Spinach lasagna

I don’t make lasagna very often, it has always been a special occasion kinda dish for me. With that said there are times in life when you just crave something truly delicious and it doesn’t matter you just have to make it. I know lasagna is a little time consuming but the day I made this I was really feeling like rolling up my sleeves and treating my husband to a special dinner, and I just happened to be craving it myself. I love spinach in my lasagna and I was also wanting the taste of onion and garlic that day. So I sautĂ©ed the onion and garlic first and then added the spinach. I used my favorite jar of sauce, and I like boiling the noodles. The kind with the curly edges, my cheeses of choice are the traditional ricotta and mozzarella. I set a pretty table and made a salad to go with our lasagna. It turned an ordinary day into an extra special day. Thanks for stopping by 🍽

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

I have always loved chicken pot pie. Even when I was a young girl I thought it so comforting. I especially loved the gravy. When my children were very young I began to learn how to bake. I bravely made white and wheat bread, homemade cakes and pies. Most attempts turned out pretty badly. I remember once serving company  homemade coconut cake it was so dry, all they could say was how much they admired me for trying. In time my efforts improved. I got to know the look and feel of bread and pie dough and mastered the cake batter. I made the chicken pot pie recipe in the Better Homes and Garden cookbook over and over again until I could make it pretty much perfect. My children have always loved it. To this day if I make a special  dinner they ask for that pot pie. The crust is flakey and crispy. The filling heavenly, with the flavor of fresh sage and thyme baked into the chicken. The tender pieces of chicken, sweet carrot, baby potatoes, and a few fresh peas add even more flavor. I love the idea of making them individual just like the banquet pot pies my Mom used to buy. Only these are oh so much tastier.

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I like to bake my chicken in chicken broth, sprinkled with fresh sage, thyme, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. The broth keeps the chicken very tender and flavorful.

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Chop the vegetables in a small dice. Keeping them the same size for even cooking.

DSCF6587Boil the potatoes and carrots together.

DSCF6582Sauté the onion and celery together.

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Dice the chicken.

DSCF6589The gravy is made in the in the pan I sauté the onions and carrots in.

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Add all of the cooked vegetables and chicken.

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Pour the filling into the tins.

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Put the crusts on top and egg wash and bake.

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Time to enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

Homemade or store bough pie crust

3 cups chicken, diced

Good pinch of fresh thyme and sage, chopped

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh cracked pepper, to taste

1 cup diced baby potatoes, yellow or red

2/3 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 medium yellow onion, diced

ÂĽ cup fresh or frozen peas

4 tablespoons butter

2 1/4 cups chicken stock or broth

Âľ cup whole milk

1/3 cup of all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground sage

To prepare the chicken place the breasts into a baking dish add enough broth to generously coat the bottom, but not to cover the chicken. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Bake 350 degree until the temperature reads 160 degrees. Rest chicken for 10 minutes. Boil the potatoes and carrots together until tender, strain and set aside. In a sauté pan melt the butter on medium heat. Add the onion, celery, salt, pepper, and ground sage. Be careful not to brown the onion. Cook until tender about 5 minutes. Add the flour to the pan stir with a whisk. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the broth while mixing with a whisk, and then add the milk and whisk to get smooth gravy. Cook until thick and bubbly. Add the chicken, potatoes, carrots, and peas. You may bake the pot pie in a 9 inch pie plate or individual tins. Pour the filling into the tins and top with your prepared dough. Cut a hole or slits in the crust to vent. Egg wash and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and bubbling. I used only a top crust you may use top and bottom crust. You can also top with prepared puff pastry.

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Potato Salad

I can’t imagine a summer BBQ without potato salad. Most families have their own traditional recipe. The recipe I have is the one my Mom and Grandmother used, with a few personal tweaks. As a young girl I was a very fussy eater. I would never even taste the potato salad put on our picnic table. As an adult I can’t remember the first time I tasted potato salad, I just know that I love it now. My Mom’s recipe seems very simple and it is, but it is creamy and delicious. It’s the recipe that my brother Tommy really enjoys. He called me yesterday and asked me if I had our mom’s recipe. He then went on to tell me what he remembered. He had it really close. This is the recipe he is making for his 4th of July celebration with his family today. I’ve gone outside the box and added a few ingredients that I feel push it into comfort food heaven. I have shared my Mom’s recipe with you and also included my added ingredients if you would like to try my version. This is the potato salad I have posted here on my blog. I cut the size of the salad by half to feed my family today. I’m confident that you will love it either way.

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Potato Salad

5 lbs. potatoes, I prefer red bliss

1 large onion, chopped, yellow or red

3-4 stalks celery, chopped

2 tablespoons vinegar

½-1 teaspoon milk, to thin

Kosher salt (to taste)

Lots of fresh cracked pepper

1 ½-2 cups mayonnaise

Garnish with sweet paprika and fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

Boil the potatoes till fork tender. Chop onion and celery. In a large bowl cut cooled potatoes ÂĽ inch thick slices or to the thickness you prefer. Add the chopped onion, chopped celery, vinegar, salt, pepper, milk and mayonnaise. Gently fold to combine the ingredients. Turn the mixture into a serve bowl. Garnish with paprika, and herb of your choice.

Ingredients I add to my potato salad along with the above recipe:

Âľ-1 cup sweet pickle relish

1/2  teaspoon celery seed

6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon stone ground mustard

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Sausage, Peppers, and Onion

Sausage, peppers, and onions
Sausage, peppers, and onions

This has to be one of my favorite meals to serve on the weekend. I love that it’s easy to prepare. It is so delicious served on a roll sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. My husband Joe gets the rolls from a local bakery. They make their rolls from scratch every day. They are such a treat.

Sausage, peppers, and onion on a fresh roll.
Sausage, peppers, and onion on a fresh roll.

DSCF4895 Prepared the vegetables and minced fresh garlic.

DSCF4891Brown the sausage in a nonstick skillet.

DSCF4900 Saute  vegetables, minced garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

DSCF4914 Cut the browned sausage into small bites and add a large can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes.  Gently simmer until the sausage is completely cooked and the sauce it heated. I tare some fresh basil on before serving and give it a toss.

DSCF4922Serve on a fresh roll and sprinkle with freshly grated cheese. Enjoy!

Sausage, Peppers, and Onion

1 Âľ lb. Sweet, hot, or mild sausage

1 Medium green, red, and yellow pepper

1 Medium sweet onion, sliced thin

2 Cloves fresh garlic minced

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1 12oz. Crushed San Marzano tomatoes

Spay a nonstick skillet lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Heat the pan on medium heat. Add the sausage to the pan. Brown and cook the sausage. While the sausage is cooking prepare the vegetables. Slice the onion, cut the peppers, and mince the garlic. In a separate skillet add the olive oil heat on medium heat. Add the onion cook 1-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic cook 1 minute. Add the red, yellow, and green pepper, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are tender.  Cut the browned and cooked sausage into small pieces. Add to the tender onion, and peppers. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and pour the crushed tomatoes over the sausage, onion, and pepper mixture. Add fresh basil and stir the mixture.  Simmer till the sauce is heated through. Serve on a fresh roll and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Thanks for stopping by!

Beef and Guinness Pot Pie

DSCF2305I remember when my Grandmother lived with us for a time; she and Mom prepared what they called steak pie. It was chunks of beef, onion and a little gravy. The crust was plain and something was in the middle of the pie as a vent. I really can’t remember what it was but I’m thinking it was a shot glass. Is that possible? I don’t remember if I even liked the pie. I suppose I was just too young. I just remember Mom and Grandma in the kitchen together and preparing this meal. I have no way of knowing the recipe that was used Mom had no recipe box that I’ve ever known. But I remember the pie being served and want to bring it to my family table and remember these two special ladies whom I miss and love very deeply. I love pot pie and thought this was a great way of recreating Grandmas pie. To make the gravy extra rich and special I’ll add Guinness Stout Beer. I took all the flavors I love from my beef stew, deleted a few ingredients, added just a few new ingredients, to change up the taste and it’s now Beef and Guinness Pot Pie. The Guinness gives the gravy such a depth of flavor here. Out of the oven this pie is rich and delicious with a flaky crust. I have a feeling Mom and Grandma would just love it.

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Beef and Guinness Pot Pie

2lbs. chuck stewing beef, cut in 2” pieces

3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Pepper

2 large onions, cut in half then cut in half again, then cut into thick slices

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups carrots cut into 2” chunks

5 thyme sprigs, leaves removed

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 ½ cups beef stock

1 cup Guinness stout beer

1 short crust pastry or puff pastry

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Coat the meat with flour. You could use a zip lock bag for this.

In a heavy bottomed pot heat 1 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil Brown the meat in batches. You will need to add a little more oil for each batch up to 2 tablespoons total. Remove each batch to a plate. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil cook the onion 5 minutes. Add the garlic cook 1-2 minutes more. Add the meat back to the pot. Add Worcestershire sauce, sugar, 2 bay leaves, thyme leaves. Give this a good stir. Add the Guinness stout beer and beef broth; add just a pinch more salt and pepper. Give a good stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 1 ½ hours till beef is tender. Remove the lid and simmer 1 hour to let the gravy thicken. Store this filling for your pie overnight in the refrigerator. This will allow the flavors to develop. Next day reheat the beef mixture. Prepare your short crust or puff pastry. Fill a 9 inch pie pan with the beef mixture. Top with the crust. Make a few cuts in the crust to vent. Bake in a 400 degree oven 20-30 minutes till golden.

Note: You could also add mushrooms. Cook them 5-8 minutes remove to a plate, and then cook the onion and garlic.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Cream of Chicken and Potato soup

Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup

It’s a beautiful, chilly fall day here in South Jersey. My boys stopped by to visit today, so I thought I’d treat them to a comforting homemade soup. This soup reminds me of my chicken potpie filling, just a lot easier. I stopped at the food store after church and picked up a fresh rotisserie chicken to make the task a little easier. I want to cook them a homemade soup but have time to enjoy their company as well. Will call this semi homemade! The soup couldn’t be easier to put together. I peeled and chopped the veggies and put them in the pot, covered them with the stock cooked them till they were tender, and then added the prepared chicken.  While the veggies are cooking I made the white sauce then combined the two and our soup was ready. It’s rich and hearty, and tastes like it took hours to make. We all enjoyed the soup and spending some time together. Having my boys for a visit made my Sunday an extra special day.

Base of the soup.
Base of the soup.
White Sauce.
White Sauce.
Base of soup and white sauce combine.
Base of soup and white sauce combine.
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup.
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup.

Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup

Soup Base

5 Cups russet potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 1 inch chunks

1 small onion, chopped

3-4 Carrots, peeled wash a cut into ½ inch rounds

2 Bay leaves

4 Sprigs of thyme remove the leaves and discard the stems

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces, or the breast of one rotisserie chicken cut into bite sized pieces.

3-4 Cups chicken stock

½ Teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper to taste

Fresh parsley to garnish

White Sauce

5 Tablespoons butter

5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk, whole or 2 percent

In a large pot add the potatoes, onion, fresh thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and chicken stock. The stock should just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower to medium heat to simmer the vegetables until they are fork tender. About 12-15 minutes. Add the cooked chicken. Remove the bay leaves. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a large fry pan over medium low heat. Add the flour to the butter and stir with a whisk. Cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes to cook out the flour taste from the butter. Turn the gas up to a medium high heat and add the milk slowly while whisking into the butter and flour mixture. Whisk till the mixture becomes thick and bubbly. With a wooden spoon add the white sauce to the vegetable mixture over medium heat slowly to combine. Taste for the seasoning you may want more salt or pepper at this point. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving. Cook 5-10 minutes more and serve or simmer on a very low flame till you are ready to serve.

If you would like to make this soup vegetarian use vegetable stock and omit the chicken. You could add celery and more carrots to make it a little heartier.

Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, we have had our Summer evenings, now for October eves!

Humbert Wolfe

Thanks for stopping by!