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Thread: Easy peasy recipesie

  1. #31
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Super easy way to stuff chicken breasts - no pounding, no mess. I don't know about you, but pounding out chicken breasts grosses me out. That disgusting mallet with raw chicken bits in the crevices....ew...and a rolling pin requires a lot of elbow grease that I'm too lazy to fool with. Here's a better way:

    • Take your chicken breast and slice a deep pocket in the thick end with a sharp paring knife, making sure it goes all the way down the breast.
    • Take a slice of whatever cheese you want to use - Swiss and Provolone are good choices - and lay your filling down the middle of it.
    • Roll the cheese and filling into a tube, then push it all the way into your chicken pocket.
    • Pinch the pocket opening closed; if cheese is sticking out, pull some chicken over to cover it.
    • Smooth and tuck the chicken breast so that it forms a nice roll completely covering the filling.
    • Wrap each breast tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. This glues the chicken together so your cheese doesn't come oozing out during cooking.


    Then you can bake or fry the breasts as you wish, OR you can freeze them for later.

    Suggested fillings:

    Swiss cheese and ham (of course)
    Swiss cheese with chopped mushrooms
    Provolone with feta, black olives, and sundried tomatoes
    Provolone with pesto
    Provolone with a bit of pizza sauce and sliced pepperoni
    Cheddar slice with ham and chopped broccoli
    Cheddar slice with chopped apples and caramelized onions

    You can literally stuff the breasts with whatever sounds good to you. Just choose a sliced cheese that complements it and roll it on up!

  2. #32
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Doesn't everyone love fresh baked bread? That is the best smell in the world, and takes me immediately back to childhood. My Aunt Betty never bought bread at the store, to my knowledge; she baked a couple times a week and always had homemade bread, cookies, and cakes on hand. Her house always smelled like baked goods and it was amazing.

    What? You don't have time (or inclination) to bake a couple times a week??

    Yeah, me either.

    But you can still have homemade bread pretty much whenever you want it (always?) with this super easy method. The secret is to make a large batch of dough, then keep it in the refrigerator and take out portions of the dough to make bread as needed. The bread it makes is hearty, with a chewy crust - true artisan bread like you find at a good bakery, not like the pasty Wonder you get at the grocery store. It's shaped as a boule instead of a loaf, and will wow your family and friends.

    Ingredients
    3 cups lukewarm water
    2 packets dry yeast
    1 1⁄2 tbsp salt
    6 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted, not packed down, just scoop it up and level it off

    • Your water should be slightly warm to the touch. Stick your finger in and if it feels a little warm, it's perfect.
    • In a LARGE! bowl, add the yeast to the water and stir well.
    • Add the salt and stir.
    • Add the flour all at once - no kidding - and mix with a wooden spoon.
    • Your dough is ready when there are no dry lumps. The dough will be loose and a bit wet.
    • Cover with a clean towel and let it rise on the counter for 2 hours. You'll see it rise a bit, then collapse. If you have things to do, it can sit out all day and be fine.


    Hey! Now you have bread dough! Enough for four loaves! Give it a light fold, and put it in the fridge for at least two hours to make it easier to work with. Keeps for about two weeks.

    Baking Day!

    • Heat your oven to 450*
    • Cut off a portion of your dough - one-fourth of it is a good size boule.
    • With floured hands on a floured surface (I use a cutting board so I don't hose up my counter tops), shape the dough into a large ball like this:
      • Stretch the dough out slightly and fold the ends underneath, turning as you go to form a nice round ball with a smooth surface. The underneath will be bunchy but that will work itself out during the resting and baking.
    • Cover your dough ball with a clean towel and let it rest for about 40 minutes. Your dough will rise only slightly so don't look for doubling or anything like that.
    • Place your dough ball on a lightly floured pizza stone or baking sheet.
    • Dust your ball with a bit of flour, and make four slashes in the top with a serrated knife. They can be diagonals or criss-cross, doesn't matter.
    • DO NOT OMIT THIS STEP! Place an oven-proof pan filled with water on the shelf below the one your bread will go on. Bread should be baked on the middle shelf, so place your water pan on the shelf below it.
    • Bake your bread for 30 minutes, until the top is nice and brown.
    • Smell that? Oh man....


    The rest of your dough will keep for about two weeks. It will start to develop a sourdough flavor and texture within a couple of days, making your finished boule even better.

    Science stuff:

    • Placing the water below the bread while baking releases steam, which keeps things nice and moist.
    • What? No kneading?? Nope! Your yeast friends will do that for you. Kneading forms gluten, which makes your bread light in texture. The active yeast will bubble and ferment, accomplishing the same goal without kneading. Your bread won't be light and fluffy without kneading, but artisan bread is supposed to have a denser texture.


    I learned this method from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. In it, you'll find a zillion recipes that all start with the same no-knead fridge dough concept.

  3. #33
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Here are two down and dirty Valentine's Day seafood dishes to make for your sweetie - one light, one rich. You don't have to tell them how easy it was.

    Pan Seared Scallops

    1 lb scallops - the large ones, not the small ones
    4 tbsp butter (half a stick)
    2 cloves minced garlic
    1 lemon, juiced
    fresh parsley, minced
    salt and pepper to taste

    • Melt 2 tbsp butter in a pan over med-high heat.
    • Rinse your scallops and pat them dry with paper towel. The dry surface is what gives you your nice brown sear.
    • When your butter starts to sizzle, add the scallops.
    • Cook without moving for 2 minutes; turn, and cook 2 minutes on the other side. Cook in batches so you don't crowd the pan.
    • Remove your scallops to a plate.
    • Add the other 2 tbsp of butter to your pan and let it melt.
    • Add your minced garlic and saute, stirring, for about a minute.
    • Add your lemon juice - fresh lemon juice really does make a difference, so use it instead of bottled if you can.
    • Cook, stirring - make sure you get the bottom of the pan and all those lovely bits - for about a minute, and add salt and pepper to taste.


    Serve your scallops by arranging them over cooked linguini or rice, then drizzle with the butter pan sauce. Sprinkle with fresh minced parsley for a pretty presentation.

    New England Lobster Pie

    2 cooked lobsters
    5 tbsp butter
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
    1 tsp minced garlic
    1 tsp dry parsley
    1/2 tsp salt

    • Get the meat out of your lobsters, break it into chunks, and line the bottom of a medium baking dish with it. You want it to be generous, a luxurious bed of lobster, so size your baking dish accordingly.
    • Melt 3 tbsp of the butter and pour it over your lobster chunks.
    • Add cream until it just covers the lobster and give it a stir.
    • Place in 350* oven and bake for 15 minutes.
    • While that's happening, melt 2 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat.
    • Add your garlic and parsley, and saute for about a minute.
    • Add your crushed crackers and stir until well combined.
    • Pull your lobster out of the oven and cover it evenly with the cracker mixture, pressing down so it can absorb some of the cream.
    • Bake for 5 or 10 minutes, until the crackers are lightly browned.


    BadGirl gave me a couple of lobsters awhile back, and this is what I did with them. OMG so good! Serve with a nice green salad because I am telling you, this is a super rich dish.

  4. #34
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    The Marinade of the Gods is probably sitting in your fridge right now: bottled Italian dressing.

    I learned this trick from an Italian guy who also happened to be a chef. His reasoning was that a homemade marinade contains all the ingredients in Italian dressing, so why not just use Italian dressing? Tyler Florence uses this same reasoning when cooking with ketchup. And who are we to argue with Tyler Florence?

    Bottled dressing solves the problem of keeping all those ingredients on hand. Ken and Paul and Marie and Annie have already mixed them up perfectly for you, packaged them conveniently, and they're ready to splash on anything that strikes your fancy.

    Italian dressing works well with all meat. Marinate pork chops or chicken for a tangy complex flavor; brush it on skewered shrimp during grilling; sprinkle dry Good Seasons over chuck roast and crockpot all day for Italian beef, which gets served with crusty rolls for sandwiches. Caesar vinaigrette is another dressing that is amazing with grilled chicken or pork chops. Fancy sounding Tuscan steak is as easy as reaching for the Wishbone.

    Vegetables? Absolutely! Marinate fresh asparagus or zucchini in Italian dressing, then brush on more while grilling. Steam broccoli or cauliflower and toss with vinaigrette before serving. Veggies can always use a shot of flavor to make them interesting; grilling takes them to an even higher level. Grilled marinated portabellos? Yes please!

    Crabcake's Italian Beef

    2 packets of dry Good Season's Italian dressing mix
    3 lb chuck roast, trimmed of visible fat and membrane removed
    water
    Pepperoncini, optional
    Provolone cheese slices
    Crusty rolls - nice solid ones so they don't disintegrate under the beef

    • Place your roast in the crockpot and sprinkle with the dry dressing
    • Top with pepperoncini if you like it hot
    • Pour water over the top of the roast to distribute the dressing mix, barely covering the meat
    • Cook for 6-8 hours, until the beef is falling apart
    • Shred the beef in the crockpot and give it a toss to fully mix the flavors


    Place Provolone slices on your rolls, then top with beef. Use the beef drippings as a dipping jus.
    Last edited by DeeJay; 06-16-2018 at 11:20 AM.

  5. #35
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Soup Hacks

    Take your mother's old standby and give it an easy facelift!

    Potato soup: Add crumbled up canned corned beef (not hash, now) and frozen corn. Now you have a hearty chowder!

    Ham and bean soup: Add a can of Rotel to boost the flavor.

    Cream of Crab: Crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar take it to the next level.

    Chicken noodle soup: Use couscous instead of noodles for a delicious comfort twist.

    Vegetable soup: Ladle the soup into bowls and add a small scoop of sour cream on top. Creamy!

    Tomato soup: Add mini meatballs and cooked rotini to turn it into a meal.

    French onion soup: Make it a casserole. Line a baking dish with toasted baguette slices, pour the soup over the top, cover with shredded Gruyere, bake until cheese is bubbling and starts to brown.

    And a simple tip to boost the flavor of bland canned soups: Add a tiny splash of vinegar. That acid balance is almost always what it's missing.

  6. #36
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    One of my favorite breakfasts that you can eat for any meal - Migas. I picked it up in Texas, where it's a standard menu item in Mexican restaurants.

    eggs
    diced tomato
    diced green pepper
    diced onion
    chopped green chilies
    shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    corn tortillas, or Fritos if you're lazy like me
    hot sauce

    • Fry up your peppers and onion in a little butter until just soft.
    • Tear tortillas into medium-small pieces and fry with your veggies until crisp.
    • Alternate: add a handful of Fritos to your veggies.
    • Beat eggs and add to pan, stirring to scramble.
    • While eggs are set but still soft, add tomato and chilies.
    • Sprinkle cheese over the top and let the heat of the eggs melt it.
    • When set to your liking, serve with a few shakes of hot sauce over the top.


    Note that there are no amounts specified for the ingredients. You just make as much as you want.

    Too lazy to chop veggies?

    Fine, then use pico de gallo from the grocery store and add it to your eggs just as they're starting to set up. But don't omit the tortillas/Fritos because that's what makes it Migas instead of just scrambled eggs with veggies.

  7. #37
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Quick, easy - and healthy! - breakfast:

    Make a hyoooooge pot of steel cut oatmeal - it's nuttier and has better flavor than its rolled cousin.
    Fill muffin tins with prepped oatmeal and freeze.
    Place frozen oatmeal portions in a large ziploc and stick them back in the freezer.
    On busy mornings, place one or two portions in a microwave safe bowl, cover with a paper towel, microwave until hot, and presto! A much better instant breakfast.

    Add goodies either during cooking or after reheating. Chopped apples are a winner, and so are strawberries. Toasted pecans and honey - yes please! The goober they put in the instant packets is not only disgusting, but you can't even pronounce most of it. It's way too easy to have homemade oatmeal, even on busy mornings, so there's really no excuse to waste money on the packets of despair.

  8. #38
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Believe it or not, I get messages from people who read this thread and ask me questions. Vegans/vegetarians get enough play that in addition to responding to them directly, here are some of my best non-cruelty suggestions that even carnivores like me will gobble up:

    Make cauliflower your friend. Cauliflower has a mild flavor and can be sauced or seasoned in pretty much any way you can think of. Steamed florets with jarred Indian sauce is amazing, and deep fried cauliflower will make you forget you're eating vegetables. You've seen riced cauliflower at the grocery store - buy it next time. You can use it instead of rice in pretty much anything, which is good if you're low carbing it. Speaking of which...

    Bibimbap. A few posts ago I told you what that was and how to make it. IMO, this is the perfect vegetarian comfort dish. Start with a bed of crispy rice (or riced cauliflower), then add whatever vegetables and non-meat protein makes you happy; finish with a spicy sauce drizzle. The versatility of bibimbap makes it ideal for anyone with food restrictions, and it's a proper meal instead of an afterthought.

    Tofu. Please, I'm asking you nicely, stop futzing up tofu to try and turn it into something else. Just let it be tofu and delicious in its own right.
    1. Cube firm tofu, toss in cornstarch, and deep fry; serve with a tangy dipping sauce.
    2. Saute peppers, onions, and mushrooms, then add cubed firm tofu and fry until the tofu starts to brown for a vegan take on scrambled eggs.
    3. Press the water out of slices of firm tofu and season both sides; brush with olive oil and grill for a few minutes on each side until crispy.
    4. Toss sliced tofu in cornstarch and fry until crispy; serve over spaghetti with marinara sauce.

    See? I told you tofu could stand on its own. The reason you think you don't like it is because of abominations like tofu bacon and other sad attempts at turning tofu into meat. Just like zoodles are vegetables, not noodles, tofu is tofu and not meat. Let tofu be itself and I swear you will love it.

    Fritos and tater tots are vegan. So don't let anyone tell you that adhering to a vegan diet will automatically make you healthy and you'll lose weight. Walking tacos, man!

    Veggie burgers. I hesitate to even use the word "burger" with these guys because it sets your expectations to meat, which they're not. And Boca Burgers are disgusting. Make your own veggie patties *ahem* with chopped black beans, carmelized onion, roasted mushrooms, cooked barley, and - ready? - ground cashews, with a bit of vegan mayo and seasoned bread crumbs for a binder. Don't think of them as a substitute for anything, let it just be itself and be happy.

    WHAT TO AVOID

    • Ugh, fake cheese. Barf. It tastes and smells like sweat socks and doesn't melt. What's the point?
    • "Crispy" chickpeas. They never get crispy, I don't care what all those women's magazines say. At best they get hard and pellet-like. Ick.
    • I already mentioned the despair of fake meat. "It's just like real bacon!" No, it's not. "You'll forget you're not eating a hamburger!" No, you won't.
    • Fake ice cream. Blah. Why? The notable exception is So Delicious cashew milk "ice cream". Buy that, forget the rest.
    • Vegan "eggs". If making scrambled "eggs" from a powder doesn't put you off, the slimy consistency of the finished product will. Why is that even a thing?


    Instead of obsessing about what you can't eat on a veg diet, look at all you *can* eat. I mean, here's this enormous mountain of food you can eat, vs. this little tiny pile of what you can't. All those wonderful grains and vegetables, spicy savory sauces, warm creamy hummus, every nationality cuisine you can think of, and unhealthy snacks galore. You probably eat vegan all the time and don't even realize it. Just roll with it.

  9. #39
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    I can't believe I'm just now remembering to tell you about this - Bacon Jam! This is another treat I've made for Christmas gifts to friends and it's always a huge hit.

    2 lbs thick cut bacon
    1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
    1 Tbsp minced garlic
    1/3 cup dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup maple syrup - the real kind, not Aunt Jemima
    1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard

    • Chop the bacon into 1/2" pieces and fry until almost crisp.
    • Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels, leaving about 2 Tbsp of the fat in the pan.
    • Add the chopped onion to the pan and cook until carmelized.
    • Add the minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so.
    • Add vinegar to the pan and scrape up the bits on the bottom.
    • Add your brown sugar, syrup, and mustard, and combine well.
    • Add bacon, stir well and bring to a boil.
    • Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the jam gets thick.



    I like my bacon jam chunky, but if you want a smoother consistency just wait for it to cool and then throw it in the food processor for a few pulses.

    What do you do with bacon jam?

    Fill omelets
    Spread on biscuits or toast
    Stir a blop into sour cream for an amazing dip
    Toss with hot pasta
    Add it to your homemade potato salad
    Dress roasted brussel sprouts
    Liven up a grilled cheese sandwich

  10. #40
    Administrator DeeJay's Avatar
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    Nommy side that is always a big hit - Beets & Sweets!

    If you think you don't like beets it's probably because all you've ever had are the pickled kind but, let me tell you, beets are a real vegetable. A root vegetable, and you know what that means?

    That's right - roasting!

    Little kids who won't eat anything will eat Beets & Sweets because they're colorful with a sweet rich flavor. Like veggie candy.

    6 beets, peeled
    2 sweet potatoes, peeled
    Olive oil
    Salt and pepper

    • Cut your peeled beets and sweets into 1" cubes and toss them with a few Tbsps of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
    • Dump it into rectangular baking dish and roast at 400* for 45 mins.
    • Check for doneness and give them more time if needed.


    You can also add caramelized onion or chopped cooked bacon (or both!) to fancy it up a bit. Perfect with roast chicken (or supermarket rotisserie chicken if you're me).

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