Sunday, November 29, 2009

Broccoli Cheeseburger Dinner

It's easy to stretch your budget with ground beef. A little can go a long way in casseroles or other meals. I like to buy ground sirloin or chuck on sale. Then I'll brown it up with onion, garlic and pepper. When it cools, I'll freeze it in a Ziploc bag. It's handy to take out some of it for a quick casserole, soup or spaghetti dinner.
Another great way to stretch a meal is to add frozen vegetables. Almost any casserole or stove top meal you make can be easily be increased in size by adding frozen broccoli or cauliflower. It's a great way to sneak in some veggies and was the inspiration for this easy casserole. I used a quick homemade cheese sauce, but you could use condensed cheese soup.
Broccoli Cheeseburger Dinner
1 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups pasta shells
16 oz. bag frozen broccoli and cauliflower
1/2 cup hot water
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Cheese Sauce (see recipe below)
Brown ground sirloin, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder over medium heat. Drain, if necessary. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Cook frozen vegetables according to package directions and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water. Mix pasta, vegetables, and water with ground sirloin and simmer over low heat while you make the cheese sauce. Stir in cheese sauce and simmer another five minutes.
Cheese Sauce
1 cup cold milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In saucepan, gradually stir milk into corn starch. Add butter, salt and pepper. Stirring constantly bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 1 minute. Stir in shredded cheese and continue to stir until cheese melts.

If you want to make this into a casserole, pour into a medium-sized casserole dish and top with some extra shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and cheese is melted - about 20 minutes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Gifts

Christmas is just a few short weeks away, and I'm not ready for it at all this year. How about you? Over the last couple of years, I've done a lot of online shopping. Since I have several friends that love cooking, I spend a lot of time drooling over professional cookware. It's just so easy to shop online and compare products.
I love to give homemade gifts at Christmas, but I have no talent when it comes to crafts. I'll usually search out chain restaurant supplies online for an unique serving platter or casserole dish. Since casseroles can be frozen easily, I'll mix one up in the new casserole dish. Then I'll deliver the entire dish a few days before Christmas complete with cooking instructions. Not only do my friends get a wonderful home-cooked meal, but they have an unique casserole dish to treasure for years to come.
I think friends truly appreciate the love you put into a homemade gift, whether it's cookies, soup or a meal. It's just nice to have a beautiful dish or platter make the gift extra special. So, the next time you're shopping online, check out some great sites like wasserstrom restaurant supplies. You just might find the unique kitchen gift that will make even professional chefs drool!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cornbread Dressing

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a few days away? The days just seem to keep rushing by no matter what is going on in our lives. Over the years we've experimented with new dishes at Thanksgiving. But, one thing remains constant - Roasted Turkey and Cornbread Dressing. So, I thought I'd share Mom's Cornbread Dressing with you. Happy cooking!
Cornbread Dressing

8 to 10 cups of cornbread, crumbled
2 to 4 cups of white bread, slightly stale and broken into small pieces
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 & 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons rubbed sage (use less if ground sage)
2 to 4 cups broth (ideally a mixture of chicken broth and turkey broth)
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
2 beaten eggs

In a large saucepan, combine chicken broth, turkey neck (or use chicken thighs), enough water to cover, and butter. Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. In a large bowl, crumble cornbread and bread together. Add celery, onion, and seasonings. Mix well. Remove turkey/chicken from the broth and set aside. Add broth a cup or two at a time until you reach the desired consistency, mixing well after each addition. Keep in mind the dressing will 'set' as it cooks. Taste and add more seasoning as desired. Then add eggs and stir well. Pour into 9x13 Pyrex dish and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown on top. This recipe actually makes a little more than will fit into a 9x13 pan, so you can also bake a smaller dish along side the bigger one. I like to take the chicken cooked for the broth, remove the skin and bones, and add it to the leftover dressing. Then bake it in a casserole dish along side your cornbread dressing. This will make a great leftover casserole that can quickly be re-heated the next day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dunkin' Donuts Free Sample

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I love free stuff, so I wanted to share this offer with you. Click on the link above for a free sample of Dunkin'Donuts coffee & enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

I saw this recipe in a magazine and just had to try it. I altered the recipe a little to cut down on the sugar content. Check out the original at Kraft Recipes.
Turtle Pumpkin Pie
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar free caramel ice cream topping, divided
1 graham cracker pie crust
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp chopped pecans, divided
2 pkg. sugar free vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 cup 2% cold milk
1 can plain pumpkin (15 oz) (not pie mix)
1 & 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tub Extra Creamy Cool Whip (8 oz)
Pour 1/4 cup caramel topping into crust and sprinkle with 1/2 cup nuts. Whisk pudding mixes, milk pumpkin and spices until blended. Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups cool whip. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate. Top with remaining cool whip, nuts and caramel before serving.

Here's a picture before the additional topping was added.

I didn't really measure the caramel sauce. I just layered it on the bottom of the pie and drizzled some more on the top. This would also be great as a frozen treat. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Crockpot Cranberry Chicken & Rice

I found this interesting recipe at Crockpot Wednesday's on Dining With Debbie. This is a great site that will give you lots of crockpot ideas! The recipe was posted by Fancy Frugalista. You can visit her site for the original Cranberry Crockpot Chicken recipe. Of course I had to change a couple of things! I used a spice blend - Tony Chachere's Spice N' Herbs Seasoning. I also cheated and used one of the many frozen rice & vegetable sides available today. I think it would also be great over wild rice. So, here's my version.
Crockpot Cranberry Chicken & Rice
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts (skinless)
1 tablespoon Tony Chachere's Spice N' Herbs seasoning
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can whole cranberry sauce
Sprinkle chicken breasts with seasoning on both sides. Put in crockpot and pour in chicken broth. Top with cranberry sauce. Cook on low 4-5 hour. Serve over rice and vegetables.