Thursday, September 15, 2011

Crock-Pot Lasagna

What could be easier than cooking with your crock pot? You pretty much cook your beef and then assemble the layers in your crock pot and 'set it and forget it.' Super easy and super delicious lasagna! Best part of it is it's made using alfredo instead of ricotta.. YUM!

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can (26-28oz) tomato paste
1 can (8oz) no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2pkg (about 8) no-boil lasagna noodles
1 jar (1 lb.) alfredo sauce
3 cups (12oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesian cheese

1. Brown beef in skillet over medium-high heat until cooked all the way through. Drain grease.
2. Spray slow-cooker with olive oil spray and spread 3/4cup tomato paste sauce on the bottom.
3. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce and browned meat in a bowl and combine.
4. Layer noodles on top of the tomato paste then add 1/3 alfredo sauce, 1/3 mozzarella cheese and top with the paste/sauce/meat mixture and keep doing these layers until all ingredients are used.
5. Sprinkle the grated pamesian cheese on top.
6. Cook on low setting 3.5-4 hours.

Tip: After the lasagna is finished cooking, let it set in the crock pot for about 45 minutes for everything to settle or it'll be a sloppy mess if you try to get it out before it's ready.

Eat and ENJOY!

Turkey and Butter Bean Cassoulet

Turkey and butter bean cassoulet
 This was the easiest meal I've made in a long time and it was delicious! You've got to try it. I made it with chicken legs because I don't care for turkey too much but you can use whatever you have. Breast, thighs, legs will all work just fine!

Turkey & Butter Bean Cassoulet
2 tbsp olive oil
4 6-ounce skinless turkey legs
pinch paprika
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
¼ tsp sea salt
5 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
3 ½ cups crushed tomatoes, divided
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
¼ cup cooked butter beans

Preheat oven to 325F. In a large nonstick pan, heat oil on medium-high. Add turkey legs and sprinkle with paprika, pepper and salt. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden. In a 4qt. roasting pan, combine 4 cups broth, 2 cups tomatoes, maple syrup, onions, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaf and beans. Add turkey legs, cover with foil and cook in oven on middle rack for 2 hours. Every 30 minutes, add ½ cup broth and ½ cup tomatoes to pan. Remove roating pan from oven and serve.

Calories: 452, Total Fat: 13g, Sat. Fat: 3g, Monosaturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Carbs: 40g, Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 19g, Protein: 77g, Sodium: 516g, Cholesterol: 142mg


Homemade Pie Crust

Homemade Pie Crust
Printable Recipe

This is a great, full-proof pie crust. It's simple to do and is very tasty. It's made with butter, not lard, and is very flaky. Give this one a shot!
·  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
·  1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
·  1 teaspoon salt
·  1 teaspoon sugar
·  6 to 8 Tbsp ice water
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.
Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape into 2 discs. Knead the dough just enough to form the discs, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.

This pie crust was made for my coconut cream pie.
  You will have enough dough for two pies, or two crusts on one pie. If you're only using one crust, wrap the extra dough in plastic wrap, move to a freezer bag and freeze until you're ready to use. When it's time to use it, remove it from the bag and let it sit in the wrap on the counter at least 1 hour before trying to roll out.

Printable Recipe

Chicken Empanada's

Chicken Empenada's

These mini-chicken-pie's are so delicious. They do take time when you have to put the filling in the pie crust, but they are worth it in the end. This is one of my husband's favorite meals!

  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1 (8-ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
  • Water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 7 ingredients. Unroll 1 piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrusts, making 12 to 15 circles total. Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month). Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

I got this recipe from good old Paula Dean and the link is on Food Network's website.

Clean Eating Breakfast Cookies

Clean Eating Breakfast Cookies

I took this recipe from a blog about eating clean. You can click here to view her recipe and view her website. I made these cookies tons of times but prefer pumpkin over bananas. I put chocolate chips, pecans and coconut in these but any way you make them, it will taste great!

1 large banana, mashed (or 1/2cup pumpkin)1/2 cup natural peanut butter 1/2 cup honey1 tsp vanilla 1 cup old-fashioned oats1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup dry milk powder 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins or coconut or pecans .. mix it up. It's your breakfast!

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat two cookie sheets with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir the mashed banana together with the peanut butter, honey and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, milk powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir the oat mixture into the banana mixture until combined. Stir in dried cranberries or raisins.TWO: Using a scant 1/4 cup measure (an ice-cream scoop works well for this!), drop mounds of dough 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. With a thin metal or small plastic spatula (or just use the back of the ice cream scooper) dipped in water, flatten and spread each mound of dough into a 2 3/4 round, about 1/2 an inch thick.THREE: Bake, one sheet at a time, for 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight bag for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Serving size: 1 cookie. Recipe makes 12 cookies
Per cookie - 184 Calories (53 Calories from Fat), 6g Fat, 1mg Cholesterol, 52 mg Sodium, 28g Total Carbohydrates, 2g Dietary Fiber, 16g Sugars, 6g Protein, 0% DV Vitamin A, 4% DV Vitamin C, 6% DV Calcium, 5% DV Iron

Family Cooking, Week 1 and Week 2 re-cap

I recently moved back to Pensacola, FL and am loving being here again. The beautiful beach, the warm, okay HOT, air and knowing my families are literally 5 minutes down the road from me gives me back what I needed!

My mom, sister and I have cooked twice together now and it was actually pretty fun. I didn't think it would be fun but we're all learning new recipes and we're able to make healthy choice for our families.

The first week we made sweet potato pound cake, but I called it bread.. it makes it feel less bad for me that way. We also made pumpkin/pinto bean soup (YUM!) and a chicken and rice casserole. If you have good time management, you too can make all of this food in a little bit of time.

Our second week we made a chicken cassoulet (I still need to google what that darn word means), chicken empenadas and a crock-pot lasagna. We made lemon muffins at our own homes and I went ahead and made a batch of breakfast cookies.

Everything has tasted so good! We make enough to feed our families at least 1 hot meal and then we can freeze the remaining portions or just eat it all for the rest of the week. I tell ya, this has been a huge time saver for me.

I will be posting all of the recipes and will include pictures once I'm able to get those. I'll also link the recipes to this blog when I can.

As for now, I hope you all are enjoying the kids being back at school and having some 'free' time!