Monday, January 27, 2014

Crockpot Beef and Gravy over Rice or Mashed Potatoes

Crockpot Beef and Gravy over Rice, Noodles or Mashed Potatoes
1 1/2 lbs. beef stew meat, cubed
1 can French Onion Soup
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
1 onion, sliced thin (optional)
1/2 can water
Cooked rice, noodles or mashed potatoes

Spray your crockpot and put in the cubed beef and the soups.  Add a 1/2 can of water (more if your crockpot cooks pretty hot)  Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. I put my meat in frozen and cook it on high.  It's done and so tender in about 5-6 hours.  Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes with a dollop of sour cream on top.   Couldn't be easier!!
This only serves about four people, so if you have a bigger family, I suggest doubling it.  At least double the sauce parts.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pork Roast in the Crockpot with Apple Almond Butter Sauce

Oh man.  This is easily in my top ten favorite main dishes that I've made.  It is absolutely delicious.  An added bonus is that it is really easy, too.  The sauce is to die for, but the roast by itself is out of this world.  I used to say that pork was my least favorite meat.  Not any more.  This is moist, succulent and out of this world delicious.  If you haven't tried any of my other recipes, try this one.   You'll be so glad.

Roast Pork
1 pork tenderloin roast ( they sell them in packages of three at Costco)
Olive oil, salt, and pepper
2-3 cups chicken stock

Spray your crock pot and drizzle some olive oil in the bottom.  Put the pork roast in.  Drizzle it generously with olive oil and then salt and pepper it generously.  Pour the chicken stock around it (not on top or it will wash away the salt and pepper.)  Put the lid on and cook on high for about 4-5 hours.

Apple Almond Butter Sauce for Pork
This recipe comes from Andelin's Gable House cook book.  Andelin's Gable House was a wonderful restaurant in St. George, Utah.  It was THE place to go for fine dining as they had a five-course meal.  One of their best entrees was the pork with this sauce.  I don't know how they cooked the pork (above is my own recipe), but this is a slightly altered version of their delicious sauce.  President Thomas S. Monson from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints loved this dish and he and his wife usually ordered it when he went to the Gable House.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
1 granny smith apple, not peeled, but sliced very thin
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together.  When melted and the sugar is dissolved, add the toasted almonds, apple and salt.  Simmer for about 8 minutes on low heat.  Serve over the pork.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pantry Pick of the Month- Garbonzo Beans/ Ham and Bean Stew

I am a game player.  I just outed myself.  I turn most chores and things I do into a game.  I make up a game to get stuff done.  I came up with a game to have some fun with cooking and for this blog that I'd like to try this year. It is motivated by the fact that I have a lot of cans and boxes and packages of things in my pantry that need to be used.  Some of them I bought to make a recipe that I never made, and some I have no clue why they're there.  Kinda scary!  So, here's the game:  I'll reach into my pantry (it's really a deep closet and it's hard to see what's in there) and pull out a can or package or box and then do an Internet search  and find a recipe that uses that ingredient.  So, here's my January pantry pick:
I reached in and that's what I got.  I was very a little disappointed because I know there's better stuff in there, but that's the game.  I don't have any idea why I bought it.  When I went to, I found that I could  use Garbanzo beans to make everything from fudge(really?) and brownies to bean salads to soups.  Since it's January, I chose a soup.  It actually was really good and I may be buying garbanzo beans on purpose from now on. I loved the texture of the garbanzos.  This recipe had very positive comments and 5 stars and was touted as the perfect Super Bowl Food.  Since I never watch the Super Bowl, I'll never know.  But I don't see why it wouldn't work!
I will give you the original recipe first, and then I'll add all of the ingredients that I put in- some suggested in comments by other readers who had tried it.

Ham and Bean Stew
1 15 ounce can black-eyed peas, drained
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1 16 ounce can chili beans with sauce
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ham, cubed (I used a ham steak)
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste (or you can put in some whole peppercorns)
That was it in the original.  Here's what I added:
2-3 carrots, diced
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2-4 Tablespoons brown sugar
2-3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Chicken stock, as needed (about two cups)
Bacon, crumbled (optional)
A squeeze of ketchup
A splash of seasoned rice vinegar
A sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
A sprinkle of garlic powder

Sour cream to top when serving
In a saute pan, melt the butter.  Add the carrots, onions and celery.  Cook together until soft and add the brown sugar and garlic and mix well.  Put in the crockpot (or I just left in my Le Crueset and added the rest of the ingredients.  I then cooked it on the stove for awhile, and then put it in the oven for a few hours.  It was delicious.  I'm sure the crock pot would work great, too) .  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook all day on low.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Another great use of garbanzo beans is Shonna' recipe on this site for hummus:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

German Salad Dressing

This recipe is one of three that the owner of The Homespun Restaurant shared with Andelin's Gable House when The Homespun closed.  Both restaurants brought people from all over, just to eat there. This dressing is delicious on a winter green salad with lettuce, granny smith apple, candied pecans, blueberries, raspberries, dried cherries or cranberries and mandarin oranges.  This tangy, citrusy dressing is a favorite around here!

German Salad Dressing
In a quart container, mix the following:
1 cup vinegar (I use a combination of vinegars- mostly apple cider, but a little of seasoned rice, balsamic, white, red wine, etc.)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons onion salt
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 Tablespoon capers with liquid  (optional)
1 pinch dried dill weed
Juice of 1 large lemon
Juice of 2 large oranges

Put the lid on the container and shake all together well.  Then add enough salad oil to make up a little less than a quart (about 1 cup). Leave space at the top so you can shake it.  Shake and then put in the fridge to blend flavors.  It will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

Comfort food.  Probably everyone knows how to make Shepherd's Pie.  It's one of those dishes you can make any way you want and it's the right way.  In fact, I don't ever make it exactly the same way twice in a row. I usually make it when I have some leftover mashed potatoes, but you can make the  mashed potatoes from scratch or even buy the pre-made ones. There are some secrets, I think to good shepherd's pie:
1) tomato paste
2) sugar
3)and Worcestershire sauce in the Meat mixture.

Shepherd's Pie
Meat Sauce
1 lb. ground beef 
1 large onion, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
Beef broth as needed, usually about 1 cup (you can substitute water)
1 Tablespoon sugar (this balances the tomato)
a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce
Seasoning Salt, Garlic Salt, salt and pepper to taste

1 can green beans 
Any other vegetables you'd like to add.  I usually just do green beans, but you can add  frozen or canned corn, carrots, peas, etc.  
2-4 cups mashed potatoes
Grated Cheese to top

Brown the onion and ground beef in oil until the onion is soft.  Mix in the tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire, and seasonings, and enough broth or water to make a nice thick sauce. Mix well and cook together for a few minutes.   Put the sauce in a sprayed casserole dish (or I just cook the meat mixture in my LaCreuset pan and then leave it in there and layer the other stuff on top and put it in the oven in that.)  Layer next with the green beans and other vegetables.  Top with the mashed potatoes.  If using leftover mashed potatoes (as I usually do), heat them a bit first in the microwave.  Spread overall, then top with plenty of grated cheese, and put in a 350 oven until heated through.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Chicken Divan

I think my favorite meal my mother made was chicken divan . . . .well, that and tacos. Hmmm, her waffles were pretty darned good, too.  Oh, and her spaghetti . . .  Well, anyway, ONE of my favorite meals.   It's old-fashioned comfort food at it's best.  This is my mom's recipe.  It makes me think of her every time I make it.  She loved it and so do I.

 Chicken Divan
1 cup dry rice, cooked (it will make about 3 cups cooked rice)
1 big bunch broccoli
4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped or shredded
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup mayonaise
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Grated cheese for topping
Cut the broccoli into spears and put in a saucepan.  Salt and add 2 inches or so  of water.  Turn on high.  When it comes to a boil, turn off stove and cover with a lid.  Let it steam while you make the sauce.
In a large bowl, mix together the soups, sour cream, mayonaise and lemon juice.
Spray a 13 x 9 pan well.  Add the rice.  Put about half of the sauce in with the rice and mix well.  Spread over the bottom of the pan.  Then layer the chicken, then the drained broccoli spears, then the remaining sauce.  With a fork, work the sauce down into the layers a bit.  Then top with shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted- about 30 minutes.

I nearly always serve this with Creamy Jello Salad.  They just seem to go together.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Turkey(or Chicken) Noodle Soup

Every year at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, I make turkey noodle soup.  After we clean the meat off the turkey, I put the turkey carcass and bones in a large soup pot with some seasonings and vegetables and simmer them and make a delicious broth.  I then make soup from that broth.  It's tradition and just part of the holidays for me.  I know I'm not the only one.  But in case you haven't done it before, here's the how to.

Turkey Noodle Soup
1 turkey carcass
About 2-3 cups leftover chopped turkey meat (You can use a rotisiree chicken carcass and meat instead and make it any old time.  It is delicious!)
Carrots, maybe 4 or 5, sliced
Celery stocks with leaves, maybe 4 -5
2 onions, one for before and one for after
Chicken flavored Better than Bouillion
1/2 bag really good noodles (or 1 cup dry, washed rice)
2 cans cream of chicken soup, optional

As mentioned above, put the turkey carcass in a large soup pot.  You can put whatever bones you'd like.  I usually put the drumsticks and wings in as well.  Cover with water.  Add a chopped onion and a glob of Better that Boillion, chicken or turkey flavor. I also chop up some celery and leaves.  Celery adds so much flavor. Put on low on the stove and simmer.  I usually simmer it the rest of that day, then put the pot outside (it's cold out there) for the night, then bring it in in the morning and simmer it all that day.  It probably doesn't have to be that long, but that solves the "where do I store this thing?" problem.
A half or so before you want to eat, strain the soup into another soup pot through a strainer(or you can strain it into a large bowl, then put it back in the same pot.)Pick any meat off the bones and add back.  Discard the carcass.   Add another chopped onion, carrots, celery and more boillion. Add in at least a couple of cups of chopped leftover turkey (Or chicken). In a smaller saucepan, cook the noodles until not quite done.  Strain them and add them.  You can then add cream of chicken soup if you want it more creamy, but I usually just leave it with that delicious broth. You can also add leftover gravy at this point, if you'd like.  You can make the same soup with rice instead of the noodles.  I just add the dry rice in and let it cook in the soup. That makes it Turkey Rice Soup instead of Turkey Noodle Soup.  Taste and add pepper and salt if needed.  Serve with leftover rolls or bread.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What's For Dinner?- January

Happy New Year!  Here's what's on the menu for January:
Aebelskivers (Traditional New Year's Day breakfast)
Chicken Divan, Creamy Orange Jello Salad
 Turkey Noodle Soup, Bread
Shepherd's Pie, Green Salad
Ravioli with Marinara Sauce, Green Salad, Garlic Bread
*Pork Roast with Andelin's Gable House Pork Sauce/ Roasted potatoes
*Beef over Rice/ Green Beans
Vegetable Dinner:  Baked Potatoes with Sauteed mushrooms,  Butternut Squash,

Orange Chicken over Rice/ Broccoli
Banh Mi Sandwiches
Clam Chowder, Crackers
Ragu Bolognese, Green Salad, Garlic Bread
Enchilada Casserole, Green Salad

Kristen's Chicken Parmesan, Spaghetti, Green Salad
Thai Chicken Noodles

Southwestern Scallops, Rice, Vegetable
Creamed Tuna on Toast

Vegetable Burritos, Orange Julius
*Pantry Pick of the Month:  Ham and Bean Stew
*New Recipes