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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Now  &  Later…  

Today folks I will be creating two dishes for your dinning pleasure.  One to enjoy now, and one for later.

With today's busy, crazy, hectic lifestyle...I find that when I do have the time, I like to create a meal I can freeze to cook later in the week. I just pop it out of the freezer and into the fridge before I leave for work.  By the time I get home form a LONG day @ work, it is defrosted and I can just toss it into the oven as I change into my comfy clothes, relax with my favorite drink, and de-stress from the day.

First up I'll be creating a sausage and potato casserole.  

The ingredients...

6 medium potatoes
1 Cup diced onion
1 Cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1/2 Cup skim milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butte, divided
5 slices Swiss cheese,  diced
Turkey Polish sausage, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel and slice the potatoes.  As you do this, place the potatoes into water to prevent them from turning an unsitely brown  (it just does not look pretty when that happens) until you are ready to boil them.
Proceed to boil the potatoes in generously salted water.  Once the water come to a boil, set the timer for 15-20 min.
Drain when done.
While the potatoes are boiling, you can saute the diced onion in the olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter until translucent.
Next, slice the sausage, set aside.
At this point we will need to spray the casserole dish with cooking spray.

Now for the assembly...

A layer of potatoes...

Top with a layer of sauteed onions...

                             Then a layer of sausage...

Keep repeating until you run out of potatoes, onions, & sausage.

Here I have topped the whole thing with the diced Swiss Cheese and dotted with the remaining Tablespoon of butter so we will get a nice browning on top when cooked.

Next thing we need to do is construct the sauce to pour over the top.

Place 1 Cup Fat Free sour cream, 1/2 Cup skim milk, and 2 eggs in a bowl to whisk together.  Add a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper, mix  and pour over the whole casserole.

At this point, you can cover in foil and place in the freezer until later in the week.

When you are ready to cook this, place in a 325*F preheated oven and cook for 25-30 or until top is a nice golden brown.

So that is for "Later".  Next up we will create the "Now".

I will be showing you how I made pork chops, corn on the cob warped in bacon, baked beans and stuffing.

First I rubbed salt, pepper, and garlic on both sides of the pork chops.  I then pierced the chops with a knife, then placed into a Pyrex dish, and covered with Italian dressing.  Cover this and let it marinate in the fridge for 30 min - 1 hour.

As the pork chops were marinating,  I started to prepare the corn on the cob...

Four ears of corn
salt n pepper to taste
Bacon...yes, bacon.

First husk the corn and rub with a paper toweling top remove the silk form the cobs

While I was removing the husks for the corn some one thought that a husk I had dropped on the floor was a schmechon beckoning him. Oscar snatched it up and ran off to the living room to eat his found treasure...
Mine, mine, ALL MINE!!!

Wow, this is tough to chew!

What mess Daddy?  

On a sheet of tin foil, wrap the corn with one or two slices of bacon.   

Then seal it all up in the foil.

This is when I made the stuffing and the baked beans.

The Stuffing?  Read the directions on the box.  I had to cut time some where, and up to now I've made a lot of food and a lot of mess. ( with Oscar's help.)

The baked beans?  Open the can and heat them in the microwave.  Sorry...saving time again.

To the grill!

 Place the corn foil packets on the grill. Keep checking by opening the foil and testing the corn for tenderness.  I did that by pressing on a kernel of the corn with my thumb nail.

Next, the pork chops...

Grilling for me is not so much about timing as it is watching for it to be done.

And here is the whole meal.

When I unwrapped the corn, I took the bacon, sliced it up and put on top of the beans.
The pork chops were SOOO tender and tasty!  And the corn...OMG! 

So here you have it.  Two dinners.  One for now and one for later.
I hope you'll give either one or both a try.

 Until next time when the Schmeckon Beckons...
God bless.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday in the Kitchen with DigDug...

Sunday.  A day of rest yet, a day of constant commotion and enjoyment in the kitchen.  I love my Sundays!  

The day starts out with choir rehearsal  at 9:00am.  JoAnne, our choir director, asked me to sing Tenor today.  I'm a Bass, but I did it for her. Thank God it wasn't that high of a Tenor part for our Sunday selection.

After Church, I walked the boys Oscar and Felix...our dogs. (That's them in the profile picture with me.)  Then I scoured the newspaper ads and the internet ads for the ingredients  I would need for tonight's at home feast.  Then it's off to the grocery stores.

So...for tonight's meal I planed to make Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli and Pesto/Garlic Mashed Potatoes top with sauted onions, spinach, and diced tomatoes.  Yes.  I loved the potatoes so much last night that I had to give it a shot for myself at home.

First and foremost, before one starts creating this meal...

I mean...what fun is cooking without some creative "grape juice"?

The ingredients for the Pesto/garlic mashed potatoes...

  • Five medium potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • 1 Tbl butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbl basil pesto with pine nuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
Place the potatoes in a pot covered with generously salted water.  Bring to a boil, and cook until tender: about 10 minutes.  Drain, and mash with the remaining ingredients to desired consistency.

                                          The ingredients for the potatoes topping...

  • Half an onion
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach
  • 2 Diced Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat, add onions and saute until they just start to caramelize.  Add spinach, salt & pepper and saute until wilted.  Just at the end add the tomatoes and cook until heated through.  this is then served over the Pesto/Garlic Potatoes.

Now for the Shrimp Scampi with Broccoli...

The ingredients...
  • 6cups Broccoli Spears
  • 2 Tbl Extra Virgin Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 pound Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbl Cornstarch
  • 6 Tbl lemon juice
  • 1  1/2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tbl Oregano
Preheat oven to 450*F.  Line baking sheet with foil.

Place Broccoli on baking sheet in a single layer.  Drizzle with 1/2 Tbl Olive Oil, and generously season with Salt & Pepper.  Roast the Broccoli for about 7 minutes or until it starts to become tender.

Season Shrimp with Salt & Pepper.

When the Broccoli is roasted,  remove it from the oven.  Turn on the broiler to high.  Place the seasoned Shrimp over the roasted Broccoli.  Broil until the Shrimp are just heated through and the broccoli is beginning to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.

During the cooking of the Shrimp, heat the remaining Olive Oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Saute Garlic in the oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the Cornstarch, Chicken Broth, & Lemon Juice.

Add the Cornstarch mixture to the Garlic and bring to a simmer.  Add Oregano and continue to constantly whisk until the sauce has thickened, around 1 minute.
Salt & Pepper to taste.

On a serving platter...

arrange the Shrimp and Broccoli.  Spoon sauce generously over them, and serve.

There you have it!  Jean gave me 9 points out of 10 for this meal! 

Give this a try.  It's not too difficult to execute (no fooling) and the raves you'll get from friends and family will warm your heart.

Until next time 
when the Schmeckon Beckons...

Dig Dug Dun.