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Baked French Onion Soup

11 Dec

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I always think this is much harder then it actually is to make.

This time I made my own beef broth and it was really good.

This does add one extra day since I am a nut about skimming fat off soup.

5 pounds of good meaty beef ribs

3 tablespoons olive oil

One tablespoon kosher salt

One teaspoon corse black pepper

Ten cups water

4 tablespoons butter

Six large rough chopped onions

One teaspoon salt

One teaspoon sugar

3 heaping tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

8 to 10 cups beef broth

3 tablespoons Cognac

salt to taste

8 ounces Gruyere cheese

One handful of fresh garlic croutons per bowl of soup

Start by making the broth. If you don’t have time a good beef stock is good.

Season the beef ribs with salt and pepper

Place the olive oil in a pan and brown the ribs.

Add the water and bring to a boil.

Let this simmer for several hours until the meat fall off the bone.

If the broth needs more flavor season it with beef bouillon cubes.

Remember this is salty so add one cube at a time and taste.

Strain the broth and put it in a container to chill.

Take all the meat off the bones and set aside.

Make your dog really happy and give her the scrapes but not the bones.

Melt the butter in the same soup pot

Add the onions, stir them around to coat them all with the butter.

Add the salt and sugar

Let the onions cook slowly till they are really soft and slightly brown.

This takes at least 30 minutes on a low heat.

Add the flour and thyme over the onions and cook the flour for a least a couple of minutes

Make sure you mix the flour in with the onions so it is smooth.

Add the white wine and cook for five minutes so the alcohol burns off.

Add the  beef broth and the shredded meat from the bones

Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer

Add the cognac and keep the soup at a simmer for about one hour.

Get out your oven proof ramekins and ladle into the bowl

Only fill the bowls a little more than half

Put two tablespoons of Gruyere cheese  on top of the soup.

Add the handfuls of garlic croutons on top followed with  three tablespoons of Gruyere cheese.

This is a perfect example of more is better.

If you think you need more broth add it now.

Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake at 425 degrees till the cheese is melted and bubbling.

I used to broil the soup but I did burn it once so now I bake it.

Carefully take out of the oven and ENJOY.

I very rarely drink but I love a glass of good white wine with this.

I served this with mashed potato pies.

It was a great meal.

 

 

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Baked Chicken with Butternut Squash and Grapes

15 Nov

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One peeled and sliced butternut squash

6 large bone in chicken thighs, trimmed of all the fat and half of the skin

20 grapes

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

One teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons oil

Mix everything together except the honey

Place it all in a pan with non stick foil on the bottom

Drizzle the honey on top

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Dairy Free Brownie Cookies

4 Sep

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I found another recipe for my grandchild who is allergic to dairy.

I’m so happy because he loves chocolate.

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt. Only use kosher salt or else it will be too salty.

2 egg whites

One whole egg

8 ounces of dairy free chocolate morsels

Sift the sugar, cocoa and salt together.

Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until they are whiter but not stiff.

Add the whole egg and mix  into the whites

Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

It forms a pretty, silky chocolate batter.

Add the chips and fold them into the batter.

Drop one full tablespoon on a baking pan coated with parchment paper or a Silpak.

Place the cookies at least two inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes.

I did not grease the baking pan but when I made my second batch I did spray the silpak just a little.

These cookies only have the fat from the dairy free chips so they do stick a little.

Wait till they are cool before removing them from the pan.

The cookie is chewy and delicious.

 

Eggplant Towers

13 Jul

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I love eggplant and always look for new recipes.

Three medium size eggplants.

One cup grated parmesan cheese

One cup Panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

One teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper

2 eggs

One tablespoon greek cucumber yogurt sauce for every slice of eggplant

One large basil leaf for every slice of eggplant

One thin slice of tomato and red onion for every slice of eggplant.

1/2 teaspoon garlic herb cheese for every slice of eggplant.

One  1 1/2 thick slice fresh mozzarella cheese for every slice of eggplant.

Fresh basil

Balsamic glaze drizzle

Heat the oven to 425 degrees

Take your baking sheet with a silpak and drizzle it with oil

Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices

Beat the eggs and add 1/4 cup of water and beat again

Mix the cheese, Panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley all together

Dip the sliced eggplant into the egg then into the crumb mixture.

Place on the oiled baking sheet

Bake for 15 minutes and if they are brown turn them over to crisp the bottom.

Try not to eat all of them right out of the oven.

The next step is all assembly.

Eggplant, mozzarella cheese, tomato, basil, onion, cucumber yogurt sauce, eggplant and herb cheese with another basil leaf on top.

Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Serve them as a side, salad or sandwich.

The balsamic glaze is important because it is the only real strong flavor.

The eggplant can be made ahead of time so the assembly goes much faster.

I have added fresh spinach, arugula and different cheeses.

Let your imagination go wild.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate and Toasted Marshmallow Cake

24 Jan

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This cake is a SAVER.

I have made it three times now and it gets better and better.

I wish I can give someone credit for it but I do not know the creator. The frosting is from William Sonoma. All I can say is THANK YOU.

I don’t even feel guilty eating it because it is so heavy I feel as if I had a workout just lifting it.

This is a special occasion cake because it takes forever to make and so worth it.

Chocolate Cake:

2 1/2 cups  plus one tablespoon all purpose flour

3 cups granulated sugar, yes I said three cups

1 cup plus one tablespoon premium cocoa powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

3 egg at room temperature

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 cups strong hot black coffee

3/4 cups vegetable oil

1 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, never use imitation

Malted Chocolate Frosting:

One pound of unsalted butter, yes I said one pound

4 cups powdered sifted sugar

3/4 cup Ovaltine Classic

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

8 ounces quality dark chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled

1/2 cup whipping cream

Toasted Marshmallow Frosting:

16 large white marshmallows

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 jar [213g] marshmallow fluff

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the oven rack in the center of the oven.

Get three 8 inch cake pans and cut parchment paper to fit the bottom.

Butter and flour each pan and make sure to shake out any extra flour.

Sift all the dry ingredients together.

Mix the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla together in a separate bowl and mix well.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mix and beat on low with your splash guard down.

Scrape down the sides and beat on medium for two minutes.

Evenly divide the batter into the three pans.

The batter is very thin.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Rotate the pans and bake for another 8 to 12 minutes.

Test with your cake tester till clean.

Cool for twenty minutes and then invert until completely cool.

Set aside.

Chocolate Frosting:

Put the paddle attachment on your mixture.

Combine sugar and butter and beat at low speed for one minute till it is incorporated.

Add Ovaltine powder, vanilla and salt.

Mix well.

Add the melted chocolate and beat till smooth about two minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and whip another minute.

Add the whipping cream and beat on low then high for a minute.

This is tricky because you have to keep this cool but don’t refrigerate it or it will stiffen up. So I take a cold towel and wrap it around the bowl until I make the marshmallow frosting. The other frosting only takes about 5 minutes to make.

Marshmallow Frosting:

Put the marshmallows on a piece of parchment paper sprayed with non stick spray.

Place on the low rack in the oven and broil till a nice light brown crust forms.

Turn over and toast the other side.

This takes only 30 to 60 seconds

Put the paddle attachment on your mixture.

Mix the butter and sugar on low till smooth.

Add vanilla and beat for 3 minutes.

Add the marshmallow fluff and toasted marshmallows and mix at low speed till smooth.

Cut the three cakes horizontally into six layers.

Put a small dollop of frosting on a cake plate.

Place one layer of cake on the plate

Start with the marshmallow frosting and use 1/3 of it. Make a nice even layer but don’t go over the edge of the cake.

Layer with more cake.

Top with 1/6 of the chocolate buttercream. Spread evenly.

Top with another layer of cake

Press down on the cake gently to make sure the cake is stable and not tilted.

Alternate the two frostings and the cake till you get to the last layer.

This is a six layer cake so you want it to be stable.

Gently press down to stabilize the cake and make sure it is even.

Frost the top with 1/6 of the frosting.

Frost the sides of the cake

Put the remaining chocolate frosting in a pastry bag.

Start decorating….

Thats it!

You are now a proud mother.

Let this cake chill till the frosting sets before you cut it.

Garnish with chocolate curls, malted milk balls, marshmallows or whatever you want.

This is my children’s favorite cake.

So I will make it again for them with more love.

 

 

 

 

 

Brussels Sprouts in Bacon

27 Dec

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This is a great appetizer, snack or vegetable side dish.

All you need is a ton of washed  Brussel sprouts and sliced bacon.

Take the bottom stem off the sprout

Slice a pound of bacon into three  sections

Wrap the bacon around the sprouts and place seam side down in a drip pan.

Bake at 375 degrees till the bacon is crisp,

Drain on a paper towel

I serve these all by themselves but  a beau monde or ranch dip would be good.

I ate a tray of 16 which is the equivalent to 4 slices of bacon.

It was a great lunch and no carbs.

 

Stuffed Mushrooms

6 Dec

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I cant make enough of these.

I made a huge batch for Thanksgiving and they disappeared.

So of course I made more and they disappeared.

One large package of mushrooms about 25.

3 packages of cheese and crackers. You know the kind you get for your kids as a snack but end up eating. I buy the Keebler or Ritz brand because they have six crackers not four.

One diced onion

2 cloves diced garlic

3 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons diced fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Sauté the butter, onion and garlic.

Add the chopped stems from the mushrooms.

Season with pepper

Cook till everything is soft.

Add the parsley

Put the crackers in your food processor and pulse till the crackers are crumbs

Add the onion and mushroom mixture With all the butter.

Pulse three or four times.

Stuff each mushroom so they are firmly packed

Place on a cookie sheet with a tiny drop of butter on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops start to brown.

Don’t add any additional salt because the crackers are pretty salty.