Saturday, December 15, 2007

Baked Chicken Breasts

I should not be blogging at 0120.
But last night I baked the first chicken breasts I have really enjoyed. Need to work on my own breadcrumb mixtures. Back to Holiday Insanity Disorder.


2 egg
2 TBS Heaping sour cream
1/2 c. Homemade Bread Crumbs
(1 stack Vegetable Ritz, 1 Tbs Paprika, 1 Tsp Italian seasoning, 1 TBS Szego® Chicken Rub, pinch Pepper
3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
3-4 chicken breast halves
4- strips bacon

Beat egg and stir in sour cream, set aside.
Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese together. Dip each breast in egg mixture first, then coat with bread crumb mixture.
Place Bacon strips on bottom of baking dish (another way of greasing)
Place on Bacon in baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender. and/or done. Whichever you prefer.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shepherd's Pie (Mashed Potatoes and Ground Beef)

One of my favorite dishes, dating back to college when I had an Oxford graduate for a roommate. Lamia (She was actually an Arab) introduced me to international food. And scotch. But her shepherd's pie was simpler than many of the ones I've tasted in Irish and English Pubs. This is the first time I've made it without a tomato paste base, and it seems more beefier (or better). You can substitute a small can of tomato paste + small can of tomato sauce for the beef gravy.

1.5 lbs browned ground beef 90% lean
1 TBS butter
1 clove garlic
1 med. onion
1 LB bag of frozen carrots & peas
12 oz jar beef gravy
pepper and paprika to taste
1 TSP wocstershire sauce

3? lbs red skin potatoes (abt. 8 Lg potatoes.
1 stick of Butter
1 1/2 cups organic 2% milk
2 oz. half and half
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 tbs Parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Wash and scrub potatoes. Remove eyes from spuds.
Peel only as much as needed to remove undesired skin.
quarter potatoes.
Boil until tender, drain.
Add butter, cover, allow butter to melt.
Press Garlic over potatoes
Add salt, pepper, parsley
Add milk, 1/2 cup at a time.
Mash / Stir / Heat until soft.

Brown beef, pour off excess fat. Set aside.
Saute the garlic and onion in butter and grease until onion is translucent
Stir in gravy
add pepper, paprika and wocstershire sauce
Add frozen carrots, (or peas and carrots) heat over med. heat until simmering
Add frozen peas, heat until again simmering
Stir in ground beef
(if using peas and carrots- the carrots are cut smaller and will cook faster than crinkle cut carrot slices)
pour mixture into 9x13 baking pan

Spoon mashed potatoes over meat mix, abt. 1/2 in. deep
sprinkle with cheddar cheese

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Spinach Pasta

1 Bag of Frozen Spinach - (need to try fresh s/b 2-3 bags)
1 pkg refrigerated or dry Ricotta & Spinach Tortellini
Light Olive Oil
Extra Virgin dipping Olive Oil
1/2 small onion
1/2 stick Butter
2 cloves Garlic (4 TBS jarred)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesean Cheese

Prepare tortellini per directions
Coat in light olive oil

Saute Garlic & Onions in Butter in large fry pan on med/lo heat until onions translucent
Rinse Spinach and add to fry pan cook until tender
Add Parmesean, Salt & Pepper to taste

pour spinach into shallow serving dish
pour tortelini over spinach.
drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
grate fresh parmesian over top.

bon appetit

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lemony Pasta Salad

1 Box Bow Ties (Farfalle)

Prepare per directions, but more to the alle dente texture
I find the dry holds up better than the fresh.

lightly coat pasta in light cooking olive oil

Lemon Juice - to taste
Prepared Mustard

Sweet Paprika, Parsley - 3 coats over a 2.5 Qt Round casserole
Garlic, Romano Cheese 2 coats over a 2.5 qt rd
Lemon Pepper, 2 coat over a 2.5 rd.
- I'm working on quantifying these to some standard measurement that the rest of the world uses.

1 can diced tomatoes w/ Basil, garlic and Olive Oil
1 small can olives

Options - whatever is available in the fridge/pantry
Artichokes Hearts, Asparagus, Bell Peppers,

Basalmic Pasta Salad

2 bags Tortellini Garlic/Cheese.
Prepare per directions, but more to the alle dente texture
I find the dry holds up better than the fresh.

Olive Oil 1/3 good dipping oil, 2/3 light cooking oil
lightly coat pasta.

Vinegar 4-5 parts Basalmic & 1 part Red wine - to taste

Basil, Sweet Paprika, Parsley - 3 coats over a 2.5 Qt Round casserole
Garlic 1.5 - 2 coats over a 2.5 qt rd
Pepper, 1 coat over a 2.5 rd.
- I'm working on quantifying these to some standard measurement that the rest of the world uses.

1 can diced tomatoes w/ Basil, garlic and Olive Oil

Options - whatever is available in the fridge/pantry
Artichokes Hearts, Asparagus, Bell Peppers, Olives

Friday, April 6, 2007

Zesty Carrots

Zesty Carrots:
1 Cup crushed potato Chips
8 Med Carrots cooked & quartered
2 TBS grated onions
2 TBS Horseradish
1.5 Cup Mayo
0.5 Cups of Mayo - this is a huge change from America Cooks, and out original source, but the internet seems to agree that 1.5 cups is TOO much.
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp pepper

Bake @ 375 for 20 min
grease 1 Qt casserole
sprinkle 1/2 chips in caserole
arrange carrots on top
blend remaining ingredients, spread over carrots, sprinkle w/chips

Just got this from my sister. I have to make it for Easter. It's a family staple for holidays, but better suited to a Christmas Roast Beef. But always delicious.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Kielbasa and Holy Thursday

Today, I took the boys to Delaware Provision Company, makers of the best Kielbasa in Delaware (say mmm Garlic). I was afraid that once they saw how sausage is made, they would become vegetarians. Declan is 8 and Liam is 6.

The guy who runs (owns?) the place, Scotty, is originally from Scotland, and has a bit of an accent. We were fortunate to get there around 2, and the line was only a few people. I've stood in line for up to an hour before, around Christmas. Damn that's some good Kielbasa.

It took me over 1/2 an hour to get my order filled, because I shop for my office. Today it was 18 lbs fresh, 8 lbs smoked and 8 LBS kraut, split oddly, 1+3 2+2 2+1, among 10 people. These are my repeat customers. So Scotty invited the boys over to help him make the Kielbasa, and they were fascinated. They got to run the "meat spigot" injecting fresh ground seasoned pork into the casing, while Scotty deftly controlled the casing. Two other boys came in and ran the spigot too. Declan and Liam were fascinated, and kept asking to run it again. Scotty invited both to come back and work for him when they're 17. Liam is already planning on it.

I chatted with Scotty for a bit, while he was apprenticing my sons, and found out he had Irish breakfast sausage too. Made today, with lamb, 'tis his own recipe now, it tis. (smacking my lips.) It's not on the menu, you have to know to ask the Scot, who makes the Polish sausage, for the Irish links. Begin the bag-piping polka now...

So the boys thought the trip to the sausage factory was awesome, and we've begun another family tradition. And they love the Kielbasa, except when they bite into a whole peppercorn.

Garlic Ricotta Mashed Potatoes

Here's what I think I just made:

Abt 3 LBS Potatoes - filled 1/2 of a 2.5 QT pot
3 TBS half and half
6 TBS Ricotta Cheese - thats 3 heaping table spoons - not an actual measured amount
4 TBS Sour Cream (2 heaping spoons as above) - used lite - NEVER fat free.
3 cloves garlic
3 TSP Parsley (actual TSP)
3 TBS Butter (actual)
Salt to taste

Scrub, Peel and sixth (not quarter - theres a theme here)
Boil potatoes until tender
Drain water
put butter in, allow to melt
combine remaining ingredients in pot and stir togeher
bust out the masher and go to town
(mash to desired consistency, adding whole milk if needed.)

I like peeling potatoes, I find it very theraputic.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Credit Where Due

I started out using my crockpot years ago and love that its easy and ready to go as soon as I get home. Here's my primary crockpot cookbook. I rarely use the recipes as they are published, b/c I find many of them a bit bland.

However they make wonderful starting points for my own deranged experiments (cue evil laughter.) It's also real helpful to determine how long to cook something, and a good ratio for ingredients. (i.e. 1 can of tomatoes to 2 LBS roast.)

Fix it and Forget IT Cookbook

Pegs Mom's Chicken

Peg and I dated for about a year. She was a good friend, but we've lost touch. She's shared this recipe form her mother, and it was so damn good and basic I wrote it down.

1 Roasting Chicken - clean out the stuff inside and discard.
1/2 Apple
1/2 Orange
1 Stalk of Celery - chopped
1/2 Onion - chopped
Ground Pepper
2 TBS Butter
1/2 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp Sage
1/2 tsp Thyme

Rub the spices and butter inside the cavity and on the skin
Stuff the fruit and vegetables into the cavity

1 Cup prepared Bullion
2 tbs Flour to thicken

Oven per direction on package, until timer pops

Shake the bullion and the flour in a jar.
add to saucepan
add drippings to saucepan
heat over med. heat
stir to thicken - add add'l flour as needed.

Basic Goulash (Crockpot)

I love Central European Cookin' - My mother made pierogies from scratch when I was a kid (She's half Lithuanian). Anyway , I was fortunate to study in Vienna, Austria and Sophia, Bulgaria while I was in college. So I learned about even more delicious food. (And some pretty scary soviet-era food. After I left Bulgaria, they "threw off the yoke of Soviet Oppression. That's part of my secret CIA resume' you can ask Valerie Plame.)

Goulash is a Hungarian meat stew, with a Tomato and Red Pepper base.

2.5 lbs stewing meat
1 Lg Onion, chopped
3 TBS Oil
8 oz tomato sauce
28 oz can whole tomatoes - chopped up.
14 oz can mushrooms
3 Lg carrots chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 C. H2O
2 beef bullion cubes
2 TBS ground hot pepper Szego Hot or hotter depending on your taste
3 TBS regular or "sweet" Paprika
2 TBS Flour
3-4 TBS dried parsley
Dash Pepper

roll meat in flour, brown in skillet
All Into the crockpot - 8-10 hours on low

Middle Eastern "Kefta" Meatloaf - Experiment in Progress

I love middle eastern food: Hummus, Babaganoush, Shwarma, Falafel, Cous Cous and Kefta Kabobs. Kefta Kabobs are ground lamb rolled up on a skewer and grilled. Think sausage without the benefit of casing.

I was in Shoprite the other day, and don't normally shop there. To my delight, the had ground Lamb! So I passed on the "meatloaf mix" b/c I can get that at the Acme in Trolley Sqr. I also got some ground veal. Yeah, I know, I'm a veal eating heathen. So I decided to make a Kefta Meatloaf. It was yummy but
needs some seasoning work. - It was mild, slightly creamy and you could taste the lamb. I think it needs Cumin. And Mint is an option too.

1.15 LBS ground lamb
1.15 LBS ground veal (a lean beef prob. would have worked here too.)
(Might want to increase the lamb to beef ratio.)
1 MED onion - (chopped fine - hide from kids)
2-3 TBS (abt.) Fresh chopped parsley. a "bunch"?
1/2 Cup plain yogurt
salt / pepper to taste
1 cup Ritz breadcrumbs (slightly less that a stack - crushed fine)
in a 2 qt. corningware caserole dish
350 deg. 1.25 hrs. uncovered.

untried options:
Cumin - how much?
mint - how much?

Basic Meatloaf Recipes

Three purposes: 1) Archive Recipes 2) Access them from any computer (cooking at friends) 3) Allow friends to experiment and improve. mmm....

Basic Meatloaf
1.5 LBS meat
1 Med. onion chopped fine (hide from kids)
1/2 cup sauce (Ketchup is trad. I like BBQ sauce)
1 Egg (Lg?)
salt / pepper / garlic / paprika to taste
1 cup Breadcrumbs (I make my own by crushing Ritz(r) crackers)
mix in a bowl with your hands - (you already washed them, right?)

should have consistency of meatloaf. Add more "sauce" or milk if not moist enough.

in a caserole dish
350 DEG. for 1.25 hours

This one orig. called for 2/3 C. Milk. It was too milky, so I cut it back.
1 LB meat (meatloaf mix or leaner beef - not 80%)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 C. ketchup
1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion (again fine - see above)
1 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 egg

cook as above.