Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Best Baked Beans Ever

When it comes to baked beans I used to dump them in a crock pot, add a few extra ingredients, stir it, and then heat them for a few hours. They always turned out good, but I never knew they could be better!

When I found PW's recipe for The Best Baked Beans Ever (click the link for more detailed directions), I knew I wanted to give them a try. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint!! Baked beans always seem to be the ho-hum side item that you take, but aren't always a favorite. The sauce runs all over the plate, the beans aren't well flavored, etc.

These cook at a low temp for 2 hours thus turning them into something so yummy! Give them a try....I promise, they are that good!

The Best Baked Beans Ever
Serves up to 18

8 slices bacon, halved
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1/2 medium green pepper, cut into small dice -- I use a whole green pepper
3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans -- I use 6 (15 oz) cans
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Fry bacon in large, deep sauté pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer. (If skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients).

Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beefy Shells & Cheese

Hubby loves shells & cheese, but I don't care for them. Soon after we got married, I decided to improvise so he could have his shells & cheese and I didn't have to eat them plain.

I came up with this quick meal that has been a staple since early in our marriage.

Beefy Shells & Cheese

1 box shells & cheese (like ve1veeta brand)
1 lb ground beef
1 can kidney beans (or canned beans of your choice), rinsed
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
taco seasoning

Boil the shells according to box directions.

While the shells are boiling, brown ground beef with onion and garlic; drain grease. Add taco seasoning to the meat -- to your liking. Over medium-low heat, add beans to meat mixture.

Drain shells and add to the meat. Mix cheese packet with the shells and meat. Mix salsa into the mixture.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taco Salad

This recipe is from my friend, Heather, who insisted it was "the best taco salad EVER, and you have to try it!" Sure is!

One word of warning, this makes a HUGE amount of taco salad. Be sure to mix it in the largest bowl you own! :)

Taco Salad

1 lb. ground beef
1 large head or bag of shredded lettuce
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bag (13 oz.) Doritos, crushed
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 pkg. taco seasoning
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1/2 c. Italian dressing

Prepare ranch dressing according to directions on packet, add Italian dressing and chill.

Brown, drain, and cool ground beef. Add taco seasoning (without water!), mix well.

Add lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese to ground beef. Refrigerate until serve time. Just before serving, add dressing. Mix well, stir in Doritos.

Feeds a HUGE crowd!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

I love my recipe for made-from-scratch Chicken & Dumplings. The only problem is it can be time-consuming and messy.

I had heard of chicken & dumplings cooked in the crockpot, but it didn't sound like it would be as good as made-from-scratch ones. This recipe is thisclose to being just as good!!

I love that I can toss everything in the pot in the morning and not have to roll out the dough, cut it, and stand over the stove while the dumplings cook. I wasn't sure how the biscuits would taste as dumplings...they are SO good!!!

To make this a more complete meal, you can add in a can or two of mixed veggies or some frozen mixed veggies with the other ingredients.

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

4 chicken breasts (no need to cook them first, toss them in frozen or thawed)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 small onion, diced
water or chicken broth (the broth gives it much more flavor)
2 cans refrigerated biscuits

Place the chicken in the crock pot. Mix together the soup and onion and place over the chicken. Pour enough water or broth in the crock pot to completely cover the chicken and soup mixture. Cook on low for 5-6 hours if your chicken is thawed; if chicken is frozen, cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Once chicken has cooked completely, remove the chicken from the pot and shred with a fork. Return chicken to the pot.

1 - 2 hours before serving, tear the raw biscuits into pieces and drop in the pot. Let the biscuits cook for an hour. (The liquid will cook the raw biscuits and turn them into dumplings). The biscuits will absorb the extra liquid.