06th Mar2014

Throwback Thursday: Easy Vegetable Lasagna {In the Kitchen}

by Daenel

In honor of Throwback Thursday, a repost from 6 March 2012. Enjoy!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about Meatless Monday, I guess because we’ve mostly been eating soups on those days but last night was totally different. I made a Vegetable Lasagna that was to die for… OK, truth, the girls and I loved it, the guys not so much. So while it may not be a total guy pleaser, I think it’s well worth trying.

Easy Vegetable Lasagna {Living Outside the Stacks}

Ingredients

4 Zucchini (sliced)

1 Green Pepper (diced)

1 Red Onion (diced)

1 Package Frozen Spinach (defrosted)

Mushrooms (sliced)

Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper

1 Package lasagna noodles

2 (15 oz) Ricotta Cheese

1 Package Mozzarella Cheese

3 Eggs

1 (26 oz) can Hunt’s Chunky Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce (I love that stuff )

3 TBS Butter or Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.
  2. In a pan, melt butter or heat olive oil, add all vegetables except for the spinach and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a bowl, mix the cheeses, eggs and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread enough spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan to coat it so that your noodles don’t stick. Layer noodles so that the edges are touching. Add a generous layer of veggies, top with cheese mixture, top with noodles. Keep layering until you run out of veggies. Mine ended up being two layers. Pour sauce over noodles and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. When you remove it from the oven, let the lasagna sit for about 10 or 15 minutes before you cut into it so that everything “sets”.

Just a couple of notes, I’m not a professional recipe maker~upper so these are just the amounts that I used. I also have a large family so you may need to tweak for your family. I would encourage you to use more veggies such as eggplant, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, etc just so that it’s heartier and has a little more color to it. I love colorful food. I just used what I had on hand so that’s why I didn’t add those things, but next time I definitely will be doing so.

If you try it, let me know what you think. I’d also be interested in knowing how you adjust the ingredients/recipe for your family.

Daenel T

14th Dec2013

Cranberry Glazed Chicken {In the Kitchen}

by Daenel

Cranberry Glazed Chicken {Living Outside the Stacks}

I should not be allowed to grocery shop when I’m hungry. It never ends well. Or, at least, it almost never ends well. Case in point: I bought a bag of fresh cranberries with the intentions of making Orange Cranberry Bread. Only I forgot to buy the orange juice and the oranges. So the cranberries sat and sat and sat until they finally got to the “use them or lose them” stage in my fridge. I decided to use them. For chicken.

I mean, cranberries and turkey go together like… something, I don’t know, my creativity fizzled after last night’s dinner…

Anyway, I was pretty impressed with the final outcome so I’m sharing the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken pieces {I used legs and thighs}
  • 2 cups whole cranberries {rinsed}
  • 1/2 white onion {thinly sliced}
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dr. Pepper {use this to thin the glaze if it gets too thick}
  • salt
  • pepper
  • butter
  • vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Rinse and dry your chicken pieces. I pulled the skinned off. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Coat the bottom of your skillet with vegetable oil. Melt 2 tbs of butter on medium~high heat. Add onion slices and cook until carmelized. Once they’re finished, put them in the saucepan you intend to use for the glaze.
  4. Add the chicken to the pan that you used to carmelize the onions and brown on both sides. I covered my pan with a lid so that the heat would be retained. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to collect all the bits and pieces.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, add the cranberries, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, and 1/4 cup of Dr. Pepper to the saucepan with the carmelized onions. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until the cranberries have popped. If the sauce gets too thick, add more of the Dr. Pepper. Stir frequently.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a glass dish. Cover with the cranberry glaze, making sure each piece is completely covered.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.

Serving suggestion: brussel sprouts and rice. Yum!

Let me know if you like it!

Daenel T

07th Nov2013

Throwback Thursday: Homemade Potato, Corn and Shrimp Chowder {In the Kitchen}

by Daenel

Originally posted: 8 November 2012

Have you ever wanted to eat something so badly that you thought about it all day long? That’s how I was the other night. I wanted Shrimp and Grits with Fried Chicken. Desperately. So I quickly drove home and, guess what? No grits anywhere in the house. So I started thinking and thinking and thinking and when I finally accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get in my car and drive back in to town just for some grits, I decided to make chowder. Best decision ever. Here’s the recipe, I hope you agree.

