Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cranberry Meatball Skillet

To be honest, this recipe scared me. I think it was the cranberry sauce. I love dried cranberries in any sort of baked good, but have never been a cranberry sauce fan. Personally, I think that stems from my Perkins waitressing days and interesting looking turkey dinners.

Either way, I bought the whole cranberry sauce instead of the jellied stuff, which I think made quite the difference. Surprisingly, the cranberry sauce sweetness didn't override the dish. Scott shared it with coworkers and they loved it! It was very easy and quick to make too.

Cranberry Meatball Skillet-adapted from 30-Minute Dinners by Better Homes and Gardens
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 16 ounce can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 16 ounce package frozen cooked Swedish-style meatballs
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 8 ounces fingerling potatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
In a large skillet, combine all ingredients. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mahogany Roast Chicken

I've never made a whole chicken before. Actually, I've never made a whole any-type-of-bird before. And let me tell you, I was terrified! Just the part of the recipe that says, "Remove the giblets and neck from chicken"....


What if you do it wrong???

How do you know you got it all??

Well, let me tell you, it actually comes in a handy little bag that makes it nice and easy to know (who was the genius that thought of that)?! The only mistake I made...I tried to take it out the wrong end so it got a tad bit messy. But it worked out, so I'm no longer terrified of whole birds.

Anywho...back to the actual recipe. The glaze on this was absolutely wonderful, and with the exception of the time (more on that later), this was a very easy recipe. The chicken was juicy and cooked just right! The skin was crispy, while you couldn't get enough of it! As usual, I substituted seasoned salt & pepper for regular (which I noted below), however, you can always switch it back. Just a preference for me! This is one of my longer recipes to date, but if you have all day on Sunday, it doesn't take up a lot of your time. Just a lot of time being loved in the oven!

PS...LOOK AT THE GORGEOUS LOOKING CHICKEN!!!! (If you can't tell I'm a bit proud with my first bird experience)

Mahogany Roast Chicken-adapted from 100 Best Chicken Recipes by Good Housekeeping
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Serves 4
  • 3 1/2 pound whole chicken
  • 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove giblets and neck from chicken; reserve for another use or throw away. Rinse chicken inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle seasoned salt and pepper on outside of chicken.

Place chicken, breast side up on rack in a small roasting pan. Roast chicken for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, vinegar and wine until sugar is dissolved.

After chicken has roasted for 45 minutes, brush with 1/3 of the glaze. Turn oven to 400 degrees and roast chicken, brushing with glaze twice over the next 30 minutes. Chicken is done when a meat thermometer reaches 175 degrees. Transfer to a platter and let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, remove rack from roasting pan. Add water to pan; heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring until browned bits are loosened. Serve chicken with pan juices.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Clubhouse Salad

My new favorite thing is hearty salads for my meals. Adding some awesome protein and a bit of sweetness is just the most tasteful and filling thing that doesn't weigh you down. Although this is a super basic recipe and you could add whatever you'd like to it, I'd certainly follow it again!

Also, in the picture is Wishbone's Guacamole Ranch. Go try it. It's amazing. That reminds me. The one thing I would add to this recipe--avocado!

Clubhouse Salad-adapted from 5 Ingredient, 15 Minute Recipes by Pillsbury
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 6

  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 10 ounces chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts
  • 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 4 ounces dried cranberries
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup ranch dressing (or your favorite dressing), on the side
For next time:
  • 1 avocado, sliced
In a large bowl, toss all ingredients with the exception of the dressing. Serve with dressing of choice.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Broccoli-Cauliflower Cheese Bake

I'm always looking for new recipes for veggies. Although this is loaded with cheese and some great spices, I wasn't a fan. I thought it was missing something, but I'm not sure what. I won't be making this again.

Broccoli-Cauliflower Cheese Bake-adapted from Taste of Home Cooking School
Total Time: 55 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3-3/4 cup low fat milk
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the cauliflower and broccoli in a large stock pot with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; transfer to a 9x11 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

In small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in cornstarch, mustard, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and pepper until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in 1-1/4 cups each mozzarella and swiss cheese until melted. Pour over vegetables. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 5 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beef Stew

Our best friend, Shea, bought me a brand new cookbook last week! Step by Step Cook's Encyclopedia: 110 Easy-To-Follow Recipes, and I was SO EXCITED to start trying recipes! The pictures are amazing and walk through each step, which I have found super helpful! I can't wait to try more from here.

