Round Steak and Sausage Pinwheels--Meaty slow cooker recipe special enough for a celebration.

My younger son and daughter-in-law cannot recall a time when they didn’t know each other. Feels a little weird to me as I often think about my own life in terms of before-I-met-my-husband and after-I met-my husband.

We have gone to church with the very special Fisher family for somewhere around 30 years. I remember joining them for dinner after church one Sunday night at Taco Bueno when they first moved to Arlington from Oklahoma. At the time, their daughter was in or around first grade. Little did I know she would one day marry my son. That blessed event is just one of a multitude of reasons to take your kids to church. Agreed?

Since the marriage, we have celebrated many holidays and birthdays with the Fishers, most including our aging parents which adds a certain dimension. If you are nodding, perhaps you understand how things change as our relatives age–the logistical problems, the challenge of making interesting conversation, and even trying to play games during the napping hour.

On the flip side, we now share two granddaughters with the Fishers. Bridget, the newest one, is pictured below at 3 weeks of age. (I had to find some excuse to show off that amazing smile.) Come to think of it, we still have logistical problems (high chairs), the challenge of making conversation (baby talk?), and conflicts with the napping hour. But it’s all joy!

Bridget smiling at 3 weeks

We also share a love for this recipe as it has graced our celebratory dining table multiple times. In fact, this is the second appearance on this blog as the first time around was rather unremarkable, photographically speaking. These Steak and Sausage pinwheels deserve better.

You will be put to a fair amount of trouble to assemble this recipe although less so the more often you make them. But once you put the Steak and Sausage Pinwheels into your slow cooker or oven, you are free to carry on with your life for awhile. About 15 minutes before dinnertime, remove the toothpicks, slice the steak rolls, and stir together some gravy. Bring on the mashed potatoes for an unforgettable feast.

Assembly of Round Steak and Sausage Pinwheels

Round Steak and Sausage Pinwheels
Round steak rolled up with sausage inside--fancy enough for any occasion
Recipe type: Entree
  • 2½ lbs. tenderized round steak, about ½ inch thick
  • 1 pound hot or mild ground sausage (I use breakfast sausage)
  • ½ cup bread crumbs, soft or dried, seasoned or plain
  • ½-3/4 cup chopped onions (I like frozen)
  • 1 chopped red or green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes or 2 teaspoons bouillon concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet or Dale's Steak Sauce
  • bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Meat juices left over from cooking meat
  1. Lay steak out on the counter. Cut into pieces about 4-5 inches wide and 7-10 inches long. This is very approximate.
  2. Layer sausage on top of steak using your hands to spread evenly to the edges.
  3. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, then onions, peppers, and parsley. End with a light shower of salt and pepper.
  4. Starting from narrow end, roll up steak and secure with toothpicks. (Count the toothpicks so you will know how many you need to pull out after steak is cooked.)
  5. Brown rolls in a large skillet, if desired, but this step is not absolutely necessary. Place in a crockpot (I always use a crock pot liner) or a large dutch oven or covered skillet.
  6. Combine water, bouillon, and Kitchen Bouquet. Pour over meat.
  7. Cover and place in oven at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or cook in a crockpot for 7-8 hours. When tender, remove meat from oven or crockpot and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Remove toothpicks and slice. Set aside while you make gravy.
  1. Whisk water and cornstarch together. Add to juice from pot the meat was cooked in. Whisk well and cook until thickened. If there is not enough meat juice and gravy is too thick, you may have to add more water or beef broth to get a gravy-like consistency.
  2. Serve over steak rolls.
1. Alternate method for the gravy: Use a brown gravy mix from the store if you are not confident about your gravy-making skills. Use the juice from the cooked meat instead of water as called for on the package.
2. If the round steak has not been tenderized or is slightly thicker than a half inch, pound it with a meat tenderizer mallet.

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Street Corn and Zucchini--Side Dish or Quesadillas?

Spring is here, and I recently saw corn on the cob for sale at my local grocer. YES! Time for Street Corn and Zucchini Quesadillas. If you’re not familiar with street corn, it’s highly spiced and seasoned corn-on-a-stick that is often sold at festivals or fairs.

I love corn in all forms, except maybe canned which reminds me of elementary school, so this dish is one of my favorites. Back home in Indiana, we froze a lot of home-grown corn. When Mom finished cutting the corn from the cob, I would look for the largest pieces of stuck-together corn kernels to eat as my reward for helping. For some unexplainable reason, they tasted better than individual kernels. I occasionally still try to recreate those delectable little chunks as evidenced by the pictures on this post for Calabacita with Potatoes.

Street Corn and Zucchini Quesadilla

Street Corn and Zucchini makes a delicious side dish on day 1. I make plenty so I can recycle the leftovers to make quesadillas on day 2.

Cutting Street Corn and Zucchini Quesadilla

May I suggest kitchen scissors or a pizza cutter to divide your quesadilla into wedges for neater consumption. If you have neither, use a sharp knife. If you don’t have a sharp knife, you might consider eating these when camping where it doesn’t matter so much what your food looks like or what you look like when eating it.

Street Corn and Zucchini--Side Dish or Quesadillas
Recipe type: Side Dish or Vegetarian Main Dish
  • 1 tablespoon butter, vegetable, or olive oil (I use garlic olive oil)
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped (I always use frozen onions for digestive ease)
  • 1 pound fresh zucchini, finely chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn (thawed) or 2 cobs of fresh corn (cooked and removed from cob)
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning or my homemade Cowboy dust
  • 1-2 tablespoon Feta cheese
Corn and Zucchini Quesadillas
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • ¼ cup leftover corn and zucchini mixture from above recipe
  • ½ cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1-2 tablespoons bacon bits
  • Spray butter
  1. Heat butter or oil in large skillet. Add onions and saute until softened.
  2. Add zucchini and corn to skillet and continue to cook until vegetables have a few golden brown spots. Add taco seasoning and stir.
  3. Sprinkle cheese over top and serve.
Street Corn and Zucchini Quesadillas
  1. Spray or spread butter on one side of each tortilla. Sprinkle ¼ cup cheese on unbuttered side of tortilla. Top with bacon bits, then approximately ¼ cup corn and zucchini mixture.
  2. Top with remaining ¼ cup cheese, then cover with second tortilla with the buttered side on the outside.
  3. Place quesadilla in ungreased skillet set on medium heat. Cook until browned and crispy on first side, then flip and cook the other side until browned and crispy. Remove and cut in wedges with kitchen shears, a pizza cutter, or a sharp knife.



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Chicken, Cannellini, and Spinach Soup - Only 5 ingredients away from a quick and healthy soup. Especially good after a weekend of indulgence.

As I continue to grieve the loss of my mother, I can’t seem to focus on any one thing very long. Has anybody else experienced this? Seems like nothing is quite as important as it used to be, including cooking a good meal. But my life is not just about sadness these days.  Yesterday, our family was blessed with the birth of a brand new baby girl, born to my youngest son and his wife. God’s antidote for the hole in my heart couldn’t be more perfect or amazing.

One of my not-so-lofty goals in life is to build a library of quick and easy-on-the-waistline recipes for times like these. You know the drill – few ingredients, lots of healthy flavor, speedy assembly and dirty dishes that wash themselves. (I wish.)

I recently ran across this soup recipe, that seemed to fit these requirements, in the Parade newspaper supplement published February 2015. It appeared easy enough with only 5 ingredients, and calls for chicken stock made from the carcass of a rotisserie chicken as the base. You could substitute canned broth or bouillon cubes reconstituted with water. Personally, I prefer to make my own broth with rotisserie chicken and freeze it. Just know, the better your broth tastes, the better your soup will be.

The instructions suggest a dollop of pesto on top. You could leave that out, but I highly recommend it for increased flavor that makes this soup a homerun. In my opinion, the soup looks more appetizing if you stir the pesto into the soup instead of letting it float on top.

Chicken, Cannellini, and Spinach Soup
5 ingredients make this a light and healthy week-day chicken soup, especially after a weekend of indulgence.
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4 servings
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 (15-oz can) cannellini or white beans, drained
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons pesto
  1. Heat first three ingredients.
  2. Add spinach leaves and cook until wilted.
  3. Stir in pesto. Serve hot.



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Nubby and Crunchy Cracked Wheat Berry Bread--Use unprocessed wheat straight from the farmer's field to make this scrumptious and healthy bread in your bread machine.  Bake it in your oven for a perfect crust, texture and shape.

The last few days have been all about recalling memories at my house. We buried my 97-year-old mother this past Tuesday. It has been a little rough but I’m grateful for God’s comfort surrounding me in the form of family and friends. (My apologies if you’ve sent me a question in the last week regarding something on this blog and I haven’t gotten back to you yet.)

I have a specific memory about whole wheat berries (the star character in this Cracked Berry Wheat Bread) that involves my dad driving a big green John Deere combine through the wheat fields of our Indiana farm in the middle of July. He would occasionally reach his hand up and behind him to grab a handful of wheat berries out of the hopper. After popping them into his mouth, he would chew for awhile until they turned into a soft, viscous mass, not unlike chewing gum. Mind you there were often bugs and empty chaff in that hopper along with the wheat berries, but he was not deterred.

When it comes to bread, I’m generally a white-bread-lovin’ baby boomer. But I know I need to be eating whole grains, so this bread is the perfect compromise.

How about some crushed wheat berries thrown into that white bread for interesting texture and added flavor?  This particular recipe is homemade (with the help of a bread machine), and contains no preservatives. I declare it healthy enough. It’s well worth the calories and effort, although calling any bread made in the bread machine an “effort” is debatable.

Nubby and Crunchy Cracked Wheat Berry Bread--Use unprocessed wheat straight from the farmer's field to make this scrumptious and healthy bread in your bread machine.  Bake it in your oven for a perfect crust, texture and shape.

Unfortunately, I no longer have access to those fresher-than-fresh wheat berries my dad grew,  but I can usually find wheat berries in the bulk bins at our local organic grocery stores. They are inexpensive and well worth the trouble for the texture, flavor, and nutrition they add to this nubbly, crunchy, and earthy-tasting bread.  Be sure to boil the wheat berries as directed, or soak them overnight before using for maximum tooth-friendly enjoyment.

Please note if you are new to making bread in your bread machine, I have several tutorials on this blog to help you get the dough just right. Start here.

Cracked Wheat Berry Bread -- A Bread Machine Recipe
A nubby, crunchy loaf with cracked wheat berries you can easily make in your bread machine
Recipe type: bread
Serves: 2 small loaves
  • ½ cup whole grain wheat berries
  • 2-1/2 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1 cup warm water or whey drained from yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup nonfat dry milk solids
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
  1. Boil wheat berries in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes. Allow to cool (quicker if you add ice cubes) and drain. Alternatively, soak wheat berries in water for 12 hours or overnight. (Softened and drained wheat berries will keep in the fridge up to a week.)
  2. Add prepared wheat berries to a blender or food processor along with 1 cup of bread flour. Process until wheat berries are finely chopped. You will likely need to stop several times to push the flour and wheat berries from the sides of the chopping container back to the middle.
  3. Combine water, salt, sugar, nonfat dry milk solids, butter, and remaining flour to bread machine pan along with ground wheat berries and flour mixture, and the yeast.
  4. Select the dough cycle and start. Check dough after 10 minutes to make sure dough sticks to the side of the pan and then pulls away cleanly. If too wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If too dry, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.
  5. When dough cycle completes, check to make sure dough has doubled in size. If not, leave in pan until it does.
  6. When doubled, remove dough from pan to floured surface and divide into two equal portions. Shape each portion into an oblong shape by pulling dough from the top to the bottom until dough is smooth; then pinch closed. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat that has been sprinkled with a bit of cornmeal.
  7. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 425 degrees about 20 minutes before you expect the loaf to be ready to bake.
  8. Brush risen loaves with glaze of 1 egg white whipped together with 1 tablespoon water. (This is optional.)
  9. Make 2-3 diagonal slashes in each loaf with very sharp serrated knife or razor blade, being careful not to deflate dough.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until interior temperature reaches 190 degrees F, or until bottom is brown and sounds hollow.
  11. Allow loaves to cool on rack for an hour before slicing.



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Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce--So easy with only 4 ingredients. A real man-pleaser!

Looking for an easy recipe for a special dinner or celebration meal?  May I suggest you pin or print this one. With only 4 ingredients (pepper doesn’t count), you won’t even need a recipe after making it the first time. Furthermore, your guests are going to feel extra blessed when you bring this gorgeous Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce to the table.

Consider yourself warned about the come-hither aroma wafting from your oven as this bakes.  I promise you. Every man, woman, and child within whiffing distance of your kitchen will be begging for a sample. The bacon combined with raspberry chipotle sauce and pork makes for an exquisite sweet, salty, smoky flavor.

About the cream cheese stuffing (which is not at all difficult to accomplish), consider it a built-in condiment. The contrast between the mild and creamy cheese, the crispy bacon, and the sweet and spicy sauce will have your taste-buds begging for more.

A big thanks to my friend Scooter, of Scooter’s Spaghetti fame, who shared this recipe with me a couple weeks ago. My husband went crazy for it. I recently served it to my sister who was in town from Alabama with her husband, and they also pronounced it a winner. I hope you and the people you are cooking for will, too.


Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce--So easy with only 4 ingredients. A real man-pleaser!


1. I highly recommend covering your pan or baking dish with foil (include the sides). You’ll thank me when it comes time to do the dishes.

2. Don’t use thick-sliced bacon. If you live near a Braum’s store, you might try their bacon. It cooks up beautifully. (It also microwaves nicely for a BLT.)

3. I didn’t specify amounts on the raspberry chipotle sauce. Go sparingly if you don’t like a lot of spicy heat. Be generous if you do. Serve with extra sauce on the side if you live in Texas. I have only tried Fischer and Wieser raspberry chipotle sauce because I’ve been told it’s the best.

4. The recipe serves 3-4 carnivores but is easily doubled, tripled, or more.

5. Put your dinner over the top by serving homemade slider buns to make miniature sandwiches. My Favorite Dinner Rolls or Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls come to mind.

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce


Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
Recipe type: entree
Serves: 3-4 servings
  • 4 slices bacon (not thick sliced)
  • 1 pork tenderloin, 1 to 1-1/2 pound
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • Half of a 15.75 ounce bottle of raspberry chipotle sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Cover small cookie sheet or shallow baking dish or pan with foil, preferably non-stick. Be sure foil goes up and over the sides with no seams. You will thank me when it comes time for clean-up.
  2. Lay 4 slices of bacon on cookie sheet with space the width of bacon between each strip. See picture above.
  3. Carefully trim any fat or silverskin from tenderloin.
  4. Butterfly tenderloin down the middle, cutting about ¾ of the way through the meat. Lay it out on top of bacon.
  5. Place cream cheese down the middle. Cover with raspberry chipotle sauce.
  6. Fold tenderloin back up so that cream cheese is enveloped and wrap tenderloin with bacon. Tuck the ends under. Use extra bacon if necessary to cover tenderloin.
  7. Season with freshly ground pepper.
  8. Baste entire bacon-wrapped tenderloin with enough raspberry chipotle sauce to cover but not so much that it drips excessively onto the cookie sheet.
  9. Bake in 300 degree F oven for 2-3 hours. Begin checking at 2 or even before if your tenderloin is small and/or your bacon is really thin. Bacon should be well-cooked and evenly browned all over.
  10. After removing from the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.

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