Monday, February 2, 2009

Club Chicken Casserole

This casserole is a family favorite and is wonderful for potlucks. Many different vegetables go very well with it, we like asparagus or broccoli. Add some good sourdough bread and the meal is complete.

2 Cups Cooked Chicken, cut up
3 Cups Cooked Rice, use 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon in the water when you cook the rice
1 pkg Sliced Fresh Mushrooms
1 Red Bell Pepper, coarsely chopped
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
1 can (14 ½ oz) Evaporated Milk
1 Cup Water, with 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon dissolved in it
½ Cup Almonds, sliced or coarsely chopped
Saute the mushrooms and red bell pepper until just tender. Drain thoroughly. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter; slowly stir in the flour, stirring constantly until slightly browned. Gradually pour in the evaporated milk and then the water with bouillon, whisking rapidly. Continue cooking until sauce is thick, stirring constantly.
In a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish, layer the rice, the chicken, and the sauted mushrooms and peppers. Pour the sauce over all. Sprinkle top with almonds. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Economy Cooking - Roast Beef

This is supposed to be an onion! Cheap and good-for-you!

Some time ago, the thought occurred to me that there are probably young cooks who have never lived through difficult economic times. The idea came to me to post some menus that are true dollar stretchers! This past week I pulled out some very old recipes and got busy in my kitchen--what a walk down memory lane. My husband and I both vividly remember how much we liked the following recipes. When we were newlyweds (35 years ago this month!) he was a college student and worked part-time, I worked full-time and we were determined to eat well and still put money in savings. The "main" dinner and the "pasties" dinner are a bit more labor intensive and I remember doing these two dinners on Saturday night and Sunday night. Monday through Friday were the second "main" dinner, second and third "pasties" dinners, and two nights of the "french dip" dinner. A 4 pound beef roast lasted all week! And. . . we ate well!!

Roast Beef Dinner Menu:
Oregano Crusted Beef Round Eye Roast
Green Beans with Dill Weed
Carmelized Onion Bake
Tossed Green Salad
Chocolate Upside Down Cake

Here's the special recipes:
Oregano Crusted Roast
4 lb Beef Round Eye Roast
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 large russet potatoes
Mix all seasonings together. In a large dutch oven, heat 1/4 to 1/3 cup canola oil, add roast and sear on all sides. Pour 4 cups water into pan, coat top and as much of the sides of the roast that is
above the water line with the mixed seasonings. Cover pan and simmer 2 1/2 hrs, add water as needed. Peel and cut potatoes in half and place in the liquid and continue simmering for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

½ cup butter
4 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
3 eggs
1 cup Half and Half
1 ½ Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter, add onions. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are caramel color (about 30 to 40 minutes)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and half and half, whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt, stir in parmesan cheese. Pour onions into a generously buttered 2 ½ quart baking dish, pour egg mixture over onions, poke through the onions with a spoon to get the liquid to settle. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown.

2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In mixing bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add remaining ingredients and beat just until smooth. Do not overbeat. Fill generously greased muffin cups or popover pans half full. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Prick crust with tip of knife during last 5 minutes of baking to allow steam to escape. Serve hot.
Yields: 12 muffin-size or 6 to 8 large popover-size

1 pkg. Devil’s Food Cake Mix
½ C Butter or Margarine
¼ C Water
1 C Packed Brown Sugar
1 C Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
1 C Flaked Coconut
Whipped Cream (if desired)
Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a 13x9 pan. Add water; sprinkle brown sugar evenly in pan. Arrange nuts and coconut in sugar mixture.
Mix cake as directed on package. Pour batter over mixture in pan. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until cake tests done with a toothpick. Let stand 5 minutes for topping to begin to set. Then turn upside down onto a large platter or a cookie sheet. Serve pieces of cake topped with whipped cream, if desired.

Pasties Dinner Menu:
Pasties with Mushroom Sauce
Steamed Celery
Steamed and Butter Glazed Carrots
Carmelized Onion Bake (leftovers)

The special recipes:
2 cups finely cubed cooked beef
1 cup finely cubed uncooked potato
½ cup thinly sliced uncooked carrot
¼ cup chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground sage
Dash of black pepper
1 package pie crust mix OR homemade pie crust for 1 double crust pie
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine beef, potato, carrots, celery, onion, soup, salt, sage and pepper. Mix well; set aside. Prepare pie crust, divide dough into 6 equal portions. Roll out each portion on a floured surface to a 7 inch circle. Place a heaping half cup of meat mixture on each pastry circle. Moisten edges with water; fold in half. Seal edges and prick top with fork. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Eat from hand like a sandwich or serve with mushroom sauce or with favorite beef gravy.
Note: Can use cooked pork roast for Pork Pasties.
¼ cup butter
1 ½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup water
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of Pepper
In saucepan, melt butter. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Combine water and cornstarch until smooth. Blend into hot mushrooms; cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add Worcestershire sauce and seasonings, stir until blended.

French Dip Dinner Menu:
Roast Beef Sandwiches
French Onion soup
The special recipes:
For the Sandwiches, slice the leftover roast beef very thin. Slice french bread roll into hoagie-size and then slice lengthwise. Any kind of bread you like is good, I've used french bread, whole wheat, and sour dough. . . all are good. Toast bread and then spread with a thin layer of butter and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (the good, deli kind. . . not the powdery stuff). After bread is prepared, place thin slice beef and make into sandwiches. For heating the leftover roast, put the thin slices in a microwaveable dish with lid, add a little bit of water and cook on high for 1 min or until hot--do not overcook! Yummy, dipping good!!

2 large or 3 medium yellow onions, sliced
¼ cup butter
4 cups water
6 cubes or teaspoons beef bouillon
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash Pepper
Grated parmesan cheese
In large saucepan, cook onions in butter until golden. Add water, bouillon, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Simmer, covered 15 to 20 minutes to blend flavors. When serving, sprinkle each bowl of soup with grated parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

16 Bean Soup and Cornbread

Mmmm, perfect for cool autumn days and also when you need a comfort soup when sick. This is my son's favorite soup, he says he could eat it until his stomach pops. A slice of hot cornbread and you've got a wonderful cool-weather meal!

1 - 20 oz. package 16-bean soup mix*
1 - 16 oz. package Hillshire Farms LITE Polska Kielbasa, cut into bite-size pieces**
1 onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons salt
1 - 28 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste - optional

Do not use the seasoning packet found in the bag of beans, I throw mine away, but you may have another use for it. Place beans in a large stock pot with 6 cups of cold water. Bring to a rapid boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain into a colander and rinse in cold water. Return beans to stockpot, add 8 cups of water, the Polska Kielbasa, onion and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and simmer with lid tilted for 1 ½ hrs. Check periodically to stir and add water if needed. Add can of diced tomatoes. Taste to see if you want to add more salt. At this time, I stir in pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 min.
*16 bean soup mix is found in the dry beans section of the grocery store. In some stores it is 15 bean, which will work just as well. The beans in this mix are: Small white beans, small red beans, black beans, light red kidney beans, large lima beans, red lentils, pearl barley, adzuki beans, green split peas, yellow split peas, pinto beans, baby lima beans, great northern beans, lentils, pink beans and blackeye peas.
** Meat alternatives: ham hocks and/or ham cubed, cubed and cooked beef or chicken.
This is a good recipe for left over beef roast.

1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup oil
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 10 inch cast iron skillet on burner and put 1 Tablespoon oil in it, heat until oil starts to sizzle. In medium size bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, then make a “well” in the center. To the “well” add eggs, oil and buttermilk. Mix until well blended. Pour into hot, prepared skillet, spreading batter evenly. Place skillet in oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shrimp in Angel Hair Pasta

My friend, Lydia, keeps asking me when I'm going to put this recipe on the blog. It is a recipe that is elegant and yet so easy! A very fine dish for company that always yields compliments. So, Lydia, this one's for YOU!
What I serve with this varies. . . good accompaniments would be: sugar snap peas, fresh spinach salad and crusty sour dough bread and for dessert how about Lemonade Party Cake.

