Saturday, August 7, 2010
This is the easiest and yummiest crock pot meal EVER! In fact, it is too easy... But it is so delicious that I am posting it anyway.
Okay, here is what you do...
Grab a bag of frozen meatballs (or you can make them from scratch.. whatever), and a big can of sauce (or you can make it from scratch.... :P) and throw it in your crock pot. Mix it around a bit, and add some seasonings (oregano, basil, whatever makes you smile). Turn it on LOW for 4-5 hours, NO LONGER, because otherwise you will have meat sauce and not meat balls!!!!
A few minutes prior to dinner time, get some big hoagie buns and open them, spray them with cooking spray (I like to cheat this way), or spread them with butter, then toast in a broiler for a minute or two or until nice and toasted.
Top with some of the meatball mixture, then top with lots of yummy mozzarella, then pop back under the broiler to melt the cheese. Top with some fresh basil and enjoy!! These are SO yummy and guys will go back from seconds and even thirds!
Let me just sigh a contented sigh of yumminess...
These things are pure heaven: seriously.
I had found a recipe vaguely resembling gingerbread muffins... I played with it until I found something that took me back to Christmastime in my childhood and knew I had done it right...
Then I wanted to dress the little guys up in something delicious and I had a bunch of oranges laying around, so I decided to give them some life and came up with a delicious cream cheese frosting with a hint of orange flavor.
It was a beautiful marriage...
So anyways, let me explain something really quick... The fact that I am about to share this particular recipe is a VERY BIG DEAL... This is one of those recipes that whenever I make these muffins (which I often pass off as cupcakes) and take somewhere, everyone wants to know my secret... to which I just smile and say "If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, now would it?"
Well, guess the secret is out. Here you go! Enjoy!
Most Amazing Incredible Super Delicious Gingerbread Muffins:
1/2 c water
1/4 c butter (go on and use the good stuff, you know you want to)
1/4 c molasses
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c all purpose flour, sifted (duh)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger (gasp! surprise!)
1 tsp (or a little more) pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350... also, enlist help of little person or unsuspecting husband (boyfriend, friend, or whoever) to line muffin tins with the little baking cup things.. Just a note, I prefer to do mini muffins... they turn out better and are such a satisfying little treat.
Put the butter and water into a microwave safe bowl and microwave until melted. I usually do about 30 seconds at a time until it is bubbling.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg in a bowl until well beaten. Add sugar and molasses and whisk well. Add the water and butter mixture and vanilla and stir well again. Then sift the remaining ingredients on top of the liquid mixture. Slowly stir to combine the wet into the dry without over stirring.
Pour into prepared muffin cups and bake for about 10 minutes. (20 for regular sized muffins).
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar (or more depending on consistency, I think I ended up with about 2 cups or a little less)
1 tsp vanilla
lots of orange zest (as much or as little as you want, but the more the merrier I always say)
Okay, let me just point out that when I say "softened" I MEAN softened!!! Make sure you have these suckers out for enough time to be workable, but not like, melted or anything... If you forget to set them out, unwrap the cream cheese, set it on the plate, and microwave for like, 8 seconds. That should do it. Same thing with the butter but only for 5 seconds.
Cream the butter and cream cheese until creamy and whippy (is that a word?). Add the vanilla and orange juice and beat until blended. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat the crud out of it.. Then add in your zest and mix well.
I usually spoon the frosting into a sandwich baggy and use it like a piping bag... Just a tip, stick your baggy in a tall glass and fold the edges over it like a garbage bag in the can, then dump your frosting in it... much easier and less messy!!!
Okay so to be quite honest, I actually made these stuffed Anaheim peppers back in May and June, but never put up the post... I have been slacking, yes I know, and for that I apologize. But let me make it up to you: just trust me... make these peppers and then you will sit back and say "okay Virginia, I forgive you... This was worth the wait."
So what, you may ask, IS an Anaheim pepper? This link will fill you in, as well as give you some tips about buying and what to look for, as well as a picture.
Okay, now that you are up to speed, let me explain the thought process on this recipe... I was making enchiladas with homemade tomatillo sauce (verde sauce) and I wanted something to accompany it. So my Mommy, who is AMAZING, is ALWAYS talking about these delicious peppers she likes to make. She stuffs them with pretty much just cream cheese and then broils them. I decided to take it a step further and add some grated cheddar cheese, cilantro, garlic (because, well let's just face it, garlic rocks), a few bread crumbs (totally optional), and then to top the whole thing off, I wrapped those suckers up in delicious thickly sliced bacon.... Then I broiled them until both sides were nicely browned and the bacon cooked... Then we dug in... and THEN my husband said "hey honey, can you run to Wal-Mart?" I said "Why? What do you need?"
"More Anaheim peppers! These things rock!!"
So there you have it: easy enough to do, a total man pleaser, and a great compliment to any southwest, tex mex, or mexican meal... (or really anything honestly).
Here is how you do it:
4 Anaheim peppers, washed
1 block cream cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 bunch fresh cilantro washed and chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 c bread crumbs (I used the seasoned kind... didn't really go with the "mexican" theme, but tasted awesome!)
bacon. lots and lots of bacon...
oh and tooth picks. you need some of those too. And if you have a broiler pan, I suggest you dig it out, it will come in handy.
Okay so first you set out your cream cheese and let it soften up a bit, just so it makes things easier.
Then you need to seed and prep your peppers. Remember, you are going to be stuffing these and then roasting them, so you don't want to go lopping the tops off. Instead, make a slit all the way down the pepper, then cut halfway through the top part of the pepper, without severing it completely. This will allow you enough room to cut out the seeds and give it a good washing (which helps the stubborn seeds break loose), and stuff it up with your filling.
Once all your peppers are prepped, set them aside and start making your filling... Basically add everything except the peppers and the bacon to a bowl, then mix it up really well and stuff 1/4 of the mixture into each pepper.
Now comes the fun part! Take a tooth pick and stick a slice of bacon to the top of the pepper in a way that covers the seam from the cut. Then wind the piece around the pepper, make sure that all the seams are covered (to prevent the filling from leaking out). You will need a couple of slices per pepper at least... and lots of toothpicks. Don't worry about going overboard with the toothpicks, you will just pull them out once the peppers are done anyway! Better safe then sorry!
Preheat your broiler and line the peppers up on a broiler pan. I like to line my pan with foil so that clean up is a snap... Oh and if you don't have a broiler pan you could just use a foil lined cookie sheet or a foil lined cookie sheet with a cooling rack sat in it...
Broil for about 5 minutes on each side, checking frequently so that they don't burn.
Enjoy your deliciousness!
***Correction: Added March 3, 2011***
My mother contacted me to correct my description of her peppers. She also wrapped them in bacon and put other goodness into the filling. So I guess great minds think alike. I wasn't as different as I thought! Sorry Mommy!!!!