Stuffed French Bread & Swiss Mushroom Stuffed French Bread

The sons love sub night. We have it at least once a month. They’re always putting their heads together to try and come up with new filling ideas and combos. We love hot or cold subs, but sometimes I just want to have an uber hearty, hot sandwich for my meal. This fit the bill perfectly. Literally, this giant twist on your average sub-sandwich is great. A quick & easy, ready-in-under-30-minutes meal, that’s every inch of sandwich perfection. Crisp on the outside, hearty and tender on the inside. I do love a good crunch to my bread. Both versions taste great, but if you get any ideas feel free to play around with your ingredients. Add in some extra veggies, change up the cheese. Heck, change up the meat. I seriously doubt you can go wrong with stuffed french bread.

Mmm, can’t you just picture it? Smell it?? Go ahead, try it and taste the delicious-ness.

Stuffed French Bread

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Stuffed French Bread

recipe adapted from Life In The Lofthouse

1 loaf french bread
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 Tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)

Directions

1. Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you’re left with two equal pieces. Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece, making two bread ‘boats’. Place the extra bread in a large bowl and tear it into very tiny pieces. Trust me, you want them tiny. Place both halves of  bread onto a large baking sheet and set it aside.
2. In a skillet over medium high heat, brown both the beef and the onion until fully cooked. Strain the grease and return to the skillet. Next, add in the celery and garlic. Cook until the celery is tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook another 5 minutes, or until the meat mix is heated through, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the meat to the bread in the bowl, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread and spread out evenly. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle the meat mixture with the cheddar cheese. Top with the other half of bread to make it a sandwich.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. When done cooking, let your bread sit for 5 minutes so everything ‘sets’, before slicing and serving. Then, eat up!

Swiss Mushroom Stuffed French Bread

1 loaf french bread

1 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp diced onion
1/4-1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp beef bouillon
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp Worcestershire
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Directions

1. Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you’re left with two equal pieces. Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece, making two bread ‘boats’. Place the extra bread in a large bowl and tear it into very tiny pieces. Trust me, you want them tiny. Place both halves of bread onto a large baking sheet and set it aside.
2. In a skillet over medium high heat, brown both the beef and the onion until fully cooked. Strain the grease and return to the skillet. Next, add in the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook another 5 minutes, or until the meat mix is heated through, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the meat to the bread in the bowl, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread and spread out evenly. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle the meat mixture with the cheddar cheese. Top with the other half of bread to make it a sandwich.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. When done cooking, let your bread sit for 5 minutes so everything ‘sets’, before slicing and serving. Then, eat up!

The Best Meatballs

Meatball recipes are often challenged by chefs who claim, “Mine are the best!” Even though my meatballs ARE the best ( in my opinion of course), I won’t claim they’re the best in the world.  However, they are the best recipe I’ve ever found and they’re the best for me. Who would have guessed the secret ingredient would be stuffing mix? It gives it all the right flavors and leaves them incredibly moist. Try them for yourself! My Italian father in law makes meatballs, his family recipe, and I’ve watched him since I first got married. They’re good, but there are so many steps and so many ingredients. It’s a lengthy, day long process. Ain’t nobody got time for that, at least not in this house. These are so easy, I can have them mixed, shaped, and baked in well under 30 minutes. Everybody’s got at least 30 minutes at some point in the day, right? After they’re baked throw them in some sauce for delicious spaghetti and meatballs. We love using them to make Crockpot Hawaiian meatballs. They’re totally freezer-friendly, and the sons love taking a few out at lunch time for making meatball subs.

The Best Meatballs

 4 Sons 'R' Us: The Best Meatballs

recipe adapted from Kraft Recipes

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 pkg. (6 oz.) chicken flavored stuffing mix
1 1/4 cups of water
2 eggs

Directions

1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Line two baking pans with foil (this makes for no-fuss cleanup later). Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients (I find by hand is best) until fully incorporated.
4. Shape the meat mixture into about 32, 1 1/2 inch, balls (about 1/4 cup meat per ball) and placing them in the prepared pans as you go.
5. Bake the meatballs for 16-18 minutes, or until completely cooked. No pink meat for us.
6. Remove from the oven and, if using immediately, add the meatballs into your recipe. Otherwise allow them to cool completely and follow freezing instructions.

