Flash Back Friday — Debby’s Tater Tot Hot Dish


I like to cook and bake for myself but I love to cook and bake for my friends, especially my best friends, Steph and Debby.  Steph and Debby are always willing to try whatever crazy culinary experiments I come up with.  They trust me so much when I ask what they want for dinner they say, “I don’t know, Julie, whatever you want to make is fine.”  I love that my friends aren’t picky but it is also very annoying.  When I ask what they want it is because I have no idea what I want to make.

Since my friends so seldom ask for anything, I really pay attention when they so much as mention they are remotely craving something.  My friend, Debby, mentioned tater tot hot dish one afternoon so I made it my mission to get her a small batch of tater tot hot dish with no cream of crud soup  what so ever.  It was my biggest challenge to that point.   I had to figure out how to make 1/3 can of 3 different cans of cream soup.

I surprised Debby with my first attempt one night for dinner.  Debby declared it delicious.  What more could I ask for?

Debby's Tater Tot Hot Dish

½ lb ground beef
½ cup frozen mixed vegetables
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
½ cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely chopped onion

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. Turn the heat to low and melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter, whisk and cook 3 minutes. Gradually, add the milk and broth. Add the onion. Whisk the broth mixture constantly until it starts to thicken. Add the cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in the ground beef and vegetables. Transfer the mixture to a 3 cup baking dish and top with the tater tots. Bake for 40 minutes.


Asian Stir Fry Frittata (Whole 30)


Asian Frittata

Adapted from Little Bits Of…..Real Food

1 cooked chicken sausage

10 oz frozen stir fry vegetables

7 eggs

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

a pinch black pepper

Preheat the broiler on high.  Put a an 8″ oven proof skillet over medium high heat.  Slice the sausage into rounds and brown about 1 minute per side.   Add frozen vegetables and stir to combine with the sausage.  Cook a few minutes until the vegetables are heated through.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, coconut aminos, garlic powder, ginger, salt and pepper.  Whisk until the eggs and spices are completely combined.  Pour the eggs into the vegetable/ sausage mixture.  Stir to just evenly distribute everything.

Leave the pan on the heat, without stirring, until the bottom and sides are set and the top is still liquid.  When set, put the pan in the oven under the broiler.  Cook for about 3 minutes or until the top is browned and cooked through.  Carefully, remove the pan from the oven and cut to server.



Instant Pot Mini Monday — Pork Loin, Stuffing and Gravy


Your eyes are not deceiving you.  There is Stove Top stuffing in this recipe.  It’s the only the second recipe in the history of A Solitary Feast to use a pre made  product in the ingredient list.  I have already had a few complaints about it from friends who preview my recipes, aka come to lunch.  They say it’s not being true to my brand, whatever that means.  I say it was being true to my stomach.  I was hungry, had a pork loin to use, it was too hot to cook.  I have never in the history of A Solitary Feast said I don’t use pre packaged foods on occasion.  I would be lying if I did.  Hot Pockets and I have been having a torrid love affair for years that will never die.   I am human.  I get tired. I have days where I don’t feel like cooking.  On those days, I am all about making things as easy as possible.

The original recipe called for a pre seasoned  pork loin but mine was plain. I seasoned it with the rub from one of my favorite oven pork loin recipes but feel free to omit the spices and use your own in equal measure.

Pork Loin, Stuffing and Gravy

Adapted from The Creative Bite

2 TBS butter. divided

1 – 1 1/4 lb pork loin

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 1/4 cup dry Stove Top Stuffing mix

1 cup chicken broth

1 TBS flour

Preheat the pressure cooker on the sauté setting.  While the pressure cooker is preheating, mix the thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, mix well.   Rub the herb mixture all over the pork loin.  Add 1 tablespoon butter to the liner.  When it is melted, add the pork loin and sear for about 4 minutes.  Flip the pork loin, add the onions and sear for about 4 more minutes.  Pour in the broth.  Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.  Natural release.  Remove the pork loin and 1 cup of the broth.  Add the Stove Top stuffing mix to the liquid remaining in the liner, stir well.  Cover, but don’t lock the lid, for 5 minutes.  Remove the stuffing.  Put the 2 tablespoons of the remaining liquid in a small bowl, add the flour and stir until smooth.  Add the liquid you saved back to the liner and add the flour mixture, stir well.  Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture gets thick. 

Flashback Friday Italian Tomato Sauce

 Italian Tomato Sauce is one of the first recipes I adapted for A Solitary Feast and one of my favorites of the 440 recipes I have adapted.  I use it for spaghetti sauce, lasagna and any where a cooked tomato sauce is called for.

Italian Tomato Sauce

Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook
1 TBS olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
½ medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 ½ TBS honey, use an equal amount of white or brown sugar to make the sauce vegan
3 TBS Tomato paste
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan or skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, herbs and salt. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey and black pepper. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. 

Easy Drop Biscuits


This recipe has everything going for it.  It’s quick.  It takes longer to preheat your oven than it does to throw together and bake these biscuits.  It’s easy.  5 ingredients and a little elbow grease and you have biscuits.  Best of all, the biscuits are yummy.  They are crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  I ate one plain right out of the oven.  I ate one with a little honey then decided this food blogging thing sucks because I had to save the rest so I could take pictures.

The biscuits are also very versatile.  They could be used as a base for biscuits and gravy or the bread for a sandwich. Someone suggested adding a little sugar so you could use them  as a base for strawberry shortcake.  Don’t even get me started on all the ways you could vary them by mixing cheese and herbs and spices into the batter.

Easy Drop Biscuits

Adapted from 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls and Muffins Cookbook

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 TBS shortening

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening until the flour looks like coarse crumbles.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the milk in all at once.  Stir with a fork until the dough is mixed thoroughly and sticks together in a soft bowl.  Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.