APRICOT VINAIGRETTE

APRICOT VINAIGRETTE

16 ounce can apricot halves, drained WELL
2 tablespoons QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon water
1 large garlic clove, FINELY mined
1 teaspoon FRESH minced thyme
2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • In blender, everything except the avocado oil; blending until smooth.
  • With blender running, slowly add oil, blending until smooth.

NOTE:  Canned peaches or pears work really well also for a bit of a different flavor profile.

CHICKEN FRANCAISE

CHICKEN FRANCAISE adapted from RECIPE 30

This recipe is a flavorful pan seared breaded chicken on a rich lemony, tangy butter sauce.  Some call it French because of the wine and butter, some American and even more Italian according to Wikipedia.  What we know for sure is that it is FLAVORFUL!

4 chicken breast steaks
1/3 cup WONDRA flour
2 LARGE eggs
1 tablespoon heavy cream
FRESH chopped Flat Leaf parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 cup QUALITY white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons avocado oil
4 tablespoons butter
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Beat eggs in a large shallow dish.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream and FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Add half the chopped parsley to the egg mixture.
  • Add Parmesan cheese to egg mixture, mixing well. Set aside.
  • Heat avocado oil and half of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Dip chicken breasts in the flour, shaking off any excess and then the egg wash and then into flour again.
  • Add chicken to the hot pan and cooking 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer chicken to a hot plate and keep warm.
  • Increase the heat.
  • Add wine and chicken stock, stirring to blend.
  • Add the garlic and lemon juice, cooking several minutes until slightly reduced.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Add the remaining chopped parsley and butter, whisking until butter is melted.
  • Return the chicken to the sauce, turning to coat for 30 seconds or so.
  • 
Garnish with parsley sprigs.

NOTE: Use medium sized flattened chicken breasts or thin chicken steaks.

SHEET PAN SCALLOPED POTATOES ala VALERIE BERTINELLI

SHEET PAN SCALLOPED POTATOES ala VALERIE BERTINELLI
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large VIDALIA onion, THINLY sliced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/4 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes (6 to 7 potatoes), cut into 1/8-inch rounds
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese – about 8 ounces
1 cup grated Parmesan – about 5 ounces
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Spray a LARGE 18X13, rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes; if the onions are browning too quickly, reduce the heat to low. When the onions are almost done, stir in the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes to lightly toast. Remove from the heat.
  • Layer half of the potatoes, shingle style in 6 or 7 even rows on the prepared baking sheet, making sure the sheet is completely covered.
  • Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with half of the fontina and Parmesan.
  • Spread the caramelized onions evenly over the top.
  • Shingle the remaining half of the potatoes over the onions, and season with more salt and pepper.
  • Turn the heat to medium under the sauté pan.
  • Add the cream, rosemary, Dijon and lemon zest, stir together and bring to a SLOW simmer.
  • Season with salt and then pour the cream over the potatoes; tilt the baking sheet slightly in all directions to ensure even coverage. Top with the remaining Fontina and Parmesan.
  • Cover the baking sheet with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown, the edges are crispy and the potatoes are tender, another 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Let the cool for 15 minutes before serving.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BACON and APPLE HOT DISH

This is a Molly Yeh recipe from Girl Meets Farm. I normally love her recipes and experimenting with new things, but this one needed some serious tweaking to make it right.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BACON and APPLE HOT DISH
FILLING
3/4 pound thick-cut bacon
2 large purple onions, chunky thin wedges
2 pounds 1 small butternut squash, seeded, peeled and chopped into small 1/2-inch cubes
6 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 3 large Honey Crisp Granny Smith apples, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes

  • In a LARGE cast iron skillet cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper toweling for draining.
  • Drain half the bacon grease from the skillet, leaving just enough to coat the skillet.
  • Add the onions and turn the heat to medium-high. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the squash, thyme, some salt, a few turns of pepper and a few pinches of crushed red pepper, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 more minutes.
  • Add the wine and broth.
  • Roughly chop the bacon and add it to the skillet along with the apples.
  • Bring the mixture to a SLOW boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, while you make the biscuits.

BISCUITS
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
FRESHLY ground black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  • Add the butter and, using a food processor, pastry cutter or your hands, incorporate the butter until the mixture is the consistency of raw oatmeal.
  • Mix in the cream until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
  • Turn it out onto a floured work surface, pat it out to 3/4-inch thick and then cut out round biscuits, re-rolling scraps as needed.
  • Turn off the heat before dotting the top of the skillet with the biscuits.
  • Brush the biscuits with the beaten egg and top with black pepper.
  • Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, cooked through and flaky, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and serve right from the skillet!

NOTE: 

  • NEXT TIME I will change the apples to Granny Smiths and add an extra apple and decrease the squash.  Hubby wants me to trade the squash altogether for potatoes or Brussels sprouts.
  • This recipe also works well with “cheater” biscuits from the dairy case 😀

BACON CHEDDAR CORNBREAD

BACON CHEDDAR CORNBREAD
6 slices thick bacon, diced, reserve a few pieces for garnish
1 small onion, FINELY diced
1 can white shoepeg kernel corn
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/4 cups finely grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided, reserve a small amount for garnish
2 cups buttermilk
2 LARGE eggs

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Brown bacon pieces in a deep 10 inch cast iron pan until crisp.
  • Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to paper toweling.
  • Reserve all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease in a small bowl, leaving the 2 tablespoons in the skillet.
  • Add onion and corn, cooking until tender for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove corn and onions from pan.
  • Add reserved bacon dripping back to the skillet.
  • Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.
  • Add 1 cup of the cheese.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and any remaining drippings.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  • Add buttermilk mixture to the well, stirring JUST until combined.
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of the cornmeal in the skillet.
  • Pour batter into skillet and top with bacon and remaining cheese.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Garnish with a few bacon pieces.
  • Serve with butter.

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with LEMON and CHIVE SAUCE

PAN SEARED CHICKEN with LEMON and CHIVE SAUCE
CHICKEN
4 boneless, skinless thin sliced chicken breast steaks
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup +1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 shallot minced
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1 cup chicken broth
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1 tablespoon FRESH minced chives
1 tablespoon COLD unsalted butter

  • Generously season chicken steaks with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium heat.
  • Dredge chicken in beaten egg and the 1/4 cup flour, shaking off excess.
  • Sear chicken breasts in skillet for 2 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken steaks to plate and keep warm.
  • Add shallot and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes until softened.
  • Add the 1 tablespoon of flour and cornstarch, stirring to coat shallot 30 seconds or so.
  • Slowly whisk in broth and bring to a simmer 5-10 minutes until reduced and slightly thickened.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, chives and butter.
  • Season to taste.
  • Serve over chicken.

LEMON THYME MARINATED FRIED CHICKEN

This is one of those scraps of a recipe I had in my file. I do not know who the recipe was from and I sure wish I did – I’d LOVE to thank them! This is one of the crispiest and most flavorful recipes I’ve ever come across for fried chicken. The breading adhered and held up PERFECTLY!

LEMON MARINATED FRIED CHICKEN
MARINADE
4 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 lemons
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon FRESH ground black pepper
1 bunch FRESH thyme
4 cups ice

4 pounds chicken pieces

  • Whisk together the water, salt, sugar, lemon halves, garlic, black pepper and thyme in a large stockpot.
  • Bring to SLOW boil.
  • Turn off heat and add ice.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Add chicken pieces.
  • Refrigerate AT LEAST 8 hours or overnight.

AFTER at least 8 HOURS

  • Drain chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray a rack with non-stick cooking spray and place on baking sheet.

BREADING
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
FRESH ground black pepper
2 cups WHOLE buttermilk
2 LARGE eggs

  • In a shallow dish whisk together the flour, garlic salt, onion powder and black pepper.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in a second bowl.

Coconut Oil for frying

  • Heat oil in a deep cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture shaking off excess.
  • Then dredge in egg mixture followed by the flour mixture again.
  • Fry in oil for 3-4 minutes per side until golden and crispy.  Grams always told me to put the chicken in the HOT oil  and leave it alone until it bleeds then flip it!
  • Place on prepared rack.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes until centers are cooked through.

SHEET PAN VINEGAR CHICKEN

SHEET PAN VINEGAR CHICKEN ala Valerie Bertinelli – update ala Tamy
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 cups mixed color cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup pitted Castelvetrano (the pale green ones – I use Mezetta) olives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Toss the onions with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Arrange the chicken thighs on top and sprinkle them all over with the smoked paprika and salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle the vinegar on top and then roast in the oven about 15 minutes.
  • Toss the cherry tomatoes, olives, rosemary and garlic with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, a big pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the mixture to the baking sheet with the roasted chicken and continue to roast until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 10 minutes more.
  • Serve the chicken with the vegetables and juices from the baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with the parsley.

SNAPPER WRAPPER CASSEROLE

Snapper wrappers are a recipe I made several years back (2014) and vowed to turn into a casserole.  Well, I’ve finally done it 😀

SNAPPER WRAPPER CASSEROLE Serves 4-6
1 pound lump crab meat, drained or KRAB from the meat department works great too
4 skinned red snapper fillets or any white fish of your choice

3-4 FINELY chopped green onions

FRESH
ground sea salt and black pepper

1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
2 LARGE lemons, 1 juiced, 1 sliced into wedges for serving
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 cup butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 400˚.
  • Pick crab meat, removing any bits of shell or FINELY chop the KRAB.
  • Whisk together the melted butter, lemon juice, wine, garlic and red pepper in shallow dish.
  • Generously season the fish fillets with the FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Combine the Crab with the green onions.
  • Dredge the fish fillets in the butter mixture
  • Arrange one-third of the fish fillets in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish.
  • Top with about 1/3 cup crab meat.
  • Repeat layers.
  • Drizzle remaining dredge liquid over top layer.
  • Bake uncovered for 16-18 minutes or fish flakes when tested with a fork.
  • Spoon any pan drippings over top before serving.
  • Serve with lemon wedges.

CHEDDAR, GREEN BEAN & BREAD CASSEROLE

CHEDDAR, GREEN BEAN & BREAD CASSEROLE
1 1/2 pounds trimmed greens beans
1 1/4 cups SMALL stale bread pieces
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
FRESH ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups WHOLE milk
1 cup grated EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Blanch green beans in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until JUST tender.
  • Immediately transfer green beans in ice water and then drain WELL.
  • In a large bowl toss the bread pieces with the oil, melted butter and green onions. Set aside.
  • Whisk together 1/2 cup of the milk, cornstarch, nutmeg and FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper until smooth in a saucepan. Add in remaining milk and bring to a boil over a medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, but do not scald.
  • Reduce heat and gradually stir in cheddar and Parmesan until melted and smooth.
  • Toss with green beans to evenly coat.
  • Transfer green beans to baking dish.
  • Top with scallion bread crumbs.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE ~ LEMON CHERRY

I found this recipe in an old (1960’s) cookbook put together for a lake area homeowner’s association. I have no idea what makes it “AUSTRALIAN” and Ruth Traum is unknown to me so I can’t even ask her. I tried to do research and found several recipes called “Australian), but none of them said WHY they were “AUSTRALIAN”. Best I can tell it’s just a version of a no-bake cheesecake, but it’s SUPER airy and light.

Ruth’s recipe used lemon jello, but it is a simple thing to change up the flavor to your liking. I mixed a box of cherry and lemon, using only half then and saving the other half for another time. You can also substitute ginger snaps for the vanilla wafers or mix in some pretzels for and extra crunch… The second time I made it I used a combination of lemon and lime on the jello…  The cherry was better, but we’ll try orange next time 😀

AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE ~ LEMON CHERRY
1 small box Vanilla Wafers (crushed to make 2 cups of crumbs)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 small box lemon jello
1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice and zest of 1 LARGE lemon + hot water to equal 1 cup
1 LARGE can Carnation milk (VERY COLD) 12 ounces VERY COLD heavy whipping cream
1 can pie cherries in glaze (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Crush wafers and mix with melted butter until well mixed.
  • Press crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan.  If you use the 8 it will COMPLETELY fill the pan.  If you use the 9 inch it provides a couple more pieces, just not as tall. 😀
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then cool.
  • Whisk jello into hot water mixture until dissolved.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add in jello mixture until well blended.
  • Beat carnation milk with chilled beaters until very stiff.
  • Fold whipped milk into cheesecake mixture and pour into cooled crust pan.
  • Chill AT LEAST 8 hours, but this cheesecake is best made 24 hours in advance!
  • Top with whipped cream or pie cherries and enjoy!

NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIES aka CAJUN EMPANADAS

I found a recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pies, a savory dish that sounded really interesting.  I did a little research and found that Natchitoches Meat Pies are an official state food and that Natchitoches is a city in northern Louisiana.  I didn’t like that it was fried though and converted it to a baked version.  For lack of a better definition this is a Cajun empanada 😀

NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIES

FILLING
4 slices bacon, diced
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1 LARGE onion, FINELY chopped
1 LARGE bunch green onions, FINELY diced
1 cup red, yellow and orange mini peppers, FINELY chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped FRESH flat leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chicken broth

  • Brown ground beef and pork until cooked through. Drain.
  • In the same pan brown bacon over medium heat until crisp.
  • Remove bacon to drain on paper toweling.
  • Whisk in flour to bacon grease making a roux.
  • Whisk in chicken broth, seasonings, garlic, onions, parsley and peppers.
  • Add beef and pork in. Simmer 5-10 minutes to meld flavors.
  • Refrigerate the meat mixture for an hour while you are making the dough and before assembling pies.

PASTRY
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons crisco
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup chicken broth

  • Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder together in food processor.
  • Add shortening and pulse to a cornmeal texture.
  • Add eggs and broth JUST until dough comes together.
  • Transfer dough to a floured counter and knead 30 seconds until creates a smooth ball.
  • Divide dough into equal pieces, about 8-16 depending on how large you want your pies.
  • Roll out each piece to a thin circle.
  • Fill each about half full.
  • Fold over and crimp edges with fork tines to seal.
  • Place on a silicone lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 425° for 30-45 minutes, turning baking dish as needed to avoid burning the edges.
    Serve with Salsa, sour cream, chopped olives and chopped green onions.

NOTE:

  • I sometimes make them “Mexican” by adding a Taco Bell original spice packet to the mix.
  • I also like to add a sprinkly of shredded cheese to the inside and garnish.