Tag Archives: onions

Vintage Gold Rush Meat Balls

1-recipe-1 2-recipe-2

I found this antique in my box of recipes, hand-typed on a yellowing, partially disintegrated index card. My great-grandmother developed this recipe, and it is no doubt the origin of the Gold Rush Meat Balls that my mom used to make. The original version was quite different from my mother’s recipe, however. Mamaw used pickles as well as cheese in her meat balls, and her gravy was made with evaporated milk and bouillon.

I did make one small alteration to the vintage version of this recipe: I reduced the amount of ground beef used per meat ball. The directions as written would have yielded 8 servings of 1 meat ball each, using about 1/4 pound of beef per meat ball. This is a bit much for me. :) I was able to get about 8 smaller meatballs out of 1 pound of ground beef, which made two fairly hearty servings. I’ve written the recipe below to serve 4.

I chose to serve this with vegetables, rather than following the original suggestion of cooked noodles. The low-carb eating plan is working well, and I’m happy to stick with it for now.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 16 (1-inch) cubes sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 16 (1/2-inch) cubes dill pickle
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Divide the beef into 16 equal portions.

3-meatball

Place 1 cheese cube and 1 pickle cube in the center of each portion, and mold the beef around them into a meat ball.

4-brown

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and pan-fry the meatballs until evenly browned.

Remove the meat balls, and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the residual fat.

5-onion

Add the chopped onion to the skillet, and sauté until clear.

6-flour

Add the flour, and whisk until combined.

7-milk

Add the evaporated milk and bouillon cubes, reduce the heat to low, and whisk until the sauce has thickened.

8-readd_meatballs

Salt and pepper the meat balls lightly, and return them to the sauce.

9-cover

Cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

10-finished

Serves 4.

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Beef Kebabs

Lots of beef recipes on this blog lately. :) No complaints? Then I’ll keep going!

I love to grill. It’s one of the best summertime activities, and a great way to prepare large amounts of food. Unfortunately, where I live, there is a ban on open flame. No grilling, no joy. Enter the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Grill! It’s not *quite* the same as propane or charcoal, but for $80 dollars, I can’t complain. It lets me get outside and cook food, which is a major improvement. I’ve been grilling things all week!

Today’s dish is a recreation of something my mother used to make all the time: no-frills shish kebab. The secret to this one is a great little seasoning called Liquid Smoke. This is potent stuff — a little goes a VERY LONG WAY. It makes a great addition to most marinades, especially for grilled items. Most supermarkets will carry the stuff: it’s manufactured by Colgin.

Now go outside and get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound eye of round or lean beef of choice, sliced into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 8 ounces whole button mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into large chunks

Directions:

1-marinate

In a large bowl, combine the beef cubes, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, seasoning salt, and Liquid Smoke.

Cover with plastic wrap, and allow the meat to marinate for at least 1-2 hours.

2-skewer

Thread the meat, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions onto bamboo skewers.

Grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, turn, and grill for another 4 minutes.

3-finished

Serves 4.

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Pulled Beef

1-recipe

Lately, it seems that it either rains or it pours. I was just released from jury duty in time for several other situations to clamor for my attention. I haven’t been keeping up with this blog as well as I would like, as a result. Still, the goal is to be good, not to be perfect. My hope is that things will settle out over the next few weeks, and I’ll be able to strike some sort of a balance.

Today’s recipe is “inspired by” the original, and adapted for a slow cooker. I imagine that it would make a wonderful pulled beef sandwich (as recommended by the original author). Since we’re eating low-carb, I elected to serve the beef bunless with zucchini fries. The onions self-caramelized during the slow cooking process, and made an excellent garnish. Even without bread and potatoes, this is still a delicious meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-3 lb.) boneless chuck roast, or other lean beef of your choice
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

2-cooker

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until meat is extremely tender.

Pull meat into chunks, and serve with a generous amount of onions.

3-finished

Serves 4.

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Rasta Pasta

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In the pursuit of new and better low-carb substitutes, I recently acquired a Veggetti slicer for the tidy sum of $14 plus tax. I am generally suspicious of “As Seen On TV” products, and not without reason. However, the Veggetti has been well worth its price. It’s basically a giant pencil sharpener for vegetables, which can slice them into thick or thin strings depending on which end you use.

Here’s a picture of what the sliced vegetables look like:

4-spiral_squash

For this recipe, I substituted yellow squash for spaghetti. I used the “thin” end of the Veggetti to slice the squash, and then boiled it for 2 minutes. The result was an excellent substitute, and I plan to use this device quite frequently in the future.

I substituted shelled edamame for the black beans in this recipe. I happened to have it on hand, and it fit the color scheme. :) Definitely making this dish again: the flavors are excellent, and it’s remarkably satisfying for a recipe which contains nothing but vegetables and seasoning!

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow squash, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shelled cooked edamame
  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets, blanched
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

2-peppers_onions

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender.

3-edamame

Add the edamame and broccoli, and cook for 1 more minute.

5-finished

In a large bowl, toss together the cooked spiral-sliced squash, vegetable mixture, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

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Southwest White Chili

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I played with this recipe a little bit as I was making it. I began by adjusting the quantity of beans: my supermarket didn’t carry 19-ounce cans, and I felt a bit silly leaving half a can of beans sitting in the refrigerator. This led to me increasing the amount of green chiles (wouldn’t want that flavor to be weak), adding more onion, and increasing the amount of spices. I’m very happy with the result, and I think I’ll keep the rewrite. This chili is a win in my book!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chiles
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white kidney beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Sour cream to garnish

Directions:

2-chicken

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken and onion in the olive oil for 4-5 minutes.

3-broth

Add the chicken broth, green chiles, beans, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, and red pepper, and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer for 2-3 hours, adding water as necessary.

4-finished

Serve topped with sour cream and green onions.

Serves 4-6.

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Spiced Potatoes

1-recipe

Ah, to be young again. The lack of responsibility! The freedom from having to pay bills! Being able to run around all day and climb trees! And, of course, the liberty to be absolutely illegible in one’s personal notes. I wrote down today’s recipe when I was about 8 years old, and my handwriting was completely atrocious.

There are two keys to this recipe. The first is slicing the potatoes into small cubes: this helps them to become crispy on the outside and mealy on the inside without burning. The second is adding the onion near the end of cooking. If you add it at the beginning, it will crisp and burn. Cook wisely, cook well, and enjoy the potatoes!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

2-butter

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.

3-potatoes

Add the potatoes and cayenne pepper, and fry until crisp, stirring occasionally.

4-onion

Add the onion, and cook for 1 more minute.

Serve hot and salted.

5-finished

Serves 2-4.

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Chinese Pepper Steak

1-recipe

I wish I knew where my mother got this recipe, because it’s really good! This dish has a different flavor profile from the Pepper Steak recipe I published in October: while that recipe has more of a sweet-and-sour taste from the ketchup used, this one is definitely classic “Chinese buffet” pepper steak. I highly recommend marinating the beef strips for several hours to tenderize the meat and allow the flavor to deepen.

I used dark soy sauce instead of the fermented bean paste, and followed my mother’s hand-written note to substitute in ground ginger instead of using sliced fresh ginger. While I am generally in favor of fresh ingredients, I think she made the right call: reading the recipe, it directs the cook to first stir-fry the ginger, then add the beef strips, and later remove the ginger. I don’t want to sit there with a pair of chopsticks picking thin slices of ginger out of my skillet when I could be getting on with dinner! Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound steak (or lean beef cut of your choice), trimmed of fat and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium green pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 medium red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Directions:

2-make_marinade

In a medium bowl, combine the dry sherry, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon of the cornstarch.

3-marinate_steak

Add the beef strips to this marinade, and refrigerate for several hours.

4-saute_peppers

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, and sauté the garlic, green pepper, red pepper, and onions over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the skillet, and raise the heat to high.

5-cook_steak

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, marinated beef strips, dark soy sauce, and ground ginger to the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes.

6-add_broth

Add the chicken broth to the skillet, and bring to a boil.

Dissolve the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water, and add this mixture to the skillet along with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.

7-add_vegetables

When the sauce has thickened, return the vegetables to the skillet, and cook for 1 minute.

Serve over a bed of rice.

8-finished

Serves 4-6.

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Onion Brunch Bread

1-recipe

So what do you do with creamed corn, anyway? Many people do not like it. The texture is a turn-off. The last time I donated canned goods to a food pantry, there was a sign up requesting “please, no creamed corn”. I have never had a good answer to this question before today.

