It’s Veteran’s Day, so I thought I’d post photos of two of my favorite veterans. Although they are not the only two, they are the two closest to my heart. The above photo is of my dad when he first enlisted. A career Air Force man, he served in Vietnam when I was quite young and his service took me on many adventures during my youth.
And my brother, who served in the National Guard and was stationed in Iraq/Kuwait during the Iraqi war. So proud of both. Thanks to all who serve this country and the families that support them.
In recipe news, it was 60 degrees at noon today and by 3 pm it had dropped to a windy, cold 45 degrees, so soup seemed the best idea for the dinner menu tonight. I make several kinds of potato soups regularly, but spicy potato is by far my favorite.
It is all about comfort foods. When the cold weather hits, it is great to hunker down with some hot soup, buttery biscuits and finish with some melt-in-your-mouth cake warm from the oven. This is my go-to potato soup, over the traditional cream of potato soup; I like the spiciness and the sautéed onions add a deep, rich flavor. The garlic biscuits are a nice complement to the soup. I was going to find a healthy dessert for tonight, but then thought to heck with it, it’s cold and we need chocolate. Rich, gooey, chocolaty goodness.
On the board tonight:
- Spicy Potato Soup
- Garlic Biscuits
- Mocha Cake
Spicy Potato Soup
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- ½ lb spicy ground sausage, browned and drained
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (opt)
- 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 16 oz chicken broth
- 6 potatoes, well scrubbed, unpeeled and cubed
- 4 cups milk
- 4 tbsp flour
- 8 oz shredded cheddar or jack
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about five minutes. Add sausage, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, garlic, broth, & potatoes. Mix milk & flour, add. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes until potatoes are soft. If it’s too thick, add water. With a potato masher, slightly mash a few of the potatoes. Serve with cheese to garnish.
- 2 cups flour
- 4 tbsp buttermilk powder*
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup butter or shortening
- 3 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 cup milk*
bowl and baking sheet or cast iron skillet, greased
I prefer using butter over shortening because it gives the biscuits a buttery, garlic flavor that is irresistible.
Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter, stir in garlic, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet or cast iron skillet, and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
*or substitute 1 cup buttermilk, then omitting buttermilk powder and milk.
- 1 cup flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
- 1 cup very hot coffee**
- 8×8 inch baking dish, lightly oiled
Preheat oven to 350°
This is a pudding style cake, so you don’t want to over bake it. You’ll serve it warm and directly from the pan. When you cut into it a thick, gooey chocolate center will be revealed.
From the top list: combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Combine milk, oil, & vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture. Stir well. Pour batter into baking dish. From the bottom list: combine sugar & cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir. Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched, do not over bake.
** for a stronger coffee flavor, double the ground coffee to water ratio, or use espresso.
- Salad fixin’s
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 celery stalks
- ½ lb spicy ground sausage
- 16 oz chicken broth
- 6 potatoes (russets work best)
- 5-1/2 cups milk
- 8 oz shredded cheddar or jack
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- Coffee or espresso to make 1 strong cup
Also: flour, sugar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, cayenne, salt, pepper, baking powder, oil, vanilla
Originally posted on February 2011
Phew, almost forgot about the recipe exchange – was out house hunting and lost track of time.
I am just not sure how it got to November 1st already. I am not ready for the holiday season to begin. I am thinking about Christmas Eve dinner menu, though, because I am hosting again this year. Suppose to visit family for Thanksgiving, but that may not happen, so I might have to begin to think about that menu, as well.
BTW, in case you missed it – and if you visited the blog anytime in the last week, how could you have – my beloved Boston Red Sox are World Series Champions.
I decided it was stew weather. When things get chilly and busy, stew is one of those things I love to have slow cooking when I get home in the evening. In my mind, stew is best when it’s simple: meat, potatoes, carrots, turnips or rutabaga, onions, salt, pepper and a bay leaf. But I understand that there are as many stews as there are families who enjoy them. With that in mind I have a few recipes and the featured recipe will be a simple one that you can add anything to that suits your fancy.
Let’s start with the Dinner Menu this week, which is Spicy Chicken Stew and Sweet Potatoes with Apples (click here).
Tes at Home had a Beef Stew with Apples, link here.
I have a Beef Stew in Wine with both pressure cooker and slow-cooker instructions here.
And finally JeffreyW does a Guinness Lamb Stew, pictured above and recipe here.
What’s on the menu for the weekend? How do you dress up your stew recipes? Hit the comments and share your tips.
Now for the featured recipe with bonus biscuits:
- 1 lb chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 4-6 small potatoes, quartered
- 2 small turnips or rutabaga, peeled and quartered
- 8 oz baby carrots, halved
- pinch of rosemary
- 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
- ½ tsp ea. salt & pepper
- 7 cups water
- 2 tbsp flour
Heat oil in skillet and brown beef (you can do this the night before and refrigerate with all the pan drippings). Place meat, onion, turnip or rutabaga, potatoes, carrots & spices in the slow-cooker, add 6 cups water and cook according to slow-cooker directions, (usually 8 to 10 hours on low). Before serving, turn heat to high, mix 1 cup water and flour completely, add to stew, stirring constantly, and cook additional 10-15 minutes.
- 1-1/2 cups white flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup milk
large bowl and baking sheet
Mix dry ingredients together, cut in shortening, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
Tags: apples, bay leaf, beef, beef stew, biscuits, carrots, cinnamon sticks, food, FULL Dinner Menus, gala, garlic, honey crisp, mcintosh, menu, onion, potatoes, raisins, recipe, Recipes, rosemary, What's 4 Dinner Solutions, wheat flour
I think potatoes are one of my favorite foods. So many things you can do with them. I’ve covered a lot of recipes for potatoes over the years, but there always seems to be more. Tonight I wanted to cover a simple recipe, but one that is oh so good. Time consuming, but you can make part of it ahead of time and assemble before the final baking.
For some less laborious baked potatoes, let’s start with some easier, foolproof recipes:
Quick and easy baked potatoes, instructions here. I love these because by splitting the potato you get a nice crispy roasted flavor.
And if you missed it, this week’s Dinner Menu – Beef and Pepper Subs with Walnut Pear Salad, can be found here.
What’s on the weekend agenda? Any fun pre-Halloween plans like corn mazes or pumpkin hay rides? Hit the comments, and don’t forget to share your favorite potato (or other) recipes. And what do you think, should we tackle pumpkin recipes next week?
Tonight I’m feature two recipes:
Twice Baked Potatoes
(pictured at the top of the post)
These potatoes are packed full and could be a complete meal with a nice salad. You can bake the potatoes a day ahead, refrigerate them and then prep quickly before dinner.
- 5 large baking potatoes, washed and scrubbed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces bacon, chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped (reserve 2 tbsps of chopped greens for garnish)
- 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 oz shredded Jack cheese
- 8 oz sour cream
- 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
Additional Ideas to make it a meal: Fresh chopped broccoli, diced mushrooms to mix in
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Rub the potatoes with the olive oil and salt. Place in the oven, pierce each with a fork and bake until fork-tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let the potatoes sit until cool enough to handle (or refrigerate for preparation the next day)
Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and the fat is rendered, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chopped onions and cook until tender-crisp, 1-2 minutes. Drain bacon and onions on paper towels.
Cut ONE potato in half and scoop out completely. Place the pulp in a large bowl.
Cut the top quarter from each of the remaining FOUR potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Season the inside of the shells with salt and pepper and place the potato shells on the baking sheet.
Using a handheld masher, mash the potato pulp until smooth. Add 2 oz of each cheese, the sour cream, butter, bacon, cooked onions, salt, pepper and mix well with a fork. Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato shells, top with the remaining cheese and bake at 400 degrees until hot and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with remaining onion greens.
All those leftover potato tops can be used in soup or other recipe.
