The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Chili Dogs

I don't know why, but my husband craves hot dogs sometimes. I'll ask him what he wants for dinner, and he'll say hot dogs, until I make them. So, for about 2-3 weeks now, he's been asking for hot dogs. I finally acquiesced and gave him what he wanted...chili dogs, with homemade chili. He doesn't like "canned" chili. So...I made chili, and dumped it on some hot dogs. Haha. I have made homemade chili before, but that is more of a meal, and this chili is more of a topping. Putting my meal chili on hot dogs would be disaster. Haha. So I adjusted it. Hooray. Chili dogs are yummy occasionally. So here's the deal.

-Hot dogs (I got bun-length, all beef dogs)
-Hot dog buns
-Ground beef (I used about 1/2 lb for 4 hot dogs, and had a little left over)
-1 can plain tomato sauce (Use a small can, like 6 oz or so, for 1/2 lb, a normal size can, about 10-12 oz for 1 lb)
-Water, 1/2 cup for 1/2 lb, 1 cup for full lb
-Spices-cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, all to taste. I used about 1 teaspoon cumin, 1.5 teaspoons each of garlic and onion, and about 2 teaspoons chili powder, for 1/2 lb.
-Shredded cheese

In a pot, brown the ground beef. Drain. Return to the pot. Add the tomato sauce, water, and spices to the pot. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the chili is simmering, heat up the hot dogs in a skillet. I do this because it browns the hot dog kind of like grilling would, and doesn't just heat it up like boiling or microwaving does. The browning on the outside of the hot dog adds flavor, and I just like it more. Feel free to cook them however you like though. Heat up the buns, either wrapped in paper towels in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or in the oven for a couple minutes. Place the cooked hot dogs in the buns, and then scoop some chili on top, and sprinkle with cheese. Yum. Serve with chips or fruit or whatever. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

This is another simple meal that I think is yummy. It has very simple ingredients and is very easy to make. I actually made a smaller batch, but this could easily feed a lot of people. It's also great as leftovers, so I'll probably be eating this for lunch tomorrow as well. Haha. Without further ado, the good stuff.

-Chicken Breasts, cooked and cubed (I would say as much as you want. I used one in my smaller batch, but I would use at least three for a full batch, or more if you really want to)
-Spaghetti (a full lb/box)
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (I made mine from scratch-1/4 cup butter, 3 tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup cream, and 1/2 cup milk, approximate measurements)
-breadcrumbs (optional, just a sprinkled layer over the top, maybe 1/4 cup at most)
-Cheese, shredded (I used colby jack, enough to sprinkle over the top, maybe 1/2 cup or so)

Boil water in a big pot. Cook the spaghetti until just underdone, and drain. Warm up the cream of chicken soup. Add the chicken broth. Stir to combine well. Pour the cooked spaghetti into a baking dish. Place the cubed chicken over the spaghetti. Pour the soup mixture over it all. Mix it all up, making sure the spaghetti is well coated and chicken is all mixed in. Sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Sausage Skillet Meal

Ok, so sorry for the delay in posts. I have not been feeling too great, so things are taking a little longer than normal. Anywho...

I had some smoked sausage I needed to use up. I was tired of all my "usual" sausage recipes, so I went prowling around for new ideas. I was given this suggestion by an acquaintance, and I took it. I'll try a new recipe that has no nasty ingredients at least once any time. :) Hehe. I pretty much followed the recipe (from Kraft), but I'll post it here anyway (as always, very slight alterations). This is super easy and pretty quick, good for a busy weeknight. we go.

-1/2 lb. smoked sausage, sliced (I used Hillshire Farms Beef Smoked Sausage, and used more than 1/2 lb)
-1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained (I used slightly less)
-1-1/2 cups water
-1 tsp. Italian seasoning
-1 pkg. (12 oz.) VELVEETA Shells & Cheese Dinner
-2 cups broccoli florets

Brown the sausage in a large skillet on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I used the biggest skillet I had, and it was helpful to have the space.

Stir in the tomatoes, water and Italian seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the pasta shells and cover the skillet. Simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pasta will not be quite cooked. That's ok.

At this point, add the broccoli; cook it about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in the cheese sauce until well mixed. Serve hot for best results. :) Hope you like it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meal Plan and Shopping List

I apologize for my lack of posting and late meal plan again. I was attacked by allergies this weekend, and have been using all my energy to fend them off, not very successfully. But as I begin to recover, I am posting this week's meal plan. Hope you enjoy some of these meals. :)

Monday: Sausage Skillet meal; Velveeta shells and cheese, smoked sausage, canned diced tomatoes, broccoli, Italian seasoning

Tuesday: Chicken Tetrazzini; spaghetti, chicken, cream, butter, flour, chicken broth, breadcrumbs (optional), cheese (optional, I'm using colby jack)

Wednesday: Leftovers!

Thursday: Taco Bowls; Tortillas, ground beef, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cheese, sour cream (optional), lettuce, tomato, guacamole (optional), any other taco toppings you'd like

Friday: Pizza (ordered out most likely. :) )

Saturday: Off day-we'll be busy all day with an activity

Sunday: Chili dogs; All beef hot dogs, hot dog buns, homemade chili (ground beef, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, tomato sauce), cheese, any condiments you'd like (I just do chili and cheese, my husband likes some mustard and ketchup sometimes)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Marinated Chicken Foil Packet thing-a-ma-jiggers

Yes, I know, sounds like a lovely gourmet meal, huh? Haha. But it is tasty. I promise.

I used a ready-made marinade, a garlic and herb variety, but you could easily make your own, with some olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs. I just cheated this time and used a bottled marinade cause I was in a hurry.

This method of cooking involves a foil packet. I think it's kinda fun to wrap up meat and veggies in a little envelope of aluminum and let it cook in the oven. Don't you think that's fun? C'mon. Don't be shy. Anyone? Ok, I'm a nerd. I know. Moving on.

This is a simple meal, and it's easy to make it for as many people as you need to. It's as easy to do for one person as it is for 6. Awesome, huh? Yes. Yes it is. Away we go.

-Chicken Breasts-enough to feed everyone
-Marinade-enough to coat the chicken well, plus just a smidge more for the veggies
-Frozen or Fresh Veggies of your choice (I used frozen mixed veggies)
-Potatoes, for roasting (I used red potatoes, but use whatever you like)
-Olive oil (for drizzling over potatoes)
-Garlic powder, about 1 teaspoon for 2 medium sized potatoes
-Italian seasoning, about 2 teaspoons for two medium sized potatoes

Place the chicken breasts in a gallon sized ziploc bag. Use more than one if you're making a lot of chicken. Pour in the marinade, close the bag, gently massage the marinade into the chicken. Put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When the chicken has been properly marinated, just start to brown it in a skillet, but don't cook it all the way through. (You can skip this step if you want, I just think browning the outside adds a nice flavor) Place a sheet of foil on the counter, and spoon a serving of veggies onto it. Pour a little bit of unused marinade over them...just a little, because the juice from the chicken will also flavor them. Place the chicken on top of the veggies. Fold the foil packet around the veggies and chicken, and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is marinating, clean the potatoes. Cut them into bite size chunks and place them in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with garlic and seasonings. Roast the potatoes while you're baking the chicken. It will take about the same amount at time at the same temperature for both, so it works out well. The potatoes should be tender but not falling apart when they're done.

When everything is cooked through, serve it while hot. Easy cheesy. Yum!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tomato Spinach Pasta

Ok, usually I wouldn't have two pasta meals, especially pasta made with spinach, so close together. But...I did not have the motivation to do what I had planned for dinner tonight, so I switched it with another meal this week. Oh well. This one's different than the other, so it's all good. Hehe.

This is a super easy, not too bad for you meal, and I'm glad I made it. I was so tired and unmotivated today. Haha. I hope you all like it too.

-Pasta (I used penne), about 16 oz (a whole box)
-1 can roasted tomatoes
-1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or similar seasoning blend

Boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain.

