Monday, March 27, 2017

Guinness Pie

This in a very involved recipe and a whole lot more work than I am usually willing to put into a meal. However, I wanted to try out something new for St. Patricks Day dinner because I am not a fan of corned beef and I found this intriguing. From start to finish it took me about 4 hours, however you can mix up the crust and make the filling a day in advance and then assemble it right before you want to cook it. Just bring it up to room temperature before assembling and baking. It was a lot of work, but TOTALLY worth it! OMG it turned out amaze-balls! Our new SPD tradition for sure!


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 TBSP) cold, unsalted butter
1 cup shredded aged Irish Cheddar cheese
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice water

6 strips thick cup bacon - cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces
2 TBSP olive oil or safflower oil + more if needed
3 pounds beef chuck - trimmed of hard fat and cut into bite sized pieces
salt & pepper
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 medium yellow onion - chopped
4 large garlic cloves - thinly sliced
1 pound (about 4 cups) mushrooms - washed, stems trimmed and cut in half or quarters if they are large
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
2 cups dark stout beer - I used Guinness extra stout (this will be just over 1 bottle of beer)
7 stems fresh Thyme
1 dried bay leaf
8 ounces frozen pearl onions - thawed and drained
1 pound (about 3 cups)  fingerling or new potatoes - cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 TBSP chopped fresh dill
2 TBSP finely grated fresh horse radish (I could not find fresh anywhere so I just used jarred extra hot - not creamed)
1 TBSP distilled white vinegar
1 egg - beaten

In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Add butter and cheese and pulse until the mixture turns into a coarse meal.

With the machine running, drizzle water in slowly through the top. Pulse until the dough holds together without being wet and sticky. DO NOT process more than 30 seconds. Test the dough by squeezing a small amount together, if its crumbly add more water 1 TBSP at a time.

Roll dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp and brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Save the fat to a bowl.

Wipe out pot and add 2 TBSP reserved bacon fat back to pot and heat over medium-high heat until hot.

Season beef with salt & pepper. Working in 3 batches, cook beef until browed on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Pour off fat from pot into bowl of reserved fat. Add 1 cup of broth to the pot and cook for 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pot if needed. Pour over bowl of meat.

Heat 2 TBSP reserved fat in pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions soften, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables, add mustard, and cook stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Return beef and broth to pot. Add remaining broth, stout, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, scraping flour mixture from bottom and sides of pot. Reduce heat to simmer, partially covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add potatoes, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender but NOT MUSHY, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf and thyme stems. Stir in bacon, pearl onions, dill, horse radish and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a 2 1/2 quart baking dish and place on a rimmed baking sheet (incase it bubbles over).

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out dough on a floured work surface to about 2 inches bigger than the baking dish. Center dough over filling; trim the edges to about 1 inch overhang. Brush egg wash over bottom of edges and press onto baking dish to seal. Brush remaining egg wash over the top of the pie. Cut vents in center. Bake until crust is golden and the filling bubbles, 35 - 45 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lasagna Rolls


These were a bit more work than regular lasagna and basically tasted like....well regular lasagna only lighter on the sauce. They make a beautiful presentation though with a slightly "cleaner" taste.

9-15 unbroken lasagna noodles, depending on your pan size and how many people you are feeding. (I used regular and gluten free noodles and they both turned out perfect)
1 package frozen chopped spinach - thawed and drained of most liquid
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (you will probably only use half)
*1 lb ground pork (this is optional, you can also make them vegetarian) 
3 cups shredded cheese of choice. Ricotta is a popular cheese for lasagna but I dont care for it in the least so I used half mozzarella and half aged Irish cheddar) 

Cook pork in a pan, breaking up into small pieces. After it's cooked through I tip one side of the pan up and move all the meat to the top so the fat drains off, or you can just use a slotted spoon and remove the meat to a bowl. 

Add noodles to boiling water and cook until pliable but still al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water to keep them from getting mushy.

In a bowl mix together the pork, spinach and half of the cheese. 

Assemble your rolls by laying out one noodle at a time on a clean surface. Spoon a few large tablespoons of both marinara and cheese mixture down the middle. Leave a space at the end so when you roll it up it doesn't all gush out the bottom.

Roll up carefully and place the seam side down in a casserole dish. Repeat with the rest of your noodles and filling.

