Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Muenster Mac with Apples and Bacon

There are lots of great recipes for mac and cheese with apples and bacon, I got a great deal on a huge package of Muenster so I decided to give that a go.  I also needed something to try out my new food processor attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer so shredding cheese and dicing apples was perfect!

16oz pasta, cooked al dente
1 large granny smith apples, chopped*

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic minced
4-6 TB flour OR 3-4 TB cornstarch**
2 1/2 cups skim milk
8 oz Muenster, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

4-6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked crisp and diced, reserve 1 TB bacon fat
1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
1/4-1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

* I dip my chopped apples in a bowl of water mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice, to prevent browning.

Preheat oven to 350

While your pasta and bacon is cooking start the sauce

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant.

Add flour(less for thinner sauce, more for thicker) directly to the butter **If you are using starch, whisk it into the cold milk.

Add milk to the butter mixture, stir and cook until thick.

Add cheese and stir until fully melted

Remove from heat and add salt/pepper to taste.

In a greased 9 x 13 pan combine pasta, apples and sauce, toss gently.

Combine bread crumbs with reserved bacon fat, toss together well

Sprinkle bread crumbs, bacon pieces and Parmesan over the top of the pasta.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover and bake 15 minutes more until hot and bubbly.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ham and Scalloped Potato Pizza

I have been trying to come up with a  new idea for my potato pizza crust. I was going back through some old posts and saw it! A slight variation on Double Cheese Ham and Peas Pizza and it turns to Ham and Scalloped Potato Pizza!


2 lbs potatoes, scrubbed well *
1 tsp salt

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 TB olive oil, divided use 

*the last potato pizzas I used russets, this time I used Yukon Golds and it was delicious but a little less firm than russets....both tasty but russets may be a better choice

3 TB cup butter
1/4 cup flour OR 3 TB cornstarch
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 tsp ground mustard powder
salt and pepper to taste

Ham, slices or chunks
Thin sliced sweet onions
Shredded Mozzarella (you can change up the cheese flavor if you like)
** You can sub broccoli for peas if you like...or even green peppers are good, but you don't HAVE to use any veggie. We just like a little color in there.


Preheat oven to 400
Slice potatoes with a mandolin slicer or food processor(I used my 4mm blade). Place in a large bowl and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add 1 tsp salt and stir. Allow to soak for 15 minutes. 

Drain and rinse potatoes, Pour onto a large towel and blot dry, then put back in the bowl.

Mix cornstarch and seasonings together.

Sprinkle 1/2 the mixture over the potatoes, toss to coat. Sprinkle on the remaining half and toss to coat again

On a large pizza pan brush 1 1/2 TB olive oil making sure it is well coated.

Beginning at the outer edge layer the potato slices in concentric circles, overlapping about 1/2 inch. Press them down with clean hands to begin compacting them into a crust.  Brush with remaining olive oil.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender in the center and starting to crisp on the edges.

Melt butter over medium heat, add flour and stir into a crumbly paste. If using cornstarch whisk it directly into the milk.
Add milk to the butter and whisk until smooth, heat until very thick.
Add cheese and mustard and whisk until totally melted and thick.
Allow to cool slightly and spread over potato crust

Please note, I started this recipe with nearly double the sauce which is pictured...it was WAY too much so I halved it for the recipe


Sprinkle with ham and sweet onions and peas(or whatever veggie you like)

Top with a bit more cheese 

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Smoked Salmon Quesadillas

I made some homemade smoked salmon with my new smoker the other day so of course I wanted to put it into a meal. I found this recipe and modified it slightly for our needs. Great for a meal or for an appetizer.

Tortillas (flour, whole wheat, corn, gluten free....whatever you like)

6 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp dill
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3-4 rings pickled jalapeno(more or less for your spiciness preference)
salt and pepper to taste

Other Toppings:

Smoked Salmon
Shredded cheese.....cheddar, swiss, provolone, monterrey jack.....lots of options

Place all the filling ingredients in a small food processor and process until smooth and creamy (you can do this by hand too of course, I just prefer the processor)

Cover and allow flavors to mingle at least 30 minutes.

Heat a griddle or pan to medium and  butter 1 side of each tortilla. Place tortilla butter side down on the hot griddle and spread with a TB or more of the cream cheese mix. Sprinkle with smoked salmon and shredded cheese. Place another tortilla butter side up on top. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is starting to melt and the tortilla is turning golden brown. Flip and cook 3-5 minutes more until fully melted and the bottom is golden too.

Allow to set for 2-3 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hawaiian Waffle Burgers

Another Waffle Burger!!!  These are the same method as my savory waffles, but I sweetened them up a bit to mimic something like a Hawaiian Sweet Roll. I served with homemade tater tots but I brushed them with teriyaki and stuck them under the broiler for some extra flavor!

Also great on a Sweet Hawaiian Roll instead of the waffle!

1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup polenta(coarse cornmeal works fine too) 
1/4 cup butter 
1 cup milk 
1 egg 

2/3 cup sorghum flour 
1/4 cup potato starch 
3 TB tapioca starch 
1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
(OR sub the above 4 ingredients with 1 cup all purpose flour)
2 TB brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained well

1 1/4 lb ground beef 
2 TB pineapple juice
1 TB soy sauce or Bragg's Amino
1/4 tsp ground ginger

dash of garlic powder

Grilled Pineapple Rings*
Thick Sliced Bacon(cooked to your crispness preference)
Sweet Onion
Sliced Jalapenos
Roasted Sweet Peppers
Mozzarella or Swiss Cheese
* Fresh is of course way better, but canned worked just fine when I couldn't find a decent fresh one.
I brushed mine with teriyaki sauce and stuck them in my waffle iron after making my waffles!

For the waffles:

In a pot heat pineapple juice to boiling, add polenta and stir vigorously until thick. Add butter, reduce heat and stir until melted
Remove from heat and add milk. Set aside to cool slightly then add in egg and beat well.
In another bowl combine the dry ingredients.
Carefully mix the milk mixture into the flour mixture
Gently fold in the pineapple
Cook according to your waffle maker instructions. I tend to cook them a little longer than the recommended time to give it a little extra crunch.

For the burgers: 
Combine the pineapple juice, soy sauce and ginger, mix well then gently mix into ground beef. Make equal sized patties and dust lightly with garlic powder then broil or grill to you pink or no pink preference.

For the assembly:
I prefer to put my jalapenos and onions on the burger then a slice of cheese and melt the cheese over the top of those two items.
On the bottom waffle place slices of roasted sweet pepper, then add the burger patty(with the cheese, onion and jalapeno all melted together) then add some tomato, a slice of pineapple, some bacon and top with another waffle........slice and enjoy!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winter Jack Cider Cheesecake

Hooray for Thanksgiving! Time for a new Cheesecake recipe! I had really wanted to use Apple Brandy for there was not a bottle to be found in my small town. I was thinking maybe spiced rum....but then I came across Jack Daniels Winter Jack Tennessee Cider. I thought it would be worth a shot !

2 cups QUALITY apple cider.....cannot stress that enough, QUALITY!
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves

2 1/4 cups ginger snap crumbs (1/2 this recipe is perfect!)
1/4 cup butter

2 medium sized apples, peeled and sliced thin*
*I also dunk them in lemon water to prevent browning, but make sure they are dry before using

24 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup Jack Daniel's Winter Jack Tennessee Cider
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TB cornstarch
4 eggs

Boiling water (for water bath)

1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 TB sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of ground cloves
dash of ground allspice

For the cider:
Place the cider along with the spices in a small pan, simmer over medium heat until it has reduced to 1 cup (about 20-30 minutes, check often).

Strain out the spices and discard, set aside the cider to cool.

For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 at this point

Take 2 sheets of heavy duty foil and lay them out in a cross, set a 10 inch spring-form pan in the center and bring the edges up to cover the outside of the pan.

Reserve 1/4 cup ginger snap crumbs for topping.
Combine remaining 2 cups ginger snap crumbs and butter, mix well then press into the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes.

Immediately take your sliced apples and carefully line the edge of the pan pressing them firmly into the edge of the crust. When you have completed the ring make sure to carefully pack the crust tightly against the edges again. (It will be hot so take precautions!)

For the filling:

In a food processor or with electric mixer beat the cream cheese until it is nice and fluffy...about a minute or so.

Add in Winter Jack,sugars and cornstarch. Mix well until no lumps remain, scraping down sides as necessary.

Then add in the cooled reduced cider you made earlier. Beat well to combine.

Add eggs 1 at a time and incorporate fully before moving to the next BUT be careful not to over beat at this point. Seriously, beat it all you want before the eggs but after eggs, just until incorporated!!

When the eggs are fully combined, GENTLY pour into the prepared crust.

Place the pan into a wide rimmed pan (I use my broiler pan) and add boiling water up to the middle of the spring-form.

Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes until the edges are starting to look a little dry but the center is jiggly.

Combine topping ingredients and gently spread over the cake, sprinkle with  reserved ginger snap crumbs.

Bake 5 minutes more.

Turn off heat and allow to cool for 1 hour without opening the oven door.

After 1 hour take out of oven, remove the foil and cool completely on a wire rack.

After it is completely cool chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before removing ring. Then enjoy!

Just an FYI Winter Jack was ok but it did not impress me as much as I had hoped.  I definitely think a spiced rum or apple brandy would be fantastic!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Delicious Pork Chop Casserole

I decided to take one of our favorite pork chop recipes and expand it into a casserole dish.
I used roasted cauliflower but this is totally workable with pasta as well!

1/2-1 lb pork chops, lightly seasoned as desired (meat amount is really to your preference)

1 large head cauliflower, (about 2 lbs or so)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp garlic power
1/4 tsp red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

3 TB butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 TB flour OR 2 TB cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup quality mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 TB fresh parsley, chopped
seasoning salt and pepper to taste

1 bunch green onions, chopped
Shredded Cheddar

Season and grill, bake or broil your pork chop to 145 degrees. Cover with foil and allow to rest 10 minutes then slice into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450
Chop your cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Place them on a foiled and greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic powder, red pepper, salt and pepper and toss gently.

Roast about 20 minutes until golden and tender. Remove from oven. *
*you can omit this step and substitute 1 lb of your favorite pasta, cooked according to package directions

While the cauliflower is roasting or pasta is cooking make the sauce:
Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant and tender.

Add flour and whisk to a smooth paste (If you are using cornstarch whisk it directly into the milk)
Add milk and whisk well, cook and stir until thickened. Whisk in mayo and cheddar continuing to stir until no lumps remain. Add parsley, salt and pepper.

In a greased baking dish combine sliced pork, roasted cauliflower and the sauce, toss together well.

Sprinkle with chopped green onions and more cheddar as desired.

Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes at 350, remove foil and bake 10 minutes more until hot and bubbly.