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    Meat and Potato Skillet Gratin #Sunday Supper

    This may be one of my favorite Sunday Suppers. I love nearly everything with ground beef in it. I have been dying to try this recipe, so I was thrilled when Em from Sunday Suppers posted this week’s Dinner Ideas with Ground Beef.

    Best thing about this dish? It’s a one pan dish. There’s a lot of steps and prep, and it takes a long time to cook, but once you get going it’s a snap – unless you’re like me and start fixing dinner too late and end up eating at 8:00.

    It’s hearty, but not heavy. I didn’t think a pound of ground beef was enough. Seemed the potato to filling ratio wasn’t quite enough.

    Make sure you use a big enough pot to reduce the heavy cream or else you’ll end up like me – having your way to nice Dear One scrubbing the stove top!

    This gratin reheats well, so you can make it ahead and reheat it uncovered in a 350-degree oven.

    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 1 C heavy cream
    • 2 thyme branches
    • 2 T finely chopped fresh sage
    • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
    • 1 pound ground lean beef
    • 3/4 t kosher salt, more as needed
    • Black pepper, as needed
    • 1 C thinly sliced onion
    • 3 ounces baby spinach (3 packed cups)
    • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 pound russet potatoes
    • 4 ounces Gruyère, grated (1 cup)

    Crush and peel 2 garlic cloves. In a small pot over medium heat, combine cream, the crushed garlic, the thyme and 1/2 tablespoon sage. Bring to a simmer; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes. Strain and cool.

    While cream cools, heat oil in an ovenproof 10-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and brown well, crumbling with a fork as it cooks. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper; transfer meat to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining meat, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper.

    Add onion to pan drippings (drizzle with oil if pan seems dry). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Peel and chop remaining 2 garlic cloves; add to pan with remaining sage. Return meat to skillet.

    Toss in spinach, a handful at a time, until wilted. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, the Worcestershire and pepper to taste.

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

    Layer half the potato slices over meat, with slices overlapping one another. Season lightly with salt and pepper; top with half the cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes and cheese. Spoon reduced cream evenly over top.

    Cover pan tightly with foil and bake until vegetables are very tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Uncover and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

    4 to 6 servings

    Dinner Ideas Using Ground Beef

    Sunday Supper MovementThe Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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    Tuscan Chicken & Vegetable Stew

    I have to say from the outset that there is a lot of chopping going on here. A LOT. It was one of the things that almost kept me from trying this recipe.

    You read – I’ll chop …

    My new dear friend, mentor and cruise ship guru, Chloe, was making this one day while we were working at her home. (CHOP, CHOP, CHOP) Her house was filled with the most wonderful aromas. She assured me that this recipe was easy  … especially if you buy a rotisserie chicken. She gave me the recipe and looking at it, I still wasn’t sold. CHOP, CHOP

    Chop this. Chop that. Chop that other thing. Oh, yeah, and chop that thing over there, as well. And not just the Swedish Chef inspired chopping that I usually do … chopping so things are the same size. UGH! Not my forte.

    The next day, while we were working (yes, I spent a tremendous amount of time at her house), we sat and had this stew for lunch. Well, hush my mouth and pass my chopping knife! You could have added 7 more ingredients to this and I would have chopped away. (Well, not really)

    Chop … chop … chop …

    I acquiesced and tried it at home. This makes a HUGE pot of stew – which is good when you hate chopping neatly as much as I do. The Dear one and I had this for dinner one night and had 3 containers for the freezer. Some toasted bread and a green salad and you’re set on a chilly evening.

    So, Chloe … I went on an interview for a job as a tour guide. I was very content to sit on a tour bus with cruise ship passengers riding around Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. Tour over, passengers leave, count your tips, done. Chloe and I hit it off instantly. You know, that rare, kindred spirit vibe you find only a few times in your life, if you’re lucky. During this interview, Chloe mentioned that she wanted to retire after the 2017 season. The next thing I knew – and I’m not quite sure what she saw in me, maybe it was my silliness in actually being willing to take the job – she was training me to take over her job when she retired. (chop, chop, chop)

    It was terrifying at first. So much information. So many moving parts. I would sit next to her, day after day, in utter awe at all the information in her head. Her ease with the most difficult people (myself included) was grace personified. Her innate ability to take the most difficult of scenarios, turn it around and make it seem like there was never an issue.

    I am sure many people who began the conversation all fired up had no idea how she managed turn the situation around, or perhaps didn’t even notice that the situation was turned around. She calls this the “please, pass the butter” voice. (I’m still working on that.) It was inspiring.

    But, aside from training me – mentoring really – adopting a bit – for this job of many facets … wait, I’ll explain. Does anyone remember the old Ed Sullivan Show? There was a fella on the show, quite often actually, who had many thin bamboo poles. He would start spinning plates on these poles and run around the stage, watching the plates, jiggling the poles, spinning plates, keeping all the plates up in the air. That, in a nutshell, is my job.

    Sorry, digressed … aside from mentoring me in this difficult transition, she became a dear friend. She and her darling husband Scott (and the dearest Lucy) fed me, wiped my tears, picked me up from the ground when I was at my lowest, taught me, guided me, became my family, laughed with me, drank wine with me at the end of a frustrating day, sighed with me, and guided me through a frantic summer and fall.

    On one of my worst days – I had made at least a billion mistakes – I had stepped away and there were tears streaming down my face. Scott came over, wiped them away and said, “Do you think Chloe has never made a mistake? Chloe has made more mistakes than this. Learn from them. Make new ones. And don’t let anyone see you crying.”

    I am truly grateful to Chloe for so much … more than I can ever possibly express, more than my heart and head can hold at times. It’s that rare type of symbiotic friendship where words are not always necessary, giggles and laughing are ever present, compassion is a given, forgiveness always there, and life is so much richer with them in it.

    Thank you so much, dear woman, for all you’ve done for and given me.

    Anyway, enough mush …

    Every time I make this soup, I think of sweet Chloe and miss the stuffin’ out of her! Hmmm, maybe I should give her a call while I’m chopping freakin’ vegetables …

    I joke about the chopping, but there is a lot. But once that’s done, that’s really it – jut add ingredients and stir. The apple cider vinegar gives it a layer of flavor that brings everything together.

    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 3 tablespoon butter
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 cups chopped carrots
    • 3 cups chopped celery
    • 1 large zucchini, chopped
    • 1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
    • ¼ cup flour
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 1 (19 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 cup diced cooked chicken breast (I used rotisserie)
    • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • fresh parsley
    • parmesan cheese

    In a large pot over medium high heat, add the butter and olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and saute for about 4-5 minutes, until tender and fragrant.

    Stir in the zucchini and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes until slightly softened.

    Sprinkle in the flour to create a roux and cook for another minute. Slowly add 1 cup of the chicken broth while continuously stirring until it starts to thicken and comes together. Then slowly pour in the remaining chicken broth.

    Stir in the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, beans and entire can of tomatoes.

    Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the chicken and reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

    Stir in the spinach and cider vinegar and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until everything is heated through.

    Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese, if desired.

    Iron Skillet Roasted Chicken with White Beans and Tomatoes

    Ready to serve

    After what seemed like forever, I left New York (again) and went home to Maine (again). The next days were filled with errands, getting the house settled before the Dear One’s return, and breakfast and giggling with my girlfriends.

    But in the evening, I was home alone, and then suddenly you realize just how big the house is and how empty, and you want to have people around you, so then the conversations went something like this …

    Thank you so much for watching the house and picking me up and picking up the mail and packages and turning up the heat. Wanna come for dinner? Sure, but I have a house guest. Bring him. The more the merrier.

    Hey, I’m back in town. Wanna come over for dinner? Sure!

    Okay, dinner for 2 is now dinner for 4. I can do that. Same recipe, just no leftovers.

    Uh, oh, the phone is ringing … we’re going out for dinner, do you want to come. Sorry, can’t, company coming. Oh, well, I’d much rather come to your house. Sure, come on over. GREAT! But I have a house guest. Bring her along.

    Dinner for 2 turned into dinner for 4 and then into dinner for 6. Yipes! Now what!? I trolled through the recipes I have been dying to try and found this recipe that I had first seen in Relish Magazine and then in  Y’all Come Over by Patsy Caldwell and Amy Lyles Wilson. One skillet. Perfect. Lots of great ingredients. Fab! Seriously simple and quick to make. Even better! Turned out to be really easy to double, just switching from a 10″ cast iron skillet to a 15″ cast iron skillet.

