August: Potlucks!

August Theme: Potlucks. What do you take with you?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


1 lb sausage or ground beef
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can or jar spaghetti sauce
1 tub (2 cups) ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
½ cup shredded carrot
1 Tbl parsley
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
Brown the meat with the onion and garlic, add in the sauce and let it simmer a few minutes. Mix the ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarrella, parmesan, spinach, carrot, and parsley in a bowl. Layer in a 9x13 pan: sauce, noodles, cheese mixture, noodles, sauce, cheese mix, noodles, sauce, and then top with the rest of the mozzarella. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.


Well, it is the last day of the month and I've finally gotten around to posting my husband's favorite dinners. I know most people probably already have versions of these that they like, but here is how we make it.

2 ½ tsp yeast (or one package)
1 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl oil
1 cup wheat flour
1 ½ cups white flour
I usually make the dough in my bread machine, but if you don't have one, it is easy to do by hand. Just mix the yeast, water and sugar and set aside for a couple of minutes. Add everything else in, mix well, and knead it for 5-10 minutes. Let it rise, covered for 30-60 minutes. Roll the dough out on a pizza pan (or cookie sheet) that has been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Let it rise again for 30 to 60 minutes (You don't need to let the dough rise at all if you like a thin crust). Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and take it out.

1 small can tomato paste
1 or 2 Tbl water
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp Italian seasonings

Top with sauce, ½ -1 lb. mozzarella and cheddar cheese, and other toppings such as sausage, olives, pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. (Collin likes his with bananas and avocados because that is how they eat it in South Africa) Bake on the lowest oven rack at 425 for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is browning and the crust is the desired crispness on the bottom.

Friday, April 25, 2008

St. Louis style Philly cheesesteaks

Here is one of the many favorites my husband has. I'll try to post the rest of them later when I don't have an 18 month-old crawling all over me.

1 package thinly sliced breakfast steak (or any steak, just cut it really thin--I like the breakfast steak because it is already thinly sliced.) I now have my butcher slice about one pound of ribeye thin enough that you can pretty much see through it. It only takes about 45 seconds on each side to get a fantastic sear that way.
1 yellow onion
garlic cloves
baguette, sliced in half longways
ranch dressing
monterey jack cheese slices

Preheat oven to 375F

In a big skillet, season the steak with salt, pepper, and minced garlic (quantity is up to you and how long you want your breath to smell like garlic. I usually use 2 cloves.)
Sear with about a Tbsp of olive oil. Once it is seared on both sides, remove from pan to a cutting board and let it rest.

In the same skillet, add sliced onions and cook until golden.

Slice meat into small strips, and add back to the skillet.

Place bread on cookie sheet and spread ranch dressing on the bread, then top with cheese. Bake in oven until cheese bubbles.

Remove from oven. Add meat and onion mixture and top with bread. Slice and serve warm.

*My friend and I made this up one day when our husbands were watching football and we didn't want to leave to get them Quiznos. They ended up liking these way better, and it only ends up costing about 2.50 per person to eat. You can add bell pepper if you want. Our husbands just don't like it that way.

Peach Cobbler

Justin loves his peach cobbler. I don't think I had ever had this biscuit topped style before I met him. I was used to the cake mix topped kind. But this one is great for breakfast or for a nice dessert. I use half wheat flour, half white flour when I make it. And we put whip cream on top when we serve it.

PEACH FILLING: 2 - 29 oz cans peaches
2 Tbsp. cornstarch (heaping)
1/2 cup sugar (for heavy syrup peaches, 2 cups with light)

Mix together cornstarch & sugar in pan with NO HEAT and add some peach syrup until all dissolved with no lumps, then add the rest of the syrup and the peaches and stir constantly over med-high heat until it thickens (usually ready when boiling starts).


BISCUIT TOPPING: 2 cups flour 2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt 1/2 stick butter (cut in)
1 Tbsp. baking powder 1 cup milk (add last)

Put dry ingredients in bowl together and mix then add butter and cut it into the mixture. Last add the milk and mix it in to make the dough.

Drop dough by spoonfuls on top of peaches. Bake on 350-375 for 30-35 minutes until biscuits brown on top.

Serve warm with whip cream and enjoy!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Raspberry Pork Chops

This is one of Mike's favorite meals. It kind of sounds complicated, but it really isn't. A side of mashed potatoes makes it complete.

1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a small bowl, combine thyme, sage, salt and pepper, then rub mixture over pork chops.

Melt butter and olive oil in skillet. (You have to use both oil and butter or the sauce won't turn out right.) Cook porkchops for 4 - 5 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and keep warm in preheated oven. (Sometimes I just stick them in the microwave without starting it.)

In the skillet, combine raspberry jam, orange juice, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce is reduced to desired consistency (it will thicken as it cools). Serve pork chops with sauce added on top.

Country Style Spare Ribs

These are delicious! I'm not sure if these are one of Mike's favorites, but they are a family favorite!

Country style pork spare ribs (boneless) washed and placed in a 9 X 13" pan.

Mix sauce in medium mixing bowl:
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup Colgin Hickory Liquid Smoke (I can't always find the Colgin brand and haven't noticed a difference)
2 dashes soy sauce
1/2 cup Pace Picante sauce -- mild
1/4 cup brown sugar (you can add a little more if you like)
1/2 tsp. pureed garlic

Pour part of the sauce over ribs in pan, cover, and bake at 350 degrees for 4 hours (make sure there is enough sauce so they don't burn. Pour off most of the liquid and add more sauce and return to oven for a little longer (20 minutes or so).

Tastes great paired with baked potatoes.

Fajita Marinade (Betty Crocker)

I brought it to a recipe group last semester and never typed up the recipe, so here it is finally, and definitely one of Mike's favs. I made chicken fajitas with it, but it's good on steak or pork, and the meat is good in salads or on the grill.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I've used a lot of different kinds and they were all pretty good . . . except for the balsamic)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in shallow dish or plastic bag. Add about 1 pound of meat, coating it with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Cook meat as desired.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Milk Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

I know a lot of you already have this recipe. It's the same one I brought to the very first Recipe Exchange night. But it wouldn't be "Husbands' Favorite Recipes" month if I didn't add this. This is by far Mike's favorite thing that I make.

Cream together:
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. butter or margarine
1 c. peanut butter
2 eggs

In separate bowl combine:
2 ½ c. flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Mix dry and wet ingredients together. Add 2 c. (1 package) milk chocolate chips. (They aren't as good with semi-sweet.) Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Bake at 350° for 9 to 12 minutes depending on whether you like them soft or crispy. I take them out after exactly 9 minutes because I like them REALLY soft.

Chicken in Lemon Sauce

This is one of Alan's favorite recipes from his sister. It is really really good. I hope that you guys like it too.

1/4 c. butter or margarine
4 whole chicken breasts, split, skinned, and boned
3 Tbsp. white grape juice concentrate
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 c. heavy cream
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. sliced mushrooms

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add chicken. Cook, turning, about 10 minutes or until chicken is brown and tender. Remove chicken to ovenproof serving dish. Discard butter from skillet. Add grape juice concetrate, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 1 minute. Gradually pour in cream, stirring constantly, until hot; do not boil. Pour cream sauce over chicken; sprinkle with cheese and mushrooms. Broil chicken about 6 inches from heat source until lightly browned.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sweet & Sour Chicken

3 lbs chicken, cut into chunks
2 eggs, beaten with a fork
Garlic Salt
1 can Pineapple Chunks

3/4 C Sugar
1/4 C Pineapple Juice
1/2 C Vinegar
3/4 C Ketchup
1 tsp. Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp. Salt

Dip chicken in egg, then the flour. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Brown lightly in oil. Make sauce. Mix sauce ingredients together and heat (do not boil). Place chicken and pineapple chunks in baking dish, pour sauce over chicken and bake 40 minutes in 350 degree oven. Accompany with rice.

Monday, April 21, 2008

4 Bean Chilled Salad

Hi girls! My husband actually hates beans, but I wanted to post this anyway. My neighbor brought it to a BBQ the other day and I really loved it, hopefully you will too. It is so colorful and yummy.

2 cans green beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can yellow/green beans (also called wax beans)
1/2 green pepper, diced
diced purple onion (optional)

Drain beans. Combine with green pepper and onion. Cover with following sauce:

1/2 cup veg. oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar (or regular kind)
1/2-3/4 cup sugar to taste

Soak overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Strawberry Cloud Dessert

This is the recipe I brought to the party this month. I meant to take a picture, but we ate it too fast. :) It was pretty easy to make. Just be sure to use a very large saucepan and very large bowl...the marshmallows really puff up!

2 cups (32 squares) chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted margarine
1 package large marshmallows
1 3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pints fresh strawberries, chopped
1 carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine crumbs and margarine; press into 9x13 pan. Melt marshmallows with milk over low heat until smooth. Cool mixture; whisk in vanilla. Fold in strawberries and whipped topping. Spread over crust. Refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving.

I want to make this again soon and try substituting mandarin oranges or raspberries for the strawberries just to see how it would be.

Lemon Slice-of-Heaven Cake

Okay, so this isn't one of my husband's favorites. He prefers something rich and chocolatey. but I made this over the weekend and it was so good that I just had to share it with you all.

