Saturday, January 5, 2008

It's Burger Season

Football Playoffs! College Bowl Games! It's Burger Season!

I was thinking of what football food would really hit a homerun during that last part of the season. I have just posted one of our favorite foods, Hot Wings and what else compliments wings? Burgers! I'm not talking about your everyday, run of the mill, fast food type burgers. I'm talking something you would pay good money at a fine restaurant for. Ultimate Gourmet Burgers.

Trust me I'm sure there are several people out there that really like a good burger and maybe even have a great recipe. If so, please email it to me by going to the Contact Us section at the bottom of our page and we'll give it a try. If it's all you say it is, we'll post it along with your name and give you kuddo's but for now, here is one of mine that is always a hit and over the next couple of days I'll be posting a few more to wet your whistle. I hope you enjoy these as much as my friend and family have!

California Burger

2 lbs 80/20 lean ground beef
1 lb Italian sausage (bulk)
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
1/3 C Roasted Red Bell Pepper (finely chopped)
1/3 C Avocado (finely chopped)
3Tbs Shallots (finely chopped)
3 Ts Dijon Mustard
1 ½ Ts Crushed Garlic
S & P to taste

Horseradish Sauce (see recipe at the bottom)
Avocado slices
Feta Cheese
Ciabatta Buns
Alfalfa sprouts

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients except the toppings until mixed well and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow everything to meld together. After the mix has chilled take out and make into 6 - 1 inch thick patties. Make the patties a little thinner in the middle, about 8 oz each.

Heat a large skillet or flat griddle to medium high heat. Place patties in pan/griddle not crowding the meat (above). Cook patties for 2 minutes and turn patties over. This will seal the juices in the burgers and make sure not to press the patties. This will only dry out the burgers. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes and turn one more time, again not pressing the patties. Top with 1 Tbs of Feta Cheese. The key is not over cooking your burger. You want it to be cooked about med to med well to be nice and juicy.

To assemble: place a dollop of horseradish sauce on the bottom roll. Place 2 or 3 slices of avocado and then put the burger on top. Top with ½ cup of the Alfalfa sprouts on top of the melted Feta and put another dollop of horseradish on the top roll. Slice in half and serve with fresh salad greens.

Horseradish Sauce:
1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
Add or decrease horseradish to adjust heat.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Savory Hot Wings!

Here is the second of great football food for your Bowl Games. One of my favorite snack foods to watch a football game has to be hands down…Hot Wings! There are restaurants that have built there entire theme around them. They are in your freezer section of every grocer too so I bet you probably like them also. Here is a very simple recipe that anyone can make great tasting wings at home.

1 – 3lb bag of frozen chicken wing sections – drummies and wingies but no tips(thawed)
1 – Large bottle of cayenne pepper sauce (I prefer Texas Pete)
1 – stick of unsalted butter
1 – bunch of celery (stalks cleaned and cut into 4 in strips)
1 – bottle of Marzzetti’s Blue Cheese Dressing ( Or your favorite dipping dressing sauce)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Line a large baking tray with Quick release foil and spread wing sections out leaving about an inch between each piece. Bake for 45 minutes or until done and starting to crisp. In a medium sauce pan heat the pepper sauce until warm. Depending on how hot you like them add butter to the sauce, melt and heat through. Use no butter for hot, ½ stick for medium and the whole stick for mild wings.

Remove tray from oven and brush all sides of the wings with the sauce and place back in oven. Bake for another 10 minutes, repeat process one more time. Place wings on the top rack and turn oven to Broil for 6 to 8 minutes to crisp up nice.

Remove tray from oven and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour remaining sauce over wings and toss. Serve with Celery stalks and dressing. Your guests will love them! Enjoy

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

New Years Day! It's the start of a new year and what a way to start it off after all the big meal Holiday's with lots of football. Plus it's time for those fun New Years Resolutions too! Yes, of course this year will be to loose a few pounds for me but just not yet. At least not until after the BCS National Championship between The Ohio State Buckeyes and LSU! If you haven't read my profile yet, I am from Columbus Ohio and I love the Buckeyes. My dad is in the Hall of Fame there and I just wouldn't have it any other way. Go Bucks!!!

