Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

My husband loves French Dip Sandwiches. I love to make them on Sunday. We have very busy Sundays, and have just a short time to eat between our church and my husband's evening meetings, so the crock pot is the perfect way to cook at our house on Sundays. And it just doesn't get easier than this.

1 chuck roast or any cheap roast. You're going to cook the heck out of it, so you don't need expensive meat
`1/2 cup flour with Montreal Steak Seasoning OR salt and pepper mixed in
4 cups hot water with 1 T. beef Better Than Bouillon
1 package Italian dressing mix
Hard rolls (I like Hotel Utah rolls sold at Harmons or we've also used Torta bread from Costco. Just find a crusty roll)

In the morning, or even the night before (depending on when you want to eat the next day), prepare your roast. I like to do it just before I go to bed on Saturday night.
On a plate, put the flour and steak seasoning and mix together. Completely dredge the roast in the mixture. Heat a large skillet (aluminum or cast iron work best) and put in some oil. When the oil is hot, brown the roast on all sides. While the roast is browning, spray your crock pot with PAM and turn it on low. With tongs, put the browned roast in the crock pot. Boil 4 cups of water and add the better than bouillon (you can use regular bouillon, but as the name suggests, better than bouillon is BETTER) You can add a little more if you like it saltier.
When the bouillon is dissolved, pour about a cup of it into the hot pan that you browned the roast in. Whisk together, bringing up the bits from the pan. Pour it and the rest of the bouillon over the roast in the crock pot. Sprinkle on the dry Italian dressing mix (I like Good Seasonings brand.)
Cover and cook on low forever. It can be as long as 15 hours. You want the roast to just be falling apart. Depending on your crock pot, you may have to add more water. If you're in a hurry, you can cook it on high, too. Just so it's falling apart when you're done. It's inexact science.
When ready to serve, slice the rolls and take the meat out and put on a plate. Shred. Strain the au jus and put in a serving cup. Put the meat on the roll and serve with a bowl of au jus. Dip and enjoy. I like to serve it with raw veggies and dip. Yummy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Grilled Chicken

Is it legal to put a store bought marinade mix on a home cooking blog?!? Legal or not, I'm doing it. We got this tip from a friend of ours and it is DELISH! Jared made it for us on Sunday and I loved it...and that's saying a lot. A chunk of meat is never very appealing to me. I agreed to it simply because it meant I didn't have to cook. :) I had the leftovers on top of a salad for lunch the next day and that was amazing too! The best part is that it is simple.

Key Ingredient: McCormick Grill Mates "Garlic, Herb & Wine" dry marinade packet
Simply follow the instructions on the back of the packet. I know. It's a cheater recipe, but I just had to share.

For the shopping list the other ingredients are:
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. water
1 T white or balsamic vinager
2 lbs chicken (or fish or pork)

Jared cut the chicken breasts in half so that they weren't as thick and then marinated the meat for about 45 minutes. Then he cooked it on the grill 5 minutes on one side, 5 minutes on the other side and then a final 3 minutes on the first side. It was juicy and delicious! We ate it with sweet potato fries and green salad. Mm-mmm.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bean with Bacon Soup

My husband's favorite canned soup has always been Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup. He just loves it. I like it, too. Especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. Here is a recipe for homemade Bean with Bacon soup.   Add a grilled cheese sandwich and you'll be in heaven.
3/4 lb. bacon (I used a whole lb.), cut into chunks OR 1 ham steak, cubed (I like this better)
1 onion, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery with leaves, diced
4 15oz. cans white beans
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
pepper to taste
1 1/2 T.  better than bouillon or 3 cubes bouillon
3 T. tomato paste (I open a can, then freeze what I don't use. Then you can just throw in a hunk of frozen tomato paste)
1 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. apple cider vinegar
0-1 tsp. salt (wait to add this at the end.  You probably won't need any salt)
Pinch of dried basil
Pinch of dried thyme
2 T. sugar
Pinch of red pepper flakes (again, according to taste)

Cook your bacon chunks or ham chunks in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium high heat. When the edges of the bacon start to crisp, add the onions, celery, and carrots and continue to cook until the veggies are tender. Drain the beans and add to the pot. Add all of the other ingredients and stir well. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt as desired. Serve. The leftovers are even better than the first night!

Adapted  from

Monday, February 6, 2012

Dorothy's Tamales and Chilies Rellenos: A Tribute to Grandma Gabe

Yesterday was Grandma's birthday. She would have been 92 years old. I loved Grandma Gabe. She was the kind of person I would love to be. She was kind, loving, supportive, happy, positive, and I always felt like she was one of my biggest fans. When I was with her she made me feel like a million bucks. They wintered in St. George (where I grew up) and we loved getting together with them at least once a week for dinner and a family evening. Grandpa Gabe was a killer chef and we enjoyed the wonderful food he made. But Grandma would do special things with just me as well. I remember having a sleepover at her house, just me and her and Grandpa. Man, did I feel special. We played Uno and I beat her and she went on and on about how smart I was. I "found" some money in her room and she let me walk to the corner gas station and buy some bubble gum all by myself. What a treat. She was always telling me how wonderful I was
at sports and how she wished I would play tennis. She was really good at it as a young woman. I have since learned to love the sport as well. In my teenage years she hired me to clean her house. I'm not sure she really needed the help, but I loved going over there once a week to be with just her and grandpa again. Often I would end up eating lunch with them. Lucky me. To this day, one of my favorite meals was a concoction she came up with and fed me during those lunch time meals. It consisted of a tamale, topped with a sunny side up egg, chopped onion, shredded cheese and tomato sauce. Yummo. She also liked Chilies Rellenos. I remember sitting with her at a Mexican restaurant when she ordered this dish. Not knowing what it was, I looked back down at my menu and was horrified to think that someone would order something that sounded so terrible when there were so many other yummy options to be had. I have since come
to see things Grandma's way and love this dish. Tonight, in honor of Grandma Gabe we are going to have both of these dishes. I can't wait. Mmm. And I can't wait to someday see Grandma again on the other side. I love you Grandma Gabe!

Dorothy's Tamales
1 Pre-made tamale (She loved Lynn Wilson brand, but they don't make them anymore)
1 Sunny side up egg
Chopped onion
Shredded Cheese
1/2 can Tomato Sauce
Tabasco sauce to taste

Cook tamale according to package directions. Meanwhile fry an egg to desired consistency and heat tomato sauce. Then plate tamale and top with egg, onion, cheese and tomato sauce. Enjoy!

Chilies Rellenos Appetizer (Wisconsin Cheese Style)
3/4 lb Monterey Jack cheese, sliced
1/2 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 eggs
1 can chopped green roasted chili peppers (mild)
2 T half-and-half
1 1/2 teaspoons flour

Grease a 9-inch square pan. Beat eggs flour and cream. Layer 1/2 Monterey Jack cheese, 1/2 Cheddar cheese, 1/2 chili peppers, and 1/2 egg mixture; repeat layers. Pour remaining egg mixture over top of layers and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Cut into squares and serve hot. Makes 16 servings.

What other foods did Grandma especially enjoy?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Indian Naan bread

I got this recipe from 300 Best Bread Machine recipes cookbook. It is yummy. It goes perfectly with the Indian curry soup or Michelle's Chicken Tikka Marsala post.

3/4 cup water (I heated this up in the microwave for 1 minute to compensate for the cold yogurt.)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder (I tried 1/4 tsp and it wasn't enough flavor)-this is my addition
1 1/2 tsp yeast

2 tsp melted butter w/ some dried parsley flakes and some garlic salt.

1. Measure ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select Dough Cycle

2. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface; cover w/ a large bowl and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll into balls. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Gently stretch into a teardrop shape about 1/4 inch thick. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkled w/ cornmeal and let rest for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4. Brush the dough w/ melted butter mix.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the naan sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

image from

Indian curry lentil soup

Servings: Serves eight. Yields about 14 cups.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 medium yellow onions, chopped 

Kosher salt 

2 teaspoons Madras curry powder or garam masala

2 quarts lower-salt chicken broth or homemade vegetable broth 

Two 14.5- ounce cans petite-diced tomatoes, undrained

1 pound (2-1/3 cups) dried red lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained

2 medium celery ribs, cut into small dice

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small dice 

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I used 1/4 tsp garlic powder)

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 

Heat the oil in a 6-quart (or larger) Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the curry powder or garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the broth, tomatoes and their juices, lentils, celery, carrot, garlic, cayenne, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to keep the lentils from sticking; skim any foam as necessary. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils, carrots, and celery are tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve with your favorite Naan bread.

image from

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

I love bar cookies. You get the goodness of cookies, so much faster. These are so yummy and pretty easy to make. Peanut butter frosting- yum!

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups quick oats
1 1/2 - 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 /12 cups powdered sugar
dash of salt
Milk, as needed

Preheat oven to 325. Combine butter and sugars until fluffy. Add peanut butter, vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Turn off mixer and add dry ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix until combined.. Spread in a sprayed large, sided cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for about 15 minutes. Do not overbake. That's the key to these being really good. They should be a little soft when you take them out. As soon as you take them out of the oven, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. When the chips are glossy, gently spread them over the cookie layer. Let cool completely and even refrigerate if the pan fits in your fridge. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Add milk to make a nice spreading consistency. Spread the frosting over the hardenened chocolate layer. Cut into bars.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Farmer Style Cheese-Cauliflower Soup

When the snow flies and there is an extra chill in the air, I love serving a good soup to warm my family up. This is one I fell in love with a few years ago when we first moved to chilly Wisconsin. It came from a recipe book called Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook, so it is cheesy, yummy, true home-style it gets that healthy cauliflower into those little kids tummies too!
2/3 cup thinly sliced white parts of green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons butter
3 cups cauliflower flowerets
3 cups canned chicken broth
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons thinly sliced green onion tops for garnish
In a dutch oven (I simply used a frying pan!), cook the white parts of the green onions and minced garlic in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add the cauliflower and broth; bring to a boil and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. Add the seasonings and cottage cheese. Cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Puree the mixture in batches in a blender or food processor. Return soup to the pan, heat through, and garnish with green onion tops. Serves 4.