Spoon more marinara over the top and finish with remaining cheese.

Bake in oven at 375 until cheese is melted and slightly golden. 

Parmesan Chicken & Sun Dried Tomato Zoodles

1 TBSP butter
1.5 lbs skinless chicken thighs - cut into short strips
3-4 oz semi-dried tomato strips (I found them in a bag by the jarred sun dried tomatoes in the produce section, it says something to the extent of them being 'extra tender') 
3.5 oz jarred sun dried tomato strips in oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 
1 1/4 cup cream, half & half or canned coconut milk/creme 
1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
salt, dried basil, red chili flakes to taste
2 large zucchini - spiral cut into Zoodles! 

Heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken strips and season with salt. Fry until golden brown on all sides.

Add the semi-dried and jarred sun-dried tomatoes with 1 TBSP oil from the jar, and add the garlic; saute about 3 minutes.

Lower heat, add the cream and cheese; simmer while stirring until cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt, basil and red chili flakes. 

Combine with zoodles and simmer until the zoodles have softened to your liking (4-7 minutes).

Eat immediately! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Beef and Veggie Ramen

I normally don't do recipes that are this involved but after I found the gluten free ramen noodles at Costco I had to try it and now it's one of my favorites BY FAR.

3/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce) - separated
2 TBSP hoisin sauce
2 1/2 TBSP minced garlic
3 TBSP + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 lb flank steak or sirloin steak (the flank steak was $20 and the sirloin was only $8 so I went with the sirloin)
4-5 TBSP olive oil or coconut oil
Veggies - I did about 1 1/2 cups snap peas, 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms, 1chopped red bell pepper, 1 large shredded carrot
6-8 oz ramen noodles (I found gluten free ramen noodles at Costco and they were perfect!)
2 TBSP sesame oil
1 cup low sodium beef stock/broth
1 TBSP minced ginger
*1/2 cup brown sugar (use more or less depending on how sweet you want the dish. A loosely packed 1/2 cup was just right for my taste. Not too sweet).
red pepper flakes to taste

Marinade the meat in 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce), hoisin sauce and 1 TBSP minced garlic.  Slice your steak very thin against the grain and then in half if the pieces are too long. If you are using flank steak, you can get by with about 30 minutes in the marinade. However, if you are using sirloin I suggest putting the sliced meat in the marinade in a covered bowl or zip bag and letting it do it's thing all day in the fridge. Get your butt out of bed an extra 20 minutes early and throw it together before work.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup coconut aminos/soy sauce, beef stock, sesame oil, remaining minced garlic, minced ginger, brown sugar and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Set aside.

Prep and cook the veggies. Place 1 TBSP of oil in a large pan/skillet/wok and add the veggies. Cook over medium-high heat until crisp tender. Transfer to a bowl.

Remove meat from marinade into a large plastic bag with 3 TBSP corn starch. Toss to coat, also using your fingers to work the cornstarch into the meat so that it is all well coated.

Cook meat in however many batches it takes to make sure the pieces aren't touching while they cook (it took me 3 batches). Heat 1 TBSP oil in your pan until simmering. Add the meat to the simmering oil and cook about 90 seconds without moving it. Then stir it around for about 30 seconds and transfer to a plate. Add more oil before each batch.

Put a pot of water on to boil.

In the same pan, add in your beef stock mixture. Cook uncovered over medium heat until it thickens a little and reduces by about a third (don't reduce it too much!)

In a small bowl whisk together remaining 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp water. Whisk into sauce.

While your sauce is reducing, cook your ramen noodles in your boiling water. Follow the directions on the package but it only takes about 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Add cooked noodles, veggies and meat to your sauce and toss to coat. Eat immediately!

These are the noodles I found at Costco!

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

3 large bell peppers - cut in half, seeds and stems removed
1 lb ground turkey
1 can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1/2 onion-chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
garlic powder
shredded sharp cheddar or mozzarella
*6 thick slices gouda cheese (optional)

Place bell pepper halves, cut side down, on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 375 until just tender.
Remove to a casserole dish, cut side up.

Brown turkey in a large pan over medium high heat with chopped onions. Season to taste with salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder. Add in chopped parsley and diced tomatoes, combine well and remove from heat.

*Place a slice of Gouda cheese in the bottom of each bell pepper half (optional), mound with turkey filling and top with shredded cheese of choice. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted.