Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beef Pasta Dish

I was trying to figure out what to call tonight's dinner.  I first goulash but I looked up the definition of that and it said that to be called goulash it paprika would be used, well I didn't use any paprika so I just went with beef pasta dish.

Beef Pasta Dish
1/2 package elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 pound ground beef sausage (this is what we used which comes from a local source Mountain Run Farm, but you can use just ground beef)
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large clove of garlic, pressed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar of homemade tomato sauce 
A small amount of tomato paste (see note below)
Dried oregano
Dried basil
Brushetta Herb mix
Salt and Pepper
In a large skillet, add a little bit of olive oil and heat skillet to medium high.  Add onion and cook until soft, add garlic.  Add beef and break into small pieces as it cooks.  Add bell pepper and tomato sauce.  Cook until beef is cooked through.  Add diced tomatoes with juice and a small amount of tomato paste.  Mix all ingredients together.  Add herbs (I used a couple of pinches of each but it will be really up to your taste) and stir.  Add cooked macaroni to meat mixture and stir. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Note:  When using a can of tomato paste, (usually you only use a tablespoon or two) I freeze the leftovers into a small snack sized ziploc bag.  Mash tomato paste so that it is flat in the bag, place in freezer.  The tomato paste won't stick to the inside of the bag once frozen, you will be able to remove it from the freezer and using a sharp knife cut off a section that you will need to cook with, place the bag back in freezer to use for next time.  That way you have no waste.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Steak Dinner with all the Fixin's

Okay so there is a storm barreling down on us on the east coast, in this part of Virginia I think we will make it through okay.  I am hoping that everyone else that Hurricane Sandy effects will be okay.  Even though for us it is really windy (which we could not have predicted when we decided to have steak for dinner) we cooked out on the grill anyway.  We bought this steak and bacon (which I used for this meal) from a local company called Eco Friendly Foods.  The steak has been aged for 60 days.  If you have never had an aged steak you don't know what you are missing.  Aged beef can be so tender and the flavor incredible.  Of course on the flip side it can be a bit pricey, so you may only want to do an aged steak every once in a while.  I was not disappointed at all on the flavor and tenderness of this steak. Along with a really wonderful steak, you have to have the perfect sides to go along with that.  For me it is a baked potato with sour cream.  In this house we don't eat too many white potatoes so this is a treat for sure.  Below is everything I made for tonight's dinner.

Grilled 60 Day Aged Steak
Aged Rib Eye Steak (we only had 1 which was plenty for the both of us)
Salt and Pepper
Place steak on a platter and sprinkle on both sides with fresh ground sea salt and pepper.  Place steak on a preheated grill, heated to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook steak on each side for 3 minutes.  This will give you a perfect medium rare.  Don't cook it anymore than that because it will dry the steak out and make it tough.

Baked Potato with all the garnishes along with cooked asparagus joined this meal.

Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
1 package of bacon cooked (The bacon I used was a hickory smoked bacon)
Iceberg lettuce
Blue cheese crumbles
Blue cheese dressing (recipe below)
Remove the other layer of the lettuce (usually it is the one that doesn't look that nice), cut the root part of the head of lettuce, then cut the head in half and half again.  Place one wedge onto a plate.  Note: If you use a plastic knife to cut the lettuce it won't cause the lettuce to brown.  Crumble slices of bacon over lettuce, add salad dressing a few more crumbles of bacon and a couple of pieces of blue cheese.  Top with some fresh ground black pepper.

Blue Cheese Dressing
4 ounces of blue cheese (I used Maytag Blue Cheese, which I love for its flavor), chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
Snips of fresh chives
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Mix all ingredients into a bowl.  If the dressing is too thick, use more buttermilk or juice.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Baked Salmon with Chipotle Smoked Sea Salt

Baked Salmon with Chipotle Smoked Sea Salt
3 - 4 ounce salmon filets (we purchase ours from www.searbear.com)
Chipotle smoked sea salt (we got this really awesome mixture of salts (6 in all) when we ordered from seabear)
Fresh ground pepper
Olive Oil
Heat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Place filets onto a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place into oven and cook for about 20 minutes.  Cook until fish gently flakes, don't overcook it.  When you go to remove the salmon from the cookie sheet use a thin metal spatula and wedge it in between the skin and the salmon.  The skin will stick to the pan.

