Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cube Steaks and Gravy

I'm way overdue on posting this recipe.  I know I've shared the pictures on my Facebook page.  So sorry it's taken me forever to do this! 

Cube steaks are one of my husband's favorites.  Since we were first married, I have made them on occasion, but they were definitely not a favorite of mine.  This cut of beef is just too chewy for me.  After trying this recipe several months ago, though, my tune has changed.  I've made these several times since then and the whole family loves them.  I'll be making these again tomorrow and will be adding mashed potatoes to the menu as well to enjoy with the delicious gravy that comes with this dish!  This recipe is so super easy.  I love that it slow simmers on the stove so I have plenty of time to prepare a side dish or keep ahead of the mess in the kitchen!  Hope you love this one as much as we do!

The brown gravy mix makes this recipe super simple and so delicious! 

I use 4 cubed steaks.

I melt a tablespoon of butter in my skillet and add in 1/2 cup of chopped onion. (I use frozen onion or onion seasoning blend- in your grocer's freezer section- one of my favorite shortcuts).  Place steaks in skillet and brown on both sides.

While steaks are browning, mix gravy packet according to directions.  Add in 1 T. vinegar and 1 T. brown sugar and mix well.

When steaks are browned on both sides, add in gravy mix.

Cover and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes or until meat is tender.  Remove from heat and set aside (covered) for about five minutes.  I've found that this gives the gravy a chance to thicken up a bit. 

Look at that delicious gravy! 

Cube Steaks and Gravy
adapted from www.food.com

 cubed steaks
1 tablespoon butter                                                   
1/2 cup chopped onion                      
1 (1 ounce) package brown gravy mix                       
1 tablespoon  vinegar                                                  
1 tablespoon brown sugar 
Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and then steaks, browning steaks on both sides.  While steaks are browning, mix gravy mix according to package directions.  Add vinegar and brown sugar to gravy and mix well.  Pour gravy over steaks and lower heat. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until meat is tender. Check periodically to make sure liquid does not evaporate.  I have simmered for longer and still had lots of gravy.  ( I typically let this dish rest covered for about 5 minutes before serving, allowing the gravy time to thicken a bit. )


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

I found this pumpkin bar recipe several years ago when I was needing to take something to a fall cookout.  I decided to switch out the vanilla for almond extract, but followed the rest of the recipe to the letter!  They were fantastic.  I haven't made them since that time and was so excited to make these yesterday.  I forgot just how wonderful this recipe is!  After trying this a second time, though, I decided that this was not a "pumpkin bar" recipe, but rather a cake.  A pumpkin sheet cake!!  Try this!  You'll love it!  It's perfect for those fall gatherings!  This will feed a crowd!  

Pumpkin Sheet Cake
Adapted from:  www.food.com
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used organic unbleached, presifted all-purpose flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
4 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cooking oil
11 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil.  Add flour and beat until well-combined.  (I just used a whisk for this.) Spread batter into jelly roll pan.  (I sprayed the pan with cooking spray).  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.
FROSTING:  In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Frost cake and store covered in refrigerator.
Shared at:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oven Fried Zucchini

A friend of ours brought us a zucchini yesterday.  I usually make my zucchini casserole when someone brings me a zucchini from their garden.  That afternoon, though, I happened to see someone shared a recipe for Zucchini Parmesan Crisps on Facebook and I knew I had to try them.  I tweaked the recipe a bit and changed the name because it just didn't fit.  Also, mine didn't turn out like the picture on Facebook.  These were so good though!  This reminded me of fried zucchini but on the healthier side.  These were so very easy to make and much healthier than the usual fried zucchini!  I might just have to grow my own zucchini next summer!  Hope you give this one a try!

I started by spraying my pan with some EVOO.  See that pump in the above picture??  You can get one at your favorite kitchen store or probably even at your local grocery store.  You simply fill it with your EVOO and then give it a few pumps and your ready to go.  I use it all the time.  You could also use a store bought spray as well. 

