Savory Meat & Spinach Pie

“What should I make for dinner?” This usually happens when I know I have made the rounds in recent weeks that seems to cover all the bases. One of my go to recipes when this happens is I like to take any meat I may have leftover and turn it in to a savory meat and spinach pie. This often happens after making a Virginia Ham but you really can use any favorite meat of your choice. This recipe can be easily modified to not only use ham but also ground meat, cooked chicken or sausage instead.

Riviera Egg Pie

 

Savory Meat and Spinach Pie

8 servings

Ingredients
3 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 (9-inch) refrigerated, unbaked pie crusts (a 15-ounce package) or freshly made pie crusts
3/4 pound of your favorite ham, diced * You may want to substitute 1 lb of ground meat, cooked chicken or Italian sausage (a mix of sweet & hot sausage is great!)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1 cup grated Parmesan  ** You may want to add another of your favorite cheeses in place of the Parmesan like mozzarella or cheddar, I usually add 11/2-2 cups of shredded cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 eggs, plus 1 yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent and just golden, about 8 minutes. *If you are planning to use fresh ground beef or sausage this would be the time to cook that meat as well. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl, draining off any excess oil and allow to cool while preparing crust.

Remove 1 of the prepared pie crusts from the refrigerator, and place in an ungreased, 9-inch pie plate. Shape the crust to fit the form of the pan with about 1/2-inch overlap around the edge.

To the onion mixture, add the ham*, spinach, cheeses**, 4 eggs plus 1 yolk, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Spread mixture into prepared crust. Cover with remaining pie crust; crimp edges and score to vent. Brush with egg white and bake until golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand at least 15 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve with a Tossed Green Salad and you have a wonderful meal.

Old School Dinners – Salisbury Steak

Cooking dinners have evolved over the years with modern day appliances like the Slow Cooker, the Air Fryer and the Instant Pot to name a few. The one thing that seems to carry on is some of those old school dinner recipes that continue to evolve with the times. The kind of recipes you not only remember your mom making but maybe your grandma as well. I love to see the new ways people are adjusting the cooking of these dishes for today’s popular appliances. Salisbury Steak is one of those meals that has been around since the late 1800’s and people continue to make to this day. There is even a version for the Instant Pot.

This dish takes me back to when I was growing up and my mom would make Salisbury Steak in her large copper bottom Revereware skillet. It would be served with creamy mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and a vegetable.

It’s a meal that can be served in any season and is easy enough to prepare on a weeknight for a hungry family. Hope you will enjoy this recipe.

Salisbury Steak

 

Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy

1 egg
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) condensed French onion soup (undiluted, divided)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, sliced
8 oz Fresh Mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water or Beef Broth (I use Better than Bullion)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
6 cups hot cooked egg noodles

In a large bowl, beat egg. Stir in 1/3 cup of soup, bread crumbs, salt and
pepper. Add beef, mix gently. Shape into six oval patties. Brown in a
skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove and set
aside.
Sauté the sliced onions and mushrooms. Until soft and cooked, remove and set aside.
In the skillet, combine flour and water or broth until smooth: add ketchup,
Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and remaining soup. Bring to a boil.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Return patties to skillet. Then add the sautéed onions and mushrooms.
Cover and turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
Serve patties and gravy over your favorite noodles, pasta, rice or mashed potatoes.

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Rainy Day Comfort Food – Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Mac and Cheese Casserole

Even though the calendar says it’s Spring there still may be a bit of a chill in the air and right now we have hit several weeks of on again off again rain.  So it’s still a bit early for starting to make those lighter warm-weather dishes and my old stand-by comfort foods still have a chance to be made once again. So why not make a dish of my homemade baked macaroni & cheese. I know there are many preferences on how people enjoy their mac & cheese, anywhere from the “blue-box” to a thick creamy sauce stirred with pasta and sometimes baked or served as is. I have made and enjoyed them with my family so you won’t get any arguments from me.

While I was growing up my mother made a baked macaroni and cheese casserole that we loved and I pretty much make it the same way. Over the years I made a slight revision to my mother’s recipe to make it just a bit richer by adding two eggs to the milk so it has a more custard-like consistency. I also on occasion add other cheeses to the shredded cheddar like Mozzarella or Fontina when I have it on hand to vary the taste and creaminess.

classic make and cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

You will need: A deep casserole dish or pan

1 lb Elbow macaroni (sometimes I use shells or Cavatappi)

Block of a good quality Sharp or Mild cheddar cheese (about 4 cups shredded) I have on occasion mixed other cheeses to the cheddar like adding Mozzarella or Fontina when I had some left over.

