Friday, November 19, 2010

Bangers and Mustard Mash

These "smashed potatoes" as my Marcus calls them were awesome!  He will not eat potatoes unless they are smashed.  I took a gamble with making Mustard Mash, but it was a winner!  Thanks to Ina, again!  What was not a smash, was the chicken sausage I tried to sneak in there.  I get them all the time when the boys want brats.  I don't eat many brats or hot dogs, so I get chicken sausages.  In all fairness, these were a little spicy.  I got the Italian chicken sausages...should have gone with plain.

Instead of dismissing this recipe as a fail...I think you need to use your favorite sausages and it will be fine.  I had seasoned, like I said, that did not make any of the men in my house happy.  BUT I enjoyed it and I know for next time what NOT to make them.

Served it with steamed broccoli.

by Ina Garten

serves 4-6

2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick, diced)
1/2 cup milk
4 ounces creme fraiche (I didn't find this anywhere so left it out)
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard (didn't do this either)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh veal or chicken sausages (8 large sausages)

Boil potatoes in a large sauce pan with one tablespoon of salt.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Drain and return to pan.  Add butter, milk and creme fraiche and beat potatoes in the pan.  (Use an electric mixer if you like them creamy.)  Mix in the other ingredients.  Add more milk if you need to.

Meanwhile prepare grill and cook sausages about 5 minutes on each side, until brown and cooked through.  Transfer to plate and wrap with foil.  Allow to rest 5 minutes.

To serve, mound a generous portion of potatoes on the plate and top with grilled sausages cut in half diagonally.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Garlic-roasted Cauliflower

Not a fan of cauliflower?  Don't pass this by.  My husband does not like cauliflower and really enjoyed this.  He was surprised, I was glad.  The boys went with the flow, like they usually do.  Marcus called it white broccoli.  Since he loves broccoli, my response was "yep."  I think that any vegetable tastes great roasted!  I am a veggie lover, but if you are not and want to try to eat more veggies, try roasting them.  Try this recipe.  It is inexpensive and delicious!

There is not a whole lot to it.  Just get yourself a couple of small heads of cauliflower, or one large. 

Cut them into pieces (or buy the bag already cut up if you are in a hurry).  I cut them into pieces and threw them in a colander to wash them.  Patted them dry with a paper towel and then put them on the large sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Peel a few garlic cloves and throw them on the sheet (whole).  

Roast in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  When it comes out add olive oil, parsley, lemon juice and pine nuts.  I didn't have the pine nuts on hand and the boys are not fans, so I just omitted them.

You are gonna love this!

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Adapted from How Easy is That? by Barefoot Contessa
Serves 6

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 head of garlic, cloves separated & unpeeled
1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil {divided}
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Begin by toasting the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, until lightly golden {about 5 minutes}.  Be careful!  Nuts burn quickly.  Set aside.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil & add the garlic cloves.  Boil for 15 seconds, drain & peel the skins off.  If the cloves are large, cut them in half.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Lay the cauliflower out on a baking sheet & toss with the garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt & pepper.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, or until the cauliflower is just tender & lightly browned.

Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a bowl & add the parsley, pine nuts, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil & lemon juice.  Toss to combine & serve.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roasted Salmon With Green Herbs

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE salmon.  I love salmon sushi, I love it grilled, sauteed in a skillet, roasted in the oven, but usually I like it with salt and pepper only.  I was weary to try this because I am a fan of plain salmon (maybe a little dill, but not loaded on both sides with herbs!).  I got Ina Garten's latest cookbook when it came out and saw this recipe in it.  Now Ina is my favorite of favorites, I cook from her cookbooks (and I have all of them) regularly and some of our family favorites are her recipes.  I know if I make one of her recipes..I'm gonna be happy.  And that is good for everyone!  :)

My boys love salmon too.  Not quite as much as me, but they do and they gobbled this down.  Marcus asked why there was a bug on his, but once I told him it was a scallion he was fine with it.  These boys crack me up sometimes!  I served it with roasted cauliflower.  Oh my goodness another yummy dish from her new book.  Look for the post, you won't be disappointed.

Start by removing the skin.  (Get it done for you, it's a pain!)  I got it off, but it was not pretty.  Then season it with salt and pepper.  Whisk olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle it evenly over the salmon.  Let it set at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Next, in a small bowl stir together scallions, dill and parsley.

Coat both sides of the salmon with the herbs and pour the wine around the fish.  Roast for 10-12 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes.

Slice and serve!  YUMMY.

 I chose to serve it with her oven roasted cauliflower, which I made first.  I will be posting the recipe next!

Serves 6

1 large (2 to 2 1/2 pound) salmon fillet, bones and skin removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 scallions, white and green parts, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup dry white wine
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Place the salmon fillet in a nonreactive roasting dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature to marinate for 15 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

3. In a bowl, stir together the scallions, dill, and parsley. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet, turning it so that both sides become generously coated with the green herbs. Pour the wine over and around the fish fillet.

4. Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost cooked in the center at the thickest part. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the salmon across into serving pieces and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Banoffee Mess

I love flipping through the cooking shows on television.  I pick up new techniques, watch cooks and chefs prepare new recipes, then I  get to decide if it will end up on our plates for dinner.  It is relaxing, enjoyable and makes me happy.  I caught 5 Ingredient Fix on the food network the other day and immediately looked up the recipe and printed it out!  This is amazingly gooey and delicious:

There is just one thing with this recipe.  You simmer a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours.  Yes, it says 3 hours.  No, it's  not a misprint.  I know.....but if you are going to be home just put on some water, put the can in and put the lid on and simmer it!  I promise you will not be disappointed!

Now start your homemade graham cracker crust.  And for those of you saying, homemade?  YES, homemade.  It is two ingredients and you can do it.  All you need is two cups of ground graham crackers (I put mine in the food processor), and 1 stick of melted butter.  (I melted mine in the microwave.)  Stir it up and press it into the pie plate.  Bake it for 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Let it cool and refrigerate it until you are ready to layer the pie.

After three hours, take out the can and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes so you can handle the can.  

 Just look at that deliciousness!  It is like a toffee, or so says Claire Robinson who made this recipe.  It tastes amazing!!!!!  

Slice your bananas and put a layer right onto the crust.

Layer the the toffee over the bananas.  Yes, all of it!

Add another layer of bananas. 

 Whisk two cups of cream in your mixing bowl.

Top with fresh whipped cream!  YUMMY!

Looks good, right?

Go ahead and try it!  Next time I will be adding more bananas.  The recipe called for 4 of them and I didn't use the as I was just putting one layer.  Next time I will use two bananas per banana layer and stack up as high as I have to.  I will also add some powdered sugar to the whipped cream.  It is delicious like this, but those are changes I will make for next time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rotisserie Chicken on the Grill

Found this draft on my recipe list that I never published!  Is that possible?  How did I not post my beautiful grill that I won?  Shameful!  Well, better late than never!  Here it is:

Doesn't it just look amazing on my deck?  Yes, it does!  Thank you a million times to Recipe Girl for having an amazing contest, which is how I became the lucky winner of this $1300 grill!  I still can't believe I won.  It is absolutely AMAZING!  Notice the searing burner, large grilling area, and of course an additional small grilling area, AND rotisserie!  Oh wait, you have to see the side party wagon...

I really do need to take pictures of the inside!  That bottom right door is the refrigerator.  The one on the left is the trash can.  To the left of that is the bottle opener and the little holder to catch the tops.  :)  Oh did I mention the GRANITE counter?  There is also a cutting board there that can be removed and a glass hinged door that goes in its place, where you put ice and drinks into a deep stainless steel well. 

So I am all excited to cook on my new grill after a trip to Ace Hardware (who have the worst customer service...both phone and face to face) to get the tank.  I come home to a phone call from the hubby that he will be late because he went golfing and the kiddos want hot dogs and hamburgers.  What?  On THIS grill?  Uh, okay.  So here is the first meal cooked....but I did throw a couple steaks on there!  I had to!

Look how shiny that stainless steel is....ooooo baby!  (Yes, I know I'm getting all excited over a grill.  It is awesome!  It was FREE!  I won it!  You will have to live with my excitement for the rest of this post!)

Finally, on to the rotisserie chicken!

It was very easy to get the grill set up.  Take out the warming grate on the larger side and plug in the rotisserie motor.  Here is the rotisserie spit and forks.

Here is Mr Chicken all lubed up and ready to get on the forks!  YUM!  I used Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and olive oil.  I wasn't sure if I could fill the cavity like I do when I roast chicken with lemon and thyme, so I didn't add anything to it but salt and pepper.  Next time I'm going to fill it up!

It wasn't hard to figure out how to get him on the spit, but I didn't know how to keep the wings from sticking out so I tied him up with some kitchen twine and did the same for the legs.

Got him on the grill without an issue.  Placed a sheet pan under to catch the drippings.

I can't resist...isn't it awesome!

I was not sure about cooking time, so I checked it after 35 minutes...nope  not ready yet.  Will look in 30 more!

Looking good!

And ready to take off the grill!

My first try turned out pretty good!  45 minutes without preheating the grill.  So next time I preheat and add more flavor!!!!

Give it a try on your rotisserie!  :)  Or come over and share mine!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pick me, Pick me!

So you all know I'm still pretty much a blog newbie.  I started my blog because people were always asking how I made this dish or that dessert.  They also thought they could never find the time or would have know how to make some to the recipes I make.  Not true.  I'm happy to report that many friends and family members contact me regularly to tell me how they tried something that I posted and the family loved it.  That makes me smile.  

So what is this post all about?  Why is it titled "Pick me, Pick me?"  I am going to try something new.  I am going to try to be selected for an IRON FOODIE Challenge.  I love watching The Iron Chef (the original AND Iron Chef America).  It is exciting and entertaining.  The chefs and cooks who compete create amazing things with the ingredients given.  So to put it plainly...I want to try!  

25 challengers chosen by their answers to 5 questions, will receive a box with 8 secret ingredients. Contestants must use 3 of the 8 ingredients to create their own signature dish. The other 5 ingredients are an extra thank you for participating!  So here are my answers to the questions.  Wish me luck!

1.  Why do you want to compete in this challenge?

I'm a big fan on The Iron Chef.  I love to watch how two chefs take the same ingredients and work their own magic.  It is amazing to see the things they can come up with.  I am in no way comparing myself to the professionals, but I am a foodie that would like to give it a try for myself. 

2.  Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?

Julia Child, without a doubt!  She paved the way for the chefs on television today that give life and "how to" to the delicious recipes they create in their cookbooks and for their shows...convincing us at home that anyone can cook.  And that it should be enjoyable and shared with the ones we love.  Watching on television helps those of us who did not go to culinary school learn a few techniques that will make our lives easier in the kitchen. 

3.  What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?

I'm not one for swiping off anyone's plate, but I am a lover of all things chocolate.  I love chocolate cake, cookies, brownies, ice cream, even stout.    

4.  Sum your childhood up in one meal.

Goulash.  My favorite dish that my mom made was Goulash.  Warm and comforting, it always made me smile.  (Come to think of it, I need to get that recipe!)  I'm not sure where she got the recipe.  I don't think it is some handed down by the generations recipe, but I always found comfort in a big, hot bowl.  And the smell that filled the kitchen was amazing.

5.  The one mainstream food you can’t stand?

Fast Food.  I know that is not one food, but I absolutely hate fast food and I cannot remember the last time I have eaten at a fast food restaurant. 

Well, there you have it.  Do I stand a chance?  How many people enter?  What the heck will I create?  Who knows, but it will be fun to be given the opportunity to try.  

Want to try?  Click on the IRON FOODIE link posted to the right!

QUICK Stuffed Peppers

These beautiful peppers are from my garden.  I will admit to you that I was a horrible gardener this year.  I neglected it when I would rather read a book, hoped for rain on days I was to busy, and didn't plant more than one crop!  I always plant throughout the summer....well not this year.  Luckily the things I plant can live without my constant attention and endured. 

I didn't get a chance to take a picture before everyone dove into these, but here is a quick snap of my plate.  I know, does not look glamorous at all....but I assure you they are amazing.  And they only take 15 minutes!  

I always say that this site has nothing to do with my pampered chef business, but I cannot help but post some recipes for my girls who have the baker and need recipes.  I use it often in my own house, so it is inevitable that I show a recipe or two with it.  I'm telling you this is the best purchase I ever made!  

To start, cut the tops off the peppers and use a paring knife to cut holes in the bottom of the peppers.  

Mix the ingredients listed into a bowl.

Scoop the mixture into the peppers.  I would have liked to have one more pepper, but when I cut into it, it was rotten.  :(  Yuck.

Put on the lid and cook for 15 minutes IN THE MICROWAVE.

Top peppers with leftover sauce and put into the microwave for another 2 minutes.

Remove from microwave, sprinkle with cheese and place the lid back on for 10 minutes.  Set the table.  I made corn to go with these.  YUMMY.

Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers

½ cup uncooked instant white rice (I used cooked brown rice)
¾ cup finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning Mix
½ tsp salt
½ tsp course ground pepper
1 ¼ cups spaghetti or marinara sauce, divided
2 links hot Italian sausage (8oz), casings removed (I skipped this step)
12 oz 90% lean ground beef (I used 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground turkey)
1 ½ cups (6oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
6 medium green bell peppers

1.    Combine rice with ½ cup boiling water in Classic Batter Bowl; let stand 5 minutes.  Add onion, pressed garlic, seasoning mix, salt, black pepper and ¾ cup of the spaghetti sauce into the batter bowl; mix well.  Break sausage into small pieces into batter bowl.  Add beef and 1 cup of the cheese; mix gently but thoroughly.

2.    Cut tops off of bell peppers; remove stems and seeds.  Pierce bottoms of peppers several times with tip of Utility Knife.  Place peppers cut-side up in the Deep Covered Baker.  Divide meat mixture evenly into peppers.  Microwave covered, on HIGH 15-18 minutes or until internal temperature of meat mixture in each pepper registers 160 degrees.

