Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

This is recipe is really nice coming into fall and winter. It's a comfort food that comes together pretty easily though there are quite a few steps involved. I've heard some people use instant mash potatoes to shorten prep time, but I've never tried it. Traditionally 'Sherpherd's Pie' is made with lamb, but that's not something we usually keep stocked... Someday we'd like to try it that way, but for now we just use ground beef. So I guess this is actually a recipe for 'Cottage Pie'?

This is an adaptation of a couple of different recipes that I think turned out really well. It was a combination of one recipe that fit in an 8x8, and another that fit in a 9x13. Our finished product fits somewhere in between those two, ha! You could put it in a 9x13 and it would be a little thin so you'd have to adjust the cooking time or add a little more of everything else. So this is just a starting place, easy to adjust for however much you want to end up with, just add more mashed potatoes, meat and vegetables. We ended up cooking this recipe in a 7x11 baking dish we had and it filled it completely. So Yummy!!!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2-3 cups potatoes 
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese - you could leave this out, but it does make the potatoes really thick and creamy, it's a nice touch if you've got it
  • 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese - half for mixing in potatoes, half for topping finished casserole
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen vegetables thawed in water from boiling potatoes - use a mix of whatever you have on hand, peas, carrots, corn
  • 1 1/2 tsp oil - you could use vegetable or oil, whatever you prefer
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 heaping Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 can of low sodium beef broth - We used Swanson's 14.5 oz can, you could use a smaller can, just adjust the flour accordingly. You could also use regular sodium, I've just found it's harder to plan for that as you're seasoning your meat and you don't want it too salty. 
PREPARATION:
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still a little firm. About 15 min. Drain but keep water in pot, and mash. Mix in butter, cream cheese and half shredded cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  2. Thaw frozen vegetables in potato water and set aside.
  3. Heat oil and butter in frying pan. Add onion and sweat until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until half way done. Add garlic, flour and cook until fragrant. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and beef broth and bring to a boil. Continue simmering until thick. 
  4. Remove from heat and mix in thawed vegetables.
  5. Spread ground beef mixture in an even layer in bottom of baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20 min. or until golden brown.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gingerbread-White Chocolate Blondies

This recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook. We love it. Bought the cookbook awhile back from Costco around Christmastime when they have a ton of different cookbooks stocked. Hands down we use this recipe the most! Granted we have only tried a handful of them... It's almost like we found this one and stopped looking, ha! 

The first time we made these we were in Portland and it was for a Sunday dessert after dinner with our friends Paul & Wendy. Didn't realize how many the recipe made until after the fact so there were a ton of leftovers and we left them for them to keep. They decided it was too much for them and Paul ended up bringing them into where he and Don worked. People started coming in from other offices asking about them!

Anyhow, they are fabulous year round, but particularly around fall because of the spices. I usually end up cutting them into triangles because the spacing works out better for me. I cut them into rows of 4 and then 6 bars per row then into triangles to get the 4 dozen. They finish up quick because you don't have to form individual balls, just spread it all out and bake it!  

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 3/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yoke
  • 1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped best-quality white chocolate (10 oz)
PREPARATION:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 17" x 12" rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment cut to fit, and coat parchment. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  2. Beat butter and brown and granulated sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in white chocolate.
  3. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares or desired shape. Makes about 4 dozen.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Basic Burger Patties

This is an adaptation of this recipe on Allrecipes. It's a good basic burger recipe! Makes 6 burger patties.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (I've left this out on occasion and everything was still fine!) 
  • 1 small onion chopped or 1/2 large onion - anywhere between 1/4 to 1/2 cup (On occasion I'll also leave this out if I'm planning on putting red onion or grilled onion on top separately...)
  • 1 egg (Some people recommend halving or omitting the egg entirely, we've always done it with)
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
PREPARATION:
  1. Preheat grill or frying pan. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together cheese, onion, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Crumble in ground beef and mix together by hand.
  3. Form into 6 patties and cook until well done.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Simple Sauce for Crispy Pan-Fried Noodles

I recently discovered crispy noodles that I can make at home! Aaaand, I've started making them more often. It's kind of been a trial and error on finding a sauce that tastes right to me for it. Finally found this one on rasamalaysia which I guess was actually a guest post from another blogger, Taste Hong Kong. Either way the sauce was perfect for it, and at some point I do intend to do the full on recipe as is. Lately I've just been making the sauce plain and pouring it over the noodles. So yummy!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp water
PREPARATION:
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. 
  2. Bring to a boil stirring frequently, usually just boil it for a minute or two.
  3. Pour over noodles and enjoy!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Chewy Caramel Popcorn

Adapted from this recipe on Allrecipes. Really quick and easy to make, tried it for the first time this year and ended up making a ton of batches! 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 bag of microwave popcorn, popped
PREPARATION:
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. 
  2. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.
  3.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly. As soon as first bubbles appear, allow mixture to boil for 3 minutes without stirring. 
  4. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat. 
  5. Spread out on lined cookie sheet, breaking apart into smaller pieces as you go and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blueberry Balsamic Rosemary Chicken

We tried this recipe for the first time today, and it was awesome! We got some blueberries in our co-op basket and were trying to figure out what we wanted to do with them, other than just eat them as-is :), and I was thinking for whatever reason that it would be good as a sauce with balsamic vinegar. Went on the trusty internet and found a couple of various recipes which were pretty much identical. Turns out someone else had the idea before I did! 

This is a French dish and was incredibly home~y and rustic. I could totally see myself ordering it at a French restaurant or maybe even a pub somewhere. :) We had it with mashed potatoes, and it was a great Fall dish - even though it isn't quite Fall yet! One thing we did notice was that 10 min. definitely wasn't long enough in the oven to finish cooking. I would definitely do it for at least double that. We kept checking w/ the thermometer just to make sure. Maybe we didn't brown it long enough? Or it really does make a difference browning in a skillet vs a regular frying pan? We're going to try browning it longer next time, but really either way it turned out great and the flavor was awesome! If you want to retain some of your crispy skin after browning I would use a larger baking dish so that your sauce doesn't completely cover your chicken. 

We had ours with brownies for dessert, but during dinner we ended up talking about other desserts that would go really well with this, like a free-form apple tart, baked cheesecake, lemon pie...yum! We figured this would be great for company and easy to stretch out, recipe made quite a bit of sauce. We were thinking it would also be really nice with a green salad with feta too, if you decided to serve it in courses... Such an inspiring dish, ha! And it was fairly easy to do and the results were well worth the effort!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 2 lbs bone-in leg and thigh (we used thawed frozen chicken thighs from Costco, 4 thighs in a pack, worked great) 
  • 2 shallots, about 1/4 cup, thinly sliced (we substituted this with regular onion thinly sliced)
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen - we supplemented with frozen)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey or 1/3 cup maple syrup (Used honey because we already had it! But I imagine it would be really good with maple syrup, want to try it that way sometime...)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp each of oil and butter in a large skillet until hot and bubbly. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and sear over medium high heat until golden brown - about 1 minute per side or until a light crust forms. Remove to baking dish and set aside.
  3. Add remaining oil and butter to pan and when hot stir in shallots and cook until soft and lightly caramelized - about 4 minutes.
  4. Add blueberries to shallots and cook 1 minute. Add balsamic vinegar, honey or maple syrup, rosemary and salt and pepper. Simmer about 10 min, or until blueberries have collapsed.
  5.  Pour blueberry balsamic mixture over chicken and place baking dish in top half of oven for about 10 min. (25-35 min. I would say start at 25 and check and then go from there), until the chicken has cooked to interior temp of 170° F 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lamb with Rosemary Honey Mustard Glaze

This recipe is one that Don found from Allrecipes. It is the best recipe I've ever had for lamb and all the ingredients are items we have on hand with the exception of fresh rosemary, which we do actually get. Usually we substitute for dry, which I imagine you could, but it really is awesome with fresh if you can get it for a reasonable price. Original recipe calls for leg of lamb, but we have always done it with a lamb roast, which we get at Costco. I imagine you could do it with pretty much any cut of lamb and it would still be great. We like making extra marinade to use as a sauce, it really is that good! Can be served with pretty much anything, we've done it a couple of times with a quinoa recipe and the flavors went together really well. 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (We use the Grey Poupon brand)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Optional: dash each of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar (Haven't tried it this way yet, but want to at some point. Some of the reviewers prepared it this way and it's supposed to be really good!)
  • 2 lbs of lamb roast approx. (Original recipe calls for 5 lbs of lamb leg, but the roasts we get are smaller)
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt 

PREPARATION:
  1. Combine the honey, mustard, rosemary, pepper, lemon zest and garlic. Mix well (some reviewers recommend putting it all in the blender to mix. I think if you want to make extra to use it as a sauce afterwards I would definitely recommend that b/c of the garlic cloves) and apply to the lamb. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  3. Place lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt to taste. Cover loosely with a foil tent.
  4. Cook for 20 min at 450 then turn the oven down to 350 and cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil and turn the heat temp up to 400 and cook for another 10 - 15 min. (Consider simplifying, I don't know if all this is quite necessary...will double check the next time we make it and update this.)
  5. Let the roast sit for 10 min and then carve and serve with extra marinade as sauce! Yum!