Ham and Potato Hash


This recipe is not visually appealing, but it definitely takes comfort food to a whole new level! I started off using this recipe, but then I wanted to add my own twist to it. I made it the first time following the recipe to the letter, and it was wonderful. The second time I decided to add my own spin on it, and it was wonderful! 

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups potatoes, peeled, boiled and cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 of a medium onion diced
  • 2 cups condensed milk (like Carnation)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup Pepper Jack Cheese shredded
  • 2 cups cook ham diced 
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Directions:

  1. Peel, and dice potatoes and boil until they are tender, drain and place in a baking dish
  2. While the potatoes are boiling cut ham into cubes and place in a frying pan along with the onion. Begin to pan fry until the onion is tender, but not brown. Add to the baking dish 
  3. Gently combine the potatoes, ham and onions in the pan. 
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Gradually add flour mixing constantly with a whisk, gradually add milk then add cheese and paprika.
  5. Heat until warm, melted and smooth. (Use a whisk and stir constantly)
  6. Pour white/cheese sauce over potatoes and meat and mix all together.
  7. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 35-45 minutes (watch, until golden brown on top).


Easy Fried Ravioli


I was able to pick up frozen ravioli for a really great price a few days ago. My husband loves fried ravioli so I decided to give making it homemade a try. If you buy it as an appetizer at a restaurant it’s a little expensive, but making it at home is not only easy, but it’s half the price. This is a great easy and delicious recipe that made the entire family very happy.

Ingredients:
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 (24 count) box store-bought cheese ravioli (about 24 ravioli)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  •  store bought marinara sauce, heated, for dipping
 Directions:
  1. Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.
  2. While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls.
  3. Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl.
  4. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli.
  5.  When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.
  7. Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.


Peanut Butter Eggs


This is such a great recipe! If you need a quick recipe for today and you want something easy and no bake here is a recipe for you. This is an excellent recipe that’s super-fast. I had them completely made in less than 1 hour. I threw all the ingredients except the chocolate chips and the shortening in the food process, and mixed it all up. I shaped the eggs (no very well I might add) stuck them in the refrigerator made up my chocolate then decorated and they were ready. I left them in the refrigerator until dessert! These are great! As you can see I am not a chocolatier!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • Pastel sprinkles
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter; gradually add the confectioners' sugar, cracker crumbs, peanut butter and vanilla. Shape into 16 eggs; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
  2. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip eggs in chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Decorate with sprinkles; return eggs to waxed paper. Chill until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Yield: 16 eggs.

Tartar Sauce


A few nights ago we had shrimp for dinner and I wanted to include a tartar sauce on the side. Typically the rule of thumb with a recipe like this is to allow the finished product to set over night to allow all the spices and flavors to mingle together thus creating the ultimate recipe. This tartar sauce recipe was no exception. I allow it to refrigerate overnight and the end results were fantastic! After trying this recipe out I could never imagine myself buying store bought tartar sauce again! 


 Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise or 1 1/4 cups Miracle Whip
  • 1 medium dill pickles (or 1/4 cup dill relish)
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes (or fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
 Directions:
1.      Mix all together in the food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds until finely chopped, but not smooth.
2.     Best if refrigerated for an hour before use.
3.     Note: Can be made without the food processor, using dill relish or finely minced pickle.
4.     Lasts quite a while in the refrigerator.


Neely's Spicy Sweet Potato Fries (Chips)


One of my favorite cooking shows is Down Home with the Neely’s! I love this husband and wife dynamic duo! They have such amazing chemistry in the kitchen that I find watching their cooking show both educational and entertaining. I saw the Neely’s making spicy sweet potato chips that I later turned into fries and knew I had the try them because I love sweet potato fries and I love spicy. As always they delivered with an amazing recipe that I am in love with. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes paired with the spiciness of just the right spice combination makes these fries a sweet and spicy delight! The only thing I changed from the original recipe was changing them from chips to fries.

Ingredients:

  • Peanut oil, for frying
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, well scrubbed

 Directions:

  1. In a deep-fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, heat enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  3. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, thinly slice the sweet potatoes into 1/8-inch thick rounds. Add the sliced sweet potatoes to the hot oil and fry, in batches, until crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray and immediately sprinkle with the seasoning mixture. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.



Oven Fried Bacon


I love bacon, but I hate the mess that comes with frying bacon. I decided there had to be an easier way. I decided to figure out how to “fry” bacon in the oven, and now that’s the only way I do it. First off I don’t have to scrub down my kitchen after making bacon now, and I don’t smell like fried bacon after cooking it! That’s a huge plus! This is simple and fantastic!

