Hi, everybody, how’s your weekend going? It’s been cold and rainy here for the last four days so I’ve been occupying myself by trying some new recipes. I made Amish onion bread and served it with my almost home-made vegetable soup. It was so delicious that I have to share the recipe. It makes a huge loaf so serve it when you have a big crowd or cut the recipe in half. Get the recipes for Amish onion bread and almost homemade vegetable soup here and here.
There’s nothing I like better than a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings–mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing, a side vegetable, and cranberry sauce. But I rarely have enough time during the week to prepare a big meal from scratch. So I often rely on rotisserie chicken and pre-cooked side dishes to get dinner on the table in a flash. Rotisserie chicken is convenient and economical–one bird can yield several meals. This week I prepared three meals from one chicken. Here’s how I did it:
Dinner No. 1–Lazy Cook’s Chicken Dinner
For this meal I microwaved the chicken until it was heated through (~ 5-6 minutes), microwaved a container of ready-cooked mashed potatoes, prepared cornbread stuffing using the microwave instructions on the side of the box, and opened a can of vegetables and a jar of chicken gravy, poured them into saucepans, and heated them through. Finally, I opened a can of jellied cranberry sauce and sliced it. For this meal I was keeping it real–really easy, that is.
Dinner No. 2–Lazy Cook’s Chicken Sandwiches
On day two, I sliced some croissants and topped them with slices of leftover chicken breast that I warmed in the microwave, and topped that with mayonnaise, leftover sliced cranberry sauce, and salt and pepper. I served this meal with fresh fruit and iced tea. Easy, peasy.
Dinner No. 3–Not-So-Lazy Cook’s Chicken Pie
This meal features all the leftovers from Day 1′s meal–chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and stuffing (yes, it’s in there), plus a few additional ingredients. This dish is more time consuming to prepare than the others, but it’s well worth the effort. Here’s what you’ll need to make a chicken pie:
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup potatoes, cubed (no peeling necessary)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1-2 cups de-boned chicken
- 1 1/2 cups chicken gravy (or chicken broth)
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup mashed potatoes
- 1-2 cups cornbread stuffing
- 1 cup vegetables (corn, green beans, or peas)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2 frozen pie shells
- 2 cups Asiago cheese, shredded
In a large skillet, saute the celery, onions, carrots, and potatoes in butter over low heat until soft (about 10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally so the vegetables don’t brown. Stir in the chicken, gravy (or chicken broth), half-and-half, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, sugar, salt, and poultry seasoning and heat through. Pour into two frozen pie shells, top with shredded Asiago cheese, place on a cookie sheet, and bake in a 400° oven for 30 minutes, or until the pie crust and cheese are golden brown. Serve with a tossed green salad.
I love cheeseburgers. I mean, who doesn’t love a good burger? I like mine served on a potato bun topped with mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Sometimes, I prefer to keep things simple and top my burger with just a squirt of ketchup and yellow mustard. Other times, I like to recreate a favorite fast food burger, like this copycat Roy Rogers Double-R-Bar burger.
When it comes to cheeseburgers, I also like to think outside the bun. This cheeseburger salad is one of my favorites. So is this recipe for cheeseburger rice. The original recipe was created by Kraft foods, but I’ve adapted it to suit my taste. Adults like it, kids LOVE it, it takes just 10 minutes to prepare, and clean up is a breeze–there’s only one skillet to clean. Here’s what you’ll need to make cheeseburger rice:
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 heaping tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
- 2 cups instant white rice
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a large skillet, brown meat and onions over medium heat; drain. Add water, ketchup, and mustard. Stir in rice. Sprinkle with cheese; cover. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Dinner Brought to You by Roy Rogers, Martha Stewart, Julia Childs, the Bealeton Farmer’s Market, My Sister, and Me!
My sister and I spent a week together relaxing and doing what we like to do best–chatting for hours; touring Main Street in Warrenton, Virginia; browsing through antique shops; shopping at the Bealeton farmer’s market; and cooking the fresh fruits and vegetables we purchased there. I took the opportunity to introduce my sister to my copycat version of Roy Rogers Double-R-Bar burgers. I haven’t seen a Roy Rogers restaurant in years, and I really had a craving for a good, ole’ Double-R.
My sister whipped up a batch of green beans almondine ala Julia Childs and I whipped up a batch of Mexican corn on the cob ala Martha Stewart. The burgers were fabulous–we topped them with shaved ham, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, mild horseradish sauce, and coleslaw–and the green beans and corn on the cob were out of this world. We rounded out the meal with the best cantaloupe we’d had all season. It was such a fabulous late summer meal that I just had to share it with all of you.
There’s still one more week before summer is over and the kids have go back to school. If you’re looking for a fabulous Labor Day meal to share with your family or friends, this combination is a must try. Recipes are provided below.
Copycat Double-R-Bar Burger Ingredients
- Lean ground beef
- Shaved ham
- Sliced cheddar cheese
- Barbeque sauce
- Mild horseradish sauce
- Coleslaw (optional)
- Hamburger buns (I used Martin’s potato buns–my fave)
In a large skillet, cook the burgers over medium heat until they cooked medium well (no pink in the center). Top the burgers with two slices of shaved ham and a slice of cheddar cheese. Cover and allow the cheese to melt. Place on buns and top with BBQ sauce, horseradish sauce, and coleslaw.
Green Bean Almondine Ingredients
- Fresh, whole green beans
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- Salt and pepper to taste
Clean and snap the ends off of the green beans. Cook in a skillet with a small amount of water until the beans are crisp tender (about five minutes). Drain, remove from the pan, and set aside. Add the butter and slivered almonds to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the almonds are golden brown (about three minutes). Add the green beans back to the skillet; stir to coat. Cook until heated through.
Mexican Corn on the Cob Ingredients
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Corn on the cob, husks removed
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chili powder
- Lime wedges
Rub the corn with butter then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each ear in plastic wrap. Microwave until crisp tender (about 1-2 minutes for two ears). Remove plastic wrap. Brush corn with mayonnaise and roll in Parmesan cheese to coat. Sprinkle with chili powder. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
Savory BLT sandwiches, sliced cantaloupe, and crispy corn on the cob–what a great combo. I threw together this quick summer meal after a visit to the farmer’s market and it was so easy and delicious that I just have to share. I purchased everything pictured here–except the bread and mayo–at a local farmer’s market. Everything was freshly picked and organic. Even the bacon came from a local farmer. I like supporting local food producers, I like serving healthy meals to my family, and I like the friendly folks I meet at open air markets. Trips to the farmer’s markets are one of the pleasures of summer. Summertime and the livin’ is easy….
Redemption cupcakes. Cupcakes you bake to redeem yourself after the cupcakes you brought to work last week (made from a recipe you’d never tried before) were an epic fail. That’s what my sister calls the cupcakes she brought to our family watercolor fest. Made with just five ingredients, you can whip up a batch of these decadent brownie cupcakes any time–whether you need to redeem yourself or not. These cupcakes are so moist that icing is not necessary, but if you’re an icing lover this fluffy white icing made with marshmallow cream is the perfect topping. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make my sister’s redemption cupcakes:
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 4 squares semisweet baking chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the melted butter and chocolate until the chocolate is melted. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a cupcake pan prepared with cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
- 1 jar marshmallow cream
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.
So the next time you serve a dessert that flops to friends or coworkers and you want to restore their faith in your cooking skills, redeem yourself with these babies.
It’s been cold and rainy this week, so cold that I’ve been craving a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs type of meal. So I turned to this recipe for braised short ribs that my mom made frequently when I was growing up. It’s simple to make, smells amazing while it’s baking, and tastes even better. This recipe is comfort food at its best. I like to serve braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and spoon the vegetables and sauce on top of the potatoes. Look for boneless short ribs at your supermarket if you can find them because it makes eating this dish a bit easier. I grab boneless short ribs as I find them and freeze them for later use. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make braised short ribs:
Braised Short Ribs Ingredients
- 3 lbs. beef short ribs (preferably boneless)
- 3-4 tablespoons flour (enough to coat the ribs)
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (enough to brown the ribs on all sides)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
- 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery tops, chopped (the celery leaves really make this dish)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons additional flour (to thicken the broth)
- Dredge the short ribs in flour and brown them on all sides in a frying pan coated with hot oil.
- Place ribs in a 9 x 13″ baking pan.
- Drain off excess oil from the frying pan, keeping the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the pan to the heat. Add water and bring to a boil, scraping the browned parts off the bottom of the pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except flour). Bring to a boil. Combine flour with enough water to make a thin paste. Add slowly to the boiling mixture, stirring constantly until thickened.
- Pour the vegetable mixture over the short ribs in the baking pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Serve with hot mashed potatoes or hot cooked rice.
Ladle into a bowl, spoon the vegetables and sauce over the mashed potatoes, and enjoy!
If you like sausage, you’re going to love this savory pasta. This dish is packed full of flavor–with two types of sausage, tons of fresh mushrooms, green and red peppers, onions, garlic, and beef broth, it’s a party in your mouth. I’ve been serving this dish for years and it always receives rave reviews. I found the original recipe in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine but I’ve changed it significantly over the years. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make bow-tie pasta with sausage and sweet peppers:
- 1 lb. bow tie pasta
- 3/4 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 lb. bulk sausage
- 1 medium red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 packages fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 can beef broth
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- In a large saucepan cook the pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to the saucepan.
- Meanwhile, remove the casings from the Italian sausage and cut it into bite-sized pieces. In a very large skillet (or wok) cook the Italian sausage, ground sausage, red and green peppers, onions, garlic, and mushrooms over medium-high heat until the sausage and mushrooms are browned. Drain well.
- Stir the beef broth and black pepper into the skillet, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour over the pasta. Toss gently to coat. Top with freshly grated parmigiana reggiano cheese.
The first time I made spiced pork chops with fried cabbage and onions (or haluski as my Polish grandmother called it), my boyfriend fell asleep early and I couldn’t wake him for dinner, so my daughter and I ate without him. The meal was so good that we finished our portions and ate his, too. Hey, you snooze you lose, right?
I found the recipe for spiced pork chops in Taste of Home magazine years ago and I’ve made it countless times. It always gets rave reviews and it’s one of my daughter’s favorite meals. Get the recipe here. I got the recipe for haluski from my grandmother. Normally I serve it over egg noodles but I didn’t have any on hand so I improvised and used bow tie pasta instead. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make fried cabbage and onions:
- 1 head cabbage, core removed and roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stick butter (don’t substitute margarine)
- salt and pepper to taste
- hot cooked egg noodles prepared according to package directions
- Melt butter in a large fry pan (I used a wok)
- Add cabbage, onions, salt, and pepper
- Fry over medium heat until the cabbage and onions are golden brown
- Serve over egg noodles
This side dish isn’t fancy, but it sure is delicious.
I promised I’d share my recipe for macaroni salad when I posted my Texas Hot Dog Sauce recipe last week. Homemade macaroni salad is so easy and quick to prepare–it’s ready in about 10 minutes–that there’s no excuse for serving grocery store or deli prepared macaroni salad. Store-bought salads don’t compare in quality, texture, or flavor to homemade macaroni salad and they’re always a disappointment. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make macaroni salad:
- 1 16-oz. box elbow macaroni, cooked al dente (approximately 6-8 minutes)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 1 large tomato, seeds removed and diced
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s mayonnaise–it tastes closest to homemade mayo)
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare macaroni according to package directions (cook it al dente–approximately 6-8 minutes), drain, rinse, and place it in a large mixing bowl.
- Add diced onions, tomatoes, and green peppers.
- Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Pour sauce over the remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.