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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Where have you been?"

I've gotten this question A LOT over the past two years. Where have you been? Why aren't you posting recipes anymore? Well I am! Two years ago I began a new job and as part of that job I blog, including recipe posts. It's my bad that I never got back over to Crazy Aunt Laura to explain my absence.

The good news is you can find all of my NEW recipes over on the Maggie Bags' blog. I am hoping to get back to more blog posts here on Crazy Aunt Laura soon, so stay tuned!

-Laura

Monday, November 19, 2012

Health-iesh Taco Cups

I had planned having my husband grill hamburgers tonight. When I got home, he was so busy finishing up school projects that I realized I better figure out something to do with that pound of ground beef. And pronto, since I was hangry. I looked in the pantry for what to put with the ground beef, and the only seasoning packet I had was taco. Hmmm, I had no tortillas or taco shells.

I had some reduced fat crescent rolls in the fridge, so I figured I'd do my own "here's what I have available" version of Emily Bites taco cupcakes. My husband loved it! He said "you're going to need to add this one to the blog" - which also means it will be in my go-to repertoire.



Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 can Rotel, drained
1/2 pkg. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1-2 tubes of reduced fat crescent rolls
Shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375, or whatever is listed on the crescent roll tube.
1. Brown ground beef, drain, then add taco seasoning and water as listed on the taco packet directions.
2. Mix in Rotel with the ground beef (I didn't do this originally, but decided after the fact it would save a step that way.)
3. Spray cupcake tins with cooking spray.
4. Separate crescent rolls into triangles (as they are already perforated) and put one triangle in each cup, pressing down into the cupcake tin and leaving the ends of the triangle hanging out.
5. Add a spoonful of ground beef mixture into each crescent "cup", add small spoon of cream cheese on each (maybe 1/2 T.), then sprinkle with shredded cheese.
6. Fold ends of triangles over the taco mixture.

7. Cook as directed on the crescent roll package (10-12 minutes.)

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Italian-Style Tomato Sauce

With a bumper crop of San Marzano Roma tomatoes this year, we had an abundance of tomatoes - I'm talking tomatoes in every crevice of the fridge. We decided to try making our own pasta sauce and it turned out soooooo good! Very delicious! And, like most recipes I learned something in the process :)

First, I found out that this would have been much easier if I'd had a foley food mill. But instead we boiled them tomatoes to get the skins off and then pushed the seeds out. If you're like most people you are not growing your own tomatoes so I'll include how to make this with canned tomatoes too. I used about 12 ripe Romas, boiled then removed skins and seeds. That doesn't leave you with a whole lot of tomatoes (should have gone to the garden and picked some more I guess) so I ended up adding a can of tomatoes to mine anyway.

Ingredients
3 cans of diced tomatoes (can get plain or with Italian seasoning in them, but will need to adjust the seasoning if you do)
2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. white wine (yes, was going to use red but all I had on hand was white and it tasted good)
Oregano, thyme, basil or Italian seasoning to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf

1. Put butter and oil into large pot. Add onions and peppers and saute until onions are clear.
2. Add in everything else and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 1 hour.
3. If you prefer a less chunky style sauce, you can either put this through the food processor or use an immersion blender. Just don't liquify it.
3. Remove bay leaf. Put mixture into jars or if freezing (this freezes very well) put into ziplock freezer bags.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crockpot Pork with Scotch Whiskey BBQ Sauce

I would like to call this recipe "G-Love and Special Sauce!" Oh this is so tasty...
I struggle with store-bought BBQ sauces. I also can't stand BBQ with those gristly fatty pieces (gag.) I went on a mission to make my own sauce and cook my own pork BBQ, without having to rent a smoker. 

The Pork (G-Love)
First, I stuck a pork tenderloin in the crock pot with a can of diet Dr. Pepper, water, quartered onions, and about 2 T. Worcestershire. I let is cook on low all day until I got home from work. All I had to do when I got home was get the pork out and shred it! I loved coming home to my entree already being cooked.

The "Special Sauce"
2/3 Cup scotch whiskey (or bourbon, if you prefer)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 to 1.5 cups of ketchup
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water (more or less) 
Optional: 1 T. Medium buffalo wing sauce or tabasco

1. Saute the onions and garlic in the scotch whiskey on medium heat until
onions are clear (about 10 minutes.)
2. Add in everything else and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer
on low for 20 min. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to sides of
pan.
3. I strained mine through a mesh colander so that the sauce was smooth and
minus the onion and garlic chunks.  
I actually made my sauce the night before then stuck it in the fridge for the next night's supper. This saved me a ton of time.

