Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark … Beer, That Is!

Monday, March 17, 2014
No Gravatar

Many people steer clear of drinking “dark” beers like stouts, porters or black ales because of their ominous color, fearing they are too heavy or strong..

But there’s no reason to be afraid of the dark. A beer’s color is not necessarily an indicator of its body, calorie content, alcohol level – even taste.

So if you plan to hoist a pint for St. Patrick’s Day tonight, keep in mind these three commonly held myths surrounding dark beer – as debunked by Julia Herz, publisher of CraftBeer.com and craft beer program director at the Brewers Association

 

Myth 1: All dark beers are rich and heavy.

Dark beer color comes from the barley and rising temperatures of heat. Color is not an indicator of weight or body of a beer.

Myth 2: Dark beers have more calories than paler beers.

The toasting is the reason that the beer is darker. The color of the beer has nothing to do with the calories it contains.

Myth 3: All dark beers are higher in alcohol.

Many dark beers are the same alcohol level of paler beers – some event lower. Color is not an indicator of alcohol levels of any beers, of any style.

 

If you’re looking for some Happy Hour inspiration, CraftBeer.com has also put together a list of local, American Craft Beer to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

And if you’re in need of some St. Patrick’s Day recipes (I’ve got the Corned Beef and Cabbage simmering on the stove as we speak), CraftBeer.com also offers more than 70 recipes that call for Stout to help you out.

The Last Supper … For Turkey Leftovers

Monday, December 2, 2013
No Gravatar

We’re now entering Day 4 of turkey leftovers. Or as I like to call it …  

ENOUGH ALREADY! 

After today, I’ll be breaking down what’s left of that big bird to make a giant pot of homemade stock to freeze in smaller containers that can be pulled out to flavor soups, stews, rice and more over the coming weeks. 

But if you have any meat left, you can still get one more meal out of the thing. Today’s recipe calls for angel hair “nests” (available in some specialty food stores) but you can also just serve this over any ol’ pasta for similar results. 

 

Angel Hair Nests with Turkey and Leek

 

1–2 packages of angel hair nests

5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1-1.5 cups cooked, skinless turkey breast

5 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and thinly sliced

1 cup water

3/4 cup finely chopped green onions, divided

1/3 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Cut cooked, skinless turkey into bite-size pieces or shreds; set aside.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Reduce heat to medium, and add leeks. Cook 7 minutes or until tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Add water, 1/2 cup green onions and wine; cook, covered, 10 minutes or until leeks are soft.
  3. Transfer mixture to a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in 3 batches, gently lower pasta into boiling water. Cook 6 minutes or until al dente. Carefully remove pasta with a large slotted spoon, gently shaking to remove excess liquid. Repeat procedure with remaining pasta.
  5. Arrange cooked pasta nests on a large rimmed platter. Spoon sauce evenly over each nest. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, and top with turkey. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup green onions.

     

    Recipe courtesy www.dececcousa.com

Beef Stroganoff – Beef + Turkey = Tasty Results

Sunday, December 1, 2013
No Gravatar

I adore Beef Stroganoff, with its chunks of meat and fat egg noodles bathed in a creamy sauce made with sour cream, Dijon mustard, onions and parsley. 

So why not replicate the dish with a few leftovers from the Thanksgiving table? 

Today’s recipe takes advantage of some of that turkey (you can use white or dark meat), plus adds mushrooms and cranberries for a super-quick satisfying meal. 

And if the addition of cranberries doesn’t tempt your taste buds, you can easily omit them – no harm done.  

 

Turkey Stroganoff with Mushrooms & Cranberries

9 oz. wide egg noodles

2 tsp. vegetable oil

1 ½ cups/8 oz. finely chopped onion

1 ½ cups/4 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms

6 Tbsp./3 oz. dry white wine

6 Tbsp./2 oz. dried cranberries, preferably unsweetened

3 cups/12 oz. shredded cooked white and dark meat turkey

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

12 oz. reduced fat sour cream

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

 

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and sauté the onions and mushrooms until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and add the cranberries. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the turkey, Dijon mustard and sour cream. Remove from heat. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Divide the noodles between 6 bowls. Top with stroganoff mixture and sprinkle with parsley.
    Recipe courtesy www.pastafits.org

More Turkey Leftovers? More Recipe Ideas!

Saturday, November 30, 2013
No Gravatar

We’re still in full “Thanksgiving Leftover Mode” at our house, with the boys requesting hot open-faced turkey sandwiches for both lunch AND dinner yesterday.

Happy to oblige with that deliciousness – no arguments here.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more creative, here’s a recipe that brings turkey, pumpkin and cranberries together in an unusual pasta dish.

The combination sounds a bit odd, I know. But pumpkin pairs well with savory flavors so the garlic, scallions and fennel called for here shouldn’t scare you. Throwing cranberries into the mix admittedly throws me a bit but, hey, live a little!

 

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce, Turkey & Cranberries

 

1 lb. bowtie or any medium pasta shape, uncooked

1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. fennel seeds

1 12-oz. can evaporated skim milk

1/2 cup low-fat milk

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 15-oz. can solid pack pumpkin

3 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

6 fresh fennel sprigs (optional)

 

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large, deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add scallions, garlic and fennel seeds; sauté 3 minutes.
  2. Combine milk, flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir into saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat; boil until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in pumpkin, turkey and cranberries until well blended. Reduce heat to medium; cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Drain pasta. Place in large bowl. Add pumpkin sauce and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. (Garnished with sprigs of fresh fennel, if desired.)
    Recipe courtesy www.pastafits.org

Give Turkey Leftovers a Little Mediterranean Flair

Friday, November 29, 2013
No Gravatar

We enjoyed a super-traditional Thanksgiving menu at our house yesterday featuring a bounty of family-favorite recipes. A simple herb-roasted turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, sautéed Brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole and rolls. 

And I’m sure we’ll scarf down our fair share of traditional leftovers today. 

But come tomorrow, I’m thinking we’ll be ready to throw a few new flavors into the turkey-leftover equation. 

Check out this recipe for a lively turkey casserole that uses artichokes, roasted red peppers and Kalamata olives to give your Thanksgiving bird some Mediterranean flair! 

 

Mediterranean Turkey Casserole
1 lb. penne pasta or any medium pasta shape, uncooked

1 14 1/2-oz. can low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup skim milk

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups chopped cooked turkey

1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1 7 1/2-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

9 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Vegetable oil cooking spray

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

 

  1. Prepare noodles according to package directions; drain. Stir the broth, milk, salt and cornstarch together in a large pot or Dutch oven until the cornstarch is dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in noodles, turkey, artichoke hearts, red peppers, olives, mozzarella cheese, wine, lemon juice and pepper.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon noodle mixture into dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
    Recipe courtesy www.pastafits.org

It’s National Taco Day … Ole!

Friday, October 4, 2013
No Gravatar

Americans eat more than 4.5 billion of these babies each year, although I shudder to think just how many of those come from Taco Bell.

I know, I slip sometimes myself. But those mass-produced tacos don’t hold a candle to one you make yourself with fresh ingredients spilling out all over.

So this year, skip a run to the border and make your own creative tacos at home with these recipes courtesy of Chef Aarón Sánchez and Ortega.

Enjoy a plate of spinach, caramelized onion and black bean tacos. Or maybe you fancy zesty fish tacos with cabbage and tangerine slaw? Whichever you choose, be sure to mix up a pitcher of homemade margaritas to wash them down.

Sounds nice, eh?

 

ZESTY FISH TACOS WITH CABBAGE AND TANGERINE SLAW

1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice and zest of 1 lime
3 tbsp ORTEGA® Guacamole Seasoning Mix
4 cups shredded red cabbage
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tangerines (cubed, seeds removed)
Chopped fresh cilantro
2 lbs white fish fillets or shrimp
1 package (1 oz) ORTEGA® Fish Taco Seasoning Mix
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 box ORTEGA® Taco Shells (any variety)
1 jar (16 oz.) ORTEGA® Thick & Smooth Taco Sauce (any variety)

  1. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice and zest, and guacamole seasoning mix. Add red cabbage, onion and tangerines and mix to combine. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Cut fish into 1 ½ inch chunks and toss with taco seasoning mix. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the fish until it’s opaque and the edges are slightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, turning once.
  3. Fill taco shells with fish chunks and top with the slaw. Sprinkle on chopped cilantro and top with taco sauce.

 

SPINACH, CARAMELIZED ONION AND BLACK BEAN TACOS

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp ORTEGA® Taco Seasoning Mix (or 40% Less Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix)
¼ cup water
1 can (15 oz.) ORTEGA® Black Beans, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10 oz.) package fresh spinach leaves, washed
¼ tsp salt
1 can (4 oz) ORTEGA® Diced Green Chiles
8 ORTEGA® Taco Shells (any variety) or ORTEGA® Fiesta Flats™
Crumbled feta cheese
1 bottle (8 oz.) ORTEGA® Taco Sauce (any variety)

  1. In a large skillet, heat half (1½ tbsp) of the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, until the onions are a rich brown. While the onions cook, heat the beans in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir the taco seasoning mix and water into the onions, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more to thicken. Spoon the onions into a serving bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, increase the heat to medium-high and add the remaining oil. Cook the garlic in the hot oil for 10 seconds, just until it’s fragrant, then add the spinach leaves, a handful at a time, stirring and adding more as they wilt. Sprinkle with salt and diced green chiles and continue to cook until the spinach is tender, 3 to 4 more minutes.
  4. To serve, mound beans, spinach and onion in taco shells or Fiesta Flats™ and top with crumbled feta and taco sauce.

The Scoop on WV’s Black Walnut Ice Cream

Monday, June 17, 2013
No Gravatar

West Virginia celebrates a big birthday this week (its 150th, y’all!) which has prompted a fair amount of discussion on the Mountain State’s contributions to the culinary world.

Pungent ramps. Rich and creamy biscuits and gravy. A piping hot pepperoni roll.

But let’s not forget black walnut ice cream, which has a rich heritage throughout the South and Midwest but is consumed most in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri and, yep, ol’ West By God.

The American Black Walnut is a 100% wild nut that’s been hand-harvested by locals for generations. Its bold, robust flavor is perfectly highlighted in cool, crisp ice cream.

And not only are we celebrating the state’s sesquicentennial this week, but July is National Ice Cream Month. That’s two reasons to seek out a scoop of Black Walnut Ice Cream – or just make a batch of your own with this recipe!

 

HOMEMADE BLACK WALNUT ICE CREAM

1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups light cream
1 cup half-and-half cream
½ tsp. black walnut extract
½ cup to ¾ cups black walnuts, chopped

  1. Blend together sugar, cream, half-and-half and black walnut extract. Pour into container of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. When ice cream is done, fold in black walnuts and transfer to a freezer container. Freeze until solid.

 

 

Stout Mac & Cheese. Yes, Yes & Please!

Friday, March 15, 2013
No Gravatar
With just two more days until “The Wearin’, Eatin’ and Drinkin’ o’ the Green” (also known as St. Patrick’s Day) I’m still mining cookbooks, magazines and ye’ ol’ internet for some tasty Irish recipes.
Stout Mac & Cheese

Stout Mac & Cheese

Yesterday, I shared one for a Green Apple, Cheesy Guinness Melt.

Today, it’s Stout Mac & Cheese, a recipe that comes from – wait for it – Cooking Light?

Yep.

By using reduced-fat cheese and turkey sausage, it’s a decadent dish that won’t cause as much cosmetic damage as it could.

So get to cookin’, eatin’ and enjoyin’ this tasty o’ dish!

 

STOUT MAC & CHEESE

7 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
2 teaspoons canola oil
4 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage
3/4 cup diced onion
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup Guinness Stout beer
1/3 cup whole milk
2.5 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 ounces light processed cheese, shredded (such as Velveeta Light)
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

3. While pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Remove casing from sausage. Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage. Add flour, pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in beer; bring to a boil.

4. Cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add milk and cheeses, stirring until smooth. Stir in pasta. Divide mixture evenly among 4 ceramic gratin dishes coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Recipe courtesy Cooking Light

A Green Apple, Cheesy Guinness Melt? Yes Please!

Thursday, March 14, 2013
No Gravatar

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, my friends at the U.S. Apple Association sent along a crazy-good sounding recipe to help mark the occasion.

Green Apple Guinness Melt

Not only are the flavors Irish inspired, but the recipe also features a little GREEN, thanks to the apples, and GUINNESS, so you can eat and toast at the same time.

Slainte!

The rich, rustic “Green Apple Guinness Melt” combines sweet and tangy Granny Smith apples, savory cheddar cheese and creamy stout beer, all buried in a butter-filled baguette.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? And if you’re still not convinced, take a look at that photo below. Count me in!

Green Apple Guinness Melt

1 baguette, cut into thirds, then each piece cut lengthwise in half (6 pieces total)
2 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 ounces dry stout, such as Guinness
14 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices

  1. Turn broiler to high and set a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Arrange the baguette pieces, cut side down, on the sheet and broil until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the pieces over, and use your fingers to scoop out enough bread to make a channel in the center of each piece. Set baguette pieces aside, still on the tray.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until bubbling and golden brown. Add flour and whisk it in until the mixture is smooth and chestnut brown. Add the beer and whisk until smooth, then reduce heat to medium and continue stirring until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to low and add cheese, mustard and Worcestershire, stirring continuously until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spoon a generous amount of cheese sauce into each baguette piece. Lay a few overlapping apple slices over the cheese, then transfer to the oven and broil until browned and bubbling, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Bridgeport Woman Wins Super Bowl Recipe Contest

Sunday, February 3, 2013
No Gravatar

Just in time for tonight’s Super Bowl, a Bridgeport woman has beat out hundreds of entrants in the “Sporty Snack Showdown” at justapinch.com, a recipe and social network for home cooks. And she didn’t just win bragging rights, but also a $4,000 home entertainment system.

Jeanette Nelson won for her Island Teriyaki Tiki Chicken Bites, little rolls stuffed with Asian-flavored chicken, green onions, red peppers and carrots flavored with pineapple preserves, garlic, sesame oil, hot chili sauce and more.

“Who can resist this fabulous appetizer? I know I can’t — especially when you dip them into a sweet and sour sauce,” Jeanette says. “I guarantee if you put these in front of a crowd they will be gone in seconds!”

Nelson is a proud mom of three girls (ages 3, 7 and 11) and says Asian food is a hit in her family.

“This delicious appetizer recipe captures those flavors you find at your favorite Chinese restaurant.”

You can find the winning recipe, along with photos and notes about the dish, here.