Nothing says happiness like sloppy joes . . . mummm!!!!

Sloppy Joes are pure happiness to me.  However I have never enjoyed them in  any form other than out of a can.  Even that way ,it is one of my most favorite meals.  Tonight I strayed from the can and made my own- I think it has become my new favorite!

Try it . . . you won't be disappointed

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
1/4 cup minced green pepper
1 clove of garlic 
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (yup the cheap stuff, that only kids love)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup bbq sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar

hamburger buns

In a skillet over medium heat,  brown beef, onion, and green pepper
Grate in the clove of garlic
Once meat is brown mix in brown sugar, yellow mustard, ketchup, and bbq sauce
Let simmer for 15 minutes
Scoop on bun and enjoy!!!

makes 4 sandwiches


Chicken Vesuvio

Chicago is known for so many wonderful culinary creations.  One of them being chicken vesuvio.   I love making this dish because it is such a versatile dish and you can easily use all parts of the chicken.  Tonight I used a whole chicken that I cut up in to pieces.  But you can just as easily use breasts, thighs, drumsticks- honestly, any combination will do.  The other great thing about this meal is the prep is easy and it roasts in your oven for over an hour, making your home smell delicious!!!!

The inspiration  for this dish came from this posting on the Proud Italian Cook website.  

Chicken Vesuvio meets Connecticut

olive oil
1 whole bone in chicken
6 russet potatoes
12 cloves of garlic
2 lemons juiced and shells saved for roasting
Rosemary (fresh) 2 sprigs
2 Tablespoons oregano
4 Tablespoons fresh parsley
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken stock
couple handfuls of frozen peas

1. Cut up chicken and heat oven to 375 degrees F
2. In a heavy cast iron pot heat olive oil
3. Add chicken and potatoes and brown (about 10 minutes)
4. Toss in garlic, oregano, rosemary,  2 Tablespoons parsley, salt, pepper and continue to brown (about another 5 minutes)
5. Transfer lemon shells, chicken, potatoes, garlic, and herbs to roasting pan
6. Deglaze your pan with wine, lemon juice, and chicken broth- making sure to scrap up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot (mummm) and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes

7. Transfer mixture to roasting pan and place in oven for 1 hour
8. Add a few handful of peas to pan and continue to cook for another 15 minutes
9. Sprinkle reserved parsley over dish and serve

*** my sous chefs enjoyed helping prepare tonights meal***


Mummm Doughnuts

I was watching food network and stumbled across Paula Deen making doughnuts out of refrigerator biscuits, and I was amazed.  They looked so easy and I knew that at some point I had to try them.  Sadly, they were so easy and fantastic I had to make them twice this week!  I thought you might like to try them too.

inspired by Paula Deen

****requires a deep fryer or a large cast iron pot and thermometer****

1 can large buttermilk refrigerator biscuits
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla 
4 cups powdered sugar

1. Heat your deep fryer to 350 degrees F with peanut oil.  Likewise you can pour oil in a large cast iron pot and monitor the temp with a candy thermometer.
2. While the fryer is heating open can of biscuits and make a small hole in the center, you could poke through with your pinky or you could use a thimble sized cookie cutter.

3. Place 4 at a time in deep fryer and flip after two minutes so both sides get golden brown.
4. Remove from fryer and let oil drain on rack.
5. Continue with remaining doughnuts and centers too!


1. Use two pots to make glaze, one for vanilla and one for chocolate.
2. In each pot add half of the cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  To the chocolate glaze add the cocoa powder.  Mix both glazes well over a low heat until combined and warm. If needed, add another teaspoon of cream to make a glaze consistency.
3. Dip one side of doughnut in glaze and place back on rack, glaze side up, till set, about 5 minutes.



Irish Soda Bread

This Irish soda bread is easy to make and tastes great with some butter and fresh chives!  Enjoy . . . 

6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
4 cups of buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 box of raisins (about 4 cups)

***recipe makes 8 mini loaves, 2 9x5 loaves, or any combination of both***

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease pans.

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.  Next add egg and buttermilk to bowl and mix until just moistened.  Stir in butter and raisins.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the bread comes out clean.  Cool on rack.  Wrap in foil for several hours for best flavor.


