Monday, September 1, 2014

Italian Round Steak

I have always made round steak the same way.  It was comfort food, especially in the fall in my family.  Mom would make it with mashed potatoes, squash and sliced tomatoes.  This represented a Sunday dinner when growing up.  Loved it then and I still do.  I bought some round steak (and squash) fully intending to recreate this meal.  Well...I got a little sidetracked in the kitchen.  Not the first time, nor the last I'm sure.  But I came up with a nice new recipe that would go well on pasta or rice more than mashed potatoes.

Italian Round Steak

1 1/2# eye of round steak, thin sliced
8 oz tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp oregano
1/4 cup onions, minced
1/2 cup green pepper, small diced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Flour mixture to dredge steak in ~

1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cut round steak in small, serving size pieces.  Mix the above 3 ingredients together.  Heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan.  When the pan and oil is hot, dredge the steak on both sides and place in the pan.  Lightly brown on both sides before putting in the crock pot.  Add the smashed garlic cloves, green pepper and onions in the pan and lightly cook before adding to the crock pot.  In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, sugar and spices.  Pour over the round steak.  Cook on medium low for 8 hours.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Twice Baked Brie & Bacon Potatoes

The weather is suffering from an identity crisis.  If the sun comes out, it only stays for 5 minutes before it begins to rain again.  Good day to watch some football or make a nice dinner.  It's been awhile since I made twice baked potatoes so I was happy to have a package of brie in the refrigerator.  It melts so nicely even before you return it to the oven.

Twice Bake Brie & Bacon Potatoes

2 large Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes
2 tbsp butter
3 oz brie cheese, rind removed
2 slices bacon, cooked and drained on a paper towel
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Wash potatoes.  Poke holes into skin with a fork and bake under fork tender.  The length of baking time will depend on the size and type of the potatoes.    Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Cut the upper third of the potato off and scoop our the middle and put into a bowl.  With a fork, stir in the butter and brie.  Add in seasonings and then the bacon.  Spoon mixture back into the shells and bake for an additional 20 minutes at 350°.

You may also add in green onions, chives or any of your favorite herbs and toppings.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meatball Stroganoff

A small drop in the temperature and I go into comfort food mode.  I had a pound of ground beef and wanted to make a hotdish type of food but to step it up a little.  My refrigerator had an unopened container of sour cream so it was a good start to a comfort meal.

Meatball Stroganoff

Meatballs ~

1# extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Mix together and roll into 1" balls.  Place on a non-stick foil lined baking sheet (jelly roll pan).  Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.  

Cook 1/2# wide egg noodles in salted water.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water for your sauce.

Sour Cream Sauce ~

Melt 2 tbsp unsalted butter in a frying pan.  And cook -

6 oz fresh button mushrooms, sliced and cook in the butter for a couple minutes

Add in -

1/2 cup beef stock
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/2 cup of pasta water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the drained egg noodles at the bottom of a large serving dish.  Place meatball on top and then cover with the sour cream sauce.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sweet Corn Risotto

It was cloudy and a little on the cool side.  The ham I was making for dinner needed a little brightening up too.   I made this risotto with sweet corn that was a perfect side on any kind of weather day.

Sweet Corn Risotto

1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 ears of corn
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Bring the chicken stock to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in the rice, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pan and let cook until the stock has been absorbed (approximately 30 minutes).  Stir in Parmesan cheese , butter and corn and cook until the corn is done.  Add in the freshly ground pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and taste to see if it needs salt.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lemon Cupcakes & Blackberry Icing

I'm continuing with this flavor combination...first the lemon waffles and blackberry syrup and now these fun cupcakes.  I made the "adult" version of icing but it's not necessary to add in the blackberry liqueur.  The seedless blackberry jam will add enough flavor without it.  

Lemon Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large egg whites
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together butter and sugar.  Mix in egg whites, lemon extract, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.  Alternate mixing in buttermilk and dry ingredients.  Scoop into paper liners in cupcake tins until about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-24 minutes at 325°.  Makes 24 cupcakes.

Blackberry Icing

1/2 cup whipping cream
4 ounces Mascarpone cheese
1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp seedless blackberry jam
2 tbsp blackberry liqueur (optional)

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Add in Mascarpone and
powdered sugar.  Add in blackberry liqueur and ice your favorite cake.  Makes enough for 24 cupcakes.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Waffles & Blackberry Syrup

Nothing like a rainy day to keep you indoors and making something that will brighten your day.  I made the blackberry syrup a few days ago and wanted something light and bright to serve it with.  I had already made lemon ricotta waffles so I just tweaked the recipe a slight bit and was ready to rock.

Lemon Ricotta Waffles

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp lemon zest
2 large eggs, separated
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup ricotta
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Sift all dry ingredients and zest into a large bowl.  In a small bowl, beat egg whites until light and fluffy.  Gradually mix buttermilk, egg yolks, butter, ricotta, extracts and lemon juice into the dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the egg whites.

Bake per your waffle makers instructions.

Makes 10 waffles

Blackberry Syrup

10 oz blackberries, thawed if frozen and cooked down (this will be about 1/3 cup juice)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar

Cook down blackberries over a low heat in a small saucepan.  They will release their own juice if frozen.  If fresh, add in a couple tablespoons water. Allow to cool and then strain through a fine mesh.  Push down and get some of the pulp also.  Return to saucepan and add the water, cornstarch and sugar.  Stir in completely and then turn the heat on and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until the syrup thickens.  Store syrup in an airtight container in your refrigerator.  The syrup will be good for a couple weeks.  You can also use it over ice cream.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Breakfast Meatballs

Weekends are a great time for experimenting with new breakfast foods so today I decided to make meatballs for breakfast.  These are not your average meatballs with the egg and breadcrumbs...I left those out and focused on meat and cheese...and a little of my favorite in meatballs ~ fennel seed.  I added in a little bit of real maple syrup to help caramelize the meatballs.  I did not add in additional salt or pepper since these are already in the breakfast sausage.

Breakfast Meatballs

1# turkey breakfast sausage
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp fennel seed
3/4 cup Marble Jack shredded cheese

Hand mix all the ingredients together.  Form into balls and bake for 25 minutes at 350°.  

Makes 16 meatballs.