Savory prosciutto wrapped asparagus

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Sometimes you just have stuff in your refrigerator that needs to be used and THEN you sign up to bring an appetizer to a party. There is nothing more fun for me than to use those two things as motivation to make something new.

So direct from my refrigerator with forever present prosciutto and asparagus amongst numerous herbs and cheeses, comes a great appetizer that will please the pickiest of eaters. My daughter Carly (who in her head, hates asparagus) LOVED these and her eyes lit up upon taste testing!

TIP: Most pre-packaged Prosciutto comes with plastic dividing each piece. Use that as leverage to roll each batch of asparagus (it’s easier)

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of asparagus (ends cut off and then cut in half)
  • 8oz of prosciutto
  • 2 tbs of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbs of chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbs of chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 3 tbs of olive oil (or enough just to make the mixture pasty)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Have a bowl of ice water ready before starting. Blanch the asparagus by bringing a pot of water to boil, drop in the asparagus and cook for two minutes ONLY! Then give the asparagus an ice bath.

Add the herbs, cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk together.

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When the asparagus has cooled (about 5 minutes) drain on paper towels and toss into the herb mixture.

Roll 2-3 asparagus in one sheet of prosciutto and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and drain on paper towels.

Serve immediately or at room temperature. You can also cut the final products in 1/2 to serve more as well as make a nice bite size appetizer.

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Baked Parmesean Potato Wedges

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Number one son is leaving to go back to school this weekend, so it’s time for me to get all his favorites in before he heads to his home away from home. He LOVES these potatoes!

Goes great with the Sliders for visitors they gobbled them up. These are very easy! But please again I plead that you do not use pre shredded parmesan cheese on these either, just like my REAL Mac and Cheese, it’s waxy and processed! Also, it doesn’t stick well to the potato (it just slides off), and doesn’t taste nearly as good as a good elbow greased grating of some real parmesan. Use the smaller grater side, it makes nice soft flakes that stick well and make a great crust on the fries. Also mixing them in small batches (so 1/2 the ingredients below with a 1/2 of the potatoes) allows them to be coated a bit more evenly, it’s up to you, but look at the small batch coverage.

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When you cut the potatoes into wedges, don’t make them too thin or they won’t stand up well on the baking sheet. Also don’t fool yourself that they all will stand up like pictures in magazines, at least 1/3 of them will be on their side. Just flip them half way during cooking so they get evenly crispy.

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Ingredients

  • 4 Tbs GOOD Olive oil
  • 2 Tbs Garlic powder
  • 2 Tsp seasoning salt (Lawry’s) or regular sea salt
  • 2 Tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of grated (not shredded) parmesan cheese
  • 4 Russet potatoes cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash, dry and cut the potatoes into wedges. Place potatoes in large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder, seasoning salt, and grated parmesan. Toss well to coat all of the potatoes. Place on a single layer on a baking sheet with skin side down (as best you can). Bake for 40 minutes, turn the potatoes if needed 1/2 way through cooking.

 

 

Bacon Asparagus Fritters

During Thanksgiving, All Day and I were able to host a lot of my family here at our house. There were a lot of different recipes flying around and it was so fun to see folks working in the kitchen.

I was shocked at how well we worked together in the kitchen with all of those cooks. I think I just stirred my gravy and barked out orders (my sisters will attest). But nonetheless it was such a great week and Turkey Day could not have been better.

In the midst of this chaos, my Nephew-in-law made an awesome appetizer of bacon wrapped asparagus that was so yummy. I found myself the following weekend going through the refrigerator getting rid of gone by leftovers and found one more bacon wrapped asparagus. I needed desperately to get those flavors back again! I had a ton of eggs and also happen to have some Creme Fraiche I needed to use, so I was going to make a fritter out of that appetizer if it killed me. I did it, served it to my neighbors and it was delicious. I may now be on a fritter kick, so watch out. With this recipe you can either blanch fresh asparagus (directions in recipe) or use leftover if it’s not boiled to death and soggy.

These fritters were so good, that I’m sharing them with all of you. And thank you wonderful Nephew-in-law Ny for the inspiration!

Ingredients:

Fritters:

  • 1 lb of asparagus diced into small pieces (a little less than bite size)
  • 4 Tbs of Good Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 – 1 lb of chopped cooked bacon
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 Tbs ground pepper
  • 2 eggs lightly beatened
  • 2/3 cup of all purpose flour

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream
  • 1 Tbs chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp of seasoned salt

Blanch the asparagus in a quart of boiling water for 3 minutes and then give an ice bath immediately.

In a medium mixing bowl place chopped asparagus, 2 Tbs olive oil, bacon, rosemary, salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Add the flour and eggs to the vegetable mixture and fold in.

Heat oil in large saute pan. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the batter and place in the hot oil, press down with bottom of measuring cup and fry 2 minutes on each side.

Dipping Sauce:

Mix together all 3 ingredients and serve with fritters for dipping

Spicy Carrot and “Cuke” salad

If you’re from New England you know that Cuke means Cucumber. It’s an easy salad, believe it or not I found the recipe at Publix. I changed it up a bit. Hope you like it. Great for a side to my Home (from college) for the Holidays

  • 1 Tbs Thai Chili Garlic Paste (or Chili Sauce then skip Honey)
  • 2 Tbs Honey
  • 2 Tbs Rice Vinegar
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots (bag at grocery)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced

Combine first three ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Adjust taste to your sweet to spicy taste by adding a little honey or chili paste (doubt you’ll need more chili paste).

Add remaining ingredients and toss and chill until ready to eat.

Home (from college) for the Holidays

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I just got off the phone with number one son, Connor and HE’S COMING HOME TOMORROW! We missed him over Thanksgiving, he decided to stay because of the loss of class time due to Hurricane Matthew. He goes to College in Savannah GA and was evacuated for two weeks. We had him unexpectedly for 10 days, but just wasn’t the same as home for Thanksgiving. This was his first adult decision….very weird time for Mom and Dad (All Day Ray).

All Day Ray and I were extremely proud of his decision, but missed him nonetheless. When he called to discuss his arrival plans, I asked him (of course) what he wanted me to make for his first dinner home.  He said “really anything you make will be a perfect welcome home”. So it got me thinking about when I would come home and my mother would always ask me the same thing. …My answer was always her “beef and pilaf” recipe.

So with great anticipation of Connor’s arrival tomorrow I would love to share MY favorite “Mom recipe upon arriving home for the Holidays” with all of you.

I make this for an army and if I don’t have one over, it makes great leftovers. A favorite of the whole household and to-go bags I make for neighbors.

  • prep time 15 minutes
  • cook time approximately 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of top round London Broil (you can use less expensive meat, just cook longer) chopped in bite size pieces
  • 2 large green peppers roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs garlic powder
  • 4 tbs ground pepper (yes 4 tbs used on separate steps)
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 jars/cans of mushroom beef gravy (I’ll eventually get to making my own)
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs Steak sauce (A1, Shulas, or something like those)

Melt butter and oil together in a large high sided saute pan or large shallow sauce pan. Add pepper and onions and sprinkle with garlic powder and 2 tbs of ground pepper. Saute about 5 minutes don’t let the veggies get too soft. Remove vegetables and put aside. You now have a great tasty oil/butter mix to brown the meat.

Salt and pepper the meat in batches and Saute in batches as well. This way they get nice and brown and not gray (or steam).

When all of the meat is brown, put everyone back in the pool together (meat, onions and peppers). Now add Worcestershire and Steak sauce. Cook on Medium high for 5 minutes. Now add one jar of your gravy (the other is used to get to your correct consistency).

Cover and reduce to simmer/low for 30 minutes. Check your consistency and taste. Add water or additional gravy depending on how you like it. Season to taste. Cook until meat is fork tender about 1 1/2 hours. Serve over  ‘Out of the box’ Rice Pilaf.

 

 

Greek Village Salad

 

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It’s called a village salad for a reason it can feed an entire village for a few days and since we have one awesome village coming for a week, I thought we’d give it a go. I will make a batch of this and use it with chicken, beef or fish. We got a whole mess of healthy eaters who want something light but tasty, can’t wait to serve it to them. We ate it tonight with some salmon, it was delicious…we will blog that separately.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups of chopped peppers. Yellow, Red and Green (Stoplight peppers)
  • 3/4 cup of chopped red onion
  • 1 cup of chopped kalamata olives
  • 2 small tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium cucumbers seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbs chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/8 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 6-8 oz of feta cheese (please buy the un crumbled…you’ll be happy it just makes a creamier dressing)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pour the oil, vinegar, oregano and feta into a medium size bowl. Whisk together.

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Add the vegetables and salt and pepper. mix well and that’s it.