Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hash Brown Sausage Breakfast Casserole

My sister was visiting from Oregon and I wanted to make some yummy breakfast foods. We stayed up almost all night (till 4:00) talking and laughing about all the stuff we did behind our parents' backs growing up.  If they only knew what we'd been up to!  LOL

My sis and her hubs...Johnny in the back...Link to my 
gallery picture wall Here at Patties Place Blog.
One family favorite that I love to make on holidays or for overnight guests is this puffy,  eggy,  sausage and cheese and hash brown potato casserole. It's really easy and yummy. Here is what goes into it;

Sausage Casserole Ingredients
Hash Brown Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole....I usually top the hash browns with some Johnny's Seasoning or Lawry's Season Salt.

1 pound chub of Jimmy Dean sausage fried up and drained
1/2-3/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 container cottage cheese
3 cups of frozen, shredded hash brown potatoes (or Potatoes O'Brian w/onions and peppers is good)
7 eggs
1/4 cup diced green (or red) pepper (optional)
1/4 cup diced onion (or more if you like)
1/2 cup milk

Green pepper and chopped your taste...leave it out if you want!

Spray 9 x 13 glass pan with Pam. Lay out your 3 cups of hash browns in the pan. Then in a separate bowl mix the sausage, egg, cheeses and veggies and add milk. Stir it and then spread it over the hash browns. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes before serving. 

Hash Brown Sausage Breakfast Casserole
I like to serve it with fresh seasonal fruit and some kind of muffins or pull apart bread or little cinnamon buns.  It's a festive breakfast and you can do it all the night before and just pop it in the oven while everybody is just waking up. The smell of the sausage alone wafting through the house brings everybody up to the kitchen table like a charm.

Little Cinnamon Buns
 We sure had a lot of fun this weekend! Family gatherings are the best. Go out and make some memories people!

Grandpa and his grandbaby on the lake!

Hiking the Minnetonka Cave at Bear Lake...yeah we're tough!
Luckily we had our beach towels when it got cold in the cave!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans

I made this salad the other night for my husband's birthday. But I did not really add the recipe. So here it is!
My daughter used her Cricut Machine to do the letters "PARTY" for my Party drink tub....
Here she is with her cute girls...
Party tub for our canned drinks....Isn't it so cute?

Thanks Tiff!  
Dressing ingredients
  • 1/3 cup  red wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/6 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • Lawry's Season Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix up slowly in the blender then blend on high for one minute. Taste test it. If it needs a bit more sweet add a bit more sugar. If it is bland, add a dash more of the vinegar. It should be sweet and tart with a dark pink hue. 

If you are not into making your own dressing, which is VERY economical, I do love the Lighthouse dressings or many of the Kraft vinaigrette dressings are good, especially House Italian (hard to find sometimes) and Catalina. But making your own just simply tastes better. Especially making your own buttermilk ranch.
Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans  Recipe

Salad Ingredients
  • 1 package of  baby spinach, add mixed greens if desired 
  • 1 10.5-ounce can mandarin orange drained OR
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries or fresh sliced strawberries (choose your fruit)
Once I was out of all fruit so I added dried apricots and got tons of compliments on that salad.  I made the dressing with apricot jam in place of the raspberries but everything else was the same. It was also a real yummy salad!
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds or pecans, lightly toasted with regular sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh diced avocado
  • thin slices of red onion if desired (I don't love onions but my family does)

  • sometimes I toss in some dried cherries or cranberries too. I just got some real nice fat dried cherries from the farmers market so I would add those.
  • occasionally if I have fresh mushrooms I will add 4 thinly sliced and halved.
Toast the almonds or pecans in a fry pan with a few tablespoons of regular sugar. Cut up all the veggies and add into the baby spinach mix. Toss with dressing just before serving. Top with the candied nuts passed around in a separate bowl at the table.

Spinach Salad.and Candied Pecans..sometimes I add mushrooms, sometimes I add dried cranberries or cherries...
But I really prefer fresh strawberries in season....and a little bit of sliced avacado....and of course the purple onion....

I usually make up a cup of CANDIED PECANS at a time and then keep them in
a zip lock baggie for later spinach salad attacks. Just toast up 1 cup pecans with 1/4 cup white sugar and
wait until it melts and "coats" the pecans....then cool on a plate or cookie sheet....Easy! 
A good dressing if you are in a time crunch is Kraft light raspberry vinaigrette. It is sweet and yummy and only 50 calories a serving. Spinach salad is always a light and healthy summer salad that everybody loves eating.   

Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

Well my husband's birthday was this week and so I had the whole family over for dinner including my in laws. It was fun to let off some fireworks for my little grand kids too. He hit 55 so everybody was teasing him about being a senior citizen! (hmmmm.....I wonder if we get movie discounts now?)

My in laws Merlene and Don and Johnny is in the back.  

 I made 2 pies instead of birthday cake; fresh peach and fresh strawberry pie. I think I'm on a pie kick.

Here's the Drink Tub my daughter did the lettering on before the party.
She's got a cool "Cricut" machine. I love those things!

Strawberries for the Strawberry pie...Link HERE for my Strawberry Pie Recipe and Directions.
Fresh peaches for the Peach pie!
The main dish was a chicken enchilada casserole. It is just as yummy as chicken enchiladas but a lot quicker and easier to make. Here is the recipe;

Enchilada Casserole Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used 3 breasts and 2 thighs de-boned)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
  • 1/2 tub of sour cream regular size
  • 1 plus cups of milk (just enough for a thick, rich, soupy texture)
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 small jar of medium salsa
  • 1  onion, finely chopped and slightly browned (leave a crunch in them)
  • 12 or more corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or Mexican mix  cheese
After cubing the chicken I mix the onions and all the sauces and chilies together and add the milk.  Then spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam. Layer torn tortillas (I tear into thirds) into the bottom of the pan overlapping. Then spread a layer of the chicken mixture. Top that with cheese. Repeat with the tortillas, then chicken, then cheese. It should use up all your tortillas.  If you have more then use a meat loaf pan ( I usually do) and layer the remaining and freeze it for a future lunch date! Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes covered with foil. Let set for 15 minutes on the stove to be able to cut it into squares. It is always gobbled right up. Then longer it sets the easier it is to cut. I try to have it finished 30 minutes before people sit down to eat.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole! Yummy!

It looks kind of pink and soupy when it goes in the oven, but trust me it tastes yummy. It is even better the next day warmed up in the microwave. And it is easy to take to work for lunch. You can taste the green chilis and the tomatoes from the salsa and it is yummy with those cubes of chicken and the cheesiness.

Fresh Spinach Salad...Good and Good FOR you!

My peach and strawberry pie were gobbled right up too. I bought new larger pie dishes to make enough for a crowd. But alas, even then, there were not many leftovers on this one.  I also made spinach salad with candied pecans, strawberries, red onion, mushrooms and avocado. And of course I used my yellow squash and zuchini from my garden and made my zuchini casserole side dish. The  Link for Zuchini Casserole is HERE.

Easy to make toasted candied pecans...just add regular sugar and dust
 with cinnamon and toast them in a pan! Keep adding sugar till pecans are good and covered.

It's probably my favorite salad of all time. I make a raspberry vinaigrette to go over it and it is a fun, sweet salad with a kick. Pass the toasted pecans around in a small bowl with the salad so they don't lose their crunch. Also some people have nut allergies so it's best not to add it to the salad. The link for Spinach Salad is HERE.

Spinach, avocado, strawberries, red onion, mushrooms and toasted sweet pecans.
He got some cute presents from my kids too. I think this one from my daughter was his favorite since he closely follows the Tour de France. :D He is a biker dude through and through. I think he wore it all the next day!

John is a Mark Cavendish and George Hincapie fan and follows the Tour de France.

These girls cut up all the fruit for my pies for me! Caitlin and Tiffany...great kitchen staff!  

 I hope he enjoyed his birthday party! Here are some more of the guests.... 

My daughter Tiffany, granddaughter Marisa and Gary

My granddaughter Little Josie, Wendy and my son, Jeff.

And my little shadows Megan and Marisa....I caught them on the stairs and made them pose for a picture.  Happy Birthday Grandpa!
We love you can we go in the "coozie"? (jacuzzi)
Doesn't she look like she's thinking up some mischief?  Mmmmhmmm...she usually is..... 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yummy Sorbet

I've got to learn how to make this stuff. Sorbet is my 2nd favorite kind of frozen treat. My first of course will always be gelato, preferably right in downtown Italy where I first tasted it.  But really, since my favorite food on the planet is ice cream, I do love all of her cousins, naturally!

