Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

Beef and broccoli stir fry was one of my favorite foods in college. I would head to the mall and grab a plate in the food court and eat it for 2 or 3 meals. Once I got married and had my own family, heading out for takeout wasn’t usually an option. I missed my favorite chinese dish though and started playing around with some ingredients. Here’s what I came up with. As long as my daughter was little, this was plenty for the three of us. Nowadays I double the recipe and have enough leftover for lunch for me the next day.

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry
Serves: 2
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups broccoli, blanched
  • ½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup onions, cut into wedges
  • 16 ounces beef sirloin steaks, cut into thin strips
  • 1½ tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon Splenda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
  1. In a skillet or wok heat the oil, and add the prepared vegetables.
  2. Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are crisp-tender, and onions are browned.
  3. Stir in the beef strips, and cook till desired doneness.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring to dissolve the cornstarch; add to the beef mixture cook stirring constantly until sauce is thickened, 2-3 minutes.


Quick and easy dinner - Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry - Real Food

Tomato and Sweet Potato Freezer Soup

I’ve been using up a lot of tomatoes from the garden lately. Tomato season is coming to an end and to be honest, we’re getting a little tired of eating them with lunch and dinner each day. Instead I’ve been putting them into recipes (along with making tomato sauce etc.). Here’s a current favorite. I make a double batch of this, serve one half for dinner with some homemade bread and freeze the other half for another day.

Freezer soups are great for those days when you’re too busy too cook or just not feeling well. Just thaw and heat and dinner is served. The recipe comes from my Freezer Soups and Stews Kindle cookbook available on Amazon. Check it out for even more delicious recipes that freeze well.

Sweet Potato Tomato Soup
Serves: 6
  • • ¼ C olive oil
  • • 2 onions, chopped
  • • 2 sweet potatoes cut into chunks
  • • 6 C of chicken broth
  • • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • • ¼ t white pepper
  • • ¼ C orange juice
  • • 1½ C of water
  1. Place the oil into a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 4 minutes, stirring often. Add in the sweet potatoes.
  2. Stir the chicken broth into the mixture. Bring the broth to a quick boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook 25 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomatoes.
  5. Blend in the white pepper.
  6. Pour the mixture into the blender and puree until smooth.
  7. Transfer the mixture back to the Dutch oven.
  8. Pour the orange juice and water into the pan and blend well.
  9. Cook the soup on the low setting for 15 minutes or until heated through.


Allow the soup to keep completely before freezing. To reheat frozen soup, place the soup in the refrigerator to thaw completely. Pour the soup in the Dutch oven and place over low heat. Cover and stirring often cook the soup approximately 20 minutes or until as hot as you like.

Delicious soup made from sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Freezes well.

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

I’ve been trying to replace more and more “convenience” foods in our house with homemade versions. It doesn’t always save money, but I like the fact that I know what we’re eating and what’s in the food I’m making. As an added bonus, most homemade food just plain tastes better.

Something very easy to do is to bake up a batch of these corn chips. You can use store bought corn tortillas, or make your own. I have a recipe for homemade corn tortillas here. They are made from cornmeal and aren’t a traditional recipe. They are easy to make and very tasty though.

Ready to bake up a batch of chips? Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips
  • 8 small (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • sea salt to taste
  1. Make sure the oven racks are in the middle of the oven. Turn oven on to 375 degrees and allow to preheat.
  2. Lay tortillas out on a work surface and cut into quarters.
  3. Spray the tortillas lightly with the cooking oil, flip and spray the other side.
  4. Get out a couple large baking sheets or cookie sheets and lay the tortillas out on the sheets, avoiding any over-lapping.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, turning the tortilla pieces over with a tongs about half way through. They should become golden brown and crispy as they bake and will even crisp up more after you remove them from the oven.
  6. Remove and immediately sprinkle with the sea salt or any other flavorings you like while the chips are still warm.


This makes a nice big batch of chips. We like them with guacamole, salsa or chili (all homemade of course).

A simple recipe for making baked corn chips from tortillas.


What’s your favorite to eat with corn chips?

Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

I love stuffed zucchini. My mom used to make them with sausage or with ground beef and they always turned out yummy. You can also make these with very large zucchini. They tend to get a bit tough during the baking process though because you need to increase the time a bit.

If you are making this with large zucchini, use a casserole dish and add a little bit of broth or even water to the bottom to help soften them up. Either way this is delicious and you can use just about any melting cheese in this stuffed zucchini recipe. I’ve made it with cheddar, american , swiss, provolone, mozzarella and even blue cheese crumbles. In a pinch even a few shakes of parmesan will do.

Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 pound sausage or ground beef*
  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp. Basil
  • 1 cup grated cheese

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle with a spoon.(save the inside) Brown onion and sausage and drain. Mix in the zucchini that you saved along with the basil and place the mixture back into the zucchini.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with your favorite cheese. Place back into the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

* If you’re using ground beef, season it with salt and pepper to taste while it’s cooking. You can also add a little cayenne pepper for some heat.

Plate of stuffed zucchini

Floating Islands (Floats) Recipe

I have been looking for a recipe that my grandmother used to make. She just called it Float. I know it takes milk and eggs and sugar. Beyond that, I am just lost. I asked her once for the recipe and she said she really didn’t have one. I tried her directions and it was okay, but it sure wasn’t my grandmother’s Float. Can anyone help me?

Zola Sherman


From The Hillbilly Housewife 

I did a little research and the only thing I can come up with is something called Floating Islands. It’s an old french dessert that consists of a meringue floating (or swimming) in a vanilla sauce.

Floating Islands
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup white sugar, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Separate two of the eggs and put the yolks together with the whole egg, ¼ cup of sugar, and the salt into a double boiler. Whisk until smooth, then whisk in the milk. Stirring constantly, cook the egg and sugar mixture over simmering water until it starts to thicken. Remove it from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Allow it to cook, then move it into the fridge.
  2. Again using a double boiler, whisk the egg whites and remaining sugar. Heat the mixture over simmering water until the eggs start to get hot. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  3. Pour the chilled custard into bowls and top with spoonfuls of the meringue. Chill before serving.


A simple dessert made with milk, eggs and sugar

Old Fashioned Blueberry Buckle

I’m looking for a blueberry buckle recipe from twenty five years ago. I remember that it had a topping on it like a crumb mixture as for a pie.

– Thalia


From The Hillbilly Housewife

Buckles are a favorite around here. They are the cousins of coffee cakes and the blueberry kind is my very favorite. Blueberries are already in season around here and I can’t wait to bake up one of these. It’s best made with fresh blueberries, but in a pinch you can also use frozen. I completely thaw my frozen berries and then set them to drain any liquid really well before adding them to the cake batter.

Here’s my favorite blueberry buckle recipe. It may sound complicated, but really isn’t. A buckle comes in 3 parts. The cake batter, the fresh fruit and then the crumb topping. But don’t worry… it goes together much quicker than it sounds and the end result is absolutely delicious.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Blueberry Buckle Recipe
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Grease an 8x8 pan.
  3. Cream the sugar, shortening and egg together in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Slowly add the flour and milk, alternating the two. Pour this cake batter into the greased pan.
  5. Sprinkle the blueberries on top.
  6. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl to make the streusel topping. I mix it with my finger tips, but you could also use a fork. You are looking for a crumbly topping. Sprinkle it over the cake.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.


Slice of blueberry buckle with some fresh berries

Crockpot Orange Chicken Recipe

This is such a simple recipe. There are only 4 ingredients (chicken, orange jam, barbecue sauce and soy sauce), and it cooks to perfection in the slow cooker. Serve over some cooked rice and dinner is done. If you’re feeling fancy, steam up some broccoli or slice up some garden fresh cucumbers to go along with this homecooked take on a Chinese takeout favorite.

You can make this with either chicken breast or chicken thighs. I prefer to use the boneless skinless kind. If you’re in a bit of a hurry, chop up the chicken and pan fry it until it is almost done, then transfer to the slowcooker along with the jam and sauces and proceed from there.

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6 thighs
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¾ cup orange jam
  • 1 - 2 tbsp soy sauce (or to taste)
  1. Put the chicken in the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 - 5 hours or on high for 3 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken and slice it. Return to the slow cooker.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Serve over cooked rice.



A Bowl of Orange Chicken served over hot rice.

Creamy Chicken Casserole

2 large cans

chicken, shredded 1 can cream of chicken 2 cups sour

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cream 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed 1/4 cup butter, melted Shred up the chicken and mix in soup and sour cream. Place in medium baking dish. Sprinkle crackers over top and then top with melted butter. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Serve over rice.

Cooked Dressing for Potato Salad

I’m looking for a recipe for boiled dressing. My grandmother wrote it down for me and I lost it! She used it on potato salad.

Lynda Smith


From The Hillbilly Housewife

Here’s my recipe for a simple boiled dressing. It calls for 1/2 cup of sugar which gives me a nice balance. If you like your potato salad sweet, you may want to add more. And of course if it turns out too sweet for you, reduce the amount of sugar next time. More mayonnaise will also tone down the sweetness and give you a more tart and creamy dressing.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Old Fashioned Cooked Dressing
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 tbsp of mayonnaise
  1. Beat two eggs in saucepan.
  2. Blend sugar and flour together before adding to eggs.
  3. Pour in water and vinegar.
  4. Cook over heat until thick.
  5. Add butter.
  6. Allow the dressing to cool, then add the mayonnaise.

Do you have a family recipe for boiled dressing you’d like to share? Please leave it in the comments below.

A boiled dressing with eggs, flour, sugar and vinegar to dress potato salad.

Strawberry Romaine Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing

We eat a lot of salads around here, especially in the warm summer months. They go great with grilled food and often make a main dish for lunch or dinner. I’m always on the lookout for a fresh take on eating our greens. Last summer I feel in love with the combination of strawberries and romaine lettuce. I played around with a few different versions and finally came up with this one that also includes cucumber, red onion and a yummy homemade poppy seed dressing.

You can make everything ahead of time. Just store your dressing in a little mason jar, shake it up and pour it over the salad right before you’re ready to eat.

Romaine Salad With Strawberries
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tsp poppy seed
  1. Clean the lettuce and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Wash and quarter the strawberries.
  3. Peel and thinly slice the red onion.
  4. Wash, peel and chop the cucumber.
  5. Combine all of the fruit and veggies in a bowl.
  6. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Pour over the salad right before serving.


Strawberry Romaine Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Old Fashioned Chocolate Gravy

The recipe I am looking for was a chocolate gravy my grandmother used to make in a skillet on top of the  stove. I know it had cocoa and sugar in  it and it tasted like warm chocolate pudding. It was made kind of like a milk gravy.

Thank you,


From The Hillbilly Housewife 

I haven’t made this in quite a while, but found this recipe scribbled down on a piece of scrap paper tucked into one of my cookbooks. It sounds like the gravy you’re looking for.

I’m sure there are other recipes as well. If you have one to share, please leave it as a comment below.

Chocolate Gravy Recipe
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Mix the cocoa, flour and sugar together until all dry ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Pour the cold milk into the flour mixture and whisk it well. You don't want any lumps.
  3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium high until it start to thicken. You want to stir frequently to keep your gravy from lumping up on you.
  4. Remove it from the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter is melted and everything is well incorporated.
  5. Serve immediately over hot biscuits, pancakes or waffles.


A bowl of old fashioned chocolate gravy. Whip up a batch and serve it over hot biscuits.

Pineapple Cookie Recipe

I am looking for a recipe for pineapple cookies my mom use to make. They were soft and had bits of pineapple in them, so delicious.

Since her and my grandma are now in a better place, I can’t find anyone that knows how to make them.

Please help if you can.

Thanks, Rene

Do you have a recipe for pineapple cookies? Share it as a comment below.

From the Hillbilly Housewife.

I did some digging and a friend of mine has a recipe that sounds like it would fit the bill. Take a look below. I’m sure HBHW readers have some amazing recipes to share as well.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Soft Pineapple Cookies
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cream shortening and the sugars.
  3. Add egg and pineapple.
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Sift flour, then measure it.
  6. To the flour, add salt, soda, and baking powder.
  7. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture.
  8. Drop by rounded tsps.
  9. onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
  10. Bake 10-12 minutes.


Recipes for soft pineapple cookies


Red BBQ Slaw

Barbecue (or Red) Slaw is  a Carolina tradition. We serve it on barbecue sandwiches or as a side to go with pulled pork. It’s also great on hot dogs and burgers. I like the fact that there’s no mayonnaise in this slaw recipe. It makes it perfect for outdoor picnics and barbecues. You don’t have to worry about leaving it sitting out for too long.

The red slaw recipe below makes a bit batch. You can easily cut the ingredients in 3 and use just one head of cabbage if you’re making it for just your family. If you’re in a hurry, use the shredded cabbage available in the produce section of your grocery store.

Barbecue Slaw Recipe
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp celery seeds
  • 3 heads of cabbage
  1. Combine the the sugar, vinegar, ketchup, cayenne pepper and celery seeds in a medium sauce pan. Heat over medium heat and simmer until it starts to thicken. Allow the mixture to cool.
  2. In the meantime, shred your cabbage. Pour the cooled dressing over the cabbage and mix until everything is well coated.


Bowl of Red Slaw or BBQ Slaw

Basic Vinaigrette with 5 Yummy Variations

We’ve been having a lot of simple meals around here lately. There’s just something nice about enjoying just the flavor of say a pan fried potato or a perfect cheese omelet. To round out our simple potatoes and egg dinner, I got ready to fix a green salad. Our usual ranch dressing just didn’t seem to fit. Instead, I remembered a very basic oil and vinegar dressing a friend of mine used to make each time they had salad. Nothing more than light olive oil, wine vinegar and a little salt and fresh ground pepper. I shook it all up in a small jar and poured it over our lettuce. It was delicious and perfect with the cheese omelets.

We’ve been using this basic dressing for the past few weeks. Depending on what’s for dinner, I spice things up with a few extra ingredients. You’ll find those variations below.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Basic Vinaigrette
  • ½ c white wine vinegar
  • 1½ c light olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the vinegar, salt and pepper in a small mason jar.
  2. Using a fork, slowly whisk in the oil.
  3. Use at room temperature, store in the fridge.

Recipe Variations:

One of the beauties of this recipe is that you can easily tweak and change with just a couple of ingredients and get a completely different dressing. Here are a few favorites.

Italian Vinaigrette: Add 1 tbsp minced garlic and 1 tbsp italian seasoning.

Mustard Vinaigrette: Add 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard, 2 tbsp minced shallots and 1/4 c minced parsley.

Orange Dressing : Add 1/4 c light corn syrup (or simple syrup), 2 tbsp minced parsley, 2 tbsp minced mint and the sections of 4 oranges.

Curry Dressing : Add 1/4 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp minced shallots and 2 tsp curry powder.

Tarragon Dressing: Add 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 c parmesan cheese and 2 tsp crushed dried tarragon.

A Basic Recipe for an oil based vinaigrette and 5 yummy variations.

Pinto Bean Chili Recipe

I’m looking for a recipe for a pinto bean chili (with or without beef) with the flavor of a canned chili, or something like the chili sold at Steak N Shake. Thanks!


From the Hillbilly Housewife:

I found a copy cat Steak N Shake chili recipe. It’s made with kidney beans instead of pintos but I think it’s worth trying. You can easily replace the types of beans you use and even leave out the meat. I think the key is the addition of cola. It will give it that nice sweet taste you find in both a canned chili and this copy cat version.

Copycat Steak N Shake Chili Recipe
  • 2 lbs Ground Beef
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Cocoa
  • 2 13.5oz Cans Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 13.5oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Cup of Cola
  1. Start by cooking the ground beef in a pan on the stove. Cook it until it's nicely browned, then drain it and put it in a blow. Add all remaining ingredients, except the beans.
  2. Use an immersion blender to blend everything together. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can also run it through your blender in batches as needed.
  3. Pour this puree into your crockpot. Add he beans and cook on low for 6 hours before serving.

 Do you have a recipe for Ali to try? Please share it in the comments below. Thank you! 

Copy Cat Chili Recipe