Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Reuben Mac and Cheese

After St Patrick's Day I am always looking for an interesting dish to use up my leftover Corned Beef in. Last year it was Irish Tacos. One year it was Corned Beef Chili. I have also done Reuben Pizza. This year I needed a casserole for my oldest son to stick in the oven while my husband and I were at Drama Club and Wrestling practice with our younger two. Mac and Cheese it is!

16 oz pasta , shape of your choice, I used penne

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour OR 2 TB corn or potato starch*
2 cups cold milk
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup  Russian Dressing(good  recipe included in pizza link above!) 1000 Island is ok too
pepper to taste

1 cup shredded cabbage(you can use leftover cooked or fresh)
OR 1 cup drained and rinsed sauerkraut
2 cups diced corned beef
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted(I needed some color in this LOL)
3 slices Rye Bread**, toasted and chopped into large crumbs
Extra shredded cheese
More Russian or 1000 Island Dressing

** if you need Gluten Free here is an EXCELLENT "Rye-less" Rye Bread!!

Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Preheat oven to 350
Cook pasta to al dente, drain (rinse if desired, just drain WELL) and place in greased pan.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour and whisk well.
 * if you are using starch as a thickener whisk it into the cold milk instead of the butter.
Add milk and cook, stirring often until well thickened.

Remove from heat and add cheese, stir until melted.
Add dressing and  pepper. Stir well

Stir in cabbage/sauerkraut and corned beef.

Gently fold into pasta along with defrosted peas.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Uncover and sprinkle with rye crumbs and a bit more cheese as desired, drizzle over dressing and return to the oven.

Bake 15 minutes more until the crumbs are toasty and the dish is bubbly and hot.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Green Tea Matcha Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Irish Cream Glaze

I needed a green dessert for St. Patrick's Day so I decided to break out my green tea matcha powder. I know not everyone has immediate access to this, I have to purchase mine on ebay, but if you do it is a really versatile ingredient!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 TB sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 TB green tea matcha powder
1 TB baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and grease/flour a bundt pan very well.....get those crevasses!!!!

With a mixer beat butter, sugar and egg on medium speed until it is smooth.
Reduce speed to low and add milk and vanilla. Beat until well combined.

Combine all dry ingredients in another bowl, then on low speed,  add to liquids 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Turn speed back up to medium and beat for 2 minutes.
Fold in chocolate chips and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes then gently loosen with a knife and turn it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 TB Irish Cream
1/2-1  tsp matcha powder

Combine matcha and powdered sugar, then drizzle in Irish Cream to desired consistency....some may like it more frosting like, I prefer it pour-able consistency.

Spread or pour over cooled cake.
Allow to set for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ham and Cheese Hash Brown Casserole With Fresh Potatoes

Two things I always see in hash brown casserole is pre-packaged frozen hash browns that are thawed and canned soup. It is easy enough to make them with fresh potatoes and no cans with a little extra time (really not any more than "thawing time") and not too terribly much extra work.
This can be pre-made up to the baking point and refrigerated until ready to use(up to 12 hours). Pull it out about 30 minutes before you plan to bake.

2 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed (peeled if you like)
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp lemon juice
cold water

 2-3 cups ham, cubed

2 TB butter
1/2 cup sweet onion, minced
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 TB corn, potato or tapioca starch
1 cup cold milk
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 generous cup sour cream(ever try homemade?? Click HERE) plus or minus to taste

1 cup crushed "Ritz" Style Crackers ( excellent GF recipe HERE)
1/2 cup french fried onions
1 TB butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Shredded Cheese to Taste, I used pepper jack, you can use Cheddar, Provolone, Swiss, Monterrey Jack, Colby, much or as little as you like! Whatever floats your goat...

Shred your potatoes as you see fit, I put mine through my Spirilazer(large blade) , then chopped them roughly so they weren't too long. You can use a hand grater or food processor if you like.

Place shredded potatoes in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water by 1 inch add 1/2 the salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to a gently boil,  cook for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat, drain rinse in cold water to stop cooking process then return to pot.

 Cover with cold water again add remaining salt and lemon juice and place in fridge and soak for at least an hour. Can be left longer if needed.

After soaking drain completely and either run them through a salad spinner OR you can pour them out on a large towel and roll them up pressing out any excess water. They need to be REALLY dry.

In a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish toss the potatoes with the cubed ham.

In a large sauce pan melt butter and add onions, celery, pepper and garlic.

Cook until the veggies are tender-crisp and fragrant. Don't over cook, we don't want them mushy in the casserole. Add chicken broth

Whisk starch into cold milk, then add milk to veggie mix, cook and stir until thickened. Add seasonings.

Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

Gently combine the sauce with the potatoes and ham, tossing to coat everything.

Cover with foil and bake in 375 degree oven for 1 hour

Mix the crushed crackers, french fried onions and butter. Season with garlic powder.

Remove foil from casserole, evenly sprinkle the cracker mixture over the top and cheese it up as much as you like

Bake uncovered 15  minutes more until evenly browned and the potatoes are tender.

Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes or so before digging in.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pepperoni Chicken Pizza Waffles

We have had some super busy evenings with tons of extra curricular activities with the kids, so easy meals have been on our menu a lot. I made up the waffles, cooked the chicken breast and pulled out the pizza sauce(I had some I had previously frozen) this morning . Then it was just a quick assembly , toss them in the oven add some fresh veggie on the side and dinner is done!

1 lb chicken breast,
seasoning salt to taste
oregano to taste
black pepper to taste

Sprinkle the seasonings all over the breasts and bake/broil/roast/grill as you see fit. Just make sure to cook it through to 165.

Allow to cool and slice thinly. Set aside

Savory Waffles Recipe can be found HERE

Here are the specifics for the Add-Ins:
I did the basic seasoning for it then these too...
3/4 cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 TB fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 TB dried)
1/3 cup roughly chopped pepperoni

Pre-Heat Oven to 350.

Spread a spoonful of pizza sauce (my favorite recipe HERE or use jarred or your own recipe) on the a waffle. 
Place some sliced chicken, shredded mozzarella cheese, top with a few slices of pepperoni. Place on a pan and  bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted and  melt the cheese and the pepperoni is toasty. Cool a little and serve hot.....

You could add a few more "pizza" toppings if you like, I put a few slices of red peppers under the cheese for me and the hubby.

Gluten Free Savory Waffles

I think it is safe to say I have a slight obsession with savory waffle sandwiches....they are just so good...and an easy alternative to gluten free bread for us! Although we have found a GF bread recipe that works well for us, these are perfect for last minute bread or buns for sandwiches and burgers.  I love Polenta based waffles for my sandwiches. It give them a nice sturdy crunch. They can be used for Breakfast with Eggs and Canadian Bacon or a Sausage patty,  Lunch(they are great cold!) with sliced deli meats or Dinner with a Burger Patty or Hot Sandwich like French Dips, I even made them into individual pizzas! They freeze well and can be quickly heated in the toaster(watch carefully though because most of the time the recipes include cheese, over heat and it might melt too much and drip)

I thought I would put the general recipe on here to link back to when I make specific sandwiches with add in instructions.

1 cup water
1/2 cup polenta(coarse cornmeal works fine too)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 egg

2/3 cup sorghum flour*
1/4 cup potato starch*
3 TB tapioca starch*
1/4 tsp xanthan gum*
1 tsp baking powder

OR sub the starred ingredients with 1 cup all purpose flour

Add-Ins flavors will vary by sandwich/burger:
This is my basic seasoning but it can be adjusted per your tastes:
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder**
1/2 tsp smoked paprika(regular is fine too, I just love smoked)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder**
** if you have an extra moment, saute up a clove of minced garlic and a little onion with a touch of oil until fragrant and tender to add to it in place of the powders!

Generally I include a cheese, an herb and an "extra" in my recipes.
1/2- 3/4 cup cheese, shredded
2 TB fresh or 1 TB dried Herbs(oregano, parsley, cilantro)
1/3-1/2 cup "extra" ingredient (green chilies, roasted red peppers, pepperoni, bacon, chopped spinach)

In a pot heat water to boiling, add polenta and stir vigorously until thick. 

Add butter, reduce heat and stir until melted. 

Remove from heat and add milk. Set aside to cool slightly then add in egg and beat well.

 In another bowl combine the flour mixtures and seasonings. 

Carefully mix the wet ingredients into the dry.

 Gently fold in the add ins. This time I am making Pizza ones so I used chopped pepperoni, oregano and mozzarella cheese.

Cook according to your waffle maker instructions. I tend to cook them a little longer than the recommended time to give it a little extra crunch. 

Use them as you see fit!!!Burgers, Cold, Sandwiches, Hot Sandwiches, Breakfast Sandwiches, Mini Pizzas.......CREATE!!!