Family Favorites · Pastas

Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce

Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce is a family favorite, one I have made for well over 30 years. When I was working and the kids were at home, this was an easy weeknight dinner that pleased everyone. Now that my daughters have families of their own, this is a favorite of the next generation. Feel free to increase the amount of bacon or cheese to your liking.

Pasta with Bacon Cream Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb. vermicelli or very thin spaghetti
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and cut into strips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ladle of pasta water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Saute bacon until crisp. Remove bacon; add butter and scallions; saute 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cream, pasta water and pepper. Hold over low heat.
  2. Cook and drain pasta. Add to cream mixture; toss together.
  3. Add all but 1 tablespoon bacon, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and parsley, toss.
  4. Serve at once, garnished with bacon and remaining Parmesan cheese.

Recipe from long ago and far away…but oh, so good!

Breads · Family Favorites

Beer Bread

Beer Bread is so ridiculously easy and delicious. Friends tell me they made this years ago, so why have I never heard of it? It’s wonderful with soups and out of this world toasted! I’m not a beer drinker but had a few bottles in the frig from friend’s visits. Great way to use the beer and enjoy the tasty results! I love it toasted with peanut butter or jelly!

Beer Bread

INGREDIENTS:
  •  Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
  •  Cornmeal
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (see Tip)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer (the blander the better)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and dust with cornmeal. For stovetop baking, use a heavy Dutch oven or similar pot that has been greased and dusted with cornmeal but not heated.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and stir in the beer. Place batter in the pan. Oven baking will take about 35 minutes. For stovetop baking, cover the pan and place it on a heat shield over a low to medium flame and bake until a knife or cake tester comes out clean.
  3. Remove from pan, drizzle with butter if desired and allow to cool completely before slicing. The bread has a texture similar to that of English muffins and tastes best toasted.
Tip
  • Three cups of self-rising flour can be substituted. Omit the baking powder and salt.

Recipe from NYTimes

Czech Heritage and Dishes · Meats

Iowa Chops in the Slow Cooker

Iowa Chops in the Slow Cooker has become one of my go-to recipes. It’s easy to prepare and simmer throughout the day. Serve with steamed baby potatoes or boiled perogies. I also served with roasted butternut squash and brussel sprouts. The pork is so fork-tender and will melt in your mouth.

Iowa Chops in the Slow Cooker

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 Iowa chops (thick boneless pork chops–I get mine at Costco)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1+ cups frozen pearl onions
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Bohemian rub seasoning (available from Savory Spice Shop)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Place Iowa chops in slow cooker and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Add frozen onions to slow cooker.
  3. Combine soup, sour cream, and Bohemian rub seasoning and pour over pork chops and onions.
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Appetizers · Poultry

Baked Hot Wings

Never have I ever…made hot wings until now. Daughter Megan has a craving for hot wings about a year ago so I bought the fixings. Then, she was pregnant and they sounded disgusting. Now that Baby Callen has arrived, she thought they sounded better and told me of this recipe. Easy peasy and very adaptable to your heat/spice tolerance. Great treat for game day or just because…

Baked Hot Wings

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 lbs. chicken wings
  • 4 Tbsp. melted butter
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika

For the Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. high temp oil (canola, avocado, etc.)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I used a pinch)
  • 1 tsp. black sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Frank’s hot sauce
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Add the seasonings to the melted butter in a large bowl and toss all the wings until they are coated. Place a wire rack into your baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with foil to make clean up easy peasy.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes or so until they are brown and sizzling and crispy. (I turned up the heat to 450 degrees and baked another 5+ minutes to make extra crispy).
  4. Meanwhile in a large hot skillet, throw in the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce. Stir until bubbly and glazy, around 2 minutes. Add the crispy wings and toss until totally coated. Serve with blue cheese or Ranch sauce.

Recipe slightly adapted from Jen Hatmaker Facebook post 1/23/22.

Appetizers · New Favorite

Watermelon Goat Cheese Appetizer

Simple combination with an explosion of flavors! I first experienced this appetizer (or salad) at a restaurant with my friend, Jan. It was amazing and, yet, so simple. It was easy to replicate at home with four ingredients: watermelon, goat cheese, pecans and balsamic reduction. Done!

Watermelon Goat Cheese Appetizer

INGREDIENTS:
  • Cubed Seedless Watermelon
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Balsamic Reduction (I used purchased balsamic reduction but you can make your own)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Cute the watermelon into squares.
  2. Crumble goat cheese on top of each square.
  3. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of each square.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
Family Favorites · New Favorite · Pastas

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Goat Cheese

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Goat Cheese is such a treat.  My daughter, Megan, suggested I make it when I asked what I could make with leftover canned pumpkin.

The recipe is so easy and is plate of fall goodness complimented by a great salad and bread.  Easy peasy dinner that will please a family or guest!

Pumpkin Pasta Dinner with sausage and goat cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15-ounce can pumpkin puree or a scant 2 cups of pumpkin puree
A few fresh sage leaves and a few sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
A good pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2–2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Serve with 1 pound al dente linguini pasta, or any cooked pasta you like.

Top with:
Well-browned ground Italian sausage
Goat cheese crumbles
Toasted pine nuts
Parsley
Red pepper flakes

  • To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and chopped herbs.
  • Increase heat to medium and add all of the spices. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until thickened to your desired sauce consistency. Add more stock as you see fit. Taste and season with salt and pepper (and even more spices) to your taste.
  • Toss boiled pasta in the warm sauce. To serve, top with sausage or sausage alternative, goat cheese crumbled (or parmesan), toasted pine nuts (or any kind of crunch) and chopped parsley.
Appetizers · Breakfast · Czech Heritage and Dishes · New Favorite

Cabbage Pie

Cabbage Pie is a new recipe, similar to a Frittata.  I had cabbage that I needed to use and the other ingredients were on hand.  What a simple, delicious recipe. It’s easy to imagine my ancestors making a similar dish from these simple ingredients. I did not add cheese to my pie. Next time I would experiment with different cheeses herbs, and bacon.  It’s wonderful served with a fresh sliced tomato from the garden!

CABBAGE PIE

1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
one small onion, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
3 eggs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup flour
Shredded cheese (optional)

  • Combine sliced cabbage and onion in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Beat 3 eggs and add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour egg mixture over cabbage and onions.
  • Add flour to cabbage mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add sunflower or canola oil to a non stick pan.  Heat oil over medium heat.  Add cabbage mixture.  Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil.  Place wooden cutting board (or heavy flat pan) on top of skillet.
  • Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Remove cutting board and foil.  Flip cabbage pie onto plate and place other side down in pan.  Optional:  Sprinkle top with cheese and  cook until cheese is melted and bottom is golden brown.

  • Remove from pan.  Slice into wedges and serve.
  • Optional:  Top with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onion.

Recipe from Olesea Slavinski on youtube.com

Breads · Family · New Favorite · New Traditions

Crusty No-Knead Bread

Crusty Bread that I don’t have to knead?  Just what I needed to go with the soup I was making.  Honestly, the recipe seemed too easy but it worked perfectly.  I baked the bread in my Lodge Dutch Oven and I baked it according to directions.  The crust was a little too brown, but the interior of the bread was perfect and tasted great!

It is wonderful served with soup and also wonderful as a sandwich.  As long as I plan a day ahead, I can make this bread any time!

CRUSTY NO-KNEAD BREAD

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. active dry yeast
1 ½ cups water 
room temperature

  • Form the dough: In a big bowl mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula or a wooden spoon mix it until well incorporated. You do not need to activate the yeast before, even though we’re using active dry yeast. The slow rising process will do the trick.
  • Allow it to rise: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter or inside your unheated oven for 12 to 18 hours.
  • Preheat your oven: Preheat oven to 450°F. Add your cast iron pot to the oven as it’s heating and heat it as well until it’s at 450°F. Usually when the oven is done preheating your pot should be hot enough as well. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid from it. Use oven mitts, as to not burn yourself.
  • Shape the dough: Flour your hands really well and also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Sprinkle some extra flour directly into the bottom of the pot. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven. Alternatively, you can also place the ball of dough onto a piece of parchment paper, then lift the parchment paper and drop it in the pot, with parchment paper and all. This could also ensure that your bread doesn’t stick at all to the bottom of the pot. I have found that if I use parchment paper, the bread doesn’t brown so much on the sides, but otherwise it’s still crusty and delicious.
  • Finish the bread: Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pot, it should fall out easily. Let cool completely before slicing into it and serving.

Recipe from JoCooks.com

Cookies and Bars · Family · Family Favorites

Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodles have always been a family favorite.  What do you do when you want a Snickerdoodle but too lazy to make individual cookies?  You find a Snickerdoodle Bar recipe.  I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper.  This recipe is easy and uses ingredients that are in most pantries.  Another recipe that will be made over and over again.

SNICKERDOODLE BARS

  • 1/2 c. Butter, room temp. (can use Vegan butter)
  • 1 Egg room temp.
  • 3/4 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. Flour
  • 3/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Allow butter and egg to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined.
  • Add vanilla and egg and stir until fully mixed.
  • Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Fold into the butter mixture until combined. Evenly spread the batter into the baking dish.
  • In a small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle on top of the cookie batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and cutting into 16 squares.

Recipe from Mylifeafterdairy

Casseroles · Family Favorites · My Roots

Beef Macaroni Skillet–blast from the past!

Beef Macaroni Skillet, a  one skillet meal, was a regular menu item when my children were young.  It was a quick meal that I could put together after work.  I haven’t made it in over 20 years and it was a fun walk down memory lane.

My older daughter, Megan, and her girls were here to experience it.  Megan didn’t remember it but liked it as did her two year old daughter.  The five year old didn’t care for it, but then again, she’s in a phase of only liking what she knows.

The original recipe card is in my handwriting, probably around the age of 11 or 12, when I started my recipe box.  It’s funny to look back at it and find humor in the reference to ‘this main dish’.

BEEF MACARONI SKILLET

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups tomato juice (add more if it becomes too dry)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

  • Brown beef and onion in a skillet.  Drain fat.
  • Add remaining ingredients and cook, covered, until the macaroni is cooked, about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally while cooking to prevent from sticking.