Friday, November 15, 2013

Bloody Mary Soup

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest that was originally published in All You Magazine.  It was super tasty, super easy and is pretty low in calories to boot. 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 large onion, diced 
3 ribs celery, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
2 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes in juice 
Salt and pepper to taste 
2 teaspoons grated horseradish (I used Seminole Prepared Horseradish since it's as close to pure as you can buy)

1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled 
2 teaspoons grated horseradish 
3 tablespoons chopped chives, optional
Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute, then add Worcestershire sauce and sauté 1 minute longer.

Open tomato cans and cut tomatoes (still in cans) with kitchen shears into large chunks. Add tomatoes and juice to pot, along with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in horseradish. Let soup cool 10 minutes, then puree in blender in batches and pour through a strainer into a large pan (I used my immersion blender instead and only waited about two minutes for to cool.  I also did not strain).

Topping: Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream with horseradish until it forms stiff peaks.

Serve soup topped with a dollop of the horseradish cream.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Comeback Sauce

So for years I have been struggling with how to make black-eyed peas for Mr. ITMan on New Year's Day.   He always insists that we have them, yet no matter what I have done in the past he essentially has a tablespoonful and then is done for the year and I end up throwing the rest away because frankly I don't really like them. 

This year I decided I had to make a radical change so I started searching for black-eyed pea cakes and fritters because we all know that frying foods always makes them extra tasty.   What we ended up with is a combo of several recipes adjusted to fit our tastes as well as our desire to not have something that has a million calories in it.   I made six cakes and on New Year's Day Mr. ITMan ate 2.   He ate another one the next night and I am pretty sure if I did not eat any he would have eaten them all.   So this one is going in our regular rotation. 

1  can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (I used Center Cut)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon steak seasoning (or any mix of salt/pepper/garlic/etc. you like)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used Italian Seasoned because that is what we had)

Comeback sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
splash of canola oil
black pepper
Worcestershire sauce
any other spices you like

Warming the black-eyed peas either on the stovetop or if you are lazy like me, pop them in the microwave for two minutes.   This will help you mash them up more easily.

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until transparent.  Add the garlic and cook until it softens.   Combine the black-eyed peas, bacon, onion, garlic, and spices until well blended (I used the potato masher).
Add the heavy cream.    Toss the bowl in the fridge and let it chill for about an hour.

After the mixture has cooled stir in the breadcrumbs.    Form into small patties (I used my cookie scoop so they all were the same size). 

Heat some canola oil over medium heat.   Fry for 2 minutes on each side until browned.  

To make the comeback sauce - mix the ingredients to suit your tastes and chill until needed.

To serve, top the cakes with comeback sauce and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Buttery Biscuits for the non-roller

So if you know me you know that I do not roll dough.   Apparently I have a block when it comes to using the rolling pin.  Heck, for our Christmas brunch I was rolling out store bought dough and that even failed!   So when I found this recipe for non-rolled biscuits on Pinterest I had no doubt it was a recipe for me.  The original recipe came from The Country Cook.   Lots of positive reviews, so I went in with little fear.   However, I also went in on New Year's Day, so reading was not my strongest skill of the morning.   So in the end I used the wrong amount of butter, did not cut before baking and did not rotate while cooking.   However, I think the amount of butter was perfect and I am not sure what the rotation achieves, so the only downside was the lack of pre-cutting.   Overall I was a fan of the recipe and Mr. ITMan thought it was ok as well.   Next time I will try it with less sugar and I will use a larger pan so the biscuits are not so big.
Fresh out of the oven

1/2 stick unsalted butter 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 3/4 cup buttermilk 
*I make my own usually using 1 T white vinegar mixed with enough milk to fill to 1 cup

Spray pan with baking spray (at least an 8x8).   Melt butter and pour into the pan.  In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.   Add the buttermilk and mix until you have a nice sticky dough (start with less buttermilk at first to make sure you have the right consistency...I used 1.5 cups this batch).   Pour dough into the melted butter.  Cut into at least 9 squares.   Bake at 450 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.

I used mine to make a little Georgia Benedict (biscuit, cheese scrambled eggs, bacon and gravy). Yum!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole - the lighter version

Classic, simple and to the point.   Also topped with marshmallows to keep Mr. ITMan happy.   Sorry I failed to get a picture. 

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 
3/4 cup packed brown sugar 
6 tablespoons butter, softened  
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 cups miniature marshmallows (or as needed - I only used 1 cup and only put it on half)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place the sweet potatoes in a big pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain; cool slightly.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla). Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher.  Scrape potato mixture into an even layer in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Top with marshmallows. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden.

Friday, December 28, 2012

French Toast Casserole

Mr. ITMan is a huge fan of french toast when we go out for breakfast.  However, he often complains that it's not right when I make it at home (possibly because I usually have to use wheat bread since that is what we have).  So for Christmas this year I decided to try an overnight casserole version after pinning a crock pot one to try.  I was afraid the crock pot version would that is why I crossed that recipe with another one I found online so I could try to match our tastes.   In the end it was both super easy and totally tasty!  I will definitely make it again, but I would add less sugar even though it was already cut from the original recipes.

1 stick butter
1/2 loaf of Challah bread (I got mine from the Publix bakery and had them slice it)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1  teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup skim milk

1/2 cup half and half

Melt the butter into the baking dish (I used an oval Pyrex).  Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.   Place a layer of bread into the dish.   Sprinkle with half the sugar mixture.   Top with another layer of bread.   Mix the vanilla, eggs, milk and half & half.   Pour over the bread mixture making sure everything is covered.   Sprinkle with the remainder of the sugar.    Cover and refridgerate overnight.    In the morning, take the casserole out so it can come to room temperature.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.   Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes until the top is browned.

I served ours with cheesy scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage from the local butcher.  Yum!

French Toast Casserole

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Breakfast Cupcakes

I love these!  Perfect when you are on the go - all of the tastiness of a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit sandwich without the mess of eating it on the run.   I am going to play with it though because I do think it needs more egg in each muffin.  Next time I will try the golden layers biscuits - I think their flakiness actually will work well.

1 can biscuits (I used Pillsbury Simply Buttermilk)
3 eggs
3 TB milk
5 slices center cut bacon - cooked and chopped (use whatever bacon you have - and the more the better in my mind, 6 slices would have been perfect).
1.5 oz. cheddar, shredded

Grease 10 cups of a muffin tin (assuming your can has 10 biscuits in it).  Scramble eggs with the milk.   Roll each biscuit out to a 6" circle and press into the muffin tin, making sure to cover the sides.   Evenly divide the cheese and then the egg mixture.  Top with chopped bacon.   Bake at 400 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes until biscuits are golden and eggs are set.   Yum!

I never claimed to be a food photographer.   I am more interested in eating.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Bacon

So, it's been so long since I have cooked a real meal I was starting to think I had forgotten how to make anything other than bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and pancakes.   But tonight I actually made an entire meal - so instead of going out to the Steakhouse and spending $100, we had a better meal at home for around $25 - pan seared files, cheesy potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and garlic breadsticks.  There also was a side of canned early peas, but those were only for Mr. ITMan because he is weird and loves them.

This recipe came from Cooking Light.  It was pretty good, but I think a little butter would add an extra layer that the potatoes need.   The recipe calls for the bacon to be a topping, but I actually mixed it in and I think that totally worked.   I also halved the recipe since we did not need 6 servings for the two of us.
  • 2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or baking potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk 
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese 
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 applewood-smoked bacon slices, cooked and finely chopped  
Place potato in a large saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well; return potato to pan over medium-low heat. Add milk; mash potato mixture with a potato masher to desired consistency. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheese, and stir until cheese melts. Stir in sour cream, pepper, and salt. Top with green onions and bacon.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Asian Pork with Mushrooms

This comes courtesy of Skinnytaste.  If you have never been to Gina's site, you definitely need to check it out - everything I have tried has been great so far.    I did modify a little bit - mostly because I was lacking a few of the ingredients and I did not want to go out and buy them since I knew I would not use them that often - the original uses Chinese Five Spice and Hot Sesame Oil.    It also did a topping of cilantro and scallions, but since I hate cilantro and Mr. ITMan can't have scallions, I left the topping off.   Served it over brown rice for a tasty, healthy meal.
  • 2 lb lean boneless pork sirloin roast (aka pork center rib roast, pork center loin roast)
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Non-stick oil spray (I used Pam)
  • 1 cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth (I used homemade and I think it added to the flavor)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
Season pork with salt and pepper.   Heat a pan over medium-high heat and sear for about 2 minutes on each side to enhance the flavor.    Add pork to the crock pot.   Mix the chicken broth, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar , agave, olive oil, allspice, garlic and ginger.   Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.   Remove pork and shred.   Add mushrooms to the broth and cook on low for 30 minutes.   Add pork back and mix well to serve.

One note - to save time since I got home late, I just sauteed the mushrooms on the stove.  I shredded the pork in the crock pot and then added the cooked mushrooms.   Super tasty and easy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year - time for black eyed peas and collard greens!

It's always a struggle for me to figure out how we can have tasty black eyed peas for New Years.   I don't do ham - so the thought of cooking low and slow with a ham hock definitely does not appeal.   So this year I turned to a trusted source and went with a dip instead of a side dish courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.   Check out the recipe for Zannie's black-eyed pea dip.    It was awesome!   I do think in the future I will make a few minor changes.   I will saute the onions before adding them as we found the onion flavor a little overwhelming.  I also think I would skip the jalapenos and instead just add a spicier salsa (and do a little more salsa for kick).  Mr. ITMan was a fan, but unfortunately we could not convince Cranky Craig to try it.

I also brought back the Collards from last year - but this time I added a little balsamic vinegar at the end per my southern friends.   I think next time I will try red wine vinegar for more of a kick though..

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Frito Chili Pie

This is a modified version of the one found in Cooking Light from October.   I thought it sounded tasty...but when I made it I thought it was lacking slightly.   So this is the jazzed up version.   I made the chili the night before and let it rest overnight which really helps the flavors blend.

1lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. red pepper
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1.25 c. beef broth
14 oz. diced tomatoes and green chilis
1 can Ranch Style Beans
1 diced jalapeno
4 oz. Fritos

Toppings:  shredded cheddar, sour green, green onions if desired

heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Brown the ground beef.   Remove from pan and drain grease.    Add onions to pan and saute for 4 minutes.   Add garlic and cook 1 minute.   Add beef back to the pan along with cumin, red pepper, salt and chili powder.   Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute.   Add broth, tomatoes and beans.   Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and then simmer 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and add jalapeno.    Serve over Fritos and top with cheese and sour cream.
Sorry for the bad picture - this was Mr. ITMan's second bowl