Just in case you don't think there is any rhyme or reason to this dinner blog, here it is: It's a rotating week. Monday Beat the Blues Comfort Food; Tempting Tuesday; Casserole Wednesday; Tasty Thursday; Featured Friday (where I feature a special person and their recipe); Saturday Side Dish; Sunday Soups/Scoops/Specials. Each week I'll be blogging on a different day, so there's something new about every eight days.

NOTE: This blog will be changing. Stay tuned for a new look and routine of when I will post.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sauerkraut and Polish Sausage

Sauerkraut and Polish sausage is a German dish yet it’s written right there—Polish sausage. Why is it a German dish if it’s Polish? I decided to look it up and I realized Poland was right next to Germany. Being neighbors, maybe the Germans brought the sauerkraut and the Polish brought the sausage and they put the two together. Well, this sure isn’t a smart blog, it’s a food blog. I don’t claim to be smart, just that I can cook, for the most part.

This dish I threw in the crockpot because I knew I wouldn’t be home at dinner hour and I normally make this with mashed potatoes instead of adding the potatoes in the crockpot. Mashed potatoes are so much better, but hey, we can’t do it all, all the time, can we?

No. So quit trying.

My suggestion if you’re going to throw the potatoes in the crock with the kraut and sausage is to add some additional water or cut your potatoes up in smaller hunks rather than quartered. Potatoes won’t be done even when cooking all day on low in kraut juice. Trust me. They were edible, but when you’re mouth is watering for some good ole German kraut and sausage, hard potatoes ruin it.

Rating & Type: EE/P or B

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sh*t on a Shingle

The name of this dish must have been a term used in the military as those in the military seem to be familiar with it. This was usually served at breakfast when we were little and my parents didn’t hold back on its name—shit on a shingle. That sure has to make kids want to eat!

"Here have some shit on a shingle." What?

Really though, it’s sliced—super doper thin corned beef in a creamy white gravy (sh_t, although to me it looks more like cat vomit) placed on top of a piece of toast (that’s your shingle).

Okay, I come from a mother who must have learned how to cook on a dime and things that you would think are totally disgusting. Gizzards and gravy, liver and onions, blood sausage—but I personally think they were so yummy, so when shit on a shingle was placed on the table, I was all for it.

I don’t know what the real recipe is, but here’s my version.

3 packages of Buddig Corned Beef (I chopped it into slivers and then cut in half again - see the photo.)

I made a cream sauce blending 3 tablespoons of melted butter to 3 tablespoons of flour. Slowly stir in about 1 or 2 cups of milk until you get the consistency you want. Salt and pepper. Add the chipped beef. Make some toast and put the mixture on top.

Rating & Type: E/B

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Potato Soup

Another item that is on my children’s favorite list is my potato soup. I think I make it different every time, but generally it’s about the same, sort of. They love it though.

Whenever I make soup, chili, spaghetti sauce, etc., I always make a huge batch. Then I freeze what I don’t think will get eaten and I have some dinners for those days when I don’t feel like cooking.

I start off sautéing in butter, a chopped up onion and maybe some garlic. Depending on the size batch you make will depend on how much, but I don’t think it really matters, do you? After the onions are good and soft, I’ll throw in some flour and make a rouge (which I just learned this term–basically it’s flour and butter cooked together) and it’s a thickener, I think. Oh yeah, I’m a cook.

I then add chicken broth (again, depending on how much you make) and I whisk this in so that the rouge becomes blended with the liquid. While the onion and garlic are cooking, I would be peeling and cubing my potatoes. Depending on my energy level, will determine if I peel the potatoes because sometimes you need a little skin. I prefer small potato cubes. Dump those in the broth and let simmer until the taters are done.

Before serving add either: heavy whipping cream, half and half, or evaporated milk. I usually have evaporated milk on hand and it does make a nice broth for potato soup. And you could also use a combination of all three. Say you have a tad bit of whipping cream left that you have no idea what you’re going do with—throw it in your soup. Any soup. Who doesn’t like cream? But careful because you don’t want to get your cream boiling, it’ll curdle and make the soup look not-so-good even though it will taste just fine.

