Cheeseburger Salad

As we round off January & head on to February, I begin to crave the meaty goodness of grilled burgers in the summertime. To help satisfy my craving indoors, I whip up this little treat & try to pretend I'm somewhere warm! Cheeseburger Salad
1 clove Garlic
3/4 t Chives
1/4 t Pepper
1 pound Ground Beef, crumbled
1 slice Bacon, crumbled (about 1 t Bacon Bits)
1 T Soy Sauce

1/2 T Vegetable Oil
3/4 t Brown Sugar
1/4 t Balsamic Vinegar

4 oz. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 bag Salad Greens
1 Tomato, sliced
1 Red Onion, sliced

3 T Olive Oil

1 T Mayo
1T Ketchup
1t Mustard
1t Pickle Relish
  1. Mix dressing ingredients together & refrigerate.
  2. Mix together Garlic, chives, pepper, ground beef, & bacon.
  3. In a large pan, heat soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, & vinegar.
  4. Add meat mixture & brown thoroughly.
  5. Top salad greens with meat mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with tomatoes, onions, & cheese.
  7. Enjoy with refrigerated dressing!
TIP: You could probably make your own croutons by cutting hamburger buns into cubes, brushing with vegetable oil, onion powder, & garlic powder then toasting them in the oven until they are crispy!
This recipe appears on The Exec Moms blog. Click here for more recipes that are so easy you can make them even if you can't make toast!

Tuscan Bean Soup

This is the perfect hearty soup for a cold & dreary afternoon. I'm not totally sure what makes this soup "Tuscan," but when I tasted it, it reminded me of the kind of thing they would serve at Olive Garden. It was really good, but it should definitely be served with a savory bread of some sort. Perhaps breadsticks or toasted slices of Pesto Bread.

1 leek, white & light green parts only, sliced lengthwise & chopped
1/2 onion, chopped or sliced
1 carrot, chopped into chunky bits
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
1/4 c olive oil
4 c beef or vegetable broth
4 c water
2 c prepared beans (any kind you like)
1 can tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz can)
1 T balsamic vinegar
  1. Saute leek, onion, carrot, & celery in olive oil until tender (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add garlic & stir just until garlic is fragrant
  3. Add broth & water, cover, & boil lightly until reduced by half (about 30 minutes)
  4. Stir in tomatoes & beans, simmering until warmed through.
  5. Stir in vinegar & serve immediately.

Pesto Bread

I have now lost the original recipe for this, but that is okay. It called for a lengthy process that included stuffing the bread with a fresh pesto sauce. We all know now that I do not have the patience for stuff like that, so I throw it all in one bowl & let it be easy! This would be the perfect accompaniment to the Tuscan Bean Soup, but I know my parents ate the whole loaf hot from the oven & slathered with butter!

5 cups all-purpose flour (or half wheat & half regular)
2 1/2 t active dry or bread machine yeast
2 T sugar
2 t salt
2 c hot tap water
3 T olive oil
2 T dried basil or 1/4 c fresh chopped basil
1/3 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove garlic
  1. Turn on oven light.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, mix half of the flour with the yeast, sugar, & salt.
  3. Add the water, olive oil, basil, cheese, & garlic.
  4. Mix, adding more flour 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough forms a shaggy mass.
  5. Remove flat beater & attach dough hook.
  6. Knead dough with dough hook about 8 minutes, adding remaining flour when dough becomes sticky (this dough will remain sticky).
  7. Cover mixer bowl & place in oven until dough doubles in bulk (about 20 minutes).
  8. Punch dough down, divide in half, shape into loaves, & place in greased loaf pans.
  9. Cover pans & place in oven to rise until dough reaches toe top of the pan (20 to 40 minutes).
  10. Remove covering from pans & heat oven to 375○.
  11. Bake loaves 40 to 50 minutes.
  12. Let cool in pans about 10 minutes.

Whole Wheat Bread

This is my mom's recipe. I have fond memories of coming home after school, smelling this bread and eating a warm slice with butter and honey.

1. In 1/2 c warm water sprinkle 2T yeast and a little brown sugar. Set aside.
2. Blend 5c hot water & 7c whole wheat flour
3. Add 2/3 c oil
2T salt
1 c powdered milk
2/3 c brown sugar (or honey)
1 egg
4. Add yeast mixture.
5. Add 5-6 c whole wheat or white flour.
6. Mix on low for 10 minutes (add more flour if necessary)
7. Put in greased bowl and let raise for 2 hours.
8. Form into loaves (I usually do 5).
9. Let raise for about 30 minutes (not over tops of pans).
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Erik's Saucy Meatballs

Erik is my sister's husband, but this recipe actually comes from his mother. I thought that "Treva's Husband's Mom's Saucy Meatballs" was a little long! I haven't made it yet, but Treva assures me that it is really yummy!

1 bag frozen meatballs (microwave)
1 26 oz jar Spaghetti sauce
2 cups your favorite shredded cheese
1 or 2 (12 oz) packages Refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
Oregano & garlic powder for sprinkling

  1. Pre-heat per biscuit instructions (400 degrees)
  2. Cook meatballs in microwave according to directions
  3. While meatballs are cooking, quarter biscuits
  4. Put meatballs in a 9 x 13 baking dish
  5. Pour sauce over meatballs
  6. Layer cheese with the biscuit quarters
  7. Sprinkle biscuits with oregano & garlic powder
  8. Bake per biscuit instructions or until biscuits on top are golden brown

Andrea's Favorite Pasta

1 T olive oil
8 oz frozen sausage
1 garlic clove
1/4 t sage
1/3 t thyme
Other seasonings to taste
2 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 lb cooked penne pasta
1 c heavy cream
Parmesan cheese

Heat oil; cook sausage. Add spices, cook 1 min. Add tomatoes. Reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes. Add cream to sauce. Simmer until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. Add 2/3 c pasta water and pasta. Heat through. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Pizza Casserole

So, I published this recipe previously, but this one is slightly different...and improved. I have omitted the brown sugar in favor of oregano as my sister suggested. I also have started serving it on top of pene pasta so I can call it Dinner instead of just being a snack. You could even make this a Supreme Pizza Casserole by adding mushrooms, olives, and green peppers!

