Super Bowl Ring

It’s finally Super Bowl time! I grew up in New Jersey and have always been a die hard Giants fan. I still am. But now that I live in Maine, I cheer for the Patriots when the Giants aren’t in it. I wasn’t very popular at a few Super Bowl parties being in New England territory now. But, I always redeemed myself by bringing food.

My team didn’t make it this year though. Actually, they didn’t even make the playoffs. But, I’m still looking forward to celebrating the big game. This year I’m making this cheesesteak sandwich Super Bowl Ring along with some of my other favorite football fare.

I’m not gonna cry my eyes out over it!

One of the things I like most about this sandwich is the caramelized onions. I don’t care much for raw onions on a sandwich, so I don’t mind the time it takes for these onions to cook. It takes about 30 minutes for them to develop a rich, sweet flavor that works well with the meat, cheese, garlic and other veggies.

Also, you can never go wrong with two cheeses. I used American and provolone. Three cheeses might be better yet and I contemplated using mozzarella, too. But, I wanted to be able to hold this sandwich without too much cheese oozing out of it. Ordinarily oozing cheese would be a plus, but in this case I used a little self-restraint.

My rules for football food are really very simple. It has to be comfort food and relatively easy to make. You also have to be able to dip it, scoop it, or hold it with one hand. You need to have a free hand for your beer or other beverage, right?

Super Bowl Ring cheesesteak section
Super Bowl Ring cheesesteak section

This cheesesteak sandwich ring is very easy to make. I’ve included step- by-step instructions with pictures, too.

Super Bowl Ring Cheesesteak Sandwich

This easy cheesesteak sandwich is made with premade crescent roll dough, store bought steak sandwich slices, caramelized onions, tomatoes and two cheeses. Provide pickles, peppers, lettuce or other toppings as a garnish along with ketchup or other preferred condiment for a variation of the traditional cheesesteak hoagie.

Course Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword cheesesteak
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8
Author Lisa York

Ingredients

  • 16 frozen steak sandwich slices
  • 1 8 oz package prepared crescent rolls
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch oregano optional
  • lettuce garnish
  • pickles garnish
  • ketchup optional
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tsp water
  • pinch sea salt for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F

    Prepare the seasoning mixture by combining the salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. 

    Dice a large tomato then sprinkle a pinch of the seasoning mixture and a pinch of oregano, if desired.

  2. In a medium frying pan over medium heat, melt butter and add extra virgin olive oil.

    Super Bowl Ring oil and butter for carmelized onions
  3. Slice the onions then add to the butter and oil then stir until they are well coated. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally so they start to brown all over for approximately 30 minutes. Add a pinch of the seasoning mixture, if desired.

    Super Bowl Ring onions
  4. Cook the sandwich steaks according to package instructions. Sprinkle a pinch of the seasoning mixture if desired. When the steak slices are fully cooked, move them to a paper towel to absorb the grease.  Allow to cool before assembling the sandwich. (If you place the hot slices on the cold dough, the dough will get gooey and won’t cook correctly.)

    Super Bowl Ring fry the steaks
  5. Line a round baking pan or pizza pan with parchment.

    Super Bowl Ring line pan with parchment
  6. Determine the size of the hole in the center by placing the bowl or small plate you will use to serve additional toppings or sauces.

    Super Bowl Ring sizing of the ring
  7. Lay out the crescent roll triangles in a circle around the plate with the pointy tip of the triangle point outwards. Slightly overlap the wider edges of the dough and press the dough to seal the pieces together.

    Super Bowl Ring place dough in a circle
  8. Lay a cooled, cooked slice of sandwich steak lengthwise over each triangle shaped piece of dough.  

    Super Bowl Ring 1st layer of sandwich steak
  9. Add a slice of provolone to each section.

    Super Bowl Ring provolone layer
  10. Add approximate 1 tbsp of diced tomato to each section.

    Super Bowl Ring diced tomato layer
  11. Add caramelized onions to each section.

    Super Bowl Ring caramelized onion layer
  12. Add another sandwich steak slice.

    Super Bowl Ring 2nd layer of sandwich steak
  13. Top each section with a slice of American cheese.

    Super Bowl Ring American cheese layer
  14. Fold the pointy end of the dough over each section and tuck the tip under the wider end of the dough. 

    Super Bowl Ring wrap the dough
  15. Add 1 tsp of water to an egg and beat until well blended. Using a pastry brush, coat the dough on the top and sides of the ring sandwich. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. 

    Super Bowl Ring brush dough with egg wash
  16. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is melty. 

  17. While the sandwich is baking, line a serving tray with parchment paper. Lay lettuce leaves around the outer edge of the tray. 

    Super Bowl Ring line lettuce leaves around edge of tray
  18. When the sandwich is done baking, allow to cool for a few minutes then carefully transfer the sandwich to the serving tray. (If you can’t pick up the whole sandwich intact, transfer individual sections and arrange them in a circle on the tray.) Add  bowl of pickles and ketchup in the center hole and garnish the lettuce with the remaining tomatoes, if any. 

    Super Bowl Ring transfer ring to tray

This is sure to be the first thing people go for on the buffet table. Depending on how hungry your crowd is, you may want to make two. What are your favorite football foods? Let me know in the comments below and enjoy the game. I hope your team wins!

Swedish Meatballs

This Swedish Meatballs recipe is the same one used by my Swedish grandmother and then by my Swedish mother. Although I was not born in Sweden, I have been privy to the secret family recipe since I was a young child. My mormor (Swedish grandmother) made these delicious meatballs throughout the year. But they were always extra special when she made them for Christmas Eve.

Swedish Meatballs along with a huge smorgasbord on Christmas Eve were a tradition in my house for as long as I can remember. This was the first year we didn’t keep that tradition. My brother was in town before Christmas because my mother passed away. We had our Swedish Meatballs while he was here instead. We’ll resume our traditions next year.

This recipe is sure to boost your Meat-a-ball-ism

My grandfather used to make me laugh when we were having Swedish meatballs as a kid. He would say “we’re having Svedish Meat-a-balls and your brother is going to grow another 6 inches”. My brother is very tall and he could eat more than his fair share of meatballs. My grandfather attributed the meatballs to boosting his metabolism and making him grow. Of course, we know that is not how it works, but it was funny when we were kids. To this day, when I say Swedish meatballs and metabolism, I say it in my head the way he said it. Try saying it with a Swedish accent…Svedish meat-a-balls. Meat-a-ball-ism.

Gravy with cream ??

By no stretch of the imagination am I an expert in Swedish cuisine. However, my Swedish family members never used cream or sour cream in their recipes. I’m not sure if there are regions in Sweden that adds it or not, but my Mormor once told me that she thought someone added the cream to the gravy to Americanize it. She didn’t add cream, my mother didn’t and neither do I.

These meatballs can easily be made the same day for a quick dinner. Just boil the meatballs in the broth while your potatoes are cooking and they’ll be done at the same time. But, the seasonings come out stronger if you make them ahead of time. I like to make them ahead, simmer them in a pot for 4 or 5 hours, then refrigerate or freeze them until I need them. Then transfer them to a crockpot the day I’m serving them and allow them to cook on low for 4 or 5 more hours. The final product will produce a rich broth that is delicious as is, or you can make it into a wonderful gravy, too. Serve them over egg noodles or next to boiled or mashed potatoes with your favorite vegetable and call it dinner, or serve them as an appetizer at your next gathering.

It’s a family tradition.

This is my family’s traditional Swedish Meatball recipe. Don’t let the tablespoon of salt scare you off. You’re going to need quite a bit of salt to flavor three pounds of meat and approximately 7-8 cups of gravy. My mormor never added enough salt and my mother never added enough salt. I’ve been trying to get enough salt in the recipe because it is so much better when cooked into the dish rather than adding it afterwards.

Also, you probably won’t find mustard or ketchup in any other Swedish meatball recipe, but there is a reason for this, so stay with me for another minute. My mother and grandmother immigrated to the United States long before the invention of the internet, so they did not have a translation resource for food stuffs. At the time they didn’t know the translation for muskot and krydpeppar. Which are nutmeg and allspice, respectively. But, they did know those ingredients would be found in brown mustard and ketchup, so they used those instead. At some point, those translations were discovered and reincorporated into this recipe. We’ve enjoyed them for many years. I hope you do, too.

Swedish Meatballs

A traditional Swedish Meatball recipe passed down through generations of Swedish family traditions. These hearty meatballs are paired well over egg noodles or next to boiled or mashed potatoes. They even make a great appetizer. 

Course Dinner
Cuisine Swedish
Keyword Swedish Meatballs
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 100 meatballs
Author Lisa York

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 4 slices white bread diced into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 12 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

For the gravy

  • 1 cup flour or cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

For the meatballs

  1. Dice the slices of bread into small pieces. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the breadcrumbs. Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and allow the bread to absorb the milk.

    Swedish meatballs breadcrumbs with seasoning
  2. In a small pan over medium high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions  and saute until the onions are translucent. Add a pinch of the salt and pepper.

    Swedish meatballs diced onion
  3. Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and allow the bread to absorb the milk then add the sautéed onions.

    Swedish meatballs breadcrumbs with added onions
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the rest of the salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, garlic powder, brown mustard and ketchup. Stir until well blended. Add the egg mixture to the bread and onions. Add the ground beef. Then, with your hands, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients until well blended.  

    Swedish meatballs egg mixture with seasoning
  5. Using a small spoon, small ince cream scoop, or melon baller, scoop out approximately a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture. Roll the meat mixture between your hands to form a meatball. The meatball should be rolled until it is fairly firm, otherwise they will fall apart during cooking. Repeat until you’ve formed all the meatballs.

    Swedish meatballs prior to cooking
  6. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt a pat of butter to coat the bottom of the pan then add 10-12 meatballs. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan and leave enough space between the meatballs. Otherwise, the meatballs will be steamed rather than fried. 

    Swedish meatballs fry the meatballs
  7. Fry the meatballs for a couple of minutes on each side. Just until they are browned. Then shake the pan so the meatballs roll around the pan acquiring a slight sear all around to lock in the juices. 

    Swedish meatballs pan frying
  8. Transfer the meatballs to a large pot. Pour approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to deglaze the frying pan. Using a scratch-proof utensil (if you’re using a non-stick pan), scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan.

    Swedish meatballs deglaze the pan
  9. Pour the liquid from the pan over the meatballs in the pot. Don’t worry if the liquid is still somewhat clear. Deglazing the pan will get all the flavor from the pan and the broth will darken and become more flavorful the longer you cook the meatballs in the broth. 

    Swedish meatballs poor liquid over meatballs
  10. Repeat buttering the pan, frying the meatballs, deglazing the pan and adding the broth to the pot with the meatballs until all the meatballs have been fried.

    Swedish meatballs ready to serve or make gravy if desired
  11. If the broth from deglazing the pans doesn’t produce enough liquid to cover the meatballs, add some more water to cover them. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. They are ready at this point, but the longer they simmer, the better they will be. I usually try to let them simmer for at least 4 hours.

For the gravy

  1. Drain the liquid from the meatballs into a smaller pot. Set the meatballs aside.

    Swedish meatballs drain liquid into a pot
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and water. Gradually add the flour and water mixture. The gravy will thicken as it stands.

    Swedish meatballs bring liquid to a boil
  3. Pour the gravy over meatballs and serve.

    Swedish meatballs

Do you have food traditions that were almost lost due to a translation issue? Tell me about it in the comments and don’t forget to like us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Also, if you like this recipe, please consider sharing it with your friends.

Beef Stew Comfort Food For A Gloomy Day

Happy New Year. Welcome to 2019. The first day of a new year. A time for a fresh start. Beef Stew is on the menu today. Some of my readers have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. As you may recall, my mother was quite ill over the summer. I’m sad to report that she passed away just before Christmas. So, I thought I’d like to honor her memory and share some of my favorite dishes that she made. I awoke to snow, rain and wind this morning. It’s an overall gloomy, humdrum of a day, so it’s a perfect day for one of my favorite comfort foods.

Mother like Daughter…not exactly

My mother made the most excellent beef stew and her gravy was always perfect. It was never lumpy and always had the ideal consistency. I’ve never quite mastered gravy. It’s usually too thick or more likely, too thin because I’m afraid of the gravy becoming too thick, so I undercompensate with the flour or corn starch.

One thing I never quite understood was why she cooked all the components of the stew separately and then mixed them together. It always seemed like a lot of extra work and a lot more pots and pans to wash. Since I’ve been attempting to duplicate her stew, I’ve tried various methods. I’m not a fan of cooking in the crock pot, but in the case of stew, it does seem rather obvious that would be the easiest process.

Trials and errors…many errors

I’ve attempted to just throw all the ingredients in the crock pot, but after 8 hours the potatoes and carrots weren’t fully cooked. Plus, I didn’t like the texture of the beef…it was still quite tough. And the gravy was way too thin.

On the second attempt, I seared the beef before adding the meat to the crock pot and upped the slow cooking time to 12 hours. To my dismay, the carrots and potatoes still were undercooked. However, the meat was much more tender and we’re on our way to a win on the gravy.

Well, I was determined, and on my third try, I started it the night before and let the crock pot go for 16 hours. Finally, it turned out pretty good, but I came to realization that it is really quite ridiculous to cook anything for 16 hours. 16 hours…No wonder my mom didn’t like using the crock pot. I eventually chalked it up to the crock pot not working at its peak performance and thought I would buy a new one before I experimented again.

Some Christmas Wishes Do Come True

I have a very generous friend who always gives the best gifts. She is thoughtful and apparently remembers everything you tell her. One day I mentioned in passing about my 16 hour beef stew and we had a little laugh over it. Well, wouldn’t you know, she got me a crock pot for Christmas. It really made my day and my next experiment of beef stew only took 5 hours in the crock pot.

I may be starting to warm up to the idea of experimenting with other recipes in the crock pot. Stay tuned.

Beef Stew

This comfort food has onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, stew beef and gravy. Chop the vegetables to your desired size. The smaller the chop of celery and onions, the more likely they’ll cook away. If you like a heartier stew, leave the pieces large. Either way, they’ll add a wonderful flavor to your stew.

Course Dinner
Keyword Stew
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Author Lisa York

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds stew beef
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 medium onion chopped to desired size
  • 1 cup celery chopped to desired size
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 5 large potatoes chopped to bite size pieces
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Season the stew beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

    Beef Stew seasoned beef
  2. Chop the onion to desired size and layer on the bottom of the crock pot. (The order of the vegetables doesn’t really matter, but the vegetables should be at the bottom and the meat should be on top.) 

    Beef Stew onions
  3. Chop the celery to desired size and layer over the onions.

    Beef Stew celery
  4. Add the baby carrots.

    Beef Stew carrots
  5. Chop the potatoes to bite size pieces and add a layer to cover the carrots. You may need more than 5 potatoes depending on size.

    Beef Stew potatoes
  6. In a skillet, over high heat, melt the better and add the olive oil.

    Beef Stew prepared pan with oil and butter
  7. Add small amounts of the stew beef to the hot skillet, turn the pieces to sear each side. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan with the beef otherwise you’ll steam the beef instead of sear it. Searing the beef will lock in the juices and help the meat become tender during the slow cooking process.

    Beef Stew searing beef
  8. Remove the seared beef from the pan and set aside.

    Beef Stew seared beef
  9. Add a cup of the beef broth to the skillet to deglaze the juices and random pieces of beef from the pan. Pour the juices and broth over the vegetables in the crock pot.

    Beef Stew deglaze pan and add to crock pot
  10. Add one cup of flour to the seared stew beef.

    Beef Stew added flour to beef
  11. Stir the beef until each piece is well-coated with flour. The flour will thicken the broth while it cooks. 

    Beef Stew beef coated with flour
  12. Add the flour-coated beef to the crock pot. 

    Beef Stew beef coated with flour added to crock pot
  13. Add the remaining beef broth to the crock pot.

    Beef Stew added beef broth
  14. Be sure to cover all the ingredients in the crock pot. Add the Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Resist the urge to stir the pot. It’s best to keep the vegetables at the bottom of the crock pot where it will be the hottest.

    Beef Stew added beef broth to cover all ingredients
  15. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours . Turn off approximately 1 hour prior to serving. The stew will remain hot, but the gravy will continue to thicken. Stir prior to serving. (Cooking times may vary depending on manufacturer make and model.) 

