Sometimes a canned meat can be your best friend in the kitchen for a quick something to put on the table. There are two recipes in the column today that make use of them—the Tuna Macaroni Salad and the Corned Beef Casserole. And since I brought up corned beef, let me tell you about an old standby that I have used off and on for years, and it makes a good breakfast dish especially. All you do is take a baking dish and butter it. Empty a can of corned beef hash into the dish and spread it out. Then using a glass, press about six indentations into it. Into each little well put a tablespoon of cream (half and half or whipping cream or even canned milk). Then break an egg into each cream-filled well. Bake at 350 until the eggs are set to your liking. When it comes out of the oven you might sprinkle it with paprika and parsley.

Unless it is a good hot Hungarian paprika or a smoked paprika, I never can tell that paprika does anything for the flavor of anything, so I just usually think of it as a “food cosmetic” and it really does dress things up, and it will even make fried or baked meats appear more “browned” if applied prior to cooking.

Going back to canned meats for a minute, Spam is one of those things you either like or don’t like. It really is versatile and since it was first imported into Hawaii during wartime, it is still considered a major staple there I am told, and the ways of preparing it are endless. I’d be interested in your Spam feedback!

Tuna Macaroni Salad

1 lb. of pasta (I used penne)

1 pkg. frozen peas

4 good-sized Tbs. sweet relish

I small to medium onion diced

3 stalks of celery diced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 & 1/2 cup of mayo or Miracle Whip (your choice)

12 oz of tuna, flaked

Boil you water add pasta & peas, bring back to boil until pasta is still toothy (al dente) then cook another minute or two. Drain and put in a big bowl. Then add the onions, celery, tuna, salt and pepper, relish. Mix it all together. Then add in your mayo. Mix well and put in refrigerator at least four hours overnight is better. Great for summer picnics as a side dish. Okay around, add two or three chopped hard boiled eggs, some diced red peppers, or some Lawrey’s to it. Make it your own.

Ground Beef Stroganoff

Note: You can use ground chicken, turkey, or pork in place of beef.

1 lb lean ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp dried thyme

2 Tbs. butter

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 Tbs. flour

2 cups beef broth

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2/3 cup sour cream

8 oz. egg noodles for serving

Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, salt and pepper. Add the dried thyme and cook, breaking the beef into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until well browned and no longer pink. Transfer the beef to a bowl (drain any excess fat if needed). Reduce the heat to medium. To the same skillet add the butter. When the butter is completely melted, add the onions and saute for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for two to three minutes, Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Add half the broth while stirring. Once incorporated, add the remaining broth, the Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Return the beef to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for about six minutes. Add the sour cream and simmer on low heat for about two to three minutes. Remove from the heat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot egg noodles.

The Easiest Pie You’ll Ever Make

Richard’s Note: A lady sent me this recipe, and all the comments are hers.

My granddaughter loves the crust. We took two pre-made pie crust. Use one small can of pie filling, we used apple pie filling, and spread out to within one-half inch from the side. Mix one egg and one tablespoon of water. Brush egg wash around the bottom crust and lay the second crust on top and seal the top to the bottom. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes.

Nut Bread

1 egg

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 cup walnuts

3 cups flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.] Let rise 20 minutes. Pour in greased and floured 8x8 baking pan. Bake 40 minutes at 350° or until done. Half as much nuts will do. If not to be very sweet, use one-half cup sugar.

Rice Dressing or Dirty Rice

Richard’s Note: In Louisiana this is often made with sautéed chicken livers chopped very, very fine as the only meat.

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground chuck

2 cups onions, chopped

1 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

2 Tbs. garlic, minced

1⁄2 cup dark roux (see Gumbo Base (Aka Roux))

1 Tbs. Cajun seasoning

1 tsp. salt

6 cups beef stock

2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 Tbs. fresh thyme)

1 tsp. hot sauce

1 tsp. black pepper

1⁄4 cup parsley, chopped

1⁄2 cup green onion, chopped

15 cups cooked rice, packed

Heat large pot over medium heat. Add pork and beef and cook until meat is browned. Add one cup of onions, one-half cup of bell pepper, one-half cup of celery, two tablespoons garlic and saute for two minutes. Add dark roux and cook for additional five minutes. Add Cajun seasoning, salt, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add remaining onion, celery and bell pepper, cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in green onions and parsley. Stir in cooked rice until completely incorporated. Ready in one hour and 40 minutes. Serves 20.

Beef Enchiladas

Sauce:

2 Tbs. oil

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1 (28 oz.) can enchilada

2 cup chicken broth

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the oil and flour. Whisk together and allow to bubble for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Meat:

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

While the sauce is simmering, brown the ground beef with the onions in a large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink and onions are tender. Drain the fat, add the salt and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and set aside.

The Rest:

Oil, for frying

10 to 14 corn tortillas

3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese (I used Colby Jack)

In a small skillet over medium heat, heat some oil. Lightly fry the tortillas just until soft but firm. Do not crisp. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all the tortillas have been fried.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread one-half cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Next, one at a time, dip each tortilla into the sauce. Set the sauce-soaked tortilla on a plate. Place on some of the meat mixture. Top with a generous portion of grated Cheddar. Roll up the tortilla to contain the filling inside. Place the tortilla seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and pour the remaining sauce over the top and any left over meat. End with a generous sprinkling of cheese. Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes, or until bubbly.

Corned Beef Casserole

1 can corned beef hash

1 can creamed corn

1/2 chopped onion

2 to 3 cups potatoes (sliced 1/4-inch thick and 1-inch diameter)

Coarse ground pepper to taste

Bacon grease or canola oil

Milk (if needed)

Fry the potatoes in the bacon grease. When they are almost done, add the onions. When the potatoes are browned and the onions soft, add the corned beef hash. Continue to brown the hash. When has is well heated and browned add the creamed corn. Fold the creamed corn into the hash and potato mixture. If it is too thick, thin with a splash of milk. Add pepper and serve.

Tomato Pie

4 large tomatoes peeled and sliced

10 fresh basil leaves chopped

3 green onions chopped

1 (9-inch) pre-baked deep-dish pie shell

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

8 slices of cooked bacon crumbled

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately place in a bowl of iced water. This will make the skin easier to peel. Slice the peeled tomatoes and place slices in a colander in the sink. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Place one layer of tomato slices in the bottom of the prepared crust. Sprinkle with pepper, to taste. Add half of the basil and onions. Repeat with remaining tomatoes (sprinkled with pepper), basil and onions. Combine the cheese and mayonnaise. Spread mixture over tomatoes. Add the bacon and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Let it cool slightly before slicing. Serve warm. Store covered in refrigerator for several days.

Perogi

Richard’s Note: Perogi are a staple in Eastern European cuisine and are very similar to Asian pot stickers, German maultaschen, or Italian Ravioli. You can center a meal around them. I like them with a sauerkraut filling, and a prune filling is also traditional. Perogi and a cucumber salad or some such and you are all set for an easy supper. They freeze well too. Freeze them uncooked in a single layer in a ziplock. Some years ago I started seeing them in the grocery stores here, there are even ones made with sweetened cottage cheese or fruit and are served as dessert perogi! Give them a try!

Dough:

2 cup flour

1 cup sour cream

Pinch of salt

Filling:

Mashed potatoes

Cheddar cheese

Mix flour, sour cream, and a pinch of salt for dough. Rest for one hour. To mashed potatoes, add sharp cheddar cheese and chill. Roll out dough and cut it into circles. Place cut pieces on wax paper. Fill dough with potato mixture and crimp. Boiled until they float, continue to boil after floating for three to five minutes. Turn them into a dish with melted butter to coat. Then heat a cast iron pan with about 1/2 stick of butter to brown them in. (Notes: I used instant mashed potatoes. These can be frozen uncooked. Freeze in a single layer in a zip lock.)