Sunday, January 29, 2012

Turkey Tetrazzini

One of the cookbooks we got for Christmas was Cooking Light's "Comfort Food Cookbook", and we absolutely love it! We've tried a few dishes that have come out well, and I can't wait to try some of the others! This dish was alright, but a little bland. Nothing to really make it great.

Turkey Tetrazzini-adapted from The Comfort Food Cookbook
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 6
  • 10 ounces uncooked vermicelli
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound turkey breast cutlets
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 16 ounces presliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 3/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
  • 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle turkey with 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add turkey to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove turkey from pan.
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, sherry, and mushrooms to pan. Cover and cook 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
  4. Combine peas, milk, sour cream, cheese, and soup in a large bowl. Chop turkey. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, pasta, turkey, and mushroom mixture to soup mixture, tossing gently to combine. Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  5. Combine breadcrumbs and butter in a small dish, tossing to combine. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pasta mixture. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated.

Baked Lime Tilapia

I really enjoy tilapia, but Scott doesn't. He thinks it doesn't have much flavor. This recipe wasn't anything special, but I didn't think it was bad either.

Baked Lime Tilapia-adapted from The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tilapia fillets
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, dill and a few dashes of salt and pepper. Pour over tilapia fillets and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the fist for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fillets are opaque and flake easily.

Samoa Bars

Girl Scout cookie season is almost here. I haven't bought any this year and don't really plan to. These were just about as good though! We didn't dip the bottom of the cookie in chocolate, but I definitely would the next time. These were good, but a little dry on the bottom and I think the chocolate would help it. They're pretty simple, and yummy!

Samoa Bars-adapted from Baking Bites
Total Time: 1 Hour
Makes 30 Bars
Cookie Base
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate 
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. Pour dough into prepapred pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled. When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).
Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Pork Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

I love roasts, but I don't think any can ever compare to my grandmother's. I HAVE to remember to get her recipe soon. This roast was okay, but very dry. The gravy ended up very bitter-I may have had too much vinegar. In the end, I wasn't a huge fan, but the reviews at Taste of Home were excellent so someone else should give it a try!

Pork Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy-adapted from Taste of Home
Total Time: 4 Hours
Serves 4

  • 1 boneless whole pork loin roast (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 cup julienned sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 2 cups refrigerated mashed potatoes
Cut roast in half; transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the broth, red pepper, onion, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and seasonings; pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove pork; cut some into cubes measuring 2-1/2 cups and save for another use. (Keep remaining pork warm.)

For gravy, strain cooking juices and skim fat; pour 1 cup into a small saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Meanwhile, in a small microwave-safe bowl, cook potatoes on high for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Let meat stand for 10 minutes before slicing; serve with potatoes and gravy. 

Pizza Burgers

Cheeseburgers are always a favorite of mine, but I never seem to like the ones I make at home. Whenever I get to make them on a grill, they turn out great. Unfortunately, I can't have a grill at our apartment. These were the best burgers I've ever made on the stove at home. The mix was great, but a little dry with all the parmesan but I think it helped a lot! This has a different flavors that just go really well together. Definitely something I'd make again!

Photo Courtesy of Taste of Home

Pizza Burgers-adapted from Taste of Home
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 English muffins, split and toasted
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties.

Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear. Top burgers with cheese; cover and grill 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve on muffins with pizza sauce.

Orange Teriyaki Skillet

The original recipe called for pork tenderloin, but I prefer beef with stir fry. The original recipe called for marmalade, but I somehow overlooked that so I didn't include it. The food was still really good! Stir fry does get pretty hard to mess up though I think. It's all in the flavoring.

Orange Teriyaki Skillet-adapted from Pillsbury
Total Time 20 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 pound stir-fry beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 bag (19 ounces) stir fry vegetables
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin orange segments
  • Rice to serve
In a nonstick skillet, cook and stir beef over medium-high heat 4-6 minutes or until meat is no longer pink in center.

Stir in frozen vegetables, ginger, sesame seeds and teriyaki sauce. Cover; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bubbly and vegetables are crisp-tender. Fold in oranges with juice. Serve with rice.

Shredded Pork Burritos

These pork burritos were great! Scott never loves the pork recipes I make, but he LOVED this! The pork was super tender. A little bit on the sweet side, so I probably wouldn't add the brown sugar later but it didn't ruin the dish. The main winner of this dish, however, was the sauce. I have never cooked with tomatillos before, but this was hands-down some of the best sauce I've ever had. It's good just plain with chips too! And it's so easy! Just try it and you'll understand!

Shredded Pork Burritos

Shredded Pork Burritos-adapted from Taste of Home
Total Time: 9 Hour
Serves 16
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 4 teaspoons paprika, divided
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (12 ounces) cola
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tomatillos, husks removed
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 16 flour tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
Cut roast in half. Combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons paprika, pepper flakes, cumin and salt; rub over meat. Place in a 4-qt. slow cooker. Add the cola, broth, onion and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.

Set meat aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Shred meat with two forks. Skim fat from cooking juices and return meat to slow cooker. Stir in remaining brown sugar and paprika. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour or until heated through.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the mayonnaise, milk, tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeno, dressing mix, lime juice, garlic and cayenne. Cover and process until blended. Pour into a small bowl. Chill until serving.

Using a slotted spoon, spoon 1/2 cup filling off center on each tortilla. Drizzle with some of the tomatillo sauce. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up. Serve with remaining sauce. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Taco Bake

A quick, simple taco bake. I added some cayenne pepper and garlic to the Bisquick mix to give it more flavor than just pancake batter. This was a good dish, nothing extraordinary, but I'd still make it again.

