Philly Cheesesteak Stew

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Ingredients:
• 1 ½ pounds very thinly sliced beef sirloin (I get mine from Trader Joe’s), or ribeye
• Salt
• Cracked black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon onion powder
• 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided use
• Olive oil
• 2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
• 10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 4 cups beef stock, hot
• 4 sourdough bread bowls, centers hollowed out and reserved for dipping
• 4 slices provolone cheese

Directions:
-Add the thinly sliced beef sirloin to a large bowl, and season with a couple of pinches of salt and cracked black pepper, plus the onion powder, and toss to coat; sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the flour, and again, toss to coat.

-Place a non-stick pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3-4 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add about half of the sirloin in, and allow it to sear for about a minute or two, then toss/stir, and allow it to sear/brown on the other sides for another 1-2 minutes, and remove onto a plate to hold (the meat may still be a little pink inside); repeat with the remaining half of the sirloin, and set aside.

-Next, add a little more oil to the pot if needed, and add in the sliced onions, along with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper; allow the onions to caramelize for roughly 6 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning them, until golden-brown and softened; then, add in the mushrooms, and allow them to continue sauteing with the onions for another 6 minutes or so, stirring frequently.

-Add in the dried thyme and the garlic, and stir to incorporate.

-Once the garlic becomes aromatic, sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour (the tablespoons can be a bit “heaping”) over the onion/mushroom mixture, and stir well to combine and blend; next, slowly add in the hot beef stock, stirring all the while to avoid any little flour “lumps” from forming.

-Reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow the stew to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, uncovered, just to “tighten” it up a bit, and to allow the flavors to marry; after 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and add the seared sirloin back in, along with any accumulated juices, and stir to combine; check to see if you need any additional salt/pepper.

-To serve, ladle some stew into your hollowed out sourdough bowls, top with a slice of provolone, and place the bread bowls onto a foil-lined baking sheet and under the broiler for just a couple of moments to melt the cheese and make it gooey.

-Serve with some of the hollowed out, left-over sourdough bread on the side, for dipping.

Philly Cheesesteak Stew

Cranberry Glazed Cornish Hen

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4 Cornish Game Hens, thawed

1 package chicken stuffing mix

1/2 cup celery, sliced

1/3 cup almonds, slivered

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 can cranberry sauce

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

1. Mix stuffing mix, celery, almonds, cranberries and olive oil in a bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stuff hens with stuffing mixture and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub skins with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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3. Roast hens 35-45 minutes or until 180 degrees F is reached.

4. Serve with cranberry sauce, melted if you like, but I like the cold contrast. Drizzle if you melt it.

Cranberry Glazed Cornish Hen

Pistachio Panko Salmon

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Ingredients

two 3-4 oz wild Alaskan salmon filets or one jumbo filet
approx ¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts [salted or unsalted; up to you!]
approx ¼ cup chipotle panko bread crumbs
a few drizzles of your favorite healthy oil
salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste

The measurements aren’t super detailed since this one can be easily thrown together without slaving over measuring cups or spoons; another reason why I prefer cooking to baking =) Can’t find chipotle panko? No problem! Simply use plain panko breadcrumbs or season them with your favorite chipotle seasoning blend. It’s also really good with Italian-seasoned panko too!

Instructions

Pre-heat your oven or toaster oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.
Finely chop your pistachios until they’re practically minced [the smaller the better!] using a chef’s knife or even a food processor if you so choose. Another method? Pour the nuts into a plastic bag and crush with a heavy bottle of wine or equivalent. [Hey… it works!] Toss together with panko and set aside.
Next move on to the salmon.
Heat a cast iron pan or skillet with a hearty drizzle of oil to high/medium-high heat and hold off on adding the salmon until you’re sure it’s hot.
While you wait, season both sides of your salmon with garlic powder, salt and freshly ground black pepper or cayenne pepper.
The wild salmon I buy always has the skin on one side; simply remove it with a knife or sear that side [unseasoned] first, it will peel right off after a minute or two! After removing the skin, season that side as well.
Allow each side a minute or so on the hot skillet to sear [look for an opaque crust with a rare center], then ensure there’s still a bit of oil in the pan and coat one side of your salmon with the panko/pistachio mixture. Add as much or as little as you’d like!
Flip the salmon filet, breading side down, and allow the topping to crisp for just under a minute or so.
With a spatula, move the salmon to a foil lined baking sheet [pistachio side up] and bake for approximately 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filet.
The result is a crisp, flavorful crust on the outside with a tender flaky inside.

Pistachio Panko Salmon

Chinese Orange Chicken

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Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 1 cup 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
    • 2 large eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
    • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
For the marinade
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Instructions

  • To make the marinade, whisk together chicken broth, orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, orange zest, Sriracha, ginger and white pepper in a large bowl.
  • In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken and 2/3 cup of the marinade; marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
  • Heat remaining marinade in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir in 2 tablespoons cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened about 1-2 minutes; keep warm.
  • Working one at a time, dip the chicken into the eggs, then dredge in remaining 1 cup cornstarch, pressing to coat.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Working in batches, add chicken and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; discard excess oil.
  • Serve chicken immediately, tossed or drizzled with the marinade, garnished with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired.
Chinese Orange Chicken

Pizza Nachos

I didn’t have any pepperoni, but still tasty

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Description

A new take on standard nachos by jazzing them up pizza style. Your nachos will never be the same.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE GARLIC CREAM SAUCE:
  • 1-½ Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • ½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced (or Use A Microplane If You Have It)
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • ¼ cups 2% Milk
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • FOR THE NACHOS:
  • Your Favorite Crispy Tortilla Chips
  • ½ cups Garlic Cream Sauce (Recipe Included)
  • ¼ cups Onion, Diced
  • ½ cups Pepperoni, Cut Into Bite Size Pieces
  • ½ cups Black Olives Sliced
  • ½ whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeds Removed, Diced
  • 1 cup Colby-Jack Cheese, Shredded

Preparation Instructions

Start by making your sauce. Begin by melting the butter, along with the olive oil on medium to low heat. Once melted, toss in the minced garlic, and give a good stir. Raise the heat up to medium, to medium-high. Add in the cream and milk and give a good stir. Keep stirring until it comes to a boil. Toss in the salt, pepper, and chili flakes, along with the cheese, and continue stirring. The sauce will thicken pretty quick, so continue to stir. Once the sauce is thickened, remove from the burner, and set aside.

When you are ready to make your nachos, preheat your oven to 400ºF. I used a cast iron fajita skillet for this. If you do not have one, don’t worry, simply build your nachos on an oven-proof dish. First add your chips. Drizzle the garlic cream sauce all over the chips. Top with the onions, pepperoni, olives, and bell pepper. Make sure you get in there and do some great layering, leaving no chip behind.

Top with the Colby Jack cheese. Place in the preheated oven, and cook until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the veggies are warmed through, roughly 7 minutes or so.

As I sat down in front of the television to watch some football, I said to my wife that these could be my go-to nachos from here on out. Something about those deluxe pizza flavors when placed on a tortilla chip just gets your taste buds rocking. Give these a try and let me know what you think!

The great thing about these pizza nachos, much like any nacho, is that you can make them your own way. Don’t like pepperoni? Try something else. Don’t like olives? Try artichokes, or broccoli, or heck, you can see where I’m heading. Use your imagination. I can guarantee you will love them. By the way, the garlic cream sauce will keep in the fridge for a handful of days. Feel free to use the leftover sauce on a pizza.

Pizza Nachos

Beer-braised beef cheek, pearl barley risotto, malted onions & ale sauce

It’s Monday again (Bizarre Foods night!) so we tried beef cheeks. Tasty!

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Ingredients

For the braised cheek

  • 3 beef cheeks, sinew removed
  • 500ml dark ale
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 750ml beef stock

For the malted onions

  • 500ml dark ale
  • 3 small white onions, unpeeled
  • olive oil
  • 25g butter

For the pearl barley risotto

  • 1¼l chicken stock
  • 250g pearl barley
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 300ml double cream
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • few drops lemon juice
  1. cooked, remove the cheeks, herbs and garlic and set aside, then reduce the stock rapidly until it is syrupy. Return the cheeks to the pan and glaze with the sticky reduction, then keep warm until needed.
  2. Roughly 40 mins before you’re ready to serve, make the risotto. Put the chicken stock in a large pan and bring it to the boil. Add the barley, then cook for 15 mins. Remove from the heat, strain, then tip the barley into a medium-sized pan.
  3. Place the garlic in a small pan with the double cream and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3 mins, then transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside about 50ml of the garlic cream and pour the remainder over the barley. Keep warm over a low heat.
  4. Meanwhile, separate the layers of malted onions and finish by frying in a hot pan, with a little oil and butter, until golden.
  5. Just before serving, add the Parmesan and lemon juice to the barley risotto and salt, to taste. Spoon on to the centre of each plate, then slice the cheeks and arrange on top of the risotto. Place 3 malted onion wedges around the side and drizzle over the reduced ale stock.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2014

Beer-braised beef cheek, pearl barley risotto, malted onions & ale sauce

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragu® Traditional Sauce
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg, then crumb mixture; turn to coat.
  2. Arrange chicken in 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.
  3. Pour Sauce over chicken; top with cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan