Let the warm weather come

Let the warm weather come

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Baked Mac and Cheese

This is my most recent Mac and Cheese recipe. After much research this is what I came up with and it is wonderful. Give it a try.
Heres what I do:

Macaroni and Cheese 
5 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

White Sauce
½ cup good quality butter
¼ Cup flour
3 ½ cups whole milk
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. Lowerys season salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
Two sprigs thyme leaves stripped from stalk
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp. dry mustard
8 ounces greyer cheeses, shredded  
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces velveeta, cubed
 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
 4 ounces Cheddar cheese
 ½ cup Parmesan cheese
Mix the topping ingredients together and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil pasta till al dente (no more or it will be mushy when done.)
While the water is heating and coming to a boil start the white sauce. Measure the milk into a large measuring cup or bowl and add in the salt, lowerys season salt, black pepper, thyme leaves, cayenne, mustard and a scant pinch of nutmeg or grate small amount of nutmeg into the milk and whisk together. Set aside.
 In a pan melt butter over medium high heat. Add flour and whisk till blended with flour and cook for a few minutes. Pour milk into the cooked flour and whisk together. Cook till thickened. About 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the Gruyere, Velveeta and cheddar cheese. Stir till cheeses are melted. Taste for salt. You want it to have plenty of salt so that when put on the pasta it isn’t tasteless. When the pasta is cooked, drain well and add to the cheese sauce. Stir together and put into a casserole dish. Top with panko/cheese mixture. Bake 30 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Home Made Yeast Rolls

These are so good and pretty easy to make.

Heres what to do:

1/3 Cup real butter
1 Cup full fat milk
1/3 Cup sugar
1 Tbl. active dry yeast
4 Cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs

I use a Kitchen Aid blender. You can do this by hand also. These directions are for the kitchen aid.
Place milk and butter in saucepan. You are not going to even let this simmer. Watch this close and melt butter. You want the milk to reach 120 degrees. Yeast works best in a temp. of 110 - 115. So if the milk is 120 by the time you pour it into the metal bowl it will cool off. I check it with a thermometer and make sure it is not below 110 as this will not activate the yeast and not above 120 as this will kill the yeast. Pour warmed milk and butter into blender bowl (have the dough hook on the blender) and add the sugar and stir. Then sprinkle with the yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. It should start to foam up and smell like yeast. Add 3/4th of the flour and the salt. Start to blend. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to blend. You will blend on number 2 to 3 for 5-7 minutes. The dough will be sticky but should pull together and be smooth. If it is too sticky add a tablespoon of flour one at a time till it blends to a smooth consistency. It should feel moist and not dry at all. Sprinkle the counter with what is left of the flour onto the counter and put the dough on it and knead for a minute or two till dough is soft and slightly sticky. form into a ball and place in a oiled bowl. Oil the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap and then a towel. Place in warm area and let rise 60-90 minutes or till dough has doubled in size. Once dough has doubles place dough on counter and pat down slightly. Cut into 12 equal pieces and form into balls. Place on lightly oiled sheet pan. Cover and let rise another 60-90 minutes till doubled in size. Bake in preheated over (350 degrees) for 20-30 minutes till deep brown and done.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beef Guinness Stew

This is a really good stew anytime but perfect for one of those Irish holidays. It is adapted from a few recipes that I researched. Heres what I did: You can half this if you want.

Guinness Beef Stew:
 5 lbs. bonelss beef chuck. Trimmed and cut into chunks. (chuck roast in my opinion makes the best stew meat.)
8 strips of bacon, cut or sliced into small pieces
4 large onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper (the salt and pepper is really to taste)
8 cloves of garlic minced
2 (14oz. Guinness beer. I actually used a little less. I probably used about 20oz.)
1/2 cup tomato paste
8-10 sprigs thyme
6 carrots, cleaned and cut into one inch slices
4 ribs of celery cut into one inch slices
5 Cups of chicken stock (enough to just cover ingredients in cooking pot
1-2 tsp. sugar (to offset the bitterness of the guinness)

In large stew pot add bacon and fry till crisp. remove to a bowl with slotted spoon. Leave bacon grease in pan. Liberally salt and pepper your beef chunks. On med-high brown the beef chunks and remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon (you can add the browned beef to the same bowl with the bacon.) Add chopped onions and saute till they start to get some color. You should have a nice brown glaze stuck to the bottom of the pot. This is where a lot of flavor is and will impart good flavor to the stew. Add the minced garlic to the onions and stir for a minute. Be sure not to burn the garlic. Pour beer into the pot to de-glaze the pot. Stir and scrape all the brown off the bottom. Add the beef and onions and any juice that has collected in the bowl. Add tomato paste,thyme, sliced carrots and celery. Stir. Add enough chicken stock to just cover ingredients. Add 1 tsp sugar and stir. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a mild simmer. Cover and cook one hour. Skim fat and foam off top and give it a good stir. Cover and cook another hour and skim fat and foam again. Cover and continue to cook till beef is very tender. Once meat is tender remove lid and stir and remove thyme stems. Turn heat up and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook till liquid cooks down some and thickens. Stir regularly. Test and adjust for seasoning.
Serve on mashed potatoes, colcannon, or buttered noodles.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cranberry Peach Martini

Here is a good summertime drink. Ok, its a good anytime drink. you can make it like a martini or pour over ice and serve. Either way it is yum.

One drink:

3 ounces citron vodka
2 to 3 ounces cranberry juice cocktail
1 ounce orange liquor of your choice
1 ounce peach snapps
1 ounce lime juice

Pour into cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and serve as you wish.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mung Bean Pasta noodles with Mediterranean artichoke, olive and tomato sauce
Now you can use any pasta you want. We are
trying to eat healthier so I found these fettuccine noodles made from Mung beans and water. Simple and they taste great. They make a wonderful pasta replacement. Here is a link to where they can be purchased. It is a Raw Food web site but you can (and we did) cook the pasta. They soak them for a few days to soften them without cooking them to keep the raw food state of the pasta.

Ok, so here is the sauce I made to go over the Mung bean noodles.

Mediterranean Pasta with Artichokes, olives, and Tomatoes
Prep: 15 min
Total time: 25 min
Serves 4

Salt and Pepper
12 ounces spaghetti (I used two packages of the mung bean fettuccine and it was 14 ounces all together)
2-4 Tbl. good olive oil
1/2 med onion (I used a whole one) sliced in slivers
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can artichoke hearts (not marinated) rinsed, drained,  and quartered
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 Cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

In large pot start water boiling and add salt. You will cook the pasta according to directions (for the mung bean pasta, I cooked it for about 6 minutes till I liked the bite it had.  Regular pasta follow directions) when done,RESERVE 1 CUP PASTA WATER FOR THE SAUCE IF NEEDED,  rinse in cool water and set aside to drain.
Now, in a large skillet, heat 1-2 Tbl. olive oil and add onions. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes and then add the wine. Cook till the wine is mostly evaporated.
Stir in the artichokes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the olives and half the tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes start to break down. At this point at the cooled drained pasta and the remaining tomatoes, cheese, basil and 2 Tbl. olive oil. Toss to coat the pasta. Add as much reserved pasta water as need to bring the sauce together. You may or may not need it. Stir and toss to coat and heat through.  Serve with additional Parmesan cheese to taste.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cowboy Spaghetti

This is a take on Rachel Rays cowboy spaghetti. It is pretty wonderful. You can serve it like traditional spaghetti or layer it with cheese and make it a baked spaghetti (which is how I like to do it.)

Cowboy Spaghetti: Serves a ton of Sasquatches. You can easily half it.

2 lbs. spaghetti noodles
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 lb. apple wood smoked bacon (is there any other kind?)
2 med. onions chopped
2 lbs. good ground beef (you know I grind my own. )
1 head (yes a head) of garlic chopped (we love us some garlic)
salt and pepper
4-6 tsp. hot sauce (this is just a personal taste thing. I like lots. You can always add more to your plate of spaghetti to amp it up.)
2 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 (12oz.) beer
2 (14 oz.) cans crushed or chopped fire roasted tomatoes (I think the fire roasted is important. It imparts a great flavor)
1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese

(Use a cast iron skillet if you have one. I just believe there is nothing better than the flavor a cast iron skillet gives food, particularly meat.)
Heat skillet up and add the 2 Tbl. olive oil. Cut the 1 lb. of bacon up into bite size pieces and fry in hot pan with olive oil. When brown remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Drain off some of the bacon fat so that you have a nice standing coating of grease left in the pan. Place hamburger meat in pan and spread out and let it sear before stirring. Add onions and continue to stir around the meat and onions till the meat and onions are almost cooked. Add the garlic and stir this around for 2 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper to taste and add the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and pour in the beer and stir this good. Let this cook for 1 minute and then add the cans of tomatoes. Stir to combine. If it seems too soupy let it cook down a bit. It should resemble this pic when its about right. Add back in the bacon and stir. You can turn off heat at this point and get the spaghetti noodles cooked. If you aren't baking it then you will want the noodles to be close to done when the sauce is. If you are baking it then you can just turn off the burner and get your noodles cooked. Drain spaghetti and pour meat sauce and toss. If your baking it then layer half a  9x13 pan with the spaghetti/meat sauce and top with 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese and then another layer of spaghetti/meat sauce to fill the pan and top with another 8 ounces of sharp cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees till hot and bubbly and cheese is melted on top. Because everything is usually hot when I put it together it never has to bake more than about 15 minutes. If you are not baking it then just serve it up with cheese on top of the individual servings. You can garnish with green onions if you are so inclined. ENJOY!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chicken Ranch Tacos

sorry borrowed pic. I will post one of mine next time I make these. This is how they look. Wonderful.
I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet. It is as easy as any recipe I have ever done. It is so good that my Sasquatches go NUTS every time I make it. I have found numerous versions for them (this is from Do you smell that.) This is the simplest and I can't scream this enough "DELICIOUS"!!!!!
Here is how you make them.

Chicken Ranch Tacos:
 (I think I triple this recipe.)
3 Cups chicken tenders (cleaned if you want. I have to remove that membrane that is in a tender but you don't have to.) Cut into small bite size pieces.

1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix

1/2 Cup  bottled ranch dressing

taco shells ( I buy the heat and serve. Like I said I keep this easy peasy.)

shredded lettuce
cut up tomatoes
shredded cheese
extra ranch dressing for serving

Heat skillet up and add a small amount of oil. Fry the chicken till almost done and then sprinkle with the taco mix and continue to cook till chicken done and well coated with taco seasoning. Add ranch dressing and continue to cook a couple more minutes till mixed and hot.  Serve.
 Heat taco shells in oven according to package.
Serve chicken in shells and serve with toppings.
Enjoy, cause I know you will.