In a small bowl, I mixed the crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.  Slice the zucchini in 1/4 inch slices.  Spray each slice (both sides) with EVOO and then coat with the crumb mixture.  Panko crumbs don't always stick well so you will have to pat the breading down a bit.  Place slices of zucchini on a prepared cookie sheet.  Sprinkle any remaining crumbs over the zucchini to coat well.  Then give the tops a final spritz of EVOO spray to make the breading a bit crispier!   Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Oven Fried Zucchini
olive oil spray ( I have a pump that I add my own EVOO to, but you can buy prepared olive oil spray)
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan
1 lb. zucchini slices (1 large zucchini or 2 mediums)
salt and pepper (to taste)
Prepare a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, mix the crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.  Slice the zucchini in 1/4 inch slices.  Spray each slice (both sides) with EVOO and then coat with the crumb mixture.  Panko crumbs don't always stick well so you will have to pat the breading down a bit.  Place slices of zucchini on cookie sheet.  Sprinkle any remaining crumbs over the zucchini to coat well.  Then give the tops a final spritz of EVOO spray to make the breading a bit crispier!   Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chicken in Lemon & Dill Sauce

I'm always searching Pinterest for the latest in recipe ideas.  Well, some time ago, I pinned this recipe.  It took me quite a while to getting around to attempting it and the first time was a disaster.  The recipe that I actually pinned called for boneless chicken breasts and it took so long to cook them (even after pounding them thinner) that all the sauce had cooked down and I had to make more.  It was one of the most frustrating cooking experiences I have had in a very long time. 

Despite the effort it took to get that meal to the table, it really was quite delicious!  So I decided I needed to make some changes to make this a simpler dish to prepare.  This recipe really needed chicken tenders not chicken breasts so that the dish would cook quickly and the chicken could get done without cooking the delicious sauce away!  The next time I tried this, that change worked beautifully!  I also use dried dill instead of fresh because it's what I hand on hand and reduced the amount of garlic as well.  I've made this several times since and my family loves it!  The chicken is tender and the sauce is so delicious.  I typically serve this with a veggie and rolls on the side, but I think it would be great over your favorite pasta or rice as well.  Hope you enjoy this one! 

 I love that I only have to use one pan for this dish!  Easy clean up!

Love that delicious sauce!

Chicken in Lemon & Dill Sauce
adapted from : Eating Well
1 pkg. of chicken breast tenders (about 1.5 pounds)
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 teaspoons extra-virgil olive oil, DIVIDED
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons flour
1 T. dried dill
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I squeezed half of a lemon.)
Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Whisk broth, flour, 1 tablespoon dill and lemon juice in a small bowl and add to pan. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies

I have to confess that as much as I love to cook and bake, I have always been terrible at baking cookies.  I usually undercook, burn, or otherwise just ruin cookies.  So I had put the cookie jar into hiding and decided that I was incurable and would just enjoy cupcakes, brownies and other desserts.  Until now!  Recently, I found an intriguing chocolate chip cookie over at Sally's Baking Addiction.  I was skeptical at first, but desperate enough to try if at least once.  With the first batch, I didn't have the dark brown sugar the recipe called for, but I tried them anyway and they turned out FABULOUS!  I've never made such thick chocolate chip cookies before.   I have made more batches of these this past month than I care to count (TRUE STORY!).   After a few batches, I decided I wanted to try my own spin on her cookie recipe.  I happened to have some Kraft Caramel bits on hand and decided to try a chocolate caramel pretzel combination.  I love the sweet/salty combination!  You've gotta try these!  Before you scroll past all my pictures and straight to the recipe, though, be sure and read because I want to share some of Sally's tips.  THEY ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE RECIPE!!  Better yet, check out her chocolate chip cookie blog post for yourself HERE.

Sally shares some important tips on her blog about baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I found these to be crucial.

1. CHILL the dough.  I have found that I get a much better result if I chill the dough for at least 2-3 hours or even overnight!  Trust me!  Don't ignore this step!

2.  I cook mine a bit longer - exactly 9 minutes.  Cool for exactly 3 minutes.  Depending on your oven, the actual cooking time could vary from 8-10 minutes.  They should be only a light golden brown when you remove them from the oven.  Don't overbake! 

3.  Use only cool pans to bake cookies!  This was the biggest mistake I was making when baking cookies.  I usually would put a second or third set of cookies on a cookie sheet that had already been through the oven.  So THAT'S why the last set was always overdone!

These make me smile!!

