Blue Cheese Dressing

Years ago, when Dave and I were in college, we occasionally took advantage of some of our long weekends to head over to see his aunt, Mary, who lives in a log home in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  There is always lots of beautiful sunlight streaming in through the windows, and her front porch offers a perfect place to chat while inhaling the pungent fragrance of the dozens of evergreens that fill the property.  Although I don’t have the opportunity as often as I’d like, Aunt Mary’s house is one of my favorite places to visit.  It’s a little piece of heaven with its beauty and tranquility.  Even more amazing than the mountain setting is Aunt Mary herself.

From the moment I met this tiny, independent woman, I knew she loved me.  Her acceptance of me was made immediately apparent by the warmth in her eyes and the smile on her face.  She was genuine and comfortable, and I count her among the great benefits of marrying my husband.

Along with Aunt Mary being an all-around delightful person, she is a gracious hostess.  Her homemade crescent rolls and hot cross buns were such a treat for Dave and me.  She was the first person I ever knew to serve fresh, minced garlic in her tossed salads–which was quite a surprise to me the first time I tried it!  Not wanting to hurt her feelings, I agreed to also try her homemade blue cheese dressing during our first visit.  I was pretty sure that I did not like blue cheese dressing, but she seemed so sincere in her offer that I didn’t have the heart to refuse.  Let’s just say that I was an immediate convert.  I have been enjoying blue cheese ever since.

I was recently gifted with a 5-lb. bag of blue cheese crumbles.  My first thought was, “Yum!  I’m going to treat myself to some of Aunt Mary’s blue cheese dressing!”.  I’ve made it three times since then, because I keep sharing it with other people who find they like it as much as Dave and I do.  Just in case you want to give it a try, I’m passing Aunt Mary’s recipe along to you.  It’s not as amazing as she is, but I think you’ll like it just the same.

1/2 c. blue cheese crumbles
1 c. mayo
1/2 c. sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1-2 cloves minced garlic
2 T. finely-diced green onion (or regular onion)
1 T. wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. sugar
I also often add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce.

Mix well, cover and chill.

Use it as a vegetable dip, a salad dressing, a topping for your burgers or whatever else suits your fancy. This recipe is very forgiving, so don’t worry about getting all of the measurements exact.

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French Dip Sandwiches

 

One of my absolute FAVORITE sandwiches EVER!!

1 3-lb. (ish) pound beef roast
½ c. soy sauce
1 c. beef broth
1 bay leaf
3-4 peppercorns
1 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. garlic powder
1 c. water
6-8 hoagie rolls

Combine all ingredients except the roast and the rolls. Pour over trimmed roast in slow cooker.

Cook on low 10-12 hours.

Serve on rolls with sauce for dipping.

NOTE: This dish can be prepared with a frozen OR fresh roast. The roast can be thawed when it goes into the slow cooker OR placed in the slow cooker while still frozen. The leftover meat also freezer beautifully if you ever want to make a double batch to have some prepared meat in the freezer.

ANOTHER NOTE: My FAVORITE way to eat this is to have some cooked onions and Swiss cheese to put on top. I usually toast this sandwich, open-faced, under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly, and then commence eating with a knife and fork. YUM!!

Italian Beef Sandwiches

 

This is definitely a special-occasion recipe for our family, and it’s also one of my favorite ways to prepare a beef roast!  I just put one of these in the freezer to pull out during the holidays.  Woo hoo!

1 3-4 lb. beef roast
1 jar pepperoncini or banana peppers
1 T. dried, minced onion
2 t. Italian seasoning
2 t. garlic salt
½ t. pepper
¼ c. water
1 ½ c. mozzarella cheese, grated
sturdy sandwich buns

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low 8-9 hours until meat is tender. Shred with two forks. Spoon meat onto toasted buns; top with mozzarella cheese, if desired.

Ham & Cheese Sliders

This recipe captured my kids’ attention at a potluck.  The loved them!  I made a few changes, like eliminating the brown sugar and substituting swiss cheese, and I now include them in my Power Cooking classes as well as in some of our family’s special occasions.  They’re a fun recipe to have on-hand for munching when company comes or even on family movie nights.

If well-wrapped, the freeze quite nicely–especially if used within a month or so.

¾ c. melted butter
1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
1 ½ T. Worcestershire sauce
1T. poppy seeds
1 T. dried, minced onion
12 slider buns OR mini Hawaaian-type rolls
1 lb. thinly-sliced ham
2-3 c. grated Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9×13” baking dish.
In small bowl, combine butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds and dried onion.

Separate tops from bottoms of buns, placing the bottoms in prepared baking dish. Top evenly with ham and cheese. Place bun tops over ham and cheese. Pour sauce evenly over rolls.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Tex-Mex Sloppy Joes

Need a new idea for a pound of ground beef?

This is a fun, easy twist on the standard sloppy joe.  You can even make a big batch and tuck some in the freezer for another night.

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. ketchup
1 4-oz. can chopped green chilies
1/2 c. beef broth, tomato juice or even water
1/4 c. chili sauce or salsa
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cumin powder
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or a pinch of cayenne pepper)
salt & pepper to taste

Brown ground beef with onion until meat is cooked through.

Add remaining ingredients; allow to simmer 15 minutes or so.

Amber’s Sausage Stromboli

I know this beautiful young woman named Amber.  Although she would argue, she is remarkably strong, creative and capable.  She is fiercely committed to her family, and she has shown genuine love for mine.  My daughters adore her, and I am thankful for the role model she is for them.  I am blessed to know her and call her friend.

My oldest daughter, Rachel, had this stromboli at Amber’s house one time, and came home raving about it.  Rachel requested it for her birthday supper this year, and I was happy to make it for her.  There were no leftovers.  

I’m told that these hearty sandwiches freeze well, so feel free to make two and stick one in the freezer for a busy night.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 T. honey
1 t. sea salt
1 package yeast
3/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
1 T. melted butter
1 pound sausage
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
2 eggs
1 t. basil
grated Parmesan cheese

Combine flour, salt and yeast.  Add water, milk, honey and butter.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in a bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour. 

Meanwhile, in a skillet cook sausage.  Stir shredded cheese, one egg and basil into the sausage.  Set aside. 

Punch dough down and roll into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle. 

Spoon sausage mixture down one side of the rectangle to within one inch of the edges.  Fold dough over filling and pinch to seal.  Place on a cookie sheet.  Cut four diagonal slits on top of the stromboli. 

Beat remaining egg and brush it over the stromboli. 

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Slice and serve warm.