BEEF FILET BITES IN BALSAMIC SAUCE ~ BLOG 366.193

This recipe is inspired by Olive Garden’s Beef Filets in Balsamic Sauce. You can serve it with pasta, mashed potatoes or a baked potato and salad to have the perfect date night or company meal.

BEEF FILET BITES IN BALSAMIC SAUCE

4 tablespoons avocado oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1/2 SMALL red pepper, diced small

FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons QUALITY balsamic vinegar
2 pounds beef tenderloins, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup WONDRA
FRESH rosemary sprigs
FRESH chopped parsley

  • Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Dredge beef pieces in seasoned flour, shake off excess.
  • Add beef pieces to pan and sear 3-5 minutes. Remove beef and keep warm.
  • Add onion slices, season with salt and pepper and cook 10 minutes or until caramelized.
  • Add wines, broth and vinegar, bringing to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until reduced by half.
  • Add beef back in and heat through.
  • Garnish and serve immediately.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY DOODLES ~ BLOG 366.186

DO YOU LIKE SNICKERDOODLES? HOW ABOUT CHERRY PIE?  CHOCOLATE?  Who doesn’t like all of those?  We had a difference of opinion on dessert the other day.  I was craving snickerdoodles, but they did seem a bit plain.  Hubby was craving cherry pie and my uncle says you can’t call it dessert unless it involves chocolate. These are perfect for a 4th of July celebration.
So I set about making what will now be known as CHOCOLATE CHERRY DOODLES!  They were supposed to be muffins, but they rise so much they make a much more fun trifle type dessert.
1 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 can Cherry Comstock pie filling
1 ounce unsweetened Baker’s chocolate
  • Heat oven to 375ºF. 
  • Spray DEEP muffin tin with PURE.
  • Cream together 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup softened butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. 
  • Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt until well blended, use your hands when necessary. 
  • Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. 
  • Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. 
  • Roll into 12 balls and then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. 
  • Place one in each slot and slightly flatten.
  • Divide cherry pie filling among the slots evenly.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • While baking the cookie dough melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan.
  • Add the chocolate and blend well.
  • Whisk in sugar until well dissolved.
  • When you remove muffin tin from oven, let cool 5 minutes.
  • Spoon a dollop of chocolate over each muffin slot.
  • Cool 15 minutes.
  • Spoon out 2 slots per bowl and ENJOY

Originally posted in 2009, but recently revisited and bringing it forward to the here and now.

HONEY THYME PORK TENDERLOIN & CARROTS ~ BLOG 366.172

HONEY THYME PORK TENDERLOIN & CARROTS
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2-3 pounds pork tenderloin

1 clove garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon FRESH lemon thyme
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey
1/2-3/4 cup homemade chicken bone broth
1+1+1 tablespoons butter
4-6 LARGE carrots, rustic cut

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter and coat carrot pieces.
  • Arrange carrots on a sheet pan, generously seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Roast carrots 20 minutes until crisp tender.
  • Pat pork dry and generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat oil and 1 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add pork brown all over 6-8 minutes. DO NOT CLEAN OUT SKILLET!
  • Move carrots to one side of pan and add pork tenderloin to sheet pan.
  • Roast another 8-12 minutes until pork is cooked through.
  • While pork is roasting make the sauce. Using the skillet remains heat and add the garlic and thyme.
  • Whisk together the honey and chicken stock.
  • Add to skillet, simmering 3-4 minutes and scraping up any bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  • Whisk in butter and season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • If sauce is too thick add a splash or two more of chicken stock or water.
  • Let pork rest 2-3 minutes before slicing.

GREAT GRANS CHICKEN & GRAVY ~ BLOG 366.165

GREAT GRANS CHICKEN & GRAVY

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium Vidalia onion, FINELY chopped
1 box grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 – 2 cups of carrots, small diced
1-2 tablespoon FRESH lemon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (see note)
FRESH ground sea salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cups homemade chicken broth
1-2 pounds chicken breasts or tenders, cut into small bite size chunks

  • In a large skillet melt oil and butter together.
  • Add onions, tomatoes and carrots, cooking for 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent. 
  • Add in the garlic, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken pieces and 1 cup of chicken broth.
  • Turn the heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Keep checking to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan, adding broth as necessary to keep it moist and make the gravy.
  • When chicken is cooked through check to make sure thicken gravy as necessary with corn starch.
  • In a small bowl whisk together a few tablespoons of the pan gravy with a tablespoon or 2 of cornstarch.
  • Mix well, then pour slowly into the pan, stirring constantly until the gravy thickens up and heats through.

NOTES:

  • Paprika comes sweet or smokey. Choose accordingly as it will alter your flavor a bit.
  • If I have some in the fridge I’ll add about 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichokes.
  • You can substitute rotisserie chicken pieces, but if you do, don’t add the chicken pieces until after the veggies have simmered 10-15 minutes and are crisp tender.

Great gran served this over homemade noodles and never used rotisserie chicken. Her chicken was farm fresh and simmered to make the broth fresh. Grams amped up the carbs by serving it with noodles in it and serving it over homemade mashed potatoes, but it’s great without either of those.

EARTHQUAKE CAKE ~ BLOG 366.158

I found this recipe on Facebook originally and it looked so intriguing I just HAD to try it and am so glad I did! You won’t be disappointed either. The original recipe called for strawberries, but we LOVE it with peaches too. The picture on facebook is quite deceptive also – they evidently added a great looking glaze that isn’t included in their recipe. I will be adding the glaze below from now on.

EARTHQUAKE CAKE

1 white cake mix prepared per box directions
1 cup fruit pieces, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened and toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, chopped

  • Preheat your oven to 350°
  • Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish.
  • Fold the chopped strawberries into the prepared cake mix.
  • Pour batter into the greased baking dish.
  • In another medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese, melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture over the cake batter in the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle coconut flakes and white chocolate pieces evenly over the top of the batter.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes until the cake is set and the edges have turned golden brown.
  • Allow the cake to cool COMPLETELY before serving. As it cools you’ll notice a beautiful cracked, earthquake cracked effect on the top, with delicious pockets of cream cheese and strawberry throughout. Top with additional chopped fruit if desired.

NOTE: Change up the fruit flavor as desired, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or cherries work well also.

GLAZE (optional)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract

  • Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Drizzle over cooled cake and let glaze harden 10 minutes or so before serving.
  • Transfer to serving platter and serve with FRESH blueberries or berry of choice 😀

This is what it looked like on facebook.

CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE MACAROONS ~ BLOG 366.151

We found the most amazing bakery, The Baker’s Table, on our last trip and they made the BEST Cranberry White Chocolate Macaroons! I just had to recreate these delectable bites! I added the chocolate dip bottom as an option 😀 Just saying you can never have too much chocolate!And you can change the color to coordinate with holidays.

Funny story though is that they had very few left. I bought all they had and was telling my nephew about them at lunch. I told him I’d quarter them and bring them to dinner so everyone could try a piece. After lunch he took his daughter and niece into the village and was so proud that he found a bakery selling them. LOL he sent me this picture of my nieces eating MACARONS which led to a discussion at dinner about the difference between a macaron and a macaroon 😀

So, for those who don’t know the difference, a macaron is a sandwich-like cookie filled with jam, ganache, or buttercream.A macaroon is a drop cookie made using shredded coconut. Preparation for each of these cookies is incredibly different, even though they start out with many of the same ingredients. Not to mention the mouth feel and texture of the cookie itself.

CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE MACAROONS – yields 2 dozen

3 LARGE egg whites at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon PURE vanilla or almond
½ teaspoon orange extract
pinch of salt
½ cup dried cranberries, FINELY chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated orange OR lemon zest
3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
4 ounces PURE white chocolate, grated (see notes)
Dipping chocolate (almond bark), melted (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

  • Beat egg whites until frothy, then add sugar, extracts and salt, beating 2-3 minutes.

  • Gently fold in cranberries, zest, coconut and white chocolate.

  • Using a cookie scoop, press firmly into the scoop and carefully drop mounds onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart, making sure you have them nicely mounded.

  • Bake at 325°F for 12- 15 minutes until golden, watching carefully as they brown quickly.
Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Melt almond bark in microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.
  • Dip cookie bottoms in chocolate.
  • Cool until firm on wax paper.


Note

  • Not all brands of white chocolate will melt. Be sure and check the label. In order to melt, the ingredients must include cocoa butter.
  • These cookies freeze really well, so you can make them ahead of time which makes them a holiday favorite. Store them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

GREEN ARROZ con POLLO ~ BLOG 366.137

GREEN ARROZ con POLLO adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

The green part of this recipe is a spicy cilantro flavored Latin rice and chicken dish with a Peruvian influence from what I’ve been able to deduce. Top it with salsa criolla for that special flair of flavor.


1 LARGE shallot, halved and sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch of cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeño pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
3+ cups of chicken stock or water, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 cup medium or long-grain white rice

  • Add the onion, garlic cloves, cilantro, jalapeño, cumin, paprika and about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth to a blender. Pulse until COMPLETELY smooth. It will smell SUPER spicy, but that will mellow as it cooks. Set aside.
  • Season the chicken with a generous amount of FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Dredge chicken in the flour.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet – I like to use my enamel coated cast iron.
  • When oil is hot, add shallots and chicken for 3-4 minutes per side until browned.
  • Remove the chicken and transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  • Add the rice to the skillet and toast it for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Pour in the cilantro mixture and an additional cup of chicken broth.
  • Layer chicken on top of rice mixture.
  • Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Simmer 45-50 minutes until rice is tender.

