Monthly Archives: February 2017

Italian Wedding soup

We have had some crazy weather here in NH of late. We had 3 huge snow storms one week and the next week we get up into the high 60’s and some places into the 70’s for a whole week. We went from 3 feet of snow to just a dusting. I really don’t think winter is over yet, I am sure we will have at least one more snowstorm. We are just not that lucky.  We did have 4 days in a row of record breaking warmth and on day 5 we paid for it. It’s super windy aka power outage windy and very cold. We still have power but you just never know.  img_4974
I don’t always have a lot of spare time on the weekends. I am either running errands or hanging out with friends but I had a long weekend last weekend and not a lot of plans so I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. I made 2 different kinds of meatballs, one for italian wedding soup and the other just to have in the freezer so we could just drop in a sauce for spaghetti or have yummy meatball grinders. I also took the leftover pasta from this soup and made macaroni and cheese.  The next day I made chocolate chip cookies, the one I blogged about and are a little obsessed over of late; along with banana nut bread; I had 3 overripe bananas and oatmeal cream sandwich cookies, I lovingly dubbed big debbies. They taste just like the little debbies that I will admit I used to buy once in awhile.

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Italian Wedding Soup


Meatballs
1 egg
¾ cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
½ dried breadcrumbs
1 small onion diced and sauted
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds ground beef

Broth
2 quarts chicken broth
⅓ cup spinach, frozen or fresh
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl and add the ground beef, mix till combined, try not to overmix/work the beef.  Shape into 1 inch balls, no bigger.  Mine I felt could have been even smaller so they would have been a better small bite versus having to slice them in half.
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Cook your pasta separately and add it at the very end along with the meatballs. You can use the same pot if you want to save some clean up. Cook the pasta first and set aside.
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In a dutch oven or similar pan cook the meatballs over medium heat till cooked. No need to brown them like I did unless you want to. It does change the taste of the soup and a little more depth but entirely your choice!

In the same pan, drain the fat and add the garlic; cook for 1 minute, then add the broth, spinach, onion powder, parsley simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or so.  Add the meatball and pasta heat through and serve.

Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy

If you have never made a pot roast; wait that can’t even be a thing; I’m sure EVERYONE has made a pot roast at least once in their lives right?
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I made the most amazing one for our Sunday dinner last week. I am going to apologize up front that I got totally distracted from the awesomeness of it; I neglected to take a final picture of it to share with you.  I do hope you will want to try this one out as it is very simple, a few ingredients and take about 3½ hours from start to finish and 3 of those are hand off.
img_4958I do wish I didn’t have such a love hate relationship with the earthy mushroom. It brings another level to beef gravy and it certainly would have made making the mushroom gravy a hell of a lot easier on me. I am pretty sure it’s a texture thing with me, I can’t believe it would still be a “fungi” thing but who knows, I might be making excuses hmmmm.
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If you still haven’t invested in a dutch oven please for the love of cooking GET ONE!!!!  I promise you will not be disappointed. You don’t have to spend a fortune on the top brand; knockoffs are just fine. I have one of each and I am happy with both.  Lodge does make a very nice model and I’ve seen them at Home Goods for $50-$60. Pick one up and make this dish, a soup, a stew whatever makes you happy.
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Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy – 350 degrees F – 3 hours

3-4 pound pot roast -I used chuck
Mushrooms – I used sliced portobello
Onions – I used Cippolinis
Red Wine – I used what my husband wanted to have a glass of
Beef Broth
Kosher Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Olive Oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary – chopped

Generously season your roast on all sides with salt and pepper. In your new dutch oven put about 3 swirls of olive oil around the bottom of the pan; on medium heat brown your roast on all sides.

Remove roast to a plate while you brown the onions and mushrooms. Add some salt and pepper to taste as well as the rosemary.
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Deglaze the pan with about ½ cup to 1 cup of red wine scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pot. Once the wine is just about evaporated; add the roast on top of the veggies and pour enough broth to about 1-2 inches from the top of the roast; do not cover the roast with liquid, we are braising not boiling.

Cover and place in the oven for 2½ hours, carefully flip the roast and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove the roast to a cutting board loosely cover with foil while you make the gravy.

