Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 15: Chicken Noodle Soup

Tonight was my first attempt at Chicken Noodle Soup. Sure, I'm a pro at popping a top off a can and heating soup up. I've been doing that for oh, about 20+ years now. This was my first attempt at home made, from scratch Chicken Noodle Soup. It wasn't that bad. The kids said it was even better than Campbell's.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 4- 16 oz containers chicken broth
  • 2 lb chicken breasts (you can cut them up before or wait until step 5)
  • 1 lb baby carrots, rinsed
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 package Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup Seasoning
  • 1 c uncooked egg noodles

  1. Place Chicken and vegetables in slow cooker.
  2. Pour 3 containers of chicken broth over chicken and veggies.
  3. Add seasoning mix.
  4. Cook on LOW for 6 hours.
  5. Take chicken out and cut it up. Return pieces to slow cooker.
  6. Continue cooking on LOW for for 2 hours.
  7. Add noodles. Use 4th container of broth to replace liquid as needed.
  8. Cook on HIGH for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 14: Tony Chachere's Dirty Rice

I usually make Dirty Rice from scratch. But, every now and then I need something quick and easy, requiring little work and that I know my family will eat. So, when I am not in the mood to cut and chop and oversee, I turn to a box mix. I usually buy Zatarain's for this and add  ground beef, ground andouille sausage and extra Cajun seasoning. But, one day I found the Tony Chachere's brand of Dirty Rice on sale for $1/box at Dollar General. I immediately bought all they had.


Tonight was one of those "Mama's tired and doesn't feel like cooking a large made from scratch meal" nights. So, I pulled out those boxes and decided to give it a try. I honestly liked it just as much as the Zatarain's. I usually spice it up extra on my own anyway. Of course, nothing compares to the real deal, but this boxed mix is just as good for a quick meal or a side. I would definitely purchase it again. I do check every time I go into the Dollar General but I haven't seen anymore since.

When I make Dirty Rice as a main dish, I always add extra meat to it. This particular night, I served it with green beans and carrots (for the kids).

Check back for my recipe for home made Dirty Rice. It should be listed soon.

**I received no money, product or service from any company listed. I bought this product on my own and decided to use my opinion in a blog.**

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 13: Pork Mango Cubano

Pork Mango Cubano
Served with Macaroni and Cheese

This was a "off the top of my head" recipe. Overall, it wasn't too bad. The orange juice gave it a sweet flavor which was interesting with the salsa flavor. I served it with macaroni and cheese, but I think it would be much better with rice and maybe a "sweet" vegetable like peas or corn. Maybe a side salad as the vegetable.

Pork Mango Cubano

  • 1 whole pork tenderloin, butterflied (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 lb chorizo sausage
  • 1 Jar Chunky Salsa
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 ripe mango, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ c packed brown sugar
  • 2 c orange juice

1) Place the pork in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2) Meanwhile, in a skillet brown up the chorizo. Drain the grease.
3) Put chorizo in slow cooker around pork. Pour salsa over meat. Sprinkle cilantro leaves on top. Add mango.
4) Cook on high for 4-5 hrs. Pork should be done but not easily able to be shredded.
5) After the pork is done, place on a plate for slicing.
6) In slow cooker add brown sugar and orange juice. Stir together and serve as “gravy” over pork.

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe found here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 12: Steak Italiano

We ate out again tonight for some reason. So, I had to look for another trusted recipe. I used to cook this one all the time. I have even done it in a slow-cooker on occasion. But, it is best on the stove. It is based on this recipe from Campbell's Kitchen.

Steak Italiano

*1 tbsp vegetable oil

*1 beef flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into strips
*2 medium onions, sliced (about 1 cup)
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1 tsp Italian seasoning, crushed
*2 c of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1) Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef strips and cook for 10 minutes or until it's well browned on both sides. Remove the beef from the skillet. Pour off any fat.
2) Add the onions, garlic and Italian seasoning to the skillet. Cook until the onions are tender. Return the beef to the skillet. Stir in the sauce. Reduce the heat to low.

I just serve this with noodles and a veggie.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 11: Hamburger Stroganoff

We actually ate out to celebrate my daughter's 8th birthday tonight. She had requested a buffet but it was so late when we got moving (hubby works midnights Mon - Thurs), that we opted to splurge on Wendy's instead. So, back into my archives I had to go. I actually made this about a month ago back before I got the idea for this blog.

Hamburger Stroganoff

2 lbs Lean ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, finely chopped ( I use mined garlic)
3 cans (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp pepper
16 oz Sour cream

1) Cook beef, onion and garlic in skillet over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain off any fat.
2) Stir in soup. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes stirring occasionally to keep soup from sticking to bottom of skillet. Stir in sour cream and cook until hot.

I serve this with egg noodles. I also doubled this to make enough for my family of 8 (well 9 but one doesn't eat table food yet).


I can share a picture of our dessert. The store didn't have the Mint Chocolate Chip Cake that she really wanted, so Daddy picked this one out instead. The first thing she said was "Yay, it has ALL my favorite colors!" (pink, purple and baby blue)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 10: Cajun Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy and Rice

Cajun Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy and Rice
Also served with Green Peas

Cajun Pork Chops
  • 8 Pork Chops
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Flour
  • Olive Oil

  1. In a plate mix flour and cajun seasoning together. The ratio between the 2 is to your liking.
  2. In a skillet, coat the bottom  with Olive Oil.
  3. Coat both sides of chops with the flour mixture. Cook on both sides until done.

Mushroom Gravy
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 1 can Golden Mushroom Soup
  • 1 package Mushroom gravy mix
  • 1 can mushroom pieces

  1. In a skillet, sautee mushrooms for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in soup, gravy mix, and broth.
  3. Cook until bubbly.

Broth Simmered Rice
  • Rice
  • Broth (chicken broth pairs well with pork)

  1. Cook rice according to package, using broth instead of water.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 9: A Seafood Cajun Seasoning And A Garlic Butter

Tonight we actually had Spaghetti, Garlic Bread and a Side Salad. However, my spaghetti sauce is one of those "If I tell you the recipe, I must kill you" recipes. So, instead I'm going to post my Seafood Cajun Seasoning. I made some AWESOME Tilapia Sandwiches one time using this seasoning. I am also posting the simple and basic recipe for Garlic Butter that I use to make Garlic bread. Believe, it or not I make my garlic bread using ONLY A TOASTER and no one believes me!

Seafood Cajun Seasoning

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon gumbo file
1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning, optional (recommended: Old Bay) if using cut salt to 1/2 tablespoon

In a medium bowl, combine cayenne pepper, kosher salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic, onion powder, gumbo file and crab boil seasoning.

Quick Garlic Toast

*4 Tbsp Butter (Squeezable works best)
*2 Tsp Garlic Salt
*Bread (as many pieces as you need. I usually make 8 - 16 slices at a time)

1) In a bowl mix butter and garlic salt together. (Garlic salt amounts can be altered to your tasting).
2) Toast bread. Spread butter mixture on toast AS SOON AS ITS DONE.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 8 - Oldie But Goodie: Maple Raisin Carrots

I had cooked something called Slow Cooker Citrus Chicken, but that recipe needs a little more "tweaking". So, I looked around to find a recipe to post. I have made this one before in the past. Looks promising for sometime in the near future as well...

Maple Raisin Carrots

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 c sliced carrots
  • 1/4 c golden raisins
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and syrup.
  2. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Stir in carrots and raisins. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook 3-5 minutes longer or until carrots are tender.



Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 7 - Slow Cooker Golden Mushroom Pork & Apples and Macaroni and Cheese

Slow Cooker Golden Mushroom Pork & Apples and Macaroni and Cheese
Also served with a Side Salad (Mixed Greens, carrots, cherry tomatoes and cucumber)

Slow Cooker Golden Mushroom Pork & Apples

© Campbell’s Kitchen

• 4 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) Golden Mushroom Soup
• 1 cup water
• 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
• 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed
• 8 boneless pork chops, 3/4-inch thick (about 2 pounds)
• 4 large Granny Smith apples, sliced
• 2 large onions, sliced (about 2 cups)

1. Stir the soup, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire and thyme in a 4-quart slow cooker. Add the pork, apples and onions.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours or until the pork is cooked through.

Macaroni and Cheese

• 6 c uncooked elbow macaroni
• ½ cup butter or margarine
• ½ c all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 pinch pepper
• 4 c. milk
• 4 c shredded Cheddar cheese
• ½ c Parmesan Cheese

1. Cook macaroni noodles according to package.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Cook until bubbly.
3. Gradually add milk; cook and stir until thickened.
4. Stir in cheese until melted.
5. Drain macaroni; add to cheese sauce and stir to coat.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 6 - Slow Cooker Hamburger Steak with Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Hamburger Steak and Gravy with Mashed Potatoes
Also served with Green Peas

Slow Cooker Hamburger Steak and Gravy

• 2 ½ lbs ground beef
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 eggs
• 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 3 c. bread crumbs
• 2 c. flour
• 7 packets mushroom gravy mix
• 4 ½ c. water
• 1 onion, sliced
• 1 large can sliced mushrooms

1. In a large bowl, mix beef, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs and salt and pepper until well blended.
2. Form hamburger patties to your liking. Roll each patty in flour. Brown on each side in skillet. Place in bottom of slow cooker.
3. In skillet (I used the same one as I browned the hamburgers in), mix water and mushroom gravy packets together. (**This is not how the packets directions say to mix it. But, I like it this way.**) Continue to let simmer until completely mixed.
4. Add the sliced onion and mushrooms to the slow cooker over the patties. Pour the gravy over the hamburger.
5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. If your gravy is too thin, add some cornstarch. If it’s too thick, add some water.

Mashed Potatoes

• About 8 large potatoes, cubed into small pieces
• 2 ½ c. milk
• 2 tbsp. sour cream
• 2 tbsp. butter
• Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Boil potatoes in large pot until soft. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they soften. Drain.
2. Add potatoes back to pot. Add milk, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix until desired consistency.

**NOTE: Some amounts are approximate. This is another recipe where I “eyeball” the ingredients.**

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 5 - Slow Cooker Roast Beef and Vegetables

Slow Cooker Roast Beef with Vegetables

• 5 lbs Beef roast (sometimes I use chuck roast and sometimes I use a round roast)
• 2 ½ boxes Beef broth
• 5 large potatoes, cubed
• ½ bag of baby carrots
• 1 onion, sliced

1. Using a fork, put holes in roast. Place roast in bottom of slow cooker.
2. Pour 2 ½ boxes of broth over roast.
3. Arrange potatoes and carrots around roast.
4. Put onions in slow cooker making sure to leave some on the roast.
5. Cook on low for 8 hours or until cooked through. Or cook on high for 4 hours ot until cooked through.

**Crystal’s Note: Please note that this recipe is approximate. It is one done according to tastes. You can add more or less of any ingredient.**

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 4 - Cajun Chicken Wraps with Pasta Salad

Cajun Chicken Wraps with Pasta Salad

Cajun Chicken Wraps

• 3 Tbsp + ½ tsp Cajun seasoning
• 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
• 3/4 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins (*2 per wrap)
• 4 medium flour tortillas
• 2 cup mixed baby greens
• 4 tsp mayonnaise

1. Combine 3 tablespoons seasoning mix, flour, and paprika. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in seasoning mixture.
2. Coat a large, nonstick pan with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, add chicken to pan and sauté until cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken from heat and set aside.
3. Combine mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning for dressing. On each tortilla, spread 1 teaspoon dressing, add greens. Top with chicken pieces (approximately two per tortilla) and wrap.

Pasta Salad

• 1 box tri-color corkscrew pasta
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 green pepper, diced
• 1 red pepper, diced
• 1 small can sliced black olives, drained
• 1 bottle Italian dressing

1. Cook pasta, onion, and peppers according to box. Drain.
2. In a large bowl mix pasta, olives and dressing.
3. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
4. Stir before serving.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 3 - Smothered Cajun Pork Chops

Smothered Cajun Pork Chops
Served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Peas

• 2 tbsp cornstarch
• 1 ¾ c. Beef Stock
• ¼ tsp ground black pepper
• Vegetable cooking spray
• 6 boneless pork chops, ½ -inch thick
• 1 medium onion, sliced
• 1 green pepper, sliced
• 1 red pepper, sliced
• 1 yellow pepper, sliced
• 1 orange pepper, sliced

1. Stir the cornstarch, stock and black pepper in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth.
2. Season both sides of pork with Cajun seasoning.
3. Spray a 10-inch skillet with the cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the pork and cook until cooked through.
4. Remove the pork from the skillet. Cover to keep warm.
5. Add onion and peppers to skillet. Cook until tender-crisp.
6. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens.
7. Serve onion and pepper mixture over the pork.

**Crystal's Note: I used already prepared potatoes for this meal. I do have a recipe for homemade mashed potatoes that I will post another day.**

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 2 -- Cajun Pork with Fire – Roasted Red Peppers & Red Potatoes

Pork with Fire – Roasted Red Peppers & Red Potatoes
served with mini corn on the cob ears

• 4 boneless pork chops, 1/2-inch thick
• Ground black pepper
• Cajun Seasoning
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 8 medium red potatoes, cut up
• 1 medium onion, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
• 1 cup Chicken Stock
• 1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper

1. Season the pork with the black pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for 10 minutes or until it's well browned on both sides. Remove the pork from the skillet.
3. Add the potatoes, onion and oregano to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are browned, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the pork, stock and red pepper to the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.

**Crystal's Notes: This recipe is based off this one on Campbell's Kitchen. I sometimes cut the pork into strips prior to cooking.**

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 1 -- BBQ Night!

Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches, Carolina Style No-Bake Baked Beans and Coleslaw
Coleslaw Not Pictured 
Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches
·         1 batch of Carolina BBQ sauce (see below for recipe)
·         Pork Tenderloin
·         Buns
1.    Place pork tenderloin in slow cooker. Pour sauce over tenderloin.
2.    Cook on high for 5 hours.
3.    Take tenderloin out and shred it. Place back in slow cooker.
4.    Cook on low for 3 hours.
5.    Spoon pork onto buns and serve.

Carolina BBQ Sauce
·         1 c. yellow mustard
·         ½ c. sugar
·         ¼ c. light brown sugar
·         ¾ c. distilled apple cider vinegar
·         2 tbsp. chili powder
·         1 tsp. black pepper
·         ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
·         ½ tsp. soy sauce
·         2 tbsp. butter, melted
1.    Mix all ingredients together.
2.    Makes about 2 ¾ cups.

Carolina Style No-Bake Baked Beans
·         1 lb bacon
·         1 onion, diced
·         2 green peppers, diced
·         4 cans (19.75 oz each) pork and beans
·         ¾ c. Carolina BBQ sauce
·         ½  c. light brown sugar
·         ¼ c. distilled apple cider vinegar

1.    Cut bacon into pieces and brown up in pan. DO NOT CRISP OR COMPLETELY COOK BACON. Remove from pan. Do not drain grease or clean pan.
2.    Dice up an onion and 2 green peppers.
3.    Add onion and peppers to bacon grease and cook.
4.    Transfer onions and peppers to large pot. Add bacon pieces.
5.    Add cans of pork and beans. Stir.
6.    Add in Carolina BBQ sauce. Stir. Then add in brown sugar and vinegar. Stir.
7.    Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  • 1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 large carrots, finely shredded
  • ¾ c. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1.    Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl.
2.    Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.
3.    Add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired.