Goulash

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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.

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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.

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Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls

The other night, we made Lobster Ravioli with these tasty rolls. Our entire dinner was done in less than 30 minutes. Leftover rolls were also tasty.

fullsizerender-11Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls from Pinterest
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
4 pieces mozzarella string cheese
2 T. melted butter
1 tsp. garlic bread seasoning

Cut each cheese in half. Open can of crescent rolls and separate into 8 triangles. Place a piece of cheese on each triangle and roll up. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with seasoning. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Note: Jeremiah created his own Italian seasoning topping instead. It was delicious.

Breakfast Sliders

Last Christmas, my mother-in-law made the Hawaiian Ham & Swiss Sliders for Jeremiah and I to take on the road. At the holidays, we alternate between our parents’ homes. That means a 5 ½ hour Christmas afternoon road trip between Kansas City and Wayne. These little sandwiches were definitely tasty snack along the way. She also whipped up a Gluten-free, dairy free version for her grandson. (Just substitute with Gluten-free rolls and dairy-free fake butter.)

Recently, I ran across this slightly sweeter breakfast variation on Pinterest. I cooked up a batch for Jeremiah and I on Tuesday morning. Delicious and filled us up until lunch time. Perhaps you could cook up a batch for your family over the Christmas break.

Breakfast Sliders from Pinterest
img_01671 package of King Hawaiian rolls
1 stick of butter
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. maple syrup
6 slice of ham
6 scrambled eggs
6 slices of cheese
1-2 T. poppy seeds

Cook scrambled eggs and sit to the side. In a pan or microwave dish, melt the butter, Worcestershire sauce, and syrup together. Meanwhile, slice rolls in half. Spray a 11 x 7 pan with non-stick spray. Place the bottom halves of rolls in dish. Top with half of butter mixture. Cover with ham, cooked scrambled eggs, and cheese slice. Top with remaining bun tops and press down into pan. Brush remaining butter on top of buns and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

When my husband was out of town a few weeks ago, I was cooking up a storm. This is a recipe I found on Pinterest. The pin generated several re-pins from a few of my friends and family. Jeremiah asked if it was like my mom’s Hamburger Casserole but I said it reminded me more of Crockpot Chicken Casserole.

IMG_1133Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole from Plain Chicken
1 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked
3 oz. pre-cooked bacon
2 c. cheddar cheese
1 package of tater tots
1 can cheddar cheese
16 oz. sour cream

Mix ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Notes:

  • I halfed the recipe and cooked it in a 9 x 9 baking dish. I halfed all the ingredients except I used 1 lb. of ground beef, full serving of bacon, and a full can of soup. I cooked it at the same temp and time.
  • I used light sour cream, 2% cheddar cheese, and real bacon.
  • I think you could cook some onions in the beef and it would be good. 

 

 

Taco Braid

The first time I tried Stromboli was with my Grandma Fletcher in Yuma, AZ. She took me to this little pizza place in strip mall and said, “you have to try it.” If you aren’t familiar with Stromboli, it is a turnover filled with meats, cheeses, and/or veggies.

At the Minsky’s in Independence, MO, they have something similar called a Mexican Pizza Roll. I actually ended up with it by mistake one night. They gave me someone else’s order – something I realized just as they were calling me to apologize. Since they couldn’t take the pizza and pizza rolls back, I ended up trying these tasty bits that seemed to me like a Mexican Stromboli. Since I no longer live in Independence, it is a rarity that I make it back over to the only Minsky’s location I know to make these delicious bites.

I ran across this recipe on Pinterest some time ago. I forgot about it until Jeremiah and I were looking for some new recipes in my Pinterest boards before we headed out to buy groceries. It’s good but I still miss the Mexican Pizza Rolls at Minksy’s.

Taco braidTaco Braid from Pinterest
1 can of refrigerated pizza dough
1 lb. ground beef
1 envelope of taco seasoning
1 c. of water
1 can of refried beans
½ c. salsa
2 c. shredded cheese

Cook a pound of ground beef. Drain the grease. Add packet of taco seasoning and 1 cup of water. Cook until a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Layout pizza dough and form into a rectangle. Cut in edges in strips about 3 inches in on each side using a pizza cutter. Spread with refried beans in the middle of the crust. Top with cooked taco meat. Spread with salsa. Sprinkle with cheese. Lace up crust and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used half the can of refried beans. I used about ¾ lb. of ground beef.
  • I used Wildtree Taco seasoning.
  • I only used about 1 cup of cheese. It was a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  • I wish I had prepared it on the pan or foil as it was difficult to transfer to the baking sheet. I’d also suggest maybe not buying the store brand of pizza crust as it tends to come apart a little easier than the Pillsbury brand.
  • My fiancé suggested we kick it up a notch. Perhaps by adding some cilantro or green onion to the bake. Jeremiah added some spicy salsa on top before eating his second piece. We also said guacamole or sour cream on top would be delicious.

 

Purple Potatoes

The first time I ever saw purple potatoes was in Harvesters warehouse. They were a project for the volunteers to sort and repackage. I think we sent them out on a mobile food pantry. I wondered, “How do you cook them?” and “What do they taste like?” I’m sure the Nutrition Department didn’t have a recipe for them.

My boyfriend Jeremiah is trying to watch his carb intake. Jeremiah discovered that purple potatoes are a good option for someone trying to watch their carbs. They have half the carbs of regular potatoes (37 carbs vs. 17 carbs). He says, purple potatoes have less starch, potassium, and are high in antioxidants. You can’t cook them like regular potatoes though. He found this recipe online and we made it for dinner last night. To my surprise, they were really good. In fact, I think I like them better than regular au gratin potatoes.

Purple potatoesStacey’s Famous Purple Potato Gratin from AllRecipes.com
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 leek, sliced
8 purple potatoes, thinly sliced
3 T. flour
½ c. milk
6 oz. crumbles goat cheese
¾ c. grated parmesan cheese

Cook the bacon in a pan. Spray a 2 ½ qt. baking dish with non-stick spray. Coat the potatoes in flour. Layer the baking dish with potatoes, leek, bacon, and goat cheese. Pour milk over ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving. Makes four servings.

Notes:

  • We substituted shallots for leeks in this recipe.
  • We used skim milk and it was just fine. Please note though that you must spray the pan as this dish does not have a lot of fat.
  • Before adding the milk, Jeremiah also added 2 T. of butter cubed onto of the potatoes.
  • The original recipe calls for the leeks to be sautéed with the bacon. It also suggests mixing the cheese and milk together. Then, melting it together before pouring over the potatoes.

 

Turkey Chili

I helped my boyfriend make this recipe for a chili contest at work. I’m not going to lie, it did take over an hour to make with two of dicing and mixing. The fresh ingredients smelled every time you opened my door for the next few days.

Although the judges did not award him first prize, Jeremiah definitely won the people’s choice award coming home with an empty crockpot and lots of coworkers inquiring about the recipe.

Turkey ChiliTurkey Chili by Jeremiah Slater
1 T. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey, cooked
2 cans white beans, undrained
½ c. white wine
½ c. chicken stock
2 jalapeno peppers, de-seeded
1 ½ c. chopped onion
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground ginger
1 bay leaf
1 ½ c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 T. lime juice

Optional
Fresh basil
Fresh parsley
Fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil and cook onion is translucent. Stir in garlic, oregano, cumin, and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth and white wine. Add bay leaf. Cook uncovered for 5-8 minutes to reduce. Stir in turkey, beans, and jalapeno. (Add in optional chopped fresh herbs.) Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce to lowand beginning stirring in cheese a half cup at a time. Once melted, add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add lime juice.

Heart Healthy Chicken Quesadilla

Recently, I spoke at Heritage United Methodist Church about hunger. For lent, they are doing a huge food drive for where I work. At the end of the presentation, they gave me a thank you gift that included a church cookbook. As you know, I love these cookbooks because people always share their best recipes. Here is the first one I tried.

Heart Healthy Chicken Quesadilla Heart Healthy Chicken Quesadilla by Gina Gile
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
2 c. chopped cooked chicken breast
¾ c. reduced fat Mexican style shredded cheese
¾ c. no fat sour cream
8-10 fat free tortillas or whole wheat tortillas

Mix first four ingredients in a bowl. Spread ¼ c. in a tortilla and fold over. Cook in a frying pan or George Foreman Grill. Top with salsa or guacamole.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe.
  • I’m not a huge fan of Mexican cheese so I used 2% cheddar cheese.
  • I add some cilantro to the mix. Another option might be some veggie bacon.

Welcome Back

Oh my goodness, it feels like forever since I last wrote a blog post. Perhaps because it was a long time ago. This month has been just crazy. Work budgets, illness, much needed time with friends, and the loss of my Grandpa Fletcher. But now it is time to buckle down and share some of the new recipes I’ve been cooking up in my kitchen. Today, I am going to share a new breakfast recipe that I thought turned our pretty good. Perhaps you will enjoy it for a Sunday Easter Brunch.

Breakfast CasseroleBreakfast Casserole from Pinterest

Two packages of sausage links
Six eggs
1 c. of milk
salt & pepper to taste
½ a bag of tater tots
2 1/2 c. of cheddar cheese

Cook sausage according to package. Then, slice into bite sized pieces and sprinkle along the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. In a bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Pour over sausage. Sprinkle with a cup of cheese. Top with tater tots. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used turkey sausage, skim milk, and 2% cheese to make it a little healthier. I think you could also reduce the number of eggs by using egg substitute.
  • I used the mini-tater tots so I could reduce the amount of cheese in the recipe by a ¾ of a cup. This way, the lower cheese amount melted together better.

National Soup Month

When I think of Beer Cheese Soup, the first thing that pops into my mind is Lazlo’s Brewery. It’s a restaurant in Lincoln, NE. The original location is located in the Haymarket District. When I was in college, my friends and I used to walk down there to eat a lot. To this day, I could still tell you what everyone would order. Dan would get the Lazlo Burger and an Empyrean Amber Ale (made in Lazlo’s owner’s brewery). Rob wasn’t a drinker. He always got the French Dip but added Swiss Cheese and sautéed onions. He also ordered a side of ranch dipping sauce for his fries. Lazlo’s makes these great fries. They are crinkle fries with seasoning salt. And Ben always ordered a cup of Beer Cheese Soup. Ironic because Ben was the baby of the group – just 17 years old his first few months attending college.

After college graduations and break-ups, I ended up working for the owners of Lazlo’s. I worked in their neighboring restaurant entitled Jabrisco’s. It was an unusual Italian restaurant named after the owners Jay, Brian, and Scott. (They also had a financial partner who was a dentist but I can’t remember his name.) They had things on the menu like a PB&J wood-fired pizza, homemade spinach pasta, and this to die for chocolate dessert. We also had this amazing patio where I would sell coffee during the weekly Farmer’s Market. I worked there for about eight months as a host/head host. I could sell the bar area better than most on a busy Friday night or Saturday home football game. Following my college graduation, I left to pursue AmeriCorps full-time. But during the time I worked at Jabrisco’s, I learned some great customer service skills, importance to details, and a lot about the hospitality industry.

Today, Lazlo’s has doubled in size and now occupies the space that was once Jabrisco’s. The food is still delicious, reasonably priced, and the service is top notch. The Haymarket has also turned into this major entertainment district.

Although this recipe is very different then Lazlo’s Beer Cheese Soup, it did make me think back to some pretty cool people and an experience that greatly impacted my life.

Beer Cheese SoupBacon Beer Cheese Soup with Chicken from Pinterest
6 slices of bacon
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼ c. butter
¼ c. flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 c. beer
1 c. chicken broth
2 c. half and half
8 oz. mild cheese
1 tsp. Worchester sauce
chives
croutons

Cook bacon and chicken. In a large sauce pan, cook butter, flour, and spices. Add beer, broth, and half and half. Whisk to combine and bring to a bubble. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Add Worchester sauce, chicken, and bacon. Allow to simmer. Garnish with chives and croutons.

Notes:

  • This recipe is good but spicy. One bowl had me drinking three glasses of water, blowing my nose, and dotting my watering eyes. My recommendation is to cut the spice at least to half or maybe a third of the recipe listed above. That’s my plan for the next time I cook it.
  • I didn’t have chicken stock so I used water and put in about 2 oz. more of beer. Veggie stock is also an option.
  • When I make a soup like this I know I am sharing with vegetarian friends, I make meat more of a topping. Canned chicken is another option. I used about a ½ lb. chicken and pre-cooked bacon.
  • I used fat free half and half. I think our Nutrition Manager at work also said that Fat Free Evaporated Milk is another substitute option to make a creamy soup healthier.
  • I used light beer.
  • I used Velveeta cheese.
  • I added parsley instead of chives.

On the second day, I picked up some chicken stock and frozen hash browns. I added about 1 cup of hash browns and ¾ c. chicken stock. I also added homemade croutons. It decreased the water consumption.