Friday, September 23, 2011

Cajun Pasta

(Picture borrowed from BlogChef; where I found this yummy recipe.)


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into small strips) - I used Tyson boneless, skinless tenderloins (already in strips!)

4 oz linguini (cooked all dente) - I used regular spaghetti since that's what I had on hand!

2 tsp Cajun seasoning (I used "Slap Yo Mamma")

2 Tbsp butter

1 green onion (thinly sliced)

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp dried basil

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp garlic powder

¼ c parmesan cheese

Step 1: Place chicken strips and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, toss the chicken with the seasoning until the chicken strips evenly coated with the seasoning.

Step 2: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add chicken and sauté the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

Step 3: Reduce heat to low. Add green onions, heavy cream, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cook until heated through. Pour over hot linguini and toss with parmesan cheese.

(Makes 2 Servings)

Seriously folks, hubs said this was one of the best things I've ever made. Simple & satisfying...can't beat that!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Poor Man's Lasagna

The other day, I found a recipe on Pinterest that linked me to Mommy's Kitchen. As I was browsing through all of the recipes, I ran into one called Poor Man's Lasagna. Larry loves any kind of pasta with sauce & cheese so I thought I'd give it a try. Sure enough, it was a hit! I am adding it to "My Favorites" since it is SO easy & he loved it!!

2 - packages (7.25 oz) Macaroni & Cheese
1 - lb ground beef
1 - Jar Spaghetti Sauce (use your favorite)
1 - (8oz) package mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the macaroni and cheese according to package directions.
While the macaroni is cooking, brown and drain the ground beef.
Add the ground beef to the prepared macaroni and cheese.
Mix in the spaghetti sauce and add to a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Top with mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil sprayed with baking spray and bake for 25 minutes until heated through and bubbly.

Another way she posted to assemble the lasagna: Spoon half of the prepared macaroni and cheese into lightly greased 9 x 13 inch square baking dish. Add half of the spaghetti sauce and then the remaining macaroni and cheese. Add the rest of the spaghetti sauce and top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

I made corn for a side & could easily see this being added as a layer to the "lasagna". Next time, I may add pepperoni and black olives. Maybe even some green onions!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

I am in the process of making Presley a recipe book of "My Favorite Recipes" just as my mother made me in 2002. I love my little book of Mother's favorites all handwritten in no particular order. Love it. Treasure it! One recipe that I want to make sure Presley knows how to make is home-made gravy just like Momma's. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, Bryan had home-made biscuits and gravy every-single-morning for breakfast growing up and randomly on weekends his whole life. It's not the best thing in the world for you but it is NO DOUBT what I call a comfort food.

Mother always made cream gravy because Bryan & Daddy didn't like sausage in theirs. When you know how to make cream gravy or even sausage gravy, you learn how to adjust it accordingly to go with....fried chicken & mashed potatoes; fried deer steak & mashed potatoes; fried pork chops & mashed get the picture already? Good because I'm getting HUUUUNGREEEE!!!

Dylan & Presley both love biscuits & gravy. Most every weekend, when Dylan is home, I make biscuits & gravy for them. Most every morning, I make it for Dylan before school. I make it homemade on the weekends but I cheat during the week!!

You see, Tennessee Pride has two products that I love and Pilsbury has the other. Tennessee Pride makes a frozen sausage gravy & sausage balls and Pilsbury has frozen biscuits. During the week, I pop a couple of frozen biscuits in my little oven and throw the frozen gravy in the microwave and in less than 15 minutes - VIOLA - biscuits & gravy!

Here's the recipe for Sausage Gravy followed by how to make cream gravy.

1 lb pork sausage

1/2 c oil

1/2 c flour

4 c milk

Salt & Pepper to taste

Scramble sausage in a heavy skillet. Drain fat into a measuring cup & add oil to make 1/2 cup. Return oil to the sausage in the skillet. Sprinkle on the flour or you can sift it into the pan slowly too. Stir & cook sausage, oil & flour over low heat, scraping browned particles loose from skillet (with wooden spoon or spatula) for 4 or 5 minutes or until flour is a very pale brown. Gradually add the milk, stirring rapidly to prevent lumping. Turn heat up to medium and bring to a boil. Cook until gravy gets bubbly and thickens. (If gravy gets too thick, just add more milk!) Season with salt & pepper.

-- If you prefer cream gravy (without sausage), just measure out 2 Tbsp of oil or drippings and 2 Tbsp of flour for each cup of milk you use in the recipe.

-- If you've just fried a chicken, pork chops or any other meat that makes crumples, you'll follow the recipe above, scraping the particles loose to incorporate into your gravy.

-- Mother always used part water and part milk. You can always use 2% or even evaporated milk too.

Biscuits....really, it's not hard to make home-made biscuits. Once you get the hang of it, you'll make biscuits for everything! I just don't want to make them at 4 in the morning so I buy the frozen ones. Mother used to make up over-sized batches & freeze them. I'm domestic but apparently not THAT domestic!!

2 c flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 stick cold salted butter, cut into 1/2 inch slices

3/4 c milk

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder & salt. Use a pastry blender or two butter knives to cut the butter into the mixture until it has a course, pea-size texture. Add milk & stir the mixture until it forms a shaggy dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Use your fingers to gently flatten it into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle or circle. Fold the dough over and flatten it once more. Repeat 3 or 4 times, working quickly so the butter remains solid.

Flatten the dough a final time & use a 3 inch biscuit cutter or a drinking glass as Mother did to cut out 10 dough rounds. Transfer them to a 12x17 baking sheet & bake them until golden brown in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes. (Make your gravy while biscuits are baking!)

About the other product made by Tennessee Pride...Larry & my FIL love Sausage balls so I keep these little fellers on hand at all times. They go in the oven and VIOLA - no one knows that they are not homemade and the process is not near as messy!

What's your favorite breakfast and/or comfort food?