What’s for Dinner? Sloppy Joes, Quinoa Enchilada Bake, & Chicken Parmesan Soup

valentines dayI hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!  Here in Greensboro we had a crazy snow of , wait for it…around 7 or 8 inches!  I know, all you mid westerners are laughing at us, but the whole city screeched to a stop and it was beautiful.  You would think this would mean I cooked more, but no.  I planned my meals as usual (5 of them) and then it snowed!  By Valentine’s Day we were all ready to get out a little and as a result I made three of the meals I had planned and then we ate out and had frozen pizza.  Even though things didn’t go as I planned it was still a successful week.  Remember the point isn’t just getting everyone fed, it is to enjoy each other’ company, to talk, to listen and just be!

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:

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake – Twopeasandtheirpod.comquinoa enchilada

Meatless Monday

Time: About 45 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: Try this, try this, try this.  Maybe you are not so sure about this quinoa stuff, maybe it seems to exotic-not to worry.  It easy to cook with and wonderful.  We loved this dish, it was full of flavor, easy to make, and felt fresh and clean!  I think it will become one of your family favorites.  It would be a great dish to make for a covered dish or for company.

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup – Nature Box
chicken soup

Time:  4 hours in crockpot or 45 minutes on the stovetop

Ease: Simple

Review: Sometimes I look at a recipe and think “really? There isn’t much to this, is it going to work?” and sometimes I’m right, but I’m glad to say that this recipe proved me wrong.  It is very basic and really very good.  The next day everyone wanted the leftovers to take to work, I thought we’d have a brawl in the kitchen.  Worse, there weren’t any leftovers! Everyone just thought there were. (I am not a member of Nature Box, but found the recipe online)

This isn’t spaghetti like or even tomato soup like, it has it’s own flavors.  It is filling and simple.  You could make this on the stove top if you don’t have a slow cooker.

Sloppy Joes – Ellie Krieger, the Food Network
sloppy joe

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: I am a firm believer in making things from scratch!  It is a great way to cut down on the sodium and preservatives that are in pre-packeged meals and once you start you will realize that it really doesn’t take much more, if any more time and you get the added bonus of knowing that you have made a meal that is better for your family or friends and maybe they will even think you are amazing in the kitchen.  Plus, you can’t beat the taste.

I have review this recipe by Ellie Krieger before, it is a staple in our home.  That said it is worth bringing back around.  Don’t be afraid, it is almost as easy as opening a can, but the flavor is so much better.  Note: our family prefers it without the beans.  You can try it both ways and see what everyone thinks.

Table 16, Downtown Greensboro NC

Valentine’s Day my wonderful man took me to Table 16 in Greensboro, NC.  It is wonderful.  I am most impressed by the complexity of the dishes,  yet nothing seems to get lost or is over worked.  You can taste each spice and they complement each other well.  We’ve been twice and are still impressed.  The service was great and they have a nice wine list.  If in Greensboro I suggest you give it a try.  Table 16 is located downtown, so allow extra time to walk around and take in the sites!


Photos by lwburbach. Feel free to use photos, but please link back to this blog.- Thank you.

Beans and Rice, Spoonbread, and Brunswick Stew – Southern Comfort Food

beans soakingOne of the things I love about being a southern girl is the food.  Foods that make you feel warm and content, foods you can linger over and foods you can share.  I’m sure this is true of every region, but a girl has to stay true to her roots. Besides, if it weren’t “all that” Country music would loose half their songs, you know precious odes to fried chicken, collard greens (well, I loose points here, ewww) and that precious amber colored liquid gold in a glass- sweet tea!  I think Country music is onto something here.

Even if you don’t like sweet tea (I really can’t understand this,but…) I think you’ll like this week’s menu filled with what we call “stick to your rib” food.  As the weather gets colder and the days shorter there is something oh so comforting in a nice bowl of stew or beans.  Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan (or pick some meals from here)

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

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy

The Meals:

red beans and riceRed Beans and Rice Louisana Style:  Nola.com  Chef: Judy Walker adapted from Pableaux Johnson’s Monday Night Red Beans.

Time: 1 1/2-2 hours plus soaking time.  If you are short on time try using low sodium rinsed canned beans and cook 30 minutes for flavors to blend.

Ease: Moderate – not rated simple because of the steps involved, but is definitely doable.

Review:  I have had red beans and rice my whole life and like it any way I can get it.  I enjoyed this version of this, but the greatest praise came from my husband, who lived in New Orleans for a while.  He said it was the best beans and rice he thought he’d ever had and that it was Louisiana worthy.  My husband tells me that there are no bad restaurants in New Orleans, just some not as great as others.

