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A Memoriam to my mom: Colossal Crescent Cheeseburger

My mom, Neta Joyce McCulloch Thompson, died last Monday night, January 27th. Having been in pain most of her adult life, she is now released from that, but it doesn’t make it easy for her to be gone. I miss her. While getting ready for the memorial service on Saturday, something crossed my mind and I thought, “I have to remember to tell mother about that…” and in an instant it hit me, I couldn’t. No matter how prepared we think we are for a parent’s passing, when it happens, it is far harder than one can imagine.  

My mom was a good cook. Her mom was too. When visiting mama McCulloch, for breakfast we would have homemade jam and fresh biscuits, ham, and sausage, and bacon and eggs. There was always some kind of cake, made from scratch of course, and cookies, and candies. Dinner time would have a table spread with any variety of meats and vegetables. She also would cook up anything my grandfather happened to shoot, like squirrel and dove. Though I only sampled the dove, my younger sister remembers well, getting up early one morning to see four legs sticking up out of the pan on the stove, a raccoon raiding the garage, my grandfather had shot. My mom learned from the best, though there was never any wild animals cooking in our kitchen, just the best fried chicken ever.

Mother was definitely a product of her generation of cooks. Though she cooked a lot of things from scratch, she took advantage of the quick products that showed up on the grocery shelf. Pillsbury was a prominent product in our lives, from the Orange Danish Rolls we had every Sunday morning for breakfast (seriously, we did) to the crescent rolls she wrapped around hotdogs with a little slice of cheese and mustard, our Pigs in a Blanket. Loved them. But the best Pillsbury recipe was her prize winning Colossal Crescent Cheeseburger.

She entered the Pillsbury BakeOff contest in 1973 and was selected as one of the 100 finalists, who were then flown to California to recreate their recipe for a panel of judges. Bob Barker was the MC for the contest, host of The Price is Right (which my mom watched every day of her life, even after Drew Carey became the host). She won a stand mixer and a range oven. Know what that is? A stove with two ovens. Fancy! She also won $100 and her flight to CA. Though she didn’t make it to the top five, she had a great time and was honored to have been part of the contest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While going through pictures for my mom’s memorial, we found her notebook of memorabilia from the BakeOff. We found an article that ran in the local paper, we lived in Tullahoma, Tennessee at the time, in which she referred to herself as a “lazy cook.” Though my mom was far from lazy at anything in her life, I guess to her, using convenience products was a shortcut that got thrown into the lazy category. I know she didn’t love to cook, as she had so many other interests that kept her busy, but she had some standout dishes that I still remember well. She enjoyed having people for dinner and making something beyond the “lazy” category at those times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oddly, she never taught us to cook. My sisters and I all learned in Home Ec classes the basics of cooking. When I left home my signature dish, okay, the ONLY thing I could make, was chocolate chip cookies, but they were the best chocolate chip cookies around. However, I married young and out of necessity learned to cook far more than chocolate chip cookies. And unlike my mom, I do love to cook. I give her credit for this though, because cooking was such a part of our lives. From a grandmother who showed me the beauty of a big spread, to the times spent with extended family around the dinner table, and my mom’s incredible ability to make some fantastic dishes, I became a foodie. I think there is nothing better than a good meal with friends and family and wish that more people took the time to slow down and just enjoy the art of cooking. 

I did teach my three sons to cook and they are the primary cooks in their families. I love that in today’s world that a man doesn’t have to be a chef to cook, but can cook for family and friends, just like mom’s always were expected to in the past. My younger sister turned out to be the best cook in our family and her daughter, Sierra, follows in her footsteps, as do my boys in mine. Here’s to the fourth generation of McCulloch cooks and here’s to my mom. And for you, her recipe for Colossal Crescent Cheeseburger.

Saute onions, if using; brown meat and add seasoning packet and optional chile powder; add optional green chile

I used this Penzeys Taco seasoning powder instead of a small package. I used 6 Tbs.

This is how your spokes will look

Place last four in middle

Press them out to look like this

Pile your meat and cheese in the middle; wrap spokes up around mixture

It will look like this

Seal it up; brush with milk or water and sprinkle with sesame seeds

And VOILA! Colossal Crescent Cheeseburger!

