Recipe

A good life

When I’m planning a trip somewhere, I do my research.  I am a list maker from way back and I get joy from checking things off of one.  I was thinking of taking a trip to Kitty Hawk in NC.  Mary Ashley and I do these “Discovery Days” where we take a city in our area and discover all there is to know about it.  Fun, and she shares stuff.  We tight.

OK, so I found this restaurant people talk about called The Good Life there.  Knocking around that website, I see that they cater.  They are custom caterers, meaning they’ll do exactly what you want.  Even your favorite FAMILY recipes.  That idea is so cool to me!  I checked the menus they had online and found one that seemed really delicious for a beach side barbecue.

 

And then I thought…I can do that!

Here’s the plan.  I’ve tested most recipes, and the rest I will end up testing before summer so I can have everything just right!

CHEESE AND CRACKER ARRAY

So for my cheese tray I’ll use a nice herbed goat cheese log from Montchevre.  I got mine at Wal-Mart of all places!  To go with the soft goat cheese, I’d also choose a sharp cheddar from Ashe County.  Pricey perhaps, but worth it.  Also, I’d include this Chocolate Lab from Asheville’s Looking Glass Creamery that uses a local beer and is rubbed with French Broad Chocolate companies own cocoa nibs. Finally, I’d use a harder cheese from the NC dairy farm Three Graces Dairy like the Goldie, which is raw aged cow’s milk cheese much like gouda.  The crackers have to be Root & Branches Seeded Wheat Flatbreads.

HUMMUS AND PITA POINTS

This hummus is life.  It just is.  It’s a recipe I got out of my New York Times Cookbook, meaning to monkey with it.  No need, perfect as written.

HUMMUS BI TAHINI

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
    • 5 tablespoons chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup tahini
    • 1/2-3/4 cup lemon juice
    • salt
    • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put chickpeas in food processor and add broth, tahini and lemon juice to taste. Blend until smooth. Add salt if needed. Add garlic and pulse to mix.
  2. Spoon hummus into wide, shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with pita chips.

DEVILED EGGS

I’ve tried a million recipes, but you know what?  The simplest one is the best one.  It reminds me of those my mom used to make and she makes the best, that’s that.  So, here’s my recipe for that: Deviled Eggs

NC PULLED PORK BARBECUE

There are better methods I’m sure.  But, I’m not great on the grill.  It’s on my to do list, so for now, I’d cook the shoulder in a large crockpot with sauce on low for 8 hours, shred and serve with leftover sauce.  Done and done.  The trick is in the delicious sauce!  So for that you need to use: Spicy Barbecue Sauce.

ROLLS

I’m not making these when I can buy something sweetish and soft in the store.  Try these:

COLE SLAW

Purists may not like this idea, but this slaw that I made from Blue Apron is my favorite.  And that’s what I’d have with my BBQ sandwiches.  If that offends you, the next best thing is to go to Lincoln Seafood and pick up some of their slaw.  It’s the best around here.

CREAMY CONE CABBAGE AND RED ONION SLAW

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 head cone cabbage, thinly sliced ( or 1/4 head of cabbage)
    • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
    • 1/4 cup Mexican crema or 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
    • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. In medium bowl, combine cabbage, crema, sugar, juice of 3 limes and as many of the red onion slices you’d like.
  2. Toss to combine, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Allow to sit 10 minutes before eating.

 

BBQ CHICKEN PIECES

I know this sounds like a lot of ingredients, but you have most of it right in your pantry.  Very flavorful!

FOIL BAKED BARBECUED CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

    • 3 lbs chicken, cut up
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/3 cup catsup
    • 1/3 cup vinegar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

DIRECTIONS

  1. Salt and pepper chicken. Combine all remaining ingredients. Dip chicken into this. Seal tightly with foil. Bake covered for 45 minutes at 400. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes, basting with remaining sauce.

 

CORN PUDDING

I recently made this recipe from the Pioneer Woman for a Christmas party and it was a huge hit.  You have to try it for the corn pudding! Fresh Corn Casserole

 

GREEN BEANS

Sounds easy, right?  Wrong.  Green beans are easily one of the most bland vegetables you can eat.  You have to doctor them up to make them palatable.

COUNTRY GREEN BEANS

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans green beans
    • 1/4 cup chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup chopped cooked ham
    • 1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 garlic clove ( minced)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes.

