Archives for June 2013

Calvados Kissed Chicken With Sautéed Apples & Mushrooms


Calvados Kissed Chicken With Sautéed Apples & Mushrooms
This French chicken dish has a little pizazz for that special Dinner
Serves: 2-4
  • 2 chicken breasts with skin
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup of thinly sliced sweet onions (vidalia)
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cut into ¼" wedges
  • 1 large box of button mushrooms, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped tarragon
  • ½ cup of apple juice or apple cider
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup of Calvados (An Apple Brandy)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken breasts
  2. Turn up heat to medium high. In a large, heavy skillet or Dutch Oven, add olive oil and butter. When hot, add the chicken breasts skin side down.
  3. Brown the chicken on all sides. When done, remove chicken to a plate and cover.
  4. In the same skillet, add apple wedges and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Be sure not to overcook--the apples will become too soft and mushy. Place apples in the same dish as the chicken. Keep covered.
  5. In the same skillet, over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil. When hot, add the onions and Sautee until translucent.
  6. Next add the mushrooms. After about 3 minutes, stir mushrooms and lower heat to medium, cooking the mushrooms for about 10 minutes until browned on both sides. Towards the end, you might need to add a touch of olive oil while cooking.
  7. When the mushroom/onion mixture is nicely browned, turn up the heat to high, add the Calvados and stir to mix all ingredients together, cooking off the alcohol (about 2-3 minutes). Turn heat down to medium-high.
  8. Add the tarragon, apple juice or cider, and the chicken stock, simmer for about 10 minutes to blend all of the flavors.
  9. Add the cream to the skillet, stir to blend.
  10. Add the chicken and simmer for about ten minutes, until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.
Plating the Dish:
1 Place the chicken on a plate.
2 Scoop up the mushroom with a slotted spoon and pour over chicken.
3 Next take a few tablespoons of sauce and pour over the chicken and mushrooms
4 Add slices of apples on the side of the chicken.
5 Serve immediately
6 Pour two glasses of your favorite white wine. Toast to each other and enjoy!


Southern-Style Skillet Cornbread


Southern-Style Skillet Cornbread
Unlike sweet and cakey Northern versions that are better suited to the dessert table, Southern cornbread recipes contain neither sugar nor flour, making them savory enough to join the main course.
  • • 2¼ cups cornmeal
  • • 2 cups buttermilk
  • • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • • 2 large eggs
  1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat oven safe skillet on middle rack for 10 minutes. Bake cornmeal on rimmed baking sheet set on lower-middle rack until fragrant and color begins to deepen, about 5 minutes. Transfer hot cornmeal to large bowl and whisk in buttermilk; set aside.
  2. Add oil to hot skillet and continue to bake until oil is just smoking, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and add butter, carefully swirling pan until butter is melted. Pour all but 1 tablespoon oil mixture into cornmeal mixture, leaving remaining fat in pan. Whisk baking powder, baking soda, salt, and eggs into cornmeal mixture.
  3. Pour cornmeal mixture into hot skillet and bake until top begins to crack and sides are golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Serve.
While any oven safe skillet will work here, our first choice (for both tradition and function) is a cast-iron skillet. Avoid coarsely ground cornmeal, as it will make the corn bread gritty.

Finely ground Quaker cornmeal gave the cornbread the right texture, and dry-toasting the cornmeal in the oven for five minutes intensified the corn flavor. Buttermilk added a sharp tang that worked well with the corn. When it came to fat selection, a combination of butter (for flavor) and vegetable oil (which can withstand high heat without burning)



Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits


Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Just like Red Lobsters biscuits. The cold butter is the secret.
Serves: 9 Biscuits
  • 2 ½ cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¾ cup cold whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Brush on top
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to .
  2. Combine Bisquick and cold butter. Don't combine too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter about the size of peas.
  3. Add cheddar, milk and ¼ tsp. garlic.
  4. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix.
  5. Drop 9 equal portions onto greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until tops are light brown.
  7. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a bowl. Stir in ½ tsp. garlic powder and parsley flakes.
  8. Use a pastry brush to spread garlic butter over tops of biscuits
The cold butter really does the trick, making for fluffy, soft biscuits. Freeze the half stick before chopping, and leave it in the freezer even after chopped, until you’ve mixed the cheese with the garlic powder and Bisquick. Try to chop it into thin slices and then slice those for very small pieces of frozen butter. Mix them in just before the milk, making sure not too many are sticking together. This helps even out the consistency of the moisture pockets the butter provides, making for the perfect texture


Red Wine-Braised Pork Chops


Red Wine-Braised Pork Chops
Serves: 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 bone-in pork blade chops, 1″ thick (2-1/2 to )
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme plus ¼ teaspoon minced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½″ long piece ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup ruby port
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 1½ quarts cold water in large container. Submerge chops in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off meat cap and any fat and cartilage opposite rib bones. Cut trimmings into pieces. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add trimmings and brown on all sides, 6 to 9 minutes. Add Pork Chops and sear on both sides. Remove the pork chops and set aside
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add onions, thyme sprigs, garlic, bay leaves, ginger, and allspice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in wine, port, and 2 tablespoons vinegar and cook until reduced to thin syrup, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken broth, spread onions and pork scraps into even layer, and bring to simmer. Arrange pork chops on top of pork scraps and onions.
  4. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until meat is tender, 1¼ to 1½ hours. Remove from oven and let chops rest in pot, covered, 30 minutes. Transfer chops to serving platter and tent with aluminum foil. Pour braising liquid through fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl; discard solids. Transfer braising liquid to fat separator and let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Wipe out now-empty pot with wad of paper towels. Return defatted braising liquid to pot and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 cup, 3 to 7 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter, minced thyme, and remaining ½ teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chops, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
When braising pork chops, it’s important to avoid lean loin chops that have a tendency to dry out when even slightly overcooked. Instead, begin with a blade chop, which, like other braising cuts, has a larger amount of fat and connective tissue. Trim the chops of excess fat and connective tissue to prevent buckling when cooked, and use those trimmings to build a rich and flavorful braising liquid that can quickly be turned into a tasty sauce for your braised chops

Look for chops with a small eye and a large amount of marbling, as these are the best suited to braising. The pork scraps can be removed when straining the sauce in step 4 and served alongside the chops. (They taste great.)


Jumbo Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce


Jumbo Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce
Very easy to make & very yummy
  • 1 Box large Shells
  • 1 lb. ground round
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Ragu Chunky Tomato Garlic and Onion Sauce (or make your own)
  • 15 oz. (1 cup or 454 gm) whole milk Ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 5 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained by squeezing on paper towels
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  1. Boil Pasta Shells as per directions on box and cook to al dente. Drain and let it cool until easy to handle.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add beef and sauté until brown. Add salt and pepper and oregano. Pour in Ragu sauce then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until heated through.
  3. In a big bowl, mix the Ricotta cheese with the egg, mozzarella, parmesan, salt and pepper. Squeeze out all moisture from thawed spinach by wrapping in a paper towel or clean dish towel. Add to ricotta mixture and stir until blended. Stuff cooked shells with ricotta combination and lay flat with open side facing up.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour about 2 cups of the meat sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Add stuffed shells on top of sauce, still with open side facing upwards. set Spoon the rest of the meat sauce on top.
  5. Completely cover top with mozzarella cheese and parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes.
Use a little Ziploc baggy with the corner cut out to pipe the filling into the shells.
Can prepare early in the day and refrigerate and then baked for dinner.

Can add Italian sausage crumbled to meat filling for additional flavor

--If using oven-Ready Pasta add 1 cup of water to meat sauce mixture.

--Can use Catelli Express Cannelloni if large shells hard to find. The Catelli Express cannelloni (Red Box) is perfect and you will have exactly the right amount of cheese mixture to stuff all the cannelloni without any leftovers. The Cannelloni was delicious.

--The 340 gm bag of Mozzarella cheese will give you the 3 cups this recipe calls for exactly.


Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes
The key here is a delicious bleu cheese dressing. Crumbled bleu cheese. is just too strong! The dressing provides a creamy base that mellows the bleu devi
Serves: 2-3
  • 7 small red bliss potatoes, quartered
  • ¾ cup of your favorite bleu cheese dressing
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 2 tsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 handful of parmesan cheese
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Boil water, chop your potatoes while you wait, boil potatoes until tender (10-15 minutes) then drain
  2. Add-in bleu cheese, milk, parmesan cheese, butter, salt and pepper
  3. Blend together with a hand mixer


Classic Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions


Classic Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
Delicious. Melts in your mouth, you'll want to go back for seconds (and thirds)
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 2 to 4 portions
  1. Boil your potatoes. Since they are so small the baby yukon golds only take about 20 minutes to cook
  2. While your potatoes are boiling take the time to cut up your fresh chives. My preferred method is with kitchen scissors, it makes quick and easy work! You can use dried chives but fresh is best in this classic recipe
  3. When your potatoes are done drain them and add all of your ingredients back in the pot for mixing. Use a hand mixer to mix.
Also check out the Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes


Caramelized Onions


Caramelized Onions
Caramelized onions are game changers. They are sweet and smoky bursts of flavor that can be both simple and sophisticated at the same time. You can add them to virtually any meal and they will exponentially improve the dish. Best of all they are easy to make if you’re willing to invest some time.
Serves: 2 cups
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 medium yellow onions cut in uniform size
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter, margarine, etc
  1. Cut your onions in any size you want, just make sure they are uniform so the cooking time is the same for each piece
  2. Over medium high heat, combine your butter and oil. Using a combination of the two is done because it will even out the cooking time and reduce burning because of the higher smoke point of the oil, and it will create a more complex flavor
  3. Put the onions in the pot and toss to coat every piece with butter/oil.
  4. While your onions cook down it’s important to keep tossing and stirring them. Stir from the bottom to the top to make sure the distribution is even throughout the pot. If onions start to brown to fast lower heat. Caramelized onions should be uniformly cooked and uneven stirring can ruin your whole operation.
  5. Cook to a deep brown color about 30 minutes.
  6. These will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week or so
**These will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week or so.

A little primer on onions: they are dense, full of water, give a lot of it off in the cooking process, and take a while to cook down. No matter, have patience. And don't even think about covering your pot while you're making these. We want all that water to evaporate, not collect in the pot.


Sautéed Sweet Plantains


Sautéed Sweet Plantains (Tajaditas Dulces de Platano)
These are so good. This traditional South America and Caribbean side dish adds a nice sweetness to any meal. Use plantains with heavy black spotting to a fully black skin. Try these bananas in place of potatoes with your meal, you'll like it
Serves: 6
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • ¼ cup peanut oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 yellow plantains (very ripe heavy black spotting or all black), peeled and cut in -thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional
  1. Heat peanut oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the butter begins to sizzle. Gently toss plantain slices with brown sugar, then place into hot oil. Fry until the plantains begin to turn golden brown, then turn over, and continue frying until they have caramelized, about 2 minutes per side
  2. Drain plantains on a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt before serving
Use non-stick fry pan and omit the oil or use very little. Mix salt with sugar. Can put sugar straight into butter and oil.


Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs
Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs are delicious and add a kick to the traditional spring, summer, or Easter appetizer
Recipe type: Appetizer
  • 12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1½ tsp. rice vinegar
  • ¾ tsp. ground mustard
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked, crisp, and crumbled
  • Paprika
  1. Slice the hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise
  2. Remove the yolks and put them in a mixing bowl
  3. Mash the egg yolks with a fork
  4. Add the mayonnaise, rice vinegar, ground mustard, and sugar to the mashed egg yolks and stir until well combined
  5. Mix in the jalapenos and bacon
  6. Put the mixture in a Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag
  7. Fill each egg hole with the mixture
  8. Sprinkle with paprika
  9. Chill until ready to serve




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