Thursday, July 22, 2010

Coney Dogs

This is another tasty recipe from Real Mom Kitchen.  It was a good change from the traditinal chili dog.  It had almost a sloppy joe-type taste, which is great by me!  Not to mention it cooks in the crockpot, always a plus is the hot, humid summertime!

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
8 hot dogs (we used some cheddar brats)
8 hot dog buns, split
Shredded cheddar cheese, relish and chopped onion, optional toppings

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, onion and spices.

Place hot dogs in a 3-qt. slow cooker; top with beef mixture. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. Serve on buns with cheese, relish and onion if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

Sweet Potato Fries and Dip

Looking for a change from the traditional fry, I came across this recipe for sweet potato fries on Cook and Tell.  It sounded like what I was looking for!  The only thing I'd change is not cooking them as long, they got way too mushy for my taste!  The flavor on them was really tasty, though!

2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 Tbsp cooking oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel potatoes, cut each in half lengthwise, and cut each half into 6 wedges. In a large bowl, combine wedges, oil, and spices. Toss until potatoes are evenly coated.

Arrange wedges on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until edges are crisp and potatoes are cooked through--about 30 minutes. For a crispier finish, place potatoes under the broiler before serving.

The sauce we had with these was great.  I found it on Cook and Tell.

¾ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
¼ teaspoon minced garlic (I used double)
¼ teaspoon ground cumin (I used double)
¼ teaspoon salt (I used double)
1/8 teaspoon lime zest

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Chill for about an hour before serving to let flavors combine.

Mini Chicken Meatballs and Gnocchi

This is another one from Rachael Ray.  It sounded like a fun change from the traditional spaghetti and meatballs.  It was pretty good!  It made about five times as much sauceas you would ever need for the dish, but was good.  The sauce was a little bland, so I added some extra garlic and salt and pepper, but I will leave the original recipe and you can spice it up any way you want!

1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1 teaspoon, 1/3 palm full, fennel seeds
1/4 cup tender sun-dried tomatoes (available in pouches or tubs in produce section)
1 cup, 20 leaves fresh basil, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some to drizzle
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, eyeball it in your palm
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 pound gnocchi, potato dumplings, from refrigerated or frozen foods section of market (I get mine and     
       Sam's Club by the dried pasta and sauce)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, 1/2 cup – a couple of handfuls, plus some to pass at table
Crusty bread, to pass at table
Bring a pot of water to a boil for gnocchi. Salt boiling water but wait a while to drop in gnocchi.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place chicken in a medium bowl with grill seasoning and fennel seeds. Pile sun-dried tomatoes on top of each other in small stacks then slice into thin strips. Coarsely chop the thin strips and add to bowl. Stack the basil leaves together then roll them up into a log. Shred the basil by thinly slicing the log. Add the half the basil to the bowl. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the bowl. Mix chicken together, roll into mini balls, 1 1/2 inches across, and arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 to12 minutes or until firm and lightly golden.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. To the hot skillet, add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan then the garlic, onions and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and season sauce with salt and pepper.

Drop gnocchi in boiling water and cook 5 minutes or to package directions.

Stir basil into sauce to wilt it. Drain gnocchi and arrange on a platter. Remove balls from oven and add to gnocchi, equally distributing them. Sprinkle cheese over meatballs and hot dumplings then top with sauce by carefully ladling it all over and around the platter. Gently toss to combine then serve with crusty bread.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Copycat Macaroni Grill Bread

There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread...especially when it includes fresh herbs you just picked from your garden!  I cannot tell you how amazing this bread smelled coming out of the oven, so you better try it for yourself!  To make it even better, it tastes as good as it smells! 

Copycat Macaroni Grill Bread

1 1/2 t active dry yeast
1 C warm water
3 T olive oil
1/4 t sugar
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 t McCormick Italian Seasoning Grinder
1/4 t cracked black pepper
3/4 T fresh rosemary, snipped
1 egg
butter and salt

1. In the bottom of your mixer combine water, yeast and sugar. Mix it around a bit with a spoon and let it sit for 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt, oil and 1 C flour. Mix for 30 seconds to incorporate.
3. Add the rest of the flour about 1/2 C at a time, while the mixer continues to mix.
4. When all of the flour is incorporated mix on high for about 7 minutes.
5. While your mixer is doing it's fine work, get your herbs and seasonings ready to go. You don't want to eat any of the thick stem that rosemary comes on, only the little needles. Pull the needles off backwards off the stem...they come off easily.
6. When your dough is done mixing add the rosemary, pepper and Italian seasoning. Mix just until incorporated.
7. Cover your mixing bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
8. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Shape into balls and place on a sprayed cookie sheet, or a cooking stone with a bit of olive oil on it.
9. Spray a sharp knife with cooking spray and cut 2 slits in the top of the bread.
10. In a small bowl whisk an egg until frothy. Brush the egg all over the top of the loaf and into the cracks.
11. Place the loaves into a warm oven. (I set mine to 175) Let them rise until doubled in size, about 15 minutes.
12. Turn your oven up to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
13. When the loaves come out of the oven, place them on a cooling rack. Brush butter over the tops and sprinkle a little bit of salt over the top of the butter. Be careful to not get too much. I used my salt grinder.

Recipe Source: Jamie Cooks It Up! 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Orange Glazed Ham Steak

I'm trying to find more recipes that are not chicken, although I could personally eat chicken everyday (others in the house begin to complain if I don't mix it up a bit).  This one from the one and only Paula Deen was a good change and definitely budget friendly!  I halved this recipe and only bought one ham steak (which was only $3.  Can't beat that!

1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/4 cup orange juice
2 oranges, zest finely grated and juiced
2 (1-pound, 1/2-inch thick) ham steaks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and boiling water until the granules dissolve. Whisk in the orange zest and juice.

Put the ham steaks in a large baking dish. Pour half of the glaze over the meat, turning once to coat them evenly. Bake for 1 hour, flipping the steaks occasionally and basting them with the remaining glaze. The glaze will thicken and the finished ham will be golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and transfer the steaks to a serving platter. Serve hot.

Mac Daddy Mac 'n Cheese

Oh, the search for yummy macaroni and cheese recipes...there are millions!  I came across this one from Guy Fieri, and the bacon/parsley/panko crumb topping sounded quite intriguing.  It was so yummy!  I just wish mac and cheese tasted the same the day after you make it.  Oh was yummy and I would definitely reccomend it!

2 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 pieces bacon, diced, cooked, reserving 1 tablespoon bacon fat
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta, cooked (I prefer cavatappi)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place shallots and garlic in a small aluminum foil pouch and drizzle with olive oil. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from foil and chop. In a large saute pan, reheat reserved bacon fat over medium heat. Add roasted shallot and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in heavy cream and thyme. Reduce by a third. Stir in cheeses until melted, creamy and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and gently stir in pasta. Place in a 9X13 casserole dish. In a small bowl, mix together diced bacon, bread crumbs, butter and parsley. Top Mac n Cheese with Panko mixture and bake uncovered at same heat until bubbling and lightly browned on top, 20 to 25 minutes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bajio Chile Chicken

I'm always on the hunt for new crockpot recipes...especially in the summer when using the oven always leads to having a hot house the rest of the evening.  This one from Your Home Based Mom definitely was worth it.  Many times when I cook chicken in the crockpot, it seems to dry out, but this chicken is so juicy!  We had it on soft tacos, but eating it as a salad would be very tasty, too.  I've actually never had the Bajio Chicken Chile Salad, I generally go for their regular salad or a burrito.  Now I will have to try!

5 chicken breasts (I only used 4 large ones)
1/2 cup salsa
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
6 oz. Sprite (1/2 can) (I used Mountain's always on hand at our house!)

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Return to crock pot and cook 1 more hour. Thicken the juices with a little cornstarch mixed in water.

Serve with flour tortillas, lettuce, cheese, black beans and any other taco fixings.

If you want it spicer rather than sweeter add a hotter salsa and more green chilies.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Southwest Chicken Enchiladas

Nuts...on an enchilada....really?!  They are absolutely wonderul!  These are a great variation to your everyday chicken enchilada.  This one I came across while browsing On My Menu.  Give these a try!

1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped onion (I used extra)
1 Tbs. margarine or butter
1 (3-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened (I used 4 oz.)
1 Tbs. milk
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (I used 1/2 t.)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used a can of chicken)
6 8-inch flour tortillas
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (8-oz.) carton sour cream
1 cup milk
5 or 6 chopped pickled jalapeno peppers (I used double)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbs. chopped pecans

In a medium skillet cook the 1/4 cup pecans and onion in butter till onion is tender and pecans are lightly toasted. Remove from heat.

In a bowl combine the softened cream cheese, the 1 Tbs. milk, and cumin. Add nut mixture and chicken. Stir together till well combined.

Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixtures onto each tortilla near one edge; roll up.

Place filled tortillas, seam side down, in a greased 2-quart square baking dish.

In a bowl combine soup, sour cream, the 1 cup of milk, and the pickled jalapeno peppers. Pour the soup mixture evenly over the tortillas in the baking dish.

Cover with foil; bake in a 350 degree oven about 45 minutes or till heated through.

Remove foil. Sprinkle enchiladas with cheese and the 2 Tbs. pecans. Bake for 4-5 minutes more or till cheese is melted.   Serve with cilantro and salsa.  We had mexican rice on the side.
Makes 6 servings.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lemon Spaghetti

Mmmm...this spaghetti was definitely a good change to have with my Chicken Piccata from my usual couscous.  It is another yummy recipe from the kitchen of Giada de Laurentis.

1 pound spaghetti
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.