Thursday, May 28, 2009

My favorite sandwich

My favorite sandwich - since childhood - is the Reuben Sandwich. Yes, the toasted Rye bread, corned beef, SAUERKRAUT, swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing make up my favorite sandwich. This fall, I decided to introduce my oldest two - Dash and Angelina to the flavor of the Rueben. I only gave them a quarter of a sandwich - wouldn't want to waste any. To my delight, and surprise, they liked it enough to want more!

Don't worry, I didn't even try it with my youngest two. I'm of the mind that some flavors, like sauerkraut, need a little maturity.

The Rueben Sandwich
Yield: 1 serving

2 slices Rye bread*
3 thin slices corned beef (this varies with the cut and thickness of corned beef)
1 slice swiss cheese
1/4 cup sauerkraut
1-2 Tbl. Thousand Island dressing

1. On a small plate, melt the swiss cheese over the sliced corned beef in the microwave (about 25 seconds). While this is melting in the microwave, toast two slices of Rye bread in the toaster. I choose not to butter my bread, but you can if you prefer.

2. Slide the corned beef and melted cheese onto one slice of toasted Rye Bread.

3. Spread the sauerkraut over the top of the melted cheese.

4. Spread the Thousand Island dressing over top of the sauerkraut.

5. Cover with the second slice of toasted Rye bread, slice your sandwich and ENJOY!

*I prefer the dark Rye bread, but that wasn't available at the store where I shopped last week. So, I settled for the light. Still had good flavor, but the dark adds more in my opinion.

Friday, May 15, 2009

This is the PERFECT DISH ....

... for the Father-Son Camping Trip!

Yes, my hubby is taking the boys - even almost 3yo, not-potty-trained-yet, Graham - on a Father-Son Camping Trip sponsored by our homeschool group. I always try to send a few items that can be shared by all. This baked bean recipe (either cold or heated) has been appreciated and so have the Special K Bars and homemade Trail Mix, which I send EVERY year.

This recipe is also great for Homeschool potlucks ( or any potluck for that matter) and it happens to be my favorite recipe for baked beans. I wasn't really a fan of baked beans until I tried this recipe. I think it has to do with simmering the first set of ingredients for 20 minutes and then baking for an hour. The flavors meld together to create something more than 'just beans'.

The Sweet-Sour Baked Beans would have been great at the Camping Trip .... if they hadn't been left in the frig at home ...

Yield: 12 servings
Original Recipe From: Grandma Green Acres

8 slices bacon, fried crisp and sliced about ¼ “ thick
4 med. Onions, diced fine
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
½ cup cider vinegar
1 – 15oz. can butter beans, drained
1 – 15oz. can light red kidney beans, drained
1 – 15oz. can navy OR Great Northern beans, drained
1 – 28oz. can baked beans, undrained

Place onions in skillet; add sugar, mustard, garlic powder, salt and vinegar. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Simmering the onion & spices is what makes this dish extra tasty!

Bacon - nice & crispy!

Add crumbled bacon and the remaining ingredients. Pour into 3-quart casserole and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 1 hour. Transfer to a crock pot if taking for a pot-luck.

FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS: Cool completely. Transfer to freezer safe container and freeze. OR, transfer to a freezer zip-loc bag and freeze flat.

RE-HEATING: Thaw completely in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees or stove-top until heated through.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Aunt Krista's Taco Hotdish

Couple reasons for making this today ... (1) I expected leftovers from last night - there were not enough to feed me & the kids and (2) I have lettuce that needs to be used asap. My Aunt made this for my cousin's graduation (she said it's his favorite hotdish) and everyone in the family enjoyed it. WARNING: This hotdish doesn't keep well. With that fact in mind, I'm only going to make a half batch in an 8"x8" pan for dinner.

Aunt Krista’s Taco Hotdish
Yields: 10-12 servings

1 bag Taco Chips (Doritos)
2 lb. browned hamburger
1 32oz. jar Ragu or other spaghetti sauce
Shredded lettuce (1 bag for 13x9 pan)
3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced
2-4 cups cheese (mozzarella or cheddar or a mix)
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350. Spray bottom of 13x9 pan. Crush the bag of chips and layer on bottom of pan. Spread hamburger over the chips. Pour the spaghetti sauce over the meat. Layer on the following: shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and cheese.

Heat in oven until cheese is melted and dish is heated through, about 15-20 minutes. Top each portion with sour cream.

Optional: The kids and I think black olives would be a great addition to the layers

Monday, May 11, 2009

Potato Pizza Bake with a Spicy Twist

Well, here I was again tonight doing the 'last minute supper dash'. I came up with Potato Pizza Bake. I had all the ingredients, except for Cheddar cheese soup. But, I did have Southwestern Style Pepper Jack soup. A quick substitute and the dish was into the oven with about 15-20 minutes of prep time.

BTW, I do have my menu plan done, but since Eric is out in the field trying to do as much as possible before an impending rainstorm, I figured steak probably wasn't a good choice for tonight. Besides, neither he nor I want to get caught grilling in the rain on our grass-less yard!

Potato Pizza Bake - Pepper Jack Style
Yield: 10-12 servings
Original Recipe From: Grandma Green Acres

1 lb. ground beef, browned
4 cups potatoes, thinly sliced
1 med. onion, chopped
1 can Southwestern Style Pepper Jack soup
1/2 soup can of milk
15 oz. can tomato sauce
3/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Brown beef. Place potatoes and onions in a large baking dish (7"x13") sprayed with cooking spray.

Spread meat over the top.

Mix cheese soup with milk until smooth. Add oregano and sugar. Pour soup mixture over the meat and potatoes -- DO NOT STIR.

Pour tomato sauce over all -- again, do not stir.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour*.
Remove cover and sprinkle cheeses over the top.

Return to the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

*Since I was a little short on time, I increased the temp to 400 degrees and cut the baking time to 45 minutes.

NOTE: After tasting the Potato Pizza Bake with the Pepper Jack soup, I can think of no sane reason why I'd go back to the plain Cheddar Cheese soup! The flavor was great!! I also think Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup, which I keep in stock, would taste wonderful, too.

Sourdough Starter

At Easter, my sister brought a catalog from the King Arthur Flour Company. All of us women-folk perused the magazine which boasted of wonderful baking mixes and helpful kitchen utensils. We all ordered a few things that we needed or wanted to try and bundled our orders to receive free shipping. I ordered more of those handy bag clips ... mine had all disappeared in the past few weeks (or maybe they were all being used) ... and a crock and starter for sourdough.

The starter arrived separately, because the plastic shipping jar was damaged in the first shipment. The company quickly replaced the starter and it arrived at my home last Friday. I was amazed at the small amount - not even a tablespoon! The first step was to add 2 tablespoons lukewarm water to loosen it from the plastic shipping jar. Then I was instructed to go through a series of steps where I mixed in water and flour. Twice I discarded half of the mixture and then added more water and flour. I felt like I was throwing out a lot of flour.

The starter is 'resting' right now. I'm at the point where I either need to use or refrigerate the starter. Since I kept both portions this time, I'm going to refrigerate half in the crock and use the other half for waffles tomorrow morning. The waffle recipe asks that you start a 'sponge' overnight, so I'll need to plan ahead to make waffles.

This is the crock, which will be used to store my starter in the refrigerator. Isn't it cute?

Sourdough is wonderful when used for grilled cheese sandwiches. I just hope my sourdough bread is tasty! I have a feeling sourdough has a learning curve, but it also seems forgiving (at least according to the directions that were included).

*The sourdough waffles turned out yummy this morning. Everyone who ate, really liked the flavor. A couple of my kids had already eaten -VERY early risers - so I had plenty of leftovers for tomorrow morning. I'm also going to freeze about a dozen of the 4"x4" squares. I haven't done that before, and am hoping the toaster can revive them to taste almost like freshly made waffles.