Archive for the ‘Entrees’ Category

Lasagna Roll-ups

Author: admin

Lasagna Roll-ups

1 box Lasagna noodles
1 large jar Spaghetti sauce (or make your own)
1 container Ricotta
1 package Sausage
Parsley (dried or freshly chopped)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh tomatoes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

While the noodles are cooking, take the sausage out of the casings (or buy bulk sausage) and cook in a skillet.  Season to taste.  Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the Ricotta, a handful of the Parmesan, a larger handful of the Mozarella, and some parsley.  At this point, you can add anything else to the mix that you want — some spinach for veggies (frozen and thawed), or some chopped hard-boiled egg, or some grilled eggplant strips…  get creative if you want.

Cook the noodles according to package directions.  Set aside in cold water so they don’t stick together before you get a chance to work with them.

Lay a noodle out flat.  Add spoonfuls of the cheese mixture and spread it out along the length of the noodle.  Sprinkle the cooked sausage on top.  Add thinly sliced tomatoes (you don’t have to do this, but I like the added freshness).


Carefully roll the noodle and filling, and put in a baking pan with the seam side down.  Continue with the rest of the rolls until the pan is full.  Wine is not on the ingredient list, but a few sips in between each of the roll-ups make it a lot easier to do.  Or, at least it seems to…  lol!

Cover with sauce, top with Mozarella, sprinkle some Parmesan, and sprinkle some more parsley on top.  Cover with tin foil.

Bake at 350 – 375 degrees for about 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes to brown the top.

Let cool a little, then you can scoop out servings a roll or two at a time.
If you don’t want to do roll-ups, you can lay the noodles flat in the pan and layer the cheese mixture with noodles and sauce and tomatoes and build it up like a regular lasagna.  Cook the same.

Pepper Steak Stirfry

Author: admin

Pepper Steak Stirfry

This is a really simple stirfry. The most time-consuming part of this is slicing all of the veggies.


Shaved steak
Bell peppers
Snow peas
Hoisan sauce

I am not giving any specific amounts of anything. The ratio of veggies to meat is totally up to you. If you want more peppers than onions, go for it. You can also add water chestnuts or bean sprouts or any other veggies you want.

This time, I used Hoisan sauce. Hoisan is an Asian BBQ sauce. Our American BBQ sauces start with a ketchup and brown sugar base. Asian Hoisan is soy sauce and molasses. Each brand of Hoisan is different in taste. Some are sweeter, some are not. This one is sweet. I couldn’t find my usual one at the store, so I tried a new one. Not bad, but little sweeter than I normally like it. If you can find the brand Sun Luck in your store, that is one of the ones that I prefer.

You can use other prepared sauces. I like the Asian black bean and garlic sauce, too.

So, here are my ingredients.


Slice them all up and separate them.

Add a little oil to your wok (or skillet) and cook the meat until it’s barely no longer pink. When you cook the meat, it will release juices and fat. You don’t want that in your final stirfry. Take the meat out of the pan and put it in a separate bowl to the side. We will be adding that back in again later.

Rinse the pan and add a little more oil. Cook the onions to how you like them. I like mine soft and turning a slightly golden color. I don’t like raw onions, so I cook mine a little more. If you like a firmer texture to your onions, you can cook them less.

Add the peppers and cook them until warmed through, but still a little firm (don’t want soggy peppers…). Add the snow peas. Cook a little more. Add the meat. Stir to combine well. Add the sauce. I used almost the whole jar, but this is for at least 12 servings. If you are making a single-serving stirfry, I recommend adding the sauce a spoonful at a time to your liking.

This is the final dish.

You can put this over rice or noodles, you can eat it by itself, or you can put it in a roll or a wrap and eat it as a sammich. It’s very easy and very versatile.


No Pink Slime…

Author: admin

So, with all the disgusting things we’ve been finding out what’s really in our food, behold the beauty of pure raw meat… Yes, I got the meat grinding attachment for my KitchenAid mixer (thank you, Amazon points) and decided to try grinding my own. Can’t hurt to try, eh?

I did a lot of research online for the best cuts of meat to use and whether to add seasonings or not, but in the end, this turned out FANTASTIC! Well worth the effort.

Here is what I did.

This is a chuck roast that’s usually used for a pot roast. I cut it into strips when possible, and then smaller chunks to remove most of the visible fat.

The process is very easy and the machine does all the work.  Nothing to be scared of.

One thing that all of the instructions and Web sites with info on grinding your own fail to state is that you WILL have to do this in batches, because the longer and tougher strands of fat are going to clog the little grinder plate.  It’s easy enough to stop and take the attachment off and remove it, but nowhere did I see that it would be often.  Out of the whole process I envisioned, I didn’t think the blades wouldn’t cut the tougher fat.

That whole roast was processed in about 15 minutes, and I had to clean the blade twice in that time. It’s really not a big deal, but something you should be aware of if you are going to try grinding your own. I am sure that leaner cuts will be easier to use.  Something to think about.  And this is how we learn… lol

I ground it twice to make sure it was chopped enough.  Then when I was happy with the consistency, I pulled out my handy-dandy burger maker and made burgers. (Actually, I got that gadget for free with something I don’t even remember, it was so long ago.  This is the first time I used it.  LOL!)

The final test:  Cook one!   Cast iron grill pan on the stove, a little salt and pepper, and away we go…

Final verdict?  This was the BEST tasting steak burger that I’ve ever had.  It’s nothing like hamburger that you get in the store.  This is MEAT. It smelled like steak cooking, and it tastes like steak on the grill.

Totally worth the effort and I will absolutely be doing this for all of my ground meat needs.

Success!  🙂

Turkey Spinach Artichoke Quesadilla

These stemmed from trying to create a version of one of my favorite sammiches.  Panera has a turkey artichoke pannini that’s simply delicious!  It’s sliced turkey, an artichoke spread, and caramelized onions on a thick bread.

I always wanted to try making a spinach-artichoke dip, so
I thought, why not just try making a spread and use it on a sammy?

So, tada!  Easy-easy.

1 package of frozen spinach
2 cans of artichoke hearts
1 cup of shredded cheese (parmesan, cheddar, monterey…  use what’s on hand)
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Defrost spinach and squeeze out the excess water.  Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces.  Add the cheese and Mayo.  Mix together.  That’s it.  (Well, that was my original attempt.  Last night making the quesadillas, I added a can of black beans for interest…)

If I was to make this into a dip, I would put it in the oven and heat it so that the cheese melts.  Using it as a spread in the sammy, the cheese melts when it’s cooked in the pan.

I took some leftover Thanksgiving turkey, spread the mixture on the flour tortillas, folded them, then put them in the skillet.  The golden-brown, crispy outside provided the perfect crunch to remind me of the pannini, but without all of that extra thick bread.

This version has more filling inside and less bread, whereas the Panera pannini has more bread and less filling.

This is a nice way to get some extra veggies in…

Spinach and Pasta Pesto Salad

1 bag of baby Spinach
2-3 cups of Cherry Tomatoes
1 long seedless Cucumber or 2 regular sized Cucumbers
1 12-oz. box of Acini de Pepe (or other small pasta)
1 container of premade Pesto sauce

Rinse and chop the spinach, halve the tomatoes, and cut the cucumbers into bit-size pieces.

Follow directions on the pasta box to cook to “al dente.”  Rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking further.

In a large bowl, mix the pasta with the container of Pesto sauce.  Stir thoroughly to incorporate throughout.  Add the vegetables and mix thoroughly.

Serve chilled.

This makes a boatload, and you can toss in whatever other veggies you want — sauteed onions or mushrooms, or fresh chopped zucchini or summer squash.   Fast, easy, and delicious!

Magnificent Mussels

Author: admin

Magnificent Mussels

Mussels are a great appetizer for two or a real nice meal for one.  These mussels are cooked in a very simple, very fresh way.  Light and tasty, these are perfect with an ice-cold beer…

1 bag of mussels (usually a pound or more)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic

Soak the mussels in a pan of water for about 15 minutes and swish around to loosen any remaining dirt.  If there are any fuzzy “beards” on them, remove them.  They are usually pretty clean if you get them from the grocery stores, but there may be one or two with some of the beard still on.

Drain and set to the side for later.

Chop the garlic.

In a large skillet or pan that you have a cover for, heat some olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Add the garlic and sautee for a minute or so to cook out the rawness.  Add the can of petite diced tomatoes.  Bring it up to a simmer and let it cook the tomatoes down a little, about 3-4 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the thyme.  Cook 1 more minute.

Add the mussels.  Stir to coat them.  Put the lid on and let them get happy in the sauce.

When the mussels all open, they are done – Usually just a couple of minutes – Definitely less than 5.  You do not want to overcook them.  Overdone mussels are like rubber bands – tough and chewy.

Turn off the heat.  Stir again to coat everything nicely in the sauce.

Pour into a large bowl and serve.

You can add fresh chopped parsley for garnish if you want, but they don’t really need them.


Fresh Ocean Perch with Sauteed Fiddleheads

I have a new favorite green:  Fiddleheads!   I have always wanted to try them, but they are in season for such a short time, that unless you make a point to look for them, the season is over too fast to get any.  They have a slightly bitter taste, like Rappini or Broccoli Rabe, and a flavor that’s a cross between Asparagus and Broccoli.  High in Vitamins C and A, these are very good for you too, as well as being delicious!

Fresh Ocean Perch Fillets
1 Summer Squash
1/2 Vidalia Onion
1 clove Garlic
Olive Oil



Put a light coating of vegetable or canola oil on a non-stick skillet.  Score the skin of the perch lightly, but all the way through to prevent it from curling while cooking.  Lightly salt, pepper, and thyme the white flesh of the fish, put flesh side down into the skillet.  Cook about 3 minutes until lightly browned and the fish is cooked most of the way through.  Turn over and cook about 2 minutes more skin side down.  These fillets don’t take very long to cook because they are so thin.


Wash and trim Fiddleheads.  Leave no more than 2″ of the stem.  The rest gets tough.  Cut the Summer Squash into thin strips.  Slice the onion thinly.  Chop the garlic.

Heat skillet, add olive oil.  Add the onions first.  Cook until they are translucent.  Add the garlic.  Add the Fiddleheads.  Add the Summer Squash.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the veggies are crisp-tender.

That’s it!  Very quick and easy, and a nice light meal for the coming warm weather. 

If you cook the veggies first and lightly cover to keep warm, you can reuse the pan for the fish.  It becomes a one-pan dinner that’s healthy, delicious, and ready in 10 minutes.  You don’t have to heat up the whole kitchen, and clean-up is a breeze!


Big Beef and Bean Burritos

Big and beefy and loaded with goodies!  That’s how I like my burritos.  None of this wimpy “throw a spoonful of stuff in and cover it with a little cheese” crap…   These will definitely fill you up and keep your engine running!

1 pkg large Burrito/Flour Tortilla rounds
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 large can of Black Beans
1 can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 pkg Burrito Seasoning or Taco Seasoning
1 sm can Diced Green Chiles
1 can Enchilada Sauce
1 jar Salsa of your choice
1 pkg Shredded Mexican Cheese blend (or any other kind you like)
Green Leaf Lettuce
Black Olives
Sour Cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 


Brown the ground beef and drain.  Add the can of black beans, juice and all.  Mix together.  Add the diced tomatoes with its juices and mix together.  Add the diced green chiles and the seasonings and mix together.  Make sure the mixture is evenly mix and heated through.

Spoon a little of the Enchilada Sauce around the bottom of a rectangular baking dish to help keep the burritoes from sticking while they cook.

Take a Flour Tortilla, spoon in the mixture, roll it, fold in the ends, roll again, and place in the baking dish.  Continue with as many as you can to fill the pan.

Spoon the rest of the Enchilada Sauce over the burritoes (or enough to totally cover them and run down the sides).

Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until everything is heated through again and the cheese is melted on top, about 25-30 minutes.

Assembly and Serving:

While they are baking, dice the tomatoes, slice the black olives, and chop the lettuce. 

When the burritoes are done, remove them from the baking dish and put them on a platter or individual plate.

Top with salsa, diced tomatoes, black olives, lettuce, and sour cream.  Slice the avocado and put it on last (to keep from oxidizing too soon).


Wicked YUMMY!

Making More Magic:

Try ground chicken instead of the beef for yummy chicken and black bean burritos.  I don’t recommend ground turkey, though.  It’s too delicate for this and will get lost.

You can use any other fillings you like, too — leftover pulled pork, shredded beef or chicken — the combinations are endless.

You can also top this with anything you want — black bean and corn salsa, pepperjack cheese…  get creative!


Broiled Salmon with Thyme

Turn broiler on high.  Spray non-stick cooking oil on your broiler pan to keep the fish from sticking.

Rinse the salmon.

Sprinkle the pink flesh side liberally with Thyme.

Turn the fish over and cut into pieces through the skin.  It’s easier to cut through the skin from this side rather than the other.

Put the pieces on the broiler pan skin side up.  Broil for a few minutes until the skin starts to bubble and turn color.

Turn the fish over and cook until the flesh is done, about 3 -4 minutes depending on the thickness.  Do NOT overcook.  Well-done fish is dry and yucky!

When the fish is cooked so that it is no longer dark pink inside, turn it back skin side up.  Put back in the broiler for another minute or two for the final crisping.

If you start with the skin side down when it’s raw and without doing the first cooking, it will stick and peel off the fish and disintegrate and be nasty.  By cooking the skin first, you give it a chance to firm up and then not stick to the broiler pan.

Easy!  Yum!

Easy Crockpot Pot Roast

Author: admin

Easy Crockpot Pot Roast

3 lb Beef Chuck Roast
1 sm bag Baby Carrots
4 or 5 new Red Potatoes
3 Onions
2 small cans Beef broth
1 lg can diced Tomatoes (optional)
1/2 tsp Thyme
2 Bay leaves

Clean and cut the veggies.  Place in the bottom of the crockpot.  Add the can of diced Tomatoes (optional).  Add the Bay leaves.

Season the meat on both sides with salt, pepper, and Thyme.  Lay it in the crockpot on top of the veggies.

Add the Beef Broth.  Depending on the size of your crockpot and how many veggies you added, use enough of the Beef Broth to come up to just 1″ of room from the top.

Cook 8 hours on low.

That’s it — Easy, but super delicious!

Meal Planning Idea

This makes a LOT of food.  If you have a small family or are by yourself and don’t feel like eating post roast for the next week and a half, consider freezing it in containers for individual portions.  These are great Go-To’s for nights that you don’t feel like cooking or for lunch during the week.