Eat!

Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Creamy Garlic Shells



Creamy Garlic Shells
I know that everyone is looking for simplicity when making dinner. We are all pressed for time and don’t want to think or do more work after a long day. We just want dinner. I assume that is the reason for the popularity of all those boxes of Side-dish-a-roni. This is recipe is just as easy and much healthier. It is also cheaper. I serve this with roasted chicken or pork chops.

You can change this up by throwing in chopped bacon slices before serving. I also sometime stir in ¼ cup defrosted, frozen carrots and peas with the sauce. If you stir in chopped cooked chicken, this becomes a meal rather than a side dish. You can use chicken bullion to make this easier. You can also use dried chives. I like to use Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Herbs. You can probably find them in the produce section. They last forever and taste better.







Servings: 8- ½ cup servings
Time:  Active time 7 minutes; Cook: 11 minutes, side dish in under 20 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knife or a garlic press, a large pot, a sauce pot, a colander, a mixing bowl, a whisk, and a silicone spatula

Ingredients: 
  • 8 ounces pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  •  Salt and pepper
 
Creamy Garlic Shells


  1. Dice the garlic and the chives if you are using fresh. Keep separate and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  3. While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter over medium in the sauce pot. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the butter and whisk until the flour is incorporated and a deep golden color, probably another 2 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium high. Slowly, whisk in the chicken broth. Then stir in the milk. The sauce will thicken as it boils. Remove from the heat.
  5. Drain the pasta. Place the pasta in the mixing bowl. Stir in the sauce and the chives. Taste and adjust the salt. Generously, shake on pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Cheeseburger Eggrolls


Cheeseburger Eggrolls
Fall means tailgating, Halloween, Thanksgiving and other festivities. I came up with these to take to a party. However, I kitchen test every one of my recipes first. I made these for dinner last night. Three Cheeseburger Eggrolls were very filling. So, very good! They are easy to make as well.

The basic recipe is just the onions, Montreal Seasoning, burger and cheese. You can add anything that you might add to a burger to make this recipe your own. I added in tomatoes and pickles. You could also stir in diced grilled mushrooms, ½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and substitute Swiss for Cheddar and you have Mushroom Cheeseburger Eggrolls. Use BBQ sauce instead of ketchup and stir in 6 slices of crumbled bacon for Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls. You can cut the eggroll wrappers in half to make smaller Cheeseburger Eggrolls. The wrappers will be rectangular, but you follow the same instructions.




Servings: 12-15 eggrolls
Time:  Active time 25 minutes; Cook: 15 minutes, eggrolls in about 45 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a wooden spoon, a small bowl, a clean tea towel, a flat surface, a deep skillet, oil thermometer, tongs, a colander, a large mixing bowl, a silicone spatula, paper towel lined plate

Ingredients:
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion (4 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes-optional
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dill pickle relish-optional
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Water
  • Eggroll wraps (I like Nasoya)
  • Enough oil to fill the skillet half way

  1. If you are using tomato, chop and seed it.  Make sure to remove all the seeds. Set aside.
  2. Dice the onion. The smaller the better.
  3. Place a teaspoon of oil in the skillet over medium high. When it is hot, cook the onions, hamburger and Montreal Steak Seasoning until the burger is no longer pink. Make sure to crumble and break up the burger as it cooks. Taste and adjust the seasoning. When the burger is cooked through (10 minutes,) drain it completely. Clean the skillet. Allow the burger to cool.
  4. When the burger has cooled mix in the ketchup, mustard and cheddar cheese. If you are using the tomato and relish, stir them in too.
  5. Place the oil into the skillet and heat over medium. Use the thermometer to keep the oil around 370˚.
  6. While the oil is heating make the eggrolls. Place water in the small bowl. Have the clean tea towel handy.
  7. Work with 1 wrapper at a time. Keep the other wrappers in their container or they will dry out. Place the wrapper with one corner closest to you as if you were looking at a diamond. (See illustration below.)
  8. Place 2 tablespoons of the burger mixture in the center of the wrapper. Spread out evenly, so that the filling isn’t a big lump in the middle.
  9. Fold the bottom corner over the filling. Tuck the wrapper in around the filling tightly. Be careful not to tear it.
  10. Brush water around the three remaining corners of the wrapper. Water will act as a glue.
  11. Fold the side corners over the filling as if you were making an envelope.
  12. Tightly roll up until it is closed. Press the edges to make sure it is sealed. Continue until you have used all the filling.
  13. You can use water to seal any open places. You can also use little pieces of wet wrapper as patches if needed. Use the dry tea towel to clean the flat surface between rolls. If the surface is wet, your wrapper will stick.
  14. Use the tongs to place the rolls, flap down, into the oil. Fry until the roll is golden brown and then flip. Don’t crowd them. You may need to cook them in batches. When they are done, place them on the paper towel lined plate. You can keep them warm in the oven on the lowest setting.
  15. Serve a cheese sauce or ketchup and mustard for dipping.
 



Sunday, September 9, 2018

Chicken and Gnocchi Stew for the Instant Pot®


Instant Pot Chicken & Gnocchi Stew

I live in Florida. We don’t get an Autumn, but we can pretend. If we lived somewhere with seasons, it might be getting a little cool by now. Everyone would welcome a velvety stew.  Here, it is almost 5 pm and 90˚. I still love this stew.

I made this in this Instant Pot®. You could use roasted chicken, but I think the pressure cooker gave it extra flavor. I also made the chicken the night before, so the flavors would meld. Cooling the chicken overnight also allowed me to remove most of the fat from the liquid. Use thighs and not breasts. The thighs have a hearty flavor and it is okay if you overcook them a little. Finally, you can substitute chicken stock for the water and chicken base, but the base is so much richer than normal stock.







Servings: 6-8
Hardware: A knife and a cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, a veggie peeler, Instant Pot Duo® (IP), silicone oven mitt, tongs, a large bowl, a small bowl, a fork, food safe gloves and a wooden spoon
Time: Active time: 15 minutes; Cook: 35 minutes; Stew in about an hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs
  • 2 large carrots (8 ounces)
  • 2 celery sticks (4 ounces)
  • 1 small onion (4 ounces)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon chicken base (I used Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 cup + 4 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1-pound gnocchi
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Peel the carrot and wash the celery. Cut them into pieces that are 2-3 inches in size. Peel and crush the garlic. Peel and quarter the onion. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.
  2. Put the white wine, 1 cup water, rosemary and 1 tablespoon soup base into the IP. Turn on the sauté setting and allow the liquid to boil. Stir to dissolve the chicken base.
  3. Put the trivet into the pot. Place the carrots, celery, onion and garlic on top of the trivet, put the chicken on top of the veggies. Place the lid on the IP, making sure the valve is set to ‘sealing.’ Turn on the pressure setting and set for 10 minutes. When time is up, allow it to release for about 15 minutes and using the silicone oven mitt move the valve to ‘release.’
  4. When the float falls, move the chicken to the large bowl. Fish out the rosemary and discard. Remove the trivet.
  5. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, put on the food safe gloves and remove the meat from the bones. Discard the skin, fat, gristle and bones.
  6. Pour 4 cups water and the rest of the chicken base into the IP. Return to a boil. Put one tablespoon of cornstarch into the very cold cup of whipping cream. Use the fork to stir until the cornstarch dissolves. Pour the cornstarch-y cream into the soup. It will thicken as it boils. Return the chicken to the pot and add in the gnocchi. As soon as the gnocchi floats (3 minutes) the soup is done. Stir in the dried parsley. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
 
Chicken and Gnocchi Stew for the Instant Pot®