1 pound ground beef
4 cloves garlic - chopped
1 onion - chopped
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sage
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t pepper
dash ginger
dash ground anise

4 oz pepperoni - chopped
1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes - drained
1 c shredded mozzarella
1 box penne pasta, prepared

  1. Brown beef with the garlic, onion, salt, sage, oregano, pepper, ginger, & anise
  2. Add the chopped pepperoni to the pan & heat through
  3. Place pasta in a baking dish & top with the meat mix & tomatoes then the cheese
  4. Pop in the oven until the cheese is brown & melty

Bread Dipping Oil

I made frozen bread dough for many people for Christmas & everyone has thoroughly enjoyed it! This dipping oil can be used instead of butter to enhance the flavor of any bread. I'm not sure how long it keeps, though...there's never been any leftover!

1/2 c olive oil
1/4 to 1 t crushed red pepper
1 t black pepper
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried rosemary
1 t dried basil
1 t parsley flakes
1 t granulated garlic
1 t minced garlic or 1 1/2 t garlic salt
1 t coarse salt (omit if using garlic salt)
  1. Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until very hot but not bubbly.
  2. Use hot or let cool (oil will have changed to a greenish color).

Restaurant-Style Chicken Strips

This simple recipe was so yummy that we felt like we had gone out to eat! Don't worry about the coconut - you really can't even tell it's there - but you do need it for this one.

1 stick butter, melted
1 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 pkg Ritz crackers (just a single sleeve)
1/2 c shredded coconut (I use sweetened kind since it's easier to find)
1 1/2 lbs. chicken, sliced into strips

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

  1. Mix butter, paprika, & cayenne pepper together.
  2. Process crackers & coconut in a food processor or blender until very finely chopped.
  3. Dip chicken in butter (you should mix it again to get the spices to combine) then coat with the cracker mix.
  4. Arrange on a broiler pan or wire rack.
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown & crispy.
  6. Serve hot with Sweet & Tangy Honey Mustard Dip.

Sweet & Tangy Honey Mustard Dip

Use the resaurant-style dip as a condiment for hot dogs & chicken or add a little more oil & use as a salad dressing!

1/2 c mayo or miracle whip
1/8 c dijon mustard
1/8 c vegetable, olive, or dressing oil
1/8 c honey
1/8 t garlic granules
1/8 t paprika

Stuffed Bread Braid

I made this with pepperoni & mozzarella cheese then sprinkled a little Parmesan on top. It was a hit & done in under an hour!

3-1/4 c all-purpose white flour
1 T white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 t Rapid Rise yeast (1 package)
1 c warm water
1 T butter, melted
1/4 c Pizza or Spaghetti Sauce
8 oz. Pepperoni, italian sausage, or any other combination of meat you would like
4 oz. shredded mozzarella
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t garlic salt
1 T shredded Parmesan

  1. Pre-heat your oven to the lowest temperature possible then turn off & crack door.
  2. In a stand mixer, mix 2-1/4 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast.
  3. Attach the flat mixing blade & stir in the warm water and margarine.
  4. Mix in only enough of the remaining 1 cup flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Attach dough hook and knead for 4 minutes.
  6. On a greased baking sheet, roll or press the dough to a rectangle of 10 inches by 14 inches.
  7. Spread sauce down the center third of the dough.
  8. Top with a layer of pepperoni and cheese.
  9. Make slices in the dough from the filling to the dough edges at 1-inch intervals.
  10. Fold the dough strips at an angle over the filling, alternating sides for a braided look.
  11. Brush the top with the egg white and sprinkle with the garlic salt & Parmesan cheese.
  12. Place loaf in warmed oven 15 minutes.
  13. Remove dough from oven & preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  14. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until done.
  15. Cool slightly before serving.
  16. Serve slices with more spaghetti sauce for dipping.

Chicken Stir-Fry

I recently discovered that the secret to chicken stir-fry without the rubber chicken taste is an easy pre-marinade to tenderize the chicken. Give this one a try & make yourself a believer!

2 chicken breast, thinly sliced (its easier to cut when partially frozen)
1 t baking soda
1 t corn starch
1 t white wine or vinegar
2 t olive oil

2 T chopped chives
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c white wine or vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1/8 t ground ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 pkg frozen stir-fry veggies (14 oz.)

  1. Mix baking soda, corn starch, & wine together.

  2. Add sliced chicken to baking soda & mix to coat.

  3. Mix the oil, chives, soy sauce, wine, brown sugar, ginger, & garlic together.

  4. Rinse the chicken well & toss in oil mixture.

  5. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

  6. Heat oil in a large pan.

  7. Add chicken to pan reserving sauce.

  8. Cook until chicken until nearly done then add frozen veggies & remaining sauce.

  9. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover, & cook 4 to 6 minutes.

  10. Serve over wheat berries or white rice.

Happy New Year!

New Year