Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Super Easy - Crockpot Salisbury Steak



My hubby is a real meat and potatoes kind of man so I'm always trying to dream up new and improved ways of getting dinner on the table that he will enjoy.

One of our go-to meals is round steak or cube steak cooked in the crockpot with cream of mushroom soup or brown gravy mix, which he prefers over mashed potatoes (he even likes instant, so there ya go).  The problem is that cube steak and/or round steak is kind of pricey!

I had a brain storm Monday and decided to try out a similar method for making Doug's go-to meal with hamburger meat.  The one thing I was concerned about was that since we are gone from home for so long during the day, that the long cook time until we got home would pretty much cook the hamburger patties down to nothing.  The solution I came up with was to use hand patted, frozen hamburger patties, which I normally keep in baggies in my freezer for days when we need a quick fix in the kitchen. (Normally, I just cook them in a skillet with a lid as hamburgers/ cheeseburgers from frozen until they are done.)  I figured frozen hamburger patties would be small enough that they would have time to thaw and cook and yet not overcook throughout the day.  

Boy, was I right!  Doug peeled and sliced a few potatoes into the crockpot before we left since he likes potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes.  He only sliced two into the crockpot since I planned on having noodles with mine.

Hamburger is SOOOO much cheaper than steak and throwing frozen hamburger patties, adding a packet of gravy mix and some water in a crockpot can't get any easier for busy mornings.  This meal turned out completely over-the-top wonderful!  Definitely I will be making this often!

This meal was reminiscent for me of the TV dinners I ate at my granny's house when I was little.  Yummy little meat patties covered in thick brown gravy.

Here's how I made EASY CROCKPOT SALISBURY STEAK at home my way:


Easy Crockpot Salisbury Steak

  • Hand patted, FROZEN hamburger patties (I just pat some decent burger into patties, and store individually in my freezer in baggies.  You could also freeze them and stack with wax paper in between - you do neet to get them apart.)
  • 1 package cheap brown gravy mix (mine came from Aldi)
  • 2 cups water 
  • Salt/pepper/onion powder
  • Optional:  Sliced/peeled potatoes (lengthwise), carrots, whatever vegetables you like.  This would be great with some mushrooms as well!
Thickening (for after you get home, but before you eat):

  • 3/4 cup COLD water
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons flour

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place frozen hamburger patties in your crockpot first.   Salt & pepper a little.

Top with any vegetables you are using, if any.  Sprinkle with seasonings like onion powder, salt, pepper.

In a measuring cup, measure the 2 cups of water, and add the gravy mix.  Stir until smooth.  

Pour over vegetables and frozen patties in the crockpot.

Cook on LOW all day!  (At least 8-10 hours).


WHEN YOU GET HOME:

Measure 3/4 cups COLD water in a cup (it has to be COLD).  Add 3 heaping Tablespoons flour and stir until smooth (should be like a runny milkshake).  Pour into crockpot and stir gently.

Replace crockpot lid and let cook while you are getting the rest of your dinner ready.  I made a side, some noodles for me, and mixed up some Homemade Biscuits.  (mmmm!)


Let the thickening in the crockpot cook another 15 or 20 minutes until thick (while you change your clothes, let the dog in- stuff like that).

Now dive in and be so glad that you threw all of this in the crockpot!  YUM!

(Any leftovers will make a great vegetable soup base or even a pot pie!)






Enjoy!


Gina


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Comfort Food - Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole



This weekend we had surprise overnight guests.  Our friends live in Florida so it was super nice to see them.  We wanted to make a really nice meal since they had been living out of a suitcase for many days.  

For supper on Sunday, my hubby smoked a pork loin and some chicken. I was looking to make a side that wasn't our typical, boring baked potatoes and decided to make my husband's family's recipe for Broccoli Cheese Casserole (which has actually has rice in it so I added that to the title). This is always one of the first dishes to be emptied at our family dinners.  It's yummy and cheesy and is always a family favorite.  It goes as well with baked ham and turkey for winter meals as it does with summer BBQ; a year round dish!!


I called my sister-in-law on my cell while I was at Walmart to see if she remembered the recipe.  She was at a ball tournament out of town but this recipe is so easy, she remembered it right off.  


My sister-in-law's recipe makes a 9x13 dish of this casserole.  I only made half of the recipe since my two overnight guests and I would be the only eaters.  


This recipe is fast to prepare. You literally mix it all together and toss it in the oven.  I even mixed it right in the dish.


Our family recipe for Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole uses Cheese Whiz and Minute rice. (eeek!  I know, LOL...)  I have yet to play with the recipe using real cheese and long grain or brown rice, but I'm going to try a few variations to see what I come up with.  For now, this will have to do!  Why mess with perfection when you're craving a family favorite?


Here's how I made Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole AT HOME MY WAY:



Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

  • 2 bags frozen steamable chopped broccoli
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 jar Cheese Whiz
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup instant (Minute) rice (UNCOOKED)
Instructions:

Steam the broccoli.  Carefully open and place in a sprayed 9 x 13 dish.  Add all remaining ingredients.  Stir well and spread evenly in the pan.

Bake @ 350 degrees UNCOVERED for approximately 45 minutes to one hour - or until edges are browning and all bubbly/cheesy.

Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes before serving.


(** If making one-half of this recipe, bake in a regular square or round casserole dish.  Also an 8x8 square pan would work fine.)



I served this dish with the smoked pork/chicken, some corn on the cob, rolls, and another family favorite:






It was a feast, I yell ya!



Enjoy!



Gina

Monday, June 1, 2015

Sunday cooking for the week - May 31, 2015

I was bound and determined this weekend to prepare a few lunch and breakfast items for the week ahead.  This would hopefully make packing lunches and grabbing breakfasts easier as well as helping me save a little moolah.

We have had some seriously cool and rainy weather for the last week or so here in mid Missouri.  Personally, I am ready for warm/hot - summer weather, but it appears I'll be waiting a little longer.....


Rainy/cool weather does make for good cooking weather.  I spent the cool, dreary day doing something I enjoy.  Cooking!  I started the day making breakfast.  My husband loves this combination:







Bakin' Bacon (I didn't make the biscuits-we had bagels.)

Later in the day, I decided to make a batch of these homemade pigs in a blanket to stick in the freezer for fast and easy lunch packing.  These are so easy to make since the dough is made in the bread machine.  I figure one batch of bread dough and a $1.00 package of hot dogs saves me a bunch and they smell oh so yummy coming out of the oven!



While the oven was hot, I made some Chocolate Granola.  Great for my breakfast and snacking pleasure!  I can't get enough of this stuff!




For supper, I made a favorite, Hawaiian Chicken:



I even mixed up my own Homemade Egg Roll Wrappers (easy recipe coming this week) for some Baked Egg Rolls:



Making the egg roll wrappers was so fun!  And they were perfect.  I can't wait to share that recipe here.

I froze my leftover white rice from supper in single portion bags for easy reheating.  Reheating frozen rice works so much better than refrigerated.  I'm not sure why that is, but it is what it is LOL.  I also froze the leftover egg rolls.  I even love them for breakfast!

I had some leftover Best Goulash Ever languishing in my fridge.  Before letting it spoil,  I scooped it into some pint canning jars for storing in the freezer.  They will make great substitutions for canned beefaroni which I don't buy any more.  I'm thinking any sort of "freezes great" type casserole should make wonderful single sized meals if packed in canning jars for my freezer.  I may do more items like this.

I'll share the egg roll wrapper recipe soon!  What a great cooking day!  And it was soooooo much easier packing my lunch and grabbing breakfast this morning since I had so many homemade, and ready choices to pick from.

Have a great week!



Gina


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