Category: Kitchen Kween

Chipotle Cheddar Cheese SpreadLooking for something new to try for Super Bowl Sunday? Here is a wonderfully versatile Cheddar Cheese spread that is awesome as a dip, spread on cocktail rye and broiled, on a burger, or as a grilled cheese sandwich…. This spread/condiment will last in your fridge for a good couple of weeks, so put your creative mind to work!!

You can make this as spicy or mild as you want by adjusting the amount of chipotle pepper and sauce you add. You can also add fresh jalepenos if you really want it “kicky!” (pardon my football pun!)

It’s kind of like a pimiento cheese spread with chipotles instead of pimientos! Very easy to make and you will LOVE it!!

Here’s the recipe!

Kitchen Kween Chipotle Cheddar Cheese Spread

Makes approximately 2 cups of spread

Stuff you need:

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (aged cheddar is great, but pre-shredded store brand is fine, too)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 green onion, chopped
3.5 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (this is a cute little can!)

Now what?

Put first 3 ingredients in bowl of food processor and process until smooth.
Add canned chipotles and sauce. Process until smooth.
Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Here is how to get the spice level you want:

Mild – 2 chipotles, chopped with a spoonful of sauce from the can
Medium – 4 chipotles, chopped with a few spoonfuls of sauce from the can
Spicy – entire can with all of the sauce from the can
4 alarm – add entire can with all of the sauce, plus one fresh chopped jalapeno.

Put however many chipotles you want in the cheese mixture, give the processor a whirl, AND TASTE.
**Remember, as the flavors blend in the fridge, it will get a bit “warmer” than when you initially taste it, so adjust. You can always add more later if it isn’t spicy enough for you!

Serve with crackers, spread on your burger, broil open face on cocktail rye….. use your imagination!! 🙂


Almost Classic MeatloafA couple of weeks back I decided I needed to make meatloaf. Not Mexican Meatloaf like I make for The Pretty One, but classic meatloaf.

It doesn’t sound so hard, yet so often meatloaf turns out dry or blah. I wanted mine to have the “Mmmm!” factor, so I asked friends & family for a good meatloaf recipe. This is a variation of the Kitchen Kween’s recipe.

Meatloaf is very forgiving, so if you don’t like or have one ingredient, you can leave it out or switch it up with something else. Except for the meat – without meat, it’s not meatloaf! I use 90 or 93% ground beef (low fat), so I didn’t use a lot of breadcrumbs. If you use a less lean meat, adjust the breadcrumbs to about 1 cup.

I used hot Italian sausage because that’s what I had on hand. Because I only used about 1/2 pound, the finished product wasn’t too spicy. But you can always use mild Italian sausage instead. The Kitchen Kween is right about the sausage: you don’t really taste it as Italian sausage, but it gives the meatloaf another level of flavor.

I used Tone’s Steak Dust Seasoning but you could use any steak seasoning you have. It’ll add a richness to the beef, so try to use something similar if you’ve got access to it.

Other than that, add what you like, eliminate what you don’t, and serve it up! I made mashed potatoes and brown gravy for ours; I don’t care for ketchup and mustard on meatloaf. If gravy isn’t your thing, top the meatloaf with BBQ sauce before baking. Or do like our dad did – top the meatloaf with ketchup, then write something in mustard over that.

The Pretty One and I really enjoyed this meatloaf. It hit the spot! I’d love to hear how you like to eat your meatloaf!

Almost Classic Meatloaf

Stuff you need:

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Italian sausage (hot or mild, about 2 links), casing removed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs [Use 1 cup bread crumbs if you use meat that is less than 90% lean.]
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
3 teaspoons Tone’s Steak Dust Seasoning or other steak seasoning

Now what?

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Use your hands or put everything in a large zip bag and smoosh it together.
Shape into a loaf and put the meatloaf in a loaf pan. [Press into loaf shape but don’t compress too tightly.]
Bake in 350F oven for about 50 minutes. Check for doneness and bake until the center is no longer pink.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Spring is soon approaching (fingers crossed!), and my thoughts are turning to grilling! Here is a recipe that gets more requests from friends than almost any other –  Two Step BBQ Sauce. Sounds easy, IS easy, and is SOooooo much better than anything you can buy at the store!Two Step BBQ Sauce

My kids’ school even asked me to provide a half gallon of this sauce to auction off with a Pig Roast (Pastor favorite!)  Not to brag (much!) but when the auctioneer mentioned it came with Alicia’s Special BBQ sauce, the bidding went up and they got TWICE what they normally do for the pig alone!!

Two Step BBQ SauceIf I could eat it with a spoon (NOT that I ever HAVE….ahem), this would be the sauce I’d want to eat!!   You can adjust the seasonings to taste.  One note: The amount of cayenne shown does NOT make it hot. Just gives it a nice “twang.” And this amount of sugar is needed to offset the dark flavors of the malt vinegar, soy and Worcestershire.

