Monday, March 2, 2015

Chopped at Home Challenge - Entry #1

man, I wish they would let you enter more than 1 recipe for this contest. I have so many directions I could go! But, for this entry period this is what I went with. You had to include chicken breast, red peppers, greek yogurt and Sargento 6 Cheese Italian blend in you rrecipe. In hindsight I am thinking that I should have used honey yogurt in my recipe instead of plain. It would have tasted great and been more creative than the plain stuff. Oh well. No turning back now.

Cheesey Chicken Canneloni in Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

Canneloni Filling:
1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast, poached and shredded
1 small container ricotta cheese
1 Cup Sargento 6 Cheese Italian Blend cheese
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt

10 fresh pasta sheets (can substitute egg roll wrappers)

2 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1-5.3 oz container plain Greek yogurt
2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
2-3 oz milk or cream (about half the yogurt container)
1 tsp salt

Additional 1 Cup Sargento 6 Cheese Italian Blend cheese

Mix canneloni filling ingredients together
Place 2-3 Tbs of the filling on edge of pasta sheet and roll to make canneloni
Meanwhile in a medium sauce pan, simmer garlic in oil over low heat until fragrant. Add yogurt, milk and red pepper and blend with an immersion blender (or transfer to a traditional blender) and blend until smooth. Bring to a low simmer. Once simmering remove from heat and place enough in a baking dish to coat the bottom. Add canneloni to the dish and cover with remaining sauce. Top with 1 cup Sargento 6 Cheese Italian Blend Cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. remove foil and bake 10 minutes more.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Impressing Myself

I have always had a fear of cooking Asian. It starts with knowing darn well that I will never get my pan as hot as it needs to be to get that classic stir fry taste. That, coupled with the long list of "non-standard" ingredients that end up costing a small fortune, (especially if you don't use them often), has always minimized my desire to recreate the cuisine at home despite my love of it. Well, the other day I found myself staring at the most gorgeous steaks in the meat case that I simply had to buy. They were labeled Kansas City Sirloin Strip (or something like that). I have no idea what the hell that is but the marbling of this meat reminded me of USDA prime! Because they were so thin I didn't want to put them on the grill. Instead, since I also had 3 pounds of red bell peppers, I decided this meat was destined for pepper steak. Oh yeah! I did some research, tweaked a few recipes and truly impressed myself with what I put together. I will admit that because I had to work late, I didn't cook this exactly as written, which is the best way. I just kind of threw it all together and hoped for the best. I was hungry, it was late, and I was in no mood for fussing! So sue me.

Chinese Take Out Style Pepper Steak

2 lbs beef steak - whatever cut you have that isn't too lean, sliced thin and across the grain
1/2 Tbs sesame oil
2Tbs Vegetable oil
3 Bell peppers rough chopped
1 large sweet onion, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh grated ginger
1/4 C Mirin

1/3 C soy sauce
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1/2 C beef broth
1 Tbs cornstarch
few shakes black pepper

Combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Add beef and set aside to soak for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour

While beef is marinading, prep veggies

Heat vegetable and sesame oils in wok or sloped pan until hot. Add beef and quickly stir fry to brown. The beef does not need to be cooked through. Once browned, remove beef from pan and set aside.

Deglaze pan with Mirin and let cook down.

Add peppers, onions, garlic and ginger to pan and saute. When about half way cooked return beef to pan and continue to cook until veggies and beef are done. If more sauce is desired, add marinade to pan and cook until thickened.

Serve with rice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Loving Those Leftovers

Husband still isn't feeling great. He feels a LOT better but has this god awful cough that keeps him (and me) up at night. He sounds terrible. Poor guy. To combat the cough he has been limiting his dairy intake. This is no easy task for him as he is a bonafide milk junkie. He finally broke down this week and started drinking it again. Since he was doing the dairy thing anyway, I decided to let him have some of the leftover port roast that I had transformed into Beef Stroganoff. He looked at it funny at first but as soon as he had a bite he was hooked. Even I will admit the stuff came out super good. But I had a great start with that delicious pot roast. Here is what I did:

Beef Stroganoff

1Tbs oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 small container mushrooms. (traditionally white mushrooms are used but I prefer Cremini, i.e. baby portobellas, they just have a richer flavor to me)
Leftover pot roast and reserved liquid
1/2 C beef broth + 1Tbs cornstarch, mixed
Sour cream
Cooked egg noodles

Heat oil in a large saute pan.
When hot add onions and mushrooms and saute over medium heat until softened
While veggies are cooking, separate out fatty pieces from the pot roast and shred the meat. You don't have to go too crazy, some large pieces are just fine
Add beef and pot roast liquid to the pan and let simmer until heated through. If needed, add additional beef broth. The mixture should be on the soupy side.
Add beef broth-cornstarch mixture a little at a time and stir until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat

Serve beef and veggies over egg noodles and top with a generous dollop of sour cream. Stir everything to combine before eating. YUM!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Comforts

So, I have been craving pot roast for the last few days. I mean REALLY, REALLY craving it. But, since I just defrosted the freezers, I knew I didn't have any crock pot worthy cuts of beef on hand. Sorry, but prime rib will never see the inside of a slow cooker at my house. Anyway, the past few days hubs has been feeling terrible so I stopped at our local market for some meds and OJ for him. I know I have mentioned the fabulous meat department at my local market before. I tried to avoid it but I had to go look. There it was, the perfect chuck roast. It literally called out to me, beckoning me to bring it home so it could satisfy my cravings and bring me utter joy and happiness. I HAD to have it. I bought, prepared it and I have to say that it was one of my best roasts EVER! I am sure the decent wine I cooked it in was key. Here is the drill:

Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker

3lb chuck roast - not too fatty and not too lean
kosher salt
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1-2 Cups Cabernet - something drinkable (I used 14 hands)
1-2 tsp thyme
1-2 tsp rosemary
2 bay leaves
3 juniper berries

2 cups beef broth

Place oil in a large frying pan and heat until shimmery
While oil is heating, generously salt the roast on all sides
Once oil is hot place roast in pan and get a nice sear on all sides - even the edges. Be patient and let the meat brown.
Once meat is seared, remove from pan and transfer meat to the slow cooker
Deglaze with the wine scraping up and browned bits.
Add thyme, rosemary and bay leaves
Pour wine from pan over the roast in the slow cooker
Add beef broth to cover
Add juniper berries
Cook on low for 8 hours

Before serving skim fat from liquid and use the liquid for a delicious au jus!

Leftovers make great french dip sandwiches!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Holiday Feasting


Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

1 large container white button mushrooms
1 carrot, grated
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
2 Tbs Butter
seasoned salt (to taste)
1/2 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 cup crab meat
2 cups bread crumbs (I mixed plain and Italian seasoned)
2 eggs
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 Parmesan cheese
4 Tbs Melted butter
Thinly sliced mozzarella

Rinse mushrooms, and remove stems. Slice off the bottom of each stem and finely chop the remainder. Set caps aside.
Place chopped stems, carrot, garlic, green onion, Italian seasoning and 2 Tbs butter in a pan and saute over medium heat until softened. salt to taste
In a separate large mixing bowl, place crab meat, bread crumbs, eggs, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Add saute mixture and stir until everything is combined and moist.
Place a large ball of stuffing mixture in each mushroom cap and arrange on the bottom of roasting pan. You may have stuffing left over - It's great in filet of sole. Once all the caps are filled, top with a slice of mozzarella and drizzle melted butter over them. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Serve warm.

Almond Joy Bars (Keeping this recipe a secret for now)

Death By Chocolate Ice Box Cake (Click Here for Recipe!)

Customized my KitchenAid (Way cool!!!)

