Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hungarian Goulash Fusion...

3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 lb beef stew meat (or roast cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder (or 3 cloves garlic finely diced)
2 large onions, roughly diced
2 bell peppers (optional)
     2 - 3 Tablespoons paprika
     2 teaspoons caraway seeds
          1 can tomato paste, 6 ounces
          1/4 cup brown sugar
          1 can mushroom stems & pieces
          1 can Campbell’s Condensed French Onion soup
          1 cup water
          1 or 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
               ¼ cup golden raisins

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan.  Add stew meat to the pan without crowding.  Season meat with salt, pepper, and garlic.  Once seared, add onions and bell pepper to the pan and stir; let cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent.  

Transfer all to a slow cooker.  Add paprika and caraway seeds and stir well so the spices don’t clump.  Add tomato paste and brown sugar, and stir to distribute.  Add mushrooms, French Onion soup, water, and sweet potato.  Let cook on high for 8 hours or low for 4 hours.  About 15 minutes before end of cooking time, add raisins and stir to distribute. 

Serve over rice.

My note:  This is started out as a Hungarian Goulash, but when I came across missing items in my spice cabinet and noodle canister, it became somewhat of a curry-less curry with the addition of sweet potato, raisins, and served over rice.  But the family loved it!  :)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Toll House Chocolate Chip Pie...

I found this recipe at Very Best Baking by Nestlé.

The filling ingredients for one pie are:
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts ( I left these out since not all our kiddos like nuts.)

You will also need an unbaked pie crust (I use My Favorite Pie Crust), and some good vanilla ice cream is strongly suggested.

Beat the eggs till light and fluffy.  Add the flour, white sugar, and brown sugar, and mix well.  Add the softened butter, and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the chocolate chips (and walnuts if using) till spread evenly throughout the filling.  It will be very cookie dough like, but not quite as stiff.  

Spread the filling evenly in the pie crust.  Bake at 325° F for 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove from oven, and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

My notes:  It turned out fabulously yummy.  And the scoop of vanilla ice cream puts it over the top!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pasta Caponata with Chicken Breast...

1/2 sleeve of Ritz or Townhouse Crackers, crushed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Garlic & Herb seasoning
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium eggplant (cut into about 1 inch dice)
1/2 red onion (1 inch dice)
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper (1 inch dice)
2 Tablespoons capers (drained)
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup water

1 box penne pasta

parsley for garnish

Fill a large pot with water, and allow to come to a boil while cooking chicken and sauce.  Keep hot in preparation to cook pasta.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Stir together cracker crumbs, Parmesan, and Garlic & Herb Seasoning mix in a dish.  Dredge chicken breasts in cracker crumb mix and place in hot oil.  Brown lightly on both sides.  Remove from pan, and set aside on a paper towel.

Add eggplant to the skillet.  (Eggplant will absorb all the oil in the pan, but it will release it again as it cooks.  Let cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally until brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel.

Place onion in skillet, and cook stirring occasionally until tender and beginning to caramelize.  Add the celery, bell pepper, and capers and cook, stirring occasionally, about five minutes.  Add the tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables.  Add eggplant back to pan.  Add raisins, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and water, and stir to blend all.   Place the chicken breasts on top of the caponata sauce, cover, and simmer on low while cooking the penne pasta.

Cook penne as per package directions.  When penne is done, plate chicken and penne, and ladle caponata sauce over the penne.  Garnish with parsley.

Friday, June 16, 2017


Sauce Ingredients:
1 pound lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon whole basil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cans (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 cans (6 ounces) tomato paste

1 box lasagna noodles (I use about 8 noodles, and save the remaining)

Cheese Layer Ingredients:
3 cups cottage cheese (I puree in food processor, but that's optional)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons parsley flakes
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 pound Mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced very thin


Brown the ground beef in a large, deep skillet.  Stir in remaining sauce ingredients, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Place a large pot of water on heat, and bring to a boil.  Cook the lasagna noodles as per package directions.  Once done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process.

Place all the Cheese Layer ingredients in a bowl, and stir to combine well.

Preheat oven to 375° F.
Grease a 9" x 13" pan.  I put a very small amount of thinned sauce in the bottom.  
Place 4 lasagna noodles in the pan, sides overlapping slightly if necessary.
Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles evenly.
Top with half of the Mozzarella cheese.
Dot the meat sauce over all, and carefully spread to cover evenly.
Repeat layers ending with sauce.
Bake for 30 minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

My notes:  This is from a community cookbook I received as a wedding gift.  Back then ethnic food ingredients were not as readily available in local grocers as they are today.  Ricotta is probably a more authentic cheese choice, but cottage cheese is probably less expensive so I continue to use it.  My kids never liked the texture of cottage cheese, so I have always pureed it in the food processor so it wasn't easily identified.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cornbread Salad...

2 6-ounce packages corn bread mix
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup chopped green onions (bulbs and stems)
¼ cup chopped green pepper (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise, or to taste
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Bake cornbread as directed and let cool.  When cool, crumble in bowl.  Add eggs, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, bacon, and mayonnaise to the cornbread (reserving very small amount of tomatoes, green onions, and crumbled bacon to garnish top if desired).  Stir to combine well.  Chill until ready to serve.  Serves 8

My note:  I don't make this often (probably because I think of it as a summer salad, and I usually only bake cornbread in the cooler months), but if I find myself with leftover cornbread in the spring or summer, it makes a great side.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Red Beans & Rice

1 pound smoked link sausage
8 to 10 cups cooked pinto beans plus their liquid
   (at least 3 cups liquid, or add water or broth to make up the difference)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Slice sausage into rounds 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Heat a deep pan and add sausage rounds to brown a little, stirring occasionally.  Add beans with their liquid, tomatoes, and spices.  Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for awhile (one hour or four hours, it's up to you).  The longer you simmer, the softer the beans will get and thicken the liquid.  Serve over white rice.

My notes:  Carey does not like spicy foods.  So I make a large pot of beans with ham, onion, and garlic and serve it with cornbread.  I save the leftover beans to make a spicier meal of red beans & rice when he's not home. 

No-Peek Chicken...

2 cups white long grain rice
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 soup can of water
1 envelope of Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 to 2 pounds of chicken pieces

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Spray a 9" x 13" casserole with non-stick spray or grease lightly.  In a bowl, whisk the soups and water to combine without lumps, then add rice and stir to combine.  Pour into the prepared casserole.  Lay chicken pieces on top of the rice/soup.  Sprinkle the envelope of Lipton Onion Soup mix over all evenly.  Cover well with foil (or lid), and bake for about an hour and a half to two hours.  Remove cover and bake for 15 more minutes.  Serve with salad or a vegetable.

My notes:  I learned to make this early in my marriage.  Not haute cuisine, but the family likes it, and it is so easy on a busy day.  You can use any chicken pieces that you prefer, you can adjust cooking time up or down depending on the size of pieces used.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Chicken Fried Steak...

1.5 to 2 pounds cube steak (if very large, cut into serving size)
3 eggs
1 cup flour
salt, pepper, garlic powder in amount you prefer
1 cup of vegetable oil

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Break the 3 eggs into a pie plate or similar sized dish.  Whisk with a fork until well beaten.
  • Place the cup of flour into another pie plate or similar sized dish.  Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder and stir till mixed.
  • Dredge a steak in the seasoned flour and shake off extra flour
  • Dip the floured steak into the egg to coat well.
  • Dredge the egg-dipped steak back into the seasoned flour and cover well with the flour.  I press the flour into the steak to make sure it is sticking well.  
  • Place the steak into the hot oil.
  • Repeat with remaining steak pieces.  (When all steaks are breaded, reserve the left over flour for gravy.)
  • When the first side is cooked to a golden brown, turn to place the second side down in the oil.  Cook about 5 minutes per side.
  • When steak is uniformly golden brown and cooked through, remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
For white gravy:
4 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons reserved seasoned flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tablespoons of reserved oil from skillet
  • Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepan.  
  • Add about 3 Tablespoons of the reserved seasoned flour to the melted butter whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming.  Cook for a minute or two.  
  • Add about 1/2 cup of milk while continuing to whisk.  When it begins to thicken, add another 1/2 cup of milk continuing to whisk.  
  • Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of the hot oil left in skillet to the gravy and whisk in.  Heat for a few minutes whisking as needed to avoid lumps.  If gravy thickens too much, add more milk.  
  • Season with more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve over steak and with mashed potatoes if desired.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Taco Salad...

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder

lettuce mix (I like Italian blend)
1 can Ranch Style beans, drained, room temperature
1 can ripe olives, drained
1 to 2 tomatoes, diced (or a basket of cherry tomatoes)
2 avocados, cut in large-ish chunks
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Catalina dressing
Nacho flavored Doritos, crushed but not too small

Brown ground beef, with diced onion, salt, pepper, garlic, and chili powder (in amounts to your preference). Set aside to cool somewhat so it doesn't wilt the lettuce.

In salad bowl place:
lettuce mix
Ranch Style beans
ripe olives
shredded cheddar cheese
browned and cooled ground beef

Toss with a little Catalina salad dressing.

Serve with more Catalina dressing for individuals to add as preferred, and crushed Nacho Flavored Doritos to sprinkle on top of servings.

My notes:  I had Taco Salad at a party once with Catalina dressing, and have never wanted it any other way since. Sounds weird, I know, but it is surprisingly good.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chicken Provolone...

I was conflicted when it came time to prepare dinner.  I wanted to cook from ingredients on hand, but I wanted something out of the normal rotation and filling and that would freeze well for Carey to take to work.  I really wanted Chicken Parmesan, but had no Parmesan.

I did have boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the freezer, spaghetti in the pantry, a half sleeve of crackers, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and sliced Provolone in the fridge.

4 or 5 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2 sleeve cracker crumbs (Ritz or Club)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Provolone cheese (I used slices)
3 Tablespoons butter
16 ounces spaghetti 

Pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a skillet and heat to medium high.  Crush the crackers into a pie plate and add flour, salt, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder and stir to mix well.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the seasoned crumbs and place them into the hot oil and brown both sides.

Melt butter and pour it over the remaining seasoned cracker crumbs.  Mix well so that all the crumbs are buttery.

Spray a casserole dish (large enough to hold the chicken breasts in a single layer) with nonstick spray and pour about 1/4 cup of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the casserole and spread it out.  When the chicken breasts are nicely browned, place them in the casserole and top with slices of Provolone.  Pour about 1/2 the remaining spaghetti sauce over the chicken breasts/cheese so all were covered.  Then sprinkle the buttered crumbs over the top and bake uncovered at 350° F for 45 minutes to an hour.  

Cook the spaghetti as per package directions and drain when done.  Return spaghetti to pan it was cooked in and pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over it.  Place over very low heat to warm the sauce. 

Serve the chicken alongside the pasta.  Add a salad, vegetable, and/or garlic bread.  

My notes:  Carey really liked this.  I told him I just made the recipe up as I went along, and he asked if I would write it down so we could have it again.  :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dublin Coddle with Kale...

1 pound smoked sausage
1/2 pound thick sliced bacon
3 cups beef broth 
   (* or 1 can condensed French Onion Soup plus 1 1/2 cans water) 
6 potatoes
3 large carrots (In photo above I didn't have whole carrots and used matchstick instead.)
2 onions
1 bag of kale
salt and pepper

Slice the sausage and chop the bacon.  Place in a pan and add 3 cups beef broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Scrub the potatoes and carrots well (or peel if you prefer) and slice 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.    Thinly slice 2 onions.  Wash the kale, discarding large stems, and chop roughly.

Preheat oven to 425° F.  Spray a large casserole with cooking spray, or coat bottom and sides with olive oil.  

1/3 of potato slices in the bottom
1/3 of the sliced onions
1/3 of the carrots (in photo above I used matchstick carrots instead of sliced)
1/3 of the kale
1/3 of the sausage and bacon
a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Repeat layers twice more, then pour the hot broth over all.  Cover with a lid or foil, and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove lid.  If it looks too dry add 1/2 cup of water.  Leave uncovered and bake for 20 more minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.

My notes:  *The second time I made this (3/16/2017) was for an early St. Patrick's Day supper.  I didn't have any beef broth, but I did have a can of Campbell's Condensed French Onion Soup that had been languishing in the cupboard for a long time.  I don't remember when or why I bought it...probably should have checked the use-by date.  :)  I used it (plus 1 and 1/2 cans of water) in place of the 3 cups of beef broth.  The coddle tasted even better than I remember it tasting the first time.  Yum!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Green Vegetarian Cuisine's Raw Pecan Hummus...

3 cups raw pecans
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt
water, as needed, to correct consistency (I didn't need to add water)

Place pecans and garlic in bowl of food processor. Process until mixture is reduced to small chunks. Add olive oil, vinegar and salt. Process and slowly add water, a few tablespoons at a time, until a thick hummus-like consistency is achieved. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill thoroughly. Serve chilled with pita chips or vegetables, and makes a great addition to a wrap.

My notes: This is a totally different take on hummus since there is no garbanzo beans or tahini, and it uses apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.  SO GOOD!  It makes me want to have a party just so I can serve this and see the response.  :)  I think it would also make awesome tea sandwiches on white bread with cream cheese on one side and pecan hummus on the other.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken with Broccoli...

Other than cropping, no adjustments were made to the photo above...straight out of the camera.  I was happily surprised with the brown glazing of the chicken thighs.

I found the same recipe in quite a few different websites, so I can't give an original attribute.  And anyway, as usual, I adapted it to what I had on hand and what our preferences are.  My version follows:

Place 4 to 6 chicken thighs in the slow cooker. (I used boneless/skinless, and I put them in frozen.)

Whisk together:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pour this over the frozen thighs, covering them evenly and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. 

 About 30 minutes before we were ready to eat, I added 2 to 3 cups broccoli florets and stirred them into the sauce.  Then I sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoon dried chives over all, covered, and continued to cook for 30 more minutes while I prepared rice.

The broccoli looks a little overcooked in the photo, but it was actually just done with a little bit of crunch still.  I'll be making this again.