Happy Halloween – Bubble Pizza

Even though our children are grown and no longer living at home we enjoy Halloween. We decorate our front yard and look forward to the trick-or-treaters and seeing their costumes. This year however it may end up being a wash out as it has been raining all week and more predicted for today. So we will just roll with it and hope we can hand out most of the treats we have.

So tonight I’ll be making Bubble Pizza. It’s a quick easy version of pizza and can be lots of fun when you add your favorite toppings. Not sure who actually created the recipe but this is the version I adapted for our family. I make it all different ways and you can too. It can be made easily at home, great for a Friday night or family night not just for a holiday, Make several different versions if you have a small gathering or kids sleep-over.

Bubble Pizza

Servings: 8 

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 (14-16 ounce) jar pizza sauce or favorite tomato sauce

Add about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of dry Oregano to the sauce if not using pizza sauce

1 or 2  packages Grands refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough (depending how large you like your crust. (1 for a thinner crust, 2 for a thicker crust)

* Note – Toppings below are up to you and only suggested in the recipe – the possibilities are endless. You can also use your favorite cheese or cheese mixture.

1/4 pound sliced pepperoni sausage (optional)

1/2 onion, sliced and separated into rings

1 (10 ounce) can sliced black olives

1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms

1 thinly sliced green pepper

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or slightly larger. Place ground beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Stir in pepperoni (optional), and cook until browned. Drain excess fat. Stir in the pizza sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Cut biscuits into quarters, and place in the bottom of baking dish. Spread the meat/sauce mixture evenly over the biscuits. Sprinkle top with onion, olives and mushrooms, peppers, what ever you like.
  3. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Veggie Bubble Pizza
Sausage & Mushroom Bubble Pizza with a thick crust (sort of a Sicilian Style pizza)

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.

Skillet Unstuffed Cabbage1

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

 

skillet unstuffed cabbage 4

 

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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.

IMG_1943

Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

chicken cacciatorre

I am all about making a good meal at home even on a weeknight. I look for easy recipes that take less than an hour from start to finish, recipes that don’t take too much time to prepare but are flavorful and might go even with a nice glass of wine after a busy day. Here is my weeknight one-pot chicken cacciatore.

Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 – 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered or sliced

2 large bell peppers, sliced (a mix of 1 red and 1 green)

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 3/4 cups beef broth

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce or homemade

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 lb Spaghetti

Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. In a shallow dish, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper. Roll chicken in flour mixture, coating completely.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until hot; brown chicken on all sides for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the skillet; set aside. Add mushrooms, green/red peppers, onion, garlic, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and cook 5-8 minutes, or until onions and peppers are slightly tender, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat a bit as to not burn the garlic.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; return chicken to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork-tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the meal simmers have a pot ready to cook the spaghetti then serve over cooked spaghetti, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Leftover Ham – Ham and Cheese Muffins & Ham and Split Pea Soup

What to make when you have leftovers? Since making a baked bone in ham butt last Sunday I’ve managed to turn it into several meals this week and the one thing I always look forward to making is Ham and Split Pea soup. The weather is still cold and a warm bowl of creamy soup is comfort food for me and my family.

Another favorite of mine for using left over ham is to make Ham and Cheese Muffins. The muffins pull together quick and go great along side a bowl of your favorite soup. I have even served them up as part of a Sunday brunch.

Ham & Cheese Muffins

Makes 1 dozen muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup diced ham
• Add some herbs and spices to the dry ingredients to make it more savory
Fresh black pepper, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone muffin cups and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, and butter. Add these wet ingredients to the dry and mix lightly (e.g., with a wooden spoon, not a mixer) until well combined. Once the batter is smooth, fold in cheese and ham.
4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 of the way. If you like, sprinkle some more shredded cheese and freshly cracked black pepper on top. Bake for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a rack. See notes above on storing these.
20160515_130525

 

Split Pea and Ham Soup

1 pound ham bone
4 cups chicken stock (1 Qt.)
3 cups cold water
1 16 oz. bag split green peas

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cups chopped leeks or green onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream or Half & Half
1 cup chopped ham, cooked
Sauté the onions, carrots and celery in butter.
Place the ham bone in a large pot. Add the water, chicken stock and peas and bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer. Add all the seasonings and continue to simmer the mixture until the peas are very soft, about 1 hour and 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove the ham bone. Use an emersion blender to smooth peas and veggies so they are creamy.
Stir in the milk and cream. Add chopped ham. Simmer, stirring occasionally for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve topped with a buttery croutons.
ham and split pea soup

Sometimes you need Breakfast for Dinner

How often do you really have the opportunity to have a hearty breakfast at home? Occasionally we will have a leisurely breakfast on a weekend but when life gets busy I don’t like to bother with things like making pancakes, waffles or French toast.

When I’m planning our weekly dinner menu and I have planned numerous chicken dishes several different ways, I know I need to throw in a night with something different. So when I’m trying to save money and avoid going out to the local diner or pancake house I’ll plan breakfast for dinner once in a while. Baked omelets, eggs and sausage or leftover ham or bacon with home fried potatoes, throw in some buttered toast from the loaf I made earlier in the week and I have a great meal. Other times I just want the French toast or pancakes with melted butter and lots of maple syrup because it has been a long time since we had them. I can then decide what I would like to serve on the side depending what in the refrigerator.

sourdough pancakes 3

Homemade pancakes aren’t hard to make, there are many recipes out there. They take a bit more time when made from scratch compared to the mix in a box but the taste is so much more satisfying. Here are some of my favorite recipes.

IMG_1931

Quick Fluffy Homemade Pancakes

Makes approx. 16 pancakes when using a level 1/4 cup measure

2 cups biscuit mix (you know the one in the yellow box)
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs

1. Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat or electric griddle to 375°F; grease with cooking spray, vegetable oil or shortening. (Surface is ready when a few drops of water sprinkled on it dance and disappear.)

2. Stir all ingredients until blended. Pour slightly less than a 1/4 cupful onto the hot griddle.

3. Cook until edges are dry and show bubbles. Flip over and cook until golden. To keep warm, place on a cookie sheet. Cover with aluminum foil, and place in 200°F oven up to 10 minutes while you are cooking the others.

Fluffy from Scratch Pancakes

Ingredients
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 tbsp granulated sugar
• 2 cups buttermilk
• 2 large eggs lightly beaten
• 1 tsp vanilla extract optional
Instructions
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl or, as I frequently do, a large glass measuring cup.
2. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract just until combined. Some small lumps are okay.
3. Let pancake batter rest for 10 minutes.
4. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
5. Spray with non-stick cooking spray OR brush with butter or oil.
6. Ladle (1/4-1/3 for regular stack size – 1/2 cup for large pancakes) batter onto the griddle for each pancake.
7. Flip the pancakes over when small bubbles appear on the surface and continue cooking on the opposite side until golden brown.
8. Serve with butter and syrup.

IMG_1837

 

French Toast

6 thick slices of your favorite bread
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Salt to taste

Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame.
Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place in pan,
And cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

Fluffy Waffles  (I can’t seem to find the photo on this one)

• 1 1/3 cups flour
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 2 eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 1 3/4 cups milk
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
2. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the dry ingredient mixture, and placing the whites in a small mixing bowl.
3. Beat whites until moderately stiff; set aside.
4. Add milk and melted butter to dry ingredient mixture and blend.
5. Fold stiff egg whites into mixture.
6. Ladle mixture into hot waffle iron and bake.

 

IMG_1839(1)  Leftover sliced ham and French toast made from home baked bread.

Heart Healthy Valentine’s Dinner – Skillet Chicken, Sweet Potato & Asparagus

Heart Health Vegetabtle_shutterstock_76317430_cropepd b B

Show your loved ones how much your love them by serving a healthy meal this Valentine’s Day. For those who are budget conscious or would rather avoid the restaurant crowds this is an affordable, healthy and flavorful, meal that is easy to prepare.

20160808_195018

Skillet Chicken with Sweet Potato & Asparagus

A delicious, healthy, and easy to make dinner and it take less than 40 minutes from start to finish and perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

2 boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground fresh black pepper

3 garlic cloves — minced or 3 teaspoons pre-chopped jar garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (Optional)

1 medium to large sweet potato — peeled and diced

1/2-3/4 cup chicken broth (Better than Bullion works perfect for this dish) Amount of broth depends on the size of the sweet potato used.

1/2 lb Fresh Asparagus spears, cut on a diagonal in 1 and 2 inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, minced garlic, crushed red pepper and chicken. (Make sure the burned is not too hot as you don’t want to burn the garlic and red pepper)
  3. Sauté the chicken for about 8-10 minutes or until it is cooked through. When cooked set the chicken aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add the diced sweet potato and chicken broth.
  5. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked through.
  6. Add asparagus pieces and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  7. Season with remaining salt and pepper to taste more or less if desired.

 

After dinner dessert – Something Sweet

While this bakes in the oven you can prepare the Skillet Chicken dish on top of the stove.

For an easy after dinner dessert  why not give this easy recipe a try.  It is a long time favorite (since the about the 1960’s) that I learned to make years ago. Serve topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Any fruit pie filling works, apple, peach, blueberry or cherry. I have made them all.

crazycrustapplepie

 

 

 

 

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!