SPAGHETTI CARBONARA

Last weekend we went to dinner with my uncle at Olive Garden.  Usually I love Olive Garden, but this meal was not so.  My husband and I both ordered their Carbonara with chicken and shrimp.  It was the blandest, most flavorless pasta I had ever eaten.  It really left me craving an authentic style Italian Carbonara so I decided to make some here at home that was more similar to one of my favorite Italian restaurants from our old town. I added a bit of chopped chicken scallopini for some extra protein.

SPAGHETTI CARBONARA

1/2 pound spaghetti
4 large slices pancetta, diced small (quality bacon works also)
1 egg + 2 yolks
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  • In a large pot, add the salt to the water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
  • Reserve some cooking water and then drain it.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat.

  • Add bacon and sauté for around 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  • In a bowl, beat the egg and the yolks with pecorino cheese and a sprinkling of pepper.
  • Add the drained spaghetti to the skillet with the pancetta and toss for a minute or so over medium heat.
  • Transfer into the bowl with the eggs/pecorino mixture, stirring until the egg sauce thickens.
  • Add some cooking water if the sauce is too thick or more cheese if it’s too liquid.
  • Season with some fresh ground black pepper and a sprinkling of cheese.
  • Serve immediately in a warmed bowl.

Save

Save

HOT CHOCOLATE BARS

HOT CHOCOLATE BARS
3 envelopes of powdered hot chocolate
2 1/4 cups AP flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 LARGE eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

•    Preheat oven to 350°.
•    Grease 9 x 13 pan and set aside.
•    Combine flour, salt, baking powder and hot chocolate mixes, stirring until combined.
•    Beat butter and sugars mixing until each is combined.
•    Add flour mixture to butter mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.
•    Once well combined, add vanilla.
•    Stir in chocolate chips and marshmallows.
•    Pour into prepared pan.
•    Bake for about 35 minutes or until inserted toothpick returns clean.

NOTE: If you want to make these more like Rocky Road use the maximum marshmallows and add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Save

Save

ROASTED BANANA PUDDING

ROASTED BANANA PUDDING

5 ripe unpeeled medium bananas (about 2 pounds) + 1 fresh banana for garnish
2 cups half-n-half
2/3 cup sugar, divided 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) container COOL WHIP, thawed and divided (4 1/2 cups fresh whipped cream)
45-55 vanilla wafers, divided

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place 5 bananas on a jelly-roll pan covered with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove 2 bananas; cool completely.
  • Peel and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  • Bake the remaining 3 bananas for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Carefully peel and place the 3 bananas in a small bowl, and mash with a fork until smooth. *The original recipe calls for 3 sliced bananas and 2 mashed bananas. If you want more banana pieces in your pudding you may want to do this.
  • Combine half-n-half and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a SLOW simmer. DO NOT BOIL!
  • Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl; whisking well.
  • SLOWLY add hot half-n-half mixture to sugar mixture, whisking constantly. It’s very important that you mix these together very slowly and whisk constantly. If the hot mixture is added too quickly it can cook the eggs!
  • Return this combined mixture to pan.
  • Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  • Add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until butter melts.
  • Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl (or your kitchen sink filled with ice) for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  • Fold half of whipped topping into pudding.
  • Spread 1/2 of the custard evenly over the bottom of an 8x 8-inch baking dish. Top evenly with vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices.
  • Spoon remaining custard over banana slices.
  • Repeat procedure with vanilla wafers, banana slices.
  • Spread remaining half of whipped topping evenly over top.
  • Crush several wafers; sprinkle over top of whipped topping.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled.
  • Spoon into ramekins and top with crumbled vanilla wafers and fresh banana slices.

Save

Save

SHIRRED EGGS

SHIRRED EGGS
for 4 servings**

Jumbo eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup diced ham or crumbled bacon
2-3 green onions, minced
1 cup cheese, your choice
salt & pepper to taste
Frank’s Hot Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the bottom of each ramekin. Make sure you swirl it around the sides too.
  • Sprinkle your meat and onions into the ramekin.
  • Sprinkle with hot sauce.

