Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

Mini Kentucky Hot Browns

We hosted a Kentucky Derby party this past weekend complete with mint juleps and fried chicken with all of the sides. As an appetizer I made mini Kentucky Hot Browns that turned out really good, so I wanted to share a recipe.

Before Broiling

Before Broiling

After Broiling

After Broiling

Serve with Mint Julep

Serve with Mint Julep

Ingredients

  • 4 thick slices of turkey breast (as thick as the butcher will slice)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp yellow cheddar
  • 3/4 cup grated romano
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 6 slider buns
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes, sliced in 12
  • paprika
  • parsley
  • 8 slices booked bacon

Directions

  1. Cook the butter and flour over medium heat in a pot, stirring continuously for 5 minutes.
  2. Raise the head to medium-high and add the milk, whisking until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cheddar, 1/2 cup romano, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  5. Separate the bun halves and toast each piece.
  6. Place each toasted bun half face-up on a large pan.
  7. Divide the turkey over the top (1 slice should cover about 3 bun halves).
  8. Layer with a tomato slice, mornay sauce from above, and a sprinkling of romano.
  9. Place the pan under the broiler until the sauce is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  10. Transfer to a place and sprinkle with paprika, parsley, and top with crumbled bacon.
Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese

I recently competed in Frisch’s Big Boy’s Lenten Recipe Competition. Each competitor was tasked with creating a delicious meatless recipe using Frisch’s tartar sauce. The sauce is already featured in many recipes on their website, so coming up with a unique item was a bit of a challenge. Eventually I settled on making fried green tomatoes from scratch and featuring these on a grilled cheese with plenty of Frisch’s tartar sauce.

Finished Product

Finished Product

This was my first time making fried green tomatoes, but the process is actually very simple. And we all know how easy making a grilled cheese sandwich is, so overall this shouldn’t take too much to prepare. And the results were really good!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 large green tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick (4 slices)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 4 slices pepperjack cheese
  • 4 tablespoons Frisch’s tartar sauce

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Place the flour, eggs, and cornmeal in 3 separate bowls.
  3. Press both sides of the tomato slices first in the flour, then in the eggs (letting any excess drip off), and finally in the cornmeal.
  4. Cook the tomato slices until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
  6. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and place it over medium heat.
  7. Spread butter onto 1 side of each slice of bread.
  8. Place 2 of the slices butter side down in the skillet.
  9. Stack 1 slice of pepperjack cheese, 1 tablespoon of Frisch’s tartar sauce, 2 slices of green tomato, another tablespoon of Frisch’s tartar sauce, and finally another slice of pepperjack cheese onto each piece of bread in the skillet.
  10. Top with the remaining slices of bread with the butter on the outside.
  11. Cook until the bottom is golden.
  12. Flip the sandwiches and cook until golden brown on the other side.
Dream Dinners

I’ve written about Dream Dinners before, and my family continues to enjoy these easy to make meals at least two or three times a week. My wife and I started using Dream Dinners when our oldest child was born, and now that there are two kids in the house these meals have really become a part of our weekly routine.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Recently I was asked by the owners of my local Dream Dinners location if I knew any other bloggers in the area that I could put them in touch with. What eventually happened was a tasting session that I was invited to along with some of my suggestions and some other bloggers that they had found on their own.

Dinner Is Served

Dinner Is Served

During our session we all prepared three meals of our choice following the standard Dream Dinners process. Basically this means that you assemble a variety of pre-cut, fresh ingredients into the provided plastic bags. Take these bags home and put them in your own freezers. When it is time to eat, you simply defrost and cook the pre-assembled meals following the provided directions. It couldn’t be any easier.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Why is that kids traditionally despise Brussels sprouts? I don’t think I even tried them until a few years ago, but I have been on a major kick and will add them to my Green B.E.A.N. delivery any time they are available.

Oven Roasted

Oven Roasted

My favorite way to prepare them is very simply to roast them in the oven with a little salt and pepper. If you need an exact recipe to follow, try this one. I followed it the first time but have since made small modifications and even tried other seasoning, though it seems that salt and pepper are enough.

With Chicken And Potatoes

With Chicken And Potatoes

I haven’t had any luck getting our three-year-old to give them a try, but I hope to make sure he doesn’t wait as long as I did to discover these tasty little veggies.

Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole

This isn’t my grandma’s green been casserole recipe, but I wish that it was. I’ve made the recipe at least three times now and have had great feedback. We’ve already had two Thanksgiving dinners this week with another big one on Thursday. I think I am in charge of green bean casserole once again Thursday, so I’ll be making at least one more batch. Give it a try if you are looking for something different from the traditional cream of mushroom soup based recipe.

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

The first Thanksgiving dinner was with my parents, brother, and his girlfriend this past Saturday. I decided to smoke a turkey breast for the main attraction. Originally I wanted to find a boneless breast, but ended up with a bone-in as that was all that two different stores had in stock. The breast weighed about 7.5 pounds and took right around five hours to smoke somewhere between 335 to 350 degrees.

Smoked Turkey

Smoked Turkey

I used a very basic hickory chip for the smoke and thought the flavor came through pretty well. I would definitely do it again as it really didn’t take much additional effort or time and the results were great. I remembered how much fun it can be to sit and tend to a smoker all afternoon while sipping on a few beers. I hope to get back into this more in the coming summer.

My Plate

My Plate

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving holiday and break from the daily grind.

Sauteed Carrots And Leeks

In our most recent Green B.E.A.N. delivery we received a couple of leeks. I don’t think I’ve had leeks before, at least not that I can remember, and I certainly had no idea how to prepare them. Fortunately I found that they were very easy to prepare and sauté.

Leeks And Rainbow Carrots

Leeks And Rainbow Carrots

This recipe is pretty basic, but I would have had no idea that carrots and leeks paired so well together. The hardest part was chopping up the veggies, which really wasn’t all that hard.

Sautéing

Sautéing

The results were delicious and tasted great served with a Chinese style chicken and jasmine rice.

Dinner Is Served

Dinner Is Served

I look forward to trying more recipes with leeks in the future. Their onion like qualities make them an easy substitution and I’m told that they make a great addition to soups.

MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Burgers

I recently became a BzzAgent and was invited to my first campaign. As part of the campaign I received a coupon for a free package of MorningStar Farms veggie burgers that I would in turn evaluate. I took my coupon to my local Kroger store and searched high and low for the MorningStar Farms products. I could not find them in the meat alternative section of the store. Fortunately a kind employee showed me to their location hidden next to the waffles in the normal freezer section of the store. I found the spicy black bean burgers that I wanted and was on my way.

Packaging

Packaging

Last night I decided to give the burgers a try. The box comes with 4 burgers inside with 2 in each of the plastic wrappers. Even though it was much too cold to fire up the grill outside, we are fortunate to have an inside grill to use to prepare the burgers. I also had some wheat buns that I added to the grill as well. And I finished each patty with a slice of cheddar cheese for the last couple minutes of grilling.

Grilling

Grilling

Once everything was done cooking I assembled the burgers and added a fresh piece of green leaf lettuce as well as some ketchup and mustard.

Complete

Complete

Overall I was fairly happy with the results. I don’t think the burgers are as tasty as some I’ve had in area restaurants, or the ones we’ve made before from scratch, but they weren’t bad in any way. I was actually hoping for a little more spiciness than what I tasted. The patties are full of beans and corn, so you know they are healthier than a meat burger. I received a few additional coupons as part of the campaign and I do think I will buy a few more boxes to see if there is something else that we might like better.

Slow Cooker Chicken And Dumplings

For Christmas Kim and I received a slow cooker from her parents so we are now finally able to prepare these simple meals that seem to be all the rage recently. Monday was our first attempt with it following this recipe for chicken and dumplings. Kim put everything in the pot before leaving for work and set it on low to cook for eight hours. We were using mostly frozen chicken and read that this was the preferred heating method.

Before Dumplings

Before Dumplings

After work I returned home to find the chicken was cooked and the slow cooker had dropped down to the warm setting. Using a spoon I shredded the chicken to make sure it was done and I thought it would make it easier to eat. I then turned the heat back on to high, as the directions indicated and threw in the 2 cans of refrigerated biscuit dough.

With Dumplings

With Dumplings

Unfortunately we would soon realize that it was going to take much longer than the advertised half hour to cook the dough into dumplings. I think our problem was that the slow cooker had been on the warm setting for hours and it took a considerable amount of time to get it back to the high setting to adequately cook the dumplings.

Dinner Is Served

Dinner Is Served

Once it was finished I served it in bowls with a little fresh ground pepper. I was really impressed with how much I liked this meal. Unfortunately it doesn’t really meet the set it and forget it requirement that we typically need, so I’m not sure we will be making this particular recipe again. Unless I decide to do it on a day I’m working from home and can add the biscuits in a couple of hours before serving time.

Mini Reubens

With so many holiday parties over the last month or so, I was struggling to come up with a different appetizer recipe to bring to a party on Christmas Eve. At a prior party I spotted cocktail rye bread slices that were used to make hanky panky and immediately thought the same loaf of bread could be used to make mini Reuben sandwiches. I didn’t really need a recipe but found this one to use as a guideline.

Ready For Baking

Ready For Baking

Rather than making them all with corned beef, I used a pound of smoked turkey and a half pound of corned beef to make roughly 32 to 40 servings. I also split the two teaspoons of thousand island dressing into two layers, the first teaspoon was placed directly on the bread slices, while the second (smaller than full teaspoon) was put on top of the 1/2 tablespoon of sauerkraut that I used for each. So it goes slice of bread, teaspoon of dressing, 1/2 slice of meat, 1/2 tablespoon of sauerkraut, 1/2 teaspoon of dressing, 1/4 slice of cheese, heat and serve.

Turkey Complete

Turkey Complete

These were such a hit at the first party that I took them to that I decided to make them again for two more parties this past weekend. They are a little time-consuming to put together, but so far it has been worth it.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Onions

In a recent produce delivery from Green B.E.A.N. was a massive two-pound sweet potato. When I placed the order I thought that it said two pounds of sweet potatoes, and not one gigantic one. Realizing that it would take forever to cook this sucker whole, yesterday I searched the internet for a good recipe that would feature chopped sweet potatoes. What I found was a recipe for roasted sweet potatoes and onions.

My Results

I liked that the recipe called for two onions, which I also already had on hand. These were regular old yellow onions and not sweet or Vidalia, but I don’t think it hurt the recipe at all. I also left out the almonds since they are on my list of foods I’m supposedly allergic too. The amaretto liqueur left a sweet glaze with a hint of booziness. I really enjoyed this dish. It is probably my favorite sweet potato dish in a long time. Consider it for your Thanksgiving dinners. I would but I’m in charge of green beans this year.