Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Took a new picture of the cocktail meatballs that I posted about a year ago...great for a party!  You can find the recipe here 

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Warm Taco Dip

My mom made a version of this years's extremely easy and the components can be made the day before and then put together when you're ready to serve.  Just spread the meat mixture in your serving plate and refrigerate and have the sour cream topping refrigerated until ready to spread.

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 package taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup water
1  14 to 15 ounce can re fried beans
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, cored and finely diced
1 pint sour cream
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
Black olive slices (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)
Shredded lettuce (optional)
Diced tomato (optional)

In a large saute pan brown the ground meat and then drain.  Add the taco seasoning mix and 3/4 cup water and the diced jalapeno.  Work in the re fried beans over the heat until all is combined.
Transfer the mixture to a large pie plate or quiche dish.
Bake at 350F until nice and hot, about 20 minutes.
While the meat mixture is baking, combine the sour cream with the chili powder and cumin.  Spread over the baked meat mixture and sprinkle with cheese and any or all of the optional toppings.
Serve warm with taco chips!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sweet Carrots

Here's any easy side that sat on our Christmas buffet this year.  I thought that we could get kids to eat some veggies by making them sweet...well I don't think it worked, but many of us enjoyed them anyway.

1  1/2 pounds baby carrots
6 Tbl brown sugar
4 Tbl butter
2 Tbl honey
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan place the carrots, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Simmer the carrots for 8 to 10 minutes until tender.  Drain and reserve in a bowl.  In the same pan, melt the butter and stir in the sugar and honey over medium heat.  Add the cooked carrots and continue to cook about 5 minutes more until the carrots are nice and glazed.  Season with the salt and pepper.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 2011

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!!
And many thanks to Pam for the beautiful flowers!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spicy Pork Ragu over Perciatelli

While going through my freezer I stumbled across a smallish bone in pork shoulder roast and decided that it must be put to good use.  We love pasta and tomato sauce so I settled in to make a pork ragu to serve over some perciatelli.  I love slow cooking meat and fowl and this was a perfect dinner, with leftovers to boot!

1  3 to 4 pound bone in pork shoulder roast
Salt, pepper and olive oil to season the roast
3 Tbl olive oil
2 cups diced onions
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
10 large mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground fennel seed
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
28 ounces tomato puree
14 to 15 ounce can whole plum tomatoes, chopped a bit

Season the roast heavily with some salt, black pepper and olive oil and then roast at 425F for 30 minutes so it browns up.
while the pork is roasting, saute the onions, green pepper, mushrooms and garlic in the 3 Tbl olive oil until the vegetables begin to soften.
Stir in the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground fennel, salt and pepper and saute a minute more.  Add the tomatoes and tomato puree.
Place the partially roasted pork in a dutch oven, bathe with the sauce, cover and roast in the oven at 350F for about 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove the roast from the dutch oven and pull the meat off the bones, shredding it as you go.  Return the meat to the pot, cover and continue to roast at 325F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Cook some perciatelli(or your favorite pasta) according to package directions and serve the ragu over. (about a pound of pasta for 6 servings)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quinoa, Spinach and Tomatoes

This week I bought a 4 pound bag of quinoa, that super grain that's packed with protein...I've never really used it before but decided we needed more super foods in our diet and since the bag was very reasonably priced, took the plunge.  For my first experiment I paired it with spinach and tomatoes (more super foods!).  More ideas to come...

2 Tbl olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
2 green onions
3 handfuls of baby spinach, stems removed and large leaves torn a bit
12 grape tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan saute the garlic in the olive oil for just a minute.
Add the quinoa, stir it around to coat with the oil and add the chicken broth.
Bring up to the boil and add one of the green onions which you've sliced.
Put a lid on the pot and simmer the mixture for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 12 minutes, leave on the heat and stir in the grape tomato halves and the spinach constantly stirring until the spinach is wilted.  Should take three or four more minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the second sliced green onion.
Serves 4 as a side

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dilled Broccoli Soup

My kids have always loved broccoli soup a number of ways...with cream, with cheese, with doesn't matter.  I'm always seeking variations and so made this one.

5 cups steamed fresh broccoli florets (save the stalks)
3 medium leeks
2 Tbl olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 cup minced fresh dill
3 cups cooked rice
3 cups broccoli-leek broth (instructions follow)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream

Cut the dark green parts of the leek into large pieces, saving the white part.  Cut the broccoli stalks into large pieces.
In a soup pot place the broccoli stalks and dark green leek pieces and cover with water.  Bring up to the boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 3 cups.  Strain and set aside.
Cut the white part of the leeks into quarters lengthwise and then cut crosswise into a small dice.
In a 4 quart dutch oven or soup pot, saute the diced leek and garlic in the olive oil until the leeks soften.
Stir in the dill, salt and pepper followed by the broccoli-leek stock and the chicken broth.  Bring up to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the cooked rice and broccoli and turn off the heat.  Let cool a bit and then puree the soup in batches in a blender.  Return to the pot and reheat to boiling.  Stir in the sour cream and serve.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm a Finalist....

Just found out I'm a finalist in Your Best Salmon contest at Whole Foods Greenhills for my Asian Inspired Salmon's the link


Denny's Tetrazzini

Denny Deluca was a restauranteur in the northern suburbs of Detroit some years back.  His restaurant, Deluca's, was a family oriented American-Italian place serving, pasta,pizza, steaks, chops etc.  My mom fell in love with his Chicken Tetrazzini and eventually was able to get him to give her a cryptic recipe for it which I still have, written on the back of a paper place mat.  His recipe called for a whole skinned and boned chicken cut up in pieces and skin and bones used to make stock.  I've taken the liberty of using leftover turkey (and sometimes chicken) to make a quicker, simpler version.

8 Tbl butter (one stick)
4 cups bite size pieces of cooked turkey or chicken
4 Tbl instant flour (Wondra)
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup finely diced ham
2 cups sliced mushrooms
8 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry Sherry
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup chopped parsley plus more for garnish
3 cups chicken broth (or turkey)
1 pound pasta such as fettuccine or linguine which has preferably been cooked in chicken broth but water is ok
 Save a little pasta water if needed 

Place the poultry pieces in a plastic or small paper bag with the instant flour and shake to coat the pieces.
In a large saute pan, melt the butter, add the poultry and saute for a few minutes.  Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms, cook another minute and add the Sherry.
Continue to cook another couple of minutes, then add the ham and tomato sauce.
Stir in the parsley and broth and simmer until the mixture thickens a bit.
Stir in the cheese and pour the mixture over the cooked pasta.  Stir it around, adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed.  garnish with more cheese and parsley.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sweet Hots

Here's an easy appetizer based on those jalapeno wonton poppers served with a dipping sauce you see all over the internet...I just put the sauce in the appetizer.

4 ounces softened cream cheese
2 Tbl sweet chili sauce
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 large jalapeno pepper, very finely diced
20 to 25 wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil for pan frying

In a bowl thoroughly combine the cream cheese, chili sauce, sugar and jalapeno.
Take a wonton wrapper and with a pointed end facing you, place a teaspoon of the filling about a third of the way up.
Using clean fingers moisten the edges of the wrapper with a little water.
Fold that bottom corner of the wonton up over the filling and then fold the 2 side corners to the center.  Your wrapper should look like a little envelope.
Starting at the bottom, roll the wonton all the way up to form a mini egg roll.
Repeat for the remaining wrappers.
Heat the oil in a medium frying pan and then fry a few of the little bites at a time for about 30 seconds on each side.
Serve warm

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cranberry Cream Cheese Palmiers

If you're making cranberry sauce for Christmas or have some leftover in your freezer, consider these little palmiers for a breakfast treat....not too sweet and great with a cup of coffee.

1 sheet of puff pastry from a 17.3 ounce package
1 Tbl granulated sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of your favorite cranberry sauce, large berries smashed up a bit
1 egg beaten with 2 Tbl water

On your work surface evenly sprinkle the sugar over about the size of your sheet of pastry.  lay the pastry over and roll it out to about 10 x 12 inches.
Spread the cream cheese evenly over the pastry and then spread the cranberry sauce over the cream cheese.
With the short side of the rectangle closest to you, fold the pastry up to the middle of the sheet.  Do the same with the top half and then repeat the process one more time.
Loosely cover and refrigerate the roll for at least 30 minutes to firm it up.
When ready to bake, trim the ends of the roll and then cut the roll into 10 even pieces.  Place the pieces cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush a little of the was on each piece.
Bake at 425F for 12 to 15 minutes.. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

We seem to always have  ham and cheese from the cheese tray  left over from holiday dinners and this Thanksgiving was no exception.  I took some of that cheese and grated it and diced some of the ham and made a casserole for dinner. It was wonderful with a little salad!

5 medium potatoes sliced thinly, preferably on a mandoline
1  1/2 cups diced ham
4 cups grated cheese ( I used Colby and Jack)
1 cup sliced green onion
4 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
1  1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp white pepper

Boil the sliced potatoes in water for about 5 minutes to get them started.  Drain well and pat them dry.
In a sauce pan melt the butter, add the green onions, mustard and pepper.  Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two to make a roux.
Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens up a bit.
In a buttered medium casserole dish, layer a third of the potatoes, half of the ham and a third of the cheese.  Repeat this step over the top. Add the remaining potatoes and then the cheese on top.
Pour the creamy milk mixture evenly over the casserole, cover and bake at 350 for one hour.  Remove the cover and continue to bake for 15 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are done and the top is lightly browned.