Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2-1 T steak seasoning
seasoned salt
1/4 c brown sugar
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 c tomato sauce
2 T tomato paste
6-8 hamburger buns

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat to the pan, spread it around and begin to break it up. Add steak seasoning and a good sprinkle of seasoned salt and cook until brown. Drain fat if needed. In the meantime, saute onion and bell pepper in another skillet with olive oil. Add brown sugar to meat, stirring to combine. Add sauted onion and bell pepper to the meat. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce with meat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook mixture for 5 minutes longer. Butter buns and put in oven and broil on high till toasted. Serve meat on warm, toasted buns.

*Adapted from Jami's recipes

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chocolate Candy Bar Cake

1 box Butter Recipe Chocolate Cake
1 small box chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 T vanilla
12 oz (1 bag) semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

1 (8oz) container whipped cream
1/2 can evaporated milk
1/2 can sweet and condensed milk
1/2 jar hot fudge
1 huge Symphony candy bar with almonds and toffee bits

Mix cake mix, pudding, sour cream, oil, water, vanilla and eggs. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. When removed from the oven, poke holes all over with a knife or skewer. Drizzle half a can of evaporated milk over entire cake. Then drizzle sweet and condensed milk and hot fudge until whole cake is covered. All toppings will seep into holes made in the cake making it INCREDIBLY moist. Cool completely. Top with whipped cream. Chop candy bar and crumble over top of whipped cream.

Farfalle with Zucchini

1 lb Farfalle pasta (bow tie)
2-3 zucchini's, diced
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half length-wise
2/3 c chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c cream
Parmesan cheese
Asiago cheese

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Put 2 T olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium-high. Saute zucchini until browned. Remove from skillet. Add another T olive oil to hot pan. Saute onions and garlic about 3-5 min and then add tomatoes. Pour about 1/3 c chicken broth in with onions, garlic and tomatoes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Pour the rest of the broth (about 1/3 c) into a bowl and wisk in a few tablespoons. Add to onions, garlic and tomatoes. It will be sticky, but don't worry. Immediately add cream and stir. Add zucchini and turn off the heat. While the pasta is still boiling, add about 1-2 cups of the pasta liquid to the vegetable mixture to thin a bit. Shred about a cup combined of fresh parmesan and asiago cheese and stir in. Add salt and pepper to taste (I like things very flavored, so I add a lot.) Add pasta to sauce and stir. Top with fresh herbs like thyme, basil, and more cheese...or whatever you like. SO GOOD!

*Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
*You can also top with grilled chicken to make a full dinner dish

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chicken Pot Pies

1 c cooked, shredded chicken
3/4 c chopped celery
3/4 c chopped onion
3/4 c chopped carrots
3/4 c frozen peas
1 T butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 Pillsbury frozen pie crusts
1 egg
Melt butter and a splash of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, and carrots and saute till tender. Add peas and cook another few minutes. Add soup, a little milk to thin mixture, and chicken. Heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Line 4 individual size pie tins (I use aluminum disposable) with pie crust. Fill pie tins with mixture until level with the top of the tin. Top with another layer of pie crust. Crimp the sides (or you can press with a fork) to seal. Cut vent holes in the top. Beat 1 egg and brush the tops of each pie before putting in the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes until crusts are golden brown. Makes 4 individual pot pies.
* These freeze very well. Put them in the freezer before baking and when ready to eat, bake at same temp for about 1 hour.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

1 T vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak strips (or ground beef)
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can beef broth
½ c. sour cream
8 oz bag of whole wheat egg noodles

Heat oil in skillet then add beef, cook until browned, and juices evaporate, stirring often. De-glaze the pan with about 1/4 c of beef broth. Add soup, rest of the broth, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Heat to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add sour cream by spooning about 1 cup of above mixture into sour cream and mixing with wire wisk - then add sour cream mixture to the sauce (otherwise it tends to be clumpy.) Heat through. Yields 4 servings. Serve on top of cooked egg noodles.

*When the sauce is done, I let it simmer for 15-20 minutes to thicken. I also add Kitchen Bouquet Browning and Seasoning Sauce to darken the sauce.

