French Onion Salisbury Steaks


In keeping with what I learned this month about patties, I thought since its valentines day I would make a special dinner for the ones I love.  I got this recipe from the challenge itself, but it isn’t part of my entries for the challenge itself. I didn’t have overly high hopes, I find just basic beef patties to be quite flavourless, much like the Karbonatky my mother used to make all the time, but it was absolutely delicious! So flavourful, and spicy from the changes I made. Oniony.  Mmm!!  I was going to lay the patty on a slice of toasted Baguette with cheese, but my darling husband didn’t get home in time.. Also, he forgot the baguette. Sheesh!

French Onion Salisbury Steaks

Courtesy of Cuisine at Home April 2005 edition, tweaked to what I had in my cupboards.

  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (close to 2 cups atleast)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp chilli paste
  • 2 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • some more salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

Mix the ground beef with the green onion, salt, pepper, and parlsey

Oil in pan, get it hot then lightly dredge 4 patties you make from it in flour, and put it in the oil. 3-4 minutes each side should do, just need to brown them.

Remove from heat when nice and browned, I put them on a rack over paper towel so that the oil can drip off some

Throw the onions and sugar in the pan, and let those sautee for 5 minutes

after 5 minutes add the chilli paste, mix around and sautee another minute

add the broth, and the remainder of the seasonings. Return the patties to the broth mixture and simmer for 20 minutes.

Yum!

I was so surprised with how delicious this turned out.  My husband is going to be bowled over by this dish, and the kicker was it really wasn’t hard at all!  Happy Valentines everyone!

Daring Cooks – February 2012 – The Pattie!


 The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!

Audax adapted a number of popular recipes to come up with the challenge patty recipes and Lisa has chosen to share two recipes – California Turkey Burger adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, and French Onion Salisbury Steak adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine.

So, this months cooking challenge is the Pattie!  Pause now, if you listen carefully you can hear my husband screaming and cheering for this.  Daring cooks, Audax and lis, he is giving this a standing ovation!  Ever the meat fan, the burger fan, I can hear his enthusiasm, and in his eyes I can see stacks and piles of homemade burgers, full of bacon and cheese and other endless combinations of heart stopping ingredients.   What have I gotten myself in to?

I must admit though, after seeing some of the  variations and knowing that I definitely could use patty preparation practice (thats almost a tongue twister), I was thrilled to attempt a variation that not only has ZUCCHINI in it, but it will finally give me an excuse to have prosciutto in the house!  So here we go,  Patty making a la Darrrrrrrring.

Zucchini, prosciutto & cheese fritters

Servings: makes about 8-10 two inch (five cm) fritters
Recipe can be doubled
adapted from http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/
  • 2 medium sized Zucchini’s
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup grated cheese (A sharp cheddar was recommended)
  • 5 slices prosciutto, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup all-purpose (plain) flour plus ½ teaspoon baking powder, sifted together
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chilli paste
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 tbsp oil, for frying

Grate your zucchini in to a bowl, add the salt and set aside for 10 minutes atleast

pan fry your Prosciutto, when thats done, back to the zucchini. Squeeze drain it thru a cloth or towel. You'll get a lot of liquid. Discard the liquid

add all your ingredients together, leave the egg til last. Remember to lightly beat it. Then preheat the oil in your pan

Scoop some batter in to the hot pan, I used an ice cream scoop. Flatten them down. If they're too thick, they won't cook properly. Fry for 3-4 minutes, 3 was on the dot for me, and flip. Fry other side for 2-3 minutes

I pat dryed them with some clean paper towel after frying. I hate oil puddles on my plates. Then serve! Well recieved


So this challenge surprisingly went off without a hitch.  Not a single issue, not a cooking problem, nothing.  This was my first time trying prosciutto (I know, the horror) and to be honest cooking it made the room smell like dog food a little, but it tasted really good.  Like very salty bacon.

I think my next attempt will be more adventurous! Maybe i’ll succumb to my husbands demands and make some form of stuffed burger patty,  OR, I could always spite him by making the turkey karbonatky.

Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta


Laid back night here in the homestead.  I didn’t take any meat out, was thinking it was a kraft dinner night, but I decided I would just pantry up something yummy.  So here it is! Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta. This recipe is somewhat of an adaption of a recipe a woman I used to live with made all the time, except she used 2 containers of flavoured cream cheese, spaghetti, and no tuna or onion.  I never really liked the addition of cream cheese as a sauce, it felt too heavy, but I thought if i used less it could work out better.  Less is more, right?  It turned out wondeful.

Easy Moms Sundried Tomato Pasta

  • 1 handful sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil from the sundried tomato jar
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (or half a brick)
  • salt/pepper to taste

Boil some water for your pasta of choice, I used rotini, feel free to improvise on the pasta front and cook that however you would cook normal pasta.  In a frying pan, put the 2 tbsp oil in and heat, then salt the oil.  Add chopped onion and let it cook until it becomes opaque, a few minutes, and add the tomatoes.  Cook that around for a few minutes to let the oils mix around with the onion, it will become a reddish brownish colour from the tomatoe.  Add the can of tuna, and cook more, and salt/pepper to taste.   Keep that going for a few minutes at med-med low until the pastas nearly ready and then add your cream cheese.  I pushed the cream cheese around with a wooden spoon until it melted as best it would and mixed it all together.  Spoon it out on to your pasta and eat. Delicious.  I could never figure out why I stayed away from sun-dried tomatoes so long.

Pork and Apple Empanadas


I love empanadas.  Thats about it with that, I just love them.  I had my first empanada at a Playschool celebration with my eldest daughter, it was a potluck.  I brought zucchini bread, one mother brought a perfectly Elmo decorated two tier homemade cake,  only later I found out she was a professional baker.  Lots of ethnic food there from the various cultures that came everyday to expose their children to a school type day. Finally, a tray of tiny meat and potato empanadas.  They were absolutely delicious!   I got the urge to make them again when I was doing my Pierogi challenge, and made a pork and apple filling.  Though it was good in the pierogi, I thought it would be killer in an empanada.  Why I have yet to make them? Well honestly… I don’t know!   I’ve had a lot go on in the last few years, between moving twice, broken ankles, and the children I haven’t done a lot of things.  Today I was motivated.  Today I worked out for an hour, I cleaned, and I made empanadas.  Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Empanada Dough

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2  cup all purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup cold salted butter, cut in to cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup ice cold water
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

I know that doesn’t sound like your basic traditional empanada dough, but I vowed to be healthier this year.  So I bought the whole wheat flour. I admit, I bleeped it this time. I used all whole wheat flour and it did NOT come out tasting very good, dough wise.  Mixed on the inside with the pork it tasted better, but I also didn’t roll it out as thin as I should have.  I think splitting the quantity with regular all purpose flour would have made it MUCH better. I used salted butter because, well, it was on sale for $1.00.  Because it is salted, I omitted all salt from the recipe.  I used 2 eggs, because I found it wasn’t binding as well with the whole wheat flour.  Balsamic vinegar?  I’m out of regular. Its raining, i’m not going to the store now!

Pork and Apple Filling

  • 1 lbs spicy italian sausage
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped finely

I'm ready! Cut your butter in to cubes and throw in your flour. Cut it up like normal pastry cutting.

Egg, Water, Vinegar, Whisk!

combine, knead, ball and fridge for MINIMUM 1 hour. This is when I had to add the extra egg because my goof didn't bind right.

Start your filling. Sweat the onions/garlic, cook the pork through, add apples and maple syrup and cook for a bit

Let it cook down a bit for the apples to get soft and soak up the maple. I let it cool in a strainer so all the fat and liquid could drain completely

Divide the dough to roll out easier, roll it out THIN! don't make it too thick like I did!!, I used a bowl to cut my circle, and add some filling. Not too much or it won't seal

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, flip, another 5-10 minutes til it gets nice and brown. Like whole wheat toast. Ahhh I'm so new to this whole grains thing.

You will mostly likely have leftover empanada filling.  Do whatever you want with it! I just ate it with a spoon.

 

So all in all, I didn’t do very well at this.  I know my mistakes though, and I have done it properly before.  Whole wheat flour threw me off my game, but i’ll be prepared next time.

Redressing Old Staples


So what do you do when you’re on a time constraint with dinner? Your husband is going to be home late, and you don’t have time to go to the store. You have hungry kids to feed and nothing fresh in the fridge.  So open the pantry.  You see the boxes of kraft dinner, hamburger helper, alphagetti’s… Boring!  But you have no choice. So what did I do in this situation? I brought out the no name hamburger helper from walmart and decided to redress it.  Make it more flavourful and delicious.  Amp’d it up, as the kids would say! So here’s something you could think of next time your old pantry staples are staring you in the face.  Its just as fast, and atleast twice as good.

Amp’d up Hamburger Helper

  • 1 box “Beef Pasta” hamburger helper
  • 1 lbs spicy pork sausage
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup cream (I ran out of milk! Bad me.)
  • handful of peas

So decase the sausage, chop up the sausage, do whatever you prefer so long as it can appear “ground” thru cooking.  I usually decase them in to the pan and then seperate it with my trusty spatula.

My kids hate spicy food, my husband and I love it.  My husband bought spicy sausage, and I already knew instantly they wouldn’t take well to it.  So I used my normal trick of the trade, sweeten it.  While cooking out the pork, when it looks browned i put in a tablespoon of maple syrup and mix it all in and let it simmer for a couple minutes to get that nice sweet flavour coming through.  Once thats finished, you throw in the box contents (pasta and sauce mix), water, cream/milk.  I can’t believe I ran out of milk! Bad mommy. Just bad.

Just let that simmer for awhile.  When its starting to look more saucy than soupy put in a handful of peas, or mushrooms. Any veggies you like.  I dont like overcooking my vegetables, I love the crunch from the peppers or the tang of the onions.   Let it cook a while longer to defrost your peas.  Yes my peas are frozen, oh well!

Eat! Spicy, mapley, pork-y.. Cuz lets face it, ground beef is just plain boring!

Stuffed Sole Fillets


Before I begin, I have to start with both a disclaimer AND apology in one.  If you’re expecting to see real crab meat and fresh sole fillets you’re out of luck!  I’m on a super severe budget this week.  With my husbands company being taken over, and the week he was forced to take off work at christmas I had to use what I had. I do wish it could have all been real and fresh, so apologies! Nonetheless I expect it to be a delicious substitute for the destitute!

Stuffed Sole Fillets

  • 1 cup chopped imitation crab
  • 1 stalk of celery diced
  • 1 green onion diced
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 clove garlic *
  • 1/4 of a red onion diced
  • 1/4 + 1 tbsp Miracle Whip
  • Squirt of lemon juice
  • dash of paprika
  • salt/pepper to taste

* I only used 1 clove because I have 2 in the salad we’re serving with the fish.

picture time?

Dice Celery

Add Green onion

Garlic it up

time to drown my eyes in onion tears

Miracle Whip

Just throw in the crab, paprika, lemon and seasoning and mix mix mix

put some salad on the fish fillet. Not too much or you'll have trouble rolling it up

Roll them up and bake at 350 for atleast 20 minutes

Squeeze some lemon on afterwords if thats what you like.  Its what I like! Enjoy

Bolognese Sauce


So it comes to that time of day again. I’m standing in front of the freezer wondering which meat to defrost, and what to do with it. So I decided that I want to try another recipe. So I bust out my veggies and get dicing, then i hit the store and get anything I don’t have. I decided today I’m going to experiment with my first sauce, something that isn’t just a regular tomato sauce. So I decided, after some recipe searches, to make a variation of a Bolognese sauce.

Bolognese Sauce

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 med onion chopped finely
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped finely
  • 2 carrots chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms chopped finely
  • 1 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 lbs lean ground veal
  • 1 cup of white wine (pinot grigio works well.. Something dry)
  • 14 oz crushed peeled tomatoes
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or tbsp fresh)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or tbsp fresh)
  • 1 cup table cream ( I used 18% m.f.)

start by heating up a big pot with the olive oil. Toss in your onions, celery, garlic, carrots and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
Raise the heat a little and add your meats, cook it until its no longer pink.
Add the white wine and simmer until the wine evaporates. This could take a while.
Add the tomatoes, and the chicken stock, the cayenne, curry powder and some salt and pepper to taste, add basil and oregano.
At this point it gets easy. Lower the heat and simmer for around 2-3 hrs until its thickened.
Once its thickened up add the cream and simmer for another 20 or so minutes.

So.. Delicious.  My 1 year old is doing laps around the rooms acting like my wooden spoon is a lollipop! My husband set aside a container full for tomorrows work lunch before he was even finished his dinner.