Monday, September 22, 2014

I Helped My Hamburger Myself

Okay, this recipe was born, literally, in a few seconds as I was grocery shopping and walked by an end cap display of “Ultimate Hamburger Helper.” I saw the photo on the box and though how good it looked, and instantly it popped into my head that I could make a dish like it myself.

As I walked through the rest of the store, my brain was off and running with this idea and wouldn’t rest until I had tried it out. The result was so good, everyone loved it and it sure disappeared fast! I hope you like it. You can substitute ground turkey or TVP as you see fit.

So, let’s get cooking!

Set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. While you’re waiting for it to boil, dice the Vidalia onion and green pepper, and peel and mince the garlic.

In a skillet, cook the hamburg, chopped onion and pepper, and minced garlic until hamburg is done and veggies are tender. Set aside in a bowl.

While that’s cooking, cube the Velveeta cheese and shred the sharp cheddar cheese. I always use extra sharp cheddar.

In the skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour with a whisk. When bubbly, slowly add the evaporated milk, whisking and scraping the sides of the pan to get all the roux mixed in. Keep cooking on medium heat and whisking until thickened.

Add the can of diced tomatoes, the red pepper flakes, and the black pepper and stir well. Add the cubed Velveeta cheese and the shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Mix well with the whisk until cheeses are melted.

Add the hamburg/veggie mixture and stir until evenly mixed in. Drain the pasta well, and place back in the pot it was cooked in. Add the meat/veggie sauce to the pasta.

Serve and enjoy! ~TMMF

My sweet Megan cubing Velveeta. <3
I Helped My Hamburger Myself 

12 oz pasta, cooked
1 lb hamburg
1 Vidalia onion
1/2 lg green pepper
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbl butter
¼ c flour
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
6 oz Velveeta cheese
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
   (1 c shredded)
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp black pepper

Friday, September 19, 2014

Linguine with Chicken and Zucchini Salsa

So, here we are with my Linguine with Chicken and Zucchini Salsa. This is the recipe I submitted to HelloFresh for their recipe contest this summer, and mine was the winning recipe. What an exciting honor for me! My recipe went into their boxes for the week of September 15th, with my recipe on their recipe card and my name and how I came up with the recipe for it.

Though they changed the name of the recipe, it’s still the recipe I submitted, adjusted to use grape tomatoes instead of a regular tomato as I did. I’m putting the recipe here as I originally had it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it and eating it!

So, let’s get cooking!

First, remove any excess fat from the chicken breast and cube into 1 inch chunks. Squeeze the lime for the juice. Place chicken in a bowl with 1 Tbl olive oil, juice from ½ a lime, and ½ tsp red pepper flakes. Marinate for 10 minutes.

While the meat is marinating, dice the zucchini, onion, green bell pepper, and tomato. Mince the garlic and chop the fresh cilantro.

Start the water boiling for the linguine. Set a skillet on the stove on medium high heat. When hot, sauté the marinated chicken until just cooked and tender, about 6 minutes or so, stirring frequently. Place chicken and juices in a bowl and set aside.

Start cooking the linguine; cook for roughly 10 minutes until al dente, stirring frequently.

Heat skillet again with ½ Tbl olive oil. Now in the skillet, cook the onions and peppers, stirring almost constantly, for a minute.

Add the zucchini and cook another minute, stirring. Add the tomatoes and garlic, cooking about 1 ½ minutes, continuing to stir.

Add the other 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and the sugar. Add the cooked chicken along with juices and the cilantro and heat through (about a minute more).

Drain the linguine. Serve the chicken and zucchini salsa mixture over a serving of linguine.

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Linguine with Chicken and Zucchini Salsa

2 chicken breast
1 small zucchini
1 lg tomato
½ Vidalia onion
½ green bell pepper
1 lg clove garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes, divided
1 lime
1 1/2  Tbl oil
2 Tbl fresh cilantro
½ tsp sugar
4 oz linguine

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

This is a nifty little recipe that I found online, and since I’d never had spaghetti squash but always wondered what it was like, I decided it was time to find out. And the recipe looked really good, too. I didn’t even veer away from the original recipe for this one; it seemed to be fine just as it was, and the kids ended up loving this. It was a lot of fun to make, and seemed like magic when the squash baked and the insides turned into “spaghetti!" ;)

So, let’s get cooking!

Heat the oven to 400°. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds, and place cut side down on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, until knife tender.

Using a fork, scrape out the flesh of the squash, which will come apart as strands of “spaghetti.” Scrape the strands into a bowl.

While the squash is baking, dice the onion and tomatoes, and mince the garlic. In a skillet with the oil, sauté the onion, garlic, and dried basil until tender. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until liquid is evaporated.

With the spaghetti squash strands in the bowl, add the cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, and tomato-onion mixture. Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix together the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Spray a 9 X 7 baking dish (larger if it’s a bigger spaghetti squash) with cooking spray. Spread mixture into baking dish. Top with the cheesy bread crumb mixture. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Megan helping scrape out the "spaghetti." 

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbl oil
1 small onion
2 Roma tomatoes
1 huge clove garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 c cottage cheese
½ c shredded mozzarella
½ tsp black pepper
¼ c parmesan cheese
3 Tbl seasoned bread crumbs

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pizza Part L: Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza

This is the recipe I came up with in response to Papa John’s new specialty pizza. I am always wanting to try new pizza recipes, and besides just coming up with my own ideas for them, I do like to copycat various restaurants’ pizzas. You can always make them for way less than you’d pay to order, although I do order at times for convenience when they have a special deal.

Some of my favorite pizzas I’ve copycatted are Steak Arrabbiatta Pizza and Philly Cheese Steak Pizza. If you make those, you’ll see why: heaven in a pizza pie! And I think you’ll enjoy this new Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza as well. Tender pork, bold barbecue sauce, and sweet Vidalia onions blend together to make this a taste bud sensation.

So, let’s get cooking!

First, you need to decide how to make your pork. The best and only way I will do it is in the crock pot overnight, or all day for that night. We’ll just take it that you have your pork ready to use.

Pull the pork apart with two forks. Add as much barbecue sauce as you want, along with the liquid smoke, and coat the meat well. Slice the onions.

Shred the pepper jack cheese. Spread the dough onto a greased sheet pan or pizza pan. Use a spoon to spread the ¾ c barbecue sauce onto the pizza dough. Sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella cheese, then evenly sprinkle on the shredded pepper jack cheese.

Distribute the pulled pork evenly on top of the cheeses. I just used my hands; it was easier than fiddling with a spoon. Add the onions…and finally the red pepper flakes.

Bake in a 425° oven for 18 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom.

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza

1 pizza dough
8 oz shredded pork
BBQ sauce to taste
½ tsp liquid smoke
¾ c BBQ sauce
1 small Vidalia onion
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c pepper jack cheese

Friday, September 12, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

I found this recipe online, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself, as much as I love lasagna and buffalo chicken. I didn’t always like it, but years ago one of my sisters made Buffalo Chicken Dip for a family Christmas party, and ever since then I’ve been a lover of Buffalo Chicken. No blue cheese for me, though; Ranch dressing will do just fine, thank you. ;)

The recipe I found is from a blog called All in All, and while it looked really good, when I went through the ingredients, I knew right off I wanted to delete this, add that, etc. So I went to the kitchen and came up with my version of it, and it came out wicked good! Definitely making this again.

So, let’s get cooking!

First, start your chicken breast cooking in a skillet with a tiny amount of oil. While that’s cooking, get a large pot of water boiling and cook the lasagna noodles.

When the chicken is done, you can either use two forks to pull it apart or cut it. I chose to dice it, and I diced it fairly small since this is a layered dish. That’s also a way to make it go farther. ;)

Place the chicken in a bowl and coat with the hot sauce. I used about 1 c.

Now for the filling. In a medium saucepan, melt the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk almost constantly. Add the Ranch dressing and pepper. Pour into a mixing bowl and set aside for a few minutes to cool.

When cool enough, add the cottage cheese and 1 c of the mozzarella cheese, stirring thoroughly.

To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the hot sauce in the bottom of the pan. Lay lasagna noodles down to cover the bottom of the pan. I fit 4 going the long way and a 5th the short way and had to cut off about 1 ½-2 inches of it.

Sprinkle half the diced buffalo chicken on the lasagna noodles. Now spread half the cheesy Ranch mixture on top.

Lay  five more noodles on and spread more hot sauce on top of the noodles.

Sprinkle the other half of the diced buffalo chicken on top, and then spread the other half of the cheesy Ranch mixture.

Place the last five lasagna noodles on top. Spread on more hot sauce. When I make it again, I am going to use a little more of the hot sauce spread on top of the noodles.

Sprinkle the other 1 c of shredded mozzarella on top. Use a little more if you like. I usually do. ;)

Bake at 350° for about 35 minutes. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

15 lasagna noodles
2-3 huge chicken breasts
1 ¼ c Frank’s hot sauce (approx.)
16 oz cream cheese
1 2/3 c Ranch dressing
1 c cottage cheese
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
½ tsp black pepper

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Caramelized Baked Chicken

This most divine, heavenly recipe is one I found on Facebook and on, and I've made it a couple times and will make it again. It’s very easy and doesn’t require any marinating, though if you wanted to, I’m betting they’d be even more to-die-for. ;)

I only altered this recipe by adding in red pepper flakes to kick it up. Use whatever chicken parts you want; chicken wings are expensive and there’s not much meat on them. I can get chicken leg quarters for .69 per pound, and since we be po’ folk, I get those. I just cut them up myself to separate the legs and thighs, and they’re ready to go.

So, let’s get cooking!

In a mixing bowl, mix together the oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Place the chicken in a large baking dish. If you’re using thighs or bone-in breasts, place them upside down. You’ll flip them halfway through. Pour the sauce mixture on the chicken.

ALL of the sauce mixture, every last drop. Use a rubber spatula and scrape that bowl clean!

Bake at 350° for about an hour. After half an hour, flip the thighs or bone-in breasts if you've used those.

Enjoy! ~TMMF

Caramelized Baked Chicken

2 ½ lbs chicken (wings, legs, thighs)
1 2/3 Tbl oil
½ c soy sauce
1 n2/3 Tbl ketchup
¾ c honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Monday, September 8, 2014

Crab Rangoon Dip

This nifty little recipe is one I found online and being #1- a lover of dips, and #2- a lover of crab Rangoon, I knew I’d be making this. This recipe is so easy and so, SO incredibly good, I could eat the entire batch myself. It’s one of my downfalls, like Rice Crispy Treats…if I make them I can’t seem to stop myself from eating them all. I think you’ll love this too. And this is one recipe I didn’t vary from one little iota, too.

So, let’s get cooking!

Set a skillet of oil on the stove to start heating. You want about 2-3 inches of oil to fry the wonton wrappers.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…oh wait, this isn’t a western novel, it’s a recipe! Okay then, in the meantime, chop the scallions and crabmeat.

Place the softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl along with the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, confectioner’s sugar, and garlic powder.

Cream with a mixer until smooth.

Mix in the crab meat and scallions using a wooden spoon.

Place in a greased 9 X 13” baking dish. Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.

While the dip is baking, make the fried wontons. Test the oil to see if it’s hot enough by dropping in a tiny piece of something…I usually find a tiny piece of chopped vegetable on the table where I chopped everything and just drop it in. If it sizzles frantically right away, the oil should be ready.

The wonton wrappers should be cut in half on the diagonal so they are triangles. Just drop a few in the hot oil and in a few seconds flip with tongs. Cook just until lightly browned on both sides.

These things cook VERY quickly. Do not walk away from them; you won’t even have time to scratch an itch when you cook these. Place the cooked ones on paper towels or a paper bag to drain and absorb the grease.

Serve the dip with the fried wontons. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Crab Rangoon Dip

16 oz cream cheese
2 c crab meat
1/2 c sour cream
4 scallions
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbl confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 package wonton wrappers
oil for frying

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grilled Pineapple Jerk Thighs

This recipe is one that I found online and thought, what an interesting combination! I’ve never had much food with the “Island“ flavor,  but this sounded pretty good and I thought I’d give it a whirl. The cool thing about these is, once again, you can grill them or you can use your oven and/or broiler if you need to, and they come out great. For this I did indeed use my oven. And I used my wonderful cousin David’s (and his wife’s!) PepperMary Island Jerk Seasoning for it. Yum!

So, let’s get cooking!

I used thighs for this, as the recipe had called for, but you can use any old chicken pieces you want. I buy my chicken in 10 lb. bags for .69 a pound, chicken leg quarters. So that means if I want just thighs or just legs, I have to separate them myself, which is easy. I also like to remove as much fat (sometimes skin too) as I can. So if that’s the route you chose, go ahead and do that. Otherwise, just have the chicken pieces ready.

Now for the marinade: In a blender blend the pineapple chunks with the Island Jerk seasoning. I used my handy dandy hand-held blender my father gave me. I love that thing!

Place the chicken thighs in a plastic freezer bag and add the pineapple-Jerk marinade. Put in the fridge and marinate at least two hours, or overnight. I prefer the longer time, and it splits up the work--you get it ready one day and the next day just take it out and cook.

Place the chicken on foil on the grill, or, as the original recipe said, you can line muffin tins with foil and place one thigh in each well. Or, as I did, line a sheet pan with foil and arrange the pieces on it. Baste with extra sauce from the marinade bag.

Cook for about 30-40 minutes, until no longer pink inside.

Enjoy! ~TMMF


                    Grilled Pineapple Jerk Chicken Thighs

                    8 chicken thighs
                    1 c pineapple chunks with juice
                    ¼ c Island Jerk seasoning