Cowboy Casserole

[Placeholder text because this isn’t a real post; I’m just getting the recipe up quick and dirty.]

Cowboy Casserole
Print Recipe
Prep Time
10-20 minutes
Cook Time
35-40 minutes
Prep Time
10-20 minutes
Cook Time
35-40 minutes
Cowboy Casserole
Print Recipe
Prep Time
10-20 minutes
Cook Time
35-40 minutes
Prep Time
10-20 minutes
Cook Time
35-40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place frozen tots in 9x13 pan.
  3. Beat together eggs, milk, and spices.
  4. Stir in cheese and any meat or veggies.
  5. Pour egg mixture over frozen tots.
  6. Bake in 350° oven for 35-40 minutes, until cheese is melted, tots are browned, and egg is solidified.
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Meat Sauce

Up here in the Dirty Jerz, people seem to be all about the red sauce. Which I get — it’s very versatile. You can have it plain, with meatballs, with sausage, whatever you want. But growing up, we always had meat sauce, and I vastly prefer its richer flavor. Plus, it eliminates a step from things like lasagna and pizza…I don’t have to make meat for those, because it’s already in the sauce!

There are many, many variations on meat sauce. This one is mine.

 

Meat Sauce
Print Recipe
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1-5 hours
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1-5 hours
Meat Sauce
Print Recipe
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1-5 hours
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1-5 hours
Ingredients
Servings: many
Instructions
  1. Sautée garlic & mushrooms until mushrooms are cooked through.
  2. Add beef, veal and pork.
  3. Return meat to pot.
  4. Brown meat & drain.
  5. Puree tomatoes.
  6. Add tomatoes to meat.
  7. Add tomato paste, wine, stock and herbs.
  8. Boil until alcohol is evaporated.
  9. Simmer on low for 1-5 hours.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Stir in sour cream and cinnamon.
  12. Serve over pasta.
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Cheater Mousse Pie

Some years ago (pre-kids so at least 11, but probably more), there was a recipe on the side of Jello pudding for “Five Minute Pie”. I was extremely skeptical. Oh, sure, I thought, they say “five minutes” but that probably only includes the time to put everything in the bowl or something. In my kitchen experience, nothing ever takes less than twice as much “prep time” as indicated by the recipe.

But…it did sound delicious. And easy. So what if it did take 10 or 15 minutes to throw it together? That’s still pretty quick, right? So I gathered everything up and started whisking. I’ll be damned if that pie wasn’t in its crust and ready to eat in 5 minutes, including package opening time.

The next one I made, I took to a party. Everyone was SUPER impressed. What a lovely chocolate mousse pie I had made! I absolutely must give them the recipe! Holy cannoli, this 5 minute pie thing was a huge hit! I started making it for everything. You can fancy it up by piping on the whipped cream or adding chocolate shavings. People will think you’ve spent hours on this thing. And it really is very tasty.

I lost the recipe a while back, but thanks to the interwebs have recently rediscovered this magical, mousse-ical pie.

I’ve been seeing a thing on food blogs lately where it’s a bajillion pictures of the same thing and you have to scroll forever to get to the actual recipe. So I won’t be doing that, ever. BUT, I thought I might try doing some step-outs in the recipe itself. I’m not sure I like it, but let me know what you think!

Cheater Mousse Pie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 I mean, it's a pie. I could probably eat a whole one by myself, but if you want to share cut it into as many slices as you like. 5 minutes (for real!)
Servings Prep Time
8 I mean, it's a pie. I could probably eat a whole one by myself, but if you want to share cut it into as many slices as you like. 5 minutes (for real!)
Cheater Mousse Pie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 I mean, it's a pie. I could probably eat a whole one by myself, but if you want to share cut it into as many slices as you like. 5 minutes (for real!)
Servings Prep Time
8 I mean, it's a pie. I could probably eat a whole one by myself, but if you want to share cut it into as many slices as you like. 5 minutes (for real!)
Ingredients
  • 2 boxes chocolate pudding The regular size, not family size.
  • 1 container Cool Whip The regular size tub, not the giant one.
  • 1 1/4 cups milk I use skim, because that's what we have on hand. Use what you have.
  • 1 pre-made cookie crust I like the chocolate ones, but the Nilla wafer or graham cracker ones are fine, too. The Oreo ones are little too intense for this recipe.
  • Mini chocolate chips optional -- for decor
Servings: I mean, it's a pie. I could probably eat a whole one by myself, but if you want to share cut it into as many slices as you like.
Instructions
  1. Whisk pudding and milk together until fully combined.
  2. Whisk in half of Cool Whip. Mixture will be very thick. Mousse-like, even.
  3. Spoon mixture into crust and spread evenly.
  4. Top with remaining Cool Whip.
  5. Add other toppings as desired
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Stuffin’ Muffins*

(*or just regular stuffing, if you prefer)

Every year the company I work for does a big potluck Thanksgiving lunch on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago, we had an employee who was very strictly vegan, and he was really concerned that there would be nothing for him to eat. I was planning on bringing my (super delish, if I say so myself) cornbread-sausage dressing, but I thought “How hard can it be to throw together a vegan dressing?” I know enough about vegan rules to avoid the trickier things like honey and gelatin, so I started combing Pinterest. I didn’t find a “vegan” recipe that I liked, but I did find a very simple recipe that was super easy to veganize. It was a huge hit, even with the non-veggies in the crowd.

This year, for my derby team’s annual holiday gathering, I decided to use the same recipe to make little appetizer portions by baking the stuffing in muffin cups. Once again, huge hit. My friend Artichoke Hold asked for the recipe, so here it is!

Stuffin' Muffins*
Print Recipe
I forgot to take a pic of these before my son ate them all. Mea culpa. Next time I make them, I'll put a photo in, I swear. Or, if someone wants to make them and take a photo, I'll gladly accept.
Servings Prep Time
24 "muffins" (or about 12 servings) 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
28-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 "muffins" (or about 12 servings) 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
28-40 minutes
Stuffin' Muffins*
Print Recipe
I forgot to take a pic of these before my son ate them all. Mea culpa. Next time I make them, I'll put a photo in, I swear. Or, if someone wants to make them and take a photo, I'll gladly accept.
Servings Prep Time
24 "muffins" (or about 12 servings) 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
28-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 "muffins" (or about 12 servings) 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
28-40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: "muffins" (or about 12 servings)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Cube loaf of bread.
  3. Toast cubes on a baking sheet about 10 minutes (you may need to do this in two batches -- they should be in a single layer). Set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Decrease oven temp to 350°.
  5. Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  6. Sauté onions, garlic, and celery until soft and beginning to caramelize.
  7. Add veggies to the bowl of bread cubes.
  8. Add seasoning. If you like more/different herbs than the recipe calls for, use those.
  9. Stir until well mixed.
  10. Add broth one cup at a time, stirring until well mixed. You want the mixture to be clumping together, but not soggy. (For "muffins" make the mixture a bit moister than you might normally -- you really want them to hold together.)
  11. Bake in a greased baking dish for about 25 minutes OR in lined muffin cups for 18-20 minutes.
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Oh, hai

img_20160505_083531544.jpg
This is me, joyfully eating a thing for which you will find the recipe below.

So, obviously I did not make it back to Make’n’Tell last month. I still haven’t finished that sweater, though the end is finally in sight (and it turns out the deadline was May 12, not April, so at least I didn’t actually miss the deadline). I’ve been sick with allergies and busy doing lots of stuff with family (both the one I live with and my derby one), so I haven’t been making much, or at least not making new stuff.

Although, now that I think about it, I did cook quite a bit, and I really should have blogged that. One of the things I cooked(baked) was these delicious oat-nut bars — I love them for breakfast, and used to make them all the time, but I ran out of coconut oil and never restocked. But a member of my derby family recently was hospitalized with bacterial meningitis, and we wanted to show her some love at our last bout by baking some treats in her honor. I picked these because they remind me of her: Sweet, full of goodness and energy, a little nutty, and totally awesome!

img_20160505_114026.jpg

I originally found this recipe on Half Baked Harvest, and modified it just a tad (mostly by adding the nuts).

