Dinner

Goulash!

When someone mentions comfort food people think meatloaf or mac and cheese.  I dig back in my childhood memories and Goulash pops up.  My Dad was great at throwing things together and creating a tasty meal or soup.  When I was little 9 up to about 12 years old) my parents ran a small town diner and Dad manned the kitchen.  Dinners were generally from the diner and generally prepared quickly and pretty hearty.  None of my Dad’s recipes were written down, so I like to try and recreate them from either memory or find something similar and close to it. This recipe was pretty close.  I lightened it up with a half ground beef, half ground turkey.  This is a good meal to make in a hurry because most of this is pretty much on hand pantry items.  With the snowstorm coming this might be a great meal to make.

Ingredients

2 onions chopped
1 pounds lean ground beef

1 pound ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic minced
1 jar tomato based pasta sauce approx. 26 oz.
1 28  oz cans diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 can 6 oz tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
3 cups water
salt & black pepper to taste
2 cups macaroni noodles uncooked
1 cup cheddar cheese



Cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
Add pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, seasonings and bay leaves. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add in the in the macaroni and continue to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender (about 20 minutes). Remove & discard bay leaves. Top with cheese and replace the lid. Let sit about 5 minutes or until melted.

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Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff


With our son home for winter break we asked him if there were any special meals he might want prepared.  First up was spaghetti with bread crumbs and olives, then his favorite – pork tenderloin with prosciutto and lemons and then finally this one.  This is adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe and was in one her original magazines which we have kept.  We have made this so many times and it never fails to please us.  Hubby stopped in at lunch time to throw this together and by dinner time it was ready.  He heads back on Sunday and it will be back to cooking for two unless our daughter drops in.  We have to find out what her favorite meal is.  What is yours? 



 2 lbs. beef tips
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 can golden mushroom soup
1 can cream of onion soup – ( you can find at Walmart)
1 (8oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tsp. pepper
1 (8oz) cream cheese
1 (8oz) carton sour cream
1 (16oz) package of egg noodles, cooked and hot


In a slow cooker combine beef tips, onion, onion soup, mushroom soup, mushrooms, and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours (it only took me 6 hours when I prepared this). When done cooking, stir in cream cheese and sour cream and mix until combined. Serve over hot cooked noodles.

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Ricotta Meatloaf and Peas with Pancetta

This recipe is a long time coming, but has not been forgotten.  I made this earlier in the spring and with all of our family activity it hadn’t been posted.  Lydia is a new favorite of ours. I will definitely try this again and make the peas more often.

Ingredients 

1 cup milk
3 cups day old bread cubes, from a loaf of country bread
3 pounds ground beef (freshly ground preferred)
3 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
1 pound drained fresh ricotta (about 2 cups) plus more for the sauce if you like
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 to 5 cups tomato sauce

Pour the milk over the bread cubes in a bowl, and let soak for a few minutes, until the bread is saturated. Squeeze the soft bread a handful at a time, pressing out as much milk as you can (discard the milk). Tear the bread into small shreds and toss back into the empty bowl. Crumble the ground beef into the bowl, and add the eggs, ricotta, scallions, grated cheese, parsley, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Fold and toss everything together, and squeeze the mixture a few times between your fingers to distribute all the ingredients evenly. Scatter the mozzarella cubes on top, and fold and mush them throughout the loaf mix.

Brush the roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Gather the meat mixture in the bowl, turn it into the pan, and shape it into a fat oval loaf. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover the pan with foil—tent it so it doesn’t touch the meat—and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake until the meatloaf is browned all over and completely cooked through, another 1 hour and 30 minutes or so. (If you check the loaf with a meat thermometer, it should reach a temperature of 160 degrees.) Remove the roast from the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat the tomato sauce to a simmer in a saucepan as the meat rests. Turn off the heat, and, if you like, stir 1/2 cup or so fresh ricotta into the sauce. Cut the loaf crosswise in the pan or on a cutting board, in slices as thick as you like.

Serve on warm dinner plates, topped with a spoonful or two of sauce, and pass more sauce at the table (or, for family-style serving, arrange the slices on a warm platter, topped with some of the sauce).

Peas and Pancetta 
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces Pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 (1 pound) bag frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
Directions
 In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, pancetta and onion. Cook until pancetta is rendered, about 5 to 7 minutes.

 Add the peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and peas are tender and flavored with the pancetta. Stir in pine nuts. Cook and toss for a minute, then serve.

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Tomato Soup and Roasted Garlic and Cheese Bread

A snowy Saturday morning with the Food Network on and instant inspiration for dinner! The Pioneer Women, Ree Drummond  has really become a family favorite these days.  She fixes simple and delicious meals. Ree is coming very close to become a family favorite along side Ina.

A simple supper of super souped up tomato soup and cheese bread was such a great meal on a cold Saturday night.

Tomato Soup 2.0

Three 10.75-ounce cans condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons pesto
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes
Drizzle of olive oil
A few fresh basil leaves, chopped, for garnish

Add the soup to a pot with 3 cups water and heat over medium heat according to the can instructions.

When hot, add the sherry, cream, pesto and Parmesan. Stir and heat through.

Serve up the soup in bowls and sprinkle on the tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, more grated Parmesan and some basil.

   

Roasted Garlic and Cheese Bread

8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated fontina
1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
1/2 cup grated Romano 
2 teaspoons chopped chives 
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1 round artisan or sourdough loaf 
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the garlic cloves on a square of heavy foil, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Wrap it up and bake until the garlic is golden, nutty and mushy, about 1 hour. Let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Mix the garlic together with the 4 cheeses, chives, crushed red pepper flakes and some black pepper in a bowl.
Cut the bread in strips in one direction, being careful not to cut all the way through the loaf. Rotate the bread 90 degrees and cut in the other direction. Stuff the cheese mixture in between the rows. Drizzle the melted butter all over the top.
Wrap in foil and bake for 25 minutes. Open up the foil and bake until the cheese is hot and bubbly, another 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Meatball Stroganoff Casserole

This recipe kept popping up in my Facebook feed.  I would click on it and save it, but that was about it.  So just before New Year Eve I decided to give this a try and it didn’t disappoint me or the entire family.  While I was out shopping for my Prime Rib dinner I found the ingredients that I need for this little gem. Our daughter’s boyfriend was driving up from Connecticut for the weekend and wouldn’t make it for dinner, but there definitely was enough left over.  
This reminds me of a cross between Swedish Meatballs and Beef Stroganoff.  Mix it in one pot, place in a casserole and your all set for a hardy dinner. Thanks Pillsbury!

Ingredients

1 bag (12 oz) uncooked extra-wide egg noodles (about 7 cups)
1/4 cup butter
2 packages (8 oz each) white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 carton (32 oz)  beef flavored broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 oz cream cheese, softened and cut into small cubes (I used low fat)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 package (22 oz) frozen cooked beef meatballs, thawed
Chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, if desired

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Cook and drain noodles as directed on package, using minimum cooking time. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender. Sprinkle flour on top of mushrooms and onions; stir well. Gradually stir in beef broth; add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

Heat to simmering, stirring occasionally; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir cream cheese into hot broth mixture, stirring constantly with whisk until cream cheese is mostly incorporated (small pieces of cream cheese may remain but will incorporate in baking). Remove from heat; stir in whipping cream.

In baking dish, add noodles, sauce and meatballs, carefully mixing to coat. Cover; bake 30 to 35 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and casserole is heated through. Stir; cool 10 minutes. Stir before serving; garnish with parsley.

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Gray Family Christmas Dessert – Red Velvet Cake

Tonight is Gray Family Christmas and each family is bringing a dessert  and an appetizer. When we all get together there is now 33 of us!  Holidays are made for families!
 Hubby and our lovely daughter took on the dessert selection and just finished baking it.  I posted this about 4 years ago when it was her birthday cake request.    What does’t say Merry Christmas better than a beautiful Red Velvet Cake on a red platter.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours!  

Red Velvet Cake (Sunny Anderson – Food Network)

Ingredients

For the cake batter:

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces red food coloring
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Butter, for pan

For the Frosting:

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Special Equipment: 12 by 17-inch jelly roll pan, parchment paper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make a paste out of the red food coloring, cocoa and salt. Remove bowl from stand mixer and mix in paste by hand to the creamed butter. In a measuring cup, stir eggs with buttermilk and add to batter. Mix in vinegar and vanilla, and then add flour and baking soda. Mix until combined but do not over mix.

Butter a sheet pan. Lay parchment on top. Butter the parchment. Pour batter into pan and smooth the top to even the batter out, using an offset spatula. Bake cake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: Heat all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before using.

Invert cake onto a cutting board and slice into quarters from the longer side. To assemble cake, spread 1 of the quarters with some of the frosting to cover. Sprinkle with a quarter of the pecans. Add another layer of cake and repeat. Continue until last layer is added. Frost the top of that and sprinkle with remaining pecans.

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Pepperoni Lasanga

 We were at the grocery store this afternoon and I saw a large display of mozzarella, lasagna sheets, ricotta cheese in the dairy case on an end cap.  At first I thought it might be the Italian foods festival , but then I realized that Easter is a week away and Lasagna is a staple dish in many houses for Easter dinner.  So why not share my recent Lasagna creation we made a couple of weeks ago.  This one feature pepperoni that is either fried or baked to a crisp.  Adds a unique flavor, plus you can’t help sampling the pepperoni after you have heated it up!  This makes a ton of Lasagna, so plan on a few meals for the upcoming week.

Ingredients



Ready for the oven

Salt
1 pound lasagna sheets
8 ounces sliced pepperoni (about 2 cups)
4 cups Tomato Sauce
1 pound ricotta
1 pound shredded mozzarella
2 pounds bulk Italian sausage, cooked
3/4 cup grated Parmesan

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.        
 
Boil 6 quarts of water, add a pinch of salt and cook the pasta to almost done, about 7 minutes. Remove from the water and shock in an ice bath. 
           
In a medium saucepan, add the pepperoni and sauté over medium heat until crispy, about 10 minutes ( or you can place the pepperoni in a single layer on a backing sheet covered with parchment paper and bake about 5 minutes to crisp up.Remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel. 
            
In a 10- by 14- by 3-inch baking pan or dish, pour 1 cup of the Tomato Sauce in the bottom and around the sides. Layer lasagna sheets on the bottom of the pan, overlapping by 1/2 inch. Add one-third of the ricotta and one-quarter of the mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni and Parmesan. Spoon 1 cup of tomato sauce over the top. Repeat this two more times. 
           
On the top sheet, finish with the remaining cup of tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni and dust with Parmesan. Bake until the cheese bubbles around the edges and the top is melted and light golden brown, about 45 minutes. If baking the dish from the freezer, add 15 to 20 minutes to the cook time, or until it’s bubbly. Cover loosely with foil if it’s browning too quickly. Remove from the oven; let sit for 15 minutes. Cut and serve immediately with more sauce, if desired.