Rice and Beef Mexi-Skillet

This one-pan meal is very delicious and very easy to make.  It’s a big mash-up of yummy–ground beef, rice and beans, spices and cheese.  You probably have most, if not everything, to make this in your pantry already.  I love weeknight dishes that I can set to simmer for a few minutes-it allows me to clean everything up while it finishes cooking.

Feel free to change the spices around to your particular taste. The recipe below gives a bit of a kick but it’s not spicy (in my opinion anyway).

This would also be great on nachos, Husband ate it rolled in a tortilla, I just ate it straight out of the bowl. Both helpings 🙂  Leftovers reheat beautifully.

 

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Rice and Beef Mexi-Skillet

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped small
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced fine
  • 1 15oz can crushed tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp Goya seasoning
  • 1 8oz box Goya Rice and Beans (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup light mexican blend shredded cheese (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • Fat free sour cream (for topping)
  • Sliced avocado (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium/high heat. Cook the beef until nearly cooked through, drain, then add the onion and garlic, cook until onion is soft -just a few minutes.  Drain fat again if needed. Then add the tomatoes, seasoning and spices and mix to combine.  Transfer the beef to a deep plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. In the same pan bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add the contents of the rice box and boil for 30 seconds.  Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed-about 25 minutes. If necessary add a few extra tbsp of water to cook rice.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the beef and then stir in the cheese.  Let it rest for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.
  4. Garnish and serve.

Greatly adapted from Goya’s Cheeseburger Rice recipe.

 

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Lone Star Chicken Spaghetti

Maybe I live in the wrong part of the country or don’t pay attention to enough of what goes on in Texas but I’d never heard of ‘chicken spaghetti’ before I saw this recipe on Maeghan‘s blog.  Which is ironic because she had never heard of it either until she came across it in a cookbook, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table. Well she made it and was nice enough to post the recipe. I’m glad she shared it because it’s DELICIOUS!!!  A sort of spaghetti and cheese with some Tex-Mex flavors and chicken.  Um, yes please.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of it either.  Well-today’s your lucky day because this is one super-tasty, easy to make, cheesy dish. It has a hint of heat-just right for the dish if you ask me and I like spicy, but with the chicken and cheese I didn’t want overpowering hotness.

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Lone Star Chicken Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • 8 ozs spaghetti
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1&1/2 tbsp light butter (for panko #3 below)
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tbsp light unsalted butter (for cheese sauce #5 below)
  • 2 tbsp AP flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk, plus more if needed
  • 2 cups freshly grated light sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups freshly grated light monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, and a bit more for garnish
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces.

Instructions:

  1. Turn on broiler and move top oven rack so that it’s about 6 inches from the broiler.  Arrange tomatoes and jalapenos skin side up in one layer on a foil lined baking sheet along with the onions and garlic. Broil for 5-7 minutes until skin blisters. Remove and let cool.  Reduce heat to 350F.
  2. Cook spaghetti until it’s al dente in a pot of lightly salted water. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  3. While the spaghetti is cooking place butter in a small sauce pan and melt. Add the panko and toast until just golden brown. Set aside.
  4. Spray a dutch oven with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  5. Melt the butter in a deep sauce pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until well combined and slightly browned-about 30-45 seconds. Slowly pour in the milk and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens and will coat the back of a spoon, 3-5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in most of the cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time, leaving a small bit of both aside for later.
  6. Put the chicken, spaghetti, roasted vegetables and pepper, herbs and spices and lime juice to the waiting dutch oven and stir to mix evenly. Pour the cheese sauce over and stir to evenly combine. Sprinkle the reserved grated cheese and panko over the top.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling.
  8. Sprinkle with reserved cilantro and serve.

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Yummy bubbling cheese!!

Adapted from The Way to His Heart.

Chicken Panini with Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers and Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Sometimes something really great comes out of needing to make a meal when you didn’t think you’d need to. That’s where this sandwich comes in.  It was so very very very tasty and so many different layers of flavor!!!  And mmmmmmmm melty cheese.

I had plans for Saturday which, super-sadly, fell through due the weather being awful. Torrential rain, dangerous winds etc..  I watched the figure skating championships instead. I can’t wait for the Olympics to start in February-figure skating is probably my favorite of the winter sports. Remember that whole Nancy Kerrigan thing years ago? Lifetime made a really great (well as far as a Lifetime movie goes) about that and boy did they make it dramatic and fun to watch.  I think we have some great contenders for medals this year.

I always have boneless, skinless chicken breasts frozen individually in the freezer. I buy the large family packs (they’re FAR less expensive than the 1lb packs), I bring it home, trim up the chicken, weigh it and then use my food saver to package it up. I write the date and weight on the package.  Those are lifesavers on nights when you want to make something fast. In a bowl of cold water the chicken only takes a short time to defrost.

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Chicken, Pesto and Mozzarella Panini

Ingredients:

  • 4oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning (I use the low-sodium)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil plus 1/4 tsp
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1/4 cup fresh mozzarella cheese-cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced roasted red peppers
  • 1 flatbread

Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning, salt and pepper.
  2. In a small skilled over medium high heat heat up the 1 tsp oil and then add the chicken breast.  Cook a few minutes on each side until fully cooked. Remove from the pan. Chop into very small pieces and set aside.
  3. Microwave the flatbread for a few seconds to loosen it up.
  4. Brush a thin layer of the remaining olive oil onto the flatbread and then turn it over so that the oil side is down.
  5. Smear the pesto onto one half of the bread, then lay down the cheese then top with the peppers and chicken.  Fold the top of the bread over and gently press to make sure it’s all staying together.
  6. Place it on the panini press and cook until cheese is melted and bread is crisp.
  7. Eat immedately.

Makes 1 panini.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Panini

I love the egg sandwiches that we get at delis and bagel shops (having such great delis and bagel places here on Long Island I get spoiled) but making them at home is easy too-and better for you since you can control the ingredients and skip the butter and extra grease. I’ve heard from people visiting (the NY metro area) that egg sandwiches don’t exist where they live.  They have my full sympathy. I can’t fathom life without great delis, bagel shops and pizzerias. Here we get them on bagels or on kaiser rolls. I didn’t have either but the flatbread in my panini press worked perfectly. They’re heaven.

Feel free to use egg whites, egg beaters, bacon, different cheeses etc.. to make it your own.  Some people put ketchup on it too but I don’t.

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Sausage, Egg and Cheese Panini

Ingredients:

  • 5 large eggs, scrambled in a bowl
  • 2 tbsp milk (any is fine-skim, whole, 2%)
  • 7 sausage links or 2 patties
  • 2 flatbreads
  • 4 slices american cheese (we use the Boar’s Head brand. It melts differently than others and in my opinion has a nicer texture).

Instructions:

  1. Cook the sausage as to package instructions then set onto paper towels to drain. Chop into small pieces and return to paper towels and set aside.
  2. While the sausages are  cooking make the eggs. In a medium non-stick frying pan with a flat base over medium heat cook the eggs,. Using a rubber spatula frequently pull the cooked eggs away from the edge, tilt the pan to allow the raw eggs to flow to the pan surface.  Turn when needed trying to keep the eggs together. When they’re all cooked remove from the heat and set aside.  (Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper if desired but I don’t generally because of the seasonings in the sausage. )
  3. Microwave the flat bread for a few seconds to loosen it up.
  4. On one half of the flatbread place half of the cheese, eggs and sausage.  Fold the other half of the bread over the top and place on the panini press until bread is crisp and cheese has melted fully.
  5. Serve immediately.

Makes 2.

Fondue!

I’ve always had a thing for fondue. When I was young my Mom used to make it and it was always a treat.  Melty cheese on a chilly night-perfect!! What’s not to love? I’d not ever made fondue from scratch but it was easy. If you can grate cheese you can make it.

I’m not really all that big of a New Years Eve person–truth be told it feels like any other night to me but since others make a big deal about it well I might as well do something 🙂 New Year’s Eve this year was so nice! I made the fondue, Mom brought over lobsters, Grandma brought a salad. We played cards and ate delicious food and laughed our heads off.

Thanks for holding that below Mom.

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Fondue!

Ingredients:

  • garlic clove-smashed once
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup shredded swiss emmentthal
  • 2 tbsp AP flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine (chardonnay)
  • bundle of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • french bread, granny smith apples etc.. all cut into small squares for dipping.

Instructions:

  1. Rub a medium sauce pan with the garlic. Add the wine, thyme bundle and lemon juice and bring to a simmer for a  minute or 2.
  2. Combine the cheeses and flour in a bowl and mix to coat evenly. Add it to the wine mixture a bit at a time, stirring until melted and velvety.
  3. Pour into your fondue pot and place over the appropriate heat source.
  4. Serve with diced bread, apples etc…

I put the bread and apples out with other small things to eat easily with the fondue fork but not to dip into the cheese-dill gerkins, kalamata olives. They were a nice addition to the plate.

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Harvest Salad

This is such a delicious salad! Tart granny smith apple, crunchy toasted pecans, tangy dried cranberries, sweet pear and a zingy dressing make this one of my new favorites.  It came together very quickly.

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Harvest Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 cup shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 Bosc pear, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • freshly grated cheddar cheese or crumbled goat cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a small non-stick skillet over medium heat toast the pecans, occasionally shaking the pan, until golden and fragrant. About 5 minutes.
  2. While the pecans are toasting put the shallot and next 6 ingredients  including the vinegar in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Continue whisking and stream in olive oil until emulsified.
  3. In a large salad bowl place the lettuce, follow with pecans, fruit and cranberries. Drizzle with the dressing and toss.  Place half of the salad on each of 2 plates, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.

I ate only half of this salad for dinner one night.  I did not dress the salad all together. I placed each different component in separate ziplock bags and brought them to work the next day.  I wrapped the halves of the pear and apple and brought those separately and chopped them up when I was ready for lunch. It came out perfectly.

 Makes 2 servings.  Adapted from All You, November 2013.

Crispy Parmesan Bread

Often when I make pasta or soup I’ll make up some of this delicious crunch bread to have on the side. It’s great to eat plain or to wipe up the last bits of a bowl of soup or sauce.

And it couldn’t be easier to make. You can use pretty much any bread.  You need to use freshly grated parmesan though-something that you should keep on hand at all times anyway.

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Crunchy Parmesan Bread

Ingredients:

  • Small baguette or other soft crust long loaf such as italian bread
  • Butter
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Cut bread into the desired shapes and put into the toaster oven to toast very slowly.
  2. When they’re just a touch brown remove the bread and spread a bit of butter over the bread.  Return to the oven and melt the butter.
  3. Remove and sprinkle the parmesan cheese and then put back in the oven for a few more minutes.  Watch it carefully-parmesan burns quickly. Remove when just melty.
  4. Enjoy!!

My Mom used to make these for me. She doens’t have a blog (but she should) so they’re originally her idea 🙂

Roasted Green Beans

I love green beans. I always have. When I was little I loved eating them raw and I still do. Now that I’m old enough to use the oven I also roast them. Roasting is my preferred method of cooking them too as I basically like them cooked through but still very crisp. As you can see in the photo below I grated some cheese on top. YUM!  Could it be any easier? Cut each end off, throw them onto a baking sheet, sprinkle a little of this and a little of that and then **abracadabara** they’re done. The answer is ‘no’. It cannot be any easier. This recipe is a basic guide. Use your imagination. If you like spicy try a touch of hot sauce or cayenne pepper.  Try other salts. Try other peppers. Use onion powder instead of garlic powder. Or just leave them plain.  Green beans are totally fun.

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Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • As many fresh green beans as you (and whoever else is with you) will eat, washed and ends trimmed and beans relatively dry.
  • Olive oil to drizzle over them
  • kosher or sea salt to sprinkle
  • white pepper to sprinkle
  • freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • whatever else you think appropriate

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F.
  2. Spread beans on one layer on a baking sheet.  Put them close together.
  3. Drizzle oil, salt, pepper and any other spices you like on them then toss with hands to evenly coast the beans with the oil and spices then spread them out evenly.
  4. Bake for about 10-15 minutes-until desired crispyness has been met.
  5. Put them on the plate or in the bowl and sprinkle with the cheese.

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

Yes I know I thought the same thing when I read the name of the dish–YUM!! Putting 2 classics together-that’s genius! I’ve seen a few different recipes for this floating around the internet and blog world for a while but never got around to making one. For this month’s blog swap I was given http://www.tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com/ and it took me a while to decide to make this dish-Sarah’s got a ton of great sounding recipes on her blog.

I really did enjoy eating these yummy sandwiches. The recipe makes about 4-6 sloppy joes depending on how much you can load into the bun. I toasted the roll with a slice of provolone on each side and then put the beef mixture in the middle. I stuck to her recipe pretty closely with this one-the only changes being that I added a bit of worstershire sauce and used less onion and upped the steak sauce amount and then let it reduce for a while. I think the green pepper added a great depth of flavor too. Next time I make this I will use the leanest ground beef that I can find to cut down on the fat. The beef mixture also reheated extremely well.

 

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Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 tbsp A1 Steak Sauce (or similar)
  • 3 tbsp Lea & Perrins Worstershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4-6 kaiser rolls
  • Provolone cheese-sliced thin

Instructions:

  1. Add the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. when the oil is hot add the onion and geen pepper and cook until starting to brown and slightly soft. Remove the onions and peppers from the pan and set aside for later.
  2. To the same hot pan add the ground beef and brown, cooking through thoroughly. Drian any fat, add the peppers, onions and stir to combine. Then add the steak sauce, worcestershire sauce, beef stock. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat and let it simmer about 10 minutes until most of the liquid is gone. Add salt and pepper if necessary to season.
  3. Cut the rolls in half, place one piece of provolone on each side and toast.
  4. Mound up the beef onto the rolls and either eat open face or as a sandwich.

Check out the other May blog swap recipies here. Thanks for hosting Sarah!!



Breakfast Burritos-make ahead and freeze!!

For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking of making something for breakfast (other than just toting an apple to work) that I can make ahead, freeze and then just pull out and zap in the morning. It also has to be something that the Husband loves. So I looked around at some online recipies and got an idea to make Breakfast Burritos. I used the recipies on line for only an idea of how to wrap and how long to heat up etc.. so this is my own recipe-and first try.  I made them last night-took maybe an hour, and ate one this morning and it was delicious.  This is a photo of the one that I ate this morning after I heated it up.

Breakfast Burritos

Ingredients:

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, casing removed
  • 1 16oz bag frozen hash browns
  • Cheddar cheese-freshly grated-the amount is up to you
  • Sandwich Wraps/Burritos/Tacos-large
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large pan (it has to be large enough to hold all of the sausage, eggs and hash browns) cook the sausage and crumble into small pieces as it cooks.  When it’s completely cooked remove from pan and place on a plate with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  2. In the same pan cook the hash browns as per instructions on the bag.  
  3. While the hash browns are cooking crack all of the eggs into a medium bowl, add milk, salt and pepper to taste, whisk and set aside.
  4. When the hash browns are completely cooked add the sausage back to the pan and then add the eggs.  Stir gently until the eggs are completely cooked. Remove pan from heat.
  5. Set one wrap on the counter and spoon about 1.5 cups of the eggs onto the left/middle of the wrap.  Sprinkle with the desired amount of cheese.  Fold the left and the right side of the wrap over the ends of the eggs, push the egg mixture in a bit and then roll towards the empty end of the wrap.  ( It should be tightly wrapped-if not you didn’t push the egg mixture together enough or you put too much–dont worry it will still freeze it will just come out a bit. )  Place burrito on a length of plastic wrap and roll it along folding in the sides as you go. Place in freezer immediately.  Repeat until all of the wraps or egg mixture is used up.

To heat: remove from freezer and unwrap completely. Wrap it in a paper towel and put it on a plate in the microwave for about 2 minutes. At the end of 2 minutes turn it over and heat for another minute. Remove, cut in half, and heat for another minute or until it’s heated all the way through.

I only bought one pack of wraps for this as I didn’t know how many it would make.  I could’ve made about 4 more because I had a lot of egg mixture left. But my Husband doesn’t mind, he can eat all of the leftovers for breakfast 🙂

sparksfromthekitchen.com original

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