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