Bacon Ratatouille with a Kick (Quick & Easy)

I6iG1tOlQwu2Ipu4Ej5tuQ_thumb_3925

Bacon Ratatouille with a Kick

Total time to prepare – Approximately 45 minutes. Serves eight (4).

 –– I get all excited whenever I start a recipe with bacon, and this one is no exception. It’s certainly not traditional ratatouille but I believe you’ll find this a tad sweeter and with a slight bite on your tongue. The inclusion of bell pepper might bake you think twice about that addition, but go ahead and give it a try.  I believe you’ll enjoy it. 

Ingredients

  • 6 slices of bacon, coarsely chopped.
  • 1 Vidalio or other sweet Onion – Chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 zucchini, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 3 squash, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 2 red bell pepper, chopped finely
  • 2 tomatoes – medium size, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, sliced off the cob
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 sprinkle of Basil

Directions

  1. Fry the bacon pieces until crisp, set aside.
  2. While the bacon is frying, prepare the other ingredients by chopping, dicing, slicing, etc.
  3. In a large skillet – 12-inch or larger, place the bacon pieces and red pepper. Saute the red pepper until beginning to soften, on low heat, about five (5) minutes.
  4. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about five (5) minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and saute until the onions begin to brown. 1-2 minutes more.
  6. Add the cubed zucchini and squash and mix with the other ingredients. 
  7. Add the paprika and cajun seasoning and saute another (6) minutes, mixing occasionally.
  8. Add the tomatoes and blend, saute for two (2) minutes until they become soft.
  9. Add the corn kernels and blend with other ingredients, saute for additional three (3) minutes.
  10. Remove skillet from heat.
  11. Sprinkle with fresh basil and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  12. Serve alone or as side. Enjoy!

Kielbasa & Cabbage Soup (Quick & Easy)

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3915

Kielbasa and Cabbage Soup

Total time to prepare – Approximately 45 minutes. Serves eight (8).

 –– My Polish heritage gets all excited whenever I find a recipe with Kielbasa. Fond memories of my parents at the kitchen table return with the aroma of fresh Polish sausage. My mother-in-law even prepared Polish sausage every Christmas. This soup adds another ingredient that is pleasing to my roots – Cabbage. Darn near perfect combo. And this soup is quick and easy. Enjoy. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Kielbasa, cut into bite-size cubes.
  • 1 Onions – Chopped
  • 16 oz. Cole Slaw mix – shredded cabbage with carrots
  • 2 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 32 oz. Beef Broth
  • 16 oz. Chicken Broth
  • 1 can – 12 oz. beer
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Carraway seeds
  • 4 cups French Fried Onions, divided in half

Directions

  1. Place kielbasa and onion in a dutch oven on medium heat. Brown the kielbasa and soften the onion for about five (5) minutes.
  2. Add the coleslaw mix and saute until tender, about another five (5) minutes.
  3. Add Minced Garlic, beef broth, chicken broth, beer, black pepper, carraway seeds and two (2) cups French Fried Onions. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.
  4. Remove cover and simmer for ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes until flavors are blended. 
  5. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with remaining French Fried Onions.

Slumgullion (Macaroni & Hamburg)

SQIuHWBFRTq+v+oIKmglmQ_thumb_3906

Slumgullion 

Total time to prepare – Approximately 1 1/2 hours. 

 –– This was a popular dish in the 1950-1980 era and was also known as Johnny Marzetti. Some families even called this Ghoulash. It’s ever so easy to make and is a real comfort food. Serves 6. If you want lots of leftovers, this is easily doubled.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef (80/20)
  • 1 Onions – Diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper – diced.
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz) or Ro-Tel (10.5 oz) with juice
  • 2 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 28 oz can of Tomato Sauce
  • 15 oz. Elbow Macaroni
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Place ground beef and onion in an electric skillet or dutch oven. 
  2. Brown the ground beef and break into little bits, saute the onion.
  3. Add Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes and Minced Garlic
  4. When the ground beef is done (no red meat remains and majority of liquid has evaporated,) drain the excess fat. At this point, I recommend patting the ground beef and onion with paper towels to absorb more of the excess fat.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bell peppers and simmer until vegetables are tender, about thirty (30) minutes. 
  6. Boil water in a separate pot and boil pasta until el dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. 
  7. Add the macaroni to the ground beef mixture and mix until blended. Simmer for fifteen (15) minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy! Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if you prefer.

Swiss Steak a la Marty

d4tXGMF4Twqe6ljaTasmSg_thumb_3901

Swiss Steak

Total time to prepare – Approximately three (3) hours. 

 –– I’ve been making versions of Swiss Steak for about forty years now, and this is one of my favorites. I once used Round Steak and pounded it with a mallet and that worked great. I remember my Polish mother making this using the end of a saucer. That worked well, too! But now I use round steak that you can purchase in the meat case that is already scored. This is a very adequate substitution for beating the steak with a meat mallet (and quieter too!)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. Round Steak patties – already scored for Swiss Steak. (about 6 pieces)
  • 2 Onions – halved and sliced thin.
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – diced.
  • 2 Carrots, sliced thin
  • 16 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
  • Garlic Powder to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • Paprika to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • ½ Cup Flour
  • 2 Cups Beef Broth
  • 2 cans 14.5 oz. Diced Tomatoes with juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil (Olive Oil is fine.)

Directions

  1. Put the flour in a plate.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with Paprika, Black Pepper and Garlic Powder. A light sprinkle on both sides is adequate.
  3. Dredge the meat in the flour on both sides and set aside.
  4. Add the oil to the Dutch oven and heat to medium-high.
  5. Brown the meat in the hot oil on both sides, then remove and set aside. (If there is an accumulation of oil in the pot, dab with a paper towel to absorb. Be careful – Oil is HOT! And do not wipe out all those tasty brown bits. You’ll need those for an added flavor bonus.
  6. Add the cut onions, carrots, and bell pepper to the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  7. Return the steak to the Dutch oven and lay the pieces atop the vegetables.
  8. Add the Beef Broth, Diced Tomatoes with juice, Worcestershire sauce.
  9. Cover and place in pre-heated 350 degree oven for one hour.
  10. Remove the Dutch oven and place on heat-proof surface. Add the sliced mushrooms to the top of the meat. Cover again and continue baking for an additional hour.
  11. Remove the Dutch oven again and place on heat-proof surface. Blend the mushrooms into the meat and vegetables, then cover and return to the oven for additional fifteen (15) minutes.
  12. Serve and enjoy!
  13. I recommend serving with mashed potatoes, or over noodles (my favorite method.)

LAZANKI

zxLJfNpJTcW7jRbi57gsqw_thumb_38f1

LAZANKI

Total time to prepare – Approximately one (1) hour. 

 – This is an old Polish or Eastern European recipe. You can use the ground meat of your choice, such as beef, pork, turkey or veal, which I used on this occasion and I prefer for this recipe. I suggest using an electric skillet but a 12-inch non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet works well, too. Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Veal or ground meat of your choice. 
  • 1 Onion – large, diced
  • 1 Green Cabbage – small, shredded
  • 12 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. Flat Egg Noodles
  • 1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Cajun Seasoning (such as Emeril’s Essence)

Directions

  1. Place the diced onion and ground meat into a hot skillet. Brown the meat and crumble into small pieces, saute the onion. The juice from the ground meat should provide enough liquid to saute the onion. 
  2. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. salt, the pepper, cajun seasoning, and minced garlic onto the meat and onion mixture.
  3. While the meat and onion are working in the skillet, boil water in a pot for the pasta. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. salt. 
  4. Prepare the pasta to el dente. Place in a colander to drain.
  5. Boil water in a pot and add the cabbage. Boil for fifteen (15) minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a colander.
  6. Add the sliced mushrooms to the meat and onion mixture. Cover and saute for ten (10) minutes until mushrooms are tender.
  7. Add the cabbage and then noodles. Mix together and keep on low heat until all is warmed through, about three (3) minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Pan-Fried Catfish or Perch

kxlTtrQKQEyjZLDAKXvZ5w_thumb_38ed

Total time to prepare – Approximately one (1) hour includes thirty (15) minutes of time the fish is resting in the fridge. 

 – This recipe uses Cracker Meal, while most recipes use cornmeal or bread crumbs for the topping. Give this a try. I’ve been making this recipe for over fifty years and haven’t disappointed an appetite yet. My dad used to call these “Little Fishies” because the fish are sliced into smaller fillets (see photo). Serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Catfish or Perch Fillets 
  • 4 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 4 Eggs – Beaten with fork
  • 2 cups Cracker Meal
  • 2 cups Flour
  • Garlic Powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Slice perch or catfish into small fillets. The easiest pattern is to use the natural line in the middle of the fish and slice through that, and slice the remaining fillet in half if needed. 
  2. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder onto the meat side of the fish.
  3. Beat eggs in container so you can dip the fish into it. Set aside.
  4. Place 2 cups of flour onto paper plate or parchment/wax paper.
  5. Place cracker meal onto paper plate or parchment paper.
  6. Place fish into flour mixture, roll about, making sure the fillet is covered. 
  7. Dip fillet into eggs, again making sure all is covered.
  8. Dip into cracker meal and cover all.  
  9. (you can repeat steps 5, 6 & 7 if you want extra breading.)
  10. Place prepared fillet onto parchment or wax paper to dry while finishing all the others.
  11. Put the prepared fillets into the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to allow the breading to take hold.
  12. Heat oil in frying pan or electric skillet. Make sure the oil is hot.
  13. Carefully add fish, perhaps 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  14. Remove to paper towels or wire racks to allow excess fat to drain.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

 

CITY CHICKEN

MyAOaezsTOu2zAx3N7qXlw_thumb_38e6

Total time to prepare – Approximately two (2) hours includes thirty (30) minutes of time the meat is resting in the fridge. 

