Oct 142016
 

It was delicious, but I actually messed up this recipe. Instead of cutting the bread in half, I left it whole. It still turned out yummy. So yummy that I’m working on variations. Chicken, bacon, broccoli is the first variation I’m going to try and maybe Philly cheese after that. Sloppy Joe’s was also suggested.

I thought without the bread on top that the cheese would brown. We like brown cheese. Sadly, it didn’t. If you leave the bread as one piece and want the cheese to brown, try broiling it for about 10 minutes. I thought about trying it, but we were hungry.

I left the original instructions of cutting the bread in half and added my mistakes in the recipe. I liked the bread being more like a bowl, but I’ll be trying it the way it’s supposed to be in the future.

Stuffed French Bread
Serves 6
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 loaf french bread
  2. 1 pound lean ground beef
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  4. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  5. 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of onion soup
  6. 1/4 cup sour cream
  7. 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
  9. 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  10. 2 teaspoons dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you have two equal pieces. Or, you can do what I did and misread the instructions and not cut the bread in half but leave it whole.
  2. Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece or the center of the entire loaf if you leave the bread whole.
  3. Place the bread you scooped out in a large bowl and tear into small chunks. Set the two halves of french bread or the one whole piece with the center scooped out onto a large baking sheet.
  4. Brown the ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain.
  5. Add garlic to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add soup, sour cream and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook mixture 5 minutes or until heated.
  7. Add the beef mixture to the bread in the large bowl. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread or center of the whole piece. Spread out evenly. Top the mixture with the shredded cheese. Top with the other half of bread or leave open if you didn't cut the bread in half.
  8. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Adapted from Life in the Lofthouse.com
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/

Oct 072016
 

I didn’t have enough ham, but I was hungry for the Tortellini and Ham recipe WildOne posted, so I decided to try it with smoked sausage. I also had a couple of tomatoes from the garden that needed to be used and thought they would pair well with the sausage, too. And of course, I replaced the peppers with broccoli for the pepper hater.

What I came up with is something that tasted different enough I thought it needed its own post, but at the same time it curbed my craving for Tortellini and Ham. I really enjoyed both recipes and I think which one I make will depend on what meat I have at the time.

Tortellini and Smoked Sausage
Serves 6
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package (19 ounces) frozen three cheese tortellini
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 10-12 ounces smoked sausage, sliced
  4. 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  5. 12 ounce bag frozen chopped broccoli
  6. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons ClearJel (cornstarch)
  8. 1/2 cup homemade chicken broth
  9. 2 teaspoons dried basil
  10. 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  11. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  12. 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  13. 4 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, divided
Instructions
  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook smoked sausage in olive oil over medium heat until browned on one side. Flip sausage and add broccoli and onion. Cook until broccoli is crisp tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer.
  3. Combine the ClearJel or cornstarch, broth, basil, parsley and pepper; stir into sausage mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Add tomatoes and heat until tomatoes are just warmed.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons cheese. Drain tortellini; toss with sausage mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Notes
  1. You could use boxed cheese tortellini.
  2. You can use fresh broccoli.
  3. You could use canned chicken broth.
Adapted from WildOne's Tortellini and Ham Recipe
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
sausagetortellini

Sep 302016
 

After making our own pizzas, we rarely order it anymore. Besides being able to tailor the toppings to our liking, we can also tailor make the sauce and the crust.

So far, I’ve made plain crust, Italian garlic cheese crust, and garlic sundried tomato crust. I’ve only made two sauces so far; a tomato-based pizza sauce and a creamy garlic sauce.

We usually pile our pizzas high with kale, which cooks down considerably. That’s why in the picture posted before baking, the pizza is very tall. I’m sure we’ll try other toppings soon, but I was having fun playing with the crust and sauce.

I didn’t take a picture of the dough itself, but it just looked like dough. Nothing exciting, but I do wish I’d taken a picture of the sundried tomato dough.

This recipe is the plain dough. You can modify it and make it your own, but always follow the directions that come with your bread machine.

Bread Machine Pizza Dough
Makes one 16 inch pizza crust.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  4. 3 cups flour
  5. 2 teaspoons yeast
  6. 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
Instructions
  1. Follow the instructions that came with your bread machine for dough.
  2. Place dough on floured surface, spray with a little olive oil to keep it damp and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle 15-16 inch pizza pan with corn meal and shape dough so it spreads to the edges of the pan.
  4. Add favorite pizza toppings and bake at 475 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until done.
Notes
  1. Honey makes the dough fluffier, but it isn't needed. With the honey, the crust turns out more like a deep dish pizza and without, the crust is more like a regular crust.
  2. My pizza pan is only 12 inches and I still use this recipe. The crust is just thicker, but cooks in about 25 to 30 minutes. The cheese is very brown in places, but we like it that way.
Adapted from West Bend Recipes
Adapted from West Bend Recipes
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/

Sep 232016
 

We used to have a fast food restaurant near us called Spaghetti Jack’s. I’m not sure when it closed, but it was quite a few years ago. I wasn’t fond of most of their entrees, but they had an Italian Sub that my husband and I loved. Over the years, my husband has complained about craving the Italian Sub, so I finally broke down and tried to recreate it.

Working from distant memory, this is what I came up with. I know my memory is skewed, but it’s pretty close to what I remember the Spaghetti Jack’s sub tasting like.

I think the Bolillo roll works the best for this recipe. It’s like a sponge that soaks up the juices without becoming a soggy mess. Any large roll or bun will do, but I highly suggest the Bolillo roll.

Baked Italian Sub
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Cook Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 medium tomato
  2. 1 Tablespoon Zesty Italian dressing
  3. 1 Bolillo Roll or Hoagie Bun
  4. 1 slice Pastrami
  5. 1 slice Prosciutto
  6. 2 large slices Genoa salami
  7. 6-8 slices Pepperoni
  8. 1 slice Provolone
  9. 1 slice Mozzarella
  10. Spray Olive Oil (optional)
  11. pinch of garlic powder
  12. pinch of Italian seasoning
  13. 1/4-1/3 cup shredded lettuce
Instructions
  1. Dice tomato and place in small bowl. Add Zesty Italian dressing, stir and refrigerate.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cut and remove center of roll or bun.
  4. Add slices of meats and top with cheese slices. Spray cheese and top of roll or bun lightly with olive oil (optional). Sprinkle with garlic and Italian seasoning.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is hot and melted.
  6. Remove from oven and top with as much lettuce and tomatoes as you can fit in the top. Spoon about a teaspoon of the Italian dressing from the tomatoes on top.
Notes
  1. The center of the roll or bun is good sprayed with olive oil, seasoned with garlic and Italian seasoning, then fried on the stove or baked in the oven.
  2. You can use the large slices of Genoa salami or the smaller ones that are about the size of pepperoni. Use about 4 of the pepperoni size Genoa salami since they are usually thicker cut than pepperoni.
  3. Duplicate as many times as you need. I usually make them 4 at a time. I leave the lettuce and tomato off two of them and reheat them in the toaster oven, oven or microwave depending on my level of laziness. Then, I add the lettuce and tomato. The bread gets a little chewy in the microwave, but it still tastes yummy.
Adapted from Spaghetti Jack's Italian Sub
Adapted from Spaghetti Jack's Italian Sub
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Baked Italian Sub

Jul 152016
 

Creamy alfredo sauce, spicy and smoky? We’d have this all the time if it was healthy, too!

We do eat it with kale on the side. That helps, right? If I put the kale in it would that make it better? No? That’s okay.

We really don’t eat like this all the time, but once in awhile, a rich and creamy, smoky and spicy dish really hits the spot. Paired with garlic bread and kale lightly fried in olive oil… yum!

Spicy Creamy Smoked Sausage Bake
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Ingredients
  1. 16 ounces dry Rotini pasta
  2. 12 ounces cooked smoked sausage
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 cups chicken broth
  5. 2 Tablespoons Clear Gel, Flour or corn starch
  6. 2 cups half and half
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  10. 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  11. 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  12. 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  13. 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook Rotini al dente according to package directions and drain.
  3. In large skillet, fry sausage over medium heat until browned on both sides.
  4. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  5. Add chicken broth and stir or whisk until smooth.
  6. Combine Clear Gel, flour or corn starch and half and half. Stir slowly into skillet mixture and heat until thickened.
  7. Add pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, Parmesan cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Stir until cheese melts.
  8. Add parsley. Stir until mixed.
  9. In 9x13 pan, add noddles and pour sausage mixture over pasta. Top with remaining cup of mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese on top is fully melted and as brown (or not) as you like it.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Spicy Creamy Smoked Sausage Bake

Jul 082016
 

Another great recipe for small slow cookers. I’ve found that since I’m only cooking for two now, the small slow cookers are wonderful for training myself to stop cooking for an army. I still love loading up my 6-quart slow cooker and having tons of leftovers for future meals and to freeze, but sometimes it’s nice to just have a small meal with less cleanup.

On occasion, I’ve started to make this recipe only to find that my ketchup has disappeared. Honest, I never remember using the last of it. Undaunted, I replace the ketchup and brown sugar with 1/3 cup of BBQ sauce and it’s just as good.

If you don’t like peppers, you can replace them with any vegetable you think would taste good with ketchup and brown sugar. I’ve tried zucchini and squash, both were pretty good. Fresh, thick sliced tomatoes were wonderful. Green beans and potatoes were my favorite substitutions. If you decide to use potatoes, I suggest sticking them on the bottom with the onions on top of the pork chops.

Slow Cooker Rancher's Pork Chops
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
  2. 2 pork chops
  3. 1 small onion, sliced
  4. 2 green bell peppers, sliced
  5. 1/4 cup ketchup
  6. 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in skillet until crispy. Allow to cool, crumble and refrigerate for later.
  2. Brown pork chops in bacon grease for about a minute on each side.
  3. Place onion slices in bottom of 1.5 quart crock. Might fit in a 1 quart. Works well in a 2 quart. Place pork chops on top of onions then peppers on top of pork chops.
  4. Mix together ketchup and brown sugar, pour over peppers in crock.
  5. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  6. Add crumbled bacon before serving.
Notes
  1. Don't like peppers? Omit or replace!
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Slow Cooker Ranchers Pork Chops

Jun 172016
 

This is a family favorite I posted some time ago and finally added a couple pictures. I’m still trying to remember to take pictures when I make some of the variations, but we don’t have this recipe often due to the high-calorie content.

I also discovered something after making this recipe many times. If you stir the mixture after 30 to 45 minutes of cooking, it resembles more traditional baked macaroni and cheese. If you don’t stir, it comes out more like layers with the top being a fluffy cheese layer.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
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Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  2. 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  3. 12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
  4. 4 oz. mozzarella cheese
  5. 5 cups milk
  6. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Layer macaroni, butter, and cheeses in a 9-by-13 dish. Pour milk over the top layer.
  3. Bake for one hour. Do not cover.
Notes
  1. To prevent this dish from becoming too brown and crusty (I like the brown and crusty myself but I know some people don’t), cover with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
  2. Experiment with other cheeses!
  3. You can turn this into an entrée by adding your favorite meats and veggies!
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Some variations:

 

Baked Mushroom Cheeseburger Macaroni

Ingredients above plus:
1 lb hamburger
1 diced medium onion
8 oz fresh, sliced mushrooms or 12 oz can mushrooms

Brown hamburger with onion and mushrooms. Drain and add meat mixture before cheese layer. Reduce milk by 1/2 cup. Follow remaining directions above.

 

Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni

Ingredients above plus:
1 lb hamburger
1 diced medium onion
6 slices bacon, crumbled

Brown hamburger with onion.  Drain and add hamburger and onion mixture before cheese layer.  After cheese layer, sprinkle with crumbled bacon.  Reduce milk by 1/2 cup.  Follow remaining directions above.

 

Baked Ham and Cheese Macaroni

Ingredients above plus:
1 lb ham and choose any combination of the following veggies:
Onion
Mushrooms
Broccoli
Cauliflower

Fry ham and veggies to remove excess liquid. Drain and add before cheese layer. Reduce milk by 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Follow remaining directions above.

This is a very versatile dish. Try using leftover taco meat, chicken, peppers, or any number of variations to make a completely different dish every time. Let me know what you tried, what worked and what didn’t!

May 292016
 

Spaghetti is an easy meal for my husband to take to work with him, so I make quite a bit of it. With my current obsession with the crock pot, I decided to see what would happen if I added the uncooked noodles directly to the slow cooker and cooked them with the sauce. I expected to wind up with a gooey, nasty mess but was shocked to find that it turned out great. The noodles were plump and filled with flavor.

I haven’t found a jarred spaghetti sauce that I like, they’re all too sweet or bland, so I played around with tomato sauce and spices until I came up with something that I thought tasted pretty good. Not sweet, tons of tomato flavor and just a tad spicy. If you like the jarred sauce, you can always replace the tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste and spices with an equal amount of your favorite sauce. That should be somewhere around 85 ounces of sauce.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti
Serves 10
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Cook Time
4 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds Italian pork sausage or hamburger or a pound of each
  2. 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 cups chopped onions
  4. 16 ounces (2-3 cups) sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
  5. 1 green bell pepper (optional)
  6. 3 cans (15 ounce) tomato sauce
  7. 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  8. 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  9. 1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes
  10. 1 can (12 ounce) tomato paste
  11. 1 1/2 Tablespoons dried basil
  12. 1 1/2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  13. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  14. 1 teaspoon pepper
  15. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  16. 1-2 cups beef broth
Instructions
  1. Cook sausage/hamburger, garlic, onions, mushrooms and green bell pepper until browned. Drain.
  2. Empty 2 cans tomato sauce into slow cooker.
  3. Break spaghetti noodles in half and place on top of sauce. Cover with last can of tomato sauce.
  4. Add sausage/hamburger mixture on top of noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  5. On top of cheese, add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs and spices.
  6. Cook on high for 3 hours. Stir well and add 1-2 cups beef broth depending on how thick or thin you like your sauce. Cook for remaining hour or until ready to eat.
Notes
  1. If you like your sauce thinner, you can always add more beef broth or water.
  2. This recipe fills a 6 quart slow cooker. If your largest size is 5 quart, consider waiting to add the sausage/hamburger mixture until you are ready to serve.
  3. If you don't like your spaghetti spicy, make sure to leave out the crushed red pepper flakes.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Slow Cooker Spaghetti

Update: June 21, 2016
I tried this recipe with rotini instead of spaghetti noodles, but I didn’t like the way it turned out. The rotini was mushy and didn’t hold up well. I think the rotini might have been too “thin” and a thicker noodle type would have worked. I doubt I’ll try it again with rotini or noodles like it.

Update: July 13, 2016
I tried the recipe this time with macaroni noodles and it worked wonderfully. Noodles weren’t mushy this time. I had to add 2 cups of beef broth, 1 wasn’t enough. The noodles soaked up all the liquid making it an even thicker dish. It was more like Spaghetti Macaroni Casserole. I will probably make it this way from now on because macaroni would be easier for the hubby to eat at work than spaghetti noodles.

I’m going to try it with penne next.

May 062016
 

I had a couple boxes of stuffing and wanted to find something to do with them other than just following the box directions. I happened to run across a recipe for crockpot chicken and stuffing, but I didn’t have any chicken. The stuffing was pork flavored, so I decided it was a sign and substituted pork for the chicken.

I’ve made this several times now. Sometimes I only use one can of soup and I’ve even used no soup and twice the sour cream. I don’t always add water or wind up adding it more towards the end depending on how liquidy the mixture is. I don’t like the stuffing too wet or too dry, so I modify it while it cooks, but I don’t always have the chance. If I’m not able to keep an eye on it, I follow the recipe below and it works well.

You can replace the pork loin with 4 chicken breasts, 2-3 pounds of turkey, 2-3 pounds of pork chops or any other meat you like with stuffing. Use your favorite stuffing flavors or make your own.

Slow Cooker Pork and Stuffing
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 pounds pork loin
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 2/3 cup celery, chopped (optional)
  4. 2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of mushroom, onion or celery soup
  5. 2 boxes of pork stuffing mix
  6. 1 cup sour cream
  7. 1 (12 ounce) bag of frozen green beans or french style green beans
  8. 1/2 cup water
  9. Olive oil spray or Non-stick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Spray slow cooker with olive oil or cooking spray.
  2. Place pork loin in slow cooker. Add onion and celery.
  3. Pour dry stuffing mix on top of pork and vegetables.
  4. Stir together soup and sour cream. Spread over stuffing mix.
  5. Dump green beans on top.
  6. Add water on top of green beans.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or cook on low for about 8 hours.
Notes
  1. Add less water if you like your stuffing dry, more if you like it very moist.
  2. You can shred the pork into the stuffing or slice it and serve the stuffing mixture on the side, as pictured. It's good both ways.
Adapted from Jennifer
Adapted from Jennifer
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Pork&Stuffing

Mar 162016
 

Like many households, every St. Patrick’s Day we have our traditional corned beef dinner. It’s one of our favorite meals I’m sure in part because it’s such a rarity. While I have Irish roots, I’m not sure if that’s what started the tradition or if was the sale on corned beef around St. Patrick’s Day. Either way, it’s been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember and I continued the tradition once I was on my own.

I’ve coupled the meal in the past with grasshoppers (a creamy adult drink), green bread and many different green colored desserts, but corned beef is the only staple. 

Simple, easy and delicious! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Slow Cooker Corned Beef
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3-4 pound corned beef
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 3 potatoes, thick sliced
  4. 4 large carrots, thick sliced
  5. 1 medium onion, thick sliced
  6. 1/4 to 1/2 head of cabbage
Instructions
  1. Place corned beef in 5-6 quart slow cooker and cover with water.
  2. If there was a spice packet included with the corned beef, sprinkle over meat.
  3. Arrange potatoes, carrots and onion, in that order, on top of meat.
  4. Place cabbage, 1/4 or 1/2 depending on size and what will fit in your slow cooker, on top. Placing the cabbage on top keeps it out of the liquid and helps keep it from getting too mushy.
  5. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Notes
  1. Sometimes I use baby carrots instead of thick cut carrots. My local grocery store often has a coupon for a free bag of baby carrots around St. Patrick's Day.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Slow-Cooker-Corned-Beef

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