Archive for January, 2011

posted by Nina on Jan 19

My very dear friend, Candy, posted this on Facebook not too long ago and I thought I would give it a try. I had a feeling the boys would like it and I like anything that’s easy that involves provolone cheese.

3-4 lbs beef brisket (use more or less depending on your family’s appetite)
1 can beef broth
1 packet of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
yellow or white onion, cut in wedges (totally optional–the flavor of the beef comes out just as good without this)
Italian Seasoning (totally optional, again)
Sliced bread, hoagie rolls, or other “bun” of choice
Provolone cheese (totally optional, again)

Spray inside of crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.

Take the Italian Seasoning (if you are using it) and sprinkle on all sides of the beef.

Place beef (fat side down) in crock pot.

Add onions, if you are using them.

Mix beef broth and soup mix by whisking a few times in a bowl.

Pour the combined beef broth/soup mix into crockpot with beef (& onions).

Cook on LOW setting for 8 hours or HIGH for 4-6 hours. (This is much better when cooked SLOW and long rather than on high and for shorter amount of time, but I have done both. If you’re in a pinch for time, then go with the HIGH setting if you must!)

Once beef is done, simply slice or shred up, place in bread or bun of choice, top with cheese (we have also used shredded cheddar and have omitted cheese completely and it’s been fine!).

Ladle out au jus sauce from crock pot and put in a small bowl for each person.
Dip sandwich to your liking, eat, and enjoy!

Did I change anything? I left out the onions and I couldn’t find the exact right flavor of Lipton soup mix at the grocery store, so I used Beef and Mushroom instead.

What did the family think? Hubby was out of town, so he missed out. Our oldest loved it and so did I. Our youngest really liked it too, but he decided to dip his in catsup instead of au jus.

posted by Nina on Jan 15

These are so good. The secret? You have to shake the buttermilk first.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk (shake it first)
Cooking spray

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs and buttermilk. Whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.

Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle/pan by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough.

Spray pan/griddle with cooking spray.

Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other.

When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm.

Did I change anything? The recipe called for butter in the batter, but I left it out (not on purpose), but they stilled turned out scrumptious!

What did the family think? Thumbs up all around! This recipe also made enough for leftovers, so we will be warming these up for breakfast again tomorrow!


posted by Nina on Jan 13

I got one of Rachel Ray’s cookbooks for Christmas a few years ago. This is one of my favorite soups. I know it has a lot of ingredients, but it’s really pretty easy. I love that the meatballs cook in the soup.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, a couple of handfuls
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups dried pasta, rings, broken fettucini or ditalini
1 pound triple washed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

In a deep pot over medium heat add oil, chopped carrots, celery and onions and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies cook, combine meat, egg, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Uncover your soup pot and add broth and water to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. When soup boils, reduce heat a bit and start to roll meat mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot. You are making meat dumplings that will cook in the broth.

When you are done rolling the meat, add pasta to the soup and stir.

Cover and simmer soup 10 minutes. When pasta is tender, stir in chopped spinach in batches. When spinach has wilted into the soup, the soup is done and ready to serve.

Adjust your seasonings. Serve soup with crusty bread

What did the family think? We love anything with meatballs! :)

posted by Nina on Jan 13

This is a nice dish to have on a chilly fall or winter evening.

4 boneless pork loin chops
2 tsp chopped fresh sage
Salt and ground pepper
3 T olive oil
1 large red onion, but into 1/2-inch wedges
2 Granny Smith apples, but into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup apple cider

Rub both sides of the pork chops with the sage and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a large skillet over high heat, add 1 T olive oil and sear the chops until golden on both sides, about five minutes total.

Transfer chops to plate. Wipe out skillet. Add 2 T olive oil, onion and apples and cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cider.

Return chops to skillet with apples and onions. Cover and cook, turning chops once, until just cooked through.

Place the chops on a plate. You can serve the onion/apple mixture on top of the pork chops or on the side. We had this with mashed potatoes.

What did the family think? These were really good..very moist. I think having them simmer in the apple cider really helped keep them tender and juicy. Everyone ate them up!

from Food Network

posted by Nina on Jan 11

This takes a little while to bake, but it was perfect for last night. We were watching the BCS football game, so it baked while we watched. It was worth the wait, too. There was not one drop of this left…the whole family loved it.

1 (26 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
24 frozen cooked meatballs
1 (9 ounce) package refrigerated cheese ravioli
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 2 quart casserole mix pasta sauce and soup until smooth. Stir in meatballs and ravioli.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese, let stand for 5 minutes to melt cheese before serving.

Did I change anything? The only thing I wish was different about this recipe is that it made more food. We all wanted more. :)

What did the family think? It was a hit!


posted by Nina on Jan 9

This was quick and easy and tasty too.

1 lb fish fillets, about 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 flour
1/4 cup Italian crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Cut fish into 4 serving pieces. In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat.

In small shallow dish, mix flour, bread crumbs, basil and salt.

In another shallow dish, beat egg. Dip fish into egg, then coat with flour mixture.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook fish in oil 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until fish flakes easily with fork and is brown on both sides.

Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Did I change anything? I added the lemon juice part of the recipe and the recipe also said that your should used Bisquick instead of flour, but I didn’t have any Bisquick so I used flour. Also, I used sole. One pound of sole is a lot of sole. LOTS! Next time I will either get a thicker cut of fish or less sole.

What did the family think? Hubby and I liked it. Our oldest tried it, but was not impressed. The youngest stuck with fish sticks.

from Betty Crocker

posted by Nina on Jan 7

It’s another Jessica Seinfeld recipe. I saw her make this one on Oprah, too. This recipe turns out looking so beautiful and it smells and tastes amazing.

1 whole chicken (4 pounds)
1 Tbsp. and 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. crushed black pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lemon
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 pound carrots , cut into 3-inch sticks
1 pound parsnips , cut into 3-inch sticks
1 pound small red potatoes , halved

Heat the oven to 400°. On a sheet pan, toss the carrots, parsnips and potatoes with 2 tablespoons of oil, 4 sprigs rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken and season with the remaining salt and pepper, then rub with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Pierce the lemons several times with the tip of a paring knife and stuff, along with 2 sprigs of the rosemary, into the cavity of the chicken. Using cooking twine, tie the legs together.

Nestle the chicken among the vegetables and put in the oven—with the chicken’s legs toward the back of the oven. Roast, stirring the vegetables once, until the chicken is cooked through (the internal temperature reaches 175° in the thickest part of the thigh), 55 to 60 minutes.

Carve and serve with the roasted vegetables.

Did I change anything? Yes, I cooked the chicken at 450 degrees for the first ten minutes to give the skin a crunchy finish, then I lowered the temperature to 375 degrees for the rest of the cooking time. You want to make sure you cook the chicken for about 20 minutes per pound. I had a six pound roaster, so I cooked it for about two hours. I did not put the veggies in with the chicken until about the last hour and I left out the parsnips and added big chunks of onion. (I LOVE roasted onions.) I didn’t tie his legs up either and it turned out just fine. Also, after you take the chicken out of the oven, let it rest for about 15 minutes before you start carving it.

What did the family think? The boys were not thrilled with the roasted veggies but they liked the chicken. The carrots where my absolute favorite part of the whole meal. They were SO good. Hubby liked it, too, but he had to have it reheated since he got home late, so it just wasn’t the same.

posted by Nina on Jan 6

I had some buttermilk in my frig that was going to go bad. This sounded pretty good and would use up most of my buttermilk, so I thought I would give it a try. One thing I liked about this recipe right off the bat is the marinade can be used for chicken and fish. Also, this has to marinate for a while so plan accordingly. :)

2 cups buttermilk
1 lime, zested and juiced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder (or any pure chili powder)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
Hot sauce, to taste (recommended: Tabasco)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 bone-in or boneless chicken breasts (each about 6 to 8 ounces)
Canola oil

Whisk together the buttermilk, lime zest and juice, garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, hot sauce, cilantro, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl.

Pour the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag, add the chicken, seal the bag and refrigerate. Marinate bone-in chicken up to 12 hours, boneless up to 4 hours, chicken legs or breasts, up to 24 hours. If using fish, marinate white fish such as snapper, halibut or bass up to 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill pan over medium-low heat for boneless breasts and fish, and medium heat for bone-in breasts, thighs and legs.

Remove the meat/fish from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.

Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste, on both sides. Grill until golden brown and charred on both sides and just cooked through.

Cook’s Note:

This recipe also includes the method for fish.

Boneless chicken breasts: about 9 minutes total

Chicken thighs/legs: about 20 minutes total

Bone-in chicken breasts: about 15 minutes total

White Fish: about 8 minutes total

We had this with cole slaw and some biscuits.

Did I change anything? No, I just used boneless chicken breasts.

What did the family think? I am not a huge fan of grilled anything, but hubby and the kids really liked it. Our youngest didn’t even ask for catsup with his chicken which I thought was weird. He ALWAYS has catsup with his chicken…even if the chicken is in soup or a casserole. He will almost always dig the chicken out and dip it in the catsup…not with this one though.

from Food Network

posted by Nina on Jan 5

I made this tonight to go with the chicken we had (that recipe to come later). Hubby ate one bite, looked up and asked me if made this. I was a little hesitant to answer because I didn’t know if that meant this is really bad and I don’t want to offend you by saying I hate or this is so awesomely good I didn’t even know you knew how to make cole slaw like this. Luckily, it was the latter.

1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
2 large carrots, finely shredded
3/4 cup best-quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Spanish onion
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired.

Did I change anything? I left out the onion. I also used a bag of broccoli slaw instead of shredding the carrots and the cabbage. Since the pre-made slaws come in different size packages, I would make the dressing and then add the cabbage mixture to the dressing slowly, stirring it, to make sure you get the cabbage to dressing ratio that you like. Also, I made this a few hours ahead of time so that all of the flavors had time to mix together. I think coleslaw always tastes better when it’s had time to sit for awhile.

What did the family think? Hubby and I thought is was super yummy. The kids ate it, but cole slaw isn’t their favorite.

posted by Nina on Jan 4

This recipe was requested by my hubby and I figured the kids would like it because it has peanut butter in it.

2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
Salt and black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro

Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Salt the chicken pieces well, pat them dry and brown them in the oil. Don’t crowd the pot, so do this in batches. Set the chicken pieces aside as they brown.

Sauté the onions in the oil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.

Add the chicken, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 90 minutes (check after an hour), or until the chicken meat easily falls off the bone and the sweet potatoes are tender.

Remove the chicken pieces and set them in a bowl to cool, until cool enough to touch. Remove and discard the skin if you want, or chop it and put it back into the pot. Shred the meat off the bones and put the meat back in the pot.

Adjust the seasonings for salt and cayenne, then add as much black pepper as you think you can stand—the stew should be peppery. Stir in the cilantro and serve by itself, or with simple steamed rice.

Did I change anything? I used chicken thighs, but I didn’t use ones with bones. Mine were already deboned, so my cooking time wasn’t quite as long. We had this served over couscous. Also, this makes A LOT of food. We had it for dinner and I have had leftovers for lunch for the past two days and there is still probably three more days of lunches left.

What did the family think? After I put it in the bowls, I seriously thought my kids were going to run screaming from the table. I think the only thing that saved me was that our youngest helped me cook this, so he saw what went into it and it’s hard to run screaming from the table when you helped cook something. :) I wouldn’t say this was their favorite dish ever, but they did eat it without any complaining. Hubby and I liked it. You have to put the fresh cilantro in it…it makes a world of difference.


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