Sursee Gal’s Test Kitchen // Cheesy Baked Sliders

Sursee Gal's Test Kitchen I thought of a new series I could do.  I am always finding new recipes and because I love finding things and telling you about it, I thought of a new series.

Sursee Gal’s Test Kitchen

This way when I find a new recipe or make something that is finger-licking good or I find a new way to make cooking a Sursee, I am going to share it here.

I know that when someone shares a no-fail meal idea with me, it is like winning a prize. Sometimes we get in a rut and need a little encouragement to try something new. So today, let me tell you about this most awesome recipe.

I have heard and made these dinner rolls with sandwich meat, but was intrigued when I saw that this version was actually little hamburgers.  Craig showed it to me on a Facebook post someone made about Super Bowl Sunday food and thought it looked good, so I tried it.  And it was good.  I shared it with some gals at Creative Night recently, and it was a hit with them too.

In fact the picture below is from one of my friends who sent it to me after making these yummy sliders for her high school senior’s Mock Trial Team.  Yes! SuccessCheesy sliders

Sursee Gal’s Test Kitchen was born and will be raised right here in this little corner of the blogging world.

So now and then I will share tried and true recipes I have made and throw in some new ones I find on my cooking shows,  in my cookbooks and from my gal pals.  We all need a little inspiration sometime.


Cheesy Baked Sliders

 Cheesy Baked Sliders


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup finely diced onion (about 1/2 onion or more if you like)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced Cento Italian tomatoes/drained
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 Dinner rolls- I used the King's Hawaiian rolls, but you can use any dinner roll
  • For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


    For the Meat sauce
  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet.
  2. Drain the grease off.
  3. Add the salt and pepper, cumin, mustard powder and paprika and the onions.
  4. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and cook, stirring.
  6. Add in the tomatoes and cook a few minutes.
  7. Separate the rolls and place in the bottom of a 9x13 pan
  8. Top with the hamburger mixture
  9. Sprinkle the cheese over all the rolls
  10. Place the roll tops on
  11. For the glaze
  12. Melt the butter in a small saucepan
  13. Add the mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and sesame seeds and stir until melted and combined
  14. Pour over the tops of the rolls
  15. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes until browned and heated through.

Yummy Pomodoro Sauce


Realized I have not written a recipe blog in awhile. So, here goes. When we were in Italia we never ate spaghetti like we had here.  It was so much better.  Real tasting.  Real tomato tasting, a silky yummy sauce that tasted so fresh.

I searched the internet for a recipe that tasted like what I had eaten and I think I found one on Bon Appetit.  Made a little change to it and voila here it is.

Yummy Pomodoro Sauce. So yummy. Can be made in larger quantities for big, big parties! Or made and frozen for later use.  So silky and tomatoey.  Tastes like Italia!

Make sure you buy good canned tomatoes like these…

new tomato can


Sursees Galore :: Smoked Paprika, Alstroemeria and Snow Days

There are a few things around here that I have been digging.  I few things I wondered if you knew about or would want to know.  I often think you gals already know about x or y but was reminded this week that sometimes, Sursee Gal just needs to share her Sursees and let the chips fall.  Some of you need to hear and learn and some need to be reminded about what they already knew.  None of this stuff today is particularly earth shaking, but it is fun and will bring a smile.  Two jobs of Sursees.

So first off, I love this spice.

Smoked Paprika Sursee

Smoked Paprika.  It is Paprika with Punch.  It has a smokey scent to it that makes everything taste like you spent hours smokin’ your dish in a big ‘ol metal cooker.  It is best used in small amounts.  I use it when the recipe calls for plain Paprika.  It is also good as part of a rub mixture for your meat.  Or use it to season your pork when you make Pulled Pork tacos.  It adds a yummy depth to whatever you got cooking.  I found this one at Target.


Next Sursee– Alstroemeria- the Flower of all Flowers.

Alstroemeria Sursee

I love this flower.  I just buy it at the grocery store.  The first time I ever heard about it was when I was picking out flowers from this hipster florist I used when I got married.  She just brought out buckets and buckets of flowers and let me pick and build my wedding bouquet.  I used these and other flowers and I have always loved them since.  The best thing about these is they last forever. And  I mean 4 Evah! Which is great because then you have a Sursee that brightens your counter or bathroom for more than a week.  They also come in so many gorgeous shades. There is no really strong perfume smell with these which is nice.  Get some today, gal.

Last Sursee is a Snow Day.

We have had several of those these past two weeks and they are like little magical gifts.

