Kielbasa Sausage with Herbed Potatoes and Corn

I actually made this tasty supper for my family a few years back while desperately seeking something my family would enjoy and my picky brother would actually eat.  It is actually very similar to a creation of my own, only with herbs to elevate the delicious flavors. It was so delicious, so simple and so awesome that I posted it straight away to my Facebook page that very night.  I couldn’t wait to share this scrumptious find with my friends and family.

What makes this meal so great?  It’s quick – that’s always a big plus in my book.  It’s sad to admit that there are time when I dread the very idea of spending time in the kitchen. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to cook, but there are times when I haven’t the energy or desire. I’m just too tired at the end of the day to whip up an awesome meal for my famished menfolk. And the truth be told, they like simple. Hamburgers and pizza would suit them just fine. I’m the one who loves complex, multi-layered extravaganza. Just not every night, thank you.  So from a practical standpoint quick is good – very, very good.  Unfortunately, sometimes we trade flavor for convenience. Who wants to do that? Let me tell you, this is recipe packed with flavor. Just be sure to use FRESH herbs. It makes all the difference in the world.

Another plus is that everything is cooked in one skillet. Less clean up – although I must confess, that’s not my job in the kitchen. We have a deal – those that cook DO NOT clean. So I cook, and my guys clean. Still, I like their company, so the less mess, the more time for family stuff.

Served with a simple salad or raw vegetables and it makes for one simple yet delicious weekday supper. I hope your family enjoys this wonderful recipe as much as we did. If so, we all need to say thank you Mary Younkin over at Bare Feet in the Kitchen Both the recipe and the photo are her creations. You can see her original recipe at

Kilebasa Sausage with Herbed Potatoes and Corn 
1 small yellow onion, diced small
1 tablespoon olive oil
13 oz Kielbasa sausage, sliced as thinly as possible
6 baby red potatoes (2″ or so in diameter), sliced very thinly
1 can of corn, well-drained
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

In a very large skillet, over medium high heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and saute 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes cook 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper as the potatoes are cooking. Add sausage and cook, stirring frequently for another 5 minutes or so.

Lower the heat to medium, add the corn and the herbs. Cook an additional 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer or until the potatoes are tender.

Ciesz się!

Italian Chicken Sausage and Potato Skillet Supper

I don’t know about you, but more and more I seem to gravitate to one-pot; one-pan or one-skillet suppers. Oh sure, you could argue that one-pot suppers equate to less cleanup. That would be a strong argument – except I’m not the one assigned to KP duty. If I don’t need to be the one to clean up the mess, why should I care?

The answer is simple. Less stress. One-pot suppers are easy. Never mind the cleanup aspect – cooking with one-pot tends to be less stressful. When you have a bunch of pots; pans and skillets going, you tend to jump around in the kitchen more, multi-tasking and stressing over the timing of everything. Bring this to a boil, simmer that, sear the thing in the middle. Bake this, broil that – count backwards from ten, then twirl around counter-clockwise three times. Okay, so maybe that last part is a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes I feel as though I’ve just completed an obstetrical course. Our kitchen is “cozy”, which is a nice word for “small” as in cramped. If Kiddo is assisting, we need to be extra careful not to run into each other with a hot pan or sharp knife. Sometimes “twirling around” is necessary to avoid an accident. Not to mention Hubby’s need to start washing things BEFORE I’m finished. Sit a spoon down for too long and poof – it’s gone, washed, dried and put away. Which brings us to a never-ending argument . . .

dirty dishes“Where did my spoon go?” I ask, looking around.

“I washed it.” Hubby replies.

“What did you do that for?” I ask, slightly irritated as I fish another wooden spoon out of the spoon canisters on the counter.

“It was just sitting there.” Hubby explains.

“When I’m finished, I’ll throw it in the sink.” Is my usual reply, dodging Kiddo as he pulls a hot pan from the oven.

“That’s how the dishes pile up.” Hubby insists. I will admit, he’s getting better at staying out of the kitchen until I’m ready to set the table. Even then, all those pots and pans and such piled up in the sink makes him a little crazy. Unable to control himself, Hubby will wash a few things while I plate the various foods and add the final touches to make everything “pretty”.

I think we all feel less stressed with a one-pot supper.

Here’s to less stress in the kitchen!

