Wednesday, November 10, 2010

THE way to make Spaghetti

This became a quick family favorite. You cook the spaghetti noodles with the sauce so they get super flavorful. The whole meal is cooked in one large pan too so it saves on dishes. My husband really like it with sausage but I find myself picking around them. You can decided if your family will like spaghetti with or with out the sausages.

1 tsp cooking oil
2 large sausages of your choice (optional)
1/2 tsp cooking oil
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 garlic clove
1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz)
1 1/2 cup water
1 can tomato sauce (7 1/2 oz)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
6 oz spaghetti, broken in half

Heat first amount of cooking oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Cut sausages into 1/2 inch slices and fry them for about 5 min, until browned. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Set aside.

Drain drippings from sausages and heat second amount of oil in same frying pan. Add ground beef, onion and garlic. Scramble-fry until beef is no longer pink and onion is softened. Drain.

Add sausages and add next 11 ingredients. Stir and bring to a boil.

Stir in spaghetti. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover. Simmer for 8 - 12 min or until spaghetti is cooked, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and simmer for an additional 1 - 2 min until sauce is thickened.

MAKE IT A MEAL: For us, spaghetti makes a perfect meal when it is served with a Caesar salad and some garlic toast. Although, if I don't have time, spaghetti is basically a meal in itself.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tangy Meatballs

This is another one of our classic meals. These meatballs are so easy and quick and tasty that they make for a great last minute meal. We give this meal 4 1/2 STARS.

1 lb ground beef
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for water to boil form ground beef into tight 1 inch round meatballs. Add to boiling water and allow to cook for about 8 minutes.

Combine ketchup, brown sugar, water and Worcestershire sauce in mixing bowl. Finely chop onion and add to sauce.

Drain water from meatballs and combine meatballs and sauce back in the same pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the meatballs get covered in sauce.

MAKE IT A MEAL: Serve meatballs over rice and with a side of your favorite steamed vegetables. We usually use frozen peas or corn or mixed vegetables.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Sugar Pecan Sauce

I don't know if this technically counts as a recipe because we get the Butternut Squash Ravioli from Costco. I came up with the Brown Sugar Pecan Sauce which is modified from the recipe on the back. This has become one of my husband's favorite meals. He is always asking me to make it and it is so easy. If you don't go to Costco, I'm not too sure where you can get Butternut Squash Ravioli but if you find it you should try it because it is delicious! This gets 5 STARS from our family.

8 to 10 Cooked Butternut Squash Raviolis
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cream
* I have also added maple sugar to this recipe before and it was great but I am guessing most people don't have maple sugar in their pantries. If you have it though, try adding some.

Toast pecans in a large fry pan on low heat just until they become fragrant and start turning color. Add butter and stir until melted. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir until brown sugar has begun to melt and whisk in cream. Allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon over cooked pasta and enjoy.

MAKE IT A MEAL: Believe it or not 4 or 5 raviolis are usually enough to fill us up but in order to get some diversity to the meal we usually have a small garden salad on the side.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sweet Potato Chicken Salad

This past week we have had some lighter meals since my husband is very nervous for his law school finals coming up. This salad is great on a spring day and could probably feed 4. We ended up throwing out quite a bit since salad does not make good left overs. It is served with the chicken, asparagus and sweet potatoes still warm. Not a lot of recipes get made more then once in our home and this one I have now made twice so it must deserve a spot on this web site. I would probably give it 4 STARS, my husband is too busy to rate so he will just have to go with it :)

1 lb Sweet potato or yam
Sprinkle of Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp Olive or cooking oil
1 lb Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
1 lb Fresh asparagus
4 cups Fresh spinach leaves

1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
4 tbsp Olive or cooking oil
2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dried basil

3 Tbsp Pine nuts (optional, I just used them because I had them)

Preheat oven to 475F. Peal sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch squares. Toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil and spread evenly on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 min, flipping once, until sweet potato is tender and golden.

While sweet potatoes are baking, cut chicken into 3/4 inch pieces and asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Heat remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add chicken and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown. Add asparagus. Cook for about another 5 minutes until asparagus in tender and chicken is no longer pink inside. You may need to cover the frying pan and allow the mixture to steam for a few minutes depending on how crispy you like your asparagus.

Dressing: Combine all 4 ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well. If you do not have a jar, just mix well in a small bowl.

Put spinach into a large salad bowl. Add chicken mixture and sweet potatoes. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

MAKE IT A MEAL: I served this salad with warm focaccia bread which we dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This is our favorite way to eat bread with our meals. If you are a simple roll with butter type of family, that would be good with this meal too.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mince Chow Mein

During my junior year in College I went on a study abroad to New Zealand. While I was there I lived with a wonderful family near Invercargill. They were amazing cooks! I wish I would have brought a lot more recipes home with me but one that I do have and love is Mince Chow Mein. For all of you that are unfamiliar with the term "mince", all it is is ground beef - nothing to be scared of. For those of you who don't like spice, don't worry about the curry powder. It is such a small amount that it really does just add flavour, no spice. This dish is served over rice and results in a great Chinese dish with a New Zealand twist. It makes a large amount and could probably feed between 4-6. We love the leftovers so it works for two of us as well. I give this recipe 5 STARS but probably because it has sentimental value for me. My husband gives it 4 STARS which must mean that it is a 4 1/2 STAR recipe.

1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp butter
2 packets of chicken noodle soup or 4 tbsp of chicken bouillon
1/2 small cabbage (shredded)
1 cup sliced green beans (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 medium onions
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rice
2 cups hot water
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and peeper to taste

Brown beef in large fry pan. Drain excess fat and add butter. Stir in onions and green beans. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add soup mix, curry powder, sugar, rice, water and soy sauce. Stir well. Cover and allow to simmer over low heat, stirring a few times, for about 10 minutes. Mix in shredded cabbage. Cover again and allow to cook for another 6-10 minutes until cabbage is cooked. Serve over a bead of rice and enjoy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Apple Puffy Oven Pancakes

This is one of our favorite breakfasts. It definitely gets 5 STARS!

2 tbsp butter or margarine
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium apple
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 400 F.
Melt butter in pie plate, 9 x 11 1/4 inches, in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over melted butter.
Peal and thinly slice apple. Arrange over sugar and cinnamon.
Beat eggs slightly in a medium bowl. Beat in flour, milk and salt until just mixed. Do not over beat or the pancake will not puff). Pour mixture over apples.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Immediately turn upside down onto serving plate. Serve with syrup for a little extra sweetness.

I have had to double this recipe when cooking for more then just my husband and I. It is a little tricky to still make it puff up but it can be done and even if it doesn't, it is still delicious. Here are some changes to make when doubling.
Use 1/3 cup butter in a 13 x 9 pan and keep the salt at 1/4 tsp. You can double everything else.

Double Chicken Corn Chowder with a Kick and Baking Powder Biscuits

Due to the lazy kick off of my website the plan tonight is to post two recipes to make up for it. There is nothing better then corn chowder on a rainy Oregon day. I do have my classic corn chowder recipe that I always make (yes, I will post that one some day as well) but this week we tried something new that rivaled my classic. This corn chowder got 4 STARS from us. The kick comes from the Old Bay Seasoning which you can adjust depending on how much spice you like. If you don't have, or can't find, Old Bay Seasoning I'm sure you can use any seasoning salt to taste with an added bit of paprika.

6 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 large unpeeled red potatoes
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken - I usually boil a chicken breast or two and shred, you can also use a rotisserie chicken from the store
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
2 cans cream style corn
2/3 cup milk
3 tbsp flour
1-3 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

Cook the bacon in a large frying pan or in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crispy. Put the bacon on a paper towel (but not too close to the burner you will be cooking with or you will have a similar experience as me and end up beating out flames with your spoon).
Leave the bacon drippings in the pan and add the chopped onion. Cook until softened. Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes and add to onions. Mix together flour and Old Bay Seasoning. Sprinkle over potatoes and onions and cook, stirring constantly until the spices are fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add chicken broth, raise heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Lower to medium heat, cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften and the mixture thickens slightly (about 7 minutes).
Stir in chicken, corn and milk. Return to a low boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Turn the heat low and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender and the chowder has a thick, creamy consistency (about 15 minutes). Ladle into soup bowls and crumple a generous serving of bacon over each serving.

Corn chowder is not corn chowder without baking powder biscuits...

2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk

Heat over to 450 F.
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender, fork, or two criss-crossing knives, until mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. Stir in milk.
Drop dough by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm and with butter.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sundried Tomoato Chicken Rolls

My husband called these chicken rolls "better then chicken cordon blue", which means they must be good. It's true, I did splurge on sun-dried tomatoes this week but it was so worth it. These were so easy to make that it was even worth waiting the 40 minutes of baking time, which for us is quite a long time when we both come home hungry from school and work. It was a perfect size for two of us and will be easy to double or triple depending on the size of your family. We gave this meal 4 STARS.

2 Boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Sun-dried tomatoes in oil (patted dry)
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp Olive oil
1/4 tsp Rosemary
1/4 tsp Salt
Sprinkle of Pepper
4 Bacon slices

Butterfly chicken breast by cutting horizontally lengthwise almost, but not quit, to the other side. This is done most easily if you are using frozen chicken breasts and you cut them when they are still a little frozen but can also be done using fresh chicken breasts. Open flat. Butterflied chicken breast should be approximately 1/4 inch or 5 mm in thickness. If you have one of those thick pieces of chicken place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with mallet or rolling pin to desired thickness.

Combine next 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Spread mixture evenly on cut side of flattened chicken breast, Roll up tightly starting from the long edge. Tie with string (or in my case dental floss). Place on baking sheet or in a baking dish (Note: Use somethign with a lip because the juices leaked off my baking stone and sure made a mess of my oven).

Lay bacon slices lengthwise over chicken roll. Bake in 350 F (175 C) oven for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with tinfoil. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard string. Serve and enjoy!

MAKE IT A MEAL: I served these chicken rolls with a sweet potato with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and broccoli which I drizzeled with olive oil and salt and baked in the oven with the chicken for 20 minutes. If you are not a sweet potato fan you could also just make baked potatoes in the oven at the same time.