Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sloppy Joes for the Freezer

Currently Mondays are turning out to be the worst possible day for me to post recipes. Or to cook. To be fair, I don't really have a good day to cook, unless I get to it on the weekends. So I've gone back to my old practice for stocking the freezer. Once a week, I pick one meal to make in bulk and I put 3 of them in the freezer. Right now, my deep freeze has a nice stock of lasagna, enchilada casserole, chicken in gravy and sloppy joes.

Thankfully, my family is willing and able to help out. This goes really well, right up until I get distracted while writing down a recipe. My husband got a huge kick out of today's recipe calling for a good measure of black powder. You know, to give it some kick! lol. It would be fair to say my brain is a bit muddled. 

Today's recipe is a crock pot recipe that freezes well. Two of my favorite things. Not a lot of notes on this one, it's simple, yummy, and makes the masses happy. 

Leni's Notes:
~This recipe serves 3 meals for my family, with leftovers for lunches.
~Tater tots are the traditional side dish in our household. 
~Freeze the leftovers quickly, or your family will eat more than you intended and it won't stretch as far!
~This is also a great meal for kid's parties.

6 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 T. paprika
1 1/2 T chili powder
3/4 C brown sugar or raw sugar
6 tsp cumin
6 tsp salt
6 tsp corn starch
3 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp pepper (not black powder!)
29 oz can plain tomato sauce

~Dump everything in a large crock pot (I used my 8 quart.)
~Cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
~Serve over split rolls, with slices of cheddar or colby jack cheese.
~Freeze extras in gallon ziplocs. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Minor Delay

Hey folks! Been sick as can be for over a week now, so there's been no action in the kitchen. Thankfully, I had freezer meals stashed, and have a husband who can cook, so no one is starving to death. Hoping to be back in the saddle soon. Oy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ginger Pumpkin Trifle

This recipe came about in an attempt to combine as many of my husbands favorites as possible into one dessert. Pudding, whipped cream, pumpkin, cake...how can you go wrong? 

Well, you could realize half way through that you don't have any vanilla. Or you could totally underestimate the length of time the project will take. But never fear, I persevered, and my man was thrilled with the result. Mission accomplished!

On a side note, Steve, being the wise man he is, does what he can to encourage me to keep cooking. For this recipe I got to use my new immersion blender on the whipped cream. I love that tool! 

Leni's Notes:
~I took a short cut when I realized how much I had to do. I used a box mix for gingerbread instead of making my own. Any gingerbread will do, but you want enough to fill a 13x9 pan.
~The pudding is made purposely runny so that it will soak into the cake. If you want it firmer, use less pumpkin or more thickener.
~Feel free to cut the pudding recipe in half. I made extra because I knew that my family would make good use of the the extras. ;o)
~Regular whipped cream would work in this, but we ended up loving the version I made. It lended a nice flavor to the over all dish.


Ingredients: Gingerbread
This is where I cheat. I recommend Krusteaz if you're not going to make it from scratch.

Instructions: Gingerbread
~Bake the cake, then cut into small squares, and spread out on a bigger pan to cool.
~Do not cover, you want it to kind of dry out.

Ingredients: Pumpkin Pudding
1 C raw sugar
2/3 C flour
6 Cup whole milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 (29 oz) can solid pack pumpkin (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 Tbls vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions: Pumpkin Pudding
~Mix sugar and flour in large pot with a whisk.
~Pour in milk slowly, whisking until combined.
~Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly.
If it starts to scorch or stick, reduce heat. Don't walk away, you'll ruin the whole batch!
~When mixture starts to thicken and get bubbly, remove from heat.

~In a medium bowl, place beaten eggs. Slowly add in 2 cups of hot milk mixture, stirring continuously.
~Add pumpkin, and mix until thoroughly combined.
~Add egg mixture back into the pot with milk mixture and put back over medium heat.
~Continue to stir until mixture is just starting to boil.
~Remove from heat, add in vanilla and cinnamon.
~Put in bowl, and place saran wrap directly on surface.
~Place in fridge and let cool completely.

Ingredients: Whipped Cream
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 C powdered sugar
3 tsp pure maple extract

Instructions: Whipped Cream
If you have an immersion blender, now is your chance to use it! 
~Combine ingredients in a cold dish.
~Blend with hand mixer until cream holds a stiff peak.

Instructions: Layering
~Once the cake and pudding are completely cool, start the layering process.
~Cake, Pudding, Whipped Cream.
~Top with cake crumbs.
~Cover and refrigerate.

Depending on the size of the bowl you use, you should have a little cake leftover and about half of the pudding. Enjoy as you see fit! ;o)

Blessings from my kitchen to yours,

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

New Year's Eve has come and gone, and somehow I never managed to get here to post my recipe. My apologies. Had the family home all week with no work (for them, anyways) or school and we tried to just enjoy. 

So, this was my first attempt at Stuffed Mushrooms. I think it could use some tweaking, but my family said to leave it alone. Hmmm. I shall post it as it was prepared. ;o)

Leni's Notes:
~These were great to make ahead and then refrigerate just before the baking step. Nice for a party, so you can get the work done a day or so ahead of time.
~This version did not have a lot of extra fluid (which I happen to think it could have used, but I digress.) They weren't sloppy to eat. Again, good for a party.
~I used mild sausage, feel free to kick it up with hot sausage.
~Ingredients I would consider adding next time: reconstituted dry onion, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 6 minced mushroom stems.

4 links of Italian sausage, cooked and refrigerated until completely cooled.
32 oz package of baby bella mushrooms (I used Wegmans Food You Feel Good About)
10 oz (give or take) chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 Cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 - 3/4 Cup shredded parmesan
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

~Place cooled sausage in food processor and mince until it has an even crumbly texture.
~Pour into a larger bowl, and add spinach, panko, parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
~Thoroughly mix ingredients.
~Wipe off mushrooms, and remove stems.  (save the stems to add to another recipe.;o)
~Grease baking dish.
~Place a mushroom cap in the palm of your hand, and pack the filling in until it resembles a golfball.

~Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until browned.

Leftovers warm up well. ;o)

Blessings from my kitchen to yours, and Happy New Year!