Thursday, May 10, 2012

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Meatball Pasta

14-16 oz. of shell pasta
1 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz. of neufchatel cream cheese(1/3 less fat cream cheese), softened
1 cup of sour cream
3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. of lemon juice and lemon zest
10 oz. of frozen spinach, thawed with excess water squeezed off or about 2 1/2 cup of fresh microwaved for about 45sec with 3 Tbsp. of water, chopped
1 14oz. can of artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and chopped
18-20 Turkey Italian Meatballs, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups of Mozarella cheese
1/4 cup of pasta water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Save 1/4 cup of the pasta water BEFORE you drain it.  Heat oil in the pan on medium-low.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  In a large bowl mix cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan, lemon juice and zest.  Once onions and garlic are finished, add those to the cream mix.  Then add the pasta and mix.  Then add spinach, artichoke hearts, pasta water and meatballs.  Mix until everything is fully combined.  Pour into a 9x13 dish.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle mozzarella over the top.  Place in the oven(uncovered) and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on the top.

Turkey Italian Meatballs

2-2 1/2 lbs. of ground turkey
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2-2/3 cup of Italian or garlic bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. of Italian seasoning
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium eggs or 1 extra large egg

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl or mixer(I prefer not to touch raw meat too much) combine all of the ingredients.  Turn on the mixer to a medium speed or mix with your hands until everything is thoroughly mixed.  Spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray.  Roll 1in. balls and place on the cookie sheet.  This will make about 40-50 meatballs.  Bake 1 sheet at a time for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs begin to brown slightly.  These can be frozen after they are cooked and used in a lot of meals.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Most Delicious Loaded Baked Potato Soup

1 lb. of bacon, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
8 medium red potatoes, chopped
1/4 cup of flour
2 cups of chicken stock or broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 cups of heavy whipping cream

More chopped bacon or bacon bits
chopped green onions or chives
shredded sharp cheddar
red chili pepper

In a 6-8 qt. pot cook bacon until crisp over medium heat.  Remove the bacon and place it on paper towels. Cook the onions and the carrots in the bacon fat until the onions are translucent.  Add the potatoes and cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Turn the heat to low and whisk in the flour, stirring constantly until the flour has cooked and the liquid in the pot has thickened a bit.  Add the stock/broth and half the bacon(the other half will be used for garnish).  Add salt and pepper.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and let it simmer for 25 minutes, turning the heat down as the soup boils.  Cook and stir until the potatoes are soft.  Add the whipping cream and cook for 5 minutes(still stirring).  Serve and garnish with toppings listed above.  Enjoy!  I promise you will!

Cream Cheese Beef Enchiladas

2 1/2 lbs. of shredded beef or 3 14oz. cans of beef(shredded)
2 14oz. cans of Stokes Green Chile Sauce: Pork Ranchero(make sure this is a brown sauce as this goes better with beef than the green)
1 14oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 packages(12 oz.) of Neufchatel cream cheese(1/3 less fat cream cheese)fat free would also work for this
1 Tbsp. of chili powder
3 tsp. of cumin
3 tsp. of onion powder
3 tsp. of garlic powder
1 1/2 - 2 cups of Mexican cheese
12 lg. (burrito size) flour tortillas

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large skillet heat, on medium heat, 1/2 can of the Stokes sauce, all the beef, cream cheese, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Stir and simmer for about 7-8 minutes.  Warm the tortillas in a microwave in the bag for about 1-2 minutes. Pour the other half of the Stokes sauce into a 9x13 cake pan and spread it evenly on the bottom. Take 1 tortilla at time and spread the meat mixture over the tortilla(about 1/3 cup), then roll the tortilla and place it in the pan.  Repeat until there are about 12 total(squish them together to fit them all, they will fit!).  Take the other can of Stokes sauce and pour it all over the top of the rolled tortillas.  Spread the sauce, if needed, so that it is evenly dispersed.  Top with cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes covered, then remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Homemade Goldfish Crackers

1 cup of flour
1 cup or 8oz. of shredded cheddar(sharp or medium) cheese
1/4 cup of cold butter, cut up
2 tsp. of onion powder
2 tsp. of garlic powder
2 tsp. of paprika
3-4 Tbsp. of water
Parchment Paper

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Food processor instructions:
In a food processor, add flour, cheese, butter and seasonings.  Pulse until it looks like coarse meal.  Gradually add the water, while pulsing, until dough balls up on top of the blade.

Dough/Pastry Blender(wire thingy for pie and pastry making):
In a medium to large mixing bowl, add flour, cheese, butter and seasonings.  Mix with the dough blender until it looks like coarse meal.  Gradually add water until it becomes the consistency of dough.

Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 20 minutes(can be stored for up to 24 hours).
Take half of the dough and roll it between two sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut out with a small cookie cutter(shape is your choice).  I made my own fish cookie cutter.  I cut a strip of an index card and wrapped it in foil.  I bent it into the shape of a fish and tape the ends together with scotch tape.  This works great since you don't have to push down hard on it.
Remove the top piece of parchment, remove the extra dough from around the shapes. Place the shapes with the bottom parchment onto a cookie sheet. Salt the shapes and cook in the oven for about 15-17 minutes.  Let cool for about 10 minutes. Repeat until dough is all used up.

