…because sometimes a man just needs man food.

I initially put this patty melt on my meal plan because I thought it would be quick and simple. I mean, how hard is it to grill up a burger and some onions? And it was easy but holy cow, did I spent forever in the kitchen!

First I had to grill the onions. Which by the way, if you don’t have a grill pan, go to your local sporting goods store. I got mine for $8 at Academy! Anyway, then I had to grill the burger. THEN I had to grill the whole sandwich which I did on the George Foreman because I always look for the easy way out.

Anyway, it was well worth it. The look on my husband’s face when he walked through the door and smelled burgers was worth it all by itself. Even my meat-hating child ate half a sandwich. This are definitely becoming a regular in our rotation but next time I want to figure out how to make the Steak n Shake sauce. Mmm!

Patty Melts with Grilled Onions
from Cooking Light
Ingredients
  • 8 1/8-inch-thick slices Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons creamy mustard blend such as Dijonnaise
  • 8 1-ounce slices rye bread
  • 1 cup 4 ounces shredded reduced-fat Jarlsberg cheese
Instructions
  1. Arrange onion slices on a plate. Drizzle vinegar over onion slices. Heat a large grill pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.
  2. 2. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Divide beef into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Sprinkle patties evenly with salt and pepper. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.
  3. 3. Spread about 1 teaspoon mustard blend over 4 bread slices; layer each slice with 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 patty, 2 onion slices, and 2 tablespoons cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon mustard blend over remaining bread slices; place, mustard side down, on top of sandwiches.
  4. 4. Heat pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sandwiches to pan. Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook).

3

About a month ago I bought a big bag of rye flour to make a sourdough starter. I also bought an airtight plastic container to store it in because I like all my flours to have cute containers. My sourdough starter went to hell quickly and the rye container moved to the back of my cabinet.

Forward to yesterday. I’m all gung ho to make these rolls, open the rye flour, and see a nasty in my flour. And what appeared to be the nasty’s babies in a little nest. I don’t even know what it was, when I described it to Spencer he said it sounded like a moth. I was so disgusted. Luckily, the container only held so much of the flour and I had thrown the rest in the freezer. I had just enough for this recipe.

So hey, you guys, hide your rye flour from critters. Learn from my stupidity!

PS. The rolls are fabulous! I’m an onion hater but they work in here.

Rye Pecan Rolls
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon salt divided
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast from a 1/4-oz package
  • 1/4 cup warm water 105–115°F
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey or sugar
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup pecans toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 1/4 cup nigella or poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 3Cook onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain onions in a sieve set over a bowl, reserving onions. Stir milk into onion oil in bowl.
  2. Stir together yeast, warm water, and honey in a large bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)
  3. Mix flours, pepper, milk mixture, and remaining 2 3/4 teaspoons salt into yeast mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, dusting surface and your hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is elastic and smooth, about 6 minutes.
  4. Pat dough into a 9-inch square and sprinkle with onions and pecans. Fold dough over to enclose filling and pinch edges to seal. Knead to distribute onion and nuts throughout dough, dusting with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes. (Dough will be lumpy; if any nuts or pieces of onion pop out, just push them back in.)
  5. Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft- free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. Punch down dough (do not knead), then halve. Roll half of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands into a 12-inch-long log (keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Cut log into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball by cupping your hand and pushing dough against work surface as you roll in a circular motion. Arrange rolls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Cover rolls with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Make more rolls with remaining dough, arranging and covering them on second sheet. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  8. Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer rolls to a rack and cool at least 20 minutes.

1


I don’t use chicken thighs often. I’m not big on dark meat unless it’s in a casserole but it seems like you need 20 thighs to get enough meat for a big dish. They’re always on sale though, so I want to use and I want to love them. You wouldn’t believe how excited I was to find a decent sounding recipe!

It turned out to be a really good recipe. My husband, who looked into the pot while it was cooking and called it “monkey brains”,  loved it and he’s typically not a fan things like this. He also wanted me to say that the sauce was really good on rice.

Chicken Thighs with Olives in Tomato Sauce
Ingredients
  • 12 chicken thighs about 4 pounds, skinned
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place chicken in an electric slow cooker. Add garlic to pan, and sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 30 seconds. Place wine mixture in cooker. Add tomato paste, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes to cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, olives, and parsley.
6


My husband loves bread with his dinner. It’s a really weird concept to me. I don’t remember having bread with dinner growing up, but then again, I’ve never been much of a bread fan. I’ve been trying to make some bread a couple times a week for dinners but ya’ll, I just don’t know what to make. I’ve been making rolls and biscuits but I’m running out of those recipes.

Is it normal to serve sliced fresh bread? I mean, is that acceptable or does dinner bread have to be “fancy”?

This is a really good roll recipe. It has a ton of parmesan in it so we loved it. It was also really simple and the final rise only took about 20 minutes! It’s definitely going to become a regular on my dinner bread menu.

Parmesan Pull-Aparts
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast from a 1/4-ounce package
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey or sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm milk 105–115°F, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 1 1/4 cups grated with a rasp Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into tablespoon pieces and softened
  • 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/3 cup warm milk in mixer bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) Whisk together flour (2 1/2 cups), cheese, and salt, then mix into yeast mixture along with remaining 1/3 cup warm milk at low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, until a very soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is elastic, about 2 minutes. (Dough will be very sticky.)
  2. Scrape dough into center of bowl and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoon flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Punch down dough (do not knead) and turn out onto a floured surface. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball by cupping your hand and pushing dough against work surface as you roll in a circular motion. Arrange rolls 1 inch apart in a buttered 9- by 2-inch round cake pan and cover with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and dough fills pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
  5. Whisk together remaining egg with water and brush on tops of rolls. (You will have leftover egg wash.) Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Loosen edges of rolls from pan with a sharp knife and invert rolls onto a rack, then reinvert and cool at least 20 minutes.
6

I’m obsessed with mushrooms lately. I buy at least 2 cartons a week. I don’t understand it because the whole time I’m wiping and slicing them, I’m almost gagging at the thought of eating them but once they’re cooked… I’m done. I’ll eat every single of of them before they even make it into the dish I’m preparing.

I pulled this out of Gourmet a week ago when I was sitting in class reading it instead of listening to a lecture and added it to my meal plan for this week. It was the mushrooms, they sucked me right in.

This was really good. I so prefer white lasagna to a tomato one. The only problem was that there wasn’t enough sauce. I had a couple burnt spots because I couldn’t get the sauce to cover everything. Other than that, perfection!

Cheesy Chicken and Mushroom Lasagna
from Gourmet
Ingredients
  • 1 10-ounce package cremini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 12 no-boil egg lasagne noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F with rack in middle.
  2. Cook mushrooms, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer briskly 2 minutes. Transfer mushroom mixture to a large bowl and stir in chicken. (Set aside saucepan.)
  3. Bring milk to a bare simmer in a medium saucepan. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook roux, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Add hot milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Add thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve 1 cup sauce. Stir parmesan into sauce remaining in pan, then stir into mushroom filling.
  4. Pour half of reserved plain sauce into baking pan, spreading evenly to coat bottom. Add 3 lasagne sheets, overlapping slightly, and one third of mushroom filling, spreading evenly, then sprinkle one fourth of Gruyere over top. Repeat 2 times. Top with remaining 3 lasagne sheets and remaining plain sauce, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with remaining Gruyere.
  5. Cover with foil, tenting slightly to prevent foil from touching top of lasagne but sealing all around edge, and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese is golden, about 15 minutes more. Let lasagne stand 10 minutes before serving.

2