• ”my
    Award Winning Recipe Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
  • myTaste.com
  • Proud member of FoodBlogs
  • Advertisements

    Meat and Potato Skillet Gratin #Sunday Supper

    This may be one of my favorite Sunday Suppers. I love nearly everything with ground beef in it. I have been dying to try this recipe, so I was thrilled when Em from Sunday Suppers posted this week’s Dinner Ideas with Ground Beef.

    Best thing about this dish? It’s a one pan dish. There’s a lot of steps and prep, and it takes a long time to cook, but once you get going it’s a snap – unless you’re like me and start fixing dinner too late and end up eating at 8:00.

    It’s hearty, but not heavy. I didn’t think a pound of ground beef was enough. Seemed the potato to filling ratio wasn’t quite enough.

    Make sure you use a big enough pot to reduce the heavy cream or else you’ll end up like me – having your way to nice Dear One scrubbing the stove top!

    This gratin reheats well, so you can make it ahead and reheat it uncovered in a 350-degree oven.

    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 1 C heavy cream
    • 2 thyme branches
    • 2 T finely chopped fresh sage
    • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
    • 1 pound ground lean beef
    • 3/4 t kosher salt, more as needed
    • Black pepper, as needed
    • 1 C thinly sliced onion
    • 3 ounces baby spinach (3 packed cups)
    • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 pound russet potatoes
    • 4 ounces Gruyère, grated (1 cup)

    Crush and peel 2 garlic cloves. In a small pot over medium heat, combine cream, the crushed garlic, the thyme and 1/2 tablespoon sage. Bring to a simmer; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes. Strain and cool.

    While cream cools, heat oil in an ovenproof 10-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and brown well, crumbling with a fork as it cooks. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper; transfer meat to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining meat, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper.

    Add onion to pan drippings (drizzle with oil if pan seems dry). Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Peel and chop remaining 2 garlic cloves; add to pan with remaining sage. Return meat to skillet.

    Toss in spinach, a handful at a time, until wilted. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, the Worcestershire and pepper to taste.

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

    Layer half the potato slices over meat, with slices overlapping one another. Season lightly with salt and pepper; top with half the cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes and cheese. Spoon reduced cream evenly over top.

    Cover pan tightly with foil and bake until vegetables are very tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Uncover and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

    4 to 6 servings

    Dinner Ideas Using Ground Beef

    Sunday Supper MovementThe Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

    Advertisements

    Perfect Roast Chicken

    DSC_1069

    This is so much less about roasted chicken than it is about chicken in general.

    Really, once you’ve roasted one or two chickens, you have the basics down pat and there isn’t much to change aside from herbs and citrus and, perhaps, what you roast around it.

    My fall back recipe – as I cannot for the life of me keep oven temperatures or timing in my head – is an oldie but a goodie, from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. I admit. I’m boring. I stuff a head of garlic that I cut in half horizontally, a lemon that I cut in half, and whatever fresh herbs I have around inside the chicken. I liberally sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and Bob’s your uncle. Potatoes, carrots and onions around the chicken. Completely fix it and forget it.

    As most of you know, I am now living in DownEast Maine – and why is it called downeast Maine? Well, I’ll tell ya! Coastal schooners laden with goods for Portland and other Maine ports would leave Boston, Massachusetts keeping their compass headings generally east or northeast, hoping that the prevailing wind from the westerly quadrants would stay behind them. Hence, they sailed downwind in an easterly direction. Hence, they were traveling down east. Things are very different here.

    And you must be wondering why, if I don’t really use a roasted chicken recipe am I prattling on about roasted chickens and living on an island off the coast of Maine.

    El Dia de la Pollo Muerto … the day of the dead chickens.

    A some of our friends once a year purchase chicks. They’re so very cute when they’re little. We would go over and look at them, watch them grow. I would wonder why, unlike the laying birds that are free range, these chicks were penned. Seems you can have either laying chickens or eating chickens.  They raise a bunch of eating chickens. Once they’ve been tended to and loved and fattened up … well, el dia de la pollo muerto.

    HORRIFYING! I know! Growing up in the big city, while you try to be conscientious about how animals are being raised and what they’re being fed, you don’t necessarily give much though to the in between raising and purchasing/eating.

    Around November, the Dear One and some of our friends get together and – to quote the Queens of Hearts – off with their heads.

    I have been invited to attend this gala event. I have politely declined, trying not to make the squelched up face I’m making as I type. ‘They’ say it’s quick and painless (let’s ask the chicken that!) and rather quick to go from live chicken to ready to eat. I don’t know the actual process, but there are beheadings, and contraptions that look like dryers that do the defeathering, and the descriptions just get worse from there.

    My last conversation with our friend MG went something like this –

    MG: You should come. It’s great. Fascinating to watch.
    ME: Are you kidding? No way, no how, no time.
    MG: Oh, it’s not so bad. Quick.
    ME: Well, what time do you start? But DON’T count on it. And I’m not helping
    MG: ME? No, no, no, no. I don’t go. I can’t bear it.

    Seriously, Dude?

    So I stay home. Thinking good thoughts for the poor little chickens giving so much of themselves for my roasting pan, and convince myself that the chickens going to my freezer are all from the grocery store. You see, the one request with these 8-10 incredible chickens that come into the house … no feet, no heads, no feathers, no guts, and please put them in plastic bags so I can pretend there was just a fantastic sale on chickens.

    I do wonder if the laying hens feel guilty. There they are, well fed, out all day playing in the sun with the turkeys and guinea fowl, goats (meanest little creatures ever born), and the pig, Kevin. Why are they safe? Are they to be next? One will never know the mind of a chicken.

    That being said, these are probably the best chickens I have even eaten. Cooked here only for those deserving, chosen few.

    This past go round, I was honored with a big bag of chicken livers and skin … pate and cracklings … more no that later.

    • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
    • 1 lemon, halved
    • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
    • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
    • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
    • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
    • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
    • Olive oil

    NOTE: I skip the melted butter, use whatever fresh herbs I have around, and substitute potatoes for the fennel.

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

    Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

    Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

    Veggie Pot Pie

    Veggie Baked
    Cooking. It’s a fine dance, I tell you, and not an easy one.
    In this house there are two meat eaters, one who only eats chicken, and one who eats no meat at all. How do you make ONE meal and make sure no one is horrified and everyone is satisfied? I really, really refuse to become one of those people who makes two, perhaps three, dinners to cater to everyone’s dietary choices.
    I came across this recipe for veggie pot pie and knew I had at least one solution … that is if everyone liked it!
    I  made the filling in one large skillet, poured it into two baking dishes and added poached chicken to one baking dish, then made one and a half of the biscuit topping and plunked them both in the oven.
    It was a hit! Seconds were taken, even! Leftovers were taken for lunch! Hooooooray! I have one gret cold night, comfy, easy dinner now in my arsenal.
    Yes, there’s a lot of chopping, but I have a great helper in the kitchen. Once the chopping is done, this dish comes together really quickly.
    • 2 carrots, diced
    • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
    • 2 celery stalks, diced
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 1/4 C flour
    • 1 C vegetable broth
    • 1/2 C cream
    • 1/2 C milk
    • 1 C frozen peas
    • salt and pepper
    • oil
    • 1 T white vinegar
    • 2 T chopped fresh chives
    • 2 T chopped fresh parsley

    NOTE: One request was made for the next time (yes, they want this one again, SCORE!) less peas. A cup sort of overwhelmed the rest of the vegetables. I poached three boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and then chopped them into bite-sized pieces before adding them to the vegetables. Three thighs was plenty for the 3/4 of the recipe that was dedicated to chicken. Also, I chopped up extra parsley and chives to press into the biscuit dough.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Veggie Chopped Veg

    Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven on your stove top. Add the diced onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until translucent, about five minutes.

    NOTE: Because I was splitting this between two baking dishes, I ditched the Dutch oven idea and went for a large skillet. But there’s a LOT of filling so you really need a LARGE skillet.

    After the veggies are translucent, add the diced potatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes and sprinkle in the 1/4 cup of flour, stirring, making sure you coat everything with flour. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

    Next, slowly add the broth, cream and milk, stirring as you go. Salt and pepper liberally.

    NOTE: Just when you think you’ve added enough salt and pepper, add more! Really. I thought I had added too much and in actuality, it needed more than what I thought was a ridiculous amount.

    Bring to a simmer. Simmer for about five minutes until the mixture has begun to thicken. Pull the skillet off the heat and stir in the chopped herbs, vinegar and peas.

    While the veggie mixture is bubbling, make the crust.

    NOTE: This seemed like an awful lot of peas, next time I’ll cut this back to maybe to a scant 3/4 cup.

    FOR THE BISCUIT CRUST:

    • 1 C all-purpose flour
    • 2 T shortening
    • 1/2 T baking powder
    • 6 T milk
    • 1/2 t salt

    NOTE: The above measurements are for the straight veggie pot pie. I mixed up one and a half of these to cover both baking dishes.

    Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

    Use a fork to cut in the shortening until the flour forms little crumbs. Use your fingers to mix in the milk as you pour it in slowly – the dough should not be sticky, so go easy. If it is sticky, add a little more flour.

    NOTE: Being in a hurry, I put everything into the bowl. Sigh. So the biscuit on the large pie was a little tough. Making the second one, I followed the instructions and it was perfect. And don’t over work it, it gets tough! I had extra chives and parsley, so when I rolled out the dough, I rolled the herbs into the biscuit.

    Roll the biscuit dough into a disc roughly the size of your Dutch oven (or baking dish) and place it on top. You don’t want this to cover the entire surface, leave a little space around the edges for venting.

    Place in the oven with no lid and bake for 30 minutes, or until the biscuit top is done.

    Veggie Ready to Serve

    Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon

    Potatoes Finished
    A side dish. A side dish. Don’t you just find yourself making the same ones over and over again? Rice, potatoes, orzo (no comments, Marg!) I find that particularly true with POTATOES … mashed, baked, roasted, baked, mashed, roasted, and roasted again … B-O-R-I-N-G.
    If this dinner was going all the way, the potato had to go all the way as well.  I had seen Nigella make these years ago and had tagged them in Forever Summer to try one of these days.
    Always to be one to gild the lily, I added BACON. Bacon makes everything better!
    • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
    • 2 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 9 pieces
    • 2+ tablespoons butter, melted
    • Salt to taste
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Preheat the oven to 375º.

    After peeling potatoes, place them in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning.

    Lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

    Cutting Potatoes

    Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and carefully transfer to a baking sheet; let cool slightly.

    NOTE: This just gets them started cooking a little faster.

    One at a time place potato lengthwise on a cutting board. Place wooden spoons lengthwise along the potato. Cut slices across the short side of the potato, about 1/8 inch apart. The wooden spoons will prevent your knife from cutting completely through the potato. You don’t want to cut through to the bottom of the potato.

    Stuffed with Bacon

    Once cut,place potatoes on a baking sheet and insert 3 pieces of the frozen bacon into the cuts of each potato, spacing the bacon evenly and letting it poke out of the top. Melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter and brush generously over the potatoes and in the cuts. Reserve any excess butter for basting. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

    NOTE: Okay, so I used more than THREE pieces in each potato. THREE? Seriously?

    Transfer the potatoes to the oven and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp, about 40 minutes, basting halfway through with the reserved melted butter.

    Season with salt and pepper.

    Cloverleaf Rolls

    Done

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

    Ever wake up in the morning and just NEED to bake something? Just.must.have.hands.in.dough. This was me … May have been being home alone on New Year’s Ever, or those I love being so far away, or wanting to take my angst out by beating oops, kneading dough a bit. Whatever it was, these Cloverleaf Rolls from the Williams-Sonoma Baking Book did just the trick. Careful not to overwork the dough or they will be a bit tough.

    • 1 C milk
    • 2 T unsalted butter
    • 1 T sugar
    • 2 t instant yeast
    • 3/4 t salt
    • 2 3/4 C (14 oz) all-purpose flour
    • 1 egg, well beaten (for egg wash)

    Melt butter

    Combine the milk, butter and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over low just until the butter melts. Set aside and cool to 105-115 F.

    Yeast Salt

    Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, salt and flour. Mix briefly to combine. Once the milk mixture cools sufficiently, turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the liquid down the side of the mixing bowl and beat until a rough dough forms. Continue to knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky you can add a little bit of flour, and if it seems dry (like mine did) add a bit more milk.

    Ready to Rise

    Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Add the dough, turning to coat, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

    Ready to roll

    Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal portions. Divide each of those portions into thirds. Roll each of the 3 pieces into small balls (they don’t have to be perfect) and place them in one of the wells of the muffin pan in a triangle shape. Repeat with the other portions of dough. Cover the muffin pan with a kitchen towel and let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

    Ready to Bake

    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the rolls are puffed and golden and the sides are crisp. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and remove the rolls from the pan immediately. The rolls are best when served warm, but if you make them ahead of time you can re-warm them before you serve – wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and pop in a 350 F oven for about 15 minutes.

    NOTE: I sprinkled the tops with caraway seeds and sea salt before baking.

    Skillet Rosemary Chicken

    The purging of piles continues.

    The piles of magazines into torn out piles of recipes. The torn out piles of recipes into the recycling pile or into a further to-be-made pile. And the to-be-made pile, for the most part into the ‘what was I thinking’ pile.

    In this pile of torn out recipes, I found this recipe for Skillet Rosemary Chicken from the May 2010 Food Network Magazine. (See how long this mania has been going on!?). I had seen this on Pinterest a couple of times, and had added it to my ‘must try’ recipes there. It was fate.

    The original recipe called for 10 ozs of cremini mushrooms, but being my mother’s daughter, I didn’t read the recipe all the way through and forgot to buy mushrooms.

    So, there I was staring into the abyss that is my fridge and I came across a treasure I recently found at Trader Joe’s – Bacon Ends & Pieces. Hmmmm, that might work. So I cut up about 4 ozs of the bacon and cooked that, took it out and let it drain. Then I added the chicken and went from there. I added the bacon in with the potatoes to finish cooking.

    • 1/2 lb small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
    • 1 T rosemary leaves
    • 1 clove garlic, smashed
    • Pinch of red pepper flakes
    • Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed halves kept)
    • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 skin on, bone in chicken breasts
    • 4 ozs bacon, cut up

    Preheat oven to 450

    Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

    Pile the loose rosemary leave, garlic, 2 teaspoons of salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board and mince and mash into a paste.

    Add to a bowl, add the juice from one lemon and the olive oil, and stir. Add the chicken and turn to coat.

    Heat large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. remove from pan and rain. leave bacon renderings in skillet. Add chicken skin side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken, add bacon and potatoes, drizzle juice of second lemon. Add rosemary sprigs and squeezed lemon halves.

    NOTE: The marinade was so good, I added that to the skillet as well.

    Transfer to oven and roast, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Baked Tater Tots

    Okay. So first it was ketchup. And now I have this slammin’, simple, delicious, eat it from the spoon ketchup, it really needs something equal … fingers in ears, folks, Ernie is about to start shrieking again … I know! I’ll make TATER TOTS! The Tot is truly one of the world’s most perfect foods.

    I have been told that perhaps I have gone round the proverbial bend  … too much time on my hands … the best I can tell you is that I was, perhaps, dropped on my head as a child.

    But Tater Tots! Come on! Why wouldn’t you make them from scratch if you possibly could!? And they’re baked! And, much to the chagrin of he-who-won’t-be-mentioned the shaping of the Tot is not a tightly-held industrial secret.

    These were fabulously simple and yummy beyond belief.  You may never buy a frozen Tater Tot again. This is a mishmash of a bunch of different recipe I found. One said to roll them in panko crumbs. I may try that next time, but don’t think it’s necessary. Would like a more even brown on them. But, hey, this was the first time out of the gate and they were inhaled in seconds!

    • 4 russet potatoes, peeled
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, plus more for seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • Ketchup, for serving

    NOTE: Adjust the cayenne, smoked paprika and garlic powder to taste. 

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with oven rack in center position. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven.

    Peel and grate potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.

    NOTE: I started off using a box grater. UGH! Suddenly my Cuisinart started beckoning to me and the shredding disk started waving at me. Hello? Remember us? Well, that turned this into something even easier!

    Cover the grated potatoes with boiling water, by about 2 inches. Steep for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Squeeze potatoes with hands to remove excess moisture and transfer back to large bowl.

    NOTE: I put the potatoes in a clean, white kitchen towel and squeezed them. The drier they are the better off you are.

    Add flour, salt, pepper, spices and beaten egg to bowl and fold into potatoes.

    Shape into Tots.

    Carefully remove hot baking sheet from oven and coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Quickly transfer Tots to baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once, until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with ketchup.

    NOTE: Next time I think I’ll add some grated onion. Maybe a little bit of fresh garlic instead of powder.