Beef Manhattans

I love to order beef manhattans when I am out at local restaurants and often wondered if I could try to make my own homemade version. Well I did and they are fabulous! You will not believe how flavorful these are, or how simple! Use store bought or homemade mashed potatoes and brown gravy.

Beef Manhattans

4 pound boneless beef chuck roast
1 stick butter
1 package dry Ranch dressing mix
1 package au jus gravy mix
2 cups homemade or jarred brown gravy
Prepared mashed potatoes
Texas Toast

Start by lining your slow cooker with a slow cooker liner. Place in the boneless beef chuck roast.

Place stick of butter on top of roast.

Sprinkle over package of dry Ranch dressing mix. Sprinkle over package of au jus gravy mix.

Place on lid and cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

After cooking, remove lid and shred meat using 2 forks.

Warm prepared brown gravy and prepared mashed potatoes.

Assemble the beef manhattans by placing 2 slices of Texas Toast on a plate. Top with shredded beef. Top with mashed potatoes and finish with brown gravy.

CHEW THIS! Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 7th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Baked Spaghetti is an Italian Classic
Blaise Doubman

If I had to pick my favorite food nationality it would have to be Italian. Although Chinese would have to play an important second role, as well as traditional American food. I love anything and everything Italian, from Ziti to Stuffed Shells and every single one of their desserts. Has anyone tried their lady finger and espresso soaked dessert known as “tiramisu”? Heavenly! Every time there is a celebration around here, and I just do not feel like cooking, which is rare, but it happens, I always pick a nice Italian restaurant. There is something in me that thinks I perhaps have some Italian roots, or maybe even an Italian background somewhere years and years in my background. Maybe I will try one of the ancestry websites and poke around some. Although, I am not really keen on the popular ancestry website where you send in a sample of your blood! I do not want my blood going to some big company that may get hacked or something later. And how is it not guaranteed that my blood will not be used years down the road for cloning purposes! Ha! Can you imagine two of me? My family and friends would not know what to do!

But in all honesty, Italian food makes me think of warmth and comfort, celebrations and togetherness. It may also have to do with the fact that my Grandpa Max and Grandma Deloris ate out quite a bit at Italian places when I was growing up, and I would tag along with them. Recently, when I found out that my cookbook was going to start being sold over at the Warm Glow Candle Outlet in Centerville, Indiana, I immediately wanted to celebrate with my family and friends. I had been working on a baked spaghetti recipe for awhile and decided to perfect it and serve it in celebration. I tinkered around for a while and came up with a recipe that is simple, easy, classic and flavorful! Next time you are thinking about what to make for a celebratory meal, I hope your mind drifts to this recipe and you try it with your family and friends! Feel free to experiment with your favorites types of cheeses and herbs.

Baked Spaghetti with Mozzarella and Parmesan

This dish can be made ahead, wrapped with aluminum foil and refrigerated for up to two days. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to two days. Feel free to substitute different types of cheese for the Mozzarella and Parmesan, such as Ricotta. This is perfect served with a side salad and garlic bread.

16 oz spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound ground beef
Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasonings
28 oz crushed tomatoes
½ cup basil, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 cups shredded Mozzarella
½ cup grated Parmesan

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions until al dente, drain and set aside. Be sure to boil the spaghetti in lots of boiling salted water. Also add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the boiling water. I do this sometimes to prevent the spaghetti from sticking together once the pasta is cooled.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil for about one minute. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until you can smell the warmth, which will take about 2 more minutes. Add the ground beef and season to your liking with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Cook the meat until fully cooked and no longer pink. Drain the mixture and then return to the skillet, still over medium heat. Add in the crushed tomatoes, chopped basil and chopped parsley until thickened and reduced, which will take about 12 minutes in total. You can taste the mixture at this point and add more seasonings if desired.

Toss this with the cooked spaghetti and pour into prepared baking dish.

Top the dish evenly with the Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove and serve hot.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of messages about my favorite type of “quick biscuits”. I would have to say my favorite recipe would be on page 83 in my cookbook and calls for only 2 simple ingredients. Self-rising flour and heavy cream. You take the 2 ingredients, roll out and cut, place in preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 14 minutes. People will not believe that the biscuits are only 2 simple ingredients and you will have a new secret recipe!

CHEW THIS! Kami’s Deep Dish Pizza

Kami’s Deep Dish Pizza

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 18th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Deep Dish Pizza – a Family Favorite
Blaise Doubman

I love a good deep dish pizza! I am not a fan of thin crust pizza or flatbreads. Give me a thick, delicious and tomato sauce slathered piece of deep dish pizza any day! My very favorite deep dish pizza comes from Giordano’s in Indianapolis. If you have not tried it, I highly recommend it! Now, when you go, be prepared to wait about 45 minutes for your pizza but trust me, the wait is well worth it! When I started developing recipes for my own deep dish pizza I wanted something simple, foolproof and flavorful. After testing several recipes I found a recipe for deep dish pizza from my Aunt, Kami Doubman. I was blown away! The recipe was simple and the techniques in letting the dough rise and rest were simple and straightforward. I made the recipe in several variations and discussed with her in length about the ingredients and process. The recipe below is the official result – and it is fabulous!

