Sloppy Joes with Ground Beef and Lentils

10 Aug

I have been wanting to make sloppy joes for a while, and really wanted to try using lentils instead of ground beef. Of course, my family was a little hesitant to try it with lentils, so when I found this recipe that uses lentils along with ground beef, I figured it would be a good start to try with them. We all thought it turned out really well, and next time I may try it with all lentils just to save on some cost. If I do, I will update this recipe with the all lentil version.

Sloppy Joes with Ground Beef and Lentils

Sloppy Joes with Ground Beef and Lentils
Original recipe here

What you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 small carrot, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (red or green), finely chopped
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 cup dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and ground black pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

How to make it:

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, bell pepper and 1/4 cup ketchup and cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the lentils, oregano and broth. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the lentils are tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 35 to 40 minutes (add up to 1 cup water or broth if necessary). Season with salt and pepper.

Add the beef to a large non-stick skillet, break it up, and cook, until it begins to brown. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the remaining 3/4 cup ketchup and stir until combined. Add the lentil mixture and, if needed, up to 1 cup water or broth. Cook until the lentils are soft and the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Green Bean Casserole

20 Jul

My husband went to the store a couple of days ago, and brought home 2 big cans of cream of mushroom soup, 4 cans of green beans, and 2 bags of fried onions as a “suggestion”. I guess it has been a while since I made Green Bean Casserole, and really, it’s just not something I tend to work in to our meal rotation much. So, as I woke up this morning, I had a thought. What if I used the ingredients for Green Bean Casserole and put it over chicken in the slow cooker? I have cooked chicken with cream of mushroom soup before that turned out well, why not add the green beans and onions too? It turned out great, and got rave review from my parents, who are here visiting, and my kids! I doubled the amount of everything to have enough to serve 6. I made mashed potatoes and brown rice to go with it. Only reason I made both was because I didn’t have enough of either to serve everybody, but had plenty with making both! Oh, and the Cheddar Garlic Biscuits were a great addition, too. This was a super easy meal, that came together very nicely.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Green Bean Casserole

Slow Cooker Chicken and Green Bean Casserole

What you need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 10-3/4 oz cans cream of mushroom soup
2 14.5 oz cans green beans, drained
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2/3 cup fried onions, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

How to make it:

Mix cream of mushroom soup, green beans, milk, soy sauce, fried onions, and ground black pepper in a slow cooker. Place chicken breasts into the mixture, making sure they are fully covered.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes or rice. Garnish with fried onions, if desired, to give it some crunch.

Loose Meat Gyros Pitas

13 Jul

So, I have wanted gyros for a while, and just never make it to the place in town that has them on the menu. I really liked the Gyros Meafloaf I made a while back, but I didn’t want all the cooking time. So, instead, mixed the ground beef, onion, and seasoning the same, but then just browned the beef in a skillet. I found some pocket pitas, added some feta cheese, lettuce, and ranch dressing (didn’t have ingredients for tzatziki, unfortunately), and we had a meal we all enjoyed. I didn’t make any other sides to specifically go with this, but Lemon Roasted Potatoes would be a great addition.

Loose Meat Gyros PItas


Loose Meat Gyros Pitas

What you need:

1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground lamb or 2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon dried savory
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dash of ground cumin
1/2 cup water

How to make it:

Place the meat into a large mixing bowl, and then grate the onion and garlic into the bowl. Next, add remaining ingredients. Mix everything together well, cover, and, refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.

Brown meat mixture in a large skillet, in batches if necessary. Add 1/2 cup water, stir, and turn heat to low to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Serve on pita with toppings of your choice, such as feta cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, olives, cucumbers, tzatziki, hummus, tabbouleh, etc.

Italian Wedding Soup

22 Jun

This is a soup that I have wanted to make for a long time, and finally did! It was a big hit in our house, too, so this will be made again soon. Not many ingredients, cooks fairly quickly, and a filling meal.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

What you need:

1/3 cup Italian Style bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
1 cup Acini di Pepe pasta (or orzo pasta)
1/2 pound fresh spinach, washed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Mix bread crumbs and milk in a medium bowl, and let stand for 10 minutes. Add meat and grated cheese. Form into approximately 40 1″ balls.

Meanwhile, bring chicken and beef broth to a boil. Add meatballs, pasta, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes,or until meatballs have all floated to the top. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

Serve soup garnished with extra grated cheese, if desired.

Cabbage, Kielbasa, and Pierogies

10 May

Yesterday, I got my Zaycon order of kielbasa. It was a 10 pound box, most of which I will grill with the hot dogs I also got. However, I caught part of a clip on TV of someone preparing kielbasa and pierogies. So, I did a little searching and found that combo also with cabbage and carrots. So, I got a bag of frozen pierogies to give it a try. It turned out really good, filling and flavorful. Plus, it was pretty easy to make and ready in about 30 minutes.

Cabbage, Kielbasa, and Pierogies

Cabbage, Kielbasa, and Pierogies

What you need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, cut in thin rounds or matchsticks
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 pound kielbasa, cut into thin slices
1 pound frozen pierogies
Salt and pepper

How to make it:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, and cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add chopped cabbage, salt and pepper to taste, and cover skillet. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until cabbage is soft.

Slice kielbasa into 1/8 inch thick slices. Add to skillet. Cover and cook another 10 minutes or until kielbasa is cooked.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet or pot, prepare pierogies according to the directions on the package.

Add pierogies to the cabbage and kielbasa. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes.

Chicken, Spinach, and Wild Rice Soup

6 May

A few months back, my younger daughter insisted we get a soup cookbook at the grocery store checkout. I’m sure you’ve all seen them, and sometimes I will flip through one while we wait if something looks appealing. Well, for whatever reason, we HAD to get this one, and since cooking is something I enjoy with both my girls and want to teach them as much as I can, I agreed. It actually has a nice variety of soups, and this was one we’ve had marked for a while to try. Tonight we finally had a chance to try it, and it was perfect. It was actually pretty easy to put together, even with my changes, and the longest part was cooking the wild rice. It worked out nice that I could put the rice in my rice/vegetable steamer while we went to a swim lesson. Then, it was a matter of putting together the rest of the ingredients, which took about 30 minutes.

Chicken, Spinach, and Wild Rice Soup


Chicken, Spinach, and Wild Rice Soup

What you need:

6 tablespoons butter
1 /2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove minced garlic
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups milk or half and half, divided
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chopped spinach
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken

How to make it:

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and garlic, and cook until all are soft. Mix in flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of the chicken broth and 1 cup of the milk. Cook for 5-10 minutes to allow to thicken.

Next, add in remaining chicken broth, rice, thyme, sage, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in spinach, chicken, and remaining milk. Cook, while stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes, or until all ingredients heated through.

Ham and Broccoli Pie

5 May

I actually made this a few weeks ago, just after Easter, but finally have the time to share it. I had made a 10 pound Zaycon ham for Easter, so we had plenty leftover. I decided I wanted a breakfast casserole, so went on a hunt for ideas. This recipe originally used chicken, but ham fit in perfectly. We all really enjoyed it, but next time, I’ll make the crowd size version!

Ham and Broccoli Pie

Ham and Broccoli Pie

What you need:

2 cups chopped broccoli
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped cooked ham
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.

Sprinkle the broccoli, 1 cup of the cheese, the ham, and onion in the pie plate.

In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, salt, pepper, and eggs with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate.

Bake 35 to 38 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Crowd size version:

Double all ingredients listed above. Use a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan instead of a pie plate. Increase baking time to 45 to 48 minutes.


Rosemary Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms

26 Feb

Yes, this is very similar to another chicken dish I recently made, but there are some slight differences. First, I paired it with mushrooms instead of green beans and cherry tomatoes. Second, I added a little cooking wine. I used cooking sherry, but marsala or even a white wine would work great in this as well. The wine does give it a little extra pop of taste, but can be left out and still be very good.

Tonight, I paired this with mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus (made in my rice/vegetable steamer). It would also go well with rice and a variety of vegetables, like green beans or broccoli. I have also added some fresh spinach in when I added the mushrooms while cooking, which came out really well too.

Rosemary Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms


Rosemary Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms

What you need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin or cut in half through the thickness
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cooking wine, like sherry, marsala, or white
1 package fresh mushrooms, sliced
Olive oil

How to make it:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stir and cook until soft and translucent.

Season chicken with fresh rosemary, salt, and pepper. Add chicken to the skillet and cook for a few minutes on each side to brown both sides.

Stir in chicken broth, cooking wine, and mushrooms. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes, if desired.

Finger Puppet Valentine Hearts

17 Feb

It’s been a crazy start to the month in our house, and Valentine’s Day crept up on me. I had wanted to make Valentines with both girls for their classes, but hadn’t really looked at ideas. I had seen a few variations of heart finger puppets on Pinterest, and decided that would be what we would make.

So, I got out a few cutting tools that I have, a Fiskars Portable Scrapbooking Paper Trimmer, a heart template, and a Fiskars Circle cutter.

Tools to make finger puppet valentines

Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Use the template to trace the big heart on the left onto colored cardstock, and cut each out by hand.
  2. Use the circle cutter to cut two 1″ holes towards the bottom of the heart for the finger holes to make the “legs” with.  Keep the circles.
  3. Cut a different color cardstock into 1″ thick strips that are 4″ long. These are folded accordion style for the “arms”.
  4. Use the 1″ circles that were cut out for the finger holes to glue on the ends of the “arms” to create “hands”.
  5. Write message on back side of heart, such as “From Your Friend, Jenny”.
  6. Glue “arms” onto back side of heart.
  7. Glue googly eyes on front side of heart, or draw eyes.  Also draw a smile and cheeks.

Here are how they all turned out:

Finished Finger Puppet Valentines

I did all the cutting, but my 4-year-old wrote her name on all of them, drew on the faces, and helped with the gluing.  She loved making them, and was so excited to show them to all of her friends.  And, her friends all had fun with them too!

Pesto Pinwheels

16 Feb

For the Super Bowl, we didn’t really watch the game or have a party, but I wanted to still have some party food. So, I made Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip, and then was trying to decide on what else. I had a can of crescent rolls, and thought back to the Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels my sister made on New Year’s Eve. I decided it would be yummy to use pesto and shredded mozzarella cheese.  They turned out delicious!

Finished Pesto Pinwheels


Pesto Pinwheels

What you need:

1 can crescent rolls
1 cup pesto (I used this Kale Pesto recipe, but only had half the amount of kale, so used a 1 oz container of micro arugula from my FarmBox in place of the remaining kale)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Open can of dough, unroll, and press into 4 rectangles.  Spread pesto over each rectangle, then add shredded mozzarella cheese.

Spread pesto on unrolled crescent rolls

Roll the dough from one side, and pinch the edge to close.

Rolled up pesto pinwheels

Cut each roll into about 6 pieces, placing each piece on a baking sheet.

Rolls cut into 1/2" sections and placed on foil lined baking sheet

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-17 minutes, or until golden brown.


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