 – Please be aware that this recipe for City Chicken contains absolutely no chicken, nor poultry of any kind. This recipe originates in the depression era in the western Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio sectors. At the time, chicken was costly and frugal cooks turned to pork and veal as substitutes.  Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Veal Chops – boneless, cut into 2-3 bite cubes. (If you cannot locate chops, then cutlets are acceptable, but cut the pork to similar size and thickness.
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Country-style Boneless Pork Ribs, cut into 2-3 bite cubes. (If you cannot locate, Pork Shoulder can be substituted.)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Milk
  • 2 cups Cracker Meal
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth 
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Wooden sticks for skewer, approximately 4 1/2 inches long. See photo. 

NUbmARDBR+K7Vm6lO0Grgg_thumb_38e3

Directions

  1. Skewer the sliced meat onto the sticks, alternate the pork and veal.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper on two sides.
  3. Dredge in flour and set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs with the milk in a bowl large enough to accept the sticks of meat. Place the skewered meat into the bowl and cover all sides with the beaten egg mixture.
  5. Cover the skewered meat with cracker meal and set aside. When all have the three coatings, place into the refrigerator for thirty (30) minutes. This will allow the coating to stick better during the next step of browning.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Heat the oil in an electric skillet or large frying pan.
  8. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of a 9 x 11 roasting dish.
  9. Brown the meat on all sides and add the onions and saute with the skewers. Remove the meat and onions and place on paper towels to drain. Pat dry, then place all into the baking dish with the broth.
  10. Cover tightly and bake for 45 minutes.
  11. Remove the cover and bake for additional 15 minutes.
  12. Serve & enjoy. You may use the drippings for au jus, or make gravy out of the drippings.

+hpplQ+yRQKFr+o%+gWAuw_thumb_38e5

Bacon-Wrapped Cornish Hens

WT+LCAxjQQCLnX1q4R5WiA_thumb_38c0
Total time to prepare – Approximately one (1 1/2) hours
 – The biggest challenge with this recipe is to remove the backbone of the cornish hens. But after the first one, the second is much easier, and then the next and so forth will become routine. Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Cornish Hens – defrosted
  • 8 Bacon Slices
  • 1 cup Raspberry Jam – seedless
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Glaze
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in a large heavy skillet or electric skillet until some of the fat is rendered but bacon is still translucent. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Stir Raspberry Jam and Balsamic Glaze in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Cut out and discard the backbone from each hen using kitchen shears, then halve each hen lengthwise. Pat hens dry and season with salt and pepper as you prefer. Arrange cut side down in a roasting pan.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  5. Wrap two (2) slices of bacon around each half hen so bacon ends are tucked under the bird.
  6. Brush hens liberally with Jam Glaze and reserve half for basting.
  7. Roast then baste with pan juices and reserved jam glaze at ten minutes and twenty minute mark. Hens should be tested after thirty-minutes total by piercing thigh with fork or toothpick. Juices should run clear. If not, roast for additional five minutes.
  8. Serve & enjoy.

Beef Barley & Spinach Soup – Quick and Easy

5ISyEqwDThCHD13mwGaQNg_thumb_38cc

Total time to prepare – Approximately one (1) hour

A Quick and Easy Recipe – Serves 8

 

Ingredients

  • item one 1 lb. Ground Beef (85%)
  • item two 1-14.5 oz. can Stewed Tomatoes
  • item three 32 oz. Beef Stock
  • item four 1-cup (8 oz) Vegetable Broth
  • item five 1 large onion – diced
  • item six 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • item seven 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Item eight 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • item nine 1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • item ten 1 cup Red Bell Pepper – diced
  • item eleven 1/2 cup Celery – diced
  • item twelve 1 cup Carrots – Peeled and sliced thin
  • item thirteen 1/2 cup Barley – QUICK COOKING
  • item fourteen 4 cups Spinach – baby or torn

Directions

  1. item one Brown ground beef in dutch oven, break-up the meat. Remove meat and place on paper towels, cool. Pat the grease from the beef. Wipe out the dutch oven with paper towels.
  2. item two Add to dutch oven: Stewed Tomatoes, red pepper, celery, carrots, onion, garlic powder, dried thyme, beef stock, vegetable broth, salt, pepper and return ground beef to pot.
  3. item three Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for twenty (20) minutes.
  4. item four Add barley and simmer for additional fifteen (15) minutes.
  5. item five Add spinach stir. Allow to wilt for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Serve & enjoy. If not using all the soup at one sitting, refrigerate. The barley will soak up some of the liquid. Add additional vegetable broth to increase liquid to desired consistency.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: