Thursday, December 15, 2011

White Cheddar Mac

Yep, that’s right! Another Mac and Cheese to add to my list. This is Panara’s recipe. If you have never been to Panara, you are missing out! It has amazing sandwiches, bagels, soups and salad. AND, as of last year, this Mac and Cheese. From the second I tasted it I have been trying to duplicate the flavors at home. I have gotten close, but never hit it right on. Recently, Panara posted the recipe on their website! I made it immediatley and it was spot on! I changed a couple of things, less mustard, parmesan to top, and I changed the milk to cream ratio. We loved it. I will be making it again soon. Thanks Panara, for sharing the creamy yumminess!

White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
Printable Version

16-ounces pasta shells
¼ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½  cups 1% milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 slices white American cheese, chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
Parmesan cheese, to top

Prepare pasta according to package directions.
While pasta is boiling, melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
Gradually whisk in milk and cream; cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
Drain and stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Top with Parmesan and enjoy the creamy yumminess!

Serves 4 to 6
Recipe adapted from Panara.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mongolian Beef

We love american versions of asian meals. We may love true Asian meals, but to tell you the truth, we have not eaten at real Authentic restraunts. P.F. Chang’s is about as authentic as we have gotten! We love our share of sweet and sour chicken, orange chicken, and honey sauced chicken. It is nice to have a beef meal to mix it up a bit. This was super duper easy, and honestly, I had to go back for more! It was delicious. I even shared it with my friends at work and they were all raving!

Mongolian Beef
Printable version

1 lb flank or sirloin steak, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 Tbs. canola oil
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (adjust to change heat)
green onions, for garnish

After slicing the steak thinly, pat dry with a paper towel.  Put cornstarch in a large ziploc bag and add the steak pieces. Toss to coat. If needed, place beef slices in a strainer and shake off excess corn starch.

Heat wok to medium high and add the oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook, stirring until it is all browned. While meat is cooking, combine ginger, garlic, water, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper flakes in a bowl. When meat is sufficiently browned, pour the sauce back into the wok and let it cook along with the meat. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will become. Turn off heat when desired thickness is reached. Serve over rice or quinoa and top with green onions.

Serves 2.
Recipe from pinterest

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

He took seconds! And thirds, I think. We loved this meal. It was definitely too hot for my palate, and brinking on too hot for my hubbs. So, I added a little sour cream and some brown sugar. BAM! A perfect meal. We have eaten this 3 times already, it is one of those easy, go-to meals that I always have everything for. ENJOY!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Printable Version

2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into 1 inch pieces
⅓ cup flour
3 tablespoon cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce (we did Frank’s Buffalo Wing), plus extra for garnishment
3 Tbs sour cream (optional, to lessen amount of spice)
1 Tbs brown sugar  (optional, to lessen amount of spice)
1 Tbs olive oil
10 6-inch yellow corn tortillas

shredded Lettuce
Avocado slices
Ranch dressing-(so good!)

Heat a large saute pan oven over medium-high heat.

In a bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, cayenne, and garlic powder. Season the chicken pieces with pepper, then dredge in the flour mixture.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the saute pan, add chicken and cook until done, stirring frequently-about 5 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, mix buffalo wing sauce, sour cream, and brown sugar. Both of these ingredients are optional, they cool down the “hotness” of the wing sauce.

Once the chicken is done, drain on paper towels. Then, toss chicken in wing sauce mixture.

Assemble tacos, dividing the toppings evenly among each taco.

Serves 2.
Adapted from Mrs. Ruguerio

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Thanksgiving Low Down

I am so excited. Okay, so at first, and earlier this week, I wasn't so excited, but now I am. We are staying in Omaha for Thanksgiving, and making a feast just for the two of us. When you think of holidays you think of huge meals and the whole family, and we will totally miss our fan, that is for sure. But, sometimes you don't have a choice, so we are doing it in our beautiful home, just with one another. Cody has been excited about whipping up some yumminess for weeks. Really, he has been scoping out recipes and getting me to forget that we don't get to go home. He is making it FUN that we get to do a holiday with just he and I. I am so blessed to have a "be positive no matter what you are doing" attitude of a hubby. He sure is amazing. I love that he is my best friend, and I am his. I look forward to a weekend of nothing but him. We have our Black Friday shopping stores scoped out and hopefully find some good deals! We are just gonna eat ourselves silly one day, and shop ourselves silly the next!

Sweet Potato Filled Ravioli or Turkey Noodle Soup (just can't decide! Cody's homemade noodles:))
Delightful Mashed Potatoes
Brined Turkey Legs (We did this last year...perfect!)
Apple Crisp with whipped cream

I hope your plans are as fun as ours! Happy Thanksgiving, be thankful no matter where you are or what you are doing!:) Take it from me, it is way better that way!

Friday, November 18, 2011

California Veggie Sandwiches

For some reason, me and veggies have been getting along REALLY well lately! I saw this recipe on Pinterest and was at the store the very next day getting all of the goodies to make it. Now, not that I need to mention this, but this meal isn’t right up Hubbs we made it for a girls lunch. It was A+ perfect for us. I gobbled up 2 of these babies, and was wanting more with every bite. Fresh, delicious heaven on a peice of toasty toast. Who could as for more? O, and the company was pretty great, too:)

California Veggie Sandwiches
Printable Version

Chive Spread:
1/4 cup greek yogurt  or mayo
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Avocado Salad:
1 avacado, pitted and diced
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
salt and pepper

4 slices bread, toasted or 4 wraps
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
4 slices havarti cheese

For the chive spread, mix the Greek yogurt or mayo and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, gently toss together the avocado, tomato, cucumber, lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the chive-yogurt mixture on all four bread slices. Divide the sprouts between the four slices of bread, and top with avocado salad and cheese. Serve open-faced. (If using tortillas, spread the chive-yogurt mixture on the tortillas, and top with cheese, avocado salad and sprouts. Roll, and eat.)

Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Pinterest-ezzrapoundcake

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coconut Crusted Chicken with Orange Dipping sauce

MMM mmm good! Perfect crunch, perfect sweetness, a little tang, and, like I said, MMM mmm good! Every bite left me wanting more.

Coconut Chicken with Orange Dipping Sauce
Printable Version

1 egg
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup flour
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup butter, melted
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat egg in medium bowl; set aside. Mix the coconut, flour, garlic powder, salt and peeper in a shallow bowl. Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip the chicken in the bowl with the beaten egg and then coat with the coconut mixture.

Place on the baking sheet. Once all the chicken breasts are coated and on the baking sheet, evenly drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Prepare the orange sauce by combining the marmalade and the mustard together. Serve with rice or quinoa.

Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Pennies on a Platter

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sun dried tomato Basil pasta

Girls, gather round! I served this at a girls lunch, and it was devoured. I then served it to my hubby, and he ate it, but did not devour. Ha. This was an awesome dish, but it is definitely a girly one! Perfect flavor from the combo of sun dried tomatoes and basil. Also, I LOVE that I could make a cheese sauce from evaporated milk, I will now be stocking it in my pantry for food storage macaroni and cheese!

Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Pasta
Printable Version

2 cups (8 oz.) dry penne pasta
8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded Italian-style four-cheese blend
1 bunch fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions, adding sun-dried tomatoes to boiling pasta water for last two minutes of cooking time; drain.

Meanwhile, combine evaporated milk, cheese, basil, (leaving some basil for garnish) garlic powder and pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

Add pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to cheese sauce; stir until combined. Garnish with additional basil and serve.

Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

PW's Chicken Fried Steak and Potatoes

Cube steak and me have not gotten along in the past. Not at all. It has been tough, ickey, and, well, ickey. Pioneer Woman has a way of turning almost anything into a delicious meal, however! She explains perfectly how to treat your meat, how to coat it, and how to cook it. This is definitely not a meal for the faint of heart, we were full for about 5 days after we ate this! I felt like a true country girl when I was preparing, frying, and chowing on this dish! Thanks PW!

PW’s Chicken Fried Steak
Printable Version

3 pounds Cube Steak (tenderized Round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
1-1/2 cup Whole Milk, Plus Up To 2 Cups For Gravy
2 whole Large Eggs
3 cups All-purpose Flour
Seasoned Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
LOTS of Black Pepper. Lots.
Canola Oil, For Frying
Salt And Pepper, For Both Meat And Gravy

Begin with an assembly line of dishes for the meat: milk mixed with egg in one; flour mixed with spices in one; meat in one; then have one clean plate at the end to receive the breaded meat.
Work one piece of meat at a time. Season both sides with salt and pepper, then dip in the milk/egg mixture. Next, place the meat on the plate of seasoned flour. Turn to coat thoroughly. Place the meat back into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat. Place back in the flour and turn to coat.
(So: wet mixture/dry mixture/wet mixture/dry mixture.) Place breaded meat on the clean plate, then repeat with remaining meat.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it's sufficiently hot. Cook meat, three pieces at a time, until edges start to look golden brown; around 2 to 2 1/2 minutes each side.
Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat until all meat is cooked.

After all meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup grease back to the pan. Allow grease to heat up.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. If paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour and whisk.
Whisking constantly, pour in milk. Cook to thicken the gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is smooth and thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned. Salt, Salt, SALT it up!

Serve meat next to a big side of mashed potatoes. Pour gravy over the whole shebang!

Recipe from Pioneer Woman

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Easy Meatball Subs

We are big fans of turkey meatballs, and almost always use lean turkey when we make spaghetti and meatballs...but it is always nice to get some grease in your system! We used actual hamburger meat this time, it was yummy, and it didn't take long...this will be added to my 30 minute meals, that's for sure!

Easy Meatball Subs

2 portions ground beef, thawed
2 tsp. Oregano
2 tsp. Parsley
2 tsp. Garlic salt
3/4 cup Breadcrumbs
1 tsp. Basil
Ground black pepper
2 Egg whites
Mozzarella cheese
2 hoagie buns
4 cups Prego or pasta sauce

Mix all of the above ingredients together. Roll into golf-ball size (or smaller) balls. Broil for about 10 minutes, turning half way through.
Heat Prego on the stove top, we prefer Three Cheese! (If you are a good wife you will make homemade sauce, but then it is no longer a 30-minute meal!)
Add meatballs to prego and warm.
While warming, place mozzerella cheese on hogi buns, and broil until cheese is melted.
Add meatballs and sauce to warmed buns, and eat that messy meal!

Serves 2.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken Souvlaki with Cilantro

I love to mix it up in our meal planning. Every once in a while, I get a magazine that has something a little off of the beaten path to make for dinner. And, every once in a while, I give it a shot. Sometimes, it is a total failure. Other times, it is pure and utter success...and this was the latter! We really enjoyed this meal, and I love the versatility of being able to cook it on the grill or in the oven. Hubbs ate every last bite, and even went back for more!

Chicken Souvlaki with Cilantro
Printable Version

6 chicken breasts, cubed
8 warmed pita breads

mint, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemon, grated zest and juice
1 jalepeno pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 Tbs. coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp. tumeric
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup EVOO
salt and pepper

1 large bunch of cilantro
1 cup plain yougurt
1 lemon, grated zest and juiced
2 Tbs. EVOO

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in one bowl. Add the chicken cubes, cover and chill overnight.

Thread the chicken chunks onto skewers, not too tightly packed. Place on a preheated barbecue and cook for five minutes on each side. (You can also cook these kebabs in the oven at 325 degrees).

While chicken is cooking, prepare dressing by putting all ingredients into a food processor until it is a smooth, green sauce.

Push the chicken off the skewers and into a warmed pita shell. Pour Dressing over the top and garnish with extra cilantro.

Serves 8.
Recipe from Taste of Home.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Death by Chocolate bars

The title says it all. I never, I MEAN NEVER, think a dessert is rich. Well, folks, their is a first time for everything I guess! I took a big, honking bite of these babies straight from the oven, and whew! They were rich! I could only eat about a 1x1 inch square. However, once the cooled, I did not feel that they were quite as rich and I consumed much, much more than that. Thankfully! Ha!. My momma has been telling me about these little dream bars for months, and I just got around to whipping them up. They were devoured, I was loved, and all was well.

Death by Chocolate Bars
Printable Version

2 german chocolate cake mixes (powder only)
1 cup melted butter
⅔ cup evaporated milk
12 ounces prepared caramel sauce
12 ounces chocolate chips

Mix first 3 ingredients in a large  bowl, it will resemble cookie dough consistency. Remove ½ of the dough and spread in the bottom of a 9x13 inch cookie sheet. (This is a small cookie sheet, almost half the size of a large one). Cook at 350 degrees for 6 minutes.

Pour prepared caramel sauce on top of warm bottom layer of chocolate cake. Then scatter 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a layer on top of caramel sauce. Drop, in marble size balls, the remaining cake batter mixture to create a top layer. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 350 degrees.
Allow to cool, cut into bars, and enjoy!

Makes about 20 bars, depending on size cut.
Recipe from Mom

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cafe Rio Pulled Pork

This is the real deal. No joke, folks. I have tried, and tried, and TRIED to duplicate the famed Cafe Rio Pulled pork. (If you have never had this pork, you will not regret re-creating it at home. Give it a shot!) I can’t tell you how many recipes have gone in, and out, of my kitchen. They all claimed they were the Cafe Rio Pork recipe, but they weren’t! I had a commenter on my blog give me this recipe, and guess what? THIS IS IT. My hubby took one bite and exclaimed, “THIS IS INCREDIBLE”. It tastes just like Cafe Rio Pulled Pork. Heaven on Earth. I can finally have my #1 craving whenever I want, even if I am in Nebraska! We are having it again tomorrow. And probably next week! SOOO good! This spicy cilantro ranch dressing is delish. I will never change from this recipe, it is right on! I know it looks like a lot of work, but it really isn’t that hard. Please try it. You will L-O-V-E me, and everyone you  feed it to will L-O-V-E you!

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Pulled Pork Salad
Printable Version

Pulled Pork
3-4 lb. Pork Butt or Shoulder Roast
2 small cans El Pato Tomato sauce (found in the mexican aisle, this is a key ingredient)
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups brown sugar

Wrap pork completely with foil, place in crock pot and pour ½ cup water around roast. Cook for 8 hours on low. (YES, 8 hours! The longer you cook a pork roast, the easier it is to shred, the more tender it is, the more delicious it is. 8 hours is key!) Remove roast, drain juices, remove fat and shred. Dump the tomato sauces and brown sugar into the crockpot, stir together and add shredded pork back in. Cook two additional hours on low.

Cilantro Lime Rice
2 cups white rice
4 cups chicken broth
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
½ tsp. salt
2 limes, juiced
1 Tbs. butter

Combine rice, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and the juice from 1 lime in a rice cooker or saucepan. Cook according to package directions. When rice is cooked, juice the additional lime and add in butter. Stir to incorporate.

Spicy Cilantro Ranch Dressing
1 envelope Buttermilk ranch dressing
1 cup milk
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 bunch cilantro,
2 large tomatillos, or 4 small, chopped
2 serrano peppers with seeds removed and chopped

Puree the above ingredients in a blender or food processor and refrigerate to thicken.

Additional ingredients
8 Tortillas, preferably homemade or uncooked tortillas for authentic flavor
1 cup colby jack cheese
crisp lettuce, shredded or finely chooped
1 can black beans, warmed
Tortilla strips

To assemble:
Cook tortillas and melt ⅛ cup cheese on one side, leave open faced on plate. Top with lettuce, rice, pork, black beans, salsa, tortilla strips, and Spicy Cilantro Ranch Dressing.

Recipe adapted and added to from
Serves 8.