Monday, November 9, 2009

Rigatoni with Sausage

I know, I know...I've been beyond MIA! In my defense, I forgot my sign in information :)

Here's a household favorite that I tweaked from the original recipe that had 85 grams of fat PER serving - ACK!

2 tablespoons EVOO
1 small onion (or half of a large one), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 links of Italian Turkey sausage (flavor is up to you, we use hot) - cut into small chunks
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (canned works too if you're in a hurry)
1/2 cup white wine (I use pinot grigio - feel free to sneak a glass while you're cooking haha)
1 cup half and half
2 eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 package of rigatoni cooked al dente

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic, stir over low heat until onion is tender. Add in the mushrooms and sausage and cook until the sausage is done. Stir in wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

In a separate bowl whisk together the 1/2 and 1/2, eggs and half of the parmesan, the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Add to the cooked rigatoni with the sausage mixture and toss. Serve with remaining parmesan cheese.

As MJ says it's deeeeeelicious

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mushroom Pork

I'm typically not a fan of pork. Actually, I tend to avoid buying it altogether unless it's a smoked ham. Something about the thought of it just grosses me out. I've had it prepared fabulously before, and loved it. I've had good recipes for it given to me, and enjoyed them. But in general, at the grocery store I tend to avoid picking any up.

The other day though they were on that same sale I mentioned in my last post. So I bought some. Then I realized that I had nothing that I would normally make with it. Nor did I have the time to spend frying it. So I threw something together, put it in the crockpot, and called it good. The family raved over it. And I even bought a package of pork blade steak this last time I was there to do it again. Here's what I came up with:

1 package of pork chops/loins/blade steaks(I think there were 4 in there)
2 cans of cream of mushroom
a handful of fresh mushrooms (optional of course)
1/4 medium sized onion chopped VERY small
a couple garlic cloves, pressed

I literally dumped it in the cp. It was done on high in about 3 hours. (Stir it half way through if you want -- just to make sure everything is evenly coated.) I served it w/ mashed potatoes and green beans.

Again, the family adored it. So finally, a plus one for pork. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tilapia with White Wine and Tomatoes

In recent days I have found myself in a constant search for good deals on great food. I desperately want to serve my family amazing meals but with grocery prices rising and my budget not growing, I've found myself having to learn to be creative with not only my grocery list but also when searching for good deals on food.

I typically avoid one of our local grocery store . They overprice their foods and then sell it at regular price a "discounted" price if you have the pleasure of holding one of their cards (which you nearly have to beg the cashiers to offer to you). Their customer service is terrible. And their vegetables are typically no where near being ripe or else are nearly spoiled.

However, in my new search for creative ways to inexpensively feed my family, I started looking at their ads again. They frequently run buy-one-get-ones on their meat. Now, they start out overpriced, so the deal isn't truly as great as it sounds ... but it's still a deal!

My favorite item that runs in this deal is the packages of tilapia. Certainly not as good as fresh, but when I can get 8 filets of tilapia for $7, I'll take it!

The last time I did this I went on a search for a good recipe. I remembered a friend of mine listing a tilapia with a garlic butter sauce on her Monday Menu Plan and she graciously linked me up. However, I was quickly reminded by one of my guests that their children wouldn't eat a food that had a strong garlic flavor. So I flipped gears and went searching. This is what I found:

  • 4 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  1. Preheat a grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Place the tilapia fillets side by side on a large piece of aluminum foil. Season each one with salt and pepper. Place one tablespoon of butter on top of each piece of fish, and sprinkle garlic, basil and tomato. Pour the wine over everything. Fold foil up around fish, and seal into a packet. Place packet on a cookie sheet for ease in transportation to and from the grill.
  3. Place foil packet on the preheated grill, and cook for 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Open the packet carefully so as not to get burned from the steam, and serve.

I did it slightly differently, though, and would like to share my changes. First, after I had placed the tilapia on the foil and sprinkled it w/ the salt and pepper, I drizzled it with olive oil instead of butter. Then I took dried basil and sprinkled that on top in lieu of the fresh basil (just didn't have it around). Next came the garlic. I also didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand so I went to grab (and drain) a can of diced tomatoes. However, upon inspecting my cabinets I realized that MY diced tomatoes came in only two different varieties (versus also having regular diced tomatoes): diced tomatoes with green chiles and onions, and diced tomatoes with basil and oregano. Of those two, the obvious choice was the can with basil and oregano. I poured the tomatoes over the fish. Then finally added the cup of wine and sealed the foil packet. Chris grilled it for us.

It was AMAZING. I loved it. The kids loved it. The husband (who is not a fish lover) loved it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spices that should always be available if I come to visit....

I'm currently visiting my mother-in-law's house and have done most of the cooking since I arrived. I'm not complaining about cooking, because we all know I love to. But I would like to tease her a moment for her very lacking spice cabinet! (And since she reads this blog, I don't mind teasing her about it. ;) Love you Becky!) When we first arrived we had to run to the store to buy some things that are considered staples in my home, such as cream cheese and cream of mushroom. But as my time is drawing to a close, I realize that she needs to have a general list of spices and other "things" that should be available anytime I'm here and cooking.

Now, I realize, Becky, that many of these you already have, but I wanted you to have a general list to double check. ;)

Sea Salt
Ground Pepper
Fresh Garlic
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder (for those dishes Chris insists I cook w/o onions but I know need the onion flavor ;) )
Italian Seasoning
Fennel Seeds
Chili Powder (not the Mexican blend)
Lemon Pepper
Olive Oil
Red Pepper Flakes
Vanilla Extract
Soy Sauce
Balsamic Vinegar
White Vinegar
Active Dry Yeast
Cajun Seasoning (But, Becky, you only need one thing of this. You have like 5 in your cabinet. ;) )

Ok, so that's all I'm able to think of off the top of my head. So everyone else share in the comments. What should she ALWAYS have in her spice cabinet -- especially when I come to visit?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken and Blackbean Soup

I saw a crock pot recipe for a chicken, salsa and blackbean soup and decided that that was what I was going to have for dinner tonight. But I wanted to use my leftover rotisserie chicken and I didn't want to use the crockpot. So after unsuccessfully trying to find a recipe I wanted to use here's what I came up with. The ingredient list is kinda long...but if you have a well stocked pantry you should have most everything on hand.

2 cups diced cooked chicken (I just tore the chicken into smallish pieces)
2 cans chicken broth
1 can of water
1.5 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp mexican oregano (optional)
2 cans black beans rinsed
1 can corn
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs hot sauce (optional)
2 cups salsa (I used Old El Paso)
optional add-ins:
cooked brown rice
sour cream
shredded cheddar
chopped green onions

In a large pot saute the garlic in the olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth plus fill one can with water and add to the pot. Add the black beans. Using a potato masher mash the black beans to your preferred consistency (I also added 1 extra can of black beans I had run through the blender to make the soup thicker). Add all other ingredients except the add-ins. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and let simmer for 30-45 mins. Put rice on the bottom of your bowl then spoon in the soup and top with sour cream, cheese, and onions. Enjoy!

NOTE- I made two seperate pots of this. Once I added everything but the meat I set aside a small pot for the Vegetarian. Instead of adding chicken I added 2 veggie bugers that I had cut up. In retrospect I would have just added one to such a small pot. Though honestly, it really didn't need anything extra since I had already added that extra can of beans. We all loved it. And the Veggie's friend ate 2 bowls...which is a big deal, this boy eats like a bird. My toddler loved it, and it didn't take near as long to have her finish her dinner than the usual days. This is definately something we'll make again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chicken Curry Soup

I made this last night for the sick vegetarian staying with us. Her friend...who's a boy (but don't say boyfriend)...took her to the ER yesterday b/c she had a high fever and was feeling awful. Knowing they'd be there for quite a while and would be hungry when they came back I made this soup for her. It's pretty good. I liked it. I didn't add chicken but I would next time I make it for the rest of us.

1 cup thinly sliced chicken breast (this is easier to do if the meat is a slightly frozen)
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups water
1 chicken or veggie bullion cube
2.5-3 tbs curry powder
1/2 tbs parsley
4 cloves smashed garlic
1 clove smashed and minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 butternut squash diced into larger pieces
1 med sweet potato diced
1 large diced carrot
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery diced

saute the chicken on med-high heat with salt and pepper and 1 clove of minced garlic until no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 30 mins or until veggies are soft.

NOTE-My vegetarian doesn't mind chicken stock but to make this truly vegetarian stick with vegetable stock. You can also substitute the chicken for Quorn chik'n tenders or tofu. This soup isn't spicy but it has a lot of flavor and is perfect for what ails ya.

Borderland Chicken

Have you ever had those days when you realize you're running low on groceries but you still have to figure something out for dinner? That was me yesterday. I realized the only meats I had were frozen and if I were going to make something it would have to be in the crockpot (I hate waiting for meat to defrost). So I threw a bunch of things together and came up with a very yummy and flavorful recipe.

6-8 boneless chicken thighs (I used frozen boneless and skinless)
2 sliced bell pepper (red or green or both)
1/2 med onion sliced
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs cumin
1 tsp pepper flakes
1 packet of McCormick fajita seasoning
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 can chicken broth

Mix wine, broth, and seasonings into the bottom of the crock pot. Add chicken pieces and flip so both sides are coated. Add onions and bell pepper. I cooked this on high for 4 hrs and it was on warm for another hour and it was perfect. The meat was tender but didn't fall to pieces. I did turn the pieces over half way into cooking. I served this over spanish rice and topped with extra juices to make it spicier for my husband and I.

NOTES-It wasn't too spicy for my 2 year old and she loved it. I didn't have any onions or bell peppers and made this without them but if I had them this is how my recipe would have went. And I'd probably add garlic if I had it...but I didn't add that into the recipe since the flavors were great even without garlic.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Semi-Homemade Spaghetti sauce

It's a sad day in my house when I realize there's no garlic. That day was today. Having been raised by a Korean mother a love of garlic was instilled. I recently found out that apparently the average Korean consumes 22 lbs of garlic per year. I believe it! This would explain why my recipes always call for so much garlic. Always keep in mind you can cut back on the garlic. Tonight I'm making spaghetti. It's such an easy dish and we all love it. I am sad though, it'll be sans garlic this time around.

1 jar/can of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tbs of olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic smashed and minced
1/2 cup diced bell pepper

In a saucepan heat the olive oil. When oil is heated throw in the mushrooms, garlic, and bell pepper and saute but do not allow them to get too soft (about 5 mins). Add the spaghetti sauce of your choice and allow to simmer for about 15 mins. Serve over pasta of your choice!

NOTE- Sometimes I add meat and sometimes I don't. I used to always use ground beef when cooking spaghetti. Now days I rarely use ground beef. Tonight I pulled a bag of frozen turkey meatballs from the freezer and they were the first to get dropped into the olive oil. Other times I'll slice up some chicken and saute it with garlic before adding the veggies. Whatever I have on hand really. It's just as yummy without meat though.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Peppery Potato Soup (Crock Pot)

2 cans chicken broth
4 small baking potatoes, halved and sliced crosswise
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup half and half
1/4 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp butter

Combine broth, potatoes, onion, celery, salt and pepper in Crock Pot and mix well. Cook on LOW 6-7 hours. Stir half and half into flour; stir mixture into slow cooker. Cover and cook one hour. Slightly mash potato mixture with potato masher. Cook uncovered 30 minutes or until slightly thickened. Just before serving, stir in butter. Garnish with celery leaves and parsley if desired.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pizza Dough

This was originally from the Food Network, but Chris has made it his own over time. He adjusts the amount of honey each time he makes it, usually adding a little bit more than the recipe calls for.

Here is the original recipe.

1 package of active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
1 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbls EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Mix yeast, honey and 1/4 cup of water in a bowl. Set it aside.
Mix flour, salt and oil in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture.
Mix until dough comes away clean then knead for 2-3 minutes.

Cover with damp cloth. Allow it to rise for 2-3 hours.

Spicey Breaded Roasted Chicken

1 1/3 c (crushed) cornflakes or rice crispies
1 tbls canola oil
2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp balck pepper
1 tbls Dijon mustard
1/2 cup mayo
4 pieces boneless skinless chicken

Combine mayo and Dijon.

