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Recipe idea: Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit cups

Categories: Cooking, recipes

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I was cleaning out the refrigerator yesterday, and I noticed I had some biscuits and some sausage that had just about outlived their usefulness, and I didn’t want to waste them. I wasn’t sure what to do with them (other than just making sausage and biscuits), and then I remembered muffin tin cooking is all the rage, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but they actually turned out pretty well, so I thought I’d share.

Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit cups
Ingredients:

3 large eggs
3 tbsp half-and-half
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or what you have on hand, I used cheddar and jack)
1/2 lb. cooked sausage
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
1 can of whomp* biscuits, (I had Pillsbury Grands on hand, so I separated each biscuit into 2 layers because they’re big).

Directions:

1.    Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray
2.    In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together
3.    Flatten each biscuit into a larger flat circle and place into a cup in the prepared muffin tin. Press the dough into the bottom of each cup and up the sides.
4.    Divide the sausage and cheese evenly into each cup
5.    Divide the egg mixture evenly between each cup and carefully pour over sausage and cheese, but not too full.

Bake 15-20 minutes until biscuits are brown and eggs are set.

I was thinking these would be a good, quick breakfast during the week, but as it turns out, people have been eating them all day around here, so I guess they’re good any time?

I’d like to try some more things in the the muffin tin, do you have any favorite recipes?

(* What? You know, whomp biscuits - you know, the ones you whomp on the counter to open…)

Super Bowl appetizer idea: Boursin cheese-stuffed mushrooms

Categories: Cooking, Food, Holiday Entertaining, recipes

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The Super Bowl is coming up, and I consider it the official end of Appetizer Season, so it makes me a little sad. I love appetizers and I’m always on the lookout for something new, or at least “new” to me.

I’m fortunate to be able to take a girl’s trip to the beach each January with my friends. Aside from the obvious benefit of getting to go on vacation, I always end up with a few new recipes.

We cook at least one of the night’s we’re there, and this year we ended up just having an appetizer spread. I particularly like it when I learn about an appetizer that’s really quick and easy because we know I’m all about the quick appetizer.

I may be the last one to know about this, but I am in love with Boursin cheese-stuffed mushrooms.

Boursin Cheese-stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • Large, fresh mushrooms (as many as you want to make)
  • 6 oz. of boursin herb cheese spread (usually found in the refrigerated section with the fancy cheeses at the grocery)
  • Melted butter to brush on mushrooms

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Wash and de-stem mushrooms, brush lightly with butter

3. Spoon the cheese into the mushroom caps

4. Bake on a baking sheet at 450 for 15 min.

If you’re feeling especially fancy, you can finely chop the mushroom stems and add them and some Parmesan cheese to the boursin cheese and top with bread crumbs and butter and bake until lightly browned.

That’s all there is to it!

What are you taking to the Super Bowl party? Tell us in the comments below.

Quick dinner idea: Meatball Sandwich Casserole

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Lunches, Meal Planning, Uncategorized, recipes, summer living

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The holidays can be a crazy time of year with shopping to be done, preparing for guests and getting kids ready for exams. We’ve been out late a lot during the week lately, and traveling on the weekends, so there’s not been a lot of time to fix dinner. Since it seems my family insists on eating every night, I figured I should try to do something about feeding them.

As a matter of fact, I even had most of these things in the pantry and fridge already, so this was easy.

Meatball Sandwich Casserole

Slices (about 1/4 inch thick) baguette French bread(enough to cover a casserole dish)
olive or vegetable oil to brush on bread

1-2 pounds (depends on what size dish you’re using) frozen cooked Italian-style or regular meatballs, thawed. Works best if they are smaller, bite-sized meatballs.
1 bag frozen chopped onions thawed and drained (I sauteed mine, but I’m sure it’s fine without)
NOTE: you’re supposed to use the onions and green pepper mix to make it like an authentic meatball sandwich, but no one here but me likes green peppers.
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce (I used a tomato-basil one)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Heat oven to 350°F. Brush 1 side of each bread slice with oil.
  • Line the bottom and side of a casserole dish with bread, oil side up and slightly overlapping slices.

  • Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
  • In large bowl,  mix meatballs, onion (and bell pepper), and pasta sauce.
  • Spoon meatball mixture into crust; and bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated in center.

  • Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

It was a hit with everyone, and it’s been just as good the next day!

Fast broccoli rice and chicken casserole using uncooked rice

Categories: recipes

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In my hurry before I left town the other day, I got it in my head that I should fix dinner to leave for my family. You know how that goes: you’re convinced that, even though they often fix dinner on their own (I have older kids), that no one will eat anything at all unless you leave a complete dinner.

But, I really did have to get on the road, and there wasn’t a whole lot to eat in the house. However, I did have some chicken tenders, and broccoli-chicken and rice something another sounded good.

I was in a hurry, and I hate to cook rice and I didn’t really have time to do much with the chicken, so I decided to try my luck at throwing some things together that included uncooked rice.

