Friday, November 25, 2016

Cranberry sauce

What's Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce???  

Let me tell you, I haven't always been a fan.  I grew up with the jellied kind out of a can.. just say NO to that!! Yuck.. then I had whole berry out of a can.. again just say NO..

My grandma who is no longer with us, had a recipe that was a fresh kind, that you grind in a food processor with a whole orange and other things, that was very good.  I have the recipe and for the life of me, I cannot get it to turn out, not good :(  then I tried a couple of other recipes, one where you add jello to the fresh mixture, again threw it out.. then I thought to heck with it, I am just buying the fresh kind from the deli and that's what I have been doing.  The only problem is, that the only time of the year you can get it that way is at Thanksgiving.. boo...

So I have been on a bucket list mission to create a recipe that is doable, and tasty and this turned out good... even impressed myself.. I added lots of different things to boost the flavor, and I used regular and brown sugar which added a whole new level.

I serve this alongside my Thanksgiving turkey, but with ham is great, or over oatmeal or vanilla yogurt would be great too.  Try this soon... Enjoy.

Cranberry sauce

1 package fresh cranberries
3/4 cup brown sugar (plus 2 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice (plus 2 Tablespoons)
zest of one orange
2 strips of the orange rind (I cut them off before I zested the rest of the orange)
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t powdered ginger
1/8 t of nutmeg

In saucepan, add the cranberries, orange juice, brown and white sugar, the orange zest and orange rind/peel.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, cooking stirring occasionally till the berries are softened and burst (about 10) minutes,  add the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and remaining 2 tablespoonful's of orange juice, and 2 Tablespoonful's of brown sugar.).  Turn heat back on a bring to a simmer, till mixture is again bubbly and sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, and let cool in pan.  When mixture is cooled put into the fridge and let sit several hours or overnight covered.  Remove from fridge and stir, then serve.  Enjoy

Monday, November 7, 2016

Easy Beef Stroganoff

I love easy meals.. now that I work so much and have so much going on, I appreciate even more getting dinner on the table faster.  After being gone 9-11 hours a day, I am one tired momma... but I still love a home cooked meal.  Sometimes I have all day to cook, sometimes a short amount of time.  This is how this meal came about.  I love beef stroganoff, but the original version with stew meat, take hours to simmer till it's tender.  When I work all day I have about 1/2 hour after I walk in, and that's about it.  My kids lunch times are early and they are starving, even with a snack.  So I try and make it 30 minutes till dinner on the days I work.  Sometimes I prep on the weekends, and cook multiple things, sometimes I just don't.
I use ground beef, or sometimes turkey or chicken in this dish.  I also had a little Italian sweet sausage that I threw in, and boy did it jazz this dish up.. good choice :)  as always use what you have.  I used fresh mushrooms, but you can use canned, or dried onions, or garlic work too.  I also serve this over mashed potatoes, but baked potatoes, cooked noodles,rice or toast and or biscuits work too.   Enjoy

Easy Beef Stroganoff

1 lb ground beef
1/3 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 small package sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 small onion diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup half n half
3/4 cup sour cream

Baked potatoes, noodles, rice or whatever you are choosing to serve this over.
Seasonings of your choice (I used a splash of Worchester sauce, dried celery flakes, parsley flakes,garlic powder, seasoned salt and pepper.

In a large skillet add beef, Italian sausage,mushrooms, and onion.  Add seasonings and cook breaking up till meat is done. Drain grease.  Return mixture to pan, and half n half, and mushroom soup, stirring till heated thru.  Turn off heat, add sour cream and mix until combined.  Serve over potatoes (or whatever you choose).  Enjoy

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Energy protein bites

I have been wanting to try energy protein bites for such a long time, but I couldn't find a recipe that appealed to me.. lots had agave nectar ( I am not a fan) and stuff that did not sound good I did what I always do, and made one up, trying stuff until it tasted good. 

I am always looking for ways to bump up the protein nutrition in my diet, and as always it's gotta taste good too :)  My stepson said, can you make these every week, these things are awesome.  Also my husband and littlest son gave these 2 thumbs up.. yeah

There are so many varieties out there, I used things I thought would taste good, but you can eliminate or play around and use stuff you like.  You can use different kinds of dried fruits/nuts/seeds anything.  These basically have just about everything but the kitchen sink in there, but they are so good.  Use real maple syrup, no pancake syrup here. 

