Friday, November 22, 2013

SUPER KALE SALAD for a crowd



Since I work at a school, I have my summers free. Since I have more time on my hands, I like to try new recipes or food that I've never tried before, and I've been doing a lot of that lately.

With summertime heat and humidity in full swing here in southern Illinois, I  also like to find as many recipes that  I can that don't  require any or much cooking time using the added heat from the stove or oven.We grill often in the summer, and we also eat lots of salads.

As I you know, I DON'T like diet food, but I do enjoy natural ,healthy food and try to balance my splurges, with plenty of good-for-me food too.  This salad is just that; no-cook, healthy, interesting and VERY tasty!

I have NEVER used kale before, if you can believe that. I thought I'd give this recipe a try since it received rave reviews on ALLRECIPES.COM. A full 5stars, and now I know why. (When my hubs who is NOT of fan of healthy says, "this is GOOD!", you  know you have a keeper--The recipe AND the hubs!)

Change things up a bit and give this one a try-- you'll be glad you did.

I call this  SUPER SALAD because it is FILLED with THE most nutritious ingredients-- KALE topping the list as one of the best foods out there! Unusually high in Fiber (great for dieters), full of Calcium, Vitamin A & C, just to name a few nutrients.  You can click here for more KALE info. It's impressive!

Check out the rest of the ingredients, and you'll see more super foods included.  Always remember to at least TRY to purchase organic fruits and vegetables, so you don't cancel out their benefits by the pesticides sprayed on them that are nearly impossible to wash off.

This recipe makes a crunchy, sweet/tart blend for at least 10 or more guests.

 ENJOY!


You will need:

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp.  pepper
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix dressing well, and set aside.



I bunch of Kale
1/4 red onion, sliced thin (I used green onion)
1 cup carrots, shredded (I diced mine)
2/3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup Craisins (or raisins)
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
8 oz.  frozen  shelled edamame, thawed and drained

Mix altogether and pour 1/2 of the dressing over salad and mix well and let set at least 4 hours (even overnight)  before serving. You can serve it sooner, but the longer it sets, the flavors blend perfectly and the kale becomes softer.

When ready to serve, you can add the rest of the dressing on the side.

Enjoy~ Everything in Moderation







Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Big, Fat, Mexican Salad


Last night I decided to throw together a huge Mexican Salad. My daughter-n-law Sol said it was her second favorite recipe that I make (second only to my Mexican Soup!).


Unlike many salad entrees, this one was VERY filling, as it was filled to the brim with ingredients that blend nicely while sticking to your ribs.

It was a bit expensive to make because of so many ingredients, but it is a breeze to put together. And if you grill your chicken instead of cooking in the skillet like I did, you won't have to heat up your kitchen making it a perfect summer supper!




I served it will black tortilla chips (Sol's favorite) and some Mexican rice on the side. Give it a try!

YOU WILL NEED:

*1 package boneless, skinless chicken strips.
*Chili powder, ground cumin, garlic salt, crushed red pepper (sprinkling generously over the chicken to taste)
*Canola oil (about 2-3 T. for cooking chicken)

*Greens of your choice (iceberg or romaine lettuce) chopped
*Bunch of Cilantro (I'm heavy handed with this) chopped
*1 Avocado diced
*3 Roma tomatoes, diced
*1/2 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
*1/2 can whole kernel corn, drained (even better if you grilled corn)
*1 green onion (slice using greens and bulb)
* Sliced Jalapenos
*1-2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
*Juice from 1 lime

*Chipotle Ranch dressing (prepared)


Sprinkle  both sides of chicken with seasonings and cook in oil till done. Set aside. When cool, dice into cubes.

Crisp lettuce and chop finely.  Add all other ingredients and chicken and chill (about an hour if you want it all cold).

Serve with Chipotle Ranch dressing,  sprinkle with lime juice and some Mexican Rice and tortilla chips on the side.


OLE'!





Saturday, July 13, 2013

Double Decker Cheese Melt

OK, people...say CHEESE!

This recipe can  fill you up for the main dish at lunch, or  as a great side to a soup or salad.



It is simple to prepare and is oh, so creamy--ooey, gooey-- just like a cheese recipe should be.
Just have plenty of napkins on hand.
And don't eat dessert. 😊

You will need:

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. onion salt
6 slices bread
Paprika

In a food processor, blend cheese and butter. Add egg and onion and garlic salts; process one minute or until creamy.

 Spread 2 T.  mixture on each slice of bread-- cheese side up. For each sandwich, sprinkle with paprika.  Cut in half diagonally.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until bubbly and golden.  YIELD: 6 servings.

ENJOY!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

BAKE SALE Special: Banana Nut muffins (A Tyler Florence recipe)


Recently in my community, a man was battling cancer and a wonderful lady decided to do a fundraiser to help his family with the mounting medical costs. She asked several of us to bake some treats and I chose to bake some TYLER FLORENCE banana nut muffins, and some fresh strawberry bread with dipped strawberries.

I believe that presentation is everything, even in a bake sale, because we first eat with our eyes...then our mouths. So rather than place the brown, not-so-beautiful but very tasty muffins on a regular tray, I decided to brighten them up a bit by displaying them on a 3-tiered tray and placing them over bright red paper napkins. I clearly marked the name of the treats, which is helpful for shoppers.

I served the strawberry  bread sliced and placed in a spiral on a simple white paper plate and placed a disposable plastic, but very pretty bowl of hand-dipped fresh strawberries that were dipped in almond bark (which I actually prefer over chocolate on a strawberry.) You can find that recipe here.




The bake sale was a HUGE success, but sadly, the gentleman passed away. But everyone involved in the bake sale (the planners, those who stayed to set and take down the tables, those who sold the treats, and those who purchased them , ALL had a hand in lightening the load for this family, who already had too much to deal with. That is why we do things like this, and my small community is the BEST at helping one another!

Give the recipes at a try-- and no, you don't have to wait until you have a bake sale. Sweet breads are a perfect summertime treat-- for breakfast, dessert,snack time anytime you need a little pick-me-up.


Ingredients for 12 muffins by TYLER FLORENCE

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly butter 2 muffin tins.


In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together like you mean it, for a good 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins to fill them about halfway. Give them a rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!




Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Anniversary to ME!



This past weekend, we celebrated our 31st anniversary!  We wanted to get away and do something special, but didn't have the time to travel far. We are also in the middle of home renovations so money is  a bit tight, but we never let an anniversary pass without doing something special because, well, let's face it-- there's not many people around who are celebrating over 30 years together and that is something that must be  celebrated!

We found the PERFECT getaway, that was close to home but felt like a different world for us. It was one hour from our home--a log cabin nestled in the woods- secluded, upon a hill with spectacular views and was just the R&R that was needed for us to reconnect, recommit and rejuvenate! THE CABIN ON THE HILL, in rural Carbondale, Illinois.



 There are actually 4 cabins-- one large enough for several guests, 2 that are a bit smaller, and then the cabin we rented, THE COUPLE'S RETREAT cabin.  This cabin had the best of both worlds.  Just enough "rustic" with the modern conveniences and was beautifully decorated.

A spacious, open design in the living room/kitchen area....
(The cabinets were stocked with all the dishes, cookware and bake ware needed to prepare your own meals. Even seasonings were provided. Microwave and a dishwasher helped make preparation and cleanup a breeze.




There are plenty of places to eat in the area  if you don't want to cook your own meals, but we had already enjoyed a nice meal earlier in the week, and this weekend, was about being ALONE. (hubba, hubba. ;)


The back patio (our favorite place) was where the hot tub and a small sitting area were located, and we were able to watch wild deer grazing in the yard close by, while we enjoyed a little down time.



I zoomed in from the screened-in porch to capture this one



We enjoyed appetizers, while my hubs grilled for us --some steak (marinating in A-1 brand marinade) and asparagus (in foil with a bit of butter and Parmesan) -- I prepared a salad and  a simple  watermelon for dessert.

Nothing fancy-- but nice.




We ate inside at the intimate table for two.



The hosts thought of everything. After dinner and some time in the hot tub (towels and robes provided), we enjoyed a movie on the television. They had also provided a very good selection of DVDs to chose from. There were also plenty of magazines, board games and brochures from  around the area of places to go and experience that would be very helpful for those who are not familiar with southern Illinois.





There was a nice little fire pit, with two chairs that we had planned to enjoy before going to bed, but the rain prevented it. Something I'll look forward to on our next visit.



Our comfortable bed in the nice bedroom ,  (complete with a flat-screened TV for those who need it) and adjoining bathroom was also decorated with just the right mix of rustic and modern decor  which I appreciated.





The front porch, with two rockers and a swing, provided the perfect setting for a peaceful morning's quiet time, enjoying coffee while listening to the birds sing before a peaceful,  steady rain began.






My hubs and I had planned our trip around an itinerary involving a motorcycle ride in and around this area to enjoy the beauty of southern Illinois, but the rain changed our plans.Instead,  we enjoyed the beauty we found INSIDE the cabin, and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company during the calming rainfall as we watched and listened  from the front porch and the screened-in back porch.

Due to the rain, we did not get to enjoy the walk on the trail near our cabin, or take the short trip to the barn to see the animals which was recommended. They also were generous to offer fresh eggs to our  morning breakfast, but I had prepared  our own breakfast ( simple oatmeal with berries and almonds, some grapes, ) and some cinnamon toast.)





Normally, there is a minimum of a two-night's stay (then you can REALLY get the full effect of a relaxing weekend), but there was only one night that was available, and we only had one night free to go. It still did the trick!

There is minimum housekeeping required ( AKA "cleaning up after yourself"...just the basics-- clean and put away any dirty dishes used, and put your wet towels in a hamper).

You really don't need to bring anything except food or snacks-- they provide all else (soaps, lotions, shampoos, robes, hair dryer, dishes, bakeware, utensils, serving pieces,  games, videos, reading material, etc.) You  will only need to sit back and enjoy the view!

I highly recommend THE CABIN ON THE HILL in Carbondale, Illinois for those in the area, who want to feel like you really got away, without having to travel very far.  But it would be a perfect place to retreat for those outside of the southern Illinois area, who are traveling here to take in the natural beauty this area offers.

You can click on their link here, to learn more about the many area attractions, and more info on the cabins.

You will need to book your cabin early, as you will see, there are not many openings any time soon.

We will not wait until next year took book a weekend here, again.  We may even try to talk the family into renting the bigger carbon for all of us.

Our grandbaby, Lia Rose, celebrated with us on the night of our anniversary earlier in the week as she accompanied us to dinner. It was a very HAPPY anniversary!




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A 4 COOKBOOK GIVE-AWAY-- Exclusively on my FACEBOOK PAGE



I

'm giving away these 4 cookbooks on Friday, June 28th at noon, and all you have to do to win is go the to EVERYTHING IN MODERATION page on facebook, LIKE the page and shared the contest status.

CLICK HERE to get to the page and maybe YOU will be the winner!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Bread




I baked up this DELICIOUSLY moist loaf of  fresh strawberry bread for bake sale. To  be a bit different, I  sliced it, and arranged it on a plate with some strawberries dipped in almond bark. I took this photo on my way out the door, and  shared it on facebook, and when I arrived at the sale, the workers told me someone had already come to purchase it, so they put it back for the sweet lady!

It is an old recipe I've made for many years. Not sure where it originated, but it's worth your time to put this one together.

I started with:

 *1 1/2 cups FRESH strawberries (I used organic ones--pesticide free!)
Wash them and slice them and toss with 1/2 cup sugar and set aside. (The sugar will draw the juice from the berries)

* Beat together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 stick of butter, melted.

In another bowl, mix 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix well.  Add berries at this point and blend.

*Fold in  cup  1/2 chopped pecans (Optional) *I did not use them in this particular recipe.

 Pour into a greased 9x5" loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 min. (or until knife inserted in center comes out clean).
Invert pan and cool on wire rack.

Can serve immediately plain, or with powdered sugar sprinkled on top or with a glaze.

For a glaze, mash additional berries with 1 tsp. lemon juice and powdered sugar. Blend. (Serve on WARM bread.

This really is a very moist sweet bread, not too sweet, but very refreshing. A change of pace.

Enjoy!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Frozen Lemonade Pie





This pie actually tastes like lemon cheesecake. Very refreshing on a hot, muggy, sticky day that  summer can throw at you- especially if you live in the south, or here in So. Illinois!

This was a simple and delicious recipe that won't cause you to break a sweat while preparing it.
It will cool you off from the inside out....which comes in very handy at my age! It goes down to where the hot flashes begin!

Give it a try  while enjoying these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!


YOU WILL NEED:

1 (6 oz. can) frozen lemonade
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (10 oz. ) tub cool whip, divided
1 graham cracker pie crust
*1 pair of pants that is one size larger! (Optional)

Put lemonade, cream cheese and milk in a blender, and whip until smooth and creamy. Pour into bowl and fold in 8 oz. Cool Whip. Pour into crust, top with remaining Cool whip and freeze 2 hours.

