Almost Homemade Turkey Italian Sausage with Chunky Sauce

To me almost homemade means taking pre-made items from the store and making a delicious home cooked meal. Many times over I have gotten items free with my coupons and will use them to make delicious meals. 

Ingredients for 2 Italian Sausages

1/2 package Bird’s Eye peppers and onions (I picked out the onions since I hate them)

2 Jennie O I Turkey Italian Sausage 

1 cup pasta sauce

1/2 package fresh sliced mushrooms

If you want to make the whole package of sausages then simply double the recipe! 

I thawed out the peppers and onions before hand to speed up the cooking time. I browned the sausages in a pan before placing them in a glass baking dish. I put the mushrooms, peppers and onions, and pasta sauce on top of the sausages.

Sausage, vegetables, and sauce.

Sausage, vegetables, and sauce.

I baked at 350 degrees until the sausages were cooked through, making sure to check occasionally to stir the veggies and sauce so the veggies didn’t get dried out. Add more sauce if needed to keep everything juicy and tender. 

Finished and ready to eat!

Finished and ready to eat!

After they were done I simply put them on a plate to eat as and entree. However you can cut them put and pour over noodles, spaghetti squash, zucchini “noodles” etc.

Tips:

#1 You can use fresh peppers if you wish or any vegetables you want/have on hand. I like to use things already in the fridge, freezer, and pantry to decrease costs. 

#2 You can use any Italian sausage you want if you do not like turkey. 

#3 I am sorry that I don’t have appropriate cook times but the 3 times I have made this it has taken different amounts of time. I simply check and stir everything up until it is fully cooked.

 

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Almost Homemade Roast Beef Sandwiches

My sister once brought up almost homemade when I was using a frozen meal and jazzing it up to serve at a family reunion. One night I was wanting some hot roast beef sandwiches like these: Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches. However I didn’t have any roast cooking in the crock pot but then I came up with an idea.

Ingredients

1 package Oscar Mayer sliced roast beef lunch meat

1 package fresh mushrooms

1 sliced onion, I used about half an onion

1 package onion soup mix

sliced provolone cheese

hoagie rolls

Onion soup mix

Onion soup mix

Fix the envelope of onion soup mix as directed then add half of that to a skillet then add the roast beef.

Simmering roast beef with onion soup mix.

Simmering roast beef with onion soup mix.

This allows the roast beef to heat up without drying it out and it gives it some flavor. While the beef heats up place the sliced mushrooms in a skillet with butter and place the onions in another skillet with butter.

caramelizing the onions and sauteing the mushrooms.

caramelizing the onions and sauteing the mushrooms.

Once the onions were perfectly caramelized and the mushrooms sauteed I mixed them together.

mushrooms and onions.

mushrooms and onions.

I used the skillet that held the onions and heated it back up adding a bit more butter. I the laid the sliced rolls face down and slightly toasted them once at a time till all were crispy and hot.

After that it was simply a matter of arranging the sandwiches with juicy layers of meat, onions and mushrooms, and cheese on top of those crispy rolls. I split the remaining onion soup mix into small bowls to use as a dip.

Almost Homemade Roast Beef

ready to eat!

I call this almost homemade since I bought the meat instead of cooking my own. They turned out delicious, not as good as with homemade roast beef, but still tasty and they satisfied my cravings! These cooked in less then thirty minutes

Tips:

#1 you can add anything you want to those sandwiches like sauteed green bell peppers or anything else your mind can come up with.

#2 You can use any lunch meat you want from ham to turkey to chicken breast…the possibilities are endless! I may try ham with sharp cheddar cheese next time I bet it will be just as delicious!

I also like this because it lets me use up the odds and ends in the fridge. All I had to buy was the bread since I had gotten the meat on sale and the mushrooms and onions were starting to get old….I love using up things on hand instead of tossing money in the trash by wasting food.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Oh how I missed blogging! I have had multiple health issues in the past month which have left me feeling drained and listless after work. But I have several recipes in the hold waiting for posts!

My boyfriend loves meat, potatoes, white bread, miracle whip, processed cheese…well any process foods! We differ in our eating since I have dietary restrictions (limited red meat, no caffeine, limited sodas, no artificial sweeteners, limited processed foods…etc.) so I started looking up easy meals we could both eat. I was pleased to find a recipe for homemade hamburger helper of the cheeseburger variety that was sure to please us both!

