Thursday, November 15, 2007

Better Than Green Bean Casserole Green Beans

1 lb Fresh Green Beans, ends trimmed
4-6 slices of bacon
1/2 onion, diced
2 TB red wine vinegar (or more if you're like me and love vinegar. I usually do about 3-4 TB.)
1-2 TB sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil the beans in lightly salted water for 20-25 minutes. While the beans are cooking, fry the bacon in a large skillet (not too crispy), reserve at least 2 TB of the bacon grease. Remove bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels. Allow the grease to cool a bit, then add the onion and cook until softened. Drain the green beans and add to the skillet. Chop the bacon and add to the beans and onions. Add vinegar and sugar. Cook for a 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mmm, mmm, good.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pink Salad

This is my great-grandmother's recipe. We've had this delicious, creamy fruit salad at every Thanksgiving and Christmas since FOREVER.

1 can cherry pie filling
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 can Eagle Brand Condensed milk
1 carton whipped topping
2 C mini marshmallows
1/2 - 1 C chopped pecans (optional)

Mix and refrigerate overnight.

You can thank me later.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ever since discovering this delectable, almost dessert-like sweet potato casserole, it is a must-have at every Thanksgiving and Christmas feast.

3 C Sweet potatoes (5-6 fresh cooked or canned)(Stay the hell away from canned, though)
1 C Sugar
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter, softened (don't bother with silly margarine)
1/2 C milk
1 TB vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

1 C brown sugar
1/3 C flour
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 C pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash the potatoes. Mix in remaining ingredients and beat well with a mixer. (There may be some bits of butter that don't get mixed in completely. It's okay. Don't panic. They'll melt during the baking process.) Pour into a greased casserole dish. Mix together the topping ingredients and spread over the sweet potato mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes.

I typically make two of these casseroles to feed 8-10 adults. These are just as tasty reheated with a turkey sandwich.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blueberry Sauce

Heather, almighty Queen of Shake-Shake, submitted this fabulous recipe that is fantastic on pancakes and waffles! Enjoy!

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup water
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, 1/4 cup of water, orange juice, and sugar. Stir gently, and bring to a boil.

In a cup or small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract and cinnamon. Thin sauce with water if it is too thick for your liking.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Baked Beans...Please Eat in Small Doses for the Consideration of Those Around You

3-4 Cans of baked beans (I use Bush's Country Style Baked beans, any will work, though.)
1/2 C of BBQ sauce (I use KC Masterpiece)
1/4 C of Louisiana Hot sauce, not to be confused with Tabasco!
1-2 dashes of Tabasco
3 TB of brown sugar
4 slices of cooked bacon, cut into bite-size pieces

In a crock pot, mix the ingredients and set to high for 3 hours, reduce to low for 1 hour. Serve.

Feeds a crowd.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Traditional Southern Shrimp Boil

3-4 lbs of fresh shrimp
2 packages of Zatarain's shrimp boil
5 lbs of red potatoes, cut in half or quartered, depending on size
12 half ears of corn (we always use frozen)
2 packages smoked sausage cut into 3 inch pieces (we use 1 package of regular smoked sausage and 1 package of cajun smoked sausage, Conecuh brand)
Cocktail sauce

In a 5 gallon pot, fill about halfway full with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 seasoning pouch, add vegetables and sausage and cover. Cook until potatoes are done, approximately 10 minutes. Shut the heat off and remove the vegetables and sausage. Bring water back to a boil and add second seasoning pouch. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes, shut off heat. Allow shrimp to soak for 5 minutes, covered. Pull shrimp out of water. Serve with cocktail sauce.

Serves 4-6 adults.

Related Recipes: Cocktail Sauce

Cocktail Sauce

1/2 C Ketchup
3-4 TB Horseradish, or to taste
1 TB Worcestershire Sauce

Mix the above ingredients and serve with shrimp or seafood.

Related Recipes: Traditional Southern Shrimp Boil

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chicken Pot Pie

Yet another delicious submission from Impostor Mom! This one is great, and could come in very handy next month with all those Thanksgiving leftovers!

2-3 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (also works with turkey)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 bag frozen peas and carrots
1 cup bisquick
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 cup milk

Mix chicken, veggies, soup and broth together and pour into a non-stick sprayed casserole dish. Mix bisquick, butter and milk together and pour over chicken filling. Spread batter to the edge of the casserole. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes or until the top is brown. Serve, salt and pepper and enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Three Cheese Eggplant Bake

1 medium to large eggplant
1/4 C Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 3/4 C Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 C Mozzarella Cheese, shredded. 1/2 C reserved for topping
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Marinara Sauce (see recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray. Cut skin off of eggplant and slice lengthwise into 1/8 inch strips. (Don't worry if you end up with short pieces of eggplant, you can combine these pieces together later.) Place the eggplant strips on cookie sheets and drizzle olive oil evenly over each piece. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 10 minutes, change positions of the cookie sheets (top to bottom/bottom to top shelf.) Bake an additional 5 minutes.

While the eggplant is baking, begin the marinara sauce and make the cheese filling. To make the filling, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses.

Spray an 11 X 7 casserole dish with cooking spray. Place 2-3 TB of filling at the end of each eggplant slice and roll up. Combine the smaller eggplant slices to make longer strips if needed. Place each roll-up in casserole dish. Spoon marinara sauce over each. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 C of mozzarella cheese over casserole. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Serves 2-6, depending on your side dish. If you serve with pasta (which I don't because of my carb-phobic husband), this dish goes further.

Related Recipes: Marinara Sauce

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jennifer's Marinara Sauce

1 28 oz. can of name-brand* crushed tomatoes
1 garlic clove crushed
3 TB of Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1 TB Sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, cook the garlic clove in the olive oil just until the clove begins to brown. Remove from heat, remove the garlic clove, and allow the oil to cool. Once cool, add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer over low heat until thoroughly heated.

*I use Hunts or Contandina. I have an aversion to generic tomato products, they seem much more acidic than the name brands.

Related Recipes: Three Cheese Eggplant Bake

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ovaltine Brownies

This recipe makes me love Devan even more. Since MOST of you hadn't ever had Ovaltine, I was so excited when Devan posted this recipe on her blog. She gave me permission to post it here.

I'm vindicated! Mwa ha ha!!

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
1/2 cup flour
1 and 1/3 cup rich chocolate ovaltine
1/4 tsp baking powder

Mix sugar, eggs and vanilla. Cream with butter. Add dry ingredients until well blended. Grease pan (8x11) and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes approximately. They have a yummy crusty top and sides, while the middle is squishy, chocolately goodness. I like to cut two, put ice cream in the middle and freeze for a short while.

They tend to get a little chewy around the edges while the middle is still soft, so the recipe isn't perfect, but still yummy.

Technorati Tags: brownie, Ovaltine

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Spicy Honey-Glazed Chicken

Another delicious contribution from Impostor Mom...This recipe reminded me of the sauce on the Asian Almond Shrimp at Zea.

1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp frozen OJ concentrate
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro, chopped (optional*)
green onions, chopped (optional)
slivered almonds (optional)**

In a small bowl, combine honey, orange juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

In a skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add chicken, salt and pepper to taste, and brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Add honey mixture to the skillet and cook, turning to throughly coat the chicken. Cook 2 more minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.

To serve, place chicken on plate, spoon sauce over the top and sprinkle with cilantro,green onions, and slivered almonds.

Serves 6

*My husband didn't like the cilantro, so I suppose it's optional. I liked it MUCH better WITH the cilantro.
**I added slivered almonds to the original recipe.
***I'm going to try this sauce with grilled shrimp.

Technorati Tags: recipe, chicken, spicy, easy recipe, zea restaurant, cilantro

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Taco Bake

1 lb. of ground beef or turkey
1 can of Condensed tomato soup OR 1 can of red enchilada sauce*
1 C of salsa
1/2 C of milk
6 flour tortillas or 8 corn-tortillas** cut into 1 inch pieces
2 C of shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (reserve about 1/2 C for sprinkling on top of casserole)
chopped onion to taste
Optional add ins: chopped black olives, chopped green chilies, drained black beans, chopped jalapenos.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook meat and onions together in a skillet. Add remaining ingredients, then spoon into a 2 pt. shallow baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Add reserved cheese, bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream.

*I prefer this recipe with enchilada sauce.
**I think the corn tortillas are better in this recipe.

Technorati tags: Easy Recipe, Main Dish, Mexican, recipe

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Impostor Mom's Mama's Roast Beef

Impostor Mom submitted this spectacular recipe. It's especially wonderful since it requires the crock pot and cooking with my crock pot makes me happier than you can imagine. The remaining half of the bottle of red wine also made me happier than you can imagine.

1 Beef Roast (Any cut, as big as you need for your family)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pack onion soup mix
1/2 bottle of red wine

Place Roast in a crock pot. Mix onion soup mix and cream of mushroom soup. Spread on top of Roast. Pour wine in crock pot until it is just about at the top of the roast. Cook for 8-10 hours.

Note from Impostor Mom: I use the leftover roast beef for hash. That's roast beef, potatoes and onions cooked on the stove in oil. I use whatever onions and potatoes I have on hand and sometimes I throw in some mushrooms. You have to lay out the mixture on paper towels when its done cooking to let the grease drain off or it's really greasy. We eat it with ketchup on it. The other meal is using the gravy. I put the gravy, another can of cream of mushroom soup, mushrooms, and some more red wine in the crock pot with beef stew meat. I let that cook all day and when I get home I make egg noodles. About 1/2 an hour before dinner I stir an entire container of sour cream into the meat mixture then stir the egg noodles in with the beef in the crock pot. That's my beef stroganoff.

Technorati Tags: Roast, Crock Pot, Easy Recipe, Slow Cooker

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hank & Willie's Triple Chocolate Brownies

This recipe was submitted by Anna from Hank & Willie. I made it twice this weekend just to be sure that it was as delicious as I thought. Both times confirmed Anna's description as being the best brownies EVAH!

I've included all of Anna's parenthetical asides...

1 stick butter, unsalted
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I like Ghiradelli or Valhrona best, but Baker's works too)
1 cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large eggs, well beaten
1 tiny dash cinnamon, preferably Penzy's Chinese cassia* (not too much!)
1 dash salt (not too much!)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (scant)** unbleached white flour
1 cup Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350 and butter a glass 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan before you start.

Melt chocolate and butter together over a low heat, remove from heat, let cool for 3-5 minutes. Add vanilla and sugar, mix well. Add beaten eggs, mix well. Add cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder and flour, mix well, then mix in chocolate chips and pour into prepared pan.

This next part is VERY important. If you like them the way I do, almost like a flourless chocolate cake, set your timer for 18 minutes. And remember, use a glass pan. The difference between 18 and 20 minutes is huge to these delicate chocolate darlings, and I find this recipe to be at its best at 18 minutes, EVEN if your knife check reveals a little gooeyness in the center (It will continue to cook when you take it out, and it won't be gooey when it cools.) You'll get to know how your oven responds to this recipe, but I would be surprised if you would want them to bake more than 19 minutes, and maybe even as little as 17 minutes. When they bake too long, they get a bit dry, since it is such a dense recipe. Oh, and it doubles quite well, I can report.

*I didn't have any fancy cinnamon. My brownies still turned out fantastic.
**Scant means "not quite." I didn't know this and had to look it up.

Technorati Tags: brownies, chocolate, dessert, baking, recipe

Friday, September 14, 2007

Baked Chicken That Will Knock Your Socks Off

Whole Chicken, trimmed of fat, rinsed, and patted dry
1/4 C of Olive Oil OR 1/2 stick of butter, melted*
1/3 C Lemon Juice (I use the stuff out of the bottle, don't judge me.)
2 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp Dried Oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Put chicken in dish, breast side up, tuck the wings under the body. Combine all the ingredients and pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half, or until thigh meat registers 170 degrees.

Serves 2 starving adults

*Butter makes it taste better, but you can feel your arteries clogging when you're eating butter laden chicken.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chicken Fajita Breakfast Casserole

This Recipe is spectacular if you have leftover chicken fajitas...

1/4 Cup leftover chicken, shredded or cubed
A Few Strips of leftover green pepper strips, cut into small pieces
A Few Strips of leftover onion slices, cut into small pieces
4 Slices of whole wheat bread, crusts removed and broken into pieces
6 eggs
2 Cups milk, cream, or half-n-half
1/2 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3-4 TB of Sour Cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Spray a 8 X 8 Casserole dish with no-stick spray and line it with the broken up bread slices. Cover with chicken, green peppers, onions, cheese. Mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour egg mixture over bread. Refrigerate overnight.*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set casserole dish on stove top for about 20 minutes before baking. Put a few dollups of sour cream over the egg mixture. Bake 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve with salsa.

Serves 4-6.

*You don't have to refrigerate overnight, I've even cooked it without letting it sit. It's not as good, but if you don't have time for the refrigeration nonsense, it tastes just fine!

Related Recipes
Chicken Fajitas

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Black Beans and Green Chiles

1 Can of Black beans
1 Can of chopped green chiles
1/2 tsp of cumin
Dash of Red Pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix, heat, and serve. Voila.

Related Recipes
Chicken Fajitas

Technorati Tags: Mexican, Low Carb, Vegetarian, Side Dish, Recipe

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Chicken Fajitas

4 Chicken Breasts, trimmed of fat, rinsed, and patted dry
1/2 white or yellow onion, cut into large chunks that can be cooked on an outdoor grill
1 green pepper, cut in half with seeds and stem removed

Marinate the above ingredients for 4-24 hours in the following:

1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 C White Vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp cumin
Dash of red pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook chicken, onion, and green pepper on the grill for approximately 20 minutes*, or until chicken has reached 180 degrees. Watch for flare-ups, the olive oil likes to try and catch fire. Slice the chicken, onion, and pepper into strips. Serve on warm tortillas, or over a bed of lettuce with sour cream, salsa, and shredded cheese.**

Serves 3-4 adults

*If it's raining and I can't use the grill, I have cooked the ingredients in the marinade in a large skillet on the stove. It's not as good as being cooked on the grill, but it works in a pinch.

**I usually serve this meal with Black Beans and Green Chiles.

Related Recipes
Chicken Fajita Breakfast Casserole
Black Beans and Green Chiles

Technorati Tags: Low Carb, Mexican, Salad, Recipes

Kitchens are No Place For Playgroupies

I've made a joke or two on my personal blog, Playgroups are No Place for Children, that if food can't be microwaved or doesn't come out of a can, I won't cook it. Now that I've kinda gotten the hang of taking care of my two kids AND preparing meals, that past statement is no longer entirely true.

Actually, I really like to cook. I especially like coming up with recipes. This blog is going to a collection of my recipes, your recipes, and anything else I feel like posting.

Have a favorite recipe you'd like me to try? Email it to me at playgroupie at gmail dot com. If it's a hit in my house (that means that Carson didn't immediately throw it on the floor) then I'll post it and give you credit and a link to your blog if you have one. I know! My graciousness even surprises me.

Feel free to give me feedback on the recipes you try. Especially if you actually like it, but even if you don't like it.