Monday, October 3, 2016

Pepperoni Pierogi Casserole

Ingredients
16 oz. frozen pierogis - you can use any flavor you prefer.  I typically use potato & cheddar.
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 a large green pepper, diced
1/2 cup pepperoni, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

To assemble:
Place frozen pierogi in a baking dish in a single layer.  In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, diced green pepper & pepperoni.  Pour mixture over frozen pierogi & top with cheese.  Cover baking dish with with foil & freeze.

To serve:
Thaw overnight, then bake 20 - 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cheese is melted & pierogi are heated through.

Adapted from a recipe I found on the side of a box of Mrs. T's pierogis years ago :)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Twice Baked Potatoes

5 lbs large baking potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk (or skim milk, or half & half... your choice)
3 ounces cream cheese
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese - divided
1 lb bacon - cooked & crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash potatoes & pat dry.  Place potatoes, not touching, on a large baking sheet (or two!)  Spray potatoes generously with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle outside of potatoes with a little salt.  Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes "give" when gently squeezed.  In a large mixing bowl, add butter, cream cheese, salt & pepper, crumbled bacon & 1/2 of shredded cheese.  Mix well.

Allow potatoes to cool until they can be easily handled.  With a serrated knife, cut baked potatoes in half lengthwise, being careful to leave skins unbroken.  With a large spoon, scoop out the inside of potatoes, leaving a thin layer of potato attached to the inside of the skin.

(Side note, I found these cool fruit scoops at a thrift store, and the large one is LIFE CHANGING for scooping out baked potatoes.  Ok... maybe "life changing" is a bit of an exaggeration, but I definitely prefer it over a spoon!  http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-International-Piece-Fruit-Scoops/dp/B0000E2GX9)

Add scooped out potato to the mixing bowl containing your other ingredients (note:  if it's too hot, it will melt the cheese... which isn't necessarily a bad thing).  Stir mixture (or use a hand mixer) to incorporate potato, and add milk as needed to make the mixture the consistency of slightly stiff mashed potatoes.

Using the palm of your hand to support the potato shell while filling, spoon and press potato mixture into each potato shell.  Place filled shells on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese & pat cheese to help it adhere to the potato.  Flash freeze potatoes on baking sheet, wrap each potato in plastic wrap & place frozen potatoes in a gallon-size freezer bag.

To cook frozen potatoes:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place potatoes on baking sheet & loosely cover with aluminum foil.  Bake about 45 minutes.  Uncover & bake an additional 15 minutes or more until potatoes are hot.  Do not over bake.  This method keeps the potato skins firm & crisp, but if time is short, frozen potatoes can be microwaved for about 10 minutes on high, then finished off in the oven, or heated completely in the microwave.

    Friday, March 25, 2016

    Crockpot Cashew Chicken

    2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
    1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli
    1 1/2 cups frozen carrots
    1/2 cup unsalted cashews (chopped or whole)
    1 Tbsp sesame oil
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
    3 Tbsp ketchup
    1 Tbsp brown sugar
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 cup chicken broth

    To assemble:
    Place chicken in a quart-size ziploc freezer bag.  Remove air & seal.  Place broccoli, carrots & cashews in a gallon-size ziploc freezer bag.  Remove air & seal.  In another quart-size freezer bag, combine remaining ingredients to create sauce.  Remove air & seal.  Place all 3 bags into a gallon size bag - seal & label.

    To prepare:
    Remove chicken & sauce mixture from larger bag & thaw.  Layer chicken, then vegetable & cashew mixture in crockpot.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Add additional water or broth if necessary until mixture is almost completely covered.  Cook 2-4 hours on high or 4-8 hours on low.

    Adapted from a recipe found here:  http://sallycooks.com/2013/06/27/crockpot-cashew-chicken/

    Vegetable Fried Rice

    1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    2 tsp sesame oil
    1 tsp ground ginger (or use fresh ginger, but I'm not a fan)
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    3 Tbsp reduced sodium teriyaki sauce
    2 Tbsp lime juice
    1 tsp brown sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
    3 cups cooked rice, cold (I prefer brown rice)
    2 cups frozen peas & carrots
    3 eggs

    Scramble eggs & set aside.  Add sesame oil to skillet & sauté onion until tender.  Add ginger & garlic, sauté 1 minute longer.  Add teriyaki sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, salt & hot pepper sauce.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook & stir for 2 minutes.  Add rice & vegetables, cook & stir over medium heat until vegetables are tender.  Stir in eggs, remove from heat, and cool completely before placing into freezer-safe containers.

    To serve:
    Thaw & reheat in microwave or in oven.

    Adapted from a recipe found here:  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/vegetable-fried-rice




    Thursday, March 10, 2016

    Springerle Cookies

    4 eggs
    1 lb. powdered sugar
    1/4 tsp lemon oil or 1 1/2 tsp extract (can use anise oil/extract if you prefer)
    4 Tbsp melted butter
    3 1/2 c. flour
    1 tsp. baking powder

    Beat egg whites until stiff and add yolks, one at a time.  Beat until very light, about 20-25 minutes or until stiff (with Kitchen Aid mixer it's about 5 minutes).  Gradually add powdered sugar.  Add lemon or anise oil and melted butter.  Gradually add flour...may need to add more than 3 1/2 cups.  Baking powder to be added to first cup of flour.  Roll dough about 1/4 inch think and cut cookies out.  We use special springerle molds to press designs into the cookies.  Cover with towel and let stand overnight in a cool place.  Bake at 350 degrees until a very light brown, 7-10 minutes.  Do not overbake.

    Freeze when cooled.  Thaw to eat.

    Mini Corn Casseroles

    2 eggs
    1 can creamed corn
    1 can real corn
    1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
    Sautéed green peppers and onions

    Combine all ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean.  For muffins, this was about 20-25 minutes for me.  For a whole casserole, it's about 50-60 minutes.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake a few more minutes to melt. 

    These are more delicate than cornbread, so be careful when handling.  Freeze in Ziploc bag.  When ready to eat, just thaw and warm.

    Sunday, March 6, 2016

    Meatball Stuffed Shells

    1 box jumbo shell pasta
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
    1 container ricotta cheese
    1 bag frozen Italian meatballs
    1 jar marinara sauce
    2 cups mozzarella cheese

    Cook pasta as directed on box.  Drain.  Combine ricotta cheese & 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.  Spread a layer of marinara sauce on bottom of baking dish.  In each shell, add cheese mixture and a frozen meatball.  Place shells in baking dish & cover with a layer of marinara sauce.  Top with mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.  Cover & freeze.

    To prepare: 
    Thaw.  Bake 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Or, bake from frozen & increase baking time.