Friday, July 29, 2016

Marinade

My husband works 12-hour rotating shifts and when he is on day shifts I try to prepare lighter meals because he usually goes to bed shortly after dinner. Tonight I used this marinade on chicken, then cooked the chicken in my grill pan and prepared some cabbage to go with it. It was the perfect light and simple dinner! Enjoy!

Marinade:
1 c. soy sauce
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a jar or lidded bowl and shake to mix well. Marinate meat for at least thirty minutes (I like to marinate it for at least an hour). Discard used marinade.

In case you are wondering how I prepared the cabbage, here goes:

1 small head of cabbage, chopped
3 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. minced onion
2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add cabbage and toss to ensure all leaves are coated in butter. Cook for a few minutes and then add onion, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until cabbage has reached desired tenderness.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

This is what I am making for dinner tonight. It is one of my favorite recipes and is so simple to make (we know by now that I LOVE simple recipes LOL). I have always loved cabbage - it is one of my favorite veggies - and to add the flavor of tomatoes? Well, it's just heaven on a spoon. Hope you enjoy!

2 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Small head of cabbage, chopped
Two 14 1/2-oz. cans diced tomatoes
8-oz. can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef; add onion and garlic.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until cabbage is tender.
Remove cover and simmer for a few more minutes until sauce thickens.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Butterfinger Pie

I made this for a family gathering and couldn't get over how simple it was and how delicious it was! Really. Simple. Really. Delicious. I bet it will be popular with your families too.. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 bag of mini Butterfinger candy bars
8-oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12-oz. whipped topping, thawed
Two 9" graham cracker pie crusts

Use a sharp knife to chop candy bars into small bits and set aside, reserving 1/2 cup. Using a food processor or rolling pin tends to cream the chocolate and make things clump together, so a sharp knife really is the best way to go.
Beat cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy.
Add half of whipped topping; mix until smooth.
Fold in chopped candy and remaining whipped topping by hand.
Mix by hand until evenly combined.
Spoon mixture into pie crusts; Sprinkle reserved candy evenly over pies.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Store in refrigerator (that is, if you actually have any leftovers LOL).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Brownie Batter Dip

Yes, you read the name of this recipe correctly. Brownie. Batter. Dip. It is pure heaven in a bowl. Truly! I made it for a ladies' gathering and we all just loved it! You can serve it with whatever you like; I chose pretzels, marshmallows and vanilla wafers but I have to admit that the pretzels were my favorite because I LOVE the combination of sweet and salty. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2-3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 c. mini chocolate chips

Using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Add brown sugar, cocoa powder, flour, vanilla, salt and 1 Tbsp. milk.
Mix until mostly smooth (a few lumps are okay, they will smooth out when you add the remaining ingredients).
Add powdered sugar and another tablespoon of milk. Beat until smooth.
You may add another tablespoon of milk if the dip is too thick for your taste but it is completely up to you.
Mix in the chocolate chips. Serve with dippers.

If you want to make this ahead of time feel free to do so, just store it in the fridge and make sure to bring it out early so that it can soften up a bit (the cream cheese makes it very thick, especially once refrigerated).

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

French Onion Chicken Noodle Casserole

This is the PERFECT comfort food-type dish! Seriously. I have made it twice now and both times when my husband and I take the first bite we just say, "Wow....." It is that good. And as always, it is SO simple! You can probably tell by now that I like simple recipes, huh? Enjoy!

Ingredients:
12-oz. bag extra wide egg noodles
4 c. cooked chopped chicken
2 cans cream of chicken soup
16-oz. container of french onion dip
1 c. fried onion pieces, crushed (I love using French's fried onions)

Boil noodles according to package directions*. Drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine soup, onion dip and chopped chicken.
Add cooked noodles.
Pour into greased 13 x 9-in. baking dish.
Top with fried onions.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.

*My husband is very particular when it comes to pasta. He comes from a Sicilian background and overcooking pasta is a BIG no no! So, I actually boil the noodles for a couple of minutes less than the package says, knowing that they will continue to cook in the oven, and they turn out perfectly every time! Also, don't forget to generously salt the water that you boil your pasta in - it is your best chance of flavoring the pasta!



Sloppy Joes

If you ever need a quick and easy recipe for busy nights, this is definitely it! Sure, you can open a can of sloppy joe sauce and pour it over browned ground beef and save a LITTLE bit of time but I promise, this tastes better, doesn't take much longer, AND you know exactly what ingredients are going into your meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. water
1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. minced onions
Salt to taste
4 hamburger buns, split

In a large pan, cook beef over medium heat until completely browned; Drain.
Return beef to pan and stir in remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Serve on buns.




Monday, July 11, 2016

Meatloaf

I married a man who is a very basic "meat and potatoes" kind of guy, though he also enjoys fine dining from time to time. I am a "meat and potatoes" kind of girl myself so we get along quite well :). I have shared this recipe before but it is worth sharing again. I am pretty fussy about meatloaf... It can't be too dry or too bland, needs to have wonderful flavor and a YUMMY ketchup topping! This one hits the mark perfectly and has passed the test of many beloved "meatloaf connoisseurs" in my life :). Hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients:
2 lb. lean ground beef or ground chuck
18 Ritz crackers, finely crushed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
8-oz. can tomato sauce (I prefer Hunt's myself but you can use whichever brand you like)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. light brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except ketchup and brown sugar.
Place in a greased loaf pan*.
Mix ketchup and brown sugar together and spread on top of meat mixture.
Bake for approximately 2 hours.
When you remove the meatloaf from the oven, let it set for a few minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.

*I prefer baking my meatloaf in a 9 x 13 baking dish. It makes it thinner and can be sliced perfectly for meatloaf sandwiches later or into smaller squares, whichever you prefer. It also reduces the baking time by half. You only need to bake it for an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes at the most! 



Thursday, July 7, 2016

Salisbury Steak

Okay, I know... When you saw the title of this post you probably thought of cafeteria food from school days or maybe TV dinners. Am I right? Well, let me introduce you to a DELICIOUS recipe for Salisbury Steak that tastes ten times better than those things we grew up on. I made it for dinner and my beloved husband requested that it be included in our regular meal rotation - always a good sign! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
8 Ritz crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. chopped onion (preferably a sweet onion like a Vidalia if you have it available)
2 c. flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine beef, cracker crumbs, onion and Worcestershire and mix by hand until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Form into 6 patties.
Dredge patties in flour/salt/pepper mixture.
Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a heavy skillet.
Brown patties, about 3-5 minutes per side.
Place browned patties in greased baking dish. Lay sliced onions on each patty (optional).
In a small bowl combine soup, onion soup mix and 3/4 a soup can of water.
Pour this mixture over patties.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until patties are completely cooked through.

Ritz Chicken

You have probably noticed by now that I like to find recipes that call for ingredients I usually keep in my pantry. Who wants to make a last-minute run to the grocery store if not absolutely necessary? Especially when the grocery store is 20 miles away and snowy roads might be involved! LOL. This recipe is very tasty and VERY simple to make. Hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients:

For the chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 sleeves of roasted vegetable flavor Ritz crackers (these add wonderful flavor!)
1/2 c. buttermilk or milk
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 Tbsp. sour cream
2 Tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a baking dish with cooking spray or butter or oil, whichever you prefer.
Crush Ritz crackers into fine crumbs (you may use a food processor for this, however I prefer putting the crackers into a Ziploc bag and crushing them with a rolling pin... fun way to relieve some stress too! LOL)
Place crumbs in a shallow dish for dredging the chicken.
Pour buttermilk or milk into a small bowl.
Dip chicken breasts into milk, then coat with cracker crumbs. It is a messy job but so worth it in the end!
Place in prepared baking dish and sprinkle any non-covered areas with additional crumbs.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked.


Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
In a small pot, over medium-high heat, bring soup, sour cream, and butter to a boil. Whisk to make sure all ingredients are thoroughly combined and then let sauce simmer on very low heat. Serve over chicken.

That's it! Enjoy!



Monday, July 4, 2016

Cornbread Salad

Happy 4th of July to everyone!! I know that most of you are already in the throes of your Independence Day celebrations and preparing your yummy dishes and I wanted to share the dish that I will be preparing for our dinner with friends later. I made this for my family reunion last year and it was a huge hit - it is very tasty and very easy to put together, again using ingredients that many of us keep in our cupboards. Hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients:

One pan of cornbread, either from scratch or from a mix (I love using Jiffy cornbread mix), baked and cooled
1 c. diced onions
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 c. diced tomatoes
15-oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1 lb. bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. Ranch dressing

Crumble cornbread.
Add onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, corn, and bacon; Stir until combined.
Combine mayonnaise and Ranch dressing in a small bowl; then add to other ingredients; Stir until fully mixed.
Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow flavors to blend.

Enjoy!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Stuffed Peppers

My beloved and I both LOVE stuffed peppers. However, as much as I love them I had never actually made them before until tonight. They turned out SO well! We both love the flavor combinations and he proclaimed that these were the best stuffed peppers he had ever eaten and asked that I include them in our regular meal rotation! I hope you enjoy them just as much as we did!

Ingredients:
6 green bell peppers, tops and seeds removed (reserve tops)
Salt to taste
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. long-grain white rice (I actually used basmati rice since it is his favorite and it was so tasty!)
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 pinch ground black pepper
8-oz. can tomato sauce


Chop reserved green bell pepper tops and measure out 1/4 cup.
Bring a pot of water to a boil; Cook whole green peppers until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain and season inside of bell peppers with a little bit of salt.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook and stir beef, onion, garlic, and chopped bell pepper in the hot skillet until beef is browned, then drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir diced tomatoes, rice, water, soy sauce, black pepper and 1 tsp of salt into ground beef mixture.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover skillet with a lid, and simmer until rice is tender, about 15-18 minutes.
Stir in tomato sauce.
Stuff peppers with beef/rice mixture and arrange in a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Taco Salad

Long ago, in a land far far away, I shared another taco salad recipe here. It is very tasty and always a big hit at church potlucks and such. Recently I tried THIS recipe, which although it does have a few similarities to my other recipe, it is still very different and oh my heavens is it delicious! I made it for my hubby and my brother-in-law and they loved it just as much as I do. It is very easy to throw together quickly and uses ingredients that a lot of us keep on hand. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:
1 pound lean ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
2 Romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed (I used black beans with jalapeƱos and lime juice - if you can find these they are AMAZING but regular black beans will work as well)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup nacho cheese Doritos, broken into small pieces
1 cup Catalina dressing


Brown and crumble ground beef in a large skillet. Drain.
Add taco seasoning and water called for on seasoning packet.
Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let meat cool slightly.

In a large salad bowl combine lettuce, black beans, corn, tomato, and cheese.
Add slightly cooled ground beef and gently toss to combine.
Serve now or chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.
When ready to serve, add Doritos and Catalina dressing to salad mixture.
Toss to coat.

Enjoy!!

I'm back!

Yes, I have returned to the world of blogging after a two-year hiatus. My schedule just got to be too crammed with my piano teaching career and church work that I couldn't devote proper time to keeping the blog going but my situation has changed quite a bit recently. You see, I got MARRIED! Yay! AND I moved 1900 miles away to a completely different state, different climate, different way of life. My new life involves being home much more and therefore having time to get back in the kitchen and try all kinds of great recipes AND blog about them! Another yay! So I will be posting regularly again, and again will only feature recipes that have been tried and proven in my kitchen or in the kitchens of friends. See you soon!
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