What’s for Dinner? Creamy Spinach Pasta, Red Wine Braised Flank Steak Sandwiches & Black Bean Pasta Salad

Black Bean and Corn Pasta Salad 

511 pasta salad

Meatless Monday

Time: 20 Minutes

Simple

Review:  I was a little hesitant to serve a pasta salad as the main dish for dinner, but it worked very well.  It has been in the upper 80s this week here in NC and a nice cool pasta salad on the deck was the perfect dish.  There is room to play around with this dish and add other things you may like,  my husband  added olives and cheese and I added some cheese!  The Rotel gives it the perfect amount of heat.  I think you will find this a great summer dish and perfect to take to a picnic!

Creamy Spinach Ravioli (tortellini) – Pampered Chef Lite

511 spinach pasta

Keeping it Light!

Time: 30 – 40 Minutes

Simple

Review:  OK, we did meatless twice this week!  And everyone lived!  Pampered Chef has some fun and easy recipes that often look like you worked much harder than you did, that’s a win!  However, many of the dishes are loaded with fat, but this dish is from their Lite cookbook and was a healthier take on a nice creamy dish.  I made a couple adaptations; use frozen spinach instead of creamed spinach and add a little milk if not the consistency you would like and use half fat free cream cheese and half low-fat.  It is still a tasty, creamy dish.

Red Wine Braised Flank Steak with Roasted Red Peppers and Gruyere – Tom Colicchio

511 braised flank steak sandwiches

The Indulgence!

Time: 4 Hours

Moderate Skill

Review: Yuuuummmmy!  Review is complete.  OK, well maybe not.  This dish takes time, but part of the time is while it is in the oven and you can go about doing other things.  Many of the dishes by Tom Colicchio take time and loving care, but the results are well worth it.  The only change I made was the cheese, my cheese loving husband somehow doesn’t like Gruyere, so I used Cheddar.  If there are no objections I think the Gruyere is better, but it is still good no matter what.  This is a dish that will redefine sandwiches; sandwiches can be the masterpiece of your dinner!

 

Have you tried any dishes from Bringing Back Dinner?  If so let us know by posting a pic on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #bringingbackdinner

Sloppy Joe, Making it Healthier!

With all of the travel and fun we will be having this spring and summer Bringing Back Dinner is going to make a few changes.  We are trying to be a little healthier and will be trying dishes that have been made healthier, but still full of flavor and there will only be 2 recipes each week, one of which will be a Meatless Monday dish which will help with our goal towards healthier eating.  There will still be a full list of recipes available on the links page to help you plan a week’s worth of meals, or just grab one and go.  I hope you enjoy the leaner version of Bringing Back Dinner.

PS: Even though it is good to eat healthier as a lifestyle there are still moments in our lives where we may treat ourselves or indulge, Bringing Back Dinner is no exception and will post a few indulgences from time to time.

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Quesadillas – Eating Well Magazine


quesadillas

 

Learn more about how you can help your family go meatless on Mondays at www.meatlessmonday.com

Time:   15 Minutes

Ease: simple

Review: I know, I know, you have seen this before!  I can’t tell you how simple and tasty this dish is.  We love it!  This recipe calls for only 1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese,  but don’t let that concern you.  This dish still feels very cheesy and if you don’t announce it, no one will know the difference.

Sloppy Joes – Ellie Krieger

sloppy joe

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: My family loves Sloppy Joes, but I hate the idea of using the packets or cans which are loaded with salt and preservatives.  I found this recipe by Ellie Krieger and will never go back.  It is full of flavor, tastes like a Sloppy Joe and is healthier.

Bonus Dish:

Emeril’s Sausage Meatballs and Red Gravy

My husband requested this for his birthday!  It takes patience and several hours, but is well worth it.  This was our indulgence this week!

 

  • Do you have a recipe you would like Bringing Back Dinner to prepare and review?  Send your request and a link to us by using Reply, Twitter or Facebook. Use hashtag bringingbackdinner.
  • If you  make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Official Meatless Monday Blogger

What’s for Dinner? Roasted Vegetable Tostadas – Giada, Macaroni & Beef Casserole – Food & Wine, Quiche with Leeks – Jamie Oliver

Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Tostadas with Chipotle Cream  – Giada

butternut squash tostadas

Learn more about how you can help your family go meatless on Mondays at www.meatlessmonday.com

Time:   55 Minutes

Ease: simple

Review: I thought this dish was very different.  Different in a good sort of way!  The flavors were great and it was very easy to make.  My family was funny about this dish.  They liked it, but said things like “it’s ok, could you pass me some more?”.  I’m taking the fact that there were no leftovers to mean it was a success!  As you read the recipe it sounds unusual, but do give it  a try.  You house will be filled with smoky, spicy smells, mmmm.

Macaroni & Beef Casserole – Food & Wine Magazine

beef and macaroni

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This was a quick and easy dish, but I recommend watching the liquid amounts because it can tend to be dry.  We also found that it could be a little more flavorful and added sriracha sauce in the end.  That said it makes a nice, casual weeknight dinner.

 

Leek and Bacon Quiche – Jamie Oliver ( Quiche Leekraine)

leek quiche

Time:  40 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: I don’t think making quiche can get any easier!  We liked the texture and flavor of this easy dish.  I think you could use the base and change the ingredients to suit you very easily.  An overall nice dish!

Zatarain’s with Kielbasa – Home cooked fast food

Zatarans kielbasa

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  I used the Jambalaya mix and just followed the directions on the back.  I tend to shy away from pre-made mixes, but sometime we just need to get dinner on the table and into bodies before we run out the door again.  You can use turkey kielbasa to cut down on the fat.  Sometimes I caramalize onions and peppers to add in to this.

  • What is your home cooked fast food dish?
  • Do you have a recipe you would like Bringing Back Dinner to prepare and review?  Send your request and a link to us by using Reply, Twitter or Facebook. Use hashtag bringingbackdinner.
  • If you  make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Official Meatless Monday Blogger

Do you need to go shopping in your Freezer? Chicken & Leeks, Vegetarian Chili, Soup, and BBQ Beef Tacos

Shopping in your freezer!
Shopping in your freezer!

If you are like me you find great deals on items and put them in the freezer or cabinets and then forget about them.  After a while I’m overflowing with items I  just don’t use on a regular basis.  When my kitchen gets too full I go shopping in my freezer and make my menus based on what I already have on hand.  You will be surprised how much money this can save you over time.  This week I was able to shop from home for everything but milk and fruit.  Not bad!

I managed to come up with lunches and breakfast for the week and also four meals from my freezer and cabinets: Chicken & Leeks, Vegetarian Chili, Potato Soup with Thyme and Slow Cooked BBQ Beef Tacos!  What can you make?  Go to Reply at the end and tell us what you had in you freezer.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Chili

vegi chili

Learn more about how you can help your family go meatless on Mondays at www.meatlessmonday.com

Time:   45 Minutes

Ease: simple

Recipe Card: Vegetarian Chili

Review: We love chili!  In an effort to really embrace Meatless Mondays I try to find vegetarian dishes that are also hearty.  I had trouble finding a chili that felt meaty and not soup like and decided to create my own.  We were pleased with the end result.  I used bulgar to help make it more filling and it adds a sort of meaty texture.  It is a little mild, but can be served with hot sauce.

Potato Soup with Thyme

potato soup close

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Recipe Card:Potato Soup with Thyme

Review: Potato soup makes a regular appearance in our household, but it is almost never they same twice.  I love treating it like an science experiment. There are just so many wonderful spices.  This time I took the time to write it down after our guest commented that I should because it was good!  So, maybe I can make it just like this again.

Chicken and Leeks – The Food Network

chicken and leeks lemons

Time:  40 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This is an easy recipe that is great just the way it is written.  I found that I can buy frozen leeks at Trader Joe’s and keep them on hand for soups etc. without worrying about them going bad too quickly and most dishes I use them in cooked them down a little anyway.  If you can find it in the freezer section I recommend it.  The one difference is that it includes both greens and whites, but I find it still works well in most recipes.

Slow Cooked Chipotle BBQ Beef Tacos

chipotle bbq tacos

Time: 8 Hours in slowcooker on low

Ease: unbelievably Simple

Recipe Card: Slow Cooked BBQ Beef tacos

Recipe Card: Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Review:  The BBQ sauce from a few weeks ago is so easy to make and we like it for so many things that I often have it on hand.  When I did my shopping in my freezer, fridge, and cabinets I discovered I had a nice sized batch and used it in my tacos.  If you use a store bought BBQ sauce I recommend adding one pepper and a little sauce from a can of chipotle peppers.  It adds heat and a nice smokey flavor.  The only problem with this recipe was too many second and third helpings, so we ran out!  Serve it with traditional taco toppings.

Cucumbers and Tomatoes

cucumbers and tomato

Time: 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: This was not a main meal, but a dish I’d like to share. It screams summertime, gardens and freshness.  Chop one cucumber and a large tomato or a cup of cherry tomatoes and about 1/4 cup onion.  Red onion is nice if you have it.  Mix 1-2 Tablespoons mayonnaise into the cucumbers and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and let sit about 10 minutes.  That’s it!  It sounds plain, but the juice from the tomatoes mixes in with the mayo and makes it very flavorful. You can also add things like dill, oregano, basil, mint etc.  The proportions are really up to you if you you like more tomato add more etc.

 

  • What did you come up with from your freezer?
  • Do you have a recipe you would like Bringing Back Dinner to prepare and review?  Send your request and a link to us by using Reply, Twitter or Facebook. Use hashtag bringingbackdinner.
  • If you  make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Official Meatless Monday Blogger

Why This Blog? Meal Ideas & Planning so You Don’t Have to!

Cookbook Haze
Cookbook Haze. Does looking at all your cookbooks make you dizzy?

This week someone asked me “With all the food blogs out there, why yours?”  That is a good question!  There are so many wonderful food blogs out there with great ideas, why do another food blog?  There are several reasons I wanted to do this.  First, I love The Process (see below) and want to help. To me it is relaxing to sit down and plan out the meals we will have.  I scour cookbooks, the internet and magazines looking for the perfect dishes and enjoy it, however, I know many people hate this step, so I search for meal ideas and plan out a menu so you don’t have to!  The second reason is because I enjoy writing it up and taking the photos and in the process I am learning, and I love to learn. A third and unexpected reason is that I also get to meet really interesting people I would never have otherwise met. So, basically it is just plain fun. Lastly I believe relationships have an opportunity to grow around meals and I want to promote this. I’m hear to encourage you, help you, and give suggestions to make meal time easier.

What makes my blog different? One thing that is different about Bringing Back Dinner is the format. I provide reviews of recipes from all over the internet and help you find dishes you may not have stumbled upon otherwise and let you know how it turned out. Another way Bringing Back Dinner is different is the encouragement to slow down, stop for a moment and enjoy a nice meals with friends and family while helping you see that it can be done simply. It is about helping mealtime be less frustrating and more about the time together.  It is about family, friends, less stress, and more fun.

Each week I plan out meals and make and review the recipes and give you the links so that you can make them too.  I let you know how long it took and how it turned out to help you decide if you would like to try it.  Sometimes I add my own original recipes, but the real goal is just to give you a few meals each week so you can answer that question we all hear “What’s for Dinner”.

And that is why I’m here.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

Meatless Monday: Asparagus – Mushroom Mini Lasagnas

Asparagus Mushroom mini lasagna

Vegetarian

Time:   1 1/2 Hours

Ease: simple

Review: I have to say I was very surprised.  I made this thinking it would be a good dish and help us stay on our Meatless Monday quest, but didn’t have high hopes for it.  I was wrong.  This dish was awesome and simple to make.  We will have this again!  It would be a beautiful dish for company too.  A+ Eating Well Magazine!

Pork Chops and Steak with Outback Steakhouse Copy Cat Seasoning

steak with outback seasoning

Time: 15 – 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This is a simple and tasty spice mix and one you probably want to keep in your database (or head).  We had it on pork chops and my daughter made a steak with it this week.  I don’t know if it is really like Outback Steak House’s but it is a nice blend of spices.

Frozen Pizza, because #FoodieChats and Twitter Tempted me!

frozen pizza

Foodie Chats spent a lot of time on Twitter discussing frozen pizza, then others chimed in with all kinds of pizza ideas and well, we just had to do it. Plus, it made for an easy night! Check them out on twitter @foodiechats and join the chat.

Time:  15-30 Minutes depending on type of pizza

Ease: Simple. I mean really, it is frozen pizza!

Review:  I know, I know.  Frozen pizza isn’t a recipe, but it is fine to pull this out every so often.

Za’atar Shrimp & Green Beans with Lemon Yogurt over Couscous

Shrimp & Green Beans with lemon garlic yogurt over couscous

Time: About 20 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This recipe comes from Blue Apron a company that provides recipes and the ingredients for meals and ships them to your house.  While I have not subscribed to Blue Apron, I am impressed with some of the recipes.  This recipe was creative and simple and made a beautiful plate of food.  It had a nice mixture of flavors and was kind of fun to make and eat.  Nice job Blue Apron!

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut and Curry

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

Vegetarian, Whole30 and Paleo adaptable (omit chickpeas), 

Speaking of other food blogs, this recipe comes from a great blog called the Minimalist Baker, this is a must check out blog/site!

Time: 50 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  I mentioned before that my daughter is trying the Whole30 diet, in the process she has found some great recipes and gave this one a try.  To make it Whole30 acceptable she omitted the chickpeas.  I think the unexpected side effect of being on the Whole30 Diet is that she is becoming a great cook!  She has made this dish several times already and I don’t blame her, it is wonderful.  Remember, not to judge when you see words like Vegetarian, Paleo etc. It doesn’t mean it has to be some grass like, dirt tasting dish.  I mean after all Mashed potatoes are vegetarian and yum!  Just think to yourself “I don’t care what they call it, they could call it jurasicwholepaleodirt diet food for all I care, it is just plain good!”.

 

Other meals we had this week were Chicken breasts baked in fat free Italian dressing, just stick them in a baking dish, pour the dressing over the top and bake until done! Simple and yummy! We also had hamburgers one day for lunch and went to Bravo Cucina for a wonderful dinner.  I really like this restaurant, it has a nice atmosphere, good food, and reasonable prices.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: It isn’t about what you make, it is about connecting.  So, if you only have time or energy for a frozen pizza, don’t stress about it.  Just remember to not let everyone grab pizza and scatter, but sit down together and talk.

What is your favorite quick meal? Reply, Tweet or Facebook us your quick meals to any of the links below.  Use #bringingbackdinner.

If you  make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Official Meatless Monday Blogger

What’s for Dinner? Meatless Monday BBQ Veg Burrito Bowl, Rosemary Chicken & Sweet Potatoes, and Dijon Salmon

tea sick day

This week I was sick.  I managed to make three meals and then spent the rest of the week sucking down hot tea with honey and lemon and inhaling essential oils.  I stressed over coming up with extra meals for all of you and then decided the best thing is just to tell it like it is.  Let’s face it, we all have weeks like this or weeks where there is just too much going on.  When you have weeks like that and manage to get even one meal made and on the table I applaud you!  Judgement free zone here.

My job is to search the internet for yummy meals so that you don’t have to and hopefully you can use at least one meal to make your life easier and the rest of the week just do the best you can.  The goal is to make the effort and make a little progress at building relationships around your meals while you’re at it.  Remember bringing back dinner to your lives doesn’t have to stress you or be an impossible goal, even if you’re sick or busy!

So what did we do? We ate sandwiches, went out to eat and had take out for the rest of our week and we survived.  For the take out we still ate it together at the table and that is something.  Next week I have some awesome meals planned, but you know what?  Life happens if it derails your, or my, plans that’s OK.  Try again the next week.  Just relax and enjoy meal time.  I’m rooting for you!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

Meatless Monday: BBQ Veg Burrito Bowl

bbq burrito bowl

Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Time:   30 minutes to 1 hour depending upon rice used and cooking method

Ease: simple

I am enjoying Meatless Mondays, but find it a challenge to make meals that my meat loving men will enjoy as well.  I find if it is hearty and flavorful they usually like it. So, this week we had a filling and tasty burrito bowl. I love a good veg burrito bowl, just pile it high and dig in.

Review: Everyone liked it!  Success.  This was an easy meal and one where you can set it up like a buffet and give people choices. Suggested items: cooked rice, squash and zucchini, roasted peppers and onions, caramelized onion, black beans, and corn with peppers and chipotle bbq sauce.  Recipes for the corn and bbq sauce below:

Corn with Peppers

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 poblano pepper finely chopped
  •  ½ -1  jalapeno pepper
  •  ¼ cup Red onion
  •  Cilantro
  •  1 Tbsp Lime juice
  •  Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and add peppers, red onion and corn and cook until lightly toasted in areas and heated through.  Add lime juice, salt and pepper and cilantro and toss through.  Serve.

Chipotle BBQ Sauce

  •   1 cup ketchup
  •   1 tbsp mustard
  •   1 tsp  garlic powder or sauté garlic with onions
  •   1 tsp onion powder or saute fresh onions to taste
  •   1tsp chili powder
  •   1/3 cup molasses
  •   1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  •   1/2 tsp chocolate
  •   1 tbsp chipotle pepper w/sauce (more to taste)
  •   1 Tbsp brown sugar
  •   Salt & pepper

Heat the vinegar and add in molasses and brown sugar to dissolve, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Simmer 5 minutes. Done!  Easy!  If using fresh onions and garlic sauté them in 1 tbsp olive oil prior to adding vinegar and sweeteners.

This sauce is perfect for ribs, porkchops, anything! (for those meatfull other days!)

Rosemary Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

chicken and sweet potatoes

Gluten Free, Paleo, Whole30

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Preheat oven to 400.  I used the Pampered Chef Deep Baking Dish (stoneware), but  you could do this in a regular Pyrex dish or other baking dish with sides.

4-5 pieces chicken breasts or thighs

1 small onion cut in rings

4 small sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks

rosemary

2 Tbsp Olive oil

salt and pepper

Toss the sweet potatoes in enough olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and place in the bottom of baking dish. Coat chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary and brush with olive oil and place over the sweet potatoes.  Place onion rings on top of the chicken and pour about 1/4 cup liquid (water or broth) over the chicken and cover.  Bake until the chicken is done in the center.  About 165 degrees F.  Here is a great guide from The Food Network.

Review: This was a simple dish with nice flavors, it sort of reminded me of Thanksgiving.  You could serve it with rice, dressing/stuffing, veg etc.

Dijon Salmon – Original Recipe from Trader Joes

 

dijon salmon

Paleo when following omitions, Gluten Free, 

Time:  15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (omit & increase olive oil for Paleo)
  • 2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 lb Silverbrite Salmon (frozen or defrosted)
  • 1 tbsp honey (use raw, unfiltered for paleo diets)
  • 1/8 cup water

Review: This recipe was right on the package from the salmon we bought in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s.  I love the frozen food there, if you want convenience, but still want fresh taste and to feel like you are eating at least fairly healthy food, this is the way to go.  I found a link online for you to use.

This was very quick and easy meal to make.  It would be a great one to make if you have just a little time to make dinner.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: If it is a crazy week filled with take out try to put the food on the table and eat it together at least once.  That little bit of time to connect makes a lasting difference.  If you do it or make any of the dinners from Bringing Back Dinner share it with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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Pinterest

Pinterest Meals: Potato & Cauliflower Pierogies, Swedish Meatballs, Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups, & Sweet Lemon Shrimp

orginal pinterest

Do you remember what pinning something to your board used to look like?  The picture above is my non-electronic board, still in use.  However, I have moved into the modern age and have a great time Pinning awesome ideas for meals, dreams,  DYI things, etc to my boards.  Pinterest is great, mostly!  It can suck you into it  and then hours will pass before you know it.  But, they are fun hours.

This week I thought I’d try some of those yummy Pinterest meals we all pin to our boards.  If you are like me you probably pin lots of great looking dishes to your boards, but never get around to making them.  So, this week I finally decided I would do it!   The verdict?  I’ll keep on pinning, but now I have incentive to try them since overall I really liked the results.  I found one pin that looked great in the photo, but I just couldn’t find a recipe that sounded like what I’d like the dish to be, so I used the picture as my inspiration and made a recipe to match.  The recipe can be found below.

I hope you enjoy this week’s recipes and please feel free to pin them to your boards, but remember to make them!

Note: One of my family members is doing the Whole30 plan which is a modified Paleo diet, so I am trying to make at least a few meals that are paleo/whole 30 acceptable.  There are 2 this week.  But for those not into Paleo, don’t worry they are still good recipes that we would all eat anyway, they just happen to work for paleo/whole30 as well.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 

The Meals:

 Meatless Monday: Healthy Cauliflower, Potato, & Cheddar Pierogies – from Healthy-Delicious.com

Periogies

Time:   30 minutes

Ease: moderate

Review:   I love perogies!  This is a great recipe and I like mixing the cauliflower in with potatoes, as sort of a undercover vegi. It is easier than completely trying to sneak in cauliflower by itself.   I used wonton wrappers as the dough rather than make them just because I had a lot of them on hand.  This works well and cuts down on the prep, but I recommend trying the dough recipe.

We are doing pretty well on our Meatless Mondays, but my fellas would have liked this with a little meat, sausages were suggested! Mmm, that does sound good.  Bacon? I served this with a big salad.

Swedish Meatballs – from The Chew

swedish meatballs

Time: 30-60 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  Well, it isn’t quite Ikea, but not bad and certainly closer and with fewer lines. This Swedish Meatball dish was easy to make, but we found the sauce to be a little plain, I feel like I didn’t use enough worcestershire sauce.  I recommend playing with proportions, especially the Worcestershire sauce and make sure you use a good hearty broth.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps – from Bringing Back Dinner

(Paleo/Whole30 acceptable)

buffalo chicken

Time:  30-45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Recipe:

1 pound ground chicken

½ cup chopped onion

1-2 cloves garlic

1 Bottle Franks Buffalo Sauce

Lettuce leaves (keep uncut to make small cups)

Blue Cheese and Ranch for toppings (optional)

Saute the onion until translucent, then add the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken and cook until done, no pink.  Once the chicken is done stir in about half of the Buffalo sauce and stir through until heated.  Scoop into lettuce leaves and serve. Optional, top with blue cheese crumbles before serving. Serve with celery and carrots with Ranch and Blue Cheese dressings

This was a win!  Everyone loved this dish (almost, one doesn’t like buffalo) and requested we make this again.  It was easy and quick.  The coolness of the lettuce was a great compliment to the heat from the buffalo sauce.

Sweet Lemon Shrimp – from DamnDelicious.net

(Paleo/Whole30 acceptable)

lemon shrimp pinterest

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: While this dish was simple and pretty tasty, We all felt like this dish was good, but probably not a keeper.  That said, everyone has different tastes and I recommend you give it a try, it could be your favorite dish.  It would be a great dish to throw together for unexpected company.  It is very quick and easy.

What do you think?

  • Do you have a favorite Pinterest dish You’d like to share?  Just copy the url and past into the comment area and tell us what you liked about it.
  • Do you try Bringing Back Dinner’s Meals?  I’d love to hear what you think of them.  Share your review with us here, on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Make your own “mystery box” like from the cooking shows.  Have each friend bring a mystery ingredient and then everyone brainstorm to create dinner using those ingredients.  If you do it share it on with us on  InstagramPinterest, Twitter, or Facebook  use #bringinbackdinner

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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What’s for Dinner? Taking it Old School – 5 Meals from the 1969 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

betterhomes

When I was 20 I was given some new cookbooks and I found that they had great ideas, but often said things like “open a jar and add….”  I wanted to actually cook, not open a jar, where were the recipes!  I remembered the great sweet and sour sauce that my mom made when my brother and I were kids, I could drink that stuff.  I wanted to make things like that. So I asked my mom and she said the recipe had com from the “Old Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook” and I went on a search.  It took a few years, but I finally found the 1969 version at an estate sale and snatched it!  I’ve been cooking ever since.   I gradually moved on to more modern cooking and I’m glad to say that the culture has changed again, moving away from pre-packaged foods to fresh ingredients and there are many wonderful cookbooks out there allowing for great “scrach-made” dishes and there are also wonderful cookbooks for using those jars and adding to it.  I’ve since discovered that there is a place for both.

On a side note, I have 2 moms; my mom and my stepmom.  They are both my mom and have been wonderful about accepting my love for each of them without being jealous, but encouraging my relationships.  What a blessing!  My stepmom mom is the one above, who ironically hates to cook.  Some of my favorite dishes as a kid came from her though and they came from cookbooks that made it simple and fast.  My first mom, on the other hand, loves to cook and is great at it!  So, my other favorite meals come from her.  Her dishes tend to be those down home, southern, comfort foods and I am thankful for them.  Because of her I am a proper southern girl possessing all of the appropriate gear: Cast iron skillet, deviled egg tray, and string of pearls!  Because of their joint efforts I am the woman I am today.  They are very different from one another and I have benefited greatly from this.  I love you moms!

This week’s recipes are all from the 1969 “Better Homes and Garden’s New Cookbook”. Better Homes and Gardens was founded in 1922 by Edwin Meredith, the former Secretary of Agriculture under Woodrow Wilson and continues to help make the lives of women more manageable with great recipes, home ideas, and tips. Check out Better Homes and Garden’s today at www.bhg.com.  Thank you BHG!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

 Note – I am trying to be careful of copyright laws and do not have permission to use the recipes directly from the book, so I have provided links found on the internet which are identical to the original recipes.  It is my understanding of the las that I may use a recipe if it is sufficiently adapted from the original, but that ingredient lists are not copyrighted. However, I didn’t want to make adaptations to the recipes as they were already simple and straightforward recipes.  Thank you.

The Meals:

 Meatless Monday: Speedy Chop Suey

I omitted the pork and added extra vegis to make this a nice vegetarian meal.

chop suey

Time:  25 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  When I was growing up my grandmother made chop suey a lot, but she always made biscuits with it.  I was grown before it occurred to me that the rest of the world didn’t eat biscuits with their chop suey.  Ah well, the rest of the world is missing out.   I think you will find this recipe to be easy to make, however it was a little bland.  I would suggest adding some extra seasonings.  The recipe calls for pork, but I used extra vegetables to make it meatless.  You can serve this with noodles or with rice.

Classic Chicken Divan

chicken Divan 2

Time: 30 Minutes (plus time to cook chicken. Try boiling, microwaving, or baking ahead of time)

Ease: Simple

Review:  In my second night of cooking through my 1969 Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook I am beginning to see the excitement that must have been held by the original owner of this book.  The dishes are explained in simple terms and really pretty convenient.  Dinner was ready in a flash!  This is a dish my mom made fairly often (first mom) and she called it Chicken Sofa. I’ll wait a minute while you finish snickering.  Another name for a sofa is…you got it, a divan, ergo Chicken Sofa. Ok, Chicken sofa, biscuits with chop suey, yeah I had an interesting childhood! I think you will enjoy this simple dish.

Tip: try adding cheese on top or mixed into the potatoes.

Meat Macaroni

Meat and Macaroni

Time: About an Hour

Ease: Simple

Review: I had to do one 1960’s classic recipe so here it is “Meat Macaroni”.  OK, so one thing Better Homes and Garden has improved upon is their titles for recipes. This was an interesting recipe and I couldn’t resist, I mean it has Spam!  That said, it wasn’t bad, as a matter of fact the recipe was pretty good, maybe minus the spam.  I think I’ll make it again and use kielbasa.  Like the other recipes it was amazingly easy.

Pork and Bean Bake

beans and porkchops

Time: 30

Ease: Simple           

Review: Yummy! I can really get into how quick and easy these dishes are, I wonder if Rachel Ray’s mom used them.  I think if you held all the ingredients in your hands at once to carry to the counter you’d think you were on a her show! Ok, just being silly.  I find myself doing the same thing, but now when I do I think of her.  The one down side to the recipes in this book is lots of canned foods, but that is pretty easy to fix with an easy white sauce and fresh or frozen vegetables.

This was this week’s family favorite!  The flavor on the pork chop was a kind of simple barbecue sauce flavor.  This is one to keep on hand when you just need to throw something together and it would be great picnic food or even company food.

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

Time: 30

Ease: Simple           

Review:  There are only a few ingredients in this recipe and the flavor, over all, was very nice.  The only thing I think I would change is the amount of butter.  The end result was a little too greasy and too much butter taste (shhhh, don’t tell Paula Deen I said that, I’d have to turn in my G.R.I.T. card.)  You could probably use half the amount of butter or use olive oil.  The next time I make it I will try just spraying the pan with olive oil and a quick spray to the chicken.  I served it with the awesome Sweet and Sour Sauce my mom used to make.

THE Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe  I love this recipe but we always omitted the green peppers and pimiento and often the paprika so that they don’t compete with the flavors of the things I’m going to serve it with.  I encourage you to try it both ways.

I hope you enjoy this step back in time!

We’d love to hear about your experience!

  • What cookbook did you grow up with?
  • What is your favorite cookbook now?

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Make it a Flashback Party

Ask your friends to each bring a vintage recipe from any time period you choose for a Flashback Party.  Everyone dress according to the time period and search for music and trivia from that era and have a blast from the past!

Next week: Picking Meals from Pinterest

 Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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What’s for Dinner? A Taste of Great Britain: Shepherds Pie, Moussaka, Curry, & Steak & Ale Pie

Look How Big I Am!It has been almost a year since we were in Great Britain and I am longing to go back.  I loved the people, the architecture, the history, I even enjoyed the rain (notice I didn’t say “love”) and we really loved the food.  We had been told that the food would be bland, but I completely disagree, we thought the food was wonderful and full of flavor and we felt connected at meal times! While we were there we had Italian food, pub food, sandwiches, pasties, you name it and enjoyed trying new flavors.  My husband even liked blood sausages, but I wasn’t so sure.  At least it wasn’t Marmite (yeecchhh)  I was told that you either love Marmite or hate it.  Yeah, I don’t love it.  It tastes like eating bouillon cubes (stock cubes) straight. yummm, but we tried it. If you love it, that’s ok.

 There are a few things that you can’t get here in the USA or they are hard to find; Pimms which is an alcoholic drink they love over there, lemonade which is fizzy and not as sweet as ours, a good pasty shop just to list a few. So for those things, I guess I’ll have to go back.  oh, and Primark and Marks & Spencer, and Pret a Manger and Yo Sushi.  and, and, and,  ok, ok, I have to go back! But you can make some of the wonderful things we tried.  This week’s meals are an attempt at recapturing some of the taste of Great Britain.  Enjoy!

You can read about our travels in three parts at www.neverthoughidblog.wordpress.com: Part 1 – Wales, Part 2 -Cambridge, Part 3 – London

This week includes recipes from Jamie Oliver, BBC Good Food, BBC Channel 4 and my own, Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and strengthen family relationships when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to set the table.

The Meals:

 Meatless Monday: Veg Moussaka – Jamie Oliver

moussaka

Time: 2 hours

Ease: moderately difficult

Review:  This recipe is great, but a lot of work and a solid 2 hours of your time.  That said, it was very good, even with eggplant, which I am not a fan of.  I have no hesitancy giving this recipe a positive review, I think you’ll enjoy it and the meat eaters may not even notice it’s missing.  Just keep in mind it takes a good 2 hours and probably 2 ½ until it is on the table, but worth the time.

Shepherds Pie  – BBC Good Food

shepherds pie

Time:  1 hour 15 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This is really a very simple dish and it is comforting and filling.  My family likes things a little spiced up so I added rosemary, thyme, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  The result? Plates licked clean!  This is a great Sunday night, meat and potatoes dinner.

Tip: try adding cheese on top or mixed into the potatoes.

Steak and Ale Pie – BBC Channel 4

steak and ale pie

Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Ease: Moderate

Review: This recipe was pretty straight forward with easy instructions, I found that I had too much liquid and had to reduce it until it looked to be the right consistency, which added another 10 minutes.  Other than the issue with the liquid this was a great dish and another comfort food kind of flavor. I liked having puff pastry as the crust rather than pie crust, it added dimension to it. My husband thought this was a wonderful meal and informed me that we could most definitely have it again!  OK-I’m all about happy tummys and hubbys!

Curried Chicken

curried chicken

  •  6 Chicken thighs
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Corriander
  • 2 Tbsp curry (may adjust per taste)
  • 1 can plum tomatoes chopped
  • Rice

Sauté onion until it starts to caramelize, add garlic and cook about 30 seconds, add spices and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds to a minute), add sugar and vinegar and stir through.  Next add tomatoes and heat through then pour over chicken in a deep baking dish and bake until chicken is done, an internal temperature of 165-175. Serve with rice.

Note: for richer flavor try searing chicken in a hot pan before baking, but this dish works well without it.

Time: 35 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  I was in the mood for some of the great flavors that come with curry, but couldn’t decide what to make and improvised taking bits and pieces from different recipes and then throwing in spices I thought sounded nice.  That means this is not a proper curry, but I think that it turned out nicely and my family loved it.  The leftover chicken made a great chicken salad the next day.  I hope you enjoy it.

Chicken, Spinach, Alfredo Pizza (ok, this one isn’t British)

chicken alfredo

There were a few things that I just couldn’t enjoy in England; pizza and coffee!  Stick to pasties and tea and you’ll be fine.  Friday night I just wanted a quick meal, so I left my theme and pizza it was.

Time: 30

Ease: Simple           

Review:  I know I’m always telling you to “make it from scratch”, but let’s be real, we all just need something quick and easy sometimes so here it is, one of my Friday night, hanging in front of the TV easy meals! Go ahead, you have my permission.

  • 1 pizza dough. I use the dough made from the grocery stores that serve pizza, they will often store it in the freezer case or the deli case, or you can make your favorite recipe. (if your are from North Carolina Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods carry it)
  • Frozen, grilled chicken pieces, leftover chicken or chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
  • ¼ Red onion cut in rings or enough to evenly lay across the pizza
  • ¼ cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze the liquid out
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil and garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the dough to make one pizza, top with several large scoops of sauce up to 1 inch from the edge, then place a layer of chicken nearly covering the sauce.  Grab spinach in pinches and place throughout the pizza and top with red onion rings.  Cover with cheese.  Brush olive oil around the edges of the crust and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Bake until golden brown on top and crust is browned on the bottom, about 20 minutes.

What are your favorite foods from around the world? scroll to the bottom to reply!

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Bring a little history and trivia to dinner

When planning out this week’s meals try looking up trivia about England and talk about it over dinner or ask each person to find one interesting thing about England that they would like to share, this gives everyone the chance to participate.

Next week: Going Old School; 5 meals from the 1969 Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook

 Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.

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What’s for Dinner? Potato Soup, Beef Tamale Bake, Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Braised Chicken Thighs plus some bonus sweets

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sticky lemon cakeLife is short, eat dessert first, or so they say and I am tempted to agree now that I’ve found this yummy recipe.  I’m starting this week’s post with this  “Sticky Lemon Cake”,  It is heavenly, sticky, rich…..mmmm.  I found the recipe in a mystery book I read called “Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea” by Nancy Atherton.  I love the books, but find that when you say , “yeah, I got the recipe from my murder mystery I’m readying” everyone acts just a little suspicious!  The genre is called cozy mystery, in addition to the dessert I highly recommend the Aunt Dimity series.

This week includes recipes from Williams and Sonoma, Pampered Chef, America’s Test Kitchen and my own, Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan 4-5 meals (or pick some meals from here, that’s what this is here for.  I’ll pick so you don’t have to)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip (My British friends will need to make several trips)

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy.  Remember that there is such an opportunity to build friendships and family when gathered around a meal.  Even if you mess it all up.  So, just relax, experiment, and have fun.  Don’t forget to include your friends.

