Philly Cheese Quesadilla

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Like a lot of people I love a really good Philly Cheese-steak sandwich and have a favorite place to get one. I also like to cook and come up with new recipes and share those with people.  So this weekend I was looking though the fridge to see what I had and my “mad scientist” brain kicked into effect. I wanted a cheese-steak but didn’t want all of the bread. I started pulling stuff out of the fridge and setting in on the counter to see what I could come up with and so the Philly cheese-steak quesadilla was born. Here is what I did.

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Ingredients

1 lb 93% fat free ground beef
4 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 chopped jalapeno
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 to 4oz of fat free shredded cheddar
1 pack of small flour tortillas

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Cooking

Start browning the ground beef over medium high heat and when it gets mostly brown (not quite all of the way) add in the onions and peppers and continue to cook until the beef gets brown and the onions and peppers soften up. Now reduce the heat to low add in the seasonings (salt, pepper and garlic powder) and stir together and simmer for a couple more minutes.
Once that is done remove the mixture from the pan and put it into a bowl. Now add both cheeses and stir together into a thick paste.

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Take one of the tortillas and spread the paste out on top covering it in a nice even layer to about a 1/4″ from the ends. Then place another tortilla on top.
You will want to have a pan heated to medium high heat ready to cook these. You can use the same one you cooked the meat in or a different one, its up to you. Place the quesadilla in the pan and let it brown (about 30 to 40 seconds. Press it with a spatula to get a nice even browning. Now carefully flip it over and do the other side. You will notice that the mixture inside will start to ooze slightly. This is a good and yummy thing. Once that other side has browned remove it from the pan and place on a plate and cut in half. You can repeat this process as many times as you need to feed everyone, or at least until you run out of tortillas.

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All that is left now is to sit back and enjoy. This is a relatively low fat enjoyable little meal. I hope you all like it.

Thanks for reading
JMW

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Meatball Sub Casserole

Like most people, I love a good meatball sub. Little balls of yummy goodness covered in marinara and melted cheese on a warm sub roll. MMMM… It doesn’t get much better than that. Sometimes you toast them, sometimes you steam them. It really depends on which part of the county you are from. Whichever you prefer nothing beats this sandwich when you have a craving for zesty goodness. This time around we are going to back them. Yes, I said bake them, and in a casserole no less. This is a great recipe for a family that doesn’t want to go to the trouble of making a bunch of individual subs for everyone. Now you can make one big one and cut it up for everyone to enjoy.

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Here’s how you do it.

What you need

1lb lean ground beef

1lb hot Italian sausage

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 small white onion (half finely chopped, half sliced)

1 small bell pepper (thinly sliced)

2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp granulated garlic

1 cup grated Parmesan

2 tbsp crushed red pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

2 Pillsbury french bread tubes

8 oz fresh mozzarella  (the little balls packed in water work great)

1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce ( I used Rao’s Marinara)

Prep and cooking.

This recipe is a little involved but the results are pretty amazing.

Note. You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them to use later.

Making the meatballs

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Thoroughly mix the ground beef, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, eggs, chopped onions, salt, pepper and garlic together in a large mixing bowl. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with non stick cooking spray. This will help the meatballs not stick to the baking sheet. Now roll out the meatballs into small little balls about an inch and half around. You don’t want them too big because it is harder to get them cooked through properly, but you don’t want them too small either or they dry out easily. Once you have all of the mixture rolled out into little meatballs place them in a preheated (to 35o degrees) oven and bake for 20 minutes. You want them to start getting nice and brown on top.

Garlic Onions and Peppers

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While the meatballs are baking you can prep the onions, peppers and garlic. You want to saute them using the olive oil in a medium size pan over medium high heat. Saute them until the onions start to turn translucent. Set aside.

Assembling the casserole.

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Coat a large casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Unroll one of the tubes of french bread and line the bottom of the dish. you want to cover the entire bottom. Now start placing the meatballs in a single layer on top of the bread. You can put them as close together as you like. Its really up to you how many you want in it. Next start placing the mozzarella in between the meatballs. You want to make sure you get them nice and evenly spaced throughout the meatballs so when they melt every bite will have some. Next you want to take the onions, peppers and garlic and spread it out evenly on top of the meatballs and mozzarella. Once that is done pour out the entire jar of marinara sauce and cover everything. Now take half of the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly on top. Once that is all put together it is time to add the top layer of bread, roll out the second french bread and cover the top completely. For the final touch sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese and the red pepper flakes on top and cover with aluminum foil and place it in the center of a preheated (350 degrees) oven. Bake it for 30 minutes covered then another 15 uncovered to get a nice brown on the top.

And there you have it. Make several cuts all the way through to get individual servings and enjoy.

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Thanks for reading,

JMW

Taco Lasagna

Yes you read that right, I said Taco Lasagna. I enjoy trying to come up with new ways to present different dishes. This time I thought it would be good to make something with that Tex Mex flavor but be presented in an all in one meal like lasagna, so I combined the ingredients for tacos and came up with a fun way to put it together to mimic the looks of lasagna. Here is what you need.

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Ingredients:

2 lbs lean ground beef

18 small corn tortillas

4 fresh jalapenos (seeded and diced)

1 medium white onion (diced)

1 10 ounce can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilies

8 ounces of sharp shredded cheddar

10 ounces of part skim queso fresco (crumbled into small pieces)

1 can of low fat refried beans

8 ounces of sour cream (I used low fat)

1/2 cup Fresh cilantro (finely chopped)

1/2 cup Green onion (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 cup of chili powder

2 tablespoons of black pepper

1 tablespoon of kosher salt

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Prep and cooking

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and jalapeno until the onion starts to turn clear. Then add the garlic and ground beef. Once the beef is browned add in the can of Rotel and the spices and stir together. Now add the can of refried beans and stir all together. This will make a nice thick mixture that you will use as filling for the lasagna. Set that aside and get ready to start assembling.

Now it is time to assemble the lasagna. In a large (5 quart) baking dish thoroughly coat the bottom and sides with a non stick cooking spray. Now lay out 6 corn tortillas to cover the bottom. Spread out a layer of the meat mixture about 1/2 inch thick on top of the tortillas (you will use about half of the meat) Now add a thin coating of sour cream and then cover that with about half of the queso fresco.  Add another layer of six tortillas and repeat the layering process. After the second layer is done add the last six tortillas and then cover with any left over queso and sour cream. For the final step you will want to cover the top with the shredded cheddar and then add the diced onion and cilantro to finish it off.

Stick this in a preheated to 350 degree oven uncovered for about an hour (or until the cheese on top starts to brown slightly. All that is left to do is let t cool a bit and then cut it into nice square servings just like lasagna. It is great by itself or covered with a little salsa.

I hope you like this one. It is a fun way to put a twist on something the whole family should enjoy.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Take a Meatball and Stuff it

Inside a biscuit that is.

Coming up with new recipes can be challenging at times so taking an existing recipe or combining a couple of different ones can be the answer when you are running low on ideas.

This time around I wanted to make something quick and easy to snack on but was also in the mood for Italian which does not always go hand in hand. As many of you know a lot of traditional Italian dishes can be pretty involved and take a while to make if done from scratch. So I thought maybe stuffing meatballs inside of biscuits with a little cheese and marinara would be a good way to make a snack size Italian treat. Kind of like a mini home made hot pocket but without the burning lava part that comes out after microwaving.

This recipe can be done with frozen meatballs or you can make your own like I did but that will take a bit more time. I will include the instructions on how to make those in case you are feeling ambitious. Luckily I had some made and frozen from a previous meal.

Lets get started.

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Ingredients

1lb lean ground beef

1/2 lb Italian sausage (hot)

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 egg

1/2 cup finely chopped white onion

1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

2 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon course sea salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 package mozzarella string cheese

1 tube of refrigerated biscuits

1 jar of your favorite marinara or pasta sauce ( I prefer Raos Arabiata sauce)

Prep and cooking (if using frozen meatballs heat those up and skip to the next step)

Step 1: Mix everything all together in a large mixing bowl except the biscuits cheese and sauce. Using both hands roll out your meatballs in small 1″ balls. You want to make small ones that will get a little crispy on the outside and cook quickly. As you make them lay them out on a baking pan. Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees and cook the meatballs for about 20 minutes or until the are a nice golden brown on the outside.

Tip: I like to cover my pan in aluminum foil and spray with non stick spray. This makes clean up so much easier.

Step 2: After they meatballs are done set them aside to cool. Now take the string cheese and cut it into small 1/2 inch pieces. Take the biscuits and lay them out and cut each one in half. Flatten the biscuit halves and place a meatball and a piece of cheese in the center, then add a small dollop of sauce. Now fold the biscuit over and press the ends together, making a nice little doughy ball of goodness. Place the now stuffed biscuits on a baking sheet with the folder sides down.

Now put the full baking sheet in the oven and bake according to the biscuits baking directions. This should give you a nice golden biscuit on the outside and a stuffed melted bit of heaven on the inside.

Once they are done let them cool for a few minutes and get ready to enjoy a truly delicious treat.

As always I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Sliders

Who doesn’t like little hamburgers? Well I am sure there are a couple of people out there but we will not talk about them. Whether it be Krystal or White Castle or somewhere else they all have something in common. They are yummy little bites of joy. Since the only Krystal left in town closed and I did not want to go to a sit down restaurant to get these little burgers I decided to make them myself. They are a bit of work to make and take some time to get them all prepped and ready to eat, but in the end they are well worth it and fun if you are having guests over.

So this is how I did it.

Ingredients

2lbs lean ground beef

2 packs Kings Hawaiian Rolls (butter flavored) cut in half like little buns.

1 medium white onion (diced into small pieces)

a jar of hamburger pickle slices

1/4 stick of butter

salt and black pepper

Condiments (Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Etc)

1 pack thin sliced sharp cheddar cheese (optional)


Prep

You can do the patties a couple of different ways. I pressed out a thin layers of ground beef onto my cutting board ( about 1/4″ thin) and cut it into 3″x3″ squares. Then take the parts you cut off add it back the rest of the beef and repeat until all of the beef is used. Or you can just press out each patty about the same size and not worry about them being square. I just happened to be feeling a little nostalgic for the little square Krystal burgers.

Cut all of the rolls in half to look like little buns and place on a plate. I will get into how to steam those easily in a minute.

If you want cheese on your sliders just cut several cheese slices into quarters. This should make small cheese slices that fit perfectly on your little burgers.

Cooking

First heat a large frying pan to medium high heat and add the butter and let it melt. Now add the diced onion and cook until they start to turn clear then transfer them to a bowl. In the same pan cook your patties to a nice dark brown. I would normally never tell you to press the patties with a spatula because it just pushes all the yummy juices out of them but these are small thin patties and you want them to stay thin. The patties do not take long to cook, about 3 to 4 minutes per side then transfer them to a plate. While the last few patties are cooking take the plate of buns and cover them with a damp paper towel (damp not wet). Place them into the microwave for about 45 seconds. This will warm them and steam them a little making them nice and soft.

Assembly

Now comes the fun part.

One by one take a bun separate the halves. Spoon a nice spoonful of onion onto the bottom half then place a burger on top, add a slice of cheese (if you want) and then a small squirt of mustard or whatever condiment you like. I went with mustard to more closely mimic the Krystal burgers. Now place two to three pickle slices on top and add the other half of the bun to finish it off. Repeat this until you have no more patties. If you have an odd number of buns to patties you can always double up and make double sliders. But only if you are feeling daring.

Put a couple on a plate and add some fries and you are ready to go. This is fun for a get together of friends or a special treat if you are home alone and have some time to kill. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading

JMW

BBQ Baked Beans

When it comes to food I am not as picky as most. I will be the first to try just about anything and have a wide array of likes but one of my favorites is good old fashioned BBQ. I am talking BBQ from the southeast where they know how to do it right and you can walk in to most restaurants and get a pulled pork sandwich served on garlic toast with a side of baked beans and creamy cole slaw. Don’t get me wrong. I like all kinds off BBQ from all over but there is just something about the BBQ from the southeast that hits the spot like no other. This brings me to one of my favorite and simplest recipes. Living in Texas now you can’t hardly find a BBQ joint that does good old fashioned BBQ beans, which is a shame because everyone I have made them for has gone nuts over them and always comment on how they have never had anything like them before. You here me TX BBQ joints??? You could make a killing!!!

So here is a very simple yet effective way to make a hearty side that everyone will love.

This recipe can be made with or without beef. I personally prefer it with the beef but I will leave it up to you to decide how you like it.

Ingredients

1 large can of Bushes home style baked beans

1 lb lean ground beef

1 18oz bottle BBQ sauce (I use Kraft classic)

½ cup brown sugar

Prep

In a large skillet or pot brown the ground beef adding just a little salt and black pepper while it browns to season (make sure to get the edges a little crispy) and then add the beans to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, Now stir in the entire bottle of BBQ sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes to get heated back up. Once it has heated back up you will want to start adding the brown sugar, making sure to stir it in as you add it to make sure it is good and blended. Reduce the heat a little more so that it will simmer and meld the flavor but not bubble over and burn. Let them cook like that for about 15 to 20 minutes stirring every now and then to keep from sticking. If you want to add a little something extra, a few sprinkles of garlic powder can be added to give it just a little something extra.

Now all that is left to do is serve and enjoy. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading

JMW