Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Dinner fit for a special occasion - Filet Mignon with Bearnaise Sauce, Scalloped Gratin Potatoes and Green Beans


We treated ourselves well this Christmas for our Christmas dinner. We had filet mignon with Bearnaise sauce, scalloped potatoes and green beans. I hope the green beans made up for the calories in the rest of the meal. But that's why this is for a special occasion! (or whenever you want a great meal).
Make sure you read everything all the way through. This will take some planning to make sure you have your Bearnaise sauce finished when your filets are finished. The potatoes will be the first thing you'll need to prepare, as they take some prep and have the longest cooking time.


Scalloped Gratin Potatoes:
It's Tyler Florence's recipe. You can find that here.

Filet Mignon:
We made our filet steaks in the oven after searing it in a pan. First, take your filets out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to cook them. Lightly salt and pepper both sides.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Place an ovenproof skillet in the oven while it's preheating. When finished heating, carefully remove your skillet from the oven and place on your stove on high heat. Remember you just took this out of the oven! Don't forget and touch the handle like you are just cooking on the stove. Put filets in the pan. Sear for 1-2 minutes, without touching it. Then turnover and sear the other side for 1-2 minutes. Then place the entire pan in your oven. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes. How long you cook it in the oven will depend on how you prefer your meat cooked.  I would use a meat thermometer that can alert you when a certain temperature has been reached. Here is a guideline from Food Network for doneness. We cooked ours to 125 degrees for rare. Once you remove your steaks from the oven, remove from the pan and let rest under tented foil for 5-10 minutes.

Bearnaise Sauce:
We followed the Bearnaise Sauce recipe found here. It was worth the effort. This will go on top of your filets when you serve them. It makes about a cup. This was more than enough for our two filet steaks.

We put the leftovers in the refrigerator. We were able to get it back to it's liquid state to use again on chicken.

Green Beans:
I microwaved some frozen green beans according to the package directions.

That was our Christmas dinner. It was tasty! I hope you enjoy it, too.

A Very Simple Appetizer - Tomatoes and Garlic Herb Cheese on a cracker


So this is about the simplest thing ever. I had some Boursin cheese in the refrigerator. I needed to prepare a little snack before Christmas Eve mass to hold us over to dinner. So I pulled together this very simple appetizer.

Ingredients:
Your favorite cracker - I happened to have Triscuits
Garlic Herb Cheese - I had Boursin
Tomatoes, sliced - Roma or something similarly small

Spread some of the cheese on each of your crackers. Top with a small piece of tomato. You could sprinkle a very light amount of salt on the tomato if you would like. Make the choice depending on how flavorful your cracker is.

And that's it! So quick, so easy, this could be made for yourself or a crowd.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cheesy Bacon Dip


This is always a crowd pleaser. How can you go wrong with cheddar cheese?

Ingredients:
8 oz finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3-4 green onions, chopped
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/3 c slivered almonds
1/3 c bacon bits (the packaged kind that says "real")
salt and papper

Combine all ingredients, through bacon bits, by lightly mixing together. You want the mayonnaise to be evenly incorporated throughout to help keep everything together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with taco chips or crackers. I always like it with the Tostitos scoops, so you can easily scoop up the dip into the chip.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Green Beans with Tomato Sauce


Green Beans and sauce is a side dish my family always eats on Thanksgiving. It's good anytime of year but it always must be on the Thanksgiving table.  It's quick and easy, too.

Ingredients:
1 lb of green beans
8 oz of Hunt's sauce*
14.5 oz Hunt's diced tomatoes*
~ 3 cloves chopped garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper
*We always use Hunt's brand for this recipe. But use whatever you are used to eating. I've always had Hunt's so for me it's the only way it tastes just like mom's.

Cook your beans first. I just put them in the microwave with a little bit of water for ~ 4 minutes.
Heat olive oil on medium in a small sauce pan. It should be enough to cover the bottom of your pan. It's always an estimate. Add chopped garlic and saute for about a minute or two. Add diced tomatoes. You can mash them slightly if you want to, but I prefer the chunks of tomatoes.  Then add sauce and beans. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, more or less depending on how crispy or soft you want your beans. Season with salt and pepper and serve as a side dish.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ham and Broccoli Quiche


This simple ham and broccoli quiche uses hash brown potatoes as a crust on the bottom. I pulled this together from two different recipes and improvised a bit. I also decided to sub some of the cream with 1% milk, for two reasons, 1) to cut down some of the fat 2) cream always comes in 1/2 pint (1 cup) or 1 pint (2 cup) containers, then I always have a 1/2 a cup left that I never use.

This will serve about 6 people.

Ingredients:
2 cups hash brown potatoes (thawed, if frozen)
7 eggs
2 tablespoons of butter plus more to grease pan
1 cup heavy cream, plus 1/2 cup 1% milk
10 oz ham thinly sliced (I got ham from the deli case and sliced it up)
10 oz frozen broccoli (thawed)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon of pepper, divided
1 teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the sides of a round cake pan with butter, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

Squeeze excess moisture from hash brown potatoes (if using frozen, thaw first). Mix in bowl with butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Once well combined, pat into the bottom of the cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes to set the potatoes as a crust.

Thaw your broccoli and, depending on how big your broccoli is starting out, cut it into smaller pieces if you so desire.

In  large bowl, whisk together eggs and cream/milk. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Layer ham, broccoli and cheese in the cake pan. Pour the egg mixture over top of the other ingredients.  Press down lightly so most of the ingredients are submerged under the eggs.

Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until set. You can take off the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to lightly brown the top. You will know it's done when it no longer jiggles in the center.

Cook 15 minutes in the pan, then run a serrated knife around the edges. You'll need to invert this twice. Invert onto a plate, remove the parchment paper, then invert again  so the top side is up (potatoes on the bottom).

We had this with bread and a tossed green salad.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sausage and Peppers

Garret and I had a perfect summer meal tonight - Sausage with peppers and onions, and tomato and cucumber salad on the side.  You can grill your sausage or you can make it in the oven like we had to do tonight since it was storming.  I also cook sausage in the oven throughout the winter.

Ingredients:
Your favorite sausage links
Rolls
Green Pepper
Onions

If you are cooking your sausage in the oven, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice up your green pepper(s) and onion(s). You could do a few things to cook these. Put them in aluminum foil and and put it on the grill with your sausage, place the aluminum foil in the oven or cook the peppers and onions together in a saute pan.

Poke holes all over your sausage so it doesn't burst while cooking. The sausage will take about 25 minutes in the oven. Turn the sausage half-way through. It's done when there is no more pink.   Or grill it over moderate heat, turning frequently, for about 12 minutes - until it's no longer pink.

Put your sausage on your roll, pile on your peppers and onions and you're ready to enjoy! Serve with
tomato and cucumber salad.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tomato and Cucumber Salad


Tomato and Cucumber Salad is the perfect side at a summertime meal. I love having some good crusty bread to dip in the juices it makes. If you are lucky to have your own tomato garden then this is a great fresh way to use up those tomatoes!

I will admit I had to call my mom to check on exactly the right way to put it together and good thing I did because I forgot that the garlic should only be cut in half and not chopped up. Here is what she said straight from the cook's mouth: "Cut the garlic in half because you want to see it so you don't eat it, because it's raw and very intense when it's raw. But you still need the garlic because the oils and the essence of the garlic infuse into the juices of the tomato and mixes with the olive oil." Well there you have it.

Giving measurements is a little difficult. You'll have to adjust on how many people you are serving and how big your tomatoes are. And it depends on if you like more tomatoes than cucumbers, keep it even, or more cucumbers. We always gave tomatoes the starring role. But I would say about 3-4 tomatoes and, one-half to a full a cucumber for a 4-person side-dish serving.

Ingredients:
3-4 Tomatoes
1/2 to 1 Cucumber
garlic cut in half (maybe about 2 cloves of garlic for 3-4 tomatoes)
olive oil
salt and pepper
Chopped green pepper

Cut your tomatoes into large chunks, slice up your cucumber and your pepper, and cut your garlic cloves in half. Put your cut up tomatoes into the bowl and sprinkle some salt on them. Let them sit for a few minutes so that the salt draws out some juices. Add the rest of your chopped up ingredients, then toss with olive oil and pepper. Add your olive oil and pepper like you would dress any salad. I eye ball this kind of thing.  Remember you can always add more, it's a little harder to take it away, so put a little, then taste it and add more if necessary until you are happy.

I prefer eating this at room temperature. Have some crusty bread on hand to soak up the wonderful juice (and olive oil and garlic flavor) those fresh tomatoes leave behind.