Monday, March 23, 2009

No Recipe Required- Meal Idea #3

We did this easy dinner this weekend, and when wanting some down home kinda cookin' it's good, but it's not for the extreme health conscious, so if you one of those, skip this! It definitely doesn't fit into the current trends of cooking, it's more like what an old school southern or midwestern mom would cook up, but hey sometimes I feel like that!

Minute Steaks
Skillet Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole

If you've never made minute steaks, you buy "cube steak" from the store. They normally come in packs of four and look like skinny beef patties that someone took a punch roller to. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat- just enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan. Set out 2 dishes. Fill one with flour and seasoning (I usually just do pepper and Seasoned salt) and fill the other with your "binder"- evaporated milk or eggs, beaten both work well. Dip steaks in milk/ eggs and then into flour mixture, coating well. Place in oil and cook until no longer pink- about 4 minutes on each side.

For my potatoes, I slice them thin with my mandolin slicer (2 large or 3-4 small is more than enough for two people). Melt half stick of butter in frying pan and place potatoes in. I season them generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I even continue seasoning them through cooking when I flip them , to make sure each slice gets coated since they tend to stick together. I would give yourself forty minutes or so for these, especially if you like them to crisp up! Flip several times to brown on all sides.Yum!

Lastly we did green bean casserole- you know the stuff- 1-1/2 bags frozen green beans (I like French cut) thawed, a can of cream soup (celery or mushroom) and shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 35 minutes at 350- remove and top with French fried onions and bake for an extra five.

And there you have an easy, BUDGET FRIENDLY, no recipe required meal in 45 minutes start to finish.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cake....

1/2 c butter
2 whole eggs
2 TBSP (heaping) cocoa
2 1/4 c of cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP white vinegar
1 1/2 c sugar
2 ounces (1/4 c) red food coloring
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs. Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa and add to the creamed mixture. Add alternate buttermilk with flour and salt, then add the vanilla. Add soda to the vinegar. HOLD OVER THE BOWL, AS IT FOAMS! Then add the soda and vinegar to the mixture, blending instead of beating. Bake 25 to 30 mins. at 350 degrees in two 8-inch greased and floured round cake pans. Cool on racks. Using very sharp knife, or dental floss (yes, dental floss!) split each layer into 2 layers. Make sure the center of the cake comes clean on a tooth pick before you remove from oven... I found it needed about 8 minutes longer in my oven.

Frosting for Red Velvet Cake

3 tablespoons flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Blend flour in a little of the cold milk and then add rest of milk and cook, stirring constantly until it forms a ball. Cook flour and milk until very thick. Remove from heat, and cool. Cream sugar, butter and vanilla until very light and fluffy. Add to first mixture. It should have a light texture similar to whipped creme. Frost all four layers and sprinkle with coconut.

I have never seen flour in frosting.... but it is YUMMY!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Can't Go Wrong With This One!

I really think this is an ideal recipe. I got it from my husband's high school's cookbook and it is quick and so easy (can you tell yet that I like easy?) and totally satisfying without being as heavy as say a casserole. It's also an easy recipe to have the ingredients on hand for. If you like chicken, this one is a winner all around! I make it often and have made it to take to new moms (as long as you have a way to keep it hot).

Rosemary Chicken

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbs Soy sauce
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary- regular or crushed
1 Tbs garlic, crushed (I just mince 3-4 good size cloves)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I have made it with boneless, skinless thighs as well- it is still good but since this is a fairly salty recipe to start with- if you like things less salty, I would definitely stick to just breasts)
3 cups cooked rice

Combine 1st 7 ingredients. Place chicken in ungreased 9x13 baking dish. Pour mixture over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

(If your thinking your not a big fan of plain rice- just do what we do- pour the juice from the chicken over it and ti is sooo good! I think I usually double the ingredients to the sauce just to make sure there is plenty for the rice.) My favorite side to put with this is grilled or roasted fresh asparagus.

*Pictured with thighs, but better with chicken breast

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fire Up the Grill Baby!!

Okay now that spring is truly just around the corner and we have had at least a taste of some beautiful weather- it time to start grilling!! We had Ryan's brother and sister-in-law and our sweet little niece over last weekend and grilled out. We grilled this pork with the rub I found a couple years ago and have used several times since- we just love it. It's so easy and you most likely have the few ingredients on hand.

Grilled Pork Rub

** This is per 2 lbs. pork- I always cook more so I adjust accordingly**
3 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 lbs. pork- can use on tenderloin, loin, or even chops!

Combine well in a bowl. Coat pork generously and refrigerate 30 minutes- 3 hours. Grease grill and cook accordingly (about 25- 30 minutes for tenderloin, 45 min. for loin, and about 10-15 minutes per side for thick cut chops) Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Delicious and moist! This weekend I served this with mashed potato casserole and roasted broccoli and grape tomatoes.

Roasted broccoli is really good if you have never tried it. I take my fresh broccoli head, cut into florets, lay out on a baking sheet with a pint of grape tomatoes. I drizzle them with olive oil and salt and pepper and bake in the oven at 400- 425 degrees for about 20 +/- minutes. You'll really just want to watch them on the time, you want it to be nicely browned and toasted but not overcooked. Even if your not the worlds biggest broccoli fan, you just may want to give this a try!

Mashed Potato Casserole

My grandmother and Ryan's mom have both always made these, so of course I followed suit. They are a forever favorite.

Mashed Potato Casserole/ Do Ahead Mashed Potatoes

About 6-8 lbs. potatoes- peeled and diced
1 stick butter
1 8 oz. bar cream cheese
1 pint sour cream (16 oz)
1 medium or a little over 1/2 large onion- grated

Boil potatoes in large stock pot until they break with a fork. Drain and mash. Add in all ingredients and mash/ mix well- (I mash then get out my beater). Place tehm in a large casserole dish. At this point you can refirgerate them for up to a couple days (i.e for large holiday meals), hence why my grandmother called them do ahead mashed potatoes- I usually however just make them all at once. Top with a couple pads of butter and some paprika if you want to make it look pretty =). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. This dish also travels well!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Yahoo for Scotcheroos!!

**EDIT: I originally forgot the measurement for peanut butter in the ingredients list. It is there now, sorry for the confusion.**

I have been craving these like crazy lately and finally made a pan this weekend! My cravings were not disappointed. This is an easy, yummy dessert that I crave for the chewy texture. So good!

Chocolate Scotcheroos- AKA- Special K Bars

1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups crispy rice cereal ( some recipes I see say Rice Krispies- I only use Special K Rice Flakes)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Butter a 9x13 pan.
In saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and corn syrup- bringing to a rolling boil (do not over boil or they will be hard as rocks). remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Mix in cereal until evenly coated. Press into pan. In glass dish (measuring cup) microwave chips, stopping and stirring every 30-45 seconds to prevent scorching, until smooth and well blended. Spread over top and chill until set. Cut into bars.

**Note- they will be very hard to cut when they have been refrigerated for a while. I like them chilled, but I do set them out a little ahead of time so they aren't quite as hard. Enjoy the chewy chocolaty goodness!