Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stuffing Bread

With only two weeks till Thanksgiving I'm testing out some new recipes to see what new things I can add to my list of favorites.  Yesterday I tried "Stuffing Bread".  It had the flavors and smell of homemade stuffing within the bread, which may have disappointed my husband a bit when he walked in the door and I told him it was bread.  The bread was a winner, easy and quick and the only thing I may do differently is to try a loaf pan to see if it will rise more and also try what they suggested, rapid rise yeast vs active dry yeast.  Oops!  I found this in the coupon section of the newspaper.

2 C. flour, divided
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 envelope (2 ¼ t.) rapid rise yeast
1 T. sugar
2 T. minced dried onion
1 T. dried parsley
1 ½ t. poultry seasoning
1 t. salt
1 ¼ C. water
1 T. butter
1 egg, beaten
1 t. minced dried onion
½ t. celery seed

In a large bowl mix 1 C. flour (reserve other cup), whole wheat flour, yeast, sugar, 2 T. onion, parsley, poultry seasoning and salt.  Heat water and butter in microwave (1-2 minutes) until very warm (120-130°F).  Add to flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour, making a stiff batter.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes.  Turn batter into a greased 1 ½ q.t casserole.  Smooth top of dough with floured hands and cover.  Let rise again in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350°F if glass dish or 375°F if metal. Brush bread with beaten egg.  Sprinkle  with 1 t. minced onion and celery seed.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until done.  Remove from casserole; cool on wire rack.

Asian meatballs with angel hair pasta and broth

I made this last night for dinner.  The meatballs were excellent, definite Asian flavors but the pasta wasn't exciting.  What gave it flavor was the Sriracha, that was a spicy taste but not a ton of flavor. Unfortunately I forgot the lime which would have gave it a bit more.  Next time I’ll add more Asian flavors (soy and peanut oil which I've listed below) to the pasta, saute the veggies a bit vs boiling them and use pre shredded carrots as suggested.  Shredding them myself made them too small so they disappeared.  I also tripled the cabbage and it could have handled more and more carrots.  Original recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens, Jan 2014, pg 69.  I will definitely try this again and will also make the meatballs as an appetizer with maybe a peanutty sauce.

1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. amino acids or soy sauce
1 T. (6-7 sprigs) cilantro, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 t. toasted sesame oil
1 lb. ground chicken
¾ C. panko bread crumbs
8 oz. dried angel hair pasta (half of a 1 lb. box)
1 can chicken broth
1 t. sesame oil or peanut oil
1 T. amino acids and soy
1 red bell pepper, sliced and cut into bites
½-1 C. purchased shredded carrots
3-4 C. (½ head) Napa cabbage, thinly shredded
2 green onions, diced
¼ C. cashews
1 lime, cut in wedges

Put a medium pot of water on to boil for pasta.  In a large bowl combine everything but chicken and bread crumbs, mix.  Add chicken and bread crumbs, stir to combine.  Shape into 1” balls.  In a large 2” deep skillet, fry meatballs in a drizzle of oil for 10-12 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Remove from skillet and add to a pie plate and place in a 200°F oven, covered with foil until dish is completed.
When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions, 3-4 minutes.
Cut red bell pepper into bite size strips, shred cabbage, and slice green onion.
To the meatball pan, add peanut oil and bell peppers, saute 2-3 minutes.  Add the cabbage saute another 1 minute.  Add chicken broth and soy, scrape up brown bits if any and bring to a simmer, cover and cook 3 minutes.  Stir in pasta and meatballs, tossing gently.  Serve topped with green onions, cashews, cilantro, Sriracha and a squeeze of lime juice.  Makes 3-4 servings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Braised Short Ribs a Fall Favorite

I was surprised to find that I hadn't yet posted my short rib recipe.  I love boneless short ribs during the fall.  They are the perfect comfort meal served with mashed potatoes and gravy and better yet the leftovers make a good pasta sauce, served over pasta or spaghetti squash. 

The first time I made this in 2010 I used shallots and fresh thyme, second time I added the tomato paste, bay leaf, celery and used dried thyme. Finally I have this recipe. For Valentines day 2012 I added the bell pepper and parsnip to the pot which is also great. I first tried short ribs at Aurora Bistro in Pleasanton and they were an immediate favorite. They are tiny tender flaky roasts.


Prep: 1 hour, Cook 3 hours, Rest: 20 minutes

6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
4 boneless beef short ribs, dredged in 2 T. flour
Kosher salt & Coarse Black Pepper to taste
1 onion, diced
1 C. (20-30) baby carrots, cut in thirds
2 stalks celery, diced
8 oz. (12) baby bella mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. tomato paste
1 ½ C. good red wine
32 oz. beef stock, or as much as needed
¼ t. dried thyme
½ t. course black pepper
1 t. Kosher salt
3" sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 350°F. Take ribs out of fridge to come to room temperature. Fry bacon in a large cast iron stock pot or braiser. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. Drain some of the bacon grease leaving about 1 tablespoon. Dredge ribs in flour. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add ribs and brown on all sides, remove. Add onions, celery and carrots. Saute for 4 minutes or until onions begin to get translucent. Add mushrooms, saute another 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add tomato paste and saute another minute. Add wine and scrape bottom of pan to release any bits. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper, rosemary sprigs and bay leaf, stir one minute. Add back ribs and enough broth to almost cover ribs (2 C. or depending on pot size), leaving about ¼-½" showing. Add bacon. Put on the lid and place in oven. Cook for 2 hours, reduce heat to 325°F add more broth if dry, stir and cook another hour. Remove pan from oven and let ribs sit for 20 minutes with lid on. If necessary skim off any fat. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprig stem.

Note: Ribs can be done after the two hours but sometimes they will not be as tender because of the size and because the connective tissue/fat isn’t fully melted so don’t cut the time unless when you check they are flaky. You can add more ribs if your pot is large enough you will just add more of the broth. Leave at least a half inch from top of pan so it doesn’t overflow.

Serving Suggestion: Serve rib sauce over ribs with cauliflower mashed or regular mashed potatoes, gravy and roasted asparagus. Gravy: While ribs are resting, start a roux with 2 T. butter or use the bacon fat and 2 T. flour, cooking off flour. Remove 1 ½ C. broth from short ribs or use the leftover beef stock. Mix into roux and cook till thickened. Serve over potatoes.

  • Use two large portabella mushrooms or 8 ox. of button mushrooms if you can’t find baby bellas.
  • Add 1 seeded, diced red bell pepper to the saute and 1-3 pealed diced parsnips and remaining carrots when you add ribs.
Leftovers: Puree the juice or leave it whole. Shred the ribs, add to sauce and bring to a simmer. Boil some pasta (egg noodles or fusilli spirals) or roast a spaghetti squash for an hour and shred with a fork. Mix cooked pasta or spaghetti squash with sauce.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


We hadn't had a Halloween Party in several years and so this years party was great.  We had a good crowd, everyone dressed up and on the menu included some old favorites, some new winners and a couple that need a bit of work.

  • Veggie Tray (tie some big carrot and zucchini bundles with trine and stand up): celery, radish, cucumber, bell pepper, grape tomatoes, grapes, jicama 
  • Spicy Pretzels
  • Jalapeno dip with tortilla chips 
  • Enchilada dip, tortilla chips (HOT) 
  • Cheeseburger dip, tortilla chips or sourdough (HOT) 
  • Sweet Bat Wings 
  • Chicken Meatballs stuffed with blue cheese (Buffalo Eyeballs)
  • Winnies and apples 
  • Sweets:  Boo Balls:  Maple cake
  • Drinks:  Jimmy Juice Punch (REDRUM) , Beer / Wine  and Red Hot Whiskey (Homemade Fireball)
The new hits were the Chicken Meatballs.  I liked them because I can make ahead, freeze and then cook from frozen like I do the Sausage balls.  This allows me to have them in the freezer and bring out just a few at a time.  I haven't yet done a meatball that I love and I'm not totally sure what my problems have been.  This one had a soft texture which at first I wasn't sure about, it reminded me of my sister inlaws meatballs, she boils them, which may be why since they did sit in the sauce, but one thing I believe I don't like about my past meatballs was that they were hard.  The feedback from others was they wanted the recipe so here it is.  Unfortunately I didn't take a picture but when I make them again, which will be soon, I'll add one, but you can see them on the Cookie  Rookie site.  The original recipe came from Cookie Rookie.  The only changes I made were to use panko vs Italian bread crumbs and add in the Italian spices because it was what I had and I used dressing mix vs. dip mix.

1 lb. ground chicken
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 egg
½ C. panko bread crumbs
⅛ t. parsley
⅛ t. oregano
⅛ t. basil
1 T. powdered ranch dressing mix
4 oz. blue cheese
2 T. unsalted butter
1 C. Franks red hot sauce

To a large bowl all ingredients except blue cheese and dressing. Mix with a fork. Roll into balls with a 1 oz. scoop or a tablespoon. With your thumb put an indent in center of ball and put ½ t. blue cheese crumbles/chunks in center. Fold meat over cheese and roll back into a ball. Place on cookie sheet or freeze on a foil lined paper plate till frozen then transfer to zip top bag. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400°F and bake 16-18 minutes. Put dressing ingredients in a crock pot or deep saute pan to melt butter and heat sauce, mix. Add meatballs, toss in sauce. Makes about 16 meatballs.

The Enchilada dip was tasty but way too runny.  Once I make changes to this I'll post the recipe.  The Jalapeno dip was good, I think, so again once I try it, I'll let you know.  The Bacon Cheeseburger dip however was perfect and I can't wait to make it again.  It made two small, maybe 5" cassarole dishes so I baked the second one and we ate it on Monday night with the chips and some bread slices but the tortilla chips were best.  It was a tad sweet from the browned onions and ketchup but it was a total cheeseburger taste, not the best pix but taste wise it is excellent.

½ lb. lean ground beef
6 strips bacon, torn into pieces
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ C. sour cream
¼ C. mayonnaise
½ C. mozzarella, shredded
½ C. cheddar, shredded
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. ketchup

Cook beef over medium heat, break up while cooking. Drain grease, set aside. In same pan, cook bacon until crispy about 6-10 minutes, remove, drain all but 1 T. bacon fat. Add onion and saute till tender and browned, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic saute another minute. To a large bowl add beef, torn bacon, onion garlic mixture, softened cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, mozzarella, cheddar, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Mix. Pour into a pie plate or two small baking dishes. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes.

I took my teriyaki chicken thighs and modified it to use wings and I can now say I make a great wing. After I baked them I added them to my electric roaster which has three buffet servers over water to keep them warm but they are just as good at room temperature however.

40 chicken wings, 20 per bag
¼ C. Braggs Liquid amino acid or soy sauce
1 C. light brown sugar
¼ t. ground ginger
¼ t. red pepper flakes
1 T. dry sherry
1 T. garlic, minced

The day before, place 20 frozen wings and 1/2 T. of garlic in each zip top bag.  In a 2 cup measure add brown sugar and amino acid or soy sauce.  Add more aminio acid or soy to equal one cup.  Stir in spices.  Pour half of the mixture in each bag.  Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning every so often to distribute the marinade.  
To cook:  Cover a cookie sheet in heavy duty foil, top that with a piece of parchment paper.  Remove wings from marinade and place on cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 1.5 hours.  Flip wings half way through.  

Note:  It won’t seem like enough marinade but it is so don’t worry.  When you flip the wings if the top cookie sheet is browning more than the bottom one, switch them for even browning.  Check after an hour and see how they are doing.  Two hours is too long because the sugar will burn.  The wings will still be good but some get too dark.

The dessert, BOO BALLS looked so cute and it is proven that any cake and cream cheese frosting works for this recipe.  These were a maple cake with maple cream cheese frosting.  Since they were for Halloween, after I dipped them in the melted white candy coating, I drizzled more on with a fork so they wouldn't be smooth.  Then I quartered a dried cranberry and stuck those pieces on with more melted chocolate to use for eyes.  You can also use chocolate chips for eyes.

I just realized I've never posted my Mini Winnies recipes which is a favorite of mine and others so I will do that in a separate post.  You can find my Spicy Ranch Pretzels here.  The Jimmy Juice was a drink we use to have in NH so I made it into a punch.  It is Spiced rum, white rum, OJ, cranberry juice and 7up.  The Red Hot Shots was made with 3 C. of Segrems 7 and a box of Red Hots.  Those who drink Fireball thought mine was better.

These were made but they didn't make it out that night.  But the sandwiches and the sausage balls did make an appearance for breakfast the next morning for four of us.
  • Baked Ham and Cheese sandwiches on Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

  • Sausage Balls
  • Potato Skins

Friday, October 3, 2014

Good Week for Veggies

This week was a good week for veggies.  All winners.

  • Szechuan Green Beans:  This converts even a non green bean lover to love green beans.

1 ½ lbs. green beans, stems removed, cut in half
2 T. sugar
2 T. corn starch 
2 T.  garlic, chopped
2 T. light soy sauce or Bragg's liquid amino acid
1 T. chili garlic sauce
2 T. hoisin sauce
½ t. white pepper
½ C. water

In a small bowl mix sauce ingredients.  Add washed and stemmed green beans to a 2” deep skillet or wok.  Saute in a drizzle of peanut oil and sesame oil till tender crisp.  Add sauce and heat to warm sauce and coat green beans.  Serve.
  • Mashed Potato Fake Out (Cauliflower Mashed but this time I boiled it in beef broth vs chicken broth for added flavor, drain, mash and 1 T. butter and some pepper)
  • Portabella Mushrooms Stuffed with 1T. pesto and crumbles of goat cheese:  Bake in 375 oven for 30 minutes.  Be sure to scoop out the black gills and cut off the stem.

  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette:  Tossing the warm sprouts with the vinaigrette, feta and dried cranberries make for a great side dish.
Maple Mustard Vinaigrette (add all ingredients to bowl, whisk, add roasted brussels, feta and cranberries, toss)
¼ C. maple syrup
¼ C. apple cider vinegar
2 T. mustard
-Salt & Pepper