Friday, March 15, 2019

Second Friday of Lent

I dined solo tonight. I ate a simple meal that was packed with memories. Pastine with milk, cheese, and butter. It brought me back to the kitchen on Lettney Place. Sitting on the bench with my Mom making me lunch. Funny how one kind of pasta can trigger a flood of warm memories.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Frittatta

Eggs, meat, vegetables, cheese. The perfect combination for an easy dinner. Disclaimer - I cut up all the vegetables before I went to work this morning.

Red Pepper, Zucchini, Onion, Scallions, Ham, Bacon, some of that Three Girls Vegan Creamery Pepperoni. All of that is sauteed and then the eggs, I used 6 eggs, beaten and added to the pan. Cook on one side until set. The eggs and vegetables are topped with shredded Mozzarella and scallions. Then the pan goes into a 375˚ oven for about 15 minutes.


Serve on toasted Italian bread and at least one glass of wine.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Chicken with Bacon and Leeks


You all the story that Chris and I met when we both worked at a restaurant called Nancy Lee's. This dish was a regular item on the menu. Nancy would have been pleased with the way this turned out tonight.

I dredged the chicken breast in flour and then added them to a saute pan that had been heated up with butter and olive oil. When the chicken was done on the one side, about 5 minutes, I flipped the chicken and nestled in the leeks and bacon. About another 4 minutes and I put the pan in a 375˚ oven to cook through.
Meanwhile, I made a sauce using butter, cream cheese, and milk. I seasoned it with some cayenne pepper to give it a little kick. Here is the link to the recipe, and of course I did not use the recommended garlic.

Pretty good for a Monday night. Just too many dishes!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Meatloaf!


How do I make meatloaf? Simple. I mix ground beef (or meatloaf mix), bread crumbs, 1 egg, ketchup, horseradish sauce, A-1, Worchester sauce, salt, pepper, oregano with sauteed onions and carrots. The mix goes into a greased loaf pan, glass pyrex, and into a 375˚ oven for 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165˚.


Dinner was delicious but Meatloaf Sandwiches for lunch tomorrow is the icing on the cake.

Friday, March 8, 2019

First Friday of Lent


This is our second Lenten meal and again I combined Three Girls Vegan Creamery with Lidia Bastianich. Lasagna by Three Girls Vegan Creamery. Caesar Salad is from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen. It was nice getting home for work and preparing the salad. But it was really nice having the prepared Lasagna that just needed to be heated up.

Caesar Salad Dressing from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen-

Ingredients-
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 cloves of garlic 
4 anchovy fillets
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 hard-boiled egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
fresh ground black pepper 
Romaine lettuce, or anything you prefer

Method-
Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and anchovies in a blender or work bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth, adding some of the 1/3 cup olive oil if there is not enough liquid to move the mixture around the blender jar. Add the mustard, hard-boiled egg yolk, salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and remaining olive oil if any.  Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste the dressing; if it's a little too tangy, pour in a splash or two of olive oil and blend until it's incorporated. Pour over greens and toss to cover the lettuce.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Pepperoni and Onion Sauce with Potato Gnocchi


I have to tell you that the first time I walked into the Three Girls Vegan Creamery I felt like I walked into my Mom's kitchen. My Mom was far from vegan. It was more of a portion thing. I walked in the Three Girls Vegan Creamery hoping to try a couple of menu items and I walked out with a week's worth of food!

The Three Girls Vegan Creamery recently opened a new store with more hours (!!!) and I stopped in this past Sunday to pick up some food for our first week of Lent. Pepperoni and some Lasagna.


Back to tonight's dinner. Ash Wednesday. I got my ashes at an Ashes to Go stop at the Madison train station. Seemed very convenient. For dinner, I amped it up a bit. Lidia Bastianich's Basic Potato Gnocchi with Marcella Hazan's Onion and Butter Tomato Sauce with some of Three Girls Vegan Creamery Pepperoni.


Yeah, it was very good. Not a bad start for Lent.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Chicken and Pastine Casserole


Continuing with the "comfort food" theme tonight we had Chicken and Pastine Casserole. The recipe is from the Giada De Laurentiis cookbook "Everyday Pasta". This was the perfect mixture of pasta, chicken and cheese. The flavors melted together perfectly.

Pastine is one of the things my Mom always made for lunch. She would either add milk or chicken broth or just butter and cheese. That is why this is designated a 'comfort food".

I had to make some changes to the original recipe. I did not mean to I just did not check the pantry before I started. Canned diced tomatoes. Nope. I used crushed tomatoes. Mozzarella cheese. Not enough so I added a little bit of cheddar. And of course, I did not use the garlic.


Click here for the original recipe.

Ingredients-
1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice,
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Method-
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Shepherds Pie



If I had to list my favorite "comfort foods" Shepherds Pie would be in the top five. It conjures up flavor memories and family memories. The first time I had Shepherds Pie was at my Aunt Marie's house. When I got home and told my Mom about this amazing dinner my Aunt had made. My  Mom proceeded to replicate the dish and it was put in her dinner rotation.


Mashed potatoes on top of sauteed onion and beef. Mix in some thawed frozen vegetables and play with the seasonings. I go for oregano, salt, pepper and bit of horseradish. I made this on Saturday and just reheated it when I got home tonight. Pure comfort.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken

Finally making this recipe from the Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook. Chris gave this to me for Christmas and I have been wanting to make this. This was really good. The coating was crispy but the meat was very moist.

