Monday, October 19, 2009

Greek/Vinaigrette salad dressing

I found this recipe online for a Greek dressing, but of course I had to tweak it a bit to fit what I had on hand and/or to suit my tastes. It's darn right tasty. As follows is how I make it. I put everything in one of those salad dressing cruets and shake it up. If you've got a Mason jar, that'll work too.

1/2 olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons sugar (use one, then taste. If the acidity is still too high for your tastes/if it's too tart, add another teaspoon).

Stove Top One Dish Chicken

This is in the oven right now for dinner tonight. There are 2 methods, either in the oven or on the stove top, I'm going for in the oven tonight, but have made it both ways. Gonna have a can of wax beans and salad with it, with homemade Greek/vinaigrette dressing (recipe to follow in new post).

Stove Top One Dish Chicken
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 stick melted butter
1 pkg chicken flavored Stove Top
6 small bnls sknls chicken breast halves (1 1/2 lbs... I just use whatever pack of about 1 1/2 pounds I have on hand in the freezer, there are never 6 pieces in the packs I buy, but most are big enough that I slice them lengthwise in half to make thinner pieces)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup sour cream (I use reduced fat)

Mix hot water, butter, and stuffing mix. Cook chicken in nonstick skillet on med-hi 5 minutes each sideor til browned. Mix soup and sour cream; pour over chicken. Top with stuffing; cover. Cook on low 10 minutes or til chicken is done.
Oven method: Heat oven to 375. Prepare stuffing as directed. Place chicken in 13x9 baking dish. Mix soup and sour cream; pour over chicken. Top with stufing. Bake 35 minutes or til chicken is done.

Friday, October 9, 2009

WW Broccoli Cheese Soup

For a lighter broccoli cheese soup, give this one a try. It isn't as thick and rich as the previous broccoli cheese soup entry, but is just as good. Again, gotta have hot, fresh bread with it.

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion(s), minced
16 oz frozen chopped broccoli
29 oz canned chicken broth
4 oz Kraft Velveeta Light Reduced-Fat Pasteurized Processed Cheese Product, cut into cubes
1/2 cup fat-free skim milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cornstarch

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes, until soft. Add broccoli and broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer 3 minutes, until broccoli is tender.
Reduce heat to low, add cheese and stir until cheese melts; stir in milk and garlic powder.
Whisk together water and cornstarch. Add mixture to pan and simmer 2 minutes, until thick. Serve hot. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.

Velveeta Broccoli Soup

Very simple, very tasty. J has been asking me to make this again so I'm going to have to break down and make it soon, it just feels more like a strictly cold weather soup to me. It's really thick and rich, it really fills you up. I make a loaf of fresh, hot, homemade bread to go along with it to dunk in the soup. I've used the light velveeta in this as well as regular, both worked fine. I also add some garlic powder, I think that little hit of flavor really ties it all together, but I left the recipe listed as it was written. If you want a little extra flavor, just shake in some garlic powder while it's cooking, probably about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon. Start with 1/4, then taste, add more to your taste.

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. flour
2-1/2 cups milk
3/4 lb. (12 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut up
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, drained
1/8 tsp. pepper

MELT butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add flour; cook 1 minute or until bubbly, stirring constantly. STIR in milk. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 1 minute. ADD remaining ingredients. Cook until VELVEETA is melted and soup is heated through, stirring occasionally.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recipe tonight is for applesauce. Tonight's dinner will be shake 'n bake pork chops, homemade applesauce, can of green beans, and a box of Betty Crocker skillet hashbrowns. Applesauce is cooking right now and smells so good. I love how it makes the house smell like fall, even though it's like 86 outside. This is the doubled version of the recipe coz I like to make a bigger pot so we can have some leftovers. Here we go:

2 tbsp butter
6 apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (I use 3 granny smith and 3 braeburn, a little tart and a little sweet)
1 cup water
6 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (usually 1 1/2 to 2 lemons)
1/4 tsp salt

