Thursday, August 16, 2012

French Toast Bake

This dish was more of a Throw What-We-Have-Together-And-Hope-It-Tastes-Good kind of meal. We are running low on everything, and these ingredients went from being your basic breakfast for dinner to a nice casserole all because of my dislike of the smell of burnt toast.

I looked in my cupboard and realized I had half a loaf of unsliced French bread, and that's it. French bread gets pretty crumbly, especially as toast. All those crumbs fall to the bottom of my toaster and burn and stink. So plan B was to cube up the bread.

In a large mixing bowl, I whisked four eggs, cinnamon, a splash of vanilla and some milk. Then I placed all the bread cubes in the egg mixture and coated them well, letting them rest a little bit to make sure they soak up the egg mixture.

While the bread is soaking, fry up ten sausage links. Slice them up and add them to the now coated bread cubes.

Layer the mixture into a greased casserole dish and top with a half a cup of maple syrup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Scoop out and top with more maple syrup. Enjoy this economical and delicious meal from my kitchen to your table!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pork Parmasean Bake

Another Fresh Take recipe! This time I decided I wanted to try my take on a meal I grew up eating. With the help of my best friend, some very simple ingredients and memories of my childhood's chicken parm, we managed to create a fast, delicious dinner.

I simply sliced some boneless center cut pork chops into one inch strips. I coated them with a rosemary and garlic fresh take before baking them at 350° for half an hour.

While the pork cooked, I set a pot of spaghetti to boil. When the noodles were almost done, I strained the water from them. I put them back in the pot and added a tablespoon or so of butter, and some Italian seasoning.

Layer the noodles along the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese of your choice. We used Monterey jack.

Layer the cooked pork cutlets over the cheese. Top with more shredded cheese.

Spread a jar of spaghetti sauce over the pork and cheese as evenly as possible. Top it all off with some Italian bread crumbs.

Place your pork parmasean into the oven and cook for twenty minutes on 400°.

Here's my take on a great staple of my childhood. Its a little bit different than a lot of people are used to but I assure you it is no less mouthwatering. A fun easy dish from my kitchen to your table!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Yummy Lasagna

Tonight my fiance made dinner and I am so proud of him! His first lasagna! And he did a great job. He also experimented and it turned out great. Instead of ricotta cheese he used a Philadelphia Cooking Creme. While I can't say this was an intentional mistake (he eats ricotta, but doesn't know what it looks like. I got asked where that stuff i smear on the noodles was. My awesome description of "Its on the second shelf!" confused him I guess.) it turned out to be a tasty mistake.

He boiled the noodles in a large pot of water. He also doesn't listen to the back of the box. Once they were almost done I had him drain them. As I kindly reminded him, the noodles will finish cooking in the oven when the lasagna bakes.

He lay his noodles into the bottom of a glass baking dish. He trimmed about an inch off the ends so they lay flat. Then he spread the cooking creme onto the noodles.

While he prepared his noodles, I browned his ground chuck for him. I seasoned it with oregano, Basil and garlic. Then he promptly shooed me out of the kitchen.

He drained the grease from the meat, and added a jar of spaghetti sauce to it. He also added honey, which I have never done. He couldn't find the sugar. I'm pleased to say that honey will be a part of my lasagna recipe from now on.

He spread the meat mixture on top of the cooking creme, liberally. He then sprinkled a generous portion of Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses on top of the meat.

He repeated the layering process three times and placed his creation into our oven, which had been preheated to a toasty 350°.

After forty minutes in the oven, his first ever lasagna was complete, and it was fantastic.

Was it fancy? Not even close. But he did go into that kitchen determined to make dinner and he succeeded. It certainly wasn't traditional, but I really cannot stress enough that cooking is something you should take the time to enjoy. He experimented, guesstimated and flat out threw ingredients together. But he had fun and was so proud. Take joy in your cooking and always be adventerous. And as always, have fun and cook with your kids. Here's another great meal from my kitchen to your table!

Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole

This dish is how I use up leftover chili. For some reason I always make enough chili to feed an army. But just in case you don't have any leftover chili sitting in your fridge or freezer, I'll give you my recipe.

In a large pot brown a pound of ground chuck. Drain the grease off the meat, using your metal strainer. Put the meat back in the large pot and add one can of chili beans, one can of kidney beans, one can of Ro Tel and one large can of diced tomatoes to your meat, ALL undrained. Add a chili seasoning packet (I use French's Chili with Onion) or chili powder to taste. Bring your chili to a boil, then take the heat down to a simmer for about half an hour.

Now on to the casserole! Spray a large casserole dish with non stick spray. Put the tater tots into the casseroles dish. I used about 3/4 of a bag but it really depends on how big your pan is. Mine is 5x9x2.

Once you have a nice layer of tater tots, pour your chili over them. Don't saturate them, but make sure you have enough. I used about two and a half cups. Then sprinkle about 8 oz of shredded Cheddar cheese on top. Bake on 350° for about 45 minutes. There you have it! A quick and easy lunch anyone can make. A fun meal from my kitchen to your table!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Get Creative!

Tonight I don't have a recipe for you specifically. I'm just going to sing a thousand praises of a newer product that has become a staple in my home. Kraft Fresh Takes are versatile and delicious and help my family eat amazing meals quickly! I've made meatballs, meatloaf, ravioli filling, crusted chicken breasts, stuffed pork chops and stuffed mushroom filling with this fantastic product. There are so many flavors to meet each persons preferences. In our case we have found that as a family our favorite is Savory Four Cheese, with Chili Lime Panko as a close second. The flavor combinations are as endless as your imagination.

Just last night I made a meatloaf using one pound ground chuck, one Cheddar Jack and Bacon Fresh Take and one large egg. Mix her up and you have a DIVINE, moist flavorful meatloaf. I didn't add anything else. Tonight we are having Chili Lime Panko breaded chicken and freshly picked corn on the cob.

The point to my thousand praises is this: Never be afraid to use a single product in multiple ways. Don't let a foods intended purpose prevent you from experimenting with it, just to see what you could do. I use chili beans in an enchilada bake instead of refried beans because one night I didn't have any refried beans. I mashed up those chili beans and discovered Wow! This tastes great! So that's how I do it to this day. Be adventerous, be creative, and as always, Have Fun and Cook With Your Kids. Its never to early to start making great memories in the kitchen.