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Easy as Pie

May 5, 2018

Easy as Pie

By Angie Sutton, www.momsapronstrings.com


Every grocery shopping trip starts with me grabbing a cart and heading toward the fresh fruits and vegetables at nearly warp speed. “I’ll just be a few minutes,” I tell my spouse. He smiles, knowing there’s little truth in that statement.

Honestly, it is my best intention. But then a store employee asks me to sample a new flavor of cheese atop an artisan cracker garnished with a pesto sauce. We get into a conversation about how the pesto sauce could be used with other dishes before I realize I’ve been standing there a good five minutes. On down the grocery list I progress. Eyes on the prize. Checking off items from my neatly fashioned directory of items organized by aisle.

Then, I hit the spice aisle. There are shelves full of things I’ve yet to experiment with. What could I do with Gochugaru, a Korean red pepper spice that is hot, sweet and just a bit smoky? That might be just the right addition to a meatball mixture. Then I see Ras el Hanout. This spice is a mixture of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, paprika, coriander, cumin, mace, nutmeg, peppercorn and turmeric. I consider how this might taste as a rub for my favorite cut of beef, ribeye.

I glance at my watch and realize I need to get back to the items on my list and make my way to the check-out lane. I’ve got the ingredients I need to make three of our favorite dishes to share with you!


Chicken Tamale Pie

Top each slice of pie with a dollop of sour cream and serve with salsa or taco sauce. Serve with green salad and sliced tomatoes.


1/3 c. milk

1 large egg

1/4 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)

1 (14.75-oz.) can cream-style sweet corn

1 (8.5-oz.) box corn muffin mix

1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained

1 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning, divided

1 (10-oz.) can red enchilada sauce

2 c. shredded cooked chicken

1 c. shredded Mexican-blend cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a nine-inch round pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the first 6 ingredients and 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning just until moist. Transfer to pie plate and press onto bottom for form a pie crust. Bake 20 minutes. It will be golden brown and set.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine chicken and 1 tablespoon taco seasoning and toss until chicken is coated.

4. Remove crust from oven and pierce crust with a fork about 20 across the bottom. Pour enchilada sauce on crust and sprinkle chicken and cheese evenly over the top. Bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before cutting into 8 pieces.


Cast Iron Skillet Salisbury Steak Balls

The cast iron skillet browns the meatballs nicely and provides a deeply-flavored sauce. Adding a tablespoon or so of jalepeno-flavored ketchup and spicy brown mustard to the sauce mixture in step 3 provides a kick to the dish.


2 lbs. lean ground beef

3/4 c. Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. prepared brown mustard

1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. ketchup

1 tsp. powdered beef base

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, divided

1/4 c. unsalted butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 1/2 c. beef broth

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 lb. wide egg noodles


1. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Knead with hands to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Form into 1-1/2-in.-sized meatballs. Set aside.

2. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet melt half the butter. Add half the meatballs and cook, gently rolling balls with a fork to evenly brown. Transfer to a dish. Add remaining butter to skillet and cook second half, transferring cooked meatballs to dish. Meatballs will not be cooked through, just browned.

3. Add onion to skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until translucent and soft. Add 2 cups beef broth, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon ketchup, and 1 tablespoon mustard. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch and remaining beef broth until smooth. Reduce to simmer and add cornstarch mixture; stir until well combined.

4. Transfer meatballs to skillet and gently spoon sauce over the top of each. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Meatballs will be cooked through and sauce will be thick.

5. Meanwhile, prepare egg noodles according to package directions and drain. Serve noodles topped with meatballs and sauce.

Apron Strings Tips: Toss the noodles with a little butter to keep them from sticking if they finish cooking before you are ready to serve the dish. The meatballs freeze well so I often double that portion of the recipe. Transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator in the morning and you are ready for step 3 by dinner!


Beef and Sour Cream Noodle Pie

This is one of the kid’s favorite recipes. It is also one of my go-to recipes to take to families with newborn babies! Deliver it with a bag of salad mix and small bottle of salad dressing and it makes a delicious meal. Be sure to include a recipe card!


1 lb. lean ground beef

1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 (8-oz.) pkg. wide egg noodles

1 c. sour cream

1 c. small curd cottage cheese, drained

4 green onions, chopped

1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9-inch glass pie pans or one 9-in.-by-13-in. glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Stir in tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare egg noodles according to package directions and drain. In a medium-sized bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Stir in egg noodles and green onions.

4. Add half the noodles to the bottom of the pie pan. Spread half the meat mixture over the noodles then top with half the cheese. Repeat layers again.

5. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and remove from oven. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Apron Strings Tip: Prepare the egg noodles to al dente as they will cook more while in the oven.

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