Sunday, March 12, 2017

Slow Cooker Sausage Cassoulet

The first time I had Cassoulet was growing up with my great cooking parents. My dad had found a recipe and made it and our family LOVED it! According to Wikipedia, Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat, pork skin and white beans. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. I remember the recipe my father used as being a very hearty dish with a medley of flavors, very satisfying.

Unfortunately, my dad lost the original recipe he had used, and through the years, though trying to find it many times, we were never able to locate it. This is a Cassoulet recipe my father came across from The CL Diet Habit, and it closely resembles what we grew up with. You can use chicken along with the sausage, or beef, or whatever, but I have to say that the sausage really makes it, so don’t leave it out!

When I made this, instead of cooking the veggies in a Tbl of oil as suggested, I cooked the sausage and then used the same pan with drippings to sauté the veggies so they soaked in the flavor of the meat. I used a little more of each vegetable too, just because that’s how I roll. ;-)

So, let’s get cooking!

In a skillet large enough, cook the sweet Italian sausages until thoroughly done.

While the sausages are cooking, dice the celery and onion, peel and slice the carrots, peel and cube the rutabaga into 1 inch pieces, and peel and mince the garlic.

When the sausages are cooked, set aside to cool, and sauté the veggies and garlic in the same pan with the drippings for 5 minutes.

Slice the sausages into ¼ inch rounds.

In a 6 qt crock pot, place the veggies, diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, sausages, chicken stock, thyme, and black pepper.

Cover and cook for 8 hours on low. Or, as I did, 2 hours on high and then 4 hours on low. Omg, it makes the house smell so good when it’s cooking!!

In a smallish skillet, melt the butter and add the bread crumbs. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until browned. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly.

Stir half of the bread crumb mixture into the Cassoulet in the crock pot as a thickener, and then sprinkle the rest on top. Serve and watch the smiles!

Enjoy! ~TMMF


6 sweet Italian sausages
1 md onion
6-8 carrots
½ md rutabaga
2 stalks celery
2 massive cloves garlic
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2 15oz cans cannellini beans,
rinsed and drained
1 c chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp black pepper
½ c bread crumbs
¼ c Parmesan cheese
1 Tbl butter
2 tsp dried parsley

Monday, February 20, 2017

Light & Spicy Zucchini Sauté

This little recipe is one I threw together one night looking to cut down on carbs for a side dish. I served it with my Honey Garlic Chicken for a light meal that didn’t leave us feeling all bogged down. It was such a hit, and so easy to make, I know we’ll be having it again and again.

After washing your zucchini, cut it into chunks about 1 inch in size.

Mince the garlic and ginger.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet and toss in the zucchini, stirring frequently and sautéing for about 3-4 minutes.

Add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 2-3 more minutes, stirring almost constantly.

Remove from the heat and serve. Enjoy! ~TMMF


3 small to mediumish zucchinis
2 Tbl oil
2 cloves garlic
¾ inch ginger root

½ tsp red pepper flakes

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ham & Broccoli Bake

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but the ordeal of my mother’s declining health, open heart surgery, and then unexpected death was a lot to deal with. I feel like I’m still in the numb disbelief stage, but each day I try my hardest to do whatever I need to, whatever I can. Today I thought of my mom and wanted to try and get back on the road of my life and doing something I know she’d like. So here I am with a recipe I whipped up last night that is so easy and pretty quick too. The kids gave it raving reviews, and I hope you enjoy it too!

So, let’s get cooking!

First, cube the ham into ½ inch pieces, and grate the cheddar cheese.

Make the roux by melting the butter in a large saucepan and stirring in the flour with a whisk. Add the warmed milk slowly, whisking in and continuously whisking until it blends and then thickens. I just put the milk in the microwave for about 3 minutes while I was dicing the ham. Add the salt, pepper, and 2 c of the cheddar cheese and mix in until melted.

Next, and this is soooooooo hard… the broccoli and ham in an 11 X 15” baking dish! hee hee Add the sauce and mix it in. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle on the French fried onions and the last cup of grated cheddar cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. And Aunt Viola! (voilà!) You’ve got yourself a nifty casserole the whole family will love. Megan is actually eating it for breakfast this morning!

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Ham & Broccoli Bake

1 ½ lb ham
2 ½ lb broccoli florets
½ c butter
2/3 c flour
5 c milk, warmed
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 c shredded cheddar cheese,
2 c French fried onions

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pizza Part 20: Chicken Fajita Pizza

So, here we are again with another pizza. I can’t help it; I love pizza! If I had the chance to open a restaurant, my top choice for what kind would most likely be a pizzeria. No big surprise there, huh? This recipe is one of my originals. I decided to try making it one night when we were thinking of making pizza for supper and I wanted something different than the usual. I looked up the basic ingredients for fajita seasoning since I didn’t have a packet of it on hand, then adjusted it to my liking. I’ve heard that it’s less expensive to make different seasonings yourself, which I want to do at some point, but there’s nothing wrong with using a pre-packaged one from the store. Anyhoo, I hope you like this. ☺

So, let’s get cooking!

First, cut up the chicken breast into smallish pieces, about ½ inch squares. Place it in a bowl and add the fajita seasoning, store bought or homemade. In a skillet with a little oil (1-2 Tbl), sauté the chicken cubes until just done and tender, then set aside.

Now for the sauce: In a smallish sauce pan, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Whisk in the milk, stirring continuously until thickened. Toss in the sriracha sauce and set aside to cool.

Dice the tomato and slice the onion and green bell pepper into pieces about an inch long.

Spread the pizza dough into the greased pan, and then spoon the sauce on and spread around. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top, then the fiesta blend. I almost always use at least some mozzarella because I love that cheesy stringy yumminess!

