Sunday, October 21, 2012

Potato Leek and Carrot Casserole

I don't even know how to properly describe this casserole. I made it tonight to use up some leeks that Daniel had requested for the new diet that he is attempting. I've never eaten, nor have I ever cooked with them so I honestly made this dish praying the entire time that what I had concocted in my head, would actually produce an edible dish that we would all enjoy. I was already pushing it by adding potatoes and we all know, Daniel doesn't eat potatoes.

Well, two helpings later he proclaimed that they were really good and I'll admit to have 2 1/2 helpings. They are awesome and both girls loved them. We've got plans on buying a concession trailer here within the next year or so so cook and sell lunch and dinner items out of and he said tonight that this will be going on the menu with our pulled pork dinner.

These were creamy and cheesy which were right up my alley. I highly suggest trying them out at your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Potato, Leek, and Carrot Casserole

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, washed and cubed
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. salt
2 leeks, clean, halved, and sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz. whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
Black pepper, salt, and garlic powder

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a colander add sliced leeks and submerge in a large bowl of cold water. Toss lightly with your hands to allow the dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Remove colander from bowl of water and allow it to drain.

2.) In a large saute pan add olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter. Add carrots and garlic cloves to saute pan and cook for two to three minutes. Add cubed potatoes and season with black pepper and salt. Add an additional 1 tbsp. of butter and cook for roughly ten minutes or until potatoes have a golden brown texture and have started to soften in the middle. Lastly add leeks and toss gently with the rest of the vegetable mixture. Turn off heat.

3.) In a microwave safe dish, melt cream cheese for 20 seconds. Add sour cream to cream cheese and milk then generously season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add to potato mixture and evenly coat. Add to oven safe dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and top with shredded cheese.

4.) Bake uncovered for twenty to twenty-five minutes until top is golden and sides are bubbly.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Creamy Roasted Garlic Pork Loin

Creamy roasted garlic pork loin, sounds fancy doesn't it? Guess what! It's as simple as throwing a few ingredients into a baking dish. This meal consisted of only four ingredients, salt and pepper being two of them, and I only have one item to thank. Progresso recipe starters. Have you tried these magical things yet? I received one free in the mail about two weeks ago and while I was hesitant at first to give it a shot, I finally gave in and gave it a try in my kitchen.

I lightly dusted the pork loin with salt and pepper and then poured the cooking sauce over top of it in a covered baking dish. I was excited at how moist the pork came out and the big kick was that Daniel liked it. The man's funny about his meats so when he says something is good, then I know it's good. If you're looking for another easy dinner then give this stuff a try. Next time I'm going to throw it all in my crockpot and see how magical it is that way.

Creamy Roasted Garlic Pork Loin
Source: Me

3-4 lb. pork loin
1 can PROGRESSO creamy roasted garlic cooking sauce

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) In a 2 1/2 quart baking dish place pork loin and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour cooking sauce over pork loin, cover and bake for two hours or until cooked through

3.) Serve over rice or with a side of mashed potatoes.

* I wasn't paid or given the free sample in order to blog about the cooking sauce. I'm blogging about it because it was that good!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Corn Casserole

I had another one of those "what's for dinner" nights. I really hate it when I don't take the time to compose a weekly meal plan. It leaves me guessing every night what I'll be making for dinner and I hate stressing about it. I pulled together a couple of ingredients and hoped for the best.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well this turned out and the best part was that both girls went back for seconds. Daniel said it was just OK, but it didn't slow him up when he went back for seconds!

This made enough for all of us to have two servings a piece and we still have enough leftover that the girls and I will have lunch tomorrow. I can't wait to see how well it holds up reheated. If you're looking for something to comfort your soul on a chilly evening, this would be great!!

Cheesy Chicken and Corn Casserole
Source: Me

2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. parsley
1 sm. onion finely diced
1/2 tsp. onion powder
8 oz egg noodles, boiled and drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) In a medium saucepan boil chicken breasts until cooked thoroughly. In a large pot bring water to a boil and add noodles and a couple of dashes of salt. Cook until al dente.

3.) In a large mixing bowl add cream of celery soup, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, frozen corn, and colby jack cheese. Gently mix together.

4.) Shred cooked chicken breasts and add to cream of celery mixture. Add cooked egg noodles and gently mix until evenly coated.

4.) Add to a prepared 2 1/2 quart baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake uncovered for 25-28 minutes or until top is bubbly and golden.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mock Chipotle Rice

We love Chipotle here in our house, even the little ladies. I've been trying for years to recreate their rice recipe to no avail and even thought this still isn't 100% like theirs, I was pretty darn good, good enough to eat all by itself. I can't wait to make this again for a simple side dish with our dinner. I made ours with our golden fried chicken nuggets and Addison had two or three servings of this. Normally I would make it when we were eating Mexican food but clearly, it can go with just about anything.

Mock Chipotle Rice


2 cups water

1 chicken bullion cube
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 cups quick cooking white rice
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 fresh lime
1/2 tsp. salt

1.) In a medium saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil. Add 1 chicken bullion cube and one whole garlic clove, lightly mashed.

2.) Once water has boiled, take out garlic clove and add two cups of instant white rice. Turn off heat and cover pan with a lid. Allow to sit for five minutes.

3.) Once rice has finished cooking, add cilantro, juice of lime, and salt. Mix thoroughly and serve. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Golden Fried Chicken Nuggets

You know that feeling of sheer panic when its time to start dinner and you have absolutely know idea what to make? I had one of those moments the other night and I hate it. I knew dinner would involve chicken because I had set some out earlier to thaw, but I truly didn't know what to do with it.

Typically I start dinner around 5 o'clock and on this particular day 4:50 rolled around and I was stumped. After standing in the middle of the kitchen for a minute or so and then carefully examining everything that was in the fridge, freezer, and cabinets I settled on homemade chicken nuggets, mock chipotle rice, and green beans. I didn't have high hopes for this meal, I just knew that it needed to be edible and fulfilling and surprisingly, this fit the bill. I always know when something is good when Daniel either compliments me on it, or says that it's good and he said that these nuggets were good after questioning me what was in the batter.

These will were great dipped in my favorite honey mustard, Daniel dipped his in spicy mustard, and the girls used a bit of ketchup and BBQ sauce. They were easy to make and went over well which means that they will be made again sometime in the future.

Golden Fried Chicken Nuggets

2 cups all purpose flour
1 heaping tsp. garlic powder
1 heaping tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 lg. chicken breast, cubed and cut into sm. pieces

1.) In a small mixing bowl add and evenly mix all of your dried ingredients; flour, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, salt, and paprika. In a second small bowl mix together your eggs and milk.

2.) In a dutch oven, melt vegetable shortening over medium/high heat.

3.) Coat cubed chicken in egg mixture, drain any excess egg mixture and then dip into flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and gently place in melted shortening. If first piece of chicken starts to bubble around the edges that means your shortening is ready to go. Place an even layer of chicken in vegetable shortening and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a dash or two of salt. Repeat process until all chicken is fried. 

4.) Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and your favorite side dishes and enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Skillet Cornbread

I knew making two different kinds of chili this past weekend that we just had to have cornbread to go along with our meal. My mamaw makes homemade cornbread but growing up my mom used to always just use the boxed variety. I always try to stick with homemade items when I have guests over for meals so I knew the boxed kind just wouldn't suffice this time.

I found this recipe on-line and instead of baking it in a 9x13 baking dish as stated, I used my cast iron skillet. I preheated my oven with the skillet inside so that it would be hot when it was time to pour in the cornbread mixture. Before adding the mixture, I added a couple of tablespoons of butter that I made sure coated the bottom and the sides of the skillet and then I poured the wet mixture in.

I don't know the size of my skillet, but it's a big one and this recipe made enough to fill the pan. There were six adults and two children and we devoured this skillet of cornbread. I got several compliments and I was pretty proud of myself for doing such an awesome job my first time making homemade cornbread. I'll never used boxed cornbread mix again!

 Picture borrowed from member, LESLEYfromWI. I didn't get my own picture but this looked just like mine!

Skillet Cornbread
Slightly adapted from:

 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 vegetable oil
3-4 tbsp. butter

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with large cast iron skillet inside to warm. In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. 
2.) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Added butter to heated skillet and allow to melt, making sure that it has coated the bottom and the sides.  

3.) Pour cornbread mixture into prepared skillet and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.

4.) Serve slightly warm with an additional pat or two of butter. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crockpot Chili

Growing up I wasn't fond of chili. My mom would make it and I would pick the majority of the beans out of it. As I have matured my taste buds have matured as well. I eat things now that I wouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole back during my childhood, chili being one of them.

I was in chili mode this past weekend and I'm pretty sure this recipe is now my favorite. I got lots of compliments over it and I can't wait to make it again. I top mine with LOTS of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream when I have it on hand. This is a must serve dish during fall.

Quick Chili
I made a few slight changes!

2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water ( I omitted and used a large container of veggie juice instead)
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans (I used a 40 oz. can)
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans (I used two, 15 oz. cans)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (I omitted)
diced onion
shredded cheese
sour cream

1.) In a large stock pot lightly brown ground beef, and drain if needed. 
2.) Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. 
3.) Add tomatoes, diced tomatoes with chili peppers, tomato sauce, vegetable juice, kidney beans, pinto beans, chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, pepper and hot sauce if so desired. Simmer for 30 minutes and then serve. 

* I browned my meat, onion, and garlic in a skillet and then added it with all of the other ingredients to my crockpot and cooked it for about three hours on high heat.