Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spicy Swiss Steak

As I believe I have mentioned before, I cannot for the life of me follow a cooking recipe exactly (baking is usually a different story since things need to be more exact). I add garlic and onion powder to pretty much everything, and if there's a way to make it spicy, I do that, too. Walter loves flavorful, spicy food, as do I (although, his spice threshold is much higher than mine).

So, this is the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens plaid cookbook. It's a classic recipe, but I thought it was a little boring, so I kicked it up a bit.

There are both skillet instructions and oven instructions. I love my skillet, so I have never made it in the oven, but I am sure it is just as good.

Spicy Swiss Steak

-1 pound boneless beef round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
-2 tablespoons flour
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-1 tablespoon cooking oil (I used EVOO)
-1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, undrained
-1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings (I diced mine)
-1/2 cup sliced celery Omitted
-1/2 cup sliced carrot Omitted
-2 cups hot cooked noodles or mashed potatoes
I added 1 tablespoon garlic powder, one tablespoon onion powder, 1/2 tablespoon seasoned meat tenderizer, a handful of jalapeno slices (about 6), and 1/4 cup jalapeno juice.

1. Trim fat from meat. Cut into 4 serving-size pieces. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper (I added the garlic and onion powders and seasoned meat tenderizer to this mixture). With the notched side of a meat mallet, pound flour mixture into meat.
2. In a large skillet brown meat on both sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Add undrained tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrot (and jalapenos and juice, if using). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 1 1/4 hours or until meat is tender. Skim off fat. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.

Oven Directions: Prepare and brown meat in skillet as above. Transfer meat to a 2-quart square baking dish. In the same skillet combine undrained tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrot (and jalapenos/juice). Bring to boiling, scraping up any browned bits. Pour over meat. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven about 1 hour or until tender. Serve as above.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spicy Cajun Chicken Breasts

This recipe came from me staring at the food we had in the kitchen and saying, "How can I make this a meal?" I've seen similar recipes around since then, so apparently it's good for others, too. I usually dip mine in dijon honey mustard, but I do that with many kinds of chicken. It's a very simple, easy, and cheap recipe, and it's great if you like a little spice.

Spicy Cajun Chicken Breasts

-2/3 cup flour
-1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
-1/2 Tablespoon ground red pepper
-1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 teaspoon paprika
-1/4 teaspoon seasoned meat tenderizer
-2 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine first eight ingredients in a bowl.
3. Bread chicken breasts in dry mixture, making sure each breast is thoroughly covered.
4. Cook at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until center of each breast reaches 170 degrees or higher.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Skillet Supper

When Walter and I got married, I was not the domestic goddess I am today. I was not a very good cook at all. Numerous times, he brought up his mother's meatloaf. This wasn't just any meatloaf. He talked about it as if it were the food of Valhalla or some such. So, once I became more of what I am today, I wanted to make this meatloaf. The problem was that his mother passed away a few months before our wedding, and he was "certain" that she never wrote the recipe down. After a while it occurred to me to ask his aunts, my late mother-in-law's sisters, if they knew the recipe. Apparently it was originally from Walter's grandmother, and they happily provided it for me. I made very minimal changes, and now it's made almost weekly.

I don't even like meatloaf, normally, but I love this. It is a little different since it doesn't use catsup or any other tomato-based sauces, but if you wanted to eat it with them, I imagine it would still be good (Walter dips his in A1 Steak Sauce).

Skillet Supper

-2 pounds ground beef
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup cracker crumbs (about 20)
-2 tablespoons onion
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 stick butter or 1 can mushroom soup (I always use butter, and Walter says his mother never used the soup, either, but this is what I was told)
-4-6 potatoes, sliced or cubed
-2 cans of green beans, drained
I also add Soul Food Seasoning to the meatloaf mixture

1. Preheat electric skillet to 325 degrees.
2. Mix together first six items and form into a loaf.
3. Cut potatoes and drain green beans
4. Place loaf and vegetables in skillet and immediately reduce heat to 250 degrees.
5. Spoon soup or butter around loaf and vegetables.
6. Cook covered for 35 to 45 minutes or until center of loaf is 160 degrees or warmer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinach

This was somewhat of a failure, but I will post it anyway. I did not mess up the recipe. In fact, I think that most people would enjoy it. However, Walter and I have discovered that we just do not like gnocchi. We are both texture eaters, and the texture is just not something we like. The sausage and the spinach were nice, and they mixed well with the garlic and onion, so I may try those with some other pasta, like penne or rigatone. So, somewhat of a failure, but not entirely. It just wasn't our cup of tea.

By the way, I found it on Real Simple's website.

Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinich

-2 9-ounce packages refrigerated gnocchi or one 17.5-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
-1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed (I do not like ground sausage, so I did sliced smoked sausage instead)
-1 clove garlic, finely chopped (I used two cloves)
-1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan, plus more for garnishing (I ommitted this, as I am lactose intolerant)
I also added a dash of garlic powder and a dash of onion powder.

1. Bring water to a rolling boil and drop gnocchi in. Cook until they float to the top (about three minutes), and drain, reserving 1/4 of the cooking liquid.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened.
3. Add sausage and cook until brown, crumbling with a spoon. If using smoked sausage slices, just cook thoroughly.
4. Add garlic, spinach, salt, and pepper, and cook until spinach wilts. I added the onion and garlic powders at this point.
5. Add drained gnocchi, the reserved cooking liquid, and, if including, the Parmesan cheese. Toss ingredients.
6. Sprinkle additional Parmesan on each dish if desired, and serve.

First Recipe - Banana Banana Bread

Hi, everyone! I'm Joanna Eberhart. Anyone familiar with my blog will know that I'm a housewife who loves cooking and baking. So, I've decided to try my hand at a food blog. Welcome. :)

Banana Banana Bread
I got this recipe here at I altered it a bit because that's what I do (I don't think I ever follow a recipe exactly), and it turned out pretty great.

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup butter
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-2 1/3 cups mashed bananas (roughly three. I used four)
-2 eggs
I also added 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Stir in bananas, eggs, and vanilla.
4. Combine both bowls and stir until moist.
5. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes at 350 degrees.
6. Let cool for ten minutes before removing from pan.

I am actually not a huge fan of banana bread, but this tasted good. It was very moist and sweet, which is always a plus. Walter enjoyed it, and hopefully our guests tomorrow will as well!