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

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Asparagus Beef

Asparagus BeefWho needs take-out when you can make it yourself? I’m always finding myself looking at various dishes at restaurants thinking I could probably make it. And if you have been following my blog, you know I’m all about quick and easy recipes.  For my vegetarian friends, just omit the beef and you should have a tasty vegetable stir fry dish.

MARINADE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounce sirloin or flank steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking, separated into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pound of asparagus, sliced in an angle into thirds
  • 1 small bell pepper, sliced into small strips
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster flavored sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • cornstarch slurry (2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a bowl mix together marinade ingredients and add beef strips. Set aside.
  2. In another small bowl prepare the sauce by combining sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and the chicken stock. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. Heat up wok or skillet on high heat.  Swirl in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to coat wok or skillet.
  4. Quickly spread the beef slices around the pan in an even layer. Let it sear for 15-30 seconds without stirring. Then give it a quick stir to sear the other side. The meat should be browned and no sticking should happen if you got the pan hot enough. Take the meat out of the pan and set aside.
  5. Keep the wok/skillet on high heat and add one tablespoon oil.
  6. Add in asparagus, bell peppers, onions and minced garlic.
  7. Stir for about 10 seconds and add the shaoxing wine. Cover, leaving the heat on high. Let it cook for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the cover. Add the beef back to the pan.
  8. Add the sauce mixture. Stir vigorously and let the liquid bubble up.
  9. Stir up your cornstarch slurry to make sure the starch is dissolved and pour in about half of it. Stir for a few seconds. If the sauce is still thin, add more slurry. If it’s too thick, add a little water or stock.
  10. Plate with rice and serve immediately!

Oven Roasted Tri Tip

tri-tip-doneOkay meat lovers, don’t hate me. I know a lot of the beef eaters out there are literally having a cow (teehee, get it?) seeing my roast not at red rare or medium rare state. But for some reason, any beef cooked under medium does not agree with my tummy. So here you get my pinkish medium to medium well tri tip roast. No worries I will tell you how to cook it to your desired doneness. Best of all, this is a simple recipe that you can make year round especially if you do not have a grill.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 pound tri tip roast
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • garlic powder
  • dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • olive oil
  • 2 small onions

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a glass baking dish big enough to hold your roast, season both sides of your tri tip with with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, onion soup mix, worcestershire sauce and olive oil. I did not give measurements for any because I just generally season by sight and it depends on the size of your roast as well. Just make sure your tri tip is well covered in seasonings and sauce and oil.
  2. Peel and cut onions into quarters and add to baking dish.tri-tip-prep
  3. Let meat marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Take tri tip out of refrigerator 30 minutes before putting into oven. Make sure fatty side is on top.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes to brown.
  6. Lower oven temperature to 350 F degrees. Cook 15 minutes for every pound for medium rare doneness. Cook 17 minutes per pound for medium doneness.
  7. Take cooked tri tip out of oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.tri-tip-oven

Taco Cups

Taco Cup FeatureDo you need a dish to bring to a potluck? Or perhaps just want to change up taco night? Try making these taco cups. With just a few ingredients and a couple of cupcake pans you can make these gorgeous bite size wonders. This recipe yields 24 taco cups.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix (1.25 ounces or 3 tablespoons of your own taco seasoning)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes , diced
  • 1 can diced green chilies (4 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 48 thin wonton wrappers
  • sour cream for garnish
  • green onions or cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously cover two cupcake pans in non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Over medium high heat brown the grown beef in a skillet. Drain the excess fat when beef is done.
  3. Add taco seasoning, green chilies and 3/4 of your diced tomatoes to ground beef and stir to combine.  Turn off heat.  Reserve the rest of your diced tomatoes for garnish. Taco Cup 1
  4. Line each cup of your prepared cupcake pans with one wonton wrapper. Taco Cup 5
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of meat mixture. Taco Cup 3
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of cheese. Taco Cup 4
  7. Press down and add another layer of wonton wrapper, meat mixture and cheese. Taco Cup 6
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until cups are heated through and edges are golden. Taco Cup 7
  9. Add sour cream, reserved tomatoes and green onions or cilantro as garnish. Taco Cup Plated

 

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie platedEver get in a dinner rut? I know I do. The same 5-10 dinner recipes on rotation week after week? Sometimes because they are quick and easy and other times just out of necessity.  So there I was. Staring at a pound of ground beef. What do I make? Stick to the routine or change it up? I say change is good.  Now I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this recipe on the back of a pancake batter box years ago.  But I don’t have any pancake batter mix, so I decided to make my own. But if you have some on hand, by all means feel free to substitute and save yourself a few steps.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cooked bacon slices, chopped into small pieces (optional, if you leave out then you are making cheeseburger pie)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. In a skillet, cook ground beef and onions until beef is browned and onions are translucent. 8-10 minutes. Drain fat from skillet. Add Worcestershire sauce to meat and mix.
  3. Spread ground beef and onions onto prepared pie plate.
  4. Using either a food processor or hand mixer, mix flour, sugar, salt and butter together until it forms into small pebbles of dough. (If you have pancake mix, use 1/4 cup and go to step 5.)
  5. Add milk and eggs. Mixing until combined.
  6. Pour into pie plate with meat mixture.
  7. Top with cheese and bacon pieces.
  8. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Or until inserted toothpick in center comes out clean.
  9. Serve with all your favorite cheeseburger sides.

 

Bacon Cheesburger Pie

 

 

One Pot Lasagna Soup

Lasagna SoupHappy New Year everyone! I wish you a year of health, happiness and tasty food!

It’s been mighty chilly here in Northern California. We are having a week of much needed on and off rain showers. So today felt like a hearty soup kind of day. I know, lasagna soup doesn’t sound like the healthiest way to start your year. But eat in moderation and you should be fine. Right?!

Okay, will it make you feel better knowing I added spinach and mushroom to the recipe and used low fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta to make this soup a little healthier and lighter?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 medium size red or yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ounces of white or brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (32 ounces) box chicken stock
  • 2 (14.5 ounces) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 10 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • low fat cottage cheese (1 tablespoon per serving)
  • chiffonade of basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Turn heat to medium high. Add olive oil to Dutch oven or heavy bottom large pot.
  2. When oil ripples, add ground beef and Italian sausage to pot and stir occasionally until meat is browned.  Add onions, mushrooms and garlic. Mix and continue to cook until onions become translucent.
  3. Drain any excess fat from pot.
  4. Add chicken stock, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce,Italian seasoning, sugar, kosher salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and lasagna noodles. Mix well.
  5. Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. During last 5 minutes of cook time, add spinach to soup and stir.
  7. Serve soup with a tablespoon of cottage cheese and basil for garnish.

Lasagna Soup 2

Baked Penne Casserole

Baked PenneI was really in the mood for lasagna tonight. Then I checked my cupboard and refrigerator and soon discovered I was lacking lasagna noodles and a few ingredients. I also discovered that I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. So, I decided to make do with what I had and came up with this baked penne casserole. Don’t laugh, but I had to use provolone and mozzarella cheese slices that I normally would use in my sandwiches. I told you, I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. In the end it still worked out nicely.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 1/4 cup your favorite marinara or one 24 ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 container low fat cottage cheese (32 ounces)
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese slices (about 10 slices or enough to cover casserole)
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese slices (about 10 slices or enough to cover casserole)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, coat your 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, brown your ground beef and mince it down to your desired size.
  3. Add diced onions and mushrooms to the ground beef and cook for 3-5 minutes until onions are tender.
  4. Next add the wine, sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Stir to mix well. Sauce should be a little watery, not thick.
  5. Once the sauce is mixed and comes to a boil, turn off the heat.
  6. Add a layer of sauce to the bottom of casserole dish.
  7. Then add half your uncooked pasta to layer the casserole dish. (Yes, uncooked. Let the meat mixture you just made do the work for you.)
  8. Next layer the cottage cheese over the noodles.
  9. Now add the provolone cheese slices to cover the casserole dish.
  10. Add the rest of the penne noodles. Be sure to make an even layer.
  11. Add the rest of the sauce mixture over the penne noodles.
  12. Finally, arrange the mozzarella slices over the top of the sauce layer.
  13. Cover loosely with foil. (Tip: spray foil side that will be in direct contact with casserole with cooking spray, so the cheese does not stick.)
  14. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Penne plated