November 30, 2010

Baked Italian Shrimp

My itty bitty was hangry and he wanted his "popcone schwimp." Complete toddler meltdown when I had to inform him that our boxes of Gorton's Popcorn Shrimp were all gone. Although I find it incredibly cute when he is rolling on the floor and crying in hysteria I want to defuse the situation and bring him back to his sane self. His request couldn't be filled until a light bulb moment happened. I had bought a pound of shrimp and froze it and decided to make a recipe that I had saved for a dinner later in the week. A few menu adjustments and these being subbed in for itty bitty's snack and his mama was back in the kitchen.

Faux-fried shrimp goodness. Nuff said. Okay not really. Quick and easy to make. The aroma from these cooking was almost unbearable to the point of wanting to gnaw my arm off. The ideas were racing through my mind of how I was going to use them. On top of noodles with some marinara sauce or... and before I could get the thoughts sorted out in my head the baking sheet with the shrimp was already pulled out of the oven and they were devoured. Not the entire batch. A serving size. ('Memeber I count calories and blah, blah, blah.)

For another night I will be at the ready and have a pot of spaghetti noodles prepared and sauce on the stove top for when these come fresh out of the oven to make a meal instead of a snack. These would also be great served as appetizers with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. The time it would have taken his freezer counterpart to cook these were done in the same amount of time. Nothing beats homemade versus a frozen box. Hands down. and Coastal Living, May 2001
Makes 12 servings
Stars of the Show:
  • 2/3 cup fine, dry plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley - I used dried parsley.
  • 2 pounds peeled shrimp - You can leave the tails on or take them off. I removed mine because I don't like to hassle with the tails when I'm ready to eat.
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt - Didn't have seasoned salt on hand so I made my own. No exact measurements just a couple shakes of the following: salt, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
And Action:

Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley in a shallow dish, set aside.

Place shrimp in a large bowl. Sprinkle shrimp with garlic, seasoned salt, and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss gently.

Dredge shrimp in breadcrumb mixture. Arrange shrimp in an even layer on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring twice.

November 29, 2010

Chicken with Green Onion Sauce

Another craving hit today. Although it was cold outside it wasn't for soup. This craving was to be standing in the kitchen and putting together a new recipe. I spent an hour going through recipes in an attempt to find something I could make with just the items I had on hand.

Our Christmas vacation is two and a half weeks away and I am trying to avoid having to do any large shopping trips and instead eating up what we have. I'll often tell Mr. Sideline Chef that I'm going back to my poor girl college ways.

Chicken with Green Onion Sauce it was. Simply laying on a bed of white rice. The white rice absorbed the overflow of sauce and was absolutely filling without that unbuttoning of the jeans feeling. The sauce gets a nice kick from the black pepper and the chicken is moist and juicy.

While this recipe was a snap to put together, I was in the kitchen for about 25 minutes, it satisfied my craving to be in the kitchen. When the itch comes I have to scratch! and Oxmoor House, January 2003
Makes 4 servings
Stars of the Show:
  • 1 (14 oz) can fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • cooking spray
  • 4 (4 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
And Action:

Combine 1/4 cup chicken broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining broth, garlic, thyme, and set aside.

Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn chicken and add green onions. Pour broth mixture over chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, basting often.

Remove chicken from pan. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat scraping the sides and bottom of the pan. Cook 2 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken. For a filling meal: make a bed of rice and then top with the chicken and sauce. Yummy! Quick and easy meal!

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 155 (13% from fat)
Fat: 2.1g (sat 0.7g)
Protein: 28.0g
Carbohydrate: 4.3g
Fiber: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 67mg
Iron: 1.1mg
Sodium: 195mg
Calcium: 24mg

November 27, 2010

Grilled Fillet Complete Meal In A Foil Pouch

It's College Game Day and I have on the Ohio State Buckeye game. GO BUCKEYES! Mr. Sideline Chef is on the road so that means The Pretend Chef is holed up with baggy game day sweats, hair in a messy bun, and a growling stomach.

I worked up quite an appetite with spending an hour or so putting up our Christmas decorations, our miniature Christmas tree, and some outside lights.

Gorton's was kind enough and sent me a handful of full-value coupons for hosting a giveaway on my blog a while back. While at the store this last big shopping trip I headed to the frozen food section and picked up 2 boxes of Gorton's All Natural Lemon Butter Fillets. I had already searched their website for some recipe ideas and came across their Grilled Fillet Complete Meal In A Pouch and decided that would make a low fat and healthy lunch option. On game day? Maybe not if Mr. Sideline Chef was home but he's not so anything goes in the kitchen. No short orders.

Cooking the white rice, fish fillet, and vegetables all in one foil pouch made for easy assembly and clean up. The original recipe stated for the pouch to cook for 25-30 minutes. I checked my pouches after 27 minutes and the centers of my fish were still ice cold. I ended up opening both pouches and cooked another 10 minutes longer. That was all the fish needed to flake at the slight twist of the fork.

I placed that foil pouch on a plate, squeezed a quarter of a lemon over top, and was back to lounging around watching the game and enjoying a filling meal. This would be perfect for a quick weeknight meal. It is perfectly portioned for those who are "diet" conscientious.

Makes 2 servings
Stars of the Show:

  • 2 Gorton's All Natural Lemon Butter Grilled Fillets - 2 fillets come in each box.
  • 1 1/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2/3 cup instant rice - I used Success Boil-In-Bag White Rice. Mr. Sideline Chef is picky and doesn't like brown rice. Had I known he wasn't going to be home then I would have bought brown rice.
  • 2 tbsp white wine (optional) - I used 2 tbsp of Sauvignon Blanc in each pouch.
  • 2/3 cup water
And Action:

Preheat oven to 400°. Tear two-one foot pieces of heavy duty foil. Lay 1/3 cup of rice in the center of each pouch, then lay the Gorton's All Natural Lemon Butter Fillets and 2/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables.

Bring the corners up and together to form the pouch and pour in 1/3 cup of water and 1 tbsp white wine.

Fold the edges over, place on a baking sheet, and bake 25-30 minutes. You might have to open the foil and let it cook an additional 10 minutes if the fish is still cold like mine was. Let stand 2-3 minutes and enjoy!

November 26, 2010

Sephardic Leek Soup (Sopa de Prasa)

Here in Houston, Texas it finally feels like the changing of seasons. It literally happened overnight. Yesterday while enjoying a backyard game of football I actually broke into a light sweat and the temperature was in the high 70's. This morning we wake up to rain and cold weather and temperatures in the low 40's. Shorts one day and sweaters and wool socks the next.

It was Black Friday today and I am not a fanatic for standing for hours in lines just to get a bargain. I'll suck it up and pay full price. The beauty of budgeting throughout the year. It was a pajama and movie day for my itty bitty and I. We stayed nice and warm in the comforts of our home. If you haven't seen it yet, Date Night is hilarious and gave me a good belly laugh. Perfect for well... a date night!

A craving hit today. It wasn't the usual brownies or chips and guacamole. It was a bowl of soup. Odd. I have never had a craving for soup before. I searched the Internet for a soup recipe containing leeks. I bought them for a recipe and ended up not making it. I had a bunch of leeks just sitting there and don't like to waste anything.

After chopping all of the leeks, potatoes, and carrots the leeks heavily outweighed the other two. The leek being in the onion family made me worried that the soup would have a strong onion flavor. To my knowledge I have never had leeks before and didn't know what to expect of the finished product. After the veggies sauteed for 10 minutes the herbs and broth were added, brought to a boil, and then simmered for 40 minutes.

The 40 minutes passed quickly since I had a toddler I had to calm down from his temper tantrum of asking if I was making chocolate cake to find out the answer was no. I made a Chocolate Sheet Cake with a Quick Caramel Frosting with Pecans at the beginning of this month and now every time I'm standing in the kitchen putting anything together he assumes it's chocolate cake. Sorry son. You're not that lucky! Trust me, he's not new to the workings of the house and knows that sweets are rare.

A nice big bowl of hot soup was ready. Bits of carrots and potatoes poked their way through the leeks. The aroma from the soup was not at all like that of onions. I took my spoon and dug in. The first bite reminded me of a cabbage soup instead. All of the flavors meld well together. The ingredients list is minimal and other veggies could be added to the pot depending on what you have on hand. The soup filled and warmed me up.
Makes 6 servings
Stars of the Show:

  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil - I used vegetable oil.
  • 10 leeks (about 2 pounds), trimmed, sliced and well washed - Make sure to pull those layers apart to get all of the grit out.
  • 2 large baking potatoes, cubed - I used petite red potatoes since that was what I had on hand and needed to use up.
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped - I used dried parsley.
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth - I used chicken broth.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper - The original recipe had a side note about how when making a white soup white pepper should be used but flavor-wise using black pepper here was recommended.
  • A pinch of nutmeg - Don't skip this! It was delicious with that hint of spice in it.
And Action:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leek, potatoes, and carrots and saute until softened for about 5-10 minutes. Mine went for 8 minutes.

Add the parsley, broth, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 40 minutes. You can serve the soup as is like I did or put into a food processor. It can also be served chilled or warmed. Easy, easy, easy!

November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Food Funnies

Wishing all of my readers a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!
Making Maple Pecan Tartlets this morning to take to the dinner we are invited too. Thank goodness I already did a trial run for this recipe and know it's a winner! I even bought a new outfit yesterday and did a fitting. Stress-free Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2010

Cacciatore Burgers

I've heard of Cacciatore but have never had it. To tell you the truth I don't even know what goes into it. My saving grace, YAHOO!, and a quick search and I was on the path to knowledge. I found out that Cacciatore implies that something is cooked with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, and sometimes wine. The etymology is Italian, from cacciare, meaning to hunt.

In Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners cookbook she offered up a recipe for Cacciatore Burgers. After a quick scan of the ingredients list and deeming this a "might-like" for Mr. Sideline Chef I added this to our menu lineup.

Her burgers don't include tomato or wine. She missed the mark on this one being Cacciatore-esque. Although I did have to "hunt" for the ingredients since I went shopping at Krogers since I needed fresh fish this week and I am not a regular there. I had to back track quite a few times trying to find all of the items on my shopping list.

Getting to eat a burger, even a turkey burger, makes me giddy. I love the indulgence of a burger. Sinking my teeth into a meaty patty and the flavors from all of the toppings and the grease that may or may not drip down to my elbows. This Turkey Cacciatore Burger is unlike anything I have ever had. The aroma that filled the house is reminiscent of a Philly cheesesteak. My mouth was watering and stomach growling the entire preparation. The final product looked like heaven between a bun.

On top of a broiled bun brushed with butter and garlic laid the turkey burger that had Worcestershire sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, onions, parsley, basil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. The burger was topped with sauteed sliced portobello mushrooms, onions, cubanelle peppers, and hot cherry peppers then topped with the broiled bun top.

A spring salad mix with an olive oil-lemon dressing was served as a side dish with roasted garlic bagel chips as well. The burger was the only star. "Pretty good." This coming from Mr. Sideline Chef is saying something. He had seconds and thought it could have even had more of a kick. He told me, "It was even heat to tease me." Finally! Another recipe that can be inserted in the "Mr. Sideline Chef's Favorites". This is a must try burger!

Cacciatore Burgers
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Makes 4 servings

Stars of the Show:
  • extra virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling, plus 4 tbsp
  • 1 lb ground turkey breast or ground chicken - I used ground turkey.
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves (2 cloves chopped, 2 cracked from skins and reserved)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium yellow onion (1/4 of the onion finely chopped and the other 3/4 of the onion thinly sliced)
  • handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley - I used dried parsley since that is what I have on hand.
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, shredded - Once again I used dried basil.
  • generous handful of grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced - I scraped out the gills. They gross me out.
  • 2 cubanelle pepper, seeded and sliced - I used Anaheim peppers.
  • 2 hot red cherry peppers, chopped, plus a splash of their juice
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese
  • 4 crusty rolls, split
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 12 oz mixed baby greens
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped - I used dried thyme.
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 sack of fancy chips such as olive oil and rosemary flavor or Terra's garlic and onion Yukon golds - I used New York Style Roasted Garlic Bagel Chips.
And Action:

Preheat a large nonstick skillet or grill pan to medium high heat.

