Asian Cabbage Salad

Next to my broccoli salad, this is probably my second signature salad.  I’ve been making it for at least 4 years and people always ask me for the recipe.  It is so bright and refreshing.  The vinegar in the dressing is sharp and perfectly balanced with the sugar.  And the black pepper may seem like an insignificant thing, but it really comes through in the aftertaste.  Total perfection!

I’ve found that it is best to make this right before serving.  Or at the very least, keep the dressing separate until just before serving.  A lot of times I will just keep the dressing on the side for people to add their own.  That way, if there are any leftovers they won’t get soggy.  The dressing will separate as it sits, so shake or stir before serving.

Add cooked chicken or shrimp for a complete meal.  Enjoy!

Asian Cabbage Salad

{source:  Healthy Recipes cookbook from State Farm Insurance Agents}

Ingredients

1 large head of Napa Cabbage, shredded {I’ve substituted lettuce before}

4-5 carrots, shredded {I almost always skip these}

3-6 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted

1/4 cup sesame seeds or to taste, toasted

2 packages dry ramen noodles, broken up and seasoning pack discarded {I’ve gotten by using just one package before.}

Dressing:

1 cup salad oil {light olive, canola, etc}

4 T. sugar

4 T. seasoned rice vinegar

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp salt

Directions:

Chop up the cabbage so that it resembles ribbons and throw it in a large serving bowl.  Slice the onions and shred the carrots (if using) and add them to the bowl.  Crush up the ramen and add to the bowl {remember to discard the seasoning pack or save it for another use}.  Add the almonds and seeds too and then toss it all together.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a container that can be shaken.  Test the seasoning and sweetness of the dressing on a leaf of cabbage before serving and adjust as needed.

Oven Fries

Oven fries and I have not always gotten along in the past.  They never turn out quite as crispy as I hope, a few always stick to the pan, and they take a long time to slice and bake.  And yet, I keep making them.  And when I do, I can never keep my hands off them.  These were particularly delicious though.  They got nice and golden brown and the seasoning was perfect!  And no matter what, they are always better than fried fast food french fries!

Oven Fries

{Source:  adapted from PW‘s tasty kitchen}

3-4 large potatoes

1 T. canola oil

1 T. or more seasoning {Cajun, Lawry’s, etc…}

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spray with Pam.

Slice potatoes into fries. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Pour about 1 tablespoon of oil over the fries and toss with fingers to coat evenly. Sprinkle fries with seasoning of choice. I used cajun seasoning.  Place in the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour or until golden and crispy.  Shake/flip the fries 3 or 4 times during the cooking process.

Menu 3-28-10

I’ve fallen off the menu planning wagon.  I’m giving it a try again this week, but don’t be surprised if I don’t keep up with it.

With warmer weather, we are likely to grill out often and usually that’s decided at a moments notice.  So, I’ll be even more unstructured with my meals/menus throughout the spring and summer.  Maybe we’ll go back to menu planning later on, and I’ll start posting them again.  But, there is talk of the hubs changing shifts again at work, so sure as the world, when I get one routine down, it will change!

Meals:

sloppy joes served with mac and cheese

supreme nachos

chef salads

soup {I’m thinking something like beef and noodle or vegetable beef}

tuna casserole

stuffed chicken breasts with broccoli

leftovers

Italian Beef

There’s not a lot to say about an Italian Beef sandwich, other than they are delicious! I used my crock pot for this and it was super easy.  I even put the roast in partially frozen and it worked out great.  The only downfall to putting it in frozen is that I wasn’t able to trim off the fat, which contributed to slightly greasy drippings later.

I was home all day, so I was able to change the crock pot temp after 2 hours.  Had it been a work day, I would have started the crock pot on low from the beginning.  I have heard that they make programmable crock pots, so if you are going to be away from home you can have the temp change automatically as programmed.  I don’t have one of those nifty types of crock pots though.

I served these with oven fries and Asian cabbage salad.  Posts on each coming soon!

 

Italian Beef

{adapted from PW}

Ingredients
  • 1 whole Beef Chuck Roast, 2.5 To 4 Pounds
  • 1 can Beef Consomme Or Beef Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cups Water
  • ½ jar (16 Oz) Pepperoncini Peppers, With Juice {I used about 1/4 jar because that was all I had}
  • I added 2 small cloves of peeled smashed garlic
  • Buttered, Toasted Deli Rolls {I used hamburger buns because I’m fancy}
Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in large crock pot. Stir lightly to combine seasoning with the liquid.

Cover and turn heat to high for a few hours and then turn to low for about 5-6 hours or until done and fork-tender and falling apart.

With two forks, completely shred all meat, leaving no large chunks behind. Serve immediately, or keep warm.

Serve on buttered, toasted rolls. Top with cheese and melt under the broiler if desired {we skipped the chese for once!}.  Serve with juices from the pot.  {After trying it, I thought the juices were a little to greasy this time, so we ended up not using them.}

May make the day before, then store in the refrigerator. Remove the hardened fat from the top before reheating.

Chicken Enchiladas

I think I have finally mastered chicken enchiladas!  This recipe is just the way I like them.  Other recipes that I have made in the past have turned out so soggy and drowning in sauce.  These on the other hand, are just right.  A little crispy on the outside and creamy inside.  Delicious!

I was winging it and basically cut the recipe shown below in half.  My notes/changes are in italics.

I served the enchiladas with a side of yellow rice.  Enjoy!

Chicken Enchiladas

{adapted from Annie’s Eats}

Ingredients:

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz. reduced fat sour cream
8 oz. Ranch salad dressing
flour tortillas (10-15)
1 jar of salsa
4 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Directions:

Cook chicken breasts by preferred cooking method until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit.  {I cooked 2 chicken breasts in the crock pot with 1/2 jar of salsa until done.  It was about 4-5 hours on high.}

While chicken is cooling, mix up the sauce. In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the sour cream and half of the Ranch dressing. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sour cream and Ranch dressing. Stir both until well combined. Shred or chop the cooked chicken and add to the large mixing bowl. Mix well with sauce.  {I combined the shredded salsa chicken with 4 oz of sour cream and 4 oz of ranch dressing in a large bowl.}

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan (and possibly another, smaller pan if needed and if making the full recipe). Take one tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp of the sauce from the small bowl. Spread over the tortilla in an even layer. Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla. Top with salsa to taste. {My filling was already combined, so I just added a few tablespoons to each tortilla, added shredded cheese and rolled it up.} Sprinkle with a little shredded cheese, to taste. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Top all the enchiladas with more shredded cheese.   I also added the remaining 1/2 jar of salsa to the topping. Usually makes 10-15 enchiladas {I think I got 8 enchiladas by halving the recipe}.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (30 for a crispier tortilla). Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Who doesn’t love the peanut butter and chocolate combo?!  I know the hubs and I do!  Maybe even a little too much around this time of year when the PB and chocolate Easter treats are out.  I must buy at least one package of the Reese’s eggs every year.  But in addition to that package this year, I went ahead and made these cupcakes since we were really in the mood for some peanut butter and chocolate!

The only changes I made were related to the frosting.  I didn’t have any frozen whipped topping on hand, so I added a few tablespoons of milk.  I also added more powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, and about a teaspoon of vanilla extract too.

Overall, they were pretty good.   I definitely loved the frosting and really liked the concept of a filled cupcake.  However, I was a little disappointing that the cake part was a tad dry.  I reread the directions over and over, and I don’t think I did anything wrong.  But after I finished mixing the cake batter, it seemed really thick.  I don’t know if that contributed to the dryness?  So in the future, I’ll use another chocolate cake recipe and use this filling and frosting with it.

Have a glass of milk nearby!

PS – I love these cupcake liners!  They are greaseproof and the colors stay solid after baking.  It used to be a pet peeve of mine that beautiful designs on cupcake and muffin liners would disappear after baking.  Not anymore!  I found these at HomeGoods. 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

{Source:  Pennies on a Platter}

For the filling:
1 cup powdered sugar {or more}
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 T. milk

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two cupcake pans with liners.

For the filling, mix the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium speed until fully combined.  {I probably should have used a little more powdered sugar for a stiffer mixture.  You want them to be similar to buckeyes.  I had already started rolling them when I realized it though so I just continued with the softer mixture.} With your hands, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, creating at least 24 count.  Set aside on wax paper or a baking sheet. {I had a few extras.}

For the cake, stir together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl.   In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beating one at a time, mix in the eggs.  Scrape down the bowl.  Mixing at low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Spoon or pipe a tablespoon or two of the batter into each cupcake liner. Drop a peanut butter ball into each cupcake well and top with the remaining cake batter. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until passes toothpick test. Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.  Using the paddle attachment of the electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla, and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly mix in the powdered sugar. Blend until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped topping until fluffy.  Add the milk to achieve desired consistancy.  I tasted the frosting at this point and wanted it to be a little sweeter, so I added another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Ravioli Casserole

Sorry for my absence.  I really haven’t made anything blog worthy in over 2 weeks.   I haven’t stuck to my menu in over a month and overall just haven’t been in the mood to cook anything new lately.

However, I did make this casserole a few nights ago and it was excellent so I thought I’d share.  I used meat sauce and beef ravioli, but if you’re Catholic and looking for meatless meals for the remaining Fridays during Lent, this would be an excellent meal if you use meatless sauce and cheese ravioli.  It is very filling so you won’t even miss the meat.

Sorry no picture though, just imagine lasagna and that’s what it looks like!

Ravioli Casserole

{source:  given to me by one of Tim’s aunts at my bridal shower}

Ingredients

1 jar {28 oz} spaghetti sauce {I used about 4 cups of my homemade meat sauce}

1 package any flavor {25 oz} frozen ravioli, cooked and drained

2 cups small curd cottage cheese {or ricotta cheese}

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 baking dish.  Layer with half of the prepared ravioli, 1-1/4 cup sauce, 1 cup cottage cheese, and 2 cups mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Yields 6 servings.

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