Mouth Watering Good

When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, it looked so good. I decided to cook it on a day I was off from work. Stupidly, it hadn’t occurred to me just how many hours it takes to thaw a loaf of frozen bread. Luckily for me, I saw a quick thaw method on the back of the package that worked wonders. Did you know if you preheat your oven to 200 degrees, shut it off, than put a pan of boil water on the rack below your dough it thaws in about an hour?

Another cool trick I learned was to place the dough on parchment paper and cover with saran wrap before rolling the dough with a rolling pin. It really prevents half your dough sticking to the rolling pin.

This recipe is so good – it’s like combining your spaghetti and garlic bread together with gooey, melted cheese. Your favorite will leave the table stuffed after just one slice.

Spaghetti BreadSpaghetti Bread
1 loaf of bread, thawed to room temperature
6 oz. spaghetti, cooked
1 c. marinara sauce
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
1 egg white
Parmesan cheese
Parsley flakes

Roll out dough to 12 x 16 inches and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Mix together spaghetti and sauce. Spread down center of dough. Top with cheese. Cut outside of dough 1 1/2 inches apart with 1/2 inch of filling. Braid bread crossing left to right til everything is covered. Brush with egg white. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.


  • I added fresh basil and 1/2 lb. of ground beef to my recipe. You could easily change your recipe by using wheat bread dough, choosing a different flavor of spaghetti sauce, or added additional ingredients (mushrooms, garlic, oregano, sausage, etc.)
  • I thought it was a little full but it baked out OK. The next time I make it, I might do 4-5 oz. of spaghetti though since I added other ingredients.

Creamy Spaghetti Sauce

I think recipe came from an issue of Kraft Foods. It incorporates cream cheese into the sauce. It’s a nice quick dinner recipe.

Spaghetti a la PhillySpaghetti a la Philly
1/2 lb. spaghetti, uncooked

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
4 oz. cream cheese
2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package. Meanwhile, brown hamburger. Add sauce and cream cheese. Cook on low for 3-5 minutes until sauce is heated. Add drained spaghetti to sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve. Makes four servings.


  • I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Fat free would probably work OK as well in this recipe.
  • I made my sauce using a can of tomatoes and Wildtree seasoning. I still added the meat and cream cheese. It was a little healthier but took longer to taste the favors. I might add some fresh basil, spinich, or zucchini the next time I make it.

Homemade Meatballs

When I was in high school, I remember getting really tired of eating the same things. I started digging through my mother’s cookbooks when I ran across this recipe. It’s from my Great Grandma Reith’s church. It’s a tiny country church just outside Concord, NE. I found this recipe for meatballs that uses a sweet homemade barbeque sauce. The recipe was really large so I halved it. Even at that, you can still fill a 13 x 9 baking dish full of pretty good sized meatballs. Perhaps this recipe is the reason I like sweeter BBQ.

1 ½ pounds of ground beef
1 c. dry oatmeal
chopped onion (optional)
1/4 tsp. mild chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
a small can of evaporated milk

1 c. ketchup
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. liquid smoke
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil. Mix all meatball ingredients together and form balls. Mix all sauce ingredients and spoon over meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


As a child, my mother would sometimes cook roast in the Crockpot and other times in the oven. I always preferred the Crockpot while my sister preferred the oven. Part of the reason I liked the Crockpot better is because the meat was always softer.

This past December, my friends Jan and Scott invited me over for dinner. My friend Jan is a great cook and we always talk about what we have recently made. She pulled out all the stops: pot roast, homemade mashed potatoes, gravy, warm bread, carrots, appetizers, and salad. I made Cherry Crisp for dessert. Oh, it was soooooo good! I loved her roast because it was way juicy than anything I have ever prepared. If their is one lesson I’ve learned, ask someone how they made something you really enjoyed. Scott told me than Jan had used beef broth and they saved the leftovers to make beef stew. What a great idea – no waste.

I recently bought a roast when it was on sale. While digging through my recipe binders, I ran across this recipe to add a little flavor to my pot roast. It won 3rd Place in the January/February 2004 Quick Cooking magazine (now called Simple & Delicious). Although it was good the first time I eat it, I actually think the leftovers were even better.

Italian Beef Sandwiches by Jan Kent

1 beef tip sirloin roast (4 1/2 pounds)
1 can (14.5 oz.) beef broth
1 can (12 oz.) beer or beef broth
1 c. water
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
10 Italian sandwich rolls (6 inches), split

Place roast in a 5 qt. slow cooker. Combine all ingredients except bread. Pour over roast. Cook 7-8 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove roast and shred meat with two forks. Return to slow cooker and heat another 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, spoon shredded meat onto sandwich rolls. Serve juice as a dipping sauce.

