Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

Debbie (one of my rotation dinner friends) received this recipe from her mother-in-law from England. It's quite delicious!

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion finely chopped
2 bullion cubes, diluted in just enough water to cover
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
2 lbs. of mashed potatoes
Gravy Flour

Chop onion. Fry beef and onion over medium heat until brown. Drain of juices. Add Worcestershire sauce and bullion mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thicken with gravy flour mixed with small amount of water. Add additional water to make broth. (You don't want it too soupy. Just add enough water to make it gravy consistency)

Put beef mixture in a casserole dish (approximate size: 2 quart)

Peel and cut potatoes into pieces and put into a pan and cover with water. Cook until potatoes are nice and soft. Drain. Add about 4 tablespoons of butter and just enough milk to make mashing easy. Mash until mixture is smooth. They should be very firm so they will stay separate from the beef mixture.

Put the potato mixture on top of the beef mixture. Make sure that the potatoes cover the beef mixture completely.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1/2 hour or until the beef juices bubble around the edges of the potato mixture.

Greek Meat Loaf

Greek Meat Loaf

I belong to a rotation meal group and Will made this delicious meat loaf when I hosted Greek Night.

1 lb Ground beef chuck
1 lb Ground lamb
2 Eggs
1 Cup bread crumbs
2 Bunches green onions, minced
4 oz Feta cheese, finely crumbled
1/4 Cup minced fresh parsley
1 T Dried mint leaves
2 T Olive oil
1 T Red wine vinegar
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t Salt
1/4 t Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, mix all ingredients just until well combined but not overmixed. In 13x9 metal baking pan, shape meat mixture into 9x5 inch loaf. Bake meat loaf 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 8

Spaghetti Pizza

3/4 lb. spaghetti
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 T. olive oil
About 5 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 tomatoes, diced
1-1/4 c. crushed tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dash hot pepper flakes
5 eggs
1 to 1.5 c. mozzarella, diced
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
3/4 c. diced ham

Prepare the pasta by boiling water with salt. Cook until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside in the same large pot.

Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and the crushed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and a little hot pepper flakes. Cook on medium-low heat so that the sauce thickens.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into the pot with the spaghetti and stir to combine.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: Ham, mozarella, parmesan cheese, and sauce.

Once combined, pour into a 9" x 13" baking pan. Top with additional parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, in a preheated oven (350 degrees) for 45-55 minutes, until hot and golden brown. It should be firm enough to cut into sections and hold together.

Note: This can also be prepared in a large skillet using half of the ingredients. Combine in the skillet and cook on medium-low heat until the bottom has browned, about 10-12 minutes; invert on a plate and return to the skillet to cook on the other side for another 10-12 minutes until firm and golden brown.

Serves: 10 - 12

Beef Tagine with Green Olives

My friend Elena made this for a travel group luncheon quite a few years ago. It's time I added it to my blog.

1-1/2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1" cubes
1 t. paprika
1 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 T. olive oil
2 T. tomato puree
4 shallots, quartered
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2" pieces
8 oz. canned chopped tomatoes
2 T. chopped parsley
Dash salt
1/2 c. pitted green olives

Put the 5 spices, garlic, 2 T. olive oil and tomato puree in a large zip lock bag. Knead to mix together. Add teh beef, close, and knead to cover the meat with the spices. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat the remaining oil and saute the shallots, potatoes, and carrots until they begin to change color. Remove from the pan.

In the same pan, fry the marinated meat until sealed on all sides. You may have to do this in batches.

Return the vegetables to the pan; add the canned tomatoes, any remaining marinade, parsley, and salt. Cover and cook over low heat for about 3 hours, or until the beef is tender.

Stir in the olives and allow to just heat through.

This works well in a crockpot.
I doubled the recipe for a large dinner party for 15 people.

Pot Roast

This is my mother's recipe - simple, yet a delicious comfort food.

1 lb boneless beef chuck roast
1 T. oil
Salt and Pepper
3/4 c. water
2 carrots, pared and halved
1 small onion, quartered
2 medium potatoes, pared and quartered.

In a heavy skillet, brown the meat on all sides in the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the water, cover and simmer for 1 hour, adding water if necessary.

Add the vegetables and simmer 45-60 minutes, or until everything is tender.

Serve with the skimmed pan juices (do not thicken).

Garlic Shrimp

When having parties with a Mediterranean food theme, I like to prepare this easy, yet very flavorful appetizer. This is a Spanish tapas dish.

1/4 c. olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. dry sherry
1 t. paprika
Salt and Pepper
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and saute for a minute.

Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp, lemon juice, sherry, and paprika. Stir well to combine and until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place in a serving dish and top with the parsley.

This serves 4 people or make a large batch for a dinner party.

Have fresh bread on hand to sop up the juices.

Crab and Shrimp Dip

My sister-in-law Doris made this. This make a huge batch, so save it for a large party.

3 8-oz packages cream cheese
2 cans crabmeat (not chunk); well drained (6 oz cans)
1 6-oz can broken shrimp, well drained
A few red pepper flakes or horseradish
Minced garlic, about 2 cloves
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients in a 2-quart casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degree for 25-35 minutes until warmed through.

Serve with french bread or crackers.

Serves 12-14

July 2013: I made this for a picnic and added a second can of the shrimp, plus some chopped onion, mustard powder, and worcestershire sauce.

Boursin Cheese Dip

This is a very simple dip to prepare and goes pretty quickly at parties.

8 oz whipped cream cheese
2 T. butter, softened
1/4 t. minced garlic
1 T. chopped parsley
1 T. chopped chives
1 t. dill

Mix all together in a bowl; chill in the refrigerator; serve with crackers.

Italian Meatballs & Red Sauce

Here’s my recipe, which I adapted from my mother-in-law. Don’t tell her but Tony says I make them better than her and she’s from Napoli Italia!

Meatball Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
3 Italian sausages, sweet and hot

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/4th of an onion, chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to season

Red Sauce (see below)

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Form into large meatballs (or small when preparing for a large dinner group).

Place the meatballs onto baking pans that have been lightly sprayed with pam.

Brown in the oven (pre-heated to 400 degrees) for about 10-12 minutes. This allows the meatballs to obtain that nice brown crispy texture and to remove excess fat.

Drain on papertowels; add the meatballs to the sauce and cook 2-3 hours on low heat.

Red Sauce:

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. olive oil
Dash hot pepper flakes
2 12-oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1/4 c. dry red wine - use any good wine.
Fresh basil

In a large pot, saute the garlic in the oil but don't let it burn. Add the pepper flakes and then the crushed tomatoes.

Simmer on low for 2-3 hours, adding the basil the last 15 minutes of cooking.

The longer this sauce cooks, the better!

You can use this sauce when making lasagna, manicotti, eggplant parmesan, and for topping pizza.

If I'm making this for a dinner party, I'll transfer to a large crockpot and keep on low heat before serving.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Braunschweiger Spread

I made this recipe (adapted) for a group rotation dinner for tonight. The food theme is German foods. My friend Carol B. gave me her recipe for this rich German spread using Braunschweiger, a type of pork liverwurst that you can purchase in your local grocery store.


8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
8 oz. Liver sausage (Braunschweiger)
2 t. Lemon juice
1 T. Chopped onion
1 t. Worchestershire Sauce
Dash Salt and Pepper

Pumpernickle or Rye bread; or Crackers

Carol said she uses lots more onion and a little more Worchestershire sauce.

I increased the recipe for the dinner party using:

12 oz. of cream cheese
12 oz. of the liver
3 t. lemon juice
4 T. onions
1 T. worchestershire sauce

I also added:

1/4 t. or so of dried thyme
1 T. Sherry

Soften cream cheese.
Finely chop the onions.
Add all ingredients in a bowl.

Using a fork, mix all the ingredients until combined. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve in a nice crock or bowl with a hearty bread such as Pumpernickle, Rye, or Rye wheat thins.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Italian Grilled Vegetables

This is an adapted recipe from Giada de Laurentis. I made last week for a rotation dinner. It made a huge batch, so
either reduce the quantity of the vegetables or enjoy the next night or two.

3 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into thin slices
2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/2" strips
3 zucchini,
sliced lengthwise into 1/2" strips
2 eggplant,
sliced lengthwise into 1/2" strips
24 Cremini mushrooms, keep whole unless very large
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 bunch green onions, roots cut off
1/4 cup + 2 T olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. parsley
1/2 t. finely chopped rosemary

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Brush the vegetables with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the vegetables in baking pans and as one layer as follows, as they all have different cooking times:

- Red bell peppers in one pan - these take about 8 to 10 minutes
- Yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and eggplant - these take about 7 minutes
- Asparagus and green onions - these take about 4-5 minutes

I started the bell peppers in the oven and added the other pans, each one, a few minutes later.

Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, herbs in a bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle over the vegetables and serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: I mis-read the ingredients and used more olive oil than needed for the dressing, so I added more balsamic vinegar.

This came out great, but doing it directly on a grill would be even better. Of course, you can use any type of vegetables. I'm thinking fennel, onions, other types of bell peppers, etc.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Moroccan Meatball Stew

I made this last week for a rotation group dinner. Food theme was "Foods from Mediterranean Ports." I selected Morocco. I found a few recipes but ended up using/adapting this one:

Ingredients for the meatballs:

1.5 lbs ground beef (I wanted ground lamb but couldn't find any)
1 onion, chopped (minced)
1/3 cup panko
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. tumeric (will skip next time, as it stains counter tops and hands)
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. ground ginger

Ingredients for the stew:

1 T. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 t. tumeric
1/8 t. saffron thread, crumbled
1 14.5 ounce can beef broth
1 14.5 ounce can tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 cups carrots, sliced into 1/2 inches pieces
1/4 cup cilantro, choppped
1 5-ounce package spinach leaves (I used baby spinach)

chop onions
chop garlic
Ingredients mixed in a large bowl
Spices added

To make the meatballs, mix the meatball ingredients in a large bowl.

Moisten hands and make 1.5 inch meatballs. Place on baking sheet.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the stew, add the olive oil and sautee the onions and cook on medium heat until transluscent.

Add the garlic, cinnamon sticks, turmeric and saffron and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.

Stir in the beef broth, tomatoes, and raisins. Bring the stew to a simmer and stir in the carrots and meatballs. Add the cilantro, stir to mix, and cover.

Cook on low for 45 minutes.

Add the baby spinach, stir, and turn off heat.

Serve in bowls.

Notes: I used 3.69 lbs of beef and doubled the remaining ingredients for our rotation dinner. Next time I will use lamb.