Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Impromptu Pork Tenderloins

Yesterday I was all set to fix one of our favorite chicken recipes and share it here, but I discovered a problem when I went to get the chicken out of the freezer to thaw.  It wasn't there. 

Don't you hate it when that happens? 

I noticed that I had some pork tenderloins, so I thought I'd try My Butter Chicken coating on the pork chops because I needed a meal I could fix fast.  It was a hit!  It's great to discover a flexible recipe!

But I forgot to take pictures.  It was just that kind of day.

Do you have a favorite impromptu recipe?  Send it to me.  If I like it, I'll feature it here, giving you all the credit.  Happy eating!  

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Broccoli Rice Casserole

I tried to make crab cakes, and they were more like crab crumbles, so I won't share that recipe.  Instead, how about broccoli?  This is a great stand-by from allrecipes.com for sharing at potlucks since it makes a LOT!  (It's tasty too!)

20 oz package frozen chopped broccoli
3 c instant rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/4 c milk
1 package American cheese, cubed
1 T butter
1 bunch celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cook broccoli and rice according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a medium saucepan, mix soups and milk.  Gradually stir in cheese until melted.  Be careful that the cheese doesn't burn.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; saute celery and onion until soft.  In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour into a 9x13 dish.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and light brown.  Easy peasy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Barbecue Jack Chicken

It just doesn't get much easier than this quick, tasty dish.  It's good on the grill in the summer or broiled in the oven when the weather is not-so-good.  My family raved over it.

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 slices pepper Jack cheese
1 c barbecue sauce

Cut a pocket in each piece of chicken.  Fill with cheese; secure with metal skewers (or wooden ones that have been soaked).  Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat (or broil a few inches from heat) for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, basting frequently with sauce.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Favorite Banana Bread

I love this bread!  It's moist and full of flavor and quick to put together.  I also like it with blueberries added to it for a change.

1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 large eggs
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease bottom of 9x5x3 loaf pan with shortening.  Mix sugar and butter.  Stir in eggs until well blended.  Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla and beat until creamy.  Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened.  Stir in nuts (or 1 cup of blueberries if you prefer).  Pour batter in pan.  Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish Rolls

Yum, y'all!  These are good!  I found them awhile back on Better Homes and Garden's site.  They're really easy and make me think of summer.  I love the sandwich as a whole, but if you want to eat the fish plain, it's good too; just add some salt.

1 1/2 lb catfish fillets
1/4 c cornmeal
2 t Cajun seasoning
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 large sweet red pepper
1 stalk celery
1/4 small red onion
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 T ketchup
1/4 t bottle hot pepper sauce (optional)
sesame seed buns, toasted

Rinse fish; pat dry.  Cut into 8 pieces.  In a shallow dish combine cornmeal and 1 1/2 t of Cajun seasoning; coat fish with mixture.

In a large skillet, cook fish in hot oil over medium-high heat for 8 - 10 minutes or until browned and fish flakes easily.

Meanwhile, thinly slice peppers, celery (lengthwise), and onion.  Combine in a bowl.  In another bowl, combine mayo, ketchup and remaining Cajun seasoning (and pepper sauce, if you use it).  Add 1 T mayo mixture to the pepper-celery mixture.  Spread some of the remaining mayo sauce on cut sides of rolls.  Assemble sandwiches with catfish and celery mixture.  Serve with remaining mayo sauce. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cracker Barrel Baby Carrots

I used to dislike cooked carrots.  I thought they were mushy and drab compared to their crispy, juicy raw selves.  One day I tried them at Cracker Barrel, and I fell in love with soft, buttery sweetness.  I have tried to imitate them ever since, but just couldn't find the right combination.  I finally found a recipe at Recipezaar that does a great job, and it's so simple (I modified it slightly).  Why couldn't I figure this out myself?!?  Now, I've just got to find a recipe for Cracker Barrel Pancakes!

2 lbs fresh baby carrots
1 t salt
1 T brown sugar
2 T butter, melted

Rinse carrots and put in a sauce pan, pouring enough water in pan to just cover the top of the carrots.  Cover and bring to boil over medium heat.  Turn heat to low and simmer about 30 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain.  Meanwhile, stir sugar into melted butter.  Pour over the drained, cooked carrots and stir well. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rainbow Cupcakes

This yummy, fun idea to make with kids comes from Family Fun Magazine.  It's a perfect St. Patrick's Day or spring treat and the colors just lifted my spirit! 

Here's the very simple directions:

1.  Prepare one box of white cake mix according to package directions.
2.  Divide the batter evenly among six small bowls.
3.  Follow this chart to dye each bowl a rainbow color:
     Purple -- 9 red, 6 blue drops
     Blue -- 12 drops
     Green -- 12 drops
     Yellow -- 12 drops
     Orange --  12 yellow, 4 red drops
     Red -- 18 drops

4. Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups and distribute the purple batter among the cups.  Then the blue, green, yellow, orange, and finally, red.  As you go, carefully spread each layer of batter with a spoon to cover the previous color.
5.  Bake according to package directions.  When serving, top each cupcake with a whipped-cream cloud.  Dreamy!

Beef, Mushroom and Onion Tart

This recipe from the March 2010 Better Homes and Gardens Magazine received thumbs up from my family.  It has a little bit of a grown-up taste because of the blue cheese, so I tried to go light on it in some spots for my younger son.  Quick, simple and yummy!

1 lb ground beef
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 medium red onion, cut in thin wedges
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper
1 pkg refrigerated pizza dough (I used a tube of Pillsbury)
3 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Heat oven to 425.  In a skillet cook beef, mushrooms and onion over medium heat until beef is browned and onions are tender.  Drain off fat.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment (or use an ungreased baking stone, as I did).  Unroll dough on baking sheet.  Pat to a 15x12 rectangle.  Top with beef mixture, keeping filling within 1 1/2 inches of all edges.  Fold over the filling and crimp edges.  Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden.  Top with blue cheese and oregano.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c chopped green pepper
2 T chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (optional)
2 1/2 c water
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 t pepper
1 1/2 - 2 lbs ground beef
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
5 c milk, divided
6 T flour
16 oz American cheese, cubed

In a large saucepan or soup kettle, combine the first nine ingredients; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Meanwhile, cook beef and mushrooms until done; drain.  Add to the soup.  Stir in 4 cups milk; heat through.

In a small bowl, combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chicken Pepper Fajitas

This is one of those recipes I used to make all the time, and then forgot about.  And I love it!!  Why did I let it sit for so long?  It's a great low-fat dish that tastes good too.  And I love that!

2/3 c lime juice
1 T seasoning blend
1 T ground cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4" strips
1 large onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 sweet red pepper, julienned
flour tortillas, warmed

In a bowl combine the seasonings; set aside 2 tablespoons.  Pour remaining marinade into a Ziploc bag; add chicken and seal.  Turn to coat and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes; turning occassionally. 

In a large skillet coated with Pam, saute onion and peppers until crisp-tender; remove and set aside.  Drain and discard marinade from the chicken.  Cook the chicken in the reserved marinade in the skillet for about 5 minutes or until done.  Return vegetables to pan; heat through.  Serve on tortillas.  Yummy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicken and Red Potatoes

Okay, I'm on a slow cooker kick.  It's been a busy week, and I needed recipes that worked for me while I was gone.  I really like this dish, but if the chicken cooks too long, it gets a little dry.  However, the broth/gravy that cooks with it, solves that problem nicely.  This dish is a winner in my house!

4 boneless chicken breasts
3 T flour
2 T oil
4 red potatoes, quartered
2 c baby carrots, halved lengthwise
1 can diced chilies
1 (4 oz) can mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of onion soup
1/4 c milk
1/2 t chicken seasoning
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Place flour in plastic bag.  Add chicken, one piece at a time, and shake to coat.  Brown chicken in oil in a skillet.  Meanwhile, place the carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and chilies in a greased crockpot.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Pour half of the mix over the veggies.  Add chicken to the slow cooker; top with remaining soup mixture.  Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours, or until chicken is done and veggies are tender.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Forgotten Jambalaya

I'm always, always on the lookout for crockpot recipes.  We enjoyed this dish -- even my kids who aren't too crazy about spicy stuff. 

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can chicken broth
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 t dried parsley
2 t dried basil
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1 1/4 t salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t hot pepper sauce
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 lb uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Hot cooked rice

In a slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, broth and tomato paste.  Stir in veggies and seasonings.  Stir in chicken and sausage.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender.  Stir in shrimp.  Cover and cook 15 - 30 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink.  Serve with rice.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Creamy Bacon Mushroom Soup

I found this recipe in an old Taste of Home Magazine at my mother-in-law's and wanted to give it a try.  Here's the rub:  I thought I had all the ingredients, but when I was in the middle of fixing it, I realized I was missing something important:  the cream.  (Also in the middle of it, my sons who were playing soccer -- in the house! -- managed to send the ball sailing into the onions in a dish which broke into a gazillion pieces.  But that's beside the point.  I just thought you might appreciate knowing under what conditions this soup managed to get made.)  I'm going to give you the ingredients that are called for, but I'll also tell you what I did instead.  You can take your pick, because it was yummy!  And my kids, who aren't big on mushrooms, even liked the soup.  (Which after their fiasco, they'd better like it!)

1 package of bacon, diced
1 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart heaving whipping cream
1 can chicken broth (or 2 cups)
1 package shredded cheese (we like Monterey Jack)
3 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 T water

In a soup kettle or large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels, drain, reserving 2 T drippings.  In the drippings, saute mushrooms, onions and garlic.  Stir in cream and broth.  (I was missing the cream, so I improvised.  I used 1 1/2 cups whole milk, plus 5 oz of cream cheese.  It's what I had.  It worked!  Just stir a lot to melt the cream cheese.)  Gradually stir in shredded cheese until melted. 

In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper and water.  Whisk until smooth.  Stir into soup.  Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Garnish with bacon.  Makes about 8 servings.  Really yummy!  Serve with your choice of bread.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Easy Snack Ideas

Not too long ago, I made a list of easy lunch ideas for those days when we're all thinking-challenged and stuck on pb&j.  After that I had a request for some ideas for those mid-afternoon snacks.  Since I love my friend, and I love easy food, I thought I'd comply.  I'm like that.  So here are some easy snacks that we like to have at our house.  Some of them also double as our lunch or breakfast ideas -- just usually not on the same day!  Eat up!  (And  please feel free to share what you do when the hunger monster strikes at your place.)

yogurt and granola
apples and peanut butter or honey
fruit (especially strawberries, grapes and bananas) and marshmallow creme dip
trail mix
chex mix
vanilla wafers and peanut butter
popcorn with parmesan cheese sprinkled on it (or plain)
cheese sticks
whole grain crackers with topping of choice (peanut butter, cheese, cream cheese or jelly)
quick breads (banana, pumpkin, sweet potato)
fruit kabobs
tortilla chips with shredded cheese or salsa
soft pretzels
dill pickle spears
graham crackers with icing
dried fruit
ants on a log
popsicles (we like Edy's)

I also found some cute snack ideas from Family Fun.  So if you're feeling creative, take a gander at those.

Marshmallow Creme Dip

This is so easy and so good and much better than the kind you buy at the store.  I can't get enough!  Really.  I can't.

1 small jar marshmallow creme
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 - 3 T orange juice

Beat together until smooth and creamy.  Refrigerate until serving.  Serve with your favorite fruit.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ambrosia Fruid Salad

This yummy dish comes from a 2008 Taste of Home Magazine my mother-in-law gave me.  We gobble it up quickly.  The recipe calls for marshmallows, which sometimes I leave out because Baby Girl has an addiction to them.  It's not pretty when we run out . . . or her big brothers are still eating theirs when she's consumed hers already.

2 c cubed fresh pineapple (or 1 can if you don't have fresh)
2 large oranges, peeled and sectioned (but last night I used a can of Mandarin oranges)
1 1/2 c grapes
1 large banana, sliced
1 c mini marshmallows
1/2 c flaked coconut
1/4 c chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1 6 oz carton vanilla yogurt

Combine all the ingredients but the yogurt in a large mixing bowl; gently fold in yogurt.  Chill until serving.  Sometimes I wait until just before serving to add the bananas and marshmallows.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fish Tacos

Okay. I'm almost embarrased to add this to my recipes, because it's not really a recipe. It's more of an assembling together of stuff you buy already prepared. But I like easy, and I'm realistic enough to know that surely there are others out there like me that need something this easy but still tastes really good.

1 package of breaded fish, cooked according to directions
romaine lettuce
sliced red onion
tortillas, warmed
tartar sauce

Assemble and gobble!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slow Cooker Roast with Gravy

I love easy recipes, and I love my crockpot. One of my favorite things is to start dinner in the morning, and not have to think about it for the rest of the day. This roast would be good with green beans, carrots, and mashed potatoes. Last night I made it with roasted potatoes and carrots. It was a winning combination!

4 - 5 lb chuck roast
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 c beef broth

In a slow cooker mix the soup, onion mix and broth. Place the roast in next. Cover and cook on low 8 - 9 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Baked Eggs

I have a new favorite easy egg recipe. It's a favorite because, well, it's . . . . easy, but I think I already mentioned that. It also requires very few ingredients, and it tastes good. I took it to church yesterday and received lots of compliments. So here it is!

12 eggs
5 oz milk (whole or evaporated makes it richer)
1 t mustard
1 c shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle cheese in the bottom of the pan. Beat eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. (If you want to, add garlic powder and a chopped green onion. I did, and it was tasty!) Pour on top of cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until firm. Slice and serve warm.

Next time, I'm adding mushrooms if I have them, just for something a little different, but it was good without them!