Monday, January 3, 2011

Hamburger Stroganoff

In my humble opinion, any recipe with sour cream, or cream cheese, is a winner. I don’t care if it’s a main dish or dessert – adding either creamy goodness makes it better.


Especially if you’re a Foodie Newbie, like me. They’re like secret weapons for us.

I realize that after the holidays you may be resolving to lighten up, exercise and watch your calories. If you are, don’t put this on your Recommended Reading.

Or, you can just save it for one of those days when you absolutely must have something Stick-To-Your-Ribs Yummy. This will fill the bill.

And it’s easy. Super easy. I don’t even really measure anything. Just dump stuff in. I’ll give you approximate amounts, but I’m sure you can find an actual recipe for Hamburger Stroganoff online somewhere.


First, chop up an onion. Either a small one, or half of a large one.



About a cup of onion. I used what I had on hand, which was just under a cup.



Any oil will work, but I used Olive Oil. Note the Extra Light in Flavor. It has a lighter flavor than regular Olive Oil.



About a tablespoon in a medium to large skillet.



While your frying pan is heating up, fill up a pot with water to boil some noodles. Unless you’re making rice. In which case, you have to measure the water.

Either one is tasty with the stroganoff, though.


Saute the onions until tender and translucent.


Or just until the crunchiness is gone.


Dump in a pound of ground beef.


Break up the chunks and mix the onion into the meat.


When the hamburger is brown, drain off any fat. I like to add a tablespoon or so of Worcestershire sauce. I think it makes it richer in flavor, but it also adds a salty taste.



Your water should be boiling at this point, so add your salt.

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but Rachel Ray says to add salt only to hot water. If the water is cold, the salt just drops to the bottom of the pot. Makes sense to me, so that’s what I do now.


When the water is boiling, dump in some noodles.

How much? Good question! I do a handleful per person – but then, I like pasta. Cooked pasta is about double the amount of uncooked, so I go from there.


Once you add noodles to the water, it’ll take a few minutes to get the water back to a boil. Once it comes back to a boil, then start your timer per package directions.


After you drain your meat, add a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. You could also add mushrooms, if you like them. I don’t like them, so I leave them out.

I know, why use Mushroom soup if I don’t like mushrooms? I dunno. I don’t like tomatoes either, but love catsup. And salsa. And tomato paste.


Stir the soup through and let it cook about 10 minutes – about the same amount of time it’ll take for your noodles.



When your meat mixture is cooked, turn the heat off and add a cup (or so) of sour cream.


Yum . . .


Yum . . .


Yum!!!Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Favorite Appliance–a Slow Cooker!


If you’re a foodie newbie, I highly recommend you ask Santa for a slow cooker.

Or don’t wait and just go get one. Fast!

You can thank me later.

This is the one appliance that has never let me down. Not once.


I have even gone so far as to dub myself the Crockpot Queen, which is pretty easy in my house because Hubs either grills or fries and culinary-school-Son uses every other tool in the kitchen.

Except the crockpot.

They don’t know what they’re missing. But I won’t tell them, if you won’t.

I won’t tell them that you dump all the ingredients in at once, turn one little dial and walk away.

I won’t tell them that cheap cuts of meat come out tender and juicy.

Or that the juices that puddle in the pot taste like someone who actually knows what they’re doing in the kitchen made them.

Truth be told, I only have a handful of recipes I use. But they’ve never failed me. Never!

I’m happy to share, but here’s a fabulous site with plenty of recipes to get you started.

After a couple of times, you’ll find you can just experiment too. That’s what I really love about this thing. Just dump, turn the knob, and let it do it’s thing.

Pot roast is one of my favorites. And it’s so easy.

I’ve used both beef roasts and pork. Both turn out good.

Here’s the ‘recipe’.

Put the meat in the slow cooker.

Tear open an envelope of this wonderful goodness.


Pour in a little bit of this.


Put the lid on, turn the knob, and you’ll have the best roast in about 6 hours, depending on the cooker.

If you want a whole meal, cut up some potatoes and throw them in there too. Or any other veggies you want.

Now, if you read about slow cookers, all the books will tell you that you need a good amount of liquid. But I’ve made this roast a bunch of times and have never added water. Maybe a little wine, if I have some.

I guess if you added some water, you’d have even more juice. But I always seem to have plenty.

So much so, that on the days when I actually feel my cooking mojo working, I make a gravy from the juice.

I can’t tell you the feeling of accomplishment I get when I make a gravy from scratch!

Why, it almost makes me think I can cook!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t know what it is about cold weather, but it’s when I like to bake. Or attempt to bake.

It’s not always a sure thing.

I guess that’s why I have a kitchen full of gadgets. And appliances. And tools.

Anything that might give me better odds than 50:50.

I know, I know. People who can actually bake will say it just takes experience.

That may very well be true, but don’t burst my bubble about the gadgets.

This one is really kind of fool-proof. Or foodienewbie-proof.


It’s a bread machine, for you newbies out there.

What’s so great about a bread machine, you ask?

You dump the stuff in. It mixes. It kneads. It bakes – if you want it to. Or you can just make dough. For say, cinnamon rolls. Or pizza dough.

Any of those yummy yeasty dough that you usually have to knead. And knead. And knead.

At my age, I’m all about Easy – especially in the kitchen. So if I used the bread machine for nothing other than homemade cinnamon rolls, it’d be worth it.

I actually do make bread in it – about once or twice a year.

Today it was pouring rain and windy and I was bored enough to make these cinnamon rolls.

These seem like a lot of work, but they’re not. {I’m just really, really wordy.}

If you don’t have a bread machine, and you don’t want to mess with yeast proofing and/or kneading and kneading and kneading – there is a shortcut.

Bridgford frozen bread dough.

You might have to ask for it at your store. Some stores don’t carry it, I’ve noticed.

But if you can find a package, grab it. Take out one loaf – there are 3 to a package – slather it in butter and let it thaw.

You’ll get a big, puffy mound of yeast dough. Then skip down to the Filling part of the recipe and you’ll have some scrumptious cinnamon rolls.

However if you do have a bread machine, or get one for a present, this is a good FoodieNewbie recipe.


This is the inside of mine. See the little scraper-thingy in the middle? It’s the paddle that does all the mixing and kneading. And kneading. And kneading.


Here’s the dough fixin’s.

I invested in some bread flour. What’s the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour? These guys know.

I also got bread machine yeast. I mean, if you’re gonna have a machine, why not hedge your bets? Trying to up those 50:50 odds, you know.

Now, for the dumping part.


This is an egg in a cup of warm water. There are two reasons I did this.

1. The recipe said to do it. “one egg @ room temperature with enough water to make 1 cup”.

2. I always crack my eggs into a separate bowl.

Always. I saw them do it on TV. Plus, my cracking ability is just a notch or two above my baking. I’d rather wash an extra bowl then take 10 minutes to dig a piece of eggshell out.

Ok – dump this in. The water is supposed to be 80 degrees. Almost warm. Tepid. Baby bottle temp.

Better yet, get a thermometer. If you do any cooking of meat, please get a thermometer! If you’re a Newbie, it’s a must.

You can thank me later.

(Like, after you serve up that beautiful browned chicken breast, cut into it, and see that pretty itty-bitty pink in the center.)

Then dump the oil in.

Now the dry ingredients.


Here’s a shot of leveling off the flour.

If you already knew how to do it, sorry for what seems to be obvious.

If you didn’t know how to do it, I won’t tell anyone. Scoop a heaping measure into your cup, then take the flat side of the knife and scrape the excess off. It levels your measurement – very important in baking. Now you know how to measure dry stuff.


Flour, sugar, salt, yeast – on top of the wet ingredients. Just dump ‘em all in there.


On my machine there’s a program for #7 DOUGH. There’s a PROGRAM button. Press the button until #7 shows in the window.


Press the START button.

Dump. Press button. Press other button. With me so far?

Now you see why I like gadgets, huh.

That little black box now starts churning and mixing and kneading. And kneading. And kneading.

It even beeps if you want to add raisins and nuts to the dough.

I don’t, thank you. I’ll just put mine in the filling.


While the black box is kneading and kneading – something you’d be doing if you don’t have a black box, or you can’t find Bridgford Bread Dough – you need to grease a baking pan.

This very well-used one is 9” x 13”. Not well-used by me, mind you. It’s my mother’s. I haven’t baked enough to have a well-used anything.



Yep, butter. I used it to grease the pan. You’ll also need about this much to spread on the dough when you get it rolled out.


You’ll also need a rolling pin. This is Mom’s cool silicone set. You still have to use flour, but I like having a big ol’ mat to make a mess on.


You can also chop nuts while the machine is chuggin’ away – unless you don’t want nuts.

Behind the nuts are the filling ingredients, except I see I didn’t put brown sugar on the counter. And I did put brown sugar in the filling. If you like a little toffee flavor, add brown sugar too.

I used pecans because that’s what we had. Any nut will work. I’m not particular with nuts.

I could go down an entirely different avenue with that one, but I won’t. Right now, at least.


When the bread machine dings the 2nd time, you’ll get this wonderful blob of yeast dough. Sprinkle some flour down on your work surface, and rub some more on your rolling pin. Keep a little extra nearby in case your dough gets sticky.


Roll the dough into a 12” x 18” rectangle. Yes, that is a tape measure up there. Yes, you can guess-timate the size, if you want. 50:50 odds, remember? I’m still doing nearly everything by the book.


Spread the rectangle with butter. I’m sure they make a tool for this, but I don’t have it. Pastry brush? Nope, don’t have it.

Then I sprinkled brown sugar on it. No, I didn’t measure. Shhh . . .


Add the white sugar, cinnamon and raisins and nuts if you like. Then you take the long edge of the rectangle and start rolling.


Keep rolling and rolling.


Then slice the roll up. They said 1” pieces. I wanted to make them bigger, but I chickened out.

If you’re a real baker and you make big, thick cinnamon rolls, can you tell me if I’d just cut bigger pieces?


Put them in the greased baking pain. No, they don’t look like much here. They taste great, though. Not now. After they’re baked, I mean.


Cover with a towel and place them in a warm spot – if you can find one this time of year. Let them double in size. Takes about an hour.

Pop them in the oven @ 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

While they’re baking, you can make a glaze.


Powdered sugar, a little vanilla and milk. Mix it ‘til smooth.


Drizzle it all over the rolls when they’re hot out of the oven.



They’re mighty tasty without a glaze, too. Or, you can spread some vanilla or cream cheese frosting on them.

Yummy any which way.