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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

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This year’s Super Bowl was a let down. Same team. Same quarterback. Sixth Super Bowl Ring. Wait, am I even allowed to say Super Bowl? Maybe I need to say “The Big Game?” A low scoring game with little action. The half time show was controversial. In the end, the reviews were mixed.  We got to witness Adam Levine rip off his shirt (thus exposing his nipple) and hear lots of bleeped out rap lyrics.

The saving grace was the buffet, thank goodness for friends who know how to make good food. We feasted on delicious dips (including buffalo chicken dip and taco tray https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/2014/04/soft-beef-tacos-and-taco-tray/), steamed shrimp and these fantastic pickles wrapped with ham and stuffed with cream cheese. Something new that I might need to try.

My contribution…….dessert, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies. I know that I have already shared a knee buckling, life changing recipe for small batch chocolate brownies. https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/2018/05/small-batch-brownies/  But this recipe for blondies is really, really good.

Don’t ask me to pick between the two. Do yourself a favor and make both.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

1 Stick (4 ounces) Butter, softened

2/3 cup crunchy or smooth Peanut Butter

3/4 cup packed Light Brown Sugar

2/3 cup Sugar

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

2 Eggs

1 1/4 cups Flour

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

2/3 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 square baking dish.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla, then beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until the first is incorporated before adding the second. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Turn off the mixer before adding the four mixture, then beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into the prepared dish and bake until the outside is golden on the edges but the center is still soft and gooey. About 40-45 minutes. It may seem undercooked but it will set up as it cools. Cool in the pan and serve warm.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold  Print.  

Recipe found and adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings Hungry For More Cookbook.

Homemade Hummus

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SI have one more healthy-ish recipe for you.  (The next one will make up for the healthy stuff, it’s a decadent dessert that was a big hit at last night’s “Big Game” Party.)  A five minute homemade hummus so easy you won’t even think about buying store bought hummus again.  I might be overly optimistic, but I’m hopeful you’ll agree it’s the best ever!

7 ingredients.

5 minutes.

1 blender.

Easy to make, easy to clean, easy to eat.

I haven’t always been so accepting of chick peas, aka garbanzo beans.  2018 was the year I learned to embrace both kale chips and chicken peas, what a year!  What’s left to try in 2019?!  These legumes are so healthy, so full of nutrients and protein, how could they taste good?  

I guess the truth is…..they don’t really.  Not by themselves anyway.  But add some garlic, lots of lemon juice, salt, honey and tahini and they are a tasty snack. (Tahini was also a mystery to me.  Turns out, it’s actually a puree of sesame seeds.  The sesame seed version of peanut butter.) I like my hummus simple, but there are so many great things to add in for even more flavor, i.e. roasted garlic, spinach, roasted red pepper and avocado….. just to name a few.  So feel free to experiment and if you find a flavor that knocks your socks off, please feel free to come back here and share with the rest of us.  

Homemade Hummus

INGREDIENTS

  • 15 oz. chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained (bu save 1/4 cup of liquids to add in later)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (and sometimes I add even more)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small clove garlic

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, garlic, and 3 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquids. 
  2. Blend on high speed until light and creamy, about 30 seconds. If mixture is too thick, add in 1 more tablespoon of chicken pea liquie.
  3. Serve with pita, crackers, or veggies.

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold  Print.  

Recipe found and adapted from www.bromabakery.com.

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

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Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this year?  It is estimated that 40% of Americans make New Years Resolutions.   Eating clean and exercising usually top the list, followed by spending less money or saving more money.  Farther down the list are goals such as to quit smoking or to buy a house.

The new year is a clean slate.  Day 1 to a better you?

Every year I vow to eat better and work out more.  Which I usually do, for a while anyway.  So maybe, for me, it’s more of a reset than a restart.  I tried and fell in love with homemade kale chips last year!  Remember? They’re healthy, right?!

While I can’t make fresh celery juice (which is the new cure all) for you everyday or force you to read more books (but I can make some lovely suggestions….), I can offer you some great recipes that are healthy.  Or at least healthier.

Healthy is such a relative term.

Let’s start with soup.  Soups are a great way to eat your veggies.  More veggies equals more vitamins and nutrients.  Soups are also fairly easy to make.  As long as you can dice and chop, you’ll do just fine.  Making soup from scratch allows you to control the ingredients.  Go organic, low fat, gluten or no gluten, dairy free, sugar free.  That’s the beauty of soup, you can make it what you want and it will still taste good.

Soups can be hearty and fulling, an all in one meal.  Case in point, this hearty vegetable beef soup.  It’s full of vegetables and contains no added sugar.

Johnnies stocks quite a few “healthy food” options.  Check out Johnnie’s Facebook page for even more ideas and suggestions.  And, if “healthier” eating isn’t your New Year’s resolution, what is?  I would love to know what everyone is planning for 2019.

 


 

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1-1 1/2 ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 small potatoes or sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 14.5 oz rotel (or diced tomatoes and green chiles)
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoon chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tomatoes diced (or substitute with 1-14 ounce can)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute. Next stir in the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain any remaining fat.
  • Stir in potatoes, celery and carrots, rotel, tomato sauce and water. Bring to a light simmer and then stir in the balsamic vinegar, chili powder, salt, pepper and tomatoes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 30-45 minutes (or until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender), stirring occasionally.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.stylebyemilyhenderson.com.

Chicken Marsala

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I think I’m pretty creative in the kitchen.  I like to try new things so that I don’t get bored.  I don’t like to repeat meals too often, even our family favorites. I am constantly pinning drool worthy recipes and putting the latest celebrity cookbooks on my wish list so that I always have some ready to make.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about hobbies and what mine might be exactly.  At my age, I think the list of things that you enjoy doing in your spare time can dwindle if you’re not careful.  It might not be terribly exciting, but I think I can safely list cooking as one of my hobbies.

I like to cook, and I love it when other people cook for me.  

My husband likes to make breakfast, his new obsession is making Sausage Gravy.  Tasty but not good for the waistline.  

My daughter is home from college and made tacos for us last week.  (She cooks if I promise to do the dishes.)  

On New Years Eve, my friend Tammi made Chicken Marsala for us before we welcomed in 2019.  Such a classic dish, and I couldn’t stop eating it.  It was delicious. Thankfully, she was happy to share the recipe, as I don’t think that I’ve made Chicken Marsala before.  (If I did, the recipe definitely wasn’t as wonderful as this one.)  No worries, it’s pretty simple and the ingredients are nothing too out of the ordinary.  (except for the Marsala wine which you can find at most grocery stores and/or the liquor store). 

I did make a few tweaks to Tammi’s version.  I used bacon instead of prosciutto.  I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice.  Sometimes when you cook with wine or beer, the flavor can be over powering.  But the Marsala wine is sweet and blends very well with the mushrooms and bacon.  I hope that you will be a impressed as I was with this dish.

 

Chicken Marsala

Ingredients:

(4) Skinless, Boneless, Chicken Breasts

Flour, for dredging

Salt and Black Pepper

Olive Oil

4 ounces Bacon, cut into 2 inch pieces

8 ounces Mushrooms

1 cup Sweet Marsala Wine

1/2 cup Chicken Stock

2 Tablespoons Butter

1/8 cup Dried Parsley

Directions:

Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a place of plastic wrap over them, pound with a mallet until they are about 1/4 inch thick.  The chicken breasts from Johnnies are not thick to begin with, so a few hits with the mallet should do it.  Put the flour in a shallow plate and season with salt and pepper, mix to distribute evenly.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  When the oil is hot, dredge both sides of the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.  Slip the breasts into the pan and fry for 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown, turning once. 

Do this in batches if the pieces don’t fit comfortably in the pan.  When browned, remove the chicken to a large platter and lay in a single layer to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium and add the bacon to the drippings in the pan. Saute for a few minutes, you don’t need to crisp it completely.  Now, add the mushrooms and sauce until they are nicely browned and their moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Pour the Marsala in the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out the alcohol.  Add the chicken stock and simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce is reduced. 

Stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan, simmer gently until the chickened is heated through.Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the parsley before serving.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from my friend Tammi who got if from www.foodnetwork.com.

Crockpot Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

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Bring on the cozy meals and the crock pot creations.  Winter is here and that means shorter days and chilly nights.  I am most happy when tucked inside my warm house binge watching Netflix and binge eating comfort foods.  (….and wrapping presents and baking cookies…..)

Currently, I’m busy buying Christmas gifts and doing some last minute decorating.  So choosing something simple for dinner is a top priority.  When kids the kids return home from college next week, things will become a bit more hectic and there will be more mouths to feed.  So anything I can make in a crockpot is welcome.

Spaghetti squash isn’t a typical crockpot creation.

I’ve cooked spaghetti squash only a handful of times.  I am truly amazed by this vegetable.  (Is it a vegetable?  Yes, a winter vegetable. I did double check.)  A spaghetti squash shreds into spaghetti like strands with a fork when fully cooked or roasted or microwaved.

Mind blowing, I know.

The few times I have prepared spaghetti squash, I have roasted it in the oven.  It’s much healthier than noodles, but I don’t think you could ever completely trick someone into thinking it was actual pasta noodles.  (If you have a picky eater, I would suggest using a combination of both pasta noodles and spaghetti squash noodles.)  But, in my opinion, cooking the squash in a slow cooker is the closet you can get “consistency wise” to actual noodles.  The spaghetti squash was more tender and buttery, yet not mushy, when slow cooked.

Cooking a spaghetti squash can be downright dangerous.  Well, it’s not the cooking that’s the dangerous part but the preparation.  Cutting a spaghetti squash in half.  It’s a trick that could cost you a finger, I’ve actually watched videos to perfect a safer method.  This recipe removes the fear factor and will eliminate a chance visit to the ER.  You actually drop the entire spaghetti squash into the crockpot, nestle it right there in the middle, and cover with the meat sauce.

Crockpot Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 32 ounce can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash rinsed
  • mozzarella cheese
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage, ground beef, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned all over and the onion is soft, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the meat to your crockpot. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaves, and milk. Stir to combine.

  • Add the spaghetti squash to the center. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Carefully remove the squash from the crockpot and transfer to a cutting board. Wipe away any grease and then carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds, then using a fork, scrape the squash into strands.

  • Divide the spaghetti squash among bowls and ladle the sauce over the top. Top with the cheeses and enjoy.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.halfbakedharvest.com.

Gift Giving: Homemade Moose Munch

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If you live in this country and you have never been to a Harry and David’s store, you’re missing out.  (and you must be living under a rock….ha, sorry). They sell gourmet gift baskets full of things like fresh fruits, fancy chocolates and gourmet nuts.  The best part of visiting any Harry and David’s store is the free samples.  There are always lots of samples.

One of my favorite treats is the Moose Munch.

Per Harry and David themselves……

Moose Munch® Premium Popcorn is not your average caramel popcorn. Every detail of the recipe went through intense scrutiny, from the type of corn we use to how the caramel coats each popped kernel. It took over 160 attempts to get the original recipe absolutely perfect, and that dedication and effort can be tasted in each sweet and crunchy bite of our gourmet popcorn. Delight in several delicious flavors, including classic caramel, s’mores, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate.

What a great description, is your mouth watering yet?

Sometimes it’s nice to think about giving homemade gifts at Christmas.  Instead of knitting a dish cloth or pouring a coffee cup candle, I prefer to make culinary gifts from the heart.  (although I personally would love to receive a hand knitted dish cloth or a homemade candle)  And Moose Munch seemed like a great idea this year, easier and more unique than homemade macarons or Christmas cookies.

