Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Zesty Mac

Well once again we didn't have any food in the house, so I had to think up something that didn't have any meat. We didn't want plain old mac & cheese again, so I spiced it up. We liked this a lot. It wasn't GREAT as leftovers, but it fed us. We will make this again.

Zesty Mac
Serves: 4

+3 cups dry penne pasta
+1 12 oz can evaporated milk (yes, I had this 'on hand')
+1/2 cup chicken broth
+2 tablespoons butter
+2 tablespoons flour
+2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
+1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
+salt & pepper
+4 oz. cubed pepper jack cheese
+4 oz. cubed cheddar cheese (I think I had medium laying around)
+2 teaspoons chili powder
+2 teaspoons cumin
+1/2 cup salsa
+1/2 can chopped green chilies

1. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add salt and pasta. Cook per the package and drain, set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Microwave the milk and chicken broth in a 2-cup or larger Pyrex measuring cup or bowl until hot and steamy (not boiling). Melt butter in the empty pasta pot; whisk in flour, then hot milk mixture. Continue to whisk until thick and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add in mustard, Parmesan, cubes cheeses, spices, salsa, and chiles.

3. Add drained pasta to sauce, and stir until everything is well combined over low heat.

4. Dump everything into a casserole dish (like 9x13) and sprinkle just a little shredded cheese on top (optional.. just for looks). Pop in the oven for like 5 minutes, then set to broil for 3-5 minutes. WATCH IT. Broil unil it is browned and as crunchy as you like it. If you walk away, you will burn it and be very mad.

5. Serve with a green veggie or some fruit. Yum.


In trying to keep with the 'spend less, use up more' philosophy, I looked thru our cabinets and started dragging out some old standbys. I thought this was pretty darn good. Matt however was ALL OVER IT. He ate it for dinner then leftovers twice and loved it each time. Sure he kept dumping Franks red hot sauce on it... but he still loved it! He said "Put this on the regular rotation please!" Oh, and I don't know what the crap happened to the pictures I thought I took.. sorry! It basically looks like a hot mess of delicious slop!

Serves: 4

+1 can drained french style green beans (peas would work too)
+3/4-1 pound ground beef
+1 onion, chopped
+salt and pepper to taste (lots!)
+about a half bag of tater tots (like 16 oz? I used Schwans tater rounds)
+1/2-3/4 can cream of mushroom soup (just do it)
+1 can condensed cheese soup
+1/2 cup milk
+1 1/2 cups shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a large pan, brown the ground beef with the onions and salt & pepper. Drain fat.

3. In a 9x13 pan, spread the green beans evenly. Top evenly with beef. Arrange as many tater tots as you can/want over top.

4. In a bowl, mix the soups and milk. Dump over top of casserole. Sprinkle handfuls of cheese over top.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes plus, or until cheese is as browned as you would like.

6. Serve! Matt says to add hot sauce =)

Cookies By Design!

Awwww, my friends love me! As a thank you for a favor, some friends had a basket of cookies delivered to me from Cookies by Design. So sweet! It came with 2 decorated sugar cookies, and I think 3 each of oatmeal raisin, m&m, chocolate chip, and peanut butter cookies. I will say while they were all good, I pretty much wolfed down the peanut butter ones! Thanks girls!

Follow up to Best Lasagna

Ok so I made an extra lasagna to freeze. It was loaf pan sized and I got it out today. I wasn't sure how long to bake it but it turned out great. Sure it wasn't as good as it was fresh, but totally worth it! Much better than the Stouffers ones. When I made it, I left it uncooked (the noodles and meat were cooked) covered it in plastic wrap then in foil.

So, for a completely frozen loaf pan sized lasagna:

-Preheat oven to 350
-Remove plastic wrap, replace foil. Place lasagna on a cookie sheet
-Bake covered for 90 minutes. Remove foil, bake for 15 minutes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Apple Dumpling

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. That's all I have to say about that.

Apple Dumpling
Serves: 6 (or just me)

+1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 6 slices
+1 roll of BIG crescent rolls (there are 6 inside)
+1/2 stick butter
+3/4 cup sugar
+3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
+2/3 cup Mountain Dew

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x9 or 8x8 baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Toss in the apple slices to coat. Roll out and divide the crescent rolls. Take an apple slice (shake off excess goo) and roll up inside the crescent, starting at the small end. Pinch the ends closed. Place in the pan. Repeat with the remaining 5.

3. Spoon the rest of the delicious butter goo over top each of the rolls. Pour the Mountain Dew over top of all of it.

4. Bake for 35-45 minutes (until golden brown). Serve after cooling for about 5 minutes.

Best Lasagna Ever

Whether or not you agree that any food can be "the best ever"... who cares. This is really freaking good. You should definitely take the time, effort, and money to make this. I made a little extra of all the ingredients and froze a small lasagna and cooked a big one. Seriously awesome.
This came from one of the best food blogs The Pioneer Woman. Here is the link to her recipe... http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/the_best_lasagn/ It is very detailed and there is a downloadable PDF so I am not going to even bother copying the recipe to here.
I think this recipe is fantastic because it uses all readily available ingredients. They may not be the premium ingredients that some little old Italian lady uses, but who cares. Delicious is delicious. ENJOY!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pulled BBQ roast beef

Ok so that is not my picture. I didn't take a picture of this one... sorry!! I threw this in the crockpot for Matt because I wasn't going to be around for dinner. He actually liked this pretty well and ate it leftover. I just wanted to use up the frozen chuck roast in my freezer.

Pulled BBQ roast beef
Serves: 3

1. In a lightly greased crock pot, place a 3 pound beef roast. In a small bowl, mix together the following and pour over the roast:
+3/4 cup Open Pit original flavor BBQ sauce (or just a spicy classic sauce)
+3/4 cup sweet Carolina type BBQ sauce
+1 tablespoon vinegar
+1/4 cup water
+2-4 tablespoons Frank's red hot sauce (to taste)

2. Cook on low for about 8 hours. Pull apart and eat with a fork or slap some on a bun.

Matt's No-Bean Spicy Venison Chili

Most of the time I make dinner at home. But one day Matt was sweet enough to say the HE wanted to buy the ingredients and make an awesome dinner... and boy did he ever! I am actually quite impressed with his skills. We both were! I told him if he is going to show me up in the kitchen like this he might have to take over cooking full time... apparently he didn't think that was funny. Warning: This is spicy. If you can't handle it, don't whine that I didn't warn you.

Matt's No-Bean Spicy Venison Chili
Serves: 4-6

1. In a large skillet, brown 1 pound of ground venison (or ground beef), 1 medium onion diced, 1 red bell pepper diced, and 1 green bell pepper diced. Drain the fat.

2. In a large pot, throw in the following:
+Meat mixture
+1 diced jalapeno pepper, seeds and all
+1 can (14.5oz) of diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
+2 cans (15oz) tomato sauce
+1 tablespoon ground cumin
+2 tablespoons chili powder
+1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (depending on how potent they are)
+salt & pepper to taste

3. Mixture will appear thick... don't think you are smart and add water or more sauce. Just wait. You can add this in about 10 minutes if you still think it is too thick. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.

4. Serve plain with some kind of starch (elbow macaroni, bread, biscuits etc). I like mine with some sour cream and shredded cheese. Delicious!

Ranch Parmesan Chicken and Lindsay’s Red Lobster Biscuits

I needed to use up some chicken and only use the stuff I had already (since it was too cold to go out to the store). I went and pillaged Foodislove's Weblog and found this. It was pretty good.

Ranch Parmesan Chicken and Lindsay’s Red Lobster Biscuits
Serves: 3

Ranch Chicken Ingredients:
+4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
+1 cup panko breadcrumbs
+1/4-1/3 cup parmesan cheese
+1 teaspoon seasoning salt
+1 teaspoon ground black pepper
+1 teaspoon garlic powder
+1 cup Hidden Valley prepared ranch salad dressing
+1/4 cup melted butter (no substitutes)

Set oven to 400° degrees (set oven rack to lowest position).
Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
In a shallow bowl mix together the dry breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese, seasoned salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
Dip the chicken into the ranch dressing to coat both sides (allow any excess to drip off).
Coat in the breadcrumb mixture.
Place in a single layer onto a greased baking sheet or line with non-stick foil (do NOT bake in a smaller baking dish or the bottom of the chicken will be soggy). If you have a cooking rack you can place on the baking sheet it is even better)
Lightly drizzle the melted butter over each breast (for low-fat option omit the butter or use a diet alternative).
If desired you can sprinkle black pepper over the chicken pieces .
Bake uncovered for about 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked).
**At the end of cooking, I set it to broil for about 2-3 minutes to crisp up the top.

Biscuit Ingredients:
Makes: 12 biscuits

+2 cups Bisquick mix (Matt didn't tell me we were out of Bisquick so I used buttermilk pancake mix haha, turned out fine!)
+1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (MORE)
+2/3 cup milk
+1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
+1/2 teaspoon parsley
+1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Mix bisquick mix, milk, and cheese until moist **I added 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley here too.
Drop onto greased cookie sheet
Bake for 8 minutes or until golden
Melt butter, then mix in parsley and garlic powder.
Pour melted butter over hot biscuits, then serve!

Dill Pot Roast and Potatoes

This was pretty tasty and very easy! Mad props to my crockpot for doing all the work.

Dill Pot Roast and Potatoes

Serves: 3

+3 pound beef pot roast (I found a chuck roast on sale)
+1 tsp. salt
+1/4 tsp. black pepper
+1 tsp. dried dillweed
+1 tsp. dried dillweed (yes a second tsp)
+1/4 cup water
+1 Tablespoon vinegar
+3 Tablespoons flour
+1/2 cup water
+1 cup sour cream
+3 large redskin potatoes

1. Place potatoes (scrubbed clean but not dried) in bottom of a lightly greased crock pot.

2. Sprinkle both sides of the meat wth the salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of the dill and rub in. Place in the crock pot, try to nestle the meat down in with the potatoes. Add 1/4 cup water and vinegar.

3. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or until tender. Make sure the meat isn't drying out on top, turn it over if it is.

4. Remove the meat and potatoes to rest and cover with foil to keep warm. Turn on the crockpot to high. Dissolve the flour into the 1/2 cup water and stir into the meat drippings. Add the remainder of the dill and cook for about 5 minutes then stir in the sour cream and cook until hot (about 5 minutes).

5. Slice the meat and serve the sauce with the meat and potatoes.