Category Archives: Dinner time!

Okay, I can never remember who says supper, and who says dinner, so this is the meal you eat at the end of the day

Karinna’s Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole.

Several times a year I help my good friend, Karinna, to cook a luncheon at her church. We usually plan for 75-100 people. Karinna has a good selection of meals she chooses from; all made from scratch and absolutely delicious! Karinna has celiac disease so many of these meals are gluten free. This is one of those meals. When I make it for my family I dont always go with the gluten free option, depending on what I have on hand. I’ll note those changes in italics.

    Karinna’s Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

1 whole cooked chicken, bones removed, meat diced or shredded (rotisserie chicken is excellent, should have 5-6 cups)
1/2 pound very thinly sliced deli-style ham, rough chopped
1/4 pound thin sliced baby Swiss cheese

[For the sauce:]
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons gluten free or all purpose flour
3 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper

[For the topping:]
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
Put cooked shredded or diced chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Rough chop the ham and scatter it over the top of the chicken. Lay the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.
To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Do not brown! Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.
To make the topping: Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium sized microwaveable bowl. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time and stop once it’s melted. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

1 1/2 – 2 lbs beef stew meat (I usually cut the pieces into smaller, 3/4″ pieces)
Salt and pepper
3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbs tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 C. beef broth
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1 C. water
1 can peas, drained

Push ‘saute’ button on Instant Pot. While pot is heating up, season beef with salt and pepper. Once pot says ‘HOT’ add olive oil and a portion of the beef and brown on all sides. You will need to cook remaining beef in batches, transferring cooked beef to a bowl. Once all the beef is cooked, put onions into pot and saute a bit to loosten any browned bits left from cooking meat. Turn off saute. Add carrots, potatoes, tomato paste, garlic, beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme and water.

Cover Instant Pot (checking to ensure gasket is in place and pot is set to seal). Push either the ‘Meat/Stew’ button or ‘manual’ button and set time for 20 min.

Once pot is finished cooking, do a quick release and remove lid. Set pot to ‘saute’. At this point you may add the drained peas. To thicken stew, make a slurry of 1 Tbs cornstarch and 1 Tbs cool water. Pour into pot while stirring. Stir until mixed and thickened. Serve immediately.

Quick Summer Tortellini Salad

Posting for Mom so i can access this on my phone and make it myself, this is one of my favorite Summer Salads.

This is a quick delicious summer salad. Perfect for picnics, no need to refrigerate. A little sweet, a little tart, with a touch of fresh basil for a punch of flavor. You choose the tortellini and smoked sausage you like the most. Chop, chop, chop and you’re done! Enjoy.

Cook time: 5 Min  Prep time: 30 Min  Serves: 10-12


16 oz fresh tortellini
1 1/2 c swiss cheese
1 1/2 c summer sausage or salami
1 can(s) small black olives
1 1/2 c fresh mushrooms
4 green onions
2/3 c red wine vinegar
2/3 c canola oil
2/3 c sugar
1/4 c basil, fresh
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1. Cook the tortellini in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water and cool.
2. In a large bowl combine, cubed sausage and cheese with chopped mushrooms, olives and minced green onions. Add the cooled tortellini and basil.
3. In a separate bowl combine the sugar, vinegar, oil, salt, garlic and pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add to the pasta mixture. Adjust seasoning to taste.
4. Enjoy!
Originally Found: HERE

Beef Pot Pie Cupcakes (Instant Pot and Oven)


So, yes, I’m rather addicted to my Instant Pot.  One of my dear friends gifted it to me at just the right time so that I had to use it often, and now I love it!  And I’m getting braver about making up my own recipes for it (or adapting recipes).  This recipe uses both the Instant Pot and then the oven.  If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you could probably cook the beef mix in the oven for about an hour or so.  You might need a bit more liquid too as it will cook off in the oven.

Beef Filling

1 1/2-2 lbs sirloin, cut into small cubes
salt and pepper
3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup beef broth (or you can use 1/4 cup red wine and 3/4 cup water with 1 tsp beef bouillon)
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
3 Tbs flour

Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper.  Put Instant Pot on saute, add olive oil to pot and let it heat.  Cook meat cubes until browned, but they do not have to cook all the way through. I cooked the meat in 2 batches.  Once meat is cooked,turn off Instant Pot and add all remaining ingredients except flour! Place lid on pot and push manual button and set time to 20 minutes.

While this is cooking, make biscuits (recipe below) and place in oven safe custard dishes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Once time is up, do a quick release of pressure.  Turn pot on to saute to bring it back to a boil.  In a small bowl combine some of the broth with the flour, mix well to combine and pour this flour mixture into the pot with the boiling beef mixture.  Stir until mixture has thickened, turn off Instant pot.

Biscuits (recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 1986)

1/2 cup shortening
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk

In food processor (or by hand), mix shortening and dry ingredients until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add milk and mix until dough leaves sides of bowl.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 10 times.

Divide dough into 8 balls.  Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface to about 6 inches across (or to fit custard dish with a bit sticking above the edge).  Fill 8 custard dishes with flattened dough and place on cookie sheet.

To assemble pot pie cupcakes

Fill each cup with beef mixture, pull any extra dough (that is sticking above rim of cup) in over beef mixture.
Place filled cups into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until biscuit is golden brown.
Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Betsy’s Casserole

One of my favorite meals when I was growing up.   I have no idea who Betsy actually is.  Perhaps Mom knows.  So I guess this would count as a comfort food.

1 pound ground beef
2 Tbs oil
2 onions
1 glove garlic
1 28oz crushed tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
3/4 – 1 cup water
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp bay leaf (can sub in 1 whole leaf)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
1 12oz pkg uncooked egg noodles

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and set aside. In large skillet, brown ground beef. Dice onions and mince garlic. Add to ground beef. Add all remaining ingredients except the egg noodles. Bring to a boil. In casserole dish, place uncooked noodles in a layer. Cover noodles with ground beef mixture, making sure all noodles are covered so they’ll cook and not burn. Bake for 45 minutes.

President’s Potato Soup

This is Laura Bush’s Irish potato soup recipe.  It’s a favorite of my family, but in the beginning, I enticed them a bit by calling it President’s Potato Soup….I mean who wouldn’t want to eat like the president of the United States (okay, don’t answer that!!!).  It is very simple, fairly quick, and delicious!!  Oh, AND CHEAP!

6 potatoes peeled and cubed (I had a few red potatoes that I threw in this evening, and I just left their skins on them)
1 Tbs oil (I omit this with my directions….see below)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup onion (actually, I chopped up 2 whole onions and threw them in there….onions are good for you!)
1 12oz can evaporated milk (or 1 1/2 cups of milk)
1/2 cup butter (or margarine, if you must, but…..don’t!)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (whatever!  do the salt and pepper to taste!)

Mrs. Bush’s directions: Place potatoes in a stockpot with enough water to cover.  Boil until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add celery and onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add potatoes.  Stir in evaporated milk, butter, salt and pepper.  Heat until just below boiling.  Serve immediately.

My directions (cuz you know how I am about following a recipe precisely!) Melt butter in large pot, add onions and celery and cook until translucent.  Add potatoes and just enough water to barely cover everything.  Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender (10-20 min).  Add milk, salt and pepper.  Heat until it’s hot enough.  Serve (no immediately about it…..they will come running!)

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

This is another favorite Olive Garden soup.  It is also pretty simple.  I used swiss chard instead of kale, but everything else was the same.  SO good!!

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

  • Author: CopyKat Recipes


  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes sliced in half and then in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1/2 can Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits (these are less fatty than real bacon)
  • 2 cloves garlic,  minced
  • 2 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


Cook sausage in a 300-degree oven for approximately 1/2 hour; drain on paper towels and cut into slices.  (okay, um, I actually fried the sausages as directed on the package, and went from there)

Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water, and garlic in a pot and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Add sausage, bacon, salt, and pepper to taste and simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat; add kale, cream, and water (optional).  Heat thoroughly and serve.

Olive Garden’s Italian Sausage Soup

Found this on the Olive Garden recipe page this evening when I was looking for a soup recipe using sausage.  Considering my SuperHero is Italian, I figured he might like it (he did)  He even took a picture and told me I should post it.  Pretty quick and simple soup. I am putting the actual recipe here, and in italics, the changes I made (for what we had on hand).

italian sausage soup

1 lb sweet Italian sausage, ground
1 cup white rice
1 cup chopped tomatoes in puree (1-10 ¾ oz can)  (I used a can of tomato sauce)
1/2 lb chopped frozen spinach (1-10 oz box), thawed and drained
6 cups beef broth (used water and bouillon)
1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish (used a Parmesan Romano blend)

  • Cook ground sausage in a soup pot and break the meat up with a fork as it cooks. Add in rice, beef broth, tomatoes and black pepper and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer 12-15 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in chopped spinach and let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Ladle soup into soup bowls and garnish with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Eggs Pierre


Okay, this is how much I truly love my SuperHero:

  1. That I even make this stuff (which, BTW, I confess to calling “Pukes Pierre)  I will admit, though, that since adapting the recipe a bit, it is starting to grow on me and I now will eat it when I make it (yeah, I used to eat sandwiches while everyone else had this)
  2. I am putting this on MY food blog after I’ve spent years berating it.  SuperHero just called me to ask for my food blog address for a co-worker, because she wants this recipe (yep, you read it right, this is for you Jauna!)

I actually used to tell my MIL that I was sure she just made it up as NOBODY had ever heard of it before.  It’s one of those “comfort foods” I think, for hubby, but I have discovered that he is the only Jajliardo “child” that is still getting served this stuff.  With the changes I’ve made, it is tastier and looks a whole lot less “vomitrocious” (yes, I said that!)  The sauce makes about 6 or 7 servings, and you just make as much sausage, eggs and toast as you want.

Pierre Sauce (make this first as it needs to simmer about 15 min.  You could also cook up the sausage at this time and then keep it warming in the oven on the lowest temperature)

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sesame oil (yes, use sesame oil, the flavors better AND it gives it better color than….well, than you know what)
5 Tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water + 3 chicken bouillon cubes)
1/4 cup tomato juice
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste (not too  much salt!  there’s already saltiness to it)

Heat the oil in a sauce pan, add garlic and briefly cook it.  Add flour, mix well and heat until it get bubbly.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook over medium low heat for about 15 min. (don’t let it boil)

You can use either sausage in either the breakfast links or patties, cook them as directed on the package.

While the sauce is simmering (and the sausages are cooked), fry up some eggs with a little salt and pepper (however many you want) and cook your toast.  Place the toast on your plate, top with an egg, some sausages and then ladle the sauce over it all.

I would LOVE to have your comments on this!

Lasagna Soup

This is a fairly quick soup to make as it involves a boxed lasagna mix.  WONDERFULLY tasty, the whole family enjoys it!  This recipe is from Family Dinners by Shari Meyer (a wonderful handmade cookbook my friend Kim shared with me!)

1 lb ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
1 package (7 3/4 oz) lasagna dinner mix*
5 c water
1 14-oz can undrained tomatoes
2 Tbs Parmesan cheese
1 zucchini, chopped

In a Dutch oven, cook the beef and onion until it browns.  Drain.  Add the lasagna sauce mix, water, tomatoes, and Parmesan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 min.  Add the lasagna noodles and zucchini.  Cover and simmer 10 min or more until noodles are tender.  Serve immediately.

10 servings

*I couldn’t find this size Lasagna mix, which comes with a seasoning packet.  Instead I used the larger HomeStyle Lasagna which comes with canned meat sauce.  I leave off the tomatoes to compensate.