Homemade Microwave Caramels

1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of corn syrup
1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2  cup of granulated(white) sugar
Wax Paper

In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl combine all ingredients.  Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Then stir with a whisk and put in the microwave for another 2 minutes.  Then stir with a whisk and put it back in the microwave for another 2 minutes.  Stir with a whisk and pour into a greased 8x11 cake pan.  Let it completely cool and cut it into candy-sized pieces.  Remove each piece from the pan and wrap it in wax paper.  Store in an air tight container.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bars

(Please excuse my inability to rotate a dang picture.)
1/4 cup of butter
1/3-1/2 cup of peanut butter
4 1/2 cups(or one bag) of small marshmallows
6 1/2 cups of granola
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips

In a large(6qt.) pot, melt butter and peanut butter on low heat.  Once butters are melted, immediately stir in marshmallows.  Continue stirring until marshmallows are melted.  Immediately add the granola.  Stir until it is completely combined and then turn off heat.  Gradually stir in chocolate chips.  Once everything is thoroughly mixed, spread evenly onto a greased cookie sheet.  Once it is evenly spread in the cookie sheet put it in the fridge to chill for about 20-25 minutes.  Cut into bars and wrap in plastic wrap.  Store in an air tight container.

Homemade Fruit Snacks(made with JELLO)

6 oz. of your favorite Jello flavor
1 oz. (or 4- .25oz. packs) of gelatin
2/3 cup of water

In a small saucepan on low heat, whisk in the Jello and gelatin.  Whisk over heat until Jello and gelatin are completely mixed in.  Pour into a measuring pitcher and pour into silicone ice cube trays(sometimes I spray these with cooking spray, but I don't think it's necessary) as seen above.  These ones are from Ikea.  Put in the fridge to chill for about 10-15 minutes.  Pop them out and start over again.  I do about 4 flavors and put one of each flavor into a little jewelry ziplock bag.  Don't worry about it not being enough because these are pretty decently sized fruit snacks.  They are the consistency of gummy bears.  These make about 28 bags of fruit snacks.

Great Northern Bean and Ham Soup

1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 Tbsp. of butter
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of sour cream
1 Tbsp. of pepper
2 14 oz. cans of Great Northern Beans, undrained
1 1/2-2 cups of ham, chopped
3 Tbsp. of flour
salt to taste
2 Tbsp. freeze dried chives

In a large 6 qt. pot melt butter, then add onion.  Saute until fragrant.  Then add milk and sour cream.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Next, add the 2 cans of beans and ham.  In a small sauce pan take about a 3/4 cup of the soup mixture, on medium heat and whisk in the flour.  Once they are fully combined stir that mixture into the soup.  Then the chives, pepper and some salt(however much or little you like).  Let simmer for about 5 or 6 minutes or until thick enough and bubbling.  Serve.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Breakfast Pizza

2 8oz. can of Crescent roll dough
1-1 1/2 lbs. of cooked breakfast sausage, ham, or bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups of frozen shredded potato hash browns, thawed
1 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan
5-6 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Unroll the crescent dough onto the sheet and press seams and spread it out until it meats all ends.  Make sure you have a slight edge up on the longer sides for a crust.  In a mixing bowl, mix the eggs and milk.  Add some salt and pepper to taste to this mixture.
Evenly disperse the hash browns and meat over the crescent dough.  Next, evenly pour the egg mixture over the crescent dough.  Top with cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until crust is browned.  Cut and serve.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Brisket Tacos and/or Quesadillas with Mango Barbecue Sauce

Crock Pot Brisket:
3 lb. Brisket
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. of chili powder
3 cloves of garlic, minced
16oz. of Dr. Pepper

Mango Barbecue Sauce:
 1 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup of ketchup
2 Tbsp. of lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. of spicy brown mustard
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup of Mango Chutney

For Tacos and Quesadillas:
2-3 cups of Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 cup of fresh cilantro
taco sized flour tortillas

Crockpot Brisket:
Brown the brisket over medium high heat until it is completely browned.  Put the brisket into the crockpot.  Add all of the the brisket ingredients at this time.  Cook on low for about 8 hours.

Mango Barbecue Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a 2-qt sauce pan.  Then add onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Put the onions and the rest of the bbq ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Blend until it is completely mixed and smooth.

When brisket is done, shred it with a fork or put it in a mixer using the cookie dough attachment.  Add a little bit of sauce to the meat.

For tacos:
Put a bit of the meat on the tortilla.  Add some sauce, cheese and cilantro.  Enjoy!

For Quesadillas:
Heat griddle pan on medium heat.  Spread the meat on one tortilla.  Add some cheese and cilantro and then top with a second tortilla.  Cook about 2-3 minutes and flip, then another 2-3 minutes.  Cut and serve.  Dip in the Mango Barbecue Sauce and enjoy!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Because People Like to Say "Salsa!"

These are my favorite kinds of salsa.  I can't seem to live without them.  They are the Walmart brand and are only about $1.98 each.