Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Cream Mashed Potatoes

This recipe came from my Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook.

PW's Creamy Mashed Potatoes pg. 146

5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
12 tablespoons Butter
1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half (I used Heavy Cream because that's all I had on hand)
1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

 Preparation Instructions

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper.

 Note: I made half of this recipe. Let's face it, 5 pounds of potatoes is ALOT of potatoes for two people! I also used Heavy Cream instead of half and half because that's what I had on hand. These mashed potatoes were delicious! I made them to go along with PW's Perfect Pot Roast! (recipe coming next week!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chicken and Black Bean Soup - Crockpot

Chicken and Black Bean Soup - 

The recipe came from this blog, the recipe doesn't have a name so I created one! You can click on the link and see her blog post.

Bag of frozen chicken (a bag of frozen chicken is about 3 lbs. this is alot for two people so I only used half a bag)
1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese
1 can black beans (I had accidentally opened black beans instead of black olives the night before that is why they are in the container)
1 can corn
1 can rotel

Add Chicken then cream cheese.

Drain, rinse, and add black beans. 

Drain and add corn.

Add Rotel. Cook 6-8 hours stirring every few hours.

Somehow I managed not to get a picture of the final product but here is one about half way into the cooking after I stirred it.

On the original post she suggests serving it over rice but I am much more a soup fan so I served it with Frito's. If you don't eat this with Frito's you might want to add a little salt to it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Stuffed Shells - from Cook Yourself Thin

This recipe is from the Cook Yourself Thin cookbook. It has some great recipes that are healthy yet delicious meals.


Stuffed Shells (according to the book it makes 10 servings and a serving contains 331 calories)

The Players

12 ounces (1 box) Jumbo pasta shells (Approximately 40 shells)

For the tomato sauce:
1 (28-ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes in juice
1 (14-ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes in juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 sprigs fresh basil

For the stuffing:
1-pound bag baby spinach
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin
2 scallions, chopped *didn't use in ours
2 cups (16 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat, part skim mozzarella cheese
1 thin slice ham, chopped *didn't use for ours, made it a meatless meal
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch grated nutmeg *didn't use... Do you know how hard it is to find whole nutmeg!

Cooling Shells
 For the shells, spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray. (I used foil to cover the pan then sprayed the foil... less dishes later!). Put shells in boiling salted water. Partially cook, 6-7 minutes, until slightly tender but still firm. Drain, spread on baking sheet in single layer, allow to cool.
Tomatoes in the blender
The recipe in the cookbook says to make the sauce, then the stuffing in the same pan but I decided to work on them at the same time since the sauce had to simmer 20+ minutes.
For the sauce, mash tomatoes in a bowl or blender/food processor. 
Red Onion and garlic
Heat oil in pan on med-low heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
Saute Onions and Garlic
 Cover, reduce heat to very low and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Onions and garlic turning a beautiful done color

Add tomatoes with juice, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. (I did this on medium low heat.)

Tomatoes, basil, and salt added to the garlic and onions
 Then simmer very gently (I did it on lowest heat), partially covered, until thick, about 20 minutes. season with 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.

Spinach and Salt

Add spinach and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a skillet. Cook over medium heat, covered, stirring until wilted, 5-6 minutes. Drain, cool, squeeze out liquid, chop, and set in bowl.

Mandolin helped slice the zucchini thin

 Cut zucchini in half length wise and slice thin. To help with slicing thin, I used a mandolin.

Saute in olive oil
 Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown. Add scallions and saute another minute.
Parsley, Spinach, & Zucchini

Add zucchini to bowl with spinach and parsley.

All mixed up
 Mix zucchini, spinach, parsley, ricotta, ham, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Assembly Line time
Place a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of 2 9x13 pans. Fill the cooked shells with cheese mixture.
It makes ALOT
 Arrange shells side by side in a single layer.
Stuffed Shells
 Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells.
Add Sauce
 Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Top with Cheese
 Cover with foil and bake until filling is heated and cheese is melted. 25-30 minutes.
All done
 Doesn't that look delicious!
Melted Cheese
 Verdict: I would add a little bit more salt. Since I didn't use the ham I think it was missing a little salt. But other than that is was wonderful!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Instant Oatmeal in large volumes is not so cheap so I did a little searching, tried a few recipes, and combined ideas to get the perfect mix.

The players
The players -
1/2 cup Instant (Quick) Oats
2 tsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp powdered milk
sprinkle of cinnamon
Snack size bags (I made several at once, keep the bags, then reuse)
 I make several bags at one time.... Its simple really...
Add oats....

Add brown sugar.... and powdered milk


Sprinkle on some cinnamon... More or less depending on taste preference...
Zip up and you are done... I did the math once and it is something like 3 times as much for the same price... Or something like that... Way cheaper!