken Parmesan'. Well...not really. It's not breaded, but it definitely is easy. This took no time at all to throw together, and it's super simple to make more or less, depending on how many people your serving. For instance, I only made two chicken for me, and one for Jesse. Jesse chose to eat only the pasta though, so his small little chicken breast went to waste (I'm really not sure why I insist on feeding this child chicken breast when he so obviously doesn't care for it). The chicken was juicy, and I thought the spiral pasta was a great choice. You can add any seasonings you like to this since it's such a simple recipe. If you make it as is, you may find that while it's very cheesy, it's a bit bland. I added some Italian seasoning, and that was enough for me. A great addition to my 'Nights I don't feel like fussing with dinner' collection!


'Easy Chicken Parmesan'
Source: Kraft Foods

1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
6 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small Boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.)
1-1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Spiral Pasta
*Italian Seasoning to taste*
Heat oven to 375. Pour sauce into 13×9-inch baking dish. Stir in 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Add chicken; turn to coat both sides with sauce. Cover with foil. Bake 30 min.
Uncover and top with remaining cheeses; bake uncovered for 5 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF) and cheese is melted. Serve over cooked pasta.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crescent Dogs

Yeah so, judge me all you want, but I DON'T CARE! My husband went out to sea yesterday, I had a million things to do with getting the lease for the new house together, making sure the security deposit gets there on time, and I didn't feel like making anything fancy for dinner, so YES, I served my boy and myself Crescent Dogs! And you know what? I love THERE! :)~  I was trolling the Pillsbury website Sunday looking for some new recipe ideas when I saw these. I've made them before, but it's been a loooooong time. I absolutely love these things, and since I was looking for something simple to make yesterday, these fit the bill. It was the first time Jesse's ever had them and he ate almost TWO of them! I cut a whole one up thinking not in a million years would he finish it, but not 10 minutes later he was up on the couch asking for more (we eat in the living room when Daddy's at sue me)! I cut up half of another dog and he went right through it. They may be corny, but I'll definitely be making these a lot more often!


'Crescent Dogs'
Source: Pillsbury

8 hot dogs
4 slices American cheese, each cut into 6 strips
1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Heat oven to 375. Slit hot dogs to within 1/2 inch of ends; insert 3 strips of cheese into each slit. Separate dough into triangles. Wrap dough triangle around each hot dog. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, cheese side up. Bake at for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Bye Daddy-O! We miss you and we'll see you soon!

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Sausage Pierogi Skillet

I made this recipe for Jesse and I a few nights ago and, while it was good, I don't think I'll be making it again. I absolutely love perogies, and Jesse absolutely loves sausage (and kielbasa) so I thought, this should be GREAT! Yeeeeah, it was just good. I think what threw me off was the coleslaw. I bought bagged coleslaw (like the recipe calls for) but I think prepared coleslaw (with the mayo mixed in) would have been best...added a bit of liquid to it, know what I mean? Anyway, I don't discourage anyone from trying this (obviously, since I'm posting it), but it just wasn't a favorite of mine. If you DO decide to make it, grab some pre-made cole slaw from the deli...I think it'll add a lot more to the dish.


'Sausage Pierogi Skillet'
Source: Taste of Home

1 package (16.9 ounces) frozen potato and onion pierogies
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 package (14 ounces) smoked turkey sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
1 package (14 ounces) coleslaw mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf

Cook pierogies according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil. Add sausage and onion; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes longer or until coleslaw is wilted. Remove from the heat; keep warm.

In another large skillet, heat remaining butter and oil. Drain pierogies; add to skillet. Cook and stir until browned; add the sausage mixture and toss to coat. Discard bay leaf.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mexicalli-Frito Pie

I found this recipe in my Gooseberry Patch cookbook, and, judging by the ingredients, it sounded pretty tasty. There was no picture to go along with it, so I wasn't exactly sure what it looked like, but it turned out pretty good! Jesse LOVED it (as I imagine most kids would). The Frito's really add a tasty crisp to this, and I, of course, smothered mine in sour cream. It's easy to throw together, and is definitely a filling dinner. I happen to make this for just Jesse and I since Heath was working late, and I don't think I'll be doing that again. This makes kind of a lot (I'd say perfect for a family of 4 or 5 if there are young kids), so we had a LOT of leftovers. It heats up very well, and was just as good the next day. Glad I tried this, I'll absolutely be making it again. I think it's something Heath would really like.


