Monday Menu ~ Red Gold review, giveaway, & recipe!

When I was contacted to try out a couple of the new culinary classics from Red Gold tomatoes one of the things that surprised me most was that they’re grown right here in Michigan, as well as in Ohio and Indiana. All this time I’ve been buying locally grown product and I never knew it. What makes it even better is that this new line is being sold locally at Meijer stores in the Detroit area!

red gold culinary classicsWhen I first received the tomatoes I couldn’t decide what to do with them… there were so many choices! It was the diced tomatoes with chipotle that stood out though and I finally decided to make a Spanish rice casserole with them. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that this recipe is more of the fly by the seat of your pants type thing and you can change it up anyway you want.

Ingredients

1 – 1 lbs of hamburger (you could also use ground turkey, ground chicken, cut up chicken, or leave the meat out)

1 medium onion diced

1 tsp garlic (add more or leave it out)

1 carton of broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)

Rice (white or brown – I used brown Minute Rice)

1 28 oz can of Red Gold diced tomatoes with chipotle

2 cups of Shredded cheese (you can add more if you’d like or leave it out)

Optional seasoning

cumin

salt

pepper

Note: I left out the amounts of rice & broth on purpose. You can make as much or as little as you like for this casserole depending on how many you need to feed or how much meat to rice ratio you like. I made about 3 cups of cooked rice.

Directions

Brown the meat in a pan and once it’s almost done add in the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are almost translucent and then add the tomatoes and spices. While the meat is browning cook the rice until it is partially done and set aside.

saute meat

Once the meat is done mix the rice into and let it simmer for 5 – 10  minutes.

mixing in the rice

Stir in about half of the cheese and pour into a baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.

topped with cheese

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Really all you want is for the cheese to get all melty & bubbly.

Spanish Rice - ready to eat

And you’re ready for dinner! Serve with tortillas or alone. You can add pretty much any kind of toppings that you can think of with this. For me avocado’s and black beans would be perfect!

Just a note…. this is a bit on the spicy side but with sour cream or guacamole you can cool it off if you don’t like the heat.

Are you interested in trying out the new Culinary Classics from Red Gold?

You can win a prize pack from them and all you have to do is leave a comment telling me how you would use one of the two varieties of Red Gold tomatoes I have pictured above. That’s it!

Now, if you would like extra entries you can do any of the following but be sure to leave a comment for each

1. “Like” With Just a Bit of Magic on Facebook

2. “Like” Red Gold on Facebook

3. Add With Just a Bit of Magic to your circle on Google Plus

4. Follow me on Twitter & Tweet about the giveaway (leave the link to your tweet)

The giveaway ends on Friday, January 20th at midnight. A winner will be selected via random. org and notified via email (make sure your email is visible so I can contact you) and the  winner will have 24 hours to respond before another will be selected.

I received Red Gold tomatoes to review, but all thoughts and opinions are mine.

And because the DSLR wasn’t handy I used my favorite piece of technology ever to the awesome pics for this post… my iPhone! Because of that I’m linking up with the incredible Liz & KLZ for #iPPP!

iPhone Photo Phun

Monday Menu ~ Collard Greens from a girl north of the Mason-Dixon

I am so happy today because I have a special guest post for you! Today my sister has joined the ranks of blogging and this is her first ever post anywhere in the blogosphere! How exciting is that!! 

My sister, like myself, loves to cook and find all sorts of new recipes and then sometimes make them her ownjust like the one she is sharing with everyone today.

So please give her a warm welcome an enjoy the recipe!

Well, I was born in raised in the beautiful state of Michigan so needless to say, collards did not make an appearance on the family table at holidays, nor any other day of the year.

I went 35 long years without collard greens and even had the audacity to scrunch my nose up when offered ( I was a picky eater as a child and only have come to like green leafy things later in life a.k.a  “late foodie bloomer”).

Young collard plants growing in a container

Image via Wikipedia

I tried collard greens for the first time last year and was head over heels for them.  I inquired as to how to make these things and was advised to use certain things.  Well, being headstrong amongst other adjectives to describe myself, I made a few adaptations.   Here is what I make.  Just a note, my even pickier husband loves these.  He DOES NOT do green and leafy and is my work in progress, folks.

