Saturday, July 30, 2011

Recipe Review- "French Classics Made Easy" by Richard Grausman

Basque-Style Sauteed Chicken Breasts from the book
"French Classics Made Easy" by Richard Grausman

The nice folks at Workman Publishing emailed me the other day, asking me to try a recipe in the new cookbook "French Classics Made Easy" by Richard Grausman.

I must admit, I am a little intimidated by French cooking- it seems rather complicated. As luck would have it, I inherited a smidgen of French from my Mother's side of the family, so I rolled up my sleeves, conjured up my inner Julia Child, and gave it a try.

The Basque-Style Sauteed Chicken Breasts were wonderfully flavorful, and easy to do. Preparing the dish was very similar to making stir-fry, with the exception of covering the vegetables with a lid while they cook.

The sliced onions, cooking in butter, smelled divine. The prosciutto ham was easy to find at the local deli, and added a nice, robust flavor. As you can see from the photo above, the dish looks lovely on the table as well.

Thank you Mr. Grausman for making French cooking easy. I'm thrilled to add French cooking to my list of culinary accomplishments!

P.S. Not a paid ad-just wanted to try my hand at French cooking. *smile*

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dilly Dip- Dill Dip Recipe

A creamy, cool dip with the refreshing taste of dill... perfect with baby carrots, green pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, broccoli...any fresh veggie for dipping.

Dilly Dip
2/3 cup sour cream
3/4 cup salad dressing
1 teaspoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
Mix all ingredients together. Chill in the fridge at least an hour so the flavors will intensify and blend. Serve with fresh veggies.

Variation: If you're not a big salad dressing fan you can use all sour cream. *smile*

Friday, July 22, 2011

Italiano Rotini Bake- Pasta Recipes

This is my go-to recipe when I want to make something quick that's a little fancier than plain ole spaghetti.  The twisted corkscrew shape of the rotini holds in more of the spaghetti sauce keeping the dish moist and yummy. Enjoy!

Italiano Rotini Bake
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
3 cups dry rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 4oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside. Brown ground beef in a large skillet; drain. In a large bowl combine the cooked pasta, cooked ground beef, spaghetti sauce, sliced mushrooms, onion flakes, and 1/2 of the parmesan cheese (1/4 cup). Spoon into a 13x9 inch dish; top with the remaining 1/4 of parmesan and the mozzarella cheese. Bake 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Variation: Substitute italian sausage for 1/2 of the ground beef. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Restaurant Supply Stores- Worth a visit!

Restaurant Supply finds- heavy white dishes, well-made
cookie spatula, and a German-made scrubby. What a cute face!
I've always been curious about restaurant supply stores...what they have inside, what they're like so I went to visit my local- Restaurant Equipment & Supply.
This particular store is open to the public.

My main purpose for visiting was to find white dishes for food photos. I was delighted to find white ceramic dishes sold by the piece. Yay! I didn't have to buy a whole set! 

The store carried some neat kitchen items that you can't find at your local discount store. Every size of cookie scoop you could imagine...every flavor of Torani syrup I think they make...several sizes of Microplane graters. I had a blast just looking around and discovering new things! 

On a frugal note, I was pleased to find better, restaurant-quality items at reasonable prices. Check out your local restaurant supply...I think you'll find it worth a visit. *smile*

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Un-Marshmallow Peanut Butter Krispies (Rice Crispy Treats)

Peanut Butter Krispies
While in college at Oklahoma State U, I lived in the dorm and had a meal ticket. The food in the cafeteria wasn't bad save for the often-served mystery meat hamburgers. There was one entree called "Oklahoma Spaghetti" which was the dish they hid leftovers in from the previous day. Oklahoma Spaghetti was always a surprise each week with little bits of corn or green peas...LOL! 

One thing I DID love was the peanut butter krispies on the dessert bar. We weren't supposed to take food out of the cafeteria but I coveted these cookies so much I would sneak out two or three in the pockets of my jeans and devour them while studying. I call these "Un-Marshmallow" because unlike most crispy treat recipes, it doesn't require marshmallows.

Un-Marshmallow Peanut Butter Krispies
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups crisped rice cereal
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate morsels (optional)
Pour corn syrup and sugar into a large dutch oven. Stir together. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just starts to boil. (There will be tiny bubbles over the top surface.) Remove from heat. Stir in the peanut butter, mixing thoroughly. This will require some elbow grease. Dump in the rice cereal. Mix until the cereal is evenly coated. Mixture will be thick and hot. Press into a buttered 13x9 cake pan. (I use an oven mitt inside a gallon plastic bag to protect my hand from the heat.) Let cool.

Personally, I like mine "naked" but if you like chocolate with your peanut butter, melt the milk chocolate morsels and then spread them on top. Place the cookies in the fridge for 20 minutes so the chocolate coating will harden. Devour! *smile*

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vidalia Onion Recipe- Yummy Side Dish For Steak Or BBQ Chicken

Onions as a side dish? Yes, oh yes! Vidalia onions are in season AND on sale so I thought I’d give Paula Deen’s Saturday Night Vidalia Onions recipe a whirl.

I “tweaked” the recipe just a bit by adding cheese and substituting low-sodium bouillon for regular bouillon. (Regular bouillon can be a little salty.) I also added more information to the oven baking directions.
Saturday Night Vidalia Onions
4 large Vidalia onions
4 low-sodium beef bouillon cubes or 4 teaspoons low-sodium beef bouillon granules, divided
4 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons grated Swiss or Provolone cheese, divided (optional)

Directions for charcoal grill: Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.
Directions for oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice the stem end from the top of each onion. Peel the onions leaving the root end intact. Using a potato peeler, cut a small, cone-shaped section from the center of the onions. Cut the onions into quarters from the top down, stopping within 1/2-inch of the root end. Gently spread the onion layers just a bit with your fingers making it easier to slip the butter in.

Put slivers of butter between the onion sections, place one bouillon cube (or 1 tsp. beef granules) in the center of each onion, and sprinkle with pepper. Wrap each onion securely in heavy duty foil.

For the grill, place the onions directly onto the hot coals. Cook for 45 minutes turning every so often.

For oven baking, place the foil-wrapped onions in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Check for softness with a knife. If adding cheese, open foil slightly and add one tablespoon cheese per onion. Close the foil and wait two minutes to give the cheese time to melt. Delicious served with a Ribeye or BBQ chicken.

Variation: Use chicken bouillon to change things up a bit.

Review: This recipe is definitely a keeper. The onions are mild and sweet and taste a lot like French onion soup. This recipe gets two “yums” up! *smile*

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Slice A Banana-The Less Messy Way

Recently I was in the kitchen fixing a bowl of cereal and thought to myself there must be an easier, less messy way to slice a banana for cereal, banana cream pies and such. An easier way to cut the banana so my hands won't get gooey. Some way to do it so I can easily hold on to the slippery little bugger. I came up with this:

1. First, run a knife long-ways, vertically down the outside of a banana.
(On the "outside" of the curve.)

2. Next, cut off the stem end.
3. Then, make your round slices like usual cutting through the skin and all.
4. When you remove the rounds they "roll off" the banana skin neatly and easily. 
5. Result- Less goo on the hands!

P.S. This may be old news. If it is, I will gladly accept ten lashes with a wet noodle. If it's not, give it a try and tell me if it eased your banana-peeling burden. *smile*