Valerie's Taco Pie

Valerie, my sister, is all about saving time and money. She's always short on time due to her working at nights as a nurse. As a matter of fact the only way I ever get to talk to her is if I stay up until 1am and chat on Facebook or Snapchat. So, here's one of her favorite easy meals to make:
Ingredients: 
*Chunky Mild salsa
*1.3lbs ground beef
*1 package of taco seasoning
*Shredded Cheese (your discretion on how much you want to use)
*Can of flaky crescent rolls 
*Small bag of Doritos
*Sour Cream (your discretion on how much you want to use)
Brown your ground beef, drain fat, add 3/4 of water and taco seasoning and cook for additional 5 minutes. Line pie plate or dish with crescent rolls, sprinkle Cheese, then add your taco seasoned meat. Sprinkle more shredded cheese, add your sour cream, then layer with the salsa. Layer with your Doritos (whole or crunched) then cover with the rest of your shredded cheese. Bake for 15-18 minutes on 425. Then let cool for 5-10 minutes then it's ready to be sliced.

Substitutions

Use this if your out of that.

1. If you are out of baking powder (1tsp) USE 1/2 tsp cream of tartar plus 1/4 tsp baking soda.

2. If you are out of balsamic vinegar (1T) USE 1 T cider vinegar or red wine vinegar plus 1/2 tsp sugar.

3. If you are out of buttermilk (1 cup) USE 1 T lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to equal 1 cup (let stand 5 min before using) or 1 cup plain yogurt.

4. If you are out of self-rising flour (1 cup) USE 1 cup all-purpose flour plus1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda.

5. If you are out of half-and-half or light cream (1 cup) USE 1 T melted butter or margarine plus enough whole milk to make one cup.

6. If you are out of onion, chopped (1/2 cup) USE 2 T dried minced onion or 1/2 tsp onion powder

7. If you are out of tomato sauce (2 cups) USE 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water.

8. If you are out of pre-made poultry seasoning (1 tsp) USE 3/4 tsp dried sage and 1/4 tsp dried thyme.

9. If you are out of pre-made Cajun seasoning (1 T) USE 1/2 tsp white pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp ground red pepper, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

10. If you are out of allspice (ground) USE ground cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves.

Mr. Crab's Salad

This is Jon's first recipe entry and I am sure there will be more to come. This is a simple crab salad recipe that takes about 15 minutes to prepare and costs about about $5 to make about 4 large servings.
*20oz package of imitation crab
*1&1/2 T Butter
*1/2 tsp Black pepper
*1/2 tsp Parsley
*3/4 C Mayo
*1/2 T Old Bay Seasoning
*1/4 tsp Celery Salt
*1/4 tsp Paprika
*2 Celery stalks finely chopped
*1/2 Small onion finely chopped
**Melt butter in a sauce pan. Saute onion and Celery until tender but not yet browned. Add a pinch of Old Bay to the veggies a minute or so before removing from heat. Let the vegetables cool a bit before adding the rest of ingredients. Add all ingredients together and stir.

Everyone in the house LOVES this even though they claim to hate onions and celery.

Chicken and Potato Hash

Ok, here is my turn to try my hand at Mawmaw's hash.
Here is what you need to make a pretty big batch:
*2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
*3 pounds of potatoes -see note at bottom regarding potatoes
*1/4 cup of Dale's Steak Sauce
*1 small yellow onion
Start boiling your chicken, chop your potatoes and finely chop your onion. Once chicken is done, take out of pot and put aside. KEEP THE WATER. Add your potatoes and chicken into the same pot of boiling water and cook until done but not mushy. Drain almost all of the water once the potatoes are done. Put a half cup of your cooking water to the side to add moisture back into the pot if needed. Chop or shred your chicken and add back into pot with potatoes. Combine 1/4 cup of Dale's and the 1/2 cup of stock water you saved then pour over chicken and potatoes and stir. Taste and if not salty enough add a few more tablespoons of Dale's and stir.

*Side note about potatoes.* I try to buy organic root vegetables so when I get lucky and find them I buy the organic potatoes. I have found that sometimes these have a sweet flavor that I really dislike. The reason for this is that chemicals aren't used on these potatoes therefore they rot and grow eyes a lot faster than the non-organic kind so some companies will refrigerate them to keep until they can send out to market. When a potato is refrigerated the sugars break down...yadayadayada...I won't go into detail. Long story short, it makes them taste sweet. Sometimes non-organics taste like this too. As a matter of fact, a couple weeks ago I got a REALLY sweet tasting baked potato from Outback Steakhouse that was quite disgusting. Therefore..moving on...I always throw a small piece of potato in the microwave for a minute to bake it and make sure my batch of potatoes tastes okay before I spend my dinner prep time wasted on bad tasting potatoes. I especially make sure they taste okay when I a making a meal like this when they are incorporated into the main dish.



Sausage and Peppers

This is one of my go-to fast meals. It literally takes about half an hour from prep to finish. I usually prepare it with rice.
*2 Large bell peppers, any color OR about 8 baby bell peppers
*1 Medium yellow onion (or whatever kind you like)
*1 Package of sausage (I use to use a Hillshire Farm sausage BUT I switched to only nitrate/nitrite free meats so I found this Ball Park sausage dog which tastes just as good! The kind in the photo isn't my favorite flavor. I prefer the smoked sausage instead of the mustard/pepper kind.)
*3 T water

Slice peppers, onions, and sausages. Add to pan with water. Cover and cook on medium high for about 5 minutes then turn temp down to medium/low and let it sizzle for about 10-15 minutes or until you see the juices from the sausages start to caramelize. You may have to keep adding small amounts of water to make sure the veggies do not burn. Make sure you keep it covered and stir often. Just cook it long enough until the peppers and onions are nice and tender.   Cost of dish is about $7.


Squash and Asparagus

Jon and I aren't huge fans of squash and the kids hate it unless it's fried but I thought I would give a new recipe a try.
Squash and asparagus:
*2 yellow squash
*1 bundle of fresh asparagus
*2 T veg oil
*1 T salt
*1 tsp pepper
*1 minced clove of garlic



Clean and slice the squash to 1/4 inch slices. Clean and cut ends of asparagus off. Mix your oil, salt, pepper, garlic into a large bowl. Add veggies and mix until covered in oil. Add asparagus to pan then cover with the squash slices. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Kick up the temp in the oven to BROIL for about 3 or 4 minutes or until you start to see the tops of the squash brown.
This was SOOOOOO good! Some of the squash had a nice crisp to it which added a great flavor. Jon and I split the whole pan and there was nothing left for leftover night!

Potatoes and Snap Peas




*1 Pound of snap peas (1 container at market), cleaned and snapped
*1 Pound of red potatoes (1 and a half containers at market or about 8-10 small/medium potatoes) Cleaned and cut to 2 inch pieces/leave the small ones whole.
*Salt to taste (I used about 1 and a half T)
*2 tsp black pepper
*1 tsp powdered garlic OR 1 clove minced.
*5 slices of bacon
***Put all ingredients in a pot of water(just enough to cover veggies) and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
-- I made this for a family of 4 and have enough left over for another dinner. All fresh veggies collectively cost less than $7!


 I went to the Farmers' Market this morning and tonight I made this with my fresh vegetables.