Recipe: Red Breakfast Hash

I’m sendinging this recipe to The Today Show for a segment by Joy Bauer on healthy apple recipes. The writing below is a bit different than my typical babbling about how to make something (I thought this might sound more professional) but I wanted to share this recipe with you all first.  It’s just so darn tasty… I hope you agree!

I make a Red Breakfast Hash that is a great brunch recipe – full of flavor and color!  I’ve put a few variations on my wine blog (www.fromthebottomofawinebottle.wordpress.com) but this is one of my favorite offerings.  The recipe can be increased or decreased as needed and it uses up any leftover baked potatoes or extra veggies left in your fridge, so it’s healthy AND a good value.RedBreakfastHash

Basic Ingredients for two:

*1 tablespoon butter

*one baked potato, diced

*one onion, diced

*one apple, cored and diced (I like to leave the skin on)

*Red Wine (I use whatever is in my fridge at the time)

*Salt/pepper to taste

*2 eggs (plus some white vinegar to poach eggs)

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a non-stick skillet and saute’ potato, onion, and apple until browned and a little crispy.
  2. Add red wine to your skillet and give your potato mixture some time to soak up all that flavor and color. Add salt and pepper to taste
  3. While you’re working on #1 and #2, boil some water with some white vinegar added and drop the eggs in to poach just before your wine is totally absorbed.
  4. To serve, divide the red potato mixture onto two plates, top with the poached eggs and break the yolk to share that yummy goodness with the rest of your food.
  5. ENJOY!

I came up with this recipe while working at a winery in VA.  There’s an old joke that goes “what do you call a meal without wine?  Breakfast”, so I decided that I had to fix that problem.  This can be made healthier by using more of the onion/apple mixture, but I really like using a 1:1:1 ratio so the flavors are easily recognizable.  You can also add sautee’d peppers into the mix, if you’d like.  If you’re not a “poached egg fan”, feel free to fry the egg or simply use Fat-free egg substitute as your egg choice.

Note:  the photo mashup I included was created on Picmonkey, using iPhone photos of the food in various stages of creation.  I like to use these on my website to entice people into trying to make my recipes, since they tend to be fairly easy and enjoyable to make.

Crock Pot Recipe: Red Pulled Pork

If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember that I’ve already posted a recipe called “Red Wine Pulled Pork“.  That recipe is really great… but I also wanted to post this one because it is just so incredibly simple.  Simple to the point of being a “marinate, cook, shred, serve” type of recipe… how tough could that be?

I started with a large pork roast… I bought it because it was on sale that Friday and I was looking for something that could feed a crowd while watching Saturday football games in our living room.  When I got home from the store, I put the roast into a plastic storage bag and poured a mixture of smoked paprika, Montreal steak seasoning, and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt over the pork, massaging the seasonings into the meat.  I then put the bag into the fridge to marry the flavors overnight.RedPulledPork

On Saturday morning, I pulled out my crock pot and put dinner together.  I sliced two onions into thin strips (cut the onion in half, root to tip, cut off the top and slice the onion into strips the entire way down to the root, discarding the root) and put it into the bottom of the pot.  I placed the seasoned roast on top of the onions and then poured the end of a bottle of dry red wine (feel free to use as much or as little as you like) into the bottom of the pot.  I chose not to pour the wine over the roast because I really wanted the spices to have time to season the top fat layer as the meat cooked.

I set the crock pot to cook on high for 6-7 hours, but I could have easily chosen to cook it on low for 7-8 hours.  Much will depend on how comfortable you are with your crock pot.

I’m impatient when I use the crock pot, so I did check this about an hour before it was ready.  I like the feel of the meat when it falls apart, so I tend to push the envelope when I’m making this sort of dish.  I removed all the bones and then allowed it to cook until al the meat fell apart exactly as it should.  The onions were a nice addition into the meat, since they just “melted” into the pulled pork.

When I got ready to serve this dish, I sliced homemade kaiser rolls in half and spooned some meat into each roll before topping with a small bit of a jarred BBQ sauce from my fridge.  Potato rolls or chewy rolls from the store are also delicious with this meal… don’t feel that you *have* to make your own rolls for this meal to work.  This recipe was simple… the pork cooked all day and perfumed the entire house with a spicy warm smell that ushered football season into our home in the best possible way.  Enjoy playing with this recipe and making it your own… feel free to use whatever spice your family likes so your meal hits all the “high notes” for your favorite fans. Most of all… have fun!

Recipe: Red Fudge Sauce

Wow… this sauce is such a wonderful recipe that it’s worth making so you can dress up almost any dessert.  Company coming over?  Toast some slices of pound cake or angel food cake (or even ice cream) and drizzle this fudge sauce over top.  Sweet tooth craving something decadent?  Spoon a little warmed sauce over cut up fruit.  Dinner still an hour away and you’re looking for something to “hit the spot” so  you don’t over indulge and ruin your dinner?  Have a small spoonful of this sauce, cold, right out of the fridge.  It’s dark, deep, and oh, so delicious.  I’m confident that you’ll want to keep this recipe on hand for the foreseeable future.RedFudgeSauce

The best part of this recipe, in my opinion, is that it’s just so darn easy to make.  The original recipe came from my boys’ elementary school cookbook, but I just had to tweak it until it hit all the high notes for me (read:  needed wine).  You’ll want to have the following ingredients on hand and ready to go:  5 squares of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, 1/2 cup margarine, 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, a dash of salt, 1 tall can evaporated milk (it’s about 1 2/3 cup total), 2 Tablespoons of red wine, and 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.

To start, melt chocolate and margarine over low heat, whisking until the chocolate is thoroughly melted.  Add the salt to the sugar and add the wine to the evaporated milk.  Alternately add sugar/salt and milk/wine to the chocolate mixture, blending well with a whisk.  Once thoroughly incorporated, bring sauce to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir until thick and creamy, about 8 minutes, then turn off heat and stir in vanilla.

That’s all there is to making your own homemade fudge sauce.  The red wine adds just a touch of richness without altering the flavor to a great degree.  I have tasted it both ways…. feel free to omit the wine if you prefer, but I really enjoyed its’ addition.  Store this sauce in jars (or plastic containers) in the fridge and heat to serve as desired.  I used this sauce recently to pair with a loaf of angel food cake when bringing dinner and dessert to my neighbors.  Such a simple thing, but it was a wonderful thing to share with friends.

Fudge sauce… the new way to share some love with others?  Enjoy!

Recipe: Chicken Pie

My new neighbors were driving home from NC on Monday and I knew they were going to be stressed, so I decided to make dinner for them, while making dinner for us at the same time.  Since I decided to make a chicken pie, it was extremely easy for me to double ingredients and make two dinners at the same time.  This is one of my favorite things to make, so I hope you’ll try this recipe some day… it’s a great comfort meal with lots of old-home appeal.ChickenWinePie

I started with one rotisserie chicken that I bought from the grocery store.  I put the chicken and all its juices into a large stock pot, added water up to the halfway point of the bird, then set the pot to simmer on medium low for about a half hour.  While it was cooking, I threw in some leftover veggies that I had in the fridge (three stems of broccoli without the crowns and six chunks of celery) and allowed them to perfume the water until it became stock.  NOTE: This is my favorite way to make stock… although I usually use carrots, celery, and onion, this turns plain water into something you can use in a myriad of ways.

Once the chicken had cooked in the liquid long enough to be easy to shred, I removed the meat and vegetables to a colander (I used a set of tongs and the chicken fell apart nicely as I removed it from the pot). I then strained the stock through the same colander and into a bowl big enough to hold all the stock so I could use the same pot to start making the chicken pie sauce.

To make the sauce, I started with four Tablespoons of margarine and/or butter and four Tablespoons of flour and whisked them together over medium heat until the fat had time to cook the “raw” taste out of the flour. NOTE: Remember, we’re making enough sauce for two chicken pies.  I then added about one cup of chardonnay white wine (Use whatever wine you prefer) and whisked the sauce to incorporate the wine.  It was still very stiff at this point, so I added an equal amount (equal parts wine to chicken stock) of the reserved chicken stock to the sauce and whisked that until things started looking like a “sauce”.  Feel free to add more wine or stock to get the sauce to the consistency you want for your chicken pie.  I actually went back and added more of both the wine *and* stock, but made the sauce too thin.  TO FIX THIS, I used 1/4 cup of reserved stock and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to create a slurry and added it to the sauce, whisking to make sure not to create any lumps.  Once I had enough of the thickened sauce, I needed to season it before adding it to the dish.  I used freshly ground pepper, some Herbes de Provence, some thyme (I like these two seasonings with chicken, but feel free to use your own favorites), and a squirt of dijon mustard.  I whisked everything together and then let it cook slightly, while I put the chicken pies together.  NOTE:  I went into greater detail in a previous post, entitled “How to make a sauce” on this blog, so feel free to open another tab and use those directions if they seem clearer to you.  I didn’t use any cheese in this sauce, as I did in the previous post, but the method is still the same.

To assemble the chicken pies, I picked and shredded half of the chicken into two separate casserole dishes.  I then drained two cans of mixed vegetables (this usually includes squares of carrots, potatoes, beans, and corn) and poured a can of the vegetables over the chicken in each dish.  NOTE: Since I had cooked extra celery and the broccoli stems, I sliced and added these as well, although they weren’t necessary. I then spooned the sauce evenly over both dishes to finish off the inside of the chicken pies.  NOTE:  I wasn’t sure if my neighbors were watching their salt intake, but knew that I would need to add a little more “umph” to our sauce, so I added a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce to the sauce in our dish.  This isn’t necessary either, but it’s a flavor I know we like.  

For the topping of the chicken pie, you can go in a variety of directions.  For this version, I used a box of Puff Pastry dough. I allowed the dough to thaw for 15-20 minutes, then laid the dough on top of the dish, folding the edges over and brushing everything with an egg wash (mixture of egg and water) to make a nice crust.  I also sprinkled our dish with some garlic salt, since that’s a favorite in our house.  NOTE:  Be sure to make 3-4 slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape during the cooking process.

To bake these beauties, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and pop the chicken pie into the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until you see bubbling sauce coming up through the edges of the slits.  NOTE:  You need to cook Puff Pastry version at a higher temperature.  You can decrease the oven temp to 375 degrees if using another topping of choice.  Remove the chicken pie from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving so no one burns their mouth on food that is, to quote my husband, “hotter than the sun”.

NOTE:  If you don’t want to use Puff Pastry dough for your topping, you can use a can of biscuit dough, a pie crust, or some homemade Bisquick topping.  Whatever you choose, make sure you cook the dish long enough to allow the topping to cook thoroughly.  

I do hope you’ll try this recipe sometime soon.  As the Fall approaches and the weather gets cooler, this meal is a staple in our house.  It always reminds me of my childhood and never fails to bring a smile to my face.  May this become a staple in your home as you create those same memories for your own families.  Enjoy!

Recipe: Pork Scallopini

As with all my recipes, this really is my own take on this meal.  I have an idea in my head of how a “scallopini” should look and taste, so I play with the ingredients I have on hand until the final product comes close to my mind’s version.  I may be totally off-base from any traditional recipe but, since this is my own creation (and it garnered lots of “this is really good” comments), I’ll share it with you here.  I posted a teaser shot last night after dinner on my new Facebook page for this blog, so I hope you’re ready to check this one out!PorkScallopini

I started with 6 very thin pork cutlets that I picked up at the local grocery store.  NOTE: The original package had 12 cutlets, so I used 6 for the first go-round and used the last 6 for this dinner.  Essentially, they were used for the same recipe… I just didn’t post directions the first time, since I wasn’t sure how it would go over and hadn’t taken photos throughout the process. I dredged each cutlet… first in a wet mixture of almond milk and egg, then into a mixture of dry ingredients that included breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper… then saute’d them in a medium-hot skillet with one Tablespoon of melted butter.  I flipped them over after a few minutes, using a spatula, and cooked the other side until both were nicely browned.  I then removed the cutlets to a plate and kept them warm in a 200-degree oven until I was ready for dinner.

