Friday, December 14, 2012

Pizza Meatloaf Cups

I had a friend tell me about these pizza meatloaf cups on my Audacious Cook Facebook Page.  My kids are really big meatloaf fans so I decided to give them a try.  Hogan said they were his new favorite way to eat meatloaf.  I threw in a bag of cut leaf spinach to get some hidden veggies into the kids tummies and also added some turkey pepperoni for extra 'pizza' flavor without the fat of regular pepperoni.  Anyways, they were good.  I only filled the muffin tin level with the top since I didn't want grease to overflow while it was bubbling.  This recipe made 28 pizza meatloaf cups (I had just a little more than 2 lbs ground beef), so you are aware you might have to bake a 3rd muffin tin of a few more while you're enjoying the others.

Pizza Meatloaf Cups

2 pounds ground beef
1 16-ounce package cut leaf spinach
1/2 a 6-ounce package turkey pepperoni slices (stack your slices and cut into quarters)
2 eggs
1 14-ounce jar pizza sauce
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese blend

Combine all ingredients except cheese in a large bowl.  I use my hands to combine meatloaf.  Then grease a couple of muffin tins and put enough of the meat mixture into each muffin tin so it's level with the top of the tin.  Add a pinch of cheese to the top of each cup.  Probably about a teaspoon or two, more if you want them really cheesy.  Bake at 350 for 35-40* minutes until internal temp of the meat reaches 160.  Keep an eye on them in your oven so you can watch for any grease that tries to come out the top of the muffin tin.

*The original recipe I had only said 20 minutes cooking time, since I added the spinach and turkey pepperoni it needed to be cooked longer.  I had originally checked it at 20 minutes and it wasn't done.  I believe I had both my muffin tins in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Nutrition per meatloaf cup ( based on 85% lean ground beef and 28 meatloaf cups:
Calories - 123, Fat - 7.2g, Cholesterol - 46mg, Sodium - 281mg, Potassium - 100mg, Total Carbs - 3.3g, Protein - 10.2g

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Overnight Egg Brunch in the Crock Pot

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, most of you are probably busy doing some last minute baking or cooking today.  Add this to your list for the end of the day and you will have a hot and really delicious (tasting and smelling) breakfast waiting for you in your Crock Pot upon waking up!  It literally took me less than 8 minutes to assemble it all.  I would suggest not to cook it more than 7 hours on low.  If you have one of those automatic Crock Pots that allows you to set an alloted time for it to cook at either high or low and then it switches itself to warm, use that function.  Either that your you're probably going to want to set an alarm to switch it to low after 7 hours.  I started this at 10pm one night before and was up at 6 and switched it to low at that time and of course it still continues to bake so unless you're ready to eat it right at 8 hours of cooking time, I'd set it for 7 and let it sit on warm for another hour.  Then you won't burn your tongue on it either!!  After we ate this for breakfast, I put the leftovers in individual ziploc snap top containers and put a bunch in the freezer so we have a quick breakfast whenever we want!  I'm sorry some my measurings aren't real accurate.  I'm a dump cook - but I realize not everyone cooks like that so I tried to re-create non-exact measurements from my memory.  :)

Overnight Egg Brunch in the Crock Pot

1/4-1/3 cups hormel bacon pieces (I found this in a bag at sam's club, Hormel Real Bacon Crumbles)*
2-3 tablespoons dried minced onion
1-1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 2-pound bag of frozen hash browns
1 cup shredded cheddar chese
1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese
12 eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Spray a 3-4 quart crock pot with cooking spray.  Layer as follows. 1/3 of the package of frozen hashbrowns, about 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon crumbles (just so you have a nice layer) about 1 tablespoon of dried minced onion, about 1/3 a teaspoon of the garlic powder and 1/3 of each of the shredded cheeses, repeat layers two more times.  In a large bowl combine, eggs, milk, dill and pepper.  Pour over ingredients in the crock pot and turn on low.  Cook for no more than 8 hours on low.  Preferably you would turn on warm after 7 hours.

*If you have the bacon and the time to cook it and break it up, use about 6-8 cooked bacon strips and crumble them before you assemble the dish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cranberry Curd

 Found this recipe in a magazine and just had to make it!  So simple - although it's a little time consuming.  It made 3 jelly jars, so what a great gift to share with a friend or hostess!  You could even whip up a batch before thanksgiving and hand out to family members!  It was really quite delicious.  I enjoyed a scoop of it over some Greek yogurt and this morning on toast with a bit of cream cheese.  You could also put it in oatmeal or pour some of it over a pound cake.  Better yet - give a pound cake with the curd to a hostess - what a great dessert treat!  You could also pour some over a brick of cream cheese and serve with apple slices or crackers as an appetizer or serve with some plain cheesecake.

Cranberry Curd

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Cointreau

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until cranberries have popped.  Pour into a blender and process until smooth.  Strain through a fine sieve over a medium bowl, you might have to push it down with a large spoon to get all the 'sauce' out.  Discard solids.
In a smaller bowl beat butter and sugars until well combined, then add egg yolks and egg 1 at a time beating well after each addition.  Pour into the cranberry sauce bowl along with cornstarch and salt and mix well. 
Place mixture in the top of a double boiler over simmering water and cook until thermometer registers 160 and mixture thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and let stand about 5 minutes then stir in Cointreau.  Pour into jars or containers and cover.  Refrigerate up to a week.

Tangy Hot Ham & Swiss Sandwiches

Another yummy recipe I found courtesy of Pinterest.  They're called 'funeral sandwiches' according to the post, but I re-named them and changed the recipe just a tiny bit.  They were delicious and my family really loved them.  I think next time I would even put more ham on them!  Beware the marinating time - even though they're super quick to make, take that time into consideration when you make them.  You could prepare them before you go to work in the morning and bake them when you get home!  This is yet another recipe that I enjoyed Swiss cheese in.  I don't much care for Swiss cheese, but these were good!!

Tangy Hot Ham & Swiss Sandwiches

8-10 buns (I had homemade buns in my freezer that I used)
1 1/2 pounds deli ham, sliced - SuperTarget has an awesome Virginia Ham (made in Iowa... LOL) at their deli that I usually get
1/2 pound deli Swiss cheese, sliced (if you get 1 1/2 lbs of deli meat at SuperTarget you get a half pound of cheese free!)
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Cut the buns in half and place all the bottoms on a jelly roll pan or large cookie sheet with sides.  Place a slice or two of ham (a good amount for a bun) then a slice of Swiss cheese on each bottom then replace all the tops.
In a bowl combine melted butter, Worcestershire, mustard, brown sugar & onion powder.  Pour over all the buns giving each one a good dousing.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to marinate about 4 to 5 hours.  The original recipe said 4-24 hours so I imagine you could make them the day before, but it doesn't need to marinate that long to get the flavor.
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until tops are a nice dark golden color and cheese is melted.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Only a week from today we will all be sitting down with family and friends to enjoy a fabulous feast.  Probably the usual turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce, candied yams, rolls and pumpkin pie for dessert.  You will also probably have a various assortment of your family's favorite salad, veggie or pickled item.  Whether this is your first Thanksgiving that you're serving or your 50th - you're probably already thinking about what to serve and how the heck long am I gonna bake this turkey anyways.  Turkeys that spend a bit too much time in the oven come out dry and I don't know anyone who likes dry turkey.  It does allow you to pour more gravy on your plate, and who doesn't like gravy?  I had a friend ask me last week what she should serve besides the obvious.  This is the first thanksgiving she's preparing herself and of course she wants everyone to enjoy it!  The first thing I told her is that Russian Creme is a must at our house.  Everyone loves it.  I should really make it more often.  It's quite simple to make, really.  It's only time consuming because the layers need to firm up in the refrigerator.  If you are looking for a new fruit salad to try for your Thanksgiving Meal - that may be it!  Mashed potatoes are great, but I wanted to try a different way of making them last year so I found this great recipe for Mashed Potato Layer Bake which of course I adapted to make my own.  It went over really well and I plan to make it again... maybe for this Thanksgiving!  I have a really good recipe for a Crock Pot Stuffing that I may make this year also.  I haven't made it in years, but it's good.  It's not 'fluffy' like regular stuffing, it's got more of a bread pudding texture to it, but the flavor is wonderful.  

For those who are back to my first question about how long to bake a turkey, here is some basic info for a moist turkey.  You should really be sure to put your turkey in a refrigerator 4 to 5 days so that it can thaw out (in a pan to catch all the drippings), but if you forgot and need to quick thaw it fill your kitchen sink with cool water and place the bird (still in the package) breast down.  Leave in water for a half our for each pound and change your water often.  Once it's thawed out and you're removing the package from the bird, PLEASE CHECK THE CAVITY and remove whatever is there!  I don't think you want to bake that with your turkey.  :)  You can bake your giblets along with your turkey though, I just wouldn't leave them inside the bag.

Now when you're ready to put the bird in the oven - it doesn't have to bake for HOURS on end unless you have a really large bird.  So you probably shouldn't have to get up and put it in your oven at 6am to eat at noon.  I also wouldn't go by those pop-up timers because by the time the timer has popped, the bird is already dry.  Place your bird in your roasting pan.  Scoop up some butter and spread around every part of your turkey (I use my hands for this and rub on a good layer).  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper then wrap your roasting pan in foil or put your lid on it if you have a lidded roaster.  Preheat your oven to 325.  Bake the turkey for 12 minutes per pound.  So if you have a 10 pound turkey, you should bake it for about 120 minutes (2 hours).  Remove the foil off for the last hour of baking.  The temp inside the leg of the turkey should be 175.  Even if it's not quite 175 you can still take it out of the oven and let it sit inside the foil for a bit longer.  It will continue cooking in the pan with the foil.  If your turkey still ends up a bit too try, you can slice it all up and pour some chicken broth over it all.

Here's what I plan to make for dessert this year Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie, but I had another girlfriend tell me the other day that she plans to make my Crock Pot Cranberry-Apple Cobbler recipe.

Oh - and don't forget to maybe make some Hot Buttered Rum mixture so everyone, including the kids (the rum is optional and added to individual mugs), can enjoy something hot to drink whey they arrive at your home.  It's chilly out there!!  

I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Porcupine Meatballs

A few days ago I was at a loss at what to make for supper.  I had planned chili, but the hubby said 'I'm just not feeling chili today.'  Seeing as how I didn't have a backup plan in the event that my husband wasn't 'feeling chili' I was a bit at a loss.  Of course I went to facebook and had some really awesome responses for what to do with my thawed out hamburger.  Pizza burgers (um yum, and I gotta make those soon again), pizza meatloaf cups and tacos were a few of the ideas.  I was already scouring through my big shelf full of recipe books.  I got my idea from one of those local fundraiser cookbooks from a country club.  I came across a recipe for Porcupine Meatballs and I thought - I HAVE A RECIPE FOR THOSE!!!  I haven't made them since probably before I even had kids... that was over a decade ago.  (I know - I just totally aged myself).  ANYWAYS, I got excited and quickly started getting all my stuff out to make them.  They were just so very delicious and really, could almost be considered a comfort food.  This was the first time my 3 kids had tried them and in the words of Hogan 'This is some really good crap, Mom!' I got the answer I was hoping for.  They were a hit.  So easy - and so good.  Okay - I know I'm rambling.  Here you go - I really hope you like it as much as we all did and it becomes a regular on your monthly menu.  Oh yeah - they are healthy too.  :)  Nutrition info below... plus a little history lesson.  

Porcupine Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
3/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
2 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine ground beef, rice, 3/4 cup water, celery salt, pepper and garlic powder in a bowl.  Form into golf ball or larger sized meatballs.  Put all meatballs into a greased 3-quart sized casserole dish.  In another bowl combine tomato sauce, 2 cups water, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and pour over top of meatballs.
Cover meatballs with casserole lid (or aluminum foil if your casserole doesn't have a lid) and bake at 350 for about an hour and 10 or 15 minutes.  I also threw in potatoes when I put the meatballs in the oven so that we could have baked potatoes with our meatballs.
Enjoy - seriously - Enjoy!!

Nutrition info (makes about 8 servings) based on 85% lean ground beef:
Calories - 292, Fat - 13g, Cholesterol - 58mg, Sodium - 484mg, Potassium - 319mg, Total Carbs - 26g, Dietary Fiber - 1g, Sugars - 9g, Protein - 17g.
Nutrition info from

*Just a bit of history about porcupine meatballs. They were originated during the Great Depression when rice was cheap and meat was hard to come by.  The women would mix the rice in with the beef to make the meal go a bit further and puff up the meat to hide the fact that there wasn't much beef.  It's great that our generations later we are still enjoying them!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Asian Broccoli Stir Fry

This broccoli dish could be your next 'go-to' side dish.  I make it when I make Korean Beef.  It's so simple and you can cheat and not stir fry it by just adding the sauce to the broccoli after it's cooked in the microwave.  Stir frying it just sears the flavor more into the broccoli.  Very delish!!

Asian Broccoli Stir Fry

1 bunch broccoli - I buy the 12-ounce broccoli florets that come in a microwaveable bag
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon dry sherry (cooking sherry)
1 teaspoon splenda
3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds (optional)

Microwave your broccoli florets in the bag they come in (or in a covered container with a bit of water) for about 3 minutes.  Toast your almonds while your broccoli is cooking by cooking in a small skillet with a little bit of oil.  Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sherry and splenda.  Heat oil in wok or large skillet.  Stir-fry broccoli in hot oil for 1-2 minutes until almost tender.  If using fresh ginger, push the broccoli to the edges of the pan and saute the ginger for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.  Add sauce to pan and toss with broccoli.  Before serving top with almonds.

When I made this - I skipped the stir fry step.  I just cooked the broccoli fully in the microwave and used ground ginger in my sauce and poured the sauce over the broccoli after it was cooked.  Either way - it's really good!!!

Korean Beef

This meal is riculously easy and delicious.  Just grab some steak, slice it up and marinate it.  Then grill it or broil it.  Serve it over brown rice with some Asian Broccoli Stir Fry and it's a delicious healthy meal.  The steak really gets a delicious flavor from the marinade.  Just be careful not to broil or grill it too long or it becomes tough. 

Korean Beef

beef - flank steak, sirloin steak or your favorite cut into strips
for each 1 pound of beef make the following marinade:
1/4 soy sauce (you can use reduced sodium)
1/4 cup water*
1/4 teaspoon chicken base*
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix all marinade ingredients and add to already sliced beef.  Marinate for a few hours or overnight.  Layer on a cookie sheet and broil on second from top rack position on High.  Broil one side about 6 to 8 minutes, then flip and broil other side until done.  Can also grill in a grill basket.  Just stir once in a while until beef is cooked.  Enjoy over rice.

*you can use 1/4 cup chicken broth if you don't have chicken base

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chickadilla Soup (Crock Pot)

I just had a bowl of this for breakfast... ran out of eggs.  :)  This was a delicious bowl of soup!  Low-calorie, really low-fat, but a bit high on the sodium side.  I put nutrition info below the recipe.  You can probably reduce the sodium in the individual ingredients, it's the chicken base that added the most sodium to it.  It makes 8 large servings, so it can feed a crew and still have some for leftovers.  You could even freeze half of it for later.  I added some Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce to my bowl for some added spice, you could also put in a bit of cheese, maybe crush in some tortilla/corn chips.  The kids ate it up and had second helpings.  Great recipe to throw into your crockpot in the morning to be ready for supper on a chilly day!!

Chickadilla Soup (Crock Pot)

5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 5 and YES, I put it in frozen)
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
10-ounce can enchilada sauce (I used mild)
4-ounce can peeled, chopped green chilies
4 cups water*
4 teaspoons chicken base (I use Tone's)*
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained & rinsed (I used reduced sodium)
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed (I used reduced sodium)
10 ounces frozen corn
2 tablespoons dried minced onion (or 1/2 a medium chopped onion)
1 tablespoon freeze dried cilantro (I have found this in SuperTarget - it says it's as good as using fresh)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Place all ingredients in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.  Mix a bit and cook on low about 8 hours or high 3-4 hours.  About an hour before ending time (eating time), use a potato masher and mash the chicken into shreds.  It should 'shred' quite easily.  If it doesn't, turn it on high for an hour.

*If you don't have chicken base, just use a quart of chicken broth, you reduced sodium if you like.

Nutrition - courtesy of
8 larger portion servings:  Calories - 257, Fat - 3.82g, Cholesterol - 41mg, Sodium - 1046mg, Potassium - 458mg, Total Carbs - 34.35g, Protein 24.03g

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chicken Diablo

Made this recipe for supper tonight.  It's been a really long time since I've made it, but it was so very delicious.  Ava and I enjoyed it immensely.  The rest of my family not so much.  They thought the sauce was a bit too spicy.  Chris didn't even add the sauce to his.  He put the chicken on the rice and poured sweet and sour sauce over top.  When Hogan had a second piece of chicken, he opted for just ketchup.  That's kind of the beauty of this recipe though - if someone in your family doesn't like the spiciness of the sauce, leave the sauce off and just put on sweet and sour or whatever they would like.  This is also super easy, with basic stuff I always have on hand. 

Chicken Diablo

1/2 cup Franks Hot Buffalo Sauce
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
8-10 boneless skinless chicken breasts, I used 10 because they were smaller 4-oz breasts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic

In a medium bowl mix together - Franks, sour cream, ketchup & honey til smooth.  You might need to whisk it.  Add paprika and cumin and set aside. 
Place your chicken breasts (already thawed) in a bowl or ziploc bag and pour a bit of the sauce in with the chicken.  Probably about 1/4 of the sauce.  Let it marinate for an hour or two in your refrigerator.
Heat oil in skillet and saute garlic for a minute or so and then add the chicken breasts.  Cook until meat is completely cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Flipping halfway through.
Heat the rest of the marinade, when it's almost time for serving, in the microwave.  Serve chicken breasts over rice and spoon however much sauce you want over top.  I like to even eat just the rice with the sauce.

Crock Pot Cranberry-Apple Cobbler

This is a GREAT crock pot dessert.  Even if you think you don't like cranberries - try it.  You won't regret it.  I am not a big cranberry fan.  I pass by on the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I just have never really liked it.  I saw this recipe in my Southern Living: Slow-Cooker Cookbook many years ago and made it for company.  It was delicious!  I have usually been asked for the recipe when I have made it.  It's a great warm dessert and don't forget a scoop of ice cream.  Maybe add this to your dessert table at your next holiday!!  Best of all - it's made in your crock pot, so you can just make it and let it cook in your slow cooker and the wonderful smell will just envelope your home.  Who needs candles?!

Cranberry-Apple Cobbler (in the Crock Pot)

5 apples, peeled & sliced (I used Gala, the recipe called for Granny Smith)
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (I just poured in the whole bag you can find in the fruit section - I think it's a 16 ounce bag)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
vanilla ice cream for serving

Combine first 5 ingredients (apples, cranberries, brown sugar, tsp vanilla & cinnamon) in a greased 5-quart crock pot.  Whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water until smooth and add to crock pot stirring well.  Cover and cook on high 1 1/2 hours.
When that time is almost up beat butter in a medium bowl until creamy.  Add sugar beating well.  Add milk, vanilla and egg, beating until blended.  Stir in flour, baking powder & salt.
Stir apple mixture.  Drop flour mixture about a tablespoon at a time over top of the apple mixture evenly.  Cover and turn crock pot to low and cook another 2 1/2 hours (or leave on high another 1 1/2 hours).  Serve warm with ice cream.  Will serve about 8 people.

It may not be real pretty... but it sure is good!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Healthy Harvest Pumpkin Muffins

First off sorry for the poor photo.  I only took a photo with my iPhone after I took the muffins out of the oven and they got eaten up before I could get a picture with my camera!  Someday I'll update to a better photo after I make another batch.
These muffins were great!  They were so delicious warm out of the oven, but isn't everything?  The kids ate them right up!  You can substitute whole-wheat flour for the all purpose flour to make them even healthier than they already are.  The only sugar in this recipe is honey.  Make a batch and freeze half and add one to your morning breakfast!

Healthy Harvest Pumpkin Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups honey
2 eggs
1 can solid pack pumpkin
*optional 2 cups chopped walnuts

In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  Set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter until light with an electric mixer.  Beat in honey, egg and pumpkin.  Gradually add flour mixture until just blended.  If you want to add walnuts, do so at this time.
I used a large ice cream scoop to scoop the mixture into paper-lined muffin cups.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove muffins to wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or room temp.

Makes 24 muffins - I froze half and we enjoyed the rest!!

Nutrition facts - per muffin:
Calories - 226, Total Fat - 10g, Cholesterol - 10mg, Sodium - 251mg, Total Carbs - 32g, Dietary Fiber - 2g, Protein - 5g.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

'The Burrow' Breakfast Casserole

Another addition to my Harry Potter Recipe a Day October.
Harry has quite a few meals with the Weasley family starting in The Chamber of Secrets when Fred, Ron & George rescue Harry from his barred bedroom and bring him to The Burrow, where they live.  The book states that after Mrs. Weasley gives her sons a little lecture for using the flying car she then serves a hot breakfast with about 8 or 9 sausages for Harry and also adding about 3 fried eggs as she continues to tell her sons she was worried for them.  The Weasley's might not have a lot of money but Molly sure seems to make some great food.  Eggs and sausage for breakfast for one.  I would like to imagine if Molly made a breakfast casserole, that this would be it!  It's very delicious and well worth the baking/waiting time.  This is a lower fat casserole with egg whites, turkey sausage and low-fat milk.  Here's to you, Molly!!  I only wish I had a wand to clean up the dishes afterwards like she does!

'The Burrow' Breakfast Casserole

14 ounces turkey sausage (Jimmy Dean makes some)
3/4-1 pound mixed mushrooms like cremini, shiitake, oyster, baby bellas (I used sliced shiitake & sliced baby bellas I found pre-packaged at Super Target)
fresh ground pepper
1 small onion, diced
4 large slices whole grain bread (cut into 1 inch cubes)
4 large slices white bread (cut into 1 inch cubes)
5- 6 ounces Jarlsberg cheese, finely grated, about 1 1/2 cups, low-fat if you can find it
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
5 eggs
5 egg whites
1 1/2 cups skim milk

Pour a couple of teaspoons olive oil into a skillet and brown the turkey sausage.  After browned, transfer to a plate and set aside.  Add mushrooms and cook over medium heat until they begin to brown.  Add some salt, pepper and onions and reduce heat to low stirring occasionally until onion is soft and mushrooms are well browned. 
In a large bowl toss bread cubes, cheese, tomoatoes, sausage and mushroom/onion mixture.  Spray a 9x13 casserole dish and spread mixture evenly into dish.  In another medium bowl combine eggs, egg whites and milk.  Whisk well then pour over bread mixture.  Cover dish with aluminum foil and let sit for about 10 minutes.  Press foil down gently to make sure top layer of bread cubes soak up the egg mixture.
Bake casserole at 350 for 35 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 15 minutes longer.  Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hogwarts Feast Roast Chicken

This photo would be better if I had one of those great trays you see on the feast tables in the Great Hall at Hogwarts.  Hmmm, I might have to get one!  Those who have read the books realize there was quite a bit of focus on the fact that Harry really didn't eat very well at the Dursley's.  The books talked about how Dudley was getting so large from all the food and Harry, who was so thin and small, got Dudley's hand-me-down clothes that Harry thought looked like 'elephant skin' hanging off of him.  Harry's first night at Hogwarts after the sorting ceremony the students are all astonished by the elaborate assortment of foods that appear on the tables in front of them, one of them being roast chicken.  So - I made a classic roast chicken recipe.  It was so tender and delicious.  I saved the stock to make chicken noodle soup with the leftover meat.  I made two chickens because just 1 chicken isn't enough to feed my family of 5.

Hogwarts Feast Roast Chicken

1 medium onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 celery ribs
half bag baby carrots (the smaller bag - I think it's 8 ounces, but not certain)
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 3-pound roasting chicken
olive oil for brushing over the chicken
freshly ground sea salt and pepper
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 375.  Lay onion slices in a roasting pan and scatter celery, carrots and garlic on top.  Pat the chicken dry and place in roasting pan on top of veggies breast side up with wings tucked under.  No need for trussing.  Pour a bit of olive oil over the chicken and rub with your hands around the chicken.  Grind your salt and pepper over top of chicken and pour water into the bottom of the roasting pan.
Put pan in oven and roast (I did this uncovered) for 50 minutes.  Raise temperature to 450 (I covered it at this time because I wasn't sure the skin wouldn't burn), rotate the pan and continue roasting for 30-40 minutes until thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 170F.  Remove chicken from oven and let rest 20 minutes (also covered) before carving. 

Enjoy with the very flavorful veggies and maybe some mashed or boiled potatoes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Molly Weasley's Meatballs with Onion Sauce

Day 2 of my Harry Potter recipe-a-day for October. 
I got this recipe from my Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

I will probably be getting quite a few recipes from this cookbook.  I like how she puts a little piece about what part of the book the food is mentioned in.  Yesterday I started re-reading the books so I can write down each page and chapter I find that mentions food in the books so this.  This particular food comes in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.  Mr. Weasley and Kingsley Shacklebolt run into each other when Mr. Weasley is bringing Harry to his hearing at the Ministry of Magic.  They pretend to just be business associates until they appeared to be finished and Mr. Weasley lowers his voice to Shacklebolt and says "If you can get away before seven, Molly's making meatballs."  Chapter 7 page 132.
So last night I made these meatballs for supper and everybody enjoyed it.  I had made cheesy baked squash along with it and the onion sauce was good over that also.  I was quite pleased with the recipe.  I'll make it again!

Molly Weasley's Meatballs with Onion Sauce

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil

Onion Sauce:
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
14 ounces water
2 teaspoons chicken base
(can use a 14-ounce can chicken broth instead of water and chicken base)

Combine meatball ingredients except olive oil and shape into 1 1/2 inch balls.  Heat oil in skillet and working in batches fry all meatballs turning over after about 4 minutes.  Remove meatballs from skillet.  Onion sauce is made in the meatball skillet.  I didn't empty out the grease from it because I wanted the flavor but added about another tablespoon of olive oil and heated that up.  Add onions and saute until soft and golden, stirring occasionally.  Add flour and stir to combine.  Add water and chicken broth, stirring constantly, bring to a boil and thicken.  Put meatballs back into skillet and simmer over low heat about 15 minutes.  Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or egg noodles.

It's a meal fit for a Weasley!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Butterbeer Cake

So I've been in a slump, if you will.  A slump that has taken me out of my kitchen for quite some time.  Bored with the same old things I have been making and not motivated to get back into trying new things.  So yesterday - October 1st - I was watching Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix and it was at one of the many scenes where the students are eating and all that fantastic looking food was on the table.  I thought, hm, how fun would that be if I made something 'Harry Potter' for supper tonight.  Then I went beyond that and thought, hm, maybe I could make something 'Harry Potter-esque' for the month of October!  It was the kick in the pants - so to speak - that I needed to get back into the kitchen.  I had seen a few recipes on pinterest for Butterbeer Cupcakes and decided I would try a Butterbeer Cake!  So - I did!  It turned out quite tasty.  I actually only had one bite of the finished cake (my husband's piece), but I tasted the batter, frosting & cake crumbs from the pan and knew it would be good.  Chris had the first piece and after he said it was 'Not a bad cake!'  In other words - I had permission to make it again - which means he thought it was good!  So - I think I have rambled on long enough.  Here's the cake!

Butterbeer Cake

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon butter & nut extract*
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream soda
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch topping (I used Mrs. Richardson's)
1 tablespoon cream soda (may need to add more while mixing so it stays the consistency you want)
1 pound powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350, grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans - be sure to grease and flour or the cake will stick.  Combine dry cake ingredients.  Cream butter and sugars, add eggs.  Then add extract, milk and soda.  Add flour/baking soda and combine.  Pour into your 2 prepared 8-inch round cake pans evenly.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  In my oven 27 minutes exactly was perfect.  Let cool in the cake pans for a few minutes then remove to wire racks.
After cakes have cooled, blend frosting ingredients well in a smaller bowl.  Place one layer on a plate and top with a layer of frosting.  Add second cake layer and spread frosting over top and sides.  Drizzle with a bit more butterscotch topping.  ENJOY!!

*I found McCormick's Butter & Nut extract online.  I have not been able to find it in the stores.  You can use regular vanilla exract if you would like or you could combine butter extract (which I have found easily) and I believe I have seen a nut extract to make the 1 teaspoon. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Peaches-n-Cream No-Bake Cheesecake

This recipe I cut in half from the original I found.  I will post the full size 8x10 recipe and if you want you can cut it in half and put it in a prepared graham cracker pie crust.  It was very delicious.  I would most definitely make this again!  It was the other cheesecake I made for my hubby's birthday the other day.  Chris did have a piece and said it was good - but he likes the plain old vanilla cheesecake with a strawberry topping.  I served it to the guys as they were combining the field behind our house.  Our hired man was still raving about it two days later after he had some, but who doesn't like peaches and cream?!  As with the other no bake cheesecake recipe I have, I used the 1/3 reduced fat neufchatel cream cheese and lite whipped topping.

Peaches-n-Cream No-Bake Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar, divided
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 .3-ounce package peach jello
2 fresh peaches, chopped (extra slices for top if you like)
1 8-ounce tub cool whip, thawed

Mix graham crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup sugar and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  In a bowl mix cream cheese and sugar until combined then add peach jello and mix well.  Fold in peaches and cool whip with a spoon and pour into crust.  You can top the cheesecake with more slices of peaches as shown in my photo above.

No-Bake Cheesecake

This was so easy it was a fright.  Basically 5 ingredients and you're done.  I skipped out on making a homemade graham cracker crust, but that just adds one tiny extra step if you want to make your own.  I just needed something super quick and easy because I didn't have the time to bake the cheesecake and let it sit and refrigerate long enough to take out for my hubby's birthday treat.  He said it was good... does prefer the baked kind better, but this will do in a pinch.  I used the 1/3 fat reduced cream cheese and light whipped topping to reduce fat.  You can use whatever you like if you want the full force of the flavor with the regular cream cheese and whipped topping.  I chose to buy seedless strawberry jam for this recipe, but you could top with whatever jam or jelly you like.  It makes a really quick topping when you don't want to slice up fruit for the topping (or if you don't have the fruit you want).

No-Bake Cheesecake

1 graham cracker pie crust
4 tablespoons sugar
1 8-ounce package 1/3 fat reduced cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups cool whip lite
strawberry jam

In a bowl cream together sugar, cream cheese and cool whip.  Pour into crust.  Refrigerate for 4 hours and add strawberry jam to top shortly before serving.

Vegetable Beef Stew

This is my favorite go-to meal for company or extra people for supper.  It makes a lot and tastes wonderful.  I don't really follow a specific list of ingredients every time because it's so universal.  You can basically just gather whatever veggies you have and throw them in.  I also don't measure, my meat and veggies but I will attempt to for your benefit.  :)  I put in quite a bit of meat.  I like a little beef with my veggies and I love how it kind of shreds apart so you can get a small bite of steak within each spoonful.  My kids really love this stuff and it's a great healthy meal chock full of veggies that are so flavorful.  I love how the potatoes absorb the flavors. 

Vegetable Beef Stew

2-3 pounds sirloin or tenderized steak, trimmed of fat and cubed**
half a small bag of baby carrots
6-8 small red potatoes
half a bag of frozen pearl onions (I think the bag is like 10-12 oz or something)
9-10 oz package of frozen green beans
1 green pepper, chopped
1 16-0z can tomato sauce (or you can use diced tomatoes)
1/3 cup Homemade Cream Soup Mix  (or a can of cream of mushroom soup)
5 tablespoons Homemade Dry Onion Soup Mix (or an envelope of Lipton onion soup mix)
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon crushed marjoram

In a large skillet brown the edges of the cubed meat.  Put everything in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5.  If it seems like it's not thick enough closer to eating time, turn the lid to the side to let the steam escape for about 20 minutes to a half hour.

**I always have packages of steaks in my freezer since we buy a half a cow at a time.  So for this recipe I used 2 frozen packages of sirloin steak.  I'm thinking each of my packages was right around 2 to 3 pounds and after you trim the fat and the bone off you are left with probably 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds.  You can use a very cheap cut of meat for this meal because it cooks for so long - it will bring even the toughest of meat to a wonderfully tender bite.  Just be sure to cut off as much fat as possible to keep it lean.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spaghetti Casserole (Crock Pot)

This was quite a tasty dish.  It had a very mild flavor.  I'm sure if you wanted to give it a stronger flavor you could put some spaghetti seasoning in with the meat sauce, but overall this is a family pleaser.  My kids really liked it and the hubby said it was good.  He said some of the noodles were hard, but that happens around the edges sometimes.  It has a very short crock pot time - just 4 hours on low, so when it's done, it's done.  Cooking it much longer than probably 4.5 hours will result in edges that get a bit crunchy.  The kids and I put Frank's Red Hot sauce on our dishes and I also threw on jalapenos and banana peppers.  It was yummy.  Hope you enjoy!!

Spaghetti Casserole (in the Crock Pot)

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 26-ounce jar tomato and basil pasta sauce (you could also use your favorite pasta sauce or just make homemade spaghetti sauce)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
12-ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I just used the stuff in the tube since I didn't have grated)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken into pieces
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese or marble jack

Brown beef with onion in a pan and drain grease.  Stir in pasta sauce, shut off heat and let sit until you are ready to put in crock pot.
In a saucepan melt butter over medium low heat, whisk in flour until smooth.  Slowly pour in evaporated milk, whisking the entire time, until the can is empty and continue to whisk until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese and pepper.
In a greased 5 quart crockpot spoon 1/3 of the meat mixture on the bottom.  Break 1/2 the noodles over meat and spread 1/2 the white sauce over noodles.  Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheese and repeat layers.  Spread remaining meat sauce over cheese and sprinkle with the last cup of shredded cheese.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours at a maximum of probably 4 1/2 hours.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.