This is probably one of the longest, non-slow cooker recipe I've ever made. But, in the end, I thought it was worth it! The flavors were great, the beef and potatoes cooked perfectly, and even though it took a lot of time it was relatively easy to make.

Beef Stew-adapted from Step-by-Step Cook's Encyclopdia
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Serves 4

  • 3 pounds stew beef
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 pounds potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large stock pot over high heat. Once the oil begins to smoke, add the beef and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes, until beef is well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in four and cook, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Beat in one cup of the stock and cook, scraping up all the sediment from the bottom of the pan. Stirring the remaining stock and add the carrots, celery, ketchup, bay leaf, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt. Return the beef to the pot.

Bring back to a gentle simmer, cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour. Add the potatoes, replace the lid and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for an additional 30 minutes, or until meat and potatoes are tender.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fruit Stuffed Pork Roast

When I first started cooking, I got this cook book from my mother. I went through the cookbook and put an 'x' next to all the recipes I was too afraid to try. I didn't want to try them because of multiple reasons: they had ingredients I wasn't familiar with, ingredients that I thought I didn't like, or just seemed too hard in general. Well, I've gotten over most of those fears and tried a recipe!

I didn't have any kitchen twine, so the picture doesn't look all that great, but the flavors were there and I'd make it again!

Fruit Stuff Pork Roast-adapted from New Slow Cooker Meals by Betty Crocker
Total Time: 6 hours
Serves 8

  • 2 pound boneless pork loin roast
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup prepared stuffing
  • 1 cup diced dried fruit and rasin mixture
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cut horizontally down center length of pork to within 3/4 inch of opposite side. Open flat. From center, cut horizontally to within 3/4 inch from left side edge. Turn pork; repeat cutting to other side; open flat.

Mix mustard and butter in a small bowl. Spread half the mixture on inside surface of pork. Mix stuffing and fruit in another small bowl; spread over mustard coated surface. Roll roast; tie with kitchen twine. Spread remaining mustard mixture over outside of roast and rub with brown sugar.

Heat oil in a 12 inch nonstick pan over medium high heat. Cook pork in oil until brown on all sides. Place pork in a greased 5 quart slow cooker. Pour apple juice into skillet and cook 2-3 minutes to dissolve any remnants. Stir in salt and pepper and pour over pork.

Cook on low heat 6 to 8 hours or until pork is tender.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ribeye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce

Sometimes I don't know why I bother making recipes for steak. We just love a good, medium-rare steak with some seasoning and mushrooms and onions. This sauce didn't thicken very well for us and I don't know that I'd make it again. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't anything special to me.

Ribeye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce-adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 2

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons diced onion
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 2 ribeye steaks
Melt two tablespoons in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Pour in the whiskey and add salt and pepper to taste. Add another tablespoon of butter and let bubble for 30 seconds then reduce heat to low. Pour in the cream, whisk and then simmer on low heat while you cook the steaks.

I prefer to cook steaks on the grill over a medium flame, about 4 minutes per side until done medium rare in the center. Season the steaks with salt and pepper before cooking.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Mediterranean Pizza

I loved the homemade crust and sauce for this pizza. Overall, this was an excellent recipe and I'll be making it again!

Mediterranean Pizza-adapted from The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 4

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the crust for 8 minutes and remove from the oven.

Spread homemade pizza sauce evenly over the partially cooked crust. Distribute the tomatoes, black olives, onions and mushrooms on top of the sauce. Top with shredded cheese.

Bake the pizza another 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown and crispy.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Homemade Pizza Sauce

More often than not, I probably go for convenience over making it myself when it comes to sauces. The revelation I had with this pizza sauce may have changed that. Just the fact that a 12 ounce jar of pizza sauce is somewhere between $2-3, now blows my mind. The 15 ounce can of tomato sauce is $0.59, and I have all the other ingredients in my pantry at all times. Why would I spend more than FOUR TIMES the amount of money, just so I can pull it out of my pantry. And this was so quick and easy it was unbelievable.

Homemade Pizza Sauce-adapted from The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase
Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes 2 cups

  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon canola oil
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Spread on pizza crust as desired.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I had never made my own pizza dough before. After making this recipe, I'm never going to buy canned pizza dough again! This was great and easy to make. The only down fall is that you have to let it rise for about an hour.

This is part one of three recipes for pizza. Tomorrow will be homemade pizza sauce!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough-adapted from The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase
Total Time: 75 Minutes
Makes one 16 inch thick crust pizza (6 servings)

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
In a mixing bowl, combine the water and one cup of the white flour. Add in yeast, sugar, salt and oil. whisk together to make a "spongy" dough. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the remaining two cups of flour and stir with a wodden spoon. When the dough becomes too thick, knead it by hand 6-8 minutes. Knead in seasonings and Parmesan cheese. Place in a greased bowl for 45 minutes to 1 hour to rise.

Once dough has doubled in size, place on a lightly floured work surface and roll out the dough to the desired size. Bake crust for 8 minutes, remove from oven and add toppings. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes longer or until golden brown.

The original picture. I replaced the main picture on 11/30/14.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lemon Orzo Salad

Orzo is one of those pastas that I had no idea what it was before I really got started cooking. It reminds me of a mix between pasta and rice as it's tiny, but a noodle all the same. This recipe has to be one of my favorites. The vegetables included in this recipe and oil-dressing reminded me of Greek-inspired dishes. It was so fresh and filling all the same. Trust me-give it a try!

Lemon Orzo Salad-adapted from Reader's Top Rated Recipes by Cooking Light
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl. 

Combine lemon juice and next five ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle juice mixture over orzo; toss to coat. Add chicken, vegetables and cheese and toss gently to combine.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings

My dad makes some of the best chicken wings I've ever had. They're super decadent and he marinades them for well over 24 hours. These aren't my dad's wings, but I feel like if he decided to go for an Asian-inspired sweet and sour wing, this is what he'd come up with!

The flavor of the sauce on these wings was just like our favorite sweet and sour sauce for dipping crab rangoon and egg rolls. I was so excited that it turned out! This is probably one of the frist recipes using cornstarch that actually worked properly and thickened the sauce!

I love that you can put this all together, but it only takes 3 hours to get finished, so you don't have to wait all day. Or, in our case, if you have a 7pm volleyball game, you can come home at 5:30 and start the slow cooker to eat dinner right after! The wings fell off the bone, and I had them for leftovers today~still wonderful!

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings-adapted from Slow Cooker Recipe Cards by Taste of Home
Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
Serves 4

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 16 chicken wings
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water
In a small saucepan, combine the first five ingredients. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place chicken wings in a greased 4-5 quart slow cooker, and add mixture from saucepan. Cook on low 3-3 1/2 hours or until chicken is cooked through.

Transfer wings to a serving platter and keep warm. Transfer sauce to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Spoon over chicken.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce

Scott had never tried a crab cake until I made these. Then this weekend we went to a wedding where some of the hor dourves were crab cakes (which were much better than mine). And we went out to dinner last night and he had crab cakes again. I think I started a trend...

I actually kind of made these twice. The first time we were in a hurry and I definitely didn't let them cook long enough. Make sure that you cook them until they are brown and cooked before you go to flip them. If you don't, they will likely fall apart. Like mine did. But as you can see from the picture  the second batch went much better and were still really tasty! The homemade tartar sauce was also really good-it had just a bit of tabasco that gave it a good bite.

Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce-adapted from Fresh Home Magazine
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Makes 16 crab cakes
Tartar Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
Crab Cakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • 3-6 ounce cans lump crab meat, drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the tartar sauce. Cover and chill until serving.

In a large bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, onion, parsley, mustard, seafood seasoning and tabasco sauce. Fold in crab. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

With lightly floured hands, shape the mixture into 1/2 inch thick patties. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook crab cakes in oil in batches for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. Serve with tartar sauce.


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