Category Archives: meat

I’m not a stickler for having a well-rounded meal with all the parts: meat, veggie, starch, dessert. I’m more of a “just feed my family something wholesome (not full of preservatives) and hope everyone likes it.” So the dishes you find here are easily served with whatever suits your family. Often it’s a pile of grapes or ramekin of applesauce and I call it dinner.

Grilled Steak Reinvented

Made steaks at my mom’s house and brought home the leftovers. Yum.

We visit my mom often. This one particular weekend we decided to go all out and really cook. We grilled steak, made a blue cheese onion sauce, creamed corn (the real stuff – from a garden). And broccoli. My favorite veggie! Then when I was so full I couldn’t keep my pants buttoned I decided instead of making myself sick, I’d pack it up and take it home. Once at home, a few days later, I sliced the steak, added the onion sauce, a few fresh blue cheese crumbles and thinly sliced potatoes with butter and thyme, fried in a pan and then put under the broiler.

Leftovers are sometimes just as good, if not better, than the first meal. Yum. Again.

I don’t have any recipes here or anything. I just wanted to challenge you to think about using your leftovers in new ways. Oh and topping anything like this with a dippy egg (over-easy egg) makes it awesome-er. ;-)

Chicken meatloaf – stuffed with cheese and sun-dried tomatoes

look at this! Look at that provolone cheese and those chunks of sun-dried tomatoes. I already ate this once today and I'm daydreaming about leftovers for tomorrow.

look at this! Look at that provolone cheese and those chunks of sun-dried tomatoes. I already ate this once today and I’m daydreaming about leftovers for tomorrow.

This meatloaf was born after many hours of banging my  head on the table, searching Pinterest for ground chicken recipes, wondering what to do with the two pounds of ground chicken I had thawed in the fridge. I had some bread to use. I had green beans thawed. Sliders? Meatballs? Chicken chili? Ugh. What can I do with this meat?

MEATLOAF!

But a different kind of meatloaf. What can I do that’s different from my ground beef meatloaf recipe?

Italian flavors! Oregano, basil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes… CHEESE!… Pizza sauce on top! Yes! It’s all coming together now.

So here it is. You’re welcome.

Chicken Meatloaf – stuffed with cheese and sun-dried tomatoes

  •  1 egg
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce (always shake the bottle – did you know that you are supposed to do that?)
  • 2 T chopped sun-dried tomatoes

    Sun-dried tomatoes. And see that jar and that glistening oil in there? It will come in handy later. Keep the jar close.

    Sun-dried tomatoes. And see that jar and that glistening oil in there? It will come in handy later. Keep the jar close.

  • 1 scant T crushed hot cherry peppers (the kind of crushed hots ‘relish’ you can get at sub shops) -  This is OPTIONAL. I like the spice it gives to the meatloaf.

    One of my favorite condiments. Crushed hot pepper relish. It is optional.

    One of my favorite condiments. Crushed hot pepper relish. It is optional.

  • 1 large clove of garlic – crushed
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese – grated
  • 5 cranks of cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, I used sea salt but you can use table salt
  • 1 tsp thyme or rosemary – dried – whichever you like better
  • 1 tsp basil – dried
  • 1 tsp oregano – dried

MIX THE ABOVE ITEMS IN A LARGE MIXING BOWL. TAKE A BIG WHIFF OF IT. YEP. YOU’RE GONNA’ LOVE THIS MEATLOAF.

Mix all the spices and egg together

Okay, now add the following:

  • add 2 pounds ground chicken to the mixture in the bowl
  • add 2 tsp sun-dried tomato OIL – yes, use the oil from the bottle the sun-dried tomatoes come in. YUM! (If you don’t have this oil, just add two tsp olive oil. You need some oil because the chicken has no fat!)
  • add 1/2 Cup Italian style breadcrumbs

At this point pre-heat the oven to 375F and prepare a half sheet pan* with a sheet of parchment paper. I know… this is weird because you always make meatloaf in a loaf pan. Just trust me. (*Make sure it has a lip the whole way around to catch the juices from the meatloaf as it cooks.)

Gently combine the chicken, bread crumbs and oil with the spice mixture until JUST combined. Don’t overmix or the chicken will get tough.

add chicken to herb mix and mix gently just till combined

add chicken to herb mix and mix gently just till combined

Score the mixture down the middle creating two equal portions.

Place half the mixture on the parchment paper-lined sheet pan and smoosh it down a bit. (Smoosh is a technical culinary term.)

score mixture down the middle and slap half the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan

score mixture down the middle and slap half the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan

Line three slices of provolone on the meat mixture.

it's blurry but you get the idea. Add the cheese!

it’s blurry but you get the idea. Add the cheese!

Now take the other half and dollop it on top of the cheese

dollop the other half of chicken mixture on top of the cheese

dollop the other half of chicken mixture on top of the cheese

and then with clean hands pull the chicken mixture from the bottom and smoosh the top chicken mixture down to meet each other and press it together.

Keep the chicken pinched together to keep the cheese from oozing out.

Keep the chicken pinched together to keep the cheese from oozing out.

Your goal is to keep the cheese from melting out. So squish and pinch the meat together until it looks like a big chicken meat football. Or Easter egg.

Top with 1/2 C of pizza sauce.

pour the pizza sauce over the top

pour the pizza sauce over the top

I have this very special technique to spread the sauce over the meatloaf. Check it out.

Using the bottom of the measuring cup spread it out. I know. Impressive.

Using the bottom of the measuring cup spread it out. I know. Impressive.

Bake for 20 minutes and turn the pan just in case the back of your oven is too hot. Bake another 20 minutes and check the temperature. You want the center of a CHICKEN meatloaf to be 155F at least and then you can let it rest under a foil tent until it reaches 160F

look at the sun shining on this beauteous loaf of meat.

look at the sun shining on this beauteous loaf of meat.

and then make your sides. If you aren’t making any sides, wait at least ten minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.

slice and serve to your loved ones. Imagine the leftovers! Mmm... sandwiches.

slice and serve to your loved ones. Imagine the leftovers! Mmm… sandwiches.

ENJOY! Again. You’re welcome.

 

 

Ramen – My Interpretation

My version of easy home-cooked "Ramen" using store-bought Ramen noodles. Cheap, easy, tasty.

My version of easy home-cooked “Ramen” using store-bought Ramen noodles. Cheap, easy, tasty.

Most evenings I have a plan. But this one evening I did not. I ate leftovers for a very late lunch so by the time dinner rolled around I had no desire to cook nor did I have ANY clue what to make. Usually on nights like this the kids eat cereal and I make something special later after the kids are in bed for daddy and mommy. But this evening Josie asked for Ramen noodles. So I got out two packages. I had an idea!

My version of Ramen was born. Now, I am fully aware this is not a traditional Ramen noodle dish that you would eat in an authentic Asian restaurant. The broth and noodles are homemade in a true Ramen dish. This is simply MY version. Frugal, quick, and tasty.

Ramen – Jessie’s Asian Noodle Experience

MAKES TWO SERVINGS

Check your fridge for yummy goodies to add to the soup. I used sliced leftover baked sweet potato, which I reheated a bit. Very thinly sliced beef barely cooked in a bit of olive oil with a splash of  low-sodium soy sauce. (If you check the butcher case you can find thinly sliced ‘steak sub’ quality steak. That will be perfect for this dish.)

Bean sprouts would be good. Sliced mushrooms would be good. Slivers of carrot would be good. Finely diced jalapeno pepper or pickled banana peppers would be good.

  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan that has a lid.
  • Add 2 packs of Ramen, BUT ONLY ONE packet of flavoring.
  • Turn the heat to low and sprinkle in a handful of baby spinach and submerge the spinach so it wilts.
  • Add a tablespoon of fresh lime juice OR rice wine vinegar to the pot and place a lid on it.
  • Meanwhile, get two big bowls ready because this comes together quickly.
  • Poach or pan fry 2 eggs. You want that yolk to spill out into the broth.
  • Place the broth and noodles in the bowls. Top with the sliced sweet potatoes (or whatever veggies you have), the steak, and the egg.
  • Drizzle the whole dish with toasted sesame oil, a few shakes of red pepper flakes, and some prepared teriyaki wok sauce/marinade. (I have a bottle of prepared stuff. The prepared stuff is thicker than straight teriyaki and is often blended with other flavors like sesame or sweet chili or mandarin orange.)

This isn’t really as much of a recipe as it is a suggestion.

The end result is bursting with flavor and makes you think you are eating a fancy restaurant quality meal. Don’t forget to eat it with chopsticks! It’s Umami at it’s finest. That ‘fifth taste’ that is hard to describe. It’s rich, savory, deep, mmm…. so delicious.

ENJOY!

 

 

 

Spicy Southern Style Stew

Years ago I found a recipe on All Recipes called Sunday Gumbo. I never made it exactly as it was written because I never had the right spices and I didn’t use okra. But it helped guide me when I was venturing out to bigger and better one-pot meals. I have written a recipe all my own but I am not calling it Gumbo or Jambalaya. I’m calling it a stew. Spicy Southern Style Stew… because I don’t want to insult anyone by calling it something it is not.

Spicy Southern Style Stew

Boom! Spicy Southern Style Stew!

Boom! Spicy Southern Style Stew!

  • 1 pound package of sweet Italian sausage links
  • one small sweet onion
  • 2 Cups of chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  •  2 T Ketchup
  •  1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  •  1/2 tsp cumin
  •  1 tsp red pepper flakes
  •  1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 small bay leaves or one large leaf
  • 1/2 C uncooked instant brown rice
  • 1 Cup peeled, thawed shrimp

Before you start, if you have frozen shrimp with the shells on, place about 1 cup of shrimp in a single layer on a plate with cool water. It will thaw by the time you need it.

1 pound package of sweet Italian sausage links  cut into bite size pieces and browned in a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven or just a heavy bottomed pan. (You can use hot Italian sausage if you’d like even MORE spice)

Remove the sausage from the pan and drain most of the fat.

Add one small sweet onion, diced, to the pan.

Place sausage back in the pan with the onion and sautee and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add 2 Cups of chopped cooked chicken and toss around with the sausage and onions. (If your chicken is raw cook it with the sausage and onions. I just happened to have leftover cooked chicken.)

Here comes the flavor:  1 T Worcestershire sauce, 2 T Ketchup, 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves,  1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp garlic powder

stir to coat the chicken, sausage and onions with these flavors

now add 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 small bay leaves or one large leaf

Add 1/2 C uncooked instant brown rice and stir.

cooking the stew BEFORE adding the shrimp

cooking the stew BEFORE adding the shrimp

Turn your attention to the shrimp. If you have cheesecloth you can place the shrimp shells in the cheesecloth and tie it up and place it in the stew. It adds flavor! If you don’t have cheesecloth, it’s no big deal to just skip this step.

shrimp shells in cheese cloth allow the flavor to permeate the stew.

shrimp shells in cheese cloth allow the flavor to permeate the stew.

Add the 1 Cup peeled, thawed shrimp to the stew and push down into the broth to cook. It will only take about 5 minutes.

raw shrimp added

raw shrimp added

It doesn’t take long for the shrimp to turn pink. You don’t want to overcook the shrimp so go. Eat some. Eat some now.

shrimp are done!

shrimp are done!

Remove the cheesecloth and squeeze it out to get all the yummy shrimpy broth out of it. Then put the leftovers in a container and put it in the fridge and eat it again tomorrow. It’ll be even better!!!

Sausage and potato soup from Homemade Ham Stock

Find the recipe for Sausage and Mixed Potatoes here.

Take leftovers of that meal and add ham stock to it. Voila. Soup. Seriously. That’s it.

Of course, if you want to know how to make a delicious ham stock you can do this:

Baked Spiral Ham and Ham Stock Recipe

Place a seven to eight pound spiral sliced ham (with bone) into a roasting pan. Drizzle the ham with 1/4 cup of honey and smear dijon mustard all over the outside. Add 1/2 cup of water to the base of the pan. And about 1/2 cup of white wine (water, beer or lemon lime soda would work too). You need one cup of liquid. Seal the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and baked at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. (Usually it’s 15 minutes per pound of meat.) Check the label. Make sure you are reheating a ready-to-eat ham and not cooking a RAW ham. If it’s a raw ham, I can’t help you. I’ve never made one of those. Follow the directions. ;-)

Once it comes up to temp you are ready to EAT the ham. Or pull the ham from the bone and freeze for future meals. Pour the broth from the roasting pan into a fat separating measuring cup and pour the broth into a large stock pot (discarding the fat) and add 4 cups of water. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes with the lid off. Taste it. It could be REALLY salty. If so, add more water and stir and simmer again for 15 minutes. There ya’ go. Ham stock.

Allow to cool a bit and place into quart size canning jars (leaving a full one inch of space from the top of the liquid to the rim of the jar) and place in the fridge. Once completely cooled you can place in the freezer for up to a year. I made the ham the same day I made the Sausage and Mixed potatoes so I used the broth and the leftovers and made soup. It’s a very loose broth. Crackers are this soup’s best friend.