Friday, February 26, 2010

Sausage Hash Brown Bake

Another one from looked interesting and it called for red pepper which I was excited to use (see previous post).

I followed the advice of one reviewer and added in some eggs and mixed everything together instead of layering, to make it more of a comprehensive breakfast casserole. It was good, and I liked the basic ingredients, but if I were to try this again I might change it up - mostly not sure if the soup and all that sour cream is really necessary, especially with the addition of eggs.


2 pounds bulk pork sausage
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 ounce) package French onion dip (I used another 8 oz sour cream with a packet of dry onion dip mixed in)
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (I had red so I doubled up on that)
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 eggs, lightly beaten (my addition)
1 (30 ounce) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed


1. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain on paper towels. In a large bowl, combine 1-3/4 cups cheese and the next eight ingredients; fold in potatoes.

2. Spread half into a greased shallow 3-qt. baking dish. Top with sausage and remaining potato mixture (like I mentioned, I skipped the layers and just mixed everything together and poured it into the baking dish). Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until heated through.

Red Pepper Sale

A local farmers market-type grocery store here had red peppers on sale last week for $ .19 each.
$ . 19!

That's unheard of. We definitely stocked up, especially since they can go for as much as $1.50 each in the grocery store! It still makes me happy just thinking about it.

You'll notice that a lot of my recently posted recipes included red peppers (even when they weren't called for), and we've even just been slicing and enjoying them with ranch dip. Totally my new favorite vegetable.

Kielbasa and Kidney Beans

Adam and I both liked this, its certainly nothing spectacular but it was so quick and easy that it still makes the blog :)

Kielbasa and Kidney Beans
from Allrecipes - I made some changes so I'll indicate what I did differently


1 pound fully cooked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green pepper ( I only had red, so I just doubled up on that)
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (my addition)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons steak sauce ( I didn't have this, instead I added about 1 tbsp ketchup and 2 tsp adobo sauce)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (15 ounce) can white kidney or cannelini beans, rinsed and drained (I used red kidney beans)


1. In a skillet, cook sausage for 2-3 minutes. Stir in onion, peppers and potatoes. Cook and stir until sausage is lightly browned and vegetables are tender; drain.

2. Combine brown sugar, steak sauce, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce; stir into skillet. Add beans. Cook and stir until heated through.

I served over plain white rice, and because of that I felt it was lacking in the sauce department. If I make it again I will definitely double up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chile Relleno

Chile relleno = ooey gooey cheesy goodness
The possibilities are endless, so I'll just provide the general details.

Poblano/pasilla chile peppers
Cheese of your choice (we like pepper jack)
Other stuffing ingredients of your choice, if desired (perhaps a shredded meat and rice mixture or a sauteed veggie combo)
1 large egg for every 2 peppers
Oil for frying
Sauce (A good, homemade ancho chile sauce is the best, but to save time I like to use this sauce, with a little hot sauce added for extra heat)

1. Seed, roast and peel peppers:
* I like to seed the peppers before roasting them; I find that its just easier that way. I
cut a slit across the top of the pepper about 1/2" down from the stem (almost cutting all the
way through, but not quite), and then flip the top up and pull the seeds out. Then you can
also use that opening in the top to slide in the cheese/stuffing.
* Set the oven to low broil and place the peppers on a baking sheet. Broil for 10-15 minutes,
turning frequently as they start to blister and brown, almost looking like they are getting
burnt. Once the peppers are browned on all sides, remove from the oven and place in a
resealable plastic bag or in a large bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit and steam
for 20-25 minutes.
* Remove the peppers from the bag or bowl and place on a large plate or cutting board. Peel
the outer layer from the peppers.

2. Stuff the peppers. I like mine with just cheese (any good, melty cheese will work), but you can pretty much add in whatever you want! Last time we made these I did a few with leftover carnitas, spanish rice, and pepper jack and they were really good. You may need to use a few toothpicks to hold the chile together after its stuffed, just remember to pull them out before eating!

3. Prepare the egg batter. Separate the egg(s): place the whites in a large shallow bowl and the yolks in another, smaller bowl. Beat the egg whites using an electric mixer (you can do this by hand, but it takes forever) until frothy and stiff peaks start to form. Lightly beat the yolks, then fold the yolks carefully into the whites and stir just until combined.

4. Fry the chiles. Heat several inches of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (or use a deep fryer). When oil is hot, dip chiles one at a time into the egg batter, and turn to coat. Fry in hot oil 2-3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve with yummy sauce and more cheese on top!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mizithra in Browned Butter Pasta

1 Box Pasta of your choice (I'm personally in love with Rozoni Smart Taste Penne)
1 Stick of Butter
Mizithra Cheese to taste (Kind of hard to find sometimes, usually in the deli)
Another super easy and good "recipe" from me.
Cook pasta according to directions on box. Remember to salt the water.
Drain pasta.
In large frying pan, melt butter over low heat stirring constantly until it starts to turn brown.
Sprinkle in cheese and coat all noodles well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Potato Pancakes


4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 egg
4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. minced dried onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Butter or canola oil
1. Rinse potatoes in cold water; drain well.
2. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add potatoes and stir to combine. Add flour, onion, salt and pepper and mix well.
3. In a large skillet, heat butter or oil over medium heat. Drop potatoes by 1/4 cupfuls onto the hot skillet and flatten to form a pancake. Fry until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining potatoes, adding a little more oil or butter to the skillet before each new batch (should make about 12 pancakes, depending on size). Serve warm.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Slow Cooker Carnitas

This is one of my favorite recipe for carnitas, because the possibilities for the final result are endless! It cooks up perfectly but the spices don't completely overwhelm the meat, so you really can use it in a variety of different meals. This time around we started with these:

Pork tacos, in crispy corn shells and topped with sour cream and the sauce from Pioneer Woman's Perfect Enchiladas (which is another versatile item that we use a lot!). These tacos are reminiscent of my favorite ones from Qdoba - a place we used to frequent in Denver and I'm sad we don't have one here in San Diego :(

Of course there is a lot of meat leftover so we'll be adding it in to meals throughout the next week!

Slow Cooker Carnitas


2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (3-4 pound) pack "carnitas" (I can buy pork packaged as "carnitas" already at a local grocery store we have here, but if you can't find that a boneless pork shoulder roast is what to look for)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups chicken broth


1. In a small bowl, combine salt, garlic powder, cumin, and ground cinnamon. Coat pork with the spice mixture, and place in the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle cilantro on and around the pork, then pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture.

2. Cook on low 7-8 hours, turning meat halfway through cooking time.

No Recipe Needed - Cheesy Garlic Bread

You want to know the secret to fantastic garlic bread? A perfectly seasoned herb butter (we like garlic and dill), with a little bit of mayonnaise mixed in. Trust me, it makes a difference. Top with your favorite cheese, broil, and enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mascarpone and Mushroom Ravioli with Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Cream Sauce

I have a few things to say about this recipe:

1. The filling is fantastic, and the mascarpone is the reason. It is GOOD stuff. I'm never using ricotta or regular cream cheese in ravioli ever again.

2. You don't need to adjust the color on your monitor - that sauce really is that lovely, bright shade of orange! I'm glad it tasted good, because there was something just a little too unnatural about the color (even though its from the roasted peppers). Wonder how it can be toned down?

Overall though, I'm going to give myself a pat on the back for coming up with this one - it was delish!

Mascarpone and Mushroom Ravioli with Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Cream Sauce


1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. minced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbsp. green onions, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. ground thyme
1 cup roughly chopped baby spinach
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
Won ton wrappers (I used round ones)
1 egg, slightly beaten

Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Puree
3 red bell peppers, roasted, seeded, peeled, and sliced (or 1 cup jarred roasted red peppers)
3 garlic cloves, roasted

2 cups half-and-half (I used fat-free)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup Parmesan Romano cheese (or just Parmesan if you can't find the blend)
Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Puree


1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, and green onion, cook 5-7 minutes longer, until mushrooms are tender. Turn off heat and stir in thyme and spinach. Continue stirring until spinach is wilted and combined with the mushrooms. Remove mixture to a bowl and set aside. Once cooled, stir in the mascarpone cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste (I did this step the day before and let it sit in the fridge over night).

2. Meanwhile, prepare the roasted garlic and red pepper puree: Combine roasted red peppers and roasted garlic in a food processor or blendor (I used our magic bullet!); puree until smooth. Makes about 1 cup of puree.

3. In a large saucepan, heat the half-and-half over medium heat. When it starts to bubble slightly (do not let boil), whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Once butter is combined, slowly add the cheese, stirring constantly. Continue stirring (very important, otherwise your sauce might "break" like mine started too), and once the cheese is all melted in add the red pepper puree and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat.

4. On a large work surface, lay out the desired amount of won ton wrappers (recipe should make at least 16-20, depending on how much filling you add in). Brush a little of the beaten egg onto the edges of the wrappers. Place a small spoonful of the mascarpone mixture onto the center of each wrapper, then place a second wrapper over the top and press the edges together to seal well.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli a few at a time and cook until they float to the top, about 3-4 minutes.

6. Serve the ravioli topped with the red pepper cream sauce and extra Parmesan cheese, and of course some yummy, cheesy garlic bread.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scallops with Angel Hair

I had this recipe hand-written on a scrap of paper sitting in my recipe pile forever, so I have no idea where it came from but I suppose that's okay since I made quite a few changes anyway. It was a nice, light pasta, easy to put together and it makes me happy that I got to use scallops because I love those little guys!

Scallops with Angel Hair


2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 lb. bay scallops
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup vermouth or dry white wine
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
3 tsp. cornstarch
3 tsp. water
8 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
1/4 cup minced fresh parsely
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. sliced green onions


1. In a large skillet, cook scallops in 1 tsp. olive oil over mediume heat until firm and opaque. Remove and keep warm.

2. In the same skillet, saute onion in remaining 1 tsp. oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 min longer. Stir in the roasted red pepper, broth, wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Gradually stir into pan. Cook and stir 2 minutes until sauce thickens.

3. Stir in cooked angel hair and parsley; mix well. Place pasta on serving plates and sprinkle with Parmesan and green onions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff


2 lbs. top round steak, cut into 1" cubes
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
1 - 26 oz. can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 - 4 oz. can sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup diced onion
*I had some leftover French Onion soup that I used for the broth/onions and it worked great


1. Place meat in the bottom of slow cooker, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

2. In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Pour over meat. Cook on low 7-8 hours. Thicken with a little cornstarch slurry, if desired, and serve meat and gravy over rice or noodles.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cilantro Lime Spanish Rice

I made this to go along with the Perfect Enchiladas we had last night...a little twist on my usual Spanish rice recipe.


1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
2 Tbsp. minced onion
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. (or 1 cube) tomato-flavored chicken bouillon
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, divided


1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add rice and onion. Cook and stir until rice is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add broth, water, bouillon, garlic powder, lime juice and 1 Tbsp. cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 Tbsp. cilantro just before serving.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

French Onion Soup

Yum! I love being able to take my time with this and let the onions braise in the oven for a few hours...but the quick and easy version is almost as good :)


3 large yellow onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
4 cups beef broth
2 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp. thyme
4 slices crusty bread (I sliced mine from a leftover French loaf I had)
4 tsp. softened butter or margarine
Garlic salt
8 slices cheese (Swiss is traditional, Gruyere is a splurge...we usually go with plain mozzarella since I always have it on hand)


1. In a large stock pot over medium heat, combine butter and Worcestershire and heat until butter is melted. Stir in onions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook onions, stirring frequently, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

2. Increase heat to high, add broths and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer at least 30 minutes (or up to an hour).

3. Preheat your oven's broiler on the low setting. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet. Spread each slice with 1 tsp. butter and sprinkle with garlic salt. Broil until slightly crispy and light brown, about 2-3 minutes.

4. To finish: Ladle soup into 4 oven-proof bowls. Top soup with a slice of bread and 2 slices of cheese. Broil on low until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 3-4 minutes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

It doesn't get any easier than this...


2 (10 3/4 oz) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 cups water or beef broth
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms
1 - 5 1/2 lb. pot roast


1. In a large bowl, combine soup, soup mix, water, onion and mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Place roast in slow cooker. Pour soup mixture over the roast and turn to coat. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 8-9 hours.

Once its done, I'll thicken the gravy with a little cornstarch slurry, and serve the meat and gravy with rice or potatoes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sweet Thai Stir Fry

This was the last of my Newbie Week recipes (yeah, just a little late in posting it), and its actually something I just put together with some fresh vegetable and a few ingredients we had on hand.

I was initally just going to use the vegetables in my freezer (from Costco), but then I found all kinds of great veggies on sale last week so I changed plans and went with all fresh ones. I'm only a stir-fry fan when I can pick and choose what veggies to put in it :)
With the addition of some udon noodles we picked up at the Japanese market, this was a great, easy meal (and pretty too!)

Sweet Thai Stir Fry


Sweet Thai Sauce:
1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

*Note: This makes a lot of sauce - too much for the amount of vegetables I used. I maybe only used about half for this stir-fry, we used some as a dipping sauce for wontons, and the rest a few days later on coating some chicken wings that we baked.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
6-8 cups fresh vegetables, sliced or chopped (I used 2 small broccoli crowns, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 1/2 lb. of white mushrooms, 1/4 lb. snow peas, and 1/2 small yellow onion)
6 oz. udon (or other) noodles, cooked and drained


1. In a medium bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Mix well to combine. Set aside.

2. In a wok or large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, green onion, and red pepper; cook and stir 1 minute. Add all vegetables and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add desired amount of sauce to the vegetables and stir to coat. Mix in a little cornstarch slurry (1 tsp. cornstarch plus 1 Tbsp. water) if desired, to thicken sauce. Toss in noodles and serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

No Recipe Needed - Carne Asada Fries

Crispy french fries topped with carne asada, cheese, cilantro, green onion, taco sauce, sour cream, and avocado. Yum!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Corn and Kielbasa Chowder

Yay - a picture! High five to me for remembering to take one this time.

Marci posted this on her recipe blog and gave it great reviews, and since we had almost all of the ingredients on hand already I decided to try it.

My review: simple, quick and delicious - three of my favorite recipe attributes!

Corn and Kielbasa Chowder
from Rachael Ray Magazine


8 ounces kielbasa, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
One (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth
1 large baking potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup half-and-half
One (1-pound) bag frozen corn, thawed
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh dill, for garnish


1. Heat a deep skillet or a wide 4- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the onions and butter to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and potato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the half-and-half and corn and cook, stirring, until heated through.

3. Using a blender or food processor, puree 1 cup chowder until smooth. Stir the puree back into the chowder along with the browned kielbasa and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the dill.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tilapia Tacos

I know I promised to do better but yet for this one I have neither a picture nor an exact recipe. What is my problem? I'm trying to be conscious about writing down everything as I cook, and it still doesn't happen.

This one I do regret not writing down exact measurements because these tacos actually turned out pretty good. I used tilapia because we had some in the freezer, but I was nervous about it since its really not my favorite fish. but I'm happy to report that it cooked up nicely and had good flavor.

So, once again, you get the general idea of how I created these :(

Tilapia Tacos with Chipotle Cream

For the fish:

1/2 lb (3 fillets) of tilapia
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
handful of cilantro
cumin (1/2 - 1 tsp)
Creole seasoning (about 2 tsp.)
olive oil (1-2 Tbsp.)
lime juice (1-2 Tbsp)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the lime juice. Let marinate for several hours (I mixed it in the morning and let it refrigerate all day).

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add lime juice to the fish and stir to combine. Add fish and marinade to the skillet and saute until fish is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
I then kept the marinade ingredients in the pan a little longer after we took the fish out, to cook the onion and garlic. You don't have to consume these - I didn't - but Adam added them to his tacos and he liked it.

Chipotle cream:

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 -2 Tbsp. adobo sauce (depending on how much you like)
1 Tbsp. green chile sauce (I just added this in at the last minute because we had some leftover)

Combine all ingredients.

To serve:

We enjoyed these in homemade, crispy corn tortilla shells, with the chipotle sauce, lettuce, tomato, Monterey Jack cheese, and avocado.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

California Chicken

No picture for this one. So sorry. I forgot to take one until half my plate was in my belly and well, obviously too late.

This could almost be put in the "no recipe needed" category because it was so simple. My review? Just okay. Nothing spectacular. A good way to use up some avocado that was not going to last much longer.

California Chicken
idea from

But of course I made some enhancements so I'll share the basics of what I did...sorry this isn't going to be an exact recipe!

1. I combined the following in a large bowl and let marinate all day:
8 chicken tenderloins
a little olive oil
a few tablespoons of lime juice
a handful of cilantro
2 garlic cloves, sliced
salt and pepper

2. Added a little olive oil to a large skillet, removed the chicken from the marinade and added it to the pan, and sauteed until cooked through. Since I used the tenderloins they cooked up pretty quickly.

3. Chicken was placed on a baking sheet covered with foil, and each tenderloin was topped with a few slices of Roma tomato and a slice of Monterey Jack cheese. I put it under the broiler on low for a few minutes until the cheese melted .

4. Transferred the chicken to a plate and topped with some fresh, sliced avocado. Served with a side of rice.


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