A Simple July 4th, 2020 Celebration

The 4th of July is a much loved holiday among Americans and I can’t imagine what’s not to love? Family, friends, barbecues, picnics, and the beach, the list goes on and on.

This year however, most families will probably not be having the larger celebrations that they may have had in previous years but people can still have smaller gatherings of family in their backyards. That is our plan for this year. I’ll send out a message to our kids and see if anyone wants to drop by, and even if they have other plans it can be just the two of us, our dogs and Cousin Brucie’s July 4th radio program. We will be sitting around the backyard fire pit enjoying great music and yummy food. It will still be fun.

As for the menu I think I will keep it simple this year.

Hamburgers and or Hot dogs on the grill with all the fixings

I’ll make either a homemade potato or pasta salad of some kind

Maybe some chips for snacking, our favorite wine and perhaps a fruit salad, dessert or both.

So here is a small parade of salad recipes I have made for get-together’s in years past, maybe you might like to try a few.

Orzo Pasta Salad

This easy salad is light and delicious

8 ounces orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in olive oil, vinegar, red onion, tomatoes and basil and toss to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

Italian Style Bread Salad

You can get creative with this salad so feel free to add or substitute your favorites, it works well with what ever you have on hand

3 cup fresh Italian or French bread cut into cubes
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or basil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 lb. plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
1/4 lb. lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced and/or roasted red or yellow peppers sliced in strips
2 oz. thinly sliced Italian salami, or Genoa in strips or prosciutto
2 green onions, sliced or very thinly sliced red onion
1 bunch baby salad greens or favorite lettuce torn

Spread bread cubes on cookie sheet and let stand 2 hours. Whisk oil,
oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and pepper flakes together in large
bowl. Add remaining ingredients except greens; toss. Let stand 15
minutes. Add baby salad green, toss well and serve at once.
Makes 6 servings.

Instant Pot Potato with Egg Salad

PREP TIME – 10 minutes,

COOKING TIME – 4 minutes

ADDITIONAL TIME NEEDED FOR COOLING – 2 hours

This Instant Pot Potato Salad Recipe is so easy, you’ll want to make it all the time!
Cook hard-boiled eggs and potatoes together in the IP for quick, perfectly cooked eggs and potatoes every time.
This is our favorite Instant Pot potato salad recipe!

INGREDIENTS
6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and large cubes
1 1/2 cups water
4 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 TO 1 cup chopped celery (as you prefer)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dill pickle juice
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Put the steamer basket in the pressure cooker pot. Add the water, cubed potatoes, and eggs on top. Lock lid in place, select High Pressure, 4 minutes cook time, and press start.
When the cook time ends, turn off pressure cooker and do a quick pressure release. When the pressure valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
Remove the steamer basket from the Instant Pot. Put the eggs into ice-cold water to cool. Allow the potatoes to cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, mayo, parsley, pickle juice, and mustard. Add the cooled potatoes (you can now slice smaller if you prefer) and gently mix the mayonnaise mixture into the potatoes.
Peel and dice the cooled eggs and stir into potato salad. (If needed, add more mayonnaise to achieve desired consistency.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
Chill at least one hour before serving.

Lastly an American favorite, Macaroni Salad. This recipe can be easily doubled for a large gathering.

Macaroni Salad

Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lb macaroni, cooked and drained
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped red peppers
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Directions
Combine dressing ingredients.
Stir into remaining ingredients.
Cover and chill.

Stay Healthy

Stay Strong

Stay at Home and remember to wear a mask when going out in public

Hot Dog Goulash and a No Bake Dessert the Kids will Enjoy

Right now families are trying to make ends meet and a meal that will stretch to feed everyone. With so many folks having to remain indoors I thought I would pull out one of my own kid friendly recipes that my children enjoyed when they were growing up. Sorry I don’t have any photos as it has been some time since I made these dishes but they are very simple and the kids can help make the dessert.

Hot Dog Goulash


• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 tbsps. butter
• salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste
• 3 Russet or Idaho potatoes, diced
• 2 cans (14.5-oz.) Stewed Tomatoes (any favorite style), do not drain
• water
• 6-8 hot dogs, sliced (your favorite brand)
Directions

Sauté on medium temperature the onion in butter until almost transparent. Add salt, pepper, and paprika. Add diced potatoes. Mix in stewed tomatoes with the juice. Add just enough water to cover the potatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add sliced hot dogs, cook for another 8 minutes.
Serve in a bowl as is or you can do one of following: serve over noodles, or rice if you prefer, or a open faced grilled cheese sandwich on the side.
Options:
You can also sauté a diced green pepper along with the onion if you like.

Chocolate Chip and Cream Dessert

1 large container of frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 large package of crunchy chocolate chip cookies – reserve a few cookies to crush down to top the dessert just before serving.

In a large bowl or pan start with a layer of chocolate chip cookies, then cover in a layer of whipped topping. alternate layers making the final layer of whipped topping.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve crush down the reserved chocolate chip cookies in a sandwich bag, top the dessert and serve in dessert bowls.

You can also top with mini chocolate chips, chocolate sauce or just chocolate sprinkles before serving.

This recipe can be adjusted for size very easily depending on the size of your family.

Kielbasa & Yellow Rice Skillet Dinner

Here is an easy economical skillet meal to make for your family especially on a weeknight. With just a bit of dicing and using some pantry ready items you will have a dinner the family will enjoy. Clean up is quick and easy too!

Kielbasa and Yellow Rice Skillet Dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 package kielbasa (14-16 ounce – Your choice, Polish, Turkey or Beef) sliced. (If you are feeding a large family or group of hungry eaters use 2 packages if you would like more meat)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Large Onion chopped
  •  3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Green or Red Bell Pepper – diced
  • 1 can (15 oz.)Black Beans (Do not drain)
  • 1 Large can (28 oz.) Diced Tomatoes (Do not drain)
  • 1 can Corn or Mexi-Corn or Fiesta Corn –Drained
  • 1 tsp Spanish Style Paprika
  •  Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 10 oz. package yellow rice (Cook according to the directions on the package) I recommend to prepare this first

Directions

Heat oil on medium high heat, add the kielbasa, diced green pepper, onion & garlic. Cook until the onion and pepper is tender, be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the black beans (Do not drain), tomatoes (Do not drain), corn (drained), and seasonings. Cook to a boil and reduce heat for 6-8 minutes. Fold in the cooked Yellow Rice, stirring to combine the ingredients.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce, Cholula is a favorite in our house.

Make the rice first in a
separate pot
Saute Keilbasa, Pepper, Onion & Garlic
Add the Corn & Black Beans
Add the can of Diced Tomatoes & seasoning
Fold in the Yellow Rice
Serve with a green salad or vegetable and Dinner is ready!

Thank you for visiting!
Please share this site with your family and friends and ask them to join Sundays in a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be. I hope my recipes will inspire you to get take some time to cook in your kitchen no matter what size your kitchen is.
Please Like and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and what see what you are making.

My Favorite Rare Roast Beef

After taking several weeks off trading cooking time for crafting time for the holidays I’m happy to get back to my blog and sharing the recipes I make.

I have had successes and fails over the years trying to make the perfect roast beef in the oven. We enjoy our roast beef rare to medium rare. I know there are many folks who don’t enjoy it this way but for those of us who do I’d like to share how I now make roast beef in the Instant Pot. Surprised? Me too. I never imagined how this could be possible but believe me it is and turns out terrific, and is simple to make.

Instant Pot Rare Roast Beef and Gravy

3 – 4 lb beef roast
salt and pepper as you prefer
1 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups beef broth (or use Better Than Bullion Beef)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried herbs of your choice (I like using Italian Seasoning)

For the Gravy 1/2 cup water or beef broth
2 1/2 Tbsp flour

This recipe works in a 6 Qt Instant Pot

Directions
Season the roast with salt and pepper as you prefer
Hit the Saute button and when the display says Hot, add the oil. Brown the roast well on all sides for a nice rich, beefy flavor.
Transfer the roast to a plate. De-glaze the pot by adding the beef broth, the Worcestershire and Soy sauce to the pot. Scrape all the browned bits off the bottom and into the liquid. Add the garlic and any dry herbs you like. Put the trivet in the Instant Pot and place the roast on the trivet.
Close the lid and make sure the valve is set to Sealing. Push the Pressure Cook (or Manual) button and adjust the time using the + and – buttons to get to 3 minutes. Yes, just THREE minutes! When it beeps that it’s done, leave it in the Instant Pot for 25-60 minutes natural release (on Keep Warm).

You can use an instant-read thermometer for this roast. Open the pot after the minimum time and check the temperature with your thermometer. If it’s not quite there, close the pot for another 5 minutes or so. The residual heat will continue to cook the roast.

Here is a doneness reference chart. The roast will continue when left in the Instant Pot just remember to keep checking the temperature.

Rare115 – 120ºF
Medium Rare125 – 130ºF
Medium130 – 135ºF
Medium Well140 – 145ºF
Well Done150-155ºF and up

For a 3-pound rare roast, start check after 20 minutes natural release. For a 4 pound roast, leave it for a little longer, but start checking after 40 minutes. For a 4 lb roast that is longer and thinner rather than round and thick, check it after 20 minutes.
It’s not just the weight that counts, it’s the thickness of the meat.

