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Happy Anniversary, McDLT – Recreate the Legend At Home

As National Burger Month draws to a close, it’s time to fondly remember a classic; the McDLT. If you think back far enough, you may recall that in 1985, fast-food giant McDonald’s was looking for new ways to get you to buy their products. Throughout the Decade of Decadence, we were treated to “innovative” menu offerings such as McNuggets, Chef Salads, the McRib, Mc Hotdog (sold at Toronto’s SkyDome) McPizza and the infamous McDLT.
       mcdlt ad

The purpose, for lack of a better word, of the McDLT was to give customers a ‘deluxe’ hamburger where the hot side of the burger (containing the beef patty and bottom bun) stayed hot and the cool side (complete with the top bun, lettuce, tomato and cheese) stayed cool until YOU the consumer, put them together. Honestly, of all the problems facing 1980s America, I can’t say that keeping two parts of a hamburger at desired temperatures really ranked high on anyone’s list, but there was McDonald’s and their McDLT.

The best part of the McDLT was the container it came in. It was a specially designed, two compartment Styrofoam box. Instead of being folded over so that one compartment is the top and the other side is the bottom (as was common in the 1980s) this box stayed flat and had a matching lid, thus using twice as much Styrofoam as any other burger on the menu.

 McDLT_Packaging

Still, as far as burgers went, the McDLT appeared to be pretty awesome. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to try it after seeing commercials. I was fixated with the idea of flipping, bouncing, tossing or chopping the box so that the two sides came together, as seen on TV. (Word to the not-so-wise, should you find yourself in possession of a time machine and you go back to 1985 and decide to order a McDLT, don’t try karate-chopping the center of the box to flip your burger sides together. It doesn’t work.)

Some people called it a fail, but it lasted for almost five years. McDonald’s spent millions rolling it out in marketing campaigns, even having then virtually unknown actor Jason Alexander shilling the virtues of keeping “the hot side hot and the cool side cool” in a cringe-worthy TV spot.

Ads continued until 1990 when, to appear more environmentally friendly, McDonald’s did away with Styrofoam containers and started using wax paper and cardboard rings to hold the burgers in place, before switching to the boxes they have now. And since the two compartment containers were integral to the McDLT experience, and there was no way to replicate it, ultimately the McDLT was discontinued.

Naturally, I had to see if it was possible to recreate this fast-food classic in honor of its seemingly forgotten anniversary and put a homemade spin on it. I guess, in hindsight I could have just made a hamburger and left the top off it and told people to put it together themselves, but where’s the fun in that?

Naturally, a sesame seed bun is needed. Now, what most people overlook when trying to recreate any McDonald’s burger is that the buns are actually very lightly toasted, almost so lightly than the average person doesn’t even notice. The buns show up at McD’s already like that, but to recreate it, I simply heated my store bought buns in a stainless steel skillet for a minute to get the desired texture.

IMG_4352

Note the very lightly toasted bun, done on a stainless steel pan to achieve the McDonald’s effect.

Then I started with a thinly pressed quarter pound of beef that would sit on the “hot side”. McDonald’s always says they use very little seasoning and proudly promote the 100% Pure Beef of their burgers. So I did the same thing. Beef, salt and pepper. That’s it. And cooked on a griddle instead of a flame-grill.

IMG_4362

Crispy romaine lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, diced onions, a slice of American cheese and mayonnaise – all on the “cool side”.

IMG_4360

Because I have just a little extra time on my hands, I was able to track down a special container just so my homemade version of the McDLT would feel special and get to live out the 1980s expereince. (Don’t worry, this container is actually recyclable and biodegradable, so I’m being somewhat environmentally focused with this too.)

IMG_4371

  So while the McDLT is gone, it’s not forgotten and will always be a special entry into the 1980s Hall of Fame. And now you can have the fun of creating it at home. No word on whether Jason Alexander will be available to sing its praises to you though.

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Cheesy Beef Lasagna

Houston, we have a problem. I may now be totally addicted to Campbell’s® Condensed Tomato with Basil and Oregano. First, it was the Classic Weeknight Tacos, then it was Our Favourite Meatloaf and now this Cheesy Beef Lasagna. Soon, I’m going to be buying this soup by the case.

lasagna 3

The flavour this soup gives to this lasagna is amazing. So much so that I’ve made it twice in the last two weeks. *unbuttons top button of jeans and pats belly* Yup, it’s totally fair to say that I’m addicted.

While the taste is what I love most, this is also one of the easiest lasagna recipes I’ve ever come across. Lasagna, in the past, has always been a strictly weekend thing. I whipped this recipe together on a Wednesday night for my daughters and their hungry friends. It takes less than 20 minutes to assemble and the rest of the time is in the oven. So while it was cooking, I was getting other things done.

Cheesy Beef Lasagna

Both times that I’ve made this was for a crowd, but the next time I make it I’m going to divide between two smaller pans and freeze one for another meal.

lasagna

Cheesy Beef Lasagna
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Meat Sauce
  1. 2 tsp olive oil
  2. 2 cups onion, chopped
  3. 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  5. 3lbs lean ground beef
  6. 2 tbsp chili powder
  7. 3 cans CAMPBELL'S Condensed Tomato with Basil and Oregano Soup
  8. 3 cups CAMPBELL'S No Salt Added Ready to Use Beef Broth
Cheese Mixture
  1. 4 cups light ricotta cheese
  2. 3 cups mozzarella, shredded
  3. 1 cup Parmesan, grated
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 12 oven ready lasagna noodles, uncooked
  6. 1 tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables caramelize.
  2. Add the garlic and ground beef and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes or until the beef is well browned. Add the chili powder and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the soup and cook for 5 minutes. Add broth and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, eggs and black pepper. Mix well.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F. Spread 2 cups of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9"x13" pan. Layer 4 lasagna noodles on top, overlapping noodles slightly to cover the bottom.
  6. Spread half of the cheese mixture over noodles. Layer with 2 1/2 cups of meat sauce and 4 lasagna noodles.
  7. Spread the remaining cheese mixture on top of the second layer of noodles, layer with 2 1/2 cups of meat sauce and 4 lasagna noodles.
  8. Spread the remaining meat sauce on lasagna noodles, top with Parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese.
  9. Cover with foil and back for 45 minutes at 375F.
  10. Uncover and continue to bake for 15 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/
Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Our Favourite Meatloaf

A few weeks ago I went on and on about these Classic Weeknight Tacos from Campbell’s. I was blown away by the amazing taste Campbell’s® Tomato with Basil & Oregano soup added to the recipe and was plotting ways to use this soup more in other recipes. Sloppy Joes I thought, tossed with pasta and served over nachos. What I didn’t consider was meatloaf!

Our Favourite Meatloaf

Thankfully Campbell’s did, with this recipe for Our Favourite Meatloaf.

Like every Campbell’s recipe we’ve tried before this was a clear cut winner in our house and our old recipe has hit the recycle bin.

Poor meatloaf gets a bad rap in some kitchens and I’m not sure why. I can’t think of anything easier to get on the table for a weeknight meal. It also happens to be delicious; served with a side of mashed potatoes and a green salad, it’s comfort food at it’s finest. If you haven’t tried meatloaf in awhile, I highly recommend you come back to it with this recipe.

meatloaf 3Plus, if you haven’t tried a leftover meatloaf sandwich then you haven’t lived in my opinion. Sadly, our kids cleaned us out on this particular recipe, coming back for seconds and even thirds. All that was left in the bottom of the pan was a mouthwatering memory. Note to self: Double recipe for leftovers.

Our Favourite Meatloaf

 

Our Favourite Meatloaf
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  2. 1 can Campbell's® Tomato with Basil & Oregano soup
  3. 1/2 cup onion, grated
  4. 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  5. 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  8. 2 garlic cloves, minced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Combine beef, 1/2 can of soup, onion, breadcrumbs, parmesan, eggs, black pepper and garlic.
  2. Transfer to a nonstick 9x5 inch loaf pan. Spread remaining soup over top. Bake for 60 minutes or until instant read thermometer registers 165F when inserted into the center of the meatloaf. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Tip: You can use a blend of ground beef and ground pork for a more robust flavour.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/
Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Mouthwatering Vegetarian Pizza Even Picky Eaters Will Love

When my fridge is full of bits; various kinds of cheese, vegetables or meats, I make pizza.There’s something about the smell of yeast, kneading dough, and then topping it that just makes life…better. Especially on a Friday, when the evening is a bit lazy and a weekend stretches out before us. During holidays like Spring Break is even better; it’s a perfect project to get the kids involved, since the dough is very forgiving and kids love topping their own pizza.

