Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ham & Swiss Casserole

Tonight I tortured the family with a new recipe and it went better than expected--despite issues with a particular ingredient.  You see, the original recipe calls for cream of celery soup. This particular soup is persona non-gratis in this house, no one likes it. I am willing to bet even the dog would turn up her nose to this creamy toxicity.

As I was leaving the house this afternoon to pick up Miss M from school I took a quick peek over at my storage shelves in the garage. From the driver seat of the mom-mobile it appeared we had the cans of cream of mushroom I planned as a substitute. I made a point of my quick check because I was planning to brave the commissary after picking up the littlest Wheeler. (We survived the trip to the commissary because I gave Miss M the job of crossing things off mom's list.)

After returning home and putting away the groceries I decided to start dinner. Out to the garage I go to retrieve my cream of mushroom soup. A quick look to the bottom of the can I discover that soup expired in 2010! Yikes! Peel the label off for the Campbell soup points for the PTO and back out to the garage for the last can of cream of mushroom soup. Checking the bottom of that soup I learn it expired in 2011. Growling I remove that label for the PTO and stomp out to the garage. My choices now are cheddar soup or cream of chicken. I grab both cans of the cheddar soup, surely one of those has yet to expire. Wrong. One expired in 2011, and the other in 2009. Not only is throwing four cans of soup in the garbage sad, but add to it the fact that at least one of those cans of soup made the move from Utah to South Korea and then back again. I really need to 1) come up with a better system rotating can goods, 2) check expiry dates on can goods BEFORE the packers come to pack us for a move, and 3) check them again when unpacking. I suppose the best option would to channel my friend Denise, she makes her own cream of *fill in the blank* soups for use in casseroles.

After the great soup massacre, my only choice was to use cream of chicken. That soup is a common one used around here so I KNEW none of those were expired.  I did worry about how the cream of chicken soup would taste in a ham dish. It proved to be a mute point as I received a thumbs up from Hero and a double thumbs up from Miss M.

Below is the recipe, as always changes and thoughts are in red.

Ham & Swiss Casserole
  • 8 oz. package of egg noodles (The egg noodles in our commissary are in 12 oz. pkgs, so I just used the whole package.)
  • 2 cups cubed ham (I found my ham in the meat section already cut, the packages were 8 ozs., so I used two for this recipe.)
  • 1 can cream of celery soup (After discovering almost all of my "Cream of" soups had expired, the only option left was to use cream of chicken, turned out just fine.)
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese.
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper (I only had red, yellow, and orange in the crisper, so I used the orange one.)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  1. Boil the noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain, rinse and set aside. 
  2. In a bowl mix together the soup, sour cream, pepper, and onion.
  3. Grease a 13"x9" baking dish, I use Pam and just spray the pan while on the inside of the open door of the dishwasher this way the next time I run the dishwasher any over spray is washed away. Just make sure your dishwasher is empty of any clean dishes. 
  4. Layer the bottom of the pan with half the noodles.
  5. Add half the ham and then half the cheese.
  6. Spread half of the soup mixture. 
  7. Repeat with the second half of ingredients. 
  8. Bake uncovered at 350*F for 30 to 45 minutes until heated through. 
Final thoughts: This made a rather large casserole for my small family. In the future I will make this dividing the recipe into 2-8"x 8" pans--one for that night and the other for the freezer. Keep in mind that when reheating frozen pasta it tends to get mushy, so under cook the pasta just a bit to help prevent this. Also, instead of layering the ingredients I will mix them with half the cheese, putting that into the dish and then topping with remaining cheese. By layering we found that some of the noodles on the bottom and around the edge became hard and not that yummy lasagna corner hard either. I might even add a vegetable such as peas or broccoli the next time. The final change I will make is using perhaps two cans of soup or adding just a bit of milk to make sure there is enough sauce to coat all the pasta. 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Potatoes and Sausage

I am back. Back to menu planning, back to torturing trying new recipes on my family, I am back. Last week I tried this recipe for spicy chicken stew. It was a crock pot recipe, and it did make the house smell scrumptious. However, it was not received well, even the dog turned up her nose. After dinner the rest of the dinner was bid a farewell into the garbage disposal. It is very rare around here that a fail goes straight down the drain without passing go, without becoming a science project in the refrigerator.

Tonight's new recipe was a much bigger hit. In fact, I got the green light from Hero to try it again with chicken instead of sausage. (He'd rather I not cook sausage at all, but Mama loves sausage so he tolerates it on occasion.) When I first came across this recipe in a grocery check out recipe magazine there was an ingredient and a step that threw me off for a bit, but it proved to be a pleasant surprise. As always, my thoughts, and changes to the recipe are in red. Since I doubled the recipe that is the way I will share the recipe with you.

Potatoes and Sausage

  • 1 pkg. Kielbasa, sliced into 1-inch pieces, I like to use the skinless variety
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 medium sweet bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces, I completely forgot this ingredient and it still tasted delicious
  • 8 red potatoes cut into fourths, I left the peels on, removing any eyes or blemishes on the potatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 4 TBsp olive oil, I just used the canola I had in the cupboard
  • 1/4 tsp salt, I didn't measure and I probably put in closer to 1/2 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, again, I didn't measure and probably used closer to 1/2 tsp
  •  1 TBsp of dried thyme, I didn't measure this either, just eyeballed it in my palm
  • 1 TBsp of dried rosemary, I didn't measure this either, just eyeballed it in my palm
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. I used a mortar and pestle to crush up my dried herbs. 
  3. Mix all the ingredients, except for the cream, in a bowl. Then pour into a greased 2-qt. casserole dish.
  4. Bake covered for 45 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cream, mix well, continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes until potatoes are cooked and most of the cream is incorporated. 
This casserole fed my family of three with some left overs. Meghan and I each had a small portion, while Hero had a couple of servings. I think this would feed a family of six with no left overs, but be sure to have plenty of sides just in case. The next time I make this I think I will substitute the sausage for cut up chicken breasts, and I will try using my favorite seasoning, Cavender's Greek Seasoning


Friday, July 6, 2012

Lunch Lady Bars

Earlier this spring I was trolling the internet for recipes when I stumbled upon this glorious recipe that is a combination of oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate. Merely reading the ingredients, I KNEW I was addicted. This recipe has all the right elements. The perfect marriage of flavors that were meant to be together, this recipe is quick, easy, and makes enough to take half the pan to a party while leaving the other half at home for you to devour.  The girls at Six Sisters' Stuff do not disappoint, and this recipe is no exception.

In fact, this recipe is so delish that my friends and I have re-dubbed it, "Soccer Mom Crack." I know that is not a very nice name and is right up there with "Slutty Brownies" on the offensive food titles...but I warn you and you will be HOOKED.

When I make this recipe I do deviate a smidge from the recipe. I use quick oats because that is what the hubs prefers in baked goods, and I use a bit more peanut butter in the base layer. Additionally, I use more peanut butter in the middle layer. I do not bother measuring it out, instead, I simply slather the peanut butter on. When it comes to the chocolate frosting, I am LAZY, therefore, I use the pre-made stuff. It takes about two cans of the frosting to cover my bars.

I have made this recipe twice this week for parties. Unfortunately not a single bar is left for me to include a picture.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Korean Beef

One vital skill to have when meal planning is flexibility. Not the bend over and touch your toes variety, but the fly off the seat of your britches flexibility. Tonight one such night. When planning our menu for the week I did not take into account the fact that I would have a MASSIVE eight page paper due soon. Then when Saturday rolled around, I was half way through the day before I realized I did not get the planned dinner into the crock pot. DRATS! Fortunately, Hero said he would take care of dinner. Take care of dinner he did!

Tonight my culinary talented husband made Korean beef. We did not eat it with the noodles as suggested in the recipe, instead we enjoyed it over a bed of rice with sautéed mushrooms and grilled red onions. Hero added garlic to the marinade. Also, instead of frying the meat as directed in the recipe, Hero grilled our skirt steak and then sliced it thinly against the grain to insure a tender morsel with each bite.

While we enjoyed our Korean beef, we did decide that next time we would like it with a smidge less heat and more sweetness. If you have ever enjoyed Korean cuisine you know they are hugely into pairing tastes--hot & sweet.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meghan's Strawberry, Nanna, Peaches, Blueberry Smooovie

Long-time readers, family, and most friends know that about 3 years ago I had gastric banding surgery. This and a heavily scarred esophagus makes eating very hard sometimes. Therefore, we have a lot of smoothies in the mornings around here. This morning Meghan dictated what would go into our smoothies, and I must say they are FABULOUS!


  • 2 TBSp flaxseed meal, you could use whole flaxseeds, but I bought the meal so I could use it in my baking. I use the flaxseed for fiber not to mention the other health benefits.
  • Two scoops of our favorite vanilla soy protein powder.
  • 1 cup Almond milk, we use the plain flavored variety.
  • 1 frozen banana, I take our bananas that get riper than we prefer peel them, cut them into thirds and keep them in a zip-loc bag in the freezer.
  • Hand full of frozen strawberries, blueberries, and sliced peaches. I use frozen fruit in our smoothies instead of ice so we get our fruit and our smoothies do not become watered down as they melt.
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender, with liquid on bottom.
  2. Blend until all fruit has been blitzed and it looks like a milkshake.
  3. *Meghan's direction: serve with cream (whipped cream)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Who knew? Who knew, I could have something so yummy one might think it came from a restaurant in my own home, certainly not I.

Tonight I was puttering around in the kitchen, preparing to pan fry our turkey mignons when a thought struck me. Biscuits, I wanted biscuits for dinner. However, I didn't want ordinary biscuits. I NEEDED wanted biscuits with a hint of garlic, biscuits filled with cheddar goodness.

I gathered up some ingredients:

  • baking mix, we had Jiffy brand on hand. I found that Jiffy tastes as good as that brand in the big yellow box, but is about a dollar cheaper.
  • milk
  • garlic powder
  • cheddar cheese
  1. Measure out baking mix according to recipe on box. Since we are a small family, I halved the recipe.
  2. Add some garlic powder. I did not measure it out, just sprinkled it on. 
  3. Mix the garlic and baking mix together.
  4. Grate your cheese and add to the mixture. I simply cut a hunk of cheese about the width of two fingers off my 10oz. block, probably about 1 oz.
  5. Add required liquid. My baking mix called for milk. 
  6. Stir 
  7. Spoon onto cookie sheet. I use my Pampered Chef stoneware so I do not worry about my baked goods sticking. If I were to use my metal cookie sheet, I would have used parchment paper to line my pan first.
  8. Bake as directed
My recipe made 6 biscuits. Miss M ate three biscuits, so definitely a hit with the kid.


Menu for the week of February 19 - 25

Family room picnic
(we did taquitos, chicken strips, and fried cheese--all freezer convenience foods)

Turkey Mignons
Left over Potato Salad and Baked Beans
Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Mom's night out with the girls
(Meghan and Dad fend for themselves)


Baked Chicken
Baked Potatoes

Preschool's Winter Festival

Southwestern Chicken Chilli