Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

BBQ Meatloaf

August 7, 2009

Homemade BBQ MeatloafDonna and boys bought me a Weber Grill for Father’s Day a few years back and it has been the best grill I ever had. When I got the grill I also signed up for the Weber Grilling Recipe of the Day email. So earlier this week I saw a recipe for BBQ Meatloaf. Now Donna makes a great meatloaf and I have posted on that already and still love it but the whole idea of making meatloaf on the grill was just too good to pass up so we went for it.

In a big bowl we mixed up equal amounts of Ground Beef and Pork, Panko bread crumbs, two Eggs, a medium Onion, Tarragon, Worcestershire sauce, Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Donna formed two loaves and we placed those on the grill with medium to low indirect heat. While the loaves cooked on the grill we cut half a cup of BBQ sauce with half as much Ketchup as a sauce for the loaf.

Homemade BBQ Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Green BeansTo go along with the BBQ Meatloaf, Donna made Smashed Potatoes and Green Beans.  I love Donna’s Smashed Potatoes because they have a nice combination of textures, the creamy mashed potatoes with lumpy pieces still in the mixture and the pieces of potato skin. She adds some milk to the mixture which cause the potatoes to be a little bit sweeter.  As for the Meatloaf, it had a nice density to the loaf. The Onions were cooked but sweet and still a little crisp. The tarragone was there but not over powering as it can be in some dishes.  There was some mild charing on the bottom of the loaf despite the indirect heat that added nice texture and flavour. The tang of the BBQ Sauce added another deminsion to the dish.  I usual have some Ketchup with my meatloaf and my only suggestion would be to increase the ketchup in the sauce to capture that classic ketchup flavour.  It was a great dish and keeper of the recipe.  We had fun making it and me posting about it so a success all around.  We hope you try it or come over here and we can make it for you. LOL

Lasagna Dinner

July 23, 2009

002All the rain this summer (?) got Donna and I hungry for some comfort food.  One of our favourite comfort food is Lasagna. We are not Italian but have grown to love Italian food especially the classic casserole, lasagna. 

I have been making this for years and our older kids in Canada, Steve and Wendy,  always make me make it when we visit them during vacation. I think the key to most pastas is in the sauce. I start my sauce by browning some Hamburger and then setting it aside while I saute, in order, Onions, Garlic, Green Peppers and Mushrooms. I seasoned as I went with salt and pepper and once the veggies are done I season that mixture with Thyme, Basil, Oregano and some Hot Pepper Flakes. I then added the hamburger back to the veggies and seasoned again. I used store bought red sauce to complete my sauce.  The rest is pretty straight forward with alternating layers of sauce, noddles and cheese –Mozzarella, Ricotta & Parmesan. Into the oven covered with foil for 35 minutes, uncovered for an additonal 15 minutes and wait time for another 10 minutes then serve.

 Homemade LasagnaThe resulting dish was good, if I do say so myself and I just did. LOL.  I think it was good because of the different flavours and textures in the dish.  Although the dish is fork tender, there are different textures within the different layers, the creamy smooth ricotta versus the denser noodles versus the melted mozza and parm cheeses.  The tastes of the classic savory Italian spices, the sweet & heat of the red sauce, the tang of the ricotta cheese and the oregano flavoured mozza cheese. A great mixture of flavour and texture differences. A great homemade casserole.

Come on over the next time it rains we can do it again. Wait with all the rain this summer, I could be making this every night LOL. Come on over anyway.

BTW if you haven’t participate in the different Food Surveys, you can give us your opinion on a variety of topics.  Check here to see the different surveys.

Standing Ovation Supper

June 21, 2009

Standing Rib Roast, Roasted Potatoes and VegtablesIt was a rainy Saturday when we decided to have a roast for supper. The unseasonable cold and rainy weather made this June feel like March or April. We shopped at our local Giant and picked up a five pound Standing Rib Roast, red potatoes, carrots, parsnips and turnip. These all sounded like fall vegetables but the thought of a roasted dinner made sense with the weather.

