Friday, March 30, 2007

KISS cooking (or, 'Fun with Pie Crusts')

I'm a practioner of sorts of the KISS theory (keep it simple, stupid). Sometimes, I like doing the artsy stuff in the kitchen. Most times, however, I am short on time, patience, energy, and money. Thus, keeping things simple can keep me sane.

I got this idea from a lady at work. It isn't terribly orginal, but it is simple, cheap, and you can customize it a gazillion different ways.

Pizza Pie

2 frozen pie crusts (see? no pan to wash! :) ), baked
1 jar pizza sauce
1/2 corsely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup corsely chopped onion
1 package Brown and Serve links, sliced
1 bag sliced Hormel pepperoni
1 can or 1 cup fresh mushrooms
2 packages shredded cheese (I used both sharp cheddar and a pizza cheese mix)

Put the pepper and onion in the microwave for 3 minutes. This softens the veggies enough so they aren't too crunchy because you're not baking it long enough to really soften the veggies.

Arrange half the meat in one crust, and half in the other, followed by half the veggies in one, etc.. Add about 1/3 of a jar of pizza sauce on top of meat and veggies to each pie. Top with enough cheese to completely cover the other ingredients. Bake at 400 until the cheese is bubbly and begins to brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

I like this idea. It would be SO easy to make spinach alfredo pizza this way, or shrimp pizza or...well, you get the idea!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Beans, Rice and Sausage

Suze's recipe for beans and rice a couple posts ago reminded me of my own thrown-together recipe involving beans and rice. I was desperate for something quick to fix for dinner a while back. We had some Polska Kielbasa that I wanted to make, but I didn't want to have to do a lot of work with other stuff (veggies, etc.) to make a relatively balanced, filling meal. So here's what I came up with:

Jenn's Psuedo-Cajun Beans, Rice and Sausage
1 pkg. Polska Kielbasa (we use the lean variety)
2 C cooked rice
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper to taste (I made mine relatively mild)

Cut up sausage into bite-sized chunks. Pour olive oil into large skillet, warm oil over med-high heat. Add sausage. After sausage is starting to brown on the edges, and juices are flowing, add rice, add can of beans, and add the worcestershire sauce, if wanted. Stir well and often to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You can add a splash of V8 or tomato juice if you need more liquid to keep it from sticking. Add spices to taste.

Jamie and Destiny both loved it, and I quite enjoyed it myself. We ate it with spinach on the side and applesauce for dessert.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Madtown Mama's Homemade Mac 'n Cheese

I'm all about the recipes lately, huh?

1/2 lb of your favorite pasta, like fusilli or elbow macaroni
1 onion, chopped
1 buttload of garlic, chopped
2-3 T. oil or butter
2 T. flour
1 t. concentrated broth or 1 bullion cube (I use vegetarian, but chicken's probably OK)
2 c. milk
1 t. or more chili powder
1 can Mexican-style chopped tomatoes
1 c. shredded cheese, like Jack, colby, cheddar, or a combination
a couple handfuls bread crumbs (not necessary)

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. It's better if it's slightly under-done rather than over-done.

2. Sauté the onions in the oil or butter for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for another minute.

3. Add the flour to the onion mixture and stir, then add the milk, broth or bullion cube, and chili powder, plus a little salt, and let it come to a boil.

4. Grease a 2L casserole dish (9x13). Mix the noodles with the tomatoes and cheese, then pour the milk sauce over all of it and stir a little. Spread bread crumbs over top and bake at 350 until it looks done, maybe half an hour.

5. Serve with broccoli or green salad to counter-act the guilt you may feel (though you should not!) over all the milk and cheese and butter .....mmmm butter..... in the pasta dish.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Beans'n Rice

I posted this on my own blog a little while ago, and thought I'd share it here.

3 T. canola or olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
as much garlic as you can handle, chopped (I like 3 or 4 cloves myself)
2 cups raw butternut or other winter squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes
2 cans or 3.5 cups cooked black beans
1 can or 2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. coriander
1 t. dried oregano (fresh is better if it's summer time)
1 T. brown sugar
generous dose of hot chili powder - I use up to 2 T. but that's too much for some folks
water, as needed
cooked basmati or brown rice, to serve
shredded cheese, to serve...Jack, White Cheddar, Cotija are all good options

1. Sauté the onions and peppers in the oil for several minutes, until they're soft.
2. Add the garlic and spices and cook for about a minute; don't let the garlic burn.
3. Add the chopped squash and about 1/2 c. of water, just enough to let it simmer without scorching the bottom.
4. When the squash is about half-cooked, add the beans, tomatoes, salt and oregano and sugar and let the whole thing simmer for 15 minutes or so.
5. Serve over rice with shredded cheese. Be sure to compliment the cook.