Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tuna Noodle Skillet

Last night was one of those nights.  I got up early to get ahead of the day but as the day progressed I got two steps behind.  As mid-afternoon approached, I realized I wasn't going to have enough time to prepare what I had planned for dinner.  Tim's swim schedule threw me off.  Oh well, just one of those days.

Luckily, I remembered a recipe I found for a quick skillet dinner.   Everyone likes tuna -  a big plus at my house.  I had all the ingredient's in the pantry.  Yes, I keep jars of marinara sauce and Alfredo sauce on hand.  I have kids that like snacks of pasta with sauce.  I digress.  Anyway, for this recipe all you need is two jars of your favorite Alfredo sauce, some chicken broth, tuna, noodles, pepper, and frozen peas.  That's it.  Everything is cooked in one large skillet - another big plus.  Total time from start to finish is 30 minutes.

Voila - dinner is done.  Doesn't it look delicious?    It taste wonderful.  Everyone enjoyed the dish and went back for seconds.  Ah - another dinner success:)

Tuna Noodle Skillet
From Taste of Home

2 jars (16 ounces each) Alfredo sauce
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 package (16 ounces) wide egg noodles
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (12 ounces) albacore white tuna in water

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, bring Alfredo sauce and broth to a boil. Add noodles; cover and cook for 7-8 minutes.
2. Reduce heat; stir in peas and pepper. Cover and cook 4 minutes longer or until noodles are tender. Stir in tuna; heat through.

Yield: 6 servings.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Slow-Cooker Pepper Pork Chops

The other night for dinner, I made the best pork chops ever:)  They were so moist, tender and extremely flavorful.  They just melted in your mouth.  This recipe came from Alton Brown - one of my very favorites.

The recipe starts by marinating the pork chops in a brine composed of salt, vegetable broth, water, peppercorns,  and some brown sugar.  The next morning the chops are rinsed and patted dry.  Sprinkle each side with some salt and brown them on both sides.    Place the chops in a slow cooker on top of the dried apples which have been scattered on the bottom.   Next you saute some onions until they just start turning brown.  Add some chicken broth, thyme and pepper. Pour over the chops, cover and cook on high for 1.5 hours.  Then turn the slow cooker to low and cook for the remaining 4.5 hours.  The aroma as they are cooking is wonderful.

When the chops are done, they have separated from the bone.  They are ready to serve.  I served mine with a side of fried potatoes.

A very comforting and delicious meal to enjoy with your family and/or friends.

Slow-Cooker Pork Chops
Food Network: Alton Brown

2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
1 pound ice
4 (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 ounces dried apple slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, julienned
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup kosher salt, brown sugar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the ice. Place the pork chops into a 2-gallon zip-top bag along with the mixture and seal. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

2. Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with the kosher salt and set aside

3. Place the apples in the slow cooker.

4. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch stainless steel saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the apples.

5. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and thyme and stir to combine. Transfer this to the slow cooker, set to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 hours and 30 minutes or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.

Makes 4 servings

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wiener Schnitzel

The other night, I made a simple yet delicious meal.  I made some Wiener Schnitzel which I haven't made in ages.  It reminded of the days when I took a trip to Vienna and was introduced to this wonderful dish.  I never imagined a dish so good was so easy to prepare.

Veal can get expensive, so you can substitute a boneless pork chop or chicken cutlet for the veal.   Basically, you just coat the veal or whatever meat you are eating with flour, an egg wash, and bread crumbs.  Next you fry the schnitzel in some oil until browned on each side.  Serve with a wedge of lemon and your favorite side.   I served mine with a side of  Slow Cooker Hot German Potato Salad.

Wiener Schnitzel

4 veal cutlets pounded thin to 1/4-inch thickness
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.  Place bread crumbs and salt in a shallow bowl.  Whisk together the egg plus the water  in a bowl. Place the flour in a third bowl.
2. Coat 1 veal cutlet in the flour.   Dip into the egg mixtures.  Be sure to let the excess drip back into the bowl.  Finally coat the veal in bread crumbs.  Transfer cutlet to a wire rack and repeat with remaining cutlets.
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the veal cutlets and cook 3 minutes  or until golden brown turning once.  Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
4.   Place the cutlets on plates and serve with a lemon wedge.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, April 17, 2015

Slow-Braised Beef Ragu

A rich and hearty sauce that is perfect over a bed of egg noodles.  This recipe is cooked in your slow cooker for 10 hours.  The aroma that permeates the house is intoxicating.  This recipe is great for those days when you need to have dinner cook while you are busy doing errands or working in the garden.

This recipe was a great change from my traditional meat sauce.  Tender chunks of meat which had been cooked in wine were bursting with flavor.  The sauce was very rich and flavorful and clung to the noodles.  There was goodness in every bite.