With one picky eater and one adventurous eater in the house, pizza  is one of those easy things that everyone in the house can customize to their liking. We love it so much that I usually make two  because we love the leftovers! Our favourite toppings include a ton of vegetables but you can switch it up to top with whatever you enjoy most. The best part is you can make the pizza just the way you like it, and it’s far healthier than anything you’d buy at the take out shop.

 mouthwatering vegetarian pizza, pizza, vegetarian,  homemade, easy recipe, delicious recipe, dinner idea

Ingredients

Dough:
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp instant rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/3 cup very warm water
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Sauce:
2/3 cup pizza sauce, or crushed tomatoes, or passata (strained tomatoes)

Toppings:
olive oil
500 grams mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Add toppings of your choice or try these favourites: 

  • garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • sliced olives
  • red onion, sliced thinly
  • sweet red/orange/yellow peppers, sliced thinly
  • mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • tomatoes, seeded and sliced thinly

Directions:

Making the Dough

In a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, salt, sugar, Italian seasoning, and yeast. Change the attachment to the dough hook. Measure the water and oil together and then with the motor running on medium speed, gradually add the water mixture and continue to mix until a soft dough forms.

If the dough appears a bit dry and shaggy, add about 1 Tbsp of water at a time until the dough comes together. If it’s too wet and sticky, you can add a little more flour until you have a soft, smooth, dough. Run the mixer for about 3-4 minutes to knead it well. If you are making the dough by hand, knead it for about 5-7 minutes.

Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and shape into a large ball. Coat a large bowl with olive oil and then set the dough inside, turning in and rubbing against the bowl to coat it in oil as well. Cover with cling film and set the bowl in a cold oven with the light turned on. The heat from the light will be enough to give the dough a warm environment to rise.

mouthwatering vegetarian pizza, pizza, vegetarian,  homemade, easy recipe, delicious recipe, dinner idea

Let the dough rise for 70-90 minutes, or until doubled in size. While the dough is rising, prep the veggies and grate the cheese. Arrange the vegetables on a large platter. Keep the cheese in the fridge so that it’s chilled.
When the dough has risen, take the bowl out of the oven and turn the oven to 450 F. Divide the dough into two pieces and on a lightly floured counter knead them a bit to get out the extra air.

Building the Pizza
mouthwatering vegetarian pizza, pizza, vegetarian,  homemade, easy recipe, delicious recipe, dinner idea

Using a rolling pin, roll out and stretch the dough to fit two 12 inch pizza pans. Stretch the dough to the edge of the pans, creating a rim by pressing around the edges with your fingers.
mouthwatering vegetarian pizza, pizza, vegetarian,  homemade, easy recipe, delicious recipe, dinner idea

Lightly spread about 2-3 tsp olive oil over the pizza crust. Next,spread about 1/3 cup sauce on each pizza, covering each to the edges. Top the pizza with the mozzarella. Next top with the peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Lastly, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over each pizza.

Bake the pizzas in the lower 1/3 and middle of the hot oven for 8 minutes before switching the pans and baking another 8 minutes. Check the crusts to see that they are golden brown. Take the pizzas out of the oven and turn the oven on to broil. Move the top rack up so that it’s about 6 inches away from the broiler. Watch it very, very carefully.

When the cheese has caramelized a little, remove from the oven and let cool for about 3-5 minutes before slicing into pieces

 