When it’s done to your satisfaction, transfer the roast to a plate and cover with aluminum foil while you make the gravy. Resting it first is important this way the juice will distribute through out the entire roast.

The Gravy
Whisk together the flour and water until completely smooth. Remove the trivet and hit the Saute button. When it’s boiling, add about half the flour/water slurry to thicken. If you want it thicker, add a little more. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice and serve with your favorite biscuits, butter and honey. A favorite vegetable, baked or mashed potatoes.

Thank you again for visiting!
Please share this site with your family and friends and ask them to join Sundays in a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be. I hope my recipes will inspire you to get take some time to cook in your kitchen no matter what size your kitchen is.
Please Like and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and what see what you are making.

Homemade Gifts – Christmas Toffee Crack

I love the old fashioned ways of Christmas celebrating most of all. There is something special about homemade Christmas gifts. Sometimes you have to bring something to gathering at a friends home or maybe contribute to your office holiday party. This is a favorite recipe I have been making for the past several years. It’s has that sweetness that nearly everyone craves and it’s hard to turn down taking a second piece. Enjoy!

Christmas Toffee Crack

This is an easy recipe to make but wonderfully delicious. I pack them in holiday containers to give as gifts.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces saltine crackers with salted tops (about 40 crackers)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or crushed pretzels. Colorful sprinkles add a fun touch too

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.
  3. In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread t cover crackers completely.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.

Giving Thanks – Holiday Sausage Stuffing

“Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.” “If the only prayer you said in your life was ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice.” “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift.

I love this season, from the crispness of the Fall air to the Halloween decorating that brings us joy when we get to entertain the neighborhood children. The fun we have getting together with our family for Thanksgiving dinner and just sharing conversation and catching up over a wonderful meal. Autumn reminds me to remember to be thankful for our backyard garden and how we enjoyed the vegetables Mother Nature’s earth allowed us to grow through the Summer, no matter how large or small the garden was that year. For those who take the time to read my musings let us remember to be thankful for our kitchens where we get to make our favorite baked goods and meals for ourselves and our loved ones every season of the year.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

I love all the many dishes that are prepared for the Thanksgiving family dinner but the one thing my family loves is the sausage stuffing I have been making for years. My mother made a similar stuffing (or dressing as some prefer to call it) but when I had my own kitchen I changed it up a bit and this is the recipe I have stuck to. Whether it’s used in the bird or not it tastes great either way.

Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

2 lb of Day Old Bread, cubed (weight is approximate) Several days before I try and bake a large size loaf of Brioche bread and use that but you can use your favorite store bought bread cubes which is about 1 large bag of bread cubes.

2 Medium size Onions, diced

4 Stalks of Celery, chopped I like to include the tops of the celery too)

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (optional)

Olive Oil

1/2 cup of Butter plus a bit more is needed for greasing the pan

1 lb of Italian Sausage, casings removed, crumbled up

4 Eggs, whisked

About 1 Quart of Chicken Stock

1 tsp of Poultry Seasoning

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup of chopped Parsley

1) Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Slice your bread into large cubes, toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and pop it in the oven for about an hour making sure to give it a toss every 20 minutes. Once the bread is toasted, increase the temperature to 375 degrees.

2) Start with a large pot as everything will get tossed in. First start to cook the crumbled sausage in a touch of olive oil until it begins to change color then add the diced onions, chopped celery and sliced mushrooms.

Add a pinch of salt and allow to cook on medium heat for about 7 to 10 minutes the vegetables are soft and the sausage is golden and a bit crispy.

3) Stir in the poultry seasoning, cook it for about 30 seconds, then add the toasted bread cubes, then slowly start adding the chicken stock. Toss to mix and make sure you add more stock as needed, as it gets absorbed in the bread.

4) Stir in the whisked eggs and add the parsley, to the bread mixture in the pot. Put the entire mixture in a buttered casserole dish. (I like to use a 9″x13″). Cover with aluminum foil and bake covered for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top.

Thank you again for visiting!
Please share this site with your family and friends and ask them to join Sundays in a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be. I hope my recipes will inspire you to get take some time to cook in your kitchen no matter what size your kitchen is.
Please Like and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and what see what you are making.

When Your 1960’s Casserole is Calling – Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Casserole

I haven’t done a whole lot of cooking lately as I get caught up in a few things one is my crafts, whether I am crocheting or doing a variety of arts and crafts and the other is computer gaming. Even at my age I love computer gaming and my current obsession is Farm Together. If you are a computer game lover you understand how it is easy to get sucked down into the proverbial “Rabbit Hole” where hours can just whiz by. So I haven’t made much time for cooking other than fast easy meals. So last week we purchased a rotisserie chicken and from it I made a basic pot of soup with chicken and tortellini and with the remaining chicken I made a chicken noodle casserole my mom used to make. It’s nothing special other than 1960’s comfort food recipe so here it is, it does use what some people refer to as the “dreaded canned soup” but it wouldn’t be mom’s casserole without it. It’s an easy meal for when you want something other than burgers and gets you back to what else you would rather be doing.

My mom’s Chicken Noodle Casserole recipe

Mom’s Chicken Noodle Casserole Recipe

This is the basic recipe I always use. All my measurements are approximate I adjust as I go along, never seem to make it the same way twice.

2 (10 3/4 ounce) can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken and Herb soup (I some times mix and match the cream of chicken soup with cream of celery soup or cream of mushroom – use what ever you either have on hand or you can choose what you like) 

1 soup can of milk 

10 oz pkg frozen peas and and or carrots or mixed vegetables

1 1/2 to 2 Cups leftover cooked chicken

1 pkg (16 oz) medium or wide egg noodles – cooked

Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to taste (optional)

1 small can of sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)

½ cup dry breadcrumbs 

4 tablespoons butter, melted 

Stir soup, milk, peas & carrots, chicken, Worcestershire sauce and noodles together. Put in a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish. (You can use Pam spray for this). Mix bread crumbs with melted butter in a cup and sprinkle over chicken mixture

Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, until hot and bread crumbs are golden brown.

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)

Easy Weeknight One-Pot Sausage, Peppers and Pasta

I remember those Autumn weeknights where there was a crisp chill in the air and we would look forward to a warm hearty dinner after a long day at work or school. I would get dinner going as the kids would be doing homework at the dining room table. Later we would gather around the same table, enjoy a delicious meal and catch up on everyone’s day.

Those days haven’t changed too much, parents are are still working, kids are still doing home work and after school activities. Life is busier than ever before. I hope this recipe will give you some help on those busy days at dinnertime.

One-Pot Sausage, Peppers and Pasta

Ingredients

1 lb. your favorite short pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

6-8 sweet Italian sausages or a combination of sweet and hot is delicious!

1 red bell pepper, large, diced

1 green bell pepper, large, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, large, diced

1 small to medium onion, sliced (yellow or white)

3 cloves garlic, sliced

28 oz. can of diced tomato

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black ground pepper

Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt, cook until not quite al dente. (You want the pasta a bit underdone as it will finish cooking when the dish is put together)

2. Strain pasta and set aside. Toss it with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking

3. In the same pot or large skillet if your prefer, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil and fry the sausages, working batches as needed, until well browned on all sides.

4. Remove sausages, slice into pieces (about 5 pieces per link), and set aside.

5. Sauté all of the bell peppers, onion, and garlic for about 2 minutes.

6. Add the canned tomatoes, all the spices, and the sausage slices to the pot.

7. Simmer about 10 minutes.

8. Add the pasta back to the pot and stir gently until all the ingredients are coated in the sauce. Continue to simmer until pasta is al dente.

9. Serve with grated parmesan.

10. Mangia Bene!

Chinese Eggplant and Chicken in Spicy Garlic Sauce made in the Instant Pot

I thought this week I would share one of my Instant Pot recipes. This is an easy dish to make, doesn’t take much time at all and tastes as good as if it were from your local Chinese take-out. I usually have my rice cooker set up and going as I prepare this dish so both are finished in about the same time but you can make the rice ahead of time.

Chinese eggplant and chicken

Instant Pot Spicy Eggplant & Chicken or Pork in Garlic Sauce

Servings: 4-6

A mildly spiced chicken or pork and eggplant in a savory garlic sauce

Ingredients

3-4 Chinese eggplant (depending on size) cut down the middle and quartered then into 2 inch long pieces

1 pound ground chicken or ground pork

1 tablespoon cooking oil

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 inch fresh ginger peeled and finely minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you prefer a spicier dish)

1/4 cup chicken broth

Sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce (you can also use oyster sauce if you prefer)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch

Cooked white or brown rice for serving

 Instructions

Mix in a bowl the sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, and corn starch well and keep aside.

Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and heat oil. Add garlic. ginger, green onion, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 secs.

Add chicken or pork, cook for 4 minutes breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.

Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth then stirring to making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and add the cut-up eggplant. Close the Instant Pot lid with pressure valve to sealing.

Set on Pressure Cook High for 2 min then do a Quick Release.

Open the Instant Pot and set to Sauté mode. Add the sauce and stir everything together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

Bring to a gentle boil as you allow it to thicken and then turn off the Instant Pot.

Serve over white or brown rice.