Saturday, December 24, 2011

Recipes in Progress

Hello Blog Friends!

Thankyou for your patience as I develop some new recipes.  I do have 52 recipes on my Recipe Index Page for you to check out, but I am still working on new ones.  With every new recipe I try it as written.  Then I make modifications to adjust to our taste.  Then once it tastes great I make it and freeze it.   Then thaw it and cook each meal to make sure that it holds it's flavor and textures.  Some times I think I have a fabulous idea and it ends up in the trash because it did not turn out well.  I don't want to put anything on my blog until I am sure it will work fresh and frozen. 

I am very close to finishing a cranberry glaze that is sweet, sour and spicy.  My husband likes lots of crushed red pepper, but you can leave it out completely if you have sensative palates and still enjoy a lot of flavor!  It's great on chicken and pork steaks.  I can't wait to try it on a ham steak!

Next I have tinkered with a pesto stuffed chicken breast.  My husband complained that it was too bland so I have been working hard to add a little zest!  I have added Italian seasoning to spice up the chicken and topped them with buttery parmesean cheese.  The oil comes out of the pesto while the chicken is baking leaving all the sweet basil behind to flavor the breast.  I have added chopped onion on the bottom of the pan to raise the breasts up out of the oil to cut down on the fat in this recipe. 

Your last sneak peak is a curry honey mustard sauce that is fabulous on chicken!  The longer this sauce sits on the chicken the better it tastes.  I am busy brainstorming to see if there is anything else I should pair with this sauce.  Ham perhaps?  Potatoes?  Rice?  How best to capture up any extra sauce that collects in the bottom of the pan while baking?  Maybe a curry honey mustard ham and rice bake.  Ooooh, maybe with onion and broccoli.  That sounds like a winner.  I better put that on my shopping list for after Christmas. 

I appreciate all your comments and suggestions.  If you have any great ideas you'd like me to try please leave me a note on this post and I will be happy to start my research and testing.  I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Take care!
Christie aka Keeza

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hot Dog Mac and Cheese

This is a great kid friendly dinner.  You can cut the hot dogs into a size that is safe for your family.  The smaller the kids, the smaller the pieces need to be.  If you don't have any little ones in your home and you have a little more advanced palate then substitute fully cooked spicy brats for the hot dogs.  This recipe has a hidden vegetable!  I have never tried to puree cauliflower before but I learned a lot while testing this recipe.  I will gladly pass on my tips to you!   Give this recipe a try and see if anyone notices the hidden veggie.   


1 head of cauliflower                         1.98
16 oz elbow macaroni                       1.08
1/2 cup skim milk                               .20
16 oz extra sharp cheddar               4.66
1 pkg reduced fat beef hot dogs      3.98
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp all purpose seasoning
sprinkle of dried parsley to garnish


Rinse the cauliflower and cut out the stem.  Take time to cut away as much of the stalks as you can as you break the cauliflower into smaller pieces.  The stalks do not puree as well as the florets.  Place in a sauce pan and cover with water.  Set over medium high heat and boil until fork tender.
Now fill a second saucepan with water and set over medium high heat to boil the macaroni.  Now shred all 16 oz of sharp cheddar cheese and set aside.  Cut the hot dogs into slices or chunks that are appropriate for your little ones.

Once the cauliflower is fork tender drain off the water and mash with a mixer.   Add the skim milk and mix a few more minutes to break the cauliflower down.
This was as smooth as I could get the cauliflower with a mixer.  Stir in 12 oz of shredded cheddar, 1/2 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp black pepper and 1 Tbsp all purpose seasoning.   Now in order to get your cheese sauce very smooth and not chunky you must puree it in the blender.  After several minutes on medium I was able to get the sauce to this consistency.
Once the macaroni has cooked for nine minutes drain the noodles and mix with the cheese cauliflower sauce.
I recommend adding the sauce a little at a time because I had a little too much sauce for my noodles.  Then stir in the slice hot dog pieces. 
Divide the mac and cheese into two 8x8" pans or one 9x13" pan. 
Top each pan with the remaining shredded cheddar and sprinkle with dried parsley.
Cover the pan with foil and label.
Freeze until ready to use.  Then defrost for two days in the fridge.  Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  I was able to make two pans for $5.95 each.  Please give this recipe a try and let me know if you have any tips to get cauliflower to puree smoothly, or ideas of how to use it in more recipes.  See if your family can find the vegetable in this creamy dreamy mac and cheese!

Christie aka Keeza