Homemade Vegetarian Pizza
Yields 12
A homemade vegetarian pizza so good you'll never want take out again!
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Prep Time
1 hr 40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
1 hr 40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
2 hr
Dough
  1. 2 cups white flour
  2. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 2 1/4 tsp instant rise yeast
  4. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  6. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  7. 1 1/3 cup very warm water
  8. 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Sauce
  1. 2/3 cup pizza sauce, or crushed tomatoes, or passata (strained tomatoes)
Toppings
  1. olive oil
  2. 500 grams mozzarella cheese, shredded
  3. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Toppings of your choice. Try
  1. garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  2. sliced olives
  3. red onion, sliced thinly
  4. sweet red/orange/yellow peppers, sliced thinly
  5. mushrooms, sliced thinly
  6. tomatoes, seeded and sliced thinly
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, salt, sugar, Italian seasoning, and yeast. Change the attachment to the dough hook. Measure the water and oil together and then with the motor running on medium speed, gradually add the water mixture and continue to mix until a soft dough forms.
  2. If the dough appears a bit dry and shaggy, add about 1 Tbsp of water at a time until the dough comes together. If it's too wet and sticky, you can add a little more flour until you have a soft, smooth, dough. Run the mixer for about 3-4 minutes to knead it well. If you are making the dough by hand, knead it for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and shape into a large ball. Coat a large bowl with olive oil and then set the dough inside, turning in and rubbing against the bowl to coat it in oil as well. Cover with cling film and set the bowl in a cold oven with the light turned on. The heat from the light will be enough to give the dough a warm environment to rise.
  4. Let the dough rise for 70-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  5. While the dough is rising, prep the veggies and grate the cheese. Arrange the vegetables on a large platter. Keep the cheese in the fridge so that it's chilled.
  6. When the dough has risen, take the bowl out of the oven and turn the oven to 450 F. Divide the dough into two pieces and on a lightly floured counter knead them a bit to get out the extra air.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll out and stretch the dough to fit two 12 inch pizza pans. Stretch the dough to the edge of the pans, creating a rim by pressing around the edges with your fingers.
  8. Lightly spread about 2-3 tsp olive oil over the pizza crust. Next,spread about 1/3 cup sauce on each pizza, covering each to the edges. Top the pizza with the mozzarella. Next top with the peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Lastly, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over each pizza.
  9. Bake the pizzas in the lower 1/3 and middle of the hot oven for 8 minutes before switching the pans and baking another 8 minutes. Check the crusts to see that they are golden brown.
  10. Take the pizzas out of the oven and turn the oven on to broil. Move the top rack up so that it's about 6 inches away from the broiler. Watch it very, very carefully.
  11. When the cheese has caramelized a little, remove from the oven and let cool for about 3-5 minutes before slicing into pieces
Notes
  1. Tip: putting the veggies on top of the main layer of cheese keeps the crust from going soggy because they cook more on top. If you want to swap out veggies and add meat, layer with a thin layer of cheese, then meat, then more cheese. This will keep the toppings from sliding off.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/
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Monterey Chicken Fajitas

I’ve moved from getting my husband to do all the cooking around here, to enlisting help from the kids. I figure with three other people helping in the kitchen I may not need to cook another meal until sometime next year. It can never be said that I’m not smart when it comes to running a household.

Monterey Chicken Fajitas, Campbell's, fajitas,

I’m a firm believer of getting kids in the kitchen with you from an early age. In addition to giving mom a break, teaching kids to cook provides them with important life skills. To get kids in the kitchen though, you have to find recipes that make them happy. Let’s face it, if you’re asking them to whip up Beef Bourguignon you’re probably not going to get a buy-in. Look for recipes that kids love, like these Monterey Chicken Fajitas.

Monterey Chicken Fajitas

My oldest daughter has started a recipe binder. She looks for recipes online and if she deems them a success she files it away in her binder. By the time she is ready to move out on her own, she’ll be armed with a ton of great meal ideas and I’ll have a great place to eat once a week. Three kids = three times eating out a week. Now that’s thinking ahead.

Like all the other great Campbell’s recipes we’ve been sharing here in Pleasantville, this recipe was a hit with everyone, and as you may have already determined, a cinch to make.

Monterey Chicken Fajitas

Monterey Chicken Fajitas
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  3. 1 small green pepper, cut into strips
  4. 1 small red pepper, cut into strips
  5. 1 medium onion
  6. 1 tbsp Tex-Mex seasoning blend
  7. 1 can Campbell's Condensed Low Fat Cream of Celery Soup
  8. 1 cup Pace Chunky Salsa, divided
  9. 1 cup corn
  10. 6 flour tortillas
  11. 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  12. Lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add green pepper, red pepper, onion and Tex-Mex seasoning.
  2. Cook, stirring often, for 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp and chicken is cooked through. Add soup and 1/2 cup of salsa; bring to a simmer. Stir in corn. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Top with cheese and additional salsa. Fold tortilla around filling. Serve with lime wedges
Notes
  1. Add a few dashes of hot sauce for those who like it spicy.
  2. For some added zest, squeeze the lime wedge over the fajita filling before folding the tortilla.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/

Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Is Canned Fruit Good for You? These Peaches Definitely Are

Can I or Can’t I? That’s what MacBeth should have been asking. But I won’t dare rewrite Shakespeare, instead, I will ask is canned fruit good for you and allowed back into your healthy gourmet kitchen?