I wanted mine moist, cause I have heard that sometimes these are so dry, you can barely choke them down.  Not what I was going for.   I usually put a couple in a baggie and take to work, or the kids have a couple with a glass of milk for a nutritious snack.

I put these on a wax/parchment lined baking sheet after I roll them out.  I also wet my hands after every couple of balls, this mixture is very sticky and the mixture sticks to your hands, the water cuts thru some of that stickiness.
I used unsalted nuts, so I put a big pinch of kosher salt into the mixture to cut thru all that sweetness/nuttiness.  Whatever you do, make these soon... Enjoy

Energy protein bites

3 cups old fashioned oats, uncooked, dry
1 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
big pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup wheat germ
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 slivered almonds
1/2 cup chia seeds
2/3 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup chopped dried dates (remove pits)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Put everything in a really big bowl, because you need to stir and combine really well and these make a huge batch.  

Line a baking sheet with wax/parchment paper.  With wet hands (see above I keep a bowl of water so I can dip my hands into after I roll a couple out at a time).  Make these balls about golf ball size.  They are moist and are not compact and with all the nuts and seeds they will not be perfectly round.  Squeeze the mixture the best that you can, continuing until all the mixture is used.  Place balls to harden up in the fridge.  After they are cool, I line them in a big gallon size Ziploc baggie on a paper plate and store them in the fridge.  They will last a couple of weeks (mine never last that long tho).  Make sure you keep the Ziploc baggie closed tight so they won't dry out in the fridge.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Enchilada casserole

I love all things enchilada... Rolled kind with chicken, beef, turkey or just plain cheese.  I make them layered with tortillas too instead of rolling them up, super easy.

 I made a recipe similar to this with sloppy joe mixture on top and it was super why not use enchilada sauce and voila that's how this came up.  My stepson asked if I could make this every week.. which in my book is a winner :)

To make the sloppy joe version, make the same cornbread base, but you can use prepared BBQ sauce ( I mix mine with a little ketchup and mustard to add some extra flavor)  instead of the enchilada sauce, and continue making this the same way but I don't serve sour cream on the side with the sloppy joe version.  Really good too. It is good in the cooler months.  I serve both versions with a tossed salad on the side.

Whatever version you make, make this soon.. Enjoy

Enchilada casserole

2 boxes of jiffy cornbread
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 can cream style corn
1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 small can enchilada sauce
1 package shredded Colby jack cheese
seasonings of your choice ( I used cumin, garlic and onion powder, pinch of seasoned salt and pepper)
*sour cream for serving

Preheat oven to 400, spray a 13x9 pan with non-stick spray.  Mix cornbread, milk, egg and cream style corn until combined, pour into prepared pan.  Bake for around 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
While the base is baking, brown meat and seasonings breaking up till no longer pink and cooked thru.  Add 1/4 can of enchilada sauce to meat mixture keeping mixture hot.
Remove cornbread base from oven, and with a butter knife poke holes all in the cornbread.  Drizzle the rest of the can of enchilada sauce over the cornbread base spreading with a rubber spatula to make a even layer across the cornbread.  Sprinkle the hot meat mixture over the top of the cornbread and top with an even layer of cheese.  Return to oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.  Remove from the oven and cut into squares.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on the side.  Enjoy.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Oven fajitas

It is the middle of summer and boy is it hot outside...ugh   I do not do well when the temp is over 90 degrees, & just last week in Michigan it was 98 degrees.  I don't want to do anything except sit in the air conditioning and relaxing.. even going to the grocery store or doing anything for that matter just takes it out of you. 

I want quick and easy dinners.  Like this, I know what your saying it's hot why turn your oven on.  I have air conditioning, and I usually make a big batch of something and we eat it for a couple of days.  Leftovers on hot days, are a lifesaver, so make an extra casserole and throw it in the freezer for days like this.  I have tried experimenting and making this dish in the crockpot and did not like the results.  Everything was a big mushy mess.  Peppers and onions, were soggy, and the chicken was mushy.  Not my idea of a good dinner.  So made it this way and winner, winner... I use boneless chicken breast, but you can use boneless chicken thighs, or a small pork tenderloin, or whatever meat you like.  I was thinking of next time skipping the meat, and adding zucchini and summer squash and making veggie fajitas.. I will let you all know how that turns out:)

To make it even easier, the produce section at your supermarket has cut up fajita kits (peppers and onions cut up), or you can cut up your own.  When I do cut my own, I use red, yellow, orange & green) and a big red onion.

Use whatever condiments you want, I use lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and shredded cheese.  My husband adds sliced jalapenos, and hot sauce.

Oven fajitas

1 package of boneless chicken breast ( about 1 1/2-2 lbs)
One package of cut up onion, peppers (Mine had red, & green)
1 package of taco seasoning mix
*seasonings of your choice, (I used, cumin, garlic and onion powder, salt  & pepper)
olive oil
tortillas (heated for a couple of seconds in the microwave to soften)
lime juice
condiments of your choice

Preheat oven to 375.  Place foil down on the pan.  If your chicken breast are very large, cut in half the long way.  Place the chicken breast on one side of the pan, and the veggies on the other.  Drizzle olive oil on the chicken and vegetables (keeping separate) mix each side well coating with oil.  For the veggie side, sprinkle with salt,  pepper and garlic and onion powder.  For the chicken side, sprinkle both sides with taco seasoning, cumin, salt & pepper.

Cook for around 30 minutes, stirring veggies half way thru, and turning the chicken too.  Cook until veggies and the chicken are done.  Remove from oven.  On the pan thinly slice the chicken against the grain, and mix getting any seasoning and additional juices from the pan.  Drizzle meat with lime juice. 

Serve the tortillas with a little chicken, vegetables and condiments of your choice.  Enjoy.  (I sprinkle mine with a little extra lime juice at the table to brighten up the flavors). 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

My mom's famous macaroni & potato salad dressing

Ah this dressing... this is the stuff legends are made of.. no seriously everyone that eats this dressing on either macaroni salad or potato salad falls in love with it.  It is just yummy... and until now, this was an "eyeball" thing.  My mom learned to make this from her mom. We have never measured amounts of anything.. just tasted it and went.. until now. Just like when my grandma made cinnamon rolls, she was like, measure what, I just do it.  Which I totally get, because that is why I am not a baker.... I HATE measuring stuff, and being all precise.. I like to eyeball measurements when I cook.  But sometimes even me (sigh) measure to preserve and get things right. 

You must use MIRACLE WHIP salad dressing, or you will not get the same results.  I have tried using other mayo and it is not the same, at all.  This is a must.  NO light either.  Regular kind.

Also, we use Plochman's mustard. It is in the barrel shaped bottle, our favorite.

This dressing can be used on either macaroni or on potato salad either one.  Use your favorite ingredients and add this dressing at the end and mix well.  For macaroni the pasta sucks in the dressing and you might have to make some extra for the next day, stir well and if it seems dry add some more. 

For our macaroni salad, we use cooked macaroni, frozen peas (unthawed I put mine in the colander frozen and then pour the cooked macaroni with the water before it is drained, and the boiling macaroni and water will unthaw the peas, with no extra work :), chopped peeled hard boiled eggs,chopped red onion, shredded carrots, chopped celery, and bell pepper (we also sometimes use colored peppers, and or radishes use what you like).

For our potato salad, we use peeled and chopped Idaho russet potatoes (they hold up the best and don't get mushy or watery, or waxy like sometimes redskins do), chopped onion, chopped peeled hard boiled eggs,chopped celery, radishes, carrots, and bell pepper. 

Again, use what you have on hand and like.  Make this soon.. Enjoy

My mom's famous macaroni & potato salad dressing

2 cups Miracle whip (no substitutions)
1 Tbls and 1 Tsp mustard (we use Plochman's mustard
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
plenty of salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk, mixing well.  Pour over salad ingredients, & mix well.  Cover and refrigerate several hours.  Enjoy

Monday, June 13, 2016

Carrot cake muffins

I love carrot cake.. in all it's  carrot, coconut, pineapply goodness, and I love muffins..  So why not put the two together and make these delicious things...

I use cupcake liners to make things easier, but you can grease and flour your muffin tins as well. You can also add chopped pecans or nuts to this recipe.  I am also thinking I should make a cream cheese glaze to drizzle over these next time I make them... YUM .  I made 12 large muffins, you can make smaller ones, I fulled the muffin tins heaping to the top. These do not really puff up and spread like most muffins do.  I smooth out the tops with the back of a spoon before baking.

I used a lot of coconut.  If you don't like them really coconutty, use less.  I also used pineapple tidbits, but you can use crushed, chunked you get the idea.

How every you make these....make them today... Enjoy

Carrot cake muffins

1 box carrot cake mix, dry
1/2 cup  pineapple ( I used tidbits)with it's juice
 1/2 cups shredded coconut
2 T water
1 15 oz can pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350.  Put cupcake liners in cupcake/muffin tins.   Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Scoop into prepared muffin tins (see above).  I baked for 38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (they will look underdone slightly but they are cooked).   Enoy

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Frito corn salad

I got this recipe from my friend Miss Marsha.. she writes a wonderful food blog...check out her blog

I did change it slightly and we love, love it.. one of our favorites... I usually when serving at home, put the bag of Fritos on the table and let everyone add their own individually.  When taking this to a potluck, I usually do like Marsha says, and put it on a long platter in a thin layer and sprinkle the Fritos on top, so everyone gets lots of crunch Fritos on their portion. You can use green onions or Vidalia onions would be great too. 

Make this today...Enjoy

Frito corn salad

2 cans corn, drained
1 small jar pimentos, drained
1/2 cup mayo
2 T half & half or heavy cream
1 T sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby jack)
seasonings of your choice, ( I used onion & garlic powder, a pinch of cayenne, pepper and seasoned salt.

Combine everything (except the Fritos).  Cover & sit in the fridge to let the flavors blend.  Right before serving sprinkle with Fritos.  Enjoy..

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sesame ginger maple salmon

Mmmmm.. sesame ginger maple salmon.. just the name of this deliciousness makes me happy.  This glaze I probably could have on any kind of protein and be happy.  It is absolute delicious!!  I am not a huge fish fan.  Usually it tastes too fishy and strong for me.  So I came up with this glaze to make my fish taste better and thinking I hit the jackpot.. My family loves this every time I make it.  It is a winner in the Johnson household.

Sesame ginger maple salmon

Fresh Salmon filet  (I use skin on and I cook this with the skin side down)

glaze: (mix all together)

1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
3 T brown sugar
1/4 tsp sesame seeds
little bit of fresh ginger (or ginger powdered will work fine too)
 sprinkle of garlic powder
2 T maple syrup
1 T sesame seeds

Preheat the broiler:

Line a large baking sheet with foil & place salmon filet skin side down.  Brush glaze over the top of the salmon (reserving a couple of tablespoonful's to drizzle over the top when done), coating the fish  thickly with glaze.  Place under pan the broiler watching to make sure that it doesn't get too done, I usually remove it half way thru to look at it, but make sure it is cooked enough so fish flakes easily with a fork and glaze is bubbly.  Remove from heat and drizzle remaining glaze over the top and serve.  I remove the skin when I am serving it.  It usually separates when you are lifting the salmon onto your plate, if not it really comes off easily.  Enjoy.

Squash bisque soup

I love squash soup.. and you can't always find it out in restaurants.  And sometimes when you do, you were wishing you didn't.  Sometimes it just tastes watery and off.  I like a creamy, smooth delicious flavor, and sometimes you are left thinking, this is not so good...

The squash that I use.. are you ready.. It comes frozen in a box.  Yes I said, in a box.  Remember in the 70's when fresh vegetables & fruit were not available year around like they are now?  My mom used to get this squash, mix a little butter & brown sugar and we would have it as a side dish.  Now that you can basically find fresh squash available year round, she doesn't do that anymore.  But those little boxes of frozen squash remind me of my childhood..   I tried making this soup many times with fresh squash, and between blending the hot liquid, and then trying to use an immersion blender, it never had the creamy, silky smooth texture that I was looking for. 

Onto plan B, I decided to come up with this recipe and have never looked back.. it had everything that I was looking for, creamy, silky smooth and yummy. I made this for my son who had his wisdom teeth out, and he loved it too. 

I find the frozen squash at my local Kroger store, but other stores have it as well. It is by the other boxes of frozen vegetables.  Make this today and enjoy.

Squash soup

3 12 oz boxes, frozen squash
1 can chicken broth mine was (10.5 ounces, use the regular can size not the big one)
2 T brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream (can use half and half)
2 T butter
couple of pinches of nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

In large pan, unwrap the frozen squash & add to the pan.  Pour the chicken broth over the squash, add a little salt and pepper &  and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally till the squash is melted and rapidly bubbling.  Whisk in the brown sugar & butter stirring till it is completely dissolved.  add the nutmeg & heavy cream whisking until combined .  Taste and add more salt & pepper and a little brown sugar if it needs it.  Turn off the heat and serve.  Enjoy

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Coconut Macroon brownies

Brownies.... who doesn't love brownies..all different types.. plain, with M & M's, peanut butter, w/ Heath bars I could go on and on and on....

Coconut macroons.. I love, love, love anything coconut.. and make it into a cookie I am totally in.. I was wanting some brownies the other day, and also wanting some coconut macroons... It was a complete toss up, and then it dawned on me why don't I come up with a recipe to combine them.. viola this was the end result and can I say absolutely delicious!! My step-son who hates coconut loved these.  My little guy Jackson said mommy can you make these every day?  I am like no buddy but I will make these again.  6 year olds, so funny... love that boy!!!

This recipe starts with your favorite brand of brownie mix.  Just make sure the package says to cook it in a 13x9 pan (if using the kind that cooks in a 8x8 pan, just use 2 of those brownie mixes, doubling the eggs, water and oil.

Try these today, you will love them, and as always enjoy.

Coconut macaroon brownies

1 box of brownie mix (and ingredients to make them, water, oil & eggs)
1 large package of shredded coconut
1 egg white
1 T vanilla
pinch of salt
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to directions on back of brownie mix.  Prepare brownies and pour into a 13x9 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray, spread out unto an even layer.
In large bowl add coconut, vanilla and sweetened condensed milk.  Mix well.  In another bowl add egg white and pinch of salt.  With electric mixer mix until the egg white has soft peaks.  Fold egg white into coconut mixture. With a small spoon drop small spoonful's of the coconut mixture all over the brownie batter, covering the brownie batter.  With a fork, gently swirl the coconut mixture into the brownie batter.  Bake according to the brownie instructions, checking with a toothpick to make sure the center is done.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Cut into squares and enjoy

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pizza Joes

Pizza Joes..mmm just the name is automatically yummy.  what are pizza Joes you ask?   Well let me tell you... they are like sloppy Joes , you know the sandwiches that are cooked ground meat in a BBQ-tomato sauce served on buns... yummy, saucy and just plain delicious.  Pizza Joes are done in the same manner, but instead of a BBQ-tomato sauce, the meat is cooked with delicious spices, and in pizza sauce, topped with melty gooey mozzarella & parmesan cheese.. Like pizza on a bun.. so good.

I used ground turkey for these, but ground beef, or chicken would work too.  I added a can of drained mushrooms to mine, but if you don't like them leave them out.  I also topped mine with a sprinkle of cooked bacon bits, (but next time I am topping them with mini pepperonis too).  Also use what cheese you like, mozzarella, parmesan, Italian style it all works as always use what you like.  Enjoy 

Pizza Joe's

1 lb ground beef (or chicken or turkey)
1 jar pizza sauce
1 can mushrooms, drained
grated mozzarella & fresh parmesan cheese
Seasonings of your choice * (garlic & onion powder, pinch of parsley flakes, and onion flakes, salt & pepper)
2 T brown sugar
bacon bits/mini pepperoni

In a large skillet brown meat and seasonings breaking meat up until cooked & no longer pink.  If any grease remains after cooking drain meat.  Add pizza sauce, and mushrooms stirring until combined, simmer until heated thru.  Top with both cheeses sprinkling over the top of the meat.  Turn off heat and put a lid on the pan until cheese is melted. Serve a scoop of the meat mixture on buns, sprinkle with bacon bits/pepperoni and serve.  Enjoy