Monday, September 26, 2016

Southwestern Mashed Potato Bowls

So my little one (my baby) wanted all her favorite flavors combined into one she says.  Now my little one is in college mind you, so when she is home, I am usually limited on time frames to make these "so called favorite meals" of hers.  

One of her favorite dishes is mashed potatoes.  You know, "mom's mashed potatoes", or as she says; "the best mashed potatoes ever"! They can be found  here:  MAKE AHEAD MASHED POTATOES
Then we have "chili", she loves meaty chili.   She also absolutely loves corn in her chili.  Now the rest of the family does not so I usually provide her with a  small dish of corn to add into her chili.  Then she says; "cheesy".  Now her idea of cheesy is literally "gooey" smothered in stringy (think pizza) cheesy goodness. 
That being said, my little one was asking all of this from me while I was working all day and wanted her "mama" to make them for her. 

So mom being mom, went about to deliver!  However, I cheated just a smidgen, well a lot to be honest.  I bought store bought mashed potatoes, and to be totally honest with you?  They rocked.  Seriously, who knew?  I mean these mashed potatoes resembled mine so much, the familia never suspected...
Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes

So the result of these bowls?  Were absolutely out of this world delicious! They not only rocked her world, they rocked mine!  I know!  

The bowls were creamy, bursting with southwestern flavor and the cheese topping?  Well let the amateur pictures speak the words...
See below.

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time:  30 minutes
Bake time:  45-50 minutes
Yield:  4 individual bowls

1lb ground beef
1 can (14.5 oz) canned corn, rinsed and drained
1 green pepper, diced
6 green onions, diced (or 1 medium onion diced)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp Chipotle pepper powder 
1 tsp salt
8 oz (1 pkg) shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices Muenster cheese, sliced into 4ths
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
2 pkg of pre-made Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes (24oz each)
Or can certainly use your own mashed potatoes, or mine, see above link.  

- Dice green onions and green pepper, set aside.

-Open can of corn, rinse and drain, set aside. 

-Using a large saute pan, brown ground beef.  Once ground beef is browned, add in the tomato paste.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the green onion and after a couple of minutes add in the diced green pepper. Now we add in the spices.  Onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, Chipotle pepper powder, and salt.  Saute for just a couple of minutes till the green peppers are almost starting to soften, turn off heat and set aside.

-Now it's time to layer.  Start off with about 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes between the 4 oven proof mugs/bowls.  

-Sprinkle in about 2 tbsp of corn immediately after and then about  1-1/2 tbsp of cheddar cheese.  

-Now add in about 1/2 cup of the ground beef mixture.

-Repeat layers finishing with the ground beef.

-Add 2 tbsp of Mozzarella cheese over the ground beef and then add about 6 strips of Muenster strips into a pattern over the Mozzarella cheese.  Finally, finish off with another 2 tbsp of Mozzarella cheese over the Muenster pattern strips.  
*You are going to ask me; "Didi, why in the world are we pattering the cheese strips"?  "Aha" - See when you take a couple of more moments to pattern the cheese, it literally melts into what you want it to melt into rather than going over and dripping onto things you cannot eat.*

-Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes till everything has been warmed thru and the cheese has melted nicely and is golden and crispy.

                                                           * * * * * * * *

So my friends, can I say this was one of the best meals like ever? Yes, yes it was!  It was comfort, it was easy, it was bursting with Southwestern flavor, but most of all...

Excuse the first attempt at a tripod for me - I tried, I really did, it's not the best, but you get my drift.  Cheesy, gooey goodness!!

I know your family will love you, mine did!

Till next time! 

Dishin with Didi

Monday, September 19, 2016

Creamy Roasted Tomato, Basil & Parmesan Soup

Finally, I say finally the weather has cooled.  Woohoo!  We have had one "hot summer" to say the least.  I mean who would of thunk that in Western NY we would get 1 month straight of 90F degree temperatures.  I know!
That being said, since the weather is now fully cooperating, I was craving soup again.  I don't know about you, but I literally can live on soup.  All kinds, all seasons, literally.

I visited the farmer's market recently and purchased some very nice Roma tomatoes.  I knew I would use some of them up for this recipe.  

Creamy, light, bursting with the last of the summer flavor and then you add in that luscious cream and Parmesan cheese?  I know right?  I wanted to serve them with other than just croutons or bread (I have no idea who just said that), so I thought to myself; "self, how about some fried ravioli"?  Here is the recipe I used for the fried Ravioli;  Giada's Fried Ravioli

The 4 cheese ravioli's were very good, next time, and there will be a next time, I think I will first dip them in flour, then the buttermilk, then the breadcrumbs and from reviews that I have read, place them on a baking sheet and freeze them for 1/2 an hour.
That being said; the family declared them an absolute winner! Coupled with the lightness of the soup, it was a perfect match!

Ready for this simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 40-45 minutes
Yield:  6-8 servings

3lbs (1.4K) Roma tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil, + 1/4 cup more
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1- 28 oz can whole tomatoes, peeled
32 oz chicken stock (can use vegetable)
2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 medium shallots, (or 1 medium red onion), diced
3 large cloves garlic, diced
1.5 cup basil leaves, whole (1 small bunch)

-Preheat oven to 400F.  

-Wash and cut tomatoes in half and sprinkle with salt, pepper & olive oil.  Lay tomatoes cut side down on baking sheet and roast till nicely shriveled and roasted, about 25 minutes.

 -As the tomatoes are roasting, in a large stock pan, add the olive oil, (over medium heat), and then the onions.  Saute till tender, add the diced garlic.  Saute for about 1 minute more.  Turn off heat.

-Once the tomatoes have roasted, turn off oven and remove pan.  

-To the stock pan with the onion and garlic mixture,  add the can of whole tomatoes. 

-Add in the roasted tomatoes including all the juices and olive oil from your baking pan into the stock pot along with the whole basil.     
-Add in chicken broth (or vegetable broth), semi cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 35 minutes.

-When the tomatoes are cooked thru, (about 35 minutes) turn off heat, and fish out all the whole basil.  We do not want to puree the basil with the tomato soup, we just want to infuse with basil. Discard the basil.

-Puree using an immersion blender, or can use a regular blender, just be careful when handling hot liquids.

-You can "sieve" the ingredients, meaning pass them thru a very fine colander so it will catch all seeds if any and tomato skins.   
I choose to "NOT"  pass this soup thru the sieve.  I love rustic.  Rustic makes my world go around!
I love the slightly different textures in soups.  

-Bring soup back up to medium heat.

-Once it starts to simmer, add in the cream and that luscious PARMESAN cheese.  Let simmer for about 1 minute more, turn off heat and serve!

That's it.  I know right, how seriously easy was that?  It's light, it's creamy, it's cheesy, it's bursting with roasted tomato, basil and Parmesan cheese, and it's absolutely delicious! With those fried ravioli's?  It's just over the top, just the way you like it, oh wait that's me!

Score! This is the best part, my lunch for work tomorrow...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bacon, Cheddar & Chive Scones

Have you ever contemplated making a recipe, thought about it again, and again...
Then finally one day, out of the blue, "voila", you are going to make the recipe.

This is exactly how this recipe came about.  I had been toying with the idea of making scones for quite a while to be honest with you.  However, if you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I am a challenged baker.  I mean "challenged"!
That being said, I still like to experiment, and if I can use my kitchen gadgets to make my life easier instead of fluffing, and forking and kneading and whatever it is that experienced bakers do, then, "gosh darn I'm using the gadgets".  So I did!

The results, honestly?  Out of this world delicious!  You have the bacon, I said B-A-C-O-N, then the cheddar cheese, and finally to just bring it over the top...
Chives.  So subtle but what a great accompaniment to the bacon and cheddar.  My family actually went back for seconds BEFORE the pics were completed in being taken.  I literally had to chase them out of my kitchen!

Ready for this very simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 18-20 minutes
Yield: 16 scones

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped (8 slices)
1/3 cup chives, diced
1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold butter, cut into small pieces
1-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp)
1 cup milk

-Gather all your ingredients, set aside.

-Cook your bacon, chop, measure and set aside.  This will be a very good time to cook a couple of extra slices for yourself.  What?  You are baking for your family, you have to nourish.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

- Preheat oven to 400F (200 C)

-Pre spray baking sheet with non stick spray, or can using parchment paper.

-Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt & red pepper flakes in a food processor.  Process 10 seconds till mixed.
Add butter and using the pulse method, process until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Scraping down bowl if needed.

-Transfer mixture into large bowl.  Add the Cheddar cheese and milk.  Stir until just moistened.  

-On a lightly floured flat surface, add mixture and form into a log, then divide in half.

-Pat one half of dough into an 8 inch circle.  Cut into eight wedges; place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet.  Repeat with second half of dough.

-Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove unto wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Serve warm.

These will be so good with chili which I served them with when I made them.  Stews, soups, or even better, a nice brunch with scrambled eggs and fruit.  I know right?  What are you waiting for?

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Peach Cobbler Cake

 There is something just so warm and inviting about a cobbler isn't there?  I mean you have fruit, you have sweetness, you top it off with ice cream...
I know!

Recently we went to a farmer's market and purchased some very lovely peaches.  They were bit on the firm side, which honestly is my favorite way to eat them sliced, just like that.  I had a few left that I could obviously see the family was just not going to finish them off.  What is a frugal minded mom to do you ask?  Make a cobbler!

This is a very simple recipe with the ease of a boxed cake mix.  It does make one 13 x 9 and one 9 x 9.  You can certainly freeze the smaller one for a future use, or share like I did with family, friends or in my case neighbors.

Ready for this simple recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 21-28 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings (13 x 9)

Yellow or white cake mix (see notes below)
6 cups fresh peaches, thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1 tsp vanilla
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick + 3 tbsp butter

Notes:  For the cake mix; prepare according to directions, but substitute milk in place of the oil.  

-Using a large pan, place the peaches and the next 6 ingredients and saute just for about 2 minutes or so, till the peaches have softened just a little.  You will know they are ready when you can see the juices starting to bubble.  Turn off heat and set aside.

-Preheat oven to 350F, (follow the directions for lower temperature on the cake mix if using a metal baking pan).

-Melt the butter and distribute the butter between the two pans making sure that both the bottoms are coated.

-Prepare your cake mix according to directions using the notes above.  We really do not need all that oil after we have so much butter right?  I know!

-Pour batter between the two pans.

-Add your peaches directly into the batter.

 -Bake for 25-28 minutes for the 13 x 9.  The 9 x 9 should be done in about 20 or so.  Test using a toothpick to make sure, you don't want to over bake it.

-Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes.  You can serve this warm with ice cream.  I highly recommend it!

I served salted caramel ice cream for this baby... can I just say; "oh man, oh man".

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi