Thursday, November 4, 2010

BBQ Tofu Skillet

This is a family favorite. I serve it over rice but it is also good in a bun or pita pocket. I use the tofu that is already cut up into cubes for this. I find it easier to skip this step and for this recipe it is cut just right. I don't use it for others because the dice is usually irregular and, for some things, too small.  
You'll need:
Vegetable oil
2 packages diced tofu
1 large red bell pepper (or 2 smaller - I used one yellow and one red), diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
18 oz bottle barbecue sauce (I used Kraft honey barbecue sauce)

Coat bottom of a large pan with vegetable oil.
Fry the tofu on medium to medium high heat until lightly brown.
Remove from pan. Add more oil if needed.
Add the vegetables and cook until crisp-tender.
Put the tofu back in the pan and add the sauce. I also put about 1/4 cup of water in the bottle and shake to get the last bit of the sauce and pour it all in the pan.
Stir together well and simmer gently for about 10 to 15 minutes. The vegetables will soften up a little more and everything should be well coated with the sauce.

If you like spice add some Tabasco sauce, spicy barbecue sauce, red pepper flakes or any combination. I usually place some hot sauce on the table.

Veggies cut up and ready to go.

Cooking in the pan.

Yum Yum!

Time to eat.

Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili

This is a great and simple vegetarian chili recipe. The whole family just loves it and I hope you do too. Feel free to add whatever type of beans you like. I think the two important ones are the baked beans and the chili beans in the sauce; other than that you can add pinto, red kidney, white kidney, chic pea, black, great northern, whatever you like. This makes a HUGE pot. We had plenty left over for lunch today even after everyone had two helpings last night. For a lighter pot just use smaller cans but try to use equal amounts of all.

If you aren't a vegetarian and don't keep kosher, I'd bet the traditional beans with bacon, etc. in them would be very yummy.

You'll need:
1 large can vegetarian baked beans
1 large can chili beans with sauce (use mild, med, or hot according to your taste)
1 large can black beans, drained
1 large can red kidney beans, drained
1 medium sized can diced jalapeno peppers (mild, med, or hot according to your taste) or more or less to your taste
1 cup barley (quick cooking or regular both work well)
1 large can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon cumin (we don't love cumin but if you do please feel free to use more)
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder

Put all the ingredients in a crock pot.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

We like it with cheddar cheese, green onion, and sour cream on top and tortilla chips underneath.

 Crock potting

All dressed up and ready to go!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pasta with Hot Dogs

My husband said I should have a better name for this. He said this dish elevates the hot dog. All I know is that it was good, easy, and the whole family loved it.

You'll need:
1 onion, diced small
olive oil
2 packages of hot dogs, sliced
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons brown sugar (or a brown sugar substitute)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 lb pasta: I used wagon wheels but shells or bow ties or other shapes would be great too.

Coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil.
Cook the onion, stirring often to keep from getting over brown, just until it starts to soften.
Add the hot dogs and stir well. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the dogs are to your liking (I like them well done).
Add the paprika, oregano, brown sugar and vinegar. Stir together well and let boil to reduce by half.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
Add the tomatoes and the paste and stir well. Simmer gently until your pasta is done.
Toss the sauce with the hot cooked pasta.

Onions cooking in the pan

Adding the hot dogs.

Adding the spices and vinegar.

Stir together the pasta with the sauce.

A side salad makes it a meal.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lemon Chicken

This is a retro recipe as it is a chicken dish I grew up on. My mom would make this often at my request.  She always used butter but keeping kosher style I used margarine. You can also do fish this same way which I'll post at a later time.

You'll need:
1 to 1.5 sticks margarine
chicken - I used 3 lbs thin chicken breast strips
flour for dredging
lemon juice - I used 1/2 cup

Melt 1 stick of margarine in a large pan (use butter if you wish).
Meanwhile, dredge chicken in the flour to coat.
Put the chicken in the pan and brown lightly on both sides.
It shouldn't take too long to cook through since you are using thin chicken slices.
If you need to do it in batches, like I did, remove the chicken from the pan and put in a warm oven. Add more margarine to the pan as needed and do the remaining chicken.
When all the chicken is done add it back to the pan and pour over the lemon juice.
Stir the chicken around and scrape the bottom of the pan making sure all the chicken is coated with the juice.
Serve hot and enjoy.