Distribute the onion and pepper slices, then the tomatoes and chicken. Bake at 425° for 18 minutes exactly. The underside of the crust will be a beautiful golden brown.

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Chicken Fajita Pizza

 pizza dough
1 lg chicken breast
1 packet fajita seasoning
*OR make it, recipe below
1 c milk
3 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
½ tsp sugar
1-2 Tbl sriracha sauce
1 lg tomato
½ lg green bell pepper
½ lg Vidalia onion
1 c shredded mozzarella
1 ½ c fiesta blend cheese

Fajita Seasoning

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cheesy Ham & Broccoli Rolls

This is such a nice recipe and perfect for a cool fall night or the next church potluck supper. It’s a recipe my sister Kris made ages ago and I always loved it. Well, ham...broccoli….and cheese! Anything with cheese is okay in my book! :-) I’m not exactly sure what Kris put in hers, but this is how I make it and it’s downright tasty, if I do say so myself. ;-)

So, let’s get cooking!

Assembling the rolls is easy; just lay out a ham slice, put the broccoli crown in it with the top sticking out, and roll, roll, roll away. Place the rolls in an 11X15” baking dish. You can spray the pan with cooking spray if you’d like. Put the rolls with the tops of the broccoli in towards the middle.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium pan and stir in the flour with a whisk until bubbly. Add the milk slowly while you constantly whisk it, until it thickens. Stir in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and the salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, melt the butter and add the bread crumbs, stirring until thoroughly coated. You can use seasoned crumbs or plain; I use whatever I happen to have on hand.

Next, lay the slices of Swiss cheese on top of the ham. Pour the cheesy sauce on top of that, leaving the broccoli tops uncovered. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the sauce, and bake at 400° for 30-40 minutes, until edges are bubbly and golden brown.

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Cheesy Ham & Broccoli Rolls

22-24 slices ham (deli cut)
2 bunches broccoli crowns,
separated from the core
3 Tbl butter
¼ c flour
2 c milk
½ c sharp cheddar grated
½ c Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
5-6 slices Swiss cheese
¾ c bread crumbs
2 Tbl butter

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pizza Part 19: Valerie's Calzone Pizza

So, here we are again with another of my original recipes. Have I ever mentioned that I love pizza?? Oh my, how I love pizza! It’s one of my four food groups. ;-) I have eaten it for breakfast, lunch, and supper, and can never get enough. This pizza came about one night when I was going to make my calzones for supper, but Timmy had said he wanted pizza instead. I had thought of making a small pizza for him and calzones for the rest of us, but then inspiration struck and here we are! ;-)

So, let’s get cooking!

Cut up the sliced ham into small squares, about ½ inch square. Dice the onion and chop the mushrooms a little bit.

Grease your pizza pan with Crisco and spread the dough to fit. Sprinkle on 2 c of the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Place the sliced pepperoni---you can use one layer, two layers, whatever you want. Personally, I prefer 2 layers of it.

Spread on the little cut squares of sliced ham. Add the diced onion (we like a LOT!) and then the mushrooms.

Confession time: The next step is to sprinkle on the remaining 1 ½ c mozzarella cheese, but I failed to take a pic. I commit this error sometimes, and this was one of them. But go to the next step and you can see for yourselves that this is a VERY cheesy pizza! ;-)

Bake at 425° for 18 minutes exactly. The crust underneath should be golden brown and scrumptious!

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Valerie’s Calzone Pizza

3 ½ c mozzarella cheese
pepperoni slices
½ lb sliced ham
1 md Vidalia onion
1 lg can mushrooms

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spicy Orange Chicken

Lately I’ve been craving some chicken with an Asian flair to it, and my dear assistant cook Miss Megan has also been asking for something like that too. I thought Orange Chicken would fit the bill. There are many recipes for Orange Chicken out there, but since I didn’t feel like looking any up, I just let it roll around in my head a little while and then went with it. This is what I came up with.

Just so you know, it is VERY spicy with 2 tsp red pepper flakes, so it may be a little too hot for some children. You might want to use just 1 tsp, and then add a little to your own portion so the kids’ tongues don’t burst into flames. Or God forbid one of them burps---someone may have their eyebrows singed! ;-) 

So, let’s get cooking! 

Peel and mince the ginger root. Don’t you just love working with fresh ginger?? It’s so juicy and fragrant! 

Peel and mince the garlic, and slice the red pepper into 1 inch lengths. 

And peel and dice the carrots small. My lovely assistant cook Miss Megan did the “cawwots,” as she says.

Next, cube the boneless skinless chicken breast into chunks about ¾ inch size. 

In a gallon size bag, with the cornstarch in it, coat the chicken chunks. Shake off the excess cornstarch in a sieve and return the cornstarch to the bag for the next handful of chicken chunks. 

In a large skillet, sauté the coated chicken in the oil, using a Tablespoon at a time. You can do it in batches, adding more oil when needed. Cook until all sides of the chicken are sautéed. They’ll finish cooking in the next steps.

Add the orange juice concentrate, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Mix well and simmer for about 6-8 minutes, stirring several times. 

Add the dices carrots and simmer about 4 minutes, covered. You can really see how it thickens now. 

Add the red bell peppers and broccoli florets. Cook for about 4-5 minutes more, covered.

Serve over rice if you’d like. It can be eaten by itself, of course, but it does go very nicely with rice. This is an excellent dish to make when you have leftover rice from another meal.

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Spicy Orange Chicken

1 ½ lb chicken breast
¾ c cornstarch
¼ c oil
1 red bell pepper
24 oz broccoli florets
2-3 cloves garlic
1 ½ inch ginger root
1 c carrot, diced small
½ can frozen orange juice concentrate
½ c water
¾ c rice vinegar
¾ c brown sugar
2 tsp red pepper flakes