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Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

This appetizer sampler was inspired by a lot of random things in my refrigerator… another time that my scrounging has led to yumminess! Sometimes I will make this for a little dinner for myself or I will make it for a group if I am entertaining. I didn’t list amounts in the ingredients since you can pretty much just make as much as you need! I love cheese and crackers at any time and the salami is an added yummy factor. Asparagus and proscuitto is a simple appetizer that a lot of people think sounds complicated but it it super easy and quick to prepare. Babybel cheeses are little and fun and they have so many different flavors to choose from: Original, Bonbel, Gouda, and White Cheddar (and I may be forgetting one or two). Try this little appetizer platter and you will wow everyone- yourself included!

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite crackers (I like the big round whole wheat ones)
  • Sliced deli cheese (I like all kinds but especially Swiss and Cheddar for this)
  • Salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Asparagus
  • Babybel cheese (I love all flavors!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over a large baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut ends off of asparagus and rinse. Pat dry and roll asparagus in oil, salt, and pepper and place on baking sheet. Put in the oven and cook on both sides until it starts to brown (turn it after about 5 minutes but check in on it depending how hot your oven is).
  2. While the oven is preheating and asparagus is cooking, work on everything else. 🙂 Cut cheese slices into 4 and assemble salami and cheese onto the crackers. I like the big round crackers since the salami fits perfectly on top (I use Safeway brand whole wheat crackers but I am sure there are a ton of other similar kinds).
  3. When asparagus is done cooking, let it cool and then roll it the long way in the prosciutto.
  4. Arrange everything on a large serving plate (or you can have a plate for each appetizer if you are making lots of each). Something else fun that I like to do is make a little plate for everyone that I am entertaining but you can do whatever you want to. 🙂
Serve with: White or red wine and/or cocktails. This is a perfect starter for an Italian meal- I used it as my starter for a meal of stuffed shells and Caesar salad and it was a perfect pairing. 🙂

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This recipe is an upgrade on one of my absolute favorite comfort food recipes, broccoli casserole. 🙂 Some of my favorite foods are pasta, cheese, and veggies and the addition of ham to this casserole adds extra protein and LOTS of flavor! I decided to toss ham and mushrooms into the casserole tonight since I had them in my fridge and I am a huge fan of using things in my fridge before they go to waste. This recipe is one of my favorites because you can assemble it in advance, pop it in the fridge, and cook it when you are ready to eat. I did all of the prep, went to yoga, then came home and popped it in the oven, cooked it for 30 minutes and it was piping hot and ready to eat! The best part? LEFTOVERS! After eating my dinner, I put the rest it into tupperwares and placed them in the fridge so now when I need a quick lunch or dinner this week I can pop one in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until hot and ready to eat. A yummy meal in an instant!

Here is the recipe for this yummy casserole:

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 small heads of broccoli, rinsed and chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1 green pepper, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I buy it pre-grated!)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 12 oz. wide egg noodles
  • 8 oz. chopped black forest ham (I used the sliced deli meat since I had it in the fridge. It was super easy to just chop it up into little pieces to toss into the mix)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse and chop veggies and place in a large mixing bowl. Add in ham. Mix together gently.
  3. Add in cream of mushroom soup and mix in gently.
  4. Cook pasta noodles according to package instructions and mix in when they are done and drained.
  5. Add in cheese and mix in.
  6. Add salt and pepper as desired.
  7. Place mixture into a large casserole dish (you may need to use two since it makes a lot) and put in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, until noodles start to brown and casserole is cooked through.

Note: I LOVE veggies and cannot get enough of them. If you or the people that you are cooking for are not huge veggie lovers, feel free to cut the amount of veggies in half that you use. But remember that the more veggies, the healthier your meal! 🙂 Enjoy!

Egg noodles cooking away!

Veggies and ham waiting for the pasta and cheese!

The finished product!

Leftovers for the week!

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I was flipping through Food Network magazine and came across the recipe for this dip and could not wait to go to the store, buy all of the ingredients, and make it! And let me tell you, it is just as yummy as it sounds (as looks). This is a perfect appetizer for a party (superbowl is coming up…) and will definitely win you any man’s heart. Try it and see, I guarantee EVERYONE who tastes it will love it!

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups Daisy Brand Sour Cream
  • 3 ounces bacon bits
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.
  3. Place the mixture in a 1-quart baking dish. Cover.
  4. Heat the dip for 25-30 minutes or until hot.
  5. Serve with assorted fresh vegetables, crackers and/or chips.

*Serving option: Dip may also be placed in hollowed round sourdough loaf, wrapped in foil and heated in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Recipe source: Daisy Brand

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The other day I was craving something filling for a late breakfast so I looked to see what I had in my fridge and put together this brunch dish, combining several of my favorite ingredients. This meal is packed with important and healthy nutrients, including lots of protein in the eggs and ham, whole grains in the english muffin, calcium in the cheese, and omega-3’s in the avocado. Add some fruit on the side and you have a perfectly balanced breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • Butter
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices ham (I like Black Forest)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced into strips
  • 1 whole-grain english muffin

Directions:

  1. Scramble 2 eggs in a small saucepan. Add salt and pepper and cheese toward the end, mixing in well to make sure it is fully melted.
  2. Heat ham in the microwave or in the saucepan.
  3. Toast english muffin, butter it, top with avocado, then ham, then the eggs.
  4. Eat and enjoy!

Note: Want to make this breakfast a bit healthier? Try any or all of these tips… Use only egg whites, use just 1 piece or cheese, or use turkey instead of ham.

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Every single week a note about Wine Down Wednesday pops up on my twitter from owner @edstown, and every single week I think “I need to go and do that.”  But, despite my good intentions, I have to admit that yesterday was the very first time I ever actually followed through – something that may not have happened had we not had a nudge from Sky Cameron, a friend of ours who was conducting the tasting for the evening.

What is Wine Down Wednesday you ask?  Pure genius in my opinion.  The middle of the week is generally a bit hairy, no matter which way you slice it.  And what better way to unwind and re-energize for the rest of the week than over a four course wine tasting/food pairing in the company of some really fabulous friends? Pretty much nothing.

So, in keeping with this line of thought, Jacky, Tori, Justin, Haley, 15 wonderful strangers and I joined Sky at town in Kaimuki for an array of Argentinian wines from the Mendoza region (on the western coast about halfway down), paired with four complimentary dishes – all of which was divine.  Here’s what we were working with:

Sky...our fearless wine leader

Wine: Nieto Senetiner, Torrontes Reserva '09 (the ultimate summertime lounging-by-the-pool wine - Torrontes is only found in Argentina) - Food: Salmon skin, risotto cake, apple, fried capers

Wine: Vina Cobos "El Felino" Cabernet Sauvignon '08 (aptly described by Sky as "juicy" this one tasted even sweeter because of the spice in the food) - Food: Pa'i'ai hash (pulled pork), watercress

Miss Haley...the most well behaved (and adorable) two year old who has an incredible palate to boot!

Wine: Pulenta Estate "La Flor" Malbec '08 (from vines that are 5-15 years old) - Food: Porchetta, Mushrooms

Wine: Bodegas Renacer Punto Final Malbec Reserva '06 (from vines that are 50 years old and up - one of Wine Spectator's top 100 wines!) - Food: Grilled leg of lamb with mint infused chili

We ended the evening by sharing a crazy delicious bittersweet chocolate and apple banana panini served with ice cream and some whipped cream goodness. Haley demonstrated how one should most effectively get every single ounce of ice cream out of a dish once a spoon just doesn't cut it. Thank you Uncle Sky!

Remnants of a good time

We were all at one long table which didn’t make for the most ideal social or easy to educate situation, but Sky did an amazing job of explaining things and we had a most wonderful time overall.  We’ve decided that WDW would be a great thing to gather a bunch of friends together and do again (read: completely take over with people we know and have a raucously good time) – hopefully sometime very, very soon.  Want to join us?  Town does WDW every week at 6:30 – just make sure you call ahead for reservations as seating is limited.

On a side note, it has been not only wonderfully fun because of his overall fantastic-ness, but also very educational getting to know Sky because of his extensive wine knowledge.  My notes above only scratch the surface of what he taught us last night, but here is a little more info on Mendoza and the whole wine situation in that area.  Now all I have to do is convince Sky to take me on one of his fabulous wine trips someday!

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Photo Credit: LeiChic.com

The Fourth of July is just days away – time to dust of the old BBQ, invite some friends over and have a party!  I’ve been getting recipes galore from Food & Wine etc., but the latest one from Lei Chic caught my eye.  I can make a pasta salad any day, but my grilling skills really leave something to be desired.  Thanks to Lei Chic, I can take a few notes from Wayne Kauppi, owner of Kaimuki’s Hog Island BBQ and a champion of slow-cooked meat, for a few grill-to-oven techniques.

The Heat
Kauppi recommends a kettle grill fueled by mesquite charcoal. Get the coals glowing red-hot, then put on the lid and starve the fire to bring the temperature down. This creates an even glowing charcoal bed and prevents flare-ups that would char your steaks. Keep the cover on while cooking, using the vents to control the heat. Meanwhile, bring your indoor oven to a not-so-piping-hot 190 degrees.

The Meat
The best cut for the grill is the rib eye, Kauppi says, because the fat marbled in with the muscle makes for a juicy steak. If you want a leaner cut, try the filet mignon. Apply a dry rub to the meat and allow it to rest before cooking.

The Feat
You’ll want to begin cooking about an hour before you plan to serve the meal. Do check the steaks during the cooking process, but don’t cut into the meat often—it’ll cost you too much juice.

Put steaks to be well-done on the grill first, searing the meat for no more than five minutes on each side. Place each steak on an oven-safe plate. Transfer the plates to the oven and leave the meat to slow-cook for about 45 minutes. The low temperature will continue the cooking process without evaporating water, meaning the plates will fill with the juices of the steak.

Next, repeat the searing and plating process with the medium steaks, but oven-bake the meat for only 20 to 30 minutes. Finally, sear your rare steaks. This set of steaks will be in the oven for only ten to 20 minutes.

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The red pepper and pancetta concotion....this photo really doesn't do it justice - clearly I was too distracted by the food, wine & friends to take any more photos...

This past weekend I had the pleasure of going over to Tori & Justin’s for a little dinner party consisting of wonderful company, superb wines, and the most delicious food….it was all so good we were there until 2 a.m. 🙂  Tori agreed to make her homemade pizza for me which I have literally been craving for, oh, a month now since I last had it.

A self-professed perfect-pizza-dough connoisseur, Tori’s is light, healthy, and just the right thickness.  For sauce she keeps it simple and throws a few ripe tomatoes in the food processor, spooning as much as she wants onto the dough before adding the delectable toppings.  This time the combos included red pepper and pancetta (angel bacon indeed), lamb with garlic sauteed mushrooms, and of course, a traditional Margherita.  They were all amazing, as usual.

Not the quickest recipe in the world (the dough takes two hours to rise, although Tori speeds it up a bit by letting it rise in the warmth of her car trunk sometimes) it is well worth the wait.  Now I just need to get myself a pizza stone and peel!
Ingredients

1 1/4 tsp active yeast
2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. semolina flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

With pizza stone in oven, preheat to 500.

1. In a small bowl stir yeast into 2 Tbsp lukewarm water.  Let stand until creamy – about 3 min.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours and salt then mound them in the center of the bowl.  Create a well in the center of the mound and pour in the yeast mixture, olive oil, and 1/4  cup of lukewarm water.  Using your fingers or a fork, swirl the liquid in a circular motion, slowly incorporating flour from the sides.  As the dough begins to form slowly add 1 cup of lukewarm water to the well until the ingredients are well combined and a rough dough has formed.  Knead vigorously stretching and pressing the dough against the work surface until the dough comes away cleanly from your hands and is smooth and soft (about 10 minutes).  To check if dough is sufficiently kneaded, cut away a small section – surface should be pocked with small holes.

3.  Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 5 min.

4.  Wash the bowl thoroughly and wipe down with olive oil.  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover again and let rise at room temperature (placing it near a warm stove top or dishwasher expedites the process a bit) until doubled in volume (about 2 hours).

5.  When ready to roll out the dough, divide into 4 even sections, punch down and flatten each into a disk – lightly flouring along the way.  Flip the disk over and sprinkle with additional flour, rolling out onto a pizza peel with a rolling pin.  Continue to flip, stretch, flour, and roll until desired thin-ness is obtained.  Sprinkle the top of the disk with a sturdy amount of semolina and give it one last flip onto the pizza peel before adding toppings to prevent sticking.

Quickly top pizza and place it on the pizza stone – bake each pizza for 9 – 11 minutes.  Upon removing the pizza from the oven Tori follows up every single one with a few twists of fresh ground sea salt and a drizzle of quality extra virgin olive oil.

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