NOTE:

  • Check every 15-20 minutes and top off with about 1/4 cup of stock each time, as needed to keep rice moist and loose. We like excess sauce to spoon over the chicken.
  • Adjust seasoning as necessary before serving.

SALSA
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Juice from 2 LARGE limes
+/- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
FRESH ground sea salt

  • Mix together the red onion, juice from 2 limes, jalapeño and minced cilantro in a mixing bowl.
  • Add a few pinches of salt and let marinate for about 15 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning to taste just before serving.

ASSEMBLY

  • Divide the rice amongst plates and top with a spoonful of salsa and chicken.
  • Ladle more sauce over chicken.
  • Garnish with cotija cheese.

MYRA’S GRILLED FLANK STEAK ~ BLOG 366.130

MYRA’S GRILLED FLANK STEAK adapted from Mary Berg’s mother

MARINADE
1/3 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup QUALITY honey
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup avocado oil, plus more for the grill
4 green onions, chopped
2-3 pounds Flank Steak

  • Whisk together the liquid aminos, red wine, honey, Worcestershire, ground ginger, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  • Whisk in the oil.
  • Fold in green onions.
  • Add flank steak to large container or ziplock bag.
  • If using a ziplock bag remove as much air as possible.
  • Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

 

  • Remove steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you are ready to grill so it can come up to room temperature.
  • Heat your grill to medium-high.
  • Remove the steak from the marinade and dry off the outside with some paper towel.
  • Lightly oil the grill.
  • Season the steak with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Grill 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium rare or until cooked to your liking.
  • Set the steak aside, tented with aluminum foil, to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the serving sauce.

SAUCE
2 green onions
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger. plus more as needed
1 teaspoon Montreal steak spice. plus more as needed
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon

  • Add the green onions to the grill and cook, turning frequently, until charred, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Finely chop the grilled green onions and add to a bowl along with the mayonnaise, finely grated ginger, Montreal steak spice and lemon juice.
  • Stir well to combine and adjust seasoning, adding a bit more of the lemon juice, ginger or steak spice, to taste.
  • Slice the steak against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  • Serve with the sauce on the side.

CHOCOLATE ANCHO CHILE CUPCAKES with ANCHO CHILE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING ~ BLOG 366.116

A friend and I are making the Cinco de Mayo dinner for the Eagles auxiliary on May 3rd and I have been experimenting with recipes for the dessert. These are dark chocolate cupcakes with a serious bite and are topped with a chili cream cheese frosting that has another back up bite.

CHOCOLATE ANCHO CHILE CUPCAKES with ANCHO CHILE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING yield 18-24 cupcakes

CUPCAKES
1 box devil’s food chocolate cake mix
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon

1 ¼ cups water
⅓ cup vegetable oil
3 LARGE eggs

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • Whisk together the cake mix, ground ancho chile, cayenne pepper and cinnamon.
  • Beat in water, oil and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full.
  • Bake 18-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before frosting.


FROSTING
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
⅛ – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
1 small, dried red chili, chopped after seeds removed (optional – if you dare)
4 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
½ teaspoon clear PURE vanilla extract, or to taste
24 small dried red chiles (optional)


  • Sift together the ground ancho chile, cayenne pepper and cinnamon with the powdered sugar in a large bowl.
  • Beat in softened cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes in attractive swirls.
  • Poke a small dried chile, stem-side up, into frosting as a garnish if desired.

ANGEL WINGS & PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CLOUDS

Angel WingsThese two recipes are so simple, but yet so flavorful and diverse that they disappear off the plate in a flash. They compliment each other in that you can make both with one box of puff pastry.

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CLOUDS

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and rolled thinner

1/3-1/2 cup JIF creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips

sparkling sugar

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Gently roll out Puff pastry on a well floured surface.
  • Cut pastry in half.
  • Spread one half with the peanut butter.
  • Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  • Place the other sheet of pastry on top.
  • Cut into equal pieces.
  • Crimp and seal the edges of all the clouds with a fork.
  • Place all the clouds on a parchment sheet covered cookie sheet.
  • Brush each square with heavy cream and sparkling sugar.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before serving.

ANGEL WINGS

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup sparkling sugar

  • Sprinkle one 1/3 cup sugar over your work surface.
  • Place pastry sheet on top of sugar.
  • Sprinkle with another 1/3 cup sugar.
  • Roll pastry into 12×9 rectangle.
  • Liberally sprinkle with remaining sugar ever couple of rolls.
  • Trim edges square.
  • Gently fold long edges in towards center meeting in the middle.
  • Fold in half as if closing a book.
  • Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut pastry crosswise into 36 slices.
  • Arrange cut side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake 12 minutes.
  • Turn and sprinkle with the sparkling sugar.
  • Bake an additional 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool completely.