Recipe

Winter Cookery

Winter.  Ugh.  After Christmas is over, I’m kind of done with it.  Recently we had a snow storm that shut down our Southern city for a few days, so I took that time to cook.  So, not all bad.  I’ve been neglecting that part of my life lately, so was nice to get back to it, even if it was forced.

Snow Cream!

So easy, you don’t need a recipe!  Stick a big bowl outside to collect fresh falling snow.  When full mix with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  Scoop into a mason jar and garnish with snow if you want to be bougie.

I find myself really stepping up my pasta game in the winter, since it’s heavier and sticks with you in the frigid 40 degree temps of the Carolina tundra.  I found this recipe while searching for one to take to a friend who was in need of a casserole and a visit.  It was pretty to look at and yummy!

To view the recipe, head over to Very Best Baking

“BEST”-OVER HAM & PESTO PASTA

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box (12 oz.) dry tri-color rotini or spiral shaped pasta (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot medley
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded Italian cheese blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons jarred or refrigerated pesto with basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

COOK pasta according to package directions, adding frozen vegetables to boiling pasta water for last 2 minutes of cooking time; drain. Return pasta and vegetables to cooking pot.

MEANWHILE, COMBINE evaporated milk, cheese, pesto and black pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

POUR cheese sauce over pasta and vegetables. Add ham; stir until combined.

Winter is when I’m ready for carbs.  These potatoes are simply delicious.  Seriously.  Not a lot of ingredients, and the hardest thing is slicing the potatoes thinly, but I have a mandolin so that was just plain fun.

Oh, and I forgot to snap a picture of this when it was done.  Curses!  But here’s the cookbook where I tried the recipe:

Potatoes Dauphinoise

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 medium russet potatoes (2 1/2 lbs)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Scrub and peel potatoes, then cut them into 1/8 inch thick slices.
  2. Combine potatoes, milk, butter, salt and white pepper in a large saucepan.  Bring to simmer over medium heat.  Add the garlic; partially cover pan and simmer until potatoes are almost tender when tested with point of small sharp knife, about 20 minutes.
  3. Pour potatoes with liquid into a buttered 13×9 inch casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake until sauce has thickened and cheese is melted and golden brown, about 35 minutes.

 

Recipe

Hogwart’s Haute Cuisine

butterbeerharry

 

Ok, so I’m 49.  But I still dream of living amidst the wizards of Hogwart’s halls.  Is there anyone in America who has not been charmed by this movie?  For a fun Friday night, we catch repeats of the movies on the Family Channel and then make some treats that Harry would love.  Our favorite is the Butterbeer!  It is creamy and sweet and frothy…and not fat free.  But yummy for a treat once in a great while.

butterbeer

Butterbeer

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 4 (12 ounce) bottles cream soda, chilled

directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar with 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F (115 degrees C) on a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, bring to a gentle boil and turn off the heat after about a minute of cooking.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the butter, salt, vinegar, and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Stir until smooth. Cool mixture to room temperature before using.

  3. In a medium bowl, beat together the remaining cream (1/2 cup) with 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar syrup.

  4. In each glass, mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar syrup with 1/4 cup cream soda. Pour in the rest of the cream soda until it is nearly to the brim of the glass. Top with whipped cream.

  5. Serve immediately!

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Here are some other Harry Potter treats from around the web that I’ve yet to try, but shall presently.

Harry’s Favorite Treacle Tart courtesy of The Traveler’s Lunchbox: Click here for Recipe

Treacle tart

Licorice Wands Courtesy of Pastry Affair:  Click here for the recipe.

Mrs. Weasley’s Rock Cakes courtesy of  the barest hint of sweetness   :  Click here for recipe

 

Recipe

Summer Grilling

The one thing I love about summer is all of the grilling we get to do and the eating al fresco (that means outside, right?).  Even if you have those indoor grill pans, nothing beats the carcinogens of an actual grill.  I mean the grill marks.

Our dinner tonight was grilled chicken pitas.  I’m going to give you the recipe for the grilled chicken (super easy) then you just assemble with your favorite toppings.  Mine has lettuce, Ranch dressing, and red onion.  Yum!

Grilled Italian Chicken Breast Fillets

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 chicken breast fillets007
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

Place chicken in bowl; return to refrigerator. In a separate bowl mix together lemon juice, salt, garlic and red pepper; gradually whisk in olive oil. Stir in dried oregano. Pour marinade over chicken to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour, turning chicken occasionally. Preheat grill to medium-hot. Remove chicken from marinade and discard. Grill until tests done.

