Monday, October 27, 2008

Ginger Pumpkin Meringue Pie

I found this in my BH&G magazine and just HAD to make it. I still had a pre-made crust in my freezer so I used that instead of making the gingersnap-graham crust. It was still really good though!

1 pre-made crust or 1 gingersnap-graham crust, below
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 Recipe Brown Sugar Meringue, below

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare Gingersnap-Graham Crust; bake 4 minutes. Cool on wire rack. For filling, in bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, ginger, salt and cinnamon. Add eggs.; lightly beat with fork to combine. Gradually stir in milk and maple syrup. Pour filling into pastry shell. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Uncover edges. Reduce oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully spread Brown Sugar Meringue over hot filling; seal to edge. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Loosely cover and refrigerate within 2 hours.

Gingersnap-Graham Crust:In large bowl combine 3/4 cup finely crushed gingersnaps (12 cookies), 1/2 cup finely crushed graham crackers (7 squares), and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter. Spread evenly on bottom and up the sides of 9-inch pie plate.

Brown Sugar Meringue:In large mixing bowl let 3 egg whites stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until mixture forms stiff peaks (tips stand straight).

This isn't the greatest picture, but you get the idea. And it was seems like the brown sugar sort of beaded up on top of the meringue once it cooled.

Easy Shepherd's Pie

This is a really easy shepherd's pie recipe that I like to make when I'm pretty much out of dinner ideas. Plus it's just a nice comfort food.

3-4 cups prepared mashed potatoes either homemade or instant
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1 pound ground sirloin
1 can corn, drained
1 can peas, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheese of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the carrots and cook until just tender. Add the onions, garlic and ground beef and cook until beef is browned.

Turn the heat on low and add in the corn, peas and cream of mushroom soup. Stir until heated through, just a couple minutes. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

And beef mixture to a 9x13 dish, cover with the mashed potatoes,

and top with shredded cheese.

Place in preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Let it rest for a few minutes and serve.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Italian Sausage, Peppers and Onions

I've made a pretty similar recipe before, so this was only slightly different. It was quite delicious though! I used a recipe I found on All Recipes.

1 package Jennie-O hot turkey sausages
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 - 1/2 cup beer

2 tbsp. tomato paste

Place the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown on all sides. Remove from skillet, and slice. Leave a little of the oil from sausages in the pan and add the olive oil and heat on medium. Stir in the yellow onion, red onion, and garlic, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in red bell pepper and green bell pepper. Season with basil, and oregano. Stir in beer and tomato paste. Continue to cook and stir until peppers and onions are tender. Return sausage slices to skillet with the vegetables. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, or until sausage is heated through. We served it over brown rice.

Tiliapia foil packet

Sunday afternoon we still didn't really know what we were going to have for dinner. We decided on fish since it would defrost pretty quickly. We also decided to just throw whatever veggies we had into a foil packet and toss it in the oven. I found this recipe and sort of used as a jumping off point. It turned out pretty good, but I think maybe adding a veggie with some juice, like tomatoes or something, would have added another layer of flavor to the dish and would have given it some more juice to soak up. Next time we'll try that.

1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 pound asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 red pepper cut into bite size pieces
1/4 - 1/2 head broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
3/4 cup snap peas
1 lemon
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt , divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper , divided
2-4 pieces tilapia

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine onion, asparagus, red pepper, broccoli the juice of the one lemon, oregano, olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. of the pepper in a large bowl. Place snap peas in a microwavable bowl with 1 tablespoon water. Cover and microwave on high until the peas are just beginning to cook, about 30 seconds. Drain and add to the other vegetables. To make a packet, lay two 30-inch sheets of foil on top of each other (the double layers will help protect the contents from burning); generously coat the top piece with cooking spray. Place one portion of tilapia in the center of the foil. Sprinkle with some of the remaining salt and pepper, then top with some of the vegetable mixture. Bring the short ends of the foil together, leaving enough room in the packet for steam to gather and cook the food. Fold the foil over and pinch to seal. Pinch seams together along the sides. Make sure all the seams are tightly sealed to keep steam from escaping. Repeat with more foil, cooking spray and the remaining fish, salt, pepper and vegetables. Bake the packets directly on an oven rack until the tilapia is cooked through and the vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. To serve, carefully open both ends of the packets and allow the steam to escape. Use a spatula to slide the contents onto plates. We served it with some brown rice.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lentil Noodle Soup/Stew

Once again we had forgotten to take any sort of meat out of the freezer, so I had to think of what else we had on hand for dinner. I realize vegetarians eat meat-free meals all the time, but for some reason it's so hard for me to come up with filling meat-free meals. I really would like to try to eat some more vegetarian based meals, so maybe in the future you'll see more of those.

