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Category Archives: Recipes

Spaghetti Carbonara

dsc_2207-1600x1200I used too many eggs for the amount of pasta I had* but I had no complaints from Gabe, our plate licker.  Some slices of the porchetta went into this one, it works well enough but I think I actually prefer just plain bacon.

*2 whole eggs plus 2 yolks for 7oz dry spaghetti

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Egg Roll Wrapper Lasagna

20170216_080340-1600x1200I don’t remember where I first saw this tip but they really do work very well.  I do remember the chef saying, “after all, they’re just thin sheets of pasta”.  These wraps are 8″ square.20170215_165815-1600x1200I peeled them off two at a time for the first layers but tried to separate them better when it looked as though they would run short.  20170215_205851-1600x1200Setting the tray outside to take advantage of the evening chill to help set the lasagna, it cooled enough by bed time to slice cleanly. I lost count as it was assembled but I think there are four layers.  It went sauce – wrap -sauce -spinach, ricotta, and Parmesan mix – crumbled sausage – wrap, repeated until I ran out of wraps.  It finished with a generous layer of shredded mozzarella atop the last of the ricotta mix and sausage.20170215_205919-1600x1200It baked at 350 for nearly an hour, covered.  I took the lid off for the last 10-15 minutes.

Valentine’s Day Cornish Game Hen Dinner Menu

Raspberry Cake 1 1

I think going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day is a fool’s errand. Better a quiet dinner at home. This is surprisingly quick and easy for a weeknight holiday. Flourless Chocolate Torte (above and recipe here) is on the actual menu tonight.

In case you’re feeling really ambitious, click here for JeffreyW’s wonderful stuffing recipe.  And if you’re looking for a more elegant dessert for Valentine’s Day try this recipe for Raspberry-Chocolate Cupcakes in Raspberry Sauce.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cornish Game Hens w/Stuffing
  2. Buttered Peas and Carrots
  3. Tossed Salad
  4. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Cornish Game Hens

  • 2 pkgs. stuffing mix
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup boiling water or chicken broth
  • 4 Cornish game hens, cut in half *
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

9×13 glass baking dish

Add stuffing mix, 2 tbsp melted butter and boiling water to baking dish, stir & spread evenly over bottom of baking dish. Lay hens cut side down over stuffing (it’s a tight fit, but you should be able to get all 8 halves in the 13×9 pan). Melt remaining butter, add spices and mix well. Brush some over hens and continue to baste every 10-15 minutes while baking. Bake at 350 to 375° until internal temperature is 175 ° about 45 minutes. Remove, cover loosely with foil and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 4

*Hens will have to thawed completely and you’ll need a sharp knife to cut them in half. You can check with your butcher to see if they’ll cut them for you. If you don’t want to cut them in half, cook them whole and allow 1 hour 10 minutes cooking time.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Preheat oven to 375°

  • ¾ cup chunky peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 13-16 oz bag Hershey’s Kisses

2 bowls and baking sheet

Combine peanut butter, butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in bowl. Beat with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add egg, beat until blended. In small bowl, combine flour, salt & soda. Add to creamed mixture at low-speed until just blended (don’t over mix). Scrape sides and bottom and make sure all flour is mixed. Drop by heaping teaspoon full onto baking sheet, unwrap kisses and press 1 into each cookie. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove to racks and cool.

Shopping List:

  • 2 pkgs. stuffing mix
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 Cornish game hens, cut in half if possible
  • chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 13-16 oz bag Hershey’s Kisses
  • 1 egg
  • 16 oz bag frozen peas and carrots
  • Tossed salad ingredients

Also: rosemary, sage, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, milk, flour, baking soda, chicken broth

Tidbits

dsc_2130-1600x1200Breakfast!  This is the last of the pork belly porchetta.  I have the other half of that pork belly thawing for another go at it.  I need to find some more fennel fronds.dsc_2137-1600x1200I made a sticky chicken dish the other day, pretty good stuff.  The sauce is honey, sesame oil, soy, oyster sauce, ketchup, black vinegar, sweet soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.  The chicken is chopped bone in thighs plus some thin sliced breast.  Marinate in the same sauce.  The only other veggie is a big Vidalia onion.dsc_2144-1600x1200And the next day we had a rehash of the sticky chicken done as a fried rice dish.  I added some snow peas and a few sweet red peppers, plus a scrambled egg fried thin and then sliced.20170213_100914-1600x1200I still need practice with my bun making, don’t quite yet have the hang of it.dsc_2141-1600x1200They work well enough.  That’s my own garlic pepper sausage, it’s a good recipe.20170213_114221-1600x1200Sometimes grilled peppers and onions hit the spot, but I can get by with fresh without feeling bad about it.  I need to make some more slaw.20170213_110223-1600x1200Cookies!  More of those coconut chocolate chip oatmeal raisin cookies.  We keep running out.  I bought a big canister of oats this time.dsc_2126-1600x1200Mmm… cheeseburger!  I made this with the next to last slice of that porchetta.  The provolone was sliced thin and melted to envelope the entire burger patty like it had been sprayed on.20170208_155641-1600x1200Beer can roast chicken. I thought that the drippings were going to burn when I looked in on this thing so it got a half cup of water added while roasting.  That helped to keep it moist, too.dsc_5588-1600x1200I was noodling around with the camera the other evening, doing some low light snaps, and caught all the excitement!  Ms Bea is particularly agitated.

Puttering About In The Kitchen

dsc_2133-1600x1200I still have a few slices of the porchetta tenderloin to use and had one of them in a skillet warming, not really with a firm plan.  Hmm… open a can of tomato bits with green chilies and dump that in.  Needs to go atop something… pasta?  Polenta!  Wait, there’s a slice of cornbread left over from the red beans.  Frugal is my middle name.

This worked so well I may use it again with purpose baked cornbread.  Maybe the kind made with creamed corn.  Hmm… creamed corn and black beans?

Porchetta Pork Tenderloin

20170206_092403-1600x1200I mentioned the other day that porchetta was more a technique than a recipe, here it is with a big pork tenderloin as a starting point.  Youtube is chock full of how-to videos describing butterflying tenderloins.  There seems to be two schools of thought on the proper procedure:  reverse jelly roll slice and sliced like opening a book.  I managed a third way – cut through too far and it becomes two pieces you then have to pound flat and then overlap when rolling.20170206_104016-1600x1200I made a stuffing out of garlic, onion, cornbread, sauteed mushrooms, and crispy bacon plus some of the herbs leftover from my last project – rosemary, sage, and chives.  I processed the stuffing down to not quite a paste and slathered it on.  It really needed the string.20170206_112912-1600x1200The roast was laid on onion slices to help keep it off the bottom of the roasting pan.  It went into a 450 oven for 20 minutes then the temp was lowered to 325 until the internal temps reached 140 degrees, about 40-45 minutes more.  Deglaze the roasting pan with white wine then strain the juices into a sauce pan.  I added chicken stock and the juices that came out of the roast as it rested.  Reduce to thicken or add a corn starch slurry.20170206_113302-1600x1200

Pasta Pr0n – Sausages in Marinara Sauce

dsc_2085-1600x1200Some of those garlic pepper sausages, browned in olive oil, and then simmered in a garlicky tomato sauce.dsc_2084-1600x1200And an artsy shot with a wide aperture to blur the background.  The sausages were not explicitly Italian, there isn’t any fennel in the recipe, but they work very well in this dish.

Dinner Menu: Pork Roast and Tangy Lemon Pie

Reposting by request. I hear the Girl Scout Lemon Cookies make great crust.

Lemon Pie plates_Snapseed1

When things get hectic, as they can be during the week, stir frying can be the quickest way to get dinner on the table. What I love about stir frying, along with the speed, is the freshness of the vegetables. Done properly, they are crisp and full of flavor. You can substitute chicken breast or tofu for the pork in this recipe if you desire.

And for dessert, a quick and easy lemon pie with a secret ingredient to make it extra tangy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pork Bowl
  2. Tossed Salad
  3. Tangy Lemon Pie

Pork Bowl

  • 5 ounces rice sticks or noodles
  • 12 ounces boneless lean pork
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp dried lemongrass or 1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • ½ to 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 green onions
  • ½ ea red and yellow sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 to 4 ounces snow peas, washed
  • 1 medium orange, peeled and thinly sliced

3 bowls, wok or large skillet

Prep rice sticks or noodles according to package directions.  Slice pork into thin strips.  In a bowl, combine pork with fish sauce, lemon grass, sesame oil, crushed red pepper and garlic. In a separate bowl, stir together broth, soy sauce and cornstarch, set aside. Heat olive oil in wok over medium heat, cook onions, pepper strips and snow peas for 2 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp.  Remove from wok.

Add more oil if necessary and add meat mixture and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until pork is no longer pink.  Push to sides of the wok, add soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. Stir in pork and onion mixture. Drain noodles and add to meat mixture, toss until well coated. Add orange slices and serve immediately.

Tangy Lemon Pie

  • 12 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 9 inch graham cracker pie crust (or Lemony Crust, recipe below)
  • 4 oz whipped cream (whip your own or use a pre-made real cream whipped cream)

Combine milk, yolks with mixer or blender until well mixed. Add 6 tbsp lemon juice, mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 250° for 20 minutes. When pie is cool, top with whipped cream and refrigerate. Decorate with lemon slices if you like and serve.

If you have time, I made a perfect crust to go with it that really enhanced the lemon flavor and was a big favorite with everyone.

Lemony Crust

  • 2 cups of crushed lemon sandwich cookies ( I actually used a mix of lemon sandwich cookies and frosted lemon cookies)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 9-inch pie plate

It took about 1/2 package of the sandwich cookies and a handful of the lemon frosted cookies to make 2 cups of crumbs.  Combine with butter, mix well and press into and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes and let cool thoroughly before adding pie filling.  Bake as directed above.

Note: You can use bottled lemon juice, but I found the taste was better with freshly squeezed lemon; it takes approx. 2 lemons for 7 tbsp of juice.

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2014 Copyright What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Spring Edition

Stir Fry Dinner Menu: Orange Chicken and Broccoli

orange-chicken-dinner

I’m not big on deep frying anything, but I love orange chicken so I wanted to find a way to make it so it was still crisp without all the oil and breading. I found the perfect ingredient to produce that result: potato starch. I’ve been using it for a while now and it makes the most perfect Oven Baked Chicken – I’ve been substituting it for the bread crumbs, combining it with crushed rice chex – I’ll post an updated recipe on that technique this week.

I thought it might have the same effect on pan frying chicken pieces. It did. Crispy, light and flavorful. Of course top anything with enough orange sauce and I’m there.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pan-Fried Orange Chicken
  2. Rice or Rice Noodles
  3. Steamed Broccoli

orange-chicken

Pan-Fried Orange Chicken

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp sriracha or chili sauce (opt)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp corn starch

bowl

Mix together in bowl and set aside

Chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken boneless breast (or thighs), cut into large chunks
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 green onions, chopped – save 1 tbsp of chopped greens for garnish
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish
  • 2 tbsp oil (more as needed)

2 plates, skillet or wok

Add salt and pepper to potato starch. Drizzle a bit of oil over chicken pieces to coat. Dredge in potato starch mixture and move to clean plate. Finish all chicken before cooking.

I used to have a wok, but never got the results I wanted from it. Then I heard Ming Tsai discuss how a skillet works better in regular kitchens because a wok really needs a commercial heat source to get it hot enough to cook the way it is designed. Got rid of my wok and use my skillet now. So don’t feel you need a wok to stir-fry things.

Heat oil and add onions (whites and green) quickly stir until they have softened (about 1 minutes) and then add chicken pieces – one at a time so they all touch oil/skillet surface.  You may have to cook chicken in two batches depending on the size of your pan.

Fry until golden on one side, then flip to brown the other side.  Then I tossed it around a bit until it was golden on all sides.

If you cooked in two batches, remove first batch to clean plate and cook the second batch. Add all chicken back to pan, coat with Orange Sauce and toss until it’s all coated. Let sauce heat through thoroughly over low heat. Serve with rice (or noodles), garnish with sesame seeds and onion greens.



 

 

Sausage!

20170128_080323-1600x1200We made a trip up to Behrmann’s yesterday because that was the closest place that I was sure carried the sausage casings I needed for my last batch of sausage.

Homemade Garlic Sausage Ingredients:

  • 5-lbs ground pork
  • 8-tsp minced garlic, about 10 cloves
  • 5-tbsp fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3-tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5-tsp salt
  • 5-tbsp paprika
  • ½-cup chopped fresh chives green onion tops
  • 1-cup red wine

Once the pork shoulder was boned and ground with some extra beef fat I saved from trimming several rib steaks I had enough to double that recipe.  I left out the paprika and used the green tops from a couple bunches of spring onions to sub for the chives.  I wanted the garlic to really shout its presence so there are about 25 cloves in there plus a generous sprinkle of granulated garlic.20170128_082707-1600x1200Most of the batch was vac sealed and stowed in the big freezer.  I saved some out to grill but haven’t cooked any of the links.20170126_125220-1600x1200I did try out a patty or two.  A nice sausage egg biscuit!  Breakfast pr0n!  LOL