Chicken in the pan.

I had lots of chicken, almost a whole two layers. Just make sure you mix it around so it all gets lemon flavor.

Time to eat!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cheddar Cheese Soup

This is loaded with veggies but your kids will never know. Don't shy away from this because it looks like a big recipe. It is very easy to make.

Feel free to leave out the beer. I've made it with and without and like it both ways. If you leave it out then use extra broth.

This makes a lot. I think 8 people could have eaten here tonight and I might have still had leftovers. At least I have a good lunch for tomorrow...if I'm hungry by then ;)

You'll need:
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
24oz of beer (I used 2 12 oz bottle of Dos Equis)
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1 head of cauliflower broken into florets
1 lb carrots (I used a 1 lb bag of baby carrots), chopped
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon dill
salt and pepper
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp dry mustard
1 cup milk (skim worked find)

Melt butter in a large stock pot.
Add onion and saute until softened over med - med-high heat.
Add the garlic and cook until it begins to take on a little color.
Add beer, letting it bubble.
Add the rest of the vegetables and the dill.
Add the 4 cups of broth. Add the last cup (or more) if you need it to cover the vegetables. They should be just covered but it is ok if some are sticking out of the liquid.
Bring to a boil, bring it down to a simmer, cover the pot and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are nice and tender.
Remove from heat.
Using a stick blender, a blender, or a food processor, blend the soup until creamy. There shouldn't be any big chunks of vegetables.
Add the cheese and remaining ingredients; stirring until the cheese is melted and the soup is blended well.
Season to taste.
If it is too thick try adding more broth or milk.
Serve hot.

Vegetables in the big pot. Maybe one more cup of broth...

Wow, that was quick...Soup!

I hope you try it and enjoy!

Broccoli Melts

These are really yummy. I made these up a long time ago using my husbands wonderful, homemade rye bread. I've made these in the past on sour dough for the kids before they grew a taste for rye so feel free to use whatever you like. I think a nice whole wheat or multi grain would be great. Nothing wimpy or very thin though, you need a sturdy bread to make this work.

I used broccoli this time but I like the broccolini better so that is what I put in the recipe. You can also use asparagus or rapini. I don't see why you can't use cauliflower or broccoli flower too. Let me know if you use other veg and how it turns out.

You'll need:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch Broccolini, chopped coarsely
Dijon mustard, to taste
mayonnaise, to taste
6 slices rye bread, 1/2 inch thick
6 slices sharp cheddar cheese, or to taste 

Melt olive oil  and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and saute until soft.
Add garlic and broccolini and saute until the broccolini is tender.
Meanwhile mix equal parts of the mayo and mustard together adding extra of either to suit your personal taste.
Place each slice of bread on a baking sheet and spread some of the Dijon mayo mixture on them.
Top each with a portion of the broccolini and onion mixture.
Top the broccolini with a slice of cheddar cheese (use more or less cheese to taste, I like it very cheesy).
Place under a pre-heated broiler until the cheese is melted to your liking.
Serve hot and enjoy.

Broccoli and onion in the pan

Bread getting the Dijon mayo treatment

Topping the bread with the broccoli

All melty and ready to eat.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Simple Meat Sauce

My mom used to make this when I was a kid. This is so easy, budget friendly and kid friendly. Your family will think you slaved over a hot pot for hours when it only takes about 30 or so minutes from stove top to table top. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

You'll need:
1 lb ground beef (more if you like it meaty...I used about 1.5 lbs tonight)
1-2 garlic cloves (or to taste), minced
1 large can diced tomatoes (I like petite diced), drained
1 medium can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
Oregano or other Italian herbs, fresh or dry, to taste
2 lbs pasta of choice, I prefer rigatoni or penne

Brown ground beef in a large skillet.
Add the garlic and cook until it takes on a little color.
Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and herbs.
Let simmer while your pasta cooks according to package directions.
Drain the pasta and pour into sauce. Toss well to coat.
Serve at once.

2 pounds of rigatoni

Yummy meat sauce

Put it all together and something magical happens...

...the pan overflows and you have a mess.

Serve it with a side salad and you have tasty meal.

Hot Dog Gravy

This isn't really a gravy but you use it like a gravy or a meat type sauce. I served it over brown rice but I think the next time I make this I'll serve it over toasted white bread. I don't see why you can't serve this over macaroni or egg noodles too or even in hot dog buns or hoagies.

This is an adaptation of a retro recipe. The family loved it, I hope you do too.

You'll need:
vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 packages hot dogs (I used the big dinner sized Hebrew National dog), sliced into rounds.
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion.
When the onion starts to get soft add the hot dog rounds and cook until the onion is done and the hot dog it cooked. I like my hot dogs well done.
Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for about 30 minutes to 1 hour or until the sauce thickens.
Serve over toasted bread, hot cooked rice, noodles or whatever else you can think of.

Hot dogs and onions

Simmering in the sauce

More simmering in the sauce

A tasty, easy, cheap meal. Just add a salad or a veg (ketchup doesn't count) and you're good to go.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cube Steak with Onions and Brandy

This was so good I thought my husband was going to hurt himself eating
too much. I think this would be very good with mushrooms added when you add the onions but one of my children dislikes them.

You'll need:
cube steaks
flour for dredging
olive oil
1-2 onions (it depends on how much cube steak you have - you may even need more)
1/4 to 1/2 cup brandy (if you use 1 onion use 1/4 cup of brandy...etc...a little more wont hurt anything)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat your skillet (I love cast iron) over medium-medium high heat. Melt margarine and/or olive oil in it.
Take each cube steak and blot it off on some paper towels to dry it slightly then dredge it in flour.
Slide it into the pan and brown on one side then the other (a few minutes per side)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove to a plate.
Don't over crowd the pan, do it in batches if you have to.
When they are all done add some more margarine and oil to the pan (it should still be on med-high heat) and then the onions and a little salt.
Stir it around as it cooks. I like it to get golden brown but cook it to your liking.
When the onion is cooked pour the brandy into the pan all at once.
Let it bubble as you scrape the bottom of the pan (this is called deglazing).
When the smell from the brandy isn't quite as strong anymore place the cube steak back into the pan to re-heat.
Serve hot and enjoy!


Cookin' in the pan

Removed from the pan and ready to do the onions.

Cooking with brandy.

Roasted potatoes and green beans make it a meal.
It would be great with mash, rice or even egg noodles.

How can you resist?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicken Sandwiches with Apricot Dijon Dressing

This was so yummy for dinner tonight. We all love, love, loved it. I hope you do too. I suggested Italian bread for this as that is what I used but any hearty bread or roll would work.

I'd like to thank my daughter, Tessa, for taking notes as I put this one together.

You'll need:
4 chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless.
White wine
1 tablespoon olive oil + more for brushing on the bread
1 tablespoon margarine or butter (I used parve margarine)
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 good handful mixed greens, arugula, lettuce, spinach...whatever you have on hand.
1 load Italian bread
2-3 cloves of garlic

For the dressing:
Apricot jelly or jam (I accidentally got preserves which worked fine but the dressing was chunky)
Dijon mustard

Pound the chicken breasts with a meat mallet. If you want them thinner you can cut them in half.
Marinate in enough wine to cover. Let sit for 10 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together equal parts jelly and mustard. Set aside until needed.
Cut the bread lengthwise and open like a book.
Remove the inside of the bread and fight the temptation to eat it all.
Brush both halves with olive oil and sprinkle garlic over just the bottom half (we are making garlic bread).
Toast under the broiler until it is brown (be careful, it can burn easily).
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and the margarine over medium-high heat in a pan large enough to hold all the chicken.
Add the garlic and stir as it lightly browns.
Add the chicken and cook about 5 minutes or so (depending on the thickness of the chicken) on each side.
Meanwhile, dress the side of the bread without garlic, with the apricot Dijon dressing.
Top the garlic side with the lettuce and the sliced onion.
When the chicken is done top the lettuce.
Close the sandwich and cut into servings.

The dressing

Yummy chicken in the pan.

Ready for the top.


You know you want to try this.
Easy to make and wonderful to eat.