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It’s Strawberry Season! Make This Strawberry-Blueberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

I love the selection of fresh summer fruits and vegetables. It is a great time to go to the farmer’s market or local grocery store to pick up some things like peaches, plums, corn watermelon, and of course, berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, among others, all thrive this time of year and you can make great use of all of them in fruit salads, smoothies, parfaits and all kinds of other snacks and desserts. I had some strawberries and blueberries on hand this past weekend, along with some rhubarb, and decided to try out this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler, though I added in the blueberries for a little added flavor. This one is super easy to make and can be done in less than hour to give you a great dessert.

Strawberry-Blueberry-Rhubarb Cobbler

For the Filling:

1 quart fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled

1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed

10 ounces rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/3 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the strawberries, blueberries and rhubarb together with the sugar, vanilla extract and cornstarch until blended and place the filling in a deep-dish pie plate. Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the filling until the fruit releases its liquid and is hot and bubbling around the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornmeal, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set this bowl aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla together and set it aside. In a third small bowl, mix the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar with the ground cinnamon and set it aside.

When the filling is ready, stir in the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until the two are just combined and no pockets of flour remain. Remove the cobbler filling from the oven and give it a stir. Pinch off pieces of the dough and sprinkle them on top of the hot filling to cover the filling to your liking. Sprinkle the tops of the filling with the cinnamon sugar.

Place the cobbler with the topping back in the oven and continue to cook the cobbler until the topping is golden brown and cooked through and the filling is once again hot and bubbling, about another 15 to 20 minutes. Cool the cobbler on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

You can top this off with some homemade whipped cream to really make it special. America’s test Kitchen actually clumps the topping together to form a biscuit-like topping, but I thought it would be better with just spreading the topping around like I did. To me it is just an aesthetic thing unless you like the whole biscuits on top. In either case, do how you like it. The cobbler tastes great as the fruit releases all its juices and you get the flavors of the strawberries, blueberries and rhubarb. i think this would work well with just about any type of fruit, such as peaches, plums, apples, pears and the like as well, so you can experiment with it and try different things.

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 July 7, 2014 in Cooking, Dessert, Fruit, Pie

 

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A Basic Barbecue Side Dish – America’s Test Kitchen Boston Baked Beans

There are a lot of great side dishes you can make when you are cooking for outdoor meals, barbecues, pool parties, summer graduations, buffet meals, picnics and general outdoor get-togethers. There are always options for potato salad, coleslaw, fruit salads, green salads and more, but one of my personal favorites is baked beans. Baked beans can pretty much go with any type of meal, and seem to go really well with all kinds of barbecue, whether it is ribs, chicken, burgers and hot dogs or just about anything else. I have tried a variety of baked bean recipes and posted a few of them right here on this blog, but one that I always seem to go back to is this one from America’s Test Kitchen for Boston baked beans. It’s simple and delicious and gives you that deep flavor you want.

Boston Baked Beans

4 ounces salt pork, trimmed of the rind and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 ounces bacon (2 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon molasses
1 1/2 tablespoons brown mustard
1 pound dried small white beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over
Table salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Ground black pepper

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 300 degrees. Add the salt pork and the bacon to an 8-quart Dutch oven; cook the pork and the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup of molasses, the brown mustard, the beans, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, and 9 cups of water; increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and set the pot in the oven. Bake until the beans are tender, about 4 hours, stirring once after about 2 hours of cooking time. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake the beans until the liquid has thickened to a syrupy consistency, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer. Remove the beans from oven; stir in the remaining tablespoon of molasses, the apple cider vinegar, and the additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

You really want to use dried beans for this recipe. Canned beans cooking this long will just get very mushy on you and lose all of their texture and consistency (besides, dried beans are pretty cheap, usually about 75 cents for a 1-pound bag). This recipe makes a lot of beans, as most beans recipes seem to do, so it is great if you are cooking them for a crowd at a barbecue. if you want to just make them for a smaller, home crowd or family, you can do what I did this time and cut the recipe in half. you’ll get a good portion of beans for your meal and still have leftovers to use for other days. You get great flavor from the bacon and salt pork with just a hint of the brown mustard and the molasses and vinegar both really help to build the overall flavor of the dish. This one is a family favorite for us and we make it a lot, especially in the summer or to bring over to a party.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and remember to take the time to thank a veteran today and remember those who have given so much to help the world through their sacrifice and commitment. Enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Beans, Cooking, Grilling, Rice, Side Dishes

 

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Keeping Up with the Classics – America’s Test Kitchen Classic Pot Roast

Making a pot roast dinner is always a family favorite for us. I can remember the days of having a pot roast when I was a child and just the smell of it cooking was enough to make you feel good and you could not wait for dinnertime. Pot roast takes a long time, but with this recipe most of the work is done before the cooking and then you have four hours or so to do other things, relax and wait for the wonderful meal to come. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is a really simple one and is a little bit different from the pot roast recipe I have posted in the past. With this recipe you let the meat cook for several hours without having to turn it every 30 minutes like I have in the past.

Classic Pot Roast

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled into two pieces at natural seam and trimmed of large knobs of fat
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
1 celery rib, chopped medium (about 3/4 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup beef broth, plus 1 to 2 cups for sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine, plus 1/4 cup for sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig plus 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Sprinkle the pieces of meat with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt (1½ teaspoons if using table salt), place the meat on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and let the meat stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the carrot and celery; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer. Add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1 cup of beef broth, ½ cup of red wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme sprig; bring the mixture to simmer.
 Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season it generously with pepper. Using 3 pieces of kitchen twine, tie each piece of meat into a loaf shape for even cooking.
 Nestle the meat on top of the vegetables. Cover the pot tightly with a large piece of aluminum foil and cover the pot with a lid; transfer the pot to the oven. Cook the beef until it is fully tender and a sharp knife easily slips in and out of the meat, about 3½ to 4 hours, turning the meat halfway through the cooking process.
Transfer the roasts to a cutting board and tent the meat loosely with foil. Strain the liquid through a mesh strainer into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Discard the bay leaf and the thyme sprig. Transfer the vegetables to a blender jar. Allow the liquid to settle for 5 minutes, then skim any fat off the surface. Add more beef broth as necessary to bring the liquid amount to 3 cups. Place the liquid in the blender with the vegetables and blend everything until it is smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
 While the sauce heats, remove the twine from the roast and slice it against the grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Transfer the meat to a large serving platter. Stir the chopped thyme, the remaining ¼ cup of red wine, and the balsamic vinegar into the sauce and season it to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon half of the sauce over the meat; pass the remaining sauce separately.
This meal is wonderful and the sauce just tops everything off. Splitting the roast into 2 smaller roasts makes a big difference in the cooking time and really helps to soften and break down the meat, making it just melt and fall apart when you go to slice it. This recipe also only puts half of the broth in up front so instead of the meat braising in all of the liquid through the cooking time, it sits above a lot of the liquid, letting the roasts brown while cooking so you can skip searing the meat beforehand. The sauce tastes wonderful as well and makes great gravy for the meat, the vegetables and of course the mashed potatoes that you need to serve with any pot roast. I’ll certainly be using this recipe again when I make pot roast.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all that have been following along and visited the blog last week to help make it the busiest week I have ever had on the blog. Thanks for all of your interest in the recipes and I plan to keep on sharing all kinds of good things. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Sauce

 

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Time for Some Pork – Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Orange Glaze with Black Bean and Corn Relish

I love to make pork tenderloin because they can be made pretty quickly and easily during a weeknight and it feels like you are eating an elegant meal. I try to buy them when they are on sale, take one tenderloin out(they are almost always two to a package) and freeze the other for another night. When I went to make this one recently, I found two recipes I actually liked so I ended up combining their ideas into one singular recipe. I took a recipe idea from America’s Test Kitchen along with one from Every Day Health and came up with this roast pork tenderloin with an apricot-orange glaze and black bean and corn relish.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Orange Glaze with Black Bean and Corn Relish

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup apricot preserves

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup dried apricots, quartered

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups frozen corn kernels

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 small red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pat the pork tenderloin dry with paper towels, then season it with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until it is just smoking. Brown the tenderloin on all sides, reducing the heat if the fat begins to smoke, about 10 minutes. Transfer the tenderloin to a plate and set it aside.

Combine the apricot preserves, orange juice, dried apricots and lemon juice in a bowl. Pour off all the fat from the skillet that held the tenderloin. Add the apricot mixture to the pan. scrape up any browned bits and simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Return the tenderloin to the skillet and coat it well with the glaze on all sides.. Roast the tenderloin in the oven until the center of the pork registers 135 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 15 to 18 minutes, turning the tenderloin halfway through the cooking time.

While the tenderloin is roasting, in a small saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Add the red onion and the pepper and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.Add the black beans, frozen corn, garlic and drained tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Heat just until the corn is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Toss in the  chopped parsley and mix and the refrigerate the relish for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent the tenderloin with aluminum foil and let it rest until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees before slicing, about 10 minutes. Slice the tenderloin and place it on a serving platter and then drizzle it with any remaining glaze that may be in the skillet. Serve the tenderloin with the black bean relish.

This is a very easy dinner that you can make in under an hour and it tastes great and looks like you put a lot of work into it. The glaze on the pork is super with the apricots and orange juice. I even added an apple to the glaze and baked it over the pork for some extra flavor. We all loved the black bean relish as well. It had incredible flavor and would be perfect as a side for a summer barbecue with ribs, hamburgers or even just as a great side for some Mexican food or even sandwiches. We ate the leftovers several times with other meals. You could use fresh corn for this as well and not cook anything in the recipe and simply combine all of the ingredients until they are well mixed if you wanted it that way or even give it a little heat by using hotter peppers in the relish instead of bell peppers. I also made some asparagus and rice to round out the meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. As usual there is always plenty more to come. If you ever have any recipes you might like to share, feel free to drop me a note in the comments section, send me an email at IguanaFlats@msn.com or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Sauce, Side Dishes

 

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Another Soup (Sans Picture) – French Onion Soup

It really bothers me now when I make something and forget to take a picture of it. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as it did when I first started the  blog, but it still happens on occasion. It’s easy when you caught up in cooking and trying to get the meal on the table and you’re talking about homework, what happened at school, work or anything else going on and sometimes by the time I remember there is nothing left to take a picture of. Such is the case when I made French onion soup not that long ago. French onion soup is a personal favorite of Michelle’s and there are lots of recipes out there for it, but this one from America’s Test Kitchen is our personal favorite. It takes longer to cook, but it is so worth it to get the deep, rich onion flavor that you get from cooking the onions this way.

French Onion Soup

3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces
6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
Table salt
2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups chicken broth 
2 cups beef broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
1 bay leaf
Ground black pepper
1 small baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray the inside of a heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Place the butter in the pot and add the onions and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, covered, for 1 hour (the onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove the pot from the oven and stir the onions, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring the onions and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot after 1 hour.
 Carefully remove the pot from the oven and place it over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle the pot, cook the onions, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom and the sides of pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, about 15 to 20 minutes, reducing the heat to medium if the onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pot bottom is coated with dark crust, about 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary. Scrape any fond that collects on the spoon back into the onions. Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping the pot bottom to loosen the crust, and cook until the water evaporates and the pot bottom has formed another dark crust, about 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat the process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until the onions are very dark brown. Stir in the sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
Stir in  the chicken and beef broths, 2 cups of water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on the bottom and sides of the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the herbs, then season with salt and pepper.
 While the soup simmers, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden at the edges, about 10 minutes. Set the bread aside.
To serve, adjust an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on a baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups of soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with the Gruyère cheese. Broil the soup until the cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes. Let the soup cool  for 5 minutes before serving.
Admittedly, making the onions this way is a much longer process than some other recipes but I think the flavor you get out of them is worth it. I have had French onion soup before where you can tell the onions were not cooked long enough and taste bitter. That won’t happen with this recipe. You want to make sure that the crocks you use are safe for the broiler to avoid any broken glass in the oven. You could also do all of this in advance if you want to use the soup for a dinner party. The soup will actually have better flavor if it sits for a day or two. You then just need to put it in the crocks under the broiler with the bread and cheese to finish it off. I used homemade broth in mine because I had some around, but if you want to use store-bought it will work just as well here. The flavor for this one is coming mostly from the onions.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe, and I promise to have a picture of it for sure. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 

 

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Stick to Your Ribs Beef and Barley Soup

This may be my absolute favorite soup. Beef and barley soup offers up everything I like about a soup. Rich, hearty stock, flavor meat and vegetables and the barley just seems to pull it all together to make a fantastic meal overall. We made a batch of this soup a week or so ago and froze leftovers just so we could have it again another time. I actually made my own beef stock to make this one using the prime rib bones I had from the holidays so the stock had even better flavor and I didn’t need to follow the stock recipe that is included in this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. If you don’t have your own beef stock, try making this one because it will help add a good depth of flavor to the stock beyond what you get from any store-bought stock.

Beef and Barley Soup

For the Stock:

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

1 large onion, chopped

1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup dry red wine

8 cups water

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

1 large celery rib, chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons salt

2 bay leaves

For the Soup:

1 pound sirloin steak tips, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dry red wine

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1/2 cup pearl barley

3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

To prepare the stock, heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the mushrooms and the chopped onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is browned and a golden brown fond has formed on the bottom of the pot, about 8 to 12 minutes. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the red wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until it is nearly evaporated, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the 8 cups of water, the chopped carrot, celery, soy sauce, salt and bay leaves and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, skimming as needed, until the stock tastes rich and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. Allow the stock to settle for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the fat from the stock by skimming with a wide, shallow spoon or using a fat separator. Set the stock aside.