You can then season to taste or just let everyone season to their own liking. If you want to get all fancy, you can dish out some shredded cheese, chives, bacon crumbs and sour cream to plop on top, but all of us here just like it straight up.

Rating & Type: FE/V

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sloppy Joes

I’ve been told, but I can’t remember who told me (lovely aging process) that my mom made the best Sloppy Joes ever. No one seems to have the recipe or if they do, they’re not sharing. I don’t know where I came up with my Sloppy Joe recipe, but it surely isn’t rocket science when it comes to putting it together.

I have had Sloppy Joes by others that is more like spaghetti sauce or chili in its consistency (although not my spaghetti sauce or chili). Their Sloppy Joe is soupy. I want to shout – put some oregano in this will ya! or where’s the cumin and chili powder for crying out loud? This one Sloppy Joe I had caused the bun to be totally soggy to the point of not being able to pick it up. There’s nothing good about tomatoey soggy bread (soggy bread with gravy, yes, but gag me with the tomatoey soggy bread). Just my own personal preference.

Sloppy Joes should definitely be sloppy, hence the name. But sloppy in the sense that the meat gently falls out of the bun. Not sloppy sog-the-bun. Sloppy Joes need to be eaten with your hands, not a fork.

The pictures of my Sloppy Joes were made with one pound of ground beef. Brown and then drain. Add brown sugar (about ½ cup), squirt in a little catsup, bbq sauce and a tiny bit of mustard. Cook until it’s the consistency you want (but remember, not too sloppy). Just enough sauce to make it juicy. You can throw in some onion flakes if you want, but usually these four ingredients is all I use.

Scoop some onto your bun. Your bun will have just a slight bit of juice soaked in… like my picture here.

You can take a bite or two and watch crumbles of Sloppy Joe fall out of your bun, but this can easily be picked up with your bun like you pick up corn with mashed potatoes. Notice my picture of the crumbles of Sloppy Joe and notice the next picture where it’s picked up by the bun?

Remember, no juicy soupyness for Sloppy Joes.

P.S. I will be totally humiliated and mortified if I find out my mom made soupy Sloppy Joes.

Ground beef
bbq sauce
brown sugar

Rating & Type: EE/B

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Bread

One—okay two—staples that went with every meal when I was growing up was bread and butter or gravy bread. And how I loved both, especially gravy bread. I’m not sure if that was to help fill us up due to budget restrictions or if it was just something my mom made because she liked it or to please my dad.

Boiled potatoes seemed to be another thing one could count on. I liked mashed potatoes and would whine when boiled potatoes were set on the table. I was told, “Just mash them with your fork and put some butter on them.”—as if that really did the trick.

My mom was the best home-made bread maker. We’d come home from school and that was our snack sometimes – fresh out of the oven, butter melting all over it.

My younger sister, Ruthie runs a close second in making bread. I’ve failed miserably at it so many times, I gave up until Ruthie found a new way of making bread and shared it with me. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day was something Ruthie didn’t think was possible, but she swears by it and won’t go back to the traditional way of making bread with kneading, rising, punching, and more rising.

Before the bread is baked...

Fresh out of the oven...

Okay, bread isn’t a dinner, but I’ll bet there’s a lot of us out there who could make a meal on bread—especially home made—still warm with melted butter.

And if you’re really not into healthy eating, whip up some gravy and feel the comfort just ooze into the arteries of your soul.


Rating & Type: EE or NSE/V

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Barbequed Pork Chops, Grilled Carrots

I had already taken out pork chops for dinner, but since it was so nice (and hot) out for March weather, I decided to bbq. When I think of pork chops, frying always comes to mind because that’s the only way we had them growing up. When my husband was a teenager, he had to do the cooking and that’s how they had them too—fried. He loves to eat them, but refuses to ever cook them again because the cleaning up of the pan and the mess of the grease is too much. Don’t I know.

I was too lazy to go to the store for some zucchini which is what I like to grill as a side dish, so I had some carrots and thought I’d give that a whirl.

The carrots didn’t look very appetizing as they began to shrink and get kind of black on the grill—looking dried out. I went inside and pulled out some salad dressing to douse them up. I used Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette with Gorgonzola (which this is a super yummy dressing for salads) and thought why not for the carrots. I had sprinkled lemon pepper on both the chops and the carrots before I grilled them.

