Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Mexican, Quick n Easy, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Turkey

Southwestern Goulash

southwestern goulash with beans, corn, bone broth and tomatoes

I made it! I made it! I finally made it!

Aren’t you tickled-oh-so-much-that-there-are-no-words?

Or is that overstating?

Seriously, though … this must hold some kind of household record for most weeks spent on a meal plan without actually being made. I could take the time to look back and count, but I’m feeling lazy at the moment and so I’ll just send you to the page with our meal plans and you can look. If you really want to know and you’re not being lazy, of course.

This Southwestern Goulash recipe is one from our archives of things-we-made-often-before-kids-but-haven’t-made-in-years-because-we-forgot-about-it. (And because they don’t love dishes like this.)

The Man actually clipped this Southwestern Goulash recipe (you know, with scissors) from the Washington Post many years ago when we still got that paper (we are one of those dorky rare households that does actually still get a local paper delivered and even reads it). I kept that clipping for a long, long time. Of course, due to my incapability (you know – the one that prevents me from making something the same way more than one time), I have changed it significantly from what it was on that clipping – obviously for the better – and so, somewhere it ended up in the recycling.

Now I wish I’d kept it. Just so I could share it with you.

Southwestern Goulash
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (we actually prefer turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 to 19 ounce can drained black beans
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken or beef)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (can use fresh, you'd just need to add more)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef or turkey until mostly brown.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, broth, corn, chilies, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes (or longer).
  5. Serve over noodles (The Man says rotini is the best).
Notes
You can easily make this in a crock pot. Brown the meat first, add to the crock pot with everything else and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

I double and triple this recipe because it freezes nicely and makes a perfectly easy out-of-the-freezer, busy-weeknight meal.

Southwestern Goulash is hands-down one of The Man’s most favorite dishes. “Easily in the top ten.” He was incredibly bothered by the roller coaster of excitement and disappointment that resulted from its being pushed from the plan so many weeks in a row. Poor guy. The kids, though, not so much. They all tried it … that’s all I’ll say about that.

Do you have things that you made before kids but don’t make as much now? Any good old newspaper recipes?

Posted in Dips and Spreads, Lunch Boxes, Quick n Easy, Snacks

Quick and Easy Strawberry Fruit Dip

easy cream cheese strawberry fruit dipSome of my best creations come out of the necessity to repurpose kids’ lunch leftovers.

Okay, not really. But this great idea was born from just that.

I had already planned to make a simple fruit dip with cream cheese and maple syrup and vanilla. But then … leftover frozen strawberries emerged from not just one … but two lunchboxes.

leftover strawberries in the magic bullet

Because they didn’t have time to eat them.

And so this strawberry fruit dip was born. And the world became a better place. Well, our little food world, anyway … for a few days at least.

This is so incredibly easy, even the least-talented of home chefs could make it. I promise.

I used a Magic Bullet, but you can use a blender or a food processor.

This is really one of those wing-it, suit-it-to-your-tastes kind of recipe, so consider that as you make it. We tend to like our strawberry fruit dip on the less-sweet side, so if you like yours on the more-sweet side, you may need to add some more syrup.

Quick and Easy Strawberry Fruit Dip
 
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Ingredients
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 5 frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor or Magic Bullet and blend until smooth.
  2. Adjust sweetness to your taste.
  3. Serve with fruit for dipping (my favorite was the galia melon).
  4. Share. This is so good you'll want to eat it all yourself.
Notes
If you don't have lunch-leftover strawberries to repurpose, you can use fresh. The dip will likely be a bit thicker.

What do you do with your kids lunch leftovers if they don’t eat them as a snack?

Posted in Quick n Easy, Snacks, Sweets

Easy Protein-Packed Pudding

What do you do when your fridge looks like this? …

a full real food fridge

… and you just bought a gallon of milk (because you were at the store and you knew that you’d be out before you were back at the store) but still have about a quarter gallon in the old milk jug and can’t fit both gallon jugs in there?

Not a dilemma you often encounter because you have another fridge? Lucky.

Well, in this particular instance, on this particular day, I decided to make pudding. Not just any pudding … the best pudding! As proclaimed by my 3 toughest critics – one of whom has claimed, adamantly and without question, that he does not like pudding. But when he saw it, looking all creamy and delicious sitting there in front of him, the temptation was more than he could bear.

easy creamy protein-packed pudding

Can you blame him?

They ate it all, leaving me with the bowl. And I’m not too proud to tell you that I licked it. Clean. Every last delicious pudding morsel.

Fortunately, this is so easy that I can make some more.

Easy Protein-Packed Pudding
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup (or more) chocolate chips (I use this brand)
  • dash salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, egg yolks, maple syrup, and corn starch.
  2. Whisk completely to blend in the egg yolks and dissolve any clumps of corn starch.
  3. Place over low-medium heat.
  4. As the milk warms, whisk every few minutes, making sure to scrape the edges of the pot (that's where the corn starch likes to collect). Some people will tell you that you have to whisk this constantly until it thickens... snore. Who has the time for that? I usually just give it a whisk every few minutes while it warms up.
  5. When it starts to thicken slightly, whisk constantly. This is a good time to catch up on email or Facebook, provided that you are an expert at the one-hand whisk.
  6. Whisk until thickened and just starting to bubble.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Stir in vanilla, chocolate chips, and salt.
  9. Pour it into a separate bowl or smaller serving bowls, cover, and stick it in the fridge. If you cover it and it won't get that hard film on top. If you like the hard film, go ahead and just stick it in there.
Notes
To make vanilla pudding, leave out the chocolate chips. This seems obvious, but just in case, I figured I'd let you know. You could also add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, but we thought it was pretty delicious without it.

You can make this with tapioca or arrowroot but they don't seem to hold the firmness in the fridge as well as cornstarch. And you'll need to increase the amount if you choose to use either of them.

This will start to separate after a couple of days in the fridge. I usually pour them into popsicle molds and make pudding pops at this point.

If you don’t make pudding, what do you do when the fridge is jam-packed and you’ve got groceries that need to go in there?

Posted in Fish, Mediterranean, Quick n Easy

Almond Crusted Cod with Mediterranean Sauce over Creamy Polenta

almond-parmesan-crusted mediterranean cod over creamy polentaThis recipe was born from an I-need-to-make-dinner-but-have-little-in-the-coffers night. When the stars are perfectly aligned, it also becomes a necessity-is-the-mother-of-creativity evening.

Some of my best dishes have been born in these moments. I wish that inspired me to relish them more. It doesn’t.

Tonight’s was particularly special because there were no leftovers. Not. A. One.

This rarely happens in our house, but especially rarely on fish nights.

Although Big Britches did tell me that he LOVES fish. And The Bread Guy decided that fish is “actually pretty good as long as you put a lot of malt vinegar on it.” I secretly gave myself a pat on the back.

I also learned tonight, mostly because of my own laziness, that if I leave the fish pieces larger, they will eat more. Eureka!

And the shocker of the evening … I need to make more polenta from now on. They were literally fighting over the last spoonful. And then requested it for breakfast the next day. Say what?!?

I’d imagine that you can use a different fish, but we are strictly a cod household. It’s low on the fish-flavor spectrum and is reasonably priced. And I find tilapia to be nasty (I know you appreciate my directness and honesty), so I refuse to buy it.

Almond Crusted Cod with Mediterranean Sauce over Polenta
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
Polenta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yellow corn grits
Mediterranean Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or oil of choice)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
  • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach
Cod
  • 2 pounds cod filets, defrosted and patted dry
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Refined coconut oil, for frying
Instructions
Polenta
  1. To prepare polenta, combine milk, water and salt in large saucepan and warm over medium heat.
  2. When near boiling, slowly whisk in grits.
  3. Continue to stir until thick.
  4. Cover and keep warm. Stir occasionally.
Sauce
  1. In medium skillet, warm avocado oil over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and saute for a minute or two.
  3. Add wine and oregano and reduce by half.
  4. Add olives, capers and tomatoes and cook until just warm.
  5. Stir in spinach and remove skillet from heat but keep warm in skillet until ready to serve.
Cod
  1. Salt and pepper the fish.
  2. On a plate, combine the almond meal and the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl.
  4. Heat an iron skillet (or whatever skillet you're using) over medium-high heat with a few hefty tablespoons of coconut oil in it.
  5. Dip each cod fillet in the egg and then in the almond/cheese mixture.
  6. Place in skillet and cook until crispy on both sides.
  7. Serve with polenta and sauce.

This looks like a lot of work, but it comes together quickly, so don’t be intimidated by all those steps. I would be. And I would quickly put that in the maybe-on-a-rainy-day file. This one, though, definitely belongs in the I’m-going-to-make-that-this-week list.

My kids will all eat cod as long as it’s crusted with something. I used to use panko but have found other things that work better. Almond crusted cod has become a go-to. I just try to mix up the sauces and I also find that I can change the seasonings in the almond meal mixture to achieve different flavors. Old Bay is also a fave in our house.

What do you make on your I-have-no-plan-and-the-pantry-is-barren nights?

Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Quick n Easy, Turkey

Cheeseburger Pinwheel

IMG_3881.JPG

Bisquick Ultimate Cheeseburger Pie.

This is a real thing. How is it that in my f*****y years on this earth, I had never heard of it?

Bisquick was staple in our house. We even had the brown Bisquick canister, used specially and exclusively for Bisquick.

And yet … somehow, I have never had the Cheeseburger Pie.

In all likelihood, I never shall. And neither shall my children. We don’t do Bisquick here.

Why, you ask?

Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Dextrose, Salt.

That’s why. (And, for the record, you shouldn’t do Bisquick either.)

Now, even though my childhood did not include Cheeseburger Pie, it did include Chicken Salad Pinwheel with Bacon and Cheese.

I have many fond memories of fighting bartering compromising with my siblings over the last piece of pinwheel. And losing.

My children don’t do chicken salad … not even cheese and bacon could sway them on that. I know. Usually bacon makes everything better. Not here.

But in every life a little pinwheel must fall.

And so Cheeseburger Pinwheel was born. And it was good.

Cheeseburger Pinwheel
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground meat (we liked turkey the best)
  • 2-3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard.
  • 3 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour (or thickener of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounce package Immaculate Baking Company Crescent Rolls
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown meat in skillet over medium heat.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add ketchup, mustard, pickle juice, flour, onion powder.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Stir in cheese.
  7. Grease a pie pan or the bottom of a jelly roll pan.
  8. Unroll the crescent rolls and separate.
  9. Using four of the rolls, make a square by connecting the long end of each roll at the tips. Make sure each triangle is placed the same way so that the straight edge of one roll is next to the slanted edge of the roll next to it.
  10. Do the same thing with the next four rolls, only this time you'll turn it to make a diamond shape on top of the first square.
  11. Seems so confusing ... but it makes sense as you do it. Promise.
  12. Press the rolls to flatten them a bit and give you some room for the goodies.
  13. Scoop the ground meat deliciousness all around the base of the pinwheel that you just made.
  14. Fold the top of each roll over the meat and connect it to the "base" by squishing the tip into the bottom dough.
  15. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until rolls are cooked (the top will cook more quickly than the bottom).
  16. I sprinkled shredded cheese on top just at the end, but most of the cheese just slid right off. You can try if you'd like. You may even put some cheese on top before you cook it. If I try it and it works, I'll let you know.

This smells just like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. That was the consensus anyway.

Four out of five gave it 2 thumbs way up, with Mr. Selective deciding in advance of sitting down that he wasn’t going to like it so even though he tried it, he didn’t really try it.

And after this, I don’t really feel like I missed out on that Cheeseburger Pie after all.

Posted in Boneless Pieces, Chicken, Quick n Easy

Easy Skillet Chicken and Mushrooms

IMG_3791.JPGSo we were supposed to have Meatball Stroganoff last week but it was one of those menu items that just didn’t make the cut.

And since no one was terrifically disappointed (shocker!), I decided to repurpose the mushrooms for something a bit more crowd-pleasing.

Plus, I just wasn’t feeling the meatball love. Not that I ever really feel the meatball love. So. Much. Work.

But I had bordering-on-slimy mushrooms to use. And so, this little treat was born.

The Man was skeptical at first, but that didn’t last long.

