Taco Lasagna

August 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Recipe obtained and modified from my fantastic friend Tanya to omit the spice. You can add it back in with adding red pepper flakes and using pepper jack cheese. My family does not handle heat well. (To keep flavor, I also used real veggies and not just dried spices! Huzzah~!) I can handle the heat how Tanya originally made it, but the family cannot, and this turned out just as tasty! I am ecstatic!

Let’s get started!

3/4lb lean ground beef (97%)
3/4lb ground beef (80%)
package of whole wheat tortillas
sour cream
corn (about 1/2 bag of frozen, I used white sweet.)
1 can of black beans
onion powder
garlic salt
red pepper (optional for spice)
enchilada sauce (red) (or optional spicy taco sauce. I know us wimps can handle the mild red enchilada sauce!!)
extra virgin olive oil
1/5 green bell pepper, minced
1/4 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Monterey Jack cheese (for optional spice, use pepper jack, is delicious!)

Time to cook!

I chose to first get my veggies ready, then I heated up my pan with a little olive oil.

After the pan was nice and warm, (okay, so water sizzled when I flicked it in) I mostly-cooked the veggies, adding some cumin and paprika to them. Next, add the beef and brown it, adding in more cumin and paprika, as well as oregano, garlic salt, and onion powder. You will also want to add some enchilada or taco sauce at this point, cook it in. (Don’t forget, please, that this is all to taste!)

Add about 1/4-1/3c of water. I used 1/4c, since I had used a mix of lean and regular ground beef. 🙂 I like me my beefy goodness! Keep tasting; I wound up adding salt, cumin, and paprika along with some more oregano.

Add in the can of (strained) black beans, and your desired amount of corn. (My mom really likes corn!)

Simmer a bit, keep tasting; I ended up adding more enchilada sauce.

Turn off the stove.

In your casserole dish:
Brush the bottom with olive oil. In order to fix the “bottom tortilla is hard” issue, I also added two generous dollops of sour cream mixed with enchilada sauce. Worked perfectly!!!

Cut some tortillas in half, line bottom of your casserole dish. (works well with any pan style! I had nice straight edges, woot! I think I used 4 tortillas per layer?)

Spread about 1/2 of your meat mixture on top. Pipe on some sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese (again, your choice…mexican mix, pepperjack, or monterey jack…). Add another layer of tortillas. Spread on the remaining half of your meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

((Originally, I added sour cream at this layer, then sprinkled with cheese again. For future batches, I am omitting the sour cream and serving it a la carte because it looks funny. This also means the removal of the second layer of cheese on top, since it becomes kind of redundant, unless you REALLY like cheese.))

Now, you can either stick this directly in the oven, or cover and refridgerate for later.

In any case, oven needs to be headed to 350F. Bake 15-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and the casserole is cooked through.

Om nom nom! (See what I mean about the sour cream looking funny? I’ll just leave it baked in and for the top serve it cold lol)


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Spaghetti Sauce

February 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m sure by now that you are all tired of seeing me post about spaghetti sauce… I’m sorry, but this is the one that I’ve settled on for perfection. 🙂

1/4 large yellow or sweet onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
about 5-7 baby carrots, minced
about 4 medium or large white button mushrooms, if desired
Extra Virgin Olive Oil first cold press is my favorite!
1lb ground beef (the leaner, the better! I usually get 97% lean)
Ocean Spray Cranberry-Pomegranate juice (just a splash! Maybe a quarter cup?)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
ground sage
Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash
Lawry’s Garlic Salt
Lawry’s Garlic Powder
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
and don’t tell anyone, but also about 4 or 5 taps of ground ginger

And now for instructions!

I usually put the water for pasta on to boil. It doesn’t matter what kind of pasta you use – Angel Hair, Spaghetti, Penne Rigate, Wheels, Shells, Macaroni, etc.  I prefer Spaghetti 2 or 3. (That’s the thickness of the pasta.) I also cook it past al dente, but not until it’s soggy.

Anyways… Once the water is on to boil, I add a pinch of kosher salt. Now I can ignore it until later.

I dice the onion and mince the garlic and carrots. If I have them, I also slice up some white buttom mushrooms.  Then I heat up my big skillet (any large pan with high sides will do).  I pour a little extra virgin olive oil in – I have an olive-oil dispenser with a spout, so I just drizzle it around the pan a few times. I don’t need to cover the bottom, just add the flavor and keep stuff from sticking.

Then I add in the vegetables, along with a pinch of kosher salt and about 4 grinds of black pepper.

As it starts to cook, I add the cranberry-pomegranate juice. Not a lot.

Once that has cooked down a little, I add in the beef and brown it. As it browns, I usually add oregano, garlic & herb mrs dash, sage, and garlic powder.  I just cover everything. Note I said cover – not coat. Just tap or shake across your cooking vessel evenly and stir as you go!

After the beef has been browned, I add in the can of petite diced tomatos and let it cook a short while.

After a few minutes, I add in the can of tomato sauce, and then start adding oregano, sage, garlic & herb mrs. dash, garlic powder,  pepper, and garlic salt to taste. I also add about 4 taps of ground ginger – that is my super-secret ingredient!!

Then, simmer the sauce for as long as you want! The longer it goes, the thicker it gets. It tends to splatter, so covering it with a screen is useful for keeping your stovetop clean. 🙂

If you want to make marinara, omit the beef and mushrooms, and use a food processor on the onions, garlic, and carrots for an excellent sauce!

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Leftovers Into Chinese

February 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm (cooking) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Well, we had a bunch of broccoli left over from pork roast night…and when we went out to Outback,  my sister didn’t eat half of her steak, so we took it home…and she forgot it!!

I don’t know about you, but I dislike reheated steak. Actually, reheated is fine. I just don’t like rare meat!

Well then. Check the cupboard, check the fridge, check the freezer.  What can I do with 3 ounces of beef for two people?

One egg left…add to grocery list… hmm… Why do I have three open boxes of boil-in-bag rice?

Oh inspiration!!!

Fried Rice Ingredients:
1 bag of boil-in-bag rice, cooked
some thinly sliced baby carrots
two handfuls of frozen peas
1/8 sweet onion, diced
1 egg
a little oil (I used olive)
minced onion
dark soy sauce
garlic powder

Beef & Broccoli
leftover outback steak house, sliced thin
frozen carrot rounds
1/5 onion sliced
garlic powder
soy sauce
minced onion
some oil
leftover broccoli

So, I boiled up the rice while I did my slicing and dicing.

I also heated up the pan for the beef, added a little olive oil, then tossed in the onions and carrots, followed by salt and pepper.

After a few stirs to get things hot,  I added some of my delicious dark soy sauce and some honey.

(this is where you have to focus on two pots/pans) at once lol

I also put oil in the pot I’d used for rice, added the rice, peas, and onions, plus pepper, garlic powder, and soy sauce.

When the carrots were defrosted and the onions cooked mostly through, I added the beef, the broccoli,  ground ginger, garlic powder, minced onion, and some more soy sauce. I also ended up adding a handful of water lol.

Once the peas and onions were mostly cooked, I added in an egg and fried it up, mixing with the veggies.

Then, I added the rice back in, plus some more soy sauce!! ^,^.

Dished it up! Fried rice and beef & broccoli in a bowl. Tasty! Wish I’d had more lol.

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Quick’n’Easy Salisbury Steak

November 8, 2010 at 8:45 pm (cooking) (, , , , , )

I like easy-to-make meals, especially on a Monday.  I mean, it’s Monday… who wants to spend all day working on what broke all weekend, then come home and have to make an entire meal?

And yet, I’m not much of a fan of “premade’n’nuke” meals you can buy, and I am really trying to avoid fast food.

So! Last week, I made burgers for my mom and I; I made four patties, and put two in the fridge. Last night, we went out of Chinese and got an order of the string beans (SO delicious, we LOVE leftovers). And someone out there makes handy gravy mixes and just-add-water mashed potatoes.

Hamburger Patty Ingredients:
1lb ground beef (the leaner the better!), made into 1/4lb patties
worchestershire sauce (a few splashes on each patty)
a pinch of kosher salt sprinkled across all the patties
a grind of pepper over each patty
a sprinkle of garlic powder over each patty

All you have to do is cook them until they are done. 🙂 My mom’s burger I did medium, mine I prefer well done, and I did the extra patties well done as well, since I was saving them for later.

The chinese leftover green beans seem to be cooked quickly over high heat with oil, salt, onion, and garlic. The garlic has given it a bit of sweetness.  They’re delicious! If I hadn’t had leftovers to nuke, I would have just nuked some frozen green beans, then tossed them into the pan I used to make mushrooms and onions in with garlic salt and olive oil. 🙂

Ah, yes… to top the hamburger patties, I chopped up some sweet onion and some mushrooms, and sauteed them with a tiny bit of olive oil, a pinch of salt, some garlic powder, and black pepper, to compliment the meat.

