Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New Recipes this Week

It's only Wednesday but I tried two new recipes this week and both were good, one a definite winner.  The Red Lentil Thai Curry soup was not suppose to be a soup.  Instead it was to be served over Jasmine rice.  After 3 hours it was pretty dried out, verging on burning so thinking I was making soup I added the entire can of coconut milk and pureed the mixture cause the onion chunks were not appealing and red cherry tomatoes didn't disappear like the yellow might have.  If you serve it over rice I guess it should be thick hence only 1 C. of milk vs. the whole can, I didn't know what to expect but picture looks more like refried beans and unlike mine the lentils still have a some shape.  Mine was more like a dried out split pea soup and once all the milk was added it was just like split pea soup.  A different flavor profile than I typically eat, warm spices, tasted good and was more flavorful as it sat.

The other recipe was a lightened up Mac and Cheese but any deviation from the smokey classic I don't consider it a mac and cheese or I get disappointed.  This one however totally surprised me and I would make it again.  I roasted the squash the night before but had to microwave it to make it soft enough to mash with no lumps.  Since hubby didn’t care for the roasted maple squash the night before it was best when it disappeared in the sauce.  I doubled the bacon, used the entire 8 oz. of cheese because more cheese is never worse and why not use it all vs. having a bit leftover that I forget about and end up tossing and I added another ½ C. milk because there really wasn’t much of a sauce to bubble and thicken.  I thought it would be too dry but it wasn’t which must be where the squash came in.  Although I didn’t save as many calories as the original recipe it was lighter than mac & cheese.  Original recipe was only 334 cal with 12 g fat for the 6 servings.  The bacon made the recipe.  Original recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens Sept 2013, pg. 168.  packed with Vitamin A.
2 C. red lentils
1 onion, small dice
3 T. green curry paste such as Thai Kitchen
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. ginger, chopped or grated frozen
2 t. sugar
⅛ t. cayenne
2 C. water
1 ½ C. carrot juice
1 C. yellow or red grape tomatoes, halved
13.66 oz. can lite coconut milk, shaken
Topping, optional:
¼ C. cilantro sprigs
1 lime, cut in wedges

Coat a slow cooker with oil.  Pick through lentils to remove any debris or bad lentils, rinse off.  Add all ingredients except coconut milk and cilantro.  Cook on high for 2.5-3 hours,  Shake milk can, stir into lentils.  With an emulsion blender puree soup.  Serve.

Serving Suggestion:  Serve as a soup or along side 4 C.  jasmine rice with a Thai Ginger Dressing side salad (5 T. oil, 2 T. soy, 2 T. rice vinegar, 1 T. grated ginger and 1 T. water, 1 t. sugar, 1 clove grated) lettuce, cucumber, carrots grated, scallions, Asian rice noodles.

3 C. butternut squash, peeled, cubed, roasted
8 oz. (3 C. cooked) cavatappi or elbow pasta
1 T. butter
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 ½ C. fat free milk
¼ t. Kosher salt
¼ t. coarse black pepper
6-8 oz. (1 ½-2 C.) fontina cheese, shredded
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Lightly coat a 2 qt. baking dish with nonstick spray or a teaspoon of butter spread on with a paper towel, set aside.
Add squash to a foil lined baking sheet and roast till tender 30 minutes.  Add to a microwave safe bowl and mash.  If not soft enough, microwave, covered for 2 minutes or until you can mash and get a mashed potato consistency, set aside.
Meanwhile cook pasta 2 minuets shy of al dente directions.  Drain.  In a medium pan, large enough to hold pasta and sauce, add a drizzle of oil and sliced mushrooms.  Saute till mushrooms are golden brown.  Add green onions and saute another few minutes.  Sprinkle with flour and remaining butter cook another minute.  Add  milk, salt and pepper.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat, stir in squash, making sure to break up squash chunks.  Add pasta, stir to combine.
Pour half the pasta mixture into the buttered baking dish, top with half the cheese, remaining pasta and remaining cheese.  Crumble bacon or cut into pieces with cooking sheers.  Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Notes:  You can skip the roasting step and microwave the squash for 4 minutes instead.  I was just hoping to add more flavor.  Fontina cheese tasted mild like  jack, it was very soft so it may be moister but I’ll try jack next time to save money.  The cheese was $5.50.  Cavatappi is like an elbow pasta but it has ridges and is curled.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


I forgot to post this so even though it is late here it is.  I need to get more regular since I'm always trying new recipes or methods.  We had a few friends over for Superbowl, 8 of us in all so I'm not sure when it becomes a party, what number makes a party but now as I think about it any company is a party.

I kept is simple, well simpler than I typically do but there was plenty of food from what I made in addition to what others brought; meatballs, hummus & crackers, guacamole, salsa & chips, cucumber dill cups, rice crispy treats, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip spicy oat cookies.

Since it was Philadelphia Eagles against New England Patriots I made a couple of themed choices.  Philly Cheesesteaks for the Eagles.  There were 2 pieces left from one half.  The other half was dinner the following night.  It was great for a party but chopping the beef and veggies into smaller bites would be easier to eat, it didn't ring the philly bell for me, to much like a roast sandwich and I wish it was more cheesy  Original recipe was from Pinterest.   The other themed food was going to be Clam Chowder but with 70 weather that was scrapped and I renamed the BBQ Pork & Bean Chili to Boston Baked Pork & Beans.  I loved the pork, the 1" chunks shrank to soft bite size pieces.  Jeff Marros Chili was a different option.  The smokiness from the adobo and BBQ sauce stood out the most followed by the tender pork and sweetness of the BBQ sauce.  I will definitely try this again and also try adding pork cubes to my other slow cooker chili recipes.  The pork rind topping added another texture which I liked more than I thought I would.  Beware pork rinds stink when crumbled.   The Kitchen's Sandwich King, Jeff Marroe, I combined.  For snacks before half time I tried the Pepperoni Pizza dip again but this time it was much better.  I used frozen rolls and kept the dip separate from the rolls when baking worked better.

I was happy people bought desserts because the only dessert I made were Rum Chatta Coconut Pudding Shots along with Mai Tais with freshly squeezed tangerine juice and a full bar.  To top off a good party we were the fourth quarter bar pool winners, cha ching!  The Pudding shots I made were the naked version (no toppings) for our Superbowl LII party. I love making things in cups I can freeze ahead of time. To me these were a bit boozy but since Rumchatta is tasty it was very good but I can’t imagine ones with vodka. A friend said these were better straight from the freezer.

3 lb. boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed, cut 1" cubes
2 T tomato paste
2 T vegetable oil 
2 T chili powder 
1 T ground cumin 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
2 onions, minced 
2 C chicken stock
1 T chipotle adobo sauce 
1 T kosher salt, plus more if needed
2  (15 oz.) cans great Northern beans, drained, rinsed 
1¼ C. smoky BBQ sauce (Bulls Eye), reserve ¼ C
½ C sour cream 
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder 
2 C crushed pork rinds 
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Blue corn chips, for serving

In a medium glass microwave safe bowl, mix tomato paste, oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic and onions. Cover the top of the bowl with a very wet paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. 
Cut the pork into 1" cubes, trim off any excess fat.  Add to the slow cooker along with the stock, adobo sauce, salt, beans and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on high until the pork is cooked through and tender, 4 to 5 hours (or on low for 6 to 8 hours). Skim any excess fat off the top and discard. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. 
In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, garlic powder and remaining 1/4 cup BBQ sauce. 
Top the chili with the sour cream mixture, pork rinds and scallions. Serve with the chips on the side or crumbled on top. 

3 lb. chuck roast, cooked, shredded
8 oz. Guiness beer
1 C. beef broth
1 onion, carmelized, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 chiabatta bread loaf (long thin oval or rectangle)
16 slices provalone
1 C. mozzarella

Brown roast on all sides then add to a slow cooker along with dark beer and beef broth.  Cook on high 8-10 hours, till roast is able to shred with a fork.  
Filling:  Slice onions into half moon slices along with pepper and mushrooms.  Carmelize onions till golden.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan.  Add sliced mushrooms, saute till golden brown.  Sprinkle with garlic salt.  Add diced bell pepper, saute till soft.  
Assemble Sandwich Slices:  Cut chiabatta loaf into two pieces, the top and bottom, to create one large roll, remove some of the bread from each half to create a boat for filling.  Dice meat and veggies and warm.  Place 4 slices of provalone on bread, topped with beef, bell peppers, onions, 4 more slices cheese, press down on cheese to flatten sandwich then and a sprinkle of mozzarella.  Preheat oven to 400°F oven and bake till cheese melts and center is warm.  Serves 8-16.

Note:  If you open lid add 15 minutes to cooking time.

3.4 oz. pkg. instant coconut cream pudding
1 C. Rumchatta

1 C. milk
8 oz. whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed

Topping: Toasted coconut & whipped cream

Mix in a 4 C. measuring bowl or tranfer to something with a pour spout. later. Wisk milk and Rumchata. Add pudding mix. Wisk. Add thawed whipped topping. Wisk. Pour into 2 oz. plastic cups with lid, don't fill to the top the lid needs room. Freeze for at least 1 hour. Serve topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut

Serve in a larger cup with Not Your Dads Rootbeer poured over top.
Instead of Rumchata use Banana Schnaps.

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