Recipes Continued!

STEWED SQUASH 

I don’t really know the definition of stewed, but we called it stewed in my family!

I use fresh squash from the grocery store, but you could use frozen too. Fresh is better though! Cut of the ends and slice the squash. Cut up a sweet onion, yellow is my favorite with it. If you want it to be REALLY yummy fry two or three pieces of bacon first. If you do that, add the onion and squash then with a little butter or margarine.  If you don’t do bacon, put a little butter or margarine in the pan and just start cooking the squash and onion down. Cook it on high first, tossing it a bit, until the onions start to not be so tough. Add a water and cover it and cook it on low. And as always, add salt and pepper. Don’t add a lot of water, you can always add more but you can’t take out. Just very little, enough so it doesn’t stick to the pan and burn. The squash will be tender and yummy when it’s done.

STEWED CABBAGE 

You make this pretty much just like the squash. Chop your cabbage up pretty small. Not like cabbage small, but small. Add some butter or olive oil to the pan. Once it’s warm add one chopped sweet onion and chopped cabbage. Toss it around until cabbage starts to wilt a little. Then add water. With the cabbage you can add more than with the squash, cover the bottom of the pan with water, but just barely. Turn on low, cover, and let it cook! It’s will melt down into yumminess. Add salt and pepper. You can do bacon with the cabbage too if you want.

CROCK POT SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS
 
Totally just made this up because I didn’t want to cook when I got home and wanted to use the crock pot. I cut up two onions, 1 red and 1 yellow and tossed them in the bottom of the crock pot. I rinsed some pork chops (which were actually pork steaks on the label but looked and tasted like chops with a different kind of bone or something) and put them on top of the onion. I poured a can of mushrooms with juice on top and then 1 can of fat free cream of mushroom soup and a half a can of water on top of that. Turned the crock pot on low and let it cook while I was at work. It was really yum! The meat all just fell of the bone and it had really good flavor.

Black Bean and Corn Salad I just threw this together to have a side dish with quesadillas. Simple. It’s nothing magical or fancy, but a good quick, cheap side dish for Mexican meals. 1 or 2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed, depending on the corn to bean ratio you like. 1 can of corn drained. 1 small red onion chopped. Salt, pepper, garlic powder. If you have lemon or lime juice squeeze some of that in. Drizzle just a tad bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your taste preferences. Can add up to a 1/4 cup of balsamic. If you don’t have balsamic you could use Italian dressing. Add some cilantro if you like and have it. Let it chill for 15-30 minutes for all the flavors to marry. You can also add green onions and chopped bell pepper if you want, or even some chopped tomato. Use what you have and want! I did mine with just beans, corn, onion, seasonings, olive oil, and vinegar.

STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

Simple, yummy, and impressive! You can stuff them with whatever you like. I usually do spinach, onions, and Monterey jack cheese. You could do a laughing cow cheese wedge, cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you like. Or no cheese at all! You could really stuff it with anything you like, mushrooms, olives (eww for me), capers (always ew), a sauce, etc. The sky is the limit.

So you need your stuffing stuff and chicken breasts, how every many you want to make. If you want to butterfly the breasts you can, but I’m not very good at that. Knives scare me. So I choose a more fun method! Smash! Pound! I  place a chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, break out the good ol’ mallet and pow! Pound it until its flattened and thin-ish. 1/2  or 3/4 inch maybe? I’m a horrible judge of inches and such. Sounds right. I mean not paper thin or thin enough to rip, but thin.

Season the chicken on both sides. I use salt, pepper, and Chef Paul’s Magic Chicken Seasoning. You can use whatever you want and whatever flavors work with your stuffing. Next, lay out your stuffing items and roll the chicken breast up tightly. Stick in a tooth pick to keep it secure. Place chicken seam side down in a baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30ish minutes. It depends on your oven. Remove toothpicks before serving. You can serve them whole. For a pretty presentation for entertaining, slice the breast in little rounds. It’s really pretty. You can see the swirl of the yummy stuff inside.

Funny tip: If you use colored toothpicks, your chicken will be pretty and colorful aka look silly. If you aren’t trying to impress and it’s just family, who cares. But just fyi, use non-colored ones if entertaining.

CROCK POT COUNTRY BBQ RIBS 

This is the skeleton recipe I use to make these ribs. I’ve made them using everything listed and leaving some things out when I didn’t have them. I prefer it without the diced tomatoes. It also tastes fine without bell pepper if you don’t have it. I just use regular cider vinegar, I don’t know if it’s different from dark or not, but tastes fine too me. I think it would be fine with any kind of vinegar that you have really, and even without if you don’t have it.

http://www.food.com/recipe/tasty-crock-pot-bbq-country-style-pork-ribs-60052

 
TURKEY NUGGETS 

I try to work in at least one turkey breast cutlet meal in my monthly meals. I was trying to not do the same baked, shake-n-baked, etc, method. The turkey cutlets are cheap and yummy and I love turkey. It’s a good variety to the normal meats we eat and use often. So I sliced the turkey cutlets into little nugget sized pieces. I gave them a milk bath and then a seasoned flour dip. I did a mix of flour, cayenne, bread crumbs, parmesan, salt, pepper, and Chef Paul’s Chicken Magic. Then I coated the pan in about an inch of a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil, let it get hot and fried them. It wasn’t a deep fry, but not a sauté either. I put them on paper towels to get excess oil off and patted them with another napkin to get even more. Yummy with some homemade honey mustard (honey + mustard is all I use and how I like it, I don’t like it with mayo).

BEEF KABOBS

I actually found premade beef kabobs on sale at my local grocery story and cheated and used those. But it’s simple. Skewers. Beef cut into pieces. Bell peppers cut into pieces. Onions cut into pieces. You can use mushrooms too if you want. I made a marinade of orange zest, lime juice, salt, pepper, worcheshire sauce, and red pepper flakes and let them sit in that for a couple of hours (could do longer if you had it, even overnight). I grilled mine. Before grilling I sprinkled on some steak rub seasoning. I turned them to get the nice yummy grill marks on each side. I ate mine with A1 because I LOVE A1.

ROASTED CHICK PEAS 

These are really yummy as a snack! Just in a bowl like peanuts or trail mix at a party would be great too. I made them with my meal and loved them as well.

Drain 2 cans of chick peas then spread them out on some paper towels. With another paper towel dry them. Just run it over, rolling them around, getting them as dry as you can. Cover a cookie sheet in tin foil and transfer chick peas to the cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and toss the chick peas around to coat them in the olive oil. Sprinkle with Tony’s or Greek Seasoning or cayenne pepper, you can  use whatever seasoning you like. Roast them in the over on 400 for 10 – 15 minutes. Check them every five minutes. They can burn easily and quickly. You want them to have a slight crunch.

BEST GRAVY EVER

I was so so so proud of this gravy. I’ve made gravy, but never this good. It really is all about the elbow grease and perseverance. The best method is to use the pan you used to make some sort of meat and use the drippings. I wasn’t making meat, so I decided I try “seasoning” the pan by frying up some onions I’d use in the gravy. I coated the bottom of the pan with olive oil just barely and sliced up two onions. I sautéed them down REALLY well. I let the pan and the onions get caramelized. I took out all the onions to save for later. I added two heaping tablespoons of flower to the pan and began to wisk. And wisk. And wisk. And wisk. Elbow grease. Keep going and going and going. Let your flour brown, not burn! But brown. Not light brown, but a medium to dark brown. When you think it’s brown enough, go a little longer! When you really are happy with the browningness (yes, I made up a word), keep wisking and start to slowly add broth. You can use whatever, I used chicken because it’s what I always have on hand. You can use water as well if you don’t have broth. Slowly add it so you can dissolve all your yummy browned flour. Add a can of broth, or about 1 cup and 3/4ths. I added just a tad of beef bullion granules since I used chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Taste it! Add what it needs. I added a little parsley too. I then added the onions back. Was the best gravy ever!

POTATO SALAD 

I have no measurements. I just tasted and made it how I like it to taste. I washed and quartered red potatoes, leaving the skins on. Boiled them until tender, but not super mashed potato worthy tender, a little more stiff than that. I drained them and let them sit in the drainer cooling so they kept a little of their shape. Once cool, I put them in a bowl and added some mayo, a  little mustard, some sour cream, chopped some sweet and dill pickles, grated some onion in, added some dried dill, salt, and pepper. It’s all about you and what you like. Like it creamy? Add more mayo or wet stuff. Like more mustard? Add it. Don’t like pickles? Don’t add them. Make it your own! I like it with red potatoes, with skins, chunky, and not too creamy.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES WITH BANANA BUTTERCREAM 

These are so yum! The have great depth and texture from the addition of crunchy peanut butter and chocolate chips. I made the cupcakes exactly like this recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/chocolate-peanut-butter-cupcakes-264752. The only difference was I made mini cupcakes because they feed more people usually are are just cute!

You could top them with a cream cheese icing, or just a buttercream icing or chocolate icing. I was really hooked on the idea of a banana icing. The idea of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana made me just so excited! But I couldn’t find a banana icing recipe. The icing was trial and error and will probably be for you too, BUT I think I got a recipe down. I haven’t tried it again since “perfecting” it, but I think it should work well. If it doesn’t, do you own trial and error and have fun eating the mess ups!

What ended up working the best was taking a buttercream recipe and altering it a bit to add the banana. It wouldn’t make it until second day, but it was soooo good first day.

1 banana
1/2 cup butter, softened (you can use margarine but the flavor will not be the same)
2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup half-and-half (can use cream and milk or just cream or just milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
banana chips (optional)

Ok cut the banana into thirds, or big pieces, and mix it until it’s mush. I just put it in my stand mixer and let it mix. Could easily do it with a hand mixer as well if you don’t have a stand mixer.
Cream butter with banana. Blend in remaining ingredients until desired consistency. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar. Spoon icing into a ziplock back and snip off the end. Pipe icing unto cupcakes. You can top with pieces of banana chips. Crowd pleaser! Everyone that had them loved them. The banana compliments the chocolate peanut butter flavors soooo well!

S’MORES BARS

My cousin Marissa and I made these a couple years ago and just LOVED them. I mean it really is s’mores without the fire. I make it just like the recipe usually, but I do prefer dark chocolate bars to milk chocolate bars. The milk chocolate is a little too rich for me. The dark chocolate is more bitter so not as sweet. This time I also used homemade marshmallow fluff in place of marshmallows. But you can do it either way. It’s a perfect end of summer beginning of autumn dessert. Also would be great for a rainy, cold day inside with hot cocoa.

http://www.food.com/recipe/smores-bars-169114

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