Monday, January 19, 2009


2-3 c diced or shredded cooked chicken
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/2 cup shredded pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
1/2 - 1 cup prepared salsa
2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, black beans, both cheeses, and salsa. Mix well to combine.
Unroll pie crusts onto a flat surface. Using 4-inch cutter, cut out 6 circles per pie crust. Divide chicken mixture into equal portions and place each portion (in mounds) on top of the pie crusts. Fold over and pinch the edges together to seal. Using a fork, make hash marks on the edges of the empanadas to ensure they are sealed. Transfer empanadas to a large baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, make small slits in the top of each empanada to allow steam to escape during cooking. Brush with egg wash and place into preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

*Serve with spanish rice.
*I usually just use 1 full cup of Cheddar cheese

Ravioli Bake

1 (26-28 oz) favorite pasta sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
1 (25-27 oz) package frozen cheese-filled ravioli
1 can Italian style diced tomatoes
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom of 9 by 13 pan. Spread a layer of the pasta sauce in baking dish. Arrange half of the frozen ravioli in single layer over sauce. Top with half of the remaining sauce and 1 c mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers once, starting with ravioli. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

*Tastes like lasagna, but is SO much simpler!

TIP: You can also make this without the ground beef for a tasty meatless dish. I also put a little bit of Medium Cheddar cheese in with it, but I like the tangy taste of cheddar in Italian dishes...just another twist!

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

2 packages Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (preferable the packages where it is one rolled sheet of pastry per package)
1 8oz packages softened cream cheese
1/2 Cup sugar
1 T cinnamon
2-3 T melted butter
1 Cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream (do not substitute)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Remove rolls from packaging. Unroll entire package so it's a huge rectangle. Roll to an even thinness. Place cream cheese, sugar and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Stir until well combined. Spread half of the cheese mixture onto one sheet of dough and half onto the other spreading evenly across dough leaving about ¼ inch border on one long edge (don't spread too thick.) Roll dough as if you were making cinnamon rolls, ending with seam side down. Cut 1/2 inch pieces and place all into a mini muffin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden around edges and cooked through. Brush with melted butter. Transfer rolls to a cooling rack and cool completely. While cooling combine powdered sugar and heavy cream until thick and drizzle ready. With a spoon, drizzle icing over each roll.
*Instead of using the powdered sugar and cream drizzle, I usually use the rest of the remaining cream cheese mixture, add milk till thin, and add powdered sugar until it becomes the right drizzling mixture...just another option. Sometimes I think that powdered sugar and heavy cream creates too sweet of a topping and I like it more rich.

Santa Rosa Salad

1 box Uncle Ben’s long grain & wild rice
1 T lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon
3 chicken breasts, cooked with seasonings and diced
4 green onions diced
1 red pepper diced
3 oz. fresh pea pods with ends removed (snow peas)
2 medium avocados, diced
1 c. slivered almonds, toasted in oven
Romaine lettuce leaves or croissants

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Dijon mustard]
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
1/3 c seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/3 vegetable oil

Combine dressing ingredients in blender. Cover and refrigerate. Mix all salad ingredients except avocados and almonds. Combine with dressing and refrigerate (it’s best when refrigerated overnight.) Before serving, add avocados and almonds. Serve in romaine lettuce leaves as a lettuce wrap or in crescent rolls as a chicken salad. I usually double the recipe, especially if you are making it for a shower. (Pictured here with Crescent Potato Puff Rolls brushed with a parmesan, garlic butter…recipe included in book)

Raspberry Danish Cake

1 white cake mix

Make cake according to directions on back of box. Bake in a sheet cake pan for about 15-20 min (or if you don't have this pan, you can use a 9 by 13 and cook according to directions on box) or until knife comes out clean. Do not over-bake.

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 small tub cool whip, not totally defrosted
1 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

In a mixer, mix softened cream cheese until creamy. Then add cool whip and vanilla. Spread over cooled cake.

1 package raspberry Danish desert
1 small package frozen raspberries, somewhat defrosted

Make Danish desert according to package directions. Add raspberries. Pour over top of cream cheese mixture. Put in fridge to allow to set up.

This desert is INCREDIBLE! It is very pretty and is a great cake to serve at showers or dinner parties.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oriental Chicken Salad

1 head cabbage shredded
1-2 cups cooked, diced chicken
2 packages oriental flavored Ramen noodles
1 package slivered almonds

Break up ramen noodles and sauté in a pan with almonds and 2 T butter for 5 minutes. Put on a cookie sheet and toast in oven at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes until browned.

