Sausage and Potato Skillet

This is a quick dish that I know I can turn to after a hectic day because it takes very little thought and hits the table in a jiffy.  It is also made with pantry staples, so its great for times when I haven’t been able to menu plan or prep for the week.

Sausage and Potato Skillet

4 small red potatoes, cubed

3 tablespoons water

1 pound smoked kielbasa, cut into slices

1 small onion, coarsly chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped or sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

5 or 6 strips of bacon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp ground dried thyme

lots of cracked black pepper

Place the cubed potatoes and water in a dish.  Cover tightly and microwave about 5 minutes on high or until tender.  Check and stir halfway thru.  Drain off water once they are done.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove to a paper towel and then crumble.  Drain the fat from the skillet.

Add to the skillet the kielbasa, onion, pepper, and garlic.  Saute until onion is tender, then add the potatoes and saute another 3 minutes or until potatoes are slightly browned.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Then add it to the skillet.  Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered 3-5 minutes or until heated thru.  Top with the crumbled bacon and serve.

Pesto

Finally!  I found one lonely package of basil at the store.   I guess I have never tried to buy basil at the store before {especially in the winter} because I grow my own in the summer.  It is one of the few herbs I can successfully grow in my garden!

Anywho, I was finally able to make a batch of pesto that I have been craving for a few weeks!  I love to use pesto to just simply coat some pasta for a vegetarian meal as I am showing here {gnocchi}.  You can add grilled chicken breasts to the pasta if you chose, but it is definitely wonderful without.  Pizza sauce is another great use for pesto.  And also, the pasta with pesto is great hot or cold.  Enjoy!

Pesto

1 slightly packed cup of basil leaves

2 peeled garlic cloves

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 – 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt and a lot of black pepper

1/3 cup EVOO

Process the garlic, nuts, and basil in a food processor to make a paste.  Add the cheese and s&p and process some more.  Then stream in the EVOO while the processor is on.  Taste and adjust as needed with more s&p if needed.

If using as a pasta sauce, reserve some of the pasta’s cooking water to add as needed when mixing the pasta with the pesto.  It just makes for a smoother and evenly coated pasta dish.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I bet all wives have at least one thing that their husband requests they make that is just like their mom made (or their grandma, or whoever).  The husband will sometimes even get a copy of the recipe so that all the wife has to do it make it.  But, for whatever reason it still doesn’t turn out just right.

These cookies are that recipe in my world.  Tim’s grandma made these cookie and so there is no other chocolate chip cookie that can stand up to them.  To Tim, they are the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.  To me, oatmeal cookies have raisins in them, not chocolate.  But whatever, I’ll try to make them just as well.

And after each attempt (and fail), Tim says something like “did you mix them by hand or with the KitchenAid?  Grandma always mixed them by hand.”  Of course I used my mixer, its 2010!!  Or he’ll say, “did you remember the dash of cinnamon?”  Um, no that’s not written on the recipe card!  Or “did you use the right kind of oats?”  ???!!!  Frustrating!!

So, even though they never are just right for Tim, they are still pretty dang good!  They puff up in the oven, but flatten a lot as they cool, ending up a little crispy on the edges, and a little chewy in the center.  Very tasty even though they piss me off!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is exactly how the recipe reads:

1 cup shortening {I’ve used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup Crisco before and all butter without much difference}

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, unbeaten

1 tsp hot water after eggs {huh?}

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups oats

1 package chocolate chips

Mix into cookie dough.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until brown.

Menu 2-21-10

Meals:

Meatloaf

Breakfast for Dinner

Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers {seen here}

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Leftovers

Fish on Friday

Chili Lime Cashew & Carrot Soup {seen here}

Things I want to bake:

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Enchilada Casserole

This is a really versatile dish inspired from a Pillsbury recipe booklet from the grocery check out lane.  You could use cooked chicken, beef, or pork.  I thought about adding beans and  I omitted the green onion and tomato topping.  This was a great and fast meal to whip up.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cut-up cooked chicken {I used 2 cups of ground beef that I cooked with onions and peppers}
   
1/2 cup salsa
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups coarsely broken tortilla chips
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)
1 cup shredded Cheddar

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix cooked meat, salsa, enchilada sauce and corn.
2. Place tortilla chips in lightly greased 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish. Top with meat mixture. Sprinkle with onions, tomato and cheese.
3. Bake 30-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. If desired, arrange additional tortilla chips around edge of dish.
 
   

Pizza Pasta Bake

This is a homemade version of a meal I prepared all the time while I was in college.  The meal I made at that time, came in a box and you just boiled the pasta, then stirred in the meat sauce, sprinkled on cheese from a packet and baked it. {*cough*Banquet Homestyle Bakes*cough*} I thought it was fantastic at the time and it easily served myself and my 3 roommates.  But looking back now, I’m sure it was full of preservatives and other “fake” ingredients.

So with this homemade version, I still get to take a trip down memory lane to my college days, but I feel better knowing what ingredients go into the meal.

Pizza Pasta Bake

Ingredients

1/2 pound ground beef {or ground sausage or turkey}

1/2 package of turkey pepperoni, coarsely chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

dash of red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1 cup tomato sauce {homemade sauce recipe found here}

2 Tbsp water

approx 1 heaping cup dry short pasta such as elbow macaroni {Sorry measurement is vague, but I just used 3 handfuls of macaroni – just call me Rachel Ray I guess!}

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a baking dish and set aside.

Boil water and cook pasta.

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large skillet with the onion and peppers.   Cook until beef is no longer pink, then drain.  Return to skillet {off heat} and stir in the pepperoni, seasonings, 2 Tbsp cheese, tomato sauce, water, and cooked pasta.  Stir everything together and spread into prepared baking dish.  Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serves 4

Menu 2-15-09

Meals:

I really want to make some freezer meals this week, so I’ll be preparing half for us to eat that night and freezing the rest.  My freezer is practically empty right now, so it is definitely time!

Lasagna

Chili

Meatloaf

Jambalaya (will this freeze well?)

Baked Pasta with Hot Italian Sausage

Soup of some kind

Leftovers

Baking:

Scones

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