Friday, October 29, 2010

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

This is another Hansen family classic recipe.  Many people are turned off by the title of this recipe, thinking that it is just glorified Hamburger Helper, but let me assure you it is not.  It is a flavorful casserole that is a favorite of pretty much everyone in my family.  It's feel good, comfort food for sure.  It's easy and delicious!  I also love that it's great as a weekday meal, but tasty enough to serve to guests.

Hamburger Noodle Casserole
1 pound ground beef, as lean as you like
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces wide egg noodles
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, approximately

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil water for noodles, and cook according to directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef with the garlic until cooked through.  Drain grease and return to pan.  Add tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese and green onions.

Once the sauce is done simmering, stir the noodles into the sauce.  To assemble, pour about a third of the noodle mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with generous dollops of the sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup cheese.  Repeat the process with the second third of the noodle mixture followed by the rest of the sour cream mixture and another 1/2 cup cheese.  Top with the final third of the noodle mixture and sprinkle the top generously with cheese one more time.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

--I know it's not exactly a low fat recipe, but I wouldn't substitute low fat sour cream or cream cheese.  I think the flavor suffers if you use the low fat versions.
--You can completely prepare this casserole and then store it in the fridge until dinner time.  Increase the cooking time to 30 minutes if you bake it straight from the fridge.
--For this recipe, use mostly just the white parts of the green onions.  Chop from the white ends just until you get to the dark green stem.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicken Chalupas

This is a favorite recipe from my childhood.  I make it frequently since it’s really easy and requires ingredients I usually have on hand.  Besides, it’s delicious!

Dinners 017

Chicken Chalupas
3-4 cooked chicken breasts (depending on size), cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. can diced green chiles
sour cream (about 1 cup)
3-4 green onions chopped or 1/4 onion, grated
black olives (optional)
grated cheddar cheese
6-8 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine cream of chicken soup, green chiles, and sour cream.  Remove a small portion of sauce (about 1/2 cup) mix in about 1/4 can (soup can) milk and set aside.  To remaining sauce add chicken, green onion, and olives if you’re using them. 

To assemble spoon some meat mixture on tortilla. Sprinkle a small handful of cheese on top and roll up.  Place seam down in a 9x13 pan.  Once all are assembled, pour remaining sauce over the top and spread to cover all chalupas.  Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Green Chile Casserole
For the casserole version follow the same directions up until assembly (my mom never uses olives in her casserole).  Then in a casserole dish layer 1/4 of the meat mixture, tortilla, and cheese repeating 4 times and ending with a tortilla, set aside sauce and cheese on top.  Bake for about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until bubbly.

PS-I’m not sure why we call these chalupas as I’ve never seen chalupas like these anywhere :).

--Corn tortillas can be used instead of flour.
--Sour cream is also technically optional (not for me).  If you don’t use sour cream add about 1/3 can (soup can) of milk to the meat mixture to make a better sauce.
--When I make this for our family, since there are only three of us eating, I use 1-2 chicken breasts (depending on size) and I use a little less sour cream.  That way it makes about 4 chalupas (I use an 8x8 pan) or a small casserole.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blueberry Cream Muffins with Streusel Topping

I love these muffins.  I really do.  When I moved up here to the Pacific Northwest, I discovered blueberries.  That summer I wanted to bake these muffins over and over again.  Unfortunately, they aren't exactly the healthiest things in the world, so instead I look for any special occasion I can think of to make them.  The sour cream makes them light and fluffy, and if you have access to fresh blueberries (I pick them when they're in season and then freeze them to use throughout the year) the flavor is pretty much unbeatable.

Blueberry Cream Muffins with Streusel Topping
adapted from several recipes on

4 eggs
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups flour
3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare muffin pan by lining with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with a wire whisk.  While still beating, gradually add both kinds of sugar.  Stir in oil, vanilla, and sour cream.  Mix until smooth.  Add salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and stir to combine.  Gently stir in flour. Stir until just combined; batter will be slightly lumpy.  Carefully fold in blueberries.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon for the streusel topping.  Add the butter and mix using a pastry cutter or the tips of your fingers.  Mix until crumbly.

Fill muffin liners all the way to the top and sprinkle generously with streusel topping.  Don't worry about running out of batter.  This recipe makes 24 large bakery sized muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean with moist crumbs. 

--If you're worried about the muffin batter overflowing in the oven, you can put a baking sheet underneath the muffin pan just in case.  I've never had that problem, but my dad (who lives at a high elevation) did once.  
--When using frozen blueberries, it's probably a good idea to toss them with a little flour before adding them to the batter.  Frozen blueberries will quickly turn the batter purple as you fold them in, so tossing them with flour will avoid that problem.
--When mixing any sort of streusel topping using your hands, try to just use the tips of your fingers so that the butter doesn't melt too much.  I learned that from Alton Brown on the Food Network. :)


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Daddy’s Waffles

When I told my husband that this would be my first recipe to post he said, “You can’t post that!  Isn’t it a secret family recipe?”  I laughed and told him that though it is good enough to be a secret recipe, my Dad is very willing to give this recipe to anyone.  My dad would give credit to Better Homes and Gardens for this recipe, but he has changed the recipe so much that it’s safe to call it his recipe.   These are by far my favorite waffles.  They’re crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  Pretty much, they taste like home to me.   

Daddy’s Waffles
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (separated)
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Grease and preheat waffle iron (I use cooking spray).

Get out three bowls (small, medium, and large).  In the large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 

Separate the eggs placing the whites in the small bowl and the yolks in the medium bowl.  To the yolks add milk, oil and vanilla.

Using a hand mixer whip up the egg whites until stiff peaks form and set aside.  Then move the mixer over to the medium bowl and mix until combined (you don’t have to clean the beaters between because it’s all going together soon).

Pour medium bowl into flour mixture in the large bowl and whisk until combined (will still be a little lumpy).  Next, very gently fold in egg whites.  You should still see egg white lumps (this is what makes them fluffy).

The amount of batter you will need to use per waffle will depend on your waffle iron size.  Pour enough batter to spread out across iron and cook until golden brown.  My waffle iron has a light that goes out when it’s done but I think mine takes about 5 minutes.   Make sure they’re dark golden, that’s when they’re the best. 

--This recipe works best on a traditional waffle iron rather than a belgian waffle iron.  Traditional waffle irons are actually quite hard to find in stores.  We ended up buying one online because these waffles mean that much to me :).
--The first waffle won’t turn out very good.  It’s a given fact regardless of what recipe you’re using.  My Dad would give the first waffle to the dog.  Always.  We never ate the first waffle. 
--My Dad will often times add other things to the batter.   He adds  a little cinnamon most of the time.  Blueberries are also a delicious addition.  I make blueberry ones about half of the time.  Plain is my favorite though.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can't think of a better recipe to start this blog with than our Mom's chocolate chip cookie recipe.  This was the first recipe I ever memorized.  I have, on occasion, strayed and used other recipes, but I always come back to this one in the end!

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and both types of sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add baking soda and salt and briefly mix together. Add flour and mix until combined.  Finally, add chocolate chips and mix.  Take a spoonful of dough and give it a taste (unless you're afraid of the raw eggs, of course).  There's not much better than cookie dough!

Drop cookie dough by the spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden and soft set.  Allow to cool for 2-5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then move to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

--I like to use dark brown sugar in my cookies.  It seems to give the cookies a richer flavor.
--Always use real vanilla.  I know that America's Test Kitchen claims that in cookies it doesn't make a difference, but I really think it does.
--My favorite cookie sheets are actually jelly roll pans.  I recommend some type of light colored metal, rimmed sheet.
--You can use any type of chocolate chips or a combination with this recipe.  I really love using white chocolate chips every now and again.

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