Author Archives for simplifiedbystacie

Simply Homemade: Taverns

Honesty time: I seriously didn’t realize no one knew what taverns were was outside of our little northeast Nebraska corner of the world until I met my husband. He hails from the city of Omaha and had never heard of this sandwich until I made it for him. After realizing this, I knew it was my duty to share this recipe with any of you who are also unfamiliar with this dish. Prepare yourselves!!!

Don’t you dare call this a sloppy joe! It is sloppy to eat but it’s a no-go on the joe 😉 This right here is tavern meat, folks! I’ll admit, my version varies from the traditional recipe I grew up eating but the only real differences are that I swap the measurements for ketchup and mustard because my kiddo isn’t a huge mustard flavor fan (yet!). I do also sometimes opt for the onion powder option as a substitute for chopped onions; don’t judge me! It saves me a little crying while chopping, speeds up the cooking time a few minutes, and save us an hour at dinner time from my kiddo picking out each minuscule onion piece she finds. I love how simple this dish is and so easy to adjust with adding your own favorite seasonings towards the end. I personally like the addition of a sprinkle of steak seasoning and chipotle roasted garlic seasoning for a little more zip but that’s just my preference.

Pro tip: turn oven onto high broil setting and place buns in for a minute or two while meat mixture finishes cooking. Toasted buns make for the best sandwiches in my humble opinion! It’s funny really, as a kid I had soo many issues with textures. I can’t decide if this signals a step in the right direction that I’m adding another crunchy texture to this dish OR if I’m just avoiding the possibility of the soggy texture bun. Either way, I love taverns with toasted buns and have a feeling you will too!

Deliciously seasoned and flavorful meat mixture, check! Toasted buns, check! Time for toppings? Oh yeah! Chips on top to add a little crunch factor + added salt and a sliced pickle for some snap…mmm, mmm, mmmmm! Next time you’re wanting a taste of small town Nebraska that reminds you of your days as a carefree kiddo eating a messy sandwich off a flimsy paper plate while wearing a white t-shirt (without a care in the world), give this recipe a whirl!


  • Servings: Approximately 8-10 sandwiches
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Flavor packed loose meat sandwich that will take your taste buds back to childhood!


-2 pounds hamburger meat

-1 can tomato soup

-1/2 onion, chopped or 1 tablespoon onion powder

-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

-1 teaspoon chili powder

-2 tablespoons mustard

-4 tablespoons ketchup

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon pepper

-Package of hamburger buns (optional: sliced pickles and potato chips) to serve with


1) In large skillet, brown and drain hamburger meat over medium heat.

2) Add chopped onion and sauté another 3 minutes until soft (if you have picky eaters you can substitute out this step).

3) Add all remaining ingredients and stir well then continue to cook over medium low for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4) Serve in hamburger buns with additional mustard, ketchup, potato chips, and pickles as optional toppings!

Are Roux For Real?

For real, I cannot believe how many people don’t know how to make a basic roux. Just in case you don’t know this word, it’s pronounced ‘roo’. A roux is such a staple in so many amazing recipes and my goal is to make it as simple as possible for all of you. Next time you recall the knowledge gained from this post, feel free to crack yourself up thinking of this silly title 😉

Let me break it down for you, a roux is a very basic sauce base used in combination with added spices and/or cheeses and generally ends up being a thickening agent. Ahhh…the magic of this trifecta of ingredients: butter, flour, and milk! Melt the butter, add in the flour and cook just until the flour loses some of the flour-ness flavor and sloooooowly add in milk, whisking well after each pour of the liquid. Really, the key to this is keeping it slow and smooth. Play some blues or slow jazz in the background to get the right tempo for cooking it. This is not a top pop or hard rock playlist kind of recipe, trust me 😉 Keep the mixture smooth by whisking continuously over low heat and being patient as the liquid is gradually added in.

Want to know my favorite part of making a roux? Once you master it, the possibilities for you in your new cooking world are endless! Roux plus potatoes and ham? Hello scalloped potatoes and ham dish! Roux plus hot sauce and fresh cracked pepper and sausage? Hi there, sausage gravy ready to pour over biscuits for breakfast! Roux plus cooked veggies and chicken broth? Cheesy creamy veggie soup, oh yeah! Roux plus cheese and more cheese and yet another kind of cheese plus some shells? Mac n cheese, yes please! Roux plus cooking liquid from roast turkey? Om nom nom gobble gobble gravy!Alright, I could go on and on clearly but you get the gist, right? Rouxs are life in the cooking world!

Alright, let’s get into it for real now. For any good roux, you need equal amounts of a fat and a flour. My go-to is good ol’ fashioned butter but sometimes a recipe will call for something else and that’s totally fine. The different the fat, the different the end result flavor! Make sure you melt it over low heat until the foaming disappears. Next, the flour. The biggest thing is to make sure that you use the same quantity of flour as you did with the butter. The next big thing is to make sure you mix it into the butter fully and keep it cooking over low heat for just a bit without letting it burn to the bottom. Remember the movie Finding Nemo? Just keep swimming..only this song is reminding you to just keep stirring!!! From there, you will have a giant butter and flour lump in your pan and you will be wondering how this is a sauce. Hang in there with me!

Slowly, add in part of the milk/broth and whisk your little heart out until it has combined with that lump. Don’t panic that the lump keeps returning after the first few small additions of liquid. Gradually, that lump will evolve into a thick paste. From there, the more liquid you add, the more smooth the sauce will be. Now you’ve got that base sauce I was telling you about where you can add spices and cheeses and etc to your heart’s desire! You can also play with the beginning of this recipe by sautéing some chopped onions and/or garlic into the butter before resuming the rest of the process. Now that you’re familiar with what a roux is, you’ll likely notice it as being the beginning of multiple recipes you see. Roux=blank canvas for flavor and thickening. My biggest hope is that you retain the knowledge gained and put it to the yummiest uses possible!

Basic Roux

  • Servings: Approximately 1 cup
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Super simple basic roux ratio to get you started with that staple sauce!


-2 tablespoons butter (or fat of choice)

-2 tablespoons flour

-1 cup milk or broth (or liquid of choice)


1) Melt butter in saucepan over low heat until liquified.

2) Add flour to the butter and whisk in well until combined then continue to cook over low heat one minute, stirring continuously.

3) Pour about a quarter of the liquid into the saucepan, whisk in well until combined mixture is smooth then repeat until all the liquid is combined well.

4) Add in desired spices/cheese/veggies/protein/etc and, if needed, thin out by adding more liquid until you reach your desired consistency.

Simply Homemade: Mexican Corn Chowder

So my co-workers are genius and came up with the concept of a soup club. The premise is simple, you want to join in all you have to do is sign up on an upcoming Wednesday to bring a crockpot of delicious soup. Then, every Wednesday for the foreseeable future, you get to enjoy other people’s soup offerings and they, in turn, get to enjoy yours when it’s your turn to contribute. I can’t tell you how in love with this I am for so many reasons but here are the top three reasons:

1) I get to eat soup once a week every week for lunch at work and don’t have to worry about bringing something for lunch those days.

2) I get to put together blog posts of my favorite soups when it’s my turn to bring soup for the week.

3) I get to try out other people’s soups and, inevitably, strike up discussions around their recipes so I can add it to my secret recipe stash to try later.

The more people in the club, the longer the soup club runs. Just a couple people? Simply bring a smaller portion of soup and only do it for a couple weeks. Or, when you get to a high number of people wanting in, you change it so two people bring soups each week so there’s enough soup for everyone to enjoy. The bright side of this is that one person is still only responsible for one crockpot. The people in the soup club I’m part of at my work really thought this through. There around 20+ people in our group so the organizer decided that each week one person could sign up to bring a creamy soup and the second could sign up for non-creamy. That way, no one ends up bringing the same kind of soup and everyone gets to sample two soups if they so desire OR get to pick from two options each week. Brilliant!

Planning this makes people look forward to coming into the office (at least once a week anyways!). It also makes the whole office smell the aromas of soups being cooked/warmed so it’s like walking into your grandma’s house and just wanting to immediately sit down for dinner. it’s amazing to see the creativity some people bring and some of the traditional comfort soups others make. I’ve tried soups I didn’t know existed and now are in my family’s regular rotation (hellooooooo jalapeño popper soup, say what?!). I’ve gained tips from seasoned soup veterans (roast that garlic before adding it in, adds multiple layers of flavor!). I’ve even been able to share some of my own family’s staple recipes. Cue…this blog post!

Mexican corn chowder is such a simple recipe with such an incredible palette for flavor! I love the fact that it calls for some many ingredients that you have options with. Rotel and chopped green chilies: mild, medium, or hot – your choice! Hot sauce: cholula chipotle or chili garlic or original or a combination of any of your own favorites. Shredded cheese: Monterey Jack, sharp cheddar, taco blend, pepper jack – dealer’s choice! Personally, I prefer medium rotel and green chilies and equal parts of the three kinds of cholula listed above then a mix of Monterey Jack and Colby jack cheeses. But you go ahead and choose to your spicy loving or mild natured heart’s desire! If the end result isn’t spicy enough feel free to add more hot sauce. If it’s too spicy, tone it down with some sour cream or additional half and half. The beauty of this recipe is it’s adaptability..and it’s warming, comforting deliciousness of course!!

My apologies for the lack of pictures, I made this for soup club this past week at work and we all dug in and didn’t stop until it was gone; I missed my slim chance of an opportunity for photo ops! Just picture a creamy soup base with some pops of color from the tomatoes and chilies and some beautiful color from the cumin and you now have a visual 😉 Enjoy!

Mexican Corn Chowder

  • Servings: Approximately 10-15
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Customizable comfort soup you can make to your spice level's desire!


-3 tablespoons butter

-1 cup chopped onion

-2 teaspoons minced garlic

-2 tablespoons flour

-2 cups chicken broth

-2 cups half and half

-2 cans (16 ounces each) cream style corn

-1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

-1 can (15 ounces) rotel tomatoes

-3 teaspoons hot sauce

-2 teaspoons cumin

-4 cups shredded Monterey/Colby jack cheese


1) In small saucepan, melt butter and sauté onions for approximately 3-4 minutes until softened.

2) Add garlic to onions and sauté another minute until fragrant.

3) Move saucepan contents into large pot or crockpot and add in remaining ingredients, stirring together well.

4) Cook approximately half hour until cheese is melted and flavors combined. ***Can also use crockpot and cook on low for approximately 4 hours.