Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cabbage Roll Deconstructed

Last week, my friend, Lisa told me a about this recipe and it brought back childhood memories of the yummy smells and tastes from my mom's kitchen.  My mom would make cabbage rolls in her big electric skillet.  She would fill huge cabbage leaves with meat, tomato and rice.  After rolling them up and securing them with toothpicks, she would braise them in her skillet and it would smell so good.  That probably sounds strange because most people think of sauerkraut when they think cabbage, but slow braising really mellows the flavor and leaves no after cooking smell.  

The recipe that Lisa shared was from Taste of Home and is aptly called Inside-Out Cabbage Rolls.  It took about 45 minutes with only 20 minutes of active cook time!  You use pre-jarred pizza sauce so it isn't GF, but if you use your own marina sauce instead and it would be GF.  Another great thing is that it is only 9 ingredients!  I only used half the cabbage head and I doubled the rice from the original recipe. 

I threw the beef, onions and bell pepper in my beautiful Dutch oven and cooked them until the meat was browned.

After draining the pot, I added in the cabbage, tomatoes, broth & sauce.  

Then it just simmered for 25 minutes before adding the rice.  Garnished with a little cheese and enjoyed a light, but satisfying meal!

Cabbage Roll Deconstructed:
(Serves 8)
1lb ground beef
1 lg onion, chopped
1 lg bell pepper (any color), chopped
1/2 sm head cabbage, chopped
1 (10oz) can diced tomatoes & green chilies
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 cup pizza sauce
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 cup cheese (I used Colby-Jack), shredded


In a large pot over medium heat, cook the beef, onion and bell pepper until the meat is no longer pink and drain.  Stir in the cabbage and the next 3 ingredients.  Raise the heat and bring to a boil.  Stir and turn the heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes.  Cook rice according to package directions.  Add the cooked rice to the pot and gently combine.  When serving, sprinkle each portion with some shredded cheese and enjoy!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

French Onion Soup

We love french onion soup, but I always thought that it was a complicated, high calorie dish.  A few weeks ago, I came across a copy of the Weight Watchers version that is just 170 calories!   I added the croutons and cheese so my version is 303 calories according to 

This soup was so easy to make, there was very little hands on time.  The largest chunk of time was pent slicing up all those onions!  :o) This recipe is great for a crowd or as multiple family meals since it serves 16.  I used pre-packaged croutons, but you could make GF croutons by cubing a loaf of GF French bread and then toasting it in a 400*F oven for 10-15 minutes.

French Onion Soup:


5 lbs onions, unpeeled
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
1 bay leaf
7 cups beef broth, divided
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup GF flour mx
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups croutons
16 slices provolone 


Peel onions and slice 1/8 inch thick. Melt butter in a large stockpot. Add onions; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Stir in pepper, salt, paprika and bay leaf; saute over low heat 10 minutes more, stirring frequently. Pour in 6 cups broth and wine. Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Dissolve flour in remaining 1 cup of broth and stir into boiling soup. Reduce heat and simmer slowly for 2 hours.  If you want a brown colored soup, add kitchen bouquet.  I didn't mind the red color from the paprika so I didn't add any coloring.

When serving the soup, top with croutons and a slice of cheese. Heat under the broiler until cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

Kiddie Comfort: GF Macaroni & Cheese with Hot Dogs

Over the last week, we've had several house showings, school delays and all our usual activities so meal time has been a simple quick affair! That translates to frozen dinners, sandwiches & take out meals that meet the need, but don't really hit the spot!  A meal that is both satisfying and quick is Mac-n-Cheese with hot dogs.  You can have this meal on the table in about 45 minutes.  Plus, you can't get much more kid friendly!!  This is a gluten free recipe, but you won't see any difference in taste or texture!   

GF Macaroni & Cheese with Hot Dogs:
(Serves 8-10)

1 pkg of GF pasta (I prefer corn varieties)
1/2 cup butter divided
1/3 cup GF flour mix (ie Pamela's or King Arthur)
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 8oz bar of extra sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 pkgs Hebrew National kosher beef hot dogs
1/2 cup corn crumbs

Preheat oven to 350*F and lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish.  Cook pasta per directions, but for 1-2 minutes less than directed.  Otherwise, the pasta tends to fall apart.  While the pasta is cooking, slice up the hot dogs into bite size pieces and set aside. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and place in a large  In a 2 quart sauce pan, melt 1/2 the butter (1/4 cup butter) and let it brown a bit.  When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour.  Cook over medium for 1-2 minutes whisking constantly.  Slowly add the cream and milk.  Cook the mixture for 5-6 minutes stirring frequently.  The mixture will thicken.  Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg before stirring in the cheese.  The mixture will become very thick.  Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta and add the hot dog slices.  Mix well.  Transfer to the greased casserole dish.  Melt the remaining butter and mix with the corn crumbs.  Top the casserole with the crumbs and butter.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Crockpot Roast Chicken

On Wednesday, I took a frozen chicken out of the freezer with the intent to make an oven roasted chicken.  However, I has forgotten that Colin had gymnastics at 6:30 so dinner had to be on the table at 5:30.  Because I would only have 90 minutes after getting the kids home from school , I decided to switch from oven to crockpot.  There are many recipes out there.  The simplest I found was from  There is no liquid and came together in less than 15 minutes :).  

You just need to cut up onions and lay them in the bottom of the crockpot.  Then you mix the spices together in a small bowl.  Then you remove the giblets from a chicken, rinse the bird inside snd out with cool water then pat dry.  When the chicken is dry, rub the spice mixture all over it and get a little under the skin of the breast.  Your chicken will look like it has a bad spray tan at this point ;-)
Place it in top of the onions and cover the crockpot.  Cook the chicken on high for 4-5 hours.  Let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Last Southern Living Supper: New Tuna Casserole

I did it, I cooked all 7 meals from an article I saw in Southern Living!  I had started out with the intention of making them all I'm one week, but it ended up being 2-3 weeks! I really enjoyed them all.  We tried new foods like grits and collard greens too!  A couple of the meals were labor intensive, but if you enjoy cooking, you won 't mind :o)

The last meal listed in the article was New Tuna Casserole.  It was a creamy hearty meal that would work great during Lent for those of us who observe meatless Fridays.  My oldest son and I loved it, but my husband and youngest weren't fans of the tuna.  I think next time I will just leave out the tuna and add more veggies.  I converted this recipe to GF through substitutions of corn pasta, GF flour and corn crumbs instead of panko.  Most recipes can be converted with a little planning.  Here is my step-by-step in pictures:

Cook your pasta per package directions and set aside in a large bowl.  After the noodles are cooked, use the same water to blanch a pound of thin green beans.  

Sauté your cleaned and thin sliced leeks until they are softened,

The recipe also called for mushrooms, but I didn't have any and we were snowed in so I skipped that step!  To make the cheese sauce, you need to whisk flour into melted butter over medium heat.  Keep whisking for 2 minutes.

After that, you will want to gradually whisk in cream and vegetable broth.  Bring the mixture to a boil and stir occasionally until thickened.  

Turn the heat back down to medium and stir in the cheeses.  Keep stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth.  Lastly, mix in your spices.

Combine the cheese sauce with the noodles.

Next, fold the tuna, leeks and beans into the noodles.

Place the mixture in a greased 9x13 casserole dish.  At this point, I covered it and placed it in the refridge as I made the casserole in the morning. 

30 minutes before you want to bake the casserole and remove from the refridge.  In a small bowl, melt the remaking butter and mix in crushed chips and corn crumbs.  Top the casserole with the chip mixture.  Bake for 35-40 minutes in a  350*F oven.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Still Cooking with Southern Living: Company Pot Roast with CreamyMushroom Grits

I apologize for being MIA the last couple of weeks!  We  spent our holiday break at home decluttering, updating & organizing as we continue to have out house for sale.  I was still cooking, but too tired to post!!  

I completed cooking the all 7 meals from Southern Living!  I have to say The Company Pot Roast with Creamy Mushroom Grits was my favorite!!  It was an easy crockpot meal with only about 30 minutes of finishing time right before dinner!  

Here is how I made it.

Cleaned and sliced the leeks then layed them in the bottom of the crockpot. 

Then I cooked up some bacon.  When it was finished, I put it in a small container to save for garnish.  I pan seared the chuck roast in the bacon renderings. 

After placing the roast in the crockpot, I made a sauce with brown sugar, garlic, sherry & balsamic vinegar.  I poured the sauce over the roast. 

The last layer to go in was a combo of cleaned and peeled parsnips & carrots.
Then I just put the lid on and watched the snow fall for 8 hrs :o)

About a half hour before I wanted to serve dinner, I started the creamy mushroom grits by sautéing the shiitake mushrooms.
I also prepared quick cook grits according to the package.  I gently folded in cheese and mushrooms.  After, I took the veggies and meat out of the crockpot, I also took some of the juices into a skillet over medium heat and made a quick gravy with cornstarch, salt & pepper.  To serve, place grits into dish snd then place sliced meat on top.  Arrange the veggies around the meat.  Pour the gravy over all & garnish with reserved bacon. Enjoy!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Luck in Hand!

Usually, I make a large pork roast along with sauerkraut and apple pie for our New Year's Day dinner and we have family over to celebrate with us.  This year, all of our family was out of town do it was just the four of us.  Instead of the big meal, I chose to make a meal out of finger food!!  It was super kid friendly and easy to prepare.  We had hot dogs topped with kraut and bacon wrapped tater tots from a Kraft recipe I saw on Facebook.  I also made the Rotel-Velvetta queso in a mini crockpot.  For dessert, I made apple hand pies topped with vanilla ice cream!  It was an unusual, but tasty way to eat our pork, sauerkraut and apples for luck!

(Posted by Kraft)

28 tater tots
7 thick slices of bacon, quartered

Wrap a quarter slice of bacon around a tater tot and lay on a foil lined baking sheet. 

Bake in a 375*F oven for 25-30 minutes. Turn each bite over after 15 minutes for even cooking.  Serve hot from the oven!

Apple Hand Pies
(Yields 10 Pies)

Make the dough for a double crust pie. I posted my Nana's recipe back in 2012( )

Roll out the dough and using a biscuit cutter, cut out 20 rounds.  Roll the rounds out to 5-6 inches in diameter and place 1-2 tbsp of pie filling on 10 rounds. Dot each with a cube of butter.

Place the remaining rounds as toppers. Roll edges up and crimp with a fork.  Pierce the top of each hand pie to vent.  Before they go into the oven, brush each with an egg wash made of one egg white and a tablespoon of water.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 325*F oven.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!