Friday, January 31, 2014

Juicy Lucy Meatball Sliders

Downsizing the larger Juicy Lucy burgers to a game day size.  The meatballs are moist but as with the burgers, be careful of the hot cheese inside!

Juicy Lucy Meatball Sliders

1# extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 large egg
1/4 cup onion, diced fine
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 cheddar cheese snack sticks, cut into 1/2" square pieces

Place all the ingredients into a medium bowl except the cheese.  Roll meatballs, flatten and tuck a cheese block in the center and wrap the meat around it.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.  Serve on cocktail sized buns (I toasted mine) and with all your favorite hamburger toppings.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Drunk Turkey Sausage

The countdown continues and it seems we've moved from cheese to beer-related treats.  Well anyone could just drink the remainder of the beer from the Guinness Candied Bacon or you can use the other half to make this sausage dish.

Drunk Turkey Sausage

1 ring turkey sausage, casings removed
1 - 14 oz organic ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 bottle beer, room temperature - I used Guinness

In a medium saucepan, heat ketchup, brown sugar, crushed red pepper flakes and beer until sugar is dissolved.  Slice turkey sausage into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Cook in crock pot over medium heat for 3 hours. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Guinness Candied Bacon

Man cannot live on cheese alone.  That is why there is bacon.  And bacon with a sweet booze flavored glaze...perfection.  

Guinness Candied Bacon

1 # thick cut Apple Smoked Bacon
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Guinness
1/8 tsp cayenne

Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil for easy clean up.  Place a wire cooling rack on top of each rack.  Lay out the bacon side by side on the racks.  In a small saucepan, combine the Guinness, dark brown sugar and cayenne.  Heat to almost a boil.  Preheat oven to 350°.  Place bacon in heated oven without glaze for 15 minutes.  Take out of oven and glaze top side and return for another 15 minutes.  Take out, turn bacon, glaze and bake for another 15 minutes.  Let cool completely before removing from the racks.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cream Cheese Wontons & Red Plum Sauce

The countdown to the Super Bowl continues with another cheese related recipe.  These wontons are so easy to make and much healthier than those gotten in a Chinese restaurant since they are baked.  The sauce basically makes itself.

Cream Cheese Wontons ~

30 wonton wrappers
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix together cream cheese and garlic powder.  Using a .5 tablespoon cookie dough scoop, fill half full and place in the center of the wonton wrapper.  Dip your finger in water (once for each of the 4 sides) and wet the edge of the wrapper.  Gently fold over into a triangle shape and press down on the edges.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  When all 30 are made, spray with cooking oil and bake for 10 minutes at 400°

Red Plum Sauce

1 - 18 oz Red Plum Jam
2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ginger

Put all the ingredients into a medium saucepan.  Stir occasionally over medium heat.  Cook until it thickens, about 20 minutes.  Serve warm.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Baked Italian Cheese Dip & Bread Dippers

Round two of the countdown to the Super Bowl and today there's two recipes to serve for the big game.  This was an opportunity to use my new brie baker.  Darn Etsy and all their cute stuff that I fall in love with and have to order for my already overcrowded cupboards.

Baked Italian Cheese Dip

8 oz Fontina cheese, cut into small pieces
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Place the Fontina cheese pieces in a dish that is safe for the oven.  Sprinkle the olive oil and spices over the top.  Bake for 30 minutes at 325°.  Serve with bread dippers (recipe below)

Bread Dippers

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 package dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 tbsp Italian Seasonings

Combine warm water and yeast and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  In a large bowl, pour in yeast water and stir in oil, honey, Italian Seasonings and salt.  Fold in flour  gradually.  When it's all combined, knead for 10 minutes and then return to the bowl and pour a little more olive oil on top, turn and make sure it's all coated, cover with a clean dish towel and let sit in a warm place for 2 hours. Turn out on a lightly floured board or countertop and divide into 24 equal pieces.  Place in a greased pan and brush with 2 tbsp melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sweet & Heat Cheese Ball

Kicking off the countdown to the Super Bowl and the first up is a cheese ball which is always a welcome treat.  This one gets it's sweetness from dried cranberries and heat from green chilies.  

Sweet & Heat Cheese Ball

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Craisin's, chopped
2 tbsp green chilies
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Mix together softened cream cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Add in the chopped Craisin's and green chilies. Shape into a ball shape in bowl and cover
with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove and roll in chopped
Cover and return to refrigerator. Remove 15 minutes before
serving.  Serve with crackers.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Parmesan & Garlic Pasta

This is the perfect weeknight side dish since it has lots of flavor and can be made in a short amount of time.

Parmesan & Garlic Pasta

8 oz linguine, cooked al dente and drained
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup peas
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and smashed garlic.  Let simmer for 5 minutes, be careful not to let the garlic burn.  You just want the flavor.  Remove the garlic and stir in the peas and cook for a couple minutes.  Add in the pasta and toss.  Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper  Right before serving, add in the Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Strawberry Syrup

I was having buckwheat pancakes with my family with some delicious maple syrup (the real stuff) and it reminded me that I hadn't come up with a new syrup recipe lately and that it was time to change that.

Strawberry Syrup

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup Strawberry Breeze juice
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk strawberry juice and cornstarch together in a large saucepan before you turn on the burner.  Once blended, whisk in sugar, salt and corn syrup.  Thicken over a low heat, stirring frequently.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tuscan Turkey

My original name for this was going to be Italian Turkey Breast but Tuscan Turkey just seemed to roll off the tongue so much easier.  This was perfect for game day.  Before the games started, I got this ready for the crock pot and it was ready to go for that little span between the games.

Tuscan Turkey

1/2 turkey breast, skin on
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Italian seasonings, crushed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in the bottom of your crock pot.  Stir in the chicken broth and lemon juice.  Place turkey breast in the pot.  Rub the top of the breast with the olive oil and then the freshly crushed Italian seasonings.  Top with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook slowly over medium low heat for 6 hours.  Make sure the internal temperature is 165°.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fruit Medley Crisp

I started off going to make just an apple & pear crisp and when I got the fruit all cut up it just looked so colorless so I perked it up by adding blackberries.

Fruit Medley Crisp

2 apples, pared and diced
2 pears, pared and diced
1 cup blackberries
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and sliced thin

Mix together the apples, pears and blackberries in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle the lemon juice over and add in sugar.  I added a half cup of sugar because my apples were really tart.  If you use sweet apples, add in only 1/4 cup of sugar.  In another medium sized bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and sea salt.  Gradually add in cold butter slices and mix by hand until crumbly.  In a greased 9 x 9 pan, add in 1/3 of fruit mixture and then top it with 1/3 of the oat mixture.  Cover with the remainder of the fruit and then cover that with the remaining oat mixture.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Italian Snack Mix

Looking for a tasty snack mix for the football playoffs this weekend?  I had bought a small bag in a convenience store last weekend and I knew after one bite that I could make something better.  Plus this has a little heat from red pepper flakes that makes it so much better.

Italian Snack Mix

4 cups Crispix
2 cups sea salt bagel chips
2 cups tiny twists pretzels
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  When melted, stir in garlic powder, oregano and the red pepper flakes.  In a large roaster, combine the Crispix, bagel chips and pretzels.  Pour the butter mixture over. Bake for 1 hour at 250°, stirring every 15 minutes.  At the 45 minute time, sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese on top and stir in.  Let cool and then store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hamburger Soup

Don't let the name fool you ~ this is a very hearty soup with lots of flavor.  I had a package of hamburger and yet another blizzard warning so I wanted to make something that would make you forget the weather outside.

Hamburger Soup

1# extra lean ground beef, cooked and drained
1 cup carrots, sliced
4 cups beef broth
1 tbsp celery flakes
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup Orecchiette or your favorite pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place cooked ground beef in your crock pot or soup kettle.  Add in all the ingredients except for the pasta.  Cook over medium heat until the carrots are fork tender.  Add in pasta and cook until al dente.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Crock Pot Peachy Chicken

I've made some meals that are somewhat time consuming and some that are so easy you only spend minutes on them...this is one of the quick meals.  Just a couple of minutes to stir together ingredients to pour over the chicken and the fork shredding is all it takes.  The crock pot does the rest of the work for you.

Crock Pot Peachy Chicken

2-3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup peach preserves
1/3 cup bbq sauce
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Place the chicken in your crock pot.  In a small bowl, combine the peach preserves, bbq sauce and spices.  Pour over the chicken and cook on medium for 4 hours.  Fork shred chicken in the crock pot and mix together with the sauce.  Serve over toasted buns.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Coca Cola Roast Beef

It was time to bring out the crock pot when dangerously cold wind chills keeping everyone tucked into their warm homes.  I happened to have a chuck roast that I wanted to try to do something new with so yesterday was a good opportunity to do so.

Coca Cola Roast Beef

1 - 3+ pound chuck roast
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can (12 oz) warm Coca Cola
1 large garlic clove, smashed
1/4 cup onions, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place the roast in your crock pot.  Add in beef broth mixed together with the tomato paste, Coca Cola and smashed garlic clove.  Sprinkle the minced onion and seasonings on top of the roast.  Cover and cook on medium low for 8 hours.  

It makes a great gravy too!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Caramel Snack Mix

It's -16F outside and there's a couple good football playoff games this afternoon or a Property Brothers marathon on hgtv....decisions, decisions...  Whichever I decide to watch and craft as I do, there will be snacks available with this caramel snack mix.  Who knew how good caramel coated cashews were?  

Caramel Snack Mix

8 cups popcorn
4 cups Crispix cereal

1 cup cashews
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet M & M's

Combine popped popcorn, Crispix and cashews in a large bowl.  In a large saucepan, melt butter.  Combine with brown sugar and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes without stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.  Mix together well and pour over popcorn mixture.  Bake for 1 hour at 250°, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from roaster and spread out on wax paper.  When cool, mix in M & M's.  Store in a airtight container.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chicken Parmigiana

Mise en place.  That's the first time I've used the phrase on my blog but it was very helpful being organized to pull this recipe together.  It's not complicated at all because everything goes along smoothly and the end result is worth a few extra dirty dishes.

Chicken Parmigiana

3 chicken breasts
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Place in a bowl and sift together ~

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

In a 2nd bowl whisk together~

1 large egg
1 tsp water

On a dinner plate blended together ~

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp oregano

1/2 cup of your favorite red pasta sauce

Topping ~

1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
1 tsp oregano

8 oz cooked linguine
1 tbsp butter

Grease a large baking dish.  Cook the linguine al dente, drain but do not rinse and place in the baking dish.  Stir in 1 tbsp of butter.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Dip the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, then the egg and finally dredge it through the bread crumb mixture before placing in the hot pan.  Cook 4-5 minutes on each side.  Place on top of the pasta when done.  Cover each of the chicken breasts with pasta sauce.  Top with the shredded cheeses and sprinkle on the oregano.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Swedish Meatballs

It's been awhile since I've made Swedish Meatballs and I hate to admit it but the last time that I did, I used a mix that you buy at the grocery store.  It was time to change that and start from scratch so I could have a preservative-free and hopefully healthier version of them while still having lots of flavor.

Swedish Meatballs

1# extra lean ground beef
1/2# ground pork
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup onions, minced fine
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


pan drippings
1 cup beef stock
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs.  Roll into 1 1/4" balls and brown on all sides.  Place in a baking dish and finish cooking in oven at 325°.  In the frying pan, mix in half of beef stock with drippings and whisk in the flour.  Add in remainder of stock, sour cream and milk.  Stir in parsley, salt and freshly ground pepper.  Heat and allow to thicken slightly.  Serve over mashed potatoes or cooked noodles.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Quattro Formaggi

Doesn't that just sound like it's going to be good?  Plus Quattro Formaggi is just fun to say.  It adds a touch of class to a four cheese pizza, although this pizza is good on it's own by any name.  I used the other dough that I had frozen from a few weeks ago and it worked out fantastic.

Quattro Formaggi

Pizza crust (makes 2) ~ recipe from Cook's Illustrated

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil

Place all of the ingredients, except for the canola oil, in a food processor with the chopping blade.  Pulse until mixed.  Switch to run and pour in canola oil and let the dough knead in the machine.  Remove dough and place on a lightly floured surface.  Knead for a couple minutes.  Cut in half (one half can be frozen for later use).  Let dough sit for about 20 minutes or so.  This will give you time to get the rest of your ingredients ready.  Roll out the dough and place on your pizza stone.

Cover dough with a light coating of garlic olive oil.

Top with the following ~

1/2 cup Apple smoked Provolone, shredded
1/2 cup Fontina, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
8 oz fresh Mozzarella, torn into small pieces

Bake for 15 minutes at 400°.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Coffee Cake Muffins

Happy New Year!

Here's a sweet way to start off your day.

Coffee Cake Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp cold butter

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs, vanilla and buttermilk.  Gradually add in the dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the streusel.  Cut the butter into small pieces and mix in using a fork or your fingers until large crumbs form.

Jumbo muffins ~ Using an ice cream scoop, place a large scoop into greased muffin tins.  Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of streusel on top of each muffin.  Bake for 20 minutes at 325°.

Makes 9 jumbo muffins