    (Heard around the dinner table … hmmm, yum, this is so good. So glad you’re back home. We missed you. Does M know you’re having 4 men over for dinner while he’s away? Answers: thank you, I am too, and me you, and OF COURSE he knows. HEAVY SIGH!)

    As it turns out it was a good thing I fed them all BEFORE the insanity started! See, it seems I live my life like Lucy Riccardo. No, really. Stop giggling, please, I have so little dignity left.

    This group of fellows and my dear friend Lisa were my saviors for the week and a half I was home alone. There were locked doors and dog doors (and snow) and pterodactyls (and snow) and more locked doors and broken windows that needed to be removed and replaced (and snow) and lost spare tires and snow and cancelled flights because of snow and more cancelled flights (can you believe more snow in Maine) and yet more cancelled flights (you know the word that fits here) and a wee bit of emotional upheaval.

    While I realize I have kept them all VERY entertained (when one of them now hears my voice on the phone, he laughs, asks if I’m okay, and then ‘so what did you do’), they kept me very entertained and feeling loved and cared for during my first time home alone trial by fire.

    Give this dish a whirl … you will be making it for company again and again!

    • 1/4 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve drippings)
    • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces
    • 1 1/2 t salt, divided
    • 1/2 t black pepper
    • 1/2 C thinly sliced onion
    • 1 can (14-oz) stewed tomatoes
    • 1 t crushed red pepper
    • 2 cans (15-oz) Great Northern beans, drained

    NOTE: I sort of increased this to 1 1/2 of the original above recipe, but using 3 cans of beans and two cans of the tomatoes and 4 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Bacon

    Place the bacon drippings in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

    NOTE: I made the bacon in the skillet I used to make the whole dish and just left the drippings in the skillet.

    Dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Brown the chicken in the bacon drippings, turning once, until the skin is golden brown. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm.

    Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and stir in the onions. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, scraping up any brown bits.

    Adding tomatoes

    Add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook uncovered for about 4 minutes or until the juices are thickened. Add the reserved bacon and the beans. Top with the browned chicken pieces, skin side up. Place skillet in the oven and bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes.

    Some bread to sop up the sauce, a salad, and you are done!

    Basque Chicken

    Ready

    I am loving the recipes from Relish Magazine more and more all the time. I wanted something to use as a main dish with the Baked Orzo with Vegetables. You know, something with similar ingredients and flavors so the meal sort of melded, but also so that ingredients for three recipes could be chopped once and spread across all the dishes. This worked perfectly!

    I must admit that at first I was a little concerned about the smoked paprika! Rather, the amount of smoked paprika – especially after it went up my nose! But the smoked paprika really mellowed in the oven and was delicious with the roasted peppers and tomatoes.

    This was really easy to put together and makes a simple, go to company dish. Add to it a salad, some roasted potatoes or orzo, and bread and you have a feast on your hands!

    When I added more chicken the second night, I started it in a pan on top of the stove. I think I liked this better and will do this in the future. It keeps the skin a  little crisper, which I prefer. Though, due to so many dishes being cooked at the same time and at varying degrees of temperature, the correct, higher temp may have been enough to crisp the skin up. We may need to try this again to be sure.

    • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
    • 6 garlic, thinly sliced
    • 3 to 4 pounds chicken breasts, with bone and skin
    • 1 t salt
    • 1 t coarsely ground black pepper
    • 2 T olive oil
    • 1 T Spanish smoked paprika
    • 3 to 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
    • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, sliced or 2 roasted red peppers
    • 1 C reduced-sodium chicken broth

    NOTE: I did not peel the tomatoes, nope, wasn’t gonna do it. I did take the seeds out. There was enough liquid in the dish without adding more. I also used only chicken thighs.

    Preheat oven to 425F.

    Garlic and onions

    Spread onions and garlic evenly in the bottom of a large shallow roasting pan. Cut each chicken breast in half. Sprinkle chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper. Place chicken, skin side up, in pan.

    NOTE: We had people over two nights in a row. Same dinner, twice (how easy is that). I did want more chicken to add into all the saucy goodness from the night before, so sprinkled salt and pepper and smoked paprika over the chicken and added the chicken to a cast iron skillet, with some onion and garlic, skin side down, until skin was nice and brown, flipped them over and plunged them into the oven for 40 minutes, let the new chicken cool a bit and the old chicken come to room temperature, and then added the old chicken, the new chicken and all the sauce into a baking dish to warm up.

    Ready to bake

    Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with paprika. Bake 20 minutes.

    Add tomatoes, red peppers and broth. Continue baking 35 to 40 minutes, basting chicken occasionally, until chicken juices run clear.

    Puerco Pibil #SundaySupper #MovieInspiredRecipes

    Ready to serve

    After watching the Johnny Depp movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, my son became obsessed with Puerco Pibil. Puerco Pibil was the favorite dish of Sands, Johnny Depp’s character, so much so that he murders any cook who makes it too well.

    After watching the movie a number of times and my son asking and asking for me to create this dish for him, I realized that on on the DVD the director, Robert Rodriguez, provides a recipe and video instruction on how to cook the dish. It’s located in the bonus features.

    First time I made this, couldn’t find the banana leaves, used the wrong cut of pork, was so spicy that there were scorched throats all around the table … but it is requested again and again, and I have changed it a bit to suit the folks eating – unless of course you have a table of fire breathing dragons and then the original would suit you just fine!

    • 5 pounds pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
    • 5 T annato seeds
    • 2 t cumin seeds
    • 1 T whole black pepper
    • 1/2 t whole cloves
    • 8 whole allspice berries
    • 2 habanero Peppers, fresh or dried, cleaned and minced (optional)
    • 1/2 C orange juice
    • 1/2 C white vinegar
    • 8 garlic cloves
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 5 lemons
    • 1 shot of tequila
    • banana leaves (optional)

    Blend the cleaned and chopped habanero peppers with the orange juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.

    Mix the dry spices with the liquid.

    Add the juice of 5 lemons and a nice splash of tequila.

    Place the cubed pork butt in a large zip lock bag and add the marinade. Soak 4-6 hours, in refrigerator, turning several times.

    Line (8×13) baking pan with banana leaves. Pour in pork along with the marinade. Cover with Banana leaves and seal the pan with foil. Bake in a 325 F degree oven for 4 hours.

    Spices

    Grind the annato seeds, cumin seeds, whole peppercorns, whole cloves, and whole allspice in a spice or coffee grinder, or use a mortar and pestle.

    NOTE: I have a coffee grinder that’s dedicated to grinding spices. I use rice or bread to clean it out in between uses so there’s very little residue to flavor whatever you may grind next.

    Blend the cleaned and chopped habanero peppers with the orange juice, vinegar, garlic and salt.

    Peppers

    NOTE: I used one habanero and one jalapeno. It was still spicy, but much tamer than the first time.

    Add the dry spices to the liquid and add the juice of 5 lemons and a nice splash of tequila.

    Pork

    Place the cubed pork butt in a large zip lock bag and add the marinade. Let it sit for 4-6 hours, in refrigerator, turning several times.

    Ready to cook

    Line (8×13) baking pan with banana leaves. Pour in pork along with the marinade. Cover with Banana leaves and seal the pan with foil. Bake in a 325 F degree oven for 4 hours.

    NOTE: I was lucky enough to find banana leaves in one of the supermarkets near me. If you can’t find them, line the roasting pan with foil and then parchment paper – OH! or use Martha Wrap, foil and parchment in one (Reynolds Wrap makes it as well)!

    Serve over a bed of white or Spanish rice, extra limes, lots of napkins, and beer – plenty of beer!

    Enjoy!!!

    NOTE: BTW, this was my first participation in the Sunday Supper Movement, hosted this week by Heather over at Girlichef. This week’s theme is inspiration from a favorite food movie scene. I owe a big thanks to my friend Lizzie from That Skinny Chick Can Bake. Thank you for mentoring me through this first foray into the Sunday Supper Movement! There are a lot of great participants in the Sunday Supper Movement, stop by their movie scene inspired dishes and have a look!

    NOW SHOWING:

    Toast (bready things)

    No Reservations (soups and salads)

    Today’s Special (fish, chicken, beef, and pork)

    Forks Over Knives (veggie-heavy dishes and sides)

    Udon (pasta and noodles)

    Just Desserts (sweet treats)

    Bottle Shock (beverages)

     

    Turkey Vegetable Chili

    Turkey Vegetable Chili

    It’s cold.

    I’m sick.

    Bubonic plague sick.

    Oh, no, not the flu. The flu would be too simple. Here’s some drugs, get some sleep, you’ll be better.

    I have the energy sapping, can’t keep your eyes open, will not go away virus that is sweeping the nation.

    I needed to make something. Something warm. Something healthy. Something that freezes well.

    The solution, this wonderful one-pot turkey vegetable chili. Filled with veggies and turkey. It’s hearty without being too much. Best part, it’s a Weight Watcher’s recipe and each one cup serving is only ONE POINT.  Okay, I made my Grandmother’s Biscuits to go with, so it’s no longer one point, but I’m ill and can afford the extra calories, and besides, I’m shooting for filling, healthy and yummy, not diet conscious.

    There’s a lot of energy sapping chopping here, but the end result is totally worth it!

    • 10 oz. extra lean ground turkey
    • 1 medium onion diced
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes (I use mexican style w/ green chiles)
    • 2 medium zucchini – diced
    • 2 medium yellow squash diced
    • 15 oz can black beans – rinsed & drained
    • 2 cans fat free low sodium beef broth
    • 4 celery stalks diced
    • 1 or 2 packages dry chili seasoning or to taste

    NOTE: This is the original recipe. I usually use low sodium chicken broth. I use one packet of the chili seasoning.

    Ingredients

    Saute turkey, pepper, and onion in the bottom of a large stock pot until browned.

    Into the pot

    Add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium heat until veggies are tender (about 30 minutes).

    Cooking

    I like to simmer mine for a while longer to help the flavors blend, but it’s definitely not necessary.

    Makes approximately 20, one cup servings.

    NOTE: When I freeze tis I freeze it in ziploc bags, laying flat, in both one and two cup portions.

    Bourbon Apple Pork Chops

    So … today’s posting is a tale of woe …

    (It’s always something, isn’t it!?)

    I normally do my grocery shopping for the week on Sunday. I pick my recipes, see what’s on sale, clip my coupons, gather my bags, and toddle off. I don’t give much thought to what I am going to cook on what night.

    UNTIL …

    Yesterday, I turn on the oven to bake some lovely orange roughy … Everything ready to go into my preheated oven … that is STONE COLD. Open the oven, thought of sticking my head in, but that wouldn’t really be a solution, where’s the pilot light, the pilot light … no pilot light. Some sort of new fangled electronic ignition that, according to my Google search, breaks constantly.

    No oven. F*^K.

    The fish was easy. The recipe for the pork chops, not so easy.

    And along came my friends at Relish Magazine and Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen. One pot, on the stove, fabulous and quick! All my favorite things! Served with egg noodles and green beans, dinner was ready before anyone could complain they were hungry!

    • 4  (8-ounce) bone-in pork chops, about 1-inch thick (about 2 pounds)
    • 2  teaspoons sea salt, divided
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 2  fresh thyme leaves, divided
    • 1  tablespoon olive oil
    • 2  tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1  shallot, minced (1 to 2 tablespoons)
    • 1  tart apple, such as Granny Smith, Braeburn or Pippin, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
    • 1/2  cup applesauce
    • 1  cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 2 or 3 T Bourbon (optional)

    Rinse, pat dry and sprinkle both sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon thyme, pressing lightly so seasonings adhere.

    Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until sizzling hot. Add meat and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side, turning only once, to brown. Transfer to a platter and cover loosely to keep warm.

    Add butter to pan and heat until foamy. Add shallot and thyme and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes.Add apple, applesauce, broth and ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to skillet scraping up browned bits. Cook, stirring, until apple is tender and sauce reduces slightly, 3 to 4 minutes.

    NOTE: While they suggest to add a glug or so of Bourbon, they didn’t say where, so I punted and added it here!

    Return meat, along with any juices that have collected at the bottom of the plate, to pan and cook just until thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve warm with sauce and apples spooned over the chops.

    NOTE: This was really simple to pull together and really yummy. I thought there would be too much liquid, so I let it bubble away a little bit longer to reduce it more and thicken up.