Sorry!

Hi everyone! I’m so sorry I’ve been gone for so long. I’ve had a lot going in outside of my blog world and, unfortunately, haven’t been able to post anything. I will be making a post later this week, for sure! I have an amazing apple pie cake I made for a work function last week and I’m making one for the family for Thanksgiving. I’ll be posting that one for sure. I’m going to try to blog Thanksgiving too! for those that have stuck with me… thank you! Truly! I’m going to make it up to you all! ❤

Turkey Schnitzel

Schnitzel is a super German meal. It makes me think of home and I love to make it. It also happens to be one of my husband’s favorite meals. I figure since he is not feeling well today I would make him something special. I normally make schnitzel with German Spätzle, but it goes really well with mashed potatoes too. That’s what I did today.

I gathered everything I would need to make our turkey schnitzel and then pounded out the turkey cutlets to make them nice and thin.

Next I took my slices of bread (crust removed) and I broke them up in batches and placed them in my blender (I would use my food processor which would make it much easier, but I have lost the blade). I pulsed until I made breadcrumbs. I placed the breadcrumbs in a pie dish and added Parmesan cheese, Herbs de Provence (normally I just use dried Thyme, but I didn’t realize I had run out), and fresh lemon zest. I mixed it all together until well incorporated.

In another pie dish I put the eggs, milk, and pepper and then mixed it up. There is also a 3rd pie dish with flour for dredging that you can see in the first picture.

Once all the pie dishes are prepped I took the turkey cutlets and added salt & pepper. I then dredged the cutlets in flour (shaking off the extra), dredged in the egg mixture, and then in the breadcrumbs. I place each cutlet on a plate until I had all of them all ready to go.

Next I took 2 tablespoons of butter and melted them over medium-high heat until nice and foamy. I then placed 1 cutlet into the skillet and kept it constantly moving until golden brown (2-4 minutes depending on how thin they are). I then flipped the cutlet over and again kept it moving until golden brown.

Once golden brown and cooked through, I placed the cutlet on a plate and squeezed some fresh lemon juice over it. I repeated this process with all 4 cutlets.

Once all the cutlets were done and I finished the mashed potatoes I plated everything and made sure to add at least 1 lemon wedge to each cutlet so everyone could add more lemon if they wanted to.
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Recipe

2-4 turkey cutlets, pounded thin
8 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1 lemon (zest and juice)
Flour for dredging
3 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp Thyme or Herbs de Provence
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
4-8 tablespoons butter, divided (4 if using 2 cutlets, 8 if using 4)

Start by pounding each cutlet until nice and thin. Place flour in a shallow pie dish. Then take the 8 slices of bread and pulse in either a blender or a food processor until breadcrumbs. Place in a shallow pie dish and add Parmesan, Thyme, and lemon zest. Mix to combine. In another shallow pie dish combine the eggs, milk, and pepper. Stir until well combined. Line all three pie dishes in a row. Salt and pepper the cutlets to taste. One at a time take the cutlets and dredge in the flour (shake off extra), followed by the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Place each cutlet on a plate until ready to cook. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium high heat until foamy. Add 1 cutlet and keep it constantly moving around the skillet for approximately 2-4 minutes until golden brown. Flip it over and cook another 1-3 minutes until cooked through and golden brown. Place cooked cutlet on a dish and squeeze fresh lemon juice on it. Repeat this process with all the cutlets until they are all cooked. Prepare your favorite sides and enjoy!!

Cheesecake!

So what do you when you have a hubby with pink eye taking a nap, a cranky 2 year old getting over an ear infection taking a nap, and a 7 year old happily building his Lego? You make CHEESECAKE! Cheesecake is probably my all time favorite dessert. Over the years I have learned to enjoy different variations (Cheesecake Factory is amazing with all of their choices!), but plain Jane cheesecake is still my favorite. It’s also comforting to me… When I was little, my Opa used to take us on long walks and at the midway point there was always a little restaurant that we would stop at and have a slice of cheesecake and coffee.. Well the adults had coffee and we had juice or milk or something like that. Those are some of my fondest memories of my time with my Opa. Hopefully you all enjoy the cheesecake as much as I do!

As always, I gathered all of my ingredients and preheated the oven to 325F before doing anything else.
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I put a sleeve of graham crackers into a gallon plastic bag, sealed it up, and used my rolling pin to crush into tiny crumbs. It’s a fun way to get some frustration out (haha). After crushing the crackers I poured them into a bowl.

I added 3 tablespoons of sugar and then added the 1/3 of a cup of melted butter. I mixed until will combined and then pressed into the bottom of my spring-form pan.

I set the pan aside and started working with my stand mixer. On a side note, my parents bought me my stand mixer years ago for Christmas and it has been by far one of my favorite presents ever! I get sooo much use out of it! Either way, I creamed together the room temperature cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla until well combined.

I then added the eggs one at a time. I stirred on low until just combined and then added the next egg until all 4 eggs were incorporated.

I poured the batter over the graham cracker crust, spread out evenly, and put it in the oven to bake. I set the timer for 55 minutes, but ended up having to add about 10 minutes to make sure it was cooked all the way through. Once I pulled it out of the oven I ran a clean knife around the edge to separate it.

I let the pan cool down before taking off the side. I think it turned out pretty good! 20160416_161004I put it in a container and popped it into the fridge for about 4 hours. I truly hope you enjoy the cheesecake as much as my family does! Please let me know what you think!

Recipe

4 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Crush the graham crackers in a bag and crush with a rolling pin. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbsp sugar, and melted butter. Once combined, press into the bottom of a spring-form pan. Set the pan aside. Place the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer and cream together until well blended. Add 1 egg and stir on low, just until combined. Repeat until all 4 eggs have been incorporated. Pour the batter on top of the crust and spread evenly. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 55 minutes. At this point start checking to see if it is done. The cheesecake is done when it starts to brown slightly and it set all the way through. Remove pan from oven and run a clean knife around the edge to separate it from the pan. Once the pan cools, remove the outer edge of the pan and place in a container. Place the container in the fridge for 4 hours. Enjoy!

Breakfast Burritos

Since I work full-time through the week it’s a major pain trying to make sure I get a filling breakfast when I am trying to get ready for work, get J ready for school, sometimes get the crock pot going, and get lunches packed for the day. I recently saw a recipe on Tasty (I love them!) for freezer breakfast burritos and decided to give it a shot about 2 weekends ago. They were super yummy, but I decided to change them up just a little bit and changed how to warm them back up. My biggest complaint about the original recipe was that after warming them up for 3 minutes (per the instructions) the paper towels would get stuck to the burrito, literally pulling off chunks of the tortilla, and part of burrito would get really hard. What I did really like was that the taste was fantastic and it was super convenient to grab them out of the freezer before heading out the door and getting them warmed up at work. These take a while to get cooked and put together, so I prep on Sunday evening (after dinner).

A great thing about breakfast burritos is that you can make all kinds of combinations depending on what you like. I made bacon, sausage, potato, egg, & cheese, sausage, egg, & cheese, bacon, egg, & cheese, and potato, egg, & cheese burritos. You could add chorizo, take out the peppers, etc. A great thing about this recipe was that it was all cooked in 1 pan, or in this case, 1 deep skillet.

I gathered all of my ingredients together and prepped everything so it would all be ready to start cooking.

First things first I cooked up the turkey bacon, which I learned cooks up much faster than traditional bacon! I placed the cooked bacon on a cookie sheet covered with paper towels to soak up the excess grease.

Next up, the onions, potatoes, and peppers. If there is enough grease (a teaspoon or so) left in the skillet you don’t need to add any more, but if there isn’t just add a little oil. I put the diced onions into the skillet and sauteed  until they just started becoming translucent. Then I added the peppers and sauteed them until they were just becoming soft. I pushed the peppers and onions into a circle around the skillet, leaving a hole in the center for the cubed potatoes. I added salt and pepper to the potatoes and cooked until the potatoes were cooked through. I put everything into a bowl and set aside.

I then added the ground sausage, as usual I used maple sausage, and cooked until browned and no longer pink. I placed the cooked sausage into a container and put off to the side.

Lastly, I stirred up the eggs just little and poured them into the warm skillet after turning it down just a little to avoid the eggs cooking too quickly. I scrambled the eggs until almost fully cooked. I left them just under-cooked since they will placed in the microwave to cook up when it’s time to eat them. I put the eggs in a bowl off to the side.

I allowed everything to cool down a bit because I didn’t want to handle super hot food. Once no longer steaming and cooled down enough to touch, I gathered everything and placed it around my cutting board so I could start prepping. I tore a piece of parchment paper, just big enough to wrap the burrito in, and placed it on the board. Wax paper works well too, it’s just easier to write on the parchment paper. I placed a burrito sized tortilla on top of the paper and began stacking my ingredients in the middle. Eggs first, potatoes, sausage, bacon, and a little sprinkle of cheese on top. You can make any combination you want. A tip though, do not put salsa into your burrito. If you want to use salsa, add it once you have warmed the burrito back up and use it as a dip. I rolled the burrito up, making sure to tuck in the ends.

Once I rolled my burrito I wrapped it securely in the parchment paper, wrote what was in the burrito (I just used the first initial of each topping), and place in a plastic freezer bag. You can use gallon bags or smaller bags. This batch made 15 burritos, 10 with eggs and 5 without eggs. Once everything was completed, I put the bags in the freezer.

The next morning I grabbed 2 out of the freezer (sometimes I only eat 1, but some days I’m starving in the morning so I grab 2 just to be on the safe side!) on my way out the door and tossed them in my lunchbox. When I got to work I unwrapped them, loosely re-wrapped them in a damp paper towel and placed in the microwave (on a microwave safe plate) and warmed them up for 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes were over, I removed the paper towel, turned the burritos and microwaved another minute, uncovered. Perfection!

Recipe
1 bag burrito size tortillas (I got a big bag of 22 so I would have a few leftover)
10 eggs (I used medium eggs, if you use large, you will have more leftover)
1 pkg bacon of choice (I used turkey bacon this time)
1 pkg breakfast sausage of choice (MAPLE!!!)
1-2 red bell pepper, diced
3 medium potatoes (well this time I used 2 medium and 1 small), peeled, and cubed
1 small/medium sweet onion, diced
1 bag shredded cheese of choice (I used  a Mexican blend)

Start by cooking the bacon until crispy and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Leaving only 1 tsp of grease (if there isn’t enough grease, add enough oil to make 1 tsp) add the diced onions and saute until almost translucent. Add the bell peppers and cook until just starting to get soft. Push the onions and peppers into a circle around the skillet, leaving an empty space in the middle. Add the cubed potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook everything until the potatoes are soft and cooked through. Place into a bowl and set aside. Put the breakfast sausage into the skillet and cook through until browned. Place into a bowl and set aside. Lastly, add the eggs to the skillet and lower the temp some to avoid the eggs cooking too quickly. Scramble the eggs until almost completely cooked. You want them a little under cooked since they will cook a bit more when they are warmed up in the microwave. Place the cooked eggs in a bowl and set aside. Let all the ingredients cool until no longer steamy and cool enough to touch.
Once you are ready to assemble everything put out a piece of parchment paper, lay a tortilla on top and start stacking the toppings. Once you have the desired toppings in place, roll up your burrito, ensuring you tuck in the ends and keep all of those delicious toppings inside! Once rolled up, wrap the burrito in the parchment paper, label the outside with the toppings so you know what is in each one, and place in a freezer bag. Put in the freezer.
When you are ready to eat them, pull the desired number of burritos out of the freezer. Unwrap the parchment paper and re-wrap the burrito in a damp paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove the paper towel and discard. Turn your burrito half way and microwave an additional minutes, uncovered. ENJOY!

Cookie Pizza!!!

My son, J has been having a tough time focusing in school recently. Part of his autism keeps his brain going a mile a minute pretty much all the time. The only time he can really focus on anything for more than a few minutes at a time is when he is building with his Lego sets. He has been working really hard on completing his work and staying focused this week. As a reward I promised him we’d make his favorite this weekend, a cookie pizza! We have only ever had the ones you can buy from pizza places, but I decided we could probably do better here at home. I found a recipe on Pinterest (http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/skillet-chocolate-chip-cookie/) and it looked super yummy! It’s made for a 9″ cast iron skillet, but I have a 12″ so I doubled the recipe about halfway prepping so the first couple of pictures will be before adding the additional ingredients to double the recipe.

I gathered everything together:20160312_143520I started by preheating my oven to 375 (increased the time from the original recipe since there was going to be so much more cookie to bake) and buttered my cast iron skillet.
20160312_143550I then went on to cream the butter with the sugars until it was nice and fluffy. I added the eggs and the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl I combined the flour, baking soda, and salt together. I then added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mixed until combined.

Once combined I added the chocolate chips (in this case I did milk chocolate morsels and white chocolate morsels) and stirred until combined.
20160312_145916I then turned the cookie dough out into my prepared skillet and pressed evenly into place. I also added a few milk chocolate and white chocolate chips on top and pressed them in.

I placed the skillet into the preheated oven and baked for about 40 minutes until the cookie was golden brown and cooked through.
20160312_154158The cookie turned out great and it was a wonderful hit with J and the rest of the family. I was really happy he loved it so much! I hope your family loves it as much as mine did!!!

Recipe
2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the skillet
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs (the recipe called for large, but I used medium eggs and they worked fine)
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1-2 cups chocolate chips (I used 1/2 milk chocolate and 1/2 white chocolate)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the butter and the sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium until fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract stirring until combined. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into wet ingredients and combine on low. Add the chocolate chips and stir until just combined. Turn dough out into prepared cast iron skillet (or oven safe skillet) and press evenly into place. Add a spoonful of chocolate chips on top and press into the dough. Place skillet in oven and bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown and baked all the way through. Allow to cool a little before cutting.

Enjoy!

 

Sausage Gravy (& Biscuits)

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated. Sorry about that! Last weekend I made yummy comfort food for us to have for breakfast. For my family, there is nothing better than homemade sausage gravy and biscuits when we are trying to have a relaxing weekend. Since the whole family woke up early I didn’t have time to make biscuits from scratch, but the canned biscuits work great, especially when you have a hungry family to take care of!

First, I gathered all of my ingredients.
20160305_075644The great thing about this recipe, (when using canned biscuits) is that there are only 5 ingredients: Canned biscuits, breakfast sausage (in this case hickory sausage, but I HIGHLY recommend maple sausage), milk, pepper, and all purpose flour. I turned on the oven and baked the biscuits based on the label directions.

Making the actual gravy is pretty quick and painless. I started by browning the sausage in my deep skillet.

Once browned I added the flour to the sausage and mixed until fully absorbed. I cooked for another roughly 3 minutes to ensure all of the flour taste had been cooked out. Once everything browned up it was also time to pull the biscuits out of the oven.

I added the milk to the sausage and stirred. I stirred occasionally until the mixture thickened and was nice and bubbly. Once thickened and bubbly I added the pepper and stirred until completely combined.

Once everything was ready to go I took two biscuits, split them in half, and laid them on a plate. I poured a couple of spoonfuls of sausage gravy on top and it was magical! 🙂

Recipe

1 can refrigerated biscuits (or homemade biscuits)
1 lb breakfast sausage of choice (I used hickory, but also LOVE maple)
3 cups milk
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp pepper (more/less to taste)

Preheat oven and bake biscuits per package instructions. Place sausage in a deep skillet and brown. Once cooked through and no longer pink, sprinkle the flour on to the sausage and mix until fully incorporated. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes to cook out the taste of the flour (by this point the biscuits should be done and you can pull them out of the oven). Add the milk and stir. Cook until mixture has become thick and bubbly, stirring occasionally. Add pepper and stir until well combined. Take 2 biscuits, split in half, place on a plate, and pour a few spoonfuls of the gravy on top.

Enjoy!

 

 

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken

When you work all day or even just don’t feel like spending a whole ton of time in the kitchen for dinner, slow cookers are the way to go. I love how easy they are and that you can put everything in the crock pot and not really worry about it until it’s time to eat! This recipe was adapted from a recipe I saw my husband’s mother make years ago when we first started dating. I have changed things up and started doing it my own way. She makes it with pork chops and a different ingredients though. I’ve changed it up to include chicken different peppers. It’s a cheesy, yummy, comfort food!
20160303_114744Not pictured: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder

I started out by chopping up my vegetables and putting them in a bowl all mixed together

I took about half of the vegetable mixture and put them in the bottom of my crock pot after adding just a little bit of nonstick spray. After that I added the layer of chicken thighs (after cutting a little of the extra fat off).

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I added some salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder before adding the cheddar cheese soup and the cream of mushroom soup. I then mixed the soups a little and made sure they covered all the meat.

I added the last half of the vegetables and then half of the bag of shredded cheese.

Turn the heat on to low and let cook for 6+ hours. At the very end, add the remaining shredded cheese on top. At this point, the house just smells AMAZING!!!! I served it over some mashed potatoes and made some rolls to go with it.


Recipe
2 lbs chicken thighs (you can use chicken breasts or pork chops too)
1 red bell pepper, diced1 green bell pepper, diced
1 package of mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 can cream of mushroom soup*
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 package shredded cheese of choice (we did Colby Jack)
Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder, to taste

Dice up all of your vegetables and mix together. Layer 1/2 of the vegetables in the bottom of your crock pot. Layer your chicken on top of the vegetables (cut any extra fat off beforehand if necessary). Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add the cheddar cheese soup and the condensed mushroom soup. Mix slightly and ensure that all of the chicken is covered. Top with the remaining vegetables. Sprinkle 1/2 the bag of shredded cheese on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, add the last half of the shredded cheese (if you want to). Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.
*If using the entire package of mushrooms, you may want to add an additional can of one of the soups to help thicken it up a little, it was fine for my family, but some may want it thicker.

 

 

Salsa Ranch Chicken Fajita Tacos!

Well this recipe is one of those easy week night recipes that I like to whip together after a long day. It’s quick, simple, and tastes SO good! Since it was just a quick meal I used frozen chicken fajita meat that I got at my local HEB. It had a combo loco so I ended up getting the shredded cheese I needed for free! There are only a few ingredients and from start to finish this recipe is maybe 20 minutes.

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Chicken, Salsa, Cheese, Tortillas, Sour Cream (ended up not using it), and Light Ranch

After gathering all of my ingredients I dumped the chicken into a large skillet and cooked until tender and heated through.

Once the chicken finished cooking I added about 3/4 cup of salsa and mixed to incorporate it into the chicken.

Once the salsa was incorporated I mixed in about 3 tablespoons of lite ranch dressing.

All that was left to do was put some on a tortilla and top with cheese!
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Recipe

1 package (26 oz.) Fully cooked chicken fajitas (thigh or breast)
3/4 cup salsa of choice (we prefer Herdez Mild), more or less to taste
3 tbsp Lite ranch dressing (more or less to taste)
Shredded cheese, to taste
Tortillas of choice

In a large skillet cook fajita meat until tender and heated through. Add the salsa and stir, Next add the ranch dressing and stir until combined. Put small amounts onto tortillas and  sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. You can add sour cream, tomatoes, avacado, whatever you enjoy on your tacos. We ate them with just a little cheese on top and they were delicious.

German Dinner Night!

Tonight we had a yummy German dinner. I am lucky enough to be half German and to have spent a good chunks of my childhood between Germany and the United States. I miss Germany tremendously and tonight brought a little bit of home to my house.  Tonight I made German potato salad, rouladen, spätzle, and homemade gravy. The recipe for the potato salad and for rouladen are both adopted from my mom. One of the most important parts of BOTH recipes is that you use GERMAN barrel pickles, not American dill pickles. The spätzle that I used were sent to me from Germany by my mom, but you can purchase spätzle in some grocery stores and it is something you can make at home too. I made the potato salad early (around 11:30a) because it needs to sit in the fridge for a few hours to really come together.
Here’s all the ingredients for tonight’s meal:

First things first, I cleaned the potatoes and put them in a pot of salted water to boil. I cooked them for about 20-25 minutes, until fork tender, but not too soft. While the potatoes are cooking, I chopped up a package of bacon into small bite size pieces. I put that mound of bacon into a skillet and cooked until nice and crispy. I put the cooked bacon into a sieve and plopped that on top of a bowl to catch the grease.

Once the potatoes were cooked, I drained the pot and let them cool enough to handle. I peeled the potatoes and then diced them up into bite sized chunks.

I popped the potato chunks into my giant pink bowl (totally bought it at the Dollar Tree and I love it!) and added some salt & pepper. At this point I took 3 German barrel pickles and chopped them into small pieces. I added the pickles into the bowl with the potatoes and mixed it up.

Next I added a 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and about a 1/4 cup of the pickle juice from the barrel pickles. This part you really have to judge throughout putting everything together. If you notice it’s too dry, add a little more of either the broth or the pickle juice. I always start with a smaller amount because you can always add more, you can’t take it back out once it’s in there though! Mix everything together and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the potatoes to start absorbing the liquid.
20160227_125220Now add about 1/2 a cup of mayonnaise (again, start with a smaller amount, and you can always add more if you want it creamier) and mix it all together.

Next I added the bacon and mixed it all in… Everything tastes better with bacon!
20160227_130109Finally, I added chopped up hard boiled eggs, 3 of them to be exact. Since I have known all week that I was going to be making this, I went ahead and boiled the eggs last night and peeled them. I put them in a little sandwich bag and put them in the refrigerator until I was ready to use them.

At this point I did a quick taste test, put some plastic wrap over the bowl, and put it in the fridge until dinner was ready a few hours later. Just before serving I mixed everything up again, checked to see if I needed to add anything (more liquid, salt, or pepper). I also cut up one more egg and put it on top as a little garnish.

The rouladen can take a bit of time so you have to make sure you have at least 2-3 hours before you’re expecting to eat. I bought wafer thin beef milanesa to use for the meat. Before really getting into the building process, I sliced up some onion (about an 1/8 of an onion in slices, the rest chopped), 3 small carrots, and 2 long celery stalks. All of the veggies were set aside. I sliced 2 German pickles into spears and then I got to the building part!
On a cutting board I gathered everything I needed.
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First I added salt and pepper to the meat. Then I took some Bavarian mustard (very yummy, but you can make it with regular mustard as well if that’s what you prefer) and spread it all over 1 side of the meat. I then added 2 slices of uncooked bacon on top of the mustard.

Next, I added 1 spear of pickle and a couple slivers of onion. Then I rolled everything together and stuck some toothpicks in to keep the meat together.

I continued this with all 4 that I made (I made 2 with German mustard and pickles and 2 with American mustard and no pickles). I put all 4 in a large skillet, added a little salt & pepper on the outside and a pad of butter over medium heat.

Once the butter is melted I let the meat brown up real nice and get a good crust on it. Once there was a good crust, I added the carrots, celery, and a can of beef broth. I set the timer for an hour and a half and lowered the heat about midway between low and medium. Let everything simmer and add a little water if needed.

Once the meat is completely cooked through, I removed the meat and strained the liquid into a bowl so I could use it for the gravy. I put 3 tablespoons of butter into a deeper skillet and melted it over medium heat. I added 3 tablespoons of flour and created a roux. As the flour taste cooked out I added the liquid reserved earlier along with some of the diced onions (3 tablespoons or so, but really it’s definitely a taste preference). I whisked everything together and then added about 2 cups of water with some beef bouillon dissolved in it to the pot.

While working on the gravy I was also bringing a pot of salted water to boil. Once the water was boiling I added 1/2 a bag of the spätzle. I turned down the heat to keep it cooking without overflowing and allowed the spätzle to cook through (about 6-8 minutes). I drained the spätzle and everything was done!
20160227_181746It was now time to plate this super yummy dish! It went over really well with the family (well JH, A, and myself since J is spending the night at my brother’s house!)
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I really hope you all enjoy this meal as much as my family did! You can definitely switch it up and put different things with it. You can use the potato salad for any meal or even add some veggies to this meal. I was originally going to add the carrots and celery to the sauce, but they were pretty much done for after cooking with the meat for an hour and a half and I just ran out of time so I couldn’t dice up any more to add to the gravy.

Recipe

German Potato Salad
5 lb bag of russet potatoes (rinsed clean)
3-4 German barrel pickles1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup of pickle juice
3-4 hard boiled eggs (I made mine the night before so that was 1 less thing to do the day of)
1 pack bacon (cut into bite size pieces)
1/2 cup mayo

Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 20-25 minutes or until fork tender, but not too soft. While the potatoes are cooking, fry up the bacon until crispy and drain the fat. Drain the potatoes and let cool enough to be able to handle. Peel the potatoes and dice into bite size chunks. Place the potatoes into a large bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Dice up the pickles into small pieces and dump in the bowl. Add the vegetable broth and the pickle juice. Mix all together and let sit for a few minutes to allow the potatoes to absorb the liquid a bit. Add the mayo and mix. Add the bacon, mix well. Chop up the hard boiled eggs (reserving 1 to add as a garnish at the end). Add the eggs, mix and give it a taste to check if it’s seasoned to your liking. While making it check to see if you need to add more liquid or more mayo (depending on how creamy you want it). Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to really come together. Just before serving mix well and add the last chopped egg as garnish.

Rouladen
1 pack wafer thin Beef Milanesa top round steak
Mustard (I use both Bavarian German mustard and regular American mustard)
1-2 German barrel pickles, cut into spears
1 sliced onion
1 package bacon
salt & pepper to taste
3 diced/chopped carrots
2 diced/chopped celery stalks
1 can beef broth
2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1-2 cup warm water with 2-3 teaspoons of beef bouillon dissolved in it.
Wooden toothpicks

Lay out the beef, salt & pepper to taste. Spread a thin layer of mustard on one side of the beef. Lay 1 to 2 pieces of bacon on top of the mustard. Add 1 pickle spear and a few sliced onions on the larger end of the beef. Roll the beef and secure with a few toothpicks. Repeat with all remaining pieces (mine yielded 4 rouladen). Place all rouladen in a large skillet, season with a little salt & pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of butter into the center of the pan and turn the heat on medium. Melt the butter and begin searing the rouladen evenly on all sides. Once the rouladen begin to brown up add the carrots, celery, and the can of beef broth, bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, checking occasionally to ensure there is enough liquid. If the liquid cooks out, add water a 1/2 cup at a time until meat is cooked through. Turn the rouladen occasionally to ensure even cooking. Once the meat is done, remove the meat from the skillet, throw out the vegetables, and reserve the liquid. In a deep skillet add the 3 tablespoons of butter, melt. Add the flour and whisk to create a roux. Add milk, the reserved liquid, and the warm water with the bouillon (start with 1 cup and add until you get the consistency you want). Whisk continuously to ensure there are no clumps. I added some of the onions to the gravy to add some taste. You can also add some diced up carrots and celery to the gravy if you’d like. Rouladen tastes wonderful with spätzle (bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the spätzle, cook for 6-8 minutes, and drain), but you can also make it with rice or some kind of pasta.

Bacon for dinner!

It’s Monday, I got off work a little late tonight, and I had to stop by HEB to pick up milk on my way home. Because I knew it was going to take me a little while to get home tonight, I wanted something that would be pretty quick and simple. I came up with an idea and it was awesome! I had most everything at home already so all I had to pick up at the store was bacon and 40 oz. jar of Ragu with chunky mushrooms! So here’s the idea… Bacon, pasta, a bechamel sauce mixed with the Ragu, and fresh mushrooms. Sounds delicious, right?! I got home and gathered everything together before getting started. I’ve learned over the years that getting everything together before you get started helps shorten up the time all together.

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Pictured: Butter, milk, Ragu, flour, fresh mushrooms, pasta. (Not pictured: Salt, pepper, bacon)

The great thing about this recipe is it’s very versatile! You can substitute turkey bacon, low sodium bacon, add extra veggies (like bell peppers), or different pasta sauces. You could also use a homemade pasta sauce. I love making my own sauce, but when I’m trying to get something together quickly during the week, a good store bought sauce works wonders!
I started out cutting the entire package of bacon in half (I’m keeping half of it for my breakfast for the rest of the week, but feel free to use the entire package). I took that 1/2 pack of bacon and cut it into small pieces before putting it into a deep frying pan on medium high heat. While the bacon started heating up, I put a deep pot of water to boil for the pasta.
20160222_180129As the bacon started to brown I added a couple of handfuls of fresh mushrooms (you can add as many or as few as you like) until the bacon was crispy and the mushrooms were brown. Drain the bacon and mushrooms and set aside.
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As the pasta water starts to boil add salt and the pasta (we had shells at the house from a buy 1 get one free deal at HEB last week).
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Boil your pasta 8-10 min until al dente. As the pasta boils, add the butter to the pan that the bacon was in and melt on medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk together to create a roux. Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes to ensure you have cooked out the flour taste.

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Sorry this one is really blurry… using my cell phone to take pictures

Slowly add the milk, whisking quickly to ensure there are no clumps. Make sure you add the milk slowly though! That’s really important.
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Continue to stir until the bechamel sauce begins to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

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Take your finger and run it through the bechamel sauce on the spoon. If it looks like the picture, it’s perfect!

At this point you start adding the Ragu pasta sauce. I added about 1/2 the jar because I wanted to keep the other half for something later this week, but you can add the whole jar if you want. It really depends on how much sauce you want. Stir well to combine.

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Look at this creamy deliciousness!!!!

While all this was going on I was also baking fishsticks for my oldest son, J because he won’t eat the pasta. It’s always interesting working on 2 different meals every night. Either way, now that the sauce is finished I combined the pasta, bacon, mushrooms, and sauce.
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I served everything in bowls and added some grated Parmesan and shredded cheddar cheese on top as a finishing touch.
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My husband, JH and my youngest, A both approved and cleaned their bowls! I was really happy that they liked it as much because it was something I didn’t get from a recipe or other place, I just made it up today while I was thinking about dinner! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!!!

Recipe

1 bag pasta
1 jar pasta sauce (what brand you prefer and you can use 24-40oz); I used Ragu Super Chunky Mushroom
1- 12oz package of bacon (whatever your favorite is)
4 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp all purpose flour
Fresh sliced mushrooms (as few or as many as your like)
2 cups of milk (whole milk works best)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start out cutting the bacon into small, bite sized pieces. Toss the bacon into a deep skillet on medium high heat. As the bacon begins to heat up, put a deep pot of water on to boil for the pasta. As the bacon begins to brown up, add a few handfuls of mushrooms. Once bacon has become crispy and mushrooms have browned up, use a strainer to drain the fat (make sure you put a bowl under the strainer so the grease doesn’t go down your drain!). By this time the water should be at a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt (as this is the only time you will be able to season the pasta) and add the pasta into the pot. Lower the heat a little and let the pasta boil for 8-10 minutes until al dente and drain (I used the same strainer as the bacon and mushrooms). While the pasta cooks, add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan you cooked the bacon in and melt on medium heat. Once melted, add 3-4 tablespoons of flour to create a roux. Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes to cook out the taste of flour. Slowly add the milk and whisk vigorously to avoid clumping. Stir frequently until the bechamel sauce begins to thicken and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. Now you add the jar of pasta sauce. You can add anywhere from 24-40 oz of pasta sauce, depending on how much sauce you want. Stir to combine and then taste so you can see if you need to adjust the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. In the event the sauce is a little acidic, add a pinch of sugar to help balance everything out. Combine the pasta, bacon, mushrooms, and sauce all together and serve. Enjoy with a little grated Parmesan and shredded cheese on top!