  • Crack an egg into each ramekin.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until egg whites are just set.
  • Top with cheese.
  • Bake another 6-10 minutes or until eggs are set to desired doneness.
  • With a spoon gently remove egg from cup onto plate or toast if desired.

NOTE: At home I use large individual ramekins for multiple eggs in the same bowl for just the two of us, but when camping or having company I use a muffin tin to make them all at once.

Save

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY

I hope everyone had a wonderful week. Mine turned out quite busy in a weird, but also productive way. I can’t believe it’s October already, mainly because it’s so dang hot here still, but it also means Christmas is right around the corner and I’m not sure where we will be so it makes it seem sort of weird.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

YAY we’re finally down to the 80’s, high 80’s but at least NOT 90’s.  The evenings have been quite nice, here’s hoping they continue to get better and better!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Protein drink and coffee YAY only 8 days until my tests to determine surgery type and date.  I’ve been so miserable – unable to eat, sleep or completely function waiting for this.  It has been one REALLY long year getting to this point.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

We found on Thursday that we did not get through hurricane Harvey completely unscathed.  When we had the atrium professional painted by a contractor last year they sealed the upper windows (at the 20 foot level) first, or so we thought. I discovered that the exposed brick wall behind the bar area was discoloring from the water that had been dribbling through the defective caulking. As we began researching the issue deeper we ended up having to disassemble the cabinets in the bar area, resealing the windows (inside and out) with the proper type of caulk (what they used had shrunk horribly causing huge gaps – and you know water – it takes the path of least resistance) and repainted the wood and the bricks including those behind the cabinets.  Then redid the cabinets.  We thought about calling the contractor and making him do it, but so many people in the neighborhood have had bad experiences with him and we just decided to write it off to one more issue with the HOUSE FROM HELL

At least now we know it is done right this time. Hubby did the outside while I did the inside so they should seal well now. Because of tearing apart that area, I was able to get several more boxes packed and ready for the move.  I had to take down all the plants so decided to go ahead and transplant them into the pots I was going to use to give the plants to my neighbor when we do move and that made quite a mess, but it sure feels good to have it done.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… just a couple loads
  • LIVING AREAS… dusting and vacuuming
  • KITCHEN… mopping and bleaching sink
  • STUDIO… I did a DEEP clean  after reassembling the atrium.
  • YARD… some pruning and fertilizing
  • BLOG… some recipe updating from the blog compilations and planning for future posts.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

I’m currently reading Book #2, Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

YAY the new television season is finally here.  We have tried a few new shows and are going to give them a second chance to decide before we narrow our lists.  There were a couple shows that had characters depart and one in particular that we did not care for how they handled it so we may be dropping that show. Some of the old favorites are already in the DVR line-up:

  • BIG BANG THEORY and the new YOUNG SHELDON
  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA
  • CRIMINAL MINDS
  • MADAM SECRETARY, SCANDAL
  • DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • LAW & ORDER SVU
  • BLUE BLOODS
  • MACGYVER
  • HAWAII 5-0
  • Z NATION
  • THE GOOD PLACE

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

We were supposed to be away for a few days, but out poor old pup is having a rough time this week so we’ll be here instead and I’m hoping to get my canvas updated since there wasn’t anything already on the calendar to get done this week.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

BREAKFAST

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK and COFFEE

SHIRRED EGGS

WAFFLES & BACON

LUNCH

SALAMI & CHEESE WRAPS

GRILLED CHICKEN & TOMATOES

SOUP & SANDWICHES

MAC & CHEESE WITH HAM

SALAD & FRUIT

PASTRAMI SANDWICHES

OUT

DINNER

NOT YOUR MAMA’S MEATLOAF with MEXICORN CUPS

BACON BRUSSELS SPORUTS SOUP

PANZANELLA SALAD

KING TOT RANCH CASSEROLE

STIR FRIED CHICKEN with SNAP PEAS & BASIL

SHEPHERD PIE BITES

TACHOS

DESSERT

PB & BANANA CHOCOLATES

SNICKER DOODLES

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

Waking up to such horrific news in Las Vegas has me a bit unsettled. I just can’t understand so many things and people in our world these days. Senseless tragedies leave me feeling very agitated about so many things. Praying for peace for the families and friends off the Las Vegas shooting as they begin to deal with so much trauma.

About a year ago I purchased a cordless vacuum and was EXTREMELY happy with it for the first 9 months.  Then it began to not always turn on and then when it would turn on I couldn’t get it to turn off without removing the battery. I set it aside to call customer service, but put it off because I haven’t had the best luck talking to helpful people at ANY customer service recently. Well, I was nearing the end of my warranty period and growing tired of using corded vacuum after using my lightweight vacuum and loving it so much so I bit the bullet and called.

The call was NOT going well as the guy I was speaking with kept insisting that I was giving him a non-existent serial number despite the fact I was reading it directly off the machine itself.  Long story short he was made aware (I assume by someone monitoring the call) that I was indeed giving him a correct number and then after a brief time on hold he returned to the line with a much improved attitude informing me he would be sending me a fedex label via email and after they received my machine back would be sending me a new one.

I printed out the label on Wednesday morning, dropped the vacuum off at Fedex just before lunch.  I figured I would have the new vacuum sometime in the next couple weeks.  So, imagine my surprise when the doorbell rang on Thursday afternoon and my new vacuum was there!!  Moral of the story, BISSELL stands behind their products and does right by their customers.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

Ever since hurricane Harvey, the clouds have been more amazing – at least it seems that way to me. I THINK I’VE BECOME SLIGHTLY OBSESSED WITH CLOUDS.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

SAUERBRATEN (GERMAN POT ROAST) & POTATO PANCAKES with HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE

Years and years ago when people still went to brick and mortar book stores, I found this great old cookbook that had many great German recipes. All these years later I have donated the cookbook, but still have the recipes I fell in love with, Sauerbraten and Potato pancakes with homemade applesauce and sour cream. As time went on I made a few changes to enhance the recipes to our tastes, but all in all they are the same tried and true recipes.  THIS IS A RECIPE THAT TAKES 5 DAYS TO MAKE so plan ahead.

SAUERBRATEN
1 3-5 pound chuck roast
2 cups red wine (optional can be replaced by beef broth)
1 1⁄2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 LARGE shallot, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery (leaves included), thinly sliced*
1 bouquet garni (1 tbsp. pickling spices, 14 whole cloves, 8 whole black peppercorns, 3 bay leaves, 3 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs parsley, wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine)
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Wonder flour
1/4 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup golden raisins
6-10 gingersnaps, crumbled
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Kosher salt, to taste

  • Season beef liberally with salt.
  • Bring wine, vinegar, shallots, onions, celery, carrots, bouquet garni, beef broth and water to a boil in a large saucepan.
  • Cool slightly and pour over beef. Cover and refrigerate, turning** once or twice a day, for 5 days.
  • NOTE: **A large tupperware marinader is a god send for this. You never have to touch the meat or make a mess turning it. SERIOUS NOTE:** After pouring the brine over the meat, allow it to cool for 30 minutes!  ESPECIALLY if using Tupperware products.  If you don’t the seal will more than likely leak and you might make a mess the first time you flip it (like I did the first time I made this).

  • Remove beef from marinade; pour marinade through a fine strainer into a bowl, and dry beef thoroughly. (Reserve 5 cups of the marinade and the bouquet garni.) You can also at this time based on your tastes replace a portion of the marinade with beef broth.  If I have used a BOLD red wine, I will often do this to soften the flavor and enhance the sourness of the vinegar.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons butter  in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add bacon and cook until bacon renders its fat, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate; set aside.

  • Add beef; cook, turning, until browned all over, about 25 minutes.***  Transfer to a plate; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Add remaining onions to pot; cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 18 minutes.
  • Return beef to pot with reserved marinade and sachet; boil.
  • Cover; bake until beef is very tender, about 2 1⁄2 hours.
  • Transfer beef to a saran wrap lined cutting board.****
  • Wrap and roll beef in saran to a uniform size. Set aside.****
  • Pour sauce through a fine strainer into a bowl.
  • Return pot to medium-high heat; add remaining butter.
  • Add flour and sugar, whisking constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add sauce, raisins, gingersnaps and lemon juice, bringing to a simmer, cover pot, and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. (***If you refrigerated your meat for slicing later in the earlier step, you can add the slices in at this point for reheating).
  • Slice beef; arrange on a platter. Spoon sauce over top; sprinkle with bacon and parsley.

NOTE:*  I like to use the hearts.

FYI NOTE***: Browning will take longer because of the vinegar in the marinade. Also if you used the full amount of wine, your meat will appear quite dark.

NOTE****: This step gives you uniform size pieces.  You can also refrigerate the meat at this step and prepare gravy later.

POTATO PANCAKES
3+ cups peeled, grated and squeezed* potatoes
1 large bunch green onions, minced or 1 small Vidalia onion, minced
1/2 cup self rising flour
1 teaspoon fresh ground salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 LARGE egg, beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Sift together the flour, salt and pepper.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, egg and butter until smooth.
  • Whisk in the flour mixture until well blended.
  • Fold in the potatoes and onions.
  • Drop onto hot griddle and make your pancakes.
  • Serve with applesauce and sour cream or with the Sauerbraten gravy.

NOTE:*  I use a flour cloth towel as my base. I grate the potatoes on top of it and then bring all the corners together like a knapsack wrapping the potatoes inside. I continue to tighten the turns until I squeezed all the moisture from the potatoes.

HOMEMADE APPLE SAUCE
5 large Apples (I like Pink Lady, Honey Crisp or Braeburns)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 can peach nectar (Papaya or pineapple are good too)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

  • In a large sauce pan pour nectar over raisins and let sit while you prepare apples.
  • Wash, core, peel and chop apples.
  • Add water to sauce pan and stir in sugar until dissolved.
  • Add cinnamon and mix well.
  • Add apples and cook over medium heat until until apples are tender and mush easily.
  • Mush to desired consistency.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Cool and chill.
  • Can be kept in refrigerator for a week though it never lasts that long around here. When my apples are at the height of the season and falling off the tree I make this in huge batches and put it up in canning jars for the following year.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with RUSTIC TOMATO SAUCE & GARLIC GREEN BEANS

This was originally a Blue Apron recipe that hubby and I also dissected and rebuilt to out liking.  I should have taken a picture of my plate with the sauce over the chicken and polenta, it looked so pretty.  Hubby likes his sauce on the side.

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with RUSTIC TOMATO SAUCE & GARLIC GREEN BEANS
Start the sauce first. While it’s cooking start the green beans. Then start the chicken.

SAUCE
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 garlic glove, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tomatillo, diced
2 tablespoons golden vinegar
Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

  • Several hours before dinner toss the tomatoes, tomatillo and lime juice together. Let sit at room temperature.

 

  • Bring skillet to a medium high heat.
  • Add butter to melt.
  • When sizzling, add garlic and tomatoes simmering until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Gently smash tomatoes.
  • Add vinegar, stirring to blend.
  • Season to taste.
  • Turn to low and cover.

VEGGIES
1/2 pound fresh green beans
1 small garlic, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons golden vinegar

  • Bring skillet to a medium high heat.
  • Add butter to melt.
  • When sizzling add onions and green beans simmering until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add garlic and red pepper flakes
  • Add vinegar, stirring to blend.
  • Season to taste.
  • Turn to low and cover.

CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or GHEE
Wondra
Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

  • Bring skillet to a medium high heat.
  • Add butter to melt.
  • When sizzling add chicken and sear 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through and golden.

Save

CARAMEL CHEESE APPLE BREAD

CARAMEL CHEESE APPLE BREAD adapted from The Cookie Rookie

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes

CAKE
2 large baking apples, peeled & diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup Malibu rum
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons QUALITY ground cinnamon
½ cup butter, softened + 2 tablespoons (divided)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 LARGE eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
¼ cup whole milk
8 caramels, each cut into 8 equal pieces
1-2 tablespoon Turbinado sugar (raw, coarse sugar), optional

PREPARING APPLES

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and flour a 10” x 5½” loaf pan.
  • Pour rum over raisins and let soak 10 minutes.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the two tablespoons butter, diced apples, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook 4-5 minutes or until apples have softened.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Drain raisins well and fold into apple mixture and set aside.

PREPARING BATTER**

  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate large bowl, cream together ½ cup butter and 1-cup sugar.
  • Add eggs, one-at-a-time, beating just until egg yolk is no longer visible.
  • Mix in vanilla and milk.
  • Add dry ingredients in one cup increments, mixing just until flour is longer visible.

CREAM CHEESE FILLING**
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon

PREPARING CREAM CHEESE FILLING

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, egg, sugar and the lemon zest, mixing until smooth.
  • Spread 1 cup cake batter in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Fold in the apple mixture and chopped caramels to the remaining batter.
  • Pour half of the remaining batter into the pan.
  • Spoon and spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the batter, and cover with the remaining cake batter.
  • Sprinkle the top of the bread with Turbinado sugar.
  • Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes. The bread is done when it no longer wiggles and springs back when gently pressed in the thickest part.
  • Transfer bread to a cooling rack and cool 15 minutes.
  • Remove bread from pan and allow to completely cool.

CARAMEL GLAZE
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts, optional

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Stir in brown sugar and cook until brown sugar melts.
  • Add salt and heavy cream. Cook (and stir) another 2 minutes.
  • Allow glaze to cool 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle glaze over cooled bread and sprinkle with honey roasted peanuts.

**NOTE: If you are in a hurry and want to make less of a mess you can combine the cake portion and cream cheese filling portion into the same batter as you are preparing them.  The results are just as delicious and less work.

PAN SEARED BARRAMUNDI (AUSTRALIAN SEA BASS), GARLIC MASHED POTATOES & PAN ROASTED CORN

This was originally a Blue Apron Recipe and their version was pretty good, but hubby and I dissected it and made it even better! Hubby absolutely hated their tartar sauce, but that was a pretty easy fix.  Barramundi or Sea Bass itself has an almost sweet buttery flavor and a delicate flakiness that can be seriously enhanced with the right seasoning.

PAN SEARED BARRAMUNDI SEA BASS, GARLIC MASHED POTATOES & PAN ROASTED CORN FOR TWO

TARTAR SAUCE
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Dill relish or hot dog relish
1 tablespoon capers, slightly smashed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Pepper, season to taste

  • Mix all 6 ingredients together until well blended.
  • Chill several hours before serving.

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into a large dice
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the potatoes and garlic.
  • Cook about 15 minutes until fork tender.
  • Drain in a colander.
  • Place butter in bottom of still warm pan.
  • Rice potatoes over the butter.
  • Add heavy cream and stir together until smooth.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

PAN ROASTED CORN
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon GHEE*
1 small red onion, sliced into rings
2 ears of fresh Corn on the Cob
2 sprigs dill, minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Cut the corn off the cobs.
  • Over medium high heat melt butter and GHEE.
  • Add onions, cooking a couple minutes until beginning to soften.
  • Add corn to pan and cook 4-5 minutes until sizzling and starting to brown.
  • Add apple cider vinegar and dill, stirring to mix.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

BARRAMUNDI
2 skin on Barramundi fillets of similar size
2 sprigs Dill, minced
1 tablespoon GHEE*
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
4 sprigs fresh Dill, minced
Lemon slices

  • Over medium high heat melt butter and GHEE.
  • Score the skin side of the fillets.
  • Pat dry and generously season both sides with salt, pepper and paprika.
  • Add fillets to sizzling butter skin side down.
  • Cook 4-5 minutes until skin begins to brown and crisp.
  • Flip fillets and cook another 3-4 minutes or until beginning to crisp and are cooked through.
  • Plate and sprinkle dill over fish fillets.
  • Serve with tartar sauce.

NOTE*: I like the extra flavor from a well made GHEE, but butter or olive oil could easily be substituted.

Save

MARRY ME CHICKEN with KAHLUA CANDIED MUSHROOMS

Here is a tasty reduced version of the original Marry Me Chicken. The salt, pepper, brown sugar and Kahlua flavors meld together to form a sweet nutty taste on the mushrooms that melts in your mouth.

MARRY ME CHAMPAGNE CHICKEN (reduced)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Pink Moscato champagne
  • Generously salt and pepper each breast.
  • Lightly dredge chicken breasts with flour.
  • In a large skillet, lightly brown chicken breasts to a nice golden brown in oil.
  • Once browned on both sides, add onions and champagne.
  • Cook over medium heat, champagne should boil a little, for approximately 1/2 hour. When chicken is tender, transfer chicken to a platter.
  • Pour cream into skillet. Simmer about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Pour sauce over chicken breasts. Serve.

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Mocha Kahlua

  • Melt butter over medium high heat.
  • Add mushroom slices and saute’ until mushrooms are softened and starting to brown well.
  • Add salt, pepper, brown sugar and Kahlua, sauteing until well coated.

Save

JUCY LUCY BURGERS

I LOVE Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and watch often for inspiration in my cooking.  Only better is Guy’s Grocery Games (fondly called TRIPLE G) which is where I first heard of the JUCY LUCY BURGER. The Jucy Lucy burger was invented in a south Minneapolis bar sometime in the 1950s, and depending on who you talk to, that was either the 5-8 Club, who serve the Juicy Lucy, or Matt’s Bar, who make the Jucy Lucy. Matt’s Bar lets customers know that “if it’s spelled correctly, you’re at the wrong place”.  The origins of the Juicy Lucy is still a hotly debated argument.  But, what is NOT up for debate is that it is absolutely, cheese dripping fantabulous.

The basic Juicy Lucy is cheese stuffed in a raw burger patty and then cooked.  That is truly a wonderful thing.  But, you shouldn’t stop there.  They are most fun if you customize the “stuffings” with cheese and other things you like.  Make it your own by adding sauces, minced mushrooms, avocado, aromatics, carmelized onions, peanut butter… I usually make extra “stuffing” when serving them bunless and serve the remainder over top of the cooked burger.

Here’s my version.

JUICY LUCY BURGERS – SERVES 4

BASIC BURGER
1.5 pounds ground chuck
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 hamburger buns (optional)


STUFFING
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup torn Havarti pieces
4 teaspoons Kings Hawaiian original BBQ sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake

  • Mix together the meat, egg, salt, garlic, and pepper.
  • Divide the mixture into eight even burger patties
  • Mix the cheeses, BBQ sauce and chili powder together.
  • Take 4 of the patties and place a fourth of the cheese mixture in the center of each patty.
  • Carefully place the remaining 4 patties on top of these.
  • Pinch the seams together around all edges of the burger.
  • Preheat a charcoal grill to 400f.
  • Grill the burgers for 4 minutes.
  • Flip the burgers and cook another 4 minutes or until the internal temp of the burgers is 165f.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes (to let the cheesy center to cool off) and serve on buns.

NOTE: You won’t need a lot of condiments…you already put them inside!

Save

Save

MINI CHEESE PUFFS with HOMEMADE Bleu Cheese

You will never go wrong serving these at a tailgate party. Especially ,if you put them next to the cold beers!

MINI CHEESE PUFFS with HOMEMADE Bleu Cheese    11-11-2014   adapted from ROXY
Yields: 50 1/2 inch cheese balls

2 ½ cups finely shredded cheddar cheese blend of your choice**
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Large eggs
4 tablespoons Wondra
1 teaspoon baking powder
Avocado oil for frying

**I use a combination of Sharp Cheddar & Monterey Jack

  • In a bowl combine all the ingredients.
  • Mix well until mixture holds together and shape into small balls.
  • Make sure your cheese balls are not too big since they will almost double in size when you fry them.
  • Fry cheese balls in hot oil until golden brown.
  • You should have enough oil so your balls are almost completely covered.
  • Drain on paper towels.