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Posts Tagged ‘Date Night Dinners’

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Chef Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest meal.

A dish fit for a king that takes a little time but is well worth it. Prep more chops then freeze them to finish cooking for another meal.

Stuffed Pork Chops

2 loin chops, boneless

Stuffing, recipe below

1 tbsp. (15ml) olive oil

½ cup (120ml) chicken stock

4 toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).

Slice a deep pocket in each chop. Pack in stuffing. Use toothpicks to hold pocket closed as much as possible by inserting down through both layers of meat at one end then up as close as possible. You’ll use 2 toothpicks per chop.

Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet until it shimmers over medium-high heat. Add chops and brown on each side 2 – 3 minutes.

Pour stock into an ovenproof dish. Lay chops in dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 35 minutes.

Stuffing

This recipe makes more than you’ll use for the pork chops but it freezes well to use with other meals.

1 package bread stuffing cubes, plain or seasoned

½ lb. (250g) breakfast sausage in a tube or bulk

8 tbsp. (1 stick) (114g) butter

1 celery rib, chopped½ med. onion, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried sage

1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried thyme

2 cups (450ml) chicken stock, maybe a little more

Empty bread cubes into a large bowl.

Fry sausage in a medium-sized frying pan, breaking meat into small chunks, until no longer pink. Add sausage and its juice to bread cubes.

Melt butter in same skillet. Add celery and onion when the foam subsides. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes until translucent, be careful not to let it brown. Add vegetables with all their juices to the bread cubes. Mix well.

Pour egg onto stuffing. Sprinkle sage and thyme across the top. Mix well.

Stir in chicken stock until mixture is very moist, but not soupy.

To Bake as a Side Dish

Spoon mixture into an ungreased baking dish. Do not pack it in. Cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate stuffing until you are ready to bake it, but no longer than two days.

To Freeze

Spoon the mixture into freezer bags, label, and pop in freezer no longer than 3 months. I use several sandwich bags that serve 2.

No matter which route you take, remove stuffing from the refrigerator/freezer early in the day to allow it to come close to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top is brown.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about her

mentor as a cook

by

Sloane Taylor

My obsession with cooking is his fault. No denying it. He was a carpenter until the Army sent him an invitation to join their illustrious ranks. He did and was made a cook. Go figure. Until then he had no clue about kitchen work, but he soon learned and loved his job. Fast forward to me age five. This quiet mountain of a man sat me in a chair close to the stove where he created magic with the merest of supplies. He was patient and answered every dumb question I asked while he encouraged me to toss in a handful of chives, parsley, or whatever else was available. He made cooking interesting and fun. Watching and working with my favorite uncle was a wonderful experience I cherish.

Time passed and I setup my own household. No longer did I have the ease of single dish prep. I had to concoct the entire meal and was expected to cook many entire meals. Fear struck so I beelined to the store and stocked up on cookbooks. And that led to frustration. All those delicious sounding recipes left it up to me to decide what to serve with them. Beans or peas? Fried or boiled potatoes? To salad or not. You get the idea. We’re not talking Haute cuisine, but a clue or two from those big-buck chefs, whose books I paid dearly for, would sure have helped. And that’s why I took matters into my own hands and wrote a cookbook, Date Night Dinners available on Amazon, with full menus minus desserts. I don’t bake and my family is grateful since my creations are horrible.

Back to hands, I use mine for most meal prep instead of spoons and spatulas. Therefore, I work with big pots, pans, and bowls. That means more washing by hand, but everything stays in the container, and I have room to work comfortably with the ingredients instead of them flying all over the counter.

We’re cooking here not baking, so no need to be precise. Change measurements to suit your taste. You love garlic – toss in more. Pepper isn’t your thing – leave it out. Make these recipes your own. Side dishes and beverages are suggestions not a rule of thumb. Those recipes are found in the Veggies section or Salads, Sauces, Sides, & Extras section at the back of my cookbooks.

So, grab your partners and don your aprons. Crack open a bottle of your favorite wine! Let’s take a giant step forward to ease the burden of overworked women and bring romance back into our lives with meals to make together for a romantic evening.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The recipe guru Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest recipe.

There comes a time when everyone needs a little comfort food. Lovely hot soup with fresh bread and a glass of wine always does it for me. Maybe this recipe will do it for you, too.

