Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grandma's Meatloaf

Grandma's Meatloaf

2 pounds ground beef (80/20 works great, meatloaf mix is even better - meatloaf mix is beef, veal and pork)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp dried chopped onion

Combine the first six ingredients and gently press into a loaf pan. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the meatloaf in pan.
Bank in 350-degree oven for 90 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes and remove from pan, slice and serve.

Butternut Squash Gratin

A few years ago, Dan and I ate dinner at Forepaugh's. One of the sides that came with out entree's was Butternut Squash Gratin. It was so good, Dan and I practically licked the serving dish out when it was gone (in about 45 seconds).
Since then, I've been searching the web for a recipe for Butternut Squash Gratin and have never found anything that I felt would suffice. So, tonight I took matters into my own hands and decided to take care of business myself. I know how to cook for gosh sake....and now that I've got a cast iron skillet, life is good.
Let's get this party started, shall we?

Butternut Squash Gratin
1 butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (about 4 cups)
5 tbsp butter; divided
1 onion; chopped in large chunks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp fresh sage, minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
fresh ground nutmeg
In a large sauce pan, with the steamer insert, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil (enough water to come to the bottom of the steamer basket). Add the cubed squash, cover and steam for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a 10 inch cast iron skillet, melt 3 tbsp of butter, add the chopped onion. Saute on low to medium heat until soft and carmelized, stirring occasionally. This takes about 20 minutes. Add the squash to the onions in the skillet and stir until combined. Sprinkle with salt, fresh ground pepper, sage and fresh ground nutmeg.
Heat the heavy cream in microwave for 1-2 minutes until warm. Pour over squash.
In a bowl, toss the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese with the remaining 2 tbsp of butter (melted). Sprinkle over the squash mixture in the skillet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, until bubbly.
Season with salt and pepper when serving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My OWN Macaroni and Cheese

Over the last several months, I've been in search of the "perfect" macaroni and cheese recipe. They are either too dry, not enough flavor or (gulp) too Velveeta'y!
So, yesterday I decided to take the bull by the horns and make up my own version that is a little bit of each recipe that I've made in the last 3 months...... it started with America's Test Kitchen's recipe, I love the taste of the different cheeses, but had a weird texture. Martha Stewarts is DIVINE, but it's got $30 worth of cheese in it; too expensive! Then, I tried my friend Audrey's; delicious, creamy and had a wonderfully flavorful sourdough crumb topping, but it was Velveeta. Last was The Pioneer Woman's recipe, a flavor explosion (thanks to the dry mustard!) and great cheese flavor, but was a little too dry for my taste buds and it was missing a bread crumb topping.
So, I set out yesterday to sort of combine them all. Here's what I came up with and it was pretty DANG good!

1 pound pasta (I love Rotelle pasta mac and cheese!)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1 quart whole milk
2 teaspoons of dry mustard (or a little less if you don't like too much flavor)
1/2 teapsoon of season salt
1/2 teaspoon Frank's Red Hot Sauce
fresh ground pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated (grate it yourself, please)
2 cups gruyere cheese (save some $$ and buy a block at sam's club and use half and freeze half for later, you won't regret the gruyere!)
2-3 slices torn sourdough bread
4 tablespoons butter, melted
grated parmesan cheese

Boil 4 qts of water in a pot. Add pasta, some salt and cook al'dente. (about 10-12 minutes, depending on the type). Drain and set aside.
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and contiune cooking, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in 1 quart of milk. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly for several minutes until thickened (takes me about 6-8 minutes). In a small bowl, lightly beat an egg, whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk sauce mixture so the egg is tempered. Add the egg mixture to the dutch oven, continuing to whisk constantly.
When that is mixed in, add the dry mustard, seasoned salt, fresh ground pepper and Frank's Red Hot; mix thoroughly. Begin adding the cheese by handfuls until all cheese is incorporated. Taste and season accordingly, I add some kosher salt at this point.
Stir in the cooked noodles. It will be very saucy, but that's great!
Pour the noodle mixture into a 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray.
In a food processor, pulse the sourdough bread until it is coarsely crumbed. While pulsing a few more times, pour the melted butter in through the feed tube. Toss with about 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Evenly distribute the crumbs over the top of the mac and cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Turkey and Stuffing Scallop

My grandma used to make this casserole every year after Thanksgiving. It's a great dish to make with some of the leftovers. I love it and this is comfort food!

3 1/2 cups prepared stuffing, herb is good, but use whatever is leftover
3 cups cooked turkey, cut into pieces
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
4 cups chicken broth
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp dry sherry
1 cup sour cream
1 small jar pimento, drained and chopped

If not using leftovers, prepare stuffing. Spread stuffing in a 9×13 baking dish. Top with chopped turkey. In a medium saucepan, melt buter; whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper; stir well. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and cook, stirring until the mixture thickens.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs, stir in a small amount of the hot mixture, to temper the eggs. Return the egg/hot mixture to the saucepan. Pour over the turkey and stuffing.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway comes out clean. (this takes me longer in our oven) .
Let stand 5 minutes.
While the turkey/stuffing is standing, combine the soup, milk, sherry, sour cream and pimento in a small sauce pan and heat.
Cut the casserole into squares and serve with pimento sauce.
(I don’t care for pimento, so I leave it out…but my grandma always used them.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Apple Pie Squares

I watched a little bit of the Martha Stewart "Thanksgiving Desserts" special on the Fine Living Network this morning.
She made pumpkin pie, apple pie and a bunch of other stuff. I was hungry for Apple I made these.... the recipe is from my cousin Mary Kay Elbert.  She made them years ago at their fall bonfire and I had to have the recipe!

Apple Pie Squares

1 1/3 c. shortening
3 1/2 c flour
8-9 tbsp cold water
Mix together with pastry blender, like preparing pie crust. (I use a food processor with the steel blade, add the water through the feed tube with machine running)
Gather into a ball, divide into halves. Shape into a rectangular log and freeze for about 30 minutes. Roll one half of the dough into an 18x13 rectangle. Put in ungreased jelly roll pan. Roll other half into 17x12 rectangle and set aside.

1 c. granulated sugar (a little extra isn't bad...)
1/3 c. flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
8 cups thinly sliced tart apples (extra here isn't bad either)

3 tbsp butter, melted
Turbinado sugar

3/4 c powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk

Prepare filling:
Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg & cinnamon. Stir in Apples. Turn into pastry lined pan. Cover with second crust. Brush top of crust with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar (turbinado sugar is lovely here.)
Seal edges, cut slits into top crust. Bake about 35-40 minutes @ 425.
Combine powdered sugar and milk, frost the apple pastry with this after cooling a few minutes.
Cool completely and cut into squares.
Serve warm.