Monday, October 31, 2011

Bobbi's Crab Chowder

This recipe is one that I have worked on for a while. I  moved to Washington in 2006 and being in the Pacific Northwest brought on a great love for the fresh fish, seafood, and shell fish I can get here. So I set out to make wonderful meals with all of the goodies I had to chose from.

One of my favorite things is crab. Every since I was a kid I can remember my grandparents taking me out to a nice dinner and all I wanted was crab. Now every time I have crab I remember wonderful times with my grandparents!

This chowder is one that I have been requested to make by several people. That was when I really knew I had dialed the recipe in to where I wanted it to be. One suggestion though, the first time I made this I made it with King crab. The second time I used Dungenes. I recommend using Dungie or blue crab if you can't use King. I made the mistake of using just the "lump" crab meat they had at the store last time and it made the chowder a little more "fishy" than I like.


Bobbi's Crab Chowder


1 yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
4-ounces (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup flour
10 slices bacon, chopped
5 medium potatoes, peeled, diced and par-boiled for about 5 minutes
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
6 cups half and half
1 cup frozen corn
1 pound lump crabmeat (King, Dungenes, Blue)

In a large soup pot cook the bacon until it renders its fat, remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add butter, celery and onions to the pot and saute until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour and mix well cooking for a couple minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. Whisk in white wine. Add diced cooked potatoes, cooked bacon, parsley, paprika, white pepper, seafood seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix and then slowly add the half and half, stirring constantly. Add the corn, and then gently fold in the crab meat. Stir slowly. Adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with crusty bread for sopping!

Serves 4 to 6

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Food Star Friday - Creamy Potato and Leek Soup





Happy Food Star Friday my fine foodie friends! I was really excited about this recipe because, well, as of late I am obsessed with soups and this one sounded sooooo good. Potato soup is a true comfort food to me. Mind you the potato soup I ate as a child was Campbell's soup, but my Mom made it for me, so in my childhood memories it was a comfort food.

When I grew up, I lived in a tiny little trailer in a small town just outside of Reno, NV. It is one of those places that has weather extremes. Over 100 degrees in the summer at times, and snow in the winter. So when winter hit Mom would crank the heater and break out the Campbell's soups. Cream of Potato, Cream of Mushroom, and Creamy Tomato all bring back vivid memories of my childhood and are true comfort foods for me. Poor Kevin just doesn't understand my fondness for soups. He just keeps wondering why I seem to be determined to make a vegetarian out of him! That is why I chose this Emeril Lagasse recipe.

Now I will warn you, since it is Food Star Friday I did not change the recipe from the original. I mean that is the idea, do the star's recipes and then review them right? OK, this recipe is great and the soup tastes amazing. However, if I had been making it just for my family I would have changed a few things to try and "healthify" it a bit.

I would substitute a tablespoon of olive oil for the two tablespoons of butter and use half and half instead of heavy cream. Doesn't change it too much but I feel it makes it a bit better. Plus, as a person that has had gastric bypass, very heavily creamed food can make me feel a bit sick and this one, although it tasted AMAZING, made me feel a bit woozy. I know those minor changes would have made all of the difference.


I love my Goodwill finds, no more boring white bowl


Folding 2 leek leaves around the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and peppercorns for a bouquet garni


wilt the sliced leeks 


add the wine, stock, potatoes, salt, white pepper, and bouquet garni


it all fit into my blender in one batch and came out so nice and smooth and creamy


Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives


Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped 

bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)
Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni,chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.
Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

Serves 4



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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes

I love broccoli and was so glad when my kids finally came around to liking it too (it only took them 15 years or so). This year I started adding broccoli to a lot of different dishes instead of just doing the plain old steamed broccoli. Although I love it steamed, that can get pretty boring. Now I am putting it in meatloaf, pasta dishes, salads, and one of my new favorites, mashed potatoes.

I can remember when I first started trying to get my kids to eat broccoli. At first I was met with a stern NO WAY! Then over time they relaxed a bit and I was able to get it in them if I covered it in cheese. Kind of defeated the healthy part of getting them to eat it but I was just happy they were eating it.

With this recipe I was able to scale back the amount of cheese (and use light cheese to boot) but still get that kind of "comfort food" broccoli mixed with another great comfort food....mashed potatoes. What is there to not like about THIS dish?


Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 1/2 pounds small potatoes (recommended: Yukon gold)
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • 1 cup milk (or chicken stock to make it even lighter)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat shredded sharp Cheddar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Halve the potatoes and add to a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the potatoes for 10 minutes while you trim and chop broccoli into 1/2-inch dice. Add the broccoli to the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes more. Drain and return to the hot pot to dry. Stir in the milk, butter and cheese and mash until the cheese melts into potatoes and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl, to serve.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rachael Ray Wednesday - Grilled Mahi Mahi Fillets and Asparagus with Orange and Sesame

Monday I had a Dr's appointment and I realized I had gotten out of the house without my shopping list so I could pick up the ingredients for my next Rachael recipe for you all. Even though the store I needed to go to was all the way on the other side of town, and my house is somewhat in the middle, I just didn't feel like driving back home. So off to the store I go with an idea in the back of my little brain.

I have this free app on my iPhone that is for Food Network. I got my shopping cart, whipped out my phone, and started searching. The planets must have aligned or it was fate or whatever you want to call it, but I went to the recipe section and clicked on the "Main Dish" tab up pops a few recipes. I had been really wanting to cook fish so I thought wellllll maybe I will just grab a fish recipe now and then come back out tomorrow to get the things I need to make a Rachael recipe. The first fish recipe that came up was this one and it sounded really good. Although I had never cooked Mahi Mahi I was feeling adventurous and like I said I really wanted fish. I clicked on the recipe and SURPRISE it was a Rachael Ray recipe! YAY I did the happy dance. People looked at me strange but since I was close to the pharmacy the must have figured "Aww poor girl needs her meds".

The next thing that happened that made me know this was meant to be was when I got to the fish counter and asked for Mahi Mahi. I couldn't see any and was beginning to feel bummed that I would have to substitute another fish or look for another recipe. WALA the fish girl pulls out 5 fillets DING DING DING I needed exactly 5 fillets! OK so maybe I get excited about strange things but this had me very very happy. She wrapped up my little beauties and, since I had already picked up everything else, I made my mad dash for the checkout and scooted home with my treasures.

Once I got home and began getting things ready to go a bit of panic set in. Mahi Mahi is a firm white fish. I could tell by the feel of it that it would be very dry if I over cooked it. If you have ever had over cooked Swordfish you will know what my fear was. But I told myself that I have gotten very good at cooking fish by sight and knew I just needed to keep an eye on it.

Kevin helped me get all the veggies prepped and I got the fish in the marinade. I didn't heat the pan as quickly as she said to because it said to preheat it before the fish was even in the marinade. So I waited and preheated it as the fish was ready to come out.

There is a lot of ginger in the recipe and I was worried that Kevin wouldn't like it because he really dislikes ginger. When we go for sushi I like to torment him by eating the pickled ginger and then trying to get him to kiss me. I am bad, I know.

I have to say that this recipe rated, out of the 5 people that ate it, well lets see, Jessi gave me a two thumbs up and a toe up, she said it would have been 2 toes up but she was sitting on her other leg. Seth barely made a positive ID check on his, Kevin's son Dylan was all smiles, and Kevin said he loved the orange with it even though he had thought he wouldn't. Everyone agreed that this one was a keeper and we wanted to have it again.

So I think that pretty much sums it all up. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!


Again, not the best picture but trust me you will love love LOVE this one!!



Grilled Mahi Mahi Fillets and Asparagus with Orange and Sesame

4 portions, 6 to 8 ounces each, Mahi Mahi fillets
salt and pepper
2 limes, juiced
3 tablespoons dark Tamari soy sauce
2 inches fresh ginger root, grated, about 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
20 blades fresh chives, chopped, or 3 scallions, thinly sliced

For the asparagus:
1 to 1 1/4 pounds asparagus
2 navel oranges
1 inch fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Preheat grill pan over medium-high to high heat. Season mahi mahi with salt and pepper. Combine the Tamari, lime juice, fresh ginger, and a little vegetable or canola oil in a shallow dish. Turn the mahi mahi in the citrus soy marinade and let it hang out for about 10 minutes. Grill on grill pan for about 6 minutes per side for 1 inch thick fillets. Or until fish is firm and opaque.

