Holm Family Cookbook

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Cowgirl's Foodie Blog

Dutch Oven Enchilada Pie

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 9, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Enchilada Pie made in a Dutch oven and cooked over coals

We had our annual Calhoun family reunion on Saturday at the family party barn and my sister Nancy and I had the Dutch ovens going. One of our cousins brought some great butternut squash enchiladas that she made in a Dutch oven at home. We normally have a lot of Portuguese dishes at this family reunion, but since it was Cinco de Mayo I guess we all decided to go with Mexican themed cuisine--plus we needed something to complement all of the tequila we had.


We had a great time at the reunion. Our great aunt Ruth celebrated her 100th birthday. And, in addition to last Saturday being Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby was also held that day. As is the tradition at the reunion, we had a Kentucky Derby contest with a little bit of wagering involved. This year when I announced the name of the winning horse, "I'll Have Another," everyone said, "OK, but what's the name of the winning horse?"  "I'll Have Another."  Badaboom. It was one of those who's on first situations.

Enchilada pie was one of the dishes that I made that day in the Dutch ovens. It was a recipe that I made at a CattleWomen's Dutch oven cook-off last November and won a first place.

Enchilada Pie – Serves 6


1 pound lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 16-ounce can cream corn

1 tablespoon chili power

1 16-ounce can refried beans

2 tablespoons taco sauce

1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce

1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies

1 package Jiffy style cornbread mix

1 egg (or amount required for cornbread mix)

1/3 cup milk (or amount required for cornbread mix)

1/2 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese and ½ cup more for serving


Brown beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet or other Dutch oven; drain well. Stir in enchilada sauce, corn and chili powder, set aside. Prepare cornbread mix according to instructions on the package, then stir in half the can green chilies and set aside.

Use a 12” Dutch oven and line with foil. Lightly coat foil with oil. Spread refried beans evenly on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Spread the taco sauce over the refried beans. Sprinkle the rest of the green chilies over the beans. Spoon the beef mixture evenly over the refried beans and chilies. Sprinkle a ½ cup of cheese over the beef mixture. Pour the cornbread mixture evenly over the cheese and beef mixture.

Bake with 8 coals on the bottom and 12 on top for about 30-35 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown. Serve with shredded cheese. This dish can be made in a conventional oven with a preheated cooking temperature of 375 degrees F.

Dutch oven lined with foil and refried beans spread on the bottom

Corn bread mixture with chilies added and then poured over top of layered beans and beef


Ideas for Using Your Leftover Corned Beef

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 19, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Beef barley soup, corned beef hash, and Rueben sandwiches were made with our leftover corned beef

Our mom is currently in the hospital receiving care for the side effects from the chemo-like drug she is taking to hopefully prolong her life in her fight against metastasizing melanoma. So, even when she is not in the hospital, my sisters and I usually try to bring meals to our parent's house or cook something there. On Friday my sister Nancy bought a huge corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to make a traditional corned beef and cabbage meal for our father and anyone else that happened to be at our parent's house at dinnertime.  And, I bought the same things to make my family the traditional dinner on St. Patrick's Day.  It should come as no surprise, between the two houses, we had a lot of left over corned beef.

When I prepared the corned beef at my house I cooked mine in my slow cooker. I removed the visible fat from the outside of the meat. I put the spices in a cheesecloth pouch so the little round balls (I think they are peppercorns) wouldn't surprise us later when eating the cabbage or the soup that I planned to make. Instead of using plain water to cover the corned beef, I used the beef version of Better Than Bullion, which would be like a beef stock or broth. I also added a couple of carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. These were added to add flavor to the meat while the meat cooked--the veggies tend to get too mushy if they are cooked the duration of the time the meat is cooked. Just about an hour before the meat was done I added the carrots, potatoes, and cabbage that we would eat with the meat. If you do this and the meat is done cooking and you need to add the veggies, just remove the meat and put it in an oven safe covered dish with some of the broth in a 200 degree F oven to keep it warm while the veggies cook.

Beef barley soup was made with the leftover broth, beef, and veggies

After we ate dinner I began to make soup to freeze for meals on other days.  I strained the mushy veggies that cooked with the meat from the broth and coarsley chopped the mushy veggies. I added the chopped veggies back to the broth and added about a 3/4 cup of pearl barley. I brought the broth to a boil and simmered about 45 minutes until the barley was soft. I cut up some of the corned beef and added it to the soup. I also cut up some of the cooked carrots, cabbage, and potatoes and added them. Had I remembered, I would have added a bit of red wine.

Corned beef hash was made with the leftover corned beef

Yesterday morning I made corned beef hash and eggs with some of the leftover meat. To do this I cut up four red potatoes with skins on into cubes. I boiled the potatoes until they just started to soften, which was about 7 minutes. I finely chopped 1/2 red onion and sautéed the onion in olive oil in an oven proof skillet until they just started to brown. I chopped up five slices of corned beef. I preheated the oven to 450 degrees F. I drained the potatoes and then added them and the chopped meat to the skillet with the onions and cooked until the potatoes began to brown. During the cooking I seasoned with pepper, garlic salt, and a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper.  I cracked eggs onto the top of hash and seasoned them with salt and pepper, covered with a lid and put the skillet in the preheated oven. I baked the hash and eggs until the eggs were cooked the way I like them (yokes hard). Instead of cooking the eggs in the oven, some people will place poached eggs on top of the hash. The poached eggs placed on the hash are aesthetically more appealing, however, I was pressed for time and found this method much faster.

Rueben sandwiches were made with the leftover corned beef

Yesterday for lunch there was a gang of people to feed at our parent's house, so Nancy and I made Rueben sandwiches with the corned beef Nancy made for our father on Friday. To make the sandwiches we used rye bread, sauerkraut, Havarti cheese (Swiss works well too), Thousand Island dressing, and slices of the corned beef.  To make the sandwiches we buttered the bread and in this order we added the cheese, corned beef, Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut--and of course the second piece of bread. We then grilled the sandwiches. We usually use a sandwich press to make them, but did not have one handy, so we placed a piece of foil on top of the grilling sandwich and placed a cast iron skillet on top to press it.  We normally use marbled rye to make the sandwiches, but all of the stores Nancy went to in search of bread were out. One store was even completely out of dark rye. It appears a lot of other people were making sandwiches with their corned beef as well.

Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut, dark rye bread, Havarti cheese, and corned beef were used to make the Reuben sandwiches

All of this and we still have leftovers!

Happy Monday to you all.


What do you do with left over beef tri-tip? French Dip Sandwiches!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 7, 2012 at 9:25 AM

French dip sandwich made from leftover beef tri-tip

In my teens and twenties the only food I would order when I ate out in restaurants was French dip sandwiches. Not only was my diet very limited, but so was the distance I had traveled. However, at that time I could have told you where you could get the best French dip sandwiches from Livermore (in the San Francisco Bay Area) to Lake Tahoe and south to San Diego.  I very rarely order French dip sandwiches these days--I find that a lot of restaurants use beef that looks and tastes like lunch meat in their French dips, and I prefer hand carved roast beef.

Recently my friend Kim Bonde provided a French dip sandwich lunch at a fundraiser that we hosted. Her sandwiches were just delicious and reminded me of how much I used to like them, so when I had some tri-tip roast left over last week, I made French dip sandwiches with the leftover meat.

As long as you have the beef on hand, they are quick and easy to make. It's so easy, you don't need a recipe, just follow the directions under the photos below.

Split open and spray olive or spread some butter on sourdough or ciabatta rolls, place the rolls cut-side down in a skillet on medium heat until toasty brown

Thinly slice left over roast beef

Following the manufacturer's directions, mix up some au jus

Heat up the beef with a tablespoon or two of the au jus

Place the beef on the bread and serve with the au jus.

