Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sunday Dinner -- Cold weather favorites

It's going to be warm in the Midwest today but cool weather is just around the corner. I had to blink a couple of times when I saw our end-of-the-week forecast. It's almost sweater time! Here are a few of my favorite meals for cooler weather.

Most of these recipes came from friends and they are made often in the Winter. I make a "hearty" meal like these two or three times a week and I serve soup for dinner at least twice. Since we usually have cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, I'll also serve breakfast-for-dinner once in awhile.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 to 1 stick butter
Paprika and/or Lawry's seasoned salt

Mix together and set aside.

1 lb. or more Hamburger (according to how many you have to feed)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon fennel
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or simply basil, oregano, etc.)
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

4 - 6 buns to serve three or four people. Recipe can very easily be increased.

Brown meat. Add onion, tomato sauce, ketchup, parm. cheese, and sices. Cook approx. 20 minutes. Brush buns with the garlic butter mix. Spoon meat onto buns. Sprinkle with cheese. Wrap each bun with foil. (They can be frozen at this point and baked later.) If you want to make ahead to serve later that day, just be sure to spread garlic butter mix on both buns to keep them from getting soggy.

If not frozen, heat 15 min. in 350 degree oven.

Peek-A-Boo Stew
(former called No Peek Stew but young daughter changed it)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1 - 2 pounds of round steak, cut into cubes (or buy stew meat)
3 - 4 potatoes sliced (I wash them and leave the skin on for nutrients)
3 - 4 sliced carrots
2 sliced celery stocks
1 - 2 sliced onions
Tomato juice to cover (I often use a large can of Italian style tomatoes instead)
2 - 3 Tablespoons Minute Tapioca (original recipe called for this but I rarely have it in the pantry)

Oil or butter a 9 x 13 dish. Layer the ingredients in order given, starting with the meat. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 2 - 3 hours. After two hours, I usually turn the oven down to 300 if I'm keeping it in a full three hours. I have also baked this for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

Chicken Pot Pie

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cooked chicken, shredded
1 large package of frozen mixed vegetables
1 - 2 potatoes, cooked and sliced (this was not in the original recipe but I always add them)
1 small can chicken broth (or one pint homemade chicken broth)
Flour, butter, salt, ground coriander, garlic powder, onion powder
1 pie crust, homemade or Pillsbury

Defrost vegetables completely (I leave in frig all day) or cook them, drain any water completely. Make a roux with butter, flour, spices and broth by melting butter, stir in flour and spices, when they thicken, add broth and whisk until lumps are gone.

It's hard to know exact measurements but I'll guess at 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon salt if using unsalted broth (don't add any salt at this time if using salted broth), 1 teaspoon garlic powder and one teaspoon onion powder. After you make it the first time, you can adjust ingredients. I actually use slightly more coriander because I like the taste. It was in the original recipe.

In deep pie pan or 9" deep cake pan (I have also used a round casserole dish), layer chicken, then cooked potatoes (they must be cooked ahead or they won't be done by baking time), and the vegetables. Press down if they are too near the top. Pour liquid mixture over these ingredients. Place pie crust on top and press edge onto side of cooking pan to keep it from shrinking. Poke top a few times with sharp knife to let out steam when baking.

Bake 45 minutes to one hour. Watch that crust does not get burned. Let set a little before serving to cool (about ten to fifteen minutes). There are never any leftovers when I make this.

Chicken Chimichanga

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

2 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (approx.)
1/2 cup taco sauce
1/2 cup chopped onions (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 flour tortillas
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Combine chicken, taco sauce, onion and salt. Simmer five minutes.

Brush one side of tortilla with butter. Spoon about 1/8th meat mixture onto unbuttered side. Roll up after putting cheese on mixture. Plate seam side down in 9 x 13 dish (well greased)

Bake 10 to 13 minutes. Serve with sides you would use for taco dishes.

Yes, your hands will get messy putting this together but it's a delicious dish. You can add other items like green chilis, too. This was given to me by a former pastor's wife who took it to pot lucks.

Chicken Tacos

3 pounds chicken or turkey, cooked and shredded*
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons onion owder
1 package taco seasoning
1 1/2 cups broth (water can be used but it's not as tasty)
Taco shells
Cheese, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, taco sauce

Combine meat, salt, onion powder, taco seasoning together. Then add the broth. Simmer about half an hour.

Serve in taco shells with cheese and veggies to taste.

*My friend who gave this recipe to me is married to a Hispanic man and had a big family. She would simmer a whole chicken to use for this recipe. When turkeys are inexpensive, she'd simmer a turkey in her stock pot instead. It's also a good way to use up extra turkey already baked.

Chicken Enchiladas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 whole chicken, cooked (or 4 chicken breasts, cooked) and meat shredded
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 small jar taco sauce
10 - 13 flour tortillas
12 oz. package shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, jack, whatever you like)

Combine cooked chicken, soup, sour cream and taco sauce in a pan. Heat until warm, blend well.

The original recipe calls for quick frying shells to make them hot and soft, drain. I have used them without cooking but quick frying does gives a better taste and texture. It just takes more time and has more fat. It's worth it once in awhile, though.

Fille middle of each tortilla with mixture, roll up.

Place seam side down in a 9 x 13 dish. Pour remaining sauce over them. Top with cheese. Bake until heatd through and cheese is melted. (I'd say 15 to 20 minutes)

This is another recipe given to me by a friend who took it to pot lucks we attended.

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