Goulash

I’m always on the lookout for easy recipes that require minimal ingredients. They’re great for those nights on the fly for our family, when what I’ve planned on the menu for that evening hasn’t turned out…for one reason or another. Y’all know what I’m talking about! Dishes like these, where I have all the ingredients I need handy in the pantry, are a lifesaver.

Oddly, I’d never had goulash before. To me, it was very reminiscent of Beefaroni – which reminds me of school lunches and childhood. Ground beef and macaroni are simmered in a rich, lightly spiced tomato sauce until it’s a thick stew. It’s classic lowbrow comfort food, but it’s delicious.

I’d imagine it would be great with all kinds of things thrown in as well… veggies, different proteins, beans, cheese, you name it! Definitely a great base for one of those clean out the fridge nights…

I like the simplicity of the basic version, though. Not to mention that when it’s made with ground sirloin and whole wheat pasta, it’s not terribly bad for you either. Better than the “heart attack in a sack” you might end up with otherwise on those busy nights.

Source: adapted from Feral Kitchen

Jambalaya Pasta

Now that school is back in session, and fall sports and activities are underway, on weeknights it can be hard to find time time to prepare a proper dinner in the kitchen on those evenings when you have a million things going on.

This quick Cajun-inspired pasta dish is just the ticket to get a delicious meal on the table fast, that the whole family will love. Kielbasa is sliced and sauteed with some garlic, onion, and green peppers. Then seasoned with a bit of my homemade Cajun seasoning. A quick pan sauce is made with the addition of tomato sauce and cream, and then it’s all tossed together with cooked pasta to make for one delicious meal. Dinner is done in twenty, you can’t beat it!

I like to serve it with something green on the side to bump up the veggie factor – something like a nice green salad or a side of steamed broccoli are great ideas. Add this to the menu soon for a night when you need something quick, but filling! You won’t be disappointed.

Jambalaya Pasta

12 oz Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 Tbsp butter
1 lb Kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup heavy cream
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
3/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
1 (15) oz can tomato sauce
kosher salt
black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

In a large pot, boil water for pasta. Salt water. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Add butter to large skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally until nicely browned. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onion and green pepper to the pan and saute until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and Cajun seasoning and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add chicken broth to skillet, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Let liquid reduce by half, about three minutes.

Stir in tomato sauce. Add cream and heat to almost bubbling, then reduce heat to low. Return the kielbasa to the sauce. Let sauce simmer for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta to the pan, as well as the parsley, and freshly grated Parmesan. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Source: adapted from Plain Chicken

Garlic Balsamic Crusted Pork Tenderloin

As summer officially winds down to a close, I’m trying to get as much time in on the grill as we can. Not that you can’t find me outside grilling in the middle of a hurricane, or a snowstorm (especially now that I have an awesome covered back deck!) – but there’s just something about the smell of the grill with a cocktail in hand on a summer evening.

I know you guys have got to be tired of seeing pork tenderloin recipes here, but I just can’t get enough of them. They’re a wonderful canvas to add all kinds of different flavors to, they’re healthy, and they cook relatively quickly – all strong points when it comes to our summertime menu.

This one incorporates the sweet, rich flavor of balsamic vinegar and plenty of pungent garlic. Using a good balsamic is key – you want one that is slightly thicker and has some body (I really like Il Villaggio’s brand for the price – you can find it online here, but I usually pick it up when I visit a higher-end grocery store). The pork is marinaded for an hour or so, or more if you have time – then thrown on the grill to cook and soak up even more delicious flavor.

I served with a side of our favorite garlic rice pilaf and steamed broccoli for a dinner that everyone in the family enjoyed. Also, leftovers were absolutely delicious when sliced thin and put on a sandwich the next day. Perfect summertime eating!

Source: adapted from Kitchen Confidante

Slow Cooker Chicken Cheesesteaks

Alot has been going on around here lately. A newborn baby, obviously. But also, a new house. We’ve been busy packing up our lives here for the past month, and we’re headed “down the county” for settlement this morning.

We’re taking the family back to where we started, Chincoteague Island. It’s a great house (that’s not cut up all funny as many old Eastern Shore homes are), with plenty of room for this growing family. A huge kitchen with three times the cabinet and counter space I currently have here. It was Jon’s best friend’s house growing up, in fact – Jon even drove a few nails into it when Ron (said best friend’s father) was building it. So, needless to say – we’re already feeling an emotional attachment to the place before we even move in.

Naturally, I also have many emotional attachments to this house. I brought all my babies home to this house, Christmases, Halloweens, first days of school, birthday parties, and neighborhood cookouts. I pretty much learned to cook (for real reals) in this house. Jon taught himself how to brew in this house. So many great memories here! I’ll miss our neighbors, fireflies (they don’t have fireflies on Chincoteague Island – the amount of salt in the air, maybe?) my lush backyard teeming with flowers from bulbs that were planted 50 years before we moved here, my fig trees, and my kitchen that we revamped. But, we’ll have a new version of those things in our new home, except the fireflies – and I’m excited about that.

house

Needless to say, dinner preparation has kind of fallen by the wayside the past couple weeks with everything getting packed up and whatnot. That’s where a slow cooker can come in handy! Now, I know most folks don’t associate a slow cooker with the summer months. But, it’s very versatile for preparing delicious meals year-round. And, it won’t heat up the house the way an oven does!

This takes just a few minutes to throw together, and the results at dinnertime are absolutely delicious. I seasoned chicken breasts (next time I’ll try boneless thighs in the mix as well) and seared them off, then sauteed some peppers and onions. Threw it all in the slow cooker with a bit of chicken broth and let it cook all day. At dinner time, I just shredded the chicken and threw it on some sub rolls, added some provelone cheese and toasted them in the oven for a few minutes.

They were delicious, satisfying, and super duper easy. The leftover filling was k-i-l-l-e-r in a quesadilla the next day for lunch. I know we’ll be making this one again very soon!

I know I’ve been slack on posts lately, but just bear with me. The slackage will probably continue through next week, until we get internet arranged in the new house, and my studio set up. Until then, later Pocomoke – it’s been real! Thanks for giving me such a great spot to call home and raise this little family of ours for 7 years!

Source: Adapted from Food Family & Finds via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe