Friday, September 21, 2012

Kickin' Meatball Sliders

It's football time again and between cheering for our local high school football team on Friday nights, getting caught up in Vol fever while the University of Tennessee was featured on ESPN's Game Day last Saturday or cheering for my hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, a girl can not have too much delicious, hearty food on hand.

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cloves of garlic, rough chopped (divided 4 and 2)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 large eggs, whisked
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 - 28 ounce can tomato puree
1 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon basil
Kosher salt and black pepper
Asiago cheese, shaved (figure 3 shaved strips per slider)
Slider buns or soft, small dinner rolls, sliced in half
Fresh basil leaves

in a large bowl, combine the ground beef, Italian sausage, red pepper flakes, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, Panko crumbs, grated Parmesan, eggs, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Form  into meatballs about the size of golf balls.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides.  

You will probably have to brown the meatballs in batches.  Once browned, move the meatballs to a paper towel lined platter.

To make the sauce, heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Then add the remaining chopped garlic and saute for another minute.  Add in the tomato puree  and once it begins to bubble, add in the wine, stir to thoroughly combine.  Allow the sauce to gently simmer for 5 minutes then add the oregano, sugar, bay leaf, basil and salt and pepper to taste. 

Carefully add in the browned meatballs, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Adjust seasonings if needed.  I wound up adding in a little more garlic powder and some grated Parmesan cheese. 

To assemble your slider, place two meatballs in a bowl and very slightly flatten then just a bit with the back of a large spoon.  Place the meatballs on the bun bottom and ladle on some sauce.  Top with a couple of slices of the shaved Asiago cheese and a basil leaf.

Let me tell you, the basil leaf really added a certain "sumthin'-sumthin'" to this slider.

Score!  these sliders are definitely a touchdown!!!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pickled Red Onions Great Topping for Potato Salad

It's the end of the summer and so many of you are putting up or caning your summer fruits and veggie or pickling.  I really would like to learn more about this but first I have to grow some fruits and veggies.

I found and easy pickling recipe for red onions and had to pass this along.  These can be used in a salad, whether it be lettuce, pasta or potato.

1-1/2 cups red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds Kosher salt
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced


Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Boil for about 1 minute to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl or Mason jar to cool.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in the onions.  Cover or cap and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.  These will last in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

I served these on top of some warm mustard potato salad which was a huge hit with the our fellow tailgaters for the big UT/Florida game!

Tonight, they will be the star of a beautiful pasta salad!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Grilled Redfish Aucoin

My baby girl turned 17.  Five words that bring a lump to to my throat; time has gone by way too fast.
She chose to celebrate her birthday at Joe's Crab Shack.

My Bebe' and her daddy.

My Bebe' with her BFF.

My oldest homegirl, the college student with her boyfriend.  So happy to have have them both with us to celebrate.

Me and my hubby, looking forward to eating some crabs!
The weather has cooled down a bit, the evenings have been picture perfect, why not grill some fish.  I struck major swag, my fish guy had red snapper!   Red snapper, the possibilities! Delicious, full of flavor, my eyes are still rolling in the back of my head.
2 each 8 ounce redfish fillets with skin on one side
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup of white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning (I used Emeril's Essence)
2 lemons
2 green onions sliced on the bias

Melt butter in a saucepan and add the white wine, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder.  Spoon a couple of tablespoons over each fillet and then generously season with the Creole seasoning.

Slice one of the lemons and place the slides on the redfish.

Pre-heat the grill to medium and place the redfish directly on the grill.
Grill for 20-25 minutes, basting the fish with the remaining butter sauce about every 7 to 8 minutes.

Remove the fish from the grill to a serving platter.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cooked fish.

As an option, I grilled 1 lb. of peeled and de-veined shrimp using the same sauce.  Only I put the shrimp in a disposable foil pan, poured the butter sauce over the shrimp and place the pan on the grilled and cooked the shrimp along side the fish.  The shrimp took approximately 10 minutes to cook through.  Spoon the shrimp over the fish and garnish with the sliced green onions.
That's what I call putting the "Aucoin" on it!


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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Farmer's Market Green Bean Salad

I found these gorgeous haricot verts at our local Farmer's Market during the summer and was particularly attracted to the dark, purple-ish beans.

The vendor told me as soon as the dark beans "get heated up" they turn dark green and they tasted just like a regular green bean.

I bought them anyway and lo and behold, they did lose their purple color, they were a darker shade of green than the other green beans.

No doubt these beautiful beans would be perfect as a summer salad.

1/2 lb. each of your favorite three fresh whole green beans totaling 1-1/2 lbs of whole green beans
                 Trimmed, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced (approximately 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blanch the beans in a large pot of salted, boiling water for 3 minutes.  Immediately drain the beans and transfer them to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  This will also allow the beans to maintain their crispiness.  Leave the beans in the ice water for a couple of minutes to cool them off, the drain them thoroughly in a colander.

In a bowl or Mason jar, whisk together or shake the Dijon mustard, lemon juice and sugar.  Then add in the olive oil and whisk or shake the jar vigorously to emulsify.

Place the beans and onions in a large bowl, toss together to combine.  Drizzle the dressing over the beans and toss again to evenly coat the beans with the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, actually, the longer the beans can marinate in the dressing, the better they will taste.

I need to make this one more time before the hot weather leaves us this season!

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Country Tuscan Chicken

So when you're "stay-cationing", where to you fantasize you are? Me?  Well, I'm in Tuscany...tasting my way through their wine country.

This has to be one of the most photogenic dishes I have made in quite some time and the picture just doesn't do it justice.  Not only is this a meal you can feel good about because it comes together so quickly, you will feel like you're dining at a rustic Tuscan winery.   I adapted this recipe from and episode of Bobby Flay's BBQ Addiction.

First, put together the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup white Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Creole mustard or whole grain mustard
Salt a pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl or 1-cup measuring cup whisk together all of the ingredients except the oil.  Once thorough combined, continue whisking while adding in the oil.  I used quote a bit less that the 1/3 cup call for, add it per your preference.  Set aside.

Get the glaze together:

3/4 cup apricot preserves
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside

Chicken and Topping:

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 cup green grapes, roughly chopped
1 cup red grapes, roughly chopped
1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Canola oil
1/4 cup fresh thyme, roughly chopped

Combine the roughly chopped grapes and poblano pepper in a bowl, Add in the olive oil, toss to thoroughly combine.  Season with the pepper and with the salt to taste.

Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper and pound into palliards.  Brush the chicken on the both sides with a light coating of Canola oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken breasts on a pre-heated grill and cook for until golden brown approximately 3 to 5 minutes, turn and brush on the apricot glaze and sprinkle with the chopped thyme.  Grill for another 3 to 5 minutes, until cooked through.  Turn, brush the on glaze, sprinkle the thyme, cook for 1 more minute and remove the chicken breasts to a platter.

To serve, top the chicken breasts with the grape mixture, sprinkle the toasted almond on top and drizzle wit the vinaigrette.

This is such an elegant and flavorful dish, don't pass up the chance to try this!

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Creole Roasted Potatoes

Roasting potatoes is always an easy "go-to"side for me.  Season 'em up  and toss them in the oven and I'm clear for about 30 minutes to run around the kitchen at mach 3 with my hair on fire, getting everything on the table to feed the starving ninjas.

We've been friends for a while so i can tell you this...I love, love love spicy mustard.  Always have.  I loved slathering mustard on saltines as a kid  as my "special" snack.  Okay don't judge, it may sound gross, but try it, I dare you, it's what you've been looking for all of your life.  Sure, you can use yellow mustard instead...seriously, it's for one of those I want something REALLY good, but REALLY weird kind of days.

So let's jump to the next homegirlz don't just hate, they abhor mustard.  So that's all I need to know.

2 lbs. small (#1) Yukon Gold potatoes or fingerling potatoes, cleaned
1 medium yellow onion
2 tablespoons Creole Mustard or brown whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, fine;y chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Scrub the potatoes and pat dry with a towel.  Cut the potatoes in half and/or quarter them; you want to achieve approximate bite-size pieces.  Cut the onion in half and slice into thin slices.  Place the onions and potatoes in a medium size bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, spoon in the mustard, sprinkle on the chopped parsley and fold all together with a spoon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Place into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Use a spatula and flip the potatoes and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are beginning to brown at the edges.

Hello gorgeous, where have you been all my life?

They had NO idea mustard was involved.  My favorite question, "Mom, these are really good, what's making them happen?"  Reply: "I could tell you but then you'd have to kill me."

So you see, there is life beyond Ranch dressing bacon and cheese, but I didn't say it.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pizza Burgers

Have You ever made a meal and then later thought, "Wow, that was pretty awesome, but where in the world did that come from?  Woah!"
Pizza Burgers is my first major "WOAH!"
If you have browsed my blog or been a reader for the last 4-1/2 years, you have to know we don't eat like this every night, unless you are reading the salad section, of course. 
There's a market in Knoxville that has the best ground turkey, I mean it really has some flavor and doesn't need quite as much help as the pale, pre-packaged stuff in the grocery stores.
With my picky eater kiddos in mind, I tired to combine their worlds = healthy + their favs
2 lbs. ground turkey
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/2 half medium green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top of the baking sheet.  Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the onion and bell pepper.

Blend in 2 tablespoons of the pizza sauce.

Then blend in the grate Parmesan cheese.

Work in the ground turkey with your hands, season with salt and pepper to taste.  If the mixture seems a little to mushy to your taste, add some panko or season Italian bread crumbs to achieve the consistency you desire.

Form the turkey mixture into patties  and place the turkey patties on the baking rack.  Bake the patties at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, turn and bake for another 10 minutes.

Remove the turkey patties from the oven and ladle about 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce on top of each pattie then sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese on top. 

Return the turkey patties to the oven for another 7 minutes to melt the cheese.
Serve the patties stand alone with a salad and/or side or on a whole grain bun.  Whatever you decide to do, these pizza burgers are sure to be a huge hit on your table!

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