Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Montreal Steak Marinade

OK... so the easiest way to do this is to buy the silly little packet and follow the instructions on the back. But... if you're like us and buy the Montreal Steak Seasoning in bulk (and not in a cute little packet), then this is what you could do with it... this is the only way we cook our steaks. We've tried other things and this is always perfect. Of course, Jared's grilling it which might account for why it always turns out so perfectly...:)

This is enough for about 1-2 lbs. of meat.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. red wine or white vinegar
2 tsp. + a pinch Montreal Steak Seasoning

Marinate at least 30 minutes and then grill it. Always good!

Smoked Chicken Chimichangas

I've been on a recipe bender the last couple weeks and came upon this one last week at Tasty Sensations (linked at the bottom) and liked it so much I made it twice in one week! Also, I had a bag of slaw and can of chipotles that I needed to use and had no other use for... We really liked this. Even Caden devoured them. I realize the recipe is called "Smoked Turkey" chimichangas, but I'll admit that we did NOT love the turkey in them. I loved the flavor, but the turkey was kind of slimy and spongey and didn't' seem to fit. So when I made them two nights later, we used shredded chicken instead, which we liked much, much better. I would recommend the chicken over the turkey, but will admit the turkey made it much much faster... it was very easy and quick to whip up. So if you don't have issues with deli meat, use the turkey and you'll have a fabulously fast meal. But we have lots of issues with deli meats... Regardless, the flavor in this dish is great! And I loved the crispy tortillas.

Recipe Source: Tasy Sensations
Feeds: 6-8

1.25 lbs. Shredded, cooked chicken (or 1 lb. deli turkey, sliced into thin strips)
1/2 T. chili powder
2 C. shredded slaw cabbage
1/2 chipolte in adobo sauce (I used 1 whole chipotle plus several extra Tablespoons of the marvelous adobo sauce)
1 C. tomato sauce
3 scallions chopped
salt and pepper
6-10 tortillas
1 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese or pepper jack
2 T. vegetable oil
sour cream (optional)
cilantro (optional)
1 tomato finely chopped (optional)

1. Place chicken/turkey in a bowl and season with chili powder.

2. Add cabbage, chipotle, tomato sauce, scallions. Mix filling ingredients well and season with salt and pepper.

3. Place cheese near top of tortilla and add some filling. (I just mixed my cheese in with my chicken mixture for ease.)  Roll up tightly. Brush with vegetable oil and bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes.

4. Top with sour cream, parsley/cilantro and tomato. Fast, easy and delicious!!

Apple Dumplings

It was a Pioneer Woman Weekend! We made a bunch of recipes from her site over the weekend and I decided to repost our favorites here for easy reference. But if you haven't ever visited her site, be sure to go there for the best, no-fail, step by step instructions, that are funny to boot. Her stuff is amazing! But for a boring, basic list of ingredients and basic directions, you can come here. But only if you have to... These dumplings were probably our favorite recipe of the weekend. They are quite simply mouth wateringly amazing. And so easy to make. And not at all healthy, but oh well. They're totally worth it.

Apple Dumplings (go here for step by step, mouth watering pictures...)

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 slices
2 packages crescent rolls (I just used the regular size)
2 sticks salted butter (I only used 1 1/2 and think I could have gotten away with even less...)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t vanilla
8 oz. Mountain Dew (the small cans work well)

Butter a 9x13 pan. Unroll your crescent roll dough and roll an apple into each piece. (We felt like the dumplings could have used a bit more apple and next time we'll probably add two slices apple per dumpling... we'll see). Arrange your dumplings neatly in your pan.

Melt 2 sticks butter in saucepan. Add sugar and barely stir together. Add vanilla, and again barely stir together. You want your mixture grainy and a bit lumpy.

Now pour your sugar mixture over the apple dumplings in the pan, carefully coating them all. Then pour your can of Mountain Dew all along the edges of the pan. Finally, give the dumplings a generous coating of cinnamon and bake!

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, until nice and golden brown. They are then best served warm with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream.

Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Pie

I know, I know... enough already of Pioneer Woman's stuff... but it's so good! We made this pie and I have to admit that it was a bit too rich and chocolatey for me, but even I know a good pie when I eat one... and this is some good chocolate. Be forewarned... it has raw eggs in it. But they didn't kill us. Heck, we didn't' even get sick. And it's so, so good. And you eat cookie dough all the time... there's no difference, right?

Go here for detailed, picturesque, fun instructions.

2 sticks regular butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 baked pie shell

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then mix in cooled melted chocolate. Add vanilla and mix. Turn the mixer to medium speed, then add in the four eggs, one at a time, mixing for 4 to 6 minutes after the addition of each egg. Scrape sides of bowl once during mixing. Pour into the cooled pie shell and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. And like I said, it's very, very rich so I had to cut it with some (lots) of whipped cream. But it was totally worth it!

Olive Cheese Bread

More Pioneer Woman cooking! Another recipe we tried over Memorial Day weekend and loved. We served this with chicken spaghetti... not because they really fit together, but we really wanted to try it and it was the only night left. Sooo good! This is very olivey and we racked our brains trying to come up with substitutions for the olives if you're not much of an olive lover. After eating the bread, I think artichoke hearts and/or spinach and/or pimentos would make nice substitutions for the olives and the bread would still be might tasty.

Go here for Pioneer Woman's ultimate no-fail instructions.

1 regular can whole black (ripe) olives
1 6-oz jar pimiento-stuffed olives
2 green onions
¾ pound Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup real mayonnaise
1 stick butter, softened
1 loaf French bread

Roughly chop black and green olives. Slice green onions and give them a rough chop. Combine
green onions and olives with the softened butter, ½ cup mayonnaise, and grated Monterey jack
cheese. Mix thoroughly. Slice French bread in half lengthwise, then spread mixture evenly over
the halves.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until thoroughly melted and starting to turn light brown
and bubbly. Cut into diagonal slices and serve with salad, with soup, with spaghetti, or as a
yummy appetizer.
Make-ahead tips: You can make the cheese mixture up to two days ahead of time and store in the
fridge. Or, you can spread the mixture on the bread and freeze the bread, unbaked, for several

Twice Baked Potatoes

More Pioneer Woman cooking! I've been making twice baked potatoes for years now and always thought they were pretty good, but... Jared liked hers better. (*sniff*) I'll probably have to start doing mine like this instead now, but luckily I thought they were fantastic, too. And however you make your filling, these are always popular. There are no precise measurements here, but you can always go to her site for those no-fail, picture, step by step instructions.

8 Baking Potatoes
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Bacon Bits
Green Onions or Chives
2 sticks Butter, softened and cut into pieces
1/4 t Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1 cup cheddar/Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper

Wash your potatoes and bake them in the oven, without foil. You want the skin to get a bit crispy so you have nice sturdy shells to fill. My big ones usually bake from 60-90 minutes.

Throw your butter pats into a large mixing bowl and add the bacon and sour cream.
Once your potatoes are nice and soft, quickly cut them in half and scoop out the potato innards and add them to your mixing bowl. Be sure to do this soon after they've finished baking... although they're really hot to handle, the insides scoop out easier. Now mash all this stuff together. We kept ours a bit lumpy like Pioneer Woman did, and apparently Jared likes them lumpy. (I've always preferred mine creamy, but whatever... it probably explains why he likes me and I don't)
Next add your Lawry's and salt and pepper to taste, along with your shredded cheese. Also add some cut up green onions (or chives) and milk to reach your desired consistency.

Finally spoon a healthy amount of mashed potato mixture into each shell. Top with additional shredded cheese and bake on a baking sheet at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Chicken Spaghetti (and some Substitutions)

Jen will have to forgive me, but I've used my "administrator" privileges and am editing her post a bit to include the actual recipe and directions... not just the substitutions for a quick recipe reference. But Jen's substitutions are good to know, too! And this dish was seriously amazing. The flavors were so good. One note, though, is that it made a ton! It made enough for me to fill 2 large casserole dishes. If you're cooking for a regular sized family, you'll definitely want to freeze half of this.

And as always, go to her site for the easy, no-fail, step by step, humorous instructions.

2 cups cooked chicken (I used 1 whole fryer chicken and had just a bit more than 2 cups)
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup (I used 1 Cream of Mushroom and 1 Cream of Chicken)
2 cups grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup finely diced green pepper
1/2 cup finely diced onion

1 4 oz. jar pimentos, drained
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into pieces
2 cups reserved chicken broth (from your cooked chicken)
1 tsp. Lawrys Seasoned Salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper (or we used Crushed Red Pepper Flakes)
Salt and Pepper to taste
additional 1 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

Cook 1 cut up fryer until done and pick out the meat to make 2 cups worth. Cook Spaghetti in remaining chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook! Once your spaghetti is done and drained, mix it with all your remaining ingredients except for the additional cup of grated cheese.

Place mixture in a casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes or until nice and bubbly.

Emily made this delicious chicken spaghetti over the weekend while we were in Vegas. We also tried several other delectable recipes (like an amazing chocolate pie....) that we loved and one that we didn't like so much (the steak with the lemon pepper rub).

We had a busy night last night with Anya's soccer game and then shopping for a Relief Society activity. I knew we wouldn't have a lot of time for dinner, but I wanted the kids (and me!) to have something other than sandwiches. I also wanted Alan to be able to have something to take to work for lunch today. I normally have just about everything on hand for this recipe so I figured I could make it easily enough. I made it at about 3 in the afternoon so it would be ready in time. Aaron and I ate ours during the game and Anya had hers in the van after the game.

However the point of this particular post is to expound on the many substitutions I had to make (!) since I ended up having almost nothing in her original recipe.

The recipe called for.... and I used.....
a full fryer chicken.....a very large breast and a leg quarter
2 cans cream of mushroom....1 can cream of mushroom and 1 can cream of chicken
green pepper
pimentos....chives (I know this doesn't make sense, but I wanted something green)
sharp cheddar cheese...mont jack/cheddar blend
Lawry's seasoned salt...lime pepper, Mrs. Dash, salt pepper flakes

I wish I would have remembered about my green onion that I did have, I would have subbed that instead of the regular onion. Nonetheless, the dinner turned out fabulously. Anya didn't like the spiciness of it. The red pepper gave it some heat as an aftertaste. I don't know that Aaron particularly liked it either. But I loved it!