Sunday, February 22, 2015


Venison Chili

1.5-2 lbs of ground venison
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp yellow corn meal
1 large yellow onion chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
2-3 Chipotle chilis canned in adobo chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 15oz cans of tri color beans (kidney, white and black)
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 10 oz can of Original Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce  (I used Hunts)
2 C water and 1 Tbsp of Better than Bouillon Beef Base/OR 2 C beef stock
Bacon drippings or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: for an even spicier dish add cayenne pepper to taste (I recommend 1/2 tsp).




In a large cast iron skillet (if possible) brown the venison in bacon fat or olive oil, season with about ½ tsp each of kosher salt and black pepper.  About half way through browning add, the flour and corn meal, add more fat if necessary (no dry skillet), stir for a minute or two.  












Then, move the meat to the slow cooker, turn on low.  Add more fat and the chopped onion and garlic to the pan, cook over medium low until the onion is softened and the stuck on meat and flour have incorporated into the onion, add the chopped red pepper and chipotle peppers, sauté for about 2 minutes then add to the crock pot.  










To the slow cooker, add the beans, spices, tomato sauce, Rotel tomatoes, and beef base & water.  Stir and cook on low for about 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.        
Great product, I use this beef, as well as the chicken and vegetable bases.
These are great to keep in the pantry for spicing up lots of dishes.

Tip: Best way to freeze ground meat is 1-2 lb packages, place meat into a gallon freezer bag, use a rolling pin to roll out into a thin square to fit the bag, zip closed and freeze.
Remove from freezer and place in cold water, in less than 30 mins your meat is thawed to cook, or place in refrigerator overnight (some would be concerned about food safety, so do what you are comfortable with. Since my grandparents used this method, I do too.  I also keep my butter and bacon dripping by the stove in a dish just like my grandmother, always soft and ready to use, again just a family tradition, and not recommended as the safest food storage technique).



Friday, January 2, 2015

Breakfast Pizza


My family really likes this, the real trick is making the scrambled eggs in the microwave, and be careful not to overcook them or they'll be dry, once you've figured out the timing for your microwave oven, nothing could be easier though. Change up the toppings to suit your taste.



• 2 Pizza Crust (purchased or made...it is so easy see my favorite bread machine dough recipe below)
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Garlic Powder
• 4 C of shredded mozzarella cheese
• 1 C shredded parmesan (optional)
• Cooked bacon, about 1/2 lb, crumbled/chopped (you could use cooked bulk breakfast sausage too or ham)
• Red onion, thinly sliced
• Frozen hashbrown potatoes thawed OR thinly sliced potatoes OR I keep the baked potato pieces I scoop out of baked potatoes when making potato skins in the oven—I use a melon ball tool and just pop these potato pieces in a freezer bag.
• Veggies: Green, Red and/or Yellow Bell Pepper; sliced black olives, really whatever you like here.
•  7 eggs
• 1/2 milk
• salt and pepper (black or white)

Roll out pizza dough and place the two round crusts onto pizza stones or pans.  Bake at 425 degrees for 3-4 minutes, remove from oven and using a pastry brush or large spoon spread a couple of TBSP of EVOO and a light dusting of garlic powder onto the crusts, top each with 1/2 C of parmesan, add onion, potato, veggies and bacon and top with 1 C of mozzarella. then bake for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large glass bowl, whisk eggs and milk then add salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper/if using white 1/4 tsp).  Place bowl in microwave for 3 minutes on high.  Remove and whisk, place back in oven for 1-2 minutes until eggs are not runny but not overcooked.

Remove pizzas from oven and add 1/2 of eggs to each pizza, top each with another 1 C of mozzarella and place back in oven until cheese melts, just a few minutes.

Enjoy!





Thursday, October 9, 2014

French Style Stew--great for venison or beef


French Style Stew

Over mashed potatoes.
3 lbs of beef stew meat or venison (I used back strap)
2 medium yellow onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 C red wine
2 1/2 C beef stock
6 oz tomato paste
1 large orange
4 white turnips, cut into large chunks
4 carrots, cut into large chunks
2-4 Tbsp red wine vinegar for deglazing cast iron skillet

Just after adding all to the crockpot.

Marinade:
2 oranges cut in large chunks, and squeezed into ziploc, and toss in rind
1C of red wine
a few tsps of dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Marinate in refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

Drain well, and discard orange. 

Next: toss well in flour with a little salt added to it, brown well in a cast iron skillet over high heat and add to crock pot.  

