Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beats Hamburger Helper

So recently I was in a bind for dinner and I had to make something quick. Unfortunately I made Hamburger Helper. This is something I rarely make and what's worse is admitting I actually fed it to my poor family. To no surprise I was hugely disappointed and could barely stomach one helping before I went for a snack in the fridge. (keep in mind I am pregnant so that may have had something to do with it)

Later I got to thinking what a simple idea hamburger helper is and how easy it would be to make up my own home made version. This would insure a taste far better than anything that came out of a box. Then I remembered a skillet dinner my Mom made for us growing up. It's simple, delicious and most of the ingredients are staples you probably already have on hand. We call it Sausage Noodle Skillet and trust me it's a good one. It's almost lasagna like but much simpler and it's one the kids will eat too :) Hope you enjoy!

1/2 lb ground sausage

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

15 0z water, just use tomato sauce can

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream, for garnish

Brown sausage over medium high heat in a large skillet with a tight fitting lid. Drain grease and add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce is thick and the pasta is tender. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top for a creamy tomato sauce.

You may add water 1/2 cup at a time if the pasta isn't cooked and it seems the sauce is becoming too thick.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati chili has some of the most common chili ingredients including ground beef and tomato sauce, but what makes it so unique is an uncommon blend of spices creating a truly inspired dish. Even more interesting is the chili is served in the most uncommon fashion....over spaghetti noodles, and topped with whatever your heart desires.
This recipe was given to me by my husband's uncle who tells me this is one of the original chili recipes coming out of Cincinnati. Whether or not that's true is any ones guess but what I do know is this is a long time Finlinson family favorite and hopefully it will become one of yours as well. So enjoy!

I know this list of ingredients seems long and can look a little intimidating but the items this recipe calls for are common household ingredients. I strongly urge you to give this one a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.

2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (get the 15% fat, the lean meat will turn out dry)
2 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cups tomato sauce
hot pepper sauce to taste

Bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large pot. Add ground beef, stirring vigorously to separate meat into individual strands. As soon as the foam from the meat rises to the top and before the water returns to a boil, drain the meat into a strainer and set aside.
Using the same pot used to cook the meat. Set pot over medium heat and add the oil and onion. Cook stirring frequently until the onions are browned around the edges. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly about 1 minute (be careful not to burn the garlic).
Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Now add broth, water, sugar, vinegar and tomato sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.
Add the blanched ground beef back to the pot and increase heat to high. Upon the liquid boiling reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally.
Adjust the seasonings adding salt and hot pepper sauce to taste. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles and top with desired toppings.

*you may want all or just a few of the toppings listed below. I recommend adding at least cheese and sour cream.

Recommended toppings:

kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
shredded cheddar cheese
diced tomatoes
sour cream
chopped onion
green pepper, diced
Jalapeno peppers

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fried Pickles

How fitting to have fried pickles on the pickled pear! These turned out pretty tasty. I will definitely be making these again. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.


1 large jar sandwich sliced dill pickles
1 large egg
1 (20 oz) can/bottle beer
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dill
2 cups flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)

Pat pickles dry with paper towels. Whisk together egg, beer, baking powder, salt and dill in a large bowl. Add flour and whisk until smooth. (I had to add a bit more flour to make the batter thicker. It was too runny and I wanted a nice thick coat of batter on the pickles)
Pour 1 1/2 inches of oil into a skillet or dutch oven. Heat over medium high heat to 375 degrees. Dip pickles into batter, allowing excess to drip off. Fry pickles in batches 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown turning half way through cooking. Drain fried pickles on paper towels and serve immediately.
We dipped the pickles in home made ranch dressing (which I highly recommend)Just use the recipe on the hidden valley ranch dressing packet. Yum-o

Friday, February 26, 2010

By The Way

So I think I was a bit over zealous thinking I was going to have the time or the focus to post 3 recipes a week along with menus and reviews, so I'm re-thinking the process. I've decided to post my favorite recipe of the three meals I cooked the previous week.
But here's something to look forward to. Last weekend we went to Hoppers, and our waitress was kind enough to bring us a free plate of beer-battered fried pickles. It's a new appetizer they have and it was amazing! I've looked up some recipes to go off of and I'll be trying them next week. Stay posted to see how they turn out :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pesto Roasted Salmon

So easy AND delicious AND good enough for company.

You'll need....

4 salmon fillets
1 container pre-made or home made pesto
4 tablespoons butter, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse fillets of fish under running water and pat dry. Then place fish on a rimmed cookie sheet.
Cut 4, shallow one inch slits along the top of each fillet making sure you don’t cut all the way through to the bottom of the fish. Now insert a small chunk of butter into each slit, dividing one tablespoon of butter for each fillet.
Smear the top of each fillet with a generous amount of pesto (about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Note: you may not need to use the entire container of pesto sauce.) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake fish uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily.

I served this with angel hair pasta and tossed the pasta with a pat of butter, and some of the remaining pesto sauce.