Monday, August 27, 2018

Meatballs and Gravy

I’m not going to pretend that I am Italian, because of every nationality that is mixed through my veins – Italian is about the single one that I am not. However, I love Italian food & tend to make some pretty great meals when I cook Italian food. This is something I am confident I can make well…enter meatballs and gravy. Now, since I am not Italian by birth (only by choice) I would not have known that the sauce is actually called gravy, when you put it on meatballs, but I did read about it. Also, I found everything I need to make this wonderful recipe at Harter House and Harter House World Flavors.

Meatballs and Gravy
Ingredients:
For Meatballs:
1.5 lb of mild Italian sausage
1.5 lb lean ground beef
2 eggs
2 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning
3/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (reduced fat)
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
pinch brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

For “Gravy”
2 large cans Cento crushed tomatoes
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 small yellow or white onion
olive oil
1/2 diced roasted Italian red pepper
fresh basil – minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
pinch sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
couple dashes hot sauce
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp of lemon juice


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Open a bottle of your favorite wine and consume while cooking.

3. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl. Once all the ingredients are blended together, you are going to form your balls. These are meant to be bigger than the kind you find in your spaghetti – since they are the main course. So you want them to fill up a good handful (why is this starting to sound dirty)…



Once you have all your meatballs formed, line them up on a cookie tray. Its really important not to crowd the tray so the meat cooks evenly. Once you have this step completed, put your meatballs in the oven – reduce the heat to 375 and cook for exactly 45 minutes. Reducing the heat allows for the outside to form a slight crunch, while the inside cooks perfectly.


4. Now we start on the sauce! Slice the onions & chop garlic & add to saucepan over medium heat with about 2 swirls of olive oil in the pan.
Once the onions have cooked and are translucent, add in the remaining ingredients for the sauce, starting with the crushed tomatos. After you have all the ingredients added & well incorporated, turn the heat to low & cover. The flavors will all blend together on a low simmer while the meatballs finish cooking.

5. When the meatballs are done you are going to take each one and add to your sauce, excuse me, gravy…. and roll around to make sure they are completely covered. Optional step is to place a slice of mozerella on each meatball (after its been rolled in the gravy) and cover again for just a minute to melt the cheese.

6. For the salad, I cheated and bought a bag of Ultimate Caesar Salad mix, but I am not kidding when I say, it was the BEST bag of salad I have ever bought. BECAUSE it has the shaved parmesean cheese, the creamy dressing & this little spice mix to sprinkle on top that I had never seen before….
(PS, I always cut out the lettuce "ribs")






I topped my meatballs with some grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.


Crunchy Thai Peanut & Quinoa Salad


This Thai-flavored salad recipe is made with carrots, cabbage, snow peas, and quinoa, tossed in delicious peanut sauce. This healthy salad is vegan, gluten free, and packs well for lunch. Recipe yields 4 salads.

Ingredients
Salad
  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts, for garnish
Peanut sauce
  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (I love ginger so I used 2 teaspoons)
  • ½ lime, juiced (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 ½ cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the quinoa until it has absorbed all of the water. Remove the quinoa from heat, cover the pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce: Whisk together the peanut butter and tamari until smooth (if this is difficult, microwave the mixture for up to 30 seconds to loosen it up). Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. If the mixture seems too thick to toss into the salad, whisk in a bit of water to loosen it up (I didn’t need to do this).
  3. In a large serving bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, shredded cabbage, carrot, snow peas, cilantro and green onion. Toss to combine, then pour in the peanut sauce. Toss again until everything it lightly coated in sauce. Taste, and if it doesn’t taste quite amazing yet, add a pinch of salt and toss again. Divide into individual bowls and garnish with peanuts.
  4. This salad keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. If you don’t want your chopped peanuts to get soggy, store them separately from the rest and garnish just before serving.

Notes

Recipe minimally adapted from Frugal Vegan by Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Homemade Alfredo Sauce with Garlic

I googled homemade Alfredo sauce this past week and this was the recipe that I used.
I put it over spaghetti noodles, because I didn't have fettuccine noodles on hand.
Then I sautéed scallops and shrimp for a wonderful meal!

INGREDIENTS


2 tablespoons salted butter
2 large garlic cloves
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Melt your butter in a 2-quart sauce pan over medium-high heat. Press your garlic and add it to the melted butter, stirring a bit. Let it cook for 30 seconds, being careful not to let the garlic burn.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and stir the cream into your garlic mixture. Add your salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  3. Let the cream come to a low boil, while stirring frequently.
  4. Then lower the heat and let the pot simmer, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes, or until the cream thickens. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Turn off the heat and move your Alfredo pot to a cool burner. Gradually stir in your fresh Parmesan and Romano.
  6. Place the pot over low heat and stir until the sauce is thickened further. It is done when you push your spoon along the bottom of the pan and can see the bottom of the pan. It will take a few minutes.
  7. The sauce will thicken even more as it sits.
  8. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to four days.

NOTES

It's important to use freshly grated Parmesan and Romano, so the cheese will melt smoothly. (Don't use the cheese sold in a can, or the sauce will be grainy.) 

This sauce makes enough for one pound of pasta. You can easily cut the sauce recipe in half for 8 ounces of pasta. Note that your sauce will take less time to come to a boil and thicken.

To reheat leftover Alfredo pasta, drizzle on a little olive oil before microwaving it, so the pasta isn't dry.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

Well, I'm obviously ready for some spicy grilled jalapenos today.  So I thought I would share!
Of course, you'll find everything you need at Harter House and Harter House World Flavors, along with whatever your choice of grilling meats may be!!

Cheese-stuffed jalapenos are always popular when I serve these as appetizers. There’s a flavor explosion in each crisp and tender pepper.   There are many ways to spice them up.   I also have made a bacon-wrapped version.  If you scrape the jalapenos clean, they won't really be spicy, just a little heat afterwards but definitely not 'burn your mouth run screaming for a glass or five, of water'. The trick with these is to grill them slowly. If you try to cook them over the hottest part of the grill, you'll end up with crispy bacon and raw peppers.

If you're not into grilling, (But who is not into grilling?) you can bake these in the oven, I'd say about 15-20 minutes at 350, then you can finish them under the broiler if you want. 
You could also cook them in the smoker.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or paprika
  • 10 jalapeno peppers

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Cut a lengthwise slit down each pepper, leaving the stem intact; remove membranes and seeds. Fill each pepper with 1 tablespoon cheese mixture.
  • Prepare grill for indirect heat. Place peppers in a disposable foil pan. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted. Serve warm. Yield: 10 appetizers.
 Note: You may want to wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

 
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Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Peppers

5 large jalapenos (or more if they're smaller)1/2 c cream cheese1 c shredded cheddar
1 teas salt
pinch of pepper
3/4 teas smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, crushed
5 slices bacon

Slice your jalapenos from stem to tip of the pepper. Carefully open the peppers, and scrape out the seeds and white membranes. Gloves again recommended. Set the cleaned peppers aside. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic. Stuff each pepper with as much cheese mixture as you can. Wrap each pepper tightly in a slice of bacon, and secure with toothpicks or on a skewer.
Grill on the side of the grill, where it's not too hot, for anywhere from ten to twenty five minutes, depending on how hot the grill is. You can grill them on foil, so you don't ruin your grill grate with cheese. These peppers need slow heat and a little time. Let them cook so that the peppers are cooked.
Serve with ranch dressing. Or just eat as is, they're perfect.

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Here's a different idea;

Beth took a few recipes and combined them to make these. She mixed cheddar cheese and cream cheese to stuff in some Jalapenos and put a little smokie in some of the others and then covered them with cream cheese. The first picture was taken before the ones with smokies had cream cheese on them and they were wrapped in bacon. She grilled them and then put them under the broiler for a bit to crisp up the bacon.

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers
jalapenos
cheddar cheese
cream cheese
little smokies
bacon (cut each slice in half)
Cut jalapenos in half, taking seeds out. Mix equal parts of cream cheese and cheddar cheese and 'stuff' into peppers. Wrap with bacon. For the ones with smokies: Put the smokie in the pepper, cover with cream cheese and wrap with bacon. Grill until bacon is crispy.
 
 
 
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 OK, so this isn't grilled Jalapenos exactly, but it looked SO GOOD I thought I would share it also.

Grilled Jalapenos and Corn
with ParmesanThis is an extremely easy yet tasty side dish to prepare. This is only fun on the grill, when you can just toss all the ingredients into a strip of tinfoil, wrap it up and toss it on.


Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cup corn (frozen corn works great)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon diced scallions
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper
Cooking Directions
  • Heat a grill to medium heat.
  • Add all ingredients to a long strip of tinfoil and fold the foil up around the ingredients. It should look like a big Hershey’s Kiss.
  • Set on the grill’s top rack and grill 12-15 minutes, until ingredients are nice and hot.
  • Stir and serve!

Grilled-Pineapple Salsa


I do love Pork topped with a fresh fruit salsa.
This Grilled Pineapple Salsa is one of my favorites. It's super simple and healthy! Hope you enjoy!




















Ingredients
5 (1-inch) slices fresh pineapple (about 4 1/2 pounds)
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 drained canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced

Preparation
Preheat grill.
Place first 3 ingredients on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side. Discard stems and seeds from bell peppers; then dice pineapple and bell peppers. Combine pineapple, bell pepper, onion, and remaining ingredients; toss gently.