Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mashed Potatoes

To me mashed potatoes can make every meal special.  There's no question what to have with meatloaf or roast turkey.  The answer is always going to be mashed potatoes at my dinner table.  Over the years I have used many different concoctions, depending on what a recipe may have called for or more commonly what was on hand in my pantry.  And this specific concoction is just wonderful.  The potatoes are dense and heavy, while at the same time they are fluffy and light.  The heavy cream and real butter give it a richness that milk and margarine can't replicate.  And the fresh cracked pepper and sea salt finish it off simply perfect.

6 Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled/ chopped)
1/4 cup or so of heavy whipping cream
3 T real salted butter
fresh cracked pepper and sea salt (this makes a difference)

-In a large stockpot, with lightly salted water, boil potatoes for 30-40 minutes; strain into a large mixing bowl.  Add in cream, butter and the salt/ pepper (keeping in mind that the water was salted-this is my favorite way of flavoring potatoes or pasta).  Blend well with a hand mixer until smooth (I prefer to leave a few little "lumps" of potatoes for texture).  And that's it!  Serves 4.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Slow-Cooker Dilly Beef Sandwiches

Here's a different twist on a family favorite.  This beef sandwich is definitely different than any one that you have had before.  I'd have to say that pickles and their brine are what gives this sandwich it's own unique tangy kick.  Paired with a soft doughy egg roll from your local market, this sandwich is amazing.  I have made this one many of times with many different beef roasts and I do believe that the sirloin roast is the best.  The meat is soft, tender and literally bursting with flavor.  I have yet to serve this without rave reviews.

1 3lb beef sirloin roast
1-2 T bacon grease
1 jar chili sauce
1 medium jar dill pickle slices (undrained)
12 egg dinner rolls

-Add bacon grease to a deep stock pot/ dutch oven over a high flame.  Once grease is brought back to liquid, add in roast.  Sear each side to develop a nice brown crust.  Remove roast from pan and toss into a slow-cooker. Pour entire jar of pickles with juice and chili sauce over roast.  Cover and set on High for 6-8 hours (the longer the better).  Using two large forks, shred roast in crock.  Cut a pocket slit in the side of each roll (so you don't lose your meat out of your bun-I hate that!) and stuff with meat and pickle bits.  Serves 6-8.  Enjoy!

Potato Chip Cookies

I can remember making these with my Mom when I was little.  They were always my Dad's favorite.  They are sweet, buttery and salty.  All the makings of a great cookie if you ask me.  So now you will have a use for the crumbs at the bottom of you bag of chips.  I know that this is what I use mine for.

1 cup real unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup crushed plain potato chips (I prefer kettle chips, they hold their crunch)
1/2 cup crushed pecans

-Preheat oven to 350*.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in flour; add in chips and nuts (mixture will be crumbly that's OK).  Using the palm of your hand, knead dough into little balls and place on an ungreased baking stone or cookie sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Makes about 3 dozen.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baked Sweet Italian Sausage with Red Wine Marinara

I absolutely love this dish.  The compliment of the sweet sparkly wine with the acidity of the tomatoes is fabulous paired along with some creamy cheese filled pasta.  The sauce has a deep rich flavor and the sausage cuts like butter.  When I want pasta, this is the way I want it.  Not only is this wonderful and delicious, it is also quick and easy.  You can prepare this the same way, but instead of baking it off you can toss it into your slow-cooker on LOW for 6-8 hours.  But the oven is definitely the way to go if you can.  It gives the sauce and vegetables a roasted flavor.

5 sweet Italian sausages
1 lg green sweet pepper (halved then sliced)
1 T. of extra virgin olive oil
1 med red onion (halved then sliced)
1/4 cup Lambrusco red sweet wine
1- 29oz. lg can of tomato sauce
1- 15oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (un-drained)
1 T. of Italian seasoning
1 large ripe red tomato (sliced)
1 lb of prepared cheese tortellini
fresh parsley for garnish (chopped)

-Preheat oven to 350*.  Boil sausage for about 10 minutes (to get the grease out of them); plate and set aside. Saute the sweet pepper in a large saucepan over medium heat with some e.v.o. for about 2 minutes, then add in the onions.  Continue to saute until the vegetables are tender.  Pour in the wine, bring to a boil (while scrapping all of the 'flavor' off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon), then add in the red sauce, the tomatoes and the Italian seasonings.  Again bring this back up to a boil, then transfer it into your large casserole dish.  Add in your boiled sausages, lay your sliced tomatoes across the top and cover the top tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake for 2-2 1/2 hours.  Prepare tortellini as directed.  Serve sausage and marinara sauce over pasta with a sprinkle of parsley on top.  Serves 5.  Enjoy!