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when blending with hot liquid ALWAYS cover with a dish towel 

In either a food processor or blender; transfer some of the veggies, or be silly like me and take them all. Once pureed put them back in the dutch oven and cook down for about 5 minutes.

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OK it doesn’t look appetizing but it was excellent tasting – and the final product looked great

Depending on how thick you want your gravy you can add a tablespoon of butter while constantly stirring off the heat. Or you can add a roux of flour and butter or flour and water while still on the heat.

I actually didn’t
need to strain the pureed veggies; but I did – don’t be too disappointed with me. Anyway it was SO flavorful and delicious I will be making it again SOON!

Chocolate Chip Cookies worth trying

We here in NH are gearing up for our ANOTHER snowstorm today on top of the 16 inches we just got late last week plus the 3 inches we got yesterday. They say we are going to be getting between another 8 to 14 inches; that is a pretty significant difference in numbers relatively speaking; I personally think it is just the way the meteorologists try to cover their butt;  but to us natives a snowstorm is basically just another snowstorm.
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It seems that it doesn’t matter if it is 3 inches or 30 we all HAVE to go to the grocery store. Yes I went last night to avoid the masses that will be there this morning and I went late enough to miss yesterday crowd; unfortunately they took all OK mostly all of the gallons of milk; seriously I had to buy a very expensive gallon of organic milk.
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I hope my new gourmet milk goes with my “perfect” chocolate chip cookies. My brother-in-law watched me make them firstly saying I was cheating using my kitchenaid – my response “work smarter not harder” and questioning why I used 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk; then he tasted them and was totally on board with my methods dubbing them “perfect” which is why this is my 3 batch in the last 2 weeks. Yeah they are that good. My daughter and I were talking about selling them since these are WAY better than the ones you see at all the registers around town.
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Chocolate Chip Cookies worth trying – Preheat oven 325’F

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter – melted but cooled
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Semi-sweet chocolate chips – to your liking – I only add a handful
Chopped nuts (optional) – I used marcona almonds

Mix butter and sugars together well, add eggs and vanilla, in a separate bowl whisk flour, soda and salt and then add to the wet ingredients.  Add chips and if you want to add nuts go ahead. Here is a little trick to make them nice thick and chewy, as long as you don’t over bake them. Take a ball of dough about an inch and half, break it apart and put it back together; see the picture above.

Bake for 12-15 minutes; do not over bake for the best results, let cool on the sheet tray.

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Had to have one before I finished writing – it went together perfectly!!! 


Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

New England Clam Chowder – Go Pats!

Are you ready for some football? Can I say that? It’s probably trademarked but I’ve been “getting ready” all morning…well sort of! The 7 layer dip is prepped, the buffalo wings are pre-cooked, guacamole will most definitely be on the table for halftime and  in honor of my New England Patriots I also made New England Clam Chowder! The funny thing is, we are not even having a Superbowl party but we always watch the big game and it is just so fitting to have well; party food.
img_4951This is the first time that New England Clam Chowder has been on my Superbowl Sunday menu but I felt it was very appropriate being that New England is in the big game this year; Go Pats!!!
img_4944If I wanted to do a full New England spread I would have to have more seafood represented; maybe some fish and chips and definitely a lobster roll plus some Boston Baked Beans. I opted for more of wings, chips and dips kind of menu for the fam.
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Clam Chowder

6 slices bacon diced
1 large Onion diced
2 ribs Celery diced
4 potatoes diced
1 tablespoon flour
2 Bay Leaves
¼ teaspoon Thymes
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
1 cup water
2 cups Clam Juice
1 can whole belly Clams
2 cans chopped clams
2 ½ cups Milk
1 tablespoon butter

In a stockpot fry up diced bacon till crispy; remove from pan to drain on some paper towels. Reserving 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat, saute the onions and celery till translucent. Add the flour and cook for 1 -2 minutes. Add water slowly creating a roux and cook for another minute or two. Add broth, thyme and bay leaves.  Add potatoes and simmer until they are cooked through.  Add milk and clams and finish off with a tab of butter.