Sunday, October 30, 2011

Salisbury Steak from AllRecipes - Family Favorite

I certainly wouldn't say that this is a classic Salisbury Steak recipe, but whatever it is, it is yummy. I found this recipe many years ago, not long after we bought our first house (that was 2001). Both my husband and I loved it from the start. I've made one minor adaptation, discussed at the end, but otherwise, this is still how I make it all these years later.
Salisbury Steak
Source: adapted from, submitted by Kelly Berenger

  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
  • 1/2 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
  • ketchup - 2 Tablespoons (for meat) plus 1/3 cup (for sauce)
  • Worcestershire sauce - 1 Tablespoon (for meat) plus 2 Tablespoons (for sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

  • In a large bowl, mix ground beef with 1/3 cup soup, bread crumbs, egg, salt, black pepper, 2 Tablespoons ketchup and 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire. Shape into six patties.
  • In a large skillet, brown both sides of patties over medium-high heat. Pour off excess fat.
  • In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining soup until smooth. Mix in water, mustard powder, plus remaining ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Pour sauce over meat in skillet. Cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Erin’s Notes:
  • For the 1/3 cup of soup that goes in the meat, I usually spoon out most of the onions, then add a little of the liquid. That way most of the onions are in the meat adding flavor, leaving most of the liquid to keep the sauce smooth.
  • I usually brown the patties until they are mostly done, then pour on the sauce. I simmer covered until the meat is done, then simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens.
  • Works fine with ground turkey, perhaps adding a bit more ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to the meat, though I do still prefer this particular recipe with beef.
  • I've begun experimenting with making these in muffin tins instead of browning in a skillet. Will update if/when I perfect the method.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turtle Pretzels from Recipe Zaar

These fall into my favorite recipe category: Easy But Awesome! I already love chocolate covered pretzels. Toss in caramel and pecans, and how could this possibly be bad? Answer: it can't! They really do taste just like a turtle candy, but with the added extra salty crunch of the pretzel. They are simply wonderful. You can make as many or as few as you like, which is why I didn't include amounts/numbers below. The hardest part is unwrapping all the candies. Enjoy!
Turtle Pretzels
Source: slightly adapted from Recipe Zaar Recipe #107408 (now

  • grid-style small pretzels
  • bag of Rolo chocolate-covered caramel candies, unwrapped
  • pecan halves
  • (you should have equal numbers of pretzels, candies, and pecans)
  • Preheat oven to 250°F
  • Place pretzels in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet (as few or as many as you like).
  • Put one Rolo on each pretzel, as centered as possible.
  • Put the Rolo/pretzels in the oven until the Rolos soften and start to melt (about 4 minutes for me). Note: Rolos will retain their shape, even when soft enough for the next step.
  • Remove from the oven and push one pecan half down in the middle of each Rolo.
  • Let cool. (I had to put them in the refrigerator to get them to set properly.)
  • Remove from the parchment and store in an air tight container. (I keep mine in the fridge.)
  • Best if removed from refrigerator a few minutes before serving to warm up slightly.
Erin's Notes: original recipe called for mini-twists

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taco Cornbread Bake from Plain Chicken

This was one of the first recipes I tried from Pinterest. (I assume you know about Pinterest, right? If not, read my rhapsodizing about it on my main blog.) It was a good idea, but I didn't love it. To me, the cornbread was way too sweet (I'm a southerner; no sugar in my cornbread, please! Sugar goes in the sweet tea.) The base also tasted like it was missing something, though I can't really put my finger on what. I'll keep hunting for similar recipes, I think.
Taco Cornbread Bake
Source: Plain Chicken, found on Pinterest

  • 1 lb ground round
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 box Jiffy corn bread mix, plus ingredients to make cornbread
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • salsa
  • In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water and taco seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, Rotel tomatoes and black beans. Spoon into a greased 8x8 baking dish.
  • Prepare corn bread mix according to package directions for corn bread. Spread over beef mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jo Mama's World Famous Spaghetti from RecipeZaar - Family Favorite

There are not words to describe this spaghetti sauce, but I will give it a try. How about Italian Heaven in a Bowl? The author of this recipe, Sharlene W, says her kids will give up a steak dinner to have this spaghetti sauce at home, and I completely believe it. I have stopped getting spaghetti when I go out to restaurants because I know I can make better - THIS sauce - at home. It makes enough to feed an army, and the recipe could be easily halved, but trust me, don't. Make the whole batch and freeze half. You'll be thankful when you're craving it again in a few weeks and all you have to do is thaw some out.
Jo Mama's World Famous Spaghetti by Sharlene~W
Source: Originally from RecipeZaar, now

  • 2 lbs Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1-2 cups water (the longer it simmers, the more water you need)
  • 3 teaspoons basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 lb thin spaghetti
  • good quality parmesan cheese
  • In large heavy pot, brown Italian sausage, breaking up as you stir. Drain fat.
  • Add onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened.
  • Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper (if using), and black pepper.
  • Stir well and barely bring to a boil. Stir in red wine.
  • Simmer on low, stirring frequently for at least an hour. A longer simmer makes for a better sauce, just be careful not to let it burn! Add more water, as needed, to achieve and maintain the desired consistency.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Ladle sauce over drained pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Erin's Notes:
  • I usually use half mild and half sweet Italian sausage. I prefer petite diced tomatoes. If I can find the tomatoes, sauce, and paste with basil/oregano/garlic already in it, I use that. I definitely leave out the red pepper flakes (you know me).
  • I will be perfectly honest, it takes me about 2.5 hours from the moment I walk into the kitchen to start the meal to the moment I serve it into bowls over pasta. It's about 1 hour of active cooking "get it in the pot" time, plus 90 additional minutes of simmering. I just can't seem to get it done any faster, but this recipe is so good, it is definitely worth it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Turkey Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf from Paula Deen - Family Favorite

You know that most any Paula Deen recipe is going to have either butter or bacon in it. No butter here, but she makes up for it with mayonnaise and cheese. Believe me, this isn't healthy, but we do try to improve it some by using 99% lean ground turkey breast instead of ground beef. There is plenty of fat in the rest of the mix-ins to keep it moist!

We've also found that a half batch of this is plenty for four servings. Can easily be prepared ahead (hold the toppings) and refrigerated overnight before baking as directed the following day.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
Source: adapted from Paula Deen,

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast (98-99% lean), or ground beef
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, or equivalent real bacon bits
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs, toasted, or 1/4 cup crushed croutons
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 (6-ounce) can French fried onions, divided
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Take half the french fried onions and crush them in a zip top bag.
  • In a large bowl, combine ground meat, bacon, cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, mayo, Worchestershire, salt, pepper, and crushed french fried onions, mixing well.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and mustard. Stir half of the ketchup mixture into meat mixture, reserving remaining ketchup mixture.
  • Gently pat/press meat mixture into a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan (don't make it too dense), or shape into a loaf and place on a rack in a broiler pan.* Spread remaining ketchup mixture over loaf. Bake 40 minutes. Top with French fried onions; bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until onions are golden brown and meat is cooked through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
* Note: Can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated overnight. Remove from refrigerator when ready to bake and continue with instructions. May require a few extra minutes cooking time.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ritzy Chicken Casserole - Family Favorite

I tell you what, casseroles just don't photograph very pretty! The top just looks pretty boring, and it looks rather goopy/nonpretty on the plate. I tried several different shots of this one, but never got one I was truly happy with. I did try a bit of an action shot that turned out okay, so these photos will have to do.

Still, don't judge a meal by its appearance. This is one of our family favorite meals, one my mom has been making as long as I can remember. I believe the only change we've made to it in all these years is the addition of the pasta, making it more of a true casserole (meat plus starch in one) than it was before. Hope you enjoy!

