Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

I really wasn't sure what to call this. The original recipe calls it a "salad," but to me that would mean the ingredients are just thrown together, not layers like the it calls for. It just didn't seem to be the right wording. Beyond that, this is delicious! It's the perfect combination of salty and sweet. I think it tastes better after sitting overnight, but word of warning - spray the bottom of your pan. I didn't and have had some trouble getting the crust out the next day.

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert
adapted from Allrecipes

1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
4 1/2 TBS sugar
a stick and a half (3/4 cup) of butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 - 8 oz packages low-fat cream cheese
8 oz container of Lite or Free Cool Whip
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz package strawberry gelatin
16 oz package frozen sliced strawberries, defrosted

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together crushed pretzels, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 10 minutes and no longer or it will take an act of Congress to get your crust cut! Cool completely.

In a medium bowl or with your stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and mix well. Fold in the Cool Whip. Spread over cooled crust. Place in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Mix in gelatin until dissolved. Add in strawberries. Place in the fridge for about 1 hour to firm slightly. 

Once the strawberry mixture has thickened slightly, pour it over the cream cheese mixture in the pan. Refrigerate overnight or at least 2-3 hours.

If you are short for time, you can let the strawberry mixture cool slightly and then pour it over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Again let it sit in the fridge overnight or 2-3 hours minimum. 


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekly Menu - August 29 - September 3

So here we are, August is coming to a close and September is beginning. To me, this signifies the start of fall. School is back in session, the weather is (hopefully) starting to cool off and we are whipping out our "fall/winter" recipes in the hopes of making them without heating the house up too much. I have to say that while I love the crisp vegetables of summer, my true passion for food lies in fall and winter meals. They are so hardy and fulling, true comfort meals. Hurrah for fall!

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
Taco Casserole
Pecan-Crusted Tilapia (because it never got made last week)
Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs

As a bonus: Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monkey Munch (or Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies...)

Again another Morgan-proof "baking" recipe. This is so easy and would be great to make with your kids (if you have any). I actually took this to a Delta Gamma function for collegians and I've never seen a bunch of girls so excited about food. Wait, I take that back. I have seen girls that excited and they were usually Delta Gammas, mainly me. Anyway this is well loved by young and old, just remember to let people know that it is made with PB in case there are any nut allergies. Anaphylaxis is no bueno at a party.

Monkey Munch
from Chex

9 cups Rice Chex
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal into a gallon sized plastic bag or a large bowl with a lid. In a separate bowl, put the chocolate chips, PB and butter. Microwave for a minute and stir. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir, repeat until the butter and chocolate is melted. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and stir to coat. It might help to shake it a little too. Once the squares are evenly coated, add the powdered sugar. Shake until well coated.

Spread the mix out onto wax paper to cool.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sweet Cornbread

I started making this cornbread a couple of years ago. I went in search of something that was sweet and cake-like as opposed to crumbly and dry like I found most cornbread to be. If you are a fan of dry and crumbly then this is not the cornbread for you! Sometimes I'll even make honey butter to spread on it. Yeah I've got a sweet tooth and that another post for another day. Oh and this is one of the few things that I can actually bake meaning it's Morgan-proof!

Sweet Cornbread
adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil (heaping- I just let it overflow a little, like maybe an extra TBS)

Preheat the oven to 400 and spray a 9 inch round pan.
Soak the cornmeal in the milk for 10 minutes. In another bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Mix them into the cornmeal and milk mixture. Stir in the eggs and vegetable oil. Pour the batter in your pan. 

Pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve with butter or honey, butter and honey or nothing at all!


Turkey Chili

I am embarrassed to actually be putting this on here. This is the sort of chili recipe where you are short for time, but need something delicious and easy. Who would have thought that a good chili recipe came from the back of a spice package? Um not me. My sister-in-law was the one that introduced me to this and I have to say it's quite good. Garnishes are a free-for-all, but I like to put Fritos on the bottom and top with chili, cheese (sharp cheddar, please!) and a little sour cream. Now, I put this in the crock pot the last time I made it and it was a little runnier then just sticking it on the stove so just an FYI.

