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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Swiss Steak Like My Mama's


Old Fashioned Swiss Steak served with Mashed and 
Sauteed Green Beans

This is a classic recipe my mama, Margie Mae Horn Perry, fixed for our family when I was growing up. It's a basic recipe, but I noticed most recipes on Pinterest add all kinds of ingredients, which I think would change the taste. The way my mama fixed it and the way I fix it have very few ingredients (steak, onions, flour, canned tomatoes, salt and pepper), but other recipes add carrots, celery, garlic and all kinds of spices like paprika, oregano, Worcestershire, etc. I'm sure it would taste good, but to me that really would change the taste of the Swiss Steak and if i want a beef stew with vegetables, then I'm good with adding other vegetables. Sometimes I do add green pepper with the onions, and I love it that way too. We serve this over mashed potatoes or rice & it's good either way. Then I usually fix green beans to go with this. If I were having company I would add a green salad, rolls and a dessert. Oh, and of course sweet iced tea! This is definitely one of my favorite meals.

Swiss Steak

· 1 large round steak or swiss steak (chuck roast would work too if you slice into pieces). If you can't find a large round steak, buy  2  to make it the size of a big one.

· ½ medium onion, sliced       (about 1 cup)

· 1 cup sliced green pepper    (optional)

· 1 - 14 oz can diced       tomatoes

· 1 can beef broth or beef consommé, optional (if you do not have this you can just use water (and flour) to make the gravy because that's what I have used 99% of the time I've made this and it's delicious because you can still taste the beef flavor. 

· 2-3 tablespoons oil

· 1½ cups flour (I used Bob's Mills All Purpose Gluten Free flour since I'm wheat intolerant)

· Salt and pepper to taste


Set the oven to preheat on 325º.

When I buy the large round or Swiss Steak, I do not cut it into pieces, because this streak turns out really tender, cooking it slow, and the steak falls apart when done because it's so tender.

Pound the steak on both sides with a meat tenderizer. (Hammer-like thing). While the oil is heating on med hi, salt and pepper the steak, then dredge it in flour on both sides. Cook the steak (medium high heat), on both sides to get it brown and crusty.  You don't need to cook it all the way. When its crusty on both sides, place it into a casserole dish that has a lid. I have a medium size blue oval spatterware roaster that I use to cook casseroles in. 

Now slice the onions (and green pepper, if using) and saute them til soft. (A few minutes). With a slotted spoon, place the onions on top of the steak in the baking pan. Save the oil because we're using that to make the gravy. If you don't have at least 3 tbs of oil in the pan, add more. As that's heating, add about 3 tbs of the flour, using a whisk to mix it in the oil smoothing it out. (making a roux like regular gravy). After that's cooked, while stirring, about a minute or 2, slowly add the tomatoes and broth, stirring, with the wisk, so there won't be lumps.

Cook and stir the gravy on medium heat till it thickens a little. You do not want the gravy to be as thick as a finished gravy, but you want it to be a lot less thick, because, believe me, it's going to get much thicker when its cooking in the oven for 2½ hours. So please have the gravy thin, but definitely not as liquid as water. If it seems too thick (since its going to thicken a lot more in the oven), just add water to get the consistency it needs to be. I don't always get it right the first time and have to adjust it. If you like a lot of gravy and it doesn't look like it'll be enough to go over the potatoes or rice, double the gravy part, starting with the amount of oil is in the pan after taking the steak out. I like at least 3 cups of gravy with this (or even more). You do not need to add more tomatoes, just more oil, flour and water or broth. Be sure to salt and pepper the gravy, as you go. Pour the gravy all over the steak and onions.

Bake the steak (covered) at 325º for 1½ hours, check it and then bake it for 1½ - 2 more hours on 200º. (total time about 3 hours).  Cooking it long and at a low temperature is what makes the steak tender.

This would be easier to describe if I could show you in a video of exactly how thick/thin the gravy should be when pouring it over the steak and onions.

I hope you enjoy this. Please let me know if anyone has questions. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy Cheesy Green Chicken Enchiladas
This is what the enchiladas look like after coming out of the oven. With the sauce poured all over the top plus the cheese, you can't even tell what it is! The recipe fills up a 13" x 9" casserole dish, but I also had enough filing left over to fill a square brownie pan, too. So it makes a lot! The recipe feeds anywhere from 8-10 people but it depends on how hungry they are. Most people can eat only 1 large enchilada & this makes 10-12 enchiladas, so if you have big eaters, take
 that into consideration. This was incredibly delicious & I'm glad I came up with my own list of ingredients. Btw, if you're wondering why I didn't put black olives over the whole top, it's because some picky eaters won't eat them.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

· 4-5 cups cooked chicken, shredded (I used fully cooked frozen grilled chicken strips - Kroger & Aldi have this in a bag) Or to make it easier, use a fully cooked rotisserie chicken. You could even use canned chicken.

· Large size flour tortillas (use GF or corn tortillas if you eat gluten free)

· 4 cups cheddar cheese or Mexican blend (I used all cheddar bc that's what I had) 1-1½ cups of this will be used in the sauce, but the rest of the cheese will be put inside each enchilada with the chicken, and also some cheese will go on top after the enchiladas are in the baking dish. 

Ingredients for Sauce:
· 16 oz green salsa in the jar (Salsa Verde - not the canned green enchilada sauce, however you can use the canned sauce. I couldn't find the green sauce at Kroger when I was looking for it, so that's why I got the green salsa & we loved it)

· 1-1½ cups Cheddar cheese (grated) You will need more cheese than this for the inside of the enchiladas and also for spreading on top of all the enchiladas before putting it in the oven. See below.

· 1 can Campbell's Cream     of Chicken soup

· 2 - 16oz containers sour cream (full fat-not fat free) OR largest container ( you will need about 3 or more cups sour cream which includes some as garnish on top when its served)

· 1 small can green chili's, drained (these are not hot)

· 1 cup chicken broth (add more if you think the sauce needs to be less thick) I used instant chicken bullion granules + water to make 1 cup.

· ½ cup onion, chopped
· 1-2 garlic cloves, minced    or diced
· 1 Tbsp olive oil for     saueting onion & garlic
· ½ tsp cumin
· ½ tsp chili powder
· ¾ tsp onion powder
· ½ tsp garlic powder
· ¼ tsp paprika
· ½ tsp salt (or more to taste)
· Few dashes of pepper

Optional - sliced black olives & sour cream as a garnish. Add chopped fresh cilantro to the top when its done, unless you hate it like I do because I think it tastes like soap!


Saute onions & garlic in olive oil on medium heat, for about 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook on medium til it's thawed, stirring often. If you dont want the big, thick strips inside the enchiladas, after it's cooled, you can shred the chicken. That's what I did. 

While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce.

Into a medium size bowl, using a whisk, add the following:
Salsa Verde (green salsa)
Cream of Chicken soup
1½ cup sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
Green chili's (drained)
½ tsp Cumin
½ tsp Chili powder
¾ tsp Onion powder
½ tsp Garlic powder
¼ tsp Paprika
½ tsp Salt (or to taste)
Pepper - a few dashes
Add Cheyenne pepper to taste. (taste the sauce to see if you need more of any of the spices)

Note: (7/13/21)
Lay out the tortilla on a flat surface (after putting in microwave for 10 seconds), spread about 2-3 Tbs of the sauce down the center, spread some chicken over the sauce then some grated cheese over all. After all the enchiladas are rolled up and placed seam side down in a greased 9"x13" casserole dish, pour the rest of the sauce all over the top, covering the enchiladas. Then place more cheese on top of that

Bake at 350º for 30 minutes or till hot and bubbly. You are mainly heating up the sauce that is inside the enchiladas and on top, so cook it longer if you think it's not hot enough. Enjoy!

Green Enchiladas
It's difficult  to tell with the sauce all over the top but I know I got 3-4 enchiladas in this square brownie pan


Saturday, June 12, 2021

My Ceasar Salad with Chicken

 I've been cooking in my kitchen for decades & it just dawned on me I have never made a Caesar salad! Tonight I wanted to fix something quick and easy so when I came across a recipe on Pinterest, I thought I'd give it a try because I had all the ingredients. This salad seems so plain, so keep reading to see the other ingredients I added. It turned out great so I decided to write it down in case I couldn't remember what all I added to the basic Ceasar Salad recipe. Hope you like it! There's nothing more refreshing than a crisp salad on a hot summer day.

Chicken Ceasar Salad

Chicken strips (I used frozen grilled)

Romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped in 1" squares

Parmesan cheese (fresh grated)

Slivered almonds (toasted in the microwave)

Green onions or sweet Vidalia onions (sliced)

Croutons (plain) I like to cut them in half so they aren't so big.

Avocado slices (I meant to add this but forgot, so I will next time).

Ceasar salad dressing (you can make your own if you wish) I think Marzetti best)

Note: the slivered almonds and onions are the only things I added but they sure made a difference in this plain salad!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping GF

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

I've tasted a lot of sweet potato dishes, but this is my absolute favorite to have with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Some are way too sweet and this one has just the right amount of sweetness. I experimented till I came up with the perfect blend of ingredients. It's a must with a turkey or ham dinner!
Even though this is good with orange sweet potatoes, I prefer the oriental sweet potatoes that are white on the inside.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3-4 large sweet potatoes

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (sometimes I use only ½ the can)

½ cup sugar (or less)

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2-3 Tb butter

¼ cup cream or milk


1 cup coconut

1 cup pecans, chopped

¼-½ cup butter 

You can add a little sugar & flour if you like, but I make this gluten free (without wheat flour) and its just as good as the original. I get asked to make this all the time! Not only for Thanksgiving and Christmas but throughout the year as well. I don't think I've ever seen another recipe with pineapple, but believe me, it's one of the ingredients that makes this dish so special!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Cafè au Lait T - Shirt

This top has been very popular and the pattern is written for sizes small to 3x. It's worked into 2 pieces and seamed at the sides and shoulders, and finished off with  a single crochet edging on the hem, sleeve and neck edge.

Cafe au Lait T-Shirt in Colorful Crochet Lace by Mary Jane Hall
I used a # 2 fingering yarn, Knit Picks Comfy Fingering. I love Knit Picks yarns because they have great prices and a wide variety of colors. This particular cotton yarn is very soft. 

See the top in other colors below by Coleen, whom I met on Ravelry. I love the colors she chose! Please, by all means post your pictures on Ravelry and link to me as the designer. I love seeing what you all have done. Sometimes I like yours better than my original!

Café Au Lait T-Shirt by Mary Jane Hall
Great Job  Colleen! Love the color and it looks great on you!

Love this color too Colleen!

There are some corrections to the pattern here on this blog and also here at the Interweave Press website.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Food Intolerance Symptoms

 I've written about my wheat and dairy food intolerance before, but just in case anyone is wondering if they have a food intolerance, I found a great article on the symptoms. It's amazing how many problems we had with our health is related to food we eat! I know, because I have experienced it and when I go off foods I'm intolerant of, I feel much better! 

This is a great article! By the way, many main stream doctors aren't taught these things. I've had to find out on my own for 40 years why I've experienced certain things! Let me know if you have any questions. In 1998 I finally went to a homeopathic Dr who have me a food intolerance test. They do it through your blood. The allergy tests you may have had before where they prick your skin, is not for food intolerances. That test is for allergies to dust, animals, etc, which is different. Please read this article! You'll be surprised!

Symptoms of Food Intolerances


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Favorite Broccoli Casserole

This is the broccoli casserole my family always requests that I make for Thanksgiving or Christmas. A friend, Mary Osborne, gave me the recipe in the 80's and I've been fixing it for years. This recipe serves 6-8 people, but you can double it for a larger group. 

Broccoli Casserole 
Preheat oven to 350º 
Serves 6-8

2 -10 oz boxes frozen broccoli or 1 bunch fresh broccoli, steamed 

2 sticks butter 

1 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed or grated

2 rolls Ritz or Town House crackers, crushed. You'll be putting half the cracker crumbs on the bottom of the casserole, as well as on top. I always use Town House, because they're tastier.

 Thaw broccoli at room temperature or in the microwave and squeeze out the water.  Melt 1 stick butter in soup pot on low heat. Add either cubed or grated Velveeta cheese.  If you grate it, you'll need to keep it in the fridge till time to grate it, otherwise, the cheese is mushy and not easy to grade when it sits out at room temperature. This is why sometimes I just cut it up in small cubes. After you add the cheese you'll need to keep it on very low heat and keep stirring, because if you don't, the cheese will burn on the bottom. (even if the heat is on low). 

After cheese is melted add thawed broccoli that has had the water squeezed out. Or fresh steamed broccoli if you're using that.  Stir to coat the broccoli with the cheese mixture. Remove from heat. Melt the other stick of butter and add to the crushed crackers. Stir to coat crackers. Spread half the crumbs on the bottom of a 13"x9" oven safe dish that is been sprayed with cooking oil. Pour all the broccoli/cheese mixture on top of the cracker crumbs and spread it all over. Then spread the other half of the cracker crumbs on top of the broccoli. 

Bake for 15 minutes at 350º. This is easy to cook too long, especially if you're using a glass pan. But you want to make sure it's heated all the way through. there have been times I didn't let the frozen broccoli thaw out enough and it was still cold when I mixed it with the cheese. 

You can thaw the broccoli in the microwave for a couple of minutes, but you just dont want to cook it, because to me, there's nothing worse than overcooked broccoli! On the other hand, if you're using fresh broccoli, you don't want to mix it in the cheese raw, or it won't be done after baking in the oven. That's why I steam it first. When in the oven you're basically just heating it and toasting/browning the crackers.

The original recipe called for frozen broccoli and it's just as good as the fresh in this casserole as long as it doesn't get cooked in the microwave when you thaw it. Using frozen broccoli is quicker, but i make it with fresh broccoli a lot. The original recipe also said to put the butter and cheese into the broccoli (in the pot) to melt it, but that way overcooks the broccoli, so that's why I changed the recipe to melt the butter and cheese first. 

I hope you enjoy this! Let me know if you have any questions.