Monday, June 9, 2014

[My Take On] Ina's Spicy Meatballs

These are adapted from Ina's recipe for spicy meatballs.  They're really easy to make, go together fairly quickly, are quite tasty, and they freeze well -- everything I love in a recipe! :)

Meatballs

*Note: The original recipe calls for Panko breadcrumbs.  I have made these with Panko, and with "regular" breadcrumbs, from a variety of breads. Either works fine.  In a pinch, you can even tear up 3-4 slices of bread -- toast them lightly to dry them out if you have time; if not, tear them up, pour the milk, and get meatballing!

2 cups breadcrumbs
2/3 cup whole milk
~1.5 pounds ground beef  
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or bacon, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated aged Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing the meatballs

Heat oven to 400.

Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl or measuring cup with a spout, and stir to distribute; set aside.  In a very large bowl (you want room to work), add beef, prosciutto/bacon, cheese, herbs, eggs, and olive oil.  Add breadcrumb/milk mixture, and mix thoroughly with your hands.  Scoop meatballs onto parchment-lined baking sheets (rimmed are easier if you have them -- no 'balls rolling all over the place as you put them into the oven!)  I use a mini ice cream scoop, but you can use spoons or your hands -- whatever you have.  Just try to keep them all roughly the same size.

My small ice cream/cookie scoop yielded balls about 1/1.5 inches in diameter.  I baked them for 40 min @ 400 degrees on parchment paper.  I used one jar of marinara sauce and the meatballs from one tray -- I got two and a half trays of 'balls from this batch (using the smaller scoop.)  It fed me, two hungry men, and plenty left over for lunch today -- served with about 2/3-3/4 of a box of linguine noodles.  The rest of the meatballs went into the freezer -- easy future dinners, my favorite!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Quality Meats Steak Sauce

Quality Meats Steak Sauce


  • *All amounts are to taste.*
  • Black-strap molasses
  • Raisins
  • Orange-tomato purée
  • Fresh rosemary leaves
  • Fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Roasted garlic 
Blend the raisins and the molasses until smooth.  Muddle the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper using a mortal and pestle, or the back of a wooden spoon.  Add the molasses mixture and the puree to taste.  Adjust amounts/seasonings to taste, and enjoy!

[My Take On] Blue Sky Bran Muffins

I just discovered these muffins -- I've made them twice, and we have inhaled them both times.  They go together quickly, are easy to make, and would be great for brunch, family breakfast, tucked into lunchboxes, morning snacks, etc.  Bonus: because of the good amount of fruit and very small amount of "sweet," kiddos can eat them too -- our munchkin LOVES them!

Blue Sky Bran Muffins
Adapted from Table of Contents via the Sweetie, and Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 12-14 standard muffins

1 cup plain yogurt (I used a combo of non- and full-fat)
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup (coconut or other cooking) oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon or orange (or two of either)
1 1/2 cups wheat bran 
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1-2 cups chopped mixed fruit* (Blue Sky says just about anything but citrus or pineapple will work; frozen berries are fine)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners; spray them lightly with nonstick spray.

Whisk yogurt, milk, egg, oil, molasses, vanilla, and citrus zest in a small bowl. Whisk bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir wet mixture into dry until just combined and still a bit rough.

Spoon two 2 tablespoons of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Add about 1-2 tablespoons fruit to each (dividing it evenly). Spoon remaining batter (about 1 tablespoon each) over fruit. (I used a mini ice cream scoop -- two scoops of batter, then the fruit, then one scoop of batter on top. Flatten the batter slightly with your fingers.)

Bake muffins for a total of 16  minutes, (rotating pan once midway through baking time for even browning), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Do not overbake. Remove from tin, and cool for a few minutes before eating. 

Muffins keep for 3 days at room temperature, longer in the freezer.

*Fruit combo ideas: banana-coconut, mango-fresh cranberry, blackberry-apple and blueberry-raspberry, blueberry-mango-blackberry-raspberry, blueberry-blackberry-raspberry. (FYI, Avoid strawberries if the muffins will not be eaten immediately.

~ Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sneaky Chicken-Sweet Potato Enchiladas

I happened to see canned enchilada sauce at the market the other day.  I don't know why I never noticed it before, but I hadn't.  I didn't have any specific plans for it, but figured it would be good to have on hand...and just a few days after I bought it, that proved true!  I had a couple of sweet potatoes in the fridge, as well as some cooked chicken breasts, corn tortillas, and cheese -- dinner!  The enchiladas were delicious, easy, and fast -- I'll be making them again very soon!  My husband loved them! 

One of the best parts?  They are a great way to sneak veggies into dinner -- the sweet potatoes are not very obvious, so if you have picky veggie-eaters, give these a try.  They also reheat very well, so you can get another dinner or lunch out of them, or freeze a pan for an easy dinner down the road.

Serves: 4
Prep time: not exact because my chicken was already cooked, but I'd say that even with peeling/shredding the sweet potato, they went into the oven in about 20 minutes, start to finish.

*Note: I grated the sweet potato on a grater with large holes, and it shredded it very easily.  I would have a few extra corn tortillas on hand, in case you end up with extra filling.  You can use whatever kind of cheese you like best -- I used a mix of cheddar and pepper jack.  (If you are counting calories or can't eat cheese, omit it -- these are delicious either way.  If you're not using cheese, I would pour a bit more sauce over the top to keep the enchiladas moist.)  The first time I made this, I used one of the smaller cans of enchilada sauce.  It's doable; just put a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking pan, or skip it all together.  And the tortillas don't need to be soaked with sauce, just a thin coating -- basically to moisten them.

1-2 cans enchilada sauce, depending on how much sauce you like
1 medium sweet potato, orange or white, peeled and grated
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
8-10 Corn tortillas
Shredded cheese to taste, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350*.
  2. Spray a glass or metal baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, pour a little bit (maybe a 1/4 cup) of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish, and spread it in a thin layer. (This can be skipped if you're worried about running out of sauce.)
  3. Pour some enchilada sauce into a flat dish or onto a plate.  (If you have time, you can warm some in a saucepan, but I was under the gun and needed to get dinner into the oven.  It worked just as well without warming the sauce.)  
  4. Add the chicken and shredded sweet potato to a bowl, pour in enough enchilada sauce to moisten, and mix well.  Add some shredded cheese to taste, if using.
  5. Dip a tortilla into the sauce in the dish, coating both sides.  
  6. Put about 1/4-1/3 cup of the chicken-sweet potato mixture down the center of the tortilla, roll it up, and place seam-side down into the prepared baking dish.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with remaining tortillas until filling is gone.
  8. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the filled tortillas, spreading to coat evenly. 
  9. Cover pan with foil, and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.  Remove foil and sprinkle with cheese, if using. Bake for another five minutes to melt the cheese.
  10. I served these with sliced jalapenos, hot sauce, salsa, and diced avocado so they could be "doctored" according to each person's tastes, with heated black beans (sprinkled with cayenne pepper and chili powder) on the side.  And some chopped cilantro, because I happened to have some in the fridge.
Enjoy!
~ The Newlywed Chefette

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Double Chocolate Banana Bread, and Anna Pump's Loaves and Fishes Banana Tea Bread. It's simple and goes together really quickly, and the results are deeeee-licious!  This would be a great way to sneak some bananas and whole wheat into the mouths of babes who might be a wee bit picky. :)

*Note: Feel free to add some chopped nuts if you feel moved to do so. :)  Try substituting 1/4 cup of applesauce and 1/4 cup of coconut oil for the oil (I will be giving this a whirl the next time I bake some.)  I would start checking the bread for done-ness at 45 minutes the first time you bake it; 50-52 minutes will likely be the "sweet spot" but all ovens are different.

2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil (See Note)
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed (if they've been frozen, just snip the end off and squeeze them out of the peel)
1 t. baking soda
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips (or as many as you like :) )

Preheat the oven to 350*.  Beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer for three minutes -- it should look "creamy."   And the bananas and mix to combine.  Add the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder, and mix until combined (you can mix the dry ingredients in a bowl before adding them to the batter, but it's not critical.)  Add the chocolate chips, and mix just until combined.  Pour into a buttered loaf pan, smooth the top, and bake for 50-55 minutes. (See Note, above.)

Let cool for a few minutes once it comes out of the oven, and then turn out onto a cooling rack.  (You may want to loosen the sides with a spatula or butter knife to help it "release" from the pan.)

Slice and serve.

And try not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting....

Enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Danish Gløgg (Mulled Wine)

The Husband's family is Danish (for reals, from Denmark!), and this year at Christmas he decided to try his hand at a traditional Danish holiday recipe, gløgg! (I asked him for another pronunciation lesson just last night -- he thinks it should sound something like "glooog" -- "glug" works just fine too!) After trying it, and seeing how easy it is to make, I thought, "Hey, this gløgg would be perfect for my blog! I should blog about gløgg!" (Plus, I just like saying gløgg and blog together as much as possible....)

Gløgg is a Danish mulled wine, served warm and usually around Christmastime, but it's a delicious warm beverage that works well all winter long! It's really simple to make, and is ready very quickly. We got this recipe from Husband's brother. I love old family recipes that are more "a pinch of this, a dash of that" than exact measurements -- and this one is no exception!

So, enough chit-chat, let's make some gløgg, shall we?!

Gløgg

Notes: If you are planning to make this around Christmastime, please buy the ingredients ahead of time, so you don't end up like we did, standing in the spice aisle on Christmas Eve staring at the empty rows where the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves are supposed to be. Face, meet palm. Oh, and Googling the difference between "tawny" and "velvet" port while standing in the wine aisle. Makes a good story though, right?! And the difference? Apparently regular port (some bottles say "porto") is the velvet kind, but none of them actually say velvet. The tawny ones do say tawny, though, so it's easy to figure out. Also, if you find that you don't have whole cloves, or cinnamon sticks, or cardamon seeds, you can sprinkle in ground cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom in a pinch -- it achieves a very similar (if not identical) flavor!

You will need:
Some Burgundy (wine)
Some Port (NOT Tawny)
An orange
Some whole cloves
One or two cinnamon sticks
Cardamon seeds, optional
Granulated sugar

Brother-in-law says, "Use one part Burgundy for every one part Port. Make sure you use the "velvet" Port, not the "tawny" Port, which is too intense. You can also use Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot in place of Burgundy if you need to.
Throw the wine together in a big pot, and heat it on medium-low. Don't heat it too much, or you will burn off the alcohol, which is, after all, the point. (hee hee)

For every gallon or two (they don't mess around!) of gløgg you are making, get an orange and push cloves through the skin of the orange.
The cloves should be spaced about a half-inch apart, so you should have 15 or 20 cloves in an orange (You can see from my photos that I used more than that -- it's not critical if you use more.)



(You basically want the orange to look like a landmine! haha)
Drop the orange in the pot,
as well as a couple of cinnamon sticks. You can also drop some cardamon seeds in there (without the shells), but that is a minor ingredient--not to worry if you don't have any around. (We don't have any so we have never used them - it's delicious without them.)

Finally, you will need to add some sugar. I know I will sound like Mormor (Danish for mother's mother, i.e. grandmother) here, but I don't have a measurement for you, and it is hard to tell how much. I would just throw in a tablespoon per gallon to start, and then taste it -- keep adding sugar until you think it tastes right. (I think we have used less than this and it tasted great, but sweeten it however much or little you like.)

When it is warmed and ready, you can use a ladle and serve it directly from the stove top, or use a strainer to get the orange, cinnamon sticks, and cardamon seeds out,
and a funnel to
pour it back into the bottles until you want to drink it."

"Skål! ("skoll" -- Cheers in Danish!) ~ The Newlywed Chefette

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crab & Corn Chowder


Crab & Corn Chowder

This is a hearty chowder, inspired by Pioneer Woman's Corn Chowder with Chiles, that is perfect for a Fall or Winter day. It's warm, comforting, filling, and delicious, but best of all? It's easy to make, and freezes very well.

Prep/Cook Time: Approx. 1 hour
  • 3-4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or smaller)
  • 1 medium potato (or a handful of Trader Joe's Teeny Tiny Potatoes), diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 1 whole white or yellow onion, diced
  • 5-7 ears corn, shucked, OR 2-3 bags frozen corn kernels
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 3-4-ounces canned diced green chilies
  • 3 cups of broth/stock, and 1 cup of white wine (or 4 cups broth/stock)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 3 pinches white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups crab meat, flaked or chopped (fresh, frozen, canned -- whichever you prefer) -- you could also use shrimp
  • Optional garnishes: sour cream, creme fraiche, or plain yogurt, chopped chives or green onions, crumbled bacon
Note: shucking the corn kernels can be quite time consuming, so if you want to get this chowder onto the table for a quick dinner, use the frozen ones. The flavor develops as this chowder "sits," so if you have time, make it a day or two ahead of when you plan to eat it -- which is even better because dinner will be no-fuss that night!!

Turn your oven to broil. Spread the corn kernels in an even layer in a 9x13 glass pan, toss with a little olive oil (optional), and put them under the broiler while you prep the rest of the ingredients and start the chowder. You want them to roast, and for the top kernels to start getting brown/black.

Dice the potato and onion, and chop the chiles. Measure the cream and broth/stock/wine, and mix the cornmeal with water. Check the corn -- if it's not as roasted as you'd like, start the chowder, and keep roasting it until it's time to add it to the pot (checking every so often to make sure it doesn't burn.)

Put the bacon in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, fat-side down. Cook for a minute or two, until the bacon starts to curl and some of the fat has melted -- then throw in the potatoes. Stir well, and then let it sit for at least 30 seconds, because you want the potatoes to fry a bit, brown on one side, and pick up some of the bacon flavor. Then stir as needed to prevent burning.

About 1 1/2 - 2 minutes after adding the potatoes, add the diced onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the butter (if using) and let it melt, then add the corn. Stir, let it cook for about a minute, then add the chilies and stir well.

Pour in chicken broth/stock, wine (if using), and cream. Sprinkle in the salt, sugar, and some freshly-ground black pepper if you've got it, stir well, and bring to a boil -- then reduce heat to low.

Pour the cornmeal/water mixture into the chowder and stir well. (Tip: if some of the cornmeal gets stuck in the bottom of the bowl/container, just scoop up some of the chowder mixture, swirl it around, and pour back into the pot -- the cornmeal will go with it!) Add crab, stir, and cook for 15-20 minutes at a simmer.

It's delicious served with toasted bread -- I love the bread with garlic baked into it -- or enjoy a big mug of it on a cold, blustery day (like we did yesterday as it was pouring rain!)

Enjoy! ~ The Newlywed Chefette