Serve frozen and refrigerate leftovers...if there are any.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Parmesan


I have been roasting LOTS of vegetables, lately. I think it's my favorite way to eat them. It's one the most healthy ways to cook them and it really locks in the flavor of the veggie.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com, and although I've roasted cauliflower before and liked it, this recipe caused me to LOVE it!  I think the difference was the added shredded Parmesan cheese broiled on top at the end.  This was another one of those addicting-but-good-for you-recipes. I like when I find those, because, as you may know, I DON'T like "diet food"!

My daughter-in-law turned up her nose when I first offered her a bite. I coaxed and coaxed her until she finally gave in...then she was pleasantly surprised and helped herself to many bites thereafter! It has become one of her favorites.

You GOTTA gives this one a try!

YOU WILL NEED:


1 head cauliflower
(separate florets then rinse under running water;pat dry.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease large casserole dish.

Chop 1 T. fresh parsley, then  set aside for later.

2-3T. minced garlic
3 T. olive oil

Add the oil and garlic to the florets and coat well.

Add florets to the dish and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring at the halfway point; then remove.

Turn the oven to the broil setting. Sprinkle with 1/3-1/2 cup  SHREDDED  Parmesan Cheese

Broil for 3- 5 minutes. Watch closely so it doesn't burn. *I broiled for only 3 minutes.

Serve warm and ENJOY~Everything in moderation


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Roasted Edamame...A healthy and DELICOUSLY addictive appetizer


Really. Who woulda'  thunk it?

I do NOT like diet food...I don't drink diet soda--never use fake sweeteners, I like REAL food!  I do enjoy HEALTHY food and recipes. And I'm  trying to incorporate more of those into my tried and true list of favorites, while not missing out on my not-so-healthy dishes, that I intend to enjoy...In moderation (of course).

This summer I vowed to tried some veggies that I've never tried before, and this was one of them.

The humble edamame.

This dish was SIMPLE, only a few ingredients and truly is addicting!

You gotta give it a try. It's cures the salty craving, has a crunchy outside and chewy (not gooey) inside. Best served immediately from the oven, but you can enjoy later, but it will lose its crunch.

For the recipe, you will need

1 bag of frozen, peeled edamame.
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cracked pepper

That's IT!

Run warm water over the edamame once removed from bag and placed into a drainer. Then place between two clean dishtowels to remove the moisture.  Toss with the oil, then the S&P and bake and 375 degrees for 30-40 min. (Stirring every 15 min. or so.)  When done, many will be brown, and "dry" looking, and you will hear a "hiss" from the steam escaping.  Immediately remove to a small serving dish and enjoy!

Grilled Hungry Man Pork Chops (an encore presentation)



Here's a great grill recipe to make to delight your Dad for Father's Day--and, if you live in an area that has high heat and humidity (as southern Illinois normally does), this will keep you from using your oven and heating things up even more!

Humidity and I are NOT close friends- I never did like her.

She's cruel.

She zaps my strength, she makes my hair all frizzy and she makes my house unbearable when I want to cook a large meal!

So, when my old enemy rears her ugly head, I let my old friend Mr. Grill do most of my cooking.

I made these delicious and thick-as-a-limb pork chops on the grill and although I only cooked two chops, two of my sons showed up and the chops were so large, it fed all of us!

I served them with some grilled red and green peppers, fried potatoes, and baked beans (from a can warmed up in the microwave- I wasn't about to turn on my oven!)

If you have a hungry man that needs his belly filled and it's too hot in your kitchen, try this delicious dish.

YOU WILL NEED:

2 GINORMOUS pork chops!
Rub with generous amounts of Garlic salt and
pepper to suit your tastes.

Cut up strips of red and green pepper.
Sprinkle peppers with olive oil and salt/pepper and place in foil packet.

Put meat directly on med. flame on grill. Place veges in packet on grill.

Turn meat with tongs when brown, then turn again. Mine took at least 25 on my gas grill because they were so thick, but you may need to adjust the time on your grill.
Actually, I only prepare the food, then take it out to Big Al, and he grills it for me- bless his heart!

When done, arrange peppers around the meat on your serving tray.

Call for your Big Hungry men to come and get it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'm loving me some good (and easy) steaks!

Father's Day is Sunday.

Want to impress your DADDY? Grill some FABULOUS steaks for him!
This photo is a cropped one from a reader, STEPH, who tried my recipe and gave it two thumbs up!

This is THE  best steak marinade around, shared by our local barber, V.E.  which has made me the "Steak Queen" in these parts.

Even GRILL MASTERS have complimented the  perfect taste and especially the TENDERNESS of the steaks.

The tenderizer called for in the recipe is a MUST, especially for a cheaper cut of meat. You won't even recognize your steaks, if you use this recipe instead of just slapping them on the grill with S&P.

THE QUEEN'S STEAK MARINADE, compliments to V.E.

1 clove garlic, mashed
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oil
2 T. water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ACCENT (seasoning AKA MSG--an alternative would be this--click here  )
Adolph's meat tenderizer


Use tenderizer as directed. Combine ingredients and cover meat with this sauce. Marinade at least 3 hours-overnight. Baste while grilling.

*Note, if you will be basting, be sure to set out a little sauce to use for basting that has not come in contact with the meat.



You must try this one!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chicago-Style Hotdogs for Father's Day



This is another simple recipe that the kids can help put together for Dad--especially if he is a baseball fan. This little lunch consisted of the hotdogs, and peanuts (needed to get some Cracker Jacks), some chips, POWERADE for the beverage and a baseball cupcake and Baby Ruth candybar for dessert. I purchased the little picnic set at Wal-Mart, complete with condiment dispenser, hotdog basket and liners.




 Except for the cooking of the hotdog, the kids could help put this altogether for Dad...and a great gift idea would be to throw in some tickets for a ballgame or purchase a t-shirt of his favorite team as I did. GO CARDINALS!

 I'm really not a hotdog lover, mainly because they are not healthy at all, so again, enjoy  in MODERATION. But trust me--you'll never eat a hotdog any other way again, once you taste this one!

The secret begins in the hotdog itself. DON'T be tempted to save a little $$ and buy the cheapest ones out there...BIG MISTAKE! Also, ALL-BEEF wieners are the way to go.  My favorite brand is this one:

Costs a bit more, but so worth it!

Boil water and then reduce heat and place dogs in to cook for 5 minutes, until done and remove.

You begin buillding  with a poppyseed bun (for the traditional recipe--but I could not get my hands on a bag, here, so I had to go with the plain)

Add 1 T. yellow mustard.
1 T. sweet green relish (the brighter green , the better)
1 T. chopped onion
4 Tomato wedges
1 dill pickle spear
2 sport peppers *I didn't add them for my Dad
1 dash celery salt

You'll notice that no ketchup is on this dog...you won't miss it!



A HOMERUN!


Enjoy!





FANTASTIC BAKED BEANS






This recipe came to me directly from the folks at Country Bob's. They sent me a few sample bottles of their sauce and a recipe book filled with delicious recipes to try. This is one that was a big hit at our house.  This would be perfect to serve  as a side with BarBq meals, especially on Father's Day.

You've gotta try this recipe- you're gonna' love it! It has a zing to it!

YOU WILL NEED:

1 (53 oz.) can of pork and beans (half of liquid drained)
1/2 lb. fried bacon
2 cups (I used one bottle) of COUNTRY BOB'S ALL PURPOSE SAUCE
1 small onion finely chopped (I used Vidalia)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. COUNTRY BOB'S SEASONED SALT
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped.

Combine all ingredients and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
Makes 8 servings (or only 4 if your bunch eats like MY bunch!)

Enjoy this special day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos

For a larger view , click on photo


I love this appetizer. It's easy to prepare, although a little time-consuming. You won't mind the work once you start eating them. The creaminess of the cheese mixture inside the pepper is just a great combo.

This spicy, but the not-too-hot dish would be a great dish to serve alongside a Mexican inspired menu of tacos, enchiladas, or a Mexican soup or even chili.

I know many enjoy bacon wrapped around them, but it's not even necessary for full flavor.



*Remember, when cutting and seeding hot peppers, use rubber or plastic gloves and avoid touching you face. (Trust me on this one. Just do it.)

You will need:

25 medium fresh jalapeno peppers (don't worry, they're not that pricey)
1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese, softened
3 cups (12 oz.)  finely shredded cheddar cheese
1- 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 bacon strips, cook and crumbled to sprinkle on top, if desired. (I did not on this particular day)

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes. In large saucepan, boil peppers in water for 5-10 min.(the longer you boil peppers, the milder they become). Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside.

In small mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and the sauce. Spoon 2 teaspoonfuls into each pepper half and sprinkle with bacon (if using). Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees  for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Makes about 4 dozen.....and they will ALL be eaten!



*Recipe adapted from Taste of Home CELEBRATIONS cookbook

Enjoy~ Everything in moderation



Monday, June 10, 2013

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes



I love a good sandwich. When I come across a GREAT recipe for a sandwich that is interesting, relatively simple and not so costly, I can't help myself-- I'm gonna give it a go!

I found this little gem from Rachel Ray's website, and made it for my bunch who LOVED it- devoured it-- left no prisoners (AKA "crumbs" on the plate) when they were finished! I also prepared this one on our local morning news show several years ago and received rave reviews from the staff who tasted it.

The secret? The steak sauce and the beef broth add a pricier beef taste to this sandwich. This is a more economical version of the traditional Philly Steak and Cheese.

Your guys will LOVE this one-- whether or not they are from Philadelphia. Here in Illinois, it's a keeper!


Give it a try!

You will need:




1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 softball-sized onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 cup beef stock
Salt and ground black pepper

4 dinner rolls
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 cup provolone, shredded

In large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and then brown the ground beef, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.

Toast the rolls and set aside.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir the cheese.

To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll.



Enjoy!

*And if you make this recipe, take a pic and let me see how yours turned out. Would love to hear your feedback.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Let me introduce you to a $10,000 sandwich!







That's right...this CARRIBEAN GRILL, a fancy schmancy gourmet grilled cheese earned its creator, Ashley Berman   $10,000 when Dupont went on the search for the greatest grilled cheese in America, back in 04.

I found this little treasure in an old food magazine I have,  CUISINE AT HOME, and knew I had to try it. My crew(3 Irishmen, 1 Italian and 1 Mexican) loved it, &baby granddaughter's mouth was watering, but she has to wait till she gets some teeth to try this one.

This is  very different, quite refreshing and ingredients are so interesting and  blend very well together.

I served it with tomato soup and a salad , with someof the extra salsa on the side (which some put on their sandwich, and others added to the salad.

Give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • For Mango Salsa:

  • 1/2 mango, 1/4 inch diced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, 1/4 inch diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, 1/4 inch diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

 

  • For Sandwich:

  • 3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 8 slices fresh Italian bread
  • 8 slices (8 oz) Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey mustard

Preparation:

In a small bowl, mix together all of the salsa ingredients. Set aside.


In a small bowl, mix the butter and curry together. Spread 2 tbsp of the butter mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread on your work surface, buttered side down. Spread the mustard on the bread. Place about 2 tbsp of the mango salsa on the bread followed by the cheese.  Place the remaining 4 bread slices on top, buttered side up.

Add the remaining curry butter to a Teflon-coated non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the skillet (in batches if necessary) and cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt. Uncover and turn the sandwiches with a spatula, pressing very firmly. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Turn once more, press with a spatula, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from pan and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut diagonally and serve with extra salsa on the side.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Irish Blessings



This is a post from two years ago, but I wanted to share it again

I believe we should do everything within our power to promote strong family ties, and in my family (coming from an Italian background) that usually means family get-togethers that revolve around food!

When I married into my husband's Irish family, I decided to make a huge deal of St. Patrick's Day! The result? My three grown sons are very proud of their Irish heritage and it strengthens our family as a whole!

I invite My parents, Big Al's mother, my brother and sister and their children and my sons, of course.

My house is decorated for the special day

Simple table decor---and we eat on paper plates (let's face it...the Irish are NOT pretentious!)


Lots of traditional Irish music in the air (I have about 7 CDs now)


ANd we dance an Irish jig or two....



We enjoy traditional Irish recipes (corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread)




along with some other favorites that aren't necessarily Irish, but green in color and delicious! (Like the green ITALIAN creme cake (lest my boys forget their Italian heritage!)



And you know how the Irish enjoy story tellin'.....




My son Jordan is full of Blarney...he was awarded the Blarney Stone!


We look up interesting Irish facts and have an Irish trivia contest.


MY IRISH BLESSINGS-
My brother and Mom....

My Mom and sister








My niece Cortney and I....I hope she grows up with fond memories of St. patty's Day at her great Aunt Sherri's house.


When the dancin' is over, we "sweep the floor" with the child with the longest hair! (A Murphy family tradition)





Any good Irishman helps his wife clean up after a big shindig!



Don't let these opportunities pass you by- celebrate ANYTHING and Everything with those you love most!

And may your house always be too small to hold all your friends!~ An Irish blessing.