Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Funeral Potatoes (Freezer meal friendly!)

It was recently brought to my attention that I had alluded to a funeral potato recipe on my blog a few times but never posted it! Such a tragedy! I'm sorry to have held out on you all for so long :) This recipe comes from my Mom's friend Vicki who is an excellent cook! She was one of my church leaders growing up and I can remember having activities at her house and getting to eat her yummy food.  I think my mom first got this recipe at an activity where they learned about Christmas traditions and we've used this for our Christmas night dinner ever since! We usually pair it with pork roast and chile plum sauce (also from Vicki) and you can check out the recipe for that by clicking here! I even have it pictured with funeral potatoes.  And the blog comes full circle...

Anyway, this is one of my butteriest, creamiest recipes I have...and it's also one of my most requested! It's delicious and also great to feed a crowd. This recipe has been used for fundraisers, girl's camp, and coming soon church Christmas parties.  In fact, they are called funeral potatoes because they are often served at funeral luncheons.  They take about 5 min. to throw together and they bake up in about 45 min.  Enjoy!

Funeral Potatoes
1 bag shredded hash browns
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of celery
16 oz. sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar
1/2 bunch green onion chopped

2 cups crushed cereal (I use corn Chex or Crispix)
2 T. butter melted

Combine all ingredients (other than topping ingredients).  Place potatoes mixture in a 9x13 pan.  Bake for 30 min. Stir slightly to allow the center to cook and spread evenly in pan again.  Combine crushed cereal with 2 T. melted butter and top potatoes.  Continue baking for 15 min. or until golden brown and bubbly.

Freezer Meal Instructions:

Combine all potatoes ingredients (other than topping ingredients).  Place potatoes mixture in a 9x13 pan. In a small bowl combine crushed cereal and melted butter for the topping.  Sprinkle on top of potatoes. At this point you can bake immediately or cover in foil and freeze.

When Ready to Cook:
If frozen: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Tent foil over top of potatoes and place pan on baking sheet. Cook for 1 hour 40 minutes or until heated through.  Remove foil and continue cooking ten minutes or until top is golden.
If defrosted: Follow the same heating instructions but reduce cook time to 45 minutes. Removing foil for the final 10 minutes.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pumpkin Torte

I got this recipe several years ago from my friend Connie at church. It's like pumpkin pie cake! It uses a cake mix so it's super fast to make.  It also has a delicious streusel type topping that reminds me of the pumpkin muffins that Costco makes around this time of year.  Give it a try!

Pumpkin Torte
1 yellow or white cake mix (divided)
1/2 C butter, melted
1 egg

1 Can Pumpkin pie mix (the kind with spices and sugar already in it)
2 eggs
2/3 C evap milk

1/4 C butter (room temp)
1 C. Cake Mix
1 T cinnamon
1/4 C sugar

Combine crust ingredients and spread evenly into bottom of a 9x13 in. baking dish. Combine filling ingredients and pour over crust. For topping- cut butter into other topping ingedients until crumbly, sprinkle over the top of pumpkin mixture. Bake for 45 min at 375 degrees. Serve warm or cold (I prefer cold) with whipped topping.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lazy Day Lasagna

So I have a great from scratch lasagna recipe that I will post at some point but this is my realistic lasagna recipe (a.k.a. the one I use on a regular basis).  It comes together quickly and tastes great. Other than the ricotta it's made with ingredients I usually have on hand.

Also, I think I've mentioned before that I usually try to have at least one meatless meal per week and this fits the bill nicely.  Very filling and the kids gobble it up.  So if you're having a busy day but don't want to get fast food somewhere give this one a try.

Lazy Day Lasagna
1 package no-cook lasagna noodles (I use Barilla)
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 jars spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu super vegetable primavera)

In a medium sized bowl combine eggs, ricotta, parmesan, and 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella. Spread 1 cup of sauce on bottom of a 9x13in. baking dish.

Layer 1:  4 no-cook lasagna noodles. 1/3 of ricotta mixture, 1 cup mozzarella, and 1 cup spaghetti sauce. 

Layer 2: 4 noodles, 1/3 of ricotta mixture, 1 cup spaghetti sauce

Layer 3: 4 noodles, 1/3 of ricotta mixture, 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup spaghetti sauce.

Layer 4: Last 4 noodles topped with remaining spaghetti sauce and the last cup of mozzarella.

Cover casserole dish by tenting foil over the top.  Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes to slightly toast cheese on top. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve!

Freezer Meal Instructions:
Assemble lasagna in a disposable baking dish by following the steps above.  Instead of baking, cover lasagna with a double layer of foil, label and freeze. When ready to serve you can bake it from thawed or frozen by following the directions below.

If thawed:

Cover casserole dish by tenting foil over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes to slightly toast cheese on top.  Let rest 10 minutes and serve.

If frozen:

Increase baking temperature to 400 degrees and baking time to 1 hour 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes and serve.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Microwave white chocolate popcorn

So my sister made this recipe for New Year's Eve about 3 years ago and while I've thought about it with fondness I hadn't ever tried to make it.  So about a week ago when I was having a girls night and needed something sweet I decided to email her for the recipe.  You'll be so surprised at how easy it is! It's so yummy...give it a try!

Microwave White Chocolate Popcorn
1 bag microwaveable popcorn (butter flavor)
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chip- melted (I used Ghiradelli's)
1 cup mini M&M's

Pop popcorn according to package directions.  Melt white chocolate chips according to package directions*. Pour hot popcorn into a large mixing bowl and remove any unpopped kernels. Add melted white chocolate chips.  Stir, making sure to coat all popcorn evenly.  Allow to cool about 1-2 minutes and add mini M&M's.  That's it! Easy!

*If your white chocolate doesn't come with melting direction here's how I do it.  Place chips in a microwave safe bowl and melt at 50% power for 1 min.  Stir and microwave again at 50% power in 20 second increments until completely melted. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent burning around the edges.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms

So I love stuffed mushrooms in all varieties.  Here's a quick recipe I've been using for a few years.  We use it mostly as an appetizer but they would also be an awesome side dish. Cream cheese, garlic, mushroom deliciousness!

Stuffed Mushrooms
25 medium sized mushrooms
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
3 T. butter
1/2 cup italian style bread crumbs

Wash and dry mushrooms and remove stems (but don't throw them away).  Mince stems and cook in olive oil over medium heat until softened (about 4 minutes).  Add garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant.  Mix garlic mixture with cream cheese, parmesan, onion and cayenne powders.

 Stuff each mushroom cap with appx. 1 tsp of the mixture each, depending on the size of the mushrooms.  

Melt butter in the microwave and add bread crumbs.  Stir to make a coarse crumb mixture.  Dip each stuffed mushroom in crumb mixture to top.  Arrange mushrooms on a large cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until filling is hot and water begins to form under caps. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (Freezer Friendly!)

So my family is pretty much obsessed with this recipe.  I've made it like a million times so I've decided to add it to my blog to spread the joy!  I found it on my friend Jenny's blog, What's on your Menu, but it's originally from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  Click on their website names and check them out. This was the first recipe I'd tried from Mel's but I recently tried her french bread too and it was equally good!

I've tweaked this recipe every time I made it so the recipe below is the recipe I follow now. I changed it up a little by adding some extra veggies and using already cooked chicken.  I also switched some of the directions around to keep the corn tender and such. Finally, I couldn't find just plain wild rice at the store so I just make this with Rice-a-roni Nature's way.  Since that has it's own seasoning packet I leave out some of the seasoning she included in her soup.

This soup is loaded with veggies and is super filling.  I usually serve it by itself and call it a day!  It's also my go to soup now for people who need a little cheering up :) It's awesome the next day too.  Just use a little milk to thin it back down.  Give it a try!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
2 cups prepared wild rice
1/2 cup butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (I usually just throw the whole container in)
3/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth (if making freezer meal- substitute 6 tsp. chicken bouillion)
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. dried mustard powder
1 (14.5 oz) can corn
3 cups cooked chicken (1 whole rotisserie chicken)
2 cups fat free half and half

Prepare wild rice according to package directions.  While rice is cooking, cut all your veggies.  In a large stock pot, melt butter and saute onion, celery, and carrots until slightly tender (about 8 min.).  Add mushrooms and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes or until mushrooms are softened.

Add flour and mix until veggies are covered.  Whisk in chicken broth, making sure to smooth out any flour lumps.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, until thickened.

Add rice, curry, mustard powder, corn and chicken. Heat soup through and add half and half.  Serve immediately or allow to simmer for 1 hour.  I usually make this in the morning and then put it in my crock-pot for the rest of the day.  It's great no matter what you decide to do.  Enjoy!

Freezer Meal Instructions:

1) Cook chicken and prepare wild rice.
2) Place rice in a quart sized freezer bag and seal.
3) Whisk half and half and flour and pour in a quart sized freezer bag and seal. Combine chicken and all remaining ingredients except for the 6 cups chicken broth. Instead add 1 cup water and 6 tsp. chicken bouillion. 
3) Place chicken mixture in a gallon sized freezer bag. 
4) Place rice bag, half and half bag, and chicken bag in a gallon sized freezer bag. seal and label. 

When ready to cook: Set rice and half and half out to defrost while chicken cooks. Add chicken bag and 5 cups water to the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours or until soup is heated through and veggies are tender. Add rice and half and half mixture.  Continue cooking 1 hour or until soup is thickened and rice is completely warmed.