Mom’s Macaroni And Cheese

Who says mac and cheese has to come in a box? Blech!! This recipe is not that much more difficult to make than the boxed version, and there is no powdered cheese involved! Your kids will love it! I usually double this recipe, cuz it gets devoured!

Mac and cheese recipe

You will need:

1-1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

5 TBSP butter, divided

3 TBSP all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups milk

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

2 ounces (3 slices) American cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 TBSP dry bread crumbs (or Panko)

Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain. Place in a greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish; set aside. In a separate sauce pan, melt 4 TBSP butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until thickened; reduce heat. Stir in cheeses, salt and pepper until cheese is melted. Pour over macaroni and mix well. Melt the remaining butter; add the bread crumbs or Panko and sprinkle over the mac and cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

Patty Melts

Patty Melt recipe

It was a gorgeous day here in the Chicago area yesterday, so we had to get outside to cook dinner. The perfect solution – patty melts on the grill! I’m getting hungry all over again just writing this post. Good thing I have the other half of mine in the fridge – lunch!!

You will need:

1 pound of ground beef

salt & pepper, to taste

Worcestershire sauce

1 large onion

8 slices Rye bread

8 slices Swiss cheese

Butter

Hamburgers

Mix together the ground beef, salt and pepper to taste, and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Press into 4 hamburger patties.

Butter melting in pan

Meanwhile, melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a small pan on the grill. Notice the can of beans cooking too. Hubby likes beans. And he likes to just throw the whole can on the grill top to warm them.

Hamburgers on the grill

Drop your hamburger patties on the grill.

Onions cooking in a pan

And drop your cut up onion in the buttered pan on the other side of the grill.

Butter melting in a pan

When the patties are just about done cooking through, melt another couple of tablespoons butter in another pan (see the onions there in the back cooking happily?)

Bread on a pan

Now we’re going to start building our Patty Melts. On the buttered pan, Rye bread, Rye bread, Rye bread, Rye bread, Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese.

Burgers on the grill

Burger, burger, burger, burger.

Burgers on the grill

Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese.

Patty Melts on the grill

Onions, onions.

That’s right – only 2 with onions. My kids didn’t want onions on theirs. Party poopers.

Patty Melts

Rye bread, Rye bread, Rye bread, Rye bread

Dogs on the porch

Dogs mooching on the deck. They are right in front of the grill, hoping something tasty will drop.

Patty Melts

When the Patty Melt is nice and toasted on the underside, flip it and cook it another couple of minutes to toast the other side. You might want to add a little more butter to the pan as you flip it, so they brown perfectly.Patty Melt recipe

Enjoy! We served them with a tasty salad on the side, and of course the can of beans. DELISH!!!

 

Spinach Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce

Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce

 

This recipe is a little bit labor intensive, but oh so delicious! Trust me, it’s worth it!

For the Ravioli Dough:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3 eggs

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. olive oil

lukewarm water

 

For the Spinach Filling:

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 egg yolk

10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and drained, or 1-1/2 cups cooked fresh spinach

4 TBSP Parmesan cheese

¼ tsp. cracked black pepper

 

Sift flour into bowl; make a well in the center. Add eggs, salt, oil and 3 TBSP water. Mix well and form it into a smooth dough ball, adding a little more water if necessary for proper dough consistency. Put the dough ball in a bowl, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.

 

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Place one portion on a well-floured board and roll with a well-floured rolling pin until dough is about 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Cut into strips 2 inches wide with a knife or a pastry wheel. Combine all ingredients for Spinach Filling. Place 1 tsp. spinach filling at 2-inch intervals on one strip. Lay second strip of dough over filling. With fingers gently press around each mound to seal in the filling. Cut between mounds with knife, making each ravioli about 2 inches square. Cook in boiling water for 15 minutes.

 

For the Tomato Cream Sauce:

2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP olive oil

2 whole small onions, diced

6 cloves garlic, diced

1 large cube chicken bouillon

1 cup water

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 cup heavy cream

2 tsp. dried or fresh parsley

Parmesan cheese, to serve

 

Melt butter in a sauce pan and add olive oil. Saute onion until almost transparent and add diced garlic. Cook together until garlic is softened and becomes fragrant. Add chicken stock made from bouillon and water and stir well into the onions and garlic. Allow to simmer with the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add tomato sauce and stir. Add heavy cream and carefully stir it to allow everything to blend together well.

 

Serve over Ravioli with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh Parsley sprinkled on top.

 

 

Vegetable Chili

Chili with vegetables

Shhhhhhhh, don’t tell – this one is HEALTHY! Its loaded with vegetables, which nicely get hidden in the chili so nobody realizes they are there. My picky 15-year-old who turns his nose up at any and every vegetable thinks this stuff is awesome! This recipe is adapted from “The DASH Diet Action Plan” book, with my modifications.

vegetable chili ingredients

 

You will need:
1 pound of 95% lean ground sirloin
½ green pepper, diced fine
½ red pepper, diced fine
½ yellow pepper, diced fine
1 small onion, diced fine
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 – 15 oz. can tomato sauce, no salt added
1 – 15-1/2 oz. can kidney beans
1 can black beans
2 TBSP. chili powder
2 TBSP. paprika
½ bag frozen mixed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, diced
1 cup frozen corn
Cooked elbow macaroni, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream for serving

vegetable chili

 

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add ground beef and start browning for about 3 minutes. Add in the peppers, onion and garlic cloves. Turn heat to medium and continue cooking until ground beef is browned and onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

chili spices

Add tomatoes, beans, and seasonings; mix well. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.

diced vegetables

Meanwhile, dice up the frozen broccoli, cauliflower, carrot mix.

vegetable chili with corn

Add it into the chili, along with the corn.

Simmer 30-60 minutes. If chili starts getting too thick, just add a little water to it.

elbow macaroni for chili

Cook and drain elbow macaroni. Serve chili with macaroni, shredded cheddar, tortilla strips and sour cream, or any other toppings you desire. I served mine with corn bread muffins as well. I just used a Krusteaz Honey Cornbread mix. It’s the best I’ve found!

 

 

Gramma’s Banana Bread

Home made banana bread

Home made banana bread

 

Gramma’s Banana Bread – I bet you can smell it right now. That’s what my house smells like today. Yummmmmmm.

I was going to take a whole bunch of photographs of the process of mixing and baking the banana bread, but then my nephew called. Seems he’s driving from Colorado to Minnesota today and I guess he was bored. Bless his heart, I talked to him for about an hour. Its not easy to hold the camera, the phone, and the mixer all at the same time, so you get one picture.

Last time I made banana bread a few weeks ago, I made the horrible mistake of trying a different recipe. It was one that I had found on Pinterest (LOVE Pinterest!!!) and thought I would try. FAIL!!! It had brown sugar in the recipe, as well as sprinkled on top of the bread and then baked, and the brown sugar sprinkle burned long before the bread was done baking. It tasted like doody ca-ca and got thrown away. I’m sorry Gramma!! I won’t ever stray from your recipe again!!!

1-3/4 cup flour

1-1/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 TBSP milk

1 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional – I don’t put them in because Hubby is not fond of them)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and set aside. In a small bowl, cream sugar and shortening with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and milk and beat well. Add flour mixture and mashed bananas alternately to creamed mix, beating smooth after each addition. Fold in nuts. Turn into a lightly greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. I like to sprinkle mine with a dusting of powder sugar, just to make it look pretty. Enjoy!

Pork Chops With Corn Dressing

Pork – the other white meat. Not my favorite meat, but smothered with gravy like this recipe – YUM! Now we’re talking!

Pork Chops with Corn Dressing

Pork Chops with Corn Dressing

You will need:

Ingredients for pork chops with corn stuffing

Ingredients for pork chops with corn stuffing

1 egg, beaten

2 cups soft bread crumbs

1 (17 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained

¼ cup water (I used more)

½ cup chopped green pepper

½ cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons cooking oil

6 butterfly boneless pork chops (about 1 inch thick)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 (10-3/4 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

½ soup can of milk

chop onion and green pepper

chop onion and green pepper

Chop up onion and green pepper

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In a medium bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, corn, water, green pepper, onion and Worcestershire sauce. I used more than ¼ cup water (probably another ¼ cup) as my mix was too dry. Set aside.

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In a large ovenproof skillet or a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Lightly brown pork chops on both sides and then season with salt and pepper.

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Top with corn dressing mixture. Add enough water to cover bottom of pan.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until pork is tender. Add additional water to the pan if necessary. I covered the pan with foil the last 15 minutes of baking as mine was browning on top too much. Remove pork chops and dressing to a serving platter and keep warm.

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Add soup and milk to pan drippings, cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly. Serve with pork chops.

Pork Chops with Corn Dressing

Pork Chops with Corn Dressing

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Red Potatoes

We’re still trying to convince our 15-year-old son that potatoes are not evil. We have been able to get him to consume a Tater Tot without dying so far, but seriously, how many teenagers do you know that won’t even go near a french fry?? Not even McDonalds, which are seriously THE best french fries on the planet. But only when they’re hot. Once they get cold – blech! You know what I’m talking about, right?

Anyways, today we are going to make Seasoned Red Potatoes. I swear I won’t make my son eat them – wouldn’t want him to die today!

 

Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes

12 to 14 small red potatoes

¼ cup Olive Oil

¼ cup melted butter

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. pepper

Cut the potatoes into cubes. Place in an ungreased baking dish. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, melted butter and seasonings; drizzle over potatoes. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for about an hour, until potatoes are tender, stirring every 15 minutes.

 

Chicken Pot Pie

 

 

 

Chicken Pot Pie is a favorite among favorites with my boys. It’s also the ultimate in comfort food during the cold winter months. So light a fire in the fireplace, poor some wine, and let’s get started:

Ingredients:

¼ cup onions

¼ cup margarine

(heaping) 1/3 cup Bisquick

2 cups chicken broth

2/3 cup milk

3 to 4 cups diced and cooked chicken

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

2 chopped carrots

1 cup frozen corn

1 teaspoon Natures Seasons

1 tablespoon dried parsley

¼ teaspoon pepper

For the crust:

2 cups Bisquick

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/3 cup milk

First things first, dice up your chicken into lovely bite size pieces.

Poor a drizzle of Olive Oil into a pan

Add your chicken, and cook until no longer pink.

While the chicken is cooking, dice up your onion

And cook it in ¼ cup margarine, until clear and tender

When the chicken is nice and opaque, season it with a little McCormick Nature Seasons, and set aside.

Mix up your water and bouillon. I love the Orrington Farms broth base that I bought at Target. It’s not quite clear, more of a creamy broth. So yummy. Alternatively, you can use a full can of chicken broth.

Pour the broth, milk, Worcestershire Sauce, and a heaping 1/3 cup of Bisquick into the same pan that you used to cook your chicken in, and whisk it until it comes together. The Bisquick will leave some small lumps in the broth but that’s ok, because they break apart later on.

Chop your carrots into coins

And then throw it all in the pan with the broth: The chicken, carrots, corn, cooked onions, Nature Seasons, Parsley and pepper

Stir it all together real good and put a lid on it and let it cook for 45 minutes over very low heat, so the carrots can soften and it all comes together. Stir every once in a while.

When your 45 minutes are almost up, it’s time to make the crust. Mix together 2 cups Bisquick, 2 tablespoons softened butter and 1/3 cup milk.

I use my pastry cutter to cut the butter in and get it all mixed together. Then just stick your hands in it and form it into a ball. Roll it out, using extra Bisquick to dust the surface of your counter and your rolling pin so the dough doesn’t stick.

Make it all pretty and cover your pot pie mixture that you poured into a casserole dish.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is browned and lovely.

Scoop some out and enjoy!!

 

 

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