Sunday, March 28, 2010

Navajo Tacos

These taco and scone/fry bread creations are really delicious. Navajo tacos are standard dinner fare in Utah where I grew up and maybe in the Western United States generally? I don't know. But I know they're good! There is even a fast food chain in Utah called Scone Cutters where they serve scones and Navajo tacos (scones = fry bread to Utahans, not the English muffiny things). You can use any bread recipe you like to make the scones, but I like to use my pizza dough recipe because it's so fast to put together.

Navajo Tacos

5 1/4 cups white bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 rounded tablespoons SAF yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid lecithin (you can buy at health food stores - I buy it from Sprouts)
2 1/4 cups hot tap water
oil for frying

Toppings for Navajo Tacos:
refried beans
prepared taco meat
shredded cheese
shredded lettuce
sour cream
avocado or guacamole
chopped red onion or sliced green onions

Start oil heating in a large pot (about 2-3 inches of oil) to fry the scones. Heat until oil reaches 365 degrees.

While oil is heating, mix dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer (flour, sugar, salt, and yeast). Add lecithin and water. Mix for 1 minute with dough hook. Check consistency - it should be like a stiff cookie dough - if it's too dry add more water, if it's too moist add more flour. Mix for 5 minutes. Do not add any water or flour to dough after it has finished mixing.

Spray a counter or flat surface with cooking spray, also spray your hands so you can handle dough easily. Knead dough into a nice smooth ball. Cut in half (if you have a large counter space to roll out dough you don't need to cut the dough in half). With a rolling pin, roll out each half to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rectangle or diamond shaped pieces with a pizza cutter. Fry in hot oil until browned on both sides. Remove scones to a cookie sheet that has been lined with paper towels.

To serve (best when scones are hot) spread refried beans over scones, top with meat, cheese, salsa and choice of other toppings.

*You can also serve the scones with butter and honey on top for a treat. SO good!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pioneer Woman's BBQ Meatballs (Freezer Meal)

I turned Pioneer Woman's BBQ Meatballs (or I think they're called Comfort Meatballs in her cookbook) into a freezer meal with great results. I did add an egg to help me pull them together a little easier (in bulk they were just too sticky when raw to deal with). I love these meatballs! Seriously tasty and as a freezer meal they are just as tender and tasty when cooked from frozen. When I made these for my freezer meal swap last month I included a bag of OreIda Steam and Mash Red Potatoes because mashed potatoes are the perfect side to these meatballs.

Pioneer Woman's BBQ Meatballs (Freezer Meal)


1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3/4 cup quick oats
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper (as much as desired)
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup canola oil

BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Meatballs Assembly:
In a large bowl combine beef, oats, milk, egg, 3 tablespoons finely chopped onions, salt, and ground black pepper. Mix with hands until well combined. Roll into medium-small balls (I used a medium cookie scoop to keep the meatballs of uniform size) and place on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Place cookie sheet with meatballs in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and immediately dredge meatballs in flour and place back on cookie sheet.

In a large skillet heat 1/3 cup oil or enough to coat the bottom of your skillet. Brown the meatballs in batches in the hot oil, making sure to brown all sides of the meatballs. Place browned meatballs onto a cookie sheet. You do not need to cook the meatballs through, just brown them on all sides. Place cookie sheet of meatballs in the freezer until meatballs are frozen solid. Transfer meatballs to a gallon size freezer bag, label with cooking instructions and freeze.

BBQ Sauce Assembly:Combine ingredients for BBQ sauce in a small bowl, whisking till blended. Pour into a quart size freezer bag and freeze flat.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw sauce in fridge overnight, but keep the meatballs frozen till ready to cook. Place frozen meatballs in a 9x13 baking dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Pour thawed sauce over the meatballs using a spoon to toss the meatballs in the sauce. Bake for an additional 30 minutes uncovered at 350 degrees.*

*Meatballs need to be cooked all the way through and register 165 degrees on a meat thermometer as they are not cooked all the way through prior to freezing.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cheesy Lemon Chicken

This is a wonderful chicken casserole! I got the recipe from my friend Corinne a number of years ago and it has been a family favorite ever since. It's creamy and the lemon pepper gives the chicken great flavor. Thanks Corinne!

