Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sausage in a White Wine Risotto

 This is a British recipe that I wanted to try because I’ve never had Risotto. Therefore, I’ve never cooked it either. I just tried Orzo last year and love it in a cream sauce, so I’m hoping Risotto cooked in wine will be equally as good. Let’s cross our fingers and I’ll let you know. FYI... if you don’t have Risotto you can substitute with jasmine rice.

Ingredients:

2 cups of Risotto
2 tablespoons of butter, divided
1 tablespoon of olive oil
14 oz smoked sausage
28 oz warm chicken stock
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 yellow or white onion, sliced
Dash of thyme
Dash of rosemary
Dash of Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup white wine
3.5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons parsley

Directions:

I get hillshire farms precooked smoked sausage and slice it up into 1” pieces.  Add the oil in a skillet and on med/high heat cook them for 6-9 minutes, turning frequently.  Remove and set aside.

In a saucepan on low heat add the stock.

In the skillet (that was used for the sausage) on med/high heat add half of the butter. When it melts add the onions and sauté them until they are translucent. Then add the garlic, seasonings and rice. When the rice becomes glossy pour in the wine. Bring to boil to reduce liquid by 2/3rds.

Reduce heat to medium and add a laddle of stock and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Do this a laddle at a time until you have used all the stock. This should take about 20 minutes. This process should complete the cooking of the rice.

Add in the sausage and fold in the remaining butter and Parmesan cheese. Serve once cheese starts to melt. Top with parsley. Yum Yum.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Yum Yum for Spices: What is a Caraway Seed?

A caraway plant reminds me of the American Queens Ann Lace, but this plant comes from Europe, North Africa and the Asia Minor regions.  It’s a biennial, herbaceous plant which blooms once in every two years. The seeds are crescent shaped, dark brown, with up to five ribs  running lengthwise on their surface.

Besides culinary uses caraway water is sometimes used in treating flatulence and indigestion, especially used to relieve a baby’s colic. It can also be used to flavor mouthwash. Caraway extract is used for colds, bronchitis and even irritable bowel syndrome.






Caraway seeds are featured in savory dishes, including cabbage soups, salads and sauerkraut. See my Crockpot Pork and Sauerkraut recipe. It often gives a pleasant aroma to bread (especially rye bread), cake, biscuits and cheese. In Central Europe, caraway seasoned sausages (Kielbasa Kminkowa) are a staple dish. 

Crockpot Pork and Sauerkraut

I was brought up in Ohio and my mother’s mother, Grandma Ree, was from Germany, we traditionally ate pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s Day. Why? Pigs root forward so it is believed that we want to go forward with our lives in the year ahead. Sauerkraut is made of green cabbage therefore we want lots of green money.  I have only a small problem...my daughter’s family hates sauerkraut! So this meal is just for me, instead of cooking an entire pork loin in my crockpot, I’m just cooking a couple pork chops with sauerkraut on the side. (No video)... But if you have a family that enjoys sauerkraut this recipe is for you. I wish everyone good luck and well being in 2018 and as you sit at your table with your family wish each other much goodness and money as the number of shreds of cabbage in the sauerkraut!

Ingredients:

1 4 lb pork loin roast
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cups sauerkraut with liquid

Directions:

Place pork in crockpot top with caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauerkraut with liquid
over pork. Cook on high for 1 hour. Then on low for 5-6 hours. Internal temperature should reach 145 degrees. Yum Yum

Friday, December 29, 2017

Mexican Pasta Salad

This is a version of Ree Drummond’s Mexican Pasta Salad. You can eat this salad alone for lunch or as a side with your favorite meat such as chicken or beef for dinner. Serves 12. It’s a large salad and would be great for a pitch-in.

Ingredients:

Dressing
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice from 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Salad
1 can corn, cooked and chilled
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can of black olives, quartered
1 lb of macaroni, drained and rinsed in cold water
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, diced optional
A sprinkle of cilantro, optional

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the corn, black beans, black olives, tomatoes, onions, and celery with the macaroni. In a separate bowl combine all the dressing ingredients then fold into the vegetable/pasta bowl. Top with avocado and cilantro, optional.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Strawberry Sauce for Cheesecake


Who doesn’t love cheesecake??? Next time you have cheesecake try this super easy strawberry sauce.

Ingredients:

Fresh strawberries, diced
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Add your cleaned and cut up strawberries to a skillet with the sugar and vanilla. Stir continuously.  Smash a few strawberries when they have softened to produce some syrup continue to stir until thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Take 1/3rd of sauce and purée in a blender. Add back into remaining topping and refrigerate before serving. Yum Yum!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Crockpot Pizza Soup

Talking about comfort food, who doesn’t like pizza? Well this is a great alternative for lunch or dinner. Make this ahead of time and it’s done 6-7 hours later. Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 lb. turkey sausage (casing removed)
3 cans of Italian seasoned stewed tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Combine the stewed tomatoes with juice, broth, mushrooms, onion, tomato paste, salt and pepper in the crockpot. Shape the sausage into marble size balls and gently stir them into the soup mixture. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Serve with cheese. YumYum




Thursday, December 7, 2017

Kitchen Gadget Gifts

I know what you are thinking Christmas is just around the corner and you haven’t a clue on what to get for someone. Personally I love kitchen gadgets. Some of these I have and some I wish I had (wink wink 😉)




The IKEA spice rack. I want a lot of these. They can be used for so many things in addition to spices. First of all I want at least 3 of them for the inside of my pantry door to store wax paper, aluminum foil, parchment paper, trash bags etc.. In the bathroom at least 1 for my daily beauty products to eliminate clutter on my vanity. Hoping I can put 1 or 2 inside my cabinet for my pots and pans to store my lids. I’ve seen people use these to organize cleaning supplies, scrapbook and/or sewing supplies, fingernail polish holder, turn it upside down for a towel rack or to hang clothes from and even to organize children’s toys or books. You name it. FYI they do not come with screws or anchors.