½ c red wine vinegar
½ c oil
4 T sugar
2 t salt

Dissolve sugar, salt and pepper in vinegar. Add oil and shake.

*This can be a main dish (with chicken) or just a side dish by removing the chicken

Crescent Potato Puff Rolls

WARNING: this makes 5-6 doz. so you should half it unless you are feeding an army.

4 c. warm water
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. shortening
2 c. mashed potato flakes
4 T. SAF yeast (instant rise yeast)
1 c. sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 T. salt
8-11 c. flour

Mix all ingredients except flour in mixer until just barely mixed together. I start with one cup at a time (using a dough hook now) and wait for it to BARELY start to pull away from the sides of the bowl and let knead for 5 minutes. Let rise until double in size. Roll out in chunks to a circle and use a pizza cutter and cut like a pizza. Roll up to shape of crescent roll. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise again. Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes. When they come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter (you can flavor the butter with whatever you like…Italian seasoning, garlic salt, parmesan cheese, etc…in this picture I used butter, garlic salt and parmesan cheese.)

BIG TIP: DO NOT OVER FLOUR! The trick is not adding too much flour AND not over cooking them. So, only add enough flour so that the dough is barely beginning to pull away from the sides of the bowl. After it has risen and you pull the dough out to roll... it will be super sticky. Just flour up then. The extra flour that's on your hands and on the table will add just enough flour to make these perfect. Many times I only set my oven to 325 and barely cook them for 18 minutes. It really depends on altitude and stuff like that (I think). If the tops are becoming golden brown pull them out. If the tops are cooked and the inside isn't... next time lower your oven temp. Seems complicated, but once you get it right they are TO DIE FOR!... perfectly moist and SUPER SOFT!!!

Peanut Butter Balls

1 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
3/4 c. salted butter softened
1 1/2 T. Vanilla Extract
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (2 lb.) bag of powdered sugar
24 oz. chocolate candy coating, melted

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer combined peanut butter, butter and vanilla.Gradually beat in condensed milk and powdered sugar. Beat until throughly mixed. Shape into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 2 hours. With tongs, dip each ball into melted chocolate then place back on waxed paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate until firm. Options: I’ve drizzled them with white chocolate (white and colored with food coloring) and melted cookies and cream candy bar…get creative!

Italian Sausage Melt

1 ¼ c Bisquick
¼ c butter, softened
2 T very hot water
1 lb Italian pork sausage
½ bell pepper, diced
1 c elbow pasta
2 c Alfredo sauce
1 c mozzarella cheese
¼ c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 can Italian style diced tomatoes, drained
Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray bottom of 8 inch square pan. In bowl, stir Bisquick, butter and water until dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan. Brown sausage in skillet, drain and add bell pepper and cook another 5 minutes. Spread sausage mixture over crust. Spread alfredo over sausage. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Top with tomatoes and then mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle a few pinches of Italian seasonings over top. Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and slightly brown.

Minestrone Soup

3 T butter
4 minced garlic cloves
½ c sliced onion
½ c diced celery
½ c diced green bell pepper
½ c diced carrots
½ diced zucchini
1 can drained and washed kidney beans

Heat butter in large pan. Add above ingredients and sauté about 10 minutes.
Add 1 can Italian style diced tomatoes and sauté another 5 min.

3 c chicken broth
3 c beef broth
2 c cooked, diced chicken

2 t Worcestershire
2 t Italian seasoning
1 t salt
2 c cooked pasta
1 c cooked barley

Add all ingredients together (except pasta and barley) and simmer in low heat for several hours until vegetables are tender. Right before serving, add pasta and barley. Top with fresh parmesan cheese and/or asiago cheese.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together:
1 c real butter, softened
¾ c brown sugar
½ c sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 small box instant vanilla pudding

Blend into mixture:
2 ¼ c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt

Combine flour, soda and salt in bowl. Add gradually to creamed mixture and blend together. Stir in 12 ounce package of chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-11 minutes or until barely brown.

Shepherds Pie

1 lb ground beef
1 can tomato soup or 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 cans French cut green beans
3 potatoes mashed
Cheddar cheese

Brown beef with seasoned salt, pepper and dry minced onion. Add tomato soup and green beans. Place in a baking dish and top with mashed potatoes and then cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.