March 29, 2016

Roasted Tomato Hummus

For some reason, I like different flavors of hummus, but I'm not a fan of just regular old chickpea hummus.  Which is why this recipe, among lots of other great hummus ideas, is so fun - hummus is so versatile. There are hundreds of options of this healthy dip, and roasted tomato is just one of them!  Tell us in the comments - what are some of your favorite hummus compilations?! 

What You'll Need:
  • 4 pints cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ~10 cups chick peas (#10 can)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons honey

1.  Toss cherry tomatoes and onion slices with 2 tablespoons of garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and sugar and roast in the oven on 350-degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the outsides of the tomatoes are just charred.

2.  In a food processor, mix chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, honey, remaining garlic, and the roasted tomatoes.  While the food processor is on, stream in 1 1/2 cups of olive oil, until hummus comes together and is completely smooth.  Chill for two hours.

3.  Optional: When serving, make a shallow well in the middle of the hummus and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle the top with smoked paprika and serve with baked pita.

March 17, 2016

Nonna's Meatballs

The key to perfectly moist meatballs?  The trio of meat is decadence.  The Parmesan cheese adds the perfect nutty salt flavor.  And of course, the onion and garlic add a simple layer of texture.  But the (albeit, odd) way to keep your meatballs light and moist, instead of dense and dry - soak your breadcrumb in buttermilk!  And it's gotta be buttermilk, too, no 2% crap in these babies!  Unfortunately, I can't remember if this is the way my Nonna did it.  I also can't decide if I told her now that should should change her ways, would she hit me on the side of the head with a skillet or willingly try it?  Either way, these meatballs deserve to be donned with the name "Nonna's", because I do know one thing's for sure - she woulda loved them.

What You'll Need:
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • Dried spices, to taste: basil, oregano, salt, pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and add onion.  Cook onion until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic about halfway through.  Season with salt and pepper.  When finished cooking, set aside to let cool.

2.  In a mixing bowl, toss breadcrumb with buttermilk to soak.  Go ahead and get in there with your hands so you can make sure the breadcrumb is completely wet.  Mix beef, pork, and veal with onion/garlic mix, soaked breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, spices, and Parmesan cheese.  Mix well with your hands, careful not to overmix.  Roll meat into meatballs - mixture should make about 25, depending on the size - about 3 ounces is what I like.

3.  Heat remaining oil in same skillet you cooked the onions.  When hot, brown the meatballs on all sides.  Transfer browned meatballs to a 375-degree oven and cook about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165-degrees.  Serve with some sweet and savory marinara sauce, and extra, extra Parmesan cheese!

February 24, 2016

Breakfast Tacos with Bacon Slaw

One morning I was making breakfast and I guess my husband could smell the bacon.  Even though he had already eaten before I did, who wouldn't be excited for bacon popping in the pan?  Little did he know I was planning to make this outstanding slaw recipe!  Unfortunately for him, he doesn't like coleslaw, and his exact words, "Way to waste the bacon."

If you're a coleslaw fan, fear not!  You will not have wasted any bacon here, but instead, created a one-of-a-kind creamy slaw that compliments the crunchy taco shell, and spicy eggs. It's a mash-up that belongs on any breakfast menu!

What You'll Need:
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Ranch dressing
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 4 pieces thick-cut bacon, crispy and chopped
  • 1 bag shredded cole slaw mix
  • 4 whole eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 6 crispy corn tortillas
  • 6 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

1.  In a large bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients together.  Fold in bacon crumbles.  Add dressing to shredded cabbage and mix well.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.

2.  In the same skillet used to cook the bacon, add whisked eggs and cook on medium-low heat until cooked through.  Add sriracha, salt, and pepper to taste.

3.  Divide the scrambled eggs among the six corn tortillas.  Top with one tablespoon of cheddar cheese on each taco.  Add bacon slaw to the top, and enjoy!  It would also be great with fresh salsa!

February 13, 2016

Beef Tips and Brandy Sauce

Man, it's cold.  Really, super cold... and I am never, ever cold.  I wore three layers, fuzzy socks, and had two blankets when I got in bed last night.  Which is why this recipe is perfect for winter time: so warm, comforting, and there's alcohol!  It pairs perfectly with a nice glass of red wine, and if you've got a fireplace, curl up with a big bowl.  You won't be able to resist this creamy, silky, savory brandy sauce - you may want to serve it with some crusty bread to sop up all the deliciousness.

What You'll Need:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5 pounds eye round beef, cubed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2- 5-oz. packages mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups white rice, steamed and seasoned

1.   In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season liberally, and sear beef cubes to brown the outsides, about 1 minute on each side.  Remove from oil and set aside to rest, uncovered.

2.  In the same skillet, add the mushrooms, shallots, and brandy to deglaze the pan.  Add half the butter and simmer until brandy has reduced and mushrooms and onions soften.  Add beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and heavy cream and stir to incorporate.

3.  Add beef back in the skillet, and cover.  Simmer on low heat until beef cooks to the internal temperature desired.  About 5 more minutes for medium rare.  Add remaining butter, stir until melted.

4.  Serve beef tips over steamed rice, and garnish with fresh chopped chives.  Enjoy with a nice, big glass of Pinot Noir!

February 12, 2016

Bacon-Fried Brie

If you've ever had the 7-11 ultimate hangover cure appetizer known as Doritos Loaded, you know how much better cheese gets when you coat it in something other than simple breadcrumb.  And if you're someone like me, who never actually thought cheese could get better... this recipe is for you!  This mashup pairs creamy, mellow Brie with salty, smoky bacon to bring out the best in both ingredients!  I think the triangular shape of the cuts of Brie make this classy, but cutting them in chunks may have been more practical.  Regardless, this is a gourmet mozzarella stick at it's best, no matter which way you slice it! (pun intended)

What You'll Need:
  • 2 pounds cooked bacon
  • 3 cups panko breadcrumb
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freeze-dried chives
  • 2 cups flour
  • 8 eggs, scrambled with about 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 (2.2) pound wheel Brie cheese, cut to your desired shape

1.   In a processor, pulse the bacon slices until crumbled.  In a mixing bowl, mix bacon with panko, onion powder, salt, pepper, and chives.  Toss to incorporate everything.

2.  Set up a dredging station.  In three different bowls, set up flour, eggs, and panko mix.  Coat your cheese slices in flour, then egg, flour again, egg again, and finally, pat it well with panko.  Lay on a baking sheet.  Repeat until all cheese is done.  Freeze for 30 minutes.

3.  Heat vegetable oil in a pot to 350-degrees.  Drop cheese in, working in batches, for just about 3 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oil with slotted spoon and rest on paper towel-lined plate.  Sprinkle with a touch of additional salt before they cool.  Enjoy!