1 Quart (4 cups) Whole Milk

2 Eggs,  beaten

1 Stick of Butter

Ground Black Pepper (as desired)

Directions:

Boil pasta according to the package in salted water, al dente works perfectly.

Drain.

Butter a deep casserole dish

Add the two beaten eggs to the quart of milk and mix well

Place a layer of macaroni (about 1/3), enough to cover the bottom, of the casserole dish. Dot with some butter.

Add a layer of the shredded cheese covering the macaroni.

Repeat these layers until you are out of pasta – the top layer is cheese. Don’t push down on the macaroni or it will make it too dense.

Slowly pour milk/egg mixture over the casserole until the milk almost reaches the top of the casserole dish.

Dot top layer of cheese with butter and ground pepper

Bake uncovered for about 50-60 minutes in a 350-degree oven depending on how crisp you like the top, just make sure the milk mixture has turned to a custard-like consistency when a knife is inserted into the casserole.

You’ll know it is finished cooking when the milk is no longer liquid and is custard-like.

Serves 6 – Cook time and servings are approximate.

A secret to switching up this recipe: If you want to push this recipe over the top my daughter sometimes adds BBQ pulled pork in between the layers when building the casserole. It’s fantastic!

 

Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

chicken cacciatorre

I am all about making a good meal at home even on a weeknight. I look for easy recipes that take less than an hour from start to finish, recipes that don’t take too much time to prepare but are flavorful and might go even with a nice glass of wine after a busy day. Here is my weeknight one-pot chicken cacciatore.

Skillet Chicken Cacciatore

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 – 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered or sliced

2 large bell peppers, sliced (a mix of 1 red and 1 green)

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 3/4 cups beef broth

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce or homemade

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 lb Spaghetti

Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. In a shallow dish, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper. Roll chicken in flour mixture, coating completely.
  2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until hot; brown chicken on all sides for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the skillet; set aside. Add mushrooms, green/red peppers, onion, garlic, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and cook 5-8 minutes, or until onions and peppers are slightly tender, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat a bit as to not burn the garlic.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; return chicken to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork-tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the meal simmers have a pot ready to cook the spaghetti then serve over cooked spaghetti, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Good Friday Recipes- Baked Scrod & Mahi Mahi

Good Friday is around the corner so I wanted to make sure I shared a few easy to prepare fish recipes. Here are two of my favorites, both are baked with a crumb topping. Easy to prepare after a busy day on Good Friday or any time. I use either of these toppings on any fish filet whether it be scrod, cod, flounder, catfish or Mahi Mahi, just remember to adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of the fish you are using. All you need is a few easy to prepare side dishes and you can save yourself from those crowded seafood restaurants this time of year, relax at home and feel very satisfied.

BAKED SCROD WITH LEMONY PANKO CRUMB TOPPING

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1 1/2-2 lbs scrod fillets (cod or haddock)
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large juicy lemon also grate the lemon peel from the lemon
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup white wine
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a skillet, sauté the onion in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of butter until soft but not browned.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the panko crumbs with the parsley, 1 teaspoon of melted butter, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, half of the lemon juice, and half of the grated lemon peel.
Once the onions are soft, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, remaining grated lemon peel, salt and pepper, the remaining lemon juice and the white wine and continue to cook for another minute or so until heated through.
Put the onion and lemon mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Place the fish on top of the onions and season the fish lightly with salt and pepper.
Divide the crumb topping evenly over the fish and give a light spray of olive oil.
Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until fish is cooked through and the crumbs are golden brown. This can be served with spaghetti, even spaghetti squash or zucchini zoodles. Don’t forget to top with the lemon sauce from the baking dish.

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Pesto Crusted Mahi Mahi

Parmesan Baked Crusted Mahi Mahi

A simple and delicious Mahi Mahi recipe with a pesto crust 

• Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

FOR THE FISH:
• 4 six-ounce portions of mahi-mahi
• 1/2 cup of your favorite Pest – Basil Pesto or Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
• 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
• salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
FOR THE FISH:
1. In a medium bowl, mix pesto and breadcrumbs together until they form a coarse paste.
2. Place mahi-mahi portions on a large baking sheet, lightly season with salt and pepper.
3. Spread pesto mixture evenly across all four mahi-mahi portions. Use your fingers to pat the pesto mixture down into the fish to form an even crust.
4. Bake Mahi Mahi at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through. Fish should reach an internal temperature of approximately 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

What a difference a year makes. My Instant Pot & Honey Garlic Chicken

 

My 6 Qt Duo

I know so many people have been enjoying their Instant Pots these days, I know I have. It’s just about a year now and with a busy schedule, the Instant Pot has been a saving grace and allowed me to prepare weeknight dinners when I’m not in the mood to fuss after a long day.

There are a great many wonderful websites from how to take away the mystery of operating it to many delicious recipes. The videos recipes are great!

I’m not totally new to pressure cooking. My first pressure cooker was one I bought at a yard sale that was several years old but had never been used, even included the cookbook still sealed all for $5. Being able to make the occasional weeknight pot roast dinner was such a treat. I didn’t use it too often but meals were enjoyed when I did. I then moved to my first electric pressure cooker making soups or stews but I never really used it to its full potential so it collected “dust”. The Instant Pot really caught my eye last Spring. I never thought someone could make so many different types of dishes in a pressure cooker including yogurt. I knew the Instant Pot was out there for some time but it was now time for me to take the plunge and my 6 Qt Duo came into my life and has it has been a year-long romance ever since. Honestly, I knew my husband had doubts and figured it would be another appliance that would sit in the cupboard. However, week after week I have been making new recipes and to his delight, he has enjoyed every bite.

Left to Right: Potato and Egg Salad, Yogurt, Cranberry Loin of Pork, and Onion Soup, Jambalaya, Teriyaki Chicken, Beef and Bean Chili

So why not join this wonderful world of “pot-heads” as we are affectionately called and open up a whole new world of meals. Here is an easy recipe to try. BTW, I still cook on my stove and use my oven too LOL!

Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken

Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken is always moist,
tender and flavorful!  Serve with rice and a veggie side dish for a quick dinner!

Ingredients

1/2 cup chicken broth (I use Better Than Bullion)
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup honey
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2  pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons cornstarch &  1 Tablespoon of water to thicken the sauce after cooking

1. Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, and pepper in Instant Pot and stir.
2. Add the chicken to the Instant Pot.
3. Seal the lid and turn the pressure valve to the sealing position.
4. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure and set the cook time to 10 minutes.
5. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then will start
counting down the cooking time. Once it beeps to let you know the cooking time has
finished, do a Quick Release.
6. Wait for the steam to release and the pin to drop down.
7.  Remove chicken to a plate, it will be a nice golden color
8. In a small bowl, stir together the 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Turn the Instant Pot on Saute and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Cook, stirring with a spoon or whisk until the liquid has thickened, 2-3 minutes and turn off Instant Pot.
11. Slice the chicken and stir it back into the sauce in the pot or score the chicken slightly and serve the sauce on top over rice. Serve with rice and vegetables, or as desired.

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Instant Pot Corned Beef – Homemade Magic!

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As I mentioned last week I was going to try making my corned beef in my Instant Pot for the first time. The recipes I posted last week are ones I had been making for years and the corned beef was a step above the traditional way of just simmering on the stove with the packet of spices. I did try it in the slow cooker once with a bottle of Guinness and found the corned beef to not be very tender at all. I also really didn’t care for the taste of the Guinness beer. I do use beer in some recipes but I am not a typical beer drinker so that may also have been a part of the problem. Guinness is an acquired taste in my book.

So here are the simple steps I used to cook my corned beef in the Instant Pot and I must say it did not disappoint at all. It was tender and flavorful and making it this way will certainly be in my rotation of recipes for making corned beef.

Corned Beef and Vegetables cooked in Beer

Instant Pot – 6 Qt. Duo

Corned Beef 4 lbs. plus the spice packet included with the corned beef

1 – 12 oz bottle of your favorite beer. (I used Blue Moon Belgian White Beer)

Instant Pot rack/trivet (I prefer using the one from OXO)

1 small head of Cabbage cut into about eight wedges

1 – 1 lb bag ready to use Carrots

About 2 lbs of small to medium Potatoes, peeled and all cut to about the same size whether it be quarters or halves if the potatoes are small. I used Yukon Golds this time.

Take the corned beef out of the package and rinse off the brine and place the rack/trivet into the Instant Pot

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Put the corned beef. fat side up on the rack/trivet, this will help to keep the meat moist and tender. Sprinkle the spice packet on top of the corned beef, you can push the spices down a bit so they stay on top.

Pour the beer along the sides of the pot but not on top of the meat.

Close up the Instant Pot and set on High Pressure for 90 minutes. When the 90 minutes are over let the pressure pin on the Instant Pot come down on its own with Natural Release for about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the Corned beef and let it rest on a cutting board for about 10-15 minutes, you can cover with aluminum foil if you wish while you move on to the next step.

Return the rack/trivet back to the Instant Pot and get ready to add the prepared vegetables.

Add the Carrots first, then the Potatoes and lastly the cabbage arranged evenly on top.  Close, set to High Pressure for 4 minutes. When the 4 minutes are up, do a Quick Release. Open and remove the vegetables to a serving platter. (I used one of those Asian Wire Spider Skimmers to remove the veggies from the pot, works like a charm)

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Proceed to scrape any spices off the fat cap. If you prefer you can slice off the fat cap or leave it on if you prefer then slice it down for serving and remove the fat later.

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Our favorite is to use Stone Ground Mustard to go with our meat and Irish Soda Bread on the side

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If you give this a try I hope you enjoy! Remember you can enjoy Corned Beef any time of year, not just for St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day – Corned Beef Dinner

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Taking the day off as it’s been a fun birthday week for me so I thought I would repost last years St. Patrick’s Day meal. This year I am planning to make my corned beef in the Instant Pot so I will post how it turned out on next weeks blog. I love the recipe that I’ve made for years but thought it’s time to mix things up a bit. One year I did try a version made in the slow cooker and it was a bit of a disappointment, so let’s see how the pressure cooker does.

So just click the links below and enjoy!

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Honey Glazed Corned Beef and Colcannon

 

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Irish Soda Bread

Leftover Ham – Ham and Cheese Muffins & Ham and Split Pea Soup

What to make when you have leftovers? Since making a baked bone in ham butt last Sunday I’ve managed to turn it into several meals this week and the one thing I always look forward to making is Ham and Split Pea soup. The weather is still cold and a warm bowl of creamy soup is comfort food for me and my family.

Another favorite of mine for using left over ham is to make Ham and Cheese Muffins. The muffins pull together quick and go great along side a bowl of your favorite soup. I have even served them up as part of a Sunday brunch.

Ham & Cheese Muffins

Makes 1 dozen muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup diced ham
• Add some herbs and spices to the dry ingredients to make it more savory
Fresh black pepper, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone muffin cups and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, and butter. Add these wet ingredients to the dry and mix lightly (e.g., with a wooden spoon, not a mixer) until well combined. Once the batter is smooth, fold in cheese and ham.
4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 of the way. If you like, sprinkle some more shredded cheese and freshly cracked black pepper on top. Bake for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and finish cooling on a rack. See notes above on storing these.
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Split Pea and Ham Soup

1 pound ham bone
4 cups chicken stock (1 Qt.)
3 cups cold water
1 16 oz. bag split green peas

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cups chopped leeks or green onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream or Half & Half
1 cup chopped ham, cooked
Sauté the onions, carrots and celery in butter.
Place the ham bone in a large pot. Add the water, chicken stock and peas and bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer. Add all the seasonings and continue to simmer the mixture until the peas are very soft, about 1 hour and 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove the ham bone. Use an emersion blender to smooth peas and veggies so they are creamy.
Stir in the milk and cream. Add chopped ham. Simmer, stirring occasionally for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve topped with a buttery croutons.
ham and split pea soup

A Few Weeks left of Winter – Ox Tail Ragu

With only several weeks left of “official winter” and daylight saving time around the corner, I’m hoping to share a few more dishes that fight off the last of the chill. It won’t be long before these recipes are put away, so let’s enjoy them while there is still some time left.

Ox Tail Ragu is just the right meal for a chilly winter Sunday. It’s a hearty dish, takes a bit of time to prepare, but it’s easy and delicious.

Oxtail Ragu

Serves 8

4 to 5 pounds oxtail, cut into 3-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour, for dredging
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3  celery ribs, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, crushed
3 cups dry red wine
2 rosemary sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels then dust with the flour, tapping off any excess. Season with salt and pepper on all sides.

Place a 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when glistening, add the meat (metal tongs come in handy here) and sear on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding.

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Transfer the meat to a plate. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Add the meat and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Return to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat, is fork tender and falling off the bones.

Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the pieces of meat to a plate. Skim any visible fat from the surface of the sauce. Pick the meat from the bones, pulling away and discarding any pieces of fat, and then return the meat to the pan. Pluck out the bay leaves, and sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Serve atop gnocchi or any pasta meant to withstand a hearty sauce. The ragù can be made a few days ahead; keep covered and refrigerated, then reheat over medium-low heat.

Recipe Notes

  • This is a hearty, chunky sauce. If you prefer something more uniform in texture, blend a portion or all of the sauce with an immersion blender.

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