If you have a question or comment, please e-mail me at marinscreations@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Panda Express Orange Chicken

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Costco? I couldn't live without Costco. They recently started carrying Panda Express Orange Sauce....sooo good! It really tastes exactly the same. This is my favorite entree at Panda Express so it was a no-brainer that I would buy it and give it a try. I've tried a couple other orange chicken recipes before and have not been impressed. This sauce is worth buying. I used the same recipe for the chicken as I do with my Sweet & Sour Chicken, which by the way is a must try too, and it turned out awesome! Give it a try!

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
salt & pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 bottle Panda Express Orange Sauce, from Costco

1. Season chicken with salt & pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch, then in egg.
2. Fry battered chicken in hot canola oil over medium heat just until browned (not cooked through).
3. Place browned chicken in a single layer in a 9x13 baking dish.
4. Pour sauce over chicken and bake at 325 degrees for one hour, turning chicken every 15 minutes. Serve over rice....mmmm!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sausage & Pepper Baked Ziti

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, I know we did. Santa always seems to bring more than he's supposed to! The holidays were great and so was the food. Now I am working on taking down Christmas and actually decorating our new home.
I got this recipe out of a Woman's Day magazine and finally got around to trying it. It was really good and even the kids liked it. The sauce has a slightly creamy taste to it with the ricotta cheese....yum! Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

8oz uncooked ziti pasta
2 tsp. oil
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
12oz sweet Italian sausage links, about 4
1 cup part skim ricotta
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups marinara sauce

1. Cook pasta till al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, onion, and sausage and cook until sausage is browned. Remove from heat and slice sausage into 1/4-in. slices.
3. Mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, and parsley in a medium bowl. Drain pasta, toss with cheese mixture, sausage mixture, and 1 cup marinara.
4. Pour mixture into a 2-qt. shallow baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered, 400 degrees, for 20 minutes, or until bubbly.

Monday, December 21, 2009

French Dip Sandwiches

Thanks to Teresa over at A Blog About Food for this yummy recipe! My family really enjoyed it and it was full of flavor. The house smelled great and it's always nice when dinner is ready with such little work involved. My husband says "it's a keeper" so I'm sure we'll be having this again soon. Thanks Teresa! (Be sure and check out her blog for other wonderful recipes too!)

1 (4 pound) boneless beef roast (Mine is often smaller than this, 2-3 pounds works fine too. And I usually cut it into a few pieces so it will cook faster/better.)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 beef bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
3 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder (I used minced garlic)
2-3 cups beef stock
package of onion soup mix
French Bread or Rolls for sandwiches

Remove and discard all visible fat from the roast. Place trimmed roast in a slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, bouillon, bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and onion soup mix. Pour mixture over roast, and add beef stock to almost cover roast. Cover, and cook on Low heat for 10 to 12 hours, or until meat is very tender.

Remove meat from broth, reserving broth. Shred meat with a fork, and distribute on bread for sandwiches. Used reserved broth for dipping.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

El Pato

I've had a lot of people comment on both old and recent posts that they don't know what El Pato is and since I use it so often I thought I'd share. It's a Mexican tomato sauce that has chiles, onions, garlic, salt and spices in it. You can find it in the Hispanic foods section as well as the canned tomato area of the grocery store. Hope this helps!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Trimming the tree....

We put up our tree a few weeks ago but I forgot to post it. We ended up buying a real tree this year and I'm hoping to find a good deal on a 9 foot, pre-lit after Christmas. This tree is super fat compared to our old tree so my ornaments didn't fill it as well. Oh well! I finished my glittered monogram and added it to the wreath on my door. I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


This recipe came from a family cookbook I've had for a couple of years and finally just tried. It's basically taco salad with a kick. My husband and I really liked it but it was too spicy for the kids. You can substitute the remaining tomato sauce for the El Pato if you are wanting to tone it down. Thanks to my SIL Gayla for contributing this recipe!

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs. Mexican seasoning
salt & pepper, to taste
1 can tomato paste
4oz. (1/2 can) tomato sauce
4oz. (1/2 can) El Pato
1 cup cooked rice
Fritos chips

sour cream

Brown and drain meat. Return to the skillet and add seasonings and sauces. Add enough water to make it about the consistency of tomato sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add rice to mixture just prior to serving. Serve mixture atop a bed of Fritos and top with desired toppings.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dutch Oven Swiss Steak

I got this recipe from Shar's but I found it to be VERY similar to the Lion House recipe. My husband loves this dish and it makes the house smell so good! It's fairly simple, I even buy the pre-cut meat to make it even easier. Great comfort food for a cold day.

4 lbs. beef round, cut about 1/2" thick
3/4 cup flour, divided
4-6 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 cups beef broth
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 15oz. cans stewed tomatoes
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated

1. Cut meat into 1" strips.
2. Dredge meat with 1/2 cup flour.
3. Melt butter in a large pot. Brown the dredged meat.
4. Stir in remaining flour and all seasonings. Slowly blend in beef broth.
5. Add vegetables and cook until slightly thickened.
6. Pour mixture into a dutch oven or if you don't have one, a roasting pan or casserole dish with lid will work.
7. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 3 1/2-4 hours.
8. Remove and top with mozzarella cheese.

You can serve this over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice as well. Whatever your family likes.

I cut this recipe in 1/2 for my family of 4 and it made plenty.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Deck the Halls....

So I have STARTED decorating for Christmas, but it's been really hard as my house itself isn't really decorated yet. We haven't gotten our tree up yet either, that's on the to do list this weekend. So I thought I'd show you what I've done so far.....
I am working on a big glittery monogram for the center of this wreath-

Anyone who knows me will understand why we have this sign in our house-
Yes, even the pantry door got a wreath this year-
My favorite after Christmas find last year-
Thank you Karyn for the bells in the apothecary jars idea!

I made this believe sign and cloche last year-
Hope you are enjoying your holiday season! I'll be back with more...

Caramel Corn

This is a very deserving "re-post". I discovered this caramel corn recipe last year and it is soooo good! It makes a great neighbor gift and makes a ton. It is fairly easy to make and inexpensive. Trust me on this one- try it and you won't be disappointed!

5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can Eagle brand sweet and condensed milk
8 quarts (5 bags of microwaved) popcorn

1. Prepare popcorn. Remove kernels. (see tip at bottom)
2. In a medium saucepan, combine syrup , butter, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes and continue stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add milk and vanilla.
3. Pour over prepared popcorn.
This is so yummy and gooey!
*Tip: I got an awesome tip that I wanted to add. An easy way to remove the kernels from the popcorn is to pour it out over a cooling rack. The kernels will fall through the slats and the popcorn stays on the rack...genious! No more sifting through popcorn for me!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Homestyle Chili

I love this basic homestyle chili. I suffer from acid reflux really bad so most chilis and I don't get along. This one however is straight comfort food. It tastes so good on a chilly day, especially in a nice warm bread bowl.

2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 16oz. can tomato sauce
1 28oz. can petite diced tomatoes
2 15oz. cans kidney beans, drained
2 15oz. cans pinto beans, drained

Cook beef and onion in a large pot until browned. Drain fat. Add seasonings and tomatoes and simmer for 3 hours, stirring as needed. Add beans and cook an additional 45 minutes. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream.