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Monday, December 28, 2009

Spinach and Hamburger Stuffed Shells

Source: Food Network- Giada De Laurentiis

I should say that Giada is the inspiration for this recipe, and not the source since I changed so many things! When I initially planned to make this meal I was going to used the ground turkey the recipe calls for, but the price is soooo much more than hamburger, that I couldn't really justify the expense. Maybe eventually I'll try ground turkey.

We've had the stuff for this recipe for awhile, but with my lack of desire to cook it just kept getting put off. H finally decided that he wanted to make it, with a good dose of my assistance!
  • 1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 package spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (used 4 tsp dried basil)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (used 2 tsp dried parsley)
  • 5 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  • Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through.
  • Add the spinach and stir to combine.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a large bowl combine the cooled beef mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of marinara sauce.
  • Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of beef mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full, about 24 shells.
  • Drizzle the remaining marinara sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella.
  • To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
Next Time- H really liked this recipe, but I wasn't really a fan. I prefer my other stuffed shells recipe that doesn't have meat. But there was nothing wrong with this recipe, even with all my changes.

14 Week Appointment

So I saw the doctor today. Can't believe it's been 4 weeks since I saw her last. They checked my weight and I'm down 4lbs since that last appointment, and 10 lbs since the beginning of November. They seemed a little concerned, but I'm not. I know Baby Rebel is getting what they need, and 10lbs isn't a lot if you knew how much I weigh.

My blood pressure was normal, which is a relief. The only other thing I did while there was get to listen to the heartbeat with a Doppler. She found the heartbeat right away, and it was high 150s-low 160s, so very good. I had my cell phone with me, so I recorded about 30 seconds of the heartbeat. This way Tim and my family can hear it, since my family Christmas is this weekend.

I also discussed some of my symptoms with the doctor. I told her about the fever I had on the 15th. I told her about the headaches I was getting before entering the 2nd trimester. The one thing I mentioned that I wasn't sure if it was relevant was a pain I've been getting towards the top of my butt on the right side. It is lower than my "lower back", and I really only notice it when walking. When I told Dr. Klyn she said it was normal. Ok, that means I have to live with it.

This morning while getting ready I drank a bit of water to take my vitamin, and while waiting for my toast to finish Baby Rebel decided they didn't like the water and made me throw it up! Luckily my toast stayed down fine. It seems the throwing up will continue in the 2nd trimester, although it is only on an empty stomach.

I go back in 4 weeks. Dr. Klyn said they will call me to schedule the big ultrasound (ie. the gender ultrasound). I was hoping to know today the date we would find out the gender. I guess we have to go to the hospital for the ultrasound. Here's to hoping they call soon!

Update- Just got the call from the doctor's office. Big u/s is set for February 1st! Just over a month till we know whether Baby Rebel is a boy or girl!!! YAY!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Easy Layered Taco Pie

Source: Kraft Foods

I've got my mojo back! Haha! Not really, but that's what it feels like. In the last couple days I've gotten my appetite back, and have started feeling more like myself. Including a desire to cook. I had a couple recipes leftover from when I last made a menu, a few weeks ago.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 flour tortillas (6 inch), cut into quarters
  • 1 cup Salsa
  • 1 cup Mexican Style Finely Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 green onions, sliced 1/4 cup Sour Cream

Preparation- Note: I cooked the meat on the stove, and used the oven to melt the cheese. These directions are the original.
  • Crumble meat into microwaveable (plastic) colander; place over microwaveable bowl.
  • Microwave on HIGH 8 min., stirring every 2 min. to break up meat.
  • Discard fat.
  • Transfer meat to 9-inch microwaveable pie plate.
  • Stir in seasoning mix and water. Microwave 5 min., stirring after 3 min.
  • Remove half of meat mixture; set aside.
  • Cover remaining meat mixture in pie plate with half of the tortilla quarters.
  • Repeat layers of meat mixture and tortillas; top with salsa and cheese. Microwave 4 min.
  • Top with remaining ingredients. Cut into wedges to serve.
Next Time- This recipe was so easy to make, and it tasted great. No changes need to be made.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pregnancy Update

Just thought I'd let everyone know how things are going.

I haven't seen the doctor since my last post. My main and only consistent symptom is my stomach feeling off. It just kinda hurts all the time. I never really feel hungry, I just start coughing and dry heaving which is my signal to eat something. I rarely throw up.

Tuesday night was a pretty low point. I woke up from a nap about 1pm and my body ached. Mostly my lower back, and left knee which I injured in high school. I also had a headache that wouldn't go away, even with Tylenol. I was taking the Tylenol every 4 hours, and drinking plenty of water. Around 9pm I took my temperature and it was 99.6. When H got home from work at 11:30 he told me to take it again and it was 100.7. I decided to have the on-call doctor paged just to make sure there wasn't something more I could be doing. He called back and told me that there wasn't anything more he could do, unless I had something more specific like a sore throat.

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling much better. So I'm not sure exactly what I had. I was really worried it was the flu. Now I'm back to just dealing with my stomach.

My next appointment will be the Monday after Christmas at 14 weeks! Can you believe that next week I enter my 2nd trimester! I'm already a 3rd of the way through this pregnancy! We haven't even made our first baby purchase yet! Instead of the traditional onesie, or similar clothing item, I'd really like to buy a book for the baby since H and I are really big readers. Yes, we're that big of dorks!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Crockpot Asian Beef and Noodles

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

I thought this recipe looked good. I was intrigued that it used ramen noodles, without the spice packet. Plus it could cook all day with little fuss from me.

Ooops, forgot to take a picture. But Lauren's blog has a pretty decent picture.

  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle stir-fry sauce, any flavor
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles, broken
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • Coat a 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Place frozen vegetables in the bottom and top with stew meat.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together stir-fry sauce, water, and red pepper.
  • Pour over stew meat and vegetables in cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 4 1/2-5 hours (I recommend low, it will help to break the meat down more).
  • At the end of cooking time, discard spice packets from ramen noodles.
  • Stir noodles and green onions into meat mixture.
  • Cover and let stand 10 minutes more.
  • Stir before serving. This can be kept on warm for 1-2 hours.
Next Time- Honestly, I never tried this. I made it, and it didn't sound appetizing when it was done, so I just had it ready for when H got home from work. He says it was great, and has really liked the leftovers. Maybe when my appetite is less finicky I'll try again.

Easy, Cheesy Tortellini Bake

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

This week I decided to actually make a menu and go grocery shopping. Pregnancy has severely reduced my desire to cook. Since I've been slowly getting my appetite back, I decided to make this step that was weekly before getting pregnant. Lauren never fails with her recipes, and this looked easy enough for my short attention span in the kitchen right now.

  • 1 large (25+oz) packages cheese tortellini
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions; drain.
  • Bring marinara and Alfredo sauces along with spinach and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir cooked tortellini into sauce, then pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cheese has melted and turned golden brown.
Next Time- This recipe was great. Great flavor, and of course lots of cheese. H really enjoyed this. He said it was one of the best, but he hasn't had good cooking in awhile so it may just be his taste buds waking up!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm back...with great news!!

I'm pregnant!!!

I'm a terrible blogger, I know. Since finding out I'm pregnant back at the end of October I have done no cooking, aside from Thanksgiving. So I've had nothing to blog about. I just have no desire to cook, plus my appetite has been iffy.

I wanted to wait till I saw the doctor and had an ultrasound to make sure that everything was looking good before I posted here on the blog. I finally saw the doctor today, and things are great! Baby was moving around, and we saw the heartbeat. Baby is measuring right at 9 weeks, 6 days, which is what the calculations put me at.

My estimated due date is June 29, 2010 which is my grandfather's birthday. It would be really cool if I could make it to that day and give him a great-grandbaby on his birthday.

So far my symptoms haven't been too severe. I've thrown up, but only when my stomach is empty and no nausea. I've been a little tired, but not too bad. Luckily I'm not bloated at all, so my clothes are still fitting like normal.

Hopefully I'll start cooking more so that I can share recipes. I'll also be updating the progress of the pregnancy, since title of the blog is Bun in the Oven, and we've finally got one!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chicken Fajita Pizza

Source: Bella's Bistro

H was very excited for this, and after said that it was awesome. It combined two of his favorite meals, pizza and fajitas. This definitely turned out really good.

  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 2 Large Chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Batch Pizza Dough
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican cheese
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cook chicken. Shred and set aside.
  • Thinly slice the peppers and onion.
  • Saute 5-7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and seasoning, saute another 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Allow to cool slightly.
  • Roll out pizza dough and top with cheese, veggie mix, chicken and more cheese.
  • Bake 14-18 minutes or until the crust is crispy and the toppings are piping hot. (Ours only took 12 minutes)
  • Slice and enjoy!
Next Time- As H said this was awesome. Nothing needs to be changed. Oh, just need to remember to spray the aluminum foil I put on the pizza pan before putting the dough down.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Baked Beef and Ravioli

Source: One Dish Meals

This recipe rocks! We had H's parents over this past weekend for dinner, and we needed something that H's dad could handle. This recipe fit the bill.

  • 1 9oz pkg refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 14oz jar spaghetti sauce (used just over 1/2 of a 26oz jar)
  • 1 9oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 4 oz (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook ravioli to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, in large skillet, brown ground beef and onions until thoroughly cooked. Drain.
  • Stir in spaghetti sauce and spinach.
  • Spoon and spread 1/2 the beef mixture into ungreased 2-quart baking dish.
  • Arrange cooked ravioli over beef layer.
  • Spoon and spread remaining beef mixture over ravioli. I poured a little extra sauce over top.
  • Cover with foil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover; sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted.
Next Time- This turned out so fabulous. It is so easy, and tasted great. I'll make this again for sure, and nothing needs to be changed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Doctor's Appointment Update

I realized I never updated after I saw the doctor back in September. I saw her for my yearly exam, but we also discussed our efforts to conceive.

Since it was obvious from charts that I was ovulating she recommended we do some tests on both of us. I told her I'd call her office after speaking to our insurance company.

So I came home and called the insurance company, who revealed how truly evil they are! They cover nothing!! And with me being unemployed that means we have to wait to have any tests run. Either for Tim to get a better job with better insurance, or for us to afford to pay out of pocket.

I really liked the doctor though. So I'm happy to be going to her for all my girl stuff. She was really open, and told personal stories about her experiences with conceiving.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Source: My Family

I don't know how other people make goulash, but this is the way my family has always made it. I never questioned my family's definition till I started cooking on my own. We'll just go with what I know.

  • 16oz box of elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 8oz can tomato paste
  • salt & pepper to taste, we use a lot of pepper in this
  • 8 oz shredded cheese, usually use cheddar
  • Prepare pasta as directed on box, drain and leave in colander.
  • In same pot brown ground beef with onions and garlic.
  • Drain beef if necessary.
  • Add tomato paste, and 1 can of water. You can add more if necessary.
  • Add pasta to pot.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Cover mixture with shredded cheese, and cover until melted.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chicken and Vegetable Skillet Supper

Source: One Dish Meals

Another lovely meal from my One Dish Meals Cookbook. This thing never seems to fail me.

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 lb cut-up frying chicken, skin removed
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp chicken-flavor instant bouillon (used 3 cubes of bouillon)
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon leaves (omitted)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 1lb pkg frozen broccoli florets, carrots and cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot.
  • Add chicken onions; cook until chicken is browned on all sides.
  • Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine bouillon, tarragon and 1 1/2 cups hot water; mix well.
  • Add bouillon mixture to chicken; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and juices run clear.
  • Add frozen vegetables to chicken; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch; blend well.
  • Add liquid to skillet; cook and stir until bubbly and thickened.
Next Time- I thought this had too much liquid, so perhaps cutting down the amount added to the bouillon to just 1 cup would be better. Otherwise this had good flavor, and I have no idea what I missed out by not having the tarragon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Source: My Original Creation!

I've been making mashed potatoes pretty much the whole time H and I have been together. I like variety, so I often change up what I use to make them. This is just one of my variations. I used buttermilk instead of milk since I had some leftover after making the Italian Buttermilk Pork Chops.

  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, with the skins on, cut into chunks so they are all the same size. Smaller means less cook time
  • 1/2-1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-4oz shredded mozzarella
  • Place potatoes in dutch oven, and add water to just cover the potatoes.
  • Cook 30 minutes, or until fork inserted into a potato goes in easily.
  • Strain potatoes and return to pan.
  • Using a hand blender begin to mash potatoes.
  • Gradually add buttermilk, butter, and garlic powder continuing to mix until desired consistency.
  • Fold in shredded cheese.
  • Serve.
Next Time- This recipe has so many variations. Usually I use red skin potatoes. Different cheeses are good, as is chopped scallions and bacon. I also normally use milk, but sour cream can also be used. Whatever you have on hand, or sounds good to you.

Italian Buttermilk Pork Chops

Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures

Another recipe from the wonderful Joelen.

  • 4 pork chops
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Season your pork chops with salt and pepper
  • Place chops in a gallon sized zip top bag.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and place in the fridge for 4 hours to chill (or you could chill overnight too.)
  • Remove the pork chops from the bag and pat dry.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a hot skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, brown your pork chops on both sides.
  • Once browned, place the pork chops on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes. Don't over cook otherwise it will result in dry, tough pork!
Next Time- Didn't like that we bought pork chops with bone, definitely stick to boneless. These had good flavor, but it wasn't anything stellar from having marinated overnight.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicken Parm Balls

Source: Lauren's Kitchen and Dish it up

I saw this in my Google reader awhile ago. I didn't completely follow Lauren's way, which is why I linked to the blog where she got the recipe.

I've discovered that I hate working with pizza dough. I've used it a few times to make the Stromboli recipe I posted in the past, and this recipe didn't change my opinion. I've been using the Pillsbury refrigerated cans. Perhaps frozen, or fresh would be better? Anyone have any thoughts?

  • 1 ball of fresh pizza dough
  • 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 cups of diced chicken
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning (combine oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • pizza or marinara sauce
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease pie pan.
  • Grab a walnut-sized piece of dough and flatten.
  • In each dough piece place a couple pieces of chopped chicken and a tablespoon of cheese.
  • Seal dough around meat and cheese and place seam side down in pie pan.
  • Repeat, placing approximately 16 dough balls in each pie plate.
  • Once assembled, drizzle oil over the balls and sprinkle with the herbs and Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 400°F for 16-20 min.
  • Serve with warm pizza or marinara sauce.
Next Time- While these turned out good, I wasn't overly impressed. I think it would be better the original way with pepperoni, instead of chicken. Or maybe a combination, to give them a little more flavor.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chili Cheese Dip

Source: My Family!

This is a great dip. I grew up eating it, so I have no idea where my family actually got it. We usually had this around holiday time, but it is also great for parties. This has become a demand when I have friends over. Super easy, only 3 ingredients and everyone usually loves it!

  • 8 oz pkg cream cheese
  • 15 oz can chili, we use Hormel No Beans
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips for serving, Fritos also work
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place cream cheese in 13x9 pan, stick in oven for a few minutes to soften. Remove.
  • Spread cream cheese evenly in bottom of pan.
  • Pour chili over cream cheese, and evenly spread.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese over chili, evenly.
  • Bake for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted
  • Serve warm with chips.

This dip is also great warmed up, if you end up with leftovers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Taco Casserole

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

Found this in my google reader. Another taco dish, but H and I really like tacos. This dish certainly didn't disappoint.

  • 16 oz. taco sauce (used 8 oz)
  • 12 ounce can buttermilk biscuits (used 16 oz can)
  • 4-6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (used 8 oz)
  • 4-6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (used 8 oz)
  • 1 can sliced olives, drained (omitted)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped (used all green)
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped (used 2 full peppers)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (omitted)
  • 1 jar salsa
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking dish.
  • Spread taco sauce evenly over bottom of dish.
  • Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces.
  • Place biscuit pieces in hot sauce, turn to coat.
  • Sprinkle biscuits with half of the cheese and the olives.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  • In a large skillet, combine ground beef, peppers, mushrooms, cumin and chili powder.
  • Cook until ground beef is cooked through and add the jar of salsa.
  • Sprinkle the ground beef mixture over the baked biscuit mixture.
  • Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake an additional 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Next Time- I really liked this. We used medium salsa and taco sauce and that gave quite a kick, so maybe use mild in one of those. No other changes need to be made.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

Source: Betty Crocker

I baked again! I get emails from Betty Crocker, and when I got the most recent it has numerous apple recipes. While they all looked really good, this one stuck out and I wanted to make it very soon. So the ingredients got added to our weekly grocery list, and I made it tonight.

  • 1 pouch (1lb 1.5oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup firm butter or margarine
  • 2 pkgs (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (21oz) apple pie filling
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray bottom and sides of 13x9 pan with cooking spray.
  • Place cookie mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse.
  • Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture; press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust.
  • In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon.
  • Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top.
  • Sprinkle with walnuts.
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown.
  • Cool about 30 minutes.
  • Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours.
  • For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Next Time- The only change I can think of is possibly using more apple filling. The one can didn't seem to go that far when I was spreading it out. The flavor was great, but I wouldn't have minded more apples.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake

Source: Kraft Magazine

This recipe uses fresh spinach. I was hesitant at making it at first because while H and I have had, and enjoyed, spinach it was always frozen. I finally gave in and added this recipe to my weekly menu. I was pleasantly surprised with how this recipe turned out. I'd definitely make this recipe again.

  • 1 1/2 cups multigrain penne pasta
  • 1 9oz pkg fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 14 1/2 oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2oz cream cheese, cubed (used 3 oz pkg)
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, dived (used 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cook pasta, adding spinach to boiling water for last 1 minute.
  • Cook and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 3 minutes.
  • Add sauce and tomatoes; bring to boil.
  • Simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is done.
  • Stir in cream cheese
  • Drain pasta mixture; return to pan
  • Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • Spoon into 2-qt baking dish
  • Bake 20 minutes
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese
  • Bake additional 3 minutes
Next Time- This turned out wonderful. Plenty of cheese like I like. Nothing needs to be changed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Garlic Parmesan Orzo

Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventure

I have a new love. It's called Orzo!
This recipe was great, and it went really well with the Chinese BBQ Pork that H and I have made numerous times.

  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Cook the orzo pasta according to package directions with water; drain.
  • Place the orzo in a large bowl and add the minced garlic and butter.
  • Stir until butter is fully melted.
  • Add the parmesan cheese, parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Next Time- I wasn't a big fan of the fresh parsley, so perhaps either omit it or use dried next time. Otherwise this was fabulous.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures

Not sure what to say about this recipe. I've followed Joelen's blog for awhile, and lot of her stuff I usually pass on. But when I saw this recipe I knew it was something that was both manageable to make and H and I would really like it.

I accidentally grabbed a can of diced tomatoes with chiles. I've never had them before, and I don't think I'll buy them on purpose. They gave quite a bit of heat, and the sour cream that's suggested as a garnish was nice to cool off that heat.

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (85/15)
  • 1/2 soft Mexican chorizo (used all ground beef, no chorizo)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (+ 1/2 tsp)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups refried pinto beans
  • 1 tub ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cup Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, pico de gallo or your preferred salsa
  • sliced green onions (for garnish)
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a saute pan over medium high heat, crumble in your ground beef and chorizo; brown. Add the minced garlic and diced onion. Stir and cook until softened. Add the taco seasoning, and salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and egg until incorporated. Season with salt & pepper, and 1/2 tsp taco seasoning. Set aside.
  • In a 9x13 inch baking pan, lightly butter the bottom of the pan. Place 6 corn tortillas on the bottom of the pan, overlapping as needed.
Top the corn tortillas with 1/2 of the refried beans.
Top the beans with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture.
Top the ricotta layer with 1/2 of the beef and chorizo mixture.
Top the beef and chorizo layer with 1/2 of the shredded Mexican cheese.
Top the shredded cheese layer with 1/2 of the diced tomatoes, pico de gallo or your preferred salsa.
  • Repeat the process again with the corn tortillas, adding a little more cheese on top for good measure; bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and serve up with sour cream and guacamole.

Next Time- This was fantastic. Great flavor. Nothing needs to be changed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tuna Casserole

Source: One Dish Meals

Another tuna casserole. I never really had these growing up, but they are so easy to make and usually give plenty of leftovers for H's lunch. I like experimenting with the different ingredients they each use to see what we like best.

Out of this one and the previous tuna casserole, I say this is my 2nd choice. The other one was better.

  • 1 7oz pkg (1 2/3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni (used medium egg noodles)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 oz (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 6oz can water-packed tuna, drained, flaked (used 2 5 oz cans)
  • 1 4oz can mushroom pieces and stems, drained (omitted)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pimentos, if desired (omitted)
  • 2 tsp instant minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (omitted)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crushed potato chips
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease 2-quart casserole.
  • Cook macaroni in large saucepan or Dutch oven to desired doneness as directed on package.
  • Drain; return to pan.
  • Add remaining ingredients except potato chips to cooked macaroni; stir to combine.
  • Pour mixture into greased casserole.
  • Sprinkle potato chips on top.
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Next Time- My changes were good. Nothing needs to be changed.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Salsa Tacos

Source: Bella's Bistro

Another lovely recipe from my fellow May '08 Nestie, Bella. So far I've really liked the recipes of her's that I've made. This one doesn't fail. I've recently discovered that I really like chicken tacos, and this recipe only made that love grow!!

We also usually have pinto instead of black beans in our Mexican dishes, so I decided to change it up and go with the black beans in the recipe.

  • 1lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (used breasts)
  • 1C. Salsa
  • 1C. Frozen corn
  • 1 15oz. Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 8 Tortilla Shells (hard or soft)
  • Your favorite taco toppings – cheese, sour cream, lettuce
  • Add frozen chicken, salsa, beans and corn to crock pot.
  • Cover and let cook 6-8 hours on low.
  • Remove chicken and shred with two forks.
  • Ladle out some of the liquid from the crock pot and discard.
  • Return chicken to the crockpot and keep warm while preparing tortilla shells and toppings.
  • Assemble and devour!
Next Time- These had wonderful flavor. Nothing needs to be changed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chicken Lo Mein

Source: Real Simple March '09 Magazine

Who hasn't had ramen noodles? However, I've never had a recipe that used them, I always had them according to the package directions. So when I came across this simple recipe I wanted to try it. Turned out pretty good, and was very easy to make.

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 pkg chicken ramen noodles with seasoning packet
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil, soy sauce and half the seasoning packet (used full packet) over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the pepper, onion, and carrot.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooled through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the package direction; drain.
  • Toss with the chicken and vegetables.

Next Time- This could use a little more seasoning. Definitely salt and pepper on the chicken, and perhaps some red pepper flakes to give it a little heat.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beef Taco Skillet

Source: Campbell's Kitchen

I think this recipe is from my Kraft Magazine, but it's not an official recipe from Kraft. Oh well. The picture in the magazine looked really good, and this is so super easy to make.

As always, bold are changes I made.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 flour tortillas (6"), cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cook beef and onions in skillet until browned, stirring to break up meat.
  • Drain grease.
  • Stir in soup, salsa, water and tortillas.
  • Heat to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook 5 min.
  • Stir
  • Top with cheese and serve.

Next Time- No changes need to be made. I didn't make a side with it, so I'd suggest that next time. Maybe a rice dish.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Veggie Pizza

Source: My family

This is a recipe that I had numerous times growing up. We usually had it in the summer for parties. Let me just say that it can be time consuming to chop up all the vegetables, but it is well worth it!

H and I had bought carrots and celery for a previous recipe and had some leftover, so H suggested making this. We've only made it once together, plus he was looking for a recipe that his parents could eat so he could invite them over.

Note: You can use whatever veggies you'd like. Additional options include radishes and mushrooms.

  • 2 pkg refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 8 oz bottle ranch dressing
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 bunch broccoli, chopped
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz shredded Colby jack cheese
  • Spread the crescent rolls out on a baking sheet, pressing the edges together to make a single crust.
  • Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely.
  • Mix sour cream, ranch, cream cheese and dill together.
  • Spread mixture over the crescent rolls.
  • Top with vegetables and shredded cheese
  • Refrigerate and serve.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cheddar Chicken and Potatoes

Source: Kraft Fall '09 Magazine

This recipe seemed so simple and easy, but that's obvious since it only has 4 ingredients. I'm loving my Kraft Magazine more and more.

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
  • 4 cups (1 lb.) frozen diced potatoes with onion and peppers, thawed
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 min or until crisp.
  • Remove bacon from skillet to paper towel; discard drippings in skillet
  • Add chicken to skillet; cook 5 min on each side or until done.
  • Remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm.
  • Crumble bacon.
  • Add bacon to skillet with potatoes; cook and stir 5 min or until heated through.
  • Place chicken over potatoes; top with cheese.
  • Cover and cook 2 min or until cheese is melted.

Next Time- This recipe was really good. The only thing I'd add is some salt and pepper to the chicken while cooking, and the potatoes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tex-Mex Taco Dinner

Source: Kraft Spring '09 Magazine

H and I love tacos. We have our homemade tacos a couple times a month. So when I saw this recipe in the magazine I knew we'd like it.

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1/4 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 cup fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup Cheez Whiz Cheese Dip
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • Brown meat in large skillet
  • Add chili powder, broth, and water; stir.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in rice and Cheez Whiz; cover
  • Simmer on low heat 5 minutes; stirring occasionally.
  • Serve topped with lettuce and tomatoes
Extra- Sour cream makes a great topping for this dish.

Next Time- I added the sour cream to this, and it was great. There wasn't a lot of flavor in the rice/meat part of this. So I'm thinking either use a taco seasoning packet instead of the chili powder, or a nacho cheese dip instead of just plain cheese. Something to spice it up a bit and give it some more flavor. As is, this is still a good recipe, H and I are just used to a little more flavor.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Creamy Chicken & Pasta Bake

Source: Kraft Spring '09 Magazine

I love the Kraft Magazine. There are so many great recipes, plus their site is pretty great too.

  • 1 1/2 cups multi-grain rotini pasta (used full 1 lb box)
  • 1 small bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth (used full 14oz can)
  • 2 oz Neufchatel cheese, cubed (used 6oz)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (used full 8oz bag)
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli for the last 3 minutes
  • Heat large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken, cook 3 min., or until no longer pink, stirring frequently
  • Stir in broth; simmer 3 min. or until chicken is cooked through
  • Add Neufchatel cheese; cook and stir on low heat for 1 min or until melted.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  • Drain pasta and broccoli
  • Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly
  • Spoon into 8-inch square baking dish; cover
  • Bake 15 min or until heated through
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheeses
  • Bake uncovered, 3 min or until melted
  • Let stand 5 min.

Next Time- This was really good. Leftovers were great too. Maybe following the directions in regards to the amount of liquid used would be a better idea.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cheesy Chili Soup

Source: Kraft Foods Magazine

I found this in the fall edition of Kraft Foods. Looked perfect for fall, and then I realized that there wasn't any meat in it. Score, vegetarian meal!! Just had to substitute vegetarian vegetable broth for the chicken broth. I served it with Jiffy corn muffins, and this was perfect!

  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 14 oz can chicken broth (used vegetarian vegetable broth)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (used 4 smaller stalks)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (used 3)
  • 1 onion, chopped (used half large sweet onion)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup Mexican style shredded cheese, divided
  • Bring all ingredients except cheese to boil in medium saucepan.
  • Simmer on low heat 25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in 1/3 cup cheese
  • Ladle into bowls.
  • Top with remaining cheese
Next Time- No changes need to be made. The added pepper and garlic gave good flavor, I'd keep them when I make it again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pepperoni and Parmesan Pasta Salad

Source: Central Cooking

This was the dish I chose for the family reunion potluck. I wanted something easy, unique, and relatively cheap. I searched through my Google Reader and came across this recipe. Figured it fit the bill and decided to give it a try.

Sorry for the lime green bowl. I forgot to take the picture at the reunion, and didn't remember till I was home about to eat the last of it.

  • 16 ounces of pasta, cooked to your preference
  • 1 16 ounce bottle Ken's Lite Northern Italian with Basil and Romano
  • 3/4 quarters of a bag of pepperoni, cut up (used full pkg)
  • 4 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese (used full 6oz container)
  • Combine drained pasta, 3/4 of the dressing, pepperoni and Parmesan
  • Mix thoroughly
  • Chill for 2 hours or overnight
  • Mix in the remaining dressing before serving
Next Time- This dish was great and my family liked it.

Toasted Marshmallow S'mores Bars

Source: Bella's Bistro

So this past weekend was my annual family reunion. We have to bring a dish to pass and dessert. Just a few weeks ago I spotted this recipe in my Google Reader. So when deciding what to take this immediately came to mind. We camp for the weekend, and s'mores go hand in hand with camping, so why not a dessert that tastes like them!?

  • 1 Pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 1C. Graham cracker crumbs
  • 1C. Butter or margarine, melted
  • 3C. Chocolate chips (18 oz)
  • 4 1/2C. Miniature marshmallows (used full 6 cups in pkg.)
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. Press into ungreased 13×9-inch pan.
  • Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Spread chocolate evenly over crust.
  • Set oven control to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate. Broil with top 4 to 5 inches from heat 20 to 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely; marshmallows will brown quickly.) Cool 10 minutes.
  • For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Serve warm. Store any remaining bars tightly covered.
Next Time- So I did the first 2 layers ahead of time, and tried to do the marshmallow layer in my grandma's trailer. They had melted a bit, and were a pain to deal with. I think I might try marshmallow fluff next time, since that may be easier to spread. But of course marshmallows not melted should work fine too. These tasted great, so I definitely plan on making them again!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ultimate Chicken Tenders

Source: Stephanie Cooks and back of Bisquick Box

I first found this recipe on Stephanie's Blog. But once I started to make it I realized that the recipe was also on the back of the box. Imagine that! ;) So I kinda combined the two since there were little differences between the two.

  • 2/3 cup Original Bisquick® mix
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • Olive oil cooking spray (used 1 beaten egg)
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • Preheat the oven to 450.
  • Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick sprat or line it with foil.
  • In a Ziplock bag combine the first 5 ingredients, shake well.
  • Spray each chicken piece with olive oil spray until coated on both sides. Drop into the bag.
  • Toss the Ziplock until all of the chicken is coated on both sides.
  • Line the chicken on the cookie sheet.
  • Drizzle with the melted butter.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until cooked. Flip halfway.
  • If the chicken isn't crispy enough, put it under the broiler for a couple minutes.
Next Time- These turned out great. Moist and crunchy, with good flavor from the seasonings. Nothing needs to be changed!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another TTC Update.

Still no baby. I've scheduled my yearly exam for September 14th, so we'll see what input the doctor has on our situation. I don't think Tim will be going with me. I actually haven't even asked him if he's interested in going. So I'll ask, and see what he says.

We've been working on narrowing down our baby names list. I've been going back and forth over whether I wanted to share our ideas with everyone or keep them a secret. I've decided to share my top 5 boy and girl names. These aren't necessarily what we'll go with.

Girl: Ashlyn, Kailyn, Aubrey, Ryan and Shaylyn

Boy: Kaden, Ryan, Alexander (Xander), Colton, and Jackson

I really prefer Ryan for a girl, but since H really doesn't I'll compromise and use it for a boy. That's why it is on both lists.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweet-and-Sour Chicken and Rice Stir-Fry

Source: One Dish Meals Cookbook

Do you love Sweet-and-Sour Chicken? I know I do. I especially love the sauce, it's great for dipping egg rolls. When I saw this recipe in the cookbook, I knew H and I would love it. It didn't disappoint.

  • 1 lb. precut chicken breast strips for stir-frying
  • 1 (1lb) pkg frozen broccoli florets, carrots and water chestnuts, thawed and drained
  • 1 8oz can pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice, undrained (used 20 oz. can)
  • water
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked instant white rice
  • 3/4 cup purchased sweet-and-sour sauce
  • Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Heat over medium-high until hot.
  • Add chicken: cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Stir in vegetables.
  • Cover: cook 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are hot and chicken is no longer pink.
  • Meanwhile, drain pineapple liquid into 2-cup measuring cup; add water to make 1 1/2 cups.
  • Add pineapple liquid mixture and pineapple to skillet. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in rice; return to a boil.
  • Reduce heat ot low; cover and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in sweet-and-sour sauce.
Next Time- This was great. I especially enjoyed all the pineapple. Definitely am happy I used the larger can. This was really sweet, so perhaps a teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes would give it a bit of a contrast.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spinach-Artichoke Ravioli-Lasagna

Source: Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals

I don't completely consider this meal a success. While it turned out good, and was filling it wasn't as easy to make as Rachel made it look. It certainly didn't come together in 30 minutes. But to some extent it was my own fault because I misread my measuring spoon. I pulled out the 1 tsp spoon instead of the 1 Tbsp, which resulted in me not adding enough flour to the butter. Oh well, live and learn.

  • 1 (10-ounce) packages chopped frozen spinach
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (omitted)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese (used 1 15oz container)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (omitted)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 packages large fresh ravioli cheese, wild mushroom or spinach stuffed varieties (used 2 24oz frozen bags of cheese ravioli)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans artichoke hearts in water, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (used grated in the can and didn't measure)
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.
  • Place oven rack in middle of oven and preheat broiler or oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Defrost the spinach in the microwave for 10 minutes on high.
  • While spinach defrosts, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Cut butter into small pieces and melt. Whisk in flour and cook a minute or 2 then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a bubble, as it begins to thicken, drop heat to low and season it with nutmeg, salt and pepper, to your taste.
  • Combine ricotta cheese, a little salt and pepper, lemon zest and garlic in a bowl.
  • Cook pasta to al dente, 5 to 6 minutes in salted water.
  • Remove spinach from the microwave and wring it completely dry in a kitchen towel. Open the towel and separate the spinach with your fingers. Pile up the sliced artichokes on your cutting board.
  • Drain pasta well. Ladle just enough white sauce in the bottom of a lasagna dish to lightly coat it. Top with 1/3 of the pasta. Top the pasta with a layer of half of the ricotta cheese dotted with half of the spinach and artichokes. Thinly cover the veggies with more white sauce then top liberally with grated cheese. Repeat these layers then top your lasagna with the remaining 1/3 of the cooked ravioli, the last of the white sauce and some grated cheese.
  • Place under hot broiler or into a preheated 425 degree F oven until sauce browns and bubbles, 3 minutes (cooked a bit longer, like 10 minutes)
Next Time- While this had great flavor there are a few changes I would make. Cut the artichokes down to 1 can. Also dice them smaller. The only other change would be to make the Bechamel sauce right the first time. I was happy with the amount of ricotta cheese, I don't feel the 3 cups is needed. Mozzarella cheese melted on top could be a nice addition, but with all the cheese in the ravioli and the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses I thought that would be a little much.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Source: Bella's Bistro

