Baked Penne & Salami

Okay - not a crock pot recipe but you can convert it if you wanted to.

One package penne pasta
One large jar Ragu spaghetti sauce (I like the garlic-herb flavor for this)
1/2 lb salami/summer sausage (I used garlic flavored)
1/2 - 2/3 C dehydrated onion
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder (NOT salt)
1 tsp onion powder
Parmesan cheese

In casserole (I used my enameled cast iron pot) pour in pasta & onion.  Pour in sauce, garlic, onion powder, seasoning, one sauce container full of water (about 1qt); stir.  Slice salami/summer sausage VERY thinly, then into strips about 1/4inch wide - add to the pot.  

Bake COVERED at 375F for 60 minutes, stir at least once half way through and then topping it with cheese.

This fed 5 adult appetites ... and I had a little left over.

We had this with a bit of String-Cheese Garlic toast

Burger Rice Hotdish

TAnother stovetop dish that can easily be converted for the crockpot .... and I used dehydrated veggies from food to rage/pantry so it's good for camping trips too

1# ground beef (I used 90% lean, so I did not drain later)
1/2C dehydrated onion
2/3 - 3/4C dehydrated carrots
1 can peas (1pt jar of home canned can also be used)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Rice (I prefer Minute Rice, but any will do it will just effect cooking time)

1)Brown meat
2)add dried onions to meat towards end of browning, let cook a while
3)add peas, including liquid in the can, add another can of water
4)add carrots.  Bring to boil, when reached reduce heat & cover. Simmer 29 minutes.
5)add ONE can of soup, mix well making sure all clumps are gone.
7)stir in rice. With Minute Rice I turned off the heat & let it sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork.
8)after rice is cooked, add lest can of soup ... This will keep it more gravy-like & not absorbed by the rice.

If you use other rice, increase the water according to rice instructions ... increase cook time as necessary.

1)brown meat first, but don't "crisp" it just get the pink out.  Place in crock
2)add veggies, using a little extra water.
3)add one can soup  
3b) if using long cooking rice add it now, if using quick rice add later
4)set to low cook 6-8hrs /OR/ set to high cook 2 - 4 hrs
5a) if using quick cooking rice add 1/2 hour before serving.
5) Fluff rice, top with other can of soup.  Let set 10 minutes.


Makes approximently 4- 1cup servings .... I had my oldest daughter home for dinner, so a couple slices of buttered bread stretched it out nicely :-)

If you add stressed cheese, you could make a cheeseburger version of this dish, perhaps even exchange one of the soups for cheese soup.

My family like bed it, no left overs at all!

Steak & Kidney vs. Beef Pot Pie

My husband has gotten me listening to an old BBC radio show called "Steptoe and Son" .... For us Americans, it's very simu,at to "Sanford & Son" from the 1970s/80s 

Well I've heard of Steak & Kidney Pies for years -- since I was a girl.  I thought I saw Julia Childs make one using gelatin to hold it all in place in a mold ... So I've always avoided it.  I like Spam a lot, and kidneys hold o fear for me, but I just thought - all that clear gel, yuck ... So I avoided it.

Well in this mornings episode they were eating steak & kidney pie ... I thought - okay, I'm older now I guess I could give it a try ... So I started looking for recipes online ...

Imagine my shock when I found out that it is basically pot pie!  I love pot pie!

There's a few differences ...

First Beef Pot Pie:
I tend to use left over stew or thickened soup for the filling with extra veggies added in.  But it's all cooked and ready for the crust.

Steak & Kidney Pie
Beef is browned in large cubes, kidney is cut into small ones.  Onions & carrots are diced very small so they "melt" into the filling, lending their flavor but not their texture.
Beer is added to the sauce as well for extra flavor, but I'm sure most of the alcohol is cooked out since you have to simmer the filling for 2 1/2 - 3 hours!  I suggest making the filling the night before since it should be at room temp before filling the pie shell.

But other than that ... They are basically the same!

So I guess I will have to make some Steak & Kidney pie here fairly soon ... As soon as I can find some kidneys that is.  Liver is easier to locate, kidney, not so much.

NOT JUST Another One!

I feel like such a donkey right now .... Only one that doesn't use the nice word for it.... 

See this is what I tend to do .... I comment and THEN I find things out .... Yes, that makes me Shreks side kick ... Big Time!

So here's what I found out ...

If you go to Leann Brown's web page
You will find a link to a FREE PDF on the left hand side ... Yes, it's totally free ... 

It's like the first addition of her cookbook (the one on QVC was more refined/polished) .

You are allowed -- actually encouraged -- to download it.

If however you can afford to either give to her start up drive or wish to purchase a book online, a portion of the cost of the book will go to supply books to those who either do not have Internet connection .... And yes, there is still a LARGE portion of our nation which does not have it ... Or to give copies to schools!

OMGosh .... That's so special!

She has a short video on the site (scroll towards the bottom of her page) you can watch to see the details.

Yes ... I am leaving the original post -- as embarrassing as it is --- at the end of this reporting ...

Call it my penance for typing before I read thoroughly enough .... 

Yes ... I. Am. An. ASS

@$$ @$$ @$$ @$$ @$$ @$$

I  saw another cookbook on QVC today that started life as a blog ... Kind of like this one .... But she has only been blogging for little over a YEAR!!

That's it .... Just a year ... She began in 2014 and she already has a cookbook out there.

The thing that gets me?

Most of the recipes I saw on the show, which are supposed to be in her book ... Are still ON HER SITE!

Maybe it's just sore grapes ... But why can't I write a cook book?

Why can't I make a million bucks from what I do third best?

Crocheting is number one ....

Raising kids, number two .... maybe ...

Oh well.

Gravy & Mashed Potatoes

Well tonight was a quick meal ... We had to go running around and I didn't get back until 5pm so I had to rush to get a meal on!

I used short cut potatoes, but you can use real potatoes and mash/rice them if you'd prefer .... They do taste better (I like to leave some chunks in there for texture when I make them from scratch)

Gravy & Mashed Potatoes
For the gravy:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
One can of green/sweet peas
Beef stock
Corn starch

Mashed potato flakes

1)Start by browning the ground beef, making sure the meat is in piece to give something to chew
2)Add in the onion near the end of browning, cook them until softened but not browned
3)add in the veggies, salt, and spices 
4)add 2 1/2 - 3 cups of broth ... If you are using beef base, place into ground beef before veggies so it can melt a bit then add veggies and water they are packed in along with the extra water
5)let simmer for 20 minutes 
6)in 1 cup COLD water, mix in a tablespoon or so of corn starch.  Make sure there are no clumps or lumps - then while CONSTANTLY stirring, add this slurry to the beef broth, so it does not clump up.
7)cook for 5-10 minutes to thicken ... Make your mashed potatoes according to directions on your box or bag.

Sorry, no photos ... It doesn't look very appetizing with ground beef but it tastes very good.

You will notice that I did not mention draining off the fat -- we buy the leanest meat we can get, this time it was very very lean, I did not have to drain and had even considered adding oil to my pan but changed my mind.  If you are buying a fattier grind or are on a low fat diet, you can drain the fat off or even wash the meat off to rid more of the fat away (I had to do this for my mother after her stroke, she hated it at first but soon got used to it)

Now about POTATOES

If you wish to make this with your own mashed potatoes I suggest using waxy/red potatoes instead of russet/baking potatoes - I find russets tend to get "mealy" when they are boiled.  

I prefer chunks in my home made mashed potatoes so I mash lightly - my mother preferred very creamy potatoes and used a ricer (I wish I had gotten it way back when).  Rivers are fairly cheap, you put your boiled potatoes in side and then close the ricer & squeeze ... Kind of like a garlic press only much larger.  You can also use them to make baby food, applesauce, mashed turnips/parsnips, and pumpkin purée for pie or soup.  Thus the reason I'd like to have gotten it

Do NOTwhip your potatoes, it will make them starchy like wallpaper paste! 

I also put my butter into the hot potatoes before the milk so it will melt -- adding the butter into the potatoes before serving will help you use less butter per person but help give lots of flavor ... I use like 1 teaspoon per person .... As opposed to a big slab per person when on the plate.

For simple family meals I use skim milk in my potatoes, just enough to make them creamy-ish but not so much that they won't hold a plop shape when served .... For company I use a can of condensed milk but no butter - it won't be needed since all the milk fat is still in there.

You know what? 

I think I will do a special post on making mashed potatoes later on ...

Did it Again

Did it again didn't I? 

I've been forgetting to post on this blog again ...

Sorry ...

But we haven't really taken to Soup Night the way I had hoped

Hubby likes a more substantial supper than that

So .... No recipes :-(

I have been cooking though .... Lately a LOT of chicken since Cub Foods had it on sale last week for 99¢ a pound .... Not the greatest price - about normal for two or three yrs ago - but about half off what it costs now .... I've just got to separate the parts myself.

I haven't even done any canning this past year -- no crops, no decent prices all meant the same thing -- no fresh fruit/veggies to can up

This year WILL be different ....

I hope

Cheesy Turkey & Rice Hotdish

Yes a typical Me nnesotan dish ... er, HOTDISH a ... I used dehydrated stuff in the oven -- and no canned cream of mushroom soup.  So a bit different ... But when you had a mother get put on a No Salt, No Fat diet and have to suddenly start cooking the meals until she can learn to use the right side of herself again ... Well ... It changes how you cook FOREVER!

I will put a recipe for the regular Hotdish afterwards ...

Instant Rice
One pkg low-sodium powdered cheesy broccoli soup
Dehydrated carrots
Dehydrated mushrooms
Dehydrated spinach
Dehydrated sweet peppers 
Left-over turkey

I had to feed five of us -- I use two handfuls per serving (remember it swells while cooking) and put in the bottom of a 7x11 or 9x13 pan.
Sprinkle the DRY soup mix evenly over the top.
Next prickle two handfuls of carrots over the top
My family loves mushrooms so I cover the top with those
Layer on three handfuls of spinach ... I tell hubby it's "parsley" cuz he hates spinach ... Shhhhhhh
Then one hand of the sweet peppers get sprinkled across the top
Top the whole thing off with the turkey ... It will hold everything under the water. 
Put the pan in your oven -- then pour in the water ... I used 42-44 oz but I probably could have went with 48oz/1qt.  
DO NOT STIR, just let it bake as it is.  Trust me
Now turn your oven on ...
350F for 1/2 hour. 

When finished, test a bit in the center to make sure all the veggies rehydrated and that the rice is soft.  

Serve ... We did not need soy sauce but some might want it.

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Cheesy Rice Hotdish -- regular recipe
In your slow cooker put:
2 cups rice (any kind will work)
2 cut up carrots
2 ribs celery, diced
Small can mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can chesty soup
4-6 cups of water, milk can be substituted for up to 1/3 of this
Left over turkey

Turn it on low, cook for 6-8 hours