How about changing things up with the next recipe?
Photo by, who else, JeffreyW.
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
- 4 sweet potatoes, washed scrubbed
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Pierce potatoes with a fork and place sweet potatoes on sheet tray and bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle (again you can make a day ahead and refrigerate at this point).
Cut the top quarter from each of the potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Season the inside of the shells with salt and brown sugar and place the potato shells on the baking sheet.
In another bowl, add brown sugar, butter and cream cheese and the all of the spices and mash with a fork or rubber spatula. Add the butter and cream cheese mixture to the sweet potato flesh and mash completely. Add the filling back to the potato skins and place on a half sheet tray. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
I’ve had a stressful couple of weeks and haven’t had much time to spend in the kitchen. I decided I really wanted to try this method of cooking fish and was pleasantly surprised that spending two evenings in the kitchen testing it out, really shifted my mood and relaxed me. I know that is not the case for everyone, even thinking of what to make for dinner can create stress. That’s probably the biggest reason I do this, write down recipes, because I want to help alleviate, or at the very least reduce, that stress. So simple, tasty and foolproof is my mantra.
I think this recipe falls into that category, even though it’s a bit more elegant than my normal weeknight menus. I tested it on fish, boneless chicken breast and boneless chicken thighs. It worked equally well on all of them, so I’ll post instructions for each below.
In case it seems a bit more complicated than you’re comfortable with, I have a similar recipe that’s simpler, but just as tasty, Crispy Potato Chicken (found here).
What’s on your plate tonight? Any big weekend plans? Anyone doing any canning or freezing of the summer’s bounty? I just finished of the last jar of my brother’s excellent salsa. He is taunting me that he’s making more, but it’s an 800 mile round trip, so not exactly practical to drop by for another couple of jars.
Tonight’s featured recipe:
Potato Encrusted Fish or Chicken
- 2 large baking potatoes
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 tsp Old Bay Spice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp salted butter
- salt & pepper to taste
- 4-6 ounce fish fillets ( I used cod. Haddock, tilapia or any firm fish will work)
- 2 large boneless chicken breast , cut into equal halves
- 4 boneless chicken thighs
Wash and shred the potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. I don’t peel them. Drain them well. I squeezed the water out by hand and then patted with a paper towel. Then combine in a bowl with onions, salt, pepper and old bay spice.
Season chicken or fish fillets with salt and pepper. You want the fillets to be fairly equal in size, so halve the breasts and trim the fillets so they are about 4×4 in size.
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. When the oil and butter are hot, spoon 4 small, evenly spaced mounds of the shredded potatoes (each about 1/3 cup) into the skillet (my skillet is small, I had to do two at a time). Press a portion of fish or chicken into each mound and cover with the remaining potatoes. Cover the skillet. Cook the potato packages over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes. Add additional oil if needed (I added a little as I turned each piece). Turn them carefully with a large spatula and cook them for 4 minutes, remove the lid and continue to cook for an additional to 2 to 3 minutes uncovered. The potatoes should be nicely crusted on both sides. This should be plenty of time for the fish. For the chicken, depending on the thickness, reduce heat to low and cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
X-Posted at Balloon-Juice
JeffreyW raids his garden and comes up with a beautiful dinner
Back from my trip to Nebraska, where unlike Colorado, gardens are full of veggies to harvest. We had lots of fresh corn, peppers, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes with each meal. So I thought tonight we should raid the garden for recipes. If you don’t have a garden or it’s late to produce (I’m looking at you backyard garden), don’t forget your local farmer’s market or farm stand. I really like going to local farm stands, the prices are often more reasonable than a farmer’s market. Two of my local stands have Facebook pages where they list what’s fresh this week and even have coupon specials.
The lovely photo above from JeffreyW is what inspired the theme tonight. Here’s his simple solution for taking advantage of his prolific patio pots: Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes on Pasta (recipe here)
One of my favorite recipes during the summer is Grilled Sweet Peppers and Potatoes (click here).
And finally something a bit different and fun to do with all that zucchini and summer squash: Squash Confetti (recipe here).
And just a reminder, full menus are available on Mondays and this week the menu is all garden fresh (menu is here).
Well I’m off to the evening Art Walk, where my friends will be drumming and where the streets will be filled with local artists’ creations. Tomorrow is the RiverWalk – vendors, musicians, farmer’s market and lots of kids events along the St. Vrain river. What are your plans for the weekend? Planning anything fun on the grill? How is your garden coming along? Hit the comments and don’t forget to share some favorite garden recipes.
On to tonight’s featured recipes, Green Beans w/ Yellow Pepper Butter, Spinach-Raspberry Salad and Spicy Fruit Kabobs:
Green Beans w/ Yellow Pepper Butter
Last time I was at the farm stand, they had four different kinds of green beans and I used a mixture of all of them in this recipe.
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ yellow sweet pepper, seeded & shredded
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 oz chopped cashews
- 16 oz fresh green beans, trimmed & cut
- ½ yellow pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips
- salt & pepper to taste
Melt butter in saucepan, add shredded pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice & cashews, stir for 1 minute, remove & set aside. Add steamer to saucepan, add beans & just enough water to reach bottom of the steamer. Steam beans for 5 minutes, add strips of pepper and cook until beans are tender-crisp, additional 5-7 minutes. Remove steamer and drain water from saucepan. Add all ingredients into saucepan and heat 1 minute, tossing to coat with butter mixture. Serve immediately.
The easiest way to wash fresh from the garden spinach (and leaf lettuce) is to fill a sink with water and soak the spinach (swish it a couple of times). Pull it out and place it in a strainer, drain the sink and repeat. With the two soaks, all the dirt should sink to the bottom. Run through a salad spinner and you should have dirt free spinach.
- 8 oz fresh spinach leaves
- ½ pint fresh raspberries
- 4 oz chopped pecans
- Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
- 2 oz mild bleu cheese, crumbled
Wash and thoroughly dry spinach & raspberries, add to serving bowl with pecans, toss with dressing and add crumbled bleu cheese.
Spicy Fruit Kabobs
You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe.
- 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
- 2 pears, cored
- 2 apples, cored
- 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
- 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
- ½ cup warmed honey
- ½ cup warm water
- ¼ cup limejuice
- 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
- 1 to 2 tsp chili paste
13×9 glass baking dish, blender
Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.
See you next week.
Tags: apples, art walk, bananas, basil, bleu cheese, Cantaloupe, chicken, food, friday recipe exchange, garden fresh, garlic, honey, honeydew, melons, menu, onions, pasta, pears, potatoes, raspberry, Recipes, red peppers, riverwalk, spinach, st. vrain, summer squash, sweet peppers, tomatoes, yellow pepper, yellow squash, zucchini
It’s been over 100 degrees most of this week and when that happens, I want only two things: cold fruits and cold vegetables. Okay and maybe some ice cream, but we already did that post. So it seemed like a good time to revisit cold salads. Coleslaw and pasta were covered here and tonight will be about cucumbers and potato salads. I should think between all of those you’ll have plenty of choices for holiday cookouts this next week. Which reminds me, there will be no recipe exchange next week.
My dad is an avid gardener and until he catches on, I often plan my summer trip home in time to coincide with tomato, cucumber, and corn harvest. I always come home with a big bag of produce. My youngest brother is following in his footsteps, so my bag of goodies overfloweth. I’m not a bad gardener myself, but my current location has not proved productive. So I’ll take advantage where I can.
The abundance of cucumbers inspires my brother and his wife to makes jars and jars of pickles, but I’m not as ambitious. Instead, I like to make a variety of cucumber salads, three of which are tonight’s featured recipes.
To start off, let’s talk potato salads. I suspect there are as many recipes as their are families. My mom makes one I still cannot duplicate, but everyone wants her to bring to family gatherings. It’s got lots of mayo, onions and mustard in it. I make do with a different take on the salad with a lighter touch with my Italian Potato Salad (recipe here).
One of my favorite posts ever was when I asked everyone to send me their favorite Potato Salad Recipes and I received quite a few, those recipes are here. Talk about variety.
Moving into the cucumber section of the garden, JeffreyW makes Cucumber Kimchi (click here), not to be missed.
My family has a favorite (and pretty traditional) Cucumber and Tomato Salad (recipe here)
Now it’s your turn. What’s on your plate (figuratively and literally) for the mid-week holiday celebration? Cook-outs? Fireworks (a must for me)? Waterpark? What do you absolutely crave when the mercury rises to new heights? Hit the comments and share your recipes.
Now the featured recipes, three quick and easy cucumber salads:
Simple Cucumber Salad (pictured above)
I grabbed what looked good at the farmer’s market, you can change up the ingredients to your faves.
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup wine vinegar
- 1 English cucumber, washed and sliced thin
- 2 cucumbers, washed* and sliced thin (I did a little decorative peeling before I sliced it)
- 1 sweet red pepper, washed, sliced thin (or substitute orange or yellow)
- 3 tomatoes, washed and sliced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- pinch of dill
- salt and pepper to taste
- opt: garlic, basil, rosemary – one or more of this depending on your tastes
Add sliced onion and vinegar to a bowl and marinate onion for at least 30 minutes. Prepare the rest of the vegetables and toss gently with the onion slices (reserve vinegar). Mix together 3 tbsp (or more if desired) of the vinegar and 1/2 cup olive oil and pour over vegetables. Add salt, pepper, dill and toss gently. Let rest for 5-10 minutes at room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to serve. This one is best if it’s served within an hour – the vegetables are still crisp and that enhances the fresh, light flavors of the dish.
*If it’s been waxed, you’ll probably want to peel it completely before slicing
Chipotle Lime Cucumber Salad
- 3 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Chipolte Lime Dressing (bottle or recipe below)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
Mix together dressing and mayonnaise, add to sliced cucumber, toss and refrigerate. With this dish, the longer it has, the better the flavors blend. So at least an hour or more ahead of time. I made it for a bridal shower and actually made it the night before.
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp agave syrup or honey
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1-2 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced finely (start with one, add another as desired)
- salt to taste
Mix ingredients together well. Goes great on salads, tacos and as a marinade, too.
Now for something completely different, these have a distinct Mediterranean feel.
- 2 English cucumbers, sliced or diced, don’t peel (no wax, thin skins)
- 2 mild red chilies, chopped
- 1 tsp dried mint, crushed (or 2 oz fresh leaves)
- 4 oz dates or figs, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 to 4 tsp sugar
- salt & pepper to taste
- feta cheese as optional garnish
Mix vinegar with sugar and toss with remaining ingredients, salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with feta
And plenty of hot sauce! Always frugal, I used leftover fries from last night as a base for the hash, and there was plenty of brisket left for this. No onions in this one, there is a whole fresh jalapeno sans seeds, minced. Cholula, added as an afterthought, was a good call.
In my last post I hinted at a new grill. Here it is, set up and pre-heating. Last Saturday I wandered into a local store in the midst of a spring sale. I thought I was in the “just looking” phase but when they mentioned a waiver of the sales tax, along with free set up and delivery, I pulled out the credit card. This one is a Weber Genesis EP 330.
I put together too much stuff for the first day cooking with it, some of it sits on the side tables ready to grill. I did corn, asparagus, potatoes, portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and t-bone steaks. I also bought squash and red and yellow bell peppers, and a pineapple but reason won out and those I saved for later.
The steaks were just right, the corn was perfect, as was the asparagus. The zucchini, alas, was undercooked, and the potatoes were a tad too done. The mushrooms! They were just superb! The got a marinade of EVOO and balsamic vinegar with lots of garlic and some minced onion. Five minutes per side over a medium flame, Delicious!