Easy Potato Salad

Summertime always brings with it parties and barbecue’s.  The most important dish is the creamy and ever so satisfying potato salad.  The all american easy basic potato salad.  Always a family favorite.
PotatoSalad-MeasuringSunshine
We almost always have the ingredients in the house and takes minimal time to whip up.
It doesn’t matter what type of potato you use, I prefer red, gold or white but it’s because you don’t have to peel them.  You can use russet potatoes but make sure to peel them, the skin is too tough.
PotatoSalad-MeasuringSunshine
Ingredients:
3 lbs potatoes, red, gold, white, etc.
10 eggs
1 can olives
3-4 stalks celery
3-4 large dill pickles
2-3 tbsp fresh dill
3/4 – 1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup mustard or a little less if you prefer

First step is to boil the potatoes, I really try to do this the night before I need the salad, get a big deep pan and fill 1/2 way with water.  Pick potatoes just a little bigger than an egg. Wash the potatoes and drop into the water before you turn on the burner.  Add the eggs on top.  The water should be just covering both the potatoes and the eggs. Gently boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Pour out into a colander, strain.  Put them into a big bowl and put into the refrigerator to cool.  If you waited until the last minute to decide to make the salad-I have done this a lot- then you can run cool water over them for a few minutes until cool enough to start to cut them.
Cut the potatoes into about 1″ cubes,  peel the eggs and slice in half, separate the yolks and put into a small bowl.  Chop the egg whites into small pieces.
Chop the celery, pickles, olives into small pieces.  Chop the dill finely.
PotatoSalad-MeasuringSunshine
Now take the yolks and mash, add the mayo, mustard, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and add 1-2 tbsp of pickle juice from the jar.  Mix this all up and pour into the bowl with all the other ingredients that you finished chopping.
You can stir this up with a spoon or do what I do and mix with my hands.  This way doesn’t seem to mash the potatoes up and the salad looks better.
PotatoSalad-MeasuringSunshine
Cover and chill until the barbecue is ready.  Remember to keep this salad cool during the summer.
Here are a few other options to add:

Onions
green olives
parsley
bacon

Spinach Dill Pasta Salad

Summertime means pasta salad to me.  Its quick, easy and uses all the great vegetables you get from the garden or the farmers markets.   The most important reason I love this dish is you only need to use one burner.  No oven needed!  Where I live that is very important on those 100+ degree days of summer.
Some of my favorites to pick  up at the farmers market are spinach, fresh dill, celery, baby yellow crookneck squash and zucchini.  I always have pasta, olives and pickles in the cabinet.
SpinachDillPastaSalad- MeasuringSunshine

These are the ingredients I begin with:
1 box -16 oz pasta
1 can 6.5 oz sliced olives
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt- or to taste
1 tsp pepper-or to taste
2-3 stalks of celery- diced
2-3 large dill pickles-diced
2 tbsp fresh dill- chopped
small handful of carrots- these you can grate or chopped
Then I start adding any other vegetables I have that day:
1/4 lb of fresh spinach, chopped
1 medium zucchini -chopped
1-2 baby yellow crookneck squash-chopped
Green onions
Tomatoes

Boil the pasta, depending on what type you want to use -read the box on how long to boil it.  I will usually cook it 1-2 minutes less than it says, but I like it firm but not crunchy. Cook the pasta how you like it best.
While the pasta is boiling, just start chopping and dumping in a big bowl.  Chop-dump, chop-dump………..
About half way through chopping the pasta should be done- drain and let cool while you finish chopping.
When you are done chopping all the other ingredients, dump the  cooled pasta into the bowl with everything else.
Add the mayonnaise and all the spices.  If the pasta doesn’t look moist you can add either more mayo or a little pickle juice.
SpinachDillPastaSalad- MeasuringSunshine

This dish works well if you are going to a BBQ.  I just put the chopped veggies in a big, take a big bowl, put the wet ingredients and the spices in plastic bowl with a lid and put it all together when I get to the event.

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak-This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.

