Saturday, October 24, 2009

Back ... with new delicious recipes!

Hey, guys! Sorry it's been so long since I've blogged. Some of the recipes I've tried in the past couple weeks have been misses, but some have been definite hits. The three recipes below are some of the best I've made, I think. And the great thing is they're all incredibly easy. 

First recipe: Toasted Italian Subs. I've recently become sort of obsessed with Italian subs, especially since I had the best Italian sub sandwich -- maybe the best sandwich I've ever had in my life -- at Johnny Brusco's in Auburn. I decided to try to recreate it at home, and according to Patrick and my friend Christine, I did a pretty good job! :)

Sliced deli ham
Sliced deli salami
Sliced capicola or another cured Italian meat (you'll usually find these right next to the salami)
Italian dressing
Spicy mustard
Shredded lettuce
Thinly sliced tomatoes (I use Roma tomatoes)
Sliced onions
Sliced banana peppers
Salt and pepper
Deli sub rolls

1. Preheat your broiler on high. Line a cookie sheet with non-stick aluminum foil. If your rolls aren't already sliced, slice them, leaving the rolls attached at one edge. 
2. Spread spicy mustard on both sides of the rolls. Put down your provolone cheese on both sides, then arrange the meats on top of the cheese on both sides. Go ahead and put the rolls under the broiler, probably for about 3 to 5 minutes or until meat and cheese are nicely browned. Check them a couple of times while they're under the broiler to make sure they're not burning. 
3. While the rolls are broiling, get your veggies ready. Slice your tomatoes in thin slices if you haven't already, and do the same with your onions. (I can never find shredded lettuce, so I usually just quickly slice the lettuce into thin strips.
4. Place the lettuce, onions and banana peppers into a small bowl, and mix it all up with about 2 tablespoons of Italian dressing (use more if you want).
5. Take the rolls out of the oven and finish up your veggies if need be. Arrange your tomatoes on the meat, then pour the lettuce mix on top. Shake on a little salt and pepper to finish off your subs, then dig in! 

This recipe, Crescent Chicken, pretty much tastes like a serving of chicken casserole wrapped up in a crescent roll. As far as I'm concerned, that's just doing an excellent job of eliminating the middle man. And it's one of the simplest chicken casseroles I've ever made, mostly because I use the ready-to-eat Tyson chicken instead of having to cook the chicken.

3 6-oz bags ready-to-eat Tyson chicken strips
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons margarine
4 tablespoons milk
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
Chili powder or paprika
2 8-oz cans crescent rolls

1. Preheat oven to 350. Chop chicken into very small pieces (should be about 4 1/2 cups of meat). Set chicken aside. 
2. Place cream cheese and margarine into large microwaveable bowl; microwave for 15-20 seconds. Stir until smooth.
3. Add milk and onion to cream cheese mixture and stir well. Add chicken into cream cheese mixture and stir well. Add salt, pepper and chili powder to taste, stirring one last time.
4. Break out the cookie sheets (you'll probably need 2 for this recipe). Cover the cookie sheets with nonstick foil (or spray with Pam). Separate the crescent rolls into 8 rectangles (4 for each cookie sheet). Pinch the dough in the center of each rectangle together so they don't break apart when you fill them.
5. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto the center of each rectangle. Pull the corners of dough to the center; press together. Bake on cookie sheets for 20-25 minutes.

The third recipe, Baked Club Sandwich Rounds, is very simple to make but looks really nice. My sister-in-law used this recipe not long ago for a pot-luck luncheon and said it was a huge hit. This is another recipe that my friend Christine specifically asked me to blog so that she can make it too. I got this off the Pillsbury Web site, which is a great resource for easy-to-make recipes.

1 lb bacon -- about 12 slices. (I usually buy the ready-to-serve bacon, the kind you just heat in the microwave for a few seconds. That really makes this a quick recipe.)
1 11-oz can Pillsbury refrigerated crusty French loaf
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese 
2 oz thinly sliced deli turkey (probably about 6 slices)
2 oz thinly sliced deli ham (about 6 slices)

1. Heat oven to 350. Either spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or cover it with nonstick foil. Cook the bacon until crisp and drain on paper towel. Crumble the bacon. 
2. Unroll the dough. (This is the longest part of the recipe for me -- the dough can be very sticky. My advice is to leave it in the refrigerator until you are ready to unroll it -- the colder it is, the easier to unroll. It's also smart to unroll it on top of the cookie sheet so that you don't have to deal with moving it later.) Sprinkle the cheese over the dough. Top with turkey, ham and bacon. Roll the dough back up and pinch the edge to seal. Make 3 or 4 slits in the top of the loaf. Place on the cookie sheet if you haven't done so already.
3. Bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, then slice. This is very good with honey mustard, ranch or blue cheese as a dipping sauce. 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Philly Cheesesteak ... and two more recipes

Here's my recipe for a (mostly) homemade Philly cheesesteak -- hope y'all enjoy!

Philly Cheesesteak

1 1/2 bags pre-cooked steak strips (the Tyson kind are good)
1 large green bell pepper
1 medium onion
3 tablespoons vegetable oil OR 3 tablespoons butter/margarine
Whatever kind of sliced cheese you like -- I used Muenster
Garlic seasoning
Sub rolls
A cup of shredded cheddar cheese (Optional)

1. Slice onion and bell peppers into strips. Heat oil OR butter/margarine in large skillet over medium heat. Throw in the onions and bell peppers, season with salt, pepper and garlic seasoning and cook until browned and tender. 
2. Pour steak strips  into skillet, season with a little more salt, pepper and garlic seasoning and heat through -- about five minutes or so. At this point, I mixed in a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and let it melt. Then place the sliced cheese on top and allow to melt. 
3. Arrange steak, onion and green pepper mixture on sub rolls and serve. Good with a salad or with chips. 

These next two recipes made for one very good meal. The tangy skillet chicken and roasted potatoes together is filling, especially with a salad or another side dish. I made up the roasted potatoes recipe myself! :)

Tangy skillet chicken

1 tablespoon oil
4 chicken breast halves 
1 can tomato soup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
A dash of hot sauce

1. Heat oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides. 
2. Add all other ingredients, mix, and heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Roasted potatoes

10 red potatoes 
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
2 tablespoons melted margarine/butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Spray baking dish with Pam and preheat oven to 350. Cut up potatoes into chunks and dump into large bowl. 
2. Pour dressing mix, melted butter and oil into bowl with potatoes and stir together. Pour potato mix into baking dish and bake uncovered for an hour 10 minutes. (The best part of this dish is scraping up all the flavorful bits at the bottom of the baking dish!)

Hope y'all enjoy!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An all-time favorite recipe and WAR DAMN EAGLE!

That up above is big Jake Ricks trying to take an interception to the house! He didn't make it, but he did get to around the 20 yard line (and carried Noel Devine, who weighs about 100 pounds less, for about six yards on his way there). It definitely wasn't a pretty game, but it showed some heart and confidence that we can come back even when an opponent comes out and punches us in the mouth. Props to West Virginia -- they are gonna beat some people this year, and I expect them to be right in the thick of the Big East race. 

Here's some links to what the bloggers/sportswriters have said about the game:

The Gold Mine: videos, Chris Todd praise, story about the defense (especially the LBs) coming up big, plus other stuff

The Auburn Beat: just a wrap-up of the game, plus a report card

HABOTN (Hottest Auburn Blog On The Net): Four stories about the game at the very top, including a notebook of facts about the game and commentary

War Eagle Extra: Top entry is about us not being ranked (IDIOTS) but getting closer; second entry has three links to stories and columns, as well as game notes

For me, the game balls go to Chris Todd, Darvin Adams and every defensive player who got a turnover. (Although we have got to frickin' tackle some people!) Also to the entire crowd (including my Dad, Mike and Jessa) who stayed through the pouring rain. WDE!

Now on game day, Patrick and I got to eat the yummy leftovers of our Poppyseed Chicken Casserole. Patrick made this recipe for me not long after we started dating, and it has become one of my favorite comfort foods. My family also loves it -- we make it almost every time we go home for the weekend!

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole

3 or 4 large frozen chicken breasts (might need to use more if you have smaller ones)
A big bottle of lemon juice
One roll of Ritz crackers
One stick of butter or margarine
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
16 oz sour cream

1. In large pot, pour in enough water to cover chicken by an inch or two. Bring water and chicken to boil and immediately pour in half bottle of lemon juice. (If you get a regular-size bottle, use whole bottle.) Wait to make sure chicken is boiling evenly (I usually watch it for about 10 minutes or so), then allow to boil for an hour. 
2. Preheat oven to 350. Take chicken out of pot and shred with two forks. 
3. In large greased oven dish, mix chicken with sour cream and the three cans of soup. Mix well and smooth so mixture is level. 
4. Crush Ritz crackers and spread evenly over chicken mixture. Melt butter in microwave and pour over crackers. Sprinkle poppyseeds over crackers. 
5. Bake 30-35 minutes until crackers are browned and mixture is bubbling. 

Best enjoyed with an Auburn win! :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


How do y'all like my new funky fresh glasses? :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

THREE new recipes today! Oh joy!

Sorry I haven't blogged since last week -- we've been all over the place lately! I took an extra day off after Labor Day so that I could have a four-day weekend, and it was a much-needed mini-vacation! Patrick and I even made an impromptu trip to Athens to see some of my family up there, including my too-adorable baby cousin Sophie.

She's not even 18 months and she's already almost three feet tall! Before she was born, Trey was the youngest of the cousins ... and he's 16 now. It's been a while since there's been a new kid to spoil, so she's pretty much the apple of everybody's eye. And she has the toys to prove it. It's been an awesome weekend. And, of course, Auburn won, which makes it even MORE awesome. We'll be at AU this weekend to hopefully see win #2.

OK, now to recipes. 

Last week, I made three different things for two meals, and they were all pretty easy to make. Two (baked rice and steak enchiladas) are ridiculously easy to make, while one (the steak stir-fry) takes a little more work. But they're all worth it. 

First meal: Steak Enchiladas. These take maybe 15 minutes, if that long, to put together and then 25 minutes to bake. 

1 10-oz can enchilada sauce
2 6-oz packages refrigerated fully-cooked steak strips (I used Tyson's)
4 8-inch flour tortillas
One bag shredded Mexican cheese blend (could also use Colby-Monterey Jack)
One package of your favorite cheese dip (I use Gordo's)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread half of enchilada sauce in 9x13 baking dish. 
2. Place 3 oz steak down center of each tortilla. (Note: This will make four enchiladas.) Top with two tablespoons cheese dip (I heated it up first so I could drizzle it over the steak.) Roll up tortillas and place seam side down in baking dish.
3. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas, sprinkle with cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes. 

You could easily serve this with some salsa and chips for a quick but yummy meal. :)

Second meal: Steak stir-fry with baked rice. The baked rice is some of the best (and easiest) stuff I make -- I use it with almost any meal that requires rice as a bed or a side dish. You can have the baked rice in the oven while you're working on the stir-fry.

Baked rice ingredients:
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup rice
1 can Campbell's beef consomme soup
1/2 cup water

1. Heat oven to 350. Melt butter or margarine. Add all ingredients in baking dish; stir. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 1 hour. 

Steak stir-fry ingredients:
1 boneless beef top sirloin steak (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup teriyaki marinade, divided into 2
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided into 3
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups frozen green beans, rinsed and drained

1. Cut beef length-wise in half, then crosswise into small strips. Combine beef and half the marinade in medium bowl and set aside. 
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and stir-fry 4 minutes. Remove into another medium bowl. 
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry beans 4 minutes. Drain off any excess water and add beans to onions. 
4. Heat remaining tablespoon oil and add half of the beef. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until almost completely cooked, then put into bowl with beans and onions. Repeat process with other half of beef. Return beef, onion and bean mixture to skillet and pour in the rest of the marinade. Cook for a couple minutes until heated through. Serve on top of the baked rice. 

Hope you guys enjoy those! I'll have another recipe or two for you in a few days, I'm sure. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two kinds of pizza

Ok, I'm not saying my homemade pizzas look quite as good as the one you guys are looking at right now, but mine do taste pretty awesome and are probably a little bit easier. 

The two types of pizza I considered making tonight are: Spicy Buffalo Marinara and Chicken Garlic Alfredo. (Fancy names I basically just made up.)

I ended up making the Spicy Buffalo Mariana, and it only took three people (and two episodes of Project Runway) to demolish that thing. 

If y'all are interested, here are the recipes:

Spicy Buffalo Marinara Pizza

*Pre-made pizza crust (I just pick up the Mama Mary's kind at Wal-Mart ... two come in a pack, so you can make both these yummy pizzas)
*Some kind of pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce (use your favorite kind)
*Buffalo wing sauce (I use Moore's)
*A bag of mozzarella cheese
*Some parmesan cheese
*Whatever toppings you want (I use pepperoni, sliced Roma tomatoes and chicken)
*Dried basil or pizza seasoning (if desired)

1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Put pizza crust on your pizza pan. Pour some pizza sauce into a bowl, then add the buffalo sauce little by little, tasting along the way until it's to your preferred spiciness. Stir, then pour sauce mixture onto pizza crust and smooth out.
3. Hit that crust with a nice handful of mozzarella cheese, then some parmesan on top of that. Put on your toppings, then throw on another handful of mozzarella and parmesan. 
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is nicely browned. Immediately shake on some basil or pizza seasoning and let sit for a couple minutes. Enjoy!

Chicken Garlic Alfredo Pizza

*Pre-made pizza crust (use the one left over from your Spicy Buffalo pizza)
*Jar of garlic alfredo sauce
*A bag of mozzarella cheese
*Some parmesan cheese
*Whatever toppings you want (I use pepperoni, sliced Roma tomatoes and chicken)
*Dried basil or pizza seasoning (if desired)

1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Put pizza crust on your pizza pan. Ladle out a good amount of alfredo sauce and smooth out.
3. Hit that crust with a nice handful of mozzarella cheese, then some parmesan on top of that. Put on your toppings, then throw on another handful of mozzarella and parmesan. 
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is nicely browned. Immediately shake on some basil or pizza seasoning and let sit for a couple minutes. 

That was easy, right? Too bad I don't have a Staples button. 

Monday, August 31, 2009

New blog focus -- food!

Ok, guys, you're going to be so excited. I think I've actually found a focus for my blog. I was telling Jessa the other night that I haven't been able to find anything to consistently blog about, and that's why I've done such a terrible job keeping up with it. Well, now I think I've figured it out! Cooking! It might seem weird, but it's something I do all the time. I consistently try new recipes while making our tried-and-true favorites (like Paula Deen's mac and cheese). Just about every week, I try to find a new recipe, and I usually plan my shopping list according to what recipes I want to make. I guess it's kind of my creative outlet. Anyhow, y'all can benefit from the extra pounds! :)

Tonight, I made both: a new recipe and a tried-and-true favorite. The new recipe is onion-baked pork chops -- amazing. The favorite is Paula Deen's mac-n-cheese -- heavenly. My jeans feel a little bit tighter after cooking (and eating!) that stuff, but man, was it good.

*Disclaimer: none of these photos are mine, but I tried to find photos that looked like what the food ends up looking like. 

First recipe: Onion-baked pork chops. This seriously might be my new favorite pork chop recipe. Soooooo good. And very, very simple! I bet this breading would be good with chicken as well.

*1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
*1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I used Panko bread crumbs -- very good)
*4 pork chops 
*1 egg, well beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking dish with Pam. In small bowl, combine soup mix and bread crumbs. Dip chops in egg, then in bread crumb mixture until evenly coated. 
2. Arrange chops in baking dish. 
3. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until done, turning once halfway through.

Second recipe: Paula Deen's Mac and Cheese! This is pretty much the perfect mac and cheese. 

*2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-oz box will do fine)
*2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about a bag and a half)
*3 eggs, beaten
*1/2 cup sour cream (half an 8-oz container)
*1 10.75-oz can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
*4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces (1/2 stick)
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 cup whole milk (I'm sure you could use fat-free or whatever you have)
*1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
*1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with Pam.
2. Boil macaroni until tender. Drain. Return macaroni to saucepan and add 2 cups of cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Add sour cream, soup, butter, salt, milk, mustard, pepper and eggs, and stir well. (I add the eggs last so that the macaroni will have cooled and the eggs won't start cooking from the heat.)
3. Pour the macaroni mixture into the baking dish. Smooth the top and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 40 minutes until browned and bubbly.