Saturday, October 22, 2011

Home made stocks

There is nothing better when making soup, than using stock you made yourself!

Step one:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

I use a large roasting pan and put in the specific beef or chicken. depending on what type of stock I am making. My roasting pan is 12x18 inches and 3 inches deep.

I put in 2 large carrots scrubbed (not peeled) cut in half and 3 celery stalks cut in half. I quarter 2 large onions. I like to leave on the skin as it adds colour. I wash the onion as well as I can but if the skin looks stained then I would peel the onion. I add about 5 cloves of garlic. again I don't peel just rinse under the tap. Then drizzle about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over all the vegetables and bones. Do not cover. Put the pan in the oven for about 45 -60 minutes or till the vegetables have softened and the bones look browned. This will be more obvious with the chicken parts than the beef bones as the chicken parts have more fat etc to turn golden.

Step 2:

Remove pan from oven and place on stove top. Mine covers two burners. Put as much water in as you can and not have it spill over. I use about 16 cups. So make sure you have a large roasting pan. Add a couple of bay leaves and a huge pinch of thyme, and about 10 whole pepper corns Bring to a slow boil and simmer it for 60 to 75 minutes or till you can see that some of the liquid has evaporated. Remember do not cover or it will not evaporate.

Step three:

This is the messy part:o). With a slotted spoon remove the bones and vegetables. I like to put a colander in a large bowl and put the bones, vegetables into there. That way I can keep the liquid that drips off them. Once you have removed most of the stuff I then dump them into a garbage bag to get them out of the way for the stock. I lift the cooled pan and pour the stock though a strainer into a large HUGE measuring cup. (I use an 8 cup and a 4 cup but I sometimes need to use two 8 cup ones)Today I got 12 cups of liquid and had to use two measuring cups . I usually strain it a couple of times in a very small sieve type strainer to get rid of all the little bits of stuff.

Put it in the fridge to cool and clean up the mess that you will have made. Remember it's still worth it.

Step four:

Later that day, or the next day with a spoon, remove the fat that will have risen to the top and hardened and throw it away. I then figure out what I am using it for. My favourite winter soup recipes all use about 4-6 cups of chicken stock so I would put 4 cups into two Tupperware containers and then put the rest into ice cube trays that I bought just for stock. When they are frozen I would push them out into a zip bag and use for stir fry's and sautéing vegetables like I me mentioned earlier. Remember to write with a sharpie pen what's in it as the stocks can look alike. I use chicken stock more but always have beef ready in the freezer for shepherds pie or making a roast etc.

It is important to remember that you put no salt in this. You will need to add salt in order for it to be tasty the key is that you get to decide how much and not someone else. That is the attraction for me. My family have been eating a low sodium diet now for a couple of years so they have gotten used to less salt. Just add a bit as you cook and then you will know if you need more. Remember that even if you add 2 teaspoons to a four cup amount of stock that is still about a third of what would be in store bought stock. The roasting of the bones adds a great colour and intensify the flavour.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes from the Microwave

These golden brown, creamy potatoes are quick and easy. Making the cream sauce before assembly ensures a smooth scallop.
Recipe from a very old Canadian living gas station magazine

3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
4 medium Potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup freshly grated  Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese or cheddar if you prefer
sprinkle paprika

In an 8 cup (2 L) microwavable dish, melt butter at HIGH for 30- 50 seconds; whisk in flour, salt and pepper and dried mustard powder. 

Stir in milk

Then microwave uncovered at HIGH for 3-5 minutes, until thickened, stirring twice. 

Stir in parmesan cheese.

In an 8 cup (2 L) microwavable casserole layer a bit of sauce, potatoes, onion and sauce, making 3 layers of sauce and 2 layers of potatoes.
 Ending with generous amount of sauce. 

Cover and microwave at HIGH for 18-22 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 

Sprinkle grated cheese onto top and broil on high 3-5 minutes, or till lightly browned.
Sprinkle with a little bit of paprika if desired. (about 1/8th teaspoon)

Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs
1 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup butter, melted....just do it:)
2 cups home-made or good quality store bought pasta sauce (PC Tomato Basil is nice)
6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese....(sold in a ball and is soft)

Between sheets of plastic wrap, pound chicken with flat side of meat pounder or with rolling pin until 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Cut lengthwise on diagonal into 4- x 1-1/2-inch (10 x 4 cm) strips. In bowl, whisk eggs. In shallow bowl, combine cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, salt, pepper and paprika.

One at a time, dip chicken strips into eggs, letting any excess drip back into bowl. Dredge in cheese mixture, coating generously and pressing to adhere. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate, layered between waxed paper, in airtight container for up to 24 hours. Or freeze for up to 2 weeks; bake frozen, adding 5 minutes to baking time.)

Arrange on greased baking sheets; drizzle with butter. Bake in 425°F (220°C) oven until golden, crispy and no longer pink inside, about 15 minutes.

While chicken is baking, warm the sauce gently and slice the cheese.

Place warmed sauce in casserole dish ( reserve a few spoonfuls to place on top of chicken) and then set cooked chicken on top. Add the reserved sauce and then the cheese slices. Broil till the cheese is just melted.....only a few minutes.
I serve with Fettuccine Alfredo

Baked Potato Soup

Servings: 4

3 bacon strips, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
2 large baked potatoes, cooked, cooled slightly, peeled and cubed
1 cup half-and-half cream
18th teaspoon pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce OR 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Shredded Cheddar cheese/chopped green onion/the cooked bacon
Minced fresh parsley

1.In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and then if you wish use an immersion blender to puree do so now, then add cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil.
Serve and garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tacos in Pasta Shells

"Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with a rich, spicy blend of cooked ground beef, cream cheese, and taco seasonings are baked with taco sauce and topped with cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream. "

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
4 oz plain cream cheese
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix (recipe below)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
18 jumbo pasta shells
2 cups taco sauce ( I used a mixture of taco sauce and salsa)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large skillet, brown beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add cream cheese and taco seasoning and half of the green onion; mix and simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. 
Allow shells to cool on wax paper or foil. 
Keep them from touching each other or they'll stick together

Fill shells with beef mixture and arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish; pour taco sauce over shells. 

Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Remove dish from oven and top with Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onion and tortilla chips.
Then return dish to oven to cook for 15 minutes more.

Top with sour cream and serve.

Taco Seasoning Mix

Combine in air tight jar or container:

2 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon KOSHER salt

(Use 3 Tablespoons of mix with 1 cup of water and 1 pound of ground beef)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tortellini in Creamy Rosé Sauce

2 spicy Italian sausages
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, use home made-even better
1 cup pasta sauce
1/2 cup water (I use white wine)
1 pkg. (350 g) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1/2 cup (1/2 of 250-g tub) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan Cheese

Remove ground sausage meat from casing and saute in large skillet on medium heat. Breaking it up with fork or spoon. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 15 min. or until sausage is fully cooked and onions are tender. Stir in broth, pasta sauce and water. Bring to boil.

Add pasta; stir. Cover; cook on medium heat 5 min., stirring occasionally. Add cream cheese spread; cook and stir 3 to 5 min. or until completely melted. Cover; cook 5 min. or until pasta is tender; stirring occasionally.

Stir in spinach; cook, covered, 1 min. or just until wilted. Remove from heat; top with Parmesan.

Mississippi Mud Pie

1- 100g pkg of ground almonds
1 c. flour
1/2 c. butter softened
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
1 c. icing sugar
1 container of cool whip, divided.
1 instant choc. pudding
1 instant vanilla pudding
3 c. milk

Heat oven to 350`. Mix ground almond and flour with 1/2 cup of butter. Press into 9x13" pan. Bake crust for 25 min. Let cool.

Mix 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese with 1 cup of icing sugar. Spread over crust. Next spread half of the container of cool whip over the cream cheese.