French Onion Soup

2 stick butter
8 Onions, thinly sliced
64 ounces Chicken stock, or Beef
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon, or beef cube
1/4 cup dry Sherry
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 baquette, sliced 1/2″ thick

Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Once it foams, add the sliced onions and saute until translucent, approximately 10 minutes. You want them golden but not brown or crusty around the edges.

Preheat the broiler

Add the stock, the bouillon, Worcestershire and sherry and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for another 3 minutes. Add the Parmesan, stir and simmer for another 3 minutes. Allow to stand for ten minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Add salt and pepper but be careful not to oversalt.

Ladle the soup into flameproof bowls, cover the top with sliced baguettes and top with four slices of cheese, allowing it to drape over the sides. Place them under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly brown.

Now, comes the best part: Slurping down all that goodness!

Serves 8-10 depending on size of bowl.


Chef’s note: I prefer using the chicken stock because its milder.

Irish Soda Bread

In keeping with the season, I thought I’d share my favorite recipe for Irish Soda Bread. Every time I make this bread, I chastise myself for not making it throughout the year. Let’s face it, no one said you could only eat it for St. Patty’s Day. Right?

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425 degrees

INGREDIENTS
4 to 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, reserve the 1/2 cup for kneading
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoon butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup raisins or currants
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 3/4 cup buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, using regular whole milk is fine.

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together, then add the softened butter and work the mixture with your fingers until the flour mixture is soft and crumbly.

Combine wet ingredients together and mix, then pour over the flour mixture and stir until you incorporate the liquid into the dough. Dough will be sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Use the remaining flour, just a little at a time, until you have a nice round ball of dough.

Press in a lightly greased 9″ cast iron skillet. Score the top with a cross and bake for 35-40 minutes. This recipe makes one large loaf.

Erin go bragh!

Butternut Squash Deliciousness

6 cups Butternut Squash, cubed
2 garlic cloves, whole
1 medium-sized onion, quartered
1 stick butter
64 ounces chicken stock
Salt to taste

In a 5 quart pot add all five ingredients and cook over a medium high flame. Cook until tender, approx. 10 minutes, but test with a fork. Remove from flame and allow to cool slightly.

Ladle into a blender and puree until smooth.

Depending on the season, serve hot or cold. If you want to get a little fancier, crumble an anisette biscotti and sprinkle over top before serving.
Serves 8-10 

You’ll notice I did not add any other seasonings because, honestly, this was delicious on it’s own, but there are so many wonderful things you can add: coconut milk, curry, nutmeg, cinnamon, and the list goes on and on. This recipe was designed for the working woman who needs to make dinner in a hurry.

Let me know how you liked it!

Bon Appetit!!

S

Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding

I went grocery shopping yesterday and of course, I always buy too much because I still shop like I’m in my big house. So, what do I do about that? I cook to make room. This is my creation!

Creamy and rich

6 cups bread cubes cut into one-inch cubes
2 cups chocolate morsels
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3 cups milk, half and half (I used non-fat milk)
6 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place the bread cubes, the nuts and 1 cup of the morsels into a large bowl and mix with your hands. Butter or spray a large baking dish, then transfer the mixture into the baking dish.

In a 3 quart saucepan, add remaining morsels, sugar, cocoa, and half the milk. Using med low heat, stir until melted and combined.

Reusing the large bowl, add the eggs, the remaining milk, salt and vanilla. Whisk together, then gradually add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate and continue to whisk to blend together. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Push the cubes that didn’t get covered down into the liquid.  Let it sit for 25 minutes so the bread cubes absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  After the 25 minutes, place the pudding on the middle rack and bake for 45 minutes.  

The finished product

 Now, you wait. The house smells OMG yummy, and you can’t wait to dig in, but you must let it cool down before serving.  And don’t forget the whipped cream. Serves 10-12

Fettuccini Alfredo

Fill a 5 quart pot with water for the pasta and boil. Cook the pasta using manufacturer’s directions.

Here’s a family favorite — Fettuccine Alfredo that is so easy to make, you’ll wonder what took you so long to make it! It’s one of those meals you can make in a hurry and it’s satisfying to everyone.

ALFREDO SAUCE
1 stick butter
6 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups half and half
3/4 cup Reggiano parmesan

Melt the butter in a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat and add the crushed garlic. Allow the butter to bubble, making sure not to burn the garlic because it will ruin the sauce and you’ll have to start all over. Once the garlic is light golden in color, add the flour a little at a time and whisk into the butter to make a roux.

You will begin to see the flour turn a light golden color. When it reaches this point, add the half and half and whisk constantly to blend the flour into the liquid. Lower the heat but continue to whisk.

Next, add the Reggiano Parmesan cheese and incorporate thoroughly into the sauce. Taste the sauce to see if adding salt is necessary. Depending on your taste buds, it probably won’t be.

To test whether the sauce is thick enough to stick to the pasta, dip your spoon into the liquid and run your finger down the center of the back of the spoon. If the line you’ve made remains, your sauce is done, and you’re ready for an amazing dinner.

Drain the pasta and return it back to the pot you used to cook it in. Add the Alfredo sauce over top and stir the yumminess throughout.  Spoon it into the bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves 4 to 6

Bon Appetit!!

Creamy Rice Pudding!

Who likes rice pudding? I guess a better question is, who doesn’t? Here’s a recipe I’ve had for years that I want to share because it’s so darn good you’ll make it over and over. And because it is, this recipe is forever committed to my memory so I can make it whenever the yearning strikes.

5 cups half and half , whole milk, or buttermilk  (I like using half and half)
1 cup of uncooked rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg+
1 cup of seedless raisins (optional)

Scald the milk in the top of a double boiler. If you don’t have a double-boiler, make your own,. After the milk has been scalded, add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and stir frequently over medium heat. This should take about 2 hours, so be patient because once it’s done, OMG! 

Serve warm, or refrigerate.  I like it cold, but either way, add a dollop of whipped cream on top, a sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy.

Guacamole and Poached Eggs on Toast

For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing a commercial on television that shows an amazing looking breakfast treat with the above items. I searched the site name and other various recipes sites,, but they didn’t have what I thought this looked like, so I did the next best thing and made up my own version on what it looked like to me. I’d like to share it with you. IT IS AMAZING!!

GUACAMOLE

2 whole avocados, mashed
2 garlic bulbs, minced
1 whole tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Cut the two avocados in half, remove the pit and scoop out the fruit into a bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado until soft a creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Set aside until toast is done. Spread the guacamole over top the toast. Now, don’t be stingy! 🙂
Poach the eggs and place on top of the prepared toast.

Chef’s Note:
Poached eggs: There are many ways to poach eggs. I personally fill a large fry pan halfway with water, add 1 tablespoon of butter, wait until it boils, then drop in the raw eggs.



Blend the guacamole together and set aside. Lightly toast two large pieces of bread.


Real Mexican Fajitas

 

I love Mexican food, but it has to be authentic and not the Tex-Mex variety, which is okay on occasion, but when I have the time to cook, I want authenticity! Here’s one of those recipes that was given to me by a very special Mexican friend of mine and it’s been a big hit ever since.

4 pounds beef or chicken (all visible fat removed)

Marinade

4 cups beef broth
¼ cup liquid smoke
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons garlic, whole cloves—crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoons salt
Juice of 3 whole lemons
10 large tortillas

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 multi-colored peppers, cut in strips
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, cut in quarters

Poke holes in your meat and set aside. In a large container, mix the marinade together, add the meat making sure the marinade covers it completely. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight, or longer. I usually marinate two nights because it allows the meat to absorb that yummy taste of the marinade.

In a separate skillet, heat the oil, add the peppers, onions and tomatoes, and sauté until crisp tender.  Store in a warm place for later.

Grill the meat to your liking, then slice thinly on diagonal angle and place on a serving tray with the pepper mixture on top and serve with the tortillas,  guacamole, and sour cream. And before you fold your tortilla, add a little marinade over top of the beef.

And here’s the best part, you can save the marinade and reuse it one more time, but you must use the same meat you used the first time. Keep it in the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator a day or two before to use for another tasty meal that you won’t want to end!

I serve with Mexican rice and Refried beans

 

Mediterranean Fish

Mediterreaean Fish

This dish is a family favorite in my house. I hope your family enjoys it as much.

MEDITERRANEAN FISH

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES – SERVES 4

2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1½ pounds of any firm white fish.
Cut the fish into five-ounce pieces. Fish shrinks one ounce during the cooking process.

PREPARE THE TOPPING:

2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (reserve oil for finishing touch)
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped.
½ cup capers ( I use Trader Joe’s because they’re plump and delicious)
8 ounces feta cheese – crumbled
Salt and pepper
2 lemons – (zest one lemon for topping)

Rinse the fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil – and spread the oil the length of the baking dish using a pastry brush. Cover each fillet with the prepared topping mix. Now, sprinkle with lemon zest and squeeze the juice of the lemon over top.

Drizzle the oil from the marinated artichoke hearts over top. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Test fish with a fork and when it’s no longer translucent, it’s done. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Serve with rice or couscous. Garnish with wedges of lemon and basil leaves.

Bon Appetit!

 

Fire-Roasted Mexican Meatloaf

I don’t know about you, but I love meatloaf! There, I said it!

I grew up eating the Lipton soup version. Mom used to follow their recipe except when it came to the sauce. She made her own version using Campbell’s Tomato soup and mixed in a generous amount of Worcestershire sauce. Oh yum! I remember coming home from school on those cold nights and that glorious smell hit me the minute I opened the door.  My mouth would salivate until we were called to dinner, and then I’d sit down and dig into the meatloaf and mashed potatoes smothered in yummy goodness.

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, I thought I’d make something with a Mexican flare, and that I did. Easy, easy, easy, but very tasty. So here’s the recipe.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground chicken
2 eggs
1/2 cup panko
1 tsp salt
1 package McCormick Mild Seasoning Taco Mix
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (optional)
1 jar of Trader Joe’s Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

That’s it! And what a delicious flavor.

In a large bowl add all the ingredients except the salsa. Blend with your hands until the ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Using an oven proof roasting dish, shape the mixture into a loaf IMG_0273 and smother with the tomato salsa. Save half the salsa sauce for the slices.

Below are the items I used. Please excuse the tape on the Panko box–we just moved. 😀

IMG_0276IMG_0275IMG_0274

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

 

Servings 10