On the Side, Recipes

Creamy Parmesan & Thyme Polenta

Creamy Polenta!

Looking for a twist on your side dish for Easter? Look no more!

This light and fluffy polenta is perfect for serving with ribs, chicken, pork, lamb, or veal, and is also great with roasted veggies.

What Is Polenta?

Polenta is a porridge type dish popular in Northern Italy. In the United States, it is usually made with coarsely ground cornmeal. Think of polenta as an Italian version of grits! But made with yellow corn instead of the white corn of grits.

How to Make Polenta

Making creamy polenta is so easy that you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before.

It all starts with caramelizing up finely minced garlic cloves in a small amount of olive oil in a large saucepan.  

Once the garlic is brown in a medium-size pot in olive oil, add in the chicken broth and water, and bring it to a boil.

When the stock is boiling pour in the cornmeal while whisking constantly to ensure there are no clumps in the polenta. Turn the heat down to medium-low. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

Once the creamy polenta is finished it should be smooth with no crunch to it.  At this point stir in some whole butter, Parmesan cheese, thyme, onion powder, and salt, and pepper.

I like to serve my polenta as the base of my dish with the meat on top with polenta absorbing the sauce from the main dish.

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish

Instructions

In a large saucepan, sauté the garlic. 

Then combine broth and water, onion powder,  salt, and pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Whisking constantly, gradually add cornmeal. 

Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer polenta, whisking frequently, until thickened and creamy, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, butter and thyme and season with salt and pepper. 

Garnish with thyme, and serve. If polenta thickens upon standing, stir in a little hot water.

Note: If preparing polenta in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat on stovetop or in the microwave (about 5 minutes on high), adding more liquid if necessary. Stir vigorously after reheating to fluff.

On the Side, Recipes

Sautéed Cabbage

This Easy Sautéed Cabbage recipe is perfect for a quick side dish for any meal but especially on St. Patrick’s Day!  It’s a rustic side dish with tender, caramelized cabbage flavored with garlic, and Guinness. If you think you don’t like cabbage you need to try it this way!

Serve with my Slow Cooked Guinness Corned beef and Irish Cheddar & Garlic Soda bread

Ingredients

  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced 
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcester sauce 
  • ¼ cup Guinness 
  • Salt & pepper to taste 

Instructions 

Heat a large 12-inch skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter- about 7 minutes.

Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add half of the cabbage, stir and cook until it begins to wilt and reduce in volume, about 2 minutes. 

Add the remaining cabbage and stir until wilted, 2 minutes. Continue to cook for 8 minutes, stirring every minute to allow lightly even browning.

Add the Guiness, Worcester sauce and vinegar, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the salt and pepper, stir and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste. 

On the Side, Recipes

Creamed Spinach

Most of us have heard of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. But how many of us know the founder’s unique history?

In 1965, single mother Ruth Fertel realized she needed to earn more money to send her sons off to college. She found a restaurant for sale in a New Orleans newspaper called Chris’ Steak House. She quickly learned that Chris’ steak house originally opened on her birthdate, and she took that as a sign of good luck to move forward with the sale. 

Shortly after Fertel purchased the establishment, a fire forced her to change the original location and she renamed the restaurant, “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.”

Though she had no restaurant experience, Ruth’s Chris became a huge success. Fertel opened her first franchise in 1977 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Today, there are more than 80 locations in the U.S. and overseas.

This delicious creamed spinach recipe is inspired by the dish served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. It has just a hint of cayenne pepper to give it that Louisiana zing!

Ingredients

  • 1 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Instructions

Cook the spinach as directed on the package. Drain and squeeze all the liquid from the spinach when it is done. 

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 

Add the flour to the melted butter and stir until smooth. Cook for 2 minutes. 

Add the cream and heat for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Whisk often so that the sauce does not burn.

Add the cheese, spinach, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring often. 

Serve hot.

On the Side, Recipes

Spicy & Sweet Coleslaw

Tangy, sweet and spicy in taste, this coleslaw is far from bland or boring!

Coleslaw is such a budget friendly, versatile side dish, or salad! This crisp, sweet and spicy coleslaw is a perfect way to round out any barbecue or dinner!

Crisp, shredded cabbage mixed with crunchy carrots, parsley and  fresh green onions, then tossed with a slightly sweet, tangy mayonnaise based coleslaw sauce. This slaw is fresh, fabulous and the perfect addition to any Barbecue or try it on my Beef short rib sliders!

While the recipe below calls for small heads of green and purple cabbage, plus carrots, you can absolutely substitute a bag of pre-prepared coleslaw mix from the grocery store!

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cabbage, washed, peeled and shredded
  • 1 small head purple cabbage, washed, peeled and shredded
  • 2-3 large carrots, washed, peeled and shredded
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½  teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley 
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

In a food processor with a grating blade, shred the cabbage and carrots. Process in batches. Set into a large bowl. Add the parsley and toss.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sriracha, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, salt, and black pepper. 

When adding the coleslaw dressing to the vegetables, start with 1/4 cup of dressing, toss and then continue to add the dressing a little bit at a time until desired level of creaminess is achieved. Chances are, you will not need all of the dressing, so it is best to err on the side of caution! I only used 1/3 cup on my coleslaw and I used the rest for dipping my homemade beer battered onion rings!

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Blogs, Pasta, Recipes

Creamy Spinach Orzo

I love orzo! I much rather have orzo than rice any day! 

Since orzo is so quick-cooking, it’s a perfect choice for a one-pot dinner. It cooks up fast in a simmering pot of broth and milk, and the starch from the pasta actually helps to thicken the creamy sauce. 

There’s little work required, besides stirring in a few big handfuls of baby spinach and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese. This orzo is an amazing blank-canvas recipe, it’s easy to tweak, you can add cherry tomatoes, peppers, or even shredded chicken. Seriously the possibilities are endless! Get creative! 

You can serve this creamy orzo as either a light main dish or a side dish. We served it alongside my Lemon Parmesan Chicken but totally could have eaten it as the main dish- it’s that good! 

Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Spinach Orzo

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried orzo pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. 

Add the onion and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. 

Add the garlic and orzo, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in the broth and milk and bring to a boil. 

Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed and has formed a creamy sauce, about 10 minutes. 

(If the orzo isn’t completely, you can add another splash or two of broth to the pot and continue to simmer until it has.)

Stir in the spinach and Parmesan until the spinach has just wilted and the cheese melts, about 1 minute. 

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with additional cheese.

Blogs, Recipes

Mushroom Leek Stir Fry

I recently had an abundance of leeks and asked my friends to give me some recipe ideas. My friend, Natasha suggested Stir fry and I am so glad she did!! This recipe was inspired by the Food & Wine Stir Fry recipe, Natasha shared with me.

This is one of those dishes that is unbelievably simple and super tasty. I love spicy Asian food! So when I found this chili paste, Dragon Fly Fried Chili Paste at my local Asian market, I fell in love! It is absolutely delicious but be careful it is SPICY! A ½ teaspoon gives you the perfect amount of heat! If you like your food spicier then by all means add a full teaspoon. 

You can eat this stir fry alone or over rice. I served it alongside Chicken thighs and a side of brown rice.  

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced 
  • 1 large leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 4  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese chile paste, II love DragonFly Fried Chili Paste

Instructions

Heat a large skillet. 

Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, tilting to coat the skillet. 

Add the mushrooms and onions,  stir-fry over high heat until golden, about 8 minutes. 

Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 

Add the leek, garlic and ginger and stir-fry until the leek is tender, about 2 minutes. 

Add the soy sauce, sesame oil and chile paste and stir-fry for 1 minute. 

Serve.

Blogs, Recipes

Green Bean Bacon Bundles

As much as I love steamed or stir-fried veggies, there is just something about roasted vegetables. The caramelization adds so much flavor! These green bean bacon bundles are no exception. They’re absolutely delicious and easy to make.  

Tender crisp green beans wrapped in bacon and tossed in brown sugar glaze, it doesn’t get much better than that! These are easy enough for a weeknight meal and make a fun side dish to a barbeque with friends and family!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ¼ lbs green beans 
  • 6 slices bacon cut in half, do not use thick cut bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Remove the bacon from the oven.

Trim the ends of the green beans. 

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Place the green beans in the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender. 

Drain and put the green beans in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Pat the green beans dry. 

In a small bowl whisk together the garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, butter, brown sugar and pepper. 

Pour the butter mixture over the green beans and toss to coat.

Wrap 6-8 green beans with a piece of bacon.  

Place the green bean bundles on a sheet pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crispy. 

Serve.

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

Roasted Garlic & Lemon Butter Risotto

I love risotto! I much rather have a bowl of risotto than Mac and Cheese any day of the week. 

I’m not going to lie to you. This creamy risotto is hands on. You do have to stand there and stir, and add liquid, and stir, and monitor. But I promise it is worth every minute! My friend Amy says risotto is a labor of love. 

I have several risotto recipes, that’s how much I love it!

This recipe is  buttery with hints of lemon! And the roasted garlic takes it up a notch! 

Roast Garlic is absolutely delicious! It will fill your house with the most irresistible, and mouth-watering aromas imaginable. I’m talking about the whole head of garlic roasted with olive oil until each individual clove is completely golden and butter-soft. It will just squeeze out! Roasted garlic is perfect for spreading a piece of bread or mashing into dishes like this risotto. 

This risotto recipe is a perfect side with baked cod or breaded chicken!

Looking for wine to compliment this dish?

Try the Scout & Cellar 2019 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 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic, roasted- see instructions below
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 3 tablespoon. Brandy, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon. chopped fresh chives

Roasted Garlic 

  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Roast Garlic 

Heat the oven to 400°F: Set a rack in the middle position.

Peel (most of) the paper off the garlic

Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.

Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.

Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves.

Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.

Risotto

In a medium saucepan, heat chicken broth stock to boiling; keep hot over low heat.

In a 2-1/2-quart saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to foam and turns brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add shallots, onions  and cook, stirring until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Stir in rice until coated with butter. Make a well in the middle of the coated risotto and squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot. Stir until combined. 

Add brandy and simmer, stirring, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of broth and lemon juice and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Add lemon zest and stir until combined. 

Continue adding broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each batch to absorb before pouring in the next. Cook until rice is tender but still firm to the bite, 15 to 20 minutes total. 

Remove from heat; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon of the chives; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer risotto to two serving plates and garnish with remaining chives.

Recipes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Radishes

Who knew that roasted radishes actually taste like roasted red potatoes! Seriously!
I had a bag of radishes I was worried were going to go bad so I did a quick Google search and learned roasted radishes are a healthy alternative for roasted potatoes.
So I grabbed the radishes, a bag of brussel sprouts, some of my favorite seasonings and bacon. I mean what doesn’t bacon go good with!
I couldn’t believe how delicious this came out! I definitely will be roasting radishes again!

Here’s how I had prepared them.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices Bacon, cooked
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts quartered and outer layers peeled
  • 1 bunch Radishes halved
  • 4 strips bacon
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ tsp Italian Herb Seasoning
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook bacon and set aside.
  3. Toss the quartered brussels and halved radishes in a bowl with oil, seasonings, salt, and pepper and set aside.
  4. Drizzle EVOO over a baking sheet.
  5. Spread the brussels and radishes out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the veggies are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
  7. Chop the bacon and sprinkle on top of the veggies.