Rigatoni

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

One half pound of rigatoni, cooked al detente

One 24 ounce jar Prego Traditional Italian Sauce


One pound hamburger, browned and drained

One 8 ounce package of Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella Pearls 


Combine all ingredients; pour into 9×13 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. At the end of 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

I didn’t get a photo of the baked product– we ate it too quickly!

Beef Quesadillas 

We love chicken quesadillas; we’ve not made beef quesadillas before tonight. They turned out great!

Ingredients:

One half pound of roast beef, in strips

One teaspoon of each of the following: cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cilantro, salt and pepper

Canola oil 

Eight 8-inch tortillas 

Cheese

Directions:

Fry meat with seasonings  until totally browned in two tablespoons of oil. Set aside. 

On a flat griddle, well-oiled, brown two tortillas. The important thing is to brown each side of the tortilla. It’s ok to flip them more than once to get them brown enough. 

Ok, time to put them together! On one tortilla, add some beef and as much cheese as you can handle. Allow the cheese to melt a bit; top with second tortilla. Use a large pancake turner and spoon to flip the quesadilla. Be careful! 

When it’s brown and melty enough, place on oven-safe plate and set in oven to keep warm. 

Repeat until you’ve made four quesadillas. Serve with sour cream, salsa and refried beans. 

Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

IMG_20150822_161432Peel and dice two russet potatoes.

Add to large skillet which has been heated with two tablespoons of canola oil and one tablespoon of butter. Fry on medium heat until browned and cooked  (15 minutes or so), stirring often.

Slice up a one pound package of Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage and add to the skillet with the potatoes. Heat for approximately 10 minutes, until meat is hot.

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

More Italian Chicken!

tmp_23497-IMG_20150806_180655-1507886880Chicken is so versatile. I call this Italian chicken, but it’s basically CHICKEN, with any favorite spices plus a few regulars. One of my favorite spices is McCormick Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper seasoning.

As you see in the picture above, I made chicken tenders from two chicken breasts. They were fried in extra virgin olive oil and butter. I added a splash of white wine and let the tenders get nice and brown.

The entire cast iron skillet went into a 350° preheated oven for 10 minutes. Carefully remove skillet, add diced potatoes and raise oven temperature to 450° so that everything SIZZLES.

Bake for 10 minutes, stir potatoes and rearrange chicken. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove chicken, rest it for 5 minutes while potatoes finish roasting.

Serve hot. Enjoy!

tmp_27546-IMG_20150806_175708-1507886880

Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Enchilada Soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIngredients
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 can (10 ounces) of Ro*Tel Mexican Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro
1 can (15 ounces) of Hunt’s Tomato Puree
1 packet of McCormick’s Enchilada Sauce Mix
2 cans of water (15 ounce can)
1 can (15 ounces) of corn
Tortilla chips
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Slice up the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces, removing as much fat as possible. Pour the diced tomatoes, tomato puree into an oven safe pot. Add the enchilada sauce mix and water and stir gently.  Carefully place covered pot in oven and “bake” for six hours. Remove from oven and place on stove burner; add the corn (no need to drain). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Serve with tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream.

I made this and took it to my best friend’s house; she was in the hospital up in St. Louis and her mom stayed here to watch her granddaughter. I was concerned that the first grader wouldn’t like the soup, but she liked it! Daniel, Mary and I had seconds.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again, the McCormick’s Grill Mates Pork Rub comes to the rescue!

Ingredients
2-3 pound pork shoulder
canola oil, as needed
McCormick’s Grill Mates Pork Rub, to taste
1 cup water
Barbeque sauce, to taste

Directions
Place the pork shoulder into a big enough plastic container; you’ll need the lid, too.

Rub canola oil over the pork shoulder, both sides. You won’t need a lot, just a bit so that it will help the rub stick to the meat.

Now comes the fun part! Pour some pork rub onto one side of the pork shoulder; massage the rub in. Note: unless you use food-grade plastic gloves, your hand will look like this:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ll need to wash your hands after handling raw meat, so it’s really no biggie. Rub a nice coating onto the pork shoulder.

