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Beef and Cabbage Hand Pies

Beef and Cabbage Hand Pies

Beef and cabbage and probably a beer.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The holiday wouldn’t be complete without a little Beef and Cabbage. . . though, not Corned Beef because I just can’t bring myself to eat it. And interestingly enough, it’s not really an Irish tradition.  So, I rolled up my sleeves and spent the afternoon making hand pies instead.

This is actually a German recipe called Bierocks.  However, just about every culture seems to want to claim beef and cabbage! Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, we won’t tell anyone and just go with it!

I’ve had the recipe since I was a teenager, but it’s been years since I’ve made it. These were a staple in the early years of our marriage: being one of the few foods I walked down the aisle knowing how to make. There’s a bit of nostalgia involved — which is probably why IZ was so willing to pass on tradition this year! Clearly, I’m not that Irish—and trust me, if you read the foot notes this will seem the least of my transgressions.

These tasty pies are a time commitment, but well worth the effort. The recipe makes 24 pies and you can easily freeze the left-overs for later! Make sure you have some yummy mustard for dipping, and yes, they are amazing with a “pint”.

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Quick Bread: Seasoned Rolls

Quick Bread: Seasoned Rolls

This is so easy, it’s practically cheating.

Our new go-to bread:

I love fresh baked bread. But I’ll be honest; I’m not nearly as good at baking it as I am at eating it! It’s a lot of time invested for a product that can be so quickly demolished. As in seconds at our house. Buying an artisan loaf is no solution, either—those need to be consumed quickly or they go stale. Never being one to waste bread, I pretty much use that as an excuse to eat. Portion control goes right out the window.

So, lately I’ve been cheating. Using this idea for Parmesan Knots from Pinterest as a spring board, I’ve been making these ridiculously good (and super easy!) rolls with soup and pasta. The recipe uses canned biscuits and while I’m not a fan of much canned, Pillsbury makes a biscuit called “Simply” that isn’t loaded with weird ingredients or trans fats. While a bit pricier than its canned biscuit counterparts, it’s worth it to be able to pronounce all the words on the label. Not to mention, these actually taste good. Not like homemade biscuits by any measure, but also not like that weird processed flavor you usually get with the pop-top biscuit.

So, the method is easy. All you need is 1 Tb of olive oil and 1-2 t of your favorite seasoning salts. I use steak seasoning because we like things on the peppery side and it’s colorful and marries well with soup.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees*. Pour your olive oil in a shallow dish and spread the seasoning salt on a separate plate. Simply roll out  each biscuit in your hands until you have a rope of 6-8″.  Lightly coat with olive oil and then dunk in the seasoning salts. I only coat one “side” of the rope because the salts I use are so peppery. Then tie your dough rope into a knot and plop them into a muffin tin. Yes, “plop” is a culinary term. You should totally use it to impress your foodie friends.

Now, bake for 14 minutes*.  Once done, they’re ready to eat and trust me, you won’t regret making these. So simple. So tasty. And at 110 calories each, easy portion control if you need it like I do. (Oh how I need portion control!)

Of course, nothing stops you from making more than one batch at a time, but that’s all on you. I had nothing to do with that!

*follow the baking instructions on your tin of biscuits.

Do you have an easy culinary “cheat I should know about? Spill it!

When You’re Sick: Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

When You’re Sick: Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup:

Poor IZ is sick. He’s still plugging away at work (the joys of working at home) but I’ve been taking up the cooking duties for the past few days. Monday, I did this dish on the side of the couscous box that was a hit. Hardly “cooking” as much as following directions. But I did add my own twist of walnuts and myzithra cheese—hanging out with IZ in the kitchen has clearly rubbed off on me.

But yesterday, he was feeling so poorly, I knew a “Chicken With” meal wasn’t going to cut it. “How about soup?” And with a snuffled nod we were on.