Salisbury Steak

This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn’t enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.  I know, it sounds old fashioned but this meal is filling and cheap to make and it will feed a crowd.  When its cold outside this dish will warm up the insides.
This is one of the first dinners we have at the beginning of the winter.  It’s pretty easy to make and is ready in a little over an hour.
I have taken these to family friends homes for the buffets and frozen it for meals in the future.
Ingredients:
2 lbs hamburger- I normally use 80/20 but I have also used turkey and 90/10.
4 cloves to however much Garlic you want-grated
sliced celery
salt/pepper
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Bread or Crackers
Eggs
32 oz. Beef, Mushroom or Vegetable broth
2-4 tbsp of butter or olive oil
2-3 sliced onions, or 1-2 lbs of sliced mushrooms or both or adjust amounts for your tastes.
Flour

Salisbury Steak-This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
Add the garlic, Worcestershire,salt and pepper to the meat, don’t mix yet.
You have a couple choices now.  You can either moisten 3 pieces of bread with milk or crunch up 10-12 crackers.  I use Ritz but if I’m out of them I am not opposed to using another type of cracker.  I have used multi-grain, soda, or whatever I have handy.
Then add 2 eggs.
Mix with your hands as quickly and gently as you can.    Shape into patties.

This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
Start frying patties on medium heat.  We don’t want them to be done- just browned on both sides.  As they brown put into a casserole dish.
Salisbury Steak-This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
After the patties are done, slice up a couple to onions and saute in the same pan, you might want to drain the fat and add some olive oil or butter.
This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
After the onion or mushrooms or both are almost done,  add the flour and cook for a couple more minutes as you stir.  Then pour over the patties in the casserole dish.
This Salisbury Steak is one of the warm and hearty meals your family will love.  Who doesn't enjoy meat and potatoes for dinner.
Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
Add the beef, mushroom or vegetable stock over the the onions and patties.
Slip into the oven and get comfy or make mashed potatoes or rice.  (We’ve even eaten these over big pieces of bread)

It needs to bake for about 40 minutes.

This will make enough for 6-10 people depending on how big you make the patties.

 

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce

This is my go to sauce that pleases everyone.  When we have surprise guests or even planned quests I will usually make this sauce.
You can make a small batch or a huge batch and freeze part of it for an emergency meal.
I normally have most of the important ingredients in the pantry.  All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.
Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce. This is my go to sauce that pleases everyone.  When we have surprise guests or even planned quests I will usually make this sauce. You can make a small batch or a huge batch and freeze part of it for an emergency meal. I normally have most of the important ingredients in the pantry.  All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.

I always have several 28 oz cans of San Marzano Tomatoes in my pantry. I buy them when they go on sale.
You don’t have to use San Marzano, any  type of canned tomatoes will work but you will need to add about 2 tsp of sugar if you don’t use them.  The San Marzano’s tend to be a little less acidic and slightly more sweet.
This sauce can be used as spaghetti sauce, lasagna sauce, or any other Italian recipe sauce.  I have used it over eggplant, chicken breasts, etc.

1-2 onions- diced
2 stalks celery-diced
10-15 cloves of garlic-chopped- depending on your love of garlic.
2 lbs of 80% Hamburger meat
2-4 tbsp of Italian herbs-you can buy the mixture or mix you own. (thyme, basil, oregano)
1-2 tsp of dried red chili pepper-
2- 28oz cans of San Marzano tomatoes, doesn’t matter if they are whole, diced or pureed.
Couple good squirts of tomato paste.  I have a tube in the refrigerator, or use 2 tbsp of can paste.
Mushrooms
Zucchini
6oz can of black olives
salt and pepper to taste.

Start by saute’ing the onions and celery, cook for 5-7 minutes, add the hamburger-chop it up as it cooks so it ends up being very small chunks.  Cook until the burger is almost done and add the garlic, herbs and chili peppers.  Add the tomatoes and paste.  Simmer 5 minutes.
Spaghetti Sauce-Measuring Sunshine-This is my go to sauce that pleases everyone.  When we have surprise guests or even planned quests I will usually make this sauce. You can make a small batch or a huge batch and freeze part of it for an emergency meal. I normally have most of the important ingredients in the pantry.  All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.
While the sauce is simmering, you have time to chop up whatever fresh vegetable you have to add to the sauce.  I generally have mushrooms and zucchini hanging out in the refrigerator.  I chop up a can of black olives  and pour about 1/3 of the juice from the can into the sauce. Add a  little water if it looks a little thick.
Spaghetti Sauce-MeasuringSunshine-This is my go to sauce that pleases everyone.  When we have surprise guests or even planned quests I will usually make this sauce. You can make a small batch or a huge batch and freeze part of it for an emergency meal. I normally have most of the important ingredients in the pantry.  All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.

Let the sauce simmer until the vegetables are cooked.  Usually about another half hour.

Serve over any type of pasta.

This is my Spaghetti sauce that pleases everyone. You can make a small batch or a huge batch. All you need to make it your own are a few fresh ingredients.

I normally keep the sauce separate and reheat as I need it.  This is perfect to take for lunches to work.

Add a little Parmesan or mozzarella cheese- garlic bread.

Quick and Hearty Chili with Beans

Quick and hearty Chili with Beans is always a winter favorite.  This chili is fast and easy to make.
I have heard the argument that its not really chili if it has beans.  However, my family feels that its not chili without the beans.
So I guess its just where you were raised and the type of chili you grew up eating.
This is my version of quick and fast chili…………..most of the things I use are already in my cupboards.
It takes from start to finish about 1 and 1/2 hours.  This recipe is enough to feed 10-12 hungry people.
Quick and hearty Chili beans.
I will normally serve with cornbread and condiments like, chopped onions, grated cheeses, avocado’s and even sometimes with corn chips, tortilla chips and my son’s  favorite is chilidogs.
I do have to admit I cheated, I did not soak the beans, I ran by my local big box store and picked up the ready to use giant can.

Ingredients:
3lbs. ground beef ( I have also used ground turkey)
3 large onions(chopped  in a food processor)
8 cloves of garlic(chopped with the onions)
2-7 oz cans of roasted green chilies, I use mild ones.
8 oz of dried chilis- (the ones you see in packages all over the grocery store)
6lb 12 oz can  of beans, I used kidney beans but you can use pinto or navy, or a mixture of your favorites.
28oz can of diced tomatoes
salt & pepper
about 3 tablespoons of cumin
about 1/2 cup of chili powder
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
2 tablespoon of garlic powder
Quick and hearty chili with beans.
Start with the dry chili  peppers- tear the stems and take out most of the seeds.  Then simmer in pan with about 2 cups water.
In a big pot start cooking the hamburger on medium heat, when its about half way cooked, add the chopped onions and garlic……… finish cooking.
When the burger is cooked you can scoop the fat out, or not, up to you.  Depending on the % of fat in the burger you use.
Now start adding the spices, the cans of green chilies, tomatoes, and the beans(drain and wash)… have it simmer on medium low while you puree the dried chili’s in a processor.
Pull the chili’s out of the water and puree, then add to strainer and push the creamy stuff through and leave the skin and seeds. It helps to pour the water you simmered them in over the top of the leftover bits and pieces. Add this to the chili…….. this should be enough liquid for the chili to simmer for about half hour.

If you don’t want to use dried chili’s that’s okay, just add more cumin and chili powder.
Quick and easy Chili

I usually taste the chili and adjust the seasoning.  Everyone like chili a little different and so add more or less of any of the seasonings.
While the chili is simmering you can chop up some onions, grate cheese, chop olives,  find the sour cream, corn chips, make some cornbread.  Whatever you want to have with the chili.

Quick and hearty Chili with beans

Meyer Lemon Quick Bread

One of my favorite quick breads to make is Lemon Bread.
And now, one of my very favorites is Meyer Lemon Bread.
I’ve never really paid much attention to Meyer lemons in the grocery store.
I’ve noticed, they are becoming less rare and more affordable.
And they are tasty. A little sweeter than regular lemons and they have a slightly different taste and its amazing.
Every year we look forward to lemon season.  The fresh harvest right off the trees.
This year I was lucky enough to know someone who has a Meyer Lemon Tree.
This bread is sweet and sour at the same time. Just be warned, the bread goes fast.
lemonquickbread
If you are one of the lucky few to know someone that has a Meyer Lemon tree…………… grab about 5-6 lemons.
(Or as many as you can)
Wash the lemons and grate all the rinds.   If you get extra rind, the more lemony your bread will taste.
I rarely miss much of the rind…………. yellow gold…………(Beverly HillBilly’s song running through my head)
Sweet yet sour, soft and flavorful.
After all the rind has been harvested.  Get out the juicer……… and cut the lemons in half and start collecting the juice.
Meyer Lemon QuickBread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 to 3 and 1/2 tablespoon of the zest.
4 eggs- large, best if room temperature
2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste- or if using extract- 1 teaspoon
( you will have little black dots if you use the paste)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk- I used almond milk.
Cream butter with sugar, add the eggs, one at a time and beat between adding the eggs.
Add zest and vanilla.
Add flour, baking powder, salt.
Add milk and lemon juice.
You can make either 6 small loaves or 2 large loaves.
MeyerLemonQuickBread
Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 40 minutes.
While bread is baking, mix lemon juice, lemon rind and powdered sugar together for a glaze.
I used 3 tablespoons juice, 2 tablespoon rind and about 2 cups powdered sugar, if too thin add more sugar, if too thick more juice.
Lemon Quick Bread

I love to make quick breads-  You can make them out of any fruit or vegetable you have handy.
Great for gifts, bake sales, parties or just a quick dessert.