Thursday, November 18, 2010

So Much to Share!

It's been a few days since I posted and I have SO many things to talk about!! First off, I need to talk about my Tuesday this week. I'm part of a group of friends and family that have formed our own "Breakfast Club". In a somewhat nearby town (Lancaster, PA) there is a smorgasbord style restaurant called Shady Maple. One of the marketing strategies there is that, if it's your birthday, you eat free with another paying adult. What better reason to get together with friends while enjoying good food and each others company. Given that this is a food blog, it wouldn't be right for me to blog about my week of food without talking about Shady Maple. If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it! We prefer to go for breakfast because we all agree it is the best meal served there. Made to order pancakes of your choice... anything from bananas to chocolate chips to walnuts to blueberries to M&Ms to coconut and any combo you'd like and/or omelets made to order. Then, there are several buffet lines filled with meats, potatoes of all kinds, fruit, fresh baked desserts from the heart of Amish country, and so much more. It really is not only good food but a great time just going to prove what I believe; Good Food with Great Company is such a wonderful and important combination that should be enjoyed at all costs!

That being said, there is so much to be said for a very easy meal that's quick and delicious and something you can pull out from your sleeve on a busy week night. It gets you in and out of the kitchen quickly so you can have more time to enjoy with your loved ones around the table. Tonight, we had a very simple, juicy cheeseburger! I ran to the store before coming home from my son's daycare and picked up burger on sale and hamburger buns. Now, when I talk simple, I mean simple! All I added to the meat was 1 palmful (about 1 Tbsp) of Garlic & Onion Montreal Steak seasoning for each pound of meat. From there, I whipped out my trusty kitchen scale and made 6 oz patties. (Don't forget, if you make them thinner in the center than around the outside, it will help to make a more even patty when cooked.) My grocery store had 3 lb packs of ground beef on sale so I made extras and froze them on a cookie tray lined with wax paper. When they are frozen, I will put them in a freezer bag and have patties ready for me whenever I want. Bonus! Then, I sauteed the patties for tonight on med high until cooked through. I'm not really sure how long this was, maybe about 4 or 5 minutes on each side. If you are having trouble telling when they are done, a cooking thermometer comes in hand. Last resort, cut into the center of one to see if the pink is gone. I try not to go this route though because all your juices will run out resulting in a dry burger. Also, when forming the patties, try not to overmix them or they may get tough and let them come to room temperature before cooking so you don't shock the meat. Add a slice of cheese on top and cover the pan either with a lid or aluminum foil with the heat on low and you have a ball of cheesy goodness! As for sides for tonight's dinner, that was another quick fix too. I took the leftover chive roasted potatoes from my roast beef rollover meal and sauteed them in a little olive oil with extra salt. A little steamed broccoli and tonight's dinner came together so simply! Tonight really was an example of using things twice. I not only used up the leftover potatoes but also prepped hamburger patties for another night! Such a productive supper!!

I also want to share with you the meal we had for supper Monday night! Once again, look at the grocery stores sales, I bought boneless thick cut pork chops. From there I pulled one of the recipes in my "To Try" file. The lucky winner was Ranch Pork Chops which I found from submitted by a chef named Sonja. I thought it was delicious and VERY EASY but my husband urged me next time to cook it a little less so they would be a little more tender. I served them with cooked pasta tossed with melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese (salt & pepper to taste, of course) and steamed vegetables. Oh, and I also made Green Giants green bean casserole. (The one from the freezer section.) It's getting close to Thanksgiving and I was way too impatient to not give in to the craving. The pork recipe follows and I hope you enjoy it and all the rest of the tips I've given you! Happy cooking!

Ranch Pork Chops
Cook: 20 min     Serves: 4

1 Tbsp. oil
4 boneless pork chops, 3/4" thick
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 soup canful milk (I accidentally used a whole can and it was still very good)
1 pkg (1 oz or 3 Tbsp) ranch salad dressing mix

Heat oil in skillet. Add chops and cook until browned.
Add soup, milk and salad dressing mix. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 10 min or until done. Sprinkle with paprika.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Left overs finally Roll Over!

Almost a week ago I made a recipe called German-Style Beef Roast and told you how efficient it was because it was not only a slow cooker meal (with little prep time) but it was also a roll over meal. Well, I hope you saved that roast beef and beef gravy because here comes the new recipe. It is Roast Beef with Chive Roasted Potatoes. While the original recipe was, in my opinion, much more tender and had a slightly better flavor... this recipe was also delicious and rather easy to make. I will admit, the likelihood of me making this recipe every time I make the roast is slim. I will revisit this recipe in the future but there are other good ways to use up your extra roast beef. An example would be to shred up the beef and mix with homemade or store bought BBQ sauce. This is also good because it freezes easily for even more versatililty. You could also shred the meat to make tacos or put in strombolis. The possibilities are endless!

If you are looking to follow the original recipe suggestion and roll it over into the suggested recipe (which is also a good plan of action) the recipe is as follows. Don't be fooled by the awful picture. I accidentally left my camera at work and the only thing I could do was take a picture with my cell phone. It really didn't look as dull as the picture shows.

Roast Beef with Chive Roasted Potatoes
From Taste of Home's Simple & Delicious Oct/Nov 2010
Using up Leftovers
Yield: 6 servings    Prep: 20 min    Bake: 25 min

2 pounds red potatoes, washed and cut into 1" cubes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. minced chives
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 c dry red wine or beef broth
2 c cubed cooked roast beef
1 c beef broth

1. Place potatoes in a greased 15"x10"x1" baking pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chives and 1/4 tsp salt; toss to coat. Bake, uncovered, at 425F for 25-30 min or until tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onions and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add the garlic, rosemary, pepper and remaining salt; cook 1 min longer. Stir in wine. Add beef and gravy; heat through. Serve with potatoes.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Here today! Gone tomorrow!

I haven't made anything new lately. We've been eating some leftovers and my mom made supper for the family last night. My brother's birthday was yesterday and mine is coming up so most years we have our birthday bashes together. My mom made stuffed chicken breasts and thighs which were DELICIOUS and then my brother go to pick the cake since it was his actual birthday. I didn't mind because my brother ALWAYS wants Chocolate Chip Cake. I don't have the actual recipe (note to self: get that from mom) but I know it involves a yellow cake mix and chopped baking chocolate. It really is delicious! The food and the company of family were both a great treat!

Since I don't have a recipe from our birthday bash for you, there is a recipe I recently made before beginning this blog that I'd LOVE to share. A couple of weeks ago I made an Impossibly Easy Taco Pie and it was delicious! My husband works 2nd shift in the food business and comes home late. Some nights he grabs a little to eat at home for dinner late at night, others he doesn't. Same goes for lunch. Sometimes he grabs a bite before work at home, and other days he waits and grabs something off the line before clocking in. Well, the night I made the Taco Pie, my son and I ate about a third of it between the two of us (he had 2 helpings). By the time I came home the next day, my husband had eaten part of it for dinner the night before and the other part for lunch that day. And to think, I was planning on eating some leftovers for dinner that night. Boy was I mistaken. So, I know this was a winner! I hope you enjoy it with your family too. (You may want to make a couple!)

Impossibly Easy Taco Pie
Serves 6 (Questionable!!)
From Betty Crocker's Casserole & One-Dish Meals
Prep Time: 15 min      Start to Finish: 50 min

1 pound ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 c)
1 (1 oz) pkg taco seasoning mix
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilies
1/2 c Original Bisquick mix
1 c milk
2 eggs
1/2 c shredded Monterey Jack-Colby cheese blend (2 oz - But I used more!!)
1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 c)
1 1/2 c shredded lettuce
2 medium green onions, sliced, if desired

1. Heat oven to 400F. Spray a 9" glass pie plate with cooking spray.
2. In 10" skillet, cook ground turkey and onion over med-high heat 5 to 7 min, stirring occasionally, until turkey is no longer pink. Stir in taco seasoning mix. Spread in pie plate. Top evenly with chilies.
3. In medium bowl, wtir Bisquick mix, milk and eggs with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour over turkey mixture.
4. Bake 25 min. Top with cheese and tomato. Bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5. minutes before serving. Sprinkle with lettuce and green onions (if desired).

A couple of personal notes.... I used more cheese than called for. (We can't get enough cheese in our house!) Also, my tomatoes had spoiled so I spread salsa on top before adding the cheese! I'm not sure which would be better but my men don't like raw tomato anyway, so it probably was for the best in our household. I didn't use green onions but I served it with sour cream on the side to dip each bite into.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A good start!

Well, as promised, here goes the first post on the new blog. I guess the first recipe I'm going to start with is the recipe I made last night. I'm slowly becoming acquainted with my slow cooker. I've had it for years but I haven't used it often for a couple reason, the main one being that I learned from my mom to be cautious about keeping appliances (especially heat sources) plugged in while I'm not home. Also, let's face it, with my hectic schedule it's difficult to solidly plan ahead a few hours, let alone 8 to 10 hrs. I'm very good at planning a weeks worth of meals and doing the lists, coupon clipping, and shopping that goes with that, but that still leaves a little wiggle room. If I plan on having something Monday night and it doesn't get made until Thursday night, no harm done. But, with the slow cooker, if I start a meal that morning... I'm pretty much locked into having that that night or it just becomes another set of leftovers. So therefore, the slow cooker has been one of my trouble areas. An area to improve on. I've slowly been doing this over the last few months and I'm very excited that this recipe was such a success since that means I can add it to my list of go tos.

So, what recipe have I been talking about. Last night I made German-Style Beef Roast. It was so tender and had a slight tang accompanied by some sweet and was very delicious and EASY and got thumbs up from my husband and I'm pretty sure my son approved also. I served it with my roasted asparagus and brown sugar & cinnamon carrots. Look forward to these recipes in the future.

This recipe also had appeal for another reason, it was written as a rollover meal. You cook extra meat and gravy one night, to make another meal for a second night that week and hopefully take the ho-hum out of leftovers. The recipe this rolls over into is Roast Beef with Chive Roasted Potatoes. Also look for this recipe in a future post.

But, now for what this is all about....

German-Style Beef Roast for the Slow Cooker
From Taste of Homes Simple & Delicious - October/November 2010
Prep Time: 10 min          Cook Time: 8 hrs

1 (4 lb) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed
1 tsp. pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 (12 oz) bottle beer or nonalcoholic beer
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour, more if needed
1/4 cup cold water

1. Cut roast in half; sprinkle with pepper. Place onion and roast in a 5 qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the beer, ketchup, and brown sugar; pour over top. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hrs or until meat is tender.
2. Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. (I strained the onions from this liquid.) Bring liquid to a boil. In a small bowl, combine flour and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. You may need more flour and water mixture depending on how much water your get from the roast and how thick you like your gravy. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 min or until thickened. Serve with roast.

Save leftover beef and gravy to roll over into Roast Beef with Chive Roasted Potatoes... recipe to follow in a future post.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


By popular demand, this is take 2 on my food blog. I started a food blog on a different blogging site last spring in an attempt to spread a love of food to others. Given my busy schedule, it was a somewhat failed attempt. While viewers loved the fact that I was sharing recipes, I frequently didn't have time to sit down and write a long spiel about my experience while making the recipes. I want you all to know, I feel VERY strongly about several things that are at the root of this blog. First, I wish all people (children, adults, moms, dads, sons, daughters, students, EVERYONE) should have not only food on the table but GOOD food. Good tasting! Good nutritionally! More than that, I believe that the family table needs to return with a vengeance. While I know this makes me a HUGE hypocrite given the fact that I rarely sit down with my family as a whole, it doesn't change the fact that I believe, in an ideal world, that this should happen in every home in every country in every corner of the world! This blog is an attempt to help facilitate that concept when possible. If the reason why you don't sit down with your family is because you have a fear of cooking.... here are recipes to help you get started. I hope you, the reader, will enjoy the recipes and enjoy making them. Cooking for me is a way to be closer to family. To feel the warmth in my heart of being able use my hands to create nourishment for my family. To be able to spend time with my family partaking of the final product. I also look forward to the day when I can pass that along to my children and spend time with the in the kitchen.

That being said, use these recipes, share these recipes, comment on these recipes, post some of your own. However you use this site for your own good, I will take pleasure in knowing that I got to be a part of that good!!

As I said earlier, I am a busy woman. There are several things that caused my previous blog to fail. First, I wasn't completely sold on the look of my previous blog and there was portions of that I couldn't change. I'm hoping to visually be happier with this blog. More importantly though, the biggest reason why I think I failed was putting too much pressure on myself and my busy schedule. So, don't expect a blog every day, or maybe even every week. Also, when I do blog, I'm not going to put any pressure on myself to write a 2000 word essay. The most important thing to me is sharing those recipes and, while I would love to also share my experiences with you to help encourage you to make your own memories, if all I have time for is to type up the recipes, add a few pictures, and go... then that's what I may do!

Just to get you all intrigued about what's time come... Some recipes I've made in the last couple weeks that I hope to make their way to the blog are Impossibly Easy Taco Pie, German-Style Pot Roast (for the slow cooker), Country Chicken and Pasta Bake, and many many more.... Hope to see you back here soon!