Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week 2: NJ Sloppy Joes and Blueberry Buckle

I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch this game.  Well, I watched about 5 minutes.  I can’t do 8:30 start times.  I have a kid that thinks 4 am is a perfectly reasonable time to get up.  That being said, I am not upset I missed it.  I think SBNation had it right when they said we “survived.”  From what I read the game was ugly. Sloppy, slow and mistake riddled.  I would have been pissed if I stayed up to watch it.  We ended up “winning,” 13-10.  

That is not to say that I didn’t make food.  We actually had these on Tuesday because my husband was out of town on Thursday.  (So basically I have NO excuse for why I am posting this 2 weeks after the game when the food was ready 2 days before… )

In my humble opinion, New Jersey kinda sucks.  So imagine my surprise when I came across a recipe for New Jersey Sloppy Joes.  These are not your average Hamburger and Manwich type sandwiches.  These are awesome.  It’s a triple decker on rye with 3 types of meat, Russian Dressing, Swiss and Cole Slaw.  Aces, right?  I chose Corned Beef, Pastrami and Turkey.  None of the recipes I saw were for toasted sandwiches, but I’m knocked up again so I need to warm up my cold cuts in order to eat them.  They ended up pretty good and I would suggest toasting them if I were you.

New Jersey Sloppy Joes

6 Slices Jewish Rye
4 Slices Corned Beef
4 Slices Pastrami
4 Slices Turkey
4 oz Oil & Vinegar Cole Slaw
2 oz Russian Dressing
4 Slices Swiss Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400.  Place 6 slices of bread on a baking sheet.  Toast 3 minutes. Flip.
2. Put a thin layer of Russian on 4 slices.  On 2 of the slices with Russian, place 2 Slices Corned Beef, 2 Slices Pastrami and 1 Slice Swiss.  On the other two slices with Russian, place 2 slices of Turkey topped with 1 slice of swiss.  Bake for 3 more minutes.
3. On the single pieces of bread, cover with another thin layer of Russian.  Layer each sandwich so that the bread with Corned Beef and Pastrami is on the bottom, Turkey in the middle, then add Cole Slaw and top with the third slice of bread.

New Jersey is also known for harvesting blueberries.   It was a no brainer to make Alton Browns Blueberry Buckle.  I’ve made it before and it rocks.  Tip: It calls for cake flour.  If you don’t have any (which I didn’t - its expensive and I almost never bake) you can make it yourself.  For every Cup of flour you use, remove 2 tbsps and replace it with 2 tbsps Cornstarch.  Boom. Cake Flour.

Blueberry Buckle

For the Cake:
Nonstick cooking spray
9 ounces cake flour, approximately 2 cups
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
5 1/4 ounces sugar, approximately 3/4 cup
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
15 ounces fresh whole blueberries, approximately 3 cups
For the Topping:
3 1/2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/2 cup
1 1/2 ounces cake flour, approximately 1/3 cup
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground ginger. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated, approximately 30 seconds. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated and then add 1/3 of the milk and beat until incorporated. Repeat, alternating flour and milk until everything has combined. Gently stir in the blueberries and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
For the topping:
4. In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour and nutmeg. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients using a fork to combine. Continue until the mixture has a crumb-like texture. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cake. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35 minutes or until golden in color. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 1: Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins, Buffalo Piggies and Chex Mix

Gostkowski for the win!!!  It’s been probably 2 years since I can remember uttering that phrase.  It feels good.  Not quite as good as it would if we had killed Buffalo, but still good.  Other than being excited about Gostkowski not mucking up for the first time in awhile, there were few things to be excited about.

Brady was 28 of 59 for 288 yards and 2 TDs.  Not great in my book, but enough to eke out his 10th straight season opening win. Edelman and Amendola looked solid with 79 and 104 yards respectively.  Edelman threw in 2 TD’s to boot.  Everyone is already making Amendola/Welker comparisons.  I am not ready to go there.  Welker was awesome.  Amendola might be too, but he is not the second coming of Welker.  That is more ridiculous than Durant/Jordan comparisons. I was also pleasantly surprised that I didn’t hear the announcers discussing Tebow, although I am sure with the Jets game next week I won’t be so lucky again.

Today we made Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins, Horseradish Mustard and Caramelized Onion Pigs in Blankets and Homemade Chex Mix.  

Buffalo Chicken Baked Potatoes

3 Baking Potatoes, Baked
2 Cups Cooked Chicken
1 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
1 ½  Cups Shredded Mexican or Cheddar Cheese
⅔ Cup Hot Buffalo Sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Scoop out the inside of potatoes and reserve in medium bowl.
3. Add Chicken, ½ Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles, 1 Cup Shredded Cheese and Buffalo Sauce to the bowl.  Mix well.
4. Stuff Potato Shells.  Top with remaining Shredded Cheese then Blue Cheese Crumbles.  Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy.

One of the popular Buffalo Tailgating Recipes including Sahlen's Hot Dogs cooked over a charcoal grill and served with Weber’s Horseradish Mustard.  I don’t have a charcoal grill, nor am I willing to buy one for all 4 of you that are reading this.  Instead we made Pigs in Blankets and stuffed the blankets with Horseradish Mustard and Caramelized Onions.

Buffalo Piggies

1 Pkg Mini Hot Dogs
1 Pkg Crescent Rolls
3 Tbsp Horseradish Mustard
½ Yellow Onion, Caramelized and diced.

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Spread out Crescent Rolls and paint with Mustard.  Using a knife, cut into ½” x 1” Strips.  Place Onions on each strip.  Place 1 mini hot dog on each strip and roll up.
2. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and place Piggies on top.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with extra mustard.

Buffalo is home to the organization and manufacturing of General Mills - the makers of Chex.  I have included the original recipe below, but you will see that mine is a bit different.  Mostly, this is because I didn’t need enough Chex Mix for a party when it was just going to be for myself, Mr. Dan and the Thiboutots, but also because I like Cheerios in my Chex Mix.  Its totally better that way.

Chex Mix

2 Cups Rice Chex
2 Cups Corn Chex
2 Cups Cheerios
2 Cups Pretzels
1 Cup Peanuts
4 Tbsp Butter, melted
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Seasoned Salt
½ tsp Garlic Powder
¼ tsp Onion Powder

1. Preheat oven to 250.  Spray 2 baking pans with Non-Stick Spray.
2. Combine Chex, Cheerios, Pretzels and Peanuts in a large bowl.  Combine Butter, Worcestershire, Seasoned Salt, Garlic Powder and Onion powder in a small bowl.  Mix well and pour over the Chex Mix until evenly coated.  
3. Spread the Chex Mix out on baking pans.  Cook 1 hour, mixing every 15 minutes.
4. Let cool before serving.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 14: Taco Loaf and unwanted phone calls.

The Patriots killed the Texans this week, 42-14.  Brady seemed like he was in a great mood during the pre-game interviews, joking with the media and grinning like a madman when asked about his wife and their new baby girl, Vivian Lake.  As usual, my husband and just about every other male I know got tickets to the MNF game.  While he seemed to be having a great time before the game as well, he was in less of a good mood when he stumbled in the door at 2:30 AM and if possible, even less of a good mood when I woke him up at 7.  

Hernandez picked up where Gronkowski left off, scoring 2 TDs and doing some of the worst end zone dancing that I have ever seen.  Lloyd contributed 2 TDs as well and Ridley and Stallworth each contributed 1 apiece.   That’s about all I can tell you since I fell asleep at halftime.  Luckily, since my husband decided to call me just about once an hour seeing as he was less than sober, at no time did I have to worry that the Patriots were losing their lead.  

Since the hubs was gone, I didn’t cook FOR the game.  But for my faithful 15 followers, only one of which consistently reads the blog (thanks mom!) I have posted two recipes below that I could have made.

Stuffed Serranos
These are only mildly spicy.  If you want more of a kick, I would suggest using Hot Sausage, exchanging the Parmesan for Pepper Jack or adding a few dashes of Cayenne.

1 Lb Sweet Sausage
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 Cup shredded Parmesan
2 Shallots
15 Hot Peppers (Serranos, Poblanos or Jalapenos)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash, Halve, De-Stem and De-Seed the Serranos.  Set aside.
3. In a Saute pan, heat oil and cook shallots 3-5 minutes or until translucent.  Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Saute Sausage until done.  Drain and set aside.
5. In a large bowl, combine Shallots, Sausage, Cream Cheese, and Parmesan.  Mix well.  Stuff approximately 1-2 Tbsp of Sausage mixture into each pepper half.
6. Arrange Peppers on a parchment lined pan and bake 30 minutes until they the Sausage is browned on top and the Peppers are cooked through.
*Serve with Ranch or Sour Cream for dipping.

Taco Loaf

1 Lb Ground Beef
½ Cup Onion, Chopped
½ Cup Green Pepper, Chopped
½ Cup Red Pepper, Chopped
1 Can Diced Green Chilies
I Envelope Taco Seasoning
1 Loaf French Bread
1 Tomato, Diced
¼ Cup Green Onion, Diced
Grated Cheddar, Mozz, or MJ

1. Brown Ground Beef and Onion until beef is no longer pink. Add Peppers and cook 2 more minutes. Drain.
2. Add Green Chilies and Taco Seasoning, cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often.
3. Half the loaf of bread. Spread half of mixture on each side. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet.
4. Divide and sprinkle Tomatoes, Green Onion and Cheese over Beef Mixture. Broil 8 inches from the top for 1 to 2 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Happy Cooking!

Week 13: Chicken Piccata and Hard Knocks

The Patriots clinched the AFC East title this week by winning a close one against Miami, 23-16.  The Patriots earned their points mostly by capitalizing on Miami’s mistakes, including a roughing the punter, a botched punt and a fumble.  

Welker tied Jerry Rice for the number one spot with 17 games with 10+ receptions and Brady tied Drew Brees with the third most seasons with 25+ TD passes at 8 total.  

I was pumped to see the Miami game this season just because HBO featured them on Hard Knocks.  I was more pumped to see that Tannehill didn’t do a great job.  He acted like a spoiled brat during the preseason.   I liked Matt Moore.  Since I am not an NFL analyst, I didn’t really question it when they said Gerrard would start over him.  But when Gerrard got hurt they went  to Tannehill?  The only thing I liked about him was his wife.  And it was one of those “I would love to hate her because she looks like Barbie but she does so much charity work I actually have to like her” type of likes.  The best part of the whole team is Offensive Line Coach Jim Turner.  The man is hysterical.  Not only is he an ex Marine but he is also a BC Alum and from Braintree, so it’s no wonder I like him.  He is the epitome of Massachusetts Sarcasm.  I could easily picture him donning a worn out Sox hat and backing up Matt Damon as he kicks some ass in Good Will Hunting.  How do you like them apples?

Easy Chicken Piccata

3 Boneless Skinless Breasts - butterflied and cut in half
½ Cup fresh Lemon Juice
6 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
¾ Cup Chicken Stock
¼ Cup White wine (optional)
¼ Cup Capers - rinsed
Salt and Pepper
Chopped Parsley
Olive Oil

1.  Liberally season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge in flour.
2. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large pan over medium heat.  When bubbly, add 3 pieces of chicken.  Cook 3 minutes per side.  Remove from pan.
3. Add 2 more tablespoons butter and 2 more tablespoons oil.  When bubbly, cook last 3 pieces, 3 minutes per side.  Remove from heat.
4. Add chicken stock, wine, capers and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil, add more pepper or stock if needed.
5. Add chicken, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
6. Remove chicken from pan.  Add last 2 tablespoons butter and whisk for 2 minutes.
7. Garnish chicken  with parsley.
Serve Sauce on top or on the side
*Note: This is not a picture of my chicken piccata.  I forgot to take one :(  I swiped this baby off Google Images.  Oops. 

Happy Cooking!

Week 12: Thanksgiving and Italian Subs

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would be less happy if I had fought my food coma to stay up and watch the Patriots lose, but since we spanked the Jets 49-19, my holiday ended on a very good note.   For the past 4 weeks the Patriots have put up an average of 45.7 points per game and won by an an even more impressive 27.3 points per game.  (Let it be said that I did NOT compile those numbers myself.  I don’t do math.  I simply read about it on SBNation.)

This game was both a Patriots win and a Jets meltdown.  On the Patriots side of things, 6 different players scored TDs.  Edelman (2), Brady, Vereen, Ridley, Gregory and Welker.  On the Jets side, they turned the ball over 5 times, one of which will live in infamy as Sanchez ran into his own player's butt and fumbled the ball.  

Now, if you think that I put together a Jet-Centric meal on Thanksgiving, you’re crazy.  But I am posting about my famous Sub Sauce so you can make your own Italians.

Italian Sub Sauce:

Ingredients: (for 4-6 subs)
2 Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ Small Red Onion, minced
1 Cup Dill Pickles, diced (1/2 Cup if you don’t like them as much)
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Pinch of Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
*Optional - 1 Tablespoon FINELY MINCED Jalapenos.  

1. Combine and let sit 1 hour.  Use to top an Italian Sub.

To put together the Sub, I like to toast the bread with Provolone on top, then pull it out and add Mortadella, Ham, Salami, Banana Peppers and the Sub Sauce in the middle.  If you want Lettuce, add it on top of the sauce.  Personally, since it tastes like nothing, I don’t think it contributes anything to the sandwich and I don’t bother adding it.  

Happy Cooking!

Week 11: Maple Mustard Pork and Indiana Potato Salad

For a few weeks now I have been hearing the RGIII vs. Andrew Luck Rookie of the Year debate.  I hadn’t paid much attention to it as I no longer play fantasy football nor had I seen either QB play against the Patriots. Until this past week.  Lets just say that Luck was not so lucky.

Tom Brady threw three TD passes in the Patriots 59-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts.  Luck threw three interceptions.  

Gronkowski grabbed two of Brady’s TD passes this week, Edelman was the recipient of the third TD pass and he also added a 68 yard punt return at the beginning of the second quarter.  Gostkowski managed to get a field goal through the uprights and the Patriots D had two TD’s of their own.  Alfonzo Dennard had an 87 yard interception return for a TD and newbie Aqib Talib had a 59 yard interception return for a TD. 

The big news (other than the good defensive work by the Patriots) was that Gronkowski broke his arm late in the game during an extra point play.  Lots of people have been critiquing Belichick for leaving him when we were winning by 20+ points but like usual, Belichick doesn’t care and neither do I.  It’s their job to PLAY.  Besides, when is the last time someone got hurt on an extra point play?  The odds were with us.  

In my humble opinion, you can’t do better than last year’s Indianapolis food.  Last year we had Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, Indiana Potato Salad and Mustard Vinaigrette Coleslaw.  This year we only slightly switched it up.  We redid the Indiana Potato Salad (Yum!) but had Maple Mustard Pork Tenderloin Tips instead.  

Indiana Potato Salad

8 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup Green Onion, chopped
8 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled.
½ Cup Mayonnaise
½ Cup Sour Cream
½ teaspoon Seasoned Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
¼ teaspoon Celery Salt

1. Peel and cube potatoes.  Boil for 8 minutes or until slightly tender.  Drain and let dry.
2. Preheat oven to 350.  
3. In a large bowl, combine Potatoes, Cheese, Onion, Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, Salt, Pepper and Celery Salt  Mix well.
4. Pour the Potato mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.  Top with Bacon bits and bake for 1 hour or until cheese is browned.

Maple Mustard Pork Tenderloin Tips,2327,152179-232202,00.html

1 Pkg Pork Tenderloin Tips (1.5 Lbs)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Celery Seed
1 Tablespoon Pepper, divided
½ Tablespoon Dried Thyme
¼ Cup Maple Syrup plus 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup, divided
¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard, divided
½ Cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Creamed Horseradish

1. Preheat oven to 375.  
2. In a small bowl, combine ¼ Cup Maple Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 Tablespoons Mustard.  Mix well.
3. Melt butter in a large skillet over Medium High Heat.  Season Pork with Salt, Celery Seed, Thyme and half of the Pepper.  Add Pork to the pan and cook 2-3 Minutes per side until lightly browned.  Remove meat from pan and set aside.
4. Add Maple Syrup mix to pan and cook 5-8 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring frequently.
5. Return Pork to the pan and turn to coat.  Place skillet in the oven and cook 10-15 minutes, basting every 5 minutes.  Let pork stand 5 minutes before serving.
6. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup, 2 Tablespoons Mustard, Mayonnaise, the remaining Pepper and Horseradish.  Serve with pork.

Happy Cooking!