CONEY ISLAND TATERS

I’ve been making a recipe similar to this for years, but recently found a name for them on a package of ground beef from my grocer. It’s a cute name and really fits the recipe – it’s so country fair or carnival like! If you have left over Sloppy Joes they substitute well for the ground meat mixture also to make a quick weeknight meal.

CONEY ISLAND TATERS
1 pound ground beef (I use ground chuck)
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped small
1 cup favorite BBQ sauce
2 large Russet potatoes (BAKED)
FRESH ground salt and pepper
1/2-3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (to taste)
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup bacon pieces
1/2 cup sour cream

  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Use non-stick if you have it, but if using cast iron oil it slightly before adding ground meat.
  • When pan is hot add ground beef and onion, sauteing 8-10 minutes all the while breaking meat into small crumble sized pieces.
  • Pour off excess grease. I actually pour it into a stainless steel colander over a paper towel lined paper plate so it can drain REALLY well. I can also use the spatula to break the meat apart even more into that small crumble.
  • Add BBQ sauce, mix well, cover and simmer on ow 10 minutes.
  • Starting lengthwise slice potatoes into quarters and theft each quarter ion half.
  • Arrange 4 pieces of potato on each plate.
  • Generously salt and pepper potatoes.
  • Top with a spoonful of beef mixture.
  • Top beef with shredded cheese, bacon pieces, green onions and sour cream to taste.

Linking to FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.

MAGIC COOKIE BUTTER BARS

MAGIC COOKIE BUTTER BARS
Years ago one of my VERY favorite treats were Eagle Brand 7 Layer bars A.K.A. as Magic Cookie Bars with sweetened condensed milk, BUT, they were so heavy and calorie packed. This recipe is a WONDERFUL substitute for that recipe and the bars are still moist and tender AND they taste amazingly similar – kind of like a loaded Blondie that strives to be overindulgent! This recipe also makes smaller portion which is great for just 2 people

BARS
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
2 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon (I use Red Ape)
Heaping 1/3 cup smooth Cookie Butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup roasted coconut pieces

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Melt 1/2 cup butter and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, whisking until smooth.
  • Add the heaping Cookie Butter, and stir to blend.
  • Add the flour and salt, stirring until just combined DO NOT OVER MIX!!!! – these are like brownies and overtaxing will make them tough.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips, raisins and coconut.
  • Set pan aside while you prepare the streusel.

STREUSEL
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup whole rolled old-fashioned oats DO NOT USE quick or instant oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-2 teaspoonS cinnamon, to taste
2 tablespoons Cookie Butter, melted for final drizzle after baking
2 tablespoons milk chocolate chips

  • Using the same bowl you made the batter in add all the streusel ingredients except the 2 tablespoons cookie butter and work the mixture with a spoon, a pastry cutter, or your hands until small pebbles form.
  • Sprinkle streusel evenly over top.
  • Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until center is set and not jiggly; and the edges are set and have pulled away slightly from sides of pan. Test with a toothpick. If it comes out mostly clean, you’re good to go. EVERY oven is different so start checking these at the 30 minute mark.
  • After pulling pan from the oven, heat 2 tablespoons of Cookie Butter and 2 tablespoons milk chocolate chips in the microwave to melt, about 15 seconds.
  • Immediately and evenly drizzle Chocolate Cookie Butter over the top of bars.
  • Allow pan to cool for at least 30 minutes cutting.
  • Lift out foil and place on cutting board.
  • Slice and serve.
  • Store bars in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Linking to FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.

SPLIT PEA SOUP

When I went to bed last night it was a balmy 73 degrees.  As I lay there watching the news I was astounded that the weatherman said today’s high would be 46 with wind and rain.  Actually I didn’t believe him, but lo and behold I woke to thunder, rain, wind and 46 degrees.
That’s when I decided it was time to pull the Honey Baked Ham bone out of the freezer and make some split pea soup for dinner.  We’ll probably split a grilled cheese sandwich to go with it.
I’ve been making this recipe exactly the same way for over 20 years.  It’s that good – needs no updating. It’s smooth, creamy, chunky, slightly sweet and savory too! The beer gives it a pungent punch too.
I wrote and prepped this recipe and then forgot to post it so last night refers to last Sunday LOL 🙂

SPLIT PEA SOUP
1 Honey Baked Ham Bone
2 cups ham pieces
3 quarts water
1 small bag baby carrots, chopped
5 large stalk celery, leaves included, chopped
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups split green peas
2 cups split yellow peas
1/4 cup barley
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper & white pepper mix
1 bottle beer – Mystery ingredient – choose your favorite flavor
crispy bacon pieces for garnish

  • In a large stock pot, bring ham bone* & water to a boil. Boil until the meat is falling off the bone, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours)
  • Remove the bone and let cool enough so you can cut the meat off the bone. You should have about 8 cups water left.
  • In the mean time add the carrots, celery, onion (4 cups total) and seasonings to the water and return to a SLOW boil for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • While the vegetables are boiling, rinse the peas and pick out any bad ones.
  • Cut the ham pieces off the bone. Refrigerate the ham pieces and discard the bone.
  • After the vegetables have cooked 45 minutes or until tender, add the peas and barley, cooking for another 1-1 1/2 hours or until peas are tender.
  • Add the beer and ham pieces back in and cook another 30-45 minutes.

NOTE*: I always save my honey baked ham bones after the meat is all cut off. I then freeze them and save them for future soups. I always get at least 2 cups of meat off when I boil the bone.

This makes a huge batch and I always freeze it in several batches (3-4) for future easy weeknight meals.  We usually pair it with a grilled cheese sandwich.

TODAY’S TRIVIA as heard by hubby on an old game show – Campbell’s soup used to fill the bottom of the bowl with marbles so the vegetables would be at the top giving the appearance of more vegetables in each bowl of soup. That trick was not done here – what you see is what you get.

Linking to SOUPER SUNDAY at Kahakai Kitchen and FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.

NEW CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD with or without Chicken

NEW CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD

2 cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovy fillets, minced
1/2 Meyer lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil (I like to use a lemon olive oil)
large egg yolk, beaten
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
Torn Romaine lettuce
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
grated Parmesan cheese
Croutons

  • In a small food processor combine 7 ingredients until well blended. Garlic and anchovies should become one with the liquid ingredients.
  • Fold olive oil mixture into beaten egg until well blended.
  • Season to taste with fresh ground salt and pepper.
  • Pour over torn lettuce and sliced green onions.
  • Top with croutons and Parmesan cheese.
  • Toss well and serve immediately.

NOTE: When I use chicken I use chicken tenders with salt and pepper browned in a little butter and then shredded into the salad.

Linking to SOUPER SUNDAY at Kahakai Kitchen and FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.

YUMMY HOMEMADE CELERY SEED DRESSING

CELERY SEED DRESSING
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional as I’m allergic)
2 green onions, finely minced
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 cup olive oil (I use a lemon olive oil bu a vegetable oil works too)
1/3 cup vinegar (I sometimes use a flavored rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)

  • In the bowl of a food processor mix together the sugar, salt, dry mustard, celery seed and onions until well mixed.
  • Gradually add in the oil and vinegar alternately.
  • Chill before serving, but us also good heated.

Linking to SOUPER SUNDAY at Kahakai Kitchen and FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.

A YUMMIER lighter Chicken Marsala

I loved Italian food long before I met hubby. I’m also a creature of habit. When I find a dish that I absolutely adore I will try it every time I go out to find who makes it best. Unfortunately, for this recipe no one anymore seems to make it quite like it was originally made and I was forced to make my own recipe. LOL I also found out that I have to hide the wine or hubby makes it disappear without benefit of the recipe/meal 😀 I’ve been making this lower fat version of this recipe for about 8 years and really like it a lot. If we happen to go out to a nice Italian restaurant I do indulge in the full fat version just to keep trying to find it made like when I was a kid.

CHICKEN MARSALA

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded 1/4 inch thick
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons avocado/olive oil
1 small white onion, sliced into thin rings and then separated
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup sweet cooking sherry

  • With a mortar and pestle grind the oregano.
  • Sift together the flour, salt, pepper and oregano.
  • Coat the chicken pieces well with the flour mixture.
  • In a heavy skillet, heat oil and butter.
  • When oil and butter is hot, saute’ onions and mushrooms until just carmelized.
  • Set aside onions and mushrooms and place chicken breasts in skillet and brown on both sides about 6 minutes per side over medium heat. Remove and set aside, but keep warm.
  • To the skillet, add the wine, lemon juice and sherry. Stir, reduce heat, and cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce is partially reduced and begins to thicken.
  • Return onions and mushrooms to the skillet.
  • Plate chicken breasts.
  • Spoon sauce over the chicken.
  • Cover and cook over low heat for about 5-10 minutes or until chicken is done.
  • Serve with Parsleyed Herb Noodles.

Linking to FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.

GRILLED PORK CHOPS & RASPBERRY BBQ SAUCE

When I went to the grocery store February 25, 2010 I ran across some awesome meat deals and these pork chops were perfect for a new BBQ sauce I wanted to try. Dave over at My Year on the Grill has been raving about a raspberry chipotle sauce that I can’t get here either, but left me craving raspberries and at $4.99 a small box that craving was going to go unsatisfied until I ran across this raspberry vinegar at $3.99 a bottle – a much better deal and it made an awesome sauce. So this recipe was developed on February 26, 2010, but is so worth the rerun!

GRILLED PORK CHOPS & RASPBERRY BBQ SAUCE
6 tablespoons Alessi raspberry blush vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons grandma’s molasses
1 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot Pepper Sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 thin pork chops
skewers

  • Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  • Whisk all the ingredients (except pork chops) together until well blended over a medium heat.
  • Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup.
  • Skewer each pork chop with 2 skewers (this helps them lay flat).
  • Generously salt and pepper each side.
  • Bring your grill to temperature.
  • Brush each side with sauce.
  • Spray grill surface with PURE.
  • Place chops on grill, grilling uncovered for 2-3 minutes total, turning once.

 

hubby approved

Linking to FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.

BISCUITS AND SAUSAGE GRAVY BAKE

BISCUITS AND SAUSAGE GRAVY BAKE
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 tablespoon avocado oil
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Wondra flour
3 cups milk
FRESH ground salt and pepper
1 can Pillsbury JUMBO biscuits
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (hubby like sharp – I prefer medium)

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add sausage and cook until completely browned and crumbly.
  • Drain sausage in colander until free of oil.
  • Return pan to heat and add butter.
  • Whisk in flour until a golden roux appears.
  • SLOWLY add milk, whisking constantly until heated through.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add sausage pieces.
  • Coat 11×7 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place dish on baking pan to catch any drips.
  • Separate biscuits and then separate each biscuit in half so you have 16 pieces.
  • Place 8 halves in baking dish.
  • Cover with half the sausage mixture.
  • Sprinkle half the green onions over the sausage.
  • Repeat layers and sprinkle with cheese on top.
  • Bake 40 minutes or until golden.

NOTE: CAN EASILY BE MADE INTO INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS & I OFTEN SERVE IT WITH AN EGG ON TOP.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

CHICKEN FRIED HAMBURGER STEAKS

CHICKEN FRIED HAMBURGER STEAKS
We “chicken” fry steak, chicken and even pork. So, why not ground beef?

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup self-rising flour, use leftover seasoned flour for the gravy
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound lean ground beef
Avocado oil

  • Whisk together the egg and milk in shallow dish. Set aside.
  • In another shallow dish whisk together the flour, seasoning salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
  • Shape ground beef into three equal sized oval “steaks” and flatten into 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Add each “steak” one at a time to egg mixture, coating both sides well.
  • Then add each “steak” to seasoned flour, making sure to cover each side well.
  • In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add “steaks” to hot oil and cook until both sides are golden brown.
  • Remove “steaks” from skillet and keep warm while you make gravy.

GRAVY
3 tablespoons seasoned flour
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 cup milk

  • Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the oil from the skillet, add flour and stir into oil until a paste like texture is reached and flour is golden.
  • Warm the milk before adding to roux.
  • Whisk in milk gradually until desired consistency is reached.
  • Taste and add more seasoning if desired.
  • Pour gravy over “steaks” and mashed potatoes.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

ONION BRAISED BEEF BRISKET – cook ahead

I originally found this recipe through America’s Test Kitchen. Their changes to a typical recipe are awesome. I just made a few flavor profile changes for my family’s likes. Brisket is one of the most versatile cuts of beef. While every culture treats it a little differently they all agree that a brisket takes TIME! So many other recipes either turn out watery and tasteless, super sweet or dry and chewy. BUT, this recipe turns out PERFECT!

