Blogs, Recipes

Lemon Parmesan Chicken

This is definitely one of my favorite dishes! It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a date night!

With this recipe you get perfectly tender, golden brown pan seared chicken coated in a quick lemon garlic butter pan sauce. It will have you wanting seconds and maybe even thirds! 

I like to serve this over a bed of spinach or with my Garlic & Spinach Orzo- recipe coming soon! 

As for my wine, this dish pairs perfectly with Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™Che Fico Pinot Grigio. It’s tart and fresh with lemon, underripe peach and a subtle minerality and a refreshing finish. Perfect on a hot summer night! 

Click the link to order the wine pairing- Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™ Che Fico Pinot Grigio.
http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Ingredients for Parmesan Crusted Chicken:

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast or 1 lb boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp parsley to garnish
  • 1/2 lemon sliced for garnish

Ingredients for the Egg Mixture:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • For the Parmesan Breading Mixture:
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Lemon Butter Sauce:

  • 8 Tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. 

Lightly beat with a meat mallet until even in thickness.

In a bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the egg mixture. 

In another bowl, combine the ingredients for the parmesan mixture. 

Dip chicken into the egg mixture, then dredge chicken in the parmesan mixture. 

Allow any excess ingredients to fall off from each bowl.

In a large skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a skillet. 

Once hot, add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes per side, or until crispy, golden and cooked through to 165˚F. 

Transfer to  a plate. 

In the same saucepan, melt butter and garlic, cook until fragrant. 

Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and pepper. 

Allow the sauce to cook for about 2 minutes. 

Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken, turning to coat. 

Garnish with lemon slices and finely chopped parsley if desired.

Blogs, Recipes

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala with Cauliflower rice

Perfect for weekend OR weeknight cooking, this is one chicken recipe you will make time and time again. This Chicken Marsala recipe is equally as good as what you’ll get at an Italian restaurant so it’s the perfect thing to make on your own, and of course a great dish to serve to guests. It’s a classic dish that does not disappoint!

It’s no wonder it’s one of the most ordered chicken dishes in restaurants! Made with golden, crispy, pan-fried chicken, crispy prosciutto, a mushroom-filled creamy Marsala wine sauce and a good kick of garlic, this Chicken Marsala recipe is next-level!

So let’s talk about wine pairings. You don’t want to go too big with this dish. A big red like a Cabernet will overwhelm not only the chicken, but the subtle sweetness of the Marsala sauce. You’re better off going with a full bodied white like Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™ Chardonnay, or Pinot Gris. Not a white wine fan? Go for a light to medium bodied red like Pinot Noir. 

So there you have it, my easy and delicious Chicken Marsala recipe, and the wines that I recommend with it. Crack open a bottle of something awesome, and get cooking. 

INGREDIENTS 

For the chicken:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly grounded pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Marsala sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, as needed
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced and diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 small shallots chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • flat leaf parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 200°F. 

Mix the flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Pound the chicken thin. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, place inside a gallon zip-top bag and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even 1/4-inch thickness. 

Set the flattened chicken breast aside and repeat with the remaining breasts.

Return the flattened breasts to the bag and add the flour mixture. Seal the bag and shake to coat.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. 

Add the butter, followed by 2 of the chicken breasts. Fry until golden-brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. 

Remove the browned chicken to a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 2 chicken breasts. 

Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and place in the oven to keep warm.

Keep the heat on medium-high. If there isn’t grease left from frying the chicken, add up to 2 tablespoons more butter to the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the prosciutto to the drippings in the pan, saute for 1 minute to render out some of the fat

Add the mushrooms and cook until their juices start to release, about 3 minutes.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add the Marsala and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned pieces. Add the broth and simmer until reduced by half and starting to thicken, about 15 minutes.

Add the cream and return the chicken to the sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is well-coated, 3 to 5 minutes.

Plate the chicken, then top it with the mushrooms and sauce, and garnish with chopped parsley. Viola, fini! 

That was easy huh!? Why go to an Italian restaurant and pay $15-20 when it’s so easy to do at home?

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Blogs, Recipes

Creamy Spinach Chicken

Say goodbye to dry, flavorless chicken and HELLO to this easy and flavorful skillet dinner with chicken and garlic creamed spinach! You’ll want a crusty bread to soak up the sauce!

Tender and juicy chicken in a delicious spinach sauce, all cooked in one pan and in just 30 minutes! It is the most perfect weeknight dinner! The creamy sauce whisks together so perfectly and uses familiar ingredients you already love. You will want to lick your plate clean because it is that good!  This is a must try recipe that involves no-fuss prep with gourmet looking results.  Put this meal at the top of your must make list!

Serve with your favorite pasta or Mashed Cauliflower. You will not want to forget the bread because you will definitely want to be scraping the creamy sauce up with your bread at the end!

Pair with Scout and Cellar Adelante Sauvignon Blanc, bright and clean with lemongrass, lime zest and green apple balanced by a subtle minerality on a zesty, light-bodied frame with a refreshing finish

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 cup. heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Instructions 

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. 

Season chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper and cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. 

Heat remaining tablespoon oil. 

Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook 1 minute more. 

Add spinach, in batches, until wilted.  

Pour over heavy cream and chicken broth and simmer for 3 minutes. 

Add mozzarella and Parmesan and stir until melted, then return chicken to skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Serve creamed spinach spooned over chicken.

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen
Blogs, Recipes

Sticky Salmon in Parchment Paper

If you’re looking for an easy, delicious and healthy dinner, this salmon in parchment paper is the perfect recipe. The salmon is cooked in a parchment paper pouch creating an almost mess free dinner that’s not only easy, but yummy! Best part? It’s ready in just about thirty minutes. Just mix up a handful of pantry staples, pour over top, fold up the parchment paper, and bake. Every bite is sweet and savory!

We’ve been looking for ways to reduce our calories and eat healthier. In this recipe, you’ll notice Liquid Aminos and may be asking yourself, what is that? 

Liquid Aminos look and taste similar to soy sauce. It is made by fermenting coconut sap with salt and water or treating soybeans with an acidic solution to break them down into free amino acids. It adds a savory, salty flavor to meals and is naturally vegan and gluten-free. You can find it at most grocery stores. Can’t find Liquid Aminos, you can use Soy sauce. 

So here’s the story behind the parchment paper. I wanted to make an easy clean up dish- it’s been a crazy week. So I thought I’d make salmon in a foil packet. I opened my pantry and to my surprise… No foil! I’ve been reading about French cuisine and I remember reading about Salmon en Papillote, which translates to Salmon enveloped in paper! I had plenty of parchment paper and so this recipe was born!

By cooking the salmon in a parchment paper packet, you’re creating an envelope for your food to cook inside of. Not only does this save on mess and dishes, but cooking your food in parchment steams the food and cooks everything in their own juices. Cooking food this way preserves nutrients and creates an insane amount of flavor because all of the aromas are trapped inside. You can add vegetables into the packet with the salmon. I served mine with side salad.

How to make the parchment paper packet?

  1. Creating the packet isn’t difficult, but it requires a particular shape and folding technique. 
  2. Fold a 12-by-16-inch piece of parchment in half, then cut it so that it’ll be shaped like a heart when you unfold it.
  3. Cut a 12-by16-inch piece of parchment paper for each piece of salmon you’re cooking and fold it in half. Using scissors, cut the folded paper into half of a heart, then unfold. 
  4. Brush both sides of the paper lightly with olive oil.
  5. Place your salmon to one side of the creased line down the middle of the heart. Pour the sauce over the salmon. 
  6. Fold the other half of the heart over the salmon. Starting at the pointy end—the bottom of the heart—fold the edge of the parchment paper in small, overlapping triangles. This helps create a tight seal, making sure that the salmon will cook in its own juices and not dry out or lose flavor.
  7. And that’s it! Just transfer each packet to a dinner plate, cut a small opening in the paper, pull apart the packet and devour the contents. You’ll barely even need to wash the plates.

Looking for a wine?

Scout & Cellar Hushkeeper Pinot Gris is the perfect pairing! Zippy-yet-balanced with lemon, pear, and underripe pineapple on a medium-bodied frame with a bright finish. For this Pinot Gris, grapes were picked by hand from dry-farmed vines planted over 30 years ago. After harvest, the grapes were pressed and placed in stainless steel vessels where they fermented for 3 weeks. The wine then aged in stainless steel until bottling, unfined and lightly filtered with natural bentonite clay.

Now that you know all the whys and hows, let’s get cooking!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound salmon
  • 1/4 cup Lite Maple syrup (yes the kind for pancakes)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos (or reduced sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, optional
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parchment paper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, Sriracha and pepper, to taste.

Take two pieces of parchment paper, fold in half, and cut a half-circle starting at each crease. They should look similar to a heart-shape when unfolded. 

Brush each piece of parchment with olive oil on both sides.

Place the one piece of salmon in the middle of one side of a prepared parchment paper. 

Pour the ginger syrup mixture over the salmon. Save the rest of the sauce for serving. 

Fold the other half of the circle over and seal the parchment edge by making overlapping folds around the edge. At the end, fold the last crease in the opposite direction of the rest to ensure it seals. 

Repeat with the second piece of prepared parchment and remaining ingredients. 

Place pouches on a baking sheet.

Place into the oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.(Baking time may need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of the salmon).

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting open parchment. 

The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Drizzle the salmon with the leftover sauce. 

Serve immediately.

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Recipes

Honey Orange Glazed Grouper

This Honey Orange Glazed Grouper is a citrusy sweet recipe that I guarantee you’ll have on repeat. A quick and delicious dinner that will be  on the table in no time! Perfect for a healthy lunch, weeknight dinner or a dinner party! To make this easy fish dinner you need less than 30 minutes, isn’t it great?

And it keeps getting better and better! You can use this sauce for just about anything from fish, shrimp, chicken or as a salad dressing. It’s very versatile and delicious!

I love experimenting with new marinades and sauces. And really love using orange marmalade in my homemade salad dressings so I figured it would be great in this recipe. The outcome? Amazingly delicious! You’ll want to drizzle the sauce on all your side dishes too. So I recommend pouring about ¼ cup of the prepaped sauce into a separate bowl and save for the table. 

What to serve with this dish?

Cold Zucchini noodle salad or steamed Broccoli, pan fried Asparagus.

Want a starch? Couscous or rice are also great choices, but anything will do as long as you like it.

Grab a bottle of Scout and Cellar 2019 FIELDHOUSE WHITE BLEND and you have yourself one delicious meal! The taste? Under ripe peach, under ripe apricot and white flowers with refreshing acidity that hangs on so the wine finishes clean; as the wine warms, notes of pear and honey emerge.

TIP:

I covered my broiler pan with foil then sprayed it with non-stick Olive oil spray, which is a real clean up saver.  The honey makes the grouper crispy and crackly and tastes like heaven, but makes cleaning up no fun.  What good is a quick dinner if you are scrubbing the pan all night, right? 

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound grouper fillets
  • 2  tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • ¾  teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions

Preheat broiler.

Combine all ingredients except grouper, mixing well.

Season filets with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place fillets on an oiled broiler pan and brush fillets with honey glaze to cover.

Broil or 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Flip fillets, brush with honey glaze and broil for an additional 2 minutes, then brush with honey glaze and broil for additional 1-2 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.

*Don’t have a broiler pan? No worries! You can use a baking sheet. Don’t forget to cover it with foil and oil it for easy clean up!

Blogs, Recipes

Chili Lime Cod with Fresh Pico de Gallo over Slaw

You know it’s funny, I’m a huge seafood fan. But I don’t cook it near enough as I should. Well, today I took one step closer to changing that, in the form of a quick, easy and healthy weeknight dinner.

There are so many different methods to make cod. From baking cod to fried cod. 

In this recipe, I pan fried it in a small amount of olive oil. Pan-fried cod pairs wonderfully with so many different side dishes. If you are trying to keep things light, whip up my slaw and Pico de Gallo recipe below. If you’re feeling a little more indulgent, make a batch of angel hair pasta with a creamy sauce. The possibilities are endless. 

And, if you want to pair this dish with a Clean-Crafted™ wine, try Scout and Cellar’s 2017 GALLIVANT CHARDONNAY. Opulent and plush with aromas of yellow apple, vanilla and baking spices and flavors of baked pear and brioche on a medium-bodied frame with a bright finish. It’s delish!

What about a light beer? Try 7venth sun Kolsch- Crisp, sparkling, and slightly fruity. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Cod Fillet
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Cayenne 
  • ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • Zest and Juice of 2 Limes

Fresh Pico de Gallo Ingredients 

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • I clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 

Slaw Ingredients

  • 1 bags ColeSlaw mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

To make the coleslaw, combine cabbage, carrots, green onions and cilantro in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, honey and salt and toss together with slaw mixture. Set aside. 

To make Pico de Gallo, stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.

For the cod…

In a small bowl combine all of the spices with lime zest and mix well.

Rub the filets with the spice mixture. You will use the entire rub – so make sure to coat them very well.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan.

Add the seasoned cod to the pan, cooking until lightly golden on one side – about 4/5 minutes.

Carefully turn the cod over and cook until opaque and completely cooked through.

Place the slaw in the middle of a plate, place the cod on top of the slaw, spoon Pico de Gallo over top and sprinkle with Cilantro.

www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen
Blogs, Recipes

DELICIOUS RATATOUILLE

It’s ratatouille season! 

Ratatouille is a classic summer French style stew, it’s fun to say and even has an adorable Disney movie named after it!

Ratatouille is packed with summer vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers and it’s pretty easy to make!

With a little imagination, there are endless ways to serve ratatouille. For Sunday dinner, toss it with pasta or alongside grilled chicken or fish. Or for an easy weeknight dinner, serve with a dollop of goat cheese or with a fried egg on top. It’s even tasty straight from the fridge as a snack (it’s delicious cold)! Seriously the possibilities are limitless! 

For the tomatoes, I love the brand Pomi! They only have one ingredient: TOMATOES! You can find Pomi chopped tomatoes in the canned vegetable aisle. Pomi is usually on the top shelf. 

Looking for wine to pair with Ratatouille? Scout & Cellar 2018 VEINTE MALBEC, Lush and fruit-forward with blueberry, black plum and wildberry jam balanced by mocha on a fresh, well-structured frame with round tannins and a lingering finish. DELICIOUS!

INGREDIENTS

  • 26.46 oz Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced into cubes
  • 1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, cut into ¾ squares
  • 2 medium zucchini , diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, more to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit 

Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up, if desired.

On one baking sheet, toss the diced eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly coated. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer across the pan, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and set aside.

On the other baking sheet, toss the bell pepper, and zucchini 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer. 

Place the eggplant pan on the middle rack and the other vegetables on the top rack. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. 

Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and caramelizing on the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

Add the tomatoes, and use a wooden spoon to stir any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan into the mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

Once 15 minutes are up, remove both pans from the oven, stir, and redistribute the contents of each evenly across the pans. This time, place the eggplant on the top rack and other vegetables on the middle rack.

Bake until the eggplant is nice and golden on the edges, about 10 more minutes (the eggplant will be done sooner than the rest). Remove the eggplant from the oven, and carefully stir the eggplant into the simmering tomato sauce.

Let the zucchini and bell pepper pan continue to bake until the peppers are caramelized, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Then, transfer the contents of the pan into the simmering sauce. Continue simmering for 5 more minutes to give the flavors time to combine.

Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon olive oil, the fresh basil, dried orengo and red pepper flakes. 

Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper.

Serve in bowls, with additional chopped basil, or black pepper on top (all optional). 

Like all stews, this ratatouille’s flavor improves as it cools. It’s even better reheated the next day. Ratatouille keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 days, or for several months in the freezer.

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Blogs, Recipes

Homemade Mac & Cheese

As many of you know, I joined the initiative #EducateYourself. I knew some but I am learning so much more. As a foodie, I wanted to learn more about the Black Culinary community, this is where I learned about James Hemings and his brother. 

The story of James Hemings is  fascinating, here’s a little taste. 

In the 18th century, James Hemings was one of America’s most accomplished chefs. He was also Thomas Jefferson’s slave. Hemings grew up as a household slave in Monticello, Jefferson’s Virginia estate. He could read and write and Jefferson trusted him. So when Jefferson sailed to France in 1784 to become America’s trade minister, he brought Hemings with him. While in Paris, Hemings was trained in the art of French cooking. He studied first with the caterer and restaurateur, Monsieur Combeaux, apprenticing with pastry chefs. After three years of study he became the head chef at the Hôtel de Langeac, Jefferson’s residence that functioned also as the American embassy. Here his dishes were served to international guests, statesmen, authors, scientists, and European aristocrats.

In 1796, James Hemings was freed by Jefferson on the condition that James would train his younger brother to replace him as chef in the Jefferson household. In 1802, Jefferson served a “macaroni pie” at a state dinner, more than likely prepared from a recipe by James and cooked by his brother. Since that time, the dish has been associated with the United States. Unfortunately, no written record of the Hemingway’s mac and cheese survives.

Enslaved chefs played a huge role in refining some of America’s current staple foods, like mac and cheese.

If you want to learn more about James Hemings. Check out: Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America written by Thomas J. Craughwell . There’s even a children’s picture book, My Name Is James Madison Hemings written by Jonah Winter. 

Here is my Mac & Cheese recipe, inspired by the 1824 cookbook “The Virginia Housewife” written by Mary Randolph. It is believed that  Randolph’s recipe may have been one of James Hemings creations.

Pair this Mac and Cheese with Scout & Cellar 2019 Fiddleneck Chardonnay, Lake County, California

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter, to grease the dish
  • 16 ounces large elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Italian cheese blend. shredded
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder

Topping:

  • 1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ¼ tsp Smoked paprika

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and butter a 3 qt baking dish (9×13″). Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs for al dente.  

While pasta is cooking, mix all 3 cheeses in a large bowl. Remove ½ cup of the mixed cheese and set aside, you will use this for the topping. 

Drain the pasta and drizzle olive oil over the pasta and combine to keep from sticking.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine.  Mixture will look like very wet sand. Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often.  

Slowly pour in the 2 cups of the milk, while whisking constantly, until smooth.  

Next, slowly pour in the 2 cups of half and half, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.

Continue to heat over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened. 

Lower the heat and stir in seasonings and whisk together. 

Stir in 1 ½ cups of the cheeses, stirring to melt and combine.  

Stir in the rest of the cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully.  

Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.  

For the topping, mix the 1/4 remaining cup melted butter, remaining cheese and crushed crackers together in a bowl; scatter the cracker mixture evenly over the macaroni.

Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the top is lightly golden brown for about 15 minutes.  

Blogs, Recipes

MOJO PORK

Every Christmas, my family has a smorgasbord of Italian and Spanish dishes. And Mojo pork is always on the table.  This recipe has become my go to for easy slow cooker meals..

This recipe is juicy, succulent with garlic and citrus  and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The pork is SO tender and juicy on the inside, while deliciously crisp and golden on the edges! I love it over yellow rice, in tacos or used to make a Cuban sandwich. And the best part is, you make this in the slow cooker so it cooks all day and will be ready when you get home from work. 

I have to admit, it has taken me many failed attempts and trying a variety of different recipes before finally creating this one and falling in love. It was all worth it! My secret little ingredient is Coca Cola! It really lifts the pork to bolder and better flavors! The orange juice and lime juice combo tenderizes the pork, while the natural sugars in the juices and the coke combined turn what would be just another pulled pork recipe, into heaven in your mouth! The trick to getting crispy edges, after shredding the pork, pop it in the oven on boil for 5-10 minutes until the meat is gold brown and crispy!

Pair this with Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™ 2018 L’ORIGINAL SPARKLING ROSÉ. 

A vibrant raspberry in color with fine, fizzy bubbles and notes of candied cherry, macerated strawberry, blood orange and cantaloupe on a full-bodied frame with a mouth-coating finish.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Coke
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 7 cloves garlic , peeled and smashed
  • 1 medium sweet onion , sliced thin
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 3 pound pork shoulder roast
  • Limes and Cilantro for garnish

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, lime juice, salt, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, pepper, and garlic.

Make slits in the pork with a paring knife and rub liberally all over with the oil mixture.

Place pork in the slow cooker, along with the onion and bay leaf. Pour the remaining juices from the bowl over the pork.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Using two forks, shred into thick chunks.

Transfer the pork to a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray (or lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper).

Pour 1 ladle full (about 1 cup) of the liquid from the slow cooker over the pork to season. 

Broil for 5-10 minutes on high heat until the meat becomes golden browned and crispy on the edges.

Season with a little extra salt and pepper if desired. Pour over more of the slow cooker juices once the meat has crisped for added flavor, just before serving!

Serve over rice or as tacos.

Blogs, Recipes

Blue Cheese Burgers with Red Wine-Onion Jam and Crispy Beer Battered Onion Rings

Are you looking for a delicious Memorial Day recipe? Look no more!

Burgers are one of summer’s classic dishes and an ever-popular pick at backyard barbecues everywhere! Not only are these burgers a cinch to make but they are the tastiest burgers you will ever eat! 

I love using Italian sausage in my burgers! It is a  smart shortcut, because the meat is already seasoned. Caramelized red onions are tasty in their own right, but simmered in a sweet/spicy mix of red wine, honey and herbs, they turn into the most delicious jam ever. And it is a perfect addition to these Blue Cheese Burgers!

Brian and I love to top these burgers with homemade Beer Battered Onion Rings! I included our recipe below. It’s delicious! Not a beer fan? Sub in any other carbonated beverage, including ginger ale, club soda or your favorite soft drink.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • ½  pound ground Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 hamburger buns, split

Red Wine-Onion Jam Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat your grill to high heat.

Mix the meat and blue cheese in a large bowl until combined. 

Shape the meat into four burgers, each about 1 inch thick.

Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place the burgers on the grill and grill until golden brown, three to four minutes. 

Turn the burgers over and continue grilling to medium, about three minutes longer. 

Remove the burgers to a plate and let rest while you grill the buns.

Butter the cut sides of the buns and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill, butter side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 30 seconds.

Place the burgers on top of the bun and spoon some onion jam on each burger. Top with the buns and serve immediately.

Red Wine-Onion Jam

– makes 3/4 cup –

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan on the grates of the grill or on a stovetop over medium-low heat.

Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add the wine, vinegar, honey, and thyme and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, five to seven minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. 

The jam can be made two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Crispy Beer Battered Onion Rings Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pale ale beer 
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour with the paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk in the beer until the mixture is well combined. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

While the batter rests, cut the tip off of the stem side of the onions then remove the peel. Slice the onions horizontally into 1/2-inch-thick rings and toss them with the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.

Add the vegetable oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot (Dutch oven) to a depth of 2 inches and heat it over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 375°F.

Working in batches, dip the onion rings into the prepared batter, shaking off any excess, then immediately drop them into the hot oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Allow the onions to cook in the oil, flipping them once to guarantee even browning, for a total of about 3 minutes. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate.

Immediately season them with salt. Repeat the coating and frying process, returning the oil to 375°F between batches, with the remaining onions.

TIPS: 

When measuring beer, don’t include the foamy head in your measurement. 

Shake off as much of the excess batter as possible when coating the onion rings in order to get the best ratio of onion to batter.