Category Archives: Dinner

Æbelskiver!!!

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Also spelled æbleskiver, if you’ve never heard of this, it’s a Danish/Scandinavian treat mostly made for breakfast and is popular around Christmas. It’s pronounced  A-bell-skii-ver and IT IS DELICIOUS! It’s sort of like a cross between a pancake and a popover.

Most Americans have never heard of it unless you live in the upper Midwest where loads of Scandinavians settled. My Nashville native husband had certainly never heard of them. I was usually only able to have them when we visited my Grandparents in Minnesota as you must have a special pan in which to cook them. They don’t sell a lot of these pans anywhere, but especially not in the South. My mom found a cast iron one in a country store several years ago and they didn’t even know what it was. 

Well, for my birthday this year, I finally got my own pan! I’m so excited to use it, especially since it’s Christmastime. I was going to make them this morning but, alas, no milk and only 1 egg. You can be assured we’ll be going to the store today so I can finally prepare them myself! Therefore, I leave you with pictures we took and the recipe we used when we last visited my MN Grandmother in May…

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Here’s the tried and true, super easy, recipe my Grandmother uses (created by her sister, My Great-Aunt Norma):

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Here’s how to turn them in the special pan (thanks for modeling the technique, mom):

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Note, you can use a bamboo skewer, a knitting needle as mentioned in the recipe above, or a fondue fork (like she’s using in the picture) worked perfectly for us.

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Trust me – they are wonderfully, light, little balls of deliciousness! You MUST give them a try, if you can find a pan or, you know, go to Denmark 🙂

Enjoy!

Jennifer

Henderson’s Meat Marinade

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I got this recipe from an old neighbor of ours. He was a pretty good sized man which means you can trust his opinion on food! We use this for all kinds of meat – pork chops, chicken, anything really:

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Ingredients:

  • BBQ sauce (plain ole regular kind is fine – you don’t need anything fancy [even though the label on the bottle above says “fancy])
  • Mustard
  • Dale’s Steak Seasoning sauce
  • dry Steak Seasoning mix

The amounts don’t need to be exact – you can mix however much you prefer but to get started the first time you may want to try 1/2 cup of each of the wet items and 1 tablespoon of the dry. I don’t even measure anymore – just eyeball about the same amount of all the wet items.

Warning – I don’t like yellow mustard. I mean I REALLY don’t like it. I don’t eat anything that’s made with it – except this. You can not tell it’s in there and you can’t taste it. Trust me on this one. Even if you don’t think it sounds good or don’t like it – try it as written first.

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Pour everything into a small bowl.

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Mix thoroughly. You want the bowl to be big enough to marinade the meat. If you are going to grill your meat, separate some of the mixture into a separate bowl that you can use to baste the meat while grilling.

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Tonight, I used this on chicken and just browned it in a pan. It is so flavorful and moist! You should definitely give this one a try – it’s yummy!

Jennifer

Super Moist Stuffing

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This is a super quick, super easy recipe. I actually stole it from the demonstrators at Costco. They were sampling it one day and I thought it was delicious! I’ve been making it this way ever since.

Now – be forewarned – this is NOT “dressing”. I’m not sure that there’s technically a difference between stuffing and dressing or if it’s just regional preference. That said, I personally think the Stove Top variety is stuffing and the homemade, cornbready type with celery hunks, and whatever else weird things people add, should be considered dressing. Now – if everyone would just follow those rules, that’d be great!

This is another recipe for a beginner cook or someone who has A LOT of things to cook, like on Thanksgiving, that you don’t have a lot of time to commit to a side dish but still want something good to feed guests. This recipe fits that bill:

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Super Moist Stuffing

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chicken broth (28 oz total or about 3 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 sixteen oz. bag of stuffing mix

You can halve this recipe (like I did) and use one 6 oz. box of Stove Top Stuffing mix.  If you do that use 1 can of broth and 1/2 can of soup.

Directions:

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1) In a medium saucepan, mix soup and broth together with a whisk. Heat until bubbly (not really boiling).

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2) Put breadcrumbs into a bowl.

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3) Add hot soup mixture a little bit at a time to the breadcrumbs – mixing it well. It will be really moist as it will take 5-10 minutes to absorb all the liquid.

NOTE – If you’re using the 6 oz. Stove Top box you will NOT use all the soup mixture. I used most of it but had about 1/4 of a cup leftover.

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Fluff with a fork and serve!

Since I don’t like the “cornbread dressing” type stuff – this is my absolute favorite stuffing. Again, nothing fancy but ooooohhh so good.

Enjoy!

Jennifer

Peg’s Scalloped Potatoes

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My family has a tradition. Every Easter – you MUST have scalloped potatoes. It’s like a rule. It’s a rule so much that my sisters and I got into a “discussion” about it a few years ago.  It went like this:

Jennifer

Kelly had talked about mashed potatoes and gravy but there is no roasted meat with which to make gravy and we never have mashed potatoes and gravy at Easter. We always have mom’s home-made scalloped potatoes and I would like to specifically request that as it’s the only time of year I get it and I’m selfish. I can make mashed potatoes any old time.

Kelly

My oven will have a ham in it which is why I said Mashed potatoes and I was doing those and mac and cheese and mom is getting drinks. Don’t be changing the hostess’ menu chick’s…lol.

Michelle

I THINK THAT IT IS A LAW IN TENNESSEE (MAYBE AMERICA) THAT THE POTATOES MUST BE SCALLOPED FOR EASTER, I THINK IT IS THE WAY THAT JESUS HAD IT THE DAY HE WAS ARISEN.

I DON’T THINK WE WANT TO MESS WITH THE J’MAN…HE RULES MORE THAN WE CHICKS… 🙂

Kelly

Jesus fasted so we don’t need dinner at all. I have three freakin’ kinds of potatoes to make all parties happy so shut it!!!!!

Jennifer 

We do not need 3 kinds. We only need the scalloped kind.

Michelle

Jesus didn’t fast – he feasted! He feasted on scalloped potatoes!!!

She made scalloped 🙂

That said, I thought I’d share my mom’s scalloped potato recipe with everyone:

Peg’s Scalloped Potatoes

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Note – the picture above is only for a HALF recipe – make sure you read the ingredient amounts!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds potatoes – sliced or diced the same size (so they cook evenly)
  • 1/4  to 1/2 cup onion, depending on your taste – diced fine (can use jarred minced onion if you forget like I do sometimes)
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons milk (if you use more or less make sure the flour is the same amount)
  • 1 & 1/2 Cups milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste (not pictured but it REALLY needs the salt so don’t skip it)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350° F

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2) Place diced potatoes in a greased (can use Pam) casserole dish. Make sure it’s plenty big as this has a tendency to bubble over. You can place a cookie sheet underneath to catch any drippings while it’s in the oven just in case your container is a little small.

Tip – I usually dice them as that’s the way my mom always did it. My dice is about the size of a dime – pretty small as that helps on the cooking time. We have prepared them with a mandolin slicer on the thinnest setting. That time they cooked way faster and were almost over-cooked. Be sure to test your tenderness while cooking as size affects the cooking time greatly!

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3) Make a roux by placing butter and flour in a small pan on the stove over medium heat.

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4) With a whisk, stir butter and flour together and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until caramel in color and smooth.  Cook it long enough to get the raw flour taste gone.

5) In a separate bowl, mix milk and cream of mushroom soup together with a whisk.

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6) Add milk and soup mixture to the roux. Cook for several minutes and allow to thicken (this is what a roux is supposed to do).

7) Add salt and pepper to the soup mixture.

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8) Once thickened, pour the entire mixture over the diced potatoes. Mix well.

9) Cover with a lid and bake for 90 to 120 minutes depending on how you’ve diced your potatoes. Remove the lid the last 30 minutes of baking to brown the top.

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My smaller dime-sized diced cooked in about 80 minutes total – 60 minutes and then an additional 20 with the top off. The thinner you slice or the smaller you dice them will shorten the baking time.

These are a basic, easy-to-make, nothing fancy scalloped potato recipe that you can prepare for a whole horde of people (I made it for 20 this past Easter) that most people will like as there’s nothing weird (ie green) in them. If you wanted to get fancy then you could do scallions or green onions but – they’re pretty good as written.

Enjoy!!

Jennifer

THE best shredded cheese

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I’ve realized a lot of the recipes I prepare include cheese. This really shouldn’t be surprising as it’s one of my most favorite things on the planet. We’ve always got cheese in one or five different forms in the fridge. One of our usual staples was always grated cheddar – usually sharp cheddar because we’re all about loads of flavor.

A few months ago I read on Pioneer Woman to please grate your own cheese and don’t use the pregrated stuff from the grocery. I scoffed a little and wondered how much better could it really be? Cheese is pretty darn good as it is! I also had to consider the pain in the rear end that using a box grater is. Who wants to stand there and do that???

Well, enter the Barefoot Contessa – Ina Garten. On her show, she mentioned using the food processor to grate cheese as needed.

Well, this was something I could get behind! The lovely freshness of grating your own cheese mixed with the laziness of just pushing a button to accomplish it?  This has my name written all over it!  Here’s how it’s done:

First determine how much cheese you want to grate. If you need a specific amount, you can use a kitchen scale like this:

For my recipe I needed 8 ounces so I got out exactly what I needed.