California peaches, peaches, canned peaches, cling peaches, cooking with canned peaches, health benefits of peaches, pork tenderloin, Vitamin E

I am working with the California Cling Peach Board so I wanted to figure out their health benefits. I already know that I love peaches, I have since I was 6 and waiting 11 months for my fix isn’t fair so I do put canned peaches through their paces especially this time of year!

Here is what I discovered; canned peaches deliver a promising amount of nutrients that are actually enhanced by the canning process. Vitamin A, folate, lycopene and some anti-oxidants are made more bio available by the heating and canning process. But the truly impressive nutrient is Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is a fat soluble anti-inflammatory, anti-aging nutrient that is usually associated with nuts and seeds. And while those little nuggets are great for you, a small handful is all you can eat each day because of their caloric punch. Fruit sources, on the other hand, can be layered in without worry and consumed in satisfyingly high amounts.

There is even support that the canning process actually enhances the eye protecting nutrients of leutin and zeaxanthan and we know lycopene (also high in peaches)benefits from the heat of tomatoes into sauce which is a prostate cancer protector. Canned peaches are picked ripe and preserved at their peak.

Some of the other cans that I always have on hand include:

  • evaporated milk for coffee, hot chocolate and smoothies. It has all the creaminess and twice the amount of calcium and protein but none of the fat in cream.
  • Low sodium chicken broth for quick soups.
  • Refried beans for quick burritos or nachos.
  • Clams for stirring into pasta with garlic and parmesan cheese

February was National Canned Food Month and this month is Nutrition Month, I see no reason why the two can’t get along.

This is one of those mildly curried dishes that takes no time to prepare and is a family friendly quickie.

Curried Peach Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 -1.5 pound pork tenderloin cut into 4 equal pieces
  2. 1 tbsp curry powder
  3. 1 tsp chili powder
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  5. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1 can clingstone peach slices, juice reserved
  7. 1 cup sweet white wine
  8. ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  9. Pea shoots for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Place pork tenderloin in a large freezer bag, combine curry and chili powders, one clove of garlic and olive oil and rub well. Set aside on counter for a few minutes or place in fridge to marinate for up to 24 hours.
  2. In a small pot combine juice from clingstone peaches (but set aside peaches themselves until later), wine, vinegar and remaining garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer to reduce into a sauce for 10-20 minutes. Stir in peaches and keep warm until pork is cooked.
  3. Empty pork into a casserole dish and bake at 400F for 20 or so minutes until cooked through to 130 F. Add peach sauce and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Garnish with pea shoots or other herb greens.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/
Image Source: California Cling Peaches, Flickr.
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Classic Weeknight Tacos – Perfect Any Day of the Week

I went all rogue over here today by making these Classic Weeknight Tacos on a Saturday afternoon. What can I say? I’m super rebellious that way. Seriously though, this recipe gets a huge OMG from me and the people I feed. This Campbell’s recipe is the I-am-100%-stuffed-but-I’d-gladly-eat-another-plate-full type of recipe. Without a doubt the best beef tacos I’ve ever made.

Classic Weeknight Tacos, Campbell's, Taco Tuesday

Similar to the Creamy Perogie Dinner I made a few weeks ago, I really felt that you couldn’t mess with the classic beef taco recipe. Wrong. So wrong. The addition of beef broth and Campbell’s Condensed Tomato and Basil Soup make this taco recipe a definite keeper!

Classic Weeknight Tacos, Campbell's, beef tacos, Taco Tuesday, taco dip

As I was licking the pan afterwards, I began to contemplate where else I could use the amazing beef mixture included in this recipe and I came up with a few other alternatives.

1) Toss with cooked pasta
2) As a dip at parties, kept warm in a fondue pan
3) For Sloppy Joes with a tex-mex twist
4) Served over nachos
5) In a bowl with a spoon. I’m kidding. Maybe. Have I mentioned this is delicious?

Classic Weeknight Tacos, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, lettuce

I’m also thinking this is the perfect recipe for ski weekends. I can make the beef mixture ahead of time and transport in separate containers to the chalet. Once there, I need only heat up the beef in the microwave. Lined up on the counter, everyone can serve themselves.

Basically, I’m just looking for as many reasons as possible to include this recipe in my life. I certainly see it showing up on Taco Tuesdays for many weeks to come. The beauty, of course, is that I won’t be making it! It’s so simple to pull together I’m going to delegate the making of this from now on to my 12 year old. I like recipes that allow me to delegate. Thank you Campbell’s.

Classic Weeknight Tacos, taco recipe, beef tacos, classic beef tacos

Classic Weeknight Tacos
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp canola oil
  2. 1 lb lean ground beef
  3. 4 tsp chili powder
  4. 1 onion, chopped
  5. 1 green pepper, chopped
  6. 1 can Campbell's Condensed Tomato with Basil and Oregano Soup
  7. 1/2 cup Campbell's Ready to Use Beef Broth
  8. 8 hard taco shells
  9. 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  10. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  11. 1/4 cup sour cream
  12. 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  13. 1/4 cup chopped green onion
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Crumble in ground beef; season with chili powder blend. Cook, stirring and breaking up beef, for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned. Stir in onion and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour in soup and broth; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat.
  3. Fill taco shells with shredded lettuce and some of the beef mixture. Garnish with cheddar, sour cream, tomatoes and green onions.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/
Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Super Bowl Chili: You NEED To Make This

I worked on this recipe for 3 years. This is why I call it.. THE BEST CHILI EVA or for the purposes of this post, Super Bowl Chili.

It has a real mole flare with the coffee and cocoa powder and just a touch of cinnamon. I firmly believe it will spoil you for all other chili forever. Do come back and let me know if I’m right, ok?

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 6.15.21 PM

This works fab as a meal, but it is my favourite to put out with nacho chips at parties, like, the big game party happening this Sunday. Serve it dip style with fresh grated cheese on top.

While it’s ideal for the Super Bowl, it also works well with late night re-runs on HGTV. It’s versatile that way. I’ll let you decide the when and where.

Super Bowl Chili
This is the best Chili ever. I dare you to try it.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb lean ground beef
  2. 1 lb ground pork
  3. 3 strips of bacon
  4. 1 lg can kidney beans
  5. 1 lg can bean medley
  6. 1 lg can diced tomatoes
  7. 1 can tomato sauce
  8. 1 can corn beef hash
  9. 1/2 medium-sized onion diced
  10. 3 cups brewed coffee
  11. 2 tbsp chili powder ( I also add 1 pkg of premix chili spices)
  12. 1.5 tbs cocoa powder
  13. 1 tsp cinnamon
  14. 1/2 tsp Cumin
  15. 1 ounce Worcestershire sauce
  16. 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  17. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  18. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  19. 1/2 tsp garlic
  20. (feel free to add fresh hot peppers if you like it HAWT!)
Instructions
  1. In a Large pan or skillet cook 3 strips of bacon. You're cooking this for the bacon fat that the meat will cook in.
  2. Once the bacon is cooked, add the diced onions, and the can of corn beef hash…I know it looks like Ass but it really adds a great flavor and texture to your Chili.
  3. Add your beef, pork, 1.5 cups of the brewed coffee, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and let it the combo cook down.
  4. While this is cooking down, in the pot or slow cooker you're using for the chili, add the following: All the beans, tomatoes, and the tomato sauce. Your cocoa powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper and garlic. Also add the other 1.5 cups of your brewed coffee and your Sriracha sauce.
  5. Once the meat mixture is fully cooked, add it to your bean/tomato mixture, cover, and cook on high for approximately 3 hours. Turn to low for two more hours to really get the flavor going.
Notes
  1. Serve it up with a generous dollop of Sour Cream, some sharp Cheddar and your fave corn chips. Also…a Nice Cold Beer is a MUST!!!
  2. I often serve this as a dip with the nacho chips at parties in the place of salsa…Always a Huge Hit…
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/
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Creamy Perogie Dinner

There’s been an interesting trend lately in my house—I hand my husband a recipe and he cooks it. I then photograph and eat it. In news that will surprise no one, I am really liking this trend. He was quick to jump in and make the Campbell’s Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo and he insisted on  making this Campbell’s Creamy Perogie Dinner.

creamy perogie dinner

I will admit I was skeptical trying this. I am a perogie purist—onions, bacon, sour cream—nothing more, nothing less. I’m not joking when I say that a plate of perogies would be one my last meal requests. Maybe it’s because I know for a last meal I’d be looking for the ultimate comfort food and perogies fit the bill. They are little fluffy pillows of carb-y goodness.  Thankfully, I’m not near my last meal yet but I do try to eat perogies as much as possible in the winter months.

creamy perogie dinner

So, I raised an eyebrow when I read the recipe for this Creamy Perogie Dinner because while it has the essentials, it adds a few twists in as well, like spinach, salsa, chicken broth and Campbell’s Cream of Celery Soup. What kitchen sorcery is this? Delicious kitchen sorcery!! This recipe was a huge hit. While all my favourite perogie components remained, the creamy sauce in which the perogies are gently cooked was a pleasant surprise. The creamy sauce made this traditional comfort meal even more comforting if possible. On a cold January day, it was the perfect meal to dig into.

 Campbell's Creamy Perogie Dinner

Creamy Perogie Dinner
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Ingredients
  1. 5 slices bacon, diced into small pieces
  2. 1 onion, finely diced
  3. 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  4. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  5. 1 box (907 g) frozen perogies
  6. 1 can (284ml) CAMPBELL'S Condensed Low Fat Cream of Celery Soup
  7. 1/2 cup CAMPBELL'S Ready to Use No Salt Added Chicken Broth
  8. 1 cup salsa
  9. 2 cups baby spinach, loosely chopped
  10. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  11. 1/4 cup sour cream (garnish)
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon until crisp at medium heat in large skillet. Drain bacon on paper towel; remove all but 1 tbsp fat from skillet.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and black pepper to skillet; cook and stir until onions are transcluscent—about 3 minutes. Return bacon to pan.
  3. Add perogies to skillet and cook until browned on each side, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the soup, broth and salsa and stir to combine and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and Parmesan cheese and cover skillet with lid. Turn heat off and let sit for a couple of minutes to allow spinach to wilt slightly then mix.
  6. Garnish with sour cream and serve immediately.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/
Disclosure: I am part of the Campbell Company of Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Years ago, my cousin graduated from a Chef’s program and my mother invited him to our house to come show off his newly acquired culinary skills. We had a packed house that night and everyone was eager to see what the first chef in our family would serve. Each course was exceptional but the one thing everyone raved about that night was the Fettucine Alfredo he served alongside a perfectly cooked filet mignon.

“What is your secret?”, all the relatives asked.

He hopped back into the kitchen and with a big grin on his face, came out holding a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

chicken and broccoli alfredo, broccoli and chicken alfredo

Needless to say, I’ve carried that little story with me for years now because it taught me that sometimes short cuts in the kitchen make the best meals. That’s why I was super excited to make this Campbell’s Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo. I knew it would be delicious. In fact, I was so confident it would be amazing that we saved this recipe for Christmas Eve.

chicken and broccoli alfredo

Please keep in mind that our Christmas Eve was of the less traditional variety since we were RV’ing in Fort Myers, Florida. I needed our Christmas Eve meal to be three things. It needed to not require a ton of ingredients, it needed to be simple to prepare and it needed to be delicious. This recipe hit every mark.

chicken and broccoli alfredo

This particular recipe will be on a regular rotation in my kitchen now.

Easy Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo
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Ingredients
  1. 10 oz fettucine
  2. 3 cups broccoli florets
  3. 2 tbsp butter
  4. 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cubed
  5. 1/4 tsp salt and ground black pepper
  6. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1 can CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Low Fat Cream of Chicken Soup
  8. 1/2 cup 1% milk
  9. 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  10. 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  11. 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook fettuccini according to package directions. Add the broccoli during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  3. Add soup, milk and fettuccini with broccoli. Cook, stirring often, until heated through. Stir in sundried tomatoes and basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
Notes
  1. We grilled our chicken a day ahead for this recipe. Then diced into pieces and warmed slightly in a pan with olive oil before adding to fettucine mixture.
Life In Pleasantville http://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/
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