Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mini Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

We attended a neighborhood party this past weekend and were asked to bring "heavy finger foods." I wasn't familiar with the term, so I started brainstorming something that would be hearty, savory, delicious, and stand out as a perfect finger food. These mini Philly Cheese Steak stuffed peppers were a grand slam.  The flavors were perfectly balanced and it was exactly the right bite! Pairs well with any booze drink or juicebox, as evidenced at the party and the empty platter I brought home! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb thin-sliced Rib eye steaks, cut into 1" pieces (this is my favorite cut for this, but you can substitute skirt steak or filet mignon)
  • 1 8 oz package of sliced white mushrooms, diced
  • 1 pound shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 two pound bag of mini sweet peppers
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash mini peppers and cut tops off, ensuring to remove all seeds.
  3. Drizzle mini peppers with olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 T garlic powder.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes and remove to cool.
  5. In a large skillet, saute onions and mushrooms in 1 T canola oil until the onions become translucent (about 7- 10 minutes). Season with salt, pepper, and remaining garlic powder. Set aside.
  6. In the same skillet, brown the steak cubes in the remaining canola oil until cooked on all sides (about 5 minutes). Add back in the onions and mushrooms and add salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Top meat mixture with jack cheese and cover and set aside to cool. 
  8. Carefully spoon the mixture into the peppers ensuring not to break them (*who am I kidding? use your very clean, ring free hands. You are going to need the precision of your fingers to make sure you have meat, onion, mushroom, and cheese and that the pepper gets fully stuffed without breaking). 
  9. Drizzle with olive oil and a little more salt and pepper and bake until heated through (about 10 - 15 minutes).
  10. Serve with stone ground and yellow mustard and mayo on the side as a garnish. Enjoy! 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Healthy Ranch Chicken Nuggets



Ingredients:
·         2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts sliced vertically into ¼ strips (keep semi frozen)
·         4 oz. crackers (I used Wheat Thins, but the kids found it made the recipe too sweet – next time I’ll go with Ritz crackers)
·         2 eggs
·         1 T parsley (dried)
·         1 t onion powder
·         ½ t garlic powder
·         ½ t paprika (sweet)
·         ½ t dill weed
·         ½ t chili powder
·         Pinch of cayenne pepper
·         Salt and pepper to taste
  1.  Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined (should be a bread crumb like consistency).
  2. Whisk together eggs.
  3.  Using a metal cookie cutter, carefully cut semi frozen chicken into different shapes.  Do not discard the leftover pieces of chicken!
  4.  Dip the chicken shapes into the egg and dredge in the cracker/spice mixture.
  5.  Cut remaining chicken pieces into small cubes and dip in egg and cracker/spice mixture.
  6.   Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. 
*goes perfect with a homemade Ranch dipping sauce – use 1 C Greek non-fat yogurt or non-fat sour cream, 2 T mayo, and the spice blend used for the chicken (sans the crackers).  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Espresso-tinis

Ingredients:

  • 1 double shot of espresso
  • 1-2 ounces of half and half
  • 2-3 ounces of vanilla or whipped cream flavored vodka
  • a drizzle of caramel sauce (optional)

  1. Brew one double shot of espresso.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  3. Add vodka, half and half, and espresso.
  4. Shake well.
  5. Strain into a martini glass and drizzle caramel sauce on the top for a garnish.

Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 2 C shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray and add mix.
  4. Serve with homemade pita chips or crostini.
TIPS:  You can fine chop the artichokes, but I find a whole quartered artichoke creates the perfect texture. Also, in the rare event you have any left over (I think this happened twice in the ten years I've been making it), you can use the dip as a delicious stuffing for a chicken breast or a pork chop.

Ham and Asparagus Rolls

When I first tried these rolls, I was hesitant not only because of the concept, but the presentation as well. I put my own spin on the recipe, and it has become one of my all time favorites. I love to watch people pause when they see the rolls and then their eyes light up as they take their first bite! Experiment and see: its a riot.


Ingredients:
  • 1/2 bar of softened Neufchatel or Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1 T horseradish (do not confuse with horseradish sauce)
  • 10 asparagus spears steamed and shocked (exactly 4 minutes in a double boiler, immediately placed in ice water.  Be sure to find the "snapping point" by bending the asparagus with your pointer fingers and thumbs.  It will snap at the spot where the woody part ends and the edible part begins)
  • 10 slices of medium sliced deli ham (Virginia Baked Ham is perfect for this)
  1. In a small bowl, combine Neufchatel cheese,mayonnaise, and horseradish.
  2. Spread a thin layer of the horseradish sauce in the center of one piece of ham.
  3. Top with 2-3 asparagus spears, salt and pepper and roll.
  4. Serve atop a bed of field greens for presentation.

TIP: you can adjust the 'heat' on this dish by adding to or subtracting from the horseradish. After many attempts, I found 1 T is the perfect amount, lending to the mild side of a medium heat index.

"Mrs. Cook At Home Dad's" Award Winning Chili


Ingredients:


  • 2 1/3 lb ground beef (85/15 for best results as it stays moist)
  • 6-8 whole garlic cloves
  • 3-4 T olive oil
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 12 oz bottle of dark beer or stout
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 T fresh cilantro, fine chopped
  • 1 T brown sugar I would have increased the brown sugar by 1 t 
  • 1 T cumin I would have increased the cumin by 1 t 
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t red pepper flake
  • 1 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1 t black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 package maple bacon (frozen for easier cutting, then chopped into thin strips vertically) I would have used regular bacon instead
  • 1/2 C hot sauce
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes and juice
  • 1 10 oz can tomato/chili
  • 3 T ketchup I would have used tomato paste instead 
  1. In a large sauce pan, brown garlic cloves in olive oil over a medium high heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  2. Add a pinch of red pepper flake and remove garlic once it is a solid golden brown.
  3. Liberally salt and pepper ground beef and add to pan.
  4. Using tongs or a rubber spatula, separate meat to create small pieces whilst browning.
  5. Fine chop browned garlic and return to pan.
  6. Add tomatoes, chili/tomatoes, and beer. 
  7. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
  8. Add remaining ingredients (except the onions and canola oil) and stir well to combine.
  9. Cover.
  10. Add canola oil to a medium saute pan over medium high heat.  Add onions to caramelize, stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes. (Note: do not add any salt, as this will cause the onions to sweat and steam instead of bringing out the natural sugars to properly caramelize)
  11. Add onions to chili and transfer the entire mix to a crock pot set to high.
  12. Cook on high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  13. Set to low for an additional hour. 
  14. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and chives, scallions, and/or cilantro to garnish.
My wife was allowed to have help in developing her flavor profile, but I could not taste or touch the chili itself.  It was truly off the hook as written!  Job well done, Mrs. CAHD xoxo!!! 

Buffalo Egg Rolls

BUFFALO EGG ROLLS

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3/4 C wing sauce
  • 1 skinless boneless chicken breast, shredded (or roasted and cubed)
  • 1 t celery flake
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flake
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 block of softened Neufchatel or Cream cheese
  • 1 package of wonton wraps (found in the produce section of any grocery store)
  • 1 whisked egg white
  1. In a medium skillet, melt butter and add hot sauce.
  2. Add shredded chicken breast, celery flake, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and red pepper flake.
  3. Simmer on low for 10 minutes until slightly reduced.
  4. Combine with Cream cheese.
  5. Place wonton wrap diagonally on your work surface.
  6. Add 1-2 T of chicken to center, allowing excess sauce to drain off.
  7. Brush egg whites along the surface and fold like an envelope.
  8. Fill a small sauce pan just under 1/2 way with canola oil.
  9. Heat over medium high heat until the oil reaches 375 degrees.
  10. Carefully add the egg rolls and cook 1-2 at a time (adding more will decrease the oil temperature and prevent the proper crisping). 
  11. Cook until the egg rolls turn a golden brown (about 4-5 minutes)
  12. Remove and drain on a paper towel or coffee filter
Click Vlog for tip:
BLEU CHEESE DRESSING:

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 3/4 C bleu cheese crumbles
  • 3 T half and half
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
  3. Mix well before serving.
TIP: You can also add actual diced celery and/or julienned carrots to the mix to give the full- on "buffalo wing" experience.  For a great presentation, serve the dressing in a martini glass, fan the eggrolls around it on a bed of greens.