Combine dry ingredients and oil in large ziplock bag.

Dip chicken in mayo/mustard mixture. Toss in dry ingredients. Roast on pan at 425.

Spiced Apples and Ice Cream

3-5 Gala Apples, chopped
Brown Sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup butter
Vanilla Ice Cream
Caramel Ice Cream Topping

Melt butter in skillet. Sautee the apples. Spice to taste. Serve over ice cream. Serve with caramel on top.

My apologies

I have received a much deserved chiding. I have neglected this site for far too long. So today I come back in full force. My treasured recipe book has been found and returned to me, so I have many gems to share! Get ready, the next few days should be filled with several yummy recipes!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


This is one of my favorite recipes from my Betty Crocker cookbook. Though I do twist it up just a little. If you want a good cookbook you should check this one out. It has a bit of everything! And the best part, it has an emergency substitution chart in the back...SCORE! I'm always forgetting some ingredient and it's nice to know I can look in the back of my book for a good subsitute. Anyway, I'm posting this recipe just for my good friend, Joyce. I hope you enjoy!! Y

1 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef
1 cup milk
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dried sage leaves (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic finely chopped (or 1/8 tsp garlic powder)
1 large egg
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 small onion chopped
1 cup ketchup divided
1/2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp mustard

Heat the oven to 350. Mix all the ingredients except 1/2 cup of ketchup and the last 2 ingredients listed. Spread mixture in an ungreased loaf pan (though I use my stoneware casserole dish). Mix the other 1/2 cup of ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard together then spread on top of the meatloaf. bake uncovered for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until juice is clear and a meat thermometer reads 160. Drain the meatloaf and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. I usually serve my meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a veggie.

Note: I've fed this to people who claim to hate meatloaf and they end up loving this. My family loves it...even my husband who swore he only likes his mama's meatloaf...of course that was before he had mine. ;)

Chicken Noodle Soup

It's been way too long since my last post. I've made plenty of yummy meals thinking "I need to blog this!" But I'm a procrastinator and I can't remember most of what I wanted to post. So I was determined to post this since we all loved it! And since my resident vegetarian has been MIA this week I could devote all my attention to a yummy meat filled meal! :)

This was adapted from a recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook (I love that cookbook!)

Total prep/cook time: appx 1 hr 30 mins

3-3 1/2 lbs cut up chicken (I had 3 1/2 lbs of fresh bone-in breasts so I used those)
6 cups cold water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 chopped stalk celery
2 chopped medium carrots
1 chopped small onion (I roughly chopped it)
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tbs chicken bouillion granules
4 cloves of garlic-smashed but not crushed
1 cup of chopped asparagus
1-1 1/2 cup of egg noodles
1 cup boxed chicken stock (optional)

Start by making the chicken and broth. Now, really you're supposed to make the broth, discard the veggies, cut new veggies and make the soup. But I thought that was a waste of veggies and time. Remove excess fat from chicken, place chicken (giblets-except liver, and neck if you're using a whole cut up chicken) in a 4 quart pot. add remaining ingredients except noodles and asparagus and heat to boiling. Skim any foam from the broth and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 45 mins or until chicken is fully cooked (use a meat thermometer or check if juices run clear). Remove chicken from the broth and debone. Using only breasts really helped this process go quickly. You might want to let the chicken poor fingers. waiting for the chicken to cool is a good time to skim the fat from the broth. Cube chicken then add back to the pot. Add the noodles and asparagus and heat to boiling then reduce the heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 7-10 minutes or when noodles are soft. Serve with bread or crackers (my daughter loved that I added goldfish crackers to swim in her soup).

Note: Now, when I made this I had a box of chicken stock in my fridge and I didn't feel like I had enough "juice" (as my daughter would say) once I added the noodles. So I added probably a cup of stock. Then today when we reheated it I added another cup of stock. It was chock full of chicken and noodles and so yummy and really didn't take much effort! Next time I might add shredded cabbage and/or squash just to play around with it a little. I hope you enjoy this recipe!!