Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Monday, October 24, 2016

30 Minute Meal: Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

On some day, Mondays in particular, a quick meal is in order. I've blogged before about how much I love the convenience and the varied flavors of Smithfield's pre-packaged pork tenderloins. This was my first time to use this particular flavor and it very easily could become my favorite. Don't worry, there's no overly sweet, sticky teriyaki glaze. There IS a subtle flavor of garlic, sweetness, and every now and then a faint taste of ginger. 

I would love to try this in Asian stir-fry with lots of vegetables. But, for tonight, a quick trip to the grill and we were ready to dine in 30 minutes!

Preheat gas grill to a temp between 375 - 400 degrees. Place tenderloin onto hot grill and let cook for 15 minutes without turning.

At the end of 15 minutes, gently turn and cook another 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Remove from heat and tent loosely with foil. Slice and serve immediately.

Lolly's Black Pepper Slaw

When you need a quick side dish, prepackaged salads and slaws can be a life saver. I found this type of slaw mix which is very finely chopped. No carrots or red cabbage added, just finely chopped green cabbage. This is the type of slaw I grew up with and it's embarrassingly simple to mix and serve. This small amount was perfect for the two of us (no leftovers!), but could easily be doubled.  The secret here is lots of black pepper. 

2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
1/3 cup mayo (I use Duke's!)
1 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 T. freshly ground black pepper

Add cabbage to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise and remaining ingredients and fold together until the ingredients are completely mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If you like a wetter slaw, add a little additional mayonnaise.

Serve and top with additional freshly ground black pepper.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower and Green Beans

Always attempting to incorporate more vegetables into our diets and meal plans. Steaming can get boring, frying, for the most part, isn't a great idea on a long-term basis, so what do? Roasting! Roasting vegetables in a very hot oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper is so convenient especially when you have a meat loaf baking, or a chicken roasting, etc.

The high heat helps to caramelize the natural sweetness in vegetables and along with the health benefits of the olive oil, makes roasting vegetables a win/win.

1 pound green beans, washed and ends trimmed
1 head cauliflower, washed, core removed, and florets separated
2 - 3 T. olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

On a sheet pan, place prepared vegetables and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and using your hands, toss to coat.

Spread vegetables in an even layer. Roast 15 - 18 minutes until vegetables soften and begin to brown. Using a spatula, turn vegetables over halfway through the cooking time.

Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.  Or top with unsalted butter.

Be proud of yourself for incorporating more vegetables into your diet!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Southwestern Beef & Pork Meatloaf

This recipe makes a family sized meatloaf. With one pound of ground chuck and one pound of ground pork, it can easily feed your family for dinner. If you're preparing it for one or two diners, you'll have delicious leftovers for lunch the next day and don't forget meatloaf sandwiches!!

1 pound ground chuck (80/20)
1 pound ground pork
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 red jalapeno, diced
1 green jalapeno, diced
2 T. chili powder
1 t. granulated garlic
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup ketchup (plus more for the topping)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix everything together until well combined. Use your hands to mix the ingredients very lightly.

Shape into a loaf shape on the prepared baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 45 - 50 minutes or until internal temperature is 160 degrees. 

Remove from oven and top with additional ketchup. Using a knife, spread evenly over the entire top of the meatloaf.  Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes or so.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Panko Crusted Baked Chicken & Eggplant layered with Provolone and Spicy Marinara Sauce

I could eat Italian food every single day. It's my favorite cuisine. This one starts with a very simple spicy marinara sauce that simmers for a few hours. It's the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon meal.

This is my take on chicken parmigiana. I'm still limiting carb intake for awhile, so I eliminated the pasta and baked the chicken and eggplant instead of frying.

Let's start with the marinara sauce.

2 T. olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup minced yellow onions
1 t. Kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
29 oz. can tomato puree
15 oz. can tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese rinds (if available)

In a 3 quart Dutch oven or large saucepan, add olive oil over low heat. Toss in the garlic and let cook on low heat for several minutes.

Add the red pepper flakes and stir to combine with the garlic and let cook for 2 minutes.

Next, add the onions with the salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, let cook for 5 - 7 minutes.

Add the tomato puree and the tomato sauce. Cover and let cook for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When you finish grating Parmesan cheese, you are keeping the rind, aren't you? It's so simple to just drop the rind into a freezer bag and keep it for just a day like today.

Put the rind(s) into the sauce, stir, and cover the pot. Let simmer for several hours, stirring every now and then. 

When ready to serve, taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.

While the sauce is simmering, you can prepare the chicken and eggplant.

3 Italian Eggplants (about 1 pound)
1 pound chicken cutlets, pounded thin
2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 t. water
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups Italian style Panko bread crumbs
Olive Oil Non-Stick Spray
Sliced Provolone Cheese
Parmesan Cheese for grating on top
Chopped Basil for garnish

Slice eggplants about 1/4 " thick and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. The salt will draw out the water which will remove a lot of the bitterness which is sometimes found in eggplants. Let rest for 30 - 45 minutes and then rinse off the salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chicken cutlets between layers of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet, pound to a thickness of 1/4". 

In a shallow baking dish, pour the eggs and water and lightly salt and pepper.

Pour the Panko bread crumbs into a separate shallow baking dish.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with the non-stick spray.

Taking one piece of a chicken at a time, place in the egg wash, and then transfer to the Panko crumbs. Press the chicken into the crumbs and make sure chicken cutlets are completely covered. Place on prepared parchment paper. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.

Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and using a metal spatula, carefully turn the chicken over and return to oven for another 10 minutes.

While chicken is baking, repeat the process with the eggplant slices. Dip into the egg wash, then the Panko bread crumbs and place the slices on another parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Let the eggplant bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and using a metal spatula, carefully turn the eggplant slices over and return to oven for another 10 minutes.

Now it's time to plate!

Place one piece of chicken onto the plate and ladle the spicy marinara sauce over the chicken. Place one slice of Provolone cheese over the sauce.  Now place several slices of the eggplant on top of the cheese.

Add a little more sauce over the top and grate fresh Parmesan over everything. Ladle additional sauce around the plate, if desired and sprinkle with chopped basil.

Repeat with remaining chicken and eggplant.

Serve immediately.

Weekend Steak & Eggs: Philly Cheesesteak Omelette

It's that time again! Weekend Steak and Eggs. I love Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. So just imagine the flavors of seared rib eye steak, sauteed onions and peppers, layered with provolone cheese inside a two egg omelette. 

The ingredients listed will make two filled to the brim omelettes. Adjust the amounts up or down for the number of omelettes you're preparing.

3/4 lb. rib eye steak, sliced as thinly as possibly against the grain
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 T. butter, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Splash of water
2 slices Provolone Cheese

Using a VERY sharp knife, thinly slice the onions, peppers, and the rib eye steak across the grain.

In a medium skillet, melt 1 T. of the butter on medium-high heat until bubbling has stopped. Add onions and peppers to the skillet and lightly salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened. Remove the vegetables from the skillet into a small bowl and set aside.

Add 1 T. of butter to the same skillet and increase heat to high. Add rib eye to the skillet, lightly salt and pepper, and quickly cook the steak.

Remove from heat while you prepare the omelettes.

To a small skillet, add 1 T. of butter over medium-low heat. While butter melts, whisk together two eggs with a splash of water and salt and pepper.

Slowly pour the eggs into the skillet and do not stir.

As the bottom of the eggs begins to set, gently raise a small portion of the eggs on one side and allow some of the uncooked eggs to run underneath the cooked portion.

Now it's time for an ACTION SHOT! Gather up your courage and FLIP THAT OMELETTE!

If you can't gather up enough courage to flip that omelette, carefully turn the eggs over using a spatula.

And now you can add some of that delicious rib eye steak on one-half of the eggs.

Add the provolone cheese on top of the steak and then layer on the peppers and onions.

Using a spatula, fold the other half of the omelette over the filling. Carefully slide from the skillet onto a plate.

Repeat with remaining eggs to prepare the second omelette.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Kids' Table for Halloween 2016

I love to decorate the table for the little ones for Halloween. We're just entering the stage of their childhood where they are beginning to really enjoy the fun of Halloween. So this year, we're having fun gobblins and spooks.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun decorating a table. Most of these items were purchased at the dollar store. 

These spider cupcake holders from Avon also make cute cup holders.

And these menu boards were only $1 each!

 I hope your little ones have a Frightfully Fun Halloween!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Crockpot Pork Roast

So I bought a pork roast this week. I had no idea how I was going to prepare it or what I would serve as side dishes. This morning at 6:30 I STILL had no idea. I knew it was going in the slow cooker, but I didn't know what flavor profile to use. Mexican and add a can of Rotel tomatoes? Italian and add oregano and basil and a parmesan cheese rind? Seasoned salt and plan on BBQ plates tonight?

Granted, my brain wasn't working that well at 6:30 a.m. So, into the crock pot it went. I sprinkled it liberally with onion powder, granulated garlic, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. About a cup of water was added as well. 

10 hours later........I had a sinfully good, melt in your mouth tender, ready for anything pork roast. 

Now at this point, you can go in any direction you want. You have a deliciously blank canvas to work with here.

Mexican? You can quickly stir fry some peppers and onions, add cumin, chili powder and a can of Rotel tomatoes and you use as a filling for burritos, soft or crunchy tacos or tostadas.

Comfort food?  You can quickly make a pan gravy, a nice bowl of buttery mashed potatoes, steamed peas or green beans, and you have a great family weeknight meal.

BBQ? Shred the meat, pile it high on a bun and douse with your favorite BBQ sauce. Add baked beans and potato salad and you're good to go!

Lemon Pepper Catfish

I am loving these catfish fillets! Another easy smeasy preparation that delivers big time on flavor. I love anything lemon and lemon pepper is one of my favorite seasoning blends. A light sprinkle, a cast iron skillet, a touch of butter and olive oil and by the time the broccoli was steamed, supper was ready!

Eating catfish is a delicious way to boost you and your family's intake of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. It's also high in protein and B-12. 

1 lb. catfish fillets, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
Lemon Pepper
1 - 2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter

Sprinkle lemon pepper liberally over both sides of fish.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted and has stopped bubbling, slowly add the fillets to the skillet. After one minute of cooking, reduce heat to medium. Cook fish 3 - 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Serve with lemon wedges and fresh vegetables or a salad for your sides.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dining Out Southeast: Old Town Stock House, Guntersville, AL

We had an early anniversary dinner Saturday night at the Old Town Stock House in Guntersville, Alabama. Chef Crystal McKone knocks it out of the park by incorporating seasonal ingredients into her menu planning.  Kudos Chef.  Please click on the link for more information. 

The lovely historic building was built in 1901. It's located in downtown Guntersville right behind the county courthouse. Everything, from the ambiance to the seasonal menu offerings, to the food, was outstanding.

When Sweet Harold called for reservations, he was asked if there was any special occasion we'd be celebrating. He told them our anniversary and we were greeted with complimentary bubbly! That certainly set the tone for this great evening.

While we sipped our bubbly and pondered the menu, our server brought the amuse bouche of the night:  steamed marinated crab claws. Isn't that lovely? Perfectly cooked with a very light oil and vinegar dressing. Needless to say, we enjoyed these little "bites."

Five selections were available on the "small plates" offerings. I was definitely intrigued by the Fall Salad. All of the ingredients are some of my favorites: baby lettuces, roasted squash and beets, candied pecans, citrus, blue cheese, maple vinaigrette. 

I was a little disappointed in the amount of blue cheese, but I should have trusted the chef. The amount was perfectly balanced with the tartness of the citrus and the richness of the roasted vegetables. I could have this salad every single day.

And Sweet Harold totally surprised me with his choice:  pan roasted quail, candied fennel, cherries, lardons, bacon toast, arugula. Now if you're wondering what bacon toast is, well, it's not toast with bacon on top. It's bread, buttered with bacon droppings, and then grilled.  Re-read that.  Yes, it was THAT amazing.

The quail was succulent and melted in your mouth. A delightful Fall small plate!

While we studied the dinner menu, we ordered drinks. I already had my mind semi-decided on my entree, so I decided a big girl drink was in order. How about a Dirty Martini with blue cheese olives! Oh yes. Sweet Harold ordered one of his favorites, a Long Island Ice Tea. Both were made at the bar directly across from our table by the House Mixologist, Reece Dodd.

A basket with hot rolls and butter were good to nibble on while we waited for our entrees. A small thing, but I really wish the butter had been room temp for ease of spreading on these delicious rolls.

Now to the main event.  Sweet Harold can have first billing this time. He chose the Airline Chicken Breast served with white rice, red bean gravy, Alabama andouille. This was a more than adequate serving of chicken. He reports that it was very moist and the red bean gravy was nicely seasoned. He allowed me ONE bite.  Usually, he shares more than that, so I think that says a lot!

I decided to go big! I was thrilled to see a filet on the menu.  An 8 oz. grass-fed filet, potato gratin, seasonal vegetables (for this meal it was haricot verts and mushrooms), red wine reduction. You can tell when you are served high-quality ingredients. This filet was cooked medium per my request. The red wine reduction is definitely one I wish I could master.

We normally don't order dessert, but this was a special meal and we wanted to see if the perfection from our Chef would carry over to the dessert course. No need to question that!

As you know, pecan pies are my weakness. Now you add chocolate to that....and then add ice cream and caramel sauce....oh my goodness. The pie was served hot and the ice cream was just beginning to melt down into that chocolatey pecan goodness. I wasn't able to eat all of it, but trust me, I really wished I had it a few hours later!

Sweet Harold almost chose the Earl Grey Crème Brûlée. but then he noticed the poached pear in a chocolate shell, with shortbread crumb, vanilla ice cream, candied ginger. I couldn't wait to see the presentation for this dessert. We weren't disappointed.

As you can tell, there is SO much attention to detail in the plating. We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our evening. We'll be back!