Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Porcupine Meatballs

Grilling still seems a way off.  I'm not one of the brave souls that likes to wear a parka to grill outdoors.  Maybe wearing a parka is a slight exaggeration, the temperatures still do require a coat on most days.  It's been awhile since I made meatballs so now seemed a good time since I had all the ingredients at hand.

Porcupine Meatballs

1# extra lean ground beef
1/3 cup rice, cooked
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 small onion, minced
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Place all the ingredients into a medium bowl.  Roll meatballs and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.  Serve on top of mashed potatoes with sauce (recipe below) or alone.

Sauce For Meatballs

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups beef stock
1 garlic clove, minced
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup Half and Half
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt butter and stir in flour.  Cook for a minute over medium heat.  Gradually stir in beef stock.  Add in garlic and carrot and cook until sauce thickens.  Add in Half and Half and season to taste.  Serve over meatballs.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Blackberry Italian Cream Soda

I have found my new summer drink.  I hope summer arrives since spring seems to be failing to bring warmth and sunshine.  This drink is light and refreshing.  And don't think that making a simple syrup is hard to do...it wouldn't have simple in it's name if it wasn't.

Blackberry Italian Cream Soda

1/4 cup blackberry simple syrup (recipe below)
sparkling water
1 tbsp Half and Half

Blackberry Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup blackberries (I used frozen since they release more juice)

Stir and combine the water and sugar.  Add in the blackberries and heat over medium heat until the berries release their juice.  Let cool down and strain out the berries.

In a tall glass, add in the blackberry syrup, ice and sparkling water.  Pour a splash of Half and Half on top.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Strawberry Bruschetta

Sometimes you just need a fun breakfast, especially on a chilly and rainy Spring day.  It's nice to have ripe strawberries on little pieces of toasted bread as a treat when most people would serve this later on in the day for company.

Strawberry Bruschetta

French bread or a bagette, cut into 1/2" slices at a diagonal
4 oz Mascarpone 
2 tsp strawberry preserves (use a good brand)
strawberries, sliced with the hull intact

Slice bread and place it in the oven at 350° until lightly toasted.  In a small bowl, cream together Mascarpone and strawberry preserves.  Spread a little on the cooled toasted bread slices.  Cut the strawberries in thin slices almost to the top of the berry.  Gently fan the slices and place on top of the Mascarpone.  Drizzle a little honey on top of each piece.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ham & Fontina Tassies

I was interested in trying more savory snacks after my Parmesan Madeleines worked out so well.  I've made the standard brown sugar tassies and my chocolate raspberry tassies so it was time to take it up a notch.  These have a little hidden bite from the crushed red pepper flakes that you might not notice at first.

Ham & Fontina Tassies

1 stick butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp oregano
3/4 cup ham, diced
3/4 cup Fontina, shredded
Crushed red pepper flakes

Blend together the butter and cream cheese.  Beat in the oregano and flour (a half cup at a time).  Make sure the flour is all incorporated and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour.

Grease a standard muffin tin with a spray oil.  Roll large balls of dough, flatten and press into the cups.  Form sides to each cup to hold your filling.  Place some ham in each cup.  Sprinkle some grated Fontina on top and then a few pieces of crushed red pepper flakes.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.  Serve warm.

Makes 12 tassies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Parmesan Madeleines

I ran across my Madeleine pan while digging in my pan cupboard last week and decided it was time to make some more of the little buttery trepats.  I went for a sweet Madeleine last time so I wanted to try something a bit more savory this time.

Parmesan Madeleines

2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp oregano
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp milk

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients, spices and Parmesan cheese.  Add in beaten eggs and milk.  Fold in melted butter and spoon dough into your Madeleine pan.  Bake for 12 minutes at 375°.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Italian Fried Chicken

Looking for an easy weeknight chicken recipe that has lots of flavor....this is it.  A touch of Italian spices with an easy coating, these chicken breasts fry up with a crispy shell.

Italian Fried Chicken

2-3 chicken breasts, pounded to an even flat size between 1/4 & 1/2" thick

In a large zippered plastic bag mix together ~

1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
2-3 dashes hot sauce

Add the flattened chicken breasts to the bag and let marinade for 30 minutes.

On a dinner plate, mix together the following ~

3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Heat a large skillet with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  When hot, remove chicken breasts one by one from the bag and dredge both sides in the flour mixture before placing in the hot skillet.  Cook both sides until crispy and the internal temperature is 165°.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Pudding

Finally warm temperatures in the valley for the Easter weekend.  That means it's time for a nice Spring dessert and lemon and blueberries are always a wonderful combination.   

Lemon Blueberry Pudding

In a large saucepan combine ~

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

Whisk in ~

2 1/2 cups milk
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp lemon zest
pinch of sea salt

Cook until thick over medium heat.  

Stir in ~

the juice of 2 lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp butter, softened

Pour into a dish and fold in 1 1/2 cups cleaned and drained blueberries.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then place plastic wrap on top of the mixture so a skin does not form and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tuscan Fried Potatoes

Simple and tasty....these potatoes are the perfect side and you can make them on your stove or on your grill.  I boiled the potatoes for 20 minutes to get a head start but it's not necessary.

Tuscan Fried Potatoes

4 potatoes, boiled for 20 minutes with skin intact or peeled and diced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet with the olive oil.  When hot, add in the potatoes.  When halfway cooked add in the pepper, garlic and spices.  Cook until the potatoes are nice and crispy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Egg Nests

I've made this Easter treat before but I tweaked the recipe this time to make the nest a little more chocolate.  The best thing about the recipe is that you make it all in one pan so clean up is a snap.

Easter Egg Nests

Melt together in a large saucepan ~

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cashew butter (or peanut)
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Stir in until melted ~

4 cups mini marshmallows

Fold in  ~

6 oz chow mein noodles

Scoop out 16 nests onto parchment lined baking sheets.  

Grass topping ~

1/4 cup coconut
2 drops green food coloring

Mix together in a plastic bag.  Use a pinch on top of each of the nests and top with 2-3 eggs.  I used M & M Milk Chocolate Eggs.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Italian Roasted Tomatoes

Wow.  Am I glad that I had extra tomatoes on hand to play with in the kitchen.  The aroma of these baking is like a pizza but without the bread.

Italian Roasted Tomatoes

2 tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3 cup Romano Pecorino cheese, grated  
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
dried oregano

Place the tomato slices on a non-stick aluminum foil or parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the slices with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.  Layer the mozzarella and Romano cheeses on top of the tomatoes.  Sprinkle a little oregano on top of each slice.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400°.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Tenderloins With Pan Gravy

Bacon makes everything better.  Well...I haven't tried chocolate covered bacon yet but I will to determine if that's completely true.  It did add a nice flavor to the turkey tenderloins and helped keep them moist.

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Tenderloins

2 turkey tenderloins, cut in half
4 slices thick cut bacon (I used apple smoked)
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Wrap the bacon slices around the tenderloins and secure with a toothpick.  Heat a frying pan with the olive oil and then brown the tenderloins.  Place in a non-stick lined pan and finish baking at 350° until the internal temperature of the tenderloin is 165°.   Keep the frying pan with the oils and bits intact for the gravy.

Turkey pan gravy

1 cup chicken broth (or turkey if you have it)
2 tbsp flour
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Add the broth into the pan with the turkey drippings.  Whisk in the flour and seasonings over medium heat.  Continue stirring until the gravy thickens.  Pour over the turkey before serving or for a potato side dish.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bunny Trail Snack Mix

Easter is coming and it's time to make cute snacks to compliment your table or to bag for treats.

Bunny Trail Snack Mix

4 cups popped popcorn
2 cups yogurt covered pretzels
2 cups Rice Chex
1 cup golden raisins
11 oz Ghirardelli Classic White baking chips
1 tsp canola oil
2 cups Easter Peanut M&M's

Slowly melt baking chips with canola oil in a small sauce pan.  Place the popcorn, pretzels, Rice Chex and raisins on a large parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the melted chip mixture over the top.  Allow to set and break apart.  Stir in M & M's.  Store in a sealed container.

Monday, April 7, 2014

BBQ Cheesy Meatloaf

It's Monday and I needed something to put together fast since it's beautiful outside and the yard is calling my name.  I wanted to try something new so here it is ~

BBQ Cheesy Meatloaf

1 # extra lean ground beef
1 large egg
1/4 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup Smoked Cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 bread crumbs

1/4 cup barbeque sauce
In a small pan, heat the olive oil.  Add in onions and cook until translucent.  Let cool slightly.  In a medium bowl, add in all of the ingredients.  My method for combining is getting both hands in and mixing until it's all combined evenly.  Shape and place in a greased loaf pan.  Spread 1/4 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce on top.  Bake at 325° until the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 155°.  Remove from oven and pan.  Cover and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Crispy Gruyère Chicken Breasts

Lots of flavor and an easy chicken dinner for a weeknight or on the weekend.  Crispy thanks to the Panko bread crumbs and a slightly sweet and smoky taste from the cheese.

Crispy Gruyère Chicken Breasts

2 chicken breast, pounded to 1/4" thicken
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Smoked Gruyère cheese, shredded
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup milk

Pour the milk in a bowl.  Combine the Panko, cheese, salt, pepper and parsley on a dinner plate.  Dip the chicken breasts in the milk and then press both sides of the chicken breasts on the plate of Panko mixture and then place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (I used the non-stick type).  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chicken Parmigiana Manicotti

I've tried manicotti several ways and probably will continue making new ways because sometimes it's just fun to get right in there and literally play with your food which is what you end up doing to stuff the manicotti noodles.  

Chicken Parmigiana Manicotti

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 large egg
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
10 manicotti noodles, cooked per package directions and cooled
1 cup red pasta sauce
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Combine the chicken, ricotta, mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg and spices together in a medium bowl.  Stuff the manicotti shells with the chicken mixture.  Make sure there are no air bubbles and place in a greased baking dish.  When all 10 are stuffed, pour the pasta sauce on top and sprinkle with 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 325° for 30 minutes

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cinnamon Squash Crostino

I'm always looking for ideas to use recipes that I've created in the past on my way to create new ones.  I was watching my favorite Food Network show a few weeks ago, Amy Thielen's Heartland Table when I watched her make a squash s'more that looked good.  Buttercup squash is my ultimate favorite vegetable and getting me to step outside my comfort zone of eating it with just butter and pepper is a rare occurrence.  I'm glad I took her wonderful idea and tweaked it slightly  The recipe that I got to use was my Cinnamon French Bread as the base.

Cinnamon Squash Crostino

2 cups baked buttercup squash
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cut the buttercup squash in half, remove the seeds (toast for snacks or feed wildlife).  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and place face down.  Add 1/2 cup water in the pan and bake at 350° for about an hour.  It varies on actual squash size.  Remove the flesh from the skins and allow to cool slightly.  After about 10 minutes, measure out 2 cups of the squash, stir in the softened cream cheese, honey and cinnamon.  Spread on top of toasted cinnamon French bread, top with some miniature marshmallows and return to the oven until nice and toasty brown.