Skillet Hamburger Mac and Cheese – Hamburger Helper Recipe

Kent has been bugging me to check out the Hamburger Helper website for dinner ideas.  He knows I am not going to buy a box of Hamburger Helper but I will certainly try to make a rendition of a recipe.  I finally checked it out today and found a recipe Kent suggested that I decided to make.  It was quite yummy…oh and simple and delicious.  It also took under an hour which works for all of us.  I found this recipe at, where else, America’s Test Kitchen.  Here goes, give it a try!

Skillet Hamburger Mac and Cheese

October 25 020

 

Ingredients

October 25 016

1 pound – Hamburger
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (to make fresh bread crumbs, pulse 2 slices of hearty white sandwich bread (I use Pepperidge Farm Country White Bread) in a food processor until coarsely ground)
Salt and Pepper
3 3/4 cups water
1- (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
12 ounces (3 cups) elbow macaroni
2 teaspoons hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)
8 ounces Monteray Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)

Directions

1.  Brown ground beef in 12 inch non skillet pan over medium high heat, 6-8 minutes.  Transfer October 25 016to paper towel lined plate.  Add bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon pepper to now empty skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes (I ended up removing the ground beef fat also, I added 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to brown the crumbs).  Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
2.  Bring water, 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to simmer in now empty skillet over medium high heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring often until al dente, 8-10 minutes.
3.  Whisk remaining 1/4 cup evaporated milk, hot sauce and cornstarch together in bowl, then stir in pasta.  Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Off heat, stir in cheddar, Monterey Jack, and ground beef.  Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs.  Serve!

 

 

Bacon and Egg Rice Stir Fry

I found this recipe a long time ago in Bon Appetit magazine.  I have been making it for about 10 years.  Everyone in our family loves this very simple stir fry.  I make it for breakfast once or twice a month.  We always enjoy this simple and delicious meal.

October 25 011

Bacon and Egg Rice Stir Fry

Ingredients

1 cup long grain white rice (I use jasmine, basmati, arborio or long grain white, depends on my mood)
2 cups water

8 bacon slices, cut into 1/2 inch strips
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I use peanut oil)
1/2 cup green onion
1 teaspoon sesame oil (I use 1 Tablespoon – no, it is not too much)

Directions

  1. Bring rice and water to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Cook bacon in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until golden and crisp.  It takes about 5-10 minutes.  Pour into a sieve over a heatproof bowl and reserve bacon and fat separately.
  3. Whisk together eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4.  Return 3 Tablespoons of bacon fat to skillet and sauté onion over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs and cook, stirring until eggs are just set, about 1 minute.  Make a well in center of egg mixture, then pour in peanut (or vegetable) oil and 2 Tablespoons reserved bacon fat.
  5. Add rice, remaining salt and pepper and cook stirring about 2 minutes.
  6. Add bacon, green onions, sesame oil and cook mixture,October 25 012

    stirring until mixed through.

  7. Serve starving family and/or friends!

Stuffed Shells – Scullion Crew Favorite

I think I could make Stuffed Shells every weekend and they would be gone in a heartbeat.  All of us love them.  Especially the next day, if they survive that long.  Here is this simple recipe that takes no time at all.  If you don’t make your own sauce (which takes 15 minutes for a quick one) then use a jar.  Here you go;

Stuffed Shells

August 2014 007

Ingredients

1 Box – Jumbo Stuffed Shells
Tomato Sauce or buy a jar (whatever works for you)
1 -32 ounce container of Ricotta (I use whole milk Ricotta)
3 cups shredded Mozzarella (2 cups for mixing in the bowl, 1 cup to top the shells before putting in oven.)
1 cup shredded Parmesan
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (If I have it I use it, if I don’t it is still wonderful!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375°F.
2.  Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
3.  In medium bowl, stir together cheeses, eggs, salt, pepper
4.  Use a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, spread bottom of dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Fill each cooked shell with cheese mixture and add to baking dish.  August 2014 050When baking dish is full, spread remaining sauce over shells; sprinkle with additional mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese, if desired. (It depends on my mood.  I usually use mozzarella cheese.)
5.  Bake  35-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is lightly browned.August 2014 008

 

I will be surprised if you don’t love this simple and delicious meal.  I think I may have to make this over the weekend.  Enjoy!!

Apple Crisp – Couldn’t be more simple or delicious!

Apple Crisp is one of Eric’s favorite fall desserts.  It takes no time to make and bake.  Truly simple and delicious.  Eric’s expression says it all!!October 039

Apple Crisp

October 030

Ingredients

4 cups apples, sliced (I usually fill an 8×8 square baking dish.  8-10 medium apples)
1 Tablespoon butter to grease 8×8 baking dish
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

1.  Preheat oven 375 degrees
2.  Use 1 Tablespoon butter to grease baking dish
3.  Peel and slice apples. Place in baking dish
4.  Put remaining ingredients in food processor.  October 032Pulse until combined.  October 033Put on top of apples in baking dish.October 035
5.  Bake 30 minutes.
6.  Eat with or without ice cream. October 038   Hope you enjoy this simple and delicious dessert!!  Ciao!!

Did you know about Panades?

A panade is a paste of milk and bread October 035that is typically used to help foods like meatballs and meatloaf hold their shape and moisture. While it may sound odd to use a panade in a sauce, America’s Test Kitchen science editor explained why it works: Starches from the bread absorb liquid from the milk to form a gel that coats and lubricates the protein molecules in the meat in the same way that fat does, keeping them moist and preventing them from linking together to form a tough matrix. Mixing the beef and panade in a food processor helps to ensure that the starch is well dispersed and all the meat reaps the benefits.

However, the gel does not begin to form until the meat-bread-milk mixture is heated. Under heat, the coating of gel on the pieces of protein prevents them from chemically reacting with each other and resulting in toughness.

Applesauce – Simple and Delicious!

I have tons of apples that the Martin’s picked a couple of weekends ago.  I thought I would start with applesauce.  I have had this recipe for years. Tastes much better than any jar you get at the grocery store. Doesn’t last as long though 🙂

Lazy Day Applesauce

October 044

Ingredients

6 cups of apples or 3# bag       October 039
1/3 – ½ cup of apple juice or cider (you can use water too)
2-4 tablespoons sugar OR  none if you so desire (This depends on how sweet/tart the apples are.)
Half of lemon or orange
Cinnamon (Personally, I prefer without cinnamon.  You can add if you like.)

 

Directions

1.  Peel then grate the apples into a microwave safe bowl. October 042
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
3.  Microwave for 10-12 minutes.
4. After removing from microwave whisk to your desired consistency.

Eat!  YUM!! October 047

 

Tomato Sauce with Meatballs

I have been making sauce and meatballs for a very long time.  This recipe is something I have worked very hard to make sure it is delicious every time.  I am sure if you try it you will love it.  Don’t forget the cheese.  That is what makes it work. Have fun with this simple and delicious meal.

Basic Tomato Sauce (that is awesome!)

tomato sauce 003without meat

October 038with meatballs and sausage

Ingredients

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small-medium red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup shredded parmesan or romano or pecorino romano or whatever hard italian cheese you like
2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt (cheese is salty so taste, taste, taste!)
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1.  Add olive oil to sauce pan on medium heat.
2.  Add diced onions.  Cook onion on low to medium heat until opaque, about 4-5 minutes.  Add cloves of garlic and let cook 30 seconds.
3.  Add cans of tomatoes and let cook about 5 minutes until warm.
4.  Add rest of ingredients and let simmer 30-60 minutes.  If you want you can simmer longer but it is not necessary.  Sauce does not have to take a long time.  Taste it, if you like it, then it is done.  I like it to cook down a bit so I usually go 45-60 minutes for a tomato sauce.
5.  When I add meat I cook longer.  I love to add meatballs and sausage. (I am from Syracuse NY.  When I go back to the ‘cuse to visit, I always bring back to GB some Gianelli sausage.  This sausage is only made in Syracuse.  It adds an even better flavor to my sauce. Brings back memories of my mom’s sauce.)

Meatballs

Ingredients

October 037

1 slice of white bread
1/4 cup milk
1# ground beef
1/2 cup of chopped red onion (you could use white onion too)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tablespoon of dry) Honestly, I forget the parsley often!
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste (remember cheese is salty)
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1.  I always double this recipe.  1# of meatballs is not enough for this family that is for sure!  In a bowl soak the bread in the milk.  This is called a panade and is a very important step.  This makes the meatballs moist and delish!October 035
2.  In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, bread and milk, onions, parsley, egg, cheese, and garlic.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  
3.  Form the mixture into about 12 meatballs, depending on the size you like
4.  Put olive oil in sauté pan.  Fry meatballs over medium to high heat until brown and cooked through. If making sauce, throw them in with your sauce!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Streusel Topping – Simple and Delicious!!

It is that time of year.  Pumpkin and apple time.  I usually make apple bread, apple crisp, apple pie (I try), apple pizza – you name it and I bet I’ve done it.  This year I am going to try a couple of different pumpkin recipes.  Martin2 happens to really enjoy anything pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pancakes, bread, cheesecake (next time Martin) – well, anything pumpkin.  I thought I would start safe and try a muffin with a cream cheese filling.  They taste great but I always seem to lack success in the “filling” part of the recipe.  I just finished baking them so Martin will try them tomorrow.   I found the recipe here and made a couple of adjustments.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Streusel Topping

october 010

Ingredients

Filling

1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 egg
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Streusel Topping

4 1/2 Tablespoons Flour
3 Tablespoons butter (I used 4)
5 Tablespoons sugar (I used 2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 1 teaspoon of a pumpkin spice mix that I made.  I combined –  1 Tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and 1/2 teaspoon allspice = Pumpkin Spice Mix)
3 Tablespoons pecans (I did not use nuts)

Muffix Mix

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I used 2 heaping teaspoons of the pumpkin spice mix)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil (I used canola oil)
1 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

october 008

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups, or use paper liners. (I used paper liners)
2.  To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth, then set aside. (I tried mixing by hand but it did not work well.  I ended up mixing in my stand up mixer.  I did not like the thin texture of this filling.  I was going to make a different recipe that I have used in the past.  I decided to go by this recipe since it was the first time I made them)
3.  For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.(I put all ingredients in my food processor and pulsed until crumbly)
4.  For the muffin batter: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth. (I used my stand up mixer.  I used medium speed for 2-3 minutes.)
5.  Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full. Then add one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter. Try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper cup. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.  (I put 1 Tablespoon of muffin mix in each cup, then put 1 Tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on top of that, then filled with muffin mix, topped with streusel topping)
6.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

I normally do not like pumpkin.  I had to try one to see if it was a success or not.  The muffin was delicious, moist with a slightly spicy flavor.  The one that I took had the filling but it sunk to the bottom of the muffin. We will have to see how the other muffins look.  I also am looking forward to Martin’s opinion.  Believe me, he will let me know!  😉

 

Penne Rose (Noodles and Company Copy Cat Recipe)

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we are having a pink food day at work tomorrow.  I was a little puzzled as to what to make that is pink other than a dessert.  That is when I thought of Penne Rosa!  On a more serious note, my mom is a breast cancer SURVIVOR.  It has been 22 years since that scary day.  What saved my mom 22 years ago at age 65 was an annual mammogram.  Ladies, be smart and get an annual check up and that MAMMOGRAM.  It could save your life.  It did so for my mom.  So, if you know anyone who has (or had) cancer (and I bet you do) wear pink at least one day this month.  Remember them and if they are still with you call them and if you are lucky and they are in your town go give them a great big hug!!

Penne Rosa (Noodles and Company copy cat recipe.  By the way, I love Noodles and Company.)

October 048

Ingredients

October 040

1 pound, penne pasta
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of boneless chicken breast (If large I slice in half so they are thinner, they will cook faster that way)
1 – 8 oz box of frozen chopped spinach (I used 5 ounce bag fresh spinach.)
1 – 14 1/2 oz can of Italian diced tomatoes, drained (oops, I didn’t drain them!)
1 – 16 oz jar of alfredo sauce (I made my alfredo sauce.  I just can’t buy a jar.)
1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 (8 ounce) can of sliced mushrooms (I used fresh mushrooms, chopped)
1 onion, chopped
red pepper flake
Parmesan cheese

Directions

1.  Boil water and prepare pasta according to the boxed instructions
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to saute pan.  Fry chicken until done (about 10-15 minutes)  I like them a little browned.  When they are cooked remove from pan and cut into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.
3.  Add onions and mushrooms to the saute pan.  Saute until onions are opaque (about 5 minutes) (If you use canned mushrooms, drain the liquid before adding to the saute pan)
4.  If you use frozen spinach, thaw the spinach and drain out all excess water. If fresh, as I did, boil water, empty spinach from the bag into the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Drain in colander, put between 2 towels to wring out water and chop.)
5.  In a large saucepan mix the alfredo sauce, tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, spinach and 1/4-to 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes to taste. October 046
6  Simmer on low for 15-20 minute.
7.  Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl.
8.  Add the chicken to the sauce and stir. Add the pasta and stir.   Serve immediately and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and additional red pepper flakes if desired.

Hope my coworkers like it!!  Enjoy and Think PINK!!

Alfredo Sauce

This is a super simple and delicious recipe.  I enjoy over pasta or as a pizza sauce.  It takes no time to make.  You will have dinner on the table under an hour!!

Alfredo Sauce

October 043

Ingredients

4 Tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I use Romano, Parmigiana Reggiano, Grana Padano – whatever I have on hand)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (white pepper if you have it – I don’t)
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (if I have it I use it)

Directions

**Make you pasta (linguine, shells, whatever you like) while you are preparing the sauce.  It is best to have the pasta ready when the sauce is done.**

1.  Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium/low heat
2.  Add the garlic, cream and pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer.
3.  Stir often – 4-5 minutes.  It will cook down and get thicker.
4.  Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer sauce for 3-5 minutes or until thickened and smooth.
5.  Pour the sauce over pasta and serve.

Have any leftover sauce?  Why not make a chicken alfredo pizza?