Monday, October 18, 2010

Pigs in a Blanket

Gourmet? Not exactly, but we have no pretensions here. I am including this dinner idea because I made these recently at the request of my boys after forgetting about them for a looong while...and my husband and my boys raved about them. So, while not gourmet, if any of the people at your house are in the under ten crowd or of the male variety, these are sure to be a hit.

Hot dogs
Crescent rolls

Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles and wrap each triangle around a hot dog. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 for 11-13 minutes until golden brown. Serve with ketchup and mustard for dipping.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oven Steak Fries

Here is another recipe success at our house from Our Best Bites. Our Best Bites had a couple different seasoning options, so go there for other ideas. We made the garlic salt option.
These were really good, and made an easy, tasty, healthful side dish. I just ate them plain because the seasonings were perfect. My husband firmly believes that all fries should be eaten with ketchup. And my kids love anything, even potatoes with the skins left on dipped in ketchup.

4 medium Russet potatoes, washed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
2 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. parsley

Preheat oven to 400. Mix desired spices in a medium bowl. Add olive oil and combine well.

Cut potatoes into 8 wedges each. Add potato wedges to seasonings and toss to coat.

Lightly crumple some aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and then arrange potato wedges on foil. This ensures even cooking and makes cleanup a cinch.

Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quick and Easy Black Beans

I've made these a few times now and they are a hit at my house. Last time we had them with Mushroom-Smothered Salisbury Steak (recipe coming soon), and the flavors complimented each other perfectly. Or you could just eat them with some corn chips. They are that good.

The best part is that I can make an amazing side dish in about 15 minutes (they would go great with these enchiladas). I always make a double batch so there's enough for leftovers.

This recipe comes from Our Best Bites.

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (this is important, I overlooked it the first time I made them and they were too runny)
1/2 Tbl. olive oil
2/3 c. diced onion
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
2/3 c. chicken broth
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lime

In a saucepan on the stove, heat the olive oil to medium high heat. Saute onions for about 3 minutes or until they just start to become translucent. Add garlic and saute about 30 seconds more. Add beans, broth, and remaining seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When they are done cooking, remove from heat and add in a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. Then use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to smoosh (yes that is a technical culinary term) some of the beans. You don't want to pulverize them, but you want to take a bunch of good smooshes so that some of the beans are smashed, which will thicken the sauce. They will thicken more upon standing. If you want a more soupy consistency, add a little more broth.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chicken, Artichoke, and Mushroom Fettuccine

So I have to admit, before this dish I have never had artichokes before. I know that canned artichokes doesn't count, but I'm taking baby steps here! I was surprised to find they had kind of a tangy flavor. This dinner was so good, and the parmesan cheese sprinkled on top (forgot it for the picture) was the perfect finishing touch.

9 oz. fettuccine (I used whole wheat pasta)
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and sliced 
2 Tbl. butter
1 Tbl. flour
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded skinless rotisserie chicken breat
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half (I found a can of quartered artichoke hearts)
1/4 c. chopped green onions
fresh parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta. Drain and keep warm.
2. In large skillet, spray with non-stick cooking spray  and saute mushrooms and red pepper for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove and keep warm.
3. Add butter to pan. Add flour to melted butter and cook 1 minute until bubbly. Add milk, salt, and pepper. Cook 3 minutes until thick, stirring constantly.
4. Add mushroom mixture, chicken, and artichokes to pan. Cook until heated. Add lemon juice and green onions. Toss mixture with pasta. Sprinkler with parmesan cheese.

Serves 5-1 1/2 cup servings at 7 WW points per serving.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Homemade Root Beer

I haven't done much food blogging since I had my baby. I've still been cooking and experimenting and having photo shoots at dinner before anyone is allowed to take a bite. I hope to slowly bring back the food blog, because I've got more great recipes to share with you.

This root beer is a family classic and it is usually my grandpa that makes it at family gatherings. And it is wonderfully easy. There are few things better than homemade root beer on a warm summer evening.

2 bottles root beer concentrate
5 lb. sugar
5 gallons water
5 lb. dry ice

Pour sugar into 5 gallon container.

Pour both bottles of root beer over sugar. Add about 2 gallons of warm water and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Add 3 gallons of ice water.

Add the dry ice 1/2 hour before you want to serve it. Break it into several smaller pieces instead of one big piece. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.

24 hours after we made our root beer, it had turned slushy (on the one occasion we made it for just us instead of for a large group of people and we actually had a bunch left over). I learned that slushy root beer is cool and refreshing and heavenly.

Dry ice tips:

You can buy this at your local grocery store (although my Walmart does not carry it). Handle with gloves to prevent burns. Don't buy the dry ice more than a few hours before you are ready to use it. Don't put it in your freezer, but put it in a cooler with the lid mostly closed. Don't store it an an airtight container. And if you put a tiny piece in your mouth, you can blow smoke out your nose. (Not that I recommend doing that or have ever done it before.) For more dry ice tips, click here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Zucchini Soup

This recipe is from my cousin, Laura, who confesses that her family called it slime soup when she was little. Don't let that scare you, it is really delicious, especially with some peasant bread on the side. And it's healthy too! This could also be a cute St. Patrick's day meal, and you could call it Leprechaun soup and tell your kids the leprechauns turned it green. Or add it to your zucchini recipe file for the end of the summer when anonymous neighbors leave zucchini on your porch in the middle of the night.

Zucchini Soup

1 cup chopped onions
2 Tbs butter
3 cups sliced zucchini
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup half -and-half cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, then crumbled

In a large saucepan cook onions in melted butter until tender. Add sliced zucchini and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender (about 15 min.) Add salt and pepper. Cool slightly. 

Pour mixture into blender and puree it. Stir in half-and-half cream. Return to saucepan and reheat, but do not boil. Garnish with grated cheese, sour cream, and bacon. Makes about 6 servings.
Tips: You can substitute milk for the half and half, or even leave out the dairy products and it will still taste really good. You can also add yellow squash to this.