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DSC_1393 (1600x1060)We were in the local Kroger store the other day and I spotted a newly stocked item – queso quesadilla.  It’s a white cheese that melts really well without separating into solids and oil.  My understanding is that the folded and grilled tortilla menu item called “quesadilla” gets its name from the cheese and not the other way around.  I used some on these tacos and the bits that are close to the hot, taco seasoned beef are melting quite nicely.

Full Dinner Menu: Hearty Tomato Soup and a Couple of Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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Awesome Photo by JeffreyW

This is one of my favorite menus, perfect for a chilly week.

For a different take on grilled cheese, JeffreyW makes Inside Out Grilled Cheese here.

This not your mom’s canned soup or grilled cheese.  These are tasty, hearty and easy to whip up.  And the flax cookies are addictive (I can say this because it’s a friend’s recipe).  On the board tonight:

  1. Hearty Tomato Soup
  2. Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  3. Flax Cookies

Hearty Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions, including greens
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 quart saucepan

In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

* This is the time to use up any left over garden tomatoes, instead of canned. Blend until you have 4 cups of crushed tomatoes.

Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.  to cover bread (about 3 slices)
  • Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
  • 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
  • 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Butter
  • Spray Oil

Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. We don’t know why, but this makes them taste better.  :-)

Flax Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

Bowl & cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients together and then fold into egg mixture until well blended. Mix in almonds and drop by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, don’t let them brown.

Shopping List:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes (4-6 large)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • 8 – 10 oz favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc)
  • 1- 2 Jalapenos or 2 oz pickled Jalapenos
  • 1 large tomato for slicing
  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 sticks + butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground flax

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, oil spray

Originally posted October 2009


Taco Pr0n

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I Really Like Pizza Pie

DSC_0876 (1600x1060)Mrs J thought pizza would work for her dinner today.  We had all that turkey from yesterday’s project so we went with that for a topping.  White pizza sounded better with turkey than anything else so we went that route. DSC_0871 (1600x1060)I had good luck with the Prairie Gold flour the local Amish store carried so we went that way again, going half and half with white bread flour.  The dough recipe is not too involved: 1 cup PG flour, 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup warm water, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 packet of instant yeast (2-1/4 t).  I let the bread machine make the dough while we made a trip to town.DSC_0873 (1600x1060)I like to brush the crust with olive oil but I had a little garlic butter left over so I warmed that, added a little oil, and brushed it on, sprinkling kosher salt after.  I gave it another coat halfway through baking when I opened the oven to spin the pan 180.  To a basic  white sauce I added provolone and Parmesan, folded in blanched broccoli and cubed turkey meat and spread that over the crust, adding thin sliced red onions, more turkey, and a good sprinkle of Parmesan atop everything before sliding it into a 375 oven.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilling Up Some Steaks

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JeffreyW is always making magic with steak. Here he shows off his Cheesesteak.

A big work project came up this week, as a result I have barely been in my kitchen. So for the featured recipe, I pulled up one of my prettier projects, Flank Steak Pinwheels. Not as much effort as it looks. Although I save them for special occasions.

If you’d like something with a bit less work, how about a Spicy Grilled Flank Steak? (Recipe here)

JeffreyW whips up some Cheesesteak Sandwiches (instructions and photos here)

This week’s dinner menu is Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake (menu, recipes and shopping lists here).

No real Bixby update this week, but I did finally receive and assemble my new motorized standing desk. It fascinates him, so of course there is video here.

What’s on your plate for this last weekend (how did that happen) of August? Are you sad summer waning or is fall more your season? Most importantly, whatcha cookin’?

Flank Pinwheel Prep Final

This steak can be prepped the day before, just wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Makes it great for a date night, anniversary or small dinner party. I pan-seared and finished in the oven because with the cheese, I thought grilling them wouldn’t work as well. The reward was great pan drippings when I was finished, which I drizzled over the potatoes before serving. If I was going to grill, I’d probably use a grilling pan to avoid flareups.

Flank Steak Pinwheels Final

Flank Steak Pinwheels

  • 1 large flank steak, butterflied
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed garlic (at least 2 cloves)
  • 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • olive oil

Cast iron or oven proof skillet

You can ask the butcher to butterfly your flank steak, which  is what I did. But it’s fairly easy to butterfly. You want the grain running up and down in front of you and then you’ll slice it in half, NOT slicing all the way through. When you’re done you’ll lay it open, flat, basically making a larger, thinner steak.

Once you have it laid out flat in front of you with the grain running left to right, you’ll want to tenderize it, pounding it flat. I use my pronged Tenderizertenderizer, so I add the spices first and use the tenderizer to help infuse the meat.

If you haven’t already, once it’s pounded, add salt, pepper and garlic evenly over the meat. Layer the spinach over the meat. You want it to be several leaves thick, because it will reduce as it cooks.

Next layer the provolone cheese slices, two to three slices thick, over the meat.

Now it’s time to roll.  Roll tightly in the direction of the grain. Add a skewer every 2 inches and then slice between the skewers, so you have 2-inch thick pinwheels.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil in large skillet, reduce heat to med-high and add pinwheels, flat-side down. After a minute, using the skewer (you may also need a metal spatula to get all the cheesy goodness) flip over, sear additional minute.  The usual method of waiting until the meat moves easily to flip will not work with this because the cheese is sticky. So just do one minute each side, it will be fine.

Place the skillet in the oven, turn the oven off and let the steak finish for 10-15 minutes for medium rare. These are thin and don’t need a lot of cooking time and you don’t want the cheese to burn.

Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes.  You can then use the great juices in the skillet to make a gravy if desired. I just drizzled them over the steak and potatoes right before serving.

My steak made 4 pinwheels. If you have more, you may need to finish cooking on a baking sheet after searing them in groups.

That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend, I’m sad to see August go, but fall in Colorado is stunning. – TaMara

Panera’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

DSC_0785 (1600x1060)I wish I’d gone with the white bowl for this, I really thought there would be more contrast.  This is a copycat recipe, as far as I know, nowhere does it indicate it’s an actual Panera recipe.  I stayed right with the recipe as written except I added an extra handful of shredded Parmesan I had out for the garlic toast.  I can say that it’s a damn good soup, we both gave it two thumbs up.DSC_0788 (1600x1060)I couldn’t resist making a sammich out of the leftovers.

Food Pr0n – Quesedillas

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Hamburger Noodle Bake

DSC_0333 (1600x1060)Like I said before, a family favorite.  This one uses those ridged elbow macaroni we found at the local Amish store, the only place we’ve seen it aside from pictures online.  We made a mornay sauce of Swiss cheese and added a goodly dollop of sour cream.  The ground beef was browned with celery and onion.  We added a generous slug of buttermilk to the white sauce before mixing in the cheese, and stirred in a cup of the pasta water, too.  I think it baked for a half hour at 350, covered, and then was topped with some shredded “pizza style” cheese and baked for another 10-15 minutes to toast that off.  That cheese was a mix of mozzarella and provolone plus others I can’t recall at the moment.

Pizza Pr0n – Meat Lover’s

DSC_0309 (1600x1060)I could have called it a pork lover’s pizza – it has bacon, pepperoni, prosciutto, ham, and Italian sausage along with provolone, Parmesan, asiago, mozzarella, and Romano.  My dough-fu was weak today, the dough was too wet and sticky to get a good stuff going into the outer rim of the crust.  You can see a few places where it bubbled out.

Sammich Pr0n

DSC_0263 (1600x1060)I uploaded this photo the other day but the post was getting long so I left it out.  Today works for me.  Sloppy joe with American cheese all melted in and pickled peppers.  The side is more of the loaded potato salad.


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