Cheeseburger Macaroni

This recipe was not a hit with the family. D doesn’t like meat. Berto doesn’t like cheese. The Hubs doesn’t like ground meat or cheddar cheese. Sigh. This meal, to me, was wonderful! I do believe, though, it had less to do with the actual meal than with the fact this dish is true comfort food and it’s been over 100 degrees here in Cali. Maybe dinner would have been more successful had I just served ice cream. Hmmm, things to ponder . . .

Ingredients:

1 Lb ground beef (I Texas Longhorn beef from the farmer’s market and it cooked up similar to ground turkey, but still had a wonderful beef flavor)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups milk
2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni (or whatever you have on hand, I used penne)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I can see any number of types of cheese being used and it being wonderful)

Seasonings:

1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
3 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preparation:

Heat a large skillet to meidum high and brown meat. Once cooked, drain any fat that remains.

While meat browns, mix together seasonings in a small bowl. When drained, return meat to skillet and add seasonings, stirring to combine. Pour in hot water, milk, and pasta. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.

Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes until sauce thickens.

Serve immediately with melty garlic bread and a crisp salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions (because no matter the dish, we always need wine)

Barbera
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 6

Total time: 25 minutes


*Derived from FoodFanatic


Easy Sweet & Savory Korean BBQ Grilled Beef Short Ribs

My husband and daughter love sushi. Toyo Sushi is our local haunt where D always orders the salmon nigiri and The Hubs gets the Grace roll. They know us so well that, when I’m ordering and I leave something out, they ask me about it. My son and I, however, aren’t wild about sushi. For me it’s a texture thing. For my son, it’s probably that his sister enjoys it so much. I have found one dish, though, that Berto loves; the grilled beef short ribs. He enjoys them so much that on a recent trip to the market, where the butcher had them on display, I bought several pounds. I almost skipped all the way home with excitement! They were perfect! The only thing left was to find the right recipe. Thanks to Food.com, I did just that and the ribs were a huge hit at our Labor Day BBQ. Oh, and if I forgot to mention how ridiculously easy they are to make, let me say it now. Crazy easy! These were so tasty, so good, our friends were convinced we had ordered in, until I showed them the evidence of my cooking.

Ingredients:

3 Lbs beef short ribs (Flanken style or Korean style)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup soy sauce (I always opt or low sodium)
2 Tbs sesame oil
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced (I used 1 cup diced white onion that I had from a previous meal)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (while nothing beats fresh garlic, Spice Island makes an amazing substitute of a jarred minced garlic)

Preparation:

In a gallon ziplock bag (or whatever you like to marinate in) combine the sugar, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, onion, and garlic. Dissolve the sugar as much as possible, though it will likely not completly dissolve.

Completely submerge the ribs and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. Keep in mind, the longer you marinate the better the flavor of the meat.

On medium heat, grill the ribs 5-7 minutes on each side.  Open your mind to all serving options, over rice, on skewers, with traditional BBQ sides. The options are endless!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Beaujolais
Cabernet Franc
Grenache
Merlot

Serves 10 small portions

Total time: about 40 minutes

*From Food.com


Creamy Tomato & Beef Noodle Casserole

I love it when a plan comes together. Or, more appropriately in this instance, I love it when a meal comes together. Especially when I walked into the kitchen at 5:00 with no idea what was going to be dinner. Not one piece of meat defrosted. Not a clue in sight. Nothing. Nada, Zip. What I did have, however, were ingredients. Ingredients that were waiting in freezer and pantry for their rightful place on the dinner table. I’d say they found it.

Ingredients:

8 oz Penne pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 cup frozen (or fresh) chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 whole clove)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream (change it up and use prepared alfredo sauce, pesto, heavy cream)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or mozzarella; just about any cheese you like)

Preparation:

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown beef with onion, garlic, oregano, and salt. Add tomato sauce, water, and sour cream. Stir to combine and allow sauce to bubble.

Drain pasta and return to pan, add meat and sauce mixture. Stir together. When completely mixed, add to a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake about 20 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Serve with warm French bread and salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Grenache
Sangiovese

Serves 6 to 8

Total time: 30 minutes

Featured image

Creamy Tomato & Beef Noodle Casserole

*Original Serves4 Recipe


Meatballs in Beef Gravy

I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl.  And gravy, well, that just puts it over the top for me!  Gravy makes everything that much better. Like bacon, or something being deep fried. You hear gravy and you just have to go with that option!  This is no exception to the rule. And sorry my friends, this just isn’t one of those healthy dishes. But I know you weren’t expecting that, what with “meatballs” and “gravy” in the name. So, let’s all sit back, ignore the calorie / fat content and just enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 small chopped onion (time saver: use frozen or pre-chopped in the produce section)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (time saver: buy the pre-sliced mushrooms in the produce section. Go with your favorite.)
5 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 pinch cayenne (I omitted because my kids are still getting used to spicy heat)
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce (this ingredient adds such a rich flavor to almost everything, even Checks mix!)
3 Tbs ketchup
2-4 tsp beef bouillon powder (I didn’t have the powder, so I used the jarred “Better than Bouillon”, you’ll want to go with the least amount as it tends to get salty)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
kosher salt (option and to taste)

For Meatballs:

1 lb ground beef (mix what you like, chicken, turkey, pork)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbs minced garlic (time saver: buy the jarred minced garlic)
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned to add more flavor)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (or more, you can never have too much cheese)
1 1/2 tsp season salt (I use Lawry’s)
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp dried parsley flakes (such as Litehouse)

Preparation:

Mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape mixture into 1″ balls.

Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium-high heat (be sure to use a deep skillet to hold in the gravy with the meatballs). Add meatballs in two batches and brown until just about cooked through, turning frequently for even browning.

To skillet, with about 3 tbs of fat remaining, add onion and saute until softened, scrape any brown bits that have accumulated in the skillet.  Add mushrooms and cooking, stirring until softened.  Add flour, stir 1 minute.

Slowly add beef broth, bring to a boil whisking constantly until smooth, bubbly, and thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and black pepper; bring to a simmer.  Add beef bouillon powder or ‘Better than Bouillon’ and ketchup (can add more if desired).

Add meatballs and simmer, uncovered, 20-25 minutes.  Stir frequently. Season with salt to taste if needed.

At the end of cooking, stir in sour cream until combined and heated through.  Serve over mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malbec
Merlot
Sangiovese

Serves 4 medium portions

Total time: 1 hour

Serves4

Derived from: Kittencalskitchen / Food.com

Crispy Chicken Bites

You know how sometimes in life you just happen upon something and it turns out to be so amazing you are STILL talking about it?  Like the “Cowie” that I bought for my niece when she was two.  Cowie is a stuffed Precious Moments cow that I bought on the clearance table outside of a Hallmark store. I know I didn’t pay over $5 for him (if even that), and I had no idea the impact Cowie was going to have on Alyssa.  Lys immediately started carting Cowie everywhere with her.  I can’t tell you how many times my sister had to turn the car around because Lys had forgotten Cowie somewhere.  How Cowie was in Lys’s backpack through each and everyday as she navigated elementary and junior high school.  Well, Lys is now in high school.  I don’t think Cowie is still tucked away in her backpack, and I know that’s because my sister cannot repair Cowie anymore.  He’s too thread bear and been repaired too many times before.  So, Cowie rests at home now, waiting for the moment Lys will get home and hold him in her hand again. This recipe, admittedly somewhat less dramatic, is like that amazing purchase you make and can’t get over.  When I found this recipe, I read it, I rolled it around in my mind.  Thinking of ways to make it mine. This dinner was THE dinner of the week, if not the month!

Ingredients:

For the Sauce:

3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbs soy sauce (I always opt for low sodium)
2 Tbs barbecue sauce (check out Sweet Baby Ray’s Original)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water

For the Chicken:

1 lb boneless / skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup panko
Oil for frying

Preparation:

To make the Sauce:

Add all sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Set aside until the chicken is done.

To make the Chicken:

Add flour to a gallon Ziploc bag.  In a small, shallow dish (I usually use a Tupperware type dish), whisk eggs together.  In a second gallon Ziploc bag, add the panko.  To bread chicken, first add several pieces to the flour.  Shake your money-maker for all it’s worth!  Then dip the chicken in whisked eggs.  Finally, add chicken to panko Ziploc bag and again, shake it.

Add oil to a large, nonstick frying pan. Heat to medium high. Cook chicken in batches for 6-8 minutes or until golden and crispy. Chicken should be cooked through.

To Assemble:

Add cooked chicken back to pan and pour sauce over, coating chicken thoroughly.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chenin Blanc
Fume Blanc
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4 small portions. For lunch tomorrow, double the chicken and adjust everything else

Total time:  About an hour and half

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*Derived from Nora Rušev

Apricot Chicken

Say good-bye to take out!  This is a super delicious and extremely easy chicken recipe that you can count on being ready in less time than it takes to get take out. This was a hit with the fam (and you know if it’s not, it won’t show up here)!  Even D, who I struggle to make lunches for because she doesn’t like sandwiches, said, “I want THIS for lunch tomorrow!”  I’m seriously considering keeping it on hand for just that reason. ¡Buen Provecho!

Ingredients:

3 tsp sesame oil
4 Tbs BBQ Sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1½ Tbs soy sauce (I always opt for the low sodium version)
1½ Tbs honey
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can use breast meat, too)
½ cup apricot jam
½ cup orange juice

Preparation:

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together sesame oil, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and honey.  Add chicken chunks, cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes but up to overnight.

Heat large pan to medium high.  Remove chicken from marinade with tongs or a slotted spoon (don’t throw away the marinade) and brown.

Add the apricot jam and orange juice to the marinade.  Add to chicken and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is done.  Serve over warm steamed rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chenin Blanc
Riesling
White Zinfandel

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes  Marinading & cooking time: 40 minutes

Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken

*Derived from Nora Rušev

Mexican Lasagna

I seem to be having a problem with life / work / blog balance lately. While I’m still cooking up a storm, it’s been tough to find the time to post about it.  This, however, REQUIRED me to get it up as soon as possible!  Not only did the entire family give it 3 very enthusiastic thumbs up, but 2 of my fab girl friends did, too!  When the Mexican hubs is this excited about a dish, I know it’s  not only a keeper, but should be a repeater, too. You see it served in the photo below with my baked tortilla chips. Oh, and It’s just as good the next day, and the next, for lunch!  ¡Buen provecho!

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef (can easily sub chicken or turkey)
1 cup water
2 Tbs Tajin (go easy on Tajin, it quickly becomes too salty)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ cups sour cream, divided
1 tsp Mexican paprika
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbs cornmeal
10 flour tortillas, 6 inches (mine were much larger, so I cut them in half)
1 cup salsa (such as Herdez)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet heated to medium, cook beef until no longer pink, drain.  Stir in water, Tajin, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and Mexican paprika.  Set aside.  Sprinkle cornmeal into a greased 13×9″ baking dish.

Arrange five tortillas, overlapping, in the bottom of the prepared dish.  Spread ½ cup salsa, add ½ of the meat mixture and ½ of each cheese.  Repeat layers.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Corona (ok, admittedly not wine, but come on!  This is all the flavors of Mexican food!)
Cabernet Franc
Sangiovese
Beaujolais
Chianti

Serves 8 (large servings)

Prep time: 25 – 30 minutes; Bake & standing time: 50 minutes

Mexican Lasagna & Baked Tortilla Chips

Mexican Lasagna & Baked Tortilla Chips

*Derived from Taste of Home