Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stir-Fried Shrimp & Asparagus

The last several weeks, I've been testing out various stir fry recipes.  I have never made stir fry before, but now I think I may be addicted to it.  There are so many ways to have it - you basically just pick your meat (if desired) and the veggie possibilities are limitless!  Once summer comes, I know I'll be craving an even wider variety of vegetables but for now, I'm keeping it to one or two. 

I found this recipe in my Williams-Sonoma cookbook, and it was so good!  Also, I purchased my shrimp from Costco (which I've never done before) and also, was SOOO good!  I was surprised by how meaty they were.  The recipe calls to serve it with white rice, but I like to serve mine with short grain brown rice and I think that works great, too.  Oh, and my kids aren't big fans of asparagus, so I substituted it for green beans - I love the versatility of stir fry!

Stir-Fried Shrimp & Asparagus
Original recipe by The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, pg. 166

2 lb. large shrimp (prawns), peeled, with tail segments intact, and deveined
1 tsp each sea salt and Asian sesame oil
1 T tamari or light soy sauce
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and stalks peeled if thick and woody
2 T peanut or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 green (spring) onion, including tender green parts, cut on the diagonal into 1" pieces
2 T Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (I just used rice vinegar)
Steamed White Rice for serving

Place the shrimp in a glass or ceramic bowl and add the salt, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  Toss to coat.  Cut the asparagus on the diagonal into pieces about 2" long.

In a large wok or saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the peanut oil until it shimmers.  Swirl the pan to coat evenly with the oil.  Add the garlic, ginger, and shrimp and toss and stir until the shrimp are evenly pink on both sides, about 1 minute.  Using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

Add the asparagus to the pan and toss and stir over medium-high heat until bright green, about 1 minute.  Add the green onion and wine.  Cover the pan and cook until the asparagus is  tender-crisp, about 2 minutes.  Return the shrimp to the pan and toss and stir just until heated through, about 1 minute.  Pour into a shallow bowl and serve at once with steamed rice.

I am happy that stir fry is something that everyone in my family enjoys - I hope you find the same thing in your house!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Diner Style Meatloaf

When I cook, I like to classify recipes in two categories: weeknight meals and Sunday meals.  The weeknight meals are easy and quick, and Sunday meals take longer and require more prep work.  This has been a long time family favorite - I came across this recipe from a super cute cookbook that my mother in law gave me early on in my marraige.  This is a "Sunday" meal - there is a lot of prep work involved consisting of lots of chopping.  I recommend chopping things ahead of time if you know you'll be in a bit of a hurry to get dinner moving.  But, it's worth it - this meatloaf is so flavorful and moist!

Diner Style Meatloaf
Recipe from Mary Engelbreit’s Queen of the Kitchen Cookbook, pg. 46

½ C chicken broth
1 T vegetable oil
3 large shallots, finely chopped
½ C finely chopped carrot (about 1 carrot)
10 oz. small white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 ¼ C fresh bread crumbs (about 4 slices of bread)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
¼ C finely chopped fresh parsley
1 T finely chopped fresh sage leaves, or 1 tsp. dried and crumbled sage
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1.   In a large non-stick skillet, bring the broth and oil to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and carrots and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until shallots are softened.  Add mushrooms, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, let cool.
2.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking sheet.
3.   With your hands, thoroughly mix the turkey, bread crumbs, apple pasley, and sage into the cooled vegetable mixture.  Add the egg and mix well.  Divide the mixture in half and on the baking sheet, shape each portion into an oval about 6 ½” long, 4” wide and 1 ½” high. 
4.   Bake for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through.  Let the meatloaf rest, loosely covered, for 5 minutes.
5.  Cut the meatloaf into ½” slices, arrange on a platter.

Chef Notes:
a.   Instead of using 10 oz. of mushrooms, I purchase the 8 oz. package.  I also purchase sliced.  It helps chopping go by faster.

See the bits of veggies?  None of my kids like mushrooms, but they have no idea that's what is in here!!!  :-)

Enjoy and live with gusto!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Raspberry Mustard Porkchops

So, it's been an interesting last 24 hours.  Ever have one of those days where things are so packed into one day that you feel like you're head is spinning?  I felt like yesterday was just one of those days.  I'm not sure how it happens, but they sure do creep up on you.  From having to drop off softball gear to my daughter at school, to having to drive my son to church, to having to drive to the mall to pick up an "emergency" pair of contact lenses so my daughter can play softball.  Sigh. 

I had every intention of getting dinner on the table by 5:30, but instead, half of us at at 8:15 and my son and I ate at 9:30 last night. 

Oh, not to mention that while I was at the mall picking up these "emergency" contacts - my oven caught on fire with just my kids at home alone.  Good gravy! 

But - it brings me great joy to sit here and give you this recipe, which is something I literally threw together last night - and guess what, I didn't burn it!  Ha!  It actually turned out really, really good :-)

I served this with green beans, but this would go great with Roasted Asparagus, Spicy Cauliflower, Maple Roasted Butternut Squash or Winter Harvest Rice!

Raspberry Mustard Porkchops
Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

2 T canola oil
4 Boneless Pork Chops
1/4 C chopped onion
1/3 C fruity white wine, such as Riesling
1/4 C Dijon Mustard
1/4 C Robert Rothschild Hot Pepper Raspberry Preserves (or any raspberry jam)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 C dijon mustard with 1/4 C raspberry preserves.  Set aside.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat for 2 minutes.  Add canola oil, swirl to coat.  Add pork chops to skillet; cook until internal temperature reaches 150-155 degrees.  Transfer pork chops to a plate; cover and keep warm.

Add onion to skillet; cook until lightly browned.  Add garlic powder; stir to combine.  Remove skillet from heat; stir in wine, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet.  Add mustard and jam sauce with thyme; cook until thickened (about 3-4 minutes).  Return pork to skillet; turning chops to coat with sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

 Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lemon Bars

So yesterday was the first day of spring - yippeee!!!!!  How long have we been waiting for this day to come??!!  Feels like FOREVER.  I intended to post this recipe yesterday to celebrate our little yearly milestone, but a mom of 3 busy kids, well, you know.  :-)  The day got away from me - again.

So, today is rainy and cold.  Welcome spring.  But, maybe this little ray of sunshine dessert will be the perfect pick me up?

I also had leftover filling, so I made some extra crust and set it inside a couple of ramekins and made tarts.  Those were yummy, and my kids loved having their own personal dessert!

Lemon Bars
Original Recipe by Ina Garten
Yields: 20 squares
Cook Time: 55 minutes

For the crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 C all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra large eggs, room temperature
3 C granulated sugar
2 T grated lemon zest (about 4-6 lemons)
1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 C flour
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Raspberry and White Chocolate Scones

Happy Friday morning to all of you!  Glad the weekend is upon us?  I for one, am ecstatic!  One big reason is this is the first weekend in many weeks that we won't be running off to a basketball tournament across town!  Our season is over, and I am ready for a break.  My son however, is in a minor mourning period.  Thank God we have a hoop in the driveway :-) 

Another reason is my husband and I are running our first 7k tomorrow - we love to run races, but we have such limited opportunities to do so.  We are excited to take this time for ourselves, finally. 

Being that it's Friday - I thought, why not post a yummy breakfast item that you can potentially indulge yourself with over the weekend?  I hope you enjoy it - they were soo good!!!  Raspberries are my favorite fruit and they are even better with white chocolate!

These really are easy to make - I invited a friend and her daughter over to play one morning, and Miss Sunshine and I whipped these up that same morning and it wasn't a big deal! 

Raspberry and White Chocolate Scones
Original Recipe by Tyler Florence
Adapted Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

2 C All-purpose flour
3 T sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 T baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter - cold, and diced
1 1/2 C fresh raspberries, washed and dried
3/4 C buttermilk, plus more to brush on scones

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a food processor bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cold butter cubes and pulse until you have the texture of coarse bread crumbs. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, then add 3/4 cup of buttermilk and stir to combine. As it comes together add berries and fold dough to incorporate berries but not break them up too much.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Using a pastry brush, paint the tops of each scone lightly with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until golden brown, and nice and puffy, about 17 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.

Chef Note: the recipe says to fold the dough gently as not to break up the berries.  I purposely broke up some of the berries, as it seemed easier to get the dough to come together.  That is why my scones have bursts of blue and purple in the dough, which is why they may not be as pretty as they could have been.  It's up to you if you want to do the same :-)

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Citrus Salad

It's been in the 40's and 50's here this week - woo hoo!  Sunshine and warmth are long overdue here in the Upper Plains and when it arrived this week, it sure felt good!!  I decided to try a citrus salad that I saw made on TV several weeks ago, but it stuck with me because it looked so fresh and crisp.  However, making it didn't quite appeal to me with sub-zero temperatures. 

I have to share with you - there are only like 4 ingredients in this recipe, and 2 of them I have never had before!!  I've never had grapefruit or fennel.  When I sliced the fennel, I had to smell it to get a sense of what was to come.  I loved the scent - it sure woke up the senses!  I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was - all flavors complimented each other so nicely, and I'm excited to share it with you.  I did make it just for myself for lunch - Miss Sunshine wasn't a big fan, which surprised me.  So, it will be a treat for just me :-)

Citrus Salad
Original Recipe by Giada de Laurentis

1 large orange, peeled and ends trimmed
1 large grapefruit, peeled and ends trimmed
1 large, or 2 small bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 C packed basil leaves (omitted this time)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/3 C chopped walnuts, toasted (I used pecans instead)

Place a sieve or strainer over a medium bowl.  Hold an orange over the bowl, and using a paring knife, cutting along the membrane on both sides of each segment.  Free the segments and let them fall into the sieve.  Repeat with the grapefruit.  Squeeze the membranes over the bowl to extract as much juice as possible, reserving the juices in the bottom of the bowl.  Place the fruit segments and fennel in a salad bowl. 

In a blender or the bowl of a small food processor, blend together the oil, basil and 3 T of the reserved juices until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Pour over the fruit and fennel.  Add the chopped walnuts and toss until all ingredients are coated.

It was so beautiful and sunny outside, I had to take a picture outside - notice the snow in the background??  :-)

Crisp, fresh, delicious!!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

By the way - HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!

Enjoy and live with gusto!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guinness Sundaes!!

Okay, so I have been thinking about what I want to do for St. Patrick's Day.  Let me start off by saying - I am NOT Irish.  I'm just your every day, run of the mill Swedish and Filipino gal :-)  I'm not a fan of corned beef, beef brisket, or cabbage.  Sorry Ireland.  I y'am what I y'am! 

Being that we are going to a friend's house for to celebrate the day, I won't even be cooking.  But - I felt like I wanted to do something.  So, I found this recipe from the Food Network website - and I tell you, Guinness, sugar, butter.  My husband's three favorite things!!  Ha!  Put it on top of ice cream?  I'm drooling.

I wanted to make this last night, but hubby didn't get home with the Guinness until after 10pm, and this takes about 45 minutes to simmer up, so by the time 10:00 rolled around, I was more into sitting on the couch watching TV than standing in the kitchen. 

So - at 9am this morning, I cracked open a beer and got working.  For those wondering, the beer went into the saucepan - not a glass for me :-) 

It is SOOOO easy to make and an hour later, Miss Sunshine and I were enjoying an ice cream sundae at 10am (don't judge, super moms!).

I LOVE ice cream - but I tell ya, a plain old vanilla with Guinness syrup is now my new favorite dessert.  Thank you Guinness Breweries and Food Network chefs!  This one is a winner!!

Guinness Sundaes
Original Recipe by Food Network

Bring one 15-ounce can Guinness or other stout beer and 1/2 cup sugar to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat and cook until syrupy, about 40 minutes. Whisk in 3 tablespoons diced cold butter. Drizzle the Guinness caramel over vanilla or butter pecan ice cream and serve with shortbread cookies.

Chef's note: I let this simmer for about an hour, instead since I was feeding this to a 5 year old.  I needed to be extra sure the alcohol was evaporated :-) 

All I can say is . . . mmmm . . .

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lobster Corn Chowder and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I have been searching for a good soup recipe for quite some time now and this one leaped out at me.  Not jumped, leaped.  Yup. 

Actually, I watched Robert Irvine make this (actually, it was his protege) on the Food Network channel, and it looked so good.  I made it last night, and it was good.  Two out of my three kids loved it - can you guess which one did not?  Ha! 

Also, I LOVE to have soup paired with grilled cheese sandwiches.  I love a grilled cheese sandwich old school - with cheap white bread and American cheese.  But, that seems most appropriate with tomato soup, don't you think?  This time, I was craving something a bit different.  With this chowder, I decided to use a roasted garlic artisan bread that I had leftover from Costco (gotta love that place!) and some leftover Gruyere cheese.  It was a perfect accompaniment to chowder!

For the chowder itself, I tweaked a few things to make it an easier weeknight meal. 

Lobster Corn Chowder
Original Recipe by Robert Irvine
Adapted Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

  • 2 lobster tails, split in half
  • Generous squeeze lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • Salt
  • 4 C frozen corn kernels
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • 1 cup chopped bacon
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
For the chowder:
In a deep pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over low heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel and pour most of the bacon fat out of the pan.
Return the bacon to the pan, add the onion and celery, and cook over medium heat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the red and orange pepper, garlic, and corn, and cook 5 more minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken stock and stir to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of the pan. Stir in the diced potatoes and raise the heat a little to bring the mixture to a simmer.
Simmer the chowder until the potatoes are cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burning the bottom of the chowder.
Taste the potatoes. When the potatoes are fork tender, turn the heat down to low and slowly stir in the cream. Add another pinch of cayenne if you want to give it a kick.  Keep warm on low heat.

For the lobster: (do this while the chowder is simmering)
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove the lobster tails from the shells and put into the boiling water. Poach for 2 minutes. Remove the lobster and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, chop the lobster and mix with the lemon juice, cayenne, seafood seasoning, and mascarpone. Taste and add salt, if needed.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich:
- 1 loaf of your favorite artisan bread, sliced
- Gruyere Cheese, sliced
- Olive oil
Assemble sandwiches and brush with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Serve with soup and enjoy!
Instead of slicing the sandwich in half, slice them a few times, so you end up having a grilled cheese "stick" - it's fun and makes it easier to dip and eat!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baked Bean Casserole

I found this dish in a cookbook, and thought it sounded interesting.  However, I have to say, instead of a "casserole" type dish, this reminded me more of chili with a twist.  I'm not a big baked bean fan, but this wasn't bad!  Plus, it's topped with bacon and well, need I say more?

Baked Bean Casserole
Original recipe from The Deen Brothers, "Y'All Come Eat" Cookbook, pg. 150

Non-stick cooking spray
2 T vegetable or olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped (2 C)
1 lb. ground beef
2 - 15oz. cans Boston-style baked beans
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (1 C)
1/4 C packed light brown sugar
1 T Dijon mustard
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
5 slices bacon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium eat.  Add the onion, cook about 5 minutes or until softened.  Add the beef; cook about 10 minutes or until brown, breaking meat up with a fork as it cooks.
3. In a large bowl, combine the beef mixture with teh remaining ingredients except the bacon; mix well.  Pour beef mixture into the prepared casserole; arrange the bacon slices on top.  Cover with a lid or aluminum foil.  Bake about 45 minutes or until thick and bubbly.  Bacon will not be crisp at this point.  Uncover dish and preheat broiler.  Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.

I think you could serve this with french fries, like I did - or with my Load 'Em Up Smashed Potatoes!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fish and Chips

This week, the dinners that have been set on the table have been less than stellar.  Like I said yesterday - we do what we have to do to stay sane.  Today, I continue to stand behind that statement.  Anyway, I feel like I'm in a better place so I decided to tackle dinner once again.  This was on the docket for last week, but it didn't happen - so last night I tried it.

Two pieces of information that I'd like you to beware of:
- this produces 4 servings.  I doubled the recipe, because our family has large appetites, but that was a mistake.  We had TONS of leftovers - it's actually quite filling.  Delicious, but filling.
- this might be a messy process.  Keep in mind you're frying food - and that in itself can be messy.  The Dutch oven I used was too small, so I ended up frying the fish in several batches, which I was not crazy about.  I could have used my 10 quart Dutch oven, but then I think I would use 5 gallons of oil, which I wanted to avoid.  But, if you have the right sized Dutch oven, then you'll be fine. 

The end result was delicious, but I felt that I needed to be up front about what to expect with this recipe.  Also, I didn't make home-made "chips".  I bought good old Ore-Ida french fries, and I'll tell you, it was just fine :-)

Next Thursday is St. Patty's Day - this will make a good dinner that everyone is sure to love! 

Fish and Chips
Original Recipe by Williams Sonoma
Makes 4 servings

1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 C beer
4 large russet potatoes, about 1/2 lb. each
Canola or corn oil, for frying
4 pieces cod fillet, each 3/4" thick, about 1 1/2 lb. total weight, pin bones removed
1 C mayonnaise
1 tsp. minced garlic or snipped fresh chives
1 T Dijon mustard
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish
Ketchup, for serving (optional)
Malt vinegar, for serving (optional)

To start the batter, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Pour the beer into another bowl and whisk in the egg yolk.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Gradually whisk in the beer mixture into the flour mixture until a smooth batter forms.  Set aside.

To make the chips, peel and cut the potatoes into slices 1/3" thick and then into sticks 1/3" wide.  Spread on paper towels.  Do not rinse. 

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Pour the oil to a depth of 3" into a Dutch oven or deep fryer and heat over high heat to 365 degrees F.  Add the potatoes in batches and fry until they begin to turn golden, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.  Turn off the heat under the oil.  In a baking pan, spread the potatoes in a single layer.  Bake on the top rack of the oven until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 200 degrees.

Meanwhile, pat the fillets dry and season with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form; fold into the batter.  Over high heat, bring the oil back to 365 degrees.  Dip 2 fillets into the batter, allowing the excess to drip off.  Lower them into the oil.  Fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the fish to an ovenproof platter and place on the lower oven rack.  Repeat to fry the remaining fish.

In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, garlic, and mustard together.  Remove the potatoes and fish from the oven.  Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pile them on the platter with the fish.  Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs.  Serve with the flavored mayonnaise and ketchup and/or malt vinegar, if you like.

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

Ever feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew?  If you say no, then I'm just going to have to say "c'mon now, don't lie" :-)  We've all been there, right?!  These last few weeks have felt that way.  I certainly didn't plan it to be that way, but things and events started stacking up on top of each other and all of a sudden I was asking myself "how did this happen?"  We never mean for it to happen, it just does.  So, we've had frozen pizzas and have had take-out for dinner (there goes my "monthly meal plan", by the way - we'll get back on track next week!).  However, I must make a point to say: we do what we have to do to stay sane!  If mom is feeling crazy, it's nothing but downhill from there.  Anybody relate?

When you have nothing but craziness on your plate, the last thing on your mind is making a breakfast from scratch.  So, save this for a Sunday morning!  But, also know that this isn't as time consuming as you might think.  I would even argue that this might be faster than making an omelet :-)

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
Original Recipe by Ina Garten, Back to Basics Cookbook, pg. 228

All purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, diced
1/2 C cold buttermilk, shaken
1 cold extra large egg
1 C grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese (I use Vermont white cheddar)
1 egg beaten with 1 T water or milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  Place 2 C flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.
  Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small glass measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork.  With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened.  In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar with a small handful of flour and, with the mixer still on low, add the cheese to the dough.  Mix only until roughly combined.
  Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly about 6 times.  Roll the dough out to a rectangle 5x10 inches.  With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through. 
Serve hot or warm.

Of course, you have to put a pad of butter on your biscuits!

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beef Stir Fry

I am such a big believer in receiving recipes from friends.  I know that these recipe recommendations are tried, true and trusted.  This recipe was given to me by another mom who swears this is one of her easiest dishes for her growing and hungry 3 boys.  I've made this several times, and it's a keeper.  I LOVE this dish - it's easy, fast and most of all - it's another one that every single child approves of.  Woo hoo!! 

As with just about all stir fry recipes, it's not very filling (if you know my family, we are BIG eaters!).  I used 1 1/2 lbs. of flank steak, and I'm going to have to work on increasing the portions.  Poor hubby - he got home after we all ate, and there was hardly any left for him.  If the 14 year old likes it, no morsel is safe!

Beef Stir Fry
Original recipe by Rhonda
Adapted recipe by Kitchen Groovy

3T peanut oil
1 head broccoli (or you can substitute or add any veggie you want!)
1 red bell pepper
1 1/2 lb. flank steak, cut into stir fry pieces
2 tsp. cornstarch, dissolved into 3 T water
All-Purpose Stir Fry Sauce (recipe follows)

All-Purpose Stir Fry Sauce
4 T soy sauce
2 tsp. finely chopped ginger
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili oil
1-2 green onions, finely chopped

Heat 1 T peanut oil in wok or fry pan over medium high heat and stir fry broccoli until lightly browned.  Transfer to a dish.  Add another 1 T peanut oil and sear stir fry beef strips about 2-3 minutes (you may need to do this in batches).  Return all the beef to the wok and add red pepper, stir fry until peppers are softened.  Stir in cornstarch mixture and sauce - stir and let thicken for about 1-2 minutes.  Return broccoli to the pan.  Serve over rice.

Healthy, light and delicious!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Make and Take Italian Bake

For those of you who know me personally, you'll know what a passionate believer I am in building relationships through cooking and food.  Some of you heard me speak on it several weeks back.  I think that food is so comforting to so many of us - I don't mean comforting in the sense that it is fattening, not good for us and makes us feel good.  What I mean by comforting is this: we are able to strengthen current relationships and build new ones.  With our husbands, wives, children.  But it's not limited to just "The Family Meal" (which I'm also a staunch believer in) but also with our friends, neighbors and acquaintances.  I can't even tell you how many intimate conversations I've had with people over banana bread or brownies and coffee.  But - why not extend it to bringing a meal to friends, neighbors or acquaintances? 

Let me explain.  I think that as a society, we should aim to serve each other.  I certainly don't want to push any ideas or beliefs upon you, but this is a belief of mine that I am openly sharing.  Life is busy, life is messy at times.  In my life - it seems that way each day!  But, there are times when life is busier and messier.  What can we do to help our neighbors?  For me, I LOVE to bring meals to neighbors and friends.  It can be for any number of reasons i.e. a friend comes down with the flu.  This is the perfect excuse for me to whip up some chicken soup and drop it off!  Who wants to cook when they're sick?  A friend has a baby and parents are sleeping every chance to stay coherant.  The last thing they may want to do is try to cook!  Or, job loss.  Or, maybe I just made too much chili and need to share it with someone.  You get the picture.

BUT - a handful of times, the foundation of friendship can be built upon someone bringing me a meal or me reciprocating.  I heard a gal tell a personal story about how she did not have a great relationship with her neighbor, and it wasn't until she brought her chicken soup did the barrier slowly begin to crumble. 

There is something about food that is comforting.  It comforts, builds and sustains. 

I made this dish several weeks ago for a friend who just had twins.  She already has a 2 year old daughter.  I get overwhelmed every time I think about how often she has to get up for a feeding, or change a diaper.  This is a great "ready to whip up" kind of meal with most ingredients that could already be in your pantry.  Feed it to your family, or give it to another family.  You just never know how much they might need it or appreciate it!

I'd love to hear from you on how someone was the recipient of an act of kindness from you - was it you bringing them a meal?  Or, something else?

Make n Take Italian Bake
Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 small white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
2 jars favorite spaghetti sauce
1 pkg. (6oz) pepperoni slices - quartered (I use turkey)
1 (16oz) pkg penne rigate (I like to use Mini Penne)
1 pkg. Italian shredded cheese blend
1/4 C snipped fresh parsley

In a large skillet, brown ground beef, onion and garlic; drain.  Season with herbs and salt.  Stir in spaghetti sauce and pepperoni; simmer, covered, 10 minutes.  Prepare penne according to package directions; drain.  Arrange pasta in 9x13" glass baking dish.  Pour meat sauce evenly over pasta, stirring evenly to coat pasta. Top with cheese.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven - 20 to 30 minutes, until heated though.

You can skip the baking and run it to a friend and have them bake it!

Or bake it yourself, bring it to a friend or enjoy it with your family.  Either way - who ever eats it will appreciate it!  This is not a gourmet meal by any means.  But, imagine the possibilities by such a simple meal?!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!