A Warm Spring Supper

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dinner is finally in the oven to cook for about 45 minutes and I am finally getting to sit on the back porch on this totally warm evening. "Deep breath."
Tonight I have made barbecued country style pork ribs with a side of parsley and herb roasted potatoes. Smells delicious!
Before I put the ribs in the covered stoneware baker I seasoned them with greek seasoning and browned them on both sides in olive oil on the stove top. Then I put them in the covered stoneware baker and poured the juice from the pot over top of them. I sliced up a large, sweet onion and covered the ribs with them and then sprinkled on some 21 salute spice mix. 
I mixed up a concoction of two barbecue sauces, chili sauce, and a little chipolte spice and poured it over the top. I have it baking in a 385 degree oven.
For the potatoes:
I simply peeeled and quartered medium sized potatoes, washed and dried them and placed them in a size appropiate bowl. I drizzled olive oil all over them, added salt and pepper, and about a tablespoon of fresh parsley. I mixed it al up and poured it into a round baking dish uncovered to bake along side the ribs.
Hope everyone has had a gorgeous, warm day!

My Second Home Made Seasoning Venture...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sloppy Joes! Yep! I had almost lost the desire to eat sloppy joe's as I knew them, but tonight?! Oh me, oh my! So much better when all of the ingredients in our food is fresh! So much better. Makes you look foward to actually eating what you cook!
So... I started out with almost 2 pounds of ground chuck seasoned with a liberal amount of greek seasoning and black ground pepper.
Add to that 3/4 of a white onion and 3/4 of a red bell pepper chopped. When the hamburger is partially browned, I added 4 chopped cloves of fresh garlic to the mix. Now, you have to let this all cook well together before adding the rest of the good stuff which includes, Worcheshire sauce, mustard, ketchup and brown sugar. I must admit, I had the tomato paste on stand by just in case I did not like the sharpness of the ketchup. But, to my pleasant surprise, when it was all simmered down, it was very good as it was. No tomato paste needed!

I toasted up the ciabatta rolls on the griddle with butter and a little EVOO! Delish!
And Voila! The finished yumminess with sweet potato fries from the oven! Yum!
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen!

Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies

A little recipe to cheer up your wintery days.
I have been asked for and given this recipe many times. So just as it was shared with me, I am going to share it here with you. This recipe is simple, yet these cookies are so very yummy!

**Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies**
1/2 cup butter
3 tblsps. unsweetened cocoa powder
2-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla
2 cups oatmeal

This recipe is completely stirred by hand.
Pre-measure all of the ingredients and set aside.
Lay out a 24" piece of waxed paper onto a solid surface.

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a full boil then time it for exactly one minute at a full boil. Remove from heat and then add the vanilla and peanut butter. Lightly mix until just creamy, then stir in the oats.
Using a tablespoon, drop cookies onto wax paper. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Awesome, Delicious, Maple Brussel Sprouts. Amazing!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Yummm-i-licious! I think best describes this savory, sweet side dish of _________? Well I'll tell you what, you try this and then give me one word that you think describes it!
I have always liked brussel sprouts even as a kid, cooked in salted water with butter from the freezer case but it has only been about a couple months since I bought and prepared my very first "fresh", never frozen, brussel sprouts! I could not believe the difference! Oh my yumminess! Sooo much better!
So for those who may not be big on brussels, they have a deep pungient flavor. The kind of flavor that needs a little sweetness added to, kind of like collards. So, I began experimenting. I made my first batch and they were really good. On my next batch I thought I would add in some cauliflower since I do like cooked cauliflower, but that was a real mistake. I added this took away that and Long story short I ended up with what I think is a perfectly imperfect BS concoction! Below is the recipe for you to try or at least as close as I can get to a recipe because I rarely measure anything when I am trying and perfecting new recipes. Enjoy!
Eat Like you mean it!
Spicy Maple candied Brussel Sprouts by Julie
**First, A Note!
If you substitute any ingredient in this recipe, such as bacon instead of pancetta, or pancake syrup for the Real Maple Syrup, it will change the delicious outcome of this recipe.
*1 pound of Fresh Brussel Sprouts
*3 large Fresh Garlic Cloves, chopped
*1 or 2 large Jalapeno Pepper, chopped (If you do not like any heat, omit)
*6 ounces Pancetta (Italian Bacon) sliced into small pieces
*Olive Oil of your choice
*1/4 - 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
**As you prepare each ingredient set it aside in it's own little prep bowl for an easier way to add it later.
*Wash, pat dry, and slice brussel sprouts in half. Remove any "yucky" outer leaves if any and place in an appropriate sized bowl. Lightly salt and pepper then toss to coat. Set aside.
*Peel and chop the garlic.
*Wash and chop the Jalapenos.
*Slice up the pancetta.
*Set out the Olive Oil and Maple Syrup by the cook top.
We are ready to cook!
*Place pancetta in a 9-10 inch skillet in a single layer. Cook over a medium heat until pancetta is almost done.
*At this point add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and immediately add the brussels and toss them around to cover them in the olive oil. Drizzle a bit more olive oil over the sprouts if needed. Cover with lid and cook until brussels just begin to soften and become brighter in color. (See pic below.) Immediately add garlic and jalapeno peppers. Cover and cook about 5 or so minutes over low gas heat stirring once or twice.
* Remove lid and deglaze your pan with the maple syrup. Stir and let simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Keep watch so they do not burn. Depending on the amount of maple syrup you added and the cook time this will determine the amount of carmelization. If you want more, add the syrup sooner and always remove the cover after adding the syrup.
*The key here is cook the sprouts to a soft firmness but do not allow them to become mushy. If so they will lose their flavor.
*Serve Hot! This dish pares well with any meat really.
I hope I have written this well enough for you to make your own yummy sprouts. Should you have any questions, feel free to ask.

My 2nd Favorite Breakfast! Yum!

Monday, February 9, 2015

This just happens to be what I had for dinner two nights ago. Pecan filled waffles made on my new Cuisinart 5 in 1 griddle that I had to buy to replace to replace my G. Foreman griddle that had gotten severely damaged when moved into the house last July. I had been starving for waffles ever since we moved in but could not find a proper replacement for my machine. I really loved the versatility of my G. F. grill but the newer ones?? Well, bottom line is I hated the painted looking colors and thought they might be hard to maintain since one does use oil of one kind or another when cooking on it, So, I finally decided to choose the stainless steel finish on the Cuisinart brand, as well as the vesatility of being able to select different temperatures to cook with as well. In conclusion? My new Cuisinart cooks at higher temps so my food gets done quicker. I haven't tried it yet but, I believe it will make a mean grilled panini! I am a happy camper! Oh! This post was supposed to be about the waffles! Right! 
So for the first time I used the pancake mix from Red Mill in an effort to find a replacement for the best pancake mix ever I used but could never find again. You must add fresh ingredients to this mix for a pretty good waffle I must say. I almost always add pecans to my waffles or pancakes for an extra layer of complete yumminess! I use frozen chopped strawberries, thawed to a mushy consistency, then I add fresh sliced strawberries to top each waffle. And last but not least of all the crowning jewel of real whipped cream. Yum! and Yum! Wouldn't this make a picture perfect Valentine's Day Breakfast/Brunch?
To sum it all up? I luv my new replacement griddle and I luv being able to have these delicious waffles again! Now? Up to the treadmill!
Super Big Hugz! Eat like you mean it!

New Found Chop THerapy and Fresh Herbs & Spices...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

For the past two years I have been cooking more and more with fresh herbs instead of dried spices. Needless to say, it has taken my recipes to a whole new level and with so much more flava!! I have also found that I really, really enjoy chopping vegetables and herbs more than I imagined possible. I actually find chopping in the kitchen extremely therapeutic for me. Who would have thought?!
My spaghetti sauce, chili, soups, and even my stuffed bell peppers have been completely reformed. When ever I can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned. So much better. I have been watching the food channels almost daily on my Ipad while I am in the kitchen preparing for dinner. Not too long ago I made the best version of stroganoff I have ever eaten just by adding Italian Mascarpone to thicken the gravy rather than the traditional sour cream. No bragging just saying food education is a very good thing! Now, Italian cream cheese is sweeter and a bit milder than our major brand over here but it makes such a creamy, dreamy gravy. I cleaned my whole plate and still wanted more even though I was completely full! Y-U-M! Is all I can say.
Here are the ingredients I used to make it.
Essenhaus Wide Homestyle Noodles (at your local Wal-Mart)
Fresh ground beef
Large chopped Onion
Fresh minced Garlic 3 to 4 cloves
Fresh Chopped Parsley appx. 1/2 cup
Greek Seasoning
Fresh ground Black pepper
Brown Gravy to cover hamburger well
Italian Mascarpone Cream Cheese use in place of sour cream
I cooked my noodles al dente, I do not like them too soft and served the hamburger gravy over them instead of mixed all together. This is also better when reheating left overs so your noodles will not become too soft. And... since my husband will not eat stroganoff it allows him to just eat the hamburger and gravy over the noodles minus only the mascarpone.
Maybe next time I make this I will be able to give a more precise measurement of the ingredients. Until then, just compare the amounts to your normal hamburger and gravy recipes.
If you have any questions just ask.
Thanks for stopping by!
Eat Fresh, Live Long!

Taking Nut Butter to a Higher Level...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Quite some time ago, about two years or more, after a few scares with the peanut factories in the news, I was forced to find alternative to my beloved peanut butter! And even though I didn't consume peanut butter on a weekly basis, it was always like an old friend always ready to pair up with a fresh pot of vegetable soup, or a mid day hunger crisis. When I noticed the flavor of my long time peanut butter brand had changed for the worse, I began seeking out other brands to take it's place, from old time faves to new promising brands, nothing seemed to taste like a fresh ground peanut anymore so I began to look at other nut alternatives which led me to delicious almond butter! Now I have always favored the crunchy pb&j over the smooth, so the slightly crunchiness of this new butter was not offensive to me at all. So, I began to use almond butter for my occasional pb&j fix. Well, then there was also something else new on the market! They called it Nutella! Of course being a lover of nut butter and chocolate I was going to give it a whirl! I do not exactly know why, but hazlenuts, which is the nut that is used in making Nutella, has never been one that I cared for at all and after trying on several different occasions to eat this yummy concoction, it always ended up with my stomach in a very disagreeable state! So! before the holidays kicked in I came across this almond version of Nutella at the local Trader Joe's so of course I snatched it right up on the way to the check out! Here is how I find it to be. It is a bit on the sweet side the texture is completely smooth and it lacks enough flavor of the almond butter as well as the chocolate. It is okay in a crunch, but I think I would prefer stirring some melted semisweet chocolate into some almond butter myself or maybe just drizzle the chocolate over top.
Okie doke! That is my two cents worth!
Have a great rest of your day and thanks for stopping by!
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