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add apples; cook about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water, sugar, lemon juice, and salt; cover and cook 30 minutes or til apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Mash gently with back of a spoon. Perfect with pork!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pepperonci slow cooker Roast and homemade dinner rolls

Meals are all pushed up a day...we were out and about Monday, and decided since it was getting late to just stop by and pick up some Chinese. So tonight was spaghetti (noodles that were already cooked and thawed from being in the freezer as leftovers, jar of sauce, and frozen garlic bread). Tuesdays always have to be easy nights, nothing too involved, coz it's Cub Scouts night. Tomorrow night is crock pot Pepperoncini Roast (recipe at the end of this post), carrots (not sure if I'm gonna steam them, or just throw them in the crock pot with the roast), rice, and homemade rolls (recipe also at end of post). This recipe kinda sounds gross, actually. I wasn't too sure about trying it, but my mother claimed it was very good and I should just suck it up and try it, so I did. And we love it. It's one of J's absolute favorite meals, he even requested I make it for his birthday one year. So regardless of the strange combination of ingredients, give it a shot, it's delicious. It gives your same old average roast with gravy a new little twist. It has a nice little bit of tangy, and a touch of spice. I actually use jarred sliced banana pepper rings instead of the whole pepperoncini peppers. I think they're a little sweeter so I figured it would work better for the kids, and it worked out well so that's how I always do it.

Pepperoncini Roast:

1 beef roast (any roast, about 3-4 lbs, and remember it's going in the slow cooker so a cheaper cut of meat will still cook up tender)
1/2 package Good Seasons Zesty Italian dressing mix
1 envelope Lipton onion mushroom soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 jar pepperoncini peppers, with 1/2 of the liquid (as I said, I use sliced banana peppers)

Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir. Place roast in slow cooker with gravy/sauce mix. Cook on low about 8 hours or low 4-5 hours.

Also, here is our favorite dinner roll recipe, that I'll be making along with the roast. This is for a bread machine.

Dinner Roll Dough:

1 room temperature egg plus enough slightly warm water (about 80 degrees F) to equal 3/4 cup PLUS 3 tbsp
2tbsp veg oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Place in bread machine in order recommended by manufacturer. Select dough cycle and press start. When finished, turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide into pieces and shape. Place in a greased baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place or 1 hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes or til done. Makes about 12-15 rolls.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meal Plan for the week of Oct 4-Oct 10

This is always subject to change, but I try to stick to the meal plan each week.

Sun Oct 4- whole roasted chicken, mushroom couscous (recipe has been posted, search for "side dishes" in search box to the side), roasted carrots, baby spinach salads, Hawaiian rolls
Mon Oct 5- spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Tues Oct 6- crock pot pepperoncini roast, rice, carrots, homemade rolls (recipes for roast and rolls to come in the next few days)
Wed Oct 7- veggie burgers on homemade buns (recipe posted for buns, I'll figure out how to link to one of my own posts later :P), boxed macaroni, steam in the bag frozen corn
Thurs Oct 8- pork chops, homemade applesauce, green beans, some kind of rice or potato dish, leftover homemade rolls
Fri Oct 9- Fridays are normally an open day. We sometimes watch a movie together as a family or play video games, so we sometimes do something fun like order pizza or chinese, or I make frozen or homemade pizzas. I don't know what we'll decide on this Friday yet.
Sat Oct 10- tacos, refried beans, mexi rice (recipe for rice to come)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

BBQ and Hoe Cakes

If you don't know what a hoe cake is, it's pretty much fried cornbread. This BBQ recipe makes A LOT, the recipe says 10-14 servings and it might even be more. I think we could get at least 4 meals out of it, but the leftovers are tasty so it only stretches to about 2-3, but even then it's a good deal. I like recipes like that, where it makes so much that you can eat it, and then freeze the rest for another time. And this one freezes very well. And the hoe cakes, well one day I decided I didn't want no stinking buns for my BBQ, that I wanted hoe cakes. Now it's J's favorite way to have BBQ.

Betty's Barbecue (I don't know who the hell Betty is, but she makes damn good BBQ!)
1 boneless beef rump roast (3-4 lbs)
1 pork tenderloin (1 lb)
2 cups water
1 envelope onion soup ix
1 garlic clove (minced)
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (your choice, but recipe calls for Kraft "Original" and that is what I always use, makes a nice simple flavor)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar

Place beef and pork in Dutch oven. Combine water, soup mix, and garlic; pour over meat. Cover and bake at 325F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or til meat is very tender. Remove meat and cool; use 2 forks to shred the meat. Skim fat from drippings; discard fat. Saute' celery in drippings til tender. Add barbecue sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar; bring to boil. Stir in shredded meat, heat through. Serve with buns or bread or.....Hoe Cakes, recipe below!

Hoe Cakes:
2 cups corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water
oil for frying
Boil water in microwave or on stovetop. In a large bowl combine the corn meal and salt. When the water boils, measure it in a metal or tempered-glass measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the cornmeal and stir it up. The cornmeal will swell up, absorbing the water, and making a very thick batter. Heat some oil in a large skillet over med-high heat, enough to coat bottom of pan good. Now scoop up a little of the cornmeal mush (about 1/4-cup) and shape it into a patty. It will still be warm from the boiling water, so be careful not to burn yourself. You can let it cool down some more first if you like. Plop the patty into the hot fat, and get it to frying. Make some more, until you have a whole pan full. When the underside is crispy brown, turn them and cook the other side. When both sides are crispy and brown, transfer them to a plate to keep warm, and start another batch. This recipe makes about 12 hoe cakes.

WW Tortellini-Tomato Soup

If you haven't figured out already, WW is weight watchers. This is my favorite soup EVER. So, so, SOOO good. It calls for a 9 ounce package refrigerated 3 cheese tortellini (cheese ravioli also works), but I buy a bigger package of the frozen stuff, coz J doesn't care much for the soup part so I just add in some extra tortellini for him. I love a big bowl with some crunchy, buttered French bread to dip in it. Yum. Can't wait for fall!

2 tsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14 oz each) fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 (9 oz) package refrigerated 3 cheese tortellini
1/4 cup (1 oz) preshredded fresh Parmesan cheese (don't use the grated stuff, if you don't shred it fresh yourself at least buy the shredded kind in a can, Kraft makes some in the refrigerated section)

Heat oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add onion; saute' 5 minutes or til tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add broth and next 5 ingredients. Bring to boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add tortellini; simmer, uncovered, 5-7 minutes or til pasta is tender ( frozen might take a few minutes longer, it floats when it's done). Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 servings (serving size 1 1/4 cups soup)

WW Rosemary-Feta Chicken with Cherry Tomato-Olive Sauce

This was one of the very first weight watchers recipes I tried. I absolutely love this recipe. It is definitely one of my all time favorites. I can't even describe how good this is. Just make it. Trust me.

1 (1.5 oz) slice hearty white bread (I just use a slice or 2 or 3, depending on the size of the slices, of whatever white bread I have on hand. )
1/4 cup (2 oz.) crumbled feta (I've used reduced fat with success)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (I'm pretty sure I've always used dried rosemary)
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, divided
1/4 tsp salt
4 (6 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 tsp olive oil
cooking spray
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/3 cup minced shallots (about 3 large)
1/3 cup fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
1 pint grape tomatoes (called cherry tomato-olive sauce, but calls for grape tomatoes in the recipe. Whatever)
Rosemary sprigs, optional

Preheat oven to 375F. Place bread in food processor; pulse 10 times or til coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, and rosemary in small bowl. Toss well; set aside. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp pepper and salt evenly over chicken. Heat oil in nostick skillet coated with cooking spray over med-high heat. Add chicken, cook 3-4 minutes on each side or til browned (it will continue cooking in the oven so don't cook it all the way through). Place chicken in an 11x7 baking dish; top evenly with breadcrumb mixture, pressing down slightly. Sprinkle olives, shallots, and tomatoes around the chicken, then pour the chicken broth around the chicken (not on top of the breadcrumbs). Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp pepper. Bake at 375F for 27 minutes or til chicken is done and breadcrumbs start to brown. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired. Yield: 4 servings

WW Chicken Piccata

Yes, another Weight Watchers recipe. I made this just the other night. I hadn't made it in quite some time, and GI Joe requested it, it's one of his favorites. The kids don't like the sauce, but that's ok, more for us! And I actually double the sauce ingredients, it's really yummy and we like to have enough to go over egg noodles with the chicken.

4 (6 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp minced shallots (I double this)
1/4 cup fat free reduced sodium chicken broth (I double this)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I double this)
1 tbsp capers (I double this)
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley, divided (I double this)

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2 inch thickness with meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Heat 1 1/2 tsp olive oilin large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add half of chicken; cook about 3 minutes each side or til done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Repeat with remaining olive oil and chicken, removing chicken when done. Add shallots to pan; saute' 1 minute or til tender. Add broth, lemon juice, and capers. Increase heat to high and cook 1 minute. Stir in 1 teaspoon parsley (I probably use a tablespoon or more). Spoon sauce evenly over chicken (we spoon it on ourselves on our plates, like I said the kids don't like it so I don't need the sauce on all of the chicken). Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon parsley. Yield: 4 servings.

Lipton's Onion Mushroom Meatloaf

I'm not the biggest fan of meatloaf. I'm very picky about my meatloaf. I don't like it to be topped with sauce (though I have to have ketchup on my plate to dip it in). I don't like green peppers in it. Actually, I pretty much only like this meatloaf. I actually love this meatloaf. Sometimes I make into a loaf and cook it in the oven as a normal meatloaf, but sometimes I shape it into patties instead and cook the patties in a skillet, that way every piece is like a crusty, yummy "end piece".

2 lbs. ground beef
1/3 cup ketchup
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I've used fresh and I've used the stuff from the grocery store, either way works)
1 envelope Lipton's onion mushroom soup mix.

Combine all in a large bowl, form into a loaf. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or til done. Or form into patties, heat up a skillet, spray skillet with cooking spray, and cook 'em up in the skillet.

Crustless Smoked Turkey and Spinach Quiche

I make this for dinner, it is very filling and rich, and it even heats up wonderfully. I actually think I have some of this turkey ham in the freezer, so I might have to make it again soon, all this food talk is makin' me hungry :P Oh, and this is a lower fat version of quiche, from a Cooking Light magazine I believe.

3/4 cup (4 oz.) cubed smoked turkey ham (such as Jennie-O)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk....some people get them confused)
3/4 cup shredded Swiss, divided
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat large nonstick skillet on med-high. Coat with cooking spray. Add ham, onion, and pepper; saute' 4 minutes or til ham is lightly browned. Sprinkle 1/4 cup swiss cheese in 9 inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Top with ham mixture. Combine remaining 1/2 cup swiss, spinach, eggs, egg whites, evaporated milk, cheddar, and cottage cheese in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level with knife. Combine flour with baking powder in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; add to egg mixture. Pour egg mixture over ham mixture. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or til knife inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 8 servings

Nanny's Chicken Casserole

I'm gonna share something that is near and dear to my heart. This is one of my great-grandmother's (I called her Nanny) recipes. For those that don't know me that well, my Nanny was very special to me. My mom was a teen mom, and we lived with my great-grandparents (along with my mom's brother) up until I was about 13, and at that time my mom and I just moved across the street to live with her boyfriend/fiance/now common-law husband or whatever, but growing up, there was always super yummy southern granny food on the table. A lot of these she never wrote down, so many have been lost as she got older and has since passed away (though I was very lucky to have her in my lfe until I was about 28). So the handful of her recipes that I have are very important to me, it's like preserving a special part of my past. This is by far my most favorite thing she ever made, next to her apple pie turnovers.
1 chicken (boiled and deboned. You can either boil it whole, adding enough water just to cover, or cut it in pieces and add enough water to cover. Either way, reserve the cooking liquid coz you can use it for the chicken broth that the recipe also calls for instead of canned)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (you can use canned or just strain the chicken cooking liquid coz hey, that's chicken broth!)
1 bag herb Pepperidge Farm dressing
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
1 stick butter

When chicken is done, remove from pot, reserving liquid if desired, and set aside to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove from bones (discard skin and bones or save them to boil up to make even more chicken broth) and shred into large but fairly bite sized pieces. Melt butter; pour over dressing in large bowl and let sit about 10 minutes. Layer dressing, chicken, 1 can soup, and 3/4 cup broth (if using the broth from the cooked chicken, be sure to strain through a fine strainer to remove any bits and pieces); repeat layers and sprinkle with remaining dressing on top. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes.

Hamburger buns

Recipe says it makes 12 large hamburger buns or 30 small dinner rolls. I get about 14-16 buns.

1 1/4 cups milk, slightly warmed ( I make it with powdered milk and hot water)
1 large beaten egg
2 tablespoons butter (I melt it)
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups bread flour (I use 2 cups bread flour, and 1 1/4 cups wheat flour)
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (I use bread machine yeast)

1. Place all ingredients in pan of bread machine according to manufacturer’s directions.
2. Select “Dough” setting.
3. When cycle is complete, turn out onto floured surface.
4. Cut dough in half and roll each half out to a 1 inch thick circle.
5. Cut each half into six 3 1/2 inch rounds with inverted glass as a cutter.
6. Place on greased baking sheet far apart and brush with melted butter.
7. Cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
8. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes.
9. Note: Oven temperatures vary so check after 9 minutes to see if done. These can take anywhere from 9 to 15 minutes (mine usually take about 12 minutes).

WW Mushroom Couscous

This is part of dinner tonight. Along with a whole roasted chicken seasoned with Tuscan chicken seasoning and a sliced lemon stuffed inside, sliced carrots roasted along with the chicken, salad, and Hawaiian rolls. Another weight watchers (WW) recipe. Mmmmm.

Butter cooking spray
4 cups fresh sliced mushrooms (about 3/4 pound)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 cup fat free, reduced sodium beef broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2/3 cup uncooked couscous

Heat a 4-quart saucepan over med-hi heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and next 3 ingredients; coat veggies with cooking spray. Saute' 2-3 minutes or til tender. Stir in broth, salt, and pepper; bring to boil. Stir in couscous and remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes; fluff with fork. Yield: 4 servings (serving size about 3/4 cup).

Low Fat Corn Casserole

You may know this as corn casserole or corn souffle. This is a lower fat version, may have been weight watchers but I can't remember, but tastes just like the full fat version. It's a favorite of the boys.

1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup melted butter
1 can no salt cream corn
1 can no salt whole kernel corn
1 pkg. corn muffin mix
1 (8 oz.) carton plain FF yogurt

Preheat oven to 350. Combine in a medium bowl; stir well. Pour into an 8 inch square baking dish coated with nonstick spray. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or til set. 8 servings.

Venison Stroganoff

Ok, ok, I know...... Bambi. I used to think of that every time I heard "deer meat" or "venison", but forget all that you ever heard about deer meat. If you get your hands on some (I've only made it with ground venison, not cubed), try it in this recipe. I promise you will never know it is deer meat. Hell, if you can't get deer meat, just use ground beef or cubed beef, it's a great stroganoff recipe.

1-2 pounds of trimmed and cubed or ground Venison
1 whole Onion
1 clove of crushed Garlic
2 cups of fresh Sliced mushrooms..or more if you'd like.
2 TBSP of Olive Oil
Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste (I use black pepper)
2 Cans of Golden Mushroom Soup
1 cup of sour Cream
Egg Noodles

Heat frying pan
Add your Olive Oil and let it come to heat.
Now, add your Venison, Garlic, Mushrooms and Onions and brown for about 2 minutes
Add your Mushroom soup and sour cream and stir thoroughly while adding salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a low boil.
Turn heat to low, and allow to simmer for at least 1/2 hour with a lid on. Stir ocassionally.
Boil Noodles and Strain.
Ladle your stroganoff over noodles and there you have it.

WW Shepherd's Pie

This is a weight watchers recipe. You'll probably end up seeing a lot of these, and trust me, just because it's "diet food" or "healthy food" does not mean it sucks! Quite the contray!! I have about 10-12 WW cookbooks, and have tried many, many recipes, and I am serious when I say that every single one has been absolutely delicious. I've used ground beef and ground lamb in this, the ground beef tastes just fine, but I'm a purist and I prefer ground lamb. It's personal preference, and price can definitely make a difference sometimes on whether or not I buy beef or lamb.

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 lbs ground round or lamb
2 cups frozen mix veg (I don't like frozen mixed veggies. I just use a couple of handfuls of frozen peas and dice up a few fresh carrots to equal about 2 cups)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (14 oz) can Fat Free Reduced Sodium beef broth
2 tbsp AP flour
1 (20 oz) pkg refrig mashed potatoes (such as simply potatoes, or make your own)

Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in large skillet on med-hi. Add onion and carrots, saute 5 minutes. Add meat, cook til done, then drain. Returnto skillet. Add peas, tomato paste, salt, and pepper, cook on medium 5 minutes or til veg are hot, stirring frequently. Combine broth and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add broth mixture, bring to boil, and cook 3 minutes or til thick, stiring constantly. Spoon into an 11x8 baking dish. Spread potatoes on top, sprinkle with cheddar (ok, this isn't in the ingredient list, but I gotta have cheese on my shepherd's pie!) . Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or til browned.

Marinara Magnifica

This is delicious. It works for any pasta dish, and is even great on pizza.

2 tbsp. olive oil
6 cups chopped onion (about 3 medium)
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 crushed garlc cloves
2 (28 oz. each) cans crushed tomatoes (do not drain)
2 (14.5 oz. each) cans diced toatoes (do not drain)
2 (6 oz. each) cans tomato paste

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sugar. Cook 30 minutes or til golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in wine and cook 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Makes 9 cups.

Boboli style Pizza Crust

1 cup water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons Red Star active dry yeast I have a jar of bread machine yeast, so I just used 2 tsps of that)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
parmesan cheese to sprinkle

Add all ingredients (except second parmesan cheese) to breadmaker in order listed by your manufacturer. It is a good idea to put the garlic down inside the flour so it does not slow the yeast. Set breadmaker on dough setting. When complete, form two crusts on pizza pans, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, cover and let rise again (about 1 hour). Bake 5-10 minutes at about 450 F until light brown (mine usually go about 7-8 minutes). Let cool slightly, then top with your favorite pizza toppings, then bake an additional 10-20 minutes at 425 depending on how much you want your cheese to brown.

Slow Cooker Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

This is the best chicken noodle soup I've ever had. It makes enough for 2 meals for us plus leftovers. While it cooks, bake up a loaf of bread to dip in the soup!

2- 2 1/2 lbs. chicken parts, skinned if desired
6 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
6 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 ribs celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
14 1/2 oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained, cut up
1 1/2 tbsp. instant chicken bouillon
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup uncooked fine egg noodles

Cook on Lo 8-10 hours
Cook on Hi 5-6 hours

Combine all ingredients, except noodles, in slow cooker. Cover and cook at desired heat setting for time given or til chicken and vegetables are tender. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool slightly. Set control to Hi and add noodles, stirring to combine. Cover and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, remove chicken from bones and cut into bite sized pieces. Return meat to cooking pot and cook til noodles are tender.
Serves 6-8