Ritzy Chicken Casserole
Source: Unknown

  • 8 oz pasta (we prefer spaghetti broken in half, or elbows)
  • 2 large cans of white meat chicken, drained (or 3-4 cups shredded cooked chicken)
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (fat free is fine)
  • 8 oz sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk, if needed
  • 1 tube ritz crackers
  • 1/4 cup (half a stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions until cooked through but still firm. Drain.
  • In large bowl, combine chicken meat, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream. Stir in pasta until well combined, adding milk if necessary to thin out the mixture to coat the pasta better.
  • In large ziptop bag, crush crackers. Add melted butter and mix until crumbs are coated and butter is absorbed. Set aside.
  • Pour chicken mixture into 2 quart baking dish. Top with buttered cracker crumbs.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until top is deeply golden and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
* Can substitute 2 cups cooked rice for pasta, if desired. Definitely add the milk to the mixture if you do, since the rice will absorb more moisture from the mixture than the pasta.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cheeseburger Pie - Family Favorite

My mom has been making Cheeseburger Pie for as long as I can remember. It is about the only thing that involves cottage cheese that I actually like. I don't think I was much of a fan as a child, but it has become one of my favorites as an adult. (That's risotto in the background, but that's another post....)

Note that any recipes marked as a Family Favorites are ones that we make often (that seems obvious, right?) and/or truly adore. I do try to credit where I obtain each of my recipes, but many of the Family Favorites have been floating around the family for so long that I have no idea as to the original source for them. This is one of those.

Cheeseburger Pie
Source: Unknown

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Bisquick
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C. cottage cheese (small curd)
  • 1 C. grated cheddar cheese
  • 9 in. deep-dish pie crust, unbaked
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Brown ground beef with onion and salt. Drain. Stir in Bisquick and Worcestershire. Cook just until Worchestershire is abosrbed. Remove from heat, set aside.
  • In small bowl, beat egg and fold in cottage cheese. Set aside.
  • Into unbaked pie shell, layer 1/3 cheddar cheese, 1/2 meat mixture, 1/2 egg mixture, 1/3 cheddar cheese, remaining meat mixture, remaining egg mixture, and remaining cheddar.
  • Bake until set, about 30 minutes. (Place pie shell on foil-lined baking sheet if you are concerned about spill over.) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cocoa Brownies from Alton Brown

I absolutely love brownies, but I quit making them for years because I just couldn't get them right, not even from a box! They were either completely underdone goo, or they were bricks. Many recipes these days call for melted chocolate/baking squares, which I am not likely to have on hand unless I am planning ahead for a recipe. Unfortunately for me, brownies tend to fall under "spur of the moment" things for me, so that didn't' really work either. But when I saw Alton Brown had a cocoa based brownie recipe, I decided to give it a try. So glad I did!

Cocoa Brownies
Source: Alton Brown,

  • Soft butter, for greasing the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
  • 8 ounces melted butter
  • 11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.
  • In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
  • Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.
My Notes: These are very very yummy, but mine don't look like Alton Brown's did on the show. They have a crunchy top instead of a shiny crackled top. Mine also take more like an hour (or more) to cook instead of 45 minutes. The episode also shows him using a parchment sling instead of buttering and flouring the pan. I've made them both ways, and both work fine. Again, these are not complaints, just observations.

Love these brownies! And I love that they use cocoa, which I am much more likely to have on hand, instead of melted chocolate.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Clueless In The Kitchen

"Clueless In The Kitchen." That's how I used to sign my cooking questions on my favorite bulletin board. I am not a "natural chef" by any means; I'm pretty much lost without a recipe. I had also just assumed that "real cooking" was hard. Without that group of amazing women from around the world patiently encouraging me and answering even the dumbest questions, I never would have been brave enough to start learning to cook. I credit one particular friend with providing my first real "from scratch" recipe: macaroni and cheese. With the exception of one minor tweak, I still make it exactly from her recipe. I've posted it on my regular blog in the past, but I'll be reposting it here the next time I make it. I want to be sure and get a picture of it, and all of the recipes and experiments I make going forward. I'll also try to start posting any recipes I already have pictures for over the next few weeks.

I will admit, I do have an ulterior motive for starting a separate blog. I have started on my third 101 Things in 1001 Days list, and item number 13 is to try 101 new recipes. And I need proof! LOL So this is how I intend to track them.

And remember, if I can make it, you can make it!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...