Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Comfort Food....

I am not responsible for the caloric or nutritional content of the following:

For Justin, with hugs and kisses to my almost birthday boy!

  • 1 -1.5 lbs lean ground beef or ground sirloin
  • 1 pkg (bag) frozen peas or mixed vegetables
  • 1/4 c. dried minced onion, or half cup of chopped fresh onion
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cans cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup (don't use low salt for this recipe)
  • 3/4 - 1 pkg frozen tater tots
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

You can use either a rectangular baking dish or a round casserole, but which one you select determines preparation (see below).

Rectangular: press 1.5 lbs of uncooked ground beef into the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with black pepper and garlic granules, or a salt-free seasoning mix like Emeril's, or?? Add a layer of the frozen veggies, utilizing the entire package. Sprinkle with onion and pour the undiluted soup over, smoothing to make sure it's in every nook and cranny.

For the round (3 qt) casserole, it works better to barely cook the ground beef with the onions first; place in the bottom of the casserole, then add the veggies and soup.

Either way, top with the tatertots, lengthwise on the rectangular dish, upright if in the casserole. Some people add shredded or grated cheese at this point. I never have.

Sometimes I like to add a little Worchestershire sauce to the soup concentrate before I pour it on.

Bake at 375 for about one hour. You'll know it's done when the soup is bubbling up through the crispy tater tots. Happy! Happy!


Ingredients must include:
  • 1 - 1.5 lbs of ground beef or turkey
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 -10 corn tortillas
  • Canned enchilada sauce like La Victoria (about 3 cups)
  • 3 - 4 cups grated cheese or Mexican cheese blend
Preheat the oven to 375.
Brown the ground meat in a skillet with onions, garlic, diced green chilies, leftover salsa, whatever sounds good... While the meat's browning, cut or tear the tortillas into slices or wedges. Stir the mushroom soup into the ground meat mixture, and remove from heat.

Lightly grease the bottom of your casserole or baking dish and cover the bottom with a light layer of enchilada sauce, followed by a layer of tortilla. Then add a layer of the cooked beef followed by a layer of grated cheese. The next layer is tortillas again, this time followed by enchilada sauce, ground beef, , cheese, tortillas, enchilada sauce and grated cheese. Substituting sour cream for the middle layer of cheese is awfully yummy, too.

Lower oven temp to 350 and bake for 45 mins - 60 minutes depending on what type of dish you're using.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Justin!!!!

I'm SO praying you don't read my blog! Well.... at least not often, and not today.
It's my baby's (my oldest baby) birthday next week, and his beautiful roomies have planned a surprise party for him tomorrow. I'm bringing a version of pollo asado to grill, along with some yummy tortillas from Iowa Meats. If you've been there, you know. If not, go! you need the butt rub...
Here's what I did...

Blended the juice from
  • 6 valencia oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 6 limes
with half a large bermuda onion, 3 cloves garlic, a tablespoon or so of Cholula Original Seasoning, and a handful of cilantro. Poured it over 14 lbs of chicken thighs to marinate in zip bags for about 24 hours.

I'll let you know how it turns out...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The rest of the shrimp

became the filling for crepes.

Using your favorite crepe recipe (mine came out a little heavy this time, not sure why) fill with

Shrimp & Spinach (are you noticing a pattern here? I'm on a mission to use stuff while it's still fresh)

Heat approximately 4 tablespoons of your favorite combination of EVOO and butter (eliminating completely one or the other if you wish) in pan over medium heat (size-wise, you're going to have a little more than a quart of filling when you're finished; judge accordingly). Toss in about 1/2 cup of diced onion and saute until almost transparent; then add 1 cup of diced water chestnuts and 2 cloves diced garlic. Continue sauteing until onion is tender and transparent.

Turn heat to low and add 3/4 lb of coarsely chopped cooked jumbo shrimp, tails removed, and approximately 2 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves, cleaned and stems removed. Add 2 tablespoons of dry white wine and one tablespoon of half and half. Season with sea salt, white pepper and fresh or dried rosemary to taste, adding approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon juice as the mixture reduces (about 2 minutes)

Remove from heat and toss in 1/3 lb of crumbled feta cheese. Roll in crepes and garnish with bits of feta & spinach and a fresh or sun-dried tomato strip.

Shrimp (what to do with 1.5 lbs...)

In the interest of expanding my shrimp repertoire from stir-fry and shrimp cocktail, and not passing up a deal at Whole Foods late last week, I have two new shrimp recipes to share. The first, a Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Salad and the second Crepes with Shrimp and Spinach.

The salad has a bit of a story. Last week I made Emeril's Roasted Pork Chimichangas. His recipe is accompanied by a Corn and Goat Queso that is yaya! if you're a corn and cheese lover like me. I didn't make the whole recipe of chimis so I had some queso left over. It was positively yelling "shrimp!" to me from the shelf of my fridge.

Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Salad
3/4 lb of cooked jumbo (16/20) shrimp, basted with olive oil, skewered and grilled until just heated through. But least I mislead, I did not grill my shrimp. I had neither the fortitude nor the charcoal to heat up the grill. So I sauteed in a mixture of olive oil and butter with one crushed glove of garlic until they barely started to curl. Cooled and removed the tails. Why not remove the tails first you may ask? I like the flavor imparted by the tail left on during sauteeing.
1/2 recipe of Emeril's Corn and Goat Cheese Queso, about 1 1/2 cups (also in the interest of full disclosure, when making the recipe I used one tablespoon of canned diced jalepenos rather than the fresh, and half and half rather than cream) Reheat the Queso, adding 1 teaspoon more of diced jalepeno, and about 1/4 cup of half and half, and a bit of salt. When heated through, add the shrimp along with any cooking liquid and with tails removed, stir to coat and allow to cool.
Dice two Haas avocados and toss with approximately four cups of washed baby spinach leaves, and add the shrimp queso, tossing once more lightly. Serves six or so as a side salad.

Story of the salad, continued
My daughter and I were invited to fourth of July with her best friend's family. Hmmmm, what do you take to a potluck party attended by bastions of the local restaurant scene? The family owns/has owned three of the top local eateries. It's a bit intimidating. Really... But, the salad disappeared, rather quickly actually. Yay me!!!! I got the last few bites. though.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Here goes...

I've been promising to do this for awhile, so here we go!
I'll put recipes on here for all those events, post a pic or two. Have some fun chatting about three of my favorite things; friends, food, wine (and beer)...
I'm pretty excited. This will work until I really get the website thing figured out.

I thought I'd just be posting menus and recipes from our friends and family gatherings, but last Wednesday I had the unparalleled delight of having one of those exquisitely perfect evenings out. I attended the winemaker dinner at the Wine Vault and Bistro featuring wines from Four Vines Winery. I realize that second sentence has too many superlatives, but I'm standing by them. Good wine, good food, good company- It's heaven on earth to me. I have no idea what I'll write when I have great wine, great food, great company, but I'll worry about that when the time comes. Until then, if you have the opportunity to go, don't pass it up!