Category Archives: Food Preparation

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The Mavens Monthly Cooking Club

The Mavens Monthly Cooking Club

Fresh spices make food nicest~

We are scheduling our second official Mavens Monthly Cooking Club.

Last month we made home made pierogies and home made pasta dough.

Everything turned out num-nums! ūüôā

What the menu is shaping up to be is a round the world culinary “bite”. The menu so far (subject to change with input from the other Mavens) is:

Beef Fajitas (this will either be a fresh/refrigerator dish or crock pot)

Chicken Stir-Fry (fresh/refrigerator dish)

Marinated or rubbed Salmon Filet

Cannelloni’s-Ricotta, spinach & ground chicken or turkey)- we make our own pasta dough for this and our noodles.

Mary’s Famous Pot Pies-this is a bottom crusted pot pie with panko crumbs on top-that approach cuts down on calories we also add chicken with lots of veggies. Drizzle some butter or olive oil on top and voila!

Sheppard’s Pie-Vegetables, ground beef and a mushroom gravy topped with fresh mashed potatoes.

Chicken Poppers

Daubes of Beef Roast

Pork Tenderloin Paprikash

Pork Scallopini

Cheesy Chicken Bundles

Chicken Parmesan

Apricot Glazed Chicken

Baked Broccoli Medley

Hash Brown Casserole

Roasted Cauliflower

California Quiche

We will also be making assorted blanched veggies and sides.

Recipes and shopping lists will be available and sent out via email.

Please feel free to post pictures.  We hope to share our photos here from cook day.

For those of you who are interested in forming a club, please feel free to email me.  We are in the Charleston Area, however, I am available for consultation on how to set up your club and will help with menu planning, shopping tips, and shopping lists.

I have had many inquiries into this process and I am always happy to share the positives of the practice with people. Here are just a few:

Home made food, with ingredients that you have chosen yourself. You know exactly what is in what you are feeding your family.

Time savings-We all have had a lessening of quality of life because we are all just so doggone busy. This is a way to make better use of your limited time resource.

Dinner with the family as often as possible with as little preparation time as possible. We have crock pot dinners, ready made to heat and serve dinners, all the convenience of carry-out with none of the negatives.

Money savings-we use organic meats and still save money by making our meals in bulk and with the help of friends and neighbors.

Social time with friends. We make meal preparation easy and fun!

Please contact me for more information.

The Chef.

 

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SOUPS: Bistro Chicken Barley Soup

The one thing I can get all my “boys” to agree on is that they LOVE barley. Especially hearty barley soup. The soup can be leftover Beef, chicken or Pork as long as it has barely in it my boys are HAPPY!¬†

Little know fact: Soups can be made i n the Crockpot!

With Summertime coming, get out the crock pot and not only save money in time, groceries and hassle…save energy costs too! It saves on energy costs several ways.

1. You’re alleviating the necessity for your A/C to run overtime re-cooling the house by having your stove/oven going.

2. You put stuff into your crock-pot and ccok it all in one pot saves dishwasher space & time.

3. Crockpots take up a lot less energy than cooking via electric.

4. It’s a great way to make less groceries go farther!

It’s a great way to use leftovers, veggies and meat and takes as little as 4 hours to make no hassle soup!

BARLEY: It has been feeding humans for millenia. It has fallen out of favor with Americans because of the advent of rice  and the move away from whole grains. It is added to most breads in flour form. Today people have come to think of barley as peasant food.  I grew up on it and love the chewy, creamy texture it gives soups & stews and even make it as a side dish in the form of Barley Pilaf (see recipe below). It will make any soup or stew you put it in thicker, so beware when reheating you will need to add broth.

You will most likely find two types of barley- Pearl Barley & Quick-cook Barley. Pearl barley has had the hull removed and is still in kernel form. Quick-cook Barley has been steam-rolled much like the process they use for quick oats. It cooks much faster than pearled barley and tastes just as good!

QUICK BARLEY PILAF

INGREDIENTS

1 cup quick-cook barley

1 Tbl. olive oil

1/2 cup sliced scallions

1 clove of garlic-minced

1 (14 ounce) can of chicken broth or approximately 1 3/4 cup home-made stock or broth

1 tsp fresh thyme

1/4 cup fresh basil

1 lemon zested & juiced-optional

1/4 cup asiago cheese

1 cup of your favorite veggie, broccoli, spinach, carrots cut into bite sized pieces

Kosher salt & pepper to taste.

1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large sauce pan toast the barley with the Tbl. of olive oil over medium heat for approximately 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted (you’ll smell the change, at that point take it immediately off the heat) Stirring constantly. If you over toast, start over again it will ruin the finished dish!
  2. Add the butter,  green onion and garlic to the barley in the saucepan and cook over mediumheat  another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the veggies, herbs and the broth to the pan and cook until all the liquid has evaporated and veggies are tender NOT MUSHY!
  4. It’s ok if there is a little moisture left if the veggies become tender before all the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese!

My clients LOVE this dish when I make it for them and I think your family will too!

TIP: If you like it creamy add a little marscapone cheese or heavy cream to it right before you serve it.

BISTRO CHICKEN BARLEY SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1 (14 ounce) can or 1 3/4 cups home made stock or broth

1(16 oz) bag of frozen veggies whatever you  use for soup or stew

1 cup sliced or diced celery stalks & leaves!

1 clove of garlic minced

1 cup diced onions

2/3 cups pearled barley

1 cup fresh mushrooms sliced or a 4 oz can

3 cups of water

1 (1.8oz) envelope of dried french onion or mushroom soup mix

2 cups left over chicken or turkey cubed

salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: 5qt oval

Combine all the ingredients in the crock insert. 

COVER & cook on LOW for 6 hours

HIGH for 3, makes about 3 qt.s

NOTE: if you use quick cook barley add the barly 1 hour before soup is done.



Corned Beef & Cabbage for St. Paddy’s Day!

corned-beef-cabbage-on-plate1I love a good Boiled Dinner. It reminds of my childhood, we actually ate this meal frequently not just on St. Paddy’s Day. In those days it was a relatively inexpensive dinner for a family of 7 with 5 growing and hungry kids!

Leftovers from boiled dinners (when that happened!) took the shape of Rueben Sammies or Corned Beef Hash. Corned Beef Hash was a good choice because it used all of the veggies leftovers, no new ingredients were needed just add an egg per person and you have a great breakfast or brunch dish! Add quinoa and you have a “healthy” breakfast or brunch dish!¬†

Boiled Dinners for me are even easier because I make mine in the crockpot or I bake it, I think boiling the ingredients diminishes them and they loose a great deal of flavor. I also leave the cap of fat on my corned brisket to makeit more tender, and flavorful…it retains that buttery taste. Before serving you can trim the fat for finicky eaters.

Here is a great idea for twist on “Boiled Dinner”…mix up a glaze of brown sugar to taste, 1/2 cup dijon mustard ¬†and smear it on the brisket. Wrap it tightly in 3-4 layers of aluminum foil. ¬†Put a saucer in the bottom of a large (6qt) oval crock pot insert. ¬†Pour about 1 cup of water in the bottom with any juice from the meat package and place the wrapped corned brisket. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Reserve juice from the bottom of the pot for boiling the veggies in. Let the cooked corned brisket sit overnight or several hours in the refrigerator. Slice thinly and warm gently; serve with boiled red potatoes, onions, carrots and cabbage that have been cooked in the ¬†reserved juice.

Corned Beef Brisket¬†come in a plastic bag and are a brined with a mixture of pickling spices and herbs. It infuses the flavor throughout the meat. Cooking it slow and low tenderizes this particular cut of meat that tends to be tough and stringy, so make sure you cut it across the grain when you serve it. The brisket is usually a rectangular cut of meat. the “grain or fiber” of the muscle generally runs the long way.¬†

To cut it “across the grain” means to look at the muscle, track the way the “fibers or grain” run and then cut it against the fibers. So you are going to cut from the short end of the cut of meat.

CORNED BEEF DINNER-CROCK POT -oval 5qt.

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs. corned beef brisket with pickling spices

1 medium onion-spanish or vidalia, sliced

4-6  whole fresh carrots

4 ribs or stalks of celery

Small head of cabbage-cut into quarters

4-6 small red potatoes

Water.

DIRECTIONS: Place corned beef in the slow cooker. Pour over the top with pickling spices from the package. Clean veggies, and peel carrots. Add water. Cover and cook on LOW – 8 hours. HIGH-4 hours

Cut each carrot & celery into 3 pieces, put all the veggies on top of the  brisket for the last 2 hours of cooking or until the veggies are tender.

Serve & Enjoy!

SHOPPING LIST:

 

 




3 lbs. corned beef brisket with pickling spices

1 medium onion-spanish or vidalia, sliced

4-6 whole fresh carrots

4 ribs or stalks of celery

Small head of cabbage-cut into quarters

4-6 small red potatoes

Baked Parmesan Salisbury Steak with Potatoes

 

Delicious Easy Meal

Delicious Easy Meal

Ingredients 

  • 1 to 1 ¬†1/4 pounds ¬†lean ground beef or ground Turkey or a combination of the two
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder-not salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder-not salt
  • 3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese-from the green can is OK
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped Spinach drained & squeezed very dry-(you can use fresh, just chop it and add to meat mixture)
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup thinly sliced mushrooms- a 4oz.can is fine
  • 1 cup beef/chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushrooms
  • 2 cups of shredded hash brown potatoes-can use frozen potatoe o’brien or country¬†
  • 1 cup Frenches Fried Onions- For topping- At Aldi’s I get a cheddar cheese flavor that is delish!
  • 1 tablespoon dry red wine, optional

Directions 

  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 8×8 inch oven safe¬†pan with oil.
  3. Pour shredded potatoes in the bottom of the greased pan(the ones in the deli or frozen work just fine)
  4. Combine ground meat of choice, pepper, salt, seasoned salt, garlic & onion powder, grated onion,chopped spinach, 1/4 cup parmesan and bread crumbs. 
  5. Shape into 4 oval patties.
  6. Place patties over the potatoes in the 8×8 in pan.
  7. Mix the wine(optional), broth & mushroom soup & mushrooms. Mix until blended.
  8. Pour over patties and potatoes and cover tightly with foil.
  9. Bake until meat is done through approximately 30 minutes; make sure the meat registers at least 180 degrees with a meat thermometer.
  10. Remove foil from pan and sprinkle the other 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, Frenches fried onions over the top and cook uncovered an addtional 10 minutes.
  11. Serve with a fresh green salad or steamed broccoli
  12. DELISH!!
  13. This dish can be made ahead and frozen in an appropriate baking dish that is made for freezer to oven baking. Thaw completely before baking OR add an approximately additional 40 minutes to baking time to recipe baking time. Times will vary depending on your make & model of oven and whether it is calibrated correctly

SHOPPING LIST:

Copy & paste into a word document for a ready made shopping list.

  • 1 to 1 ¬†1/4 pounds ¬†lean ground beef or ground Turkey or a combination of the two
  • 3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese-from the green can is OK
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped Spinach drained & squeezed very dry-(you can use fresh, just chop it and add to meat mixture)
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup thinly sliced mushrooms- a 4oz.can is fine
  • 1 cup beef/chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushrooms
  • 2 cups of shredded hash brown potatoes-can use frozen potatoe o’brien or country¬†
  • 1 cup Frenches Fried Onions- For topping- At Aldi’s I get a cheddar cheese flavor that is delish!
  • 1 tablespoon dry red wine, optional
  • PANTRY

    Make a list of things that you use to cook with frequently and make them pantry items

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion¬†powder-not salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic¬†powder-not salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten

  • RECIPE SUGGESTIONS:
    For the meat use either all ground chuck which has a better beefier flavor or ground turkey.
    Frozen ground turkey is usually 1/2 the cost per pound as fresh and it works just as well
    For a change mix beef with Turkey for a lower cholesterol content and to make the meal a little more inexpensive
    POTATOES:
    I use frozen Ore Ida hash browns, you can use the Ore Ida potato chunks or O Brien Potatoes
    You can use the shredded potatoes found in the deli/dairy section.
    SPINACH:
    A 10 ounce frozen box works just fine here.
    Fresh spinach can be used without cooking, just chop fresh and put it into the meat mixture.
    MUSHROOMS:
    Fresh mushrooms are the best and most flavorful due to a form of natural occuring monosodium glutamate.
    a 4 ounce can of mushrooms is a great substitution.
    PARMESAN CHEESE:
    You can use the green can!
    Substitute grated romano, asiago or your favorite cheddar cheese.
    BROTH:
    Veggie broth or chicken broth can be used as well as a boullion cube with water.

    Orange Roughy

    I am an absolute HUGE fan of Orange Roughy.

    Cooking lesson: Orange Roughy is a mild, semi firm flesh fish that is flash frozen on the boat. What does that mean for you? Buy it at your fav. mega mart in bags and you will have “fresh” roughy. It means that it was frozen fresh and not gostled from boat to processor to store. It went from the sea to the processor to frozen state in a matter of a few hours.

    It can be successfully sauted, fried, baked, broiled or poached. It can be delicate, not as delicate as flounder, but it’s not a fish that can be roughed up-no pun intended!

    HINT: Do not buy “thawed” roughy at your market unless they can assure you it is indeed “fresh”-never frozen. most likely it has been frozen, thawed and displayed for you in their deli case. IF you must buy that fish-which I advise against, you will need to use it immediately…

    Let’s get cookin! This is a recipe for 2 servings.

    Parmesan Orange Roughy

    1/3 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs or Potato Flakes
    2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon paprika

    2 orange roughy fillets

    2 tablespoons skim milk
    2 tablespoons tartar sauce

    Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 450¬įF.

    1.Mix first 4 ingredients in a shallow pan.

    2.Dip fillets into milk, then coat them with crumb mixture.

    3.Place fillets on a lightly  oiledbaking sheet.

    Bake about 8 minutes, or until coating is browned and  crispy and
    fish flakes easily with a fork.

    Serve with tartar sauce & Lemon Rice.

    Lemon Rice

    1/2 cup baby basmati rice

    1 1/2 cups water

    1 Tbl. unsalted butter

    1 Tbl. Greek seasoning

    2 Tbl. lemon juice-from 1 fresh lemon or bottled

    1 chicken boullion

    Kosher Salt & Fresh ground Pepper to taste

    OPTIONAL NOTE: for creamy rice add 3 Tbl cream or half & half when rice is done cooking

    1. Boil water

    2. Add rice and all the other ingredients EXCEPT cream.

    3. Cover and cook on LOW until almost all the moisture is absorbed. Let sit for 5 minutes and add cream to it.

    Serve with Orange Roughy and a Salad.

    GROCERY SHOPPING LIST:

    2- Orange Roughy Fillets- I got mine at a store called Aldi’s that has wonderful quality with great prices! IT came in a bag with 6 fillets and that means I got 3 meals out of it!

    Breadcrumbs or Potato Flakes

    paprika

    oregano

    Parmesan cheese

    Skim milk

    Basmati Rice

    Chicken boullion

    cream or half & half

    unsalted butter

    1 fresh lemon or bottled lemon juice

    Tartar Sauce-optional

    MAKE AHEAD: Triple recipe and bread all fish at once, package into 2 serving sizes and wrap well in plastic wrap & foil, lace in zip loc bag, label and freeze for future dinner use or unexpected company!

    The Cooking Studio Online Blog

    Welcome to The Cooking Studio Online! I’m a Chef with 30 years of culinary experience. I have had several questions about my career as a Personal Chef, owner of a Meal Assembly Business (I’m in a 12 step MAK program to free myself from the industry!)my experience in developing menus, my test kitchen and my experience as a Corporate Executive Chef. I have been through some harrowing experiences in my day, but my foray into Bankruptcy Court was indeed the most harrowing and devastating experience so far.

    I would be happy to answer any question EXCEPT for my experience as a Meal Assembly Kitchen owner…this is a meals assembly kitchen free zone, there are other places where you can get those questions asked and answered, this is not one of them, sorry. My advice is to go to http://www.mealassemblywatch.com or unhappyfranchisee.com to find answers and ask questions.

    This is a place where I will do my professional best to answer any cooking questions I can and give you a place to share your recipes, decorating and meal ideas.

    Food is my passion and my creative outlet.

    Welcome new friends! Ask away!

    Chef Kadie