Scalloped Potatoes

Standard

Rich, hearty, cheesy, creamy, savory, delightful…. let’s see what other adjectives can I use to describe this dish?  I tweaked this recipe a few years ago and it has been a show stopper each time I make it.  This was the best accompaniment to my Wine Pot Roast (post coming on Friday so check back) and the whole family was super happy with dinner! I first made this the way it was posted and it was all runny and kinda blah… I have since then cut back on the amount of milk I use and added more CHEESE!

1 1/2 lbs of russet potatoes sliced thin on a mandolin. (be careful I just got my bandage off a week later.)
3 tbs unsalted butter or more
salt and pepper
3/4 cup milk
2 bay leaves
1 cup shredded Dubliner cheese (you can use white cheddar also)
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1-2 tbs balsamic vinegar

Spray a 1 or 2 qt casserole dish with fat free non stick spray and arrange a layer of sliced potatoes and salt and pepper. Dot with a few dabs of butter.

add a second layer of potatoes and 1/2 of the dubliner cheese, then a third layer and remaining cheese.
In a small sauce pan heat the milk and bay leaves until just before a boil.  Little bubbles will appear on the edges of the milk.

remove from heat an pour over potatoes and cheese.  I always make a little flower on top with extra potato slices.

bake at 375 for 40-50 min until potatoes are tender and cheese is all melted. Remove and then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and put under the broiler for 3-4 min until golden brown and bubbly

Drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top and you have a great side dish ready to impress!

Advertisements

Champagne Cupcakes

Standard

Oohh did someone say Champagne and Cupcakes?!  Oh My Goodness! Two of my favorite things combined in one little package of happiness!!! When entertaining family that have not been over in 11 years it is time to celebrate and have a little fun!  Michelle celebrated her “29 again” birthday with us and this was the delicious little treat that I served for her Celebration!
I wish I could say that this was my original recipe but I have to give proper credit to Kystina Castella and her Crazy About Cupcakes cookbook.

For the Cupcakes:
2/3 cup butter at room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups AP flour ( I wish I had used Cake Flour as the cupcakes were very dense and I think they would have been lighter if I had used Cake Flour. So use Cake Flour not AP)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup champagne
6 large egg whites at room temp
For the Frosting:
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 sticks butter at room temp
3-6 tbs champagne
4 1/2 cups powderd sugar
3 tbs merguine powder

Pre heat oven to 350 and place liners in cupcake pan.  In a large bowl cream together the sugar and the butter till fluffy.

  Add the dry ingredients alternately with the champagne on low spead to med low spead til combined.

Oh and by the way you know my saying as long as you are cooking with wine, go ahead and have a glass!

In a large bowl beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter and then fold in the remaing egg whites.  This will be hard to do as the batter is very dense.  I really think the Cake Flour would have made a big difference.  Fill the cupcake lines 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 20 min.

Cool on a rack to keep bottoms from getting soggy.
To make the Frosting:
Combine all ingredients in a mixer with the paddle attachment

Frost with a palate knife and tap the frosting while pulling up to form the peaks.  If you don’t want this look you can still frost smoothly.  These were very very good and will make a great showy centerpiece to any event!

Picnic Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Standard

So as I said my sister in law Michelle was in town and we had tons of fun things planned for the weekend! A picnic was one of them, and it turned out the location was a surprise even to me.  As you know we have been in Kansas City for about 9 months now, we moved here from Central California.  As you can imagine I miss my wine!!!!!!! Let’s not even talk about the weather……..  We have been to a couple of local wineries here and were MAJORLY disappointed! Then after a morning of apple picking and pumpkin farms we were ready for our picnic.  On the way to a park that I knew of we spotted a sign that said Winery 4 miles this way.  What the heck? How bad can it be? Nothing could be worse than the elderberry and apple wine…… Four miles later we pull into this winery that looks every bit the same as a Artisan, Craft winery in Lodi, Cali.  Hmmmm, this looks better than the others here…. Let’s keep going.  The parking lot was overfull and we had to park in the field.  Busy? Oh yes this winery was crazy busy! We waited about 30 min in line just to get to the tasting room. My hopes are rising as a crummy winery wouldn’t be this busy would it? I was so pleasantly surprised when I took the first sip and it was palatable! Then they had 2 wines that I actually liked!!!! You can’t grow traditional wine grapes out here in the Midwest, too hot and then too cold. So they grow grapes I had never heard of, Chambourcin, Norton, and here is the kicker…… Concord.  Concord grapes are for jelly and jam NOT wine!  The Chambourcin was really quite surprising though. The winery had beautiful grounds and we had our picnic here!

Ok on to the recipe!
1-2 1lb pork tenderloins
1/2 tsp of each: salt and pepper, ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder
2-3 tbs dijon mustard
1 large onion bachee french loaf bread
1 round of brie cheese
2 tbs truffle aoli or regular mayonnaise

Rub the seasoning on both sides of the tenderloins

Spread the mustard on both sides of the tenderloins.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 40-50 min.  Take out of the oven and let rest and cool till almost room temp.  Slice the onion loaf in half long wise and spread butter on both sides and toast in the oven for a couple of min.

Slice the tenderloins in half long wise also and place on the bread.

Oh by the way grey meat is over cooked meat and yucky.  Pork is juicy and flavorful when it is still slightly pink. You wont get sick, so please stop overcooking your pork. Just a friendly reminder.
Trim the Brie round and slice and place on the pork.

Place back in the oven at 350 for 5 min until brie is all nice and melty!

Spread the aoli/mayo on both halves and place back together.  Wrap the sandwich in foil and then cling film/saran wrap very very tightly! Place something heavy like a brick or a heavy pot lid on top of the sandwich to compress it.

Once you are at your picnic location, or just when you are ready to serve, slice the sandwich and serve with fresh grapes and a nice dry light wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, if you will only drink red wine Pinot Noir would be great also.

Perfect picnic sandwich!

Cheesey Hash brown Breakfast Casserole

Standard

I think that breakfast must be just about every one’s most favorite meal of all time! I know we love it here in our home.  I even make breakfast food for dinner sometimes! This weekend my Sister in Law is here visiting from Connecticut, the first time she has had a chance to visit us in 11 years!! So we have tons of fun activities planned.  I wanted to make sure that we all had a nice hearty breakfast before we set out for a day of Apple Picking and Pumpkin Farms and Picnics!!!
This is super easy and most filling!

10 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper
1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled
5-7 frozen hash brown patties
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

in bowl combine milk and eggs, salt and pepper and whisk till blended

In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish line up the hash browns, as many as you can fit.  Don’t worry if there are gaps the egg mixture will fill them.  Salt and pepper the hash browns.

Pour the egg mixture over the hash browns, sprinkle the bacon and cheese over the top.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 min. Make sure the eggs is set and a toothpick comes out clean.  Just writing this is making me want to make it again! It is a weekend staple around here when both boys are home!
Enjoy

Balsamic Vinegar Vegetable Spaghetti

Standard


So after the annoying eggplant incident on Monday I decided I really wanted to make this dish! I had to alter my original idea but I think, and according to my family, this is a Great Dish!! I had wanted to grill the vegetables and then marinate them in an oil balsamic vinegar mixture, but the weather today did not cooperate with grilling so my first original dish has become a whole new original dish. I was taught to cook by throwing this and that, and some of that over there in a pot, and never measuring a thing, and somehow it all comes out yummy! Looking in the fridge and pulling out what we have, and creating a dish is kind of a sport for me and my mom. That is pretty much how this recipe came to fruition. As fall quickly approaches I wanted a healthy but rich dish to make to herald in the cold weather. I feel that this fits the bill. I hope you think so also.

1 zucchini cubed
1 summer squash cubed
1/2 of red onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 head of cauliflower cooked till fork tender and cut into florets
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
oregano to taste
garlic and onion powder to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 tbs butter
3 tbs balsamic vinegar

In a large mixing bowl combine first 9 ingredients and toss to coat. You can cook the cauliflower ahead of time, I used a head that I blanched and froze a couple of weeks ago.

I really should have used my dutch oven, as it was I had to split my veggies into two sauté pans. So in a Dutch oven drizzle olive oil and heat over medium high heat and cook veggies till tender and caramelized for 10-15 min. During this time boil salted water and cook the spaghetti.

Drain the pasta, reserve 1/4 cup pasta water and keep warm.  In the pasta pot add the veggies to the resrved water add the can of diced tomatoes and tomato paste and the vinegar. Add a heavy dash of oregano and 2 tbs of butter (this helps create a nice creamy texture).  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 8-10 min.

Plate the pasta and pour the veggie mixture on top.  Sprinkle with Ramano Cheese and enjoy a healthy and delicious meal!

Guess what? The carnivore boys did not even miss the meat or ask if there was any in it!  This is such a hearty dish!

So after the annoying eggplant incident on Monday I decided I really wanted to make this dish! I had to alter my original idea but I think, and according to my family, this is a Great Dish!! I had wanted to grill the vegetables and then marinate them in an oil balsamic vinegar mixture, but the weather today did not cooperate with grilling so my first original dish has become a whole new original dish. I was taught to cook by throwing this and that and some of that over there in a pot and never measuring a thing and somehow it all comes out yummy! So looking in the fridge and pulling out what I have and creating a dish is kind of a sport for me and my mom. That is pretty much how this recipe came to fruition. As fall quickly approaches I wanted a healthy but rich dish to make to start to herald in the cold weather. I feel that this fits the bill. I hope you think so also.

1 zucchini cubed

1 summer squash cubed

1/2 of red onion sliced

1 red pepper sliced

1 head of cauliflower cooked till fork tender and cut into florets

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

oregano to taste

garlic and onion powder to taste

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

2 tbs butter

3 tbs balsamic vinegar

In a large mixing bowl combine first 9 ingredients and toss to coat. You can cook the cauliflower ahead of time, I used a head that I blanched and froze a couple of weeks ago.

Weeknight Enchiladas

Standard

First let me start off by telling you this is not what was planned for dinner tonight.  I had planned on making a wonderful grilled vegetable pasta dish that I had hoped would wow you all! As I was prepping my veggies I realized the Eggplant that I had just purchased the day before was now showing signs of being less than fresh.  Hmmmm I said to myself, and when I cut it open sure enough it was brown!!!! I was so aggravated! It is not like I had it sitting around in the fridge for a week or more. Plus I bought it at a very well known and posh grocery store!
So I had to quick scramble and decide what to make with two hungry boys staring me down.  I quick grabbed my Southern Living Easy Weeknight Meals and thought this would be easy and the boys would love it! So from WOW to easy dinner went…..
.
Adapted from a Southern Living recipe
1 lb leanest ground beef
1 small red onion chopped
1 tsp of salt and pepper
2 tbs taco seasoning
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can enchilada sauce
8 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, sliced black olives, and fresh cilantro for garnish

In a large skillet drizzle olive oil and saute onion for 3-5 min. 

Add the ground beef and seasonings and cook till meat is cooked all the way through.  I add my seasoning while the meat is still red that way the meat really absorbs the flavors as it cooks.  If you wait till the meat is brown the flavor just sits on top and doesn’t give that layering of flavors you want to achieve.  Once cooked trough drain the grease off and add the cans of soup and sauce.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer cooking approx 8 min till thickened slightly.

In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish place a bit of the meat mixture on a tortilla and sprinkle with a bit of cheese.

Wrap each tortilla up and place in the baking dish seam side down.  Nestle each bundle in the dish tightly against each other.

Pour the rest of the meat mixture on top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 min.  Uncover and sprinkle the rest of cheese on top and continue cooking until it look like this….

Serve with the garnish and enjoy a quick and easy weeknight meal or a quick and easy weeknight meal when the one you wanted to make goes awry…

Chipotle Black Bean Pasta with a White Wine Tequila Sauce

Standard

First things first, My Camera is Back!!! My Camera is back!!!! I hope that you can tell the quality difference and that you are as happy as I am!!!
Ok on the to recipe….. (too silly…)
I made this thinking that my very picky husband would love the flavors and go crazy for it!  Little did I know that when I so lovingly purchased all the ingredients and planned his welcome home dinner that he had filmed at a pig farm……. Turns out the Micro Brew that he was filming donates all their used Mash (the left over grain from beer brewing) to a local piglet farm.  This farm does not  grow pigs to maturity for slaughter.  They just raise piglets to be sold to grow to be slaughtered by a different farmer.   So he spent all day last Friday with these adorable little piglets and what do I do when he gets home?  I feed him pig.
Now mind you pig is normally one of his most favorite meats of all time.  Need anyone mention the word Bacon around a man….. we all know the answer to that.
So I thought I was doing an amazing meal for my absent husband.   Wrong!  Now mind you this meal is AMAZING, just not to someone who just loved on some little cute piglets!

3-4 thin cut pork chops
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 tsp ground cumin
1 package black bean tagliatelle Here is the site to purchase Pappardelle’s
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Hatch Chile diced how to roast hatch chiles or 1  4oz can green chiles
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine
2tbs tequila
juice of one lime
1 cup heavy cream

Place pork chops in a large zip loc bag empty contents of ranch dressing mix and 1tsp of cumin in bag and toss to coat.  Chill for 30 min. 
Heat oven to 350
In a hot non stick pan (no oil) sear pork chops on both sides

Place browned pork chops in a baking dish and bake for 10-15 min depending on the thickness.  Meanwhile, boil salted water and cook the tagliatelle, drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process, reserve.  To make the sauce: In a sauce pan saute the minced garlic, the hatch chile, cilantro, and butter till combined and creamy. 
Add the wine and tequila and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 min.
Make sure the wine you use is the wine you serve with the meal. And ahead an have a glass while you are cooking.  You deserve it!
  Add the heavy cream and heat through.  Add the pasta to the pan that you browned the pork in to absorb that flavor and pour the sauce in and bring to a boil.
On a large serving platter plate the Tagliatelle and place your pork chops on top. Serve and relish in the compliments and oohs and aahhs… unless your husband has just been to a piglet farm…..
Did anyone catch the Monty Python reference????