Shiner, Kielbasa and Potato Cheese Soup

This recipe just screams Texas hill country…Shiner, sausage and a hearty dish?  Our German ancestors would be proud!  This hearty, creamy soup sings Fall in our home and I’ll gladly take the lead!  This dish is fantastic around the table with warm bread and is even better come winter around the fire.

I will say this though, please do not use a light “sissy” beer her.  Please, please go out of your way, if needed, and by the famous Spoetzl Brewery concoction!  So worth that deep, yet tangy, flavor!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 large russet potatoes (about 3 lbs), baked
  • 8 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 package Kielbasa sausage, halved and sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 12 oz bottle Shiner Bock beer
  • 2 cups chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Garnish

  • Crumbled bacon
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapeno slices, fresh

 

Begin by baking your potatoes (oven or steamed in the microwave), once cool to the touch, chop up.  The skin is optional.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon until crisp.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl, reserving the bacon grease in pot.  Add the onions and kielbasa to the hot grease and allow to sauté for 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to the bowl of cooked bacon.

Back to the same pot, add in the flour to form a paste/rue, followed by the Shiner Bock and chicken broth.  Whisk until smooth.  Next, add in the chopped, baked potatoes and slightly mash up with a hand-held potato masher.  Stir in the cheese, milk and reserved cooked bacon, onions, and kielbasa.  Bring to a low boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened.  Serve with your garnish of choice and warm, crusty bread for dipping.  Enjoy!

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The BEST Roasted Potatoes

Friend!!  These potatoes are like a religious experience…they’re also like a science experiment. lol  “What?” you say…Yes, though easy, they have a couple ingredients you’ve probably never added to make roasted potatoes.  Which is why they’ve never turn out quite like these!  These roasted potatoes have a crunchy coating on the outside and are warm and tender in the center with a beautiful golden brown color, every single time.

A few things you want to remember when making the perfect restaurant-style roasted potatoes are:

  • You MUST parboil.  If you only roast in oven, your potato will almost always be overcooked or undercooked and not be too pretty to look at.  Plus the baking soda in the boiling water creates an alkaline pH that helps break down the potatoes surface, resulting in a starchy paste like exterior that will help make that crunch you’re after.
  • Please cut them in 2-inch (or even 3″) pieces for maximum surface area.  You always want the have a good exterior/interior ratio with roasted potatoes.
  • Russet potatoes are the best choice for this given they will make the crispest crust and fluffiest interior.  Save the Yukon Gold’s for mashed potatoes.
  • Please feel free to play around with the amount of baking soda and cornstarch as you make this recipe through the years.  Also, every oven operates a bit different, so just always watch to see if they need taken out sooner or need to roast a bit longer.

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs russet potatoes, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 hefty teaspoon+ baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (bacon drippings too if you have it)
  • 1 Tbsp+ cornstarch
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Fresh or dried herbs for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (400 if using a convection setting).  Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, along with the 1 Tbsp kosher salt, the baking soda and 2″ cubed potatoes.  Boil for roughly 10 minutes, until a fork can just pierce them.  You don’t want them overdone as they’ll finish in the oven.

Drain the parboiled potatoes in a colander and allow excess moisture to evaporate (a minute or two).  Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, drizzle with the oil/a bit of bacon grease and sprinkle the cornstarch over top.  Roughly toss around in the bowl and a thick “mashed potato-like” paste will seem to build up over the potato cubes.

Finally, transfer to a baking sheet, lined with foil or nothing at all (parchment paper will not allow it to crisp up on the side touching the potato).  Spread them out evenly and place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.  At this time, shake the potatoes around (you may need a thin spatula to release any stuck potatoes from pan) and return to oven for another 15-20 minutes and your potatoes are a beautiful golden brown and crisp all over.

Season with more salt and pepper or herbs and serve immediately, enjoy!

RoastedPotatoes

 

 

Spiced Oatmeal Apple Cream Cheese Pie

Fall…..yes, I do know it technically begins on the 22nd of September this year, but in my home, we’re already there!  It has been raining alllll day, all week rather, the outside air is in the 80’s and my apple cinnamon candles are lit.

