Everyday recipes, life and craziness from Jen's house.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Rouladen, red cabbage, fried potatoes, salad and Hefe-Weizen

We love German food.  It's wholesome, hearty and reminds us of good times in Germany.  Jeff and I lived in Germany for 5 years.  We lived in Wiesbaden for 2 years and Ansbach for 3 years.  I also lived in Nurnberg for 3 years with my parents when I was a little girl.

Wiesbaden, Germany
Ansbach, Germany
Nurnberg, Germany
So a few days ago, I made Rouladen, which is a braised beef roll with gravy.  Rouladen is one of our favorite dishes.  It take a little time to make it...it's a little labor intensive... but it is well worth it!


9 slices of bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb sirloin, thinly sliced length-wise.  (My grocery store sells it already sliced, but you can ask your butcher to slice it for you.)
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. mustard (you may use more/less depending on the size of the sirloin)
1 dill pickle, sliced length-wise into quarters
1 t. parsley
1/2 c. white wine
3 c. beef broth
1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. water or milk

Finely chop the onion and 1 piece of bacon.  Place the chopped bacon, 3/4's of the onion and the olive oil in a Dutch oven, or a large, deep frying pan.  Cook the onion mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

To prepare the beef, I use a large cutting board and lay the pieces of sirloin on it.  Spread the mustard on each piece of beef.  Place 2 pieces of bacon on top of the mustard.  Sprinkle the bacon with salt, pepper, the remaining chopped onion, and parsley (about 1/4 t. for each piece of beef.)  Place the pickle slice along one of the short ends of the beef.  Starting with the pickle side, roll the beef up.  Secure each roll with 2 toothpicks (or you can use string if you'd like!) 

Push the cooked onion and bacon to one side of the pan.  Turn the heat up to med/high.  You may need to add another Tablespoon of olive oil.  Place the beef rolls into the hot pan and brown on all sides.  Once the sides are browned, move the rouladen to one side of the pan.  Pour the wine into the pan and stir up the brown bits that are on the bottom.  Add the beef broth.  Place the rouladen in the middle of the pan and stir in the onion/bacon mixture that was pushed to the side.  Turn the heat down to low.    Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.  Occasionally turn the rouladen over and stir the broth.

Mix the flour and water (or milk) together.  Remove the rouladen and increase the heat to high.  Once the liquid is boiling, slowly pour the flour mixture into the pan and whisk.  The gravy should thicken quickly.  Turn the heat to low and add the rouladen.  Coat the rouladen with the gravy.  Serve with potatoes (pan fried or mashed are great!)  Enjoy~

Friday, March 25, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

We are on Spring Break here in our part of the world.  The local school districts schedule their spring break at the same time Kansas State has theirs, so it's a win-win situation in our house!  Add block leave for Jeff, and you've got a family that's ready for a week off!  To celebrate our time off, we planned a 5 star, luxury Bahama get away 3 day geocaching trip across Kansas.  Read about our GeoTrip at my other blog, JJJ Geocaching Jaunts!  Planning a 3 day trip takes a lot of work and time...Jeff did most of the cache and route planning.  I was in charge of planning for the food:  three lunches on the go and snacks. I knew I wanted to bring granola bars, but I hate all of the added "stuff" in prepackaged granola bars.  So I scoured the Internet (allrecipes mostly) and found a recipe that I liked.  I did make a few changes, and will make a few more when I make them again!


 Homemade Granola Bars (adapted from Chewy Granola Bar recipe)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
1/4 cup dried cherries
3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks)

In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir in the oats, sunflower kernels, cherries, wheat germ and flax seed. Fold in chocolate chips.

Press into an 8-in. square baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until set and edges are browned. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars. 

What did we think?  We LOVED them!  They were gobbled up!

What did I change?  I used dried cherries instead of raisins (I didn't have any raisins on hand) and used chunky peanut butter instead of smooth.  I also used ground flax seed instead of sesame seeds and chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips.  I wrapped each bar in a small piece of plastic wrap and kept them in the cooler.

What would I do next time?  I have a few changes!  Next time, I'd double the recipe!  I'd also use honey rather than the corn syrup and use 1/3 c. of brown sugar instead of 1/2 c.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but the granola bars were a little too chocolaty!  Next time, I'd use 1/3 c. mini chocolate chips instead of 1/2 c. of the chocolate chunks.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011


How We Became One

This year for Christmas, I received a couple of cookbooks.  Jeff gave me How We Became One, which is by Bill Penzey and the Penzeys One Staff.  If you are in the market for a new cookbook, this ONE (heehee) is for you!  It has great recipes and stories that give the history and background about the families where these recipes came from. 

So anyways, on Sunday I was planning my weekly menu and was thumbing through the One cookbook.  I found "Chris and Aunt Mary's Stromboli" on page 267 and thought it sounded good. 

It was fairly easy to make and took about 15 minutes to bake.  If  you used premade pizza dough, it would take no time at all to whip up.  If you make your own pizza dough, it takes about 40 minutes to whip up.  I got 2 thumbs up from both of the boys in the house, so it's a definite make-again. 

On a sidenote, did you know that there is an Italian volcano named Stromboli?

And a movie named Stromboli?

Adapted from Chris and Aunt Mary's Stromboli

Pizza Dough
1 t. yeast
1/2 t. sugar
1 c. lukewarm water
1 t. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. flour

In a mixing bowl, stir the yeast, water and sugar together.  Let sit for about 5 minutes, until it's foamy.  Add the oil, salt, and flours.  Mix well.  I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this with the dough hook.  Mix for 7-8 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth.  Add more flour if needed.  If you don't have a Kitchen Aid, you can mix the ingredients and then knead the dough for about 10 minutes.  Place the dough into a clean bowl and cover with a clean dish towel.  Set the bowl in a warm, draft free area for about 45 minutes.  I usually put my dough in the oven and just leave the light on.  The oven light creates enough heat to keep the dough toasty.  Don't turn on the oven!

1/4 c. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. dried oregano
1 t. sugar

1/4 lb. Italian (Genoa) salami
1/4 lb. sliced pepperoni (you can get this at your local deli)
1/4 lb. sliced provolone cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

After removing the dough from the oven, preheat to 450*.  Roll the pizza dough into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.  I rolled the dough onto a 9x13 inch baking stone.  Layer the meats in the center of the dough, leaving 1/2 inch space on each edge, followed by the provolone, mozzarella and Romano or Parmesan cheese. Mix up the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Fold one edge of the dough over the meat and cheese layers.  Brush the dough with the dressing mixture and fold the other edge of the dough over.  Pinch to seal.  Fold the ends in and pinch to seal.  Brush with dressing mixture.  Turn the Stromboli over on the baking pan so the seals are against the pan.  Brush the top of the Stromboli with the rest of the dressing mixture.  Bake at 450* for about 15 minutes.  The dough will be nicely browned and the cheeses will have melted together.  Slice it and serve with pizza sauce on the side.

While we were eating, we talked about different combinations we could use to make different Stromboli's.  Ham and cheese, beef and cheddar, turkey and cheese...  the list can go on and on.  Veggies would also be a great addition...green peppers, mushrooms, onions...anything you like!

The only downfall with this recipe was that it was greasy.  Pepperoni and Genoa salami are not low fat options when it comes to Italian meats!  Next time, I might use just the pepperoni and leave out the salami and throw in some veggies.

Monday, March 7, 2011

ABC's of Me!

Kristin, over at Windy Poplars, did the ABC's of me for her post today.  I thought I'd do the same.  It's fun, it's different, and you learn a little bit about me that you may not have already known! 

I've seen these ABC lists going around for awhile, and although each are just a tad different, you still learn some kind of fun stuff about people through all of them! I hope you'll participate and do the ABCs of YOU! Be sure and send me your link if you do!

A. Age: 41

B. Bed size: Queen, our next bed will be a King.  I like to sprawl.

C. Chore you hate: Dusting, putting folded laudary away, unloading the dishwashwer

D. Dogs: Nope...I grew up having a dog, though.  After Jeff retires from the Army (1-1/2 yrs!) we'll get a dog

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee.  A few friends of mine used to joke about coffee and called it PJOL...Precious Juice of Life.  I wasn't joking.

F. Favorite color: Yellow!

G. Gold or silver: Gold!

H. Height: 67"  Can you figure it out??

I. Instruments you play: Wii guitar (and not very well, at that!)

J. Job title: Mama, military wife, veteran, full time doc student, full time GTA, housekeeper, driver, chef...the list goes on and on...
K. Kids in your immediate family: Trick question...does this mean kids in my immediate family...my children?  Then just one, JP!  Or does it mean my siblings...then just one, my brother, Ken.
L. Live:  Kansas

M. Man in your life?: I've got 2...  Jeff, who I've been married to for almost 16 years, and JP, who is 9.

N. Nicknames: Mama, Jenny-Wren, and others

O. Outrageous thing you would do for $1000: Bungee jump

P. Pet peeve: People who wear pajama pants in public, parents who are mean to their kiddos, Women who wear pants with writing across their ass
Q. Quote from a movie/show: "Just keep swimming."

R. Righty or Lefty: Righty
S. Sing in the shower, or not?:   Um, sometimes. 
T. Time you wake up: It depends on the day...Anytime between 5:30-7.
U. Underwear: Yes.

V. Vegetables you dislike: I LOVE vegetables, but peas are my least favorite.

W. What makes you run late:  Facebook.  Email.  News online.  Just the computer in general!  If I check anything on the computer in the morning...forget it.  I end up running late!

X. X-rays you’ve had:  Too many to count. 
Y. Yummy food you make: Um, see other posts in my blog!  :)
Z. Zoo animal favorite: Polar bears and penguins

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cole Slaw

We eat cole slaw often in the Miller household.  It's a quick and easy side dish that goes well with just about anything.  I often buy a big bag of prepared cole slaw at Sam's Club and keep a Mason jar filled with the dressing in the refrigerator.  Cole slaw is quick to put together when you have the ingredients ready!  Enjoy~

Cole Slaw Dressing

2 cups mayo (I use Hellman's)
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. tarragon vinegar
1 T. onion powder
1/8 t. celery seed

Whisk the mayo, sugar and vinegar together until smooth.  Add the onion powder and celery seed.  Mix well.  Pour into a clean Mason jar and refrigerate until needed. 

To make cole slaw:  Shred 1/2 of a cabbage and 2 peeled carrots in a food processor.  (You can also hand shred the cabbage and carrot if you don't have a food processor.)  Place shredded cabbage/carrot into a large bowl. Add enough cole slaw dressing to your liking.  Stir well. 

You can also use prepackaged cole slaw mix.  (This saves a lot of time!)  If you shred your own cabbage/carrots, you will use less dressing...the fresh cabbage is more moist and takes less dressing!