Monday, October 15, 2012

Meatball subs with homemade meatballs

So I've been wanting meatballs lately and I came up with a recipe for homemade meatballs a few years ago that I experimented with a few times until I thought it was right. I sometimes don't like all the spaghetti to take the attention away from the meatballs so I thought I would attempt a meatball sub and they were soo dang good!! Plus its a great way to sneak veggies into a dish without anyone being able to pick around them, lol. Here we go...

This is what you will need for the sub and homemade meatballs

2lbs of ground meat (I used beef)
1 diced green bell pepper
1/2 onion minced
5-6 button mushrooms diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
3-4 tbspns worcestershire sauce
2 cups of shredded cheese, divided 1-1 (I used mozzarella but parmesan would be good too)
garlic powder
dried oregano (optional)
dried parsley (optional)
salt & pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 cups marinara sauce
6-8 sandwich rolls (mine were 6 inch)

This makes 6-8 subs depending on the size of the meatballs and length of the buns
and 22-26 meatballs depending on how big or small you roll them.

Here's a trick I'm going to tell you beforehand, if you have the time to make the meatballs a little ahead of time, refrigerate your meatballs for 30 minutes or so before cooking they will keep their shape better but if not preheat your oven to 375 degrees. So I start by dicing my veggies, the green bell pepper, onion and mushrooms, and toss them in a large bowl. To the bowl I add the garlic, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried parsley, 1 cup of cheese, salt and pepper mix that all together really well.

Once all that is nicely mixed add your eggs and breadcrumbs you really want to save your meat until last so you don't over work it.

With the egg and breadcrumbs in there you want it to be a little over wet just so that gives you extra room to stir in your meat.

Do not be afraid to get your hands in there while mixing the meatballs you don't want anything left in the bottom. Once it's mixed and sticky start rolling them into balls. You can put them on a rack in the pan, on parchment paper or plain in the pan (the only thing about not putting anything under them is they will be a little soggy).

You can be the judge on how big or little you make them, I like mine really big but think about the size of your bread too. So now unless you're putting them in your fridge to set up for 30 minutes or so go ahead and put them in the oven, 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. In the last 10-15 minutes of cook time go ahead and start heating up your marinara sauce in a pot.

                             (This is what happens with nothing underneath them but they still taste good)

So once the meatballs are finished cooking pull them out and let them sit a minute or two but keep your oven on. There's two ways to do this next part and either is fine you can line your sandwich buns in a pan and lay the meatballs in them or you can do what I do and drop a few meatballs at a time into your marinara sauce and let them get nicely coated before dropping them into your bread. Either way once your meatballs are all cozy in your bread pour a little extra marinara sauce over the top of them.

Looks good huh? It gets better, top them with the last cup of cheese and sprinkle a little dried parsley and dried oregano on that.

Yummy now put them back into your oven until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the bread starts to get a crisp to it.

See aren't they beautiful? And no one will know there's three different veggies in there ;) enjoy.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pasta with cashew sauce

When I was younger my Mom used to make this pasta as a side dish, usually when we had company over, because it is sooo good and pretty cheap so it's easier to stretch. It has been a long time favorite for me so I knew once I started craving it a few weeks ago I had to get the recipe from her. I debated on when I should cook it and I knew last night was the perfect time. I was babysitting along with taking care of my own little trouble maker so I knew this dish that takes literally ten minutes would be perfect so I could get back to playing with the girls as fast as possible. Here we go.....

This is what you will need..

1lb box of spaghetti
1 cup of salted cashews (plus more for topping)
1/2 cup sesame oil
6 tbspns low sodium soy sauce
6 large cloves garlic
3 tbspns rice wine vinegar
2 tbspns sugar
1/2 water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

This feeds about 6 people if that's all your feeding them if its a side dish it can be stretched even further

Alright so first start off by putting your spaghetti into your boiling salted water. While the spaghetti is cooking toss everything else but the water and cilantro into your food processor (if you don't have a food processor a blender will work too). Once everything is mixed together add little bits of the water until your sauce is at your desired thickness. Once your spaghetti is drained and cooked toss it with the sauce.

So I didn't add the cilantro but this would be the time to toss it in. Top with a few extra cashews and serve. Soooo yummy with a great Asian influenced nutty flavor. Plus come on how do you beat a ten minute dinner when it's this delish!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chicken Chimichangas mmm

Yes, I already know, fried foods are bad for you. Well I don't make them that often and this is a long time favorite in my house. I usually just make it with shredded chicken or beef and some red enchilada sauce but I recently came upon a recipe where they put all of the good toppings and sides (black olives, rice, re-fried beans etc) on the inside so I thought why not give it a try. Here's how it goes.

You will need..

3- chicken thighs (or breasts)
1 small onion
1- small can of red enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cup of chicken broth
dried cumin (optional)
dried cayenne pepper (optional)
1- cup of rice (I used brown)
1- can of re-fried beans
1- can of green chilies (7oz)
1- can of sliced black olives (2.25oz)
1/2 cup of cheese (I used Mexican fiesta blend)
8 burrito sized flour tortillas
Oil for frying

This makes 8 Chimichangas

I started by putting my chicken thighs and diced onion into the crockpot with some salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and cumin. I pour over that my chicken broth and red enchilada sauce. Leave that in the crockpot for 4-5 hours on low 2-3 on high. While that's in its last stages of cooking I cook the rice as well as heat the re-fried beans. While those are cooking shred the chicken and put that along with the onions from the crockpot into a large bowl. Into that bowl add the rice, re-fried beans, green chilies, black olives and cheese.

Once everything is mixed well heat your oil to a medium heat. While your oil is heating start assembling your chimichangas.

If your oil gets hot enough to fry while you're assembling your food go ahead and throw them in there one at a time if you have a big enough pan. You don't want to over crowd them or it will bring the oil down in heat and take longer to cook.

Fry them until they are golden brown on each side. Once they've browned nicely lay them on a plate covered with some paper towels or napkins so it catches the excess oil.

Once they have cooled a little and don't have hot oil dripping from them you can top them with sour cream or guacamole whatever you feel like. They are soo yummy and crispy!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beer crockpot chicken with mashed potatoes

I've seen beer chicken everywhere and I love it off of the grill but with it getting colder outside (and my getting lazier haha) I wanted to try it in the crockpot instead. I just did a basic one because I had a million things to do along with a play date. So here we go.

4 chicken thighs
1 bottle of your favorite beer
Dried parsley
Garlic powder

(and everything for your favorite mashed potatoes)
 I use 1 medium baking potato for each person
4-5 tbspns butter
4-5 tbspns condensed milk

So I started by mixing together the chicken with some basic seasonings salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried parsley and tossed it in the crockpot.

Next add your favorite kind of beer. Alright so Corona isn't my favorite kind but it's what I had in the fridge. This would be really good with some Blue Moon and a few orange slices.

Let that go in the crockpot about 4 hours on low.

Once its done set it on keep warm and make your mashed potatoes. If you don't have a preferred recipe then here's a quick version of mine. Boil your potatoes in water for about 30 minutes or until very tender. Put them in a boil and use a fork or potato masher to mash them until how you like them. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to start with and mix it in then do the same with the condensed milk. Keep going back and forth until it comes together how you like it. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put the potatoes on your plate, and put the chicken on top. I like to top mine with a last minute sprinkle of salt and dried parsley. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sloppy Joe Pizza

Yes, I realize sloppy joe pizza isn't the most appetizing name but I started out craving sloppy joes one night and my hubby really doesn't care for them so I started thinking of sneaky ways to get that yummy flavor into a dish and this is what I came up with. Surprise surprise he LOVES this pizza lol so here's how to make it.

What you will need..

Refrigerated pizza dough or how ever you prefer (I use the great value packets)
1 lb ground beef
1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite bbq sauce (I use Famous Dave's sweet & zesty )
4-5 tablespoons of your favorite spaghetti or marinara sauce (I use Hunt's zesty & spicy)
1- 1 1/2 cups cheese
garlic powder (optional)
oregano (optional)

This makes about 9-12 pieces of square pizza

Alright so the first thing I do is get my pizza dough ready. I've tried so many times to make my own dough but it has never come out correctly so now I use this...

