Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Broccoli Casseole

1-2 lbs turkey breast (chopped)
2 bags of instant white rice
1 bag frozen broccoli florets
1 can cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom)
1 jar Ragu Cheese Sauce
1 sleeve Ritz crackers (crushed)
1/3 stick of butter

Well, here we are - one day post sandwiches and we STILL have turkey left here's my solution for a warm and comforting dinner on a cold evening.

Spray a 9x9 casserole dish with vegetable spray, while microwaving the rice for 10 minutes.
Drain Rice and allow to cool slightly while chopping the turkey breast into small chunks.  Add the rice, turkey, broccoli, soup and cheese sauce into a large mixing bow. I use a huge Tupperware dish as I'm not all that neat about mixing things.  Mix everything together then transfer into your sprayed casserole dish.  Top with crushed Ritz crackers and dot with small pats of butter.  Bake at 350* for 40 minutes. 
Serve with warm bread and a side salad or veggie of your choice.  I'm serving it with baked asparagus and yeast rolls tonight! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deviled Eggs

One of my most prized possessions is Mama's Cut Glass Deviled Egg Dish.  I can't count how many holiday dinners and meals at Birds Creek Baptist Church this dish has seen but I absolutely treasure it!  It rides in my lap and is never left for someone else to wash and return.  It comes home with ME! 
I fill it at least three or four times a year with eggs made exactly the way she did.  Oddly enough, this is the ONLY thing that I ever made as a teenager.  Even I couldn't mess this up and I couldn't make macaroni and cheese without the box and a chemistry set until I was 25!

1 dozen eggs
4 -5 large Tablespoons Miracle Whip
3 teaspoons yellow mustard
3 Tablespoons sweet relish
Paprika or Parsley to garnish
1 quart zip top baggie

Boil on dozen eggs at a hard boil for 12 - 15 minutes.  The minute you remove them from the stove, start a cold water bath over the eggs and drain that hot water off zip the bag closed and remove as much air as possible.  Smash the yolks into a fine powdery texture. 

Add mayo, mustard and relish.  Zip the bag again and mix completely (just smush it back and forth in your hands until it is completely mixed).  It should be nice and golden and creamy.  If it's too dry, add more mayo two parts to the mustard.

Snip the very tip of a corner of the baggie (farthest corner from the zip top).  Use this like a pastry bag and squeeze the filling into your hollowed eggs on your serving tray.  If you want to get all fancy, use a actual pastry bag with a pretty tip to get a ruffled edge.  I just go simple and no one has EVER left one of these uneaten on the plate!  If you use a baggie, you just toss it away when you finish and there is NO cleanup! 

Garnish eggs with a light sprinkling of paprika or parsley or alternate eggs at Christmas or a red and green garnish platter but do NOT mix them both together. Garnish is one or the other!  The males in our family rave about these eggs and I love to spoil them!  If you do something fancy like adding crab meat or what not....WHY would you do that?  Deviled Eggs are meant to be simple and that is just fine with me!

Cornbread Dressing

For my money, you can keep the bird and just pass me the whole pan of cornbread dressing! I love it way too much to make it more than once a year! I am sad to admit that I never watched nor listened to my Mama when she made this but with the help of a good cookbook and my own twists on it, this is as close to my Mama's heavenly Southern Cornbread Dressing that I can get. It's not fancy and I don't want it to be!

1 large pan of cornbread - notes below
8 slices of lightly toasted bread
1 sleeve saltines
1 stick of butter
1 bunch of celery (minced)
1 small onion (minced)
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
6 eggs (beaten)

Find the biggest dish you have to mix this in!  I use a large rectangle Tupperware container and sometimes I use two of them to make this easier to handle!

Cornbread:  Take my word for it and do this the easy way (Mama, don't read this part)...use Jiffy Mix Cornbread Mix - 3 boxes, prepare according to the directions but add one extra egg (for luck).  Bake @ 350* in a 9x13 greased baking dish until the center is completely done.

Mince the celery and onion.  I use a sweet red onion and I mince all these until I can't get it any finer.  I like it in my dressing but I don't like to bite into a big chunk of anything in particular.  Add the celery and onion to a large skillet, add one stick of butter (sliced) and simmer this mixture on medium then low heat until veggies are translucent.  You may add a splash of water to help keep it wet as this takes about 30 minutes to sweat it all the way down.  Let is cool as you'll be mixing this by hand most likely - I can't mix it any other way but if you've got better "spoon" skills than me, go right ahead!

Pop your bread into the toaster and toast lightly (you want it golden, not dark brown).  Allow to cool and tear into very fine pieces.  Crush one sleeve of saltines into a fine crush.  You can use your hands and crush it really well while it's still in the sleeve.  Start by pushing each end together lengthwise and that will break the majority of the crackers, then just keep squishing it all around until they are completely crumbled.  You can also put them in a zip top bag and beat them with a baseball bat (fine, use a rolling pin if you have one)!

Tear your cornbread into a fine crumble the mix well with bread and saltines.  Add celery and onion mixture over the bread mix.  Add 1/2 the chicken stock then the seasonings of salt, pepper, sage and poultry seasoning.  Begin mixing and gradually add in the remaining chicken stock.  This is when you can taste a sample to adjust your seasonings to suit you. 

Add the beaten eggs and combine everything well.  Bake in a greased baking dish (or two if necessary) at 350* for about 45-55 minutes.  This takes the better part of an hour to cook thru, time will vary depending on how deep you've made it in your baking dish.  Make sure the center is set completely before removing it from the oven.

If you are a giblet gravy maker (and I am not) save a few tablespoons of the uncooked dressing mix to add to your gravy.  I really don't like this but Mama always did it so I'm telling it.

You can make this in advance by a day.  Just cover it REALLY well and keep it in the fridge.  To reheat, brush it with 1/2 cup of chicken stock to moisten it again and warm it up on Thanksgiving morning.

This is so wonderful that I can almost see Mama in that apron at the stove again!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baked Tacos

This is my twist on a recipe that I saw on Pinterest (yes, I have a minor addiction to that application but I do make the things that I pin - well....mostly)!  I didn't think that there would be any big taste difference from regular tacos but I was wrong.  These were excellent and much tastier!  I'll definitely be making these more often!

1 lb gound beef
1 can refried beans (fat free)
12 white corn hard taco shells
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 cup taco sauce (brand of your choice)
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/3 cup sour cream
tomatoes or avacodo slices (optional)

Brown and drain ground beef.  Add shells in a 9x13 baking dish, all open side up.  Stir refried beans (you may omit these if you truly don't care for them) and add 1 teaspoon to the bottom of each shell.  Add with approximately 2 tablespoons of ground beef to each shell, pour taco sauce (I like Ortega Mild) or even salsa if you prefer over each shell.  Top with shredded cheese and slide the dish into a 350* oven for 15 minutes (or until heated thru and the cheese is melted).

Add tacos to your serving plate, top with lettuce, sour cream and tomatoes or avacodo slices (even olives might be good)...add what you like, omit what you don't. 

I think that the difference is that the tacos are hot all the way thru and that melted cheese is extra good.  We really loved the difference that baking them made!  The entire process took a 40 minutes from the moment I walked in tonight until there were forks ready to eat!  Great convenient dish for a busy Monday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sausage Hominy Casserole

1 lb Country Sausage (I like Tennessee Pride the best)
2 cans Hominy (white or yellow or one of each)
2 cans Rotel Brand Tomatoes (mild or regular)
2 cups Shredded Velveeta (or 1/4 of a regular block of Velveeta)
1 Bell Pepper (diced)
3 Scallions (thinly sliced)

Crumble, brown and drain sausage. Drain hominy and tomatoes (you'll have to use a spoon to squish the water out of the tomatoes). Be sure you have everything well drained or your dish will be runny. Mix drained hominy, tomatoes, sausage, peppers, scallions and shredded cheese. Hold a little of the cheese to scatter over the top of the dish. Bake in a casserole dish (9x9 or 11x13)at 350* for 20-25 minutes (or microwave for 7-10 minutes).

Serve with tortillas (quarter them and serve as wedges) or this also goes well with Mexican Corn Bread.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vegetable Beef Soup

1 large sirloin steak
1 pkg Knorr Vegetable Soup (or dip) mix - dry package
1 box long grain wild rice
1 can green beans
1 can whole kernel corn (or hominy if you prefer)
1 can diced carrots
1 can small Lima beans
1 can black eyed peas
1 can diced potatoes
1 can English peas
2 cans mixed vegetables

This fills my biggest crock pot - if you have a small pot, you may need to split this and use two crocks.

Toss the steak on the grill and cook until well done (but no charring on the outside).  Let steak rest for 10 minutes then slice and chop meat.  Save all those juices from the steak - that adds GREAT flavor to your soup.  Add meat to crock pot then add each of canned vegetables (frozen do not work as well for this recipe) including the juices of each can of veggies.

Blend the vegetable soup mix and long grain rice with 3 cups of water and microwave for 12 minutes. Pour cooked soup mix and rice over steak mix in your large crock pot.  Stir to mix ingredients then salt and pepper to taste. You may need to add more water to cover mix and make a full pot of soup. Let simmer on low for 6 - 8 hours.

Adjust the veggies to suit what you like or what you have on hand...I like to toss in the entire garden!

I like to serve vegetable beef soup with corn bread.  You can serve it with crackers or even white bread if you prefer.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

3 Large Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 Bags Boil in Bag Instant Rice
12 oz Chopped Broccoli Florets
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 1/2 cups Shredded Cheese (I like Velveeta or Cheddar)

Boil chicken breasts for 30 minutes then drain, shred and season with salt and pepper. Place bags of rice in a microwave safe dish, cover with water and cook for 12 minutes then drain well. Cook broccoli in microwave for 6 minutes (don't add any water). Mix chicken, rice, broccoli, soup (do not dilute soup) and cheese. Bake in a casserole dish (spray with non-stick cooking spray, 9x9 or 11x13)at 350* for 20-25 minutes.

You can make your own tweaks to this...wild rice instead of white, Cream of Mushroom instead of Cream of Chicken, Swiss instead of cheddar (would be especially nice with the mushroom soup). You can even top it with crushed Ritz Crackers and dot it with butter for a crumb's a casserole, it's not rocket with it!

Serve with a tossed salad and fresh baked bread = Dinner Time!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chicken Noodle Casserole

When it comes to a cold rainy weekend...comfort food is definitely a MUST!  Less complicated, veggie filled and very inexpensive is the way to go!

1 lb egg noodles
3 large chicken breasts (cooked and chopped) or 2 cans of prepared chicken
2 cans mixed vegetables (I like canned better than frozen but either will work)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom)
1 cup sour cream
1 sleeve Ritz crackers (crushed)
1/2 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste

Boil and cold water rinse noodles (rinsing after cooking removes some of the starch and your noodles won't clump together as much).  I boil my chicken breasts because it is so easy and your chicken stays super tender and moist.  Chop the chicken or use 2 cans of prepared chicken. 

Drain the vegetables, mix veggies with soup and sour cream.  Add chicken to veggie mix then fold into the noodles. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray then add your noodle mix.  Crush Ritz crackers into a fine consistency (a zip lock bag makes this quick and easy - just use your hands or a small baseball bat - okay, use a rolling pin if you have one)!  Melt butter in the microwave for just a few seconds (a coffee cup works well.  Mix the cracker crumbs in the melted butter then spread them on top of your casserole.

Bake at 350* for about half an hour.  Serve with fresh baked bread and a light'll feel all snugly and comfy in no time. I promise!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pepper Steak

This is one of the very first things I ever learned to cook (I was in college - yes, I was a late bloomer in the kitchen).  After too many evenings of busy schedules and fast food, I HAD to cook tonight and this was my solution!

1 lg sirloin steak (have the butcher slice it into thin strips)
2 lg bell peppers - sliced (all green or mix 1 green, 1 red)
2 medium tomatoes - chopped
sliced water chestnuts
2 cups lite soy sauce
2 bags of instant white rice
chow mein noodles to garnish

Having the butcher slice the steak makes everything SO much easier and faster!  Add the soy sauce to a large skillet set on high (just until the temp comes up).  Slice peppers - add to hot soy sauce for 3-4 minutes (cover skillet to speed up cooking time.  Place the boil in bag rice in a microwave appropriate dish and set to cook for 10 minutes (may need a couple more if you have a low watt microwave).  Add steak and water chestnuts to the pepper mixture, cover and reduce to medium heat. 

When the rice is finished, your steak will be about medium well. Add chopped tomatoes to the steak mix, cover and reduce heat to low.  Allow steak to cook for 5 minutes (don't let the tomatoes get all mushy).  Drain rice and you're done!

Serve pepper steak over a bed of  steamed rice, top with crunchy chow mein noodles.  I came into the house at 4:45 and we sat down to diner at 5:15.   Not bad for a Thursday and I only had two pans to clean up!

You can vary this to include your favorite veggies.  Some like to add sliced onion or bean sprouts.  If you like those - go for it.  I just like keeping it simple and the taste is always amazing.  Hope you like it too!