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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Beef and Mushroom Stew with Bacon

A hearty stew makes a great winter weather meal. Bacon makes everything taste better. This quick and easy recipe will please everyone.

                                   Beef and Mushroom Stew with Bacon

6 strips apple-smoked bacon, diced
2 # beef chuck, diced into 1" cubes
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2# mushrooms, 2-3 varieties for flavor. I suggest Shitake, portabella, and button.
4 carrots, sliced
1 onion, diced
5 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
2 tsps. kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 Tablespoons flour (For gluten free, use dark rice flour)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups beef stock
2 cups red wine

In large skillet, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil to bacon drippings. Add beef and cook until almost done. Remove beef and set aside.

Add 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil to sauté pan. Add mushrooms. Cook until soft. Add flour. Reduce heat to medium. Stir often. Cook 7-8 minutes. Add seasonings. Add beef and bacon, onion, potatoes, and carrots. Add stock and red wine. Simmer to reduce liquid. After 20 minutes, add tomato paste. Cover and continue to slow simmer for 1 hour or until vegetables are soft and sauce thick.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Southwestern Hamburger Steaks with Black Bean Salsa and Potato Hash

Tired of burgers? Hamburger Steaks are a great way to utilize ground beef, and they can be part of a delicious meal. I like to add a bit of spice to everything. Here is a Southwestern-style entrée that will delight everyone. The Black bean Salsa and Potato Hash are great toppers.

                                         Southwestern Hamburger Steaks

2# ground beef or ground chuck, 80/20
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp A1 sauce
2 tsp oil

Mix all ingredients in a  bowl. Add ground beef and mix thoroughly. Form into 5, 6 oz. patties (Make slightly larger to utilize the other 2 oz. of meat).

Add oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook patties on one side for 4 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until done.

Black Bean Salsa

2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1/2 cup dice white onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
salt/pepper to taste

Heat sauce pan over medium high-heat. Add beans and chicken stock. Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add all other ingredients except lime juice. Heat but don't cook. Remove from heat, add lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Serve warm over chopped steak.

Potato Hash

2 red potatoes, peeled, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 tsp paprika
salt/pepper to taste

Add oil to sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add potatoes. Cook, turning often, until slightly brown. Add onions, bell peppers and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add chicken stock, paprika, salt, and pepper, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until stock is well absorbed and potatoes tender.

Serve Potato Hash as a side dish to Hamburger steak with Black Bean Salsa on top of steak.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Kickin' Turkey Tacos with Cranberry Salsa

Because there's always turkey left over from holiday meals, here is another easy recipe to deal with them. Kickin' Turkey Tacos

                                                          Kickin' Turkey Tacos

6 flour tortilla wraps
2 cups cooked, turkey, shredded
1 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar or Pepper Jack)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 package Taco seasoning mix
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup Cranberry Salsa (Recipe below)

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add shredded turkey and minced jalapenos. Sauté while stirring for 2-3 minutes, then add Taco Seasoning mix, 1 cup water, and mix. Reduce to a simmer and cook until most of the moisture is gone, about 8-10 minutes.

Heat tortillas in microwave for 15 seconds or warm over stove burner. Add some turkey, cheese, and a tsp. of Cranberry salsa. Roll up and enjoy.

Cranberry Salsa

1 cup onion, small diced
1 cup bell pepper, small diced
1 cup tomatoes, small diced with juice
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2 cup jelled cranberry sauce or 1/2 cup minced whole cranberries
Juice of 1 lime
salt/pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to bowl, squeeze in lime juice, finish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add to taco.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Leftover Kickin' Turkey Chili

Thanksgiving dinners always provides leftover turkey. If you need an easy recipe to dispose of it, try this one - Turkey Chili. Chili relieves the blahness of some holiday meals. You can make Chili as hot as you want by increasing chili powder or a dash of hot sauce.

