Tag Archives: saute

Bacon & Blue Stuffed Mushrooms

Whether you’re planning a party, enjoying a romantic steak dinner at home or need a new creative idea for some football game snacks, this is a fun twist on a classic appetizer!

More often than not, when I think of blue cheese, I often think of bacon.  They pair together as well as peanut butter and jelly in my book!  So while I was at our local grocer last week, I saw they had a special on their packages of bacon AND mushrooms and figured I could make something great happen between them!  With the few simple ingredients listed below, you truly get a rich and indulgent, highly umami kick-in-the-butt of flavor!  These are oh so good and “fancy”….yet insanely easy!

*For the larger sized button mushroom, pick from the crate of individual mushrooms; not the prepackaged variety.  At home, store unwashed in a paper bag for up to 2-3 days in your refrigerator before use.  **Simply double the ingredients if making 2 dozen, etc.  ***These are naughty and rich, so I always allot about 2-3 per person.  ****Can be assembled earlier in the day and popped in the oven to warm through when needed.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4 strips bacon, chopped
  • 12 large button mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 oz. blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 Tbsp chives, fresh, divided 1:1

Mushrooms1

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Clean any dirt off your mushrooms with a vegetable brush or dry paper towel (do not rinse with water, as they become water logged and wont hold up well).  Gently “snap” the stem off of each mushroom, while leaving the cap whole (set caps aside on a foil lined baking sheet).  Then give a rough chop to all of the stems.

In a skillet over medium heat, crisp up the chopped bacon.  Once done, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined dish and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pan.  To that bacon grease, add in the chopped mushroom stems and sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add in the minced garlic for 1 minute more.

In a medium size bowl, thoroughly combine the sautéed stems and garlic with the crisped bacon, softened cream cheese, blue cheese and 1 tablespoon of the fresh chives.

Using a spoon (I use two spoons myself), stuff each mushroom cap with the filling you just made.

Transfer your tray of stuffed mushrooms to the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of fresh chives and enjoy!

*Makes 12.  Literally double the ingredients to double the recipe. 🙂

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German Potato Salad

Lesser known fact, in Germany they serve potato salad one of two ways.  If you live in the northern part, it will have mayo (similar to here in America), but if you’re in the southern region it will not.  So in honor of my German heritage I’m preparing it MY favorite way..the southern!

Now we grew up with this side dish staple at, I’d say, every single family get together ever, of all time, of eternity…and it was then and now always a hit with us and the newbies to try it.  However, much to my mom, aunts, grandmas and great-grandmas dismay I steered away from the northernn variety due to my distaste for mayo.  Given I love bacon, cider vinegar and mustard, this authentic style fits the bill for me!

*This is fantastic for a warm day grill-out with the family, as it has no mayo and won’t spoil nearly as fast!

*You can add a 1/2-1 cup of mayonnaise if you just MUST have it that way 😉  It will still be just delicious and no need to  tweak anything else!  You’ll just be eating northern Germany style!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3lbs potatoes
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • Green onion, sliced
  • Parsely, fresh, chopped  

In a large stockpot, add in the scrubbed potatoes (I like to quarter mine for faster cooking/no need to peel) and cover 1-inch over with water.  Add a liberal amount of salt and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, cover and reduce the heat a bit and let sit for roughly 20 minutes, until just fork tender.  Drain and set aside to cool slightly.  Once cool enough to touch, the skins will easily come off and chop the potoes into bite size chunks.  *Personally, I like just a tad bit of the skins still.

Meanwhile, chop up the bacon and place in a pan, cook till crispy.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon (when done to your likeness) to the bowl of warm potatoes.  You want all that glorious bacon grease to remain! 

 

While the bacon is cooking is when you can chop up the veggies. 

 

Transfer the sliced and diced up celery and red onion the the hot bacon grease and saute for 3-4 minutes.   


Once softened, add in the apple cider vinegar and dijon mustard and cook for 2-3 more minutes. 

Finally, whisk in the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper.  Pour this hot dressing directly over the warm potatoes and cooked bacon pieces.  Toss together careful not to smush the potatoes too much. 


Lastly, fold in the green onion, parsely and season again with a bit more kosher salt & ground pepper to taste.  (remember potatoes can benefit from salt).  Enjoy friends! 

   

Margarita Chicken Fajitas

I’m pretty sure that when one has fajitas, it is also the norm to be sipping on a margarita.  Now…how about we combine the two?  Which is really no problemo here in my casa!

The flavors and ingredients of your traditional margarita are the exact components that make a chicken flavorful and tender.  Everything about this is right!  Now add a warm flour tortilla, large dollop of sour cream, salsa and grilled veggies…oh my my my… 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2lbs chicken breasts (cut into strips) or chicken tenders
  • 1/2 quality margarita mix (NOT lime green 😉
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1 tsp margarita (kosher) salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 limes, juice and rinds
  • 1 jalapeno, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Red onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp evoo (I used a hatch green chili infused oil..but regular is fine! 😉

Garnish

  • Tortillas
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa/Hot Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Pico de Gallo   

    Sipping on this delight is an essential part of making Margarita Chicken Fajitas!

     

In a large ziplock bag (set into a dish in case of ‘spillage’), combine the margarita mix, tequila, salt, cumin, lime juice plus rinds and the quartered jalapeno.  Zip and give a good shake! 

       Next, you’ll add the chicken into the bag of marinade and zip on up!  Place this in the refridgerator for 1-3 hours (turning over to distribute once per hour if possible). 

 Right before you’re ready to take the marinating chicken out of the ‘fridge, feel free to slice up the onion and bell peppers!  *I like all colors of onion & pepper really, so whatever you have on hand works fine!! 

 Heat a large skillet, cast iron or grill to med-high heat.  If using a pan, add about 1 Tbsp oil and heat up till almost smoking or grease your grill so that the chicken does not stick.  

Once hot & ready (and depending on the size of pan/grill), add one-half to all of the chicken and marinated jalapeno.  Cook for a few minutes on each side until a nice brown sear occurs.  Set aside on a plate to redistribute the juices. 

   Now that the chicken is done, add the sliced up fajita veggies to the same pan and sauté till slightly browned but still crisp (a few minutes). 

   Plate the cooked chicken and veggies and serve with warm tortillas, garnishes of your choice and a cold margarita!  Enjoy!

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

I must really love my husband, because besides sushi I am not big on Asian cuisine…at all.  I know, I know..I’m “crazy”, “nuts”, “a weirdo”..I’ve heard it all.  Quite frankly, just feed me tacos and champagne for the rest of my days and I’d be happy as a clam!

That being said, every now and then I’ll surprise my dear love with an Asian inspired meal…and it’s also quite possible that I just wanted a sake bomb, but who knows?? 😉

So below is a take on a restaurant favorite that I tried and tweaked and I have to say….I wasn’t sure if I was in my own kitchen or Little China down the street, it was that good.  I suppose that may also of had to do with the sake bombs 😉 

The Starting Lineup

Marinade (1hr)

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake (optional, if you like a bit of heat–not recommended for lil kiddos)
  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak, sliced into thin strips

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce (make sure to NOT use regular soy sauce…it will be waayyy too salty)
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp sherry
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-2 heads broccoli, crowns cut off

Garnish/Sides (optional)

  • Rice (white or fried)
  • Scallions
  • Sriracha sauce  

Let’s begin!  Starting with the marinade, have a medium size bowl ready and whisk together all of the above “marinade” ingredients (baking soda, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, water and vegetable oil).  

Next add in the thinly sliced steak and toss with tongs to coat.  Cover the bowl with saran wrap and keep in the refridgerator for 45-60 minutes.  This will really tenderize that ‘tough’ flank steak like you wouldn’t believe!  *Take the steak out of the refridgerator about 15 minutes prior to cooking. 

  

Yes…I know, it looks really appetizing doesn’t it?? Sorry to my vegetarian friends. Kind of.

 

Alrighty..now while the meat is tenderizing away in the fridge, all we have left to do is the sauce and prepping of the broccoli.  I first cut the crowns of the broccoli off their stalks and rinse them in a collander and allow to dry.  *If still a bit wet when time to cook, just pat dry with a paper towel/kitchen towel.  You really don’t want water added to hot oil..at all!  *You can also keep the stalks and use in soup broths, chop into a chicken alfredo sauce, etc.. 

   Next for the sauce (glaze), in a small bowl combine the ‘sauce’ ingredients (soy sauce, dark brown sugar, ginger, garlic, flour, sherry, vegetable oil).  Cover and set aside. 

   

    I’m pretty sure that by now the steak should be about ready to cook!  Sooo in a large pan, heat 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil to medium-high heat.  Add in the broccoli and cook for about 3-4 minutes while stirring often.  *If they turn a bit brown/crisp on the edges, that is ok!.  Remove the par cooked broccoli to a plate and set aside. 

   In that same pan, carefully add in another Tbsp of vegetable oil and then once hot toss in the marinated steak and 1/2 of the prepared sauce.  Sauté togther for about 4 minutes.  Finally add the broccoli back in with the remaining sauce and saute all together for another 1-2 minutes. 

       I like to serve our Beef & Broccoli over rice and garnish with a bit of scallions and sriracha (<- for the adults), alongside a few appetizers of pot stickers and egg rolls!  Let me tell you…my lil boys ate that steak right up!  A perfect sweet & salty flavor! 

 

Gnocchi Pancetta Primavera

Hot Damn!  This flavorful, bright Italian inspired dish can be made and on your table in 30 minutes or less!  Can you believe it??  Homemade goodness AND quick…A few fresh ingredients, garlic & cheese and the lovely, pillowy potato gnocchi will earn you rave reviews with your family.  It’s also ‘fancy’ enough for an intimate dinner party, so please give it a try!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg gnocchi (16oz)
  • 1 pckg pancetta, thinly sliced, roughly chopped (butcher can help)
  • 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Optional: prosciutto can be substituted for the pancetta …equally delightful!

We’ll begin this quick and fun italian dinner by giving the vegetables a quick rinse & slice, dice & mince!  While you’re at it, you may as well grate that parmesan cheese…trust me, having everything already prepped makes cooking go so MUCH more smoothly!

   Next let’s heat the EVOO to medium heat in a large sauté pan, while also bringing a stock pot half full of water to a boil for the gnocchi.  *I always add a hefty pinch of kosher salt to my pasta water.  I suggest the same for you 😉

 Now that the oil is hot, add in the red onion and zucchini to the sauté pan…let that cook till it’s just sweated down a bit and onions are slightly translucent.

 Next add in the chopped pancetta and let those flavors cook together for 3-4 minutes.  *Always stir occasionally, unless otherwise noted.  Follow this with the cherry tomatoes.

   About now the pasta water should be boiling.  Please add in the gnocchi and cook to package directions.  *It’s usually quite fast and takes only 2-3 minutes, tops.  The gnocchi will float to the top and they’re ready!
Ok..you’re welcome to drain the gnocchi into a collander as you would pasta noodles, but I prefer to directly transfer the gnocchi with a ladle directly into the veggie/pancetta mix.  *I also keep about a tbsp of the ‘gnocchi cooked water’ in each  spoonfull…the starch in the water adds flavor and will help thicken this up along with the cheese.

Finally add in the juice of 1 lemon, the garlic, and a bit of salt & pepper to taste. Give this a quick stir and turndown to medium-low.

Top with the 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese and toss together.

   Immediately serve in a bowl and garnish with a bit more grated Parmesan.  Enjoy!  *Those gnocchi’s are like delish potato pillows..I’m not kidding.

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