Asparagus Soup

Photo Courtesy of Monovareni Pixabay

Cream of Asparagus Soup

2 lbs. fresh asparagus
6 cups chicken stock
7 tbsp. butter
½ cup flour
3 tbsp. shallots or scallions, chopped fine
¼ cup dry sherry
2 egg yolks
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, softened
White pepper to taste*

Slice off the asparagus tips and set aside. Trim off ¼ inch or so from the bottom ends of the stalks and discard. Chop the rest of the spears into ½ inch lengths.

Use a medium-sized saucepan to bring the chicken stock to a boil. Drop in the tips and lower temp to medium-low or soft boil. Cook tips until just tender, 5 – 8 minutes. Drain the stock into a bowl and spoon the tips into another one.

Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a 4 -5-quart saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the flour. Lower heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Be careful not to let this roux brown or the soup will be bitter.

Remove pan from heat, let cool 30 seconds or so. Pour in stock. Stir constantly with a whisk to thoroughly blend the stock and roux. Return pan to moderate heat and stir until this soup base comes to a boil, thickens, and is smooth. Lower the temperature and simmer gently.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. When the foam subsides, stir in the stalks and shallots. Toss them in the butter over low heat for 4 minutes or so. You only want to soften them so don’t allow them to brown. Stir this mixture into the soup base, add sherry, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until asparagus is tender.

Purée soup in a blender or food processor. Pour into a strainer set over the pot. Stir with a spoon or spatula to extract soup from the pulp. Discard pulp.

Whisk the egg yolks into the cream. Stir in 5 tablespoons of hot soup at a time until you’ve added about ¾ cup. Reverse the process and slowly whisk the now-warm mixture into the soup.**

Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and season with pepper if necessary. Add the asparagus tips.

Serve from a tureen or in individual bowls.

This recipe makes 6 bowls.

*No need to buy white pepper if you don’t have it. Use black pepper only a little more as it is not as strong as white pepper.
**This may seem like extra work, but if you don’t do it the yolks and cream will curdle.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website. Stay in touch on Blogger, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available on Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The ever-resourceful Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest menu to celebrate Halloween.

Halloween October 31 – Centuries ago ancient Celtics believed that at summer’s end the barrier between our world and the world of spirits thinned, allowing evil to cross over to us. Time passed and people dressed as saints and went door to door which is the origin for tonight’s ghosts and goblins to magically appear at your front door to trick you if you don’t treat them.

Invite friends over and celebrate Halloween with this menu that will tame your creatures who go bump in the night.

MENU
Appetizers
Barbequed
Meatballs
Garlic Dip & Pretzels
Sangria

Main Course
Braised Short Ribs
Mashed Potatoes
Veggie Sauté
Dry Red Wine – Pinot Noir

Appetizers
Barbequed Meatballs

This is an easy appetizer recipe you adjust to suit you. Add more jelly if you prefer a sweeter taste or cut jelly amount and increase barbeque sauce if you want a tangy taste. Plan on 4 – 5 meatballs per person.

1 12 oz. (340g) jar grape jelly
1 – 2 bottles barbeque sauce
50 precooked frozen Italian style meatballs
Toothpicks for serving
Scoop jelly into a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Add 1 bottle barbeque sauce. Stir until jelly melts.

Add meatballs. Stir in more barbeque sauce if needed. You want the meatballs covered but not swimming. Simmer 5 – 10 minutes, stir occasionally.

Serve warm.

Garlic Dip & Pretzel Twists
8 oz. (226g) cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. (15ml) garlic powder, not salt
Pinch salt
2 tbsp. (30ml) milk, possibly more
Lay cream cheese in a medium-sized mixing bowl. I know this seems too large, but you need the room. Use a wooden spoon to mash the cheese against the sides of the bowl.

Sprinkle on garlic. Stir well. Add salt and stir well. Taste for flavor. Add more garlic if necessary. Don’t add more salt. You’ll get plenty of that flavor from the pretzels.

Drizzle in milk. Stir well. Carefully stir in milk until you reach a consistency soft enough to dip the pretzel without breaking it.

Scoop into a serving bowl, cover with cling wrap, and refrigerate. Remove from fridge a half hour or so before serving. This dip lasts 1 week in the fridge.

Sangria
½ lemon, peel intact and sliced thin
½ orange, peel intact and sliced thin
½ lg. apple, cored and sliced thin
¼ cup (30g) superfine sugar
1 bottle dry red wine, Portuguese or Spanish preferred
¼ cup (60ml) brandy or cognac
1-liter club soda, chilled
Ice

Combine lemon, orange, apple, and sugar in a large pitcher. Stir in wine and brandy. Taste for sweetness. If the punch is still not sweet enough, carefully add another ¼ cup (30g) of sugar.

Refrigerate for several hours to intensify the flavors.

Just before serving gently stir in club soda. Fill wine glasses with ice and pour in Sangria.

Main Course
Braised Short Ribs

2 – 3 lbs. (1 – 1.5kg) beef short ribs, cut into 2 inch (5cm) or so pieces
freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup (60g) flour
½ tsp. (2.5ml) thyme
2 tbsp. (30ml) lard or solid shortening
2 medium onions, chopped
½ cup (60g) carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. (15ml) garlic, pressed or chopped fine
1 cup (250ml) beef stock
2 small bay leaves
1 tbsp. (30ml) Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat oven to 325° F (160°C).

Pat ribs dry. Grind pepper over meat. Pour flour and thyme into a paper bag. Add 2 – 4 ribs at a time. Shake bag gently to coat meat. Remove ribs and set on a large plate. Continue until all ribs are coated.

Melt lard or shortening in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add ribs and brown them on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan. Best to brown meat in batches so the cooking temperature remains constant. Return ribs to plate. Lower heat to medium.

Add onions and carrots to the same pot. Sauté until onions are soft and transparent. Add garlic. Cook 45 – 60 seconds.

Stir in stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Scrape in any brown bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce.

Nestle ribs in pan and bring to a boil. Cover and then place in oven. Braise ribs for 1½ hours or until meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Arrange ribs on a clean platter and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Strain braising liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Press down hard on vegetables to extract juices. Discard vegetables. Skim off surface fat. Bring to a hard boil. Cook 2 – 3 minutes to intensify flavor.

Pour sauce into a gravy boat and serve alongside ribs.

Mashed Potatoes
Chicken stock, not broth
1 small russet potato per person, peeled and quartered
3 tbsp. (43g) butter
Sour cream, a very large dollop
¼ cup (60ml) milk, at room temperature
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 220° F (100°C).

Pour one-inch (2.5cm) chicken stock into saucepan. Place potatoes in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by at least one inch (2.5cm). Cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 – 25 minutes. Potatoes are done when a fork inserts easily into a section.

Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.

Keep the saucepan warm in the oven while you finish preparing dinner.

Veggie Sauté
Leftovers from this easy recipe make a tasty lunch when reheated in a little butter and served with crusty bread and a glass of cold white wine.
8 oz. (250g) baby bella mushrooms
2 tbsp. (30ml) olive oil
1 zucchini, sliced thin
1 red pepper, seeded and ribs removed
1 yellow pepper, seeded and ribs removed
1 small onion, sliced thin
½ tsp. (2.5ml) garlic powder, not salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms with a paper towel to remove bedding soil. Slice them in half lengthwise if medium size or into thirds if large.

Dribble oil into a medium-sized frying pan set over medium heat. Do not let it smoke.

Add all the vegetables except mushrooms. Turn up heat to medium-high. Sauté about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Lower temperature to medium. Stir in mushrooms, garlic powder, and pepper.

Continue to cook 3 minutes or until peppers are at the crispness you prefer.
May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Chief par-excellent Sloane Taylor who brings us her Oktoberfest inspired menu from her vast collection of easy to prepare recipes.

Oktoberfest is the festival to end all festivals and is celebrated around the world but started in Munich, Germany for a royal wedding in 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to all the festivities held in fields just outside the city gates. And from there the world adopted this grand event. It runs from late September to the 1st Sunday in October. Be sure to include plenty of German music when you celebrate.

MENU
Sauerbraten – Marinated Pot Roast
Boiled Potatoes
Red Cabbage with Apples
Rye Bread
German Red Wine – Spätburgunder which is German for Pinot Noir

Sauerbraten – Marinated Pot Roast
5 black peppercorns
4 whole juniper berries*
1 med. onion, sliced thin
½ cup (120ml) dry red wine
½ cup (120ml) red wine vinegar
2 cups (450ml) cold water
2 small bay leaves
4 lbs. (2kg) boneless beef roast, top or bottom round or rump
3 tbsp. (43g) lard or solid shortening
½ cup onion, chopped fine
½ cup carrots, chopped fine
½ cup celery, chopped fine
2 tbsp. (30ml) flour
½ cup (120ml) beef stock, if needed
½ cup (50g) gingersnap cookie crumbs

Use a mortar and pestle or a baggie and hammer to crush black peppercorns and juniper berries together.

