Saturday, June 28, 2008

Taco Pie- made with Pie Crust

I made this recently for my family and we loved it. Then I made it for some ladies in my small group at church and it was a hit so I thought it was time to post it for you!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 (1.25-ounce) package Taco Seasoning Mix
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1 (1-pound) package frozen green, red and yellow peppers and onions*
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (11-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup salsa
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on package
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheese recommended: Colby/Monterrey blend or Mexican blend

Garnish: Sour cream, Taco Sauce , guac.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Brown ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Add taco seasoning mix and water; mix until ground beef is well coated.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat until hot. Add peppers and onions; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and drain excess liquid. Add garlic and onion powders, salt, pepper, corn, and salsa, stir well and set aside.

Prepare pie crusts as directed on package for 2-crust pie using 9-inch glass or metal pie pan.
Combine salsa and corn mixture with ground beef; mix well.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese evenly in bottom of crust-lined pan. Spread 1/2 of beef mixture evenly in pan over cheese, pat down. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese in pan and spread evenly with remaining beef mixture, pat down, top with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Top with second crust and flute; slit in several places.

Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with strips of foil or a pie crust shield after 15 minutes of baking. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Store in refrigerator.
Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of taco sauce. Also recommended: guacamole, salsa, and diced green chiles.

* If using fresh peppers and onions, use 1 1/2 cups chopped onions and 2 1/2 cups chopped peppers and increase prep time and stove top cooking time.

My Notes: I've never tried it with frozen peppers and onions. It's easy but if you use fresh products it does add to prep time. I also just used garlic salt instead of garlic powder, salt and onion powder. Finally, I used medium salsa in the corn/salsa mix to give it a little kick.

Recipe from the Foodnetwork, Emeril's Pie Contest

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Best Brownies EVER!!

Here is a great brownie recipe that is slightly based on my friend, Sarah Helgeson's famous brownie recipe. These are so very, very rich, but worth every bite!

2/3 cup butter (it MUST be real butter--I use Amish butter from our local produce store)
5 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1 3/4 cup sugar (I use demerarra sugar--it's the best)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a square pan (9X9X2) with shortening.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in 1 qt saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.
3. Beat sugar, vanilla, Irish Cream, and eggs in medium bowl with electric mixer on high for 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in flour just until blended. Stir in chocolate chunks. Spread into pan.
4. Bake until brownies pull away from sides of pan.
5. While the brownies are baking, mix frosting:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
1 tablespoon milk

6. Mix powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl. Stir in vanilla, Irish Cream, and milk. Beat until smooth and spreadable.
7. After brownies have baked, make sure they have cooled completely. Ice the brownies with all of the frosting mixture. Let frosted brownies sit out at room temp for several hours (this is the key to keeping them good and moist). You can eat them now or refridgerate until later. Enjoy!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Freezer Meals-Installment 3

Sorry about that error. I think I was a little ambitious trying to get Install. 3 posted after cooking 6 meals! I was tired and "lost" my work in cyberspace.
I cooked up some more ground beef and made Mexican Stuffed Shells & Baked Spaghetti. Recipes follow:

Baked Spaghetti

Ground beef, 1 pound browned and drained
1 pound spaghetti, cooked according to pkg directions
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (you could also use mozerella or combination of both)
grated parmesean cheese to taste
italian seasoning
can mushrooms, drained (if you like them)
spaghetti sauce, 26 oz

Mix cooked beef, cooked pasta, 1 cup cheddar cheese, mushrooms and spaghetti sauce in large casserole dish (I used disposable aluminum pans). Top with remaining cheeses and sprinkle with italian herbs. The key to this dish is to make sure the cheese covers the top well and evenly so the pasta does not dry out when you store or bake it. Wrap with plastic wrap, then foil. Label and make a note to remove plastic wrap before baking. 350 for 30-45 min.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

12 jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to pkg instructions
1 pound ground beef, browned, drained
1 cup salsa
1 can spaghetti sauce/ tomato sauce, 15 oz
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup cheddar cheese (or moterey jack or Mexican)
toppings when you serve it: black olives, sour cream

Mix all ingredients except toppings and pasta in large bowl. Stuff shells with it using a serving spoon. Note: the cooked noodles are floppy and slippery! Place these in a greased or sprayed pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Wrap, label, and freeze.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Freezer Meals-Installment 3

Freezer Meals-Installment 2

O.K. the kids are having "quiet resting time"-did I say quiet? I made two soups in about an hour. I defrosted about a pound of ground beef and made vegetable beef soup and chili with it (we don't like tons of meat in our stuff).

Vegetable Beef Soup

1/2 pound ground beef, browned
onion, 1 small diced
green pepper, 1 small diced
celery, 2 stalks diced
garlic to taste
2 cans tomatoes, diced with juice
1 can corn drained
chili seasoning (to make your own use chili powder, garlic powder, cumin)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can water
After browning beef, add pepper, onion, celery to pan and saute until tender. To the pan add tomatoes, chili seasoning, and all other ingredients. I stored mine in a large freezer bag, labeled.

Vegetable Beef Soup

1/2 pound ground beef
2 cans tomato juice (you can take a shortcut and use v8)
1 can corn, drained
1 can green beans, drained
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
pasta (I used alphabet)
salt, pepper, herbs to taste
Cook ground beef until pink is almost gone. Add onions, carrots and celery last 5 minutes or so. Cook pasta according to pkg directions. Don't overcook vegetables or pasta or it will be mushy when you reheat. Place all ingredients into large zip lock bag, label and freeze. Also, you could substitute cans of mixed vegetables for the others to make this super quick.


I would defrost the bags 24 hours in advance. Then place in stock pot and heat over medium heat until hot. Accompaniment ideas for the chili: Cornbread (can be made ahead and frozen), crackers, tortilla chips, fritos, peanut butter sandwiches.

I forgot to give instructions for reheating things in installment 1. Most casseroles can be cooked at 350 for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven or whether or not you defrosted.

Freezer Meals- Installment 1

I am using the time my kiddies are playing in the yard this summer (I can see them from the kitchen) to make some freezer meals to serve us during the busy school year. So far I've made two family size meals in 30 minutes. Some benefits are less cooking and clean-up on a busy evening or an evening when you're tired. Also, you can cook several meals using the same pot (one pot to cook rice, one to cook pasta etc). You can also double batch. Here are some things that do not freeze well: eggs, tofu, potatoes (exception is hash brown potatoes). Other people might know of some other things not to freeze. Also, others might post their favorite freezer meals. Pasta-based and rice-based meals are ideal for freezing, as is soup. Recipes follow:

Pizza Pasta

pound of pasta (any kind is fine)
pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce
Mozarella cheese 8 oz, shredded
Parmesean cheese
cheddar cheese if you like 4 oz, shredded
italian seasoning
pepperoni 1/3 bag
peppers, onions, olives, mushrooms (whatever you like on your pizza)
Cook pasta, drain, and place in casserole dish. Stir in tomato sauce. Then just layer your pasta with ingredients just like you would if you were building a pizza. Finally top with cheese and sprinkle with italian herbs.

Chicken & Rice Casserole

Rice 2 cups, uncooked
bag of brocolli flowerettes
boiled & shredded chicken 1 pound
shredded cheddar 2 cups, divided
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
crushed ritz crackers, corn flakes or bread crumbs
Cook rice according to pkg directions and drain. Place rice in casserole dish. Stir in brocolli, cooked shredded chicken, cream of mushroom soup, milk, and 1/2 cup cheddar. Stir all until well blended. Top with remaining cheddar, and sprinkle with cracker crumbs.