Add 2 onions sliced thick (I did half rings) and a few cloves of garlic smashed, add to cast iron pan with a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar, once pan is deglazed add onion mixture to crock pot.  Next add 2 1/2 C beef stock, 1 C of red wine, 6 oz of tomato paste, and another chopped up orange.  Cook on low for about 8 hours, and at about hour 5 I added 4 white turnips cut in large chunks along with  few carrots in cut into large chunks.  

I served over mashed potatoes--mashed with butter and buttermilk, seasoned with kosher salt and white pepper.  Black pitted olives would be great to add in just before serving or add to each plate.


Ready to serve.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gratin of Sweet Potatoes, Carmelized Onion and Garlic


Sweet Potato Gratin

Beautiful day
I like to recreate foods I find at restaurants that I enjoy. So, I had this sliced sweet potato dish layered with caramelized onions at a restaurant the other night with Saltimboca chicken.  This was by far the best  food on the plate, so I've recreated my own version.  It was a hit yesterday on  our day out sailing, was great at room temperature. 

Ethan, Emma and Granpa Jim
Our 23' Sailboat, Kipahulu...wonderful for summer fun with family & friends.





Ingredients:
About 6 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 envelop of dried onion soup mix
1/2 stick of butter, unsalted
A few Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 slices of swiss or asiago cheese

Tools:
Food processor with thinnest slicing disc
9X13 Glass baking dish
Potato peeler

Place the thinly sliced onions in a cast iron skillet with EVOO, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Cook over medium heat until onions become translucent, then reduce heat to medium low and let cook down for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Add chopped garlic and dried thyme, cook stirring frequently for another 5 minutes.


While the onions are cooking, feed the sweet potatoes through the feeder tube to have about 8 C of thinly sliced sweet potatoes. 

Place a coating of olive oil in the glass dish and layer in 1/2 of the sliced sweet potatoes, top with dots of the butter and sprinkle on the dried soup mix.  When onions and garlic are done,
spread the layer over the sweet potatoes and top with the remaining sweet potatoes, cover with foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven top with cheese slice and place under the broiler, watch closely and remove when cheese is bubbly.


I meant to get mine a little more browned, but brown the cheese to  your liking.

Note: Don't go overboard on the salt in the onions, because the soup mix and cheese are salty too.

Camping/boating tip....
we also took kabobs on wooden skewers to cook.  After threading the meat and veggies on the skewers, I used shear and clipped the sharp point of of the skewer, then double bagged the kabobs in freezer bags and added Italian dressing to marinate until time to grill.



Ethan and Emma being ornery.






Friday, May 2, 2014

Tian of vegetables (Read one fabulous vegetable casserole!)

This is my go to potluck recipe, it is perfect for large gatherings and leftovers just get better over the next few days.



Right before baking.

A food processor is a wonderful took for thinly slicing all of these vegetables, I don't clean out between each vegetable, just keep slicing.

Red potatoes, about 6
Green zucchini, 1-2
Yellow zucchini, 1-2
Red tomatoes, 2-3 
Yellow tomatoes, 2-3
Red onion, one small or about 1/4 of a softball sized onion
Garlic, 2 cloves minced or 1-2 tsp of garlic powder
Kosher Salt and white pepper to taste
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil to coat dish and to drizzle in)

Topping:
1/2 cup of plain bread crumbs
1/4 C of grated parmesan
1 tbsp of herbs de Provence
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil drizzle on top)




Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or convection 375.

Oil your casserole dish. Slice all vegetables thin, then layer into your casserole dish (see photo for layering), I usually go with zucchinis, potoates, tomatoes, and repeat. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Then bread crumb topping, drizzle with olive oil

Bake for 45 mins at 400 degrees F or for 30 mins on convection 375.  Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving, and room temp is fine.  Great for taking to potlucks or picnics.

Note: I often double this a place in a very large baking dish I have, it is great to take to gatherings. I'll try to remember to photo the larger version!








Quinoa with white bean ragu and walnut chicken cutlets

I made this last night and it was a huge hit.  Wesley (my pickier son, even ask for more quinoa and beans--Success for sure!!!) I wish had taken photos but will make this again soon and add photos!

Quinoa with white bean ragu and walnut chicken cutlets

Walnut Chicken:
2 lbs of chicken breasts
1 C of plain yogurt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 C of walnuts (chop finely, food processor works great)
1 C of plain breadcrumbs
salt & pepper
(note you can change up the seasoning in the yogurt to whatever you like, and change the nuts too.  Using cardamon and herbs de provence are nice changes on the chicken marinade and hazelnuts are are a wonderful nut choice)

Qunioa:
2 cup(s) quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 cup(s) water or chicken stock
1/3 C sliced or slivered almonds
Kosher Salt
Pepper

Ragu:
1 small red onion, finely chopped or half of a large onion (they are softball size at my local grocery)
3 teaspoon(s) fresh oregano leaves, chopped, OR 1 1/2 Tsp dried
1 C thinly sliced green and yellow zucchini (cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut into thin slices for “half moons”)
2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
2 can(s) (14- to 15-ounce) no-salt-added white kidney beans/also called cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 pint(s) grape tomatoes, cut in half
salt & pepper

Walnut Chicken:
Using plastic wrap or a freezer bag, pound chicken breasts into thin cutlets and cut into portions about the size of your hand or palm of your hand.  Place in a bowl and combine with plain yogurt and spices.  Let sit for 20 minutes to an hour in yogurt mixture.  Meanwhile prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil and placing a cookie cooling rack on it. Then combine the chopped walnuts, bread crumbs, salt and pepper on a large plate. Coat the chicken in the bread crumb mixture, and place on the prepared rack. Place the coated chicken on the rack and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, watching for the chicken to brown and checking for the chicken to be done.  Cooing time will vary based on thickness of chicken.

Quinoa:
In 2-quart saucepan, heat quinoa and water/stock to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Cover; cook 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in almonds.

Ragu:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add in EEVO or Coconut oil, then add to skillet: onion, thyme and oregano, cook 3 minutes, stirring. Add in zucchini and increase heat to med-high, cook another 5-8 minutes. Stir in beans and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until softened, remove from heat, stir in the tomatoes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Divide quinoa among serving plates and top with ragu, and serve with chicken.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Best Pancake Recipe I Have! Banana Cornmeal Pancakes

Beautiful here today!





It is a brunch kind of a day....pancake and bacon for a snowy Central Ohio day! I've been making these pancakes for 20 years! I haven't found a recipe that is better, and my kids love them.



 We have the best variety of birds here! All I put out is Black Oil Sunflower seeds in my bird feeder and a variety of suet cakes in a wire feeder. We have several varieties of woodpeckers: flickers, downey and red-bellied...lots of cardinals, blue birds, blue jays, doves and finches, nuthatches, junkos, black capped chickadees, Carolina wrens, house wrens, and more...
Banana Cornmeal Pancakes
1 C of all-purpose flour
1/2 C yellow cornmeal
1 C of old fashioned oats, place in food processor on high until finely ground
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 to 2 1/4 C low-fat buttermilk (start with 2 C if too thick add a little more, batter consistency should pour but not be thin)
1 ripe banana (see below...I always keep bananas in my freezer, if frozen thaw)
1 Tbsp honey
1 large egg
Optional add ins:
1/2 C chocolate chips (my favorite)
1/2 C chopped pecans (Alan's favorite)
1 C blueberries (I like to toss these on each pancake right after batter added to skillet)
1/2 C shredded coconut
Anything you like really!  BE creative.

First add oats to your food processor and process until finely ground.  Add to a large bowl with flour, cornmeal, baking soad, and salt.  No need to clean processor bowl, just add banana, honey, and egg to food processor, pulse a few times, then add 2 C of buttermilk (can use regular milk, but buttermilk is fabulous) and process until smooth.

Pour liquid into dry ingredients and don't over beat or you'll have tough pancakes, just combine.

Heat cast iron skillet on medium-high heat, then reduce to medium for cooking (make sure pan is hot before you start). Using about 1/4 C of batter (use a 1/4 C or an ice cream scoop) ladle batter into a hot cast iron skillet with oil (coconut is my preferred but canola or corn is fine).  When the tops are bubbling, flip and cook just a minute on side 2.



Don't throw away bananas!  As they get too many black spots for your families liking...just toss the entire banana into the freezer.  They keep, although they turn dark (sometimes even completely black, but they are fine!) I thaw them for 30 seconds in the microwave or just toss them in a bowl of cold water and they thaw quickly!  Perfect for pancakes, banana breads/muffins, yogurt smoothies and more!





Danish Dough Whisk! I first saw this on a PBS cooking show...Best whisk for quick breads....love this!  I have had this over 20 years.

Danish Dough Whisk from King Arthur Flour Company