Hashbrown Shepherd’s Pie

March 31st, 2014

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This take on shepherd’s pie is quick to throw together, and can be prepped ahead and refrigerated or frozen before baking. I used frozen hash brown potatoes for a quick option- you could also boil then shred your own potatoes.

½ lb Ground Beef
1 cup Zucchini, diced
½ tsp Garlic
¼ cup Flour
1 ½ cups Beef Broth
½ cup Swiss Cheese, shredded
½ cup Milk
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Pinch of Cayenne
2 cups Frozen Shredded Potatoes

In a medium saucepan cook beef over low heat, adding zucchini and garlic half way through. Cook until zucchini is nearly tender, then stir in flour. Cook for one more minute and add broth- scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get any browning incorporated into the sauce. Add cheese and simmer until thickened. Stir in milk and season to taste. Place in greased oven safe bake ware- I used two oven proof bowls. Top with potatoes. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (time my need to be longer if they have been refrigerated or frozen- look for bubbling sauce to determine doneness). Optional- turn your oven on broil to crisp the top of the potatoes.

Sweet Corn Bread

March 19th, 2014

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This recipe is for a small batch of sweet corn bread. I have been on a quest to find a recipe for cornbread that is not dry and flavorless- this is finally it! The cake mix adds the moisture and sweetness needed to really make this cornbread special. This recipe make 4 individual muffin sized servings.

1 cup Yellow Cake Mix
1 cup Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 egg
½ cup Milk

Mix all ingredients well with whisk. Pour into greased ramekins or muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes. Muffins are done when the center has risen and batter no longer jiggles. Serve warm with butter.

Apple Cinnamon Granola

March 14th, 2014

This fall I froze some great sugar free applesauce from the apples I picked at my brothers property. I thought making some granola would be a fun new way to put it to use. Serve this granola over fruit, or yogurt.

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4 cups Whole Rolled Oats
2 Tbsp Butter
½ cup Applesauce
½ tsp Butter
¼ cup Honey

Combine all ingredients, then place on baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes- stirring every ten minutes. Granola will be golden brown when done- and it won’t become crunchy until it has completely cooled.

Optional- add the nuts of your choice before baking or add the dried fruit of your choice after baking.

Carrot Apple Cake

February 26th, 2014

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Recently I was in the mood to bake and couldn’t decide between a carrot cake, apple sake or spice cake. One thing I knew is I wanted to use cream cheese icing. So I combined a few recipes and made a carrot apple cake. This cake is best served chilled.

2 cups Carrots, shredded
2 cups Apples, shredded
1 cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Ginger, ground

Combine wet ingredients with carrots and apples in a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry, only until just mixed. Pour into greased 9×13 inch cake pan. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes- or until set.

Icing:
4 oz Cream Cheese
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
¾ cup Powdered Sugar
½ tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Lemon Juice

Blend cream cheese with hand mixer until smooth. Beat in heavy cream, then powdered sugar and liquids. Beat until smooth. Ice cake once cooled, then refrigerate for service.

Simple Chicken Salad

February 18th, 2014

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This light chicken salad can be made with cooked whole chicken, whether from home or the grocery store rotisserie type, shredded chicken breast, or even canned chicken in a pinch. It is quick to throw together and only requires about a half an hour of chill time. Serve as a sandwich or with crackers.

4 cups Cooked Chicken, shredded
½ cup Sour Cream
½ cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Fresh Grapes, Dried Fruit, Roasted Nuts- optional

Combine sour cream, mayo, vinegar and sugar. Whisk to incorporate all ingredients and season to taste. Add the ratio that you prefer of fruit and nuts- or none at all. Refrigerate for at least one half hour and up to three days.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

February 4th, 2014

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

This recipe combines two of my favorite desserts, cheesecake and apple crisp. They can be served warm, chilled, with caramel sauce, with ice cream… so many options!

For the Crust:
½ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
½ cup Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
¾ cup Butter, softened
For the Filling:
16 oz Cream Cheese
2 Eggs
½ cup White Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
For the Apples:
2 Apples
1 Tbsp Butter
½ tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp White Sugar
For the Topping:
½ cupped Rolled Oats
½ cup Brown Sugar
½ cup Butter, softened
½ cup Flour
½ cup Graham Crackers Crumbs

Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using an electric hand mixture, blend all crust ingredients until well mixed. Press mixture into greased pan.
For the cheesecake filling, beat cream cheese until smooth, then add remaining ingredients. Pour filling over crust.
Peel and dice apples. Cook in small sauté pan over low heat, with butter. Sauté until tender, then add sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle apples evenly over cheesecake layer.
For the crumb topping combine all ingredients and beat with electric mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until cheesecake filling is set, and no longer jiggles when moved. Allow to cool, slice and chill.

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Gravy

November 30th, 2012

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Gravy

½ cup Diced Apple
¼ cup Bacon, uncooked and diced
½ tsp Garlic, minced
2 Eggs
½ cup Milk
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
2 cups Bread Cubes
1 Boneless Pork Loin, about 8 inches in length
Additional salt and pepper for pork

In a small sauté pan over medium heat cook bacon with diced apples until bacon is near crisp. Stir in Garlic and sauté for about 1 minute- remove mixture from heat and allow to cool slightly . In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. For bread cubes you can use any bread that is handy such as day old sandwich bread or a loaf of Italian bread. For a variation you can also try rye bread, or even whole wheat. Cut bread into ½ inch cubes and stir into egg mixture. Allow bread to fully absorb egg. Stir in apple mixture and set aside. Keep the sauté pan used for apple mixture to make the gravy.

To prepare pork loin cut into the loin about one third from the top (which will be the fatty side). Make the cut by holding your knife parallel to the cutting board, and slice the loin horizontally, stopping one inch shy of going through the whole loin. For the second cut you will hold the knife in the same way and start your cut at the end of your previous slice- but going the opposite way. Cut the lower portion of the loin in half stopping one inch shy of going through the whole loin. This will make the pork loin lay flat on your cutting board. Once the loin is cut flat, place stuffing over the top, leaving one inch empty for rolling. Roll pork towards the empty area and then place the seal side down onto a greased baking sheet.

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Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes. Until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees when inserted into the center of the roll. Remove from oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes, then slice to serve.

For Gravy:

½ cup Butter
½ cup Flour
½ cup Apple Cider
2 cups Chicken Stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Use the same sauté pan that was used to fry bacon for making the gravy. The bottom of the pan should have bacon drippings and will help to add flavor to your gravy. In that pan melt butter over medium heat. Once butter has melted, stir in flour. Allow to cook, while stirring for 2 minutes over low heat.
Add cider and chicken stock and simmer until well thickened. About five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir any juice drippings from the pork loin pan into your sauce for added flavor.

Grilled Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

June 20th, 2012

Grilled Stuffed Portabella
Makes 2 Large Mushrooms

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2 large Portabella Mushrooms
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Bread Cubes
¼ cup Bacon, Cooked
½ cup Spinach
1 tsp Garlic, Chopped
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Sliced Mozzarella

Clean mushrooms by brushing with a damp paper towel. Using a small spoon, scrape the gills from the mushroom.

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Pour equal amounts of olive oil and vinegar on the stem side of each mushroom. Allow to marinade for about 30 minutes.
Preheat grill to medium heat, about 350 degrees.
Cook bacon until crisp in a small sauté pan. Leave about 1 tsp of bacon grease in the pan, and discard the rest. Stir in washed spinach and sauté until wilted. Then stir in bread cubes and sauté for about one minute of medium heat. Remove stuffing mixture from sauté pan and place in a small mixing bowl. Stir in egg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Drain the remaining balsamic marinade from the mushrooms into the stuffing mixture, stir to incorporate.
Fill mushrooms with stuffing.

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Place each mushroom on the preheated grill. Close lid and cook for about 10 minutes. After ten minutes place slices of mozzarella cheese on top of each mushroom. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and browned. Serve hot.
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Super Smoothie

February 28th, 2012

In the depths of winter, after months of comfort food, I find myself craving veggies and fruit. In the cold weather season I am often making more starchy heavy foods, and vegetables are sometimes forgotten. In an effort to integrate more fruits and vegetables into our diet I have been making smoothies for me and my husband. I keep all of the ingredients in the freezer, so that I have them on hand. I use different ingredients almost everytime, so that I dont get bored with one flavor. The staples of my smoothies are: spinach, yogurt, banana and carrot juice. Todays smoothie included:

Mango
Pineapple
Apple
Peach
Strawberry
Blueberry
Yogurt
Carrot Juice
Spinach

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Increments will depend on how much you want to make. I filled a four cup liquid measuring cup with my frozen fruit, and that made two large glasses. Feel free to experiment with adding the fruit that you like. No matter what I have tried I have not had a bad result. The smoothies never taste “healthy” and would be great for kids.

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Quick Vegetable Soup

February 21st, 2012

I whipped this soup up on a whim with ingredients that I had on hand. That is the beauty of soup, you can add and subtract ingredients and still get a great result. When I opened my refrigerator today before lunch I had one cup of cooked multi grain pasta, some random veggies and Italian sausage. One half hour later I ca up with a flavorful, healthy, vegetable soup. Here is the recipe, but feel free to make it your own with ingredients that you have.

Quick Vegetable Soup

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1/4 pound Ground Italian Sausage
3 cups Chicken Stock
1 can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 cup Zucchini, small diced
1 Carrot, small diced
1 Small Potato, small diced
1 cup Cabbage, chopped
1 cup Pasta, cooked
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Cook sausage in a medium sized saucepan, if there is an excess of grease, drain it. Add stock, canned tomatoes (with juice), and veggies. Simmer until vegetables are tender. If you have cooked the pasta ahead, add it then cook for another five minutes. If you would like, add the uncooked pasta in with the veggies and simmer until all are tender. Season to taste.

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