Trying to Make Thursday Supper a Thing

Recently I swapped my hours at work on Thursdays to the morning, so I found myself with more time to actually plan and execute a meal, instead of the usual leftovers we tend to have when both my husband and I get home between 5:30 and 6 pm and both feel not especially like cooking.

This week I made pan-seared salmon and broccoli gratin, and I felt weirdly empowered by cooking the salmon myself.  Generally I make the husband grill it.

Anyway!  Recipe links follow with pictures.

I don’t know if you could call it a recipe so much, but this lovely tidbit from Food & Wine made cooking the salmon super easy.

IMG_3184

I put a little bit of the marinade the salmon had been sitting in (just an equal mix of olive oil and lemon juice) in the pan as the oil.  I love my cast iron.  😀

The urge to try broccoli gratin came as I was flipping through my copy of Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 for All Seasons.  There is a recipe for broccoli gratin that sounded good, but I didn’t have some of the ingredients.  The description of the recipe, though, said it was a more gourmet version of regular broccoli gratin, which I proceeded to look up and find an awesome recipe on Food Network’s website that I had everything for and turned out deliciously.

IMG_3185

The breadcrumbs maybe got a little too toasty in the pan before I put them on top, but still great.

IMG_3186

The hubby’s finished plate.  A healthy meal that feels like cheating because, well, cheese.  No need for a starch!  🙂

You can combine with a salad if you’d like…I had a veggie blend after dinner because I forgot, or if you’d like the salmon would be great on top of some couscous or rice.

Happy eating!

 

Advertisements

Deviled Eggs

So, my mom called me yesterday to ask if I would make deviled eggs for my dad’s birthday.  Since this always seems to be the dish I’m most called on to make at or bring to family gatherings, I thought it was a shame I hadn’t shared it on here yet.

As always with anything I post, feel free to make substitutions if you aren’t fond of a particular ingredient.  I’ve never seen our particular family recipe written down anywhere, and I generally do the quantities to taste, but I’ll try to give specifics.  And my mom has Tupperware trays for deviled eggs that hold sixteen halves, so I’m going to give said specifics to make that number.

Ingredients

8 eggs
2-3 heaping tablespoons Miracle Whip (can sub mayonnaise…I’m just not fond of regular mayo myself)
1-2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
paprika
dried parsley

Directions

1.  Hardboil the eggs.  This should take approximately 25-30 minutes.  If you’ve never hardboiled eggs before, use the following link to get this task done: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_perfect_hard_boiled_eggs/

2.  Generally I let the eggs cool in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, but if you don’t have that time, simply run them under cold water, or stick them in an ice bath.

3.  Peel the eggs.  Discard or compost shells.

IMG_2827

4.  Cut each egg in half, lengthwise.  Pop out the hardboiled yolk into a medium bowl, and reserve the white on your egg plate or tray.

IMG_2828 IMG_2829

5.  Once you have all the yolks in the bowl, mash with a fork until the yolks are in small pieces.

IMG_2830

6.  Add the Miracle Whip, and stir until well combined.

7.  Add the pickle relish, and stir until well combined.

IMG_2831

8.  Using a fork or spoon (or if you want to be fancy, a piping bag) divide the filling evenly into the empty whites.

IMG_2832

9.  Top each egg with a dash of paprika, then a couple of pinches of dried parsley.  I usually crush the parsley a bit finer with my fingers, and then put it on the eggs.

10.  Serve!

IMG_2833

Voila!  I would say the whole process, if you have already boiled eggs, usually takes about a half hour from beginning to end.  A bit labor-intensive, but delicious.  My mom passed this version on to me, but you can always make deviled eggs your own with different ingredients and different toppings.

But these are my favorite.  🙂

St. Patrick’s Day food

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but we made a couple of recipes tonight for St. Patrick’s Day that I think are delicious, and will probably be repeated in future.  Enjoy!

Chicken with Bacon, Cabbage, and Cider

This recipe is from the cookbook The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland by Margaret M. Johnson.  Recipes based on booze?  This is why I still own this cookbook.  🙂

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breastsSalt and pepper
6 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1/4 cup canola oil
2 small onions, sliced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or chicken broth
1/4 cup Irish hard cider
2 cups of shredded cabbage

Directions

Place chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper and, with a mallet or rolling pin, pound or roll to 1/2 inch thickness.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon for 5 to 7 minutes, or until crisp.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  (Here, we found it helpful to drain some bacon grease.)  Return the skillet to the stove and heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.  Add the chicken and cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the center.  Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with aluminum foil (the chicken will continue to cook).

