Saturday, August 30, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Smoky Joes

Here's a great recipe to whip up before the big game.
Not that I make these before the big game.
Because I don't watch the big game.
My TV doesn't get the big game.
Or the little game. Or any game.
My TV doesn't get any sports, no matter what channel they might be on.
I have a magic tv.
Ok, so I'm not in sports. I am into eating.

I start with a mixture of ground turkey and ground beef. It doesn't have to be a mixture. It can be all of one, or all of the other, or all of neither, as in all of something else.
Depends on your taste.

I chop up some onion,

a small red bell pepper,

dump it in, and get it cooking.

These are my seasonings of choice.
A little of this, a spoon of that.

Then the tomato sauce,

and the Smoky part. I use the hickory flavor to give the mixture a nice smoky goodness.

Then I let it simmer. I taste it after about 10 minutes.
Too sweet, not enough flavor.
Simmer at least an hour, or even longer.
The onion and peppers really come through, the longer it cooks.
Hey, try it in a crockpot, even.

Serve it up on a nice bun, with a pickle or 2 on the side. I like to put a slice of cheese on the bottom.
It gets all nice and melty.

If the batch lasts long enough, it freezes real well.
This is a great recipe for putting up single or double servings. Just pop in the freezer, then pop back out when you're ready.

Another way to enjoy this: toast sliced garlic french bread on one side-under the broiler. Flip the bread over, top with some Smoky Joe, a slice of cheese, and slide it under the broiler again, until the cheese gets all melty.
Any way you make it,
is it ever good.
Happy Saturday.

Smoky Joes

1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 C chopped onion
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 C hickory flavor barbeque sauce
1 Tsp dried oregano
1 Tsp ground cumin
1 Tsp chili powder
3/4 Tsp salt

Combine ground turkey and beef in a pan. Add the onion and pepper, and cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add the tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt, mix well. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least one hour, or longer. 8 sandwiches

Saturday, August 23, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Zucchini Pasta
I remember the day when we ran in terror when we heard somebody say zucchini.
Neighbors dropped off a bushel on other neighbors doorsteps in the middle of the night and ran.
The vegetables grew as big as, well, giant watermelons, in the garden.
We shredded, we sauteed, we pickled, we hid them in hot dishes.
I guarantee that today's recipe is tasty, and will have you  running to the garden, or the farmers market, to pick up some fresh produce, so you can whip up a batch.
For all you non-carb eaters, this is a must have.
It may be called pasta, but there ain't no pasta in here.

I start with making julienne strips. Which look like spaghetti. Which explains the name of the recipe.
 A mandolin works great, but a vegetable peeler will work as well.
They also have julienne peelers. I love gadgets.

Next I add some bell pepper strips and some carrot strips. 

Now for some chopped onion on top. Red, vidalia, white, yellow. Any variety will do. Then I set it aside.

I chop a fresh tomato,

pop it in the pan and saute in olive oil. I use olive oil a lot for may different recipes. If you check last week's blog for hand pies, you'll see that I even use it for pie crust. It works.
Then I add the chicken broth, laced with herbs.

Garlic. I have to have garlic. Fresh or bottled.
Either works.

Then I let it simmer until it reduces to about half.

Add the vegies, give them a toss, cover and simmer some more.

Ah, here it is. A fine swirl of tasty, delectable vegies in a tasty, delectable sauce.
I like to top the  dish with shaved Parmesan.

Leftovers? I love it. I added a sliced Italian chicken sausage. Yummy in my tummy.
It looks like pasta. It tastes like, well, more.
Any way you eat it, is it ever good.
May your neighbors bless you with the bountiful goodness of their extra produce.
No store-bought will match it.
Happy Saturday.

Zucchini Pasta 
1 small zucchini
2 small carrots
1/2 of a green bell pepper
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 plum tomato
1 Tsp chopped garlic
1/2 C warm water
1 Tsp chicken broth and soup base
1 Tsp dried parsley
1 Tsp dried basil

Cut zucchini, carrots and green pepper into julienne strips. Add onion, set aside. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add chopped tomato and garlic, sauté until tomato begins to soften. Add water, chicken base, parsley and basil. Simmer until liquid reduces to about half. Add the vegetables, stir and cover. Simmer until vegetables are el dente. Serve with shaved parmesan cheese on top. 2 servings

Suggestion: Add fresh mushrooms, celery, or any other kind of favorite vegetable. Add precooked sliced sausage or chicken for a complete meal. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Made in the USA

Garlic Festival
I received a nifty little packet of this for Christmas.
It's a flavorful packet of tasty goodness,
to mix with butter for garlic bread.

I, on the other hand, sprinkle it on my
pizza crust before I assemble my spinach feta pizza.

You can find  the pizza recipe here Spinach Feta Pizza.

So, the 2 little packets that were attached to the label were soon empty. What's a person to do?
For this particular product, I did a quick search on-line. What did we ever do without the internet?
The closest distributor is the Wire Whisk in Appleton.
The next best thing?
Order on-line. I received the package within a few days, and now I have plenty to hold me over.
The product comes from California. Which is in the United States.
Did you know that Gilroy, CA is the garlic capital of the world?
Did you know that garlic is good for you?
I give this a '10', not only because it tastes good,
but also because it's made in the USA.
Try it, you'll like it.

**I did not get paid to write this. Garlic Festival does not sponsor my blog.
They simply tantalize my taste buds.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

 Hand Pies
A couple of days ago I posted about
the Apple Turnover Filling that I had picked up
at the Farmers Market.
Today I'll share my recipe for Hand Pies. As in, a pie in the hand. Not pies baked with hands in them.

It starts with pie crust. Now, don't panic.
I, for one, cannot make pie crust from scratch.
And, I don't use shortening in my baking,
which pretty much defeats making pie crust.
Or not.
This recipe uses oil and milk.
It works. Trust me.

My first attempt was mini pies. One serving.
This one is mincemeat. Delicious.
1/2 of the recipe below makes a nice double crust for this mini pie.

Then I found the turnover filling, and I had to find a way to make hand pies.

First the flour,

a bit of sugar,

a smaller bit of salt,

the oil. Yes, I use olive oil. The first time I made the recipe, I used canola oil. The second time, I accidentally grabbed the olive oil and poured it in.
Realizing my mistake, I shrugged my shoulders and continued on. It turned out wonderful. I just need to make sure it's plain olive oil, and not some that's infused with flavor, such as garlic.

Now the milk. I use vanilla almond milk because that's what I drink. Regular milk will work as well.

I add enough milk so that the dough holds together.
If it doesn't form into a nice ball, I add a bit more milk.

I work with small amounts at a time, and I roll the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. This makes it easy to pick up when the crusts are cut.
When it's thin enough(as in quite thin), as in a nice thin pie crust,

I use a biscuit cutter and cut out circles of dough.
My biscuit cutter is about 2-1/2 inches or a bit bigger.

Place on a cookie sheet, dab on about 1 Tsp filling.
Any kind of pie filling will work. The dab needs to be no bigger than a teaspoon, or the covers won't fit.
So the filling needs to be in small pieces.
Blueberry, cherry, raspberry. The possibilities are endless.

Roll out the remaining dough, cut the circles, gently lay on top.
Press the edges together with the tines of a fork,
cut a tiny slit in the center of the top.

Brush with egg. I use liquid egg product, like Egg Beaters.

Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, bake.

One bite gone. Oh so tender, so flaky.

Another bite gone. Light, tasty, melts in the mouth.

last little bite, a hand full of crumbs, and then all gone.
Don't stop with one! Have 2 or 3. That's right. You can eat 2 or 3 pies for one meal! Who knew?
Are they ever good.
Happy Saturday

Hand Pies

1 C all-purpose flour
3/4 Tsp granulated sugar, divided
1/4 Tsp salt
5 Tbsp + 1 Tsp canola or plain olive oil
2 Tbsp + milk
3-4 Tbsp fruit pie filling
1/2 Tsp beaten egg, or liquid egg product

Preheat oven to 375°. In mixing bowl, measure flour, 1/2 C granulated sugar, salt, oil and milk. Mix with a fork until dough comes together into a ball. Add more milk, 1 Tsp at a time, if dough is too dry. Roll half of the dough out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, to 1/16”. Using biscuit cutter, cut out 10 rounds of dough, place on baking sheet. Top each with 1 Tsp fruit pie filling. Roll remaining dough and cut out 10 additional rounds. Lay on top of filling, gently press edge down, press the layers of dough together with the tines of a fork. Cut a small slit on top, brush with egg and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 Tsp granulated sugar. Bake 20 minutes, remove and cool on baking rack. 10 pies.
Note: fruit should be in small pieces so that the top layer will fit over and reach to the bottom layer. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside The Nest

English Muffin Bread
'They' say breakfast is the most important meal of the  day.
English Muffin Bread, paired with egg, first thing in the morning. 'They' can't argue with that. It's hearty and it's filling.
No need for a bread machine. No need to stand and kneed the dough. Just measure, dump, stir, wait around a little bit, bake.
A hint of cinnamon, a sprinkle of raisins. It doesn't get much better than that.

Before mixing, I coat the pan with cooking spray and then sprinkle in some corn meal. This is necessary to avoid a sticking problem after the bread is baked.
Ok, now on to the mixing.

First the sugar, salt, and baking soda.

Then the first amount of flour.

It doesn't matter which brand of yeast, as long as it's fast rising. Sprinkle that on as well. Add the cinnamon.

Pour in the liquid, stir and stir until it's smooth. Easy.
I use vanilla almond milk, but there's no law that says this is the only kind to use. Regular milk will work just as well.

I like to stir the raisins into the last amount of flour, because then the raisins pretty much stay where they are when the dough is mixed.
Not that they can sink to the bottom of the dough.
It's sticky and dense.
There's no law on using all-purpose and whole wheat flour. I like the mixture. It adds a bit of daily grain requirement to my food. Just all-purpose will work as well.

Put it in the pan, and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking  spray. There is a law that says you must spray the plastic wrap, because if you don't spray it, it will stick and cause problems. We don't want any problems. Believe me. I speak from experience.

When it's risen to touch the plastic, uncover and slip in the oven.
Bake, cool, ready to eat.

Slice it up,

toast it a bit, slather on some Apple Butter(made in Wisconsin, by the way), and slip it along side that tasty fried egg. Yes, that's pepper on the egg.
I love it!
Is it ever good.
May all your breakfasts be nourishing and filling.
Happy Saturday

English Muffin Bread

1 Tbsp cornmeal
1-1/2 Tsp granulated sugar
1 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp baking soda
1 Pkg Fast Rise yeast
1-1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat flour*
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
1 C warm vanilla almond milk (120°to 130°)**
1/4 C warm water (120°to 130°)
2 Tbsp raisins

Spray 4” x 8” glass bread pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle cornmeal in pan and shake to coat bottom and sides. Set aside. In mixing bowl, combine sugar, salt, baking soda, yeast, all-purpose flour, and cinnamon. Add warm milk and water. Beat until dough is smooth. Stir raisins into whole wheat flour, add to mixture. Mix well. Mixture will be sticky. Transfer to bread pan. Spray plastic wrap with cooking spray and loosely cover pan. Let rise until dough touches plastic wrap, about 30-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°. Bake bread 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. 12 slices.
*Can use all-purpose flour in place of whole wheat flour.

**Can use regular milk in place of vanilla almond milk.