Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meal Idea - Patty Melt

A patty melt is a hamburger patty with onions and cheese on toasted bread. My husband loves them. You can make one in just a few simple steps. 
1. Cook a hamburger patty.
2. Saute some onion slices until they are nice and brown.
3. Assemble the sandwich: bread, hamburger, slice of cheese, onions, bread.
4. Butter the bread and cook in frying pan until golden and cheese is melted.
If you want a sauce on the sandwich some options are: thousand island dressing, a mayo and ketchup mixture, or BBQ sauce (my husband's item of choice).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Creamy Spinach Tortellini

Everyone in my family loves this recipe. It's sooo good! Well...the little boys avoid the spinach. It comes from my friend Lori, by way of a church cookbook. I like to use tortellini, but you can also substitute ravioli. I also use a little less spinach than called for. The fresh basil really adds a lot of flavor to this, but you could use 1 1/2 tsps of dried instead.

Creamy Spinach Tortellini
1 lb. frozen cheese tortellini
2 TBSPs olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
9 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed (I use a bit less)
1 cup tomato, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and return to pan to keep warm.
2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in spinach, tomato, basil, salt, and pepper; cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in whipping cream and Parmesan cheese.
3. Cook until mixture just comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and mix in tortellini; cook an additional 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Makes 4-6 servings

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Poppy Seed Chicken

This is one of my little sister Leann's favorite recipes. I made it for my family, and my kids gobbled it up. I cooked my rice in chicken broth to give it more flavor. You could also serve it over noodles.

Poppy Seed Chicken
2-3 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces (about 2 cups)
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 25 crackers)
1 TBSP poppy seeds
3 TBSPs butter, melted

1. Cook chicken in in medium skillet until no longer pink. Stir in sour cream and soup. Spread in a 2 quart casserole dish.
2. In a bowl, combine crackers, poppy seeds, and butter. Mix well. Sprinkle over chicken.
3. Bake 375° for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
Serves 6

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Honey Butter

This stuff is the best! You'll never want just plain butter on your bread again! My 5 year old asked me for the recipe so that he can make it when he's older. :)

Honey Butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/3-1/2 cup honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat all ingredients together with mixer until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

If you want to form it back into a log shape so you can slice it, scoop it onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it up and roll it into a log. Put it in the refrigerator until it hardens; about 2 hours. You can also easily half this if you don't want to make so much.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pigs in a Blanket

I love making these, because you can use them for anything; snacks, lunch, even dinner. This crescent roll recipe in the one my mother-in-law uses. The dough is so easy to work with! I've even made a jalapeño cheese version by adding a slice of pickled jalapeño and a little shredded cheese with the sausage.

Pigs in a Blanket
2 TBSPs active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14oz.) package Lit'l Smokies sausages

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
2. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until smooth. Scrape dough from side of bowl. Knead dough for 3 minutes, then cover it and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1-1/2 hours).
3. Punch down dough. Divide into fourths. Roll each fourth into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 8 triangles. Place a sausage at the wide end of each triangle. Roll up the triangles starting with the wide end. Place rolls with point under on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour).
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter when they come out.
Makes 32 rolls.

If you want to make these as plain rolls, brush the triangles with melted butter before rolling them up.

Note: I have made this dough in my bread machine on the dough cycle. I added everything according to bread machine instructions. I substituted bread flour for all purpose and 1 TBSP of bread machine (or fast rise) yeast for regular yeast.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Orange French Toast

Breakfast can be quite a hassle when you are cooking things like bacon, eggs, and pancakes, all on the stove top at the same time. I like having one thing that I can do in the oven. This french toast can be made ahead of time and cooks in the oven, which I love, because sometimes I'm left standing at the stove cooking the last few pieces while everyone else starts eating without me. You could also just cook it on the stove top if you wanted. I used Simply Orange orange juice for a fresh orange flavor. My boys could not stop raving about this.

Orange French Toast
Lion House Entertaining
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
2 TBSPs sugar
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
dash of salt
8 slices Texas-style bread
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted

1. Grease cookie sheet. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Add the milk, orange juice, sugar, orange peel, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Beat well. Dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture; place on greased cookie sheet. Cover lightly with foil, and then freeze for 1-2 hours or until completely frozen. (I just place mine on sheets of foil in the freezer, and then cover them again with foil). To store, remove from freezer and stack slices of bread in freezer bag, placing wax paper between slices. Return to freezer.
2. To serve, heat the oven to 425° F. Remove the desired number of slices from the freezer. Brush one side of each slice with melted margarine. Place margarine-side down on an ungreased cookie sheet; bake for 10 minutes. Brush top with margarine, then turn. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 8 slices

(If you don't want to freeze it and bake it, just cook it on the stove top in a greased frying pan after dipping).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Carrot-Chicken Fried Rice

I found this recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook. We really liked it, and I'll be making it again. It's an easy dinner because it's an all in one meal, and pretty simple to make.

Carrot-Chicken Fried Rice
Taste of Home
3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
4 TBSPs soy sauce, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
3 green onions
2 TBSPs oil, divided
3 large carrots, shredded
4 cups cold cooked rice
1/4 tsp pepper

In a bowl, combine the chicken, 1 TBSP soy sauce, and garlic; set aside. In a large skillet, stir-fry the broccoli and green onions in 1 TBSP of oil for 5 minutes. Add carrots; stir-fry 4 minutes longer or until crisp-tender. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, stir-fry chicken in remaining oil until no longer pink and juices run clear. Add the rice, pepper, vegetables, and remaining soy sauce. Stir-fry until heated through. Serves 4-6

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Roasted Ranch Potatoes

These potatoes are a nice flavorful alternative to fries or tater tots. I like to add cheese and/or bacon to the top to make them even better. For easy clean up line your baking sheet with foil.

Roasted Ranch Potatoes
adapted from
6 cups potatoes, cubed (skins on)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 (1oz) packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
Shredded cheddar and/or cooked crumbled bacon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place potatoes and oil in a bag and shake to coat. Add dressing mix to bag and shake to coat again. Dump potatoes onto a greased baking sheet and spread out to make a single layer.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy. Stir every 10 minutes to keep them from sticking to the pan.
4. After removing from oven sprinkle with cheese and/or bacon if desired.
Serves 6