Thursday, October 30, 2008

Enchilada Casserole

Last night I was in the mood for Enchilada's but not in the mood to go to the effort of rolling. So I made enchilada casserole and it turned out so good I am going to make it often. I have made many versions of this in the past but this one is by far the best!

Enchilada Casserole

3/4 lb Hamburger*
1 small onion*
1/2 tsp Chili powder*
1/2 tsp Cumin*
1/2 tsp Salt*
1/4 tsp Pepper*
1/4 tsp dried Oregano*
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Can Refried Beans
1 Can Chili Beans, drained slightly
Corn Tortillas
Sour Cream

1. Brown hamburger with onions, chili powder, cumin, salt, & pepper. Add oregano when almost cooked.
2. Meanwhile in a small saucepan combine both cans of tomatoes with cornstarch and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
3. Combine Hamburger mixture, Refried Beans & chili beans.
4. Preheat oven to 350-degrees
5. In a 9x13 pan layer 1/5 of the sauce in the bottom of the pan and layer the tortillas. Then place 1/3 of the Refried Bean Mixture, 1/5 of the Sauce, and some cheese. Repeat 2 more times so you have 3 layers ending with cheese. Then place another layer of tortillas and add remaining sauce and layer some cheese.
6. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Fresh from the oven
This is a side view of a cut piece. I forgot to take a picture on a clean plate, but you get the idea.

*When I buy hamburger I have started browning it and then adding seasonings (for taco I add the above. or just add salt & pepper) and then freeze it in about 3/4 - 1 lb portions for future use. It makes cooking things a lot faster if they call for browned hamburger.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mexi-Ranch Chicken Patties

For dinner we ate Black Bean Salsa and I decided I wanted to have some sort of Mexican chicken. This is what I came up with and it was delicious. I used onion & garlic powder because I was lazy. Next time I am going to use fresh.

Mexi-Ranch Chicken Patties

1 lb ground chicken
1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion or 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic or 1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 -2 Tbsp oil
Ranch Dressing to taste.

Combine all ingredients but the oil and ranch dressing. Heat oil in a skillet and shape chicken mixture into patties and place in pan. Cook patties thoroughly. Brush Ranch dressing on one side of patty and serve.

Black Bean Salsa

Tonight for dinner we are having Black Bean Salsa and Mexi-Ranch Chicken Patties. I got my Black Bean Salsa recipe from my friend, Heather, a few years ago and was a family favorite before we had to deal with being gluten-free, luckily it was naturally so. I have taken it to many different gatherings and have had raves about it. I have adapted it at times when fresh ingredients were not on hand and while the fresh ingredients are ideal, the substitute version is also really good. Here is the Black Bean Salsa recipe, both in its pure form and with the adaptations. The photo of the salsa is with all fresh ingredients.

Black Bean Salsa

2 cans of black beans
1 can corn
3 large tomatoes or 2 cans petite diced*
1 medium onion chopped**
4 Tbsp. cilantro (4 tsp dried)
1 Avocado, chopped (optional)
3-4 T lime juice
2 T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar or white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Tostitos Scoops or any other corn chip

Drain and rinse bean, corn, & tomatoes if using canned. Place in a large bowl with onion, avocado and cilantro. In a small bowl mix lime juice, olive oil,vinegar, salt & pepper. Toss dressing over vegetables. Chill before serving. Serve with Scoops or other corn chip.

*For extra kick use Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
**In a pinch you can use about 1/3 C dried minced onions

Isn't it pretty, the avocado really makes it pop, but I didn't have any today.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Family Menu for Oct 26-Nov 1

Here are our meals for the week

M - Eating out
T - Black Bean Salsa and Mexi-Ranch Chicken Patties
W - Enchiladas -- or Tacos if I don't get the enchiladas made. :)
Th - Sloppy Joes on bread -- Now I just have to make bread. :)
F - Crockpot Pizza Soup once again from one of my favorite blogs -- A Year of Crockpotting
Sat - Chef's Salad with Chicken or ham, boiled eggs, veggies, corn, and anything else that sounds good that night.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marinara Sauce

I got this recipe for Marinara Sauce from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. It is a favorite at my house.Last night was the first time I made it from fresh tomatoes thanks to the abundant tomato production in our garden this year. I usually at least 2 x's it for a family since it is originally for 4-side dish servings, plus it uses a whole can of tomato paste. Last night I made Parmesan Zucchini Marinara and 4 x'd it and froze the leftovers.

Marinara Sauce
1 Cup chopped onion
1/2 C chopped green sweet pepper
1/4 C coarsely chopped carrot
1/4 C sliced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
2 C chopped, peeled tomatoes (3 large) or 1 14-1/2-oz can tomatoes, cut up
1/2 of a 6-oz can (1/3 C) tomato paste
2 tsp snipped fresh basil, or 3/4 tsp dried basil, crushed
2 tsp snipped fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp snipped fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 C water
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1.In a large skillet cook onion, sweet pepper, carrot, celery, and garlic in hot oil till tender. Stir in fresh or undrained canned tomatoes, tomato paste, hasil, oregano, thyme, sugar, water, salt, & pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover & simmer 30 minutes. If necessary, uncover & simmer 10-15 minutes more or to desired consistency; Stir occasionally.

Here it is on the zucchini. Doesn't it look yummy!

Parmesan Zucchini Marinara

Last night I made a meat-free meal and while the kids were less than thrilled I really liked it. So here it is. I adapted the Zucchini recipe from an idea from a friend, hollygee, on a gluten-free yahoo group. Thanks!

Parmesan Zucchini Marinara
Marinara Sauce (use your own or mine here.)
Large Zucchini, 2-3" wide
1-2 Egg
1/2 C Corn Flour
1/2 C Almond Meal
1/2 C Potato Flour
1/3 C Fresh Parmesan Cheese

1. Make Marinara sauce if you are making it from scratch. Do not do the rest of the recipe until the sauce is cooked.
2. Slice zucchini about 3/4"-1" thick.
3. In a small flat bowl, big enough to fit the zucchini slices, break and slightly beat 1 egg, (add more later if necessary.
4. In a separate flat bowl, big enough to fit the zucchini slices, combine flours.
5. Heat oil, about 1/2" deep in a skillet until it pops when water is flicked at it. I usually get my hands wet and the flick the excess water. I know this probably isn't the safest way, but it is my method for skillet frying.
6. Dip zucchini in egg then in flours until evenly coated and place in skillet. Cook until browned and turn and cook the other side. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.
Don't they look pretty.

7. Place a 1/4 slice of provolone cheese on each zucchini.

8. Pour Marinara Sauce over the top of the zucchini and top with Parmesan cheese.

 I 4 x's the recipe and froze the leftover marinara for later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Easy Week Dinners

I just got back in town from Nashville -- so wonderful to see those who were there! Anyway, I have to leave on Friday to go do applesauce at my mom's so I only have 2 days for dinner but here they are anyway.

W - Zucchini Marinara & Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes
Th - Crockpot Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole. It is from one of my favorite websites A Year of Crockpotting. She has used her crockpot everyday this year and gives the recipes and a verdict on how well it turned out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Onion Rings & Fry Sauce

Today was the first snowfall and I decided to start a tradition of onion rings, popcorn, hot chocolate, and (maybe) some fruit. It was so fun to make the onion rings, I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. One thing to note, this is a approximate kind of recipe. The kind where you do as much as looks good. Anyway, here they are:

Onion Rings

2 large onions
1/2-1 C Flour (GF or reg)
1 C slightly runny pancake mix & Ingredients listed for mix measured*
Extra milk or substitute
Bread Crumbs (GF or regular)
Fry Sauce (recipe below) or ketchup

1. Heat oil in a skillet, pan, fryer, etc. to 365-degrees.
2. Slice onions thickly and place in a bowl of water.
3. Pour flour into a bowl large enough to hold the onion slices
4. Mix pancake mix and add a little extra milk to thin it out a bit. It should be runny.
5. Pour bread crumbs into a bowl big enough to hold onion slices.

This is the basic assembly line set-up

6. Fry rings in oil, turning once, until golden brown.

Don't they look yummy already

7. Set on a paper towel lined plate. To keep them warm until all of the rings are cooked place them in a 300-degree oven.

Regular Rings

Gluten Free Rings -- Can't even tell the difference
8. Serve with Fry Sauce or ketchup.
9. Refrigerate leftovers. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes

*Or use 1-2 cups of your favorite pancake recipe made a little runnier than usual.

Fry Sauce is a Utah/Idaho concoction that I personally find delicious and missed desperately when we lived in Tennessee. It is a mixture of approx equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup. Some people add relish or other things to their sauce. Today I added some chili powder and Old Bay Seasoning.

Family Menu Oct 13-18

It is snowing today and it is finally soup season!

M - Out of town making applesauce
T - Fondue
W - Sally's Potato Leek Soup
Th - Leftovers
F & S - We will be in Nashville -- YEAH!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hawiian Chicken (kind of)

I tried a new kind of chicken to go with the sweet potatoes. It was really good. A friend gave me some "Li Hing" spice. It is sweet and really good.

Hawiian Chicken (kind of)

3 Chicken Breasts cut in half
Li Hing Spice
Brown Sugar

Cook chicken in a skillet until brown on one side. Turn and sprinkle with Li Hing spice and brown sugar. Cook thoroughly.

See how pretty.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Tonight we tried a new recipe from Taste of Home. It was so delicious I just had to share.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

6 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 C butter, cubed
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
6 bacon strips, cooked & crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Scrub and pierce sweet potatoes. Bake at 375-degrees for 1-1/4 hours or until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice off the top of each potato and discard. Scoop out the pulp, leaving thin shells. In a large bowl, mash the pulp with butter. Stir in the cheese, bacon, salt & pepper. Spoon into potato shells. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Roasted Veggies

I must give credit to my friend Valerie who first introduced me to this recipe. It one of my favorite fall dishes. And since we have so much zucchini in our garden I had to make it!

Roasted Veggies
Olive Oil
1 Medium onion,
3-4 Red Potatoes,
2 zucchini (store bought size),
1 Sweet Potato or yam,
1 pkg Onion Soup mix OR sprinkle with season salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and any other seasoning you like.

On a large cookie sheet cover bottom with oil. Dice all the veggies so they are a large bite size and put on pan and stir. Season veggies either with the soup mix or just sprinkle the veggies with the seasons listed above.

Place in a 425-degree oven for 45 minutes. ENJOY!


Monterey Chicken

A couple of nights ago we had Monterey Chicken & Roasted Veggies. It was DELICIOUS! A few months back I got some chicken for a great price and decided to use my Kitchen-Aid food grinder and make ground chicken and use it in place of hamburger. I must admit there have been mixed results. However, this turned out delicious!

Monterey Chicken
(makes 5-6 servings)

3/4-1 lb ground chicken
1/2-1 tsp Montreal Chicken Seasoning
2 Tbsp oil, divided
2 Bell Peppers --your choice of color
1 medium onion
Mozzarella Cheese

1. In a bowl combine the chicken and seasoning and set aside.
2. In large skillet heat 1 Tbsp oil and saute peppers and onion until soft, Remove from pan.

3. Add 1 Tbsp oil to pan and form chicken patties from chicken mixture and add to pan. Cook throroughly.
4. Place cooked peppers & onions on top of chicken and add cheese. Cover pan and allow cheese to melt. Enjoy!

Doesn't it look yummy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Family Menu for Oct 6-11

Fall is the best time of the year in my opinion and love to cook fall related things. Anyway, here is our menu for the week.

M - Roasted Vegetables (red potatoes, zucchini, sweet potato & onion) & Monterey Chicken
T - Pasta Bake --Cooked pasta, hamburger & or sausage, spaghetti sauce and chunked cream cheese, topped with mozzarella
W - "Gunge" - Rice, hamburger, & peas topped with soy sauce.
Th - Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, Some meat (haven't decided yet), and a veggie. Really it is all about the sweet potatoes. A recipe I found in the Taste of Home magazine that sounds divine! The recipe is below.
F- Leftovers
Sat - Tacos

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chinese Tomato Chow Mein

This is a recipe I grew up on. Obviously, if you want it Gluten-free don't add the chow mein noodles. If you like Mexican you can make the Mexican Chow Mein version.

Chinese Tomato Chow Mein (printer friendly version)
2 T cornstarch
2 T Soy sauce
3-4 Tbsp salad oil, divided
1 lb. hamburger
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 green peppers, sliced
1/2 tsp garlic salt
3 Tomatoes peeled & cut into wedges or 2 14-oz cans diced
1/2 C bouillon or consomme
Cooked Rice
Chow Mein Noodles (opt.)

In a medium sized bowl combine soy sauce & cornstarch. Brown hamburger in 1 1/2 Tbsp-2 Tbsp oil with onion, salt & pepper. Remove from pan and combine with soy sauce mixture. Cook peppers lightly in remaining oil. Remove from pan and add beef mixture back into the pan and add garlic salt and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers, tomatoes and bouillon. Cook until the sauce is thick. Serve over rice and top with Chow Mein Noodles if not eating GF. Makes 6 servings.


Mexican Chow Mein

Tonight was Mexican Chow Mein. This is a recipe I made up last year when we had too many mildly spicy peppers. I adapted my Chinese Tomato Chow Mein Recipe to create this.

Mexican Chow Mein
2 Tbsp salsa
2 T cornstarch
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried cilantro (1 tsp fresh)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
3-4 Tbsp salad oil, divided
1 lb. hamburger
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 green peppers or other pepper (annaheim, pablano, etc.), sliced
3 Tomatoes peeled & cut into wedges or 2 14-oz cans diced
1/2 C bouillon or consomme
Cooked Rice
Corn Chips

In a small bowl combine salsa, cornstarch, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, &
oregano. Brown hamburger in 1 1/2 Tbsp-2 Tbsp oil with onion, garlic, salt & pepper. Remove from pan and combine with salsa mixture. Cook peppers lightly in remaining oil. Remove from pan and add beef mixture back into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers, tomatoes and bouillon. Cook until the sauce is thick. Serve over rice and top with corn chips. Makes 6 servings.



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