I’m not an expert griller, so I don’t have any tips. Just when I think they’re done, I brush them with sauce and then take them off the grill.

My husband used to be the griller of the house until he decided to take a nap instead of watching the pork steaks that he was grilling for a family reunion. I was in the kitchen, saw him on the couch, then looked outside and I screamed, “FIRE!” The entire bbq pit was in flames.

Needless to say, that got him off the couch. It was too late. All the meat was ash. You couldn’t even tell what was a bone. Of course I snapped a picture. Sometimes I wonder if he did it on purpose because guess who does the grilling now?

I do allow him to grill on occasion, but I have to lock him out of the house… that is if I want my grilled meat to be meat and not ash.

Oh and while we were outside, the frogs played a fine chorus for us – check out my other blog, Present Letters and see the pictures of the singing choir.

Pork chops
bbq sauce
lemon pepper

Rating & Type: EE/P

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kathy's Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham

A friend I met in Blog World posted a blog about her Easy Split Pea Soup with Ham. I asked Kathy if I could use it as one of my posts for Lynn, What's for Dinner and she graciously granted me permission.

Head on over to Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy and get the juicy details of her soup (to go directly to the pea soup use link on Easy Split Pea Soup) and all the other delights of her blog. I haven't tried her recipe yet, but now that the weather decided to turn cool again, this seemed like a good day for some homemade soup!

Of course I have to tell some tales of my experience with homemade pea soup. I only hope no offense is taken.

The first time I remember having homemade pea soup was at my Aunt and Uncle's (on my dad's side). I'll leave the names out. My dad, and of course Ruthie (little sister) and I would go to different relatives for dinner when my mom was in the hospital—which by the way was extremely kind and as a little kid I'm sure I didn't appreciate the work involved—so a big thank you to them all.

I don't think kids are big fans of homemade soups, especially pea. Because I'm a eater of any kind of food, it didn't bother me too much, but I know my little sister was mortified to think she had to eat it. My aunt had a big smile on her face, "I made pea soup!" (Like that was going to thrill us.) My dad truly was thrilled. I ate it, but I felt bad for Ruthie because she didn't eat it and I wondered why a grown-up would serve something like that.

The next experience with pea soup involved Ruthie and me again. We had been living at our stepmother's home for a while—not really sure how long—but we noticed she kept things in the fridge for a LONG time. Like moldy long. We'd open up the door to see if there was anything good to eat and found dried up macaroni and cheese with fuzz growing on top or some other thing that was indescribable. She'd never cover anything with plastic wrap, so the food would take on all the flavors roaming around in the fridge and get hard and crusty.

Stepmother served pea soup. Not exactly thrilled but Dad boasted how she could make something delicious out of anything. It was evident as we spooned through the soup to find all the things that had been in the fridge—mold and all. Who'd know with the color of the pea soup.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weiner Schnitzel, Green Potatoes, Buttered Carrots

My sisters and I make dinner for one another for our birthday. I cooked for my older sister recently, even though her birthday is in November. We don’t always have the dinner on or near our birthday, just some time during the year.

Since our family is of German descent, I decided to create this dish that I had tried not too long ago. I had never had this meal before—that I was aware of anyway. I’m really surprised we never had it when we were little. This entire dinner is not low fat let me tell you right now. And it does take a bit more work, but worth it.

And for dessert – well check out the other blog: Lynn, What’s for Dessert? At some point I’ll list what we had for dessert when I made this meal. It was Hot Fudge Cake with vanilla ice cream. I’ll make that my second post for dessert. Maybe.

Here’s the recipe for Weiner Schnitzel from my friend, Carole (Lasting Impressions).

1 pound pork scaloppini slices (8-12) about ¼ inch thick and pounded thinner
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread ½ cup flour on a plate.
On another plate spread 2 cups breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs.
Beat 2 eggs and 1 Tablespoon milk in a bowl.
Dredge meat in flour, shake off excess.
Dig into egg mixture, then coat with crumbs.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil.
Cook the schnitzel in batches, being sure not to overcrowd them, until browned, 1-1 ½ minutes per side.
Remove to paper towels to drain, then keep warm in oven.
Serve with lemon wedges.

