Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Tonight we had a super simple dinner of spaghetti. Steve likes it when we have bread to dip in the sauce. I never have enough time to make bread and I'm such a penny pincher I'm not going to buy it! So this recipe was a life saver and I'm disappointed I didn't try it sooner. The family I got it from has nicknamed them Banana Slugs. They really do look like them when you put them on the pan to cook, that's how you know you did it right :)

Combine in mixing bowl and let sit:
1 Tbs yeast
1 1/2 warm water
2 Tbs sugar

Mix in different bowl:
3 C flour
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Add flour to yeast mixture. Stir until dough is sticky but still workable. Let rest for 10 minutes. Melt 1 cube of butter in a shallow pan (I use a pie plate). Pinch off about a golf ball (maybe a touch bigger) size dough ball. Roll to about 4 inches long and roll in melted butter. Place all the bread sticks on a pan so they touch. You can sprinkle with a little more garlic salt and Parmesan. Let rise for 10-30 minutes. Bake at 475 for about 10 minutes.

*I just want to let you know these were the fluffiest things ever. I'm trying to watch my girlish figure but you'd think I'd laced these with drugs the way I couldn't stop scarfing them down! Also I used my kitchen mixer to mix the dough. It was way easy and I didn't get my hands all doughy.

A Good Standby

I have a little secret to share with you. I have stand by dinners! Those days when I don't post a new delicious recipe, you think I'm busy. But no I'm just (a) too lazy to find and make a new recipe or (b) we are in between pay days and a grocery trip is not happening. During these times this is one fall back dinner I often go to. One week I swear we had this or spaghetti every night. Needless to say we boycotted it for a while.

2 chicken breasts
instant mashed potatoes
frozen corn
seasoning of your choice

Heat a skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. This is the secret to making good chicken on the stove. Cook it on a lower heart rather than a high heat. If you cook it on high it will crisp the outside too much and leave the inside still raw. The chicken should sizzle when it's put in the pan but not smoke too much. sprinkle seasoning of your choice. I like Cavender's or Montreal, or just good 'ol seasoned salt. When chicken is done just turn the pan off so it stays hot then make your mashed potatoes and heat your corn. Voila! You have a delicious dinner in no time!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

BBQ Burgers

I have adapted this one from a Rachael Ray recipe. It's like putting BBQ sauce on your burger but the flavor is infused with the meat. Steve loves these. Unfortunately there is never any leftovers for lunch the next day. I love to serve this with oven and carrot fries (for those watching that girlish figure).

1 lb hamburger
1-2 Tbs. ketchup or tomato paste
1 Tbs. liquid smoke
1 Tbs Worcestershire
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. grill seasoning
1/2 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Throw the meat in a bowl with all the ingredients and mix. Form into patties and grill or cook indoors. To add another level top with cheese.

*Just a side note here: If you use ketchup instead of tomato paste it may make cause the patties to want to crumble. I don't want you to loose the burgers in your grill. So if you are planning on cooking outside, use tomato paste. Also, the amounts are guesses I always just throw everything in and eyeball it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chocolate Almond Zucchini Bread

I usually don't do desserts but it's Casey's birthday, so I'll do this one. This was a maiden voyage on this recipe. I almost never send one of those to work with Steve, but it was tested and found worthy of the coworkers. I hope you like it.

3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil (I substituted apple sauce)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate OR 4 Tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2 c grated zucchini
1 c chopped almonds

Beat eggs until smooth and lemon colored. Add sugars and oil. Melt chocolate and stir with he vanilla and zucchini then stir into the egg mixture. Stir in dry ingredients then add almonds. Grease two loaf pans and divide the batter evenly. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes. Cool and turn out. Can also be frosted with a whipped cream cheese and orange zest frosting.

Mexican Lasaagna

I was sure I wouldn't like this one. I mean come on Mexican Lasagna? How versatile can we be, really? But come to fine out it's pretty good and I think I'll add it to our list of "regulars".

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion chopped
1 can olives sliced
1 pkg taco seasoning
3 cups tomato sauce (3 cans)
1 container cottage cheese
1 1/2 c sour cream
1 pkg tortilla chips
1 lb grated cheese (Monterrey jack or cheddar)
1 lb frozen corn

Brown ground beef and add onions, olives, taco seasoning and tomato sauce. Let simmer. Combine cottage cheese and sour cream, set aside. Crush chips and line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, like a crust. Cover chips with half of the meat mixture and then dollop and gently spread the cottage cheese mixture, then sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat layers ending with cheese. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

*Steve didn't like to olives but I did so I left them in. I'm sure you could add something like a can of chilies to liven it up too. But of course it's green so that's a no go for Steve.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


This one is easy and I'm sure it's way cheaper and better for you than the one they sell at the leading pizza places.

Refrigerated or home made pizza dough
pizza sauce
toppings (my favorites are sausage, roasted red peppers, onions and olives)

To make the filling I used I removed to casing from the Italian sausage and crumbled like hamburger. When it was all cooked I removed it from the skillet leaving the drippings. I added the onions and cooked on low til tender.

To make calzones:
Take a little dough (about the size of a baseball), enough to make a circle, roll out to about a single size pizza. Put sauce one the whole thing and toppings only on half. Fold non topping half over toppings and seal the edge. I like to use a little rolling pinch method for sealing the dough. Cook at 400 for 15-20 minutes. You can be creative as you want with this. leave it as simple or dress it up as much as you want.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chicken Italiano

This is a good crock pot recipe. I was fortunate enough to get this one going for diner lat night before my world exploded. My youngest son had a fever all day and it progressively was getting worse through the day. It was so nice to know dinner was taken care of.

2 chicken breasts
1 envelope french onion soup mix
1-2 c stewed tomatoes (I'm guessing cause I used the tomatoes I canned last year and I used about half a quart)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can water or milk
2 cups cooked rice

Place chicken breasts in crock pot. Sprinkle with soup mix. Mix tomatoes and mushroom soup with water or milk and pour over the top. Cook on high for 4 hours. Shred or coarsely chop the chicken and serve over rice.

*There is an oven option. Prepare as above except in a baking dish, cover with foil and cook at 375 for 2 hours.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sandwich Roll-Up

I've done it!! I have found one that Steve loves! He took one bite and said "Ok this is my new favorite." WooHoo!! It is the best feeling in the world to hear those words. My ultimate goal is to be like Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond, except without the passive aggressive-ness.
*This recipe came from my neighbor Becky. Thanks Becky!

1 lb frozen and thawed bread dough or you can use homemade
lunch meat any flavor
grated cheese (I actually used sliced and it was fine)
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 tsp. Mustard
1 egg for egg wash

optional toppings:

Roll your dough out to 12x18 and top with overlapping meat. Be sure to leave about half inch border. Mix mustard and mayo, spread over the meat. Then layer cheese on top of the meat. If you want the tomatoes and olives place them in the middle. Lightly brush the border with water so it's good and sticky. Then fold into thirds. Fold one third over the middle and then fold the other half to the middle. Pinch ends together and tuck under so there is minimum leakage. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet and brush with egg. Make three diagonal slits in the top and bake at 350 for 35-40 mins.

*You can also sprinkle the bread with some Parmesan cheese before baking.
*I love this one cause it can be different every time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cinco De Mayo

We have a Cinco De Mayo party every year with our neighborhood. This year I helped make the tamales. It was super good times, and super yummy, but I'm not going to share that recipe with you for the simple reason, it is very long and very involved. I did make some black beans and rice. It was pretty good. I have to say I impressed myself a little.

1 can black beans drained
1 cup rice
1 chicken bullion cube
1 pint salsa (I prefer the homemade variety)

To cook rice bring 2 cups water to a boil, add rice and the bullion cube cook for 20 mins. Heat the beans and salsa in a pot big enough to fit the rice too. When rice is done add to beans and combine well. Serve warm. A squeeze of lemon or lime really brings the flavor home.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kids' Spaghetti

This one is one is one of my trusty stand-bys. I love it because it's easy and tasty and the leftovers are great for lunch. I think Steve even had seconds tonight.

1 lb ground beef or chopped chicken
1/2 lb spaghetti
1 can cream of chicken
1 can tomato soup
1 cup cheese ( I would go with an orange variety)

Cook ground beef and start pasta water. When beef is no longer pink add both the soups undiluted and mix well. When noodles are done mix with beef soup mixture, place in a baking dish and top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

*You could also cheat on this one and just put it under the broiler for a couple minutes to just melt the cheese.

Beefy Mac Bake

This is a new one I decided to give a whirl. It was ok definitely not a 10 but it will do for a quick fix.

1 lb ground beef
2 C shredded cheese
1 container ricotta cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce
2 carrots chopped
1 small onion chopped
half package of elbow macaroni

Start water for noodles. Saute carrots and onions til soft. Add ground beef and brown with veggies. Add sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes. When noodles are done put half in a small baking dish and layer the beef mixture on top. Then spread a little ricotta then cheese then repeat layers ending with cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

*The recipe called for using sour cream instead of ricotta. Try that for a nice change. Maybe if I had done that I would have liked it a little more.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oven Baked Chimichangas A.K.A Burrito Pillows

My friends know I love Mexican food, more specifically Mexican restaurant food. However it's pretty fatty. This one lets me have my Mexican and eat it too. Granted nothing takes the place of deep fried goodness but this satisfies the craving.

2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 can black beans- drained
1 C frozen corn
1/2 C salsa
2 C cheese
1 T cumin
1/2 T oregano
1 small onion chopped
four tortillas ( I use the big mama burrito size)
1 T butter- melted

Combine first 8 ingredients and spoon in the middle of the tortilla. Sometimes I leave out the cheese and just put a little separate on the top, as long as all the filling gets in there it doesn't really matter what order. Fold in edges and roll up. Place in a 9x13 dish. When you've made as many as you can I usually get about 6. Brush tops with the butter. Bake at 400 for 25-30 mins.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Burgers and ummm fries?

Last night we had Steve's all time favorite, burgers. Hands down he will always pick a burger if you give him a choice. I usually do my oven fries. Yesterday was a huge carb day for me. I'm trying to watch the girlish figure so I try and limit the carbs I take in. So instead of doing all fries I decided to try carrot fries. I was pleasantly surprised.

2-3 Carrots peeled and cut into sticks
toss with a drizzle of olive oil
salt, pepper and any other seasonings to taste

preheat oven to 400. Toss the carrots with oil and place on the same pan as your potato fries. Cook for 30 mins then season to your liking. I was very pleased with how these came out. I actually had a hard time stopping myself from eating them all, acutally I think I did eat all the carrot ones, oops!