Archive for the ‘Dinner Time’ Category

Hello good people…Black Martha has not fallen off the face of the earth! Its been real busy lately. But glad to have a moment to share a wonderful recipe for baked Mac n’ Cheese.

After you make this you won’t go back to the  box crap with powdered cheese. I’m serious, its that good…real good…hug your momma good. My oldest child who is not a fan of cheese loves this stuff and that says a lot.

Baked Mac n’ Cheese
adapted from Pioneer Woman

1lb box Dried Macaroni
1 whole Egg Beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons Dry Mustard
1 pound Cheese, Grated or 2 bags of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Paprika

Preheat oven to 350’F.

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain. I cooked mine for 5-6 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat egg, set aside.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t get lazy and stop whisking…it will burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes on medium-high until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking like crazy to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk together till smooth.

Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

Add in two cups of cheese and stir to melt.

Add salt, season salt, pepper and paprika. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.


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My husband brought home a very large bag of Brussels Sprouts in hopes that we can start incorporating some fresh veggies into our diet. I’ve never tried these little cabbages, but was not eager one bit to cook them, since they have the tendency to make your house smell like some boo-boo (that’s saying it nicely).

So the other day, I asked some of my peeps to give me some suggestions as to how to cook these things. Seemed like roasting or sauteing them was the best way to go. I chose to saute them.

The recipe I used called for bacon, which I’m all for some bacon. Bacon makes anything taste better. I went ahead and made a small amount not knowing how these would turn out.

Well…they turned out really good. I would make these again. My kids weren’t crazy about them…but it might have been to much for their little palettes. The only thing I didn’t like was the smell…it lingered in my house for two days.

Brussels Sprouts
recipe adapted from Paula Deen
thanks for sharing this Antoinette!

Serves 4

• 2 tablespoons butter
• 6 whole garlic cloves
• 4 to 6 slices bacon
• 3/4 pound (about 12) Brussels sprouts, cut in 1/2
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/2 cup chicken broth
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Feta or Blue Cheese


In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Put the garlic cloves in the skillet and brown completely. Remove the garlic to a small bowl. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, then cut into small pieces and set aside.

Put the sprouts in the skillet with bacon grease, flat side down, and saute’ until they begin to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them over, increase the heat to medium-high and add the sugar and the broth. Cook for a few minutes, then add the cooked bacon and the garlic cloves. Cover and cook for 2 more minutes.

Transfer Brussels Sprouts to a serving bowl, sprinkle with Feta or Blue cheese and serve.

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Not to long ago I went out with some friends to celebrate my birthday and we went to a great tapas restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, VA called La Tasca. They have great sangria, good food and some BOMB empanadas.

Ever since I went there and enjoyed some fried beef empanadas, that’s all I’ve been craving for the last couple weeks.

So I made some. Instead of frying them…I baked them…and they were tasty…not La Tasca tasty…but good enough to make again.

The only thing I didn’t do was take enough step by step pictures. So I apologize…but they are so easy to make and you can add pretty much whatever you want to these things.

…and yes you can fry them…if you are not concerned about your waistline (frying instructions are at the bottom).

Baked Beef Empanadas
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes about 12

3/4-1 pound of ground beef chuck
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste or use some season salt
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives (optional)
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 package frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed

1 egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 400’F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat silicone mat.

Over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet , stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the olives, cheddar cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir for a few minutes until well combined. Turn off heat and set aside.

Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then take out an empanada disk one at a time,  lay it on the plastic wrap. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork and place on baking sheet. Repeat the same method until you have no more empanda disks.

Lightly brush empanadas with some of egg wash and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer empanadas to a rack to cool at least 5 minutes.

If you want to fry them….

Preheat oven toe 200’F degrees.

Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.

Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.




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I love pork chops, but there is only so much I can make with them. Most of the time I just fry them or I use my one slow cooker recipe for pork chops when I’m feeling lazy, so you could imagine how happy I was to come across another recipe that seemed good enough to try.

I started grubbin’ on this and realized half way through my meal that I didn’t take a photo yet. As you can see I was really feeling this…

This is a really great recipe. It takes no time to cook in the slow cooker and the results are fabulous or as my husband said “this is on point!”. The pork chops come out so moist, the gravy has a great flavor and my family really enjoyed it.

Creamy Slow Cooker Pork Chops
adapted from Ninali
Serves 4-5

1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
Some season salt (Lawry’s Season Salt is what happening right now)
4-5 whole boneless Pork Chops, about a half to three quarters thick
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 (10 ounce) cans Cream of Mushrooms
1 (10 ounce) can Cream of Chicken
1 (14 ounce) can Beef Broth
1 package Onion Soup Mix, 1 ounce packet
4 -5 cups of cooked rice

Rinse pork chops and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle each pork chop with a little season salt on both sides. Combine flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper together in a shallow dish. Generously flour each pork chop with flour mixture and set aside.

Over medium heat, heat oil and add butter in a frying pan until hot, but not smoking. Brown each pork chop (2-3 at a time) until golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Set pork chops aside.

Pour the cans of cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken and beef broth in your slow cooker. Mix in the envelope of onion soup mix until well combined. Submerge pork chops in the sauce mixture and cook on high for 3.5 to 4.5 hours until chops are fork tender.

In the meantime prepare your rice. Once chops are done, serve over rice with gravy from slow cooker. These are also great with some mashed potatoes and some veggies…oh! and a dinner roll to soak up some of that gravy.


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I’ve had my slow cooker for about five years and I’m not sure why I didn’t start using this thing a lot sooner, cause its really one of the best kitchen appliances I own (thanks mom!).

So if you have one and all its doing is taking up space, may I suggest you blow the dust off of it and make this recipe I’m about to share for Beef Stroganoff?

This recipe takes no time to prepare, you can do a gazillion other things while it cooks and once its done you have a delicious meal on the table for your family to enjoy!

Now go get your slow cooker and show it some love!

Beef Stroganoff
adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2-3 pounds stew meat
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon season salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/3 cup flour
6-7 tablespoons apple juice or water ( I used apple cider, worked fine)
4-8 ounces sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup light or regular sour cream

Place the stew meat, salt, season salt, pepper, mushrooms and onion in the slow cooker. Stir to distribute the seasonings, mushrooms and onion. Add the garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth and ketchup give it a good whisk making sure all ingredients are combined.

Cook for 7-9 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.

About 30 minutes before serving, combine the flour and apple juice or water  in a small bowl, whisking vigorously to combine well. The mixture should be thick but still pourable so add a tablespoon of apple juice or water at a time to thin, if needed. Pour the flour mixture into the slow cooker, whisking quickly to mix in with the stew meat and juices and to avoid lumps. Cook on high for 30 minutes. Stir in ½ cup sour cream right before serving.

Serve over pasta, rice or baked potatoes.

*The leftovers of the stroganoff can be frozen. Store the leftovers in a freezer-safe container and then thaw in the refrigerator (usually takes about a day) and reheat over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

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Here is something easy and absolutely delicious to try for dinner this week. I make it almost every other week and its great to eat the next day.

Pasta with Chicken and Tomato Cream Sauce
slighty adapted from Ree a.k.a the  Pioneer Woman

Serves 4- 6 hungry people

1/2 box of Penne Pasta
2 -3 boneless chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (regular works fine too)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon of dried Parsley
1/2 tablespoon dried Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and pat chicken dry w/ paper towel. Season with your favorite chicken seasonings ( I use McCormick Montreal Chicken seasoning and sprinkle a little kosher salt of my chicken) or/and salt and pepper. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium casserole dish (big enough to bake your chicken in), place seasoned chicken in dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and when cut the juices run clear. Depending on how big your chicken is cooking time may vary.

* If you don’t want to bake your chicken, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a skillet and cook the chicken until fully cooked.

Once your chicken is done, chop it up and set aside.

Cook Penne pasta until al-dente( fancy word alert!), about 11 minutes (read the box for correct cooking time).

While the pasta is boiling, start making the tomato cream sauce. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Now add the chicken stock. Let is boil for a few minutes (let some of the liquid evaporate), give it a stir or two. Next add the tomato sauce, stir until combined, then add the cream,stir until well combined. Add some salt and pepper to taste (you can do this at the very end once you add everything in the pot together). Turn heat to low and let simmer for a few minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once your pasta is done. Drain and add it to the tomato cream sauce. Add the chicken, parsley, and basil, stir it all together. Add some shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese.

Serve in bowls and enjoy the goodness.

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I should use my slow cooker more often. Not only does it save me loads of time, but it helps keep my house a lot cooler with all these crazy heat waves we keep having out here.  There is nothing great about sweating in the kitchen…nothing…it kind of makes me upset…I hate to sweat!

So with that being said I want to share a very delicious and super duper easy recipe with you…its called Ropa Vieja (“Old Clothes”). Its a wonderful Cuban dish, not sure why its called “Old Clothes”, but if you Google it…I’m sure you’ll find a good explanation.

I make this at least once a week. We eat it with some rice and beans and a side of plantains…its soo yummy!

So bust out your slow cooker and give it a go. While its cookin’…make yourself a drink…then sit back and relax until dinner time.

Cuban Ropa Vieja

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 table spoon of butter
2 pounds beef flank steak
Some Season Salt
1 cup beef broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 small sweet onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin or salt and pepper ( I didn’t have any cumin)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Heat vegetable oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season your flank steak with some season salt.  Brown the flank steak on each side, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer beef to a slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth and tomato sauce, then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, spices, olive oil and vinegar. Stir until well blended.

Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours. When ready to serve, shred meat and serve with rice and beans.

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