Archive for the ‘Main Dish’ Category

Asked my Dad during my recent visit to Virginia – “All right Dad – what would you like me to make for you while I’m here?”  meatloaf 2“MEATLOAF” he replied!  That’s where it all started.  I made one – ONE – much to my brother’s dismay.  “Why only one?  What about leftovers?  What about sandwiches?”  Silly me.  One meatloaf?  If your family likes this favorite…here’s my recipe.  I hope you enjoy.  Oh – and you can thank Gale Carlos for nagging me until I put it online! 😉

  • If your market carries it – get 1 large package of the ground beef, turkey and pork combo.  Publix here sells a trio…if not –
  • 1 package each of ground beef, pork and turkey (should have about 1.5-2 lbs of meat altogether!)
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers – crushed
  • 1/2 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Mix everything together well in a large bowl, if it seems too ‘wet’ add a little more breadcrumb to the mix.  Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and fold mixture into pan smoothing out the top.  Spread a thin layer of chili sauce over the top.  Bake at 350 for an hour and fifteen minutes or until done in the center.

If your family is like mine – make two or they’ll bug you until they have sandwich fixings!  If you’re like my brother – have a bottle of ketchup ready.  Everyone else likes it the way it is or with mashed potatoes and gravy! (That’s Katie’s favorite way!)




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I was staring at yet another package of chicken a while back (it was on sale at Publix – package of leg quarters – for $3 – yeah – I’ll take that!)  thinking – what can I do DIFFERENT?  Little of this and a  little of that later and anew kid favorite in my house was born.  Hope you like it!

  • 1 package chicken leg quarters (sometimes I just use a package of thighs and a package of legs – but you can use whatever you like!)
  • 1 stick of butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon Crystal hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients other than chicken in small pot and place on low.  Whisk thoroughly until hot, the remove from  heat.  Place chicken pieces on a large baking sheet.  Drizzle half of the liquid over chicken, salt and pepper to taste.  Place chicken in oven for 45 minutes.  Baste with other half of liquid, continue cooking for another 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and very tender.

The Zesty Lime Chili Corn makes a great side for this dish!


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Back when I was maybe 10 or 11 I was tinkering in the kitchen and wanted to make soup for dinner.  It became a staple and for some reason, instead of chicken soup Julie's Soupor some version of that title — it was dubbed “Julie’s soup” and stuck!

Got a call from my sister the other day who said, “I am heading to the store – looked at the blog first for Julie’s soup and it’s not there!  What’s up with that?”  Thanks for calling me out on my slackerdom there sis!  Love you!  Here it is!  (I’ll have to make it now so I can get a real picture here!)  🙂

1/2-1 lb chicken tenders – cubed
1 medium onion – chopped
4 stalks celery – chopped
1 zucchini – cubed
2 small potatoes cubed
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup frozen crinkle cut carrots (or 1 cup fresh cut up)
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 cup frozen kernal corn
1 cup frozen baby peas
4 packets Goya chicken bouilliion (I like Goya but you can use other brands)
1 cup white wine — any dry variety
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes  (if you like your soup spicier – use a can of Rotel tomatoes with green chilis)
1 can great northern beans (cannelloni)
1 small can garbonzo beans (chick peas)
1/2 cup low-fat grated parmesan cheese
8 cups of water
salt & pepper to taste
In a large stock pot – put 2 tablespoons butter, minced garlic and chicken pieces, salt and pepper to taste – saute until chicken is browned on all sides (about 8-10 min) and remove.  Add 1 more tablespoon butter (or teaspoon olive oil) and add onions, celery, potato, cabbage & zuchinni and saute for about 6 minutes, stirring regularly.  Add water, frozen veggies, (except peas), tomatoes, beans, bouillion, wine & lemon juice and put heat on medium-low to simmer for about an hour and a half.  When potatoes are tender, add peas, and cheese and let simmer additional 5-10 minutes.
Here are some additional things you can add if you want:
  • 1 Andouille sausage chopped (adds spice)
  • cooked egg noodles or datalini noodles – or whatever noodles you like!  I add them in to the indivdual bowls not the pot because they absorb all the broth and my kids LOVE the broth – so putting them in at the end gives you the noodles without taking away from the soup!
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped spinach – sounds gross – but it’s really good and gives you lots of iron!
  • 1 small can of green chilis if you want to make it more like a tortilla soup – then you can top each bowl with cracked tortilla chips and shredded jack cheese
I hope you like it —  I serve it with crusty bread (which I watch the kids eat – lol) or biscuits or all by itself – in fact that’s what we’re having tonight! 🙂

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You’ve got to love the standing rib roast for a beautiful holiday (or anytime) dinner!  I loved it even more when they went on sale at the local Publix for just $5.29 a pound!  That was just the temptation needed to decide on what we’d have for our Christmas meal this year.

If you too are a fan of roast beef (or roast beast if you’re channeling Dr. Seuss’s Grinch) – try this recipe on for size. 

  • 1 5-pound standing rib roast
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 celery ribs (rinsed)
  • 2 medium onions – cut in half

Let roast come to room temperature (about an hour).   Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  In the bottom of a shallow baking dish place celery and onions.  Mix horseradish, worcestershire, sugar, garlic and salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Spread evenly over the entire roast.  Place roast fat side up on top of celery and onions.  Roast at 435 for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and roast for additional hour to hour and a half or until internal temperature is 145 degrees for medium rare.  Let stand at least 15 minutes before carving.

For the au jus, I like to take the pan drippings, add a 1/4 cup white wine, 1/4 water and 1 beef bouillon and whisk together.  With a wand mixer I also macerate the celery and onions into it.  Mmmm….




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We love chicken picata in my house! (And it usually brings a few friends out of the woodwork too!)  It’s fancy enough for company and yummy enough just for family!  Hope you like it!

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, butterflied  & cut in half
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 lemon slices
  • 1 package sliced baby portabello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add chicken and cook for 3-4  minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3-4 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

Into the pan add 2 tablespoons butter and mushrooms.  Sauté mushrooms until brown on both sides.  Remove mushrooms to plate with chicken. Next, add lemon juice, white wine, stock. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley, Parmesan and lemon slices.  Some people like capers on theirs — (my kids aren’t keen on them!)  If you like them, add a tablespoon of them in when you’re whisking the wine, stock & butter together for the sauce.

I usually serve with a salad and plate of linguine – pouring the sauce/chicken goodness over the top of the pasta and topping with some shaved Parmesan!


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Everyone in our family has “THEIR” specialty – and my sister has mastered the art of the chicken taco! 😉   An amazing cook, mom and of course SISTER — this is a family favorite for all – and a fun meal to share — she said I could let you guys in on it! 😉  Thanks Shelly! 

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts (cut into half inch pieces)
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies (Original, Mild or Hot depending on your desired level of spicy!)

In a large skillet over medium high heat (8), simmer onions in olive oil until soft and semi transluscent. Add the chicken, stirring frequently until almost all the pink is gone. Add taco seasoning, stir until coating is even. Add Rotel tomatoes, stir evenly. Cover and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is thoroughly cooked and absorbing the juices in the pan. Remove cover and simmer until some of the juices evaporate. Remove from heat.  Then simply place in desired taco shell, soft or crunchy…and load on your favorite toppings; cheese, salsa, sour cream, avacado…  HINT: Learned this one from our Mom, scoop the sour cream into a sandwich baggie, snip off the end and squeeze onto tacos.

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I love portabello mushrooms.  They add a meaty, amazing flavor to so many recipes.  Tasted a version of this the other day and wanted to try them ourselves-so here’s my twist with some ideas for variations as well.  We’re going to make these today!  Mmmm…..

  • 4 whole portabello mushrooms
  • 1 small onion-diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup whipped cream cheese
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan
  • 3 links sweet Italian sausage
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup pre-cooked brown rice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt/pepper
  • 2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup white wine

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove stems and gills from mushrooms CAREFULLY – these guys are big but very delicate!  Clean and chop the stems.

Remove sausage from casing and crumble in large skillet – brown until no longer pink, add garlic powder, onion and mushroom stems and sauté for 2-3 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.

Add cheeses, panko crumbs, parsley and rice and mix well.  Stuff mushroom caps gently and place on baking sheet. In the bottom of baking sheet add white wine.  Bake 10-15 minutes until hot and bubbly.  If you like, put the broiler on for 1-3 minutes just to crisp up the top – be careful – with all that cheese it will brown fast (so don’t do what I do and forget to watch it!).

Serve with the marinara and a sprinkle of additional shaved parmesan.

Can be a main dish or cut the recipe in half and serve as an appetizer!

Variations:  I may have to post these as separate recipes!

  • Fill with crabcake mixture – brown according to the rest of the recipe.
  • Add ¼ cup bacon and change out the parmesan for Gorgonzola (mmm)
  • Want spicier – change out the sweet sausage for a med-hot variety or even a Andouille if you’re feeling a little Cajun – if you’re using any of the Cajun or Cuban sausages though – they tend to have more oil – so be sure to drain the sausage and remove oil before adding the cheeses and other ingredients.

I’m thinking of ways to make a vegetarian variety – Hmmm…maybe black beans, onion, cilantro and tomato?  What do you think?  I’ll have to try it and let you know!

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