Friday, 3 April 2015

Scalloped Potatoes

Let's say you're making your Easter ham.

And you need a side.  Like, a gooey, creamy, cheesy, carby, potatoey, side.

Look no further - I would totally recommend THESE scalloped potatoes.

Cause they're AH-MAZING!!!

 
You're going to have to slice up red potatoes pretty thin-like.  I used my mandolin.  And I had perfectly same-sized potato slices right lickety-split.
 
But you could also do the same with a steady hand and a very sharp knife.

 
Layer the potatoes into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Don't worry if not all the potatoes fit.  Not all of mine did.
 
Then, you'll need to make the sauce.
 
Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat.

 
Then add in the onion and garlic.

 
Cook until the onion is translucent and softened.  Then add in the cream of broccoli soup.

 
Then the cream of celery soup.

 
And the milk.

 
Salt.

 
Pepper.

 
And the cheddar cheese.

 
After the cheese is all melted, pour the sauce mixture over top of the potatoes.  Don't worry - the sauce will make it down into the bottom of the pan.


 
And top with additional cheddar.  A LOT of cheddar.
 
I mean - you've come this far already.

 
Cover and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 10.
 
To test if the potatoes are done, just stick a knife in the center.  If the potatoes are ready, the knife will just slide right in.  If not, bake for an additional 10 minutes. 

 
For this particular dinner, I served the potatoes with Salisbury Steak.  I was slightly underwhelmed by the steak, but the potatoes blew my socks off. 
 
I would have gladly just curled up with the pan and a fork and ate potatoes until I couldn't anymore.  Like I said before, they're creamy, gooey, cheesy, and carby.
 
And you can find out right nowish how great these truly are because they would pair beautifully with the gorgeous, delicious ham that will grace your tabletop this weekend!
 
Happy Easter to you and yours!
 
Xoxo - Heather

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Rice-A-Roni Chicken Casserole

When I was a kid, my Dad would cook every now and then.  You should know that I'm not the biggest fan of pork chops, but pork chops in mushroom sauce (icky - but I still liked it! The horror.) was his speciality.  And he would ALWAYS serve it with Rice-A-Roni. 
 
I'm sure it's chock full of sodium and scary preservatives, but I freaking love that stuff.  Like. LOVE.
 
So when I saw this casserole on Pinterest, I could hardly wait to make it.  I mean - look at what's in there!  How could it NOT be delicious!
 
 
Prepare the Rice-A-Roni according to the package directions.
 
Stir in the cream of chicken soup.

 
And the sour cream.

 
Pull the chicken off the bones and break it into chunks. And add that to the rice mixture too.

 
Spread the chicken mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

 
Top with the French fried onions.

 
And bake in the oven until heated through and the onions on top are crispy.

 
And serve.  Oh my.
 
I loved this casserole.  It's creamy and dreamy and delicious.  The onions add this great crisp texture. 


 
Never mind that it's not the healthiest casserole on the planet - it's totally worth the calories.
 
I totally recommend this for a cozy, heart-warming Sunday Supper with your family, or for a Friday when you just can't grown-up anymore.  It'll fill up all the empty spaces in your tummy.
 
You should also know - I sent this along to my Mom for a dinner she was hosting and they all loved it.
 
I mean.  How could you not.
 
Xoxo - Heather

Friday, 27 March 2015

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole

Have you seen that President's Choice commercial where Galen Weston talks about food and wonders why someone would eat the pineapple, or the mushroom, or whatever?
 
For real.  Who would have thought that cutting into that spiny, evil-looking thing would result in sweet and juicy pineapple? 

And who was the brave soul that looked at raw wild rice and thought "yeah.  Let's try this.  Looks delicious".
 
 
How hungry would you have to be?  Probably pretty hungry.
 
I have no Cast of Characters picture for you.  They were too busy being turned into dinner to have their picture taken.
 
Start cooking the very weird wild rice according to the package instructions.
 
Be nervous about it.
 
While the rice is cooking, melt butter in a frying pan and add in the onions and green peppers.  Cook them until they are soft.  It takes about 5 minutes.

 
Then, in a large bowl, combine the cream of celery (or mushroom, or chicken, or whatever) soup.

 
And the cheddar cheese.

 
And the cooked onions and peppers.

 
And the shrimp.

 

And the wild rice.  When cooked, the rice kind of breaks out of the black shell so there's soft fluffy bits and chewy black bits.  It's strange and delightful.

The proverbial pineapple of rice if you will.

 
Mix it all together, put it into a casserole dish, top it with additional cheese and bake it in the oven until it's bubbly.

 

I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this casserole.  It was creamy and cheesy, the shrimp was plump and juicy, and the rice was actually completely perfect. 

Even my 5-year old niece, albeit slightly freaked out at first, willingly cleaned her plate!

It's an easy weeknight meal that anyone would love.  Although maybe your most finicky eaters might freak out totally.

And the leftovers were great too!

Enjoy! - Heather

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole

8 oz package of wild rice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deceived
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
10 ounce can cream of celery soup
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Prepare wild rice according to package directions, but remove 1/4 cup of cooking water.  Drain and cool
  2. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water and 1/2 tablespoon salt to a boil.  Add the shrimp, cook for 1 minute.  Drain and set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, melt the butter and add the green pepper and onion.  Cook until softened - about 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the soup, 1 1/2 cups cheese, cooked pepper and onion, the shrimp, and the wild rice.
  6. Add the salt and pepper.
  7. Grease a 7 x 11 casserole dish, spread the rice mixture into the dish and top with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until bubbly.
Source:  Kitchme

Friday, 20 March 2015

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Holy crap you guys.

I made this sandwich.  This sandwich.  Then I proceeded to think about it and crave it for DAYS afterward.  I'm totally obsessed.

My job for the day was to pick up one furry puppy, and one sassy little girl and hang out with them until my brother got home from work.

Pretty solid job.

And - being responsible for said puppy, girl, and brother - I also had to figure out what to feed them.

My kid brother digs spicy food.  While I'm not into the esophagus-melting, eye-tearing, cough-inducing heat that he likes, I'm not opposed to a little spice to make things interesting.

And I know for sure that my brother's wife doesn't like jalapeños, so really - it kind of ended up being a no brainer. 

Last year, I made this killer jalapeno popper pizza that was surprisingly awesome and figured - why not put it into a sandwich?

It only takes a few ingredients - but a little bit of patience.  So stay with me.  It'll be worth it - I promise. 

 
I absolutely insist that you use Texas Toast Sandwich bread.  I mean - you could totally use regular bread, but I feel like the Texas Toast bread is where it's at for this sandwich.
 
First things first, I recommend roasting the jalapeños.  It makes the flavor just that much more intense. 
 
To do this, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place the jalapeños on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so.  You'll hear the jalapeños making a popping sound when the skins pull away from the pepper.
 
After the skin is bubbled all the way around the pepper (about 20 minutes), put the peppers in a zip-loc bag and close.  Let cool for about 10 minutes, or cool enough to handle.
 
Then peel off the skin, cut in half, scrape out the seeds and membranes and dispose chuck out with the skins.  For more heat, you can leave some of the seeds (the seeds and membranes are where the heat truly is).  Mince up the remaining flesh of the pepper. 
 
Like I said.  It takes some time, but it's seriously worth it.
 

 
Here's the thing.  I don't have any measurements for you.  I kinda just eyeballed combining the jalapeno and cream cheese until I thought it looked good.
 

 
Once the cream cheese is combined with the jalapeno, take two pieces of bread and two slices of medium (sharp would be good too!) cheddar cheese and put one on each piece of bread.
 
 
Then spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cheddar.

 
The slap those two pieces of bread together.
 
Before I continue - there are two things you need to know.  Then pan should be well-heated on medium low (like, number 3 if you've got numbers on the cooktop)...  This will ensure that the bread gets toasted, the cheese gets gooey, but the bread doesn't dry out.  It takes a little longer to cook, but it's worth it.
 
The second thing you need to know is that the bread should be buttered all the way to the edges.  Make sure the butter is super-soft and spread, spread, spread to the edges.
 
Then drop that sandwich onto the pan and let it cook.  Don't fiddle with it too much.

 
After a few minutes, lift up the edge and check to see if it's golden and flip it over.
 
However, it's totally my personal preference to have my grilled cheese sandwiches super-golden and crisp, but not hard.

 
Once both sides have been cooked to golden, I flipped it one more time, just to make sure the middle was hot and the cheese was gooey.

 
Whew - check out that cheesy, gooey, deliciousness.

 
The sandwich is creamy, cheesy, a slight hit of spiciness from the pepper and the bread is perfectly toasted and buttery-crisp.
 
And on my brother's sandwich?  I actually cut a couple extra jalapeños (roasted) in half and flattened it out and slapped them in the middle. 
 
And my niece's sandwich?  She didn't get any jalapeños at all and totally CRUSHED her cream-cheese, cheddar grilled cheese sandwich.  Which would be awesome also. 
 
You know what would also be awesome?  Bacon.  Bacon on this sandwich would also be awesome.  I mean, you're already there, why not go just a little further.
 
Really - the possibilities to make this totally a personalized sandwich are endless.  Why don't you give it a try?!
 
xoxo - Heather