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ChickenSoftTacos_zpsdd9d0c98

Grilled Taco Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • nonstick cooking spray

directions

Preheat grill to medium high heat. In a small bowl, combine taco seasoning mix, chili powder and salt. Spray each breast with cooking spray and sprinkle with spice mixture. Rub evenly to coat well. Grill chicken, turning occasionally, for 15 to 18 minutes or until no pink remains in the chicken and the juices run clear.

KRISTI’S DAD’S BASTING SAUCE

Funny story with this sauce. My college dorm mates and I took turns cooking for each other because we hated eating at the school cafeteria.  A friend had a secret sauce that she used to grill burgers with, and they were delicious!  Naturally, I asked for the recipe.  She said “no, it’s a secret.”  We waited for her to go to the bathroom and set up watches, while I rummaged through her desk.  Two seconds later I found the sticky note with the info.  Devious yes?  Delicious?  Also yes.

Ingredients

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Bring to a boil slowly. Baste on meat liberally.

Recipe

Recipe: 5 Minute Tomato Salsa

Mexican food is my favorite.  And the one thing I love about Mexican food above all others is the salsa.  This one reminds me of the salsa at one of my childhood favorite haunts: Pancho’s in Ft. Walton Beach Florida.  Easy to make, and very fresh tasting!

5 MINUTE TOMATO SALSA

Very fresh, make as spicy as you want by leaving seeds of jalapeno in if desired.
Source: The Best Quick
1/2 small jalapeno, minced
1/4 small red onion, peeled
1 small garlic clove, pressed and minced
2 tablespoons packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice
14 1⁄2 ounces diced tomatoes, drained
Pulse all ingredients except tomatoes in food processor until minced, about 5 times.
Add tomatoes and pulse 2 times. Transfer to fine mesh sieve and drain for one minute.
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.
Recipe

Good ‘ole Comfort Food

Sometimes I like fancy, and sometimes I like comfort.  Last night I was in the mood for sandwiches, but my husband wanted meatloaf.  Ugh.  No one else in the house likes it, but he pulled the “I’ve been working all day” card, so I acquiesced.  Turns out this meatloaf was pretty darn good, even though I made it under duress.

Here’s the Comfort Food Night Menu:

  • Glazed Meatloaf
  • Darn Good Mashed Potatoes
  • The Lady’s Macaroni and Cheese
  • Marie Callender’s Cornbread

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The Very Best Glazed Meatloaf

The Very Best Glazed Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb chuck (ground beef)
  • 1/2 lb veal (optional. Use half pork and beef if you can’t find ground veal or don’t buy veal)
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a skillet over moderate heat, add the oil. Heat the oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, and hot sauce together. Add marjoram, thyme, salt, and pepper.In a large mixing bowl, combine the meats, egg-milk mixture, bread crumbs, parsley, and the cooked onion mixture.
  4. In a small bowl stir together ketchup, sugar, and vinegar. Set aside.
  5. Form 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture into a small patty, add it to a small oiled skillet, and cook until no longer pink. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
  6. Transfer meat mixture to an oiled loaf pan.*.
  7. *NOTE: The best way to make the meatloaf is to use a baking sheet, lined with foil. Place a cooling rack on top. Cut a piece of foil to be larger than a the loaf– and shape the meat into a loaf. Using a metal skewer, poke holes along the foil — usually every other hole.
  8. Place the shaped loaf on top of the foil. I prefer this method, as the loaf is less likely to “steam” in a loaf pan. You can also glaze all around the meatloaf, which is even better!
  9. Brush meat with ketchup glaze.Bake in oven for about 45 minutes, until glaze has set.
  10. Brush meat loaf with remaining glaze and bake for 15 minutes more; glaze again.
  11. My oven takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the desired doneness. Times do vary, so allow for that!
  12. Internal temperature of loaf should be 160 degrees F.

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Darn Good Mashed Potatoes

dgmp

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream

directions

  • Place the potatoes in a large Dutch oven, cover with water and add the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, (15-20 minutes). Drain well.

  • Place the drained potatoes in a large bowl, add butter and whip the potatoes with an electric mixer until there are no lumps. Pour in the cream and continue whipping until the potatoes are fluffy.

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The Lady’s Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 cups elbow macaroni, cooked & drained
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while still hot and add the cheddar.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture.

Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

Top with additional cheese if desired, and bake a few minutes more until cheese is melted.

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Marie Callender’s Cornbread

Marie Callendar's Cornbread
Marie Callendar’s Cornbread

  • 2 cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup real butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8×8″ pan on bottom and sides; set to the side.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until well blended.
  4. Add sugar, milk, melted butter and whisk thoroughly.
  5. Add Bisquick and cornmeal to egg mixture, and mix just enough to completely moisten dry ingredients and leave no lumps.
  6. Do not overmix.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out dry and top is firm to touch.
  8. Doubles easily into 9×13″ pan; adjust baking time accordingly.