Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Carrots. Really. Just carrots.

I know.  I was going for main dishes here, but just feel in a vegetable kind of mood.  Carrots.  My kids love them.  Raw, steamed, and in dishes.  I used the whole "They're good for your night vision" that Snopes says is false as a back-up when they were younger, but now they just like 'em.

Microwave Carrots:

Glass dish (or for an individual portion, a coffee mug)
Carrots (yes, I grab the baby carrots that are ready to go)
Water (I hate precision - just put some water in, maybe up to half an inch)

Microwave on high for about 3 minutes or until a fork will go in with a little bit of resistance.

Drain water and (if desired) add a Tablespoon or two of butter, a Tablespoon or two of brown sugar, and a dash of salt.  Stir and microwave another 30-45 seconds.

Stovetop Carrots:

Same thing, but on a stove with a covered pan.  Did you really think it would be much different?  LOL

Cheers ~

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Crockpot Italian Chicken

I am not good at making up titles, but this is a dish I made recently that was a big hit with my family.  It was thrown together in my crockpot out of a desperate need to create dinner on a day I wasn't feeling well.  We are big on one-dish meals around here, combining our protein, vegetable, and starch (almost always whole grain).  One daughter is not a fan of green vegetables, so she begged off her broccoli and had carrots instead.  Substitute out whatever you like or have on hand.

Frozen chicken tenders
1 can spaghetti sauce
Frozen mixed vegetables
Pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
Parmesan cheese

In crock pot, add enough pieces of chicken for your family.  Cover with spaghetti sauce.  Cook on low 3-4 hours.  Steam vegetables, cook pasta, and add both to chicken and sauce mixture.  Stir well.  Top with parmesan cheese and allow cheese to melt, then serve.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

Disclaimer:  I have made beef stroganoff exactly two times in my adult life.  Why?  I hate mushrooms, including cream of mushroom soup, and without fungi mushrooms, you don't have stroganoff, you just have a noodle dish.  Disclaimer aside, this is a fast budget recipe that most people enjoy.  (And if you're a shroom hater like me, use cream of celery soup.)

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Egg noodles or rice

Brown ground beef with onion.  Drain grease.  Add cream of mushroom soup and ½ soup can of water.  Heat until hot and bubbly.  Add cooked pasta, or serve over rice.

Cheers ~

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

A two month lapse?  Inexcusable.  I won't make excuses to those of you who don't read my blog and haven't noticed.  LOL  Life's been busy.  As I said earlier, I created this blog to give my girls (especially the two who live out of the house and will both be married this year) some good, basic, EASY (and usually CHEAP) recipes to start them off with.

It's winter and I've been cold since November.  I'm craving creamy, rich comfort foods.  Last week daughter #2 brought me broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl from Panera.  I'm 46 and I have to admit that this was my first bread bowl.  No, I'm not one of those people who goes to Pismo and has to go to Splash Cafe for a clam chowder (yuck) bread bowl.  And, being on a diet, creamy soups in bread bowls aren't very friendly for the scale, but it was yummy anyway.  My version of the soup was almost as good as Panera's, a whole lot cheaper, and ready in about 20 minutes.

Frozen broccoli (3-4 cups)
Grated cheddar cheese (1/2 cup)
Milk (1 cup)
Butter (2 Tbsp)
Flour (2 Tbsp)

Steam broccoli in small amount of water in microwave or on stove.  Set aside and chop finely.  In medium size pan, melt butter over medium high heat, stirring constantly.  Add flour and continue to stir, making a roux ("roo"...because I know my girls would find a way to pronounce the "X"!).  Add milk slowly and continue to stir.  Turn heat down to medium and add broccoli, stirring often so soup does not scorch.  If you prefer soup more smooth, use a Braun immersion mixer to cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chili Potatoes

Why is it that Wednesdays roll around so quickly?  And why is it that I can't seem to stay on top of a silly little cooking blog?  I persevere and ask you to forgive me if [when] I'm late or delinquent altogether.

At a friend's suggestion, today's entree is even faster and easier than most of what you have read here.  Potatoes are healthy when you don't add a stick of butter, a cup of sour cream, and a pound of bacon bits.  Unfortunately, that's my favorite way to eat them.  BUT you can be creative and top them with chili, broccoli, even stews/chowders.

Chili Potatoes

Yes, chili potatoes.  Two main ingredients.  Baked potatoes.  (Remember when Costco used to have huge, potato-on-steroids sized spuds for next to nothing?  Now the size is smaller and the price is about double.  Hmm.)   Canned chili.  (OK, you can use homemade if you want, and that is coming up next month, but humor me and grab a 99 cent can of canned chili for now.)

If you're still reading and hoping for directions, well, you've missed the simplicity of this meal.  :)  But here are the directions just in case:

Bake potatoes.  Microwave, oven, whatever suits you.
Heat chili on stove.  (Because chili always explodes in the microwave.)
Slice open potato, use a fork to fluff, and spoon steaming hot chili over potato.
Top with grated cheese, onion, chives.

Wasn't that easy? 

Cheers ~

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Honey Mustard Chicken

I made this recipe up years (15, maybe?) ago after having Alice Springs Chicken at Outback Steakhouse with some friends before a Rod Stewart concert.  Now, because we are into EASY COOKING, I will share my cheater version.  It won't include mushrooms because we established back in September that I don't like the little suckers.  You can read the description of the 'real' recipe and figure out how to add fungi if you are so inclined.  I won't judge.  Much.  :o)  Anyway, this has become a family favorite, as well as a recipe I use on the rare occasion that we actually have company for dinner.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Make honey mustard sauce (recipe below) and set aside
Cook 1 pound of bacon, cut strips in half, and set aside
Brown 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in large skillet and transfer to 9" x 13" baking dish

Top each chicken breast with 1 generous tablespoon of sauce, 2 slices of bacon, and a pinch of Monterey Jack cheese.

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done and everything is melted together.

Serve with rice, pasta, or you can be really cool like Outback and serve with fries.  I'm just not that cool.  Besides, a box of pilaf is way easier to make than fries.

Honey Mustard Sauce

2 parts mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (don't let your arteries panic - you can use fat free mayo, or light versions of any white stuff you like)
1 part honey
1 part Dijon mustard (no, it doesn't have to be Grey Poupon, but it does need to be Dijon and not yellow, spicy, or any other options out there!)

Stir.  Taste.  Adjust accordingly.  You want to end up with about 3/4 cup of sauce because invariably your family will want extra on the side.  Or maybe we're just extra saucy people.

Now, because this is ME and I am big into shortcuts when cooking (sigh - my mother, younger brother and sister are all into really GOOD cooking...somehow it skipped me), here is how I made this dish last night:

Start cooking 2 cups of white rice (don't judge - I didn't want to wait 45 minutes for browh rice).  Discover we have no bacon, so rule that part out, although the 'good' bacon bits are a perfect substitute...something else I don't keep on hand though.  Arteries (and Weight Watchers) both thank me for the lack of bacon. In large skillet, throw in a bunch of frozen chicken tenderloins and turn burner on high.  Grab a kid and instruct her to stir up some honey mustard sauce.  Stir chicken and cook about 15 minutes until it's done.  Pour cooked rice into large baking dish.  Pour skillet o' cooked chicken over rice.  Water down honey mustard sauce enough so I can slop it over chicken fast.  Sprinkle Mexican grated cheese over the whole mess and throw in the oven for about 15 minutes (chicken was already cooked) until cheese melted.  Serve with steamed carrots.

Cheers ~

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cool Whip Cake

I was never good at creating names or titles, so this has just always been known as "Cool Whip Cake."  Like most things I make, it's ridiculously easy.  It is a perfect cake for spring or summer.  No need to remind me it's November.  It just sounded good today.  :o)  No matter the month, your family and friends want you to make a cake for them.

Cool Whip Cake

Bake white cake as directed in 9” x 13” pan.  Allow to cool.  After cake cools completely, use the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes all over cake (approximately 20 holes).

  • Strawberry: Mix strawberry flavored jello and pour over cake, making sure to fill in the holes.
  • Chocolate:  Do the same, using chocolate pudding.
  • Chocolate cake mix and cherry jello.  Top with canned cherry pie filling.
  • Spice cake with cheesecake or vanilla pudding.
Use any desirable combination of cake mix and jello or pudding.  Cake should be refrigerated and topped with Cool Whip before serving.

Cheers ~