Snow Day Sursee


They look beautiful.  You get to slow down and savor the morning.  Your sweetie gets to stay home.  When we had kids at home, they got to stay home.  I get a fire.  And cocoa and marshmallows.  And soup.  And a fun little day of staying in that I wasn’t planning. A day with possibilities.  Almost like an extra day in the month.  A day for adventures or movies or book reading.  AHHHH, I love ’em.

Snow Days are the ultimate Sursee because you have absolutely no control over when it comes, if ever.  A magical surprise when you  wake up and see the yard blanketed in white frosting.  I love the gift of a snow day.

What is your favorite new spice?  Or flower that you splurge and buy for yourself?  Or  the best way to celebrate a snow day?  Do tell.

An Easy Recipe for Today :: Coconut-Black Bean Rice

What to serve with your chicken?  Sometime we just need an easy recipe for a side dish.  This is it, gals. This rice recipe will be a yummy edition to your repertoire.  It came with an easy chicken recipe, but I like the idea of making the rice with any entree- Chicken, Pork, Beef.

The coconut milk adds a richness and silkiness, but not overtly coconuttiness.  Is that even a word?

Try it and let me know what you think. A Sursee Side dish that is delish.

Coconut Black Bean Rice

Coconut Black Bean Rice


  • 1 (13.5 oz) can of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 (15.5 oz ) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Bring coconut milk and salt to boil over medium-high heat. Stir in rice. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer per directions on brown rice packaging. Usually about an hour or until rice is tender.
  2. When rice is done, stir in black beans and green onions. Top with cilantro.
  3. Serve with chicken or pork or beef.

Saturday Sursee :: Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin bread 3

I am dashing off to a wedding of the daughter of a dear friend and sending you this Sursee for Pumpkin Bread.  This is a fantastic recipe that I make for Fall,  package up for Thanksgiving Sursees for Neighbors and then bake again during the Christmas season.  I love that I have the card in the handwriting of the cook, Shirley.  Such a great lady.  Such a great recipe that she wrote down for me once.

It is not the most healthy.  But.  It is good.  So try it?  Make it today and think of all the things for which you are thankful.  Then share with your family or a friend.


Pumpkin Bread

 Pumpkin Bread


  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbl vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 16 oz can pumpkin


  1. Whisk all the dry ingredients together
  2. Mix all the wet ingredients together
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
  4. mix well and then pour into 2 Loaf pans greased and floured (9 1/2 x 5 1/2 pans)
  5. Bake at 325 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours
  6. Test with a toothpick in center
  7. Freezes well
  8. Can add a cup of chopped pecans if you want!


What to Fix for Dinner? A Yummy Salad with an Amazing Dressing that is a Go To Meal


Carol's Amazing Salad

When it is time to have people over or just prepare dinner for your own family, do you find yourself fumbling around- indecisive about what to serve? I think it is important to have a few recipes that are your Go To Meals.  These are the  meals that you are proficient in preparing- the ones you don’t have to think about much.  The ones you take to the new mom or a neighbor.  The ones you prepare when you are having folks over, but don’t have much time or mental energy to try something new.

Having these Go To Meals helps us to practice hospitality.  A Go To Meal makes hospitality much easier and more doable in our minds which is where hospitality begins.

This salad is one of those meals.  One of my Go-Tos.  Easy.  Yummy.  People always ask for the recipe afterward.  You can make it as a main dish by adding chicken or it can be a lovely side dish.  Your choice.  So how about this week you practice a little bit of hospitality and invite someone over.  What is one of your Go To Meals that you could use?


Carol's Amazing Salad

Carol's Amazing Salad


  • Dressing
  • 1/3 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Combine the above ingredients in a jar and shake.
  • For salad use :
  • Mixed Field greens- I use the box of salad
  • 1 cup Blue cheese or feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1 cup toasted pecans


  1. Shake the dressing ingredients up in a mason jar/jelly jar. Keep refrigerated.
  2. Prepare your salad. Sometimes I serve the Blue Cheese and the pecans on the side so guests can add their own. Also helps if you want to save the salad to not have the cheese and pecans in there.
  3. I also shake and then pour the dressing into a pretty, small pitcher for guests to drizzle over their salad
  4. To make this a main dish, grill and slice chicken breasts. Serve the chicken on the side.
  5. This recipe makes enough for 6-8. You can double this easily.

What to Cook Tonight :: Lessons in Hospitality

Pork Tenderloins  Lessons in Hospitality

Received a text from one of the kids:

I am trying to think of things to make this week for dinner.  Any ideas?

How many times have you asked a friend that very same question?

This is one of the reasons I like watching cooking shows.  I feel like they inspire me when I need a little inspiration.  They get me out of my box, rut, cooking doldrums.  And they are so calming as I watch them cook through the 30 minute meal and then taste that first bite. Yes.  Looks good.  I am making that tonite! Thank you Giada, Pioneer Woman, Ina!  I am always talking back to the TV- “Yes, that does look delish.”

Friends help, too.  I love hearing what my friends are cooking up at their  house.

What her go to Company Meal is.

How she is celebrating this summer with food.

What is on her table tonite.

We need each other, gals.  Let’s speak life by speaking food to each other.  Let’s ask each other, what are you cooking?  Better yet, let’s invite each other over.  Share a meal and share life.  We are starting something new over here – Dinner with Friends. I am excited about it and will share later.

Today I will share with you a little Summer Sursee of what I am cooking around here.

Last night it was Pork Tenderloin grilled out, Roasted New Potatoes with Rosemary and a yum-oh salad with lots of goat cheese and avocado and an easy swoosh of olive oil and white Balsalmic vinegar over the top.  It looked pretty because I also added red grapes sliced in half and tiny cherry tomatoes sliced.   I used this marinade  for the tenderloins that the Pioneer Woman told me about.  Remember, don’t cook your tenderloin too, too long or they will be dry as dry.

Here also is what I sent to all the sons who are living on their own.  I tried to think of easy things with a combination of some store bought, some home made that a guy would actually like and try.  Maybe it will spur you on or give you a spark as you think about what to cook for dinner.

Buy a rotisserie chicken and eat. Then next day make a big salad with it. Or quesadillas. Or fajita. 

Make a pasta and put summer veggies in it that you grilled on your grill pan. Like zucchini. Squash. Cherry tomatoes. A little cheese on top.  Serve with green salad

Panini with mozzarella, basil and tomato

Shrimp Summer Pasta we made in Red River. Look up on pioneer woman. 

Grill a flank steak or tri-tip steak. Roast new potatoes and steam green beans

Buy chicken picatta at Whole Foods already made. Serve with pasta. 

What are you making this summer?  Do share the SURSEE.



Pretzel Yummies :: Easy Snicky Snack Dessert

Time to cook again.  Time to make an easy dessert snack that changes with the seasons.

Pretzel yummies

I keep theses ingredients in the pantry so I can make whenever.  All you need to change is the color of the M&Ms.


Christmas Pretzel Yummies

Here they are dressed for Christmas.

It makes a bunch, so sometimes I bag it up and give it away as a SURSEE.  It is the perfect Salty-Sweet combo that makes a snicky-snack great.  Also great for parties or for movie night.  Enjoy!

What is your easy snick-snack dessert that you make?

Pretzel Yummies :: Easy Snicky Snack Dessert

Pretzel Yummies :: Easy Snicky Snack Dessert


  • 16 oz pkg of Rold Gold Tiny Twist Pretzels
  • 20 oz pkg of Almond Bark
  • Bag of M&Ms (12.60 oz)


  1. Heat the almond bark in a microwave safe bowl---needs to be big enough to hold pretzels.
  2. Once the almond bark is melted, stir in the pretzels and coat all of them.
  3. Let it cool a minute then add the M&Ms, stirring into the pretzels.
  4. Once all pretzels and M&Ms are covered, pour mixture out onto a sheet of wax paper on countertop
  5. Let cool
  6. Break into pieces to serve. Eat!


Go to Desserts- Easy Peach Cobbler :: Lessons in Hospitality

Easy Peach Cobbler

A hospitality trick I have learned is that I need a dessert that is my “go to, easy-peasy, don’t have to think about it” Dessert.  Sometimes a gal just needs a dessert that she can make without too much thought.  But you also want one that tastes good.  This is it.  I think you will like it.

So this Lesson in Hospitality is about making an Easy Peach Cobbler.

I keep all the ingredients for this one in the pantry, and I can whip it up in a flash.  I can make it when I am running late and people love it. Comfort food at its best.  The key to this recipe being easy is I have made it so many times.  Over and over.  I’ve made it for family, friends, small groups, supper clubs, bible studies, pot-lucks, new moms,  ladies lunches, summer bbqs, and high school events.  Shwoo.  It has gotten a lotta mileage at our house.

This is also a great recipe for teaching to a college student who needs an easy dessert to try out on roommates or friends.

Go try it yourself.

What is your Easy-Peasy Dessert?  Do tell.