This sauce is red gold!! Great on chicken, ribs, burgers, and well….. even a spoon! J

Two Step Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Stuff you need:

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 Tablespoons minced or pressed garlic

4 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste – make the sauce, simmer and then add more if you like)

60 oz. Ketchup (1 40-oz bottle, and 1 20-oz bottle)

1/2 cup Malt Vinegar

1/4 cup Soy Sauce

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (natural liquid smoke flavoring)

Now what?

Heat oil in a dutch oven.  Add the onion, garlic, cumin and cayenne. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened (about 10 minutes).

Put in large Ball jars (about 3 will do), or another container, and refrigerate. Keeps in fridge pretty much forever (due to ketchup and amount of sugar).

Sit back and wait for the compliments (and requests) to start rolling in!

The Super Bowl is coming!  Need a last minute appetizer that everyone will RAVE about?? Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Try this winning recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Dip. We make this often. It is so wonderful and tasty! Hard to describe – lots of flavor and so versatile.

Use as a tortilla chip or veggie dip. We use this in chicken wraps with lettuce and rice. Delicious!! We also use it as a sauce (cold) when we serve grilled steak.

And, honestly, what’s not to love? Put everything in the blender or food processor and blend it up. So easy!

You can use the jarred red peppers, but it is so easy (and more flavorful) to make your own! (Instructions for this appear in the recipe.)

One of our most requested party recipes – try it and you’ll see why.

Hope you enjoy!
~ Kitchen Kween (Munchie’s Sis)

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Stuff you need:
1  7-oz jar roasted red sweet peppers, well drained (or 3 home-roasted red peppers, skinned, seeded, and sliced)
1  8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened to room temp
2 Tablespoons real mayonnaise [can omit this if you want – don’t sub Miracle Whip]
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tablespoon lime (or lemon) juice
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley (or 1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh, snipped parsley)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon cumin
Now what?
In food processor or blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
Taste for seasoning. (Wait to add more cayenne – when the flavors blend it may sneak up on you!)
Yield:  2 cups.**To roast your own red peppers, place whole peppers directly onto stovetop flame. Once one side is nice and charred BLACK, turn and continue charring until all sides are black.
Place in plastic or paper bag, cover with a cloth. Let sit for 15 minutes to loosen skin.
Peel black skin off, cut open, take out seeds and veins, and dab with a paper towel to dry a bit.
Don’t worry about getting ALL of the black specks, it adds mucho flavor! This is messy, but soooooo good!!

My sis sent this recipe recently. Sounds like a great snack for New Year’s Eve parties and football!!

Kitchen Kween's Ranch PretzelsI wanted to pass this recipe on — something for the guys. I tried this recipe for Jerry’s fishing trip last fall, and it was requested for Thanksgiving by the guys.

One my nephews calls these “crack” pretzels. We broke them open before dinner on Thanksgiving and everyone ate so many, they were almost not hungry for turkey! (And I say “almost” because all 4 of the “boys” are 6’2″ and larger — you can imagine how much they can put away!)

They have become a new family favorite. I always double the recipe when taking them somewhere. It’s really NOT too many!!

If you make these once, you’ll see why I recommend doubling this recipe. Great snack!!

~ Kitchen Kween (Munchie’s Sis)

Ranch Pretzels

Stuff you need:

1 package (16 oz) pretzel nubs (thick bite-sized pretzels) [See picture.]

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1-1/2 teaspoons dill weed

1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (can reduce by 1/2 teaspoon if too strong)

Now what?

Mix salad dressing mix, vegetable oil, dill and garlic powder in a large bowl. Stir in pretzels to coat well.

Pour onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Every good Chicagoan knows that while deep-dish pizza may be the first Chicago food that comes to the minds of out-of-towners, the TRUE Chicagoan’s favorite food is the Italian Beef Sandwich! Luscious garlicky sliced beef baked with Italian seasonings, dipped in au jus and piled high on a warm Italian roll, topped with sweet or hot peppers (and sometimes ooey-gooey Mozzarella or Provolone cheese)….. YUM!

Chicago-Style Italian BeefAlthough recipes on the internet abound for Italian Beef sandwich “clones,” most use a crock-pot method which yields a mushy, stringy, sub-standard beef sandwich.

I found this recipe quite by accident while Googling recipes for my favorite foods on the internet (what can I say—food obsession runs in the genes!) This one really piqued my interest! No all day cooking in a crock pot? No stringy chuck roast imposter? A true roasted beef with Italian seasonings? I just HAD to give it a try!  Click for recipe.

Oddly enough, the roast was on sale at my local market: buy one – get one free! A sign from the Chicago gods, perhaps?

Quite excited, I baked up the roast per the instructions above and… Viola — the BEST home-made Italian Beef Sandwiches EVER!!!  These were almost as good as those we Chicagoans know and love!

Although I don’t have a meat slicer to get my slices paper-thin, I do pretty good with a sharp knife! [Uh huh. Is this where I tell everyone she sliced off the end of her finger once?] I would even consider purchasing a meat slicer for home use just for this recipe!!

My husband, who will tell you exactly what he thinks of a recipe when asked [yeah, he’s not really shy], was so impressed with these, he actually bragged about how good they were to friends and family!Oven Ready Italian Beef

Now I double the batch, freeze the meat for 15-20 minutes to make it easier to slice, and put dinner portions in zip top bags for the freezer. I also portion the beef “gravy” and freeze this, as well. When we need an easy dinner, I just pull out a bag of sliced Italian Beef and a container of gravy and thaw for dinner! (You can make an extra batch of gravy by bringing a can of beef broth with the seasoning mixture to a soft boil. This will yield more gravy if you, like me, like your sandwich completely dipped and sloppy!) [That’s called “wet” when you order in the restaurant.]

Try this recipe and enjoy a true Chicago favorite!

~Kitchen Kween (Munchie’s sis)

[Munchies’ Note: I LOVE Italian Beef sandwiches, and it’s one of the things I miss most about living in Kansas City. I used to eat at Luke’s regularly when I was in high school, and have been known to stop at Luke’s on the way to Mom’s when we drive into town. Portillo’s is another favorite for Italian Beef, Chicago dogs and cheese fries. I’ve found a pretty good Italian Beef sandwich at The Pizza Man in Lenexa, and they’ve got the good Chicago dogs as well.

I made these for dinner recently but wasn’t sure what to expect. The Pretty One didn’t like the beef when he tried it in Chicago years ago, so I didn’t know if he’d like my version. I used a crispy French bread loaf and made the extra gravy, as KK suggested but skipped the peppers (I don’t care for them) and the cheese (I prefer mine without). They were FANTASTIC!! All the flavor of Chicago, and leftovers too!! After eating his sandwich, The Pretty One asked what I had made for dinner. “I can’t stop thinking about it. I’d eat more, but I’m going out to run.” I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement, wouldn’t you? I’ll definitely be making this again!]

Chicago-Style Italian Beef Sandwiches

Stuff you need:

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoons salt

1 small sirloin tip roast, about 2-1/2 lbs [I used eye of round roast because it was on sale. Be sure to use a tender roast for this, not one that requires long and slow cooking.]

1 can or 2 cups beef broth

8 Italian rolls, warmed and split [I used a loaf of French bread cut into sandwich sized portions and split.]

Giardiniera and / or sautéed green peppers, optional

8 slices Provolone or Mozzarella cheese, optional

Now what?

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place meat fat side up in a shallow pan that’s just large enough to hold the roast. Rub half of the seasoning mixture over the meat.

Roast for 15 minutes; reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook 20 minutes longer.

Remove from oven; pour beef broth and remaining seasoning mixture into pan. Return to oven. Cook just until the meat registers about 135 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 20 – 25 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK the meat!

Remove the meat from the pan and let rest / cool for 20 minutes. (Temp will continue to rise, reaching 145F – medium rare.) [This is an important step, so don’t skip it!]

Meanwhile, stir the juices in the pan to loosen the spices if necessary, and transfer them to a saucepan.  [There’s a lot of pepper in there, so if you want it really mild, don’t stir up all the spices!] Cook over medium heat until heated through – about 3 minutes.

Slice cooled meat paper-thin. For each sandwich, dip meat slices briefly into juice then layer meat and juices onto the warmed, split rolls. Serve immediately with giardiniera or peppers on top. (If using the cheese, put cheese on bottom of warmed roll before piling beef and juices on.)

This guest post comes from my sis, the Kitchen Kween and my niece, Abs. If you ever get invited to their home, go. The food alone will be worth the trip!  KK and Abs teamed up to share one of their family’s favorites.
Polish Sausage Skillet from Kitchen Kween

This is the version Munchie would make — it’s spinach-free!

Having been married to a Polish man for 22 years, I am always looking for a way to put a new spin on his childhood favorites.  When I saw this dish which uses a Polish staple – Kielbasa – I knew I had to give it a try.

What a surprise!  It went together quickly with little fuss, and didn’t use any “weird” ingredients I didn’t already have in my pantry. Click for recipe.

We polished (or is that “Polish-ed”) off the entire skillet in about 10 minutes!!  Surprisingly, the girls LOVED it, and even my husband had to admit that it was pretty darned good!

The sauce reminds me a bit of the dressing used on a Spinach salad, but compliments the sausage and potatoes perfectly.   We have made it both with and without the spinach (depending on if I remembered to pick it up at the market or not!)   Either way works, but I prefer to sneak the leafy greens in when possible!

This has become a staple in our house, although I usually have to DOUBLE the recipe to make sure we all get enough!  We’re sure you will love it too!

Kitchen Kween (Munchie’s sis)

Kitchen Kween Polish Sausage Skillet

Everyone wants Abs’ dinner!