3 lemons
1 c. butter, softened
3 c. flour
4 large eggs
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. buttermilk
2 c. sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees; grease and flour 12-cup bundt pan. Grate 2 tablespoons peel and squeeze 3 tablespoons juice from the 3 lemons. Mix together flour, salt and baking soda. In bowl, with mixer on low speed, blend sugar and butter. Beat on high for 3 minutes. Turn mixer back to low, beat in eggs, one at a time, add vanilla. Add flour mixture into sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. fold in lemon peel and juice. Pour into pan and bake for 60-70 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then invert onto rack.

2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
(4-oz.) cream cheese, softened
In bowl with mixer on low speed, blend sugar, butter and cream cheese. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Beat on high until fluffy. Spread on cake

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spicy Sloppy Joe's

1 to 1 & 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 sweet or yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
(**or tomato sauce, just reduce water to 1/2 c.)
1 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 hamburger buns, split

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the ground beef and onion for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Drain the fat and return to skillet.

Mix in tomato paste and warm water, stirring until paste is completely dissolved. Stir in garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add to cooked meat/onion mixture. Continue to heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until desired thickness is reached.

Copy Cat Winger's Chicken

1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. ketchup
2 tsp. + hot sauce
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. honey
Breaded chicken (homemade or frozen)

Combine all ingredients except the chicken in a small saucepan. Warm the sauce until bubbly and slightly thickened. Cook chicken according to directions, until breaded chicken is slightly crispy. Toss chicken in the sauce a few times. Put on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 more minutes. I like mine more crispy. Use the remaining sauce for dipping. You can use whatever chicken you have lying around, breaded or not. It is also fun to create a quesadilla with this chicken. It is delicious! I didn't have time to make this tonight, but you can dip it in a bleu cheese dip if you want.

Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce:

1/4 lb. bleu cheese, Roquefort, or Gorgonzola
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. wine vinegar
several dashes of hot sauce, to taste

In small bowl, mash the bleu cheese, leaving some small lumps. Whisk in the mayo until blended. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to blend well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Two Easy Appetizers

Sorry I didn't have this one for you at the get-together. I had them all printed and cut, but I forgot to bring them. You might have noticed that some of the bread was burnt on the edges; remember to keep an eye on them under the broiler!

Easy Cream Cheese Dip
Place an unwrapped brick of cream cheese on a plate and cover it with about ½ cup salsa; microwave for about 30 seconds until soft. Serve with crackers or chips for dipping.

Spicy Cheesy Bread
½ lb. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 4 oz. can of diced green chilies, drained
4 to 5 Tbl. Mayo
1 loaf french bread, sliced
Mix cheese, chilies, and mayo. Spread thinly on bread slices and place on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven about 2 minutes, or until bubbly.

Spinach Salad

3/4 C. white vinegar
3/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 T. grated onion
3/4 tsp. mustard powder
1 1/2 T. poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. oil
* combine all and let chill

1 red onion, sliced
1 head lettuce, chopped
3 bunches fresh spinach
3/4 lb. mushrooms
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 lb. grated swiss cheese
1 C. cottage cheese, add just before serving
* mix all salad ingredients adding dressing and cottage cheese just prior to serving.
*be sure to drain lettuce very well before putting in salad

Friday, April 11, 2008

Enchilada Sauce

This recipe makes about 6 cups of sauce. I usually freeze the extra sauce to use later.

1/4 lb. butter
6 Tbsp. chili powder
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
3/4 cup flour
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup boiling water
4 cup hot water

Melt butter; mix flour and chili powder and stir in melted butter. Add tomato sauce and bouillon cube; add hot water. Simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Stir now and then.

Homemade Tortillas (Corn)

4 cups masa harina (corn flour, Quaker and Maseca brands are the best)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups hot but not boiling water

Place the masa harina and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and mix with your hands to make a dough that comes together in a soft ball. Continue mixing and kneading until the dough is elastic enough to hold together without cracking, about 3 minutes. If using right away, divide the dough into 18 equal portions and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. If making ahead for later use, wrap the whole ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day and then divide.

To form the tortillas, place a portion of dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Press with a tortilla press or roll out with a rolling pin into a circle 6-7" in diameter. Use your fingers to smooth any raggedy edges. Continue with the remaining portions until the dough is used up.

To cook tortillas, heat a heavy skillet or griddle over high heat until it begins to smoke. Peel the plastic wrap off the tortilla and place the tortilla in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 30 seconds. Turn and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Turn again, and cook until the corn tortilla puffs a bit but is still pliable, not crisp, about 30 seconds more. Remove and continue until all the corn tortillas are cooked. Store in container with lid until ready to serve.

Homemade Tortillas (Flour)

3 cups flour (wheat, white,or oat)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup very warm water

Combine the flour, salt, and shortening in a large bowl, mix together until crumbly. Add water and mix until you can gather the dough into a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

To form the flour tortillas, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion between the palms of your hands to make a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each ball into an 8" circle. Layer the circles between sheets of plastic wrap as you go.

To cook the tortillas, heat a heavy skillet or griddle over high heat until it begins to smoke. Place a tortilla in the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Turn and cook on the other side until slightly puffed and speckled brown on the underside but still soft enough to fold, about 30 seconds. Remove and continue until all flour tortillas are cooked, stacking them as you go. Serve right away or cool, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spicy Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is by far Jake's favorite. We usually make our own tortillas and enchilada sauce. The homemade flavor they add to the dish is amazing....

2 cups cooked rice
1 tbsp. oil
2 chicken breasts
3 tbsp. chopped onion
1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes w/ green chilies, drained
1 14.5 oz. can enchilada sauce
1 fresh jalapeno, chopped
10 flour tortillas

Prepare rice. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking dish.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken, onion, garlic, and jalapeno in the skillet. Cook chicken, onion, and jalapeno until chicken is no longer pink. Shred the chicken.

In a large bowl combine the chicken mixture, cooked rice, diced tomatoes, 2/3 can of enchilada sauce, and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Spoon mixture evenly into the the tortillas. Wrap tortillas around mixture to form enchiladas, and arrange in prepared baking dish. Cover with remaining enchilada sauce, and top with remaining cheese.

Bake 15 minutes or until cheese and sauce are melted and bubbly.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jennifer vs. The Chicken

Okay girls. Indulge me. I have a story to tell...

When I was a freshmen in college, I got this crazy idea to buy a whole chicken because it was so much cheaper than anything else. (Just so you know, this was an abitious decision since all I ever cooked was oatmeal and quesadillas!) I put the poor little guy in a pot on the stove and boiled it. Not only did I burn my hands, I started a grease fire that my roommate had to put out and the chicken was dry and nasty. I swore I would never cook a whole chicken again.

Well, it's been six years. Today at the store, I saw whole chicken again...and again $0.98 per pound was too tempting to resist. So I bought one and brought it home. After searching the internet for tips and recipes, I mustered up my courage and opened the package. Now, I am not a fan of food that still looks like the animal it came from. Whole chickens are still a little too "cute" for my preferences. I comforted myself by saying in my head, "I'm grateful that this chicken gave it's life to feed my family." I also scraped out the "innards" all by myself, another big feat since I'm pregnant and my gross-out meter is off the charts. I even reached under the skin to rub the spices in. Gently I nestled that chicken on a bed of onions and set the crockpot on the front porch (because I hate how all our clothes and towels smell like onion when I use the crockpot in the house).

Three hours later I realized I had forgot to turn the crockpot on. Dang. But only a minor setback. Tonight, after putting Sadie to bed, I brought that pot in and...

SUCCESS!!! Store-bought rotisserie has nothing on this chicken. It is so moist it literally fell apart the moment I poked it. Each bite is culinary bliss! I can only dream up the possibilities...soups, casseroles, sandwiches. Ahh.... and the best part is I have 4 pounds of chicken cooked and ready to be eaten AND amazing homemade chicken stock to boot! Anyone who has wondered about those whole little chickens at the store, now is the time to face your fears, cook and conquer!!!

Whole Chicken--Conquered

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large roasting chicken (with pop-up timer if possible)
1 cup onion, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the spices. Remove any giblets from chicken and clean chicken. Rub spice mixture onto the chicken. Place in resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight (skip this step if in a hurry). When ready to cook, put chopped onion in bottom of crock pot. Add chicken. Cook on medium/low 4-7 hours, or until chicken is no longer pink.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Steak & Everything Sandwiches

I guess I'll once again get us started this month. Mike's absolute favorite meal is Ham and Funeral Potatoes, but most people I know already have a recipe they like for that, so I'm putting this instead. It runs a close second and is one of my top 5 favs as well. Later this month, I'll be putting his favorite desserts. :-)

Uncooked Beef sliced so thin it's falling apart
(I usually go to the meat department and buy a few steaks and have them
slice them for me. Just tell them to slice it so thin that it only has
one side. But you can slice it yourself as well. Just get a few lean
steaks (about one small steak per person) and slice across the grain. One
large flank steak is the best, but they are expensive as well)

Cream Cheese
Sliced Provolone Cheese
Chopped Green Peppers
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Onions
Salt and Pepper
Hoagie Rolls (The fresh ones you get in the Bakery Dept)

Cook the meat in a frying pan with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once browned, remove from pan and drain juices.

Make each sandwich to order. Put enough meat for one sandwich back in the frying pan. Top with 3-ish tablespoons of cream cheese, whatever veggies you want, and a slice of provolone. Cover with a lid and cook until cheeses are melted. With a spatula, mix until the cheeses and veggies are evenly spaced in the meat. Put in a hoagie (toasted if you would like) and serve immediately. Then move on to make the next person's sandwich.