Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicken Noodle Casserole

I was looking for something I could throw together quickly and inexpensively. We are on a budget crunch for the next few weeks as a lot of things have been going on above and beyond our normal bills (birthday party, Steve’s birthday present, T’s birthday present, shutting down the pool –chemicals and maybe a new cover- etc.) So one of the area’s to cut back is the grocery bill. If any of you have an Aldi’s grocery store, you know how cheaply you can shop but you also know there are certain items to stay away from. I am a brand snob when it comes to certain things so I’m a two grocery store person now a days. Considering our completely bare pantry/fridge, I did pretty good to cut our normal $150ish food bill down to 80 this week (includes non food items such as laundry detergent as well as my husbands soft drink addiction). This recipe is one of my new inventions to suit a budget crunch. Needs a bit of tweaking but it is well on its way.

Chicken/Turkey Noodle Casserole
1 pack Chicken tenders (or leftover pieces of turkey etc.)
1 tbs oil
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 pack egg noodles al dente
2 cans cream of chicken soup
½ cup milk
1 cup frozen green peas
1 can coined carrots
1 can mixed veggies
1 cup shredded cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 cup French’s Fried Onion topper
1 cup Bread crumbs (or stuffing mix)

Heat oil on stove and cook chicken WITH diced onions until chicken is cooked through. I sprinkled my salt/pepper/garlic powder on the chicken before cooking to flavor the chicken.

While chicken is cooking (and noodles are cooking), in a 13 x 9 casserole dish, pour strained cans of veggies and frozen peas. Add cans of chicken soup and mix. Pour hot noodles over this mixture and add milk and cheese. Mix well. Layer over the top: chicken and onion mixture, French’s onion toppers and bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and browned. Serve hot.

Menu errr Wednesday

I know I'm late for posting this week so without fluff and stuff here you go! For a rainy, cooler fall week:

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Potato Soup with Filet Mignon

Pretzel Chicken with broccoli florets smothered in mustard cheese sauce

Creamy Pea Pasta

Hamburgers and fries

chicken something or other that I haven't decided yet.

Apple Pie

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Key Lime Cupcakes

National Cupcake Week was last week and I did manage to bake a batch of cupcakes that went over in a big way here at work. This recipe is courtesy of Mrs.Beth and is a refreshing light cupcake with a citrus flavor and to-die-for icing. It’s also great because its one of the few that is not completely from scratch so it can be made in a hurry with minimal effort for last minute school functions and potlucks! Everyone (even the best cooks/bakers) need a recipe like this hanging around!

Key Lime Cupcakes

For the cake:

1 box white cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
(B uses the zest of two limes, I left that out)
One small container of Key Lime Juice (gives you about ¾ cup) (then add enough water to this to make 1 cup of liquid) ( B uses-juice of 6 limes plus the water)

Mix and bake as directed.
Cool on a wire rack.

For the icing:

1 8oz package of cream cheese-softened
1 stick butter -softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup finely crushed graham crackers
splash of milk if needed (you will need it)

I mix my cream cheese and butter really well first, then slowly add the
sugar. Add a splash of milk if needed to bring icing to proper consistency. Add graham cracker crumbs last and mix well.

I think you know how to combine the icing and cupcakes. If you need directions, we have bigger problems than my blog can address. ;)

Michael Simonesque Lasagna

I was watching Paula Deen this past weekend (DVR’d show) and her guest was Michael Simon (my favorite Iron Chef). They were making his Mom’s lasagna. It intrigued me because he made a thick meat sauce that wasn’t really a sauce so the lasagna was thickly layered without a lot of juice. While I can’t use all the same meats and spices he does (those pesky food allergy fears you know), I did mimic his method to create my own version. It came out quite well in my opinion. (There is very little similarity between the two recipes other than taking inspiration to make a super meaty drier lasagna).

I liked this recipe for many reasons. By cutting down the sauciness it came out cleaner and held its form better than my traditional lasagna. It was fast and easy to make and very hearty. This would be an easy recipe to adapt by adding some sliced veggies to it or taking to a potluck since its not as messy.

Meat Lasagna
1 Large box of noodles (boiled in salted water till al dente)
2 lbs ground sirloin
1 ½ medium large yellow onion-diced
2 tbs finely diced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp celery salt
Parsley and Italian Seasoning (amounts are up to you)
1 ball Fresh Mozzerella Cheese
1 bag shredded Mozzerella
½ cup shredded or grated Parmesan
12 oz cottage cheese
16 ounces Ricotta Cheese
1 can tomato Paste
2 cans Diced tomatoes

In a cast iron Dutch oven, brown hamburger meat along with garlic and onion. I had to add a tidbit of water to mine as the hamburger doesn’t have enough fat to provide a cooking base. Add Tomatoes, seasonings, and tomato paste. Simmer for 30 minutes.

In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, parmesan, and ricotta. Stir until blended and smooth.

To assemble: Spread some of the meat mixture on the bottom of pan and layer lasagna noodles over the top so no meat shows. Spread about half of the ricotta mixture over and layer on another set of noodles. Spread some meat sauce and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Repeat with ricotta mixture. Top off with meat sauce. Tear the mozzarella ball into pieces and layer over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Updates and Menues (late)

I’ve definitely been cooking again. Plus the other night, I actually finally managed to download pics from my camera to my computer. 230 of them dating back to the spring! Blogging is back in business, if only I can find the time to catch up so its not overwhelming on where to start again!

This weekend I have a big “event” coming up that I will post about later (as in after it happens) so for the past few weeks my energy has been directed there. Don’t you love it when there is a vague reference that leaves you confused and irritated?

Recipes that I have ready to post soon:
Canning Tomatoes
Pear Preserves
A new attempt at Beef Strogonauf
Ranch Dressing / Dip (from scratch)
Egg Salad

Plus Last week was National Cupcake Week. I managed to bust out some of Mrs.Beth’s Key lime Cupcakes during that week and I will post soon.

Menu for this week:

Baked Potato Soup and Filet Mignon with Iceberg Wedges
Lasagna (inspired by Iron Chef Michael Simon’s Mom’s recipe)
Turkey Melts
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders with Deconstructed Salad and homemade Ranch dressing/dip

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Monday-It feels like Fall!

I don't know about you but I do most of my cooking in the cooler months. Fall is my favorite time of year and I can tell its almost here because my cooking bug is back for rich hearty stews/soups etc.

I spent this weekend making pear preserves and pear syrup (with the wonderful aid of my mother) so I'm pretty all set on that. Now I just need to do some apple butter and I'll be golden for the winter.

this weeks menu is ambitious considering my slackness in the past few weeks at anything remotely time consuming or passable as dinner. LOL

Fried Chicken with Green Bean casserole
Beef Stroganauff
Vegetable soup
White chicken Chili
Chicken and Mozzerella Skillet
Baked Potato soup