To dress the sandwiches up a bit, you can add cheese or grilled onions.

That was easy.


Beef Tri-Tip Roast and Garlicky Oven Roasted Potatoes

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 2, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Beef tri-trip roast and garlicky oven roasted potatoes are easy to make

Last Sunday night I was sort of watching the Academy Awards and I needed to make dinner. I had seen a few of the movies nominated for awards and wanted to see if George Clooney would win Best Actor for the Descendants, which was my favorite movie. Since I can't see the TV from the kitchen, I wanted to prepare a dinner that would not take a lot of preparation and did not need to be stirred, turned, or watched frequently while cooking. I had a tri-tip roast that had passed the "buy by" date the day before, so tri-tip roast and oven roasted potatoes was an easy choice to make.

My family loves meat and potatoes, which can be one of the easiest dinners to prepare. Baked potatoes are probably the easiest way to prepare potatoes. The second easiest has to be oven roasted potatoes, which do not require peeling--only washing, cutting, and seasoning. At my house we all love garlic, so I decided to make my oven roasted potatoes garlicky.


To prepare my meats for roasting or grilling, I use a house seasoning mix that I found on Paula Deen's website. We had prime rib for Christmas that I seasoned with the house seasoning and my husband roasted on our gas grill. It was one of the best prime ribs ever.  I keep the house seasoning in a stainless steel canister in the kitchen counter and use it often. The recipe was a great find and I've provided it below.

The house seasoning I keep in a stainless steel container on my counter

House Seasoning


1 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup black pepper

1/4 cup garlic powder


Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Beef Tri-Tip Roast and Garlicky Oven Roasted Potatoes


Tri-tip roast (if tri-tips are not available in your area, just about any beef roast will work)

House seasoning (recipe above)

5 large russet potatoes or several small potatoes

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 or 2 cloves of garlic*

Kosher salt


Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Rub the roast with plenty of the house seasoning.  Place the roast in the middle of baking pan. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into quarters. Put the potatoes into a bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top of potatoes. Use a garlic press to squeeze garlic over the top of potatoes. Mix potatoes with your hands to coat with the olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle the potatoes with kosher salt. Place the potatoes in the baking pan around the roast.

Bake the roast for 15 minutes at 500 degrees F. Cooking at this temperature will give the roast a nice brown crust.  After 15 minutes, REDUCE the temperature to 350 degrees F.  Turn the potatoes over and place the roast and potatoes back into the oven. Bake for 30 or more minutes until a meat thermometer reads medium or 160 degrees F (I have a convection oven, so my meat takes less time to cook).  Remove the roast from the oven and let the roast sit for about 5 minutes before carving.

*If you don't like garlic, season the potatoes with salt and pepper or lemon pepper.

Use a garlic press to squeeze garlic on potatoes

Seasoned roast and potatoes ready for the oven



 Let the roast rest for 5 minutes before carving

Merry's been there, done that cooking tip:  When cooking the roast, be sure to set the timer for 15 minutes, especially if you are using a glass baking dish. The baking dish will crack if cooked much longer at 500 degrees.


Basil Garlic Burgers

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on September 12, 2011 at 12:45 AM

Basil burger topped with a tomato garlic mixture

I think my youngest daughter started making healthy food choices from birth. She loves vegetables and low-fat healthy meals. She's not one for fast food restaurants or diners. When we go on road trip vacations we have to stay at hotels/motels with kitchens, so I can cook healthy meals (some vacation for me, eh?).

Last night the two of us made some awesome basil garlic burgers. I found the recipe for these burgers near the butcher case in the meat section at Safeway. It's been my experience that there are some excellent recipes available on the free recipe rack at Safeway.

I made the basil garlic burgers with extra lean ground turkey, but they would be just as healthy and even a bit tastier with extra lean ground beef.  I substituted the whole egg with egg whites and instead of hamburger buns we used light multi-grain English muffins. These English muffins contain 8 grams of fiber. We also did not put cheese on our burgers.

My daughter said they tasted like an entree you would get at an upscale restaurant.

Basil Garlic Burgers


1 egg or 3 tablespoons of egg whites

1/4 cup garlic & herb breadcrumbs

1/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 pound ground extra lean turkey or extra lean beef

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, plus more to taste

4 slices cheese (optional)

3/4 cup chopped tomatoes

1 large garlic clove, finely minced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Salt to taste

Fresh arugula

4 hamburger buns or rolls


Coat grill with cooking spray (e.g., Pam). Preheat grill to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl combine the egg, 1/4 cup basil, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, and breadcrumbs. Add the ground turkey or beef and mix well. Form into four patties.

Place patties on grill. Keep grill covered while meat is grilling. Grill for 5 minutes on each side. Meat thermometer should register 165 degrees F.  During last minute of grilling, top each patty with a slice of cheese.

Basil garlic burgers on the grill

While the meat is grilling, you will make the tomato topping. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of basil, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Garlic, tomato, and basil topping

Place rolls, cut side down on grill. Grill until lightly toasted. Place burgers on the bottom rolls. Top with tomato mixture and arugula and cover with the top roll. 


The Birthday Party at Hebgen Lake

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on July 30, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Grilled marinated tri-tip

My family and I just spent an amazing week with our cousin Becky Foster and her family at Hebgen Lake in West Yellowstone, Montana. Becky's parents have owned a beautiful log cabin that overlooks Hebgen Lake for many years. The first day we arrived was Kelsie Foster's 17th birthday. A few of the neighbors from the surrounding cabins were invited to the cabin for Kelsie's birthday dinner.  One of the neighbors brought some great sauteed green beans, another family supplied fireworks, and we provided Livermore Valley wine (a Cuda Ridge cabernet). Becky had been marinating some beef tri-tips from California for a couple of days, which her husband Harold grilled to perfection. She also made some outstanding mashed potatoes, pasta salad, and green salad.  While waiting for dinner, our daughter Laina gave the other teens henna tattoos.

Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone, Montana

One of the henna tattoos

The teens amusing themselves before dinner

During dinner there were lively conversations and lots of laughs. We enjoyed a delicious cake from a bakery in West Yellowstone and after dinner we were treated to an incredible fireworks display that was provided by the neighbors from Kansas. What a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday!  Below is the marinade recipe that Becky used to marinade the tri-tips. It is a recipe that Becky had provided for our cookbook. I often use the recipe at home and really enjoy it. I hope you will too. 

The birthday cake

Meat and Game Marinade - Makes about 1 1/4 cups

We used to have this growing up when dad would go deer hunting. It was so good with fresh venison. About 2 pounds would be cut into 2-inch cubes, coated well with the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. It is much better if you can let it marinate overnight. You can also marinate a whole flank steak or tri tip and then barbecue it. Be sure to slice it on the diagonal. Also try dredging cubes of marinated meat in flour and frying them in oil, turning once, until cooked. -Becky Calhoun Foster


3/4 cup salad oil

2 tablespoons vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)


In a nonreactive pot or bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, honey, garlic powder, and garlic. Place the meat to be marinated in a glass pan or gallon sized freezer bag and cover with marinade. Let meat sit in marinade for at least 6 hours. Turn meat occasionally during marinating to ensure all sides are marinated. 

~merry carter~

Cowgirl Up

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on June 3, 2011 at 7:55 AM

June happens to be Western Heritage Month here in Livermore, kicking off tonight as the CattleWomen present cowboy entertainer Dave Stamey. The big guns come out tomorrow with Downtown Livermore’s Chili Shooters Stampede, a chili cookoff between downtown Livermore restaurants where you are guaranteed to have a rootin’ tootin’ good time!!

Each of the restaurants come up with a personal culinary or ethnic twist on classic chili. Last year was the event launch, and a couple of the ethnic restaurants understood “chili” to be chili sauce, and were serving up their finest, and of course, blistering, chili sauce! Our station was just a couple doors down, and a few of the chili tasters came in with fried palates and tears in their eyes! We had lemonade to help cool their tonsils before they tasted the Cookin’ Cowgirls chili, we were serving our Granny’s Cowboy Beans recipe. It was the first time I had to convert a recipe to 8 times over, using an excel spreadsheet, as we had to cook for about 250 expected chili judges.

Some of this year’s contenders include: Habenero Heaven Chili, Calabrese Chili (at the just-opened Milano Joe’s, who also happen to own El Charro!), Casbah’s Rockin’ Chili, Mediterranean Greek Chili, Sansar's Spicy Chili made with Lamb and Chicken, Zephyr's Sideways Chili, and many more. Round up your posse, pull on your Wranglers (unfortunately mine don’t fit anymore) and head downtown between 11am and 4pm to pick up your commemorative shot glass at the flagpole and cast a vote for your favorite chili!

Since none of the Cookin’ Cowgirls had the fortitude to enter again (it involves a County Health Permit), and rodeo weekend is right around the corner, we thought it was an appropriate time to share Granny’s Cowboy Bean Recipe. During round-up season she used to make a large batch of the beans, wrap it up tight in a big pot for the windy drive up Mines Road to the Circle H Ranch, and head way back up into the hills to feed the hungry cowboys. The recipe has become a mainstay in our house, and a family favorite, even when we aren’t wearin’ our chaps and spurs!

Gladys, Grace and Granny on the Circle H Ranch


1½ pounds ground beef

1 bell pepper, diced

1 large onion, diced

2 or 3 stalks celery, diced

2 (28-ounce) cans kidney beans

1 quart stewed tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Dash chili powder (optional)

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef, bell pepper, onion, and celery. Transfer the beef and sautéed vegetables into a large pot. Add the kidney beans and tomatoes, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the beans are cooked and the flavors have melded. Serves 8 (or 4 hungry cowboys!).

Cowgirl up!!  Nancy

Beef Stew - The Ultimate Comfort Food

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on February 8, 2011 at 10:01 AM

For weeks my friends and family in Texas, the midwest, and the east coast have been posting on Facebook their fears and concerns about the big storms coming, the record low temperatures, and pictures of their homes and neighborhoods covered in snow.  Although we have been experiencing record high temperatures here in the Bay Area for the last few weeks, it was sympathy cooking that drove me to make beef stew on Saturday. For me there is nothing more comforting on a cold blustery day than a good beef stew.

I have a favorite stew recipe that I make in a large cast iron dutch oven. It’s a very simple recipe and can be made for a fairly large gathering. I can also put it in the oven in the morning and forget about it until it's time to eat. I received this recipe from a former coworker, Sue Wolfe, who grew up in Coalinga, California (home of the Harris Ranch feedlot--for you non-ranching folks, that's the stinky place on I-5 with the cows). This recipe is one of Sue's favorite comfort foods and a family recipe that has been handed down through the generations. She loves potatoes and carrots and always ends up overstuffing her Dutch oven with them.

Comforting beef stew

All of the ingredients you will need to make the stew

Coalinga Beef Stew - Serves 8

The amounts of vegetables listed are just suggested amounts and can be adjusted to your preference.


6 russet potatoes

8 carrots, cut in thirds and then sliced lengthwise

1/2 - 1 sliced onion (amount depends on your taste)

3 chopped celery stalks

1 cubed slice of bread

4 tablespoons uncooked tapioca

1 tablespoon sugar

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into pieces

2 14.5-ounce cans stewed tomatoes


Preheat oven to 250° F. Combine the cubed potatoes, sliced carrots, sliced onion, and chopped celery into a large Dutch oven. Top with tapioca, sugar, and bread cubes. Add the stew meat by distributing it evenly over the top of the vegetables and then cover with the stewed tomatoes. Put in the 250º F oven for 6 hours.  Stir after three hours and then occasionally until done.


If you add the ingredients in the order listed above, then stirring during cooking is less necessary (you can put it in the oven with the start timer and don't have to worry about going home to stir it if you are working). However, if you forget to add the tapioca and put it in on top, you will need to stir it while cooking, otherwise you end up with the stew the wrong consistency and all the tapioca stuck to the lid.

All of the ingredients in the dutch oven and ready to go into the oven.

The term "comfort food" (first used, according to Webster's Dictionary, in 1977) refers to foods consumed to achieve some level of improved emotional status, whether to relieve negative psychological affect or to increase positive. ~Wikipedia

Hoping this stew can be of comfort to others,


The Dutch Oven Gathering

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on October 3, 2010 at 12:31 AM

We recently hosted a Dutch Oven Gathering at our family "Party Barn." A Dutch Oven Gathering or a DOG is a cooking event where people bring cast iron Dutch ovens and cook over fire or charcoal. They can be competitions or just a group of people getting together to cook and have fun--or both, like our event. The Alameda County CattleWomen sponsored the event by providing cash for prizes and the charcoal.

My sister Nancy and I recently bought Dutch oven cooking tables and brought them to the gathering for their maiden voyages. I bought a Lodge brand Dutch oven cooking table and Nancy bought a Lewis and Clark brand. The tables sure worked great compared to the aluminum turkey tray I had been using!

The difference between the two brands is:

- The wind guard on the Lodge brand is about 6 or more inches above the top of the Dutch oven, therefore the wind doesn't blow directly on the charcoal on the top of the oven. The Lewis and Clark brand wind guard is just a hair below the top of the oven therefore the wind may blow directly on the charcoal, which will make it burn faster.

- The Lodge brand has folding legs, the Lewis and Clark brand has legs that you connect and tighten a screw on.

- The Lodge brand has a handle to carry the table with. While cooking you can also hang your lid lifter, tongs, and other tools from the handle.

- The Lodge brand is heavier than the Lewis and Clark brand.

- The Lewis and Clark brand is much cheaper than the Lodge brand.

Lodge Brand Dutch Oven Table

Lewis and Clark Brand Dutch Oven Table

We sure had a great time at the DOG. All of the food turned out great. Some of the winning recipes included a pineapple upside down cake, Gravel Gerties biscuits and gravy, and blue cheese sliders. Below is the recipe for the blue cheese sliders.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Made in a Dutch Oven

Uncooked Patties and Cooked and Assembled Blue Cheese Sliders

Blue Cheese Sliders

Blue Cheese Sliders - Will make 36-48 sliders depending on size

Prepared by Linda Fields Stiehr


3 pounds ground beef (chuck beef was used)                                  

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes                                               

1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

5 ounces bleu cheese                                                                       

1½ teaspoon salt

½  tablespoon A-1 Sauce                                                                       

1 teaspoon dry mustard

¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce                                                           

Hamburger mini rolls


Mix all of the ingredients, except the rolls and chill meat mixture for two hours. Make small patties out of the meat. The patties should be small enough to fit into the mini hamburger rolls. Oil the bottom of a 12-inch Dutch oven with cooking oil. When the Dutch oven is heated, place the patties on a single layer to cook. Brown one side and flip, don’t keep flipping—they will dry out.  Serve immediately.

These sliders don't need to be made outside in a Dutch oven, but can also be made inside on the stove or on a grill.


Sloppy Joes 2010 Style

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on June 9, 2010 at 1:30 AM

Eating sloppy joes always brings back good memories for me. There's the memories of Fifth Street Elementary School in Livermore in the 1960's where the hot lunch cart that served sloppy joes was parked outside of Mrs. Fannuchi's classroom and the memories of Girl Scout campouts when I was a kid. The best memories that they bring back are the campouts with my daughters and the dinners at home when my daughter Whitney has requested sloppy joes for dinner.

The sloppy joes that I make are a healthier version than those served at Fifth Street School and the Girl Scout campouts. However, the recipe is based on the recipe in the Girl Scout Handbook.

Sloppy Joes 2010 Style


Cooking spray

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1.8 pounds extra lean ground beef

1 10.75 oz. can reduced sodium tomato condensed soup

1 tablespoon yellow prepared mustard

Pepper to taste

6 whole wheat hamburger buns


Lightly spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Saute onions until translucent. Add ground beef to the skillet and brown. Drain liquid. Add the tomato soup (do not add water to the condensed soup) and mustard. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Spoon sloppy joe mixture onto hamburger buns. Serve.

The sloppy joe mix is always more flavorful the next day, so this is a good make ahead dish.


We're All Irish Once a Year

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 14, 2010 at 8:07 PM

One of the foodie websites I frequent is Chow - great recipes, restaurant and bar recommendations, a weekly email that I subscribe to, and of course, a foodie blog. I loved the quote I found on the website this week, "We're all Irish once a year," part of the “Make Your Own Corned Beef and Cabbage” article. This does tend to be the only time of the year that I cook corned beef and cabbage, and I do love it. The website included some great recipes, but it was the picture of the Reuben Sandwich to make with your leftovers that put me over the edge (I think it's that thousand island dressing dripping out!). Here’s the picture and the recipe.


3 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing

2 (1/2-inch-thick) slices rye bread

1 1/2 ounces sliced Gruyère or Swiss cheese

1 cup sauerkraut, drained and squeezed of excess moisture

4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices corned beef (about 4 ounces)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened



1) Spread 1 tablespoon of the dressing on one piece of bread and top with half of the cheese, half of the sauerkraut, and all of the meat. Spread another tablespoon of the dressing over the meat and top with the remaining sauerkraut and cheese, in that order.


2) Spread the remaining tablespoon of dressing on the remaining piece of bread and place on top of the cheese, dressing side down. Press firmly to close the sandwich, then evenly spread the butter on the outside of the sandwich.


3) Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat, place the sandwich in the pan, and press down on the sandwich with a spatula. (Alternatively, you can cook the sandwich in a sandwich press.) Cook until the bread is crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is golden brown, the cheese is melted, and the sandwich is warmed through, about 4 minutes more.


“Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.” - Alex Levin


Bainigí sult as bhur mbéile!



Trader Joe's: Making Entertaining Easy

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on January 8, 2010 at 11:13 AM

This is NOT a paid advertisement for Trader Joes, I just happen to love the place

If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in your town, you can take advantage of their already prepared or ready to heat and serve entrees, appetizers, and desserts to make entertaining easier and impress your guests. If you do use TJ’s convenience foods when you are entertaining, you can use the time that you’ve saved for cleaning, decorating, or to make one extra special homemade dish.


I serve a lot of Trader Joe’s foods at my parties and my guests have loved them all. One of the cashiers at Trader Joe’s told me that since she started working at TJ’s, invitations to parties have really increased and she believes it is due to the hosts knowing she will bring TJ’s appetizers.


Trader Joe’s frozen appetizers are excellent. Some of my guests’ favorites have been the chicken cilantro wontons that I served with TJ’s sweet chili sauce, the parmesan pastry pups (new this Christmas season), and the flatbread pizza with fresh basil pesto. The frozen meatballs are always a hit and I have served them in the TJ’s sweet chili sauce and other times have served them in the cranberry sauce for meatballs recipe from our cookbook. (See the recipe below or on page 61 in the cookbook.)


In the deli section you can find TJ’s fresh bruchetta. Among other things, this versatile sauce can be used as a dip, served on bread like traditional bruchetta, or over pasta. This sauce tastes great.


One of my favorites in the meat section is the cranberry apple stuffed turkey breast. I have served this at a few luncheons and my guests were very impressed with my cooking abilities.


Trader Joe’s has a good variety of frozen desserts and most of them just have to be thawed and they are ready to go. Some of the desserts are fairly small, so sometimes I will buy a few of them and display them on tiered plates or cake stands.

Besides great food, Trader Joe's has a great floral section. I like to have fresh flowers and live plants around when I am entertaining and TJ's is the place to get them. There are mixed floral bouquets and live plants, such as orchids. Besides being of very good quality, they are also very inexpensive.


Trader Joe’s has quite a following and there have been a few cookbooks written that feature the foods from Trader Joe’s. Some of the titles of these cookbooks are, The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook: More Than 150 Delicious Recipes Using Only Foods from the World's Greatest Grocery Store, Cooking with All ThingsTrader Joe’s, and Three Months at Trader Joe's - A Lifestyle Odyssey. If you go to Amazon.com and do a search on Trader Joe’s, it’s pretty surprising to see the results. There is also a Trader Joe’s fan club. Here is the link to their website http://www.traderjoesfan.com/.  You can also find the fan club on Facebook.



Trader Joe's has a website where you can locate stores in your area, find recipes and locate products that are gluten free, vega, kosher, fat free, etc.  You can find Trader Joe's website here: http://www.traderjoes.com/index.html

As promised, here is the cranberry sauce for meatballs that you can use with Trader Joe’s meatballs or any meatballs for that matter.

~merry carter~


Cranberry Sauce for Meatballs, Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Recipe submitted to the cookbook by Del Shult Neely


1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon hot water

1 (16-ounce) can whole cranberry sauce

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

4 dozen prepared meatballs


Combine the corn starch and water in a small bowl; stir until smooth. In a large skillet, combine the cranberry sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the meatballs. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Cover the dish and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the meatballs are warmed through. Serve warm.


Making Gordon Ramsay's Beef Wellington

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 26, 2009 at 10:55 AM

On Christmas Day I bravely set out to make beef wellington for 14 guests. I found a 4.6-pound beef tenderloin at Costco, but the tenderloin was so long I had to cut it into two pieces to wrap it in pastry and fit it into a pan.

I have a computer in the kitchen area, so I had both the Gordon Ramsay recipe I was following (http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/164868/Gordon-Ramsay-s-beef-Wellington) and the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrF8G06HqaM) to reference while cooking.  For American measurement conversions, you might go to this website: http/simplyrecipes.com/recipes/beef_wellington/

Everything is fairly straightforward, except the seasoning part. The recipe does not mention seasoning, but while watching the video you see Gordon rub the filet with seasoning and when he makes the mushroom puree he also used seasoning. I have actually never seen him on TV, so it's possible that those that follow him know what he uses for seasoning, but I was totally in the dark. Nearly every meat dish I make gets some form of garlic in it, so I rubbed my filet with a garlic salt and ground pepper. I put some red wine and Worcestershire sauce into the mushroom puree.

The recipe calls for English mustard for brushing the meat. I found some Coleman's Original English mustard at my local grocery store. I tasted it to see what the difference was from our American yellow and was alarmed to find that at first taste, it tasted like a spicy vegemite. I know most Americans have never tasted vegemite, but this is the only food that I can compare it to and could not imagine adding it to meat as a flavoring. I came very close to not putting it on the meat.

Everything went fairly well; the meat tasted great (even with the English mustard) and was tender, but I do have some lessons learned:

- Use a smaller beef tenderloin filet, even at 2+ pounds each, mine were hard to wrap

- Be sure to really brown the meat before proceeding with the rest of the recipe

- In the video, Gordon scores his wellington before he puts it into the oven. I forgot to and I think allowing steam to escape would have prevented all of the liquid that had built up inside.

Here's a slice of my beef wellington

~merry carter~

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