Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Individual Cheese and Egg Puffs

I got this recipe ages and ages ago from my friend Kim's mom. I rarely make them because it's one of those brunch items that you take to events, and I guess I don't go to that many brunch events. 
Today, though, I got to make them for the Wilsons, as they were here for their bi-annual drive through Des Moines. Gosh, I love that family. Not only are they fun and awesome, but they love eating just as much as I do. 
The egg-eaters in our two families thoroughly enjoyed these yummy little puffs. They're tender, and somewhat light-tasting, with only a hint of the green chile flavor. They're salty, cheesy, soft, and very satisfying.
I have a few left that I'm going to try freezing, and I'll try to remember to put an update on here of how that goes.

Individual Cheese and Egg Puffs

  • 10 large eggs
  • 12 oz. small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 pound jack cheese, grated
  • 4 to 5 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 can diced green chilies 
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (can use gluten free flour, or almond flour to make them Keto)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • Prepare the day/night before.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs until lemon colored. 
  • Blend in cottage cheese, jack cheese, Gruyere cheese, and diced chilies. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients and the melted butter to the egg mixture, and mix well.
  • Generously grease 24 medium size (2 to 2 1/2 inch) muffin cups (original recipe says 30, but mine only yielded 24). 
  • Divide egg mixture evenly among muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until tops are golden and feel firm. 
  • Let stand 10 minutes, and then run a knife around each muffin cup to loosen the egg puff.
  • Gently lift puffs out. 
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.
Makes about 24 puffs
Right after mixing the eggs, cheese, and chilis

After the addition of the dry ingredients the next day

Pan is ready to go into the oven

Hello, delicious cheesy, salty, eggy goodness.

I may have eaten a couple more after these two.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Roasted Broccoli

Delicious roasted broccoli

I needed a new way to prepare broccoli tonight, and Pinterest did not let me down. Everyone loved this, and now I'm wondering why we all tolerated simply steamed broccoli for so long.
The broccoli turned out mostly cooked, but still crunchy, and very flavorful. I may like broccoli again.

Roasted Broccoli
       Adapted from A Spicy Perspective

  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Wash, trim, and cut broccoli into bite-size pieces. Cut and peel stalk as well, if desired.
Pile broccoli onto the prepared baking sheet.
Drizzle olive oil over broccoli, and then sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper mix. Toss with hands and spread evenly over the surface of the pan.
Roast at 475 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until edges start to look a bit charred.
Makes about 3-4 servings

Meat Cubes (Meatballs Don't Have to Be Spherical)

Meatballs need not be rounded.

Why should meat balls be balls at all? I mean, they're time consuming to roll into the ball shape, and if you're frying them, they are hard to brown on all sides--because they have no sides. 
Meat cubes, on the other hand, make so much more sense to me. They consist of the same ingredients, they have the same amount of meat, they taste exactly the same, and they're so much less labor intensive. Plus they won't ever roll off the plate. These are also perfect for my homemade open faced meatball sandwiches (which, come to think of it, I've never blogged about).
To me, this is a happy medium between my crazy enthusiasm for homemade foods and my modern-day need for a little more convenience. I may never again roll meat into the shape of a ball, and I'm good with that.
Come join me in this rebellion against traditional arbitrary food shapes. Let's make our lives just a little bit easier while retaining all of the goodness and deliciousness of homemade cooking.
Note: When I made these the first time, I made only the half recipe, and they turned out rather thin. The second time I did a full batch, and got the chunkier cubes you see in most of the pics. They look more fun this way, and get more meat per cube.

Meat Cubes (half recipe at the end of this post)

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I use gluten free breadcrumbs from gf French rolls)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 small onions, finely diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 pounds ground ground (90/10) 
  • more vegetable oil 
  • Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, place the breadcrumbs and pour the milk over them. Allow to sit while you prepare the onions & garlic.
  • Heat the 5 tablespoons vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Add garlic, stir, and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. 
  • To the breadcrumbs and milk, add the eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese. Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Mix in the onions and garlic a little at a time (so you don't cook the eggs). Add the ground beef. With your hands (I use plastic gloves for this), gently incorporate the beef into the other ingredients until the mixture is uniform. 
  • Place 3/4 of the meat mixture in prepared 9 x 13 inch pan and spread out to evenly in the pan. Cover and freeze 60  to 90 minutes. Form the rest into balls and flatten, and you'll be cooking those for dinner tonight. You could put the other fourth into a smaller pan and freeze and cut those too. (I'm only really telling you what I did--only 3/4 of the mixture should be put into the 9x13 pan.)
  • When meat is mostly frozen, lift out of the pan by grabbing the edges of the parchment paper and lifting. Place on a cutting surface, and using a large sharp knife, cut into about 48 cubes (6 x 8), or 1.5 inch squares.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and tilt pan to distribute oil evenly. Place as many meat cubes in the pan that fit comfortably with a little space between. Cook until well browned on the first side, and then turn using a metal spatula. Cook until well browned on the second side and so on until most of the sides have browned. Remove cooked meat cubes to a clean baking sheet and continue frying meat cubes in batches until complete, adding more oil to the pan as needed. If you want the cubes cooked well all the way through, you can place the pan in a 325 degree oven for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Use as many cubes as you want for now. Allow the rest to cool completely, place on a freezer paper lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Move frozen cooked meat cubes to a large zip top bag and place in the freezer. Use within about 2 months.
Makes about 4 dozen meat cubes
I would allow about 4 cubes per serving.

Once the sauce is added, you don't even care about the shape.
Meat Cubes Half Recipe

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I use gluten free breadcrumbs from gf French rolls)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground ground (90/10) 
  • canola oil 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Simple Chuck Roast (in Tacos)

Simply delicious roast beef

Roast beef is, I think, a perfect meat. It's great the first night, and you can do so many things with leftovers. For instance, you can eat roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy one night, and the next you can have roast beef tacos or taquitos--or you can douse the leftovers in teriyaki sauce and serve it with fresh steamed white rice. Ah, so good. 
Since my sister-in-law turned up with a soy allergy, and my nephew has a severe wheat allergy, I had to come up with an easy, controllable alternative to the Lipton Onion Soup mix that I was accustomed to using on my pot roasts.
This turns out to be a perfect seasoning. Most people have the ingredients in their cupboard, and one batch of seasoning is good for about three or four roasts. The flavor is just a nice, savory taste that can morph with the addition of various spices and seasonings.
Tonight we enjoyed this roast inside tacos. The remainder will be put into taquitos that will be frozen for a quick lunch option while most of us are home for the summer.
So here you go, an easy and tasty way to season your roast.

Simple Chuck Roast (in Tacos)

  • 3 pound chuck roast
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons seasoning mix (recipe below)
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • canola oil for frying
  • taco toppings
Seasoning Mix:
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder (NOT onion salt)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 scant tablespoon chili powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine all of the seasoning mix ingredients in a bowl or sealed storage container.
Place roast in a roasting pan and coat with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of seasoning (use less for a smaller roast, and more for a larger roast). Cover roasting pan with foil to keep moisture in.
Place pan in oven and roast for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until meat is very tender and shreds easily with a fork.

While meat roasts for the last half hour to an hour, heat up about one inch of canola oil in a high-rimmed frying pan. When a little bit of corn tortilla placed in the oil sizzles immediately, the oil is ready.
Using a pair of metal tongs, carefully slide one corn tortilla into the hot oil. Immediately fold the tortilla in half using the tongs. Fry on each side for about 1-2 minutes, or until the edges are crisp. Don't let them get too crisp, though, because they'll break when you try to fill them with the meat.
Repeat with remaining tortillas, and you can fry 2 or 3 at once, depending on the size of your pan. Drain fried taco shells on a plate or cooling rack lined with paper towels.

Place about 1/4 cup of shredded roast beef in a taco shell, top as desired, and enjoy.

Makes 12 tacos, perhaps with some meat leftover for tomorrow.

01 09