Tag Archives: scratchmade

French Onion Chicken Poutine

What kind of comfort-food-sort-of-blogger would I be without a plate full of hot salted fries, topped with a rich gravy and melty cheese chunks?  Not one that I would like to know…

Now here in the states, we fondly know of this dish as Disco Fries (main difference being the variety of cheese overtop), but it’s more commonly known everywhere as “Poutine” thanks to our friends north of the border, eh Canada?  That main difference, again, is the use of real cheese curds…and please choose the white variety for more authenticity.

Now myself, I find the cheese curds in the gourmet cheese/deli section, but if you just cannot track them down, you can substitute torn full-fat mozzarella chunks (NOT the fresh mozzarella you’d make a pizza with) as you actually do not want these cheese chunks to completely melt.

Now to add my weird twist on the forever popular dish, I made a classic French onion soup combined with chicken (my boys always HAVE to have their protein) and turned it into a poutine.  So whether you prefer to eat this with your hands or a fork, you will NOT be unsatisfied!  It’s also equally great as leftovers!!

 

The Starting Lineup

Chicken

  • 2-4 (about 1lb) chicken breast or thighs, skinless/boneless
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced into rings
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup plus 4 tablespoons beef broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Cheese curds
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped, for topping (optional)

French Fries

  • Frozen bagged fries are fine or….
  • 4 very large russet potatoes, skin on, cut into 1″ wide fries
  • Vegetable/ or Canola oil, to fil a large skillet/pot 2″ (or deep fryer)
  • Kosher salt

Begin by cleaning and cutting your potatoes, if making homemade fries.  Add the cut potatoes to a large bowl of ice water and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  This helps to remove the starch, resulting in a crispier fry.  *Completely pat dry before frying.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large oven-safe skillet, over low heat, melt butter. Add onions and 4 tablespoons of the beef broth; sauté onions till a buttery brown in shade and are rich and caramelized, about 20+ minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

While onions are cooking, prepare the chicken by drizzling with oil, then seasoning with salt & pepper and the Italian seasonings. Once onions have finished cooking and are removed from the pan, cook chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side over medium-high heat (don’t clean out the pan between the onions and chicken) until browned on both sides. (Chicken may not be fully cooked through yet, that is okay).  Remove from pan.

To the skillet, pour in the beef broth over medium-high heat to deglaze and stir while scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Next, turn down to medium-low heat and whisk in the flour thoroughly for 5-6 minutes until smooth; taste for seasoning.  Add the sautéed onions and browned chicken back in.  Cover the chicken with the Swiss cheese slices and transfer, uncovered, to the oven for 10 minutes, till cheese is melted and bubbly.

*Meanwhile, pat dry (between two towels) and fry up the sliced potatoes.  Salt and keep warm. **After you fry, transfer each batch to a paper towel/baking rack lined baking sheet and straight into a 225 degrees preheated oven.

Remove the skillet of your French Onion Chicken from the oven and either shred or slice the chicken in pan.  Ladle the rich gravy and chicken over your fries and top with the fresh, chopped parsley and cheese curds!  Enjoy!…because I so know you will!!

Poutine

 

Runza’s

Being from the great Midwest state of Nebraska, there are two things that are certain…college football and Runza’s!  You basically cannot have one without the other.
Now, technically these are most often called Bierock’s and are of a Russian/German background ..there’s that German in me again.  However, Nebraska has made these bad-boys a delicacy due to its chain of famous Runza’s Restaurants, established back by a brother and sister in 1949.
Whether there, or now in your home too, you can try the original, original with cheese, or make it your own with chili, southwest or philly ingredients, swiss and mushroom..you name it!  Hey, sometimes I’m even known to make a breakfast version of the classic.  Where are you on that Runza?? 😉
The Starting Lineup
Dough
  • 1 package yeast
    2 cups warm water
    1/2 cup sugar
    7 cups flour (regular all-purpose, unbleached)
    2 eggs
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon salt
Filling
  • 2 lbs ground beef
    1 yellow onion, finely chopped
    5 cups finely shredded cabbage (1/2 a head of cabbage)
    2 tablespoons water
    1/2 teaspoon oregano
    1
    + teaspoon pepper
    2+ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

runza

DOUGH

In your stand mixer bowl, add the yeast packet to the 2 cups of warm water, stir to dissolve.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Now with the bread hook attachment, mix together the yeast, sugar and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs, oil and salt. Gradually add remaining flour and beat for about 5 minutes, until all is combined. Dough will be soft.