These measurements are approximate as I really don’t feel it necessary to measure because it is not baking (YEAH).  My beautiful sister measures because she is an awesome baker, I am not….

One package of cut and cleaned collard greens (What, you thought I cut them up??? NOPE).  Feel free to give them a good rinse in a colander ….  (I do that at minimum).

1-2 cartons of Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock (Make sure it is not the Unsalted version).  One carton is generally enough, unless you like a lot of juice.

7-10 cloves of garlic, minced (approximately) (Did I mention how much I love, love, love garlic?)  Please feel free to adjust to your taste.  NOTE: I have never had an encounter with a vampire, he he he

1 large onion, chopped

1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes

1 pkg of smoked turkey wings (Yes, they have to be smoked)

2 Trappeys hot peppers (minced), plus a few shakes of the vinegar from the bottle (For the love of all that is holy, do not add more unless you like HOT stuff),.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Ok. This is a layered event.  Here is the order in which it goes:

Pour some chicken stock in HUGH-ASS stock pot.

Greens

Salt and Pepper

Onions

Garlic

Tomatoes

1 Trappeys pepper, plus 1-2 shakes of the vinegar in the bottle of Trappeys

Cut off some meat of the turkey wing and throw on top of all that.  And then add the smoked turkey wing with the bone in.

REPEAT until everything is gone.  Cook on low for about 3 hours with the lid on. The greens will cook down and the meat will fall off the bones, but make sure you remove the bones before serving (unless you don’t like the person… KIDDING… Remove the bones, seriously).

I serve this with cornbread.  Now don’t get all excited, I use Jiffy.  I suck at making homemade cornbread and I’ve made several attempts.  Jiffy turns out so much better… But I do add a tablespoon of sugar to the cornbread mix.  See… its homemade!!!!

Do you eat collards? How do you prepare them?

Monday Menu ~ Sweet Potato Casserole

With the holidays fast upon us and the stores full of sweet potatoes and great deals on them too…. Mine were $0.25 a pound the other day at my local Meijer store! I thought that it only seemed fitting that I share one of my favorite recipes involving sweet potatoes.

It’s a side dish or a dessert or even a breakfast snack (yea, that’s pushing it I know) that tastes simply amazing and it pretty easy to make.

Ingredients

Potato Mixture

  • 4 cups sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar or brown (whichever you prefer.. I’ve used both or half & half)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.

sweet potatoes ready to cooksweet potatoes ready to mash

    • In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Sweet potatoes - ready for the topping

    • In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.

Sweet potatoes - with topping

  • Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

This is by no means low calorie but I can guarantee you that it is really tasty! This is the only way that I can get most of my family to even eat sweet potatoes.

What is your favorite holiday side dish?

Monday Menu ~ Comfort Food

With fall upon us the grill has been put away and I’m back in the kitchen making breads, pies, casseroles, and all of my favorite comfort foods. This has to be my favorite season partially because I get to bake…. yes, it’s my favorite past time.

Chicken and noodles is one of my favorites as well as my families. It’s one of the few dinners that I can make and have very little leftovers! Now there are a couple ways to go about making this… the easy way or the full out homemade version. I’ve made both and they’re equally delicious and I’ll give the ingredients for both. How much time you want to take will depend on which recipe you make and I’ll tell you that I’ve been able to make the quick & easy version on a weeknight.

Comfort food - chicken & noodles

Quick & Easy

  • 1 – 2 rotisserie chickens pulled off the bone & cut up
  • 32 oz container of chicken broth
  • Medium Onion chopped
  • 2 -3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 -3 carrots chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 bag of frozen peas
  • Reames Egg Noodles (1 -2 packages) – or some other thick noodles
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of heavy cream or half & half
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour

Saute all the vegetables other than the peas in a bit olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add in the chicken, bay leaf, and the broth, bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until the veggies are tender. Stir in the noodles and cook until they’re done. When the noodles are done turn down the heat and stir in the peas.

In a separate pan melt the butter and stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute. Stir in the flour mixture into the soup until thick and finish off with the cream.

Season with salt, pepper, and any other herbs that you like.

Homemade Version

This doesn’t vary much from the quick & easy recipe.

