Saturday, March 31

Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushroom are a great addition to any meal. They make the perfect appetizer, fancy side side, good for cocktail hours, and perfect for picnics. I love stuffing mushrooms with cheese or seafood.

I created this recipe one night when I had leftover bacon and blue cheese from an onion pie I was making.

Serves 4-6
Full time: 40 minutes
You will need:

6 large stuffing mushrooms
1 1/2 oz blue cheese chunked, divided
3 strips bacon, diced
1/2 small onion, sliced
1/3 cup bread crumbs, seasoned preferred
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground black pepper

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350

To start we need to core out the mushrooms carefully, use a spoon and slide it under the stem, you can wiggle it a bit to help. But just be carefully you don't break the cap

Place hollowed cap on baking sheet and reserve stem for a moment

Once done, chop the stem into large chunks

In a sauté pan cook bacon down to a nice golden brown

Carefully move to paper towel lined plate

Add butter to the bacon oil along with pepper, garlic, and onions

Lower heat to a medium low and cook onions until golden

Add in mushroom stem pieces and cook 2-4 minutes to soften

Mix in bread crumbs

Mix in half blue cheese and let it get very melty

Carefully stuff the mushroom caps evenly

Top with remaining blue cheese chunks

Bake in oven 12-18 minutes until mushrooms are nicely browned and cheese is bubbly

Thursday, March 29

Spiced Orange Glazed Pound Cake

Orange Pound cakes are a great and refreshing treat during the spring and summer months. They are easy to make from few ingredients and if you don't have fresh oranges in the house you can use lemons!

Makes 9" round cake
Full time: 1 1/2 hours (includes cool and galze time)

You will need:

For batter:
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice (1 orange juiced)
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp cinnamon
Zest from the orange you will juice

For glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange juice (1/2 fresh orange)

For top:
2 tbsp powdered sugar

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 375

Mix all dry cake ingredients in a large bowl

Add in all wet ingredients and mix completely, pour into a lightly greased pan

Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick

Let sit for 5 minutes then flip out onto a plate

Let cool for for 20 minutes

While this cools- let's make the frosting

In a small bowl whisk together frosting ingredients

Pour over cake and then dust with the remaining powdered sugar and serve

Sunday, March 25

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of those dishes that vary from region to region, country to country, even house to house in the same family. Many are vinegar or dressing based, then there are the mayo based ones, and even mustard based ones. I have at least a dozen different potato salads in my mix.

I tend to pair my potato salad choice with the main coarse. I try to use something very complimentary that adds to the whole meal. I like pairing this one with burgers stuffed with blue cheese.

Serves 4-6
Full time: 2 1/2 hours (includes potatoe roasting and cooling time)
You will need:

4 large potatoes
4 oz. blue cheese chunked
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayo
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp ground pepper
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350

Poke several holes in each potato and wrap each in a piece of aluminum foil

Roast in oven for 1 1/2-2 hrs until fork-able but slightly firm

While these roast cook down diced bacon into golden brown pieces

Once cooked turn onto a towel lined plate and let cool completely

Allow to cool and then cut into large pieces

In a large bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar

Add in mayo and buttermilk, whisk again

Fold in blue cheese

Add in potatoes and bacon, fold gently. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21

Chinese style MeatRolls

Meat rolls are extremely good for midday snacks. If made in large batches they store well, reheat nicely, and can even be frozen if desired.

This will make 10-12 rolls
Full time: 20 minutes
You will need:

1 package rice paper
1 small head baby Bok Choy, diced fine
1 lb. ground turkey (or pork)
2 tbsp dried cilantro
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Let us begin:

In a large bowl mix ground meat with all spices except cilantro

I mix for a few minutes, it is hard to see if everything is fully being incorporated so I came up with this little trick...

Now add in cilantro and mix again, look for the little green pieces to evenly disperse, if you do this 2 step mixing then your sure to have an even taste

Now add in Bok Choy and mix just to incorporate

Set a silicone mat next to where you will be working for finished rolls

Use another one to work on, rice paper likes to stick to most other surfaces

Pour about 1/2" of water into a shallow plate and let's begin rolling

The rice paper will be very stiff and bumpy, to prepare it for rolling: submerge in warm water and hold down for 15-30 seconds.