I love recipes that are passed down from one generation to the next and I love recipes that are easy and versatile. For this particular recipe feel free to use a good pizza sauce from a jar or even a good quality marinara sauce with your own herbs added. Go completely homemade with the pizza sauce if you want to by adding ½ cup chopped white onion and 2 tablespoons minced garlic in a skillet over medium heat until clear and tender. Next add in 2 tablespoons olive oil, a couple of cans of crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, a small can of tomato paste and a sprinkling of salt, black paper, oregano and basil. Simmer until thickened and ready to use – it really could not be any more simple – and so delicious! Shoutout and special thanks to my Aunt Kami for allowing me to share this recipe with everyone!

Kami’s Deep Dish Pizza

Top this pizza with anything you desire! My personal favorite topping with this pizza is pepperoni and sliced – not shredded – mozzarella cheese. When using sliced cheese it creates a “blanket” of cheese on top that using shredded cheese just does not match. Add hamburger, sausage, peppers, onions, olives or even pineapple. To help the dough rise in a warm location, turn your oven on 200 degrees F and place the bowl of dough near the oven.

1 cup white all-purpose flour
½ cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package dry yeast
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup water
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour

Start by combining the white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, salt and dry yeast in a large bowl.

In a glass measuring cup combine the whole milk, water and salted butter. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes being sure not to overheat the mixture because it could kill the yeast. You want the liquid to be warm to the touch not too hot.

Add the warm liquid to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.

Once combined, gently stir in 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour.

Combine, using clean dry hands, until the dough forms a ball that holds together.

Lay the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. This can also be done using the kneading function on your kitchen stand mixer.

Once the 10 minutes is up, place the dough ball into a clean bowl and cover with a clean towel. Place in a warm area and allow to rest and rise for 90 minutes.

Punch down, knead a couple times, reshape and allow to rest and rise 60 additional minutes.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a lightly greased 9x-13-inch baking pan. Gently pat and coax the dough into the pan being sure to press down the dough without stretching it. If you stretch the dough it will return to exactly where it was before in the pan.

Once evenly distributed cover with pizza sauce, pepperoni, sliced cheese, etc.

Bake in preheated 375 degree F oven for 37 minutes.

Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Ask and Answer: Several people messaged me about my made from scratch strawberry pizza and wondered if you could substitute other fruit toppings in place of the strawberries. The answer is yes! Blueberries would be nice, pineapples and kiwi or even cherries. In replacing the fruit you would then want to make a glaze that would pair nicely with the substituted fruit. Unless you wanted to use the strawberry glaze with other types of fruit and that would be perfectly delicious as well. Hope this helps and thanks for asking!

Rigatoni Pie

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” March 22nd, 2017

I first discovered this recipe on “The Food Network” Facebook page and I knew immediately I wanted to try it. I was not sure I would have the patience though to individually place all the rigatoni pastas into the cake pan – but you know what? It was really easy. Might have taken 4 minutes total! Super easy and the end result is really impressive!

This is the perfect recipe for entertaining and the perfect recipe to make with your kids! You can use meat in this recipe – hamburger, sausage, lamb – just make sure it’s precooked and that you add it after the tomato sauce but before the shredded cheese. Fabulous and delicious!

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Rigatoni Pie

1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 large jar pasta sauce, plus seasonings
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Start by spraying an 8-inch springform cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap the bottom with aluminum foil. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 8 minutes. Drain.

In a medium saucepan heat the pasta sauce and add in whatever seasonings you desire. I added minced garlic, red pepper flakes, basil and a pinch of sugar to mine. Let come to slight boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Arrange rigatoni pasta in springform pan. The easiest way to do this is turn rhe pan sideways – arrange the pasta building it “up” – sideways – until you reach the top of the pan. Not all of the pasta will fit. That is ok!

Carefully pour the pasta sauce over the rigatoni and level out with a spoon. You may not use all the sauce. Be sure the sauce covers a majority of the top.

If you want to use meat – layer on top now.

Evenly sprinkle with both cheeses.

Place pie on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Place aluminum foil on top of the pie, tenting it slightly. Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes remove from the oven and remove aluminum foil. Place back into the oven for 30 more minutes to brown and melt the cheese.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Gently undo the springform pan from the pie.

Cut the pie into pieces and serve.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Old-Fashioned 3-Bean Chili

Old-Fashioned 3-Bean Chili

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, October 16th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Chili season is just around the corner…
Blaise Doubman

I do not know about you but I think of the four seasons in terms of food. Spring is the time for light and fruity desserts, small appetizer courses and sparkling fruit drinks. Summer is the time of year for cookouts, potato salads, pasta salads, ice cream desserts and lemonade. Fall, to me, always means sweet and cinnamon filled snickerdoodle cookies baking in the oven, hot apple cider and warm and comforting types of soups and stews, like chili! Same goes for the cold and dark winter months. In that type of environment who would want anything other than a warm, hearty and filling meal? I know that I may be in the minority here, but I love Fall and Winter. Those seasons bring so many fun and exciting times! The beautiful leaves changing colors, a much welcome cooler breeze and an overwhelming sense of excitement leading up to a flurry of Holidays, get togethers, meals and pitch-ins that last well into the New Year.

The first few cool days of Fall always takes me right back to the first time my Mom, Darla, taught me how to make chili in our family kitchen. She explained that chili was something that everybody made differently and it was really up to the taste buds of the person making it. She described how some people add pasta to their chili, some people add lots of spice, some add ground cinnamon and some even add a little unsweetened cocoa powder to add a hint of savory to the back note of the overall flavor. I remember being amazed that almost anything could work in chili! Years later I experimented with stirring in a little peanut butter at the end of the cooking time and guess what? Fabulous! I highly recommend you give it a try, but first, try mastering this classic recipe. Once you have this down, add your favorite flavors and see what happens! Perhaps a new and exciting dish to get you through the chili season…

Old-Fashioned 3-Bean Chili

This recipe has been handed down in my family for generations. My Great Grandma Viola Davis handed it down to my Grandma Deloris Bolinger, who handed it down to my Mom, Darla Doubman, who over the years has handed it down to me! These are the best recipes in my opinion because they have history behind them. Cooking is not an exact science, like baking is, so everything can be leveled out according to personal taste and preference. The measurements listed below are the exact measurements that have been passed down to me. Feel free to change, or add, whatever your taste buds desire. Cooking is all about experimenting and having fun!

1 pound ground beef
2 cans black beans
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans red kidney beans
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 Spanish onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large can tomato juice
1 cup elbow macaroni
Chili seasoning mix
Hot sauce
Salt
Black pepper

Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet. Once browned, drain the fat and return the ground beef to the skillet. Over medium heat, add in the tomato paste, diced green bell pepper, diced Spanish onion and minced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes before adding in the chili seasoning mix, hot sauce, salt and black pepper. Add in the seasonings to your specific tastes. I use about 3 tablespoons of the seasoning mix, 2 teaspoons hot sauce and 2 teaspoons each of the salt and black pepper. Feel free to add and taste for your personal preferences.

In a large stock pot, add the large can of tomato juice and the cans of undrained black beans, kidney beans, red kidney beans and stewed tomatoes. Stir this together over medium heat.

Add the hamburger mixture into the large stock pot. Stir everything together and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Once it comes to a boil, stir in the elbow macaroni and continue a boil, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium/low and cook until macaroni is cooked and the chili has slightly thickened. Stir often to avoid burning the bottom.

When ready to serve, serve over a layer of corn chips and top with shredded cheese, chili powder and sour cream.

Ask and Answer: Theresa Pierce of Mooreland wrote to me with a question about my “Chocolate Banana Pudding” that was featured most recently in my column. She wondered if the recipe could be made sugar-free. Absolutely! There are several recipes online for a sugar-free chocolate pudding. My favorite version uses ripe avocados in the base. Substitute that recipe for mine and add sugar-free vanilla wafers as well as sugar-free whipped topping!

CHEW THIS! Skillet Meatballs

Skillet Meatballs

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 5th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Homemade meatballs are deliciously versatile…
Blaise Doubman

When developing a recipe, the first thing on my mind is flavor. What will add to the overall flavor of the recipe, what ingredients will contribute to the flavors I’m looking for and what will pair nicely with the flavors? Most of the time I’ll eat something I want to recreate and it will go from there. Take this recipe for skillet meatballs for example. There’s a popular restaurant chain that has a meatball sandwich on its menu. I’ve eaten this more times than I’m willing to admit, and after a friend and I got to thinking about what could possibly be the secret ingredient in their meatballs, I sat out to crack the code myself. It took a little experimentation, several recipe testers and lots of ground beef, but I can happily say, I cracked the code.

I have a recipe on my blog for hamburgers that are perfect on a charcoal grill and served with cooked onions and peppers. I remember developing that recipe and adding all kinds of things to the ground beef, to try and add flavor. Then I thought – why am I doing this? You want to be able to taste the freshness of the ground beef, right? So I went minimal, which is what I’ve done here. I’ve added bread crumbs to help bind the meatballs and hold them together, and added two main flavor components – yellow squirt mustard and fresh basil. The yellow squirt mustard gives the ground beef subtitle flavor, and the fresh basil combines nicely with the overall flavors and adds a fresh background note. This is my go to meatball recipe…

Skillet Meatballs

I prefer this method over baking them in the oven. These are very versatile. The recipe can be doubled, tripled or more! These are delicious served over warm spaghetti or, my personal favorite, placed into sub buns and served with homemade tomato sauce, or marinara sauce, sliced mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan. These also make a perfect appetizer. Serve with toothpicks and a side dish of tomato sauce and/or barbecue sauce. Keep them warm by placing them in a low heated slow cooker. 

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon yellow squirt mustard
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
Olive oil, for frying

Start by placing the panko bread crumbs in a small bowl and pouring over the whole milk. Allow the bread crumbs to soak for 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, place the ground beef and 1 tablespoon yellow squirt mustard, along with the diced onion, melted butter, eggs, chopped basil, salt, pepper and milk soaked bread crumbs.

Mix everything together using a fork, and a light hand. Be careful not the over mix the meat mixture.

Heat about 1/4-inch of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Allow to heat up 2 minutes.

Form the meat mixture into meatballs a little bigger than the size of your standard ping pong ball and place into the skillet.

Fry the meatballs until they are browned on all sides and cooked through, about 15 minutes. You will need to turn them occasionally.

Serve on spaghetti, as appetizers with toothpick holders or in sub-buns as meatball sub sandwiches, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

CHEW THIS! Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce

Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce 

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 15th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Homemade pizza is far superior to anything you could buy…
Blaise Doubman

My family loves pizza! But really though, who doesn’t? I read somewhere once, that pizza is the most consumed food in the World, and I believe it! I can name ten pizza places right off the top of my head – all locally! I really think that pizza places are the new Starbucks. It seems there’s one popping up on every corner. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve tried most of them – ok, all of them, and none of them are as delicious as pizza you could make at home! Sure there’s more cleanup involved, and a few more dishes, but so what? Make the time to really learn what goes into your pizza. When you control the ingredients, you know exactly what you’re eating! It’s healthier and it’s a lot more fun making your own pizza, and creating memories in your kitchen, than swinging by and picking up or ordering a pizza. Make this with your husband, your wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandparents, grandkids… Create a memory with them to share.

I wanted to create a recipe that could be made time and time again, not just because of the ease of the recipe, but because it was flavorful and crowd-pleasing. I really believe this recipe does that. With this recipe, there’s no waiting for the dough to rise, and no messing with leavening agents that some recipes are notorious for. If you have a pizza stone, I highly recommend using it with this recipe. I haven’t used anything but a pizza stone in several years, and I find it’s well worth the investment. Every time I serve this, people rave about not only the chewy crust, but the well bodied flavor of the homemade sauce.

Homemade Pizza and Tomato Sauce

This recipe is super versatile! Top with any combination of toppings you like – pineapple, ground beef, ground sausage, mushrooms, onions, green bell peppers, jalapeños, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, Munster cheese, pickles, zucchini, ham, bacon, and so forth. Let your imagination fly! It’s very important to use bread flour for this recipe. Keep it on hand – stored in an air tight container – for when you want to make this recipe again. This recipe can easily be doubled. This particular recipe makes enough for one standard medium/large pizza. If you find the pizza sticking to the pizza pan, sprinkle a little cornmeal on before stretching the dough. In place of the cranberry juice, feel free to use grape juice, pomegranate juice or for a richer flavor, red wine.

For the pizza dough…
1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons white granulated sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 ½ cups bread flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

For the tomato sauce…
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup cranberry juice
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper

Start by making the tomato sauce. In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the garlic for about 90 seconds. Add the cranberry juice and simmer with the garlic for about 2 minutes. Next, add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, white granulated sugar, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Stir everything together well and simmer mixture over medium-low heat for about 7 minutes.

After the mixture has thickened slightly, keep under low heat stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, make the pizza dough. Start by preheating your oven to 450-degrees F and lightly spraying your pizza pan or stone with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast and white granulated sugar into the warm water. Swish this mixture around with your fingertips and allow to stand about 10 minutes.

Next, stir in the bread flour, olive oil and salt. Stir vigorously until combined and then allow the mixture to rest about 5 minutes.

Finally, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and pat into a round shape. Transfer the ball of dough to the prepared pizza pan and spread out gently with your hands, being careful not to pull or stretch the dough.

Once the dough is formed onto the pizza pan, spread with the warm tomato sauce and finish with desired toppings.

Place in preheated oven for 16-21 minutes or until golden brown.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before cutting.