Then, find the grater blade for the food processor. It will look like this:

Cut the cheese in chunks large enough to fit in the shoot but keep them as big as you can to make sure you are able to grate all the cheese. Shove it down the shoot and use the block press to smush it down to the blade while holding the pulse button, like this:

After about 15 seconds, you will end up with a lovely bowl of cheesy goodness:

YUMMY!!!  Now, we only buy block cheese which is WAY less expensive per pound than the pregrated stuff. And, Pioneer Woman was right. The texture is much more creamy and doesn’t have that “chalky” residue like pregrated stuff and the flavor is much more intense. I bet if you tried it you’ll never go back 🙂

Jennifer

Creamy Mac & Beef Recipe

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This one should probably be called “Homemade Hamburger Helper” because that’s basically what it is. However, the taste of this creation is far and away better than anything you can get in a box so I’m sticking with the “Creamy Mac & Beef” name.  I didn’t make this recipe up but got it from Kraft.com but here it is, along with my revisions because you know I can’t just follow a recipe exactly:

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground beef
2 (14.5 oz) cans beef broth
1 cup water
8 oz elbow macaroni (2 cups)
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup Cheez-Whiz
8 oz Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Note, the original recipe called for only one can of beef broth but after about 4 minutes my noodles had absorbed all the liquid and it’s pretty hard to boil noodles if you ain’t got not liquid. I only had chicken stock so I added about one additional cup of that and it worked out fine but next time I’ll just start with 2 cans and make it easier on myself.

STEPS:

Preheat large sauté pan (or electric skillet) on medium-high 2–3 minutes.

Place ground beef in pan & cook 5–7 minutes, stirring to crumble meat until beef is brown and no pink remains.

Stir in broth, water, and macaroni

Bring to a boil

Cook 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is mostly absorbed and macaroni is soft and tender.

Stir evaporated milk into pasta and add salt & pepper to taste

Remove from heat (or turn heat off). Add grated cheese

Add Cheeze-Whiz

Stir until creamy

Note – it will look “soupy”. Let it set while you’re setting the dinner table – about 5 to 10 minutes and it will thicken up nicely until it looks like this:

Very easy, pretty simple dinner for a busy week night.  Hubby and I had left-overs for lunch the next day and it was even better than the night I cooked it.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, no – not all my recipes include Cheeze-Whiz. Actually only two things I cook have it in them, I just happened to post both of those recipes.

Jennifer

Beer Cheese Soup

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There used to be a restaurant near me that served beer cheese soup in these little pewter bowls with handles. That soup was amazing. The place is closed now and I hadn’t had it in a couple years so I decided to alter my mom’s potato cheese soup recipe and see if I could make it just like 101st Airborne used to make it. I’ll take a bow now because I DID IT!!! If you ever  had the pleasure to eat their version and have missed it, I invite you to try mine and compare:

First assemble your ingredients:

* 1 stick real butter
* 2 cans chicken broth or 1 small box
* 1 small or 1/2 large sweet onion (only cut in half)
* 1 cup milk
* 3 tbs cornstarch
* 1 regular jar Cheez Whiz (yes really) (not the tiny or the tall one)
* 1/2 bottle pale beer (I like Heineken)
* salt & pepper

One thing about the Cheez Whiz. You may be tempted to get all fancy and use actual real cheese. DON’T! The Cheez Whiz melts nicely and adds a tangy zing (not “zip” – this ain’t no miracle whip commercial!) that really adds to the soup. Try it the way it’s written first and then you can change it up if you feel so inclined. But you’re a noodle head if you mess with this recipe so you’re forwarned!
Directions:

First, resist the urge to just drink the beer straight out of the bottle. You really do need it for the soup 🙂

In large stock pot (I use an enamel covered dutch oven), melt butter and add onion. Leave onion whole as you will remove it later. You can finely dice the onion and leave it in there but I don’t like the texture. Don’t skip the onion though as it adds a dimension of flavor that’s needed.

Once onion starts becoming translucent remove it and add chicken broth.

Next add the corn starch.

Make sure to whisk the cornstarch in well. Bring to a boil. This mixture will become thick.

Once thickened, add entire jar of Cheez whiz, milk and beer. Mix thoroughly. Pepper liberally – taste before adding any salt I don’t add much if any at all most times.

Simmer for 15 minutes.

Enjoy with a panini pressed sandwich and the rest of the beer 🙂

You can change this recipe slightly and turn it into Potato Bacon soup easily by decreasing the butter to 2 tbsp, finely dice the onion, add 4 medium potatoes peeled and diced small and add 2 oz. bacon pieces or 2 slices bacon.

Saute’ onion and bacon in butter. Add potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in milk, Cheez Whiz and pepper. Simmer over low heat until soup is melted completely.

This is really a lovely easy dinner for a cold winter’s day. enjoy!