Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Spectacular Standing Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes Recipe

Granted having a prime rib roast is not something many people do on a typical weekend anymore. It’s no secret how expensive prime rib can be and it is usually something I only make around the holidays if the price happens to be right. I had been shopping around the holidays and got great deals on some cuts of meat, including prime rib, and I was able to get one that was just the right size for the three of us and was a great price so I bought it and froze it to make after the holiday craziness had passed so we could have a fancy meal on one of the weekends afterwards. There are all kinds of great recipes for prime rib that you can find all over the Internet, but I just wanted to stick with something basic. I found two recipes I really liked, one from Martha Stewart and one from Ina Garten, but in the end I decided to go with the one from Martha Stewart because we wanted roasted potatoes that night too. This is a very simple prime rib roast  and I combined it with Ina Garten’s recipe for a flavorful mustard horseradish sauce on the side. There are only a few ingredients you need for the sauce and just salt and pepper for the roast to make this elegant dish.

Standing Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes

1 standing rib roast (7 to 10 pounds) with 3 to 6 ribs

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 pounds)

For the Mustard Horseradish Sauce:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Remove the standing rib roast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, about one to two hours. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together the olive oil, all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and the sugar in a small bowl until it is blended.

Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until they are fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes and peel them, and then cut each potato in half crosswise. Place the roast in a roasting pan, ribs side down. Lightly score the fat on top of the roast. Rub the roast all over with the flour mixture. Place the roast in the oven and roast it for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue to roast, basting the roast frequently with the pan juices, for 1 hour more. Add the potatoes, tossing to coat them in the pan juices. Roast, flipping the potatoes and basting the meat occasionally, until the thickest part of the roast registers 135 to 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (avoiding the bone) for medium-rare, about 45 minutes more. The total cooking time should be about 2 hours. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, reserving the pan drippings if you plan to make Yorkshire pudding. Tent the roast with foil and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes (or up to 1 hour) before carving. Carve the roast into slices and serve it with the mustard horseradish sauce.

For the mustard horseradish sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, horseradish, sour cream and salt in a small bowl until it is well blended. Refrigerate the sauce until you are ready to serve.

This is a very basic recipe but it turns out a very delicious roast. The roast is cooked perfectly and is nice and pink in the center, if you like it that way. Of course, you could always cook it a little longer if you prefer it to be more towards medium or medium-well, but a cut of meat like this is great when it is medium-rare like this. It just melts in your mouth and you can cut it with a butter knife. I really liked the sauce to go with it with the combination of the mustards, the heat of the horseradish and the tang from the mayonnaise and sour cream. It would also go really well with other cuts of beef if you are looking for a nice sauce to try on the side. I made this with some  maple glazed vegetables, which I forgot to take pictures of but I will post the recipe for them in another post. This dinner is an elegant treat, and I actually only made a 2-rib roast for just the three of us and plenty of leftovers for some prime rib steak sandwiches.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on January 17, 2015 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Potatoes, Sauce


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Everything You Need to Know about How to Use a Cast Iron Skillet – Bon Appétit

Everything You Need to Know about How to Use a Cast Iron Skillet – Bon Appétit.

I use cast-iron pans pretty much all of the time for all of my cooking because they are so versatile and do nearly everything really well. I even got a new cast-iron grill pan for Christmas that is great for steaks, burgers and the like. Some people shy away from cast iron because they aren’t quite sure if they are going to use it right and I have posted articles before about cast iron. Here is another good one from Bon Appetit about good ways to use and maintain your cast iron pans and what you should not try to cook or do to keep your cast iron working well. Check it out!

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Posted by on January 16, 2015 in Cooking, Cooking Tips, Cooking Websites, Equipment


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Tackle the Cold with a Roasted Winter Squash Soup

The cold weather has really been upon us here in my area of New York this week. The schools were closed last Friday and this past Monday because of ice and snow and the temperature has barely risen above 20°, with wind chills in the morning below 0 just about every day. This makes you feel like just bundling up under the covers and going back to bed each morning and not bothering to even think about what you might want to make for dinner that day. Of course, one of the best alternatives for this time of year for lunch or dinner is always a nice bowl of warm soup. One of my all-time favorite dishes always make use of some of the great winter squash that is available and makes a nice thick squash soup to have with some homemade bread or rolls to help fill you up and really keep you warm. This particular recipe, for a roasted winter squash soup, comes from the Cooking Channel and is from Michael Chiarello. It makes use of a really nice toasted spice rub that you use for the squash and the soup itself and while it may seem like there are a lot of steps involved, the prep time outside of getting the squash ready (which you can do well in advance if you like) only takes about 20 minutes and the cook time is not much more than that, so you can have everything done and ready in about 45 minutes.


