December 25, 2011

Crunchy Bread Dressing with Bacon and Leeks

Original Recipe: Williams Sonoma
Serves: 10-12

  • 1-lb. loaf rustic country bread, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 8oz. thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 leeks, white portion only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices and rinsed well
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, green portion only
  1. Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9x13" baking dish.
  2. Spread the bread out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large fry pan over medium heat, fry the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy and golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
  4. Drain some of the bacon grease. In the same pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, carrots and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the bread, bacon, the leek mixture, the 1 cup stock, milk, thyme, green onions, salt and pepper and stir gently to mix. If the dressing seems dry, add more stock as needed.
  6. Transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish and bake until crispy and golden, about 1 hour. Enjoy with gravy!

Hashbrown Casserole

(Sorry- we got a little hungry before I could photograph!)

  • 1 bag of Ore Ida shredded Hash Browns, Country Style
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 2 sticks of butter, melted
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Kellogg's Corn Flakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Defrost hash browns in a large bowl in the microwave. Once hash browns are defrosted, add sour cream, cream of chicken soup, diced onions, melted butter and cheese. Mix well then pour into a 9x13" baking dish.
  3. Take Corn Flakes and pour into a gallon Ziplock bag, about ¼ full. Crush the Corn Flakes and cover the top of the hash browns.
  4. Bake for 1 hour.
**For best results, prepare (except for Corn Flakes) the night before and refrigerate. Add Corn Flakes before you bake.**

Enjoy :)

December 14, 2011


This was the first time I have attempted fajitas... and I created this recipe! I was quite pleased with my masterpiece :)

This recipe makes 4 fajitas

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ sweet onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 packet of Fajita seasoning
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Salt
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  1. Slice chicken into bite-size strips and place in dish with side high enough so you can marinate.
  2. Season uncooked chicken with salt and some of the fajita seasoning. Cover with teriyaki sauce; marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the onions and peppers.
  4. In two separate frying pans, melt 1 Tbsp each of butter. In one pan, cook the chicken over medium heat until cooked through. This should take about 15 minutes. Add more fajita seasoning while cooking. In the other pan, sauté the onions for about two minutes; add peppers. Cook over meduim-low heat until desired texture. (I cooked mine for 15 minutes too, so they were done when the chicken was done).

  5. Place a tortilla on a plate and spoon on some chicken. Top with the onion and pepper mixture.
    Feel free to top with any other ingredients! Enjoy!

December 2, 2011

Mexican Turkey Burgers

This recipe is my roommate's and was the first thing we made together! Enjoy :)

  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 1 green chili, diced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek yogurt
  1. In a medium skillet sauté tomatoes, yellow onion, green onions and green chilies until onions are translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add ground turkey, egg white, cheese, and ¾ of the taco seasoning packet. Once the onion mixture has been sautéed add it to the ground turkey mixture and mix well.
  3. Make 8 burger patties from the mixture. Place on a greased baking sheet and broil for 10-12 minutes or until burgers are cooked through.
  4. While burgers are cooking, use the remaining ¼ of the taco seasoning and mix into sour cream.
  5. Top burgers with the sour cream mixture and refried beans.
*This also paired nicely with New Kent Winery's White Norton

    November 30, 2011

    Cranberry Jello

    This is my grandmother's Cranberry Jello recipe and it belonged to her mother!

    • 2 packages cherry Jello
    • 2 cups hot water
    • 2 cups marshmallows
    • 1 cup crushed pineapple and juice
    • 1 quart cranberries, ground
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 apple, diced
    1. Prepare Jello in hot water. Dissolve thoroughly.
    2. Add marshmallows and pineapple + juice. Allow to cool.
    3. Add sugar to ground cranberries. Add diced apples. Mix with thickened Jello.
    4. Set in an 8x8x2 pan if possible so that 9 squares may be cut. Place in refrigerator until Jello has set then cut and serve.

    Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

    This is better than pumpkin pie! This was served with Thanksgiving 2011. Recipe from Paula Deen.
    (*These are the only pictures I had of them from my BlackBerry since I forgot to take them on my camera*)

    • 1 18 ¼-ounce package yellow cake mix
    • 1 egg
    • 1 stick butter, melted
    • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 15-oz can pumpkin pie filling
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
    • 1 stick butter, melted
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    1. Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13" baking pan. Set aside.
    1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat together.
    2. Next, add the powdered sugar and slowly add the melted butter; mix well. Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.
    Once cooled, place a dollop of whipped cream and a pecan half on top and serve!

    Green Bean Casserole

    Recipe from Williams-Sonoma
    • 1 ¼ lbs. green beans
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
    • 10 oz. button mushrooms, sliced (I used 6oz.)
    • 3 large shallots, plus 3 Tbs. minced
    • 1/3 cup plus 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup half-and-half
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • 1 tsp. soy sauce
    • Canola oil for deep-frying
    1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
    2. Lightly butter a deep 2 ½-quart baking dish. Trim the green beans and halve crosswise. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes.
    3. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
    4. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they give off their juices and are browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the 3 Tbs. minced shallots and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
    5. Sprinkle with the 3 Tbs. flour and stir well. Slowly stir in the half-and-half, stock and soy sauce and then bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. (I had to add a more flour since I used less mushrooms.)
    6. Stir in the green beans, season with salt and pepper and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. (The casserole can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated.)
    7. Bake until the liquid is bubbling, about 20 minutes (30 minutes if it has been refrigerated).
    **While the casserole is baking, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place near the stove. Cut the remaining 3 shallots crosswise into slices 1/8 inch thick and separate into rings. Place the remaining 1/3 cup flour in a small bowl. Toss the shallot rings in the flour to coat evenly, shaking off the excess. In batches to avoid crowding, add the shallots to the hot oil and deep-fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.

    Remove the casserole from the oven, scatter the fried shallots on top and serve. Serves 6 to 8. Enjoy!

    November 7, 2011

    Winter Squash Soup

    Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon EVOO
    • 2 yellow onions, chopped
    • 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
    • 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks [Whole Foods sells it pre-cut!]
    • 2 Granny smith apples, chopped [I left the skin on]
    • 3 cups Chicken Stock
    • 3 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 cup half-and-half
    • Grated Gruyère, for serving (optional)

    1. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy - bottomed stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent.
    2. Add the pumpkin puree, butternut squash, chicken stock, and S&P. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
    3. Once the butternut squash and apples are tender, remove pot from the heat and process the mixture with an immersion blender. Once soup is at desired creaminess, add the half-and-half, and slowly return to heat. If the soup needs more flavor, add another teaspoon of salt.

    4. Serve hot with grated Gruyère, if desired.
    **This was a SOUPer easy and filling meal. Depending on what you consider a bowl of soup, this will serve 4-6. Enjoy :)

    October 26, 2011

    Crème Brûlée

    Yield: 8 servings

    • 4 cups chilled heavy cream
    • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
    • 12 large egg yolks
    • 8-12 tsp. Turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
    1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F.
    2. Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from  vanilla bean into pan, submerge pod in cream and bring mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse flavors.
    3. Place Silpat mat, or kitchen towel, in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange eight 4-5 ounce ramekins on towel (to prevent them from sliding). Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.
    4. After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups of cream to cool down mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk about 1 cup mixture into yolks, until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1 cup cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into 2-quart measuring cup or pitcher; discard solids from strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them (a little more than halfway).
    5. Carefully place baking dish on oven rack. For this next step, leave one ramekin out to pour boiling water, then add the ramekin. Pour boiling water (a tea kettle works great!) into dish until water reaches 2/3 height of ramekins, taking care not to splash water into ramekins. Bake until centers are just barely set and no longer sloshy (about 30-35 minutes or 25-30 for shallow fluted dishes). Check 5 minutes before recommended time.
    6. Transfer ramekins to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours (*overnight is best!)
    7. Uncover ramekins and if condensation has collected, gently use paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 tsp. Turbinado sugar (1½ tsp. for shallow dishes); tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar. Let cool slightly and serve.
    *For a deeper ramekin, allow 10 minutes longer to cook.

    Enjoy :)

    Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child)

    This stew is best made one to two days in advance, allowing the flavors to develop. You can also freeze it up to three months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator and simmer very slow for 10-15 minutes on the stove. Recipe from Sur la Table cooking class, adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.

    Yield: 6 servings
    • 1 Tbsp. Canola or Vegetable oil, plus more as needed
    • 6 oz. Bacon, sliced into lardons (¼-inch by 1-inch pieces)
    • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 Carrot, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
    • 1 Onion, vertically sliced into 1/8-inch slices
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
    • 2 Tbsp. All-Purpose flour
    • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine (Chianti, Merlot)
    • 2-3 cups beef stock
    • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
    • 3 sprigs fresh Thyme
    • 1 dried Bay Leaf
    • 18-24 pearl onions
    • 2 Tbsp. butter
    • 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
    • 1 pound fresh button mushrooms, stems trimmed, quartered
    • 1/3 cup Sherry Vinegar
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
    1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
    2. Heat a 10-inch heavy oven-proof casserole on medium heat and add oil. Sauté bacon pieces until lightly browned (about 2-3 minutes). Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a metal rack placed over a baking sheet; when cool, place in a medium bowl. Leave oil and bacon fat in casserole.
    3. Dry beef cubes thoroughly (IMPORTANT!!) with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat casserole over medium-high heat until fat is almost smoking and carefully sear beef (3-5 minutes), a few pieces at a time, until browned on all sides. Add browned beef to bowl with bacon. (*If you need more fat, add Canola oil-- NOT EVOO.)
    4. Heat casserole over medium heat. If casserole is too dry, add another 1-2 tablespoons oil and brown the carrot and onion.
    5. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole with the cooked vegetables; season lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over the meat mixture and toss lightly to coat. Stir in wine and add enough stock to barely cover the meat. Add tomato paste, garlic, thyme springs, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the casserole and place in preheated oven for 2½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
    6. While the beef is cooking, blanch the pearl onions rapidly in boiling, salted water until tender (about 4-5 minutes). Drain and let cool, then trim ends and peel. Set aside.
    7. In a large roasting pan, place butter and oil. Add onions and mushrooms and stir to combine. Drizzle with sherry vinegar and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place roasting pan in oven with casserole and roast, stirring occasionally, until onions and mushrooms turn golden brown and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 20-25 minutes). Remove roasting pan from oven and place onions and mushrooms in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    8. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef, vegetables and bacon to it. Discard the thyme springs and bay leaf. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
    9. Pour sauce into a fat skimmer and pour off skimmed sauce into a small saucepan over medium heat, leaving the fat behind. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, skimming any remaining fat off the surface with a small ladle. Continue cooking the sauce as needed to coat the back of a spoon. Taste carefully and season sauce with salt and pepper; pour the sauce over the beef, vegetables and bacon.
    10. To serve, cover the casserole and simmer 2-3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce. Serve in individual shallow bowls garnished with shopped parsley.


    French Onion Soup

    Recipe from Sur la Table cooking class (October 2011)
    Yield: 8 servings

    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 1 leek, thinly sliced (use only the white and light green part)
    • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (classically sliced in rings)
    • ¼ cup dry sherry (NOT sherry vinegar!)
    • 6 cups rich chicken or vegetable broth
    • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
    • 1 baguette, sliced into ½-inch slices
    • 4 ounces Petit Basque cheese, grated (sheep's milk. Can use Manchego)
    • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
    • Chopped Parsley, for garnish
    1. To make the soup, place a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter and the leeks, shallots and onions, stirring frequently for 15-20 minutes or until deep golden.
    2. Add the sherry and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the broth and garlic.
    3. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Taste and season with S&P.
    To serve, preheat broiler on high. Top 8 baguette slices with grated cheese. Fill 8 ovenproof soup bowls or ramekins with soup, leaving ½-inch space at the top of the bowl. Place filled soup bowls on a sheet tray. Top each soup bowl with a crouton and toast 6 inches from broiler, until cheese melts and turns brown in spots (about 3-4 minutes). Carefully remove tray from oven and serve immediately!