Like I said before, a family favorite. This one uses those ridged elbow macaroni we found at the local Amish store, the only place we’ve seen it aside from pictures online. We made a mornay sauce of Swiss cheese and added a goodly dollop of sour cream. The ground beef was browned with celery and onion. We added a generous slug of buttermilk to the white sauce before mixing in the cheese, and stirred in a cup of the pasta water, too. I think it baked for a half hour at 350, covered, and then was topped with some shredded “pizza style” cheese and baked for another 10-15 minutes to toast that off. That cheese was a mix of mozzarella and provolone plus others I can’t recall at the moment.
Dinner Menu: Carne en su Jugo
I had big plans for cooking this week, which all went to hell by the end of today. So perfect time for a Men Who Cook/Guest Recipe.
Tonight we have a guest menu from my friend Alton Gunn, who has provided us with several good recipes. It’s delicious, I’ve been lucky enough to have it several times (good are the friends who feed you).
On the board tonight:
- Carne en su Jugo
- Pico de Gallo
- Margarita Melon Salad
Carne en su Jugo
- ½ lb bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 lb sirloin steak, sliced thin and then cut in 1-inc pieces
- 1 can (28oz) tomatillos
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 can pinto beans
- sour cream for garnish
- shredded cheese
- chopped onions for garnish
- fresh lime juice for garnish
- Brown the bacon in a large dutch oven. Add the beef and cook until brown (leave the bacon grease in the pot).
- Blend the tomatillos in your food processor and strain well to remove the seeds. Add about a cup of the tomatillo liquid back into the food processor and blend with the cilantro, and garlic.
- Add the tomatillo/cilantro/garlic sauce and the rest of the strained tomatillo liquid to the beef and bacon. Add salt to taste.
- Stir in pinto beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beef is tender, about 1 hour.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with pico de gallo (recipe below), fresh lime, sour cream.
- Serve corn or flour tortillas on the side.
Al’s Notes: I’ve made this with beef and pork. The basic sauce is good for stewing pretty much any meat. Will try chicken next. Works well in the crockpot
Pico de Gallo
- chopped onion
- chopped tomato
- chopped cilantro
- splash of lime
Mix together 20 to 30 minutes or more before meal.
Margarita Melon Salad
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 shots tequila
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (I used Triple Sec)
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- ½ cantaloupe, seeded and cubed
- ¼ honeydew melon, seeded and cubed
- ¼ small watermelon, cubed
Many markets sell halved melons and wedges of watermelon, making it easy to prepare this salad closer to desired amounts.
Combine lime juice, tequila, liqueur, and sugar in a bowl. Add melons and toss to coat with tequila and lime. Serve in shallow bowls.
Originally posted July 2010
Potato Salad Pr0n – Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
We were quite taken with the store-bought baked potato salad we bought the other day at the market. I was determined to make some and today seemed like a good day. Alas! I could only turn up a handful of small yellow potatoes. I did have a little bag of Brussels sprouts so I thought “why not”? I quartered the potatoes and halved the sprouts and set them to roasting on a tray at 400 in the oven, drizzling a little olive oil over them first. When they had a little brown on them I dumped the lot into a big bowl, adding sour cream and mayo, about a cup each. Also add chopped crisp bacon, I used six slices, and a fair measure of cheese. I have about one and a half cups of mixed cheddar and jack cheese. Chopped green onions are in the classic recipe but I had none, and judged the sprouts sufficient. I did rethink and add a bit of chopped parsley for a garnish. The crisp outer leaves of the sprouts go great in this, don’t try to pick them off!Some roasted chicken thighs set the salad off perfectly, I brushed them with bbq sauce at the end, and glopped a little more on them for the table. Yes, we keep napkins at the table. LOL
Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Non-Traditional Side Dishes
This is the time of year when we get a lot of blog visits from people looking for side dishes. And I have a lot of recipes for the traditional holiday sides, desserts and instructions on the various ways to cook your turkey. JeffreyW has a ton of mouthwatering photos. All of that can be found at at this link.
I thought it would be nice though, to focus on some non-traditional sides for tonight’s recipe exchange. In case you were looking for something different to showcase this year.
Soups make a nice starter at for any meal and tonight’s featured recipe is a savory winter soup. I also have a nice Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, (click here)
JefferyW favors brussels sprouts and came up with this wonderful recipe, Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin pictured above. (click here)
Roasted Brussels sprouts are pretty easy, and leave it to Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch” with his Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Grilled Onions. (click here)
I’m not big on the whole candied sweet potatoes, so I went looking for alternatives and found three I like, African Sweet Potato Salad, Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes and Apples, click here for all the recipes. You can also just roast them in the oven, and I found two really good recipes here (honey roasted) and here (thyme roasted).
What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you doing the cooking or does someone else have the honors? And most importantly, what are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?
The Thanksgiving featured recipe is one that works great as an appetizer:
Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep? Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.
Winter Squash Soup
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 carrot, quartered
- 1 celery stalk, quartered
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Chopped chives (for garnish)
Large sauce pan
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.
***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***
Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.
That’s everything this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next Friday, but next week I’ll be featuring more recipes for the holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – TaMara
Dinner Menu: Lemon Nut Pork Chops and Raspberry Poppyseed Cake
I had a request for a Poppyseed Cake, so I thought it was a good enough reason to use it for the menu this week. These are some of my favorite pork chops (the other being my peach chutney pork chops) and a breeze to make. If you want some good baked potato ideas, head on over to last week’s recipe exchange.
On the board tonight:
- Lemon-Nut Pork Chops
- Baked Potatoes
- Steamed Asparagus
- Raspberry Poppy Seed Cake
Lemon-Nut Pork Chops
- 4 boneless pork loin chops (approx. ½” thick)
- ½ tsp crushed garlic
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts (the finer the grind, the better this works, if you have a coffee grinder that’s best)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 lemon, quartered
Rub chops with garlic, salt, pepper, & zest. Melt butter in skillet on medium heat. Brown chops, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Spread 1/4 nuts on plate. Remove chops 1 at a time and press 1 side into nuts. Add ¼ more nuts each time. Sprinkle any remaining nuts over chops. Stir lemon juice into pan drippings, deglaze, heat for 1 minute and spoon over chops. Serve with lemon wedges.
Baked Potatoes – scrub well, rub with olive oil and kosher salt. If you have them, use metal skewers to speed up cooking. You can place two potatoes per skewer. Bake at 450 degrees, for about 30-45 minutes, depending on size of the spuds.
Asparagus – snap ends off each stalk by grabbing the lower, tougher end of the stalk and then tugging on the flower end until the tough bottom stalk snaps off. I use a skillet to steam with just enough water to barely cover stalks, cover and cook for 2 to 8 minutes, until stalks are bright green, but still slightly crisp. Serve with butter or vinaigrette.
Raspberry Poppy Seed Cake
- 2/3 cup sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp poppy seed
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cup flour
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 cup raspberries (about 12 oz)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp flour
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
10” springform pan, greased & floured and 2 bowls
In one bowl, beat sugar & butter until fluffy. Add zest and egg. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. In second bowl, mix together poppy seeds, soda, flour & salt. Add to butter mixture. Add sour cream. Mix well. Spread batter in springform pan. Combine filling ingredients with a fork, mashing slightly and spoon over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly before removing from pan.
- 4 boneless pork loin chops (approx. ½” thick)
- 2 oz finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts
- 2 oz lemon juice
- 1 lemon
- 4 baking potatoes
- 1 lb asparagus
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 sticks butter
- 2-1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp poppy seed
- 4 oz sour cream
- 1 ¾ cup flour
- 12 oz raspberries
Also: baking soda, salt, nutmeg, pepper, crushed garlic, olive oil, kosher salt
Originally posted January 2010
Friday Recipe Exchange: Twice-Baked Potatoes
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.
Smashed potatoes are fun, flavorful and a great side for a dinner party. We have two good recipes, here and here.
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 should probably back up a little. I have been wondering what to do with my habaneros, drying and grinding works but I’ve got enough to last a good while. I went in search of hot sauce recipes. I saw plenty but this one had a nice picture. I stuck fairly close to it and used peaches for the optional fruit because we had a few and I wanted to make it right now! It turned out pretty well:You can understand why I needed something to use it on! I am sure I’ve seen recipes calling for a nice fruity sauce on fish so I set my sights on tacos. There are plenty of recipes out there and tons of pictures so I started making a shopping list. Green onions, red onions, red cabbage, white cabbage, mangoes, more garlic, tortillas, and etc etc. Too late to use the mangoes in the hot sauce but they are prime ingredients for a nice salsa for a fish taco. I made one sans cilantro, using the chopped mint from the patio, where an escaped mint planting is proving itself to be tougher than we are. I cut the habanero sauce with sour cream, shown here, but the sauce wasn’t that hot so it really wasn’t a problem. Tasted pretty good on nachos, but the straight habanero sauce was great on them as well, just a little lip burn. The green chunks in the little bowl on the left are from an experiment I ran with fresh tomatillos, using them in a sour cream based chipotle lime mixture with garlic. It worked well, I think:Here it is, with a drizzle of the habanero hot sauce along with thinly sliced red cabbage.Here’s another corn tortilla based taco. This one has a lime garlic sour cream topping along with the peachy hot sauce. I used cod fillets for these, marinated for a couple hours and then quickly grilled. I used this recipe with only minor changes for the marinade and method, and it was the inspiration for the garlic lime sour cream. I used chipotle powder rather than the adobo sauce.A closer look at the mango salsa on this one in a flour tortilla. It also has a bit of the garlic lime sour cream because I just could not stop myself from adding to it but I suspect it would have been a tad better with just the salsa and the hot sauce. The flavor of the mango salsa would have been better showcased. The mango salsa was very good, I finished it off with nacho chips for scoops.