Thursday, February 15, 2018

Valentines Day 2018 dinner at home

This was our Valentines Day Pre fix dinner at home.  I made the menu and displayed it on my tablet which added to the vibe when hubby got home along with a "roaring fire", well a Duraflame and candle light along with eating at the dining room table which we never do.  Everything was great but I'll sprinkle the remaining crackers on top of the scallops for more of a crunchy top.  I only made 10 scallops so I reduced the sauce by half.  The French Kiss 75 was my favorite new recipe although it is a terrible iPhone pix when I make it again I'll take another but I wanted to include it anyways.  The infused gin was quick and flavorful.  I love a French 75 and this kicked it up a few notches.

1 lb. (approx. 20) dry sea scallops, rinsed
10 low fat Ritz crackers, crushed
⅛ t. black pepper
½ t. garlic powder
1 T. butter, melted
1 T. lemon juice
¼ C. dry white wine
-Parmesan cheese
-Parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. In the microwave, melt a sliver of butter in an 8x8 inch pan. Crush crackers into fine crumbs, in a pie plate using your hands and the back of a spoon. Add pepper and garlic powder. Remove muscle from scallop, discard. Rinse and pat dry. Press scallops into crumbs to evenly coat. Place in buttered pan. Top with remaining crushed crackers. Melt butter, lemon, wine and drizzle on top. Bake 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley. To brown place under broiler for a few minutes.

Make Ahead: You can assemble them, minus the wine butter sauce and refrigerate until ready. Pour sauce over and bake.

Hibiscus Infused Gin:
1 lg. bag Tazo Iced Passion cold brew hibiscus tea
16 oz. gin
1 .33 oz. strawberry pop rocks
4 oz. gin
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup

In a 16 oz. mason jar add 2 cups of gin and one tea bag. Steep for 3-4 hours. Remove bag and set aside. To make a drink, to a shaker filled with ice add 4 oz. infused gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake, Rub rims of two martini glasses with lemon, roll in pop rocks, split shaker contents between the two glasses. Top off with dry brut champagne

Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween Party 2017 recipe winners

This year like always I make winners and losers and the opinion on what was either will vary.  I made my Coconut Cream Pie recipe but this time I made them in mini muffin cups and using a cookie cutter cut out small circles from a Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.  I made 24 and used 2 pie crusts.  I added the whipped cream from the can when I served them to the person.  I loved my coconut cream pie recipe already but these bite sized pies were perfect for a crowd.  The new recipe I tried was from The Chew's Clinton Kelly, #youonthechew.  It was his Spiced Apples with Cream.  I made a few changes in presentation, added 1 t. sugar to the cream and used crumbled mini vanilla wafers.  They were such a convenient party sweet.

For sweet treats I also made Priscilla's Aggression Cookies for the first time they were loaded with chocolate, Espresso Meringues but I need to work on something the were not quite perfect but meringues are a new favorite to practice on and Chocolate Espresso Pumpkin Seeds, now an old stand by.

The rugelash I made wasn't great since the dough was too warm and I forgot the egg wash.  It was a new recipe from the newspaper but little did I realize that if I would have followed the recipe in my cookbook that I made last year as a Christmas cookie it would have worked better.  Chilling the dough is important.  I did like the savory Pesto & Parmesan version along with the Pizza version I just need to try it again.

The Carrot Hummus recipe from a grocery add was way too lemony at 1/2 C. vs. my normal 1 T.  It was a basic hummus recipe with 1 cup of baby carrots.  I liked that it has the added boost from the carrots and the orange for Halloween but serving it with Triscuits wasn't good enough.  I'll use my regular hummus recipe, maybe omit a few of the spices like the dill and chili powder and lastly pita chips or vegetables are better.

I made Spinach Dip adding in the water chestnuts for extra crunch and vegetables, Ranch vegetable tortilla roll ups and Roast Beef roll ups with Horseradish cream cheese and roasted red bell peppers along with Ranch Pretzels and the Meatballs from my last post.  I put the cooked meatballs in the crock pot along with the cooked sauce to heat it the following day, this worked and made it easy but I liked it better in my cast iron braiser where I was able to broil cheese over the top.

The Chorizo Rolls were my favorite new recipe and the party winner so much so that they avoid being photographed. I assembled the sausage logs but I didn't wrap in the pastry till the day I baked them. Next time I'll complete them the day before to save me time on party day. I had a lot of leftover sauce so I don't know if people knew they went together, didn't like it or it was just too much sauce.


1 egg

1 lb. Sprouts ground Chorizo
¼ C. Italian brad crumbs
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1 t. dry mustard powder
2 T. cilantro, finely chopped
Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce:
1 bunch cilantro leaves, 2 T. reserved
1 T. fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 t. honey
½ C. Greek yogurt or sour cream

Take one box of puff pastry out of the refrigerator, 40 minutes before you are ready to assemble. Pick cilantro leaves, chop and reserve 2 tablespoons. In a mini food processer blend sauce ingredients until smooth. Set aside. In a large bowl beat egg until frothy. Add chorizo, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and mustard powder. Form into 6 logs, the lenght of one third of the puff pastry. Wrap in plastic wrap or if pastry is thawed, cut each piece into thirds along the fold lines. Place sausage mixture down center of puff pastry. Roll over and pinch seams closed. Place seam side down and cut each long into 6 pieces, 1-2" bites. Whisk an egg with 1 T. water. On a parchment lined cookie sheet place bites, brush with egg wash. Bake 425°F for 15-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm with dipping sauce on the same plate as the appetizer so people know the sauce goes with.

Make Ahead: Make the sauce, filling and stuff. Bake the following day.

Updated:  Cut the lime juice in half this time, too sour with 2 T.

For Drinks I made a "Drink Me" caramel apple shot a Sparkling Pumpkin Apple Punch and a 5 spice simple syrup for a bourbon drinker as a Whiskey Sour.

Can you believe after all this I had 5 recipes that I cancelled day before and 2 recipes that didn't get finished and out of the fridge. And I can't forget those who brought something, brownies (I missed these :(, or either version of the deviled eggs but I did try the Broken Fingers and snapped a photo of two of them.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Recipe Meatballs combined with an Old Red Sauce Recipe

This was a FUN EXCELLENT dinner last night. Fun because it was advertised as a fondue like meal, an interactive snack meal however I did rename it because its more of a warm bruschetta.  Serve along side a salad for a healthier dinner meal or alone as a party appetizer. I served it with the toasted baguette and an optional soft sourdough baguette roll but the toasted bread was the winner. I also put the insides of a roasted eggplant in the sauce for more vitamins but it doesn't add taste so it's a great hidden boost. This would be a good potluck or party dish because it makes 24 meatballs. These were tender balls which was perfect for smashing onto the baguette slice or cutting in half. Original recipe came from Cooking Light Sept. 2017, pg. 109. A serving was 6 @ meatballs & bread slices with ½ cup of sauce at only 403 calories and 21g fat so since I made my own sauce it must be better for me.

1 small zucchini, grated, dried
1 lb. ground turkey
½ sweet onion, minced or grated, reserve half for sauce
½ t. dried oregano
¼ t. Kosher salt
¼ t. coarse black pepper
1 egg
Tomato Sauce Recipe:
1 eggplant, roasted, optional
8 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
1 clove garlic, grated
¼ t. Kosher salt
¼ t. coarse black pepper
¼ t. red pepper flakes
½ t. dried parsley
½ t. oregano (2 springs)
½ t. thyme (2 springs)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
¼ C. water
1 T. powdered Parmesan cheese
3 T. Parmesan cheese, shredded
¼ C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 sourdough baguette

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with foil and drizzle with oil. Grate zucchini, pat dry and add to a large bowl along with turkey, minced onion, egg, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Using a 1 oz. scoop make 24 balls, placing on cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. If adding the eggplant, roast it along with meatballs but roast 10 minutes longer. Meanwhile slice mushrooms. To a 10" oven safe covered pan, like Le Creuset braiser pan with lid add a drizzle of oil, mushrooms and onions. Saute for 5 minutes till onions are soft and mushrooms are browned. Add garlic, salt, peppers, and spices cook another minute. Add crushed tomatoes and water. Cook on low for 15 minutes. Add cooked meatballs to sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheeses. Cover and place in a 200°F oven till ready to serve. Add ¼ C. more water if too thick. Slice baguette into slices. Cover a sheet pan with foil and drizzle with oil. Add bread slices, drizzle with more oil. Top meatballs with mozzarella cheese and broil 10 minutes along with bread slices until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. Serve with toasted bread.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with salad and red wine.

Notes: They will be very soft but will harden as they cook and with no breadcrumbs they are also tender. I made it ahead of time and kept it warm in a 200°F oven

Sunday, August 6, 2017

New Recipes, I've been busy lately

I have been trying quite a few recipes lately in an effort to cook for hot summer days, eat better, pay attention to calories being around 300 for a meal and to loose a few pounds.  Some accomplished this goal while others sabotaged it but they were tasty none the less.

From this months Cooking Light magazine, special edition, Quick & Easy Summer Dinners I found the following.

Caramelized Onion Burgers:  They were tasty but caramelized onions could make paper taste good so topping the burger with them would be just as good.  The onion to meat ratio made the burgers fall apart a bit, 2 onions to 1.6 lb. ground meat.  Next time, if I add the onion to the meat I'll do a full 2 pounds or add some chopped mushrooms to make up the difference.  The burgers were with the cumin and smoked paprika with garlic were a winner at 385 calories unfortunately my bread held two 1/2 C. patties so my burger was more like 800 calories which isn't good.  I should have cut the bread in half since I cut the sandwich in half anyways, duh.  It made 8 burgers. 

Skillet Beef & Bean Dip:  With the leftovers I made a beef and bean dip and tomorrow will add the remaining two to a Thai salad.  Shown here is the bean dip before and after I topped it with the Fiesta Cheese mix.  Before I served it I topped it with chopped tomato, avocado and cilantro unfortunately the picture was a bit blurry.  I would also suggest sour cream and red bell peppers added to the sauté.  It was a totally different use for two leftover burgers so it didn't seem like leftovers.  It was listed at 385 calories also.

The Thai Beef Salad was another great use of leftovers and other refrigerator contents but a few more changes are needed next time and then this will be perfect. I used a bit of lemon and the rest lime juice but it was too sour so first I'll try using just lime as recipe wanted and change it up from there. Original recipe from Cooking Light, Quick & Easy Summer recipes, pg. 58. used haricots verts (French green beans) but I only had 5 regular green beans from my sad garden which is why I used the asparagus. Although I didn't saute the cabbage I didn't serve it separate topped with the hot mixture.  I'll post recipe when I try it again.

BBQ Sauced Chicken:  Last night I marinated 4 thighs in half my homemade BBQ sauce for 30 minutes or so then basted them on the grill as they cooked and served it with a Broccoli Slaw salad with a creamy dressing.  The chicken was good, don't know if the marinating them added more than just basting them would but it gives me something to do in the morning and then let them marinate until I am ready to BBQ later in the day.  The Broccoli Slaw was boring, just OK even after adding 1/2 C. chopped dried apricots.

Chocolate Coffee Vanilla Milk:  This was so tasty but it blew being good out of the water.  For two drinks I used the entire tub of ice cream and it wasn't shake like, more sweet milk texture a bit too runny but still VERY GOOD.   Anopther one to work on, ice would have helped thicken it like I do when I make a Mudslide.  This is what I did:  Add 14 oz. container vanilla ice cream with 1 C. condensed cold coffee and 1 T. chocolate syrup. Makes 2 drinks.

New Recipe: Southern Beef & Noodle Casserole

This is like goulash and lasagna and oh so tasty. It may be that special New Mexico chili powder I got from a friend. I have to find out the brand but just use a good one for maximum flavor. Although canned cream corn isn’t something I buy anymore it worked well here, maybe adding a tiny touch of sweetness.  Original recipe came from the local newspaper with a  note stating from "Beef Cookbook" (Chronicle Books, 1989) which is why it felt so retro to me. 


4 C. dry eggless noodles
2 T. butter, divided
2 T. flour
2 C. milk
¼ t. Kosher salt
½ t. ground white pepper
Meat Sauce:
½ (1 C.) yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ lb. ground sirloin
8 oz. button mushrooms, finely chopped
3 T. top quality chili powder
15 oz. can tomato sauce
17 oz. can cream corn
1 C. cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook noodles 1 minute shy of package directions, set aside.
In a medium saute pan, melt butter, add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constanly till bubbly. Slowly add milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly cook for about 5-6 minutes until sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.
Finely chop onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Mince garlic. Drizzle a large pan drizzle with oil, add onion and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes until onion is soft. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the mushrooms and ground beef. Saute until meat is no longer red, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Butter a 3 qt. casserole.

Layer ingredients in the following order:
½ noodles
½ meat mixture
½ tomato sauce
½ cream corn
Repeat steps 1-4 with remaining ingredients
White sauce, all
Cheddar, all