Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tiramisu (GF)


Tiramisu (GF)
(9-12 servings)


Ingredients:

1 cup Heavy Cream, chilled
1 pkg. (8-ounce) Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 tub (8-ounce) Mascarpone, room temperature
¾ cup Powdered Sugar
½ cup Very Strong Brewed Coffee
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
18 (GF) Pecan Shortbread Cookies
2 tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa
¼ cup Chocolate for Garnish, grated

Directions:

In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer about 4 minutes or until it holds shape and soft peaks form.  In a large bowl using the same beaters, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone and powdered sugar together until well combined.  With a spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cheese mixture.  Then carefully fold in the remaining whipped cream.  In a shallow bowl, combine coffee and vanilla.  Quickly and lightly dip the underside of the cookie in the mixture.  Do not saturate or cookies will fall apart.  Arrange cookies as you dip them into an 8-inch square baking dish that has been sprayed.  Use 9 cookies for bottom.  Then spoon half the cheese mixture over the cookies, smoothing with a wet spatula.  Repeat the process with the remaining cookies and cheese mixture.  Place cocoa in a fine-mesh sieve and gently dust over the cheese mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or better yet overnight.  Cut 3x3 or 3x4 and garnish each piece as you serve it with the grated chocolate.

Note:               The cookies used in this recipe are from “Pamela’s Products” at www.pamelasproducts.com

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cheesecake (GF)


 Cheesecake (GF)
(8 servings)


Ingredients:

Crust:

2 cups GF Graham Crackers
2 tbsp. Sugar
4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted

Filling:

3 pkg. (8-ounce) Cream Cheese, room temperature
1½ cups Sour Cream, room temperature
¾ cup Sugar
5 large Fresh Eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.  In a food processor, combine graham crackers, sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined and finely ground.  Add butter and pulse a few times.  Remove blade and carefully stir mixture making sure butter is incorporated.  Turn mixture into prepared pan and press, using bottom of a glass, until smoothly and evenly pressed across the bottom and slightly up the sides of pan.  Crust should be solid.  Refrigerate crust for 15 minutes or up to 2 days.  When ready, place pan on a baking sheet and put in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  Cool slightly before adding filling.  To make filling, place cream cheese, sour cream and sugar in a large bowl.  Beat with stand or hand mixer until combined and smooth.  Crack eggs into a small bowl and add one at a time to cheese mixture.  Fully incorporate each egg before for adding the next.  Finally, add vanilla and beat for one minute, making sure mixture is smooth.  Pour filling into crust prepared pan still on a baking sheet taking care not to disturb crust.  Gently shake pan to settle filling and place in a pre-heated 300-degree oven for 45-50 minutes or until edges are set and middle is slightly jiggly.  Turn oven off and slightly open oven door for a few seconds.  Close door and let cake sit in oven for 45 minutes more.  Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool completely before chilling.  If top begins to show signs of cracking, carefully run an offset spatula around the edge to loosen the cake.  Refrigerate at least 4-5 hours or better yet overnight.  To serve, loosen cake edges with an offset spatula and remove the collar.  Do the same to loosen bottom of pan from the crust.  Slide cake onto a serving platter.  Top with a fruit topping if desired and slice into 8 portions.

Note:               You can vary the crust flavor by using GF chocolate cookies instead of graham crackers.  If you do this, add 1 tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa to them.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gluten-Free Desserts

This week I have a couple of classic desserts made Gluten-Free.  I’m not going to write a lot this week about GF desserts.  But I know at this time of the year, there are many special events that come up and people wish to have some fancier desserts available for guests with gluten-free issues.

So I picked two for this week that I think will meet the need.

Wednesday’s “Cheesecake (GF)” is just a classic baked cheesecake.  This time of the year, you can top it with a variety of fresh berries.  Or you could just use canned pie filling or frozen fruit of choice.

You could even leave it plain and just top it with whipped cream.

An Italian classic, “Tiramisu (GF)” is Thursday’s recipe.  It calls for using pecan shortbread cookies, but you could use another type of gluten-free cookie instead.  If you have a favorite, why not use it.

The hardest part of making GF desserts is usually the crust.  In 4 weeks, I will have a couple of recipes for different gluten-free crusts for you to test.

In the meantime, “Happy Cooking” and see you next week.  Don’t forget to share the link here for family, friends and co-workers.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cherry Berry-Berry Pie


Cherry Berry-Berry Pie
(6-8 servings)


Ingredients:

1 9-inch Unbacked Pie Crust
1½ cups Sugar, divided
¼ cup Cornstarch
4½ cups Unsweetened Pitted Tart Red Cherries
¾ cup Fresh Raspberries
¾ cup Fresh Blueberries
½ tsp. Lemon Zest
1 tsp. Lemon Fresh Juice
½ tsp. Almond Extract
½ cup All-Purpose Flour
¼ cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/8 tsp. Salt
¼ cup Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small pieces

Directions:

Line a 9-inch pie pan with the crust.  Just trim any overhang to 1-inch, fold under and flute edges.  Place this in the freezer while you make the filling.  In a large saucepan, stir together 1 cup of sugar and the cornstarch.  Add the cherries and toss to coat.  Then cook over medium-heat until bubbly.  Now add the raspberries and blueberries and continue cooking until thickened and bubbly.  Cook a minute more and remove from heat.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and almond extract.  Set aside.  Prepare topping by using a medium bowl and stirring together flour, brown sugar, remaining ½ cup of sugar and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside.  Transfer cherry mixture to pastry lined pie pan.  Sprinkle the topping mixture over it.  Cover the pie crust edges with foil to prevent overbrowning.  Place the pie in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 25 minutes and then remove foil.  Continue in oven for another 20-25 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crumb topping is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 2-hours before serving.

Note:               You can use frozen raspberries and blueberries for this pie.  Just thaw and drain before adding to cherry mixture.  The cherries can be fresh, canned or frozen too.  Again, just thaw an d drain before use.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rhubarb Meringue Pie


Rhubarb Meringue Pie
(6-8 servings)


Ingredients:

Crust:

¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Sugar
¼ cup Shortening
1 tbsp. Beaten Egg
¼ tsp. White Vinegar
3-4½ tsp. Cold Water

Filling:

3 cups Fresh Rhubarb, chopped
1 cup Sugar
2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
pinch Salt
3 Egg Yolks
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Meringue:

4 tsp. plus 1/3 cup Sugar, divided
2 tsp. Cornstarch
1/3 cup Water
3 Egg Whites
1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar.  Cut in shortening until crumbly.  Combine egg and vinegar together and sprinkle over crumb mixture.  Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms.  Cover and chill for 1 hour.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to fit a 9-inch pie pan.  Trim to a ½ inch beyond edge and flute edges.  Place rhubarb evenly in the crust.  Whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks and cream.  Pour this mixture over the rhubarb.  Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  In a small saucepan, combine 4 tsp. sugar and cornstarch.  Gradually stir in water and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened and then cool to room temperature.  In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.  Add cornstarch mixture and beat on high until soft peaks form.  Spread evenly over hot filling sealing edges to crust.  Return to oven for 15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 1-hour and serve.  Store in the refrigerator if not serving immediately or you have leftovers.

Note:               You can use frozen rhubarb in place of fresh.  Measure out  while frozen and then thaw, drain in a colander, not pressing liquid out.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Time for Pie

I believe everyone likes “Pie” but have their own favorites.  Which helps give us all the varieties of pies there are in the world.  My top four are cherry, pecan, pumpkin and any pie with rhubarb in it.  Now I’ll eat many other favors of pie but there are some I would pass on.  What are your top four favorites?

Now eating pies and making pies are quite different.  But making pies doesn’t have to be that difficult for you.  The first thing that scares most away is making a “pie crust” from scratch.  That’s easy to get around these days.  There are plenty of good ready-made crusts today.  That’s both refrigerated and frozen crusts.  So don’t let that stop you from making pies.

But if you would like to make your own pie crust, it’s not that hard.  There are plenty of recipes out there online or in cookbooks for you to try.  And you can find a lot of variations, so one should fit your need.

One of the basic ingredients in a pie crust is the one that pulls it all together.  However, you even have to make a choice here.  Butter, shortening and lard are the three main binders.  Personally, I prefer the lard to the others with butter second.  But that’s a choice everyone has to make for themselves.

A couple of key factors to remember if you make your own crust. Form your dough into a disc shape before refrigerating and rolling out.  It helps in rolling out the dough. Always refrigerate the dough for an hour or two before rolling it out.  Always use a floured surface to roll it out.  Flour your rolling pin before starting.  Then roll out from the center of the disc to the edges.  Turn the dough a quarter turn each time you roll out from center.  When done rolling out, dust it with a little flour and wrap around your rolling pin or fold in half to make transfer to the pie pan easier.  There will always be extra dough sticking over the sides of the pie pan when you lay it out.  Leave your self some for the crust edge but cut the rest away.  Find an edge or crimp you like for your pie crust and master it.  Not always, but many times a recipe will call for you to prick the crust with a fork.  These air holes help keep the crust from bubbling up on you.

I have several crust recipes in the tabs above.  So check them out or use another that you find and like.

It will be no surprise that the recipes this week include rhubarb and cherries.  Wednesday is “Rhubarb Meringue Pie” and then “Cherry Berry-Berry Pie” on Thursday.  Hope you like them and “Happy Cooking” until next week.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara


Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

1 medium Spaghetti Squash
as needed Salt and Black Pepper
10 oz. thick-cut bacon, ½ inch dice
5 large Egg Yolks
1½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese plus

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Season squash with salt and pepper generously and place cut-side down on the parchment paper.  Place in a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender.  Meanwhile, set a medium skillet over medium-low heat.  Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and bacon crisps (10-15 minutes).  Fill a medium pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer.  In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and Parmesan.  Mixture should be as thick as glue; add more cheese if needed.  Run the tines of a form through the cooked squash so flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands.  Carefully transfer strands to pan with bacon and gently stir to combine.  Transfer squash-bacon mixture to bowl with eggs and gently toss to combine, taking care to keep strands intact.  Set bowl over pot of simmering water and gently toss squash mixture until sauce thickens and coats strands (about 1 minute).  Season with salt and pepper, and add more cheese to taste.  Serve immediately.

Note:               You could add some red pepper flakes to give it a little heat, if you like.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Smoked Gouda Carbonara


Smoked Gouda Carbonara
(6 servings)


Ingredients:

1 lb. Spaghetti
6 large Fresh Eggs
1 cup plus Smoked Gouda
to taste Salt and Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive oil
6 oz. Slab Bacon, finely diced
¾ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

In a large pot, cook spaghetti according to package leaving it al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.  Separate the yolk from the white for 5 of the eggs.  In a large bowl, beat with a whisk the 5 egg yolks and the one whole egg with the cup of cheese, ½ tsp. salt and 2 tsp. pepper.  Very gradually whisk in ½ cup of reserved cooking water to temper the eggs.  Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat oil and then add the bacon doing this over medium heat.  Cook until rendered but not crisp (5-7 minutes).  Now add the pasta, red pepper and ¼ cup of reserved pasta cooking water.  Cook, tossing, until pasta is coated (1-2 minutes).  Scrape the pasta mixture into the large bowl of the egg mixture and toss vigorously until creamy (1-2 minutes).  Add more cooking water if needed.  Season with salt and pepper, divide pasta mixture among bowls and serve.  Pass more smoked Gouda at the table.

Note:               You can use sliced bacon if needed.  Just dice it up

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Carbonara with and without Pasta

Carbonara is a basic pasta dish that is easy to make.  But there are many variations of this simple pleasure.  This week, I give you two.

The dish is just pasta, eggs, meat and cheese.  It’s usually spaghetti, mostly egg yolks, pancetta or bacon and grated parmesan cheese.

You can change out the pasta, but long strands are best.  Five egg yolks are normal but some recipes add a whole egg as well.  Be sure to temper your eggs so they don’t cook on you and become scrambled eggs.  Pancetta is the preferred meat of choice but other bacons can work well and save on the pocketbook too.  Cheeses, now here you can change the flavor dramatically but always use grated.  Many people add pasta water to help with the sauce.  Just add a little at a time.

Wednesday’s recipe of “Smoked Gouda Carbonara” uses spaghetti as the pasta.  But Thursday, the recipe of “Spaghetti Squash Carbonara” uses the strands of spaghetti squash as the pasta.  Now days, with the spiral cutting kitchen equipment one can use zucchini or butternut squash as the pasta too.  Or anything else you can spiralizer.

Once you’ve tried one of these or one of some other carbonara recipes I have in the tabs, use your imagination and favorite flavors to create a carbonara of your own.

Enjoy and “Happy Cooking” until next week.  Be sure to share these recipes and others with your friends, family or co-workers.  Thanks in advance for that from me.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Crab and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms


Crab and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
(25 caps)


Ingredients:

25 medium Whole Baby Bella Mushrooms
8 oz. pkg. Imitation Crabmeat
1 ½ cups Refrigerated Spinach Dip
¼ cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp. Olive Oil

Directions:

Line a baking pan with foil and set aside.  Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth or rinse lightly and gently dry with a paper towel.  Remove stems and hollow out caps.  Place caps on foil lined baking pan with hollowed out sides up.  Set aside.  Chop crabmeat and place in a medium bowl.  Add the spinach dip and mix until combined.  Divide equally between caps, mounding slightly.  In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese and oil.  Sprinkle this mixture over each filled cap.  Place pan in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until filling is heated through.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note:               To hollow out caps, use a spoon or a melon baller.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Porcini and Olive Stuffed Mushrooms


Porcini and Olive Stuffed Mushrooms
(20 pieces)


Ingredients:

1 tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
¾ oz. Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 cup Hot Water
pinch Salt and Black Pepper
20 Firm White Mushrooms (1½ inch caps)
4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
¼ cup Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
¼ tsp. Dried Oregano, crumbled
½ medium Fresh Lemon, juiced
15 Castelvetrano Olives, pitted, rinsed and finely chopped

Directions:

Grease a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.  In a small bowl, combine dried mushrooms and hot water with a pinch of salt and let stand 20 minutes.  Separate the stems from the caps of the white mushrooms.  Place the caps, gill-side up on baking sheet.  Trim stems and finely chop.  Set aside one cup of these and discard the rest.  In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp. butter with a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Dot the butter evenly in each cap.  Place caps in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until a little moister is released.  Set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, rub dried mushrooms between your fingers in the soaking water to remove any grit.  Lift out mushrooms and squeeze dry over bowl and finely chop.  Slowly add soaking liquid to a medium skillet, over medium-low heat, stopping when you reach the grit in bottom of bowl.  Add both types of chopped mushrooms to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer gently until all liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes).  Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.  Add remaining butter, parsley, oregano, lemon juice and olives to cooled mushroom mixture.  Season with salt and pepper and stuff each cap with about 1 tbsp. of mixture.  Place baking sheet in an oven now pre-heated to 400-degrees.  Bake until tender when pierced with a toothpick and sizzling, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  

Note:               Try it this way first.  Then if you like a little cheese flavor, top each cap with a little grated Parmesan cheese before baking.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Different take on Stuffed Mushrooms and the Start of Year 7

We’re starting my seventh year of “Cabana Boy Cooks” this week.  I hope the changes I’ve made over the last two weeks are helpful to your surveying the site.  Please note that all the “Gluten-Free” recipes are now available under their own “Recipe Tab” to make it easy for those needing them.  There are 50 plus GF recipes as of now and I add two more every four weeks. 

