The end of October is upon us folks. As much as I am disturbed by that fact, The Secret Recipe Club is here to save the day. This month I was assigned to Colie’s Kitchen. At first I really wanted to be a kid in the kitchen and make her Mall Style Pretzel Dogs, but I then found myself torn between the Gnocchi with Spicy Tomato and Wine Sauce and Scooter’s Spaghetti. I hope your powers of observation figured out which one won the battle. I mean come on, it has cream cheese in it which is like peanut butter in a dessert to me = weakness.
While making this I had the pasta boiling, the beef browning and the vegetables cooking in the microwave all at the same time. They all had about 5 minutes of time to get going, so I prepared as much as I could in advance and then threw it all together at once to cut down on time in the kitchen. I think everyone can appreciate a little less time spent cooking and more time enjoying your efforts afterwards.
Not to my surprise, the cream cheese mixture was my favorite part. It added such a creamy deliciousness that I could not stop eating it (and made me think about making lasagna with cream cheese instead of ricotta). The original recipe said it serves 10 but there’s no way that was happening for me. Maybe if you served it with a side salad or veggies. Or maybe I just have the appetite of a 16 year old boy.
I’ve been really bad. I cooked these burgers in the leftover bacon grease from cooking the bacon which is stuffed inside the burger. It’s bacon-ated inside and out! And to make things
worse even better, these are big boy burgers with half a pound of beef for each patty. Originally I planned on making quarter pounders, but my bretzel rolls came out much bigger than usual and I decided I would make the burger fit the bun. No sense having a puny burger on an over-sized bun!
Stuffing a burger with the components of a jalapeno popper is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Seriously, I think these were the most delicious burgers I’ve had the pleasure of occupying my belly. The idea for these burgers came from an original plan to make jalapeno popper dip for a cook-out I was going to attend. Unfortunately I found out the cook-out was cancelled as I was already grating the cheddar cheese. Since I needed new dinner plans and already had the rest of the ingredients on hand, I improvised. And then, the jalapeno popper stuffed burgers were born! I even added some onion rings on the side .
First off, I wanted to thank every one of you for all the wonderful birthday wishes. I had a great (and tiring) weekend, filled with too much food and staying up way past my bedtime. Weekends are always much too short, especially birthday weekends when friends like Becky come to visit. But definitely had plenty of fun to make up for not going to the Beale St Music Fest for the first time since I moved here 5 years ago (cannot believe it’s been that long).
But on to this burger. Many burgers I have encountered that include pineapple, merely have it as a layer in the toppings. But this burger is special – it is stuffed with an entire ring of fresh pineapple. There is even a sweet and tangy sauce to top it off.
That bun is purely for decoration only. Sure it’s real but I didn’t touch the thing. I grew up without eating these burgers on a bun because, well, the recipe never says anything about a bun! And honestly, I love this burger without any silly bun. But I included it anyway because a burger patty sitting on a plate by itself isn’t very photogenic.
Random question, do you spell it ketchup or catsup? Cause my mom totally spelled it catsup on the written recipe card I have and I never knew she and I spelled it differently then me.
Read the rest of this entry »
Last year I made a marmalade glaze for the corned beef and it rocked my world to the point where when planning the menu for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day feast I didn’t want to try a different version. Especially when contemplating a blackberry glaze. Berries on beef? But I took a chance and was glad I did!
Although I do have to admit that the marmalade glaze still is #1 for my corned beef, the blackberry glaze was still very delicious. Who knew I could like berries with my meat? This corned beef was served with carrots, roasted cabbage (recipe shared tomorrow) and herbed potatoes.
Maggie also brought over Guinness bread complete with glorious honey butter, and Sarah made a reuben dip for the appetizer while waited for the rest of the food to be ready. I nearly spoiled my appetite with that dip – amazing!
A quick mom update – she is still enjoying her cake pops (that woman has serious restraint which I did not inherit) and recovering from surgery. Says she still feels weak and bumps into things while walking but her headache pain has lessened. Hopefully things will look good at her next check-up!
CORNED BEEF WITH BLACKBERRY MUSTARD GLAZE
1 (4-5 lb.) corned beef
1 onion, peeled and quartered
8 whole cloves
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
6 carrots, peeled, and chopped into 4-inch pieces
1/2 cup blackberry preserves, or favorite flavor of preserves
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- Use a sharp knife to carefully trim off the excess fat on the corned beef.
- Place the onion and carrots in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Add cloves, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns. Place corned beef on top and add water to cover.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
- In a small saucepan, whisk the glaze ingredients together until combined, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the mixture has slightly reduced and thickened, about 7-10 minutes.
- Remove the beef and carrots, and set the carrots aside. Place the beef on an aluminum-foil covered baking sheet. Brush with glaze, then place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, until the glaze begins to caramelize.
- Remove from oven, and let the corned beef sit for at least 10-15 minutes before carving. Brush with additional glaze if desired. Serve with roasted cabbage, herbed potatoes and carrots if desired.
Source: Adapted from Gimme Some Oven.
Don’t you just love when you’ve come home from a long day, and dinner is hot and ready upon your arrival? If that phenomenon occurs in your world on a regular basis, then I envy you because it is a rarity for me. They occur as frequently as today’s date (hooray leap year!). Living alone certainly has it’s plus sides but you definitely cannot rely on anyone else other than yourself to put food in front of you at the table (or standing at the counter, or reading blogs at your computer). That is until you have friends come to visit and you put them to work!
Bob came to visit two weekends ago and since he is just about as food-obsessed as I am, we turned my kitchen upside-down. (I also put him to work as my lab slave when I went to lab to count cell colonies forming on agarose plates – this is science folks). But one night after I was at work all day, I had the luxury of not lifting a single finger in order to have this meal appear. And of course such a momentous occasion had to be shared so Maggie came over to enjoy it as well (and to escape from the meatloaf dinner alternative). She and I devoured the bacon that should’ve been reserved for the leftover fourth burger, but we deserved it after spin class.
Other than the obviously delicious bacon, the burgers as a whole were fantastic. The chipotle sauce was the perfect addition and the pretzel (bretzel) bun is my favorite carb with which to surround a burger. Moral of the story? I need to leave visitors alone at my home more often so that magical food appears. Especially thick crispy bacon.
(Of course I did have a role in planning this meal since we had gone to the grocery store a couple days prior to get the ingredients, and it was my idea to substitute the mayo for Greek yogurt in the sauce, but I’m not trying to take all the credit )
BACON JALAPENO BURGERS WITH CHIPOTLE SAUCE
1/4 cup Chobani plain 2% Greek yogurt
1-2 chipotle peppers
2 tsp adobo sauce* (optional)
1-1/3 pounds ground beef
Sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder
4 rounds of red onion
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
8 slices crispy cooked bacon
16-20 pickled jalapeno slices
4 bretzel rolls (or other rolls if you choose)
*Note: You can find cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Ethnic aisle at your grocery store. I pull out a pepper or 2 & dice them up, and then use the adobo sauce straight from the can. Store the leftovers in a little airtight container in the fridge for future use.
- For the Chipotle Sauce: Mix together ingredients until combined.
- For the Burgers: Divide the ground beef into four 1/3 pound burgers. Patty them out and set them on a large plate. Season with a simple sprinkling of salt, pepper, and garlic powder (make sure you season both sides). Set aside until ready to grill (or pan sear if it’s cold where you are).
- Heat grill (or pan) to medium to medium-high heat and grill for a 4-7 minutes on each side until desired doneness. During last minute of cooking – add a slice of cheese to each burger and close cover until cheese begins to melt. While the burgers are cooking, add the onion sliced and allow them to char a bit on each side and begin to soften. Remove burger and onions from grill and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.
- Place a burger on each bun and top with 2 slices of bacon and 4-5 jalapeno slices. Slather some of the chipotle sauce on the top bun and place a grilled onion round on top. Add a little lettuce if you so desire and place to halves of the bun together. Slice in half and serve!
Source: Adapted slightly from My Life as a Mrs.
My experiments at lab seem to have me functioning in awkward and inconvenient time frames a lot the past 3 months. Thankfully the results have been pretty good thus far, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain so long as it continues to cooperate. It is comforting to feel like your efforts weren’t for nothing.
Speaking of things being comforting how about this soup?
Yes I just made yet another cheesy transition. (Are you keeping count on how many times I do that?) But truly I loved this soup. This soup actually almost didn’t even happen. First it appears that barley is a rare commodity in these parts, so it took awhile to even find that final ingredient after I originally saw this recipe. And then when I was ready to make it one weeknight, I neglected to read the recipe through ahead of time (fail) and realized dinner wouldn’t be ready for a little over 3 hours. I may have had dessert for dinner and then dinner for dessert that night.
So the lesson here is to first live in an area that has decent grocery stores, and second to read recipes fully before you make them! Unless you like having soup for dessert. (I have to admit however, I didn’t mind ending my meals for the day on the note of this soup.)
BEEF WITH BARLEY SOUP
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. beef cubes (for stew)
1 large onion, medium diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, smaller ends cut into rounds, larger ends diced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and large diced
1-1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
6 cups beef stock
2 cups water, if needed
1/2 cups pearl barley
1/2 tsp thyme
1 whole bay leaf
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
- Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil.
- Brown the beef cubes for three minutes in the oil, then add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are cooked and just start to caramelize. Stir as needed to keep onions and garlic from burning. Lower heat if necessary; drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to keep food from sticking.
- Add everything except the tomatoes to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as necessary to keep soup at a slow simmer. If the soup thickens too much, add a little more water or broth.
- Taste to correct seasonings, then add tomatoes and simmer for another hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.
This recipe is the reason why I made a double batch of chili just for me. It also comes in handy if you like to jazz up leftovers into a new meal (I happen to fall into that category). I know this from experience as I was attempting to eat everything in my fridge before the holidays arrived. Normally this would have resulted in creating even more leftovers but I brought this dish to a potluck and it was a huge success! Which means no more leftovers, hooray!
…but now what am I supposed to eat?
Don’t forgot to enter the giveaway going on right now for an adorable cookie spatula!
CHEDDAR CHILI CORNBREAD PASTA BAKE
1-1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow noodles
3/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
2-1/2 – 3 cups of leftover chili
1 batch of your favorite cornbread (I used half of this recipe and baked the other half as muffins)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off the cooking time since the noodles are going into the oven. While the pasta is boiling, mix up a batch of your favorite cornbread and grate cheese. Drain pasta.
- Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Add pasta to the bottom of the dish, then layer on the cheese and chili. Top with your cornbread batter, spreading gently with a spoon. Don’t worry if it doesn’t reach the edges.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cornbread is golden on top and cooked underneath*. Serve immediately. Leftovers are good for 3-4 days.
*Note: depending on what cornbread mixture you use, your cooking time may differ. Just make sure to check it after 30 minutes or so. The cooking time will increase for the bread since it has “wet” layers underneath.
Source: How Sweet It Is
Last week I came down with a pretty nasty cold. But since my cat is not much of a cook, I had to make myself some soup – or chili rather. This recipe is my dad’s so it was the closest thing to having someone else cook for me as I could get without leaving my apartment.
This chili actually recently won best chili in a contest my dad entered in their community. No wonder, when we used to live in Texas he was on a chili team! The only thing I changed was using hot chili beans instead of mild.
Most of the time I double this recipe. In which case I sometimes use half chuck steak and half ground beef, and one can hot beans and one can mild (and yes I actually did double it this time but am posting the undoubled version). As an added bonus, I also whipped up my mom’s jalapeno cornbread which I will be sharing with you tomorrow!
One year ago: Oven-Fried Onion Rings
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. beef chuck steak, cut into bite-sized pieces (may substitute with ground beef)
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
1-10.75 oz. can condensed tomato soup
3/4 cup water
6 oz. beer (half a bottle)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Tabasco hot sauce (optional)
1-15 oz. can hot Mexican chili beans
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
- In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil until tender. Add meat and brown until only a little pink remains.
- Add sauce, paste, soup, water, beer, and seasonings. Thoroughly mix and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered until thick, about 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
- Stir in the beans, pepper and cheese. Simmer for another 15 minutes and then serve immediately with additional cheese on top, and with either crackers or corn bread.
Source: My dad
I am very excited to be a new member of The Secret Recipe Club! For my first assignment I had the honor of picking a recipe from Jenni at The Gingered Whisk. Browsing through all of her recipes I knew it was going to be a tough decision, because I had a ton of tabs open within a matter of minutes. But then I discovered that we have something in common – we are both obsessed with root beer! Immediately I knew I would have to make her root beer sloppy joes, the post in which she proclaims her love of such bubbly goodness. And she calls it pop, which is so refreshing to hear after living in Memphis for 4.5 years. Yay pop! (I miss you, upstate NY.)
As I have said before, despite my love for root beer I have not played with it much in the kitchen. But after making pulled pork with my favorite pop, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that a sloppy joe would be just as good. That being said, these put Manwich to shame! I made them a little spicy by adding 3 tablespoons of green chiles, but you can cut back or even add more depending on how much sizzle you like on your tongue.
I served these for dinner while carving pumpkins with Katie and Leah, and they were a big success! Oh and we were also watching the Ohio State vs Wisconsin game which was absolutely AMAZING! I may have been screaming and jumping around a lot in between hacking into my pumpkin (when something I didn’t like happened). But my Buckeyes pulled it off for a big win. This season has been a roller coaster for sure but I am so excited to go back to Columbus for the Indiana game this weekend! Oh and Happy Halloween everyone!
Stay tuned for another root beer post soon, and this time it’ll be a dessert.
ROOT BEER SLOPPY JOES
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground sirloin
1-1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup root beer
2/3 cup tomato sauce
3 Tbsp canned diced green chilies, optional
1-1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup minced scallions
4 potato rolls or hamburger buns
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute, just until fragrant. Add the beef and sauté, breaking up gently, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the root beer, tomato sauce, green chilies (if using), and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a lively simmer and cook about 15 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
- Stir in the scallions. Pile onto rolls or buns.
Source: The Gingered Whisk, originally from Parenting magazine.
Steph’s Virtual Bridal Shower: Stuffed Flank Steak with Potato Cakes and Amaretto Chocolate Cheesecake
Kita, from Pass the Sushi, contacted me about contributing to Steph’s (from Steph’s Bite by Bite) surprise virtual bridal shower and I definitely knew I wanted to be a part of it. Even though some of us (myself included) are already donating desserts to her dessert bar for the big wedding day, this was a fun idea to do in addition since it is after all, a surprise! Who doesn’t love surprises?
Another thing that I really liked about this idea, is that even though I am very aware that Steph is fully capable of pleasing her soon-to-be-hubby’s belly, she will now have a big new list of great date-night meal ideas to play with. I don’t know if that was the original intention behind this masterful plan, but I think it makes sense.
I decided to go all the way and do a full meal. Naturally, I created a huge mess in my kitchen making everything for this, but I drank a glass of wine in the process so it make it not seem so bad. And had another glass after cleaning up after myself. And then maybe I invited Katie over and we finished the whole bottle while watching Project Runway and being amused by my cat playing with a rubber band. Maybe… yes. Yes, I am getting sidetracked.
I prepped the potato cakes first, then let them sit for a few minutes while I prepared the flank steak. Once the steak was in the oven, I cooked up the potato cakes. The timing was just perfect and I can’t believe how well it all went together. The juicy flavorful steak was served curled up on top of the crunchy potato cakes that were super moist and heavenly. It is a fancified (I may have just made that word up) meat and taters!
As for the cheesecake, it was the logical choice for the end of this meal. With the Italian-ish feel of the steak, having a dessert with Amaretto and mascarpone just seemed right. And it is made one day in advance so the kitchen mess gets spread out between two days. But the dessert really doesn’t make much of a mess. Except maybe a mess of your diet, because I decided it needed a drizzle of Nutella on top while I was at it. Go ahead and try to tell me I was wrong.
Happy surprise virtual bridal shower, Steph!
FLANK STEAK STUFFED WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES, GOAT CHEESE AND BASIL
10 oz. (ish) flank steak
2 oz. goat cheese, brought to room temperature to soften
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Butterfly the flank steak, and then pound is to flatten it slightly. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, combine the softened goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, basil, a few grinds of pepper. Spread the mixture on top of the flank steak, and then roll it up to form a log. Secure the steak with kitchen twine or toothpicks.
- Heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the flank steak and brown it on all sides. Place the flank steak in the oven to finish cooking to your desired level of doneness (about 1o minutes for me). Place the steak under a foil tent to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
SPINACH POTATO CAKES
Makes one dozen
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup packed fresh spinach, stems removed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large Idaho potato, boiled and mashed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup canola oil
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter, melt, then add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Squeeze the spinach dry and finely chop; place in a large bowl. Add the egg and stir until well combined. Add the mashed potatoes, Parmesan, and lemon zest, and season with more salt and pepper; stir until well combined. Stir in the bread crumbs and flour until the mixture holds together. Pat into 2-inch by 1/2-inch-thick cakes.
- Pour Panko bread crumb into a shallow bowl. Coat each potato cake and press down slightly to adhere. Gently shake off any excess and transfer to a plate.
- Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the cakes and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
AMARETTO CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE CHEESECAKE BARS
Makes 9 bars
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour, divided
1/4 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp Amaretto
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8″ x 8″ square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang, and set aside.
- Cut the butter into 1 cup of the flour and powdered sugar until crumbly. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown.
- Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Add mascarpone and 2 Tbsp flour; beat until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
- Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in Amaretto. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
- Divide the batter in half. Add cocoa powder to one of the batters and mix until fully incorporated.
- Pour chocolate filling into pie shell. Carefully spoon plain Amaretto batter on top. Scatter chocolate chips if using.
- Bake cheesecake until top is golden and cake is almost set (center 2 inches will still move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 40-50 minutes. Cool cake on rack 1 hour before refrigerating uncovered overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
- Before serving, lift out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper before cutingt into 9 squares. Drizzle melted Nutella over the top is desired.