When serving, you can either mix the sauce in with the pork or leave it on the side so folks can choose how much they want. The pork has a ton of flavor when it comes out of the crock pot so you don't necessarily need to mix it in with the sauce.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Bites

Many of my WW peeps touted this recipe from Emily Bites. Emily suggests lots of recipes she calls "cupcakes" which use wonton wrappers in cupcake tins for savory foods. This was super-easy to make and my husband said he could have eaten all of them by himself.

After reviewing the recipe, we made it with some minor modifications. *The original recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked chicken. I would recommend a little more than that in case you place a little more chicken mixture as you eye how much to put in each cup.

Also, we added more wing sauce by one tablespoon after tasting the mixture, and added an entire celery stalk instead of just half of the stalk as the original recipe called for. This is because I really like the crunchiness of the celery with this. I think next time I do this I'll add chopped onions or scallions too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups* cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded or chopped finely
  • 4 Laughing Cow Blue Cheese wedges
  • 1/4 c Buffalo wing sauce (I used Texas Pete, would recommend Medium)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped small
  • 16 wonton wrappers (typically found in the produce section or with the crescent rolls and biscuits in fridge section)
  • 4 oz (1 cup) reduced fat 2% shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
1.    Pre-heat the oven to 375. Lightly mist 8 cups in a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
2.    In a microwavable bowl, combine the chicken, cheese wedges and wing sauce. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes on high. Stir to combine until chicken mixture is fully coated with cheese and wing sauce. Stir in the chopped celery pieces.
3.    Push a wonton wrapper into the bottom of each of the eight sprayed cups in the muffin tin. Fill each muffin tin about 1/4 of the way with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese evenly over the top of each 1/4 filled cup (just a dusting of cheese needed. 
4.    Press another wonton wrapper on top and repeat the layering steps with the remaining ingredients. Kind of like a casserole theme.
5.    Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Stuffed "Company" Chicken

Do you remember when you were young and your parents were having "company" over? This meant for me that my mom was going to make something appropriate to serve to guests. Sometimes we'd call this "company" food, hence the name for this chicken recipe I derived from an original company entree of my mom's - Chicken Washington.

As I frantically tried to put together a meal last Friday night, I realized I only had a scant amount of ingredients and needed to pull these into a cohesive entree. I had thinly cut chicken breasts, leftover ham, Laughing Cow cheese, and a few other items. It turned out tasting so good! I'll definitely be making this again, and will likely try various stuffing ingredients just to check them out.

Though I didn't have company that night, I realized that the final product looked similar to my mom's Chicken Washington, and that it would be appropriate to serve to company.

Ingredients
1 Pkg thinly sliced chicken breasts (or get breasts and slice them horizontally, three times each breast.)
5-6 Wedges Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss original OR reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 Cup sharp cheddar
6 slices of ham
Salt and pepper
Wooden toothpicks


Instructions
1. Lightly salt and pepper each breast strip.
2. Mix together Laughing Cow cheese and cheddar cheese.
3. Use a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or aluminum foil on it. Lay out chicken strips on this.
4. Place one piece of ham on each piece of chicken, along with 1-2 Tbsp of the the cheese mixture (depending on the size of your chicken strips, just guesstimate this and remember the cheese will melt, so may want put the scoop of this in the middle of one side of the strip.)
5. Fold over strip in half, covering the ham and cheese. Secure with 2-3 toothpicks.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is done.

P.S. I served this with long grain wild rice.
P.P.S. The thinly cut chicken breasts will make your dollar stretch - instead of feeding us for one meal I got two meals out of this, and with a total of 6 strips that's only using two breasts.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tortilla Roll Ups

This no-bake appetizer/snack is great because there’s no cooking involved. And you can make them the night before, stick them in the fridge, and they taste great, especially once the cream cheese has firmed up.
1 pkg tortillas (I get low-carb ones, you won't use all of them)
1 pkg reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 pkg powdered ranch dip mix (only use 2/3 of this)
1 small onion, chopped
1 can sliced black olives
1 red pepper, chopped
You can pick and choose your veggies that you want to include, all are optional. I will note, however, that the above is my favorite combo. I would caution you not to use any soft veggies like tomatoes, as they just get mushy. Celery might also be good since it's crunchy.
  1. Mix up the cream cheese with 2/3 of the ranch dip mix.
  2. Spread thin layer of mixture on a tortilla
  3. Sprinkle with chopped veggies
  4. Roll up (tightly if you can), then cut into 1/4" spiraled slices