Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In the Kitchen - What's for dinner (and dessert)?

More recipes worth sharing...of course they're quick, easy, and tasty...and if it's 'crock potable' I'll let you know...because who doesn't love to have dinner waiting for them when they come home!?!?

GRANDMA SIMMONS' MEATBALLS comes from my friend ValerieHer grandma just uses meat and soup mix, but I added a couple things.  My favorite aspect of these is that I can use the meatballs for many different meals!  Make a lot, freeze, and use as desired.  Just call me the next Robin Miller (Food Network star whose platform is to have a well stocked pantry, cook a large quantity of a main ingredient, and use it different ways throughout the week).  Of course the most obvious uses for meatballs are over spaghetti or on a sub sandwich.  However you serve them, enjoy!

2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs (I just use croutons or stale bread and puree in the food processor)
1 packet onion soup mix

Mix ingredients and shape into golf ball size balls.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  OR bake at 350 for 10 minutes and then transfer to crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours in spaghetti sauce (enough to just cover all the meatballs).  Use as desired or freeze for future recipes.
image from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/beef-stroganoff-meatballs-10000001878483/
BEEF STROGANOFF...I adapted this from a Weight Watchers recipe and instead of using sirloin steak I used a dozen frozen meatballs I had on hand, which saved prep time and cooking time.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups sliced mushrooms ( fresh)
1 cup onions (sliced)
6 garlic cloves ( minced)
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 tablespoons sherry wine (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 meatballs
1 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 bag egg noodles

Over medium high heat saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil for about two minutes.  Add beef broth and next 6 ingredients, stir, and bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.  In the meantime, boil water, cook noodles, and drain.  Remove sauce from heat and stir in sour cream.  Spoon over noodles and enjoy!

CREAMY ITALIAN CHICKEN (OR MEATBALLS)...When I lived in my first apartment out of college my roommates and I took turns cooking dinner for each other so we could try out new recipes.  We had a great booth from an old restaurant in our kitchen and on the nights we had dinner together we often got nothing else done after we ate because it was a chance for us to sit and catch up.  This recipe comes from my longtime friend and former roommate, Lori.

4 chicken breasts (or meatballs...10-12)
1/4 cup water
1 packet Italian dressing mix
8oz. cream cheese (fat free works just as fine as regular in this recipe)
1 can cream of chicken soup (fat free works just as fine as regular in this recipe)

Mix last four ingredients to create a sauce.  Bake chicken and pour sauce on top OR cook in a skillet for 30 minutes OR cook in the crock pot for 6-8 hours on low.  Serve as is or over noodles/rice.  If you're using meatballs, thaw ahead of time and stir into sauce or serve on top.  You could easily add in veggies to the sauce to make it more nutritious...I would steam broccoli, peas, or cauliflower and stir in before serving.

And if you're going to have some delicious meals lined up, you might as well have dessert on hand too.  An old favorite: FAMOUS AMOS RAISIN FILLED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.  I make the dough when I get a chance, bake a dozen, and then keep the remaining dough in the fridge or freezer for a single serving of fresh baked cookies anytime.  Your efforts last a lot longer this way too:)

image from http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1864428-Famous-Amos-Raisin-filled-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies
1 cup butter, softened but not melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups raisins
1-1 1/2 cups nuts (optional)

Beat butter, sugars, vanilla, water, and eggs until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and raisins (and nuts if you're using them).  Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375 for 8-10 minutes.  Melt in your mouth good.

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