1 med. onion, chopped
1/2 stick butter
6-7 chicken tenders
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped broccoli
1 c. quick cooking rice, uncooked
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can chicken broth
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 c. water
Crushed crackers

Place chicken tenders in lightly greased casserole dish (I put them in whole, I just didn’t have time to slice and saute them or anything)
Saute onion in butter
Add broccoli, rice, soup, chicken broth and cheese. Mix well.
Pour over chicken and top with crackers.
Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Even though I put it in the oven and ran, it turned out quite well. It was more like a sauce over the chicken rather than a casserole, but it was a hit.

While making a broccoli, chicken and rice casserole isn’t exactly revolutionary, I’m not always good at just putting things together (I’m learning, though) rather than following a specific recipe and I was glad to find something that only took me a few minutes assemble and didn’t involve cooking the rice.

In search of meatloaf hints

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Organization, recipes

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I unabashedly admit I’m a huge fan of the much-maligned meatloaf. Actually, I’m a fan of the much-maligned singer, Meatloaf, too, but that’s a different post for a different time.

If meatloaf (the food, not the singer) is very traditional, and made “right”, I can’t get enough. I like it made with ground beef and a simple tomato sauce topping. The problem is I’m not all that good at making it. My actual meatloaf never quite matches the vision in my head. A “meatloaf letdown”, if you will.

I know it’s not that hard to make, but I just can’t seem to get it to come out the same way twice. Sometimes, it comes out in a loaf fashion you can actually slice, sometimes it comes out in “meatloaf crumbles”. I’ve tried it in a loaf pan, out of a loaf pan, in muffin tins and once in the crockpot (Do note the “once” part.).

I usually use the meatloaf recipe on the Quaker Oats package:

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup Quaker® Oats(quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup catsup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in large bowl; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape meatloaf mixture into 10×6-inch loaf on rack of broiler pan.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until meatloaf is to medium doneness (160°F for beef, 170°F for turkey), until not pink in center and juices show no pink color. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Cover and refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 2 days, or wrap airtight and freeze up to 3 months.

I’m sure this is the way my mother and grandmother made it, too, but perhaps meatloaf skips a generation or something? All I want is to make a simple meatloaf that tastes good and that can be sliced so it looks like meatloaf, is that so much to ask?

Do you have any helpful meatloaf hints or recipes? Please share them!

Recipe: Chicken, Spinach and Pasta

Categories: Cooking, recipes

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We got home late last night, the 9 year old hadn’t eaten, he still had to do homework, shower and get to bed since he’s been up way too late the past couple of nights. I had a couple of things in mind for dinner, and if I timed it just right, we could get everything done and get him to bed.

I flew into the driveway, gathered everything out of the car and rushed to the back door to find…I had no house key.

It had fallen off my key ring, and no one else was home.

We did get in eventually, but dinner plans were foiled. Going back out would have taken too much time, and we may or may not be way overdue to go to the grocery (I’ll never tell!), so I had to slap something together. Since everyone was coming from outdoor sports practices, I felt somewhat compelled to make something substantial-ish.

I’m so not the person that can effortlessly just throw something together for dinner, so when I don’t really have a plan, the results can be variable. However, last night’s “grab whatever I could find” worked out kind of well, so I thought I’d share.

Note: this isn’t a real recipe and your results may vary, this is what landed on my stove after ransacking the fridge and the pantry, so it’s not terribly scientific.

Chicken, Spinach and Pasta

Ingredients:

- Most of a box of tube-shaped pasta

- Frozen spinach left in the bag in the freezer

- 1 big can of canned chicken (I know, I know…)

- tub of Original Philadelphia Cooking Creme (not an ad, I just had some)

- most of a can of chicken broth

- butter

- spices from the front of the cabinet because there’s no time to dig around in there

Directions:

- Cook the pasta according to the package directions

- Saute spinach, and chicken in butter and garlic or whatever you found in the cabinet

- Add the chicken broth

- Add the Cooking Creme

- Drain and add the pasta

It was ready in just a few minutes, and turned out pretty well!

And, for obvious reasons, I think a future edition of Ordering Disorder will be, “Food Photography”, but I digress…

Anyway, tell me about your last minute meals that have surprised you. What did you make? How did it turn out?

Beer Braised Pork Cutlets

Categories: Cooking, recipes

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We love pork chops, but they’re one of those things that I don’t always think about, and then I exclaim, “Why don’t we have this more often?”

I recently made these pork chops, and they turned out great. As a matter of fact, someone said we should have them again sometime, so I’ve actually made them twice. That’s quite a feat for me because I have some sort of recipe amnesia and I don’t often remember things I’ve made if they are out of the usual rotation.

Beer Braised Pork Cutlets

Pork Sirloin cutlet

Ingredients:
pork sirloin cutlets, tenderized, about 1/4-inch thick
4 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp butter
8 oz beer (actually, I made these once with beef broth instead of beer and they were also good)
2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs prepared mustard
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp dill weed

Directions

Stir together flour, salt and pepper and coat cutlets well. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter to sizzling and add cutlets. Saute until golden brown on one side; turn cutlets and add remaining ingredients to skillet. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, until pork is cooked through. Remove cutlets to a warm platter, boil and stir pan juices until thickened; serve cutlets with pan sauce.

Verdict: the whole family loved these. It’s a great take on a classic comfort food, and we’ll put these in the regular rotation.

If I remember, that is.

Salsa chicken soup

Categories: Cooking, recipes

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When I was on vacation with my friends a few weeks ago, the conversation turned to dinner, specifically a lack of inspiration, everyone seemed to be in a rut. So, everyone made a list of quick and easy things they make for dinner at home and we shared it in an effort to gain some new ideas.

One thing that came up was an idea for Salsa Chicken Soup. I love soup, but sometimes when I get an idea for soup, it never quite comes out like I intended (except for the Loaded Potato Soup, I like that stuff when I make it). This one was really simple, and actually tasted like I wanted it to!

We only discussed the ingredients in general, so even though it’s not scientific, here’s what I did:

Salsa Chicken Soup

2-4 Chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or cut into bite sized pieces
2 cans chicken broth
1 can sweet corn
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 jars salsa (I used 15 oz ones)
1 can Cream of Chicken soup

Combine all of the above and heat it up! I put it in the crockpot on low for an hour or so.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips:

Like many things, this gets even better after about a day.

Perhaps if I make soup often enough, winter will actually arrive since it hasn’t really shown up here, yet!

Do you have any simple soup recipes?

Easy Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Categories: Cooking, recipes

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Last night was one of those nights that I found myself standing in the kitchen at about 6:15 thinking, “We should probably eat something for dinner.”

It was bad enough that I really didn’t know what i was going to make, but I also realized that I’d talked myself out of going to the grocery over the weekend. I’m not sure what that was about, but there must have been some “logical” reason.

So, seeing as my family is weird about wanting dinner every night, something had to be done.

Pickings were slim in the pantry until I found a bag of small baking potatoes.  They were perfectly good, but just not big enough to make a satisfying baked potato. I think I had purchased them for mashed potatoes at some point.

A while back, I had made Loaded Baked Potato Soup, but it was kind of complicated and I wasn’t in the mood. I remembered reading somewhere about an “easy” version, so I proceeded as best I could with what I had around, and it went something like this (your results may vary, this is what i did and I thought you might like it):

Easy Loaded Potato Soup

2-ish lbs. of baking potatoes, cubed
1 can (14-1/2 oz.)  chicken broth
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (save some for garnish)
Bacon bits from real bacon (as opposed to those hard crunchy things that go on salad)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Sour cream

Directions:

Microwave potatoes in large bowl for about 15 minutes, (or until they’re soft), stir occasionally.
Lightly mash potatoes and stir in broth, bacon (save some!) salt and pepper
Stir in cheese

Add milk gradually until the soup is the desired consistency.
Garnish with saved bacon, cheese and sour cream.

It wasn’t quite as yellow as this picture looks:

Now that I look at it written down, it looks a lot liked mashed potatoes, but you can eat them with a spoon, so it’s soup! Any way you look at it, it was pretty good!

Do you have a potato soup recipe you like?

Accidental dessert discovery: microwave bread pudding

Categories: Cooking, recipes

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I was visiting a friend over New Year’s weekend, and we were home for the night and craving dessert after being out most of the day.

There was talk of really wanting something, but we weren’t quite sure what it was, and that most things worth eating would take too long to make. We were about to admit defeat and I joked about having bread pudding with vanilla sauce which naturally made us want to stop at nothing short of bread pudding.

This is the part where true bread pudding connoisseurs might cringe, but we set out to make some in the microwave because bread pudding was needed RIGHT NOW.

We searched for “microwave bread pudding” as sort of a joke, and apparently it can be done in the microwave. Who knew? I did not.

So, after inventorying what was in the house, we cobbled together the following from various recipes:

6 slices of bread (we used white bread from the bakery that was stale), torn into small pieces
2 cups milk (actually, it was the rest of the milk in the jug and some half-and-half)
1 tbsp. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Place bread in dish. Heat milk and butter on high power 3 minutes in a large measuring cup.

Stir small amount of hot milk into beaten eggs and return the eggs to milk.

Add sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla. Pour egg mixture over the bread. Cook on high about 10 minutes, or until the center is firm.

Please note, I don’t like raisins or nutmeg, so it was imperative that we figured out something sans those ingredients.


We didn’t really have the ingredients (or the patience) to make any kind of sauce, but we did have some custard (the English kind that’s like a sauce rather than pudding, Birds Custard, specifically), so that made a great sauce.

My picture of the finished product was blurry, but I didn’t realize it until it was too late, so you’ll have to trust me that it actually came out looking quite nice.

So, if you’re looking for a quick dessert that’s a little different, give it a try. We were pleasantly surprised, and since there was none left at the end, I’ll declare it a success!

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