Pour dough into greased bowl. Cover with towel and let double in size in a warm place. This will take about 2 hours.

FILLING

Brown your hamburger, 1/2 of the chopped onions and a hefty pinch of both salt and pepper in a large skillet.  Break up the beef very well.

Next, steam the cabbage and remaining onion by adding both to the meat-filled skillet, add water/cover and steam for 10 minutes, or until cabbage and onion are soft. Turn off heat.  Mix in the Worcestershire and oregano, taste for more salt & pepper. Let cool.

ASSEMBLY TIME

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Turn dough onto clean work surface, add a bit of flour to your surface and rolling pin if needed/dough is sticky. Knead for a minute. Cut into about 12 ‘chunks’, working with one at a time.

Roll each chunk into either a circular or rectangle shape, about 1/8th of an inch and 6″-8″ around *there is no wrong or right as it all taste delicious!

In the middle of each rolled out piece of dough, lay a slice of American cheese down.  Top with a hefty 1/2 cup+ of filling and similar to a burrito, fold edges over and pinch together. Place filled pockets, seam side down, onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Cover the two baking sheets of filled Runza’s with a tea towel and, again, keep in a warm place for a second rise for about 15-30 minutes.

Finally, place into your preheated oven, 400 degrees, for 20 minutes till golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy with some crinkle cut French fries and ranch!  Enjoy!

runza8

*The leftovers can be frozen and even cooked straight from frozen!  Yay!  Place on a lined cookie sheet for 45-50 minutes at 325 degrees!

 

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

 

ravioli6.JPG

 

ravioi1.JPG

Roasted butternut squash and blue cheese filling!

 

ravioli4

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!!

ravioli5

 

Frozen Blueberry Buttermilk 

Wait, no ice cream maker needed you say??  Yes, it’s true!  This summer hybrid of ice cream & frozen yogurt (that tastes just like cheesecake!!) can be made with just the help of your mixer!

It’s fantastic for these hot & humid summertime months..especially as a great memory making activity you can enjoy with your family!  Think about upcoming 4th of July, simply add some strawberries to the mix and there’s your red, white & blue dessert!!  You’ll be everyone’s favorite guest!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Let’s begin!  In a saucepan over medium-heat, bring the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer and allow the sugar to melt and berries to slightly break down (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and cool.

 Onto the base of it all!  In a stand mixer or with your hand mixer, combine the buttermilk, heavy cream and pinch of salt to a bowl.  Beat together on high speed just till medium stiff peaks form.  Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk and the Greek yogurt till combined.

Pour half of the cream mixture into a loaf pan.  Next, pour in half of the cooled blueberry compote and create a swirl effect with a spoon, etc.  Repeat with the remaining half of cream & blueberries, again, slightly swirling together.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours…enjoy!!

Buttery Soft Pretzels w/ Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce

Soft pretzels have to be one of my favorite snack foods ever. As a child, I would stand in line at the “snack bar” of my k-8 school every lunch with the 75cents I somehow managed to find that morning for one. Sorry mom, I wasn’t eating the lunch line’s green beans and hamburger steak..  

As an adult, it’s what I nosh on at every sporting event, fair or concert…and don’t even get me started on how many I quite frankly inhaled during the pregnancy of my second son. I’d load my first child up (who was about 8 months old) in the car and take him and my fat butt up to Target just to buy 1 or 2 warm, large pretzels at their snack bar. I’d then put my baby in a cart and walk around aimlessly stuffing my also fat face while contemplating on buying just one more. Yes, I may indeed have a soft pretzel problem.

Now some may argue it’s a bad idea that I can now make my own. I’d normally tell them to be quiet but..well….my mouth is so full of soft pretzel that I physically can’t ;).

*Hey, if you’re going to do it right, serve it alongside my homemade spicy cheese sauce and save the mustard for the baseball game!

The Starting Lineup

Pretzel Dough

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 rounded Tbsp brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt 
  • 2 cups bread flour 
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Baking Soda Bath

  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups warm water

Garnish

  • Kosher/rock salt
  • and/or cinnamon and sugar mix
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted 

Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce (optional)

  • 2 Serrano peppers, seeded and finely diced (I, of course, kept the heat in mine 😉
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled (reserve 1 Tbsp of the grease)
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Pinch each of salt, pepper & garlic powder  

To start your pretzel dough, combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water and the yeast into the bowl of your mixer. Gently mix together and allow to sit for about 5 minutes till it starts to foam up a bit.  

   Next, add in the brown sugar and the salt to the yeast mix. Stir together until it’s dissolved. Now add in both types of flour (all 4 cups), and using the paddle attachment mix on low for about 15 seconds to combine. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and mix in high for 5-6 minutes to knead the dough. 

     Lightly oil a large bowl and place the kneaded ball of dough into it. Cover and let sit in a warm spot for 1 hour to rise. 

 Immediately after setting your dough to rise, make the baking soda bath. This part is easy, simply combine 2 cups of warm water with 2 Tbsp of baking soda. Stir often throughout the next hour. 

 After the dough has risen, cut off about 1 cup of dough at a time and roll into a 1/2″ thick rod shape. (*do not flour the counter here, damp hands work best). 

   Now here you can either cut that long strip of dough into 1-2″ pieces OR shape into your traditional pretzel shape. Once to your liking, carefully give each a quick dunk into the baking soda bath and set onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat till dough is gone. 

 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and let the pretzels rise again for about 15 minutes (while the oven gets to temp). Bake for 10-12 minutes. While these are baking you can melt the 4 tbsp of butter. Remove from the oven and brush the pretzels/pretzel bites with the melted butter and either sprinkle with kosher or rock salt OR toss in a large ziplock bag with a cinnamon-sugar mix. 

   Serve immediately with a dipping sauce and enjoy!! 

 

Serrano Bacon Cheddar Sauce (optional)

In a sauté pan fry up the bacon, remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon grease…that stuff’s good as gold! 

 Add 1 tbsp of butter to the reserved bacon grease and melt. Once melted stir in the flour to form a rue and then quickly whisk in the milk. Whisk Whisk Whisk till smooth! Now slowly whisk in the two cups cheese till creamy and then fold in the cooked, crumbled bacon and the finely diced Serrano peppers. Pour into individual ramekins and serve alongside some warm, soft pretzels!  

           

Spicy Pimiento Cheese Bacon Burgers

So you may think that you don’t care for pimiento cheese…but you haven’t tried mine yet.  I, myself, was a skeptic forever on this southern delight.  I now know it was because I always just bought it from the grocery store in those plastic tubs in the deli section.  I’ve tried the ‘cheap’ store brands to the overpriced ‘gourmet’ varieties.  Yuck everytime (personally).  Now if you don’t live in the south, you may not have those tubs in your deli section available to purchase.  So, again, make mine! 😉  It is also FANTASTIC on crackers, toasted bread rounds, crudités (cut veggies, fancy schmancy word 😉 ) or even a spoon in the middle of a late night!

So why did I wake up one morning craving it on a burger??  Beats me…but I’m sure glad I did!!  This flavorful cheese melts so perfectly over a hot REAL hand-pressed burger…slightly tangy, a bit of heat, smooth and creamy. Plus it pairs so very well with crisp bacon and the crunch and sharpness of the white onion that helps to cut through the indulgence!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
  • Bacon, cooked to preference (I prefer peppered)
  • 1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup mayonaisse 
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz chopped pimientos, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, stem off – keep seeds in
  • Dash or two of hot sauce (prefer a Franks style flavor)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Kosher salt & Fresh ground pepper

Garnish

  • Quality bakery hamburger buns
  • White onions, sliced
  • Mayonaisse  

I like to start this best-burger-ever by preparing the above mentioned pimiento cheese.  Start by grating the extra sharp cheddar cheese and then add it to a food processor.  Next, add in the mayo, cream cheese, pimiento, whole jalapeño (stem removed), garlic powder and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Blend till smooth and creamy!  I then take that cheese filled container and pop it in the refridgerator to chill while I finish the meal. 

     Next, start forming those patties with the ground chuck.  When doing so, do not press and work it too hard or you’ll just toughen up the meat.  Also, make sure that your patties are slightly larger than the diameter of your bun.  The meat WILL shrink up and who likes a hockey puck burger with excess bread??  No one. 

 I add a pinch of salt & pepper to the ground chuck, but I MAINLY season the meat AFTER I form the patties!  Sprinkle a liberal amount of S&P on the OUTSIDE of your patties.  It will make a great ‘crust’ when searing the burgers.  Once formed and seasoned, set aside.

Now in a large skillet, saute pan, griddle (cast iron preferred) etc. add in the bacon and cook till crisp.  Remove the yummy pork to a paper towl lined plate and reserve the bacon grease friends! 

While the grease is heating back up, I like to slice my rolls and spread mayonaisse on each cut side.  Then I either put them in my toaster oven, cut side up, on lowest setting OR I’ll sear the cut side in a pan (do this step at the same time your burger is about ready, so it stays soft and warm.  I like to make them to order if you will. 😉

In that same pan, heat the grease up to medium-high and place your patties down (I can typically cook about 3 at an time).  Please do not flip the patty more than one time (nor press down…you don’t want to squeeze out that flavor do you?), let that patty gain its ‘crust’ (about 4-5 minutes), THEN flip and let cook and crust for another 3 minutes.

Once your meat is cooked to your liking (I sure hope that’s not well-done), you can immediately place the burger on the bottom bun, top with a gooooodd amount of the pimiento cheese (which will start to melt & ooze immediately), a slice of onion and that top bun.  Give a little smash, grab a beer and many napkins and dig in!!  Enjoy! 

 

Creamy Poblano Rice

I have a deep affection to the poblano pepper.  Yes, I am 100% more of a spice girl, but these richly colored and medium heat peppers are so versatile that everyone can enjoy them.  (My three year old ate two full helpings of this dish it’s flavorful, not hot).

Everyone I know grew up eating the traditional orange-y ‘Spanish rice’ with their tacos…why didn’t we ever change up the flavor??  Ok, I know in my childhood home it was because rice-a-roni didn’t make it, but still!

That being said, this recipe takes about 30 minutes to make and boxed rice takes about the same…so give it a try!

*and if your really not into making homemade rice, at least make the creamy poblano purée and add it to some cooked, instant rice.  Done! ☺️👌

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 3 poblanos, seeded and roughly chopped 
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime, the other half for garnish
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1tsp kosher salt
  • Canola oil  

Like usual, we start by prepping our produce.  This always makes everything go smoothly and quickly!  Rinse and cut each as instructed. 

     In a skillet, add together your chicken stock and the poblano peppers.  Bring to a low boil and semi cover.  Allow the peppers to soften for about 10-12 minutes. 

 

We’ll now add in just 1/2 of the heavy cream, cilantro, lime juice and salt.   From here you can either use an immersion blender (straight into the pan) OR pour this mix into a blender or food processor.  Blend till smooth, a little chunky is ok 🙂  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  

 

Next…in the same skillet, quickly wipe clean with a paper towel.  Add in a Tbsp of canola oil on medium heat.  

Now goes in the rice and chopped onion.  Stir around until the rice takes on a white appearance. (About 5 minutes).  Add in the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 

 

The last step has arrived (pretty easy so far right?),  pour your creamy poblano mix into the rice and coat.  *here is where I’ll add the other 1/2 cup heavy cream and if needed another 1/2 cup chicken stock.  

Turn heat down to medium-low, cover and allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes till tender, but still with a chew.  Mushy rice is yuck.  You can stir it once or twice, but try to keep that steam heat in with the lid on. 

 

All done!!  Serve along side a mexican inspired dish, chicken, pork or fish with a lime wedge garnish!  Enjoy! 

 

%d bloggers like this: