Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

 

 

Tater Tot Casserole

My favorite cooking shows to watch when I was growing up were “30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray” and “Semi Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee.”  These ladies taught me to cook meals quicker and to use ready made help to make recipes easier. To this day I still like to incorporate concepts I learned from these cooks.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 16 ounces of nacho cheese sauce
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese
  • 1 28 ounce bag Ore Ida frozen mini tater tots

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare 13″X 9″ baking dish by greasing with cooking spray. Set aside baking dish. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  2. In a skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain fat. Add onions and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Stir in cheese sauce.
  3. Place meat and cheese mixture in prepared baking dish.  Tater Tot Casserole 1
  4. Layer peas and corn on top of meat mixture. Tater Tot Casserole 2
  5. Layer shredded cheese on top of peas and corn. Tater Tot Casserole 3
  6. Lastly, layer evenly tater tots on top of casserole.
  7. Tater Tot Casserole 4
  8. Baked uncovered 50 minutes or until tater tots are crispy and golden brown and mixture is bubbling.

 

Tater Tot Casserole 6

Easy Chicken and Rice Bake

No peak chicken

After weeks of health issues and doctor and specialists appointments, I just want to think about something else. ANYTHING else. These days, I have been making easy recipes. Some are so embarrassingly easy I just can’t get the nerve to post them on this blog. This recipe is probably one of them. Don’t be too hard on me. Remember, I’ve not been well lately.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 can cream of chicken
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1 empty soup can of water
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pack Lipton onion soup mix

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Prepare a  9″ x 13″ baking dish by greasing with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix rice, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, water, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
  4. Pour rice mixture in prepared baking dish.
  5. Place chicken breasts on top of rice mixture.
  6. Salt and pepper each chicken breast.
  7. Spoon equal amounts of dry onion soup mix on top of each chicken breast. No peak chicken 1
  8. Cover dish with foil.
  9. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. No peaking!
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley. (Optional)No peak chicken 2

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you need to make a large batch of cookies? Do you like dark, semi-sweet and white chocolate chips? Have I got a recipe for you. Toss those ready made cookie dough tubes. You can make your own triple chocolate chip cookies from scratch.  These cookies will have a crispy bottom and a soft center. Just the right amount of chewy and crispy.

Now you may be looking over the recipe ingredients and are thinking that’s a lot of sugar and butter!  Just remember this recipe will make 5 dozen cookies or more depending on how generous you scoop your dough.  That’s 60+ cookies! Feel free to share with your family, friends, and neighbors. Just don’t forget to save some for yourself!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 sticks of salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Prepare baking sheets using a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter, granulated sugar  and brown sugar. Add vanilla extract and eggs. Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in flour and baking soda until mixed well. If using an electric mixer, stop at this time.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
  5. On your prepared baking sheets, drop cookie dough by tablespoonfuls or using a cookie scoop. Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies 1
  6. Bake 10 minutes or until the cookies are light brown. The centers will be soft. Cool for a minute before transferring cookies to a cooling rack to completely cool. Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

Mongolian Chicken Wings

Mongolian Wings 7

Yes, it’s another chicken wing recipe from me. I can’t help myself. I just love trying out all different flavors of chicken wings. This recipe is fairly simple and for a change I had all the ingredients so, why not? If you like sweet and spicy, then you are going to love these wings. Best of all the spice level is up to you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken wings (about 20 pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha ( or more if you like it really spicy, less if you can’t handle too much spice)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • green onions for garnish
  • sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees and place metal rack on top of large baking pan. Be sure to use cooking spray on the rack so the chicken skin does not stick.
  2. In a large bowl or Ziploc bag, toss chicken wings with oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place wings on wire rack and cook 45-50 minutes, until crispy and golden. Mongolian Wings 1
  3. While chicken is baking, add honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, garlic and ginger into a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer until the flavors meld and the sauce reduces slightly for about 10 minutes. Mongolian Wings 2
  4. Transfer baked wings to a large bowl and toss with glaze. Mongolian Wings 4
  5. Return to rack and broil for 2-3 minutes until glaze is caramelized. Mongolian Wings 5
  6. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Mongolian Wings 6