To Freeze

Loosely pack meatballs in zip-locking freezer bags. When freezing, make sure to lay the bags flat so the meatballs freeze individually without sticking/clumping together. They can be stored frozen for up to 3 months. To use, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before hand.

Bloomin’ Onion Bites with Dipping Sauce

I’ve always loved Outback’s Blooming Onion. It’s one of those things that, ambitious as I may be in the kitchen, I’ve always been way too nervous to try myself at home. I mean perfectly batttering and frying a whole onion to crispy, golden perfection? Too far out of my league. Then I saw this recipe for bite sized (totally do-able) Bloomin Onion Bites. Friggin’ genius! These breaded and fried onion bites with a spicy dipping sauce will get your party going any day! All by themselves, they’re reason enough to celebrate.

Note that these do taste the best with a big sweet white onion (such as Vidalia) but if you only have regular onions on hand, that works too! Be sure to cut the wedges nice and thick. Be sure not to overcrowd your pan or fryer in order to allow all of the onion bits to get nice and crispy.

Bloomin’ Onion Bites with Dipping Sauce

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bloomin' Onion Bites

recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies

1 large sweet onion or 2 medium onions
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon each thyme and oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
Oil for frying

Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream, or greek yogurt
2 teaspoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

1. Combine all dip ingredients and set aside, preferably in the refrigerator.
2. Cut the onion in half and make slices down the onion to make wedges. In a bowl, toss flour and seasonings except seasoning salt. In a second bowl, whisk eggs, milk and 1/2 cup water.
3. Ensure onion slices are separated and place the onion wedges in a large ziploc bag. Add about 3/4 cup of the flour mixture and shake well to coat. Using a fork, gently lift out about 6 onion wedges and put them into the egg mixture. Using a fork, remove them from the egg mixture and into the flour mixture in the bowl. Toss to coat. (So it’s Flour. Egg. Flour.)
4. Place on a rack while coating all of the onions. Gently tap the rack to remove excess flour before frying.
5. Heat deep fryer or a couple of inches of oil in a pan to 360-375 degrees. Place the onions into the deep fryer or oil in small batches for about 6 minutes or until browned and crispy. Be sure not to overcrowd them. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels.
6. Serve warm with chilled dipping sauce.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull-Apart Bread

 If you are looking for a quick and yummy snack to share with a crowd, then this recipe is perfect for you! It’s perfect for parties or potlucks. I mean, come on, its got bacon, Cheddar cheese, a ton of butter and it’s incredibly easy to make. What’s not to love?! Seriously, this stuff  will not be daintily, or prettily, or even politely pulled apart. It will be torn apart and devoured. Hence why so many people have called it ‘crack’ bread. One bite is one too many, and one more is never enough. There’s no better flavor combination on earth than cheddar, bacon, and ranch. Now, I give you this most popular of flavors, in a perfectly pull-able package! Let’s just pretend I gift-wrapped it and put a bow on it too. Ya know, for added effect and all. You’re welcome. Enjoy the rest of your life. 

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull-Apart Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bacon Cheddar Pull-Apart Bread

recipe adapted from Dude Foods

1 round loaf Sourdough bread, unsliced
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. ranch dressing mix, dry, do not prepare
1/4 tsp garlic powder
strips bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, you may need more depending on how cheesy you want it

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
2. Grab a bread knife and slice from side to side in both directions, leaving about an inch of space between each slice. Make sure that you don’t cut all the way through the bottom of your bread.
3. Stuff the cheese and diced bacon pieces between all the cuts in the bread.
4. Melt the butter, combine it with the ranch dressing mix and garlic powder. Drizzle it over your bread.
5. Wrap the loaf of bread in aluminum foil and cook for 20 minutes or until all your cheese is melted.

Then, once your bread is out of the oven just do as the name suggests and pull it apart and eat it! Enjoy!

 

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

I can’t stop. I won’t stop. No, I’m not trying to be Miley. I don’t want to get anywhere near Robin Thicke. I would much rather make a yummy slider sandwich than twerk. Seriously, though. I can’t seem to get enough of sliders recently. I don’t know if it’s the whole ‘mini’ thing that’s got me hooked, or just a refreshing change.  I’m guessing a bit of both. In either case, I’ve pinned every new slider recipe I have found, and am on a mission to try them all. One recipe at a time of course, like the easiest cheeseburger sliders ever and our chicken and waffle sliders. This is the latest, and it lived up to it’s name. These petite, slightly varied versions, have all the tried and true flavors of Chicken Parmesan, but without all the work. These healthy sandwiches are perfect for a party, a dinner, or even for a lazy weekend lunch. They are sure to score a spot on your list of family favorite recipes.

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can use frozen)
1 jar(28oz) spaghetti sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
slider buns

Directions

1. Place chicken breast in the bottom of a crock pot. Top with spaghetti sauce, minced garlic, and onion powder. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 4. Shred chicken and stir until evenly combined with the sauce. 2. Preheat broiler. Toast buns. Top toasted buns with chicken and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese. Place chicken sandwiches under broiler to melt cheese.

Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

You guys are probably looking at these thinking, how did she dream up the combination of putting bacon cheeseburgers and egg rolls together? Well, its simple really. Egg rolls are good. Bacon cheeseburgers are good. Together they’d have to be double good, right!? Even better? Because these are baked, not fried, in moderation you can enjoy them without all the guilt one may, or may not, associate with enjoying one or more of their fried friends. While these egg rolls may seem more like a snack, they are so hearty they make a wonderful dinner as well. They were so incredibly good, they tasted just like the real thing, without all the traditional fat and calories. They are so simple to prepare as well, let the kids help and earn their keep. I mean…spend valuable time bonding with you in the kitchen!

The American version of the classic Chinese eggroll is a perfect quick & easy recipe for a busy weeknight, or an awesome party or game day appetizer.

Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

4 Sons 'R' Us: Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 1 /2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
20 egg roll wrappers (mine were 5″x5″)
cooking spray or olive oil

Directions

1. In a large pan, brown ground beef, bacon and onion until cooked. Drain any grease.
2. Add ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Lay each egg roll wrapper out with a corner pointing towards you. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons beef filling in the center of each wrapper. Fold in the sides and roll the wrapper tightly. Use a dab of water to secure the tip of the wrapper. (If you don’t know how to roll an egg roll it usually shows on the package).m Place the wrapped eggrolls on a baking sheet.
4. Lightly spray the outsides of the egg rolls with cooking spray OR brush on a light coating of olive oil.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
6. Serve hot with ketchup & mustard.

Greek-Style Oven Fries

We eat potatoes at least 2 times a week, sometimes three, so I’m always on the look out for new things to do with them. Although they probably wouldn’t want to readily admit to it, the sons like a little spice in their lives, or in this case, variety.  These are a different take on ‘traditional’ roasted potatoes. We shall call them oven fries. I have kids, which would yours choose? The fancy, shmancy roasted potatoes, or something with the word fries in it? The lemon juice gives them a little tang and they’re roasted to crispy perfection on the outside, leaving the inside nice and tender. These oven roasted, Greek-style fries are the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal. I highly recommend making sure to double the recipe though,  because you won’t have enough!! Yes, they are THAT GOOD!!!

Greek-Style Oven Fries

4 Sons 'R' Us: Greek-Style Oven Fries

recipe originally from Food.com

3 medium unpeeled baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
vegetable oil cooking spray

Directions

1. Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges.
2. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, pepper, salt, and garlic in a large bowl.
3. Add potatoes and toss well to coat.
4. Place potatoes, skin side down, on a baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and lightly browned.

If desired, you can sprinkle some Feta cheese crumbles over potatoes before serving.