When I did this, my husband had picked up some pork for me. He picked up 4 really thick pork chops that equaled 2 pounds. I took two of them, cut them in half (thick wise) and ended up with four pieces of pork that I pounded really thin.

For some reason, I thought I was supposed to sprinkle the pork with lemon juice after salting and peppering (as I made this part ahead of time – and put them in the fridge).

I also cooked mine longer because I wasn’t sure about the thickness.

I used cracker crumbs. Everything else I pretty much followed.

I also looked up Weiner Schnitzel as I wondered about the name. According to some German lady: “Weiner – this word comes from the word wien, which is the Austrian city called Vienna. Schnitzel means basically meat in a crust.”

Green Potatoes aren’t really green potatoes, but the mixture is green (that goes on the potatoes). This recipe came from Penzeys Spices catalog they mail out free if you sign up or you can view it online at: www.penzeys.com

1-1 ½ pounds small potatoes, unpeeled and cut in half (I used Trader Joe’s little tiny potatoes and I still cut them in half)
1-2 TB olive oil
1 Fresh poblano pepper, seeded and chopped (or another mild to medium green chili pepper)
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
1 cup baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
3 garlic cloves (3/4 tsp PENZEYS MINCED GARLIC)
½ tsp salt
¼ - ½ cup butter (1/2 to 1 stick) melted

Steam or boil the potatoes until fork tender (I boiled). The time required will vary based on the size of the potatoes. While the potatoes cook, combine all the sauce ingredients and puree in blender or food processor. (I did this the day before to cut down on what I had to do the day of the dinner.) It says using a full stick of butter is very delicious while ½ stick is tasty as well if you’re trying to cut back. (I used 2 pounds of potatoes therefore used 1 stick, but ½ stick would have been more than sufficient).

When the potatoes are steamed, place them in a large skillet with the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Brown the potatoes evenly. Remove from the heat and place in serving bowl, add sauce and stir to coat. Serve immediately. (Since I made the sauce ahead of time, I then reheated it. And since I wanted everything to come out at the same time, I kept the potatoes in a sauce pan with the sauce keeping them warm. I didn’t serve immediately and they were fine.)

Butter carrots:
I just peeled and cut some carrots, steamed them in a little water until the tenderness that is desired and added some butter.

Bread/Cracker crumbs

Rating & Type: NSE/P

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grilled Cheese

A nice easy standby is grilled cheese. But try it with a new twist. My husband shared his version of grilled cheese with me and I’ve been a fan since. I grew up with the standard: white bread, butter on the outside with a slice of American cheese in the middle.

When I was a poor, single parent I decided to try the cheap brand of American cheese. I have no idea what brand it was—definitely not Kraft. The cheese wouldn’t even melt. I vowed right then that no matter how poor I was, I would buy Kraft American Cheese. I’m sure there are other brands that melt, but I just stuck with Kraft.

Another time, when my little sister and I moved in with our stepmother after our dad remarried, our stepsister Cheri offered to make us a grilled cheese one day for lunch. Ruth and I were excited and said yes!

Cheri’s version of grilled cheese started out the same with the white bread and American cheese, but she sprinkled it with sugar. What? Then she spread some mayonnaise on one side of the bread, some mustard on the other side of the bread. Then grilled it. When she served us, Ruth and I looked at each other like, oh boy can’t wait to bite into this. Not.

Cheri proceeded to dip her toasted cheese in ketchup. You could tell she just loved it.
“Don’t you want to dip it ketchup?”

Ruth and I wanted to gag and we shook our heads no.

I took a bite and the condiments oozed out of the sandwich on all four sides. I couldn’t tell if I was eating a grilled mustard sandwich, a grilled mayonnaise sandwich or a grilled sugary cheese. The combination of it all was too much for my little sister. She waited until Cheri left and trashed her sandwich. I however will eat just about anything and managed to get it down but thought better to say yes when she offered to make a grilled cheese again.

With that experiment I was a little leery when my husband told me his grilled cheese was with Cinnamon Raisin bread and cheddar cheese. It sounded disgusting, but he assured me it was really good. I like cinnamon raisin bread and I like cheddar cheese, but the combination didn’t seem like a good fit. But it was delicious. That’s how I make grilled cheese now, unless of course little kids are in the picture, then it’s back to regular white bread and American cheese.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (I use Pepperidge Farm)
Cheddar cheese (Hautley’s, Kraft or a decent brand – that melts ☺)

Rating & Type: EE /V

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pork Loin, Hash Browns, Applesauce

When I decided to start this blog, I started noting every thing I ended up making for dinner. With our granddaughter now living with us who is a little on the picky side, I try and fix things that I know she’ll like. She was especially happy with hash browns when I made breakfast for dinner one night (but that’s for another blog).

We’ve all had the hash brown casserole with sour cream, cheddar cheese, some kind of soup, etc. The kind of dish you bring to a family reunion or a big pot luck get together. I modified it and used half the normal amount of hash browns since no one in our house is a big leftover eater except me.

The pork loin was easy as pie. Although I don’t know who came up with that saying because pie isn’t really all that easy unless you cheat and use an already made pie crust and dump some canned filling into it. A real homemade pie, now that takes some work, but definitely worth the effort. Check out my dessert blog: What’s for Dessert as that will feature a dessert once a week and Cherry Pie will be the first.

I digress.

Pork loin. I rubbed it with some kind of marinade spice that I had (Penzey spice: Bicentennial Rub). Baked it in a pan uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reached whatever is normal for pork. Hey, I’m telling you what to make, not giving you every little nitty gritty detail unless it’s already in my head or I’m in the mood or if it requires little effort.

After that’s ready to go, make your hash brown casserole. I used an 8x8 pan, sprayed with Pam. Using enough hash browns that will fit into the dish, mix the hash browns along with some sour cream, some shredded cheese (your choice). I think I used pre-shredded 5 types of white cheese (mixture of mozzeralla, provole, parmesan, asiago, etc.). I just sprinkled in a little as Logan (granddaughter) isn’t big on cheese. She doesn’t like sour cream either, but I had to give it some kind of moisture. She saw me adding it and asked if I could make it plain. Sure. Only I lied. In my book it was as plain as one could get.

I may have sprinkled in some dried onion flakes, a little garlic, salt and pepper. Logan liked it but I think she knew there was some sour cream in there, therefore didn’t eat as much as she probably would have had she not known. Keep your secret ingredients to yourself and just tell ‘em they’re hash browns. Grandma’s Hashbrowns!

Applesauce – unless you want to make some homemade (which I’ve done before), I suggest just opening your favorite brand. So long as the rest of the family is in agreement, you could sprinkle it with some cinnamon to give it a little life and a tad bit of flavor.

Pork loin
frozen hash browns
sour cream
more spices

Rating & Type: EE/P

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grilled Meatloaf Sandwich

Now that we had meatloaf for dinner last night, what to do with the leftovers? If you don’t want to eat it again the next night, you could skip a day and then use this recipe the day after.

If this was invented before, I was clueless. I decided I invented this sandwich and couldn’t wait to try it when I got home. Buy some really nice bread, I used Trader Joe’s Farm loaf or Artisan something or another.

For one sandwich take two slices of bread and butter the outside (using real butter, as always). Heat up your nonstick skillet or whatever pan you make grilled sandwiches. I guess a George Foreman thingy would work too, maybe.

Place one piece of bread buttered side down and place a half of a slice of muenster cheese on top, then add your meatloaf, then another half slice of muenster cheese and top with the other slice of bread, buttered side up. Grill until the cheese melts and the meat is heated through and the bread is a nice golden brown. I put this on low heat in order for the meat to get hot.

I have to admit, this was quite yummy. My husband paid me a nice compliment by saying this could be something served in a restaurant.

Has anyone out there ever had a grilled meatloaf sandwich?

Leftover meatloaf
Muenster cheese

Rating & Type: EE/B

Sunday, March 20, 2011


One of the first meatloaf recipes I recall making was when I was pregnant with my first born. It came out of a microwavable recipe book, but I can’t remember the name. The book is long gone as this was over 28 years ago.

My sister lived with us then. I invited her boyfriend (who eventually became her first husband, he has since passed away) over for dinner. Russ was very polite and ate what was served, probably not knowing meatloaf was on the menu as he hated meatloaf – that is until he ate mine. (Yeah, I’m patting myself on the shoulder.)

