Sunday, January 24, 2016

Savory Sausage Bundt "Cake"

Every year we are invited to a friends poker party.  The party is a lot of fun, and we are able to  catch up with old friends, meet some great new friends, but the funny part is neither Craig or I play poker. At the party, Craig helps maintain the buy in table, and keep track of who's in and who's out, while I tend to help keep the kitchen picked up. 

Since there's an occasional alcoholic beverage, we usually reserve a room and our “thanks” is to make breakfast (for those who have crashed or reserved a room. Some times people leave before breakfast, and miss out big time, just sayin!). In years past we've made fig scones, omelettes just to name a few. This year, I came across a recipe for a Savory Stuffed Bundt Cake, and was like, I just have to make this!!

So the recipe goes like this:

Savory Sausage Bundt "Cake"
* 1 batch pizza dough (store bought or homemade)
* 2 lb bulk sausage(I used a turkey breakfast, but chorizo would be incredible)
*¾ lb jack cheese, shredded
*¾ lb cheddar cheese, shredded
* 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded & diced fine
* 1 onion, diced fine
* ½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, plus more for garnish if desired
* black pepper, to taste
* 5 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Generously grease the bunds pan.
3. Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat, drain as needed
4. While the sausage is cooking, mix the cheese, jalapeño, onion, cheese and cilantro in a medium mixing bowl, add black pepper to taste.
5. Roll out the dough and place in a greased bundt pan, placing the dough so that there is enough lip around the inner column and outer edge to fold together after adding the filling. If your bundt pan is larger, just do your best. You'll have to pinch together the ends anyway.
6. Once the sausage is cooked, add to the cheese, jalapeño, onion and cilantro mixture. Mix together and check seasoning, adjusting as needed.
7. Whisk the eggs and combine with the sausage mixture. Pour the sausage mixture into the bundt pan and distribute evenly.
8. Fold the outer and inner edges of the dough together and press to seal.
9. Bake the bundt cake for 40-45 minutes until the dough takes on a golden color.
10. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter. Serve warm.
If your not a fan of sausage, you can substitute bacon, ham or even turkey.  Can also be made with vegetarian, using EverRoast “sausages”.  Also, can add additional vegetables as desired,
blanched broccoli, 
diced celery, 
diced potatoes, 
chopped asparagus…..the list goes on.  
Make it with whatever you would like.  I would recommend that if you change the meat or vegetables, that you use a complementary cheese.  Example:
Chorizo/Queso Fresco/Cheddar/Potatoes,
Turkey/Dill Havarti/Broccoli…..(maybe avocado?)
Think ahead….for this, I pre-browned the sausage and made the onion/cheese/sausage mixture the night before. I would highly recommend that you don't assemble the entire mixture ahead, as the dough would become soggy.

Recipe adapted from 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Mexican Cheesecake

Recently we were invited to a Christmas party. The host didn't assign or ask for specific items, so I came up with this savory appetizer. 

Mexican Cheesecake
Makes about 40 appetizer servings

1-1/4 cups crushed tortilla chips/Doritos
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces ricotta cheese
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, or so
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 packet taco seasoning, I used homemade taco seasoning.

8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces jalapeno cheddar cheese dip
Chopped tomatoes
Sliced black olives
Chopped green onions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the chips and butter and press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, eggs (added one at a time), cheddar cheese and green chilies in a food processor until blended. Pour into the springform pan and bake until it sets, about one hour. Remove from the oven.  Let cool. 

Mix together the sour cream and cheese dip, and spread over the cheesecake. Cool at room temperature for one hour. Before serving, sprinkle the top with the tomatoes, black olives and green onions.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Velvety Potato Leek Soup

I love soup. Can I just say, I LOVE soup. Yup that's right, soup, my favorite. That being said, I noticed one of my favorite soups has not ever been featured on this blog. Now my family might say, Bob, this is your favorite?  Ok well maybe it's my second favorite. My favorite has to be my potato soup. (That one was featured in Taste Of Home magazine). 

So here's my newest favorite soup, Velvety Potato Leek Soup. Now, those that know me, know I don't follow recipes, and in a lot of cases I just wing things. This recipe was a “wing it” recipe. So bear with me if things are off a bit. 

Potatoes and the leek cut in half, before cleaning,

Cleaned leek and butter,

Diced potatoes ready for the pot,

Leek and potatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper, 

Add the chicken broth and deglaze the bottom of the pan,

Once everything is tender, blend until smooth, 

Half way there,

Coming together, just add the cream and we're ready to eat. 

Soup and a panini sandwich. A perfect dinner!  

Velvety Potato Leek Soup

1 cube butter
1 large leek, sliced and cleaned
5-6 small Yukon potatoes, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic
4 cups chicken broth
¼ cup cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt better, and sauté the leeks. Add the potatoes and garlic, continue to sauté. Deglaze the pot with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes. Once everything is tender, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Or blend in small batches, until smooth. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

I'm It's been a while since I've posted anything. With the catering business, and work I have still been cooking, and taking pictures, so as I get time I will post again. Not to worry!!  

I wasn't really sure what to think when I came across this recipe. What would the end result be like?  Well, I have to tell you, what a delicious take on Chicken Parmesan. Splitting and pounding the chicken breasts is probably the most daunting part, but very necessary. 

Make and enjoy this baked dinner!  Maybe serve with some pasta au burro (buttered pasta) and a steamed vegetable. 

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

All of the ingredients you'll need
Take a chicken breast,
Slice it 3/4 of the way through, leaving a hinge,
Open it up, it should look like this,
Before pounding the breast,
After pounding, then I cut it down the hinge line, 
Baby spinach,
Chopped baby spinach, 
Into the sauté pan, 
And stir,
Mix together the filling ingredients,
Add the sautéed spinach,
Take the chicken,
Add a scoop of the filling to the breasts,
Spread the filling,
(I then added a slice of mozzarella)
(Oops and a piece of sundried tomato, at the urging of my husband)
After dipping in the egg and rolling in the bread crumbs, place in the pan (I ran out of fresh mozzarella so I topped two with Parm),
Bake, then serve. Lastly enjoy!!

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

8 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs total)
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 clove minced garlic and olive oil for sauteeing
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3 eggs, beaten
3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 cup marinara sauce
fresh basil for topping

1. Prep the chicken: split the chicken breast (butterfly style) and pound the pieces until they are thin (for quick cooking) and have expanded in surface area (for more filling). Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and set aside.
2. Prep the filling: Chop the spinach and sauté it with the garlic and just a drizzle of olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until just barely wilted. Combine the sautéed spinach with the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and 2-3 tablespoons of the eggs. Place the remaining eggs in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
3. Assemble the chicken: Spread a thin layer of the marinara in the bottom of a large baking dish and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place one piece of chicken on a flat working surface. Put a spoonful of ricotta-spinach filling right in the middle and roll the chicken up so that the edges meet to form a "seam". Dip the entire chicken roll in egg whites, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining 7 pieces of chicken. Bake for 25 minutes.
4. Finishing touches: After 25 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through (white on the inside) and browned on the top. Cover the chicken with the marinara sauce and slices of fresh Mozzarella. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melting. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Don't try to cram all the pieces too close together because if the sides are touching each other, they won't get crispy. Leaving a little space between each piece allows the breadcrumbs to bake, brown, and crispify perfectly.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chicken Chasseur (or Hunter’s Chicken)

Julia Child

Being a child of the 70/80's, I can say that TV molded most of my younger life. Not in a way that the VCR generation, with their Disney movies, but in a way that we can quote a Looney Tunes cartoon ("which way did he go, George.") or understand that violence on the TV was just that. We didn't go out and push each other off a cliff like Roadrunner and Coyote. That being said, with Sesame Street, we had the TV turned to our local PBS station quite often.  Which brings me to the subject of this post, growing up, I (unfortunately) didn't care for Julia Child. I found her shows boring and uninteresting (please, before you come to a judgement, finish reading!), but I was 9 in 1980, so I was heavily influenced by my parents viewing decisions. A few years later, I did take to watching Yen Can Cook. And found a few techniques I still use, daily. 

Fast forward 35 years into the future, and I am truly sorry for all of the history I missed, right in front of my eyes.  Julia, I have learned to love and respect you more now than ever!  You were truly so far a head of your time.  

The first thing that brought Julia into my life was watching Merrill Streep in "Julie and Julia". I was so enraptured. I have seen that movie at least 6 or 7 times.  In addition to the movie, I have read every biography I could get my hands on about her life, even if it's just a different perspective of the same story, I find it so very interesting. Even to the point of buying a copy of Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, granted I have yet to make anything out of it, but I feel it makes me closer to Julia.  Of course, tonight's recipe is featured in Vol. 2. 

So, the second part of this post is that last week , I decided to make a French chicken dish for dinner. I've tried Coq Au Vin, and a few others, so I wanted something different. That's when I came across this delicious dish, even rated "good" by my husband!  (and you all know that that's close to 5 stars in his book, the only thing higher is, "can you make this again") It's a classic dish, with lemon, wine, mushrooms and all the other cast of characters. Check it out, it's really not that intimidating. 

Chicken Chasseur, or Hunter’s Chicken, is a simple French country meal.  A hunter would have brought back his game and maybe a few mushrooms he’d found along the way, and his wife would have thrown the lot in a pot with some wine and simmered until tender. It’s ready in less than an hour and cooks all in one pot!  I served it with mashed red potatoes, and Frenched green beans.  

Chicken Chasseur

* 2 T Butter
* 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 lbs Boneless Chicken Breasts
* 1/4 Cup minced Shallot
* 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
* 10 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms (sliced thin)
* 2 Tomatoes (seeded, and diced small)
* 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
* 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
* 1/2 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock
* 2 T Lemon Juice
* 1 Tablespoon Flour
* 2 T Basil (chiffonade)
* In a large skillet over medium heat, melt your butter and oil. Pat your chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper, liberally. When the butter starts to foam, add in your chicken and sear on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side) until a golden brown crust forms.
* Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Add in your shallots and garlic to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Add in your mushrooms and tomatoes and saute about 8 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently.
* Return the chicken to the pan and add in your cream, wine, stock, and lemon juice immediately. Bring the liquids to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the chicken has cooked through. Remove the chicken again from the pan and place on a serving platter, and stir in your flour, cooking the liquid another 3 minutes to thicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
* Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle the fresh basil on top. Serve hot.

Dried chicken seasoned with salt and pepper 

Chicken sautéed and resting

The dripping of the chicken, waiting for mushrooms 

Tomatoes and shallots

Saluting shallots, mushrooms and tomatoes

Chicken, back in the pool!