The Science Nerd

Quick and Easy

French Dip – Quick and Easy

November 2, 2012

I love French Dip sandwiches.  I frequently get them at restaurants, but don’t often make them at home.   Well, this week, when planning my menu I decided to make French Dips one day for lunch.  And today was that day!  And they were pretty good – along with being super quick and easy.

Photo by Gayle Tabor

I started by putting some french fries in the oven to bake.  While they were cooking, I sliced an onion, placed it in a fry pan over low heat with a small touch of oil.  I let them cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every once in a while. In a sauce pan I put some beef broth, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce  and a few of the onion slices and let it simmer.

When the fries were almost ready, I toasted two sub rolls on a flat skillet   Then I heated up 4 slices of roast beef (2 for each sandwich) I heated them on one side for about 15 seconds, and when I flipped them over I covered them with slices of provolone cheese.  Once the cheese was good and melty, I transferred the roast beef and cheese to the sub rolls and covered with the cooked onions.  Put some fries on a plate and transferred the au jus to ramekins and that was it. Lunch was ready.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2 Sub rolls
  • 4 slices roast beef
  • 3 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 can beef broth
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • side of choice (fries, chips, salad, etc.)

Prep Time (for sandwiches): 15 minutes

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One evening a few weeks ago, Gayle wanted something chocolate.  We didn’t have any of the usual options (Little Debbie Swiss Cakes, mostly), so I turned to Google.  I found a recipe that looked easy and quick, plus I knew we had all the ingredients we needed.  I headed to the kitchen, telling Gayle on the way that if this recipe was good we were in BIG trouble.  It is something that we could make every evening without much fuss.

Well, the recipe was good and it is big trouble!  For the amount of time it takes, it is ridiculously delicious and probably chock full of calories.  Fortunately, it only makes single servings, so we have to make a choice every evening to make them or not.

And without further ado – here is the recipe as we make it.


  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (we use dark chocolate cocoa powder, a friend made the recipe with regular coca posder and said it wasn’t as good as ours with the dark chocolate)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)


Put all ingredients into a mug, small bowl or ramekin.  Mix well.  Microwave for 70 seconds.  (This is the time we use, as microwaves vary greatly, you might need to play with the time to get it right.)  This makes a good serving for us, but you can double it if you’d like.


See, super easy.  And it is soooooo good.  Try it tonight.  I can almost guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.





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Oven Baked Chicken

February 28, 2012

Last night’s meal was not anything fancy, but it sure was tasty.  Oven roasted chicken, parmesan mashed potatoes and green beans.  Here is the recipe – perfect for those evenings when you don’t feel like cooking, but are too hungry for cereal.



  • Preheat the oven to 425.
  • Take one large chicken breast and cut in in half (which makes the perfect portion size for us).
  • Then I covered both sides of chicken with rotisserie seasoning.
  • While working on this, heat 1 Tbs oil in a oven proof skillet on medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken in the skillet, allow one side to brown (2- 3 minutes), then flip.
  • Brown the other side and then place skillet (and chicken) in the oven.
  • Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 170 degrees.

While chicken is cooking, work on the side dishes

  • Peel and cube potatoes.
  • Boil on the stove until soft.
  • Drain, add milk, cream cheese and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese.
  • Mash with a potato masher until desired consistency.

And I just heated up some canned green beans (french cut) to keep it simple, you certainly could pair this with any vegetable or salad that fit your tastes.

So, the whole meal took about 40 minutes to prepare and cook, but it certainly wasn’t an intense time of prep work.


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