Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Zuppa Toscana Soup

I love Soup...it's a new tradition in my family that either the day before thanksgiving or Black Friday, we have an Ugly Christmas Sweater party. We eat and play games all evening. This year I made this Delicious Zuppa Toscana Soup that I found here. I followed the recipe as it was except I used a Hot Italian Sausage and left out the Crushed red pepper, and instead of just spinach I did a mix of kale and baby spinach..... So good. Enjoy!


Best Ever Zuppa Toscana Soup

Ingredients 1 pound bulk Hot Italian sausage 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1 large onion, diced 1 tablespoon minced garlic 5 (13.75 ounce) cans chicken broth 6 potatoes, thinly sliced 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 bunch fresh baby spinach and kale mix (I used a couple of handfuls)Directions Cook the Italian sausage in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cook the bacon in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. drain and set aside. Leaving a few tablespoons of drippings in the bottom of the Dutch oven, stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked sausage and bacon; heat through. Mix the spinach into the soup just before serving.


Savory Herb Turkey Gravy

No Thanksgiving is complete without a delicious Savory Herb Gravy I found this recipe on pinterest and it's simple to make from turkey giblet stock that you make while the turkey is roasting. YUM!

Savory Herb Turkey Gravy
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
Reserved turkey neck and giblets
1 yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups water
6 black peppercorns
1 large handful fresh herb sprigs (parsley, rosemary, thyme marjoram)
1 bay leaf
Reserved turkey drippings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Heat oil in large stockpot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add turkey neck and giblets. Allow to cook a few minutes undisturbed to get nice and brown. Use tongs to flip and brown other side.
Add onion quarters, carrot, celery, and garlic. Allow to brown, stirring only occasionally, to brown all sides evenly.
Instructions:Add wine to pot and scrape bottom of pan to deglaze. Allow wine to boil and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add water, peppercorns, herbs, and bay leaf to pot. Do not cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for at least one hour.
Strain liquid into a container. Discard all solids except any meat from the neck you'd like to pick off. You can chop up the other giblets real small if you like that stuff too (I'm not quite at that point in my life yet). Refrigerate liquid so that the fat congeals on top (there wasn't any congealed fat when I did it). Once cold, remove solid fat from liquid.
Combine remaining drippings from the turkey with the broth you cooked earlier.
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir. Cook until mixture is golden brown and smells wonderful. Add a ladle of your broth mixture and whisk until you have a thick paste and there are no lumps. Add another ladle and whisk again until smooth. Continue adding liquid and whisking until everything is combined and smooth.
Reduce heat to low and continue to cook if gravy needs thickening. Add salt and pepper, as desired. Amount of salt depends on how much of the turkey drippings you use, so be sure to taste. Transfer to gravy boat and serve hot.

Loaded Mashed Potato Bites

I made these for an appetizer for our Ugly Christmas Sweater party. They were delicious!! A fun little bite or two while waiting for the party to start.
I used Bob Evans Sour cream potatoes but you can use left over mashed potatoes if you have them.
Enjoy!

Loaded Mashed Potato Bites
2 packages Bob Evans Sour cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes, (or 2 cups leftover mashed Potatoes)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (make it a heaping cup)
1 large egg
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon bits

for the dip:
1/2 cup Sour cream
2 Tablespoons milk
1 rounded Tablespoon dried ranch seasoning mix

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a non-stick mini muffin tin with non stick cooking spray.
Remove the mashed potatoes from the package (microwave first for a minute) Add to a large bowl.
No need to microwave leftover mashed potatoes unless you need to so they mix better.
Add flour, egg, cheddar cheese and bacon to the bowl with the potatoes. Stir to combine.
Scoop about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the potato mixture into each muffin tin.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

While the potato bites cook, make the dip by whisking together the sour cream, milk, and ranch seasoning in a small bowl. Set aside for serving.
Let the bites cool for 15 minutes before running a small knife around the edges  of the muffin tin to loosen. Remove the puffs from the tin.
Place on serving platter along side the dip.
Enjoy.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sticky Carmel Spice Cake

I love Autumn time... and the treats you can make. Anything with spices and caramel is perfect especially with vanilla ice cream. I saw this recipe on the Pioneer woman (see recipe here ) and had to try it out. She put hers in individual cast iron skillets but I don't have those but I had individual ramekins. Worked great. Also she just poured her caramel sauce over the top of her cakes but mine came pretty much to the top of my ramekin so I poked my cakes with a tooth pick all over before pouring on the sauce. That way the caramel can soak down into the cake. I also would move the sides of my cake away from the ramekin with a wooden spoon while I poured so the sauce could leak down the edges. This is soooo good! Enjoy!

Sticky Caramel Spice Cake
Cake:
Butter, for greasing the pots
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1 cup vegetable oil or grapeseed oil 
1 cup sugar 
3 large eggs 
1 cup buttermilk 

Icing:
1 cup sugar1/2 cup buttermilk 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter 1 tablespoon light corn syrup 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 


Ice cream, for serving, optional (is ice cream ever optional with cake:)



Special equipment: four 15-ounce cast-iron melting pots, or 4 individual ramekins optional (you can also make 1 large cake in a 9-by-13-inch pan)
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and butter four 15-ounce cast-iron melting pots (or 4 ramekins or a 9-by-13-inch pan if using instead).
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and eggs. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in one bowl and splash in the buttermilk. Stir until just combined. The mixture will be slightly lumpy.
Pour into the prepared pots (or 9-by-13-inch pan if using) and put them on a baking sheet. Bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes; do not over bake. (If using a 9-by-13-inch pan, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.)
For the icing: While the cake is baking, make the icing. Combine the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, baking soda, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat without stirring. Continue boiling until the icing turns a light caramel color, 5 to 7 minutes.(mine took 2 more minutes to be a good Caramel color) Important: The icing should be the color of caramel, but not yet firm and sticky. It needs to be pourable.
Remove the cakes from the oven. While they are very warm, poke all over the cakes with a toothpick and pour the icing evenly over the tops. Work fast, as it will quickly start to soak into the cakes. Serve with ice cream if desired.

Best Ever Roasted Chicken

  • I love roasted chicken... good right after you cook it or to save later for other recipes like soup, enchiladas, tacos... you name it. I did this in a preheated cast iron skillet, I did one whole, and then I butterflied one by taking the back bone out. Didn't save a picture of that one. But both turned out great. Just be warned that the spattering fat from the skin does create a lot of smoke while cooking.... so open a window when you open the oven door and stand back. Enjoy!
  • Best Ever Roasted Chicken
1 4-lb. roasting chicken, giblets removed
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ground poultry seasoning
garlic powder and onion powder can also be sprinkled over the chicken

Preparation
Position a rack in the center of the oven: place a large cast iron skillet on the rack and heat the oven to 450°F.
While the oven and skillet heat, prep the chicken. Pat dry with paper towels then rub with the olive oil all over. Tuck the wing tips behind the neck and loosely tie the legs together with a piece of kitchen twine. Season the chicken all over with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper and a light sprinkle of Poultry seasoning.  Turn the chicken over. Season the back all over with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and poultry seasoning. 
Once the skillet is hot carefully remove from the oven, and drizzle a little olive oil in the pan.
Place the chicken breast side down in the skillet then return the skillet to the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over by inserting sturdy tongs into the cavity and flipping it. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165° to 170°F, an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, loosely tent it with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve.. or let cool and store in the refrigerator for another meal. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Apple Pandowdy

 Say good bye to pie and howdy to Apple Pandowdy! this is so yummy and just what I was craving since the air started to turn chilly! I love this more than apple crisp too! It's not too sweet and the apples get a buttery taste that is divine. I have made this twice since I saw it on America's test kitchen. The second time I used 1 large apple a 2 large pears... yummy! I had it for breakfast today, it has fruit in it right?

Apple Pandowdy
for the Pie Dough:
3 Tablespoons Ice Water
1 Tablespoon Sour cream
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, chilled

Filling:
2 to 3 large Golden delicious Apples or Ambrosia Apples (2 1/2 pounds) Peeled, cored halved and cut into 1/2 thick slices
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup apple cider
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Topping:
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Vanilla Ice cream for serving

FOR THE PIE DOUGH: Combine ice water and sour cream in bowl, set aside.  Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until size of large peas, 6 to 8 pulses. Add sour cream mixture and pulse until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, 3 to 6 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Let chilled dough sit on counter to soften slightly, about 5 minutes, before rolling. Roll dough into 10-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Using pizza cutter, cut dough into four 2½-inch-wide strips, then make four 2½-inch-wide perpendicular cuts to form squares. (Pieces around edges of dough will be smaller and I wasn't too picky about getting them all even) Transfer dough pieces to parchment paper–lined baking sheet, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
FOR THE FILLING: Toss apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in large bowl. Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add apple mixture, cover, and cook until apples become slightly pliable and release their juice, about 10 minutes, (if using pears too I started my apples cooking for about 5 minutes then added my pears and cooked another 5 minutes) stirring occasionally.
Whisk cider, cornstarch, and lemon juice in bowl until no lumps remain; add to skillet. Bring to simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Off heat, press lightly on apples to form even layer.
FOR THE TOPPING: Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Working quickly, shingle dough pieces over filling until mostly covered, overlapping as needed. Brush dough pieces with egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake until crust is slightly puffed and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove skillet from oven. Using back of large spoon, press down in center of crust until juices come up over top of crust. Repeat four more times around skillet. (this is called dowdying) Make sure all apples are submerged and return skillet to oven. Continue to bake until crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.
Transfer skillet to wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes (or you might burn your mouth). Serve with ice cream, and enjoy

Best Spaghetti Carbonara Ever!


I love a good spaghetti Carbonara.... anything with bacon in it is amazing if you ask me. This recipe was shown on America's Test kitchen and of coarse I had to try it out. It's important to prep everything before you start cooking so you can work fast when making the sauce... the hot water from the pasta helps cook the eggs. I added some thinly sliced grilled chicken to this to make it heartier but it isn't necessary. I also added some cherry tomatoes that I had sliced in half at the end. My garden was exploding with them. Nice addition if you have them. Enjoy!

Best Spaghetti Carbonara ever!

6 to 8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound Spaghetti
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 or 2 Tablespoons cream (optional)
Cherry tomatoes, sliced (if desired)

Bring bacon and water to simmer in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook until water evaporates and bacon begins to sizzle, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until fat renders and bacon browns, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Strain bacon mixture onto a paper towel lined plate or bowl and set aside. Measure out 1 tablespoon fat and place in medium bowl. Whisk Parmesan, eggs, and pepper into fat until combined. 
Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to boil in large pot. Set colander in large bowl. Add spaghetti and salt to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain spaghetti in colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water. Pour 1 cup cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder. Return spaghetti to now-empty bowl.
Drain the rest of the fat from your skillet. Add cherry tomatoes if using them. Cook for a minute. then add your spaghetti to the skillet and toss. Turn heat off.
Slowly whisk ½ cup reserved cooking water into Parmesan mixture. Gradually pour Parmesan mixture over spaghetti, tossing to coat. Add bacon mixture and toss to combine. Let spaghetti rest, tossing frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly and coats spaghetti, 2 to 4 minutes, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water if needed.  Garnish with more Parmesan Cheese if desired. Serve immediately.