Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cannellini 'n' Onion Linguine

Yeah for meatless Monday! Actually, we do sometimes (often) eat meat on Monday's too, but I just happened to make the meatless pasta dish this last Monday and we really enjoyed it. It was something very different, but very tasty. It was pretty simple to make too with most of the ingredients probably on hand already.

Cannellini 'n' Onion Linguine From Healthy Cooking
2 medium onions halved and thinly sliced
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1/4 cup white wine or vegetable broth
1 tsp brown sugar
10 oz uncooked linguine (I used spaghetti)
1 can (19 oz) cannellini or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
6 T shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, cook onions in butter and oil until tender. Add wine or broth and brown sugar; cook 5 minutes longer. Meanwhile, cook linguine according to package directions. Add the beans, broth, garlic, basil and pepper to the onions; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until slightly thickened. Drain linguine; toss with onion mixture. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak Soup

I am not a big fan of Philly cheese steak sandwiches, but I had the ingredients for this soup and hand and thought it sounded pretty good. It was fantastic! Easy to put together and then you just let it cook a few hours until its hot and the beef just falls apart. Very yummy!

Crock pot Philly Cheese steak Soup From a Year of Crock potting
1 pound beef strips
4 cups beef broth
2 cups milk
1 T butter
1 yellow onion, cut in chunks
2 bell peppers
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
8 oz Provolone or mozzarella cheese to add at the end

Add butter to crock pot and turn on high to melt. Cut up the meat and add to crock pot, mix to coat in butter. Add chopped peppers, onion and garlic. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Stir in beef broth and milk. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Stir in cheese before serving until melted. Add some flour mixed with milk (about a 1/4 cup of flour in 1/2 cup of milk) toward the end if you want a thicker soup.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

My sister was here visiting for a few days and I decided to whip up some yummy seasonal breakfast treats, these delicious pumpkin pancakes. For an extra tasty treat I added some mini chocolate chips to the batter too. Very tasty with some maple syrup!

Pumpkin Pancakes
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 tsp lemon juice in a cup of milk to sour)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2/3 cup pumpkin

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk together until well blended and then add the pumpkin; mix. Cook pancakes on hot griddle, about 1/4 cup batter per pancake.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Snow is falling here today, actually blowing all over the place. I'm thankful that I don't have anywhere to go today and me and my little sweet pea can just stay inside and stay nice and toasty warm. This would be a great soup for a day like today. The ingredients are rather simple and it doesn't have to cook too long (with exception of cooking the chicken). I made this last week and it makes a huge batch. We were able to enjoy it many days and just finished it on Monday. Ryan had a bit of a cold and this soup seemed to help him get over it.

Chicken Vegetable Soup From Simply in Season
3 pound whole chicken
3 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, diced
2 medium onions, diced
1 medium parsnip, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups kale, chopped (I omitted since I didn't have any)
1 1/2 tsp fresh dill or 1/2 tsp dried

Cook chicken in water to cover. Cool, remove meat from bones and cut into bite-size pieces. Reserve broth. In a large soup pot, saute in 2 T olive oil the carrots, celery, onion, parsnip and garlic. Add a little water for steam. Add the ground red pepper and salt and pepper to taste and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 minutes. Add water to chicken broth to make 12 cups. Add to soup mixture along with cooked chicken. Add the broccoli, kale and dill and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer to blend flavors.

This is very good reheated!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

I wanted to make something a little different than I usually would and I found this recipe in a Healthy Cooking Magazine. It was really good and Ryan even ate all the carrots and onions too!

Orange Chicken Stir-Fry From Taste of Home Healthy Cooking

1 T cornstarch
2/3 c. orange juice
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into strips
3 large carrots, julienned
1 medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
3 tsp canola oil, divided
1/3 c reduced-sugar orange marmalade
3 T brown sugar
1 T lemon juice
Hot cooked rice

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and orange juice until smooth; set aside. Combine the salt, ginger and pepper; sprinkle over chicken. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, stir-fry the carrots and onion in 1 tsp oil until crisp-tender. Remove and keep warm.
In the same pan, stir-fry the chicken in remaining oil until no longer pink. Stir in the marmalade, brown sugar and lemon juice until marmalade is dissolved.
Return carrot mixture to pan. Stir in orange juice mixture; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Meatball Stew with Winter Vegetables

I guess I'm on a soup kick lately. I'm not a huge meatball person, but I saw this recipe and thought it sounded pretty good. It was simple to put together and it still tasted great after simmering way longer than it was supposed to since Ryan was outside working until late. Perfect fall comfort food!

Meatball Stew with Winter Vegetables From Better Homes and Garden

2 medium potatoes (unpeeled), cut into 1" pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4" pieces
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2 T instant beef bouillon granules (I used 3 cubes)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme or oregano (I used a combo)
1 tsp dried rosemary or basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1 recipe Seasoned Meatballs
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4" pieces (I didn't have any of these)
1 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup flour

Seasoned Meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs, 1 tsp minced dried onion, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 tsp garlic salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Add 1 pound lean ground beef, mix well. Shape into 30 1" balls.

In a Dutch oven, bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots, onion, bouillon granules, bay leaf, thyme or oregano, basil or rosemary and pepper. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Add sweet potatoes and parsnips to hot broth mixture. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and meatballs are fully cooked. Stir in frozen peas. Stir together 1/2 cup cold water and the flour. Stir flour mixture into hot broth mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wild Rice Soup

It is really starting to feel like fall here! It has been chilly a few days, though not too bad with the sun out and shining. It is perfect weather for some homemade soup and this recipe had little preparation (besides cooking the rice) and was so delicious! A great meal on a cool fall day!

Wild Rice Soup From Sparks from the Kitchen Cookbook

3/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup celery, diced
3/4 cup carrots, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 slices bacon
1 cup chicken broth
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (I only had one and it was still very creamy)
2/3 cup wild rice
2 soup cans of milk
1 small can mushrooms with liquid

Brown bacon. Reserve 3 T. drippings and brown onion, celery and carrots in remaining drippings. Simmer with chicken broth and soup.

Cook wild rice in 3 cups of water for 1 hour; add rice to above with milk, mushrooms and bacon, crumbled up. Heat thoroughly.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Still Cooking!

After about a 2 month lapse, I finally have a second to jump back on here and let you know that I'm still here and still cooking. I haven't had near as much time so the recipes are a little quicker ones, but I've been finding a little time to make dinner and bake some bread and so on. My 1 1/2 month old makes things a little more challenging, but we are so blessed with a baby that is really good overall. She is such a cutie...its just been an adjustment having an infant in our house. A very good adjustment though!

Before she was born, I actually made a few loaves of this bread and stuck them in the freezer. They turned out very tasty and are a perfect fall quick bread for breakfast or dessert!

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread From Better Homes and Gardens Best Recipes Cookbook

4 cups flour
2 T baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds (omitted since I didn't have on hand)
1 recipe Vanilla Icing (optional-also omitted)

Grease 2 9x5" loaf pans; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and ginger; set aside. In a large bowl combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs and oil. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir until just moistened. Fold in berries and almonds. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool. Drizzle with vanilla icing if desired before serving.

Vanilla Icing:
In a small bowl stir together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Stir in enough milk (1-2 tsp) to make icing of drizzling consistency. Makes 1 cup.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Primavera

This was so tasty! What a yummy dish to use up whatever fresh veggies you might have on hand from your garden, the farmers market or the grocery store. Try different veggies than the ones in the ingredients. I didn't put in any carrots or tomatoes, but added some green beans which roasted up really nicely too. This is a wonderful summer meal!

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Primavera

3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips (I used 1 which was plenty)
2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips (Also used only 1)
2 red or orange bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T dried Italian herbs
1 lb. bowtie pasta
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, toss all of the veggies, except the tomatoes, with the oil, salt, pepper and herbs to coat. Transfer the veggie mixture onto 2 greased baking sheets. Bake until carrots are tender and vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total. While the vegetables are baking, cook pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the vegetables and cherry tomatoes, adding some of the cooking liquid if needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and a splash of balsamic vinegar if desired. Top with grated cheese and serve immediately.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Moroccan-Style Chops

I'm always looking for something different to make and these pork chops were something different that turned out really tasty. The grilled meat had such a yummy, mildly spicy taste. Not hot, but Moroccan-style spicy :) I didn't make the sauce to go with them, but I'm sure that the cucumber-tomato sauce would have been a delicious addition to the grilled pork chops. I just knew hubby wouldn't touch the sauce. We loved the chops though!

