Family Favorite Dishes

Moroccan Beef Stew

This dish is a show stopper.


3 Tbps. olive oil, divided

1 3/4 lbs. beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 Tbsp. paprika

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 c. beef broth

1/2 c. Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1/2 c. golden raisins

1 (15-oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained

1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro


1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

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2. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add beef to saucepan and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan to paper towel-lined plate.

3. Add remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, carrot and garlic to pan. Cook until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add spices and stir one more minute. Add broth, olives, raisins, garbanzo beans and cilantro; bring to boil. Simmer until juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Add beef and stir until all ingredients are warm.

4. Meanwhile, prepare couscous according to package directions. Spoon stew over couscous.


Cheesy Meatloaf

My kids will eat this if I don’t refer to it as meatloaf. Something about the word “meatloaf” makes these cheesy bites unappealing, so I call them mini cheeseburgers.


1/2 c. crushed saltines

2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 large egg

1 garlic clove, minced and crushed

1 small yellow onion, diced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 c. ketchup

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

6 oz. Swiss cheese

1/4 c. ketchup


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix together saltines, ground beef, egg, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Don’t overmix. Split meat mixture in half, pressing the first half into the bottom of the loaf pan.

3. Layer cheese slices over the first half. Top with second half of meat mixture making sure to press down enough to combine the two layers. Top with ketchup. Bake for 60 minutes or until meat is done.

Apron Strings Notes: I usually skip the garlic clove in this one and substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt. I often use two of my smaller loaf pans to speed the cooking process and make an adult version with spicy ketchup and some diced jalapenos added to the meat mixture.


Country-Style Steak

This cube steak recipe was gobbled up by the kids in the house. Serve it over wide egg noodles or rice for a complete entrée.


1 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. black pepper

3/4 tsp. seasoned salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 lb. cube steaks

1/3 c. olive oil

2 c. beef broth


1. Mix flour, pepper, seasoned salt and garlic powder in a shallow bowl; reserve 3 tablespoons. Coat steaks thoroughly on both sides with remaining mixture.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pan fry steaks until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to slow cooker crock.

3. Whisk the remaining flour with beef broth, pour over the steaks and cook on low for 8 hours.

Apron Strings Tip: This dish is oven ready as well. Bake in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish at 350 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours. If you like thicker gravy, stir in a package of brown gravy mix with about 30 minutes left to bake.


Cordon Bleu

The kids asked for seconds of this delectable dish. I served raw carrots and broccoli florets with ranch dipping sauce to complete this simple meal.


5 c. diced cooked chicken

4 oz. thinly sliced deli ham

8 oz. sliced Swiss cheese


8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c. milk

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3/4 tsp. onion salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. tap water

1 tsp. cornstarch


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, evenly spread diced chicken. Layer the ham slices over the chicken.

3. In a food processor, process the cream cheese, milk, olive oil, onion salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk the water and cornstarch together then add to the food processor pulsing until combined. Pour over the top of the casserole. 

4. Layer the Swiss cheese evenly, completely covering the top of the casserole. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until heated through and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Apron Strings Notes: Add mushrooms or green beans to the casserole to make it a complete one-dish meal.


Chicken Casserole

Simple and yummy. This recipe offers a quick meal that can be doubled to make leftovers for day two.


10 oz. roasted red tomatoes

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 oz. diced bacon

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c. chicken broth

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 c. baby spinach

1/2 c. shredded mozzarella


1. In a large skillet, cook chicken and bacon until brown and nearly cooked through. Add garlic and sauté 5 more minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

2. Pour chicken broth into skillet and loosen browned bits from edges. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in cream cheese until melted. When sauce is smooth, stir in spinach and continue to stir until wilted.

3. Add the chicken back to the skillet and stir in roasted tomatoes only until combined. When heated through, sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese.

Apron Strings Notes: You can skip the garlic and roasted tomatoes and substitute a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes.