Shepherd’s pie

I love to make shepherd’s pie because it is so filling and simple to make, especially the way I do!

image

Ingredients
-2 lbs hamburger, you could also use lamb (what shepherd’s pie was originally made with), Turkey, chicken, and ground meat.
-6 medium potatoes
-milk (for potatoes)
-sour cream (for potatoes)
-bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, green beans, and corn)
-1 stalk of celery diced
-1 medium onion
-4 cloves of garlic
-8 fl oz need stock (if usi,g a red meat use beef, white meat use chicken)
-2 oz butter
-2 oz flour
-1/4 C cheese
-seasonings to taste

Procedure
1. Begin by peeling, diving, and boiling the potatoes and 2 cloves of garlic. When potatoes are tender add milk, sour cream, salt, and pepper to taste and mash.
2. In a skillet begin cooking the meat, when almost done add in diced onion, celery, and garlic. Add any herbs or spices you desire (I used garlic salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme)
3. In a third pan make a roux by combining the flour and butter, whisk to ensure no clumps are left. Heat on low until it smells nutty, stirring often. When done, slowly whisk in stock and let cook for a few minutes until thickened,
4. Pour the bag of vegetables in a baking dish (I used a large corningware baking dish). Scoop out meat, leaving as much grease in the pan as possible, and add to baking dish. Stir to combine vegetables and meat.
5.Pour gravy over meat and vegetables.
6. Spoon or pipe potatoes evenly over the mixture. Sprinkle with cheese (I used mild cheddar) and paprika.
7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, turn broiler on hi for 5 minutes.
8. Serve and enjoy!!

image

Advertisements

MMMhhh Fried Chicken

Honestly, I would never choose to have fried chicken for dinner. I’m not a huge fan of the taste, its messy to make and cook, and clean up is awful; basically everything I dislike! My fiance, Elias, absolutely loves fried chicken. If the choice is up to him he will go to KFC everyday, this means we end up having to cook it occasionally.  He tells a story from when he was younger where his sister would ask him and his brother what they wanted for dinner and every night they would say fried chicken. She thought she would make it until they were sick of it, but after two weeks she had to stop because they obviously weren’t going to!!

Elias says fried chicken should be served every night!
Elias says fried chicken should be served every night!

Elias found a recipe that he was dying to try, with a few changes I made it pretty darn good!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Chicken tenders or bone in chicken, your choice
  • Buttermilk or Milk to soak chicken in overnight, just enough to cover the chicken
  • Cream of chicken condensed soup, small can
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/4 t seasoned salt
  • 10 T Flour
  • 10 T cornstarch
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t seasoned salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • Oil for frying

Procedure

  1. Rinse and dry chicken, soak in milk for 30 minutes to overnight.
  2. Heat oil to 350 degrees
  3. In one bowl combine soup, egg, first seasoned salt, and milk. Stir well to ensure all in incorporated.

    Before it has been stirred together
    Before it has been stirred together
  4. In another bowl sift all dry ingredients together.

    All sifted toether
    All sifted together
  5. Place all chicken in soup mixture. One at a time drop chicken in flour mixture to coat, using a for or spoon carefully place in hot oil.
  6. Fry until heated to a minimum of 165 degrees F and golden brown on the outside. Let drain on paper towel.

    I drained the chicken on a wire rack.
    I drained the chicken on a wire rack.
  7. Serve!

    It was Elias' turn to choose what dinner was. He made a "man meal" of fried chicken, ribs, garlic mashed potatoes, and a salad (I said we needed some kind of veggie!). I'll make sure to post the ribs recipe soon!
    It was Elias’ turn to choose what dinner was. He made a “man meal” of fried chicken, ribs, garlic mashed potatoes, and a salad (I said we needed some kind of veggie!). I’ll make sure to post the ribs recipe soon!

Water!