The Meals:

Potato Soup: Meatless Monday

potato soupTime: 30-45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Potato soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods.  I love it when I’m sick, when I’m cold or just because.  I like to play around with recipes, but this week I just made a basic potato soup.  Feel free to adapt.  Try curry, chimichurri, pesto.  You make it something new every time.

5-6 medium sized potatoes cut into uneven cubes about an inch in size

Chicken or vegetable broth (enough to cover cut potatoes)

½ cup diced onion or 1-2 leeks, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup milk

1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter

Optional: celery, carrots, pesto, bacon, sour cream, cheese, poultry seasoning.

Melt the butter together with olive oil and add onions or leeks and any other vegetables and cook until translucent. Add any special spices and cook about 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add peeled and cut potatoes to pot and cover with broth and bring to a boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender then reduce heat and add milk and salt and pepper.  If you don’t puree the soup t add sour cream and cheese, if using, at this point. Cook until cheese is melted and serve.

In my house we have people who like it chunky and people like it smooth so we compromise.  I pull out half of the soup before adding cheese and blend until smooth (caution, do not overfill blender to avoid burns) then return it to the chunky soup left in the pot.  Everyone is happy or at least half happy!

 Braised Chicken Thighs and Potatoes (pressure cooker)

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Pressure Cooker Perfection – You can pick up a copy at Amazon.com

pressure cooker chickenTime: 1 Hour

Ease: Simple

Review: This is a very simple dish and can be adapted for the stove top.  The flavors are that of comfort food and the Tarragon adds a nice flavor.  If you have never tried tarragon, this is a great dish to have your first time with.  Remember to experiment with spices, you may be surprised at the flavors that you find.

8 (5-7 oz) bone in chicken thighs, trimmed

1 Tbs vegetable oil

1 onion , chopped finely

3 garlic cloves

2 Tbs flour

½ cup dry white wine

¾ cup low sodium chicken broth

2 pounds small red potatoes, halved

1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon

Brown the chicken, skin on in the pressure cooker until golden brown (or in frying pan) then remove the skin.  Reserve 1 Tbsp of fat in pressure cooker (or pan) and sauté the onion until translucent then add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour until combined and stir in wine getting rid of any lumps, reduce slightly.  Add broth then add the chicken.  Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes with quick release.  You may also cook on medium high heat on the stove until chicken is cooked through.

Beef Tamale Bake – Pampered Chef

Beef Tamale Bake

Time: 45 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: I love pampered chef recipes and products. I’m not a rep, but just love the stuff!  One of the reasons I like the recipes is that they often give the illusion that I have slaved away in the kitchen to make some elegant dish, when if fact, I didn’t.  I love cooking, but not for the sake of cooking.  I love cooking because of how it makes people feel, so no need to be a gourmet chef, but it is ok if everyone thinks I am! Pampered Chef recipes are quick, easy and often beautiful dishes.  While this dish isn’t as much on the elegant side it is still quick and easy. It has great flavor, but watch the liquid to cornbread ratio, it can feel a little dry if not careful.

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Sauce

pork tenderloin 2

Time: 1 ½ hours

Ease: Simple

Review:  Easy and wonderful.  We made this for family who had come into town and everyone was pleased.  After the 11 ½ hour trip they said it was worth the drive!  Well, maybe no true, but I think you will find this to be a great dish to make for company or your family.  My Pork loins were not very big so when I sliced it, it didn’t make nice spirals and was a little messy.  No one cared or knew that I didn’t mean for it to look the way I served it.  That is usually the case, so relax and act like you meant to do it!

Baked Potato and Salad Bar

potao bar

Time: 1 Hour (depending on method of cooking potatoes)

Ease: Simple

Review:  We do this every so often, and you have seen it before, but I post it as a reminder that dinner can be simple and still be fun.  Set up a buffet of salad toppings and potato toppings and let everyone make their own.  It is fun to see what some people come up with.  You will have the butter and salt and pepper people and then the Dagwood Sandwich type potato.  Try things like raisins, nuts, cheese sauce, salsa, horseradish, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, edamame, chickpeas, bacon, shredded cheese etc.  Check out some ideas from The Yummy Life and have fun.

Bonus recipe: Emeril’s German Apple Pancake

german apple pancake

Time: 45 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  yum, yum yum!  I made this for our guest this weekend and it was a big hit.  It is really pretty easy and gives you something to move beyond the plain pancake.

  • Do you have a recipe from a favorite book you’d like to share? If so, Scroll down to comment.
  • How do you like your potato soup? Scroll down to comment.

Bringing Back Dinner Tip: Tea Sandwiches and Hors d’oeuvres for Dinner

Everyone likes little things (well not always the guys, but they can adjust).  Try making dinner one night using salad plates and have a variety of tea sandwiches available, things like chicken salad, egg salad, ham, cucumber and add in some bite sized desserts and/or scones with jam and clotted cream. Visit BBC Good Food for some ideas.

If you aren’t  into the tea sandwich thing try heavy hors d’eovres such as mini roast beef sandwiches, little quiches, meatballs, mini beef wellingtons.  Visit Martha Stewart online for some ideas. Dinner doesn’t have to be a meat, potato, and vegetable.   Play with your food!

Photos by lwburbach please feel free to contact me for permission to use photos.
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