Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hubba's Ham and Potato Casserole

Serves: 8
Prep: 45 minutes

5 large baking potatoes, peeled
3 lbs cooked ham (smoked, not honeyed)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese, divided (sharp cheddar or Mexican cheese mix)
1 tsp salt

1. Slice potatoes into 1/3-inch slices and add to a pot of cold water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes or until potatoes are cooked, but still firm. Drain water and set aside.
2. Dice ham into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
3. While potatoes are cooking, make cheese sauce. Add butter to a saucepan on medium-high heat. When butter starts to bubble, add flour and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon 1-2 minutes until it forms a paste. Add milk, one cup at a time, and mix constantly with a whisk until thickened. Be cautious not to let it burn. Once sauce is at desired thickness, add 2 cups of cheese and reduce heat to low. Add salt and stir until cheese is melted, then remove from heat.
4. Place potatoes and then ham into a 9x13" casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over it all and then top with remaining shredded cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees 10 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble around the edges.

Note: To speed thickening, warm the milk in the microwave before adding to the sauce.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Caprese Salad

*Adapted from For the Love of Cooking.

Prep: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

1 cup of yellow and/or red grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 cup mozzarella balls, diced
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients in a bowl and toss together to mix. (Note: add the basil just before serving)

Garlic Basil Chicken

*Adapted from For the Love of Cooking.

Prep: 20 minutes (plus marinating time)
Serves: 2

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Combine all ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a ziplock bag and seal. Move around to coat. Let marinate in the refrigerator 4-24 hours.
2. When ready to cook, lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper.
3. Coat grilling surface with cooking spray. Grill 3-6 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through.

Serving Suggestions: Serve topped with Caprese Salad, chop up to use in tossed salads, or serve with pasta.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders

*Adapted from Everyday Food with Sarah Carey on

Prep: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

8 fresh sage leaves
8 chicken tenders (about 1 1/4 lbs)
8 slices bacon

Place a sage leaf on each chicken tender, then wrap each with a bacon slice. Add tenders to a skillet, sage side down, over medium-high heat. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is browned, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook until tenders are cooked through, about 6 minutes. With tongs, transfer to a pan or plate lined with paper towels.

Serving Suggestion: Romaine Salad with Tomatoes and Bacon

Crock Pot Kalua Pork

*Adapted from

3 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed
1 Tbsp liquid mesquite smoke
2 tsp coarse sea salt

Place pork in a slow cooker and stab it all over with the tip of a knife. Rub sea salt all over the pork. Drizzle the liquid smoke all over the pork. Set crock pot to low and cook about 16 hours.

Notes: The recipe originally called for 1 Tbsp of sea salt but we thought it was way too salty, so I'll only use 2 tsp next time. The roast I bought was already cut into smaller pieces so it cooked much faster than 16 hours. It only needed 10 hours and it was starting to dry out so I will try to buy a roast in only one piece next time to be able to cook it longer.

Serving suggestions: with pineapple fried rice or in tacos with rice and black beans.

Friday, August 17, 2012

California Grilled Chicken, Avocado, and Mango Salad

*Adapted from

Serves: 4
Prep: 20 minutes + marinating time

INGREDIENTS for chicken
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
12 oz chicken breast, sliced (from 1 lb raw)

1 cup diced avocado
1 cup diced mango (from 1 1/2 mangos)
2 Tbsp diced red onion
6 cups baby red butter lettuce

INGREDIENTS for dressing
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
dash of sugar

1. Combine ingredients for chicken in a large ziplock bag and mix until chicken is covered with marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator up to 48 hours. Grill when ready to use.
2. Whisk ingredients for dressing and set aside until ready to use.
3. Combine the ingredients for the salad, divided into four bowls, and drizzle dressing on top.

*Notes: I used a George Foreman grill for the chicken and I used regular butter lettuce.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Melissa's Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Serves: 4

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
3 Tbsp red onion, chopped
3 Tbsp pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 (6oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped (reserve marinade)
3/4 cup (3oz) feta cheese, crumbled and divided


1. Cook orzo according to package directions omitting salt and oil. Rinse with cold water.
2. Combine orzo, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, olives, pepper, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Add artichokes, reserved marinade, and ½ cup feta to the orzo mixture. Toss gently to coat.
4. Sprinkle each serving with remaining feta.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stephanie's Rigatoni Barese

*From Cooking in Style the Costco Way, p.153

Prep: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. mild or hot Italian sausage
1 Tbsp minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp salt)
6 cups torn or coarsely chopped spinach
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes, coarsely chopped
16 oz. rigatoni pasta
Parmesan cheese, freshly shaved (choose one with a strong flavor)

1. Cook rigatoni according to package.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Remove casing from sausage and cook, stirring, until crumbled and lightly browned. Drain and set aside in a bowl.
3. Add remaining oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pan and cook until garlic just starts to brown.
4. Stir in spinach and basil, and cook until spinach just starts to wilt. Add tomatoes and simmer until spinach is cooked.
5. Add cooked sausage and rigatoni; stir to combine.
6. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Prep: 30 minutes + cooking time

2-4 lbs beef roast (shoulder or chuck roast)
4 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 red potatoes, chopped
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup water

1. Salt and pepper the beef roast. Brown/sear all sides of the meat in a skillet with oil on high heat.
2. Add meat and all other ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or 3 hours on high and then 3 hours on low. Meat should fall apart when ready.

Suggestion: Serve with cornbread.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Balsamic Pork Loin Roast

*From here.

Prep: 1 hour + time to marinate
Serves: 6

2 lbs boneless pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp steak seasoning rub
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

1. Dissolve steak seasoning in balsamic vinegar, then stir in olive oil. Place pork in resealable plastic bag, then pour marinade overtop. Squeeze out air and seal bag; marinate in refrigerator 2 hours to overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pork into a glass baking dish with marinade. Bake, basting occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, about 1 hour. Let the roast rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Suzanne's Sauteed Zucchini

Prep: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

1/4 cup diced onion
2 tsp garlic
4 zucchini, sliced
1 can petite chopped tomatoes
oregano, to taste
basil, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add zucchini, can of tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Cook until zucchini is crisp tender, about 5 minutes.

Suzanne's Bacon Rice

Prep: 1 hour
Serves: 6


2-3 strips of bacon
1/4 cup finely diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1.5 cups rice
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 cups chicken broth


Cut up bacon into little pieces and cook on medium high heat in a coverable pot or skillet for 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic to pan and continue to cook until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent. Add rice, turmeric, and broth. Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Carolyn's Saucy Chicken

Serves: 4
Prep: 1.5 hours

4 chicken breasts
10 oz apricot preserves
1 cup Russian dressing
1 packet dry onion soup mix

Put chicken breasts in shallow baking pan. Combine apricot preserves, Russian dressing, and onion soup mix; then pour over chicken. Bake at 325 degrees, uncovered, for 1.5 hrs.
Serve over rice. 

Nicole's Sweet & Spicy Chicken

Serves: 4
Prep: 45 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup jalepeno jelly
1/4 cup minced white onion
1 can of drained and rinsed black beans
1 tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the chicken all over with oil and transfer to a shallow roasting pan. Season chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper. Combine the beans, jelly, onion and cumin and mix. Spoon mixture over the chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 15 min. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Suggestions: Serve with Spanish rice.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pasta E Fagioli Soup (like Olive Garden's)

*Found on Pinterest from here.

Serves: 6
Prep: 1 hour (or all day in a slow cooker)

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
4 cups beef stock
1 jar (25 oz) spaghetti sauce
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (or other small pasta shape)
salt, to taste (about 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt)

Brown ground beef in a large pot and drain excess grease. Add all ingredients except the pasta and simmer on low, covered, for 45 minutes. Add pasta and a little additional water or broth if desired. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

1. This recipe could very easily be doubled to serve a large group or freeze the extra.
2. You can also make this in a crock pot by browning the ground beef in a skillet then combining it with all ingredients except the pasta and cooking on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Add the pasta 30 minutes before serving.

Romaine Salad with Tomatoes and Bacon

*Adapted from

Serves: 4 (side servings)
Prep: 10 minutes

4 slices bacon
1 head romaine lettuce (6 cups, cut up)
1 cup grape tomatoes
4 scallions, sliced (optional)
crumbled Gorgonzola or grated Parmesan cheese
4-6 Tbsp creamy Parmesan dressing, Caesar dressing, or Brianna's French Vinaigrette dressing

1. Cook the bacon until crisp; allow to cool and then crumble.
2. Combine all ingredients and toss with dressing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings

*Found via Pinterest from Bubble Crumb.

Serves: 6
Prep: 6 hours (hands-on time: 20 minutes)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp dried parsley
pepper, to taste
2 cans flaky refrigerated biscuits

1. Combine all ingredients except biscuits in a crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or until chicken begins to fall apart. Shred chicken with a fork.
2. Flatten biscuits and cut into smaller pieces. Add biscuits to the crock pot and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour.
3. Add more chicken broth, milk, or flour to adjust consistency to your liking.

Other suggestions: you could add celery, carrots, or peas if desired.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chicken Breasts with Lime Sauce

*From here.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lime, juiced
6 Tbsp butter
1 tsp minced fresh chives
1/2 tsp dried dill weeds

1. Coat chicken breasts with egg, and dip in bread crumbs. Place on a wire rack and allow to dry for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and fry to 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a platter, and keep warm.
3. Drain grease from the skillet, and squeeze in lime juice. Cook over low heat until it boils. Add butter, and stir until melted. Season with chives and dill. Spoon sauce over chicken, and serve immediately.