sunset harvest

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Easy Meat Balls

Working a full time job means less time in the evenings to make my family dinner during the week, so planning ahead is crucial.  When I was looking through my cookbooks recently I stumbled across a recipe for easy meatballs from my Aunt Rita, and what a relief when I realized they cooked all day in the crock pot.  The best part of this meal...I made it all up the night before. Got my kids in bed and spent about 15 minutes preparing this wonderful meal. I put all my ingredients in the crock pot, carefully laid the meatballs in the sauce, put the lid on and put it in the refrigerator overnight, so in the morning just took it out and put it in the crock pot, pushed a few buttons and out the door! Very helpful for those crazy school and work mornings!

Coming home and only having to make some spaghetti noodles and warm up some garlic bread in the oven made my day! Hope you try this soon!

Begin by making the sauce, no need to even use a bowl, just throw it all in the crock pot!

1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
2 whole bay leaves
1/2 TBLS dried oregano
1 TBLS Italian seasoning
1 TBLS brown sugar
1 TBLS balsamic vinegar
I used four 15 oz cans of tomato sauce, but you could just use 2 of the large cans, and if I didn't have a picky family, I would have used a can of crushed tomatoes

Stir all ingredients together and begin the meatballs

Meat Balls
From my Aunt Rita

Mix together
1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 lb. sausage
1 egg
2 slices bread (wet and squeeze out water, then pull it apart and add it in small pieces)
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 or 4 shakes of garlic powder ( I love my aunt )
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 TBLS. grated Parmesan cheese

I made large meatballs because I knew they would be cooking for most of the day, a heaping Tablespoon, and they turned out perfectly. Cook on low for 8 hours. The sauce simmers on low all day and makes everything come together for one delicious bite!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy Fall!

I can't even look at the day of my last post. Please hang in there with me! I miss my blog and have to do more frequent post! I have some recipes coming up and can't wait to share them! Here are some little treats I made for a party over the weekend.  I made one batch of rice crispy treats and then added some Americolor gel in the orange color. I wasn't going to add red/yellow food coloring and try to get the color just right, but you certainly could! Once the marshmallows were melted I added the food coloring. I tried a few different ways of molding my pumpkins but found the best way for me was while the mixture was still warm, I placed about a half a cup of the mixture in muffin tins. When they were slightly cool, I was able to mold them a little easier. I made some icing using some butter, powder sugar and milk and then attached the Rolo to the top of each pumpkin. Super easy and they were a hit at the party! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

Tried another casserole that my mother strongly recommended, and I can't even describe the reaction from the crew. My daughter was the first to literally lick her plate clean. She loved it, Doug went back for seconds, which if you know him, says a lot as he is not a casserole type of a guy. This dish came together very easily and I hope you put this in your dinner rotation very soon! 
Most of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen. I served this meal with a side salad and for Doug I threw in some tater tots since a salad on his plate would be the end of the world!

Enchilada Casserole
adapted from Buns in My Oven

Begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, and cooking the egg noodles according to package directions. I used about 8 ozs. of wide egg noodles.

Brown one pound of ground beef in a skillet.

Once meat is cooked through, add the following;
4 oz. Cream Cheese
1/4 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder

Stir until the cream cheese melts, and then add the following;
1/4 cup sour cream
1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
1 (10oz) can enchilada sauce
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

Allow the cheese to melt and continue to stir. Add in the cooked noodles and stir to combine.

Pour into a greased casserole dish. I used an 8x8 dish and it worked perfectly.

Sprinkle an additional 1 cup of shredded cheese over casserole and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Great Summer Salad

Where has the summer gone. I can't believe I have not posted anything for over a month. Time has flown by and I even sent my oldest off to kindergarten. So after making a great dinner last night, I was ready to put it on here and found a few other favorites I made over the summer that I wanted to share. This is a simple and delicious salad, you can often find similarities to this salad at your grocery store deli counter. But why not make it at home? So much better! 
Broccoli Salad

Begin by cooking about 6 slices of bacon, once cooked, do a rough chop to make bite size pieces. 

Mix together 
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/3/ cup sugar
1 TBLS. white vinegar

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, 
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4/ cup diced onion
3 stalks uncooked broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Now dig in! Yum!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Philly Cheese Steak "Cupcakes"

I have seen all the taco cupcake craze over Pinterest and after having them while I was visiting my family I thought why not turn one of my all time favorites into a "cupcake". I changed things up just a little and was very pleased with the end results. This comes together fast and is a perfect weeknight meal! Of course I didn't add the approximate 1 tablespoon of mayo to Doug's cupcakes, but I definitely  added it to mine and it made the whole thing come together perfectly.
Being by browning ground beef. In a separate pan saute diced onion and green peppers in a little bit of butter till softened. Add some Worcestershire sauce and mayo to the beef. Spray muffin tin generously with cooking spray. Lay one won ton wrap in each tin. If you have picky eaters that will not eat the green peppers or onions, do theirs first. Start with the ground beef, then sprinkle with cheese and repeat by placing another wrap on top of cheese, followed by meat and cheese. If you don't have anyone who will throw a fit if there is onion or peppers in the meat, you can stir in the onions and pepper into the ground beef before assembling them. Bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
I served these guys with some fries and applesauce for the kids. Trying to offer my suggestions for sides to help my ever lovable sister in case by change I can't answer my phone when she makes this and wants to know what to serve them with :)

Philly Cheese Steak Cupcakes

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 TBLS. Butter
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 TBLS. Mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
24 Won Ton Wrappers (Found mine in the produce section of my local grocery store)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Brown meat in pan. In separate pan melt butter and add onion and green peppers and saute till tender. Spray muffin tin and place one won ton wrap in each tin. Add mayo and Worcestershire sauce to the meat. Add onions and pepper to meat and stir to combine. 
Layer meat in each wrap and then sprinkle with cheese. Add another won ton wrap on top of the cheese and repeat, meat and then finally the cheese. 

Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I have always loved Chicken Cordon Bleu. It was our main course when we got married years ago...I have made my favorite version many times, even tried a layered casserole awhile ago. However, this version surpasses my other casserole option. When I have the time I like making the classic version, but this dinner came together easily and tasted delicious! When tasting the sauce I could have kept eating it, but decided it was better if I used it in the actual meal I was preparing! I accidentally left three ingredients out of the picture, so in addition to what is pictured below, you will also need 3 oz. cream cheese, 2 cups of milk, and 2 TBLS. flour.
Before you begin the casserole, bring your water to a boil and cook the pasta. The first step in the casserole process may seem a little tedious. The original recipe calls for you to blend the cream cheese, flour, salt and milk in a blender. I just used my food processor and pulsed it a few times to get the mixture soft and smooth. Once that is ready, warm up 1 TBLS of butter in a saucepan. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, slowly add the milk mixture, stir and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the onion powder and Italian seasoning. Add a little salt and pepper, try some and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Continue to heat and stir till the mixture becomes thick. At this point I poured the cooked pasta, cooked chicken, bacon and ham into a large bowl and poured the mixture over the top. Stir to coat and pour in a casserole dish. 
Melt 3 TBLS of butter with 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bread crumbs are lightly browned. 
Now that is what's for dinner!!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Adapted from Eat Cake for Dinner

2 1/2 cups pasta, your choice (measure before cooking)
Cook pasta according to package directions

I decided to just grill some boneless skinless chicken breast during the day so they would be ready for dinner. You need about 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken
4-5 Strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 lb. deli ham, diced

In a food processor or blender combine
2 cups milk
4 oz. cream cheese, straight from the refrigerator 
2 TBLS flour
1 tsp. kosher salt

Melt 1 TBLS butter in a saucepan and add 1 tsp. garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds and carefully add the milk mixture. Stir continuously for about 3 minutes until simmering. Add in 
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Continue to stir until mixture thickens. 
Add 1 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese and stir till cheese melts. 

In large bowl combine pasta, bacon, chicken, and ham. Pour the milk/cheese mixture over and stir to combine. Place in a greased casserole dish.
Mix together 4 TBLS of melted butter with 1 cup of panko bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

I used two smaller casserole dishes to prepare this. I baked one and placed one in the freezer to pull out when we are in a rush or in need for an even easier dinner! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Asian BBQ Chicken

This chicken will forever be known in our house as the chicken that convinced my husband that boneless skinless chicken thighs are OK to eat and actually taste very good! I could honestly say I could eat this almost every night of the week during the summer. It is that good. I let the chicken marinade overnight, for chicken..I think it is a must! I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, but I also pounded out 3 boneless skinless chicken breast, just in case my husband would not eat the thighs. Next time, sticking with all thighs! 
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add to the chicken. The next day I made a little more of the marinade to pour over the chicken after it was finished on the grill, I poured some of the marinated I heated up over the chicken before serving. I realize that sometimes some people may not know what to do with a root of ginger, I have one very special person in mind, thus the photos below for getting fresh ginger into the marinade:) Slice off the outer edge of the ginger by running your knife along the outside of the piece. 
Once all the brown is removed you can just grate the ginger into the bowl. 
After marinating and cooking on the grill, this is what you end up with..mouthwatering chicken!
I served the chicken with some Cilantro Lime Rice, Fresh green beans and the cucumbers and onion salad. I made this when we had some friends over and couldn't have been more pleased with the way it all turned out!

Asian BBQ Chicken
adapted from Our Best Bites

8-10 Skinless Boneless Chicken Thighs ( Next time I will make even more..we had no leftovers and this served 4 adults and kids)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
Juice from 2 limes
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 tsp. fresh, grated Ginger
1/2 tsp. Sesame Seeds

Set chicken thighs aside and combine all the ingredients, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Place chicken in a gallon size Ziploc bag, or what you prefer to marinade meat and pour marinade over. Marinade overnight for best results. 
Grill the chicken about 5-10 minutes on each side till cooked through. 
* Make about 1/4 of the above marinade when you are cooking the chicken, I made it and warmed it up on the stove top before serving I poured it over the chicken and sprinkled with sliced green onions.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer Classic

A few summers ago I noticed Grace in the our garden picking a cucumber. I watched as she picked it, and ate the entire thing. That's my girl! I make this cucumber salad and between the two of us we have no problem finishing it off in a day or two. It is a perfect summer classic and this recipe is one of the best! After all, how can you go wrong with these ingredients!?
Water, salt, vinegar, sugar, whipping cream is all that is needed for the marinade. I prefer the English or seedless cucumbers but the store only had the regular ole cucumbers our last visit. When this is the case, I prefer to slice them length wise and then scoop out the seeds/insides with a spoon. Then slice them and place in the water/salt brine for about an hour. Meanwhile, slice up the onions and place them in the vinegar, sugar, and whipping cream.
Drain the cucumbers, rinse and place on paper towels to drain. Put the cucumbers in with the onions and give a good stir. Place in the refrigerator, overnight if you can wait that long, and enjoy! They made a great side dish to our Asian BBQ chicken the other night, recipe coming soon!

Cucumbers and Onions
Recipe from Krista's Kitchen

2-3 cucumbers, sliced 
Mix together 2 cups of water with 2 TBLS Of salt and stir to dissolve. 
Put cucumbers in and let sit for an hour. When ready, rinse and drain the cucumbers on a paper towel.
Mix together the following, 
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup whipping cream
Add a sliced onion, followed by the rinsed cucumbers. Stir to combine

Refrigerate preferably over night...if you can wait that long:)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chicken Fajitas the EASY way!

These are amazing!! Found the idea from Holly over at Life as a Lofthouse and I am so glad I tried them right away. This is just a suggestion, no real recipe to go with this one! I started with 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast. If you follow along, you know I like to cut my chicken up pretty small..cooks faster and easier for my little mouths to eat and chew up! Slice up an onion and green pepper, throw them in a gallon size zip lock bag.
 Pour in a bottle this new marinade from Lawry's. Love it. I started this first thing in the morning, I like to let it marinade all day long. 
When your ready, heat up about a TBLS of oil in a skillet. When ready, put in the chicken, onion and pepper mixture in the skillet and cook till chicken is no longer pink. 
Using some soft taco size shells, I put the chicken in a shell with some shredded cheese, rolled up and placed on my indoor grill pan to warm them through. I enjoyed this method of cooking the chicken. I have done fajitas before, where you cook the veggies, remove them, cook the chicken, then add them all back in...but from here on out, this will be the way it is done in our house. Easy and taste great!
The next day for lunch the kids and I used the leftover chicken to make this amazing salad! I warmed up the chicken and put it on top of some iceburg and Romain lettuce. Threw on some cheese, cilantro and sour cream. It was eaten as well as the fajitas the night before. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

BBQ Cups

When you need to make something for dinner that is fast and easy try these little meat filled cups. I found this idea over at Life as a Lofthouse and will be making it again. Next time I may even turn it into a breakfast meal and add egg and sausage.  Start by browning one pound of hamburger meat.
When the meat has cooked, add in about 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes until heated through. Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray. Take a tube (12oz) of refrigerated biscuits and flatten each biscuit on the counter, just using your hands, then press into the muffin tin.
After each biscuit is in the muffin tin, add in ground beef and sprinkle shredded cheese over the top. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven and using a spoon remove and serve!
I may have filled mine a little high, however they stayed together and tasted great!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Potatoes and Dill

I love red potatoes, new potatoes, "B" size potatoes, whatever you want to call them! I enjoy them on the grill, or in the oven or boiled then sauteed in some butter and garlic. However tonight I wanted to make them using some fresh dill I bought last week. I melted some butter and added some minced garlic, dill, and a little salt. 
Next, dice up the potatoes into bite size pieces and started boiling a pot of water. Just a few inches of water in the pan and then put the steam basket in the pot and covered for about 15 minutes. I tested at about 10 minutes and they were still not as tender as I like. 
 Once they are tender, not mushy remove to a bowl and pour the butter/dill/garlic/salt mixture over the top, and stir to coat. These were a knockout at dinner! My little lady usually just picks at a few potatoes but she inhaled two helpings of these! 
 There were a great addition to tonight's meal of BBQ chicken legs and corn on the cob! Chicken recipe coming up tomorrow! 

Red/Baby/New/"B"/whatever you want to call them/ potatoes and Dill

6-8 medium to small size potatoes, diced

Bring about 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil, making sure that you don't add too much water that it touches the steaming basket. Place potatoes in steam basket and add to pot, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. 

While potatoes stir together;

3 TBLS melted butter
1 heaping tablespoon fresh chopped Dill
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt

When potatoes are fork tender, remove and place in a bowl. Pour butter mixture over potatoes and stir to coat. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I have been on a bit of a dinner time slump lately. Getting tired of thinking of recipes, or just tired of cooking dinner in general. However this recipe knocked me right out of my slump. I made this for dinner and had leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day. I am not the type to enjoy leftovers and most of the time I end up throwing them away, however when it comes to this meal, we will eat every last bite! I will make this again soon, both kids loved the tender chicken and Doug was even pleased, which is saying a lot since he is so picky about what sauces he will eat.
I used bone in and skin on chicken breast. In an oven safe cooking pot, I browned the chicken breast that had been sprinkled with salt and pepper before hand. When they are browned, remove to a plate.
Place sliced onion rings and whole garlic cloves in the oil and stir for about two minutes. Pour in a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce. I ended up using about a bottle and a half. 
Place chicken breast back in the pot and cover, place in a 300 degree oven for about an hour and a half.
Your kitchen will begin to smell amazing. I couldn't wait to eat this meal! Remove the chicken and the meat will literally fall right off the bone. I also pulled off the skin of the chicken breast as I pulled the meat off the bone.  I consumed some of the chicken then placed the rest back in the pot to simmer in the sauce until dinner time. I removed the garlic cloves but left the onions in the chicken mixture. 
I love cole slaw on top of the meat, served on a bun. This is a perfect and easy summer meal! 

Barbecue Chicken
from The Pioneer Woman

4 bone in/skin on chicken breast (the original recipe calls for one whole cut up chicken but to make Doug happy I stuck to using all white meat)
One onion, sliced
6 whole garlic cloves, skin removed but left whole
2 TBLS canola oil
1 to 1 1/2 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat canola oil in a large oven safe pot. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken in oil and turn to brown. Remove to a plate and place the onion and garlic cloves in, cooking for about 2 minutes. Pour in the BBQ sauce and return the chicken to the pot. Place lid on and bake for about an hour and a half. Remove skin and bones from chicken and shred using two forks. Place back in sauce to simmer and keep warm until you are ready to serve!

Oreo Pops

I have yet to make the ever popular cake pops. The version below from Jamie Cooks it up, just requires a package of Oreos and cream cheese...easy. No baking required! 
Start by mixing in a blender, softened cream cheese and 1 package of Oreo cookies. I used the golden oreos, but I am sure the chocolate Oreo's would taste just as good. Mix until combined and place in a container and freeze for about 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and roll into balls, place a sucker stick in each rolled ball and then place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Stick them back in the freezer till firm, about 20 minutes. Follow the package directions for the candy melts and mix till smooth. Dip the oreo ball in and swirl around, tapping off the excess back into the bowl. I put sprinkles on some of them, others I tried to swirl the alternate color around it. 
I stuck them in a tissue covered piece of foam for our recent fish fry. Some of the guest swore they were just dipped marshmallows, however taking a bite they were hopefully pleasantly surprised! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Busy Morning Cinnamon Rolls

I love when a meal or dish brings back a memory or a story. And these Cinnamon rolls prove that even the simplest and easiest dish can come with a story. I remember this particular story like it was yesterday, however I was actually in about 3rd grade, so doing the math, that was many many years ago. We were visiting my Uncle Bob and Aunt Kathy one weekend and my aunt made these Cinnamon rolls. Uncle Bob was at church and by the time he returned home, there was maybe one roll left. It was at that moment that I saw a side of my uncle that I will never be able to forget. It was at that moment I realized that throwing a tantrum was not something only small children do. Uncle Bob threw his fit and we all watched as he was unraveling in front of us. To this day my sister and I still bring that day up. He is still bitter about it. You would think that Aunt Kathy spent all night on these rolls, but that's the beauty of these rolls, they are simple and quick! My favorite cinnamon rolls take a little more time, so when I want something fast and easy these rolls are at the top of my list!
Cinnamon, sugar, butter and a can of crescent rolls, that's all you need for these rolls. Start by unrolling rolls and take two crescent rolls and press together at the seams. Spread with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. 

Starting at the short end, roll and place seam side down on a cutting board. I was able to slice the roll into five Cinnamon rolls. Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and place in a preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. 
For the icing, it's one of those "eyeball the amounts" kind of icing. Starting with a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar, stir in a tablespoon of milk and whisk. Add more milk or powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency. Pour icing over the rolls and serve!