Roasted Winter Squash Soup

For the Soup:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup (1/4 inch) diced onion

1/4 cup (1/4 inch) diced celery

1/4 cup (1/4 inch) diced carrot

1 cinnamon stick

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, optional

1 1/2 cups Roasted Winter Squash recipe, recipe to follow

1/2 cup half-and-half

For the Toasted Spice Rub:

1/4 cup fennel seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1/4 cup (1 ounce) chili powder

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the Roasted Winter Squash:

3 pounds winter squash

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup molasses

2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub

To make the toasted spice rub, toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a small, heavy pan set over medium heat. When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. You may want to turn on the exhaust fan over your stove as it can get quite smoky. Add the red pepper flakes and toss rapidly, mixing the ingredients quickly. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool. Once the spices have cooled, put the mixture into a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to just grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour the ground ingredients into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Keep the spice mix in a glass jar in a cool, dry place.


For the roasted squash, preheat the oven to 400°. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Halve the squash lengthwise, discard the seeds, then cut the squash into a 1-inch dice. Place the squash in a large bowl and season it with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat. When the butter ceases to foam and has turned a light brown, pull the pan off the heat and immediately add the sage, granulated sugar, balsamic vinegar (stand back so as not to get splattered by the vinegar and the vapors from it), molasses and the toasted spice rub. Mix well and let the mixture simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes so the flavors can meld.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the squash and toss it well, then transfer the squash to a heavy rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Place the squash in the oven and roast, tossing the squash at least once, until it is very tender and caramelized, about 45 minutes to one hour. Set the squash aside until it is cool enough to handle but still warm, so the liquids are runny.

Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the warm squash and all the cooking liquids to a food processor and process until it is smooth. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.


For the soup, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and cinnamon stick and sauté until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth or vegetable broth and the coriander, if using, and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer the broth for several minutes. Stir in the squash until it is smooth, then simmer gently to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Purée the soup in a blender until it is smooth. The soup can be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for several days or frozen for about one month. It will thicken as it cools and may need thinning out with more broth or water when you are re-heating it. Return the soup to the pan and reheated gently. Add the half-and-half, if using. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the soup warm until you are ready to serve. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish the soup with dollops of mascarpone cheese or toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired


While it does take some time ahead of time for prep work to get the squash ready, there is not really a lot of work involved in it and it is certainly worth the effort. I used a combination of butternut squash and acorn squash but you could certainly use any type of squash that you want either in a combination or by itself. I also did add one diced apple to the vegetable mixture of the onion, celery, and carrot to give the soup a little extra sweetness and flavor. The soup comes out to be a very dark, rich color with some nice sweetness from the squash thanks to the balsamic vinegar and molasses that you put on top of it. The spice rub does give the dish a little bit of a kick, so you may want to watch how much chile powder use if you are looking for something a little milder or eliminate the chili powder and red pepper flakes altogether for something smoother. As I said, this dish is great with some homemade rolls, biscuits or bread or even just your favorite store-bought variety or you could make a nice meal with a soup and sandwich idea for lunch or dinner.


That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day, and enjoy your meal!




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Still Have Leftover Lamb? Here’s One More Option For You – Lamb and White Bean Casserole

Okay, so you have made the leg of lamb that you wanted, then you turned around and made some lamb shawarma with some of the leftovers on one night but you still seem to have a lot of lamb left and you are not sure what to do with it. You still always have shepherd’s pie as an option, but as I said yesterday, I was hoping to find something different to do with some of the land. I came across this recipe at the New You work Times Cooking website for a lamb and white bean casserole and while technically it did not use leftover lamb but uncooked lamb shanks and the meat from them, I decided to try to adapt the recipe so that I could make use of some of the leftovers. Naturally the recipe I made does not take nearly as long to cook as the one you would find from the New York Times, but I think it makes really good use of the leftover lamb and turns out a pretty simple meal in under 30 minutes. I will post the recipe that I used here, but you can always check the link for the original recipe if you want to try that one out.


