Saturday, August 30, 2008

Seared Tuna Steak and Sauteed Spinach (I Love Alliteration)

Friday evening we enjoyed tuna steaks and spinach. We heated about a tablespoon olive oil and a tablespoon of butter and added about half of a yellow onion, diced and 2 cloves of garlic, minced. We covered the skillet and cooked it on low for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, we set tuna steaks out to come to room temperature whilst we enjoyed an adult beverage. Or two.

We walked in and out of the kitchen a few times to stir the mixture and MY GOSH did the onions and garlic smell good! Man alive.

When we were ready to eat, I added a bag of fresh spinach to the skillet. I don't know how many ounces or whatnot but just a bag of spinach. I mashed it in there the best I could and put the lid on top.

Jeffrey heated about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a skillet. He coated the tuna steaks with blackened redfish seasoning and Greek seasoning. He cooked them for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.* About that same time, the spinach was done.

In other words, in less than five minutes, literally, we had dinner on the table.

The dinner was GOOD, too.

* The tuna was rare, as it should be.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's a Party, It's Chicken, It's Party Chicken

I recently bragged about my ability to time travel.

I did it again last night – time traveled, not bragged about it - wherein I prepared a chicken dish my mother used to make a lot in the late 70s. It’s called Party Chicken. Bacon and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup are involved. Sounds like a party, doesn’t it?

Party Chicken

1 (2.25-ounce) jar of dried beef
Bacon (can use turkey bacon)
4 chicken breasts (bone in or boneless skinless)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (I used Healthy Request)
8 ounces sour cream (I used light)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Shred half the jar of dried beef and place in a 9x13 casserole dish.

I could not find a photo of the jar of it the way I usually see it, but this is the same brand, just different packaging. Maybe it's a southern thing? I don't know?

Save the rest to use in another recipe. Like a cheeseball – recipe to come.

Wrap chicken breasts in bacon, 1 to 2 slices each, depending on the size. Place in casserole dish.

Combine soup and sour cream and pour over chicken. Bake for about an hour.

Last night as I was pulling this dish from the oven, I remember that my mother always baked this at a lower temperature, about 250 degrees, for a longer time, about two to three hours. It made the entire house smell so good! Growing up, we often had it for Sunday dinner because you could cook it so slowly.

I bet this would work nicely in a slow cooker, too, although I haven't tried it yet.

We had brown rice and sautéed spinach with the chicken. I love sautéed spinach. We sautéed about half a yellow onion and a clove or two of garlic in olive oil and a bit of butter, then added the spinach, and covered until it was cooked. It’s really tasty and so easy.

All in all, a delicious and easy, easy meal everybody liked. There were happy plates all around.

We’re planning to have seared tuna steaks with spinach Friday night for dinner, tailgate food Saturday afternoon and evening while watching the game, and filets and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus Sunday night. Maybe hamburgers Monday.

What will you eat over the Labor Day weekend?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Snickers Cheesecake

Snickers must be the most beloved candy bar in the U.S.of A. What's your favorite? I'm in the majority as Snickers are probably my favorite, although I like Reese's peanut butter cups, too. And Baby Ruth and Butterfinger. Apparently, I just like candy.

I also like cake, all kinds of cake, including cheesecake. I have known people who don't like chocolate but I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like cheesecake.

Snickers + cheesecake = out of this world

I first got this cheesecake recipe from Bon Appetit magazine in the early 90s. I've made umpteen variations of it and it always turns out very tasty.

4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 package Snickers miniatures, chopped
plus a regular size Snickers bar to garnish
various and sundry enhancements like caramel sauce, fudge sauce, peanuts - all optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

For the graham cracker crust, combine about 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers with 2 tablespoons of sugar and about 6 tablespoons melted butter. Press into springform pan. Wrap outside of springform pan with aluminum foil; this will be important later.

Beat cream cheese and sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. I love the way vanilla smells. The original recipe undoubtedly called for less vanilla but I always put more so I upped the amount some. I don't know by how much; the original recipe has been lost in the annals of time.

Pour about half the batter in the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle with the chopped miniature Snickers bars. Top with remaining batter.

Place cheesecake pan, wrapped in aluminum foil, in a larger dish, like a casserole dish. Pour warm water into the casserole dish so that it comes within an inch of the top of the springform pan, creating a warm, toasty water bath. I think that must be the secret of this cheesecake, and why it comes out so darn creamy.

Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake isn't jiggly when you shake it.

Let cool on wire rack for an hour or two. You can remove the foil whenever you want, but leave the cheesecake in the springform pan.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove springform pan and garnish the cake. You can take chocolate icing (like from a can, pipe rosettes around the top of the cake, and press a piece of Snickers bar in each chocolate rosette. Or you can drizzle store-bought ice cream toppings, such as caramel and fudge, and toss the whole thing with peanuts and pieces of Snickers pie. Or you can leave the whole thing blank if you want to. Whichever way, it still tastes good.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's Been a Long, Been a Long Time

My apologies. It's just that a lot has happened between then and now.

We have posts - lots of them - to come. Like the one about the marinated, grilled pork tenderloin that was SO GOOD. We carefully wrote down all the ingredients. Aaaannnd then lost the piece of paper everything was written on. We have a grill tutorial in the works. Oh and there's the Snickers cheesecake. And a bunch more stuff.

I burned cinnamon toast this morning, so I feel pretty awesome about my kitchen prowess.

Food posts are coming anyway.