    Beef Stew cook on high

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget or appliance that you got for Christmas? Tell me in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest by clicking on the links provided.

Versatile Dry Rub

Are there any foodstuffs that you didn’t like as a kid that you still won’t eat today? I’m sure we all can name at least one item that we still harbor a deep-seated aversion to. In the upcoming weeks I will be introducing a special segment of my blog that I call “Outside The Comfort Zone“. I’ll chronicle my experiences with foods or cooking techniques that I am not familiar with. I also plan to give some of those foods from my youth a second chance.

My particular aversion is to steak. I can’t explain it, but I’m just not a huge fan of it. I’ve never found it appealing, so it might be strange that I’m going to talk about dry rubs today. I may not love steak, but I do love flavor. This dry rub is an excellent choice for flavoring chicken, ribs, beef and pork. I actually use a few tablespoons of this mixture to use in my BBQ sauce and even to season nuts. So, you can see why I say that this is a versatile dry rub. I make a large batch of it and store it in an airtight container so I have plenty to use whenever the mood strikes.

This dry rub has a well-balanced sweetness and smokiness with just a hint of spiciness. Of course, if you like the extra heat on your meat, you can add additional cayenne pepper. If you like it a little sweeter, you can add more sugar or even change the type of sugar you use. Just be careful about how you cook using a rub with extra sugar in it. If you are grilling on the barbeque, you’ll want to avoid prolonged direct contact with the flame, otherwise the sugar will melt and burn quickly.

This recipe calls for seasoned salt. There are many seasoned salts available on the market, but I recently shared my homemade recipe which would make a decent dry rub by itself, too. I’m sure you probably have all the ingredients you need and can find my recipe here.

Dry Rub

There are many uses for this flavorful mixture of sweet, smokey and spicey. Dry rubs for meats. Seasoned nuts. BBQ sauce. The possibilities of flavor combinations are endless.

Course Spices
Prep Time 10 minutes
Inactive time 2 hours
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup seasoned salt
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Spread out brown sugar to dry for 2 hours.

  2. Combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

    Dry Rub blended
  3. Use a food processor on pulse or a sifter to break up the larger clumps until you have a fine texture.

    Dry Rub sifted
  4. Store in an airtight container.

    Dry Rub

Recipe Notes

See my recipe for Seasoned Salt.http://mycomfortcafe.com/spices/seasoned-salt/

What food are you willing to try with a different recipe that you previously refused to eat? Let me know in the comments below and check back for “Outside the Comfort Zone”. I’m going to try this dry rub on steak as my first experiment.

 

 

Seasoned Salt

Do you need to spice things up in the kitchen? I don’t know about you, but sometimes regular salt just doesn’t cut it, so it’s nice to have a recipe on hand that you can add to any dish that needs some additional flavor. I came up with this version of seasoned salt when I was tinkering around with rubs and BBQ sauce recipes. (SPOILER ALERT: I’ll also be sharing those recipes this week.)

A pinch packs a lot of flavor, so make a batch, keep it in an airtight container and you’ll have a secret weapon in your arsenal of flavors anytime you’re looking to shake things up. This is the perfect addition to burgers, salads, chicken, beef or even pork and fish. Why buy store bought products when you probably have all the ingredients in your spice rack already? Not to mention that it is super easy to make and can be easily packaged for a cute hostess gift or housewarming gifts.

Seasoned Salt

A quick mixture of common spice rack seasonings make up this seasoned salt. Keep stored in an airtight container to add a little something different to everyday dishes.

Course Spices
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together until well combined.

    Seasoned salt large grains
  2. Depending on the grind of the salt, you may choose to run through the food processor on pulse to break up some of the larger grains of salt.

    Seasoned salt pulse in processor
  3. Or using a sifter will separate the larger grains (recommended if you're going to use the seasoned salt in a shaker).

    Seasoned salt sift
  4. Store the remaining seasoned salt in an airtight container.
    Seasoned salt storage
  5. The seasoned salt is ready to use today, but all the flavors will mingle the longer it stored. Enjoy.

The best thing about seasoned salt, besides the added flavor, is that you can mix up whatever spices you like. Try it with turmeric, or maybe even some dried herbs. What flavors do you like? Let me know in the comments below and check back for my other recipes using this seasoned salt.

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