I prepared the Standing Rib Roast by halving a head of garlic, chopping an onion, three carrots, and two ribs of celery and putting them into the Dutch Oven.  I added thyme, parsley, oregano and rosemary to the oven. I patted the sides of the roast with kosher salt and pepper. Then I added some Merlot and placed in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 90 minutes.

As the roast cooked, we center peeled the Red Potatoes to give a nice presentation to the roasted potato. We also diced Carrots, Parsnips and half a Turnip. Once the veggies were prepared I tossed them with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and Herbs. Thyme for the potatoes and oregano for the root vegetables. The potatoes took about 30 minutes and 15 minutes for the veggies as their dice  was relatively small.

Standing Rib Roast and Roasted Veggies and Potatoes IIThe Standing Rib Roast slices were amazingly tender, almost fork tender. The taste of the meat was amazing as well.  It had picked up the flavours of the wine, veggies and herbs while maintaining the core roasted meat flavour you know from a great roast.  The potatoes were perfectly roasted with a baked potato flavour inside and a nice potato skin taste when you bit into the roasted skin.  The small diced veggies were roasted enough to give them a nice canalization and a roasted taste. We added some A1 sauce to match with the medium to medium-rare meat slices.  The A1 Sauce matches well with roast, potatoes and veggie sweetness and roasted flavour.  A big success.

Standing Ovation DessertA great entrée, deserves a great dessert in my mind. So I created a Standing Ovation Sundae. To do that I cut up some Fresh Strawberries, mixed in some Splenda and some Grand Marnier.  While the strawberries marinaded, I cut up a Banana into thin disks. Into serving bowls, I placed scoops of Phillies Grand Slam Ice Cream and three Ladyfingers. The bananas slices were placed on the ice cream and ladyfingers and in turn the strawberries are place on the bananas.  The syrup from the berries and the Grand Marnier was poured over the ladyfingers.

The warm liqueur started to melt the ice cream almost immediately creating a wonderful sauce for the berries, bananas and ladyfingers.  The boys found the Grand Marnier a bit strong in alcohol (I wasn’t buying that story anymore LOL)  but it was perfect for Donna and I. The different textures in the dish made for a nice contrast as did the sweetness and strong orange liqueur.  It was a great home-made dessert and match the roasted entree as two great part of an overall great meal.

Net-net, a great home-made Saturday supper.

Make-Your-Own-Fajitas Buffet

June 15, 2009

I think it was the margaritas at noon that got us thinking about Fajitas for supper.  Donna and I both love them, I think they are healthy and the boys like them.  What’s to hate? LOL – Pass the tequila.

WeBeef and Chicken Fajitas like a combo of Chicken and Beef Fajitas. So to start, we cut round steak and chicken breasts into two bite strips.  We used different boards, knives and contains so do send the “poultry police” after Donna and I. In separate saute pans we cooked the strips. As the strips cooked, we seasoned them with garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder and tacoseasoning. I like the heat from the chili and pepper flakes, the smokiness from the cumin and Tex Mex flavours from the garlic and taco seasonings. Both the chicken and the steak do maintain their own flavours but are enhanced by the seasonings. Tonight, both turned out well. I sampled both and was happy.  I put them in the oven to keep warm until the rest of the buffet was prepared.

We like Refried Beans with our fajitas, so I opened a can and put in pan over low heat to slowly warm. Don’t hate the can, hate the canner. LOL.

 Onions, Peppers and Garlic for Fajitas

While the meats rested in the oven, we prepped Onions, Red and Yellow Peppers and Garlic for sauting. We like long strips of onions and peppers to match the strips of meat.  Once they we were prepped, I sauted them in the beef pan so that I could capture the beef flavours in the veggie mixture. We kept the seasoning on the veggies light as we wanted the meats to shin thru in the final fajitas. We just used some salt, pepper and garlic. The veggies seemed to take the longest to cook as they were the last cooked ingridents.

While the veggies were sauting, we prepped the cold fix’ems. We like chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream as options. 

Fix'em for FajitasThe final steps are to nuke the tortillas in a moist paper towel, lay out the buffet and call the boys. 

Everyone makes their own fajita with different combintations of chicken, beef, veggies and fix’ems.  The boys are not big fans of the veggies but love a combo of meats, the refried beans, cheese, lettuce and sour cream.  Donna likes the refried beans, a combo of meats, salsa, cheese and lettuce. I like them all but tend to place chicken at one end of the tortilla and beef at the other end so that the meat changes as I eat.  I am sure you have your own way of making and eat these so tell us in the comment section or reply box.

Net – net, Yummy food, Happy family.

Last Meal – Sort of

June 12, 2009

The guys over at Endless Simmer are holding a contest on the classic chef’s game of what would your last meal be? You can win Top Chef prizes for entering.  So I entered their contest with the following 100 words.  Take a look and enter your last meal description.

Start with a classic cocktail – Manhattan with Crown Royal Rye, sweet Vermouth and a maraschino cherry. For the appetizer course – a Seafood Combo -Shrimp Cocktail, Smoked Salmon and Bacon-wrapped Scallops paired with chilled Sauvignon Blanc. For the salad, the classic Caesar paired with a buttery Chardonnay. The main course has to be a Peter Lugar Porterhouse with Twice-Baked Potato and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce paired with cool Cabernet Sauvignon. For the cheese course I would go with an aged Stilton Cheese with grapes, almonds and crackers paired with an aged Port. To finish, a light Lemon soufflé & Brut Champaign.

Cooking with Herbs – Actually it’s Heidi

May 28, 2009

Today is a pretty cool day.  I have a Guest Blogger.  It was hard to turn her down since she’s also my boss but she know a lot about growing and using herbs in recipes.  My boss, Heidi, spend a few years in Belgium before returning the US and hiring me.  Belgium is a great place for a herb garden because of the rich soil and weather conditions.  Heidi honed her skills with them and is sharing one of her favourite recipes in her post.  In addition to blog post Heidi help me create the Your Favourite Culinary Herb Poll.  Go there and pick you three favourites.

Heidi’s Post – Oh BTW I got to edit her writing for the first time since 2001.  So all the bold-ed caps and miss-spellings are mine. LOL

It’s pretty much impossible to be a FOP (Friend of Peter) without loving good food (both eating it and cooking it).  My thing is culinary herbs, growing them in my garden to use fresh or to dry.  Anyone else out there like to do that?  You can buy practically any fresh herb at the grocery store, of course, but there’s just something about cutting them and throwing them into whatever you happen to be cooking to make the dish seem more inspired. 

Heidi's ThymeWhat’s your favorite herb?  Mine is Thyme, because it’s so versatile, dries easily without losing flavor, and is pretty hard to kill.   Here’s my recipe for Belgian-style Beef Stew, with thyme and other fresh or dried herbs.  Belgian style, because it’s inspired by my husband’s heritage, and uses a variation of his grandmother’s recipe:

2 tablespoons oil (olive or canola), 2 cloves garlic, minced fine, 2 – 2 ½ pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes, Salt and pepper to taste (I use white pepper, Belgian style), 2 – 3 onions, chopped, 3 tablespoons flour, 2 cups beef stock, 1 cup red wine or dark beer, 1 – 2 bay leaves, 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme (experiment; I’ve also thrown in rosemary, substituted herbs de province, or made a bouquet garni of thyme, lavender and bay), 1 – 2 bay leaves, 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces, 1 – 2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed peas, 1 slice white, egg, or potato bread, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 

1)      Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to medium-high.  Add the meat chunks to the pan a few at a time (in batches) and brown them well.  Season with salt and pepper as it cooks.

2)      When the meat is brown, remove it with a slotted spoon.  After the meat is all browned, turn down the heat to medium, spoon off most of the fat in the pan, and add the onions and minced garlic.  Cook and stir until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add the stock and wine or beer, thyme, bay leaves, and any other herbs you’re using.  Return the meat to the pan, and bring it to a boil.  Turn heat to low, and cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

3)      Uncover the pan.  It will be quite soupy.  Add the carrots, turn up the heat until it boils again, then lower the heat and cover and cook for about an hour, or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Taste for seasoning.  (I sometimes make it up to this point earlier in the day, then just turn off for a few hours, and reheat and continue later.)

4)      Spread the slice of bread generously with the mustard.  Place on top of the stew, mustard side down, and heat on low.  (The bread will dissolve slowly, and help thicken the stew).  Continue to cook and stir over low heat.  If it is too soupy, uncover and raise the heat to cook it down and thicken it.  Add the peas, and cook until they are heated through.

5)      Garnish with parsley.

6)      Notice that there are no potatoes in this stew … that’s because Belgian-style stew is traditionally served with a side order of Belgian fries instead.  (Don’t laugh … when was the last time you turned down fries?)  They’re Belgian Fries, by the way … not French fries.  Don’t make that mistake around a Belgian!   Maybe Peter will let me talk about them another time.  You can also serve the stew spooned over a scoop of homemade mashed potatoes instead.

7)      Enjoy!

Thanks Heidi.  Let us know what you readers think in the Reply Box and/or Comment Link.  Also let us know if want to know about Belgium Fries, the true originals.

Homemade Shepherd’s Pie

May 21, 2009

Donna's Sheppard's PieDonna made Shepherd’s Pie for supper tonight. It’s one of our favourite comfort foods.  Donna started by browning some grounded beef, drained the fat and then added salt, pepper, minced garlic and grated red onion. Tonight’s version was easy as she added two cups of frozen mixed vegetables and a couple of tablespoons of flour to thicken the sauce. Two cups of beef stock is added to the mixture and simmered until the resulting gravy thickens. The mixture is pured into a 9×9 baking dish.  The beef and veggie mixture is covered with homemade mashed potatoes and a coating of shredded cheddar cheese. The casserole is baked in a 350F degree oven for 20 minutes.

Sheppard's Pie

The casserole rested for 10 minutes as I took different shots of it.  Donna and I finally dug into the pie and it was worth the wait. The ground beef was well seasoned from the garlic and onions, the veggies were fresh-like in taste and texture and the mashed potatoes were creamy. The three elements combined a comforting taste that we have often enjoyed over the years.

Shepherds pieis one of our Favourite Comfort Foods.  Tell us your favourite comfort food in the reply box below or in the comment link line below.  You can also take the Favourite Food Type poll here.

Donna’s Meatloaf

May 20, 2009

Donna's MeatloafTonight Donna cooked up one of my favourite comfort foods –  meatloaf.

Donna took about two pounds of ground beef and added bread crumbs, an egg, one small grated onion, two cloves of garlic and a cup of her special sauce. She made her special sauce starting with a cup of red sauce, 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce and tablespoon of prepared mustard. She saved the remaining 1/4 cup of her special sauce to pour on top of the meatloaf. She gently mixed the meat, egg, onion, garlic and sauce mixture, careful not to over mix and then formed a loaf. The loaf was placed in a shallow pan and topped with the remaining sauce. Into a 350 F degree oven for 60 minutes. Once it was cooked Donna let it rest for 10 minutes then served it.

In addition to the great meatloaf, she served garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese sauce. The garlic mashed potatoes are pretty straight forward. Potatoes are boiled with 6 cloves of garlic and once cooked, are mashed with some butter and milk.  If you have some green onions chop ’em up and add to the potato, garlic and dairy.

The steamed broccoli was dressed with a creamy cheese sauce.  She made the cheese sauce by starting with two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of flour cooked in a sauce pan.  She whisked in two cups of milk, salt, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and cooked until thickened. A cup of shredded sharp cheddar was added to the hot milk. She continued to whisk until the cheese melted and she was done.

I think all great comfort foods are simple foods. Simple to prepare but delicious to eat.  The meatloaf was moist and flavourful. The tang of the BBQ sauce comes thru in the final product along with meaty flavour of the well seasoned hamburger. The garlic mashed were creamy to the mouth and sweet with garlic and butter. The broccoli were tender and the cheese sauce matched well with the potatoes and meatloaf making the dish the almost perfect comfort food. I love this dish and Donna is good enough to make it often.

I have told you about one of my favourite food types- let us know your top three food types, if you haven’t already at the poll on this page.

Church Ham Dinner

May 17, 2009

Solebury United Methodist Ham SupperEvery year the Solebury United Methodist Church sponsors a Ham Dinner to raise funds for different church activities.  Donna and JoJo have been going the past few years as kinda a girls night out and they both enjoy the ham.  I don’t, they do. They brought me a take out order to try and convince me I like it.

The take out order they brought me was a great value at $12. For that you get a big portion of sliced Virginia ham with raisin sauce, green beans, boiled red potatoes, coleslaw, apples sauce, two rolls and carrot cake. Since they went to the effort of bringing home an order, I had to at least taste the food and report back to you what it was like. Again giving so much to my craft.

Church Ham Supper

The Virginia ham was very sweet, tender and favourful.  The raisin sauce with very plump raisin, matched well with sweet and slight salty ham. You could tell the tasty green beans were fresh and cut up by kitchen crew earlier that day. The red potatoes were well cooked with a bit of parsley thrown in for decoration. The apple sauce was a good match for the ham, matching the sweetness in both. The coleslaw is fast becoming my favourite salad (tell us your favourite salad here). I like the contrast in the sweet dressing and the tart cabbage, the crispiness of the veggies and the creaminess of the total salad.

The surprise of the meal was the carrot cake.  Most carrot cakes are very dense, the Church Supper cake was extremely light with a nice sweet frosting to match. 

All in all, the meal was a success and a bit of a revelation for me, well it was a church supper. LOL. Perhaps next year I will attend in person.

Giant Steaks

May 14, 2009

As the weather improves and the nights get warmer, I tend to grill more and more.  We grill all year but the warmer weather just makes it a more enjoyable activity.  A couple of nights back, when it wasn’t raining, we decide to fire up the grill. But what to grill? Since it was late, we went to our local grocery store Giant, and picked up some steaks.  I like a nice one inch thick New York Strip with a nice marble of fat flowing thru the meat. (Tell us what cut of steak you like here.)  Sure enough they had some nice choice cuts in the display case and off I went home.  Sometimes you can actually get the prime cut at Giant but that wasn’t happening that day.

BBQ SteakOnce I got home, I prepared a marinade of garlic, teriyaki sauce and ground black pepper.  I let the steaks soak for about an hour in the frig and then brought them out to raise to room temp just before grilling time.  While the steaks were soaking, we took a package of those almost bit-sized potatoes and coated them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and crusted garlic.  In a double layer of foil we place the potatoes and half of a sliced onion.  The foil poach was placed in the hot grill (500 F) on the top rack.  About 20 minutes after the potatoes went in, we started grilling the steaks.  We like our steaks medium rare, which to me means pink in the middle with little or no blood, so I did my usual 12 minute grilling plan that I have been doing for years. It’s pretty simple;  grill 4 minutes, rotate the steak 90 degrees for 2 minutes, turn over grill 4 minutes, rotate 90 degrees for 2 minutes and rest the steak for 5 minutes.  The rotation give you those nice grill marks on the steak and a 1-inch steak at 500 F for 12 minutes should give you medium rare.  And sure enough it did.

We plated the steaks with the grilled potatoes with some tomato slices to garnish and we were very satisfied.  The marinade did the trick  flavouring the meat with the asian flavours of teriyaki and garlic, the sweetness of the onions and the little potatoes picking up the garlic and the olive oil from the coating.  Very simple but very nice.

I am sure we will revisit grilling again soon but in the meantime tell us favourite cut of steak (shameless plug for new poll) and let us know where you like to eat steak in Bucks County (second shameless plug this time for Best of Bucks- Steak comment opportunity).