September 10, 2008

Chili For A Chilly Day

So today, as I drove to pick Honey up from work at 7:30 am, I thought to myself, "It's flippin' cold out here!!". Granted, I was only wearing my PJ's and slippers, it still was 56 degrees out which I think is chilly! Fall is definitely in the air and I'm lovin' it!!

As I drove, I pondered what fall-like dishes I could prepare for dinner tonight. I recently made beef stew and chicken stew so they were out of the running. Pasta was already served this week. So I settled on my favorite Chili recipe, Bush's Three Bean Chili. MMMmmmmm! 

It has just the right amount of spice, not too little, not too much. And the Cumin adds an awesome smoky flavor. We serve ours over rice and topped with sour cream and cheddar.

Take a peek see.....Now, is that a rib stickin' Fall meal or what?

August 28, 2008

Homemade Mac & Cheese

So my honey, if you can believe it, has NEVER had homemade Mac & Cheese!! I immediately had to remedy that problem. Okay, here's what you do. Really not as daunting as one may think. 

Here are your ingredients, 1 lb. elbow macaroni, flour, unsalted butter (my photo shows salted, I didn't realize until the picture had been taken), 8 oz. Monterey Jack, 8 oz. Sharp Cheddar, dry mustard, Cayenne (optional, doesn't make it spicy, just adds a little something in the background), sandwich bread, milk (whole, skim, 1%, 2%, whatever will do) and salt.

This recipe, for Family Style Macaroni & Cheese, is from my 2004 issue of Cooks Illustrated. I absolutely LOVE Cooks Illustrated!! The magazine basically tests lots of different recipes for everyday favorites and then publishes the best of the best. They also rate different kinds of food products and cooking supplies. Great magazine... definitely check it out!!

So here it is:

Family Style Macaroni & Cheese (Serves 6-8 as main course or 10-12 as a side)

Bread Crumb Topping
  • 6 slices of sandwich bread, torn into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold cut into small pieces
Pasta & Cheeses
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni 
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of powdered mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups of milk (any kind will do)
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I use my food processor)
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I use my food processor)

1. FOR THE BREADCRUMBS: Pulse bread and butter into food processor until crumbs are no more larger than 1/8 inch, 10-15  1-second pulses. Set aside.

2. FOR THE PASTA & CHEESE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and pre-heat broiler. Meanwhile, bring four quarts of water to boil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon of salt; cook until pasta is tender (8 mins). Drain pasta and set aside in colander. Shred cheeses, with box grater or food processor.
3. In now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon of salt until cheeses are fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.

4. Transfer mixture to broiler-safe 9x13-inch baking dish (I use Corning Ware) and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3-5 minutes (WATCH YOUR BROILER AS SOME COOK FASTER THAN OTHERS!), rotating pan if necessary for even browning. Cool about 5 minutes and serve. 

If you prefer, you may also add other stuff to it like, peas, ham or kielbasa. Add these when the pasta if added). Because this was hubby's first go at homemade mac & cheese, I wanted to keep it virginal:)

That's it!! It really only takes about 1/2 hour to prepare and it's hmmmm good. Serve it along with something as a side or on it's own:)


August 17, 2008

What's For Dinner?

"What's for Dinner", my husband asked? "Fish", I answered. "Oh" he said. "Not just any fish though".... "Stephanie's recipe, over at A Year Of Crockpotting for Foil Packet Tilapia Crock Pot Style ". "Oh" he said.

Anyway.... he was much more enthusiastic once he tasted it. We aren't big fish people but he REALLY liked this one. It was very mild, flavorful and flaky....and most all super easy to prepare. I took your advice Stephanie and tried it with Parmesan. Good call. You picked another winner Stephanie!!

Sorry I didn't take a picture. I forgot to turn the camera off after Furniture Redux and the batteries were drained:(

August 6, 2008

Dig In!!

So tonight I tried a new recipe from my fav recipe website, Recipe Zaar and it was DELISH!! Crock Pot Chicken w/ Black Beans and Cream Cheese.... yum! 

Great thing about this recipe is that with most crock pot recipes usually you have to remember to defrost the meat first. Not this one. This recipe has a total of five, count em' five ingredients, one of which is FROZEN chicken breasts!   

Here's the recipe:

Crock Pot Chicken w/ Black Beans and Cream Cheese

Serves 4
  • 4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 (15 1/2  oz.) can Black Beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can Corn
  • 1 (15 oz) jar of Salsa, your fav brand
  • 1 (8 0z) package of Cream Cheese
Lightly grease crock pot (this makes for super easy clean up later). Place frozen Chicken Breasts into crock pot. Add can of Black Beans, jar of Salsa and drained can of Corn. Keep in crock pot for 5 hours on HIGH or until chicken is cooked. You can either serve the Chicken in whole pieces or you can shred it. I shredded it. Add package of Cream Cheese, stir it around and let it sit for 1/2 hour.

That's it, your done. I served mine tonight with Goya Spanish Rice. If any of you guys make this, let me know what you think:)

August 1, 2008

What's For Dinner?

So today I tried a new Beef Stew recipe for dinner. I usually just cook it in a dutch oven on the stove top but unless you buy a good cut of meat, it tends to be tough. So today the recipe I tried is a crock pot beef stew. I'm proud to report that I actually got the ingredients ahead of time (which was probably a good thing considering Dave has to go into to work at 5 pm this evening instead of 8 pm). So all I had to do this morning was throw it all in the crock pot.

So here's the recipe:

Crock Pot Beef Stew

  • 1 1/2 lbs of Stew Beef
  • 1 bag of Baby Carrots
  • 4 Stalks of Celery, Diced
  • 4-5 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 can Golden Mushroom Soup
  • 1 can Water
  • 2 packets of McCormick's Crock Pot Beef Stew Seasoning
Grease crock pot lightly (this helps with clean up later). Throw in beef and vegetables. Pour in both soups and and can of water. Sprinkle in seasoning packets. Stir everything around. Cook on low for 9-10 hours or high for 4 1/2 - 5 hours. I usually serve the stew with biscuits.

Bon Appetit

July 30, 2008

Dinner is Served

Tonight, for dinner, I made pulled pork sandwiches. I know, I know, pretty white trash right? But for us carnivores, this recipe is TASTEEE and it's super easy!! The only down fall is it's a crock-pot recipe which means it cooks for a very, very long time. So I had to get up early this morning and go to the grocer to get the ingredients, as I was unprepared, as usual:)  

Anyway, here's a picture of the final product. It has a total of five ingredients!! Count em' 5!! 
Here is the recipe in case you'd like to give it a go:

Super Easy & Tasteee Pulled Pork Sandwich

  • 2-3 lbs of Pork Tenderloin (the meat shrinks down) 
  • 12 oz Bottle of your fav BBQ Sauce (I used Jack Daniel's Brand)
  • 1 med Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2-3 T of Honey
  • Sprinkle of Hot Pepper Flakes
Lightly grease bottom of crockpot (this makes for easy cleanup later) Throw in pork tenderloins, add in everything else. Cook on Low for 7-9 hours or on High for 3.5-4.5 hours. Then shred with two forks when finished cooking. 

That's it Serve on some super soft sandwich rolls and pair it with your fav side.  Honey had a hankering for baked beans (Mrs. H made them at her house over the weekend).  So that's what we had.  Hope you Enjoy!!