Monday, January 31, 2011

Cran-Orange Almond Salad

I got this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs Real Mom Kitchen. I love so many of her recipes.  I adapted this one a bit. It calls for Jicama, but I'm not a fan of it.  I also tried the recipe using fresh oranges vs mandarins and decided we like the mandarins better.  This salad is a huge hit at out house.  It is so light a fresh! I nice alternative to a regular basic salad.

Cran-Orange Almond Salad

1 large head Iceberg lettuce
1/2 medium purple onion, sliced really thin and separated into rings
1 large can or two small cans of mandarin oranges. You can use fresh oranges, but we like the mandarins better.
1/2 cup or so of dried cranberries

Serve tossed with orange dressing and sugared almonds. (recipes below)

Orange Dressing

1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/3 cup fresh orange juice (can use the juice from the mandarin oranges)
2 Tablespoons vinegar I like (apple cider Vinegar but have used regular as well)
1/2 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon Good Seasons dry Italian dressing mix (about a 1/2 packet)

Combine ingredients in blender or shaker jar.

Sugared Almonds

4 ounces slivered almonds
3 Tablespoons sugar

Place almonds in a small skillet and sprinkle with sugar.  Cook over medium heat stirring until almonds are coated and starting to brown (a nice tan color) and sugar has dissolved.  (Be careful not to burn)  Allow almonds to cool.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meatball Sub

Another dish that my husband really likes is the Meatball Sub from Subway.  So I decided to copy cat a recipe and the mission was a success!  You know that feeling you get deep down when your kids gobble up the dinner you just made?  Especially with something they have never tried before?  I got that feeling with this dish.  My kids devoured it. 

You can use any type of hogie roll, french bread or even hot dog buns.  I got my meatballs from Costco. The Italian style but you could really get them anywhere or even make them.  I also like to cook the meatballs in the crock pot for at least 4 hours. This allows the sauce to marinate into the meatballs and really flavor them. You can however, just microwave them or heat them on the stove if you are having one of those last minute meal type of days.

Meatball Sub

6 Sub rolls
24 meatballs
1 jar of Spaghetti sauce (I use the original flavor)
6-12 slices of provolone cheese (depending on how cheesy you want it
1 can of olives chopped
10 peperoncini chopped
Parmesan cheese

In a small crock pot, cook meatballs and spaghetti sauce on low for 4-6 hours. Toast bread over a skillet then add sliced provolone cheese. Top with 4-5 meatballs and desired amount of sauce. Then add olives and sliced peperoncini. Top with Parmesan cheese. (you can also add sliced tomatoes as well.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

My children love this dish.  My friend brought it to a party one day and we've enjoyed making it ever since.  It's a very simple and quick recipe.  I love the beautiful color.  It's light flavor makes a great side dish to any summer BBQ.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

3 cups of cubed tomatoes (I use grape tomatoes cut in half)
3 cups cubed cucumbers (I love the hot house ones)
1/4-1/2 cup Italian dressing (I like Kraft zesty Italian)

Stir together and chill.

Creamy Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of those comfort foods that always hits the spot for me. My favorite thing is to ditch the spoon and use Doritos or potato chips as the scoop instead.  I this recipe from Real Mom Kitchen and then I modified it a little. 

The thing I like the most about this recipe, is that my husband likes it.  He usually doesn't eat potato salad because he doesn't like the onions in it. So I make it with onion powder instead and it works great.

Creamy Potato Salad

1 cup mayo
4  hard boiled eggs chopped
1/2 cup diced dill pickles
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp salt
a pinch of pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
4 large potatoes (boiled until very tender)

Allow the potatoes to cool.  Mix all other ingredients and stir into cooled potatoes. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Be sure to cover the potatoes while allowing them to cool. They will begin to turn brown after being exposed to air.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

My older brother came to a family dinner with these almonds and we were all in heaven. They are so yummy!  I really like this recipe made with pecans also.  He found this one and changed it to make them even better. So thanks dear brother for this recipe!

It calls for 4 cups of whole almonds. I like to use only 3 cups so that they are coated nice and thick. Yum!

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups whole almonds (I use only 3)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter cooled

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Lightly beat the egg white and add vanilla.  Beat until slightly frothy. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated. Add the butter, stir to coat.  Mix the sugars, salt and cinnamon and sprinkle over the nuts.  Stir to coat, and spread evenly onto a 10x15 inch cookie sheet.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir every 20 minutes. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Reuben Sandwich

The Reuben is one of my husbands favorite sandwiches. We have this running joke, that instead of going to a restaurant to satisfy our usual cravings, we will just try to create a similar flavor/recipe and skip out on the restaurant prices. Especially when I am pregnant and crave the same things over and over... my dear husband will master the dish so that he can make it for me day or night.  This sandwhich is just such a recipe. I love when he says my food is "better than the restaurants!" It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

 I have never been a fan of sauerkraut so I usually make this as a kit.for his lunch at work. Let me tell ya, this one makes all the other guys on the job jealous! I put all of the ingredients in separate bags or containers so he can make it nice and fresh.

You can use the sliced corned beef from the deli, but its so much better with the shredded corned beef. I like to buy a few corned beef roasts and "can" them or you can freeze it already cooked, for faster preparation.  I like to "can" them in pint jars which ends up making enough for my husband to take to work. Stay tuned for "how to's" on canning meats. I'll give you all the details in future posts.

You'll want to remember to drain the sauerkraut so it doesnt get the bread too soggy. Also these ingredient ratios are how my hubby likes them, but really you can add or subtract however you want. You can also toast the bread or eat it plain.

Reuben Sandwich
2 slices of rye bread ( he likes a dark rye or marbled rye)
1 cup cooked and shredded corned beef
2 tablespoons of 1000 island dressing
about 1/2 cup sauerkraut
2 slices of swiss cheese

To toast the bread:  spread the outside of each slice with butter and grill on a skillet until golden brown.  Spread the inside of each slice with dressing and then add corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese. Enjoy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicken Soup

This recipe is one of those comfort foods that just hits the spot. I remember my mom making this soup when I had a cold and it always made me feel better! This one works great in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours.

Chicken Soup

1 box chicken broth
4 cups water
1 tsp parsley
2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 cup celery diced
2 cup potatoes diced
1 cup carrots
1 can green beans
1 can corn
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
Pinch or two of crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook Chicken and shred it. (I like to boil the chicken in the broth to flavor it really well.) combine all ingredients into a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Sour Cream Enchiladas

This recipe comes from a friend of my families. The first time I made it, I didn't read the recipe very well and ended up mixing all of the ingredients together .  I was supposed to save the green enchilada sauce and put it on top.  I am so glad that I "messed it up" because it is absolutely Divine! I like all of the flavors pulled into one mixture. This recipe is a huge hit for dinner party's!

You can make it one of two ways.  I like mine almost soupy. So I add the extra sauce on top with the cheese and bake it. My husband likes it a little more dry and crispy on the outside.  Especially when he takes them as leftovers for lunch the next day. So then you can just load it with cheese on top. Either way its a favorite in this house! This recipe also works well with the grilled chicken strips you find in the frozen section at your local store. Also, I really like the los palmas enchilada sauce but you can use any of them.

Sour Cream Enchiladas

1 C grated cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 large can cream of chicken soup
1 C. sour cream
1 (7oz) can diced green chilies
1 (28) oz can los palmas green enchilada sauce
3-4 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 doz flour tortillas

Combine first 6 ingredients into a bowl. Load the tortilla with as much chicken as you like.  Pour the desired amount of sauce on top of chicken. Roll up tortilla and place in a 9x13 pan.  Top with leftover sauce (if desired) then top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until cheese is melted.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Delicious Homemade Croutons

When I was a teenager, my first official job was at a pizza restaurant. I loved working there and enjoyed learning new cooking tips.  One of my favorite things to do was to make the croutons. I have to tell you, there is nothing like a home made crouton.  They are so easy to make too.  In honor of my sister-in-law, my first post is one of her favorite snacks. Croutons!

You can do so many things to flavor them.  Ranch powder, and italian seasoning, add a great flavor.  I love just a little garlic and butter.  Leftover sub rolls, or french bread, make great croutons.

Delicious Homemade Croutons 
 1 loaf of french bread cubed (about 8 cups)
1-2 cloves of garlic chopped (i use the prepared garlic)
1 cup of butter melted 
salt to taste

Cube bread and lay on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
 Stir garlic, melted butter together, and salt together.  Drizzle over the bread.  Stir to coat and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. I like to take them out after a few minutes and give them a good stir again, to coat them really well. Then return to the oven to finish cooking.