Menu 7/30 - 8/5--2010

The boys are coming home tomorrow!!!! I'll have to start cooking again but my brain isn't in the mood yet. Monday will also be Jayme's first night on the night shift so our weekend eating may be weird for a while until we get in the groove there. Here's our menu so far:

Friday--probably breakfast, I'm thinking egg sandwiches on thin bagels
Saturday--not sure, we will be getting home late from picking up the boys but they'll have eaten out a lot lately so we will make something...
Sunday-- Mexican Chicken Lasagna
Monday--Soup and Grilled Cheese
Tuesday--Manicotti (new recipe I'll blog later this week after making it)
Wednesday--Venison and potatoes


Cheeseburger Biscuit Bake

Due to the supreme popularity of Sloppy Joe Casserole in Chaosville, I knew when I saw this recipe for a cheeseburger version, it would be a hit as well.
1 pound ground beef (I used turkey)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
dash of pepper
2 cups shredded cheese, divided
1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 biscuits)

Brown meat and onion in a skillet.

When meat is browned, drain fat and stir in tomato sauce, ketchup and pepper. Spoon half the mixture into a well greased 8 x 8 pan. Top with half the cheese. Repeat layers.

Top with biscuits.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18 - 22 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

We had this with oven baked french fries and sweet potato fries. It was very good. Since the boys aren't here this week I did not double the recipe. Next time I make it I will have to because it would not have been enough to feed all of us plus have leftovers for Jayme to take for lunch today. When I double it I'll bake it in a 9 x 13 dish and use a few more biscuits. I think next time I make this I will add some bacon to it too!

Made it tonight with the bacon; so good!! I diced and fried the bacon, then put it in the middle of the two layers. I used about three slices of thick cut bacon. It gave the whole dish a wonderful smoky flavor. I will add bacon from now on.
I also use Grand's Jr biscuits now and I always double the recipe and use a 9 x 13 pan.


Paula Deens Ultimate Coffee Cake

My wonderful father-in-law is allergic to cinnamon, ginger, cloves, basically anything that would go into pumpkin pie so I am always on the lookout for yummy things that don't call for those spices to fix him when he visits (kind of like finding things without cheese for my Dad). I was cruising the web looking for breakfast rolls with no cinnamon when I happened upon this wonderful recipe from Paula Deen. I just love her, don't you?!?
The Ingredients:
16 - 18 frozen dinner rolls
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 pkg butterscotch pudding (not instant)
1 stick butter, melted

This is a recipe that needs to sit all night for the dough to rise. Before you go to bed, get out all the ingredients; you won't regret it!! Place frozen rolls in a well greased bundt pan.

Sprinkle pudding mix on top of rolls.

Sprinkle brown sugar on top of pudding.

Sprinkle pecans on top of brown sugar.

Pour melted butter on top of pecans.

Cover pan with a moist towel and go to bed.

Here's a pic of them as they entered the oven. They rise all night and depending on how cool it is in the kitchen they can really bubble up! These didn't get too big but they cooked up great.
 Bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let them sit for 5 minutes in the pan. Invert pan onto a large plate or platter and dig in!


Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Dressing/Dip

There's a Mexican restaurant chain that I have never been to but I love. It's called Chuy's and the reason I love it is they have a heavenly concoction called Creamy Jalapeno Dip. It actually started out as a salad dressing and they noticed people would ask for it on the side and dip their chips in it so they made a good business decision and offered it as a dip. My mother-in-law brought it to a family gathering once and I was hooked. I am not usually a spicy food eater, but this stuff is like crack to me. I can't stop eating it. I searched for and found this recipe which is a little different than some of the others out there. Of course, this one purports to be from someone who used to work there and has inside knowledge. This is the only copycat recipe I have tried so I can't say which is best, but this one tastes like the real thing to me. You can adjust the heat in it too by increasing or decreasing the amount of jalapenos you add. I got to use my fresh-from-the-garden peppers this time!
1 quart mayonnaise (the olive oil mayo is great in this!)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped jalapeno
1 cup green tomatillo sauce
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
3 (1 oz) packets dry ranch dressing mix

Here are my lovely fresh jalapenos ready to get chopped up.

Then add everything but the ranch mix to your food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Whisk in the ranch mix.
Chill and serve. I have used it for a dip and also as a topping for tacos. Super fast and yummalish!

Salmon or Tuna Patties

I found this great recipe in Parenting Magazine. Since we try to have fish about once a week I put it in the "Try-It-Out" section and when I came around to it, it was a big hit! Very easy to prepare, the kids even helped. I did learn that it's worth the extra money to buy the fancier package of salmon. Not so many bones and skin chunks to fish out. Anyway, I was staring into my cupboard last week while I planned the menu and trying to use up some of the things I had on hand. One thing I had was a big stack of canned tuna. I remembered the patties and was sure tuna would work as well as the salmon had. I was right!! Here's what you do:
1 (7.5 oz) can of salmon or tuna
2 Tbsp finely diced shallots or onion ** I use dried, minced onion when I have no fresh
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp panko or regular breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp canola oil

I doubled the recipe and ended up using three (5 oz) cans of tuna. Drain and flake the tuna in a bowl, then add the onion, egg and 1/4 cup of panko crumbs.

Mix well. Then to make the patties, I score the bowl into eight sections. Can you see what I mean in the picture?

Then I take out one section at a time, form into a pattie and place into panko crumbs.

Make sure the crumbs are on all sides and place into a heated skillet with canola oil.

When they are nice and brown (about 2-3 minutes), flip them over to brown the other side.

These can be enjoyed with many different types of sauces, but for purists like us, ketchup was the first choice.

Menu 7/23 - 7/29--2010

I'm not really planning out a menu for this coming week because it's different than the norm. We are heading to Houston tonight and will spend the weekend there being fattened up fed wonderful foods by my very talented in-laws. Then the boys are staying behind so I envision lots of breakfasts and scrounging for Jayme and Pattie and I through the week. Should be good for the budget!! I will try to remember to take pics of the yumminess we eat this weekend and post pics when we get home. Have a great weekend!!


Easy Stroganoff

This recipe comes from Campbell's Soup (although I can't find it on their website anymore) and it's a quick and easy version of Stroganoff. My family likes it, but it is a little bland. We spice it up with Tony Chachere's seasoning but you could certainly add anything you like to it and make it your own.
1 pound ground beef (I use turkey)
1 onion, chopped
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup milk
Hot cooked noodles or rice (I use egg noodles)

The first thing I do is put on the pot of water for the noodles and chop the onion.

Then cook the meat and onion together in a large skillet (if it looks like a lot, it's because I always double this recipe. We use the leftovers for lunch the next day and I usually freeze a couple servings too).

When the noodles are done cooking, drain them in a colander and in the pot they cooked in, mix the soup, sour cream, milk, and Worcestershire sauce.**

Then put the noodles back in on top of the sauce.

By now the meat and onions should be ready too. You'll need to drain the fat off. Once upon a time when I didn't know any better I used to drain meat into the sink. Then we had a lake in our kitchen one morning and discovered a big grease clog in our pipes. Now I do it like this:

That's a bowl with a paper towel in it, on top of another paper towel. Place your colander inside the bowl and your meat in the colander. Later you have a semi-soaked up, almost solid blob of grease you can throw away inside of an empty can like I do.

Add your meat and onions to the big pot and stir it all up. Heat through.

Serve with a nice salad and some crusty bread. Yum and Done!!

**In our house we call it woostie because it's so darn hard to say "woostersher" sometimes and when you think about how it's spelled while you say it your tongue just will NOT cooperate!!


Hoppin' John

This is one of the things I can remember eating as a kid, especially on New Year's when black-eyed peas are considered lucky. I struggled for the first few years of our marriage to make black-eyed peas with abysmal results. Then I found Ranch Style Brands Black-Eyed Peas. We have eaten Ranch Style Beans my whole life too but the black-eyed peas they can are fabulous! I always have a can in my cabinet. This recipe is straight off the can. It easy, fairly fast and so good. I hope you like it.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans (15 oz) Ranch Style Brand Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon, undrained
8 oz Kielbasa, thinly sliced **
1 cup uncooked rice
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional, I leave it out)
1 can chicken broth (I use bouillon cubes)

The first thing I do are chop the onion and celery
and prepare the bouillon

Then heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan and add the garlic, onion and celery. Trust me when I tell you that sauteing onion, celery and garlic is one of the best cooking smells ever!!

Cook 8 - 10 minutes until tender. While your assistant tends to the veggies you can chop the sausage, open the peas and measure out the rice.
When the veggies are tender, add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cover tightly. Stirring occasionally, simmer 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

This is a filling, hearty dish and the leftovers hold up well. I even freeze individual portions for my hubby to eat when I'm away or when he goes camping on his own. It's one of his favorite camping foods.

** I use plain sausage, not Kielbasa. I have also used Lil Smokies. Use whatever you like.


"Stupid Chicken"

No, this post is not about one of my backyard flock, since that would be better suited for the family blog than the recipe blog, don't you think? In any case after a VERY long time of it being on the menu every week and getting skipped, I FINALLY made the "Stupid Chicken" recipe I got off of Recipe Lion!! I have to say I'm glad we didn't give up because we thought it was very tasty. The name says it all as far as preparation goes, too. Here's how it works:
1 lb (about 4) boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
28 ounces (2 cans) Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1 packet Lipton Savory Herb and Garlic soup mix
Seriously, that's all you need!!
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes and the soup together and add the chicken.

Mix again and pour into slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours until chicken is done. Serve over hot cooked noodles or rice. We used spaghetti but I think next time I will use bow ties.

I also smothered mine in Parmesan and mozzarella cheese because that's what I do. It was so good and easy to make. The kids inhaled it; even Pattie (age 2 3/4) asked for seconds. There is another dish I make that is similar to this but it is made with fresh tomato and cooks in the oven. I think I will switch to this when it's so hot outside.

Menu 7/16 - 7/22--2010

Friday--Family Movie Night with taquitos, chips, Rotel dip and another dip I will blog if it turns out right!
Saturday--Stroganoff (didn't make it last week)
Sunday--Hoppin John
Monday--Chicken Ranch Tacos
Wednesday--Cheeseburger Biscuit Bake
Thursday--I am going to adapt this yummy Salmon Pattie recipe for Tuna


Poached Fish

This is a super easy, really good way to fix many different kinds of fish. Personally I have used catfish, tilapia and salmon. Those are the types of fish that are cheapest most readily available around here. I am sure you could use almost any white, flaky fish you wanted. I have even cooked this while camping. In fact, the recipe originally came form my Great Aunt Margaret who made this for us at our land after we had caught a bunch of catfish too little to fillet. She was a wonderful cook and a fabulous fisherwoman and was not dismayed at all by our tiny catches. She skinned them and placed them into foil packets and stuck them right down in the coals of the campfire. To this day it is the most delicious fish I have ever eaten. So when I was too chicken to try to fry fish at home, I remembered Aunt Margaret and made foil packets up and put them in a 9 x 13 dish and cooked them in my oven. It worked like a charm. Then one time, I ran out of foil so I skipped that step and it still worked out fine. And a new family favorite was born! Here's what you need:

Salt, pepper, lemon juice, butter and fish. That's it! First step is cut up the butter. I do it like this:
It yields from six to eight thin flats sections of butter. I lay half of them in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish and then add a nice sprinkling of freshly ground salt and black pepper. Then pour in some lemon juice.
Now, remember, this is a fish dish so be on the lookout for pirates....

Lay the fillets on top of the butter sections, then repeat the butter, salt, pepper and lemon juice on top of the fish as well.
Bake in a 350 degree oven. The amount of time will differ each time you cook this. I always start off with about 20 minutes. Then I check the fish to see if it flakes easily with a fork. This time I put it all back in for another 5 minutes.
You may be able to tell in the picture that the bigger piece on the left wasn't quite done yet. So I served the other pieces and put Mr. Big back in for a few more minutes until he flaked nicely for me. I paired this with some Parmesan noodles and a nice salad of baby spinach and spring greens. Now don't panic like my husband did when he looked in this pan. He said, "How much butter did you use?!" Remember there is lemon juice as well in there, and you don't exactly get a spoon and drink the juice in here. I like to think that this dish is actually a healthy option (please don't burst my bubble by disagreeing). The butter keeps it from sticking and gives it a little flavor too. Hey.....has anyone seen what happened to those pirates??