The NuWave PIC Flex Precision Induction Cooktop with Frypan. I have this and love to use it to make a variety of dishes. Not only do I use the frypan, I bought a huge wok to make my orange chicken and other Asian dishes. Just remember if you are looking for new pots and pans to look for the Induction symbol on the bottom.



The food mill. Ok, this gadget is on my Christmas list. I watched some chef YouTuber make some mashed potatoes and to get out the lumps he used one of these. Amazons description: RSVP strives to offer quality kitchen products and cooking tools at competitive prices. Our Endurance Food Mill with Stainless Steel Interchangeable Disks is a perfect example. Our food mill is the best choice for both high-volume canning and for the more occasional use because it simultaneously grinds and strains COOKED foods. Often, you won’t need to peel or remove seeds before milling, which can save a lot of time and effort. What can you make with the food mill? Applesauce, tomato sauce, mashed potatoes, strained carrots, peach puree or raspberry coulis. Enjoy the produce from your summer garden year-round by filling your pantry with your garden's yield. Substantial pot rests hold the mill steady while cranking the blade. Made of nonreactive and hygienic 18/8 stainless steel. Measures 8-inches in diameter by 4-inches high with 7-1/2-inch handle. When all the right people, and ingredients, kitchen tools, and food come together, we call this The Art of Gathering.


The Chefcoo Kitchen All-in-One Cutlery Knife Set. This set is on sale originally 69.99. It comes with a magnetic strip so you can display this colorful knife set. A knife sharpener is also included. The knives are: Paring Knife, Utility Knife, Carving Knife, Chef’s Knife, Bread Knife, Cheese Knife and a Pizza Knife.


The fruit and vegetable corer. Here is a kitchen gadget you can slip into someone’s stocking. My last recipe required me to core a tomato, but I don’t have a corer. This would of come in handy.



My last gadget the singing pasta timer is for the chef/cook that has everything. This guy is a bit pricey too, around 62.00 with shipping. ( you might find him on other websites for less) Place him in the pot with your pasta and he’ll start singing when your pasta is done.



I found this guy at Target for 19.99 and ordered one. Free shipping to the store. Click picture to order.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chiles Rellenos with Sofrito Sauce

Chiles Rellenos is one of my favorite dishes at a Mexican restaurant. Sometimes the stuffing has ground beef, but mostly it’s a combination of cheese and a few seasonings. The directions are a little involved if you’ve never made this recipe before, like me. I’m not one to deep fry foods thinking that I’m adding calories, but according to fatsecret.com a single homemade relleno has only 259 calories. Just don’t add ranchero sauce then one serving is 570 calories or refried beans and rice adds 392 calories. I’d have to not eat all day to have that meal. But, hey it’s not like we eat this meal everyday and it’s comfort food, right? Even some Mexican restaurants advertise that way.


 Serves 6. (A pepper a person) More people? More peppers.

PS. I just had a Chiles Rellenos with ground beef. 😝 I much rather have it with cheese.

Ingredients:

6 Pablono Peppers, cleaned, deveined and seeds removed
5 plum tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
3 egg whites and 1 egg yolk
Enough vegetable oil for frying
All-purpose flour, for dredging

Directions:

1. Char the chiles. Once the chiles are cleaned, deveined and the seeds are removed (without removing stem) place them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven on broil until they blacken and blister on both sides (use prongs to turn them).

2. Let them soften. Place them in a ziplock bag for 10 minutes. They will steam making them soft and easy to peel. When cool enough to handle peel away the skin. You can use a paper towel to rub the skin off, but don’t rinse.

3.  Some people don’t devein or remove seeds until this point. If you do wait, cut below the stem.

4.  Purée the chopped tomatoes, onions and garlic in a blender until smooth. In a medium size skillet add the olive oil and sauté the mixture stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and keep warm. This is also know as a sufrito sauce, very popular with Latin America dishes 

5.  Combine the Monterey Jack cheese and Mexican oregano. Stuff the peppers with 1/4th the cheese mixture and close with toothpicks. Repeat for remaining chiles.

6.  Beat 3 egg yolks until peaks occur then and in the egg yolk, beat an additional 3 minutes.

7.  In a deep skillet add enough oil so it’s 1” deep. Heat oil and use a deep-fry thermometer. The temperature should read 375F when ready.

8.  Put flour on a shallow plate. Dredge pepper through flour then hold them by the stem dipping them one at a time in the eggs, throughly covering them. Place them in the oil and fry them until they are golden brown on both sides, 1-2 minutes.

9.  Serve on a plate and cover with them with the warm tomato sauce.

10. Yum Yum!