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Posts Tagged ‘main dishes’

Something old and something new

Our weather is warm today but supposed to be a bit cooler next week. Before it gets really warm I wanted to post this old recipe for beef stew which we have enjoyed for many, many years. It is best with long, slow simmering but if you don't have a long afternoon at home you could break up the process by cooking the meat one evening and then adding the vegetables and cooking them with the beef until tender the next day. This is one of my favorites.


Hearty Beef Stew

2 lbs. stew meat or a chuck roast cut into cubes
2-3 Tbsps. cooking oil
4 cups water
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized cubes
6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/4" thick
1 medium onion cut into bite sized chunks (optional)
1 cup frozen peas

In Dutch oven or large soup kettle brown meat in small batches in hot oil. Try to get it nice and brown as this helps develop the flavor. Place all meat in the kettle and then add the water, tomato sauce, chopped onion, garlic powder, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Add the potatoes, onions, and carrots and simmer 40-60 minutes until they are also tender. Taste the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like a thicker sauce you can thicken this with 1/4 cup flour mixed with 1/4 cup water. Add the frozen peas and cook a few minutes more until they are done to your liking. Remove bay leaf and serve. This is delicious served with biscuits or cornbread.

Something new in our area which I learned about recently is The Carolina Honey Bee Company which is located in Travelers Rest, SC.


It is a new little shop which carries local honey, bee keeping supplies, products made from honey and beeswax, and bee themed items. They let you sample the different types of honey which they sell. They feature recipes and other uses for honey on their Facebook page. I purchased some honey as a gift for a friend and they packaged it in a cute little gift bag.


It's a nice little shop and I hope you will check it out if you are in the area.


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Links to a few more new recipes


Today we have so many sources for new recipes -- magazines, newspapers, blogs, Pinterest, etc. Since I cook for just the two of us most of the time I often find I have small amounts of various ingredients leftover. When I saw this idea for making Mini Lasagnas I thought it would be perfect for using up some ricotta cheese that was in the freezer. DD Nora gave me some leftover wonton wrappers that she had in her freezer and I had everything else on hand. They go together quickly and are very tasty. I baked these in silicone cupcake liners, but they are not essential if you spray the muffins tins thoroughly.

Do be sure to let them cool a few minutes in the pan before you try to remove them or they will be difficult to unmold.

A friend from church recently posted on Facebook a picture of this recipe which she had tried. I had everything on hand for this one except the enchilada sauce. I found this recipe which made enough sauce for two batches of the soup. I froze one portion for future use. Both Rob and I really liked this. If you make the sauces ahead of time this goes together very quickly. I didn't have Rotel tomatoes so substituted regular tomatoes with a pinch of red pepper flakes.

This summer friends took us to a Chinese restaurant and we had some delicious lettuce wraps as an appetizer. Aldi has recently started carrying fresh ground chicken and when I saw this recipe I decided to try making some lettuce wraps at home. Once again I substituted a few red pepper flakes for the chili garlic sauce. Can you tell I'm a wimp when it comes to hot, spicy foods? We both really liked these wraps and I plan to make them again.

What are some of your favorite sources for recipes and cooking inspiration?


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Another idea for leftover ham

Years ago I attended a rehearsal dinner where the mother of the groom had made meatballs made of ham and cooked in a tangy sweet sauce. They were delicious and I have searched for a similar recipe ever since. I recently discovered this one and it's a keeper.

Ham Balls in Barbecue Sauce

2 eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs (mine were dried)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsps. milk
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
dash pepper
about 2 cups ground ham
about 1 lb. ground pork or ground beef (I used pork)

1/2 cup catsup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsps. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard

In a mixing bowl combine the eggs, bread crumbs, onion, milk, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, pepper, ham, and ground meat. Mix well and form into about 12 meatballs. Place in a greased baking dish.

In a bowl combine the catsup, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp. dry mustard. Pour over the ham balls. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 mins. or until a temperature of 160 degrees.

These can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to one day or frozen for about a month. If frozen thaw overnight in refrigerator. I had frozen mine ahead of time and added the sauce right before baking. I served them with these potatoes. This blog has some great recipes and many wonderful ideas for preparing food for large groups.

Megan and Maddie are continuing to do well. She returns to the doctor tomorrow and hopes he will lower her blood pressure medication even more. She has posted a couple more blog posts this week here and here if you are interested in following the saga. ๐Ÿ™‚


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Another Busy Week

It's been another busy week here at our house. This was the first official week of school and classes started on Wednesday. There's always lots to do and figure out the first couple of weeks before everyone gets settled into the new routine.

Nora is gaining strength and stamina and I think she will be glad to be able to get back to work and start earning money to pay off her medical bills which are beginning to trickle in. We are very thankful for the good progress she has made and for your prayers and well wishes for her recovery.

I cooked some pinto beans in the crockpot earlier this week and used some of them to make these

picture of Easy Beans and Rice

Easy Beans and Rice

1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 lb. kielbasa, sliced
8 oz. tomato sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups pinto beans (or one 16 oz. can drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (see directions below)
1 bay leaf
thyme, salt, and pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet. Saute onion, celery, and green pepper for a few minutes. Add the sausage and garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add the spices, broth, tomato sauce, and beans. Simmer for about 10 mins. Add the rice and heat through. Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream or plain yogurt. Very tasty and inexpensive. If you like things a bit spicy you could add hot sauce to taste.

My friend Sandy encouraged me to try baking brown rice in the oven. It only takes a few more minutes than on the stove top and doesn't require any stirring or pot watching. Another benefit is that is doesn't boil over! I like to bake a large batch and then freeze portions for future use. The rice reheats quickly in the microwave. Just add a small amount of water when reheating and you will have fluffy hot rice in minutes.

Brown Rice in the Oven

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
2 tsps. oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients in a two quart casserole dish. Bake covered with a lid or foil for 60 minutes at 375 degrees. Can double in a 9" x 13" dish. Use immediately or portion out and freeze for later use. I often bake this ahead on Saturday and then just reheat for Sunday dinner.


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Stuffed Shells

I made stuffed shells on Saturday and realized that it was a recipe I had never posted on my blog. The shells can be made ahead and either refrigerated or frozen. In fact, I think they are actually better when they are made ahead because the filling sort of "sets up" and seems a little firmer after baking. You can freeze the shells in a single layer in a pan or on a tray and then put them in a bag in the freezer and just take out the number you need for a meal.

Here are the filled shells:

picture of Raw Stuffed Shells

Here are the shells right out of the oven:

picture of Sauced Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells

1 egg
15 oz. cottage cheese (about 2 cups)
1 heaping cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1 Tbsp. dried
1/2 tsp. salt
dash white pepper
20 jumbo shells, cooked and then rinsed with cold water
about 3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce

Beat egg lightly. Stir in cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. Spoon approximately a heaping tablespoonful into each cooked shell. Arrange in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Top with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins. Serves 4-6.

This recipe can easily be doubled. If baking from the refrigerator or freezer you will need to increase the baking time. Store in the refrigerator or freezer without the sauce. Add the sauce and final dusting of parmesan cheese just before baking.

picture of Served Stuffed Shells

You can also add some cooked spinach to the filling if desired. This makes a tasty meal served with salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!


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