Thursday, January 26, 2017

SHEPHERDS PIE ~ ITALIAN STYLE

Recipe adapted from "One Dish at a Time: Delicious Recipes and Stories from My Italian-American Childhood and Beyond" by Valerie Bertinelli

SHEPHERDS PIE ~ ITALIAN STYLE
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small sweet mini red peppers
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped (I have also used a shallot or a shallot and part of a red onion)
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons dry mustard
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into equal size pieces
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Preheat the oven to 375˚.
  • Chop the carrot, celery and onion into like size pieces.
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Combine the garlic, bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion in the oil and cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Push the vegetables to the perimeter of the pan and add the lamb.
  • Increase the heat to high and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned all over.
  • Sprinkle with the mustard, 1 teaspoon of the salt and some pepper, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the tomato paste, fennel seeds and tomato puree and stirring again to blend.
  • Cook for 1 minute more. Turn off the heat and stir in the mint and sage.
  • Remove the bay leaf.
  • Add the potatoes to a saucepan and cover by 2 inches of salted water.
  • Cover and bring to a boil. Cook until a knife releases easily from the potatoes when pierced in the center, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the potatoes.
  • In the same pot, combine the milk, butter, and 1/3 cup of the cooking water and stir together over high heat. Bring to a boil.
  • Work the potatoes through a ricer, then slowly drizzle the hot liquid over the potatoes and stir until light and fluffy.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spoon the lamb mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch deep-dish pie plate, spreading it evenly over the bottom.
  • Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top, covering completely. Use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to create a swirled pattern in the potatoes.
  • Bake until the topping turns golden, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

PAN SEARED GARLIC CREAM CHICKEN

PAN SEARED GARLIC CREAM CHICKEN
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced or pounded thin
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Meyer Lemon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 sprigs Lemon thyme, leaves pulled and stems discarded
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
  • Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken, cooking until golden on both sides.
  • Remove chicken and keep warm.
  • Add garlic, stirring to brown until aromatic.
  • Add wine, cream, thyme and tarragon.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring sauce to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and add parsley.
  • Add chicken pieces back in and coat with sauce.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BAKED SWEDISH MEATBALLS

One of the things I do when making a new recipe is make it EXACTLY the way it is written the first time.  The next time through I make the changes that appeal to my family's tastes.  I don't post them until I've tried them the second time and plan to make them yet again.  These meatballs were one of those recipes.
BAKED SWEDISH MEATBALLS
1 Vidalia onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, finely crushed
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 slices white bread, no crusts, torn into crumbles
1 3/4 pounds ground sirloin
3/4 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Heat oil over medium high heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, fennel, salt and pepper sauteing until onion is completely tender. 
  • Add onion mixture to a large mixing bowl and cool completely.
  • Add bread to onion mixture and blend well.
  • Add beef and pork, mixing with your hands until the onion mixture is well blended into the meat mixture. 
  • Form into ping pong size balls.  Should make 40 or so. SET ASIDE 2 uncooked meatballs for making your sauce.
  • Line a jelly roll pan with foil. 
  • Arrange meatballs on foil.  I use a stainless cooling rack inside the jelly roll pan to put the meatballs on so the juices fall below.  
  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Broil meatballs for 7-10 minutes or until cooked through.
1 tablespoons avocado oil
4 teaspoons WONDRA flour
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 cups beef stock
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar*
  • Heat oil over medium high heat.
  • Add your 2 uncooked meatballs, stirring and crumbling.
  • Add flour and all spice, coating and blending the meat.
  • Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and reduce to 1 cup. 
  • Remove from heat and add sour cream, butter and vinegar.
  • Spoon over meatballs.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles.
NOTE: *This recipe works well with other flavored vinegars if you omit the fennel.

Monday, January 23, 2017

PARMESAN ROASTED CARROTS

I tore this recipe out of a magazine.  Which one is unknown, but I did find a small logo in the corner for CAL-ORGANIC FARMS, so I assume that this is their recipe.  I accidentally overcooked this recipe, but that only added to the flavor.  There was literally nothing left in the bowl when everyone was done.

PARMESAN ROASTED CARROTS
  • 2 small packages carrots, rinsed and dried
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons powdered Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Panko crumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped Italian Parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line your baking sheet with foil.
  3. Place carrots in a ziploc bag.
  4. Whisk the oil, garlic, salt and pepper together until well blended. Pour over carrots.
  5. Sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs.
  6. Shake until well coated.
  7. Spread carrots onto cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes until carrots are tender.  Shake pan halfway through.
  9. Serve immediately.
I'm off to check out CAL-ORGANIC FARM'S website and see if I can find any more great recipes.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 4 of 2017

As many of you know I have been working to get my new website, Chasing MY Life, up and running.  Well, it's up and it's running.  It still needs some tweaking, but all in good time. I will mirror post here for awhile and eventually just use this site as my personal recipe box. Come over and visit.  Tell me what you think about the new site.
OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
We have had a torrential week of rain with major flooding in the area.  Fortunately we have not been flooded here in the house, only the garage and we did end up with 2 fairly severe leaks that make me think of the old house in It's A Wonderful Life when they first moved in.  All I can say is thank god for beach towels and buckets!  Hubby is waiting for things to dry out a bit so we can assess the damage and do the repairs.  Once the rain moved through we ended up with severe winds that required emptying the backyard of anything not nailed down, but on the up side it's helping to dry things off up on the roof.

Today though is GORGEOUS! We are supposed to be sunny all week.  Unfortunately this close to the coast I NEVER bank on anything.  The torrential rain we had last week occurred while we were only under a 20% chance of rain and those days started out gorgeous too.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
Ensure Clear and coffee.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE
It looks pretty good.  I had a very productive week stuck inside with the rain.  I was able to go through the baking cabinet and the linen closet and took another 5 bags to the women's shelter.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS
I've been up and mostly down with laryngitis and a cold or something last week also so will take it fairly easy this week.  I may be making a doctor's appointment otherwise.  I just have ZERO energy! With NO immunity because of the SLE hubby thinks I picked up a bug from all the digging in the filthy dirt (the local cats as well as my cousin's cats had been using that area as a BIG cat box) it last week. I wore gloves, but evidently that wasn't enough.
  • Paperwork
  • EBAY
  • Phone Calls
  • Make appointments
  • Sort China Cabinets
  • ERRANDS 
CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR
  • BIG BANG THEORY
  • WHEN CALLS THE HEART
  • PURE GENIUS
  • NCIS
  • BLUE BLOODS
  • THIS IS US 
  • GRIMM
  • THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE
  • GOLIATH
  • BULL
  • SCORPION
  • SUPERGIRL
  • CHICAGO MED, PD, FIRE
  • HEARTLAND
  • HEART OF DIXIE
  • STRANGER THINGS
  • Z-NATION
  • DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • MADAM SECRETARY
  • ONCE UPON A TIME 
  • CHESAPEAKE SHORES
  • ICE PILOTS
  • ETC....... I'm sure I forgot a few...
READING
Secrets and Lies ~ THE OKLAHOMA BRANDS #3 by Maggie Shayne 

CRAFTS & PROJECTS
Probably nothing this week, but hopefully soon.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
PANCAKES
BACON & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
GARLIC WINE CHICKEN
PEPPERONI MAC & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
CHICKEN with MAGGI CREAM SAUCE
SLOPPY JOES
DESSERT








SUCCESSFUL RECIPES and their links FROM LAST WEEK
  • 5 CHEESE GOURMET MAC & CHEESE
  • PARMESAN ROASTED CARROTS (recipe to come this week)
  • GARLIC CREAM CHICKEN (recipe to come this week)
  • SHEET PAN SWEDISH MEATBALLS (recipe to come this week)
HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP
FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA
Between storms hubby kept plugging away on the fencing.  He was able to get the new downspout area done which I for some reason did not yet get a picture of as well as this section near the utilities.  Eventually there will be a short privacy fence keeping all these utility pieces out of sight.


INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

5 CHEESE GOURMET MAC & CHEESE

NOT THE BEST PICTURE, BUT IT WAS OOEY GOOEY CREAMY DELICIOUS.
5 CHEESE GOURMET MAC & CHEESE
8 ounces macaroni or campagnelle noodles, prepared according to package directions
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1 small red onion, diced small
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 2 1/2 + 1/2 + 1
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 teaspoons DIJON mustard
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups shredded Fontina cheese
1/4 cup grated Bleu Cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere Cheese
1 1/2 cups EXTRA sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Asiago Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian Parsley
1/3 cup crushed Keebler Club crackers
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons powdered Parmesan Cheese
  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Butter a 9x9 baking dish.
  • In a large skillet brown bacon until crisp and crumbly. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  • Add onions to  bacon drippings, sauteing until soft.
  • Add the 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter.  
  • When butter is melted whisk in the flour making a roux.
  • Whisk in the mustard.
  • Gradually and alternately add the milk and cream, whisking constantly.
  • Add the thyme and salt.  Bring to a SLOW rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Strain into a large mixing bowl and discard any solids.
  • Add ALL 5 cheeses quickly, stirring constantly until melted and a smooth consistency.
  • Add in the cooked noodles stirring to coat.
  • Fold the noodle mixture into the baking dish.
  • Blend together the melted butter, Parmesan Cheese and cracers.
  • Sprinkle on top of noodles.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and rest 10 minutes before serving.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

LIFE AS IT HAPPENS

As many of you know I have been working to get my new website, Chasing MY Life up and running.  Well, it's up and it's running.  It still needs some tweaking, but all in good time. I will mirror post here for awhile and eventually just use this site as my personal recipe box. Come over and visit.  Tell me what you think.