Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stuffed Green Peppers

I thought since we've been over my grandma's wrongdoings in the kitchen, we should move on to something she did right! Her stuffed peppers were always right! She seems to have misplaced her recipe, so this is as close as I can get. It's pretty close though and it's dang good! No side dished required! Maybe some good crusty bread or a side of fresh fruit is all you need.

4 green Bell Peppers, tops removed, seeded and membranes removed
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup minute rice, uncooked
1/2 cup water
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 small can diced tomatoes or 2 small tomatoes seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Boil peppers in salted water for 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large skillet brown ground beef. Drain grease.* Add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes. Add rice, water, tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce. Cover and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in half of the cheese. Fill peppers with mixture. Place filled peppers in shallow baking dish. Spoon remaining spaghetti sauce over peppers. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

*When I brown ground beef for a recipe like this I always drain the grease when the meat is done. I also rinse the meat with hot water to remove as much of the grease as possible.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I keep hearing about these cookies, how easy and how good they are. So, I decided to give them a try. They are both easy and good. In fact, they are extremely easy. Not the best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies I have ever had, but really good. Factor in the ease of preparation and they are fantastic ;) I will defiantly make them again.

1 box Spice Cake mix
1 can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Combine cake mix and pumpkin. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The winner of our giveaway is Laurie George! Thanks to everyone who entered. Check back often for more great recipes and more great giveaways!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pesto Orecchiette

Does everyone shop at Costco? I find the best stuff there. For example, their pesto sauce. It's made with all fresh ingredients and no preservatives. It is way more pesto than we can eat before it expires, try as we might ;) So, I use what we can and freeze the rest.*

This is not much of a recipe, but it is so easy and so good! Orecchiette is perfect for this. I buy this pasta at Target. You can probably find it in most specialty markets as well. It's shaped like a little ear. The center of the pasta is more thin and gets nice and soft. The edges are thicker and stay a little chewy when cooked. I find mine usually take a little longer to cook than the package recommends. So, try one when they should be done, before you drain them. Also, remember to salt the water well. That is the only chance you will have to season the actual pasta.

This is also great topped with grilled chicken.

1/2 pound pasta, cooked
1-2 tablespoons pesto sauce
fresh mozzarella, parmesan or feta cheese

Mix pasta and pesto. Top with cheese of your choice.

*Freezing Pesto

Spray an ice cube tray with non stick spray and fill with pesto sauce. Freeze it for a few hours, once the pesto has frozen solid pop the cubes out and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hot Chicken Salad

If you have ever been to a shower given by my family then you've probably had this dish! Our menu planning always seems to lead us here... it's always a crowd pleaser! It's perfect on it's own with some fruit or a fresh green salad, but also great as a warm chicken salad sandwich on a croissant or roll. There is a fair amount of chopping involved but the end result is worth it!

6 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or chopped
3 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 cup chopped green onion
8 ounce package sliced mushrooms
1 small jar pimentos
1 can water chestnuts
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon season salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except cheese. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

Monday, November 9, 2009


It's our first giveaway in the kitchen!!!

The Swag:

A few of my favorite kitchen tools and products, Caldrea kitchen hand soap and dish soap (my favorite!) in the scent of your choice, and a $25 gift certificate to a restaurant of your choosing, because even with simple recipes like mine you can't eat in every night ;)

How to Enter:

Leave a comment on this post, tell me a recipe, idea, or something else you would like to see featured on this blog. 1 entry

Add the Simple in the Kitchen button to your blog and write a post telling people to check it out. 1 entry

Become a follower of Simple in the Kitchen and subscribe to posts. 1 entry

Become a fan of Simple in the Kitchen on facebook. 1 entry

Do all four and receive one additional entry.

The Rules:

Entries will be taken until November 24th. Winner will be announced here on November 25th. Winner will have 7 days to contact me. If winner has not made contact by December 2nd a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be drawn at random by someone other than myself :)

Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rustic Pesto Pizza

I had a pizza just like this in Las Vegas a few months ago. I haven't been able to get it out of my head! It was soo delicious. So, i decided to recreate it. Which turned out to be pretty simple and pretty close to the real thing!

3/4 cup prepared pesto sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1 recipe pizza dough

Roll dough to roughly the size of a cookie sheet. Place dough on greased cookie sheet. Use your fingers to press the dough out to the corners and sides of the pan. Bake crust 12 minutes at 450 degrees. Remove crust from oven and top with pesto sauce, cheese, tomato and sprinkle with salt. Return to oven for about 8 minutes longer. Top with fresh basil before serving.

Pizza Dough
1 package dry rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cups cold water

Dissolve yeast in warm water. In your mixing bowl combine flour, salt, olive oil, honey and yeast mixture. Knead with dough hook or by hand about 5 minutes. Let dough rest 10-15 minutes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Frosting

Growing up the only frosting I knew came out of a plastic jar, and it was good. Then I met my husband... his mom MADE frosting. What?!? This didn't come from a jar??? Oh baby it was good! I was hooked! It really is so much better and better for you. I said BETTER for you not GOOD for you. The frosting from the store is full of partially hydrogenated oils and chemicals I can't pronounce. There is a good chance most of you already know this little secret, but hopefully at least a few of you who are in the dark as I was will see the light at the bottom of that little plastic jar.

4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened (not warm or melted)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch of salt
milk, to desired consistency

Combine all ingredients except milk. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

*Photo from google images

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Puff Pastry Twists

Frozen puff pastry is inexpensive and convenient. You can easily half this recipe and save one sheet of pastry for later. These twists are perfect with a bowl of soup or as an appetizer.

1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1/2 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Optional toppings - garlic powder (1/4 teaspoon), garlic salt (1/2 teaspoon), dried basil(1 teaspoon), dried parsley (1 teaspoon), dried rosemary (1 teaspoon), dried thyme (1 teaspoon)

Mix parmesan cheese with desired toppings. Unfold pasty sheets. Brush with butter and sprinkle with parmesan mixture. Lightly press into dough. Flip pastry over and repeat. Using a pizza cutter or a knife slice into about 10 strips. Twist strips and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in 400 degree oven about 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

*Based on a recipe by Paula Deen

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Roasted Asparagus

I am currently obsessed with roasting! It is ridiculously easy and super delicious. Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies. I have always hated how it just gets limp and soggy when you steam or boil it. I like to roast it JUST until it is tender when you poke it with a fork. To me it tastes best when it still had just a little bit of crunch.

Olive Oil
Kosher Salt

Rinse asparagus under cold running water and pat dry. Trim about 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 inches off the bottom. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat well. Roast in 400 degree oven 8-12 minutes.

The asparagus is good just like this, but you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice after roasting.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not Your Grandma's Meatloaf

My grandma is a great cook. She cooked for us a lot while I was growing up and I always looked forward to dinner at her house. Her meatloaf however... not so great (to say the least). So I've had this idea for years that I did NOT like meatloaf. This recipe 100% changed my mind. I LOVE meatloaf! Who knew!

1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 /2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1/2 cup ketchup
1 recipe Sweet and Sour Sauce

Combine all ingredients. Press lightly into 5"x9" loaf pan. Bake in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain fat. Pour about 1/3 of sauce over meatloaf and return to the oven for 30 minutes longer. Serve with remaining sauce.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 (12 ounce) jar chili sauce
1 (12 ounce) jar red currant jelly*

Cook over low heat until jelly is melted and sauce is heated through.

*Red currant jelly is sometimes hard to find. I have used strawberry and apple and the sauce turns out just fine.

**Based on a recipe from Favorites cookbook

Monday, October 26, 2009

Frozen Chocolate Dipped Bananas

Mmmmm these are good! You can use your imagination here as far as the toppings go. I used sprinkles, chopped walnuts and toffee bits. The kids loved the sprinkles (my fav too) and the toffee covered were the favorite of the adults. Choose bananas that are small to medium in size and ripe but still firm. These are very easy and couldn't be tastier!

6 small bananas
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
12 craft sticks
toppings (sprinkles, finely chopped nuts, toffee bits etc...)

Peel bananas and cut in half crosswise. Insert craft stick into cut side of banana. Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Freeze bananas 2-3 hours or overnight. Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Put each topping on a seperate small plate. Remove bananas from freezer. Dip into melted chocolate and roll in desired topping. Return to freezer immediately until ready to serve.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Parmesan Chicken

Chicken is my old stand by. I always have a bag of boneless skinless breasts in the freezer. As you can imagine I have made chicken just about every way you can think of. This is defiantly my favorite at the moment . The crust is perfect... lightly crispy and absolutely delicious. Don't even think of skipping the vinaigrette! It gives the chicken a nice richness yet is still light and fresh. The salad greens on top are very good and make for an elegant presentation. Though the chicken and vinaigrette are delightful on their own!

I know it's tempting to crank up the heat, but this is one recipe you should stick to the recommended cooking temperature. You're looking for that perfect golden brown, too dark and the crust will have a bitter flavor.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil
salad greens for 4
1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette

-Pound chicken breasts until they are about 1/4-inch thick.
-Combine flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder on a plate.
-Beat eggs and water on a second plate.
-Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese on a third plate.
-Coat the chicken with the flour mixture, then dip in the egg mixture, and finally dredge in bread crumb mixture. Press lightly to make sure chicken is well coated.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and cook chicken over medium low heat for about 3 min on each side. Add more butter and olive oil as needed to cook the rest of the chicken. Place a handful of salad on each chicken breast and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all ingredients together.

*Based on a recipe by Ina Garten

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frozen Cookie Dough

Try doubling cookie recipes and freezing part of the dough. Have homemade cookies anytime without the mess! You can store the dough in your freezer for up to 3 months. Though in my house there is no way it would last that long ;)

Scoop prepared cookie dough in whatever size you desire onto a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in freezer. Once dough has frozen transfer to a freezer bag. When you are ready to bake place frozen dough balls on cookie sheet and allow to defrost for about 15-25 minutes (defrost time will depend on the size of your dough). Bake according to recipe. They are also delicious straight out of the freezer and into your mouth ;)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

It seemed fitting to start this blog off with a classic! This is by far the best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I have tried. One thing I have learned about these cookies is that they are only as good as the ingredients you use. If you want really delicious cookies use good quality chocolate chips and real vanilla extract. These cookies are dense and chewy and delicious. I'm positive your family will love them as much as mine does!

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla, divided
2 eggs
3 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugars. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and eggs, mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add half of flour mixture to creamed mixture, mix well. Add remaining flour mixture, mix well. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Cool on wire racks.