Lamb and White Bean Casserole

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound leftover lamb, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups beef stock

1 cup peeled chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons dried herbs de Provence

6 cups cooked cannellini beans, rinsed and drained if using canned

3 sprigs fresh thyme



Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy, ovenproof 5 to 6 quart casserole. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté the vegetables over medium heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Increase the heat slightly, and when the vegetables begin to brown, remove them from the pot and take the pot off the heat. Preheat the oven to 350°.


Season the all-purpose flour with salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss the lamb pieces in the flour to coat them well. Heat the remaining olive oil in the casserole pan. Add the lamb pieces, and sear them over medium-high heat, stirring until the meat is browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot, and add the wine. Cook, stirring, to deglaze the pot and reduce the wine, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beef stock, chopped tomatoes and herbs de Provence. Taste the sauce, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Return all of the vegetables to the casserole pan, then add the lamb and the cannellini beans. Place the sprigs of time on top of the dish. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, until everything is heated through and the beans on the top begin to brown. Serve at once, or set aside in reheat before serving.


You do need to be a little bit careful when you making this because you do not want to overcook the lamb that is already cooked in the first place. I found that cooking the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes heated everything through without making the lamb too tough to eat. You got great flavor from all of the vegetables and the beans were a really nice touch to give some added protein to the dish and it really helps to fill you up. This particular casserole was really nice to have on a cold night and the broth that remains underneath the beans has excellent flavor because of the herbs that you use, and from the lamb and the vegetables themselves. Again, this is a nice use for some leftover lamb if you are looking for something different to try or it can be a great dish to serve starting from scratch, but of course you need to follow the original recipe where the lamb would have to be cooked for a longer period of time to make sure that it is cooked all the way through.


That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Beans, Cooking, Dinner, Lamb, Leftovers, One Pot Meals


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Making Use of That Leftover Lamb – Sort of Lamb Shawarma

Okay, now that you have made this delightfully tasty but quite large leg of lamb from yesterday’s recipe, what the heck do you do with any leftovers? Sure you can make shepherd’s pie, which I have done in the past, and it is quite a tasty dish in its own right and makes good use of leftovers, but I wanted to try something different. There really aren’t a ton of uses for leftover lamb and it can get kind of tough and chewy if it is overcooked as it is, so I wanted to find something a little out of the ordinary that would not require a great deal of cook time for the lamb pieces. I received a cookbook, The Make-Ahead Cook, by America’s Test Kitchen, that came to my rescue right away. They had the solution of what to try with leftover lamb that I had never considered before – lamb shawarma. You have likely had or seen lamb shawarma at a Turkish or Mediterranean restaurant at some point in the past as you see this mass of meat rotating on a vertical rotisserie and the meat is gently sliced off from there to produce your dish.This recipe attempts to recreate the taste of that dish with the use of leftovers and a trusty skillet to get you through, and makes a really great yogurt-tahini sauce to go with it.

Lamb Shawarma

For the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

1/4 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Shawarma:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 pound cooked lamb, sliced thin (about 1 3/4 cups)

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

4 (6-inch) pita breads, warmed

2 cups chopped iceberg or romaine lettuce

2 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped

2 shallots, sliced thin

For the yogurt-tahini sauce. combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste, cover the bowl and refrigerate it until you are serving the meal.

For the lamb shawarma, Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the cumin, coriander, and cardamom and cook, stirring constantly, until the spices are fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 1 minute (be careful not to burn the spices!). Add the sliced lamb, breaking up any clumps, and cook until the lamb is just beginning to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Take the skillet off the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the minced parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread 1/4 cup of the yogurt-tahini sauce in the center of each warmed pita, then divide the lamb mixture evenly among the pitas. Top each pita with some of the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, lettuce, tomatoes and shallots. Wrap the pitas around the filling and serve.

This was really tasty and only took a few minutes to put together completely. The lamb gets barely any re-heating at all, just enough to get it hot and crisp, and it tastes great with all of those great Mediterranean spices that you use in the mix. Place it on a warm pita with the yogurt sauce and it was fantastic. I have to admit I was a little worried that Michelle and Sean would not go for it but we all loved it and gobbled it down pretty easily. This will certainly be my go to dish for leftover lamb from now on. I did add some diced cucumber to the toppings of the pita to mix it all in for a bit of coolness and freshness to go along with the dish, and you could serve this simply with a side of rice or a side salad and have a great meal for lunch or dinner.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!




Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Lamb, Leftovers, Lunch, Sandwiches, Sauce


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Celebrate the New Year with Celebration Leg of Lamb

As it got towards the end of 2014 there were a number of great sales on different cuts of meat and roasts at the local markets here as there likely were in many places around the country. People tend to buy more roasts with thoughts of elegant meals around Christmas and New year’s so it was great to find good deals on things I do not buy too often and it gave me the chance to get some stuff together to make some great meals. One of those that I snatched up was a leg of lamb that was on sale. Lamb can be pretty pricey unless you can get a good deal on it and leg of lamb is big, so unless you are planning a lot with the leftovers you need to make sure you have a crowd that likes lamb over for dinner that day. I know everyone is not a big fan of lamb but it is a family favorite around here so we relish when we get the chance to have it and the recipe I tried out this time is a very basic one that I got from Superior Farms, a commercial supplier of lamb in the United States. it makes use of a few simple spices and some soy sauce and produces a really flavorful lamb.

Celebration Leg of Lamb

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 whole bay leaf, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

6 to 9 pounds leg of lamb, bone-in, trimmed

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, olive oil, crushed garlic, pepper, ground ginger, crushed bay leaf, thyme, sage and marjoram until it is all well blended. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large roasting pan, place the leg of lamb on a rack in the roasting pan. With a sharp knife, make frequent slits in the surface of the lamb. Move the knife from side to side to enlarge the pockets. Rub the herb mixture into each slit. Rub any of the remaining mixture all over the leg of lamb.

Roast the lamb in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes per pound or until the meat registers 145 degrees for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer placed in the thickest part of the leg of lamb. For medium, roast the lamb until it reaches 160 degrees or 170 degrees for well done. Remove the roast from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil to allow it to rest for 10 minutes. The internal temperature of the lamb will continue to rise while it is resting about another 10 degrees, so you should figure this into your timing. Use the pan drippings to make a gravy if you like or simply skim the fat off the drippings and serve the sauce as an au jus.

The results of the roast are wonderful and you get the great spice flavor from the herbs mixed in with the lamb and it is just fantastic. For my money, lamb needs to medium-rare so I always try to cook it that way, though I know some people prefer not to see any pink in the meat, but lamb can get pretty tough if it is overcooked and well done, so you want to be really careful in the timing and watch it so that it is cooked just the way you like it. I always tend to make roasted potatoes with lamb and you can have all kinds of great roasted vegetables to go along with it if you like. This is definitely a good weekend, entertaining meal unless you have the time during the week to make this one. Naturally, there were leftovers from a 7 pound leg of lamb so I was able to make a couple of other meals with the lamb and I’ll be sharing those recipes with you over the next couple of days.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day (more freezing rain and snow here in our part of New York today), and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Herbs, Lamb


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Wow the Crowd With Porchetta Pork Roast

Cooking up a pork shoulder roast slowly in the oven produces a really tender and flavorful roast unlike any other, especially if you choose some type of rub or herbs that really help to boost the flavor of the roast itself. I have always been intrigued by porchetta roasts, but I hardly have the time or room to make a real traditional porchetta where you make use of the entire pig and de-bone it, stuff it, roll it and slow roast it. This particular recipe from Melissa Clark at New York Times Cooking lets you get the great tastes and flavors of the traditional Italian dish without having to use anything more than a pork shoulder roast and some great spices. Just the picture alone at NYT Cooking made me want to make this and getting a pork shoulder on sale just made it even more urgent for me.

Porchetta Pork Roast

1 (7- to 8- pound) bone-in, skin on pork shoulder roast, or a 6- to 7- pound boneless roast, fat trimmed to 1/4-inch thickness

1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds

1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

5 garlic cloves, grated or mashed to a paste

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon fennel seed

3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Score the skin and fat all over the pork roast, taking care not to cut down to the meat. In a food processor or using a mortar and pestle, combine the fennel fronds, rosemary, sage, garlic, lemon zest, kosher salt, fennel seed, red pepper flakes and the black pepper. Pour in the olive oil. Pulse or mash the mixture until it forms a paste. Rub the paste all over the pork. If you are using a boneless roast, tie the roast with kitchen twine at 2-inch intervals. Transfer the pork roast to a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the roast for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.

Remove the pork from the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before you want to cook it. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet and roast it for 35 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and cook the roast for an additional 2 hours 45 minutes to 4 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 180 degrees, which will give you sliceable, tender meat. Bone-in roasts will take longer to cook than boneless, thus the varying time range.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and allow the roast to rest for 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Make sure everyone gets some of the cracklings of the roast.

This roast is really easy to make and if you are leery of trying to score the skin yourself, you can always ask the butcher to do it for you, but it can be done pretty simply with a good knife. The recipe produces a super tender pork roast and the cracklings you get from the fat and the skin are out of this world. You get a lot of meat from this recipe, so it is good to make for a crowd and the rub that you use gives great flavor to the roast with the fennel and the sage. Leftovers are perfect for sandwiches the next day and you can even throw the meat in some of your favorite store-bough or homemade barbecue sauce to make a pulled pork like sandwich for yourself or use the meat on some nachos. I’ll definitely be making this one again since it was so easy to do.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork


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A Quicker and Healthier Snack Alternative – Banana-Oat Snack Cake

Trying to find snacks to eat to appeal to kids and that provide something of a healthier alternative is not always an easy thing to do. Kids get turned off just by the name of something if it sounds healthier a lot the time and aren’t always willing to even give it a chance of tasting good, so it can be a challenge to find something that is better than the usual snack cakes, candy, chips, brownies, ice cream and the like. I saw this recipe recently in Bon Appetit for a banana-oat snack cake that provides a good alternative to a typical snack using some healthier choices like oats and bananas. This recipe only uses a few ingredients and can be done in under an hour to give you something quick and easy to offer as a dessert or snack after school.

Banana-Oat Snack Cake

6 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, melted, plus more for the baking dish

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 bananas, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with butter and line the baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk the oats, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and set it aside. Whisk the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in another large bowl until the mixture is smooth.

Slowly stream the butter into the brown sugar mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture is well blended. Add the bananas to the dry ingredients and toss the bananas to coat them well. Stir the banana mixture into the brown sugar mixture. The resulting batter will be quite thick. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the cake is golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the dish, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool completely in the dish. Cut the cake into 12 servings and serve.

The resulting cake has great flavor from that oats and bananas with a nice hint of cinnamon throughout the cake. I think it is a great snack cake and it stayed quite moist for the few days we had it around the house, making it the perfect after school snack. it also goes really well with your coffee in the morning if you are looking for something a little different for your breakfast and it certainly is a great dish that you could add to any breakfast buffet or lunch or something you can throw together easily if you have some last-minute guests drop by and want something tasty to serve over coffee.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day (we have a snow day here in our area of New York today) and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in Breakfast, Brunch, Cakes, Cooking, Dessert, Fruit, Snacks


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Trying a Family Favorite Again – Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches

If it were up to me, I could pretty much eat sandwiches all of the time and probably every day. They’re great for breakfast, lunch or dinner and very often we will have different variations of sandwiches for dinner during the week to make things a little bit easier to fit into our crazy schedules. Chicken sandwiches are always a personal favorite and there are a lot of different things you can do with them. Sean really liked the fried chicken sandwiches I have made in the past and I have done them on biscuits before, but when I came across this particular recipe at, it seemed like a really easy one to do and it made use of the boneless chicken thighs that I already had on hand. The recipe makes both the biscuits and the chicken and both are really simple to do so that you can have in easy meal just about any night of the week.


Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches

For the biscuits:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), cut into 12 pieces

1 cup cold buttermilk

For the fried chicken:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup buttermilk

Vegetable oil or canola oil

To serve:

Sliced dill pickles

Hot sauce

Honey (optional)

For the biscuits, preheat the oven to 425° and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine the mixture. Scatter the butter pieces over the top of the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is pea-sized. Add the buttermilk and pulse the mixture just until a moist, shaggy dough comes together.


Alternatively, in a mixing bowl, the whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Scatter the butter pieces over the top of the flour mixture and toss to coat them in the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, and working quickly, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is pea-sized. Drizzle in the buttermilk and stir the mixture just until he moist, shaggy dough comes together.


Dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. With floured hands, pat the dough into a circle 1-inch thick. Using a 3 1/2-inch round (or fluted) cutter dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as possible. Press straight down through the dough — do not twist the cutter, or the biscuits will not rise properly.


Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1-inch apart. Gather the scraps into a ball, pat it into a 1-inch-thick circle, and cut out more biscuits. Repeat as needed until you have 6 biscuits in total. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set the biscuits aside to cool on a wire rack.


For the fried chicken, arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle it all over with salt; set the chicken aside at room temperature. In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), and thyme. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken and toss the chicken to coat it well. Add the vegetable or canola oil to a large, straight-sided cast-iron skillet or frying pan. The oil should be 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep, reaching slightly less than halfway up the sides of the pan. Warm the oil over medium heat until it reaches 340° on a candy thermometer. When the oil is ready, lift a piece of chicken from the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off, then dip the chicken into the flour mixture, coating it completely. Shake off any of the excess flour. Fry the chicken until it is cooked through and golden brown, turning the pieces halfway through the cooking process, about 6 to 8 minutes in total. The interior of the chicken should register 155° on an instant-read thermometer when you remove the chicken from the oil; the temperature will rise to 165° as the chicken rests. Drain the chicken on a paper towel-lined plate.


To serve, split the biscuits and place a piece of the fried chicken on the bottom half of each biscuit. Add dill pickles, hot sauce, and the optional honey, or any other condiments you may like, cover the chicken with the biscuit top, and serve.


There is nothing quite like having a piece of fried chicken, and having it on a flaky, moist buttermilk biscuit just seems to make it even better. I always add pickles to my chicken biscuits and they go really well with coleslaw either on the side or right on the biscuit itself with the chicken. Adding a little hot sauce to the mix also can kick it up just a bit if you like that kind of flavor, though the honey is also a nice touch and Sean did add some honey to the top of his piece of chicken and he said it went really well with the biscuit. You can serve these pretty simply with coleslaw or potato salad or any other type of salad you might like, or even some homemade or store-bought French fries if you prefer. Overall I think it is a great sandwich you could even do for a buffet or a party if you are all getting together to watch the game or hang out.


That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day, try to stay warm (it is about 4° here in New York without the wind, and with the wind it is about 15 below), and enjoy your meal!



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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Biscuits, Breads, Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Sandwiches


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Warm Up on a Cold Day with Potato Leek Soup

It seems that it is pretty frigid just about everywhere across the United States today, and I know that it is below zero here with the wind chill this morning with predictions that it will get even colder here tonight and tomorrow. I hate the cold weather a great deal as it is so I do my best to stay inside, stay warm and make the best of it. Days like today are ideal for breaking out the soup recipes and I plan to make a few different soups over the next week or so, but here is a recipe for a family favorite that I actually made around the holidays for a potato leek soup. We love potato leek soup in my house and it goes pretty quickly around here so I try to make a lot of it so we can have it available for lunches as well. While this is a soup you can serve hot or cold, I always prefer it warm. I tried this simple recipe from Alton Brown this time out and it is pretty similar to ones I have tried in the past, though it has a slight change with a larger ratio of leeks to potatoes.

Potato Leek Soup

1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, about 4 to 5 medium

3 tablespoons butter

Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning

14 ounces (about 3 or 4 small) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small

1 quart chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon snipped chives

After thoroughly cleaning the leeks, chop the leeks into small pieces. In a 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of the kosher salt and sweat the leeks for about 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, about 25 minutes, stirring the leeks occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable or chicken broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until the soup is smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk and white pepper. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately or chill and serve cold.

I love the creamy, silky texture of this soup and all of the great flavor you get from the potatoes and leeks, and this version has the leeks really shining through for some excellent flavor. You can make this vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken if you like and the combination of buttermilk and heavy cream is nice for this dish, though you could just use heavy cream if you prefer it that way. This soup makes an excellent first course for any meal or it can be a great meal on its own, which is how we often have it. Serve it with some homemade bread, rolls, or biscuits or even with sandwiches and you have a great dinner that is easy to make.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



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