Sweet Nutty Goodbars
Print Recipe
A quick energy boost in every bite of these delicious bars.
Servings Prep Time
48 squares (about) 10 minutes
Cook Time
25-30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
48 squares (about) 10 minutes
Cook Time
25-30 minutes
Sweet Nutty Goodbars
Print Recipe
A quick energy boost in every bite of these delicious bars.
Servings Prep Time
48 squares (about) 10 minutes
Cook Time
25-30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
48 squares (about) 10 minutes
Cook Time
25-30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: squares (about)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line 9x13" baking dish with parchment paper****
  3. In a large bowl, mix oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, oil, eggs, and vanilla
  4. Beat until dough holds together -- it will be somewhat oily
  5. Stir in chocolate and nuts
  6. Turn batter into pan, smoothing and evening
  7. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, until top is no longer shiny
  8. Do not overbake
  9. Allow bars to cool in pan, then lift out and continue cooling on rack
  10. Slice in to 1 1/2" squares
Recipe Notes

* I have made this with different flour ratios depending on what I have on hand and it comes out just fine.

** You may sub another oil or combination of oils -- I sometimes do a few tablespoons of flax seed.

*** Use whatever chocolate you like. The batch shown has all of the leftover chocolate chips I had -- semi-sweet, dark, bittersweet, even a few minis and some white!

**** Y'all, my baking life has completely changed since I started lining things with parchment paper. If you prefer to butter or spray your pan, you do you. But I'll be over here stuffing my face full of these delicious bars while you're washing that pan.

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Make’n’Tell Day 6: Sooooouuup!!!

image

Family trip to the market today resulted in Zack asking if we could make vegetable stew. So, we did. I’m posting this late on my phone, but will update tomorrow with the “recipe.” So, now I’ve actually tasted it and no, you don’t want the recipe. Ick. I think where we went wrong was using green beans instead of peas. I let Zack pick whatever he wanted to put in, so I’m going to chalk this up as a learning experience (for him, I mean). It’s not inedible, but it’s not good, either. (The short version is: pick out some veg you like, cut into bite sized pieces, throw in crock pot with some broth, cook.) I also taught Zack to use a knife (like a good, sharp butcher knife, I mean). Because someone’s going to have to cook me delicious meals when I’m old(er) and decrepit(er), so I gotta start training him now.

Creamy Salmon Pasta

Creamy pasta with salmon

This is one of those recipes that is so easy I feel like I’m cheating by posting it. But I figure if I didn’t know about this fast and easy method of making “cream sauce”, you may not, either. And believe me, if you like cream sauce, you want to know.

Tips and tricks: First, any kind of protein (or none!) would be great with this. I happened to use salmon because my dr. told me if I’m not going to take supplements (I’m not, because I feel like crap when I do), I need to eat salmon a few times a week. I think this recipe would also be really great with chicken.  Also, when I made this, I made it for myself to have for lunch, and I mixed everything together (except the tomatoes) as in the recipe below. Next time, I’m going to keep the salmon separate, as by the 3rd lunch, the salmon flavor had completely overwhelmed everything else.

Creamy Salmon Pasta
Print Recipe
Super easy creamy pasta with salmon
Servings
6 ish
Servings
6 ish
Creamy Salmon Pasta
Print Recipe
Super easy creamy pasta with salmon
Servings
6 ish
Servings
6 ish
Ingredients
Servings: ish
Instructions
  1. Boil pasta to al dente and drain
  2. Add cream cheese, Parmesan, and milk to hot pasta
  3. Stir until cheeses are completely melted
  4. Add lemon juice, garlic, and/or basil if desired
  5. Stir in desired salmon or chicken, coating well
  6. Top with grape tomatoes if desired
Recipe Notes

Modified from Chef Michael Smith's Penne with Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Sauce.

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Gluten Free-dom!