In the same skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.  Stir in the onions and garlic and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not browned.  Stir in the stock or broth and the cider.  Bring to a boil, then add the cabbage.  Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a platter and cover with aluminum foil.  Boil the cooking liquid for 4 to 5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

To serve, divide the cabbage among 4 serving plates.  Slice chicken and place on top of the cabbage.  Spoon sauce over the top, sprinkle with reserved bacon.

(We burnt the sauce, and forgot to slice the chicken, but our finished product!)
IMG_1456

Next, dessert!

Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Frosting

So, for the frosting, I just took a regular container of vanilla frosting and mixed in Bailey’s Irish Liquer to taste.  We like things a little boozy, but it’s up to your palate.  The cake recipe which follows is from Betty Crocker.  Theirs is a layer cake with homemade frosting, but I made mine in a bundt cake pan with the frosting method mentioned above, as a way to meld the holiday with my German heritage.  🙂  If you want to homemake the frosting, I’ve included the whole recipe below.

Prep Time 35 min
Total Time 1 hr 50 min
Servings 12

Ingredients

Cake
1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ dark chocolate cake mix
1 bottle (12 oz) stout beer
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Frosting
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar

Directions
  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms and sides of 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with shortening or cooking spray. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the beer for frosting; cover and set aside.
  • In large bowl, beat cake mix, oil, eggs and remaining beer with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally until smooth. Pour into pans.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.  (Follow the box directions for what kind of cake pan you’re using, my bundt cake took 45 minutes instead of 35.)

I didn’t do these following steps, aside from frosting and chilling in the fridge.  Do both of these if you want the homemade frosting on a layer cake.

  • In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and reserved 2 tablespoons beer with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  • Cut each cake horizontally in half to make 2 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Repeat twice. Place last cake layer, cut side down, on top; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Frost side of cake with remaining frosting. Store in refrigerator.

I think it turned out well!

IMG_1460

And it’s delicious, even though I don’t have a cake plate.  😀
Sláinte mhaith!  Enjoy the Irish spirit on this St. Patrick’s Day!

Kick*ss Cheddar Biscuits and Chicken Noodle Soup

Now that we’re finally moved into the new house I’m again stretching my cooking muscles. As the weather is changing I decided to try my hand at a quick chicken noodle soup and biscuits.

Enjoy!

IMG_7484.JPG
Chicken Noodle Soup
Curtesy of
Rachel Ray

Ingredients:

• (2) tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
• (2) medium carrots (I used baby carrots and cut them into bite sized pieces)
• (1) medium onion, chopped (I had a vidalia onion in house, but you can use anything you prefer)
• (2) ribs celery, chopped
• (2) bay leaves, fresh or dried
• Salt and pepper
• (6) cups low sodium chicken stock
• (1) pound chicken breast tenders, diced
• (1/2) pound wide egg noodles (I used about half the bag, you can use more or less)
• A handful fresh parsley, chopped
• A handful fresh dill, chopped

Directions:

Place a large pot over moderate heat and add extra-virgin olive oil. I recommend you add the veggies in the order they are listed to the pot as you chop them up.

Add bay leaves and season vegetables with salt and pepper, to taste. Add stock to the pot and raise flame to bring liquid to a boil. Add diced chicken tenderloins, return soup to a boil, and reduce heat back to moderate. Cook chicken about 2 minutes and add noodles. Cook soup an additional 6 minutes or until noodles are tender and remove soup from the heat.

Stir in parsley and dill, remove bay leaves and serve.

This is an ingredient heavy soup so I ended up adding about 2 cups of water to increase the broth. Just remember to season to taste before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheese – Garlic Biscuits
Curtesy of Betty Crocker

Ingredients:

• (2) cups Original Bisquick™ mix
• (2/3) cup milk
• (1/2) cup shredded Cheddar cheese
• (2) tablespoons butter
• (1/8) teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Heat oven to 450ºF.

Stir Bisquick mix, milk and cheese until soft dough forms. Drop dough spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet (you can get 7-9 biscuits). I used an un-greased nonstick cookie sheet, but I recommend greasing your cookie sheet for easier removal.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

While your biscuits are in the oven melt the butter in the microwave. After it’s liquified stir together butter and garlic powder; brush over warm biscuits.

* I think the next time I make these I might add chopped chives to add a different layer or flavor.

Enjoy!

Crock Pot Sunday

Being that there was still football this weekend, we decided to stay in and make dinner and dessert in the crock pot.And it was glorious.

Here’s what we made!

cpporklg

Crock Pot Pork and Beans
(from http://busycooks.about.com/od/porkentreerecipes/r/cpporkbeans.htm)

Prep time: 10 minutesCook time: 8 hours
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
6 boneless pork loin chops, trimmed of excess fat
1 onion, chopped
2 large cans of pork and beans
1/3 cup ketchup
3 tbsp of mustard (or more to taste)

Preparation
In a 4 quart crockpot, combine onion, pork and beans, ketchup and mustard and stir to blend.
Add pork chops to crockpot, pushing some down into the bean mixture.
Cover crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally, until pork is tender.

We ended up shredding the pork, which made it kind of a stew-like consistency, but it was still delicious.
And I’d recommend putting salt and pepper on each side on the pork chops before they go in the crock pot, to give them a little more flavor.

 

104088206

Old Fashioned Slow Cooker Baked Apples
(from http://www.southernplate.com/2011/09/old-fashioned-slow-cooker-baked-apples.html)

Ingredients
4-5 Apples (whatever will fit in your slow cooker)
1/2 Cup water

For Each Apple you’ll need:
2 Tablespoons Dark Brown sugar
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon allspice (just a smudge of allspice)
1 Tablespoon (or pat) of butter

Instructions

    1. Core each apple and peel a small strip from around the top of each one (about 1 inch). Place in bottom of slow cooker.
    2. Combine brown sugar, spices, and dried cranberries in a small bowl and stir until well combined.
    3. Stuff each apple with filling, all the way to the top, pressing down with your finger to make room for more filling. Top each one with a pat of butter.
    4. Pour water into bottom of slow cooker.
    5. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours, or until tender. Serve on their own or with ice cream. Also great over oatmeal.
We didn’t have cranberries or raisins, but it turned out really well still without them.
And now we’re all super full of delicious, warm football food.  🙂
Try it yourself!

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Mac n Cheese

I can’t believe I hadn’t posted this recipe yet, because it’s one of the best things I’ve ever made, in my opinion.  Warm and comforting, delicious even on hot days.

I modified the recipe found for Grandpa John’s Mac n Cheese found here.

And a note, this is a double recipe, but it feeds Jeff and I for about 3 days, if that gives you any indication of how quickly the leftovers disappear.

Ingredients

1 lb elbow macaroni
1 package (abt 15 oz) ricotta cheese
10 oz (a bag and a half ) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 (10 oz) cans condensed tomato soup
15 oz (roughly a tomato soup can and a half) milk

Directions

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees- Place ricotta in a large (and I do mean LARGE) mixing bowl
– Cook pasta in boiling salted water for half of the cook time listed on the box (generally around 5 or 6 minutes)
– Drain pasta and pour over ricotta
– Mix together
– Stir in one bag of shredded cheese, followed by the tomato soup and the milk
– Mix until fully incorporated

Now pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  When this time is up, switch the oven to broil, layer some more cheddar cheese on top, and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and a little crispy.

Depending on the amount of milk put in, the inside will still be a little liquidy, but it sets up as it cools.
Below is the finished product.
And I’m stuffed.  🙂

IMG_7197 IMG_7198

Spinach and Fruit Salad

I made up this recipe yesterday based on something I had at a wedding recently.  Simple, but tasty.  🙂

Ingredients

Half a bag (approx. 8 ounces) of fresh spinach (I tear off the stems)

1 apple, cubed or cut into small chunks

15-20 grapes, halved

Blue cheese

For dressing: (approx. amounts, always do to taste)

2 oz olive oil

1 oz balsamic vinegar

½ oz lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Wash and drain spinach, placing in a large bowl.
  2. Cut up apple and grapes, and add to spinach.
  3. Combine all ingredients in dressing in a small bowl, whisking together until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Toss salad with dressing.
  5. Sprinkle blue cheese on top.
  6. Serve!

If you’re going to wait to serve, combine all ingredients except the dressing, and store in the refrigerator.  Dress the salad just before serving.

This salad is good even leftover the next day.  Be sure to store in an airtight container.