Easy Peach Cobbler

Easy Peach Cobbler


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 large can of sliced peaches
  • cinnamon and sugar, you decide how much you want to sprinkle on top of partially cooked cobbler


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Melt one stick of butter in 9 x13 pan in the preheating oven.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the milk and mix together.
  5. Pour the batter over the melted butter, don't mix.
  6. Pour the can of peaches and juices over the batter and butter, don't mix.
  7. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Then take out of oven and sprinkle the top of the cobbler with cinnamon and sugar. Bake around 10 minutes more, checking the cobbler to see that it doesn't brown too much.
  9. Serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Lessons in Hospitality :: Meal Planning Magic

Eating around the table with family is important.  You know that.  You also know that it can be rather difficult when you have a bunch of kids or even one kid!  It is hard to get it all going the same direction around 5:00 pm.  We are supposed to have these balanced, nutritional , economical and yummy! meals that introduce new wacky veggies and sometimes it just is not working!  At least it was hard around the Johnson house.

I want to share some of the survival skills I learned over the years to make the Supper Hour and meal planning madness not quite so hard.

  One tip I have learned over the years is: I pace myself when it comes to planning meals and setting up the week.

One way I do this is to plan a week’s worth of menus on Saturday or Sunday and then shop for the whole week. This planning helps you take advantage of what is on sale at the grocery store and paces How Often you actually cook during the week.   This planning helps in many ways.

For instance, if I grill out chicken on Monday night, I use some of the leftover for a delicious salad topped with chicken.  Or I use the chicken in tettrazini  or a pasta dish.  Chicken Redux looks pretty good that way.  And this also saves time which is  good.  Very good.

I plan out what I am cooking and how I will use my leftovers.

Planning how I use my leftovers means I am not COOKING something big and complicated  every night.  I am pacing myself.

Another benefit of planning is that I make sure that every recipe for one night is  not a new, complicated recipe.  Maybe only one component to the meal is new to me, the other players are easy to me recipes  or I am using leftovers.

If I am planning out the week, I see these relationships in black and white and I am a better planner.

Tip #2 : I Always have a green salad.

Or almost always.  Five of the seven nights.  Kids almost always like a green salad.  So I can give myself a Check +  on the vegetable that night.  I also can introduce one new veggie that may or my not be a favorite. Cheesy, creamy baked spinach comes to mind. It comes to mind as a Not Favorite.  But I know they like the salad I am serving and are eating one green Something that night.  And I am also introducing something new.  Or something that was not their favorite.

When I do introduce a new veggie, I remind them of Our Rule-

You have to have a bite.  One Bite.

I tried not to have squash, spinach and lima beans all on the same night.  My nutritionist friend told me long ago you had to introduce foods 25, 50, 75 times before kids would acquire a taste for it. I can’t remember the number, but it was a lot!   So let your kids drown their green salad in Ranch dressing and try tastes of the newer stuff.  Eventually, they will like their broccoli.  Brussel sprouts, I can’t promise.

Tip #3: Make a schedule and have the same thing over and over.

Yep, that is right, when you make your menu plan for the week,  you can make Monday-Meatloaf night.  Tuesday -Chicken night.  Wednesday-Left-overs. Thursdays-Sandwich night. Etc.  Make the things your family likes.  No worries if you have the same things over and over.  Make things that are easy for you to get on the table.  This is also another plug for doing a meal planning schedule on Sunday night. As you look at your week, make sure you factor in when you will be gone all day or have doctor appointments, nights you might need to have Sandwich and Soup night.  Planning is the key.

You can also spice up the meals each week with more adventurous side dishes.  I felt like I didn’t have enough brain space to make one more decision about what is for dinner,  so having it on the rotating schedule helped me.  Remember, too, this schedule is for a time. Your kids won’t always be little or you won’t always be so so busy.  Having a set schedule helps get you through a busy season.


My last tip is: When I have a Leftovers Meal, I try to make or buy one thing new.

So here you are trying to make-over the chicken or the meatloaf you had earlier that week.  Well introduce something new- maybe a new bread or have a different yum-oh sauce to go over the leftover chicken.  Or try a new side dish.

I try to have one thing new or special when I serve the same or redone meat dish.  This way I am not cooking everything, every night, and we are not bored with the same exact meal.

I love this Sea Salt Cibiatta bread from Whole Foods!  Sea salt ciabatta bread

This bread was sometimes the splurge I made to make the meal look new again.  Think of it as an accessory for your plate.

Or try a new recipe on  Left-Over Night.  Serve leftovers with a new Veggie dish or pasta side.  Here are some ideas for side dishes.

Yummy potatoes or Corn Saute

What is your favorite way to make leftovers look new? Do you have a schedule that you follow?  Do Tell and give me a SURSEE!