Below is the original recipe, however, I upgraded this when I cooked it this past Sunday for the Super Bowl gathering I attended. I used organic grass fed and finished bison, mild cheddar cheese, 1/2 a cup of sautéed onions, some green chile, about 1/4 of a cup, and 1/2 tsp of chile powder for good measure. Whichever way you make this, I hope you enjoy!

A Memoriam to my mom: Colossal Crescent Cheeseburger
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This was my mom's Pillsbury BakeOff prize winning recipe. An easy, tasty dish that is great for a quick evening meal or to take to a party.
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1¼ ounce package taco, chili or sloppy joe seasoning mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 8 ounce cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 5 Slices American Cheese
  • milk
  • sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray pizza pan or large cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In large frying pan, brown ground beef; drain fat.
  4. Stir in seasoning mix and water.
  5. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 10 mins.
  6. Separate crescent rolls into 16 triangles.
  7. Arrange 12 triangles in spoke fashion around pan.
  8. Press remaining triangles in center of pan to cover hole and press to seal.
  9. Pile meat in center.
  10. Top with cheese slices.
  11. Bring dough up over meat and seal the seams by pinching together and using a bit of water or milk to smooth dough.
  12. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  13. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, until golden brown and crust is no longer doughy.
  14. OPTIONAL:
  15. Use Bison instead of ground beef.
  16. Add ½ cup sautéed onions to beef.
  17. Add ½ tsp red chile powder.
  18. Add ¼ cup chopped green chiles.
  19. Pile 3 ounces of grated, mild cheddar cheese on top of meat mixture.

 

RIP little mommy!

Friday-Foodie

Friday Foodie: Black Bean Soup

Friday Foodie: Black Bean Soup

This is one of my all time favorite soup recipes, adapted from the Vegan Piggy, a blogspot that has been inactive for several years now. I changed up the amount of broth, the tomatoes and spices a bit.  It is definitely a very tasty, easy to make, delicious soup.

One thing about my videos, I do them as they come. I don’t set a stage or anything like that. I’m cooking just like you are sometimes, in pajamas early in the morning (that would be in this video for sure), or in the evening, tired at the end of a long day. Life happens and taking time to cook, means you fit it in where you can. The great thing about soups, they are easy to do in the morning, as you can chop up everything, throw it in a pot and let it simmer while you dress for work. Ladle some up into a jar, throw the rest in the fridge for later, and you walk out the door with a great lunch. Add an apple and cut up veggies, and you are well fed. Then you have lunch for the week, or dinner the next night.

Here’s the video and the printable recipe is at the bottom.

If you like this video, please share it with your friends by clicking on the buttons below. Enjoy!

Friday Foodie: Black Bean Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This is a hearty, tasty, healthy soup. Easy to make, it provides you with the beans you need and a few other veggies.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb black beans, soaked, rinsed and cooked. OR 4 cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 3 C. Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Can Organic Diced Tomatoes with green chile (without chile is fine too)
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 t. Cumin
  • ½ - 1 t. Chili Powder, depending on how hot you desire
  • 1 t. Smoked Paprika
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ - ½ C. cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place one third of beans and tomatoes in blender, and process until smooth.
  2. Heat a heavy frying pan on medium heat.
  3. Once hot, add water and chopped onions and carrots.
  4. Sauté for five minutes.
  5. Add garlic and sauté until an additional two minutes.
  6. Add broth, spices, bean puree and the rest of the beans to the mix.
  7. If you like a more brothy soup, add ½ - 1 cup more stock.
  8. If you like a thicker soup, reduce broth from 3 cups to 2 cups.
  9. Reduce to very low heat.
  10. Cover and simmer slowly about 20 minutes, stirring every once in a while to prevent the beans from burning at the bottom of the pan.
  11. Before serving, add fresh cilantro.
  12. This soup tastes great with a small scoop of brown rice.
  13. Serve with a small salad for a completely satisfying meal.

