Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Over a month ago, my friend Traci asked me if I ever made meatloaf and if I liked it. I had to tell her no. There just has always been something about the texture that I have never cared for and my Mom's recipe called for horseradish which I hate. Traci said that she had found a great recipe for meatloaf a while ago and that anybody she ever gives it to just loves it. Boy was she right! I have made this meatloaf several times since then. I am totally converted and am now a meatloaf lover! Just as long as its this meatloaf, of course. She had found the recipe from Taste of Home which is a wonderful website and magazine if you have never heard of it before. Here is a link to the original recipe which I highly recommend you trying also as it does have a 5 star rating. I changed the recipe some to fit my family's tastes and preferences a little better and my variation follows. Try them both or come up with your own variation and share it because I think you will see its hard to go wrong with this meatloaf.

I started by softening a chopped onion in butter and added salt and pepper.

While the onion softened, I mixed ground beef in a large bowl with egg, milk, oats and cheddar cheese.

After the onion softened and cooled for a few minutes, I added it to my bowl and mixed everything together with salt and pepper.

Then I split the mixture into quarters and formed four loaves on a cookie sheet.

I mixed the sauce of ketchup, brown sugar, bacon bits and BBQ sauce. This is one thing that I have done differently from the original recipe since I first made it. The original sauce calls for mustard instead of BBQ sauce. I have tried to like mustard and I just can't.....So whenever I see it used, I usually find something to replace it with. After the sauce was mixed, I poured it over my little loaves.

I then placed it into a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. When they were done, they were all bubbly and brown and smelled sooo good!

We have plenty of leftovers with this and it reheats very nicely. I served ours up with peas and wild rice.

If you come up with any variations, please share them below so we can all try too! Enjoy!


1 onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp butter
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 lb ground beef
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1/4 cup real bacon pieces (not imitation)
salt and pepper

Soften onion in butter over medium to medium-low heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cool. In a large bowl combine onion, egg, milk, oats, beef, cheese, 1/2 tsp salt and a sprinkle of pepper. Divide mixture into quarters and form 4 loaves on a cookie sheet. In a bowl combine ketchup, brown sugar, BBQ sauce and bacon bits. Mix well. Pour sauce evenly over the 4 loaves and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45  minutes or until beef is done.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Hope this is in time for Thanksgiving, but I think I have it figured out! In case you haven't seen, I have been working on a Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake and I'm really happy with this one.

I started with a refrigerated pie crust that I rolled out to fit in the deepest pie dish that I own.

I crimped an edge on the dough and placed it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to rest while I made the pumpkin pie part.

In a bowl, I combined pureed pumpkin, spices, evaporated milk, sugar and an egg. It is important to get plain pureed pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling.

This is a 15oz. can and in this part I only used 1 cup of it with the rest to be used later. Once I had everything combined, I poured it into my pie plate.

I placed it in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes then without opening the door, turn the heat down to 350 for another 20 minutes. After this time, the filling should no longer be giggly in the middle.

The pie needs to cool completely before the next step.

The cheesecake part of the pie was the hardest for me to figure out. I needed something that I didn't have to bake again......and I found this:

It is really good and worked wonderfully! I put half of this in a bowl and mixed it with some spices and the remaining pumpkin. It worked best to use an electric mixer.

I found that a small, off-set spatula worked best for the next couple steps.

I spread the plain cheesecake filling over the pumpkin pie.

And then my pumpkin cheesecake filling over that.

Then it is all set! I tried to slice a piece to take a picture but it is hard to cut a perfect piece of pie.... It doesn't look perfect but it was really good, if I do say so myself. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

15 oz can plain pureed pumpkin, divided
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves, divided
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
5 oz can evaporated milk
1 refrigerated pie crust
1- 24.3 oz tub Philadelphia Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling

Roll out pie crust to 12 inches and place in deep pie plate. Crimp crust and place in  refrigerator to rest for 15-20 minutes. Mix together 1 cup of pumpkin, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp cloves, egg, sugar and evaporated milk in a bowl. Pour into pie crust and place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. When time is done, without opening the oven, turn heat down to 350 degrees and bake another 20 minutes. When pumpkin filling is done, cool completely. In a separate bowl, mix together one half of cheesecake filling with rest of the pumpkin (should be around 3/4 cup), 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp cloves.
Spread plain cheesecake mixture over pumpkin pie filling and then spread the pumpkin cheesecake filling on top. Keep refrigerated.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

Can you believe I was a senior in high school before I ever tried sour cream? Yeah, I know....What was I thinking!? Ever since I first tried it, I haven't looked back and beef stroganoff is my favorite thing to make with sour cream. It starts off by chopping one onion and softening it over medium heat with butter and olive oil.

While the onion is cooking, I placed one pound of trimmed stew meat in a gallon zip-lock bag with flour and seasoning and shook it up.

After the flour mixture had the beef coated, I added it to the pan with onion and cooked it until the beef was golden brown then added some red wine and scrapped the yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. The wine can be optional but I do recommend it and it isn't a lot that you are adding. It just helps give such a depth of flavor. The wine doesn't have to be anything fancy, it can be dry or sweet just as long as you like the taste of it. By cooking it down, you are concentrating it and there is no point concentrating the flavor of something you don't like.

After the wine cooked down and I scrapped all the yummy brown bits off the bottom (a very important step for flavor), I added beef broth and turned the heat down to a simmer for 45-60 minutes. In this time the beef should become tender and the liquid should reduce by half.

I had also added some Kitchen Bouquet for color. If you have never bought it before, it can usually be found around the BBQ sauce at the store.

Once the meat was tender and the liquid had reduced, I turned off the heat and stirred in the sour cream.

This picture makes it seem like I didn't have very much meat but its down in there swimming in that yummy sauce.

I cooked some egg noodles for us to spoon our stroganoff over. I actually made whole grain egg noodles and we like them very much!

This size noodle seems to work perfect for this dish. I also made honey butter crescent rolls! You ready for another recipe! They couldn't be easier!

Roll and bake a tube of refrigerated crescent rolls according to the package directions.

In a microwavable bowl, melt 2 Tbsp butter with 2 Tbsp of honey.

Stir the mixture together once it is melted and using a pastry brush, brush it over the crescent rolls when they are done and hot out of the oven.

When everything is done, make yourself a plate and enjoy!

Beef Stroganoff

1 onion, chopped
1 lb stew beef, trimmed
4 Tbsp flour
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine
4 cups (32oz) beef broth
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 Tbsp butter
olive oil
salt and pepper

Over medium heat, add butter and enough Olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. While onion softens, add beef, flour, thyme and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to a gallon Ziploc bag and shake till beef is coated. Add beef to pan and cook till beef is golden brown around the edges. Carefully add red wine and using a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits off  the bottom of pan while wine reduces. Once all the brown bits have been scraped off, add beef broth and kitchen bouquet and stir to combine. Bring to a bubble and then turn down to a simmer leaving a lid off of pan. Simmer for 45-60 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. At about 45 minutes, start to check the beef. Sauce is done when beef is tender and the beef broth has reduced by about half. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream. Serve over egg noodles.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love chicken tortilla soup no matter who makes it. I have had a lot of good ones but could never make one myself that I was ever really happy with.....until now! I have also learned that it is hard to take a lot of photos when making soup because there are not lot of steps. But that's a good thing.

I started off by chopping a small onion and adding it to a large pot with olive oil and salt and pepper over medium heat on the stove. After a couple of minutes when the onion was starting to soften, I added 2 cups of corn. I added mine in frozen but you can use canned corn if you like also.

After the corn and onion were a little browned, I added in some flour to help the soup be a little thicker. Then I added in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chilies, cumin, chili powder, shredded chicken, rice, chicken broth and a package of chicken taco seasoning.

I tried to take a pic.....if you can see through all the steam......

When it comes to a bubble, it's done!

We like to top it with shredded cheese and sour cream and then eat it with tortilla chips but there are numerous other options from guacamole to chopped onions.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 small onion, chopped
2 cups corn
3 tbsp flour
1 10oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth (32 oz container)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 pack of chicken taco seasoning
2 cups rice, precooked
shredded or cut-up chicken from two chicken breasts
olive oil
salt and pepper

Over medium heat in large pot, soften onion with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. After a few minutes, add in the corn and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. When onion and corn start to brown add in flour and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add in rest of ingredients. Bring to a bubble then turn down to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes then serve.

*I pre-cooked my chicken and shredded it the same as I did for my chicken pot pie

** I used a bag of frozen brown rice that I poured in still frozen but it is pre-cooked. You can use any variety you like just as long as it is cooked before you add it in. This is also a good opportunity to use up leftover white rice from Chinese carryout.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Skipping a week

Hello All!
Sorry to anyone who was expecting a recipe this week but life got in the way. With Halloween this past weekend and house renovations starting again this week, I didn't have a chance to make anything to post....But I will be back this next Monday with Chicken Tortilla Soup! Have a good week!