Sunday, March 27, 2011

Slow cooker Chicken Parmesan

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

Parmesan Chicken.....in the slow cooker.  Not only is it delicious, but if you worry that cooking cheese and sauce for hours is going to cause it to burn or get crunchy, then stop worrying this minute because not only does that not happen, the end result is moist, tender cheesy gooey chicken that your family will enjoy.

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I cut mine into strips, to make them into more reasonable serving sizes for the kids)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 egg, beaten
4-6 slices mozzarella cheese
1 jar (28-ounces) favorite marinara sauce

Directions:
Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the bottom of the crockpot stoneware.
In a medium bowl, beat egg.  In second medium bowl, mix the bread crumbs, spices, and grated Parmesan cheese all together.

Dip chicken in beaten egg and then toss into bread crumb mixture to coat completely on both sides.  Place chicken breasts on bottom of crockpot.  Place a layer of mozzarella slices on top of breaded chicken breasts.  Cover cheese layered chicken with entire jar of sauce.

Place lid of crockpot securely on and turn heat to LOW for 6-7 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.  Serve over cooked pasta of your choice. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spaghetti Casserole

My family LOVES Spaghetti and it doesn't even have to be homemade or from scratch, they just love it in any way, shape or form.

Spaghetti Casserole

But sometimes I want something more than just the usual noodles and sauce, I want to give it a little kick, change it out, dress it up etc.

I've got a few variations on Spaghetti dishes here on the blog, like Virginia's Baked Spaghetti which continues to be one of our favorites, or Spaghetti Pie or even Spaghetti a la Philly, so I figured, what's one more to throw at you, you won't mind right?

Spaghetti Casserole

I have to thank my friend Mari for giving me this recipe, she shared it during one of my Cooking Thursdays on my main blog Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

Spaghetti Casserole

Spaghetti Casserole


1 pkg (16 ounces) angel hair pasta
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce ( I use Hunts 4 cheese)
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
16 ounces sour cream
4 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese


Cook pasta for a slightly shorter time than directed on pkg, until just done. 

Spaghetti Casserole
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown beef and drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. (I added in some fresh basil)
Remove from heat. Stir together cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. 
In two 8x11 freezer pans, layer half the meat sauce, pasta, sour cream mix and cheese.

Spaghetti Casserole

Repeat layers. Cover tightly with foil and freeze up to 3 months.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in refrigerator. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Spaghetti Casserole

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

I love Chicken and Dumplings and I've made so many variations on this incredible dish. This latest one is pretty much just a cheat using ingredients you may not think about using otherwise.

Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups diced celery
1 can of chinese vegetables, drained
1 can green beans, drained
2 packages cooked chicken, cut into bite size chunks
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 tablespoon salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground pepper (plus more to taste)
6 cups chicken stock
4 big biscuits (Pillsbury Grands Frozen Biscuits), cut into fourths


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they're soft, add the celery, chinese vegetables, green beans and white wine.

Cheater Chicken and Dumplings
 
Cook for about 6 minutes, add the chicken to the pot, add the chicken stock and cover, cook on medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

Cheater Chicken and Dumplings


If the broth is not as thick as you would like, whisk in about a tablespoon of corn starch.

Break the biscuits into fourths and drop into the pot.

Cheater Chicken and Dumplings


Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through. Serve immediately.

Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

Hearty Nachos

I have been craving nachos for days now, I mean, literally salivating over the thought of nachos and no clue why.

Hearty Nachos

But, I didn't want to go spend money at Taco Bell when it's something that is so easily made at home.

This recipe may be a little different to what you're used to getting, for one, there are no refried beans and once the family and I got over that shock, we dove right in and finished that whole casserole dish in record time.  The hubby and kids announced it was better than Taco Bell.....I'll just let you be that judge of that :)

Hearty Nachos


Hearty Nachos

1 pound lean ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 small onion, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 sliced, jalapeno
Shredded Cheese, I like Cheddar or the Monterey Jack mix
Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream


In a skillet, brown the ground beef with the taco seasoning

On a casserole dish (mine was slightly smaller than a 9x 13 but you can also use a deep pie dish), layer the nachos as follows:

Tortilla chips, about 1 cup of cheese, beef mixture, diced tomatoes, diced onions, jalapenos. Sprinkle more cheese on top, again this is up to you how much depending on what your family likes.

Pop under the broiler until the cheese is nice and melted. Serve with a few dollops of sour cream.