Potato Corn and Shrimp Chowder {Living Outside the Stacks}

What you need:

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cans Corn, drained
  • 6 strips Bacon, crumbled
  • 4 cups Red Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups Milk
  • 1 tbs Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper

What you do:

  1. Place potatoes, corn and onions in a large pot with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.
  2. While potatoes simmer, combine butter, milk and flour in a saucepan over medium~low heat and cook until smooth and thick. Stir constantly.
  3. Pour milk mixture into the cooked vegetables, add the bacon and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is no longer opaque.
  4. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Now you eat

  • Can be eaten as is or you can add shredded cheddar cheese

If you make it, let me know how you like it!

Daenel T

31st Oct2013

Throwback Thursday: Meatloaf Mice {In the Kitchen}

by Daenel

Originally posted: 31 October 2009

Meatloaf Mice {Living Outside the Stacks}On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from my husband asking if I could come up with something to cook for a Halloween themed party he was having at work.

Hmmmm….interesting request, especially since I hate Halloween {chalk it up to my upbringing, those who know my parents understand}. Anyway, I sat up all night Wednesday trying to come up with something delicious and Halloweeny. The best I could come up with was Meatloaf Mice.

What you’ll need:

  • Ground beef to make mouse shaped meatloaf {you can make mini ones like I did or big ones}
  • Cooked spaghetti noodles for the tails {I separated them on wax paper to let them cool}
  • Baby Bella mushrooms for the ears {try to match the sizes so their ears are symmetrical}
  • Toothpicks to attach the ears to the body
  • Spinach and bread crumbs for the “grass”

To make:
Meatloaf Mice {Living Outside the Stacks}Shape your favorite meatloaf recipe into a mouse shape – rounded end for the butt, pointy end for the face. After you’ve finished baking, set the “mice” on wax paper to cool and begin prepping the “grass.”

Coat a glass baking dish with olive oil, add spinach and season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with plain bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

After mice have cooled, begin assembling: use a toothpick to attach mushroom “ears” to either side of the mouse head and place on the grass. After you have arranged the mice the way you like them, place a piece of spaghetti under the rounded end to form a tail.

PS

For fun, you can put a dried tomato in the center of the body before cooking to form a “heart”. I also made a dipping sauce to go with the mice:
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/2 c honey mustard
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
Heat until warm and bubbly.
Do you have a twist on a family fave? Share the link in the comments.

Daenel T

30th Dec2012

Chicken Noodle Soup with Cheddar Drop Biscuits {On the Table}

by Daenel

Have you ever roasted two whole chickens because your family swore up and down they were starving and then they only ate like half of one so you’re left with all of this chicken and you’re thinking what do I do with this? That’s what happened to me last week. I had one and a half delicious fresh roasted chickens sitting in my fridge; I didn’t want to toss it and I wasn’t in the mood for more roasted chicken. So I started thinking and thinking and thinking and it hit me: Chicken Noodle Soup. And a side of Cheddar Drop Biscuits. My family was all kinds of excited and I was too.

Chicken Noodle Soup and Cheddar Drop Biscuit Dinner {Living Outside the Stacks}

Naturally, I had to share the recipe with you, so here it is:

Ingredients

For the Soup

  • Roughly chopped roasted chicken (seasoned well; I used 1 and 1/2 chickens)
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 box Stelline pasta
  • 4 cups chicken broth (to make your own by boil chicken, vegetables, seasoning; strain and retain the liquid)

For the Cheddar Drop Biscuits

  • 2 1/4 cups Original Bisquick mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

For the Soup

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot
  2. Add vegetables. Boil for about 15 minutes. Add Stelline Pasta and chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat and let sit for 20 minutes so that the flavors blend.

For the Cheddar Drop Biscuits

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl
  3. Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet
  4. Bake 8~10 minutes or until golden brown

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve hot with the biscuit in the bowl
  • You can also sprinkle the soup with Parmesan Cheese
  • To up the flavor factor on the biscuits, add a smidge of garlic powder

If you make it, let me know how you like it!

15th Nov2012

Banana Bread with Cranberry Trail Mix Crust {On the Table}

by Daenel

My kids love bananas. In fact, they love them so much that bananas rarely last long enough for me to make banana bread. So on those rare occasions when the bananas do start to get overly ripe, I jump at the chance to put some bread in the oven. Only this time I didn’t have any baking soda or baking powder… What to do? What to do? How about use what you have on hand?

So, here you go, Banana Bread using self~rising flour…

 Banana Bread with Cranberry Trail Mix Crust {Living Outside the Stacks}

What Ya Need

  • 6 Very Ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 3 cups Self~Rising Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Cranberry Trail Mix

What Ya Do

  1. Preheat oven to 325º
  2. Cream together butter, eggs and sugar until smooth.
  3. Add bananas and vanilla. Beat well.
  4. Pour into a bread pan (this makes 2 loaves).
  5. Sprinkle with trail mix.
  6. Bake in oven for 1 hour.

Now Ya Eat

  • Can be eaten warm
  • My daughter puts peanut butter and honey on hers

If you make it, let me know how you like it!

 
 

 

08th Nov2012

Homemade Potato, Corn and Shrimp Chowder {On the Table}

by Daenel

Have you ever wanted to eat something so badly that you thought about it all day long? That’s how I was the other night. I wanted Shrimp and Grits with Fried Chicken. Desperately. So I quickly drove home and, guess what? No grits anywhere in the house. So I started thinking and thinking and thinking and when I finally accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get in my car and drive back in to town just for some grits, I decided to make chowder. Best decision ever. Here’s the recipe, I hope you agree. Potato Corn and Shrimp Chowder {Living Outside the Stacks} What Ya Need

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cans Corn, drained
  • 6 strips Bacon, crumbled
  • 4 cups Red Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups Milk
  • 1 tbs Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper

What Ya Do

  1. Place potatoes, corn and onions in a large pot with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.
  2. While potatoes simmer, combine butter, milk and flour in a saucepan over medium~low heat and cook until smooth and thick. Stir constantly.
  3. Pour milk mixture into the cooked vegetables, add the bacon and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is no longer opaque.
  4. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Now Ya Eat

  • Can be eaten as is or you can add shredded cheddar cheese

If you make it, let me know how you like it!

 

25th Oct2012

Yummy Spoon Bread {On the Table}

by Daenel

I’m not a big baker. It’s a time thing. But i do love myself some bread. And I do I love to cook. I especially love to try new recipes. This hasn’t always been true, when the hubs and I first got married, I couldn’t boil water. Not kidding. Could not boil water. At all. As in I actually burned the pot that I was boiling the water in because I forgot about it. Then one day, I woke up and it was like I was seeing the stove for the first time…

Anyway, the other day I was planning to make some cornbread to go with our ribs and got to thinking, how about what if I do a little something~something to it? This is what I came up with…

Yummy Spoon Bread

What Ya Need

  • 2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 cans creamed corn
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1/2 c Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 c Shredded Colby Cheese

Spoon Bread Ingredients {Living Outside the Stacks}

What Ya Do

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir until ingredients are wet, the batter will be lumpyDon’t over mix.
  3. Pour into a greased cast iron pan. Maybe I should have said that first, before you start on this recipe, make sure you have a cast iron panThey are the best pans ever.
  4. Let sit in the pan for about 10 minutes before putting in oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

 

Spoon Bread {Living Outside the Stacks}

Spoon Bread {Living Outside the Stacks}

Now Ya Eat

  • Serve warm. With a spoon. Because, well, it’s Spoon BreadGet it?
  • After it cools, you can slice it and serve just like cornbread.

Spoon Bread {Living Outside the Stacks}

It really is delish. Do you eat Spoon Bread? Have you ever made it before? What did you do differently?

16th Apr2012

Tortellini with Squash {Meatless Monday}

by Daenel

Tortellini with Squash {Meatless Monday}

Now, I’m not even gonna pretend that I’m one of those people who minces my own garlic and grates my own Parmesan. I don’t. I use jarred garlic that’s already been minced and I use a lot of it. I’m also not very particular about the measurements. Dump and stir is the only way to go. Add a little and just keep going ’til your eyes roll back in your head and a whispered “Mmmm” escapes your lips. Deal?

I made Tortellini with Squash for my family a few nights ago and we all agreed that it stays in rotation. It’s light, filling and can be eaten steaming hot or at room temperature. If you’re a mother, you know that’s generally the temp of your food by the time you get to eat. So let’s get to it:

Ingredients

1 package tri~color Tortellini

1 Yellow Squash (sliced)

1 Zucchini (sliced)

Minced garlic

Olive Oil

Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper (OK, this is the one thing I do insist upon, there is nothing like freshly ground pepper)

Parmesan Cheese

Directions

1. In a pot of salted water, cook tortellini according to package directions.

2. While the tortellini is cooking, coat the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil and heat on medium high. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 or 2 minutes), add the yellow squash and zucchini. Cook an additional 5 minutes (cook longer if you don’t like crunchy veggies).

3. When tortellini has finished cooking, drain but reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.

4. If you’re fancy, you can pour the tortellini into a bowl but my family is hard core, everything goes back into the cooking pot so….  Return tortellini to the pot, add in the veggie/garlic mixture, stir in reserved liquid to keep pasta from sticking. You may not need all of the liquid but you can keep it on hand to use to reheat the tortellini later if you need to do so.

5. Once you’ve placed the tortellini on a plate, add freshly ground pepper and Parmesan cheese.

If you try it, let me know what you think. I’d also be interested in knowing how you adjust the ingredients/recipe for your family.

06th Mar2012

Veggie Lasagna {Meatless Monday}

by Daenel

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about Meatless Monday, I guess because we’ve mostly been eating soups on those days but last night was totally different. I made a Veggie Lasagna that was to die for… OK, truth, the girls and I loved it, the guys not so much. So while it may not be a total guy pleaser, I think it’s well worth trying.

Veggie Lasagna II

Ingredients

4 Zucchini (sliced)

1 Green Pepper (diced)

1 Red Onion (diced)

1 Package Frozen Spinach (defrosted)

Mushrooms (sliced)

Garlic Powder

Salt & Pepper

1 Package lasagna noodles

2 (15 oz) Ricotta Cheese

1 Package Mozzarella Cheese

3 Eggs

1 (26 oz) can Hunt’s Chunky Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce (I love that stuff )

3 TBS Butter or Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.
  2. In a pan, melt butter or heat olive oil, add all vegetables except for the spinach and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a bowl, mix the cheeses, eggs and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread enough spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan to coat it so that your noodles don’t stick. Layer noodles so that the edges are touching. Add a generous layer of veggies, top with cheese mixture, top with noodles. Keep layering until you run out of veggies. Mine ended up being two layers. Pour sauce over noodles and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. When you remove it from the oven, let the lasagna sit for about 10 or 15 minutes before you cut into it so that everything “sets”.

Just a couple of notes, I’m not a professional recipe maker~upper so these are just the amounts that I used. I also have a large family so you may need to tweak for your family. I would encourage you to use more veggies such as eggplant, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, etc just so that it’s heartier and has a little more color to it. I love colorful food. I just used what I had on hand so that’s why I didn’t add those things, but next time I definitely will be doing so.

If you try it, let me know what you think. I’d also be interested in knowing how you adjust the ingredients/recipe for your family.

16th Jan2012

Bean and Brown Rice Casserole {Meatless Monday}

by Daenel

Bean and Brown Rice Casserole

Ingredients

2 cups brown rice

1 can Red Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)

1 can White Navy Beans (drained and rinsed)

1 can Pinto Beans (drained and rinsed)

1 medium onion (chopped)

2 medium tomatoes (chopped)

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup frozen peas

2 TBS Olive Oil

3½ cups Vegetable Broth

Salt & Pepper (t0 taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ο
  2. In a 5 qt Dutch Oven (I use a cast iron pan. Most. Amazing. Pan. Ever.), heat oil and sauteé onions until tender.
  3. Add the rice and cook until slightly opaque (about 10 or 15 minutes); stir to keep from sticking (if needed add a little more olive oil).
  4. Add beans, tomatoes and vegetable broth to the rice and onion mixture. Bring to a boil.
  5. Cover tightly and place in the oven, baking until rice is tender and the broth has been absorbed (about an hour).
  6. Add the corn and peas, return to the oven and bake until heated through (another 15 minutes or so, add more a tad more vegetable broth if needed).
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Enjoy,

09th Jan2012

Brussels Sprouts, Squash and Whole Wheat Pasta {Meatless Monday}

by Daenel

The hubs and I have been eating a pretty much vegetarian meal for the last week and can I tell you how good we feel? Leading up to the week, the hubs was grumbling about the prospect of giving up his beloved steaks and I was dreading giving up coffee. And there were the haunting memories of my last vegan experience when I wanted to eat my children because I was so starved for meat. But this time it was easier.