In a medium-sized saucepan combine peppercorn mix, sliced onion, wine, vinegar, water, and bay leaves. Bring marinade to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from stove and let cool to room temperature.

Trim excess fat from roast. Set beef in a deep flat bowl or pot just large enough to hold it comfortably. Pour marinade over the top. Add more wine if marinade is not halfway up the sides of the meat. Turn meat to moisten all sides. Cover pan tightly with foil or cling wrap. Refrigerate for 2 – 3 days. Be sure to turn the meat over at least twice a day.

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C).

Remove meat from marinade. Pat dry with paper towels. Strain marinade through a fine sieve set over a bowl. Discard spices and onion, but reserve marinade.

Melt lard in a Dutch oven over high heat until it sputters. Add roast and brown well on all sides. Adjust heat so as not to burn the meat. Transfer meat to a platter. Pour off and discard all but 2 tbs. (30ml) of fat. Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot. Cook over moderate heat until they are soft and light brown, 5 – 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour over veggies. Cook, stirring constantly 2 – 3 minutes or until flour begins to color.

Pour in 2 cups (450ml) of reserved marinade and ½ cup (120ml) water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Return meat to pot. Cover tightly. Cook in the oven for 2 hours or until meat shows no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Transfer meat to a heated platter. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Discard veggies. Pour liquid from pot into a measuring cup. Skim off fat. You need 2½ cups (570ml) liquid for the sauce. If you have more, boil briskly to reduce the amount. If you have less, add beef stock. Combine liquid and gingersnaps in a small saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes. The crumbs will dissolve and thicken the sauce. Strain sauce through a fine sieve. Keep warm on very low heat until ready to serve.

To serve, carve meat into ¼ inch (.64cm) slices. Arrange on individual dinner plates or a large platter. In either case moisten the meat with a little sauce. Pass the remaining sauce in a gravy boat.

*Rosemary is a good substitute for juniper berries. Use one fresh sprig.

Boiled Potatoes
1 red potato per person, peeled and quartered
Chicken stock
Tap water
1 lg. bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Butter to taste

Add potatoes to a saucepan that holds them comfortably. Pour stock halfway up the potatoes. Top off with water, covering potatoes by an inch (1.25cm) or so. Add bay leaf. Set a lid on top.

You can do up to this point earlier in the day. Leave on the counter or stovetop until you are ready to cook.

Bring pan to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the lid and heat so the water continues a soft/light boil, but does not spill over. Cook 15 – 20 minutes, then test for doneness. A fork will insert easily.

Drain potatoes and discard bay leaf. Sprinkle pepper over potatoes. Add butter. Stir carefully so as not to smash potatoes.

Don’t have bay leaf? Add 1 tablespoon (20ml) or so of dried basil to the pot. When you drain the potatoes most of the leaves will be gone, but the good taste remains.

Red Cabbage with Apples
2 – 2½ lb. (1 – 1.5kg) red cabbage
⅔ cup (150ml) red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. (30ml) sugar
2 medium-sized apples, peeled and cored
2 tbsp. (25g) lard or bacon fat
½ cup (50g) onions, chopped fine
1 whole onion, pierced with 2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
5 cups (1.2L) boiling water
3 tbsp. (45ml) dry red wine
3 tbsp. (45ml) red currant jelly, optional

Wash cabbage under cool water and then remove tough outer leaves. Cut cabbage into 4 pieces. Remove core. Shred easily by slicing each section into thin strips.

Place cabbage in a large mixing bowl. sprinkle with vinegar and sugar. Toss with a spoon to cover the shreds evenly.

Slice apple into thin wedges. Melt lard or bacon fat in a large pot. Add apples and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until apples are lightly browned.

Add cabbage, onion with cloves, and bay leaf. Stir well while pouring in boiling water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat so cabbage does a slow simmer. Cover and cook 1½ – 2 hours, or until cabbage is tender. Check occasionally to be sure cabbage is moist. If it seems dry, add 1 tbsp. (15ml) or so of boiling water. When cabbage is tender there should be almost no liquid in the pan.

To serve remove whole onion and bay leaf. Stir in wine and jelly. This recipe freezes nicely.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Our virtual kitchen with chief Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest cooking ideas and recipies.

I had the great pleasure of attending a cooking class with my friend Bonnie several years ago. We were in New Orleans when this bright idea hit us. That’s what enjoying too many Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter will do to a person. 😊 The next day we were still hot to try our hands at Cajun cooking when we happened on The New Orleans School of Cooking. We enrolled in a class and, as our good luck would have, were the only two students. A great time was had by all!

Since then, I’ve used up all the Joe’s Stuff I bought to season the dish and had to devise a new recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

JAMBALAYA

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

½ cup celery, chopped

½ cup green pepper, chopped

½ tbsp. garlic, chopped

¾ lb. andouille sausage, sliced to pieces 1 inch thick

2½ cups chicken stock, possibly more

½ tsp. dried thyme

¼ cup paprika

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

½ tsp. tabasco sauce2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup rice

1 cup green onions, chopped, include plenty of green

Warm a Dutch oven on medium heat. Pour in oil. When it shimmers add onion, celery, and green pepper. Sauté 7 – 9 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Adjust heat so onion doesn’t burn. Add garlic. Sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in sausage and stock. Add remaining ingredients, except rice and green onions, and then stir well.

Add rice and bring to a boil. Cover then lower heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes. Stir well after each 10 minutes so rice doesn’t stick to pan. Add more stock if the food looks dry.

Sprinkle green onions across the rice mixture when you serve.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The ever-engaging Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest menu that is delicious and filling!

Ready for some good down-home type cooking that’s finger lickin’ good but doesn’t splatter grease all over your stove? If so, then this is the menu for you.

MENU

Oven-Fried Chicken

Mashed Potatoes

Corn

Spiked Watermelon

White Wine – Chablis

Oven-Fried Chicken

3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless – legs and thighs work great, too

    Milk

    ½ cup (50g) flour

    1 tsp. (5ml) dried thyme

    1 tsp. (5ml) dried marjoram

    ½ tsp. (2.5ml) garlic powder, not salt

    1 tsp. (5ml) paprika

    ¼ cup ((52g) shortening or lard

    ¼ cup (57g) butter or margarine

    3 tbsp. (45ml) fresh parsley, chopped or 1½ tbsp. (20ml) dried

Place chicken in a glass dish, cover with milk, and let sit for a minimum of 3 hours. This is a perfect way to use up milk when it is close to its expiration date. You can also marinade the pieces overnight. If you choose to go longer than 3 hours be sure to refrigerate the dish. I learned this tenderizing trick from a talented chef in Salzburg, Austria.

Combine flour, thyme, marjoram, garlic, and paprika in a plastic or paper bag.

Drain and pat chicken dry. Place pieces one at a time in bag and gently shake to thoroughly coat them. Lay chicken on a plate as you coat the remaining pieces. Set chicken in fridge for at least 20 minutes to set the coating.

Preheat oven to 425° F (220°C).

Add shortening and butter to a metal baking pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Place dish in oven until mixture is melted. Add chicken. Bake 15 minutes and then turn pieces over. Cook another 20 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.

REMEMBER – all meat continues to cook for 5 minutes or so after it is removed from the oven.

Remove chicken from baking dish to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any oil. Transfer pieces to a clean plate. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

You can also make this dish on your grill. Set the grill on medium-high. Watch carefully so the chicken doesn’t burn.

Mashed Potatoes

Chicken stock, not broth

    1 small russet potato per person, peeled and quartered

    3 tbsp. (43g) butter

    Sour cream, a very large dollop

    ¼ cup (60ml) milk, at room temperature

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Parsley, snipped or chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 220° F (100°C).

Pour one-inch (2.5cm) chicken stock into saucepan. Place potatoes in saucepan. Add tap water to cover by at least one inch (2.5cm). Cover pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower temperature to a strong simmer. Cook approximately 20 – 25 minutes. Potatoes are done when a fork inserts easily into a section.

Drain potatoes. Stir in butter, sour cream, and pepper. Mash well. Drizzle in milk. Mash and continue to add milk until you achieve the consistency you prefer.

Keep the saucepan warm in the oven while you finish preparing dinner.

Canned Corn
Sometimes it’s good to go easy and nothing is easier than canned veggies.

    1 can of corn per 4 people

    ¼ tsp. (1.25ml) dried thyme

    Pinch of salt

    Freshly ground pepper to taste
    Butter

Drain corn, then pour into micro wave safe bowl. Sprinkle on thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay pats of butter across the top. Micro wave for 3 minutes, stir and serve.

Spiked Watermelon

An adult pleasure that tops off any summer dinner, especially when you dine al fresco.

    ½ watermelon

    2 – 3 cups (450 – 750ml) vodka

Remove the seeds from the watermelon. Cut fruit into chunks or use a melon scooper to form balls. Place the cut pieces into a glass bowl.

Pour vodka over the melon. No need to cover the fruit. You just want enough so all the pieces contact with the vodka. Stir gently. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Serve melon from the bowl along with forks or long spoons.

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer,Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire, and Date Night Dinners Italian Style on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The master in the kitchen and on the written page, Sloane Taylor who as a self-proclaimed romantic reminds us of just how easy it is to create amorous settings with our special someone on the patio or deck surrounded by gardens that are at their peak. She even includes a menu of the perfect meal for the occasion, as well as the link to her latest cookbook.

Spring is an amazing time of year and my favorite because that’s when the Earth comes alive. All sorts of beautiful things happen. Trees are budding, tender plants push through the ground, romance is in the air and warm weather is just a few weeks away.

I am a romantic through and through. Always have been and with any luck I always will be. Romance is much more than a quick trip to tangle the sheets. It is about being with someone you love and doing little things to show them how much they mean to you. In my case I cook because I love it.

When summer arrives and the gardens are ablaze in color, I want to move the romance outside. So why not share a summer night with your someone special? What better way than with a sizzling romantic dinner, candles, wine, and music. You don’t need much to set the mood and turn your patio, balcony, or kitchen into a lover’s nook. Make your night special with great food because it is the doorway to infinite possibilities.

A printed flat sheet is perfect for a festive tablecloth or set out placemats for the plates and serving dishes. Use plenty of candles in different sizes and a variety of holders scattered around the table to enhance the mood, but definitely avoid scented candles. Stemmed wine glasses sparkle in candlelight and add a festive feel to your dinner. Use your regular dishes or, for fun, mix it up with a number of different plates that don’t match but compliment each other for the different courses. Experiment and have fun.

Now that you have the perfect location and setting for you and that right person, may I suggest you spoil yourself with an intimate dinner meant for lovers. It is easy to prepare and leftovers make marvelous sandwiches. This recipe also works great in the oven.

Ask your butcher to dress the tenderloin. If he won’t, then you need to remove the excess fat and sliver out the silver strip along the side. Easy to do. Slide a sharp knife under the strip close to one end. Use a back and forward motion like sawing to ease your knife between the meat and the strip as you lift it away from the beef.

MENU

Marinated & Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Potatoes Baked on the Grill

Grilled Asparagus

Sautéed Mushrooms

Dry Red Wine – Valpolicella.

Marinated & Grilled Beef Tenderloin
2 – 3 lb. (1 – 1.5kg) beef tenderloin
½ cup (120ml) olive oil
½ cup (120ml) dry red wine
3 rosemary sprigs or 1½ tsp. (7.5ml) dried
6 thyme sprigs or 1 tsp. (5ml) dried
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Oil to coat grill grate

Combine all ingredients in a long bowl or plastic bag and a shallow pan. Marinade in fridge 2 – 20 hours. Seems like a strange time span, but the longer the marinade the tastier the beef.

Remove meat from refrigerator 1 hour before grilling or roasting in oven. Meat needs to be almost room temperature.

Grill Instructions
Preheat grill to medium-high.

Pat tenderloin dry. Discard marinade. Add beef, close lid, and grill 15 – 20 minutes or until meat is done to your preference. Be sure to turn meat several times to avoid burning.

Oven Instructions
Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C).

Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Pat tenderloin dry. Discard marinade. Add beef to pan. Roast 30 – 40 minutes or until meat is done to your preference. Save the juice to moisten he meat when you serve.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The inventive Sloane Taylor who brings us a meal plan for any special occasion.

Do something extra special to celebrate any occasion. This brunch will show how much you care. A few fresh flowers on the table are a nice touch.

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Quiche

Fresh Fruit salad

Croissants

Raspberry Jam

Butter

Zucchini Bread for Dessert

Mimosas

Quiche

1 frozen deep-dish pie shell

1 tsp. (5g) butter

6 bacon strips, cut into ¼ in. (.64cm) pieces*

¼ cup (30g) onions, chopped

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1¼ cups (230ml) heavy cream

3 pinches white pepper**

¾ cup (85g) swiss cheese, grated

2 tbsp. (25g) butter, cut in small bites

Preheat oven to 375° F (190°C).

