Cubed Steak Casserole, with Rice

We eat a lot of chicken. We love chicken, so that isn’t a problem – in and of itself – but, sometimes I want to mix it up. Out of that desire, came this cubed steak casserole.

I decided that I would lightly dredge the cubed steak in a flour, salt and pepper mixture and lightly brown them, prior to putting them in the casserole.

The other items for this dish were: onion, rice, a packet of brown gravy mix, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of green beans.

Once the cubed steaks were all browned (no need to cook through, as it will finish in the oven), I layered them in the bottom of my dutch oven.

In the skillet that I browned the cubed steak, I added in my chopped onions and rice. I stirred the rice and onions around to toast the rice a bit and to start to soften the onion – and, perhaps more importantly, to get any of the deliciousness that was left behind from pan frying the cubed steaks.

After the rice was toasted and the onions were starting to soften, I added in the cream of mushroom soup, 2 1/2 cans of water (use your soup can to measure), the brown gravy mix, salt and pepper and then the green beans. I just made sure to stir it for a bit, to get it all mixed well.

Then I just poured the rice mixture over the cubed steak that was already in the dutch oven. And added some extra salt and pepper to the top.

I covered the dutch oven (with the lid, but foil would work, if you cover it tightly) and put it into a preheated 375 degree oven. I let it cook for 1 hour, covered the entire time.

A couple of Notes / Thoughts about this recipe:

  • Getting an appropriate portion of meat to rice mixture was difficult with using my dutch oven (because some of the steaks overlapped) – so use a dish that will allow for the cubed steak to form a single layer.
  • Along those lines – cut your cubed steak to a serving size (if the steaks are more than you’d normal eat at one serving) prior to browning – this will make it easier to serve.
  • While I added salt to this recipe (both in the flour mixture on the steak and in the rice mixture), it needed more salt. I’m not sure why, because the broth from the rice mixture tasted delicious. This said, I’m writing the recipe up to use more salt than I used when I initially made this recipe. Adjust to your taste.
  • I added the green beans to make it a ‘one pot’ dish, with veggies included. I didn’t think so, but one of my family mentioned that they felt the green beans ‘overwhelmed’ the taste – feel free to leave out and serve on the side.

Cubed Steak Casserole

4-6 cubed steaks
1/2 cup flour (for dredging cubed steak)
1 tbsp salt (for dredging cubed steak)
1 tsp pepper (for dredging cubed steak)
2 tbsp olive oil

2 1/2 cups rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup (+ 2 1/2 cans water)
1 packet of brown gravy mix
1 onion, chopped
1 can green beans (drained)
1 tbsp salt (I added 1/2, but it needed more – adjust as you see fit)
1 tsp black pepper

  • Combine flour, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a large bowl
  • Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture
  • In a hot pan, add olive oil
  • Brown the steaks on both side (no need to cook through)
  • Layer cubed steak on bottom of baking dish
  • In same skillet, add onions and rice – allow to cook until onion starts to soften
  • Add in soup, water, gravy mix, green beans, salt and pepper
  • Pour rice mixture over steaks
  • Cover baking dish and cook for 1 hour in 375 degree oven

Three Cheese Chicken and Pasta Bake

I found myself with no protein thawed out, so I tried to think of things to make with shredded chicken (since it is so easy to do, from frozen, in the instant pot!). And, I do love a casserole – so this is what I came up with!

I decided I wanted to use pasta – I chose penne (but, any pasta would do). I also had an unused container of ricotta cheese on hand, some mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

I decided to boil my pasta separate. I boiled it to al dente. Be sure not to overboil it, or it will be too chewy in the casserole. While the pasta was boiling, I started to work on the sauce (I guess that is the appropriate term when you’re going to add it to something and make a casserole? I will call it that). I started by grating 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.

Then I cooked some garlic in a large skillet, with a little bit of butter.

Once the garlic was done, I added in a little bit of water and the milk. I only had skim milk on hand, but certainly, this would be so much better with a whole milk or even a bit of heavy cream! I brought the liquids up to a boil. I added in my seasonings at this time.

I then started adding in the cheeses. I started with the ricotta first and let it get mostly melted. I then added in the mozzarella and parmesan. I brought the cheese sauce up to a boil.

I then added in the shredded chicken and stirred through.

In a greased dutch oven, I poured in the al dente pasta.

Then I poured the sauce over top and stirred everything together. ** Note, I had forgotten to add my spinach to the sauce, so I just stirred it in at this point.

I, then, topped it with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese, as well as the panko bread crumbs.

The casserole was cooked in a 400 degree oven (I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my oven tends to run a little cooler – that said, feel free to drop the temperature if 400 seems a little high) for 30 minutes. I did turn the broiler on for a couple min, at the end just to brown the top a little more.

Three Cheese Chicken and Pasta Bake

1 box pasta of choice
2 chicken breasts, shredded
1 cup water or chicken stock
2 cups milk
1- 15 oz container of Ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella (reserve 1 cup)
1 cup grated parmesan (reserve 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp garlic
1/2 tbsp butter
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 to 1 tsp salt, depending on your tastes
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

  • Boil pasta to al dente (do not overcook)
  • In large skillet, saute garlic in butter
  • Add in water or chicken stock and then milk
  • Bring up to a boil
  • Add in pepper, basil and pepper flakes
  • Add in cheese – ricotta, mozarella and parmesan
  • Pour pasta into a greased dutch oven or casserole dish
  • Pour the cheese sauce over top and add in spinach, stir everything through
  • Top with remaining mozarella, paremesan cheese and bread crumbs
  • Cook, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes
  • Put under broiler for 1-2 minutes if your cheese ins’t browned after 30 minutes

Chocolate Puff Pastry

I was looking for something sweet, but not too sweet – chocolate was preferable. I had some chocolate chips in the pantry and some puff pastry in the freezer – it was a perfect marriage!

I used some of the flour to roll out the pastry

After letting the puff pastry thaw (it takes about 30-40 minutes at room temperature), I rolled it out a bit and cut it into rectangles.

For each rectangle, I added a few chocolate chips and rolled the pastry up.

I placed the rolled pastries on parchment paper on a sheet pan. I put a simple egg wash on the pastries and baked them in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

After taking them out of oven, I sifted some powdered sugar over top. They were very similar to a chocolate croissant.

This couldn’t be an easier, or more tasty, quick dessert or snack!

Potato Soup

I adore a good, creamy soup on a cold day. One of my favorites has always been potato soup. I find it comforting for some reason. I guess you could say that if I were to list my favorite ‘comfort foods’, potato soup would be in the top 5.

I like to top my potato soup with grated cheddar and bacon. Knowing that I’d need a roux to thicken the soup, I chose to cook the bacon in the same dutch oven that I intended to make my soup in (then I had the bacon fat to make my roux and all the yummy bits that were left in the pan to help season my soup). I used thick sliced bacon, cut into smaller pieces (I think this is easier than frying it whole and then crumbling it, if you know you want it crumbled. And, the bacon gets crisper).

You can use any potatoes, of course, but I like russet potatoes the best. I use 6-8 potatoes, chopped to similar sized cubes.

Once my bacon was done, I removed it from the dutch oven and set it aside. The bacon I used left about 4 tbsp of oil. To that I added the same amount of flour to create my roux. I did a light roux, so I only cooked it for a few minutes.

After the roux was done, I added in the chicken stock. This was the time that I was able to deglaze the dutch oven. I stirred the mixture through and let the roux combine with the chicken stock, prior to adding in the milk. And, finally the potatoes. Once it was all warmed through, I added in the salt, pepper and butter. I turned down the heat (because my dutch oven holds heat so well, I can’t have it up too high or it will boil over), covered the dutch oven and cooked the soup for about 30 minutes – stirring occasionally.

To help make the soup ‘souper’ (see what I did there?) creamy, I used my immersion blender to blend some of the potatoes. I do like some chunky potatoes in my soup, so I only blended some.

I served the soup topped with cheddar cheese and the bacon I cooked earlier.

Potato Soup

6-8 russet potatoes
6 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into small pieces
3-4 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups milk
2 1/2 tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Grated sharp cheddar cheese

  • Cook bacon, until crisp (reserve bacon grease)
  • Remove bacon, set aside
  • Chop potatoes into smallish cubes
  • Depending on how much bacon grease is left (should be around 3 tbsp or 4 tbsp), add same amount of flour and create a roux
  • Once your roux is done, add in chicken stock and stir though to incorporate
  • Add milk and potatoes
  • Add in salt and pepper
  • Cook until potatoes are soft
  • For a creamier soup, use an immersion blender to blend some of the potatoes
  • Serve with cheese and bacon

Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta

I’ve seen this on the menu at several restaurants, all slightly different – grilled shrimp, fried shrimp, broiled shrimp, for example – but, the one thing that seems to stay the same is the bang bang sauce.

I knew that the bang bang sauce had mayonnaise (I know that seems odd for pasta, but trust me, it’s good!), sweet chili sauce and sriarcha. I decided to add a little garlic, red pepper flakes and a little bit of lime juice to mine.

Another thing that I’ve seen varied is the type of pasta. I chose to add linguine. To me – spaghetti is too thin to really ‘hold’ the sauce and short pastas just don’t seem ‘right’ to me. So linguine it was!

Since I was cooking just for myself (probably for my lunch and my dinner), I decided to make this recipe a ‘for two’ (or 1 really hungry person!) recipe. So, all of my ingredients are sized accordingly. I could have made a larger dish, but I don’t love reheating shrimp.

I use frozen shrimp, so I took out enough shrimp for the dish and defrosted them in cold water.

While the shrimp were defrosting, I started my pasta. I added about 1/2 of a full box of linguine to well salted, boiling water.

While the pasta was cooking, I put together my bang bang sauce – I’m not going to lie – I could have eaten this by the spoon! It’s GOOD! As noted above, I used mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, red pepper flakes, garlic and a bit of lime juice.

And, I just whisked it all together and set it aside.

After my shrimp were thawed, I sauteed them in a hot pan with 1/2 tbsp of butter.

Just before putting them in the pan, I seasoned them with a little bit of salt and pepper (I didn’t want to use any seasonings that would compete with the bang bang sauce).

It doesn’t take long to cook shrimp, so don’t walk away!

By the time my sauce was done and my shrimp were cooked, my pasta was done. I have a pasta pot, with the pasta insert, which makes it so easy when you’re ready to toss pasta into a pan with the sauce.

I just drained the pasta and poured it into the skillet with the shrimp. Then I added in the bang bang sauce (in hind sight, I probably would have added the bang bang sauce to the shrimp first).

With tongs, I just stirred everything through.

Because I like spice, I added a few more red pepper flakes and sriracha, before eating!

Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta (for 2)

1/2 box linguine
12-15 shrimp (can use frozen – defrost prior to cooking)
1/2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1/2 – 1 tsp sriracha (I used a little more than that)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp lime juice
Red pepper flakes, to taste

  • Cook pasta, per directions on box
  • Salt and pepper your shrimp, and then saute in butter, in a large skillet (you’re going to add your pasta into the skillet, later)
  • To make sauce, mix all ingredients together in a bowl
  • Once your pasta and shrimp are done, add pasta and bang bang sauce to the skillet and mix through

Easy Mac and Cheese for 2

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love regular old boxed mac and cheese. But, sometimes, I want something a little creamier. I was home alone, so I needed to make something for just me. I decided that mac and cheese was just the thing! This is so simple that I am not even going to write it up as a ‘recipe’ – just give you directions as I go.

3 simple ingredients: Pasta (any kind you want, I chose penne and cooked about 1/2 the box), milk (1/4 cup) and Velveeta cheese (about 6 oz).

I just boiled my pasta.

And cut the cheese into squares.

When the pasta was done, I drained it and returned it to the pot. I also reduced the heat to low. I added in the milk and cheese and stirred until all the cheese was melted.

Add salt and pepper, if you like. These measurements makes enough for 2 servings.

Lasagna (using my homemade meat sauce)

This week I made a big batch of meat sauce. You can find that recipe here.

For this lasagna, you can used jarred sauce (and add in your meat – using ground beef and/or Italian sausage), if you like. But, I do think that it is better with homemade sauce.

For the cheese mixture, I used three kinds of cheese: grated mozzarella, ricotta and grated parmesan (not the kind in a can, but actual grated parmesan).

To the cheese, I added one egg. You can add in some dried basil, as well, at this point. I didn’t, but wish I would have.

I used a large rectangular dish to make my lasagna. I wasn’t sure how many layers I would get – but, turns out that I had 3 layers of meat sauce, 2 layers of cheese mixture and 2 layers of noodles (and topped with additional cheese). My baking dish was pretty shallow, I would have loved to gotten another few layers – but, it was still delicious!

I did the layers in the following order:

  • Meat sauce
  • Noodles
  • Cheese Mixture
  • Meat sauce
  • Noodles
  • Cheese Mixture
  • Meat Sauce

I reserved some of the grated mozzarella to put on the top. I also sprinkled on some grated parmesan and even a little of the parmesan in a can for added flavor.

For my recipe, I chose to use the ‘oven ready’ noodles that you don’t need to pre-boil. I’ve actually read that you can use regular noodles in the same way, but I’m not sure.


4-5 cups of meat sauce (you can use jarred sauce and meat or my recipe for homemade meat sauce)
Up to 1 box of ‘oven ready’ lasagna noodles
3 cups grated mozarella cheese (reserve one cup for top)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for top)
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
1 egg

  • In a large bowl, combine the cheeses and the eggs (you can also add some dried basil, if you like)
  • Begin layering in the following order: meat, noodles, cheese mixture
  • When all layers are complete, top with remaining cheese
  • Bake in a 400 degree oven, for 45 minutes