Saturday, February 28, 2015

Slow Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew

Saturdays are date day around here.   Usually I take advantage of those days to make something that my son wouldn't eat but is easy for me to prepare, like a roast or stew in the crockpot.   I didn't have all the ingredients on hand for any of my T&T favorites, so I went searching on Pinterest for something new.   

This recipe caught my eye, I'm a big fan of ginger and allspice.   My husband doesn't like chunks of tomato, so I pulsed it in the food processor.    My crockpot has 4, 6, 8 and 10 hour settings, so I chose the 8 hour one.    After 7 hours it was perfectly cooked and we were more than ready to eat it!  Definitely another one for the T&T favorites file.     Thank you so much to Matt at Real Food by Dad for the recipe, be sure to go by and check out his blog   :)

* Exported from MasterCook *

                     Slow Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew

  1                  T  dried thyme -- divided
     1/3           cup  flour
     1/4      teaspoon  ground allspice
                        salt and pepper to taste
  2                lbs  stew meat
  1                 lb  yukon gold potatoes -- quartered
  10                    baby carrots
  1              piece  ginger -- (1 1/2 inch) grated on microplane
  1              clove  garlic -- used jarred minced
     1/2             c  water
  2          teaspoons  Worcestershire
  14 1/2           ozs  diced tomatoes -- pulsed in food processor

Place potatoes, carrots, the 2t thyme, ginger, and garlic into the slow cooker.  Combine 1t thyme, flour, allspice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add beef and toss to coat. . Add the beef, reserving any flour in the bowl. Whisk water and Worcestershire sauce into the flour, add the pureed tomatoes. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Source   ""

Friday, February 27, 2015

Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole

The cold New England weather has me searching for comfort food recipes.  I ran across this recipe from the Betty Crocker site in my to-try file, but I had no heavy cream.   I had half and half, and joked in an online group whether that would make it Half Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole.   I ended up needing some other things at the store, and grabbed the heavy cream, though I don't think it would have made a huge difference.

I changed up a few things to my family's tastes.   First, I used Penzey's Italian Herb mix in the egg/cheese mixture instead of fresh parsley.    We aren't cottage cheese fans, so went with part skim ricotta, and added some of the Italian Herb mix to it.    For the ground beef mixture, I browned it with some minced dried onion.   I added some basil and garlic powder along with the sauce and heavy cream. 

This is incredibly filling and even with all of us having generous portions, there is a lot left.   I'm not sure how it will freeze, but I am going to give it a try and defrost it for lunch next week.

* Exported from MasterCook *

                    Million-Dollar Spaghetti Casserole

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1                 lb  uncooked spaghetti
  4                     eggs
  1                  T  Italian Herb mix
     1/2           cup  shredded Parmesan cheese
  1              stick  butter -- cut into cubes
  1          container  ricotta -- (8 oz)
  1            package  cream cheese -- (8 oz) softened
  1                  t  Italian Herb mix
  1                 lb  ground beef -- 85%
  1                  T  minced dried onion
  1                  t  dried basil
  1                  t  garlic powder
  1                jar  ragu' traditional spaghetti sauce
     1/4           cup  heavy whipping cream
  8                 oz  mozzarella cheese -- shredded
                        Dried basil for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350.   Spray a 13x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Place on top of a baking sheet.  Cook the pasta according to package directions for an al dente texture.   While it's cooking, combine eggs, Italian Herb Mix and parmesan cheese with a whisk in a medium bowl.   Drain the pasta well, then return it to the pot.   Stir in the butter and egg mixture into the warm spaghetti, moving quickly to make sure it's nicely coated (I left the heat on low).   Pour into the baking dish.   Add the ricotta, cream cheese and Italian Herb mix to the still warm pot, and stir until well combined.   Pour over the spaghetti, spreading it to cover all of the pasta.

Over medium heat, brown your beef with the minced onion, breaking it up and cooking until no longer pink.  Drain.    Return to heat, add sauce, basil, garlic powder and heavy cream.     Spread on top of the cheese layer.    Sprinkle a nice layer of mozzarella on top.

Bake 30 to 45 mins, until the cheese is melted and browned.    Remove from oven and let sit about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.    Garnish with additional basil if desired.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stuffing waffles!

We've really enjoyed the Rosemary Orange Roasted Turkey I made earlier this week.   We ate it the traditional way.    I had it as Thanksgiving in a sandwich (toasted buttered bread, spread with cranberry sauce, layered with stuffing and turkey).    Today I was looking for a different way to serve the last of it up.

Stuffing waffles.   I've seen them on Pinterest as a way to use up leftover stuffing.  My family likes Stove Top, turkey flavor.    I use chicken stock instead of the water and 3/4 of a stick of butter.  

For the waffles, I prepared the stuffing, let it stand the 5 minutes.   I preheated my Presto Flipside belgian waffle iron.    I fluffed the stuffing with a fork and added a beaten egg.    I sprayed the waffle iron with non stick cooking spray, and then added half of the stuffing.   It cooked crispy in approximately 8 mins.  Repeat with the remaining stuffing.

Top with sliced turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy (if desired).  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rosemary Orange Roasted Turkey Breast

This cold, snowy weather has me craving comfort food.   I picked up a hotel style turkey breast a little while back and earmarked this recipe to try.   I never have wine on hand, but a google search said that rice wine vinegar could be substituted (1/2 the amount, the remainder water or broth).   The recipe calls for using an orange for garnish, but instead I cut it into wedges and put it inside the cavity with some additional rosemary.   So simple and so delicious.   

* Exported from MasterCook *

                  Rosemary Orange Roasted Turkey Breast

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1                     bone-in whole turkey breast (8lb) -- thawed if frozen
  3             cloves  garlic -- finely chopped, used jarred minced
 2        teaspoons dried rosemary
  2          teaspoons  Dijon mustard
  2          teaspoons  salt
     1/2      teaspoon  pepper
 2 oranges- 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges
  2        tablespoons  olive oil
     1/2           cup  dry white wine (used  1/4 cup rice wine vinegar and 1/4 chicken broth)
     1/4           cup  lemon juice
     1/4           cup  chicken broth

Preheat oven to 325°.    Set the turkey in the roasting pan.

Combine garlic, rosemary, mustard, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the orange juice and oil.    Rub mixture under the skin and then over the skin.   Combine rice wine vinegar, chicken broth, lemon and orange juice into roasting pan.   Add rosemary and orange wedges to cavity and pan.

Cook turkey approximately 2 1/2 hours or until a probe thermometer reads 160º.    Remove, tent with foil, and let rest for 15 mins before carving.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Honey Rosemary Chicken

Back in November I had to have a minor surgery, but one that would limit me in the kitchen for a while.   I put together some meals ahead of time, including this Honey Rosemary Chicken, and froze them.   I recovered much quicker than expected, and this meal just kept getting moved around the freezer because my son does not like anything saucy or out of the crockpot.

Yesterday I pulled it from the freezer and defrosted it, wondering how I could make it acceptable for him to eat.    I thought about breading and baking it, or maybe pan frying it.   I put a shout out on Facebook for ideas, and the awesome Jill suggested using an indoor grill.    My love for my new Cuisinart Griddler has been well documented since Christmas, but I hadn't really used the grill function of it yet.

I set it to high, and waited for it to preheat.  I used tongs to move the pieces quickly to the surface and closed down the lid.   Since the chicken was in bite size pieces, it cooked very fast, maybe 2 1/2 minutes.    I moved them to a platter, and then repeated with the remaining chicken.

The result was a caramelized, moist chicken that my son ate TWO helpings of.   I had mine over rice and it was delicious.    I will definitely make this again!  Thank you so much to Ashley for sharing the recipe  :)

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          honey rosemary chicken

2 lbs chicken breast tenderloins -- cut into bite size pieces
     1/3           cup  balsamic vinegar
     1/3           cup  honey
     1/3           cup  olive oil
1 1/2T dried  rosemary
  1                tsp  salt

To prep:
Combine all ingredients in a zip top bag.   Label and freeze.

To cook
Defrost and place contents in slowcooker and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low


Defrost chicken in refrigerator. 
Heat indoor grill to high.   Remove chicken from bag and place on hot grill and close lid.   Cook approximately 2 to 3 minutes, testing to make sure that chicken is at least 160º.    Repeat until all chicken is cooked.    Serve over rice if desired.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Cupid Floats-early Valentine's Day treat :)

Pinterest is flooded with recipes and crafts for Valentine's Day.   I kept seeing variations of these Cupid Floats, and I thought they would be a fun thing to make with my son.    Very simple- add a scoop or 2 of Edy's Vanilla Bean ice cream to a tall glass.   Pour Cherry 7 up over it, tilting the glass and taking care not to let it foam over everywhere.   I topped ours with some whipped cream and some pink sanding sugar.     Thank you so much Stephanie from Somewhat Simple!  Jake loved her idea of using a Twizzler as a straw but I didn't have any on hand. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Graham Cracker Fried Chicken

Yesterday I was craving crunchy fried chicken and remembered this recipe that I'd pinned awhile back from Dessert for Two.    I had some graham crackers leftover from our last S'mores of the season, and what a great way to use them up and clear some pantry space.    No changes to the recipe at all except to double it, because I had 2lbs of chicken tenders.     The smoked paprika was nice, especially with Jake, but I might amp it up and replace some of it with Chili Powder next time.

For me, the idea temp and time for the chicken I had on hand was right around 300º for 5 mins, flipping them about halfway through.   I tested them with a probe thermometer and then let them rest on a paper towel lined plate.

We had ours with honey, but they would be awesome with real maple syrup as well.    Thank you Christina for sharing this recipe!    I was fighting the loss of light as the sun went down as well as loss of willpower because I just wanted to eat so the picture is just a quick snap.   Go check out hers!


* Exported from MasterCook *

                       Graham Cracker Fried Chicken

  2               cups  fry oil (I used canola oil)
 10                    graham cracker sheets
  2           teaspoon  smoked paprika
     1     teaspoon  garlic powder
     1    teaspoon  salt
  2                     egg
  2              pounds  chicken tenders
                        honey -- for drizzling

Over medium heat, bring oil to 300º.    

Pulverize graham crackers in a food processor or put them in a zip top bag and let your kid go to town with a rolling pin.    Combine paprika, garlic powder and salt and add it to the crumbs in a cake pan.   In another cake pan, whisk eggs well. 

Standard breading procedure- Dip chicken in egg, letting any excess drip back into the cake pan, and then into the crumbs, pressing them onto all sides for a good coating.    I moved mine to a cooling rack over a half sheet pan until they were all coated.

Fry two to three at a time, adjusting the heat level as needed to keep the oil at temperature.   Fry about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through.   Test to make sure they are done but cutting into deepest part or using a probe thermometer.    Move to a paper towel lined platter or keep warm in the oven.   Serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Chocolate Banana Crinkle Muffins

It always happens.   They beg me to buy bananas.   They go quickly the first day or two, and then the last few sit on the counter.   Most of the time I peel them and stick them into the freezer and they sit waiting for me to bake banana bread.  But today I am craving chocolate, and this recipe from Averie Cooks is calling to me  :)

I used Penzey's cocoa, Ghiardelli mini chocolate chips and sprinkled the tops with raw sugar.     I made 12 regular size muffins and put the remaining batter into my Pampered Chef mini muffin tin.     I baked the minis for 10 mins, large for 20.   

Very happy with these.   They are great warm or at room temperature.   Love the amount of chocolate flavor and the nice crunch from the raw sugar on top.    Thank you so much Averie for sharing the recipe!

Chocolate Banana Crinkle Muffins

  1 1/2           cups  all-purpose flour
  1                cup  granulated sugar
   ¼ cup                     unsweetened natural cocoa powder -- heaping
  1           teaspoon  baking soda
     1/4      teaspoon  baking powder
  1              pinch  salt  (optional)
  1              large  egg
     1/3           cup  vegetable oil
     1/4           cup  lite sour cream
  1         tablespoon  vanilla extract
  1 1/2           cups  mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 medium/large bananas)
1                         cup  mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
raw sugar for sprinkling on top

Heat oven to 350.    Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.   Recipe will make more than a dozen muffins.  Excess batter can be poured into a mini loaf pan, or scooped into mini muffin cups.

Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.    In another bowl, combine egg, oil, sour cream and vanilla.   Stir in bananas.

Using standard muffin method, add the egg mixture into the flour mixture.  Stir until well combined, but not over mixed.     Stir in chocolate chips.  Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full, using a 1/4 c measuring cup or cookie scoop.     Top each muffin with some raw sugar. 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.     Center should test with crumbs or clean.    Cool slightly in pan (about 10 to 15 minutes), then move to rack to cool completely.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Superbowl 2015- Grape Jelly Meatballs, Hot Ham & Cheese Party Rolls and Cheeseburger Pockets

My goal for food on Super Bowl Sunday is always the same- cook early, clean the kitchen, have a late lunch and then people can help themselves for dinner and snacks during the game.    We were supposed to have company, but they stayed home at the last minute due to illness, so we have lots of leftovers to enjoy.

First up, Grape Jelly Meatballs.   I am in my 40s and had never had these before.  Buns In My Oven shared them via Facebook, and hers just looked so good, I had to add them to the menu.   I used homemade Concord Grape Jelly that I made back in October.    It really doesn't get much easier than this one.   3 ingredients and the crockpot and a few hours.     Thank you Karly!

Next, there was Kevin and Amanda's Hot Ham and Cheese Party Rolls.  There are lots of variations of the Hawaiian Ham sandwiches using the King's rolls, but I liked these because I had a tube of pizza dough to use up.    I used 3 kinds of meats because not all of us like ham, and omitted the poppyseeds for the same reason.     They aren't as pretty as the ones on the site, I wish I'd brushed the glaze on the edges of the rolls as it seemed to sink through rather than ooze over the edge.  Next time!  Thank you Kevin and Amanda- go check out their site for the amazing photos.

The last new recipe from yesterday was Cheeseburger Pockets from Taste of Home.   I've made lots of cheeseburger pies this year, and I think next time I'd use one of those fillings to amp up the taste on these.   As written they are simple and good, but could use some oomph, some steak seasoning or whatever you like to put in your burger mix.   Next time I'd add ketchup and mustard either to the mixture, or as a glaze on the outside of the pockets.   I am not a fan of American Cheese, so I used shredded cheddar.    You could also brush the outside with egg wash and sprinkle on some sesame seeds.      Thank you Pat for sharing the recipe!

 * Exported from MasterCook *

                          Grape Jelly Meatballs

26oz            bite size  frozen meatballs
  12            ounces  Heinz chili sauce
  1 1/2           cups  grape jelly (I used homemade)

Combine chili sauce and grape jelly in the slow cooker.   Stir in the meatballs and cover.   Cook on low for 4 hours.  


* Exported from MasterCook *

                       Hot Ham & Cheese Party Rolls

  1                can  Pillsbury™ refrigerated Classic Pizza Crust
     1/4            lb black forest ham (thinly sliced -- but not shaved)
1/4 lb cracked black pepper salami
1/4lb sliced pepperoni
 2 to 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1     stick butter -- (8 tablespoons)
  2        tablespoons  brown sugar
  1         tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce
  1         tablespoon  Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 350, and spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray.

Open pizza dough and press lightly into a 13x8 rectangle.   Lay out meats, covering about 1/3 of the dough with each.    Top with the shredded mozzarella.   (I didn't measure this exactly, I'm guessing I had about 3 cups left in the package).   

Roll up jelly roll style, from the long edge.   Pinch the seam closed, flip over and cut into 12 slices.   I cut mine in half, then in halves again, then each piece into 3.    Place them into the 13x9.

Whisk together butter, brown sugar, Worcestershire and mustard over medium heat.  Pour over the rolls.    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden and delicious, or cover and refrigerate to bake later.


* Exported from MasterCook *

                           Cheeseburger Pockets

     1/2         pound  ground beef
2t minced dried onion
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
     1/8      teaspoon  pepper
1 tube Grands Biscuits
1 to 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400°.  Cook ground beef, minced dried onion, salt and pepper in a large skillet on medium until it is no longer pink.   Drain and cool.

Separate the 8 biscuits.   Roll out to 5" circles.   Top with ground beef and shredded cheese.  Fold over and crimp edges with your finger or a fork to seal.    Poke holes in top with a fork.

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.   Place on sheet.   Bake 10 to 12 mins or until golden brown.