So I've been on this frozen yogurt kick. A new one opened up by our house and it's one of those where you get to choose from like a gazillion flavors and toppings and it's all self serve. I like being in charge that way....snicker...

 I loooooove that! I'm a sucker for blackberries and blueberries and other fresh fruit toppings too. So when I saw sorbet on sale I got us each our own little pint.

Recreating the
It's Lemon Sorbet from my fav store Tar-jay. And they had these yummy looking giant berries in the produce section. They went really good for dessert the other night. It was so HOT around these parts! What's up with that? 

 John who isn't a sorbet lover like me,  shared his with my granddaughters who were over going in our jacuzzi. (Megan, 2 1/2 "Gampa, can we go in da cooozeeee?) She's a riot. I love them even more than lemon sorbet! But maybe almost equal with gelato. :D
My sweet girls at Zions National Park, quite the campers!

Easy Tacos

When I was a newlywed the only entertainment we could afford (starving students) was going to other poor newleyweds' houses for dinner, or having people over to ours.  I remember my friend Sherry was such a divine cook for being only in her early 20s. She showed me how to make a good taco meat base. Thanks Sherry! (I still remember her homemade almond paste bear claws at my firstborn son's baby shower she threw....I dream about those things!)


After frying up the ground hamburger, she used a small can of green chili salsa and a packet of Lawry's Taco Seasoning. That was in the early 80s before there were so many different kinds of salsas.  I have since used any kind of salsa that strikes my fancy with the packet of seasoning mix added.  It makes a really good taco meat.

Tacos with all the fixins....

Fried up with corn tortillas (Have you ever tasted homemade, thick corn tortillas....they are to die for!) and topped with your choice of yummy veggies and sour cream, they are a guilty pleasure.....for sure.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tortilla Soup

Fresh veggie Tortilla good for you!

One of my favorite soups is Tortilla Soup. They used to make it at a restaurant in Lakewood, California that I loved. It was a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant. I tried and tried finding recipes that made it just like I used to love it.  But I could never find one I loved. So I recreated the recipe tweaking it here and there so it is pretty close. And it's a great way to use up your zuchinis from your garden. It's a really easy and filling soup too!

Tortilla Soup Recipe

 The base is chicken broth mixed with sweet Prego spagetti sauce believe it or not! I usually make this soup the day after I've made spagetti and I use up any leftover sauce.   Or if I have made mexican rice I might add the leftovers to this soup to make it even more robust and spicy!

I got this corn at the roadside stands cropping up all around Utah
1/2 large jar from Costco of Prego Spagetti Sauce
1 can Swanson chicken broth (or use 2 chicken bullion cubes and 3 cups water
1 diced sweet white onion carmelized
1 cup celery
1 cup corn (fresh off the cob or frozen niblets is best)
1 1/2 cups baby carrots or sliced carrots
1 medium zuchini sliced and quartered
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and diced
Season with 1 teaspoon cumin seed, parsley flakes to taste, 1/2 teaspoon sweet basil , Lawrys or Johnny's season salt to taste, dash of pepper.
Sometimes I have added leftover spanish rice and it's great.

Dice up some fresh zuchini and carrots for your Tortilla Soup

Boil up the veggies for the Tortilla Soup!  I LOVE adding the fresh yummy!  
I boil the chicken while I'm chopping veggies. When chicken is nearly done I dump the celery and carrots and corn into the water to soften them up...15 minutes tops. Then drain your veggies and dice your chicken and cut corn off the cob.  Carmelize your onion.

Cut the corn off the cob for your Tortilla Soup...

 Then make up the sauce with the broth and Prego and season it up. Dump all your veggies and chicken in. It is very hearty and thick with veggies and a thick tomato broth. The cumin is the flavor you taste more than any other seasoning.

Tortilla Soup is seasoned with cumin seed, (be sure it's CUMIN SEED) basil and parsley flakes...