Cheesy Lemon Chicken

4-5 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2-3 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese (today I used a mixture of Swiss and cheddar)

Place chicken in a non-stick sprayed 9x13 pan (if using less chicken use a smaller baking dish). Sprinkle chicken somewhat heavily with lemon pepper. Mix together sour cream, soup, cheese, and milk. Pour over chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

Garlic Bread

Since I had a leftover loaf of French bread today I decided to make it into garlic bread to go along with dinner. I used the garlic bread recipe on the side of the Christopher Ranch chopped garlic jar and it was fantastic! My kids couldn't get enough of it.

Garlic Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 loaf French bread sliced in half lengthwise

Mix together the butter, Parmesan, garlic, parsley, paprika, and basil. Spread a good layer of the butter mixture on the French bread halves (I used about half; you could freeze the remaining butter mixture). Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray; place French bread halves on the cookie sheet and broil until browned. Cut into slices and serve.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

French Bread

I made French bread!! I'm so happy about it and most of all because it turned out! Yay! The inside even looked all swirly just how it's suppose to. I thought French bread would be intimidating, but honestly the recipe was very simple. I always have these ingredients on hand so I think I'll be making these loaves a lot.

French Bread

6 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons SAF yeast (or other instant yeast)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups hot tap water
2 tablespoons canola oil

In the bowl of an electric mixer (I love my Bosch!) mix together flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add water and oil and beat for 3 minutes on high. Let dough stand for 10 minutes in the mixer and then mix again; repeat this process 5 times (that's a total of 6, 3 minute mixings, and 6, 10 minute restings).

Turn dough onto a surface that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (spray your hands too). Knead dough into a smooth ball and divide into 2 equal parts. Roll each part into a 9x12 inch rectangle then roll up like a jelly roll and pinch ends to seal the dough. Arrange dough loaves lengthwise onto greased cookie sheets. Cover lightly with kitchen towels or with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Let rise for 30 minutes.

With a sharp knife, cut gashes at an angle on the top of the loaves and brush entire surface of loaves with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with some water). Bake immediately at 400 degrees for 22-25 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and let cool on wire racks.

2 Classic Lasagnas (Freezer Meal)

This is a great classic lasagna. This recipe makes 2 lasagnas so you can make one and freeze one, because really if you go through the trouble of making a homemade lasagna why not make two?! Of course you can cut the recipe in half if you just want to make one. I'm going to be making 6 of these puppies pretty soon for my freezer meal swap in April.

2 Classic Lasagnas (Freezer Meal)

2 packages oven-ready lasagna noodles
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb Italian sausage
2 cups chopped onion
2, 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (I like Cento brand)
4, 6 oz cans tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2, 15 oz containers ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
8 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a skillet brown the ground beef and sausage. Add onions and cook until softened. Drain. Put meat mixture into a large pot or dutch oven. Pour cans of tomatoes with juices into a large bowl and crush up tomatoes with your hands, pour crushed up tomatoes into the pot with the meat. Add tomato pastes, sugar, basil, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In 2 bowls, blend in each: 1 container of ricotta, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of parsley flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (doing this in 2 bowls helps to get the right amount of ricotta in each lasagna). Set bowl aside.

In 2 deep 9x13 foil baking pans, layer in each: a layer of noodles, then 2 cups of the meatsauce, then 1/3 of the ricotta mixture from one bowl (place in little dollops all over the meatsauce), then 1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella. Repeat all the layers twice more ending with shredded mozzarella.

To Bake right away:
Loosely cover with foil (tent the foil a little in the middle) and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, uncover and bake for 10-20 more minutes, until cheeses are bubbly and browned.

To Freeze:
Cover assembled lasagna with plastic wrap, then foil and label with cooking instructions. Freeze.

Freezer Meal Cooking Instructions:

Thawed (will take 2 days in fridge to thaw): Bake, covered loosely with foil, at 375 for 50 minutes, uncover and bake for 10-20 more minutes, until cheeses are bubbly and browned.

Frozen: Bake, covered loosely with foil, at 375 for 2 hours and 10 minutes, uncover and bake for 20 more minutes or until cheeses are bubbly and browned.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Bars

These peanut butter bars are so good - just like Reese's Peanut Butter Cup bars! My whole family loved them for our FHE treat tonight. And yay that it's a yummy, easy, no-bake dessert! I got the recipe from Carrie's Cooking Corner. Thanks C. for the great recipe!!

Peanut Butter Bars

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter, melted
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, or stand mixer, mix together graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, peanut butter and melted butter. Mix well. Press mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted. Spread melted chips over peanut butter crust. Chill for 10 minutes. With a sharp knife cut bars into squares, but leave the squares in the pan. Refrigerate until completely set then remove squares from pan and store air-tight.

Chicken Linguine Alfredo

This alfredo sauce is delicious! So rich and creamy and cheesy! Seriously good. I think this will be my go-to alfredo sauce in the future. I adapted the recipe from Mommy's Kitchen. One thing about cooking this meal is that timing is everything - it's important to marinate the chicken for 2 hours and cook it before starting the sauce and to make the sauce close to when the pasta will be finished cooking as well. But in the end it is fantastic and with a little planning it's a very easy meal to prepare.

Chicken Linguine Alfredo

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
a bottle of Italian salad dressing (I used Kraft Light House Italian)
1 lb linguine pasta
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 3 cloves
3 cups cream
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 hours before cooking:
Pound the chicken breasts to a uniform thickness and marinate them in the Italian dressing for 2 hours.

At time of cooking:
Remove chicken breasts from marinade and discard marinade. In a skillet or grill pan brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Remove and place in a baking pan and bake at 350 until cooked through and chicken breasts register 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from oven and cut into strips. Place chicken strips in a bowl and cover.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While pasta is finishing cooking melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pan. Add garlic and cook for about 15 seconds, just until fragrant. Add cream and cook for 3 minutes or until reduced a bit. Add cheeses and stir well. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir until combined. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss. Add the cooked chicken strips and heat through. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Sprinkle extra parmesan and freshly ground black pepper on individual servings.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lion House Sweet and Sour Pork

This sweet and sour pork was delicious. I love all my Lion House cookbooks so much! This recipe comes from the Lion House Classics Cookbook. All members of my family enjoyed it and even ate the green peppers which is kind of a miracle for my children. We will definitely have this again.

Lion House Sweet and Sour Pork

2 lbs lean pork, cut into very thin 2" strips
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
3 tablespoons of oil (plus a little more)
2 cups carrots cut thick diagonal slices
1 onion, cut in half and sliced
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1, 20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)

2 Hours Before Cooking:
Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup soy sauce; marinate pork in this for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Drain, reserving marinade.

At Time of Cooking:
Stir fry meat in hot oil until evenly browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Remove meat from pan. Stir fry carrots and onions in same pan, using more oil if necessary. Cover and cook on low heat until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add green pepper and pineapple. Return meat to pan and also stir in reserved marinade.

In the meantime, make sweet and sour sauce: mix cornstarch and sugar in a small saucepan. Add pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Cook and stir until thickened and clear. Pour over meat and vegetables; heat until flavors are blended, about 10 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

Oh man, cinnamon rolls are probably the ultimate comfort food (to me at least). They are bready and sweet and glorious. I decided to make these tonight for our Saturday "fend for yourself" dinner, which quite honestly is hardly ever fending for yourself, but more of a left-overs or whatever sounds good sort of dinner and today cinnamon rolls sounded good. And these cinnamon rolls were GOOD. I adapted the recipe from one I got on a book group message board - I tell you I pick up recipes everywhere! So thanks to M. from The Nook for this awesome cinnamon roll recipe!

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast (I use SAF)
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat milk in the microwave for about 1 minute. Add these ingredients in the order listed into your bread machine: warmed milk, canola oil, eggs, sugar, salt, flour, and then make a well in flour and add yeast. Set the machine to the dough setting and let run.

When dough is finished spray a flat surface with non-stick cooking spray (I love using cooking spray rather than flour to roll dough out - it's so much easier), turn out dough onto surface and roll out into a large rectangle - I think mine was about 16"x16". Spread softened butter evenly over dough rectangle. In a bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon and then spread evenly over the buttered dough. Roll up the dough and cut into slices. Put slices onto a greased cookie sheet or other baking pans of choice giving each slice some room to rise on each side (they get much bigger). Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, covering with foil during the last few minutes to prevent over browning. Remove from oven and allow to cool a little then frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 tablespoon butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Skillet Chili Mac

I got this recipe from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and it was great! I added a little more spice and some beans and corn and the whole family loved it. I served it with my favorite corn bread which happens to be the Marie Callender's corn bread mix (I know that sounds weird, but seriously it's better than any home-made cornbread I've had).

Skillet Chili Mac

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Original Blend
8 oz or 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
1, 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1, 15 oz can tomato puree
1 1/2 cups water (may need to add more as it's simmering)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 can corn, drained
1 can red or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
8 oz colby cheese, shredded

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain the beef and remove to a bowl, set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to skillet and return to medium high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and Mrs. Dash and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the macaroni, tomatoes with juiced, tomato puree, water, brown sugar, drained beef, corn, and beans. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle shredded cheese on individual servings.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Awful Waffles (buttermilk waffles dyed green)

These waffles are so good! I used the America's Test Kitchen recipe for buttermilk waffles and just added some green food coloring to make it green for St. Patty's. The batter is very thick and you have to use a heat resistant spatula to spread it out on the waffle iron, but don't be tempted to add more liquid, the batter is meant to be thick - it's what makes them so fluffy and good. I'm going to double the recipe next time because this recipe only makes about 5 thick waffles.

Awful Waffles (buttermilk waffles dyed green)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, separated
pinch of cream of tartar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
6 drops green food coloring

Heat waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together egg yolks, butter, and then the buttermilk and the green food coloring if adding. Beat the egg white and pinch of cream of tartar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form - about a minute. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and whisk very gently until the buttermilk mixture is just incorporated. Toward the end of mixing fold in the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Following the manufacturer's instructions, spread the appropriate amount of batter onto the waffle iron (because it is thick you will probably need to spread out the batter with a heat-resistant spatula) and cook until golden brown.

Crockpot Pulled Pork for Sandwiches (Freezer Meal)

This is the freezer meal that I am making in bulk this month for my freezer meal swap. I included a package of hamburger buns and bottle of Famous Dave's BBQ sauce along with the freezer meal. We had this dinner last night with baked beans and fruit salad and everyone loved it.

Crockpot Pulled Pork for Sandwiches (Freezer Meal)

1 pork picnic roast (about 3 pounds)
1 recipe of homemade bbq sauce (recipe below)

Thaw roast and bbq sauce for a day or 2 in refrigerator. Place roast in crockpot and cover with bbq sauce and cook all day on low. Before serving remove roast from crockpot and shred with 2 forks, discarding fatty parts. Serve pulled pork on hamburger buns with bottled bbq sauce.

Alternatively, you can clean out crockpot, put the shredded pork back in crockpot and add the bottle of bbq sauce directly to the pork, mixing the bbq sauce in well. Heat through and then serve the saucy pork on buns. Both ways work and are yummy, but my family prefers the pork plain with bbq sauce added to individual sandwiches.

Big Batch Homemade BBQ Sauce

1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 onions, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups ketchup
1 cup molasses
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup dijion mustard
1/2 tablespoon tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until just fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool to room temperature and divide into 3 quart size ziplock bags. Label and freeze flat. Each bag is about the amount of sauce in a regular bottle of barbecue sauce.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monthly Menu Plan - March and April

Time for another installment of my monthly menu plan. Meals I'm looking forward to trying in the next 6 weeks are: Navajo tacos, lasagna bowls, crockpot corn chowder, and Sicilian pesto. I'm also excited to make "awful waffles" (green waffles) on St. Patrick's day. As soon as I find out what freezer meals I'm getting from the members of my freezer meal swap I will fill in those meals too.

16th - Crockpot Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Baked Beans, and Quick Fruit Salad
17th - St. Patrick's Day - Awful Waffles (buttermilk waffles with green food coloring)
18th - America's Test Kitchen Skillet Chili Mac and Corn Bread
19th - Pizza
20th - FFY (fend for yourself)
21st - Lion House Sweet and Sour Pork, Rice, and Orange Rolls
22nd - Linguine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken and Veg.
23rd - Crockpot Italian Beef Sandwiches and Manly Pasta Salad
24th - Ritz Cracker Chicken Casserole, Rice and Veg.
25th - Crockpot Chili, Hot Dogs, Cheese and Fritos
26th - Pizza
27th - FFY
28th - Navajo Tacos
29th - BBQ Meatballs (freezer meal), Mashed Red Potatoes, Veg.
30th - Spaghetti Bolognese (freezer meal) and Salad
31st - Pot Stickers and Asian Salad

1st - Cafe Rio Burritos (freezer meal) and Salad
2nd - Pizza
3rd - FFY
4th - Easter - Pioneer Woman Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, Gravy, and Hot Cross Buns
5th - Lion House Chicken Fajitas
6th - Potato Soup (freezer meal) and Wheat Bread
7th - Rachel Ray's 2 Sauce Lasagna Bowl and Beans and Greens Salad
8th - Chicken Pockets (freezer meal), Chicken Gravy, Rice, and Veg.
9th - Pizza
10th - FFY
11th - Crockpot Corn Chowder and Rhodes Bread Sticks
12th - Hawaiian Haystacks
13th - Sicilian Pesto with Spaghetti or Linguine, Green Salad, and No-Knead Artisan Bread
14th - Spicy Pork Roast, Au Gratin Potatoes, and Veg.
15th - Southwestern Lasagna (freezer meal) and Salad/Veg.
16th - Pizza
17th - FFY
18th - Italian Chicken and Rice Casserole and Veg.
19th - Quiche and Quick Fruit Salad
20th - Crockpot Meatsauce, Spaghetti, and Veg.
21st - Ham and Cheese Braid, Chips and Fruit
22nd - Oven Chicken and Carrots
23rd - Pizza
24th - FFY

Guy's Mac n' Cheese

I got this recipe from Guy's Big Bite on the Food Network (a channel that I am slightly addicted to). It is a fast mac & cheese, because no white sauce is involved, but I have to admit I like the creaminess of traditional macaroni and cheese. That said, this is a quick and easy recipe that I might use as a side dish in the future.

Guy's Mac n' Cheese
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups dry elbow macaroni
2 eggs
1, 12 oz can evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
freshly ground black pepper
16 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 325.

Bring water, salt, and oil to a boil. Add pasta and bring back to a boil; cook until al dente, 8-9 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl mix together eggs, evaporated milk, melted butter and salt and pepper to taste. Add 3/4 of the cheese and add the pasta. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray and add the pasta mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Touch Down Taco Dip (Freezer meal)

I got this lovely freezer meal and recipe from S. in my freezer meal swap. This meal went over so well with my whole family. Who doesn't love nachos? So good. This would be a great dip for a party also.

Touch Down Taco Dip (Freezer Meal)

1, 16 oz can refried beans
1, 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup sliced olives
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

For the day of:
tortilla chips
guacamole (optional)
sour cream (optional)
salsa (optional)

Spread refried beans in the bottom of a 9x13 foil pan. Combine cream cheese, taco seasoning, and minced garlic. Spread cream cheese mixture over beans. Add tomatoes, cilantro, olives over the cream cheese. Top with cheddar cheese. (To eat right away bake at 25 minutes at 350 degrees.) Cover with plastic wrap and foil and freeze.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw for a day in fridge. Remove plastic wrap and foil and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve over tortilla chips with guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bread Machine Wheat Dinner Rolls

I'm reposting this recipe because I revamped it a little and the rolls turned out even fluffier! Who would have thought replacing the butter with canola oil and adding a 1/4 cup more whole wheat flour would make the rolls lighter?! Go figure and now the rolls are slightly healthier. Of course you don't have to make this in the bread machine, you could instead mix, knead, rise, then shape the rolls, but I like using the bread machine to make this dough for convenience sake.

Bread Machine Wheat Dinner Rolls

1 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups white bread flour
4 teaspoons SAF yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter (for tops after baking)

Place in the pan of bread machine (in order): water, milk, egg, honey, oil, salt, flours, and then make a well in the flour and add the yeast. Set bread machine to dough setting and let run.

When finished turn out dough onto a non-stick sprayed (Pam) surface and cut into 24 equal pieces. Also spray your hands with the Pam to work with the dough easier. Shape each piece into a smooth round ball and place on a greased cookie sheet. (I used my stoneware jelly roll pan and it works great!) You will have 6 rows with 4 rolls on each row. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 14-17 minutes (I cover the rolls with foil for the last 5 minutes or so, so that the rolls don't get too browned on top). Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Caramel Sauce for Ice Cream

This caramel sauce is SO SO good! It tastes just like melted homemade caramels. The recipe made just enough for my family of 5, so you may want to double recipe if you're serving more people.

Caramel Sauce for Ice Cream

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
1/2 cup cream

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add sugar and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add salt and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring, for 2 minutes. Let cool a little and serve over ice cream.

Skillet Pork Stroganoff

I got this recipe from the latest edition of Cook's Country. It was fast, easy, and tasty - so for me a perfect dinner. I must admit though that my children did not enjoy this meal. I know there will be whining and moaning when ever I serve something with mushrooms and believe me there was much moaning and whining last night. Oh well, my husband and I liked it.

Skillet Pork Stroganoff

3 tablespoons canola oil (I used a olive, soy, and canola oil blend)
8 oz cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch chunks
salt and pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
splash red wine vinegar (1/2 - 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 cup sour cream
cooked egg noodles or rice

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until hot. Cook mushrooms until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add additional 1 tablespoon oil to empty skillet and set over medium high heat until just smoking. Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer pork to bowl with mushrooms.

Add onion and remaining oil to empty skillet and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in broth, red wine vinegar, and ketchup and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and pork and cook until heated through. Let cool slightly, then whisk in sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice or noodles.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sara's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend Sara and these cookies are great - lovely chewy chocolatyness! I think they are best warm. I think next time I'll use butter flavored shortening because I think that would add a nice flavor.

Sara's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening (regular or butter flavored)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups quick oats
1 3/4 cup flour (plus 1/4 cup for high altitude)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
16 oz bag chocolate chips (or about 2 cups)

Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet mixture and combine and fold in chocolate chips by hand. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake at 375 for 9 to 10 minutes.

Pineapple Coleslaw

This was a super yummy side to pulled pork sandwiches. It was so easy to throw together too. My family all loved the sweetness the pineapple gave the coleslaw. I got the recipe from Real Mom Kitchen.

Pineapple Coleslaw

16 oz bag coleslaw mix
1, 20, oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup mayonnaiseabout 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl combine coleslaw mix, crushed pineapple and celery seed. Add mayonnaise and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Chicken Cordon Bleu (Freezer Meal)

This was a really yummy freezer meal. My horrible picture doesn't do it justice. I think this meal would be absolutely wonderful made fresh also.

Chicken Cordon Bleu (freezer meal)

6 chicken breasts (can reduce,but also reduce the sliced of Swiss and ham)
6 sliced Swiss cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup water
6 slices ham
2 cups bread crumbs (I think I'll reduce this next time)
2 tablespoons butter

Freezer Meal Assembly:
Lightly spray a 9x13 foil pan with cooking spray. Evenly arrange chicken in the bottom of the pan. Place one slice of Swiss on each chicken breast. Combine cream of chicken soups and water and pour over chicken evenly. Place a slice of ham on each chicken breast. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over the top. Drizzle melted butter over bread crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and foil and label with cooking instructions. Freeze.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw in fridge for about 24 hours. Bake thawed entree uncovered in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Internal temperature should reach 180 degrees.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Good old strawberry pretzel salad. Isn't it wonderful?! Oh how I love the salty pretzel crust with the creamy filling and sweet topping. SO good. I think I'll be making this a lot more since my kids absolutely loved it. I know it's name says "salad", but really this is more of a dessert.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 cups finely crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup thawed Cool Whip
2 cups boiling water
2, 3 oz packages strawberry Jello
1 cup cold water
1 lb strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven to 350. Mix pretzel crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and milk until well blended. Gently stir in the Cool Whip. Spread over crust. Refrigerate until strawberry topping is ready.

Meanwhile, stir boiling water into dry Jello powder in a large bowl for at least 2 minutes, until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until thickened slightly. Stir in strawberries. Spoon over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm. Cut into squares to serve. Store leftovers in fridge.