Monday, November 26, 2012

Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined (I like fresh, US shrimp)
1/4 cup of butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups of chopped peppers (mix up red, yellow, and green)
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 cups of fresh or frozen sliced okra
1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoons of Cajun spice mix, like Bayou Blast
3 cups cooked rice
1 103/4 ounce can of cream of shrimp soup
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (red if you like it hot, black if not)
1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese
1.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion, peppers, and garlic.  sautee about 5 minutes, or till tender.  Stir in okra, lemon juice, bayou blast, saute another few minutes.  Add shrimp, and cook till shrimp turn pink (3 minutes).  Stir in rice, soup, wine, soy sauce, and pepper.  Pour into a lightly greased (PAM) 13 x 9 casserole dish.  Sprinkle with Romano cheese, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or till casserole is bubbly and cheese is lightly browned.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ice Cream Cake

David's favorite Birthday dessert - Ice Cream Cake

This is another classic recipe, one I got from a friend - Cindy Swift.  It has become one of my family's favorite treats.  You can change the cake by changing the flavor ice cream - simple!
30 Oreo sandwich cookies, reduced to crumbs in food processor
1/3 cup of melted butter
2 containers of vanilla ice cream (size - USED to be a 1/2 gallon, now 1.5 quarts)
1 jar of hot fudge (I use Mrs. Richardson's)
1 8 oz container of cool whip (light or regular)
colorful sprinkles
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with PAM.  Use a pan with a lid if possible.  Mix the crushed oreo crumbs with the melted butter.  Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Freeze for 20 minutes.  Have the ice cream in the frig, then the counter during this time to soften it for easy handling.  Spread the softened ice cream over the crust.  Again, freeze for 20 minutes.  Microwave the fudge for 30-50 seconds, and spread as evenly as possible over the ice cream.  Freeze for 20 minutes.  Top with the cool whip and sprinkles.  Freeze.  Remove the cake from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving so it is easier to cut.  I generally use vanilla ice cream for this cake, but mint chocolate chip works very well, too. 

Breakfast Casserole

A Classic - Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole.  This easy dish is a standard on holidays for me.  You can make it the night ahead, put it in the refrigerator, and everyone can heat up a slice in less than 30 seconds in the microwave when the wake up for breakfast.  Here's the recipe:

1 8 oz can of crescent dinner rolls (now Pillsbury makes a sheet of crescent dough - Perfect!
1 pound of sage breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
6 eggs, beaten
4 Tablespoons of milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of grated cheese - I usually use a sharp cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with PAM.  Line the pan with the crescent roll dough.  Brown the sausage, drain on a plate covered with paper towels.  Spread the sausage evenly over the dough.  Beat the eggs with the milk, salt, and pepper.  Pour over the sausage.  Sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Cool, and place in frig.  It is better if made a day ahead. 

Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie

Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie - a new Thanksgiving Favorite!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Either make one pie crust, or use a Pillsbury ready crust.  Put 1 1/2 cups of pecans on the bottom of the crust.  I use 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, and 1 cup of halves.  Mix the following ingredients:
2 lg eggs, beaten
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons of molasses
2 Tablespoons of Bourbon
2 Tablespoons of melted butter
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Pour the mixture over the pecans.  Don't worry, the pecans will float to the top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  After 20-30 minutes, check the crust edges, and either cover with a pie safe or tin foil to prevent the edges from getting too brown.  I like this pie served warm with real whipped cream.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkey Sausage & Pasta

This is a tasty meal that you can have on the table in less than 30 minutes.  Serve it with Texas toast and a green salad, and you are good to go!

Turkey Sausage Pasta

12 oz. of thin spaghetti, or pasta of your choice (I use Healthy taste, or enriched fiber pasta)
1 Tbsp. of olive oil
6 links of turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes & sauce
1/3 can of water
1 lg garlic clove, minced or pressed
red & black pepper to taste
about 1/2 to 1 teaspoons of dried basil
2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Warm oil in electric skillet.  Cook sausage (remove casings) till done, and chop up as you cook.  Stir in tomato sauce, water, garlic, pepper, basil, and vinegar.  Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta according to directions.  When sauce is hot and blended, top pasta, and top with cheese.  You don't need to add any sugar to the sauce - the balsamic vinegar sweetens it up nicely!

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade "red" chicken noodle soup

Nothing says love like homemade soup.  It is the ultimate comfort food - especially in winter, or if you don't feel well.  My mom used to make this soup, and it was my favorite.  It usually was a part of my birthday meal.  When my mom died before I married, one of my biggest losses was she didn't write down a lot of her recipes.  My brother and I tried to figure out why my mom's soup was red, and finally figured out her secret ingredient - a can of V-8 juice!  This is a great recipe to make after you roast a chicken or turkey.  If you are not roasting a bird, just buy a Wegman's cooked Roaster, trim some of the meat, and throw that in the pot!  I usually use the plain roaster, or lemon garlic - be sure to remove the lemon first!

2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning, or sage
bones and trimmings of 1 turkey or chicken
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
10 cups of water
1 5.5 oz can of V-8, or slightly larger can up to 8 oz.
3-5 medium carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 stalks celery
1 onion, cut in chunks
1 bunch of fresh parsley, or 1 Tablespoon of dried parsley
2 cups of dried noodles, rhen cooked (usually I like thin egg noodles or stellini - star pasta) it will yield about 4 cups of noodles - adjust if you like thinner soup.

In a large pot, combine all ingredients except pasta.  Simmer about 1 hour.  Remove chicken and bones, and veggies.  Strain the broth into another pot.  Slice carrots, cut up meat and add to the soup.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta, rinse and drain.  Add pasta to the soup.  My kids don't like the onion or celery in the soup, so I don't add it back.  You get the taste from simmering it the first hour.  Simmer to blend all ingredients, and serve.  If you re-heat, you may need to add some chicken broth.  We like LOTS of noodles, so you can cut back a bit if it suits your taste.  Great with crusty rolls or french bread and a nice salad for dinner.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Apple Crumble Pie

Apple Crumble Pie

1 pie crust
Topping:  3/4 cup of flour
1/3 cup EACH brown sugar and granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter
1/3 cup pecans if desired
7 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1-2 Tablespoons apple cider (optional)
Preheat oven to 450.  Use a large pie plate.  Let apples mix with filling ingredients.  Mix topping ingredients in large bowl with a pastry blender.  Put apple mix in crust, top evenly with crumb mixture.  Place on a cookie sheet to catch drips!  Bake at 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then LOWER temperature to 350, and bake an additional 45 minutes.  You may have to use a pie crust shield or cover the edges with foil to keep the edges from getting too brown.  Cool slightly and serve.  Great warm with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever!

Peanut Butter Cookies (from Pillsbury Kitchens Cookbook, 1979 edition)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup Crisco shortening (I use the sticks, 1 stick)
1 cup of creamy peanut butter
4 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda (not baking powder)
1 teaspoon of salt

Cream sugars and shortening.  Add in peanut butter, milk, vanilla, and eggs, and blend well with a mixer.  Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing well.  Shape dough into small balls, and flatten with a fork in a criss cross pattern.  Sprinkle with sugar.  They should look like this:
Sheets do not need to be greased.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or till light golden brown.  Remove as soon as possible, gently with a spatula, and let cool on wire racks.  Makes about 5 dozen.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale Pie

1/3 cup of milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 Tablespoon of taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium packet)
red cayenne & black pepper to taste
1 14 3/4 ounce can of cream-style corn
1 8.5 oz box of corn muffin mix (Jiffy)
1 4 oz. can of chopped green chilies, drained
1 10 oz. can of Red Enchilada Sauce
2 cups shredded or bite size chopped cooked chicken (can use a roaster)
1 Tablespoon of taco seasoning mix
3/4 to 1 cup of shredded Mexican blend cheese
fresh cilantro or parsley, guacamole, or sour cream for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chilies) stirring till moist and blended.  Pour mixture into a large glass pie plate that has been sprayed with PAM.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or till light golden brown.  Take out of oven, pierce entire surface liberally with a fork, and then pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the top.  Toss the chicken with 1 Tablespoon of the taco seasoning.  Top the pie with the chicken (I had made fajitas last night and reserved the two cups of meat.  You can use leftover chicken or turkey, or the Wegmans grilled lemon garlic chicken breasts or a roaster chicken).  Sprinkle with the Mexican blend cheese, or shredded cheese of your choice.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 additional minutes, or until cheese is nice and melted.  Remove from oven and let stand about 5 minutes before cutting.  Top with fresh parsley or cilantro.  Serve with either a dollop of sour cream or guacamole.  Yummy!

Banana Cream Pie (the easy way)

Banana Cream Pie - The Easy Version :)

1 Keebler ready-crust Graham cracker crust
1 package (4 serving size) instant banana cream pudding
1 envelope whipped topping mix (Dream Whip)
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 medium bananas, thinly sliced

In mixing bowl, combine pudding mix, whipped topping mix, milk and vanilla on low speed of electric mixer until blended.  Increase speed and beat until very thick, about 2-3 minutes.  Put a thin layer on bottom of pie crust.  Slice bananas on top, spread evenly.  Pour the rest of the pudding on top, and spread evenly.  Top with cool whip or whipped cream as desired.  Funny story about this pie.  When I was dating my then husband to be, I found out his favorite dessert was banana cream pie.  For his birthday, I decided to bake one from scratch - homemade pie crust, custard, and meringue.  I was so proud.  When I asked him how he liked it he said, "Not bad, but do you know how to make the kind with the instant pudding? "  Needless to say, I never made another homemade banana cream pie again!