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Tag Archives: comfort food

Cheesy Sloppy Joe Hotdogs

Have you ever noticed how having kids, or caring for kids, or really just being exposed to kids on a regular basis forces you to revisit, and often rediscover, classic dishes from your own childhood? Especially when my guys were little, or going through their individual ‘picky palate’ stages, I’d have to get creative, and often the simplest answer was to call Mom and asked what the hell she had made that we would actually eat during those same trying times. And wouldn’t you know, almost every time the same things worked for me and my boys, like hot dogs and sloppy joes. But over the years we’ve all grown up (how much is often debatable 😉 ), and while we haven’t exactly outgrown these favorites, we’ve found them growing right along with us. Think of it as revisiting, and revitalizing the classics. And that’s how the Cheesy Sloppy Dog was born. And. It. Was. Glorious. And, of course, cheesy and messy enough in all its glory to be whole-heartedly embraced by both our emerging adult-selves and our inner child.

cheesy sloppy dogs

Nestle your favorite brand of hot dog into a warm toasty hot dog bun, top it with perfectly seasoned, just like Mama made ’em, ground beef-based sloppy joes and then spoon (or ladle) on a heaping helping of garlic cheese sauce. It’s cheesy, sloppy, ehrmagherd bliss in every bite. And, if you’re the parent now? You can even lick your fingers clean. Just don’t let the kids see. Do as I say, not as I do, right?

cheesy sloppy dogs 2

Ok, back to adult-ing. That’s a thing, right?

Head on over to my friend Alli’s blog, where we were guest posting today, to get the recipe.

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

Grocery shopping. I’m convinced you either love it or hate it. It’s either a necessary, but shoot-me-now chore, or you relish the hunt for the best bargains each week and sticking to your list and get off on coming in below budget. I’m one of those who falls firmly into the love it category. That being said, we make the big trek to Costco, followed by every store with a circular in a 5 mile radius, once a month and it takes pretty much all day. And that’s exhausting, considering kids are dragging there heels after store # 1, whining the whole way, and begging for this that and the other. We’re all tired and cranky by the end, and cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do at the end of that day.

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

So, yes, on grocery day we order pizza for dinner. The irony, I know. But sometimes the son who works at a local pizzeria decides to take pity on his poor, old Mom, and mix together and toss a fresh crust, and come up with a pizza that will blow our tastebuds away, from scratch. (Really he will jump at any excuse to show off his growing pie-slinging skills). And that’s how we ended up not doing delivery, but some home made gourmet. Mmmmmm….

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza 3

Hand tossed pizza crust smoothed over with a base of creamy Alfredo sauce, studded with creole seasoned shrimp, sautéed onions, and garlic, then topped off with generous handfuls of melted Colby Jack and Provolone cheeses, and finally sprinkled with crispy, crumbled pieces of bacon.

Wowza! Now THAT is a slice of gourmet pizza.

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza

Garlic Shrimp Alfredo Pizza 2

pizza dough, or prepared store bought crust (whatever works/is convenient for you)

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, mined
¼ onion, finely chopped
1 lb small shrimp, tossed with 1 tsp creole seasoning
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
juice of ½ a lemon
6-7 tbsp of alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
5-6 provolone slices, sliced into thin strips
3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

Directions

  1. Spread dough onto pizza pan flattening and stretching it out to edges. Use a fork to liberally poke holes in it. Partially bake the crust for 7 minutes before adding topping. Or if using a pre add, store bought crust, follow the package directions before topping.
    2. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion and saute together, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
    3. Stir in the seasoned shrimp and cook for about 3-4 more minutes.
    4. Turn off heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley.
    5. Use the back of a spoon to spread the alfredo sauce out onto the prepared crust. Top it evenly with the shrimp mixture. Next, evenly distribute the provolone slices, shredded Colby Jack, and bacon.
    6. Bake the pizza at 450 degrees for 7-10 more minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting so the cheese doesn’t pull off.

3 Cheese Gnocchi Macaroni & Cheese

Easy. Peasy. And, yes, cheesy. (Sorry, had to go there. The rhyme was just too tempting.)

Gnocchi Mac And Cheese 2

Two of my favorite things, both equally indulgent, in one fantastic dish? Yes, please! Fluffy potato gnocchi basking in a rich, creamy cheese sauce worthy of gracing the plate of even the hautiest of Mac & Cheese snobs? Fill ‘er up, and I’m already calling dibs on seconds.

Gnocchi Mac And Cheese 3

It’s awe-inspiring. Has my kitchen ever churned out such a fine bowl of creamy comfort before? And The taste!

There’s just a small price to pay for a few decadent cheeses. And some calories. But the finished product absolutely pales in comparison.

Three Cheese Gnocchi Mac & Cheese

Gnocchi Mac And Cheese

2, 16 oz, pkgs potato gnocchi
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp butter
3-4 tsp minced garlic
1 cup half and half, or milk (warmed)
1 1/4 cups shredded fontina cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste
finely-chopped fresh parsley or basil, for topping

Directions

1. Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. While the gnocchi cooks, get started on the cheese sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and the broth until evenly combined and set aside.
3. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the butter or olive oil. Add in the garlic and saute, stirring, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, and whisk until combined. Add in the milk, and whisk until combined. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches a low boil. Then remove from heat, and stir in the cheeses until they too are melted and the cheese sauce is smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.
4. Combine the cooked gnocchi and cheese sauce together in the pot you cooked the gnocchi in, and toss together until the gnocchi are evenly coated. Serve immediately, with a sprinkle of finely chopped, fresh basil and/or parsly and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan, if desired.

recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Pierogi Lasagna

Do you love the taste of Pierogis, Those Eastern European dumplings stuffed with cream mashed potato goodness, but dread the amount of work involved with making the dough, stuffing, and sealing them by hand? Then this here’s the thing for you. Pierogi LASAGNA. Now it’s true you could go to the frozen food aisle and just buy a bag (and I will, in a pinch) but they can’t ever compete flavor wise with the real thing. Or even with our more modernized version.

Periogi Lasagna

Pasta, potatoes, cheese, and bacon. Does it get any better than that? I’m pretty sure those are the hubs and sons four favorite food groups 😉

Still, they might not be the best groups to associate with, especially all at once, if you’re watching your carb intake … Or ya know, flavor.

Periogi Lasagna 2

Alternating layers of rich cottage cheese, and creamy mashed potatoes whipped together with bacon or ham and a generous serving of cheddar cheese are sandwiched between your favorite lasagna noodles before being topped with another sprinkle of cheddar cheese and crisp, crumbled bacon and oven-baked to perfection.

You need this in your life. At least once, or twice. And with the colder days and colder nights approaching, there’s no better time of year to give it a try.

Pierogi Lasagna

Periogi Lasagna 3
12 cooked lasagna noodles
2 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs
3 thinly sliced green onions with a sprinkling of salt (or 1 tsp onion salt)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, with 1/2 cup separated
2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup bacon (fried crisp and crumbled) OR diced ham.
1 onion, chopped and cooked until clear
8 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

Directions

  1. Mix together the cottage cheese, egg and green onion, stirring until evenly combined.
    2. In another bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, the mashed potatoes, the 1/2 cup of bacon/ham crumbled and the sautéed onion.
    3. Line the bottom of a greased 9 x 13″ baking dish with 4 of the lasagna noodles.
    4. Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture out evenly over the noodles.
    5. Add 4 additional noodles and cover evenly with half of the potato mixture.
    6. Repeat.
    7. Top with remaining 4 noodles, remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
9. Serve warm with sour cream, if desired.

Chicken Florentine and Farfalle

For a little over two weeks the sons and the hubs and I were kicked back to the stone age while our internet was down and out. I know you’re probably thinking, and for a minute there so was I, what was I going to do without Pinterest and it’s abundance of delicious recipes to help me plan my meals? Ok, ok, not really but I wasn’t overly enthusiastic or anyhting about going off the grid for a couple of weeks. I mean I can’t keep all this awesomeness up all on my own all the time now can I? Well yes, I can, but then I start to feel like my life is as unorganized as the $5 bin at Walmart. So Internet, yeah, big help. Still, we didn’t let something like the lack thereof keep us out of the kitchen

Instead of habitually outsourcing ideas, we went back to the old days. We dug out and dusted off the family recipe box and got busy. And guess what? No internet meant no Netflix, and no online gaming. No teenagers trying to hide out in their little mini-man caves texting all afternoon. SO, not only did we rediscover some old favorites, I had lots of willing little helpers each day. And believe it or not (Sons 1 and 2 may have even been a little surprised themselves) they had fun. Good times.

So on our first day back, we’re still going to keep it pretty simple. Here’s an oldie, but a goodie from our recipe box to yours.

Chicken Florentine and Farfalle

chicken florentine and farfalle

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb box of Farfalle pasta
olive oil
1 bunch of fresh spinach, or 1 box of chopped frozen spinach, thawed and all excess water drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
4-5 oz cream cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
milk
1 jar of  Alfredo sauce
Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. For the best taste, grill the chicken, then chop it up and set it aside. The chicken can also be pan cooked and then chopped if you prefer.
2. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, and set aside.
3. In a large skillet add in 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, the garlic, and onions. Saute 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add spinach and allow it to heat through, or until wilted if it’s fresh..
4. Next, add in the cream cheese and stir in until it’s melted and evenly combined. The mixture will be thick and that’s OK.
5. Add in the alfredo sauce, again stirring to evenly incorporate. Now, add the milk, and tiny bit at a time, until the desired consistency is reached
6. Stir the chicken into the sauce, Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
7. Add the pasta to the pan and stir it into the sauce until everything’s nice and ‘saucey’, err evenly incorporated! Serve warm with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Don’t let this meal’s fancy sounding name fool you. It’s easy enough for any weeknight and can be surprisingly flexible.

Here’s our favorite alternative version: Italian Sausage Florentine with Penne (or whatever pasta Mom happens to have on hand) Pasta.

Sausage Florentine with Penne

Looking for a vegetarian version? Swap mushrooms for the meat! All you have is spaghetti noodles? Throw em in the pot. See? Flexible.

Sous Chef Sunday: Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Mmm. Chicken, and waffles. Two seemingly unrelated things, but when put together make a food-gasmic combination. The sons, yet again, were skeptical. Four identical sets of little arched eye-brows as I got out just 3 ingredients. When, oh when, will they learn to trust me in the kitchen?! The sons followed the super simple recipe all by themselves, although with supervision since they were using the oven. The older sons can handle it, but Son # 4 gets so excited to be involved in the process, I worry he might forget hot things lead to burned fingers. Each son, in turn, took one tentative bite, and then proceeded to scarf them down. They looked like squirrels packing away food for winter. There was even a brief skirmish over the last two and who deserved them MOST. A chicken and waffle combo may have sounded weird to the more traditional tastes of the Sons, but they all agreed UNANIMOUSLY (might I point out this almost never happens!), that these little suckers are finger-lickin’ good.

Chicken & Waffle Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken & Waffle Sliders

frozen mini waffles, fully toasted
chicken tenders, cooked
{real} maple syrup
toothpicks

Directions

1. Slice your cooked chicken tenders in half. Break your toasted waffles apart.
2. Sandwich one piece of chicken between two cooked waffles. Secure with a toothpick.
3. When all the tenders have been ‘sandwiched’, drizzle them with maple syrup and serve warm.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

I grew up eating my Mom and Grandma’s meatloaf, and it was one of my absolute favorite dinners. All these years it’s remained one of my favorite ‘comfort foods’. When I began cooking for my own family, it took me 3 years of watching my Grandma lovingly prepare my favorite dish before I was able to properly ‘eyeball’ the ingredients to replicate that same great taste.  Now, every single one of my kids looks forward to that one night a month when meatloaf’s on the menu. However, recently I’ve really been trying to experiment with new twists on some of our old favorites, just to keep things interesting. A good friend swore by this cheeseburger-flavored version, so I decided to swap it with my traditional meatloaf in our monthly menu. Warning: This is not your Grandma’s meatloaf! This cheesy little monster of a meatloaf will leave you wanting to lick every last drop off your plate. While I still love, and will continue to make my more traditional version, this recipe is a new family favorite that has already been added to our rotating regular recipes.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

  •  1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup- 3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs, toasted
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1/3 cup French fried onions
  • 2 slices of sandwich bread*

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef and the next 8 ingredients, mixing well. Don’t be afraid to get your hands ‘dirty’ and give everything a good squishing until evenly combined and a uniform consistency is reached.
  3. Place both pieces of bread into a meatloaf pan so that they evenly cover the bottom.
  4. Form meat mixture into a loaf shape and transfer to the meatloaf pan. You want it sitting directly on top of the bread.
  5. In a small bowl, combine mustard and ketchup.
  6. Evenly spread the ketchup mixture onto the top of the meatloaf.
  7. Bake 40 minutes. Top with the French fried onions and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the inside is no longer pink.
  8. Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the pan and discard the grease ‘toast’. Slice the meatloaf and serve.

* This is the best meatloaf tip I’ve ever discovered. Instead of your meatloaf sitting and cooking in it’s own grease, or having to use a broiler pan, simply let the slices of bread absorb every last drop of fat that cooks out. It’s that simple. After cooking, simply discard and you’re left with a mess-free loaf that’s ready to be sliced and served.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

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