Carefully remove with two hands to silicone mat, place 1/3 cup mixture on rice paper, near the lower half

Gently roll from bottom up, roll tight, air bubble will make oil splatter later

When you reach the 3/4 way mark tuck in sides

Continue roll to finish

Move to your finished roll mat. Repeat until you are out of meat

Let rolls set for 1-2 hours in refrigerator to drain of excess water

Now bring 1" cooking oil to 350 in a sauté pan over medium high heat

Gently place rolls in heat and cook for 3-5 minutes per side until lightly golden. You will want to fry these on 4 sides to get meat evenly cooked and color even through out roll

Move cooked rolls to drip rack while frying remaining rolls, once done serve immediately.

If freezing allow to cool completely, then store in air tight container for up to 60 days. To heat bake in 400 oven for 15-20 minutes

Monday, March 19

Moroccan inspired Chicken in a Pot

Morocco inspired chicken is one of my secret weapon dinners. It looks and tastes like it was slow cooked all say when in reality it was made in under 2 hours.

I like serving this with a flat bread to scoop up extra sauce!

Serves 2-4
Full time: 2 hours

You will need:

1 1/2 lb. chicken, either bone-in thighs or breast work best for this
15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1 onion, sliced
1 cup baby carrots
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt, divided

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350

Note: If you don't have a Dutch oven then you can do the first half in a sauté pan and transfer to a covered baking dish

Set you Dutch oven on a burner over medium high heat

Add in butter, onions, garlic along with garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, white pepper, and half the salt. Sauté until onions begin to soften

Add in carrots and sweet potatoes, sauté 5-8 minutes more

Add in garbanzo beans, parsley, and diced tomatoes, sauté 3-5 minutes more

Place chicken on top of mixture and sprinkle over remaining salt and black pepper

Cover and bake in oven for 45-90 minutes (depends on chicken cut) or until internal temp reaches 175-180

Remove from oven and let sit covered for 10 minutes

Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, March 17


Onigiri are Japanese rice balls. Traditionally these are shaped by hand into either rounded ovals or triangles, and then wrapped with a piece of nori. The popularity of onigiri in Japan makes this one of the top Japanese food on the go items.

Often found in bento boxes, individually wrapped at quick markets, and from street vendors, onigiri can be either plain or filled. A common filling is pickled, salted, or even slightly sour foods. Salmon and shrimp are highly popular fillings. Onigiri is fun to make because you can dye the rice any color, include any filling, and shape it however you want.

I am going to walk you thru how to make a plain onigiri and then a filled onigiri.

This will make 6-9 onigiri
Full time: 35-40 minutes (includes rice cooking time)

You will need:

For plain:
3 cups cooked Japanese sticky rice, I use Kokuho Rose it can be found in any large grocery store
1-2 sheets nori, toasted seaweed paper

For filled:
Ingredients listed above
8 shrimp
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Asian five spice mix
*or your desired filling

Let us begin:

Starting with your rice, you want to cook it and then let is cool slightly in the pot. Your going to be touching it, so cool it until handling it won't bother your hands

Next prepare your nori, if you look carefully most nori sheets will have score marks on it. Carefully follow these marks and slice nori into strips

Now lay a piece of plastic wrap on a plate and scoop approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of rice into the middle of plastic wrap

Gather up the plastic wrap around the rice and squeeze rice into a tight ball

Unwrap plastic wrap to reveal your ball

Wrap a strip of nori around ball and set aside on serving plate. The nori will feel stiff when wrapping it, but the moisture of rice will turn it soft and smooth

Continue with remaining rice

To serve in lunch or bento boxes, allow to cool completely.

Now let's talk about filling your onigiri.

Prepare the rice and nori as described above. For the shrimp heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and add in the oil

Gently add in shrimp and five spice, cook shrimp 5-8 minutes until done. Set aside to cool slightly

Now lay a piece of plastic wrap on a plate and scoop approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of rice into the middle of plastic wrap, and top with a shrimp

Continue to shape rice as instructed above. It's that easy to add a filling!