Friday, February 12, 2016

Veggie Lasagna Rolls

Veggie Lasagna Rolls
Veggie Lasagna Rolls

Oh my goodness, it's COLD out there! I mean, really chilly for us in Eastern PA. Temps look to drop to negative teens in wind chill, so we're battening down the hatches and staying near the stove.

Nothing warms you from the inside out like a hearty baked pasta dish, and this one, even though it's meatless, does the trick just fine. You get a great serving or two of veggies and even the kids won't notice them with all that cheesy goodness surrounding them.

Cottage cheese is a great sub for ricotta - it's full of tiny cheese curds that melt beautifully and add a little more texture. Use jarred Alfredo if you like, but the real-deal Béchamel is divine! 


Veggie Lasagna Rolls
Veggie Lasagna Rolls


Veggie Lasagna Rolls

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: Makes 8 lasagna rolls

Ingredients:

1- 15-oz container ricotta cheese or 16 ounces drained cottage cheese
1 clove garlic - minced
1 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg lightly beaten
2 teaspoons Kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup broccoli florets, cooked until crisp-tender, drained well and chopped fine
1 small carrot, peeled and grated - about 1/2 cup
1/2 large red pepper - diced fine - about 1/2 cup
8 cooked lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar (15 ounces) prepared Alfredo sauce (or 2 cups homemade *Sauce Béchamel )

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Spray a medium baking dish with cooking spray and spread 1 cup of Alfredo sauce on the bottom.
2. Mix ricotta (or cottage cheese), egg, Parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella,  garlic, salt and pepper well. Fold in vegetables.
3. Lay out lasagna noodles and spoon filling evenly onto each-spreading to the ends.
4. Roll up and place in the sauced pan making sure the seam is facing down.
5. Top each roll with the remaining Alfredo sauce and mozzarella.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.
7. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.



*Sauce Béchamel (a.k.a. white sauce):

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups room temperature milk (I use whole milk)
salt and pepper to taste
freshly ground nutmeg - a pinch or so

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan and add flour. Stir together and add milk,  stirring over a medium flame until thickened. 



Saturday, February 06, 2016

King Cake



Mardi Gras wouldn't be the same without a King Cake. Not to be prepared or eaten
before January 6th, also known as Epiphany, Twelfth Night or Three Kings' Day, it's a
rich yeast dough most commonly filled with cream cheese, shaped into an oval ring and
topped with traditional Mardi Gras colors; purple for justice, green for faith and gold
for power. Whomever finds the baby or pecan half baked within is to be the host of the
next King Cake party.

King Cake
Hands-On Time:
Ready In:
Serves: 18 - 20

Ingredients:

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
8 ounces cream cheese - softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar - divided
1 plastic King Cake baby or a half a pecan
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
milk - as needed
Colored sugars in purple, green and gold or yellow

Directions:

1. Combine milk, sugar and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low flame until just
warm - about 110 to 115 degrees F.
2. Mix yeast, 2 cups of the flour, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add warmed milk and
stir well. If using a stand mixer, beat for several minutes with a paddle attachment.
3. Add remaining flour, half a cup at a time, until dough starts to come together. Switch
to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic and begins
to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If kneading by hand, this will take about 10
minutes.
4. Remove bowl from mixer and add oil. Turn once to coat and cover loosely with a tea
towel or plastic wrap. Let rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.
5. Make the filling; Combine cream cheese and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Add vanilla
extract and blend until smooth. Set aside.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with cooking oil.
7. Punch down dough and let stand for 10 minutes. Roll dough into a rectangle about 20
inches long and 8 inches wide.
8. Spread filling over half of the dough and add baby or pecan to dough surrounding
filling. Roll up from long side. Bring ends together and seal well. Set ring on prepared
baking sheet. Let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.
9. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and
cool for 30 minutes.
10. Combine remaining 4 cups powdered sugar with lemon juice and enough milk to make of
spreading consistency. Spread over top of cake and sprinkle with sugars, alternating
colors all the way around the cake.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Super Bowl 50

This is, hands-down, one of my favorite times of year. Whether or not my team (The Pittsburgh Steelers) made it into the Bowl, I love to watch. Along with that watching comes eating and these recipes are tried, tested and heartily approved by my family.

Each recipes ties in to the Super Bowl in some way. The first three are for each team and the venue where Super Bowl 50 will be played this year. Now, this being the 50th Bowl I couldn't only share recipes for this year, I also whipped up a few for the very first Super Bowl, which was played between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs in Los Angeles on January 15, 1967.

So, here are 6 meat-rich recipes for the big day! Choose one, choose them all, whatever you do, don't miss this event!

For every single recipe here my research led me to one universal thing ... every area is fiercely loyal to their team AND their way of making food. That being said, these recipes are close to each regional specialty but won't please everyone. 




Colorado Style Chile Verde
Serves 8

Ingredients:

4 cups shredded pork shoulder (see recipe for Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue)
1 large onion chopped
3 cups Hatch green chiles roasted, peeled, seeded and diced 
8 cups chicken stock
1 can roasted and peeled tomatillos - pureed
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, cook onion in oil until translucent.
2. Add pork, chiles, garlic and tomatillos. Stir well.
3. Add stock and seasonings. Simmer for 45 minutes until slightly thickened.
4. Serve with flour tortillas.






Carolinians are set in their ways when it comes to barbecue. This is based on Eastern style. I like the contrast of creamy slaw to the vinegar based sauce, but, don't forget about Red Slaw - you can find a recipe for that here: Lexington-Style Red Slaw.

Carolina Pulled Pork Barbecue
Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

1 pork shoulder 8-10 pounds
2 Tablespoons Kosher salt 
2 Tablespoons black pepper

For sauce:

2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper, covering all sides. Place pork shoulder in a large roasting pan, fat side up. 
3. Roast for 4 hours, covering with aluminum foil.
4. Uncover and roast for another 30 minutes.
5. While pork is roasting combine sauce ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
6. When pork is cooled, pull into shreds or chop finely.
7. Pour sauce over pork and serve on hearty rolls topped with slaw.


Coleslaw

Ingredients:

1 small head of cabbage - chopped finely
2 large carrots - peeled and shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

1. Combine mayo, vinegar, sugar, celery salt and pepper. Blend well until sugar is dissolved.
2. Pour over cabbage and carrots and blend well. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.










The San Francisco Bay area is well known for Mission Burritos and everyone has a favorite spot to get one. This is a basic recipe you can add to or subtract from as much as you want. Dial portion sizes up or down, just remember, you have to be able to wrap it!

Mission Style Burritos
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 burrito size flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup re-fried beans
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast flavored with your favorite fajita or taco seasoning
1 cup Spanish rice
4 Tablespoons pico de gallo
Sour Cream and Guacamole for serving

Directions:

1. Warm tortillas on a hot pan or in the microwave.
2. Layer 1/2 of ingredients on one tortilla and the other 1/2 on the other tortilla.
3. Top with another sprinkling of cheese if desired. Wrap as shown. Serve with guacamole and sour cream.












There isn't a Packers tailgate that doesn't include beer brats. Preparation differs from person to person, but the basics are brats, beer and onions - a combination you'll love.

Beer Brats

Ingredients:

2  - 12 ounce bottles of  lager (I used local Yuengling
2 large onions - sliced
12 of your favorite brats
12 good sausage rolls 

Directions:

1. Cook onions in a large pot until soft, don't brown. 
2. Add beers and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add brats.
3. Cook brats for 7-8 minutes.
4. Transfer brats to a hot grill and cook for another 4-5 minutes until browning. 
5. Place back in beer and onion mixture until ready to serve. 





Nothing says California like fish tacos! These are lighter and not deep fried like most, but still every bit as delicious.

Fish Tacos with Slaw
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 pound firm fish fillets such as tilapia
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 small flour tortillas
Crema
Lime wedges

Directions:

1. Combine flour and seasonings and blend well.
2. Cut fish into strips and dredge in flour.
3. Cook in a hot skillet prepared with cooking spray until no longer translucent.
4. Serve on warmed tortillas topped with slaw, crema and a lime wedge.

Slaw for Fish Tacos
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups red cabbage slaw mix
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
juice from one lime
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 a fresh jalapeno - seeded and chopped fine

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.





Kansas City Ribs


Kansas City Ribs are smoky and sweet and tangy all at the same time. Don't skip the rub, it's what makes them so delicious!

Kansas City Ribs

Ingredients:

Two 3-pound slabs of pork ribs

Dry Rub

2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

2 cups of your favorite sweet barbecue sauce

Directions:

1. Combine all dry rub ingredients and give your ribs a good massage with it. Cover them and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Grill Method:

If cooking on the grill, place the ribs meat-side down next to medium-hot coals that are about 225 degrees F. They will cook slower, making them more tender. Cook for 1 hour before turning. Turn every half hour after that, basting with sauce as you go. Cook for 3 to 4 hours total until very tender. 

Oven Method:

Heat oven t 350 degrees F. Place ribs in a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush well with barbecue sauce and tent with aluminum foil. Baste every 30 minutes and cook until very tender, about 3 hours total.