Roast Beef Plain & Simple

I recently came up with an easy roast beef recipe. I was scouring my cookbooks and the internet for a way to cook a roast I had gotten at one of those buy one get one free sales. I was looking for anything that wasn’t too complicated for my bottom round roast as I had never made  a roast beef before. One thing you need is a good meat thermometer that you can keep in the roast while it’s in the oven. I found recipes for sirloin, bottom round and so on. The recipe below is what I came up with. It cooks for a while nice and slow which is one of the reasons it comes out so good. The salt tenderizes it as well. You can serve this with a nice horseradish sauce** or a mustard sauce**.

Roast Beef w/Italian-Greek Salad


1 bottom round roast (2 ½ lbs or more)

3 cloves garlic, chopped roughly

1 TBS black pepper (approximately)

½ cup kosher salt


1. Pre-heat oven to 210°.

2. Make slits all over the roast and insert the pieces of garlic into them.

3. Spread black pepper all over roast. Cover entire roast with the kosher salt making a sort of jacket all around the roast.

4. Place roast in a shallow roasting pan with the fat side of the roast up. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of the roast.

5. Place roast into oven and cook about 3 hours or until meat thermometer reads what you want. If you like your meat rare 140º to 145º. For medium rare it should read 145º, medium should be 160º and for well done it should read 170º. It’s always better to be a little undercooked as you can’t fix it if its overdone.

After 3+ hours

6. Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Remove the salt cap before slicing.


Serves 4

**Mustard Sauce: Mix ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup Dijon mustard and ¼ teaspoon lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

**Horseradish Cream Sauce: Mix ½ cup sour cream,  ½ mayonnaise, 2-3 tablespoon prepared horseradish (you can use more or less to taste) and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Italian-Greek Salad

Now that spring is here and the weather is doing it’s hardest to warm up a light refreshing side salad is always a good addition to any meal. This recipe I came up with combining Italian and Greek flavors. It’s an easy, quick salad that can be made last-minute. It goes great with beef, chicken, fish, burgers and so on. I have made many variations on this salad over the years. This recipe calls for feta cheese which makes it Greek but you can substitute the feta for mozzarella cheese as well. And for a little more fiber add some drained and rinsed garbanzo beans! It’s always a hit no matter what.


2 large plum tomatoes, cut into chunks.(You can usually get 10-12 chunks per tomato)

¼ cup chopped or sliced red onion (Add more if you like more red onion)

1 cup peeled and diced cucumber

1 large clove garlic, chopped fine

1-2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

¼-½ cup feta cheese crumbles (I also use the low-fat Feta, you can’t tell the difference)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 TBS white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste


1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing well. Chill for 15 minutes or so. Serve!

** You can adjust the vinegar and olive oil if you feel it needs a little more of either.

Serves 2-3

Don’t forget Easter is just around the corner! Check out these free and easy last minute Easter tips!

How Much Do I Need?

I don’t know about everyone else but there are times when I’m cooking or following a recipe that calls for a cup of something cooked but you’re not sure how much of the uncooked item to use. For instance a recipe calls for 2½ cups of cooked pasta. Fine, but how much uncooked do I need to make that 2½ cups? Well today’s post will help a bit with those questions. It’s nice to have a handy list of ingredient equivalents when you need it instead of guessing or scouring cookbooks or the internet for your answer. I hope this list is helpful for everyone!

Macaroni: 1 cup  uncooked = 2 ½ cups cooked

Noodles, medium : 3 cups uncooked =  3 cups cooked

Spaghetti: 8 oz. uncooked = 4 cups cooked

Long Grain Rice: 1 cup uncooked = 3 cups cooked

Quick-cooking Rice: 1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked

Popcorn: 1/3-½ cup unpopped  = 8 cups popped

Bread: 1 slice =  ¾ cup soft crumbs or ¼ cup fine dry crumbs

Saltine Crackers: 14 crackers = ½ cup finely crushed

Rich Round Crackers (like Ritz): 12 crackers = ½ cup finely crushed

Graham Crackers: 7 squares = ½ cup finely crushed

Gingersnaps: 7 cookies = ½ cup finely crushed

Vanilla Wafers: 11 cookies = ½ cup finely crushed

Apples: 1 medium = 1 cup sliced

Bananas: 1 medium = 1/3 cup mashed

Lemons: 1 medium = 3 TBS juice; 2 tsp shredded peel

Limes: 1 medium = 2 TBS juice; 1 ½ tsp shredded peel

Oranges: 1 medium = ¼-1/3 cup juice; 4 tsp shredded peel

Peaches, Pears: 1 medium = ½ cup sliced

Rhubarb: 1 pound = 2 cups cooked

Strawberries: 4 cups whole =  4 cups sliced

Cabbage: 1 pound (1 small) = 5 cups shredded

Carrots, without tops: 1 lb (6-8 medium) = 3 cups shredded or 2 ¼ cups chopped

Cauliflower: 1 medium head = 4 ½ cups sliced/chopped

Celery: 1 stalk =  ½ cup chopped

Green Beans: 1 pound (4 cups) = 2 ½ cups cooked

Green Peppers: 1 large = 1 cup chopped

Lettuce: 1 medium head = 6 cups torn

Mushrooms: ½ pound (3 cups) = 1 cup cooked

Onions: 1 medium = ½ cup chopped

Potatoes: 3 medium = 2 cups cubed or 1 ¾ cup mashed

Spinach: 1 pound = 12 cups torn

Tomatoes: 1 medium = ½ cup chopped

Cheese: 4 ounces = 1 cup shredded

Whipping Cream: 1 cup = 2 cups whipped

Ground Beef: 1 pound raw = 2 ¾ cups cooked

Cooked Meat: 1 pound = 3 cups chopped

Chicken Breasts: 1 ½ pounds (2 whole medium) = 2 cups chopped cooked chicken

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip

Ahhh the weekend. Yes even though I do not have a regular job these days the weekends are still the most enjoyable! Today’s recipe I got from my friend Karen’s daughter Nicole. Karen had brought this recipe to our annual Super Bowl Party in 2009. It was such a hit that I asked Nicole for the recipe and I made it for this past Super Bowl. Once again it was a huge success. There are many  different variations of this recipe out there right now but I stuck with this one and just changed a couple little things, nothing major. Nicole’s recipe calls for regular cream cheese and I used the lighter version and I also used the 2% shredded cheddar cheese rather than the full fat version. As the recipe stated “It’s like eating buffalo chicken wings without the messy fingers!” My husband John wants me to make this for dinner one night even though it’s really an appetizer dish. Serve it with sturdy tortilla chips, pita chips or any strong chip. The recipe calls for cooked chicken breast. You can cook the chicken anyway you like. Some people bake it and then shred with a fork or even microwave it till cooked and shred. I actually sautéed mine in a little olive oil. I put garlic powder on the boneless breasts and sautéed till the juices ran clear. (smells awesome while cooking by the way). And then in small batches I cut the chicken into small chunks and put them in the food processor and pulsed till all broken up and shredded/ground. It was easier than shredding with a fork and got much more uniform pieces. But it’s up to you how you like to cook your chicken. You can even used canned chicken but it’s better fresh. And if you go over the 3 cups it calls for that’s fine. A little more chicken won’t hurt.


3 cups cooked chicken breast (about 3 breasts depending on size)

(2) 8oz bars of cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 cup of your favorite blue cheese dressing (Marie’s is always good but any dressing is good)

6 oz. of your favorite Hot Sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce)(You can also use more of the hot sauce if you like if you like it hotter)

2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used 2%)

Tortilla Chips


1. Mix all ingredients together EXCEPT for the cheddar cheese.

2. Spread into a 13 x 9 pan. Top with shredded cheese.

3. Bake at 350°  for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

4. Serve with chips!

Andrea’s Bloody Marys

Time for the weekend yet again! Hooray! Nobody ever really thinks about drinking too much but we’ve all done it and regretted it the next morning. Especially as we get older! It seems like it takes longer to recover the next day! Well my recipe for Bloody Marys will help with that fuzzy hangover feeling the next morning, or afternoon. Friends and family have laughed at us when we insist on making bloody marys to help with a hangover. But after just one drink the fog has lifted from the brain and you start to feel human again. It really works! I always make a large pitcher of these because they are so good and will last a while even if you don’t drink them all the same day. I also like to garnish with celery and pickled green beans. I first tried the green bean garnish when we were in New Orleans a few years ago.  My measurements are approximate as I never really measure when I make these. Give it a try! This recipe will make about 6 drinks depending on the size of your glasses, sometimes more. It’s not an exact science so have fun experimenting!


1 bottle of Spicy V8 vegetable juice

1 cup citron vodka (plain is fine if you don’t have citron)

juice of  1 lime

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I use Spicy Tabasco Worcestershire)

1-2 tsp celery salt

2 heaping tablespoons prepared horseradish (NOT the sauce)

Few dashes of garlic Tabasco sauce

celery stalks (washed and trimmed, with or without the leaves) for garnish

pickled green beans for garnish (they come in a jar)

green olives w/pimento for garnish

sliced lemon and lime for garnish

seasoned salt for rims of glasses (I use Spicy Tabasco Salt)


Large pitcher

Short or tall glasses


1. Put enough ice in bottom of pitcher to cover about 1/4 of the pitcher. Add the V8, vodka, lime and lemon juices, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, horseradish, and Tabasco sauce to the pitcher. You can put cut up pieces of lemon and limes in as well. Stir well.

2. With a little lemon or lime juice rim the glasses. Place the seasoned salt on a flat plate, just enough for the rims of the glasses. Then dip the glasses into the salt so the edges are covered to your liking. Add ice to the glasses. (4-5 cubes is good or more if you like)

3. Add the bloody mary mix to the glasses and put in a celery stalk and green bean. Put an olive on a toothpick and place on top of drink. Garnish glass with a lime or lemon slice. Pop in a straw and you’re good to go!

** Many of the seasonings I use are from the Tabasco company. The spicy salt and Worcestershire sauce I have only found on their website so far. The stores don’t seem to carry the items yet. The green beans can be found almost anywhere, just keep an eye open. If the horseradish is too much for you just add less. The V8 is great because you get your veggies this way too! It’s a medicinal drink!

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcake/Muffins

If you want a quick and easy muffin recipe than this is the one for you. Once again since I am not the best baker I came up with this easy muffin recipe. There is very little measuring involved, anyone can do it!! This recipe also calls for walnuts so if anyone is allergic, just omit them. Also feel free to substitute the walnuts for another nut if you wish. This is one of the few things I’ve baked that my husband said I could make again! It’s got lots of fiber also which is a plus for us all! I have been using canned pumpkin in recipes for awhile now and it’s so versatile you can use it in so many things! Not just pumpkin pie! This past holiday season there was a huge shortage of the canned pumpkin. The crops were hit hard and it made the pumpkin supply in strong demand. I stocked up. And if you try and find it now you may be lucky, look for Libby’s. I think they are the only ones who carry it. I haven’t seen any other brand.


1 box (any brand) of Spice Cake Mix

1 15oz can of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filler)

1 cup water

1/2+ cup chopped walnuts (adjust to your liking)


1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together.

2. Line 2 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

3. Pour batter evenly into cupcake liners.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for length of time on box. Check for doneness with toothpick. Let cool.

Yield: 24 medium cupcakes

Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Ok with that said here is today’s recipe. It is supposed to be a “Family” recipe today and being St. Patrick’s Day I found a recipe I got from my former mother-in-law. I have made this recipe a few times but it has been awhile. It’s funny how nobody thinks to make this other than around St. Patrick’s Day. Baking is not usually one of my strong points but this recipe is easy and I didn’t mess it up.


3 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 TBS baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup raisins

1 TBS caraway seeds

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

4 TBS butter, melted


1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 quart round casserole dish.

2: In a medium-size bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.

3: With a fork, blend in buttermilk and melted butter until evenly moist. Turn into casserole dish and cut an “X” on top.

4: Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from casserole dish and cool.

Cube Steak with Sauteed Onions

Ok, so many of you are thinking, cube steak? Really? Yes, really! Cube steak is an inexpensive meat that is easy and fast to make! Pair it up with sautéed onions or even mushrooms, or better yet both and you have a winner! Any side dish goes great with this: smashed cauliflower (shown below), green beans, potatoes, broccoli, to name a few. My mom used to make this all the time when we were growing up and just recently I’ve been making it quite a bit. So give it a try today and you may be pleasantly surprised. Using a bottled dressing for the marinade saves time in the kitchen but feel free to make your own or use whatever type you want. This recipe serves 4 but if you need more or less just figure on one steak per person, unless you’re really hungry!


4 cube steaks

4 small-medium onions (I prefer sweet onions), sliced roughly. They should be long strips.

4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1 bottle of Italian dressing (this is for the marinade so you can use your own favorite also)

4 TBS olive oil (You can adjust this as needed)


1: Place steaks in a container with a good seal or a large plastic Ziploc bag and marinate at least 1 hour or longer. The longer the better as this cut of beef can be a little tough if not marinated long enough.

2: In a large pan cover the bottom of the pan with the olive oil, enough to cover the bottom. Place the sliced onions in the pan and saute on low-medium heat, stirring often until the onions are soft and browned, almost carmelized. This takes about 20-30 minutes so don’t rush it. There is about 1 onion per steak so don’t worry that it looks like a ton of them. They will shrink big time! When they are soft and browned remove from pan onto a paper plate or bowl and set aside.

3: Leave the oil in the pan from the onions and place the marinated cube steaks in pan. Saute  on low-medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side. Less is better with this dish so be careful not to over-cook. They will be very tough if you do. No more than 4-5 minutes total cooking time. Once the steaks are flipped put the onions all over the top of the steaks and cook the remaining time. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Smashed Cauliflower

When I first tried smashed cauliflower I hated it. Normally I really like cauliflower so I was upset that I didn’t enjoy this side dish. It was a popular side for Atkins diets and anyone looking to lower their carbs, but I thought it tasted nasty. No flavor at all! Till now that is. I have played around with various recipes and have finally come up with one that my husband and I both love!  It’s an easy recipe but it does take some prep time, but it’s worth it. I have also used broccoliflower and even the orange cauliflower in this recipe. It’s a lower calorie version as well. Feel free to use full fat ingredients if you don’t like the fat-free or light ingredients. I use FF Half-and-Half and light ingredients. The amounts of the ingredients can be increased or decreased evenly depending on how big your cauliflower head is. And if you don’t have ricotta cheese or cream cheese you can leave it out. It taste so much better with these cheeses though! It’s goes well with any main dish: fish, beef, chicken, pork. Give it a try!


1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small pieces

1-2 TBS butter or butter substitute

1-2 TBS fat-free half-and-half or 1% milk (or whatever you have around)

1-2 TBS fat-free or light ricotta cheese

1-2 TBS fat-free or light sour cream

1-2 TBS light cream cheese

1-2 wedges light Laughing Cow Cheese (I like the garlic & herb one but any flavor is good)

1-2 scallions chopped (green and white parts)

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped (you can use less if you don’t like too much garlic)

1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese (for topping)

Salt & Pepper to taste


1: Place cut up cauliflower, garlic and scallions into a microwave safe container and cook on HIGH for about 6-8 minutes until cauliflower is tender and soft. Stir halfway through cooking time.

2: In a food processor or blender place cauliflower mix, butter, ricotta, half-and-half, sour cream and Laughing Cow cheese and blend until very creamy. It will still be a little grainy but should be on the creamy side. I usually have to do this in two batches in my food processor. I also sometimes need to add a little more milk to make is creamy. Adjust as needed.

3: Place the mixture into a small casserole dish, deep pie plate or any oven safe baking dish. Top with parmesan cheese. The mixture is still usually warm at this point. Then place the dish into a 350 degree oven until top gets brown and sides bubble a little. This may take about 20-30 minutes.

4: Remove from oven and serve! My husband likes to add hot sauce to his as well.

Tips For the Day

Today is a lazy relaxing day, Sunday. So my blog today will be some tips for cooking. Each Sunday will be a potpourri of posts. Anything goes. But I know when I am cooking sometimes I just want to know a quick measurement conversion or a substitution or just what to do with a certain food item.  I keep this info nearby on my fridge so I can look at it when I need it and not have to go hunt for it. Because as well all know we can never find something when we actually need it. I am sure many of you will know most of these tips but it’s always good to be refreshed! So here goes!


3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon

4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup

16 tablespoons = 1 cup

1 cup = 8 fluid ounces

2 cups = 1 pint (16 fluid ounces)

4 cups  = 1 quart

4 quarts = 1 gallon


1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot = 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup sour milk or buttermilk = 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus sweet milk to equal 1 cup

1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs or 1/4 teaspoon powdered herbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley = 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dry mustard = 1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 pound fresh mushrooms = 6 ounces canned mushrooms

1 egg = 1/4 cup egg substitute (Egg Beaters)


CUBING: Cut the food into strips 1/2 inch or more wide. Line up strips; cut crosswise to form pieces.

DICING: Cut the food into strips 1/8-1/4 inch wide. Line up and stack strips; cut crosswise to form pieces.

CHOPPING: Cut the food into irregularly sized pieces about pea size.

JULIENNE STRIPS: Cut the food into slices about 2 inches long and 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Stack the slices, then cut lengthwise again to make thin, matchlike sticks.

SHREDDING: Push the food across a shredding surface to make long, narrow strips. (Or use a food processor)

MINCING: Cut peeled garlic cloves into tiny, irregularly shaped pieces or use a garlic press.

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