Monday, October 20, 2014

American Hamburger Goulash

This is definitely a going-back-for-seconds
bowl of goodness.
It's a great pasta dish for fall and a
perfect dinner to serve the night of
There are many variations and names for
a macaroni and beef recipe. 
This recipe is easy and doesn't require boiling
the macaroni noodles separately. 
Just stir the dry pasta into the beef mixture.
It's a good dinner to made ahead and 
refrigerate until the next day.
I cut the recipe in half this time for just the 
2 of us. But I usually make the whole pot so 
I'll have plenty of leftovers, or to freeze 
a few individual portion dinners.
This is the full recipe.

American Goulash
2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 (15oz) cans tomato sauce 
(or 1 large 29oz can)
2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes
 (or 1 large 29oz can)
3 C water
2 dried bay leaves
1 T seasoned salt
2 T dried oregano
3 T soy sauce
2 t dried basil
1/2 t pepper
2 C elbow macaroni, uncooked

In a large dutch oven, brown the beef 
breaking it up as it cooks.
Stir in the onion and garlic. Cook until 
the onions are tender. Add the remaining 
ingredients, except macaroni. Simmer for
20 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cover, simmer
 over low heat until the pasta is tender, 
about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Remove from heat. Discard bay leaves. 
Serve or refrigerate until needed. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

All about pumpkin continues with this fabulous 
fall cookie for October. What could be better
 than a cookie loaded with oatmeal, chocolate
 chips, pumpkin, and pumpkin spices?
Cookies that make you go mmmmmmm!
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl ;
 flour, oats, sugars, spices, soda , and salt.
Whisk to mix the dry.
In another bowl combine the wet ingredients;
 1-1/2 stick softened butter, pumpkin, egg, 
and vanilla. 
A stand mixer would be best if you have one,
 but you can use a hand mixer.
 Beat well.
 Combine with the dry ingredients, then mix in
 a 12oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
That's about 2 C, but you can add up to 1 C
more if you want lots of chocolate.
Drop unto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake @375º for about 16-20 minutes,
depending on how big you make them.
This recipe came from my friend Liz. Her grown
boys have been requesting these cookies every
 holiday since they were little. Liz picked up the
 recipe on a school trip to an apple orchard when
her oldest was 5. It was love at first bite.
They are now a fall family tradition.
Makes them taste even better.
I love them warm from the oven, so I bake up
a batch for the day and refrigerate the rest of the
cookie dough. Then I scoop out by tablespoonful as
the cravings arrive. Makes about 3 dozen.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 C flour
1 C oatmeal
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t allspice or nutmeg
3 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
In another larger bowl or use your 
stand mixer add the following:
3/4 C butter, softened
1 egg
1 C pumpkin puree
1 t vanilla
Beat until well mixed.
Add the dry mixture and beat to combine. 
Then add and mix in 
2 C chocolate chips

Using a tablespoon drop onto a greased
cookie sheet or use a parchment paper.
Bake @ 375º for 16-20 minutes.


Links: Between Naps On The Porch

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I was craving one of these moist cakelike bars and a frothy cup of hot coffee last week. Something about fall always makes that happen. Happy October!

Pumpkin Bars
2 C flour
2 t cinnamon
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
4 eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1-2/3 C sugar
1 C vegetable oil
(optional 3/4 C chopped pecans)* 

Combine the flour, baking soda and powder, 
cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing beat together  the eggs, pumpkin, 
sugar and oil with a mixer on medium speed.
Add the flour mixture; beat until well combined. 
If desired, stir in the chopped pecans. Spread
 batter into an ungreased 15x10x1 sheet pan. 
Bake @350º for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in
 pan on a wire rack. Frost. Sprinkle some of the cake
 with chopped pecans. Cut into squares to serve.
Store in the refrigerator. Also freezes well. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounce cream cheese (half a brick), softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
 Beat together in a medium bowl until smooth.
*Sprinkle 3/4 C chopped pecans over the 
frosted cake, or just over half the cake.

Enjoy a great fall treat!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole for Throwback Thursday

I was craving tuna noodle casserole today. 
Maybe because it was raining. Maybe because
 I thought I might be coming down with
something. Whatever the reason,
it was just what I needed. 
It's comfort food.
Tuna used to come in 7oz cans, now like most 
everything else they have changed the size 
to a smaller amount (why do they do this?? 
I'd rather pay a little more for sizes that
 make sense!) Now the tuna can is 5oz.
But I digress...
It still works with this recipe.
Assemble all the ingredients.
If you have a small kitchen scale, weigh out
 your dry noodles to get 6oz. It's about 3C dry.
It's not a lot of noodles, but don't be
 tempted to use more or you'll end up 
with a dry casserole. 
 Mix everything together in a large bowl.
 Put into a buttered 2qt casserole. 
I used one of my vintage blue Corningware 
casseroles to go with this throwback dish.
Top it with buttered breadcrumbs and
bake for about 20 minutes @400º.
Eat while watching reruns of 
"The Brady Bunch".
Tuna Noodle Casserole
1 can tuna (solid white in water)
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 C milk
1/2 C mayonnaise
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 C chopped celery
1/3 C chopped onions
1/4 C chopped green pepper
6oz flat noodles (3C dry)
3/4-1C shredded cheddar cheese (4oz)
Topping: 2 T butter, melted
          1/2 C breadcrumbs
Begin by bringing salted water to a boil for the
 noodles. Cook the noodles for 8 minutes. 
Meanwhile in a large bowl whisk together the 
soup, milk, mayo, and seasonings. Whisk in
 the vegetables. Stir in the tuna, breaking
 up any large chunks. Add the drained noodles, 
stir to combine. Add the cheese, stir again. 
Add to a greased 2qt shallow casserole. 
Top with buttered breadcrumbs. 
Bake at 400º for 20 minutes. 
Serves 4-6

Links: Between Naps On The Porch,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Creamy Baked Chicken

September is a busy month with back to school
and new schedules so you'll need a few 
Easy Weeknight Dinners!
Here's an easy chicken recipe that's put together
 in minutes and popped in the oven.  It's a
variation of a few others I make so you can
change it up a bit.  It's also a good one to
remember when you're out of onion soup mix
for one of my other chicken recipes. 
(Links to all my easy chicken recipes
at the end of this post)
 Combine the sauce ingredients: soup, water,
sour cream, chives, and seasonings.
 You can use a can of sliced mushrooms, drained. 
I prefer fresh, sauteed in a small pan with a little
 oil or butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. 
Add mushrooms to the sauce.
 Lay the chicken breasts in a buttered casserole. 
If the breasts are large, cut them in half. 
It makes it easier to serve. 
 Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle 
the top with paprika. You can prepare it ahead
to this point. Cover with wrap and refrigerate
until ready to bake. Bring to room temperature.
Bake @390º for about 40 minutes, uncovered. 
Sprinkle the top with additional chives before
serving. We're sauce people, so anything with
a sauce is good.  It boosts the flavor of the
 main dish and we love sauce ladled on our choice
 of sides like: rice, noodles or potatoes.
I like to serve this with Uncle Ben's 
Wild Rice Mix or Rice Pilaf Mix
and a green vegetable.

Creamy Baked Chicken
3-4 chicken breasts, boneless
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 C water
1 C fresh sliced mushrooms, lightly sauteed
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 t chives, dried or fresh (plus more for topping)
1/2 t onion powder, 1/2 t garlic powder, 
1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper
1/2 t paprika for sprinkling on top
If the chicken breasts are large, cut them in half and lay in the bottom of a greased 9"x13" baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients, except paprika and pour over the chicken. Sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake @350º for 35-40 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked. Sprinkle more chopped chives on top before serving if desired.
Serve with the sauce along with rice, and a vegetable or salad
* you can also use a whole cut-up chicken, just cook longer; about 1 hour.
* you can also use cream of chicken soup instead of mushroom
* you can also just use a can of drained mushrooms instead of fresh.


Links to my other Easy chicken recipes:
The Easiest Chicken and Rice Dinner..EVER!
Apricot Chicken
Oven Chicken and Vegetables Parmesan
Honey Boo Boo Chicken
Oven Chicken Cacciatore
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Mustard Chicken
Baked Greek Chicken
Cranberry Glazed Chicken
Duck Duck Chicken
Sunday Chicken
Swiss Chicken Bake
Perfect Roast Chicken
Cathy's Curry Chicken

Links: Between Naps on The Porch,
The Scoop, Dwellings, Coastal Charm,
Rattlebridge Farm, The Charm Of Home,
My Romantic Home,

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fabulous Fall Salad

This is a wonderful luncheon salad:
Roast Chicken Salad with Peaches, Goat Cheese, 
and Pecans with a Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette. 
It's a delicious mouthful!
All the flavors compliment each other
perfectly, just bursting with flavor!
 The salad dressing has a little secret 
ingredient...maple syrup. It's made with
basic pantry staples and a small shallot. 
 I added all the ingredients into one of my 
saved jars, a small dijon mustard is the 
perfect size. Just shake it up.
 You can use leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken, 
or just grill a breast. I've done it with both.
Assemble the salad ingredients. Toast the pecans
 for about 4-5 minutes in the toaster oven while
you peel and dice your peach. A vegetable peeler
works best. If you're making this ahead of time 
for a luncheon, just put the diced peach in a small 
Tupperware bowl and toss with a little lemon juice.
Arrange the salad mix on your plate and top with
the remaining ingredients. 
Drizzle on the dressing.
 You can also mix the salad in a large bowl. 
Combine ingredients, except cheese. 
Add vinaigrette mixture, toss gently.
Sprinkle with cheese. Serve
with fresh bread and butter.
I've had this salad 3 times this week!
First at a girlfriends after we enjoyed
a game of doubles tennis, then I made it for
Larry on Saturday and again today, Monday.
Yummy, yummy!

Roast Chicken Salad with 
Peaches, Goat Cheese, and Pecans 
2 C boneless chicken breast, sliced
2 C diced peeled peaches
1/2 C thinly sliced red onion
1/4 C chopped pecans, toasted
1 bag salad greens (Spring Mix)
2 T crumbled goat cheese
Combine all ingredients, except cheese.
Add vinaigrette and toss lightly. Sprinkle
with cheese. Alternately layer ingredients
on a large plate and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1 T maple syrup
1 t dijon mustard
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t pepper
1 shallot, minced (about 2T)
Combine ingredients in a jar and shake.


update: I've made this salad several times
as a side and just left out the chicken.

Links: Facebook,
Dwellings, The Scoop,
A Stroll Thru Life,
Between Naps On The Porch,
Designs By Gollum,
The Charm Of Home

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2 Ingredient Summer Cocktails

Here are two of my favorite
summer cocktails. Each one needs
 Just 2 ingredients!

 2 Ingredient Margaritas

These are the fast and easy versions.
That means you can enjoy one anytime!

It so refreshing and tasty!
(Click on the names for the directions.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DIY Pampered Chef ~ Cinnamon Plus

I love to mix up my own spice and herb blends.
This Cinnamon Blend is a copycat of the
Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus.
 I had all the ingredients.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, 
and dried orange peel.
 I made my own dried orange peel using
 a microplane grater and drying in a low oven.
I used the toaster oven and it's small tray.
It's so easy and 1 orange gives me enough
(just under 1T) for this recipe. Since it's
not been sitting in a jar it has a true
orange fragrance and taste. 
 Crush with the side of a knife.
 Mix it together and store in a labeled spice jar.
Use in any recipe that calls for cinnamon.
 Don't forget to make your own cinnamon sugar. 
Put some in a cute shaker and keep it by the 
toaster for buttery cinnamon toast.

6 T cinnamon
1 T allspice
1 T dried orange peel
2 t nutmeg
1 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground ginger
Combine with a whisk and store in
a jar. Use in any recipes that call
for cinnamon or for cinnamon sugar

1/2 C sugar
2 T cinnamon plus blend
Combine in a shake top jar
and keep handy by the toaster.

Wash and dry 1 orange. Use a microplane 
to remove the outer peel.Spread out and
dry in a 200º oven for 25 minutes.
Press with fingers or the bottom
 of a glass to pulverize.