Slow-Braised Beef Ragu
From Good Housekeeping

3 stalk celery
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
4 clove garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 beef chuck roast
1/4 c. tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. dry red wine
2 sprig fresh rosemary
1 lb. pappardelle or curly egg noodles
Grated Parmesan cheese
Finely chopped fresh parsley

1. In food processor, pulse celery, carrot, onion, and garlic until finely chopped, scraping down side of bowl occasionally.
2. In large skillet, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Sprinkle beef all over with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add beef to skillet; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until browned on all sides, turning occasionally. Transfer beef to 6- to 7-quart slow-cooker bowl.
3. To same skillet, add vegetable mixture and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring. Stir in diced tomatoes and wine. Cook 2 minutes, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Pour mixture over beef. Add rosemary.
4. Cover and cook on low 10 hours or until very tender.
5. Transfer beef to cutting board. Skim and discard fat from cooking liquid. Remove and discard chunks of fat from beef. Shred beef into bite-size chunks and return to cooking liquid. Serve tossed with pappardelle; garnish with parsley and Parmesan, if desired.

Serves 8

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ginger Chicken Noodle Bowl

A very tasty dinner that is easy, nutritious, and very flavorful.  I love making noodle bowls because they are a one dish meal.  You have your grains, veggies, and meat in one delicious bowl.    This recipe is very easy to make and extremely satisfying and delicious.

In this recipe, you do not need to make any sauces - a great time saver.  You use prepared Stir Fry Sauce that you season with some ginger.  Add some  pre cooked chicken -  this is a great way to use up any leftover chicken you may have in the fridge.  Next, you stir fry some fresh veggies - mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and a sweet red pepper.  Add some cooked Chinese egg noodles, cashews,  and dinner is about ready.  Just combine everything in a skillet and heat through.  Your dinner is ready to serve.  Enjoy:)

Ginger Chicken Noodle Bowl
From Kraft


2 cups  dried Chinese egg noodles or fine egg noodles (4 ounces)
1/4  teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup  bottled stir-fry sauce
1 cup  fresh sugar snap peas or pea pods, tips and stems removed and cut up
1 cup  sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 small  red sweet pepper, cut into bite-size strips
2 teaspoons  peanut oil or cooking oil
5  ounces cooked chicken breast, cut into strips (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons  broken cashews

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; set aside. Stir ginger into the bottled stir-fry sauce; set aside.
2. In a large skillet cook and stir peas, mushrooms, and sweet pepper in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add cooked noodles, chicken, stir-fry sauce, and cashews; heat through.

Makes 3 servings

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Slow-Cooker Hot German Potato Salad

Need a change from the traditional cold potato salad?  Try this tasty Hot Potato Salad where the potatoes are coated in a light dressing flavored with bacon, vinegar, and sugar.  Mmm a great tasting side.

You start by scrubbing some potatoes and slicing them up.  Set the potatoes aside.  In a skillet, cook some bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and add some chopped onions and celery.  The onion mixture is sprinkled with some salt, celery seed and pepper.

Next the potatoes are layered in a slow cooker with the onion mixture.  Chicken broth is poured over the potatoes and onions.  Cover and cook on low for 5  to 6 hours.    Once the potatoes are cooked, mix some sugar, cornstarch and vinegar together and stir into the slow cooker.  Add the bacon and then the potatoes.  I mixed mine gently to coat them (the potatoes) in the dressing.  The heat is then turned on to high and the potatoes are cooked for another 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, sprinkle the potatoes with some fresh parsley.  Enjoy.

Slow-Cooker Hot German Potato Salad
From Betty Crocker

1/2 lb bacon, chopped
1 1/4 cups chopped onions (about 3 medium)
1 1/4 cups chopped celery (about 5 medium stalks)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 lb small red potatoes (2 to 3 inch in diameter), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup  chicken broth
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp; remove from skillet with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Cook onions and celery in bacon drippings 5 to 8 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with salt, celery seed and pepper. Cover and refrigerate bacon.
2. Layer half each of the potatoes and onion mixture in 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Repeat layers. Pour broth over top.
3. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 5 to 6 hours.
4. Remove potatoes from cooker, using slotted spoon. Mix sugar, cornstarch and vinegar in small bowl; stir into liquid in cooker. Stir in bacon. Gently fold in potatoes. Increase heat setting to High. Cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes have thickened. Sprinkle with parsley. Potato salad will hold on Low heat setting up to 2 hours; stir occasionally.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rice Krispies Treat Eggs

Everyone loves Rice Krispies treats at my house.  With Easter around the corner, the kids made Rice Krispies treats shaped like Easter eggs.  They used those plastic eggs that you can find at the store.  The traditional treat recipe is used.  The mixture is scooped into the plastic eggs that have bee coated lightly with cooking spray.  Press the mixture into the egg halves and close.  Wait a few minutes and remove the eggs from the mold.

Plastic Eggs

The kids decorated their eggs with colored sugar and sprinkles.  A great way to enjoy a traditional treat.

Rice Krispies Treat Eggs
From Kellogg's

3 tablespoons butter
1 package (10 oz., about 40) JET-PUFFED Marshmallows
4 cups JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered teaspoon or wax paper evenly press mixture into plastic eggs coated with cooking spray. Cool slightly and remove treats from molds.   Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar.