Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Award winning Italian Beef & Smokin Pot!

*Happy to participate in the Mama Kat's Losin It meme for the week.

I chose "What's cooking in your crockpot?" because I make this often and always receive rave reviews.

I call my crock pot my SMOKIN' POT because I can whip up some fabulous recipes in it and the name also reminds me to turn it on. Ahem. I'll let you read a little more about that.

This recipe won first prize in a Main Dish Recipe Contest when I gave it to my cousin Angie who entered it into a contest in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

She said they had never eaten Italian Beef there. Can't imagine. It's a staple here.

I made it for her family when they moved back to town so she wouldn't have to worry about a meal to prepare. I turned the crock pot on low so it could cook all night, then the sandwiches would be ready at lunch time.

When I awakened in the morning, I was surprised that I didn't arise to the wonderful aroma of the Italian meat cooking away. When I went to investigate, I realized I had failed to plug in the crock pot. I had turned on the switch, but didn't bother checking the cord.

SO I whipped up a quick batch of Mostaciolli and we all enjoyed a good laugh and the neighbor's dog enjoyed the beef.

Here's the recipe for you to try.

You will need:

A Working crock pot.
A clear head.
Possibly a dog if your head is not clear.

1 large roast (your favorite cut- but trim the fat if yours is a fatty cut)
1 package Good Season's Italian Dressing mix
1/4 cup vinegar
1 T. sugar
1-2 cans chicken broth
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 package brown gravy mix (mixed with one cup water)
1 green pepper, sliced
1 small jar mild pepperoccinis AND the juice.

Pierce meat with a fork.
Mix all other ingredients and pour over meat.
Cover and let marinade overnight OR at least 8 hours.

Start your Smokin Pot!
Be certain that it is also plugged in.
ONLY after you are certain, call your friends and invite them over for dinner.

Cook on low for about 8-10 hours depending on the size of your roast. *Really, the longer it cooks, the better it is. Let it cook till the meat falls off the bone!

When done, SHRED THE BEEF.

Serve in large hard, crusty rolls or hoagie buns.
Put small bowls out for each guest with dipping juice in them. The sandwich can be dipped in bowl before each bite (this is why the hardest, crustiest bread is best!)

Also serve with a bit of shredded mozzarella.

Add a salad, and some chips or fries, for an easy dinner. Just need to plan ahead...
And plug it in.

Leftover meat can be used as a Philly, Steak and Cheese sandwich, or a quesadilla. For the quesadillas, I place a tortilla in the buttered skillet, add the meat and some sliced Velveeta and top with another tortilla. Delicious!

Now, I want to hear YOUR great Smokin' Pot recipes and tips!

Check out the New site I found for crock pot recipes. It's awesome!
(Thank you Tiffany @ EAT AT HOME for the link!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

SOUP'S ON! Potato Broccoli and Cheese

We've been having some CRAZY weather here in Southern Illinois. One week ago we were enjoying unseasonably warm 70 degree temperatures; yesterday it was SNOWING!
The snow didn't stick, but the cold certainly did!

It was perfect soup weather, so today I made a QUICK, EASY and Delicious Broccoli and Potato soup!

You'll get rave reviews and it only takes a little preparation for this cheatin' version!

1 lb. bag frozen O'Brien Potatoes
1 lb. bag frozen chopped broccoli
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
4 cans chicken broth
1 lb. VELVEETA cheese, cubed
*crumbled bacon and or diced, cooked ham

Heat broth and soups till boiling. Turn down heat to medium and add veges and cook until potatoes are fork tender.
Add Velveeta and stir until smooth and creamy.

Serve in individual bowls and top with cooked and crumbled bacon.

Add some heavy bread or rolls for dipping or serve in pre-purchased bread bowls.

A side salad will round out this easy meal.

Be sure to share this one with those you love, or who are needin' a little comfort.

And whatever you do, don't be a SOUP NAZI!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"FAST and FURIOUS" Menu: Easy Chicken Fettuccine with Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce

Only 3 ingredients!

*1 Jar ClassicoRoasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce
*1 box fettuccine noodles
*1 pkg. boneless, skinless chicken strips

Boil Fettuccine. And don't walk off like I always do and get on the computer and only remember you're cooking something when you smell it burning!)

Heat chicken strips (In butter) until all pink is gone.(Don't use other "healthy" stuff to cook it in- I'm tellin' you, it won't be as good)

When noodles are tender (al dente), add the sauce and chicken and serve warm!
(I don't even heat the sauce, because the hot noodles and chicken warms it up for you!)

Serving suggestions:

Serve on colorful plates with peas on the side.( Or steamed broccoli, or asparagus)
Add a salad and some crusty garlic bread and you my, friend , can call yourself an "easy Italian" cook*

*But if someone else calls you an "easy Italian", slap 'em!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Death by Chocolate

What a way to go!

Just a heads up. This Saturday Feb., 14 is VALENTINE'S DAY!

Just to show some love for your special someone, (or go ahead, love yourself)
I 'm giving you a couple of GREAT chocolate options for the day of love.

What says I LOVE YOU better than chocolate?

Well, there are a COUPLE of things, but you could quiet most raging maniacs if you just offered them some chocolate! Especially if they happen to be female.

It has been scientifically PROVEN to be a mood changer.
It has actually kept me from committing crimes during certain times when my stress level was at an all-time high!
In a word, chocolate is : POWERFUL.

Here is one powerful kitchen must have that you need to go purchase TODAY. Right now. Leave....before the lines get too long. I'll wait for you. I'll still be here when you get back.

The chocolate fountain can be purchased for home use for around $30.
This, I tell you, will be one of these BEST investments you will ever make!
Especially, if you're not a great cook, but still like to impress people with the illusion of you knowing your way around a kitchen.

My cousin Angie, bless her heart, bought me one for my birthday and WOOHOO! All kinds of fun has started up in my house.

Here's the best part. You buy 2 bags of chocolate chips (white or semi-sweet),and add some oil (to make it smooth flowing and you know, more fat, more taste).

That's it! Well, you do have to turn the machine on, but c'mon. Pretty simple.

You then surround it with your favorite snacks that you like to be dipped, covered, or engulfed in chocolate. Just buy some wooden kabob skewers or toothpicks if you don't have metal skewers.

My favorite dippers:
Strawberries (perfect for Valentine's Day)
Marshmallows, pretzels, pineapple, plain cookies, pound cake, peanut butter cookies,etc. The list in endless!

When no one is looking, just put your tongue in there! Even better!

Here is an easy recipe to serve on Valentine's day that will WOW 'em!

Cream Puffs

Prep Time: 30 min Total Time: 45 min Makes: 9 servings,
one cream puff each. From

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of 17.3-oz. pkg.), thawed
1 cup cold milk
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1/2 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
1 square BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted.

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface; roll out to 10-inch square. Cut into nine circles with 3-inch cookie cutter or rim of glass. Place on baking sheet. Bake 10 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

MEANWHILE, pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping. Cover. Refrigerate 15 min.

CUT pastry circles horizontally in half. Spoon pudding mixture evenly into bottom halves of pastry; cover with tops. Drizzle with chocolate. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

* Be sure to check my previous post for THE BEST steak marinade for a wonderful Valentine's Day Main dish!

*Leave me your favorite chocolate recipe suitable for serving on Valentine's day.

And I'll leave you with this trailer of the movie CHOCOLAT. VERY ROMANTIC! Rent this movie to spice things up a bit!

Check out Mama's Losin it for some fun links to read!