In a saucepan over medium low heat, pour the can of tomatoes. Add the seasonings and stir. Let the tomatoes heat up. When the sauce is hot, add the spinach. Stir the spinach in so it is well incorporated. Pour the sauce over the drained pasta. Stir and let the sauce cover every noodle. It won't be a really "wet" sauce, it will be mostly just chunks of tomatoes and spinach, with a little liquid. Serve it hot and top with a little mozzarella cheese. Simple and delicious. Yum.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spinach Alfredo Pasta

So, if I take something healthy, like spinach, and add it to something not so healthy, like alfredo sauce, it makes it ok, right? Ok, good. Hehe.

But seriously. I know I have a weakness for all things cheesy, creamy, and buttery, so I try to at least add something to them, occasionally, to make them slightly better for me. And by better for me, I mean I'm ingesting something good along with the bad. Haha. Everything in moderation is my motto. I can have a little of all the yumminess as long as I don't gorge myself. Except I do occasionally gorge myself. Ok, nevermind. Just ignore me. ;)

I do make alfredo a good bit, so I was wanting something just slightly different. Hence the spinach addition. I think it turned out well, as did my husband, whose comment of, "Do you have any more of this?" When he finished off his bowl was validation that it was indeed tasty. I hope you enjoy it too!

-Pasta (I used spaghetti)
-3 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons flour
-1.5 cups cream
-3/4-1 full cup parmesan cheese, shredded
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 cup cooked spinach (I used frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained)

In a large pot, boil some water. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain.

In a sauce pan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until well combined. Let it cook another 5 or so minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cream, and whisk until the flour mixture is well incorporated into the cream. Let the sauce cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, almost constantly, until the sauce has thickened a little bit. Add the paremsan cheese, and let it melt into the sauce, stirring frequently, until the sauce is smooth. Let it cook a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until it has thickened just a little bit more. Add the garlic powder, and stir to combine. At the last minute, when the sauce is ready, and the pasta is ready, add the spinach and stir to evenly distribute it into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve immediately. Yumtastic.

You know you want this.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Peach Tart

Ok, so I was asked to bring dessert to a dinner at a friend's house. I wanted to do something that was spring/summer-y since the weather has been pretty nice lately. I've made this tart recipe several times, and I LOVE it. It's not that difficult, but it tastes pretty amazing. I got this recipe from Paula Deen, while I was watching Food Network one day. Of course, knowing it's a recipe from Paula Deen, it is no secret that it's not going to be diet friendly, so I apologize (Ok, not really...I know my blog does not have "diet" written anywhere near it). But, if you want to splurge a little bit, this is a great way to do that. So yummy. As always, I have adapted the recipe just slightly. Paula uses a glaze on hers, and I do not. She uses a tart pan, and I use either a pie pan or a cake pan, but the essence of the recipe is just about the same. So...Away we go.

For crust-
-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
-2 tablespoons sour cream

For Filling-
-About 6 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (I used frozen peaches, two 10 oz bags)
-3 large egg yolks
-3/4 cup sour cream
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For Crust-
Preheat the oven to 375.

Place the flour, butter, and sour cream in a food processor and pulse to combine. You might have to scoop off the sides a few times while it's mixing. When the dough has formed a ball (or, in other words, when it's all stuck together on one side of the food processor but it's all mixed together), pat with lightly floured hands into the bottom and sides of an ungreased pie pan or round cake pan. It doesn't need to be greased because there is so much butter in this dough it ain't gonna stick to anything...except maybe your hips. But we won't think about that. :) Make sure the crust goes up about 1.5 inches up the side of the pan, but not all the way to the top. You want the filling and crust to be about level, not have excess crust sticking up at the top. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. It shouldn't be raw, but it shouldn't be "done" either. Let it cool while preparing the filling.

For Filling-
Reduce oven temperature to 350.

If you use fresh peaches, peel and thickly slice the peaches. If using frozen, make sure they're thawed out and not overly "wet" from thawing. Arrange them in overlapping circles on top of the crust, until it's completely covered. "Patch" the holes in the peaches. In other words, make sure every inch of crust is covered with peaches. If there's a gap between two slices, stick another slice in there somehow. You want to do this because as the peaches cook, they shrink a little bit, and you don't want a half filled peach tart.

Combine the egg yolks, sour cream, sugar, and flour in a mixing bowl, and beat until smooth. Pour this mixture over the peaches. It's going to fill up every little crevice of that tart shell, so don't worry if it looks like it will overflow a tiny bit. Place the pie/cake pan in the oven and bake for about 1 hour, until the custard (the filling) sets and is pale golden in color. You don't want it to be brown, really, just golden. If the crust starts to get too dark, put some aluminum foil over it to keep it from browning anymore. Let the pan cool on a wire rack.
This is wonderful served by itself, or with ice cream. It's also amazing warm, so if you heat it up just slightly before won't regret it. This is seriously one of my favorite desserts. Mmm. Ok, I'll stop drooling now and let you get to making this amazingness. Enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Meal Plan and Shopping List

Hello all! I'm actually not late this week posting my meal plan! Go me. Haha. So here we go.

Monday: Leftovers!

Tuesday:Lawry's Marinated Chicken with potatoes and veggies; Chicken breast, Lawry's marinade (I'm using Lemon Herb or something), potatoes (whatever type you like-russet, red, Yukon gold, etc), seasoning for potatoes, other veggies for a side

Wednesday:Potluck dinner-Spinach Alfredo Pasta; Pasta (I'm using spaghetti), cream, butter, flour, frozen chopped spinach, parmesan, mozzarella

Thursday:Tomato Spinach Pasta; Pasta (I'm using penne), roasted tomatoes (I'm using canned), frozen chopped spinach, garlic, seasoning, mozzarella

Friday:Pizza; frozen pizza

Saturday: Off day; I'll be busy all day and will be eating dinner with some friends

Sunday:Apple Chicken Quesadillas; Apple, chicken breast, mozzarella, colby jack/cheddar cheese, tortillas, corn, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Honey Hoisin Chicken and Rice Pilaf

My trusty food blog inspiration Mel, from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, had a similar recipe on her blog. She did honey hoisin pork ribs, and I'm doing chicken, but I'm using her idea/recipe with a few minor adaptations. I am also using her rice pilaf recipe (on the same blog post as the ribs). I'm so glad she makes food I can eat with my pickiness. Haha. But really, this turned out really well, and since it was my first time making it, I wasn't sure it would. My husband told me he really liked "the flavor" of the chicken, which means it tasted good. Haha. We had some canned fruit to round things out a bit. ;) we go into the wilderness of foods I've never made before. Woohoo!

Rice Pilaf-
-1 tablespoon canola oil
-1 cup angel hair pasta, broken into 1/2-inch pieces (I actually used linguine, and it still turned out great)
-1 cup rice
-2 cups chicken broth
-Seasonings to taste (I used garlic and onion powder)

Honey Hoisin Chicken-
-Chicken breasts
-1/3 cup honey
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/3 cup hoisin sauce
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 cup distilled white vinegar (or rice vinegar, which is what I used)

Brown rice and angel hair pasta in the oil over medium-high heat.

Cook until spaghetti is lightly browned. Add chicken stock and seasonings and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes (Mine didn't take quite 20, but close to it). Stir it around a bit to lighten it up,

and then serve.

Honey Hoisin Chicken-
Boil the chicken breasts until just done. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!! Cut the chicken into large bite size pieces. In a separate bowl, mix the other ingredients to make a marinade. Coat the chicken pieces with the marinade, and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. After that hour, spread the chicken in a single layer on a baking pan lined with foil.

Broil in the oven for about 3 minutes. Baste the chicken with more marinade, and turning them around in the pan slightly. You want them to be coasted and getting brown and carmelized on all sides. See how the liquid on the foil is getting dark? You want that to a lesser degree on the chicken.

Once the chicken is well glazed, remove the chicken pieces from the pan, discarding the excess marinade. Serve it immediately.

Yum. Serve everything together for a delightfully different meal. Enjoy!