Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Menu

As I mentioned in my last post, I am making Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Brunch this year for my family. I'm pretty excited about this and have been thinking about the menu for quite some time now...here's what I've got going on so far (links to recipes will be added as I upload them later in the week):

Christmas Eve Dinner
Spiral Ham
Pioneer Woman's Cornbread Dressing
Roasted Broccoli
Canned Farmstand Corn (Mom's canning, not mine)
Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms
Strawberry Pretzel Salad (also Mom's contribution!)
Crescent Rolls

Christmas Brunch
Monkey Bread
Fruit Salad

Christmas Treats
Peach Pie

Spaghetti and Meatballs Take 2

Last night I decided to do a second attempt of some spaghetti and meatballs. As I suggested in my previous meatball post, I wanted to test this out with our favorite sauce recipe and mix things up a bit. The result was pretty amazing, even though I had to make a few judgement calls on some substitutions since I was resolved not to go to the market this week until my Christmas Market Extravaganza (I'm cooking Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Brunch this year since it's our first year with the kiddo which means we get to stay home for Christmas fun...I'm sure lots more recipes will follow...) Anyway, this is what I came up with...

Spaghetti and Meatballs
(Makes 12 meatballs)

For the Meatballs:
2 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup skim milk
3 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp dried basil (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp dried parsley (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the Sauce:
1/2 lb ground beef
small white onion, chopped
14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce
8 oz water
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/2 c. ketcup
Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl tear the pieces of bread into smaller bits and soak in the milk. Mash with a fork until it makes a mushy paste.
  3. In a bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients together (including your milk-bread paste) using your hands.
  4. Make 12 golf-ball sized meatballs and place them on a foil covered baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  6. While the meatballs are baking, brown the rest of the ground beef with the onion in a large skillet (you'll want one large enough to hold all the meatballs...and a lid would be awesome as well).
  7. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients and turn down the heat to let the sauce simmer (I had to use 8 oz of water because I used up my last can of tomato sauce, if you have an other can, use that...or a larger can to begin with that would be better but the water wasn't so bad since the meatballs brought in some extra flavor.)
  8. Once the meatballs are done, put them into the sauce and let it simmer, covered for as long as you want (...mine went for almost an hour but that's just because we eat ridiculously late =P)
We ate ours over penne again (when in the world am I going to get me some legit SPAGHETTI and meatballs?! I'll tell you when...TONIGHT when I eat the leftovers!!) and it was delicious. This was a lot simpler (read weekday friendly) than the previous attempt (all the dried ingredients eliminated the need to saute anything before adding it to the meatball mixture which was the main thing that simplified this endeavor) and I'd say the meatballs were just as good this time around and less fatty since there was no pork. The meatballs didn't dry out as I was afraid they would, but it probably helped that I used 80-20 beef this time instead of my usual 90-10 (I accidentally bought 80-20 last time...so sad...mostly because I buy meat in bulk so I got 7 lbs of it =P)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I love enchiladas. About a year ago (I couldn't believe it was that long ago when I checked the blog!) I made an attempt at beef enchiladas that turned out pretty amazing, but this time I decided to try out a chicken recipe. I got the bones of this recipe from Annie's Eats, but I made a few changes based on what I had on hand to came up with the following recipe:

Chicken Enchiladas
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp sugar
15 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
1 cup water
1 lb chicken breast
Salt and pepper, to taste
10 6" flour tortillas
8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
Cooking spray

  1. In a large, deep skillet (or large sauce pan) cook the onions in oil on medium-high until tender.
  2. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar.
  3. Add tomato sauce, Rotel, and water and bring to a bubble.
  4. Reduce heat and put chicken breasts into the sauce covering as much of the chicken with the sauce as possible. Cover ad cook on low for 20-30 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through).
  5. Remove chicken and shred using two fork. Place in a large bowl.
  6. Strain out large pieces of veggies and put into the bowl with the shredded chicken. Keep liquid in a separate container, but add 1/3 cup to the chicken mixture. Also add in 4 oz (about 1 cup) of the shredded cheese.
  7. Preheat your oven to 425 while you assemble the enchiladas.
  8. Grease a 13" x 9" pan with cooking spray.
  9. Take 1/3 of the chicken mixture and wrap it up in a tortilla placing it seam-side down in the dish. I was able to get 10 tortillas into my pan (two rows of five tortillas each) this way.
  10. Spray the top of the tortillas with cooking spray and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they start to lightly brown.
  11. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 400.
  12. Pour the enchilada sauce over top, then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.
  13. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 400.
  14. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes or until nice and bubbly.
  15. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven so you: 1) don't burn your face off, and 2) can get the enchiladas out of the pan without too much of a disaster on your hands.
I've been slacking and forgetting to ask Hubby his ratings lately (it all started with an unfortunate beef brisket situation - during dinner I asked for his rating and he said, "I've had a rough day, you don't want me to rate things today, ask me tomorrow.") but he was so excited about this meal I was in the clear ;-) I served it with Spanish Rice mixed with some corn. You can totally serve two of these bad boys as a meal, but since we're ridiculous, we each had three.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Breakfast Casserole

Apparently I am into sausage lately. This is a recipe that one of my friends brought to our Thursday mom's group. Delicious and since I'm on the hunt for some Christmas morning recipes I thought I better give it a test run 0=) I think my oven runs a little hot so things were done a bit sooner than the timer, but it was still tasty!

Breakfast Casserole
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com by TT =) )

1 lb. sausage (I used Bob Evans)
1 Pillsbury crescent roll sheet
10 eggs
1/2 cup milk
8 oz shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack, but Mozzerella and Cheddar would work)
1 tsp dried oregano

  1. Preheat oven to 350, lightly grease or spray a baking dish with nonstick spray then line bottom of prepared baking dish with crescent roll dough, pre-bake for 6-7 mins
  2. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain and crumble.
  3. Sprinkle crumbled sausage into bottom of crescent roll dough.
  4. In a large bowl, mix beaten eggs, mozzarella, cheddar, and milk. Season the mixture with oregano, and pour over the sausage and crescent rolls.
  5. Bake for 25 mins at 350, reduce heat and bake at 325 for 20 mins. Eggs should be set or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Time saving tips:
  • Prepare steps 1-3 and store in fridge once cooled.
  • Prepare step 4 and store in fridge overnight
  • In the morning, pour egg mixture onto dough & sausage and bake in preheated oven according to step 5.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crock Pot Pizza

Pizza is Hubby's favorite food. Anything that has the mention of pizza will at least give a first attempt around here and after this recent discovery, we may have may more attempts in our future.

Crock Pot Pizza

1 1/2 lbs ground meat (beef, sausage, etc.)
6 oz. (uncooked) wide egg noodles
24 oz spaghetti sauce
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 pkg pepperoni
24 oz shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Italian blend...your choice)

  1. Boil noodles just shy of package instructions, drain and set aside.
  2. Brown meat in a large skillet and add Italian seasoning.
  3. Once meat is browned, add the spaghetti and tomato sauces to the skillet.
  4. In your crock pot start with a layer of sauce on the bottom, then add 1/2 the noodles, 1/2 the package of pepperoni, and 1/2 the cheeses. Repeat (cheese should be your top layer).
  5. Cook on Low for 3-4 hours.
Super simple and tasty. I used a mixture of cheeses, one 8 oz package of cheddar, one 8 oz package of mozzarella, and one 8 oz package of Italian blend cheeses. I used a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage in my first attempt, next time I think I will go with straight ground beef although I may add in some mushrooms which I mention to do this time, but totally forgot to pick up a package at the market. Delicious and will most definitely be happening again this winter!