Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Casseroles

I like to call this "Italian Shepherd's Pie". I've made several versions of this casserole--one that Joe, my husband, adores, and the other is my personal favorite. The recipes, both with slight changes, are included below.

Version A (a.k.a. My Favorite)

What's Needed:
3/4 C. Mozzerella cheese
2 C. mashed potatoes, refrigerated mashed potatos, or made from potato flakes
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 C. bell pepper
1 14.5 oz. can of Italian Stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Stir 1/2 C. cheese into potatoes; set aside.

2. In a large skillet, add onion, bell pepper. Cook until tender. Add ground beef, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Transfer mixture into a 2 qt. casserole dish.

3. Spoon mashed potato in mounds on top of ground beef mixture, the spread to cover. Sprinkle the top with the remianing cheese and paprka.

4. Bake in a 375 oven for 30 minutes or until mashed potato top is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Husband Rating: C
PointsPlus: 7 per serving (cut into 6 pieces prior to serving)
Version B (a.k.a. Joe's favorite)--Changes are indicated in bold

What's Needed:
3/4 C. Mozzerella cheese
2 C. mashed potatoes, refrigerated mashed potatos, or made from potato flakes
3/4 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, browned and drained
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 C. green beans (or peas)
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/4 tsp. pepper

Follow the same directions as above, substituting ingredients as needed.

Husband Rating: A
PointsPlus 8 per serving

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chicken with Peas, Prosciutto and Cream

A crockpot recipe in three parts. Luckily, the other two parts don't take a whole lot of time, so this could easily be done on a workday. It was absolutely delicious!

What's Needed:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and black pepper, to taste
5 oz. prosciutto, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 C. dry white wine
1 package (10 oz) frozen peas
1/2 C. heavy cream
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
4 C. farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked al dente

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place in crockpot with prosciutto, onion, and wine. Cover; cook on HIGH 3 1/2 to 4 hours or on LOW 8 to 10 hours, until chicken is no longer pink in center.

2. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add frozen peas and heavy cream to crockpot.

3. Remove chicken. Carve meat and set aside.

4. Combine cornstarch and water. Add to crockpot. Cover; cook on HIGH 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.

5. Put pasta on plates. Place chicken on top of pasta. Top with sauce.

Husband Rating: A+

PointsPlus: 12 for 3/4 C. pasta, 1/2 chicken breast, and sauce.

Inspired by:
Crockpot: The Original Slow Cooker
Chicken Cookbook

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicken Stew with Herb Dumplings

This was very yummy, but something I would only make on the weekend. There were several steps to this crockpot meal, but it turned out DELISH! (I'm trying to start including pictures of the final result. My first attempt at food photography was not that great--please excuse the bad picture)

What's needed:
2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken broth, divided
2 C. sliced carrots
1 C. chopped onion
1 large green bell pepper, sliced
2/3 C. all-purpose flour
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces.
1 large potato, unpeeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 C. frozen peas
1 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black papper
1/4 C. whipping cream

For the herb dumplings
1 C. Bisquick
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/8 tsp. dried tarragon
1/3 C. milk

1. Reserve 1 C. chicken broth. Combine carrots, onion, bell pepper, and remaining chicken broth in crockpot. Cover; cook on LOW for 2 hours.

2. In a medium bow, stir 1 C. broth into flour until smooth. Stir this into the crockpot. Add chicken, potato, peas, 1 tsp. basil, 3/4 tsp. rosemary, and 1/4 tsp. tarragon. Cover; cook 4 hours or until veggies and chicken are tender. Stir in salt, black pepper, and cream.

3. To make the biscuits, combine Bisquick, 1/4 tsp. basil, 1/4 tsp. rosemary, and 1/8 tsp. tarragon in a small bowl. Stir in milk to form a soft dough. Using an ice-cream scoop, spoon dumpling mixture on top of stew.

4. Cook, uncovered, 30 minutes. Cover; cook 30-45 minutes or until dumplings are firm and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 4.

Husband Rating: A-

PointsPlus: 10 for one big dumpling and 3/4-1 C. of soup

Inspired by:
Crock-Pot: The Original Slow Cooker

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Very Easy Cheeseburger Pie

My mom's take on an old Bisquick recipe, and still one of my favorites!

What's Needed:
1 C. Bisquick
1/4 C. cold water
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2T. Bisquick
1T. Worcestershire sauce (A1 sauce works nicely too)
2 eggs
1 C. small curd cottage cheese
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 C. shredded cheddar.

1. Heat oven to 375.

2. Mix first two ingredients until soft dough forms; beat vigorously 20 strokes. Gently smooth dough into ball and put into pie plate. Spread dough in the pie plate.

3. To browned ground beef, add salt, pepper, 2 T. Bisquick, and Worchestershire sauce. Spoon into the pie crust.

4. Mix eggs and cottage cheese; pour over beef mixture.

5. Put tomato slices on top. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Bake until set, about 30-40 minutes. Serves 6-8 (cut pie into 8 slices)

Husband Rating: A

PointsPlus: 6 points for 1 slice

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another Oven Meal: Three-Cheese Chicken and Pasta Bake

Did a lot of 'sprucing' up to this recipe. The result was yummy!

What's Needed:
3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 can Campbell's condensed Broccoli Cheddar Soup
3/4 C. milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 C. frozen broccoli
6 cups cooked mostaccioli
2 T. grated Parmsean cheese
2 T. dry bread crumbs
1 T. butter, melted
Fresh tomato slices for garnish (I used about 1/2 a medium tomato)

1. In large bowl, mix together soup, milk, and pepper. Stir in mozzarella cheese. Add mostaccioli, broccoli, and chicken and stir to coat. Put mixture into a 2 quart baking dish.

2. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over mixture. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle crumb mixture over the cheese.

3. Bake a 375 F. for 35 minutes. Top with fresh tomato slices.

Husband Rating: A

PointsPlus: 9

Inspired by: Treasury of Campbell's Recipes

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NOT a crockpot dish--Mrs. Schermerhorn's Famous Chicken and Rice

Being brought up as a PK (pastor's kid), I was raised on a lot of casseroles. My mom, as a pastor's wife, received many recipes after potlucks. This is one of my all-time favorites (although, as I learned today, better for weekend cooking than weekday cooking). Thank you Mom for sharing, and thank you Mrs. Schermerhorn (whoever you are) for creating this wonderful dish!

What's Needed:
2/3 C. uncooked regular rice
1 Can French's French Fried Onion Rings
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 3/4 C. prepared chicken bouillon
4 chicken breasts (halved)
1/3 C. Italian dressing (I used fat-free for less points)
1 bag french cut green beans

1. Combine rice, 1/2 can onion rings, and seasoning in a 9x13" dish. \

2. Pour bouillon over rice mixture.

3. Arrange chicken on top and pour Italian dressing over chicken. Bake covered (with aluminum foil) at 350 for 30 minutes.

5. Put green beans over rice. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

7. Top chicken with remaining onions. Bake 1-3 minutes or union onions brown.

Husband Rating: B

PointsPlus: 7 (for 1 chicken breast and 1/2 C. rice, onions, green beans)

Received from my mom's family recipe cookbook

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sloppy Joes

A classic...but one I've never tried making without a can before. The result--yummy comfort food :) As a shortcut, make sure to cook your ground beef as soon as you get it home from the store and freeze it in Ziploc bags. It makes the prep time so much quicker.

What's Needed:
1 to 1.5 lb. ground beef, cooked
1 medium onion, chopped
Handful of garlic powder
1 1/4 C. ketchup
1 C. frozen bell pepper strips, chopped
1/3 C. water
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. vinegar
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
Hamburger buns for serving

1. Cook onion and garlic until the onions are transparent.
2. In the crockpot combine ketchup, bell pepper, water, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce. Stir in meat and onion mixture.
3. Cover; Cook--LOW 6-8 hours; HIGH 3-4 hours. Serve on hamburger buns and a salad.

Husband Rating A- (He said it needed a bit of a kick)

PointsPlus 7 points (with bun)

Inspired by:
Better Homes and Gardens "Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes"

Sausage & Tortellini Soup

My home smelled amazing after a day of cooking this!

What's Needed:
1 package of Turkey Sausage, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 1 inch slicees
1 C. frozen cut green beans
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 10.5 oz. can condensed French onion soup
3 cups water
1 small package of refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
Grated Parmesan Cheese to top soup after serving

1. Combine sausage, green beans, undrained tomatoes, soup, and water.

2. Cover; Cook--LOW 8-10 hours; HIGH 4-5 hours

3. 15 minutes before you're ready to eat, turn to high. Stir in tortellini. Cook for 15 minutes. Then serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

Serves: 6

Husband Rating: A+

PointsPlus: 6 per serving

This recipe inspired by:
Better Homes and Gardens "Biggest Slow Cooker Recipes"