To prepare the soup, pat the sirloin steak tips dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is well browned, about 5 to 7 minutes, reducing the heat if the pot is beginning to scorch. transfer the browned meat to a medium bowl and repeat the process with 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and the remaining beef. transfer the second batch of browned meat to the bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the now-empty Dutch oven and heat over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the cremini mushrooms and the chopped onion and cook until they are softened, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic clove and the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the all-purpose flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the red wine, scraping up any browned bits and cook until the wine is nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.

Stir in the reserved beef stock, the drained diced tomatoes, carrots, celery, pearl barley, bay leaves and the meat along with any accumulated meat juices in the bowl. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the meat, barley and vegetables are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Off the heat, remove the bay leaves. Stir in the fresh minced parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

A couple of quick notes about the recipe. If you don’t want to cook with the red wine, leave it out or substitute water or extra beef stock. You might lose a bit of flavor but not that much. I used plain white mushrooms instead of cremini because I can’t always get cremini around here. even if you don’t really like mushrooms, they really do add some great flavor to this soup so you should try to keep them in. Michelle doesn’t like to eat mushrooms, but we still use them for the flavor and she eats around them. You also want to make sure you cut everything to uniform sizes so it all cooks evenly. One thing to know about any leftovers or if you are cooking this ahead of time – barley will keep absorbing liquid as it sits, so be prepared for that. It’s best to eat this the same day you make it or know you will have to add stock when you re-heat and the barley will be a bit bloated. Other than that, this is a great filling soup that everyone seems to enjoy and it is one of my favorites every time.

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 15, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Soups & Stews

 

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A Great Game Day (or Any Day) Snack – Homemade Pizza Rolls

Okay, Sean has been asking me to make these for almost a year now and I was finally able to get around to making them not that long ago. I had gotten the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen a long time ago and have wanted to give it a try but it does take a little bit of work. Lots of people love to snack on pizza rolls at a party or while watching a football game. They make a great easy snack that you can pop in the oven quickly, but why not try to make some at home without all the added preservatives and ingredients that are in the ones you buy at the store? This recipe covers all of that. I did change one thing along the way. I opted not to fry these and simply baked them in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes and I think they turned out just fine. I have included the frying instructions with the recipe, so the choice is yours as to how you want to make them.

Homemade Crispy Pizza Rolls

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons tomato paste

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground fennel

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained well, chopped fine, juice reserved

2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese

3 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Salt and pepper

2 (12-ounce) packages wonton wraps

3 quarts vegetable oil for frying

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a fine sieve to dust evenly with about half of the cornstarch. Set a wire rack inside a second baking sheet. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until it is shimmering. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste is a deep rust color, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, fennel and red pepper flakes and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomatoes and the reserved juice, bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 1 cup, about 9 to 11 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and refrigerate until it is cold, about 30 minutes. The mixture can be made, refrigerated until cold and covered for up to 2 days at this point.

Stir the cheese and basil into the tomato mixture to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Working with 4 to 6 wonton wrappers at a time, place 1 level teaspoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and press down to flatten. Lightly brush all sides of one wonton wrapper with water to moisten the edges. Fold the bottom half of the wrapper over the filling, then fold the wrapper again and roll it so the seam is down. Press the wonton around the filling to squeeze out the air, then press the edges firmly to seal the wonton.

Transfer the wonton seam side down to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with more wonton wrappers and filling until all of the filling is used. Continue to fill the baking sheet and place another piece of parchment paper dusted with cornstarch over those already done to create a second layer. Freeze the pizza rolls until they are firm, about 30 to 60 minutes. The pizza rolls can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month at this point.

Add the vegetable oil to a large Dutch oven until it measures 2 inches and heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 375 degrees on a candy thermometer. Transfer 14 to 16 pizza rolls to the oil and cook, stirring and flipping occasionally, until they are golden brown, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the oil temperature between 350 and 375 degrees, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pizza rolls to a wire rack. Return the oil to 375 degrees and repeat with the remaining pizza rolls. Alternatively, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the pizza rolls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake until they are golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let the pizza rolls cool for 5 minutes and serve with warm marinara sauce, if desired.

If you have had pizza rolls before, you know they are lava hot right out of the oven so make sure you resist the temptation and let them cool for a few minutes before eating. These did have a little bit of a bite to them because of the red pepper flakes, so you may want to cut back or eliminate them if you don’t want the heat. You could also mix things up and add things like some sautéed diced onions, peppers, bits of cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni or just about anything else. They were pretty tasty and I think they came out fine with baking instead of frying. You can avoid using all that oil and get good results this way.

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

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Posted by on January 7, 2014 in Appetizers, Cooking, Pizza, Snacks

 

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