Tasty Tuesday: Barbecue Sausage Dinner

KielbasaCasserole

I love finding new recipes to try, and the newspaper coupon circulars will often have great  ideas. Some of my favorite recipes have been found in those little papers. This one in particular caught my eye many years ago, and has been a family favorite. It’s fast and easy, and super yummy! I’ve made my own little changes here and there, so I’ll post the original recipe, and note the changes I’ve made. It seems to come out a little different each time, but it’s always good!

Barbecue Sausage Dinner

Originally from Hillshire Farms

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 20-oz bag refrigerated new potato wedges (I just cut up regular russet potatoes)
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (I’ve also used red bell pepper)
  • chopped onion to taste (my addition)
  • 1 pkg  Polska Kielbasa, sliced (I usually use two packages, because we love this stuff)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (I’m sure I use closer to 1/2 cup or more, altogether)
  • shredded cheddar cheese (my addition)

– Combine oil, potatoes, pepper and onion to large skillet, cover and cook 12-14 minutes

– Add sausage and corn, then cover and cook 2-4 minutes or until thoroughly heated

– Remove from heat, and mix in barbecue sauce and cheese, if desired

– Top with additional cheese, if you like. We love cheese around here, so we usually add a lot!

– Serve warm, and enjoy!

Tasty Tuesday: Oven Baked French Fries

french-fries

 

I have to admit: I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl. Or, well, mainly potatoes. I’ve yet to meet a potato I don’t like. My favorite? Mashed Potatoes, hands down. Whenever my mom would make mashed potatoes when I was kid, I was right there next to the mixer, waiting to lick off the beaters. She still lets me do it, just because she still thinks it’s funny. I digress.

I have nothing against frozen french fries, they’re quite good when they’re done just right. But the budget doesn’t always allow for the frozen fries, especially when you can get a giant bag of fresh potatoes for about the cost of one bag of frozen fries (I’ll have to do a cost comparison on that, actually). Plus, when I make my own, I know exactly what’s going in and on the fries. Potato, check. Olive oil, check. Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, check. That’s it!

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Wash and scrub about 5-6 medium russet potatoes – adjust for your family size.
  2. Slice each potato in half, then cut each half into strips, or fries. One of these days, I’m going to get a fancy french fry cutter, but for now, I use my favorite super-sharp knife.
  3. You may have to cut the fry in half again, depending on the size; you want to try and keep them around the same size so they’ll cook evenly.
  4. Continue with all of the other potatoes, until you have a pile of fries.
  5. Dump them all into a large zip-top bag, and add about 2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). Use your judgement here; I usually just pour it in until it looks good.
  6. Shake the bag until all of the fries are coated.
  7. Cover a baking pan with foil, for easy cleanup, then spray lightly with cooking oil.
  8. Dump the fries on the treated pan, and spread evenly, trying to keep them on one layer.
  9. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper (optional) over the entire pan.
  10. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes, or until they look nice and toasty

I don’t flip the fries during cooking, but if you want to give that a try, let me know how it works out! I also like to let mine get a little crispy, but not too much.

This is a perfect side to make when you can’t think of anything else, and you have a bag of potatoes that need to be used up. We love to have them with hamburgers, of course. The kids love them!

Game Day Noshing: Easy Snacks for the Big Game

cheesedip1

Big football games aren’t usually a huge deal in our house, and the Super Bowl is no exception, but we do enjoy watching games, especially when one of our favorite teams is playing. Around here, we watch the Atlanta Falcons, of course, being the local team, but we’re also interested in the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks. My mom loves the Eagles, and growing up in Pennsylvania, that was the team we always watched. Then, when my family moved to Washington State, we instantly became Seahawks fans. So, having a ‘mixed football’ upbringing, I’m relatively impartial. That doesn’t stop my own family from enjoying great food with everyone else on Super Bowl Sunday!

