Monday, December 22, 2008

Manwich Pie

I saw a picture of a recipe in one of those Pillsbury cookbooks that you pick up as impulse buys in the checkout line for a recipe that I then adapted into this one. It was SUPER EASY and SO YUMMY!!!

Manwich Pie:

1ish lbs. ground beef (or other ground meat of your choosing)
1 can Manwich (I used the bold flavor)
2 cans of that new Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations (basically sheets of crescent roll dough that are not perforated, so you don't have to piece them together)
2 cups cheese (of your choice)

Brown ground beef and stir in Manwich. Heat through. Lay one sheet of crescent dough in a 13X9 pan. Top with beef mixture. Top with 2 cups cheese. Top with remaining crescent dough. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Serves 6-8 people.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Basic Baked Spaghetti

Another recipe from, this time followed faithfully.

Basic Baked Spaghetti

3/4 lb. ground beef (Oh, wait. I lie. I used a little more than a pound.)
1 16 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I used Francesco Rinaldi.)
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to350 degrees F. In a large skillet, cook hamburger until brown.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Mix in pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain. (I cooked it for 9 minutes.)
  3. Mix together spaghetti and meat mixture and pour into 9X13 pan. Top with cheese and bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.

We had wind chills in the teens today, and this was a nice, comforting, warming meal. We will definitely be having this again...and the time from starting to brown the beef to taking it out of the oven was only about an hour...30 minutes of which was oven time!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese with Ham and Peas

Wow, I haven't posted here since October 6, 2007, which happened to be my husband's birthday...but not this year. Last year. Whoops!

Quite honestly, I have not been doing a ton of cooking. However, my New Year's resolution is going to be to cook at least four meals per week. And as a precursor to that, I am trying to get a little cooking under my belt now so I can get used to it.

This morning, when I got home from work, I put into my slow cooker the ingredients for macaroni and cheese. I created this using a recipe I adapted from Here is the recipe, with my edits in italics:

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese (with Ham and Peas)

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
4 cups cheese (divided)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
2 ham steaks
1 box frozen peas

Coat crock of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray (I used a slow cooker bag...I love them, even though they are totally unnecessary.) Combine milks and eggs in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add 3 cups of cheese and mix together. Add salt and pepper (I didn't measure this...just threw in some salt and did some twists of the pepper mill.).

It was at this point that I mixed in the ham and peas.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Avoid stirring or removing the lid during cooking time.

My slow cooker cooks very hot, I think. It has a "keep warm" setting that I use almost like a low setting. I worked last night, so I was sleeping for about eight hours today and didn't want to have to worry about checking on it. Therefore, after heating the slow cooker up on high, I switched to the keep warm setting and let it go for eight hours.

This was a really good recipe! The flavor of the sauce was really good, and the ham and peas added a nice touch. The only change I would make from what I did is that I would add an entire pound of the pasta. The sauce was more than enough to handle it, and when I was eating, I had a lot of fork fulls with no pasta at all.

A keeper!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Cooking over the past week...

I have been on vacation from work for a little over a week now, and I should have been cooking much more than I have been. However, I am lazy, especially when I am on vacation, so I have not been. However, I do have some recipes to from dinner the other night and three from a party that we are throwing today to celebrate my husband's and my stepson's birthdays!

From last week, we have roasted vegetables:

I make roasted vegetables often, all winter long. For this incarnation, I used:
  • baby red potatoes
  • yams
  • yellow onion
  • asparagus
  • olive oil
  • Adobo
I cut the vegetables up in chunks and tossed them in olive oil in my 13" X 9" pan. I then sprinkled them with Adobo, stirred them up, sprinkled with Adobo, stirred them up, and sprinkled them with Adobo again. I baked them at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes...until the potatoes and yams were fork-tender.

This is a great recipe for a family because people can always pick out what they don't like. I sometimes us different potatoes, add carrots or turnip, or use spicier seasonings. Yum!

Today, I made some of my favorite soup, Cabbage Patch Soup. I first had a soup like this at the home of an ex-boyfriend's dad and stepmom. I found a close-enough recipe on the Internet and adapted it to make it my own:

For this recipe, you need:
  • 1 - 2 pounds ground meat (I used meatloaf mix, but anything ground will do)
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped coarsely
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 6 cans broth (I use four can vegetable and two cans beef)
  • 2 to 3 cans beans (whatever kind you like - I used kidney and white beans)
  • carrots
Brown the beef in your stock pot. Once it is brown, add the tomatoes and the broth. Allow to come to a boil. Add beans, carrots, and cabbage. Turn down heat to allow soup to simmer. The cabbage absorbs a lot of liquid, so you might have to add water or broth. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.

This soup is even better the next day or so!

I also decided to make a homemade-from-scratch cake, my first-ever, for my husband's birthday. I found the recipe for this cake and icing on the Food Network's website:

Chocolate Cake (by Cathy Lowe)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by rubbing with butter, sprinkling with flour, and tapping our extra. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix together with a wooden spoon and set aside. In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat well with a hand mixer. Slowly add boiling water and mix. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and fold and stir until smooth. Pour batter into pans, dividing evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (note - mine only needed 30 minutes). Remove cake from pans and cool on racks.

Note - My dog ate a hunk off of one of my layers, forcing me to make another layer. The recipe halved well. Also, I tried some of the layer he destroyed, and it was yummy! Also, he got put in time out.

Basic Buttercream Icing (by Colette Peters)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature (I used salted)
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla or other flavoring (I splashed extra vanilla in)
  • 2 pounds confectioner's sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix at slow speed until smooth. This recipe is enough to cover and fill a 9" X 13" sheet cake or 2 9" cake layer (note - I had a good amount left over).

I have never made cooked icing, and I didn't feel like trying it today. However, this icing was yummy! I have to note that I am really not good at icing cakes, so this one isn't looking so fantastic. I hope everyone forgives me that when they see how good it tastes!

Bon appetit!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Crock-Pot Conversation

Like just about everyone else I know, I registered before my wedding for the biggest slow cooker I could find. I use it most often for making stuff to take to parties...dips and chili and wings and barbecue. For a while, I was using it also to make meals for my husband and me at home. I work night shift, so it was very convenient to stop at the grocery store on the way home in the morning, pick up some ingredients, throw them in the slow cooker, and wake up to a home cooked meal. However, that biggest slow cooker I could find was pretty hot, and I found myself sometimes using the "keep warm" setting to do the actual cooking because I wanted it to have to cook for seven or so hours while I was asleep. On some days that my husband worked from home, he actually had to turn it off after four hours because the food was done. And when he didn't work from home and I slept past the point when it should have been turned off, we ended up with dry tough meat and a slow cooker that was a pain in the butt to clean.

Several months ago, I was wandering around my local Wal-Mart, and I came across a smaller (2 quart) Crock-Pot for $9.94. I was sold. It has been sitting in my garage since then, but I pulled it out today to use it to make the pork for the Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches, and I have to say that it has been cooking for about four hours now on the low setting and there is still plenty of liquid in the pot, and it is looking like it will be nice and moist. I am thrilled!

One thing I used to hate about the smaller slow cookers is that they didn't have removable stoneware insert that the big ones did. However, this one does have a removable crock, which means it can go right into the dishwasher! And the lid is plastic, so I don't have to worry about it ending up shattered all over my kitchen floor!

My Crock-Pot dreams have come true!

OMG, is she actually going to COOK????

To be fair (to me), I also cooked last week...once. Well, that may not exactly be true. I bought filets and corn and marinated the filets. My husband did the actual cooking on the grill. Well, I cooked the I guess I did half the work?

Tonight, I was going to make eggplant parmesan because a friend gave me a home-grown eggplant from her garden the other day. However, it is hot here, just like it is everywhere else in the country, and the thought of Italian food was NOT doing it for me.

I was flipping through some foodie blogs today (which I also had not done in a long time), and in a few different places, I found a recipe from for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches. The recipe is as follows:

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (12 oz) can or bottle root beer
1 (18 oz) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted


1. Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours.

2. Drain liquids and stir in barbecue sauce to taste. Serve on hamburger buns.

I used a can of birch beer because that is what I was able to lay my hands on. And I bought lite hamburger buns because of that whole Weight Watchers thing. Oh, and I also bought some coleslaw to put on the sandwich because I love my pulled pork with coleslaw on top. The pork is still cooking as I type this...and it is looking nice a shredded without me even having to put a fork to it!

I plan to serve this with more corn on the cob (the season will wind down soon, and I will miss it terribly), along with some roasted red potatoes with Adobo on them. I bought my corn and the potatoes at a local produce stand, and they are great!

Oh, and there will be no pictures because my husband left my camera somewhere in Cleveland over the weekend...which is sad. But I am going to get a new camera...which is happy! But it won't be until Christmas...which is sad. As soon as I can get to my mom's, I am going to borrow her little point-and-shoot because, of course, my dog has been freakin' adorable all week, and I have no way to take pictures of him! Silly husband!

UPDATE: The pork was yummy! Still no camera!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who has time to cook?

I work night shift as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit of a local hospital. My shift is 7 PM to 7 AM, and I usually work three nights per week. That is a nice schedule that would seem to leave plenty of time for cooking. However, that is not always so.

We have recently been overrun with little preemies to take care of, and, as a result, I have been picking up all kinds of extra hours. Therefore, I have been surviving less on my own home-cooked food and more on the stuff made by the nice people at Lean Cuisine. This week, I have four nights off in a row, so I plan to do some cooking at least two of those nights. Next week, I work six of seven days, so it will be back to frozen meal land.

I did make a fun dessert for a bridal shower this weekend. I wouldn't call it cooking because nothing in the dessert has to be cooked, but it does get put together quite nicely. This is a recipe that my husband's aunt Charlene makes for family gatherings, and I have always loved them!

Phylo Cups with Fruit

Two packages frozen phylo cups
1 8 ounce block cream cheese
1 container whipped topping
vanilla extract
confectioners sugar or Splenda
fresh berries

Soften cream cheese. In large bowl, mix cream cheese with half of the tub of whipped topping (I used Cool Whip). Add vanilla extract and sugar or Splenda to taste. Using pastry bag with star tip attachment, pipe mixture into phylo cups. Top each cup with fruit of your choice.

These were a big hit, and they are easy to make! And you could experiment with flavors and make them something all your own!