Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

I was having a couple of friends over for a little get together and wanted to have some protein to snack on. In the past I have gone to my crockpot smokies recipe, but I had meatballs in the freezer and wanted to try something different. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it sounded too good so I knew I had to try it. I’m glad to say that it was a success and I really liked that the sauce made by the cranberry and chili sauce was nice and thick and didn’t need a cornstarch slurry like my smokies recipe sometimes does. Another bonus is this recipe comes together so quickly and lives in the crockpot til you are ready to serve so it’s great for entertaining.

  • 14-oz can cranberry sauce 
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce 
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb bag of homestyle meatballs, frozen

Pour your meatballs into a medium size crockpot. Combine the sauce ingredients in bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8.

Crockpot Mexican Shredded Beef

I have a bunch of chuck roasts in my freezer and was looking for something different than my usual Mississippi Roast to make with them, so it was off to Pinterest! I found this shredded beef recipe and it was a winner for everyone. It would be great in a rice bowl, on nachos, or in tacos. I tweaked the recipe a little bit because I was missing a couple of ingredients but I’ll note those substitutions at the bottom. Recipe and photo courtesy of asouthernsoul.com.

  • 3 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounce can green chilies
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Layer sliced onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place chuck roast on top of onions. Sprinkle chopped garlic around the side of the beef. In a small bowl, add green chilies, chopped chipotle, beef broth, vinegar, and lime juice, whisk together then pour over the roast. Sprinkle the top of the roast with cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Place lid on the slow cooker and set the timer to 8 hours for low OR on high for 4 hours. When the roast is done, remove it from the slow cooker and shred using 2 forks. Drain off 3/4 of the liquid from the pot. Add shredded beef back into the pot and gently toss with remaining juice. Serve immediately.

*I didn’t have chipotles or green chiles, so I left out the chipotles and substituted 1/2 a cup of salsa verde for the diced green chiles and it turned out great.

Butter Dijon Parmesan Chicken

This is another quick and easy meal that is simple and delicious and can pair with any side dish you can think of. Even my family who doesn’t like mustard likes this chicken.

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • honey for drizzle if desired

Preheat oven to 400°; if you have a convection feature in your oven it will help brown the crumbs. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment, then spray with cooking spray. Pat dry and trim any extra fat off the chicken thighs. Melt your butter in a microwave safe bowl, then mix in the dijon mustard. Combine the panko, parmesan, salt and pepper in another bowl. Coat the chicken thighs in the butter/dijon mixture, then into the panko mixture. Place the chicken on the prepared sheet then spray the tops with more cooking spray to help with crisping. Bake for 25-30 minutes until coating is crispy and brown and the internal temp is 165. Drizzle with honey if desired and serve with your favorite side.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

Screen Shot 2020-06-18 at 11.58.40 AMWe have been trying to cut back on the amount of bread and pasta we eat, so when I was looking for a way to use up rotisserie chicken that didn’t use those things I, of course, turned to Pinterest. I found this chicken bake and man was it good. I halved the recipe the first time to make sure we liked it, and it was so good, so flavorful that I didn’t even miss the pasta. Recipe and photo courtesy of afamilyfeast.com.

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup avocado mayonnaise
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 store bought rotisserie chicken, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, reserving 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat and set aside. While the bacon is cooking, in a medium sauce pan, place cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, avocado mayonnaise, heavy cream, hot sauce, mustard, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Crumble bacon and add to the cream mixture. Clean skillet and add two tablespoons of the bacon fat and saute onions over medium high heat for three minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of bacon fat and add the mushrooms and saute for five minutes. Add the garlic and spinach and toss to coat the spinach and cook until wilted, about two minutes. Add the cream mixture and cooked chicken and heat then pour into an 8X12 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle on the two cups of mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Place under the broiler and brown, 1-2 minutes. Let sit ten minutes to set up. There will be a little liquid on the bottom which will eventually absorb into the mixture. We spooned a little over each portion. Serve with a salad or your favorite vegetables.

Chicken Enchilada Soup a la Chili’s

chilis-chicken-enchilada-soup-horizontal-1526596329Growing up my friends and I went to Chili’s at least once a week and I would either get Chicken Crispers or Chicken Enchilada Soup and salad.  We haven’t been able to go to Chili’s for a while so I got the on the good ole Interwebs to see what I could find. I found this copycat recipe at delish.com and with a few additions it was a dead ringer for my favorite soup. The recipe makes a ton, so be prepared to make it for a crowd or freeze half.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 16 oz Velveeta, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

     

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack, for garnish
  • tortilla strips, for garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 5 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups chicken broth, masa harina and spices until smooth. Add to pot, whisking constantly until no lumps remain. Add enchilada sauce and Velveeta and cook, stirring often, until melted. Stir in chicken. Garnish with cheeses and tortilla strips before serving.

Cheese pizza (let’s call it like we see it)

IMG_20200410_175721This was first attempt making pizza completely from scratch. I was really pleased with how it turned out, and my kids raved about it so it had to make it here.

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 lb tomatoes, I used Campari
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • sprinkling of onion powder
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Pizza:

Preheat your oven to 400. For the tomato sauce, chop up the garlic and halve the tomatoes. Drizzle a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and add your garlic, onion powder and tomatoes, halved side down. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until the skin starts peeling from your tomatoes. Add the basil and roast for another 7 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and put the contents of the pan into a blender and blend until smooth. (I used an immersion blender, so just use whatever you have in your kitchen.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Put in a jar and set aside.

Increase the temperature of your oven to 450. For the pizza dough, dust a cookie sheet with cornmeal and stretch or roll your dough out into a roughly circular shape. Spoon about a 1/4 of cup of tomato sauce onto the dough, then top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. At this point you can add whatever toppings you like on a pizza; I only had cheese on hand so that’s what I went with. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

How To: Homemade Pizza Dough

The-Best-Pizza-Dough-Recipe-5Another first for me during this quarantine is homemade pizza dough. I have really been making an effort to not shy away from using yeast so this was a logical next step. Again I used instant yeast so it came together really quickly. It also made enough dough for two pizzas so you can make two pizzas at once or save it for another day. Recipe and photo courtesy of houseofnasheats.com

  •  1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  •  2 teaspoons sugar
  •  2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast or instant yeast
  •  3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose if that’s all you have)
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  2 teaspoons salt

Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. If using active dry yeast, let it proof for 5 minutes until foamy. If using instant yeast, there is no need to wait for the yeast to proof. Add flour, olive oil, and salt and stir well with a wooden spoon or mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook until combined. Knead for 5 minutes using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment or 6-7 minutes by hand until smooth and elastic. The dough will be tacky and slightly sticky, but should still be manageable to work with. Drizzle a clean bowl with a little olive oil, then place the ball of dough in the bowl and turn it to coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let rise for at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 1/2 hours) until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 2 or 3 balls (or more if you want to make personal-size pizzas). Roll, pat, or stretch the dough out until it is roughly 1/4″ thick, then top with 1/4-1/2 cup of pizza sauce, freshly grated mozzarella cheese, and other toppings.

Chicken Pot Pie

1519154630-chicken-pot-pie-verticalThis pot pie was so hearty and delicious. I made it in a pie tin but I could also see using individual ramekins. I used my lard pie crust recipe and it really pushed it over the top.

  • 3 cups shredded chicken, I used rotisserie
  • 1/2 cup butter, plus more for baking dish
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas

     

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Egg wash

Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare the crust following my lard pie crust recipe and chill while the filling is being prepared. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and carrots and cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, then stir in flour and cook until the flour mixture is golden and beginning to bubble. Gradually whisk in chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, cubed chicken, peas, parsley and thyme. Season mixture with salt and pepper. To assemble the pie, on a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a large round about ¼” thick. Place in a shallow pie dish then add filling. Roll out second disc of dough into a large round about ¼” thick and place on top of filling. Trim and crimp edges, then use a paring knife to create slits on top. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake pie until crust is golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

How To: Savory Pie Crust

downloadWith Christmas guests coming I took the opportunity to make a few new recipes, including a chicken pot pie.  I figured a pie crust made out of lard would be the perfect complement and sure enough it was delicious. Even better was the fact that it didn’t require a ton of chilling.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup lard
  • 1/3 cup ice water

Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the lard with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending gently with a fork or pastry blender until all flour is moistened and dough almost cleans the sides of the bowl. Divide the dough in half and shape flattened rounds. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Crockpot Lil’ Smokies

little-smokies-4I’m adding this recipe to the site because even though it’s only 3 ingredients and super simple to make, I always forget if it’s barbeque or chili sauce. So it’s here it is. Make them for your next get together and your guests will love you.

  • 2 packages beef smokies, 13 oz each
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce (found with the ketchup)
  • 12 oz grape jelly

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot and cook for 3 hours on high til warmed through and the sauce comes together, stirring occasionally.