Place pie shell on cookie sheet. Use a fork to poke several sets of holes in the bottom and around the sides of the shell. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add bacon, and ham if you’re including it, and onion when foam subsides. Cook until meat is lightly browned. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon to paper towels.

Beat or whisk eggs, yolks, cream, and seasonings in a large bowl. Stir in cheese.

Scatter meat, into pie shell. Gently ladle in egg mixture. Sprinkle the top with butter bits.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the middle of the quiche comes out clean.

The dish may be served hot, warm, or room temperature. It also makes a wonderful appetizer. Leftovers reheat in the microwave beautifully.

*Diced ham, ¼ lb. (125g), is also good in this recipe in place of the bacon or along with. All other ingredients and process remains the same.

**No need to buy white pepper if you don’t have it. Use black pepper only a little more as it is not as strong as white pepper.

Fresh Fruit Salad

1 banana

1 pear

1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice

¼ pineapple

1 kiwi

10 seedless red grapes, halved

10 blueberries

10 raspberries, optional

Peel and slice banana into bitesize pieces. Scoop into a medium-sized bowl. Core and dice pear then add to bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice over fruit to stop it from turning brown and mix well.

Remove rind and core from pineapple then dice the fruit. Add ¼ to banana mixture. Store the extra pineapple in a glass bowl or plastic bag. Refrigerate for future use.

Peel kiwi and slice then stir into salad. Gently fold in remaining fruit.

Spoon into a glass bowl, cover with cling wrap, and chill until time to serve. Leftovers are still good the next day.

Zucchini Bread for Dessert

Make this bread a day or two in advance to free up your morning.

2 cups (200g) grated zucchini

2 cups (200g) sugar

3 cups (300g) flour

1 cup nuts, chopped, optional

¼ tsp. (1.25ml) baking powder

2 tsp. (10ml) baking soda

1 tsp. (5ml) salt

1 tbsp. (15ml) cinnamon

3 eggs

1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil

1 tbsp. (15ml) vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C).

Grease 2 loaf pans with butter. Cut and fit a piece of parchment paper to the bottom of each pan. I do this because my pans are old and food sticks to the bottom. Nothing attractive about serving zucchini bread with a big hunk missing.

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. This includes the zucchini. Adding fruit or veggies to a flour blend helps them to not sink to the bottom of the bread while baking.

Beat wet ingredients together in a large bowl.

Slowly stir dry mixture into wet mixture. Be sure to blend well.

Pour batter into pans. Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a rack before slicing. This bread freezes great.

Mimosas

1 bottle sparking white wine or champagne, cold

1 carton orange juice, cold

Tall slender glasses

Fill glasses half full with wine. Tip the glass slightly as you pour to retain the fizz. Top off with orange juice. Don’t stir. That will destroy the bubbles.

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The recipe-creator Sloane Taylor who brings us her latest culinary creation.

I enjoy experimenting with different food combinations and creating new recipes. This delicious dish is perfect for breakfast or even lunch, but then you may want to add a small salad and a glass of crisp white wine. 😊

Italian Breakfast Soufflé for 2

½ lb. Italian sausage, bulk or links

2 – 3 tbsp. butter, softened

4 lg. eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp. dried mustard

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Chopped onion to taste

2 slices provolone cheese

½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

3 – 1-inch slices Vienna or French bread, cubed*

Preheat oven to 350° F.

If you use links then squeeze the meat from the casing before cooking. Fry sausage in a small pan until no longer pink. Be sure to break up any clumps. Set aside.

Spread butter on the insides and bottoms of two baking dishes approximately 500ml or 17-ounces.

The following ingredients are to be equally divided between the 2 dishes when added. All stirring should be done gently.

Break 2 eggs in each prepared dish. Lightly scramble. Pour in milk. Stir. Sprinkle on mustard and pepper. Stir.

Tear provolone into pieces then add to mixture along with cheddar and mozzarella. Stir.

Fold in bread.

Bake 35 – 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center has no egg clinging to it.

Set the soufflés on dinner plates to serve so as not to scorch your table.

This dish can be assembled a one or two days ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate, but allow the soufflé to sit on your counter 1 hour or so before you bake it.

*I’ve used day old homemade bread and unseasoned cubes from stuffing mix. They both worked great.
May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!


Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor’s cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.
Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

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