Creatively practical: Skillet entrees PDF Print E-mail
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 09:53
Connie Diekman with her cabbage roll casserole. (Photos: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
PEMBERVILLE - Connie Diekman may well be the most popular employee at her workplace.
She puts in three or four days a week at Frobose Meat Market and whenever she's there, everyone else looks forward to her making a hot entree for the entire group.
"She's been with us for so many years, she's like another parent," said Ben Frobose.
He and his dad Bob agree: "We're not going to let her retire.
"She's been around meat her whole life, so she's got a lot of experience and if anybody comes in the shop and asks a question about how to cook something in particular, if she's here we usually deflect it to her."
Diekman takes the compliments in her stride, but does realize she'd be missed.
"When I'm not here, they eat hot dogs and lunch meat. So they like it when I'm here. When it's lunch time, they're hungry."
She has a wide-ranging and rotating group of dishes she makes, including quite a few skillet entrees.
For the Cook's Corner she is sharing one of her own favorites, what she calls "skillet cabbage roll casserole," and generously offering a bonus recipe for her filling skillet goulash.
Diekman dreamed up the idea for the cabbage roll casserole about five years ago.
"I started because I didn't like to make cabbage rolls, but I liked eating cabbage rolls. This was just so much easier."
Creating the recipe wasn't hard, she says. "The ingredients are the same" as in traditional cabbage rolls.
She makes cabbage roll casserole for the co-workers at least three times a year, and makes it at home, too.
Also in her rotation of skillet entrees for the Frobose bunch are such popular goodies as skillet spaghetti, and a skillet egg frittata. It's made with two pounds of pork, two cups of shredded hashbrown potatoes, nine slices of Land O'Lakes cheese - "I don't know why, but any other kind of cheese just doesn't taste as good in it" - and one dozen eggs.
The skillet goulash has the oldest pedigree of the bunch. She remembers her grandmother making the goulash this way when she was growing up.
Diekman follows suit, except that she likes to add in raw potatoes, which turn into tasty, flavored fried potatoes as the skillet simmers away.
For anyone who picks up her cabbage roll casserole recipe and makes it this week - maybe for dinner Friday night or Saturday for far-flung family members coming in for the holiday weekend - she notes that the particular choice of sausage in the "casserole" is flexible.
"Actually, today I used maple sausage, and you can use any kind of sausage, it doesn't have to be Cajun. I just think Cajun really tastes good in it."
The meat market's menu of sausage flavors is extensive.
Her connection with the Frobose family began 30 years ago when she went to work for Bob Frobose in Genoa, "but I've been here since February 2000" she said of the Pemberville market, which first opened in 1999.
"When my youngest son started kindergarten it was time for me to get a job, and he's 45 (years old) now" so that's quite a few sausages, burgers and steaks ago.
A Fremont native, she currently lives in Millbury. She has two sons and five grandchildren
With all this discussion of skillet specialties, don't get the idea that Diekman can't make breads or desserts. That would be an incorrect assumption.
"I also like to bake, but I also eat it," she explained, "so I try not to do too much of that."


Skillet goulash
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 tsp. garlic pepper
1 14.5-oz. can Dei Fratelli Mexican Diced tomatoes
1 14.5-oz. can Dei Fratelli tomato sauce
1 1/4 cup elbow macaroni
9 slices Land O’Lakes American cheese
1 can corn (optional)

Brown ground chuck with garlic pepper, until no longer pink. Add Mexican tomatoes and cook 5 minutes. Add one can of water and macaroni. Top with 1/2 can tomato sauce.
Simmer 15 minutes. (May need to add more water). When macaroni has doubled in size, stir in remaining tomato sauce and corn, if using.
Top with cheese slices. Cover skillet, until cheese begins to melt.

Skillet cabbage roll casserole
2 lbs. Cajun sausage
1 14.5-oz. can Dei Fratelli diced tomatoes
1 14.5-oz. can Dei Fratelli tomato sauce
1 cup rice
1 head of cabbage

Brown flavored sausage in skillet. Add diced tomatoes and cup of rice to skillet. Bring to a boil. Cut up head of cabbage and scatter on top. Pour tomato sauce over all. Cook 30 minutes, until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally. May add some water, if needed.
Serves 8-10.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 13:09

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