Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not Exactly Loretta's Spaghetti Sauce :)

Technically not a "meal" but it can be used in many meals and is much better for you than store-bought sauce which is chock full of preservatives, artificial colors, sugar and other yucky stuff.

You can make this and can it (I use a big canning pot and steam) or you can freeze it. It freezes beautifully.
This recipe will make about 6 quart jars of sauce at probably half the cost of storebought. You can size the recipe up or down to suit your needs.

You need:
Olive oil, about 3 Tbsp. Enough to cover the bottom of the pot.
Six 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes (or if you don't have a food processor or want to skip a step, crushed tomatoes)
Four 6-ounce cans of tomato paste
Two medium onions, chopped small
Six cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Oregano, about 3 Tbsp
Basil, about 1 Tbsp
Rosemary, all the leaves off of about four two inch sprigs

*I don't MEASURE when I put the spices in mine, I just put in what I think looks and smells good and I have for years and I still have no actual idea how much goes in. So....

Heat the oil in the bottom of a very large stock pot.
Toss in the chopped onions. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes.

While that's cooking, open up all the cans of tomatoes and run them through the food processor (or not if you got crushed). At the end of the 2 minutes, dump all the tomatoes into the pot. Stir it up good. Turn the flame WAAAY down. Set a timer for an hour.
You can't just walk away though. You need to come back and stir every so often. This stuff is going to be MOLTEN HOT LAVA. Be careful.

At the end of the hour, dump in all tomato paste, all the spices, salt and pepper as you like it. Stir it all up. Smell it or taste it, adjust spices as needed.
Set a timer for an hour. Same deal. Come back and stir the molten hot lava every 10-15 minutes or so.

And that's it!
At the end of the hour you're done.
If you're steam canning...pour into clean dry quart jars and submerge in hot water for about 45 minutes or more/less depending on your location (altitude affects canning).
If you're gonna freeze it, pour into clean dry freezer safe containers and stack up in your freezer.

Voila! You'll never eat Ragu again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Easy Peasy Turkey Dish

This is a yummy dish that you can eat with crackers... or roll it up in a tortilla for a burrito!!

1 lb. ground turkey
1 jar salsa
1 can beans (your choice)
1 bag steamed rice

Steam the rice in the microwave according to directions on the package. Cook the ground turkey until done. Add the salsa and beans and rice then let it heat up for a minute.

Yummy, fast and easy!!!

Chicken Piccata

Quick and easy.
The finished dish looks fancy and like it took TWICE the time to cook.

You need:
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast halves pounded to 1/4 inch thickness (or get the fillets, which are usually thinner and sometimes cheaper)
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp dry white wine or water
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 lemon thinly sliced
3 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken breasts in flour mixture, shake off excess

In a large frying pan, heat butter AND vegetable oil over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook about three minutes a side, until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.

Add wine to pan and deglaze for about one minute. Make sure to get all the pan drippings scraped up off the bottom of the pan.
Add lemon juice and bring to a low boil. Return chicken to pan cover with lemon slices and capers cook until sauce thickens slightly, about three minutes.
Serve garnished with parsley over hot buttered egg noodles and whole green beans.

Hong Kong Casserole

Super easy & uses cheap ground beef to boot! One of my husbands favorite recipes that he remembers his Mom making.

- Brown 1 lb ground beef
- In a seperate bowl combine 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1/2 cup rice, 1 soup can of water, 1 cup diced celery, 1 medium onion diced, 3 T. soy sauce, pepper. Stir in cooked, drained ground beef.
- Pour everything in a lightly greased 13x9 pan.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
- After an hour add 1 bag crispy chow mein noodles to the top and bake for 10 minutes more.

Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing

I made up this recipe about 8 years ago when I couldn't find a store dressing like it. Somebody asks for it every time I make it and I hope you all do to. Since it's taken me so long to get around to posting I want to come out of the gate strong!

2 T. smooth peanut butter
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. chili oil, if desired
grated ginger to taste, if desired
1/4 c. canola oil

Put the peanut butter in a bowl and slowly wisk in soy sauce. Add vinegar, sugar, sesame and chili and wisk. Add the oil either by slowly wisking in or putting everything into a mason jar with the oil and shaking until combined. Chill for 30 minutes in order to let the sugar dissolve. Shake again to combine before dressing your greens.

This is both kid approved and fire house approved!

Cheesy Bean Dip

Super easy and quick appetizer to whip up- good for bringing somewhere, like a potluck, or BBQ, or whatever.

  • 1 can refried beans
  • 4 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • 1 8 oz. package Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Whatever else you have on hand that seems good and Mexican-food-y. (Today I had salsa, so half a container of that went in. Also good are olives, garlic powder, green chiles, hot peppers, green onions, etc.)

Blend together 1/2 of shredded cheese with everything else. Put in greased baking dish and sprinkle remainder of cheese over the top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, til cheese is bubbly and brown around edges. Serve with tortilla chips. Very popular!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Zanzibar Chicken

This totally violates the "no fruit and meat" rule at my house, but seriously, it's sooo good. And raisins are only just barely fruit. In fact, I let my daughter in on the secret that raisins and grapes were exactly the same thing, and she looked at me like "Mom, seriously, you've lost your mind now. For real."

OK. Zanzibar Chicken. Another great recipe for a cheaper cut of chicken, the thigh.

You need:
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp raisins

I like to combine the chicken, cinnamon, cloves, salt, pepper and oil in a bowl together and let it sit and marinate for awhile first.

Then you heat a skillet, medium high, brown the chicken five minutes a side, until it is golden brown and slightly crusty.

Remove the chicken and keep warm. Add the onions to the skillet. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remember to be scraping up those delicious browned bits off the bottom of the pan while you saute those onions.
Add the garlic to the pan, cook one minute.

Return the chicken to the pan, add OJ and raisins. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

I serve this over steamed rice with broccoli or whole green beans on the side. Very nice. We had this for dinner tonight. And though I got a raised eyebrow from the husband, on account of the raisins, it was very well received.

Fettucine Alfredo with Asparagus and Mushrooms

1/3 +/- cup of margerine (I use a big scoop of spreadable margarine and it looks like 1/3 cup LOL)
bunch of fresh asparagus, the green kind, break off the woody bottoms and then snap into bite size pieces
4 ounces or so of fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
3/4 c. SHREDDED parmesan cheese, not that fakey stuff
8 ounces of evaporated milk (I use fat free)
italian seasonings to taste
16 oz. fettucine noodles, but anything you have on hand will work.


Note- I made this recipe up (based on another recipe, but i changed it all up) and I don't measure ingredients often. So please note that you are free to fiddle with amounts and stuff.

Note again - The sauce appears very thin... let it stand for a minute and it will thicken or just toss noodles with thin sauce.. it is suprisingly tasty and light!

Cook noodles. While noodles are cooking, melt margarine or butter in sauce pan. Add mushrooms and asparagus. Saute for a few minutes until they look yummy. Add shredded parmesan cheese and evaporated milk (If you buy a 12 oz can just eyeball it and pour in 2/3 of the can). Stir until cheese is melted.

Drain cooked noodles. Toss noodles and sauce. YUM!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Turkey Carbonara Burgers

I watch Rachael Ray. I don't love her, but I like her. She's dubbed herself the "Burger Queen." I realized all of her burgers are a distinct meal thrown into meat to make a burger.

So I started doing it myself.

Spaghetti carbonara is awesome, spaghetti (whatever kind you like) tossed with crisp prosciutto, Parmesan and topped with an egg that is mixed in to make a thick, creamy sauce.

I made it into a burger, and it's awesome. Though I haven't quite figured out how to incorporate the egg, so I left it out. Though if you want, you can fry an egg over easy, place it on top of the burger then place the bun on top. The yolk will break and ooze all into the bun. Delish, as Rach would say.

If you don't have prosciutto, you can use bacon, or your favorite ham that will fry up crispy. I buy a little package of pre-diced prosciutto, because it's usually on special at the store.


20 ounces ground turkey (the prosciutto will make the burgers moist, so you can get away with a leaner turkey)
2 ounces prosciutto (bacon or pancetta would work too), cut into small dice
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil
Good italian bread, or ciabatta rolls

Mix all ingredients in bowl. Form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat, 6-7 minutes per side, until cooked.

Place on roll, top with over easy egg if desired. Serve with a side of pasta tossed in butter and salt (since it's supposed to be spaghetti carbonara).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tatter Tot Casserole

This is SUPER easy & my family LOVED it!

Depending on how big your family is or how hungry. You can add more or less.

1 lb of ground beef

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

tatter tot ( as many as needed to cover the top)

Cheese (shredded)

brown ground beef then spread in bottom of casserole dish. then mix can of cream of mushroom soup like you were making soup in a saucepan (maybe a little thicker) next spread it in casserole dish. Then spread cheese over that then lastly cover with tatter tots! Cook in oven until bubbly on sides,cheese is melted, and the tots are browned....THEN ENJOY!!!