The original recipe can be found at this link - Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken.

Here is my version of the recipe. I cut the amounts in 1/2 and still have leftovers.

Ingredients-
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves, I used dried thymecKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cups panko (Japanese bread flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breast and 2 chicken thighs
Method-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl mix thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper with the panko, lemon zest, olive oil, and butter to moisten the bread flakes. 
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the mustard and wine.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper. Dip each piece in the mustard mixture to coat on all sides, and then place skin-side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on a sheet pan crumb-side up. Press the remaining crumbs on the chicken pieces.
Bake the chicken for 50 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

So What Are You Having For Breakfast?


I found this recipe on the Half Baked Harvest site. I love this site. The photos always look amazing. I have tried a few of the recipes and they have all been well received.  Click here for the recipe for Cinnamon Crunch Bagels. I made 1/2 of the recipe and ended up with 6 nice sized bagels.


It was the first time making bagels that are boiled then baked. The dough was simple to work. I started the dough on Friday night and let it rise until Saturday morning. It was a breeze to work with.
The whole process was interesting. The making the hole, boiling and then baking. 


The results were delicious. I will definitely make these again, but I might leave off the crunchy topping. The topping was fantastic, but there is no way these can go into a toaster. Perhaps a toaster oven on a piece of foil (we don't have a toaster oven).

Friday, March 1, 2019

Friday Night Pizza

Leftover beef from last night's steak and cheese subs, some bacon, and cheese. Delicious and easy to prepare. The dough was in the freezer. Yes, it was the Jim Lahey recipe. Also loving the new pizza pan Chris got me for Christmas. It helps the dough bake into a super crispy crust.


I hope to be back and doing more regular postings. 

We had a tough time with our cat Archie. He has been sick since before Christmas and we had to put him down last Saturday. Crap, what a sad time we have had. But Lucy is still with us and as cute as ever.






Saturday, February 2, 2019

Osso Buco


Delicious! This was so easy to make. Thanks to the slow cooker.


I picked up a package of 2 veal shanks at Ferraro's for $5.09. We were off to a good start.
I found this recipe online at myrecipes.com. They gave directions for stove top and the slow cooker. I opted for the slow cooker.


Ingredients-
2 veal shanks
1/4 teaspoon of salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup carrots, cut up to resemble baby carrots
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup Marsala Wine
1 14oz can fat-free beef broth

Method-
Sprinkle veal shanks evenly with 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Dredge in flour and shake off excess.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add veal shanks and cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove the veal from the pan and place in slow cooker. I hope you are using the slow cooker liners.

Add the carrots, onion, and celery to the Dutch oven and saute for 6 minutes. Place vegetables in the slow cooker.

Add the remaining 1/8 tsp salt, Marsala wine, and broth to the slow cooker. Cover with lid. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce heat to LOW. Cook for 5 hours.

We served this over rice. Very nice!


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Thank You Ina

How not to overcook anything. Just the facts. From Ina Garten. Great article on Yahoo Lifestyle. Click here for the whole article.

Baking

For baking, the tests are fairly straightforward and the same for almost all cakes. First, lightly press the rounded top of the cake. Does your finger make a mark or does the cake bounce back? If it bounces back, it’s probably done. Next, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean or with just a crumb or two attached, the cake is done. If you’re testing a cake that has ingredients like chocolate in the batter, you should test the cake in several places; if you hit a puddle of molten chocolate your skewer might come out wet even when the cake is done.

Meat

Testing meat is a little more complicated because its temperature will continue to rise during the resting period, as much as 5 to 10 degrees, depending on the size of the piece of meat. (Larger roasts like standing rib roasts hold more heat and will continue to cook longer.) To make sure the meat doesn’t go past the target temperature after it rests, you need to take it out of the oven (or off the grill) a little before it’s done. That’s why in my recipes the recommended internal temperatures indicate the temperature you want before the meat rests under foil. 
It’s important to note that guidelines for cooking meat have changed in recent years. At one-time people were afraid that rare or undercooked meat might carry diseases, particularly pork, which was associated with trichinosis. To ensure safety it had to be cooked to 180°F, which resulted in overcooked, dry meat. Now that trichinosis is no longer a danger, I cook pork to 137 or 140°F and it comes out rosy, moist, and delicious.
Beef: 125 to 130°F for medium rare
Chicken: 140 to 145°F for chicken breasts / 155 to 160°F for thighs or whole chickens
Pork: 137 to 140°F for medium rare
Lamb: 125°F for medium rare
Duck: 120°F for rare

Seafood

Seafood is generally judged for doneness by a visual test. Cooked fish will flake easily with a fork when it’s done, and shrimp will be just firm and pink. The exception is lobster, which should reach 140°F when tested in the tail with an instant-read thermometer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year, New Pizza Pan


For Christmas, I received a T-Fal Air Bake Pizza Pan. It has holes in the bottom. The pizza looked just like a takeout pizza. I did not use my usual crust recipe. I used the recipe from How to Bake Everything by Mark Bittman. I love Mark Bittman but I prefer the Jim Lahey pizza crust recipe.


The toppings were what made this an over the top delicious pie. I used up things leftover from the holidays. Salami, Proscuitto, Bacon, and Vegan Pepperoni from the Three Vegan Girls Creamery.
Wow! What a combination. The picture above is of the first 3 slices I ate. Yes, I went back for seconds!