Long time no blog! I am still here. I haven’t been blogging because my computer crashed and I did not go out and buy a new computer for over a year. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a laptop or a desktop. I finally decided to get another laptop. I like the portability of it. Since I am back online I will be blogging more often now. I also decided to give the blog a new look and changed the format. I like the new simple look that it has.
Now that we are empty nesters my cooking has changed a lot. I no longer cook large amounts of food. I generally cook recipes that are freezable and quick. If a recipe says it serves 4 people, I will serve half and freeze the other half. This method has helped with portions and stocked my freezer for more busier nights. I have been getting into dehydrating, canning and making my own quick mixes in order to make things easier too. Below is a good quick skillet meal that we both like and is one of the recipes I go to when I have to get something on the table fast. It is freezable and can be warmed up in the microwave. I serve this with a nice big dinner salad.
- 1 package smoked sausage, sliced (I use Hillshire Farm)
- 8 ounces pasta, cooked and drained (I use elbow macaroni)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasonings (I use Tony Chachere’s)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (fresh is always best!)
Prepare pasta. Cook and drain. Saute sausage for 5 minutes. Add cream and Cajun seasoning and boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in Parmesan. Add pasta and toss.
Oh my goodness! This is so good and so easy. We didn’t even miss the meat! It did make a lot of lasagna but it does freeze well. And of course it is even better the next day!
Slow Cooker Veggie Lasagna
1 (12 oz.) bag Bird’s Eye Recipe Ready Primavera Blend frozen veggies, defrosted
1 (10 oz.) bag frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and extra liquid squeezed out
2 (24 oz.) jars marinara sauce
1 (24 oz.) container cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups Italian blend cheese, shredded
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 (16 oz.) pkg. regular lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup water
In a large mixing bowl, combine the veggies, cottage cheese, water, garlic powder, salt, pepper, eggs and 3/4 cup each of the cheeses and mix well. Cover the bottom of a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker with 1 1/2 cups or so of marinara sauce. Top with lasagna noodles. Add cheese and veggie mixture. Cover with sauce again. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Then a layer of cheese and veggie mixture and repeat until ingredients are gone ending with sauce over the noodles. Cover with lid. Cook on low 5-6 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Shut off slow cooker and top with the remaining Mozzarella and Italian blend cheeses and cover to melt, maybe 15 minutes. Cut and serve with a fresh salad and garlic bread.
Tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo or May 5. Here in Texas it is an excuse to eat MORE delicious Mexican food. So in honor of Cinco De Mayo I made up a pan of my enchiladas.
Here it is:
1 pound of meat (I use leftover roast and shred it)
1/2 pound monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 onion, chopped (if your family doesn’t like onions then leave it out)
18 corn tortillas
3 cans hot enchilada sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan. Warm up the corn tortillas in the microwave. Take some shredded meat, a little chopped onion and a little cheese and put it in the center of the tortilla. Carefully roll tortilla up putting it seam side down in the pan. Keep doing that until the pan is filled up. Then pour more enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled up enchiladas. Sprinkle top with any remaining cheese. Cover the enchiladas with foil and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Note: The recipe is extremely versatile. The meat I used in these enchiladas is leftover from our Easter pork loin. I had frozen the leftovers and thought I would do something with them later. I didn’t have quite enough meat for the enchiladas so I thaw out some venison roast that was leftover too. I combined the two meats together with a little enchilada sauce. These enchiladas turned out wonderful. This is a good way to use up any leftover meat.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.