Now, I have a history with soup. I don’t make it. Ever.  Not after a disastrous encounter with homemade acorn squash soup in 2007. How bad was it?  Not even IZ could muster a pity bowl and he’s got a cast iron gag reflex. My child was not so diplomatic: “WHAT IS THIS . . . STUFF?! This is horrible. The worst soup ever. What are doing to us, MOM?”  Or something to that effect because I remember promptly ordering a pizza and calling it quits. It was that bad. That night we  all made a silent deal between us: the only soup Wende would be making from here on out was reheating IZ’s leftovers. Done!

That should give you some indication how sick IZ is presently.

I started with this recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking but then got serious about the modifications (though, it’s still plenty fattening). I’m sorry, but I blanch at two cups of half and half. SERIOUSLY? Um, no.  So, I modified and tested  and modified some more and served. . . and my teenager, who hates all things tomato, ate two servings. “Brilliant and thank you!”

I’m not sure what I’m more excited about. . . that I made soup or that the 15 year old said, “You can make this again.”  His father seemed equally pleased. He’s still sick, so this soup won’t cure all that ails you. But, it comes pretty darn close.

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Fair Warning: Nutella No Bake Cookies

Fair Warning: Nutella No Bake Cookies

Nutella No Bake Cookies. Or, Crack for short.

If you’ve managed to escape the scourge on modern life that is Nutella before today, you should stop reading this post right now. Really, walk away. I’ll be posting tomorrow, come back then. Because what I’m about to share is doubly addictive. . . You won’t be able to stop making or eating these things.

Consider this your “Dead Men Tell no Tales” amusement ride warning.

Somehow, until this weekend, I had managed to escape the clutches of Nutella. In part, because I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t like it. I’ve never been a huge fan of hazelnut anything. I figured that out with my first sip of Hazelnut Coffee. Swill! And then confirmed it with my first box of Godiva chocolates. Beautiful boxes, pretty little shapes, and luscious chocolates that are, sadly, mostly filled with hazelnut cream. There must be something wrong with me.

So, when a wave of Nutella freaks entered my social sphere, I gently pointed out with every enthusiastic recommendation, “But, I don’t like Hazelnut.”

“Well, there must be something wrong with you.”

Indeed.

But last week, for some inexplicable reason*, I bought a jar of the stuff. (*I blame Pinterest) IZ gave me that look as he often does when random food items sneak into our cart. Does that happen to you? Odd or exotic food stuffs just wander into your life via the shopping cart? Happens to me all the time.

Clearly, there’s something wrong with me.

And the rest is history. I’ve told twitter and facebook and now I’m telling you, “If you’ve never had Nutella before, you should avoid it like you’d avoid Crack Cocaine.”

As for these cookies? Well, they’ll keep you from eating the jar wholesale by the spoonful. At least until they’re gone!

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Chocolate for Breakfast

Chocolate for Breakfast

I’m knocking these resolutions out of the park. . .

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal

3/4 cups Quick Oats (not instant oatmeal)

1 Cup milk (I use organic 1%)

1 oz dark chocolate (I use Ghriadelli 60% Dark Chocolate Chips)

Prepare oatmeal (with chocolate and milk) on cook top, bring to boil and then simmer until oatmeal is tender. Top with a few extra chocolate chips and raspberries. Share, only if you must. (technically 2 servings)

Rejoice: it’s chocolate for breakfast.

Rumor Has It

Rumor Has It

We’re expecting a major blow here on the coast tomorrow. Power outages are likely—for how long, is anyone’s guess. I’m frantically doing laundry, have baked a huge raspberry coffee cake, put fresh sheets on the bed, and when I hunt down that dog, she’s getting a bath. We’ve got gas, and fuel, and wood, and each other. I think we’re ready.  So, I’m leaving you with a bit of sunshine in the form of lovely Meyer Lemons (my favorite!) and I’ll catch you on the flip side of this winter gale. In the meantime, if you’re feeling inspired, here’s a wonderful recipe for Lemon bars.

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