Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Salisbury Steaks with Mushroom Gravy

Last week I couldn't get Salisbury Steaks off my mind...and that's really strange because I have never had them! But I knew what went into them, and I guess I was craving something comforting and with those same flavors.

My friend, the author of the blog Taste of Home Cooking, recommended this recipe - YUM! I couldn't wait to make them! I followed most of the recipe for the steaks and gravy with the exception of the types of mushrooms - I just stuck to white mushrooms. I made my simple mashed potatoes and served them with roasted broccoli.

We both LOVED them. Jon ate 2 and I just had a leftover steak for lunch. They were so easy, so simple (it's really just a hamburger with gravy and no bun), but they were the ultimate comfort food and totally hit the spot. Jon even said they were the best things I have made in a while. Sometimes it pays to keep it simple.


  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 small onion, grated or minced
  • salt and pepper
  • About 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Handful of white mushrooms (or any kind of mushrooms you like), sliced
  • One 14.5 oz can of beef broth
  • Mix the sirloin with salt, pepper, onion, and the Worcestershire. Form into patties. At this point I covered them and put them in the fridge until I was ready to cook.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add steaks; cook for 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Add butter to the pan.
  • Add mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes
  • Add flour and stir
  • Add broth, bring to a simmer. Let simmer a few minutes to thicken. Serve gravy over the steaks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipe Remake - Spicy Chicken in a Garlic-Lime Broth

I created this dish a few years ago, and have made it a number of times, but haven't looked at the recipe recently. Well, when I finally went back to the recipe, I realized that I have made a lot of changes and have improved this dish. For that reason I am posting an update - new and improved Spicy Chicken in a Garlic-Lime Broth!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded out a bit (not completely thin)
  • Spices - cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp deglazing liquid: white wine or tequila, depending on what you have on hand
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Heat olive oil in a saute pan
  • Season chicken with the spices and add to the pan. Saute 4-5 min per side until cooked through. Remove from the pan.
  • Add a touch of olive oil to the pan then add the garlic. Saute 2 minutes.
  • Deglaze pan with the deglazing liquid, scraping up the brown bits
  • Add the chicken broth and lime juice, bring to a simmer.
  • Return chicken to the pan, add cilantro, spoon the sauce over the chicken, and let simmer just a few minutes.
  • Serve over rice or linguine.

Whole Grain Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes

Last year for Christmas my dad bought me the cookbook Baby Love - I was so excited to start cooking for our daughter! It's a great book in that it has purees, meals, and even a few things for mom and dad too.

One recipe I tried a few months ago was for Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes with Flax. Making your own pancake mix is so easy that there is no reason to buy the boxed stuff. Plus, you can control what is going in to your pancakes. I loved that this one used both whole wheat flour and ground flaxseed - after eating them we all felt nicely full for a while, something that never happens eating regular pancakes (you may feel full at first, but soon after you get that shaky feeling, right?).

This past weekend I used the pancake mix I already made, but changed it up by adding apples and cinnamon - delicious!!

Ingredients for the Pancake Mix - makes enough for 3 full batches
Mix and store in an airtight container

  • 3 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 c pancake mix (from above)
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed (flax meal)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 apple, shredded (I cooked the apples in a tiny bit of water in the microwave for 30 seconds just to soften them a bit)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Preheat a griddle to 350 degrees
  • Pour the pancake mix and flaxseed into a large bowl
  • Whisk eggs in a separate bowl; add buttermilk and melted butter. Whisk again.
  • Add the egg/buttermilk/butter mixture to the bowl with the pancake mix and flaxseed
  • Add cinnamon and apples
  • Slowly whisk together to barely combine the wet and dry ingredients. You don't want it to be smooth!
  • Ladle mixture onto the griddle and cook until golden brown on both sides. When I ladle the mixture onto the griddle, I also flatten it out just a bit by swirling the mixture as the pancakes are very heavy and need to cook through without burning on the outside.
I just finished using up my last batch of the dry mix, but will definitely be making more to keep around. Another great thing - these pancakes freeze very well. I wrap them individually in plastic, foil, and then store in a freezer bag and then can quickly pull one out for a nice breakfast for my daughter. Enjoy!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Soups and Stews - my favorite thing about fall and winter! I love all kinds of soup and have made so many different recipes over the past few years. Check out all of my soup recipe posts here, or go to my Recipe Index and then scroll down for a list of recipes with links to the actual posts.

I was really excited when I saw that the theme for the latest Taste of Home Cooking recipe swap was soups and stews. I submitted my Creamy Cabbage Soup with Gruyere recipe and was given this recipe for Sausage Tortellini Soup by The Frugal Girl.

Whenever I'm making something new, I love to read the recipe, think about the ingredients and cooking method, and figure out how it is going to taste so I know what changes I want to make. After reading this recipe, I decided to make quite a few changes.

The original recipe used sweet turkey sausage; I used hot Italian sausage. The original recipe had me cooking the sausage, and then adding the broth to the pan. I knew the sausage would let off a lot of grease and I didn't want that to be the base of my soup. So I cooked the sausage and then added it to the soup pot. Also, the recipe noted to cook the onions and garlic with the sausage; instead, I sauteed the onions, garlic, and carrots in the soup pot, then added the sausage, then the broth. I also omitted the bell pepper, added spinach, used more garlic, used a different blend of herbs, omitted the wine, and used 8 cups of chicken broth instead of 5 cups of beef broth (so glad I did - I would have had a thick stew otherwise!).

Below is my variation on the recipe -


  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed for crumbling
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped (I prefer buying whole tomatoes and chopping them myself because you know you are getting a whole tomato. With cans of diced tomatoes, the quality isn't as good, in my experience)
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/2 c frozen spinach
  • Frozen tortellini, about 4-6 oz
  • Heat a large saute pan; add tbsp olive oil. Crumble sausage into the pan, cooking until browned, constantly breaking it up into smaller pieces.
  • In a separate soup pot (I used my Dutch oven), heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onions, garlic, and carrots. Saute 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooked sausage to the soup pot. Add the tomato sauce, broth, and herbs. Bring to a low simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the spinach and tortellini; simmer until the tortellini has warmed, about 5 minutes.
This had a really nice kick to it, so if you don't like things too spicy, use sweet sausage. I love the changes I made and would definitely make this one again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken with an Herbed Pan Sauce

When you need to cook something in a pinch that won't take a lot of time, that doesn't mean that it has to be instant, or unhealthy. These days all I have time for is quick cooking, but we are still eating pretty well. Homemade cooking doesn't have to mean hours spent in the kitchen.

I threw this one together as I went along, and it took 15-20 minutes, max, but didn't taste like it was a quick meal.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Dried Italian seasoning (I like Perfect Pinch by McCormick), salt, pepper, dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 1/2 c low sodium chicken broth
  • Touch of light cream or even half and half - I probably used a few tablespoons


  • Heat olive oil in a large pan
  • Season chicken with the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and thyme. Add to the pan and cook 4-6 minutes per side, until cooked through (it helps if you pound your chicken out a bit to make it thinner = will cook faster). Transfer to a plate. If it's not cooked through, you can throw it in the oven on 400 while you make the sauce.
  • Deglaze pan with the white wine, bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer. Add the cream, stir.
  • Return chicken to the pan, spooning some of the sauce on top of the chicken.