 

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Recipe

Party Menu: Bruschetta Bar

With so many people going with the trend of tapas or “small plates”, what could be easier for entertaining than a Bruschetta Bar?  I resolve in 2018 to entertain more because I love it!  And this simple menu allows guests to informally relax and make their own bruschetta, or choose from the few baked varieties I include.

This idea came to me from What’s Gaby Cooking.  She’s got the goods on what you should put on your board, what is essential for the party and even recipes for some delicious toppings.  Just click the link to check her out.  This is her picture, doesn’t it look scrumptious?

In addition to Gaby’s bountiful spread, I’m sharing some of my favorite bruschetta recipes.  I love anything artichoke, and this first one is yummy.

ARTICHOKE BRUSCHETTA

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 (6 ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
    • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    • 1/3 cup minced onion
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • mayonnaise
    • 16 -18 slices of a small baguette ( 1/3″ thick)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop artichokes well.
  2. Mix artichokes, onion, and Parmesan cheese.
  3. Add just enough mayonnaise to make spreadable.
  4. Add garlic powder, mix well.
  5. Spread baguette slices with artichoke spread and place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until topping starts to bubble and brown.

 

Here’s another favorite of mine.  Originally it was from the Olive Garden website.  Really delicious and simple to make and keep in fridge ’til party time!

BRUSCHETTA CANNELLINI

INGREDIENTS

    • 0.5 (15 ounce) cans white cannellini beans, drained
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons sour cream
    • salt & pepper
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 loaf Italian bread
    • extra virgin olive oil ( to drizzle)
    • 1 garlic clove, cut in half
    • 1 small plum tomato, diced
    • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley ( to garnish)

DIRECTIONS

  1. MIX drained beans, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar and sour cream in blender or food processor until smooth. Add olive oil slowly with blender or processor on. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate approximately one hour.
  2. DRIZZLE both sides of bread with extra virgin olive oil. Grill bread on both sides.
  3. RUB grilled bread with cut half of garlic to infuse with garlic flavor.
  4. PLACE bowl of chilled cannellini mixture in center of large platter. Stagger grilled bread slices around bowl. Garnish with tomatoes and parsley.

Now for the most traditional version.  I love this, and I’m not even a tomato lover.  That’s how yummy it is.  Another prepare-ahead marvel!

TOMATO AND BASIL BRUSCHETTA

INGREDIENTS

    • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
    • 8 slices Italian bread, cut about 1 inch thick
    • 2 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Whisk together chopped garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and basil.
  2. When combined slowly drizzle in oil.
  3. Add tomatoes and let sit for 20 minutes at room temp.
  4. Meanwhile back at the bat cave, toast the bread.
  5. This can be done either in the toaster (if it’s got really wide slots) or under the broiler (if using this method watch closely so it doesn’t become a briquette).
  6. When the bread is toasted rub each piece, on one side, with the whole garlic pieces.
  7. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and top with tomato mixture.
  8. Sprinkle on a little cheese and broil till the cheese melts (you can skip that last broiling bit and it’s equally as wonderful).
  9. Serve immediately.
  10. The tomato mixture also makes a wonderful vinaigrette for an antipasto salad.
  11. Enjoy!

 

Recipe

Simply Good Sandwiches

Sandwiches represent a certain failing for me.  Whenever I can’t get a home cooked dinner on the table, I rely on this old staple to sustain my hungry people.  It’s a default if my kids won’t eat what I’ve made (yep, I’m one of those parents who don’t MAKE the kids eat what I fix.)  But I’ve learned that sometimes, when you make a sandwich, there is a certain comfort in being able to take your plate and eat in front of the TV while watching Seinfeld re-runs.  Here are some of my favorites:

Club Sandwich

Perfect for an easy summer dinner, especially with fresh homegrown tomatoes  Club Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 slices toasted bread
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 slices American cheese
  • 4 slices shaved ham
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced, divided
  • 4 leaves lettuce, divided
  • 4 slices crisp bacon, divided
  • 2 slices Monterey jack cheese
  • 4 slices shaved deli turkey

DIRECTIONS

  • Spread mayonnaise on one side of a piece of toast; add layer of American cheese, ham, two slices of tomato, two leaves of lettuce, and two pieces of bacon.
  • Spread mayonnaise on second piece of toast and place on top, mayo side down.
  • Spread mayonnaise on top of that second piece of toast.
  • Layer Monterey Jack cheese, the rest of the tomatoes, lettuce, turkey and bacon on top.
  • Spread mayonnaise on third piece of toast and place on the stack mayo side down.
  • Slice the sandwich in quarters diagonally.
  • Skewers or long toothpicks may be used to hold all the layers together.

 

Grilled Chick N Wrappers

Grilled Chick N Wrappers
Grilled Chick N Wrappers

A wrap is a kind of sandwich, right?  I made this one for the family last night and it was a spot hitter.  You know, it hit the spot?  OK, so it comes together easily, and even though the word “grilled” is in the title, you just cook up the chicken in a skillet.  I suppose actually grilling it could only improve its flavor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 8 ounces Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese blend
  • 6 slices hickory smoked bacon
  • 16 ounces shredded Lettuce
  • ranch salad dressing
  • 6 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 lime

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a skillet heat olive oil on medium.
  2. Cut the chicken thighs into strips and add to skillet.
  3. In a separate skillet, fry the bacon.
  4. While they are cooking, slice the onion, cucumber and set aside.

  5. When chicken is done and the bacon is done, remove from skillet and set aside.
  6. Assembly time. Heat the tortilla in microwave for 15 seconds.
  7. To the tortillas, add the ranch, lettuce, cucumbers, onion, bacon, cheese, and then chicken and squeeze a little lime juice over and wrap like a burrito.

Pressed Chicken Tortas

I got this recipe when I was using Blue Apron.  They have some really great recipes, probably the best service I’ve found.  This one seems long, but it’s just because they over-explain all steps 🙂  Give it a go.  Delicious sammy!

Photo credit: Blue Apron
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 4 Torta Rolls
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Romaine Heart
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 bunch Cilantro
  • 3 oz Queso Fresco
  • 3 Tbsps Pepitas
  • ½ cup Low-Fat Sour Cream
  • 2 tsps Chicken Torta Spice Blend (Ancho Chile Powder, Mexican Oregano, Smoked Sweet Paprika, Garlic Powder & Ground Cumin)

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the rolls. Core, halve and thinly slice the tomato. Crumble the queso fresco. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; roughly chop the leaves. Quarter the limes. Halve, pit, peel and thinly slice the avocado; top with the juice of 2 lime wedges to prevent browning. Peel and halve the onion; small dice 1 half and thinly slice the remaining half. In a medium bowl, combine the diced onion and the juice of 4 lime wedges.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper and (reserving a pinch) as much of the spice blend as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly. Wipe out the pan.

While the chicken cooks, add the sour cream and remaining spice blend to the diced onion-lime juice mixture. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.

When cool enough to handle, thinly slice the cooked chicken. Place the bottoms of the rolls, cut sides up, on a clean, dry work surface. Divide the sliced chickenavocado, as much of the sliced onion as you’d like (you may have extra), the tomato, half the queso fresco and the cilantro between the roll bottoms; season with salt and pepper. Top with the juice of the remaining lime wedges and the roll tops.

In the pan used to cook the chicken, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Working in 2 batches, add the tortas. Place a heavy pot on top of the tortas to press them down. Cook, occasionally pressing down on the pot, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and slightly flattened. Transfer to a cutting board or plate.

While the tortas toast, in a large bowl, combine the lettuce, pepitas,remaining queso fresco and as much of the dressing as you’d like (you may have extra dressing). Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut each toasted torta in half diagonally; divide between 4 plates. Serve with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

Another favorite is LEMONY CUCUMBER CREAM CHEESE SANDWICHES.  I made these for a Broker luncheon at a home I had listed in Lincolnton during the summer and they were cool, refreshing and tasted of summer.  The original recipe is from Chew Out Loud.

DIAN’S CHICKEN SALAD

PREP TIME: 1 hr 15 mins TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 mins
YIELD: 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 chicken breast halves, bone in
    • 8 ounces green olives, chopped
    • 1 cup mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

  1. Skin chicken, put in pan, cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 75 minutes. Cool, pull from bones and chop finely. Add mayo and chopped olives.
  2. *Depending on how big your chicken breasts are, you may want more mayo and olives. Make it to your favorite consistency.
Recipe

Souper Salads

Chop and dump.  Sometimes supper is really just that easy.  Here are a few of my favorite salads:

Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad

Perfect for Italian dinner.

Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad
Bucca Di Beppo Chopped Antipasto Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 ounce pepperoni, diced
  • 1 ounce mortadella, diced
  • 1 ounce red onion, diced
  • 2 ounces roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 ounces cucumbers, diced
  • 1 ounce gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 ounce pepperoncini pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 ounces Italian vinaigrette dressing
  • 3 pepperoncini peppers, whole
  • black olives
  • green olives

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl, except 1/2 the tomatoes, the whole pepperoncini, olives and dressing and toss.
  2. Add the dressing and toss until fully incorporated.
  3. Mound the salad mixture on a chilled plate, getting as much height as possible.
  4. Place remaining tomates around the outside of the salad.
  5. Garnish with whole pepperoncini and olives and serve

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“The Wedge” with homemade Ranch Dressing

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The Wedge is one of the simplest salads ever, but looks kind of fancy and is really one of my favorites.  I core one head of lettuce (bang core on counter, it comes right out) then cut your head of lettuce into 4 wedges.  Top with your favorite things:  Mine are bacon bits, shredded cheddar and chopped tomatoes.  Drizzle with this amazing dressing:

Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (combination of parsley, chives, chervil, savory, dill or celery leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

directions

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Abe & Louie’s Salad

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 head bibb lettuce
    • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
    • 1 apple, thinly sliced
    • 4 ounces blue cheese
    • dijon vinaigrette

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash and chop lettuce. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Top with your favorite dressing.

Printable Recipe: Abe & Louie’s Salad

ALTON’S THE ORIGINAL NORTH COVE SALAD

PREP TIME: 10 mins TOTAL TIME: 20 mins
SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 head lettuce, chopped
    • 2 chicken breasts, roasted and sliced
    • 1 tomatoes, diced
    • 1 cup crouton
    • 1 cup candied pecans
    • 1/2 cup craisins
    • 2/3 cup goat cheese, crumbles
    • olive (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Toss all together.
  2. Serve with dressing of your choice. I used homemade Ranch.

Printable Recipe: Alton’s The Original North Cove Salad

Recipe

REALTOR luncheons: Chili Bar

I did a luncheon for this gorgeous home I have listed (shameless plug):

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It was so well attended, and I’ll tell you why.  The secret is to MAKE lunch.  Well, that and you have to get the word out.  But people will come if you actually MAKE your food instead of getting a Subway tray and a grocery store bakery tray of cookies.  That’s my story, anyway.  The other secret is to give away free stuff.  Angela Gribbins, you won the Fandango Gift card.

So I had the idea for a chili bar because it was cold the day I did the luncheon.  We had two types of chili, baked potatoes and corn muffins and brownies with white frosting.  The toppings I had were tortilla chips, corn chips, shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped onions and tomatoes, jalapenos and soup crackers.

The first chili I served was White Chicken Chili.  I got the recipe off of the Pinterest and it was really delicious.  You can get the recipe here: Add a Pinch

wedge

 

I also served a traditional chili.  It was really really delicious.  The secret was to cook it low and slow on the stove for hours, not the short time suggested here.  If it gets thick, hit it with some beef broth.

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I also made these yummy muffins: Vidalia Onion Cornbread from Paula Deen.  They were soooo good!  They were delicious and so…dare I use the word…MOIST!  Ugh, that word, but they were.  I found this recipe on Diary of a Recipe Collector.

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Dessert.  Everyone was crazy about those frosted brownies.  I cut them small because they were pretty rich.  Ready for the recipe?  Get your pen and paper…

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Recipe

Recipe: Delicious Veal and Pork Bolognese Sauce

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Birthdays are big deals in my house.  You get to choose a home-cooked meal of your choice or a restaurant dinner of your choosing.  My brother-in-law, David, is so awesome (pictured with my gorgeous sister above).  He put in so many man hours on my new home, all for free.  So, when his birthday rolls around and he says he wants a lasagna dinner, I make it my business to make a sauce for the lasagna that is simmered all day, and finally baked into a lasagna.

So, while loads of my recipes are quick, this one isn’t.  But if you have a day to hang around the house, while your sauce gently bubbles on the stovetop, make this.  So.worth.it.

deliciousvealandporkbolognese

Delicious Veal and Pork Bolognese Sauce

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

“This sauce must be cooked for 2 hours or even more is even better! the first hour covered then the last uncovered. If possible prepare this sauce one day in advance and refrigerated, it will increase the flavor. This is a very hearty sauce, you can also add in a can or plum tomatoes, chopped and drained if desired.”

INGREDIENTS

    • 3 -5 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
    • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
    • 2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 2 teaspoons dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes ( you can add in more to taste)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 lb ground veal
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
    • 2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth ( or beef consomme for an even richer flavor)
    • 1 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
    • whipped cream (optional)
    • parmesan cheese
    • cooked pasta

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.

