Homemade “Beef” Helper

On busy school days with hockey, cheer, barn chores and so on, you can still make a great homemade hamburger helper without a box in about 30 minutes if not a little less.

Last night was one of those nights and with this meal, everyone was happy!

You can see how I made our homemade hamburger helper on my facebook page here:  Homemade Hamburger Helper

Meatloaf Cupcakes

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Who can resist dinner when you put this on the table???

Another super easy VERY kid friendly meal

Mix the 1 lb of beef, 1 package stuffing mix, 1 cup of water and 1 tsp. garlic salt in a bowl until fully incorporated

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Lightly spray your cupcake tins (I used the jumbo tins) and place even amount pressing down lightly so the top is smooth

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Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (or until cooked through)

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“Frost” with your mashed potatoes (store bought are fine in pinch) and sprinkles with corn

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I promise they will all be back for seconds!!

Easiest Meatloaf

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Sometimes taking a shortcut is the only way to go.

This meatloaf is one of those shortcut meals.

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1 lb of ground beef (turkey works as well and venison/pork)

1 packet of onion soup mix (any brand is fine)

Mix all together and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until cooked through.

The flavor is fabulous and you won’t have any leftovers!!

Birthday Dinner (cooking strip steaks)

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This past Tuesday was the man of the house’s birthday.  It was a big one (50!!) and the kids were very excited to have a wonderful grilled strip steak dinner along with the potatoes they harvested and a chocolate chip cookie cake for dessert.

He works in the medical field and had a first case at 6:30 a.m. and a late case that started at 6:30 p.m. so the kids had to contain themselves until he was finally home.

I am not a master on the grill.  As a matter of fact, I probably shouldn’t be allowed to use that thing!!  But use it I did and I think I did a great job on our steaks.

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When cooking any type of steak I always rinse it first.  I season it with Montreal Steak seasoning which has all the wonderful spices you need such as garlic, black pepper, salt, onion powder etc.  I let that sit for 1/2 hour and then before grilling I put a few pats of butter on the side that will be face up on the grill letting it melt and season the meat as it cooks.

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For perfect steaks you should always cook them on high heat quick.  We like ours medium rare so it does not take long for the outside to get browned while the inside stays light pink and juicy.

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The potatoes were grown in containers this year (see post here on how we grew potatoes).  I steamed them in a little garlic oil and water and seasoned them with freshly ground sea salt.

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A side of corn and a tad of sour cream with chopped chives finished our plates.  It was delicious.

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The kids were finally happy to sing to their dad!!

 

 

Mini Meatloaf and Rainbow in a Pan Veggies

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This is a wonderful homemade meal on the fly.  The meatloaf is fun for the kids to help make and it’s super tasty.  I do not make a starch with it because there is stuffing right in the meat so you just need a side veggie and dinner is on the table!!

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mix beef and stuffing and press into pan

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put a little pasta sauce in a dip in the middle

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bake and then top with cheese and set in oven to melt (this is something the kids love to do as you can see)

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little tasty cups of meatloaf!!

My kids call this veggie side “rainbow in a pan”.  Super easy and pretty too!!

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zucchini, summer squash, orange and red pepper, snap peas

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sprinkle a little panko crumbs on for the extra texture

Mini Meatloaf recipe (this is adapted from the Kraft website)  HEAT oven to 375°F.

Take 1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix

1 cup water

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 small jar spaghetti sauce

grated mozzarella cheese

Mix all together in a bowl. Press into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Makeindentation in center of each with back of spoon; fill with spaghetti sauce (or you can use Ketchup or alfredo or even BBQ sauce).

BAKE 30 min. or until meatloaves are done (160°F).  Sprinkle on cheese and bake 5 min. or until melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Rainbow in a pan recipe:

Slice zucchini and summer squash thin

julienne style slice the orange and red peppers

Clean snap peas

Using a saute pan add 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil, add veggies and cook until soft.  Sprinkle with panko crumbs and let sit for 2 minutes off of heat.  Serve

 

 

Top Round Roast Beef

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A few years back a chef friend of mine told me how to cook the “perfect” top round roast beef to slice for sandwiches.  Today we had 22 people for lunch and roast beef sandwiches was on the menu along with birthday cake for our daughter for dessert.  This meat was perfectly cooked and everyone came back for seconds.

I have followed his advice to the letter and our beef always comes out perfect.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees

Rinse the roast, rub it lightly with olive oil and season it heavily with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary.  Press the seasoning into the meat turning it so you can get underneath it and on the sides.

Put the roast in a roasting pan sitting on top of a wire rack so it’s not sitting on the bottom of the pan. Add approximately 2 cups of water, 2 beef bouillon cubes, sprinkle a little of all the seasonings above into the juice.

Place the roast in the 500 degree oven for 20 minutes exactly. 

After 20 minutes turn the heat down to 300 and cook for 10 minutes for a rare beef, 20 minutes for medium rare, and 30 for medium.

**Note:  You want it on the rare side for sandwiches because the hot au jus you will dip the meat in before making the sandwich will cook the thin slices to whatever temperature you want. I usually stick the meat thermometer in when I take it out to make sure it’s under 120 degrees as I want it more rare.**

Take it out and let it sit until you can handle it without it being too hot.  Slice it thin.  Store in a baggie in the fridge when cool until ready to use.

Drain the Au Jus from the roasting pan and store that also.

When ready to serve, heat the Au Jus up to almost boiling and dip the meat into it briefly for rare or longer for a more cooked lunch meat.  Serve on a roll and put a spoonful of the au jus on the roll for a scrumptious homemade deli lunch!!  We also eat the leftovers on a sandwich the next day cold.  YUM

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Thursday Braciola (Braciole)

I know most Italian families had Sunday “gravy” nights with pasta and sauce.  For some reason my Sicilian grandmother always had the macaroni, gravy and braciola on Thursdays.  In our house it’s any time I have the ingredients.  This morning, after feeding our animals on the farm, packing the kids lunches and in between getting myself ready for work and taking the kids to school, I quickly threw together a perfect dish to slow cook while we are gone.  That is our Braciola.

Braciole is a thin slice of meat that is rolled with various stuffings.  In our house it is always beef.  I prefer the thin flank steak but will use thin top round when needed which is what I had today.

The picture below is from the last time I made it (ummm I admit it was last week but we LOVE it so it’s ok we are having it again) plus I forgot to freeze the second package I bought!!

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You can tell just by looking at that picture how wonderfully tender the meat gets and the stuffing is thin, garlicky (is that a word??) and just enough so you only need a vegetable to go with your meal.

This is such an easy throw together and forget it until after work meal that it fits into most busy schedules (like mine tonight with hockey and softball practice).  And my 71 year old mother is coming home from her road trip (living like a gypsy with her 71 year old long time friend who is also widowed but that’s a WHOLE other story!!) and she is coming for dinner so I wanted to have some “comfort” food for her after her months of travel, relaxation and non home cooked meals.

Here is how I make our Braciole

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mix Italian seasoned bread crumbs, salt/pepper, minced garlic, one egg and a splash of milk and spread it thin on the meat as it makes stuffing as it’s cooking. I cover with tomato sauce and slow bake about 6 hours on 220 (you can reduce it to 185 and cook longer if needed).  I have my own tomato sauce I make and can but you can use store bought.

I know the measurements are not on here as it depends on the size of the meat I purchased but I will list the ingredients and you can easily make it eyeballing it to what you will need for the cuts of your braciole

Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Salt/Pepper

Minced garlic

one egg

splash of milk

Mix it all together to a consistency of a regular “stuffing”.  Add bread crumbs/milk as needed to make it thicker or to thin it if you added to many bread crumbs

Lay the meat out and spread a thin layer of the stuffing mixture on top.  Roll the meat and tie it or you can use toothpicks if you don’t have meat string.  Toss in a pan with a little garlic flavored oil or regular olive oil and brown it all around.

Lay it in a backing pan and cover with sauce.  Put it in the oven at 200 degrees for 6 hours or 185 for longer.

Come in the door after a long day, smell the wonderful aroma, get a salad made or any other type of vegetable, macaroni if you want and get ready for dinner!!!