Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Golden Broccoli Gratin

Broccoli is a great vegetable even simply prepared. But for variety, try this rich and creamy way to serve broccoli. It is delicious! The white sauce might seem a little strange--you end up straining out all the onion resulting in a mild onion flavor in a completely creamy sauce.

Golden Broccoli Gratin

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup (1 ½ oz/45 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (24 fl oz/750 ml) whole milk
½ cup (1 ½ oz/45 g) thinly sliced onion
½ bay leaf
Pinch of nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ lb (750 g) broccoli
¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) grated Parmesan
1 cup (2 oz/60 g) fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (4 oz/125 g) mixed shredded cheeses such as Cheddar or Gruyere
¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) heavy cream

To make the sauce, in a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture forms a loose ball, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition until smooth. Return the pan to medium heat and whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the onion, bay leaf, and nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; keep warm. You should have about 2 ½ cups.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Fill a large saucepan three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the heads from the broccoli stalks. Divide the heads into bite-size florets, and then peel and thinly slice the stalks. Add 3 tablespoons salt and the broccoli to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain well.

In a small bowl, stir together the Parmesan, bread crumbs, and oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the mixed cheeses to the hot sauce, stir to melt, and then add the broccoli and cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly on top. Bake until the gratin bubbles and the top is golden, about 30minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe Source: Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen

Monday, May 30, 2011

Food Storage Crepes

Even though "crepes" is found in the "desserts" section of my Betty Crocker cookbook, we rarely eat them for dessert.  Instead, we like them for breakfast.  We frequently call them "Snow Pancakes," because our friends always have them on snowy school's out days.  But today we had them for Jaret's birthday breakfast.  My kids favorite way to eat them is to spread peanut butter and jam down the center, wrap them up, and then pour maple syrup over them.  My favorite way to eat them is with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Any way you eat them, you will be sure to love this recipe.  I've tried many crepe recipes, but this is the one that always turns out for me.  It's from the Betty Crocker cookbook I've had since I graduated from high school (very many years ago).  I adjusted it to use dried eggs and powdered milk.

Oh, and you should know that crepes freeze very well for about 3 months.  Just place a piece of waxed paper between each crepe, make a nice big stack, and place them in a gallon-size freezer Ziploc bag.  When ready to use, thaw them in the refrigerator over night, and then reheat individually for a few seconds on a hot griddle for a fast and easy breakfast.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup powdered milk
4 T. dried whole eggs
4 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add wet ingredients and mix with beaters until smooth.  Lightly butter an 8" skillet (or use a non-stick skillet and you don't have to butter it); heat over medium heat until bubbly.  For each crepe, pour 1/4 cup batter into skillet; immediately rotate skillet until thin film covers bottom.

Cook until light brown.  Run wide spatula around edge to loosen; turn and cook other side until light brown.  Stack crepes, placing waxed paper between each.  Keep covered.  Makes 24 crepes (enough for breakfast and some leftover to freeze!).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chili Verde

Jaret's been studying up on Spanish for his mission.  He tells me "verde" means "green," so this is Green Chili.  It is super easy, super delicious, and super filling!  I love that it cooked all day while I was mission-shopping in Salt Lake.  I used canned re-fried beans and previously made and frozen Cafe Rio Rice, so this meal was fast and simple to put together, and everyone loved it!

Chili Verde
2 lbs. diced lean pork (1/2" cubes)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. oil
2 small cans diced green chilies
1/2 tsp. ground oregano
2 T. ground cumin

Mix pork, flour, salt, and pepper together in a plastic bag.  Add oil to a non-stick skillet.  Heat oil and brown floured pork in the hot oil.  Place browned meat in a crockpot.  Add onion to the saute pan and brown, adding garlic the last few minutes (you don't want to brown the garlic too much or it becomes bitter).  Add onion and garlic to meat in crockpot, and add enough water to cover.  Place lid on crockpot and cook on LOW all day.  Thirty minutes before serving, add chilies and seasonings.  Taste and add more salt as needed (I added about another teaspoon).

We served as follows:

  • Warmed flour tortilla
  • Spread with refried beans down center
  • Add a scoop of Cafe Rio Lime Cilantro Rice
  • A scoop of chili verde
  • Cheese

Roll tortilla, burrito style, and then smother with more chili verde, cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc.

P.S. - This chili was even better the next day!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sloppy Joes

We really enjoyed these Sloppy Joes and I hope you do, too.

1 1/2 pounds lean ground sirloin
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped green or red bell peppers
1 1/4 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 to 1 cup water

Heat a skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and add ground meat.  Brown meat until it is cooked thoroughly.  Carefully drain and discard fat.  Transfer meat to a bowl.

In same pan, heat oil on medium heat; and add onions and pepper and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  When vegetables are tender, return meat to pan and add remaining ingredients.  Stir frequently to cover meat with sauce.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly.

Serve on buns, rolls or onion buns.