'Mexicalli-Frito Pie'

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 cup chunky zesty salsa
3/4 cup Mexican style shredded cheese
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup crushed corn chips
Optional: Sour cream, sliced jalapeno peppers, diced tomato

Heat oven to 350. Brown beef, onion and green pepper in a skillet; drain. Add corn, salsa, shredded cheese and pepper. Place beef mixture in a lightly greased 10” pie plate; top with crushed chips. Bake for 30 minutes.Let cool for 10 minutes; garnish as desired.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

The BEST Chicken Fried Steak

I LOVE me some Chicken Fried Steak! However every time I've made it in the past, the meat was either too tough, or the breading would NOT stay on. This recipe is by far the best I have ever used for cfs. I found it on Allrecipes, and it is the ONLY one I will be using from now on. I'm definitely bummed that Heath had to work so late last night and was unable to try this, but my step-dad is in town (trying to fix the hubby's broke-down submarine), and HE was able to get off the boat early enough to have some, so at least someone else was able to enjoy this masterpiece, lol! Ok, now couple things to mention...this calls for buttermilk. It's recommended, but not necessary. You CAN use regular milk if you should say, have a blond moment at the grocery store, forget to pick up buttermilk even though it's at the top of your list, then realize your mistake once you start putting dinner together...not that that happened to me or anything ;)~  Also, it calls for 3 cups of vegetable shortening (aka Crisco), which looks like this...

you CAN use liquid vegetable oil for frying, but I definitely recommend this. It fried these babies to perfection. And lastly, the gravy. You can certainly make your own if you want, it's very easy (just flour, milk, and salt and pepper), OR, you can use a packet of this stuff...

which is (IMHO) the greatest white gravy known to man. Since I've got a good gravy thing going with McCormick, I don't feel the need to try and make my own. Oh, and I left out the garlic. I had some in the fridge, but I just felt garlic had no place in chicken fried own person preference. Well, that's about it! Everything else is pretty cut and dry. Of course, you can leave out the Tabasco if you're not interested, but let me just say, I added it and couldn't even taste it (the spiciness of it I mean). So don't worry about it making this too hot cause it doesn't at all. So here it is, the recipe for the Best Damn Chicken Fried Steak anywhere! I IMPLORE you to try will not regret it!

'The BEST Chicken Fried Steak '
Source: Allrecipes


4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable shortening for deep frying


(if you're not using the McCormick packaged Gravy)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
kosher salt and ground black


Heat the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees. Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl. Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a separate shallow bowl; stir in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco Sauce, and garlic. Dredge each steak first in the FLOUR, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour.

Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a plate with paper towels to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible. (If making the packaged gravy, you can start that while the steaks are cooking)

For Homemade Gravy:

Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks to serve.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slow Cooker Sweet Pepper Chicken

So, I'm sure this just looks like a creamy mess of who-knows-what, but it was SO good! Heath's been working late, so I only made two chicken breasts for Jesse and I. He ended up eating something else though, so I had a leftover. Heath ate it when he got home last night around 11pm, and he loved it. It's SO easy to make, and cooks up pretty fast in the slow cooker...only 4-5 hours. I didn't bother with the frying in the beginning, it's not necessary and just dirties more dishes. The recipe calls for 1 medium sweet red pepper, but I couldn't find any in the large size at the Publix. I instead bought a little container of red, orange, and yellow mini sweet peppers, and used those. They tasted great and added some nice color! This is a great recipe for any time, whether you're only making two chicken breasts, or six...serving it for just your family, or guests. It looks like it took much more time to prepare than it actually does. The soup sauce was very good, and the mushrooms added TONS of flavor. If you're not a fan of mushrooms, then this is definitely NOT for you. I loved it and will absolutely be making it again!


'Slow Cooker Sweet Pepper Chicken'
Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

6 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon canola oil (optional)
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1 medium green pepper, julienned
1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
Hot cooked rice

**In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil on both sides (optional)**. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Top with mushrooms, onion and peppers. Combine the soups; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Serve with rice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pork Chop Casserole

Hey guys! Sorry I didn't post anything yesterday, but it was a long day. Jesse and I headed up to Charleston to look at a house we want to rent, so that was an all day excursion. About 4 hours each way when you factor in stopping for the potty and food. We got back around 6pm and I quickly threw together some dinner, did bath-time, then put the boy to bed (Daddy's got the boat, so he won't be home till very late for the rest of the month). By the time I was able to relax, I just didn't feel like posting. Some good news though, we LOVED the house and have decided to take it! I can wait to house, new town, it's always exciting. Oh, here she is...

our new home starting October 1st, and my new kitchen! MUCH more space than what I've got now! I have a decent kitchen now, but it's a square space with counter all around you...I much prefer this style 'Galley' kitchen. I don't feel so closed in.

Anyway...the Pork Chops! They were VERY good. They did have a heavy sour cream taste to them, but I like that. If you're not a fan, just use less, it won't mess with the recipe at all. The French's Fried Onions were a wonderful addition to this though! I love fried onions but only ever use them on Thanksgiving for Green Bean Casserole! It's nice to have another recipe where they can be used. This is NOT something to make if you're looking for a quick dinner though. Prep time is about 20-25 minutes, then they have to bake an additional 45-50 minutes, so save this for when you have some time. Overall though, we really liked it!

'Pork Chop Casserole Recipe'
Source: Taste of Home

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 bone-in pork loin chops (3/4-inch thick and 8 ounces each)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream, divided
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 can (2.8 ounces) french-fried onions, divided

Heat oven to 350. In a large plastic resealable bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add pork chops, one at a time, and shake to coat. In a large skillet; cook pork chops in oil for 4-5 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink. Place in a single layer in a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the soup, 1/2 cup sour cream, broth, ginger and rosemary; pour over chops. Sprinkle with half of onions. Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes or until meat is tender. Stir remaining sour cream into sauce (optional). Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until onions are browned.

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