Moroccan-Style Chops From Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3 T orange juice
2 T sliced green onion
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
8 lamb leg sirloin chops, cut 1" thick or 6 pork loin rib chops, cut 3/4" thick
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
hot cooked couscous or rice
Fresh cilantro (optional)

For marinade, in a bowl, combine the 3/4 cup yogurt, orange juice, green onion, coriander, salt, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Arrange chops in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over chops. Cover; marinate in refrigerator overnight.

For sauce, in a bowl combine onion, tomato, and cucumber; stir in the 1/2 cup yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until serving time.

Remove chops from marinade, reserving as much marinade as possible. Grill lamb chops over medium coals, uncovered for 14-16 minutes or to desired doneness, turning once and brushing often with marinade. For pork, grill, uncovered, directly over medium-hot coals for 12-14 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once and brushing often with marinade.

To serve, arrange chops on dinner plates with couscous or rice, if desired. Pass sauce. If desired, garnish each serving with cilantro.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Caramel-Banana Muffins

These muffins are so good! It is a unique recipe that I got from Midwest Living magazine and the combination of the crunchy pecans, the sweet caramel and the bananas is so tasty. They taste more like dessert than a breakfast food!

Caramel-Banana Muffins From Midwest Living Magazine
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 T sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 medium banana, peeled and mashed (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 T caramel-flavored ice cream topping
1 medium banana, peeled and thinly sliced (optional)
1 T butter, melted

Line 12 regular size or 6 jumbo muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a small bowl, mix pecans, 2 T sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, softened butter and 2/3 cup sugar with electric mixer until well combined. Add egg and beat well. Beat in the mashed banana and vanilla until combined.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the banana mixture, beating on low speed until just combined.

Stir in 1/4 cup of the pecan mixture. Spoon half the batter into prepared muffin cups (1 rounded tablespoon for regular size muffins, 2 for jumbo). Drizzle 1/2 tsp caramel topping over batter in each cup. Top with remaining batter. If you like, top each with 2 thin sliced additional bananas (I didn't do this step). Drizzle with a little melted butter and sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture.

Bake in a 375 degree oven 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm, drizzled with more caramel topping, if you like.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BBQ Ribs

I made these tasty ribs Sunday night for dinner. They were so simple to just throw in the over, mix up the sauce and pour it over. I just let them cook away for almost 4 hours and when they were done, the meat just fell off the bones. This is a great, lazy meal you could make in the oven or the crockpot.

BBQ Ribs
3 1/2 to 4 lbs country style pork or beef ribs
1 10 oz can tomato soup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp chile powder

Trim off excess fat from ribs. In bowl, combine soup, soy sauce, celery seed and chili powder. Pour over ribs in slow cooker or cake pan. Cook in slow cooker 5-6 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low or in the oven at 350 degrees for 3 hours.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicken Taco Salad

This salad was amazing! I was able to use some vegetables from our garden, some from the freezer and some from the store for this salad. It is a wonderful blend of flavors: tangy lime, spicy chile and melt in your mouth avocado. Very yummy and pretty quick to put together as long as you have some cooked leftover chicken available. In fact, the chicken filling would be delish in tacos too!

Chicken Taco Salad From Serving up the Harvest
2 T olive oil or canola oil
4 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fresh green chile, seeded and finely chopped
4 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 cup unseasoned tomato sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper
10 cups chopped or torn lettuce
1-2 avocados, peeled and sliced
2-4 cups sliced or chopped vegetables such as carrots, corn, cucumbers, jicama, sweet onion or scallions, bell peppers, radishes or tomatoes
1/2 cup Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette (see following recipe)
tortilla chips
grated cheese, sour cream, heated refried beans, sliced black olives to garnish(optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, onion, chile, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and the chicken is slightly crispy, about 8 minutes. Add teh tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while you prepare the salad. Combine the lettuce, avocado and vegetables in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Serve the chicken over the lettuce mixture, garnishing with tortilla chips and any other toppings you desire.

Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
1 tsp lime zest
2 T fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
5 T canola or grapeseed oil
2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 T chopped fresh chives (I omitted since my chives were chopped up by my husband with the weed wacker)
Combine the lime zest and juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil until completely blended. Stir in the cilantro and chives. Season with salt. Use immediately.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spinach Salad with Feta and Pecans

This was such a yummy spring salad. The blend of flavors was amazing-crunchy, sweet, and creamy. This is a must try!

Spinach Salad with Feta and Pecans From Serving up the Harvest
1 cup pecan halves
6 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T white balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spinach, tough stems removed and large leaves torn
1 cup dried sweetened cherries or cranberries, or dried apricots snipped into tiny pieces
6 oz feta cheese

Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant and very lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

To make dressing, combine the oil, vinegar and honey in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine the spinach, pecans and dried fruit in a large salad bowl. Toss to mix. Crumble the cheese into the salad, add the salad dressing, and toss again. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Bread

Another great recipe to enjoy some of the fresh produce right now. My husband is not a big fan of strawberries, but loved this bread. You wouldn't even know they are in there!

Strawberry Bread From Simply in Season
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup strawberries, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup oil (I did 1/2 oil, 1/2 applesauce)
2 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix together in a large bowl, stirring until just combined. Pour into a greased 8" loaf pan and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until a toothpick in center comes out clean, 1 hour.

Leek-spinach-broccoli Spring Quiche

I have been getting a little neglectful of this recipe blog lately. I've been trying to control the weeds in our garden without much success and keeping busy with work and getting our house ready for baby. I'll work on being a little more attentive with adding new recipes. I've been doing lots of cooking and baking so I have plenty to add!

This was a delicious, light dinner we had the other night with some fresh pineapple. The spinach came from our garden (what was left in our garden after the deer ate the rest anyway). I wish my broccoli would have turned out a little better, but I'm just getting tiny little heads that don't amount to much and are flowering awfully fast. This was simple to make and a tasty meal. Great for a light dinner or breakfast.

Leek-spinach-broccoli Spring Quiche From Simply in Season
Crumb crust:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter
fresh or dried herbs to taste (optional)
Lightly mix together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Pat firmly into bottom and sides of a 9" pie pan, adding a little water if needed to stick together.

1 cup leeks, thinly sliced (I substituted chopped onions)
1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup swiss cheese
1/2 cup bacon, fried and crumbled, optional
3 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4tsp pepper

Saute leeks and broccoli together in a greased frypan 5-10 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Place bacon and cheese in bottom of crust, then top with vegetable mixture. Mix the eggs, milk and salt and pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture. Sprinkle some reserved cheese on top. Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until browned on top and set in the middle, another 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Easy Beef Barley Soup

If you live in South Dakota, the weather continues to be such that you look forward to the hot soups or casseroles for dinner. It has been cold and rainy and yucky today which is pretty much what it's been like for the last week or so and looks like it will continue to be for at least the next week. Tonight we're actually having a beef roast in the crock pot, but I had made this soup a couple weeks ago and it was so tasty and easy. I never cooked with barley before and it was really tasty in this delicious, creamy soup.

Easy Beef Barley Soup From Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking
1/2 pound ground beef (I used the whole pound)
2 large fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 celery rib, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp flour
3 cans (14 oz each) beef broth
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup medium pearl barley
1 can (5 oz) evaporate milk
2 T tomato paste

In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook and stir the beef, mushrooms, celery and onion until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add broth. Stir in the carrots, potato, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil. Stir in the barley. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until barley is tender. Whisk in milk and tomato paste; heat through.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cowboy Spaghetti

I love cookbooks and even though I have at least 30 of them, I found a Rachel Ray cookbook at a rummage the other day and couldn't resist buying it. It's my first Rachel Ray cookbook, though I have made some of her recipes before from her magazine and website. This pasta recipe was so easy to put together Sunday night when I was feeling kind of lazy. It was something different from regular spaghetti and didn't take much time at all. The little bit of bacon in it made it even extra special :)

Cowboy Spaghetti From Rachel Ray Express Lane Meals
1 pound spaghetti
1 T olive oil
3 slices smoky bacon, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp hot sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 14 oz can chopped or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
4 scallions, trimmed, chopped (I omitted since I didn't have these)

Cook spaghetti until al dente in a big pot of salted water. Drain.

Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and bacon. Brown and crisp the bacon for 5 minutes and remove with slotted spoon to paper-towel lined plate. Drain of some of the excess fat, leaving just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the beef and crumble it as it browns. Add the onions and garlic and stir into the meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes more, then stir in the tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Add the hot spaghetti to the meat and sauce and combine. Adjust the seasonings and serve up the pasta in shallow bowls. Sprinkle shredded cheese and scallions over and serve.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Red Pepper and Parmesan Tilapia

I love any food with a little zip to it. This dish was really simple to make and so yummy! Give it a try when you don't have a lot of prep time for dinner.

Red Pepper and Parmesan Tilapia From Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking
1/4 cup egg substitute or 1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp pepper
4 tilapia filets (6 oz each)

Place egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the cheese, Italian seasoning, pepper flakes and pepper. Dip fillets in egg, then cheese mixture.

Place in a 15x10" baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Curried Chicken Corn Chowder

I have been doing some wonderful cooking, they just haven't made it on here yet. This soup was our dinner last night in efforts to use up some of the corn I had frozen last fall and it turned out very yummy. It did not take a lot of time to assemble and it only had to simmer for less than a half hour total. A very quick dish to put together especially if you have some cooked chicken on hand, if not, that will add some time to the prep.

Look forward to posts coming up on Beef Barley Soup and Parmesan and red pepper tilapia. Both delish!

Curried Chicken Corn Chowder From Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking
2 medium onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 T butter
3 cans (14 1/2 oz each) chicken broth
5 cups frozen corn
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro

In a Dutch oven, saute onions and celery in butter until tender. Stir in the broth, corn, curry, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth (will be very thick and paste like). Whisk into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken and cilantro; heat through.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Happy Easter everyone!! I made this tasty breakfast casserole for our Easter morning. My mom has a recipe that I'm sure is similar, though I'm not sure if its the same. This was assembled the night before and cooked in the morning to save time. I halved this recipe for just my husband and my self and put it in a slightly smaller baking dish. It smelled wonderful as it cooked. Enjoy!

Blueberry French Toast Casserole From Midwest Living Recipes for All Seasons
12 slices dry white bread, cut into 1/2" cubes (about 8 cups)
2 8-oz pkg cream cheese cut into 3/4" cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
12 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Place 1/2 of the bread cubes over the bottom of a well buttered 13x9" baking dish. Sprinkle cream cheese and blueberries over bread cubes. Arrange remaining bread cubes over blueberries. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a rotary beater or whisk; beat in milk and the 1/2 cup maple syrup. Carefully pour egg mixture over the bread mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours. Bake, covered, in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake about 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, and topping is puffed and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with blueberry-flavored syrup (optional). Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Taco Soup

I love this easy, fast soup to put together. I used up some of our garden bounty from last year making this delicious soup. It tastes great with some corn chips, cheese and sour cream over the top of it too!

Taco Soup From Simply in Season
1 pound ground beef, venison or turkey
1 small onion, chopped
6 cups tomato juice
2 cups corn
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1-3 T chili powder
1 T sugar or to taste

Brown meat and onion in soup pot. Add the remaining ingredients and heat to boiling. Simmer 10 minutes. Or place everything in a slow cooker and cook on low 2-4 hours. Serve over corn chips with sour cream and/or grated cheese.

Butterscotch Pecan Rolls

My sister was visiting from out of town for the last week and for breakfast on Friday I whipped up these rolls. I was having a craving for cinnamon rolls and then found this recipe and had to give it a try. Since I didn't want to actually get up in the morning at 4am to get this started, I made the dough the night before and put it in the fridge. I woke up at my usual time, 5:40am and took it out of the fridge to start rising and went back to bed. I turned the oven on and placed the dough over the oven vent to help speed the raising along. These were relatively simple to whip up and taste great!