Drizzle some olive oil in a bowl and add the ground turkey or chicken, Worcestershire, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped onions, parsley, basil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Combine to form 4 large patties and add to the hot skillet. (I had to turn my heat down to medium because it was starting to burn the burgers.) Cook for 6 minutes, then flip the burgers. Cook for 5 minutes on the other side.

Heat a second skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the mushroom caps with the sliced onions and cubanelle peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the heat off. Add the hot cherry peppers and a splash of their juice.

Place the Provolone over the burgers and turn off the heat in the pan. Tent the pan with foil to melt the cheese.

Preheat the broiler to high. Toast the crusty rolls until golden. (This happened within a minute and I actually burnt some of the edges.) Melt the butter with the remaining cracked garlic in the microwave. Brush the garlic butter on the rolls.

Place the turkey or chicken burgers on the buns. Top with the peppers and onions and replace the top halves of the buns.

Toss the spring salad greens with the thyme, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve the greens alongside the Cacciatore Burgers with the chips of your choice.

November 21, 2010

Maple Pecan Tartlets

After Mr. Sideline Chef test-tasted the Peanut Butter Streusel Brownies, my first dessert attempt for my contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner we were invited to he asked me, "You're not going to try out any more recipes?" Oh goodness! Was that his way of telling me he didn't think they were worthy for his supervisor?

Not wanting to risk him being fired over rock hard brownie edges I set out to find another test recipe. Maple Pecan Tartlets sounded like they might be a winner. I had a majority of the ingredients and after a quick drive to the store I picked up the pecans and ground cinnamon I needed along with a 6 pack of Coors Light per Mr. Sideline Chef's request. Probably to help make a baking disaster more palatable if one was to occur.

After a few "oh schnike" moments such as: running out of all purpose flour and substituting 100% whole wheat flour, having to call my mom to find out if the KitchenAid stand mixer will form the pastry dough into a ball or if I would need to do it by hand, and then following what the original recipe called a serving size for the pastry cups and realizing it didn't make a cup and making the decision to make only one dozen cups instead of 2 dozen, I was feeling a bit anxious.

I was fretting while they were baking for 25 minutes. The fate of these Maple Pecan Tartlets rested with Mr. Sideline Chef and whether he would deem them worthy or not. After they cooled down enough I plated one tiny tartlet for him. I literally stood hovered over his plate, elbows on table with my face up in his, and anxiously waiting to hear his response. I could see a piece of the tartlet rolling around the inside of his cheek.

Tell me damn it. "It taste like a brown sugar pop-tart. I'm not a fan of pecans. They're small. Can I please have another one?" After plating the second one he gave me the validation I needed and told me I will need to make at least 2 dozen of them to take. "How much did it cost to make?" Oh goodness! Was this his way of suggesting that this recipe didn't taste like a million bucks and worthy for his supervisor?

No. He deemed them worthy and put an end to my worrying over what dessert would be presented to our hosts for Thanksgiving. Now that dessert is covered what in the hell am I going to wear? and Christmas with Southern Living, 1996
Makes 2 dozen... I don't think that is correct. I ended up with 1 dozen since I needed to use twice the amount of the Cinnamon Pastry Dough.

Stars of the Show for the Cinnamon Pastry Dough:

  • 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour - I used 1/8 cup all purpose flour and substituted the additional amount with 100% whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
And Action:
Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Gradually add flour and cinnamon, beating at low speed just until the ingredients are blended. Wrap dough in wax paper, and chill for 2 hours.

Divide dough in half. *I skipped this next step.* Divide each half of dough into 12 balls. Place in a lightly greased miniature muffin pan. (Now I see why I needed to use twice the amount of dough and only ended up with 1 dozen. I wasn't using a miniature muffin pan. Smacking myself in the forehead now.) Shape each ball into a shell.

Stars of the Show for the Maple Pecan Tartlet Filling:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
And Action:

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until blended. Stir in pecans. Spoon filling evenly into the Cinnamon Pastry Shells.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until set. Cool slightly. Remove from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack.

That's it! Thanksgiving table scape worthy!!!

