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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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.

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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.

Gipes

In fall 2014, Jeremiah and I took our first class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City. I had wanted to go forever but just been able too. We took as tasting class called Drive Ins and Dinner Done Right. Aka – how to cook fried food. We made fried tacos, onion rings, and adult root beer floats (so good). We were so stuffed by the end of the night!

Our chef educator’s family used to own a restaurant. In fact, you may have seen her on television. She beat out thousands of chefs to appear on America’s Next Great Restaurant. She was very entertaining and had lots of great stories to share along with cooking tips.

The class was very hands on and we had to learn to cook with strangers. Jeremiah and I learned that we cook really well together. Unfortunately, we did not cook well with strangers. We were always the last group to finish. But in our defense, I think the other groups knew each other and our stove was clear on the other side of the room.

Jeremiah and I made this recipe once for his parents. It was a little liquidy when we made it the first time so we decided to cook our some of the juice this time. We liked it a little better this way. And to be quite honest, I don’t normally eat Sloppy Joes/taverns. It was also a hit with Jeremiah’s parents. The best part of the night though was Don offering to wash the dishes. If you know me at all, it’s one of my least favorite task.

Gipes (Italian Sloppy Joes) by Sandy Digiovanni
IMG_00531 lb. of ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 garlic cloves
¼ c. fresh parsley
¾ c. beef broth
1 can crushed tomatoes
butter, softened
slice fresh mozzarella cheese
a package of Ciabatta rolls

Brown the ground beef. Add onion and pepper. Cook 5-8 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves, and parsley. Cook on a higher heat to reduce liquid.

Mix remaining garlic, butter, and x. Spread on slice Ciabatta rolls. Top one side of the roll with cheese. Broil in oven for 2-3 minutes to melt. Top with meat and serve.

Notes:

  • We used smaller Ciabatta rolls and cut slices of cheese in half. It made 12 sandwiches.
  • We used a yellow onion and green pepper. I think you could use whichever onion and pepper you wanted too.
  • We used reduced sodium beef broth and dried parsley.

Doritos x 4

Yes, this is another Doritos recipe. Apparently, I have so many on my blog that my coworkers bought Doritos to celebrate my b-day. But I have to tell you, it is my favorite of the casserole versions I’ve made. You can’t go wrong with crescent rolls as a base.

Doritos_Crescent BakeTaco Bake from Pinterest
1 lb. hamburger
1 package of taco seasoning
8 oz. sour cream
1 package of crescent rolls
1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce
1 c. diced tomatoes (optional)
1 c. shredded cheese
¾ package of crushed Doritos

Brown hamburger and drain. Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Line a 13 x 9 pan with crescent rolls. Top with hamburger mixture, sour cream, cheese, and Doritos. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used Wildtree taco seasoning.
  • I used reduced fat crescent rolls, fat free sour cream, no-salt added tomato sauce, and 2% cheese. You could use 93% fat-free ground beef or ground turkey to make it healthier.
  • I accidently add the whole can of Red Gold diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.). It still turned out fine.
  • I used a ½ bag of Doritos and it was more than enough. Another option would be to use Baked Doritos.
  • I baked the crescents for 7 minutes before adding ingredients. I do this to prevent a doughy crust.

A New Kind of Meatloaf

When I was a kid, my mother made meatloaf a lot. My mother especially liked adding this season packet to it. I hated when she did that. As a kid, I liked the plain old ground beef, oatmeal, egg, and ketchup. As an adult, I want something with more flavor. But probably not as much onions as my grandmother puts in her meatloaf recipe.

My sister wasn’t a huge fan of meatloaf. But as an adult, I remember her saying that she had found a mini-meatloaf or meatball recipe she liked. It looks like I must have printed this mini-meatloaf recipe off from a Betty Crocker email. I liked the smooth consistency of using Bisquick instead of oatmeal. I also thought the sausage wasn’t over powering. BBQ sauce was the perfect mix of sweetness. Hope it spices up a classic from your childhood.

30-Minute Mini Meat Loaves30-Minute Mini Meat Loaves
1 lb. of hamburger
1/2 lb. of ground pork
1/2 c. Bisquick
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 egg
1/2 c. ketchup
2 T. brown sugar

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and ketchup. Reserve 1/4 c. for topping. Add to bowl remaining ingredients and mix well. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray. Place meat into pan and make a 12 x 4 rectangle. Split down the center with a spatula, crosswise split into six equal sections. Separate into 12 mini-loaves and make sure they aren’t touching. Brush with remaining ketchup mixture. Bake 18-20 minutes. Makes six (two piece) servings.

Nutritional Information (per serving): 300 calories (140 calories from fat), 16 g. fat (6 g. saturated fat, 1 g. trans fat), 105 mg. cholesterol, 440 mg. sodium, 17 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, 11 g. sugars, 22 g. protein.

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.

Notes:

  • 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.

Top 10

I was thinking about a recipe the other day that was one of my best. I thought I would share with all of you – the best of the best. Below are my top 10 in no particular order.

spaghetti1. Grandma Reith’s Spaghetti Sauce – I lied, this is probably my favorite recipe.
2. Mom’s Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes – This is the best cheesy potato recipe and I’ve sampled quiet a few.
3. Concord Lutheran Church Cookbook Meatballs – These go great with the potato recipe.
4. Chicken Penne Pasta with Salsa Con Queso – This recipe has a nice little kick.
5. Chocolate Crinkles – My mother made these when I was a kid but I love my recipe even more. These are probably my signature item.
6. Grilled Shrimp & Basil Orzo Pasta – Fresh basil and feta cheese nicely accent this dish.
7. Canyon Chicken – Chicken, ranch, cheese, and bacon. You can’t go wrong this recipe.
8. Lasagna Twist Around – Reminds me of my Grandma Reith Spaghetti Sauce.
9. Aunt Linda’s Slushies – I’ve made and drank a number of drinks over the years. This is my absolute favorite.
10. Cheesy Potato Soup – It’s as close as you can get to the O’Charley’s soup. I miss that restaurant so much.

Why Rachael Ray and I could be friends

When I was a kid, my mother went to work outside the home when I was in second grade. This often meant I was responsible for preparing my own afternoon snacks. Before the days of The Food Network, I used to pretend their was a video camera in my kitchen and I would talk to it about what I was making for my afternoon snack. My sister, next door neighbor Julie, and my friend Katrina can also attest to some of my microwave cooking experiments. I know, I know…it’s totally silly, right?

My original plan when I went off to college was to double major – Broadcast and Advertising. I ended up just pursing the Advertising side of the J-school.  But what I was  really good at volunteering and volunteer management (the extra curricular stuff). One of my friend suggested I pursue a career in social work. I actually looked into for a minute but decided it wasn’t want I wanted to do. With a nudge from a few other friends, I pursed opportunities which led me two terms as AmeriCorps member, mentoring and tutoring children. I loved what I did but pursed my Masters in Public Administration so I could actually get paid a decent wage for it. Although I love my career in the nonprofit sector, my heart still has a special place for that dream of one day hosting my own cooking show.

So why do I think Rachael Ray and I could be friends? In June, Rachael Ray came to Kansas City. I was super excited when I heard she was coming and bought her new burger cookbook immediately from Rainy Day Books so I could meet her (I was the 7th person to place my order). She’s my favorite celebrity chef. That weekend, I met Tony Dovolani and Chelsea Hightower (both very sweet) from Dancing with the Stars…but I was really hoping Rachael Ray would sign my book in front of me. Unfortunately, with over 1,000 attendees, she signed the books in advance.

Rachael Ray is just as cute and bubbly in person. I also loved this beautiful story she shared about how she still has a flip phone from over 12 years ago. She saves it to listen to about 20 voicemail messages her husband has sent since the day they first met. Gotta love that!

The story about how she got her big break is also amazing. Rachael was working at a few different food stores. At one, they realized the pre-cooked meals sold a lot better than the gourmet ingredients for people to cook those meals themselves. It sparked an idea,  Rachael said they figured if people would wait 30 minutes for a Domino pizza (back in those 30 minutes or less promo days), what if they could teach them how to cook a meal using their ingredients in the same amount of time. The idea was golden.  And without the funds to hire a chef, Rachael assumed the responsibility of showing people how to cook with their high end products. Pretty soon, she had a segment on their local TV station. The recipes turned into little cookbooks sold at their local grocery stores. As luck would have it Weatherman Al Roker got a copy of one of the cookbooks and gave it to his producer. When a snowstorm was scheduled to hit the northeast, Rachael got a call from Al’s producer to do The Today Show. This happened just after she was asked to cook a recipe on a NPR station. The cards aligned and producers at The Food Network took notice. And America fell in love with Rachael Ray.

So why do I think we could be friends? I’m not a culinary trained chef – just a person who loves to cook. Who knows, maybe I’ll get my big break to share a recipe in the local media. And although I don’t regret my decision to go the nonprofit PR route, a little part of me wishes I would have got the broadcast degree. As I learn more about telling people’s stories working with clients, I think I would have been a pretty good producer.

Today, I am sharing one of the recipes from Rachael Ray’s newest cookbook. I personally think it is her best one yet so I hope you go out and pick-up a copy. It even is filled with QR codes to link to more recipes and videos.

Tips by Rachael Ray that I love:

  • Bake bacon. Rachael suggest bacon on a wire rack so the grease drips off. Plus, you don’t splatter all over your kitchen.
  • Make your burgers thick on the outside than the middle. They will even out when cooking and also cook more evenly.
  • Take a pound of meat and flatten it into a square. Score it and divide into four sections. This way your burgers are all the same size without having to steal from a burger that is already complete.

Meat Lover’s Burger by Rachael Ray
2 plum tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 sprinkle of dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper
EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) for drizzling
1/4 lb. bacon, finely diced
1 lb. ground beef
2 large garlic cloves, minced or grated
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 oz. salami pieces
1/4 lb. ham
4 slices of provolone cheese
4 crusty rolls
A handful of basil leaves, torn
A handful of arugula leaves
Thinly sliced red onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange sliced tomatoes on a cookie sheet. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with EVOO. Bake for 40 minutes. Mix meat, garlic, and parsley together. From into four patties. Cook in a skillet with EVOO. When finished, top with cheese and melt for a minute. Serve on a bun with tomato, onion, and fresh greens.

Salsibury Steak

One of my favorite school meals was salsibury steak and mashed potatoes. I ran across this recipe a few years ago in my Simple and Delicious Magazine. Lots of favor and very moist so I hope you enjoy it. The author says she got it at a Weight Watcher meeting but I don’t know how many points it is.

Salisbury Steak with Gravy by Danelle Weiher
1/2 c. fat-free milk
14 fat-free saltine crackers, crushed
2 T. dried minced onion
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 pound lean ground beef
1 jar fat-free beef gravy
2 T. ketchup
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine milk, crackers, onion and parsley. Crumble beef over and mix well. Shape into patties. Place in a greased glass baking dish. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over patties and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

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.

Meatballs
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

Sauce
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.