Sunday, November 30, 2014

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

So I think my friend NCBeaches told me about this recipe. If she didn't, I will give her credit for telling me about the Slow Roasted Italian.

Anyway, back to the potatoes. I have made mashed potatoes in the crockpot for holidays before and honestly it works so well. You have no one in the Meat Preparer's way because potatoes seem to have to be made at the last minute so they aren't cold. I was going to make these (because honestly I don't remember how I made the potatoes I made previously and it was before I started this blog), but I have a leg injury at the moment so D made them.

We halved the recipe, and there was still leftovers after 4 adults ate. They had a good garlic taste (I assume D added more), and more importantly, they were HOT!

When asking D about the ease, he said they were quite possibly the easiest mashed potatoes he ever made. He said if you wanted to get fancy to either change the cream cheese to flavored cream cheese or something like Camembert or Brie.

We'll have again.

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes in foreground- Photo by ALB

Recipe by The Slow Roasted Italian
SERVES 12 | ACTIVE TIME 20 Min | TOTAL TIME 3 Hours 20 Minutes

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened (used salted)
5 pounds red potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese (used light)
1/2 cup sour cream (used light)
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Butter inside of crock with butter and leave remaining butter on the bottom of the dish. Add potatoes and cover. Cook on high 3 hours or 5-6 hours on low.

Remove cover, once potatoes are fork tender (meaning they break apart when you put a fork into a potato), add milk and cream. Mash with potato masher until desired consistency is reached. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2014


So I said previously that D and I had been sick with food poisoning or something the week before Thanksgiving.  Although we know it didn't cause it, the last meal we had included sausage, so we wanted no part of sausage.

Now my brother is the Dip King, and usually we all joyfully welcome sausage to any meal. However, this year, no.  So Bro and I looked and found 3 recipes and D picked this of those.

I assume this was easy because Bro was in our kitchen and needed no help (you know how not being in your own kitchen is).

The result was delicious.   It wasn't until we got about half way through that we finally figured out it would be awesome atop of hot dogs, but we had none (and then is when I remembered to get a picture).  So we continued to demolish this with tortilla chips.  I'd have this again.


Photo by ALB

From Pinch of Yum 
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 24 (or 4)

3 cups prepared chili, or 2 cans (like Hormel)
1 block cream cheese (I used light)
3 oz. Velveeta cheese
1 can black beans
chili powder, cumin, or cayenne to taste
cilantro for topping (didn't use)
tortilla chips for dipping

In microwaveable safe bowl (or a Dutch Oven on the stove), melt first 3 ingredients. Stir well until blended together. Add black beans and seasoning, if desired. Transfer to a mini-crocvkpot for serving. Serve with cilantro and chips!

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Thanksgiving!  As usual, a holiday in our house that is not traditional.  I'm allergic to turkey, and neither D nor I like ham.  So we usually have unusual meals.  Christmas falls into this category too.  We have had Pastitsio, Tacos, Jambalaya, Sausage, and other oddities.  This year, I decided I wanted a traditional Thanksgiving.  However, D and I both got some weird food poisoning that lasted an entire week, and by the time Sunday before Thanksgiving rolled around, thinking about food was not a priority (I may have told my brother we not even have it).

So back to traditional Thanksgiving.  Our menu got abbreviated, but I REALLY wanted pecan pie.   Then I remembered my dad had asked about cheesecake in August when I saw him.  He doesn't usually ask for anything on the menus (my brother, D, and I plan the menus), so I felt obliged.  And then I remembered I found a recipe that would satisfy my dad and me.  PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE.

First, it was SIMPLE to make, provided you have a food processor.  The recipe was from Heidi's So-Called Life. This was only going to be my 2nd attempt at a cheesecake, and they still intimidate me.  However, she took into consideration everything.

Just make it.
Photo by ALB

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

From Heidi's So-Called Life
Servings: 1-10 depending on what size piece you cut

1 ¾ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
Photo by ALB
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted

Pecan Filling:
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (used low-fat, because I find it creamier)
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine wafer crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pecan Filling:
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

Photo by ALB

Cheesecake Filling:
Reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour. Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Photo by ALB

The IMPORTANT Part from Heidi's So-Called Life 
I always end up having a mushy crust whenever I try to do a water bath for my cheesecakes - I guess I just don't wrap the pan well enough in foil. This time I had a Pyrex dish filled with very hot water on the bottom rack while the cheesecake baked on the top rack, and I did not have a single crack!
(ALB's note- It worked. I had 1 small crack compared to my first cheesecake that had a huge one across the middle!)

Photo by ALB
So good that I had a slice for breakfast on Friday!

Photo by ALB

Friday, November 7, 2014

Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

So I liked this recipe because it was fast.  I assume it was easy, since they usually go hand-in-hand. D made it.

I would have again.  We had with Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes.

Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 breast half and 2 tablespoons sauce)
Cost Per Serving:$2.36

2 teaspoons canola oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup beer (used a Budweiser)
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute or until translucent. Combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Return chicken to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Sprinkle evenly with parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 245; Fat: 4.5g; Saturated fat: 0.7g; Monounsaturated fat: 2g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g; Protein: 40g; Carbohydrate: 7.8g; Fiber: 0.2g; Cholesterol: 99mg; Iron: 1.6mg; Sodium: 544mg; Calcium: 27mg

Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2012

Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes

Like most roasted potatoes, these smell better than they actually are.  They were good, but I didn't feel they were anything special.  However, unlike usual, I refrained from putting ketchup on them (I put ketchup on most "French Fry-like" potatoes).

I'd still have them again.  We had with Chicken with Beer and Honey.

Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes

Photo by ALB

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ready In: 55 Minutes

1.50 lb(s), New Red Potato With Skin
3.00 tbsp., Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2.00 tbsp, Cheese - Parmesan, shredded
1.00 tbsp, Spices - Rosemary, fresh
0.25 tsp, Salt - Coarse Kosher
0.25 tsp(s), Spices - Pepper, black

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Mix potatoes, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and rosemary in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread potato mixture over prepared baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven until potatoes are golden brown and tender, stirring once, about 40 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 221; Total Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 2 mg; Sodium: 194 mg; Potassium: 781 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 27 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 4 g;

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches

D and I were looking for a beef slow-cooker recipe and I found this.  He agreed.

He said in terms of easiness, it was very simple.

Taste-wise, it was delicious.  I have no idea if it compares to a Chicago Sandwich, but it was good enough for me.  Coincidentally, my friend Delane had sent me homemade relish from Chicago.  So we put that on.  D also put Giardiniera on his, but I did not, since I don't like olives.  I put pepperoncini on mine.

We would definitely have again.  We had with Tater Tots.

Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches

Photo by ALB
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 sandwich and about 2 tablespoons sauce)
Hands-on: 15 Minutes
Total: 8 Hours, 15 Minutes

3 banana peppers
Cooking spray
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
7 bottled pepperoncini peppers, chopped
2 1/4 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and halved
8 (1 1/2-ounce) sandwich rolls, toasted

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 6 minutes or until blackened in spots, turning occasionally. Place peppers in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, and red pepper; stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and chopped pepperoncini.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place beef in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until beef is very tender. Remove beef from cooker; shred with 2 forks. Stir beef and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into cooking liquid. Divide beef mixture evenly among sandwich rolls, spooning out with a slotted spoon. Serve any extra sauce for dipping.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 356; Fat: 15.9g; Saturated fat: 6g; Monounsaturated fat: 6.4g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1.3g; Protein: 26.2g; Carbohydrate: 24.7g; Fiber: 1.9g; Cholesterol: 86mg; Iron: 3.5mg; Sodium: 588mg; Calcium: 94mg

Cooking Light DECEMBER 2013

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

It's Cauliflower, which is one of my favorite vegetables.  It was good.  I would have again.

We had with Mushroom Asiago Chicken.

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

Photo by ALB

Total Time: 20 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield:5 to 6 cups roasted cauliflower florets, 6 to 8 servings (We got 4 servings)

5 to 6 cups cauliflower florets, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (from 1 medium cauliflower)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (used 2 TBSP)
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately while still warm.

Nutritional Information from MyFitnessPal
Calories: 132; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 3 mg; Sodium: 701 mg; Potassium: 664 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 13 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 6 g

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003

Mushroom Asiago Chicken

I found this recipe from NCBeaches.  It looked good so D and I decided to try it.

We typically don't buy Asiago (use Parm), but we did this time, and I'm glad we did.  It was rich and flavorful, but not overpowering.  We would have again.

We had with Pasta and Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice.

Mushroom Asiago Chicken

Photo by ALB

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Makes 5-6 servings (we got 4)

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme or3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Cut each chicken breast into thirds by first cutting each breast in half crosswise, then set the thinner half aside. Slice the thicker part of the breast in half horizontally (parallel to the cutting board) to produce 2 more thin cutlets. Cover the chicken breast pieces with a sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or the bottom of a small skillet until all of the pieces are about ¼" thick. Lightly season each cutlet on both sides with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt about 2 Tbsp unsalted butter. Add as many cutlets as will fit comfortably into the skillet, but be sure not to overcrowd the pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes until golden brown on the first side, then flip and cook for 1 additional minute. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate and cover lightly with foil. Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets.

When all of the chicken is cooked, add remaining butter to the skillet along with the mushrooms and ½ tsp salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and become softened. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour white wine (or ½ cup chicken broth) into the skillet and stir to scrape up anything that is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the wine has nearly all evaporated, add ¾ cup chicken broth and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10–15 minutes at a rapid simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in heavy cream. Sprinkle the Asiago cheese over the top of the sauce and stir constantly until the cheese melts. Nestle the chicken back into the skillet and allow it to simmer in the sauce just until the chicken is heated through and the sauce has slightly thickened. Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and serve right away, either all by itself, or spooned over pasta or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet

D found this one.  There was a lot going on with the flavors but it was really good.  Would have again.

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet

Photo by ALB

This hearty soup is exploding with flavors. Meat lovers will crave this bacon-packed and sausage-enriched delight. For a thicker consistency, let the cassoulet stand 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup cassoulet, 1 teaspoon cheese, and 1 teaspoon parsley)

2 bacon slices
2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound lean boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound reduced-fat smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 teaspoons finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
8 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion, thyme, rosemary, and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in crumbled bacon, salt, pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

2. Place half of beans in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher until chunky. Add remaining half of beans, pork, and sausage; stir well. Place half of bean mixture in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; top with half of tomato mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 249; Calories from fat: 0.0%; Fat: 7.6g; Saturated fat: 2.7g; Monounsaturated fat: 3.2g; Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g; Protein: 22.2g; Carbohydrate: 23.8g; Fiber: 4.6g; Cholesterol: 48mg; Iron: 2.9mg; Sodium: 627mg; Calcium: 89mg

Oxmoor House SEPTEMBER 2012

Pagash AKA Pierogi Pizza

So my friend Lisa Marie gave me this recipe awhile ago.  She got it from Bonbons and Biscotti.  I had never heard of such a thing.  Being that I love pierogies, I decided D and I should have it.  D made it (shocker, I know...) and it was everything I hoped it would be.  The only thing differently I would have done is sautee the onions for  few minutes before putting on the pizza to get the raw flavor out of them.

You should have it.

Pagash AKA Pierogi Pizza

Photos by ALB

1 package Fleischmann's pizza crust yeast and the ingredients listed on the package for preparation or you could by a pizza dough ball in your local bakery
2 cups mashed potatoes with 1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese added (we used Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes and added cheese)
4-6 Tbsp butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 medium onion, sliced into very thin rings
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

(This is a step we skipped by buying Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes).  Prepare potatoes and allow to cool slightly, about 1 hour. It is best to make the potatoes a little dry especially if you normally make them very whipped. A thick, creamy mashed potato is best. I normally peel and boil about 5 medium size russet potatoes, cut them into uniform squares, cover them in water and boil them until fork tender. I then drain them and add 1/4 cup milk and 4 Tbsp salted butter. I add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. I then mash until smooth. Add the cheese and allow to sit covered so the cheese can melt. This recipe makes more then the suggested 2 cups but I love leftovers. As I suggested you can use your own recipe here. If you like to add sour cream or other ingredients feel free. Just remember, you want the potatoes so be thick.

After your potatoes have cooled for about 1 hour it is time to make the crust. I follow the directions on the package for preparation. The one change it do make is I hand toss the dough and then roll it onto a pizza stone. I then par bake the crust for about 6 minutes at 425 degrees. Since I do not have a pizza oven at my house (and who does), I like to par bake the crust so it is browned on the bottom and it allows for a much more durable layer to hold all the potatoes and cheese.

While the crust is baking I melt my butter in the microwave in a small mug and add the 3 cloves of minced garlic to make a garlic butter sauce. Also add the Italian Seasoning. After taking the crust out of the oven.

I spread the garlic butter all over the crust. I then add the mashed potatoes over the butter. Spread them evenly (like icing) with a rubber scraper or offset knife. I then layer on the onion ringd. Then the 3 types of cheese.

Place the pizza in the oven and bake at 425 for 15-17 minute. At this time, I set the oven to Broil and allow the pizza in the oven until the cheese is slightly brown; about 3-4 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven and allow to cool 8-10 minutes before cutting. The potatoes will solidify a little and you will have pretty slices.

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

I found this recipe on my cousin's Pinterest Page.  D and I are always looking at new-to-us ingredients and artichokes fit the bill.  He made it while I was doing something, but I don't remember what.

It was not what either of us expected.  We both liked it but I thought it would have lemon. He thought it needed white wine.  He finally figured out I thought it was going to taste like Chicken Piccata.  It definitely picks up more flavor as a left over.

After figuring out the NI, I'm not sure if we'll have again.  It was good, but not sure "that" good.

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Photo by ALB
8 thin chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed, drained, and quartered
2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces angel-hair pasta
1/2 cup parsley leaves

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Place flour in a shallow dish, and season with salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets, shaking off excess. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Cook chicken in batches, adding remaining oil as needed, until light golden, 1 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a dish.

Add broth to skillet, and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Add artichokes, capers, and the chicken with any juices. Gently swirl to combine, and bring just to a boil. Remove skillet from heat. Swirl in butter, and cover to keep warm.

Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente; drain. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, topped with parsley.

Everyday Food, March 2009

Nutritional Information from MyFitnessPal