Tag Archives forDinner

Granny’s Meatloaf

Tonight was a milestone for us – my 11 year old son cooked dinner – from scratch – for the first time. With the exception of a few technical issues he did amazingly well. He had very little help from me and managed to pull of the perfect meatloaf; Granny’s Meatloaf to be exact.

My sons interest in cooking started sometime last year. He started watching a lot of Food Network shows and quickly became fascinated with the world of preparing food. He started spending more and more time with me in the kitchen, acting as my sous chef. He would peel potatoes, slice veggies, stir the pots etc..


Tonight he begged to make dinner. Since I was in no mood to cook myself (we’re packing for a move) I gave in to his pleading. I asked what he wanted to cook and he immediately said “Granny’s Meatloaf!” That’s his favorite food and pretty darn easy to make. I reminded him that him making dinner meant doing all of the work, not just the easy parts. He only groaned a little when it came time to mix the meat!


Since he was cooking dinner I let him choose the sides to go with the meatloaf. He chose mashed potatoes and corn on the cob; I love my son! He peeled the potatoes, de-husked and de-silked the corn and cooked all of that. I couldn’t’ believe how amazing he did.To say I’m proud of this boy would be an understatement; I’m in awe of how far he’s come and how grown he is getting!


So, here’s the recipe for Granny’s Meatloaf. Maybe you can bring your kids in the kitchen and let them help out – If they’re anything like mine I’m sure they’ll love it!

Granny’s Meatloaf
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: American
Author: Amber
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon each salt & pepper
  • 1 brown gravy packet
  • 1 cup ketchup, separated
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, 1/2 cup ketchup and onions together in a large bowl.
  3. Add spices and gravy packet and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Put the meat in a loaf pan or other dish, formed into a loaf and bake for 1 hour.



Easy Beef Stroganoff – 30 Minute Meals

30 minutes for a complete meal – start to finish – may seem like a pipe dream to some of you. Let me assure you it’s possible and yummy! My normal beef stroganoff takes much longer to prepare, but I was running short on time tonight so I whipped this up Easy Beef Stroganoff and it received rave reviews. Easy-Beef-Stroganoff

This Easy Beef Stroganoff will easily feed a family of 6 leaving more for tomorrows lunch or dinner. The key to making it taste amazing is in the seasoning. Smoked paprika is in the lead for champion, followed closely by the no-no ingredient – a packet of brown gravy mix. I know, I know – packaged gravy is evil. But there are some times when it comes in handy; like tonight.

I like to keep 1 or 2 packets of brown gravy mix on hand just in case my homemade gravy doesn’t turn out or I don’t have the means to make a homemade gravy. The last part is especially true for lean meats – not much drippings to lend to flavoring gravy.


So here’s my recipe for an Easy Beef Stroganoff that is ready in under 30 minutes. No thanks necessary 🙂

Easy Beef Stroganoff
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: American
Author: Amber
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 10 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 8 ounce container sour cream
  • 1 packet brown gravy mix
  • 1 can peas, drained
  • 1 package egg noodles, cooked
  1. Brown the ground meat in a large pan with the garlic and onion, drain well.
  2. Stir in the cream of mushroom soup, seasonings and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil.
  3. Carefully stir in sour cream and then the gravy packet. Add the can of peas. Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
  4. Put the egg noodles on top of the beef stroganoff and dump into a large serving dish. Toss gently to combine and serve.


Bacon, Egg, Apple & Cheese Frittata with Butternut Squash Hash browns

Frittata’s are so versatile. You can enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner. What I love most about them is I can make them for dinner and serve the leftover’s for breakfast. It saves me a ton of time and puts a smile on everyone’s face. This frittata is packed with flavor and is so simple. Serve it with the butternut squash hash browns and you have everything you need to make a complete meal.


 This Frittata has amazing layers of flavor. The sharp cheddar cheese, sweet gala apples and the bacon take turns dancing on your pallet. And like I said before, it’s great reheated in the morning so you stretch your food and your time!

Bacon, Egg, Apple & Cheese Frittata with Butternut Squash Hash browns
Recipe Type: Brunch
Cuisine: American
Author: Amber
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 1 gala apple, cored and diced (1/4 inch pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook your bacon to slightly crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  3. Either clean the pan or get a new one.
  4. Heat the butter and apples in a heavy cast iron or other oven proof skillet over medium heat until the apples are al dente (about 6 minutes.) Add in the bacon and cook for 2 minutes on low heat.
  5. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, cheese, milk and seasonings. Mix until the eggs are well beaten.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the apple mixture and bake for 30 minutes.

bacon 2

The Butternut Squash Hash Browns are the perfect replacement for the starchy counterpart. While not comparable to potatoes, the crispness of the squash delivers what is wanted from a popular morning offering. The hint of garlic powder gives these a delicious flavor that takes away the awkwardness for some that eating squash brings.

Butternut Squash Hash browns
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Amber
  • 1 cup shredded squash (about half a small butternut squash)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking
  1. Press the shredded squash between 2 sheets of paper towels to dry.
  2. In a medium to large bowl mix combine the shredded squash and seasonings
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy pan.
  4. Form the squash mixture into whatever shapes you prefer (or toss it in unformed) and cook until brown.
  5. If you formed the squash fry it until it’s browned and holding on the bottom (about 3 minutes), flip and repeat.
  6. Drain on paper towels and serve war.

How to Roast a Beast: Roast Beef Made Simple

If you ever spent Christmas at my house during the 80’s you’d swear my parents, especially my mother, were Whovillians. From the end of Thanksgiving until the 2nd week of January our house was non-stop Christmas. From the decorations and music to the food and parties. Don’t get me wrong; they were great times but they were intense and some things stuck. Like Roast Beast.

I don’t know what my step-father was thinking, but for the first 15 years of my life he never once said Roast Beef. It was always Roast Beast. And for 15 years that’s what I called it. “What did you have for dinner last night?” “Roast Beast, and it was the best!” I got a few odd stares each time I answered like that but I chalked it up to having some left over in my teeth. Roast-Beef-for-Dinner1-1

If there’s one good thing that came out of that experience it was the ability to roast the best beast you’ve ever tasted! That’s right; my mom could take the cheapest piece of beef in the store and make it taste like nothing of this world. In fact the cheapest piece of beef makes the best roast beef. It’s usually fatty and offers tons of flavor and juice.

So, how do you go about making the perfect Roast Beef? No, it doesn’t take all day. No, there’s no hard work involved. Yes, it does take around 3 hours. Did I answer your questions? Okay then, moving forward.

To start you need a 2 – 3½ pound piece of beef. This will feed around 5 people – go for a bigger piece if you’re feeding more people. I use an eye round roast. Roast-Beast-1
Next up you need to preheat your oven to 375°. Rub your roast with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder (or you can use garlic cloves – cut 5 – 6 slits into the roast and stuff the cloves in.) I rubbed this one with salt, ground chipotle pepper, ground black pepper and garlic flakes.

Now, I use a roasting pan, but my mom put her roast right on the rack with a pan on the rack underneath to catch the drippings. Whichever you decide to do is fine – placing it right on the rack leads to a more tender roast. Make sure the fat side is up and drizzle some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) on the top – this builds a delicious crust on the roast.

Brown the roast at 375° for 30 minutes and then turn the heat down to 200°, or as low as your oven will go. Roast at this low setting for 1 ½ – 2 hours then remove from the oven and cover with a tin foil tent until ready to serve.

That’s it! It’s that easy to make tender, juicy Roast Beef, or Roast Beast if that’s what you prefer.


Sloppy Joe with Homemade Buns

Ever noticed how sometimes the simplest dinner can be all the rave? Take Sloppy Joe as an example. It’s something we’ve enjoyed for generations and come on, what kid doesn’t love them?


The beauty of making your own Sloppy Joe’s is you get to choose what goes in it. Peppers, onions, mushrooms – anything and everything you desire can be added – or omitted. Go all out or keep it simple. See, beautiful! Here is a great recipe for Sloppy Joe’s that seems very customizable.


Pair them with homemade French Fries and homemade hamburger buns and you’re set. Of course you could just buy the buns from the store, but where’s the fun in that? Don’t be intimidated at the thought of homemade hamburger buns – you can do it.


Making your own hamburger buns is a great way to ensure only the best for your family. You control the size and know the ingredients. Not to mention it’s so easy to make them. No – really, super easy!


Homemade French Fries are a longtime favorite of mine. I use redskin potatoes, cutting away the eyes and any imperfections. I leave the skin on for the added nutrients and they are delicious! slop

On a day when I don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen, this is my go to, healthy and hearty meal; what’s your? 

Sloppy Joe with Homemade Hamburger Rolls

Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Author: Amber
Serves: 8
An American favorite made even better with homemade buns & french fries.
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for flouring surface)
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Sesame Seeds (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
  2. Mix in oil and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix until dough is soft.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic like.
  5. Allow to sit for 90 minutes, covered in a warm place.
  6. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into balls.
  7. Cover again and let sit for 30 minutes.
  8. Brush with melted butter and top with sesame seeds if desired.
  9. Place on greased cookie sheets and bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serving size: 1 bun