 

Friday-Foodie

Friday Foodie: An Asparagus Minute

Friday Foodie: An Asparagus Minute

Fall and spring are the best times to enjoy asparagus and so I thought I would share with you a simple way to rid the spear of the woody, chewy ends. This works without fail, and though may seem wasteful, it’s no more wasteful than leaving the uneaten portion on your plate. You’re just getting rid of it ahead of time! I’ve also included a simple recipe you can try with these delicious green spears. Enjoy!

Friday Foodie: Asparagus in mustard thyme sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is a delicious way to prepare a crispy green asparagus.
Ingredients
  • One bunch of asparagus, bottoms snapped and removed
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
Instructions
  1. Bring broth to a boil in a ten inch skillet
  2. Add asparagus spears, layering flat on bottom of skillet
  3. When stalks turn bright green, remove to a serving dish with raised rim (do not cover)
  4. Reduce broth to about ⅓ to ¼ cup
  5. Stir in mustard and thyme
  6. Add butter
  7. Pour over asparagus and serve
  8. May be eaten hot or cold

 

Friday-Foodie

Friday Foodie: How to cook a spaghetti squash

Friday Foodie: How to cook a spaghetti squash

Last week I showed you how to make a basil walnut pesto. This week, let’s make spaghetti squash and serve it up with some of that pesto. This is also good with my Incredible Meatless Spaghetti Sauce and would be a great accompaniment to roasted veggies. If you don’t have a really sharp sturdy knife to cut this in half, then cook the squash whole, but poke some holes into it, piercing all the way to the heart, or you will have an explosion and a huge mess to clean. Let me know if you have questions and if you like this Friday Foodie, please share it with your friends by clicking the buttons below!

Directions:

With a sharp and sturdy knife, cut the squash in half. Scoop the seeds and threads from the center. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 45 mins to an hour. When completely baked, shell should yield to a fork and center should be completely hot.

Cooked spaghetti squash

Once baked, use a fork to scoop out the insides, forming piles of “noodles” ready to be served with pesto, spaghetti sauce or roasted veggies.

Enjoy!

Friday-Foodie

Friday Foodie: Quickie Sandwich

 

Friday Foodie: Quickie Sandwich

This is a tasty, easy to make sandwich, that comes together in just  few minutes on a night when you are just too tired to think about cooking. The ingredients are easy to keep on hand, and though you might not always have fresh arugula on hand, any green lettuce will do! Hope you give this a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Follow me on social media, and contact me: jane@janeannthompson.com if you are ready to change you health for the best!

Friday-Foodie

Friday Foodie: How to cook dried beans

TGIF! Everyone always looks forward to Friday as the signal for the weekend. I look forward to Fridays to share what’s cooking in my kitchen. Today, I am posting my first Vlog!

Though having canned beans on hand is great, cooking them from dried saves money and allows you to control the sodium level. Any variety can be cooked using my method. If you haven’t ever tried to cook your own, I hope you’ll venture out and give them a try. I hope you enjoy the video.

I would love your feedback so please post a comment and if you like this post, please share.

Peace and Joy!

caramelized mushrooms and shallots

Friday Foodie: Savory Mushrooms and Shallots

 

 

 

 

I love mushrooms, especially in recipes that bring out their meaty goodness. This is just such a recipe. Though this would serve four as a side dish, we divided it into two servings and ate as our main dish alongside a hearty salad. Delicious!

I used a 10 ounce bag of white button mushrooms and a 10 ounce bag of baby bellas.

mushrooms

2 Tbs. of grated ginger and 4 cloves of crushed garlic

ginger and garlic

2 Tbs. sesame oil and 3 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce or you could use tamari

soy and sesame

2 shallots cut into 1/4 inch slices (I would use at least 2 or 3 more shallots next time)

mushrooms with shallots

Toss the mushrooms and shallots in the sauce

mushrooms tossed in sauce

Bake at 400 for 30 mins. Stir half way through

Caramelized deliciousness!

caramelized mushrooms and shallots

Serve with a favorite salad. This is a variation of my favorite salad.

salad of choice

For a simple dressing, sprinkle with a high quality balsamic.

This was an easy meal to prepare after a long day at work. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Friday Foodie: Savory Mushrooms and Shallots
Author: 
Recipe type: Main dish or side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
This caramelized mushrooms and shallots dish makes a great main course for two or a side dish for four.
Ingredients
  • 10 ounce bag white button mushrooms
  • 10 ounce bag baby bella mushrooms
  • (Or any combination of mushrooms resulting in 20 ounces to 1½ pounds)
  • 4 shallots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices
  • 2 Tbs. grated ginger root
  • 4-5 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 3 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place mushrooms and sliced shallots in large bowl
  3. Grate ginger
  4. Crush garlic cloves
  5. Place in small bowl and add soy sauce and sesame oil
  6. Pour sauce over mushrooms and shallots
  7. Mix until evenly coated
  8. Spread onto baking sheet
  9. Bake for 30 mins, stirring after 15 minutes
  10. May be eaten hot or at room temperature

 

wrap-w-arugula

Friday Foodie: Cashew Cream Veggie Wrap

Today’s recipe, Cashew Cream Veggie Wrap, incorporates a wonderful nutty cream with lots of veggies on a whole grain tortilla wrap. The Cashew Cream is a recipe from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen. My friend Jenn Hunter, from Ramp Up Marketing, presented me with this wonderful book for my birthday this past year and I love it. I’ll review it for you soon.

So here we go. First, you will need to make the Cashew Cream. You’ll find the recipe at the bottom of the page. It’s a quick recipe to make, though you will need to soak the cashews ahead of time. This softens them up for use.

Heat a whole grain tortilla wrap, such as the Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Tortilla. The easiest way to do this if you have a gas stove top is to turn the burner on and flip the tortilla back and forth over the flame till warm, just be careful. The safest way is to heat up a skillet and heat it there. I don’t like the microwave because they get tough too easy. If making more than one wrap, heat several up, right on the rack, in your oven.

 

Next, spread a tablespoon of cream down the center of the wrap, leaving an inch or so at the bottom empty.

cashew-cream-on-tortilla

 

Then layer a tablespoon of chopped kalamata olives, or an olive tapenade, chopped roasted red bell peppers, chopped artichoke hearts, pea sprouts or micro greens…

cashew-cm-veggies

 

 

 

 

add a big handful of arugula

wrap-w-arugula

and then begin to wrap it up. First, fold the bottom up.

wrap-first-fold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then fold side over and tuck in around the veggie mixture.

wrap-second-fold

 

 

 

Fold over other side,

final-wrap

 

And it’s a WRAP!

Eat and Enjoy!

Here’s the Cashew Cream Recipe. I cut this in half when I make it, as the full recipe is more than I can use up before it goes bad.

Friday Foodie: Cashew Cream Veggie Wrap
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch or Dinner
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
This is a simple healthy wrap to enjoy for lunch or dinner.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for a few hours or overnight in water, to soften
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbs. onion powder
  • 1½ Tbs. finely diced chives
  • ¼ c. finely minced parsley
  • 1½ Tbs. finely minced shallot or red onion
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Blend the soaked cashews with water and lemon juice in high speed blender, until smooth.
  2. Pause often to scrape sides of blender and fold ingredients to ensure a creamy texture.
  3. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add nutritional yeast, onion powder, chives, parsley, shallots, salt, and pepper.
  4. Mix thoroughly.

 

Friday Foodie: Incredible Meatless Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce

This is my much loved meatless spaghetti sauce. This recipe is full of veggies, which makes for a super hearty, rich sauce. You can adjust this recipe with more or less veggies. To make it saucier, add another can of tomatoes. Add more spice as you desire. Extra Oregano would be super! I also love garlic, so I usually up the garlic depending on the size of the cloves. Chopping the cauliflower finely will keep anyone from knowing it’s there, if you have picky eaters.  In the above picture you can see the bay leaves there on the top. Those come out before serving. Just dig around with your spoon and you’ll find them. If you don’t find them all, just warn people ahead of time, but generally when you start serving up plates any lost leave will present itself. This makes enough for a family of four to have three or four meals. Store in quart size containers in your freezer and pull out to defrost for a quick evening meal. You can also use this as a pizza sauce.

3 large onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1 ½ pounds of mushrooms, sliced (I prefer baby Bella’s’, but white buttons are fine)

3 zucchini squash, grated

1 cup finely chopped cauliflower

4 large carrots, grated

3 Tbs. Italian seasoning

2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes, pick the lowest sodium and sugar content

1 28 ounce can of tomato puree or sauce, lowest sodium and sugar (Wal-Mart Great Value   Puree has no other added ingredients)

1 can tomato paste with no other ingredients listed on can

3 large bay leaves

Place a large Dutch oven or large soup pot on oven burner set to high. Once pan is hot and water drops skid across pan, add two Tbs. of water and immediately add onions. Turn heat to medium/high and sauté the onions for about three minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms  and cook until they release their juices, stirring occasionally.

Add the crushed garlic and cook one minute more. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for five minutes, until all have begun to soften.

Add the Italian seasoning and stir to coat vegetables. Cook for one more minute then add the tomatoes, tomato puree and the paste. If you wish to add salt, add about a teaspoon.  Stir all ingredients together and bring to just boiling, then turn the heat to low. Place three large bay leaves on the top of the sauce and fold them in. Cover and allow to simmer for an hour.

Friday Foodie: Incredible Meatless Spaghetti Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
This veggie filled spaghetti sauce is a great way to get your family to eat their vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 3
 large
 onions,
 chopped
  • 6 
cloves 
garlic,
crushed
  • 1
1⁄2 
pounds 
of
 mushrooms, 
sliced
  • 3 
zucchini 
squash,
 grated
  • 1 
cup 
finely 
chopped
 cauliflower
  • 4
l arge
 carrots,
 grated
  • 3
Tbs.
Italian
 seasoning
  • 2 
28 
ounce 
cans 
of 
diced 
tomatoes,
  • 1 
28 
ounce
 can
 of 
tomato 
puree 
or 
sauce,
  • 1 
can 
tomato 
paste 
with 
no 
other 
ingredients 
listed 
on 
can
  • 3 
large 
bay 
leaves
Instructions
  1. Place 
a 
large 
Dutch 
oven 
or 
large 
soup 
pot 
on 
oven 
burner 
set 
to 
high.
  2. Once 
pan 
is
 hot 
and 
water 
drops 
skid 
across
 pan, 
add 
two
Tbs 
of 
water 
and
immediately
 add
 onions.
  3. Turn 
heat 
to 
medium/high 
and 
sauté 
the 
onions 
for 
about 
three 
minutes,
 until 
they
begin 
to 
soften.
  4. Add
 the 
mushrooms 
and 
cook 
until
 they 
release 
their
 juices, 
stirring
 occasionally.
Add
 the 
crushed 
garlic 
and 
cook 
one 
minute 
more.
  5. Add
 the 
rest 
of 
the 
vegetables 
and
 cook 
for 
five 
minutes,
 until
 all
 have 
begun 
to
soften.
  6. Add
 the 
Italian 
seasoning 
and 
stir
 to 
coat
 vegetables.
  7. Cook 
for 
one 
more 
minute 
then
 add
 the 
tomatoes, 
tomato
 puree
 and 
the 
paste.
  8. If
 you 
wish 
to 
add
 salt,
 add 
about 
a
 teaspoon.
  9. Stir 
all
 ingredients 
together 
and
 bring 
to 
just
 boiling, 
then 
turn 
the 
heat
 to
 low.
  10. Place 
three 
large 
bay 
leaves 
on 
the 
top 
of 
the 
sauce 
and 
fold 
them 
in.
  11. Cover 
and
 allow
 to 
simmer
 for 
an 
hour.

 

TIME EFFICIENCY USING A 6 QT CROCK POT: The night before you wish to make this,  sauté the onions, mushrooms and garlic as directed above. Chop and grate all remaining vegetables. Place them, all in refrigerator for the night. (If you have a crock pot with removable crock, place them in the covered crock for the night.) The next morning, add remaining ingredients, turn crock pot setting to low and come home to a ready made sauce.