You can find it at Wal-Mart and I use two packets. There's actually some pretty great things about this pizza dough #1. You just have to add hot water #2. They're 52 cents a piece! Yes 52 cents that's 1.04 before tax.. GREAT deal. So if you chose to use these you will need to add the hot water, mix and let sit for about ten minutes so the yeast can do its thing. While the dough is coming together go ahead and preheat your oven as per directions on your pizza dough. (Mine says 425 degrees). Do your thing with your dough whether you roll it out of the can or flour your counter and roll it out. Poke several holes with a fork around your dough so you don't get huge bubbles while its cooking. I like to take a small brush and brush olive oil all around the dough and the crust and sprinkling it with a little garlic powder and dried oregano but it's your choice. Go ahead and toss that in your preheated oven. Next you want to grab out a pan and put in your ground beef brown that and once its nice and brown drain it and put it back in the pan. Add your favorite bbq sauce and your favorite marinara sauce and mix it in. You want the mixture to be moist but not too runny basically like sloppy joes.

Yum okay by now your pizza should be nice and brown and as crispy as you like don't worry about it getting much more crispy when you put it back in. Go ahead and pour your beef mix right onto the crust and sprinkle that with your cheese.

Bake it for about 15 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted.

I like to drizzle a little more bbq sauce over the top and then let it cool, cut and serve. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Creamy chicken pasta

Alright so this is whats for dinner tonight it's another recipe I found on pinterest that I wanted to try out. I followed it to the original site of course and it took me to it sounded easy and yummy so I added it to my weekly menu. I made it the first time and it was good but I played with it as usual and adapted it to our tastes and here's my version.

This is what you'll need

1 pound spaghetti
4 chicken breasts
1 large onion
7 oz mushrooms
2 cans concentrated cream of mushroom soup ( I used Campbell’s)
6 slices bacon
2/3 cup cheese
1 apple (I used red for a little added sweetness but whatever kind you want is fine)
salt & pepper
dried parsley (optional)

This feeds 8-10 people alone and if you serve more with it like
salad and bread it could easily serve 10-12 people.

Alright so I started out by putting my bacon in the pan and letting it go. While the bacon was crisping and making my house smell delicious I minced my onion and put salt and pepper on my chicken. Once the bacon was done I put it on a plate with paper towels to dry. I put the chicken in the same pan I had the bacon leave the bacon juices for flavor. I really only browned the chicken it doesn't need to cook all the way through that will come later.

Once the chicken has some brown on it put it in a pan and set aside.

Sorry for the blurry picture I'm not sure how that happened lol.

Okay so now that the chicken is set aside you should still have plenty of bacon grease to toss the minced onion in. While the onion is caramelizing go ahead and peel and mince the apple and roughly chop the mushrooms. Once the onion is done add in the mushrooms and apple. Let them all cook and let all the flavors come together. While they're cooking you want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mmm yes its yummy!! Once that is done add your cans of soup in. I know that when you usually use the soup you add a little water to it to thin it out a bit but with the left over bacon grease and the juices from the onion and apple you shouldn't have to.

Mix it all well and let it come back up in heat until it's nice and bubbly. Next you add in your cheese and mix well. Now before you get ahead of yourself and pour it over the chicken give it a quick taste to make sure it has enough flavor. If need add some salt and pepper to taste. Once you're satisfied go ahead and pour it over the chicken.

Slide this into your preheated oven and it should take about 30 minutes to cook the chicken all the way through. In the last ten minutes or so put your pasta in your boiling water and cook by directions on the package. Once the spaghetti is done cooking drain, obviously, and take your chicken out of the sauce and set aside. Mix the sauce in with the spaghetti serve and top with the chicken and sprinkle of parsley. Yum!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Crockpot chicken cacciatore

Alright so this is what was for dinner last night. I was about to be running around all day cleaning the house for my brother in law and his family to come to town and did not want to have to cook that night too. I decided to put something in the crockpot early and not worry about it. That would be my favorite way to do it! This dish is so yummy and the chicken is sooo tender when its done you won't believe it!

So here's what you will need :)

4 chicken thighs (you're welcome to use breasts I just had thighs)
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup of sugar (white or brown whatever you have)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of rice (I used brown)
salt & pepper to taste
This will serve 4 people (and a two year old, just saying lol)

So I started off my day by dropping everything except the rice into the crockpot. Let that go on low for 4-5 hours, stirring every few hours. In between then I cleaned and Zoe and I painted our nails lol.

Once the chicken was done I set my crockpot to keep warm and started cooking the rice.

Once the rice is done take the chicken and the last bit of veggies out you dont want your plate to get too watery.

Be careful taking the chicken out because it will literally slide off of the bone. Mmm lol

Lay the rice down, then carefully place the chicken ontop and throw some veggies on there. Its done and so yummy!!