dessert · Main dish. · salad · Strawberries

Time for Strawberries!

strawberries

This is a  favorite season of mine – Strawberry Season!  I love Strawberries so much and I love to eat them plain, but I also love adding them to savory dishes as well as baked goods.  I thought I’d do a round-up of some of my favorite strawberry recipes to give you some ideas as to how to use your freshly picked berries!

Strawberries IN foods… Continue reading “Time for Strawberries!”

baking · dessert · Main dish. · Pasta · salad · Uncategorized

A Few Ina Garten Favorite Recipes

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I love the blessing of cooking food for other people.  When I recently made a meal for a family whom we love, I knew that they were fans (especially one of their daughters) of Ina Garten’s recipes. So I made up a menu of mostly all her recipes and set to work.  I made one BIG blunder..,read on to see what I did!

Here’s what I made:

Continue reading “A Few Ina Garten Favorite Recipes”

Fast meal · freezer · Main dish.

Hamburger Casserole – Better Than the Boxed Version!

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I plan for my weekly meals but there are times when life happens and it’s getting to be near supper time and I realize that I don’t have any clue what we’re going to eat in an hour!  Every find yourself there?

Such was the case a couple of weeks ago.  I’d been helping with some projects at my daughter’s house, and didn’t think I’d be gone as long as I was.  When I got home, my wheels were turning as to what I could whip together for supper in a hurry.  I knew what basic ingredients I had on hand, so I set to finding a recipe that would include something with those staples.

I opened one of my old cookbooks and came across this great Hamburger Casserole that I hadn’t made in years.  I only made one tweak, due to not having something the recipe called for, but it was a great substitute.  My husband raved and raved about how good this was!  Bless him!  It really reminded me of the Hamburger Helper Casserole you buy in the store, only this was waaaay better!

Also, Kroger had offered for their Free Friday Download a bag of Barilla’s noodles that are pre-cooked.  All you do is steam them in the microwave for about 3 minutes!  Having those on hand really sped up this supper meal!  I will definitely be keeping those on hand for a fast dinner!

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Here’s the recipe:

Hamburger-Sour Cream Casserole

1 lb hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 12 oz. can corn, drained – (I used frozen)
3 cups cooked noodles
1 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 3 oz. can chow mein noodles – (I used buttered Panko crumbs instead and think I’ll always use those!)

In a skillet combine meat, onions, and pepper and brown slowly; drain fat.  Add all ingredients except chow mein noodles.  Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and top with chow mein noodles.  Bake, uncovered for 25-3- minutes at 350 degrees.  Freezes well, but do not put chow mein noodles on top until ready to bake.

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I added cottage cheese with home canned peaches on top as a side, and it was a satisfying meal – even without planning ahead!

It’s wise if you can, to always keep staple items on hand for days like this.  That might include:

  • Ground beef
  • Cooked chicken breast
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Cream soups
  • Canned Salmon and Tuna
  • Bread crumbs – I love Panko for crunch
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Canned fruits

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This recipe is a keeper.  Men usually go for dishes like this.  Why don’t you try it out on your fella soon?

What do you try to keep on hand for quick meals?

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Beef · Cooking · Main dish. · Main entree

An Old Favorite Main Dish

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Recently I went to the kitchen to fix supper and I suddenly thought about an old favorite recipe, and the craving for it caused me to immediately change my menu for the night! It’s one of those comfort-food kind-of-dishes that is delicious, easy and filling, yet so simple that I had everything for it on hand already! It’s also ready in under 30 minutes!!

What did I make?  Salisbury steak.!  If you’re thinking about the frozen dinner variety, think again.  This is meaty, plump and bursting with flavor as well as plenty of gravy to cover the meat and/or any potato you might eat with it.

My recipe came from the Betty Crocker American Country Cooking Cookbook.  It has some fantastic recipes in it but the Salisbury Steak is probably my favorite!  If you’re wondering what to have for supper this week, this could be your next family favorite!

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Salisbury Steak

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (any flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Mix beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and egg. Shape into 4 oval patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Cook patties in 10-inch skillet over medium heat about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown; drain. Add onion, broth and mushrooms. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until beef is done.
  • Remove patties; keep warm. Heat onion mixture to boiling. Mix water and cornstarch; stir into onion mixture. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve over patties.

     

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What dish do you sometimes crave?

With love from my country kitchen,

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dinner in 30 minutes · Main dish.

Did Someone Say Shrimp Sauce?

 

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During our recent sabbatical, my husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to eat out quite a bit, thanks to the gracious gifts of our church family. One evening we ventured out to a local Asian restaurant that we hadn’t been to in a very long time. The meal we ordered was a mixed meat grilled on a hibachi and served with a side of Shrimp sauce. The meat was great. The vegetables were flavorful, but the shrimp sauce was OUT OF THIS WORLD! We doused added it to every bite!

Last week when I was making beef stir fry at home, the memory of that glorious sauce popped into my head and I Googled it in search of a recipe. I was shocked at the simple ingredients that are used to make the sauce. I had every ingredient on hand! This meal was so good, and it made me happy to be whipping it up in my own kitchen!

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Let me share with you the way I make my stir-fry and then I’ll add the simple recipe for the shrimp sauce.

Stir Fry
½ lb. your choice of meat – chicken, beef or shrimp
2 Tbl. Oil

In a wok, stir fry the meat until it Is cooked through. Remove meat and cover to keep warm. Add a little more oil to the wok and cook vegetables of your choice, starting with the vegetables that take longer to cook, then adding the other vegetables a bit later. The list below is the order I add my vegetables.

Zucchini
Red, green or yellow peppers – I like to ad a variety of these
Snow peas
Onion
Stir fry until crisp-tender.
In a small bowl, mix:
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbl. Corn starch.
2 Tbl. Soy sauce

Add this mixture to the vegetables and stir to thicken. Add meat and stir to cover with the sauce.
Serve with Shrimp sauce.

Shrimp Sauce
1 Cup Mayo – I used reduced fat
¼ cup ketchup
1 tbl sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Dash of hot sauce

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. If you can make it an hour ahead and refrigerate it, the flavors will combine even better. I served mine immediately and it was still delicious, so don’t let that hinder you!

We won’t have stir-fry in the future without this sauce, I can promise you! This is great with any Asian food, so whip this up and dunk away!

If you could recreate any restaurant food you’ve had, what would it be?

With love from my country kitchen,

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grilling · home · Main dish.

Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Last week I encouraged you to make your home a haven for your husband.  It needs to be your haven, too.  It could be a one for anyone that would enter your door.  Each day this week I’m going to be sharing  ways that you can do just that.  Maybe you’re a pro at it and these will just be reminders.  Perhaps you’ve gotten so preoccupied with other things that you need a refresher.  Or maybe you’re new at creating an atmosphere of a refuge and you don’t know where to begin.  I pray this will encourage each of you!

Food is a gift from God and is a huge element in home life. Cooking creates delicious aromas.  The dishes the meals are served on can create family traditions and carry precious memories, and time around the table creates conversation, care and intimacy.

I believe the meals we prepare need to be thought through so we’re prepared, organized, and allow our families to anticipate what’s coming!  I challenge you to plan at least four dinners for this week and post it somewhere.  It could be on your planner, a marker board, or a chalkboard.  Put it out where your family will see it and know what’s coming for supper this week.  You may need to switch the night you chose to make that entree, but that’s okay.  You’ll still have a plan.

I often scroll through my blog menu items and make up my whole week of dinners from it. That’s one great reason to blog about my food; I have an on-line record of our favorites!  If you keep a list of your family’s favorite things, it will be easier to make a weekly plan.

After you make your plan and post it, then make a grocery list and secure the ingredients needed.  Prep ahead and get things started early so dinner will be anticipated by everyone – even you!

Recently I made a recipe I’ve shared here –  the Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple Salsa again and was smitten by the fantastic taste the grill gives the whole meal!

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Hawaiian Chicken with Pinapple Salsa
Ingredients:

1/4 cup pineapple juice

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

1. Combine first 5 ingredients. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade; place remaining marinade in a zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Chill 4 hours. (I did mine overnight)

2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade in bag. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Note:  I microwaved the chicken for about 10 minutes to pre-cook it a little.  Then we put it on the grill. Add chicken to pan; baste with 2 tablespoons reserved marinade. Cook 6 minutes. Turn chicken over; baste with 2 tablespoons reserved marinade. Cook 6 minutes.

3. Combine rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cilantro.

Pineapple Salsa

Mix:

1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple (I used canned)

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup pineapple preserves

1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

I heated up the salsa and served it over the chicken.  This was so delicious!  The grilled chicken and the flavors of the marinade and the salsa are perfect!

Grilling makes all the difference!  I hope you’ll try this soon.  I know I won’t be waiting long before I make this again!

So who’s with me on making a menu for this week?  Will you strive to make the haven for your husband and your family with the food you create?   Can you plan four dinners you want to make and serve to your family this week?  Let me know in the comments below!

With love from my country kitchen,

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dessert · grilling · Main dish. · summertime

The Grill’s Not just for Hot Dogs!

We’re in the middle of another session of Apples of Gold – the cooking/teaching mentoring ministry for ladies that I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the last three years.  Each week we learn cooking techniques, study Titus 2, and fellowship together around a home-cooked meal.  It’s a wonderful, encouraging and fun time!

Last Saturday the meal was all about the grill.  Here was our menu:flatbreads.jpg

 

Grilled Prosciutto, fig and Gouda Flatbread
Rosemary and Sea Salt Flatbread
Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken Salad
Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Whipped Cream

For Flatbreads:
Ingredients
  • For the flatbread:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup warm water, plus more if needed
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 6 ounces Gouda cheese, grated
  • A handful of arugula
  • 8 slices of Prosciutto
  • 8 fresh figs, cut into quarters – I used dried figs and they were just as delicious!

For the balsamic glaze:

  • 1 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Instructions:

For the flatbread:
To a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder, mix well.
Add the olive oil and mix.
Add the water and mix until the dough comes together, either using your hands or a wooden spoon.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge about 10 minutes before using to allow to come to room temperature.

Preheat your outdoor grill.
Divide the dough in fourths and roll out onto a floured cutting board into your desired shape.
Brush with the olive oil on both sides.
Grill on each side for about 2-3 minutes until you have good grill marks and the dough is crispy.
Remove from the grill and add your toppings.
Return the flatbread to the grill and grill only long enough until the cheese is melted.

For the balsamic glaze: – Make this while the dough is in the fridge

In a medium saucepan, add the balsamic and stir in the honey.
Bring the vinegar to a simmer over medium heat.
Simmer for approximately 30 minutes until the vinegar has reduced by ½, keep an eye it and check until it has the consistency of molasses.
Drizzle over the finished flatbread.

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For Rosemary/Sea Salt Flatbread – 

Combine 1 tbl. finely chopped fresh rosemary and about 2 tsp sea salt.

Brush flatbread with olive oil and grill until browned.  Remove and brush with more olive oil.  Rub Rosemary and salt mixture over oil.  Serve warm.

Griled chicken salad

Honey-lime Grilled Chicken Salad

Ingredients

For Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken
  • 4 small chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • zest from a lime
  • juice from a lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

instructions

  1. In a bowl add the Honey lime chicken ingredients; olive oil, honey, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Place each chicken breast between plastic wrap and gently pound using a meat mallet until chicken is about ½ inch in thickness. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate overnight.
  3. Grill chicken over medium high heat until cooked through.

For Salad:

Ingredients:

Spring Mix
Sliced Strawberries
Blue Cheese

Place salad ingredients on plate, top with grilled chicken.

Honey-Lime Dressing – 

1/4 Cup olive oil
Juice and zest of a lime
2 tsp Honey

 In a small bowl, whisk the juice of the remaining lime, the honey and 1/4 cup olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Now for dessert:

Pineapple

Grilled Pineapple

  1. Slice fresh pineapple in one-inch slices.
  2. Sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar mixture
  3. Grill on medium high heat 2-3 minutes or until soft and pineapple has grill marks.
  4. Garnish with whipped cream, and fresh mint.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Ingredients

Full Fat Coconut milk
Vanilla
Sugar

Place coconut milk in fridge overnight. The next morning, put mixing bowl and beaters into freezer for ten minutes.  Turn milk can upside down, open and pour off liquid.  Pour rest of milk into chilled mixing bowl.  Beat until whipped up.  Add 2 tbl sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.

This meal is so delicious!  Fire up the grill and get some restaurant worthy foods cooking on your back porch!  

With love from my country kitchen,