NOTE:  I love that with this recipe, I can make more or less nachos as is needed. I can make a single serving or I can make double or even triple the batch if I have more people coming over.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Creamy Rotini with Ham and Asparagus

We love a good pasta dish and the creamier the better, but I get tired of the same ol', same ol' and it was time for a change.

Creamy Rotini with Ham and Asparagus

I knew I wanted to use my tri-color rotini and I wanted it to be creamy, the rest just kind of fell into place.


Creamy Rotini with Ham and Asparagus

Creamy Rotini with Ham and Asparagus

1 package Tri-Color rotini
Ham, diced (amount will depend on how much or little you want)
2 small shallots, diced
Asparagus, cut into thirds
olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic powder
heavy cream
flour (just about a tablespoon to thicken sauce)
shredded cheese


Cook rotini according to package directions, drain and pour into a casserole dish.

Drizzle a little bit of olive oil into a skillet, add the asparagus, ham and shallots and cook until asparagus are cooked through but still have a little bit of crunch to them.  Add the spices, just eye ball it is what I do.

Creamy Rotini with Ham and Asparagus

Cook for a minute longer, then add some heavy cream, I added about 2 cups.   Stir well and let it heat through, add the flour and using a whisk cook a little longer just until the sauce begins to thicken.

Remove from heat and add to the pasta, mix well. 

Creamy Rotini with Ham and Asparagus

Add shredded cheese and pop under the broiler until the cheese is melted and starting to get nice and brown. 

Creamy Rotini with Ham and Asparagus

Serve immediately.

Creamy Rotini with Ham and Asparagus

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beef and Veggie Pot Pie

One of my favorite dishes, I think what makes it for me is the flaky crust.  Give me a good buttery crust and throw in either a savory or a sweet filling and I'm yours....really, I'm yours.

Beef and Veggie Pot Pie

This one was a modge podge of throwing together whatever I had on hand, there really is no method to this pot pie madness.

Beef and Veggie Pot Pie

Some may have a certain way of doing things, some may have a taste for a specific ingredient, some like a creamy filling, others like myself are perfectly happy with a good ol meat and veggie mixture.

Beef and Veggie Pot Pie

I don't have a recipe for this recipe, I literally just threw it together, but I can tell you that I used a pound of ground beef, one small diced onion, salt and pepper, garlic, worcestershire sauce, a little bit of beer for taste and a small can of tomato sauce.  I also added in about 1 and half cups of mixed frozen veggies.

Brown the ground beef, add the spices and the tomato sauce, stir well, then add in the frozen veggies.  Pour in a bit of beer, you don't want too much.  Cook for a minute or two until the liquid reduces.

I used a box of pie crusts, the one that brings two crusts inside.  Unroll one and cover the bottom of a greased pie pan.

Fill with the meat filling.  Unroll the second pie crust and place over the meat, fold in the edges and press to seal.  Cut two or three small slits on the top to vent.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the dough is nice and brown.

Beef and Veggie Pot Pie

Let sit for 5 minutes and cut into wedges.

Beef and Veggie Pot Pie

Serve with a salad! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baked Beef Ravioli

I'm all for easy recipes that I can throw together quickly, but somewhere along the line, I find that if I just take a few more minutes and add a few more things, even something plain like frozen ravioli can turn into a delectable meal.

Baked Beef Ravioli

But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself and then let me know the verdict.

Baked Beef Ravioli

It it's anything like my family's they will be too busy smacking their lips and you won't get many coherent words other than some ooooohhhh and aaahhhhh's.


Baked Beef Ravioli

Baked Beef Ravioli
Credit: Better Homes and Gardens



2 9-ounce packages refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 10.75-ounce can condensed tomato soup
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook ravioli according to package directions; drain. Return to pan; cover and keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground meat, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is brown and onion is tender.

Baked Beef Ravioli

Drain off fat. Stir in tomatoes, soup, basil, and oregano. Gently stir in cooked ravioli.

3. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Baked Beef Ravioli

Bake, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Baked Beef Ravioli

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Italian Sausage Pie

What can I say, other than Yum???

Italian Sausage Pie

This dish is almost like an Italian Torta.  The minute I saw it in one of my cooking magazines, I ripped it out, added it to my binder and set it aside to try.  Then I forgot about it.  Then I found it again a week ago and knew it had to go in my Menu Plan and it did and that's what we had for dinner tonight.

