Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

These French Dip Sandwiches cook all day in your crockpot, making a delicious dinner with almost no work! 

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com

I almost hate to admit that I made these yummy sandwiches in March, for Ben’s birthday. And I’m just now getting around to sharing them. #whoops! Sorry guys, sometimes I just blog about what I made recently… what sounds good… and forget about what’s been sitting in iPhoto for ages. What will be really bad is when I start blogging about recipes that I made when we lived in Indiana–more than 9 months ago! Oh wait, that’s happened already. #whoopstimestwo

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com

Anyways, back to these sandwiches. As it often goes in our house, the only time I cook “big hunks ‘o meat” are for special occasions or on the weekends. The rest of the time it’s vegetarian fare or meat on the side sort of meals. Obviously, Ben’s birthday qualifies as a special occasion, and he chose French Dip Sandwiches. I know alot of people eat them at restaurants all the time, but I’m not sure I’d ever had one before. Now I’m hooked! I loved how tender and flavorful the beef is in this dish, but my favorite bites included all the extras: a little bit of  meat, some soft, meaty onions, and a big hunk of chewy baguette. I used these cute mini baguettes for extra crust on each sandwich. :) Deeeeeelish! I need to make this meal again soon. You can add cheese to the sandwiches if you like too, but it’s flavorful enough as is so we left it off. Enjoy!

one year ago: Kale Pesto Pasta
two years ago: Fresh Tomato & Mozzarella Crostini 

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 6-8 hours
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Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.comfrom What Megan’s Making
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large baguette—cut into 4 pieces, split horizontally or 4 mini baguettes
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, optional

Directions:

Add broth, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and flour in the bottom of a large crockpot. Whisk to combine. Season the brisket with a generous amount of pepper, then place in the crockpot. Turn to coat with broth, then cover and cook until very tender, approximately 6-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. I cooked mine on low for about 7 hours.

Ten minutes before serving, place brisket on a cutting board and thinly slice against the grain. Alternatively, you can gently shred meat with two forks [this is what I did]. If desired, strain the cooking liquid and reserve onions, then bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook about 5-7 minutes until reduced. [I didn't do this.]

If using cheese, place cheese on bread and toast at a low broil for a couple minutes, watching carefully. Serve brisket on bread with onions, and serve cooking liquid as au jus on side for dipping.

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Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame

Spicy peanut sauce, noodles, kale, and edamame meet in an addictive, easy pseudo-takeout meal that can be enjoyed hot or cold–what’s not to love?!

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame | thepajamachef.com

This spring/summer Ben and I have been eating sesame or peanut noodles all. the. time. [Side note: is there an actual difference between them? I'm sure there is. The librarian part of me is itching to google this up and see what I find out, but I'll restrain myself.] They have replaced our easy mac & cheese from a box dinners. I have a hard time telling you what recipe I’ve used because a) I have many pinned on Pinterest and b) don’t really measure ingredients for sauces like this because I’ve never taken the time to take a few pictures to share the recipe here! But this time I did. Measure and photograph. :) And this time I didn’t use any recipe except what sounded/looked/tasted good to me. It’s a good thing I did, because my noodles were utterly amazing.

Inspired by the lovely Amy of fearless homemaker and HER spicy peanut & sesame noodles, I added mix-ins to my noodles for the first time ever. What a good choice! Adding some kale and edamame made the textures of everything just pop and look pretty. Dontcha just love all that green?! :)

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame | thepajamachef.com

Ben walked in the door just as I was mixing everything together and was like, “what in the world is that fabulous smell?! You must be the best wife ever for cooking such an incredible dinner.” Okay, maybe his words didn’t come out exactly like that, but the sentiment was there. I know it. But seriously–these noodles DO smell fabulous. The sauce is the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and fresh flavors. I used ground ginger in the sauce but if I had had fresh ginger… oh man. Use that if you can.

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame | thepajamachef.com

Though I served these noodles as a vegetarian main course, this is a great base recipe to add some meat. I think grilled chicken or thinly sliced steak would be great. Or even shrimp or tofu. This could even be a side dish if you like. We loved every last one of these yummy noodles, and like all good Asian-ish recipes…you can enjoy them hot or cold. They’re great both ways. In the recipe below I included notes about how to prepare them to be more picnic friendly, but no matter how you make them, I’m sure you’ll love ‘em! Enjoy!

one year ago: Ginger Banana Waffles
two years ago: Minty Asian Slaw
three years ago: Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 20min
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Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame | thepajamachef.com

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces thin spaghetti noodles [any sort of thin noodle would work--Asian of any type, linguini, etc.]
  • 3 cups kale, tightly packed & thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Thai basil, loosely packed & chopped
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled & room temperature
  • green onions, sliced, for garnish

for sauce

  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • juice of half a lime [roughly 2 tablespoons]
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger [use 1 inch grated fresh ginger if you have it]
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ~1/2 cup pasta water, to thin sauce

Directions:

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Be sure to reserve about half a cup of pasta’s cooking water to thin the sauce.

While noodles are cooking, whisk together all ingredients for sauce except for the pasta water.

When pasta is ready, drain, and return to pot [or a large bowl]. Add kale, basil, and edamame and toss. Thin dressing with 3 tablespoons of pasta water, whisk, and the pour over noodles and vegetables. Toss well to coat. If necessary, add additional pasta water to thin sauce further, up to a full half cup.

Serve noodles with green onions for garnish.

Note:

Can be enjoyed warm or cold, but the dressing does really absorb into the noodles after refrigeration [which doesn't bother me but does affect presentation] so if you’re making these noodles for an event and want to serve them cold, be sure to rinse well after draining to get rid of starch, toss with a bit of sesame oil, and then refrigerate separately from the sauce and veggies. Toss together before serving. I haven’t tried this technique with this recipe, but I have done similar things for other dishes so I assume it’d work well! Using rice noodles [that you don't boil to cook, thus, they stay cold] might be a good option too.

 

BBQ Baked Spaghetti

This baked spaghetti is jazzed up with BBQ sauce, ground beef or turkey, and vegetables. It’s as cheesy and delicious as it sounds!

BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com

Ben and I are HUGE baked pasta people. If we ate baked pasta as much as we wanted to, we would probably be huge. Haha! :) Anyways… this BBQ Baked Spaghetti is awesome and I wish I had some to enjoy right now!

BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com

I got the recipe from one of the first food blogs I ever started reading–Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures. Everything I make from her blog is just delicious, family friendly, and wonderful. This baked pasta dish is no exception. It’s cheesy pasta goodness that no one can resist, even though BBQ and spaghetti may not be the first food combination that you would think of when brainstorming for dinner. It’s a unique dinner that you’ll want to make again and again.

BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com

Like I do with a lot of baked pasta dishes, I made this dinner a day or so before I wanted to eat it. If you cover it and stick it in the fridge, it’s an easy homemade convenience dinner for later in the week! This pasta dish kind of reminded me of the ubiquitous BBQ burgers I see all over Nashville–except a more carblicious rendering of that.

BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com

If you like baked spaghetti and you like BBQ, you’ll love this dinner! Enjoy!

one year ago: Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea
two years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
three years ago: Spiced Waffles

BBQ Baked Spaghetti

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 60mins
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from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
BBQ Baked Spaghetti | thepajamachef.com
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups bbq sauce [I like Sweet Baby Ray's]
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and then cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Meanwhile, brown ground beef or turkey in a large skillet set over medium heat. While meat is browning, add green pepper and onion. Cook until tender, then drain grease if necessary. Return pan to heat and add garlic powder, bbq sauce, and tomato sauce. Cook over medium heat until hot.

Combine spaghetti with sauce mixture. Stir in half the cheese, then spread into prepared pan. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes until hot and cheese is bubbly.

 

Mystery Dish: Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches is a twist on a classic corn chowder and is a perfect soup for summer since it can be enjoyed hot or cold!

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches | thepajamachef.com

When I saw corn on this month’s Mystery Dish ingredient list I was SO excited because this Indiana girl loves her corn! If you’ve ever been to central or northern Indiana, you may have heard the jingle: “there’s more than corn in Indiana, it’s the best part of Americana, and it’s right within your reach… it’s Indiana Beach!!” [on beautiful Lake Shafer, Monticello, Indiana... proving once again there's more than corn in Indiana.] C’mon, I’m sure you guys all have commercials/jingles memorized. Hearing that song was always a sign that summer was coming because Indiana Beach, a local amusement park, was opening. I haven’t been to Indiana Beach in years, but every time I think about corn, Indiana Beach pops into my head too. Successful marketing? I think so! But that’s not where we’re going today.

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches | thepajamachef.com

Meriam of Culinary Couture is this month’s hostess for Mystery Dish, and her list of ingredients for us to work with included: peaches, cheddar cheese, green beans, corn, chicken, nectarines, butter, pecans, heavy cream, pesto, and coconut milk/cream. We were supposed to use three ingredients. At first, I wanted to make something with peaches and cheddar cheese! You know me… I like to try interesting flavor combinations. But then I decided that might be a little too odd, even for me. :) So I did what I usually do: consulted my good friend Mr. Google. An obvious thought I had was making some kind of salad with peaches, nectarines, corn, and green beans. An even more obvious thought was baking! But somehow I landed on this soup: a twist on corn chowder using peaches, corn, and coconut milk off the list. And it was fabulous!

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches | thepajamachef.com

I’ve made a Mexican Corn Soup before, but this version is different. It’s a sweet soup. There’s no sugar  or sweetener of any kind added, but there is plenty of sweetness from the corn [and the cobs that cook in the soup for a bit], peaches, and coconut milk. I know that sounds a bit odd, but it just works! It’s a taste of summer in a bowl, and you can serve it hot or cold depending on your preference. This is a great soup to enjoy for a light meal with a side salad and some cornbread, or it could be an awesome first course to serve with some bbq + fixings. I hope you enjoy this unique soup!

one year ago: Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake
two years ago: BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad
three years ago: Lemony Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 45mins
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adapted from Whole Foods
Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches | thepajamachef.com

Ingredients:

  • 6 ears sweet corn
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 large ripe peaches, pitted and chopped [peel them if you want--I didn't]
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • large handful Thai basil, chopped + more for garnish

Directions:

Cut kernels from corn cobs and place both kernels and cobs in a large soup pot. Add broth, onion, garlic, cayenne, and 2 cups water and stir together. Add two thirds of the peaches to the pot too, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Then, use tongs to remove corn cobs from soup pot and discard. Add coconut milk and Thai basil. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. [A blender or food processor  can also be used but you may want to let it cool first.] Simmer for another 5 minutes or until hot. Garnish with remaining chopped peaches and chopped Thai basil.

Check out what the other Mystery Dish girls made this month!

June Mystery Dish Collage

1. Ice Cream Sundae Cookie Bars by I Want Crazy
2. Old Fashioned Corn Pudding by The Weary Chef
3. Raspberry Peach Cobbler with Oatmeal Pecan Crumble by Joyful Healthy Eats
4. Peach Raspberry Galette by Blahnik Baker
5. Pecan Crusted Chicken with Apple Cream Sauce by Yummy Healthy Easy
6. Sweet Corn Soup with Peaches by The Pajama Chef
7. Dutch Peach Pie Bars by I Dig Pinterest
8. Toasted Pecan Pancakes with Brown Butter Bourbon Peach Syrup by Baking A Moment
9. Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Butter Rum Pecan Glaze by The Well Floured Kitchen
10. Peach Pecan Cinnamon Roll Cake by Chez Catey Lou
11. Peach Frozen Yogurt with Pecan Graham Cracker Crumble by Culinary Couture

Best Ever Homemade Pizza

This homemade pizza dough bakes up golden brown, soft, and chewy, and is the perfect base for your favorite pizza toppings!

Best Ever Homemade Pizza | thepajamachef.com

I used to think homemade pizza was lame. When I made it, it just never seemed as good as delivery or pizza shop pizza. Even though I shared recipes for pizza here on my blog I kinda thought homemade pizza was a frugal substitute for the real deal. But then I had GOOD homemade pizza, made by several different friends, and realized I was just doing it wrong. C’est la vie, right?

Best Ever Homemade Pizza | thepajamachef.com

That’s what prompted me to do something about it and put “homemade pizza dough” on my 30 before 30 list. I was determined to find the BEST homemade pizza dough. I tried several recipes… and you guys… I think this it it! [And not because of those delicious brown cheese bubbles there. :)]

Best Ever Homemade Pizza | thepajamachef.com

This dough is chewy, flavorful, and the perfect palate for any pizza topping. I haven’t added any seasoning to the dough because I don’t think it needs it, but feel free to doctor it up if it’s your thing… especially if that helps your pizza toppings succeed. Prefer something traditional? Great. Perfect a taco pizza? Awesome. Anything goes–really! This is dough bakes into a beautiful golden brown crust reminiscent of Pizza Hut pan pizza–not too thick or too thin, just right.

Best Ever Homemade Pizza | thepajamachef.com

Though this recipe is yeast based, it’s really easy. Seriously–it’s hard to mess up since it just has one rise. The dough is so soft and smooth after it rises that you can easily press or roll  it into the pizza pan. Some doughs are sticky–this isn’t one of them! Definitely try it and see what you think. I’m going to use it for calzones next! YUM!

Best Ever Homemade Pizza4

P.S. I did some work on my blog this week–what do you think? Let me know if anything looks funky and I’ll check it out. Thanks!

one year ago: Mango Quick Cake Squares
two years ago: Cookie Dough Dip
three years ago: Rhubarb Muffins

Best Ever Homemade Pizza

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
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from Creative Savings
Ingredients:

for pizza dough

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 package [2 1/4 teaspoons] active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

for rest of pizza

  • cornmeal for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce – I like this recipe from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures and usually add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • toppings as desired – pepperoni, diced peppers, sliced mushrooms, spinach, chopped tomatoes, etc.

Directions:

In a large bowl [I usually use my stand mixer but you don't have to], whisk together warm water and yeast to dissolve. I heat the water about 15-20 seconds in the microwave so it feels like bathwater–too hot will kill the yeast. Then add warm milk, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Whisk or blend on low to combine. Add in 2 cups flour and stir or blend to incorporate. Gradually add in another cup to 1 1/4 cups of flour in 1/4 cup increments to form a soft dough.

Knead [either in mixer or on a clean, flour-dusted surface] for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl and place pizza dough in it, turning once to coat. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Partway through the dough rising process, preheat oven to 400 degrees so it’s nice and hot when it’s time to bake.

When dough is ready, punch down and press or roll onto a pizza pan that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Top with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Bake for 18-20 minutes, broiling the last minute or so to brown the cheese. Let cool for 5-8 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

We even made a his and hers version of this pizza this weekend… SO GOOD! Make it now! Please. :)