Along with this meal was cooked fresh asparagus and a side salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, yellow bell pepper, dried cranberries,  sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, avocado, oil and vinegar).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Roast Chicken and Baked Sweet Potatoes

I am finally starting to get back into the groove of planning for meals again.  I gotten away from that and am finally getting back on track.  When you have things that you keep in the freezer you have to be able to plan to thaw things out.  I was thinking ahead the other day when I decided to do a roast chicken.

Roast Chicken
3 - 4 pound whole chicken
Onion, peeled and quartered
Fresh sage
Fresh marjoram
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Salt and Pepper
Place chicken into a baking pan (I used an oval shaped dutch oven), place onion and herbs into the cavity of the chicken.  Bend the wings backwards and down and tuck them under the main part of the bird.  This takes a little practice.  (My husband put the chicken into the pan and oven for me and didn't realize that he didn't know to do this, so the chicken wings are sticking up).  Drizzle chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place into a 350 degree oven and cook for about 1 hour 30 minutes.  Check internal temperature of chicken.  The internal temperature should be 165 degree Fahrenheit. If temperature of chicken is not up to the temperature that you need place back into oven and cook a little longer.

Baked Sweet Potatoes
The sweet potatoes I used for this are Japanese sweet potatoes.
Take washed sweet potatoes, poke holes into potato with a fork, roll up in foil and place in oven (on the lowest shelf)  at the same time you put the chicken in the oven. They should be fork tender when done.  If for some reason they are not done.  Place them into a bowl with lid (minus the foil) and place in microwave for 3 minutes to finish the cooking time. (Our sweet potatoes took a little longer to cook so I finished them in the microwave) Slice sweet potatoes, add a little bit of butter and some cinnamon sugar.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pot Roast with Spatzles

Pot Roast
1 - 4 to 5 pound grass fed top sirloin roast (you could really use anything)
1/2 cup water
1 onion, coarsely chopped 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red wine
Place roast in a large pan (that has a lid).  In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients, pour over roast.  Place pan into a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour.  Spoon sauce over roast.  Raise temperature of oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit, place lid on pan and cook for about 1 hour more.  Depending on the size of your roast, you may have to cook it longer.  You will want it to get to an internal temperature of 165 degree Fahrenheit.  Remove roast from pan, tent with foil to rest.  Place pan with sauce in it on the stove top and cook until reduced.  Make sure that you stir it so that it doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.  Serve  sauce over sliced meat. 

I make these without a spatzle maker.  I have one but don't use it because quite frankly, I hate to clean it.  So I drop the dough by uses spoons.
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup water
Butter (to toss cooked spatzle with)
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a bowl; make a well in the center.  Add eggs and water to well and mix thoroughly.  Scoop up dough on a spoon and with another spoon cut off small little pieces of dough into a pot of boiling salted water.  As the spatzle rise to the top, remove with a slotted spoon and put into a covered bowl with a little bit of butter until all are made.  Toss with more butter if needed and serve. 

I served this meal with cooked frozen green peas.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beef and Bean Chili

I know you have got to be thinking, Has Sue been cooking in her kitchen at all?  The answer is no.  I have been out of town and Fall is a really busy time where I live.  There are several different outdoor activities to do.  I am ready to get back into my kitchen and start cooking once again, so please stay with me as I try to come up with new recipes.

I would love to hear from you, what is your favorite fall/winter food?  Is it an old family recipe? or something you have created on your own?  Please share with me, I would love to know.

The weather has cooled and a big pot of chili is so fitting.

Beef and Bean Chili
1 pound grass fed ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped (I had this on hand, but a green one will do)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drainer and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
A couple of fresh tomatoes, chopped (these came from our garden)
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin (I always grind my own, so much fresher)
Dash of paprika
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of parsley
Cheddar cheese, grated
Sour cream
In a large pot, add onion and cook until soft.  Add bell pepper and garlic, cook until garlic is super fragrant.  Add spices, cook mixing in with onion and pepper.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans, stir.  Add a little bit of salt and pepper.  Let cook, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  (The seasonings above are approximate, I don't really measure - adjust for your taste, if you like it hot and spicy add more chili powder and maybe a little cayenne pepper).  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Serve with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Smoked Salmon Pasta

Back in March I recreated a dish that I liked when we were in Alaska, Smoked Salmon with Cream Sauce and Pasta.  I am trying something different tonight and here is what I did, it is more like a kicked up grown up version of mac and cheese.

6 ounce package of smoked salmon, drained of any juices and chopped with a fork until you no longer have huge chunks of salmon (you want to be able to see that you have salmon in the pasta)

1/2 of a 16 ounce bag of pasta (I used a Fusilli pasta), cooked
1 tomato de-seeded and diced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
about a 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
about a 1/4 cup Romano Cheese, grated
Bechamel Sauce (recipe below)

Bechamel Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, blend in flour with a wooden spoon, and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without turning more than a buttery yellow color.  Remove from heat, and when bubbling stops, vigorously whisk in all the hot milk at once.  Place back on heat and bring to a boil, whisking until thick.  Simmer, stirring for 2 minutes.  Season to taste.

Once the Bechamel Sauce is done, add a little bit of the parmesan and romano cheese. Stir until slightly melted.  Stir in artichokes and smoked salmon, add tomato.  Add sauce mixture to the pasta and toss until pasta is coated.  To serve top pasta with a little bit of  grated parmesan and romano cheese.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lemon Butter Black Cod with Sauteed Kale

This has been a crazy past moth and a half, I have been running here and there and have been out of town and away from my own kitchen.  Finally after almost a week a homemade dinner.  The fall seems like it always ends up being a little hectic, things that you want to do, things you must do to prepare for the winter, etc.  It has been this way for me, more of the things I have to do versus the things I want to do.  The area of Virginia that we live in has many fall activities and for some weekends it is hard to pick just one thing that you would like to do, but in reality sometimes that doesn't work.  Here is what I made tonight, you may have seen these down before but it is nice to make something that you know works.

Lemon Butter Baked Black Cod 
This is fish that we get shipped to us from a company called SeaBear.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.   Place a piece of foil onto a baking sheet (this will make clean up easier) and create an edge so that the lemon butter mixture you pour over the fish won't run off.  Place about 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a pan on the stove, add the juice of 1 lemon, stir while melting butter.   Add some fresh ground pepper and some salt to the butter mixture, stir and remove from heat.  Pour over fish.  Place fish in oven and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes until fish flakes with fork.  About half-way through baking baste the fish.

Sauteed Kale

This is a Bobby Flay Food Network Recipe
1-1/2 pound bunch of kale, washed/soaked, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water (I used water)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook until soft , but not colored.  Raise the heat to high, add the water and kale and toss to combine.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all of the liquid has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste  and add vinegar.  Serve.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

The weather has turned cool all of a sudden (today anyway) and I thought it would be the perfect day to make a pot of soup.

I had a chicken carcass that I had put in the freezer from one of our leftover dinners.  Yesterday I placed the frozen carcass into the crock pot, added water and let it cook from yesterday until late today.  I used this broth for the soup today.  Just strain the liquid from the crock pot and place into a pan.  It measured about 6 cups give or take.  Here is the link on how I normally make chicken broth .

2 raw chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
Several small carrots (I used some that I got out of the garden yesterday)
1 small green pepper (from our garden), diced
1/2 half of a red pepper, diced
1 small vidalia onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt and Pepper
The above amounts are estimates, adjust to your taste.  Also, I am allergic to celery so I used green and red pepper in place of it.  Add vegetables to the broth, add raw chicken.  Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or so, add herbs and let cook a little longer and adjust seasoning.  When close to the time you are ready to eat, bring the soup to a boil and add the noodles of your choice, cook until tender.  Serve.