Goodness, sausage, onion, cheese, pepper and dough, all the things that make this girl really really happy.

Just a little warning, when you cut into it, the juices tend to ooze out, so make sure you do so over a baking dish or plate with rims or something of that kind.

Italian Sausage Pie


ITALIAN SAUSAGE PIE
Credit:  Better Homes and Garden

1 1/2 lbs sweet or hot bulk Italian sausage
1 C red pepper, chopped
1/2 C onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 – 16oz pkg hot roll mix
5 eggs
3 C shredded mozzarella
1/2 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese  (I accidentally forgot and added the whole carton and the world didn't come crashing down)
1/2 of a 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

1 egg
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese


In an extra large skillet, cook sausage; sweet pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until sausage is brown;  drain off fat.

Italian Sausage Pie

Prepare hot roll mix according to package directions through kneading.  Cover;  let rest for 5 minutes.

Italian Sausage Pie

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a large bowl, beat the five eggs.  Stir in 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese and spinach.  Stir in sausage mixture.

Italian Sausage Pie

On a light floured surface, roll three-fourths of the dough into a 15-inch circle.  Fit into bottom and press up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.  Sprinkle dough with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. 

Italian Sausage Pie

Spoon sausage mixture over cheese.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese;  press into sausage mixture.

Italian Sausage Pie

Roll remaining dough into a 9-inch circle;  place on cheese.    Fold edge of bottom dough over top dough;  pinch to seal.

Italian Sausage Pie

In a small bowl, combine the one egg and the water.  Brush over top of pie;  allow to dry for 5 minutes.  Using a sharp knife, score top of pie in a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut all the way through the dough.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. 

Italian Sausage Pie

Using a small spatula, loose pie from side of pan;  remove side of pan.  Cut pie into wedges.

Italian Sausage Pie

Makes 10 servings.

Italian Sausage Pie

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Portuguese Pork Chops and Potatoes

I already have another version of this recipe up on my blog but Portuguese cooking as with many other ethnic dishes, is all about places, people and different parts of the country.

Costeletas a moda do Minho

I haven't really been making Portuguese food lately and I've been craving it and missing it like crazy, so I've decided that the next two week menu will be a trip of sorts, down memory lane for me.  Appetizers, Main Dishes, Desserts, you name it.  Hope you're up for it.

Here's just a little preview of the kind of food I'll be serving to the family and to you, if you wish to try.


Minho (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈmiɲu]) is an historical province of Portugal. It was established as an official province in 1936 and dissolved in 1976. It consisted of 23 municipalities, with its capital in the city of Braga. Today, the area would include the districts of Braga and Viana do Castelo. Minho has substantial Celtic influences and shares many cultural traits with neighbouring Galicia in Spain. The region was part of the Roman Province and early medieval Kingdom of Gallaecia. Historical remains of Celtic Minho include Briteiros Iron Age Hillfort, the largest Gallaecian native stronghold in the Entre Douro e Minho region, in North Portugal.


Costeletas a moda do Minho

Costeletas de Porco a moda do Minho
Pork chops prepared in the traditional Minho way


Ingredients:
Pork Chops
Garlic
Bay Leaf
Salt
White Wine
Onion
Olive oil
Bacon, thinly sliced

Potatoes for frying
Parsley


I like doing this in the morning so it has a few hours for the flavors to really sink in, but you can also do it an hour or so before cooking.  I put the pork chops in a bowl and add the spices, garlic, bay leaf, salt and the white wine.

Costeletas a moda do Minho

Chop the potatoes into cubes OR you can use baby potatoes if you wish.  Fry them until nice and golden, set aside.

Costeletas a moda do Minho

In a skillet, add a little bit of olive oil, fry the pork chops on both sides until nice and brown.  (do NOT throw out the marinade, keep that you're going to need it).  Once the chops are cooked, remove them and keep them warm.

Costeletas a moda do Minho

Add the sliced onion and the bacon to the skillet and cook until bacon is done but not crispy.  Add the marinade to the skillet and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Costeletas a moda do Minho

At this point, you're going to add the fried potatoes and let them cook for a minute or so, just to soak in all that good gravy.

Costeletas a moda do Minho

Right before you serve, you can add the pork chops to the skillet too so they can warm up a bit more.

Costeletas a moda do Minho

I like to serve mine all together in one dish and sprinkled with parsley.  Enjoy!

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