Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Crock Pot Chicken & Noodles)

Welcome to yet another delicious Free Recipe Wednesday. Today's recipe, Crock Pot Chicken & Noodles, I saw posted on a friends Facebook page and it's definitely something I will be trying. I'm a huge fan of crock pot meals, they're just so easy and even though they typically take time to cook at least you're not spending all that time in the kitchen. I own several crock pot cook books and one of the things I really want to do is make more crock pot soups ..... but I suppose that's a conversation for another time. :-) On to today's recipe.

As a side note, personally I feel that this dish would be awesome with a little chopped tomato and chopped broccoli in it for not only the added dimension of flavor but also for a little color. Jazz it up however you like and as always, please post comments if you have any ideas or have tried some modifications yourself that turned out really well.

Crock Pot Chicken & Noodles

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 2 15oz Cans of Chicken Broth
  • 24oz Frozen Egg Noodles

1. Combine chicken, soup, butter, and broth in the crock pot; cook on low for 6-7 hours.
2. Remove chicken, shred, and then return to the crock pot.
3. Add noodles to the crock pot; continue cooking on low for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve over mashed potatoes or with your favorite side dish.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quick Dinner Ideas!

Welcome to my newest semi-regular feature, Quick Dinner Ideas. I say semi-regular because I'm not sure how often I'll have new ideas but I'm going to try to post a new idea every couple of weeks. I like to cook awesome meals just as much as the next person but unfortunately it's not always possible when plans and such get in the way. Hopefully you'll enjoy my quick dinner ideas and who knows, it may even inspire you to come up with your own and please feel free to share if you do.

Today's Quick Dinner Idea is an adult version of the classic Mac-N-Cheese with cut up Hot Dogs. My wife and I make this every couple of weeks and not only does it taste awesome, it only takes about 15 minutes to make. The things you'll need are Bear Creek Creamy Cheddar Pasta (shown to the right - feel free to try something else if you can't find this at your store), Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage (also shown to the right - again, feel free to use whatever you like here), and seasonings. Personally, I season the heck out of the pasta with Garlic Powder and Onion Powder but you could easily use any number of seasonings. Maybe you want it a little more Italian so you add some Oregano, Parsley, seasonings like that to the pasta and use an Italian Sausage. Maybe spicy is your thing so you add some Cayenne Pepper and/or Red Pepper Flakes to the pasta and use a spicy sausage.

So here's the best part about this meal, besides the taste .... how quick it is to make. Prepare the pasta according to the package (for the Bear Creek pasta that we use you just add the contents of the package to boiling water and simmer for 12-15 minutes). Cut up the sausage while the pasta is cooking and saute them in a little butter until they're nice and crispy (or however done you like them). When the pasta is done just season with your favorite seasonings, add the sausage, and dinner is served.

Quick... Easy... Delicious!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Poppy Seed Sandwiches)

Welcome to another edition of Free Recipe Wednesday. Today's recipe is Poppy Seed Sandwiches and it comes from a coworker of mine. She made these sweet and savory sandwiches a couple of times for our monthly Food Days here at work and they were a huge hit. She used a different kind of cheese each time she made them but I have to say the Swiss cheese stands out really well against the sweet flavors and that's definitely how I would make them. These sandwiches would be great finger food for parties or even a nice addition to a holiday dinner. As always, drop a line in the comments to let me know what you think about them if you make them or if you come up with a variation to the recipe.

Poppy Seed Sandwiches

  • 2 12-count Rolls
  • 1 lb Ham, Turkey, or both
  • 1/2 lb Swiss Cheese
  • 1 1/2 Sticks of Butter
  • 2 tsp Poppy Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Mustard
  • 4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire

1. Cut rolls in half; put bottoms in a baking dish.
2. Layer meat and cheese on the bottoms; put the tops on.
3. In a medium saucepan combine butter, poppy seeds, mustard, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce; heat to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Pour mixture evenly over the sandwiches and let soak in for about 30 minutes.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Product Review! (Banquet Deep Dish Sausage & Gravy Pot Pie)

One of my favorite meals of the day is breakfast.  I especially enjoy a really good breakfast buffet with a large variety of breakfast items. What's not to love about eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, and of course one of my all time favorites, Biscuits & Gravy?!  So a couple of months ago when I saw these new Banquet Deep Dish Sausage & Gravy Pot Pies (really Banquet it that hard to just call it a Biscuit & Gravy Pot Pie?) I had to give them a try.  First of all let me tell you the best part about them .... the price!  When these first came out you could get them for 77 cents each.  They're up to around 88 cents each now but you're not going to get anything else this good for breakfast for less than $1.  The flavor of these Pot Pies really shocked me as well.  I was really expecting a cheap tasting gravy with little bits of sausage in it, unlike what is shown on the box.  What I got was exactly what they show on the box.  Big pieces of sausage and plenty of them as well so you really get that sausage flavor.  Another thing that I like about these is the proportioning of the sausage gravy to the crust... the "biscuit" part.  You get the perfect amount of gravy so every bit of the crust is covered with gravy. The plate gets cleaned, that's for sure.  The only negative thing I have to say about these is that the bottom crust doesn't get quite as flaky and crisp as it should, considering that it's in one of those special crisping trays, but that's just a minor issue.  Banquet has really done justice for the reputation of cheap, microwaveable, yet tasty food with this product.  I definitely recommend you look for this next time you're out grocery shopping. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Free Recipe Wednesday! (Pierogi Casserole)

Welcome to the first edition of Free Recipe Wednesday following the revival of my blog.  Today's recipe is Pierogi Casserole, a deconstructed Pierogi if you will. For those that are unfamiliar with what a Pierogi is, I will briefly explain.

Pierogi originated in Eastern Europe and are most popular in Poland (Pierogi is a Polish word after all). They are dumplings stuffed with any number of things including, but not limited to, mashed potatoes, fried onions, cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, or spinach. They are typically boiled until they float and then baked or fried in butter before serving. In the United States, Pierogi are most commonly stuffed simply with mashed potatoes and cheese which brings us to today's recipe.

Pierogi Casserole is super simple and super tasty.  The recipe below is the way that I make it (OK, my wife usually makes this one) but it's a super versatile dish that can be modified in many ways. If you come up with some delicious variations please feel free to share in the comments section.

Pierogi Casserole
  • 9 Lasagna Noodles, uncooked *(see note1)*
  • 1 Pkg Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 6 Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2-3/4 Cups French Fried Onions
  • 1 Package Real Bacon Pieces
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese  
*note1* - You can now buy Lasagna noodles that don't have to be boiled prior to using them so if you use those (we do) then just skip step 2 below.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook noodles according to the package, omitting salt. 
3. Prepare mashed potatoes; add cream cheese, green onions, 1/2 pkg (approx 1/2 cup) of bacon pieces, and 1/2 pkg (1 cup) of shredded cheese to the mashed potatoes.
4. Place 3 noodles in a 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover with 1/3 of the potato mixture; Repeat layers twice. 
5. Top casserole with remaining bacon, cheese, and French Fried Onions; Cover. 
6. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese on top is lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hell's Kitchen Is Back!

Hell's Kitchen is back tomorrow (Tuesday the 12th) and I don't know if anyone could possibly be more excited about it than me. Season 11 begins tomorrow and this season's grand prize is a job at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. This marks the 2nd season in a row with the grand prize restaurant being in Las Vegas.

Also, where there's Hell's Kitchen, there's MasterChef so I looked it up and Season 4 of MasterChef begins on May 22 and will be on Wednesday nights at 8 pm eastern. This is a bit unusual since the last 2 seasons of Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef ran pretty much together and MasterChef always came on right after Hell's Kitchen. Oh well, we can't control the scheduling.

Remember, check back Wednesday for this week's Free Recipe Wednesday post.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

I'm Back!

So it has been close to 2 years since I last posted anything on this blog.  Obviously my attention was needed elsewhere so this blog kind of dropped off my "to do" list.  However, I am now considering reviving this blog but I wanted to see if there was anyone out there that was still signed up to get notifications when I post a new blog.  I intend to continue pushing out notifications on Facebook as well when I post updates.

With that being said, stay tuned.  Next Wednesday (the 13th of March), barring any forgetfulness, I will be posting a new Free Recipe Wednesday post.

I am also looking to see if I have any food pictures from our past vacations.  I really wish I was still doing this blog at that time and took more pictures.