There are now over 650 recipes under all the recipe tabs for you to enjoy and share.  Please do try the recipes that fit your taste and lifestyle and share the link with any and all your family and friends.  Thank you and please ask questions or give feedback so I may serve you better.  Now let’s get started with the 7th year.

If you like “Mushrooms” than I’m sure you must like “Stuffed Mushrooms” too.  Never tried them, you don’t know what you’re missing.  The recipes this week are a must try for anyone.

The two best mushrooms to use for stuffing are the ever available white mushrooms and baby bella mushrooms.  You will want to use ones that have a diameter of about 1½ inches.  These give you plenty of room for the filling and make a two or three bite delight.

If you are serving them as a finger food as people mill around at a party, you might go down to a one-inch diameter.  That way you don’t need utensils.  The cooking time will need a little adjustment for this size.

Fillings for stuffing mushrooms are really almost unlimited.  After you have tried making a few different stuffed recipes, use your imagination and experiment with some of your favorite foods.  Cheeses, sausage, bacon, bread crumbs and fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro are popular as components in the stuffing mixture.  One of this week’s recipes calls for imitation crab, which saves money.  But fresh or canned crab meat works wonderfully too.  Just a little more expensive.

Remember to be careful in cleaning the mushrooms.  They absorb water easily so do a quick rinse and dry with a paper towel gently.  Another way is to just use a damp paper towel and lightly rub the mushrooms.

Also, be careful removing the stems.  That’s what helps create the cavity to hold the filling.  Don’t throw the stems away.  Trim them and dice up to use in the filling.

The recipes this week include Wednesday’s “Porcini and Olive Stuffed Mushrooms” and then “Crab and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms” on Thursday.  Enjoy trying them and “Happy Cooking” until next week.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Notice of Blog Work

Notice:  There will be no new blog posts the weeks of April 16th and 23rd.

We will be working on the blog to try and improve it for you and be more user friendly.  The blog posts will start again on May 2nd and will continue the same format as before.  I will have posts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week.

Tuesday’s will be informative and let you know what recipes will be posted on Wednesday and Thursday of that week.  Occasionally, there may be an additional recipe on Friday.  That will be noted in the Tuesday post if it is to happen.

Thank you for your interest in my food blog,  Please share the link with family, friends and/or co-workers.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Breakfast Nachos (GF)


Breakfast Nachos (GF)
(8 servings)


Ingredients:

8 large Fresh Eggs
1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
8 oz. Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips
½ lb. Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 can (15 oz.) Black Beans, rinsed and drained
½ lb. Breakfast Sausage, cooked and crumbled
2 Green Onions, sliced
8 oz. Shredded Mexican Style Cheese

Toppers:

Sliced Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
Diced Tomato
Salsa
Sour Cream
Cilantro

Directions:

Scramble eggs in a large skillet with melted butter over medium heat until all most set.  On a rimmed baking sheet place parchment paper.  Spread half of the chips over parchment and top with half of the scrambled eggs evenly.  Next add half of each of bacon, beans, sausage, onion and cheese evenly.  Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients and place in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.  Remove and add toppings and serve.

Note:               As always when making gluten-free food, double check that your ingredients are gluten-free.

Note:               You can change up some of the ingredients and toppings to create your own masterpiece.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hash Brown Pizza (GF)


Hash Brown Pizza (GF)
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

4 cups Shredded Hash Browns (GF), thawed
4 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
8 large Fresh Eggs
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Black Pepper
8 slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup Fresh Tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray completely so pizza won’t stick.  Take 1 cup of hash browns and mix with 1 tbsp. of oil.  Form a - inch circle on baking sheet pressing together the mixture.  Repeat for other 3 pizzas.  Place in a pre-heated 425-degree oven for 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  While pizza crusts are in the oven, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Scramble the eggs, add salt and pepper and cook until just before being set.  Divide scrambled eggs between the 4 pizzas.  Top this with the bacon, tomatoes and cheese, in that order, evenly.  Put back in oven for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.  Remove from oven and serve.

Note:               As always when making gluten-free food, double check that your ingredients are gluten-free.

Note:               The fun thing about making these pizzas is you can change out the toppings.  They different meats, cheeses and vegetables to create your original favorite.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gluten-Free Unusaul Breakfast Dishes

This week features “Gluten-Free” recipes which I try to do every 4 weeks.  Breakfast recipes is the subject this time.  But not just your usual breakfast items.  On top of that, I believe all gluten eating folk out there will like them too.

Part of the excitement about these recipes is that you can change them up and never get bored.  There is a base concept here but you can create a wide variety of different tastes in the finished product.  So use your imagination and impress family and friends.

Also, as I have always advocated, you can make these recipes for lunch and dinner too.  Even a late night snack.

So we start off on Wednesday with “Hash Brown Pizza (GF)” and they are individual sized.  Then on Thursday comes “Breakfast Nachos (GF)” and although the recipe is for one big platter of nachos, you could make individual ones to please some consumers.

In other news, next week will be the end of my 6th year of this food blog.  The start of the 7th year follows that week as I continue to do this enjoyable adventure for me.

However, both of these weeks will not have any recipes.  I will be working on some design changes, correction of some errors and get ready to start year seven and beyond.

Thank you for checking in on my little world and I hope that it has been of some small help to you and others you know.  Please continue to help spread the link to this blog and I thank you in advance.

“Happy Cooking” until we return and a “Happy Easter” as well.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mac 'N' Cheese with Crab


Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Crab
(4 servings)


Ingredients:

½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Dried Thyme leaves
12 oz. Cooked Pasta (see note)
2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
¼ tsp. Black Pepper
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
3½ cups Milk, warm
1 cup Grated Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
12 oz. Crab Meat (see note)
1 Green Onion, sliced ¼ inch thick

Directions:

Arrange oven rack to 5 inches from the broiler.  In a small bowl, mix panko, parmesan, oil and thyme and set aside.  In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and add flour, salt and both peppers.  Whisk for about 2 minutes or until you have a light tan color.  Whisk in milk slowly until small bubbles appear at edge of pan and sauce begins to thicken (3-5 minutes).  Reduce heat to low and add cheddar whisking to melt and well blended.  Add crab and pasta gently mixing and heating through.  Spread mixture evenly in pan and top with panko mixture.  Transfer to a pre-heated broiler and broil until crumbs are well browned (1-2 minutes).  Remove, top with green onions and serve.

Note:               It’s your choice on the pasta shape you want to use in this recipe.  But there is more than just elbow macaroni out there.  Be inventive.

Note:               It’s best to use fresh crabmeat if possible.  If not, try the lump crab in a can.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sweet and Salty Mac 'N' Cheese


Sweet and Salty Mac ‘n’ Cheese
(8 servings)


Ingredients:

5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
6 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
3 cups Milk
2 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
8 oz. Cream Cheese, cut up in small pieces
1 lb. Cooked Pasta (see note)
½ cup Honey
1 lb. Cooked Bacon, crumbled and divided

Directions:

I a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour, whisking to combine and cook 2 minutes.  Slowly add milk while whisking after reducing heat to low.  Cook until it slightly thickens, about 5 minutes.  Add the parmesan and cream cheeses.  Whisk until fully melted and then combine with the pasta.  Remove from the heat and add honey and ¾ of the bacon stirring to mix.  Pour into a buttered 2½ qt. baking dish and top with remaining bacon.  Place in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes and then serve.

Note:               It’s your choice on the pasta shape you want to use in this recipe.  But there is more than just elbow macaroni out there.  Be inventive.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mac and Cheese that's a Little Different

Continuing with “Comfort Foods” this week, this is probably the most common one of all.  I think everyone loves “Mac and Cheese” in some form or style.  I mean it was the go to food for most children as they grow up.  It was quick and inexpensive.  Mother’s loved it whether it was homemade or out of the box.

I know my children argued over which Kraft Macaroni and Cheese they liked best.  Two went for the original and one for the spiral package.  They insisted that the cheese sauce was different between the two.  I’m not sure but it probably was, at least for their taste.

So this week I have a couple of interesting recipes.  “Sweet and Salty Mac ‘n’ Cheese” is Wednesday recipe and it has honey and bacon in it for the sweet and salty.  Then Thursday for those who love Crab, it is “Mac ’n’ Cheese with Crab” to give a chance.

Next week I have some different breakfast dishes for those needing Gluten-Free recipes.  Gluten consumers will love them too.  Until then, “Happy Cooking” and please share this with others and give me some feedback as well.  Thanks.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nostalgia Meatloaf


Nostalgia Meatloaf
(6 servings)


Ingredients:

1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
1 medium Yellow Onion, minced
1 cup Plain Tomato Sauce
1½ tbsp. White Vinegar
1½ tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1½ tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3 slices White Bread, crust removed and torn
½ cup Milk
1½ lb. Ground Chuck
½ cup Fine Breadcrumbs
2 large Fresh Eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper

Directions:

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk tomato sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire.  In another small bowl, combine the bread and milk.  Then gently squeeze the liquid out and transfer bread to a large bowl.  Discard the milk.  Add the onion, ground chuck, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, pepper and a ¼ cup of tomato mixture.  Mix until combined and transfer to a sprayed foil lined the 9x13 pan.  Form into a 5x9 loaf and cover it with remaining tomato mixture.  Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for an hour and 10 minutes, or a thermometer reads 160-degrees in the middle of loaf.  Let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note:               You can use a 5x9 loaf pan if desired for about the same cooking time.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Best Ever Meatloaf


Best Ever Meatloaf
(8 servings)


Ingredients:

3 slices White Bread, torn into small pieces
½ cup Beef Broth
6 oz. Portobello Mushrooms, cut into chunks
1 medium Yellow Onion, cut into wedges
1 medium Carrot, cut into chunks
1 rib Celery, cut into chunks
3 cloves Fresh Garlic
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
4 tbsp. Tomato Paste, divided
2 large Fresh Eggs, lightly beaten
1¼ lb. Ground Chuck
¾ lb. Ground Pork
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
1¼ tsp. Salt
¾ tsp. Black Pepper
½ cup Ketchup
2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Mustard

Directions:

Place the bread in a large bowl with the beef broth and let stand until liquid is absorbed.  In a food processor, place the mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and process until finely chopped.  Transfer mixture to a large skillet with the oil already heated over medium heat.  Cook for about 5-6 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.  Add 2 tbsp. tomato paste and cook another minute or so.  Cool slightly and then add to bowl with bread.  Also add eggs, beef, pork, Worcestershire, soy, salt and pepper.  Mix all together and form into a 6x10 inch loaf and place on top of 7x12 piece of foil on top of a wire rack in a foil covered rimmed baking pan.  Put in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for one hour.  While baking, mix together the remaining tomato paste with the ketchup, brown sugar and ground mustard.  Spread mixture over the meatloaf after the hour and continue baking another 15-20 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160-degrees in the center of meatloaf.  Remove and let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note:               The foil lined rack procedure above helps remove the grease problem.  You can put the meatloaf in a 5x9 loaf pan and bake it.  Time would be the same.  Your choice.

Note:               Meatloaf makes great leftovers too.  Try using it for a Hot Meatloaf Sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy or just as a meatloaf sandwich with onion, lettuce and tomato on it.

Ideas for Future Efforts
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