Cooking with Pizazz

What's going on in my kitchen…..

Penne Alla Vodka

I am going to try to start cooking 2 or 3 vegetarian meals a week. I would like to cut meat out entirely but I know I would get lots of protests from the family. I cooked this the night before Easter. Everything is cooked in the pressure cooker so it is fast and easy. I served it with a big green salad and garlic bread.

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3 cups penne pasta, uncooked
1 1/2 cups water
1 (24-26 oz) jar marinara sauce
1 ( 14-16 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients, except heavy cream and Parmesan cheese to pressure cooker and secure lid. Set the cooker to high and cook for 7 minutes. Perform a quick release to release the cooker’s pressure. Remove the lid. Stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese until melted and creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.

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April 21, 2014 Posted by | Meatless Main Dish, Pressure Cooker | , , , | Leave a comment

Pressure Cooker Pizza Soup

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Our family has been hit hard with some kind of respiratory virus.  I have had a horrible cough for weeks and needless to say, I have not been wanting to cook much.  We haven’t had much of an appetite either.  It seems like soup is about the only thing that we feel like eating for the moment.  Luckily, after Thanksgiving last year I made up a big batch of Turkey Soup and froze it.  It has been great to just get that out of the freezer and heat up.  However, we have been wanting to eat something a little different but is still light enough to eat.  I decided to cook up a batch of this pizza soup.  It really hit the spot and was so quick to cook up in the pressure cooker as I don’t feel like standing around the kitchen much these days.  I served this up with a loaf of Italian bread. (Oh, and I cooked this up in my little 4 quart pressure cooker.)

1 can petite diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced (or use 4 teaspoons of chopped garlic from a jar)
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon of dried oregano (I like oregano so I added about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and drained
5 oz. mini-pepperoni (or cut up the regular size pepperoni, but I think the minis look cute)
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup dry elbow pasta (or any similar type pasta that you have on hand)
Shredded mozzerella for garnish

Brown the Italian sausage in the pressure cooker on the brown setting. If you do not have a brown setting then use a skillet. After the sausage is cooked drain off the fat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, green pepper and pepperoni. Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the chicken broth and can of diced tomatoes to the sausage mixture. Stir. Add the salt, ground pepper, oregano and dry pasta. Secure the lid on your pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. Do a quick release and your soup is done!  Top with some shredded mozzerella cheese if you want!  Delicious! (Note: this can be cooked on the stovetop but will take longer to cook.  It could also probably be cooked in the slow cooker on low for about 6 hours.)

March 30, 2014 Posted by | Main Dishes, Pressure Cooker, Soup | , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Sochi (Russian) Chicken

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The television seems filled with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi this year.  I am not a big fan of watching but I have tuned in a few times this year which is unusual for me.  As I was doing the menu planning this week I came across Russian Chicken.  It has been a long time since I have had Russian Chicken and since the Winter Olympics are in Russia this year I thought it would be an appropriate dish to make this week.

The dish has chopped onions in it and my family doesn’t like onions, at all.  So I sliced the onions in big slices so the onions can be easily picked out for the picky eaters.  If your family likes onions then chop them.

Slow Cooker Russian Chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 small onion, chopped (or sliced)
1/2 cup chunky apricot preserves
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s mayonnaise)
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in slow cooker. Spread chopped or sliced onion on top. Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, and red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the apricot preserves to the mayonnaise mixture. Stir to combine and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on Low for 3 or 4 hours. Serve over rice.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Chicken/Turkey, Crockpot, Main Dishes | , , , | Leave a comment

Pressure Cooker Round Steak with Veggies and Gravy

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It was one of those days and I needed to get dinner on the table fast.  I didn’t want to have to go out in this cold to the grocery store so I used what I had on hand.  This recipe turned out wonderful and I am going to have to cook this one again!  The recipe below serves 2 people so if you need it to serve more then increase it accordingly.

1 pound of round steak, cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 slices of turkey bacon
1 onion, sliced
1 package of baby carrots
4 small russet potatoes cut into fourths
1/2 cup cooking sherry (or dry red wine if you have it)
1 tablespoon dry parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Press the Brown button on your pressure cooker. If you don’t have a brown function then do this part in a skillet. Put 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in bottom of pressure cooker. When the oil melts put the round steak in. Brown the round steak and then place it on a plate. Put bacon in pressure cooker and brown the bacon. Add the cooking sherry and deglaze the pot. Turn the brown function off. Return the steak and collected juices to the cooker. Add the remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch. I added some a little extra water too, maybe 1/4 cup. Lock the lid in place and set to high pressure for 20 minutes. Let pressure release. Remove the lid. In a pyrex measuring cup place 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and some of the hot gravy in and stir it up. Pour it in the cooker and stir until the gravy gets thick.

January 29, 2014 Posted by | Beef, Pressure Cooker | , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dressing

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4 chicken breasts (thawed)

1 box of Stove Top Stuffing mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/4 cup water

Put chicken in slow cooker. Pour in stuffing. Mix sour cream, soup and water. Pour in and cook on low for 4 hours.
Note: The dressing turned out somewhat dry. I might try making the dressing instead of pouring it in dry.

January 21, 2014 Posted by | Chicken/Turkey, Crockpot, Main Dishes | , , , | Leave a comment

Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf

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This is a basic recipe for meatloaf.    I dressed it up a little though.  I didn’t have 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef in the freezer but I did have 1 pound and I found 1/2 pound of ground veal.  Mixing two different meats together was really good.  A 1/2 pound of ground pork would be good too!  The thought of adding 1/2 pound of venison crossed my mind but I decided not to since I like to eat venison with spicier ingredients to hide that wild taste.  Some people probably wouldn’t mind it though.  I put everything else in the meatloaf as the recipe calls for except I had 1/2 of a green and red bell pepper leftover in the refrigerator that just seemed to be crying out to me.  So I chopped those up and put them in the meatloaf.  Most leftover veggies go well in meatloaf.  This recipe was enough for supper for hubby and I and then sandwiches for lunch the next day.  Half of the meatloaf was still leftover so I put that in the slow cooker spaghetti the following morning.  This meatloaf could easily feed a family of 4 with enough leftovers to make spaghetti the next day minus the sandwiches.  I served the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and peas.  Yummy!

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg
1 onion, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup dried bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk, and bread or cracker crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5×9 inch loaf pan, or form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish. In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

January 12, 2014 Posted by | Beef, Freezable, Leftovers, Main Dishes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Easy Does It Spaghetti

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I must admit, this is one of the best recipes for spaghetti that I have had. It is quick and easy and is ready when I get home from work.  It is the best ever.  Serve with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and some garlic bread.  This is so good to come home to after a long day at work!!

1 pound ground beef (I use leftover meatloaf in this so I don’t have to cook it.  I serve meatloaf the day before.)
1 tablespoon dry minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon each mace, allspice and pepper
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
3 cups tomato juice
4 oz. dry spaghetti broken in 4 inch pieces

Brown ground beef well in skillet and place in slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients except dry spaghetti and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours. (High for 3 1/2 hours) Turn to High the last hour and stir in dry spaghetti.

January 11, 2014 Posted by | Beef, Crockpot, Main Dishes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saucy Fish Bake

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This is another old recipe that I have used for years.  Having a fisherman in the family has caused me to collect lots of fish recipes.  I am not sure where I got this recipe from.  The whole family loves this recipe and it is quick and easy.

1 package (16 oz) fish fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 package (1 1/8 oz.) Hollandaise sauce mix
1 can (16 oz) whole green beans or 1 can asparagus
Paprika
1 can (2.8 oz) French fried onions
Thaw fillets.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Put in ungreased 11x7x1.5 inch pan leaving a space in center.  Dot with butter.  Cook uncovered 15 minutes at 375 degrees.  Prepare sauce mix as directed on package.  Remove fish from oven.  Place beans or asparagus in center.  Pour hollandaise sauce over vegetables; sprinkle with paprika.  Sprinkle onions over fish.  Cook until fish flakes easily; about 5-7 minutes.
Serves 4

January 5, 2014 Posted by | Fish/Seafood, Main Dishes | , , , | Leave a comment

Creamy Spinach & Sausage Pasta

This is a good quick skillet dinner to cook on those busy weeknights.  I have been coming home late from work and I can get this on the table pretty quick after I get home from a long day’s work.

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Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta

Serves 4

6 oz. smoked sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with chilies
2 cups chicken broth
8 oz. pasta (any pasta, I used elbow macaroni)
3 cups fresh spinach
1 cup (4 oz) shredded monterey jack
1 whole green onion, sliced (optional)

Thinly slice smoked sausage and add to skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute sausage until brown. Drain fat. Dice onion and add to skillet. Saute until onion is soft. Add can of tomatoes with chilies and the chicken broth. Stir to combine and dissolve any brown bits off bottom of skillet. Add uncooked pasta and make sure it is submerged in liquid. Place lid on skillet. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir once or twice while cooking to prevent pasta from sticking. Stir in spinach, one cup at a time, until wilted. Keep heat on low. Sprinkle cheese on top. Heat until melted. Top with sliced green onion.

January 4, 2014 Posted by | Beef, Main Dishes, Pasta, Quick Skillet Dinners | , , , , | Leave a comment

Homemade Pizza-Best Pizza Ever!!!

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I make the bread dough in the bread machine.  If I am cooking pizza on a day that I am at work then I set the bread machine to delay start so the dough will be ready when I get home.  Eat one, freeze one!!!

Pizza Dough for 2 pizzas or 1-13×9 inch pizza
In the bread machine place:
1 cup water
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
Put on Dough setting.

Here is an easy no cook recipe for the Pizza Sauce. This is enough sauce for 2 pizzas or 1-13×9 inch pizza.
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
4 tablespoons tomato paste
Mix and spread over pizza. Top with cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms (or your favorite toppings). Cook at 425 for 25 minutes.

January 3, 2014 Posted by | Freezable, Main Dishes, Make Ahead | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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