Turn the pork over and repeat. Here’s my pork shoulder, after its massage. It looks pretty happy, doesn’t it?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACover the container and allow it to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

In the morning, take out your slow cooker! Pour the water into the slow cooker. Now add the meat. My pork shoulder didn’t quite fit into my small cooker, so I cut it in half and added it to the slow cooker in two layers.

Set slow cooker on HIGH and cook for four hours; remove the meat and flip the meat layers (put the half that was on the top, on the bottom first so it can cook in the juices; put the bottom half on top). Cook for four more hours on LOW.

After the eight hours have passed, turn off the slow cooker and carefully lift the two pieces of meat out into a bowl. My pork shoulder was already falling apart at this stage, which made me very happy!

Using two forks, shred the meat. Taste it and make sure it’s incredible…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you have finished shredding the pork, it’s time to add some barbeque sauce. We love Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce. Add as little or as much as you like.  Serve on buns, with the barbeque sauce available for those who like drippy sandwiches (like my son).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Pork Chops, Rubbed the Right Way

Pork chops are another easy supper.  My favorite way to make them is with McCormick’s Grill Mates Pork Rub.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is for two pork chops; my son and I just each one chop each. The preparation of the chops is very easy.

Ingredients

2 pork chops

2 tsp. canola oil

McCormick’s Grill Mates Pork Rub (to taste)

1/4 cup flour

1 tbsp. canola oil

1/4 cup water

Directions

Take the pork chops and pour 1 tsp. canola oil on the top of both chops; rub the oil into the meat. Then, turn them over and pour the another teaspoon onto the chops and rub that in.

My son loves this pork rub, so for his chop, I will take 1 tbsp. of the rub and massage the rub into one side of the chop. Another 1 tbsp. of rub goes on the other side of the chop. For my chop, I just use maybe 1 tsp. of rub for each side of my chop. Depending on how spicy you like your chops, you can add more or less.

For this meal, I tried something different and dipped the chops in flour after rubbing the seasoning in.

Pour in the 1 tbsp. canola oil into a medium-sized skillet. Turn on medium high and when the oil starts to shimmer, add the chops. Cook on one side for 4 minutes or until the chops are browned; flip them and let the other sides get nice and browned (4 more minutes).

Pour in 1/4 cup water, turn the heat to medium and cover. Let the chops cook for ten minutes; flip them and cook for another ten minutes. Uncover and turn the heat up to medium high again and let the chops sizzle and the water evaporate.

Always, always, always use a meat thermometer! Pork chops should register at 180 degrees F. What I like to do is check their temp and if they’re not quite at 180 F but they’re within five degrees, is remove from heat and cover with foil for five minutes. Meat continues to cook after its removed from the heat source. Before serving, check with meat thermometer again and make sure it’s 180 F.

Your temperatures may vary with your own meat thermometer, thickness of the chops and how hot your stove is. I have a brand new stove and I’m still learning to watch temperatures and when meat is at the proper serving temperature.pork chop plate 1-14-15I didn’t like the way the breading worked on the chops. When I added the water, the breading pretty much fell apart. Next time, I won’t bread them and will just use the rub!

 

Quick Breakfast Treats

I love breakfast. If possible, I’d have breakfast three times a day. Here are a few of my little creations – very quick to make and very delicious!

Bagel with cream cheese, topped with strawberries:strawberry cream cheese bagelBagel with cream cheese, topped with blueberries:blueberry cream cheese bagelRicotta cheese with strawberries:ricotta with strawberriesStrawberries:  slice up the strawberries, tuck about 1/2 cup in a plastic quart bag; add a teaspoon of sugar. After all of the strawberries are sliced and sugared in their plastic quart bags, place all of the bags into a one gallon freezer bag and place into freezer. When you want to eat strawberries the next morning, simply take out a quart bag and put it into the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, they’ll be juicy and sweet and ready to eat.

Blueberries:  tuck about 1/2 cup of blueberries into plastic quart bags; take all of the quart bags and place them into a gallon size plastic bag. Tuck the bag into the freezer. Thaw the same as the strawberries. Something I like to do is eat the blueberries frozen. There’s something about the way they crackle and split open when you eat them frozen on top of a bagel. Yum!