Friday, February 25, 2011

February 17, 2011

Well, D is back on his swing shift so he won't be here for dinner.  Which makes cooking for 1 1/2 people not all that fun, plus trying to keep both kids occupied while I am in the kitchen is a monumental task.  So I got this recipe from my friend Joy several years ago.  It can easily be doubled and frozen.

Skillet Lasagna
Any brand of curly-edged lasagna noodles will work.  Do not use no-boil noodles.  If the pasta is really dry and prone to shattering, you may need to add extra water to the skillet while the pasta cooks.  If you can't find meatloaf mix, use 8 oz ground beef and 8 oz ground pork.  Like it spicey?  Increase the amount of red pepper flakes.

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb meat loaf mix
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz  whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 minced fresh basil

1.Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a quart measuring cup.  Add enough water (I used red wine) to measure 4 cups.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-in nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add the meatloaf mix (I used a combo of ground beef and ground turkey) and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
4. Sprinkle the noodle pieces evenly over the meat.  Pour the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce over the pasta.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-lo and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.  (The sauce should look watery after 15 minutes of cooking.  If dry, add up to 1/4 cup of water to loosen the sauce.)
5. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta cheese of the noodles.  Cover the skillet and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the extra Parmesan separately.

*I add extra Oregano, Thyme, Basil, and Marjoram.  You can add Italian seasoning too it which is the same thing.

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

So instead of going out, D and I thought it would be nice to stay home and celebrate with the boys.  Our dinner tonight was way better than anything we could have gotten at any restaurant.

Steamed Shrimp and Lobster
2 lbs shrimp, devained and cleaned
2 medium lobster tails, cut and cleaned
Zatarain's Crab Boil
Any seasoning in your cupboard

In a steamer pot, bring water and 2 oz Zatarain's Crab boil to a boil.
Cut down the center of the lobster tail and pull the meat out so it is resting on top of the shell
Dust shrimp with any seasoning you want.  Tonight we used Oregano, Basil, Old Bay and who knows what else D pulled out of the cupboard.  Place the steamer basket over boiling water and cover.  Let the tails steam  for 5-8 minutes or until they are white in color and not to tough to push on.  Remove lobster tails and add shrimp and steam until pink.

Pasta and Peppers
12 ounces uncooked penne or bowtie, or large shell pasta
2 medium sweet red peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium yellow peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 tbsp white wine or additional broth
2 tbsp minced fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
crushed red pepper
Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large non stick skillet, saute peppers in butter until crisp tender.  Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer.  Combine cornstarch, broth and wine or more broth until smooth; stir into pepper mixture.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-23 minutes or until thickened.

Remove from heat; stir in the basil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, oregano.  Drain pasta and toss with pepper mixture.  Stir in Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with parsley.

Like I said, this was an awesome Valentine's day dinner.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 11, 2010

We had some friends over and I had been craving some crab chowder.  I made this recipe last year and thought of ways to improve it.

Crab-Sweet Corn Chowder

3 cups frozen whole kernel corn
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 (29 oz) can chicken broth
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 - 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 medium potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper or yellow pepper, or green pepper
12 oz crab meat

In a 2 qt sauce pan, cook 1 1/2 cup of the whole kernel corn, the onion, and garlic in hot cooking oil until the onion is tender.
Carefully add chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in whipping cream, salt, white pepper, and Old Bay and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. *Watch carefully because it can boil over and burn.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, cook potato, red pepper, and 1/2 cup of the corn in salted water until done.  *Note, the potato and corn will talk longer than the pepper to cook so add the pepper when the potatoes are almost done.
Add the soup, the potatoes, peppers, and corn to a blender and puree until smooth
Return to soup pot and add remaining corn and bring back to a warm temperature.
Add the crab and stir thoroughly.
Garnish with parsley or strips of pepper and serve with warm bread and a salad.

This is not a quick soup so allow time to cook it.  You can easily double this recipe and freeze it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 8, 2011

Ever since I was pregnant with Hayden I have been craving Buffalo chicken and ranch.  I don't care what form it comes in, I just crave that combination.  To me, Buffalo Wild Wings has the best Buffalo Ranch Wrap.  I have been trying to figure out how to duplicate it at home for a fraction of the cost.  Last week, I bought chicken, wraps, lettuce, tomato, and some Cheddar Cheese.  Most of the recipes I found called for coating the chicken in a batter and deep frying.  I know this will taste good, but I wondered if there was a healthier way of preparing it.  Then I came across this recipe today:

Buffalo Chicken Wrap


Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
  1. 1Pre season chicken with garlic powder, salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. 2Combine 1/3 cup of hot sauce and 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a large plastic storage bag.
  3. 3Add the chicken and shake a bit to ensure chicken is evenly coated with marinade.
  4. 4Marinade chicken at least 30 minutes.
  5. 5Grill chicken until done.
  6. 6Slice chicken into strips.
  7. 7Place chicken in bowl and add 1/3 cup of hot sauce and dressing and cheese, mix well.
  8. 8Place chicken mixture and lettuce down the center of the tortilla.
  9. 9Roll tortilla in same fashion as a burrito.
  10. 10Cut in half.
  11. 11Enjoy!

  1. I used about a pound of chicken tenderloins and substituted the cheddar cheese for the monterey jack cheese, and used ranch salad dressing, and added tomatoes at the end.  It thoroughly satisfied my craving for buffalo chicken.  I used a grill pan and it worked fine for me.  Next time, I don't think I will mix the cheese in with the chicken and just add it on top.  Also, I used Texas Pete Wing Sauce instead of Franks.  
    I paired my wrap with homemade potato flats.
    Potato Flats
    2 small potatoes per person Cooking Spray Creole Seasoning or Salt and Pepper
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Scrub the potatoes and let dry.  I use a mandolin, but if you don't have one, slice them as thin as you can get them.  If you do use a mandolin, slice them to the thickness that you like.   I use the thinest setting.  Spray a baking sheet or large cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Lay the potato flats out on the pan.  You can let them over lap a little bit but not much.  Spray the potatoes again with cooking spray and season to taste.  I usually use a creole seasoning because it gives them some kick.  Bake until the start to turn brown.  Be careful because the go from done to burnt very quickly if you aren't careful.   I eat them as is, but my hubby likes to dip them in ketchup.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

I am so sorry to have lost track of my dinners.  Actually, to be honest I haven't done that much "real" cooking.  Oh, I have made the baked chicken with some sort of store bought, processed food side dish and a vegetable, but nothing worth writing about.  I had to go to my in-laws for a while because my husband's grandfather was in the hospital and then the family and I took a mini vacation to a really cool resort in Myrtle Beach.

So today I was looking for a hearty chicken recipe and came across one from Campbell Soups.  Usually I'm not one to take a recipe from the outside of a soup can, but on the reviews this one ranked high so I tried it.

Hearty Chicken Noodle Casserole

  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • cups medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Change MeasurementsUS | Metric


Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
  1. 1Stir soup, milk, black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese, vegetables, chicken and noodles in 1 1/2 quart casserole.
  2. 2Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot.
  3. 3Stir.
  4. 4Top with cheddar cheese.
  1. ?Have a question about this recipe? Ask the community.

I did add some white wine to the mixture.  I found that it lacked a little in salt so you may need to add some.  I also think that some sliced mushrooms would be a nice touch too.  Overall, both the Hubby and I liked this recipe and was told it should stay in the recipe box.

February 6, 2011

It's Super Bowl Time!

I made some really easy, but tasty dishes for a party we had at our house.

Cocktail Wienies
2 packages of cocktail wienies
1 16 oz jar of grape jelly
2 jars of chili sauce

In a crock pot, combine chili sauce and grape jelly turn on high and let the grape jelly melt.  Once the jelly is melted, add the cocktail wienies and let cook for at least 30 minutes.  Turn to warm and serve.

Rotel Dip

1 package of Velveeta Cheese
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilies (i.e. Rotel Tomatoes)

Cut Velveeta cheese into chunks.  Add tomatoes and cheese to a crock pot set to high.  Melt the cheese slowly by adding a few chunks at a time and stir.  Heat until cheese is melted and turn the crock pot to warm. Serve with scoop chips.

Everybody had their own variation on this classic dish, mind you I don't have any exact measurements so it is based on consistency of the eggs.

Deviled Eggs

1 Dozed boiled eggs
Pickle Relish
Brown mustard

In a bowl or food processor, add egg yolks, a table spoon or two of mayo, a teaspoon of relish, a teaspoon of brown mustard and a pinch or two of sugar.  Mix together.  If it seems too dry, add more of the mayo, relish, mustard, and sugar.  Taste it.  If you like the taste, spoon into the egg whites and dust with Paprika.  If not, adjust ingredients until you do.  If it is something special, or I want to impress someone with my deviled egg skills, I stuff the egg mixture into a piping bag with a decorative tip and pipe into the egg whites.

Ina Garten has a good way of boiling eggs.


  • Extra-large eggs


Place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover.
Bring the water to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the pan for 5 minutes.
Remove the eggs to a bowl and allow to rest for at least 2 minutes. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, crack the eggs on each side and then roll them back and forth with your hand, breaking up the shell. Remove and discard the shell

This was taken from the Food Network website.

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 23, 2011

So tonight is a very basic meal.  We are having steamed cabbage with Polish Kielbasa and 3 Pepper Potatoes.

Steamed Cabbage with Polish Kielbasa

1 head of cabbage
1 lb Polish Kielbasa
2 cubes of beef bullion
1/2 to 2/3 cup water.
Grill seasoning

Chop cabbage and set aside.  Slice the kielbasa and set aside.  In a large frying pan, spray the bottom with cooking spray and heat.  If you use a Teflon pan, you don't have to spray.  Add kielbasa and cook until brown.  Then add the cabbage and saute.  Add the water and bullion and quickly cover with a lid.  Let cabbage cook until desired tenderness is reached.  Sprinkle with grill seasoning and serve.  I use Mrs. Dash Grilling Seasoning.

 3 Pepper Potatoes

2 boiling potatoes per person
1 can chicken broth
1 pat of butter
Sliced onion (optional)
Crushed Red Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper

Scrub and cut potatoes to edible sizes.  Put into a pot and add chicken broth and water to cover the potatoes.  Add butter, onion, and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until done.  Remember, the more pepper, the spicier the potatoes will be.