Tag Archives: railroad wife

Roasted Malt Vinegar Potatoes

Every now and again I like to transport our dining experience to England…or rather.. perhaps just to a pub.  I dunno …Regardless, we do enjoy a big old plate of “Fish & Chips” with a tall beer and I was bound to make it happen.

However, this time I did not feel like cutting, soaking and frying homemade French fries (I know, I know…they come bagged frozen, and I currently happen to have two large bags in my freezer, but if you’re gonna do it..do it right), so I decided on roasted potatoes!

Naturally, they couldn’t be just any roasted potatoes, I needed a ‘British element’ to them.  Therefore, the presoaking in hot vinegar gives them that extra added bite and the roasting after helps them crisp up like your typical chips!  Once topped off with a bit more malt vinegar, the only difference you’ll notice is the extra time you have to enjoy!  Easy Peasy!

*You can use russet potatoes just as well, just cut into about 1″ cubes.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lbs small potatoes (Yukon gold/ or yellow), halved
  • 1/4 cup malt vinegar
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 4 cups water 
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste 

Garnish

  • Malt vinegar
  • Chives, fresh
  • Dipping Sauce

In a large pot, bring water to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add in both of the vinegars and the tablespoon of salt.   Lay the potatoes into the hot salted, vinegar water and cover for 1 hour.

When the hour is up, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and non-stick spray.

Completely drain the potatoes and pat dry with a tea towel or paper towels.  Once they are dry, place on the baking sheet and sprinkle on the cornstarch.  Follow that with a drizzle of the olive oil and evenly distribute with your hands.  Finally, add a good amount of the salt and pepper over top and make sure they’re in a single, even layer.  This will ensure they crisp up and do not steam and get soggy.

Bake these for 20 minutes.  Flip and toss and bake for another 20 minutes until just fork tender, golden and crisp.

Serve this in Lou of “chips” with your beer-battered cod and cold beer!  We also like to drizzle a bit more malt vinegar over top and fresh chives.  Enjoy!

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Pan Seared Salmon with Sun Dried Tomato Bacon Cream Sauce

I know this is hard to believe with a recipe title as such, but this meal took less than 30 minutes to prepare and have on the table.  Yes, I tell no tale, less than a half of an hour.

What’s also great about this quick, and arguably almost healthy meal, is that since it’s so quick to cook up, it can be in your weeknight dinner rotation.  Plus, since it’s flavors are so “high-end”, it is also a no-hassle recipe for a dinner party or perhaps even an at home date with your loved one.  *One extra thing, my five year old son ate this up TWICE and even proclaimed, “I just love this stuff”.  Again, I tell no tales…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets
  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4oz sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained, sliced (Plus 2 Tbsp of the oil)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (regular will work as well)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, torn (garnish)
  • Parmesan Cheese, shredded (garnish)
  • Penne pasta, for serving

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Let the Salmon come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Gather all of the ingredients and bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil (for the pasta) while you begin to sauté the diced bacon in a large non-stick skillet.  Remove the rendered, slightly crisped bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.  Also (if needed) drain all but 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease.  *When the stockpot of water is boiling, add in the penne pasta and cook to the package directions.  Drain and set aside till plating.

Bring the skillet with the bacon grease to medium heat and sear the salmon fillets for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Set aside.

To that same skillet, add in the onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes + oil, paprika, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper.  Sauté together for about 2 minutes.

Add in the vegetable/or chicken stock over to deglaze the pan and let simmer for a couple minutes.  Pour in the half & half along with the 1/4 cup parmesan and stir together, salt & pepper to taste.  Add the seared salmon back into the creamy, fragrant sauce to bring back up to temp.

Serve this delightful dinner individually plated or family style…Coat the cooked penne in the creamy sauce, place the salmon overtop and sprinkle the freshly torn basil, parmesan and crisped bacon overtop!  Enjoy!!

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Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pie

This longtime recipe, Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pie (also known as Amish Oatmeal Pie), is quite similar to everyone’s favorite, the Pecan Pie.  As a matter of fact, this dessert has often been referred to as “Poor Man’s Pecan Pie” since the famed nut can run up your grocery bill, but oats are a fairly inexpensive item.

There are several family variations of this classic mid-western dessert, but I happily bring you mine.  The sugars, cinnamon and vanilla mixed with the eggs and milk form almost a custard that when baked lets the rolled oats caramelize and create an almost crème brulee style crunch on top.  I typically serve it warm with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, but I have to tell you…it has been known to be quite the breakfast treat, better than a donut, right?? 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 store-bought pie crust, unbaked
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter, unsalted, softened
  • Vanill ice cream (optional for serving)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and pull out your pie crust (if frozen) or line your pie dish with the refrigerated unbaked pie crust dough.

In a large bowl, add in the 3 eggs and beat together.  To that same bowl, whisk in both the brown and granulated sugar, oats, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and butter.  Stir till completely combined.  *The mixture may seem a bit “loose”… that’s ok!

Simply pour this mixture straight into the unbaked pie shell and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until pie is baked through..it won’t jiggle too much.

Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before cutting into and serve with vanilla ice cream…or even for breakfast at that!  Enjoy! 🙂

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Seared Filet with Roasted Butternut Squash & Blue Cheese Ravioli

My husband and I do not get a lot of “date nights” as we have two young boys, rarely a babysitter and he has the craziest schedule working for the railroad.  No set schedule actually.  All that combined leads me to craving fancy-dressed, wine-filled nights out even more!  That being said, I knew I could do it!  Not the literally leaving my house to enjoy a quiet kid free atmosphere, but create that upscale dining experience here at home!

I already knew I could make a fantastic steak, so I wanted to try my hand at homemade pasta.  Like REAL homemade pasta, no attachment to my Kitchen-Aide or anything.  So out came my flour coated rolling pin and I finally attacked the somewhat scary mound of welled flour and eggs.  You know what?  It wasn’t that hard.   I’ve been scared all these years for nothing!  Now, if I’m making a crockpot meal asking for the filled pasta, then frozen is fine, but for this meal all the slight extra work was sooooo worth it!!

So please, next time you can’t get away, or maybe your budget is a bit tight, please give this a whirl!

The Starting Lineup

Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
    3 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Filling

  • 1 small butternut squash
    2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
    1 tablespoon olive oil 
    5-6 sage leaves, minced

Protein (optional)

  • (2-4) Filet mignon or Ribeye Steaks
  • Fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt
  • 2 vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), softened

 

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Roasted butternut squash and blue cheese filling!

 

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To begin…..

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Next, (this is a great tip!) prick your butternut squash with a fork all over.  Cut off the ends of the squash and place on a plate in your microwave for 4 minutes (if you don’t, this vegetable is extremely hard to cut).  Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin and then cut in half length-wise.  Discard of the seeds and then cut into rough cubes.  Place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil, salt & pepper and place in the oven for 30 minutes until fork tender.

Meanwhile…..

Mound the flour on a clean work surface and make a well with a fork in the center, creating almost a “volcano” in appearance.  In the well, crack the eggs and add in the salt and oil.  Using your fork, slightly beat together while gathering a bit of flour at a time until it forms a dough ball.

Using your hands, start needing the dough until it forms a perfectly smooth ball with a shiny appearance (10 minutes).  Add more flour if it seems sticky or a tbsp. at a time of water if it feels too dry.  Wrap your dough ball with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Now that your butternut squash is roasted, transfer to a large bowl along with the blue cheese crumbles and the salt & pepper.  Mash together with a fork to your desired consistency. Cover and set aside.

With your dough ball, unwrap pasta and cut into four sections. You will work with one section at a time. Wrap the remaining three up in plastic in the mean time. Flour your work surface liberally. Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin, working from the middle and rolling out. Try to get the thinnest and longest piece of dough you can. Keep rotating and turning the dough to prevent sticking. Once your dough is rolled very thin, place a small amounts of the filling {about a teaspoon} onto the dough about 1 1/2-2 inches apart. Fold the top of the dough over the filling. Press the top piece of dough over and around the filling to remove any air bubbles. Now using either a ravioli stamp, pastry cutter or a pizza cutter, cut into perfect squares {you will need to crimp the edges with a fork if using a pizza cutter}. Place on a floured tray and cover with a tea towel as you make these. Form any leftover dough into a ball and place in the plastic wrap to rest. Continue this pattern until all the raviolis are filled and cut out.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop in your raviolis (4-5 at a time) and stir gently. Raviolis will be finished cooking once they float to the top. Drain.  Once finished add to a warm sauté pan of melted butter, oil and sage that is slightly crisped.  Toss gently to coat.

Now you can eat these delish ravioli’s as is or pair with a great steak!  If you choose the steak route, here is my favorite way..

Set the steak out of the fridge to come to room temp for 20-30 minutes {I did so while I’m preparing the ravioli’s} and heat oven to 400 degrees, rub the steak all over with oil and coat in freshly ground pepper and kosher salt.  Heat your cast iron pan on med-high heat till about smoking.  Add in the butter and then the steaks, let cook (do NOT move) for 4 minutes on each side.  Transfer the skillet with the seared steaks to the oven and let cook for 5 minutes (for medium-rare).  Remove the steaks to a platter and cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  {Here is where I cooked and sautéed the ravioli’s.}  ***Make sure you have a well ventilated kitchen as cast irons smoke something crazy.  You can absolutely grill your meat too if preferred.

So, whether you decide to make this a vegetarian inspired meal or are a true carnivore like myself, you will not be disappointed!  Serve with a great red and you have a true 5-star restaurant meal!  Enjoy!!

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Loose Meat Philly Sandwiches

Philly sandwiches are delicious, plain and simple.  Trying to find an authentic Philly or even an unauthentic one for that matter can prove challenging.  Now my version here obviously falls into the “unauthentic” grouping, but it still carries that fantastic ooey-gooey, beefy, cheesy flavor throughout AND if you’re feeling old-school, than feel free to top with a dollop of Cheez-Whiz!  Now THAT up’s the legit’ness! 😉

*Plus, it’s much, much cheaper and easier than using rib-eye steak and can spread out for a family dinner or gathering!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • Pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8oz package of provolone cheese slices
  • 8 pack of hamburger buns/rolls
  • Cheez-Whiz (optional)

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In a large (cast-iron preferably) skillet, cook your ground beef until a deep brown crust occurs.  Next, you will carefully break apart, not too much to wear it crumbles, but is in rather larger chunks.  Again, cook these pieces to another deep brown crust.  Transfer the beef to a medium size bowl and set aside.

To the same skillet you cooked your beef in (you can leave most if not all of the grease), add in the butter along with the chopped, diced and sliced onions, bell peppers and mushrooms.  Let these veggies sit and brown for about 2 minutes, stir and let brown another 2 minutes.

Add your cooked ground beef back into the pan with the sautéed vegetables.

Meanwhile,  in the same bowl your cooked beef was in, pour in the beef broth and cornstarch and whisk together.  Pour this mixture into the skillet along with the Worcestershire, ketchup, and the salt & pepper.  Stir together and simmer for 5-7 minutes (liquids start to dissipate).

Next, cover the entire top of the beef mixture with the provolone slices.  Allow to sit for about 1-2 minutes, until cheese looks “melty” and the gently and thoroughly stir all together.  The cheese will help keep the loose beef and veggies together on your rolls…and be oh so gooey!!

Finally, I like to toast my rolls or buns just a bit and using a slotted spoon (please use a slotted spoon or else you’ll be eating your sandwich with a fork..which is ok too) and scoop a hefty amount onto the bottom bun.  Finish it off with the crusty top half and a napkin! 😉  ..maybe some seasoned French fries and dipping sauce as well.  Enjoy!

Loose Meat Philly Sandwiches

Creamy Mushroom Prosciutto Fettuccine

I was craving a hearty, but not heavy meal, which isn’t easy to do with Italian food.  Usually I end up with meatballs, parmigiana, cheesy manicotti…but not this time!  The fettucine is coated in a light, buttery cream sauce that isn’t too rich and the mushrooms really fool you into having a hearty meat-filled meal.   However, since I cannot fix my hubby’s brain into believing mushrooms can substitute as meat, the prosciutto had to happen!  Frankly, I’m ever grateful for it!  The thinly sliced Italian charcuterie and mushrooms make for such Umami flavor!!

*Umami:  delicious, savory taste.  One of my favorites of one’s five basic taste buds.*

**A nice addition in the Springtime is to add blanched sweet peas or even asparagus to this pasta dish!  Great flavor, freshness and vibrant color!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 slices thinly cut prosciutto, crisped
  • 1 lb mushrooms (mixed with any variety of mushrooms.  I used baby bella, portabella and rehydrated shitake)
  • 3 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup chicken stock (not broth, but stock)
  • 1 pckg fettuccine noodles
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Garnish

  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh thyme

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Begin by heating the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Place the thinly sliced prosciutto in a single layer into the hot oil and fry up (similar to bacon) until crisp.  I prefer mine super crispy, but cook to your liking!  Once crisped, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

In that same pot, heat the now prosciutto flavored oil to high heat and add in the 1lb of assorted mushrooms, cooking for 7-8 minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and add in the shallots, 1 tsp of fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté all together for a couple of minutes, till shallots soften.  Finally, reduce the heat to low and pour in the chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and allow to cook down for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.  You want the fettuccine to be quite al dente, so boil about 3-4 minutes less than package directions.

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Transfer the very al dente pasta, using tongs, to the pot of mushroom mixture.  Ladle 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the mix as well.   Crumble half of prosciutto into pot.

Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is now perfectly al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add the butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Transfer to your serving bowl(s) and top with the remaining prosciutto, parmesan cheese and fresh thyme!  Enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Cheese Soup

Growing up in my home, my parents and I being from the mid-west, comfort food was key.  Warm soups, braises, steak and potatoes, you get the idea…Yes, even in the hot Arizona desert, I knew I was at the right address when the smell of meatloaf waft towards the drive as the street lights turned on.

Now, when we did have the occasional dinner out, we loved Marie Callendars.  Remember that place?  It has since closed so, so many of its doors that it makes me literally sad.  So many memories growing up eating their comforting dinners after cheer and football practices, dance recitals, a great report card…which was always followed by one of their fantastic slices of homemade pie!  *Sorry Marie, I love you but your frozen meals and pie do not hold a candle to your restaurant staples I enjoyed as a child.

That All being said, I was apparently craving my comfort food!  The warm, always delicious potato cheese soup I would just short of lap up from Marie’s salad bar was on my mind.  Now they didn’t garnish theirs as I do mine (I win here), but the flavor is so close that I no longer have to mourn my childhood chain restaurant…well, that is until I figure out their Frisco Burger and Lemon Cream Cheese Pie.

*I really recommend buying chicken STOCK vs chicken broth.  It’s just a bit more in cost but thousands more in flavor!

The Starting Lineup

  • 5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I love Velveeta’s new original shredded)
  • a HEFTY pinch of kosher salt and a pinch of pepper

Garnish

  • Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (I love Velveeta’s new shredded Cheddar)

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Spray your slow-cooker with a bit of non-stick spray.  Next place in the peeled chunks of potatoes, diced onions, sliced celery and minced garlic.  Pour the chicken stock directly over top and add in that salt and pepper!  (The stock will not fully cover the potatoes..and that’s perfect!)

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Cover and set to low for 8 hours!  ..here is where you head off to work, tend to the home and loved ones or take yourself a nap and relax!

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat you will remove the lid of the now tender potatoes and with a potato masher, mash away!  I like to leave a bit of chunks in mine however for texture.

To this, stir in the heavy cream along with the 2 cups of shredded cheese.  Replace the cover and allow to come back up to heat (20-30 minutes).

While it is heating, if desired, crisp up some bacon and slice the green onions and shred your cheddar (if not pre-shredded).

Ladle into large bowls (trust me…no need to get up for seconds when you have a big bowlful!) and top with your favorite garnishes!  Serve alongside warm crusty bread with softened butter and you will have you and your family quite the comfort meal!

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