A few years ago, my husband bought me a miniature movie theatre popcorn maker.  We used it all time, it made the best popcorn.  I grew quite a reputation for my outstanding popcorn making skills.  A few weeks ago, the popcorn maker quit popping.  My very smart friend told me that I didn’t need a fancy machine to make homemade popcorn and promptly taught me how to make it on the stove.   It’s simple and believe me when I say anyone can do it.

How to make popcorn on the stove:  Using a large, heavy bottom saucepan or pot, toss in a couple of popcorn kernels and about 2 Tablespoons of oil.  (I used canola oil.). Cover the pan with a lid.  Heat on medium heat until you hear those few kernels pop.  Then, add 1/2 cup of kernels and return the lid to the pot.  Shake the pan continuously as the popcorn pops, and remove from heat once the popping subsides.  This will yield about 16 cups of popped popcorn, a little bit more than needed for the moose munch.


Homemade Moose Munch

Ingredients.
  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 1.5 cups nuts of choice (I used cashews and chopped pecans)
  • 1  1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1  1/4 cups butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions.
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Spread popped popcorn and nuts into a baking dish, or better yet, divide between two pans or dishes.
  3. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until mixture comes to a boil.  Continue boiling for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda.
  5. Pour warm mixture over popcorn and nuts and stir well so that the popcorn is coated.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer popcorn to wax paper lined sheet pans, don’t break into chunks.    (Two quarter sheet pans are perfect.). Allow to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals on 50% power, stirring after each interval. You can also melt chocolate in a double boiler.
  9. Using a fork or spoon, generously drizzle chocolate over the popcorn.  Put your sheet pans into the refrigerator for an hour or until completely cool and chocolate is set. Break into pieces.

The most difficult part of making moose munch is allowing enough time for everything to cool between steps.  Be sure to budget your time wisely.

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.browniebites.net.

Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup

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Winter has seemingly arrived overnight.  I’ve already worn my winter coat, hat and gloves.  The bird bath is frozen.  The leaves, which were beautiful, are falling quickly.  It’s too cold, even for them.

As a result, our palates are shifting to warm comfortable foods.  (The pumpkin spice trend shows no sign of slowing down.). I personally crave hearty soups and homemade breads.  On Sunday I made soup, Ham and Potato.  I made it in the slow cooker and the house smelled wonderful all day.

I believe it’s really difficult to make a bad soup.  (Unless you burn something, then it would taste very bad). Soup is good.  Who doesn’t love soup?  This one is pretty simple.  It’s really simple thanks to the addition of frozen hash browns.  (although you could totally use fresh potatoes if the mood strikes or if you have an excess in your pantry). And it’s also a great way to use up extra holiday ham.  It takes 6 hours to cook, so start early in the day and enjoy the aromas wafting out of the crockpot.  It also makes a large amount of soup.  So you will have leftovers for days, unless you’re willing to share with your friends.

Ingredients.

  • 32 oz. cubed hashbrowns, thawed
  • 5 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 32. oz chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups ham steak”, cubed, or leftover ham
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 oz.cream cheese, room temperature

Instructions.

In your slow cooker, combine your thawed hash browns, broth, diced vegetables and spices. Stir to combine.
Cook on low for about 6 hours or until your vegetables are tender.
Remove lid, take out some broth and put it into a bowl with your room temperature cream cheese.  Whisk together until it is smooth, dump back into your crockpot and stir in slowly.
Add in your diced ham and whipping cream and stir until combined.  At this time, taste your broth.  I added some additional salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
Put lid back on and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.temeculablogs.com.

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

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We are normally team chocolate chip cookie.  My mom truly makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.  And, even with the recipe, no one can duplicate the consistency and excellence of her cookies.  So, I don’t even really try anymore.  I am pretty satisfied with a tube of pre made Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough to be honest.  (and yes, I totally eat more of the raw cookie dough than the baked cookie).

If I’m going to make cookies from scratch, I will most likely choose oatmeal chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies.  This saves me from the disappointment of making sub par chocolate chip cookies.  But seeing this recipe for a Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookie turned me in a new direction.  Salted chocolate anything is always a good thing.  And, we were not disappointed.  I think we just found a new favorite.

Take these to your tailgate parties, halloween parties or family reunions.  Take these to your holiday cookie exchange and you will instantly find new friends and possibly win lots of money…..if your cookie exchange has prize money to be won.

My only complaint with these treats is that they disappeared too fast.

Salted Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

6 Tablespoons Butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

nonstick cooking spray for greasing fingers

24 milk chocolate caramels (I used Rolos)

flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In a small saucepan or double boiler, combine the butter, bittersweet chocolate and the chocolate chips.  Cook over low heat, stirring often so that it doesn’t burn, until fully melted .  It will be thick.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cools slightly.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together on high until light and fluffy.  (2-3 minutes). A stand mixer or handheld mixer will do the trick.  Add the vanilla and the melted chocolate mixture and beat for 1-2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and beat until fully combined.  (3 minutes). The batter will be thick but pourable.  Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for at least an hour but up to overnight.

Scoop out 2 Tablespoons of dough and place on prepared baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart.  I ended up with about 2 dozen cookies.  Unwrap about 24 Rolos.  Grease your hands with cooking spray and push 1 Rolo into the cookie.  This part is a little messy.  It was almost easier for me to reshape the cookies into balls with my hands.  Either way, make sure that the caramel is completely covered by the cookie dough.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle each cookie with the flaky sea salt.  Let cool (on baking sheet) for a few minutes before serving.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook.

Beer Braised Bratwurst with Sauerkraut

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In the late 1600’s, my father’s family migrated to America from Germany.  (Apparently some of my ancestors beat William Penn to the punch.). My mother’s family also migrated to America from Germany and both sides of my husband’s family are also of German descent.  I mean, can you think of a more German last name than Ernst?  Maybe it’s my lineage that makes me feel German.  I don’t own a Dirndl, but I’m thinking about it…..but I do love German foods.  Sauerkraut, pretzels, bratwurst, Viener Schnitzel, strudels and streusels.  Or, maybe that’s the Americanized version of German foods? Either way, bring it on.  It’s on my bucket list to travel to Bavaria for Octoberfest someday.  But, for now, each October, I try to recreate the flavors of this German Holiday.

And obviously, no Octoberfest celebration could happen without sausages and/or bratwurst.

But what is the difference between sausage, kielbasa and bratwurst.  After all, aren’t they are all sausages?  The main differences lie in the herbs and seasonings used for flavoring.  Bratwurst is a specific type of German sausage, made with pork or veal or a combination of the two.  It can be subtly seasoned, most likely with caraway, coriander, ginger or nutmeg.  Kielbasa, or Polish Kielbasa, is usually made with pork or beef and is either smoked or only lightly smoked.  It will likely have a strong garlic flavor along with pimentos, cloves or marjoram.  Kielbasa is often paired with sauerkraut.  That’s probably more information than you needed or wanted, but maybe it helps to explain the differences.  I like all 3, and will probably continue to substitute either in most recipes and forget all of the details listed above.

And sauerkraut, it’s also a given.  This recipe slow roasts the kielbasa and the sauerkraut together.  The result is a sauerkraut that is browned, almost caramelized, and delicious.  It smells pretty heavenly too.

Beer Braised Bratwurst with Sauerkraut

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 bottle of bock style beer (or any kind of beer, I think I used a lager)
  • 1 lb. Kielbasa, Bratwurst or Italian Sausages 
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups Sauerkraut, drained on paper towels
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat a tall sided skillet or wide, shallow pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion, beer, and bratwurst. Simmer, turning sausages occasionally, until beer is reduced to a syrupy constancy and onions are caramelized-about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove sausages and add beef broth to the pan, scraping the bottom until mixture is fully incorporated.
  4. Add sausages back to the pan and simmer until fully cooked, about 10 minutes more.
  5. Remove sausages and bring broth to a full boil until reduced to syrupy constancy, watch that it doesn’t reduce too much and burn off.
  6. Lower heat to medium low and melt the butter, scraping up the caramelized bits in the pan.
  7. Add sausages back to the pan.  Place sauerkraut around sausages and cook until heated and somewhat crisp.  Turn sausages and stir often to mix sauerkraut with caramelized onions so it doesn’t burn.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste-depending on the flavors of your sauerkraut and sausages you may not need extra seasoning.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.chaosinthekitchen.com

Crispy Hash Brown, Kale and Sausage Sheet Pan Bake

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There are a few things in life that I know for sure.

I do not like Goat Cheese…….

I do not like cilantro……..there is an ongoing debate about cilantro.  Apparently it’s genetic.  Tastes like soap to me.

I recently discovered homemade kale chips and they are life changing.

I hope you weren’t expecting something deep and revealing.  This is a food blog after all.  I can’t spill all of my secrets.

Kale chips have changed my life.  Rocked my world.  Put a spring in my step.  I’ve never been a kale fan.  I guess I’ve only tried to eat it in salads.  It’s tough.  It’s bitter.  When I worked for my mother in law’s catering business, we sprayed it with Pam cooking spray and used it as a garnish.  Always the garnish, never the dish.

But a few weeks ago, I was making some potato soup.  This particular recipe wanted me to make kale chips to use as a crunchy topping for the soup.

And so I did.

Kale chips are nothing new.  I know people who eat kale chips, they obviously think they are delicious.  But kale chips are not something people really talk about.

But they should be.  You should be.

When cooked this way, until nice and crispy, they are perfect on just about anything.  On soup, on a salad, squeezed in a sandwich or as a stand alone snack.  Which is how they came to be sprinkled on top of this breakfast sheet pan bake.  It’s a match made in heaven, well actually in my kitchen.  Which could be someone’s version of heaven.

I encourage you to go out in the world this week and talk about kale.  (Forget politics and that fact that it’s constantly raining in Pennsylvania.)  I think it’s been overlooked, shadowed by spinach and arugula perhaps.  Coming from a former picky eater, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Maybe it’s just this one thing we can all agree on.

Crispy Hash Brown, Kale and Sausage Sheet Pan Bake

Ingredients:

2 large potatoes, peeled and shredded (you can also use sweet potatoes if you prefer) or a bag of Frozen Hash Browns
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. Breakfast Sausage

4-6 eggs

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

fresh chopped chives

Homemade kale chips (recipe below)

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 425 degrees. If using fresh potatoes, shred the potatoes in a food processor or by hand.  Toss shredded potatoes or shredded hash browns with diced onion and bell pepper.  Add in olive oil.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the shredded potatoe mixture evenly on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Trust me and use the parchment paper, crispy hash browns like to stick to baking sheets.
Cook for about 30 minutes.  I like my potatoes crispy, so keep an eye on them.
Meanwhile, pre-cook the sausage in a skillet for about 5-10 minutes. The sausage does not have to be entirely cooked through because you will be returning it to the oven.
Once the 30 minutes is up on the potatoes, pull the baking sheet out.  Broil potatoes on high for a few minutes until they are really crispy.  Then add in the sausage, chopped chives and kale chips.

Turn off the broiler and turn the oven back on to 425 degrees.  Crack the eggs and nestle them on top of the potatoes/kale/sausage.  Pop the baking sheet back in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the eggs are cooked.  (I also liked my eggs cooked pretty well.). Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese and cook until the cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

“Ignore my blue fingernails. These are the best Kale Chips.”

Homemade Kale Chips

1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and leaves coarsely torn

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the kale, olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.  Using your hands, massage the kale for about 1 minute to soften.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking, until crispy.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.