Thursday, January 30, 2014

Swedish Meatballs

If you caught my post yesterday you can learn how to make Homemade Meatballs.  They are quick and easy to make, and the taste and texture are so much better than the meatballs you buy frozen and that you have no idea what is inside them!

Meatballs are great in Italian dishes like spaghetti with meatballs, Italian meatball subs, or as appetizers for parties but today I decided to make Swedish Meatballs with my homemade meatballs. The meatball recipe from yesterday made plenty for this dish and instead of freezing the other batch into meatballs, I formed the mixture into a meatloaf for dinner another night! 

Early this morning I had to take my Dad (who is 85) to his eye doctor appointment and after we got done we went to breakfast and then grocery shopping.  I knew he needed to get a few things from the store because it has been really cold and snowy here and he just hasn't been getting out.  Today was no different, it was -11 in my car while we were driving around, and I think it was one of the coldest days this year so far... you know that "polar vortex" (all the schools around were even closed today because it was so stinking cold!)  Well, needless to say, I had made a shopping list but because I was helping him get his stuff I forgot half the stuff on my own list, one of which was a bag of egg noodles to go with my Swedish Meatballs that I was planning on making for dinner tonight :(. Since it was so cold out, I had a hard time getting warmed up when I finally got home with my own stuff there was NO WAY, I was going back out in negative degree weather to get noodles! Luckily I am the queen of improvise and decide to cook up a box of whole grain white spaghetti noodles to go with the meatballs.  It is not the traditional way to serve the dish but it worked fine and no one complained... in fact I am pretty sure no one even noticed :)!

Swedish Meatballs
1/2 recipe of homemade meatballs from yesterdays post (about 36) or frozen meatballs
1 8 oz. pkg. of mushrooms
1/2 large onion
1 clove garlic minced
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth (I make mine with a beef base and water)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of milk
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
parsley flakes

Directions:  Make a batch of homemade meatballs and cook according to directions (I made mine yesterday and stored in fridge). In large pan on stove top over medium heat melt butter and olive oil.  Add mushrooms and onions and cook until tender.  Stir in garlic and cook another minute.  Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat onions and mushrooms.  Add beef broth and stir until bubbly.  Add 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of milk and stir until blended and creamy. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream (do not boil).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  When sauce is done add the cooked meatballs to pan and cover.  Reduce heat and let cook on med/low for about 10 minutes until meatballs are heated through. Sprinkle top with parsley flakes and serve over hot egg noodles... or if you don't have those improvise like I did and serve over spaghetti noodles, mashed potatoes, rice or whatever floats your boat! Don't be afraid to experiment!

 Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat

 Chop onions and mushrooms

 Saute onions and mushrooms in pan until tender then add garlic 
and cook another minute

Sprinkle onions mushrooms and garlic with flour and stir to coat

 Add beef broth

 Stir and cook until bubbly and slightly thickened cook (about 6 to 8 minutes)

 Add 1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Add 1 can of milk and stir

 Add sour cream and stir but do not boil.  Salt and pepper to taste

 Reduce heat to med/low and add meatballs

 Cover and heat until meatballs are heated through 
(remember they are fully cooked already)

 Sprinkle with parsley

Traditionally served over egg noodles, but really they are just a vessel 
for a delicious sauce so don't be afraid to improvise in recipes...
I used spaghetti, but even mashed potatoes or rice 
would have been yummy too! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Homemade meatballs are great, you can use them as appetizers or a main dishes like in spaghetti, Swedish meatballs with noodles, and meatball subs!  You can buy frozen meatballs and throw them in a sauce and have a quick easy meal, but homemade are so much better!  This recipe makes a bunch (72) so make some and freeze 1/2 for a day when you are busy and need something quick and easy to pull out!  Today I made 1/2 (36) of the meat mixture into meatballs and froze the other half as a meatloaf to bake later. Check in tomorrow for my yummy Swedish meatball recipe!

2 lb. ground beef
1 large onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup dried bread crumbs (I used Italian style)
4 eggs
1/4  cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning (optional) (I left out)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover 2 large cookie sheets/jellyroll pans with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Mix all ingredients together using hands to incorporate well.  Scoop meat mixture out and roll in balls and lay on baking sheets.  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Cooks Notes - I will use 1/2 for Swedish meatballs and noodles I will be making tomorrow, and would normally freeze the other 32 after baking and cooling in a Ziploc freezer bag to use in spaghetti and meatballs another night but I was in a hurry and decided to just put it in a sprayed loaf pan and bake as a meatloaf for dinner another night with some baked potatoes!  You can do so many fun things with them and this recipe makes a lot... If you are having a big party use the entire batch with some fun sauce for appetizers!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

I usually make something for breakfast on the weekends. Usually John wants something with eggs, since all week long we all kind of fend for ourselves with bagels, English muffins, fruit, cereal, frozen waffles, or instant oatmeal. It is also a great way to kick off the weekend by having a cozy breakfast together and begin enjoying the time we have to relax and regroup before another busy week begins!

Even though we usually have eggs for at least one day on the weekend, it is fun to try out new recipes too. There are so many great breakfast recipes out there now that I would love to try like, oven french toasts, cinnamon roll pancakes, and baked oatmeal recipes it is hard to know where to begin, but since I had some frozen blueberries in the freezer, I decided to start with some Baked Blueberry Oatmeal.  After looking at a bunch of different recipes, I combined a few and created my own!  It turned out yummy! It has a cakey/pudding like consistency, and it was a warm hardy breakfast to begin our weekend... a perfect choice for this cold snowy Michigan winter we have been having!

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal
3 cups old fashioned whole oats (I used quick because I used up all my whole oats making granola this week!)
1/2 cup nuts/optional (I used pecans)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups milk
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used Splenda brown sugar blend but I think I will try an alternative sweetener like agave, honey, or maple syrup next time) 
3 cups fresh blueberries (I used frozen because it is winter and they are really not in season... you could use any fruit you like too!)

Directions:  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 8 x 8 or 7 x 11 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Mix dry ingredients in a medium size bowl (except sugar). Combine wet ingredients and sugar in a small bowl, whisking egg until blended and mix until sugar is dissolved.  Pour the egg/milk mixture into the bowl of oat mixture and combine well.  Pour half of oatmeal into prepared pan and spread 1 1/2 cups of fruit on top.  Pour other half of oatmeal mixture on top of fruit and spread.  Place remaining fruit on top and press in slightly. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until it is set.  Serve warm with a drizzle of milk or cream on top!

Cooks Notes - This could be made with fresh or frozen fruit with a lot of variations like, strawberries, bananas and chocolate chips, raspberries and almonds, pineapple, coconut and bananas, or strawberries, granola, and cream (strawberry shortcake)! Wow the possibilities are endless!  Be creative, be healthy, and enjoy!

Mix dry ingredients

Mix wet ingredients

Whisk egg with wet ingredients until well blended

Add nuts to dry ingredients and stir

Mix wet and dry ingredients together

Spread 1/2 of oat mixture into the bottom of a sprayed 7 x 11 or 8 x 8 pan

Use fresh or frozen fruit

Spread 1/2 of fruit on top of oat mixture in pan

Cover with remaining oat mixture

Place remaining 1/2 of blueberries on top and press into oat mixture slightly

Bake in 375 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until set

Scoop out into a bowl and serve with toppings of choice 
like milk, cream, syrup, or brown sugar

Yummy!  A great way to start your day!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Kahlua Brownies

Kahlua Brownies
These rich fudge like brownies are decadently delicious topped with a buttery sweet Kahlua icing. They are super easy to make with a packaged brownie mix and only thing I might change, is I would make it them in a smaller square pan to have a little thicker brownie. 

Kahlua Brownies
1 pkg. of brownie mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup Kahlua 

Kahlua Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 TBS. Kahlua 

Directions:  You can follow the directions on your package of brownie mix, substituting the water called for in the recipe for Kahlua.  Bake as directed on the package (about 30 minutes at 350 degrees for a fudge like brownie).

To make frosting, mix 1 stick softened butter with 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and the 2 TBS. Kahlua.  Whip until smooth and spreadable.  

Wait until brownies have cooled to frost.

Cooks Notes - If you don't have Kahlua on hand you can make your own with my Homemade Kahlua recipe, or I think you could even substitute strong black coffee to get that yummy Mocha Latte flavor!

Pour package of dry brownie mix in medium size bowl

Add oil to mix

Also add eggs and Kahlua to mix

Stir to blend and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

Add powdered sugar, vanilla, butter and Kahlua 
to mixer bowl and blend until smooth

Let brownies cool


Cut into squares and enjoy!

