Homemade Yogurt Sauce / Tzatziki

Homemade Tzatziki
Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions: 

Wash produce (lemon and cucumber)

Grate the cucumber and squeeze out as much liquid as you can and set aside. This prevents your yogurt sauce from being to runny and watered down)

Cut 1/2 lemon into quarters

In a medium bowl, combine the drained cucumber, yogurt and the juice of 2 lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow flavors to mix.

Try it with Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, Curry Spiced Chicken Thighs, or Ras El Hanout Chicken Breasts below.

autumn gingerbread cakeletsCurry-Spiced ChickenChicken and tabouleh

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St Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

St. Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

Go green on St. Patrick’s Day with a creative and healthy twist on the classic irish-inspired recipe.

The secret ingredient is green cauliflower! It’s actually a hybrid version of broccoli and cauliflower and is sometimes referred to a broccoflower. It’s flavor is sweet, mild and nutty.

Cauliflower is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables. It is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and provides your body with vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta-carotene while also boosting healthy digestion and detoxification. Try it on March 17th and you will make it again and again! 
Faux-Tatoes 
Serves 4


Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower (try it green or traditional white, about 1 ½ pounds)
½ cup butter or ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch thyme, dried
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Break up the cauliflower stems and stalk and place in a steamer basket or a small amount of water in a saucepan. Steam it until tender (approx. 10-15 minutes). Drain.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend the cauliflower, butter, garlic, thyme, sea salt and pepper until smooth.
  • Plate your dish immediately or transfer to a small casserole dish for family style eating.

Enjoy!

Grandma’s Make-ahead Mashed Potatoes


Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Makes 12 to 15 servings

 

Ingredients:

15 medium (5 pounds) potatoes peeled and quartered
6-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup  light sour cream
2 teaspoons onion powder
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 egg whites slightly beaten (or one whole egg)
2-4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped chives (optional)

Instructions:

Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes:

In a large pot, add cut-up potatoes and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.   Overcooking can cause the potatoes to become gummy.

Remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander.  Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.  NOTE: Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume (becoming swollen and watery).  That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.

In the same cooking pan, mash potatoes with a potato masher or potato ricer until there are no lumps.

TIP: NEVER use a blender, electric mixer, or food processor to make mashed potatoes.Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell.  If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.

Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper, egg whites, and chopped chives (if desired); blend well.

Spray a large casserole dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Add potato mixture and dot with butter.

Cool mashed potatoes slightly, cover, and then refrigerate.

The prepared mashed potatoes may be made up to 7 days ahead of time.  If preparing ahead, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Place in an ovenproof baking dish if not already stored in this dish.


When ready to heat the potatoes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take potatoes out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake, loosely covered, 40 minutes or until steaming hot in center.

Crock Pot – Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe:

Mashed Potatoes in slow cookerYou can use this crock pot/slow cooker version, if you need to free up your oven for other dishes when making my holiday meals.

Take the prepared mashed potatoes out of refrigerator about 3 1/2 hours before serving time.  See Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes above.  Place the mashed potatoes in the crock-pot/slow cooker.  Cover and use low heat for approximately 3 hours, stirring once or twice.

When you are ready to serve the mashed potatoes, stir, and then add some additional dollops of butter.

Grandma’s Do-ahead Thanksgiving Gravy


Grandma Peggy’s Do-ahead Gravy

Yield: about 4 cups

Ingredients:

6 T. flour
6 T. butter
4 cups chicken broth or stock
salt and pepper
Turkey pan drippings

Instructions:

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook over medium high heat until flour is incorporated and white bubbles begin to form on the top. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Gradually add broth, whisking constantly. Stir until gravy is thickened and mixture boils. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cool and refrigerate for up to three days.

To serve:

On Thanksgiving day, heat the gravy. When turkey is done, pour off drippings into a jar or fat separator. Skim or spoon off all the fat and stir the drippings into the gray.

Pasta Americana a la Tomi

Pasta Americana

My sister Tomi is a great cook and has the gift of hospitality. One Christmas she and her family were visiting us from the east coast and we decided to throw a cocktail party to introduce them to several of our neighbors and friends. At about 8pm the cocktail party turned into a dinner party and we looked at each other saying “What can we make for a party of 12?” Tomi quickly offered to whip up a hearty pasta dish sure to satisfy the hungry bunch. Sure enough, the super easy and delicious pasta was a hit.

I now make it for Sunday night dinner and always think of my sister when I make it. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! The recipe below is modified for 6-8 people.

Ingredients Continue reading

Gruyere Cheese and Basil Sandwiches

grilled cheese

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Makes: 2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Slices Sourdough Bread
  • 3-4  Ounces of Gruyere Cheese
  • 4-6 large Basil Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Preparation:

Prepare ingredients:
Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Wash and dry the basil leaves. Thinly slice the cheese into large pieces.

Assemble the sandwiches:

Lay the bread slices on a clean, dry work surface. Divide the cheese slices and half of the basil between 2 of the bread slices;  Complete the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices.  Spread 1/4 of the butter on each of the top slices of bread.

IMG_1330

Cook the sandwiches:

Heat a griddle or fry pan on medium until hot. Add the sandwiches (butter side down) and cook 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown and crispy. Add the remaining butter on the unbuttered bread and carefully flip the sandwiches. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Transfer to a clean, dry work surface.
Plate your Dish:
Cut the cooked sandwiches in half and divide between 2 plates. Serve with Easy Tomato Soup on the side. Enjoy!

Ina-Inspired Tomato Soup

IMG_1324Easy Tomato Soup inspired by Ina Garten

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preparation

Continue reading