Friday, March 25, 2011

Bite Into These Big Balls

Broccoli Balls are a staple at get-togethers in our family.  They are requested, sot after, demanded…no, REQUIRED or they won’t even let me attend the function.  My family can be cruel.

For many years my sister and I would make “dates” to go eat at a restaurant called Copeland’s where we would order and enjoy a few appetizers and I would sip a few grown-up drinks.  My sister was either underage or pregnant most of the time. 
One year, we decided for a Christmas party we would make the balls ourselves.  After a few different attempts I think we have perfected the taste to closely replicate the restaurant’s delicious flavor explosion.   The balls were the easy part to duplicate.  The sauce on the other hand was a bit trickier. 
I do not think it is exactly like Copeland’s but I think I’ve gotten it fairly close.  I think ours has a more tangy mustard taste which I think compliments the broccoli balls very well.

What you’ll need for the balls:
not pictured, bacon pieces...oops!
1 lb. bag frozen broccoli cuts, thawed     ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese           ½ tsp baking powder
1 egg                                                         ½ salt
1 cup milk                                                  ½ veggie oil
¾ cup of bacon  pieces                             2 cups of bread crumbs
Veggie oil for frying (depends on deep fryer or pot size)

1.)  Put broccoli into food processor.  Pulse lightly.  Toss in large mixing bowl with cheese and bacon.  Set aside.
2.)  In a separate bowl, beat egg.  Add milk.  Stir.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Combine, beating well.  Add ½ veggie oil. 
Pour mixture over broccoli and cheese and toss to coat well.
3.)  Fill deep fryer with oil, high enough to be able to cover balls.  Preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Form broccoli mixture into balls by spooning mixture into palm and adding bread crumbs.  Once a firmer consistency is formed, roll ball in bread crumbs to coat out layer. 
See video for a demonstration.

4.)  Drop balls in hot oil and fry until golden brown.
What you’ll need for the sauce:
¾ cup Dijon mustard                                     ¼ tsp salt
½ cup honey                                                  1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp horseradish                                          1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1.)  In a small bowl, combine all the above ingredients. 
Mix well.  Best served at room temperature with broccoli balls.

Consider yourself privy to a coveted family (sort-of stolen) secret.  I'll probably be disowned now.  I hope you are proud of yourself.  ;)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On The Sidelines

Like I said in my last post, there is nothing better to go with gravy than good ol’ mashed potatoes.  So in this post I’ll cover a basic mashed potato recipe and also a simple recipe for green bean casserole.
What you’ll need for the potatoes:
6 average size potatoes
½ cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp butter
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of black pepper

1.)  Peel potatoes and then cut into pieces.  Place potatoes into pot and fill with water.  Water should cover potatoes.
Bring potatoes to a rapid boil on stove top.

You know you are loving these visuals.  ;)

2.)  Use a potato masher to break up potatoes.
Add butter, milk, and salt, and pepper.
Blend well with a hand mixer.
See?  Viola!  Nice and basic.  Serves about 6.

These potatoes go great with the gravy from the previous post.  Another tip for your mashed potatoes is to add a seasoning pack.  McCormick makes some interesting flavor combinations made for seasoning potatoes.  Most are used to season cut up baked potatoes but I’ve added them to regular mashed potatoes.
When my daughter was smaller, she hated mashed potatoes.  In fact, the only potatoes I could get the kid to eat were served from a drive-thru window.  One day I made mashed potatoes and added a McCormick Roasted Garlic and Rosemary seasoning pack.  I served them to her and told her they were “Princess Potatoes”.  She ate the entire serving with no problem.  She even asked for more.  Two points for Mom!

The REAL Princess Potato

Next on the menu is the Green Bean Casserole.  This recipe came off of a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.
Of course, we all know any brand will work depending on your budget.  I’ve tried many store brands with this recipe and haven’t had any disappoint me yet.

What you’ll need for the green bean casserole:
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
½ cup of milk
1 tsp soy sauce
2 cans green beans (any cut) or 1 ½ lbs. of fresh green beans  *I use canned because fresh vegetables just don’t last.  If you're one of those awesome green thumbs that has your own little veggie garden, than good for you!  I'm totally jealous.
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 cup of bread crumbs (not pictured, oops!)  *You can also use French fried onions as the Campbell's recipe calls for, however, yours truely forgot to buy them (WHAT??  I'm human.)  This recipe has bread crumbs instead.  If you plan on using the onions you will need 1 1/3 cups.

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix beans, soup, milk, soy sauce, pepper, and 1/3 cup of bread crumbs (2/3 cup of the onions, if you are taking that route, fancy pants).  Be sure to coat the beans well.
2.)  Transfer mixture to a casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
3.)  Stir.  Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs (or onions, show-off ;p). 
Please ignore the buns in the oven.
Bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Serves about 6.

I told you this was simple, right?

Next time I’ll post an awesome appetizer recipe for Broccoli Balls with tangy mustard sauce inspired by the restaurant Copeland’s of the New Orleans area.  Get your deep fryer ready!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can't Go Wrong With Beef

While my husband was home on leave, it was imperative that I make his favorite meal for him, Onion Stuffed Beef.  The sides for this meal aren't important other than he requires mashed potatoes for the gravy.  Let’s face it.  Mashed potatoes and gravy go great together.
On Facebook, I had from time to time posted pictures of my family's meals.  On a few occasions friends of mine had suggested I start sharing the recipes for the meals I make.  So, in order to oblige them and my own personal need to share I have created this blog.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to make this as awesome and fun as I believe I am.
Without further ado, let me present to you Onion Stuff Beef…
My food never touches.  That's just how I roll.

What you’ll need for roast:
2 tbsp of butter                                         1 tbsp veggie oil
2 large onions                                           2 tsp sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce                      1 sirloin tip roast (2-3 lbs.)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard                                1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Later you will also need some items for the gravy so be sure to read the entire recipe before you make your shopping list.

1.)  Melt butter with oil. 
Add onions, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir frequently (about 18 minutes). 
Onions should be soft and golden.  Do not rinse out your skillet.  You will use the drippings for the gravy.
2.)  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Butterfly roast.  Fold open. 
Spread mustard inside roast.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3.)  Spread onions on one side of the roast.  Fold closed.  Tie closed with kitchen twine.  I always forget to purchase twine so I typically use string out of my sewing kit.  It has yet to fail me.
4.)  Place meat in a roasting pan.  Cook for approximately 45 minutes. 
Use a meat thermometer to read 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
5.)  When the desired temperature is reached, transfer meat to foil. 
Wrap loosely and allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before slicing. 
Set roasting pan on the side to use the drippings for the gravy.

What you’ll need for the gravy:
1 can beef broth                               2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp butter                                        ½ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp thyme                                       ¼ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp water (brandy works best)

1.)  Use the skillet from onions.  Melt butter. 
Add garlic, thyme, and pepper.  Saute’ for about 2 minutes (longer if desired).
2.)  Mix broth and cornstarch in a separate bowl.  Add to skillet.  Stir occasionally for about 5-6 minutes.
3.)  Add water (or brandy) to the roasting pan.  Scrape brown bits from the side and bottom of the pan.
4.)  Add the drippings and water from pan to the skillet.  Set to medium heat. 
Heat through and serve over sliced roast (and mashed potatoes if desired).

I enjoy cooking and when I first got married I knew nothing.  I just began by simply following directions.  I noticed certain easy sides like Rice-a-Roni and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese would have recipes for meal suggestions right on the box.  I began trying those.  Little by little I got better and started to explore the wonderful world of cooking more and more.  Now there is nothing I won’t attempt.

One thing I’d like to get out of this new blog adventure is the opportunity to try new products.  I love kitchen gadgets and trying new recipes.  I look forward to using them.

I hope to be back again soon to share my easy mashed potatoes recipe and also a simple green bean casserole recipe.  Both of which, I typically use to accompany the Onion Stuffed Beef recipe I shared above.