Tuesday, October 26, 2010

*Mini Mexi Meatloafs*

Tonight JayO. & I had Hatley over for dinner.  It is always such a treat having her come to the house to hang out with us, and we are loving being in the same town with her!  She was so sweet to bring us a bottle of red wine to go along with our meal, now that she is 21 and all :)

For dinner we prepared mini-Mexican meatloaf's that you prepare in muffin pan's.  I got the idea from my favorite recipe blog "Keeping up with the Joneses" & just made a few minor changes to the ingredients.  It turned out great! 

1 1/2 lbs. ground lean beef
3/4 cup picante sauce
1 4 oz. can of diced green chiles, drained
1/2 cup finely crushed corn chips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 pkg taco seasoning
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp salt
Toppings:  Light Sour Cream, Salsa, Monterey-
Jack Cheese & Cilantro.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for muffin tin (375 for small loaf pan)
Combine the first 9 Ingredients in a large bowl
Stir together well (works best w/clean hands)
Place in lightly greased muffin or small love pan
Bake for 25 min. in muffin tin or 40 min. in loaf pan
Top w/salsa, light sour cream, cheese & cilantro

I served the mini mexi meatloaf's with black beans and a small side salad.

Have fun making this dish that is unlike anything you are used to in your
normal recipe rotation.  You can even use the muffin tin idea for
your favorite meatloaf recipe to change things up!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

French Dips - Make simple recipes cute!

A lot of times on a Sunday evening, or a night I don't feel like putting too much effort into preparing a meal, I will make a simple dish like french dips.  They are so easy to put together, very inexpensive, and most importantly...tasty!  I served the french dips with baked fries.  All you need is:

wheat sandwich hoagie buns
lean roast beef
swiss cheese
1 pkg dry a jus gravy pkg.
water for the a jus 

Just bake the sandwiches in the oven @ 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

The main reason I wanted to add this entry was to say, no matter how effortless a recipe may be, it is always fun to make easy recipes cute with a colorful place mat, and a cute bowl for dipping or a cup o' soup! 

Who ever knew a french dip could look so good?!

Make this next time you don't feel up to taking the time to make something fancy, and use the cute bowls that have been sitting in your cabinet
that you have never known what to use them for :)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

*Smoky Tortilla Soup*

I absolutely love tortilla soup, and I love beans in my tortilla soup.  However, Jay O. is not a fan of beans and every tortilla soup I have tried before and left out the beans I felt something was missing.  This recipe, on the other hand, doesn't include beans and I think it might be my all time favorite.  The flavors go perfectly together and give it a nice smoky finish with a little touch of sweet.  If you wanted to add beans to the recipe, I'm sure it would be delish =)

It looks like there are quite a few ingredients you would have to buy, but most of the ingredients you will have in your pantry.  It was very budget friendly!

2 Large green chiles, seeded and stemmed                               
1 quart (32 oz) chicken stock
2 Tbsp vegetable oil 
1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1 Large red onion, chopped (the entire onion!)
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped (or jalapeno)
1 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used a garlic press)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (28 oz.) can fire roasted diced or crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp honey
1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded (I bought a pre-cooked one at Kroger)
Salt & Pepper
2 Cups water
1 lime
2 ripe Hass avocados, halved
Light sour cream, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish 

Add the green chiles and the chicken stock to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium/high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chiles are tender.  Remove from heat to cool.

While the chiles simmer, heat a medium soup pot with vegetable oil over high heat.  Add the corn and saute until charred at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes.  Reduce the heat a little, add the onions, serrano pepper (or jalapeno), red chile pepper and garlic.  Season with cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon.  Saute for 5 minutes, then pour and stir in the fire roasted tomatoes.   

Puree the chiles and the stock in a food processor, then add it to the soup pot.  If you have a hand blender, it would work perfectly and you can leave the chiles and stock in the soup pot. 

Stir in the honey and the shredded chicken and season with salt and pepper. Thin the soup with 2 cups of water and simmer over low heat to combine flavors, 5 minutes minimum.  Like I've mentioned before, the longer it simmers the more flavor!  

Zest and juice 1 lime and add to the soup pot.  
Seed and slice the avocados. 

Ladle the soup into each bowl, and top with a dollop of sour cream, a few slice of avocado, and some chopped cilantro leaves if you want the perfect finishing touch :0)

If you want to add the crunch factor, crush a handful of whole wheat tortilla chips in the bottom of each bowl before adding the soup.

Enjoy, and make sure to save some for leftovers!  I assure you it will be hard not to eat all of it in one  sitting!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Herbed Crackers

1 Box Ritz Crackers
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil 
1 (1 oz) pkg dry ranch dressing seasoning
1 Tbsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp celery salt

In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk in the vegetable oil.
Put the crackers in a large zip-lock bag and pour the ingredients over the crackers.
Seal the bag tightly and turn the bag, coating all of the crackers evenly with the oil/spices.
For the best results, let the crackers soak up  the flavor for at least 24 hours.    

I got the idea to try out this recipe on the blog "Keeping up with the Joneses."  I absolutely love this blog and it has inspired me to try and take more pictures!  I have a link to Kendall's blog on my right side bar, check it out!!!  The recipe on her blog is the same, but for ritz bitz with cheese.  I will admit, I accidentally bought regular ritz, but they turned out great and I bought some Creamy Havarti cheese to slice up & go with them.  

This is a great recipe to make a head of time and have for snacks when you have guests.  I made them to have for an appetizer this weekend when my in-laws  come to town! 

I hope you enjoy this next time you serve crackers and want to change things up a bit :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

*Chocolate Dot Pumpkin Muffins*

Okay, so this recipe is MORE than blog worthy...you know how some recipes have been in your family for so long that you feel like you should never unveil the secret of what yummy ingredients go into the pure deliciousness of the recipe???  Well, this is one of them.  And, a must bake for every Fall season of every year.  And, it's not difficult at all!  Now, go get all of these ingredients and be excited for the end product!
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 ½ tsp all spice
1 ½ tsp ginger
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
30 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups bran flakes
12 oz chocolate chips
 A lot of people add 1 cup chopped nuts here...but I like it better without.

Sift dry ingredients.  Beat eggs, add pumpkin, oil and bran flakes.  Mix well.  Add sifted ingredients, mixing only until combined. Stir in chocolate chips (and nuts, if you want to ruin the ooey gooey deliciousness).  Spread in ungreased pan.

I like this recipe best as mini-muffins, but if you would like to make a loaf or perhaps a bundt follow these cooking instructions...bake at 350 degrees.

Bundt Pan   1 hr 10 minutes
Cupcakes     30 minutes
Loaf Pans    40 – 50 minutes
Mini muffins – 15 minutes

Cool completely before removing.

Now, give some away so you don't eat ALL of them!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cozy up with Chili!!!

So...it seems like every time I make chili I change something up and have never followed a recipe.  However, I made chili for my parents and Jay O. this week and they said it really might be the best they have ever had, so I am going to make my best attempt to get the recipe exactly how I made it because it was definitely a keeper!

1 yellow onion, diced
2 serrano peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 pkg. hot turkey link italian sausage
1 pkg. 99% lean ground turkey meat (I used about 1/2 of this pkg.)
1 pkg. William's Original chili seasoning (the pkg that seasons 2 lb.'s meat)
1 16 oz. can sweet kernel corn
2 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 can chili beans (or 2 if you prefer)
1 can Rotel "chili fixins"
2 Tbsp. hot sauce (I used Louisiana)
4 Tbsp. Ketchup
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 cans (16 0z can) water (add 2 cans if it seems necessary) 
Dash of salt and red pepper flakes

  • In a large pot drizzle olive oil on the bottom, and saute onion, serrano pepper & garlic until onion is slightly brown, adding a dash of salt.
  • Remove hot turkey sausage from their casings, and cook hot turkey sausage and lean turkey meat stirring the onion, serrano pepper, and garlic into the meat.  
  • Once the turkey meat is almost done cooking, add the William's Chili seasoning packet and thoroughly stir into the turkey meat.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the pot (corn, tomatoes, rotel, water, hot sauce, ketchup, tomato paste, chili beans, salt & red pepper flakes)  
  • Stir occasionally and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for at least 30 minutes up to however much time you have.  The longer it simmers, the more flavor it will have!!!

I loved this recipe because it had a kick of spice, but an occasional sweet touch from the corn.  I prefer the hot turkey and lean turkey to make it a healthier dish, but if you wanted to use beef, you could do that, too.  My parents and I prefer beans in our chili, but I made a separate pot with no beans for Jay O. and it turned out great as well.

I served this with cornbread, and sprinkled cheddar cheese onto each serving.

I am sure I will make another chili recipe at some point this season and share it with you :)    We will see what I come up with, but until then, cozy up with this delectable recipe!!!