BBQ Beef Sandwiches aka Sloppy Joes

2 lbs. ground beef, cooked or a 2 lb roast cooked in the crockpot and shredded (I did it with a crockpot)
1 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. diced green peppers
1 c. shredded/grated carrots
1/2 cube butter
1 T brown sugar
1 T vinegar
1 T mustard (yellow)
1 T lemon juice
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
1 18-20 ounce bottle of Ketchup
1 c. water

In a large kettle, saute onions, celery, peppers and carrots in butter over medium low heat for 10-15 minutes, until soft, but not brown. Add the remaining ingredients, except the beef and simmer for 2 hours. Add beef and heat through (15-20 mins). Serve on toasted hamburger buns.

Ham and Cheese Hot Pockets

2 Sheets Frozen Puff Pastry (thawed according to package directions)
1/2 lb Black Forrest Ham
1/2 lb Gruyere Cheese, sliced (or Havarti or Muenster)
2-3 T. mustard (yellow, Dijon, or spicy brown)
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon water

Roll the pastry sheets on a floured surface until they are just smaller than a large cookie sheet. Spread the mustard all over one of the pastries, leaving a one inch border all around. Layer the cheese and ham on top of the mustard. Place the other pastry on top of the layers of cheese and ham and seal the edges all around with a fork, by pressing firmly. Make slits in the top of the pastry with a knife and brush the top pastry with one beaten egg mixed with one tablespoon of water. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.

Lasagna Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage or hamburger (which ever you have on hand)
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used the whole small can - didn't want to waste the rest of it)
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
8 ounces fusilli pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil (I used 1 tsp or so of dried basil)
8 ounces ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

2. Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package. Discard the bay leaves, then stir in the basil. If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, the Parmesan, the 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pinch of pepper. To serve, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in each bowl, sprinkle with some of the mozzarella, and ladle the soup on top. Makes about 13 cups.


Chicken Enchilada Pasta

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded (I used can chicken and it worked great!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 (10-oz) cans green chili enchilada sauce
(I used mild)
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce
(I used mild)
1 can large black olives, cut in half
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
(I used sharp cheddar)
16-20 oz. penne pasta
(Depending on how "saucy" you want the pasta)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces and olives. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add the sour cream and cheese and heat through, until the cheese is melted (but don't boil!). Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions or crushed tortilla chips.

Serving size is 2 cups. Nutritional info per serving:
315 calories
13.1 grams fat
0 g trans fat
40 mg cholesterol
29 g carbs
15.9 g protein


Chicken & Dumpling Soup

*Serves 6

Chicken and Broth:
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2-3 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots (6-7 baby carrots), chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or sage
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

In a large pot, boil the chicken broth, water and chicken breasts until the chicken is cooked through and tender (about 15 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot, reserving the broth in the pot, and shred the chicken with two forks. Set the chicken aside and keep the broth warm on the stove.

While the chicken is boiling, in a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the celery, carrots and onions. Saute for about 6-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the vegetables to the hot broth in the pot after the chicken has been removed. Add salt, thyme and pepper to the vegetable/broth mixture and stir to combine. Heat the soup to a simmer.

In a small bowl, blend ½ cup cold water and 1/4 cup flour with a wire whisk until smooth. Whisking vigorously, slowly add the flour mixture into the hot vegetables and broth and whisk until well combined. Add ½ cup frozen peas and the reserved chicken and cook, stirring gently for one minute.

For the dumplings, in a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, milk and oil. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined (don't overmix, it is ok if there are a few dry spots of flour here and there).

Heat the soup to boiling and drop teaspoonful amounts (the dumplings should be fairly small, they'll expand while cooking) of dumpling dough into the boiling soup, covering the entire surface of the soup (don't make more than one layer of dumplings - you may have leftover dough). Reduce the heat to simmering, cover and let the dumplings cook for 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid of the pot while the dumplings cook.

When the dumplings have cooked fully, remove the lid and gently stir the dumplings to break them apart. Serve.