2 Eggs
1 Cup half-and-half
1 Cup plain yogurt
½ Cup grated swiss cheese
1/3 Cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 Cup chopped parsley
1/4 Cup chopped fresh basil OR 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 pkg.(9 ozs) Uncooked FRESH angel hair pasta (dried does not work in this recipe)
1 jar (16 ozs) mild, thick and chunky salsa
1 lb small to medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ Cup grated monterey jack cheese
Butter a 12 x 8 inch pan. Combine eggs, half-and-half, yogurt, swiss cheese, feta cheese, parsley, basil and oregano in medium bowl; mix well. Spread ½ of the pasta on bottom of prepared pan. Cover with salsa. Add ½ of the shrimp. Cover with remaining pasta. Spread egg mixture over pasta and top with remaining shrimp. Sprinkle jack cheese over top. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 30 min. or until bubbly. Let stand 10 min.
Note: The combination of yogurt, the variety of cheeses, and salsa does not sound good! But this is a fantastic recipe and a great combination of flavors. I’ve tried it with cooked white chicken and it is good, but not quite as good as the shrimp.

1 pkg Lemon cake mix (yellow cake mix works okay)
1 ¼ cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 can (6 ozs) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed (¾ cup)
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tub lemon frosting or fluffy white frosting
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 13 x 9 can pan. Make cake mix as directed on package, using water, oil and eggs. Pour into pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes. Mix lemonade concentrate and powdered sugar. Pierce cake every ½ inches or so with a long-tined fork. Drizzle lemonade mixture evenly over top of cake. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours. Spread frosting over top of cake. Store cake, covered, in refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mexican Food Appetizers

It's not JUST chips and salsa. . . How about Layered Bean Dip with chips or Chili-Cheese Dip with chips? Everytime I make chili-cheese dip I am reminded of a time (back in the 80s) when my kids were young and we'd get together with friends for evenings of Trivial Pursuit or Pictionary. There were several families that got together frequently and as "the women folk" would start discussing whose house we were going to gather at and what we were going to fix for munchies, the question would come up "who's bringing the chili cheese dip?" It was such a standard dish that the question was never "should we have chili cheese dip?" Then as the kids grew, it was one of the "standard" fare when they would have pool parties. Many, many times I would have to run to the store to get the ingredients to make yet another batch! It still remains my son's favorite dip. I still make it in my original, avacado green crock pot (yes, it DOES date back to the year that crock pots first hit the market -- sometime in the early 70s) Do I have your interest yet?

Chili-Cheese Dip
In a crock pot or slow cooker, place 2 cans of chili beans (whatever brand you like--I use Dennisons usually) and 1 lb of Velveeta cheese, cubed. Heat, stirring frequently until cheese is melted and mixture is heated through. Ladle into a bowl and serve as a dip with tortilla chips and/or corn chips OR spread the chips on a plate and ladle the chili-cheese over as you would for nachos. If served as nachos, you can top with salsa, olives, chopped green onions, sour cream or whatever else you like on nachos.

1 - 32 oz can refried beans
1 - 4oz can diced green chilies (do not drain)
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 - 16 oz bottle taco sauce
4 to 6 green onions, sliced
3 cups lettuce, shredded fine
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 can black olives, sliced
Tortilla chips
In a bowl, mix refried beans, green chilies and taco seasoning mix. Spread mixture onto a 12 inch round serving platter. Spread the sour cream over the beans and then pour the taco sauce over the sour cream. Arrange the green onions evenly over the sour cream, spread lettuce over green onions, and then top with the cheddar cheese and black olives. Serve with tortilla chips.

Mexican Manicotti Dinner

This is quite possibly my MOST favorite Mexican food dinner. I like the idea that my other favorite ethnic foods (Italian -- the manicotti) is made Mexican! It's a dish that I usually prepare ahead of time, in fact I usually prepare two so I can put one in the freezer for another time. My family loves apples. . . so the Apple Enchiladas are a perfect ending to our favorite Mexican food dinner! The menu:

Mexican Manicotti
Green Salad, topped with salsa and ranch dressing (it's a WONDERFUL combination)
Apple Enchiladas (served warm with vanilla ice cream)

1 1/4 lbs ground beef
4 oz. cream cheese
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
14 manicotti-cooked just to al dente
1 ½ C prepared taco sauce
1 C grated cheddar cheese
1 C grated monterey jack cheese
1 ½ C crushed tortilla chips
1 C sour cream
3 green onion, sliced
Optional: sliced ripe olives
Cook beef in large skillet over medium-high heat until brown, stirring to separate meat; drain fat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add cream cheese and taco seasoning mix. Simmer 5 minutes. Fill manicotti with meat mixture and place in a buttered 13 x 9 pan. Pour taco sauce over each shell. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Uncover; top with cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese and chips. Bake 15 minutes more or until bubbly. Top with sour cream and onions. Garnish with olives if desired.
Tip: Place chips in 1 gal food storage bag, seal bag and mash the chips with your hand or with a rolling pin. Quick, no mess way to crush the chips!
Casserole freezes well. I usually double this recipe and make two casseroles, one for “right now” and one to go in the freezer. Prepare it up to the first bake step. Freezer to oven, adjust first baking time to 45 min, check to see if center is hot before proceeding to second bake time. If thawed to room temperature, bake for 20 to 30 min. (depends on how cool it is, just check the center before adding cheese and chips and second baking time).

1 - 21 oz can apple pie filling
6 - 8 inch flour tortillas
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Spoon about one quarter cup of pie filling evenly down the center of each tortilla, roll up and place seam side down in prepared dish. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugars and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Pour sauce over enchiladas and let stand 30 minutes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm, vanilla ice cream is optional.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Mmmm, Mmmm good! This dish is one I made up by combining two different recipes. It is FAST to make -- no kidding, after the chicken is cooked, it takes about 15 minutes! Of course, the dessert finale is one that is made several hours ahead of time and it is SO WORTH IT! This soup is very hearty. The dessert is one that I had for the first time just about 5 years ago and then searched and searched for the recipe. It's another one where I took several (I think it was three) recipes and mixed them up and through trial and error came up with my version. The menu is Chicken Enchilada Soup and Tres Leches Cake, and here's the recipes

4 chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
3 cups chicken broth
20 - 6 inch corn tortillas cut into 1 x 1 inch squares
2 - 15 oz cans black beans, drained
2 - 15 oz cans cut corn, drained
1 - 28 oz can mild green enchilada sauce
1 - 28 oz can mild red enchilada sauce
3 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional and can be increased)
Sour cream
Grated cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips
In large stock pot, bring the chicken broth to a slow boil; add the tortillas and cook over medium heat until strips soften. Stir in the chicken, black beans, corn, enchilada sauces, cumin and cayenne pepper. Continue cooking until heated through. When serving, top each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
½ cup whipping cream
5 oz can evaporated milk
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 quart Fresh berries
(raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. It‘s okay to use a variety of mixed berries)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish or cake pan. Beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs in large bowl on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes. Pierce completely through hot cake every ½ inch with long-tined fork. Mix ½ cup whipping cream, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk in a small bowl. Slowly pour milk mixture evenly over top of cake. Cover and refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. Arrange berries on top of cake, reserving a few for garnishing. Beat 1 cup whipping cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over berries and then garnish with the reserved berries. Store cake in refrigerator.

NOTE: I experimented with this recipe and made a COCOA TRES LECHES CAKE by using:
Chocolate cake mix instead of yellow
Adding 2 envelopes of Mexican chocolate milk mix in with the “tres leches” that was poured over the cake.
Mixing 2 envelopes of Mexican chocolate milk mix with the whipped cream. I eliminated the berries, and garnished with chocolate curls.
If you can’t find the Mexican chocolate milk mix (usually in the Mexican food section of the grocery store), you can make your own by adding ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon to each pack of regular chocolate milk mix.