Hamburger Helper Style Salisbury Steak

Hamburger Helper Salisbury Steak (4)

I can always tell when we are getting into the busy season in the Event business . . . shortcut meals start hitting the dinner table in record numbers. Oh but it is better to make a quick meal at home than it is to wiz through the nearest fast-food joint and bring home a bag of whatever. What is this now? Oh yes –  installment nine. We’re getting quite the collection of Hamburger Helper style suppers.

Hamburger-helper-saleUnlike its boxed counterpart, this Hamburger Helper has real mushrooms. While not all Salisbury Steaks have a mushroom sauce, most do. It’s those mushrooms in the sauce that give Salisbury Steak its earthy flavor. And lets face it, you cannot put fresh mushrooms in a box, no matter how hard you try. It’s either dehydrated mushrooms or those cute little button mushrooms in a can. One of my favorite comfort dishes has got to be Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy and while Hamburger Helper might not be the same thing, it’s not a bad second.

Served up with a simple lettuce and tomato salad, you’ve got a quick meal the whole family is sure to love. What I like about this particular recipe is the wonderful smells in the kitchen. Be it the mushrooms or the “dash” of Worcestershire Sauce – it is smelling oh so good!

Hamburger Helper Style Salisbury Steak
Ingredient – Seasoning Package:
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 ½ Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper

Mix together seasoning package. Set aside until ready to use.

Ingredients – Salisbury Steak
1 lb Lean Ground Beef (or Turkey)
1 Cup Beef Stock
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 ½ Small Egg Noodles
1 Cup Brown Mushrooms, sliced
A Dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain well.

Add stock, milk, pasta and sliced mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Stir in seasoning package and Worcestershire sauce. Cover; reduce; heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minuets or until most of the liquid has evaporated and noodles are tender.

Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

Butterfly Pesto Pasta Salad – As summer begins to fade

Butterfly Pesto Pasta Salad

My oh my – where did the summer go? Okay, so in the Northern Hemisphere, the actual end of summer and beginning of fall is September 22nd. However; the unofficial end of summer is Labor Day Weekend – that last hurrah. How is it possible that the entire summer has managed to slip by me and I haven’t made one of my favorite picnic salads all year? Hum, wonder if not going on a picnic has anything to do with it? This has been one short, hot summer!

This recipe is one I have shared before – as part of bigger cast of players with Let’s Pack a Picnic Together and again on its own a two years ago (yeah, it’s that good)! My guys aren’t pesto fans, but they sure do like this creamy pasta salad. I’ve even served it up in the shape of a butterfly. (Hey, cake pans aren’t just for baking cakes ya know – I use mine as molds for all sorts of things. Just as cookie cutters aren’t just for cookies).

This pasta dish would great for your next barbecue party. While others might be providing the chips and salsa to the next backyard get together, you can bring the pasta salad – cool, creamy and oh so delicious!

Butterfly Pesto Pasta Salad
3 Garlic Cloves, unpeeled
1 Cup Fresh Basil
1 ½ Cups Baby Spinach
¼ Cups Pine Nuts
¼ Cup Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese
½ Cup Best Foods Mayonnaise
1 lb Farfalle Pasta (bow-tie)
1/4 Cup or so Reserved cooking water

Toast garlic in a small skillet over medium-heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant and color deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let garlic cool, then peel and chop coarse.

Process garlic, basil, spinach, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Add Parmesan Cheese and mayonnaise, continue to process until thoroughly combined. Transfer pesto to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. (Mixture can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring often, until pasta is just past al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of pasta cooking water, drain pasta. Toss pasta with a little olive oil and spread into a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Let pasta cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss cooled pasta with pesto, adding reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until pesto evenly coasts pasta.

Feta, Roasted Peppers and Chive Tea Sandwiches Kissed with Love

Feta Tea Sandwiches (4)

Yesterday was our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Not too shabby for a couple of wild and crazy “kids” who eloped after dating for just a week. They say when you know it’s right, it’s right. Today Hubby has some medical tests scheduled – which meant fasting for him on our Anniversary. No big celebration for us – just a quiet evening at home. After 30 years of marriage, holding hands and just being there for one another is an expression of love that can’t be bought.

I knew fasting would be hard on Hubby. So I decided to make something for dinner that he would have no desire to eat – seemed the supportive thing to do. Kiddo and I love feta cheese. And these lovely little bites were perfect for us. While I didn’t garnish the serving platter with pretty flowers, the “spirit” of these colorful little Tea Sandwiches remained intact.

I even brewed up a pot of tea. Love Kiddo when he joins me in my little indulgences. We had a “Tea Party” for supper. Love Hubby when he doesn’t question my need to indulge in prim and proper parties of long ago. I’m truly blessed with some awesome men in my life.

Tea Sandwiches: Feta, Roasted Peppers and Chive Tea Sandwiches
8 slices sandwich bread
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup roasted peppers, coarsely chopped
1/4 Cup Fresh chives, finely chopped

Place a handful of mini sweet peppers in a cast iron skillet. Place on the stove top over medium-high heat. Roast peppers in skillet until skin begins to blacken and blister. Rotate peppers and continue to roast until peppers are nicely blistered, about 10 minutes total.

Remove peppers from skillet, allow to cool for a few minutes, then place pepper while still warm into a zip-lock bag. Allow steam to soften skins.

Remove peppers from bag, cut tops from peppers, and remove seeds. Chop peppers as desired.

Toast the bread in a toaster. Once toasted, using a round biscuit cutter, cut 2″ circles from bread. Lightly butter toast rounds.

Place the feta, roasted peppers and chives on the bread. Serve and enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

TDF Meatball Sandwiches

Meatball Sandwiches (6)

Inspired by Suffocation Meatball Sandwiches over at; these awesome Meatball Sandwiches were a big hit with my guys. The melted Provolone Cheese, warm bread and a little kiss of garlic butter were wonderful! A Spicy Marinara Sauce added just the right amount of kick. Using frozen meatballs made short work of the preparation process.

I’ve never been a fan of meatball sandwiches. All it took was one bite and now I’m a convert – yeah, gonna have these again – and soon!

TDF Meatball Sandwiches
4 Sub Sandwich Rolls
16 Frozen Italian Meatballs
1/2 Jar Spicy Marinara Sauce
8 slices provolone cheese
1/2 Cup Melted Butter
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder or to taste
Pepprocini Peppers for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place meatballs in a sauce pan and cover with Marinara Sauce. Heat over medium heat, about 20 minutes.

Melt butter in a small skillet and season with garlic powder

Slice bread lengthwise and paint the inside of the rolls with melted garlic butter, followed by warm Marinara Sauce.

Fold Provolone cheese in half, place 2 folded slices on the bottom of each roll.

Warm rolls in the oven until cheese melts, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven.

Place 4 meatballs smothered in Marinara Sauce over melted cheese. Close rolls.

Slice into manageable pieces (down middle between two meatballs works best) and serve with Pepperocini peppers as desired.

Spice Rubbed Tri-Tip Pot Roast

Crock Pot Tri Tip Roast

We are enjoying a nice break from the triple-digit heat. Hubby wanted to take off and do something outdoors. The problem with that is Sundays are a big cooking day. You know, make something that takes hours, such as a nice roast beef or chicken. Something wonderful that can’t be usually can’t be prepared during the week. Generally speaking, crock pot meals can be left on the counter to simmer up something wonderful at the end of a long day at the office. However; it also must be something that can come together quickly in the morning – ten or fifteen minutes tops. Weekday mornings are hectic enough – coffee to brew, lunches to pack and all the other “get ready to face the day” routines. From the time the alarm shatters the tranquility of a dreamy morning to hitting the door running, it’s just about forty-five minutes. Lately, my butt has really been dragging, and I can’t seem to add start dinner in the crock pot into my morning routine unless it involves very little effort.

Soaking wood chips, making a parchment-paper pouch, rubbing meat with a spice-rub (not to mention mixing up the rub) – what can I say – that would require more effort than I was willing to do. However; have a cup of coffee unhurried, then get the pot going, yeah, that would be okay. While the tri-tip was “smoking” in the crock pot, there would be time enough to enjoy our Sunday. If I timed my morning just right, the crock pot would be going and breakfast would be hitting the table by the time my guys were ready to brave the day. All would be right with the world.

UPDATE: The original recipe was called Spice Rubbed Crock Pot Smoked Tri-Tip. However; that is NOT what the end result produced. For one thing, the pepper was way too heavy, and the juices in the pot way too strong of red wine with very little hint of smoke. I’ve reduced the pepper; added beef broth and liquid smoke to the final phase of cooking. Now what I have is a flavorful Pot Roast. Hence, the name change. Had I known, I would have planned mashed potatoes and green beans or some other vegetable. Winging it, I made potato cakes. My guys (being meat and potatoes kind of guys) were pleased. I’ll make this again, with a different approach.

Spice Rubbed Tri-Tip Pot Roast
Smoked Tri-Tip
3-4 lbs Tri-Tip
1-2 cups mesquite wood chips (depends on size of crock-pot), soaked
1 Large Sheet Parchment Paper
1/2 cup of Red Wine
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke

Soak wood chips in water for at least 30 to 45 minutes. While chips are soaking, mix dry rub.

Once wood chips have soaked, drain from water. Depending upon size of crock pot, cut a large piece of parchment paper. Place wood chips on parchment paper. Fold paper over chips to create a package. Place directly on bottom of crock pot, seam/fold down to hold in place.

With small scissors or paring knife, cut small holes here and there in the top of the paper to allow “smoky” steam to escape.

Unwrap tri-tip and place directly on top of paper.

Add wine to the pot, cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.

Remove tri-tip from crock pot,  set aside. Remove parchment packet from pot and discard. Add beef stock and liquid smoke. Return tri-tip to crock pot. Increase to HIGH and continue to cook another 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove meat from pot, slice. Spoon juices from pot over meat and serve.

Rub Mix
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Chile Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Chipotle Spice
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
2 Teaspoons Mustard Powder
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder

In a small bowl, mix together seasonings for rub mix.

Rub all sides of the tri-tip with dry rub. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit on the counter to soak in the seasonings.

BLT Wraps

BLT Wraps

My guys love BLTs – any way you slice them, they gobble ’em up. Here’s a great way to make an American favorite – as a wrap. Great while watching your favorite game on the TV – or as part of a buffet table. Stack ’em and wrap ’em in foil for your next picnic or outing. Maybe you’re just looking for a light meal – a little deli salad (such as potato) or some chips. These are so versatile and oh so easy to make, assemble and serve.

BLT Wraps
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
8 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 large head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (optional)
16 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine mayonnaise and tomatoes in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

Fry bacon, drain on paper towels. Once cool enough to handle, crumble bacon into a bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

Warm Tortillas on a flat griddle sprayed with a little cooking spray. This will soften tortillas and make it easier to roll. Stack warm tortillas on a plate.

Working with the top tortilla, spread the mayonnaise-tomato mixture evenly over one side of the tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Layer lettuce, onions, and bacon evenly over tortilla; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roll tortilla about a quarter turn; fold end toward center and continue to roll. Cut wrap in half diagonally, and secure with wooden pick.

Transfer to a serving platter. Repeat until all the tortillas have been filled.

Hot and Spicy Chicken Club Sandwiches


A few nights ago, we had a quick and easy chicken “wrap/sandwich” – One-Pan Chicken Philly Pitas – with an awesome, spicy mayonnaise spread. Last night, I was making another of those quick and easy recipes I’ve shared before, my Super Easy Chicken Club Sandwich, and that’s when it struck me – combine the two. The results were awesome – all the easy of the Chicken Club with the extra kick from the spicy mayo.

Don’t forget, save a little mayo for your fries . . . as a dipping sauce it is wonderful. Reminded me of the fries we loved so much from a restaurant long since forgotten The Dive. This was a giant submarine right on the Las Vegas Strip. An upscale hamburger joint. Expensive? Oh yeah, but the food was to die for good.

Sorry, no pictures of last night’s sandwich – just use your imagination – same sandwich with Pepper Jack Cheese and a mayo spread that is orange in color. Maybe next time I’ll remember to snap a picture and update this posting.


Hot and Spicy Chicken Club Sandwiches
6 Tyson Chicken Patties
6 Slices Bacon, crisp
6 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese
6 Hamburger Buns, lightly grilled
1/3 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2-1 Tablespoon Sriracha
Sea Salt, to taste
1 Large Tomato, sliced
6 Lettuce Leaves

Cook chicken patties in the oven as directed. While the chicken is baking, fry bacon crisp and let drain on paper towels.

Mix mayonnaise, Sriracha Sauce and Sea Salt in a small bowl.

Wipe down griddle, butter buns and toast lightly.

Place sliced cheese on chicken patties, return to oven long enough for cheese to melt.

Spread mayonnaise on toasted buns. Place lettuce and tomato on bottom bun. Top with chicken patty. Top patty with bacon and top bun. Serve.