Archives

Beef Stroganoff

image

Well, I’m finished with Baking and Pastry school, and decided I wanted to get back to this blog. I’ve missed it, but going to school, then doing my externship, and entering the working world has been a challenge for me. I’m 49, am married and have been a stay-at-home mom for the last 23 years. It’s hard, but I’m grateful for each day I get the privilege of waking up. I have more aches and pains, and move slower than my younger classmates, but they keep me young, and I love the friendships that I’ve made with them and many of the chef instructors, too. So, what to say about this recipe? Wow! What a great and easy dinner! If you cut your onions ahead of time and buy pre-sliced mushrooms it’ll be even faster.

Ingredients

12-oz package of Extra Broad Noodles

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 TBLS butter

2 (8-oz) packages fresh sliced mushrooms. I prefer baby Bellas!

1 small sweet onion, diced

2 clove garlic, minced

1.75 pound flank steak cut into thin strips across the grain.

4 TBLS flour, divided

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2-1/2 cups beef broth

3/4 cup sour cream (regular or low-fat)

2 TBLS tomato paste

1 tsp paprika

2 TBLS chopped Italian parsley

Directions:

1. Prepare noodles according to package directions.

2. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet. You don’t have to use butter, but I think it gives it great flavor.

3. Season beef with S&P. I also used onion powder. Sauté the strips. Do them in batches if you need to prevent overcrowding. Brown quickly on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side over medium-high heat. Remove and Set aside.

4. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic to skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vegetables are almost tender. Add 2TBLS of the flour and cook for a couple minutes. Remove and add to beef.

5. Combine sour cream, tomato paste, paprika and remaining 2 TBLS flour in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot broth into the sour cream mixture, and stir well. Pour the sour cream mixture back into the skillet, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Stir in reserved beef/mushroom mixture and heat through, Just a couple minutes. Serve over noodles, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

enjoy!  🙂

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms

Chicken Marsala

One of my husband’s favorite dinners is Chicken Marsala. He loves to get it at our favorite restaurant, and says they make it better than anybody.  I haven’t ever made it for him since he always raves about that one. Now that I’m going to school, in addition to taking care of the kids, I am just so tired by the time the weekend rolls around that sometimes I just want to stay home and veg. I knew he was looking forward to getting Marsala at our favorite restaurant, but I said I’d try to make it if we could please stay home. I had visions of me dancing around the kitchen, to Boston or Journey, in my jammies, slippers, and no bra… yeah, I said it. Every woman absolutely understands THAT! Especially after a long day… LOL. I didn’t actually dance. Hey, I was really tired, and my feet were killing me. But, I did sing, and that counts for something, right? The Marsala came out fantastic! He said it was just as good as the one he gets when we eat out. Yea! Here’s what I did:

  • Pounded 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts pretty thin and then cut into smaller bite-sized pieces
  • Tossed the chicken in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag with flour and a pack of Good Seasonings Italian dressing mix and shook it up. Shake off excess flour
  • Browned chicken in some olive oil and a few tablespoons of butter. Don’t completely cook chicken through. We’re talking minutes
  • Removed chicken and added 4 cups of sliced mushrooms. I used baby bellas (they’re my favorite) and browned them
  • Added 1.5 cups of Marsala and reduced to about half. Then added 3 cups of chicken stock and allowed to cook a few minutes
  • Seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Returned the chicken the pan and lit it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Served over spaghetti and garnished with parsley

You can also add sautéd onions if you want. I added more liquid than most recipes call for, but I like extra sauce to toss with the spaghetti. Have a BEAUTIFUL weekend 🙂

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Image

We learned how to make risotto the “real” way this week in culinary school. Risotto sort of gets a bad rap for being pretty labor intensive, but really it only adds about an extra 10 minutes or so of standing there monitoring it and adding liquid 1/2 cup at a time. Some add 1 cup, but I add less and also cook on a lower temperature. The reason is that it enables the starches in the rice to come out slowly, creating a creamy texture, and not simply mush, which is pretty much what you’ll get if you add all the liquid at once or too quickly. I use Arborio rice. It is an Italian short-grain rice. This is a perfect rice for risotto due to its high amylopectin starch content. Rices with a high starch content taste “starchy.” However, they blend really well with other flavors which covers it. That is why wine, and broth work beautifully with risotto, and not water. If you can’t find arborio you can substitute another short or medium grain rice with a high starch content. I’ve heard that white sushi rice works well, but I haven’t tried it.

  • 7 cups broth (added 1/2 cup at a time)
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1-2 lbs. variety of mushrooms (I used Portobello, white and shitake)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 TBL garlic or to taste
  • 3 TBLS. oil
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 2 TBL. minced fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté mushrooms until soft, set aside
  2. Sauté onions
  3. Add rice and stir, then cook for a few minutes. You are trying to toast the rice.  Basically, doing this keeps the starches from coming out too quickly and ruining the texture of your risotto.
  4. Now, add your wine and wait a minute or two until it’s absorbed. Yes, stir it.
  5. Keep adding and stirring your liquid 1/2 cup at a time, waiting for each to be absorbed before adding the next. By the time you’ve added all the broth your rice is done. This takes about 20 minutes. No need to set a timer really. My stove is electric <groan> and I kept it set on 5 once I added the rice, after sautéing.
  6. Once your rice is done, add mushrooms, parsley and cheese. Save a little parsley and cheese to garnish your yummy risotto.

My kids were begging for third helpings, but I told them I needed to pack some for my daughter’s lunch tomorrow. My son was NOT pleased… LOL.

I’m not very good at writing recipes, ingredients in order and instructions, but I am learning, so bear with me, please 🙂

Chicken Teriyaki

IMG_8454

This is a family favorite and we make it at least once a month if not more. It’s soooo good. This makes a lot of sauce, but my kids like it that way. You can use less sugar, but I really think it needs it. Adjust to your taste though.

  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBL water
  • 2 rounded TBL cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger (can use ground)
  • pepper to taste
  • 12 boneless/skinless chicken thighs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Add everything, except chicken, to a small pot and bring to simmer while whisking
  3. Pour 1/2 mixture over chicken and bake, covered w/foil for 25 minutes
  4. Remove from oven. I pour off excess liquid/fat
  5. Pour remaining sauce on chicken and continue baking for 15 minutes UNCOVERED

Cleanup is a breeze if you line your baking pan with foil. Seriously, do it. Serve with some homemade fried rice; it’s super-easy. When making fried rice it is important to use cold rice, leftover white rice is ideal. I’ll post my fried rice recipe in another post soon.

This makes a lot of sauce, but that’s how my kids like it. You could add 4 more thighs and still have enough sauce. You can also use boneless/skinless breasts, but we are a thigh family 🙂

Shrimp Po’Boy Sandwiches

Image

Tonight’s dinner goes back to my Southern girl roots. Being brought up in Texas near the Gulf of Mexico we always had lots of shrimp. I started out with a 2 lb. bag of jumbo, frozen, raw, deveined and easy-peel shrimp. They were even on sale so I stocked up a few more bags in the garage freezer.

The recipe I used is HERE.

I skipped the part about using egg and panko because I didn’t have any. I added a package of Italian seasoning mix to the flour in addition to the cajun seasoning. You can use Old Bay if you don’t have anything else. So, pretty much just the flour mixture and then fried.

I didn’t use the homemade remoulade sauce listed with the recipe.  I sort of took bits and pieces from various recipes and reviewers and came up with this:

  • 1/2 cup Marie’s Thousand Island dressing
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • squirt from lime juice container.

It came pretty darn close to tasting like the real from-scratch recipes.

  1. First I combined 4 TBL of butter with 1 tsp of minced garlic and melted in microwave.
  2. Next I buttered a roll and toasted it.
  3. Meanwhile, I coated the shrimp and fried them up.
  4. Next, I put shredded lettuce and tomato slices on the toasted roll and then put on the cooked shrimp.
  5. Finally, I drizzled with the remoulade sauce.

YUMMY… so good. My kids said it was fantastic.

Fried Egg On A Salad

Image

I had the most unusual craving tonight. I was craving a fried egg on a salad. Strange, I know. I don’t ever remember seeing one before, but it just flew into my head as I was getting ready to prepare dinner. I had already marinated some locally-grown heirloom tomatoes and red onions in oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dab brown mustard, salt, pepper and a dash of sugar. I decided to toss some lettuce in with it, threw in some bleu cheese crumbles and added some of my candied pecans I had leftover from another recipe earlier in the week. Then, it was simply a matter of frying an egg and placing it on top. It was runny; it had to be. That’s what I was craving. Good grief, someone help me… LOL. The verdict is that it is FABULOUSLY delicious. My teen daughter gives it two-thumbs up. Yay.

Honey-Lime Roasted Shrimp

Jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined and marinated for about an hour in about 1/2 cup olive oil, juice from 2 nice sized limes, 4-5 TBL honey, minced garlic (I put in two cloves), salt and pepper to taste. I roasted them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 425F convection oven for about 6 minutes. I put some pepper flakes on my daughter’s portion when I took them out since she likes things a bit spicy.

Image

Bacon-Wrapped BBQ Shrimp

Image

This is such an easy and delicious dinner. I started off with a 2-lb bag of Jumbo, frozen, raw shrimp that I defrosted under cool water and removed the shells. They were split and deveined already so it went really quickly. Next, I put some Old Bay seasoning on the shrimp and then wrapped each jumbo shrimp in a half slice of raw bacon and fastened with a toothpick. I put them into a container and poured BBQ sauce on them and let them sit in the fridge for a couple hours. When I got ready to cook them I preheated my oven on broil and put in a foil-lined pan with the shrimps for approximately 6 minutes. The oven rack was at the middle of the oven so it would go faster if it were higher to the heating element. The shrimp and the bacon cooked at the same time so they were both perfect. Kids loved them and I just tossed away the foil when I was finished. Ta Da!

Grilled Rosemary Ranch Butterflied Chicken

IMG_8270I love picking up whole chickens when they are on sale. I count myself especially lucky if it is a roaster size. You know, the big 6-8 pounders. I am a huge griller and will grill anything from chicken to romaine lettuce to avocados to cookies. Yes, they all are amazing, surprisingly. First butterfly your chicken by cutting out the backbone with some sharp kitchen shears. If you are unsure how to do this you can find lots of videos on YouTube that will walk you through the step. I press my chicken down to flatten it, but still leave the breast bones in so it doesn’t lay completely flat. This is preference, but you can remove it to make it flatter. Leaving the skin on, but separating the skin from the meat with my fingers on the breasts and thighs, I rubbed a marinade on consisting of Ranch dressing, olive oil, Rosemary, minced garlic, salt, pepper and some fresh lemon. I’ve seen other recipes out there that also use vinegar and various other spices so just put on what you like and make it your own. I don’t really measure, but I usually do close to equal parts dressing and oil. The spices are based on your tastes. I made sure the marinade was everywhere. And, I do mean everywhere… in between skin and meat, on top of skin, you get the picture. I left in fridge overnight to absorb all that yummy goodness. Next, heat your grill up to about 450 and then place your chicken skin-side UP. Immediately, turn off burners under chicken for indirect heat. If you are using charcoal just put it on the side without charcoal. I tweak the burners that are left on so as to maintain a temp of about 300-350 degrees. For a chicken this size I cooked for approximately 1 hr. 50 min – 2 hrs. I’ve done smaller 3-4 lb chickens for 45 minutes. I’ve also used every kind of rub, sauce, etc. Whether you dry-rub or marinate in a liquid I really like leaving it overnight in the fridge. I don’t turn my chicken at all. The skin gets nice and brown just fine on it’s own. I used to start out skin side down for 10 minutes then switch, but it’s not necessary. A lot of other grillers recommend putting skin side down and pressing with a spatula to get all the skin to brown… NO!!!! NEVER squeeze the liquid out of any meat you are grilling. Ever. It is so much juicier leaving all that yummy tasting juice inside the meat and not in the bottom of your grill.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches

Image

It’s summer, and with that comes a huge amount of freshly-grown vegetables from the local farm here in Salem. Each Friday I pick up an obscene amount of gorgeous red, green, and yellow produce. I decided to make sandwiches today for my 16-yr-old daughter and her friend. First, the night before, I made the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 TBL. lemon juice

You don’t have to make it the night before, but I felt it allowed all the flavors to meld together better. This sauce really makes the sandwich. Next, I pre-cut my veggies…

  • Red and yellow peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Purple onion
  • 1 or 2 TBL olive oil
  • Any seasoning you want to add
  • Cheese if desired (I used Swiss)

I put them in a container in the fridge so I could just grab them the next day. Again unnecessary, but I like to cut down on prep-time. Heat grill to medium-high and drizzle olive oil on veggies and mix before placing on grill. I used a lime no-salt seasoning, but pick whatever flavor you like. I think Rosemary would be awesome or maybe even basil… Mmm. Brush your rolls with olive oil and lightly toast on the grill. Remove the buns, and spread your sauce you mixed earlier, then add your veggies, and top with cheese if desired. I used Boar’s Head Baby Swiss. I probably would have put it on the veggies, but thought the picture would come out better if you could still SEE the veggies after the cheese melted. Put back on grill for a minute or just until the cheese melts. You can also use your broiler if you don’t want to grill  🙂