Beef Sliders with Mint Aioli Sauce and Jicama Fries

Hi everyone.  I have another recipe dedicated to Saint Patrick’s Day.  Ok you caught me – Beef Sliders are not traditional Irish fare but I made a “GREEN” mint aioli sauce to go with it.  I get points for the sauce.

This was a an easy slider recipe full of beef, cheese and sauce!  This recipe is perfect for  a simple weeknight dinner the whole family will enjoy.  Best of all – kids like it because they get to eat green burgers and dip their fries in green sauce.

I paired the beef sliders with jicama fries.  Why?  Well, I read an article about 10 non-potato french fries alternatives and I decided to make every alternative on the list.  I accepted the challenge, even though no one challenged me.

Jicama fries are super easy to make and actually taste great.  I made Yuca Fries a couple of weeks back and they did not turn out that great (in my opinion).  If anyone has a good recipe let me know and I will try again.

I had fun meal planning around Saint Patrick’s Day.  Now my kids feel I should inject color in every meal. I am not sure how I will be able to live up to this standard.
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium jicama
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef, formed into patties

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees. Peel jicama and cut into fries. Transfer jicama slices in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place fries in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy, turning halfway.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook burgers in the hot skillet until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Flip burgers and cook 3 minutes on other side. Remove burgers and put on a plate to rest.
  3. In a mixer, add mayonnaise, mint, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and process all ingredients until blended.  Spoon a dollop of aioli onto each bun. Place burgers onto buns, season with pepper, and top with optional ingredients (tomato, cheese, lettuce, and pickles).
  4. Close buns and serve with fries and mint aioli sauce.

Watch this video for more insight into this meal.

Happy PI Day! Celebrate with Apple Pie

The mathematicians at my job decided to host a Pie Competition on National Pi Day (3.14), today.  Apparently, Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th the world.  So, I knew Pi or “π” was the symbol used in mathematics to represent 3.14 (or according to Wikipedia – the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, approximately 3.14159) but I did not know there was an official day or pie involved.

I am not a baker but I decided to partake in the event, just for fun.  Since I have no pie skills,  I looked online to find a fast, easy recipe.  I found a simple apple pie recipe that was almost from scratch (I bought the crust).  It only had eight ingredients.  The only thing I had to buy, other than the crust, was apples.  I cut the apples and filled the pie before I went to bed.  When I woke up, I made the sauce and baked the pie for 40 min.  It was so easy.

So, did I win the contest – NO.  Not even honorable mention.  But some of my co-workers really outdid themselves with very delicious pies.  Try this easy recipe and let me know what you think.

Apple Pie Ingredients:

3-4 apples sliced thinly
6 tbsp butter
1/4 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1 pack double (2) ready to use pie crust

Apple Pie Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2.  Melt butter in saucepan. Add white sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Set aside when done.

3.  Unroll pie crust in a baking dish and add sliced apples. Take other pie crust, cut into strips, and lattice it over apples. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Spoon sauce over pie. Cover the inside and top.

4.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce stove temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 more minutes.

5. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Check out this short video for more!

 

 

 

Bangers and Mash

Hi everyone!  This week I am dedicating my dinners to Saint Patrick’s Day.  I did some research and found that Bangers and Mash is a favorite British and Irish dish.  Some believe the name bangers comes from the habit of the sausages bursting in the pan with a “bang” if cooked too quickly.  When I made this recipe, I definitely did not hear banging noises but I’m sure it happens – LOL.

Whenever I go to an Irish pub, Bangers and Mash is always on the menu.  It is a very simple dish and perfect for dinner.  The ingredients are inexpensive but it is still a substantial meal.  It is also a kid friendly meal that you don’t have to fight the kids to eat.

The only issue I had with bangers and mash is that I could not determine what type of sausage to use.  Luckily, the grocery store actually carried British Banger Sausage!!!  I do, however, think you can use just about any dinner sausage to make this meal stand out.

British Banger Sausage
British Banger Sausage

I normally make a plain onion gravy with bangers and mash but I saw many recipes adding a little mustard to the gravy.  I decided to try this to see how it tasted and it came out good – the mustard gravy was a smashing success!

In the future, I will definitely add some mustard to my gravy.  I think it gives it an extra flavor boost.

Ingredients:

  • Sausages
    • 1-2 lbs British Banger Sausage (or any dinner sausage)
  • Potatoes
    • 6-8 baby red potatoes,
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 tbs butter
    • 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt
    • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Gravy
    • 1 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    • 4-5 cup of beef stock
    • 4 tsp corn starch
    • 4 tsp cold water
    • 1 tbsp mustard
    • Salt and ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 10 minutes. Drain, and place in a large bowl.  Combine potatoes with butter, milk, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Mash together until smooth and creamy.  You can remove the skin but it is not necessary.
  2. In a large frying pan, turn the heat to medium and add sausages. Fry until the sausages are cooked through, turning them from time to time – about 20 minutes. Once done, keep warm until the potatoes and  gravy are ready.
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the onion and cook 1-2 mins or until the onions are soft.  Add the sugar and vinegar to the onions and stir well for another minute or so.  Add the stock and boil for 5 minutes.  In a separate cup, mix corn starch with cold water and make a thin paste. Pour the starch mixture into the gravy, add mustard and raise the heat to high.  Boil for 10 minutes or until the gravy is thick. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Serve the potatoes, sausages and gravy together.

Saint Patrick’s Day Chicken and Waffles

Today my good friend and I were chatting while hungry (very dangerous). We were discussing the best food trucks in town. I told her about this barbecue truck I liked and she told me about a new chicken and waffle food truck she liked. She described the most heavenly chicken and red velvet walnut waffles. I was really hungry by the end of our conversation so I asked her where I could find this truck. She said the truck posted its whereabouts on instagram. I am so bad at technology and directions that I decided it was better to make my own at home. Definitely faster than looking for the truck. Instead of making red velvet, I thought it would be cool to make them green in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day.

First I got my party wings and tossed them in a flour, salt and pepper ziplock bag. Next, I laid the wings on a lightly greased baking pan and sprayed them with some olive oil. I put the wings in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. I turned them and let them cook another 20 minutes. I waited until they were brown and crispy.

While the wings were cooking, I made the waffles. I didn’t have a lot of green food coloring so I hoped what I had would be enough.

After the waffles were done, I pulled the wings out of the oven and put the two items together. They were perfect. My family loved the festive meal. My daughter thought we were doing a Seuss themed dinner and wanted green eggs to go with her waffles.

Waffle Ingredients:

• 2 cups flour

• 1/4 cup honey

• 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder

• 1 tbsp cocoa powder

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1 3/4 cups milk

• 1/3 cup butter melted

• 2 large eggs

• 2 tsp vanilla extract

• 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

• 2 tbsp green food coloring

Waffle Directions:

1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, honey, food coloring and vinegar. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the milk mixture in. Wisk until barely smooth.

2. Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturers instructions. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and then pour batter into the center of the waffle iron. Let it cook until crispy and GREEN.

Wings Ingredients:

• 1-2 lbs of chicken wings

• 1 cup flour

• salt and pepper

• olive oil cooking spray

Wings Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. After cleaning wings, dry them well with paper towels. Dryer wings are more crispy.

3. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. When thoroughly mixed, add wings. Shake well.

4. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil just slightly.

5. Add wings to the pan and spray with olive oil cooking spray.

6. Bake for 25 minutes and turn.

7. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy and done.

Watch this quick video for more:

Foil Baked Chicken Caprese

My last foil bake for the week was chicken caprese.  If I see caprese on an appetizer menu, I usually select it.  If you are not familiar with caprese, it is a salad of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and sometimes a vinegar.  It is really good.  Usually the fresher the mozzarella, the better.  I decided to try caprese in a foil bake.

 I think it came out great.  It was another quick meal without fuss.  I could have cooked the chicken on the skillet a bit to give it a nice golden color but that would have been an extra step.  I did add some pasta and sauce because I wanted to make it more of a meal but it is totally optional.  My kids loved the pasta.  As soon as I set the food down, noodles and sauce started flying.

Ingredients:

– 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
– 8 oz sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
– 1 cup diced tomatoes
– 1/2 tbs Italian seasoning
– salt and pepper, to taste
– 1 onion, sliced
– 1 bell pepper, sliced
– 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
– 1 tbs butter
– 1 tbs olive oil
– 1/4 cup of fresh basil
– angel hair pasta and sauce, optional

Directions:

1. Pre-Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  

2. In a bowl, combine the butter, olive oil, Italian seasonings and salt and pepper.  When thoroughly combined, add the chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers. Mix until everything is coated with the butter/olive oil/seasoning mixture.

3.  Lay out (4) 16-inch long pieces of foil and divide the ingredients evenly in the center of the foil.  Wrap the foil tightly so there are no holes.  If you have to, add another piece of foil on top to ensure the moisture remains in the packet.

4.  Place the foil packets on a foil lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
5.  Open the packets and add the cheese.  Add the packet back to the stove for an additional minute to melt the cheese.
6.  When the cheese is melted garnish with basil and vinegar.
7.  You can complete the meal with pasta and sauce as an option.
Watch this quick video!

Philly Cheese Steak Foil Bake

Today I created a Philly Cheese Steak foil bake.  I felt like I needed to change dinner up and try a sandwich.  My family liked the change.  I am not sure if we have ever eaten sandwiches for dinner.  When I explained to my husband that I was making a foil bake, he was perplexed.  He kept saying, “just make it on the stove.”  I told him that, yes, I could make it on the stove but I was on a foil bake kick this week.

So this foil bake came out great.  It was extremely easy to make during the week.  I won’t say it is the best Philly Cheese Steak sandwich I have ever had but it was really good.  I don’t want to upset anyone from Philly with this simplistic version of a hometown favorite.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices provolone cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375grill.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together steak, peppers, onion, Italian seasoning, olive oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Place steak mixture in foil packs. Fold packs tighly. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Open packs, top with provolone, and add back to stove to melt, 2-5 minutes.
  5. Serve in bread or enjoy by itself.

Check out this quick video of me opening my foil packet!

Low Country Foil Bake

Hi everyone!

There are many times when I struggle with what to cook next but I know can always count on other bloggers to help me out in the food department.  I always get a good dose of inspiration to help me on my way.  This week I was reading a blog by Hey Miss Lisp and she had a recipe called Cajun Shrimp Foil Bake.  It looked great.  What I liked most about her recipe was her substitutions, which were great.  Of course with my husband being from New Orleans, I was not allowed to substitute.  He is very traditional and “protective” of the recipes he’s grown up with.  Anyway, I was inspired to do an entire week dedicated to Foil Bakes. Yay!!!

Today I made a Low Country Foil Bake.  I have made this recipe so many ways, even in a pressure cooker – which came out amazing by the way.  This was the first time I made it in foil.  My favorite part about low country boils “or bakes,” is the sausage.  My husband introduced me to andouille when we first meet and I have been hooked ever since.  In case you have never heard of it, it is a coarse-grained smoked sausage made using pork, garlic, pepper, onions, wine and seasonings. The pork used is mostly from a smoked Boston shoulder roast.  It is an amazing sausage and a must-have for this recipe.  It is, however, not easy to find.  My local grocery store just started carrying it regularly.

We are a family of four so I made four individual packets, each made to order.  In the end, this meal came out great.  I just used salt and pepper to season the kids foil bake.  This recipe was fast, easy and pleasing all at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb medium size shrimp, peeled
  • 2 ears of corn, cut in 4 pieces each
  • 4 red potatoes, cubed
  • 14 oz andouille sausage
  • 2 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a bowl, combine the butter, olive oil and cajun seasoning.  When thoroughly combined, add the shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes and mix until everything is coated with the butter/olive oil/seasoning mixture.
3.  Lay out (4) 16-inch long pieces of foil and divide the low country ingredients evenly in the center of the foil.  Wrap the foil tightly so there are no holes.  If you have to, add another piece of foil on top to ensure the moisture remains in the packet.
4.  Place the foil packets on a foil lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
5.  Open the packets and drench with lemon juice.
Watch this quick video!

Dinner Strategies Meal Plan 3: Italian Sausage Dinners

Today I am sharing last weeks meal plan if anyone is interested. I have three great dinner ideas! I hope these posts make it easier for you to get dinner on the table! And don’t feel like you have to make every single recipe…usually their is plenty left over for the next day. These meal plans are meant to be a guide! Feel free to change the plans up to meet your needs!

The meal theme for this week is Italian Sausage.  I made the following:

Italian Sausage and Feta Calzone

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Just click the link to see view the ingredients and directions.

Here is the grocery list.  I tried to pick three very different recipes with similar ingredients to cut down on waste.  I also use a lot of cabinet staples to cut down on the grocery bill.  Let me know what you think.

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Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Hi everyone, I am back with my final Italian sausage recipe for the week.  I recently went to Olive Garden for a work luncheon and I ordered the soup/salad/bread sticks…my usual at Olive Garden.  Well it was quite busy on this particular day and they literally ran out of food.  They were rationing out the parmesan cheese.  Anyway, when my soup arrived, it was “soupy.”  I love a hearty soup so I was a bit disappointed at how barren my bowl was.  I vowed to make a hearty soup when I got home.  Originally I wanted to mimic Olive Garden’s Soup but when I got home, I realized I did not have any chicken broth.  So, instead, I made a beef broth based soup which turned out just as good.

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This recipe ended up being great.  It was quick and easy for a weeknight meal.  I wasn’t sure if the kids were going to eat it but they did.  My oldest did a visual inspection for beans.  When she didn’t see any, she decided it was safe to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb of Italian Sausage
  • 9 ounce refrigerated tortellini
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 large zucchini

Directions:

  1. In a skillet set over medium-high, cook the sausage until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain; set aside.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, heat up the butter. Add onion, garlic and zucchini and cook until tender. Add flour and stir.  Gradually add broth and stir.  Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the Italian sausage, tortellini, and spinach. Let simmer for 10 minutes to thicken up and for the tortellini to cook.  Garnish with cheese.

Watch this quick video for more!

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I saw a picture of stuffed zucchini’s on instagram and I went nuts.  I decided to stuff my very own zucchini’s.  What I liked about this recipe is that the stuffing possibilities are endless.  But of course I just use what I have on hand.

 

Today I had some Italian sausage that I cooked yesterday, some diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, bread crumbs and cheese.

I mixed all my ingredients up and scooped them into my boats. This quick recipe baked in about 20 minutes.  The best part of this recipe is the breadcrumbs that get sprinkled on in the end.  They give the recipe great texture.  I think I will add breadcrumbs to the filling mixture next time, especially after looking in my pantry and discovering enough bread crumbs to feed a small army.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Take a veggie peeler and cut skin off zucchini.  Cut the zucchini in half, length-wise.  With a small spoon, scoop out the zucchini flesh to make a boat.  Place the zucchini boats on a foil-lined pan. Chop up the zucchini flesh and set aside.

In a pan over medium-high heat, add Italian sausage,and cook until no longer pink. Drain the grease from meat, completely.

In a bowl, add the garlic, onion, chopped zucchini flesh, tomatoes, Italian sausage, cheese and salt and pepper. Mix to combine

Spoon the mixture in the zucchini boats.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top. Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes.