Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pot Roast with Onion Gravy

Growing up, every Sunday after church we would come home to the house smelling like pot roast.    I don't make roast very often but it's one of my favorite comfort meals.  Woke up with a snowy morning and  a day like today with the snow still coming down was a perfect time to make this pot roast.  

One of the best parts about making a roast is it makes the whole house smell so good!

This recipe is the easiest and our favorite.  Only five ingredients, chuck roast, onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, onions and carrots.

I love my covered Le Creuset to make this roast but you can also use any roasting pan with a lid or cover with foil. 


Bakes for 4 hours, no peeking.  About 30 minutes before roast is done I make mashed potatoes because this roast makes the best onion gravy.   When the roast is done, it's covered with gravy, falling apart tender and the carrots are perfectly cooked.    I place roast, carrots and onions on a platter and pour gravy into a gravy boat and serve with the mashed potatoes.  Always brings me back to Sunday dinners as a kid,  good and delicious memories. 


Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 lb. chuck roast
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 carrots, peeled (keep whole)
  • large onion, quartered
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. 1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. 2.  Season roast on both sides with pepper and lightly with salt.  Heat oil in a large skillet on high heat and sear each side of roast until nicely browned.   
  3. 3.  Place roast into a large roasting pan. Place carrots and onion around roast.
  4. 4.  In a separate small bowl, combine the mushroom soup, water and onion soup mix. Mix well and pour over the roast. 
  5. 5.  Cover with lid or tightly with foil. 
  6. 6.  Bake at 300 degrees for 4 hours.  No Peeking!
  7. 7.  When done place roast, carrots and onions on platter and pour gravy in a gravy boat and serve with mashed potatoes.

Note:  You can also add potatoes along with carrots and onions to roast before baking.




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup



This Asian Chicken Noodle Soup reminds me a little of Pho.  We love Pho! Our favorite place to get Pho in Madison is Siagon Noodles.  If you don't know, Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles a few herbs, and either beef or chicken.  When I'm in the mood for Pho and can't get to Siagon NoodlesI'll be making this soup.  The broth has similar flavors, garlic and ginger.  It's a bit spicy with the chili-garlic sauce added but very flavorful.  I really like that it only makes 4 servings but it would be very easy to double.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger 
1 tablespoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast *see note below
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1-6oz bag baby spinach
2 scallions sliced thin
2- 3oz pkgs of ramen noodles (season packets discarded) *see note below if only making 2 servings 
garnish with cilantro (if you like) 

Directions:

1.  Bring broth, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and chili-garlic sauce to boil in Dutch oven.  Add chicken and turn down to medium-low heat, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to plate.  When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with sesame oil.  Add back to broth along with noodles, spinach and scallions.  Simmer until spinach is wilted and noodles are tender, about 4 minutes.


Above is my favorite chili-garlic sauce and I use Kikkoman Mirin.


Use any flavor Ramen because you discard flavor pkg and only use noodles.



*I like to purchase a rotisserie chicken and use the dark meat in this soup.  You can skip the cooking and just add the cooked chicken along with the spinach and noodles.

*If only making 2 servings at a time just cook up one pkg. of the ramen noodles in a separate pan of boiling water for 3 minutes.  Divide noodles into two bowls and pour 2 servings of soup over noodles.  Repeat with the next 2 servings a day or two later.  This way the noodles don't get overcooked when you warm up the soup.




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chicken Scaloppini For Two


I'm starting a new section on my blog called Cooking For Two.  Nothing new for a lot of you but it is for me.  I always make too much and I'm not a fan of leftovers.  When I can, I freeze my leftovers for my son, Michael to take home.  Right now, if Michael's reading this he'll be like NOOOO don't stop......don't worry Michael, there will still be leftovers in the freezer but maybe not as much.  
Since it's just my husband and I most of the time, I want some recipes just for two.  Tonight I made Chicken Scaloppini.  Scaloppini means thinly sliced pieces of meat, dredged in flour, sautéed and served in a sauce.  In this case, it's chicken.  Above, it looks like a lot for one serving but it's one small chicken breast sliced horizontally.  I had no problem finishing my serving.  I really like the slicing horizontally method instead of pounding thin.  It was less messy and the chicken didn't tear apart.  Also prepping the ingredients helps the dish come together fast and easy.  I served it with some roasted broccoli and Kevin and I enjoyed every bite.


Ingredients:
  • 2 (6oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts (use smaller beast pieces)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms (quartered)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons capers (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (cut into 2 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional, use it if you have it)
                                                           Instructions:
  1. Prep all the vegetables (mushrooms, bell pepper, shallots) on a cutting board and set aside.  
  2. Cut each chicken breast in half horizontally. (If slices are still too thick you can gently pound between plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thickness).  Pat dry and lightly sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread flour in shallow dish.  Dredge each cutlet in flour, shaking off excess.  Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium hight heat.  Add cutlets and cook until lightly golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.
  5. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium high heat and cook the mushrooms, red pepper, shallot and ¼ teaspoon of salt until liquid is evaporated and vegetables start to brown, 6 minutes.  Add the capers and garlic, cook 1 minute.  
  6. Add chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil, stirring up any browned bits.  Cook until reduced and slightly thickened 5-7 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter.  Salt and pepper to taste (I didn't need to add any).  Return chicken and any juices to pan to heat through, about 2 minutes.  Transfer chicken to two plates and top with vegetables and sauce.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Serve.

Recipe adapted from Cook's Country
                                                                                
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Monday, October 17, 2016

Classic Wedge Salad


I love a classic wedge salad and often order it at a restaurant but never think to make it at home until today.  It tasted so good!  I don't use iceberg lettuce in most salads but it's a must for this classic.  So when making this salad use cold iceberg lettuce quarters, good ranch dressing, ripe tomatoes, red onion, your favorite blue cheese and crisp crumbled bacon.  So easy, fresh and tasty.  I'll be making this again soon....maybe tomorrow!!

Ingredients:  
                                                             
iceberg lettuce, cut into quarters
ranch dressing
tomato or cherry/grape tomatoes
sliced green onions or red onion (I prefer red onion)
blue cheese, crumbled
cooked bacon crumbled

Directions:

On each salad plate, place 1 wedge of lettuce, turned on its side.  Pour dressing on wedge.  Sprinkle with tomatoes, onions, crumbled blue cheese and crumbled bacon.
  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Door County Weekend



My husband, Kevin and I spent the 4th of July weekend in Door County.  We've gone several times over the years and each time we see and do something new.  This time, we went on a kayak tour, stayed in a new B&B, watched the fireworks on a friends sail boat and ate at a few new restaurants.  So if you ever find yourself in Door County here's a few of our favorites. 

Our first stop was lunch at Wild Tomato in Fish Creek.  They now have a new location in Sister Bay.  This is a must stop every time we're in Door County.  They have gourmet pizza combinations, burgers, appetizers, really fresh salads and a great beer selection.
We were going to start with the Cherry Walnut Salad but our waiter was telling us how good the cheese curds are so we ordered and.....they were really that GOOD!

We had The Fun Guy pizza, with five types of sautéed mushrooms, spinach and caramelized onions on garlic cream cheese. Super tasty!  I'll admit, it was a lot of cheese for one meal but a little over indulgence on vacation is okay, right!?

Our stay for the weekend was at the Double S Lodge in Sister Bay.  This B&B is amazing!  The second we drove up we knew we were in for a treat.  What a beautiful property!  The owners are Steve and Sandy.  They are wonderful hosts and thought of every detail to make our stay fabulous! 






The lodge is gorgeous!  



Our Room #4 was perfect.  The bed and pillows were so comfy!!  We even had a small balcony that we enjoyed.
This basket was waiting outside our bedroom door every morning at 7:30am with hot mugs of coffee and pastries.  This was one of our favorite details.  We'd sit in bed (or on our balcony) with our coffee and treat reading before it was time to go down to breakfast at 9:00, so relaxing.


Breakfast each morning was made by Sandy and was delicious!  

Another cool detail is that they source a lot of local ingredients.  They even had their own blend of coffee from Luna Coffee Roasters.
Another perk is Steve and Sandy have bikes for their guest to use.   


At 5:00pm there's a fun little happy hour with wine, beer and yummy cheese platter.  Wine and cheese, one of my favorite combinations.  How did they know?!
We played the croquet course they had set up in the woods.  Just for the record, I WON!  
Those chairs are set up around a campfire and the best part is.....
at dusk Steve brings out the whisky and s'mores.   It was nice sitting around the fire getting to know the other couples.  What a nice way to end the evening. 

A must see is the grass roof with grazing goats on top of the Al Johnson Swedish Restaurant.  It's a sight to see!  We haven't eaten there but went to the outside beer garden.  
It was such a beautiful day.  We enjoyed a few drinks and played a giant Jenga game.  It was a really close game but Kevin won.  He even played with a drink in his hand!


This is where is all came tumbling down!!
One afternoon we went on a kayak tour. 

We kayaked under towering bluffs, paddled past Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, and rode along the shores of Peninsula State Park.  It was a lot of fun being on the water and seeing beautiful Door County from a different view. 
Two nights we ate at the Wickman House.  Why twice?  Well, the food is absolutely delicious and their selection of craft cocktails makes you want to come back just to try a different one.  You need a reservation as they are always packed.  We didn't have a reservation the second night but got lucky and got a seat at the bar.  Sitting at the bar was so entraining.  The drinks are one of a kind and the bartenders are great! I wouldn't come to Door County and not come here, it's a favorite. 
A high point of the weekend was spending time with some new friends on Mark and Laura's sail boat.  We had a few cocktails, Mark grilled us all a wonderful dinner and then we had the best seat in the house for the fire works.  

Door County, we will miss you but will be back next year.  Thanks Mark and Laura for the wonderful night.  Also thanks Steve and Sandy, you spoiled us and we can't wait to stay at the  Double S Lodge again next year!



Monday, June 6, 2016

Farm To Feast Dinner - Taliesin


I just love this time of year in Wisconsin!  So many fun things going on all summer long.  Like yesterday, we went to a Farm to Feast Dinner at the Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin.  Taliesin is an 800 acre estate located in Spring Green.  The property has seven buildings that span decades of Wrights career, 1887-1959.  A guided walking tour was provided.  Our guide Jill filled us in about the property, buildings and shared with us a little history about Frank Lloyd Wright.  The property is still used for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.  There are only about 25 students and they live and study right on the property.  It was fascinating and now I want to go back and take the tour of the Wright's main house.

After the tour we got to listen to the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra string quartet while enjoying some delicious appetizers along with some local wine and beer.  What a wonderful event!  The weather was perfect, the Taliesin setting for the dinner was beautiful,  spending time with friends, Tony and Margaret, is always great and the food was amazing.  The featured Chef was Michael Pruett from Cento, one of our favorite restaurants in Madison.  He was one of the reasons we got tickets for this event because we knew we'd be in for a treat.  He did not disappoint!

Margaret, Tony, Dawn (me) and Kevin

Jill (tour guide)







Salumi & Cheese


Buratta & Tomato
Mini BBQ Pork Sliders
Cured Salmon Cones
Chef Pruett 

The meal was paired with wines from Botham Vineyards and beers from WI Brewing Company,  Vintage Brewing Company and One Barrel Brewery.












Wine Poached Beets, Goat Cheese, Hazelnut Soil

Ricotta Agnolotti, Pea, Mint & Summer Truffle
Pistachio Crusted Lamb, Carrot Puree, Roasted Vegetables, Bordelaise Sauce
(Batch Bakery) Cherry & Franipane Galettes (pictured) & Blueberry lemon Cream Cheese Galettes and Sassy Cow Ice Cream 
Thanks to Madison Magazine, the Sponsors, Chef Pruett and all the volunteers!   It was a perfect Wisconsin Summer Day!
One more shout out, thanks to Badger Bus for the transportation to Spring Green!