Sunday, February 16, 2014

Potato Sausage Casserole

Can you tell that winter is being long and cold this winter in Minnesota. It seems that comfort foods are screaming out to be made.  This dish is another fairly simple recipe and the results leftovers.  Always a good sign :-)


Au Gratin Potato mix - plus the butter and water indicated to make the potatoes
1 Turkey Kielbasa Sausage 
1 bag your favorite frozen vegetables

Cut sausage into bite size pieces.  Brown sausage pieces in a frying pan.  Remove from pan and set aside while you make the au gratin potatoes according to the directions on the box.  Once you've mixed all the ingredients together, add the browned sausage to cook both the potatoes and sausage until done. Finally add the bag of frozen veggies and cook until they are heated through.  Serve and enjoy!

Three ingredients, how simple can you get!

Adding the sausage to the au gratin potato mix

Amazing Spelt Buns

Sunday tends to be my bread making day in winter.  I enjoy making the dough and also the way warm bread makes the house smell....and eating warm buns, well, it's just one of life's pleasures :-)

I have been looking for more whole grain recipes and when I was at the store, looked at the line of Bob's Red Mill products.  They have something called Spelt flour.  It says that this is a non-hybrid relative of today's wheat that dates back more than 9000 years.  Nutritionally, because it's highly water soluble, its vital nutrients are supposed to be more readily absorbed into the body.  Well, let's just say I was intrigued so I found a spelt bread recipe.    It was pretty simple ingredients-wise, although I found I needed to add a bit more flour (which I included in the recipe below.)

I tend to let my whole grain buns rise a bit longer.  I think that makes them a bit lighter to eat.  These buns have a sweet taste to them due to the honey rather that sugar used in this recipe.


5 1/2 cups spelt flour (One 24 ounce package)
2 cups hot water (120 - 130 degrees)
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour

In a large bowl, add hot water, yeast and a squirt of honey.  Mix well and allow the yeast to proof (10 minutes).  Next, add 1/4 cup butter, honey, sea salt, and 2 1/4 cups of spelt flour to the bowl and mix well.  Add enough flour to make the dough thick enough to knead.  (This is where I'd used the whole package of spelt flour, so I added 1/2 cup of all purpose flour).  Knead dough on a floured surface  for 5 -7 minutes, or until smooth and no longer sticky.  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Next grease two cookie sheet pans with shortening and shape buns, rolling until smooth.  Cover pans with clean dish towels and let rise for 1 hour.  Heat oven to 350.  Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in the microwave.  Brush over buns before placing them in the over.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (I also required all purpose flour)

Mixing initial ingredients

Dough ready to rise after kneading
Baked bun...Yum!!!

Buns formed and ready to rise

Monday, February 3, 2014

Strawberry Wonton Cups with Orange Marscapone Whipped Cream by Giada De Laurentis

Last up for our cooking club was dessert.   Larry and Kim took this task on and made a delicious light dessert.  There was also a flaming drink involved, we'll stick to the dessert for now :-)  All around all three recipes were delicious and time with friends is always cherished.

2 C strawberries finely diced
1 Tbls powdered sugar
3 Tbls fresh squeezed orange juice. 

Combine strawberries, sugar and orange juice and let macerate (get juicy) for 20 minutes

24 wonton wrappers
Cooking spray

While strawberries are macerating spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray and place wonton wrappers in every other muffin cup making a ruffled cup shape. Bake 5-6 minutes in a 350 oven until edges are golden 

Marscapone Cream:

1 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 C Marscapone cheese - room temp
3 Tbls powdered sugar
Zest from 1 medium orange

Combine ingredients and whip until cream has soft peaks, approximately 2 minutes. 

To assemble cups:
Drain berries, reserving liquid and place a few berry slices in bottom of wonton cups. Layer with a dollop of cream, more strawberries and top with another dollop of cream. Drizzle reserved berry juice on top. 

Kim and Larry hard at work

Won Tons baked

Filling the won ton wrappers

Finished Dessert - it was delicious!

Thai Chicken Enchiladas

Next up on our cooking club night was the main dish - Judi and JR were our chefs for this portion of the night.  The dish they created had a little heat, but everyone loved the flavor and gave it a thumbs up!


8 flour tortillas
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped/shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped/shredded cabbage
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup crushed peanuts plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
2 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add canola oil.  sauté onions, cabbage, carrots, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt for about 6-8 minutes, until veggies are soft.  Add chicken, green onions, peanuts, cilantro and remaining salt and pepper, tossing to coat.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup coconut milk and 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce, mixing throughly to combine.  Turn off heat.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray.  In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining coconut milk and sweet chili sauce.  Pour 1/2 cup in the bottom of the baking dish.  Slightly warm tortillas if desired to make them more pliable, the place a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in each, rolling up tightly and placing seam side down in the baking dish.  Once all enchiladas are prepared, take the remaing sauce mixture and pour over the top.  You may want to even spoon some of the mixture from the bottom to ensure 100% of the tortillas are covered with sauce.

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and top with additional cilantro and peanuts.  Since sauce is not a thick as traditional enchilada sauce, when you remove them from the oven, spoon sauce from the bottom over the top once more.

Judi and JR also paired this dish with a Chenin Blanc - Voignier wine for the wine drinkers and a Belgian White Blue Moon for those that preferred beer.  It was a great combination.

Judi and JR prepping for the enchiladas

Finished product - Delicious!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Turkey Meatballs

Last night we had a fun evening with friends.   A few weeks earlier, we'd discussed starting a cooking club where each of us would make a recipe we'd never tried before.   It was a fun night of cooking and laughs and all the recipes we tried were delicious.  

Tim and I drew the appetizer, so we were up first.  These turkey meatballs had an Asian flare to them and every gave them a thumbs up.  We also thought, you might be able to make these into burger patties for a tasty sandwich.


    1 pound ground turkey
    2 scallions, very finely chopped
    1/2 cup very finely chopped cilantro
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs (unseasoned)
    1 egg, lightly beaten

    Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce:

    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    2 or 3 slices fresh ginger smashed with the side of a heavy knife

  1. To make the meatballs: Heat the oven to 400.
  2. Gently mix together the ingredients (hands are best for this), then form meatballs by rolling tablespoon-sized scoops between your palms.
  3. Arrange on a lightly oiled or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until well-browned and cooked through. Serve with toothpicks for dipping.
  4. To make the dipping sauce: In a small pot, stir all the ingredients together over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Simmer 3 or so minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens a bit.  We also added 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water the help with the thickening process, but this is optional.
  6. Fish out the ginger and serve in small cups for dipping.
These meatballs were a hit, these were the last two left!