  • 1 whole roaster chicken
  • 32 oz container of chicken broth (may need 2 for this version)
  • Medium Onion chopped
  • 2 -3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 -3 carrots chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 bag of frozen peas
  • Reames Egg Noodles (1 -2 packages) – or some other thick noodles
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of heavy cream or half & half
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour

Boil the chicken in one of the containers of chicken broth until cooked through and almost falling off the bone. Remove from the broth and let cool until you can handle it and then pull the chicken off and cut it up.

In another pot, saute all the vegetables other than the peas in a bit olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add in the chicken, bay leaf, and the broth from the first pot, bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until the veggies are tender. Stir in the noodles and cook until they’re done. When the noodles are done turn down the heat and stir in the peas.

In a separate pan melt the butter and stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute. Stir in the flour mixture into the soup until thick and finish off with the cream.

Both are thick, delicious, and warm you heart, soul and stomach.

What is one of your favorite comfort foods?

 

Don’t forget about the Doodle Roll giveaway! It’s a great stocking stuffer idea!

 

Monday Menu ~ Simple Pumpkin Cake

Yes, it’s Monday again…. the weekend is never long enough! But that’s alright because I have a great recipe for you all to try this week.

It’s a really simple, easy, and quick cake to make. What’s even better is that it’s healthy for you!

Curious yet?

Alright, so here are the ingredients.

1 box cake mix – any flavor you want. You can even use a reduced sugar cake mix.

1 15 oz can of pumpkin

2 eggs or 1/2 cup of egg beaters – these are optional. You can make the cake without the eggs and it turns out just fine.

1 tsp (or more if you like) pumpkin pie spice – leave this out if you want

pumpkin cake ingredients

The ingredients

Now it doesn’t get any easier than this….

Preheat over to 350 degrees and spray your 13×9 cake pan or cupcake pan.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. It will be really thick and this is alright so don’t worry.

pumpkin cake batter

The batter

Spread the batter in the pan evenly and bake for 25 – 30 minutes for the 13×9 and about 15 minutes for cupcakes.

For my cake I wanted the pumpkin flavor to really stand out so I used a yellow cake mix and it was pretty good. I think that I would have liked a spice cake better though just because there would have been more of the flavor that I was looking for. The yellow cake gave it a sweeter flavor than I wanted… but it was still good.

We left ours plain…. no frosting at all. But you can add a frosting, glaze, or fresh fruit.

Note: When you use a chocolate cake mix you can’t taste the pumpkin and it has more of a dense brownie taste. You can also use this to make cookies.

Give it try and let me know what you think?

The Monday Menu – Bread Machine Cake

Welcome to my first official post of the Monday Menu! I hope that you’re just as excited as I am about this new weekly feature and that you find a new recipe to try!

Also, if you have a recipe that you’d like to share let me know because I would be more than happy to have you as a guest poster here!

This weeks recipe is one that I’m not sure is one of the better ones, but I’m posting it in hopes that you’ve tried something similar and have had better results or have an idea to improve it.

Bread Machine Chocolate Cake

1/3 cup melted butter
2 large eggs — beaten lightly
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips (I didn’t have chocolate chips so I used Hershey’s syrup and I didn’t measure it either)

bread machine cake ingredients

The ingredients

Measure all ingredients except chocolate chips into baking pan. Bake on Cake setting. Add chocolate chips (Hershey’s syrup) when Bread Machine beeps.

My bread machine has a cake setting and it lasts about 2 1/2 hours which I thought was to long and I’m not sure why it needs that long either.

I let the cake go through the entire cycle and took it out as soon as it was through. It felt really heavy… a lot heavier than I had expected it to be. More like a bread than a cake.

Bread Machine CakeI figured since I went through all the work we’d give it a try and surprisingly it wasn’t that bad. Yes, it was very dense and not the cake like texture that I was hoping for, but the flavor was still pretty good.

Bread Machine Cake

I decided to save the bread cake! I sliced it and then placed it on the bottom of a dish and then topped it with a Jello Mousse Temptation kits. That… was a good idea! But of course I didn’t take a picture of that.

Okay, so have you made a cake in your bread machine? Did it turn out?

If not, what suggestions do you have for me?