Italian Chicken Sausage & Potato Skillet Supper
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
24 oz Italian Style Smoked Chicken Sausage
1/2 sweet onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (divided)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 splash of white wine (for steam)

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Coin-cut sausage into bite-size pieces. Cook until browned, stirring to brown all sides.

While sausage is browning, cut potatoes and place in a microwaveable glass bowl. Cook on high for about 12 minutes or until potatoes are just beginning to soften.

Add potatoes to the sausages, stir to blend. Add onion, then season with salt and pepper. Toss everything in the skillet together to blend. Add a splash of white wine to help “steam” the potatoes soft. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring as needed.

Once potatoes are tender, add chopped Rosemary, garlic and ½ of tomatoes. Cook about 5 minutes or until tomatoes are cooked and beginning to burst. Sprinkle with basil, then remaining tomatoes and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Garnish with a few sprigs of Rosemary. Serve and enjoy!

First and Goal – A Manly Game Day “Tea Party”

Invite a man to a tea party and watch him run to the nearest exit. I know, I’ve tried. Tea Parties are for girls. Finger sandwiches, little cakes and all that tea – really? Suggest a tea party for a football game and you will get shot down before the first slice of bread can be trimmed of its crust. Disguise a “tea party” as a sporting event with little bite size sandwiches, some brownies and cupcakes and watch the food just disappear! Stop and think about it for a minute – what is a slider but a bite-size dressed down tea sandwich? Toss out the flowers and fancy china cups. Decorate the table with team colors instead. Before they know what hit them, the men in your life are attending a tea party.

The “trick” is to avoid the  traditional Tea Party trappings such as Cucumber or Egg Salad Sandwiches on whole wheat bread rounds. Smoked Salmon is fine, just remember to avoid the open-face Cream Cheese variety. And whatever you do, DO NOT put flowers on the table. Don’t even have flowers in the room.

You know that three-tier serving platter you’ve been dying to put out on the table? Go for it. Place cold sandwiches on the bottom tier; warm sandwiches on the middle tier and little sweets on the top-tier – arrange much like you would for your tea party. Keep in mind, guys eat more; so be prepared to replenish as needed. What goes better with little sandwiches but macaroni and potato salad? Shaped into a football only adds to the overall “manly” look of the table. Deviled eggs decorated to look like little footballs are also a nice touch. As for the Lemon-Basil Antipasto Tray – I just like the look, especially on an elevated platter with bread sticks.

What tea party would be complete without tea? Iced tea gets the “tea” on the table without revealing the tea party theme . . . most of all; have fun with it.

 ****** Game Day ******
Offence and Defence
Antipasto Loaf Bites – cold
Bacon, Ham and Gruyère Sliders – warm
Basil-Turkey Mini Focaccia Sandwich Bites – cold
Castle Burger Bites – warm
Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants – cold
Roast Beef & Horseradish Mayonnaise Finger Sandwiches – cold

On the Side Lines
Deviled Foot Balls aka Deviled Eggs
Lemon-Basil Antipasto Tray
Macaroni & Potato Salad Foot Ball


The Cheering Section – Store Bought Goodies
Mini Brownie Bites 
Mini Cupcakes


The Offense and the Defense

Antipasto Loaf Bites
1 French Bread Baguette
1 tub (8 oz) Cream Cheese Spread
3 Tablespoons Pesto
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained oil-packed,  chopped
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, drained marinated chopped
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cups  baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

Cut baguette lengthwise in half. Remove soft insides from both bread halves. (Reserve removed bread for another use.)

Mix cream cheese spread and pesto; spread onto insides of bread shells. Fill with tomatoes, artichokes, Parmesan and spinach. Wrap the baguette tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving

To serve, slice into sandwiches. Arrange on a serving platter and enjoy.

Bacon, Ham & Gruyère Sliders
Ingredients for Sandwiches
24 Hawaiian rolls
24 slices Deli honey ham
12 sliced Bacon, crisp and cut in fourths.
24 slices Gruyère cheese
Mayonnaise as needed

Fry bacon crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Cut bacon into four pieces. Set aside.
Split Hawaiian rolls in half. Spread inside lightly with mayonnaise. Set aside

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Split rolls

Place 2 pieces of bacon on 1 slice of ham. Fold ham over to encase bacon. Place on bottom of Hawaiian roll. Top with a slice of Gruyère cheese. Place on high-rimmed baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining rolls, bacon, ham and cheese until all the rolls have been filled.

Cover sliders and bake 10 minutes or until cheese has melted. Uncover and bake 2-3 minutes longer, to crisp tops. Remove from oven, arrange on serving platter or serve directly from baking tray.

Ingredients for the sauce
1½ tablespoons yellow mustard
1 Stick butter, melted
1 Tablespoon finely minced onion (or 2 teaspoons DRIED diced minced onions)
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Poppy seeds, for garnish

Whip together ingredients for sauce. Drizzle sauce over tops of slider buns. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Basil-Turkey Mini Focaccia Sandwich Bites
Ingredients – Focaccia
1 can (13.8 oz) Refrigerated classic pizza crust such as Pillsbury
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz)

Heat oven to 400-degrees. Grease large cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray. Unroll pizza crust dough; press into 12×8-inch rectangle on cookie sheet.

With end of handle of wooden spoon, press indentations in top, about 1 inch apart. Brush dough with oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese.

Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 30 minutes. Cut Focaccia bread in half horizontally.

Ingredients – Filling
1 container (6.5 oz) herb-and-garlic spreadable cheese, softened
2 medium plum (Roma) tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 package (1 oz) fresh basil leaves, stems removed
1/2 lb thinly sliced smoked turkey (from deli)

Spread cut side of bottom of Focaccia with spreadable cheese. Top with single layer of tomatoes and basil. Layer turkey evenly over basil.

Place top of Focaccia, cut side down, over turkey; press down. Pierce through all layers with toothpicks, placing them every 1 1/2 inches over Focaccia.

With long serrated knife, cut between toothpicks into squares.

Castle Burger Bites
Ingredients – Buns
1 can (11 oz) Refrigerated Bread sticks

BUNS – Heat oven to 375-degrees. Separate dough into 12 bread sticks. Cut each into 4 pieces, place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; place on wire racks. Cool 5 minutes or until slightly cooled. Split each in half, keeping tops and bottoms together to form a miniature bun.

Ingredients – Filling
1 egg
3 tablespoons dried mince onion
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain bread crumbs
1 lb lean ground beef

FILLING – Reduce oven temperature to 350-degrees. Beat egg in medium bowl. Add onion, milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Stir in breadcrumbs. Add ground beef; mix well.

Press ground beef mixture into a thin layer in bottom of ungreased 13×9-inch pan. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until cooked through. Cut into 48 rectangles (8 strips crosswise; 6 strips lengthwise). Fill buns with miniature burgers.

Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken,
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
12 Mini Croissants
Lettuce, shredded (optional)
Tomato slices (optional)

Combine chicken, celery, pecans, and green onions in a bowl. Mix mayonnaise, lime juice, and curry powder in a small bowl. Fold mayonnaise mixture into chicken mixture; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Split Croissants, fill with chicken mixture, top with shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes.

Roast Beef & Horseradish Mayonnaise Tea Sandwiches
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
8 thin slices white sandwich bread
1/4 lb. roast beef, sliced paper-thin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and horseradish. On a clean work surface, spread 4 of the bread slices with the mayonnaise mixture. Layer the roast beef on the bread, and season with salt and pepper. Top each with one of the remaining bread slices.

Using a serrated knife, trim the crusts off the sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches diagonally into quarters and arrange on a cake stand or serving platter. Serve immediately.

Smoked Salmon, Dill and Lemon Tea Sandwiches
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 loaf whole wheat sandwich bread (8 slices)
1/2 loaf white sandwich bread (8 slices)
8 ounces smoked salmon
1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

Mix together cream cheese and dill, add lemon juice to taste, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove crust from sliced bread and, using a rolling-pin, gently flatten each slice of bread.
Take 4 slices of the flattened whole wheat bread and spread with a quarter of the cream cheese mixture. Cover with 4 slices of white bread. Spread with another quarter of cream cheese mixture.

Divide smoked salmon and onions evenly between the four sandwiches. Spread another quarter of the cream cheese mixture on remaining white bread and place cream cheese side down on top of salmon. Spread with remaining cream cheese mixture and top with remaining whole wheat bread. Slice into quarters on the diagonal and serve.

On the Side Lines

Deviled Foot Ball Eggs
16 Hard Boiled Eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
3 teaspoons mustard (yellow, stoned or Dijon-Style Mustard – it’s a matter of personal tastes – try each to see which flavor suits you)
4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
Chives for garnish

Tip: Boil 2 eggs more than required to fill serving tray. The extra eggs give more yolk filling, the extra whites allow for tasting and adjusting seasonings if necessary.

To Boil eggs, place eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, cover and let rest for 12-14 minutes. Drain, then plunge eggs into ice-cold water to cease the cooking process. The results will be a perfectly cooked egg with a sunny yellow yolk.

Tips for Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs: Once eggs are cool enough to handle, roll gently on counter to crack shells. Place into cold water, refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from water and peel. Water will work its way into shell, the result is an easily peeled egg.
Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place yolks in food processor with mixing/chopping blade. Place 12 white halves on serving dish or egg platter. Select best of the halves.

Mix/chop yolks until fluffy and are fine grade resembling bread crumbs. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one tablespoon at a time and season to taste.

Spoon filling into egg white shells. Just before serving, garnish with chives to create football laces. If desired, place line serving platter with shredded lettuce for “field” effect.

Lemon-Basil Antipasto Tray
1/2 pound sharp provolone cheese, cut into 8 wedges
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
8 pepperoncini peppers
4 radishes, cut into quarters
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
12 thin Genoa salami slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil*
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
Bread sticks, crackers, or sliced Italian bread

Arrange provolone cheese, zucchini, pepperoncini peppers, radishes, olives and salami slices on a serving platter; drizzle with olive oil.

Squeeze juice from lemon over antipasto, and sprinkle with basil, salt and cracked pepper. Serve immediately with bread sticks, crackers, or sliced Italian bread.

Macaroni & Potato Salad Foot Ball
1 Container Deli Style Macaroni Salad
1 Container Deli Style Potato Salad
1 Football Shaped Pan (Cake Supply Stores; Michael’s or other stores that carry Wilton’s Pans)
Plastic Wrap to line pan
Chives to create Football Laces
Parsley to garnish serving dish (Optional)

Line football pan with plastic wrap. Fill half of the pan with Macaroni Salad. Fill remaining half of the pan with Potato Salad.

You’ll want to fill completely to the top of the pan. Smooth even with the pan top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate well, over night is best for salad to mold.

Remove top cover of wrap from salad. Place serving platter inverted over pan. Flip CAREFULLY and adjust placement while salad is still covered by mold.

Remove football pan, remove plastic wrap. Lay strips of chives down center of salad. Snip additional chives to finish “lacing”.

If desired, tuck parsley around salad for “grass”.

Have a great game day!


Traveling Dinner Party – Part 8 – The Salad

We have reached the salad course. While most Americans today serve a salad at the beginning of the meal or along side an Entrée; the European style of dining (particularly French and Italian) places the salad at the end of the meal; before the dessert or cheese courses. There are a lot of theories out there as to why this is done. The bottom line is that a salad at the end of the meal serves two purposes – it refreshes the palate; a break between the savory flavors of the Entrée and the sweetness of the dessert and it aids in the digestive system. Personally, I feel “special” when having a salad at the end of the meal, knowing that the sweets are soon to follow. Hubby has his own theory – a chilled salad will hold in the refrigerator, and he’d rather enjoy his hot food while it is piping hot.

Somewhere along the line, salads in America moved from the end of the meal to the beginning. Generally speaking, salads are served at the end in upscale restaurants and formal affairs. In our house, the salad is generally served at the end. For the purpose of this roaming feast, we’ve placed the salad at the end, but you can serve it whenever and wherever it makes the most sense for you.

The recipes that follow are only a sampling of the wonderful salads out there. Even a simple salad of tomatoes and tender greens will work.


A Selection of Salads

Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Caesar Salad with Herbal Croutons
Caprese Salad
Greek Feta Salad
Winter Salad with Walnuts and Pears

Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 large handful of Arugula
1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Note: Ingredients are a per-person quantities that can be adjusted as needed.

Wash the arugula and spin it dry. By the way, the everyday French chef doesn’t shy from using ‘salad in a bag’ — but it still needs rinsing to get those chemicals off. The fresher the Arugula, the less bitter and more peppery the flavor. Set aside.

In the bottom of your salad bowl, combine the vinegar and the olive oil, stirring energetically to create an emulsified sauce. If the sauce does not emulsify, add a little bit more oil. Peel the garlic clove and cut in half. Add to the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, remove the garlic from the sauce and add the arugula to the bowl. Toss well.

Caesar Salad with Herbal Croutons
Ingredients – Herbal Croutons
1 loaf French bread or another crusty bread
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 branch rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried herbs (thyme, oregano or herbes de Provence)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Note: This will serve 4 to 6 guest as a salad course. Adjust ingredients accordingly.

Make the croutons. Cut the bread in half crosswise to make two manageable pieces. Slice each piece in half lengthwise. Then cut each half into strips. Now cut through the strips crosswise to form cubes about 3/4 inch per side. Important: Do not discard the crust! Remember, the crust is what gave croutons their name.

Spread the bread cubes out on a rimmed baking sheet and allow them to dry-out for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven heats, transfer the cubes to a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the herbs, salt and pepper. Toss, so that the cubes are evenly coated.

Return the cubes back to the baking  sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden. This process can go very quickly — to prevent burning, which would ruin the croutons, peek into the oven after 10 minutes and keep checking frequently until they are done.

Allow the croutons to cool completely. If you don’t need all the croutons at once, you can store them in a covered plastic container in the fridge for up to a week. Simply reheat gently before serving. 

Ingredients – Caesar Salad
1 cup (or more) herbal croutons (above)
1 head romaine lettuce
2 egg yolks
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tbsp.)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large clove garlic or 2 medium cloves, peeled and chopped
2 anchovy filets, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Chop the romaine crosswise into strips about 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Wash, spin dry and set aside in the fridge.

Combine all the remaining ingredients except the cheese in a blender (hand-held or countertop).

Pulse until you have a thick, emulsified sauce. Transfer to the bottom of a large salad bowl. Stir in the cheese.

Five minutes before serving, return the croutons to a preheated oven to warm them. Place the chilled romaine on top of the dressing. Toss. Add the croutons. Toss again.

Caprese Salad
3 or 4 tomatoes, good quality, such as heirloom
1 lb fresh mozzarella
fresh Italian basil (do not substitute dried)
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or good quality sea salt

Slice the tomatoes into about 3/8″ thick slices. Slice the mozzarella into the same sized slices.

Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices alternating onto well-chilled salad plates. If desired, tuck fresh basil between the slices.

Drizzle salad generously with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with salt just before serving.

Greek Feta Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 (6 ounce) can pitted Marinated Green olives, sliced
1 Yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 Red bell pepper, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
ground black pepper to taste

In a large salad bowl, combine the Romaine, onion, olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and cheese.

Whisk together the olive oil, oregano, lemon juice and black pepper. Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.

Winter Salad with Walnuts & Pears
4 large handfuls of mixed salad greens
2 pear
1 cup walnut halves
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt freshly ground to taste
freshly ground black pepper
Feta crumbles

Wash the salad greens, spin dry and place in a large bowl. Wash, quarter and core the pears. Slice the quarters crosswise and add them to the bowl. Scatter the walnut halves over the salad. If not serving immediately, place in the refrigerator to keep well-chilled.

When ready to serve, add the lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings. Toss well and place on chilled plates. Sprinkle with Feta and serve.

Fresh mixed vegetables falling into a bowl of salad

Toss Away!

Clarifying Dirty Fried Eggs

Maybe I should stop writing in the morning, when I’m craving something for breakfast – eggs seems to be the theme around the kitchen these days. My favorite meal of the day is breakfast (even for dinner) and it seems that another recipe for eggs is just lurking around the next corner.

While we were on vacation in Florence (Oregon), I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at The Driftwood Shores. It was one of my favorites, Corned Beef Hash with fried eggs. This was the real deal – shredded Corned Beef grilled up with diced potatoes and onions, served with a couple of yummy eggs and toasted sourdough points on the side.

As is the norm with me whenever I have a delicious meal at a restaurant, I need to have it again at home. While my corned beef hash was grilling up in the skillet, I set about the task of cooking up some dirty fried eggs to go with it. I adore dirty fried eggs, especially with hash. Country Corned Beef Hash & “Dirty” Fried Eggs is a favorite around here. It’s no surprise that I like to make Corned Beef Hash and eggs whenever possible.

The skillet for my eggs was warming nicely on the stove. I reached inside the refrigerator for my jar of bacon renderings, when a light came on. (No, not the refrigerator light, but rather that idea light bulb in my head). light-bulb-ideaEarlier in the week I had made up a batch of Clarified Butter for all the fish/seafood dishes we have been enjoying lately. There was still some of the butter remaining. Hum, what would happen if I fried my eggs in a mixture of bacon grease (for the “dirt”) and clarified butter (for the buttery flavor)? The results were oh so wonderful. Hubby insisted they were the best fried eggs I had ever cooked. (And after more than 30 years of marriage, that’s a lotta fried eggs). As for me, I’ve cooked up these eggs a few times since, just for me to enjoy for a weekday morning once the menfolk have got off to work. Served with toast, it’s the perfect light breakfast.

What’s that? You don’t have any Clarified Butter in the fridge? That’s okay, you can always buy some at a gourmet grocery market or you could make your own Clarified Butter .

Clarified Dirty Fried Eggs
2 Tablespoons Bacon Drippings
2 Tablespoons Clarified Butter (or more)
6 Eggs
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Heat bacon drippings in a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add enough clarified butter to the dripping to coat the bottom of the pan about 1/8 inch deep.

Crack eggs into the skillet one egg at a time, holding the egg in place with the shell until it begins to turn white. This will keep the egg from running all over the skillet. Once all the eggs are cooking and the outer edges are firm, use a wooden spoon or the back of a spatula to “splash” hot grease over the eggs until the whites are cooked through while the yolks are still runny. Season with salt and pepper.

These eggs are delicious with all your breakfast favorites such as Corned Beef Hash, Breakfast Potatoes with bacon or sausage, even pancakes. Or all on their own for a light yet satisfying morning meal.

Clarified Dirty Fried Eggs (1)
Heat bacon dripping with butter over medium-low heat
Clarified Dirty Fried Eggs (2)
Add eggs to the skillet. Once eggs have begun to set, splash warm butter mixture over eggs until desired doneness is reached.
Clarified Dirty Fried Eggs (4)
Remove eggs to individual plates. Season with desired salt and pepper.
Clarified Dirty Fried Eggs (5)



Hamburger Helper Cheesy Italian Shells

If someone had told me that my 504th posting would have been how to make a Hamburger Helper Style meal without a box, I would have laughed. No way – I would have something sensational, something so awe-inspiring, it will knock your socks off. Yet, here it is. I will admit, I stressed about reaching over 500 posting – and then I realized it is just a number. The point of my little blog isn’t about numbers, it’s about enjoying my life, my family, and puttering about in my cozy kitchen. Simple pleasures and the sound of my guys laughing together – that’s what matters.

italian-shellsThis is now my eighth “installment” of Hamburger Helper meals without using an actual box of “Hamburger Helper”. Yep, the easy, busy mom’s best friend, only without all the stuff no one wants to eat in the first place. Have you ever read a box of Hamburger Helper ingredients? Half of the ingredients are words I cannot even begin to pronounce – but have no fear – all those yellow and red dyes and words that seem to be a bunch of letters strung together have all been deemed safe for human consumption by the FDA – so no worries. Right? What’s that – you aren’t impressed? Neither am I.  Especially when you consider how absolutely easy it is to skip the box and still have all the convenience of a quick, easy weeknight meal. Add a fresh salad, some warm bread and tall glasses of ice-cold milk – what more do you need? Oh, and just like the boxed variety – one pan will do the trick. Unlike the box variety – this dish has chunks of tomatoes you can actually see.

I adore suppers that only need a tossed salad and warm bread for the finishing touches – especially the bread part. Bread has to be my greatest weakness. I could easily sit down with a loaf of fresh-baked bread and sweet butter and call it a day. Happy, content. Okay, maybe a glass or two of a full-bodied red wine to go with the bread. Yeah, bread and wine – reminds me of a prior life – before Hubby. Sitting ’round a campfire on a beach in San Francisco, dining on warm, fresh-baked San Francisco Sourdough slathered in butter and drinking cheap wine from a Bota bag. And cheese. Yeah, bread, wine and cheese . . . oh, but I digress. We’re here to talk about Hamburger Helper-Style suppers.

Hamburger Helper Style Cheesy Italian Shells
Italian Shells:
1 lb Lean Ground Beef (Ground Turkey is fine, too)

1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 ¼ Cups HOT water
½ Cup Milk
1 Can (14 oz) Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic
2 Cups Medium Shell Pasta
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese

Seasoning Package:
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasonings
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and garlic together. Drain well.

Add water, milk, tomatoes and pasta. Bring to a boil. Stir in seasoning package (everything else but the cheese). Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 12-15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and noodles are tender.

Stir in the Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, cover and simmer a few minutes more to allow cheese to melt.

Remove from heat, uncover, and allow to sit for 5 minutes for sauce to thicken.

That’s it – dinner is served.


What’s that? You missed the other seven posting? No need to worry –  All delicious, all one-skillet, all family friendly.

Hamburger Helper Style Chili-Cheese Macaroni

Hamburger Helper Style Skillet Lasagna

Hamburg Helper Style Cheesy Jambalaya

Helper Style Cheesy Taco

Hamburger Helper Style Stroganoff

Hamburger Helper Style Salisbury Steak

Hamburger Helper Style Cheeseburger Macaroni

Mustard-Garlic Broiled Salmon

I remember as a school girl taking a field trip to a fish hatchery along the American River. The experience stuck in my mind. I remember running along the banks of the river with my classmates, laughing and having a great time. I remember watching the salmon swimming up the ladder, at times their bodies completely out of the water as they made the leap to the next rung. We cheered them on.  salmon - nimbus 1And then we went into the hatchery to witness these fish being slaughtered. I remember running back down the path, to the first rung of the ladder and shouting to the fish to turn back. No one had prepared us for the end of our tour. For a very long time, I could not eat salmon. The idea of hatcheries bothered me, while commercial fishing boats did not. I grew up fishing. I think what bothered me about hatcheries is that the salmon struggled to swim up river, struggled to jump the rungs of the ladder, to reach that place where they were born only to die an unnatural death. I think it’s in our nature to root for the underdog even when we know the outcome. But the truth of the matter is that the salmon will die no matter what. Those that are lucky enough to reach the end of the run are going to spawn before they die. It’s just a matter of what happens after death. In the case of a hatchery, the salmon are harvested and the masses are fed. As for the rest . . .

salmon - riverOne cool fall afternoon my Dad and I went down along the river during the salmon run. We were much further down stream. We had come to gather flat river rocks for a project Dad was building in our backyard. It amazed me how the river was filled with salmon. If the fish could have supported my weight I could have walked across the river without getting wet. salmon - coyotesI also remember the smell of the fish that had died. Ravens and scavengers like coyotes snatched up the carcasses. Such is nature and the circle of life. And if you look hard enough, you will see a sense of purpose and beauty in that circle.

Mustard-Garlic Broiled Salmon
4 (4 oz) Salmon Fillets
2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Shallots, finely minced
2 Teaspoons Thyme, leaves only chopped
2 Teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1/2 Lemon, juice only
1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
Coarse Kosher Salt to taste
Ground White Pepper to taste
Basil Olive Oil
1 Lemon, sliced for garnish

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Heat broiler element in the oven.

Peel and mince garlic cloves. Place garlic in a small mixing bowl.

Peel and mince shallots. Add to the bowl with the garlic.

Snip the leaves from a few Thyme sprigs. Chop the leaves and add them to the garlic mixture.

Chop fresh Rosemary and add to the garlic mixture.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the garlic mixture. Toss to blend. Add the mustard and mix with a spoon.

Lay the salmon fillets out on a cutting board. Season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Brush the fillets all over with the mustard-garlic mixture.

Transfer the salmon to the prepared pan. Broil fillets for about 7 minutes, until flaky.

While salmon is broiling, cut remaining lemon into slices for garnish. Set aside

Just before serving, drizzle a little Basil Olive Oil over the fillets then garnish the salmon with lemon slices. Place slices of lemons directly on the salmon, press and then turn the slices over. Some of the herbs and grainy mustard will stick to the lemons, giving a more textured presentation.