We recently moved Savannah home again. She will be doing an internship in January, and it was impossible to find a six-month lease near the college. So, for six-months, she will make the daily drive to college.
I questioned how living together would be after she has been on her own for so long. I’m trying really hard to remember she’s not a child any longer. It is coming with some benefits also. She has become very independent…she doesn’t want me doing her laundry, and she has become an excellent cook!
Fajitas is a specialty of hers, and I am using every excuse I can think of to have her cook them often. Her secret is this awesome seasoning blend that she makes. I even seasoned a roast with it, and it was delicious.
Savannah does not have an exact measurement for the meat and veggies. To feed two people, she typically uses one to two boneless, skinless chicken breast, two green bell peppers, one large onion, and two to three Roma tomatoes.
Savannah seasons her meat with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Then saute’s it in a little oil until done. She then removes the meat from the skillet to saute green bell peppers and onions. Once the veggies are tender, add chopped Roma tomatoes and a heaping tablespoon of the fabulous seasoning, plus the juice of half a lime. Add the meat back to the skillet, stirring to combine and serve.
Try this tasty Mexican seasoning blend on burgers or grilled meats for extra wonderful flavor!
Mexican Seasoning Blend
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Store in a small jar.
Worrying about the big holiday meal has apparently been passed on to me from many generations before. My mother, grandmother, and aunts started planning their holiday dishes far in advance. Everything had to be exceptional, and it seemed to take them days to cook and prepare for the feast. Don’t get me wrong; they did a fine job of it too! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had any better meals than those in my memories.
I am still going to start planning weeks in advance but after years of fretting I have figured out that every dish does not have to be painstakingly hard or time-consuming. Nevertheless, it can be every bit as delicious.
These days there seem to be fewer casseroles on holiday tables compared to years past. I have noticed at my family gatherings alone; we now have asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and green beans. I never saw those on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables when I was growing up. Sure, there will always be the sweet potato casseroles and a few of the other classics. However, with our society being more health conscious, and fresh produce more readily available, fresh vegetables have become increasingly popular side dishes for holiday feasts.
Thanks to Berry Farms in Lyons I have these wonderful fresh organic green beans. These fabulous green beans are not only delicious, but they are very easy to prepare as well. You may find that this becomes a year round side dish because they are so yummy!
Balsamic and Garlic Green Beans
- 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Cook beans in boiling salted water to cover over high heat for 6 minutes; drain. Plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process; drain.
- Saute garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the beans and saute 3 to 4 minutes. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper; saute 1 minute.
If you search my website, you will find very few recipes with condensed creamed soup listed as an ingredient. I usually try to make a homemade version. It’s easy to make, the recipe can be found easily with a Google search, and it is lower in sodium.
However, just like you. I sometimes struggle to get food on the table for my family. I just don’t have it in me to cook or to clean up a mess in the kitchen. Those nights would be pizza delivery nights if only I lived in a pizza delivery area! Or maybe we would pick up take-out. If only I were close enough to a restaurant where I could actually make it home with warm food.
I keep a few cans of condensed cream soups on hand for roast or emergencies. I was having one of those uninspiring nights recently. Greg was grilling steaks, which was great, but we needed something on the side. I threw this casserole together in no time, and the results were awesomeness in a casserole dish! I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website and it’s going in my book of favorites!
The casserole has the taste of a French Onion Soup. It would be a great side dish to accompany any meat. It is different from anything I have every seen on a Thanksgiving table, but I believe it would be great with turkey and dressing!
If you want to include this on your holiday table, saute the onions a day or two ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator. Assemble and bake the casserole the day of your holiday meal.
Cheesy Onion Casserole
- 2 - 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 large yellow onions, sliced into rings
- 2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 (10-oz.) can Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted
- ⅔ c. milk
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- Sliced French Bread (sliced about ½-inch thick)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Melt butter in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent (a little brown in okay too). Add some freshly ground black pepper and stir.
- Pour the onions into a shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Top with ⅔ of the Swiss cheese and set aside.
- In a medium bowl add the soup, milk, and soy sauce. Whisk together until well blended. Pour over the cheese and onions. Top with French Bread slices.
- Bake in 350° F oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and gently push the bread down into the sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake uncovered, 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Judging from the rain we had over the weekend from Hermine, I should have written about the hot, dry weather months ago. Other than a few limbs to pick up now, we faired well here on the farm, as I also hope that you did also.
With Labor Day behind me, I am truly getting into the “autumn” mind frame. As I mentioned last week, I am tired of the hot, the dry, the mowing, and the bugs. I thought I would take us into fall a little early with recipes for these wonderful meatballs with marinara sauce.
These recipes are simple and delicious, and great served on zoodles or pasta. My cousin, Robin, recently shared this scrumptious meatball recipe with me. I doubled the recipe, thinking I would have plenty of leftovers but my crowd ate every last one of them. The marinara sauce is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from one of her older cookbooks, Everyday Italian, and I’ve been making it for years. It is literally so good I could eat it like soup.
Complete your meal with a tossed salad and garlic bread for a fabulous meal to serve any day of the week.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ lb. ground pork
- ¾ c. bread crumbs
- ½ c. grated Romano cheese
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg
- In a large bowl, mix ground beef, egg, and bread crumbs. Add cheese, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to your taste if desired.
- Roll into balls and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Serve over pasta with marinara sauce.
- ½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 2 (32-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 dried bay leaves
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and garlic, and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.