Heavenly Deviled Eggs…

deviled eggs 1

Deviled eggs are one of those things I make every so often when the mood strikes.  I have all kinds of cute deviled egg plates that have been used maybe once, but let me tell you, that is going to change.  I made deviled eggs today as an appetizer, thought it would be a nice addition.  Being that it was Thanksgiving it seemed appropriate to add a few extras to the usual recipe, glad I did!!  These have got to be the best deviled eggs I have ever eaten.  They are light and fluffy, silky, darn right indulgent.  The light crunch and freshness from the diced green onions totally balance it out.  I started with six eggs that disappeared within seconds of being completed.  Definitely try a dozen!!!

For the Recipe:

6 eggs, boiled

1/4 c. whipping cream

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tsp. mustard

dash of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

3 strips of bacon, cut into small strips and fried

2 green onion, sliced thin

Slice the boiled eggs in half, putting the yolks in a bowl and setting the whites aside.  Pour the whipping cream in a small bowl, whisk until it starts to form soft peaks, set aside.  To the yolks add the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.  Mix so it’s creamy, then fold in the whipped cream.  Next, you can either use a pastry bag and pipe the filling into the egg whites or you can just spoon it in.  Lastly, top with the bacon and scallions.  Of course you can also sprinkle with paprika, since that’s the traditional thing to do…. Another idea, a little topping of some caviar.

Enjoy!!

 

Thankful…

Thanksgiving is so much fun!!! The craziness of all the food and activities is addictive, I think I could do this weekly. Crazy, I know… This is the first year I’ve taken pictures of food I’m making, why the heck haven’t I been doing this previously? For one, this is my first year having a blog, website and Facebook page (other than my personal one) so I never thought to really take any. Now I take pictures and write down ingredients, another first.

Quite honestly, I feel thankful throughout the year, not just when we are supposed to spout off about being thankful. I’m thankful for the usual biggies…but then there are the smaller ones that really shouldn’t be considered “small”. Everyday I wake up and think how lucky I am to have such a nice life. I have a roof over my head, healthy and happy kids, food in all our bellies, and many luxuries that I know I am damn lucky to have.

I think that the Thanksgivings of today are definitely different than what our parents had and generations before, that doesn’t mean they are any less special, we’ve just transformed. We no longer get cards in the mail wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving, we get texts and emails. My little old lady friend that passed away last Thanksgiving would always send cards, as soon as I saw the envelope in the mail I knew who it was from.

Black Friday….now it’s Black November!! It seems that every day it was “Black Friday deal right now” on every store page. It’s very overwhelming, and I must admit, I don’t really hunt them down, I do the lazy way and wait for other people to post about them. As for today, well, I don’t see myself running out to get early deals, not because I’m offended that any retailer would expect their employees to work on a holiday (for the record, I have worked several Thanksgiving Days) more so I’m just not in the mood. I would rather be at home with my family and friends sleeping off our big meal, and the several mini ones that follow, watching movies and relaxing. And yes, I do think it stinks for the workers that are not doing the same, but that is a totally different post for me…

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!! I need to go deal with a turkey and a goose…

Lemon Curd

yogurt and lemon curd parfait

Lemon curd was one of those foods I thought I would try once I hit 60, I would buy jars of it and put it on random things and eat it in my garden as I watched bunnies….  um, ok, maybe I had a little too much to drink during that particular flash forward.  But honestly, I really never thought to try the stuff.  I had passed it in stores, but never gave it a second thought.  Then I went to a tea house that served scones and lemon curd, my first thought was “why in the world was I passing you by?”.  Why do I still pass it by?  Well, because making it at home is so much better!!!  You know exactly what goes in and how fresh it is, besides, it’s really easy.

I like my lemon curd a little more tart, so if you are on the sweeter side of things you will want to increase the sugar to a full cup.

Recipe:

6 egg yolks

3/4 c. sugar

1/3 c. fresh Meyer lemon juice (if you don’t have Meyer lemons you can use regular)

2 1/2 tbsp. grated lemon zest

1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Grinding Meat, on a smaller scale

31ke36MW9zL._AA160_

I recently purchased the Kitchenaid Food Grinder attachment for stand mixers, and I am glad I did.  I have a much larger meat grinder that I use when I buy a lot of meat that I want to grind and freeze.  The larger grinder is great for large jobs but kind of a pain to pull out, put together and then take down and clean.  So for smaller jobs I just can’t bring myself to do it.  Sometimes I’ll freeze whatever it is I’m wanting to grind up for 30 or so minutes then put it through the food processor.  It does a decent job and I would continue to do it that way rather than pull down the big grinder if I hadn’t bought this new attachment.

Tonight I made some chili and used the new food grinder on the roast that needed to be ground up.  It was easy to attach, take apart and clean, so it’s a keeper.  It only came with two sized plates, but that’s more than enough.  I’ll be testing out how it does on non meat items over the holiday weekend.  The hubs asked if we were going to be eating only ground up food for the next few weeks.  I told him it’s a possibility….

Homemade Hamburger Helper

homemade hamburger helper

Believe it or not, I didn’t have my first taste of Hamburger Helper until I was in my early 20’s.  I think I bought it on a whim, just wanting to see what the heck the stuff was, of course back then there wasn’t the 3001 flavors there are today.  It wasn’t bad, wasn’t the greatest stuff I’ve ever eaten, but then again, are you really expecting much from a box of noodles and mystery powder?  After that first box, I had it another few times, but that was about it.  Fast forward a few years and I now have twinadoes to feed, and noodles are sometimes the only thing they will eat.  I came across some Annie’s organic “Hamburger Helper” so decided to give it a try.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 actually liked it, so I knew I had to recreate this at home.

So to start, I had jotted down a few of the ingredients that were on the Annie’s box.  Of course they keep things a little vague, but it was still very helpful.  I didn’t want to end up with beef stroganoff, but I wanted something creamy and tasty.  I think what I ended up with was pretty darn delicious.

Recipe:

1 lb. ground beef

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 onion, minced

1/2 c. celery, minced

6 tbsp. tomato paste

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp. garlic, minced

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

3 1/2 c. beef broth

2 tbsp. mascarpone cheese (optional)

6 oz. cheddar cheese, grated

8 oz. package of egg noodles, cooked barely al dente

Brown the ground beef in a heavy bottom fry pan, drain and set aside.  In that same pan, fry the onion and celery in the olive oil until tender, about 7 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and let cook until the past deepens in color, about 3 or so minutes.  Add salt, pepper, garlic, Dijon mustard, and beef, mix well.  Add the broth and mascarpone cheese, if using.  Taste for seasoning, add additional if needed.  Lastly, toss in the noodles and let them finish cooking.  The liquid will thicken as it cooks.

Enjoy!!

Stuffed Shells

stuffed shells

When Sip’N Dip came to visit a few weeks ago I made stuffed shells.  I knew she ate them at home so it was a pretty safe bet to make.  I was originally going to make manicotti, but after seeing I didn’t have any of the manicotti noodles I used what I had on hand… shells.  It’s such a simple recipe and just so comforting.  I call it part Sandra Lee Semi Homemade since I use jarred spaghetti sauce.  Don’t judge…

Recipe:

Sauce-

1 lb. lamb (or if you must, hamburger)

1 onion, chopped small

2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce

2 tsp. dried thyme

2 tsp. dried basil

1 tbsp. minced garli

1 tbsp. sugar

salt to taste

1 package large shells

Filling-

1 16 oz. container ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 c. parmesan cheese, shredded

1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded

In a heavy saucepan, large enough to hold the two jars of sauce, brown the lamb.  Remove from pan and drain.  In that same pan, add about 1 tbsp. olive oil and the chopped onion.  Let it cook until tender, about 7 minutes.  Return the lamb to the pan.  Add the rest of the     “sauce” ingredients listed under sauce and let it cook over low for about an hour.  It should reduce and become rich in color.  Taste, add extra seasoning if needed.

Cook the shells, but do not cook all the way.  You want them to be workable, but not cooked so they will fall apart, VERY al dente.  While the shells are cooking make the filling.  Put all the “filling” ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Once the shells are at a workable tenderness drain and let cool until you can handle them.  Once cooled enough, stuff with the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put enough sauce on the bottom of a baking dish to cover completely.  Place the shells on top of the sauce, then generously cover with the remaining sauce.  Place in the oven and let cook for 35 minutes.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

My Beloved Meyer Lemons…

32 meyer lemons

32 beautiful Meyer lemons just waiting to be processed…

Several years ago I happened to be talking to a gentleman in the produce department of a grocery store, I can’t remember why I even started talking to him, but somehow we got on the topic of lemons.  To me a lemon was a lemon but I was quickly schooled on that belief.  He told me about Meyer lemons and how they differed from the normal lemons you find everywhere.  Of course this intrigued me and I needed to experience this wondrous lemon for myself.

Unfortunately, where I live you cannot just head to your local store and pick up a bag, no sir… First, they are not sold in every store, and secondly, you need to catch them during their season.  So when Meyer lemon season rolls around (November) I go cray cray and buy tons for zesting and juicing.  Meyer lemons are sweeter than it’s counterpart so it’s great for making all kinds of desserts, which is what I do.  I like to keep lemon zest in my freezer all the time so it’s available to me whenever a recipe calls for it.  In my kitchen, it’s considered a staple.

The past few years Costco has carried my beloved Meyer lemons, so that means I can get 16 of them for about six dollars.  As much as I’d like to purchase a pallet of them I need to take into consideration that I have the twinadoes to contend with while I process lemons, which means I cannot do as many at one time as I’d like.  I end up getting that pallet, just not at one.

When I process my lemons I start by washing them.  Since I will be consuming the skins I want it clean.  Next the zesting.  Be sure to zest before juicing, I know, seems like a no brainer…

zester zested lemons

I love how the kitchen smells after zesting lemons, it’s simply glorious.  It’s a tad tedious and after 32 of them my hand did start to hurt a little but I’m ok with that, the results are so worth it.

lemon zest

The product of my labor….

Next, the juicing.  It’s another tedious job, but again, so worth the effort.  I do not own an electric juicer, which would make this step go a lot quicker, but I survived.  If you have any cuts or scrapes you will definitely want to wear gloves, unless you are in to that kind of thing… I put a strainer over a Pyrex glass measuring cut to strain out the seeds and pulp while juicing.

meyer lemon juice

Aaaahhhh, the juice of my labor.

lemon carcass

All that remains of the lemons.  Before you toss these into the yard waste bin to be recycled, throw one into your sink disposal to get rid of any icky smells that might be lurking.  You might want to cut it up a bit, just to make sure your disposal can handle it.  The smell of ground up lemon carcass…again, heavenly.

I’m off to buy more Meyer lemons….