Sunday, February 28, 2010

Preacher's Delight

This casserole is from the book Cook's Country Best Lost Suppers and it is delicious! I cut this recipe in half, but I will post it here in all it's full ingredient glory. It says it serves 6-8, but I think it would be more like 8-10. Like I said, I only made half and my husband and I each had 2 helpings and we had half the casserole left! Maybe we eat little portions?

1 - 12oz. pkg. egg noodles
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 - 15oz. cans tomato sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 - 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9 baking dish; set aside. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add noodles and 1 tbsp. salt; cook, stirring often, until just shy of al dente. Drain noodles; set aside.
Wipe pot dry. Add oil to pot; return to medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5-7 minutes). Add beef; increase heat to medium high and cook, breaking up any large clumps with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Stir in tomato sauce, sugar, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper. Bring to simmer; set aside off heat.
Mix cream cheese and sour cream together in a bowl. Spread half of meat sauce over bottom of prepared baking dish. Scatter noodles over sauce in an even layer. Drop dollops of cream cheese mixture on top of noodles; spread mixture into even thickness. Spoon remaining meat sauce over cream cheese mixture, sprinkle evenly with cheese.
Place baking dish on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet; bake until sauce is bubbling and top starts to brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

I used two separate pots for the meat and noodles (to cook simultaneously) so the meal was ready faster, and I also used more shredded cheese on top. We really liked this and the leftovers were fantastic - I will definitely make this again!

Awhile ago, my husband and I started a list of people we want to kick off the island. You know, people to who we would like to say "just go away, already" and it includes Paris Hilton, Heidi & Spencer Pratt, Rod Blagojevich, Drew Peterson, Kelly Ripa, Madonna, John Mayer, the entire cast of The Hills, Puff Daddy or P.Diddy or whatever he is calling himself these days, The Olsen twins, Miley Cyrus, The Kardashians, and Justin Timberlake. Today I would like to add Russell Brand and the entire cast of Jersey Shore. Who would you add to the list?

Happy eating!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meatball Burgers

I got this recipe from Everyday With Rachel Ray magazine. I'll type it as it is in the mag, but of course I will make some changes to it and I'll list those at the end. We love meatballs and meatball subs, but those can be time consuming to make, rounding all the balls, sauteing them, cooking them - ugh. I like that I just form these into four patties and cook 'em. Yea!


1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, pork, veal mix
2/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup grated percorino-romano cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp. grated onion
a splash of whole milk
1/2 tbsp. rubbed or ground sage
fresh nutmeg
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
8 deli slices provolone cheese
1 - 15oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
a few leaves fresh basil, torn
a pinch dried oregano or marjoram
4 ciabatta rolls or 1/4 large ciabatta loaf, split and warmed or toasted

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, combine the meat, breadcrumbs, parsley, pecorino-romano, egg, garlic, onion, milk and sage; season with nutmeg, salt and lots of pepper; mix well. Form into 4 patties (thinner at the center and thicker at the edges for even cooking).
Drizzle the burgers all over with a liberal amount of EVOO. Place in the hot skillet and cook, turning once, for 10 minutes. Top each burger with 2 slices of provolone and tent with foil to melt.
While the burgers are working, in a medium saucepan, heat the tomatoes. Stir in the basil and oregano; season with salt & pepper.
Place the burgers on the roll bottoms, them top with the sauce and roll tops.

Okay, first I could only find meatloaf mix with beef & pork (no veal), and I only bought 1 lb., so I'll use a little less of the breadcrumbs, etc. Also, I (sadly) do not own a cast-iron skillet (I am asking for one for Mother's Day), so I will use my regular skillet. I will also use dried basil instead of fresh for the sauce. I guess I am not making that many changes after all. :) Anyway, I am making these tonight and I am sure they will be awesome!

Happy eating!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Taco Pasta

Tonight my husband chose for us to have Taco Pasta for dinner (last night I chose Chicken Kievs). I got this recipe from Everyday With Rachel Ray magazine. I have learned from experience that I do not always like the seasonings she uses in her dishes, so I will list my changes at the end.

1 lb. penne rigata
1 tbsp. EVOO
1 lb. ground beef sirloin
1 large onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno, halved, seeded if desired, and thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 12oz. bottle of beer or 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cheddar or any mexican style blend cheese
2 small plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 head iceburg lettuce, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat EVOO over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 of the onion, the jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, coriander, and cumin; season with salt & pepper. Cook until the onion is soft, 6-7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in the beer.
Add the meat mixture to the pasta and stir well. Spoon into serving dish, top with cheese and tent with foil to melt the cheese. Top with remaining onion, tomatoes and lettuce.

Here are my changes: I did not use any of the spices listed in the recipe and instead used a taco seasoning packet. I did not use ground sirloin and therefore did not need the olive oil. I used half beer and half chicken stock. I stirred the cheese into the meat mixture, and kept the lettuce and tomato on the side for each person to add themselves.

We really liked this! We love tex-mex dishes and this was something different but with the flavors we love. You could also serve it with sour cream and taco sauce on the side for people to customize their dinner.

My daughter went to a birthday party today which started at a nail salon for the girls to get manicures and then moved to the birthday girls house for pizza and cake and games. She had a really great time and her nails are adorable; light pink with tiny white daisies painted on alternate fingers. Cute, huh?

Happy eating!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Meal Plans - Something New (Finally)

Boy, I sure have been a slacker about posting here lately. The problem is that I have already shared most of my recipes with you all. I am going to try to post at least one new recipe a week, but I think my days of posting every day are over.

Last week was pretty uninspired (nothing new), meal-wise. We had Italian Beef Sandwiches, Egg & Cheese Sandwiches, Black Bean Chili, Pepperoni Pan Pizza, Chicken Quesadillas, and Spaghetti. You can find any of these recipes (if you are interested) by using the search box at the very bottom of this blog.

This coming week I have a few new recipes planned - hooray! My meal plan is: Fish Sticks with Curly Fries, Chicken Kievs with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Preacher's Delight Casserole (NEW), Meatball Burgers (NEW), Taco Pasta (NEW), frozen pizza (always), and Breakfast: Eggs, Home Fries, and Sausage.

I don't know about you, but we are ready for spring around here! I am tired of scarves and mittens and snow and colds. I want spring thunderstorms and rain boots and that fresh air smell wafting through my open windows! Is it April yet?

Happy eating!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

My husband loves chocolate and peanut butter, separate or together, so my daughter and I made these for him as a Valentines Day gift. We celebrate the "holiday", but we do it in a low-key way, so these are perfect.


2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs*
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 - 10oz. pkg. Nestle Toll House Swirled Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter Morsels, divided
2 - 8oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine crumbs, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl with a fork. Remove 1 cup of this mixture and reserve for topping. Press remaining mixture into ungreased 13x9 baking pan. Sprinkle 3/4 cup morsels over crust.
Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, flour, and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Pour evenly over crust and morsels in pan. Sprinkle with remaining morsels and remaining crumb mixture.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars.

*You can make your own like we did by putting two sleeves of graham crackers in a gallon ziploc bag and taking your frustrations out on it with a meat mallet. My daughter was extremely happy to help with this task. :)

We made them this afternoon and they will spend the night in the fridge; they will be ready for having with our morning coffee! Tomorrow I will also make a brunch of cheese omelets and home fries and sausage, and for dinner I am making my Pepperoni Pan Pizzas. I don't know if the way to my husbands heart is through his stomach, but that is how I intend to get there! haha! I got my daughter a princess painting kit and some glittery headbands from us, and I helped her make some valentines for her daddy a few days ago. I have no idea what my husband got me. Hope your Valentines Day is sweet!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Spaghetti Incident

Last night I decided to make spaghetti for dinner. I had a taste for it and was looking forward to the leftovers for lunches this week. The water was boiling, the sauce was bubbling and the breadsticks were in the oven. Then I opened the spaghetti box and slid it out into my hand and it looked... weird. Like it was marbled or something. It smelled okay, so I threw it in the water. But after about 5 minutes the spaghetti wasn't cooking normally. First of all, the noodles got soft unusually fast and they tended to break easily. Plus the water looked slick, almost oily, and the pasta wasn't absorbing the water. I have no idea what was wrong with it - have any of you experienced this? I dumped it all in the colander and then threw the pasta out and started fresh water to boil on the stove. As my husband was walking in the front door from work, I was yelling that we had a pasta emergency as I walked out the back door to go to the store for another box of spaghetti. By the time I got back my fresh water was boiling and we were eating 10 minutes later. Of course he thought I was crazy, but he knows not to mess with me when it comes to my food. (Especially THIS week.) :)

Tonight I made Chicago Style hot dogs, which are hot dogs on poppy seed buns with mustard, onion, tomato, pickle, relish, celery salt, and sport peppers. I don't use the sport peppers though, and my buns were seedless. I served the Aldi brand curly fries with an extra sprinkle of seasoned salt as a side and it was a great meal. You don't need a side salad because it's already on your hot dog! LOL

We got a few inches of snow this morning and it was the heavier kind that is a bitch to shovel, but great for snowballs and snowmen. I was Playground Mom today and I swear I had half the kids in time-out on the fence for throwing snowballs, which they are not allowed to do - school rule, not mine. They are generally good kids and I hate to punish them, but I can't be a push-over either.

Happy eating!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sour Cream Apple Pie

This is a recipe from the Christian Family Co-op Cookbook that I got last year when my daughter went to their pre-school. I will not give the lady's name here who submitted the recipe; I don't know if she would want her name listed publicly on a blog. I can say that she is a really great lady who has a very sweet daughter and it was a pleasure to get to know her through the co-op.

I made this yesterday with LOTS of help from my sous-chef/daughter. I made a few slight changes from the original; I added the lemon juice and used pecans instead of walnuts and I made my own crust.


Pillsbury Ready-Made Deep Dish Pie Crust (there are 2 in a box, you'll only need 1)
(Or make your own homemade crust)

Put pie crust in glass pie dish; this pie is very heavy, foil may be too weak. Do not pre-bake crust. (Unless you are making your own crust; then follow your crust recipe.)

5-6 Granny Smith apples
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients, except apples, in a large bowl; set aside. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Add apples to sour cream mixture and stir well to coat. Pour gently into pie crust. Put dish on a baking sheet to catch drips, then bake for 30 minutes. Make the topping now.

1 cup minus 2 tbsp. flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
3/4 cup butter, chilled and cubed

Mix all ingredients together, adding butter last. Spread over partially baked pie. (This makes A LOT of topping, but trust me, you want to get it all on there!) Place strips of aluminum foil around the edges of the pie crust to prevent burning. Bake pie another 30-40 minutes. Let sit one hour before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

This was SOOO good despite my tough homemade crust. It was my first attempt at making my own crust (because I forgot to buy one at the store), but it was still edible and actually tastes better today. The recipe looks a little complicated, but it was actually really easy - especially if you have an Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer from The Pampered Chef. I have no idea how much I paid for it many years ago, and I have only used it a handful of times, but it is indispensable for making any apple dessert! :)

Let's see, what have I been making for dinner lately? Wednesday was Nachos, Thursday was Pork Roast in which I used what was labeled as "boneless pork roast supreme" instead of a tenderloin and it was still great. On Friday we had Salisbury Steak and I added 1 fresh chopped onion, half to the patties and half to the sauce - yum! On Saturday and Sunday we had leftovers because after a week like that the fridge was full!

Tonight I am going to make Spaghetti. The meal plan for the rest of the week is: Chicago Style Hot Dogs, frozen pizza, Breakfast (eggs, potatoes, bacon), and Shepherds Pie. (I really will make the Shepherds Pie someday soon - really).

Happy eating!