Now I’m not going to tell you how to make water, but I am going to show you how to make water easier to drink!  The body is about 60% water (depending on the person) by drinking the correct amount of water your body stays balanced which helps transport nutrients, jump start your metabolism,  wake you up, and so many other benefits, just by adding water to your daily schedule! Now if you switch from soda/pop-whichever term you prefer-the average person will lose 22 pounds in the first year!

When I was about 11 I was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance, this is a disorder where you body doesn’t use the insulin it produces, causing it to try to produce even more to control sugar levels.  This often leads to type 2 diabetes if not correctly taken care of.  Now at this time I basically drank soda all the time with milk occasionally, but I made the decision to stop drinking soda, and to this day I haven’t had a drop! (That’s ten years!!) Because I now drink plain water all the time I tend to get bored. My mom’s friend began making fruit infused waters, these are better for you than juices because they are completely natural, you know exactly what you’re drinking, there are no added preservatives and junk, and you’re getting your water for the day!

juice ingredientsLook at how much extra junk is in here! Now can I point out that this is less than .5% natural flavors! Most of the ingredients are to help preserve it and add flavors but if you were to make it at home you would save money and be eating, or should I say drinking, healthier.

I will share with you my current favorite, Orange Mint water.  Making these infused waters is ridiculously easy, even those people who can’t seem to make anything (you know you you are) can do it!

Sliced oranges. Leave the peel on and throw the whole thing in, no waste!
Sliced oranges. Leave the peel on and throw the whole thing in, no waste!

Ingredients

  • 4 oranges, seeded or seedless, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
  • 5 sprigs of fresh mint, pull leaves off and gently rub
  • 3/4 Gallon of water
  • Enough ice to finish filling the container
  • 1/2 t of sugar or sugar substitute, I prefer Stevia.
Mint leaves. I tear the really big ones in half.
Mint leaves. I tear the really big ones in half.

Procedure

Before the ice
Before the ice
  1. Place sliced oranges and mint in pitcher, sprinkle with sugar/sweetener.
  2. Add cold water, stir to combine sugar/sweetener. Add ice and cover.
  3. Let chill in fridge for about 1-2 hours
  4. Enjoy!!
After Ice
After Ice

Simple Baked Chicken and Buffalo Chicken Ring

Tonight’s dinner was a new creation, I concocted a buffalo chicken salad and stuffed it into a crescent roll ring.  It was very very simple and delicious, if I do say so myself! I am going to make this post in a few steps, first I will share my chicken recipe and then the Buffalo Ring!

Baked Chicken

One of the chicken breasts after it has finished baking. For this recipe I used garlic salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and crushed red pepper.
One of the chicken breasts after it has finished baking. For this recipe I used garlic salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and crushed red pepper.

I use frozen, skinless, chicken breast that I cook right out of the freezer.  By skipping the thawing step it is an easy dinner to make after work.  This is a basic recipe, you can substitute any herbs and spices you like to serve with any meal.

Ingredients

  • Chicken, I made 3 today (for three people)
  • Herbs and spices, just enough to sprinkle over the chicken
  • Cooking spray

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Coat pan with nonstick spray, place chicken in pan and spray with nonstick spray as well.  You could drizzle with oil or some butter instead, using the nonstick spray is a little healthier for you and easier. Sprinkle with desired spices.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 165 or higher
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve whichever way you prefer
chicken2
One of the breasts in the process of being sliced.

Buffalo Chicken Ring

Finished product!
Finished product!

Ingredients

  • Chicken-baked anyway you like, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo sauce
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 2 stalks of celery, small dice
  • Packet of ranch dressing mix (dry powdered mix)
  • One package of softened cream cheese
  • 2 tubes of crescent rolls
All the ingredients except the chicken.
All the ingredients except the chicken.
With the chicken added in
With the chicken added in

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Combine everything except crescent rolls in a large bowl, mix well.
  3. Lay crescent roll dough out in a circle. Spoon buffalo mixture onto the dough, fold dough over and pinch seams together.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough is golden brown.
  5. Let sit for 5 minutes to let the sauces settle. Serve with ranch or blue cheese for dipping!
Crescent roll dough laid out. It is supposed to be a ring but I made an ellipse.
Crescent roll dough laid out. It is supposed to be a ring but I made an ellipse.
Filled and pinched closed
Filled and pinched closed
Let cool, slice, and enjoy!
Let cool, slice, and enjoy!

Candy Glass!

Making candy is something I haven’t done much but I have watched my grandparents do it countless times and I’ve always enjoyed the final product! Candy glass, or sugar glass, was used in movie productions as fake glass that is easily, and more safely, shatter or jumped through.  Many high end restaurants and bakeries use candy glass as a garnish on desserts but it is pretty dangerous to make. My school  showed us how but was very adamant about safety measures we needed to take, if you were to let the “molten” sugar get on your skin, instant second degree burns will occur if not worse.  With that being said, I encourage everyone to keep a large bowl of ice water nearby. If an accident were to occur, dunk your hand/arm/whatever in the ice water to help limit the amount of damage being done.

Now that you have the background info and safety warning lets get onto the making!

Utensils

  • Candy Thermometer with a clip
  • Baking sheet or silicon mold with walls at least 1 in high
  • Heavy duty sauce pan
  • Metal or wood spoon
  • Measuring spoons
  • Nonstick spray

Ingredients

  • 2 C water
  • 1 C corn syrup
  • 3 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 t cream of tartar
  • 2 t flavoring (if desired)
  • a few drops food coloring (if desired)

Procedure

  1. Combine all ingredients except flavoring and food color. Heat on low! If you you have the heat too high it will discolor because you will begin caramelizing the sugars.
  2. Heat to the “hard crack stage”, 300 degrees F. This refers to the original way to tell how hot the sugar is by dropping some into cold water. If you don’t have a candy thermometer you can use this water technique, just make sure you do some research! At this point if you want color of flavor, quickly stir it in.
  3. remove pan from heat and quickly (and very very carefully) pour it onto the greased cookie sheet. gently shake and tilt the cookie sheet to spread the sugar out as evenly as possible.
  4. Let sit at least an hour, until completely hard. If you want one large sheet, use a hot knife to slide around the edges and carefully pry it up.  You can use an engraver to make a desired shape that the glass will crack around, to do this go over the outline many times, about a dozen, to ensure the cut is deep enough. I chose to shatter the glass and create a stained glass cookie cake
cookingsugar
Cooking the sugar, water, and syrup mixture. You can see the candy thermometer that is clipped to the side of the pot. You will want to keep a close eye on it, it will take forever (figuratively) to get up to the correct temp but it will just the last 20 degrees or so!
blackglass
This is the black glass. You can see some bubbles in it, this is because I didn’t shake it well enough, you can also use a needle or pin to pop these.
redglass
This is the red glass. You can see that one side is thicker than the other, this was done on purpose because I wanted a variety of shades.
finished cookie
This was my finished product, I created a giant cookie cake with buttercream icing which I used a a glue to hold the glass properly.

May 29 is National Biscuit Day

May 29 is National Biscuit Day.

I read the above post by Foodimentary and decided I would share a super simple biscuit recipe by Tammy Algood.

For these you will only need two ingredients, a rolling pin, biscuit cutter, and a baking sheet!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Stir together ingredients until just combines, DON’T OVER MIX!!!!! This is so important when baking, over mixing certain items can cause them to not rise while baking!
  3. Place dough onto a floured surface (so it won’t stick) knead as few times as possible, I say no more than a dozed times but try to do it three of four times. take your floured rolling pin and roll dough out to 1/2 in thick. use biscuit cutter (or cookie cutter, or empty can, or glass, etc.) push straight down and lift straight out, don’t twist! If you twist the biscuits won’t rise!
  4. Grease your baking sheet, place biscuits about 1/2 in apart and bake for 10 minutes.

If you choose to make large biscuits (4 in or larger) you’ll want to lower the baking temperature to about 400 and increase baking time to 15 minutes, roughly.  For smaller biscuits just decrease cooking time. These times and temperatures are estimates, all ovens vary so use your knowledge of your oven when cooking!

Brussel sprouts can be delish!

Now I know the normal reaction to brussel sprouts is of general disgust and loathing, but with some creativity and love thay can be absolutely wonderful.  I took a house of five people (three of which are horribly picky eaters) and convinced them that brussel sprouts were a gift from God to our palates!  And it was incredibly easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb whole brussel sprouts
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove of minced garlic

Procedure

  1. wash and completely dry brussel sprouts (if you don’t completely dry they can become a little soggy while cooking, which makes them a little gross!) pull off any brown leaves and but into quarters, set aside.
  2. cook bacon until nice and crispy,let drain on paper towel. leave fat in pan, this is what will make them so delicious!
  3. dice onion into about 1/4 in, add onion to hot pan of baking grease, let cook until translucent, add quarted brussel sprouts and stir to coat. add garlic. turn down heat to low, cover, and let cook for about 15 minutes until tender. stir occasionally, you want to make sure they don’t burn.
  4. crumble the bacon, stir into the brussel sprouts and serve!

This recipe served five people some small to medium sized servings, we easily could have eaten twice as much!  We really like garlic and onions, they’re some of our favorite ingredients, you can easily add extra of either.  If you’re huge bacon fans, you can make as much as you want to o in here, just drain out some, you only need about 1/4 cup.

I don’t currently have a photo but as soon as I get one I’ll post ti!

The Best Green Beans You’ll Ever Have

I learned to make the original recipe from a previous job, I then changed it into my very own! I prefer fresh green beans but frozen works perfectly as well!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs fresh green beans, ends snapped off, cleaned, and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Procedure

  1. Place water and green beans on stove, set to medium, just enough to have a gentle boil. place butter on top. let cook until beans are al dente-about 5 minutes (while boiling). most water should be gone and butter will be melted.
  2. Add all seasonings and stir together
  3. Serve!

You can use bacon fat instead of butter, this makes them even more delicious but much more fattening!

Next Level Applesauce Pork Chops

Snapshot_20150528.JPGThese pork chops are officially my favorite as of today! I took what I knew about baking pork chops and made a new, and if  do say so myself, awesome recipe! The photo doesn’t do it much justice, if anyone makes it and takes a better photo, send it to me and I’ll post it!

Ingredients

  • 4 1 inch thick pork chops
  • 2 medium apples (I prefer gala) sliced
  • one small yellow onion, sliced in quarter moons
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Tools

  • 9 in x 13 in baking dish
  • cooking spray
  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife

Procedure 

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients, set aside
  3. Spray baking dish, set aside
  4. core apples (if you don’t have an apple corer-I don’t- quarter the apples and very carefully cut the center of the apple off by slicing at an angle) slice into 1/4 inch pieces. spread into bottom of pan
  5. thinly slice garlic cloves and spread into pan
  6. slice onions into quarter moons. place in pan
  7. lay pork chops on top of apple/onion/garlic mix. ensure they do not overlap and they are balanced in the pan (i.e. don’t but three on one side and one on the other)
  8. spoon sauce mixture over everything
  9. Bake for 35-45 minutes. make sure the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F

Serve with a spoonful of apple mixture on top and enjoy!

How to Rework a Recipe

To begin reworking recipes you first need to know what you want to make. Do you want to bake? Make a protein? A salad?  All of these are very different when it comes to preparation. Baking is a science, without a firm foundation in baking fundamentals, slight changes can cause havoc!

Once you have a recipe that you like (almost) find what needs to change, do some research on adequate substitutions to make sure you aren’t creating a disaster!

The next step is to test it! I suggest doing this when you don’t have people over or during any kind of event. The best time is when you’re home alone or with your close family to experiment.

Once its done cooking/baking/chilling etc., find what worked and what didn’t and do it again until its perfect!

I strongly suggest creating your own recipe book to save all of your creations. You can find some like the one in the photo here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/61538304/blank-recipe-book-4in-x-6inrecipe books