Friday, June 21, 2013

Garden Potato Stew (My Recipe)

I started out one afternoon MANY years ago making a basic potato soup recipe and my husband brought in a basket of fresh vegetables from our neighbor's garden.  So to my base soup, I added a bit of this and that and before I knew what had happened, I had this tasty creation.  My friend owned a rural restaurant and said it is one of the best potato stews she has ever tasted.

Two to three large boxes of chicken broth
8 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 head cabbage sliced thin
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, cut into coins
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill or 2 tsp. dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
3 heaping tbsp. granulated chicken bouillion

1 pound bacon, cooked crisp, drained and crumbled
1 cup sour cream
1 quart half n half
instant potato flakes (to thicken)

Bring chicken stock to boil in a very large stock pot, adding all veggies and seasonings. Reduce heat and simmer slowly for approximately 30 minutes, or until all vegetables are very tender.  Add bacon pieces during last 10 minutes of cooking time. (NOTE: add additional chicken stock as needed during cooking process to keep vegetables covered).  When soup is done take off heat and just before serving add dill, sour cream and half n. half.  To thicken soup, add instant potatoe flakes (1/2 cup at a time) until soup is the consistency you like.  Top with scallions, bacon and/or shredded cheddar cheese.  Enjoy with a loaf of crusty bread.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summertime and Family Picnics

The arrival of summer always brings to mind memories of family picnics.  Back when I was a kid (in the 1950-60's), not a summer went by without several of these get togethers, usually at Benson Park, Peony Park or Elmwood Park.  My mother had six siblings, so you can imagine once they all had families, the number of cousins that started to appear! 

My Uncle Paul was a MASTER at cooking chicken on the grill ... there was no one better.  And my Aunt Lil could fry fresh fish better than any restaurant fish dinner I've ever had.  And it wouldn't be a picnic without my Grandma Ellie's doughnut holes (our eyes would light up at the sight of that large brown paper bag with grease spots!)

And there would always be a baseball game where adults and kids would pair up into two teams and spend the afternoon cheering each other on.  

It seems, though, that when my Aunt Marg passed away some 20 years ago that our picnic gatherings pretty much ceased. It's funny how just one person can bind an entire family unit together. She was the organizer, the Matriarch of the family ... I'm sure every family has one.  And I miss her SO MUCH!

A few years ago my sister, Gloria, wanted to try to pull our extended families back together and we now have monthly dinners where it's "come if you can" and we've attempted to bring together the next generation of cousins (2nd and 3rd) so that they will also have a sense of family connection.  This weekend we're having the party at our house ... sort of a potluck picnic, where the kids can run, play tetherball and water games and the grownups and grill hot dogs and tell old family stories around the food ladened tables.  While there won't be the "numbers" we used to have in the old days, there's still  a group of us and want to embrace those family traditions and memories.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seven Layer Supper

There are TONS of recipes out there for this simple hamburger casserole dish ... you can modify it to include your favorite veggies (making it an 8, 9 or even 10 layer casserole as shown below), but here's the basic layering recipe.

In a large greased casserole dish (or crockpot), layer ingredients in the following order.

2 cups sliced raw potatoes
2 cups chopped celery
1-1/2 pounds raw hamburger
1 cup sliced or chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 can mexicorn (drained)
1 can (drained) small peas
1 large can chopped tomatoes (about 2 cups)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Bake at 350 for 2 hours ... or in crockpot on low for 6 hours.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Loose Meat

It's like a hamburger, but it has no patty.  It's like a Sloppy Joe, but it's not seasoned the same.  It's a whatchamacallit:  a loose-meat sandwich served on a hamburger bun.  Here in Omaha, B.G. Tasty Foods has sold them for over 60 years.  In Iowa they call them Maid Rite sandwiches.

Here's a version you can make at home.

5 pounds finely ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
3 heaping teaspoons creamy horseradish
3 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
5 teaspoons salt
1 tsp. monosodium glutamate (Accent is one brand name)
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 cup finely chopped or ground onion
1 cup water

Place meat in large saucepan and add all remaining ingredients.  Cook over very low heat (around 20 minutes), stirring constantly.  Meat will be in very fine pieces.  Let simmer about 1-1/2 hours adding water to mixture if it becomes too dry.  Serve on hamburger buns with pickles, mustard and/or ketchup.  YUM!

Andrea's Cole Slaw Recipe

We had a TON of really great cooks in our family when I was growing up.  My Aunt Lil (far right) was the queen of fried fish, popcorn balls and apple pan pie.  A very close second was my cousin, Andrea (center) who was equally as famous for her brownies and cole slaw.  Here's her cole slaw recipe:

1 medium head cabbage - shredded
2 carrots - grated

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar


1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup sugar

Combine dressing ingredients and boil three minutes.  Add to cabbage mixture, cover and let stand overnight in the fridge.  This salad will keep crisp for a VERY long time.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hamburger Dressing

Years ago, a coworker of mine gave me this "dressing" recipe that he said his family enjoyed every year during the holidays.  It sounded very unusual and I have yet to actually make it.  But it's so unusual that I didn't want to "lose" the recipe, so I'm posting it here in hopes that maybe one of you have had something similar and will share your reviews with me.  I couldn't find anything similar on google, so there's no photo either.  But those of you who cook (and you know who you are - grin) can probably tell how this is going to taste by just looking at the ingredients ... which are ...


2 pounds hamburger
6 eggs, hard boiled
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 stick butter
1/2 can tomato sauce or one chopped tomato
salt and pepper to taste


Boil eggs; set aside to cool.   In a large skillet, fry hamburger until thoroughly cooked.  Drain.  Saute celery and onion together with 1 stick of butter.  Cooke rice.  Toast bread crumbs in a dry skillet, making sure not to brun crumbs.  In a large skillet, mix all ingredients together and season to taste.  You may want to add 1/2 to 1 cup of poultry stock so dressing won't be too dry.  Sutffing may be used to stuff a large turkey or chicken, or can be put in a casserole dish and heated through in a 350 degree oven.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What's a Runza?

If you have never visited Nebraska, then you probably aren't familiar with a Runza. 

Runza is the name of a regional fast food restaurant chain specializing in ethnic cuisine once served by the Volga German immigrants to the United States.

In 1949, Sarah "Sally" Everett and her brother, Alex Brening, opened the first Runza Drive-Inn in Lincoln, Nebraska, and began serving runza sandwiches, a type of pastry filled with ground beef, onion, and cabbage.

Today there are locations throughout Nebraska with two locations in Colorado - Ft. Collins and Loveland; two in Iowa - Council Bluffs and Clarinda, and two in Kansas - Lawrence and Mission.

If you can't get to any of these locations, then here's a recipe that will do it justice.

  2 loaves Rhodes bread dough

1 lb hamburger

1/2 head of cabbage (finely chopped)

1/2 medium onion (finely chopped)

salt and pepper to taste


Thaw two loaves of frozen bread dough

While dough thaws, make the filling.

Brown the hamburger and drain, then return to pan.

Add cabbage and onion and cook down.

Salt and pepper to taste (1 tsp pepper recommended).

Let dough rise, then punch down and roll a portion to 1/4" thickness.

Cut into 4" x 8" pieces and add about 1/2 cup meat mixture to each.

Fold dough pieces over and seal the edges, then place seam-side-down on a greased cookie sheet.

Let rise 20-30 minutes, then bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until brown.

Serve warm.  Can be cooled and then frozen.  To reheat, just microwave for one minute.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Beef Broccoli Wellington

We've made this simple, yet delicious casserole over the years, and it's one of those family comfort foods that is still well received even with today's FOOD TV generation.  Not overly spicy, so the kids love it too.


1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 (6 1/2-oz.) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 (20-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dill weed
2 (8-oz.) tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg, beaten
poppy seed to garnish, if desired

Brown ground beef with onion and mushrooms in a skillet over medium heat; drain. Stir in broccoli and cheese. When cheese is melted, stir in sour cream. Add salt, pepper and dill weed.

Line a lightly greased 13"x9" pan with one tube crescent rolls. Spoon ground beef mixture over rolls; arrange remaining of tube rolls on top. Brush top crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seed if desired.

Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20 minutes OR until golden. Cut into squares to serve.  I always add a dollop of sour cream on top before serving.   ENJOY!!!