3.    Carefully remove baker from microwave.  Divide remaining sauce evenly over tops of peppers.  Cover; microwave 1-2 minutes or until sauce is hot.  Top with remaining cheese.  Let stand, covered, 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Remove peppers from baker using Chef’s Tongs, allow excess liquid to drain from peppers.

Yield:  6 servings

COOKS TIP:  To bake in a conventional oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare recipe as directed, spooning remaining sauce over peppers before baking.  Bake, covered, 1 hour or until internal temperature of meat mixture in each pepper registers 160 degress.  Proceed as recipe directs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Goodies

Every year I make a scary dinner for the kids and do a lot of spooky snacks to go along with it.  This year I came up with some really great dishes by searching online and using some recipes I had on hand.  It is definitely fun trying out new things.  The kids get a kick out of it and it actually tastes good.  Here are some of the goodies I made and where I found them.

Do a search and you will find lots of great ideas.  There is one with green fingers that looks awesome.  Of course I saw that AFTER I made these.  Witch fingers should probably be thinner, but I liked the fat monster fingers.  Green would have looked even better, I think.  Make your favorite sugar cookie recipe.  I used this one:

1 C butter, softened
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C whole blanched almonds
raspberry jelly (I used strawberry jam)

In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extract.  Stir dry ingredients together, then add to wet and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping the remainder refrigerated, roll 1 oz dough into a thin log shape about 4 inches.  I used a 1 oz cookie scoop.  Squeeze closest to center and close to one end to create knuckle shapes.  Press almond firmly into the end of the cookie for the nail.  Using a paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckle. 

Place on lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 325 degree oven.  Meanwhile, melt jelly/jam in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Lift almond off of each finger and spoon a little jam onto the nail bed.  Replace almond, allowing the jelly to ooze out.  You can also put the jelly on the knuckles and ends, but we had a lot of small children, so I didn't want to go to crazy.

I served mine on this bone platter and labeled them MONSTER FINGERS.  I love labels.

I love food blogs!  I love it when they search and find lots of great ideas like these ghosts on a cracker and I can just pick what I like off of it!  These are just round crackers, cream cheese and raisins cut in half.  That is it.  Super cute, right?  I got these and the candy corn pudding recipe to follow from

Are these not the cutest?  She actually had them in martini glasses so they looked more triangular, but for the kids this was perfect...and I already had the glasses on hand.  Butterscotch pudding on the bottom, followed by vanilla (with a little yellow food coloring), then whipped topping and some candy corn.

So easy and I made them a day ahead!

To me it isn't Halloween unless I make popcorn balls.  When I was a kid and we would go to my grandma's house to show off our costumes and "trick-or-treat" at the door she always had popcorn balls ready for every grandchild.

These are easy to make.  I actually don't like hard as a rock popcorn balls, so I make them more like rice crispy treats.  Melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave.  Coat 4 cups of marshmallows with the melted butter and heat for 1 1/2 minutes.  Add orange food coloring to the marshmallow...or color of your choice.  Add to 1 bag of popped popcorn.  Grease your hands and make your popcorn balls.

Candy Corn is great Rotten Teeth!

Roasted pumpkin seeds are great Dried Fingernails.

This Spider Web Dip is awesome!!!!  It came out of a Halloween book I purchased years ago.  Here are the ingredients:

Tortilla chips (you can make chips in cool shapes, but I just bought a bag)
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 jar (8 ounces) prepared salsa
1/2 cup prepared guacamole
sour cream (about 2 tablespoons)

Place cream cheese and salsa in blender or food processor container; blend until almost smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture on round serving dish or pie plate; smooth guacamole over top, leaving 1/2 inch border.  Place sour cream resealable plastic food storage bag.  Cut a tiny corner and pipe several circles and then run the tip of a knife through to make the web.

This mummy meatloaf was the main dish for dinner.   I saw it online and LOVED the idea.  You can always find snacks that are different each year, but the main course gets difficult (for me anyway).  I got this recipe from and wanted to make it immediately!  You can find the "Not Your Mummy's Meatloaf" on her site.  

I served it with roasted butternut squash and corn.  The kids gobbled it up, and so did the adults!  I used my favorite meatloaf recipe and added her finishing touches to it.  You can use her's or your favorite.  It is definitely a fun dish for Halloween!

 And what did I serve for breakfast?  Why pumpkin pancakes of course!  The recipe is on my blog.  I just shaped them like pumpkins this time around....or at least I tried to.  :)

My boys loved these!

Here is our group of kids ready for trick or treating after a scary dinner and some spooky treats!