Recipe modifications:

  • I cut this recipe in half. I only used a low sodium beef broth and substituted garlic powder for a clove.
  • I think the sandwich might also taste good with a little melted swiss cheese.

Ode to Runza

Today, I had a crazy day filled with meetings. My second meeting got done a little early so I had time to grab lunch before my third meeting. Just my luck, my meeting was across the street from one of my favorite Nebraska restaurants – Runza ®.

I grew up in a small college town called Wayne. (Actually, my mother and I didn’t move to Wayne until I was in high school.) Wayne didn’t have a McDonalds when I was high school. But I remember when they opened Runza. For those of you who have never heard of Runza, this is the restaurant’s signature dish. It is dough filled with hamburger, onion, and cabbage. Now, I know you think that sounds awful but it isn’t. In fact, the restaurant has several versions including a Cheese Runza, Mushroom and Swiss, and BBQ version. A Runza is a Czechoslovakian dish. I know Nebraska had a lot of Czech immigrants, like my Grandpa Bourek. Many of those people celebrate their Czech heritage at annual events like the Czech Festival in Wilber, NE or enjoying a kolache from the Saturday Farmer’s Market.  I’m assuming the restaurant was started in 1949 to meet the taste of those immigrants.

My Grandpa Bourek was 10 years old when his family moved to northeast Nebraska from Czechoslovakia. My Grandfather died of a heart attack just before my fourth birthday so I have to admit, I don’t really know a lot about him. Most of my actual memories of my Grandfather are my memories of his funeral. I do know that he was a veteran of World War II. My Grandma (Ellen) did not know Karl but saw his name in the local paper. (Remember the days back when people used to write letters to service men and women fighting in wars abroad?) Ellen wrote letters to Karl when he was oversees. Obviously, they dated when he returned and got married. I also know my Grandpa was a custodian at Pilger Elementary School. During his time there, he met another custodian who was new to the US from Czechoslovakia. That man was George Korbel. When I was in Junior High, George was the custodian at Wisner-Pilger Jr.-Sr. High School. George used to chase my sister and I around the school with his work cart calling us Stefphone and Ambrow.  George also told us stories about my Grandpa Bourek and how he befriended him. My Grandpa spoke Czech with George and taught him about the culture. Although I never really got a chance to know my Grandpa Bourek, it’s nice to hear he left such a good impression on a new immigrant family.

Both my Grandma and Grandpa Bourek have passed away now. But I’m really proud of my aunts for keeping the family together. Every holiday, Joyce and Linda take turns hosting meals for whoever can make it. And every holiday, they make sauerkraut. I can’t say I eat it as I can’t get past the smell of it. However, it is a constant reminder of my Czech heritage and that my father is a first generation American.

Last year, Kansas City finally got a Runza location (6000 Lamar, Mission, KS). I have to admit, I love going there. I have lot of memories from my college days – including a first date at Rock n’ Roll Runza with Frat Boy and a Residential Hall Association Awards Banquet at Top of the Rock. I also have fond memories of the really nice railroaders who were kind enough to pick me up a Runza meal when I was working at the hotel. (It was especially nice because I didn’t get meal breaks and I usually worked all day between my two jobs.) But I also love the food: Legendary Cheeseburger made with real ground beef and salt/peppered to perfection, Polish Dogs, Crinkle Cut Fries, Homemade Onion Rings, Cinnamon Rolls, etc. Have I made you want to check out this restaurant yet? Need any more reasons – every Tuesday in February, a Runza cost the price of what the temperature was that day at 6AM. So if it is 19 degrees at 6AM, you can get an original Runza for $.19. How cool is that? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the wonderful service. One of the employee’s bisseling the floor offered to remove my tray of trash, leaving me with more work space to compose my thoughts between meetings. What are you waiting for?

I decided to provide you with a recipe similar to a Runza today as my salute to this great fast food joint. It isn’t exactly a Runza but it has all the same ingredients. This recipe comes from the “Homemade with Love” cookbook created by Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Wayne, NE (my Grandpa Fletcher’s Wayne Church).

Cabbage Roll Deep Dish by Nettie Hammer

1lb. ground beef
¼ c. onion
2 c. shredded cabbage
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 pkg. mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brown beef and onion. When browned, add cabbage to top and let steam. Spray 8 x 8 dish with nonstick spray. Spread half the can of crescent rolls in the bottom of the pan. Add ground beef, onion, and cabbage. Layer with cheese. Top with remaining crescent rolls. Bake at 400 to 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown. Cover with foil the last 5 minutes for a soften crust.

Recipe modifications

  • If you don’t want to try cabbage and onions, I would recommend removing those ingredients and mixing in a can of cream of mushroom soup with ground beef.