Monday, March 5, 2012

Egg Salad

6 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp mustard
2 Tbsp pickle relish
1-2 tsp vinegar or pickle juice
salt and pepper

Slice eggs and remove yolks to a bowl, mash yolks and mix well with mayo, mustard, relish and vinegar.  Chop up whites (I like them chunky) and fold into yolk mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate or eat immediately.

Makes a great sandwich or cracker topping.

Deviled Eggs

Now that you have perfect hard boiled eggs these Deviled Eggs are just a few steps away. 

12 hard boiled eggs
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp mustard
1 - 2 tsp vinegar (or olive brine)
Salt and pepper
Sliced green olives or pimentos to garnish

Slice eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks into a bowl.  Set whites aside.  Mash yolks with a fork and add mayo, mustard, 1 tsp vinegar and salt and pepper.  Depending on your eggs you may need to add the other teaspoon of vinegar, check your consistency before adding it though.  Mix well until smooth.
To stuff the whites you can just spoon in but I like to "pipe" it in by placing the filling in a baggie, clipping a corner off and squeezing the filling out into the center of the white.  I think this is the easiest way and yields a nicer looking result.
Top each egg with garnish
Refrigerate until ready to serve - if it will be more than an hour you will want to cover them with plastic wrap so they don't dry out.

Next?  Egg salad of course!

Fool Proof Hard Boiled Eggs

Something as simple as hard boiled eggs can go horribly wrong.  I can stand that ring that comes around the yolk of an overcooked egg!  However with a few simple steps you can get perfect eggs every time.

1 - Start with fresh eggs - old eggs will be harder to peel in the end
2 - Place eggs in a pot - you don't want them to have much wiggle room so choose a pot that is the right size for however many eggs you are cooking.
3 - Cover the eggs with cold water
4 - Put the pot over high heat - let water come to a full boil
5 - Turn off the heat and place a cover on the pan and let sit for 15 minutes
6 - Place the pot in the sink and run cold water over eggs until all the water in the pot is cold
7 - Let the eggs sit in the cold water for 15 minutes
8 - Crack shells and peel - run under cold water if needed.

Next post... Devil eggs followed by egg salad

Baked Ziti with Zucchini

 Can you see the vegetables in this casserole?  Neither will your kids (or my husband)!  This casserole will freeze well if you leave the cheese off the top until baking just assemble, cover with foil and pop in the freezer.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage - with casings removed
3 medium size zucchini - shredded on a box grater
2 1/2 cups prepared spaghetti sauce
1 pound ziti noodles - cooked according to package directions for al dente (don't overcook since they will soften a bit more in the oven)
15 oz container ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp butter - softened
1 clove garlic - finely minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat - brown sausage in oil breaking up into chunks as it cooks.  Once it is completely cooked add in zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. 
Remove from heat and add in spaghetti sauce, and cooked noodles stir to combine well.
In a bowl combine ricotta, softened butter, garlic and Parmesan cheese.
To assemble -
In a 12 by 8 inch casserole dish layer half of the pasta mixture then half of the ricotta mixture (I find the easiest way to do this is dropping small spoonfuls rather than trying to spread it) repeat layer again and sprinkle mozzarella over the top.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 30-45 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top.
Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Garlic knots

These are a favorite at our house.  They are easy to make with store bought or homemade dough.

Preheat oven to 425
Start with pizza dough - either homemade or the tube kind.  My local pizzeria also sells dough balls that are frozen.
Roll or press the dough out into a large rectangle about 12x8.
Spread 2 Tbsp softened butter or margarine over the center third of the dough
Sprinkle over the butter
 - 1 Tsp dried parsley
 - 1 Tsp garlic salt
 - 1/2 Tsp dried dill
Fold dough in thirds - Top down the the middle then bottom to the middle to meat the top.
Using a pizza cutter slice into 10 strips
Tie each strip into a knot and place on a baking sheet
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown

Teriyaki beef - Crock pot meal

What could be easier than 3 ingredients in your crock pot?  I'm not sure, this is pretty much as easy as it gets.  Turn the crock pot on and at the end of the day you have dinner waiting for you.

Ingredients -
3 pound beef roast - rump or chuck work great
Bottle of teriyaki sauce
1 cup beef broth or stock

Cut roast into large chunks and trim excess fat.  Place meat in the bottom of the crock pot.  Pour teriyaki sauce and stock over the beef.  Cover and turn on low for 8 hours.
If sauce is too thin you can thicken it up with a cornstarch slurry.  Mix 1 Tbsp corn starch with 1 Tsbp cold water, mix well and stir into sauce and meat mixture.

Serve with jasmine rice.

Broccoli is a great add in here if you have a little extra time.  Just give it a light steam and add it to beef before serving.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dads Chili

My Dad makes amazing chili!  Unfortunately he lives in Miami and I am in Virginia so I have to make my own.  This recipe comes very close to his I tend to make it mild so the kids will eat it then spice it up at the table with some hot sauce for the grown ups.  Chili freezes great so make an extra batch for another night.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 pound Hot Italian Sausage with casings removed
2 small Green Peppers - chopped
1 large Onion - chopped
3 cloves Garlic - minced
1 14oz can of Tomato Sauce
1 28oz can of Diced Tomatoes
2 cans Kidney beans - drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp Chili Powder
Salt and pepper

In a large stock pot heat oil over medium high heat.  Add beef and sausage and brown well 5-8 minutes breaking up the sausage as it is cooking.  Add green peppers, onions and garlic and continue to cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.  Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with their liquid and beans.  Bring to a simmer.  Stir in chili powder, salt and pepper.  Turn down the heat and let simmer for 1 hour.  If it gets too thick just add some water.
Serve hot with assorted toppings.

Toppings -
Hot sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped raw onions
Sliced jalapenos
Crushed corn chips
Crushed tortilla chips
Sour cream


Chicken soup with lemon

A dash of lemon juice can really bring chicken soup to a new level.  By giving the vegetables and chicken a little pre-cook and using pre-made stock or broth this delicious and hearty soup comes together in just under 30 minutes.

1 Boneless skinless chicken breast - cut into chunks
2 large carrots - sliced
2 medium celery stalks - chopped
1 small onion - chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Quart of chicken stock
2 cups egg noodles
1 lemon - Juiced

In a stock pot heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add carrots, celery and onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add chicken and continue to cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until chicken is about half way cooked.  Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Add in noodles and simmer about 8-10 minutes until noodles are done, vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through.
Remove from heat and add in the lemon juice.  Serve immediately with crusty bread.

This soup freezes well.