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My family loves cheesesteaks and I don’t mind making them but sometimes the meat is a pain in the butt!  Slicing it thin is tedious.  Anyway, for a quicker version, with less to do, I decided to do a ground beef version.  In the end it tasted like Philly Cheesesteak and looked like Sloppy Joes so it is so named…Sloppy Cheesesteaks.

Here is what you will need:

Sandwich or Hamburger Buns

1 lb ground beef

1 yellow onion, chopped or thinly sliced

1 bell pepper, chopped or thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4-5 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup beef broth

2 T cream cheese

1 T Worcestershire sauce

Provolone or American cheese slices

Start by browning 1 lb of ground beef in a large pan or pot.  Strain fat and set aside.  In the same pan (add about 1 T of cooking oil if your meat did not leave enough), add 1 chopped or thinly sliced onion, 1 chopped or thinly sliced bell pepper, and about half of an 8oz package of sliced mushrooms.  If you are a mushroom fan like me, you can sneak it a little more than that  😉   Cook that, stirring often, on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes.  Add 2 cloves finely chopped garlic and continue cooking, stirring often, for another 2 to 3 minutes, until all the vegetables are softened.  Now, throw the meat back in, and add 1/2 cup beef broth, 1 T Worcestershire sauce, and 2 T cream cheese.  Reduce heat to a medium and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often.  That is basically it.

There is debate as to whether Provolone or American cheese is proper for a Philly Cheesesteak.  I haven’t (and won’t) do the research to discover truly what is correct but I just say this, Go with what you like!  I prefer provolone, Husband prefers american.

Pile some meat on a bun and place a slice of Provolone or American cheese on top.  With the sandwich still open faced, place on a rack in the oven with the oven set to broil.  Allow to broil just long enough to melt the cheese.

Serve while warm!

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Enjoy,

Erin, The Burbs

Husband and I had an idea that we thought may be great.  We have not done it yet, so keep that in mind.  This is a try at your own risk sort of idea.  We thought we would give the kids a set of coupons for their birthday to give them exceptions to the rules that normally don’t get exceptions.  We have things like a free day off school, a curfew extension, etc.

Birthday Coupons_Page_2   Birthday Coupons_Page_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the coupons have fine print and some have the “right to refuse” by the parents.  Here is the reason.  We have a “skip school” coupon.  If there is something that I truly think my child is avoiding at school that I think they shouldn’t be, I might refuse the coupon.  However, it is something that I really do want to try not to refuse, even if its hard.  For example, we have a “skip chores” coupon.  If my child decides that she wants to skip chores one day and her room is a disaster area and we have company coming tomorrow, I know I would want to refuse the coupon but that is the point of these.  It allows them to exercise some privilege that I may not LOVE!  So if her bedroom is a hazard zone that should be quarantined by the CDC and I have company over, I will deal with it.  Its not the end of the world.

I am hoping this will give them some excitement and allow them some control.  Kids love control more than anything and the reality is that this will allow them to exercise some control within our approval.  I am also hoping that this will have some natural consequences.  While I won’t let my kids skip school on a test day because they should not be skipping tests, it would be great if they missed an event or something so that they understand whether worth it or not, there are natural consequences to decisions.

If you want to give them a try, get them here or make your own.  I would be interested to hear your experience with them if you try them out!

Erin, The Burbs

A couple weekends ago a neighbor in town brought a couple of very large boxes of apples to my house. They had picked what was left on their tree and were giving what they had away. I of course do not ever like to see food go to waste so I decide to give my self a try at apple butter.  Here is what I used….

About 35 small very small apples different varieties

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups granulated sugar

4 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp all spice

1 tsp ground cloves

3 TBL spoon lemon juice

Okay First things first peel and core your apples I had a lot of apples I just peeled and cored them with the help of Mountain Man until it filled up our crock pot.

Peeled Sliced Cored Apples, In a large Crock Pot.

Peeled Sliced Cored Apples, In a large Crock Pot.

Turn the crock pot on low, meanwhile mix all of your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then cover your apples with the mixture. Put the lid on the crock pot and walk away.

After about 2 hours pull the lid off and take a potato maser to the apple and start to break them up a bit.

apple butter 2At this point your house will smell amazing. Mix it up and walk away again.

After about 8 hours my mixture was really breaking down so I turned the pot on high and let it cook another hour. After that I pulled my mixture out and dumped it in my ninja to whip it up. After it was a smooth consistency I poured it back into the crock pot and let it cook with the lid off for another hour, until it was the thickness I liked.

I put my fresh apple butter in some jars and gave them a quick hot water bath so I could store them in the cupboards. For directions on hot water bath canning click here.

I dove in as soon as I whipped this up, Of course after all that work I really didn’t get that much but it is so worth it. Get yourself to an orchard pick some apples and make this today. I’m serious it will be worth it I promise.

apple butter jarsKimmy (sticks)

As soon as Halloween is over and November arrives, I start to think about Christmas.  I like to have a stress free December so I like to get organized and begin my gift purchasing in hopes to be done mid December 🙂  Today I have a couple of different gift lists.  One for the family and friends that I typically only purchase one gift for and one for my kids, who we have to purchase more than just one gift for.  I find getting this stuff all listed out helps when it comes to saving during sales.  If I know what I want, I don’t have to waste time browsing and then missing out on deals.

Christmas Gift List_Page_1  Christmas Gift List - Kids_Page_1Christmas Gift List - Kids_Page_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like them, you can download them here.

Yay for the Holidays!

Erin, The Burbs

I love homemade bread but my poor excuse for arms don’t like to knead bread.  They protest, loudly!  Anyway, I bought a bread machine hoping that would solve the problem but I never use it because I just don’t like the way it turns out.  Finally, I found a recipe that fulfills my need of being homemade without a bread machine or kneading.  I have tried it out twice and both times, great success!  This recipe was found on blog called I Heart Naptime.  You can go to it by clicking here.  I am not going to post the recipe here out of respect for my fellow bloggers.  I am sure she would like the blog hits so please go to that link to see the recipe (her pictures are better than mine too), its worth it!

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Erin, The Burbs

Cheddar Risotto

I have been on a risotto kick lately.  I am loving the consistency and versatility of it.  It has the ability to be the same each time you make it and be completely unique each time you make it, all at the same time!  It is something you can always count on to “feel” the same each time.  It is creamy and deliciously rich but each recipe makes it completely unique and different and a new taste adventure!  Risotto is a great side for beef, chicken, fish, or even game meat!

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So, most recently I made a cheddar risotto.  Try it out, it was yummy.  I found it in a cooking magazine but I cut it out of the magazine and don’t remember where so I need to make it known, I am sharing someone else’s recipe 🙂

4 T butter

1 cup chopped yellow onion

2 cups arborio rice (yes, it has to be Arborio rice)

5 cups hot water

1 chicken bouillon cube

1/2 t salt

2 cups grated cheddar cheese (sharper is better!)

1/2 cup of diced ham (you can use deli ham, just cut it into little squares)

4-5 cups spinach

black pepper

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook until butter starts to brown (it should be 2-3 minutes).  Stir in onions and rice and cook for about 2 minutes.  Stir often.  Add hot water and bouillon cube, and salt.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until done.  Taste it to make sure.  Risotto should be creamy and almost thick soup like but still have the rice feel like rice, not mush.  It will absorb some of the remaining liquid even as it sits after it is removed from the heat.

Remove pan from heat and stir in cheddar and ham.  Stir until cheese is melted and stir in spinach.  Serve immediately.  Serves 8.

Erin, The Burbs

I have been working on making a few recipes completely on my own lately (I always change recipes to work better for me and my tastes but I do usually start with some recipe as a jumping point) and this is my latest.

If you do not drink or use alcohol, the alcohol in this cooks off before you eat it BUT if that still does not make you comfortable, you can find some non-alcoholic cooking wine in some grocery stores (even here in Utah because it is non alcoholic); it is usually with the vinegars.

So, this recipe makes enough sauce for 4 small pasta portions or 2 large ones.

Here we go:

Start by finely mincing 2 garlic cloves and finely chopping 1/2 of an onion.  Turn a pan on medium high heat and let heat up for about 1 minute.  Add enough olive oil to the pan to lightly coat it.  Allow that to heat for another minute or so.  Drop in the onions and garlic, they should sizzle when you drop them in.  Stir and saute that around for about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat for about 30 seconds and then add 1 cup of white wine.  Put back on the heat and bring to a simmer.  Allow to simmer strongly until the wine reduces to about half of what you put in, stirring frequently.  Sometimes your head plays tricks on you and it is hard to tell.  Just use your best judgement, it does not have to be perfect.

Next, turn it down to a low simmer and add 1 1/2 cup heavy cream.  Stir to mix and begin to bring back to a simmer while you prepare the next part.

Now in a small bowl, mix 2 T flour and about 1/3 cup water together.  Just before the sauce comes back to a simmer, slowly stir in the flour and water mixture.  Make sure the mixture was stirred just before you pour it in or the flour will settle to the bottom.  Continue to stir and allow to simmer for just a few minutes.  It will thicken but it will not be as thick as alfredo or red sauce.

Add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and stir until it melts.  Finally, add 2 T butter, salt and pepper to taste and stir until mixed.

Serve on pasta, garnish with chopped parsley.  Now, I served mine on a traditional spaghetti noodle but it was only because I had already started those for dinner already when I decided I did not want a red sauce like the kids were having.  I would prefer this on an angel hair or fettuccine.

 

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I also thought after I made this that a GREAT addition would be mushrooms!  A white wine mushroom cream sauce?  Can I say YUM!  I bet if you Just chop them up to a medium size chop and saute them with the garlic and onions to start.  Then finish the recipe the same way.  I wish I would have thought of it before, but I forgot (and didn’t have mushrooms anyway).

Erin, The Burbs