Cook the veggies and chicken in the same water for Tortilla Soup

 Top with crushed tortilla chips or the thin strips if you can find them at the store and shredded mexican cheese from a pouch in the cheese section, or just cheddar cheese. I've also added a few slices of avocado to the top for looks when I have company. It adds a beautiful look to the soup. It feeds a big crowd of 10. Very hearty and filling and mmmmm good.

Dump it all together, add broth, more water if you don't like your Tortilla Soup a little thick....

Add grated cheese and tortillas to the top! Or you could slice thin some fresh tortillas and fry them in a pan
That always makes your soup look super professional!  But alas....I just crush up tortilla's just as good!  

Chicken and Rice Casserole

I like a lot of crunch in my Chicken and Rice. So I add slivered or sliced almonds and celery.  I love white chicken diced up along with a few pieces of dark thigh meat too. It just makes it more tasty. And I usually add a few diced eggs and some cheese and potato chips crushed on top. It's kinda yummy!

Chicken and Rice Dinner....
Here's my recipe:
3-4cups of mixed white and brown rice steamed in a rice steamer
add 2 can cream of chicken soup. I've done it with one can but it's less creamy.
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayo
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced sweet onion, carmelized in a fry pan
2 hard boiled eggs diced up
slivered or sliced almonds
2-3 chicken breasts boiled & diced up (or 2 breasts and 2 thighs diced)
Lawrys season salt & regular pepper
Suddenly Salad, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
3/4 cup grated cheese over the top.
crushed potato chips on top of the cheese if you like a crispy top

Chicken and Rice   is a great family casserole dish! It will feed a crowd....and it's easy and  filling!  
My kids used to call it GORP. Ya well, you know boys.....they will eat anything no matter how long it took you to make it.  For the sauce I usually make it with 2 cans cream of chicken soup, a 1/2 cup scoop of sour cream and a 1/3rd cup of mayo. And to that I add some Lawry's season salt and  Salad Supreme Seasoning  (a super great secret to making any kind of veggie, potato or pasta salad can buy the generic and it's just as good). 

Here's my finished Chicken and Rice Casserole

I usually make it when I have leftover plain rice that I need to use up.  I take probably 3 to 4 cups of rice, 2 chicken breasts and 2 chicken thighs, some white, sweet onion about 1/2 cup diced and then carmelized in a fry pan for 5 minutes. I boil the eggs and chicken together and at the last 5 minutes I add diced celery about 3/4 cup into the chicken boiling water. .

Try some Chicken and Rice Casserole for your next family get's pretty easy and you will
get lots and lots of compliments.....and hardly any leftovers!  
Then when everything is cooked and tender, pour it all together in a big tupperware bowl and mix in the sauce. Then spread it in a 9 x 13 pan and cover with some grated cheese and crushed potato chips,  . Bake it for 20 -25 minutes in 350 oven. It's even more delish the next day for leftovers. It's great to take to work for your lunch too.  I love a good casserole!

Zuchini Casserole

Do you sometimes wonder what in the heck to do with all of those zuchinis and tomatoes erupting in your garden? I have a fabulous and easy casserole recipe that my family loves to chow down.

My zuchini plants are doing well....Zuchini Casserole is a great recipe to use!

Yellow squash is almost ready to pick...Yummy in my zuchini casserole.

The ingredients are really simple;
2 tomatoes
2 small zuchini (or yellow squash or a mix)
1/2 a large red onion sliced in medium thin rings
4-6 strips of bacon
1/2 Cup (or more)grated cheddar cheese

Spray a glass casserole dish with Pam. I use the smaller 9 x 9 or a round glass. But you could double the recipe and use a 9 x 13.
Layer sliced onion cut into rings, then the slices of zuchini and/or squash, then bacon, tomatoes. Then season the top with salt, pepper and a little lemon pepper. Then add grated cheese over the top.

I used zuchini and yellow squash in this Zuchini Casserole...The bacon and cheese make this meal!  
Bake covered with foil for about 45 minutes at 350 or until the squash is tender and the bacon is done. You can pre-microwave the bacon for 1/2  minute if you like it crispier but I don't. It is cheesy and bacony and an  oniony hot mess. I love it. It's a great summer side dish to use up your garden loot. Everybody seems to love it.  :D

It's a really yummy summer Zuchini Side Dish using zuchini and yellow squash!


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