The best part – EVERYONE ate it. I did contemplate cooking some separate chicken thighs but that was just more time, effort and energy than I was willing to put forth for my children. More points for that Mother of the Year award.

Easy Skillet Chicken and Mushrooms
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 8 oz package mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas, but you can use whatever)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1½ cups bone broth or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides of each chicken breast.
  3. Drop the butter in the iron skillet and melt over medium heat.
  4. When the butter has melted, swirl it around in the pan to make the bottom is covered with butter. Let it warm just until it starts to smoke but before it starts to brown.
  5. Gently place chicken breasts in hot skillet. If you don't want to do it gently, that's your prerogative. Consider yourself warned.
  6. Brown chicken breasts on both sides. Remove from skillet onto a plate or something.
  7. Drop the next tablespoon of butter in the skillet.
  8. Add mushrooms. Let cook for 4-5 minutes.
  9. Add onion and garlic. Let cook for a couple of minutes.
  10. Add wine. Cook until it's almost gone (magic in the kitchen!).
  11. Add 1¼ cups of the broth. Stir.
  12. Mix brown rice flour with the remaining broth. Add to skillet and stir.
  13. Cook for a few minutes until it starts to get thick and then add the thyme and cheese.
  14. Stir to melt the cheese.
  15. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  16. Return the chicken to the skillet and flip it so that you get the sauce on both sides.
  17. Shove the skillet in the oven. Gently, of course.
  18. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  19. Sprinkle more shredded cheese on top.
  20. If you licked the spoon before you put it in the oven, be sure to get another before you serve. People don't want your germs.
Notes
I used Parmesan because it was all that I had. I think Asiago or an aged Fontina will give it a bigger punch. If you don't like your food to punch, then stick with the Parmesan.

This would be good with a cup of peas added in before you put the skillet in the oven.I didn't want to tempt fate and give anyone any reason to turn their nose up. Next time for sure.

We had this over leftover brown rice couscous. If you haven’t tried this yet, I highly suggest it. It’s brown rice without all of the time that it takes to cook it. Score!

Personally, I think everyone was just glad that it wasn’t meatball stroganoff.

Posted in Bone-In Pieces, Chicken, Meat, Quick n Easy

Seriously Easy Oven Barbecue Chicken

bbq chicken

Have I mentioned how much I dread treasure snow days that occur in close proximity to winter break?

Despite the hours I spent performing my most impressive do-not-snow dance (appearing on YouTube never), we are suffering through enjoying our first snow day of the year merely one day after 12 glorious days of vacation (said in the most meaningfully sarcastic tone you can imagine). As I type this, my darling children are horsing around on the floor yelling, screaming, giddy and laughing.  So fun.

If that alone wasn’t spectacular enough, The Bread Guy was home yesterday, suffering with the “worst pain he has ever felt in one place (his ear) in his whole life.”  The drama. The rest of us would call it a cold with some sinus pressure and congestion. Being the no-fruit/very-little-veggie guy, he also tends to get things far worse than any of the rest of us.

And I had to help my visiting grandmother meet up with a friend yesterday.

No surprise that the grocery supply in my house is significantly depleted.

These are the times that I am ever-so-grateful to me for having the foresight to always keep a stash of meat and chicken in the freezer.

I can take chicken from frozen to delicious in a blink. (Okay, so it takes at least an hour, which would arguably be a very long blink, but just go with it, will ya?) This particular chicken is one of our go-to dinners because everyone will eat it.  Big Britches will complain about the barbecue sauce, so I try to remember to leave one without.

If I have it on hand, I will use my homemade barbecue sauce, but that doesn’t seem to happen often (or ever) any more, so we use Torchbearer’s.  It’s made with real ingredients, although with more sugar than I would use.  But it’s delicious and everyone likes it.

Seriously Easy Oven Barbecue Chicken
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Bone-in chicken pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Barbecue sauce
Instructions
  1. As much in advance of actually cooking the chicken as you can, generously salt and pepper the chicken on all sides.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. Lay chicken pieces flat, skin side up, in a glass dish.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once.
  5. Transfer chicken to a cookie sheet. (This is important! If you use the same dish, the meat juices will prevent the sauce from sticking to the chicken.)
  6. Give them a generous coating of the barbecue sauce.
  7. Return to oven for 4-5 minutes, or until sauce no longer looks wet.
  8. Turn over and coat the other side.
  9. Bake 4-5 minutes.
  10. Repeat with additional sauce as desired.
Notes
You can use chicken breasts, but they just aren't quite as delicious.
Save those bones! Stick 'em in the freezer and use them later for your bone broth.

With this chicken, I baked some sweet potatoes that I grabbed yesterday in my 4-minute, Guy’s-Grocery-Games-style, mad dash through the co-op. Dinner cooking itself in the oven … it’s a beautiful thing.  Combined with some green beans from the freezer and cinnamon apples, we had a tasty little feast.

A feast that also included uncontrollable giggles, an overabundance of energy, lots of potty talk and my surrender.

Time to refine that do-not-snow dance.

Posted in Breakfast, Breakfast Breads, Quick n Easy

Monkey Ball Cake

the best pull apart monkey bread from change of plates

This is a Food Bucket List item.

I’m sure no one has a Food Bucket List, but since I just thought of it, I’m going to work on one. Let it be known that I was the first person, maybe ever, to think of a Food Bucket List. That makes me cool. I hope.

If you haven’t ever had Monkey Ball Cake, then you must put it on your Food Bucket List.  A life without Monkey Ball Cake is a life not fully lived.

Just to clear up any confusion that may arise, there are no monkey balls involved in the making of this cake. What can I say, I’m a mom of three boys. Lots of ball humor here.

Monkey Ball Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Grease 10-inch bundt pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Melt butter and brown sugar on medium heat until consistency of caramel.
  4. Turn off heat but leave pan on burner.
  5. Combine cinnamon and sugar in small bowl.
  6. Cut biscuits into 6 equal-sized pieces.
  7. Roll each pieces in sugar mixture and layer in pan.
  8. After the first can, pour half of melted butter and sugar mixture over biscuits.
  9. Layer in the second can of cinnamon and sugar coated biscuits.
  10. Pour remainder of brown sugar mixture over dough.
  11. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until biscuits in center of pan bounce back when you press on them.

Believe it or not, I can restrain the boys from eating all of this in one sitting. Mainly because they like to spread the Monkey Ball Cake joy over two days.

I do realize that this borders on “real food” because it is made with canned biscuits. I have tried making this with homemade biscuit dough – EPIC FAILURE. It was a mess and no one ate it. I have considered making it with homemade dough, but that would take loads of time and I just don’t think it’s a valuable use of my precious baking minutes. I would much prefer to but that kind of time into something wholesome and nourishing, not cinnamon-sugary breakfast treats.

Truly, this kind of simple deliciousness deserves a place in every home … even those that typically forbid anything in a can from crossing the threshold. Most recipes (you didn’t really think I was the first one to come up with this idea, did you?) use biscuits that are most definitely forbidden from crossing our threshold, but on occasion, I am okay with the on-the-fringes-of-permissibility canned biscuits from The Immaculate Baking Company to grace the counters of my kitchen.

Especially if it’s for Monkey Ball Cake.

And you only live once.

Posted in Dips and Spreads, Quick n Easy

French Onion Dip

What could be better than a Sunday with no obligations?

Give up?

A Sunday with no obligations and one in which I do not have to worry about prepping or cooking dinner.  Woo. Hoo!

How is it that I stepped into this pot o’ lucky?  Well, to make a long story much shorter (because the rest of this story will be long enough), The Man and The Bread Guy were on the hook to make dinner to help contribute to the cost of a way-too-expensive bat that they bought.  (They plan, prep, and cook dinner = a break for me without having to eat out = extra money in our pockets.  Win, win.)

Because I didn’t have to worry about dinner and we were getting ready to go away for Thanksgiving, I was busy with laundry, bathrooms, packing … you know, Mom stuff.  You didn’t actually think I was sitting and watching football like they do on Sundays while I’m making dinner, did you?

I also got inspired to make this homemade onion dip because, of course, that’s what I do when I’m not obligated in the kitchen – find something to do in the kitchen. Plus, we had a half container of sour cream in the fridge that had no purpose.  And sour cream makes me think of dip.  I do love a good dip.  But my people are not dip lovers.  So, I decided to make it just for me.  And I was jonesing for some onion dip and chips.  I had never made my own onion dip, but it only took 3.2 minutes with my friends at Google to figure out that all I had to do was caramelize some onions and add a little flavor and voila.  I’d have my dip.

I had intentions of wowing you with the story of  how wonderful the dinner was and what a nice job they did making their homemade pico de gallo and chicken quesadillas, with maybe a picture or two. But … alas … a Sunday with no obligations is bound to turn up some unexpected adventure here in casa Becker.

This one started with Big Britches crying on the front lawn.

Because this happened.

IMG_3299

And many hours and many tears later …IMG_3298

That was his dinner.

Mine was … Onion Dip.

Onion Dip
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-2 Tbsp bacon grease or butter
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • 4 oz Greek yogurt (You can use all sour cream or all yogurt if you like, I just thought the combo would be nice.)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder (omit if making a day in advance)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop onion.
  2. Heat bacon grease in medium skillet over low heat.
  3. Cook the onions low and slow and stir often. This is how you caramelize. Low and slow, baby. Takes time to bring out that sweet deliciousness that's hiding inside the very unassuming layers of onion-y goodness. It should take about 20 minutes to get a good brown on them.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Dump sour cream and yogurt into a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Add the caramelized onions.
  7. Add garlic powder.
  8. Give it a stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. This is best if you let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to give the flavors some time to blend together. It is still tasty if you eat it right away, but in more of a onion+yogurt+sour cream kind of way. You know, rather than an onion dip kind of way.
Notes
I did try this with all sour cream and I don't think the flavor was quite as nice. It worked fine but wasn't quite as tasty.

Sundays with no obligations are highly overrated anyway.

Posted in Ground Meat, Quick n Easy

Cheeseburger Macaroni

cheeseburger macaroniSome days you’re stuck home with a sick kid.  After having been mostly stuck home with his older brother for 2 days.  After having been out-of-town for 4 days.

And the food choices are thin.

And you’ve used this as a convenient excuse to avoid meal planning or grocery-list making.  Because you’re just completely unmotivated.

And so you wait until the absolute last minute to figure out what to make for dinner.

The fortunes are smiling upon you, though, because you have this quick and easy recipe in your “want to try” list and you happen to have all of the ingredients.  Yay.

You hope that everyone will like it, but given the circumstances, you’re past caring.  You just want to put this one in the rear-view mirror.

And that’s when you make Cheeseburger Macaroni for dinner.

Cheeseburger Macaroni
 
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Adapted from Foodie Crush.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground meat (I used turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 c chicken or beef broth
  • 1 c water
  • ¾ c ketchup
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ c elbow noodles
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 c medium Cheddar cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground meat in a large skillet.
  2. Add onion, broth, water and ketchup.
  3. Bring to boil.
  4. Add noodles and cover.
  5. Cook 10 minutes or until noodles are done.
  6. While noodles are cooking, make the cheese sauce. Melt butter in medium saucepan.
  7. Whisk in flour (making a roux) and cook for a couple of minutes.
  8. Add milk, a bit at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition.
  9. Simmer until thick. Add cheese and stir until melted.
  10. Pour cheese mixture into noodle mixture and combine.
  11. If it's not thick enough, you can let it simmer. Just keep in mind that the noodles will continue to cook.

The Man was ecstatic. The Bread Guy said he liked it, but I wasn’t really convinced.  Mr. Selective refused to eat it, mainly because someone announced the presence of onion and that was enough for him.  Big Britches was initially swayed by the onion but when faced with the prospect of starvation, decided to try it.  He said he liked it, but didn’t eat much.

I was just glad it was over.

**Footnote: I forgot to snap a picture before I had to run out the door to take The Bread Guy to karate.  I took one of the last little bit of leftovers just before The Man scarfed up the last few bites.  I can barely even bring myself to include it in the post.  I promise this is so much tastier than the picture indicates.  And if you haven’t read my personal photo disclaimer, you should probably do that now.