Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spaghetti Skillet Dinner

I love when I can make a meal and only dirty one pan! No precooking the noodles for this spaghetti dinner, because it all cooks all together in one skillet. Believe it or not, this recipe comes to you from the back of my pasta box! I used Italian sausage and got to have a nice conversation with my kids about the strange taste of fennel. The canned tomatoes make for an easy sauce and of course everything is better with a little cheese. :)

Spaghetti Skillet Dinner
8 oz thin spaghetti, broken in half
16 oz Italian sausage or ground beef
1/2 - 3/4 cup diced onion
14.5 oz can Italian Style diced tomatoes
8 oz can Italian Style tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Brown sausage and onions in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain grease. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water.
2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Bring back to a boil. Stir in uncooked pasta, mixing well.
4. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring often to separate pasta.
5. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.
Serves 4-6

Friday, February 13, 2015

Palmiers

These are sweet, buttery, flaky goodness and you can make them with only two ingredients! Well, one of them is frozen puff pastry, but that's not cheating, right?! I am posting these just in time for Valentine's Day because I love how they look like cute little hearts! I don't usually do step by step pictures, but I thought it might be helpful with this recipe. So here goes!

Palmiers
adapted from icingdesignsonline.blogspot.com
1 pkg of frozen puff pastry
Sugar

1. Take one roll of puff pastry out of the freezer and let come to almost room temperature.
2. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar on table or flat surface. Unfold the pastry sheet and place it on the sugar. Sprinkle another 1/4 of sugar on top of the pastry sheet. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough just slightly. You mostly just want to work the sugar into the dough a bit.
3. Begin rolling the sides in starting with about 1/2 an inch. Continue rolling until they meet in the middle. Roll one side on top of the others so that the rolls are stacked. Slice the roll into about 1/2 inch slices.
4. Place the slices on a parchment covered baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Sprinkle the tops with a little more sugar. Place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake straight from the refrigerator for 8 minutes. Remove them from the oven and flip them over with a spatula. Return to the oven for 6-8 more minutes or until they are golden and caramelized. Cool on wire rack.

NOW for the step by step pics with instructions. I took the pics with my phone so they aren't the best, but you get the idea. :)

 Take your puff pastry out of the freezer and let come to almost room temperature. You want to be able to work with it but it still needs to be cold. Here is the puff pastry I used. It comes with 2 rolls. You only work with one roll at a time, so you can just use one and save the other for something else, or do the second one when you have finished with the first.


 Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar on table or flat surface.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet and place it on the sugar. Sprinkle another 1/4 of sugar on top of the pastry sheet.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough just slightly. You mostly just want to work the sugar into the dough a bit.

Begin rolling the sides in starting with about 1/2 an inch.

Continue rolling until they meet in the middle.

Roll one side on top of the others so that the rolls are stacked.

Slice the roll into about 1/2 inch slices. If they fall apart a little, just roll them back up. I got 16 slices from this roll.

Place the slices on a parchment covered baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Sprinkle the tops with a little more sugar. Place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After the 15 minutes is up, put the baking sheet straight into the oven and bake for 8 minutes.


After they have baked for 8 minutes, remove them from the oven and flip them over with a spatula. I had to fix a couple that unrolled a little but be careful because that sugar will burn you! Return to the oven for 6-8 more minutes or until they are golden and caramelized. Cool on wire rack.







Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I have found so many great new recipes lately! I was initially going to make this with store bought sauce, but I found a recipe for home made sweet and sour sauce that I wanted to try. I made the home made sauce and did a taste comparison with the store bought sweet and sour sauce, and the home made was soooo much better. To make this recipe easier, you could use a jar of sauce. I used turkey meatballs which made it totally healthy, right?!. You should definitely give this one a try. :)

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
adapted from sixsistersstuff.com and willcookforsmiles.com
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup pineapple juice (use juice from drained can of pineapple)
3 TBSP rice vinegar
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 lbs frozen meatballs
2 bell peppers, cubed (any color you prefer)
1 medium onion, cubed
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks (reserve juice for sauce)

1. To make sauce: In a saucepan, combine first 8 ingredients and whisk well. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat, until thickened.
2. Place meatballs, peppers, onions, and pineapple in slow cooker. Pour sauce over ingredients and stir to coat.
3. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Serve over rice.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thai Yellow Curry

I'm not one for branching out to other cuisines really. I'd rather go out to eat when wanting something like teriyaki or curry. This recipe has changed my mind about that. I had this curry at a friends house. It is her recipe that she has perfected after trial and error. She suggests specific ingredients that you might have to get at an Asian or Middle Eastern grocery store, but I was able to find most everything at my Central Market. It does take a bit of time to cut up all the chicken and veggies, but it is worth it! It makes a lot! I'm talking about a gallon. We had it for 3 meals and then froze the rest. I'm so glad that I was able to add this recipe to my blog! Gives it an exotic feel, don't you think? :) Thanks Jennifer!

Thai Yellow Curry
Jennifer Qureshi 
1/4 cup canola oil
2 TBSPs ginger garlic paste (see pic)
1 can yellow curry paste (see pic)
2 TBSPs Madras Curry Powder (see pic)
3 cups chicken broth
5-8 yellow potatoes peeled and cut into large pieces
2 (15oz) cans coconut cream
1 1/2 lbs chicken, sliced into bite size pieces
1 16oz bag baby carrots
2 red onions cut into chunks
2 bell peppers any color, I used red and orange
Cilantro to taste (forgot to put on for my pic)

 In a large pot, add oil, and heat. Add ginger garlic paste; fry for few min. Add curry paste; fry 2-3 min. Add curry powder; fry 1 min. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Add potatoes; cook 15 min covered. Add coconut cream; stir. Bring to a boil; add chicken; cook for 5-10 min covered, but not on high or the cream will get lumpy, so watch it! Add carrots, onion, bell pepper. Simmer covered for 10 min more or until you like the tenderness of veggies. Add cilantro to taste. Serve over sticky rice.



Monday, February 2, 2015

Broken Glass Jello

This jello was so fun to make! We had it at our family Super Bowl party. I used 2 colors for an 8x8in pan, but you can easily double this and use 4 colors in a 9x13in pan. It would also be great to make for the 4th of July or Christmas!

Broken Glass Jello
adapted from foodlibrarian.com
2 small boxes (3 oz each) Jell-O or store brand gelatin
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (Knox brand, in the Jell-O aisle)

1. In 2 separate rectangular plastic containers, mix each jello package with 1 cup of boiling water. Stir each until dissolved and then refrigerate until firm (at least 4 hours, or overnight).
2. When jello flavors are firm, cut the jello into small cubes. Mix the colors together in an 8x8 pan.
3. In a separate bowl, sprinkle unflavored gelatin into 1/4 cup cold water. Add 3/4 cup boiling water and stir to dissolve. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and let cool (we don't want it to melt the jello cubes). Pour the white gelatin mixture over the cubes of jello.
4. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares and serve.





Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thick and Chewy S'mores Cookie Bars

Ooooo, these are good! I posted this picture on Facebook and have had some requests for the recipe, so here it is! I took my Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars recipe, which is by far my most viewed (over 325k!), and tweaked it. Added a graham crust, and substituted marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Love them, especially the gooey marshmallow! To get fine and uniform graham cracker crumbs, just give them a whirl in the blender. Still easy to make, with no mixer required! I even mailed some to my sister in WI, in a 2 day priority mail box, and they arrived in perfect shape. They are calling your name!

Thick and Chewy S'Mores Cookie Bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (9 or 10 long crackers)
4 TBSPs butter, melted
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 TBSPs butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups marshmallows, divided
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine crushed graham crackers and 4 TBSPs melted butter in medium sized bowl. Stir with fork to combine. Pour graham mixture into prepared pan covering the bottom of the pan and press down firmly with hands. Refrigerate until needed.
3. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1 cup of marshmallows and 1 cup of chocolate chips.
4. Carefully spoon batter into the prepared pan placing dollops all around the prepared crust. Smooth the top with the spatula with a pressing motion. Sprinkle remaining marshmallows and chocolate chips on top and press in slightly.
5. Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.






Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fajita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches - Meal Idea

After you make these Chicken Fajitas, you should use the leftovers to have another meal of Fajita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches! They are better than you think! You don't really need a recipe for it, but I'll give you one anyway. :)

Fajita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Bread
Butter or margarine for grilling 
Shredded cheese
Leftover chicken fajita meat with peppers and onions
Avocado, mashed

Heat a skillet or frying pan to medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Layer on cheese, fajita mixture, then avocado. Grill until golden. Serve with salsa and sour cream. Eat.