Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I've never made lasagna before & the first time is going to be hard to beat! So easy & delicious! Adapted from Betty Crocker

Slow Cooker Lasagna
Total Time: 6-8 Hours
Serves 6
  • 3/4 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cans (15 ounces each) Italian style tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 uncooked lasagna noodles
Cook sausage garlic and onion in 10 inch skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, basil and salt.

Mix 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and Parmesan cheese.

Spoon one fourth of the sausage mixture into 3-1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker; top with 2 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Top with half of the cheese mixture and one fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with 2 noodles, remaining cheese mixture and one fourth of the sausage mixture. Top with remaining 2 noodles and remaining sausage mixture.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 8 hours or until noodles are tender. 

Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into pieces.

The Verdict
5/5! This is an AWESOME recipe! It is so easy to put together! I accidentally bought bratwurst type sausage, but it still worked great! You could substitute ground beef or whatever kind of meat you wish as well! If you love lasagna-try this now!

Ranch Party Mix

A new kind of crockpot recipe from crockpot365!

Ranch Party Mix

  • 9 cups Chex cereal
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup powdered Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the cereal into the slow cooker, and add the pretzels and peanuts. Sprinkle on the dried ranch mix and the Parmesan cheese. Add the melted butter, and toss the cereal mixture with two large spoons to coat. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so. The cereal on the outside edges will burn if you don't stir.

The Verdict
2/5. I used cashews instead of peanuts in this recipe. I've never made chex mix before, and this was not a good run. I definitely burned more of it than I could eat. I didn't think the parts that weren't burnt had much taste. I'm not sure if I would make this again...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Veggie Tacos

Scott and I have decided to try to eat at least one vegetarian meal a week. This is definitely going to be a staple of that!

Veggie Tacos-adapted from pillsbury.com
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 5

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked instant brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1 can 14.5 ounce stewed tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can 15.5 ounce dar red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 flour tortillas, heated
  • Chopped tomatoes, black olives, lettuce, sour cream and/or cheese, optional
In 2-quart saucepan, heat water to boiling. Stir in rice; return to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Stir in thawed vegetables, stewed tomatoes, beans, cilantro, onion, cumin, coriander, garlic and pepper. Cook until hot.

Place warm tortillas on individual plates. Cover tortillas evenly with rice mixture. Top each with toppings of your choice.

5/5!!!!! I honestly would not change a thing about how we made this recipe! It was delicious and filling yet healthy! Plus, it was easy! Things could be added or omitted as you wish, but definitely a great starting point! Make this ASAP!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Nachos

Homemade nachos--nice and easy!

Chicken Nachos
Total Time about 6 hours
Serves 6-8

  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken meat, diced
  • 1 (32 ounce) package Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can tomatoes and chiles-do not drain
  • refried beans, salsa, sour cream, sliced olives, jalapenos (optional)
Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Put the chicken into the stoneware and cover with cheese cubes. Add the entire can of tomatoes and chiles. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. This is finished when the chicken is cooked fully and the cheese has melted completely. Serve over your favorite chips and top with desired toppings.

The Changes/Lessons/Verdict
3/5. I am a huge fan of nachos. Of any kind. This was not my favorite nachos ever, but for something to throw together for a party, it would be great! I put mine on high because I didn't have that much time, and it ended up really sticking to the crock pot, so just be careful with that! Otherwise, simply and easy and yummy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Family Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

No more box mac 'n cheese!!

Family Favorite Macaroni and Cheese Total Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 6

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (7 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded or cubed cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni as directed on package.

While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3 quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.

The Verdict
4.5/5. This recipe was super easy and super yummy! Scott and I ate every bite! I used a little bit of mozzarella instead of all cheddar cheese. If you wanted to change up the dish by adding veggies, meat, or different kinds of cheese I can only imagine it would get better! In the reviews on the betty crocker website, people suggested making the pasta and the sauce the night before or in the morning and then baking it. Also putting the whole thing together, letting it cool, and freezing it. I bet both of these would work well too! And even just putting the sauce over the noodles without baking it would be good! Try this-it's awesome!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Creamy Cucumber Salad

A refreshing change to plain ol' cucumbers!

Creamy Cucumber Salad
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves 6

  • 4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 4 teaspoons coarse-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • Bagel chips, crackers, or toasted bread
In a bowl, whisk together the horseradish, mustard, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth. Halve each cucumber lengthwise and thinly slice.  Add the cucumbers to the dressing and toss to coat. Serve the cucumber mixture with bagel chips crackers or toasted bread.

The Changes/Lesson/Verdict
2.5/5. No changes were made. It was good, but not great. I don't know what I would do to change it, but the mustard flavor is very strong.

Ginger Salmon Fillets

This sweet and spicy glaze is awesome! Gives you a taste you don't expect!

Ginger Salmon Fillets
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger root
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper sauce
  • 1 1/14 pounds salmon fillets, thawed
Heat broiler. In a small bowl mix all ingredients except for salmon

Place salmon on broil pan, and brush with honey mixture. Place in oven for 8-10 minutes, or until flaky.

The Changes
The original recipe calls for grilling the salmon fillets, but in my directions I put the broiler way. You could probably do it on the stove as well

The Lessons
Everything was great and easy to do!

The Verdict
4/5. People will either hate or love the sauce. It is definitely not for everyone. But if you like a little kick, you will LOVE this glaze! It's super easy and fool proof too!

Edamame Corn Chowder

A different flavor for an easy soup!

I have a picture, but for some reason blogger isn't letting me upload it. Check out the picture at bettycrocker.com!

Edamame Corn Chowder
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Serves: Six
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 12-ounce bag shelled edamame soybeans
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 can (14.75 ounces) cream style sweet corn
  • 1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel sweet corn
  • 4 cups frozen southern style hash browns
In 4-quart saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Cook onion in drippings, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes or until soft.

Using wire whisk, stir flour, salt and pepper into onion mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute

Stir edamame, both cans corn, potatoes and reserved cooked bacon into milk mixture. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

The Changes
I couldn't find edamame so I bought sugar snap peas instead. That worked just fine! I added some extra seasonings-garlic and a little more pepper, but you can do that all to taste!

The Lessons
Whenever you add flour to a soup, make sure to KEEP STIRRING! Otherwise it sticks to the bottom!

The Verdict
3/5. Definitely a different soup that is yummy! It isn't my favorite, but I'll definitely be making it again! It's super easy to make, and most stuff you already have on hand!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Asparagus Fennel Pasta Salad

This is a different flavored pasta salad that I really enjoyed! It is great warm which is a nice change!

Asparagus Fennel Pasta Salad
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves: 14
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulbs, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 12 pitted Greek olives, sliced
  • 1 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
Place asparagus, onions and fennel in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. bakin pan. Drizzle with oil; toss to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives, parsley and roasted vegetables.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper until blended. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

The Changes
I obviously cut this recipe in half since it is just me and Scott. It still turned out great! I added more to this dish than anything! I added mushrooms and celery since I had them laying around. They only added to the dish! 

The Lessons
I learned what fennel is for the first time. You can use it like an onion. Definitely gives a nice flavor to the dish!

The Verdict
3.5/5. Definitely a great vegetarian dish! Also, if I was going to a potluck or something, it is definitely a good dish for that! If we were to make it again for a meal, I might add chicken to it! I'll definitely be making it again!


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