So until the big game is over I will be posting fun game food. I'm starting with Artichoke Dip. This is a very easy recipe I found online and you and your sports fans will love it. Keep checking in for other great tail-gating recipes this week.

Delicious Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, plus more as needed
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
Carrot sticks, celery sticks or baked tortilla strips, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Squeeze all excess liquid from spinach, place in a food processor with sour cream, Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, the cream cheese, garlic, pepper and hot sauce.

Process until just blended but still slightly lumpy. Add artichokes and pulse to form a chunky mixture. Place in a 1-quart baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Pork Loin with Apple and Cranberry stuffing

1 boneless pork loin (about 6 pounds)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cup seasoned croutons1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cup peeled, chopped green apples
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbs cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onions
2 Tbsp Cranberry juice
2 Tbsp Honey

1 Preheat oven to 325°F.

2 Rinse the pork and pat it dry. You will be doing a "double-butterfly or Pin Wheel" on the pork roast. Lay the roast down, fat side up. Insert the knife into the roast 1/2-inch horizontally from the bottom of the roast, along the long side of the roast. Make a long cut along the bottom of the roast, stopping 1/2 inch before the edge of the roast. You might find it easier to handle by starting at a corner of the roast. Open up the roast and continue to cut through the thicker half of the roast, again keeping 1/2 inch from the bottom. Repeat until the roast is an even 1/2-inch thickness all over when laid out.

If necessary, pound the roast to an even thickness with a meat mallet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

3 Place croutons and stock in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes, until the croutons have absorbed the stock and have softened. Stir in the apples, walnuts, cranberries, onions, cranberry juice, honey, salt and pepper. Spread mixture over surface of the pork.

Starting with the smallest side of the meat (which should be in the shape of a rectangle), roll up tightly.

Secure with kitchen string. At this point you can wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate if you are making ahead.

4 Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with cooking spray or a little olive oil. Place the roast in the pan and cook at 325°F, uncovered, for about 1 hour ten minutes, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140-145°F. Start checking the internal temperature of the roast at about one hour. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the kitchen string and slice into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Coq Au Vin

Winter calls for a good hearty dish once in a while. I love this dish and serve it a couple of times a year in the fall and winter. I fixed this meal for a lovely couple in Lancaster Ohio. It’s a great way to spend an evening with family on a cold winters night.

Coq Au Vin

3 to 3 ½ lb fryer chicken cut up
½ lb Pancetta
8 sm white boiling onions (skins removed)
½ lb button mushrooms
1 ¾ C chicken broth (low sodium)
1 C dry red wine
2 Tb Dijon mustard
Bouquet of herbs: 2 sprigs of thyme and 1 sprig of Rosemary and 1 bay leaf, tied all together with string.
1 ts each cornstarch and water
2 Tb chopped parsley

Rinse chicken, pat dry and set aside. In a wide frying pan over medium-high heat, cook pancetta stirring, until crisp and well browned. Take out and set aside, leaving drippings in pan.
Add chicken to pan, a portion at a time, without crowding; cook and brown on all sides. Take out and set aside. Add skinned onions to pan, cook, and stirring until browned. Add mushrooms and cook until liquid has evaporated. Set onions and mushrooms aside.
Pour wine into pan and increase heat to high, scraping up brown bits from pan.
Stir in broth and mustard, mix well. Bring to a boil until reduced to about 1 ½ cups. Add chicken, onion and mushrooms back to pan. Add the Bouquet of herbs and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes until chicken is done. Stir in pancetta and return to a simmer
Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving dish. Combine cornstarch and water and stir into sauce. Bring to a boil until thickened and pour over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Serves 4 or 5 people. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or root vegetables and maybe some sautéed green beans.