Taco Bake-Adapted from Betty Crocker
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves 8
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can (16 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) whole kernal corn
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups Original Bisquick mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives as desired
  • Heat oven to 325ºF. Grease rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches.
  • Cook ground beef and onion in 10-inch skillet, stirring frequently, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in dry seasoning mix, tomato sauce and corn. Spoon into pan; sprinkle with cheese. Stir Bisquick mix, milk and eggs until smooth. Pour over beef mixture.3
  • Bake about 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with remaining ingredients.

Pesto Lasagna

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and knew I had to make it immediately! It just looks so delicious! And I've always wanted to learn to make my own pesto! This was actually pretty simple, and the only thing I'd do differently is add some mushrooms to the dish. I feel as though it just needs a little something more. I'm also going to lower the olive oil in the pesto. After it came out of the oven, it was a little bit oily. I'm not sure how much I'm going to reduce it by, but I figure I can add more as time goes on. And now...the AMAZING recipe:

Pesto Lasagna-Adapted from The Italian Dish
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 10-20 cooked lasagna noodles (10 for 8x8 pan, 20 for 13x8 pan)
  • 3 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, cut into chunks
  • 1-1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk (whole or lowfat)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (half, if using Knorr)
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper 
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
Make the pesto:
Place the chunks of Parmigiano cheese into the food processor and process until finely ground.  Add the basil, garlic and pine nuts to food processor.  Process, using pulses, till finely chopped.  With machine running, add the olive oil until pesto is smooth.
Make the bechamel:
In a heavy medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and stir for a couple of minutes, until the flour is cooked.  Add the bouillon cube and allow to dissolve.  Whisk. Add about a third of the milk, slowly, and whisk over medium heat.  Add the nutmeg and pepper.  When the sauce is smooth, add another third of the milk and whisk.  When the sauce is smooth again, add the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a heat proof bowl or Pyrex cup and let cool slightly.
Assemble lasagna:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In an 8x8 pan, place about 1/3 cup of the bechamel to coat the bottom of the pan. Lay first layer of lasagna noodles.  Add enough bechamel to coat the noodles.  Add some pesto and spread into the bechamel.  Add a handful of the grated Parmesan. Continue to layer the noodles, bechamel, pesto and Parmesan until the last layer of noodles.  On top of this, just spread the bechamel only, add the rest of the Parmesan and top with the mozzarella.  Sprinkle the oregano on top.  Wrap tightly with foil.
Bake for one hour. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more, until top is golden.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before slicing.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I've once again found something awesome on Pinterest. Homemade taco seasoning. Now I know EXACTLY what is in the seasoning. And this recipe makes pretty much the same amount as is in one of those packets. It's easy enough and you can make it as you go. Give it a try!

Taco Seasoning-Adapted by Chef Mommy
Total Time: 5 Minutes
Makes Approximately 3 Ounces
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Use as much or as little as needed. Store rest in an air tight container.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Tacos and taco salad are one of my favorite things. This was a vegetarian twist on a taco salad and it was FANTASTIC! Making the homemade tortillas was so nice. We've used corn tortillas in a few recipes before, and Scott hates them! he actually likes them in this one! This dish just has so much flavor, and with the beans, you don't miss not having any meat. This would be great to make for lunch someday too!

Haystacks - Adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 8 corn tortillas, halved, then cut crosswise into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cups jarred mild tomato salsa
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce shredded
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. IN a large bowl, toss the tortilla strips with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the beans and 1 cup salsa; bring to a simmer over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Allow diners to create their own haystacks with lettuce, bean mixture, topped with cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream and/or black olives.

Pasta-Vegetable Toss

Scott and I are turning into big fans of Greek-style food. I just love love love Feta cheese! When we first made this recipe, it was just the pasta, veggies and cheese so it was a little dry. So we added Greek vinaigrette to help keep it moist! You could always add chicken to this recipe, or some sort of white sauce, but its also delicious as a vegetarian dish!

Pasta Vegetable Toss
Pasta-Vegetable Toss-adapted from Better Homes & Gardens "365 Last-Minute Meals"
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 9 ounces pasta of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 4 small chopped red tomatoes
  • 1 medium finely chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and snipped
  • 2 ounces crumbled garlic and herb feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Greek vinaigrette
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well. Return to hot pan; cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add green onion; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in fresh tomato, carrot and dried tomato pieces. Cook, covered for 5 minutes, stirring once. Spoon tomato mixture over cooked pasta. Sprinkle with feta cheese and Greek vinaigrette; toss gently to mix.

Slow Cooker Ribs

I received a new cookbook for Christmas from my boss! It is the "Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes" by Crock-Pot. I was so excited because I absolutely love cooking in my slow cooker! The first recipe I made was ribs. They were good, but had some weird taste to them. I haven't quite figured out what it is, but I'd still probably make this again anyway. It could have been the beer I used, so maybe I need to stick to beef stock. We'll see though!

Ribs cookin' in the slow cooker!

Slow Cooker Ribs-Adapted from Crock-Pot's "Best Love Slow Cooker Recipes"
Total Time: 3 Hours
Serves 6-8
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds pork baby back ribs
  • 1 can (20 ounces) beer or beef stock
  • 1 quart barbecue stock
  • 1/2 cup honey
Combine paprika, sugar, onion powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Generously season ribs with dry rub mixture. Portion ribs into sections of 3 to 4 bones. Place in 5-quart slow cooker. Pour beer or beef stock over ribs. Cover; cook on high 2 hours. Blend barbecue sauce and honey and add to slow cooker. Cover; cook for 1 1/2 hours. 


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