Speaking of apples and cinnamon, how about we make a pie! 😉  This really could be an all year delight, but I try to save it just for Fall.  To best describe this dessert, I’d say it’s a cheesecake, meets apple pie, meets crumble.  I mean really…have you ever heard of a mashup more yummy?? Though best of all, it’s insanely easy!  This pie is just short of a “dump recipe”.  Could you peel, season and cook down your own apples?  Sure!…but why??  With the hecticness of the many holidays approaching, keep your life easy and stress free with my family favorite, Spiced Oatmeal Apple Cream Cheese Pie!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 17.5 oz bag of oatmeal cookie mix (or snickerdoodle/sugar, if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (cube a cold stick), plus 1 Tablespoon, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, large
  • 21oz can apple pie filling

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9″ pie dish with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix with the cubed stick of butter; using your hands, mix, working for almost “crumbs”.  Press about 2 cups into the bottom and up the sides of the greased pie dish.  *About 1+ cup of the cookie crumbs should be left over for the topping. 
  3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or stand-mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth, while adding in the sugar and flour.  Next, beat in the vanilla and egg, till creamy.
  5. In your now par-baked and slightly cooled cookie crust, spread in the cream cheese filling.  Top with the can of apple pie filling.  Combine the tablespoon of melted butter with the remaining cookie crumbles and sprinkle over the pie evenly.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.  *Cover with foil, not plastic wrap, when refrigerating.  This ensures less condensation, so that the crust and crumble do not become soggy. AppleCreamCheese2AppleCreamCheese3

GameDay Jalapeno Popper Piggies

Break out of your typical, grilled jalapeno-popper rut and try this out for size!  It has all of the flavors we love, fresh and spicy jalapenos, creamy cheeses and crisp bacon, BUT it also has another level of smokiness with the beef sausage while all wrapped in a warm, pretzel like pastry dough.

So whether your an avid football fan, need a new Thanksgiving appetizer or you just want to curl up on a cool day with a movie and snacks…these rock, my friend!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 package (36) Lil Smokies
  • 18 jalapeno peppers, halved
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Flour (for dusting); Kosher salt (garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off each jalapeno pepper top; halve and discard the seeds.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, shredded cheddar and crumbled bacon.  Fill the halved peppers with the cheese and bacon mixture.  Press a “Smokie” on top of the filling.
  4. Lightly flour a clean surface and unfold the thawed puff pastry dough.  Cut each dough rectangle into 6 equal strips vertically and then in half crosswise, to create 12 pieces.  *you may have to gently roll out each dough piece a bit to wrap around filled pepper.
  5. Wrap each stuffed pepper in one of the cut puff pastry strips and seal with a bit of egg wash; seam on the bottom.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Once finished with all, brush the remaining egg wash overtop and sprinkle on a bit of the kosher salt.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, till golden brown; serve warm.

 

JalapenoPiggies2

 

Eggs Benedict Quiche

Hands down, my husband’s favorite breakfast dish is Eggs Benedict.  If a restaurant is serving it, he shall have it.  He also has been known to order a quiche for lunch from time to time, which is humorous when you see his large frame and heavily tattooed self.

Myself, on the other hand, is not a giant fan of eggs, especially if it’s a runny yolk.  I just cAnNoT do it, no way José.  So while trying to be a good wife, I thought to bring together his two favorites and then I would enjoy it too, as there would be non of that yolkiness!

Needless to say, it was a huge success and is wonderful for holidays, brunches or even a light lunch.  The same flavors of a good benedict is there, just MUCH less of the hassle!

 

The Starting Lineup

Quiche

  • 1 9-inch pie crust, store bought is fine
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6oz Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp each, salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chives or parsely, garnish

Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a few dashes of tabasco sauce (or 1/4 tsp cayenne)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out your pie crust into your pie pan, lightly pressing into the bottom and up the sides, while fluting the edges.
  2. Place parchment paper (or foil) over it while adding pie weights or dried beans and blind bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the parchment and weights and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove the parbaked pie crust from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the custard filling.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper.  Stir in the scallions.
  4. Layer the chopped Canadian bacon to the parbaked pie crust and then pour the egg mixture overtop.  Carefully transfer the full custard’y future quiche to the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes.  The center will just barely jiggle.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to “set”.  While the quiche is cooling, you can prepare the quick (and delicious) hollandaise sauce.

Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce

  1. To your blender: add in the egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon and hot sauce/cayenne.  Blend till smooth.
  2. Melt your butter in a pan or even the microwave for a quick minute.
  3. While the butter is quite warm, pour as a thin stream into the egg mixture while blending.  The sauce will thicken fairly quick, serve immediately.

Serve the slices of quiche with a heaping tablespoon of your hollandaise sauce overtop and a sprinkle of fresh chives or parsely, enjoy!

Quiche

Mediterranean Chicken Rollatini

Believe it or not, chicken rollatini is an easy weeknight dinner that gives you a restaurant feel.  With school starting up again soon, I have been playing around with recipes that can be made with ease once those long summer days go away.

Another reason this is a keeper in our household, my entire family loves it, including the lil boys!  I’m not kidding, my 6 year old cleaned his plate and asked if we had anymore the next day for lunch!  As a mom, I feel good about that because it’s packed full of vegetables and baked.  Now, if you’re trying an even healthier route, the mozzarella cheese can be omitted…but why would you want to do that?!

*Easy way to roll up your chicken rollatini’s: Pour the slightly cooled veggie mixture into the casserole dish. One by one, take a thin chicken cutlet right onto the mix and with your hands, place a few tablespoons into the center, roll up and place seam side down on the dish. Repeat. *The filling you laid down first will help the rollatini hold together as you finish the rest of them. If you cannot fit all the filling in the amount of chicken you have, that is ok. It can linger on the sides in the dish and you can spoon over top when serving.  Plus the oil and butter the veggies were sautéed in will fully coat the chicken allowing it to brown and stay moist.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-1/2lbs thinly sliced chicken cutlets (contains about 6 cutlets)
  • 6oz bag of baby spinach
  • 12oz jar roasted red peppers (drained, it is 6.7 oz)
  • 8oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1-2 Tbsp capers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 8oz fresh mozzarella (i.e. BelGioiosa brand), optional

Garnish/Serving

  • Balsamic Reduction Glaze
  • Parmesan Risotto
  • Parsley/Tomatoes 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a oven-safe casserole dish with nonstick spray.

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add in the spinach, drained roasted red peppers, mushrooms, garlic and shallots.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the spinach and mushrooms have wilted.  Pour in the white wine and capers and let simmer for 3-4 minutes (salt and pepper, to taste).  Remove from burner and allow to slightly cool.

Fill and roll up your chicken rollatinis, placing seam side down, in your prepared casserole dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes of cooking, carefully remove the hot dish from the oven, lay the sliced mozzarella over top and return to oven until melted and ooey-gooey!

I like to serve ours sliced (so you can see the goodness inside each rollatini), over creamy, parmesan risotto drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction and fresh chopped parsley and tomatoes.

 

 

Red, White & Blue Cheesecake Dip

My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing….

Arguably my favorite holiday, since a young child, has been the 4th of July!  I love the comradery of being American with thy fellow neighbor, I love the food and the smell of a lit charcoal grill and I still light up with the sound and sight of popping fire crackers and works!

Let’s also talk about the potluck’s, given everyone I’ve ever met celebrates this holiday outdoors, there is always a picnic of sorts to be had!  This “no-bake” cheesecake dip is the perfect dessert to bring with you to your 4th celebration.  It takes just minutes to prepare, can chill in a cooler if needed and will be gone as fast as it took to make!  Enjoy!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8oz tub Cool Whip, slightly thawed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 1 cup hulled and halved strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • Graham crackers and vanilla wafers for dipping

*You can use low-fat cream cheese and whipped topping.  Fat-free is not recommended.

*Can be made with other fruits, color-coordinated for other celebrations or be “New York style” plain!

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Beat the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar together till smooth.  Add in the Cool Whip, vanilla extract and lemon juice; whip till just combined.  Gently fold in fresh fruit; cover and refrigerate for 45-60 minutes.

Serve with graham crackers and/or vanilla wafers for dipping.

RWBcheesecakeDip

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