Mashed Potato Casserole and Other Ramblings

May 15th, 2015

Mashed Potato Casserole 1

Allow me to ramble a bit.  This will be a rather disjointed post.  It seems I have been snapping pictures willy nilly with no particular theme in mind.  We did have this mashed potato casserole last week.  David was grilling ribs and I knew that the timing for dinner would remain up in the air.  There are many steps involved in his rib recipe.  So, as not to worry about the mashed potatoes, I turned them into a casserole that could be kept warm in the oven.  The topping of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and butter was delicious.

Porch Tulips 1

Yesterday we had an old friend from our college days over for lunch.  She has moved close to our area and we had the best time catching up with each other.  I set the table on the porch, and although it was cool, we enjoyed being outside.

Porch Couscous

Our lunch included Ina Garen’s Couscous and Tuna Salad.  You can find the recipe here.

Porch Salad

I made a simple tossed salad with Spring greens, mandarin oranges, raspberries and almonds and these focaccia breadsticks with an oil and balsamic vinegar dipping sauce.

Porch Sign

David took me out to lunch for Mother’s Day at a small town near us.  After lunch we browsed in several antique shops.  I found this “Antiques” sign.  It is obviously not old, but it looks great hanging on my porch.

Lake Lure House Spring 1

I also found this colorful hanging basket to hang at the entrance to the cottage.

Potato Casserole 2v

MASHED POTATO CASSEROLE

6 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 to 1 cup half and half or cream
A large handful of chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the topping:
1/3 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoon melted butter

Place potatoes in a large saucepan with water to cover.  Add a generous teaspoon of salt.  Bring to bowl and cook until tender.  Drain potatoes.  Add butter and enough half and half to mash into a creamy consistency.  Add chives and mix in.

Grease a casserole dish.  Add potato mixture.

Mix together the topping ingredients.  Spread over potatoes.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Can be held in a warm oven until needed.

Printable Recipe

 

Pomegranate Grilled Chicken

May 8th, 2015

Pomegramate Chicken 1

We are so happy that grilling season is here again.  One of the first recipes I wanted to try was this pomegranate marinated chicken.  It calls for pomegranate molasses.  That was an ingredient that I had never heard of before.  It turns out, it is not easy to find.  But Whole Foods carries it and if you look online you can actually make it yourself.  Here is a link.  It is nothing more than pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice reduced down to a syrup.  The tangy syrup goes very well with grilled chicken.  The bottle that I found was actually called pomegranate syrup.

Pomegranate Chicken 3V

Add a cluster of pomegranate arils and you have a pretty spectacular dish.  And speaking of spectacular, our weather has been perfect this week.  We’ve had cool mornings, temperatures in the high 70’s in the afternoon, and evenings warm enough to eat on the porch.  The lake has been busy with boat traffic and a few brave souls are water skiing in wet suits.  One of the newest sports on the lake is paddle boarding.  It looks so peaceful to see a lone person standing on a board, paddling along the quiet shoreline in the morning.

Pomegranate Chicken 2

This dish was a good introduction to grilling season.  It pairs well with  so many summer sides; pasta salad, grilled corn, coleslaw or potato salad.  I hope this has gotten everyone in the mood for summer.  I am ready.

POMEGRANATE CHICKEN (What Katie Ate on the Weekend )

12 skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
Pomegranate Molasses, Mint and pomegranate seeds, to serve

Pomegranate Molasses Marinade:
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
juice of 1 lemon
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 sprigs mint, leaves picked and very finely chopped (I used basil leaves)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the marinade, place all the ingredients in a pitcher or bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour into a large resealable plastic bag, add the chicken thighs, then seal and shake to combine.  Marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours ( or overnight if possible).

Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.  Cook the chicken thighs for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through.

Drizzle over some extra pomegranate molasses, then serve hot, scattered with mint and pomegranate seeds.  Serves 4 to 6.

Printable Recipe

 

Kale and Red Onion Galette

April 24th, 2015

Vegetable Galette 4

While scooting around the grocery store the other day in my motorized cart (Still have difficulty walking with this sprain), I decided to load up with some convenience foods.  To me, convenience food means frozen vegetables, ready made pie crusts, salad greens, ground beef, hamburger buns and Rao’s marinara sauce.  I am on my own for the next two weeks so I can indulge in my preferences.  I love savory pastry dishes and a galette is nothing more than a free form rustic tart.

Vegetable Galette 1

 

In my effort to be somewhat healthy, I combined frozen baby kale, sauteed red onions, and frozen cubed carrots in a filling for my Pillsbury pastry round.  I actually added a small amount of left over spicy sausage, but it could be left out.  What is so great about this type of meal is that you can use anything that you like in the filling.

Vegetable Galette 2

Cooking for one does not have to be an unpleasant experience.  I see pasta marinara and grilled hamburgers in my future.  But that’s after I finish this lovely galette with my salad greens.  It might take me a while.

KALE AND RED ONION GALETTE

1 12oz. package frozen baby kale, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large red onion, halved and sliced into half rounds
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Alexia’s frozen organic cubed carrots, thawed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 round of Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough
1 beaten egg for egg wash, mix with a little water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Saute’ red onion in the oil in a medium size frying pan.  Turn to low and cook slowly until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized.  Add the dried kale and the carrots.  Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Let cool slightly.

Place the pastry round on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Mound the filling in the middle of the pastry leaving at least a 1-inch border.  Fold the pastry over the filling, pleating as you go.  Brush the pastry with the egg wash.

Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Printable Recipe

Ground Beef Stroganoff

April 16th, 2015

Ground Beef Stroganoff 1

Cooking has been a challenge for the past week.  We visited the kids in Cary over the weekend.  Upon arrival at their new house our dog Daisy got away from us.  In an effort to help recapture her and wearing my pretty new impractical flip flops, I fell on a pine needle covered incline.  I wrenched my right leg badly and probably have a sprained ankle.  My week has been one of pain pills and limping.  I am starting to feel better but complicated meals are not something I want to tackle.

Ground Beef Stroganoff 2V

That’s one of the reasons that I loved this Ground Beef Stroganoff recipe.  It is cooked in one pot from start to finish.  Not to mention the fact that it is very tasty.

Ground Beef Stroganoff 3

I am trying to stay off of my feet.  Thankfully we just got Netflix streaming and I have started watching Bloodline.  I am also reading the best novel about food and cooking.  My next post will have a recipe from this delicious book.  In the meantime, if you are out of sorts, just tired, or looking for something quick to make other than Hamburger Helper, you need to try this recipe.

GROUND BEEF STROGANOFF ( Chow.com )

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium beef broth or stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces dried egg noodles
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring rarely, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper, and break the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s just cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and paprika, stir to coat the meat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raw flavor has cooked off the flour, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pot, until almost evaporated, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, measured salt, and measured pepper and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the noodles and reserved mushrooms along with their accumulated juices and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are just cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Printable Recipe

 

 

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

April 11th, 2015

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad 1

Mexican meals are so easy.  The ingredients are predictable; taco seasonings, cheese, sour cream, avocado, black beans, tortillas and tomatoes.  We have had a few warm days and a refreshing Mexican salad sounded like a great idea.  I found an excellent recipe in a Cooking Light cookbook.  It has a creamy dressing made with chipotle chile, lime juice, cilantro, seasonings and light sour cream that mellows the heat from the chiles.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad 2V

The salad ingredients are simple.  You could use a rotisserie chicken if time is short.  But I had two boneless chicken breasts that I dusted with taco seasonings and sauteed until cooked through.  Also in the mix to dress the lettuce are red onions, cherry tomatoes, avocado, black beans and corn.  I served a few corn chips on the side to be crumbled over the salad.

We are making progress on the cottage.  It makes me nervous when my surroundings are in chaos.  I like to be in control and am easily overwhelmed by the need to do everything at once when things are in disarray.  But I saw the light of day (literally) earlier this week and spent a sunny day with my blogging buddy Penny of the Comforts of Home.  We antiqued. . . . . . .

Screen Door 2015 1

It is always fun to visit The Screen Door in Asheville.  Love this vignette.  I am thinking of using chalk paint to transform one of my dressers like the one shown here.

Screen Door 2015 2

This is one of my favorite booths.  Lots of French linens, topiaries and antique posters.  After antiquing we dined . . . .

Fig 2015 1

 

It is a rite of passage for us to have lunch at our favorite French Bistro “Fig”.  We always try to eat on the patio.  The green grass is such a welcoming sight after a grey winter.  As is that lovely glass of Riesling.

Fig 2015 2

What a luncheon feast.  The other Penny (TOP) had PEI mussels with steak frites.  I had chicken schnitzel with white beans and greens in a flavorful red sauce.  We caught up with everything that has happened since we last saw each other last season.  It was a fun day under the warming sun.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad 3

Hopefully we will all be experiencing warmer weather soon.  This salad is a good way to sit back and enjoy it.

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN TACO SALAD (Cooking Light; the Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook )

Dressing:
2/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Salad:
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 2 breast halves)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, cooked and cooled

To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat.  4 servings.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.