November 20, 2010

Peanut Butter Streusel Brownies

I am on the fence about the way my Peanut Butter Streusel Brownies turned out. I admit it... I have never made brownies from scratch. They have always come from a box. I was asked to bring a dessert for a Thanksgiving dinner we are invited to by Mr. Sideline Chef's supervisor. Ugh! The supervisor's wife and I speak often via Facebook and she knew I was trying out these brownies and encouraged me to bring these. If the recipe turned out I'd be able to sigh a breath of relief knowing that I had one less thing to worry about that day and solely focus on my next biggest task of what to wear.

The original recipe stated to lay foil into the pan I was using and then pour my batter onto it to bake. Any other time I have made brownies before I never had to do this. Being a recipe follower and not a gut instinct follower when it comes to kitchen ventures I did what the instructions told me to do.

At the 50 minute mark my toothpick came out with a few moist crumbs. I let the brownies cool on a wire rack still on the foil for an hour. I bathed the kid while they cooled. The smell of brownies baking and cooling for 2 hours was pure torture. I would of rather been hung by my fingernails than smell them for another minute longer without getting a taste. I rushed my itty bitty to put his bath toys away, whisked him out of the bath, and slipped him into his jammies.

16 servings. 16 servings. I swear I understand serving sizes but brownies are my "Achilles Heel". I only half jokingly say that my itty bitty is made up of spicy and sweet because when I was pregnant food couldn't have been spicy enough and brownies would be made and ate in one night, boxes of cereal and gallons of milk devoured, baby shower cake for breakfast... insert Mr. Sideline Chef's disgust understanding of pregancy cravings here and add 50 pounds to my 4'11" frame. No bueno.

I got the short end of the stick when it came to the full 16 servings. What had happened was... when I went to cut into the brownies starting at, in my opinion, the best part of the brownie, the edges, I couldn't even cut through!!! The damn edges were hard as rocks. Damn it all to hell. Luckily the center was still fudgy peanut buttery deliciousness. Not my favorite part but a close second to the crisp edges. I ended up with 4 brownies. What the fudge?

Yesterday morning I sent my friend to work with a plate of the edges... not the hard parts... I went to the garage and pulled out Mr. Sideline Chef's chisel set... joking. I cut off the hard parts from those 12 servings and gave her a plate of 12 half servings to share with her coworkers. I received a text telling me everyone raved over them. If only they knew.

Another thing that didn't quite turn out but was still successful in the end, if that makes sense, the peanut butter streusel topping. The recipe stated that my topping would be crumbly. Never saw that happen. It was more of a frosting texture but was incredibly tasty. When I bit into the brownie it tasted like a peanut butter cup! Heaven!

Time for a recipe redo minus the foil, my nemesis. The recipe will be a keeper as long as without foil they turn out just right edges this time around.

I changed the name. They called them So Good Brownies and a variation for the topping included the Peanut Butter Streusel. My name just gets to the point. and Southern Living, August 2009
Makes 16 servings

Stars of the Show:

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate baking squares
  • 3/4 cup butter - I ran out of butter and substituted with vegetable oil.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
And Action:

Preheat oven to 350°. *Not sure if this next step is the one we should all skip or not. Testing the theory is still in progress.* Line bottom and side of an 8 inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over the sides and lightly grease.

Microwave (I did this over the stove top instead.) chocolate squares and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until smooth and melted stirring at 30 second intervals. Stir in the sugars. Add 1 egg at a time, stirring until just blended. Stir in the flour, vanilla extract, and salt.

Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Now for the Peanut Butter Streusel:

Stars of the Show:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter - I had to use vegetable oil and now realize this is the reason it probably didn't crumble.
  • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
And Continuing on with the Action:

Combine the Streusel ingredients together until blended and crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture over the batter. Bake for 50-54 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack for 1 hour. Lift brownies from pan using the foil as handles. Gently remove foil and cut into 16 squares.

November 19, 2010

Herb Cloverleaf Rolls

"Whenever I made the cloverleaf rolls when you kids were growing up I dunked each ball into butter before adding it to the muffin pan." Courtesy of a phone call with my mom last night on trying to determine why my Herb Cloverleaf Rolls were a little on the dry side. Being a Cooking Light recipe theirs meant to be on the light side and of course the fat was considerably reduced by not dunking the balls in butter. To each their own... and their arteries.

While the rolls lack that airy texture they make you for it with flavor. As they were baking it smelt like rosemary focaccia bread. With first bite you get a taste of herb goodness from the dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, and black pepper. These would be a great roll to have on your Thanksgiving table this year.

Preparing this recipe couldn't have been easier. The downtime waiting for the dough to rise and rest gave me ample time to do the dishes, watch reality television show reruns, and write down another recipe on the lineup for the day.

Give these a try and if you decided to dunk them in butter like my mother did or try Cooking Light's version these won't disappoint. and Cooking Light, November 1998
Makes 1 1/2 dozen

Stars of the Show:

  • 1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 3/4 cup milk - I used nonfat.
  • 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 4 cups of bread flour or all-purpose flour, divided - I used bread flour.
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
And Action:

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the milks. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour, butter, and next 5 ingredients to the yeast mixture and stir until blended. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tbsp at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. I used the full cup of flour that was left.

Place dough in a large bowl that has been coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts (I place my bowl on top of my dryer after it's been running while I was preparing the dough, thanks mom for that tip!), 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch dough down and cover and let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 18 equal portions. Work with 1 portion at a time, cover the remaining dough to keep from drying, divide each portion into 3 equal portions. Shape each piece into a ball. Coat muffin pans with cooking spray and place 3 balls into each muffin cup. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or doubled in size.

I want a deep tissue rub down for 10 minutes and an hour nap... minus the punch afterward.
Preheat oven to 350°.

Uncover dough. Combine 1 tbsp water and egg white in a small bowl. Brush over dough. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 119 (12% from fat)

Fat: 1.6g (sat 0.3g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.5g)

Protein: 4.4g

Carbohydrate: 21.3g

Fiber: 0.1g

Cholesterol: 1mg

Iron: 1.4mg

Sodium: 158mg

Calcium: 40mg

November 18, 2010

Head Over To Kirsten's Kitchen For A Giveaway

With having nothing to blog about today Kirsten gave me reason to have something to post:

She's hosting a giveaway for a $40.00 gift certificate for CSN! Head on over and enter her giveaway... just click HERE and it will send you to where you need to be.

Best of luck on the giveaway! While you are over there check out all of her deliciousness she's been whipping up!

November 17, 2010

Fancy-Pants Bangers 'N' Mash

You know when you get blackout drunk after chugging a fifth of After Shock your first time drinking and the next day you spend with your best friend, the toilet? Then how the scent of cinnamon makes you want to vomit for years after? Me neither. Sorry mom for getting drunk on a school night when I was 16.

How does the above story relate. Mashed potatoes. You know how you stuff yourself on mashed potatoes and get that incredibly achy-need to unbutton your pants feeling after doing so? Anytime I think of mashed potatoes my stomach turns and I remember that uncomfortable feeling and how disgusting I feel every time I eat them. I'm sure you can now understand my hesitation of making mashed potatoes for Mr. Sideline Chef whenever he requests them with every meal.

His work sent him back on the road and because I had already done the menu planning and a recipe out of Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners was on the lineup I set about making the meal for just the itty bitty and I. I cut the entire recipe in half to minimize leftovers and even portioned myself out a half serving of both the beef sausages and mashed potatoes.

After eating the perfectly portioned half serving I was left satisfied and not overly stuffed in that disgusting roll me through my bedroom door sort of a way. I even settled for an abnormally early dinner time, 4:30 p.m., in order to let the food settle before bedtime. Well played Pretend Chef, well played.

Bangers are a mild British pork sausage. I have never heard of bangers before this recipe. They can easily be substituted with any kind of mild pork sausage, beef, or chicken sausages. I chose a smoked beef sausage since our local market doesn't keep great stock of products.

The sausages are browned and then removed from the skillet while a red onion sauce is made with red wine and chicken stock and then added back to the skillet. The mashed potatoes have chives mixed in and are a creamy and delicious accompaniment to the sausages.

No need to unbutton your pants after eating this unless you over do it and in that case it most definitely is worth the achy belly. When will you ever learn?

Fancy-Pants Bangers 'N' Mash
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Makes 4 servings

Stars of the Show:

Milk is not set out since I am weird about leaving it out for longer than need be.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 bangers or other sausages - I used Eckrich's smoked beef sausages. They were fulled cooked sausages.
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • salt
  • 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped - I used dried thyme since that was already in my spice cabinet.
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine - I used Shiraz.
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped - I used dried parsley.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
And Action:

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the sausages and brown on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.

While the sausages are browning, start the mashed potatoes by covering the quartered potatoes in water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes until fork-tender for about 10 minutes.

 Remove the sausages from the pan and place on a platter. Drain half the fat from the skillet (I skipped this step entirely.) then return the skillet to the stove top. Add the red onions, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until nice and brown. Actually didn't burn them like my other night's mishap. Add the red wine and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the sausages back to the skillet and cook until the sauce is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return to the hot pan to dry the potatoes out. Add the butter, cream cheese, chives, and milk to the potatoes and mash. Season with salt and pepper.

Finish the sausages with the chopped parsley and the lemon juice. You can either top the mashed potatoes with the sausages or lay them to the side.

November 16, 2010

Food Funnies

November 15, 2010

Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots

A recipe like this reminds me of why I refer to myself as The Pretend Chef. I just think I know what I am doing in the kitchen. If you could be a fly on my wall you would see me throughout the making of a recipe running to the computer to do a quick search to see what this or that should look like or what a certain cooking term means.

Before becoming a stay at home mom the word "blanch" was never in my vocabulary. I recall having to watch a how to video. Sad. I know. It wasn't my mother's fault. It is my own. My mother spent countless hours on her feet standing over pots of homemade sauces or whipping up whatever delicious baked good she was working on for the day. My entire existence. To this day I kick myself for not being a more active participant in her kitchen.

Juggling the Old-Fashioned Meatloaf and this side dish I became a bit overwhelmed especially when I, in a spur of the moment decision, thought to invite the neighbors over for dinner. Mind you, I have cooking anxiety when it comes to preparing anything for others. Mr. Sideline Chef was told to let everyone know it would be ready by 6 p.m. Let's just say I ended up having him contact everyone again and letting them know dinner would be ready around 7 p.m.

Back to why this is a reminder of why I'm The Pretend Chef. The caramelizing of the shallots did happen at one moment. They looked beautiful. I have a bad habit of accidentally turning the wrong burners up in heat all the time. Rather than turning the burner up to boil my water for the potatoes the shallots crisped up nicely and gave off a burning aroma throughout the house. Thankfully they didn't get burnt completely through and had a bit of a soft texture to them. I said a bit. When I laid the caramelized burnt shallots on top of my mashed potatoes and took my first bite the shallots had a saltiness to them and somewhat stuck to my back molars. No one else wanted to try them. I ate them all by myself. I also like my hot dogs burnt... by choice.

If you give these a try I'm sure you'll have the results that are expected. A beautiful pile of caramelized shallots to lay on top of a bed of mashed potatoes. Just remember to watch the burners, you don't want to pull a Pretend Chef move.

*Click the link for yourself to see how these caramelized shallots are meant to look.* and Real Simple, November 2007
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Stars of the Show:
  • 5 pounds white or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed - I used Yukon gold potatoes.
  • salt and black pepper
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 medium shallots
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
And Action:

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and add 2 1/2 tbsp salt. Reduce heat to a simmer until just tender, about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are simmering, peel and thinly slice the shallots. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return them back to the pot. Add the butter, buttermilk, cream, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp black pepper. Mash the potatoes. Fold the shallots into the mashed potatoes (I kept mine separate so people can either have them or not.) before transferring to a serving dish.

The originally recipe also adds a "Make Ahead Note": The potatoes can be made up to 2 hours in advance and kept warm in a double broiler or Crock-Pot. If the potatoes are chilled and then reheated, they will turn dry and pasty.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 358 (40% from fat)
Fat: 16g (sat 9g)
Protein: 6g
Carbohydrate: 48g
Fiber: 7g
Cholesterol: 41mg
Sodium: 164mg

November 14, 2010

Old-Fashioned Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those meals I think I was no different from than most kids and dreaded meatloaf night. My grandma made meatloaf as a go to whenever company was over and we were often that company. Her house was a very strict "if it's on your plate you eat it", even when you weren't the one who plated your own meal. I would choke it down. Looking back on those meals I'm not sure what was off putting about it. Maybe the hardened ketchup on top? The fact that it was ground beef but nothing like a hamburger?

I remember going to restaurants with my father and anytime a waiter would mention the daily special being meatloaf he would ask in a joking manner, "Does your meat loaf?" He would be the only one at the table laughing hysterically. It wasn't until my late teen years that I started to understand what he meant. I do find it just as hysterical now as he did at the time.

Mr. Sideline Chef is a meatloaf man. I am still not a meatloaf fan. I do like it now but not a meal I just have to have. I won't order it out at a restaurant but I will steal a bite off of his plate and talk about how delicious it is looking down at my plate wondering if I'll ever become a meatloaf person like he is. After all, he is the one who has turned my mushroom hatred into a tolerance.

It is a rare occasion for Mr. Sideline Chef to request anything for dinner or any meal for that matter. The other night when making the grocery list he finally spoke up when asked if there was anything he was craving or just wanted... "You haven't made meatloaf in the last year. That would be nice."

I searched my favorite recipe website for meatloaf recipes and came across one I thought he would like. Mashed potatoes and corn were also requested side dishes. I couldn't just make plain mashed potatoes after coming across a recipe for mashed potatoes with caramelized shallots. I'll share the recipe tomorrow and hopefully you'll actually caramelize them and not blacken them like I did.

I prepared dinner and on a whim decided to invite our neighbors over since we haven't seen them in about a week and just wanted to catch up and allow our toddlers to play together. Dinner was delicious. My favorite part was the mashed potatoes with caramelized crispy shallots and Mr. Sideline Chef's reaction was, "It's good." He isn't one to react to food  tasting as a sensual pleasure. He inhales the food. I'm not even sure he tastes it. Our guest told me it was delicious and I sent him home with some leftovers for his wife since she was working.

The recipe for the meatloaf is going into the "for when we have guests" folder of my personal recipe book along with the Chicken Francese with Wilted Spinach. Looks like I am turning into my grandmother and having a meatloaf go to recipe and if you're the neighbors I apologize in advance. and Southern Living Magazine, April 2005
Makes 6-8 servings

Stars of the Show:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp Greek seasoning - Didn't have this on hand, couldn't find in our local market, and didn't have all of the spices on hand to make my own. I'm sure this would have added even more flavor to an already flavorful meatloaf without it.
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • Garnish: chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley - I used dried since that was what I had.
And Action:

Melt butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat; add celery and onion, and saute 7 minutes or until just until.

Stir together the celery mixture, ground beef, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into 10x5- inch loaf, place on a lightly greased aluminum foiled broiler pan.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Stir together remaining 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 1 tbsp ketchup until blended; pour evenly over meatloaf, and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until no longer pink in the center. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

November 12, 2010

Food Funnies and Congratulations To The 5 Winners

I can't really say I'm a fan of email forwards. Only on occasion does a really good one come through and I can't help but share. I received an email a couple days ago and it was food related. Hello! This is a food blog. It's another dose of food funnies. Whoever has come up with these creations has an infinite amount of creativity. What better way to start your Friday morning than with a good laugh?

If you didn't get enough of the food funnies above click HERE for more!

I just want to take a moment and thank all of those who had participated in the Gorton's / Ortega Giveaway that I was fortunate enough to host. The people over at Gorton's and Ortega were more than generous and offered to give not one but 5 of my readers each (1) full-value coupon for a Gorton's seafood product and (1) full-value coupon for an Ortega product.

While this giveaway didn't generate a lot of buzz that only meant the odds of winning were greater. Good news for those who did enter. Let me not keep you waiting any longer. Congratulations to the 5 lucky winners!

The Winners:
  1. Steve - Comment #11
  2. Aubrey Laine - Comment #3
  3. LMC502 - Comment #13
  4. Leann - Comment #10
  5. Jared - Comment #7
All winners were chosen randomly using the random number generator. I will be sending each of you an email congratulating you of your win! When you receive the email please be sure to respond with your mailing address so that way I can forward the information to the people over at Gorton's and Ortega and they will be sending you your prize.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...