Thursday, October 16, 2014

California Girl's Osso Bucco

A little Italiano comfort food. Rich, delicious and satisfying. 

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup flour, for dredging
6 beef veal shanks or oxtails
1 large onion, diced medium
4 ribs celery, diced
3 to 4 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch thick coins
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon each, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper or course ground pepper
1 cup good red wine
1 to 1 1/2 cups beef stock
a good handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom stock pot, add olive oil and heat until very hot.

In a plate combine the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the shanks in the flour and shake off to remove any excess flour. Add shanks to the Dutch oven or pot and brown on all sides. This should take 5 to 6 minutes. When meat is browned, remove from pot and set aside.

Next add the onions, celery and carrots to the pot and cook until tender.

Add garlic and Italian seasoning and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.

Deglaze the pot with red wine, scraping up any bits from the bottom.  Add the stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, add the meat back, the can of crushed tomatoes, stir and cover with the lid and place into the oven.
Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Add cornstarch, a bit at a time and stir to thicken to desired consistency. Sprinkle parsley.

Serve hot over buttery polenta, grits or creamy mashed potatoes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chili Mac

Serves: 6
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 lb. ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoon flour 
1 tablespoon chili powder 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce 
2 cups beef broth 
1/2 pound dry macaroni 
4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
3 ounces Velveeta, cubed small

In a large skillet,add olive oil and brown the ground beef over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until tender. Drain off the excess fat. When the garlic and onionn are tender, add the flour and cook for one minute, constantly stirring. Quickly add the chili powder, smoked paprika. oregano, tomato sauce, and broth, and continue to stir until incorporated.
Add the dry pasta, place a lid on top, and allow it to simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is has absorbed all of the liquid and is done. Stir frequently to make sure it’s not sticking on the bottom of the skillet. If needed, add a a few tablespoons of water a little at a time until the pasta has finished cooking. When soft, the heat off and stir in the cheeses. Serve hot. A side salad is good with this dish.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pumpkin Beef Mac-n-Cheese

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced small
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
 6 to 8 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
6 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed small
1 cup of cooked pumpkin puree

Cook ground beef until browned. Add onion and cook until tender.Set aside.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat. Add the ground beef and onions.
In a bowl, whisk together the milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, paprika and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheeses. Add more evaporated milk if need. Over low heat continue to stir until cheeses are melted and creamy. Add the cooked pumpkin puree.Stir until incorporated and cook until hot and bubbly.
Serve as a side or alone.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Jack-A-Lantern Cake Pops

Halloween is my favorite time of year and what's more fun than making cake pops. These funny sweet treats will dress any spooky table up for fright night!

1 box cake mix of choice
Cake pan
1 can (16 ounces) white frosting mix
2 bags of orange candy melts (16 ounces each)
2 to 3 tablespoons shortening
Clear sanding sugar if desired
36 lollipop sticks (Wal Mart or any craft store will have these)
Green piping gel or frosting for the stem if desired
Piping bag or toothpicks to put on stems
Black gel food coloring or fruit roll ups
Small (tiny) paint brush or tooth pick to paint faces on
Sheet pan
Wax or parchment paper
Block of styrofoam to hold finished cake balls while they dry

Use any flavored cake mix you desire, vanilla, yellow or chocolate
Cook cake mix according to package directions. When done, cool the cake and cut the cake into squares. Crumble cake squares to a fine consistency. Discard any real brown or hard edges. Add the canned frosting about 2 tablespoons at a time and continue to add until the mixture resembles play dough. It will depend on how moist your cake is as to how much frosting is needed. You will usually need about 3/4 can of frosting. When mixture is right, roll into balls (about 1 1/2 tablespoon per ball) You can use a melon baller or small cookie scoop for measurement, if desired. Place balls onto cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper When you have all of the balls (makes about 36) on the cookie sheet, place in freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to hold the shape. Next, melt the candy until smooth. Beat in shortening a little at a time until the melts are smooth and can be easily dipped. Take your lollipop sticks and dip the tips into the candy melt mix and insert them 1/2 way into the balls. Again return them to the freezer to set sticks about another 15 to 20 minutes. When sticks are set, dip cake balls in the candy melt mix and twist around until coated. VERY gently tap off any dripping candy. At this point you will need the styrofoam block to place the cake balls in as they are finished. Let the candy coating set up on the counter or in refrigerator. If you are going to sugar the balls, do so before the coating is completely hardened, When the coating has set up you are ready to paint the faces and stems or cut fruit roll ups into eyes and mouths. Have fun!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Idea of the Week...California Girl Club

 So I'm thinking I need quick, yummy lunches to take to work in the coming weeks. Maybe I'll add soup or a small salad and a half sammy. Either way, I have all these ideas running through my head and here's one...
Grilled whole wheat bread
Sliced chicken breast
Any Questions?

Friday, September 19, 2014

General Tso's Chicken

3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
oil for frying
5 dried red Thai chili peppers
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 coins fresh ginger root, finely grated
The Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
In a large bowl, mix cornstarch and eggs together well. Add chicken to batter and coat well. In another bowl mix rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside. Add enough oil to wok to deep fry and heat to 375 degrees. Fry chicken pieces until done and light golden brown in color. Drain on paper towels. Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil. Add red peppers, garlic and ginger to wok a stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until garlic and ginger is tender. Return chicken to wok and stir fry for another 2 minutes with peppers. Add sauce mixture to chicken and cook until thickened. Serve with rice.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Adkins friendly, healthy and delicious. A must try quick lunch or dinner for your family. I love these.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken (Ground pork or turkey is a good alternative)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, small diced
1/3 cup hoisin sauce 
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger , finely minced
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and small diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced 
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head butter lettuce

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground meat to a skillet and cook until browned, drain excess fat. Stir in garlic, onion, and ginger until tender. About 2 minutes. Add hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar and soy. Stir to combine.Stir in chestnuts and green onions and cook about 2 minute.Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside. Wash and dry lettuce. Cut off lettuce core and pull off leaves. Dry leaves well and fill with equal amounts of filling. Fold over and serve with white or fried rice as a side.