Tips & Adaptations: The andouille sausage is pretty hot, if you have heat sensitive people at your table try serving on the side, but still cook your onions in the grease from the sausage.  I have fans of parsley and green onions and dislikers as well; if you do, just serve those on the side too.  I didn’t have Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning and used Emeril’s.

spoon breadSpoon Bread

This is not a main dish menu item, but needs to go with the beans.  I especially like the leftovers for breakfast, hot and dripping with butter. Butter is a must for this dish, Paula Deen herself would approve.

sloppy joeSloppy Joe’s:  The Food Network   Chef: Ellie Krieger                                                (from the Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a healthy life)

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:   I can’t rave enough about this dish or this cookbook.  Though the recipes above may not show it, I enjoy trying to make meals more healthy, but full of flavor and  Ellie Krieger excels at this! I have never been a fan of the packets or cans for sloppy Joe and therefore thought I didn’t like sloppy Joe, but this changed my mind.  It is quick, simple, and tastes great.  It will become a go-to meal for you. We do not put the beans in it, but that is a personal preference.

brunswick stewBrunswick Stew: Lynchburg Eats

Time: 2 1/2 hours or 6-8 in crockpot.  I suggest making this on the weekend and re-heating for a quick meal during the week.

Ease: Simple, don’t let this one fool you.  It looks to easy and too plain, but is packed with flavor.

Review: When I was growing up it was common to find Brunswick stew at festivals in town and always cooked all day long in a big giant cast iron cauldron.  MMMMM, so good.  There seemed to be an unspoken agreement between the stew and the weather and it always drizzled and was just shy of cold.  Perfect!  This recipe is pretty darn close to those traditional stews.  This is a great rainy day, sleepy Sunday night dinner.

Tips: Take the time to get those family recipes written down before it is too late!  This is a prime example of not doing so.  My grandmother made this in huge batches each year and put it in small containers in the deep freeze where we could then enjoy it all winter long.  However…no one ever got the recipe.  She once told me her secret was V-8 juice, so I added part broth and part V-8 juice and felt the results were nice.  In regards to the meat, Brunswick stew was originally made with squirrel, but I’m not going out to snag or bag any squirrels any time soon,like ever, nor do I expect you to.  Use any meat you have or desire.  I used a pork tenderloin that I had in the freezer, it had been roasted first, then I cut into the desired bite size.  We were very pleased with the pork.  Be creative and use any meat you’d like even squirrel, if that’s your thing.

fiesta tortillas

Sweet BBQ Chicken Tortillas : Adapted from Great American Cookbook – 1994

Time: 30-45 minutes  I will often cook the chicken in the microwave and use Pampered Chefs stoneware covered baker. The chicken is ready for the recipe in 6-10 minutes.  Microwaving it cuts the time closer to 20 minutes.  The stoneware keeps it from being too dry.

Ease: Simple

Review: I first discovered this recipe in 1994 and have made a few adjustments over the years.  This adaptation is my family’s favorite.  This is a great recipe to make when you are in a hurry or just need to throw something together, maybe unexpected company.

sweet potato & RavioliRavioli with Sage Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Caramelized Shallots

Time: 1 hour (prep & cooking combined)

Ease: Simple

Review: I searched the internet for a dish like this and couldn’t find what I was looking for so, this is what I ended up with.  If you can’t find it, make it. I was pleased with the results, the blend of the flavor of the shallots with the sweet potatoes was pleasant.  There were no leftovers.   I encourage you to experiment, you may surprise yourself.

snaps new potsFinally, To make sure you have had the full southern experience I have added snaps and new potatoes.  Snaps is what we call southern style green beans and let me be perfectly clear here,  Snaps are not meant to squeak against your teeth, they should be mushy and overcooked and have fatback, bacon or Streak o’ lean in it.   Now green beans may be steamed, roasted, grilled or squeaky, just don’t call ’em snaps.

I recently asked the butcher for fatback and he just looked at me and said “what??”, oh, Lordy mercy what has the south come to.  If this happens to you pick an extra fatty piece of bacon, it’ll work just fine. Below are a few recipes to choose from.

Green Beans with New Potatoes: Paula Deen

Southern Style Green Beans: Emeril Lagasse

White Trash Cooking Green Beans & New Potatoes: Insightful Nana

Southern Style Green Beans: Deep South Dish

Ya’ll come back now (naaooah), ya hear (heaa).

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones I Have created.  Thank you.