Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Cornbread Dressing

Serves: 6-8        Prep Time: 15 minutes         Cook Time: 40 minutes

This dressing is a staple in my household come fall and winter. I have requests to bring it for Thanksgiving and it typically gets gobbled up pretty fast. I love making it all throughout the fall and winter because it is such a great side dish.

What it takes:

2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix (plus egg and milk to make it)
1 onion, diced
2-3 apples, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 zucchini, diced
2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp poultry seasoning
chicken stock

How to do it:

Prepare cornbread as directed on the box. You can do this a day or two ahead to save time (and oven space) the day of cooking. Crumble the cornbread and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion, apples, celery and zucchini. Cook until tender. Add the crumbled cornbread and poultry seasoning. Stir to combine.

Add enough chicken stock to moisten the dressing to your desired softness. Some like it really wet and others like it a little on the dry side. So, add as much stock as you see fit.

Place your skillet in the oven for 20 minutes to brown up the top a little.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce

Serves: 30 1" meatballs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

These were some pretty yummy meatballs! It was like a mini Thanksgiving dinner but without hours of work. I think next time I would make my cornbread dressing and make it even more authentic.

 What it takes:
1 lb lean ground turkey
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp thyme, sage, rosemary or Italian season
1 c cranberry sauce (jelly or whole)
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c orange juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Dijon mustard

How to do it:

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine meat, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, and seasoning of your choice.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

Shape into 1" balls (I used a the small scoop from Pampered Chef but a melon baller or just plain ol' eye balling it should do the trick). Place on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes or no longer pink in the center.

While meatballs are cooking, simmer the rest of the ingredients over medium heat for 10 minutes or until thick. When meatballs come out of the oven, place the meatballs in the cranberry sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

I served mine with some mashed potatoes and broccoli but I think my cornbread dressing would have been even better. I'll post my dressing recipe tomorrow but it won't have a picture with it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Huevos Rancheros

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

I came up with this last night while rummaging through my cabinets and fridge. It turned out to be mighty tasty. So much so that I made it this morning for my breakfast!

What it takes:
 4 eggs
1/2  a medium onion, chopped
2-3 tbsp pickled jalapeno, chopped
1 can black beans, drained
2/3 cup salsa, divided
1/2 cup cheese, divided
2-4 corn tortillas
1 tbsp + 1 tsp oil

How to do it:

Preheat oven to 250 to keep tortillas warm.

In small sauce pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Add chopped onions and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the jalapenos and beans and stir to combine. Let cook over medium-low heat until ready to use.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium skillet. When drop of water sizzles in oil, place one tortilla in the oil to brown, about 2 min. per side. Repeat with remaining tortillas and place on heated oven rack to keep warm and crisp.

In the same skillet the tortillas were prepared in, cook the eggs the way you like them. I make ours over-medium but traditionally they would be cooked sunny side up. When eggs are almost done, put salsa in the pan with the eggs to warm the salsa.

Assemble the huevos rancheros by placing a tortilla on the plate and topping with bean mixture. Either top the beans with cheese or another tortilla. If you placed another tortilla, place cheese on top of the tortilla. Place two eggs on top with half the salsa. Top with a sprinkle of more cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

*If I would have had an avacado on hand, those would have made this dish even better! I squeezed 1/8 of a lime on mine and I really enjoyed the extra freshness it added.*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shrimp Potstickers

Serves: 30 potstickers

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes/batch

These were amazing and SO easy. The hardest part is having the patients to fill and fold them. Worth EVERY minute. If you don't use them all, you can freeze them to have for later! I'll tell you how at the end.

What it takes:

1 c peeled and deveined, precooked shrimp, chopped
1 c carrot, shredded (I used my box/cheese grater)
1 c cabbage, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, divided (some of the green part will be used as garnish but also in the dipping sauce)
2 teaspoons ginger, grated and divided
2 dashes hot chili sesame oil (you don't have to use it if you don't have it on hand)
1 package won ton wrappers
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 c soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (red stuff with the rooster on the bottle in Asian food isle)

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, carrots and cabbage. Season vegetables with pepper and sesame oil. Cook until soft. When soft, add the green onion whites and some of the greens, shrimp and ginger and heat through.

When mixture is done being heated, place in a fine sieve (over a bowl) and push the excess liquid out. When drained, take a teaspoon full of mixture and place it in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your finger in a bowl of water to wet the edges. Fold into a triangle and press edges to seal. Do that until all of your filling is gone.

Two cooking options:
1) place a 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a skillet, that has a lid, over medium-high heat. Place potstickers in skillet and brown for 2-3 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and cover with lid. Let them steam for 3-4 minutes.
2) boil water in a double boiler. Spray the steaming basket with cooking spray and line with a thing layer of cabbage. Place a single layer of potstickers over the cabbage (I could only cook 5 at a time) and steam for 10 minutes.

While the cooking is going on, make the dipping sauce. Place the soy sauce, sriracha sauce, ginger and green onions in a bowl. Stir to combine.


For any potstickers that do not get cooked, place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Then place the potstickers in a plastic bag for later use. When ready to use, let them defrost a little and them cook them with whatever cooking method you prefer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Perfect Potato and Corn Chowder with Shrimp

Serves:  10

Prep time:  10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

I adapted this recipe from rachelwadsworth and I am so glad I did! It is the most AMAZING potato soup I have EVER eat. I added some sauteed shrimp to the top but did not incorporate it into the full recipe. I'm not a huge fan of things that taste too "fishy". So, you can either use the shrimp or leave them out.

What it takes:

12 small Yukon gold potatoes, quartered (I left the skin on)
3 10.75oz cans cream of potato soup
3 cans of milk (using the soup cans)
4 oz of shredded mozzarella (part skim if your watching the waistline)
8 oz shredded 2% cheddar (save some for topping)
1 14.75 oz can of cream style corn
1-2 teaspoons pepper
1 can of sweet whole kernel corn, drained (I didn't have any but I think it would have made the dish a little better)

How to do it:

Place quartered potatoes in a pot with water and boil until soft. Drain and mash. Leave it a little lumpy so there are nice chunks in the soup.

Transfer mashed potatoes to a large stock pot and add the soup and milk. Stir over medium heat until well combined. Add the cheeses and both types of corn and pepper to taste. Heat soup until bubbly and hot.

Serve as is or cook up some shrimp to top it off....


Serves 2
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 3-5 minutes

1 cup shelled and deveined, precooked shrimp (large chunks)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons butter
Pepper and Old Bay to taste

Melt butter in a small saute pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shrimp. Season to taste and warm through.

Half the shrimp between two bowls.

I served mine with pepperoni cheddar bread from Walmart but next time I think I would go with my original plan and buy 2 bread bowls from Panara.

Also, this soup makes a very large batch. I froze mine and from what I read on the Internet, it should last 2-3 months in the freezer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Skillet

Serves:  8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

I used the stuff I had in the fridge and freezer to come up with dinner last night. It was good but it would have been even better if I would have had jalapenos on hand.

 What it takes:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (or whatever you have on hand)
3 baking potatoes, cubed (red skin or yellow potatoes would work great as well... you may need more)
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper (or whatever colors you have)
1 cup broccoli
4 oz grated cheese (I used Colby)
1 Tablespoon oil (vegetable, olive or whatever you prefer)
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes for seasoning
* jalapeno (fresh or pickled in the jar)

How to do it:

Place potatoes in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Cook until soft (10-15 minutes).

Season cubed chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and place chicken in a single layer. You may need to cook in batches. Cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add oil to pan and then add the onions, peppers and broccoli. Cook until veggies are starting to get soft (5-6 minutes).

Drain the potatoes and add them to the skillet with the rest of the vegetables. Allow the potatoes to brown a little. Season mixture with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Add the chicken back in a cook for 1 minute. Lower heat to medium-low and top with cheese. Cover skillet and let the cheese melt.

*If you chose to add in some jalapenos, I would add them in with the rest of the veggies. I think having that extra kick (if you like that sort of thing) would have made this dish dynamite!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Potato Dumplings

Serves:  4 (3 balls per serving)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

These were pretty bland by themselves but when topped with the gravy from the sauerbraten, they were pretty darn good! In the future I may play with some additions (cheese, chives, bacon crumbles?). I think served with anything with a gravy or sauce they are a pretty good side dish. Next time I make beef stew, I think these will stand in as my potato!

What it takes:

1 c leftover mashed potatoes
(I made my mashed potatoes that morning and only used milk and butter.  Normally I include sour cream and shredded cheddar. Next time I'll probably make them my normal way. I then stuck the potatoes in the fridge until I was ready to use them that night.)
1 c flour
parsley, for presentation

How to do it:

Boil water in a large stock pot. Add salt to water.

Using a fork, combine the flour and mashed potatoes. Do not knead the mixture. When mashed potatoes and flour are combined, roll the mixture into balls (the size of a golf ball).

When all the balls are made, drop them into boiling, salted water. When they rise, cook an additional 10 minutes. Drain and sprinkle parsley over the top.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sauerbraten (German Roast)

Serves: 8   

Prep Time:  15 minutes + 3-4 days in the

Cook Time: 4 hours in the oven or
                   6-8 hours in crock pot

After finding a red cabbage/apple mix at Aldi (a grocery store), I decided to make an entire German meal. I will show you what all I made over the next couple of days.

First up is the Sauerbraten (thanks Alton Brown).

What it Takes:

2 c water
1 c cider vinegar
1 c red wine vinegar
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (I used 1 teaspoon whole black pepper corns)
2 bay leaves
6 cloves (I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)
12 juniper berries
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 3-5lb roast (I used chuck)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 c sugar
18-20 gingersnaps, crushed

How to do it:

In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the water, vinegars, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, juniper berries and mustard seed. Cover and boil. Lower heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. Cool until able to dip finger in and not burn the finger.

Pat the roast dry and rub with oil. Season roast with some salt and pepper. Sear meat on all sides in a skillet over high heat (2-3 minutes per side).

Place roast in a glass bowl and pour over the cooled marinade. Cover and place in fridge for 3-4 days. If roast is not fully submerged in the marinade, turn roast once per day.

After 3-4 days, mix 1/3 c sugar in with the marinade and roast. Then, either place roast and marinade in a dutch oven and bake at 325 for 4 hours or place in a crock pot set to low for 6-8 hours.

After roast has cooked, remove roast and keep it warm by placing foil over the roast on a cutting board. Strain the liquid into a sauce pan and boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the crushed gingersnaps and cook until thickened. If your gravy seems lumpy, strain the gravy through a sieve to remove the lumps.

I suggest you go get a roast tonight and start the marinading process. This is hands down, one of the best roasts I have had. The flavor is AMAZING and the gravy has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. I will post the potatoes tomorrow.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Panko Crusted Fried Zucchini

Serves:  4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time:  15 minutes

This fried zucchini is my husbands favorite! Dip it is some ranch and you have one great side dish. I think it could compete with fair food.

What it takes:

2 zucchini, sliced into coins
2 cups panko bread crumbs (found in the Asian food section)
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon milk (I use non-fat)
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons pepper, divided
1 teaspoon cayenne, divided
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Enough oil to have 1/4-1/2 inch of oil in the pan

How to do it:

You will need 3 dishes for dredging.

Dish 1: Add flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Stir to combine.
Dish 2: beat eggs and milk together.
Dish 3: panko bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon dried parsley. Stir to combine.

Dip zucchini coins in flour to coat. Shake off excess. Dip in egg mixture and then coat with panko mixture. You may need to press the panko crumbs onto the zucchini. I typically put the zucchini on a mound of crumbs then top with more crumbs and press. Then, flip it over and do it again.

I dredge all of my zucchini pieces and place on a plate so I can fry them all at the same time.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You will know the oil is ready when you put a drop of water in and it sizzles. When oil is ready, place a few of the pieces in the oil and fry 1-2 minutes per side. When the coated zucchini is brown, flip to fry the other side. Make sure not to over crowd the pan or it will decrease the oil temperature and not fry well.

When both sides are brown, place fried zucchini on a napkin lined plate. Try not to eat them all as they are coming out of the oil!! I know you will be tempted.

And that is it! Just serve them with some ranch dressing and you are good to go! Be prepared to make these often. They will be requested!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sweet Potato Chunks

Serves: 4

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

These sweet potatoes are a staple in our household! This is the one veggie I do not have to fight with my husband to get him to eat. I've learned over the years that they taste just as good as chunks as they do in the shape of fries! Enjoy!

What it takes:

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

How to do it:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place peeled and diced sweet potatoes in a bowl. Pour the olive oil over potatoes and mix them to coat. Add all of the seasoning and toss to coat with seasoning.

Spray a large baking sheet with Pam olive oil cooking spray. Pour the seasoned sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Onions

 Serves 4

 Prep Time:  10 Minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

What it takes:

4 pork chops (whatever suites your fancy!)
1 apple, thinly sliced (I used gala)
1 red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder and garlic powder for seasoning the pork chops. This is to taste. If you are not a fan of spice, leave out the cayenne.

How to do it:

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced apples and onions. Then add the vinegar and brown sugar. Once the mixture starts to sizzle, reduce heat to medium so the mixture does not burn. Cook this mixture over medium to medium-low heat for 30 minutes. The apples and onions will caramelize and be sweet.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the pan with Pam olive oil cooking spray. Season pork shops on both sides with seasoning. Place in pan and cook for 5-7 minutes (per side) depending on thickness. My pork chops were on the thin side and only took ~10 minutes to cook.

If pork chops are done cooking before the apples and onions, place in a heated oven (250-300) on a foil lined cookie sheet to keep them warm. When apples are done cooking, place pork chops on a serving platter and place the onion and apple mixture over the top of each of the pork chops.