                                              Leftover Kickin' Turkey Chili

4 cups leftover cooked turkey, white and/or dark meat, chopped or shredded
1 can white Northern beans, drained
1 small white onion, chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and diced.
2 jalapenos, seeded, minced
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbl spoon Canola oil
1 tbl spoon flour
2 tsps. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Heat deep pan over medium-high heat. Add Canola oil. Add chopped turkey. Season with cumin and chili powder. Add flour and stir into turkey. Cook 4-5 minutes until seared slightly. Add chopped onion, diced Anaheim pepper, and jalapeno and cook 2-3 minutes until wilted. Add beans, tomato sauce, and stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes until thickens. Season with salt/pepper. If you wish more heat, add hot sauce.

Ladle into bowls. garnish with sour cream and green onions.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Crockpot Southwestern Chicken Stew

Using a Crockpot or slow cooker is an excellent way to avoid the bother of cooking. It's great for when you're expecting company, too. This recipe covers all the bases in flavors.

                                  Crockpot Southwestern Chicken Stew

2 boneless chicken breasts or 3 thighs, medium diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I prefer red bell peppers)
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 jalapenos, minced
1 can corn, drained, or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken stock, or amount needed to cover ingredients in Crockpot
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
salt/pepper to taste
2-3 dashes hot sauce if you prefer more heat.
2 tablespoons flour mixed with water for a slurry to thicken stew. (I use cornmeal or rice flour to avoid gluten)

Place all ingredients (Except slurry) in Crockpot. Cover with stock and heat on slow for 7-7 1/2 hours or High for 3 hours.  Add slurry mixture and cook 15-20 minutes.

Serve in a bowl or over rice for a fuller meal.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup

Fall is the time for soups. One of my wife's favorites is Butternut Squash Soup. It's easy to prepare and holds well in the refrigerator.

                                                  Butternut Squash Soup

2-3 small butternut squash. Peel and cube into 1-inch pieces.
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons butter
8 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt/pepper to taste

Peel and dice squash. Melt butter in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot. Cook 7-8 minutes until onion is translucent. Add squash and stock. Reduce heat to medium. Slow simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Use a blender stick to puree contents, or remove squash, carrot, and onion with slotted spoon and puree in a blender. Return to stock pot. Season with salt. pepper, pumpkin spice, and nutmeg. Cook for 5-6 minutes more.  Remove from heat. Add heavy cream and maple syrup.


1 cup whipped cream
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon maple syrup.

Spoon over individual portions before serving.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Easy Sausage Rigatoni

Pasta is always a great meal. This recipe is quick and easy.

                                        Easy Italian Sausage Rigatoni

8 oz. Rigatoni, cooked
1# spicy Italian sausage, cut into small pieces (Cuts easier when slightly frozen)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/2 cup diced zucchini
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dried Italian herbs

Cook pasta: Bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Add 1tsp salt. Add pasta. Cook until done (about 15 minutes), while stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.

In a sauté pan, cook sausage. Add onion, peppers, and zucchini. When cooked, add soup and water. Stir thoroughly. Add herbs and Worcestershire sauce. When sauce thickens, add cooked pasta and stir. Heat for 3-4 minutes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Roasted Oriental Duck Tacos

Some people think duck is too greasy and too difficult to prepare. It's not if you do it right. Here is a recipe for roasted duck served like Oriental tacos. Combining different culinary styles can make for an interesting dish..

                                                                   Roasted Duck

1 Duck, whole
2 Tablespoons oil.
2 Tablespoons Kosher salt or sea salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove duck organs. Use for gravy or discard.  Trim excess skin and fat from duck. Truss legs. Score skin and fat layer with knife without cutting into muscle tissue. Rub with oil and then with Kosher or sea salt  Place breast up, uncovered in a deep roasting pan to collect fat. Roast 2 hours breast up. Then place breast down and roast an additional 2 hours. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Turn breast-side up, brush with glaze (Recipe below), and roast 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest.

At this point, duck can be sliced and served in any number of ways, even using a gravy made from duck giblets. But This recipe calls for pulled duck meat for tacos. Leftover duck can be used.
Add a little chopped crispy skin for crunch.

Duck Glaze

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
3 Tablespoons brown sugar.

For heat - 1 roasted Ancho chili, minced. Add to glaze if you like a little heat.

Mix ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Brush over the duck after 4 hours as indicated and cook additional 10 minutes.

Taco Ingredients

10 flour tortillas
1 Daikon radish
1 cucumber
1 head Napa cabbage
1/4 cup plum sauce

Slice Daikon radish and cucumber into slivers. Shred Napa cabbage. Place shredded duck meat on tortilla. Add radish, cucumber, cabbage, and a dollop of plum sauce.

Can be served with rice or enjoyed as a quick, simple snack.  

Eat up!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beefy Tortilla Casserole

When company is coming, it is often best to prepare a dish ahead of time to allow you more time to visit. A make-ahead casserole is the perfect dish. This beefy tortilla casserole is delicious and easy to prepare.

                                                 Beefy Tortilla Casserole

12 - 6 inch corn tortillas
1 pound ground beef
1 cup diced green chilies, drained
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 cups shredded Jalapeno cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded packaged Mexican cheese
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Sauté ground beef in skillet at medium-high heat. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper as it cooks. Drain grease. Set aside beef.
Grease a 9-inch baking dish. Layer 3 tortillas on the bottom. Spoon in 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 olives, 1/2 chilis, 1/2 red peppers, 1/2 onions, 1/3 of both cheeses.
Repeat for second layer.
Top with last 3 tortillas and remaining cheese.

In a bowl, mix tomato sauce, beaten eggs, and 1/2 cup milk. Pour over beef-tortilla mixture. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook, unwrap, place in pre-heated 350-degree oven, and bake 45-50 minutes.  Remove from oven, Top with green onions. Serve.

This should please any guest. If they like it hot, sprinkle a few minced jalapenos over the top with green onions.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Caribbean Chicken Salad

On hot summer days a cool salad often hits the spot. I like my cool salads with a little bite. This Caribbean Chicken Salad recipe has just the right balance of cool and spicy to please every appetite.

                                                 Caribbean Chicken Salad

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 apple, peeled, small diced
1 small onion, small diced
1/4 cup sweet relish
1/4 cup mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tsps. apple cider vinegar
2 tsps. lime juice
1 tablespoons Jamaican jerk seasoning
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
12 tsps. sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Heat skillet to medium-high. Rub pounded chicken breasts with jerk seasoning. Add oil to pan. Sauté until done, turning once (About four minutes per side). Pull meat apart with a fork, then chop up. Allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl combine Mayo, Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, vinegar, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Add chicken, apple, onion, relish, jalapeno, and rosemary. Stir until thoroughly mixed. season with salt and pepper to taste. If too tart, add a little of the sugar.

Can be served on a bed of mixed greens or between slices of toasted bread.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Teriyaki Salmon Burgers

Burgers are great anytime. In the summer, they're superb. By the pool, on the patio, by the lake - easy, quick, and delicious. If you're tired of the usual chicken and ground beef preparations, try salmon.

                                               Teriyaki Salmon Burgers

2# salmon filets, cut into 6 pieces (About 5 ounces)
1 cup Teriyaki glaze
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Hamburger buns or rolls

Make sure salmon has no bones. Oil and then season each piece with salt and pepper. Place face down on a well-oiled medium heat grill. Cook 2-3 minutes. Turn over and cook 5 minutes. Baste original face side with Teriyaki glaze. return to grill for 2-3 minutes or until almost cooked. Pull off heat and allow to rest.

Brush buns with olive oil and grill for 2-3 minutes.

Asian Slaw

1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup yogurt
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a mixing bowl add wet ingredients. season with salt and pepper. Adjust sugar to desired taste, less if you like it tart, more if you like it sweet. Add cabbage, carrot, and cucumber. Mix thoroughly.

Top buns with salmon filets, add Asian slaw. Chow down. Can be served with fired sweet potatoes as a side.

Happy eating!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Crock Pot Salisbury Steaks with Mushroom Gravy

Salisbury Steaks are a great way to use ground beef. Rather than spending the time necessary for stove top preparation, using a crock pot for slow cooking adds a new dimension of flavor. Mini-Salisbury Steaks will be a hit with the kids.

         Crock Pot Salisbury Steaks with Mushroom Gravy

2# ground beef, 90/10
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbl spoon vegetable oil
2 Tbl spoons butter
2 Tbl spoons AP flour
2 cups beef stock
1 Tbl spoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms (Button or Shitake)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine ground beef, diced onion, Worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Form into small patties (Approx. 2 inches in diameter). Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown patties on each side for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, cover and set aside.

Add butter to skillet. Sauté mushrooms. Coat with flour and mix. Add beef stock. When slightly thick, add to Crock Pot set on high. Add Salisbury steak patties. Cook for 2 hours, and then add heavy cream for richness and to help thicken gravy. Cook 2 more hours. Salt and pepper to taste. Remember, some beef stocks are saltier than others.

Serve with mashed potatoes. makes a great meal. Kids especially love the mini-Salisbury Steaks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Southwestern Burgers with Ancho Chili Mayo

Summer is grilling weather. Steaks are nice, but burgers are quicker. You can grill them any way you like them. I like them with some bite. Here is a mouth-watering recipe that's sure to please the cowboy or cowgirl in anyone.

                       Southwestern Burgers with Ancho Chili Mayo

1 1/2 # ground beef, 90/10 for a leaner burger
8 slices jalapeno cheddar or Pepper jack cheese
4 jalapeno peppers
4 hamburger buns
1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained, slightly mashed.
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 head lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika
salt/pepper to taste

Place ground beef in bowl. Add two jalapenos, seeded and minced, black beans, cumin, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix thoroughly. Form meat into 4, 6 ounce patties.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Swab with olive oil. Place burgers on grill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover grill and cook for four minutes. Brush onion slices with olive oil. Take remaining two jalapenos, slice along one side and chop off both ends. Remove seeds and ribs. Roll out into one piece and brush with olive oil. Place Onion slices and jalapenos on grill. Turn burgers. Cover grill. Cook onions and jalapenos 4 minutes and remove. Make sure meat reaches 165 degrees. Add 2 slices cheese to each. Allow to melt slightly before removing burgers from grill.

Cut grilled jalapenos into thin strips.

Place burger/cheese on bun. Add grilled onion slice, jalapeno strips. Top with lettuce and tomato slice. Spread Ancho chili mayo on top bun and cover.

Ancho Chili Mayo

1 small diced Ancho chili with Adobo sauce
1/4 cup mayo
1 lime

Take 1 small Ancho chili from can. Mince. Add to mayo. Add approximately 1/4 tsp. lime juice. Mix thoroughly.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Left-Overs Easy Beef Stew

If you're like most people who grill out on holidays, especially if friends or family come over, you have a couple of left-over steaks and baked potatoes lying around. Here's a quick and easy recipe to use them. It beats re-heating steaks and eating. That makes them tough. Baked potatoes, grilled steak, or any other cooked vegetables add additional flavor to stew.

                                                   Left-Overs Easy Beef Stew

1 steak, cooked, cut into 1" cubes
2 baked potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
2 tbl. spoons All-Purpose flour
1 small onion, sliced (Or chopped grilled onion)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 cup frozen corn (Or leftover cooked corn)
2 tbl. spoons vegetable oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups beef broth
2-3 dashes hot sauce
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
s/p to taste

Heat 6-quart pot on medium-high heat. Add oil. Add onion, carrots, celery. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour to make roux. Reduce heat to medium. Add corn, mushroom soup, stock. Cook 25 minutes. Add steak, potatoes, thyme. Lower heat to simmer 30 minutes.  Add hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

If using fresh meat instead of leftovers, add meat before onions and cook 5 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery, and flour and cook 4-5 minutes before adding stock . If using uncooked potatoes, add after stew has been cooking 25 minutes and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Carne Asada with pico de gallo

Summer is for grilling. I love Mexican food. This Carne Asada (Grilled Steak) recipe is easy and feeds several for an inexpensive cook out. Goes great with tea or a good Mexican beer, like Dos Equis or Tecate.

                                                                 Carne Asada

2# skirt or flank steak
1 large onion, sliced
1 avocado, peeled, sliced

4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 limes, juiced
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

Remove silver skin from steak and into slice very thin strips. In a bowl, mash dry ingredients into a paste and mix with liquid ingredients. Place steak into plastic bag with marinade mix, cover thoroughly, and allow to refrigerate 2 hours.

Get grill hot. Oil grill. Place onion on grill and cook 4-5 minutes. Turn over, Add meat to grill and cook quickly - 3-4 minutes per side. Serve Carne Asada, grilled onions, and avocado slices on warm flour tortillas with pico de Gallo and slices of avocado.

