Sausage Dip

Here’s a simple dip recipe from the Cooks.com site (original here) that everyone will scoop up. It can be easily modified to change the spiciness. Sausage Dip is the tenth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 package sausage
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • Tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Brown sausage in skillet, drain.
  3. In a clean skillet, place drained sausage back into pan with tomatoes and cream cheese.
  4. Mix until well blended together.
  5. Place in a baking dish in oven for 20–25 minutes.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Variations

  • Choose the sausage that your family prefers. We go with mild or sage because some family members have acid reflux problems. You could obviously use a hot sausage to spice things up. Chorizo, very well-drained, would work nicely also.
  • I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I suspect this recipe could go in the crockpot for an hour in lieu of baking.
  • A cup of Mexican or Cheddar cheese would make a nice addition.

Pizza Pinwheels

A Pillsbury recipe that Mom has included in her recipe files, this appetizer is simple and can be adapted to include your favorite pizza topping. Pizza Pinwheels are the sixth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 Can (8oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pepperoni (about 1½ oz)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped green bell pepper
  • ½ cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • ½ cup pizza sauce

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles; firmly press perforations to seal.
  4. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, pepperoni, bell pepper and Italian cheese blend over each rectangle.
  5. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle; press edge to seal.
  6. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 6 slices; place cut side down on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  8. Meanwhile, heat pizza sauce.
  9. Immediately remove pinwheels from cookie sheet.
  10. Serve warm with warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Variations

  • Any finely chopped, fully cooked pizza topping could be used as a substitute for the pepperoni—bacon bits, chopped onion, ham, black olives, mushrooms, and so forth.

Time Required: 35 minutes

Servings: 24

White-Bean and Sausage Stew

The photo of this recipe, with chunks of sausage and lots of beans, has me ready for a soup night. From the October 2006 issue of All You (original here), this crockpot soup is bound to fill the house with a wonderful aroma!

Ingredients

  • 6 (3 oz.) Italian sausages
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans white beans (Great Northern or navy), rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Poke holes in sausages and put in a large nonstick skillet.
  2. Add 1/4 cup water; bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat and cook sausages, turning, until lightly browned and water has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add beans, tomatoes and thyme.
  8. Put half of bean mixture into a slow cooker.
  9. Arrange sausages on top, followed by remaining beans.
  10. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  11. Check after 2 hours and add water if mixture looks dry.
  12. Remove sausages; slice thickly.
  13. Season beans with salt and pepper.
  14. Return sausage to stew. (Stew can be kept, frozen and tightly sealed, for up to 1 month.)

Classic Minestrone

Oddly, our family has never favored a minestrone recipe. When we think Italian food, it’s always a plate of pasta. This recipe from the October 2011 issue of All You (original here) might be worth sneaking into the line-up however. Everyone likes all those ingredients—and I bet if I add some meatballs, that pot of soup will disappear.

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup small shell pasta or macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded escarole or kale
  • 1 15.5-oz. can cannellini or navy beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving, optional

Directions

  1. Combine carrots, celery, onion and garlic in slow cooker.
  2. Pour in broth and stir in tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and Italian seasoning.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
  4. Thirty minutes before serving, stir in pasta, escarole and beans.
  5. Cover, increase heat to high and cook until pasta is tender, about 30 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan, if desired.

Variations

  • I will probably add two dozen small meatballs with the vegetables and broth.
  • This would be a great candidate for a bread bowl. Mmm.

Slow-Cooker Enchilada Casserole

I’m always intrigued by the stacked tortilla recipes that I see, but I often wonder how difficult they are to serve. This recipe from the July 2011 issue of All You (original here) is different from others that I’ve seen because the tortillas are toasted before going in the crockpot. I can’t wait to give it a try.

Ingredients

  • 9 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 15-oz. can can or jar enchilada sauce
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar

Directions

  1. Place an oven rack about 5 inches from broiler and preheat broiler to high.
  2. Toast tortillas under broiler, turning once, until lightly spotted, 2 to 3 minutes total. Set aside.
  3. Reserve 2 Tbsp. enchilada sauce.
  4. Combine beans and remaining sauce in a bowl.
  5. Mist slow-cooker insert with cooking spray.
  6. Place 3 tortillas in bottom, breaking one into pieces if necessary to cover bottom.
  7. Spread half of bean mixture over tortillas.
  8. Sprinkle with 1 cup corn and 1/2 cup cheese.
  9. Repeat with 3 more tortillas, remaining bean mixture, remaining corn and 1 cup cheese.
  10. Top with 3 remaining tortillas, reserved sauce and remaining 1 cup cheese.
  11. Cover and cook on low until cheese has melted and is beginning to crisp on edges, 2 to 3 hours.

