Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Mama’s Curry

Mom and dad went out to eat at a nice restaurant for their 15th wedding anniversary (1964). They took a gamble and told their waiter that they were celebrating an anniversary and wanted something special for their meal and they would trust him to pick it out for them and surprise them. They were adventurous eaters and as long as spicy heat was not involved (dad), then they were game. The waiter brought out this meal.  There was a bowl of white rice and a stew, a very yellow stew. Lamb stew with carrots, potatoes and lots of curry powder in a thickened broth. They thought, OK, looks good but not really all that special…but then the condiments started coming out. Small bowls of caramelized onion, crumbled bacon, chopped peanuts, sliced bananas, toasted coconut, raisins and chutneys came out. Mostly sweet things we didn’t put on savory stews back then. But they were encouraged by the waiter to try and pile as many condiments that they felt comfortable with. The rest is history. They started out slow and ended up in love. Mom came home and tried to recreate the meal for us, her 5 children. She went to a butcher in the neighborhood and bought lamb necks from him-for cheap. The meat that simmered off of them was like heaven.  Once the meat was floating in these tiny shreds-no lumps or hunks of meat here, she removed the bones, added chopped carrots, chopped potatoes (feel free here to add any root veg you like-parsnips are great) about 25 whole cloves and several tablespoons of curry powder. Once the vegs were cooked, she thickened it with a cornstarch slurry. We kids thought she had flipped her wig when we saw the spread, but she offered us a nickel a clove for every whole clove we fished out BEFORE adding condiments (then you aren’t EVER gonna find them) and just like our parents, we started out slow and skeptical but ended up in love. Chutney took a few years for me to appreciate but now it’s a must have. X-tra bananas and toasted coconut if you please. And of course, there’s never enough bacon.  If you don’t want to fish out the whole cloves, you can use a pinch of powdered cloves or just go ahead and bite on the whole ones, they soften and are not overpowering. I can’t get lamb necks for my curries but I use shredded chicken and am happy with the results. Serve in large bowls. Also, please feel free to try different or several curry powders with this dish-customize it to your tastes. I recently enjoyed this meal with my brother J. Paul his wife Maria and kids Liza and Alex. Brother Randy was also with us. We had a fabulous time and miss you all so much.

So there’s not really a recipe. You can stew a whole chicken or just shred a breast or two. Put shredded meat in chicken broth with some potatoes, carrots and whatever other vegetables to simmer. Add some whole cloves or a good pinch of ground ones. Be pretty generous with the curry powder as the cornstarch thins it’s flavor down. Once all is tender, thicken with some cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Add to boiling stew and STIR, cooking for a minute or two. Serve over rice, white or brown with the condiments

crumbled bacon

caramelized onion

sliced bananas

toasted coconut

chopped peanuts


chutney(s) of choice

Pile it on and dig in, baby!!

Miss ya mom and dad.


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Squash Casserole


This is the casserole, just about to be put in the oven. It’s on top of the new fire engine red filing cabinet I got from Ikea. I would have liked to include a picture of the finished product, but hungry sisters descended upon it and it was torn asunder. Margarets friend JJ was over for the dinner and said he had never eaten squash in his life (17 yrs. old)!!!! And he said he really liked it…so come on–give it a try. It’s very corny and buttery and cheesy. I make a half batch, like you see here, since I’m only cooking for 2 most days. It re-heats very well.

Squash Casserole

1 box of Jiffy Cornbread mix –prepared–I make it into muffins

4 1/2 cups chopped zucchini

4 1/2 cups chopped yellow squash

1 large onion

1 1/2 sticks of butter

8 ozs. grated cheddar cheese ( I use the same amount even when halving this recipe) (I’m bad)

3 cubes of chicken boullion

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme-crumbled

1 tsp. garlic

Preheat oven to 350. Grease up a baking dish, 9×13 (or there abouts) if making the whole recipe.

Put all the squash in a deep saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to a boil. Turn it off, letting it set for a bit. Now is when I fry up the onion in the butter–on medium heat –don’t brown it -just cooked. Put in the bouillon cubes and they will melt into the butter, with a little help. Now’s here is the part I usually forget. When you drain the squash, put a measuring cup in the sink because you want to reserve 1 cup of the squash liquid. If you forget like me, just sub a cup of broth or water-whatever liquid you want. Dump the drained squash into a large mixing bowl. Crumble in the already made cornbread. Throw in the reserved cup of squash water and everything else. Don’t forget the onion.  Cover casserole dish in foil for 30 minutes, then uncover for 20 more. It’s a great side dish!!

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Shredded BBQ Beef

dscf0673 The last time I talked with my sister-in-law, Maria, she reminded me of this recipe. I had somehow pushed it to the back of my mind, mainly because JoJo’s family doesn’t care for it too much–and this recipe makes ALOT–too much for just Terri and me. The good thing is it freezes well, so if you eat it til you get tired of it, just pop some in the freezer for some night in the future when it calls out to you.  This looks like a long list of ingredients, and it is, but this makes it’s own BBQ sauce and most of this stuff you probably already have in your pantry. If you can find the meat on sale, nothing is very expensive. So thanks, Maria, for reminding me of an old favorite. This one’s for you.                                  Shredded BBQ Beef  

1 boneless beef chuck roast (around 4 pounds)

2 large onions, chopped

1 cup ketchup

1 can (14 oz.) beef broth

2/3 cup chili sauce (in condiment aisle, near ketchup)

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. prepared mustard (not powdered)

2 Tbsp. molasses

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice  

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne (optional)

1 Tbsp. liquid smoke (not optional-also in condiment aisle)

a dozen potato rolls or hamburger buns  

Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Not 350!! 325.

In a Dutch oven, or any big ovenproof pot with a tight fitting lid, heat up 1 Tbsp. or so of oil over med-hi heat and brown the roast on all sides. I usually cut the roast at least in half, sometimes into 3 chunks (to ensure tenderness in time allowed), but you don’t have to. Once it’s all browned, remove meat to a platter. Add a bit more oil and throw in the onions to cook til tender, about 5 minutes. Add everything else (except the rolls/buns, of course), bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the meat back in, along with any juices they gave off, put the lid on it, and pop it in your 325 degree oven. Walk away.  In 2 hours, come back and turn the roast. After 2 more hours (4 total)   take the meat out of the sauce and shred it with 2 forks. Return it to the sauce. Serve on rolls with a side of slaw-with some ice tea-and you got heaven. Enjoy!     


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Green and Blue Tart

Kale is a superfood and I am always looking for new recipes for it. Add blue cheese and put it in puff pastry–you got my vote. Thanks Kat from A Good Appetite.



Green and Blue Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, partially thawed

1 cup cooked kale (mine had some cooked onion in it)

1/4 cup blue cheese or gorgonzola crumbled

salt and pepper

pinch of nutmeg

2 Tbsp. grated parmesan chees

2 eggs, beaten together, remove 1 Tbsp. for glazing pastry edge

Heat oven to 425. Roll out pastry sheet a little, mostly to seal the fold lines, which tend to split. Mix everything together and pile into the center. Cut the corners to form a large circle. fold over and pleat the edges. Brush with reserved egg. Bake 20 minutes. 

I took this over to my sisters house for dinner with her family-everybody but the picky eater Chip really liked it. Looks fancy but is really quite easy, especially if the kale is leftover, like mine was. Already cooked and ready to go.



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Quick Yakisoba Noodles

With vegies and beef.  The noodles are bought from the refrigerated Chinese section (you know, next to the won ton wrappers).  Just micro for 1 minute to loosen, then toss in with stir-fry vegies-after they’re almost done.  In this case, it was a package of broccoli slaw, some garlic and ginger, a bit of soy sauce and oyster sauce, a dash of chili sauce.  The add about 1/4 cup-1/2 cup of water, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes.  The beef was left over steak that I cooked separately in a bit of Soy Vay sauce, then threw it on top. Dinner in 10 minutes.dscf0657

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Swedish Meatballs

My mother in law, Olga, from Norway, was married to a Swedish man, Leo. She made wonderful Swedish meatballs but I never got her recipe. This is Alton Brown’s recipe and it was a BIG hit around here, with kids and grown-ups alike. I heard my Swedish brother-in-law licked his plate.


My sister made me make another batch of gravy for the leftovers so if your family likes lots of gravy too, you might save yourself the step and just double the gravy ingredients the first time around.

Swedish Meatballs

2 slices of white bread 

1/4 cup milk

3Tbsp. butter, divided

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 lb. lean chuck

3/4 lb. ground pork (not sausage)

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/4 tsp. each allspice and nutmeg

optional: 1 tsp. cardamon (I used it)

1/4 cup flour

3 cups beef broth

1/4 cup cream

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Soak the torn up bread in the milk.

Get a skillet going on medium low. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter and sweat the onion til tender but not brown, along with a pinch of salt. Scrape it into a large bowl and add to it the soaked bread, salt, both meats, yolks and spices. Mix well. (Alton says to mix it for 2 minutes in a Kitchen Aid but I just used my hand mixer) Wet your hands and form into  1+1/2 inch balls. It should make about 30. Using the same skillet, again on medium low, fry up the meatballs, one batch at a time. Don’t crowd them too tightly. Fry them gently-you don’t want to hear too much of a sizzle. This helps keep them tender but yes, it does take a little longer. Be patient. When one batch is done, put in a pan in the oven to stay warm and keep frying. When all are done and in the oven, melt another couple of tablespoons of butter and mix in the flour. Cook gently for a few minutes, then slowly stir in the broth. Cook til thickened and then add the cream. Serve over wide egg noodles.

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