Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fabulous French Dip with Whipped Potatoes

Fabulous French Dip with Whipped Potatoes

French Dip
adapted from Betty Crocker

Roast (Such As Arm Roast)
2 Cans Beef Broth
1 1 Oz. Packet Onion Soup Mix
Your Favorite French Dip Bread

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  In a dutch oven, place roast, 1 can of beef broth and soup mix.  Cover and cook in the oven.  My roast was pretty small, only about a pound, and it was done in 4 hours.  A two or three pound roast would take 6 or more hours.  Check for doneness by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and it's done when it reads 165 degrees.  To serve, take out roast and add the last can of beef broth to the juice in the dutch oven and heat on the stove or put back in the oven.  Shred the meat with two forks and distribute on the bread.  Serve the warmed juice in little bowls for dipping the sandwiches.

I don't even think I can describe how good this is... Literally one of the best meals I have ever had!  You'll just have to take my word for it... so good...  You could also prepare this in a crock pot, same method just cook on low 6 - 8 hours.

Whipped Potatoes
serves 4

2 Russet Potatoes
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Oz. Cream Cheese
Chicken Stock
Spoonful of Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper, to Taste

Pierce the potatoes with a fork and microwave for 10 minutes, flipping them over half way, until they are fork tender.  While the potatoes are cooking, melt butter and cream cheese together in a medium pot over low heat.  When the potatoes are done, give them a rough chop and add them to the pot.  Add a good splash each of milk and chicken stock (start with a little liquid, you can add more later) and add the sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Let it all heat up for a few minutes then whip the potatoes with a hand mixer until desired consistency is reached, adding more liquid if needed.  Serve with Fabulous French Dip!

This is another example of a recipe that I thought was scary but turns out is incredibly easy.  I didn't even use a recipe, just threw together whatever I had in my fridge.  The key here was eyeballing.  You could use all chicken stock and Greek yogurt for a healthier mash, or all half-and-half and cream cheese for a more sinful smash.   I ended up leaving the skins on because A) they're healthy B) because I'm lazy or C) both.  The answer is B!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dipped Pretzels

Dipped Pretzels

1 Bag of Pretzel Rods
1 Bag of Almond Bark (I only needed about 3/4 of the bag for the almost 30 pretzels I made)
Assorted Toppings such as sprinkles, melted chocolate, crushed nuts, crushed oreos, candies, etc.

Melt almond bark according to package directions.  Dip pretzels in the melted almond bark and place on wax paper.  Sprinkle toppings while the almond bark is still melted.  Repeat!

I am a huge fan of sweet/salty goodness.  I'm surprised it took me so long to make these.  They do look a little intimidating, but they are ridiculously easy!  And elegant.  And delicious.  And fun.  And festive!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Skillet Cookie

Skillet Cookie
serves 8

1 Stick of Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Chocolate Chips (I used half white and half milk chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a 8- or 10- inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat.  Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat.  Let rest until the pan is warm, but no longer very hot, about 5 minutes.  Mix the egg into the butter/sugar mixture and use a fork to whisk it into the  mixture.  Place flour, baking soda, and salt on top, and very carefully stir the mixture until smooth and well mixed.  Stir in the chips. Place in the oven for 15-25 minutes or until starting to turn golden on the top around the edges, but still soft in the center.  Serve with ice cream, if desired.

How fun is this recipe?  You get one big cookie instead of 2 dozen smaller ones, which is perfect when there's only two of us to eat it all.  And you only use one pan!  This pinterest inspired recipe is my new guilty pleasure.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Baked Penne

Baked Penne
from Kraft
serves 6

3/4 Pound Ground Italian Sausage
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
1/2 Cup Chopped Green Pepper
1 24 Oz. Jar Spaghetti Sauce
1 10 Oz. Tub Philly Italian and Herb Cooking Creme
1/2 Pound Cooked Penne Pasta
1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown sausage with onions and green peppers in large nonstick skillet.  Stir in spaghetti sauce and cooking cream.  Add pasta; mix lightly.  Spoon mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish and top with cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through.  Bake uncovered last 5 minutes.

Have you used Philly cooking creme yet??? It's amazing.  This is what it looks like:
They've got at least 4 different flavors and tons of recipes online.  All the recipes are simple, fast and perfect for a busy weeknight meal.  This particular recipe was uber comfort food, an overall win and a crowd pleaser.  Next time I make it, i'll veg it up with zucchini, spinach, and/or more peppers.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bean Salad For A Crowd

Bean Salad For A Crowd
from my mom's kitchen
serves a lot!

For The Salad:
1 Can Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1 Can Pinto Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1 Can Corn, Drained
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Chopped Finely
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped

For The Dressing:
1/3 Cup Cider Vinegar
1/3 Cup Canola Oil
1/3 Cup Sugar
Salt and Pepper, To Taste

In a large bowl, mix all salad ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, mix ingredients for dressing and pour over the bean salad.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley (optional).  Easy!

Bring this crowd-pleasing side dish to your next potluck.  Very easy and versatile!  Add whatever beans you have lying around and switch up the veggies to your taste.  Since the dressing is a 1:1:1 ratio, you can make this salad as big or as small as you need!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip
adapted from Alton Brown's recipe on
serves 6 as an appetizer

10 Oz. Frozen Chopped Spinach, Heated According To Package Directions
14 Oz. Can Artichoke Hearts, Drained and Chopped
6 Oz. Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Mayo
1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning, To Taste (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with non-stick spray, set aside.  In a medium microwave safe bowl, microwave cream cheese until hot and soft.  Stir in sour cream and mayo.  Add seasonings, spinach and artichokes.  Spread into the baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.  Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, bread cubes, or veggies.

Happy New Year!  I thought I would make this classic appetizer to kick off 2012.  It breaks all the 'healthier you' resolutions, but I'm sure you could justify it if you use low fat everything and dunk carrots in it(it does have veggies in it!)