Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Italian Herb Bread

This recipe is from a bread machine cookbook.

8 1/2 oz. warm water
2 3/4 c. bread flour
1 Tbsp. dry milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. bread machine/fast rise yeast

Add water to pan. Add flour, dry milk, sugar, salt, cheese, and seasoning to pan; tap to settle. Place cut pieces of butter in corners of pan. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add yeast. Program machine for BASIC/SPECIALTY.

*I haven't tried making just the dough in the bread machine then baking it in the oven, so I'm not comfortable giving any suggestions on how to do that.

*Makes a great panini! Brush slices of bread with butter or light olive oil and put in skillet. Fill with mozzarella cheese, portobello mushrooms, fresh basil, tomato slices - whatever sounds good - and brown on both sides of sandwich. Press down while grilling with a grill press or a heavy skillet.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Breakfast Pizza

1 pkg. (22-24 oz.) hash brown patties, thawed
1 egg, beaten
salt & pepper to taste

1 pkg. sausage gravy, prepared according to package directions
1 lb. ground pork sausage, browned and drained
8 eggs, scrambled and seasoned to taste
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese (your choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large bowl, break hash brown patties into small pieces. Add egg, salt, and pepper; mix well. Press into large rectangular dish and flatten evenly. Bake 20 minutes.

Top baked hash brown crust with gravy, sausage, eggs, and cheese; bake additional 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Optional toppings: bacon, ham, green onions, onion, bell pepper, fresh mushrooms, etc. Add whatever you like! You can also top individual servings with salsa and/or sour cream.

Yields 8-10 servings.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza

1 pkg. pizza crust mix
3 c. thinly sliced romaine lettuce
2 c. diced cooked chicken
1/2 c. sliced black olives
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. light creamy Caesar salad dressing
1 clove garlic, pressed

Mix pizza dough and bake crust completely as directed on package.

In large bowl, combine lettuce, chicken, and olives.

In small bowl, mix together salad dressing, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Brush half of mixture over crust; pour the rest over the salad mixture and toss.

Top crust with salad mixture, slice, and serve.

Yields 4 servings.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cheese Bread

*This is a recipe for bread machines.

1/2 c. warm water
1 large egg
2 c. bread flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. bread machine/fast-rise yeast
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, frozen

Add water and egg to bread pan.

Add bread flour, salt, and sugar to pan. Tap pan to settle dry ingredients, the level ingredients, pushing some of the mixture into corners. Cut butter into four pieces and place into corners of pan.

Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add yeast. Lock pan into bread maker.

Program for BASIC/SPECIALTY and desired bread color; press start. When alerted, add frozen cheese to dough.

When done, remove from pan and cool 15 minutes before slicing.

Makes a 1 lb. loaf.

Baked Potato Soup

*This is a modified Pampered Chef recipe from the Main Dishes cookbook.

4 medium or 3 large baked potatoes
4 slices bacon
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. green onions, thinly sliced
2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. milk
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
other seasonings as needed (I use Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.)
1 c. sour cream*
shredded cheddar cheese

Remove skins from baked potatoes and break apart into bite-size chunks, reserving 1/2 of one potato to mash; set aside.

In 4-quart soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain; crumble and set aside. Leave drippings in pot; add chicken broth, milk, potatoes, celery, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and add sour cream and bacon. Stir into soup until sour cream has melted. Ladle into bowls and top individual servings with cheese, if desired.

Makes 4-6 servings.

*You can add light sour cream, but it doesn't melt into the soup well and it changes the flavor and the consistency. Full fat sour cream adds a much smoother flavor, and you're not really getting all that fat since it's distributed throughout the whole pot of soup.

Note: You can stretch leftovers by adding another baked potato, milk, water, garlic, and seasoning. Just add ingredients to suit your taste and desired consistency.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Homemade Brownies

1/2 c. (1 stick) softened butter or margarine
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract*
3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour, salt, cocoa, and nuts, and mix until ingredients are completely blended.

Pour into greased 9x9 or 8x8 baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until brownies test for doneness.

*You can substitute other flavorings for the vanilla: almond, coconut, etc.

**You can add 1/2 c. chocolate chips instead of nuts for a little extra chocolatey-ness.

Baked Potato Casserole

Aunt Susie usually makes this every year for the family Fourth of July gathering. I love it and can't get enough, so I got her recipe. Now I can make it whenever I want!

8 medium potatoes
1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 c. green onions, sliced
1 stick butter, melted
1 16-oz. container light sour cream
seasoning to taste - I use Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
crumbled bacon, optional (Use however much you want.)

Boil potatoes in skins; refrigerate overnight. Peel and chop coarsely.

Mix well with remaining ingredients and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. You could also put in a microwave-safe dish and cook on HIGH for 12-15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuscan Sausage Pasta

5 links Italian sausage, medium or spicy
1 pkg. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can black olives, drained and halved
1 can diced Italian tomatoes (with basil, oregano, and garlic)
4 c. fresh baby spinach leaves
bowtie or other pasta
shredded Italian blend cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Remove sausage from casings and brown. Drain well and return to skillet. Add mushrooms, olives, and tomatoes, cooking until mushrooms are tender. Add spinach and cook just until wilted. Pour over pasta and serve immediately. Top individual servings with cheese.

Serves 8.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

(See photo below with Garlic Butter Shrimp recipe.)

2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
generous dash of Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together Bisquick, milk, and cheese; dough will be sticky. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto baking stone or greased baking sheet.

In small bowl, mix butter, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Generously brush tops of unbaked biscuits.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.

Serves 8.

Garlic Butter Shrimp

served with Garlic Cheese Biscuits, similar to those served at Red Lobster

40-50 medium shrimp
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
cracked pepper, to taste

Peel and de-vein shrimp; chop onion and set aside.

In large skillet, melt butter; saute garlic and onions until clear. Add shrimp and cook until pink, stirring occasionally. Top with fresh cracked pepper. Serve over angel hair or other pasta.

Serves 6.

Tip: To save time and money, I purchased boiled shrimp rings at a buy one/get one free sale at my local grocery store and froze them until ready to use. I thawed one tray, took off the tails, and added the shrimp to the skillet just long enough to heat throughout. The whole meal was ready to eat in just under half an hour!

Chocolate Lava Cake

This microwave cake is quick, easy, and delicious - and it's good left over!

1 pkg. chocolate cake mix + ingredients listed on box for cake
1 can chocolate frosting

Mix cake as directed on box. Pour into 4-quart microwave-safe glass measuring cup. (The Pampered Chef's Classic Batter Bowl is great for this!)

Drop 5 scoops of icing on top of batter. Do NOT mix in.

Microwave on HIGH, uncovered, for 9 minutes (longer if you have a smaller-watt microwave).

Remove from microwave and turn out onto cake plate or large platter. Cake and measuring cup will be extremely hot, so use caution!

Slice and serve with ice cream.

Serves 12.

Note: I tried this with a yellow cake and a different flavor of frosting, but it wasn't as good - and it looked even worse. The dark color of the chocolate hides the cake's "ugliness".


A friend of mine gave me a homemade dry mix and instructions (from Southern Living, I believe) as a secret pal gift a few years ago. It tastes great! If you want to make it more "authentic" with veggies instead of seasonings, just make substitutions.

Dry mix:
1 c. uncooked long-grain rice
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1 Tbsp. green pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, depending on your personal preference

Remainder of recipe:
3 c. water
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. cooked chicken, chopped
1 c. cooked ham or smoked sausage, diced

Bring mix, water, and tomato sauce to a boil in a large covered skillet; stir in meat.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.

Remove and discard bay leaf.

Serves 8.

Note: If you use brown rice, your cooking time will need to be extended to 45-60 minutes, depending on the package instructions. Also, add one additional cup of water to keep jambalaya from sticking.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Red Beans & Rice

This is an all-day Crock Pot dish. There's a lot of prep to it, but it's the best homemade red beans & rice I've ever eaten.

1 lb. small red beans - rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
1 lb. thick-cut ham, diced
1 lb. link sausage - quartered, sliced, browned, and drained
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1/2 c. onion, chopped
3/4 c. green onion, sliced
1 1/2 c. celery, chopped
2/3 c. bell pepper, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. water

Add all ingredients to Crock Pot. Cook on HIGH 2 hours, then reduce heat to LOW for the rest of the day - or until beans are tender. (If you get a late start on it, leave it on HIGH all day.) Stir occasionally.

Optional: Remove 1/2 to 1 cup (or more, depending on personal preference) of beans and blend; add back to Crock Pot and stir in for creaminess.

Serve over rice. Cornbread makes a great side!