This recipe for Onion Brunch Bread has been sitting in my pile for several weeks now. I kept meaning to make and photograph it, but I continued to put it off because doing so would require me to purchase a can of creamed corn. I finally gave in and made the bread, and I’m glad that I did. It is far, far better than any other creamed-corn-containing dish that I have ever tried… primarily because the creamed corn is no longer creamy. :)

I am not sure that I would strictly classify this as bread: while there is a bread substrate at the bottom, a fork is required as the onion and sour cream layer is still quite soft after baking. It’s more like a topped cornbread. That said, the flavor is really quite good: the creamed corn lends sweetness to the mix without overpowering it, and dill brings out the delicious dairy notes on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 (8 1/2-ounce) package corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 (8 3/4-ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-onions

In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the butter until tender.

3-sour_cream

In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, salt, dill weed, prepared mustard, and 1/2 cup of the Cheddar cheese with the cooked onions, and mix well.

4-muffin_mix

In a separate bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, egg, milk, creamed corn, and hot sauce.

5-in_pan

Spoon the corn muffin mixture into an 8” x 8” x 2” baking dish.

6-top

Gently spread the onion mixture over the batter, and sprinkle the top with the remaining 3/4 cup of Cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until firm in the center.

7-finished

Serves 6.

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Mac and Cheese Casserole

I learned this recipe at my mother’s knee, quite literally. The teaching was entirely oral: as far as I am aware, she never wrote down the recipe. By the time I was 9 years old, I could successfully make mac and cheese casserole for the family dinner, and only have to bother my mother once or twice for instructional reminders (“How much milk is it again? Ok, thanks!”). I felt proud of the accomplishment, of being able to help my parents by taking on the responsibility for dinner, and of being able to make something that tasted “just like Mom’s”.

Over the years, I have tried many different variations on this casserole. I have made it with ham, ground beef, bacon, bratwurst (which is particularly delicious), no meat whatsoever, mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, habanero sauce… the alterations are as numerous as one could wish. My mother always made the casserole with cooked ham, so that is the version I cooked for this blog post. However, as with all good recipes, please feel free to modify it and make it your own. Home cooking should be an expression of creativity and love, not simply an exercise in rote memorization.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pasta shapes of your choice (rotini, fusilli, shells, elbows, etc), cooked and drained
  • 8 ounces cooked ham, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

1-ham

Place the cooked pasta and chopped ham in a 13” x 9” casserole dish.

2-onions

In a medium cooking pot, sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat until clear.

3-add_flour

Add the pepper and flour, and mix well.

4-cheese

Add the milk and cheese, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted and sauce is thickened.

5-casserole

Pour the sauce over the pasta and ham, and mix well.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through.

6-finished

Serves 4.

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French Onion Bread

1-recipe_card 2-recipe_card_2

I love to bake. I really do. There is something satisfying about the process of making a mixture with friendly microorganisms, kneading the daylights out of it, and watching it grow. During the colder months, when the days are short and it seems like there’s nothing to do, making a loaf of bread can really brighten my day. The end product is delicious, too. :)

This recipe was a first-time effort for me, and I’m remarkably pleased with the results. The onion flavor is present without being overpowering, and the texture of the bread is just right – not too light, not too dense. The yield is also substantial: 2 good-sized long loaves. This would be a wonderful bread to serve with almost any meal… especially French onion soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water, divided
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 5 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

3-mix_yeast

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water.

4-mix_soup

In a medium pot, combine the onion soup mix and the remaining 2 cups of water over medium heat.

5-simmer_soup

Simmer the onion soup mixture, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove the onion soup mixture from the heat, and pour into a large bowl.

6-add_others

Add the sugar, salt, Parmesan, and shortening, mix well, and allow to cool to lukewarm.

7-add_yeast

Add the yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour, and mix well.

8-add_flour

Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour to make a stiff dough (use more or less if needed).

9-knead_dough

Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.

10-greased_bowl

Place the dough in a greased bowl, and turn to grease all sides.

Cover and let the dough rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.

11-loaves

Punch down the dough, divide it in half, and shape into 2 long loaves.

12-slashes

Place the loaves on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, and make diagonal gashes with a sharp knife along the top of the loaves, approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cover the loaves and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

In a small bowl, mix the egg white and a small amount of water.

Bake for 20 minutes, brush the loaves with the egg white mixture, and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until done.

13-finished

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