Before I started on the sauce, I wanted to choose a “base” for my scallopini.  When I made this dish the first time, I had leftover bow-tie pasta in the fridge, so I decided to heat that up and serve the scallopini over the pasta.  Last night, I had leftover mashed potatoes, so I chose to doctor these up for my scallopini base.  NOTE:  Feel free to use what you have in your fridge when making dishes such as these.  I really like egg noodles with this dish, but I tend to be the minority in my house on that ingredient, so I try and accommodate others’ taste preferences when I can.

Since I was using leftover mashed potatoes for this recipe, I knew I was going to have to work with them a bit to make them taste fresh and not look like I just warmed up some clumpy potatoes for dinner.  To that end, I put the leftover potatoes into a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup and microwaved them until they were warm enough to melt some margarine.  Into the large cup of mashed potatoes, I added varying amounts of almond milk, Chardonnay (white wine), margarine, parmesan cheese, parsley, horseradish mustard, shredded cheddar cheese, and some freshly ground pepper.   I used a whisk to incorporate all the ingredients thoroughly and then microwaved this mixture for about a minute.  I repeated the whisking/microwaving step at least twice…. just until the mixture was creamy, tasted good (don’t forget to taste your food as you cook to adjust the seasonings), and had thickened enough to make a nice base for the scallopini.

Now, onto the sauce.  If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I have a post that is dedicated to “how to make a sauce”.  This truly is how I begin 90% of all my sauces.  I had removed the cutlets from the saute’ pan, so I added 1 Tablespoon of butter, a little olive oil, and some flour, then whisked everything together and let the fat cook the raw flour until it became lightly toasted and fragrant.  NOTE: If you’re using a non-stick skillet, please consider investing in a plastic coated wire whisk… you’ll save your skillet and be just as happy with the results.  The one I currently use is blue and I found it at Target… you don’t need anything fancy, just something that won’t scratch the surface of your pan and ruin it.  Now that my thickener (fat/flour mixture) was ready, I whisked some Chardonnay white wine and chicken stock into the sauce.  As hard as it is to wait, I allowed the liquids to become thoroughly incorporated into the thickener before adding more liquid.  This is when you want to adjust things to make the sauce as thick or as thin as you’d like.  I also knew that I was going to be adding frozen peas to the sauce, which would add some water as they thawed, so I had to keep that in mind as I was cooking.  I then added a few simple seasonings to the sauce, in the form of parsley, horseradish mustard, salt, and pepper, making sure not to add too much salt because of all the other flavors from the pork cutlets and the potatoes.  My last step was to pour in some frozen peas and allow them to cook in the sauce.  NOTE: Don’t forget to adjust your seasonings before you finish… it’s better to season while you’re cooking, rather than after, since they will incorporate better this way.

When you begin to plate your meal, feel free to be creative.  When I made this dish with pasta, I simply laid the pork across the pasta on the plate and spooned the sauce over top.  Since the mashed potatoes made a sturdier base, I placed the pork specifically (as you can see in the photo) and spooned the sauce in the middle so all three layers of the meal were visible.  It was a very simple, yet elegant way to present our dinner.

I hope you’ll try out this recipe.  I think it’s one of my favorite ways to cook pork and, because of the versatility of other ingredients used, helps to clear out some of my leftovers from the fridge.  I actually toyed with making mashed potato waffles for under the cutlets/sauce, but chose not to because I couldn’t reach the waffle iron.  Maybe I’ll make potato pancakes next time instead of using pasta?  If you make this dish, feel free to let me know what you chose to use.

Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Chocolate Wine Muffins

This is one of the easiest recipes in my arsenal – essentially a two-ingredient muffin recipe that I like to doctor by using a bit of red wine and mini chocolate chips.  It’s my favorite recipe to take to events because adults and kids alike inhale these delicious bites as quickly as they’re put on the table.  ChocolateWineMuffins

I start with a box of devil’s food cake mix.  I like the “devil’s food” flavor because it seems to have the most chocolate flavor, but feel free to use whatever chocolate cake mix you prefer.  Into this dry mix, I add one can of pumpkin (NOT the canned “pumpkin pie” stuff), 1/4 cup red wine (dry is best but use what you have and what you prefer – I typically will use a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot if I have it available), and a small handful of mini chocolate chips.  NOTE: These are the ONLY ingredients – don’t use the ingredients listed on the box.  Your batter will be thick – make sure to mix it well so there are no dry bits of mix left.

Using a small cookie scoop and mini muffin tins, scoop the batter into the greased pans and cook in a 375 degree oven for 16-17 minutes.  You’ll need to do this three times as the recipe definitely makes more than 48 muffins – I was able to scoop out 57 but you may have less.  These muffins do tend to puff a bit when cooking, so don’t put too much batter into each spot. NOTE:  You’ll see that I don’t flatten the muffins into each spot – I like the puffy look about them in the end – feel free to do whichever you prefer.  You can also make these into larger muffins, but I find that the smaller ones are easier to handle and don’t get overcooked on the edges as you try and cook the inside thoroughly.

When the muffins come out of the oven, remove them to a wire rack and allow them to cool a bit before serving.  These make lovely gifts for neighbors and new colleagues… see if you get the same positive reaction I got when handing them around.  They’re a great ice-breaker and (if you make 52 of them) are only 38 calories each Sign me up for that bake sale!

Recipe: Easy Cheesy Chicken & Beans

We’ve all seen the mayonnaise ad that tells us to smear mayo on chicken, cover with cheese, and bake to create the “juiciest chicken”, right?  If you haven’t, here’s a link to see what they do.  I had been viewing that ad for ages and finally decided to put my own twist on something that would be a simple yet fun adaptation.  My final product was similar to the original, but I thought it had some really tasty flavors going on.  See what you think…

I started with two partially frozen chicken breasts (the kind you can get in the big bag from those warehouse stores?) and sliced them across to open them up like an envelope.  I didn’t want to cut them the entire way through, although I certainly could have done that to create four separate servings.  Feel free to tackle this step however you like.  I laid them on a piece of foil (I really hate to clean baking sheets, so I use foil anytime I can) and flattened them with my hands.EasyCheesyChicken&Beans

I then mixed the creamy topping that would be the “sauce” to hold the cheese onto the chicken.  For this recipe I used mayonnaise, dijon mustard, red wine, and dried parsley.  I blended it all together with a whisk and then brushed the mixture all over the top of the chicken breasts to cover them evenly.  Using a packaged blend of cheddar and colby, I spread the cheese over both chicken breasts and then topped them with salt and pepper.

Since the chicken was so large, I decided to keep things simple and just roast some green string beans as the accompaniment for this dinner.  I could have easily added mashed or baked potatoes, but I really wanted the chicken to be the star.  To make the beans, I grabbed another baking sheet and lined it with foil (easy cleanup, folks… this is my favorite thing about foil!) and spread out the beans on the sheet.  I then sprayed the beans with cooking spray and topped with salt & pepper.  

Baking this dinner was also pretty easy.  I preheated the oven to 375 degrees and baked the chicken for about 40-45 minutes.  I popped the beans into the oven underneath the chicken after the first 10 minutes, so they were cooking for 30-35 minutes.  NOTE: I’ve been under-cooking beans lately, so I went a little overboard on the beans this time – will probably back their cook time down to 20-25 minutes next time, but they were still tasty.

Once dinner was done and plated, I got rave reviews from my husband about the chicken.  It was still juicy but cooked through, full of flavor and simply delicious.  Changing out the flavors and using different ingredients for the “sauce” will be done next time, but this is a great way to start.  Try using white wine, horseradish mustard, different spices, anything that your family likes is fair game in this one.  You could even make it into an Italian version with italian spices and an Italian blend of cheeses… it’s really all up to you.  Enjoy and let me know what you try!