Tag Archives: love

Salisbury Steak Bake

If you’re like me, you’re getting really tired of summer by now.  That heat can see its way out!  That being said, I’ve been dreaming of cooler weather, leaves changing, pumpkin everything, football and hearty, stick to your ribs kind of meals.  

Even as a child I’ve always been a fan of Salisbury steak, but as an adult I’ve graduated from eating the frozen dinner version.   Now I definitely have made the handmade patties and floured, seasoned and seared up, but THIS recipe is actually even easier than before!  I’ve turned the individual “steak” patties into a baked casserole dish!  An entire MEAL in one!

*If you’re in a super hurry, you can of course use a couple cans of drained green beans and quickly whip up some instant potatoes.  No harm in that at all.  

*If using fresh green beans, just rinse and chop to your desired size.  There is no need to cook these before adding to the casserole mix.  They will cook while in the oven, but still keep a nice bit of crunch.  Texture to the dish = thumbs up! 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cups Green beans, fresh or canned 
  • 1 pckg mushroom, halved
  • 1 packet au jus gravy mix
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1/4 cup panko + 1/4 cup flour (or you can use all flour)
  • 26oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • *Mashed potatoes (you can use real or instant)

As a great cook always does, begin by prepping the vegetables so that everything is ready to go!  Also, if you’re making your own mashed potatoes, you can begin that now.  *Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Heat a large pan with a tbsp of oil (evoo, vegetable) over medium heat,  add the onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes.  Once soft and translucent, you can then add in the ground beef, dry onion soup mix and season with pepper to taste. *salt isn’t necessary, as the gravy will have enough flavor to it.  After the meat has been cooked through, drain any excess grease, leaving about a tablespoon in pan.


Next you can fold in the panko/flour.  This helps to “tighten” up the mixture.


The vegetables!  Carefully mix in the mushrooms and green beans, as your pan is going to be pretty full by now.  Also, in a bowl, whisk together the cream of mushroom soup, au jus gravy packet and the 1/4 cup of water.


Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray.  Pour the meat and veggie mix into it.  Then carefully mix in the creamy soup to combine.


Finally, top this off with the prepared mashed potatoes and pop into your preheated 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes.  The last few minutes, switch to “broil” to brown the top and create a crust.  Just make sure to watch carefully as not to burn.


There you have it!  Family comfort food at its finest!  If desired sprinkle on some chopped parsley for color and added brightness and dig in!  Enjoy!!

Southwest Goulash

Growing up in Arizona I know what southwest flavors are…if you’ve ever been to the beautiful city of Sedona then you really know!  Also growing up, we ate lots of goulash, like LOTS.  It’s a yummy and inexpensive meal that feeds a family, right?  So I decided to combine the two and give that extra bit of flavor from home into my new home of the equally beautiful Texas.  It really didn’t disappoint..even the leftovers are gone!  Score!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 cup (8oz) macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup corn, from frozen
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can diced Mexican-style tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 packet taco seasoning 
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra Virginia olive oil

Garnish (optional)

  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeño slices    

Start this one pot meal by adding a tbsp of olive oil to a large pan or dutch oven on medium heat.  Add in the ground beef and stir occasionaly to brown and cook through. 

Meanwhile, chop up the veggies, rinse the beans, etc. 🙂

 

Now that the meat it cooked, skim off excess grease and then add in the onions, jalapeńo, garlic, cumin and the taco seasoning packet.  Sauté and stir often for 3-4 minutes (or until onions are slightly soft).


Next add in the corn, beans, canned and chopped tomatoes  (salt & pepper to taste) and give a toss.

 

Directly after, add in the uncooked pasta noodles and 1 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 15-20 minutes, till noodles are slightly tender. 

 

While the noodles are cooking in your one-pot wonder, you can get the garnish’s ready!  Again, we like cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, etc.. 


Now that it’s done (quick right??), spoon a good helping into a bowl and add on your favorite toppings!  Enjoy!! 

  

  

Seared Pork Chops w/ a Southern Bacon Tomato Gravy

You get it by now..we LOVE our comfort food in this house!  If I’m not devouring a taco or 5, you can often find me with a big ol plate of braised meat, mashed potatoes and gravy!  Oh my….

This is actually a pretty quick recipe that you don’t have to let stew all day long, but will still gives your home a wonderful aroma and a family pleasing meal..  So even consider this for a filling weeknight dinner!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs pork chops
  • 4 strips of bacon, grease reserved
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 14.5 oz can of tomatoes (w/ onion, celery & bell pepper)
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk (*you can use all milk instead of chicken stock if desired)
  • 1/2 chicken stock 
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil  

Begin this recipe by liberally seasoning the pork chops with a bit of oil and the paprika, salt & pepper and set aside. 