Turkey Chili
adapted from McCormick's

2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 packages McCormick 30% Less Sodium Chili Seasoning Mix
2 - 8oz cans tomato sauce 
1 - 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 - 15oz cans kidney beans, undrained

Brown the turkey meat and drain off any fat. There shouldn't be much if you are using lean turkey meat. Dump in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Top with your favorite garnishes. See I told you it was easy! Now you have time to make the Sweet Cornbread that I like to serve with this.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hot Browns

So this is something that I remember having as a kid. I think my parents took us to have them in Kentucky, but I don't think it was at the Brown Hotel. Anywho, these are delicious, but not low-fat or heart-healthy. The recommended serving is for 2 pieces of toast, but it's so rich that you may only be able to eat one. The original also calls for tomato which I ditched because 1. I don't like cooked tomatoes unless they are chopped up and mixed in something and 2. No one else likes cooked tomatoes in my house. I also put the bacon under the Mornay sauce, but if you want it crispy just lay it over the top after broiling.

Here's a little history lesson on the Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel's site...

In the 1920's, The Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Diners were growing rapidly bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. Exemplifying our unending dedication to serving our guests, The Hot Brown was born!

Hot Browns
adapted from multiple recipes

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk (I used skim with good results)
1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
1 egg, beaten (Optional - if you use a heavier milk or an extra TBS of cream you might not need this)
2 TBS heavy cream
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 - 1 lb oven roasted turkey breast (or leftover Thanksgiving turkey)
8 slices Texas toast, toasted
8 slices crispy bacon (Hate cooking bacon? Me too! Try this easy way from my friend Amber's blog)

Make sure that you have all of your ingredients for the sauce ready before you begin! Having to stop and measure might bring about unfavorable results (like lumpy sauce).
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour with a whisk and continue to cook and keep whisking until it begins to brown slightly. Gradually whisk in the milk so that no lumps form, then bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Mix in Romano cheese and then stir in the beaten egg to thicken. Do not allow the sauce to boil once the egg has been mixed in. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. 

Preheat the oven's broiler. For each hot brown, place two slices of toast into the bottom of an individual sized casserole dish. Cover with a liberal amount of roasted turkey (and tomato slices should you want to include them). Spoon sauce over the top of each one and sprinkle with some of the remaining Romano cheese.

Place the dishes under the broiler and cook until the top is speckled brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the broiler and arrange two slices of bacon in a cross shape on top of each sandwich. Serve immediately. 


Monday, August 23, 2010

How To... Make Homemade Whipped Cream

This is soooo easy and much tastier than the whipped cream in a can! I use my KitchenAid stand mixer to make this, but you could also use a hand mixer. If you can do this with just a whisk then I am thoroughly impressed and you are my new hero! I just don't have the patience nor the strength to hand whip it.

Homemade Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp powdered sugar

Before you begin, place your mixing bowl and beater(s) in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes. 

Once the beater(s) and bowl are sufficiently chilled, pour your cream into the bowl. I turn my KitchenAid to 6 or 8 and let her go. Once the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar. Keep watching for stiff peaks to form. Stop once you see these! Don't overbeat it or you will have butter instead.


Breakfast for Dinner - Waffles

I love having breakfast for dinner! There is just something so yummy about eating waffles or pancakes at anytime of the day. Normally, I just like to go to Cracker Barrel to eat their pancakes, but when you don't to leave the house or spend the money these waffles are just as delicious! This is just a basic recipe so you can add fruit (mmm, blueberries), nuts or spices (cinnamon or nutmeg) to jazz it up.

Homemade Waffle Batter

2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1  3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 TBS sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth. 

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. 

The best way to tell if the waffle is done (without lifting the lid) is the steam. Once you put the mix in and it starts to steam profusely. Wait until the steaming stops or slows to almost a trickle - this tells you that the waffles are done!

Top with syrup, fresh fruit or homemade whipped cream


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

This is definitely a family favorite around here! I make this at least once a month and it is so yummy. I serve it with spaghetti and garlic bread. I'll let the picture do all the talking!

Chicken Parmesan
adapted from Food Network

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup flour, on a shallow plate
2 eggs, lightly beaten, in a pie plate
Jarred pasta sauce (I like Prego)
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 375.
Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound out to 1/2" thickness using a mallet or rolling pin. 

Combine bread crumbs, 1/4 cup parmesan, oregano, basil and cayenne in a pie plate. Coat each breast in the flour, shaking off any excess flour. Dip each breast in the egg and then into the bread crumb mixture. Set coated chicken aside on a plate. 

Spray a non-stick skillet with olive oil spray and heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until golden on both sides.

Spread one cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and top with chicken. Top each breast with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weekly Menu - August 21-27

So summer is drawing to a close and fall is soon to be upon us! Next week is actually September!  Most of the kids here started school a few weeks ago, but I go back this week. My schedule is sort of ridiculous so there will be quite a few Crockpot meals each week. The last thing I will want to do is come home and make a meal when I've been in class or clinicals all day! Plus there will be studying and homework to do. 

Lots of yummy things on the menu this week! 

Chicken Parmesan
Chipotle-style Burritos
Turkey Chili
Pecan-Crusted Tilapia

And as a bonus... Monkey Munch 
(or Puppy Chow or Muddy Buddies... whatever you want to call it)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Favorites - Comfort Meals

So my mom made this multiple times when I was a kid and it was a favorite all around! I'm not going to lie to you, this meal is a production and the chili powders are not something you are going to pick up at Kroger or Publix. This is definitely one of those meals you plan for in advance and do it on the weekend! With that being said, once you've made this you will not regret it. It was as yummy as I remember. 

Now if you are not a type-A like me with the compulsive need to follow the original recipe in regards to spices (I mean it was written that way for a reason right?), my consultant (aka Mom) says that you can substitute 3 tsp pure ancho chili powder for the others. If you want to be compulsive like me you can check out your local Mexican markets or shop at MySpiceSage.com to pick up the original spices. MySpiceSage.com sells all but the New Mexico chili powder, which is the easiest to find elsewhere. Spice Sage has great prices and throws in free spices too! 

Chicken Fried Steak

2 tsp Salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp guajillo chile powder
1 tsp arbol chile powder
1 tsp New Mexico chile powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 pound boneless beef tenderloin steak, filet, or other tender cut of beef steak, cut into 4 equal portions
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, in all
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine the first 10 ingredients in a small bowl to make the seasoning mix.

Place the meat on a flat surface and pound each steak with a meat mallet or the side of a saucer, turning the meat as you pound it, until about ¼ inch thick.  Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the seasoning mix on each side of each steak and rub it in well.                                              

Combine ¾ cup of the flour with 1½ teaspoons of the seasoning mix in a shallow bowl.  Whisk together the egg and milk in another shallow bowl, beating until very frothy and pale yellow.

Heat the oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet over high heat to 350°, about 5 minutes.  While the oil is heating, dredge the steaks one at a time in the seasoned flour, then let them soak 1 to 2 minutes in the egg mixture.  When the oil is hot, dredge each steak one at a time in the flour again, pressing the steak into the flour to coat it thoroughly, and immediately place it in the hot oil.  Fry the steak until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Remove it from the skillet, set aside and keep warm, and repeat the process with the other 3 steaks.  You can fry more than 1 steak at a time, if you can keep track of which one needs to be turned or removed, and as long as you place each steak in the skillet directly after the second dredging in the flour.

Pour out and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the skillet in which the steaks were cooked, leaving the residue of juices from the meat and any brown crust remaining on the bottom.  Heat over high heat, and when the oil sizzles, add the onions and cook until light golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour and gradually add the stock, whisking constantly.  Add the remaining seasoning mix and continue whisking until the gravy comes to a boil, about 2 minutes.  Add the cream and parsley and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Serve immediately.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Pasta

I had two other dishes on the menu that contained a couple of the items in this pasta, mainly the shrimp and sausage. Neither of us really wanted the other dishes and I wanted pasta so I found an Emeril recipe and adapted it to fit what we had. We were definitely rewarded! This was fairly easy to make (although it did require a little bit more prep work than usual) and a little spicy, but oh so yummy!

Cajun Shrimp & Sausage Pasta
adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1/2 - 3/4 lb cooked fettuccine
2 TBS olive oil
1 lb peeled, deveined raw large shrimp
1 TBS plus 2 tsp Essence seasoning (recipe below - I think you can buy this, too.)
1 1/2 smoked turkey sausages, sliced and quartered (I use Butterball)
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 TBS minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Essence Creole Seasoning
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Heat 1 TBS of olive oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Season the shrimp with 2 teaspoons of the Essence. Place the shrimp in the pan and saute until almost done. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. 

Place the remaining TBS of olive oil in the saute pan and onions and bell peppers. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook another minute.

Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds. 

Add the chicken stock to the pan and scrape with a spoon to remove any browned bits that have formed in the bottom of the pan, about 30 seconds. 

Add the thyme, 1 TBS of Essence and 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes. 

Add the heavy cream to the pan and cook an additional 2 minutes. 

Return the shrimp to the pan and pasta to the pan. Continue to cook the sauce and pasta, stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the basil and Parmesan. 


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken & Stuffing

So this is a combination of a couple of recipes and my own culinary genius. Just kidding - I think it's mostly pure luck. It was very yummy and perfect for our rainy night. Next time I will probably go with the low-sodium Stove Top or a different stuffing all together. The regular stuff was kind of salty in my personal opinion. As usual my SIL and hubby loved it! I served this with mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls. 

Slow Cooker Chicken & Stuffing
adapted from multiple recipes

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 sticks of butter 
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used the 98% fat-free)
1 cup sour cream (I use Daisy Light)
2 boxes of low-sodium Stove Top Chicken stuffing
1 cup water

Cut up the chicken into large chunks. Put it into the slow cooker with 1/2 stick of butter and salt, paprika, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. 

30-45 minutes before you are ready to eat, add in the cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Prepare the stuffing with a stick of melted butter and 1 cup of water. You want it to be moist, but not soggy or mushy. Put it in on top of the chicken mixture. Cook on high for 30-45 minutes. 


Monday, August 16, 2010

Mexican Rice

This is a great side for enchiladas or tacos. It's so yummy and easy!

Mexican Rice
adapted from multiple recipes

2 TBS Canola oil
1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken stock (I love Kitchen Basics!)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden. Once rice is golden, stir in garlic powder, salt, cumin and onion powder. Continue cooking 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.

Add in salsa, tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork. 


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekly Menu - August 15-20

It seems the theme of this week might be "comfort food". I am very excited about the menu for this week and I hope my family is too. There are a few recipes from past weeks that I never made because it ended up being a pizza night because of schedules. I am going to attempt to make them this week. I'm trying my hand at baking again with some homemade biscuits. Let's hope I don't blow up my sister-in-law's house or something. I may need a back-up if they turn out to be little rocks. 

Tacos & Mexican Rice
Black Beans & Rice
Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp
Homemade Southern Biscuits

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mango Mimosa

So I was at a brunch this morning for one of my friend's birthdays and the hostess served these delicious mimosas! It was something that she had while on a trip to Jamaica and has been addicted ever since. Now, I have had my fair share of mimosas as it's a family tradition to have them on Christmas morning, but never would I have imagined this twist on tradition. My hostess told me that she picks up the mango nectar at Trader Joe's, but if you do not have one then I'm assuming that it could be easily obtained at another store similar to it.  Definitely adding this to the mimosa selection on Christmas morning!

Mango Mimosas
from a friend

Mango nectar
(We can debate champagne in a later blog post. My favorite is Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, but I'm a champagne snob. You can use Korbel Brut for mimosas.)

Using a champagne glass, fill 1/2 of the glass with champagne. Wait for the bubbles to subside and then add mango nectar. 


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Honey Mustard Chicken

This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman (lovingly known as PW or P-Dub). I have made this several times with glowing reviews from the family. Her recipe is definitely a higher fat content which on this last making I tried to cut some out. I'm not sure it tasted the same. It's slightly reminicent of Alice Springs Chicken from Outback minus the mushrooms. We also decided on this last go round that this would be fabulous if we used a barbeque chicken breast with bacon and a sharp cheddar. Yummy!

Honey Mustard Chicken
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
juice of 1/2 of a lemon (approx 2 TBS)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Thick-cut bacon 
Colby-Jack cheese slices

In a large bowl mix together Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, paprika and salt. Mix until smooth.  

Place chicken between two sheets of waxed paper and pound to around 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick with a mallet. Next, add the chicken to the bowl with the marinade, cover and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

While the chicken is marinating, fry up the bacon. I will tell you that it is worth it to actually fry up bacon as opposed to using the pre-cooked boxed stuff. I used this last time and it wasn't quite right. 

Preheat oven to 400.

Place skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium high heat. If you want a little extra flavor, use the same skillet you cooked the bacon in after have pour off the grease. Those little tidbits in the bottom will give the chicken a little extra oomph! Add the chicken and cook until well browned. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. 

Make a little extra of the marinade to go over the chicken - 1/4 cup Dijon, 1/4 honey, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 TBS lemon juice.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon about 2-3 TBS of the extra marinade (the one you made above, not that nasty stuff you marinated your chicken in!). Cover with bacon and cheese. Put it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Twice-Baked Loaded Mashed Potatoes

These were so yummy! These are perfect if you want twice-baked potatoes, but don't want to mess around with trying to keep the skin intact and stuffing the shell. I know that I personally rip the skin every single time. Now if you are a pro (like my mom) you can just follow this recipe and just put the filling back into the shells.

Twice Baked Loaded Mashed Potatoes
adapted from my mom

6 baking potatoes - at least 4 inches long
3/4 - 1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper (I am estimating this - just eyeball this and add more if need be)
6 slices bacon, chopped or real bacon bits
Chives or green onions (optional)

Bake the potatoes at 450 for one hour. Remove them from the oven and pierce with a knife in the middle. Let them sit 10-15 minutes. Cut them in half and let them sit until you can handle them. I normally put on an oven mitt at this point so I don't have to wait. Scoop out the innards into a bowl. Use a knife to cut through the chunks. It should look fluffy like a baked potato.

Pour in butter, toss with a fork, add dollops of sour cream and toss with a fork. Stir in bacon, 1 cup cheese, salt, pepper and chives or green onions. Put mixture in a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cincinnati (Skyline) Chili

Okay so I will say that this recipe comes from my mom and I know that it works. I tried to half it and it didn't work so much. I got a little distracted when I was putting in the chili powder so I'm not sure if I added 1/2 TBS too much or what. 

Now the great debate with Cincinnati-style chili recipes is chocolate or no chocolate. My mom says no chocolate, but if you taste it and feel like it's missing something then you could probably add 1/2 oz of unsweetened chocolate, something like Baker's. One square is an ounce and it's scored so that you can easily divide it to get 1/2 an ounce.

For those unfamiliar with Cincinnati-style chili, it's more like a sauce then actual "chili". I do not advise you to put it in a bowl to eat like other chili recipes! It's traditionally served over spaghetti with cheese (3-way) or over hot dogs on a bun with cheese (Cheese Coney). You can also add kidney beans, onions or both - 4-way for just one or 5-way if you add both.

Cincinnati (Skyline) Chili

2 lb ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 TBS vinegar
8 oz tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
4 TBS chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBS Worcestershire
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp paprika
5 bay leaves
1 qt water

Put the water into a pot and add the meat breaking it up until it's fine. I just did it with my hands. Simmer until the meat is done - by the time it starts simmering it will most likely be done - about 5-10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 2-3 hours. Serve over spaghetti or hot dogs with finely shredded mild cheddar cheese.

This can easily be frozen for future meals!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Weekly Menu - August 7-13

This week is going to be deliciously awesome! I have a lot of favorites on my list.

Turkey Tenderloin with Twice-Baked Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

Friday, August 6, 2010

Banana Nut Bread, Or This is Why Morgan Doesn't Bake

So the other night I had a bunch of uneaten very ripe bananas and I thought some banana nut bread would be delish! I had all the ingredients except the nuts so I picked those up that afternoon. I made the dough and put it into my loaf pan. I used the exact same size pan that was recommended in the recipe, yet it seemed a little full. I thought "Oh well it will be fine, it shouldn't puff up too much!"

30 minutes later it starts to smell like something is burning so I check out the oven. The bread has exploded over the edge and has dripped on the floor of the oven. Oops! So I grab a baking sheet and put it under the bread pan hoping to prevent more drips. 10 minutes later the burning smell gets worse. I go to check it out and this is what I see...

AHHHHH!!! Help, honey there is a FIRE in the OVEN!

I grab the extinguisher, but hubby says that he will take care of it. At this point he looks over at me and says "See Morgan, this is why you are NOT allowed to bake!"

How is it that I can cook with no problems, but when I bake something inevitably goes wrong?

Beyond this snafu, the bread was actually very yummy and did not taste like smoke. Next time, I would want to add chocolate chips and possibly use a bigger pan.

Banana Nut Bread
adapted from AllRecipes

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. <-- I might suggest a larger loaf pan?

I like using my KitchenAid for this part. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. 

Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

As you all know, I ♥ PW (also known as Pioneer Woman). She always has the yummiest recipes that are easy and hubby-friendly. I made a few changes to the original recipe to make it a little more hubby-friendly.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 cup cooked, shredded chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups dry spaghetti, broken into two inch pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 TBS finely diced green pepper
2 TBS finely diced onion
1 cup chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics)
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook spaghetti in chicken broth and water until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.

Place mixture in 8x8 casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Bake for 45 minutes until bubbly. If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil.

You can also double this for leftovers and put it in a 9x13 casserole pan.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Spicy Orange Shrimp

This was very good, but SPICY! I know, I know the title says "Spicy," but I was thinking this would be more of a combination of spicy and sweet. It will definitely clear your sinuses if you are having issues. I'm pretty tolerant of spicy stuff, but this was a little too much! I will definitely make this again, but only use half of the chili paste.

Spicy Orange Shrimp
adapted from Myrecipes.com

1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 TBS cornstarch
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2  TBS low-sodium soy sauce
2 TBS honey
1 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
2 TBS canola oil
1 TBS minced peeled fresh ginger (I just use prepared chopped ginger)
3 garlic cloves, minced

Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch; toss well to coat. Set aside.

Combine juice, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and chile paste, stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced ginger and garlic to pan; stir-fry for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Add shrimp and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until slightly pink. Add juice mixture; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens and shrimp are done, stirring frequently. Serve over rice.



Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekly Menu - August 2-6

Happy one month anniversary to my blog! 

Things are going to start getting interesting around here the next couple of weeks. I start fall semester on the 25th and I will be officially full time in the nursing program. So all my classes will be nursing classes with clinicals and lots of reading and studying. Mostly I think the recipes are going to get more simple and possibly more centered around the slow cooker. It's really going to depend on my schedule. I will have a one week period where I will not have any classes between summer and fall semester so I'm thinking that I will use that time to test my cooking skills and pull out some of my mom's recipes! 

Here is this week's menu:
Black Beans and Rice