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Country Kitchen

Country Kitchen

Monday, February 29, 2016

Soup a Dup - All Grown Up Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese


Tomato Soup
1. In a stock pot or dutch oven place the following ingredients
        2 cans condensed tomato soup
        2 cans water
        2 cups milk
        1/2 cup parmesan cheese
        1 jar of canned tomatoes
2. Add the following spices
        1 tsp onion powder
        1/2 tsp season salt
        1/2 tsp garlic powder
        1 tsp basil
3. Whisk together
4. Cook and drain 1/2 lb of dried cheese filled ravioli or tortellini
 **The dried pasta holds up better in the soup than frozen.
5. Add pasta to pot and allow to simmer while making the grilled cheese


Grilled Cheese 
1. Butter 1 side of a slice of sour dough bread
2. add a slice of smoked gouda cheese
3. add a layer of cooked bacon (or bacon bits)
4. Add a layer of salted tomato slices.
5. Add another slice of cheese
6. Top with another slice of butter bread and grill until both sides of bread are browned and the cheese is melted.
**Covering the sandwich with a lid can assist in melting the cheese

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pasta La Vista Baby! - Lasagna Pasta

For regular lasagna or for a large pan of lasagna pasta double recipe



1. In a mixing bowl combine 1 egg beaten, 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 
1/2 Tbsp parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
2. Brown 1/2 lb ground beef in a skillet with a sprinkle of garlic powder. Drain and discard grease. 
3. Add 8 oz tomato sauce, 4 oz tomato sauce, 6 oz tomato paste, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp salt.  Allow to simmer for 10 min. 
4. Cook and drain 1/2 lb pasta of your choice
5. In a glass baking dish layer pasta, cottage cheese mixture, sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Repeat until all ingredients are used. 
6. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 min. 


Easy Vinaigrette Dressing

Mix all ingredients and pour over salad fixings 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fancy Pants Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas



Seared Steak with Leek Mushroom Cream Sauce

1. I recommend using a filet or sirloin steak for this. Salt and pepper each side of the steak.
2. Melt 3-4 Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the steaks for 2 min on each side
3. Place a wire wrack on a baking and sheet and put the steaks on top. Finish them off in a 400 degree oven for 8 min. This gives you a nice medium rare steak (depending on the thickness) If you like it more well done sear and bake for a few more mins.
4. Allow the steaks to rest for at least 10 min before cutting into them to keep the juices in.


Leek Mushroom Cream Sauce 
1. Clean and slice 5-6 button mushrooms and saute in butter over medium heat until soft, then set aside.
2. Thinly slice about 1 cup of leeks and saute in butter until soft and add to the mushrooms.
3. In a sauce pan melt 1 Tbsp butter and stir in 1 Tbsp flour to form a roux.  Let the roux cook a min or so to remove any floury taste.
4. Then add 1 cup milk and 1 tsp salt and stir.  Allow it to thicken.  Add the mushrooms and leeks and allow to thicken a little more.
5. Top your steak and enjoy!

**If you have left over sauce, it is really good over egg noodles! Just add a beef bullion cube and water or some beef broth to thin out the sauce and serve over cooked egg noodles.


Bacon Brussels Sprouts
1. Clean and cut the sprouts in half and remove a few of the outer leaves
2. Melt 1-2 Tbsp bacon grease and toss over the sprouts (Another great reason to always save your bacon grease. I keep a mason jar of it in my fridge for just such occasions) 
3. Spread the sprouts onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and bacon bits
4. Roast in a 425 or 450 degree oven for 10-15 min, until the edges start to brown. 


Stuffed Chicken, Artichokes with Hollandaise and Spinach Salad
Stuffed Chicken
1. Thaw a boneless skinless chicken breast per person. Place between 2 layers of plastic wrap and pound until flat. 
2. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.  At one end place a thin slice of cream cheese and a few leaves of spinach
3. Fold the other end of the chicken over the top of the cream cheese and spinach and try to seal the edges as best you can. 
4. Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper, basil and oregano.
**You can use toothpicks to keep it together while baking if necessary. 
5. Place in a buttered baking dish and top each with a dollop of butter
6. Bake at 350 until the internal temp is 165 (30 min or so depending on size and thickness of chicken breast)

Spinach Salad
1. Wash spinach leaves and add to a bowl
2. Boil 2 eggs, peel and slice and add to the bowl
3. Slice 3 button mushroom and add to the bowl
4. thinly slice 1/4 of a red onion and caramelize in an oiled skillet over medium heat until brown and add to bowl
5. Sprinkle in bacon bits
6. Make dressing - 1/4 cup oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sugar and a pinch of pepper, Shake and pour over salad.  Toss and enjoy!

Artichokes with Hollandaise. 
I got this method of cooking artichokes in the microwave from the site below

1. Cut off sharp points of outer leaves, the steam and the top.
2. Place prepared artichokes and peeled stems in a glass baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 10 min
3. Carefully remove the plastic wrap to avoid steam burns to your hands and face. The stems should be fork tender when they are ready. 

Hollandiase 
I use Julia Child's recipe from her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  For this recipe I'm making about 2/3 of the original recipe.  

1. Melt 1/3 cup butter in a sauce pan. 
2. In a blender add 2 egg yolks, 3/4 Tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Blend for a few seconds
3. Slowly add the melted butter (This tempers the egg yolks so they don't cook but mix with the butter to become smooth and creamy)
4. Serve warm! See video above on how to each fresh artichokes.