4 to 6 large bell peppers, cleaned and cored (toss the tops or save for salad or soup)
2 cups prepared rice (brown or white)
1 lb ground beef
1 large jar of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce*
1 small onion, finely diced (optional)
1 small jar diced mushrooms (optional)
1. Mix prepared rice and raw ground beef together in a bowl. Add onions & mushrooms.
2. Stuff each hollow bell pepper with this mixture, filling to the top.
3. Line prepared peppers in crockpot in rows, touching each other.
4. Pour jar of sauce over peppers, covering completely.
5. Cook on LOW for around 6 or 7 hours (until beef is done and peppers are tender).
*You can use 2 large cans of tomato sauce, 1 tbsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp oregano, pinch of fresh basil instead of the jar pasta sauce if you choose.
Grilled Cajun Lemon Shrimp
1 lb jumbo or colossal shrimp, raw (shelled and deveined)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and black pepper to taste
1. Shell and devein shrimp (it is much easier than it sounds if you have never tried it)
2. Squeeze the juice of one lemon onto shrimp in a bowl or zipper lock bag.
3. Let shrimp soak in lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Rinse shrimp thoroughly in cool water. Coat with olive oil. Slide shrimp onto skewers.**
5. Coat shrimp evenly with cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
6. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side (until “grayness” of shrimp is replaced by pink/white).
7. Serve while hot. (I chose to serve alongside a green salad and a grilled rib eye.)
*(you can “cheat” and omit the dry seasonings for your favorite brand of Cajun seasoning salt)
**If using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them in water for at least 10 minutes prior to grilling.
Crispy Baked Chicken
6 to 8 pieces of chicken, any type
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
red pepper flakes, to taste
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a paper bag, a zipper lock bag, or an old bread bag.
2. Add chicken one piece at a time. Shake to coat.
3. Place chicken on foil-covered cookie sheet (that has been sprayed with cooking spray).
4. Bake chicken in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for around 30 minutes (until deep golden brown and juices run clear when pierced).*
*wings usually cook within 25 minutes or so. Boneless, skinless breasts usually cook between 35 to 40 minutes.
Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 cup sugar
1 large or jumbo egg
1. Mix the three ingredients together.
2. Spoon onto greased non-stick cookie sheet or parchment paper
3. Lightly press with your fingers or a fork.
4. Cook in a 325 degree pre-heated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes until cookies barely start to look “dry” with a slightly moist center (for soft bake cookies) or bake 12 to 14 minutes until fully dry for crunchy cookies (being careful not to burn edges or bottoms of cookies).
Mess-free stuffed eggs
When making stuffed (deviled) eggs, use a large zipper lock plastic bag.
After slicing the eggs in half, remove the cooked yolks and place them in the bag and zip to seal. Crumble the eggs by mashing the bag with your hands.
When yolks are mashed, open bag and add the rest of your ingredients (mayo, mustard, pickle relish, etc.). Seal the bag tight and manipulate the bag with your hands to “mush” all the ingredients together.
Once mixed, push the mixture to the bottom of the bag, twist the excess bag at the top and snip off a bottom corner of the plastic bag with scissors.
Squeeze the egg mixture into each boiled egg half the same way you would use a piping bag for icing. When you are done, simply toss the bag. No mess to clean!
Meat-lovers Pizza Casserole
1 box rigatoni or elbow macaroni
1 jar/can spaghetti sauce (I prefer Hunt’s Garlic & Herb) or 3 cups homemade sauce
1 jar of pizza sauce (I prefer Pizza Quick brand)
1 lb ground beef or ground chuck
1 lb breakfast sausage
1 small package of pepperoni
1 oz shredded cheese (parmesan or mozzarella)
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain water. Store in fridge.
2. Skillet-fry ground beef and sausage, breaking into large chunks (small meatballs).
3. Drain meat. Add spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce and cooked meat to crockpot.
4. Cook sauce on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours.
5. 30 minutes prior to serving, rinse pasta in hot water, drain and add to crockpot.
