Monday, May 21, 2012

Garlic Parmesan Mashers

I have several yummy recipes for mashed potatoes. This particular one is probably the easiest.

Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 Tbsp butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

1) Place peeled and cubed potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water.
2) Place pot on stove top over high heat and bring to boil.
3) Once water is boiling, cook for 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
4) Drain and transfer potatoes to large bowl; mash with a potato masher.
5) Add butter, Parmesan, garlic, milk, salt and pepper and stir well.
6) If potatoes are too thick, slowly add more milk until desired consistency.

***Shown with gravy from Ranch House Pork Chops.***

Ranch House Pork Chops

I'm sticking with my trend on this one; a) it uses the Crock Pot, and b) it's a very-few-ingredients recipe.  I'm not going to lie, I've never been a big fan of pork chops, but this was fantastic.  The hubby literally cleaned his plate; the gravy is so good that he got a piece of bread and soaked up the rest of his gravy. I served this with Garlic-Parmesan Mashers which I will provide a recipe for in my next post.

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops
(Recipe from Chef in Training)

3-6 pork chops
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup

I know what you're thinking..."what else?" Nope, that's IT!!

1) Place pork chops in Crock Pot.
2) Pour Ranch dressing mix and chicken soup over pork chops.
3) Cook on low for 6 hours.

That's all, folks! I know, right?

Avett Brothers- "Pretty Girl from Matthews"
Avett Brothers- "Slight Figure of Speech"
Avett Brothers- "Will You Return?"

Chicken and Stuffing

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product, I guess because I was so excited to eat it.  The whole house smelled like Thanksgiving all day, can you blame me?? Anyway, this is another recipe that uses my favorite appliance in the world, the Crock Pot. AND, what makes it even better, it only takes 4 ingredients! I've been on a very-few-ingredients kick lately; with the weather being as amazing as it has been lately, I just want to be outside. Not inside cooking and doing other house-wifey things. If you're a sun-bunny like me, you'll love this. Less time in the kitchen = more time by the pool :)

Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing
(Recipe from The Pursuit of Happiness)

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 box Stove Top stuffing mix (The sell a variety of flavors, I used the chicken mix)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup

1) Place chicken in the crock pot.
2) Pour Stove Top over chicken.

3) In a bowl, combine sour cream, chicken soup, and 1/4 cup water; mix until smooth.

4) Pour mixture over chicken and stuffing.
5) Cook on low for 4 hours.
6) Fluff before serving

For a side, I poured a can of whole green beans in a small sauce pan, added some dry onion soup mix, and let it sit on the stove on medium-low for about 20 minutes.

Iron & Wine- "Such Great Heights"
Cat Power- "Sea of Love"
Adele- "Lovesong"

Friday, May 18, 2012

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Pasta

I've made this before, but with a few tweaks, this has become one of our favorite dinners.  It's super easy, only 5 ingredients, and you literally just throw it together in the Crock Pot and forget about it until dinner time.  I recommend you make this asap!

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Pasta
(Adapted from Stick a Fork in It)

2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg dry Italian dressing (I used Good Seasons)
1/2 bag pasta (I used penne noodles but anything would work)

1) Place chicken (frozen is fine) in the Crock Pot.
2) In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, and Italian dressing.
3) Pour mixture on top of chicken.
4) Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
5) Shred chicken with two forks and give the Crock Pot a good stir.
6) In the meantime, cook pasta as directed in salted water, drain and rinse.
7) Turn off Crock Pot before serving and stir in pasta.

I set out a "salad bar" to go along with this dish and it was a hit; in separate bowls, set out lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, sliced egg, black olives, croutons, a variety of dressings, etc.

"Blown Away" - Carrie Underwood
"Last Name" - Carrie Underwood
"Undo It" - Carrie Underwood

Yesterday, I won tickets on the radio to see Carrie here in OKC in October!!! I've been celebrating by rocking out to her entire discography :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Slow Cooked Mac 'n Cheese

I took this to out friends' cookout along with my pasta salad.  I have another mac 'n cheese recipe that takes more ingredients, more time, and isn't as good.  This recipe is so simple (you make it in the Crock Pot for crying out loud) and chanced are you already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen.  The original recipe says it serves 4 people but I'm gonna have to say it's more like 6-8. 

Slow Cooked Mac 'n Cheese
(Recipe from A Whisk and a Prayer)

1 1/2 cups 1% milk
1 12-oz can fat free evaporated milk (even if you're not going for healthier, I still recomment FF; regular will most likely curdle)
1/2 stick butter, melted
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I used a 6 cheese Italian blend; the recipe calls for Italian fontina)
1/2 lb penne pasta, cooked and drained
black pepper to taste
Paprika to taste (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp dried bread crumbs
1 Tbsp EVOO

1) Grease inside of slow cooker.
2) Combine milk, evaporated milk, eggs, butter and salt in slow cooker and whisk until smooth.
3) Add the shredded cheese (not the Parmesan) and cooked pasta.
4) Sprinkle with black pepper and Paprika to taste and stir gently with a spatula.
5) Sprinkle Parmesan on top.
6) Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
7) Reduce temperature to LOW and cook for 2-2 1/2 hours.
8) Saute bread crumbs in EVOO and sprinkle on top right before serving.

I transferred the mac 'n cheese into a casserole dish and THEN topped with the bread crumbs.  Made it a little fancier and easier to transport in the car.

"The Funeral" by Band of Horses
"The Ballad of Love and Hate" by Avett Brothers
"Displaced" by Azure Ray

Pasta Salad

Our friends had us over for a BBQ the other night and I wanted to make some pasta salad.  I browsed through Pinterest but couldn't find a recipe that hit the spot.  So, I pinned a few that looked pretty good and combined the best parts of each.  And then I topped it with feta cheese because, let's be honest, what wouldn't be better with feta cheese?  So here's the hybrid I came up with and it was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Pasta Salad

1/2 pkg bowtie pasta, cooked and drained
1 lb fresh broccoli florets
8 slices cooked bacon
1 small can black olives, pitted and sliced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt

1) Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain.
2) Separate broccoli florets into smaller pieces.
3) Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, red wine vinegar, and salt.
4) Add broccoli, hot pasta, and black olives to mayo mixture; gently stir to coat.
5) Cover and chill for 2-3 hours.
6) Crumble and stir in bacon before serving.

***You could also use red grapes and/or apples instead of black olives***

"Where Do My Bluebird Fly?" by The Tallest Man on Earth
"Wide Eyes" by Local Natives
"Stubborn Love" by The Lumineers

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Craft #1- Map to My Heart

I saw these for sale on Etsy, and instead of dishing out the $60+ the seller was asking for, I decided to make one myself.

The first heart is a map of Springfield, MO and says "we met," the second is of Farmington, MO and says, "we married," and the third heart is a map of Oklahoma City, OK and says, "we live."

This was so easy, y'all. The maps I got for free at a MO truck stop and a toll booth in OK. The backing is just cheap ol' matte art paper from Hobby Lobby and the tags are from thick resume paper. The frame is thrifted and stained but Hobby Lobby usually has their frames half off if you want to save some time. Make a heart out of regular paper to use as a stencil so all 3 hearts are the same size. Iron the maps to get rid of the creases. I used scrapbooking adhesive dots on the back of the hearts so they laid flush to the matte paper. Glue will warp the maps!

I think that about covers it. The most expensive thing I bought for this was the stain!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nacho Chicken Casserole

This is another delicious recipe I got from my mom. I'm usually not a fan of recipes that use odd ingredients such as crushed up chips or crackers but this is an exception. This is SO GOOD, y'all. I use more cheese than what the recipe calls for but you use whatever your little hearts desire. We have a substantial amount left after dinner tonight and I can't wait to heat it up for lunch tomorrow!

Nacho Chicken Casserole (or, as I call it, Mexican Casserole)

1 cup chicken, cooked and cubed
1 small bag Nacho Cheese Doritos chips, crushed (convenient store sized)
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
sliced fresh mushrooms
8 oz sour cream
2 Tbsp milk
1 small can chopped green chilies
1/2 tsp minced jalapenos (I use more like 1 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1) In a bowl, combine first 8 ingredients.
2) Combine cheeses in a smaller bowl; stir half into the chicken mixture.
3) Transfer mixture to greased casserole dish.
4) Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
5) Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

"Ho Hey" - The Lumineers
"Flowers in Your Hair" - The Lumineers
"Lost in My Mind" - The Head and The Heart

Baked Spaghetti

I made this about a month or so ago and it went over really well.  I probably should have halved the recipe but the leftovers were fantastic for lunch for the following couple of days. 

Baked Spaghetti

1 (16 oz) pkg spaghetti
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (24 oz) jar traditional spaghetti sauce
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 Tbsp butter, melted
16 oz cottage cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1) Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
2) In large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
3) Stir in spaghetti sauce and seasoned salt; set aside.
4) In large bowl, whisk eggs, Parmesan cheese and butter.
5) Drain spaghetti; add to egg mixture and toss to coat.
6) Place half of spaghetti mixture in greased baking dish.
7) Top with half of the cottage cheese, meat sauce and mozzarella.
8) Repeat 6 and 7.
9) Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
10) Uncover and bake another 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

"The Funeral" - Band of Horses
"Poison & Wine" - The Civil Wars
"Flume" - Bon Iver

Mom's Tuna Casserole


Tuna casserole is an easy dinner to throw together at the last minute. I've tried a lot of variations of this southern staple but this particular recipe is my favorite, by far, and it happens to be another one of my mom's. It's no Tuna Helper, that's for dang sure.

Tuna Casserole

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 bag No Yolk noodles
1 can Leseur peas
2 cans tuna
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small bag potato chips (convenience store size)

1) In a bowl, mix together mushroom soup, noodles, peas and tuna.
2) Crush potato chips and add 3/4 of the bag to mixture.
2) Add 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese to mixture.
3) Transfer mixture to a greased casserole dish.
4) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
5) Sprinkle remaining chips and cheese on top and bake for another 5 minutes.

***This is one of the hub's faves and he gives it a 4.7 out of 5 on the Hub-O-Meter***

Sour Cream Chicken

Ok, y'all. This is my absolute, all-time favorite recipe.  It goes way back to my childhood and my mom used to make it every time I came home from college per my request.  Now, I make it all the time and the hub absolutely loves it.  I could literally eat a bowl of the gravy by itself it's so amazing.  It's especially delish with steamed white rice drenched in the sour cream gravy.  You're welcome in advance :)

Sour Cream Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup butter
1 (10 3/4) can of cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream (room temperature)
2.8 oz French's onion rings
salt & pepper

1) Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts and sprinkle with lots of paprika.
2) Top with butter patties.
3) Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
4) Reserve chicken on a plate and pour gravy drippings, mushroom soup, and sour cream in a bowl; mix well.
5) Put chicken back in 9 x 13 inch pan and pour gravy mixture on top.
6) Top with onion rings and bake for another 20 minutes.

"Emmylou" - First Aid Kit
"Laundry Room" - Avett Brothers
"Skinny Love" - Bon Iver