Variations

  • I’m not sure the vegetarian meal would pass the Board of Inquiry at this house, so I will probably add some canned chicken or browned ground beef with the beans and sauce mixture.
  • I suspect that a Mexican blend of cheese would be a nice substitute for the Cheddar.

Caesar Pasta Salad

Mom likes to add cheese tortellini to Caesar salad. Here’s an interesting alternative with a home-made Caesar dressing. From the July 2011 issue of All You (original online), the description explains that “This salad is hearty on its own, but it is even more so when topped with grilled chicken or shrimp. Alternatively, toss in some kidney beans or chickpeas.”

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 12 ounces curly pasta, such as fusilli
  • 1 1/2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 9 flat anchovies, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 10 cup chopped green leaf lettuce
  • Chopped fresh basil, optional

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta until just tender, about 10 minutes, or as package label directs.
  3. While pasta is cooking, combine garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, mayonnaise, olive oil and 3/4 tsp. salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Drain pasta.
  5. Toss pasta with half of dressing and tomatoes. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  6. Toss with Parmesan.
  7. Toss lettuce with remaining dressing and divide among 4 shallow bowls.
  8. Spoon pasta salad over lettuce, sprinkle with basil, if desired, and serve.

Tomato Soup with White Beans and Pasta

A recipe from the January 2011 issue of All You (original here). The note with the recipe explains, “The pasta and white bean in this rustic tomato soup make it a satisfying meal at a low-cost. Save even more money by doubling the recipe—you’ll have enough to enjoy for lunch later in the week.”

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 28 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tubetini, little bow ties, elbow macaroni or other small pasta
  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add oregano, stir once, then add tomatoes with juice and chicken broth.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add pasta, stir, and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes.
  6. Stir in beans, lower heat and simmer until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, stir in parsley and serve, drizzling each portion with additional olive oil if desired.
  8. Makes 4 servings.

Taco-roni

A recipe from the Chef Boyardee (original here). This meal is a fast and simple way to take a pantry basic and jazz it up into something new.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) Chef Boyardee® Beefaroni®
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz each) Rosarita® Premium Whole Black Beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup broken yellow tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Place Beefaroni, drained tomatoes, beans, corn and cumin in large saucepan; stir to combine.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese and broken chips just before serving.

Crockpot Cabbage Roll Casserole

Love cabbage rolls (Mama calls the dish halupki) but not the work of putting them together? This crockpot version is for you!

It has the same taste, but relies on shredded cabbage from the produce section of your grocery store. Serve the finished dish with a side of mashed potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bag shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup uncooked instant rice
  • 2 to 3 cans (15 ounces) stewed tomatoes

Directions

  1. Spray crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Turn crockpot on to low.
  3. Brown ground beef and onion in a medium skillet, breaking up the meat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When meat is browned, pour water into pan and reduce heat to low.
  6. If desired, chop stewed tomatoes in blender or food processor.
  7. Pour tomatoes into prepared crockpot.
  8. Stir in instant rice.
  9. Add shredded cabbage and pour ground beef mixture on top of cabbage.
  10. Stir to combine ingredients well. The crockpot will be full, but will cook down as the cabbage wilts.
  11. Cover and cook on low setting, stir occasionally to ensure the casserole is well-mixed.
  12. Allow meal to cook 4 to 6 hours or until cabbage is tender.

Variations

  • Substitute a bag of shredded coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots, typically) for the shredded cabbage.
  • If casserole absorbs the sauce, stir in another can of stewed tomatoes or a can of tomato sauce.
  • Sprinkle individual servings with Cheddar cheese.

Time Required: 4 to 6 hours

Servings:8–12

Taco Soup

We loved this soup so much that the first time we made it, we ate it three days in a row. It’s one of those meals that sits in the crockpot on the kitchen counter taunting you all day long.
 
A definite treat for a cool fall or winter day, the soup can be easily modified to your tastes—just add or remove any of the ingredients. Because several family members have difficulty with spicy foods, for instance, we modified the recipe to make it a bit less spicy than Paula Deen’s original recipe. This is how we serve it at our house.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 (15 1/2-oz) can pinto beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-oz) can red kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15 1/4-oz) can white corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-oz) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (4 1/2-oz) cans green chiles, diced with no seeds
  • 1 (4.6-oz) can black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1 (1 1/4-oz) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-oz) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • Corn chips
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped green onions

Directions

  1. Brown the ground beef and onions in a skillet. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot.
  3. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix.
  4. Cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.
  5. Garnish bowls with corn chips, sour cream, cheese, and green onions. Add tabasco sauce, if desired.

Time Required: 6 hrs

Servings: 10–12

Rating: 5 stars (★★★★★)