Note: this was originally intended to be posted last week, but there was a bit of an issue with images. All fixed now and everything should be getting back on schedule! Apologies for the low quality cell phone pics — I completely forgot to get photos until we were at the party.

flag tart

I had big party plans this weekend, then about mid-week started getting kicked in the head by social anxiety about said parties. So I cancelled out on one (I’ll get there someday, C!) but decided to just pop my head in at the other, largely because I’d offered to bring something and the hostess had requested a non-cake dessert: “You like to bake — bake something for dessert. But not cake. I’m baking a cake.” I like these kinds of parameters — guidelines are good. And also the cake was delicious. But ANYHOW, I decided I’d always wanted to make a flag tart thing, and this was the perfect opportunity. And I promised myself I could just drop off the tart and the kids and Kit and go home if I felt overwhelmed.

flag tart closeup

I perused Pinterest for a shortbread crust, grabbed some cream cheese for cream cheese topping, and picked up blueberries and strawberries to top it all off. I had intended to bake the crust Friday night, but then I ate too much Chinese food and laid on the couch like a lump instead. And then I didn’t get up early enough to bake it before the town parade. So I was down to crunch time when we got home and I discovered I was out of regular flour. Um. Oops.

I really didn’t have time to find a store open on the holiday, so I decided to wing it with the GF supplies I had on hand. And thus, the Gluten Freedom Tart was born. (Also, I ended up staying for the whole party because it was all awesome people I already knew, so that was nice.)

Gluten Freedom Tart
Print Recipe
A gluten free shortbread crust topped by cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit.
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Gluten Freedom Tart
Print Recipe
A gluten free shortbread crust topped by cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit.
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Ingredients
Shortbread Crust
Cream Cheese Topping
Fruit
Servings: squares
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper
  3. Combine butter, powdered sugar, and flours in mixer (will be slightly softer/doughier than shortbread typically is).
  4. Spread dough on lined jelly roll pan to a thickness of about 1/4". (Dough may not be enough to fill entire pan -- if not, shape into a rectangle in the center of the pan.)
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just brown.
  6. Let crust cool for at least 1 hour (should be room temperature before adding topping).
Topping
  1. Whip cream until it is just beginning to peak.
  2. Add granulated sugar and vanilla.
  3. Continue to whip until stiff, being careful not to overwhip.
  4. Add cream cheese and whip until fully combined.
  5. Spread cream cheese topping on crust.
  6. Arrange blueberries and strawberries in flag pattern.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
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Mmmmm….cake

Originally appeared on Tasteful Diversions 11/15/11. It has been FAR too long since I’ve made one of these. Must fix that soon.

Cake with glaze and berries
Cake shown with glaze and berries.

It occurs to me that my practice of linking to online recipes rather than including them here is likely to backfire on me at some point, when  a recipe gets moved or the blog I found it on is gone, or any number of other things. So, from now on, I’ll be adding those recipes to the blog as well as linking to the source. The first one of these is a scrumptious, versatile, and just stupidly easy yogurt cake, which I discovered via the magic of Pinterest. (I’ve also added my go-to bread, blackberry cobbler, and lime cupcakes to the Recipes page, so those are there now.) [Lola note: that was for the old blog. But I’ll get them all moved over here eventually!]

The recipe I found was modified from a recipe found on another site, but I went ahead and modified it even further. I’ve made this recipe twice now, and both times I used the 170ml size yogurt  that’s commonly available here in the US (I used Chobani both times, honey flavor the first time and strawberry the second). I also just used regular ol’ sugar, though the original recipe calls for caster sugar (which is much finer than regular granulated sugar). Finally, the biggest mod I made was, the first time, an accident.

Zacky and I were in the middle of throwing our ingredients into the bowl, and I popped open the fridge to grab the milk…which we were out of. We had already added both wet and dry ingredients, so stopping for a trip to the market wasn’t really an option. I asked myself: what do I have that’s liquid and non-alcoholic? The answer: apple juice. My biggest concern was for the texture of the cake, and I have to tell you, it came out incredibly moist. It was dense without being heavy, had a nice crumb while still being silky on the tongue. I so <3 this cake. That one got eaten without any glaze or anything.

This past weekend, we had another shindig to go to and I decided to bake another one of these cakes, only to take it a step further and go with OJ, which I also used for the liquid in the glaze. As noted above, I used strawberry yogurt this time and also put some lightly macerated berries between the layers and on top. So good. Oh — one more thing: the first time, I baked the cake in an angel food cake pan, and this time I baked two rounds. Both came out just fine.

I’m gonna make another one for the party we’re going to this weekend. I think I have finally found a go-to cake recipe, and I love that it’s so, so easy. Did I mention the best part? You use the yogurt cup for all your “cup” measurments, plus it’s a one bowl recipe. Love. It.

Cuppa Yogurt Cake
Print Recipe
Moist, dense yogurt cake made with a cuppa this and a cuppa that, using the yogurt cup as the measure. Originally discovered on The Boys Made Me Do It, via Pinterest.
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
40-50 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
40-50 minutes
Cuppa Yogurt Cake
Print Recipe
Moist, dense yogurt cake made with a cuppa this and a cuppa that, using the yogurt cup as the measure. Originally discovered on The Boys Made Me Do It, via Pinterest.
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
40-50 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
40-50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease a bundt, angel food cake, or two 9" round pans.
  3. Mix all ingredients until smooth. (I know, it's not super specific. Seriously, just dump everything together in a bowl and mix it all up.)
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes (a toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center should come out clean).
  6. Allow to cool in pans, then remove from pans and top as desired.
Recipe Notes

*If you don't have any self-rising flour on hand, you can make it yourself by combining 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

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Summer Salad

Holy cow, it’s already Thursday?!?! Obviously this was supposed to go up/out on Tuesday…I’m still trying to get back in the hang of blogging and sharing and stuff and time just got away from me this week. I promise this is just as tasty today as it would have been two days ago.
Summer Salad photo

When I was a kid, salad bars were rife with foods I wasn’t otherwise exposed to: olives, teeny little orange slices, stinky cheeses, cucumbers, and my favorite: garbanzo beans. “Garbanzo beans” was/is fun to say, especially if you stretch it out into garbaaaaaaaanzo, and they had a texture that was different from anything else I ate. If the salad bar had them, I always loaded up on them.

I didn’t realize until I was an adult and discovered that garbanzo beans are just another name for chickpea that I could actually buy some for my very own at home. So for years now I’ve bought the odd can here and there when I’m in a salad-making mood. And I’ve tried the other famous chickpea food, hummus. Weirdly, I hate hummus. Ick.

But then I came across a recipe on Pinterest, as one does, for a salad actually made from chickpeas. Oh. Myyyyy. The original recipe was tasty, but I tweaked it quite a bit to make it exactly what I wanted (lost the garlic so I can eat it at work, added tomatoes for a little extra flavor and vitamin C). This salad both fills and refreshes, and is perfect to throw together for a quick summer lunch or dinner, especially on a super hot day (no cooking! Yay!). I typically eat this as a full meal, but it would make a great side, too.

Sidenote: I just found out that chickpeas are super high in iron! Bonus!

Also, lime juice really is the best citrus flavor for this. Orange is too sweet, and lemon and grapefruit are too sour. That said, if you don’t have lime on hand, use lemon or grapefruit and cut the amount by half(ish).

Summer Salad
Print Recipe
A quick, refreshing salad that perfect for a summer lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Summer Salad
Print Recipe
A quick, refreshing salad that perfect for a summer lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: -ish, I guess?
Instructions
  1. Combine tomatoes, garbanzo beans, feta, and basil in a large bowl (make sure there's plenty of room for gentle tossing!). You don't need to mix everything just yet -- just dump it in the bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil and lime juice evenly over other ingredients.
  3. Gently toss to coat, being careful not to smash the feta too much.
Recipe Notes

Do make sure you're using a good feta -- I bought a brand I don't usually get this time and it's so salty I almost can't taste anything else.

Also, lime juice really is the best citrus flavor for this. Orange is too sweet, and lemon and grapefruit are too sour. That said, if you don't have lime on hand, use lemon or grapefruit and cut the amount by half(ish).

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