He wanted to know what I did to make it taste so good saying that he didn’t like other meatloaf’s that he had eaten. I rattled off the recipe thinking I didn’t do anything special - just followed the recipe.

Since then I’ve tried other recipes, but I always go back to this one that I know from heart, although I change it a bit by throwing other things in when I feel like it, like cheddar cheese, which was not in the original recipe. I’m not sure if I have the original recipe exact, but here’s what I recall:

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion cut up or onion flakes
some Worcestershire sauce
1 – eight ounce can tomato sauce
1 piece of bread crumbled up
1 egg
¼ tsp savory leaves, crushed a little

Topping: Mix catsup and Worcestershire sauce (can’t remember the portions, maybe ¼ cup catsup to 1 Tablespoon W sauce). Most of the time I just use catsup, but the original recipe called for this.

Mix all the ingredients up and place in loaf pan and bake for about an hour at 350 degrees. Since this was a microwavable cook book, you were to cook this on high in the microwave for about 10 minutes. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll precook the meatloaf and then put it in the oven because I think everything tastes better in the oven versus the microwave. You can either put the topping on right away or wait until the last portion of the cooking process. Different variations of mine have been to add some shredded cheese; one time I didn’t have any bread and used bread crumbs; one time crushed up crackers; sometimes I sprinkle in garlic; or if I don’t have tomato sauce, I’ll squirt in some catsup or tomato juice; you could probably crush up a whole tomato or puree the tomato.

I don’t know about you, but I like the ends of the meatloaf where it’s a little more well done and kind of crunchy. Trying to make meatloaf a little more appetizing, I've used DeMarle’s decorative bundt type pan, which I discovered makes the entire top crunchy. The pan creates a nice shape. You can decorate it with catsup and it looks pretty cute. The only down fall is the crunchy part is on top when it comes out of the oven and when you flip it out of the mold, the part that shows is unbrowned and looks unattractive, so I have to put it back in the oven (with some catsup on top) and cook it until it becomes more brown. Or just flip it back again, but then the top isn’t going to be as decorative, but will be crunchy - if that matters.

One time I made a meatloaf that had boiled eggs and olives shaped inside of it so that when you sliced the meatloaf you could see the circle of eggs and olives. My brother-in-law squawked when my sister made it after I had told her about it. He said he didn’t like his meat staring at him when he ate. Guess it looked too much like a face.

I usually make mashed potatoes with my meatloaf, but scalloped potatoes work well and a vegetable and voila, complete dinner.

Maybe we could all share our favorite meatloaf recipe and take a vote on whose taste the best? Any takers?

Ground beef
bread or bread/cracker crumbs
tomato sauce/juice or catsup

Rating & Type: FE/B

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tilapia, Baked Potato, Corn

If you shop at Sam’s, I’ve had good luck with their frozen fish (Tilapia, Salmon, Cod, etc.). What’s nice is you can take out how many pieces you need as the fish thaws out pretty quick. When I’m in a hurry and if I forgot to thaw the fish, Tilapia cooks rather quick even in the frozen state.

I melt butter (real butter – I never use margarine for anything), a few tablespoons in a skillet. I sprinkle the Tilapia with Lemon Pepper seasoning and sautee in butter. I know this sounds like frying, but sautéing sounds so much healthier and really, it’s not deep frying, it’s just butter ☺. It would be like baking it in the oven by basting it with butter. If that makes you feel better, you could do that. Once the fish turns white, it’s done, but I like to keep mine in the skillet until it turns golden brown. Takes a little longer, but to me, it’s worth the extra time. But if you don’t like that crunchy brown goodness, then take it out of the pan earlier.

While the fish is cooking, you can cook your potatoes in the microwave, but I like my baked potatoes cooked in the oven. I have a small little oven next to the big oven and so it’s nice for smaller things like a few potatoes. You wrap them in foil, prick with fork and cook in the oven (350) for at least an hour. Or if you don’t mind having your oven on, the potatoes are even better at a lower temperature and baked longer. If your short on time, you can microwave for a little, put them in foil and then cook in the oven. That helps give it the oven kind of flavor with less time involved. Make sure you slather the potato with some butter before putting it in the foil. Yes, real butter.

If you don’t like corn, heat up some other vegetable.


Rating & Type: E/F

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bacon and Egg Sandwich

My good friend Kim had given me some of her farm fresh eggs. Oh gosh, if anyone has the good fortune of getting a hold of farm fresh eggs, they are so worth it. There’s no comparison really—the egg yolk is so golden yellow it really makes you wonder about the store bought eggs, if they’re even real.

I fried up some bacon – and Trader Joe’s apple smoked bacon is our all time favorite bacon. I’ve even tried some farm fresh butchered bacon and I still think TJs apple smoked bacon has much better flavor and just as meaty. But that’s me.

After you’ve fried the bacon, you crack open that egg and fry it up to your liking. I prefer my yolks to be a little runny even for a sandwich. In the picture, I cooked it a little too long, but you can still see the gooey goodness of the golden yellow yolk.

Make some toast and create your sandwich. And if you’re vegetarian like one of my daughters, you can eliminate the bacon unless you’re vegan and then I don’t think you eat eggs either, which will leave you with toast ☺ instead of that golden gooey all over your fingers.

Trader Joe’s apple smoked bacon
Kim’s farm fresh eggs

Rating & Type: EE/P

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vegetable Soup

I made an easy (EE) vegetable soup that I put in the crock pot and let cook all day while I was busy writing or cleaning or talking or whatever it is that I do in a day.

I made some beef broth and put that in the crock pot. I had a package of PicSweet vegetables with seasoning and dumped that in. I peeled a sweet potato and cut it up in little cubes and plopped that in. I also peeled and cubed a regular potato that I added. I made some Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix and threw that in. Since my husband likes meat, I cooked up some chicken tenderloins that I sautéed in a skillet and included that in the soup. I wanted the broth to be a little tomatoey, so I added some V8 tomato juice. The thing with vegetable soup, you really can throw in anything you feel like or that you have left over in your fridge or freezer. I’m pretty sure I had some frozen celery leftover from something else. I hate wasting anything and usually will freeze what I don’t use for the purpose of a soup base. You could add some black beans or extra vegetables.

I baked a loaf of Artisan bread (from the cookbook, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – see below). But store bought bread of your liking works just as well that would make this recipe even easier!

Bag of vegetables
Beef or Vegetable Stock
Meat - optional

Rating & Type: EE or E depending on whether you cut up your own veggies or not/V or if you add any kind of meat, then P/B/C

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken

This blog is a little lengthy, but they all won't be like this. The recipe is at the end, so you can skip over the story.

I’m starting off with Crock Pot Chicken for several reasons. It’s easy. It tastes like you’ve slaved away for hours. It doesn’t look all that great, which you’ll hear about in the story I have to tell, but… it does taste yummy.

The first time I made Crock Pot Chicken, served it to my three small children (a single parent then) they all groaned and moaned, “Ewww, this looks gross.”

Trying to be the ever patient mother, I said, “Just try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.” Under my breath went something like, “Then starve, you ungrateful little rug rats. I’ve worked all day, cooked a meal (err… okay, the crock pot cooked it), but I put it all in there before I left for work, before I got all of you ready for school, before I threw in some laundry, before I got dressed three times because something was wrong with two of the three outfits that I had to my name, before I pulled my hair out crying for my mommy.”

“Do we have to?”


As I daydreamed about a life somewhere other than where I was at, I heard, “Hey, this is really good.”

That jolted me out of la-la land and I smiled, “See what happens when you try something?” I then went into my story about spending the night at my cousin’s house.

We were having dinner and my aunt made potato salad… what kid thinks potato salad is appealing? I politely turned it down which seldom happened with me. I pretty much ate anything. My uncle frowned, “What? You don’t like potato salad?”

I shook my head no.

“Have you tried it?”

Not good at lying, okay, scared to death to lie for fear I’d be living with the devil, I whimpered out a no.

Uncle Floyd sat up in his chair. The same uncle who’d scare me by making his false teeth pop out of his mouth—clanking them together as if they were a separate entity of their own and they could come right over and bite me. I never knew whether to laugh or run, but I usually giggled. When he straightened up, I squirmed a bit in my chair. Uncle Floyd had a bold tone, “You probably should try some.”

