Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It's OK to be Blue

It is OK to be Blue.....CHEESE! I never used to like blue cheese but all of a sudden I find I can't get enough of it. Funny how tastes change over time. Whenever the hubs and I go out to eat these days blue cheese is always my salad dressing of choice. I even ask for blue cheese dressing on my Cobb Salad, which (if made correctly) already comes with blue cheese! I can't seem to get enough of it!  I have also always noticed how much better restaurant blue cheese dressing is compared to anything you can buy in the store. Of the store brands, I like Wish Bone blue cheese dressing the best but it still doesn't compare to making it yourself. This way you can really load it with cheese. Here is my recipe for blue cheese dressing. I won't claim it is the BEST ever, but it's pretty darn tasty!

Erika's Blue Cheese Dressing
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup half and half
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cayanne pepper
7 oz blue cheese, crumbled. (adjust to your level of cheesiness!)

Mix all indredients except blue cheese until smooth. Stir in blue cheese crumbles.

Yields about 1 qt of dressing

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sausage Memories

When I was in High School, there was a little restaurant down the street from my school that served the best breakfast sausage I have ever had. They were big, thin patties and lots of paprika and pepper in them. They were a little orangish from all the spice. To this day I have yet to find any that rivaled theirs. The place was called Clown Galley and it was creepy as fuck with all the clown paintings and statues and shit but, hands down, best breakfast in town.  The place is long gone and is now a chinese restaurant but I still long for that breakfast sausage. I have been using a spice blend from Penzey's for the past few years and it is good but today I decided to try making my own. Here is my mix:

Basic Breakfast Sausage

2 pounds ground pork
1/4 C (loose) brown sugar
1Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp bells poultry seasoning
2 tsp hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground sage

Mix well and fry. I did a quick test by nuking a little bit of the mix. I totally overcooked it but it tasted pretty good. I am sure I will be tweaking this the more I use it but it's nice to have a base recipe to work with!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Sausage, Cheese, and Mushrooms

Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday. Ours was nice albeit smaller than in years past. Everybody seemed to be broke as hell this year. Let's hope things start looking up this new year. One of the new recipes I tried this year was a sausage stuffed mushroom recipe. As usual, I had way more filling than I could fit in the caps so I came up with this recipe as a means to use up all the leftover filling. I have to say it came our great. Both hubby and I really enjoyed the end product served with rice and leftover Christmas vegetables (I had green beans and he had corn).

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Sausage Mushrooms and Cheese
 NOTE: The filling recipe was used to stuff 2 packages of mini portabella mushroon caps (Fill caps and bake at 350F for 20 minutes) with the leftover filling sufficient to stuff 2 chicken breasts.

For the Filling
2/3 brick cream cheese
1/2 pound sausage (I used Jone's Brand)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 Cup portabella mushroom stems, chopped
1/4 Cup white wine
2-3 dashes worcestershire sauce
1/4 Cup romano cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp black pepper

Brown sausage in a skillet, breaking into small pieces, until cooked through. Drain and place sausage in a bowl to cool.
Return skillet to stove and saute mushrooms, leeks and garlic over low heat until soft. Add worcestershire sauce
Deglaze with white wine and let wine cook away
When wine has evaporated, transfer vegetables to bowl with sausage and let cool.
Once cooled, stir in cheeses, egg, and black pepper until fully incorporated.

For the Chicken
2 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
1 rasher of sliced bacon

Butterfly each chicken breast and pound until a uniform 1/4 inch thickness
Spread filling mixture on chicken breasts leaving 1/4 inch allowance along one edge.
Roll chicken breasts towards the edge with the allowance to keep filling from squishing out
Carefully wrap the rolled breast with strips of bacon to keep them from unrolling. Secure with toothpick where needed

Place bacon wrapped chicken breasts on a rack in a roasting pan and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.
When chicken is almost done, turn on broiler and broil until bacon is crisp. Turn bundles over and continue to broil the underside until bacon is crisp. Let stand a few minutes before serving.