Never fail creamed spinach

The picture I have of the never fail creamed spinach is mid prep- as soon as it hit the table it was gone!  My two year old ate most of it:)  Don't let it discourage you from trying it though, you will not be disappointed!  The best part of this recipe is that you can make it earlier in the day and reheat it on the stove just before dinner.  The original recipe can be found here . . . 


2 heads of garlic, top end cut off
olive oil
2 large onions
2 (10 ounce) boxes frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
8 oz veggie broth
8 oz white wine
6 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon juiced
1 lemon zested
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap aluminum foil around the garlic to form a tight package.  Roast for 45 minutes.   Be prepared for your house to smell fabulous! 

In a nonstick pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium hear.  Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add spinach and saute for one minute more.  Add veggie broth and wine, continue to simmer for one more minute. Pour mixture into a food processor, and squeeze the garlic cloves from the head of the roasted garlic.  Add all remaining ingredients.  Pulse till creamy.  Serve warm.


Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

1 cup warm water
1 package of yeast
3/4 cup very very very fine ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup of oil
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 pounds loose sweet italian sausage

thick slices of mozzarella cheese (my pan takes 10 or so)

28 oz can of drained whole tomatoes
red wine
parmesan cheese

Place the fine ground cornmeal in warm water (I use the bowl in my stand mixer, since you will need it to complete the dough). To the cornmeal mixture, add yeast, salt, sugar, oil, and melted butter- whisk in stand mixer for a COMPLETE 10 minutes.

Change whisk attachment to the dough hook and add one cup of flour. Continue to add 1/2 cup of flour at a time till dough has formed a ball and no longer sticks to your hands.  You might need more flour or you might find that you don't use all of it.

Once the ball is formed, transfer to the counter and kneed by hand for 5 minutes

Oil a bowl and place dough in bowl covered with plastic wrap and a towel on top.  Since we keep our house cold I always let dough rise in the oven with the light on.  Let dough rise till doubled

Butter pan (you can use a deep dish pie pan or any oven safe pan) well and preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Make sure you use an oven thermometer cause the temp needs to be exact.

Once dough has risen, roll out dough on the counter to 1/4 inch thickness and wrap around your rolling pin as if you were making a pie crust.  Lay over your pan and slowly push the dough down the sides of the pan.  Trim off extra crust- as to much crust will make your pizza heavy and cave in.  Let dough sit in the pan for 30 minutes to rest and then brush crust with more butter.

While the dough is resting you can make your pizza sauce.  Crush the drained whole tomatoes by hand in a separate bowl till you get chunks and little liquid, pour in a little wine, stir in some oregano and basil and salt to your liking.  Taste as you go.

Time to assemble . . .  place the slices of cheese in the pan as the first layer on bottom.  

Place sausage in next, cover cheese completely.  You need to work the sausage to make one giant sausage patty.

Place tomato mixture on top of sausage and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese.

Bake for 475 for 15 minutes and then lower temp to 400, cook till done about 25 minutes more!  



In the States Hamantashen is a traditional Purim treat.  Some believe that they are cookies that are representative of Haman's Hat and some believe they are representative of Haman's ears. Either way they are delicious and a great way to celebrate Purim with children or just have an excuse for these yummy cookies!

Ingredients . . . . 
1.5 cups of room temp butter
3/4 cup of sugar
2 room temp eggs
6 tablespoons OJ
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
4.5 cups of AP flour

Filling can be made of . . . . 
jams, jellies, pie fillings of your choice- anything goes to fill these guys.  I made a bunch of prune filled ones to satisfy my FIL's craving and lemon curd ones for my personal taste.  I also finished up some open jams in the fridge 

1. Cream together butter and sugar until creamy in a stand mixer.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then mix in rest of wet ingredients.  Add baking powder and flour slowly till dough forms.  Chill dough in fridge 6-8 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Break off pieces of dough and warm in your hands, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick using a rolling pin and use a large drinking glass to cut out circles.  Continue doing this till you have no more dough- I get 40 circles out of this recipe.

3. Place a teaspoon of your filling in the center of your circle.  IMPORTANT- do not pinch like your Bubbie pinches you!!!!!  Fold the sides over to make a triangle and seal edges.  Ahhh Ahhh Ahhh no pinching!!!!!!

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, till bottoms have started to brown.  These are cookies that should be underbaked!