Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Salmon Gougeres (Salmon and Cream Cheese filled French Cheese Puffs)

What is a gougere and why does my blog talk about something so gourmet sounding?  A gougere is a tasty cheesy puff ball of pastry.  It's quite simple to make and I think lends itself very well to lots of creative ideas.  One of those creative ideas is to stuff them with a salmon and cream cheese mixture!  I was inspired by not wanting to eat just healthy salmon and cauliflower rice.  After some google sleuthing, I saw a recipe for Cheddar and Smoked Salmon gougeres, which was not what I wanted, but I would take that inspiration and make it my own.  Make it your own too, and try it out with other protein and cheeses!  So, here is my creative weeknight gourmet meal for you to try out!  

Salmon Gougeres
Inspired by Cabot Cheese

1 cup water
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
4 large eggs
6 ounces Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 salmon filets, cooked and chopped fine.  I cooked the salmon filets whole the same time as the gougeres.
2 tbsp basil
Pinch of mustard
Pinch of cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
To make gougères:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In saucepan, heat water, butter, salt and sugar until butter is melted.

3. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture breaks away from side of pan and forms smooth ball.

4. Remove from heat and let rest for two minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, stirring quickly so egg doesn't cook, until dough is firm, smooth and waxy.

5. Add all of mozzarella, all but 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, mustard and red pepper, and stir until well blended.

6. Using a cookie dough scoop to 
portion the dough onto the parchment paper.  They don't spread so you don't have to worry about leaving a lot of room between them.

7. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until completely golden brown.

To make filling:
1. Beat together cream cheese, ricotta cheese, spices, salmon and basil

2. Split each gougère. Spoon some filling into each one and enjoy!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Sandwich Fondue? Knife and Fork Fondue? Sloppy Fondue?

Well, tonight I started out wanting to make meatballs but got lazy.  I went on pinterest and saw some recipes for a Philly Cheesesteak dip, which was very interesting and was something I was potentially more interested in.  That's where the inspiration came from, but this dish is more fondue like, or so I think.  It's up to you to decide what to call this, but just know that it is very yummy!  Can you really go wrong with meat, cheese sauce and bread?  No, you cannot! Let me know what you think!

Ground Beef Mixture
one shallot minced
1 lb ground beef (turkey would work well too!)
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
minced garlic
Splash of hot sauce

Cheese Sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan
Splash of hot sauce

Hoagie rolls

Ground Beef Mixture
Preheat a pan over medium heat and add the meat, shallot and garlic.  Cook until the meat is almost brown and then add the onion powder, salt and pepper and hot sauce and cook until the meat is completely browned.

Cheese Sauce
Heat a sauce pan over low heat and add the butter and minced garlic and cook until the butter is melted.  Add the flour, onion powder, salt and pepper and hot sauce and whisk until the mixture is light brown.  Slowly add the milk and the yogurt and allow to cook together for a few minutes.  Quickly stir in the cheeses and set aside.

Serve the beef and the cheese sauce over a toasted hoagie roll and enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Barbecue Salmon Burgers

When you want a burger, but you've already defrosted salmon the only logical thing to do is making salmon burgers.  Salmon burgers are a delicious alternative to beef burgers and you can make them taste "beefier" by using a little barbecue sauce.  Try this recipe for barbecue salmon burgers with some sweet potato fries and homemade buns!

Barbecue Salmon Burgers
Serves 2

2 salmon filets chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (I had Sweet Baby Ray's in the fridge)
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (I had Panko)
A few dashes of Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp Coconut oil for frying

Heat the coconut oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat.

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined.  Form the mixture into two patties and place in the skillet.  Cook on both sides for 3-5 minutes.  Serve with your favorite toppings like avocado and tomato and a side of oven-baked sweet potato fries!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cheese Sauce Chicken Cheesesteaks

After hearing what my Aunt's planned cheesesteak dinner plans were, I knew I had to make my own cheesesteaks.  This is a quickly developed cheesy, chicken cheesesteak.  It's a good weeknight meal and if you have about two hours before dinner you can even make some lovely hoagie rolls to go with it!

These cheesesteaks feature chicken, onions and peppers and a really cheesy sauce of three cheeses to smear your hoagie roll and then drizzle on top.  These are flavorful with a hint of spice (you can always add more) and can be done during a weeknight.  If you're ambitious you can even make your own buns!

