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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fresh Cucumber Salad

Creamy bacon ranch dressing makes this
simple cucumber salad stand out.
I serve this cold as a side dish.

1 fresh cucumber
1/4 cup bacon ranch dressing

Wash and peel cucumber.
Cut off ends then in half lengthwise.
Remove seeds if desired and then
cut cucumber in bite size pieces.
Place in a storage container and
add bacon ranch salad dressing.
Mix to combine, cover and refrigerate.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Make Ahead Lasagna

This is a good recipe for making
an Italian lasagna the day before.
I under cook the pasta and let
it absorb some pasta sauce overnight.
This never comes out runny as some do.

9 sheets of lasagna
3 cups tomato sauce
2 cups ground beef,
cooked and drained
1 cup ground sausage,
cooked and drained
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Under cook pasta until workable.
Drain and let cool to handle.
In a bowl combine ricotta cheese,
eggs, slat and chives.
Place some pasta sauce on the
bottom of a lasagna pan.
Place three sheets of pasta
in the pan side by side.
Place a layer of ricotta cheese
mixture all over pasta in pan.
Layer another three lasagna sheets.
Place ground beef on top and then
pour some tomato sauce on top.
Place another layer of lasagna sheets,
arange ground sausage all over pasta
and cover with some tomato sauce.
Sprikle with mozzarella cheese.
Place some tooth picks into lasagna
to stick up above thr cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and
refrigerate over night.
Remove from refrigerator and
place in a pre-heated 350 degree F. oven
and bake for about 1 hour to heat through.
Remove foil and tooth picks,
continue baking to brown
and melt the mozzarella cheese.
Let cool some to set before serving.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Salad

Roasted sweet potatoes are the star
of this very tasty and colorful salad.
Add any other vegetables you desire
and make this recipe your own.

1 bag frozen baked sweet potatoes
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 can black olives, drained
1 can sliced pineapple,
drained and chopped
1 bunch fresh chopped basil
olive oil to taste

In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes,
tomatoes, olives and chopped pineapple.
Mix in some olive oil and fresh basil.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beer Simmered Corned Beef

Slow and low simmered is the best way to go.
Using beer in place of water to cook corned beef
adds a depth of flavor that you simply must taste.
The result is simply amazing and can't be described.
Add what ever spices and herbs that
the lepricons in you decide of the moment.
I add some red hot pepper sauce for the kick.
Some cinnamon works well in this recipe.

1 corned beef brisket
8 bottles of cheap beer
Spices of your liking

Place corned beef from package
with juices into a large stock pot.
Cover with your cheapest beer and
simmer for about 6 hours or so.
This really works good using a
slow cooker overnight for 8 hours.
Let rest to cool, serve with mustard,
and a glase of your favorite beer.
I like a slice of rye bread with this.

Chicken Breast in Mushroom Sauce

I started with vacuum packaged frozen skinless
chicken breasts from the Omaha Steaks Company.
Thawed them in water for 20 minutes.
Removed them from the plastic package.
Then cooked them in a rich cream sauce
for about 15 minutes using a microwave.
The chicken was cooked to perfection,
tender and tasted great in the sauce.
I served them with sweet potatoes,
corn and fresh pineapple on the side.

2 chicken breasts
1/2 can cream of Mushroom soup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
dash of black pepper
dash of dried chives

Thaw chicken if frozen.
Combine soup, cream, pepper and chives
in a microwave safe glass bowl.
Place the chicken in the sauce. cover
and microwave on medium power for
about 15 minutes or until no longer pink.
I took one out of the sauce and cut it
in half to see if it was done and there
was the slightest pink in the center,which
quickly disapeared from residual cooking.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Beef and Bean Ragu

I had some left over grilled steak and
decided to make a tomato ragu with it
to serve over some cooked penne pasta.
This is what I came up with, it's good.
When ready to use, the cooked pasta
should be added to a saucepan with
the appropriate amount of hot ragu, and
toss so that the pasta is evenly coated.

2 cups water
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
13 celery stalks, sliced
1 pound of chopped steak
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomato
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup red wine
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic powder

Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan.
Add in carrots and let cook 4 minutes,
then add in the onions and celery.
Let that cook while you cut up the beef.
Add beef to the pot, stir and lower heat.
Add in mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, beans,
red wine, sugar and dried herbs.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
Serve over cooked pasta of your choice.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

These are so very easy to make
and taste so very good to eat.
The ingedient amounts depend on
how many mushrooms you stuff.
So just wing it and make enough
for three per person at least.

baby portabella mushrooms
un-salted butter
ham, chopped fine
fresh chives, chopped
lemon zest
cream cheese
dried tarragon
dijon mustard
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine stuffing ingredients in a large bowl.
Remove stems from fresh mushrooms.
Stuff mushrooms, place them on a baking sheet
and drizzle with some olive oil,
bake for about 20 minutes until browned.

Creamy Asparagus Penne Pasta Salad

Fresh lemon zest ties all the flavors
together in this light and creamy pasta.
Serve with a salad of sliced fresh mozzarella,
cherry tomatoes tossed with fresh basil,
balsamic vinegar and olive oil,
this is a good one!

1/2 pound penne pasta
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in pieces
1 1/2 cups milk
4 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
4 teaspoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add pasta and cook for 15 minutes.
Add asparagus and continue cooking
until the pasta and asparagus are tender.
Drain and return to the warm pot.
In a mixing bowl combine milk, mustard,
flour, salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan
over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook,
stirring, until fragrant and browned.
Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer,
stirring constantly, and cook until thickened.
Stir in tarragon, lemon zest and juice.
Stir the sauce into the pasta-asparagus mixture.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring,
until the sauce is thick, creamy
and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and
top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Crispy Roasted Smashed Red Potatoes

Potatoes cook good in a microwave oven,
it cuts the cooking time down a lot.
Then roasting these in some olive oil
and seasoning spices makes these great
tasting, creamy inside and crispy skins.
I serve two per person as a side dish.

8 small red potatoes
olive oil to taste
salt to taste
sweet smoked paprika

Scrub potatoes while rinsing under cold water.
Place potatoes in a glass bowl, add 1/2 cup water.
Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high
for about 8 minutes or until just fork tender.
Place potatoes on a baking sheet,
use a potato masher press them down to
smash them to about 1/4" thickness.
drizzle potatoes with olive oil,
season with salt, pepper and paprika to taste.
Place under the broiler for 8 minutes, turn potatoes
and continue broiling until crispy and creamy good.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Apple & Onion Bread Pudding

This is a great tasting combination,
the sweet from the apples compliments
the flavor of the onions very well.
Along with the creamy bread pudding base,
this is good enough to serve to company.

vegetable grease
8 slices white bread
1 onion, peeled
2 apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
1-3/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons sugar
dash of salt
cinnamon sugar to taste

Place bread in freezer for
ten minutes to get cold,
it makes it much easier to
slice without smushing it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a caserole dish.
Cut bread into cubes and
place in the cassorole dish.
Slice onion into dice and
place in saute pan with butter,
cook until brown and carmalized.
Place onions over top of bread.
Cut apples into cubes and
place over onions.
Sprinkle apples with salt.
In a bowl combine eggs, milk,
sugar and vanilla, mix well.
Pour over apples and let sit
for about 10 minutes or so.
Useing your hand press mixture
down into bread cubes.
It should stay down real easy.
Sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar
cover dish and bake for 1 hour.
Remove to cool some before serving.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Deep Fried Corn on the Cob

Simply the best tasting corn I've had.
These are not batter dipped but just
tossed in some hot oil to perfection.
Served with butter and a sprinkling of salt.
These half ears of corn have a sweet
flavor with a touch of brown to them.

Frozen half ears of corn
Oil for deep frying
Butter and Salt to taste

Thaw the corn, pat dry and deep fry
for about 5 minutes or until the
kernals just start to get brown.
Serve with butter and salt to taste.

American Cheese Burger

This is a cheese burger with
the cheese inside the meat.
It warms up as you cook the
burger and oozes out as you
bite into this juicy lucy.
I've tried using Cheese Whiz,
but it isn't as good as real
American cheddar cheese.

For each burger:
1/4 pound ground beef
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
buns to serve with

Preheat grill of saute pan.
Divide ground beef and shape
into two 1/4 inch patties.
Place the cheese in the center
off one patty and top with the
other patty, pressing together
the edges to seal in the cheese.
Grill for 5 minutes on each side.
Serve in toasted hamberger buns.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Grilled Whole Garlic Heads

For garlic lovers there's nothing better
than roasted garlic except grilled garlic.
Creamy good with a touch of smoke flavor.
I like to grill whole garlic heads and then
pack them in olive oil to make an infused
grilled garlic flavored olive oil.

Whole garlic heads
olive oil
salt to taste

Preheat a grill to medium heat,
peel the skins off of the garlic.
Cut a slice off off the tops and place
on a foil lined baking sheet cut side up.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
Place on grill grates head side up, cover
the grill and cook them for about ten minutes.
Open the grill cover, turn over garlic and
lower grill cover to finish roasting the garlic.
Remove and drizzle with more oil if desired.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

This is a sauce that I serve and
use to dip grilled chicked wings in.
It has just the right balance of
sweet to sour, clings to the
chicken well and tastes great.

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
cider vinegar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Combine orange zest, orange juice, water, honey,
1 tablespoon vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt
and coriander in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.
Whisk cornstarch and the remaining
1 teaspoon vinegar in a small bowl until smooth.
Add to the saucepan and return to a boil,
whisking until thickened, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Remove from the heat. Stir in mint.

Yellow and Ricotta Cheese Cake

Delicious creamy cheese cake on the bottom,
this is one of the easiest and impressive
looking dessert cakes I've ever made.
I added some red cherries to the top of the
cheese mixture and they sank into the cake.
Served with a drizzle of black cherry sauce.
I made this in a prepared 10" spring-form pan.

1 yellow boxed cake mix
1-1/3 cups water
2 large eggs

32 ounces ricotta cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

vegetable shortening
cherries if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare spring-form pan with
vegetable grease and flour.
Mix cake ingredients in a bowl
and blend for three minutes.
Pour into prepared spring-form pan.
Wash out batter from mixing bowl,
and make cheese cake filling by
combining eggs, cheese, sour cream,
vanilla, sugar and salt.
This will be a somewhat loose mixture.
Mix well and pour directly into
the center of cake batter.
Drop cherries on top of cheese
mixture if desired.
Bake for 1-1/2 hours or until a
cake tester comes out clean.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Homemade Fresh Butter

Making butter is super easy to do.
It tastes much better than store
bought and you can adjust the salt.

2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
cold water

Pour cream into a cold mixing bowl.
Whip or process for 10 minutes,
or until the butter separates.
Strain off the liquid.
Season to taste with salt.
Press butter with your hands to
remove butter milk liquid.
Rinse with cold water and drain.
Store refrigerated or not.