Casseroles Need to Die

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When compared to traditional dinners featuring a roasted meat, potato, and a vegetable, casseroles don’t stand a chance. Have you had a pork roast slathered in tuscan oil and topped with fresh herbs complimented by a roasted sweet potato and green beans baked with Lipton brown gravy and onion soup mix sprinkeld on top?  OMG

Invented at the same time as TV tray tables in the 70′s (another mistake) –casseroles have worn out their welcome.  They all involve cheese as a flavor cover-up and  feature five ingredients or less.  Kill me now.

Break out two chicken breasts on the George Foreman grill and sautee some mushrooms in butter on the stove top to pour over the them.  Done.  What could be easier?  Add Idahoan instant mashed potatoes and nuke a package of  frozen niblets corn.   Beat that Mr. Casserole.  The gauntlet is thrown.

The casserole is grossly over rated.

For the love of God, stop.

 

Famous Last Words

“When I die, you’re never going to get it this good.”  That’s what I tell my husband on Saturday mornings, while stirring his pot of Cream of Wheat. I make him beg for it.  And he does.

He loves my Cream of Wheat.

Haters, don’t hate on my Cream of Wheat until you have made it and tasted it my way.  It is a steaming, creamy bowl of hot deliciousness flavored with brown sugar and Vietnamese cinnamon that is topped off with a heavy pat of real butter.  Handcuff and arrest me now because this recipe is a crime.  Suck it Martha Stewart.

 

In two large cereal bowls, place:

1.5 tsp. butter

3/4 tsp. high quality cinnamon (there is a difference!)

one rounded tablespoon of brown sugar.

Set aside

Bring to a near boil in a pot on the stove:

(with medium flame and stirring occasionally to prevent burning)

4 cups WHOLE milk

1/2 tsp. salt

When milk is steaming and almost ready to boil, add:

1 cup regular Cream of Wheat (not instant)

stir constantly with a long handled spoon until mixture thickens

Pour pot contents into ready made bowls and stir.


 

 

 

Who Needs Lasagna

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Here’s the art of the “quickie” pizza pie!    Instead of hand tossing a crust (Martha Stewart needs to die), I cracked open a can of Pillsbury Pizza Crust Dough and pressed it into a greased 11×14 baking sheet.  Set the oven on 400.  Get ‘er good and hot.

Next I went to my cold bin of misfit food:  leftovers that had almost been forgotten.  There, I found a few mini wheels of salami, some diced pepperoni, BACON BITS, and a little sliced ham to create a meat-lover’s pizza.

Luckily I had a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese and a container of orphaned Eye-talian cheeses.  There was a basil plant on my window sill that needed a trim.  Grabbing a 14.5 oz. can of tomato sauce from the shelf and a pot to throw it in, I fired up a burner to reduce and thicken the sauce while the crust was baked naked for 8 minutes…just like the package says. Ok, I added the naked part.

To the simmering sauce I added some garlic, onion flakes, red pepper flakes, and 2 tsp. of Italian seasoning.  Stirred that till the oven buzzer rang.  Grabbed the half baked crust out of the oven and went into assembly mode.  Crust, sauce, cheeses, meats.  Badda Boom, Badda Bing.

Popped the whole thing back in the oven for 8 more minutes to melt the cheeses, heat the meat, and fill the house with bacony pizza goodness smells. The whole process was 16 minutes.  Who needs lasagna?  This pizza was gone in 60 seconds.

The very best part about making this pizza was when I looked out the kitchen window and saw my sweet hens digging up worms in the backyard!

 

 

Killer Cucumber Dill Dip

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Making this at Easter time brings a burst of spring zest to cabbage tongues; tongues soured by a long winter’s fill of crock pot soups and stews.  Try it and you’ll be planting spring bulbs the next day.

Ingredients:

1 – 8 oz. light cream cheese, softened

1 cup Hellmann’s light mayo

2 medium cukes–peeled, seeded & chopped

3 tbl. sliced green onions

1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

3 tsp. snipped fresh dill or 3/4 tsp. dried dill weed

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions:

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and mayo until smooth.  Add rest of ingredients, cover and chill for one hour.  Serve with Wheat Thin crackers.

Next Day Converstion:

Fabulous with grilled chicken on flatbread, in pita bread, or rolled in a tortilla shell.

Capri’s Veal Piccata in Pictures

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Did someone say, “Capers?” 

Those little dark devils are to die for and this dish is sinfully full of them.  Supermarkets carry capers in little glass jars next to the pickles, olives, and mustards.

My advice:  make a double batch of this because it freezes so well.

Ingredients

1 lb. spaghetti noodles

1/2 c grated or shaved Parmesan cheese

2 tbl. butter

_________

splash of olive oil

1 cup flour

salt & pepper to taste

4 eggs, beaten

4 – 8 oz. veal cutlets

_________

1 cup dry white wine

1 lemon, juiced

2 tbl. capers, washed and drained

1/2 stick butter

2 tbl. chopped FRESH flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  • Cook spaghetti, drain, rinse with cold water.   Return to pot.  Add 2 tbl. melted butter and the Parmesan cheese.  Salt and Pepper the noodles to taste.  Stir, cover, and set aside.
  • Put flour in a large Ziploc bag, season with salt and pepper, and mix.  This is your cutlet coating.
  • Beat eggs in a bowl, add a tiny splash of tap water, whisk.
  • Put 4 tbl. olive oil in large fry pan over medium heat.
  • Put cutlets in flour mixture, shake bag to lightly coat.  Next, dip them in the egg wash and then place them straight into the hot frying pan.  Cook all the veal about 2 minutes on each side until light golden brown.  Set aside.
  • Deglaze fry pan with white wine and boil until reduced by half.  Add lemon juice, capers, 1/2 stick butter, and half the parsley.
  • Serve the pasta on plates topped with the veal.   Drizzle with caper sauce and garnish with the remaining parsley.

The taste is incredible.   Prepare this with confidence knowing that a double batch will feed 12 hungry people.    When I double it, we have it for dinner and then I make three or four more frozen dinners-for-two out of the leftovers.   Hint:  If you can’t find veal cutlets, use a good steak and slice it in half horizontally so you have two big steaks.  Then pound each section flat– to just under 1/2″  thick.  Enjoy!

The Island of Capri in Italy was my inspiration for this dish.

They grow lemons the size of grapefruits there!


 

 

“Crack” Bread

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 USE CAUTION:  THIS BREAD IS ADDICTIVE 

 

…and it never gets a chance to cool off once removed from the oven.  It is so simple you can figure it out just from the pictures.

Get a nice crusty loaf of bread and cut it as shown.  Next, stuff the openings with your favorite cheese (like Havarti), and top with green onions. Wrap this in tin foil and bake it in a fully preheated oven set at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and enjoy!

For bonus bold flavors, add some chopped garlic or dill or Italian seasoning.

OR, forget the cheese (Cathy) and just slip a few pats of butter in those cuts, add garlic or other spices and enjoy!

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