6. Dice pepperoni into small pieces and add to crockpot. Stir and let cook for up to 30 minutes on LOW or until pasta heated throughout.
7. Top with cheese. Serve.
8. You may also add onions, peppers, mushrooms etc. to the casserole for a Supreme Pizza Casserole. (add jar mushrooms when adding pasta)***
Chicken n’ Dumplings
3 or more boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large pack of flour tortillas
2 large cans or boxes of chicken stock (or preferably, a medium pot of homemade stock)
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup (I like Campbell’s)
2 tbsp. Margarine or butter
1. Boil chicken breasts in water until chicken is tender.
2. After chicken cools slightly, cut or tear into bite-size pieces.
3. Boil chicken stock.
4. When rolling boil reached, tear three tortillas together at a time into a variety of pieces (smallest about the size of a half dollar, largest about the circumference of a dinner roll). Add pieces to stock, stirring as needed to prevent sticking.
5. Turn heat to medium. Stir constantly until tortillas are al dente but not mushy.
6. Add margarine or butter. Add Cream of Chicken soup.
7. Stir constantly until all ingredients are well incorporated. Simmer for about two minutes, continuing to stir.
Note: The ingredients you use affect the taste. My family prefers homemade stock, butter and Campbell’s soup but I have used canned stock, margarine, and even canned pre-cook chicken meat before. The quality is not as good, but it is still palatable in a pinch.
This can be mixed up together and cooked on low for several hours in a crockpot if needed for convenience.
I promise even if you love your Granny’s recipe for old-fashioned, homemade dumplings, this recipe will be a staple at your house. The tortillas are easy and taste great!
1 box pasta (rigatoni or elbow)
1 container, 16 oz., ricotta cheese
1 lb. ground beef or chuck, crumbled and skillet-cooked
1 roll breakfast sausage, crumbled and skillet-cooked (with beef)
Two large cans/jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I like Hunt’s Garlic & Herb in a can)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain, do not rinse.
2. Cook and drain ground beef/sausage mixture.
3. Layer ingredients into 9 x 12 pyrex dish or baking pan.*
4. Layer sauce, pasta, meat, ricotta. Repeat until all ingredients used.
5. Top with mozzarella. Bake 350 degrees for 15 min or until sauce bubbles and cheese melts and starts to turn a little golden.
6. Cool for 5 min prior to serving.
Note: Substitute your favorite homemade pasta sauce if you like. I choose the canned stuff for convenience and I choose Hunt’s Garlic & Herb because it has the lowest sugar/carb count of the major brands. I also use Dreamfield’s pasta because of the lower impact carb count.
Cube steak so tender you can cut it with a fork.
Cube steak, 1 pack
Self-rising flour, 3/4 cup
Water or chicken stock, 1 1/2 cups
Worcestershire sauce (approx. 1/4 cup)
Salt, pepper & red pepper flakes (to taste)
1. Heat cast iron skillet, medium high. Add cooking oil.
2. Mix flour, salt, pepper & red pepper flakes in paper or zipper bag.
3. Coat meat with flour mixture. Cook in skillet 2 or 3 minutes on each side, until browned.
4. Scrape bits from bottom of pan. Add liquid and Worcestershire.
5. Cover skillet with lid. Cook in oven, 350 degrees, for 1 hour.
White vinegar and baking soda make an effective, inexpensive cleanser for sinks, countertops and toilets.
In a pinch, create your own buttermilk by adding a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of room temperature milk or cream. (stir after thickening)
When mixing cornbread, use the leftover batter as a beauty treatment. Scrape the inside of your mixing bowl. With your hands over the sink, scrub the cornbread batter onto your hands and wrists, then rinse. The cornmeal is a natural exfoliate and the milk, eggs, and oil are moisturizing to the skin.