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What to do with all of those tomatoes…..Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Dip

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It’s that time of year again.  Tomato time.  Two or three times weekly, my husband hand delivers a full basket of tomatoes.  (Just once it would be nice to receive a bouquet of flowers instead!) And once again, I’m floundering to come up with ways to use them.  I have already made 4 batches of salsa.  (You can find my updated recipe in the blog archives. https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/2013/08/canning-salsa-pickles-and-green-beans/). I am going to try to make some Bloody Mary mix this weekend.  And still, my basket is half full…..or half empty depending on your point of view.  As I write this, I am enjoying a BLT.  I have tomatoes on the brain.

Our garden is also overflowing with bell peppers, hot peppers and basil.  So, for me, this recipe hits a home run.  It was a “3 for one” to help use up the garden haul.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Dip

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cup sliced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup roasted red peppers, drained (see recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Optional: 
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped or a teaspoon of dried basil
  • diced fresh chives or a teaspoon of dried chives

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Grease a 9×9 baking dish with olive oil, add the tomatoes to the dish and also coat them in olive oil, place feta cheese in the middle of the dish and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Fit an electric mixer with the wire attachment and beat cream cheese for 1-2 minutes on medium high speed. Beat until the cream cheese is smooth and “lump free.”
  • Transfer the cream cheese, feta, roasted peppers and the roasted tomatoes to a blender or food processor and blend until ingredients are incorporated and dip is smooth.
  • Garnish with fresh basil and fresh chives and serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers, toasted bread or cut veggies.
Roasted Red Peppers
Place the washed peppers cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Roast the peppers in the pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 25 minutes; or until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred.  Remove from the oven and place in a bowl and seal tightly with plastic wrap.  The steam from the peppers will soften the skin and make them easier to peel.  After the peppers have cooled considerably, remove plastic wrap and peel the skin off of the peppers.
*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.sweetandsavorymeals.com.

 

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Baked Breakfast Sandwiches

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We had a full house at the beach this year for the Fourth of July.  We got to spend some time on the boat in the sunshine and we got to see some fireworks on the water later that night.  After a long day of celebrating, I knew I wanted something easy to make and hearty enough to feed the hungry crowd the next morning.

These breakfast sandwiches were the perfect solution and my mom helped me whip up a batch the next morning.  We prepared each of the ingredients first and finished up “assembly line style.”  We used eggs, cheese, sausage and ham, but you could change it up and add whatever you want.  Bacon would be great.  Or avocados and tomatoes…….

I think the secret ingredient that takes these sandwiches from good to great is the garlic-mustard-poppyseed- butter mixture.  It adds a little bit of tang that you didn’t even know you wanted.

You can also make the sandwiches the day before and reheat.  Then maybe you’ll get a chance to sleep in!



Baked Breakfast Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Slider Rolls, cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 eggs, cooked your way (I fried my eggs)
  • 16 slices Swiss cheese
  • 8 sausage patties, cooked
  • 8 slices ham
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons poppyseeds


INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.

Place the bottom half of each roll in the bottom of the baking dish.

To assemble the sandwiches, start with a slice of cheese, then eggs (I used 1 per roll.)  Then ham, sausage and more cheese. Replace the tops to each roll.

In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, mustard, poppy seeds, and garlic powder. Brush the top of each roll generously with the butter mixture.

Bake covered for 12 minutes and then remove cover. Continue cooking for another 4-6 minutes or until the bread is toasted and and the cheese fully melted.

Remove and serve!

You can make these ahead. Just refrigerate overnight and bake when ready.

These sandwiches are so customizable, that is a word, right? If you don’t like any of the ingredients, leave them out!  Add bacon, take out the ham.  Add in some veggies.  The options are endless.

 

*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.smittenkitchen.com

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Hot Diggity Dog

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We used to host an annual Food Contest sometime during the Fourth of July weekend (or week.)  As the hosts and creators of the contest, we would pick a food theme and lay down the rules.  We’ve had pizza parties, burger parties, crab parties and bacon parties.   Just to name a few.  For some reason, we got out of the habit of hosting.  Maybe it’s because it had gotten too big or maybe it’s because as a family we couldn’t agree on a theme.

Hypothetically speaking, if I were in charge, I would love to host a Dog (hot dog, kielbasa, or sausage) Party and let our guests create some award winning dishes.  Do a quick search on Pinterest and you will find lots of inspiration.  You will find thousands upon thousands (or at the very least, hundreds upon hundreds) of creative “hot dog” pictures.  Some topped with macaroni and cheese, some topped with peaches and burrata.

Johnnies carries a few items that would be acceptable for such a party.  My favorite being their Black Angus dogs.  But they also carry an assortment of “regular” hot dogs and a variety of Kunzler sausages.

They also stock my favorite type of roll, Martin’s Potato Dog Rolls.

For my “food party for one”, I presented 3 masterpieces.   Without further ado, I present my creations.

One of the rules for our annual contest was that you also had to name your creation.

From left to right……

  1. The Sloppy Dog (Hot Dog or Sausage topped with Sloppy Joe)
  2. The Safe Bet (Hot Dog or Sausage with Mustard….boring)
  3. The Peppered Dog (Hot Dog or Sausage with Sautéed Peppers)

Sausage, Hot Dogs, Black Angus Dogs or Kielbasa

Sauteed Bell Peppers for the Peppered Dog

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers; sauté 3 minutes or until the peppers start to become tender.  Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve bell pepper mixture over Sausage.  These peppers are equally delightful on chicken or turkey sandwiches.

*Johnnies carries frozen roasted peppers and onions.  If you want to skip this step, buy the frozen, already roasted bag.

Sloppy Joe Mix for the Sloppy Sausage

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Brown the ground beef and drain.  Add the ketchup, vinegar and brown sugar.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes and adjust the seasonings (add more ketchup, vinegar or brown sugar) if necessary.  Serve the sloppy Joe mix on top of your sausage or dog.  Obviously it’s just as good served on a roll.

Gather your dogs (or sausages).  Gather your toppings.  (You can get really creative with the toppings.  Add in something you love, like bacon or jalapeños.). Gather your rolls, Martins for me every time.

If you’re making it a competition, have your guests vote for their favorites.  It’s always interesting to see what people create.  Sometimes it’s terrible, but most of the time it’s surprisingly good.

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

 

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Italian Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

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It’s picnic season.  The temperatures are soaring, the rain has stopped.  It’s time to get your coolers and picnic baskets prepped.  What are your go to’s to bring to a picnic or tailgate?  The most popular choices seem to be potato salads, fried chicken, baked beans (of course) and watermelon.  Pasta salads are new to the scene, but a great option because they hold up in the heat better than a mayo based salad.

Everyone has a favorite recipe (or a favorite boxed brand that they like).  I’m not sure what prompted me to stray from my faithful recipe.  It was probably a picture, I’m a sucker for food pictures.  The secret to the success of this dish is the roasted tomatoes.  Promise me you will take the time to roast them.  The end result, after 90 minutes, is worthy of your time.  The roasting process turns those dull, often tasteless tomatoes, into something tart and marvelous.

I do suggest that you undercook your pasta just a bit, by a minute or two.  The pasta will hold up better if it is slightly undercooked.  It won’t get soggy when it sits and soaks up that dressing.

As always, this recipe is customizable.  You like olives, you keep them in.  You don’t like olives, you take them out.  But not the roasted tomatoes, you keep them in.  You won’t regret it!

 

Italian Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes
4 cups grape tomatoes
olive oil
salt

Oregano dressing
1 big clove or 2 small cloves garlic
1  1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1  1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Assembly
1 pound dried pasta, a bite-sized shape of your choosing (I used farfelle or bowtie pasta), cooked until 1 to 2 minutes before doneness and drained
6 ounces crumbled salty cheese, such as feta or queso fresco (I used cojita because that is what I had on hand)
1/2 cup pitted and rough-chopped olives of your choice (I opted to sub the olives for chopped pepperoni, I thought the crowd would be happier)
Salt and pepper

Roast tomatoes: Heat oven to 300°F. Cover 1 to 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Cut each small tomato in half lengthwise and arrange cut side up in a single layer on prepared sheets. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in oven for approximately 90 minutes, until somewhat shriveled and dry to the touch, but not fully dehydrated. Set aside until needed, letting them cool.

Make dressing: Roughly chop the garlic on a cutting board, then add oregano, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mince the mixture with your knife until it’s a grainy paste. Transfer to a small bowl, whisk in lemon juice and vinegar, then slowly drizzle in oil, whisking the whole time. Taste and adjust as needed; you might need more salt or vinegar. I refrigerated the dressing before adjusting.  Sometimes the flavors blend well together after refrigerating.

Assemble salad: In a large bowl, place drained pasta, roasted tomatoes, cheese and olives (or pepperoni) and toss gently to combine. Add dressing to taste, along with any extra salt and pepper needed. Salad can be eaten right away, but will keep in the fridge up to 3 days. This is also perfect for picnics and potlucks.

*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.smittenkitchen.com

 

 

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Glazed Doughnuts

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This recipe may be late by a few days.  I realize that National Donut Day was on Friday.  But, my love for doughnuts should not be dismissed.  I have been known to coerce my friends into walking miles for doughnuts, 2.6 miles each way to be exact one time in Brooklyn.  (yes, it was worth it….).

I love doughnuts, specifically yeast doughnuts.  In case you didn’t know, there are 2 types of doughnuts, cake doughnuts and yeast doughnuts.  Yeast doughnuts are fluffy, light and and just a little bit chewy.  Think Dunkin’ Donuts or Krumpe’s.  Cake doughnuts are moist and crumbly and dense like a muffin or cake.  Think The Doh-Nuh T Co. or Fractured Prune.

You can debate the qualities of each, but it comes down to personal preference.

So put me on Team Yeast.

Making doughnuts takes time.  There’s a lot of waiting for the dough to rise, then a long period of refrigeration before the doughnuts must rise again.  The process is not complicated, but it does take patience.  But I promise you it is worth the wait to make homemade doughnuts.

Glazed Doughnuts

  • 1-1/8 cup milk, warmed (around 100 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 stick butter, melted (or 10 Tablespoons)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil

GLAZE

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cold milk

To Make the Dough:

1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot. (around 100 degrees)
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won’t be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter’s not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it’s thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.
14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge.
16. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.  I refrigerated it overnight.

To Make the Doughnuts:

1. Remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
3. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as much as you can, etc.
4. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.
5. Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet.
6. Cover with large towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen.  Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15 minutes if necessary. Doughuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.

To Fry the Dougnuts:

1. Heat plenty of vegetable shortening in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees—375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor.  For the first few doughnuts that I made, the oil was too hot.  The quality of the doughnut was not compromised, they were still tasty, but you can see from the photos that some of them were really dark in color.  I cooled down the oil just a little bit and the later batches were better.
2. One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly.
3. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.
4. Place doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels, draining as much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut.
5. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side.  (I actually forgot to save and cook the doughnut holes!)
6. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.

To Glaze

1. Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.
2. One by one, dip doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged. (Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, then remove with slotted spoon.)
4. Remove from glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch dripping glaze.)
5. Serve warm if possible, or room temperature.

Next time I make a batch of homemade donuts, it would be fine to try adding flavors to the glaze.  But for now, this simple glaze was perfect.
*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.thepioneerwoman.com

 

 

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Chicken Tater Tachos

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Once again, I blame it on New Orleans.  It was late, we were hungry.  We needed food and we needed it fast.  Randomly, we wandered into 13 Monaghan.

What we found was ground breaking.

What we found was possibly one of New Orlean’s best kept secrets.

What we found was Tater Tot Nachos.

Who doesn’t love nachos?  Nachos can be topped with everything great.  Cheese, sour cream, pulled pork, chicken, jalapeños, salsa, etc.

And who doesn’t tater tots?  I mean, I try not to love them.  They aren’t the healthiest of potato dishes.  But, I have to admit, they are incredible.  So a marriage of the two: tater tots on the bottom topped with cheese, sour cream, pulled pork, chicken, jalapeños, salsa, etc???

My tacho of choice that night was the Srirachos, tots topped with chicken, cheddar cheese, jalapeños, cilantro, and sriracha ranch dressing.

The inspiration, Srirachos from 13 Monaghan

 

Naturally, I knew that I needed to try and recreate this epic meal.

 

Sriracho Tachos

Ingredients:

Bag of Tater Tots

Prepare according to package directions.  Try to get as crispy as possible.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.  Place on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil.  Roast 19-21 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Shred chicken.  Don’t forget that it’s really easy to shred chicken using a heavy duty mixer.  (preferably a Kitchenaid) You get the perfect shred every time.

Diced Jalapenos (and unless you like raw jalapeños, I suggest roasting them first)

Shredded Cheese (for this I used shredded cheddar)

Ranch Dressing (recipe to follow)

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I never buy buttermilk, I use the lemon juice and milk trick)
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sriracha sauce, to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the mayo, buttermilk, mustard, honey, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the Tachos.

The first layer will be the crispy tater tots.

Next, add the shredded chicken.

Then add your toppings: the jalapeños and the shredded cheese.  Throw it under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Add the Sriracha ranch and, if you’re feeling saucy, an extra dash of Sriracha.

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

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Small Batch Brownies

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A few weeks ago, I was looking for a quick dessert to make for dinner.  I usually have boxed brownie mixes on hand, but this time I was out.  Turns out, that was a blessing in disguise.  It forced me to make something quick, from scratch.  The entire recipe, from start to finish, takes around 30-35 minutes.  And the end result, these brownies were incredible.  “Knee buckling.”  I’m not sure if that’s because we are so used to flavorless box brownies or if because they are truly magically delicious.  But I’ve made them several more times and they consistently blow my mind.

This is actually a recipe for small batch brownies.  I usually get 6 good sized brownies from this.

This recipe is so quick and easy.  I was almost afraid to share it because it’s so quick and easy.  But then I thought about it and realized that it’s just the type of recipe everyone needs to have in their back pocket, errr recipe box.  Something simple you can make last minute with ingredients that you have in your pantry.

 

Small Batch Brownies

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325, and spray  a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cocoa powder.

Microwave for 30 seconds on HIGH.

Stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds on HIGH.

Stir the mixture well, and then add the salt and vanilla. Stir for 1 minute to cool the mixture.

Next, add in the egg, and stir until its incorporated.

Finally, add the flour, and stir for 50 strokes!

Spread the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with fudge crumbs clinging to it. The surface of the brownies is shiny when done and starting to crack.

Let cool completely in the pan, or eat the entire pan while hot.  You choose.

 

*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.dessertfortwo.com.

 

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Creole Jambalaya

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Last month, we embarked an epic 3 week road trip.  The trip had been at least a year in the making.  It was originally intended to be a 6-8 week trip, a trip that would take us through the South and out to the West Coast and back.  As we’ve never officially road tripped before, and we weren’t sure what to expect, we decided to chop the trip into two parts and we started with a 3-4 week trip through the south east to Texas.  

One of our stops was in New Orleans Louisiana.  This was our first trip to New Orleans so we tried to do it all.  We explored Bourbon Street and drank a few Hurricanes.  We went deep into the swamps in search of alligators and fresh crawfish.  We stuffed ourselves silly with beignets and all the other New Orleans delicacies like Etouffee, Gumbo, Jambalaya and Chargrilled Oysters.  I think we even tried Alligator, I think it was good.  It tasted like chicken.

The food was incredible.  (We gained a few pounds thanks to that good food.)

As I always, I like to bring the spirit of a city and place back home with me.  Sometimes in the form of cheap souvenirs.  Sometimes in the form of a memorable meal.  So in the spirit of New Orleans, I present to you………..Creole Jambalaya.

I want to address the fact that I am not from New Orleans.  This was my first trip.  I am sure there are as many ways to make Jambalaya as their are ways to skin a cat.  I don’t know if I have broken any cardinal rules regarding jambalaya, but this recipe is a keeper.  It’s good, it’s not too spicy.

CREOLE JAMBALAYA RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Andouille Sausage, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Stick Celery, sliced
  • 1/2 Onion chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepperoptional, adjust for heat
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup White Rice, rinsed
  • 1 lb. IQF Raw Shrimp, peeled (I used the 26/30 size)

Instructions

Cook the Andouille Sausage slices in a dutch oven or large pot in a little olive oil until they are slightly caramelized on both sides, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Add crushed garlic, onion, bell pepper and celery to the pan and saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes on a medium heat.

Add the seasonings to the pan or pot and stir well, then add the rinsed rice and add that to the pan along with the chicken broth and fire roasted tomatoes and return the andouille sausages to the pan, mix well to combine.

STOVE TOP JAMBALAYA

Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low, add the lid, and simmer for 20 -35 minutes or until rice is fully cooked.

Once the rice is cooked stir in the raw shrimp, then put the lid back on and simmer for 15 minutes. The heat from the rice should be enough to cook the shrimp all the way through.  If it’s not hot enough, serve with hot sauce on the side.

*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.noshtastic.com.

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Fresh Bolognese with Zucchini Noodles

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Do you own a spiralizer?

In my opinion, spiralizing is a hot kitchen trend right now.  (Did I just create a new verb, spiralizing?  My auto correct doesn’t recognize it?)  Maybe it’s because we’re always trying to cut back our carb intake.  Maybe it’s because we’re always looking at ways to eat more veggies.  Maybe it’s because…..when you find a good spiralizer, it’s just so much fun to use.

You can spiralize firm fruits (like oranges, lemons and peeled pineapples) and vegetables .  Zucchini, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cucumbers, butternut squash, beets, carrots, and even onions. You can use the spiralized veggies to add to pasta dishes or to salads.  (or to even make curly fries). I previously purchased a (cheap) handheld spiralizer that I never used.  It was hard to hold and downright dangerous.  These things have pretty sharp blades.  I found this 6-bade spiral slice from Paderno at Johnnies.  What a difference!  This things spiralizes like a pro, 6 blades of varying sizes.

This spiralizer comes with one blade already in place, 2 additional blades in the storage compartment beneath the slider and 3 in a separate storage box.  Removing the blades is simple, press the release take located on the back of the blade plate and pull straight up firmly until it snaps out.  (You will find all of these instructions, and more, inside the box.)  Obviously, the blades are sharp, so be careful when you unpack the box and remember to remove the safety film before using.

I tried two different sized blades for my zucchini, the 2 mm Angel Hair blade and the 3 mm blades which produces a “spaghetti” sized noodle.  You might have to experiment to see what size noodle you prefer.  I haven’t tried any other vegetables yet, but I am excited about making shoestring curly fries.

There are many recipes available for spiralized veggies.  The type of vegetable you use and the size of your “noodle” will determine cooking times and method.  Some vegetables won’t even need cooked before eating.  Again, you might have to experiment to see what you prefer.

My family loves pasta.  So, for the time being, I will probably do a mix of spiralized noodles and regular pasta.  I will give them time to get used to the texture and flavor or something different.

Fresh Bolognese

Salt

1/2 lb. Dried Spaghetti

1 lb. of Ground Beef

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 (14 oz.) can of Crushed Tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

1/2 cup White Wine

1/3 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

1 Roasted Red Pepper, chopped

salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Zucchini, spiralized

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Zest of 1 Lemon

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese for Topping

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain and return to the pot.

Heat a large skillet over medium.  When the skillet is just smoking, add the ground beef and brown, breaking it up as it cooks.  Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes, wine, pesto, roasted red pepper and 1/2 cup water.  Increase the heat to high and bring sauce to a simmer.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.  Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.  Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the parmesan.

Toss the hot pasta with the spiralized zucchini, olive oil and lemon zest.  Break the mozzarella over the pasta and serve.

 

*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.

 

 

 

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Chicken Cordon Bleu

By | Recipes | No Comments

 

Not to be outdone by her husband, my sister in law has shared some blog worthy recipes over the years.  She also worked for Perdue, so chicken was often on dinner rotation.  Ever since making recipe this together many moons ago, it’s still one of my favorites.

I think that people might be afraid of making Chicken Cordon Bleu, incorrectly assuming it’s time consuming or difficult.  While there are a few steps, none are too difficult to complete.  This is a classic French recipe, made by the likes of Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.  It’s been around forever because it’s good, and because it’s hard to find anyone who won’t eat or who won’t want to eat Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Depending on the width of your chicken breast, you might have to pound the breasts.  You don’t want them to thick or they will take forever to thoroughly cook.  And no one wants to get salmonella from your undercooked chicken cordon bleu.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

6 boneless, skinless Chicken Breast (pounded to 1/4 inch thickness)

6 Slices of Ham (or Proscuitto)

6 Slices of Swiss Cheese

1/2 cup Flour

1/2 teaspoon Salt

3/4 teaspoon Pepper, divided

2 Eggs, beaten

3/4 cup Breadcrumbs

5 Tablespoons Butter, divided

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/4 cup Dry White Wine

2/3 cup Chicken Broth

 Lay the chicken breast flat on a piece of plastic wrap (sometimes I put them in a zipped up gallon bag) and pound the chicken into about 1/4 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper.

Layer each piece of chicken with 1 slice of ham and a slice of Swiss. Roll the chicken up lengthwise and place seam side down on a baking sheet. You can use toothpicks to secure the chicken.  Just be sure you remember to take them out before eating.

Add the eggs to a shallow bowl.  In a second bowl,  mix the flour, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.  In a third bowl, add the bread crumbs.

Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dip the “chicken rolls” in the flour mixture, dip in eggs and then coat with the bread crumbs. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

At this point, Julia Child would recommend putting the chicken in the fridge for an hour to set the breadcrumbs.  I personally have not tried this, but need to do so next time.  Sometimes I do lose a bit of the breading in the next step.

In a large frying pan, heat 3 Tablespoons of the butter in the oil over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook, turning until browned, about 10 minutes.  Remove chicken to a platter, cover loosely to keep warm.

Pour off fat from skillet.  Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Boil until reduced to 2 Tablespoons.  Add the stock and boil until reduced by half.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over chicken and serve.

 


 

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

 

 

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