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 extract
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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Sometimes you just get hungry for Mexican food.  This is a very Americanized recipe so creamy with a little bite from the green chilies.  The enchilada sauce can be put together in minutes and you could use rotisserie chicken to whip up in a short amount of time on a weeknight.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups shredded chicken breasts
8 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
2 tbsp green chilies
1 1/2 cups cooked rice - white or brown
10 soft taco flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack shredded cheese

Enchilada Sauce ~

1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients together and bring to a simmer.

In the same frying pan you used to cook the chicken or another pan, combine the shredded chicken, cream cheese, green chilies and cooked rice.  When the cream cheese has melted, scoop out and fill the center of the flour tortillas.  Roll and place seam down in a 9 x 13 pan.  Pour the enchilada sauce over and place in a 350°oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with shredded cheese.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Chocolate and strawberries just go together.  I happen to be reading a book that talks about chocolate covered strawberries frequently so it made me hungry for the combination.  I made this in the food processor for ease of preparation.  There's a bar of Ghirardelli dark chocolate chopped up in the shortcake.  It's great to hit a little pocket of melting chocolate when served warm.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

In your food processor ~

1 - 3.17 oz Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie bar (chop this first)
1 cup + 2 tbsp flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp Double Dutch Dark Chocolate cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

Turn on the food processor and mix with the same chopping blade and let all the dry ingredients get completely incorporated.

Add in ~

1 large egg
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp cold butter, chopped into smaller pieces.

Turn the food processor and keep it on until a ball forms.  Turn out dough onto a floured surface and add any additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  Press out until dough is 1/2" thick.  Cut out with a biscuit cutter in the desired size you want to make the shortcakes.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Put the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  After an hour, place in a preheated oven of 400° for 18 minutes.  Serve with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Parmesan Couscous

I'm not sure about you but I'm always looking for a light and easy side dish to make.  I've had a box of couscous for awhile and I decided to use it for the easiest ever side.  If the hardest part of the dish is grating Parmesan know it's a winner.

Parmesan Couscous

1 cup water
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup couscous
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp parsley
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a small saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil.  Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous and salt.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Uncover and stir in the parsley and Parmesan.  Put in a bowl and serve warm.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Italian Chicken Roulade

It's a great time to cook inside when the temperature and humidity are both extremely high.  One of my weekly meat purchases is normally some natural chicken breasts so this is how I added flavor to them.

Italian Chicken Roulade

2 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp oregano
2 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Pound out the chicken breasts to they are an even thickness and about 1/4" thick.  Place on a large square of plastic wrap.  Season the breasts with the oregano, salt, pepper and cheese.  Using the plastic wrap, tightly roll up the chicken from the small end (lengthwise).  Twist the ends of the wrap to firmly seal and place in the refrigerator for 4 hours so they hold their shape.  

After 4 hours ~

Have 2 flat bowls for -

1 beaten egg in one and in the other ~

1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp parsley
1 tbsp Parmesan, freshly grated
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Brown the chicken, seam side first, in a medium frying pan (if you can move it directly into the oven, you'll have one less pan to wash).  When all sides are browm, put into a 350° oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 165°.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chicken Shawarma

I like chicken.  I like spices.  What a fun way to combine the two and add in a little grilling too. Plus it had been way too long since I had eaten chicken shawarma.  I had the coals on one side and cooked these on the other since they are thin and I did not want them or the bamboo sticks to burn even though I had soaked the sticks.  

Chicken Shawarma

Combine in a sealable plastic bag ~

1# chicken tenders
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin

Make sure all the ingredients are mixed before adding in the chicken tenders.  Let marinade for 4 hours before cooking.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lemon Ice Cream Sandwich

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day was on August 2nd.  I saw lots of different kinds on Twitter that day that all looked delicious.  I did not have a recipe for an ice cream sandwich to share.  Now I do...  

I used a cookie recipe that has been in my family for as long as I can remember.  My mom still makes these and ginger snap cookies usually at the same time.  It's great.  I added in a simple lemon ice cream that doesn't have eggs in the recipe and it doesn't require using an ice cream maker.  Make the ice cream well in advance since it takes a couple hours longer to reach a solid frozen state.

Lemon Ice Cream Sandwich

White Crack Cookies ~

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together butter, shortening and sugars.  Add in the egg and vanilla.  Mix together dry ingredients in a small bowl and gradually add into batter.  Roll in balls and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350°.  Let sit on the baking sheets for a couple minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Lemon Ice Cream ~

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 large lemons, the juice measured between 1/3 and 1/2 cup
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk and sugar.  Heat and stir until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice, zest and vanilla.  Let cool before putting in a plastic container and putting in the freezer.

For ice cream sandwich ~

Remove the ice cream from the freezer a couple minutes before making the sandwiches to soften.  Place a scoop on top of the back of a cookie.  Top with another cookie and lightly press down.  (Optional) Roll the sides of the cookie in a bowl with 1/2 cup of King Arthur Lemon Bits.  Place in a square of plastic wrap and return to freezer to completely harden.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Honey Cornbread

Cornbread is always a great side for bbq's or chili.  This recipe has the honey already inside but you can always top it with more (which I'm guilty of).  I baked it in a cast iron skillet but you can also use an 8 x 8 pan.  

Honey Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 tsp sea salt
3 tsp baking powder

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Create a little crater in the middle and pour in the buttermilk, honey, egg and canola oil.  Stir until completely mixed.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400°.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Peach Bread

My favorite fruit.  I keep buying them so I need to keep finding new ways to use peaches...absolutely no hardship there.  I made this easy peach bread that bursts peach flavor and cinnamon with every bite.  

Peach Bread

3 peaches, peeled and pureed in a food processor
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Cream together sugar and butter.  Add in eggs, vanilla and pureed peaches.  Fold in dry ingredients.  Bake for 1 hour at 350° in a loaf pan.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Beef & Brie Poutine

Poutine is a great blend of cheese and potatoes with a delicious gravy topping it.  Decadent...yes.  Not something you want to eat every day but as an occasional treat it is well appreciated by all.  I decided to bake the fries as a healthier alternative and top it with two of my favorites ~ a medium rare filet mignon and brie.

Beef & Brie Poutine

Fries ~

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a small bowl.  Mix spices in a separate small bowl.  Drizzle olive oil over potatoes.  Toss in spices and make sure the fries are evenly coated.  
Bake for 45 minutes at 350°.

Gravy ~

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups beef stock
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp ketchup
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan.  Stir in flour and let cook for a minute.  Gradually stir in the beef stock.  Add in the remaining ingredients and cook until it thickens.

3 oz filet mignon, cooked to medium rare and allowed to rest

3 oz brie

Assemble as follows ~

French fries on the bottom
Top with thin slices of filet mignon
Brie dotted on top of the fries and beef

Bake until the brie melts.  Spoon over some of the gravy and serve immediately.