baking · Lunch · main dish

Easy Stromboli

Strombolli 2a

If you don’t own a Gooseberry Cookbook, I’m telling you, you’re missing some great recipes!  I have one that’s for entertaining that is full of promises of happy things!  There’s not a recipe in there that’s not been really good!!  I recently pulled it out looking for a quick and inexpensive lunch-type food I could serve for after church Sunday night.  I came across this recipe for Easy Stromboli and was sure I’d found a winner…I was right!

This is appropriately named Easy, becuase it was a cinch to make.  Frozen bread dough also makes the prep fast and inexpensive.  I bought a package of 5 loaves for a little over $4 at Kroger.  I also made it and baked it before we went to church.  Then when we got home, I just warmed it in the microwave.  It was a quick light meal to use to entertain friends!

Here’s a picture of the easy steps:

 

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Easy Stromboli

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
2 eggs, separated
2 T. oil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. pepper
4-oz. pkg. sliced pepperoni – I used Turkey Pepperoni
8-oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Roll out bread dough into a 12×15-inch rectangle; set aside. Combine egg yolks, oil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder and pepper together; spread over dough. Arrange pepperoni and mozzarella cheese on top; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Roll up; place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush with egg whites; bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

I served it with some pizza sauce alongside for dipping.  Yum!

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Have you ever had Stromboli?  I’m not sure I’d had it before I made this, but it will definitely be on repeat from now on!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise

 

 

Cooking · dinner in 30 minutes · Lunch · main dish

(L)Oven Monday – Fajita/Burrito Bowls

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If you love Mexican foods the way we love Mexican foods, the title of this recipe alone will draw you in!  I mean what could be wrong with combining a fajita and a burrito?  You have the sauteed vegetables, the rice, the fresh veggies and sour cream and cheese…yeah, you know what I mean!  This past year I was introduced to the Burrito bowl.  You take all the stuffings of a burrito and eat it out of a bowl rather than a tortilla.  What a great lunch idea!  I usually always have all the ingredients for this recipe on hand, so it’s a perfect addition to my menu!

Not only is this recipe DELICIOUS, it’s also super fast and super inexpensive!  There is no meat in this fajita – instead there are black beans.  Beans are a great source of protein and much cheaper than meat, so if you’re looking to reduce your grocery bill, adding a meal or two a week like this will really help you save!  Here’s how you make it:

Fajita/Burrito Bowls
Ingredients:
1 {16 oz} can black beans rinsed and drained
1 sweet pepper sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/2 Cup Corn – Fresh or frozen
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Heat a medium sized skillet with vegetable oil and onion and peppers until cooked through. Add the beans, corn and all the spices and sauté for few minutes more.
burrito bowls
Remove from heat and add a little chopped cilantro (I forgot to add that!). Serve over a bed of rice.  Serve with your choice of other burrito ingredients such as:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa

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The bowl below might look like a bowl of mush, but it’s soooo good!

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Have you ever had a burrito bowl?  What did you think?

I hope you’ll give this meat-free recipe a try!  Enjoy!

From my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

breakfast · Cooking · Lunch · Uncategorized

(L)ovin’ Monday

Every Monday I’m showing you what’s been in my Oven that I’m lovin’!  Ready?

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This was Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s last Thursday at 1:00.  Don’t you wish every day’s lunch looked like this…

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Ha, well, maybe not that  much food, but tell me, is it just me, or do others find lunch a difficulty?  I’m usually well into a busy day and just need a quick bite to eat, but I find it hard to stop my day and fix something that’s tasty and quick.

As a matter of fact, even breakfast poses problems.  I’m not ready to eat when I first get up, and by the time I’m ready for a bite, it’s too late to want to get into any big cooking ordeal to accomplish what I need to give me energy for the rest of the morning!

Recently I prepared these Make-Ahead Omelets and froze them.  I made tiny ones for the shower I hosted.  I took the leftovers and froze them in a plastic container, putting sheets of waxed paper in between the rows of omelets.

 

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Then I popped a frozen muffin into the microwave and it made the perfect breakfast!  In a matter of about 4 minutes everything was hot and ready to eat.  That’s better than instant oatmeal – and a lot tastier!

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Then another help came for lunch.  I had made Sloppy Joe’s for our meal after Sunday night church, and had plenty left over.  Wrapping them individually in waxed paper, I warmed them at about 80% power for about 45 seconds.

It dawned on me then – why don’t I make up something like this at the beginning of each week and have it prepared in the fridge?  Lunch could be less than a minute away each day!  If you take your lunch to work, it would be so easy to have it packed and ready in the morning before you head out the door.

I’ve come up with a few ideas of things that would be made ahead and ready.  Here’s my starter list:

Breakfast:

Omelets

Waffles

Baked  Oatmeal

Lunch:

Sloppy Joes

Broccoli Soup

Salad in a jar – Like this one (I haven’t made this particular recipe, but I made one similar and they are great do-ahead salads!)

Chicken Salad – Ready for sandwiches, or to eat alone.

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I hope this encourages you to prepare ahead for your busy mornings and lunchtimes.  When you’re heading into Christmas, why not take away a little stress by having some nutritious breakfasts and lunches all ready to serve?

What quick tips do you have for breakfast and lunch?

With love from my country kitchen,

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Lunch

A Spring Tea Menu

Noodle Salad

Happy Monday, friends!  I trust your weekend was fabulous!  I had a weekend of watching God at work! I can’t wait to tell you about it!  Thanks to those of you who prayed for me!  I’m so grateful!!

I promised I would share the recipes from the gathering here a week ago, so let’s start with one of the savory dishes!  When I was making my menu for my Spring Ladies’ Tea I knew I wanted some kind of salad that was refreshing, pretty and satisfying.  Then I saw Pioneer woman make an Asian Noodle salad on her show and knew I’d found what I needed!  The original recipe calls for spaghetti noodles, but I wanted to keep the menu to need a “fork only,” so I changed it to pasta shells and I was well satisfied.  This is so colorful, and it made a ton!  The leftovers were really good, too!  You could adjust the vegetables to your family’s liking, of course!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
Salad:
8 ounces thin spaghetti
One 8-ounce bag julienne/fine-cut carrots (about 1 1/2 cups)
One 6-ounce bag baby sweet peppers, seeded and sliced thinly into rings (about 1 cup)
One 4-ounce bag bean sprouts (about 1 cup)
3 English cucumbers, peeled and sliced
3 scallions, sliced
Up to 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 head or more napa cabbage, sliced
1/2 head or more purple cabbage, sliced
1/2 bunch kale, leaves torn off the stalks and shredded
2 cups peanuts, chopped
Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped

P.S. I added a bottled Peanut Sauce to the salad for a little heat and we loved it!

For the salad: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package directions. Drain, rinse and let cool.
Mix together the cooked spaghetti, carrots, peppers, bean sprouts, cucumbers, scallions, cilantro, napa cabbage, purple cabbage and kale. Add the peanuts and toss together.
For the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, sesame oil and garlic in a medium bowl.
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix together with tongs or your hands. If the salad seems a little dry, just mix up a little more of the wet ingredients of the dressing and throw it in. It’s a very organic process.
Transfer to a large platter and serve.

One of the desserts I served that seemed to be a favorite was Key Lime Tarts.  I wish I could say they were so complicated and I labored hours over them, but that is not true at all!  They were the easiest thing I made!  

Key lime tarts 2

I made up my pie crust recipe – 2 Cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 Cup Crisco, ice water and cut out small circles and baked them in a mini tart pan.  (If you need a video tutorial on pie making here’s one I did several years ago) https://youtu.be/d3Wn-4bLdWI

I froze the shells early in the week then on the day of the Tea, I pulled them out and piped into each shell some Key Lime filling I purchased at an Amish Store nearby.  It was sooo flavorful and delicious!  Then, I whipped up fresh cream with a little powdered sugar added, and piped it onto the top of each tart.  I finished by zesting a lime and sprinkling the zest on top!  Yummy!

key lime tarts

I failed to get a good picture of tea Tea punch I made, but it was refreshing and simple, so I need to share it with you!  The tea was in the punch bowl below!0416161318.jpg

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

3 family-size tea bags
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 (33.8-oz.) bottle peach nectar
1/2 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (1-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh peach wedges
Preparation
 Hands-on: 10 Minutes
Total: 9 Hours, 5 Minutes
1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags and mint leaves. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes.

2. Discard tea bags and mint. Pour into a 1-gal. container; add peach nectar, lemonade concentrate, and Simple Sugar Syrup. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
3. Pour chilled tea mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in ginger ale and club soda just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

My menu also included Chicken Salad, Crackers, Cheese Straws, Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Honey Lemon Drop Cookies (here is my outcome of that recipe). 

Oh, I made sugar cookies shaped into tea cups…and promptly left them in the freezer!  Do you ever do that?!  

With love from my country kitchen,

 

Lunch · Main dish.

Balsamic & Dijon Chuck Roast (& Soup with Leftovers!)

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When I have a busy day ahead of me and don’t want to have to be fussing much in the kitchen for supper, I pull out the crock pot!  I love  a roast cooked in the slow cooker, because it’s so tender and moist!

This Chuck Roast is so flavorful, thanks to the Balsamic Vinegar.  It gives it a depth of flavor that is  rich and delicious!  It made for the perfect meal on a busy day.  I added a  slaw on the side, and that was it!  Dinner was complete with only about 15 minutes of prep!  Here’s how I did it…

Balsamic and Dijon Chuck Roast

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 pounds Chuck Roast
  • 1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 cups beef broth – I added water and chicken stock b/c I was out of beef
  • 1 bag Baby  carrots
  • 1 pound very small baby potatoes, white or red
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over high heat. Season chuck roast well with salt and pepper, add to pan and brown well on all sides (a few minutes a side). Remove roast and set aside.
  2. Add chopped onion to drippings in pot and reduce heat to medium. Saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, increase heat to medium-high and boil until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 4-5 more minutes. Stir in Dijon.
  3. Transfer onions to a crock pot.
  4. Set roast on top of onions in pot. Pour in 2 cups broth and add thyme. Place potatoes and carrots around roast in the liquid.  Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or until very tender.

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If (and that’s a BIG if) you have any leftovers, you’ll want to make this soup for tomorrow’s lunch!  I had about 8 oz. of meat left, as well as carrots and potatoes.  It made a hearty little pot of soup the next day!!!  Most of the work was done already in the crock pot – it’s just a matter of adding some bouillon and seasonings!

Beef Soup
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I’m not going to be able to give you measurements for this soup – it all depends on how much you have leftover to put into the pot!  Just “eye ball it”, adding enough liquid to make it a hearty soup.

Balsamic Beef and Veggie Soup

Shredded Balsamic Chuck Roast
Cooked carrots and potatoes from last night’s supper
Drippings from roast
Beef Bouillon – or Beef broth
Water – To mix Bouillon ( I added half water, half chicken stock)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until heated through.

I’m not sure what was better – supper or the soup the next day!  You try it and let me know which you like best!

With love from my country kitchen,

Lunch

Make Soup with Leftover Mashed Potatoes!

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They say that “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and such was the case with the Potato Soup I made last week!  I had a LOT of leftover mashed potatoes that I wanted to use up, and the first thing that came to my mind was soup!  I have a  couple of Potato soup recipes that we love, but when you have red-skinned potatoes that are perfectly  cooked, mashed and ready for use, it’s a sure-fire ingredient for a delicious soup and also a 30-Minute meal!  Here’s how I made it:

3 Cups Leftover mashed potatoes (I used red-skinned potatoes with the skins on)
1/2 C Onion, diced
2 Tbl Butter
2 Cups Chicken broth
1/4 Cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 Cup Grated cheddar Cheese
1/2 Cup light Sour cream
Crumbled Bacon bits
Chopped Green onions

In saucepan, melt butter.  Saute’ onions until soft.  Add chicken stock and milk. Blend in mashed potatoes and stir until smooth.  If it seems too thick, add more broth.  If it’s too thin, add more potatoes. Add seasonings.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Remove from heat, add sour cream and stir until blended.  Heat on stove just until warmed.

Spoon into bowls and top with bacon bits and green onions.

potato Soup

I don’t know about you, but I often get stumped about what to fix for lunch.  This was a great entree for noon, and really took only a little more time than stirring water into a can of soup!  I’m certain it was far better!  

The next time you have extra mashed potatoes, don’t toss them – try this recipe instead!  It’s so creamy and delicious you’ll want to make again again!

With love from my country kitchen,

Dinner · Lunch

Quick Fried Chicken Strips

Strips

Sometimes when you see a recipe you just know it’s going to be fabulous.  Fried chicken that’s first dipped in Buttermilk, then bread crumbs caught my eye in a recipe from Food Network.  I put it on my menu for last week and I made it on a night when my husband came home very tired and weary from an extremely busy afternoon. When he came in the door, the lights were dimmed, the candles were flickering, soft music was playing and dinner was on the table.  It was my way of saying, “I care about you enough to help you rest when you come home.”  It is my attempt to be a “good thing” to my hard-working husband.  

As I imagined, he was starving. Within minutes of his arrival home, we were praying and then digging in!  I LOOOOVE it when he takes the first bite and says, “MmmMmmm!”  He also added, “That’s a winner!”  Yay!  I had about five strips leftover (hard to believe, because I just used one chicken breast!), so the next day I warmed them in the oven and cut them into pieces and added them to a salad for each of us.  Yummy!  

The Food Network issued this recipe as a lunch for your child’s lunchbox.  They cut the chicken into nuggets.  This would totally make any child’s lunch the best in the school!    If you like fried chicken, you need to make this super fast recipe with chicken strips!

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Panko Fried Chicken Strips

1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk – Shake up the buttermilk before pouring!
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs – I was out of Panko crumbs, but the regular bread crumbs still made a nice crust!
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
Ranch, honey mustard or barbecue sauce for dipping, optional

Directions
Whisk the egg and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Soak chicken pieces in egg mixture while you gather remaining ingredients. Meanwhile, in another shallow bowl combine panko with paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper, to taste. Set a rack on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Lift chicken from buttermilk, letting excess liquid drain back into the bowl, then dip into panko and turn to coat on all sides.

Carefully place chicken in oil and cook until they are golden and crispy and cooked through, about for 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to the rack to cool. Place in sealed container. Pack in a lunch box with their favorite veggies and ranch, honey mustard or barbecue sauce for dipping.

As I said earlier, this would make a great recipe for dinner, but it also makes great leftovers for lunch! 

Sooo, tell me, what have you done this week to be a good thing to your husband?

With love from my country kitchen,

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