Saturday, October 31, 2015

Easy Take Out, Fake Out Beef and Broccoli

Hubby has taken over my Pinterest boards and is now asking to have a special board just for stuff we have tried and liked.    I already had one but I renamed it so that he could find it.  This recipe made the move from "Looks yummy" to "Tried and loved it".  This recipe came from Table for Two blog with a few tweaks and does taste like take out.  

Beef and Broccoli

1 lb. boneless, London broil, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef broth
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. sauce (from the crockpot after dish is cooked)
Frozen broccoli florets (as many as desired, I believe I used almost 2 cups)
White rice, cooked
In the insert of the crockpot, whisk together beef consume, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Gently place your slices of beef in the liquid and toss to coat. Turn crockpot  on low and cook for 6 hours.
When done, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cooking liquid to create a slurry, pour into crockpot, stir to mix well. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up the sauce.
Toss in your broccoli florets then serve hot over white rice.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Easy Apple Strudel

My husband dressed the part! 

When you think of fall you remember the leaves changing colors, apple picking, pumpkins, Oktoberfest and hearty meals. Well that is what we had at our last dinner club dinner a few weeks ago. Giada and hubby from across the street created an Oktoberfest menu that included some traditional German foods including  Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Jagerschnitzel (Pork Cutlets with mushroom gravy), Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Pie) and Apple Strudel.  

Our dinners are decided by the host and recipes are distributed and assigned to each couple.  Our contribution was the apple strudel.  Pretty easy recipe but I had some difficulty with the puff pastry that I decided to make a second one.  I thought the first one just didn't look right and luckily the pasty comes in two rolls, so I was able to remake it with a little help from a video from the Pepperidge Farms website on working with the dough.  The end result was delicious topped off by my homemade vanilla ice cream. 

Apple Strudel

1/2 of a 17.3 ounce package of Puff Pastry (Pepperidge Farm), thawed
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 egg beaten lightly with 1 tablespoon water
Confectioners’ sugar for serving (optional)
Ice Cream (optional)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Add cranberries and walnuts and stir to combine. Add apples and lemon juice and toss, stirring until the apples are well coated; set aside.

Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll puff pastry out to a 16 by 12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, sprinkle 1/2 of pastry with apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border at the end closest to you. Roll the pastry up, jelly roll-style, and crimp to seal edges. Transfer strudel to prepared baking sheet and brush top with egg wash. Cut three slits on top of the pastry to let steam escape. Bake until top is golden, about 35 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving and serve with ice cream, if desired.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Buffalo Pretzel Sticks

Nothing beats a quick and easy appetizer!  This one is similar to the spaghetti pretzels we make and also reminds me of the hidden valley ranch oyster crackers that are addicting.  We wanted something flavorful and easy for our fall afternoon wine tasting with our foodie friends.  We definitely found it with this dish. 
Give this one a try for your upcoming Sunday afternoon watching football!

Buffalo Wing Pretzel Sticks


½ cup Franks buffalo wing sauce*
½ cup butter (1 stick)
1Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp, garlic powder
1 tsp. seasoned salt (I used Tastefully Simple)
16 oz. bag pretzel sticks
Marzetti blue cheese vegetable dip for dipping
* Hubby told me not to skimp on the wing sauce!


Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a jelly roll pan or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt wing sauce, butter and Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in onion powder, garlic powder, and seasoned salt and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
Empty bag of pretzels into in a large bowl. Drizzle pretzels with wing sauce mixture and toss with tongs until evenly coated. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Serve  blue cheese dressing dip for dipping.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Enchilada Casserole with a twist

What kid doesn't love tater tots?  Or even yet, what adult doesn't love tater tots?  And then add a Mexican flavor to the recipe and you have a winner. That is what I had last week when it was my turn to plan and make dinner.

