Friday, February 21, 2014

Strawberry & Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Guys were having Shake N Bake pork chops last night and I am not a fan, so took advantage of being able to make myself French Toast for dinner.   Found some frozen strawberries that were left from picking this summer and we have an overabundance of cream cheese at the moment.     

Totally hit the spot!

* Exported from MasterCook *

              Strawberry & Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

  6             slices  day old Italian bread
  2             ounces  cream cheese -- softened
     1/2           cup  frozen sliced strawberries -- drain, reserve liquid
  1              large  egg
  2        tablespoons  sugar
                        splash milk
  1           teaspoon  vanilla
                        butter -- for skillet
                        real NH maple syrup
                        powdered sugar -- if desired

Spread bread with softened cream cheese.  Top 3 slices with drained strawberries.    Put lids on top, press slightly.  

Combine egg, sugar, milk and vanilla in a shallow pan.    Preheat griddle pan over medium heat, add butter and spread to coat surface.   

Dip assembled french toast into egg, letting each side soak a little.    Place onto skillet and cook until golden brown.  Flip and cook the other side.   Remove to serving plate.

In a small bowl, combine maple syrup with some of the reserved strawberry liquid (to taste).  Drizzle over french toast.    Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meatballs in Cream Sauce with Garlic Butter Pasta

This week I got it into my head that I wanted to make meatloaf or meatballs.    I contemplated the Parmesan Meatloaf that had been a previous hit, but decided I wanted something without a red sauce.     I had some heavy cream leftover from a Perfect Chocolate Cake that I'd made earlier in the day, so I decided to give this recipe a try. 

I thought the meatballs on their own needed a little something, maybe garlic, but I think most things are better with a little garlic  :)      The dish as a whole was excellent and I will definitely make it again.    Thank you to Erin at Erinnish for sharing the recipe!

Meatballs in Cream Sauce with Garlic Butter Pasta

     1/2         pound  ground pork -- used 1/2lb
     1/2         pound  ground beef
     1/2           cup  fresh bread crumbs -- 2 slices, used wheat with crusts
     1/8           cup  seasoned dry bread crumbs -- used seasoned panko
  1         teaspoon  dried parsley
     1/4           cup  shredded Parmesan cheese
  1                tsp  kosher salt
     1/4      teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
     1/8      teaspoon  ground nutmeg
     1/4           cup  warm water
  1              large  egg -- beaten
                        Vegetable oil
                        Olive oil

Cream Sauce:
 1/2 cup  heavy cream
  1 1/2  cups  beef stock -- low sodium
  1  heaping tbsp all purpose flour
     1/2  teaspoon  garlic powder
salt & pepper -- to taste

Garlic Butter Pasta:
1 1/2t minced jarred garlic (or 3 cloves garlic, minced)
1/2 box angel hair pasta
1/2 stick salted butter
salt & pepper to taste
Shredded parmesan and parsley (if desired)

Pulse bread, panko and parmesan in food processor.  In medium bowl, beat egg.   Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley, beef, pork and water.   Mix gently with a fork.   Using a 2" cookie scoop, portion into 20 meatballs.   

Add 1T each vegetable oil and olive oil to a large skillet and heat.    Brown the meatballs in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.   Add more oil as necessary.    Let meatballs drain on a paper-towel lined plate.    When all of the meatballs are browned, discard the oil, and return the pan to the heat.

Add beef stock and whisk gently to deglaze the pan.    Pour in cream.   Add heaping teaspoon of flour, garlic powder, pepper and salt (if needed).    Cook, stirring and let the mixture thicken slightly.     Return meatballs to the skillet, cover and let simmer for about 25 to 30 mins.  

Cook angel hair according to package directions.   Drain.   Return to pot, adding butter, garlic, salt and pepper.

To serve, top pasta with the meatballs, then drizzle with cream sauce.   Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan if desired.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fried chicken and waffles

Trying to bust out of a cooking slump, I pulled this recipe from my to-try file on Sunday.   Unfortunately, I was outvoted by the guys pizza craving, and it got pushed to last night.    With the chaos of a weeknight going on around me, I'm not sure I gave it justice.   My kitchen was a disaster when I was finished, but I had a smiling happy family, and that's what really matters to me.

First I got the chicken soaking.   Critical error- I'd forgotten to buy buttermilk.   No problem, I'll just use regular milk and some vinegar.    Uh, no white vinegar, only apple cider vinegar.   In it went.      I used Sriracha for the hot sauce component.

While the chicken did it's thing, I made the waffle batter.   Bacon in waffles around here has been vetoed in the past, so I cooked it up to serve on the side.   I used dried chives instead of green onions, it's what I had on hand.    Someone had eaten the last of the cheddar, so I used a mexican cheese blend.     Batter ready.

After 30 mins, I breaded the chicken as directed.    While it was setting the coating, I started the waffles.   I've only got a Belgian iron, so I knew we wouldn't be making sandwiches, just setting the chicken on top.    As they came out of the iron, I put them into a warm oven.

Heated the oil and got started frying chicken while simultaneously cooking waffles and fielding questions about book reports, where are my black socks? and is tomorrow a hot lunch day?     The chicken was golden brown, crunchy and cooked perfectly.

Wait, the sauce!   I grabbed the mustards and the real NH maple syrup and threw that together at the last minute.   I ended up being the only one that used it, T&J went the straight maple syrup route.     

I wanted not to like this.   It was a lot of work, a lot of dishes and I don't fry very often.    It was excellent, dammit.    This will definitely get made again in the future, but not on a weeknight.    I may even make up the waffles ahead and store them in the freezer until we get a craving.     Huge thanks to Jonathan at The Candid Appetite for sharing this recipe and lots of photographs!

"Buttermilk" Chive Waffles

2 cups flour
1/4c light brown sugar, packed
1t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2t salt
2t fresh cracked black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled
2 cups milk with 2t apple cider vinegar
1 heaping cup Mexican blend cheese
1teaspoon dried chives plus more for garnish
5 slices cooked bacon (served on top)

Preheat waffle iron. Spray with nonstick spray.

Place dry ingredients in a bowl, whisk together and make a well in the center.   In a small bowl, beat 3 eggs.    Add to well, along with melted butter and "buttermilk".     Stir just until combined.     Add cheese and chives, stir to combine.

Cook waffles according to your iron's instructions.   I love my Presto Flipside, it makes Belgian waffles in about 4 mins, and I got 6 from this recipe.    Keep waffles warm in a preheated oven until the chicken is ready.

Fried Chicken

Thin Sliced chicken breasts, about 6 or 7
1 1/2 milk with 1 1/2t apple cider vinegar added
1t hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
1 1/2c flour
1t salt
1t cayenne
1t garlic powder
1t fresh cracked black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

Combine "buttermilk" and hot sauce in a large ziptop bag and add chicken.   Place in fridge at least 30 mins.  

Set up a rack on top of a half sheet pan.  Combine the dry ingredients.   Double dredge the chicken- from buttermilk to flour, back to buttermilk and into the flour again.   Place the chicken onto the prepared rack.    Let rest for about 10 mins to set the coating.

Heat 2" oil in a large skillet or heavy pan to 350º to 375º.    Fry the chicken a few pieces at a time, and place on a paper towel lined plate to cool.   (I moved my chicken in with the waffles to keep it warm).

Maple Mustard Sauce

Real NH maple syrup
dijon mustard
yellow mustard

Whisk together ingredients to taste.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Superbowl Snack- Mozzarella sticks

Game day and we wanted a cheesy treat.    We've got several large bags of cheese sticks in the freezer, and visions of crunchy mozzarella sticks danced in my head.   I made up my assembly line, starting with a pie plate with flour in it.   Then a 2nd one with 2 beaten eggs.    I combined panko and regular bread crumbs, added some Penzey's Italian Herb Mix and put that in the 3rd pan.      Once they were breaded, I put them onto a half sheet pan and put them into the freezer.  

For a test bake, I preheated the oven to 400º.  I sprayed a small pan with Pam, put 2 sticks on, sprayed the tops with Pam.  Baked 5 mins, flipped, then another 6 mins on the other side.     They were good, but I had left my sticks whole and they flattened out significantly.    I was missing that supercrunchy golden outside and oozy melty inside.   I had to fry.

I heated about an inch of vegetable oil in a skillet to 350º and fried them in small batches.   When they reached the color I wanted, I moved them to a towel lined plate and sprinkled them with a little salt.    Perfect!   

Since they weren't to be served until later, I let them cool, moved them to a baking sheet and put them in the refrigerator.    I heated them through in a 400º oven for about 5 mins.    I served them with some storebought sauce that I added some shredded parm cheese and Italian Herb mix to.

* Exported from MasterCook *

                            Mozzarella Sticks

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  12                    cheese sticks -- part skim (frozen)
     1/4           cup  flour
     1/2           cup  panko
     1/2           cup  bread crumbs
  1           teaspoon  Italian Herb Mix
  2             beaten  eggs
                        vegetable oil -- for frying

Set up assembly line.  1st pie plate with flour in it.   2nd one with 2 beaten eggs.    I combined panko and regular bread crumbs, added some Penzey's Italian Herb Mix and put that in the 3rd pan.     Roll frozen sticks into flour, dip in egg, letting excess drip off.   Coat with crumb mixture.   Once they were breaded, I put them onto a half sheet pan and put them into the freezer for about 45 mins.

Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a skillet to 350º.  Fry in small batches.   When exterior is golden brown, move to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with a little salt.     I served these with storebought sauce that I doctored up with some Italian Herb Mix and shredded parmesan cheese.

To reheat: place in a 400º oven for about 5 mins.