Like an easy recipe that requires little prep time and is even easier to serve? This is perfect. Another recipe from my fellow May '08 Nestie, Bella. This was super moist, and good flavor.

  • 1lb. Chicken breasts
  • 1 Onion, cut into half rounds (used half a large onion)
  • 1 1/2C. BBQ Sauce (eyeballed it, used what I had left in container)
  • Salt, pepper and granulated garlic
  • Buns of your choice (used hot dog buns)
  • Slice onion and add to empty crock pot.
  • Place chicken on top and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic (to taste).
  • Add 1C. of BBQ sauce and stir to combine.
  • Set slow cooker to 6-hours (med-high). Cover and do not peek!
  • After 6 hours, drain out most of the extra liquid, shred chicken with 2 forks and add in the other 1/2C. BBQ sauce. Keep warm in crock pot until ready to use. (didn't need 6 hours to cook and didn't drain liquid)
Next Time- While this turned out really good, I wasn't really impressed with the flavor. Which I think is due to my choice of BBQ sauce.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Baked Ziti with Mascarpone

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

I love pasta with cheese. This recipe doesn't fail. Tons of leftovers, so I have plenty of time to enjoy it.

  • 1 lb ziti pasta (used mostaccioli)
  • 1 (26 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (used 1 lb.)
  • 1 small onion, diced (used half large onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (used garlic powder since I was out of garlic cloves)
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1-2 cups Mozzarella cheese (used full 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (used more, not sure on amount)
  • Cook pasta to al dente. Drain & set aside.
  • Meanwhile, brown meat with onion & garlic. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add marinara sauce to the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Thin the sauce just a tad with about 1/8 cup water or chicken stock. (used chicken broth)
  • Season the sauce with garlic & herbs, to taste. (skipped, didn't need anything)
  • In a large bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, sour cream, and cooked pasta.
  • Layer the pasta, sauce and cheese in a large greased casserole dish as follows:
1/2 pasta
1/2 sauce
1/2 cheese
remaining pasta
remaining sauce
remaining cheese
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and top with Parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Next Time- The only thing that comes to mind is adding pepper to the pasta mixture before doing the layers. I tried this first, then ended up adding pepper while eating. It turned out great. I was worried that the mascarpone would make it too sweet, but it didn't. Just made it nice and creamy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sweet and Hot Pork and Pineapple Stir-fry

Source: One Dish Meals

Yet another recipe from the lovely One Dish Meals Cookbook. There certainly are some good recipes in that book. H and I have found that we love stir-frys, and really enjoy when pineapple is included. So when I saw this recipe I added it to the weekly menu.

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked instant rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 T brown sugar (doubled)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (doubled)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (doubled)
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (doubled)
  • 1/2 cup water (doubled)
  • 3 T soy sauce (doubled)
  • 1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained, reserving 2 T liquid (doubled liquid, and added 8 oz. can of pineapple)
  • 3/4 lb. boneless lean pork, trimmed of fat, cut into think bite-sized strips (had nearly 2 lbs of meat)
  • 1 16oz pkg coleslaw blend (accidentally bought 8oz. bag)

  • Cook rice in 1 1/2 cups water as directed on package, omitting margarine and salt.
  • In a small bowl, combine 3 T brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce and pineapple liquid. Mix well.
  • Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add drained pineapple chunks; sprinkle with remaining 1 T brown sugar.
  • Cook 5 minutes, turning chunks occasionally.
  • Remove skillet from heat, and remove pineapple from skillet. Set aside.
  • Spray skillet again with cooking spray. Add pork and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add coleslaw blend. Cook and stir 3 to 6 minutes until pork is no longer pink and cabbage is tender.
  • Add pineapple and cornstarch mixture to skillet. Cook and stir 3 minutes or until pork is glazed and sauce is slightly thickened.
  • Serve over rice.

Next Time- Definitely wish I had bought the correct size bag of coleslaw blend. Otherwise this dish really lived up to the title "hot" pork. That really was the only dominate flavor, that my tongue was on fire. So perhaps between cutting down a bit on the red pepper flakes and having a better portion of coleslaw this recipe will be better. Loved that there was plenty of sauce.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chicken Stuffed Shells

Source: May '08 Cookbook

Another fabulous recipe from a fellow May Nestie. This time the credit goes to Chatham Bride. She's the one that actually put the cookbook together and did all the hard work. So I'm happy to finally make one of her recipes.

  • 1/2 cup chicken flavored stuffing mix, prepared
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (shredded mine)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (Miracle Whip girl)
  • 18 jumbo shells, cooked
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 2/3 cup water (used milk)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 cup shredded mozzarella

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine stuffing, chicken, mayo, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Spoon into cooked shells.
  • Arrange shells in a greased 13x9 baking pan.
  • Mix soup and water, pour over shells.
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle mozzarella over the top.
Note: Try adding your favorite vegetables in with the chicken and stuffing. Peas or broccoli would work well.

Next Time- This was pretty good. Vegetables would definitely add something extra to this. The cheese was great on it as well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Roasted Pork 'n Vegetables

My 50th post!! Yay!!

Source: One Dish Meals

Who doesn't love roasted vegetables? Pork tenderloin was on sale, so when I made my menu and grocery list I added this recipe.

  • 2-3 pork tenderloins, about 1 1/2 lbs.
  • 16-20 new potatoes, about 2 lbs, cut in half (used red skin potatoes)
  • 6-8 carrots, about 1 lb., peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 tsps. dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried sage leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (used seasoning salt)

  • Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Generously spray roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place pork tenderloins in sprayed pan. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of 1 tenderloin.
  • Place potatoes, carrots, and onion around tenderloin.
  • Drizzle oil evenly over tenderloin and vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with rosemary, sage and pepper.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees and vegetables are tender, stirring vegetables occasionally.

Next Time- This turned out really good. My piece of meat was pretty thick, so it took longer to cook. So perhaps cutting the meat into smaller pieces would work better. The flavor turned out good, and both the meat and vegetables tasted great.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Smothered BBQ Ranch Chicken

Source: My Happy Meals

When I have chicken tenders or the like it is always a hard decision to choose between dipping in ranch or bbq sauce. Well this recipe made it easy, BOTH! While it isn't fried chicken, and it is smothered and not dipped, you still get the best of both worlds.

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 3/4 cup fat free ranch dressing
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • a sprinkle of chopped bacon
  • handful of chopped scallions

  • Mix ranch and bbq sauce together
  • Pour over chicken in frying pan.
  • Let simmer for 30-35 minutes until cooked.
  • Top it with shredded cheese, a sprinkle of chopped bacon, and a handful of chopped scallions.

Next Time- This was great. The extra sauce was great poured over the chicken, then topped with the garnishes. Nothing needs to be changed.

Easy Taco Casserole

Source: One Dish Meals Cookbook

This is another One Dish Meal. H and I love tacos, really any Mexican food, so when I saw this recipe I knew we would love it! Sure enough we did. The recipe didn't call for the sour cream, but we always have it in the house, plus have it on our tacos, so we used it as a topping.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 16oz. can refried beans
  • 1 8oz. jar taco sauce (used chunky salsa instead)
  • 2 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 7 oz. (1 3/4) cup shredded cheddar cheese (used more, definitely)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • sour cream

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In medium skillet cook ground beef and onions over medium-high heat until beef is throughly cooked. Drain.
  • Stir in taco seasoning mix and water; simmer 10 minutes.
  • In medium bowl, combine refried beans and taco sauce.
  • In ungreased 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish, layer 1/2 the bean mixture, 1/2 the beef mixture, 2 cups tortilla chips, and 1 cup of the cheese.
  • Top with remaining bean mixture and beef mixture.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Top with remaining tortilla chips and cheese.
  • Return to oven; bake an additional 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Serve with lettuce and tomatoes (and sour cream).

Next Time- This turned out really awesome. It comes together really easily, and pretty much has everything that we put on our tacos. The sour cream added a cooling and just extra something to the dish, so I would definitely recommend having some on hand.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bourbon Chicken

Source: May '08 Nest Cookbook

Another great find from my May Nestie Cookbook. An awesome recipe from Bella, who has her own food blog. I made this just before leaving for a weekend, so that H wouldn't starve. LOL! So I got like 2 bites before we had to leave. The bites I got were awesome!! Very good Chinese!!!

  • 2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (used 2 large breasts, just over a lb.)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (used garlic powder)
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (used ground ginger)
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 C apple juice
  • 1/3 C light brown sugar
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/3 C soy sauce
  • 1 T corn starch

  • Heat oil in large skillet.
  • Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
  • Remove chicken and set aside.
  • Add remaining ingredients (mixing corn starch with water before adding to skillet), heating over medium heat until well mixed and dissolved.
  • Return chicken and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Serve over hot rice and Enjoy.

Next Time- The flavor for this was awesome. The correct amount of chicken would be better. The flavor was a bit hot, so cutting down slightly on the red pepper flakes would be better.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Old-Time Tuna Bake

Source: Pillsbury One Dish Meal Cookbook

Finally decided to pull out one of my cookbooks and use a recipe from there. This book has so many great recipes, and I wasn't sure where to start. Since I had most of the ingredients already on hand I added it to this week's menu.

  • 7oz. (4 cups) uncooked wide egg noodles
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 (12oz.) can evaporated milk or 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 T instant minced onion
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen sweet peas, thawed, drained
  • 1 (2.8oz.) can french-fried onions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook noodles to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain, rinse with hot water.
  • In ungreased 2-quart casserole, combine soup, milk, onion, and salt. Add cooked noodles, tuna and peas; mix well. Cover.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven; stir well.
  • Sprinkle with french-fried onions.
  • Bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.

Next Time- This was just really good. Nothing needs to be changed. It had great flavor. Leftovers were pretty great too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

What an easy recipe. Very American I have to say.

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • burger seasoning to taste
  • a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 3/4 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) package frozen French fries
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Bake french fries on baking sheet for 10 minutes while preparing beef.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the beef. Cook, stirring occasionally until beef is no longer pink. Drain off excess grease, and add seasonings and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Return to the heat, and stir in the mushroom and cheese soups until well blended. Heat through, and remove from stove. Transfer the mixture to a 8x8 inch baking dish. Cover the ground beef mixture with a layer of partially cooked French fries.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven (mine took much less - maybe only 15 minutes?). When the fries are golden brown, remove the casserole from the oven, and sprinkle cheese over the top. Return to the oven, and bake just until cheese has melted.

Next Time- I used Restaurant Style fries that were good, but they were kinda flimsy. I'd try using sturdier fries, or even waffle fries next time. This had a really good flavor, and was super easy to put together. Some frozen veggies mixed in with the meat wouldn't be a bad thing.