Sunday, October 19, 2014

Easy Weeknight Dinners + Sunday Bonus Recipe!

Stumped on what to make for dinner every night?

Embrace the cool weather with cozy Fall meals.  These comfort foods will soon become your go-to weeknight recipes.
Monday:  Beefaroni
Tuesday:  Rotisserie Crescent Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday:  Sauerkraut Pierogi Skillet
Thursday:  Bean & Barley Soup
Friday:  Take-out or Eat out!

Sunday Bonus:  French Onion Meatloaf

Friday, October 17, 2014

We're Having Beefaroni!

I don't know what kid - or grown up does not like some sort of Beefaroni!  AKA as goulash or American Chop Suey,  it's always a favorite.

When I was growing up, my Aunt used to make this for us for lunch - minus the ground beef.  Just elbow macaroni in tomato soup - Well I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread!  Mom would have it ready for us when we came back from Trick-or-Treating so I grew up with fond memories of this simple dish and I still make the "simple version" when I want some comfort food.  If you grew up on the soup in the red and white can (which I still love) be prepared to be blown away by this light, yet creamy version.

Classic Tomato Soup (recipe follows)
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. elbow macaroni (anything you have on hand will do)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Classic Tomato Soup 

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes (with their juice) pureed
2 tsp. sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme
3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a 3-quart saucepan until the butter melts.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 8 minutes.  Add the flour and stir to coat the onion and garlic.
  2. Add the broth, pureed tomatoes, sugar, thyme about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring to make sure that the flour doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Get your salted water boiling and cook macaroni to desired tenderness.  Drain.  In the same pot, brown ground beef.  Drain any excess fat.
  4. Let soup cool briefly.  Discard the thyme spring.  Puree in 2 batches in a blender or food processor.  Return the soup to the pot.  Add cooked macaroni and ground beef.  Stir in 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter and Parmesan cheese.  Bring all ingredients back to a simmer and serve immediately!  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you have had Chef-Boy-R-Dee Beefaroni, you know that it's very "saucy".  You may want to add additional Parmesan cheese to really come close to the canned version.  The Beefaroni noodles are very hard to find, but Barilla makes a line of small versions of all sorts of pasta.  If you can find it, buy the small ziti.

Hooray!! For Beefaroni!!
More recipes like this!
Sharing with: Simple Supper Tuesday

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers with Honey Dijon Dipping Sauce

These chicken fingers are not your average.  I used the spices and method from my
Perfect Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe.  Crispy and crunchy with the most delicious dipping sauce!  
For the Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
3 Tbsp. Honey
1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Chicken Fingers:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into approx. 4" long x 1" wide strips
2 Tbsp. kosher salt, divided
2 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. black pepper
1-1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Canola oil (for frying)

Pound chicken strips into 1/2" thickness.
Whisk 1 Tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. black pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder in a small bowl.  Season chicken strips with spices.  Place in a medium bowl and cover and chill for 1 hour. 

Whisk buttermilk, egg and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl.  Whisk flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 Tbsp. salt and remaining 1 Tbsp. pepper in a shallow bowl.

Pour oil into a 10-12" cast iron skillet to a depth of 1/2".  Heat oven medium-high heat until temperature reaches 350 degrees F.

Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl.  Dredge in flour mixture; shake off excess.  Place 4 or 5 pieces of chicken in skillet.  Fry, turning once until golden brown and chicken is cooked through- approx. 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove chicken and transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve with Honey-Dijon Dipping Sauce
Coconut Chicken Tenders with Sweet & Sassy Dipping Sauce

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Challah Slider Rolls

Who has never heard of Challah?  It is a small part of long Jewish tradition.  Rich with eggs and butter (or oil) it is usually shaped into braids and coils. Similar to French brioche and Polish Babka, it makes wonderful toast and this is the only bread I use for my Thanksgiving Caramelized Onion Challah Stuffing

These little beauties would great for sliders, burgers and sandwiches.  With the help of a stand mixer, these rolls are a cinch to make.

2 packages (4-1/2 tsps.) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 egg yolks
3-1/4 cup bread flour
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
Sesame seeds, Poppy seeds or Sea Salt (optional)


In your Stand Mixer bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.  Stir and allow to rest in a warm spot for about 10 minutes, or until foamy and frothy.  Add flour, salt, sugar, oil, and egg yolks and combine on low until dough comes together.  Increase speed to medium and knead the dough, with the dough hook, until it forms into a soft and smooth dough, about 5-7 minutes.  Add additional flour if needed, in small amounts, until dough is no longer sticky.

Form the dough into a ball and place it into a large bowl that has been oiled.  Turn to coat both sides.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm spot for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.  Punch the dough down and allow to rest for another 45 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead a few times.  Cut into 15 even pieces.  Roll each piece into a rope about 7 inches long.  Tie into a knot and tuck the ends underneath.

Place the knotted rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cover with a clean towel and allow to rest while you heat up your oven.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with toppings of your choice or no toppings at all!  Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for about 30 minutes.   Store in sealed plastic bag as you would bread.  Can be frozen after baked!

~Slightly adapted from The Candid Appetite
Makes 15 Rolls