Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday Night Pizza

Last night I made a few homemade pizzas for our crew.

On the left is BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger (BBQ sauce, beef, bacon, colby-jack, mozzarella); in the middle is Spaghetti and Meatball (marinara, angel hair pasta, meatballs, mozzarella, Parmesan); and on the right is Supreme (marinara, mushroom, onion, green pepper, ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni, colby-jack, mozzarella).
Our Oldest Girl made beautifully illustrated signs for the pizzas so people would know what was on each one.
For dessert we had a crowd favorite - Tiramisu!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Beef Pot Pie

This feels like a cheat recipe because it's really just a combination of another couple of recipes. It's what I served to our Sunday night crowd last night, and judging by the comments and the fact that there was only one serving left over ... they loved it! Technically, I used a venison roast, but a beef chuck roast would work just as well. If I were making this for my family, I would probably use leftovers from a roast, but considering the amount of people I cooked for last night I made the roast specifically for the purpose of pot pie.

You'll start with a pot roast: Sunday Pot Roast

Chop the leftover roast into bite-size pieces and stir it back into the gravy; set aside.

1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup chopped green beans or peas
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1/2 can whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook the potatoes and carrots in the beef broth/water until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add in the green beans or peas in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time. Drain the broth, reserving about a cup to add into the gravy. Combine the vegetables, reserved broth, corn, beef and gravy, and seasonings. Transfer to a greased 9x13 baking pan. Mix together topping ingredients and spread over the top.

1 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups self-rising flour

Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

The good part about this is that if you don't have a large family, you can just use leftovers from the whole pot roast dinner - veggies and all. Combine everything and bake it in a 9-inch square dish, using 1/2 the topping ingredients. When I made this last night, I used the roast to make both a square pan and a 9x13.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicken Meatballs with Penne

This recipe is what we had for dinner last night. We loved it! It was somehow different enough from regular spaghetti that it didn't feel like the same meal, even though it contains the same basic ingredients. It's also a departure from my usual method, in that it contains a specific type of canned tomatoes. I try to avoid ingredients like that because they can be hard to find. If you had to, I suppose you could use plain tomatoes in this, but I have really enjoyed the flavor addition of the red peppers. The fresh herbs are also a really necessary ingredient. If you grow your own, this is a pretty cheap meal! (In fact, the ground chicken I used I bought on sale for only $1.49!)

Chicken Meatballs with Penne

1 box penne pasta
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup assorted herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano - any combination of at least 2)
2 cans spicy red pepper diced tomatoes (Hunt's brand)

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, parsley, oregano, bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Form into bite-size meatballs. In a large skillet, brown meatballs in olive oil; add in onion and garlic. (You may need to add another tablespoon of olive oil.) Cook for 2-3 minutes. Combine the tomatoes and the remaining herbs in a blender and blend to desired consistency. Add to meatballs. Simmer, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is done, drain it and serve with the meatballs and sauce.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mediterranean Salmon Salad

 This dish combines many of my favorite flavors. It was inspired by a friend who had eaten a Turkish dish with salmon and couscous. I'm not sure what else her meal involved, and I didn't have any couscous, so I experimented using what I had on-hand. I love that it's such a filling lunch - I didn't even crave an afternoon snack that day! I served mine warm, but I imagine this would be good as a cold salad, too, using leftover salmon.

Mediterranean Salmon Salad

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon olive oil

6 ounce salmon fillet
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning
2 cups chopped spinach
1 tablespoon each chopped fresh parsley and oregano
3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1/8 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

 Place the salmon fillet skin-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with lemon juice and Greek seasoning; bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine the quinoa, broth and olive oil. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the grain is beginning to separate. Remove from heat.

Using a fork, break off chunks of salmon and add them to the cooked quinoa. Stir in the spinach, parsley, oregano, feta and pepper. Toss with the olive oil and lemon juice. Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Multigrain Bread

When I was growing up, I used to love it when my mom made bread from scratch. The house smelled SO good and I can remember biting into that first warm butter-slathered slice. A while back, I found the recipe for Multigrain Bread and I thought it sounded so hearty and delicious that I had to try it! Let me tell you, I was not disappointed! This bread is soft and flavorful with just the right amount of chewiness. I love for my bread to have texture! I've made the recipe several times as written, but when I made it yesterday, I added a twist. After forming the dough into a rectangle, I spread it with a bit of butter and sprinkled on a mixture of cinnamon and white and brown sugars. (Raisins would be great, too, if you're into that sort of thing!) Then I rolled it up and baked it as directed.

Friends ... if I had not already secured Handsome's everlasting devotion, this cinnamon-swirled bread would have sealed the deal.

It took our family approximately 12 hours to consume the entire loaf.

If you'll excuse me, I'm now headed off to the gym.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Piña Colada Shakes

My kiddos adore what I've always called shakes. A more popular term would be "smoothies", I suppose, but no matter what you call them my kids love 'em. They're very versatile  - I usually just throw together whatever I have into the blender and they drink it right up. Even Little One comes running when she hears the blender going. I've posted about them before, and here's a different take on their favorite treat:

Piña Colada Shakes

2-6 ounce cups orange creme yogurt
1 banana
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup milk

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

PB&J Croissants

This is a recipe I've used for years, and one my kids absolutely LOVE. It's in my cookbook, but I haven't shared it on the blog before now. It's amusing to me that my kids will claim boredom with sandwiches and then devour these! They're so simple that our Oldest Girl has made them for herself and siblings for lunch.

PB&J Croissants

1 can crescent rolls
8 teaspoons peanut butter
8 teaspoons jelly
Powdered sugar

Separate dough into eight triangles. On each triangle, at the wide end, place a dollop of peanut butter and jelly. Roll up into crescents and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

The other day my friend Amber accompanied me to the grocery store, since I had to do my shopping in the evening. She was picking up a few things she needed, too, including the ingredients to make shepherd's pie. As soon as she said the words I knew I had to make it! I haven't in so long, and I'm really not sure why. Probably my Oldest Girl's aversion to potatoes.

Anyway, here's my take on the classic ...

Shepherd's Pie

Pastry for a single crust pie - I use Jeni's Perfect Pie Crust with some changes: cornmeal in place of the sugar, water instead of apple juice, and regular vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup green peas
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg

In a large skillet, saute the garlic, onion, and carrots in the oil until they begin to soften. Add the ground beef and cook until the veggies are tender and beef is thoroughly browned. Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, and paprika. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the broth and vinegar, stirring constantly. Add in the peas and herbs. Adjust the seasonings if needed and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes until tender; drain. Mash them with the milk, butter and sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste; stir in the egg.

Roll out the pastry and fit it into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Pour in the beef mixture and top with the shredded cheese, then the potatoes. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Now obviously you could streamline this process with store-bought crust and even the mashed potatoes can be purchased. But as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, you'll be so glad you put in the extra effort for this fantastic meal!