Mongolian Ground Beef Noodles

A few weeks ago, Jeremiah and I attended our first online cooking class through The Culinary Center of Kansas City. We have attended a handful of classes in our nearly six years together. They’ve taught us how to make Italian Gipes, The Bristol’s scallops, and Thanksgiving stuffing. We’ve now taken three online classes. Our most recent one was Asian cooking. Chef Jill is so lively on camera and she’s quick to respond to questions. The only sucky part is you don’t get to sample her delicious dishes. Over the weekend, we ventured out to the the Asian grocery store she shops at. We picked up staples like: Fish Sauce, Hoisin Sauce, and wide noodles. We also grabbed some Green Tea Kit Kat bars. (They aren’t bad.) The recipe I am sharing is from Pinterest but we are looking to make Chef Jill’s dumpling recipe soon. Quick, easy, and full of flavor (slightly sweet with a touch of spicy).

Mongolian Ground Beef Noodles by Jen Around the World
IMG_11461 lb. of ground beef
1 small package of wide noddles
4 tsp. minced ginger
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/2 c. beef broth
1/2 c. brown sugar
6 T. hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper
green onions for garnishing

Bring a pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add noodles and cook for 4 minutes. At the same time, cook ground beef with ginger. When almost finished, added garlic. Drain meat. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, broth, sugar, hoisin sauce, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Add to meat mixture and cook down for about 3 minutes. Use tongs to pull noddles from water and add to dish. If it is too thick, ladle in water from pasta pot. Top with green onions.

Notes:

  • If you don’t want the little kick, you can remove the red pepper flakes.
  • In our noddles, we mixed half a pot of water and half low sodium beef broth. We also added a splash of soy sauce. 
  • If you don’t like or can’t afford ground beef, you can use ground turkey, ground pork, or ground chicken. 
  • I used ginger from my spices. Rachael Ray suggest using a spoon to clean ginger root. She suggest grating what you need and putting the rest in the freezer. I did that once but it caught fire in the microwave so don’t do that. 
  • If you don’t have Asian noddles, you can use spaghetti or linguine noodles. 

 

 

Better Than Lasagna Casserole

For about 6 years of my life, I worked for domestic violence agencies. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the most amazing women who are life long friends. I was also blessed to meet so many amazing survivors. I was lucky enough that they allowed me to help them share their stories with other to help people better understand the issue of domestic violence. For about a year of my life, I also volunteered with women who were domestic violence survivors that were incarcerated. You may not know that 89% of women who are incarcerated for substance abuse issues have also experienced domestic violence. I still think about these women – especially in times like this. As we are all quarantined at home, how many women (and yes, some men) and children are scared for their lives? May you continue to support your local domestic violence shelters as your budgets allow. Their critical services will be used significantly in the weeks and months ahead.

IMG_1004Although I didn’t have the opportunity to work with SAFEHOME Chef Sarah, I have had the pleasure of working with many incredible chefs at SAFEHOME and Hope House. Trust me, their work is so much harder that it seems. They have to prepare two meals everyday, plus also help prepare food ahead for the weekend staff to heat up between answering the hotline and assisting shelter residents. Our chef was out for a while once and some of us offered to take turns cooking. Just making a casserole, salad, and dessert for 39 people was quite the undertaking.

SAFEHOME shared this recipe on their Instagram page recently. It doesn’t feed 39 people but it does make one hearty dish. May you enjoy this easier than lasagna recipe.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the Kansas City metro-wide crisis hotline at 816-HOTLINE. The phone number is answered 24 hours a day by trained professionals who can help you safety plan and access resources to help keep you safe.

Better Than Lasagna Casserole by SAFEHOME Chef Sarah
IMG_10054 c. cooked egg noddles (8 oz. dry)
1/3 c. minced onion
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. diced green pepper (optional)
16 oz. tomato sauce
1 tsp. oregano, dry
1 c. cottage cheese
1 tsp. basil, dry
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp/ garlic, granulated
8 oz. sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook noddles. Cook onion and ground beef. Mix together tomato sauce, ground beef mixture, garlic, basil, and oregano. Mix together cheeses. Spray a 2 quart baking dish. Put half the noodles on bottom. Top with cheese mixture. Place remaining noddles in dish. Top with meat mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Notes:

  • I did not use the peppers.
  • I did not refrigerate it before baking.
  • You can use any kind of pasta – broken spaghetti, rotini, or elbow macaroni. 
  • I would have liked a little more sauce. I think maybe using a 24 oz. would have allowed me to put a little on the bottom of the dish or over the cheese.
  • I added fresh basil and oregano to this recipe from my indoor herb garden. 

Baked Tilapia

In our adventures in the freezer, we fold bunch of tilapia. That sent Jeremiah searching for recipes to make. This one is very flavorful.

Mouth Watering Baked Tilapia as modified by Jeremiah Slater
IMG_0881 (1)2 cloves of garlic
1/4 c. of soy sauce
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 T. Olive Oil
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. shallot
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 slice of pears on each (dice rest of pear and add to dish)
2 T. butter
2 tilapia fillets
parsley

Mix wet ingredients plus onion, mashed garlic, and diced pear in a small bowl. Spray baking dish and place tilapia inside. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Pour liquid over fillets. Place a slice of pear and 1 T. of butter on each. Bake at 425 degrees for 14 minutes. Remove sliced pear and sprinkle with parsley.

 

 

Pinterest Pantry Challenge

IMG_0681As we enter week two of quarantine, I find myself digging in the pantry and freezer to see what we have. I then consult my Pinterest page to see if saved any recipes with those ingredients. Today’s dish took like two minutes to prepare and eight hours of refrigeration before throwing it in the oven. This four ingredient dinner was so easy and pretty tasty. As many of you are balancing work, teaching your children/keeping them busy, and trying to get in some outside time, I hope you enjoy this one dish recipe.

Make-Ahead Spaghetti and Meatballs Casserole by Pillsbury
IMG_0688Dry spaghetti or macaroni noodles (7 oz.)
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 c. water
12 frozen meatballs
Parmesan cheese

Spray a 2 Qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with noodles. Top with water and marinara sauce. Stir to mix. Top with meatballs and roll in sauce. Cover and place refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake an addition 5-10 minutes.

Notes:

  • IMG_0689I used a half box of macaroni noodles because I wanted to use them up. They work pretty good. I’d just not suggest a bigger noodle like a penne.
  • We used a half bag of frozen meatballs. You could make your own meatballs if you’d prefer. We used chicken but beef or turkey meatballs would be just fine.
  • We really like Jasper’s marinara sauce but use whatever sauce you prefer. Again, you could make your own marinara sauce.
  • We love Gino’s Basil and Oregano Parmesan Cheese (you know, from the famous Chicago pizzeria. We buy ours at HyVee). If you prefer, you can use shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese. 
  • We did not have any fresh parsley or basil. I use dried parsley and the cheese had my other Italian seasoning.
  • Dinner was served with frozen garlic bread and LaDoga Ridge Winery Toad-a-lope.

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Today is Day 5 of the official shelter in place ordered by the County in response to COVID 19. Like many of you, we have been home longer than that. My husband Jeremiah normally works from home one day a week. His company decided two weeks ago to give all employees access to work remotely daily. I went into work for another day before we closed to the public. Just a few days later, I was also working from home full time. We feel luckily to work for companies that had the forethought to hook us up with laptops and remote access.

I’m a total homebody but this is hard for me. I think it’s because I can’t leave. I miss eating out too much. Once again, feeling very blessed that Jeremiah and I bought a house two and half years ago. We have a fenced in backyard and a neighborhood with sidewalks. Daily walks after work with our dog Cooper have become a must.

IMG_0639I also feel lucky that my husband and I are planners. We love to cook and always have a pantry/freezer full of food. (Thank you Grandma Fletcher for that standing freezer.) Earlier this month, I was off from my hotel job on a Saturday. Jeremiah and I went to grab breakfast burritos at Red Kitchen Tamales at Lenexa Public Market.  I’m obsessed with their breakfast burritos and had been raving about them for awhile. Plus, the owner and her staff are so sweet and generous to charity. After grabbing what my husband agreed to be the most flavorful burritos, we stopped in the McKeevers Market and Eatery. I have lived in that neighborhood for seven years and was excited to check out what the new store had to offer. Jeremiah and I made the mistake of not grabbing a cart when we walked in. This grocery store is awesome. We grabbed a basket midway through and learned we needed a cart. OMG – I am so glad we did. We got a bunch of fresh food. Little did I know, that would be our last grocery shopping experience.