Pico de Gallo

4 Roma tomatoes, small diced
1 red onion, small diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 Serrano or jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl. spoons lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

For sweeter pico de Gallo, substitute pineapple for tomato,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Slow Cooker Oriental Pork

Crock pots, or slow cookers, are a time saver, especially for families with a hectic schedule. I love Oriental dishes and crock pots are a great way to cook them without slaving over a hot stove. This pork dish is easy to prepare, savory and tasty, and should please even the most picky eater.

                                                 Slow Cooker Oriental Pork

2# pork steaks or boneless pork chops
2 Tbl spoons vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 small container Shitake mushrooms
1 small bunch Enoki mushrooms
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced on a bias
1-8oz can tomato sauce
2 Tbl spoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tbl spoons brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp soy sauce

Heat a skillet over medium high-heat. Add vegetable oil. Sear pork steaks or chops until browned. Place in slow cooker. Layer onion, mushrooms, and carrots over pork. Mix tomato sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt and pepper together and pour over layered pork and vegetables.

Cook on high 4-4 1/2 hours, or better yet, cook 6-7 hours on low. Prepare before lunch, go out and enjoy the day, and come back to a prepared meal.

Serve over cooked rice. Top with sliced scallions.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Italian Stuffed Pork Chops

Pork chops are the other white meat. Cooked properly, they are moist, tasty, and healthy. This recipe combines stuffed bake chops with coated fried chops.

                                               Italian Stuffed Pork Chops

4 thick pork chops
4 slices prosciutto
4 slices Fontina cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 Tbl spoon dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 coves garlic, minced
1 cup Italian seasoned crouton, crushed or 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3 Tbl spoons olive oil

Mix beaten eggs and milk in a bowl. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and herbs in second bowl. Season chops with salt and pepper. Slice pocket in the side of each. Insert prosciutto and Fontina cheese. Seal with toothpick. Dip chops in milk/egg mixture, and then coat with bread crumbs. Place in heated sauté pan over medium heat with 3 Tbl spoons olive oil and garlic. Cook both sides until brown - about 5 minutes.

Place sauté pan in oven at 325 degrees F. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until done (145 degree internal temperature).

Serve with Parmesan mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans.

Parmesan Mash Potatoes

5 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
5 quarts water, salted with 1 tsp salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat salted water to a boil. Add potatoes. Boil until done - about 15 minutes. Drain. Add butter and half of the heavy cream. Mix with blender or by hand. Add additional cream until smooth. You may not need all the cream. Stir in Parmesan cheese by hand. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pad Thai

If you like spicy Asian food, Pad Thai is the perfect dish to try. It's not complicated, though different fish sauces or peppers can change flavor. You want a nice balance of sweet-sour-spicy. Caution: Contains peanuts. They can be omitted if allergic.

                                         Pad Thai

1 (12 oz) pkg. rice noodles
2 eggs, whole
1# skinless, boneless chicken breast, in bite-size pieces
1/2 cup tofu (Optional)
2 Tbl spoons butter
3 Tbl spoons vegetable oil
2 Tbl spoon Tamarind paste (Or can use 2 Tbl spoons white wine vinegar)
3 Tbl spoons fish sauce
2 Tbl spoons brown sugar
4 Tbl spoons, roasted peanuts (Optional)
1/2 tsp crushed chili peppers
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
2 green onions chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime or lemon cut into wedges

Place rice noodles in cold water and soak 30 minutes until almost soft. Drain and set aside.

Add butter to wok or skillet over medium-high heat and sauté chicken until browned and almost done. Remove and set aside.

Add oil to heated pan or wok. Add tofu. Sauté 2 minutes, and then add noodles, tamarind paste, sugar, garlic, chili peppers, and fish sauce. Add eggs and cook for 3-4 minutes while mixing well. Noodles should have a slight bite but tender. Add cooked chicken, peanuts, and bean sprouts. Cook 3 minutes more.

Add green onions.

