Sunday, October 26, 2014

Easy Weeknight Dinners Week #2

 Our lives are busy now and it's sometimes difficult to have a quick meal that satisfies and keeps you going!  

Please the whole family with these quick and delicious weeknight dinners.
Monday:   Cauliflower Mac & Cheese -  Instead of macaroni alone, add lots of cauliflower that is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals. 

Tuesday:  Classic Sloppy Joes - Grated Carrots makes sure kids get some extra veggies!

Wednesday:  Baked Fresh Cod with Gremolata Breadcrumbs - The best thing about this dish is that you mix all the ingredients in the baking pan.

Thursday:  Oven BBQ Asian Chicken - Served with steamed rice or salad for a Asian-inspired weeknight meal. 

Friday:  Eat out!

SUNDAY BONUS:  Unstuffed Cabbage - All the flavor of regular cabbage rolls, but alot less bother to make.
Enjoy and have a great week!
Keep on cookin!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Savory Salisbury Steak

Can you picture it now?  Two oval ground beef patties swimming in brown gravy in their own compartment to prevent the gravy from mixing onto a section of mashed potatoes and maybe some corn or peas and carrots.  A frozen meal for a kid from the 70's who might have thought it was a treat to have a TV Dinner.

This is a great weeknight option - if you stay out of the Frozen Food aisle.  

1/2 cup milk
7 Tbsp. instant potato flakes 
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 egg
1 Tbsp. beefy-onion soup mix
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
1 lb. white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup dry red wine

  1. Whisk milk and potato flakes in a large bowl.  Add beef, salt and pepper to taste, minced onion, parsley, egg, beefy-onion soup mix and Worcestershire sauce and mix until combined.  Shape into four 1/2-inch oval patties and transfer to plate.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook patties until well browned on each side, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to plate.
  3. Add onion and remaining 3 Tbsp. butter to now-empty skillet and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 7 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste and flour and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in broth and wine and bring to a simmer.  Return patties to skillet, cover, and simmer over medium low heat until cooked through, 15-20 minutes.  Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles or rice.

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

Friday, October 3, 2014

Rotisserie Crescent Chicken Pot Pie

Did you know that the first pies were often made from pastry that was intentionally barely edible?  Pastry was used as a method of keeping meats and fillings moist during cooking and also to seal the filling to keep it from spoiling. YUM.  

Many believe the term "pie" has its beginnings from "magpie", a bird that collected a variety of different objects.  

The Chicken Pot Pie was the first frozen pot pie available in the US, developed by the Swanson Company in 1951.  As the saying goes, the rest is history.
With a few store-bought ingredients and some fresh veggies, you can make a delicious home-made chicken pot pie in about 30 minutes.

Rotisserie chicken can be a life-saver for a quick dinner.  It's moist and juicy, and all the work is done for you.  I bought just a whole breast and only used half of it for these four pot pies.  You can double the recipe for a larger family.


2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Rotisserie Chicken Breast
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 large potato, diced
1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tube Crescent Rolls


In a medium saute pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and potatoes and saute until onions and potatoes begin to brown slightly, about 5-7 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, parsley and thyme.

Stir in flour and stir to combine.  Cook for 2-3 minutes to cook the raw flour and it begins to smell toasty.  Add chicken stock and peas and carrots and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 5-10 minutes until thickened and vegetables are tender.

Remove half of chicken breast and cut into chunks.  Stir into gravy.  Add any accumulated juices left in the container from the chicken.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Divide filling among 4 ramekins and fill them up to the brim!
Remove dough from package.  Roll out and pinch together perforations.  Roll out slightly to measure 8 inches across.  Cut four squares measuring 4 x 4 inches.  Drape over filling, stretching slightly so dough hangs over the edge of the ramekin.  Brush with egg wash and top with Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown and filling is bubbly.

How easy was that?
Let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 4 generous pot pies.

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