Jeremiah and I also love to purchase meals from our friends at Social Suppers in Prairie Village. They have ready to go meals. I’ve been going there almost monthly since before Jeremiah and I were together. So lucky to have some of there dishes in the freezer.

IMG_0656By now, I am sure you have seen the pictures of empty grocery shelves. We are thankful to not have to go deplete that limited stocked. During a walk last week, we saw a sign in a neighbor’s yard for Shatto Home Delivery. We’ve seen other neighbors with signs since we moved here and decided to check it out. We needed fresh items and were so thankful to be able to get them delivered to our home – old school style. (When I was a kid, we had a milk box on our porch…from the days of when they used to do home milk deliveries.) Through Shatto, we are able to order milk, cheese, eggs, bread, bacon, and fresh produce. That was exactly what we needed to keep us in quarantine. We were so thankful to see Milkman Kyle delivering these local products yesterday. (Did I mention how much we love the USPS mailman, Amazon, UPS, and FedEx delivery drivers?) I’m hoping we can make it two more weeks before we need to place a HyVee order to replace pantry staples. (Jeremiah has a running list on his phone.)

In an attempt to work our way through goods on hand, I’ve been searching my pins on Pinterest. I asked Jeremiah if he wanted to give this recipe a try. He said, “sure.” We loved it! We added a little to Cooper’s bowl last night too. He scarfed it down, licked his lips, and came over talking to us to tell us he wanted more. (Yes, our dog is that smart.) We gave him a little more and was still licking his bowl. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Brown Sugar Meatloaf by Allrecipes
IMG_06581/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 small onion
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. saltine crackers
3/4 c. milk

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Sprinkle brown sugar on the bottom and top with ketchup. Mix all remain ingredients together and fill loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Notes:

  • We used ketchup from a local non-profit called Boys Grow. We LOVE it! They sell it at HyVee. 
  • Jeremiah put a little too much onion in ours. I’d suggest maybe half an onion. Not bad but it does make me belch. 

Crockpot Pork Chops and Stuffing

On Monday, Jeremiah was working from home. Since things have been so busy with work lately, we didn’t have anything in the fridge to cook for dinner. I found this crockpot recipe for pork chops and stuffing. More importantly, I had all the ingredients without having to run to the store. I figured I could make it with frozen pork chops and it worked just fine.

Crockpot Pork Chops and Stuffing from Pinterest
IMG_06784-6 Pork Chops
1 box of Stuffing
1 c. of Chicken Broth
1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

Mix chicken stock and stuffing in the crockpot. Place pork chops on top and cover with cream of mushroom soup. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.

Notes:

  • I seasoned the pork chops with salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, parsley, and cumin.
  • You can substitute Cream of Chicken. I used low sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup.
  • You can use water instead of chicken broth.

Italian Quesadilla

One of the things Jeremiah and I really enjoy doing is wine tasting. We like to go on little day trips as well as while we are on vacation. A few of our favorite places are Somerset Ridge (just past the Louisburg Cider Mill on the Miami County Wine Trail), Van Till Winery and Family Farm (great wood-fired pizzas on the weekends just outside of Excelsior Springs), and Windy Wine Company (east of St. Joseph off Hwy 36). Another little winery in downtown Weston actually got us to join their wine club.

IMG_0247The first winery Jeremiah and I visited together was Pirtle Winery – located in a historic church just off Main Street. Downtown Weston has lots of great shops. I love the community food pantry and charming kitty cat outside the photography shop. This little town really isn’t any bigger than where I grew up but really developed tourism around wine tasting, local food, unique shops, and B&B stays. Once a quarter, the Weston Wine Company host their monthly book club…aka an excuse to drink wine and pick-up your free bottle. In August, the book featured was “What to Eat with What You Drink.” You don’t need to buy or even read the book, they give you the Cliff IMG_0295Notes version during the event. Since the book was about pairings, they had matched each of their wines with a recipe. One of our favorites was the Italian Quesadilla served with a semi-sweet red (Radiant Cut Wine). At the winery, they sell a pepperoni cheese. I told Jeremiah that I thought we should buy a block and use it with fresh basil. Jeremiah says that kicked it up a bit. This is our take on this non-traditional quesadilla.

Italian Quesadilla by Weston Wine Company (modified by Amber Bourek Slater)
IMG_03191 lb. ground Italian sausage (we used Scimeca’s turkey sausage)
1 apple (red preferred)
Fresh basil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese (or pepperoni cheese if you can find it)
Flour tortilla shells (we like high fiber Mission shells)

Dice the apple. Cook the ground sausage and apple. Cover half a tortilla shell with sausage mixture, basil, and cheeses. Fold over. Cook on medium for 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 1 ½ minutes (or until golden brown).

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

The first time I met the Fox family was at Mythbusters Live. I’ve lived in Kansas City for about 15 ½ years. I barely ever run into people I know out and about. But since I met Jeremiah, it seems like we run into people he knows everywhere – Sam’s Club, the grocery store, dinner, and yes, even at shows. I think we also ran into an old coworker of his at Mythbusters Live.

Travis is the brother of Kelly (mentioned in a previous post). Jeremiah has been friends with the Fox brother since they were little kids. It’s actually really cool because everyone seems to get together around the holidays to celebrate Layla’s (our own niece) birthday. Travis and Molly’s son Lex is pretty close in age to our nephew Aiden. It’s nice to see a second generation of kids playing together.

I’ve made chicken and dumplings before but this is my favorite recipe. It’s easy-peasy since you can cook it in the slow cooker.

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings by Travis and Molly Fox
IMG_0179
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 T. butter
2 cans cream of chicken
1 can chicken broth
2 T. dried onion
1 T. parsley
4 Grands biscuits

Put chicken in Crockpot with butter. Add soups, broth, onion, and spices. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

After it’s cooked, shred chicken and add back to soup. Cut biscuits into 9 pieces. Stir into soup. Cover and cook on high for 1 more hour.

Notes:

  • I used 2 T. of Lipton’s dry onion soup mix.

Goulash

IMG_0076

Look at this adorable card she made for Jeremiah’s birthday. He LOVES Minions and Stuart is his favorite.

My mother-in-law is super creative. She quilts and scrapbooks. Never a holiday goes by that we don’t receive a handmade card. So, I knew Lynn could take an item I found at a craft show and help me replicate it for our wedding favor.

Starbucks

We did our first look just outside the Starbucks in the Kansas City Overland Park Marriott. It was the venue of our wedding. Photo by: Joseph Sands Photography

Jeremiah and I went on our second date to Starbucks. It was after dinner at Bonefish Grill. We often debate if our first kiss was in the parking lot of the restaurant or at Starbucks. But we know we sat on the patio and talked for hours. Since we both love coffee, we go to Starbucks a lot for dates, meetings, or working on projects. Sometimes, it’s even motivation to workout. We also had three Keurig makers at one time. On any given day, we probably have between 100-150 K-cups in our apartment. What can I say, we like variety? That said, we do have our favorite flavors of coffee.Starbucks2

Lynn examined the sample I gave her and listened for my vision of having “Love is Brewing” and “Mr. & Mrs.” on each of our favorite kinds of coffee. Lynn searched the internet for a template and a video tutorial. Then, she made a template. Her scrapbooking friends even sent her some tools to add a little extra to the design. The next step was trips to Jo-Ann’s and Michaels. (Lynn is also price conscious so she helped me find some coupons to save us some money on the purple paper.) She scored all the paper so all we had to do was assemble them. It sounds simple but we spent almost an entire day making 60 of these K-cups. My sister and her friend Susan also joined us late in the day to finish the project.

FullSizeRender (5)

The “Mr.” was Donut Shop Regular. The “Mrs.” was Gloria Jean’s Hazelnut. We also made some without coffee for people like my mom who have a Keurig but don’t drink coffee.

 

This adorable little piece cost us about $1 each to make.

Today’s recipe comes from Lynn. Both our mothers forgot to bring recipe cards to the wedding but we knew what recipes we wanted them to share. Jeremiah was like, “I love my mom’s goulash.” I was like “I hate goulash.” He was like, “You have to try my mom’s recipe, it’s soooo good.” When I think of goulash, I think macaroni noodles with barely any meat and tomato sauce scooped with an ice cream scoop onto a lunch tray. Thank you, school lunch ladies, for making it so bland and gross looking. But I have to admit, Lynn’s recipe is really good. It has cheese. That’s what was missing in the version I had eaten in elementary school.

We don’t know for sure if the recipe is from his Oma (Grandma Martin) but we are guessing that his Oma probably made some sort of goulash as Lynn was growing up. Lynn’s parents meet in Germany as her father was stationed there in the military. In fact, I think Lynn didn’t move to the states until she was six years old. Goulash is typically a Hungarian dish but there are German versions too.

I’m really proud of Jeremiah because he made this dish all by himself. I was running late getting home from work so he started cooking without me. Normally we tag team cooking. I will tell you though to pay attention to the words “cooked macaroni”. Jeremiah didn’t know pasta doubles in size. So, needless to say, we then had some extra noodles cooked for another dish. He thought it was a little cheesier than his mom makes it but I thought it was just perfect.

Hamburger Goulash by Lynn Slater
IMG_01071 lb. ground beef
½ c. chopped onions
½ tsp. salt
3 c. cooked elbow macaroni
1 can (16 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 T. chili powder
½ tsp. pepper
2 c. Velveeta cheese cubed

Brown beef and chopped onion. Add spices and tomatoes. Add cooked macaroni and cheese. Cook until cheese melts.

Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf

For our wedding, we did things a little less traditional. One thing I was adamant about was asking for guest to provide a recipe in lieu of signing a guest book. My thought process was to put together a cookbook/photo album. The idea being we would look at our photos more often. Plus, we would think of all our amazing friends and family being at our wedding when we prepared their recipes.

c21ff084-03cf-4e12-89d3-ec296f8c478cThe first step was creating a recipe card. In a former life, I used to spend a fair amount of my day creating items in software like InDesign. When I couldn’t find what I wanted or wasn’t willing to pay the price on Etsy, I created items myself for the wedding. This is a copy of the recipe card I created. We mailed them with the wedding invitation so people could be prepared. I figured none of my friends and family have a web-based recipe blog like I do actually pull up their favorite recipes when they arrived at the wedding.

img_0103

Photography by Joseph Sands Images

After the wedding was over and we had the disk of our photos, I spent several days putting this cookbook together. This included everything from picking just the right font to counting the number of family members on each of our sides in the photos to make sure it was a fair representation. The end result was a cookbook that we printed for our parents and siblings as a Christmas gift. A few years back, I had done a family recipe cookbook for my mom and sister. They loved it and use it often.

The first recipe we prepared from our cookbook came from Jeremiah’s Uncle Johnny and Aunt Angie. I think the first people I met in Jeremiah’s family may have been Johnny and Angie. As you know, we are breakfast/brunch people. We used to go early on Saturday mornings to Corner Café before I headed out to work. Johnny and Angie would join her family for breakfast at the restaurant. They’d usually be arriving as we were leaving. Such a sweet couple. Unfortunately, we are no longer close to that Corner Café so we don’t run into them at breakfast time anymore.

Johnny and Angie shared their meatloaf recipe. It’s very tasty. That said, I would make a recommendation that you mix it right before you cook it. We get home so late from work that we decided to prep it the night before. When pulled it out of the fridge to cook it the next day, the pan was a little watery from the diced tomatoes. We hope you enjoy this more complex meatloaf recipe – and Jeremiah’s artist side with the pepper rings.

Meatloaf by Jon and Angie Slater
17a48f63-44df-484b-b762-ecf7fdaf6d13
1 lb. ground beef
½ c. chopped yellow onion
½ c. chopped green pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 c. canned diced tomatoes with juice
½ c. quick oats
1 ¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper

Topping
1/3 c. ketchup
2 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all meatloaf ingredients except topping. Shape into a loaf in baking dish. Mix all topping ingredients in a small bowl and spread over loaf. Bake for 1 hour.