I had bought some lentils awhile ago and really wanted to try using them in a meal so I went on a search on the Internet. I came across this recipe but quickly realized I didn't have any beef broth at home, nor did I have 4 cups of chicken stock. I did have 2 cups of chicken stock and just decided to add some water and more spices to the mix to add more flavor. (I would really recommend trying to use the 4 cups of some sort of broth/stock like the recipe called for). The results were delicious! And it really thickened up so it was really filling. We also had some leftover cooked penne noodles so I added that to the mix as well. Below is what I ended up throwing together.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3/4 cup chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups fresh spinach
2-3 cups cooked pasta of your choice - I used penne

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the oil, onion, carrots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, or until onions are tender. Add the broth/water and bring mixture to a boil. Add the lentils, tomato sauce, ketchup, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Add in the 2 cups of fresh spinach and allow to wilt into the stew. Add the cooked pasta and heat through.

I served this with some really easy cheesy, garlic-butter Bisquick biscuits.

2 cups Original Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Heat oven to 450ºF. Stir Bisquick mix, milk and cheese until soft dough forms. Drop dough by 9 spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Stir together butter and garlic powder; brush over warm biscuits.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chicken, Cheese and Bean Quesadillas

Since I had some leftover cooked chicken, I decided to whip up this quick and tasty meal. They were so good! And leftovers for lunch were just as delicious.

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped/shredded
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. Red Hot sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
4, 10-inch flour tortillas
shredded cheese of your choice

Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add the sliced onion and cook for a few minutes until just soft. Add the chicken, water, chili powder, cumin, Red Hot sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in the beans and cook for 2-3 more minutes to heat through.

Take a tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on it, layer on the chicken-cheese-bean mixture, sprinkle on another layer of cheese and place the other tortilla on top.

Place in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. You might want to cover it with foil to make sure they don't burn, or just keep a good eye on it. This made two quesadillas and we served it with sour cream, homemade guacamole and fresh salsa. Mmmm, mmmm good!

Skillet Potatoes

I wanted to make roasted potatoes, but the oven was already in use so I had to make stove top potatoes instead. These turned out so good!

2 tbsp. olive oil
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes, onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper and basically just cook the potatoes until cooked through and slightly brown. Enjoy!

Roast Lemon Chicken

I think was like the second time in my life that I cooked a whole chicken. The first time I did it, the chicken was as dry as can be. I found this relatively simple recipe and decided to give it a shot. Well it wasn't dry, but it wasn't very flavorful either. I made the garlic paste and rubbed half inside the chicken and half on the outside. Well duh...the garlic on the outside burnt to a crisp (I picked it off so the picture wouldn't look so I think next time I'll put the garlic paste underneath the skin. So I'll try this again, just using a different technique.

3-4 pound whole chicken
1-2 lemons
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the giblets and any fat from the chicken cavity. Roll the lemons on the counter with your hand to soften them, and cut into slices. In a small bowl, mash the garlic with the salt until a paste forms. Rub half this paste inside the chicken and then stuff the lemons into the cavity. Rub the remaining paste on the outside of the chicken. Place in a shallow roasting pan, on a rack (you can use sliced onions for a rack for even more flavor), pour the chicken broth around the chicken. Roast for 60-65 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees F, juices run clear when pricked with a fork, and the drumstick moves easily in its socket. Cover the chicken and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the pan juices (don't eat the lemons!). Serves 4

We served the chicken with a side of skillet potatoes and roasted homegrown beets.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sour Cream Apple Pie

While on the Decorating and Renovating board over on The Nest, nestie DianeTaylor posted this recipe. It calls for 4-5 large Granny Smith apples but I only used 1 large Granny Smith apple and 2 Empire apples and it was plenty. I saw it and just had to try it! It was so easy and really good! It made the house smell fabulous too. Enjoy!

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. flour

1-1/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
3 tbsp. all purpose flour
4 or 5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
Pie crust (you can make your own, or use a pre-made one from the refrigerator section of the grocery store — I used this) fitted into a deep-dish 9" or 10" pie plate and chilled

To make the topping, in a bowl blend the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and flour until the mixture is combined well. Cover and chill the topping.

To make the filling, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, and flour until the mixture is smooth. Add the peeled, cored, and thinly sliced apples and stir the filling and apples together.

Spoon the filling into the chilled shell and crumble the topping evenly over it.

Bake the pie on a baking sheet in the middle of a pre-heated 350-degree oven, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. (You might need to put a bit of tinfoil on top of the pie during the last 15 minutes to prevent the top from burning.) Transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spicy Turkey Burgers

We had some ground turkey waiting to be used so I decided to make turkey burgers. I had never made turkey burgers before so I wanted something with a lot of flavor in it. These delivered! Jim really liked them too which is a plus! I found this recipe on the Food Network website. The recipe called for 12 ounces of turkey but I had 20 ounces, so I modified the recipe as necessary.

20 ounces ground turkey (one package Jennie-O ground turkey)
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. cumin powder
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 egg
2 tbsp salsa
1/4 - 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
salt to taste

In a large bowl mix together the oregano, pepper, cumin powder, garlic powder, egg, salsa and salt. Add the turkey and mix thoroughly. Add breadcrumbs until you get a consistency you can shape into burgers. Shape into 4-5 burgers. Cook on stove top in cast iron grill pan or on outdoor grill over medium heat. Cook burgers 6-8 minutes per side until center is no longer pink (about 165 degrees Fahrenheit if you have a temperature probe). Serve on a bun with whatever toppings you like. I made guacamole to go with ours! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Garlic Cheddar Chicken

I was lurking on the What's Cooking board over on The Nest and came across this recipe on the Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats blog.

The recipe can also be found over on All Recipes. This was so simple to make and so good! Jim was surprised at how good it was since it was so easy to make. We'll definitely be making this again. Click here for the actual recipe which serves 8. I changed the All Recipes recipe to feed two, but we had some GIANT chicken breasts, so belows rendition can be used for bigger chicken breasts.

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded thin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter and olive oil in a saucepan over low heat, and cook the garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese and pepper. Dip each chicken breast in the garlic butter to coat, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish (or on a rack on a baking sheet). Drizzle with any remaining butter and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Enjoy!

Slow cooker BBQ Chicken

We had this package of chicken thighs in our freezer for who knows how long! I seriously didn't know if they were even good anymore. I figured the only way to make sure they didn't taste like freezer once cooked, was to slow-cook the heck out of them, and that's what I I got this recipe from the FIX-IT and FORGET-IT Cookbook. It turned out pretty good. The chicken was nice and tender and didn't taste like old Next time I'd like to try using a whole chicken, cut in pieces.

2 lbs chicken pieces
1/4 cup flour
1 cup ketchup
2 cups water
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 drops Tabasco sauce (I used way more than 2 drops)
1/4 tsp. garlic salt (I used garlic powder instead)
1/4 tsp. onion salt (I used celery salt instead)

Dust chicken lightly with the flour and transfer to the slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover, cook on low for 5 hours. Enjoy!

Grilled Steak

I know it's nothing really exciting but steak, mashed potatoes and corn was always one of my favorite meals! Jim made a parsely-garlic butter sauce to pour over the steak, mmmm mmmm mmmmm. I just had to share.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sausage and Pasta Bake

Once again, a shout-out to the people at Jennie-O Turkey for the hot Italian sausage. I love this stuff! I was stranded at home since our truck was in the shop so I had to come up with something using stuff we already had. I thought it turned out pretty yummy!

I used a packaged Alfredo sauce, but I probably could have just as easily made a bechamel sauce. Maybe next time. I also thought that the one package wasn't enough sauce, but Jim loved it. You could also use a jarred Alfredo sauce as well.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package hot Italian turkey sausage - of course regular Italian sausage will work as well
1 (16 ounce) package mini bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
1-2 cups fresh spinach
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 package Alfredo sauce, prepared
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. In the meantime, heat the oil in a medium skillet on medium-high heat, remove the casings from the sausage and add it to the skillet. With a few minutes of cooking time left, add the chopped garlic and continue to cook the sausage until there is no more pink. Add the bow-tie pasta to the water and cook approximately 7 minutes for the mini-version. Drain and return to the pot adding the spinach so it begins to wilt. Once the sausage is cooked, add it to the pot with the pasta and spinach. Stir in the Alfredo sauce, salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a 13x9 baking dish and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil. At this point I stuck it in the fridge since I wasn't actually cooking it until later. Either way, bake in oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy!