Saturday, December 14, 2013

Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes are a staple in my family. My mom used to make them, my sister makes them, and I make them. (And if I ever have children, they too will make twice baked potatoes!). They are super easy to make and a great side dish. When it comes to making twice baked potatoes, the bigger the potatoes, the better!

Twice Baked Potatoes
4 large potatoes
3 stalks green onion (sliced)
1/2 lb. bacon (cooked, and chopped)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (sharp)
Dash of salt and pepper
Using a fork, poke holes in potatoes
Bake potatoes in a 350F oven for 75- 90 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked
Meanwhile, cook bacon and then chop and set aside
Slice green onions, set aside
Once potatoes are cooked remove from oven and cut potatoes in half lengthwise
Using a spoon, scoop out the inside of the potato into a large bowl (leaving the skins intact)
Use a hot pad to hold potato halves because it is better to scoop out the potato while hot to melt the butter
Add butter, sour cream, bacon, green onions, and salt and pepper
Mash and mix with a fork
Taste, and add more sour cream, butter, salt/pepper as needed for preference
Scoop the mixture back into the potato skins
Top with shredded cheese
Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and potatoes are crispy
(recipe makes 8 servings)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Potato Soup

My husband has been bothering me to make him some potato soup. Being that I have never made it before I went looking for recipes and honestly they all seemed like a lot of work. That's not how I cook so I was trying to find a way to make potato soup without spending my entire day doing it. And in comes my mother in law. I asked her for advice on how to make potato soup and whether or not I needed flour, etc. And come to find out all I needed was milk, the rest of it is probably for show. You have to know that my mother in law is like the Yoda of cooking. You just do what she says and everything works out in the end. This recipe is not only easy, but delicious. I sided this with bread, but then again I side pretty much everything with bread. Obviously we are on a full carb diet at the Petersen household.

Potato Soup

4 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
3 1/2 cups whole milk
2 stalks green onion
1 small onion finely chopped
2 sliced celery stalks
1 large grated carrot
1/2 stick butter
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, Italian seasoning, and celery seed

Peel potatoes and then cut into cubes

Grate carrot, chop onion, slice celery, and slice green onion

Add all to a large pot

Add enough water to barely cover the top of the vegetables

Boil until almost all of the water is gone

Add 1/2 stick butter to vegetables and mash potatoes leaving a lot of large chunks

Add milk

Add seasonings to taste

Simmer for 1-1/2 hours, stirring often

If soup becomes too thick add more milk as needed

Let cool, and serve

(This makes a little more than 2 servings, if you bought this in the store it would probably say more like 4 servings, but I am referring to adults that actually eat)


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Chicken, Zucchini Lasagna

I am proud of this recipe because I literally just combined a bunch of ingredients that I thought would be good together and it turned out amazing! I love traditional lasagna, but this is a nice change of pace. The chicken makes it lighter and using vodka cream sauce instead of tomato spaghetti sauce compliments it well.

Chicken Zucchini Lasagna

6 lasagna noodles
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
1 15oz. ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
10 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 24oz. jar vodka cream sauce
3 zucchinis
1 small container mushrooms
1 onion
1 egg
Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder & Italian Seasoning

Slice mushrooms, zucchini, and onions and then sauté

Season chicken breast with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning

Cook chicken breast and cut into thin, small strips

Add vodka cream sauce to a large pot and add chicken strips, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions and cook on low 10-15 minutes

Boil lasagna noodles until cooked

Add ricotta, parmesan, and 1 beaten egg to a bowl and mix with a fork

Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with 1 cup chicken and zucchini sauce

Layer 3 noodles over top

Spread half the ricotta mixture onto the noodles, then add half of the remaining chicken, zucchini sauce

Top with half of the mozzarella cheese

Repeat steps last 3 steps 

Bake in a 350 oven for 35-45 minutes or until brown

Monday, November 4, 2013

Beef Pot Roast

I love making crockpot meals because the best part is having the amazing smells throughout the day. Crockpot meals are easy and they pretty much make themselves. This is the perfect meal for a Sunday.
Beef Pot Roast
3-5 lb. boneless chuck eye roast
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 tsp. red cooking wine
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh minced garlic
1/2 small bag baby carrots
15 pearl onions
15 petite red skin potatoes
Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste
Season roast with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic
Brown both sides in a large skillet
Meanwhile add 1 cup water, bouillon cubes, wine, and Worcestershire sauce to a crockpot
Add the roast to a crockpot
Peel onions leaving them whole and rinse potatoes
Add potatoes, carrots, and onions around the outside of the roast in the crockpot
Baste the meat, and vegetables with juice throughout the cooking process to add flavor
Cook in a crockpot on low 10-12 hours, or on medium for 6-8 hours
Serve with rolls or bread and enjoy!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu

This isn't the "traditional" way to make Chicken Cordon Bleu but following my "easy cooking" ways, this is easier and just as good! You can eat this as a main dish or make it into a sandwich by putting it on a bun with whatever sides you would like!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 Boneless skinless chicken breast
6 Slices deli honey ham (sliced thin)
4 Slices Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs

Rinse chicken breast under cold water

Roll chicken in bread crumbs covering all sides

Butterfly chicken breasts

Add 3 slices of ham on each right side of chicken breast

Top with 2 slices of Swiss cheese on each right side of the chicken breast

Close chicken breast

Bake in a 350 oven for 30-35 minutes or until brown


Monday, October 7, 2013

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

spinach lasagna roll ups

This is a good alternative to traditional lasagna and is a good vegetarian alternative as well. This recipe does make a lot of servings so if you are making this for 2 you can cut back on the ingredients  or plan on eating it for dinner for the next few nights. We usually eat this for 2 dinners and I freeze the rest. It freezes well and when you have one of those "peanut butter, no jelly" situations you can heat this up and you have dinner!

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups
8 Lasagna noodles
1 egg
15 oz. Ricotta Cheese
10 oz. box of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. fresh grated parmesan cheese
30 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I suggest tomato and basil)
10 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
 1 Tbsp. snipped fresh basil
 Dash of salt and pepper
Boil noodles until done
Drain and rinse with cold water, set aside
Beat egg, and add to ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup parmesan and mix
Lay lasagna noodles flat and pat dry with paper towels
Scoop an even amount of cheese/spinach mixture onto each noodle

Using the back of a spoon spread mixture over each noodle covering entire noodle
Roll noodle loosely up
Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray
Add 1 cup of spaghetti sauce to the bottom of the dish
Add roll ups seam side down into the casserole dish
Top with rest of the spaghetti sauce, then add mozzarella cheese evenly covering the roll ups
Add a dash of salt and pepper
Sprinkle fresh grated parmesan cheese and snipped fresh basil on top of the roll ups
Bake in a 350 oven uncovered for 45 minutes or until brown

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cedar Paper Salmon

I was at the grocery store one day and saw cedar papers on sale. I’ve heard of cedar papers because once in a while I watch cooking shows like Top Chef because I like to pretend. They looked fancy so I decided I was going to try them out with salmon on the grill. Let me tell you they are super easy to use and the presentation is amazing once you’re done. I have done this a few times and it turns out perfect every time. We had this for dinner the other night and my husband joked because the next day he had a bologna sandwich for lunch and he was wondering how he went from cedar paper salmon for dinner to a bologna sandwich the next day. The point being here that this is so good and looks so good that it will make your bologna sandwich look like the Monday special in prison. If I was him I would have tried to trade it for a snack pack. I have the sudden urge to add “cedar paper salmon so good it will make you wanna slap yo mama!” but now I think I have taken this too far…

 Cedar Paper Salmon

4 cedar papers with cooking string
1 large Atlantic salmon filet
2 large tomatoes
2 green onion stalks
1 small red onion
Lemon juice or 2 fresh lemons
Olive Oil
Salmon seasoning
Salt & Pepper

Place cedar papers in a bowl of cold water with a cup over the papers or some kind of weight to push all papers down into the water.

 Let sit in water for 10 minutes.

 Meanwhile using a filet knife cut salmon into 4 equal pieces to fit length of cedar papers.

 Brush olive oil on both sides of each salmon filet, and then season both sides with salt, pepper, and salmon seasoning.

 Take cedar papers out of water and lay flat on a large plate.

 Add a filet into each paper.

 Squeeze about ½ Tbsp. lemon juice onto each.

 Slice tomatoes, red onion and green onion into thin slices.

 Top the salmon with tomatoes, red onion, and green onion.

 Roll cedar papers and tie tightly with cooking string.

 Place on a 400F grill for 10 minutes on each side.

Untie and enjoy!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Steak 'N Cheese Sub

My husband and I love making party subs. We are sandwich lovers so having a party sub for dinner (and lunch for the next few days!) is right up our alley. We have made this sub before for parties and it is always a hit. And the best part is this recipe is super easy and takes little time.

Steak 'N Cheese Sub
2 steaks (we have used sirloins, or flank steaks; both are good)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced onion
1 loaf Italian bread
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tsp. minced garlic
Dash of salt and pepper and steak seasoning of your choice  

Cut top off of bread

Scoop out part of the bread from the bottom half

Set aside top half

Slice mushrooms and onions

Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray; add mushrooms and onions and then sauté

Season steak with salt, pepper and steak seasoning

Cut steak with a fillet knife into thin slices diagonally, against the grain

Heat oil and garlic in a frying pan until oil starts to sizzle or pan becomes very hot

Flash fry steak slices for 2-3 minutes, continuously mixing until no longer pink

Once the steak slices are done add it to the bottom half of the sub

Top with 6-8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much cheese so I add a lot. Add as much as your heart desires!).

Then layer the sautéed mushrooms and onions on top of the cheese

Bake in a 350 F oven for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted

Drizzle with Italian dressing or steak sauce; whichever you prefer

Add the top half of the bread; slice and serve!

 (I like mine with Italian dressing but my husband likes steak sauce on his so we just leave it sauce less and add sauce to our own sandwiches)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How to Make and Can your own Salsa (Without a canner!)

My husband and I grow our own tomatoes, and have for years now. We always get an abundance of tomatoes (thank you Miracle-Gro top soil!); and as much as I try we cannot eat them as fast as they come in. That is why I decided to make my own salsa with our tomatoes. I am not going to lie when I stood in the grocery aisle and looked at all of the canning stuff, including what I have already read online I had this feeling that this was definitely one of those scenarios where I bit off more than I could chew (pun intended). And honestly it was a lot of work. I wouldn't sit here and act like it wasn't. I spent literally an entire day making salsa but I would definitely say it was worth it. Word to the wise here people: If you are going to go through the work make a LOT of salsa. It's not worth it to make a couple of jars. I made 8 with this recipe and now that I know it is good salsa I wish I would have made more. (I definitely wasn't going to be giving out crappy salsa if you know what I mean!). I am not exactly sure how long the shelf life is but I do know it won't make it long enough to go bad.

How to Make and Can your own Salsa (Without a canner!)

9lbs large tomatoes
2 chili peppers (canned)
2 jalapeno peppers
2 ½ Tbsp. fresh cilantro
2 green peppers
2 medium yellow onions
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. garlic juice (I used the juice from a can of minced garlic I had)
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. white distilled vinegar
½ container 6.7 oz. Ball salsa seasoning (I know Ball calls for more than this but it seemed like an extreme amount to me so I used half and I think it turned out great!).
Blanch tomatoes; then peel
Cut tomatoes width wise and deseed
Chop tomatoes into ¼ inch cubes
Chop chili peppers, jalapenos (with seeds), onion, green peppers, and cilantro
Press garlic cloves
Add all to a large bowl
Add lime juice, lemon juice, garlic juice, and vinegar
Mix with a large spoon
Try; and add more of any of the above to fit taste preference
(I prefer my salsa thinner but if you prefer a chunkier salsa then skip this step)
Place salsa in a blender and pulse 5-10 seconds to get a thinner texture
Place salsa in a large pot and add Ball seasoning
Simmer 10 minutes
(If you don’t want to can your salsa then you do not need to read any further. Just let the salsa cool for at least 12 hours and then enjoy!)

Meanwhile for canning..

(I don’t have a canner and the idea of me placing jars into boiling water freaked my husband out so this is how I “side-stepped” the boiling part of the process.)
 Add all jars, lids, and seals into the dishwasher on a hot cycle (sanitary, etc.), with a heated dry. Try to time the cycle of the dishwasher to the simmering of the salsa. The goal is to add hot salsa to hot jars.
Once you are almost ready to add the salsa to the jars prepare the “hot bath”. (I used my dish washing tub and added hot water).

Once the salsa has simmered and your jars are done in the dishwasher get them ready to add the salsa.

Use a handheld strainer to add the salsa to the jars leaving a ¼ inch gap at the top.

 (The jars will be hot so make sure to be careful transporting them. I used a canning jar lifter, or you could use tongs. )

 Immediately after adding salsa to the jars wipe the rim, put the lid on and place in the “hot bath” for 15 minutes, with 1-2 inches of water over the top of the jars.

Take out of the hot bath after the 15 minutes and place on a towel and let sit for 24 hours.

If everything goes well you will hear the jars “ting” as they seal.

Just in case you are wondering the salt and lemon juice serve as preservatives for canning.

(Makes 8 pint sized jars)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast

After several days of eating greasy, fatty foods, I felt run down and just plain out fatter (probably because I was). So in order to get off the fatty food bandwagon I decided to make grilled boneless chicken breasts for dinner. Turns out it was exactly what I needed! I paired the chicken with a baked potato and a cucumber salad. The whole dinner was light and the chicken had great flavor. We had a leftover chicken breast so I cut it into strips and made my husband a chicken pita for lunch the next day.  That’s the great thing about the flavor on this chicken; you can always use the left overs to make a chicken salad, or even a chicken sandwich.
Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 cup Italian dressing
2 Tbsp. Montreal chicken seasoning
½ tsp. Garlic powder
Dash of salt and pepper

Thaw chicken breast if frozen
Clean chicken breast under cold water and pat with a paper towel
Place chicken breast in a large plastic freezer bag and add Italian dressing
Let marinate for at least 2-4 hours and up to 24 hours (the longer the better!)
Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade
Season with Montreal seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper and rub in seasoning on both sides of the chicken
Set grill to medium heat and grill chicken for 8-10 minutes each side or until no longer pink
(Brush chicken with Italian dressing 2-3 times while cooking for extra flavor!)
Garnish with dried chives and serve!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Classic Green Bean Casserole


 This is about as classic as green bean casserole can get. This is the green bean casserole that you expect at Thanksgiving. I usually wouldn't make this mid-summer but I also wouldn't expect 65 degrees mid-summer either. I made a pot roast and thought green bean casserole would go great with it! I would suggest being careful with the soy sauce because if you add to much it can make it too salty. (Take it from me I did this once after a few cocktails! it's amazing how Tbsp. and tsp. can look so similar after a few!). If you do accidently add too much soy just add more soup and it will even out the flavor. And if you have other side dishes your making with it that take up a lot of time (mashed potatoes, etc.) then I suggest making this up ahead of time, covering it, and throwing it in the fridge. It's one less thing to do later and all you have to do is uncover and bake!

Classic Green Bean Casserole
2 cans French style green beans
1 ½ 10.5 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup milk
½ tsp. soy sauce
¼ cup French friend onions (for mixture)
1 cup French fried onions (for topping)
Dash of salt and pepper

Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray (lots of it!)
Mix green beans, soup, cheese, milk, soy sauce, ¼ cup French fried onions, and salt and pepper
Add to casserole dish
Bake in a 350 oven uncovered for 35-40 minutes
Remove from oven and sprinkle 1 cup French fried onions on top to evenly cover
Place back in oven and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes (or until brown)
Let stand for 5-10 minutes and serve!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Green Onion Coleslaw

So my go to move when I go to a party if I am short on time and short on cash is to bring my own coleslaw. Bringing coleslaw to a party is great because the ingredients are cheap and its super easy to throw together. Even though its not the fanciest dish to make it is a staple at parties and the fact that your making it and not buying it will definitely earn you some chef kudos. My coleslaw is sweet but not super sweet because I add a little more vinegar and a little less sugar, and the green onions add a little flavor and some color. I won't lie I do buy the cabbage and carrots already shredded but that just cuts back on time. You can always buy the cabbage and carrots and shred them yourself as well.

Green Onion Cole Slaw

1 bag cole slaw mix
½ cup slaw dressing (or ½ cup low fat salad dressing if you don’t have slaw dressing or prefer a low calorie option)
1 ¼  Tbsp white vinegar
2 tablespoons skim milk
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp paprika
2 green onion stalks

Chop green onion and set aside
Add coleslaw mix and green onions to a large bowl
Add slaw dressing, vinegar, milk, salt and pepper
Mix with a large spoon
Add paprika for color
Let sit for at least 12 hours and serve!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cabbage Soup

I know what your thinking, eating hot soup when its 90 degrees out in July sounds kinda crazy. But you know what's not crazy, dropping a few lb's right in the middle of bathing suit season. Especially if you are in the "bathing suit season's already here and I'm still chubby" phase like I am. Cabbage soup is delish and its a great way to lose a few pounds quick. Side with bread or Texas Toast and enjoy! (Trust me your bathing suit will thank me)

Cabbage Soup

1 head cabbage
2 small yellow onions (thickly sliced)
1 zucchini (sliced)
1 yellow squash (sliced)
1/8 cup green onions (chopped)
1 cup chopped celery (chopped)
2/3 cup sliced baby carrots (thickly sliced)
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups frozen cut green beans
1 (46oz) can 100% vegetable juice
2 cans (15oz) Italian style diced tomatoes with tomato juice
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 cans (15oz) sliced white potatoes (optional)

Prepare vegetables, set aside
Add non-stick spray to a large pot
Add zucchini, squash and onions to the pot
Add the bay leaf, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and garlic powder
Sauté until zucchini, squash and onions are starting to become translucent but not completely cooked
Add vegetable juice and bouillon cubes
Fill vegetable juice can with water and add to soup
Add canned tomatoes (do not drain)
Add all remaining vegetables; besides potatoes
Bring soup to a boil
Simmer for 2-3 hours covered, or until vegetables are cooked
(Add canned potatoes 5 minutes prior to soup being done)
Serve with bread and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Under Construction

“You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.”

― Julia Child