One of the things I dread when coming home from work is the time involved in getting dinner ready. It seems that as soon as I walk in the door, dinner needs to be prepared in order to get it to the table on time because someone has something planned after dinner and they need to get out of the house. I would love the opportunity to sit and relax a few minutes before jumping into something,  But, this night was a double whammy.  Hubby and our son had gone for haircuts after work and weren't there when I got home.  And dinner needed to be soon after they arrived.  I had gone to the store on my lunch break to get the hamburger, enchilada sauce and seasoning so that when I did walk in the door I could get this casserole started.  

Tater Tot Enchilada Casserole

350 Oven
15 minutes prep
20 minutes cook time

1 pound meatloaf mix
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. Old El Paso  fajita seasoning (envelope)
4 cups frozen tater tots 
1 (10 oz.) can medium red enchilada sauce
2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 (2.25 oz.) can sliced black olives (optional)
sliced green onions for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, over medium heat, brown meatloaf mix along with onion and garlic. Once browned, drain excess grease then return meat to skillet.

Next, sprinkle two tablespoons fajita seasoning onto beef.  Stir well (keep skillet on a medium-low heat). Then pour in enchilada sauce. Stir well.

Add frozen tater tots and stir until the tater tots are coated with sauce. Transfer mixture into a 9x13 (ungreased) baking dish and evenly spread out. Sprinkle cheese all over tater tot mixture. Top with sliced black olives.

Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.Cheese should be melted and tater tots golden brown.

Serve with diced green onions on top!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner!  At this time of the year it is so nice to have the house smell of a roast of some sort and to take advantage of all the butternut squash available.  We wanted a roast similar to a rosemary stuffed pork roast, but with out the big cut of meat.  A tenderloin is just the right size for the 3 of us. So I scoured the web and found this recipe from Real Simple.  

The butternut squash is one of my favorite fall recipes.  I originally posted this in October of 2012.  The squash comes out so tender and sweet that it mealts in our mouth.  And if you make a lot and have left overs it would be great for Butternut squash soup. 

Rosemary Crusted Pork Tenderloin


1/4cup bread crumbs
2cloves garlic, chopped
1teaspoon smoked paprika
1tablespoon chopped rosemary
kosher salt and black pepper
11 1/4-pound pork tenderloin
1teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil


Heat oven to 425° F.

On a large plate, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, paprika, rosemary, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Rub the pork with 1 teaspoon of the oil, coat with the bread crumb mixture, then place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast the pork until cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Roasted Butternut Squash

3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the squash on a rimmed foil lined baking sheet, add the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper and toss with your hands. Roast until tender, tossing once during cooking with a metal spatula so the cubes brown evenly, 30 to 40 minutes. Season to taste and serve hot. Serves 4 to 6.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Spaghetti Casserole - Enough to dine all week!

 It is so nice to come home from work and see that dinner preparations have been started.  Especially since it would be a late dinner because our son is involved with after school sports.  I had a few minutes to watch the "chef" prepare his casserole before I headed back out for the pick-up. And with Fall upon us a hearty casserole is great to have on a brisk evening.  

This one came from Trisha Yearwood on Food Network.  I had not pictured her as a chef on Food Network, rather a country music star.  With the number of real cooking shows dwindling and more and more food competitions on the network, I will check out her show.  No more Neely's or Tyler Florence's cooking shows.  Remember them?  Even the real chef's are on some kind of competition show. Hey Food Network, Bring back real recipes for real people!

Spaghetti Casserole


Cooking spray, for greasing pan
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
Three 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes with liquid
One 2 1/4-ounce can sliced black olives, drained
1 to 2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained (We used meatloaf mix)
12 ounces thin spaghetti, cooked and drained
2 cups grated cheddar (5 ounces)
One 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon until slightly crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Sauté the garlic, onion and bell pepper in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the tomatoes, olives, oregano, bacon and the cooked ground beef and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place half of the spaghetti in the prepared baking dish; top with half of the vegetable-beef mixture; and sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheddar. Repeat the layers. In a bowl, stir together the cream of mushroom soup and 1/4 cup water until smooth, and pour this over the casserole. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until heated through.

Adapted from "Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood" by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2010