 In a large heavy-bottomed-pot or pan, begin to cook the bacon over medium heat till just crisp.  Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel lined sheet while reserving the bacon grease.   Next, to that grease, add in the 1 tbsp of butter, the onions and cook till slightly translucent and then add in the garlic. 

   Turn the heat down to medium-low and follow this up by sprinkling the flour over the onion/garlic mixture and stirring to make a rue.  Slowly pour in the milk (& chicken stock if using) while stirring continuously.  Get those flour lumps out!   Finally add in the can of tomatoes (with juice) and brown sugar.  Bring to a low boil and then down to a simmer, stirring occasionally. 

    

I wanted to mash up my tomatoes just a bit here..

 If you’re really good at multitasking, while you’re making the above Bacon Tomato Gravy,  have another pan set on medium-high heat with a tbsp of oil in it.  Once hot add in the pork chops (2-3 at a time/don’t overcrowd pan) and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side.  Immediately after each pork chop has been seared, add straight to the gravy, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes to cook through. 

   *During the simmering of the pork chops, I like to complete my side dishes, which are typically fresh, sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Time’s up!!  Spoon a good amount of mashed potatoes onto a plate and place a juicy pork chop on top.  Ladle that warm Southern Bacon Tomato Gravy over the chop & potatoes and top with the reserved bacon and some parsely…just don’t forget the veggies!!  Enjoy! 

 

Spring Break ’16

I’m baacckkkk….as it may of seemed that I took a bit of a hiatus, I was actually having so much fun visiting family and friends in Arizona and California.  We may of even saw Mr. Mickey Mouse himself!

We started the LONG journey from north central Texas (why o’ why didn’t we fly?? next time for sure!) to Arizona with our two boys in tow.  If you’ve never driven through Texas, or even halfway through, I compare it to flying to the moon.  Yes, it IS that large.  Finally, after battling the I-10 El Paso traffic and smell, the boring flat trip through New Mexico, we arrived to our destination of the perfectly manicured northwest valley of Arizona! 

We fortunately left a day earlier than planned so we got to spend a day with family (Tuesday..outside of our vehicle, yay!) hanging out and enjoying good food and cocktails.  ..because that very next morning we were back at it and off to California!

Luckily comparing that drive to Los Angeles vs the prior one from Granbury, TX to north Peoria, AZ felt like a quick trip to the grocery store.  After a great ‘girls-night’ evening with family we woke up (now Thursday) and jetted off to Disneyland!!  Myself along with my two boys (4 and almost 3 years old) mother in law, sister in law, niece and her son (3 years old) had the best time!!!  The look on their faces seeing the ‘real’ Mickey & Minnie, Goofy..Spider-Man, Darth Vader, all the rides, just priceless oh my!  We won’t speak of Brooks and my ride on the Matterhorn however, we’ll save that for a near death experience blog ;). 

             The very next morning (Friday..are you keeping up here?? Cause I was exhausted!), we headed back to Phoenix for a mexican fiesta at my mother in laws home where we always stay.  More friends and family came over and we stayed up late!  *Two-Stepping, guitar playing and lots of laughter may have ensued. 

 I believe it’s now Saturday morning, my mind is a bit foggy..I’m not sure if it’s from the car rides across states, constant activities or the free flowing wine, but I’m awake and ready for round 52!!  It’s my best friends wedding at the beautiful Carefree Resort & Conference Center..and boy was it ever!!  

Thankfully the boys were off for a fun day of the zoo, park and lunch with their aunt, uncle and grandpa (seriously, they’re having the best week of their tiny lives!), while I attempted to pull myself together, wipe the bags from my eyes and get wedding ready!! 

   All in all, we had the best time at Mr & Mrs Softley’s shindig!  A beautiful environment with beautiful friends I’ve had since I was 14!  No need to ask how old I am, but let’s just say we’ve all been friends for a while ;). 

       Our last day…Sunday.  Like everyday before, it was a busy day of getting laundry and packing done, collecting all of the boys’ new toys from their too nice family members, a Target shopping trip and a farewell till next year dinner.  Teary goodbyes, please-stay-here’s & hugs.  Monday morning we were out…till next year AZ!  I’m back to cookin’!!!

We’re home!!

 
*who ever was curious to Shane’s where-a-bouts half of the time, it involved guitar playing, an acoustic show at the Irish Wolfhound Pub and LOTS of tattooing!  His back kind of hurts ;). He also got a secret surprise when we returned home last night!  In cahoots with his two best friends who run a motorcycle shop, they tricked out his bike with new white wall tires, fxrp suspension, etc while we were away..one HAPPY boy!! 

      

She’s a beaut!

 

Chicken Broccoli Parmesan Bake

Here is an easy comforting dish for these cool months that are approaching fast!  The creaminess, that crunch…oh my!  I do not know one person that does not like the combination of chicken, cheese and broccoli together..and if you stumble upon such a creature..run away!!

This meal can be on your family’s table in less than an hour and it WILL fill everyones belly.  Assured!  

IF you have any leftovers (it does make a bit afterall), just cover and store in the refridgerator.  The next meal, pop this back in the oven (now covered) for 25 minutes and then uncover for the last 5-10 to regain that great crunchy top!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs (4 breasts) chicken, cooked
  • 16oz bag frozen broccoli, slightly defrosted
  • 2 cans cream of chicken (‘with herbs’ if possible *Campbells)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio/sauvagnon blanc)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened/melted
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded & divided (1/2 cup-1/2 cup)
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper, to taste

Garnish

  • I like to serve ours either alone or overtop rice or rotini pasta.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Assuming your chicken is cooked and shredded or cubed (I prefer either a roasted chicken or Ill just quickly poach the breasts myself, which I did above) and that your broccoli is slightly thawed (I’ll pour it into a microwave safe covered dish, hit defrost for a few minutes and then drain any excess water through a collander) you can now begin assembling. 

 In a buttered 9×13 casserole dish, layer the broccoli down first, followed by the cooked and shredded chicken. 

 In a seperate bowl, combine the 2 cans of soup, sour cream, mayo, dijon mustard, cheddar cheese, white wine and salt & pepper to taste.  Give this creamy mixture a good stir. 

   Now you will simply pour this directly over your chicken and broccoli..use a rubber spatula to create an even layer and then sprinkle about 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese over top. 

   In a second bowl you will combine the Panko breadcrumbs, butter, remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and a pinch of cayenne.  Mix this together until the panko is coated in butter, cheese and spice and then evenly sprinkle over the top of your casserole. 

     Now that is ready to go, pop in your oven (uncovered) for about 30-45 minutes, until that top coating gets a beautiful crunchy, brown! 

 Let rest on the counter for 5 minutes and then serve, enjoy! 

 

Cinnamon French Toast Pancakes

This hybrid of a breakfast will knock your socks off and get your morning off to a great start!  In my home there are some of us that prefer pancakes, while there are the others that prefer french toast…now it’s no more fighting and just eating!  Amen to that!

The Starting Lineup

Pancake Batter

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp vege oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

French Toast Batter

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon  

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat (you may add a tbsp of vegetable oil and/or butter if using a cast iron).  Also preheat your oven to 225degrees and get a baking rack/baking sheet ready.  You’ll keep your pancakes and then turned to french toast here to keep warm!

In a larger bowl, combine your dry ingredients:  flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and the salt. Whisk them to combine. 

 Now in a smaller bowl combine the wet ingredients: buttermilk, egg, oil and the vanilla extract.  Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry.  It is OK if there are a few lumps my friends!  So please do not overwork the batter with your whisking…that will result in a flat pancake.  No Bueno. 

    Pour almost a 1/2 cup of batter onto the hot skillet and let cook till bubbles have started to form on the top, about 2-3 minutes.  Flip your pancake with a large spatula and cook for about 1-2 minutes..repeat till the batter is finished.  After each pancake is done, transfer to the preheated oven to keep warm (on an oven safe plate or sheet people! ;)) 

      Ok..meanwhile, you have gotten the cinnamon French toast batter ready..or you should have at least.  I like to use a pie plate for mine.  It’s both shallow and round, just like the pancakes!! 

 In an easy assembly line line-up, have in order your cooked pancakes, French toast batter and the same heated skillet/griddle ready…(add more butter if needed). 

 Dip the cooked pancake into the French toast batter, flip to cover both sides.  Next transfer to your hot pan and cook for about 1 minute on each side and then transfer to the oven to keep warm.  Repeat until…until you’re out of pancakes!

Serve this delicious hybrid breakfast with a bit of butter, warm syrup and perhaps a dash more of cinnamon and powdered sugar.  Enjoy!!! 

 

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