What you need:
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 1 jelly roll pan
  • Heavy foil
  • Optional oven safe cookie cooling racks
Directions:
  1. Line a baking sheet with heavy foil. This will make your cleanup much easier. I like to use the heavy foil to insure that the grease doesn't get on my pan. Yep it's called lazy.
  2.  Arrange your bacon on the foil. I put my bacon on cookie cooling racks in the middle of my foil lined pan. This helps the grease drip off your bacon.Place the baking sheet in a cold oven. Turn you oven on to 400°F. 
  3.  Check your bacon within 15 to 20 minutes. This will vary based on the thickness of your bacon. Check back often you don't want burnt bacon. Let your nose be the guide. As soon as the bacon is golden brown, but not excessively crisp, it's done. 
  4. Remove pan from the oven and remove your bacon from the pan. Place bacon on paper towels to allow the excess grease to drip off. 

I've Got the Need, the Need for Fried Cheese


I found this recipe while watching Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Big Bites on TV. He made this recipe look easy and in truth it really was. It’s a great recipe, the flavor is fantastic, and these cheese sticks make great appetizers. I had fun making them, and loved eating them. No doubt you will too! Here is the original recipe. 

Ingredients
  • 4 cups oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 8 ounces mozzarella string cheese, individually wrapped
  • 16 thin slices salami, 2 1/2-inches in diameter
  • 8 egg roll /spring roll wrappers

 Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add oil and heat to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium shallow bowl, whisk eggs and milk thoroughly. In another medium bowl mix panko and Italian bread crumbs.
  3. Dredge 1 entire side of egg roll wrapper into egg wash. Place 2 slices of salami in the center of wrapper, towards the edge closest to you. Place 1 stick of cheese on top of salami. Roll wrapper edge closest to you over the filling. Tuck ends and continue to roll until it forms an egg roll shape.
  4. Dredge rolled wrapper in egg wash again, and then thoroughly coat in bread crumb mixture. (Wrappers can be frozen for future use at this point.)
  5. Add 1 to 2 rolled wrappers to oil at a time, cooking 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Be careful not to overcook, or cook on too high of a temperature as wraps may explode. Remove fried cheese to a paper-towel lined plate and serve immediately.


Potato Cups


This is a fantastic recipe! It’s so simple to put together and then all you do is pop it into the oven and the potato cups are done. I waited until mine were crispy on the outside before I took then out of the oven and they came out perfect. I used a cheese grater to shred the potatoes and I also used it to for the onions. It was super easy and went quickly. I needed something last minute and this recipe came together perfectly. The potatoes have a great flavor and got rave reviews. Here is the original recipe, but I actually changed it up a lot from the original recipe. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups shredded potatoes (You could use frozen and thaw them before measuring)
  • 2 tablespoons onions,  minced
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • butter, to grease the muffin tins
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.
  2. Mix together the potatoes, onion, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Generously butter 6 muffin tins, 2-1/2" size.
  3. Press the potato mixture evenly into the muffin cups. Bake 45 minutes or until the edges are well browned.
  4. Remove from the oven to a rack to cool slightly. Loosen and invert the potato cups onto a plate.


Pull-Apart Peazer Bread


This is a really great recipe. Not only is is dirt cheap to make, but it's easy, requires very few ingredients, and tastes great. It also makes a great presentation. It's my version of a monkey bread. The great part about this concept is you can do just about anything with the recipe. Keep the margarine and lose everything else, add a little cinnamon and sugar then you have a great monkey bread. You could also make a great garlic pull apart bread too. So simple yet so diverse! Love it!!

Ingredients:
  • 1 can Pillsbury Grand’s Biscuits
  • ½ stick margarine
  • 2 green onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp. bacon bits (not Bacos)
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a microwave safe bowl melt margarine. 
  3. To the melted margarine add garlic powder, bacon bits, and thinly sliced green onions and mix together. Set mixture aside. 
  4. Quarter each Pillsbury Grand’s Biscuit half the biscuit then half it again.
  5. Take the quartered Pillsbury Grand’s Biscuits and add them to the margarine mixture and slowly mix the ingredients together.
  6. Once everything is well combined spoon the biscuit mixture into a 3 quart baking dish. Pretty much any baking dish will work as long as the biscuits will stick together.  
  7. Cook on 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Test the middle biscuits to insure they are done before removing them completely from the oven.


Slow Cooker Beef Stew


I was looking for a good Sunday dinner recipe last week when I came across OrgJunkies Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe. It can’t get any easier than this recipe. You put all the ingredients in the crockpot and you let it cook. This recipe is super simple and super easy. Thanks for the great recipe Laura. CLICK HERE for the original recipe. 


Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds beef chuck or stew meat, cut in 1″ cubes 
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 carrots sliced or baby carrots 
  • 2 cans of potatoes
  • 2 onions, chopped 
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
Directions:
1.      Place meat in cooker (no need to brown first). 
2.     Mix flour, salt and pepper and pour over meat; stir to coat meat with flour. 
3.     Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. 
4.     Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or high 4-6 hours. 
5.     Stir stew thoroughly before serving.


Chicken Marsala Wraps


Ingredients:
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of margarine
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 cups of pre-cooked chicken breast
  • 2 large cans of mushrooms
  • 1 cup of Marsala wine
  • 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese
  • 4-6 10 inch tortillas
Directions:

  1. Add olive oil and margarine to a large skillet over a medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and begin to cook for around 15 minutes or until you find the onions to be tender.
  2.  Add your marsala wine and chicken and cook for 10 minutes until the wine become reduced. Add marsala chicken mixture to a warm tortilla and top with mozzarella cheese.
  3. Wrap up and serve.

Super Simple Cinnamon Sugar Donuts


Because of a really great sale I ended up with about 30 cans of Pillsbury Grand’s Biscuits. I ended up giving most of them away, but I still have a few cans I wanted to do something with. I decided to make Super Simple Cinnamon Sugar Donuts. These are definitely not for your calorie conscious or anyone on the Summer Slim Down Challenge, but they are REALLY good especially warm. Quick, Easy, Cheap, and Delicious!


Ingredients:
  • 1 Can Pillsbury Grand’s Biscuits
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 4Tbs Cinnamon
  • Vegetable Oil for Frying
  • 1 zip bag
  • 1 soda bottle cap (I used my red wine vinegar cap)
Directions:

  1. Heat your vegetable oil to 350 degrees about 3-4 inches deep
  2. In a zip bag add cinnamon and sugar, zip up the bag and shake, set aside
  3. Open up the can of biscuits and flatten them slightly
  4.  Take your soda bottle cap and punch out a hole in the middle of your biscuits. (Don’t throw away the center hole they make great donut holes)
  5.  Cook donuts until they are golden brown on each side cooking long enough to insure they are done in the middle. Flip several times during the cooking process. Make them in small batches to insure you are not crowding the oil. I made 2 at a time.
  6.  As each donut comes out of the oil add it to the cinnamon sugar filled zip back, close up and shake, then set the now cinnamon sugar aside and continue the process until you are done. 

Pollo Rojo Street Tacos


I knew I needed to find something low calorie for lunch, but I also wanted to make something that I had all the ingredients for (because I was starving), and I wanted something that would be quick and easy, and give me the most bang for my calories. I also wanted to avoid adding cheese to anything because I have recently learned that cheese is loaded full of calories! I came up with the recipe and it turned out fantastic! I have adapted this for a serving of one, but you can easily adapt it to what you need!

Ingredients:
  • 2 ounces Swanson White Premium Chicken Chunks Canned
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp Pace Picante Sauce (I used medium)
  • 1/2 ounce Organic Greens
  • 2 Tia Rosa White Corn Tortilla (Try to find something lower in calories this is what I had on hand, but each tortilla is 60 calories each)
Directions:
  1.  Add chopped onions to a small frying pan cook on medium high until they start to brown (You don't need to add any fat or sprays to the pan to keep these onions happy just use a non-stick pan), then add chicken.
  2. Cook until chicken is heated up, and the onions are being translucent.
  3.  Add picante sauce and mix together well then heat through
  4.  Heat tortillas in the microwave for 20 seconds
  5. Then top each corn tortillas with the organic greens, then top your greens with the chicken mixture
Enjoy! 

Calorie Total: 217 according to http://www.myfitnesspal.com/


NOT Panda Express Orange Chicken


The original recipe for this says that it's the copycat recipe for Panda Express's Orange Chicken. Being that Panda Express's Orange Chicken is my very favorite item on their menu I beg to differ! Don't get me wrong this is a great recipe we all really enjoyed it, but it's not even close to the Panda Express recipe. What I like about this recipe is that it's really great the flavor is nice and mild yet has really stands on its own. Next I would triple the amount of orange sauce. What I do not like about this recipe is the fact that it's time consuming. Yes, this recipe was a little more time than I care to spend in the kitchen on a weekday. 

 Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons White pepper
  • oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
 Orange Sauce for Stir Fry:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 zest of a orange

Directions:

  1.  Make Orange Sauce for Stir Fry adding all the ingredients to a bowl, mix, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl place egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well. 
  3. Cut chicken into bite sizes pieces and place them in the bowl with the egg mixture.
  4. In another bowl mix cornstarch and flour together. 
  5. Take one piece of chicken at a time and roll it in the Mix flour mixture then set the well coated chicken aside. 
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan or dutch oven to 375 degrees. 
  7. Add chicken in small batches, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp. (Do not overcook chicken). 
  8. Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.
  9. Clean frying pan and heat 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. 
  10. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant; about 10 seconds. 
  11. Add and stir-fry crushed chilies and green onions. 
  12. Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds.
  13. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil.
  14.  Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed.
  15. Stir water in remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth 
  16. Heat until sauce is thickened.
  17. Stir in sesame oil and orange zest if desired.
  18. Serve over jasmine rice.


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