Ingredients:
1lb lean ground beef (I used 97/3 since I have to have limited fatty red meats)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup hot water
2 cups skim milk
1-1/2 cups elbow macaroni (or other small pasta)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

 

Ingredients

Ingredients

I started by cooking the hamburger and as it was cooking I mixed up the seasonings and corn starch in a small bowl and set it aside; while this was all going on I also boiled the hot water. Once the meat was cooked I rinsed it off in hot water to get rid of any leftover fat. Then I placed the meat back into the pot and added the seasonings, water, corn starch, hot water, skim  milk, and pasta then bring to a boil.

Browned meat with seasonings.

Browned meat with seasonings.

Cooking.

Cooking.

Once the pasta is to the desired cooked amount turn off the heat and mix in the shredded cheese. Let stand 5 minutes (or more) to thicken the sauce before serving.

Add cheese

Add cheese

Finished product

Finished product

This was just as quick and easy as making the disgusting boxed mix but way more healthy! There were no weird ingredients or preservatives and bonus my boyfriend (and daughter) loved it just as much, if not more, then the boxed stuff!

Tips

#1 I added 2 cups cheese because after one cup I tasted it and wanted a cheesier flavor but then again I love cheese lol.

#2 You can substitute ground turkey, chicken, or pork in place of the beef depending on your preferences.

Enjoy!

Happy Pinning!

 

Crock Pot Salisbury Steak

My boyfriend loves the frozen Salisbury steaks and I find them disgusting. I read the ingredients and all I saw was water, salt, salt, MSG, preservatives, and salt lol. So I found a tasty recipe for my trusty crock pot and they looked so good (I couldn’t sample since I am not allowed to have ground beef).

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 packet dry onion soup mix

1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 milk

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablesppons vegetable oil

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1 packet dry au jus mix

3/4 water

Salisbury Steak Ingredients.

Salisbury Steak Ingredients.

In a large bowl mix the ground beef, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, and milk then form into patties, should make 8. Heat oil in a large pan then dredge the patties in the flour to lightly coat them then place them into the pan to brown both sides.

Patties frying.

Patties frying.

Place patties in a crock pot and stack them like a pyramid.

Patties in the crock pot.

Patties in the crock pot.

Mix cream of chicken soup, au jus mix, and water then pour over the patties in the crock pot.

ready to cook!

ready to cook!

Cook low for four or five hours until ground beef is well done! They cooked up very nicely and my boyfriend said they were so tasty, flavorful and said he liked them better then the frozen ones!

 

Tips:

#1 The store I went to didn’t have au jus mix so I used the slow cooker french dip mix and it worked out well.

#2 I would recommend using 93% or higher ground beef if you don’t like a lot of fat. I used 85/15% and the sauce had quite a bit of fat so I had to keep mixing it or the fat would separate.

#3 You can use any ground meat you want. I cant have red meat (doesn’t agree with my system) so I made myself a ground turkey patty (it’s the pale patty in the photo). It tasted wonderful!

I love this recipe and can’t wait to make it again!

 

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I have said it before and I will say it again….I hate wasting things and will reuse anything if it is possible. So once again I had a rotisserie chicken for dinner (this was made awhile back) and I saved the leftovers for soup!

Ingredients

Chicken still on the bone (could be leftover chicken or bone in split chicken breast or a whole chicken)

1 bag frozen egg noodles

1 bag frozen peas and carrots

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper

First I boiled the chicken all day until I had the meat slipping off the bones and a flavorful stock.

Boiling leftover chicken

Boiling leftover chicken

Homemade stock

Homemade stock

 

I then carefully poured the stock back into the pan and put it on to boil while I de-boned the chicken; putting aside the meat and tossing the bones.

 

De-boning leftover chicken

De-boning leftover chicken

Once the stock was boiling I added the frozen egg noodles and the bay leaf along with seasoning it to taste.

Broth ready to boil noodles.

Broth ready to boil noodles.

Once the egg noodles were partly done I added the frozen peas and carrots to the broth and let it simmer. Finally I added the chicken and let it simmer a bit longer to heat up the chicken pieces.

Finished soup

Finished soup

Once the soup was done I turned off the burner and covered it up to keep warm while I baked some bread for dinner! I made these yummy garlic knots I found at the grocery store but next time I will make the 1 hour dinner rolls with a recipe I found!

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Hope you like it! Happy Pinning!!

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

One day I was baking a cake when I realized that I had no store bought frosting on hand! So after a quick scan in my cupboards I found powdered sugar and cocoa powder that I had bought for holiday baking. So  a quick search and I found a simple recipe for chocolate frosting!

Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

The inspiration: http://www.simplyscratch.com/2010/07/homemade-chocolate-frosting.html

Cocoa powder and powdered sugar blended together.

Cocoa powder and powdered sugar blended together.

Sift sugar and cocoa powder together in a bowl then in another bowl cream together the butter and vanilla. Add a cup of the cocoa sugar mix to the butter then add a bit of milk then more of the sugar coca mix. Keep mixing the sugar cocoa and milk until you get the desired consistency.

Finished frosting!

Finished frosting!

Then you use the frosting!! I spread mine over a sheet cake and it was delicious!!

cake ready to eat!

cake ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1 I didn’t have a sifter to mix the sugar and cocoa powder so I added each to my food processor and pulsed it for a bit until it was blended!

#2 For thicker frosting use less milk and for thinner frosting, like a glaze, use more milk.

#3 Before you go and buy anything at the store look in your pantry! I am big on reusing items and I used up the rest of the cocoa powder and powdered sugar that I had purchased for Christmas cookies!

I liked how easy and delicious this frosting is! I have been using it ever since for all my cakes, brownies, and cupcakes! At first my daughter wasn’t sure if she wanted to try it. I realized then just how little I made basic items like frosting if her only exposure in 13 years is store bought! I informed her that before once upon a time people had to make their own cakes and frosting at home before mixes and store bought frosting was available. She then tried a slice of cake and declared it was the best frosting she’d ever had! Now I make it a point to make a lot of stuff without mixes so she can taste real home cooking!

 

Happy Pinning!!

Smothered Chicken Breasts

I wrote a post for a crock pot recipe for round steak and gravy, which I thought was amazingly delicious, and one day I wanted some but didn’t have any steak. So I decided to try chicken breasts in the same homemade gravy and wow was I amazed!

Ingredients

3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 package onion soup mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup water (the old one called for 1/4 but I upped it for more gravy to cover the thicker chicken breasts)

 

I mixed the water and onion soup mix in the bottom of the crock pot before stirring in the cream of mushroom soup.

Gravy all mixed up and ready!

Gravy all mixed up and ready!

Then I added the chicken breasts and rolled them over a few times to make sure they were well covered.

Chicken cooking in the gravy.

Chicken cooking in the gravy.

I then set the crock pot to cook for 8 hours but you can set it for what works best for your time limit. After they were done I served them with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Dinner!!

Dinner!!

These were the most tender, moist, and delicious chicken I have had in a long time! They were so tender you could cut them with a fork! I love how easy the crock pot is and this “homemade” gravy is so easy and soooo delicious!!

 

Happy Pinning!

Snowball Cookies!

Wow have I really been gone that long? How time flies!! Recently work has been very busy and I have had a ton of changes in my life! So I recently haven’t been doing any Pinterest-ing but I do have some things from the holidays to share! I  have had a major lifestyle change and have cleaned up my eating along with doing DDP Yoga (check it out it’s freaking awesome) so anything new I post will be healthier 🙂

Peacan Cookies Ingredients

2 cups flour, all purpose

2 cups finely chopped pecans (any nut really)

1 cup softened butter

Powdered Sugar

Toss everything but the powdered sugar into a bowl and combine, dough will be crumbly.

Dry ingredients

Dry ingredients

Finished dough

Finished dough

See how crumbly it is? This is normal since there is no egg to really make it stick like other cookie doughs. Scoop dough and form into roughly 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Rolled and ready to bake

Rolled and ready to bake

Bake at 325 for 18-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Once out of the oven allow to cool for five minutes then roll them in powdered sugar.

Roll in powdered sugar after baking.

Roll in powdered sugar after baking.

Let them cool completely then roll in a second coat of powdered sugar

After cooling roll again in powdered sugar.

After cooling roll again in powdered sugar

These are very crumbly cookies so don’t be alarmed if they crumble slightly when you roll them around the powdered sugar. These are delicious, melt in your mouth cookies and I love making them! I always will make me a hot chai tea latte and then sit down to enjoy a few while I admire the sparking Christmas lights 🙂

Happy Pinning!

Hot Roast Beef Dip Sandwiches

Last night my boyfriend and I finished up moving his things to either my home or the storage shed we rented. I knew at the end I would be to tired to cook so I put a roast in the crock pot for dinner that night. However I was really tired and didn’t even want to make the proper sides for the roast…you know potatoes and veggies. So I put the roast in the fridge and made some quick (i.e. frozen meals) for dinner. So tonight I pulled the roast out and proceeded to make some hot roast beef sandwiches with onion dip.

The inspiration pin: http://bakingbites.com/2008/02/slow-cooker-french-dip-sandwich/

Now since the roast was already cooked and since I didn’t have condensed french onion soup I used the pin for inspiration only.

Ingredients:

Roast, onions, mushrooms, French rolls, and powdered onion soup mix.

Roast, onions, mushrooms, French rolls, and powdered onion soup mix.

I sliced the onions and combined them with butter in a sauce pan to caramelize them nicely. I did the same thing with the sliced mushrooms so they would sautee nicely in their own pan.

Mushrooms and Onions

Mushrooms and Onions

While these were cooking I put some water in the bowl containing the roast and heated it up in the microwave. Once it was heated up I shredded it and put it aside for later. All the while I was stirring the contents of both pans so nothing would burn then I cooked the onion soup up according to the package directions.

Bread ready to cook

Bread ready to cook (finished onion soup mix in the back.)

I sliced up several french steak rolls and put them in the oven set to 250 degrees and cooked them for 10 minutes, or until crisp. You could heat them up for 20 seconds in the microwave but they turn out soft and chewy…so it’s all about your preferences…I prefer crisp, crusty bread for my dip sandwiches. After everything is cooked and ready to go you can either assemble the sandwiches or serve them smorgasbord style and let everyone make theirs how they like it. I put the cooked ingredients on the table and let my family pile them up how they like it.

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

These were some of the most tasty, tender, and delicious roast beef sandwiches I have ever made. I used to use the drippings of the roast as my dip and I never considered using onion soup mix before. The pin I found used condensed onion soup but I didn’t have that, and as you know I am a fan of using or reusing what you have on hand, but I had powdered onion soup mix. I thought it tasted really, really delicious! I will definitely be using this dip from now on instead of using the roast drippings…or maybe one day I will tinker with using both to get some really flavorful dip!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Happy Pinning!

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies!

Ok so I heard about this thing called chocolate chip brownie cookes and I thought “OMG that must be heaven on a plate! It’s almost to good to be true!!” then I did some searching on Pinterest, I had to type it in just like it is on the title because “brownie cookies” gets you a bazillion ways to use a brownie mix to make cookies, and I found them!

Now while I did pin a recipe I only used it for the basic guidelines: temp and time to bake.

The pin:  http://pinchofyum.com/chocolate-chip-cookie-brownies

Now how I made them was like this:

Ingredients

Brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie dough.

Now to make the cookie dough I simply followed the Nestle toll house recipe. After this I mixed up the brownies according to the instructions on the box. After that I took a cake pan, the pin used a smaller square pan for thicker ones. But mine after baking filled the whole pan, and spread the brownie batter around.

Brownies on bottom

Brownies on bottom

Then I used my cookie scooper to put the cookie dough right on top of the brownie dough and finally I took a spatula and smoothed the cookie dough around a bit.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

Bake in the over on 350 degrees for 40 minutes then cool and enjoy!

Cooling down...

Cooling down…

 

Ready to eat!!

Ready to eat!!

Tips by me:

#1 When they came out and I scooped out the first piece I noticed that there was more cookie then brownies, unlike in the original pin. So I decided that next time I will put half the cookie dough on top and bake the rest as cookies!

#2 If you like gooey brownies or cookies then bake for 35 minutes. If you like them fully baked then cook until a knife or toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into the center.

#3 To make it even easier (for time crunched people) get a packaged cookie mix along with the brownie mix. Follow all instructions on both mixes, layer then bake!

#4 Don’t be alarmed at how brown the cookies are on top but if your cookie part is done before the brownies (insert toothpick all the way to the bottom of your pan to see if the brownies are still undercooked) then cover the dish with tin foil to keep the cookies from burning.

These were super easy to make and sinfully delicious! This was definitely a hit with my family and I doubt they will let me bake regular cookies or brownies ever again!

Happy Pinning!