I mixed up a quick packet of brown gravy, and made a package of golden russet buttered mashed potatoes (from Knorr and Idahoan respectively ), nuked each plate (patty and green beans) for 1:45 each, added taters and gravy and BAM!
Instant delicious dinner with veggies, starch, and protein. How delicious is that?

Total time this took? Less than 20 minutes… and most of that was boiling water!!!

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Not-Shepherd’s Pie

October 17, 2010 at 9:00 pm (cooking) (, , , , , )

Hey there! Long time no type! It’s been a while since I’ve used a new recipe, other than my normal stuff… I tend to try to keep “Katie’s Crazy Cooking” a little under control lol.

Anyway… last time that I went grocery shopping, I got a bunch of meat and froze it. Tonight was either chicken again, pork chops (not much of a pork fan), or the package of stew beef.

I voted for stew beef, and took it out to thaw while I played some WoW. (yes, I’m a nerd.)

I thought to myself “it’s fall… beefy weefy stew would sound delicious” followed by “oooh shepherd’s pie….” Well… this is what happened. ^^.;

Not-Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients:
1 package stew beef
1 package mashed roasted garlic mashed potatoes (the just add water kind lol)
Minced onion or 1/4-1/2c diced, your choice
Garlic Powder
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2c celery (1.5 stalks), sliced thin
1/2c chopped baby carrots
1/2c green beans, frozen
1/2c corn, frozen
Olive oil
Beef stock

Side: frozen biscuits, cooked. (2 each, 1 for dipping sauce, and 1 for dessert – split in half, light butter, then drizzle with honey.)

Preheat oven to 350.

First, cut the stew meat into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Then toss the meat in flour. I just put a cup or so of flour in a plastic bag, tossed in the meat, and shook it. Turn on your pan on high heat with enough oil (I used olive oil) to just cover the bottom while you cut your veggies. When water droplets hit the pan and sizzle, put on the meat.

(I like the flavor of cooked celery, but generally I despise the texture of it, so I chose to cut the stalks into very thin slices. I liked it this way!)

When you go to turn the meat over the first time, add your celery, carrots, and either the chopped onions (I was out), or sprinkle minced onions all over the pan – just 1 light cover. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the pan, as well as a crack of pepper.

Start to add beef stock, slowly. Don’t want to drown it. 😉

When the beef is almost cooked, drop the heat to med-high, add the green beans and corn. Across the whole pan, lightly shake over the entire pan the following spices: minced onion again, unless using chopped onions, garlic powder, thyme, sage, and parsely. Add a small pinch of salt, and a grind or two of pepper.

Keep adding beef stock – you’re not making stew, but you still want enough liquid to make a thick gravy-ish sauce.

Add another round of spices – minced onion, garlic powder, sage, and parsely only.

When the meat is fully cooked, kill the heat. You should have enough to fill 3-4 ramekins up halfway with the yummy mixture. Do so.

***While my meat cooked, I turned on the teapot, and boiled some water. I used a package of Idahoan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes – just pour 2c boiling water into a bowl, add the package of potatoes, moisten with fork, let it set for five minutes, then fluff, and use to cover the ramekins.***

Put these in the oven, along with your biscuits for 22 minutes.

**You can choose to pull them out sooner, to sit, by about 3 minutes.**

*After the biscuits are done, if you want a nice color on the mashed potatoes, turn on the broiler and put the ramekins under briefly ^,~. *

These were REALLY good! I was so proud of myself for making a thick sauce!!!! It didn’t turn out crappy at all!!

Definitely going to do these again ❤

Picture time!

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Frito Chili Casserole

July 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm (cooking) (, , , , , )

Hello again, everyone, and welcome to my dinner! lol

Tonight’s dish is a family classic that my grandma used to make… a dish we all love. It’s quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious!


1lb ground beef
1/4 large onion, diced
1 can of corn, strained (or same amount of frozen.)
2 cans of your favorite chili (used Dennyson’s here.)
1 medium bag of Fritos, crushed
some salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 350 while dicing up your onion, and cook it with the ground beef until the beef is fully browned. To brown my meat, I used 2 large pinches of kosher salt and 7 grinds of black pepper, along with just a tiny smidge of olive oil to help the onions along (I tossed them in, then the beef. I had to open the package lol).

Removing the pan from heat, add the contents of the pan into a casserole dish, along with the chili, corn, and 3/4 of the fritos. Combine the ingredients, and smooth down the top.

Add butter, about 1-2 tablespoons, over the top. You can either slice it very thin and lay it across the top – don’t have to cover the whole thing – or just cube it up and sprinkle it over.

On top of the butter, add the remaining fritos, and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, serve, and enjoy!! Yummy and delicious!!!


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