Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Skillet

Well, the temperatures have been a bit cooler here in the northeast so I’m looking forward to digging out some recipes and doing some cooking. As you know I’m not one to make many long involved complicated meals, I’ll leave those dishes to the experts. I like to think if you have a good recipe with a handful of ingredients, cooking can be a breeze. My version of unstuffed cabbage rolls made in a skillet is one of those types of dishes. You have all the flavor of the traditional recipe but takes considerably less time to prepare. I hope you will give it a try.

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Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Skillet

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 large Onion (diced)

1 Green or Red Bell pepper (diced)

2 cloves of Garlic (minced)

2 Tablespoons Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (or 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley)

1 Small Head of Cabbage (shredded or chopped)

2 cans (14.5 ounces) Diced Tomatoes

1 can (8 oz.) Tomato sauce

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cooked White or Brown Rice

  1. Heat a large, deep skillet or sauté pan (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then add the ground beef. Break up the beef with a spoon and cook, stirring, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the diced onion, green pepper, parsley, and garlic and continue cooking, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent and the green pepper has just begun to soften.
  2. Add the chopped cabbage to the ground beef mixture along with the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, simmer about 15-20 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Adjust any salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.
  4. Serve over cooked white or brown rice

 

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Old School Dinners – Salisbury Steak

Cooking dinners have evolved over the years with modern day appliances like the Slow Cooker, the Air Fryer and the Instant Pot to name a few. The one thing that seems to carry on is some of those old school dinner recipes that continue to evolve with the times. The kind of recipes you not only remember your mom making but maybe your grandma as well. I love to see the new ways people are adjusting the cooking of these dishes for today’s popular appliances. Salisbury Steak is one of those meals that has been around since the late 1800’s and people continue to make to this day. There is even a version for the Instant Pot.

This dish takes me back to when I was growing up and my mom would make Salisbury Steak in her large copper bottom Revereware skillet. It would be served with creamy mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and a vegetable.

It’s a meal that can be served in any season and is easy enough to prepare on a weeknight for a hungry family. Hope you will enjoy this recipe.

Salisbury Steak

 

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy

1 egg
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) condensed French onion soup (undiluted, divided)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, sliced
8 oz Fresh Mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water or Beef Broth (I use Better than Bullion)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
6 cups hot cooked egg noodles

In a large bowl, beat egg. Stir in 1/3 cup of soup, bread crumbs, salt and
pepper. Add beef, mix gently. Shape into six oval patties. Brown in a
skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove and set
aside.
Sauté the sliced onions and mushrooms. Until soft and cooked, remove and set aside.
In the skillet, combine flour and water or broth until smooth: add ketchup,
Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and remaining soup. Bring to a boil.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Return patties to skillet. Then add the sautéed onions and mushrooms.
Cover and turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
Serve patties and gravy over your favorite noodles, pasta, rice or mashed potatoes.

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Instant Pot Corned Beef – Homemade Magic!

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As I mentioned last week I was going to try making my corned beef in my Instant Pot for the first time. The recipes I posted last week are ones I had been making for years and the corned beef was a step above the traditional way of just simmering on the stove with the packet of spices. I did try it in the slow cooker once with a bottle of Guinness and found the corned beef to not be very tender at all. I also really didn’t care for the taste of the Guinness beer. I do use beer in some recipes but I am not a typical beer drinker so that may also have been a part of the problem. Guinness is an acquired taste in my book.

So here are the simple steps I used to cook my corned beef in the Instant Pot and I must say it did not disappoint at all. It was tender and flavorful and making it this way will certainly be in my rotation of recipes for making corned beef.

Corned Beef and Vegetables cooked in Beer

Instant Pot – 6 Qt. Duo

Corned Beef 4 lbs. plus the spice packet included with the corned beef

1 – 12 oz bottle of your favorite beer. (I used Blue Moon Belgian White Beer)

Instant Pot rack/trivet (I prefer using the one from OXO)

1 small head of Cabbage cut into about eight wedges

1 – 1 lb bag ready to use Carrots

About 2 lbs of small to medium Potatoes, peeled and all cut to about the same size whether it be quarters or halves if the potatoes are small. I used Yukon Golds this time.

Take the corned beef out of the package and rinse off the brine and place the rack/trivet into the Instant Pot

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Put the corned beef. fat side up on the rack/trivet, this will help to keep the meat moist and tender. Sprinkle the spice packet on top of the corned beef, you can push the spices down a bit so they stay on top.

Pour the beer along the sides of the pot but not on top of the meat.

Close up the Instant Pot and set on High Pressure for 90 minutes. When the 90 minutes are over let the pressure pin on the Instant Pot come down on its own with Natural Release for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the Corned beef and let it rest on a cutting board for about 10-15 minutes, you can cover with aluminum foil if you wish while you move on to the next step.

Return the rack/trivet back to the Instant Pot and get ready to add the prepared vegetables.

Add the Carrots first, then the Potatoes and lastly the cabbage arranged evenly on top.  Close, set to High Pressure for 4 minutes. When the 4 minutes are up, do a Quick Release. Open and remove the vegetables to a serving platter. (I used one of those Asian Wire Spider Skimmers to remove the veggies from the pot, works like a charm)

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Proceed to scrape any spices off the fat cap. If you prefer you can slice off the fat cap or leave it on if you prefer then slice it down for serving and remove the fat later.

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Our favorite is to use Stone Ground Mustard to go with our meat and Irish Soda Bread on the side

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If you give this a try I hope you enjoy! Remember you can enjoy Corned Beef any time of year, not just for St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day – Corned Beef Dinner

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Taking the day off as it’s been a fun birthday week for me so I thought I would repost last years St. Patrick’s Day meal. This year I am planning to make my corned beef in the Instant Pot so I will post how it turned out on next weeks blog. I love the recipe that I’ve made for years but thought it’s time to mix things up a bit. One year I did try a version made in the slow cooker and it was a bit of a disappointment, so let’s see how the pressure cooker does.

So just click the links below and enjoy!

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Honey Glazed Corned Beef and Colcannon

 

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Irish Soda Bread

A Few Weeks left of Winter – Ox Tail Ragu

With only several weeks left of “official winter” and daylight saving time around the corner, I’m hoping to share a few more dishes that fight off the last of the chill. It won’t be long before these recipes are put away, so let’s enjoy them while there is still some time left.

Ox Tail Ragu is just the right meal for a chilly winter Sunday. It’s a hearty dish, takes a bit of time to prepare, but it’s easy and delicious.

Oxtail Ragu

Serves 8

4 to 5 pounds oxtail, cut into 3-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour, for dredging
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3  celery ribs, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, crushed
3 cups dry red wine
2 rosemary sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels then dust with the flour, tapping off any excess. Season with salt and pepper on all sides.

Place a 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when glistening, add the meat (metal tongs come in handy here) and sear on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding.

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Transfer the meat to a plate. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Add the meat and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Return to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat, is fork tender and falling off the bones.

Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the pieces of meat to a plate. Skim any visible fat from the surface of the sauce. Pick the meat from the bones, pulling away and discarding any pieces of fat, and then return the meat to the pan. Pluck out the bay leaves, and sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Serve atop gnocchi or any pasta meant to withstand a hearty sauce. The ragù can be made a few days ahead; keep covered and refrigerated, then reheat over medium-low heat.

Recipe Notes

  • This is a hearty, chunky sauce. If you prefer something more uniform in texture, blend a portion or all of the sauce with an immersion blender.

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Game Day and an Awesome Chili Bar

Today is Game Day or for some Super Bowl LIII.  There will be folks gathering for a day of fun, friends or family with lots of good eats and drinks while watching the big game. But there are many of us who are just not followers of football. Yes, as un-American as that may sound, there are many of us who are just not into “the game”. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a great day of fun, food and gather around the TV or game table.

In years past our Sunday would start in the afternoon where we may watch the Kitten Bowl as I start to prepare the good eats of the day. Later in the afternoon we tune in to our favorite, The Puppy Bowl. We are animal lovers at our house. Have you ever watched those adorable pups frolicking around the stadium? Too darn cute. Then at the end I would often get teary eyed as the pups are adopted and go to their Fur-Ever homes. Silly I know, but we love it.

Once Puppy Bowl was over we would sometimes get together and play World of Warcraft or some other RPG (role-playing game) on our computers. Another time we would have a movie marathon. Nothing like a binge watch of classic Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. But, no matter what we choose the “game is on” (but not the game) and so is the food. Have fun and enjoy the day no matter how you celebrate it! Any one for Rummikub and pigs in a blanket?

Beef and/or Bean Chili and a great Chili Bar

Items you need:

Your favorite chili recipe (I’ll add mine below)

Bowls of the following:

Sour Cream

Diced Onion, white or yellow

Sliced Jalapeno or your favorite hot peppers

Shredded Cheese, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack are usually favorites

Chips of your choice:  Doritos’s, Frito’s or taco

Diced Avocado

Sliced Green Onion

Corn bread or corn muffins (I’ll add my recipe below)

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Instant Pot Beef and Bean Chili

Made for a 6 qt. Instant Pot.

(Easily made in any electric pressure cooker or converts to the Slow Cooker as well)

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tsp minced garlic

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 large bell pepper, chopped

5 stalks celery, chopped

1 package Chili Seasoning or homemade (See homemade chili seasoning)

1 cup Beef Broth (I use Better than Bullion Beef)

1 15 oz can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can Ro-Tel Original Tomatoes

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Set your Instant Pot to Sauté and vegetable oil and minced garlic to the pot.

Once the pot is hot and oil is simmering, add ground beef.

Once browned, add chopped onion, bell pepper and celery to the beef.

Cook until onion is starting to become translucent, then add McCormick’s Chili Seasoning.

Turn the Instant Pot “off” of Sauté.

Mix well and add beef broth.

Scrape up any browned bits that have adhered to the bottom of the pot.

Add both beans to the pot and stir.

Then add Ro-Tel tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce on topdo not stir in.

Put on your Instant Pot lid, make sure vent is set to seal and set your IP to 10 minutes at high pressure.

Once time is up, let your Instant Pot naturally release.

Once released, open your Instant Pot, stir and enjoy your chili!

Homemade Chili Seasoning

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp approximately freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine. Store in an air-tight container, away from heat and moisture for up to six months.

Recipe Notes: Makes enough for one pot of chili (about 6 servings).

 

creamed corn-muffins

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CREAMED CORN MUFFINS

1 1/4 cups Flour
1 cup Yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
2 Eggs — lightly beaten
1 can Creamed corn — (16 oz can)

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly coat 16 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray or use paper muffin cups.

Mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar in large mixing bowl.

Stir in milk, oil, and eggs, mixing just until all ingredients are moistened. Stir in creamed corn.

Pour the batter into muffin tins, filling to the brim. Bake for 25 minutes.

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My Maestro

 

Stretching a Dollar – Porcupine Meatballs

Fast food seems to be the way of life with young families these days. I grew up with parents who lived through the Great Depression where food and supplies were scarce in those day so you had to make every penny count, and if you had many mouths to feed it was a challenge for many families.

I would watch the many ways my mother could alter meals to feed us when money was tight while growing up. One of the ways she would stretch a meal was by adding rice to ground beef and Porcupine Meatballs was born in our home.

This budget friendly dish still gets passed down through families and is enjoyed today. Now there are many ways to prepare Porcupine Meatballs, every family had their own version they preferred to make. I grew up with the version that used Campbell’s Tomato Soup, the web has several different versions of it.

Here are two of my favorite versions that I like to make, neither uses canned tomato soup. One recipe is for the stove top the other made in the oven. So whether you are a growing family trying to make ends meet or a retired couple on a fixed income this maybe a dish you would occasionally like to make.

porcupine meatballs

 

   Skillet Porcupine Meatballs

1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup green pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound ground beef*

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce or your own homemade works fine

1 cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Add beef and mix well.Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. In a large skillet, brown meatballs in oil; drain. Combine tomato sauce, water, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; pour over meatballs. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Oven Porcupine Meatballs

1 pound ground beef*

1 cup uncooked white rice (regular rice)

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper

15 ounces tomato sauce, 1 large can

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix meat, rice, 1/2 cup water, the onion, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Shape mixture by rounded tablespoonful’s into balls. Place meatballs into 8 x 8″ baking dish. Stir together remaining ingredients; pour over meatballs. Cover. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.

*Note: Either of these recipes can be easily doubled.  You can substitute ground turkey for the beef.

Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

Easy Cooking Sunday’s – The Instant Pot

The last several weekends have been busy so no special meal preparation. We went away to open our summer place in the Pocono’s two weeks ago, then last weekend was Mother’s Day and the family insisted I shouldn’t cook. This weekend is filled with chores so I need an easy peasy meal for dinner. I’ll put on a loaf of bread for the weeks lunches in the bread baker and put dinner in the Instant Pot so I won’t have to bother babysitting while it cooks and I can get some things accomplished.

I’d been putting off from buying an Instant Pot for several years, I just felt I really didn’t need one. The more I read about how I could make some easy put together recipes that didn’t take as long as it would on the stove or oven I decided to go for it. Preparing dinner on a weeknight sometimes takes far too long after a long day at work and heck it’s all in one pot so less dishes. I have found with the slow cookers of recent years that the cooking time is shorter being they now cook at a higher temperature. Doesn’t work for me with the 10 hours I’m out for work and commute time, I didn’t like the thought of warm food sitting on the counter for hours until I got home. So I took the plunge and ordered a 6 Qt IP Duo. There are a ton of IP recipes out there and lots of helpful folks on the FB Instant Pot Community group.

My 6 Qt Duo

I keep trying new recipes each time I use the IP. So far no disappointments.

Today’s dinner will be IP BBQ Ribs, I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Here are some of my cooking adventures with the IP. One day I will tackle that cheesecake everyone in the group has been making that looks so delicious.

 

Above left to right: Zuppa Toscana, Chili with Beef and Beans, Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, Chicken Teriyaki and Pot Roast with baby red potatoes, carrots and mushrooms.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Kitchen – Honey Glazed Corned Beef & Colcannon

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With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Saturday I get the opportunity to make my favorite Irish dishes on the day.
I know there are lots of way of preparing corned beef, plain boiled or simmered in Guinness. I’ve tried many recipes over the years and I’ve had discussions and even disagreements about how to cook it. About 15 years ago I discovered a recipe that has remained a favorite at our house. There are similar versions of this recipe if you search the web but this version is our family favorite.

An Irish Kitchen Prayer

Bless us with good food,
The gift of gab and hearty laughter.
May the love and joy we share
Be with us ever after.
Amen

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Honey Glazed Corned Beef

• Prep Time: 10 mins
• Total Time: 3 1/4 hrs
• Servings: 8

Ingredients
4 lbs corned beef brisket
2 quarts water or enough water to cover the corned beef
1 tablespoon pickling spices – they may come in a packet with the corned beef
2 cups Apple Juice
1 large white onions
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
2 garlic cloves

Glaze
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Directions
1. In a large stock pot, combine corned beef, water, apple juice, pickling spices, whole vegetables, and garlic. (The veggies and garlic are optional) Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 3 hours. (You may use a crockpot for this, cooking 4-6 hours on high.)
2. Place a cooling rack in a shallow baking pan or dish. Transfer brisket from cooking liquid, placing fat side up on the rack.
3. Combine honey, brown sugar, mustard and ginger to make a glaze. Spoon glaze over meat.
4. Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350*F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to serving plate.
5. Makes 8 servings.

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2017 St Pat veggies

Often I have served traditional boiled cabbage, carrots and potatoes as side dishes. One of my alternate side dishes is Colcannon. I haven’t made it in a while so I’ll be making it this year for change.

colcannon

Colcannon 

Colcannon is a popular version of Irish mashed potatoes.

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 large onion, finely diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 leek stalks, trimmed, washed, and thinly sliced
• 1 small savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
• 6 large white-flesh potatoes peeled, boiled, and lightly mashed
• 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1. Boil the potatoes until just cooked. Drain and allow to cool.
2. On medium heat, begin by sautéing the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the leeks and continue to sauté for 15 minutes.
3. Add the cabbage and continue to sauté for 15 minutes. You will want the cabbage, leeks, and onions to really cook down and wilt.
4. While the leeks, onions, and cabbage mixture is cooking, prepare the boiled potatoes by giving them a rough mash, these aren’t supposed to be creamy potatoes so do not over mash them. Place the potatoes back into the pot.
5. Add the leek and cabbage mixture to the potatoes and fold in. Turn the heat to medium, add the butter, heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
6. When the potatoes are heated through, toss in the freshly chopped parsley. Fold into the mixture and serve. Add a dollop of Irish butter.

Don’t forget to make the Irish Soda bread and serve with some of that yummy Irish butter!

2018 Irish Soda Bread