Monthly Archives: April 2014

Bacon, Tomato and Scallion Frittata

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The BK has been travelling a lot lately, and I try to keep my pantry lean and mean when he’s gone. Unfortunately, when he returned from his latest adventure the cupboard was bare. There was nothing to do but call on my inner MacGyver. Cooking a frittata uses a bit of smoke and mirrors. This frittata is really nothing more than scrambled eggs and bacon with a little bit of something extra thrown in. It is a great chance to use up scraps of this and that and create a fantastic breakfast, brunch or quick supper. My daughter, Erin, introduced me to the idea of using mustard, either dry or prepared, when cooking with eggs. Just a little bit steps up the flavor without overpowering the palate. However, the scallions were the absolute star of this dish. There was a wonderful savory flavor that permeated every bite and left you wanting more hours later.

 
BACON, TOMATO AND SCALLION FRITTATA
(4-6 Servings)
Ingredients:
6 slices of bacon
7 eggs
1/4 c. milk
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 c. tomato, seeded and chopped
3 large scallions, thinly sliced
1 c. shredded cheddar (split 3/4 & 1/4)
3 large scallions, thinly sliced
salt & pepper, to taste
Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cook bacon in a large skillet until almost crisp. Remove, drain and break into pieces; set aside.
3. Drain bacon grease, reserving 2 T. of drippings in skillet. Heat reserved bacon drippings over medium heat; add scallions and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are softened.
4. Combine eggs, milk, mustard, salt & pepper; and whisk until blended.
5. Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low, and add the egg mixture, bacon and 3/4 c. cheddar. Stir until just mixed.
6. Cook until eggs are firm on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Top frittata with the remaining 1/4 c. shredded cheese, and place in preheated oven until cheese is melted and eggs are completely firm, about 10 minutes.

 

Lasagna

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blog51 Ah, lasagna . . . it’s all about the layering. I’m not the only picky one in this family so, as a result, I don’t use a meat sauce. Instead, I begin with a layer of meat – ground beef, Italian sausage, mushrooms, eggplant — covered with a layer of sauce. This allows me to customize the dish to everyone’s taste – half beef/half mushroom – you get the idea. This week it was ground beef all the way. It is so easy to prepare the lasagna ahead of time and pop it in the oven for a wonderful hot dinner. And, don’t forget, lasagna is always better the next day!

LASAGNA
(6-8 Servings)

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lb. ground beef, browned
40-48 oz. tomato sauce of your choice
1/2 lb. lasagna, cooked & drained (1/2 box)
4-6 oz ricotta
1/2 lb. mozzarella, sliced (about 12 slices)
Preparation:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
2. In a shallow pan (13x9x2), put a layer of browned ground beef, followed by a thin layer of sauce to saturate.
3. Use half of the noodles as the next layer, and spread the ricotta cheese in a layer over the noodles.
4. Follow with a layer of mozzarella and half of the remaining sauce.
5. Create a layer using the rest of the noodles, the rest of the sauce, and a final layer of mozzarella.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling hot. Let stand out of oven for 15 minutes before cutting.

Old-Fashioned Oats with Bananas

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Fortunately, we have always loved old-fashioned oatmeal. Whole oat grains are rolled leaving the oat bran and germ intact — very healthy. The bran is a great source of natural fiber, and the germ is rich in minerals and nutrients. All of this is lost in quick-cooking and instant varieties. Plus, you can always boost the nutritional value any time you add fresh fruit to the mix. Just add the fruit of your choice along with the oats and allow them to steep and cook down until soft. A great, and delicious, way to start the day!

OLD-FASHIONED OATS WITH BANANAS
(2 Servings)

Ingredients:

1 cup Old-fashioned oats
1-3/4 cups water or skim milk
1 banana, chopped
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
chopped walnuts (optional)
Preparation:
1. Bring water/milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Add oats, banana, brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon. Continue to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets

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I love the name of this dish – Beets ‘n’ Sweets. It’s a very simple recipe (allrecipe.com)  — sweet potatoes, beets, onion, spices — done. Just roast the vegetables until tender and you have a beautiful, healthy side. It was delicious served with Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon, but I think the colors of this dish make it a perfect accompaniment for fall dinners.

ROASTED BEETS ‘N’ SWEETS
(2 Servings)

Ingredients:

2 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
2-1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 medium sweet potatoes, cut into  chunks
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large resealable plastic bag. Place the sweet potatoes and onion in the bag. Seal bag, and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture.
4. Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.

Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon

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If you begin with a great ingredients, there is very good chance that you will end up with something great for your table.  Filet mignon was on sale this week, and these two were so beautiful that I had to snap them up. Instead of grilling, I decided to start them on the stove-top and finish them in a hot oven. Cooksillustrated.com provides a wonderful tutorial on how to prepare a pepper-crusted steak. You apply a “pepper paste”, wrap the meat in plastic wrap and allow the steaks to temper for an hour prior to cooking. The final result was a super tender, juicy steak cooked to medium perfection with a true pepper “crust”. We served the steaks over Blue Cheese Butter with Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets.

PEPPER-CRUSTED FILET MIGNON
(2 Servings)

Ingredients:

2 center-cut filet mignon, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, 7 to 8 ounces each, trimmed of fat and silver skin
2-1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns, cracked
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoons
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

Preparation:

1. Heat peppercorns and 5 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over low heat until faint bubbles appear. Continue to cook at bare simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until pepper is fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. When mixture is room temperature, add salt and stir to combine. Rub steaks with oil and pepper mixture, thoroughly coating top and bottom of each steak with peppercorns. Cover steaks with plastic wrap and press gently to make sure peppercorns adhere; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until faint smoke appears. Place steaks in skillet and cook, without moving steaks, until dark brown crust has formed, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn steaks and cook until well browned on second side, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer steaks to hot baking sheet. Roast 3 to 5 minutes for rare, 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare to medium. Transfer steaks to wire cooling rack and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 5 minutes before serving.
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Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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Portobello mushrooms offer so many opportunities to create fabulous meals – like this recipe from food.com. I stuffed these beauties with a ground Italian sausage mixture and topped them with freshly grated mozzarella.  KITCHEN TIP— I keep seasoned croutons on the shelf year round. Put some in a plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling-pin. These will undoubtedly be some of the best bread crumbs you will ever use. They are always fresh and ready to go whenever you need them.  I paired the mushrooms with Cheesy Creamed Spinach  for a wonderful Sunday supper.
SAUSAGE STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
(2 Servings)
Ingredients:
2 large Portobello mushrooms
olive oil
salt
8 oz. ground Italian sausage
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 cup milk
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon basil, chopped
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
dash cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
grated mozzarella cheese
Preparation:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a baking sheet.
2. Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of the Portobello mushrooms; then, lightly season the inside with salt.
3. Cook the sausage and onions over medium heat until the sausage is browned and crumbling. Remove from pan and drain.
4. Combine the eggs, milk, parsley, basil, garlic, cayenne pepper/hot sauce in a medium bowl.
5. Slowly add bread crumbs and parmesan to the mixture, stirring until just combined.
6. Add the sausage/onions to the mixture. Season with black pepper.
7. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
8. Top with grated mozzarella, as desired.

Brussels Sprouts ~ Sherry Bacon Cream Sauce

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Unfortunately, not everyone likes Brussels sprouts. The sprouts in this recipe (from allrecipes) are placed in a brine for an hour prior to cooking. This reduced the bitterness and seemed to produce beautiful, crispy little cabbages. Timing is everything in this recipe. You will have about 10 minutes from the time that you add the garlic until the Brussels sprouts should be added to the cream sauce. If your sauce gets ahead of you, remove it from the stove top momentarily prior to adding the garlic, sherry, and cream.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS ~ SHERRY BACON CREAM SAUCE
(4 Servings)
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

7 cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cream sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preparation:
1. Put Brussels sprouts in a bowl and cover with water. Dissolve salt in water and soak for 1 hour. Drain off the water, and toss the sprouts in olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper to coat thoroughly.
2. Preheat oven to 475 F. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown at the edges, 5 to 8 minutes
3. Put the Brussels sprouts, cut sides down, onto a baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven until the sprouts are browned, about 15 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to medium; stir in the shallot and mushrooms, then cook until the shallots turn translucent, about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle in the garlic, and cook 1 minute, then stir in the sherry and cream until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, and stir until reduced by half. The thickened sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
5. Transfer the browned sprouts to the sauce, toss to coat, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.