Sunday, February 25, 2018

French Dip Sandwiches

I guess I was late to the Instant Pot Party.  Really L.A.T.E.

In fact, I just got to the party this week.  After a couple weeks of staring at it sitting on my counter, looking through the manual and walking over to my Instant Pot and thinking NO WAY, I finally got up the courage to try it.  I made sure our homeowner's insurance was current, I put on an asbestos HazMat suit, and got a frozen roast out of the freezer.

After reading I don't know how many Instant Pot New Users suggestions online, and looking up several thousand Instant Pot recipes, I finally decided to try French Dip Sandwiches as my first attempt.

The main reason I chose to make French Dip Sandwiches was because my son was raving about the French Dip and Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches he had this week at a restaurant close to where he works.  I wanted to see if I could come up with a reasonable facsimile at home.  

After looking at quite a few recipes, I decided to combine and/or tweak them, and see what came out of the pot!  The result:  REALLY GOOD!  I could not believe how tender and juicy the beef was, and the dipping sauce was yummy!  

I immediately was SOLD on the Instant Pot!  

Here is the recipe:

French Dip Sandwiches:  (very easy to make gluten free)

4 lb. top round roast, thinly sliced (put in the freezer for about 2 hours to make slicing easier)
1 can (14 oz.) beef broth
1 can (10 oz.) French Onion soup 
1 can (10 oz.) beef consommé
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 hoagie rolls, split and toasted  (I used a Schar ciabatta roll for my gluten free sandwich!)
16 slices Provolone cheese, if desired

1.  Spray the removable pot from the Instant Pot lightly with cooking spray.

2.  Place the sliced beef, beef broth, French onion soup, consomm√©, garlic powder, and salt into the cooking pot.

3.  Place the pot into the Instant Pot base.  Cover and lock.  Make sure the valve is on Seal.

4.  Select the Meat button, and adjust to High Pressure and 15 minutes.

5.  When the timer beeps, turn the Instant Pot off and do a natural release for 10 minutes.

6.  After 10 minutes of natural release, do a quick release to release any remaining pressure.

7.  Remove the meat from the broth.  Strain the broth to remove any fat.

8.  Top each toasted roll with slices of meat and two slices of provolone cheese, if desired.  Serve with small bowls of au jus (broth) for dipping.  

What I learned is, it takes the Instant Pot time to preheat.  So even though you set the timer for 15 minutes, it actually takes about an extra 10 minutes to preheat plus the pressure release time.  So it isn't as fast as I thought it would be, BUT it is still way faster than a slow cooker!  And you can put the meat in FROZEN!  We also liked the texture of the beef much more than we do when it comes out of the slow cooker.  All in all, I loved making dinner this way!  

Weekly Menu Plan for February 25 to March 3, 2018

Here is this week's menu plan - recipe links are below:


Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin is from Slimming Eats


Ground Beef and Cabbage Skillet is from Smile Sandwich
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are from Land O' Lakes (everyone likes them!)


Amish Ham Casserole is from Amy Made That
Pineapple Upside Down Cake is from Betty Crocker


Copycat Cracker Barrel Pancakes are from Mirlandra's Kitchen


French Dip Sandwiches are from right here!

That's it for this week!  Hope you find something you like!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Creamy Chicken Broccoli Rice Soup

Another spring-like February day today!

Last night, I made a very quick, very easy-to-throw-together soup for dinner.  It is great when you don't have much time to get dinner prepared.  The recipe only has 5 ingredients, and you can play around with those ingredients to suit your taste and what's in your pantry.

Here is the recipe (what I used is in parentheses):

Creamy Chicken Broccoli Rice Soup

1 package chicken and wild rice mix (I used Zatarains Cajun Chicken Rice)
1 (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used a packet of Lipton's Cup-O-Soup Cream of Chicken)
2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cooked and diced
6 cups of water

Combine everything in a Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

That's it!  Can't get much easier than that, can it??  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekly Menu Plan for Week of Feb. 18 to Feb. 24, 2018

Hope you all had a nice President's Day!  It was like spring here, and it felt so good to get outside!  We almost didn't need a jacket!  My daffodils are sprouting up, and I can't wait to see them in full bloom!

Here is the menu plan for this week.  Recipe links are below:

Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars are from Shugary Sweets

Southern Grits Casserole is from All Recipes

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup is from 365 Days of Slow Cooking

Buttermilk Lemon Pie is from Bunny's Warm Oven

Best Ever Tuna Casserole is from Genius Kitchen

Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Chicken is from Aunt Bee's Recipes

Hope you find something you like!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sausage 'N Sauerkraut

There was a hint of spring in the air today!  It was rainy, but warm!  And even though a cold front passes through tonight and leaves us much colder air for a couple days, it warms right back up to the 50's next week!

Today, I am sharing this recipe for Sausage 'N Sauerkraut from the Taste of Home website and magazine.  It is one of my favorite comfort foods.  I have been making this for years and years.  It doesn't look like much, and I have no idea what made me try this recipe the first time I made it after seeing it in an old Taste of Home magazine.  I remember thinking that no one would eat it except me, but I was wrong!  It is one of the only ways my kids and husband will eat sauerkraut.  I love sauerkraut and lots of other German foods, and this recipe is just so good!  At least it is, in my opinion!  If you don't like sauerkraut, you may disagree with me!

Here is a picture of it in my Dutch oven right before I served it over mashed potatoes:

I guess you could serve it over noodles, but there is no way I would do that!  This is SO GOOD over mashed potatoes!  I just don't want to try it any other way.

So here is the recipe:  (The only thing I change from the original recipe is that I use 2 cans of sauerkraut instead of one)

Sausage 'N Sauerkraut

2 pounds of Polish sausage or smoked sausage, sliced
1 can (16 oz) sauerkraut, drained  (I use 2 cans)
1 can (16 oz) diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Mashed potatoes, prepared and ready to serve

1.  Prepare your mashed potatoes.

2.  In a Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the sausage, celery, onion, and green pepper.  Saute until the vegetables are tender, and the sausage pieces are nicely browned.

3.  Add the sauerkraut, tomatoes with liquid, brown sugar, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.

4.  Add the bay leaf on top.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.  

5.  Remove the bay leaf.

6.  Serve over mashed potatoes.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Weekly Menu Plan for February 11 to February 17, 2018

 It's the week of Valentines!  And in our family, Valentine's Day is also the birthday of our youngest granddaughter, so it's a fun week!

Here is what's for dinner at our house this week:  (recipe links below)


Pea Salad is from The Southern Lady Cooks
Lemon Cake


Crockpot Chicken and Gravy is from The Country Cook (one of our family favorites)
Cherry Pie is from Taste of Home


Hummingbird Cake is from Southern Bite (everyone loves this cake!)


Country Style Baked Ribs is from Genius Kitchen (SO GOOD!)
Stick of Butter Rice is from The Chunky Chef (I don't know anyone who doesn't love this rice)


Key Lime Pie is from Southern Bite (I make this pie all summer long, we all love it!)

That's it for this week - hope you find some ideas or something you like!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Chill Chasing Chicken Soup

This is a soup that will definitely warm you up this winter!  It is a bit spicy, so if you like a more mild tasting soup, I would recommend substituting mild Rotel (if your store carries it) or just a regular can of diced tomatoes.  It is not gluten free, and I haven't tried making it gluten free.  So this soup is for my family, not for me!  And they love it!

Chill Chasing Chicken Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 onion, chopped
1 (10 oz.) can of Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
1 carton (32 oz.) chicken broth
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed (or you can substitute 2 cans of diced potatoes, drained)
1 package frozen corn (10 oz.)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon dried basil
8 oz. Velveeta, cubed
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.

2.  Add the cubed chicken, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, diced potatoes, and frozen corn.  Boil and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  (If you are using canned potatoes, no need to boil for 15 minutes.  Just heat for 10 minutes until heated through.)

3.  Stir in the celery soup, milk, and basil.  Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and steaming hot.

4.  Stir in the Velveeta cheese.  Cook on low, stirring frequently, until all of the cheese is melted.

5.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in sour cream.  Serve.

My family likes this served with oyster crackers or tortilla strips.  I hope you enjoy it, too, and it helps warm you up on a cold winter night!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Weekly Menu Plan for Feb. 4 to Feb. 10, 2018

Here is my menu plan for next week:  (Recipe links are below)

Monday:  Lemon Parmesan Chicken is from Christy Jordan's Southern Plate (one of my favorite blogs!); 
Amish Peanut Butter Pie is from The Baking ChocolaTess (this pie is REALLY good)

Tuesday:  Gluten Free Biscuits can be found here

Wednesday:  Sausage 'N Sauerkraut is from Taste of Home (this is down home comfort food to me, served over mashed potatoes.  It is so good!)

Friday:  Main Dish Tuna Salad is from The Country Cook ( I will use gluten free elbow macaroni in it)

There you have it!  Hope you find some good ideas, or something you like!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Crockpot Western Omelet

Happy Groundhog Day tomorrow!  I don't know what you're wishing for, but I sure hope he doesn't see his shadow!  I'm ready for spring!

This morning I made the Crockpot Western Omelet, except for one tiny detail - I baked it in the oven instead.  It took a little over an hour in my oven at 375 degrees, but turned out good!

NOTE:  The directions for making this in the crockpot are right below the recipe.

I have several versions of this recipe. The one I used today was from Mr. Breakfast, but I tweaked it a little bit.  Here is the recipe:

Crockpot Western Omelet

1 (30 oz.) pkg, frozen shredded hash browns
1 pound diced cooked ham
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Spray 9 X 13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  Layer: 1/3 of the hash browns, 1/3 of the diced ham, 1/2 the onion, 1/2 the green pepper, about 3/4 cup cheese.  Repeat layers.  The top three layers should be the last third of the hash browns, the last third of the cheese, and the last third of the ham.

3.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, ground mustard, salt, and pepper.

4.  Pour this mixture carefully over the layers.  You can cover and refrigerate this overnight, or you can bake it right away.

5.  Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.  Check for doneness.  A knife inserted into the middle should come out clean.  My oven, which tends to bake on the cool side, took 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Directions for making this recipe in the crockpot:

1.  Use a 6 qt. crockpot. 

2.  Spray the crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.

3.  Layer the ingredients exactly as described above.  Pour the egg mixture over the layers.

4.  Cook on low for 5 to 6  hours.  Check it after 4 hours, because the outside edges and the bottom will burn if your crockpot runs hot like mine does.  It has happened to me!   If it doesn't test done (use a knife inserted in the middle, it should come out clean), let it go another hour and test it again. Repeat as needed.

When I made this in my old crockpot, I could let it go for 8 hours overnight and it didn't burn.  But in the crockpot I have now, it burns if I leave it go for 6 hours.  It only takes 4 hours in the crockpot I have now.  That's why I recommend testing it after 4 hours.  You can almost tell by looking at if it's done.  It should not be runny at all, and the cheese should be melted through.

We like to have breakfast for dinner, and this is a great recipe to use for that.  Then you can put this on in the late morning or early afternoon and it will be ready for dinner.