Anyway, during the course of the week, the hubs and I have discovered some recipes that we really enjoy, so I decided to share them with you. I don’t think we’ll go completely vegetarian ’cause goodness knows I want to inhale a ginormous hamburger right now but I know we will incorporate some of the recipes and foods that we’ve tried into our regular diets.

Brussels Sprouts, Squash and Whole Wheat Pasta

Ingredients

Fresh Brussels Sprouts {halvedas many as you need}

Yellow Squash {thinly slicedI have a large family, so I used two}

1 White Onion {chopped; I like onions so I used a whole one, you can adjust as needed}

1 Box Whole Wheat Pasta {I used Rotini, you want something with some heft“}

1 TBS Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper {you can use regular table salt & pepper, I just think these are more flavorful}

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. You want to cook them al denté.
  2. Put a sauce pan on medium high heat and sauteé onions until fragrant and translucent. Add brussels sprouts and sauteé until soft and leaves turn a golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add yellow squash and cook until middle is translucent. Remember to scrape the bottom of the pan and get all that good stuff up. Add more olive oil if needed so you veggies don’t stick to the pan.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving about half a cup of the water. Return pasta to the pot and add in your veggies. Stir in about 1/4 cup of the reserved water, toss and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

If you decide to give this recipe a try, let me know how you like it.

21st Dec2011

On the Table: Parmesan Crusted Chicken

by Daenel

This is quite possibly the juiciest chicken ever. And I do mean ever. You will thank me for this. You will want to shower me with money and love and all sorts of accolades for this recipe. But, really, all I ask is that you come back and let me know how your family liked it.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Parmesan Tomato Pasta and Green Beans

Please note that I’m a dump and stir kinda cook, so I very rarely have exact measurements. Anyway, Big Momma always said “Real genuine cookin’ comes from the heart and the heart just knows…”

Ingredients

10 Chicken Thighs (you can use breasts or strips)

1/2 jar Hellman’s Mayonnaise (yep, I used half a jar, you may not need that much)

2 rows Ritz Crackers, crushed fine (I love Ritz Crackers as a replacement for bread crumbs)

1 package shredded Parmesan Cheese

Salt

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Thyme

Oregano

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°
  2. Spray glass dish with nonstick spray
  3. In a large bowl, mix the mayo and the cheese
  4. In another large bowl, add crushed crackers and dry seasonings, blend well
  5. Dip rinsed and dried chicken into the mayo and cheese mix, make sure it’s well coated, then dip into the cracker and seasoning mix
  6. Place in glass baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear
  7. Let sit for 10~15 minutes before serving

If you try this recipe, please let me know if you like it. Thanks and happy eating!

Disclosure: I didn’t receive any compensation for this post. I just think Ritz Crackers are ~ hands down~ the best substitute for bread crumbs and Hellman’s was my mayo of choice for this recipe.

01st Dec2011

On the Table: Italian Wedding Soup

by Daenel

Google Friend Connect is disappearing soon, but I’d love for us to stay together. You can read my blog in your favorite reader through my RSS feed, join the conversation on Facebook or chat with me on Twitter. Make sure you give a shout out and let me know you’re there!

For dinner tonight, I decided to surprise the hubs and make one of his favorite meals: Italian Wedding Soup. It’s an easy and inexpensive meal that’s both filling and comforting, especially on chilly evenings.

Italian Wedding Soup

1 lb ground beef
2 lightly beaten eggs
¼ cup crushed Ritz Crackers (I know, right? So good though)
2 tbs grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
4 cups thinly sliced Escarole
2¼ cups uncooked Stelline
⅔ cups sliced carrots

  1. In a medium bowl, combine meat, eggs, cracker crumbs, cheese, basil and seasonings; shape into ¾ balls.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the broth to a boiling; stir in Escarole, Stelline, carrots and meatballs. Return to boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  3. Cook at a slow boil for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

I usually serve my Italian Wedding Soup with garlic bread (a nice Caesar salad will also round out the meal quite nicely). Let me know how you like it.

10th Oct2011

Meatless Monday: Crockpot 4 Bean Chili with Rice

by Daenel

Crockpot ChiliSoooo, the family survived the first round of Meatless Monday!  I’m so incredibly proud of them.  I fully expected a lot of grumbling and sneaking of meat but the kids were all over that Spinach, Tomato and Cheese Tortellini (click here for the recipe).  In the interest full disclosure, the hubs was out of town, so it was pretty easy to get the kids on board.

Tonight, the hubs is home (cue screams, wails and shrieks)…

We’re having Crockpot 4 Bean Chili with Rice.  We have to have rice with our chili, that’s a mainstay in this family.   Here’s the recipe that I used:

  • 15 oz can Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 15 oz can White Kidney Beans
  • 15 oz can Black Beans
  • 15 oz can Pinto Beans
  • 11 oz can Mexican~Style Corn (I used a small can of corn because someone ~ the hubs ~ isn’t a corn fan.  I know, right?)
  • (2) 16 oz jars salsa (your favorite flavor)
  • 2 cups water
  1. Drain the beans and pour into the crockpot.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  2. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours
  3. Serve over rice with sour cream and shredded cheese, if desired.

I adapted the recipe from one that I found on the Meatless Monday website (click here to see the original recipe).  Speaking of Meatless Monday, did you know there’s a whole website dedicated to Meatless Monday?  Yep, I didn’t know there was this whole Meatless Monday movement.  I’m one of the cool kids!  Anyway, you should definitely check it out for some culinary inspiration.

 

03rd Oct2011

Meatless Monday: Spinach, Tomato and Cheese Tortellini

by Daenel

Spinach, Tomato and Cheese TortelliniRemember a while back I said that the family and I were going to try going meatless on Monday once we settled into our new environs?  Yeah, well, I’d totally forgotten about it too until I ran across a recipe for Spinach, Tomato and Cheese Tortellini in this month’s All You magazine.

The recipe was submitted by Lori Merrick (I don’t know who she is but darned if this wasn’t delish and the kids loved it).  Here’s the recipe as she submitted it, I’ll put in bold the changes that I made:

  • salt and pepper
  • 1 20 oz package dried cheese tortellini
  • 1 TBS olive oil (vegetable oil, no olive oil in the house)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (didn’t have any)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms  (family doesn’t like)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cups lightly packed baby spinach (used frozen)
  • ¼ cup low~sodium chicken broth
  • grated Parmesan (used shredded mozzarella)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook tortellini for 10 minutes or as package label directs.  Warm oil in a large skillet over medium~low heat.  Add garlic and red pepper and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Raise heat to medium, until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add tomatoes and sauté 2 minutes.  Pile spinach on top and cover.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until spinach has wilted, about 3½ minutes.  Pour in broth, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  2. Drain tortellini, add to skillet and stir gently to blend.  Serve in bowls.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.

FYI:  I doubled the recipe so that I’d have enough for a side dish with tomorrow’s dinner.  I’ve found that when I make the standard serving size that I have leftovers but not enough for everyone so I end up making another starch and veggie.  This, I think, should be more cost effective.

I asked the kids how they enjoyed going meatless and if this is something they’d be willing to try for the rest of the month and they thought it was a great idea.  They’re very excited about the prospect of trying new foods while not giving up the family faves.  And I’m happy because my family will be eating more vegetables and shifting towards a healthier lifestyle.

Have you ever tried going meatless?  Do you have a favorite meatless dish that I can try with my family?

02nd Jun2011

Quick and Easy Summer Pasta

by Daenel

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe.  I guess ’cause it’s been a long time since I’ve cooked.  My work schedule has turned my culinary life upside down.  But, baby, I’m back.  At least for the summer anyway…

So here’s a quick and easy summer pasta dish that my girls and I love (the men folk, not so much, but, you know, sometimes it’s all about the ladies…).

Easy Pasta Dinner1 lb Spaghetti
1 lb Coarse Black Pepper Bacon
3 eggs
Parmesan Cheese
Romano Cheese
Garlic Salt
Olive Oil

1.  Cook the bacon until it’s crispy (crumble)
2.  Season eggs with garlic salt, then scramble
3.  Cook the spaghetti according to package directions
4.  Once everything is finished cooking, return spaghetti to the pot and drizzle with Olive Oil (enough to keep the pasta from sticking)
5.  Add bacon and cheeses
6.  Serve warm

Optional add ins:

  • Peas
  • Spinach (chopped)
  • Tomatoes (diced)

Do you have an easy go~to dish for the summer?

05th Feb2011

Kitchen Monki: Your Ultimate Cooking Utensil

by Daenel

Kitchen MonkiI love to cook, honestly, there’s very little that I enjoy more than cooking (Don’t believe me?  Listen to my Monday Mingle vlog).    A while back I started writing my favorite recipes on recipe cards and storing them in a wooden storage box, which worked really well until I started using the recipe cards.  My cards got bent, stuck together, smudged from liquids…  Many of them are simply unusable at this point.  So I started searching for a free online recipe organizer that I could use to replace my beautiful but messy cards.  Well, we all know my love of monkeys, so when I stumbled across Kitchen Monki I was beyond thrilled.  There’s a monkey! Holding cooking utensils!

Adding recipes to Kitchen Monki is easy, all you have to do is follow the step~by~step directions.  And if you’re taking the recipe from an online site, there’s an area for you to add the corresponding URL.  You can add pictures, share recipes, comment on other people’s recipes…

Seriously, Kitchen Monki is more than “online storage” for recipes, you can manage your grocery list, send your grocery list to your phone via SMA and use the meal planner/calendar (I know there are a lot of meal planning mommas out there who would love this).  There’s even a YouTube channel that shows you how to use the various Kitchen Monki tools.  You can feed your recipes directly to Twitter or embed them into your blogs if you’re a blogger.

Do you store your recipes online or on recipe cards?  Which do you prefer?

Disclosure:  I did not receive any compensation for this post, I just think this is a great recipe storage tool.  And there’s a monkey!

08th Dec2010

Day 21: A Recipe for Pork Loin Stuffed with Dried Fruit

by Daenel

Stuffed Pork

Pork Loin Stuffed with Dried Fruit and Spinach Stuffing

2 Pork Loins
1 Package Spinach
2 tsp Olive Oil
2 c Bread Crumbs
1/2 c Dried Apples roughly chopped
1/2 c Dried Apricots roughly chopped
1/2 c Dried Figs roughly chopped
1/2 c Golden Raisins
1/2 c Raisins
Basil to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat, add dried fruit and spinach to pan and heat through. Add the bread crumbs. Season with salt, pepper and basil to taste. Keep stirring (if needed, add a little more olive oil to keep food from sticking).
2. Take half of one pork loin and place on foil, add a layer of stuffing mix, cover with other half of pork loin.  Repeat with second pork loin.  Wrap in foil and place on cookie sheet.  Bake until meat thermometer shows roughly  160° F.

Note: I generally cook by eyeballing things, using these measurements fed my family of 6.  For pictures, you can check out Flickr.

18th Nov2010

I Want Chili!

by Daenel

Texas~Style Chili

This morning I woke up at 4:30 thinking about chili.  Yes, you read right, chili.  As in I desperately wanted some chili right then and there.  No, I’m not pregnant or anything, just slightly off my rocker.  So I grabbed my cookbook and started hunting for a quick and easy chili recipe.  Here’s where I have to give a big ol’ shout out to my mother~in~law, I never would have bought my own cookbook and I was pretty offended when she gave this one to me, now I’m grateful.

Texas~Style Chili*

Nonstick cooking spray
1 lb lean boneless beef chuck, cut into pieces
2 c chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 1/2 c reduced~sodium beef broth
1 c prepared salsa or picante sauce
2 cans (16 oz each) pinto or red beans (or one can of each), rinsed and drained
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 c nonfat sour cream
1 c chopped ripe tomatoes

1. Spray Dutch oven or large saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium high heat until hot. Add beef, onions and garlic, cook and stir until beef is no longer pink, about 5 min. Sprinkle mixture with chili powder, cumin, coriander and oregano; mix well. Add beef broth and salsa, bring to a boil. Cover, simmer 45 minutes.

2. Stir in beans; continue to simmer uncovered 30 minutes or until beef is tender and chili has thickened, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in cilantro. Ladle into bowls, top with sour cream and tomatoes. Garnish with pickled jalapeño peppers, if desired.

*Recipe comes from One Dish Recipes/Secrets of Slow Cooking (now out of print)

I serve my chili with rice, how do you serve yours?

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