Monday, April 13, 2015

Beef Stroganoff

I can't believe it's almost been a month since I last posted!  I am so sorry guys!  This past month has been very busy for me as I have finally ended my job search.  It has been a rough ride, but I am glad to be at this end of the tunnel.

The last few weeks I have been focused on training and driving about an hour away to do it.  That makes for some long days and evenings.  But gladly this weekend, I had some time off and so in the spirit of our Sunday suppers, I decided to make a new recipe.

One of my favorite Food Network shows is Pioneer Woman, I like it so much I even follow her blog and Facebook page.  I just find her recipes and style to be so relatable and I really enjoy watching her family.  So, on Saturday she posted a recipe for Beef Stroganoff that looked simply delicious!  Here is the link.  Babe has been asking for Beef Stroganoff lately, so I thought I would accommodate him!

This recipe does call for fresh mushrooms that have been sliced.  To deal with Babe's aversion to the texture of mushrooms, I just zipped them up in the food processor before adding them in.  I also used red wine instead of brandy as that is what I had on hand.

Beef Stroganoff

  • 1lb sirloin, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, processed in food processor
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 2-1/4 C beef stock, divided
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • buttered egg noodles, cooked
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oilive oil in pan and cook beef (seasoned with salt and pepper). Set aside.
  2. In the same pan that the steak was cooked in, heat another tablespoon of oil and cook mushrooms, carrots and onion until softened.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and add in red wine and beef stock.  Turn heat back on and reduce 3-5 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and remaining stock into a slurry.  Pour into pan with vegetable mixture and stir until thick.
  5. Stir in sour cream, mustard and beef.
  6. Serve over buttered egg noodles.
This recipe definitely has a flavor that makes you go mmm? What is that?  It's the dijon mustard. It gives it a really interesting kick.  You could eliminate it if you prefer.  As far as the alcohol, other substitutes could be white wine, additional stock, or even balsamic vinegar (I woould definitely not use the dijon in that case).

I hope you enjoy!  I am working on some other recipes so keep an eye out!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sausage Breakfast Casserole

I haven't really jumped on the meal prepping bandwagon.  My prep really is simple.  On Sundays I typically make a nice dinner that I can turn the leftovers into lunch.  I also might make some chicken breasts that I can chop up and use various ways.  But since, I am headed back to work soon (keep your fingers crossed), I have been thinking of things that I can prep on Sundays and have ready before running out the door.

This breakfast casserole is so simple.  It can be prepped a day ahead and then thrown into the oven, or you can bake it off on Sunday morning, serve it for brunch and then store the leftovers.  I bet you could even freeze them!  The most awesome thing about this casserole is that it can be tweaked to whatever you like!  It really is a fantastic method.  If you leave out the potatoes, you can even make it gluten-free. 

Sausage Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 bag of shredded potatoes (you could also use thawed frozen hashbrowns)
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, any flavor (I used a "bacon-lovers" flavor, but hot or sage would be delicious too).
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 2 C shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan
  2. Cook off the sausage and onion until brown
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and salt and pepper
  4. Add additional cheese over top
  5. Cover pan with foil
  6. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes
  7. Uncover pan and cook another 15 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is brown
**If making ahead, just pop the foil covered pan in the refrigerator until the next morning and bake off.
** This could also be made in the slow cooker over night, just toss all the ingredients in the same order into your slow-cooker and cook on low 8 hours

This recipe is also great for a crowd.  I made this batch for Babe's co-workers (those guys work so hard).  It was the perfect amount and a great, hearty breakfast for those boys!

Enjoy! And get creative!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chicken Piccata

There are times that I really crave something bright and fresh tasting.  Chicken Piccata is so lemony and tangy, it really hits the spot.

It's been a long time since I made this dish and I decided to change it up a little bit from the traditional.  Normally, Chicken Piccata is gently dredged in flour and fried in a pan.  I decided to bread it with panko bread crumbs, brown it quickly in a pan and then finish it in the oven.  The lemon butter sauce with capers is the perfect accompaniment.

Chicken Piccata

  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded 1/2" thin
  • 1/2 C flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 C panko breadcrumbs
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 C white wine (or broth)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp capers rinsed
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Set up a dredging station with 3 plates- flour, salt and pepper in one, egg and water in another, lemon zest and breadcrumbs in the third
  3. Cook chicken in olive oil about 2-3 minutes per side
  4. Transfer chicken breasts to a sheet lined tray and bake 10 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, wipe out pan that chicken was cooked in.
  6. Melt 1 tbsp butter over medium heat
  7. Add lemon juice and wine and reduce by half, about 7-8 minutes
  8. Stir in capers and serve sauce over crispy chicken
This would be great accompanied by a crisp arugula salad dressed with a lemon vinaigrette!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Chicken Tortellini Soup

One of my very first blog posts was a recipe for Sausage Tortellini soup.  It was inspired by a delicious hearty soup that Babe and I used to eat when we were too lazy to cook.  So while that was a fantastic recipe in its own right, it wasn't quite close enough to the soup we used to eat.

So last night, since the weather was chilly, I decided to give it a whirl again.  This version is amazing and even better, it's way more waist-line friendly.  I used chicken instead of sausage and replaced the cream cheese with some cubed mozzarella cheese.  I hope you like it!

Chicken Tortellini Soup

  • 1/2 C onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced'
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 C chicken stock
  • 1/3 C parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes (more or less depending on preference)
  • 1/2 C fresh mozzerella, cubed
  • 8 oz frozen cheese tortellini
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil for garnish
  1. Stir together all ingredients (up to the mozzerella) in a slow- cooker
  2. Cook on low 7 hours (or high 4 hours)
  3. Remove chicken and shred
  4. Add chicken back into slow cooker along with the mozzerella and tortellini. 
  5. Cook on high another 30 minutes
  6. Serve with basil for garnish

  • You could eliminate the mozzarella and bump up the parmesan cheese if desired
  • You could also replace the tortellini with any short dried pasta like penne or fusilli.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jambalaya with a twist!

In honor of Mardi Gras this week, I wanted to make sure to put some Cajun flair into a dinner this week. Jambalaya is a classic New Orleans dish, and since it includes some of my favorite ingredients; beans, rice, sausage, shrimp and great spices, I thought I'd give it a go!

I don't really have a lot of experience with Cajun food, so this was really a reach for me.  I also dislike green bell peppers so instead of the classic mirepoix of celery, onion and bell pepper, I replaced the bell pepper with a poblano pepper instead.  This added a fantastic additional zing to an already spicy and flavorful dish.


  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 lb polish sausage (you could also use andouille), sliced
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 package red beans and rice with cajun seasoning
  • 2 C water
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce like Tabasco or Franks (to taste)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (also to taste)
  1. Brown sausage in pot until warmed through
  2. Add in onion, celery and poblano and saute until soft
  3. Stir in rice 
  4. Add water and cook for 7-10 minutes or until rice is cooked through
  5. In a separate pan, saute shrimp until just pink (like 2-3 minutes per side)
  6. Dice shrimp
  7. Taste rice mixture for seasonings and add in hot sauce and cayenne pepper to taste
  8. Stir in shrimp and cook another 5 minutes
  9. Serve with cornbread
This really couldn't be easier.  Babe was the best sous chef as usual.  This recipe was so delicious, we can't wait to eat it all weekend!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Beef Pot Pie

A lot of times when I plan menus for the week, I focus on things that can be stored for future meals like lunch.  So this week, I wanted to make something that would be a great dinner and would make some great lunches throughout the week.

I am still on a pie kick, but I hadn't made a beef pot pie. So, since babe loves beef, I put beef pot pie on the menu.

This recipe is pretty simple.  I put the beef in the crockpot for a few hours and then threw the rest of the ingredients together shortly before dinner and served with a simple salad.

Beef Pot Pie

  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 lb cross cut beef roast (London Broil)
  • 2 C beef broth
  • 3/4 C balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 box prepared pie crust
  • 1 packet mushroom gravy (prepared)
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (you may not need this)
  • 2 C frozen peas and carrots
  1. Salt and pepper both sides of beef
  2. Sear both sides of beef in skillet until brown on each side
  3. Place beef in crockpot and cover with broth and balsamic vinegar
  4. Cook on low 3 hours
  5. Remove beef from crockpot and shred.
  6. Set beef aside
  7. Prepare mushroom gravy
  8. Add cornstarch to thicken if necessary
  9. Add worcestershire sauce and cook for a few minutes
  10. Add in vegetables and cook until warmed through.
  11. Stir in shredded beef
  12. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust and cover with second crust
  13. Place pie in preheated 400 degree oven and cook for 30-45 minutes

This is a really easy recipe.  Some modifications to consider are making a rue with flour and beef broth for the gravy, adding in fresh sliced mushrooms, eliminate the balsamic vinegar etc.  You could also use left over prepared beef or even ground beef.

It's really easy to make it your own.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Pasta, pasta, pasta...

Normally I would not cook more than one pasta dish in a week.  I don't eat that much of it, but my babe loves his pasta.  I mentioned in my last blog that Babe prefers a red meat sauce.  In fact, even though he's been gobbling down the previous pasta dish for lunch all week, he asked me to make my meat sauce.

Normally I serve this sauce with spaghetti or sometimes fettuccine. While at the grocery store this week, I noticed a beautiful pappardelle pasta in the fresh pasta case. Pappardelle is a lovely, wide noodle. It holds up best to hearty and meaty sauces. So it was a perfect choice for my sauce.

Pappardelle Pasta with Meat Sauce

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb hot italian sausage
  • 1/2 C dry red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (I find this in a tube with canned tomatoes- makes it so much easier)
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic and herb seasoning
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 lb pappardelle pasta, cooked
  • shredded or grated parmesan cheese for serving
  1. In a large pot, saute chopped onion over medium heat in olive oil about 8 minutes until translucent
  2. Add in garlic and cook about another minute until fragrant
  3. Add in sausage and brown 8 minutes (if you get bulk sausage, I have found it easy to break it up with a potato masher).
  4. Add in red wine and let reduce about 2 minutes (make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with a spoon to get up all the brown bits).
  5. Add in tomato paste, stir
  6. Add in crushed and diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and garlic and herb seasoning
  7. Lower heat to simmer and cover.
  8. Simmer minimum 30 minutes (I usually let it go for 1-2 hours, it gets darker and more rich the longer it goes).
  9. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed
  10. Stir in parsley
  11. Serve over pappardelle pasta (or whatever your favorite is) with parmesan cheese.
This makes a pretty large batch of sauce.  I usually reserve half of it to freeze for later.  The other half is split between dinner and leftovers for lunch!

You can easily make this vegetarian by eliminating the meat.  You can also substitute the meat for your favorite ground variety or even turn them into meatballs!