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Monday, May 4, 2015

Scalloped Mushrooms!

These "Scalloped Mushrooms" are the perfect side to a big ole juice grill steak or thick cut pork chop!  I love mushrooms so I try to think of various ways to prepare and serve them.  This has become one of my favorites!   You can make this with fresh mushrooms or canned and actually I think it works better with the canned ones, which I usually wouldn't prefer, but they hold up better under the baking.  Use whatever you prefer though.  Here is what you will need:
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 diced sweet onion (I used Vidalia)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 (6 oz.) can or jar of mushroom slices with the juice, do not drain or 2 cups fresh mushrooms
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 heaping Tbs. flour
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (can use Monterrey Jack)
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
In a saute pan, melt the butter, add the onion and saute until translucent, add the minced garlic and saute for a minute.
Then pour in the mushrooms with their liquid.  If you are using fresh mushrooms they will create their own liquid.  Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle the flour over and allow it to cook and bubble until it starts to tighten up the liquid, about 2 - 3 minutes.   Add the 1 cup Parmesan cheese and allow it to melt. 

Pour into a shallow baking dish, a pie plate works well, that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle the top with the Swiss cheese!
Place in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20 -25 minutes or just until slightly browning and bubbly!  Sprinkle with parsley before serving!
This is so good, I could eat it just by itself, but add a steak and it is amazing!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes!

 Scalloped potatoes are something that seem so simple, but like so many dishes that, on the surface, seem simple, people do have difficulties with them.   The main issues with scalloped potatoes seem to be that the potatoes don't get done, the sauce is too watery or if you cook them long enough to get the potatoes done, they dry out and get too brown on top. 
This is a fail proof recipe for "Creamy Scalloped Potatoes" if you follow it exactly.  Here is what you will need:
4 cups potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced  (about 4 or 5 medium size potatoes)
4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. flour
1  (12 oz.) can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp. seasoned salt (can use regular salt, just add a pinch of garlic powder if you do)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Melt the butter in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.  Whisk in flour just until blended.  Whisk in the evaporated milk and the whole milk.   Add seasoned salt and pepper.  Cook on low and whisk occasionally until it boils.   I just do this in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes.  Remove and whisk until smooth.  Add 1 cup of the cheese to the sauce and cook or microwave for 1 minute more until the cheese melts.   You are basically just making a light cheese sauce. 
Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray and layer 1/2 of the potato slices in.  Cover with 1/2 of the sauce.
Layer the rest of the potatoes next, cover with the other half of the sauce and sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheese. 
Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are fork tender.  If the top starts to brown too much, cover loosely with a piece of foil.  This usually doesn't happen, unless the type of potatoes you use are difficult to get done.
See how creamy they are on the inside, but not watery like sometimes happens.  The evaporated milk is key to this recipe, because most of the water has been removed from it, so it makes really creamy sauces.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Pizza Dip with Homemade Breadsticks!

This is one of those recipes that is really simple, but so delicious it is ridiculous!  I originally saw the pizza dip on one of the best Internet sites ever invented, Pinterest!  My niece, Whitney introduced me to Pinterest and I loved it the first time I got on and saw what it was all about.  It just has the most creative thoughts of people from all over in one place...amazing! 

This dip is such a good party food or great if you have to feed a bunch of teenagers (double the recipe for that though)!  The bread sticks are something I have been making for  a while, because I love Olive Garden's bread sticks and for a long time we didn't have an Olive Garden here in town  (for some reason they closed it), but now we do have a new one only five short years later...go figure, only in corporate America are such decisions

Here is what you will need for the dip:


4 oz. cream cheese softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup pizza sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
sliced pepperoni (about a cup)

Mix the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese. I added the garlic powder and the basil to this mixture and also chopped about half of the pepperoni and mixed it with the cheese mixture.  Spread this mixture in a pie plate.  Top with the cup of pizza sauce, the other 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, the other 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, and the rest of the pepperoni.   You can add any pizza toppings you like at this point.  The recipe called for black olives and chopped green peppers.  My family doesn't care for those, but I think it would be really good.  Some chopped mushrooms would also be great or some jalapeno slices.  Add whatever your gang likes. 

Place in a 350 degree preheated oven and cook until hot and bubbly... about 20 to 25 minutes.

The bread sticks are even easier.  This all you will need for them:

1 loaf of Rich's Frozen bread dough  (this is the loaf not the rolls) or any frozen yeast bread loaf
1 stick butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Thaw the bread dough on your counter until it is pliable but still fairly cold.  Cut it with a very sharp knife or kitchen shears (the handiest thing ever) across the loaf like you are slicing a loaf of bread, not longways.  You should be able to get about 9 or 10 pieces.  Take each piece and roll it between your palms like you did when you made Play-doh  Roll it into a long piece about 9 inches long.  This sometimes takes some rolling and stretching. 

Melt your butter in a shallow dish, like a pie plate and mix in the garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.  Roll each piece of dough in this mixture and coat well.  Place on a large cookie sheet.  Space these far enough apart to allow them to rise, because they will almost triple in size.  Put your cookie sheet in a warm place, I usually put it on the stove top at the back.    Let these rise for about 2 hours to get the complete rise out of the dough.  Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake at 375 degrees until they are brown.  Different ovens take different amounts of time, but mine usually takes about 13 - 15 minutes.   Keep an eye on them though because the bottoms will brown first and can get too brown quickly.

These are perfect for dipping in the pizza dip.  They are also great with spaghetti, lasagna or any pasta meal and they are so much better than the premade frozen bread sticks.  You will never want those again!