Sunday, November 05, 2017

Mom on Timeout: "Turkey and Stuffing" Meatballs with Herbed Gravy

I don't normally like turkey meatballs.  Mainly because they're tasteless.  Ground turkey just doesn't have much flavor, mostly due to the fact that it's low in fat.  And fat = deliciousness.  So how to bump up the flavor profile?  Dump in a packet of sodium.  I'm sorta not even kidding.  I used an entire package of stuffing for these meatballs, and they were fantastic.  Serve them with mashed potatoes and gravy?  Even better.

Note: Try to get regular ground turkey, not ground turkey breast.  Regular ground turkey will include some dark meat, and that's the part that has a little more flavor.  You can also use turkey-flavored stuffing mix; I'm just partial to the chicken version.

"Turkey and Stuffing" Meatballs with Gravy
Adapted from Mom on Timeout blog

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6-ounce) box Stove Top chicken-flavored stuffing mix
¾ cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
1 large yolk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (16-ounce) package ground turkey
2 tablespoons olive oil
Herbed Gravy

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Place stuffing mix in a resealable Ziploc bag and crush lightly with a rolling pin or mallet. In a large bowl, combine stuffing crumbs and half-and-half and stir to combine. Mix in cooked onion and celery mixture, parsley, egg and egg yolk, salt, and pepper.  Add ground turkey and mix gently just until combined.

Using a 1½ tablespoon cookie scoop, form meatballs from the mixture. Use your hands to gently form into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or just until cooked through.

Makes about 32 meatballs

Herbed Gravy
1 (12-ounce) jar turkey gravy
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon rubbed sage
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

In a small bowl, combine gravy and herbs.  Heat according to package instructions.  Serve with meatballs and mashed potatoes.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

The Bun Shop: Ba'Corn Cheese

When I saw the chef making this skillet of deliciousness one weekend while I was half-watching the TV, I dropped what I was doing.  I mean, this is sweet corn, smothered in bacon and cheese.  That is right up there with brownies and perfect mashed potatoes.  The chef claimed this was some sort of Korean bar food, but I never saw this when I lived in Seoul.  If I had, it would have been my dinner EVERY NIGHT.  If you want to bump up the spice level a bit, I think you could hit this with some sriracha and all would be right with the world.

Ba'Corn Cheese
From The Bun Shop, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
½ jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 cups sweet corn, fresh or canned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ cup mozzarella cheese

Place a 5- or 6-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven; preheat the oven to broil.

Heat a wok or sauté pan over high heat. Add the butter and bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp, about 20 seconds. Toss in the jalapeño and corn, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the corn kernels start to char a little bit, 20 to 30 seconds. Add the garlic and half of the scallions. Add the sweetened condensed milk, mayonnaise, and ¼ cup of the mozzarella and cook until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are well mixed, another 20 seconds.

With a towel, grab your hot skillet from the broiler and carefully pour in the corn-cheese mixture. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella over the top and set under the broiler until golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds. Garnish with the remaining scallions.

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Friday, November 03, 2017

Sweet Little Bluebird: Maple Honey-Mustard Pecan Pork Chops

I'm really trying to work through the items in my freezer, mostly because I've hidden some delicious delicacies in the back somewhere.  So I need to cook my way through the packages in front to get to them.  Which means the pack of pork chops I through in last week was sitting right on top.  Now, I've done pork chops with breading, stuffed pork chops, and pork chops in cream sauces.  I wanted something different.  Well, this is definitely different.  I think the mustard really helps keep the sauce from being overly sweet and gives it a bit of a tang.  And who doesn't like something smothered in pecans?

Maple Honey-Mustard Pecan Pork Chops
Adapted from Sweet Little Bluebird blog

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon granulated onion
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 pork chops

Pecan Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup roughly chopped pecans, lightly toasted
¼ cup honey
¼ cup real maple syrup
¼ cup whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon praline liqueur (optional)
Sea salt, to taste

In a shallow dish, mix flour and spices. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt butter with oil. Dredge pork chops in seasoned flour, shake off excess, and place in skillet. Brown both sides and cook until pork chops are cooked through. Once ready, move chops to a serving plate.

Clean out the skillet and then return to the heat.  Reduce heat to medium and add the butter. Toss the pecans in the melted butter, then add remaining sauce ingredients.  Cook until slightly thickened and syrupy, about eight minutes. Once heated through, spoon mixture over pork chops and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook: Chili con Carne

Okay, I admit that I did not cook up this pot of chili for my family's pre-trick-or-treating repast.  That would be my sister's creation.  But this chili recipe has played such a part of my family's history, going back to my early childhood, that I wanted to capture it while it was hot from the stove.  While this isn't anything close to a real Texas chili, it was my mother's go-to for us, and I highly recommend it served over some egg noodles for maximum enjoyment and nostalgia.

Chili con Carne
From Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup chopped green pepper
1 (1-pound) can tomatoes, broken up
1 (1-pound) can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 bay leaf

In a heavy skillet, cook meat, onion, and green pepper until meat is lightly browned and vegetables are tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf.

Makes 4 servings

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Triple Chocolate Cake

This is a ridiculously easy cake.  And yet, whenever my mother makes it, it gets scarfed down in 3.5 seconds.  Possibly less.  Especially if it's still warm from the oven.  This recipe makes a moist, oozy chocolate cake slice that is so rich, you don't even need frosting.  Just a generous sprinkle of confectioner's sugar to crown each slice.

Triple Chocolate Cake

1 (15.25-ounce) box Devil’s food or fudge cake mix
1 (3.9-ounce) box Jell-O instant chocolate pudding mix
3 large eggs
½ cup canola oil (or whatever is on package)
1½ cups water (or whatever is on package)
1 cup Nestlé Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips

Put oil in the bottom of the cake pan. Add cake mix, pudding, and eggs and stir with a fork. Add chocolate chips last. Bake according to box instructions.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Natasha's Kitchen: Salami Cream Cheese Sandwiches

I may have said it before, but I am not a sandwich girl.  If I'm going to eat one, it had better be the best sandwich EVER.  Well, as you can tell from this post, this is a pretty fantastic sandwich.  The herbal-garlicky cream cheese just does some magical things with that hard salami that are borderline indecent.  I was tempted to leave out the lettuce, but I think it adds the right crispness.  This is a sandwich for sandwich haters.

Salami Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Adapted from Natasha's Kitchen blog

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup finely chopped green onion
¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 slices sandwich bread
8 to 10 ounces hard or Genoa salami
4 large leaves green lettuce

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, green onion, dill, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.  Mash the herbs into the cream cheese.  Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on one side of each bread slice.  Top with lettuce and 6 to 8 pieces of salami, or to taste.

Makes 4 sandwiches

Friday, October 27, 2017

Cooking in Flip Flops: Alonti's Italian Wedding Soup

I know this soup doesn't look like much, but stick with me.  Here in Texas there's a deli called Alonti, and if you're lucky, you will order the Italian Wedding Soup for lunch.  It looks nothing like a traditional "minestra maritata", which is clear and full of little meatballs and greens.  This version is creamy and full of delicious roasted chicken pieces and herbs.  And somehow it just works in this magical way.  After changing jobs, I wasn't in the vicinity of an Alonti, but luckily I found a pretty good copycat recipe on the internet that I was able to adjust very slightly to get this amazing version.  Try it.  I promise it's amazing.

Alonti's Italian Wedding Soup
Adapted from Cooking in Flip Flops blog

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
6 ribs celery, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 small bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
8 sprigs fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 (32-ounce) carton chicken broth
2 cups water
3 teaspoons roasted chicken bouillon
Breasts and thighs of 1 rotisserie chicken, bones and skin removed, chopped in bite size pieces
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup orzo pasta

Melt butter in large Dutch oven and add onion, celery, green onions, parsley, oregano, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and white pepper. Cook until veggies are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add chicken broth, water, chicken bouillon, and chicken pieces into pan and simmer about 20 minutes.  Add cream and bring to a simmer.  Add orzo and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

Makes 8 servings

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Melissa Clark: Rosemary Shortbread

Sometimes I get ideas for recipes from friends and acquaintances, mostly because I'm incredibly nosy when someone mentions something delicious that they've eaten lately.  I can't stop the interrogation until I've identified what the heavenly item was and exactly what made it so fantastic.  This recipe was an attempt to recreate a cookie based solely on description, and I must say that it really outperformed my expectations.  It was strange to me to eat rosemary in a dessert, but this shortbread is salty and sweet in a surprising way that makes you want to grab another finger.

Rosemary Shortbread
From Melissa Clark, as seen in NY Times Cooking

2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 to 2 teaspoons rosemary, chestnut, or other dark, full-flavored honey (optional)

Heat oven to 325°F.  In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, rosemary, and salt.  Add butter, and honey if desired, and pulse to fine crumbs.  Pulse a few more times until some crumbs start to come together, but don't overprocess.  Dough should not be smooth.

Press dough into an ungreased 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan or 9-inch pie pan.  Prick dough all over with a fork.  Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes for 9-inch pan, 45 to 50 minutes for 8-inch.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Cut into squares, bars or wedges while still warm.

Makes one 8- or 9-inch shortbread

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Allrecipes: Habanero Pepper Jelly

After I made my jalapeño jelly late last summer, I broke it out at Thanksgiving thinking my brother-in-law would be a huge fan.  After all, he had talked about how much he loved pepper jelly.  Well, let's just say he was less than enthused, and I couldn't figure out why that might be.  At least until he forwarded me the recipe for "pepper jelly" that his good friend used.  Then it dawned on me - his idea of pepper jelly included habanero peppers, not those timid jalapeños.  My mistake, but easily corrected.

Habanero Pepper Jelly
From Allrecipes

8 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
6½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup grated carrot
½ cup minced red bell pepper
15 orange habanero peppers, seeded and minced
2 (3-ounce) pouches liquid pectin

Stir the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the carrot and red bell pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Add the habanero peppers and simmer 5 minutes longer. Pour in the pectin, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Skim and discard any foam from the jelly.

Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pour the jelly into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within ¼-inch of the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 5 minutes.

Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).

Makes 8 half pint jars

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Gonna Want Seconds: Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

I had a hard week.  And a long, tiring weekend.  So all I really wanted was some warm, creamy comfort food.  Nothing says comfort like chicken and rice, and this recipe takes ordinary chicken and rice and kicks it in the pants.  Where has this recipe been my whole life?  And do NOT leave off the Chicken In a Biskit crackers.  It's so trashy, but oh so awesome.

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
Adapted from Gonna Want Seconds blog

6 to 8 small cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets, stems discarded
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
4 cups cooked long-grain white rice
8 ounces finely shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups crumbled Chicken In a Biskit crackers
1 teaspoon dried thyme
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 11x15-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Sauté mushrooms in 1 tablespoon butter until softened.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Blanch broccoli florets in boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain into an ice bath.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix two soups, sour cream, milk, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper until evenly combined. Add the chicken, reserved mushrooms and broccoli, and rice and fold until evenly coated and ingredients are mixed. Pour into prepared pan.

Sprinkle the top of the casserole evenly with shredded cheese. In a small bowl, mix together cracker crumbs, thyme, and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over cheese layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until casserole is heated through and cracker crumbs are golden brown.

Makes 8 servings