“No thank you.”

Wrong answer. He puffed up his chest and almost as if he was scolding me said, “Do you want to spend the night here?”

“Yeah.” I loved spending the night at Jane’s.

“Well, if you want to spend the night, you have to try the potato salad.”

That was a no brainer for me. I loved most food anyway. I ate liver and onions at home, and gizzards and gravy, blood sausage with jelly bread. How bad could potato salad be? I wonder now why I even hesitated given the other foods I ate. I took a spoonful, scooped up a forkful and shoved it in my mouth. Mmmm, this was good. All eyes were on me.

Uncle Floyd spoke again. “So whattya think? Do you like it?”

I smiled and shook my head up and down as I chewed up the potato salad.

“Great. Now we’ve done it Pete. (Pete was my Aunt Lee’s nickname that my Uncle Floyd called her.) Gosh darn. I should’ve kept my big mouth shut. Now there won’t be as much for me to eat.” He clacked his false teeth together. Everyone giggled and I helped myself to seconds of the potato salad.

My children’s eyes were glazed over. I tend to ramble. I want to get in all the details. Maybe it’s the writer in me. “See kids—that’s why you should always try something.”


Onto the recipe…

Crock Pot Chicken
1 pkg 8 oz cream cheese softened
¼ cup flour
½ cup water
1 can cream of mushroom (or your choice – cream of something)
1 chicken cut up or chicken pieces

If you forget to soften your cream cheese, you can turn your crock pot on low and plop that cheese in there until it softens. You may want to turn it over once.

Mix together, 1 can cream of mushroom soup (the original recipe called for cream of chicken, but I never have cream of chicken on hand, I always have cream of mushroom and I like cream of mushroom better. You could probably use cream of anything and it’d work—maybe), ¼ cup of flour, and ½ cup of water. Blend those three together.

If your cream cheese is already in the crock pot softened, then take a whisk and blend the soup mixture and the cream cheese mixture together until smooth and creamy. Obviously add the cream cheese in there if it’s not already.

Then add your chicken. I use chicken tenderloins. The pieces are like a serving size and they don’t get all dried out like chicken breast. The original recipe called for one cut up chicken. I did that once. Separating the bones and the chicken from the sauce was a pain, but it was cheaper that way. Make sure the chicken is covered in the sauce.

If you use tenderloins, it won’t take as long to cook and it could be done in 4-5 hours on low. But this also depends on your crock pot. I have a high and a low setting on mine. If you use chicken with the bones, it’s going to take longer, like 8 hours on low. If you cook this too long, the edges start to brown, but if you take your whisk and give it a whirl, it’ll be fine.

This sauce, as stated in the original Sacred Heart cook book says the sauce will taste like you’ve spent hours preparing a gourmet sauce (or something along those lines). And it does. It’s quite yummy.

You can serve this over egg noodles or rice. In our house, we prefer egg noodles. Add a veggie of your choice, if you want and voila – a delicious meal. But don’t forget to tell the little kids that my kids thought this looked gross and it’s now their favorite meal. My kids are all grown and out of the house, but they still ask me, “Will you make crock pot chicken?” Or if they hear that I made crock pot chicken they’ll say, “You made crock pot chicken! Why didn’t you invite me?” I tell them they can make it themselves, it’s not rocket science.

PS My one daughter is a vegetarian, but she’ll eat the sauce even though it’s cooked in chicken… which is another reason why we use cream of mushroom instead of cream of chicken.

PSS I promise they all won’t be this long!

Rating & Type: EE/C

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coming Soon - Crock Pot Chicken

Coming Soon!

I'm still figuring out when I want to start this blog, but I can promise you it will be within the next week. Maybe tomorrow or maybe next Monday (at the latest), so be sure and come back. My first recipe will be Crock Pot Chicken.

As you can see from the blog - see below, I will be rating the recipes (according to me) and indicating what kind of meat is in the dish.

I will also have dessert recipes, but that will be another blog - Lynn, What's for Dessert? - and I will post a dessert recipe once a week on that blog. First dessert will be Cherry Pie.