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Cheesy Hamburger Potato Casserole

25 Aug

I recently got a bag of potatoes, which I haven’t gotten in a few weeks, and wanted to make something with them and with ground beef.  I considered making the packets again, but started looking more at casseroles since it was raining and I didn’t want to be outside grilling.  I came across this recipe, and thought it sounded delicious.  I decided to make a couple of modifications, one being to season the ground beef a little more and skip the celery and some other seasonings.  This turned out really good.  It doesn’t look real pretty, but it’s good.  My only wish is that the potatoes came out a little softer, but I was hungry and pulled it out a little soon.  Or, I just need to boil them a little before putting them in.  I used my food processor to slice them into thin rounds.  I think we’ll be having this again, all the leftovers are even already all gone!

Cheesy Hamburger Potato Casserole

Cheesy Hamburger and Potato Casserole

What you need:

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2.5 pounds potatoes, cut into thin rounds
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef.  Add onions and garlic, and cook until they are translucent.  Add in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce, and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook until most of the liquid has cooked off.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter.  Mix in flour, and cook over low heat for a few minutes.  Slowly pour in milk, whisking to prevent any lumps.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and cook until thickened.  Stir in cheese and remove from heat.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange potatoes in the bottom of the pan, then pour in the ground beef mixture.  Stir slightly to mix up.  Pour cheese sauce over the meat and potatoes.  Cover pan with foil, and place in the pre-heated oven.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until casserole is bubbly and potatoes are soft.  Allow to cool for a few minutes, and serve.

Taco Biscuit Bowls

4 Jun

Recently, Grands biscuits were on sale for $0.99 each, so I picked up a couple of cans.   I know, I know, I’ve been really good about making my own biscuits, but some nights I do still like to have the convenience items.  I’ve had biscuit bowls a couple of times eating out, but haven’t tried making them yet.  There are a few ways to go about it, like baking the biscuits bowl first, then adding your fillings.  However, I decided to bake the biscuit bowl with the filling in it, and tonight, based on what I had, I decided on making a taco filling and serve it with a side of Spanish Rice.  I think the taco was good, but I would prefer finding maybe a corn meal crust to use with this instead.  Also, I’m already thinking of the next filling for the biscuit bowls, I think it will be more of a breakfast bowl, with sausage crumbles, scrambled eggs, onion, cheese, maybe some kind of veggies.  I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it!  I’ll update when I do make them that way.  I baked these in my 2 cup glass Pyrex bakeware.  These haven’t been used to bake before, usually I just use them for storage or when I make pudding.

Taco Biscuit Bowl


Taco Biscuit Bowl

What you need:

1 can Grands biscuits
1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup salsa
1 cup cheese

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a large skillet, brown  the ground beef.  Stir in water and chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and salt.  Stir well.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, spray 4 2-cup glass baking dishes with cooking spray.  Take 2 biscuits and press into the bottom and sides of one of the dishes.  Repeat for the other 3 baking dishes.  Next, fill with the seasoned ground beef.  Then, top each with the salsa and the cheese.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and put each of the baking dishes on the baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the biscuits become golden brown.  Remove and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Grass Fed Beef from Starbar Ranch

21 Feb

Back at the end of November, I heard about a ranch in the area, Starbar Farm & Ranch, that was gauging interest in grass-fed beef.  I have had grass-fed beef before from another local ranch that sells at the farmer’s market, and have been interested since then in getting more.  So, I was very interested, and also got the opportunity to visit the ranch.

First, Starlene and Barbara are both very welcoming and were happy to show us around the ranch.  Next, we got to learn about their feeding system.  For feed, they grow their own alfalfa hay for feed, using no weed killer or pesticide.  Once this alfalfa is cut down, the cattle graze in the field.  Then, they also use a fodder system to grow feed.  The fodder system was really interesting.  They are large trailers with doors on both ends, and each one is temperature regulated and self-watering.  Trays of barley seed are started on one end, then each day a tray is added, pushing the other trays down through the system.  The barley sprouts hydroponically, and goes from the seed to being feed in 6 days.  The barley mats, referred to as biscuits, are able to be fully consumed by the cattle.  You can see a picture of the system and of the biscuits on their Facebook page.

Then, we walked around to see some of the cattle.  Their property is beautiful.  Open views to mountain ranges, and just lots of open country.  The cattle all looked really good and well-cared for, and they don’t receive hormones or antibiotics.  They have red angus, black angus, hereford and belted Galloways at their ranch, and their goal is to get a very lean beef.  Here is a picture of a belted Galloway calf, only 3 weeks old in this picture:

Belted Galloway calf at Starbar Ranch


So, after the visit, I had to wait patiently until now to get some of the beef.  I chose to get 2 packages of top sirloin steaks (2 to a package), 5 1-pound packages of ground beef, a flank steak, a 3 pound chuck roast, and 4 packages of rib eye steaks (2 to a package).

My grass fed beef order from Starbar Ranch


This came to $152.19.  To see their list of prices, you can visit their website here.  Hopefully, the weather will stay warm here for a little bit so I can grill the steaks.  The chuck roast and flank steak I’m planning to make the sauce I use for barbacoa to make barbacoa again with the roast, and to marinade the flank steak and grill it.  I’ll try to give an update after we have it!

Gyros Meatloaf with Tzatziki

15 Feb

Unfortunately, the Greek restaurant we had here in town closed down, and even though there are a few places that serve gyros still, I decided to keep working on my own version at home.  I have made Gyros Burgers before, but wanted to try it as more of a meatloaf than burgers so it could be sliced and put in pita pockets.  Now, the downside to meatloaf is that it takes a while to cook without getting too dry.  So, now, when I have time I can do meatloaf, if I’m pressed for time, I can do burgers.  I also made tzatziki for the first time tonight to go with this.  It was perfect!  My husband is usually not a fan when we get gyros when eating out.  He says it’s too messy, but this was thicker, more dip-like, so it wasn’t dripping all over when eating it.  Tonight, I served it with Sweet Potato Chips, which were a nice compliment to the gyros.

Gyros Meatloaf with Tzatziki and Sweet Potato Chips

Gyros Meatloaf with Tzatziki

What you need:

Gyros Meatloaf:
1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground lamb or 2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
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

Tzatziki (original recipe with more step by step pictures at Daily Cynema:
24 oz container plain Greek yogurt
1 seedless cucumber, peeled
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste

How to make it:

Put the onion in a food processor for a few seconds.  Remove into paper towels and squeeze out excess liquid.  Place onions in a mixing bowl, and stir in remaining meatloaf ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 F

Put the meat mixture back into the food processor and process for about a minute or until mixture becomes like a fine paste.  Press meat mixture into a 9 x 5 loaf pan, making sure there are no air pockets.  Place loaf pan in a larger roasting pan, and pour boiling water into the roasting pan until there is enough to reach the middle of the side of the loaf pan, creating a water bath for baking.

Water Bath for Gyros Meatloaf

Carefully place in oven and bake in the preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 F.  Pour out any excess fat, and slice thinly to serve.

Finished Gyros Meatloaf

While meatloaf is baking, grate the peeled cucumber and squeeze out the excess liquid.  Put in a mixing bowl and stir in remaining tzatziki  ingredients.  Put in a container and keep refrigerated until ready to use (I just returned it to the container the Greek yogurt came in).  Serve with the gyros meatloaf in pita bread with lettuce, tomato, and red onion, if desired.


Sloppy Joe Turnovers

9 Jan

Sloppy Joe Turnovers


Yum, yum, yum!  My husband had been talking about having sloppy joes for dinner, so I started looking up recipes for them.  I remembered that Lori at My Kinda Rain had a recipe for Sloppy Joe Turnovers, and since I had a can of Grands biscuits in the refrigerator, I decided to give them a try!  I did use a different filling than she did, but then made them turnovers.  Eventually, I would like to come up with  my own biscuit recipe to use instead of biscuits from a can, but I have some work on my bread and biscuit skills to do first.   I like the turnovers because they aren’t as messy….which I know pretty much defeats the purpose of them being “sloppy” joes, but it’s nice when you have small kids.  I paired this with Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup, and it was a great, filling meal!


Sloppy Joe Turnovers

What you need:

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can biscuits (I used Grand biscuits, but regular biscuits can be used as well)

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.  Drain any fat.  Add chopped onion and cook until onions are soft.  Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, yellow mustard, salt, and pepper.  Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes to let it thicken.

Roll out each biscuit to about 1/4″ thickness.  Scoop about 1/4 cup of meat mixture onto each biscuit.  Fold in half and press edges together well.  Place all on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.

Gyros Burgers

10 Nov


I love, love, love gyros, but lamb can be rather expensive and difficult to find.  So, I usually just use ground beef instead, and it still tastes great.  I shape the meat into patties and grill them.  Since I didn’t get them as thin as I wanted, I cut the burgers in half lengthwise to be thinner in the pita and to better simulate the gyros meat at restaurants.  Now, my brother and his wife did this a little different.  Instead of making patties to grill, they put it in a loaf pan and cooked it in the oven, I think at 325 F for about an hour.  Then, the sliced the loaf thinly, again, like gyros meat is in the restaurants.  Some day, I will figure out how to make my own pita, but for now, I buy it.  I added lettuce, tomato, and red onion, and I was wishing I had made tzatziki to go with it, but I didn’t have Greek yogurt to make it.  So, we used ranch dressing instead.  This was a great dinner, and I hope that I think to make it again soon since it was a long time in between the last times I made it!


Gyros Burger
Based on recipe here

What you need:

1 pound lean ground lamb, or 1 pound lamb, or 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 onion, grated, or 2 tablespoons dried chopped onions
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 dash ground cumin

How to make it:

Preheat grill to medium-high heat, and spray the grate with non-stick spray.

In large bowl, combine ground beef/lamb, onion, and bread crumbs.  Add savory, allspice, garlic salt, pepper, and cumin. Combine well and shape into 4 very thin patties.

Cook patties for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

Serve with pita bread, lettuce, red onion, tomato, and tzatziki.

Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa

12 Oct

Chipotle has become one of my favorite places to eat at, but I am cheap and can’t eat out a whole lot.  I recently found a great way to make Cilantro Lime Rice, but I wanted to see if I could find a way to make my favorite meat, barbacoa, as well.  I still had the red chili peppers and chipotle peppers from a Bountiful Baskets fajita pack, and it turns out those were the right start to the barbacoa.  I heated up a can of black beans, then made pico de gallo with jalapenos, red onion, yellow cherry tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic salt.  It turned out so good, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time!

For the barbacoa, I made the sauce the day before and stored in the refrigerator.  Then, I bought a chuck roast from a rancher at the Farmer’s Market (Sky Island Brand/47 Ranch).  Yes, a little more expensive, but it is grass-fed beef, and much fresher and higher quality than what I can get at the grocery store.  Here is how to make it!

Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa
Based on recipes here and here

What you need:

1 quart chicken broth, divided
3 whole dried red chiles, seeds and stems removed
8 dried chipotle peppers, seeds and stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
Juice of 1 lime
4-5 lb chuck roast (bone-in or boneless, bone-in will give a little more flavor)

How to make it:

Place the red chiles in a small sauce pan and heat over high heat, turning frequently, until chiles are toasted and fragrant.  Add the chipotle peppers and 2 cups of the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes, until chiles are tender.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the olive oil.  Add minced garlic and diced onions, cooking them until they are very brown.  Add cumin, cloves, oregano, salt and pepper, stirring constantly.  Add in the remaining chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, and the soaked chiles and their liquid.  Simmer until reduced by about half.  Pour the contents into a blender.  Start blending on a low speed, working up to high until well blended.  Set aside.

Place the skillet back on heat and sear each side of the chuck roast. Place chuck roast in a slow cooker and pour sauce over roast.  Add lime juice and bay leaves.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat is very tender.

Once meat is cooked, remove the bay leaves.  Remove any bones, and use 2 forks to shred apart the meat.  Stir the shredded meat into the remaining sauce.  Serve warm as desired.  Ideas include in tacos or burritos, over rice or tortilla chips, with salsa, cheese, sour cream, and/or guacamole.

Our 4th of July Barbecue

4 Jul

Today is a day we celebrate our freedom in the USA.  So, I planned to make a little extra food today in celebration.  We had invited a friend over to join us, but he ended up cancelling.  We had a ton of food ready to go, but the extra will take us through the next few days with some spin-off dishes.  So, what did we have?

We had top sirloin steaks, which I got on sale for $3.99/lb at Safeway last week, that I marinated in Dale’s Seasoning.  The shrimp was from Zaycon Foods, and I marinated to give it a spicy, garlic, lime flavor (see recipe below).  I also grilled corn on the cob, and to do that I cut each corn cob in half, sprayed with olive oil, sprinkled a little salt and ground black pepper on, and wrapped in aluminum foil, and put on the grill for 10-15 minutes.  Finally, I made a potato salad.  Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a hurry and didn’t cook the potatoes quite right and so they were a little crunchy, but the rest of the taste was right on.  This recipe called for sweet relish and onion, so since I had made Refrigerator Pickles a couple days ago, I chopped up the onions and “pickles” to add to the potato salad.  The recipe for this is below as well.

I have quite a bit of steak and corn left, so I am thinking I will cut up the leftover steak and saute with green peppers and onions to make steak fajitas.  Then, I will use the corn to make Roasted Corn Salsa as a side to go with it.  I also made a few extra hard-boiled eggs when I boiled eggs for the potato salad, so I chopped them up and chopped up more of the onions and pickles to mix in with it, and then mixed in some mayonnaise and mustard to make egg salad for sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.


Spicy Garlic Lime Shrimp

What you need:

1 pound large shrimp, fully cooked, peeled, and deveined
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons tequila, optional (I omitted)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (red) pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

How to make it:

Mix together all ingredients, and toss to coat shrimp well.  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Option 1: Place shrimp on metal skewers.  If using bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in water while the shrimp marinades.  Heat a grill to high and lightly oil the grate.  Place shrimp on grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side.

Option 2:  Heat a large skillet on the stove to medium high heat.  Pour contents of bowl into the skillet.  Stir, and cook about 5 minutes, just enough to heat shrimp through.


Potato Salad

What you need:

1 lb potatoes
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish (I chopped my Refrigerator Pickles and some onions from that for the relish and onions)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Ground black pepper to taste

How to make it:

Peel and chop potatoes.  Place in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Place on stove and bring to a boil.  Boil for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender, but not mushy.  Drain water and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well.  Chill in refrigerator before serving.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

14 May

This is a recipe out of one of the very first cook books I received, the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, 11th edition.  I haven’t made a whole lot from this book, but I like that it has a lot of cooking tips and pointers throughout the book.  This is a very tasty stew, and even though it’s a little warm out for stew now, I still wanted to make it.  I did it on the stove top, which is very time-consuming, but you can do it in the slow cooker as well.  I just forgot to get it in the slow cooker this morning!

Old Fashioned Beef Stew
Original recipe here

What you need:

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cups cubed potato (about 3 medium)
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup sliced carrot (2 medium)

How to make it:

Place flour in a plastic bag. Add meat cubes, shaking to coat. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil.  Add meat and brown; drain fat. Stir in beef broth, water, onion, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon cube, oregano, marjoram, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat is nearly tender.

Stir in potato, green beans, corn, and carrot. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 30 minutes more or until meat and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf.

Makes 5 servings (about 7 cups).

Slow Cooker directions:

Prepare and brown meat as above. In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, layer meat, onion, potatoes, green beans, corn, and carrot. Decrease beef broth to 2 cups. Combine beef broth, water, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon cube, oregano, marjoram, pepper, and bay leaf. Pour over meat and vegetables in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.

Roast Leg of Lamb

8 Apr


This is one of my husband’s favorites.   Unfortunately, the price of lamb makes it so we can’t enjoy it very often, but we do splurge to get it every so often.  This leg of lamb we got at the local Farmer’s Market from San Ysidro Farms.  It turned out really good, so good that even my 3-year-old asked for seconds.  This was our Easter meal, and I served bread and celery dressing and roasted asparagus with this.


Roast Leg of Lamb

What you need:

5-6 lb leg of lamb
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut lengthwise
Juice of 1 lemon
Red wine (I usually use merlot)

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Make quarter-inch deep incisions in all sides of lamb and insert a sliver of garlic in each slit.  See picture below.

Baste with lemon juice and red wine and season with oregano and rosemary.  Place on a rack inside a roasting pan.  Cook fat side up for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes.  You may need to add water to the bottom of the roasting pan to help with basting.  Turn leg over to brown other side as well, 1-2 hours, or until desired temperature is reached. 130 F – 140 F for rare, 140 F – 150 F for medium, and 150 F – 160 F for well done.

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