Monday, June 21, 2010

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce
adapted from the recipe at gimmesomeoven.com

1 (15oz) can tomato sauce (the no salt added type, when I can find it)
1 (6oz) can tomato paste (the no salt added type, when I can find it)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried basil (yes, I use both dried AND fresh)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp red wine vinegar
splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice
sugar, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until it starts boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

This also freezes well.

Pizza Casserole

Pizza Casserole
adapted from the recipe here at tasteofhome; originally published in Taste of Home December/January 2007, p42

16 Servings (2 casseroles, 8 servings each)
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.

1 box (13oz - just a little over 4 cups) uncooked spiral pasta (I use whole wheat)
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
16oz mushrooms, sliced
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce (I use the no salt added type when I can find it)
1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce (I make my own)
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (I use the no salt added type when I can find it)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (I tend to use more)
1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni (I don't use the full package)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the mushrooms, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, tomato paste, sugar and seasonings. Drain pasta; stir into meat sauce.

Divide half of the mixture between two greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes; sprinkle each with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Top each with pepperoni and Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through.

***MY NOTES***: Not owning two 11x7-inch baking dishes, I use a 9-inch squared and a 9x13-inch baking dish. Or I could make one big 11x13-inch casserole out of this. Whatever size dishes you use, divide the meat and cheese accordingly.

These are the nutrition facts for the original recipe: 1 serving (1 each) equals 296 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 51 mg cholesterol, 616 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 23 g protein. Even before I altered it, it's not...hideous...when it comes to nutrition. With minimal effort the sodium could be cut waaaaay down and probably the cholesterol, too....except that I tend to add about a cup or two more mozzarella to the recipe.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cheese-topped Lemon Chicken Breasts

Cheese-topped Lemon Chicken Breasts
from the magazine Simple & Delicious (Oct 2009) from tasteofhome, credited to Renee Mitchell at McChord AFB, WA

Prep/total time: 20 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4oz each)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cups shredded Colby cheese

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown chicken in butter on both sides over medium heat. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or until meat juices run clear.

Remove from heat. Sprinkle each chicken breast with cheese. Cover and let stand for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Yield: 4 servings

**MY NOTES** - It always seems to take longer to prep and cook these than the 20minutes the magazine said. I don't know, maybe I work slow and cook my chicken more thoroughly than is called for. Other than cooking the chicken longer than what the recipe calls for, I haven't found a need to alter this one. I think that might be the mark of a truly awesome recipe.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Golden Chicken

Golden Chicken
source unknown (I probably pulled it out of one of my many cookbooks)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 stick margarine
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) golden mushroom soup
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup water

Place chicken breasts in a greased 9x13-inch baking pan. In a saucepan, combine margarine, soup, almonds and water. Heat and mix just until margarine is melted. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done.

**MY NOTES: I use chicken with the bone in it all the time. And I use slivered almonds since, for some unknown reason, I have a huge bag of them in my freezer. I also cover the pan with tin foil (I don't have...well, any... pans with lids and very few of my baking dishes have lids) and make sure it seals very well.

Ham & Cheese Potato Casserole

Ham & Cheese Potato Casserole
from the magazine Simple & Delicious (Oct 2009) from tasteofhome, credited to Kari Adams of Fort Collins, CO


2 cans (10 3/4oz each) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
2 cups (16oz) sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp pepper
2 packages (28oz each) frozen O'Brien potatoes
1 package (16oz) Velveeta, cubed
2 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham

In a large bowl, combine the soup, sour cream, water, and pepper. Stir in the potatoes, cheese, and ham. Transfer to TWO (2) greased 11-inch x 7-inch baking dishes. **Cover and freeze one casserole for up to three (3) months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 375F degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

**TO USE FROZEN CASSEROLE: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 375F degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

MY NOTES: I don't have anything to say about this one except I'm still trying to determine if it needs garlic. Also, more than once I've just cooked that second casserole. When I've done that, I've simply set the second dish in the refrigerator until 20 minutes before the first one is due to come out of the oven. When I take it out of the refrigerator, I set it on the counter and let it come closer to room temperature before cooking it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chicken with honey-orange sauce

Chicken with honey-orange sauce
adapted from the recipe at delish.com

2 navel oranges
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and tenders removed
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup white wine (or apple juice)
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons honey
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Zest and juice 1 orange. Remove skin and white pith from other orange, then halve and slice. Reserve zest and juice separately from orange slices.

Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer remaining flour to a small bowl, add broth, and whisk to combine.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add wine to pan and cook 1 minute. Add flour-broth mixture, reserved orange zest and juice, raisins, honey, cinnamon stick, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan and cook, turning chicken once or twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 165 degrees F and sauce has thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Discard cinnamon stick. Spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with reserved orange slices and almonds.

Serves 4

**MY NOTES: This is another one of those recipes that I find needs very little tweaking. The recipe calls for freshly ground pepper. I use the ground pepper in the can because that's what I have. The recipe also calls for toasting the slivered almonds. I don't bother. I don't like the taste of toasted almonds. I barely like the taste of almonds to begin with.

Easy Salisbury Steak

Easy Salisbury Steak
source: unknown (I probably pulled this from one of the cook books on my shelf and adapted it into what it is here. I do that a lot.)

1 1/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1 (10 oz) can beef gravy
seasoned salt

In a large bowl, combine beef, flour and egg.  Add a little seasoned salt and pepper.  Mix well. Shape into 5 patties and place in a shallow 7x11-inch baking dish.  Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes; drain off any fat.  Pour beef gravy over patties.  Bake another 20 minutes.  Serve with rice or noodles.

**My Notes: First of all, use whatever size pan you have on hand. After that comment... I highly suggest using LEAN ground beef. The leanest you can find. It's been my experience that if more fatty ground beef is used, the amount of beef used should be increased. If I absolutely do not have or cannot find lean ground beef for a price I'm willing to pay and use ground chuck, I use 2 pounds of meat as most of it is fat and gets cooked out and drained. As to the "seasoned salt", put whatever you want in it. What spices go into this depend on my mood when I'm cooking it. Oh, yeah, and the gravy: use what you have. If you *make* your own gravy or have something other than canned gravy, use it! Just make sure you're using approximately the same amount as the can would add.

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

Hamburger Noodle Casserole
adapted from the recipe at Taste of Home

1 bag whole wheat egg noodles
2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook beef and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, sugar, salt and pepper; heat through. Drain noodles; stir into beef mixture.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sour cream until blended.

Spoon half of the noodle mixture into a 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese mixture and remaining noodle mixture.

Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Yield: 10 servings.

**MY NOTES: I changed this recipe very little. As a matter of preference, I use whole wheat egg noodles, add a little more meat and cheese, and drop the green onions completely. This recipe is so easy that Mister and Girl can cook it with almost no input from me. On nights I actually cook it, I might toss in a few herbs for flavoring (a little parsley, a smidge of basil, etc.) if I remember/feel like it.