Keeping this brisket moist is essential to its flavor profile. Keeping it moist is best done by making it the day BEFORE you want to serve it. By not cutting the beef until it is chilled it holds together into slices better. This also helps on the clean up level if you’re making this for company. Removing the fat from the sauce is essential to a smooth rich sauce.

ONION BRAISED BEEF BRISKET
4-5 pound flat cut brisket
2 large Vidalia onions, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick (thick slices hold up better)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 cup chicken broth, yes I said chicken broth
1 cup cabernet sauvignon
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs FRESH thyme (I’ve used parsley in a pinch)
FRESH ground salt and pepper
Avocado oil

  • Bring brisket to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Lower oven rack to lower middle.
  • Line your baking dish, preferably cast iron) with two to three heavy duty sheets of foil in opposite directions and long enough to fold over to seal the brisket inside.
  • Pat brisket dry and place fat side up on cutting board.
  • Using a fork or needle meat tenderizer, poke holes in meat through the fat layer.
  • Generously season both sides of brisket with salt and pepper.

 

  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Place brisket fat side up in skillet.
  • Weight down brisket with bacon press or cast iron skillet and sear until well browned, about 6 minutes.
  • Remove weight and turn brisket to sear fat side another 6 minutes or so until well browned.
  • Transfer meat to platter.
  • Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat.
  • Add onions, sugar and sea salt, cooking 10-12 minutes until onions are soft.
  • Add garlic, cooking another minute or so until fragrant.
  • Add tomato paste and cook until it darkens, about 2 minutes.
  • Add paprika and chipotle powder.
  • Add flour and stir until well combined.
  • Stir in wine, broth, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and simmer 5 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.

  • Pour onion mixture into the prepared dish and nestle brisket fat side up into the onion mixture.
  • Fold foil over and seal.
  • Bake 3 1/2-4 hours until fork slip easily into the meat and fat is broken down.
  • Carefully open foil and let brisket cool 20 minutes.

  • Transfer brisket to large bowl or baking dish.
  • Use a fine colander to strain sauce over brisket.
  • Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  • Place onion mixture in a small bowl.
  • Cover brisket and onions with Press and Seal.
  • Cut a couple small vents into plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate the meat and onions separately at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. I do it overnight.

  • An hour before serving, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Transfer brisket to cutting board.
  • Skim fat from top of sauce and discard.
  • Pour sauce into a saucepan
  • Slowly reheat sauce, skimming as needed to get rid of excess fat until you have about 2 cups of sauce.
  • Stir in vinegar and reserved onions.
  • Season to taste.

 

  • Slice brisket against the grain and place in baking dish.
  • Pour sauce over brisket.
  • Cover dish with foil.
  • Bake until heated through. About 30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

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HOT CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES

HOT CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES makes 8-6 ounce servings
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
6 LARGE eggs
1/2 + 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray each ramekin with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Using the 1/4 cup sugar, sprinkle each ramekin with sugar, coating evenly.
  • Place ramekins inside a LARGE baking dish.

 

  • Separate eggs into separate mixing bowls.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the sugar to the egg yolks, beating with mixer until light, fluffy and really thick. Set aside.

 

  • Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave.
  • Stir cream and vanilla into chocolate until smooth.
  • Fold the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture one third at a time. Set aside.

 

  • Beat the egg whites until fluffy, but NOT stiff, 3-4 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in tablespoon of sugar, beating 1 minutes more until whites are shiny and firm, but still NOT overly stiff.

 

  • Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture one third at a time, blending well.
  • Divide chocolate mixture evenly into prepared ramekins.

 

  • Place baking dish in the center of the oven and bake for 15 minutes without disturbing them. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!! Souffles should be puffed up and cracking on the top and should ONLY be slightly jiggly.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

NOTE: Souffles can be prepared and refrigerated until ready to bake, but they will need to be baked longer (20-23 minutes).

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HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN WITH ASPARAGUS

CHICKEN WITH ASPARAGUS
2 tablespoons butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
+/-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups asparagus pieces (1 bunch cleaned, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tablespoon honey
cooked rice

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over a medium heat.
  • Saute chicken pieces, shallot, garlic and red chili pepper flakes for 6-8 minutes.
  • Add asparagus and cook 3 minutes more.
  • Whisk together the liquid aminos and honey. Add to skillet and cook another couple minutes.
  • Serve immediately over rice.

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