Saturday, August 30, 2008

Short-cut Dijon Meatballs with Real Mashed Potatoes

   So my hubby and I are in our last year of school (college), well his last semester before graduate school, I think of it as my last year because I only have 1 year left and will be done next fall. So Monday was electric in our home, almost like rounding third and heading for home!

 With all of our attention on school, cooking has become "what is fast and easy" once again! In my fam we have a meatball recipe that rocks! (At least we love it anyway!) Its easy and versatile and goes great with ANY sauce! I utilized it to whip up this comfort food delight!

   I really don't cook with potatoes all that often so when we eat them they don't come out of a box . . . we have to have the real deal. But I have no shame in using canned soups (some of you are gasping) to cook with. I grew up in a big family, 6, yes 6 kids, and my mom did a great job of taking care of her 8 at each meal. Sometimes cream of whatever soup saved the day . . . so here's another notch in the belt for easy and d-lish.

Dijon Meatballs with Real Mashed Potatoes
Recipe by: Emily

1 lb extra lean Ground Beef, (you can use whatever ground meat you want)
1/2 box Stuffing, (Chicken, Pork or Turkey work great!)
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 eggs
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp Sugar
Freshly Ground Pepper
Combine the ground beef, stuff, eggs, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, 1/3 cup chopped onion, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a bowl until blended. (Add more milk if you need to to hold the meatballs together better). Use an ice cream scoop to create even meatballs and place them onto a non-stick cookie sheet to bake. Bake meatballs in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the middle of the meatball is cooked.
In a large skillet cook the remaining onion in 1 Tbsp butter and 1 tsp sugar over medium heat until they begin to brown and caramelize. Add the soup, mustard and remaining milk to the onions and mix well. Add the meatballs to the mustard sauce and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Serve the Dijon meatballs over mashed potatoes. Enjoy!
Serves 4
I usually double this recipe and freeze half of the meatballs, they are great for spaghetti and meatballs or the amazing grape jelly and chili sauce meatballs!
Mashed Potatoes
8-9 Medium Potatoes peeled and quartered
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
Boil the quartered potatoes in a large saucepan until tender, about 15-25 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Mash using a potato masher, add butter, and milk to the potatoes. Season with salt to taste. Serve.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sweet and Tangy Balsamic Glazed Pork Roast, and Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash

 The other night I was scanning my cookbooks trying to decide what to make for Sunday dinner when I came across a recipe that I liked . . . but I ended up creating something totally new, resulting in the creation of an amazing Balsamic vinegar glaze that was a like a BBQ sauce but jazzed up a bit.
   I served the glaze over pork roast and meine gute was it a delight! One of my favorite restaurants serves wonderful crusty bread with a balsamic reduction to dip the bread in which helped inspire this recipe. (I LOVE balsaminc vinegar!)
   Pork roasts are always so Yum-E! They have always turned out so succulent when I make them and I actually prefer them to beef (oop, hope the hubby didn't hear that!) This seriously is a new favorite in my home! Easy and D-lish!

Sweet and Tangy Balsamic Glazed Pork Roast
Recipe by:Emily

1 5-lb boneless pork roast
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger or tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cornstarch

Combine water, brown sugar, vinegar, catsup, oil, soy sauce, garlic, and black pepper. Pour liquid mixture over roast in a plastic bag and refriderate for 6-24 hours. Remove roast from marinade, cover with foil and roast in a 325 degree oven for 2 1/4 hours or until a meat thermometor registers at 155 degrees. Use left over marinade to make glaze by adding 2 tsp cornstarch in a sauce pan with the marinade, cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Glaze the pork roast when it only has about 25 minutes left to cook and return to the oven uncovered, glaze again every 7 or 8 minutes until roast has cooked for a total of 2 1/4 hours. Allow roast to sit covered with foil for 15 minutes after removing from the oven to soak in all the juices. Slice roast and serve. Enjoy!

You can glaze any meat that you want to with this glaze!

I absolutely love Spaghetti Squash! I realize that it is a fall veggie but I bought some the other day and enjoyed it so much that I had to include it! If you have never made it try it! It is killer good with just butter and salt and pepper but also great with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese!It makes a great light supper or side to any meal, plus it is soooo good for you! Spaghetti squash can be baked, boiled or steamed, and served with sauce as a substitute for pasta, or used as a vegetable base for macaroni and cheese. Spaghetti squash contains many nutrients including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene. It is also a food low in calories, averaging 75 calories in 8 cooked ounces. (A little nutri info for ya their).

Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash1 Spaghetti Squash

Cut the spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop the seeds and guts out of the squash. Place on a baking sheet and pour 1/4 cup water into the cavity of each squash to help steam the squash and keep it moist. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes until the squash is tender. Scrape the inside of the squash out with a fork to create the spaghetti strings. Add butter, salt and pepper to the squash and serve!

Spaghetti squash is not meant to be mushy, it has a crispness to it so when it is done it will still have some crunch!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Apple Stuffed French Toast with Cinnamon Syrup

   Since I am going to be a college widow again soon (the hubs and I are starting yet another semester on Monday) I felt like making one treat of a breakfast this morning since we have a jam packed weekend and I may not cook until finals are over in December (sarcasm . . . I hope)
So scouring the cupboards led me to a can of pie filling and some whole wheat bread that we needed to eat . . . hence the results of apple stuffed french toast to greet my handsome man this morning! I am not a big syrup fan, I mean it is good but if I am going to make breakfast we are going to indulge and one of my favorite breakfast indulgences is cinnamon syrup. Anywho this little breakfast delight graced our morning table and was a delight to scarf down before heading off to work! The cinnamon syrup is so good that I could drink it! I love it on waffles and pancakes too! Simply d-lish!
Apple stuffed French Toast with Cinnamon Syrup

4-6 slices Whole Wheat Bread
3 eggs
1/2 cup Half and Half, Milk or cream (I used fat free 1/2 & 1/2, just because I had it)
Beat the eggs and milk together in a shallow dish. Dredge the bread in the egg mixture on both sides. Cook the egged bread in a frying pan over medium heat in a little melted butter. Brown toast on both sides. Heat 1 can of pie filling. Spoon some of the apple filling between two pieces of french toast and top with cinnamon syrup! Enjoy!
Cinnamon Syrup
Recipe from: Where's Mom Now That I Need Her?

1/2 cup Corn Syrup
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
Combine the syrup, sugar, water, and cinnamon; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in milk. (Make sure you allow syrup to cool or milk will curdle) Serve warm.
The syrup is a deep caramel color when it is finished and tastes even better served the next day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Salmon Cakes with Lemon Thyme Sauce, and Creamed Spinach

   Okay creamed spinach may not sound like the most appealing thing in the world to eat, nor will it cause everyone to celebrate seeing it on their plate, but given a chance I think it will win most everyone who tries it over!
   I came to love the Pop-eye staple while in Germany, my companion made it with lots of garlic and it was just a delight . . . so in the name of love (for it and my hubby) I made it with supper the other day! A little info for ya is that spinach actually releases more vitamins and minerals when it is cooked than eaten raw. (Oh, sweet inspiration!)
   I have to laugh because half way through dinner I got up to get more water and sat back down and there was more spinach on my plate than when I left it! My sweet hubby just didn't share my fondness for the stuff, but thanks to his sweetness in sharing I loaded up on vitamins that day!

Salmon Cakes
Recipe by: Emily

7 oz cooked flaked Salmon, (1 fillet will do)
1/4 cup Red or Yellow Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup Green Onion, diced
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 Egg, beaten
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 cup Dry Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Seasoning Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Combine the Mayonnaise, diced pepper, green onions, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Mix well then add 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, the beaten egg and salmon. Divide mixture into 8 balls and roll in remaining bread crumbs until well coated, gently form patties. Cook patties in butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Serve with lemon thyme sauce.
You can also bake the salmon patties in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes flipping half way through to ensure even cooking and browning on both sides.

These also make great sandwiches with lettuce and tomato!

Lemon Thyme Sauce

3/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon Juice
1 Tbsp prepared Horseradish
1 tsp dry Thyme
1 tsp dried Chives
Freshly cracked Pepper

Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate until used.
This sauce is really good and would be great on any fish or as a substitute for Tarter Sauce!
Creamed Spinach
Recipe by: Emily

1 Bag or package Frozen Spinach, chopped
1 Cup half and half (I use fat free)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2-3 Tbsp Cream
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the spinach then set aside. Saute the minced garlic in a little butter or oil to release the flavor, add spinach and cook until it is heated through. Add the cream, half and half, and salt and pepper. Add the cheese once the cream has started to gently simmer. Mix together, check seasoning and add more half and half to reach the consistency desired. Remove from the stove and serve as a side dish, or with rice or potatoes.
Leftover spinach is great in the morning inside an omelet with Swiss cheese and tomato's! (My fav!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mini Meatloafs and Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

   I am a lover of meatloaf, I confess . . . I see absolutely nothing wrong with a dish that allows you to add whatever you have on hand and that still turns out easy and fairly fast. It may not be viewed as gourmet by some but it is something that I just love to dive into every now and then! It has become especially fun to make since I got married due to the name that it goes by in my husbands family . . goat loaf!

   We aren't exactly sure who in his family started calling it that, but it has stuck and now our family enjoys "goat loaf" too! I love to add veggies to my meat loaf, especially onions and shredded zuchinni! I never have been a huge fan of adding lots of bread crumbs to it . . . I guess it just depends on what I have and the mood that I am in . . . so my recipe for meatloaf is ever changing but always a welcome sight at our dinner table!

Mini Meat Loaf's

Recipe by: Emily

2 lbs Extra Lean Ground Beef or Turkey
1 Medium Onion, diced (you can use fried onions too)
2 eggs
1/2 cup Zucchini, shredded
1/4 cup Evaporated milk
1/3 cup Bread crumbs or Quick Oats (you can add more if you prefer!)
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp Seasoning Salt or Steak Seasoning (according to mood, or taste)
Freshly Cracked Pepper

Combine all ingredients and shape into a loaf and place in a loaf pan or make mini meat loafs in mini loaf pans or a muffin tin. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 -60 minutes for a large meatloaf and 30-35 minutes for mini meatloaf's. Glaze with ketchup or Mom's Meatloaf Glaze and broil until glaze or ketchup begins to caramelize and bubble.

For the Glaze I do it the way my mom did, starting with 1/2 cup of Ketchup and 1 Tbsp brown sugar, if you want a sweeter glaze add more brown sugar according to taste.

Oven Roasted Corn

4 Ears of corn, husks on, corn silk removed

Wrap the cleaned ears of corn with the husks still on in Aluminum foil. Place in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and butter cobs, then sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, enjoy!

Mini meatloafs freeze very well!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Caramelised Onion, Walnut, Leek and Pesto Strudel and Sausage with Sweet Peas Strudel

Oop, leeks have made another appearance in my home this evening . . . this time accompanied by caramelised onions, toasted walnuts, basil pesto and cream cheese inside a flaky, buttery crust! (Mensch that makes me hungry just saying it!) More memories from my time in Austria and Germany inspired my cooking today! I ate so many types of strudel in the Father Land and realized that I myself have never made it! In Austria I had a cooking class and we made it from scratch (!!!) as in kneading and stretching the dough until it was thinner than paper! My lack of love for touching flour and lack of time drew out the philo dough from the fridge, but it still turned out Yum-E! I tasted the leek, toasted walnut, caramelised onion, pesto and cream cheese filling and could have downed the entire bowl myself! Not to forget the sausage and sweet pea mix . . . which was also very tasty! I am just on a leek kick this week!
Caramelised Onion, Walnut, Leek and Pesto Strudel
Recipe by: Emily

5 Philo Dough Sheets
3/4 cup Leeks, sliced and cleaned
4 oz Cream Cheese (I used Fat Free)
1 Medium Onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 tsp Basil Pesto
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter
Melted Butter

Toast the walnuts in a pan and then set aside. Begin to caramelize the sliced onions with the sugar over med-low heat for about 8 minutes, add leaks and cook onions and leeks until tender. (15-20 minutes). Add the leek mixture into a bowl with the cream cheese, pesto, and walnuts. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Layer 5 sheets of philo dough brushing each sheet with melted butter except the top sheet. Center leek filling on the stack of buttered philo dough and fold the dough over the filling like a burrito, tucking in the edges. Place strudel on a baking sheet seam side down and brush entire strudel with melted butter. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until the entire strudel is golden brown. Allow strudel to sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Sausage with Sweet Peas Strudel
Recipe by: Emily

5 Sheets Philo Dough
1/2 lb Sausage
1/2 cup Sweet Peas, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup Sliced Onion
1/3 cup Italian 3 Cheese Blend, Shredded
1/4 cup Alfredo sauce
Melted Butter
Cook sausage in a frying pan until no longer pink, add the sliced onion and brown the sausage. Once the sausage has browned and the onions are cooked add the peas, cook for 2 minutes then add the Alfredo sauce. Remove pan from heat and add the cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste. Set aside.
Layer 5 sheets of philo dough brushing each sheet with melted butter except the top sheet. Center the sausage filling on the stack of buttered philo dough and fold the dough over the filling like a burrito, tucking in the edges. Place strudel on a baking sheet seam side down and brush entire strudel with melted butter. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until the entire strudel is golden brown. Allow strudel to sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.
You could easily use crescent roll dough and roll up the filling and bake them for something a bit easier and tasty!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup with Parmesan Pesto Toast

   I came to love leeks while I lived in Germany and one of my favorite dishes was leek soup. They have such a great flavor and are not overpowering at all. In Germany they were very popular in a cheesy soup with hamburger in it! My comp and I made a big pot of it once but I can't remember everything that went in it! So today I settled for the deliciousness of creamy Potato and Leek soup . . . which was honestly no compromise at all! It was especially delightful with the Parmesan pesto toast which had such amazing flavor and really upped the anty of the soup! Needless to say we really enjoyed supper tonight!
Creamy Potato and Leek SoupRecipe by: Emily

1 cup sliced Leeks (make sure they are clean and free of sand and dirt)
2 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
3-4 cups Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
1 1/2-2 cups Half and Half (I used fat free)
2 Tbsp Butter
Sea Salt

Saute the leeks in a pan over medium heat until tender, add potatoes and pour enough chicken stock in to cover potatoes. Add salt and pepper and let simmer until potatoes are soft. Turn off heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Puree potato and leek mixture until smooth. Add half and half until desired consistency is reached. Season and sprinkle with snipped chives. Serve warm with pesto toast, enjoy!
Parmesan Pesto Toast
Recipe by: Emily1 Crusty loaf of bread (I used 3 Cheese Semolina)
1/2 cup Basil Pesto Sauce
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

Slice bread into thick slices and spread each slice with pesto sauce. Sprinkle pesto topped bread slices with Parmesan cheese and bake on a cookie sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted. Enjoy!
These toasts were so yummy that my hubby wanted them for breakfast . . . he got cereal instead, but they were awesome! We could eat them everyday!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce

When I was a kid I thought that Chicken Cordon Bleu was all fancy shmancy and hard to make (I think the name inspired that belief, and the fact that I had eaten it at many weddings . . which had to mean that it was a rare delicacy?) but once I tried it out I found that it is a cinch to make! Some days I just slit open a chicken breast and tuck a piece of ham and swiss inside and roll it in panko or cornflake crumbs and bake it. Fast, easy and delish!

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Recipe by: Emily
4 Chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded even
4-8 slices of Ham
4 slices of Swiss Cheese
1/3 cup flour

Lay the butterflied chicken breasts flat, lightly salt and pepper. Place a slice or two of ham and then swiss cheese on top of chicken and roll up, secure the rolled chicken with toothpicks and then dredge in the flour. Heat an oven safe skillet with a little butter or oil in it over medium heat. Brown the lightly floured chicken breasts in the skillet and then finish cooking in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thru. Once the chicken is done allow it to rest before cutting to retain the juices and let them set back in the chicken. Serve with honey mustard sauce or your favorite sauce or even plain. Enjoy!

Cooking tip: You can also dredge the chicken in butter or a beaten egg and then roll it in bread crumbs or crushed cornflakes and just bake it in the oven. If you serve it with the honey mustard sauce top it off with some toasted pecans or slivered almonds to really set it off!

Honey Mustard Sauce
Recipe by:Emily

1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
3 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Brown mustard or Whole Grain Mustard
1/2 tsp paprika (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and heat thru, add milk to reach the consistency that you desire. Serve the sauce hot with Chicken Cordon Bleu or as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders! Enjoy

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chewy Breadsticks

My mom used to make these for our family when I was a little kid, now that I have a family I like to make them for dinner now and then, especially when I make pasta! They are sooooo easy to make and mensch are they Yum-E! I think that making anything homemade adds more love to a meal, especially pasta which takes all of 20 minutes to have on the table! (The only problem is keeping everyone from eating them all before dinner!)
Chewy Breadsticks
Recipe from: Mama P

1 package dry yeast (1tbsp)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
4 -4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
Melted butter
Garlic Powder

Soften yeast in warm water and stir in honey and salt. Gradually mix in 3 cups of flour. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Half or quarter the dough and cut into equal size pieces. Roll each piece to the length of breadstick that you want. (Thinner breadsticks become crispier and thicker become softer) Place breadstick one inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise for at least 15 minutes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder and dried parsley if desired. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 miuntes or until breadsticks are lightly browned. Cool slightly and serve.

Cooking tip: sadly I discovered as a teen the affects that hot water has on yeast in dough . . . it doesn't rise! Make sure the water temperature is not too warm or you will have heavy dough on your hands! (trial and error can be the best educator!)