Thursday, May 31, 2012

Easiest Ever Potato Wedges


One day a few summers ago, I really wanted some potato wedges. My attempts at making them were always unsatisfactory, though. The potatoes would be soft - but mushy, limp, and colorless. Sometimes they would stick to the pan and would be rubbery on the outside. Sigh.
In an effort to figure out just how in the world people make those wonderful potato wedges that have wonderful color and flavor with fluffy potato on the inside. I figured that people must complete some complicated process and put about a million spices on potato wedges to make them so delicious. I was wrong on both counts. I found this recipe from Food Network Kitchens, and they really are the easiest ever potato wedges. They are also delicious

I love yellow potatoes. They seem to be slightly less starchy than russets (whom I also love) which is great for Sjogren's Syndrome. :)
Step One: Make sure that your potatoes have been washed, scrubbed, and dried (or in my impatience, at the very least rinsed off).
Step Two: Cut each potato in half lengthwise.






Then lay each half flat. Using two diagonal cuts, cut each half into thirds.






I happened to find this little bitty baby potato. Should you find one this small, you can just cut him in half and be done. He's too little to cut into wedges.




Step Three: Put the potatoes, oil, salt, and cayenne on a baking sheet.




Step Four: Toss the potatoes with your hands. 
Note: The cayenne will help you know when to stop tossing. When you can see a little red on most/all the potatoes, you can stop.
Make sure that one of the cut sides are in contact with the pan.
Step Five: Bake the wedges at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

This picture is a picture of what they look like when you pull them out after 30 minutes.




Here is an overhead shot of what the potato wedges look like after 30 minutes but before you flip them over...





Step Six: Flip each wedge to its other cut side.




Step Seven: Return to the oven for 5 more minutes!






This picture is a picture of the potato wedges with the next entree' I plan to post...can you guess what it is?!
















Easiest Potato Wedges
Click here for printable version
3-4 medium russet or yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed & dried
3 T. canola oil
1 t. salt
a pinch of cayenne

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut potatoes into six wedges lengthwise. Combine potatoes, oil, salt, and cayenne on a baking sheet, and toss to combine. Arrange the potatoes in a singer layer so that each potato has a cut side in contact with the pan, but evenly spaced so that they are not touching each other. Bake until golden brown and cooked through - 30 minutes. Slip a spatula under the potatoes to turn them over, and cook 5 minutes more.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hamburger Casserole


Here is another one of our faves. I know that I found this recipe on the Internet a couple of years ago, but I have no idea where I found it! This is actually one of the easiest casseroles I make, and I always have the ingredients on hand for it. If you need more excuses to eat French fried onions, this recipe is for you. It's happy and homemade in about 45 minutes! Here is the recipe card. I actually follow this one!

 


Step One: Chop up a small onion.







Step Two: Season ground chuck with salt.







Step Three: Heat a skillet over med-high heat. When hot, add the ground chuck to the pan. Break up ground chuck in the pan as it browns, and then add the chopped onion.






Step Four: While the meat and onions cook, add the noodles to a large pot of boiling, well-salted water.

This picture is a bit misleading. I promise the water was boiling before I added those noodles!





Step Five: Drain the ground chuck mixture, and then add it back to the pan.

Step Six: Stir in cream of chicken soup.
Step Seven: When the noodles are tender, drain them, and add them back to the pot.

I usually put the pot back on the burner for about 10 seconds. I rarely drain pasta well enough. That short time on the burner evaporates away any extra water.




Step Eight: Add the meat mixture to the noodles...





...and stir well.






Step Nine: Spray a 2qt casserole dish with cooking spray.





Step Ten: Put the noodle misture into the dish,...





...cover, and let it bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.






Step Eleven: Pull out the casserole, uncover, and sprinkle French fried onions all over the top. Mmmm. Then cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.

If you will notice, I don't even take it out of the oven! I just pull the oven rack out and sprinkle the onions on top quickly. This method is not the best way to do things...I don't know if you can see them, but there are two or three French fried onions burning in the bottom of the oven...but like I have said before - in cooking, patience is a virtue, not a requirement.
Ta-da! Delicious...buttery even. I do not know how it gets so buttery. I promise I do not add any butter!





Yummmm....






This is the casserole my family found...I did not wait for them...












Hamburger Casserole
Click here for printable version
1 lb. ground chuck
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 medium onion
, chopped
1 8oz bag egg noodles, cooked & drained
1 3-oz can French-fried onions
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a medium skillet over med-high heat. Brown and crumble ground chuck. While browning, add onions. Cook until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Drain.

Combine the noodles, meat mixture, soup, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Spread evenly into a greased 2 qt. casserole. Cover and bake 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover, and spread French-fried onions evenly over the top. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef and Rice Hash


I have no idea where I found this recipe. I know I found it on the Internet a long time ago, but I do not remember where. It is soooo good. My dad even really likes this one. That's all I have to say about this recipe....that it is easy to make and so incredible and fantastic and delicious. Here is the (obviously) very loved recipe:


Step One: Turn your crockpot on to "Low." Yes, I realize nothing is in it yet.










Look closely. Do you see all the little cracks on the inside of my lovely, yellow crockpot? Those cracks form when you put hot food into a room temperature/cold crockpot. For this reason, you need to turn on your crockpot before you add ingredients for this recipe. It will still work when it is cracked, but it looks funny.

Isn't it fun to learn?



Step Two: Season the ground chuck with salt. I probably use about 1/2 t.










Step Three: Brown the ground chuck, and then transfer to the crockpot with a slotted spoon or spatula.

Note: Sometimes, I cook and drain the ground chuck the night before, and I mix everything together before I go to work. Some sweet person who has a job that allows them to come home for lunch turns on the crockpot then. If the ground chuck has had plenty of time to cool, there is no need to preheat the crockpot.


Step Four: Chop the veggies. I usually chop them up while the beef cooks. Here is a mini-lesson on chopping bell peppers.

1: Carefully cut a circle in the top of the pepper.






2: Make two or three cuts down the pepper from the top of the circle you made to the bottom. 









3: Twist out the circle, and pull the pepper halves or thirds apart. Discard the circle.

Look how pink my hand looks. Do I wash my hands that much?!






4: Cut off the thick part at the bottom of the pepper, and then carefully scrape out those light colored ribs and seeds. I usually cut them into several pieces to make it easier to get my knife in there.







5: Cut the peppers into strips, and then turn the strips to cut them into small cubes. Ta-da! Mini-lesson over.









Step Five: Cut the onions, too, so that they will be ready for the slow cooker!










This is the rice that I use. It is called "converted" rice and can hold up in a slow cooker without turning to mush. Very important.

This can of tomatoes has garlic and onion in it, but I usually use the plain ol' diced tomatoes. Actually, I use whatever is on sale...which is the real reason I have this particular can.





Step Six: You will be happy to know that other than browning and chopping, you just dump everything else into the slow cooker. This is a SUPER EASY meal.

Add the rice,...







...the tomatoes (NOT DRAINED),...











...the Worcestershire, the chili powder, the salt,...






...bell peppers, and the onions.












Step Seven: Mix it all up!











Step Eight: Put the lid on, and let the mixture cook on low 4-5 hours. No peeking!

I once read that every time you take the lid off a slow cooker/crock pot, you have to add 30 additional minutes of cooking time. Who has time for that?





Ta-da! Yummm....











The first couple of times I made this, my dad ate it with crackers. I poked fun at him...until I tried it. I usually don't even use a fork. I just use the crackers as shovels...:)










Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Beef and Rice Hash
Click here for printable version
1 lb ground chuck
1 med onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or diced)
1/2 converted rice (I use Uncle Ben's)
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 t. chili powder
1 1/4 t. salt
saltine crackers, optional

Preheat the slow cooker to low heat. Break up the ground chuck in a medium skillet as you cook it on med-high heat until no longer pink; drain. Place in slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Cover. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Eat with crackers if you would like.

Side Note: If you put the hot, cooked ground chuck in the slow cooker without preheating it, it can cause the inside of the slow cooker to crack. Mine is cracked. It still works, but it looks weird.
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