Sous Chef Sunday: Chicken & Waffle Sliders

Mmm. Chicken, and waffles. Two seemingly unrelated things, but when put together make a food-gasmic combination. The sons, yet again, were skeptical. Four identical sets of little arched eye-brows as I got out just 3 ingredients. When, oh when, will they learn to trust me in the kitchen?! The sons followed the super simple recipe all by themselves, although with supervision since they were using the oven. The older sons can handle it, but Son # 4 gets so excited to be involved in the process, I worry he might forget hot things lead to burned fingers. Each son, in turn, took one tentative bite, and then proceeded to scarf them down. They looked like squirrels packing away food for winter. There was even a brief skirmish over the last two and who deserved them MOST. A chicken and waffle combo may have sounded weird to the more traditional tastes of the Sons, but they all agreed UNANIMOUSLY (might I point out this almost never happens!), that these little suckers are finger-lickin’ good.

Chicken & Waffle Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: Chicken & Waffle Sliders

frozen mini waffles, fully toasted
chicken tenders, cooked
{real} maple syrup
toothpicks

Directions

1. Slice your cooked chicken tenders in half. Break your toasted waffles apart.
2. Sandwich one piece of chicken between two cooked waffles. Secure with a toothpick.
3. When all the tenders have been ‘sandwiched’, drizzle them with maple syrup and serve warm.

The World’s Easiest Cheeseburger Sliders

I’m definitely a foodie at heart. I come from a long ling of women who love good food, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done my job of instilling that same feeling in my boys. While normal sized food is always great, there’s just something about food in miniature that I just can’t help but adore. It’s just so cute and fun. Not to mention, with four growing boy, two growing teenage boys who inhale food like vacuums, it’s often a whole lot less messy. With those things combined, sliders are a huge hit with this mom. Still, it was a wee bit time consuming to have to shape each petite patty by hand. Then I stumbled on this genius kitchen life-hack, and BAM! Mind.Blown. This recipe, literally, is for making the easiest sliders ever. Ever.

Easy Cheeseburger Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: The World's Easiest Cheeseburger Sliders

1 1/2 pounds, 93% lean ground sirloin
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (12-count) Kings Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls (or slider buns)
6 slices cheddar or American cheese

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.   In a bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, and salt.  Gently press mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan so that it makes one large patty of even thickness.  Use the tines of a fork to poke holes throughout the meat.  Bake for 30 minutes.  As it bakes, the meat will shrink away from the sides and liquid will accumulate around the edges of pan.  2. When fully cooked, remove the pan from oven (keep oven turned on) and carefully drain off the liquid.
3. Top the meat with an even layer of sliced cheese; return pan to oven for about 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes.
4. Cut into 2-inch squares (or the size of the buns used), making 12 mini- hamburgers.  Serve with dill pickle slices and ketchup.  Serves 6 at 2 sliders each.

Crockpot Pizza Dip

Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving. Millions of people run around like chickens with their heads cut off, scouring stores for great deals and irresistibly good prices. Occasionally, myself included.

That being said, I have a minor obsession with the day after Thanksgiving for a different reason. In our home, that’s the day we go to the tree farm and carefully pick out and cut down our Christmas tree for the year. We roast marshmallows, we sip apple cider, and then we load up and head home to deck our halls. It’s one of my favorite days of the entire year. It’s also typically a big production, and I don’t want to waste a minute I don’t have to on anything else, including dinner. So usually that day, dinner is a fend for yourself night, or a snack supper. Last year, I made this recipe as part of our snack selection, and I am happy to say it will be returning again this evening. Easy for me, and a total kid favorite. Happy Mom, Happy Sons. All is merry & bright.

Whether you’ve been out fighting the crowds and shopping until you drop, you’re too busy bringing in the good cheer, or you’re hosting a family & friends this appetizer is sure to please your hungry crowd with hardly any effort at all on your part.

Crockpot Pizza Dip

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Pizza Dip

recipe adapted from Real House Moms

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 jar (8 oz) pizza sauce, or you can substitute spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup diced pepperoni slices
1 /2 cup cooked, crumbled sausage (optional)

Directions

1. Put all the ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for about 1 hour.
2. Once all ingredients are melted and stirred to combine, turn crockpot down to warm.
3. Serve warm with crusty bread slices.