Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cottage Pie

In honor of the Royal wedding

Cottage Pie

2 Tablespoons oil
3/4 cup diced onions
3/4 cup diced (or shredded) carrots
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/3 cup flour (gluten free option)
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups beef or chicken broth
1/2 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet*
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2-1/4 pounds potatoes (white or I used sweet potatoes)
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used 2% milk)
1 egg yolk
4 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
dash of white pepper
1 cup grated cheese

Heat oil in large sauce pan and saute onions and carrots until soft. 
Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink (or add precooked hamburger and heat.) 
 Stir in flour and cook for a minute or so.
Add broth, stirring as you pour since it will thicken.
Add thyme, broth, Kitchen Bouquet, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until everything is soft and sauce thickens.  I had to add a little bit of water as I went since the sauce was very thick and my carrots were not soft yet.  Next time I will shred my carrots.
Pour into baking dish.  This is my deep dish stoneware from Pampered Chef.
 While the meat is simmering, slice potatoes and place in large pot of cold water.  Cover pot and bring to boil.  Simmer until tender, about 20-25 minutes. 
 I used my Pampered Chef 1 Qt Micro Cooker and microwave for 16 minutes. Perfect every time! 
Dump into large mixing bowl and mix. 
Add cream, egg yolk, butter, and salt and pepper.
 Mix until nice and smooth.
 Cut hole in corner of gallon bag and drop in a frosting tip large enough to squeeze potatoes through.  Tape tip to bag so it does not slip. Dump potatoes into bag and seal. 
 My sweet potatoes were too soft that even though I piped it on the top the shape did not hold so I ended up smoothing it out.  White potatoes will do better. If you don't want to pipe you can just spread it on top.

Sprinkle with cheese (optional) and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

*Kitchen Bouquet is a "browning and seasoning sauce" generally found in the ketchup/Worcestershire sauce aisle.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ice Cream Cone Cake Ball Pops

What a fun twist on the cake pop.  They look like ice cream but hide a yummy cake secret inside!!

Ice Cream Cone Cake Ball Pops

1 box cake mix and ingredients to make cake
1 container ready made frosting
1 package almond bark
Frosting color (I prefer Wilton jarred) 
Sugar cones
Chocolate chips

Bake cake according to directions and let cool.  
After it is completely cooled, crumble the cake into a large mixing bowl. 
Add 3/4 of the frosting to the cake mix and mix until thoroughly combined.  They should be sticky enough to form balls but not coat your hands when pressed together.
Roll into 1-1/2 inch balls, cover with plastic wrap, and cool for several hours in the refrigerator.
Cut the tops off of the sugar cones so that the hole is about 1-1/4 inches.
Use lollipop stick, meat thermometer, or skewer to hold the pop.  Coat with melted almond bark.  I tinted mine pink.

Press into top of ice cream cone.  Don't worry about drips, they just add to the effect.  Place into drying rack or styrofoam block to set up.
 Drizzle melted chocolate chips over top for 'hot fudge.'
 Sprinkle right away before chocolate sets up.
For the dropped cone look:  Press the dipped cake ball into cone and tip upside down and place on waxed paper.
Have fun!

Tuscan Roma Pizza

This is my favorite pizza at the local pizza joint.  It's easy to make at home.  Fresh tomatoes take it over the top!

Tuscan Roma Pizza

Your favorite Pizza Crust or my grilled pizza dough that has been made ahead and frozen**
One 1/2 recipe of Garlic Cream Sauce
Fresh Spinach leaves
Thinly sliced Roma Tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella or other Italian blend cheese, shredded
Grilled chunks of chicken (optional)

Spread sauce onto pizza crust.
Place spinach leaves down, use as much or little as you like. I tore the stems off mine so they weren't chewy.
Layer sliced tomatoes
Chicken next if you are using it.  True "Tuscan Roma" does not have it but my husband likes a little meat on his pizza. I used fresh mozz here.

Bake according to your pizza crust directions until lightly brown.

** Preheat pizza stone in an oven at 450*.  Assemble pizza and slide onto hot stone.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Slide back onto flat cookie sheet.  Allow to cool a bit before cutting.  Enjoy!

Garlic Cream Sauce

Garlic Cream Sauce                                                                      Printable Recipe

Olive oil
1 T flour* 
1/2 t minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine (less if yours is strong flavored)
1/3 cup frozen chopped spinach (can omit if using for the pizza topping)
2 cups half and half (or a good whole milk)
1-1/2 cups shredded Parmesan (not the stuff in the shaker)

Drizzle a little olive oil in pan, add garlic and saute for just a moment or two so as not to burn the garlic. Add the flour, cooking for a moment.

Add the half and half, wine, and spinach to the flour mixture. Bring to a boil. Add Parmesan.

And stir until blended.



and/or pizza. Enjoy!

* (use GF or a bit of cornstarch slurry to make it gluten free)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thousand Island Dressing

Your reuben sandwiches and home salads will never be the same!

Thousand Island Dressing

2/3 cup salad dressing
1/3 cup sour cream (lite is ok)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons vinegar
3 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons finely minced onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 dashes white pepper

Add to bowl and mix!
Flavors best if let set for all day but can be enjoyed right away too.