Reuben Casserole

My mom was visiting recently and whipped up this little gem of a recipe. It is so very easy and so great on the taste buds. And since it has cheese, meat, and a lot of flavor I have a feeling it will just be a man pleasing recipe in general.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pastrami or corned beef
  • 1/2 bottle thousand island dressing (the original recipe calls for a whole bottle but I think it’s great with half)
  • 1 can sauerkraut (drained)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb Swiss cheese
  • about 6 pieces of rye bread or however much it takes to cover the casserole
  • 4 Tb butter, melted

Directions:

Spray or butter a casserole dish lightly. Layer the bottom of the dish with pastrami or corned beef. Top with thousand island dressing, then layer with sauerkraut, then Swiss cheese and lastly with Rye Bread (lay full pieces of the rye bread across the top covering the rest of the casserole). Drizzle melted butter over the top. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Yields: 8 or more

Enjoy 🙂

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Slow Cooker Sweet Pork

Oh my goodness my friends…it has been way too long since I last posted a recipe! I am finally getting settled into my new apartment and town and also GOT A JOB! Yay! So it’s been a little hectic around here, but the good news is I haven’t stopped cooking and now have many recipes to post on here!

This recipe was AA-MMM-AAAZZ-ING. My husband and I loved every bit of this meal and the leftovers. Each time we had the leftovers we were raving again about how delicious it was. Oh and it’s super easy so I hope you try it! This recipe is originally called Cafe Rio Pork however I have never eaten at a Cafe Rio so that means very little. It reminds me very much of a sweet pork I love from a restaurant back home…hence the name change.

Sweet Pork Tacos

Prep: 3 minutes

Cook: 5 hours on high or 7 hours on low

Ingredients:

  • Homemade style soft flour tortillas (I promise this actually makes a difference. I bought a brand titled Mi Mama’s Soft Flour Tortillas and they were amazing!)
  • 2-3 lbs pork (I used chops but I think any cut would work)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups salsa
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Season the pork with salt and pepper and place them in the slow cooker. Add brown sugar and salsa and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 5. Remove pork and trim fat if needed. Shred the pork (I usually use two forks and shred it very carefully so I don’t scratch my slow cooker). After shredding cook for about a half an hour longer so the pork can soak up more of the juices. Serve with lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, and whatever else you like on your tacos!

Yields: a lot….at least 6 full tacos

Happy Eating 🙂

Slow Cooker Tips

I found these tips about slow cookers from All Recipes (http://allrecipes.com/howto/slow-cooking-is-good-cooking/)

I thought they were extremely informative and hopefully you will too!

Is Browning Better?

You don’t need to brown meat before cooking it in a slow cooker, but there are some advantages. If you sear it with a little oil in a hot skillet, the meat develops more complex flavors. Always brown ground beef or any ground meat before adding it to your slow cooker: otherwise, the meat will clump together and add lots of grease to the finished product.

Go Easy on the Juice

Because slow cookers work at low temperatures with lids on, there’s nowhere for the liquid to go, so it just collects on the lid and bastes the food. If you’re adapting your favorite recipes from the stovetop or oven to the slow cooker, decrease the amount of liquid you use.

Lightly Spice

Whole spices such as bay leaves, peppercorns, or cinnamon sticks will give slow cooker items a very intense flavor if left in the pot for the entire cooking time, so use them sparingly. Ground spices as well as fresh and dried herbs, on the other hand, can lose much of their flavor if allowed to simmer for several hours in the slow cooker. It’s better to add these items during the last two hours of cooking if you can manage it.

Sooner or Later

The slow cooker is one of the few cooking methods where you can cut the cooking time by turning up the temperature and still get great results. If something takes 10 hours on the “low” setting, you can safely cook it for 5 hours on the “high” setting with very similar results.

 

Alcohol Substitutions in Recipes

If you do not drink or are like me and find that you really want to make a certain meal and you do not have the alcohol it calls for… here are some common substitutions (I got the substitutions from this website http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blalcohol6.htm). Please be aware the flavor will not be exactly the same so if you can wait to go to the grocery store it is probably worth it!

  • Red wine- beef or chicken broth
  • Sherry- orange or pineapple juice
  • Vermouth- apple juice, grape juice or balsamic vinegar
  • White wine- chicken broth or ginger ale

Happy Cooking 🙂

Pan-Seared Chicken with Balsamic Cream Sauce Mushrooms and Onions

I made this last night and my husband and I both loved it. It was very flavorful and my husband made sure I was going to put this recipe on the blog haha. I got this recipe from this blog: http://peaceloveandlowcarb.blogspot.com/2012/01/pan-seared-chicken-with-balsamic-cream.html#.UFCcqbJmSFJ it is the first recipe I have made from this blog and I was definitely impressed.

For those of you who do not like cooking with heavy cream I apologize. I know I’ve posted a few of the Pioneer Woman’s recipes and now this recipe that both use cream. I try and switch it up between Cooking Light and these recipes (everything in moderation right?).

This is almost the final product (minus the final steps of adding the caramelized onions and Parmesan cheese)

Prep and Cook: about 35- 40minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 of a Large Onion – Thinly sliced
  • 1 Package of Whole Mushrooms – Halved (I used already sliced mushrooms)
  • 1/2 Cup of Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 5 Tbs. Butter – Divided
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions:
Saute onions over medium heat in 2 Tbs of butter until they are caramelized – About 15 Minutes.  When they are golden brown, remove from the heat and set aside.
At the same time and in a separate pan, heat the remaining 3 Tbs. of butter over medium-high heat.  Place the chicken breasts in the pan.  Brown on both sides, remove from the pan and set aside (Note – they will not be all the way cooked at this stage).
De-glaze the pan with the chicken stock.  Use a rubber spatula to make sure you get all the chicken bits and butter off the pan. This helps to flavor your sauce. Add the heavy cream and the balsalmic vinegar and stir. Add mushrooms and reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the chicken back to the pan, turn heat back up to medium and saute until the chicken is cooked all the way through.  About 10-15 minutes.
Remove chicken breasts from the pan and plate.  Add the Parmesan and caramelized onions to the sauce and keep stirring until the cheese is completely melted. Cover the chicken breasts with the sauce and serve! (sorry I don’t have a final picture for you…I didn’t like the way my last picture turned out)
Yields: 4 servings
I served this with rosemary bread and balsamic asparagus.
Happy Eating!

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

If you’re a cupcake, lemon, or dessert fan….you have to try these! They are seriously the best cupcakes I have ever eaten. They’re rich, creamy, and just all around delicious! I have to tell you that I did not make these cupcakes recently, but my mom did (original source: Food & Family). I’ll post several of my moms recipes on this blog as she is my inspiration for wanting to become a wife who is great at both cooking and baking :). My husband told me when we were dating that he would marry me once I was as good of a cook as my mom haha. Good thing he didn’t hold me to that 😛

Anyway, these cupcakes are a little more time consuming than boxed cupcakes (really not by much) but they are so so soooo worth the few extra minutes and bound to impress!

Prep: Cupcakes and frosting only about 10 minutes!

Cook: 21-24 minutes baking (let cool for additional ten minutes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Lemon Instant Pudding
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Beat cake mix, pudding mix, water, egg whites and oil in large bowl with mixer on low speed until moistened. (Batter will be thick.) Beat on medium speed 2 min. Spoon batter evenly into 24 paper-lined 2-1/2-inch muffin cups.

Bake 21 to 24 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min.; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, beat sugar, cream cheese, butter and juice with mixer on low speed until well blended. Frost cupcakes.

Garnish with grated lemon peel!

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Pot Pie

I’m in the process of trying out all of the cookbooks I received as wedding gifts and I’m loving it. It’s great having such a variety. My Cooking Light cookbook has tons of delicious recipes that are healthy yet flavorful, my Tillamook Cheese cookbook is full of decadent creamy recipes, and so far I’m learning that Pioneer Woman likes to cook with heavy cream and wine….that being said I have been fully satisfied by the taste of every one of her recipes 🙂 If you don’t drink wine…no fear…I have created a “Tips and Techniques” tab that shows you what you can substitute.

I made this recipe for my hubby and one of his friends last night…NEITHER OF WHICH HAD EVER HAD POT PIE! Crazy I know! And It was definitely a success because they both LOVED IT! My husband doesn’t even like peas, or so he says, and he love love loved this meal!

That being said this is another quick and easy recipe. I made it after the guys were home (which means after 5 pm) and it came together so nicely and made the apartment smell amazing!

Prep: 5- 10 minutes

Cook: about 42 minutes (30 minutes in the oven)

Ingredients:

  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (I used a roast chicken I picked up at the grocery store and then de-boned)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low- sodium chicken broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • homemade or store bought pie crust (I used ready to bake pie crust…2 came in the pack and I used the other to make berry cobbler for dessert)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400*. Dice the celery, carrots, and onion. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, peas, and saute for a couple of minutes until the vegetables start to turn translucent. Stir in the chicken. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables and chicken and then stir in. Cook for a few minutes stirring gently. Stir in chicken broth (stirring constantly), bouillon cube, and wine. Stir in the cream and then allow the mixture to cook on low heat about 4 minutes. Add thyme, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat. Pour the chicken mixture into a deep pie pan or small casserole dish (I used my glass pyrex pie dish).

Place the crust on top of the chicken mixture and seal the sides. I love making pretty pie crusts. My mom calls me “The Peencher” because I’m good at pinching pie crusts haha. Anyway, I love the way it looks so if you want a pretty edge but your left hand flat against the side and pinch with your right hand to create little peaks around the edge of the pie.

Cut small slits in the top of the pie crust and bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yields: about 8 servings

Happy Eating 🙂

Pioneer Woman’s Linguine with Clam Sauce

So for those of you that have never heard of Pioneer Woman…you are missing out. Greatly. She is amazing and inspiring and all of her food I have made thus far is FABULOUS!!!! Seriously that good! Her blog is: http://thepioneerwoman.com/ and she also has two cookbooks. I received one of those cookbooks as a wedding gift and am absolutely loving it! This is one of her recipes that I made for my husband…I have to tell you this is majorly branching out for us. We rarely eat seafood aside from tilapia, salmon, and California rolls (I don’t think those are technically real crab) and we especially don’t cook seafood aside from tilapia and salmon. So this was stepping out on a limb. I thought this recipe was super quick and easy to whip up and my husband and I both LOVED it! It’s very rich and creamy so if you want to lessen that (or if you want it to be healthier) you can use regular milk instead of cream.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 12 to 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound linguine (the original recipe calls for 1 pound but I like my pastas with more sauce so I always cut back the amount of pasta I put into a recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • two 10 oz cans chopped clams, drained, juice reserved (I like the Chicken of the Sea brand)
  • 3/4 cup white wine (I used dry cooking vermouth because that’s what I had on hand…it is a lot sweeter so if you don’t like sweet tastes in your pasta choose a different white wine)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon plus lemon slices for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook the linguine until al dente. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Pioneer Woman says using both olive oil and butter allows you to heat the mixture at a higher heat before it starts to brown. Add the garlic and clams and stir together cooking for 3 minutes.

Pour in the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with the spoon. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the sauce is reduced and less watery. Add in 1 more tablespoon butter and stir to melt. Reduce the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice. Sprinkle in the parsley and pour in the cream.

Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well and taste for seasons. If the sauce is too thick add a little of the reserved clam juice. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes more. Pour the pasta in a heated serving bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Toss to combine and toss with Parmesan cheese and lemon slices.

Yields: 4 servings

*serve with bread and/or salad

Parmesan Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

…so good we ate half of them before I remembered to take a picture haha

I saw these on Pinterest and knew instantly I had to make them. My husband is a carboholic and loves loves loves any type of bread and rolls. Sure enough I made these and he told me they were his favorite thing I have made so far. Ha! And they were the easiest! The original recipe comes from this site: http://amandathevirtuouswife.blogspot.com/2012/03/garlic-parmesan-pull-apart-bread.html the awesome thing about these rolls is you can whip them up very quickly and it’s fun to change the seasonings up for a different taste every time.

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20-22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of refrigerated Grands biscuits (not the flaky layers)
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning or dried basil, or herbs provence (I used a pasta herb spice blend)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Throw the cold stick of butter in a bundt pan (or even a cake pan if you don’t have a bundt pan) and let it melt in the preheating oven.

While the butter melts, cut the Grands biscuits into quarters. In a bowl, toss the biscuit pieces, garlic, Italian Seasoning, and Parmesan cheese together.

Once the butter is melted, add the biscuit mixture, sprinkling with any cheese and garlic that gets let behind in the bowl.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20- 22 minutes until golden brown.

Yields: about 12 servings

Enjoy 🙂

Huli Huli Chicken

I told you I’m obsessed with my slow cooker 😛 I decided to expand my horizons a little from American and Italian food and I am glad I did because this Hawaiian chicken was awesome!

I found this recipe on the same site as the Maple and Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin (http://joelens.blogspot.com/2012/02/12-more-crockpot-recipes-for-stress.html) and made it yesterday on the last day our friends were visiting from Idaho.  We had plans to run around all day, but also didn’t want to eat out for another meal so I decided a slow cooker meal was the best way to go. Again this is a really quick and easy recipe that is extremely flavorful. All four of us loved it and my husband and I are definitely putting this in our regular meal rotation

Prep: 20- 25 minutes (includes reducing the sauce for 10 minutes)

Cook: 4 to 6 hours on low (if you use boneless skinless chicken breasts the cooking time will be shorter…you can check if the chicken is done with a meat thermometer when it reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit)

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cups crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or gluten free tamari or liquid aminos)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced or grated ginger
  • 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (or boneless skinless chicken breast if you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped mixed bell peppers
Directions:Simmer crushed pineapple, brown sugar, ketchup, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in medium saucepan until thickened and measures 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper.

Coat slow cooker with cooking spray.  Transfer sauce to slow cooker.

Season chicken with salt & pepper, add to slow cooker and coat evenly with sauce.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

About 30 minutes before the chicken is done, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and when hot, add bell peppers. Sauté peppers until slightly softened and then transfer to the crockpot. Stir to combine and allow to finish cooking with the chicken.

Serve in a serving dish with juices. I served ours over jasmine rice which was delectable!

Yields: 4 servingsEven though I don’t freeze meals very often I always like to know what meals freeze well for times when life gets super busy. The website I got this recipe from included this tip on freezing the meal:

* To make ahead/freezer meal: Prepare the recipe above as directed. Instead of transferring the ingredients into a slow cooker, place in a gallon sized freezer bag. Remove excess air, seal, (label the bag with date and recipe name), and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost bag completely and pour into a slow cooker. Cook 4 to 6 hours on low.