Salty/sweet heaven!! 
Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. pretzel pieces
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I used Ghiradelli!  My favorite chips!)
1/2 c. Kraft Caramel Bits
Cream butter, sugars, vanilla, and egg in medium mixing bowl.  In another bowl, combine flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt.  Gradually incorporate dry ingredients into wet mixture and mix well.  Fold in pretzel pieces, chips and caramel bits.  Chill dough for several hours.  Roll dough into balls (about 1 T. of dough) and place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (only until slightly golden around the edges).  Remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 3 minutes.  Transfer to cooling rack.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Orange Fluff

With two little ones at home, I seem to be getting busier and busier.  I don't have a lot of time to sit at the computer and get my recipes posted, but I'm trying.  I made this recipe for a potluck back in April and knew I had to share this with all of you!  My mom has been making this salad for years and she shared the recipe with me a few years ago.  It's so refreshing and so very easy to put together!  It's a perfect dish for spring and summer, but I've even made it for Thanksgiving a time or two because of the beautiful orange color.  This is a crowd pleaser!  There are a ton of recipes on the internet for "Orange Fluff", but this is my favorite version!

So yummy!!

Orange Fluff

1 16 oz. container low fat cottage cheese  (blend in blender until SMOOTH!)
2 small pkgs.  (3 oz. size) orange jello
1 12 oz. container Cool Whip
2 11 oz. containers mandarin oranges, drained
1 15 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

Blend cottage cheese in blender until smooth.  Mix in orange jello until completely dissolved.  Then add oranges and pineapple and mix well.  Fold in Cool Whip! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

French Onion Meatballs

I found this recipe a while back on Six Sister's Stuff.  If you haven't visited their site, go take a look.  They have lots of recipes and they look wonderful! 

I love using my slow cooker, but I have trouble finding new recipes for it.   So many call for some kind of cream soup and those recipes just don't appeal to my tastebuds (or waistline for that matter)!  So I was pretty excited when I found this one!  It only has two ingredients and there was no cream soup!!  I served these meatballs on rolls, but I think they would also be great for an appetizer or even served over noodles with a veggie on the side! 

We all seem to have different tastes in our house so I'm very happy to add this to our menu rotation!  We ALL liked these!

You will need 2 (10.5 oz.) cans of French Onion soup and a 32 oz. package of fully cooked frozen meatballs.  I used the Italian style.  Spray your crockpot with nonstick spray. (Next time, I will use a slow cooker liner- I was out. . .)  Place meatballs in slow cooker and pour soup over meatballs.  Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or high for about 2 hours.  I cooked them on low and they were done in about 3 hours and I just turned my slow cooker to WARM until we were ready to eat. 

 These are the rolls I served them on!   These would also be great on the smaller Hawaiian rolls for party size sandwiches!

 . . . or just pick up some fancy toothpicks and serve them straight out of the slow cooker as a yummy appetizer!

This is such a family friendly recipe!  Loved this one!

French Onion Meatballs
source:  Six Sisters' Stuff

1 (32 oz) package Italian style frozen meatballs ( the original recipe calls for 24 oz. but I couldn't find that size- the 32 oz. worked out great!)

2 (10.5 oz.) cans French onion soup

Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray.  Place meatballs in slow cooker and pour soup over the meatballs.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours OR on high for about 2 hours.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Special K Bars

I've had this recipe for quite a few years.  When I was teaching, the mother of one of my students shared this with me.  I'm so glad she did because these are so good!!  It's been a while since I've made them and I forgot just how yummy they are!!  I was glad when they were gone because I couldn't stay out of them!  So yummy!  These are so quick to make and super scrumptious!!  Enjoy!!

Over low heat, cook light corn syrup and sugar together, just until sugar dissolves. Add peanut butter and stir until melted. Put cereal in a large mixing bowl and pour sugar/peanut butter mixture over cereal. Mix well and press into a 9x13 pan

For the topping, you will need 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips and 1 c. butterscotch chips.  Melt in microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring in between until completely melted.  Pour and spread evenly over bars.  I popped the pan into the fridge for about 10 minutes to allow the topping to set. 

Cut into bars and watch them disappear!
Special K Bars
1 cup white Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
6 cups Special K cereal
1 cup semisweet chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
Over low heat, cook syrup and sugar together, just until sugar dissolves.  Add peanut butter and stir until melted.  Put cereal in a large mixing bowl and pour sugar/peanut butter mixture over cereal.  Mix well and press into a 9x13 pan.  For topping, melt both kinds of chips together in microwave (in short intervals until melted) and spread over cereal mixture.  Allow topping to set before cutting into bars.