Met Jeff Beukeboom! (EEEE!)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fowl Weather

So yeah, we haven't seen the sun here in days. It's been damp and cold and just generally sucky. BUT That didn't stop me from making my latest creation - it came out fantabulous! Husband is STILL praising it. It was (drum roll, please). Italian Chicken Lasagna with Creamy Pesto Sauce. Woo Hoo, it was so good. It was inspired by my need to use up the cheeses and other whatnot that I brought home on my last NYC trip. This consisted of ricotta, marscapone, Proscuitto de san daniele, pana gradano, pesto, and marinated sun dried tomatoes. Here is how it went down:

First, I poached 2 chicken breast in water (reserve that poaching liquid!). When they were cooled, I gave them a rough chop into bite sized pieces. The chicken got mixed with chopped, fresh spinach and chopped, marinated sun dried tomatoes. To put it over the top I chopped up some Proscuitto de san Daniele and mixed that in there too! Yeah baby!

For the cheese layer I mixed some high quality ricotta, marscapone and pana grandano along with some Italian seasoning. For good measure I added a couple eggs, too.

Then the sauce, first I melted about a half stick of butter and added 3 cloves of sliced garlic and let them meld together over low heat. To that I added some flour to make a roux and let that cook a bit to get rid of the raw flour taste. Then, I added my container of quality pesto sauce, some milk and some half and half (because the milk was 1%) and raised the heat to thicken it all up.

To assemble it all, I spooned some sauce on the bottom of the pan and topped it with a fresh lasagna sheet. Then, I spread a good thick layer of the ricotta mixture on that, which I topped with some shredded Mozzarella. Then came another pasta sheet followed by the meat mixture. That also got covered with some of the sauce and some shredded Mozzarella. Finally, the last pasta sheet went on with some more sauce and Mozzarella and pana grandano. I baked the whole thing at 350F for about an hour and let it sit a good 15 minutes before serving. It was absolutely delicious and the leftovers were even better!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Things to Try this Fall

So rather than post all the turkey recipes I have used this week (It takes a long time for 2 people to eat a Turkey, lol). I have decided to post a few recipes that I saw online and want to try (and won't pin to pinterest properly, lol) It's pretty obvious that I didn't take the pictures, lol. They look delicious and share worthy so I hope you try them as well if they appeal to you too!

Cast Iron Blistered Brussel Sprouts

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon hot water1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper $1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Trim Brussels sprouts, and cut in half lengthwise. Add canola oil to skillet, and tilt skillet to evenly coat bottom. Place Brussels sprouts, cut side down, in a single layer in skillet. Cook, without stirring, 4 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with kosher salt; stir and cook 2 more minutes. Stir together honey and hot water. Stir minced garlic, soy sauce, dried crushed red pepper, and honey mixture into Brussels sprouts. Stir in mint leaves, and serve immediately.

Charred Peppers with Feta Dipping Sauce 

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 green onion, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 1 (8-oz.) package assorted mini sweet peppers
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Whisk together feta cheese, yogurt, minced green onion, mint, 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature until ready to use. Toss mini sweet peppers with 1 Tbsp. oil; sprinkle with desired amount of salt. Cook peppers in hot skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, 8 minutes or until charred and slightly wilted. Transfer peppers to a plate; drizzle with 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice. Serve with feta mixture.

Crispy Sweet Potato-Green Onion Cakes 

4 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 2 1/4 lb.)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
2 red jalapeƱo peppers, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided
1/4 cup canola oil
Lime wedges

1. Pierce 1 sweet potato several times with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate; cover with damp paper towels. Microwave at HIGH 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel potato, and place in a medium bowl; mash with a fork. Peel remaining sweet potatoes, and grate, using the large holes of a box grater. Stir grated potatoes into mashed potato. Gently stir in eggs, next 3 ingredients, and 1/4 cup green onions just until combined.

2. Pour oil into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, and heat over medium heat to 350°. Carefully drop mixture by tablespoonfuls, in batches, into hot oil, pressing lightly to flatten. Cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place drained sweet potato cakes on a wire rack over an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Keep warm in a 200° oven up to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup green onions just before serving. Serve with lime wedges.