Thursday, February 4, 2016

What I'm Cooking This Week!

Ya'll... I have a serious addiction and her name is Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman (PW).
Whew, glad I said it now that way when I reference her everyday on occasion, you won't think I'm crazy... you'll already know I am! HA!

So, a MAJORITY of my cooking comes from her cookbook, shows, blog, etc.

PW Baked Ziti
This is a fav at our house, served with garlic bread and a salad, ya'll this is an AWESOME meal!

2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole large onion (I only use 1/2)
1 pound Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes - with juice
2 cans (14.5 oz) tomato sauce or marinara
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
16 oz Ziti cooked until not quite Al Dente
1 tub (15 oz) whole milk Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 pound Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 whole egg
Fresh minced parsley (optional)

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.

Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix together the Ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated Mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, egg and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).

Drain the Ziti and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps). Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.

Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half of the remaining Mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce and the mozzarella.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

(Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving)


Tuesday nights my son has Karate, so I typically do easier meals on these nights for time saving purposes :)

Slow Cooker Jambalaya
Great for this time of year, it warms you up!

1 pound skinless/boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound of sausage (the linked sausage)
1 can of Rotel (original)
3 T dried minced onion flakes
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp cayenne (optional - we love spicy, but if you have little ones, you may want to omit this)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
White Rice or Instant Rice (I like using the Boil-in-the-bag rice you can get at any grocery store)

In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, Rotel, onion, garlic and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper (optional) and thyme (I will typically do all of this the night before and then just put it in the fridge until the morning when I put it on to cook).

Cover and cook 7 to 8 hours (I've left it in longer and it's been fine) on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high. Mix in cooked rice for the last 15 minutes until warm through out.

I like to serve this with corn bread or garlic cheddar biscuits, this week I chose garlic cheddar biscuits, so here's the recipe for you to enjoy!

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
1 T sugar
1 T baking powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (again, optional)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (I use salted butter, I know, I'm bad)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I use mild cheddar)

3 T unsalted butter, melted (again, I use salted)
1 T chopped fresh parsley flakes (you can used dried if that's all you have)
1/2 tsp garlic powder


Grilled Chicken with Rice and Cajun Cream Sauce
This is sooooo darn good. No joke.

4 boneless chicken breast halves, without skin (I like to butterfly them to make them thinner)
Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Cachere's, but there are other options out there)

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 T flour
1 T butter
1 1/2 to 2 tsp Cajun seasoning (like above)
Several drops of Tabasco (or anything similar to Tabasco, I like the Louisiana sauce, so that's what I use), more or less, to taste
Dash freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
1 large tomato, seeded, diced (optional)
4 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Cooked rice.

Trim chicken, wash, and flatten slightly to make uniform in thickness. Sprinkle all over with a Cajun seasoning. Heat a stovetop grill over medium-high heat, or preheat broiler or other grill. Sear chicken for about 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, turning, for about 5 minutes.
Prepare sauce. Simmer cream for about 4 minutes to reduce.
Blend flour with butter; whisk into the cream. Add remaining seasonings, tasting and adjusting as necessary. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook rice.
Arrange hot cooked rice on plate. Slice chicken and arrange on each serving or rice. Spoon sauce over each serving. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes and green onions.


Mini Corn Dog Muffins
I serve these with good ol' tater tots

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
8-10 all-beef hot dogs cut into 1" bites

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl then whisk to combine. Add eggs then whisk to incorporate, and then add buttermilk and whisk to incorporate.
In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, cornmeal, flour, and salt then stir to combine. Whisk into wet ingredients in two batches.
Spray a mini muffin tin very well with non-stick spray then spoon 1 Tablespoon batter into each mini muffin cup. Place one hot dog bite into the middle of each cup.
Bake for 8-12 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown. Cool in mini muffin tin for 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator then re-heat for 20-30 seconds before serving.

Tater tots can be found in your local grocers freezer aisle :)


Steak, Shrimp and Potatoes
It's my father-in-love's birthday so we are cooking him a nice dinner to celebrate him.

For my steaks, I find any cut of meat (your own preference) and season each side generously with black pepper, some salt and garlic powder.

Shrimp, I like to season with a Cajun seasoning like Tony Cachere's and place them on skewers to grill.

The potatoes I get are just the regular baking potatoes and I bake them in the oven (ditch the foil, ya'll, seriously, you don't need it). Preheat the oven to 425F. Wash and scrub your potatoes clean. Poke each potato with a fork a couple of times to allow the steam to come out while cooking. Pat dry each potato and using your hands coat each one with olive oil and set on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and them flip them over and sprinkle the other side with salt. Carefully place each potato directly to the oven rack and then place the pan underneath (on the next rack), to catch any drippings.
Bake for 45 minutes to one hour or until they are cooked through.

Our weekend meals are always up for grabs, we either eat on the go or pick a random meal to cook at home :o)

Hope everyone is having an AWESOME week!