Add in the diced bacon and saute until beginning to brown (about 5 minutes).

Add in the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, basil, dryed pepper flakes and bay leaves; saute for about 5-6 minutes.

Add in tomato paste; cook stiring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Then add in the ground veal and pork; cook until cooked through and well browned (about 12 minutes, the meat should be BROWNED well!).

Add in the wine then simmer for about 8 minutes uncovered.

Add in the broth and crushed tomatoes; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring often with a wooden spoon.

Uncover and season with salt and pepper; simmer for another hour or more (uncovered).

If you prefer a creamy sauce, add in about 1/4 cup whipping cream towards the end of cooking.

Serve over cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.

deliciousvealandporkbologneselasagna

Now use that sauce to make your favorite lasagna recipe.  Here’s one of mine:  Lasagna Suzanne

Recipe

Anniversary Week Menu

thVALCatHearts

So, most people’s New Year’s Resolutions include losing weight, stopping drinking or smoking, or being nicer. Mine was to cook more. In order to accomplish this, I have *got* to get more organized. No more jotting down a grocery list with recipes I’m tagging on Pinterest. I have to make a weekly menu, and shop for it once a week, to maximize my time. So..menus. Weekly menus. That’s my plan of action.

Tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary. It’s a Monday. Blah. Day full of meetings and night full of homework, so no fancy restaurant for us. Instead I’ll fix us something yummy tomorrow, and kind of fancy. The rest of the week we can eat pork and beans, I guess.

So, for our appetizer I’ll make Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms.  It’s been my experience that nothing conveys love more than bacon and cheese.

Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 -6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Bourbon
  • one 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 1/2 lbs fresh button mushrooms, stems removed
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for topping

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • In a large skillet, cook the onions and bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the mixture from the skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, add the bourbon and cream cheese and stir constantly until the cream cheese is melted and mixed with the bourbon. Add the onion and bacon mixture back into the skillet and mix together. Add the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix together.
  • Spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the mushrooms are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Top with some Parmesan and put back into the oven to allow the cheese to melt. Remove from the oven and serve.

The main event is going to be steak with sauteed mushrooms, Caesar salad, broiled lobster tails and twice-baked potatoes.  Good heavens.  This is way better than I can get at our local steakhouse.

Fancy Anniversary Feast
Fancy Anniversary Feast

For the steak, I marinated it overnight and then grilled it to yummy perfection.

Steak Marinade

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix all ingredients together and place steaks into freezer bag with marinade, preferably overnight.
  2. The original recipe used balsamic vinegar.Seems I never had that on hand so I just used white and listed that in the recipe, but balsamic is definitely better.

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Sauteed Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 green onions with tops, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Saute green onion in butter until tender.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients; cook, uncovered, over low heat 30 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

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Lemony Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I always just use regular cooking oil)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled (I use canned, minced garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in blender.
  • Cover and process until creamy.
  • Serve over torn lettuce with Parmesan cheese and croutons.

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For the lobster, I just looked a recipe up on the internet and used it.  I don’t have lobster often enough to have a tried and true recipe.  I’ll have to change this.  Here’s one for you:  Broiled Lobster Tail with Brown Butter Sauce.

For the twice baked potatoes, I had no real recipe.  If you need one, here’s a good one:  Best Twice Baked Potatoes.

Lemon raspberry custard cake

Now after all of that wonderful, but quite substantial food, you need a very light dessert.  Nothing too heavy.  I present you with Raspberry-Lemon Custard Cakes.

Raspberry-Lemon Custard Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint raspberries
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp raspberry extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Directions

  • Fill a roasting pan with 1/2 inch of hot tap water; place in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. You’ll need eight 6 oz. custard cups; place 4 or 5 raspberries on bottom of each.
  • Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with mixer on medium speed until foamy. Beat in 2 tbsp of the sugar until stiff, shiny peaks form when beaters are lifted.
  • With same beaters (no need to wash), beat yolks and remaining sugar in a large bowl until mixture is light; beat in flour, extract, lemon zest and juice. Gradually beat in milk. Using a wire whisk, gently fold egg whites in yolk mixture just until combined. Divide batter among prepared cups (cups should be filled to the top). Place cups in hot water in roasting pan.
  • Bake until puddings are puffed and golden brown on top, about 24 mins. Serve puddings warm or at room temperature, with confectioner’s sugar and remaining berries.