Simple advice for a better life.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Roasted turkey ready to servePumpkin-RollOrange-Apple-Cranberry sauce 2

It is time again to give thanks for all our blessings, and to spend time together with family and friends.

Thanksgiving holiday this year will be low key at my house, since all my children and their families, will be spending it with their in-laws.

I am counting my blessings, because we will be all together for Christmas!

Today I will not be posting any new recipes, but will provide links to my previous posts, for your convenience.

Roasted turkey ready to serve

Here is my favorite turkey roasting recipe.

stuffing ready to serve 2

Stuffing with Italian Sausage and herbs.

Orange-Apple-Cranberry sauce 2

Homemade Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce recipe.

Sweet Potatoes casserole - ready to serve

Sweet Potato Casserole.

I did not post a recipe, since it was a very simple process of cooking sweet potatoes, mashing them with a seasoning of brown sugar and cinnamon.

Then, placing the mashed potatoes in a greased casserole dish, covering them with a layer of miniature marshmallows, and placing them under broiler just long enough to form a golden crust.

Need to watch them carefully, since the marshmallows can burn VERY quickly!!

Pumpkin-Roll

Since I am not a big fan of Pumpkin Pie, I bake Pumpkin Roll as one of my Thanksgiving desserts.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY TO YOU ALL!!!

Cheese Cloth wrapping step 1

Stuffed cabbage - servings 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was chatting with a friend of mine about cooking ….surprise…..surprise…; she was telling me about an interesting dish her family and friends really enjoyed.

She kindly shared her recipe, so I finally had a chance to try it out, and share it with you.

The preparation process might look involved,  but it really isn’t bad.

The finished product looks impressive, especially before the stuffed cabbage head is cut up into serving sections.

Serving piece

 Ingredients:

  • 1 head white cabbage
  • 1.5 lbs. meatloaf mix meat (pork, beef, veal)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded on a large eye grater
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. chopped Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
  • 2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 Tbs. catchup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 sheet of cheese cloth ( easily found at your grocer)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cubes beef bullion
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Fill a large pot 1/2 full with water.
  2. Add 1 Tbs. salt, and bring to boil.
  3. Remove one layer of the outer leaves from the head of cabbage and discard. Trim the end of the core, but do not carve it out.
  4. Place the head of cabbage into the boiling water (core down), and boil for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn the cabbage head with the core up, and boil 15 minutes longer.Cooling the cooked whole cabbage
  6. Remove from heat, and submerge the cabbage in ice water for 15 minutes.
  7. Save the cabbage water for later use.
  8. Gently trim off some of the thick rib of the cabbage, from the core upward, but make sure the leaves remains attached to the core.Cabbage head ready for stuffing
  9. Gently unfold the leaves one by one, and spread them out to the side of the core. Don’t worry if they split slightly; it will be fine once the head is reconstructed.
  10. Repeat this process until you have at least 3-4 layers of leaves.
  11. Cut out the middle portion of the remaining tightly folded leaves (save for later use)
  12. Set the cabbage leaves aside for now.Sauteing veggies for stuffing
  13. Add oil to sauce pan, and heat it on medium heat.
  14. Add the chopped onions, and saute 5 minutes.
  15. Add shredded carrot and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  16. Add chopped garlic, and saute 1 minute longer.Stuffing ingredientsStuffing ready to use
  17. In a large bowl, mix the meatloaf mix with the sauteed onions, salt and pepper, paprika, Italian Seasoning, chopped parsley, egg, water, and catchup.
  18. Mix all to incorporate evenly.
  19. Spread the cheesecloth on a platter, and place the cabbage leaves over it.
    Stuffing step 1
  20. Make a large ball (size of a tennis ball) put of the prepared filling,  and place it in the middle of the spread out cabbage leaves.
  21. Bring up one layer of leaves, and fold over the filling ball, to enclose it.Stuffing step 2-3
  22. Spread a generous amount of filling onto the second layer of leaves.
  23. Fold them up towards the created filling ball, and carefully recreating the head of cabbage.
    Cheese Cloth wrapping step 1
  24. Repeat this process until all the leaves are used up.Cheese Cloth wrapping step 2
  25. Bring up all 4 corners of the cheesecloth, fit snugly around the stuffed cabbage head, and tie it all together at the top of the head.Cooking step 1
  26. Place the ball of cabbage in a medium pot.
  27. Mix 5 cups of cabbage water with beef bullion.
  28. Mix in 1/2 of the tomato paste.
  29. Pour over the tied cabbage head.
  30. Add bay leaves, and more water if necessary, so at least 2/3 of the cabbage ball is submerged.
    Cooking step 2
  31. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  32. Remove cabbage head from the pot, and set on a serving platter.  Remove and discard the cheesecloth.
    Cooking step 3Cooking step 4
  33. Carefully place the cabbage head in an oven proof casserole dish, and set aside.
  34. Heat the remaining liquid in the pot, and cook to reduce to about 2 cups.
  35. Mix flour with a small amount of cabbage liquid, to form a smooth paste.
  36. Mix in  heavy cream, and remaining 1/2 of tomato paste.
  37. Pour this mixture into the cabbage water.
  38. Bring to boil and cook for few minutes to form a creamy sauce.
  39. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  40. Pour sauce over the cabbage head.
  41. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and bake it uncovered for 20 minutes.
  42. Remove from oven, and cut up into wedges (from middle top of the cabbage head toward the bottom).
  43. Serve it hot.

Enjoy and share comments.

 

 

 

Standing Prime Rib Roast  - just roasted in a dutch ovenStanding Prime Rib Roast  -  just roastedStanding Prime Rib Roast  - sliced for serving

Prime Rib is one of my favorite “special occasion” dinner meats, because it is so flavorful, even with very little additional seasoning.

Prime Rib tends to be a little pricey, so I only make it once I find a nice piece reasonably priced.  You want to buy a piece with at least 3 ribs (6-9 lbs), which will generously serve 5 – 8 people.

Today I will share my Prime Rib roasting experience with you.

You will be quite surprised how simple it is to prepare, and how impressive and tasty is the outcome.

My dutch oven was a great vessel to roast it in, but any heavy pan will do.

Ingredients:

  • 7 lbs of Standing Prime Rib Roast (3 ribs)
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbs. Paprika
  • 1 Tbs. Black Pepper, ground
  • 1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tbs. Kosher Salt (optional
  • 1 Onion, peeled and quartered
  • 10 Peppercorns
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 2 twigs of Rosemary (optional)

Directions:

  1. Remove the meat from packaging, and rinse off, or wipe it down with damp paper towel (I always like to rinse my meat before cooking….just because…).
  2. Place the meat on a platter, on the counter, and leave it out for 2 hours uncovered,  (to get it to room temperature, and for the outside surface to dry up a little).
  3. Place the meat in a roasting pan, ribs down and fat side up (I used my Dutch Oven).
  4. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  5. Using a basting brush, baste the olive oil all over the top and sides of the meat.
  6. In a small dish prepare the meat rub, by mixing together the Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Black Pepper, Italian Seasoning and Kosher Salt (see TIP below).
  7. Spread the meat rub all over the oiled meat.
  8. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns (and Rosemary is using).
  9. Do not cover the pan.
  10. Roast the meat in a preheated over for 3-4 hours, basting from time to time.
  11. It is very important to have a good quality meat thermometer, to check the temperature of the inner part of the meat, to reach 125-130 degrees F.  Start checking the temperature periodically after 2.5 hours of cooking.
  12. If you like to have your meat medium done, remove it from the oven once the meat reaches 125 degree F, cover loosely with aluminium foil, and let it rest for at least 20 minutes or even an hour, at room temperature.  The resting period is very important, to keep the juices in the meat, making it very tender.
  13. Before serving, remove the aluminum foil, and cut off the ball of the meat away from the ribs, running the knife along the side of the ribs and meat.  Wrap the ribs and refrigerate for future use, to prepare Prime Rib soup stock.
  14. Slice the meat against the grain, into serving slices (thin or thick…your preference).
  15. Serve with your favorite gravy, incorporating the juices remaining in you roasting pan.
  16. My favorite is Au Jus  gravy , served with Prime Rib.

 

Enjoy!

 

TIP:  Some cooks prefer to omit the salt, because they feel it draws the juices out of the meat during cooking, but I like to flavor my meat with salt.  If you prefer to have a crusty top on your meat, you can first roast it at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then lower it to 275 degrees until done to your preference.   I prefer the meat being tender evenly throughout, hence cook it at the lower temperature from start to finish.

During the last hour of  roasting time, you can bake some russet potatoes in the oven, to serve with the roast.

 

Potato Leek Soup – Recipe

Potato and Leek Soup - servingThe sudden unset of cold weather makes me crave  comfort foods, especially soups.

Last week I posted a recipe for Cream of Potato soup, and would love to hear your comments.

Today I will share a recipe for another simple, yet delicious soup; Potato Leek soup.

If you have not used leeks before, I would suggest to check out this information about buying and cleaning leeks.

This recipe yields enough soup for the whole family.

Ingredients:

  • 2 leeks
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded on a large eye  kitchen grater
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine (medium-dry)
  • 1 Tbs. dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried Sage
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 10 Peppercorn
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used Kosher salt and black pepper)
  • 1/3 cup of Heavy Cream, or 1/2 cup of Half & Half cream
  • 1 Tbs. Flat leaf Italian Parsley (or Dill Weed), chopped, for garnish
  • 4 oz Cheddar Cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Clean  and chop leeks, per  web instructions.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Heat  canola oil in a large stock pot.
  4. Add the chopped leeks, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Remove and set aside.
  6. Add chopped carrots and celery, and saute 5 minutes.
  7. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer, stirring frequently.
  8. Remove vegetables, and set aside.
  9. Add butter into pot, and mix in the diced potatoes.
  10. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  11. Return all vegetables back into the soup pot.
  12. Pour in the vegetable or chicken stock, add bay leaves and  peppercorns.
  13. Cook until all vegetables are fully cooked.
  14. Remove and discard the bay leaves and peppercorns.
  15. Use a potato masher, or immersion blender, to cream most of the vegetables (you may save about 1 cup of chunky veggies to complement the body of this creamy soup).
  16. Add white wine, heavy cream,Thyme, Sage, salt and pepper to taste.
  17. Cook for 5 minutes.
  18. Add cheddar cheese, and cook until cheese melts.
  19. Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley or dill.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cream of Potato Soup 2During my childhood, soup was part of our daily menu.

Sometimes it was the only thing on the menu, especially at lunch time.

My mom would cook some kind of soup every single day, so we all grew up loving and craving soups.

Soups are actually very good for you, since they contain so much liquid, plus a variety of veggies.  Eating soup on a cold day makes you feel so warm and fuzzy, inside and out.  Don’t you agree?

Today I will share a recipe for a Cream of Potato soup, which for most part is based on a recipe from the The Pioneer Woman, but I doctored it a little, to suit our taste.

This recipe makes a large pot of soup; about 8-10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon, cut to small pieces (I used Oscar Mayer center cut)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, cleaned and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (used my favorite gadget)
  • 6 medium Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 32 oz Chicken Broth (I used Swanson)
  • 4 cups of water, mixed with 3 chicken bouillons
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% fat)
  • 1/2 cup cream (I used Half & Half)
  • Salt and Black Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 Tbs. fresh Parsley, chopped (my favorite is Flat Leaf Italian Parsley)
  • 1 tsp. fresh Dill weed, chopped
  • Grated cheese or dollop of sour cream for garnish (optional…I used grated Swiss)

Directions:

  1.  Heat up a large soup pot, add chopped bacon, and cook until all fat is sizzled out and bacon is crispy.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon bits and set aside.
  3. If you have a lot of bacon fat, remove most of it, except for 2 Tbs.
  4. Add chopped onions, carrots and celery to the fat and cook, stirring often, until veggies are translucent (5-10 minutes).
  5. Add chopped garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the chopped potatoes, and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring often so veggies do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  7. Pour in the broth, and water/bouillon mixture.  Mix well to loosen up the bacon particles off the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Cook until the potatoes are almost done (10 minutes)
  10. Pour 2 Tbs. of milk into a cup, add the flour and make a paste.  Mix in the remaining milk, and add to the soup.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  13. Using a slotted spoon, remove about 3/4 of the veggies from the soup, into a blender or food processor, and process to form a creamy paste.
  14. Pour this puree back into the soup pot, to combine with the rest of the soup.
  15. Add the paprika, and additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  16. Stir in cream, 1 Tbs. of Parsley and dill.  Save 1 Tbs. of Parsley for garnish.
  17. Serve hot soup in bowls, garnished with Parsley, bacon bits, and some grated cheese or sour cream (optional).

I liked the crispiness of the bacon bits in this soup, used for garnish.

Nice piece of fresh bread makes an excellent accompaniment to this delicious, creamy potato soup.

Yum!!

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