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Welcome to my blog where I test, evaluate, and share recipes. I love trying new recipes, creating recipes, and improving on the classics. I also post about where I have gone to find quality products and the freshest ingredients in the Food Travels tab. If you have pets, you might enjoy making a homemade treat from the Dog and Parrot recipe tabs. Please feel free to comment or make suggestions on this blog. If you have any recipes that you would like me to test or improve (make it healthier, substitutions, put a twist on it, etc.), please email me at breagha70@gmail.com or click on the "Recipe Suggestions" tab above.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

LAMB HOT POT (CROCK POT STYLE)


This is a traditional Scottish recipe which I have modified to my liking.  The original traditional recipe calls for lamb kidneys as well as lamb chops.  Now, I am sure there are people out there that like lamb kidneys, but I happen not to be one of them.  So, if you were hoping to find a Lamb Hot Pot recipe with those famous kidneys, you will not find it here. Instead, I have only used the chops with bones and fat (for lots of flavor).  

Easter will be arriving soon and this could be served instead of the traditional Leg of Lamb. I have made use of the Crock Pot with this recipe, so very little cleanup.  Hope you enjoy and have a Happy Easter!

LAMB HOT POT (CROCK POT STYLE)
Recipe Scottish Traditional and adapted by Bonnie J. Thompson

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Crock Pot Cook Time:  Approx. 6-7 Hours on Low
Serves:  6

Recipe/Ingredients:

6 Lamb Shoulder Chops
6-7 Russet Potatoes, peeled and sliced (approx. 1/2 inch)
6 Carrots, peeled and sliced (approx. 1/4 inch)
2 Medium Onions, peeled and sliced (approx. 1/8 inch)
Salt & pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence 
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
4-5 cups Beef Broth
Parsley (garnish)

Equipment:

Crock Pot - 4.5-5 quart minimum
Large Frying Pan
2 Bowls - one large; one small
Knife, Vegetable Peeler & Cutting Board

Instructions:



Start by peeling and slicing the potatoes and carrots and set aside in a large bowl.  Next, peel and slice the onions and set aside in another bowl.

Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper and sear the chops for one minute each side. 


Assemble the Crock Pot in layers:  3 lamb chops on the bottom, half the onions, 1 teaspoon of the Herbs de Provence, 1 teaspoon of the Worcestershire Sauce, all potatoes and carrots, salt and pepper to taste, remaining 3 lamb chops, remaining onions, remaining teaspoon of the Herbs de Provence, and the remaining teaspoon of the Worcestershire Sauce.  Add the beef broth so that the liquid just meets the last layer.





Cook in the Crock Pot for 6-7 hours on a low setting.  Serve hot and garnish with Parsley, fresh or dried.  Serve also with a nice crusty artisan bread for dipping!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

ROTISSERIE TURKEY BREAST


Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Americans!  I have so many wonderful memories surrounding this holiday as I am sure most people do.  Whenever I think of Thanksgivings past, I am transported back to my childhood when I would help my grandmother and mother in the kitchen.  I remember my mother and grandmother getting up at the crack of dawn to engage in the daunting task of preparing the feast to come.  We always ate Thanksgiving dinner around midday, so getting up early to get things going was a necessity.  I followed this example into my adulthood until just recently when I discovered an easier way to prepare the star of the show which is less work and less stressful - which allows me to actually enjoy the holiday.

I decided to rotisserie a turkey breast on my gas grill over the summer to see how it would come out - somewhat of a test run for Thanksgiving.  Now, if you enjoy the whole turkey, you can rotisserie a whole turkey this way as well.  You would have to prepare your grill to accommodate the size of the turkey.  There are many how-to videos and articles on the internet to help you to achieve this.  I don't particularly care for the dark meat as much as the white, so this is why I chose just to cook the breast.  If you have a large group and they also don't mind just eating the white meat of the turkey, you could prepare two turkey breasts on the spit to accommodate the number of people you have to feed.  The nice thing about this cooking method is that clean up is a breeze.  All you have to clean is the rotisserie rod and prongs and throw away the foil that lines the tray, which is placed under the turkey breast.  Easy, right?

ROTISSERIE TURKEY BREAST
Recipe by Bonnie J. Thompson

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  Approx. 1  1/2 hr. to 2 hr.
Serves:  4

Recipe/Ingredients:

1  6-7 lb. turkey breast, thawed completely
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup olive oil, separated equally (1/4 c. & 1/4 c.)
Seasoned Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Equipment:

Gas Grill with temperature gauge
Meat Thermometer
Rotisserie attachment
Foil and metal tray
Large metal fork
Basting brush

Instructions:

Prepare a foil lined metal tray and place on center of grill.  Set up rotisserie on grill.  Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare the turkey breast for seasoning.  Be sure to follow safety guidelines for handling poultry.  Put the turkey breast on a platter and set aside.  Wash hands!  In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, half of the olive oil (1/4 cup), lemon juice and all seasonings.  Stir together and set aside.  Take a large metal fork and poke the turkey breast several times, piercing the top and sides (this helps the seasoning mixture to reach the meat and to cook more evenly).  Peel back the skin on the breast just enough to make a pocket on each breast.  Take a teaspoon amount of the seasoning mixture and spread between the skin and the breast.  Slather the remaining olive oil all over the turkey breast.  Add a little seasoned salt and pepper evenly on the turkey breast.

Attach the turkey breast to the rotisserie rod and prongs so that the breast is centered on the grill.  Attach the rotisserie rod with turkey breast in place to your rotisserie motor on the grill.  Turn on the rotisserie and turn off the center burners to create an indirect heat.  Close lid.  
Maintain a constant 350-400 degree Fahrenheit temperature.  You may have to turn your burners up or down, depending on the BTU's of your gas grill in order to maintain the temperature required.  Try to keep the center burners at the lowest position if you cannot maintain the temperature required.  In my experience, I have had to "play" with the burners to maintain the required temperature.

Brush some of the remaining butter/olive oil/seasoning mixture and brush over the turkey breast with the basting brush as the rotisserie turns the breast, approximately every 20 minutes and close the lid.  Keep maintaining the temperature 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Again, this might mean turning the center burners back on or turning them up a little until the required temperature is reached again.  Once the required temperature is reached again, either turn off the center burners or turn the center burners to the lowest position in order to maintain temperature.

You will want to use a meat thermometer to gauge how fast or slow your turkey breast is cooking.  When the turkey breast has been cooking for about 1 hour, take a meat thermometer and stick it into the thickest part of the breast to check the internal temperature.  At this point the internal temperature should be about half way to done, give or take a few degrees.  You will want to keep checking the internal temperature periodically so that you do not overcook the breast.  Turkey breast will be done when the internal temperature reaches 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Total cooking time on the rotisserie can take anywhere between 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, depending on the size of the turkey breast.

When the turkey breast has reached the required internal temperature, carefully take it off the rotisserie spit and let it rest for a couple of minutes before carving.  Resting allows the juices to redistribute which makes the meat moist.

In my opinion, this is the best way to enjoy turkey.  The meat is incredibly moist and the skin is crisp.  Just the way I remembered it from my childhood...maybe even better.  So enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and don't forget to be thankful for not having to clean up a messy roasting pan!




Sunday, September 14, 2014

COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS

















I love coffee cake and when I stumbled upon this recipe I had to try it.  It's not much of a twist on coffee cake except that it's made into a muffin.  They tasted good but I still like the traditional coffee cake a little better.  Some of the topping that the recipe called for fell off during the baking process but, again, the taste was good and they were moist like a coffee cake.  If desired, you could just make the recipe as a traditional coffee cake by pouring the batter into a rectangle cake pan.

COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS
Adapted from damndelicious.net

Prep Time:  25 minutes
Bake Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves:  12

Ingredients:

Muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs

Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners or coat with nonstick spray and set aside.

Prepare the crumb topping:  In a medium mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar and light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.









Whisk in melted butter.









Add flour and stir with rubber spatula just until moist.









Spread mixture out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to dry.









Prepare the muffin batter:  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.










In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, canola oil and eggs.  Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until moist.









Pour batter into muffin pan.  Sprinkle and gently press the reserved crumb topping over each muffin.









Bake in oven, middle rack, for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on cooling rack.

Friday, December 14, 2012

COUNTRY FRENCH OMELET

The best cooking and baking time of the year is now upon us and I can't wait to whip up some great creations and test more recipes.

The cold air, the blustery wind, and the frosty mornings are a sure sign that a good hot breakfast is what's needed to start the day.  I found this recipe while watching the "Barefoot Contessa" on the Food Network.  Ina Garten is one of my favorite chefs and this is her recipe.

This is a really fantastic way to make an omelet.  I was especially surprised that this omelet is baked in the oven. It comes out so fluffy and leftovers can be frozen; just reheat in the microwave for an instant breakfast.   Maybe an idea for Christmas morning.

COUNTRY FRENCH OMELET
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (2008)

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  25 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces                     
1 cup diced, unpeeled potatoes
Salt and pepper
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives

Instructions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof pan over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned.  Take the bacon out of the pan and set aside on a plate.






Place potatoes in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes until very tender and browned, tossing occasionally to brown evenly.  Remove to the same plate as the bacon.  Drain the fat out of the pan and discard.





 
Next, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper together.


Add the butter to the pan, lower the heat to low and pour the eggs into the hot pan.  Sprinkle the bacon, potatoes, and chives evenly over the top and place the pan in the oven for about 8 minutes, just until the eggs are set.  Slide onto a plate, divide and serve hot.







Thursday, August 2, 2012

PULLED PORK SANDWICHES CROCKPOT STYLE

The Crockpot, in my opinion, is one of the greatest inventions in cooking.  Not only is it a time saver, but it's almost impossible to ruin any meal in it.  The basic method of crockpot cooking, or slow cooking, is to put every ingredient into the pot, push a few buttons, and walk away.  It's not fast food, but it sure is good food, every time.

I enjoy my Crockpots.  From homemade beans, soups, stews, and chili, to roasts and even breakfast being cooked overnight while you sleep.  It's definitely a must have on my list of kitchen gadgets.  I've used it to have dinner ready for when I get home from work, for parties, and yes, like I mentioned above, for breakfast.  Nothing like having a nice hot breakfast to wake up to.  So, from time to time, I will be posting Crockpot recipes to show that the Crockpot just isn't for dinner.

I went to my favorite butcher and bought a pork butt roast.  The recipe I came up with was just a collaboration of different recipes I had read on the internet.  The pulled pork was so tender and the flavor was incredible!  You can freeze the leftovers in vacuum sealed bags and just boil the bags in a pot of hot water to reheat.

CROCKPOT PULLED PORK SANDWICHES

Preparation Time:  10 minutes            
Total Time:  9 hours, 20 minutes
Serves 10-12

Ingredients:

1 4lb pork butt roast
1/4 cup beef stock
1/8 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque Sauce (original)
5 tablespoons Webers Steak'N'Chop Seasoning
1/2 sliced white onion
Cooking Spray
Kaiser Rolls
Sliced cheese (optional)

Instructions:

Use the Webers Steak'N'Chop Seasoning like a dry rub and rub the pork butt.  Spray the Crockpot with the cooking spray on the bottom and sides.  Place the pork butt and onions inside the Crockpot.  Pour the beef stock, Worcestershire Sauce, and barbeque sauce over top of the pork and onions.  Gently stir to combine.  Set the Crockpot for 8 hours (low setting).

 
When the Crockpot is done, remove the pork butt and place on a platter.  Pull the pork (shred) using a fork and knife.  Discard any fat and return the pork back to the Crockpot for another hour. 




Using a slotted spoon, spoon out the pork onto Kaiser rolls and serve.

Variations:  Melt sliced cheese on both sides of the Kaiser rolls, then add the pulled pork.