Butterscotch Pecan Rolls From Country Cookin'
Basic sweet roll dough (see recipe below)
1/3 cup plus 2 T butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T corn syrup
1/2 cup pecan halves

Roll dough 1/3 inch thick into an oblong, 9"x18". Spread with butter and sprinkle with the white sugar and cinnamon mixed. Roll up tightly in a long roll and seal edge well. Cut into slices about 1" wide. Place rolls in baking dish in which the butter, corn syrup and brown sugar have been melted. Place pecan halves on top of the melted ingredients, rounded side down, before placing slices of dough on top. Cover and let rise until double (35-40 minutes). Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Immediately turn upside down on a large tray. Let pan stay over rolls a minute or so to let butterscotch run down over them.

Basic Sweet Roll Dough:
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup melted shortening
3-3 1/2 cups sifted flour (I used bread flour)
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large mixing bowl. Stir in milk, sugar and salt. Add eggs and shortening and half of the flour. Mix well. Add remaining flour; mix. Turn onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and blistered, adding flour as needed. Round up in greased bowl, bringing greased side up. Cover with damp cloth. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours). Punch down and let rise until almost doubled (45 minutes).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

I have been doing a little baking again lately. I've found that I kind of miss it a little and thankfully have been feeling better, less nausea and more energy. A friend of mine had posted this recipe on facebook and since I had all the ingredients I thought I'd give it a try. They turned out so yummy and moist! A delicious breakfast treat.

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal (or an additional 1/2 cup flour)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil...I actually substituted applesauce for all the oil)
2 c. peeled, cored and chopped apples

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners or coat 18 muffin cups with cooking spray. In a large bowl, sift together flour, flax, 1 c. sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Fold in apples. Spoon into muffin cups. In a small bowl, mix 2 T. flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake for 35-40 minutes until set.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mexican Corn and Black Bean Lasagna

This is actually a creation that I made up myself. I have lots of corn in the freezer that needs to be used up and this was one way I put it to good use. I kept the meat out, but we had the added protein of the black beans which complement the corn mixture well. This is fairly easy to put together and resulted in many leftovers for us. It almost tastes better the next day. Enjoy!

Mexican Corn and Black Bean Lasagna From Jackie's Kitchen

6 8" flour tortillas
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
4 cups of frozen corn, thawed or fresh corn
1 can black beans, drained
2 T cilantro, optional
1 cup salsa
8 oz low fat cream cheese
1 egg
1 tsp cumin
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Saute the green pepper and onion in olive oil until tender. Add the corn, black beans and salsa and heat until warmed through. Add the cilantro and stir. Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese and egg until well blended. Add cumin and stir. Coat the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 2-3 scoops of corn mixture on bottom of dish. Top with 2 tortillas to create a "noodle" layer. Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese mixture over the tortillas. Top with 1/2 of the remaining corn mixture and sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese over. Top with 2 more tortillas and repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with another layer of tortillas for the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until heated through. To serve top each slice with some shredded lettuce and tomato and a dollop of sour cream.

Baked Pork Chops with Rice

I have been doing a little more cooking this week, though I started not feeling as well again toward the end of the week and we had Papa Murphy's pizza on Thursday and french fries and grilled cheese with salad on Friday. Not anything too fancy, but it served its purpose. I did make this dish earlier in the week and it was very good. It was easy to put together and you just let it bake for an hour and a half. We had some big, 1 1/2" pork chops so it was more like pork roast for us, but still turned out yummy.

Baked Pork Chops with Rice From Six Ingredients or Less, Cooking Light and Healthy
4 rib-but pork chops, cut 1" thick
salt and pepper
4 onion slices
6 T uncooked long-grain rice (I doubled and added 1/2 can of water)
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, with juice
dried basil

Lightly spray an 8x8" baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper; place in baking dish. Top each pork chop with an onion slice. Evenly sprinkle raw rice around pork chops. Pour tomatoes over top (cut up larger pieces of tomato). Sprinkle lightly with basil. Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rich and Easy Brownies

These brownies were phenomenal! They were very easy to make and so moist and rich and delicious. My husband took most of them to work which was a big hit and we just kept a couple at home for us which was plenty. They are so chocolaty and would be great for any potluck or gathering or just a special treat at home.

Rich and Easy Brownies From Etc. for Her Magazine
2/3 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Bring margarine, sugar and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups of chocolate chips until melted. Cool slightly and beat in the vanilla. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and gradually add the chocolate mixture and mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and gradually add to the chocolate mixture. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and bake at 325 for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool before cutting. May frost if desired, but really not need to.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sausage Quiche

Well, it certainly has been a while since I've been here. My husband was out of the country for a few months so I didn't do as much cooking or baking when he was gone. I also found out I was pregnant while he was gone and I had about 2 months of morning sickness, all day long which really decreased my appetite and desire to cook. Thankfully we are into the second trimester already and I have more energy and much less nausea to contend with so I've started making dinner again. We're very excited for our new addition to arrive in August which I'm sure will bring another couple weeks (months?) of me MIA on here, but for the next few months the cooking will continue!

I made this quiche tonight for dinner and we really enjoyed it. My husband looks forward to finishing it up for breakfast tomorrow.

Sausage Quiche Adapted from Cooking for a Cure
3 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
dash pepper
1 pound bulk sausage or 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup baking mix

In a blender, mix together eggs, milk and butter. Add the biscuit mix and pepper; cover and process for 15 seconds. Pour into a greased 9" pie plate. Top with sausage or bacon and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Carrot Cake

I absolutely love carrot cake! I think its the combination of spicy moist cake and the yummy, sugary, cream cheesy frosting. It is so good! I don't make it really often, but was having a hankering for carrot cake this last week. I was home one day from work because of the weather so I whipped up a batch. I actually used carrots from my garden that have kept fresh and crisp in my fridge since October if you can believe it. It's pretty amazing to me too! Give this simple recipe a try, you will not be disappointed.

Carrot Cake From Taste of Home Delicious Desserts Cookbook
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup canola oil and it turned out great)
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
Frosting: 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir into egg mixture. Beat in vanilla. Stir in carrots. Spread into a 9" or 8" square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. For frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Frost cake, store in refrigerator.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chunky Crunchy Granola

I've never tried to make granola before, but found this recipe in my Seasonal cooking guide and it looked like it would be pretty easy to make and tasty too. This recipe tastes really good in the morning with some cold milk and I've also eaten it over yogurt. It really is a crunchy, filing cereal.

Chunky Crunchy Granola From Simply in Season
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups raisins, other dried fruit or nuts (optional-I used golden raisins, dried cranberries and a mixture of walnuts and pecans)

Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour the remaining ingredients into the well. Mix thoroughly, making sure all loose flour has been incorporated (add another tablespoon of milk if necessary). Spread in a 9x13 pan and bake in preheated oven at 300 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes, until light brown, 50-60 minutes. Store in airtight container up to a week; also freezes well.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Maple-Orange Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

This was another dish I brought to my husband's family Christmas this year. I just tossed all the ingredients into a crockpot and let it cook for about 4 hours. It was really tasty...a wonderful combination of sweet fruits and vegetables!

Maple-Orange Sweet Potatoes and Carrots From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
16 oz of carrots, peeled
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1 cup snipped apricots (I snipped into halves and quarters)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup water
2 T butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Lightly coat the inside of a 4 qt crockpot with cooking spray. Add carrots. Top with sweet potatoes and dried apricots. In a small bowl stir together maple syrup, orange juice concentrate, water, melted butter, salt, white pepper, and cinnamon. Pour over potato mixture in cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 hours to 9 hours or on high heat setting for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Double Chocolate Mocha Trifle

I made this tasty dessert for my husband's grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary party. It is an elegant and tasty treat that goes together quickly. If you don't have a trifle bowl, use a glass bowl so that you can see the multiple layers of chocolaty goodness!

Double Chocolate Mocha Trifle From
1 pkg brownie mix
1 3/4 cup cold milk
2 pkg instant white chocolate pudding mix
4 tsp instant coffee
2 T warm water
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 Heath bars, chopped

Prepare brownies according to package directions. Bake and cool completely. Cut into 1" cubes. In medium bowl, whisk together milk and pudding mix until thickens. Dissolve coffee granules in water and stir into pudding mixture. Fold in whipped topping. In glass serving bowl, layer 1/3 of brownies cubes, 1/3 of pudding mixture and 1/3 of candy. Repeat until all ingredients are used up . Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Company Mac and Cheese

Today was not a great day. I did enjoy the fact that I took off work today and was home all day, but the reason for my day off was that we had another blizzard out here. My husband is overseas for about the last month and won't be home for another month and this is one of the worst winters we've had in SD in like 50 years. Last winter I think we had maybe 5" of snow in December and this year we had like 25". Now, not only do we have the snow we also have winds blowing at 30 mph and a terrible cold front heading through. Our high today was zero degrees and tomorrow it is supposed to be -7 degrees. I just love winter! So, the weather was getting me down a bit today (luckily I have great neighbors that have been helping with snow removal) and I thought what better to pick me up than some good old comfort food in the form of macaroni and cheese, homemade of course. This recipe is really quite easy to make and is so yummy! It definitely did the trick!

Company Mac and Cheese From Taste of Home
7 oz macaroni
6 T butter, divided
3 T flour
2 cups milk
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt 4 T butter in large saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; add cheeses, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Drain macaroni; add to the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Transfer to a 3 qt greased baking dish. Melt the remaining butter; toss with bread crumbs. Sprinkle over macaroni. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Believe it or not, I still have a couple of apples in my refrigerator that I picked at the orchard this fall. They are not super crisp and not really an apple that I would want to just pick up and eat raw, but they are still good to cook with. I used one up in these yummy muffins the other day. They seem kind of fancy with the streusel topping, but are really pretty simple to make.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins From Taste of Home
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3 T vegetable oil
3 T applesauce
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 T flour
2 T cold butter
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts

In a bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil, and applesauce. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apple. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. For topping, combine brown sugar and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in oats and nuts. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Corny Tomato Dumpling Soup

It has been soooo cold here lately. I think our high today was about 1 or 2 degrees. It's supposed to at least warm up to about 8 degrees tomorrow, but unfortunately the rest of the week doesn't look much better. To help me stay warm here in the middle of this arctic cold, I made this yummy soup tonight. It was really tasty and made enough for me to take for lunch and eat for dinner for almost the rest of the week. Luckily it is really good!

Corny Tomato Dumpling Soup From Taste of Home
1 lb ground beef
3 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (14 oz each) beef broth
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
Corn Dumplings:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 T minced fresh parsley (optional)

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in corn, tomatoes, broth, onion, garlic and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. For dumplings, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat egg; stir in milk, corn, cheese and parsley. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto simmering soup. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering). Makes about 2 quarts.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Oatmeal Muffins

Another yummy breakfast muffin. I made 2 batches of these muffins and added chocolate chips to one and chopped cranberries to the other. They turned out really good and I put about a dozen in the freezer. So, in the morning, for breakfast, I just grab a couple, pop them in the microwave for about 35-40 seconds and breakfast is served!

Oatmeal Muffins From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup mini chocolate chips or 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries mixed with 2 T additional sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

In another bowl combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Add chocolate chips or cranberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Basil Pan Burgers

Happy New Year!! I was so fortunate to have my sister here for the last week and celebrate New Years Eve with me. Since hubby is gone overseas for a few months its been kind of lonely around here, but I've been keeping busy with my dogs, cat and work. It was nice to have another person around here for a change. My sister is a great person to have visit too! She helped me start to clean, organize and declutter. I'm trying to get rid of things that I haven't used in ages and will probably never use and that is a specialty of my sister's. She left for WI today and we'll miss her!! While she was here, I made these pan burgers for dinner one night. They were really yummy, kind of like meatloaf in a burger. They went together pretty quick and turned out great. I served these with some sweet potato fries and some green beans from the freezer that grew out in my garden this summer.

Basil Pan Burgers From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T fine dry bread crumbs
2 T fresh snipped basil or 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
2 T ketchup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split

In a medium bowl, combine egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, basil, ketchup, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add beef; mix well. Shape beef mixture into 4 3/4" thick patties.

Lightly coat a heavy skillet with cooking spray or use nonstick skillet. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add patties. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes or until temperature registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer, turning patties once halfway through cooking. If patties brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium low. Serve on buns with basil leaves and tomato slices, if desired.