Monday, March 5, 2018

Pulled Pork Tostadas

These are great to make when I have leftover pulled pork.

There's not really a formal "recipe" for these.  The base, naturally, are corn tortillas.  You want them crispy.  Fry them up in a little hot oil and let them drain on paper towels, or you can buy packaged, whole crisped tortillas in the store.

You can purchase canned refried beans or heat up canned pinto beans and mash them yourself.

They'll most likely be a little healthier if you mash up your own.  I use an immersion blender adding a little chicken broth to reach the spreadable consistency I want..

Put whatever toppings you want in bowls and have everyone make their own.  I typically use shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, and cheese. You can also use minced red onion and a good salsa to top them off.


Spread refried beans on the tortilla, add some pulled pork and finish off with the toppings.  There you go.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Green Bean Casserole

Through the years I have tried to update this iconic dish.  I have used fresh green beans and frozen green beans. I have tried using fresh onion rings and I have even made my own mushroom sauce to replace canned mushroom soup.

Not only were those extra attempts a real hassle, the dish just didn't taste the same as the good old recipe off the back of the French's Fried Onion package; the way Mom and Grandma made it the old school way.

This is so much easier

Not to mention it tastes so much better.

Mix the soup, milk, and the Beau Monde in a mixing bowl then stir in the drained beans.

Add part of the onions and combine 

Turn it into a baking dish that has been prepared with vegetable spray and pop it in the oven.

Sprinkle the remaining onions over the top during the last minutes of cooking and there you have it.

Classic Green Bean Casserole
Serves 6

1 - 10-1/2 ounce can of Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. Beau Monde seasoning

1 - 28 ounce can canned, French cut green beans (I like Del Monte)
1-1/3 cups French's Crispy Fried Onions, divided

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Spray a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish with vegetable spray, such as Pam.  Drain the green beans.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the soup, milk and Beau Monde.  Fold in the drained green beans and 2/3 cup of the onions. 

Turn in to the prepared casserole and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling.  Top with the remaining onions and cook for 5 more minutes until onions are golden.   

 NOTE:  the original recipe has ground pepper for the seasoning; I have always used Beau Monde )

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Soft Boiled Egg

The first time I ate a soft boiled egg was in my early teens.  I recall the egg poised in a porcelain egg cup, learning how to cut off the top with a sharp knife, working a pat of butter down into the soft golden yellow yolk, then eating the egg with a spoon and a triangle of toast. 

That's how I enjoy a soft boiled egg at a restaurant.  Here's how I do it at home. Now that I'm retired I have the time to make them most mornings.

It's simple and delicious...

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil then carefully place your egg in the boiling water.  Set your timer.  I set mine for 6 to 7 minutes (6 for one egg, 7 for two eggs).  This amount of time makes it perfect for me; runny yellow and soft white. Now, while your egg or eggs are cooking prepare for showtime.

Prepare an ice bath in a small bowl, 

Have a tea towel handy with a tea spoon (not the measuring kind but the flatware kind)

and a pair of these handy kitchen scissors with the "teeth" in the handle.

In the microwave, melt a tablespoon of butter in the bowl that you are going to eat your eggs out of and set aside.

Once your timer goes off, immediately and gently transfer the eggs from the boiling water to the ice bath.

After a few seconds in the ice bath, take one egg at a time and clip off the top of the egg (the pointy end) with the kitchen scissors (if you do not have kitchen scissors, use a very sharp paring knife to whack and slice off the top of the egg).

With the teaspoon scrape the insides of the egg into the bowl of melted butter.  Repeat with the second egg if you are having two.

Here is where you decide how you will have your morning egg.  Plain,

salt and peppered with a piece of toast,

or over an English Muffin.

Growing up, I liked to tear up a dry piece of toast in my egg.  Today I had some homemade croutons and they were even better!

This is such a wonderful way to enjoy breakfast and get your morning protein.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Honey-Mustard Dressing

This is Lovey's favorite salad dressing.

Ingredients are simple: Dijon mustard, vinegar, honey, salt, and vegetable oil.

The first time I made a batch I did not have enough regular Dijon mustard on hand, but I did have a jar of whole grain Dijon; so I used that instead. I have used combinations of whole grain, a regular Dijon as well as a Sierra Nevada Stout Stoneground.  You can also combine varieties.  The best batch I ever made was with half whole grain and half of the Sierra Nevada Stout Stoneground.

The honey you use will make your dressing unique each time.

Since my blender is in storage, our Magic Bullet serves as the perfect substitute to make this recipe. When I use the whole grain mustard I blend the mustard and vinegar together first to break up some of the mustard seeds.  If you do use the whole grain you will always have a bit of texture. After that I add the rest of the ingredients.

If you use a blender you can blend all of the ingredients except the oil until smooth and add the oil lastly in a slow, thin stream through the feed tube until emulsified.

Do a little taste testing once blended and add more honey if you desire a little more sweetness.

I store mine in a Ball jar.  It will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Serve over crisp greens or use as a dip for crudites.


Honey-Mustard Dressing
Makes approximately 1 cup

1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

In the container of a blender combine all ingredients except the oil and blend for 30 seconds.  Slowly add the oil in a fine stream through the feeder tube/opening and blend until emulsified. Store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator.  Will keep for several days.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Gingersnap Cookies

I don't recall how long I have been making this recipe but I do know that, for some reason, I only make them during the Christmas Holiday. They are definitely good enough to be made at any time of year.

They are spicy (maybe that's why they are perfect for the holidays), buttery, crisp and easy to make.

In a medium mixing bowl stir together the flour, the spices and the baking soda and salt. Set that aside.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer (you can also easily use a hand mixer with this recipe) whip the softened butter until fluffy.

Now add your egg and the molasses and mix until completely incorporated.

Add the flour in additions and incorporate on low speed until just mixed.

Form into a 10 inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is very firm or overnight. Most of the time I prepare the dough the day before baking.

With a 1 Tbsp. scoop form one-inch balls

and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart

Bake until brown and set


 Gingersnap Cookies
Makes approximately 5-1/2 dozen cookies

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
 1 large egg
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, white pepper, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl or the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, using a handheld mixer or the whisk attachment of the stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth.  Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and molasses.  Add the dry ingredients in two additions, and beat on low speed until just blended.  Form the dough into a 10-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Roll tablespoons of the dough (or use a Tbsp. scoop) into 1-inch balls and arrange them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.  Bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until browned and set. Shift the pans halfway through the baking time.  Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets.

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.      


Friday, December 8, 2017

Cream of Chicken Soup

I normally make this when I have leftovers from a roast chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken. It's one of Lovey's favorite leftover dishes. Especially when it is cold; like it is today.

One of the things I love about being retired is that I have the option of prepping dinner early.  It's easy to do so with this recipe, then it's really easy to throw together and serve within 30 to 40 minutes.

Dice the onion, carrots and celery into 1/4" pieces.  It's a plus to use celery stalks with the leaves; the leaves add an enormous amount of flavor. Mince the clove of garlic and set all this aside.

 Cut your left-over chicken into bite-size pieces 

Measure out your chicken broth (store bought or homemade)

 and the flour

bundle the herbs and tie into a bouquet garni.  I usually wrap these up in a piece of cheese cloth but I just threw it in there bare today.

Now you are ready to create your soup.  Melt a stick of butter and sweat the vegetables.

Add the flour, mix well and allow to cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the broth and gently whisk until the broth and roux are combined. Bring to a boil

and throw in the bouquet garni. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the chicken and return to a boil.

Remove soup from the heat and add the cream and sherry.

NOTE:  Sometimes I like to add rice to my bowl. Steam up a little rice or use left-over rice.

Cream of Chicken Soup
Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion
2 stalks celery with leaves
3 medium carrots
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken, leftover roast chicken or store-bought rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tsp. dry sherry
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
cooked rice (optional)

Mise en Place:
  • chop onion, celery and carrot into 1/4" pieces and  set aside
  • mince garlic and add to other vegetables
  • Measure out flour
  • measure out stock
  • gather parsley, thyme, and bay leaf into a bundle and tie into a bouquet garni
  • chop chicken into bite-size pieces
  • if using garnish, roughly chop the 2 Tbsp. parsley
  • cook rice if using
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 more minutes.

Add the stock and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Add the bouquet garni. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the chicken and return to a boil.  Remove from heat.

Stir the cream and sherry into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with chopped parsley if desired. Serves up nice with a side salad or sandwich. We like grilled cheese.

If using rice, place 1/4 cup cooked rice in bottom of bowl and ladel soup over rice.