Rustic potatoes

In an effort to reduce carbohydrates at holiday meals, I look for alternative ways to serve potatoes.  Everyone seems to love a potato as a comfort food, and my family is no different. In the past five years, I have made an effort to try different types and sizes of potatoes to see if they would be disappointed not having the traditional large slices of potato casseroles or baked potatoes.  To my liking, everyone seems to enjoy these smaller roasted potatoes.  I season them differently, but always roast my potatoes in the oven. Personally, I love them.

Here is how I made my potatoes for Easter this year.  The secret is to find very small potatoes.  I used Baby Boomers from the Little Potato Company.  And, they were delicious.

Prepare a small baking sheet with spray Olive Oil and season the potatoes with Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, parsley flakes, and Italian herb seasoning to taste. I also give the potatoes a spray of the Olive oil as well.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Roast them for 30 minutes and check half way through to make certain they are evenly roasting.  Delicious and easy !!

In this photo, you can see the size of the potatoes compared to the carrots also prepared at this holiday meal.

Seasoned chicken with vegetables

As other foodies have featured one pot meals, I am also “all-in” with this easy and delicious way to have an amazing meal on the table with layers of flavor and excellent taste. I can’t say enough about cast iron cookware, but my Staub essential oven pot is one of the best.

Some of their best features make a huge difference in the end result of any dish prepared in my Staub cookware.  The interior has a matte black enamel finish which resists food from sticking, as well as benefits the self-basting cooking method.  The convex interior lid encourages moisture to stay within the pot, creating the most delicious moist dishes. Food is basted evenly and throughout the cooking process to create a superior end result.

Here is another dish I prepared in this essential pot, and I can’t wait to make it a second time.  It was just that good.  Gather these ingredients: 5 small red skinned potatoes, Kosher salt, minced garlic in a tube, 2 Tablespoons margarine and 1 tablespoon Olive oil, 2 bone in chicken breasts, 6-8 white sliced mushrooms, 2-3 yellow onions, chicken seasoning, black pepper, parsley flakes, 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 bag small carrots

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a sauce pot, clean, cut and boil the potatoes for 10 minutes and drain.  Brown the chicken in the Olive Oil and margarine.  Season the chicken.  Add sliced onions and lightly soften and brown, add mushrooms and cook until soft and lightly browned.  Then add carrots and do the same.  Add garlic and extra seasoning for the vegetables. Add the potatoes and the white wine. Stir.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes COVERED.  Serve with crusty bread, popovers or a side salad.

Baked Easter carrots

These carrots are perfect any time of year, though I recently prepared them for Easter. I happened to find red carrots at the market, and they seemed to add an extra sweetness to the dish.  I would recommend them highly.

Here is how I prepared the carrots. I used two bunches of red carrots and trimmed the greens down to fit on a baking sheet, after peeling them. I prepared the sheet pan with spray Pam with olive oil and seasoned the carrots to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a sauce pot on the stove, I added 2 tablespoons margarine, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Bring up to temperature to melt the margarine and incorporate the ingredients.  Pour over the carrots on the sheet pan.

Bake for 30 minutes until tender.  I checked them and rotated them after 20 minutes.  If the carrots are very thick, they could be sliced again to help with the roasting time.

These were very tasty served with our Easter ham.

Easter flowers

Today has been an absolutely beautiful day in Michigan.  I can’t remember when the sun, the sky, and the temperature has been this lovely.  My daffodils are blooming and it really feels like Spring has come to stay.

I love flowers for a special table setting, and I always try to have something different for a holiday meal.  I especially love Spring flowers and decided on pink tulips this year for my Easter table.

I used antique Ball pale blue jars for vases and have been admiring the tulips every day since I placed them on the table. There is just something about the colors that are so peaceful and elegant.

Sometimes just a simple table arrangement makes all the difference in presentation of a special meal.  Our family enjoyed a special glazed ham with vegetables this year, along with my classic Easter Egg cookies.  I will always have these memories of the enjoyment I share when preparing a meal for everyone.

One pot New Orleans shrimp

Even though we have lived been living in Michigan for nearly ten years, the second time around, I still have a love for down-South cooking. We spent nearly one year in New Orleans and became very endeared to the fish and seafood specialties of the area.

Here is a recipe that I have been making for many years which reminds us of our time spent in that area of the country.

Gather these ingredients to make this dish:  coarse salt, 2-3 tablespoons margarine, 2 stalks celery, garlic paste, 1/2 white onion, green onions, 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, sliced lemon, about 20-25 cleaned shrimp, Herbs for Seafood and parsley flakes. White or brown rice as desired to accompany the dish.

I prepare this dish in my Staub cooking pot, which helps add to the flavor of the dish with the built-in cooking technology to the lid.

Prepare the rice for serving as the dish is completed.

To make the dish:  Melt the margarine in the Staub cooking pot.  Add celery, green onion, white onions, salt to taste and garlic.  Cook until soft. Next add, the Worcestershire, Herbs for seafood, lemons, and shrimp. At this point, I cover the dish, reduce the temperature and cook for about 5 minutes before stirring again. Continue to cook until the shrimp is done and top with parsley flakes for presentation over the rice.  This dish takes under 30 minutes to prepare and serve.  It is very tasty and full of flavor. Staub pots can be purchased at many cooking stores, such as Sur la Table or Williams Sonoma. One-pot cooking is easy, fast and very comforting to serve.

Recently at the International Home and Housewares show, Staub featured many of their new colors and designs for 2017.  Here are some of the lovely pots that they featured in Chicago.

Apricot glazed chicken

Grilled chicken has become a staple go-to in my house. I can serve grilled chicken a variety of ways with an assortment of side vegetables or toppings.  Over the years, I have become very creative with grilled chicken.

For an alternative, I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and omitted the red pepper flakes, and baked instead of broiling.  The apricot glaze is very tasty and instead of grilled chicken, these chicken breasts bake in the oven and stay very moist and tasty.  Much easier to make for a large crowd if needed to prepare in advance and then simply bake while visiting with your guests.

Here is how I prepared the chicken.  Prepare these ingredients ahead of time:  apricot jam in a bowl, skinless chicken breasts–thin sliced, salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a sheet pan covered with tin foil.  Place the chicken breasts on the pan and season to taste.  Bake in the oven for 6 minutes.  Remove from the oven and brush with the glaze of apricot jam.  Bake another 8 minutes until the chicken is done.  I used thin cut chicken breasts and this cooking time worked perfectly for this dish.

Enjoy and serve with any side dish or salad.

 

 

Beef roast in a multi-cooker

Sunday comfort food for a cold winter’s night is the theme of this recipe that I made a month ago.  We limit red meat in our home, and use it as a treat once or twice a year.  For those special nights, this is a great recipe that provides enough food for a family of six.

Begin with a 3 pound beef chuck roast and sear the meat in a multi-cooker at 350 degrees with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Season the roast with salt and pepper to taste.  Add 3/4 cup chopped large yellow onion, 5-6 red potatoes cut into squares, 1/2 bag small carrots and 3 cups beef broth.  Cook for 8 hours on low.

Remove the meat from the pot and place on a dish while preparing the rest of the recipe. Separate from the vegetables. Mix 2 tablespoons Wondra Flour into 1/4 cup water.  Drain and separate the broth from the cooker, removing the excess fat.Return the broth to the cooker. Increase the cooker to 350 degrees to boil the liquid.  Add in the flour mixture twice if desired for thicker gravy.  Return the meat and vegetables to the pot and continue to heat through for 10-15 more minutes.  Serve.