Take one spear of asparagus and hold it at each end. Bend it until it snaps and breaks. Use this spear as the guide as to where to trim the ends of your bundle of spears. Using a vegetable peeler to cut long thin strips of zest from the oranges. Cut the ends off the zested oranges and stand them up on the cutting board. Remove the pith with a sharp knife cutting down from the top of the orange. Discard pith. When the oranges are both peeled and trimmed turn them on their sides and cut them into 1/4 inch disks. Set the disks aside. In a skillet with a lid, bring 1 inch of water to a boil with the zests of the oranges and the grated fresh ginger root. Allow the zest and ginger to simmer for at least 1 minute then add salt and asparagus spears. Simmer the spears 3 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain the asparagus. Discard the orange zest and ginger. Assemble a few spears on each plate layering them back and forth, crisscrossing the spears over orange slices. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the asparagus and oranges and top with one portion of the grilled mahi mahi. Garnish the assembled fish with the chopped chives or thinly sliced scallion.

Serves 4

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Pork Stew





I was trying to come up with a recipe to use a pork loin roast I had in my freezer. It was the beginning of fall and the temperatures had just started to drop. The time of year I love the most because it is cool enough for me to make and enjoy soups and stews, something I love but not it's not so cold that I freeze my toes off. I love the fall...not so fond of the winter.

Anyway, beef stew is one thing I chomp at the bit every year to make. As soon as the temperature dips I am off to the store to get the required goodies to make my treasured meal. But what to do with this pork? Kevin and I had gone shopping at Costco and they had a deal on the pork roasts. You got 4 roasts in one pack. I like doing that from time to time just to test myself to come up with new recipes and meal ideas.

I decided that if I couldn't make my beef stew I would twist the recipe into a pork stew. Thereby killing two birds with one stone (hopefully) coming up with a meal to use the pork in and enjoying a nice bowl of stew.

I Received The Versatile Blogger Award!!!

I want to apologize for not posting this award sooner. As I said I was MIA due to surgery so I was very slow in taking care of this. Krista from Everyday Mom's Meals, Deb from Debz Delicious Meals, and Robin from Knead to Cook, gave me this award. I was so shocked and honored! Thank you guys, you are all awesome!


The rules that go along with this award are:

1 - Thank the blogger that awarded you and link back to them.

2 - Share 7 things about yourself

3 - Pay it forward to 16 other bloggers and let them know you have awarded them.

7 Things About Me

#1. I wanted to be a writer from the time I was in elementary school. I began writing short stories and poems and kept them in journals. I still have many of them today.

#2. One of the big passions in my life is animals. I worked for Project Wildlife in Southern California for 5 years. I rescued and rehabilitated possums, skunks, squirrels, and more.

#3. In connection with my work with Project Wildlife I raised 3 possums that ended up being educational animals for the San Diego Zoo. I also had several education possums myself and did presentations for school, 4H, The Boy Scouts, etc.

#4. The number 1 job to me was being a Mom. I have 2 wonderful children that are 19 and 23. I miss them being little and all of the wonderful times we had, but am so proud of the people they are becoming!

#5. OK crazy time, I was an only child and always wanted a sibling. I was so lonely I used to talk to myself in the mirror. (You can say it...weirdooo)

#6. I am a 2 time cancer survivor. I had a very rare cancer when I was 14. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. What has that made me think? To thank God everyday for the blessings I have in my life!

#7. I am a baby talker (hanging my head) yes my dear friends I am ashamed to admit but, I talk baby talk to my animals, my boyfriend, and even my kids.

OK, now that THAT is over.....

My 16 Bloggers are:


I wish I could list every blog that I love but the list would be waaaayy to long!!
<3 to you all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Big Beef Balls with Bucatini


I chose this recipe because Kevin's daughter was coming for dinner and she had told me she like spaghetti. I was excited to find something that I could cook that would not only make her happy, but also be from the "365 No Repeats" book. Unfortunately she didn't make it for dinner, but we liked what we had.


Sometimes the ingredients that Rachael puts in her recipes drive me crazy. I know she says that she lives in a small town and her store carries these things but my stores a lot of the time DON'T, and that makes me nuts. I mean nuttier than I already am. The one in this recipe was the bucatini pasta. I had seen her use this pasta on 30 Minute Meals and thought it would be interesting however, I hadn't been able to find pappardelle pasta anywhere until just recently. I was determined to not be negative about the hunt for this elusive pasta and off I went into the gray skies and drizzle to complete my quest.


As I began to scour the pasta isle of the store, I started getting more and more depressed thinking I was not going to be able to find a major part of this meal (I mean it is in the name of the recipe for God's sake!) I had to be able to find this pasta! Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a pasta that looked like spaghetti but much thicker. Ok I knew bucatini is this hollow spaghetti so I snatched up the bag like it was a pot of gold. Much to my dismay, when I turned the package over the pasta was called perciatelli. My smile fell and my frustration grew. I must have gone through every single type of pasta they had at the store, and was just about to give up and buy regular spaghetti and issue my apologies when a light bulb went off in my head. I grabbed my trusty iPhone and jumped on Google. I did a search for perciatelle pasta and the very first one said perciatelli a fun spaghetti like noodle with a tiny hole running through it YAY!!! DING DING DING I found it. After I did my little happy dance, and the lady down the isle looked at me like I shouldn't be drinking this early in the day. I purchased my little treasure and away we went, home to make a wonderful meal with this exciting new treat. I know it is crazy that I am this excited about pasta right? I need to get out more.


I followed this recipe very closely. I think that the meatballs need another egg or less bread crumbs because mine had a hard time staying together. They also need to cook longer in the oven. I cooked mine for the exact amount of time the recipe said and they were not cooked all the way through. My answer to that was to place them in with the sauce and cover the pot so they could finish cooking that way. It didn't help the problem of them not staying in one piece, in fact it probably added to the problem, but they were nicely cooked and took on a lot of the sauce, which we all really liked. All in all we felt it was very tasty. The bucatini pasta was fun. We all acted like little kids slurping sauce through the noodles. I like any recipe that makes you have fun!


I really need to get some different plates, the plain white is getting boring for all of the pictures. Although it does make the food the focus, so we will see.




Big Beef Balls with Bucatini


  • coarse salt
  • 1 pound bucatini (thick hollow spaghetti)
  • 1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground  beef
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup Italian style bread crumbs ( a couple of overflowing handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some to pass at the table
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • fresh black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
  • 1 small to medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano variety if available
  • 1/2 fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
  • 12 cremini (baby portabello) mushrooms caps, chopped
  • 1/2 beef stock
Directions


Preheat the oven to 400. Heat a large pot of water to a boil.


Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Cook onions in 1 tablespoon of the EVOO for 5 minutes. Remove the onions and set them aside to cool.  In a large bowl, mix the meat with half of the onions, 3 cloves of the chopped garlic, the egg, bread crumbs, cheese, allspice, capers, sage, a handful of chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and a healthy drizzle of EVOO. Score the meat into 4 sections and make three very large balls from each section. Arrange the 12 balls on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes until firm, but not hard.


Add salt to the boiling water and drop the bucatini in, cook to al dente. Drain the pasta.


While the pasta and meatballs are cooking, heat another tablespoon of the EVOO in the skillet in which the onions were cooked. Add the pancetta and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the remaining garlic and the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add the remaining onions back and deglaze the pan with the red wine, cook for 1 minute, add the beef stock, and whisk up any brown bits. Stir in the tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining parsley. Simmer for 5 minutes.


Toss the pasta with half of the sauce. Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the remaining sauce, turning to coat. Serve 3 meatballs per person alongside the pasta. Spoon any remaining sauce over the pasta. Pass extra cheese at the table. Serve with a green salad.


Serves 4
Ground Beef on Foodista

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mini Frittatas




As you know, I have been MIA for the last few days due to surgery. For the last week I have been stuck to my bed per Dr's orders. That has made me absolutely stir crazy! I haven't been able to do anything UGH! This morning I was feeling much better and, even though I am still supposed to be on bed rest, I decided I HAD to cook SOMETHING!!

