September 20, 2013
I really think sloppy joes might be one of Rob's favorite quick dinners. I like them too, but sometimes I just wish I could change them up a bit. Enter these Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes. I have literally had these pinned for over 2 years, and like many things I pin, I took my dear sweet time trying them. It's not like I didn't want to, and it's not like I never thought about them, but when I decided to do sloppy joes for dinner, I just stuck with my regulars.
Occasionally I join in on a Recipe Swap on a cooking board I'm on, and when I was assigned A Taste of Home Cooking, I pretty much immediately said "Yes, now I have zero excuse to ignore the Philly Sloppy Joes". I regret not making these sooner; you know, like 2 years ago when I first saw them! And remember when I said that I stick to my regular sloppy joes? Well, these may be my new regular! I personally liked these a lot more than "normal", and they were easier! Almost as easy as opening a can!
Next time I make them I'd love to try them with the cheese sauce, but this time I wasn't thinking!
Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
Ingredients:1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 softball-sized onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional - I omitted)
1 lb. ground beef
2 Tablespoons steak sauce
1/2 cup beef stock
Salt and Pepper
4 rolls or buns (toasted)
Cheese sauce (Below), sliced Provolone or Cheez Wiz
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add the onion and green peppers if using, and cook until soft and starting to brown.
Add the ground beef and cook about 5-6 minutes, draining off the fat when finished.
Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock. Season with salt & pepper, bring to a boil and cook about 2 minutes.
To serve - place a scoopful of the meat onto the bottom of the rolls or buns. Top with cheese and/or whatever condiments you prefer, and top of bun.
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of provolone, shredded
Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil and let thicken for about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cheese.
Source: A Taste of Home Cooking, originally from Rachael Ray
August 7, 2013
This is one year that I'm actually sad to think that Summer is coming to an end in a few weeks. Well, unofficial summer that is. Kids will be going back to school, pools will be closing, Christmas stuff will be on the shelves and more. The last few weeks have been amazing weather wise, which has made this summer a lot more bearable. I certainly hope it stays like this when it's seasonally appropriate as well.
As summer unofficially starts closing up shop, many of us will be getting in as many more good moments with our grills as we can. Especially over the Labor Day weekend. One of our favorite things to grill is burgers.
Out of nowhere earlier this summer I got a huge desire to put queso on a burger. I still have no idea why, but it was right there, this urge, just waiting to finally come to fruition. A week or so later I made my first Queso Burger. And I've had several more since then. I literally cannot get enough! And a bonus is that I usually have enough leftover queso for Rob and I to snack on some nachos late a few nights later!
As always, Rob and I like things a little on the simple side, but there are many things you could do to spice this burger up, pun intended if you add roasted chiles!
Ingredients:1 lb. ground beef
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded White American cheese (can be found at the deli, just ask for a chunk, or rip up slices in small-ish pieces)
1/3 cup jalapeno juice
avocado, salsa, peppers, etc. to top as desired
Prepare your grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.
In a large bowl, mix the beef and taco seasoning. Form the mixture in to equal patties. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each patty to allow the burger to grill up without bubbling up in the center.
Grill the burgers over direct heat, turning once and cook until done to your liking. Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes while toasting buns.
In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Take off of heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Add jalapeno juice and stir until incorporated
Place queso on top of the bottom bun. Top with burger, more queso and other desired garnishes, such as avocado slices or salsa.
Source: Coffee and Cannolis original
August 1, 2013
I don't remember why I was home, but for some reason I was home one weekday morning, watching the Today Show when Christopher Kimball from America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated/Cook's Country demoed some grilled foods. One of which was these grilled chicken kabobs, that the teaser promised used a unique ingredient. Not that I wouldn't have watched anyway, but I was certainly intrigued and anxiously awaiting the commercial break to end. Upon watching the demo I thought to myself "to say unique is an understatement!".
The folks over at Cook's Illustrated decided to keep the chicken moist, but incorporate some smoky flavor and make it hold up to the high heat of a grill they's grind up bacon for a coating. Yep... a bacon paste. It's bacon, and I love bacon and chicken, so I knew this would make the list.
Sadly, I lost track of the recipe, and by the time I realized it I couldn't find it on the Today Show web-Site anymore. BUT THEN, an amazing thing started happening. Fellow food bloggers started sharing the recipe and it was back in my life!
I've made plain grilled chicken kabobs, using the same sauce and similar seasonings, but trust me, you do not want to sub out the bacon. It seriously takes these kabobs to a whole new level!
Grilled Chicken Kabobs
2 lbs. boneless, skinless breasts, cut in 1" cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons sweet paprika
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 slices of bacon, cut in 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
Salt and Pepper
(If using wooden skewers make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes)
In a large bowl toss the chicken with the salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
If using a gas grill turn all burners to high and heat with a closed lid for about 15-20 minutes.
Mix paprikas, sugar and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Process the bacon in a small food processor until a smooth paste forms. 30-45 seconds, scraping down the bowl 1-2 times during processing.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels then toss the chicken with the bacon and spice mixture. Thread meat on to skewers.
To make the sauce whisk together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, honey and/or hot sauce as desired. Set aside 1/2 cup of sauce for serving.
Scrape the cooking grates clean with a grill brush. Leave the main burner on high and turn off the other burners. Place the kabobs over the hot burner and grill, covered. Turn 1/4 of a turn every 2-3 minutes until well browned and slightly charred (8-10 minutes roughly).
Brush the top surface of the kebabs with 1/4 cup of sauce. Flip and cook until sauce is browned in spots, about 1-2 minutes. Flip again and brush with another 1/4 cup of sauce. Continue until browned in spots and cooked through.
Remove from grill and rest for 5 minutes. Serve with reserved sauce.
Source: Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, via Elly Says Opa
July 11, 2013
It doesn't matter what time of year it is, lasagna is always good. You can have it in July when it's 95 degrees out. Trust me :)
A good classic lasagna is a great recipe to have at the ready. I have been making this recipe for so many years that I have it memorized. I've shared it before, but I've tweaked it a tiny bit, plus it deserved a better picture. Again! It really is my favorite lasagna, and quite possibly one of my favorite meals to make.
I remember it's actually the first meal I made in our house when we bought it in 2007. I distinctly remember that as it was baking in the oven I was heating some water in a tea kettle on the stove. The door rang and I could not get the person to leave me alone and just go. Even as the kettle was whistling. Sadly, that ruined my rarely used, and never sense again used, tea kettle. Sigh. Maybe that's why I don't drink hot tea?!
That was a random weekday, and now I just don't have time to make lasagna on any given weekday. Now I love to make lasagna on lazy weekday afternoons, to eat during the week. Plus, my absolute best time saver with big pastas like this is to make half if one of my 8x8 baking dishes, and the other half goes in an aluminum foil 8x8 disposable tray from the grocery store. That one goes in the freezer before ever baking it. Ready to go whenever I feel like it next. You can either bake from frozen, it'll just take a lot longer (hour fifteen generally), or I usually just take it out the day before I need it and let it thaw in the fridge.
You seriously cannot beat a ready-to-go lasagna on a weekday. And, you may think I'm crazy for using my oven a full hour when it's 95 degrees out.... I just took Ty to the basement to let him play in his play area while I cleaned. Basements are always cool!
Classic Beef Lasagna
1 box No Boil lasagna or 16 cooked Lasagna sheets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ lbs ground beef
1/2 cup dry/semi-dry red wine (I generally use Cabernet because we always have it around!)
15 oz. tomato sauce
15 oz. tomato puree
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
½ c. Parmesan Cheese
15 oz. Ricotta
2.5 cups shredded mozzarella, or favorite Italian cheese blend, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make the sauce:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions until transluscent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and simmer about 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add beef, chopping and stirring occasionally until cooked through and no longer pink. Add wine and let simmer a minute or two. Stir in tomato sauce and tomato puree. Stir in oregano, basil, red pepper, salt and sugar.
Reduce heat and allow to simmer while preparing the rest.
To make the cheese filling:
In a medium bowl beat 2 eggs. Add Parmesan cheese, ricotta and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
Layer bottom of 9x13 baking dish with 3/4 cup of sauce.
Using an offset spatula, spoon or knife, spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on 4 noodles. Place on top of the sauce. Spread 1 cup of sauce over the cheese layer. Top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
Repeat for 2 more layers. Top the final layer with 4 plain noodles. Spread 1 1/2 cups remaining sauce over the plain noodles, making sure all edges are covered with some sauce. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cheese is melted and the edges of the sauce are bubbling. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting.