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! 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! Oven Burgers

Oven Burgers

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, January 3rd 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Sheet-Pan Supper offers more than better food, faster…
Blaise Doubman

My Grandpa Max would always make hamburgers in the oven, and I never quite understood the whole concept. Why not just fry the hamburgers or grill them? Growing up, I would always shrug away the “oven burgers” he would call them, and go for something else. Over the years, my fascination got the best of me, because I decided to try one. Let me tell you, it was a marvelous thing! Immediately I started trying all kinds of combinations for the “oven burger”. I would put a little piece of butter on the inside of each hamburger before rolling and patting them down into patties to make the meat a little juicer. I would take a small cube of cheese and try the same thing – fabulous! I would also try pickled peppers, different types of onion and all kinds of combinations. I even tried a mozzarella, tomato sauce and pepperoni version – pizza burger, anyone?

Over the years though, I found myself coming back time and time again to my Grandpa Max’s reliable combination of ground beef, onions, salt and black pepper. It was (and still is) a simple taste from my childhood. After my Grandpa Max passed away, my Mom, Darla, started making these, and has been making them ever since. She too, enjoys the simple flavors of the ground beef, onions, salt and black pepper. One day though, it dawned on me – there’s so much space left on the sheet pan, why add not add french fries? With the addition of the french fries, this makes a complete and easy meal, on just one sheet pan! Try this recipe method, experiment and see what you come up with!

Sheet-Pan Hamburgers and Fries in the Oven

This is a very versatile recipe. You can use different types of beef, different types of onion and even add cheese inside the hamburgers if you wish. Also, feel free to substitute tater tots or onion rings for the french fries. Serving these can be fun too, topping each burger with different condiments and different types of bread. Use Hawaiian style bread and a slice of pineapple on each for a “Hawaiian” themed version, or pickled jalapeños and hot sauce for those who like things a little more spicy. The different flavor combinations are endless! Experiment and have fun with it…

2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped white onion
1 bag of frozen french fries
Salt and black pepper, for seasoning

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare six squares of aluminum foil by laying them out on a counter, and spraying each sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Divide the two pounds of hamburger into six equal parts, forming them each gently into a ball, and placing each one in the middle of one of the six aluminum foil squares.

Sprinkle evenly the chopped white onion on each hamburger.

Salt and pepper the hamburgers for seasoning.

Next, take each hamburger and its aluminum foil square, and wrap the hamburger tightly. Once wrapped, press down hard on top of each hamburger, to form a patty.

Place these on a large sheet pan, leaving space between each.

Sprinkle the bag of frozen french fries onto the sheet pan, making sure the fries are in-between and surrounding the hamburger patties.

Place this into the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes depending on how well you like your hamburger meat to be done.

Remove from oven, sprinkle salt on french fries, and carefully remove hamburgers from the foil pouches. Place hamburgers on buns and serve alongside the fries.

CHEW THIS! Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 6th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A warm and delicious slow cooker meal, perfect for cold weather…
Blaise Doubman

I have to admit that I’ve never been a slow cooker fan, until recently. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because of the “slow cooking” process? I’ve never been one to have an extreme amount of patience, and the whole concept of cooking something over the course of several hours never really appealed to me. If you feel the same way, let me reassure you of something that I’m sure will change your mind. When you cook food low and slow, especially meat, you will have the most succulent and tender piece of meat you can ever imagine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the process of “slow cooking” and this method can actually be used to benefit you in the long run by eliminating the clean up of several pots and pans, and by adding time to your day.

If you are like almost every single person in the world today, you need more hours in the day, am I right? You work a hectic job, try and get everything done for everybody else and don’t have that much time to cook when you finally get home in the evenings. And believe me, after a full, hectic and stressful day, a warm home cooked meal is exactly what is needed. Grabbing something from a fast food chain just will not warm and comfort the soul like something fresh and made at home where you control what goes in, and stays out, of the finished dish. Prepare this complete meal in the morning, go about your daily life, and come home to a meal that is warm, soothing, flavorful and completely satisfying. Try this worry and hassle free meal for a surefire hit!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

It’s essential that you cut the beef roast in half to ensure even cooking. This recipe is very versatile and can be made with a variety of vegetables other than potatoes and carrots. For something different try fennel with the onions, or even fennel, onions, celery and garlic. Experiment with whatever vegetable and flavors you desire. You can also experiment with the types of beef used, and use any boneless cut from the chuck or round – such as a rump roast or a bottom round roast. It’s really about preference. I have found, though, that the boneless beef chuck shoulder roast results in the most tender and succulent result. If you want to add even more flavor to the recipe, brown all sides of the roast in a skillet with a little flour before adding it to your slow cooker. This will develop a “crust” which will help lock in the final juices.

1, 4-5 pound boneless beef chuck shoulder roast
4 large potatoes, washed, peeled, and medium diced
4 large carrots, washed and medium diced
2 cups white pearl onions
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 ½ cups water
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 package brown gravy mix
1 package au jus gravy mix

Start by spraying your slow cooker liner with a light coat of non-stick cooking spray.

Place the diced potatoes, diced carrots and pearl onions in the slow cooker, and sprinkle them evenly with the salt and black pepper.

Cut the boneless beef chuck shoulder roast in half with a sharp knife and place it in the slow cooker, on top of the vegetables. Depending on the size of the roast, you may need to push it down into the center of the vegetables, to make sure the lid fits.

Pour in the water, and sprinkle in the dry onion soup mix, brown gravy mix and au jus gravy mix. Place the lid on the slow cooker.

Cook on high for 4 hours, or cook on low for 8 hours.

Double Batch Lasagna

Originally published May 20th, 2015

I am telling you – this is the BEST lasagna recipe, and the only one you will ever need! Seriously – it is absolutely incredible! And you know what? The best part is it makes a DOUBLE BATCH! This means, one for now, and one for later! Yes, I am using a lot of exclamation points!!! See – here are more!!!

You COULD half this recipe, and only make one pan of lasagna, but why? Let us be honest – you will have the mess anyways, why not make TWO – one for now, and one for later!? Pop the other one in the refrigerator (for up to 3 days), or freezer (for up to 3 months) and throw the other one in the oven for one of the best lasagnas you have ever had! I promise…

Now, this lasagna is very “classic” in flavor. There is not any veal, and there is not any fire roasted tomatoes in this version. It is just a clean, classic and simple version that my family and friends LOVE! Anytime someone is sick, or happy, or pregnant, or divorcing, or ANYTHING in life – I always make and deliver this lasagna! (I took this to my friend Judy – who LOVED it and has requested it at least twice a month…) I typically serve this with garlic cheese bread and a salad. It is also good the next day – cold…or on bread…or toast…or battered and deep fried… Ha! Perfect anyway you slice it…

TRY IT! (You can thank me later…)

I got the inspiration from this recipe from my Aunt…Ree Drummond. You all may know her as “The Pioneer Woman”, but to me, she’s my “Aunt Ree Ree”.

Ok – so I stretched the truth a little. She’s not my Aunt…and I do not know her…but I tell people she is my Aunt just to get a reaction! Ha! but honestly, I DO like mine better. I have changed it to fit what works for ME. MY taste, what I like, how I like to make it and mine makes a DOUBLE batch – DOUBLE the fun!

Before you start – it is easier to get everything together in bowls, sections, however you lay out ingredients before hand…and then start and follow the recipe. Chop the fresh parsley, the basil, beat the eggs, etc. It will be SO much easier. Also – use foil pans. Seriously – it will be so much easier for storage, refrigerating, freezing, etc. Keep in mind though that you really need to keep the foil trays on a baking sheet while in the oven, cutting, etc. – just for safety reasons, spillage, etc. Carry on…

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Double Batch Lasagna

2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds hot sausage
4 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cans crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
4 cans tomato paste (6 oz each)
6 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
7 cups cottage cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 packages lasagna noodles (10 oz each)

Start by spraying 2 13×9-inch foil baking pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil, and salt the water heavily with Kosher salt, or in a pinch, regular table salt.

Once the water is boiling, put in both packages of lasagna noodles, and coax them all down into the boiling water. Be careful not to break them – in a few minutes time, the noodles will all fit – as long as your pot is big enough – I promise.

Boil them just until firm to the tooth – about 10 minutes. Read the package instructions just to double check on the time for your particular brand.

Drain them, allow to cool slightly, and arrange the noodles individually side by side (over lapping is fine) on your strainer. This is the best way of “laying out the noodles”.

Next, in a large skillet brown the ground beef and hot sausage, over medium-high heat. About half way through the cooking process, add in the minced garlic, and continue cooking the meat until fully cooked and no longer pink. Drain a little of the fat, and then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 4 tablespoons of the fresh parsley, the fresh basil, salt and black pepper. Stir, carefully, to combine and allow to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally – and tasting occasionally.

In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated parmesan cheese, and (why not?) a little more salt and black pepper.

Now – you are ready to layer! The fun part…

Start by arranging four noodles on the bottom of each pan. Layer like this…

About 4 noodles first – on the bottom. Then, a little of the cottage cheese mixture, then the shredded mozzarella cheese, then the meat mixture. Layer and layer in BOTH PANS like this, until you are out of ingredients, and END with the meat mixture on top. Sprinkle on more grated parmesan cheese all over the top of both.

IF BAKING – Place in preheated 350-degree oven for 30-40 minutes on a flat baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes for a “softer” edge lasagna, 40 minutes for a more “crunchy” edge lasagna… I prefer the 40 minute option…

IF FREEZING – Snap on plastic lid that comes with foil container, and place in freezer for up to 3 months.

IF REFRIGERATING – Snap on plastic lid that comes with foil container, and place in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Unbelievable Meatloaf

Unbelievable Meatloaf

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, April 5th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A four ingredient meatloaf, wins approval for ease and flavor!
Blaise Doubman

I don’t know how many times people have messaged me with questions on what they can fix for dinner, what they can fix with the least amount of ingredients possible and how they can make something fast – but flavorful. I love answering questions like this, and really helping “brainstorm” to find a solution. More times than not, after thinking for awhile, and seeing a limited ingredient list, a new and delicious recipe is born. Recently, I got to thinking about what I could do to make a meatloaf that would be quick, flavorful and made with as little ingredients as possible. Could I develop an uncomplicated meatloaf recipe that would be an approachable recipe for even the beginning cook?

Meatloaf usually contains two types of meat – usually a mixture of ground beef and ground sausage (sometimes veal). Just about every recipe also calls for ketchup, herbs, spices, eggs, milk and some type of crackers or bread. What could I eliminate without eliminating any of the flavors? I had to keep the meat, that was a given, and the egg helps “hold” the meatloaf together. But what about the herbs, spices, crackers and or bread…? And then it hit me. I remembered seeing a recipe where store bought “cornbread dressing” mix was used in making meatballs. Why not use the same concept for a meatloaf? That was it! I could use the “cornbread dressing” mix, and that would take care of the herbs, spices and the crackers that are needed in your more traditional meatloaf. The water would help cook the meatloaf and help “plump” the cornbread dressing mix (which would provide plenty of herbs and spices) – helping the egg hold everything together. This recipe is super simple to throw together, and so delicious, it’s unbelievable.

Unbelievable Meatloaf

This recipe is so delicious you won’t believe it! And with only 4 ingredients! (Water, salt and pepper don’t really count as “ingredients” in the cooking world). I use “Stove Top” brand cornbread stuffing mix for this recipe. It contains the perfect amount of herbs and spices needed for this recipe. This can be served with any side dish you desire – mashed potatoes, green beans, macaroni and cheese or even roasted vegetables would be perfect. This is also delicious sliced and served on bread the next day, for the ultimate “comfort food” sandwich.

1 pound ground beef
1 pound hot sausage
1 cup water
1 egg, beaten
1 box cornbread stuffing mix
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper

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

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together until thoroughly combined. The easiest way to do this is with clean hands.

Next, place the mixture into prepared baking pan and form into a loaf shape.

Place in preheated oven for one hour.

Remove from oven, and let rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” April 28th, 2014

I have heard of “Noodle Bakes” for years from my Grandma Barbra and also recently while leafing through some of my old Church cookbooks that I have bought over the years. Each and every one of them are unique to the person making them. Enter Ree Drummond (The “Pioneer Woman”) and her version of the noodle bake, which she calls her “Sour Cream Noodle Bake”. Her recipe is very much similar to one of my favorite recipes for the noodle bake, which I found in an old 1980’s Church cookbook. Is it safe to say that the 80’s was the “Generation of Casseroles”?!

A lot of people do not care for casseroles anymore – but I can not see or understand why. Casseroles can be delicious and easy to make. Let’s bring back the casserole!

The following recipe is my version of the ever popular dish…

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Sour Cream Noodle Bake

1 pound ground beef
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 cups grated Sharp Cheddar cheese

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large baking dish (I used a 9 x 13 baking dish) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet and the drain most of the fat.

Add the can of tomato sauce to the browned ground beef along with tablespoon of fresh basil, tablespoon of fresh parsley, teaspoon of salt and teaspoon of pepper. Stir together and simmer mixture on low for about 30 minutes.

Next, cook the egg noodles until al dente. This should take about 8 minutes. Drain the noodles and set aside.

In a bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Stir together and then add teaspoon of pepper and sliced green onions to the mixture. Add this to the cooked egg noodles and stir.

When you are ready to assemble (and the pasta sauce has simmered about 30 minutes) add half the noodle mixture to the baking dish. Next, top with half the meat mixture – spread out evenly over the noodles. Then sprinkle on half the grated sharp cheddar cheese. Repeat until the final top layer is a layer of the rest of the sharp cheddar cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. The cheese will be melted and the inside middle, hot.

Leftovers (if you have any) are even better the next day…

Enjoy!