Thursday, July 21, 2011

Slow Cooker Potato Casserole

I have come to realize that although potatoes are one of my favorite foods, I absolutely hate preparing them. Peeling, mashing, chopping, shredding, anything you have to do is just difficult and time consuming! I wish there was an easy button for potatoes!

Anyway, cheesy potato casserole is a staple at almost every family meal I've been to. I've never seen it made in the slow cooker before so this was a first. It was definitely missing a little extra flavor, but overall, I'd definitely make it again! I added a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper to what I made. I think if I made it again I'd add a clove or two of garlic. When scott was heating it up, he added some ranch dressing and said it was good. I may even add some cayenne pepper for that extra kick! I added these suggestions in the recipe in italics! Overall, without the previous additions, I'd say this was a 3.75/5!!

Slow Cooker Potato Casserole

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken or mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups stuffing mix
Combine soup, sour cream, onion, 1/4 cup butter, salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper (if desired) in small bowl.

Combine potatoes and cheese in slow cooker. Pour soup mixture over potato mixture; mix well. Sprinkle stuffing mix over potato mixture; drizzle with remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. 

Cover; cook on low 8 to 10 hours or on high 5 to 6 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quick & Easy Beef Stew

The title of this recipe is spot on! For the first time, I tried buying meat from Aldi. And their sirloin steak was fantastic! This takes about 30 minutes total between browning the steak and cooking everything else. A great quick meal that you can throw almost anything into.  I added garlic salt, onion salt, seasoned salt, pepper, onion, and garlic for a little extra flavor. Overall a 3.5/5. From Gooseberry Patch's Cheap and Easy Recipes.

Quick & Easy Beef Stew
Four Servings
Total Time: 30 Minutes

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 10-3/4 ounce can French onion soup
  • 10-3/4 ounce can tomato soup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 24 ounce package frozen stew vegetables
  • Dash of garlic salt, onion salt, seasoned salt, pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of onion
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add beef. Cook and stir until browned and juices have evaporated. Add soups, sauce, seasonings, and vegetables; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Banana Pancakes

I honestly cannot remember the last time I made homemade pancakes! This was a very easy recipe & almost anyone could do it! The pancakes were also awesomely fluffy, which, whenever I've made pancakes in the past, always seem to not be fluffy. I'm not quite sure what it was yet, but I'm thinking maybe the buttermilk.

The recipe also calls for a spice called cardamom. After some research, I learned that this is considered the queen of spices in Inida (with pepper being the king). And that it is extremely expensive. So after a little more digging, I found out most people suggest to not substitute. Well, I've been cooking for awhile now. Granted, nothing extremely exotic, but I've never yet come across cardamom in a recipe. I wasn't about to pay $13 for a small bottle of the stuff. So in the end, I substituted cinnamon, and it definitely did the trick!

Overall, I'd give this a 5/5. I'm definitely going to make these again when I'm craving pancakes. More often than not, I'll have everything on hand. The batter is what makes it, the banana pieces just add to it! Also, try making a double (or more!) batch, as you can cool then freeze the pancakes for a later date!This recipe is from Taste of Home Cooking School's cookbook/magazine.

Banana Pancakes
Makes 10 pancakes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or cinnamon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (any type of cooking oil will do, canola is healthier)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extra
  • 1 small firm banana, finely chopped
In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in banana.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray. Turn when bubbles form on top; cook until second side is golden brown.

Oriental Turkey Salad

In the summertime, I love eating salads for dinner! They are so refreshing, and there is little to no cooking involved so you don't have to heat up the kitchen!

This recipe is from Cooking with Kare Volume 1. I have never made a salad solely with cabbage before. This specific vinaigrette flavor with the cabbage was awesome! The red pepper flakes gave a great kick to an otherwise sweet dressing. We put the dressing on in single servings, so we could keep the salad to eat a second day. If you're looking for  a new kind of salad with homemade dressing, I highly recommend it! 4/5 stars!

Oriental Turkey Salad
4 Servings
Total Time: 25 Minutes

  • 6 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
In a large serving bowl, toss cabbage, turkey, green onions and cilantro. Sprinkle with peanuts. In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, water, sugar, brown sugar, salt, garlic and red pepper flakes until sugar dissolves. Serve warm dressing with salad.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pies

I've recently learned to love pot pies. I know they are super unhealthy (most times), but they are just so yummy! And the ones I find the yummy-est (I don't think that's a word) are the super creamy ones. This has no cream in the recipe. It's basically chicken and vegetables. I don't think I will make it again, but I wouldn't say it was bad. I just have other things I'd prefer to eat instead. The slightly different dinner rolls, however, were awesome! 2/5. Adapted from Pillsbury's Best One Dish Meals.

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pies
Total Time: 5 Hours 40 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 package (.87 ounces) roasted chicken gravy mix
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 jar (4.5 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or water
  • 2 cups frozen southern-style diced hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 frozen buttermilk biscuits (from 25-ounce bag)
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
In 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, place chicken. Sprinkle with gravy mix; mix lightly to coat. Top with carrots and mushrooms. Pour broth and wine over top. Cover; cook on low heat setting 5 to 7 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, add potatoes, peas and pepper; stir gently. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook 25 to 30 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, heat over to 375 degrees. Place frozen biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops with milk; sprinkle with thyme. Bake as directed on bag. Spoon chicken mixture into bowls. Top each with biscuit.

Cheesy Broccoli Bake

Scott made this dish, and truthfully, I didn't pay much attention to it. I know he substituted bread crumbs for the Kix, which may have been while I didn't like it so much. I thought it was overly bland. It's a side dish, through and through. I would've given it 2.5/5. Not sure if I would make it again. Adapated from Pillsbury Fast & Healthy Cookbook.

Cheesy Broccoli Bake
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 6

  • 1 cup Kix Cereal
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free milk
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place cereal in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and crush with rolling pin. In small bowl, mix cereal and olive oil; set aside. In 1 1/2 quart casserole, place broccoli; cover and microwave on High 3 minutes. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat butter until melted. Stir in flour, salt, mustard and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with wire whisk, until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Pour sauce over broccoli in casserole. Sprinkle with cereal mixture.

Bake uncovered 18 to 20 minutes or until hot.

Apple Dijon Pork Roast

This is probably one of the easiest pot roast recipes I've ever made, plus it has an interesting flavor to it! It is truthfully cheap, especially if you pay attention to when pork roast is on sale. Everything else I bought at Aldi [which, side note, is my new favorite grocery store]. If you're new to the crockpot-this is super easy to make so try it-I promise you can't screw it up! We gave this a 5/5! Adapted from the $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook.

Apple Dijon Pork Roast
Total Time: 8 1/2 hours
Serves 4

  • 2 1/2 pound pork shoulder roast
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Place the roast in a slow cooker with 1/2 cup of water.

In a small bowl, whisk together the applesauce, apple juice and Dijon mustard. Pour over the roast. Set the slow cooker on low and cook the roast for 8 hours, or until the roast is tender.

Greek Potato Salad

We've been on a Greek-flavor kick ever since I made the Greek Chicken and Pasta back in May. I never really thought of myself as a Greek-inspired food lover, but I think I am! This potato salad definitely has some awesome flavors. Many of the comments on the Taste of Home website suggest substituting feta for mozzarella cheese. I personally enjoyed the mozza more, but you could do your preference!

We, once again, do not have a grill, so I steamed all of the vegetables on a large skillet instead. And I cooked the potatoes to almost done, and then I steamed the rest of the vegetables too! The one mistake I would say I did was not cutting the veggies small enough. Make them as close to bite-size as you can to fit the most in your mouth at one time! Yum! Overall rating: 3.5/5--we just need to perfect it!

Greek Potato Salad
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: 16

  • 3 pounds small red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large sweet yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1-1/4 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 3/4 cup Greek vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup halved Greek olives
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Drizzle potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Grill potatoes, covered, over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until tender.

Place in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Serve salad warm or cold.

Asian Grilled Chicken Drummies

Sorry for the delay in posting. I've just been lazy, and truthfully, not in the mood. I'm still cooking and am going to post everything I've done the last couple weeks. I almost always forget to look at the recipe the night before I'm going to make it. I did that on this recipe and didn't realize it was a marinade. I did the bare minimum time frame, which turned out fine, but truthfully I think it would be better a little longer marinating.

We aren't allowed to use a charcoal grill at our apartment complex and we don't have a gas grill, so we often times compromise when it comes to grill recipes. I usually use the broiler or a griddle. This time I used the broiler. It would've turned out fine, but we got distracted and we definitely burned the chicken a bit. The not burnt portions were pretty good though!

Overall, we would give this a 3.5/5. It was good, but needs a little bit of work/we need to try it again. This time either on the grill, or making sure it doesn't burn! I did also substitute the chicken wings for drummies, but if I was going to make this for a large group, I would do the drummies.

Adapated from Pillsbury's 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Recipe book.

Asian Grilled Chicken Drummies

  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry sauce
  • 24 chicken wing drummettes (about 2 1/2 pounds); or 3 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts
In resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix teriyaki sauce and curry sauce. Add chicken; seal bag. Shake to cool chicken evenly with sauce mixture. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Remove drummettes from marinade; discard marinade. Place drummettes on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 20-25 minutes until chicken is golden brown on outside and no longer pink in center.

Place drummettes on serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts.


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