If you love the taste of Kahlua you might want to check out my recipe for Homemade Kahlua that I posted last fall!  This would be a quick easy dessert to take to a pot luck dinner and would sure to impress and while your at it why not bring along a bottle of that homemade Kahlua to serve with it for an after dinner treat!

Happy Baking,

Friday, January 24, 2014

Easy Homemade Pizza

I would have to say that pizza is by far a favorite with most families.  It is quick and easy and you can even get it Hot and Ready for $5 bucks when you are in a pinch for time and money. But what if you could make your own at home that was healthier just as and economical and was quick and easy to make with stuff you had on hand in your pantry and fridge. 

Recently I decided to experiment with a few homemade pizza dough recipes and think I came up with a winner! It was one that did not require it to rise for hours. I made it with part whole wheat flour and it was a really easy consistency to work with, it wasn't sticky and messy like some I have made in the past.

We loaded it up with turkey pepperoni and turkey Italian sausage and plenty of veggies and made a super supreme pizza that was pretty tasty! 

Easy Homemade Pizza 

Pizza Dough
2 1/2 tsp. quick rise yeast (1 package)
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour (I split it 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat)
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
2 TBS. olive oil

1 TBS. olive oil
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
Pizza sauce (we used Classico tomato basil spaghetti sauce)
Mozzarella cheese
Turkey pepperoni (or regular)
Turkey Italian sausage (crumbled and browned)
Assorted veggies (peppers, onions, mushrooms)

Directions:  In mixing bowl, combine warm water (not hot) and yeast and stir until yeast dissolves.  Add flour, honey, salt, and olive oil and use dough hook and mix until combined, continue to mix until dough forms into a ball.  If you don't have a stand mixer, mix with a wooden spoon, then use your hands and knead together several times until you form a ball. Let dough rest in bowl for 10 minutes.  Spray 16" round pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  With a rolling pin, roll dough onto a lightly floured surface into about a 16" circle to fit the pan, rolling edges over to form a little crust edge.  Lay in pan and fit or press to cover, forming edges.  Mix Italian seasoning with olive oil and brush on crust.  Bake crust in 450 degree oven for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes remove crust add sauce, cheese, meat, and veggies and return to oven to continue baking for 10 to 12 minutes until crust is lightly browned and crispy and cheese is melted.  Let rest on counter for a few minutes and slice with pizza wheel into 8 slices.  Enjoy! 

Cooks Notes - Be creative and use whatever toppings your family enjoys. We used turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni, but any kind would work fine. Next time we might even try bbq chicken pizza or Hawaiian pizza with pineapple, ham, and onions!  The possibilities are endless!  If you make your own pizza creation with this recipe, we would love to hear what you made and how it turned out!    

Place yeast in mixing bowl with warm water

Stir until yeast is dissolved

If you don't have a stand mixer, you can mix with a wooden spoon 
and knead it with your hands

I added the rest of the dough ingredients and mixed until combined

Continue mixing for a few minutes until a dough ball forms. 
 Let dough rest in bowl for about 10 minutes

While dough is resting, prepare your 16" pizza pan with 
non-stick cooking spray

Also mix your olive oil and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl

We used Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey

We also used Turkey pepperoni to cut down on the fat

We used chopped onions, peppers and mushrooms on our "supreme" pizza

While dough is resting you can also brown your sausage

I made a double batch of dough in my kitchen aide mixer then 
divided it in half for two pizzas!

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface

Form it in the pan, creating a rolled edge for the crust

Brush the dough with the olive oil and Italian seasoning mixture

Par bake the crust in a 450 degree oven for about 8 minutes

We used just a jar of spaghetti sauce that we had in the pantry
 for our pizza sauce

Spread sauce on crust

Aren't they pretty ;)

Top with cheese, pepperoni, and sausage

Add assorted fresh veggies and bake in oven for another 10 to 12 minutes until crust is browned and cheese is melty

Slice into 8 slices I made 2 pizzas so we had plenty of leftovers for lunches!

Enjoy your homemade pizza creation!

I will definitely be making this again, it was really yummy and we had plenty left over for lunches the next day!  I think next time I will experiment with bbq chicken pizza, or Hawaiian pizza with ham, onions, and pineapple.  Now that I have the crust mastered the possibilities are endless!