I rummaged through my fridge and found that my vegetable drawer runneth over with leftover goodies from recipes past. They were all still in good condition so my mind got to working. It was just Kevin and I for a late breakfast. I had been wanting to make a fritatta for quite some time, but since it was just the two of us I knew a normal size one would just go to waste. So a small one seemed a better choice. Then the light bulb went off in my head BING how about mini fritattas? Why not? Now the big question. I had no meat and if you have been with me for a while you know Kevin HAS to have meat. Oh well, I figured if I could get some great flavors going he wouldn't even realize he was being treated to a vegetarian style meal. I had mushrooms, which give you a kind of beefy/earthy flavor and I thought that might just help these little babies to squeak by his picky palate.

YAY me!!! I was right. Oh I know I didn't fool him in any way, but he didn't complain. In fact he said he really liked them. Do I think I have converted him to a meat free diet? Heck no! But the fact that he enjoyed the meal minus meat makes me a very happy camper! I personally loved them and they would be a terrific brunch item. But with a bit of fruit on the side, these made a perfect breakfast.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rachael Ray Wednesday - Turkey Club Super Mashers

This past week I have been pretty out of it due to my surgery. Pain meds and fire do NOT mix so I have had to pass the cooking baton to Kevin. Bless his heart he has taken it up without complaining, and even taken requests from me (I wanted a tuna melt soooo bad last night). But I will be much happier when we can resume our normal position in the kitchen ans get back down to the business of cooking some terrific food. Luckily I do  have a few posts in my arsenal. I tend to cook  a lot so I have several posts that I have not shared yet. This is one of them, and it just happens to be a RAchael Ray one too so I am able to keep up with the plan!!


This recipe went over really well. Everyone liked it and although I was a bit nervous about the potatoes with the fire roasted tomatoes in them, even my picky one liked them. She told me she likes fire roasted tomatoes now, just not raw tomatoes. OK, note taken. Seth said the potatoes had a pizza flavor to them, but Kevin and I both just felt they really did remind us of a club sandwich. I wasn't sure about the watercress since I have never had it before, but it added a nice flavor. Something different from spinach. I think arugala would be nice as well. It would give kind of a peppery kick to the potatoes.


Whatever the potatoes tasted like, we all really loved them. The chicken was so tender we didn't even need a knife to cut it! This is a great recipe, nothing fancy, but nice and satisfying.





Turkey Club Super Mashers

Ingredients
  • 8 slices applewood smoked bacon
  • 4 large Idaho potatoes
  • salt
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds turkey breast cutlets
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups, stemmed and chopped watercress (1 bunch)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped, or for extra smoky mashers, use 1 14 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 4 scallions, chopped
Directions

Preheat the oven to 400. Arrange bacon on a slotted broiler pan and bake it for 15 minutes, or until evenly crisp. Cool, chop, and reserve.

While bacon cooks, peel the taters and cut them into small chunks. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling add salt, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. 

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the cutlets with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Add the EVOO to the skillet. Add the cutlets and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until golden but not firm and dry. Transfer the cutlets to a platter and cover with foil. return the skillet to the heat and melt the butter in it. Add the flour and cook together for 1 minute, then whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a bubble and reduce the heat to simmer. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. The sauce will take about 5 minutes to become thickened gravy.

Drain the potatoes, then return them to the hot pot. Add the sour cream and start mashing. Add enough milk to get the potatoes to the desired consistency. Season the super mashers with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, watercress, and tomatoes ("BLT") into the potatoes.

Pile up one fourth of the potatoes on each plate. Slice the cutlets and arrange on top of the potatoes. Cover the meat with pan gravy. Top the turkey club super mashers with chopped scallions and serve.

Serves 4

Monday, October 17, 2011

Butter Beer Milkshakes

Ever since the beginning my daughter Jessi and her Poppa Bob have been die hard Harry Potter fans. We own all of the books and all of the movies. Jessi will even have Harry Potter marathons and will sit and watch back to back movies! I even threw her a Harry Potter themed birthday party when she turned 7



She has always been my wonderfully wacky girl! I love it!!

In the summertime, when she was home from school, she announced that she had found a Harry Potter "cookbook" online and decided she wanted to make "Butter Beer". So off we went to the store to collect the ingredients to make her desired concoction.

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. I mean yes, they had this drink in the movie. But did they REALLY drink it? I was surprised when the "brew" was actually palatable! It really wasn't bad, just verrrrrrrrrrrrry sweet! So I chalked that up to experimentation and closed the chapter on "Butter Beer", or so I thought.

This time when she came home from school for a visit, her thoughts were still on her beloved butter beer, but she wanted an upgraded version, a "Butter Beer 2.0" so to speak. So on the internet she went to figure out what would quench her craving, finally settling on a recipe she found On The Garden of Yum. She requested a few things from the store and I did not question, I knew she was on a mission. 

With her ingredients at hand she set to work to create a new masterpiece. Kevin and I were quietly watching TV when she burst into the room with two glasses filled to the brim, with whipped cream and butterscotch sauce on top. "You have GOT to try this!" she exclaimed LOUDLY. Kevin took his glass from her and after just a few sips it was empty and he went looking for more. I decided I needed to give it a try, and believe me I was glad I did. I can't eat/drink very much when it comes to sugar, but this was worth it!



Butter Beer Milkshakes

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup half and half
a pinch of salt
1/2 of a 1.5 quart container of vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup butterscotch sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup cold cream soda

To make the butterscotch sauce:
Place butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the brown sugar and mix well. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the half and half and the pinch of salt. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

For the milkshake:
Place ice cream in a blender with the butterscotch sauce and cream soda. Blend to desired consistency. Pour into glasses, top with whipped cream and a drizzle of butterscotch sauce.




Friday, October 14, 2011

Food Star Friday - Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms




For Food Star Friday this week I decided to go a bit small, as in appetizer small. With my household being huge football and Nascar fans, it is nice to whip up a few nibbles to have around so when the mood strikes you there is something tasty to put in your tummy. Football + beer + good food = the perfect Sunday right? To all my non football friends out there, don't worry I am not obsessed with any other sport so once football season is done I will be back to normal, well normal for ME hehe.

There are so many great appetizer recipes out there  by all of our favorite food stars I really wasn't sure what I wanted to make. Then I ran across these babies by Ina Garten. I love stuffed mushrooms and haven't had them in forever. The last couple of times I made them with crab and cream cheese. I liked the whole sausage idea and the fact that she used mascarpone cheese instead of cream cheese. I am really becoming quite the fan of mascarpone cheese VS cream cheese. Oh I am not hating on the cream cheese or anything, I just like the change of pace. It is lighter and a bit sweet, can be used in sweet and savory dishes, just a nice new taste.

The only downside is that you get to taste that yummy stuffing and then it goes into the mushrooms and has to bake for 50 minutes! Aaahhh I must have been in the bathroom when they were handing out patience when it comes to food I swear. But they are worth the wait. Kevin and I went to work on them as soon as they were cool enough to bite, actually even before then. I burned my tongue a bit, like I said, no patience.

The only thing I would change about this recipe is the olive oil. Of course mushrooms themselves carry a lot of  moisture, but I felt it really didn't add anything to the recipe and made the mushrooms kind of wet. I would however still drizzle the mushroom caps with the Marsala  wine. You don't want to cut out ANY of the flavor for these bad boys!


 Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 16 extra-large white mushrooms ( I used creminis)
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium sherry
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 5 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.
Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Have the Best Foodie Friends!!

I am speechless (and believe me THAT is hard to do) by the love that I have been shown from my wonderful foodie friends! I started blogging 5 years ago. Some friends of mine had blogs and I thought it would be a cool way to journal things that were going on in my life. I think I posted once in 2007 and didn't post again until March of 2010! Then I sporadically posted a few times a month.

In November of 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had been in school full time, but in January 2011 I had a double mastectomy and was forced to be home on "light duty" for several months. My kids had always told me that I should start a blog like Julie and Julia because I had loved Rachael Ray (never missed a show) for years. I blew it off thinking people would think it was silly or too copycat. 

Once I was able to get up and about I had TONS of time on my hands with NOTHING to do. I was literally not allowed to clean house, do laundry, sweep, vacuum, etc. Now I used to think that would be pretty cool. But once I was faced with it I was bored out of my mind! That was when the blog idea came back full force. So I marched to my little computer and started a blog I called Bobbi Renee and Rachael Ray. I posted a few recipes over 3 months. I was determined to work my way through her cookbook, "365 No Repeats" but between not being able to cook everyday, and the worrying about copyright laws, I shut it down. Then I opened Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen. I started with 7 followers and no idea what a Facebook fan page was. I never imagined it would get to what it is today, 500+ Facebook fans, 100+ Twitter followers, 50+ followers on my blog, and it is not really even about the numbers to me. It is about the wonderful, talented, and caring people I have met on this journey. I know it is said often, but I do feel I am truly blessed! Then I am even more touched that I was given this award again from 2 more people that I cherish very dearly. 


Liebster means "beloved" in German. This award is a show of love and support to blogs that have less than 200 followers. I want to thank Mel, Katrin, and Angie for their love and support!! 



There are a few rules for this award.

#1 Show your love to the blogger(s) that gave you this award by linking back to them.

#2  Share you top 5 picks and let them know by posting on their blogs

#3 Post the award on your blog.

I am a lucky girl, not only because 3 wonderful bloggers saw fit to choose me in their top 5, but because I now get to share the love 10 more times (my first 5 can be found here please check them out as well. Tell them I said "Hi" and give them a follow too)!

Big Bears Wife - Angie followed me almost from the beginning. The coolest thing was when I started my Facebook fan page she liked me there and I realized she was a fellow blogger! Small world eh? She has always has supportive and kind things to say. Her blog is AMAZING but I am afraid I have gained 5 pounds just reading her last few posts!!!

Rich and Sweet - Bia Bia Bia....what can I say. Her blog says rich and sweet and I know it is talking about her food, but I can tell you the sweet applies to Bia as well. Bia is the kind of person you would love to sit in your kitchen with, have a cup of coffee (or wine depending on the time hehe), chat and cook up a storm!

A Health Jalapeno - Laura is just the sweetest. She is one of the first people that posted on my Facebook wall. She is kind, caring, and cooks up some darn tasty looking food!!

Recipes For My Boys - Can I let you in on a secret? I am jealous of Debi. Yup, I admit it freely. She has 3 little boys. I miss my kiddos being little soooo much. But even with 3 little ones to keep her busy she finds the time to come up with great new ways to keep them happy in the kitchen (and the rest of us too!).

Jam Hands - Ali is a sweetheart and who loves being a Mom. She cooks up some gorgeous stuff you have to check her out. She also is a fellow zombie fan LOL

Serious Food For the Soul - Nonna is one of those people that as soon as you "meet" her you know that you are going to be great friends. She is so upbeat and caring. I wonder if she ever has an off day, if so I have never seen it! Check her out, you will love her too.

and then, I ate it! - I don't know Kay very well but what I do know about her I absolutely adore! We have a lot in common. We love our kids like crazy, love photography, enjoy meeting life with a healthy sense of humor, and really love cooking and sharing our food. 

Mia's Domain - Mia is one of those people that I would love to sit with and just talk. I know she has so many stories about her Grandmother, and traveling, and cooking, she might be one person that could get me to shut up! Seriously though, you have to check out her page. The pictures a lone will make you soooo hungry!! She has a vegetarian chili that just makes me WANT to be a vegetarian!

Coupon Loving Chicks - No, this isn't a cooking blog, but no body said these had to be cooking blogs and I could not list off my favorite blogs without mentioning Mary and Vanessa. They are two of the, hands down, nicest people I have ever "met". They not only help out with all of the wonderful info on their blog, but they are just genuinely kind and caring people. They send out little gifts, leave wonderful uplifting messages on peoples pages, and never fail to make me smile!!

Chef in Disguise - Sawsan is a terrific lady. I met her a couple of months back and without really knowing me she volunteered to help me with a problem I was having. Not only did she volunteer to help me, a stranger, she jumped into the favor so quickly and helped me out sooooo immensely! I really don't know how she works, takes care of her kids, runs a terrific blog, and lends a helping hand to strangers in need :)

Well there my friends is my list of 10. Please check them all out and leave them a comment or better yet, give them a follow!!

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