Baked Rotisserie Style Chicken

Rotisserie type Baked Chicken

At my local supermarket, I came across a pack of organic chicken breasts and drumsticks. I thought how strange there were no thighs or wings. But I also thought, how perfect this was for my son and me. He loves drumsticks and I love chicken breasts. While I was at the supermarket,  I kept smelling the fresh out of the rotisserie chicken they were packaging up. As I do not own a rotisserie, this was my inspiration to try to come up with a baked chicken with rotisserie flavors. So this is what I tried. Considering I had breasts and drumsticks to cook together, they came out surprisingly moist and tender.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 whole cut up chicken (My chicken pack came only with 2 breasts and 4 drumsticks)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small bowl, make spice rub by combining brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder and salt. Mix well. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 1
  3. Rub chicken with olive oil.
  4. Rub spice mix over chicken pieces covering both sides. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 2
  5. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
  6. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil over chicken pieces.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 400F degrees. This initial high heat will help brown the chicken.
  8. Then lower the heat to 350 F degrees and bake for an additional 10-20 minutes more until the juices run clear (not pink) when poked with a sharp knife or the internal temperature of the chicken breasts is 165 F degrees and of the drumsticks are 170 F degrees.
  9.  Remove from oven and transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Rotisserie type Baked Chicken 3

     

 

Vietnamese Style Chicken Wings

Vietnamese Wings 1Yes, once again I’m making chicken wings.  Most the Vietnamese chicken wing recipes I’ve seen call for fish sauce. As my son and I are allergic to most things seafood, I cannot use it as it is too strong.  So, believe it or not, that is why I am using Worcestershire sauce for the unami in this recipe. Thus, the reason why I call it Vietnamese “style.”  These wings are sweet, sticky and a little bit spicy. Good news is this recipe is quite simple, uses only a few ingredients, no oil frying required and done in less than 45 minutes.  For my vegetarian friends, maybe you can substitute fried or pan seared tofu as the sauce itself is quite tasty.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons sweet soy sauce Kecap Manis
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sambal Oelek Chili Paste (start with 2 tablespoons and add more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • cilantro chopped for garnish
  • lime wedges (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 F degrees.
  2. For easier clean up, cover a baking sheet in foil or use a silicone mat as the sauce becomes quite sticky.
  3. Lay out the chicken wings in a single layer in prepared baking pan.
  4. Season the chicken wings on both sides using salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned or cooked through.
  6. While the chicken wings bake, prepare the sauce.
  7. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sweet soy sauce, chili paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to mix well.
  8. When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer the wings to a large bowl. Add half the sauce and, using tongs, toss to thoroughly coat. Return the wings to the lined sheet pan and arrange in a single, even layer. Vietnamese Wings Tray
  9. Bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned. Remove from the oven. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
  10. Optional: Serve with a lime wedge. I like how the lime juice offsets the sweetness of the soy sauce. Vietnamese Wings 2

 

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

Mexican Cornbread Casserole platedHappy Cinco de Mayo! This recipe is like a mash up of my Mexican Casserole and a tamale pie recipe I’ve tried in the past. And for my fellow home cooks who like quick recipes, the 35 minutes baking time is the longest you have to wait.  I love shortcuts, so if you do not have all the required spices in your cupboards you can also use a packet of taco seasoning. Since there is only two of us at home to eat this, I used half the meat and only one box of the Jiffy cornbread mix and an 8×8 baking pan. Otherwise I used the same amount of all the other ingredients. For my vegetarian friends, omit the ground beef and add pinto beans.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (8.5 ounce) boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend; separated into 1/2 cup and 1 cup
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounce)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (10 ounce) Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
  • 1 1/2 cup chunky salsa

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile in a large bowl, prepare Jiffy cornbread mix by combining mix, eggs and milk. Stir well then add 1/2 cup grated Mexican cheese blend. Set aside. (If you like some extra spice, add a small can of diced green chilies to the cornbread mixture.)
  2. In a skillet add olive oil and cook ground beef over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain any grease. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until onions are tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the meat mixture in skillet. Mix well and remove from heat.
  4. In a 9X13 baking pan, add meat and vegetable mixture. Top with 1 cup grated Mexican blend cheese.
  5. Add prepared cornbread mixture on top of cheese layer. Be sure to spread out evenly.
  6. Bake in oven for 33-35 minutes or until cornbread turns golden.  Enjoy with your favorite beverage.

Mexican Cornbread Casserole