Serve with wedge of lemon or lime. Have additional fish sauce and chili pepper available for guests.
Serve with tea or Asian beer.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Veal Ravioli with Porcini Mushroom Sauce

On a recent cruise, one of the best dishes I ate at one of the ship's superb restaurants was veal ravioli in a porcini mushroom sauce. I don't know their exact recipe, but I'm sure this comes close.

                                 Veal Ravioli

1 pkg. fresh lasagna strips
1 egg
1# ground veal
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small carrot, fine diced
1 small onion, fine diced
1 celery stalk fine diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsps. freshly chopped parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt/pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a sauté pan. Add carrots, celery, onion. sauté for 6-7 minutes until tender. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add veal. Cook until done, about 4-5 minutes. Add pepper flakes, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Reduce liquid until mixture holds together well.

Lay out lasagna sheets. Cut into 2-inch squares. Add 1 tsp mixture into center of lasagna. Beat egg and brush edges of sheet. Lay a piece on top and crimp edges with a fork.

To cook, bring four quarts salted water to a low boil. As raviolis 4 at a time and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towel.

                                                  Porcini Mushroom Sauce

1 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup warm water

2 tbl spoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine or dry Marsala wine
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary
salt/pepper to taste

2 tbl spoons butter
2 tbl spoons flour

Add dried porcini mushrooms to warm water. Allow to soak for 30  minutes. gently squeeze moisture from reconstituted mushrooms but reserve all liquid.

Add olive oil to sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until slightly caramelized. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, mushroom liquid, white wine, and stock. reduce heat and simmer until 2 cups liquid remain - about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix butter and flour into a paste and whisk into mushroom mixture until thickened.

Add raviolis to sauce to reheat.

Serve with chilled white wine and buttered bread. Delicious.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Savory Hamburger Steak with Mushroom-Onion Gravy

Ground beef in any form is my all-time favorite comfort food. I enjoy it as meat loaf, meatballs, hamburgers - but most of all, I love hamburger steak. As a child, it was a real treat for our poor family. Here is a simple hamburger steak recipe sure to please the entire family.

   Savory Hamburger Steak with Mushroom-Onion Gravy

2# ground beef, 80/20 or 90/10 is best
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbl spoon oil

Mix all ingredients thoroughly with ground beef. Form five (5) equal slightly oblong patties. heat skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and sauté patties ten minutes per side or until done inside. (165 degrees).
Remove from pan.

Mushroom-Onion Gravy

1 cup sliced white onion
1/2 cups sliced button or crimini mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 Tbl spoons All Purpose flour
1 Tbl spoon vegetable oil
1 cup beef broth
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground sage

Keep temperature of skillet at medium-high. Add oil to drippings. Add onions and sauté until almost done (10 minutes). Add mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes. Add flour and stir. Reduce heat and add beef broth. Add herbs and seasonings and allow to simmer until thickened.

Return hamburger steaks to mixture and heat.
Place steaks on plate. Spoon gravy over steaks. Serve with mashed potatoes or French fries.

This dish will bring back childhood memories.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Southwestern Tilapia with Blackbeans and Mango-Lime Salsa

Fish is good for the body and Tilapia an inexpensive and easy fish to prepare. Southwestern spices make this a savory dish.

          Southwestern Tilapia with Mango -Lime Salsa

4 Tilapia fillets
2 tbl spoon olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1.8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground sage

Mix spices, pat or sprinkle on fillets. Heat sauté pan on medium-high heat until oil is hot. Place fillets flat side down and sauté 2 minutes. Turn, reduce heat to medium and cook for 4 minutes or until flaky and done.

Black Beans

1 can black beans, or 2 cups soaked and cooked dry beans.
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
black pepper to taste
1 lime (Use 1/2 for beans)
1 tsp chopped cilantro

Using canned beans or freshly cooked beans, add 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Squeeze juice of half lime into beans. Reserve second half for salsa. Add the cilantro. Serve with Tilapia.

Mango-Lime Salsa

1 mango
1 lime
1/2 cup fine diced red onion
1 minced jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 tbl spoon chopped cilantro
2 tsps. olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

Peel and small dice mango. Add chopped onion, jalapeno, Add olive oil and squeeze second half of lime into mix. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and allow to sit 30 minutes for flavor to build. Spoon over cooked fish.