Cheesy Chicken Cheesesteaks
1 onion sliced thin
1 bell pepper sliced thin
2 chicken breasts
1 tbsp oil of your choice (olive oil, butter, coconut oil...)
1 clove minced garlic
garlic powder
onion powder
cayenne peppers
Seasoned salt
Hot Sauce of your choice (I used Tapatio)
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Heat the oil in a large non stick pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the chicken to taste with the garlic powder, onion powder, Seasoned salt and the cayenne pepper.  Slice thin and add to the pan to cook along with the garlic.

Once the chicken is cooked add the hot sauce to taste, the worcestershire sauce and the apple cider vinegar.  Cook until the liquid has evaporated.  Your chicken is ready to go!

Cheese Sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups mozzarella
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 tsp nutmeg

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk together.  Slowly whisk in the chicken stock until the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg until you have a cheesy sauce!

Your choice of hoagie rolls OR
This really good recipe that can be made in 2ish hours.

Take your hoagie roll and smear each side with that cheese sauce.  Top one half with the chick and then drizzle with some more sauce.  All that's left is to eat it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Four Hour Meatloaf

Four hour meatloaf? Are you kidding? This must be some sort of joke.  Nope, this is not a joke. I made a delicious, moist and tasty meatloaf today in about 4 hours.  Your meatloaf doesn't need to take as long, but if you want it to have the same taste that mine did today, then you'll want to take these steps.  

My (give or take) four hour meatloaf started with caramelizing an onion over low and slow heat in a cast iron pan for about two hours.  Caramelizing the onion adds a lot of moisture to the loaf and caramelized onions just taste so darn good! I added a bit of honey, cayenne, two cloves of garlic and salt and pepper to my onions to develop that rich taste and finished with worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, and chicken broth to the pan.  After my onions cooled for a bit, I mixed them with the meat, eggs and bread crumbs and allowed the mixture to rest in the refrigerator for an hour.  I'm not sure if this added to how delicious this loaf was, but that's what I did because I wasn't ready to cook it.  The last step I did was to baste the loaf in the oven every 30 minutes and then broiled it with a final layer of glaze for 3 minutes.  Are all of these overcomplicated steps necessary for a delicious meatloaf? Probably not, and of course you don't need to caramelize onions or let the meat rest, but that's just what I did and that's what produced an out-of-this world moist meatloaf.  Here's the breakdown!

Four Hour Meatloaf

Caramelized Onions
1 tbsp butter
1 onion diced
1 tbsp honey
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Melt the butter in a cast iron pan and add the onions and honey and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.  Add the salt and pepper and cayenne. Take off the heat and add the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar.  Let cool for a few moments.

Meat Mixture
2 lbs of ground beef
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper and cayenne to taste
Caramelized onion mixture

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and pop in the refrigerator for an hour

1/2 cup Ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Meatloaf Assembly
Preheat oven to 350F

Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put meat mixture on the baking sheet and form into a rectangular loaf.  Brush the loaf with the glaze and bake for 60-90 minutes.

Check the temperature after 60 minutes.  If your loaf is at 160F congratulations! It's finished. 

Let the loaf rest for about 15 minutes, slice it up and enjoy with mashed potatoes, mashed cannelini beans, or your carb of choice, and peas!
After a 15 minute rest


Ready to enjoy with mashed beans and peas

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Black Bean Protein Brownies

I ran out of my homemade protein chewy bars so I thought it would be time to make a new recipe and to experiment a little.  I decided that it might be time to be adventurous and try the infamous "black bean brownies". I needed to put my own spin on such an idea so I decided that I would have to add protein powder to the mix and so I did.  I happen to have gluten-free and vegan protein powder and so that is what I used in my brownies, but you could use whatever you have on hand.

Believe me, I was extremely skeptical in making this, but these do indeed taste like brownies and it's great to know you're getting lots of protein in these guys.  The protein powder gives them a distinct taste, but that's what protein powder does when baked.  If you don't like protein powder baked, then don't add it, but they are fudgy and rich, but without being heavy.  These are a great compromise for the buttery version!  They don't taste like coffee, but taste very chocolatey!

Black Bean-Protein Brownies
1 15oz can black beans
3 tbsp honey
6 dates
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
3 eggs
2 tbsp coffee
2 tsp espresso powder
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
3 tbsp flax seed
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8 inch pan.

Combine black beans, coffee, honey, dates, coconut oil, eggs in a blender and blend until everything is thoroughly incorporated.

Meanwhile, place the espresso powder, protein powder, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl and pour the liquid over that.  Stir to combine and add the chocolate chips.  You can add some extra on top to make the brownies look more decadent

Bake for 23 minutes and dig in!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Country Captain Chicken- My Way

I rediscovered a recent cookbook I purchased and have loved looking at the beautiful photographs.  I was inspired by the Country Captain recipe in the Well Fed Paleo cookbook and knew I needed to try this recipe, despite having never eaten this dish or seen it on a menu.  I took to google for additional inspiration and saw the Lee Bros recipe on the Food Network website. I had seen the dish on Throwdown with Bobby Flay and it looked good on the show, so I decided to mash up the Paleo and Lee Bros recipe and came up with this super tasty recipe!

My Country Captain Chicken recipe uses chicken breasts, lots of veggies and crushed San Marzano tomatoes.  This was flavorful and the extra veggies make it colorful.  I served mine with mashed cauliflower, but brown rice would also be good or cauliflower rice.  It doesn't taste like Indian cuisine, but it reminded me of jambalya in a way.  It takes some time to put together, but it's definitely worth it!

Country Captain Chicken- My Way
Inspired by Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People who Love to Eat and Lee Bros. Country Captain Chicken (as seen on Bobby Flay's Throwdown

1/2 cup beef broth or chicken broth
1/4 cup raisins
3lbs Chicken Breasts
2 tbsp coconut oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp ras el hanout spice blend
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)
1/2 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 cup bell pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano is what I used)
bacon as a garnish

Preheat oven to 350F 

Place the raisins in a bowl.   Put the broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil and pour over the raisins.

Heat the coconut oil in a dutch oven over medium- high heat.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken breasts and place the chicken in the pan to sear on both sides, but do not crowd the pan.  Transfer the seared chicken to a 9x13 pan.

Add all of the vegetables to the pan with the remaining oil and cook for about 15 minutes or until softened.  Add the spices and tomato paste to the pan and cook together for about a minute.  Add the raisins and broth, the crushed tomatoes and allow to reduce for about 8 minutes.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.  Cover the pan in aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Turn the heat up to 400F and bake for another 10 minutes.  

Serve with mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice and top with cooked bacon if desired.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Sweet Tater Tot Casserole

It's been a deep clean of the food in the house sort of week.  I've gone through cabinets, the refrigerator and freezer and been tossing and using up all the processed food in the house.  It's been very successful and I only have a few things left that are shelf stable that I'll hold on to (cake mix for example).

This recipe is inspired by the deep clean and the tv show Chopped.  This recipe was originally going to be made with my homemade sloppy joe sauce, but I discovered a jar of turkey gravy and thus the recipe was born!  This was amazingly delicious and I really couldn't stop eating it.  This has the perfect combination of spice with some cayenne pepper, it's comforting because of the turkey gravy, and who doesn't like tater tots?  This was very easy to put together and if you had a pan that is oven safe, it would be a one-dish wonder!  This recipe could also be made gluten free if you made your own homemade gravy without flour. Have fun with this and add your own veggies! This is a keeper and heats up well for leftovers.

Thanksgiving Sweet Tater Tot Casserole
Little butter
1 onion chopped
1 lb ground turkey
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute (if desired)
1/2 cup green beans (that's all I had leftover in the bag, use as much as you want!)
1 jar of turkey gravy or homemade
Tater Tots (Sweet potato or other)  I had about 15 tater tots topping mine and the top wasn't covered.  Certainly you may use enough to cover the top of your turkey mixture.

Preheat the oven to 400F

Heat a non stick pan over medium low heat and toss a little bit of butter in there to melt.  Add the onion and sautee until soft.

Add the ground turkey and all the spices and cook the turkey through.  Add the frozen green beans, the jar of turkey gravy and let everything come together and simmer.

Transfer your mixture to a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and then sprinkle (or carefully arrange) the tots over the top.

Pop in the oven and cook for the time determined by your package of tots.

Let cool and enjoy!

I began to artfully arrange the tots...

...then realized I didn't have enough tots, so I sprinkled them on.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bisquick Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are a great way to use up a box of bisquick that isn't going to make it to the end of the month.  These cookies are super tasty and actually remind me of my top secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  I found the recipe by way of pinterest, but I think it could stand to use a few changes, which I'm outlining in my blog post here.

If you're looking for a quick homemade cookie recipe, then these are your new go-to!

Bisquick Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Plain Chicken

1 stick of softened butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cup bisquick mix
1 tsp of instant espresso
1 cup of chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in Bisquick mix, instant expresso and chocolate chips. 

Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. 

Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack and allow to cool for a few moments before diving in.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cornmeal Biscuits

This is another simple recipe that uses bisquick and cornmeal.  It's so easy that all you do is substitute half of the bisquick flour with cornmeal and follow directions!