Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cherry "Dump" Cake

In the past month, this recipe has come up twice during recipe conversations so I thought it was time to try it out! What's great is that it is so nice and simple! A mom at my mom's group mentioned it and then my sister suggested I try it too. Some make it with pineapple, but I decided to do mine without.

1 can cherry pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Open can of cherry pie filling and "dump" it into a 9 x 13-in pan. Spread it evenly on the bottom.
  • Open yellow cake mix and pour it onto the cherry pie filling.
  • Slice the stick of butter and randomly place the butter pats across the top. To be technical, I was able to fit 5 rows of butter with 4 pats across.
  • Bake for 50 minutes and enjoy!

OK, so I just finished making this and have some ideas. Don't try to put it in a smaller pan (like I did). There is too much cake mix for a smaller pan. I'm not sure if that affected my cake (because I had to transfer it into a bigger pan), but it wasn't as incredible as I expected. I may like this better with the pineapple. I also think it would be delicious if I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream! It was good, it just wasn't as incredible as I'd heard......I'd be interested to know how it turns out for you if you try it!

"Lasagna Mac"

Well, this one's right off the back of the box of the Kraft Mac & Cheese! But WOW is it YUMMY! Probably because it's so cheesy. Being a Wisconsin cheese head myself, that's right up my alley. Last night, I was just going to make a basic meal of mac-n-cheese with cut up hot dogs, but then I saw this recipe on the back of the box but below I tailored it a bit. I had all the ingredients and it sounded good, so that was our dinner. We only had a little left over, so I made more today for lunch! J just loved it and ate his entire helping.

1 box (14 oz) deluxe mac and cheese dinner (we used Kraft's sharp cheddar with cheese sauce)
1 lb ground beef
1 jar (14 oz) spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
*minced garlic
*chopped green pepper

* = my additions

  • Prepare the mac & cheese as directed on package including mixing in the cheese sauce.
  • At the same time, brown the ground beef. Add garlic and green pepper. Once the meat is no longer pink, drain and add spaghetti sauce. Let simmer for 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Alternate a layer of the meat sauce and a layer of the mac & cheese. Repeat layers and then top with the shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Grandma's Rice

The picture doesn't do this justice. I love casseroles, especially ones with rice and ground beef. This one I found a few months ago and made it tonight to bring to a friend who is a new mom. The recipe can be found at allrecipes.com but after making a few of my own modifications (like omitting olives and bacon), I'm writing out the details here.

1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion (I used dried minced onion)
1/2 cup shopped green pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bag frozen corn
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt (optional) - I omitted
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp melted butter

  • Cook the beef, onion and green pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  • Stir in the cooked rice, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, garlic powder and (optional) salt. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  • Add 1 cup of cheese, stir until melted.
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish (I used 9 x 13-in). Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Toss bread crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle over the top.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
We like eating this with french bread. Enjoy!

Quick Chili Powder

I was making a recipe today and found out I didn't have any chili powder. I did a little searching on the internet and found a quick way to make it with my own ingredients.

1 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp garlic powder

Mix everything together and store in an air-tight container.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Upside Down "Pizza"

So this definitely isn't a gourmet meal, but it worked great when I didn't have much in the house. I didn't make it to the grocery store before dinner, so I needed to find a recipe that would use ground beef, spaghetti sauce and cheese. I had cheese in little star shapes that I got for J, but he didn't really like them so I used them up. It was fortunate that I also had crescent rolls, because that really made the recipe.

My husband really liked it. I was thinking there wasn't much too it; just spaghetti sauce with meat with a thin dough crust, but he said the main thing is it tasted good. It was good and we both had seconds. My son was not at all into eating tonight, so I couldn't find out if he liked it or not.

I got this recipe from allrecipes.com so you can click on the link or follow the instructions below.

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 T chopped or minced garlic
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (8 ounce) can crescent rolls

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Brown beef, onion and garlic in sauce pan over medium high heat. Once browned, drain fat and stir in spaghetti sauce.
  • In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread a layer of sauce. Top with 1/2 the cheese and 1/2 the Parmesan, add another layer of sauce and then the rest of the cheese.
  • Top with crescent rolls, pinching the seams together.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Chicken

I saw this recipe on a blog I visit called Live, Laugh and Love. I am including a link to the recipe on her website, and also writing it out below. Visit Julia at Live, Laugh and Love.

So I have found really tasty chicken like this at Chinese restaurants, but I never looked for a recipe to make myself. I love this combination of ingredients for the sauce with the brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic especially. This is a keeper! So when I made this, the sauce never actually thickened so I took 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with a little water and then mixed that into the sauce. After a few minutes, it thickened up quite nicely. This was really yummy and reminded my husband and I of some of the great chicken dishes we've had at our favorite Chinese restaurants.

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic (chopped or crushed)
3 tablespoons hot sauce
1-2 pounds chicken breasts or strips (I used chicken breasts)

*optional: Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon corn starch with water to the sauce if it doesn't thicken

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  • Brown the chicken on both sides.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  • Simmer, uncovered until the sauce thickens (about 10 minutes).

We made ours with rice and broccoli but my husband thought it would be great with pea pods added too. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tasty Roast Chicken Vegetable Soup

I recently picked up a whole chicken that we had a few meals from. It was time to figure out what to do with the carcass. I did a google search, and after investigating several I finally found what I was looking for at The Boston Globe.

When you click the link, you'll see the entire recipe. There is a recipe for the broth and there is a recipe for the vegetables that later get mixed in with the broth.

Here were my personal additions:
  • I added about 2 tablespoons of olive oil for flavor.
  • I added about 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic, also for flavor.
  • I added various spices (some parsley, some Spike seasoning and some McCormick Garlic Herb chicken seasoning - maybe 1 teaspoon each.)

  • Instead of button mushrooms I just used pre-sliced white mushrooms.
  • I also added about 7 or 8 small (cut up) red potatoes I pre-cooked in the microwave for 6 minutes.
  • I added about 1 cup of egg noodles.

Hope you enjoy it! Another cold-day comfy meal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

(Slow Cooker) Pork Rib Ragu with Pasta

**I forgot to take a picture, so this picture wasn't mine! Mine wasn't as fancy and didn't have the Parmesan on top.**

I have been looking for some good slow-cooker recipes now that it's fall and I have a new one I tried. I got this from the Fix it and Forget it slow cooker series. This was awesome! I haven't made something in a while that's just wowed me. It wasn't even that amazing, it's just that the flavors really blended well together and I just love pork ribs. The meat was so tender. My son is a pretty picky eater and he ate more of his dinner this time than he has in a while.

3 t vegetable oil
2 carrots, diced
2 pieces celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 to 2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
1 cup beef broth
2 T tomato paste
1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
1-1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t pepper and salt
1 box bow tie pasta

  • In large skillet, heat half of the oil over high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook stirring frequently about 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet.
  • Add the rest of the oil to the skillet and the pork ribs. Cook about 5 minutes until browned turning once.
  • Transfer pork ribs to 5-quart slow cooker. Top with the vegetables.
  • In a small bowl, combine beef broth and tomato paste. Stir and pour over the ribs.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes and half of the Italian seasoning and pepper.
  • Cook for 7 hours on low or for 5 to 5-1/2 hours on high. (I cooked mine for 5-1/2 hours on high.)
  • Skim off any fat and remove pork ribs with a slotted spoon. Set aside. Stir remaining Italian seasoning, remaining pepper and the salt into the cooking liquid. Shred the pork into bite-sized chunks or smaller and add to the cooking liquid.

Serve ribs with sauce over bow tie pasta and enjoy!

Picture credit: msianinlongisland.com

Shortcut Pumpkin Bread

I got this recipe out of my November "Parents" magazine. I've never made pumpkin bread before, and this sounded like a quick and yummy way to make it. I decided to do store bought frosting, although you could do homemade. Mmmmm....this was so good! It tasted like cake. It was moist with a light pumpkin flavor.

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup mashed bananas
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom (this was my addition)

*Prepare the yellow cake mix according to package directions but omit the water.
*Stir in the pumpkin and banana.
*Add the cinnamon and cardamom
*Mix and blend until no lumps
*Pour into a 9" greased loaf pan
*Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.
*Allow to cool and add frosting if desired

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Over the Halloween weekend, I made some devil's food cupcakes for the kids. I forgot to pick up vanilla frosting which I usually just buy, so I decided to make my own. I used a basic cream cheese frosting recipe that I modified for quantity. This was more than enough for 24 cupcakes and I had some left over too.

1 (8 oz) package of softened cream cheese
1 stick softened butter (1 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy.
Stir in vanilla extract.
Slowly add powdered sugar.
Beat until creamy smooth.

Use as frosting for cakes, cupcakes or your favorite sweet bread (like banana, pumpkin, or zucchini).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yummy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

'Tis the season for slow cooking! I have been meaning to get more use out of my slow cooker and finally did it. I hope to be doing a lot more of this during the cold weather months. I decided to start with pot roast, which was one of my favorite comfort meals that my mom would make when I was little. Hers was just delicious! So I visited several different sites on the internet and came up with this recipe. It really turned out well. I cooked it on high, but ended up cooking it for 5 hours so the meat would be extra tender.

(I forgot to take a picture so I used one that looked like it with a link below.)

2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
1 can cola (I used Coke)
2-3 pound roast (I used a bottom round roast)
1 bag mini red potatoes
1 bag mini carrots

Place the roast in the slow cooker.
Pour the rest of the ingredients on top.
Cook on high setting for about 4 hours or low setting for 8 to 10 hours. (The longer you cook, the more tender the meat will be.)

Photo credit: Trisha