Even if you’re not hosting a party on game day, it’s still fun to whip up tasty snacks to enjoy in front of the TV. My kids think it’s a picnic to eat in the living room while watching TV, and I think I could sneak in a few things they don’t really like because they’re not even paying attention.

Here are a few ideas for your game day snacks.

Bacon Cheeseburger Puffs

(from Plain Chicken)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups baking mix (like Bisquick)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces bacon pieces
  • 6-7 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown ground beef, and drain. In a bowl, combine baking mix, bacon pieces, and cheese. Stir in cooked ground beef . Add buttermilk, and toss with a fork just until moistened. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls, and drop on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

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Spicy Cheeseburger Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 can (10 ounces) Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chilies, undrained
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained

Mix all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted, stirring after 3 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips. CAUTION: This will be a HUGE hit. You will love it so much, you’ll want to eat it all, so I recommend making a double batch, especially if you have guests.

VARIATIONS: I like a little more spice in this dip, so I’ll season the ground beef with my homemade taco seasoning, or, I’ll use hot sausage. Super yummy!

IN THE SLOW COOKER:  Throw all ingredients in the slow cooker, and cook on low for 2 hours. Everything should be melted in an hour on High, if you and your guests are impatient. I’ve had this happen.

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Slow Cooker Festive Cocktail Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • about 4 dozen frozen meatballs (2 0r 3 small bags)

Toss meatballs in slow cooker.

Mix together ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce and add to slow cooker, stirring to cover all meatballs.

Cover, and cook on low for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

These meatballs are also always a huge hit at functions. I took them to a potluck once, and they were the first to disappear. Love them!

What are you having on game day?

Enjoy the game! And, as always, drink responsibly. 🙂

Tasty Tuesday: Shannon’s Easy Beef Enchiladas

enchiladas

I don’t even know how or when I started making this recipe, but I whipped it up one time for my parents back in my single days, and it’s been a hit in my family ever since. My kids even love these enchiladas, and that’s saying a lot right there. The recipe has been adapted a little bit over the years here and there – sometimes rice and/or refried beans will be added – but for the most part it stays pretty basic. I hope you love it as much as we do.

Shannon’s Easy Beef Enchiladas

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pack soft taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 cup of water (for taco seasoning)
  • 2 cups chredded cheddar cheese (I prefer Sharp)
  • 2-3 small cans or 1 large can Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce (my fave) – amount depends on how saucy you like your enchiladas
– Brown ground beef with onion until cooked through. Mix in taco seasoning and about a cup of water and simmer until water is cooked off. Remove from heat.
– Pour about 1/4 cup enchilada sauce in bottom of greased baking dish and spread around. I usually use a 9×13 glass dish.
– Place one tortilla on a plate, and spread about a teaspoon of sauce around entire tortilla. Scoop seasoned meat and onion mixture on tortilla, then sprinkle with cheese. Roll, and place seam down in pan.
– Continue with the rest of tortillas until you either run out of meat or space in the pan.- Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, making sure all of them are covered. I also like to make sure the sauce gets down in between the enchiladas – if they’re packed tightly in the pan, I just scooch (technical term) them aside a bit as I pour the sauce. Use your judgement on the amount of sauce; I like mine saucy. If you’re freezing the enchiladas to cook later, STOP HERE. Cover the pan in foil, then wrap in foil again. If you’re using a smaller pan, like an 8×8 foil pan, cover in foil, then slip into a freezer bag. Make sure you mark the package somehow that it’s Enchiladas. No one likes a mystery pack in the freezer! When you’re ready to bake the enchiladas, thaw, remove foil, then continue the steps below.

– Top entire dish with shredded cheese according to your taste. We love cheese in this house, so I usually use a full 2 cups on the top.

– Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes or until it’s nice and bubbly and the cheese on top is melted. Tip: If you like crispy, or slightly burnt cheese, leave them in a bit longer. We happily discovered this one time when using an unfamiliar oven timer.

Dig in and enjoy!

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to adapt to your tastes. The measurements aren’t exact; use as much or as little sauce and cheese as you like. Add more vegetables, use chicken or turkey instead of ground beef if you like.

If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

Tasty Tuesday: Oreo Stuffed Brownies

oreobrownieheader

I was bloghopping one day a while ago when I stumbled upon this sinfully delicious-looking recipe over at Moms of all Trades: Oreo Stuffed Brownies. Brownies? Oreos? Marshmallow Creme? I’m all over it. And boy-oh-boy, I did not regret this one little bit. Do you want to try it?

Here’s what you need:

  • Brownie Mix – any brand/variety will do
  • Oreo cookies, or other chocolate and cream-type cookie – I used the store brand because I didn’t have a coupon for regular Oreos (I’m thrifty that way). They taste just as good as the real thing for this project. Next time I’m going to try the Mint Oreos for that extra little kick
  • Marshmallow Creme – usually found in the baking aisle, or maybe even close to the peanut butter
  • Standard muffin pan

Step 1: Spray muffin tins with Pam, making sure to cover completely

Step 2: Mix brownies according to package directions. Add 1/2 cup marshmallow creme, mix well.

Step 3: Open up your cookies. Try not to eat them all…

Step 4: One cookie at a time, dip into brownie batter, making sure cookie is completely covered.

Step 5: Place in muffin tin. I also scooped a little extra batter on top of the dipped cookie, just to make sure there was enough.

Step 6: Bake according to package directions. Mine got a little charred around the edges, but I didn’t mind. I like the crispy brownies.

Step 7: Let cool, them pop them out of the muffin tins. From the outside you can’t even tell there’s a supersweet surprise inside…

Once they’ve cooled just a little bit, take a bite, and enjoy!

You’re welcome. 🙂
Since I originally made these, I’ve also tried Fudge-Covered Mint Oreos, Girl Scout Thin Mints, and Peppermint Patties. All of these were great, except the Peppermint Patties; the peppermint creme actually left the middle of the brownie hollow! Very strange. I still want to try Peanut Butter Cups, so I’ll post an update.
Enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday: January 20 – 26, 2014

MenuPlanMonday

My husband has been asking me to make more soups for a while now, but generally the only soup I attempt is chili. And I have to admit, I think I make a mean chili. At least the kids eat it, so that’s a score in my book! A couple of weeks ago, I decided to attempt to make Tomato Bisque. It was cold outside, and a warm creamy soup sounded delightful. So, I gave it a shot, and it was a big hit! I’ll be adding that one to the menu again soon, so stay tuned for the recipe and pictures! After my success with the bisque, I decided to try butternut squash. I’ll be sure to post how it turned out!

Now, on to this week’s menu!

January  20 – 26

What are you cooking up this week?

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Homemade Taco Seasoning – Forget the Packets!

tacoseasoning

We’re a big fan of taco seasoning in this house. If we don’t have tacos on Tuesdays, or some variation of tacos, the children will mutiny. So, taco seasoning is used at least once a week. For years I would just succumb to buying the little packets, not even thinking twice about all of the added sodium, preservatives, and numerous other ingredients I can’t pronounce. In my ongoing quest to eat a little better and save money in the process, I decided to start making my own taco seasoning. I was leary, at first, thinking there’s no way the homemade stuff could be as tasty as the store-bought wonderful-ness. I was pleasantly surprised, and very pleased with the result. Here’s the recipe I use:

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1 part cumin
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 part crushed red pepper

Note: a part can be whatever unit of measurement you’d like to use. I generally add 1 or 2 tablespoons of each ingredient (except for red pepper flakes), depending on how much I’m making at the time.

Mix all ingredients together, and you’re done! I make it up in batches and keep it in a mason jar. And yes, that is the top to a parmesan cheese bottle that I have on my mason jar in the picture above. It fits perfectly!

To Use:

– Add 2 1/2 tablespoons to 1 pound of browned ground beef; stir in 2/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil, and simmer until water is cooked off, stirring regularly.

Yum!