Posts Tagged ‘Entree’

This Wasn’t Take Out!

January 26, 2017

When I have a craving for Asian food, I usually just go out.  But recently I decided that I should try my hand at cooking one of my favorites (I have several) and found this seemingly easy recipe for orange chicken (courtesy of Harry Wetzel on  I also decided to try making my own egg rolls.  Wish me luck!

Asian Orange Chicken

1-1/2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of orange juice
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/3 cup of rice vinegar
2-1/2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 Tablespoon of orange zest
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of fresh minced ginger root
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of chopped green onion
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons of cornstarch
2 Tablespoons of water
2 skinless and boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 tesaspoon of pepper
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
Cooked white rice

1. Pour the water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan on medium-high heat.  Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool a bit (10-15 minutes).

2. Place the chicken pieces into a large resealable bag.  Once the sauce mixture has cooled, pour 1 cup of the mixture over the chicken pieces in the bag (reserve the remaining sauce). Seal the bag and refrigerate for a minimum of two (2) hours.

3. In another resealable bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper.  Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat the chicken with the flour mixture.

4.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Place the marinated chicken into the skillet and brown on both sides.  Remove the chicken to a  plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

5.  Clean out the skillet and add the reserved sauce.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Mix together the cornstarch and the water and then stir this combination into the sauce.  Reduce the heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer for about five (5) minutes (stir occasionally).

I Don’t Normally Do Casseroles . . .!

January 5, 2017

But I found this fabulous recipe that was an instant hit (and super easy to prepare)!  And, it has bacon to boot!

Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole

1-1/2 pounds of ground beef
1/2 pound of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 package (32 ounce) of frozen tater tots
1 can (10.75 ounce) of condensed cheddar cheese soup
16 ounces of sour cream

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly spray a 13″ x 9″ pan with cooking spray.
3. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet until it is no longer pink and drain the fat.
4. In a large bowl, combine the cooked beef, cooked bacon pieces, cheddar cheese, tater tots, cheese soup, and sour cream.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
5. Spread this mixture into the prepared 13×9 pan.
6. Bake for 45-50 minutes (until bubbly).


An Old Standard!

September 6, 2016

Meatloaf, an easy meal and the true definition of “comfort” food.  Growing up we had meatloaf on a rather regular basis (with fresh veggies, baked potato, and homemade bread on the side) — and mom’s was the best (especially the tomato piquant sauce used to top it all off)!  Here is a tasty variation of mom’s recipe (using stuffing mix instead of bread crumbs and onion soup mix instead of the salt, pepper, and other seasonings).  Yum!

Everyday Meatloaf

2 cups herbed stuffing mix
1 cup water
½ cup dry milk
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 eggs, beaten well
½ cup catsup
2 pounds ground beef

For the Sauce
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons prepared mustard
½ cup water
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine the stuffing, water, milk, soup mix, eggs, and catsup and mix thoroughly.  Add the meat and mix until it is all well blended.  Press into a loaf pan (9x5x3 inches) or form into a loaf.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1½ hours.  When it has cooked half the time, spread the tomato piquant sauce over the top and continue baking.

Chicken with a Kick!

June 22, 2016

Here is a quick and easy recipe for spicing up your chicken breasts that I saw being demonstrated on facebook the other day . . .

Mexican Stuffed Chicken

Boneless/skinless chicken breasts (4)
Refried beans
Pepper Jack cheese
Green chiles
Salt and pepper
Nacho cheese taco shells, ground

1. Butterfly your chicken breats then place each breast between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4″ thickness.

2. Spread a layer of refried beans over the top of each breast, generously sprinkle with pepper jack cheese, and spread green chiles over the top.  Roll each breast up and secure with toothpicks.

3. Crush/grind the taco shells and place in a shallow pan (9×9 cake pan).  Roll each breast in the crumbs (coat well) and place on a wire rack over a shallow jellyroll pan.

4. Bake at 375 degree for 35 minutes.

Pork is Always an Option!

May 27, 2016

Pork is always high on my list when it comes to cooking  and I’m always on the look out for new and interesting recipes.  Here’s one with sage and pecan (and blackberries) that sounds positively marvelous!  And while I’m at it, here’s a shout out to my brother — Happy Birthday Andrew!

Sage and Pecan Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

1 cup of red wine vinegar
5 Tablespoons of seedless blackberry preserves
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 pound of pork tenderloin
3/4 cup of fine, dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons of rubbed sage
2 large eggs, beaten
4 teaspoons of olive oil
Garnish: fresh blackberries, fresh sage leaves

1.  Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 6 minutes or until reduced by half.  Stir in preserves, and cook 5 minutes.  Stir in salt.

2.  Remove silver skin from tenderloin, leaving a thin layer of fat covering meat. Cut pork into 8 slices.  Place pork between two sheets of plastic wrap, and flatten to ¼-inch thickness.

3.  Stir together bread crumbs, pecans, and sage in a shallow bowl.

4.  Dredge pork in breadcrumb mixture, dip in beaten eggs, and dredge again in breadcrumb mixture.

5.  Cook 4 pork slices in 2 teaspoons hot oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8 minutes or until done, turning every two minutes. Repeat procedure with remaining pork and oil.  Serve with vinegar mixture, and garnish if desired.

Hungry for Mexican Food?

May 10, 2016

I seem to be able to eat Mexican food any time, any day (i.e., I never tire of the spicy flavors).  Here’s a recipe that is quick and easy and is sure to satisfy any craving for Mexican food you may have.

Chicken Quesadillas 

2-1/2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
2/3 cup of salsa
1/3 cup of sliced green onions
3/4 to 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
6 flour tortillas (8-inch)
1/4 cup of butter, melted
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream and guacamole

1. In a large skillet, combine the first six ingredients.  Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for ten (10) minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

2. Brush one side of the tortillas with butter and place buttered-side down on a lightly-greased baking sheet.  Spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture over half of each tortilla and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the cheese.

3. Fold the plain side of the tortilla over the cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until they are crisp and golden brown.  Cut into wedges and serve with the sour cream and guacamole.

A Savory Pie!

April 22, 2016

Here’s a recipe that is reminiscent of a good old pasty (a folded pastry case with a savory filling, typically of seasoned meat and vegetables) a la the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Cheese, Ale, and Potato Pie

2 (14-ounce packages) puff pastry, chilled
2-1/4 pounds of medium Yukon gold potatoes
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup of ale (such as Bass, but any kind [light or dark] will do)
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons  of heavy cream
15 ounces (5 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 large egg yolks, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each puff pastry sheet to a 10″ x 14″ rectangle.  Stack the pastry sheets on a cookie sheet  with a piece of parchment paper between them.  Refrigerate until chilled.

2.  In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with 1″ of water, add salt, and bring to a boil.  Cook over moderately high heat until the potatoes are just tender (about 15 minutes).  Drain and cool under running water.  Pat the potatoes dry , then peel and quarter and gently crush with your hand or a wooden spoon.

3.  In a medium saucepan, boil the ale over high heat until reduced to 1/3 of a cup (about 5 minutes).  Add the cream and cook , whisking until reduced to 3/4 of a cup (about 5 minutes).  Add the cheese and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth (about 3 minutes).  Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.  Season the sauce with the salt and pepper and let cool.  Carefully stir in the crushed potatoes and season again with salt and pepper.

4.  Arrange 1 chilled puff pastry  sheet  on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with some of the beaten egg.  Spread the potato filling on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.  Top with the second sheet of puff pastry  and press the edges together to seal; crimp decoratively.  Brush the top of the pie with more of the beaten egg and cut a few slits for venting.  Refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

5.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake the pie for 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees,  rotate the baking sheet and bake until the pastry is browned and the filling is bubbling (about 25-30 minutes longer).  Let cool slightly before serving.

Baked Ravioli!

January 25, 2016

When I have served ravioli in the past, I normally just boil the pasta and top it with my mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce.  Last week I ran across a recipe that takes my process one step further — you top it with cheese and bake it in the oven.  The obvious benefit to this variation: you can make this a day ahead  and then just pop it in the oven . . . perfect for those days when you know you don’t have a lot of time for the prep.  Enjoy!

Baked Ravioli

2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme, or oregano
1 can (28-ounces) whole tomatoes
1 can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 pounds frozen ravioli
1-1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and season with the salt and pepper.  Cook while stirring occasionally until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add the thyme and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer (breaking up the tomatoes as you go) until the sauce is thickened and reduced to about 5-1/2 cups (20-25 minutes).

2.  Meanwhile, cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salt water just until they float to the top (pasta will continue to cook in the oven).  Drain the pasta and return to the pot.

3.  Toss the sauce with the pasta.  Pour the pasta into a 13×9 baking dish and sprinkle with the cheeses.  Bake until golden (about 20-25 minutes).  Cool slightly before serving.

Mmm, Bacon!

December 9, 2015

When you don’t have a lot of time, here is a quick and easy recipe for a tart (courtesy of Taste of Home) that can be thrown together in a hurry.

Chicken and Bacon Tart
1/4 pound of bacon strips cut into thirds
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 package (9 ounce) ready to serve roasted chicken strips
1/4 cup of jalapeno pepper jelly
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 sheet frozen puffed pastry, thawed
3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to paper towels.  Saute the onions and apples in the drippings until tender.   Stir in the chicken, jelly, thyme, and salt.

2. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the puff pastry.  Roll into a 10-inch by 9-inch rectangle.  Transfer to a 15-inch by 10-inch by 1-inch parchment paper-lined baking sheet..  Prick with a fork.

3. Spread the chicken mixture over the pastry to within 1 inch of the edges.  Sprinkle with the cheese and pepper.  Press the edges with a fork, forming a decorative border.

4. Bake at 425 degree for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with the bacon and bake 5-10  more minutes longer or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Not Your Ordinary Gremolata!

October 26, 2015

Traditional gremolata is a chopped herb condiment made with three ingredients: lemon zest, garlic, and parsley.  I recently found a recipe that improvises on the gremolata a bit: lime zest, coffee beans and cilantro,   Hmm, delicious!

Coconut-Braised Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes

2 Tablespoons of canola oil
6 whole chicken legs (2 pounds)
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 pound of fresh Mexican chorizo
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 dried chile de árbol, broken in half
3 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
1 pound of baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges
1 Tablespoon of butter

1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro, plus extra sprigs for the garnish
7 coffee beans, finely crushed (1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons of finely grated lime zest

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Working in two batches, brown the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per batch.  Transfer the chicken to a large plate.  Add the chorizo and onion to the casserole and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the ginger, garlic, and chile and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.   Add the coconut milk, potatoes, and chicken to the casserole adn bring to a simmer.  Cover and braise in teh oven for about 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the line juice and butter and season with salt.

2.  Meanwhile, make the gremolata.  In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.

3.  Spoon the braised chicken and potatoes into a shallow bowl.  Garnish with the gremolata and cilantro sprigs and serve with a lime wedge.

Source: Food and Wine magazine, October 2015