A Super Bowl recipe that’s a fair catch

 Fair Catch Scalloped Potatoes with turkey Italian sausage and fresh basil, plated.

The Los Angeles Rams are going to the Super Bowl!

Angelenos are rejoicing in the City of Angeles, my hometown.

The controversy

Yeah, I know the controversy about the infamous “non-call” for pass interference of the Rams during the NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints.  It allowed the Rams to tie the score with a field goal in the final precious minutes of the game. In sudden death overtime, the Rams won it all after an interception and a winning field goal kick. So now the Rams will go against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII or the 53rd Super Bowl game.

The Los Angeles Rams go head-to-head with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

These are the details, cursorily recounted.

They sting for many. For others, it’s a serendipitous outcome.

But this championship game bell can’t be un-rung. So we just got to move on – that is move on to planning our Super Bowl viewing party menu.

5 Bean and Beer Super Bowl Chili

 

Super Bowl Chili anyone?

In my Super Bowl post last year, I featured my 5 Bean and Beer Chili recipe as the perfect complement for the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles game.

Chili is a good choice. It’s actually a great choice and considered required Super Bowl viewing party food along with tasty party wings.

To my absolute surprise, I’ve learned that not everyone likes chili. Imagine that! It’s unbelievable to me. So if a bowl of hot and comforting chili is not the center piece of everyone’s viewing party experience, chili abstainers will be sidelined.

The game day recipe play

Since the Rams victory was such a stunner, my Super Bowl recipe offering this year has to be as well. It’s got to be something unexpected and somewhat of a game changer.

My Fair Catch Scalloped Potatoes recipe is all that and more. It a fusion of scalloped and Au Gratin potatoes. The cream sauce is made with sauteed shallots and garlic, evaporated milk, a small amount of creamy and sharp Romano cheese, dried Italian herbs, a squeeze of concentrated tomato paste – and the pièce de rèstistance (or the most remarkable feature) is a turkey Italian sausage that is sandwiched between the first and second potato layer.

It’s a hearty side dish with a delicate, creamy sauce that is heightened with the subtle savoriness of dried Italian seasoning and a hint of sharpness from the Romano cheese. It’s a goodie.

Fair Catch Scalloped Potatoes with fresh basil.

For best results, make this recipe in a glass, 13 x 9-inch baking dish.  You can cut it into 8 to 15 serving size squares. Garnish it with fresh basil. It can be served warm or at room temperature.

Now a brief disclosure

Unlike most recipes I feature, this one is a little more than intermediate, and the total baking time is an hour and fifteen minutes. You can certainly bake it a day ahead and reheat at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until thoroughly warm.

With all that said, it’s definitely worth it and there’s no pass interference here. This one simply goes straight up the middle for a tasty touchdown. Now – go team!

Fair Catch Scalloped Potatoes

  • Servings: 8 to 15
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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A hearty side dish with a delicate, creamy sauce and an Italian twist.

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
2 large shallots diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups evaporated milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste (I used tomato paste in tube)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (scant or a large pinch)
1 1/2 pounds russets potatoes sliced about 1/8 inch thick (4 to 5 medium potatoes)
3 links fresh Italian sausage, cooked (turkey used in this recipe)
Fresh basil, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit

Sausage

  • Remove casing from sausage links. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and heat at medium heat. Place  sausage in the skillet and break apart with wooden or silicone spatula.
  • Turn the sausage over in pan until it browns and it is cooked. Drain the oil from the meat and set aside.

Potatoes

  • Wash and scrub potatoes. Pat dry. Do not peel. Slice with a knife or mandolin 1/8 inch thick. Place sliced potatoes in bowl.
  • Cover potatoes with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and agitate water with your hand to distribute salt. Let potatoes stand in water.

Sauce

  • To make the sauce, melt butter  over medium low heat. Add shallots. Cook until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook another  minute. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.
  • Reduce heat to low.  Add milk, broth, Romano cheese, salt, red pepper flakes and dried Italian seasoning.
  • Turn heat back up to medium and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Continue to whisk until sauce is smooth.
  • Remove from heat once  the sauce is thicken.

Assembly

  • Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish. Drain potatoes. Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Cover first layer of potatoes with cooked sausage. Pour a 1/3 of the cream sauce sauce over the sausage.
  • Repeat with a second layer of potatoes and pour another 1/3 of the sauce over potatoes. End with a third layer of potatoes pour last 1/3 of cream sauce over the top. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and potatoes are tender. Broil for 2-4 minutes to obtain a golden top.
  • Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped basil.

A few “good for you goals” for 2019

Happy New Year!

So, have you got that list of New Year’s resolutions all teed up and ready to plow through?

Good for you.

I don’t.

Instead, I decided to piggy back on a theme I recently saw on the Good Housekeeping website and from Family Features which focuses less on resolutions, but more on “good for you goals” that can help improve your health.

I really like that. It just takes the pressure off.

The top two “good for your goals” on the Good Housekeeping list are something I can get my head around and achieve with a sense of accomplishment. They are:

Add more citrus to your vegetable cart to keep your skin looking more youthful and healthy.

Eat vegetables more regularly to help you slim down and feel fit.

The list from Family Features has a few more “good for your goals” that can also help you improve your overall health. I think they are worth checking out. After all they are good for you!

5 Recipes that Can Help Improve Your Health

(Family Features) When it comes to nutritious eating, finding and creating tasty yet healthy recipes is key for many people.

One delicious and nutritious ingredient to add to a variety of dishes: U.S.-grown Montmorency tart cherries, which are abundant in anthocyanins – a natural compound that contributes to the ruby-red color, distinctive sweet-tart taste and is also behind the potential health benefits.

Consider these five ways to incorporate Montmorency tart cherries into your daily routine to help with sleep, inflammation, exercise recovery, heart health and gut health. Find more information and recipes at ChooseCherries.com.

  1. Have that good gut-feeling: Gut health has been the focus of multiple studies in recent years to maintain digestive health. In a first-of-its-kind study published in the “Journal of Biochemistry,” Montmorency tart cherries helped positively impact the gut microbiome – a collection of trillions of bacteria and other microbes that live in the intestinal tract. To help shape and maintain your gut health, add an 8-ounce serving of Montmorency tart cherry juice to your daily diet or try blending this Montmorency Tart Cherry Matcha Smoothie.

 

  1. Catch more zzz’s: With more than 50 million adults in the U.S. suffering from sleep or wakefulness disorders, a natural and flavorful remedy may help. One study, published in the “American Journal of Therapeutics,” extended sleep time by 84 minutes after study participants consumed Montmorency tart cherry juice for two weeks. This Tart Cherry Moon Milk is one way to add tart cherry juice before bed.

 

  1. Make workout gains, not pains: Muscle soreness and pain associated after a tough workout is no longer something to dread. A study from “Medicine in Science and Sports Exercise” showed a reduction in muscle damage after intensive strength training from participants who consumed Montmorency tart cherry juice in comparison to a placebo. Whip up some Tart Cherry Power Gummies for a snack to power up before or after workouts.

 

  1. Help ease arthritis and gout: Many Americans seek natural ways to help manage pain that don’t evoke potential side effects. Research indicates that U.S.-grown Montmorency tart cherries, like those found in this Tart Cherry Granola Smoothie Bowl, may help naturally reduce inflammation related to arthritis and gout.

 

  1. Keep your heart on beat: Adding more fruits packed with heart-healthy compounds is a great way to help your heart keep beating at its best. Montmorency tart cherries are a natural heart-healthy fruit that may lower blood pressure, reduce risk of stroke and decrease cholesterol levels. Incorporate them in a lunch like this Kale Quinoa Montmorency Tart Cherry Salad.

SOURCE:
Cherry Marketing Institute

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas

Mini Morsel Toll House Pound Cake dusted with confectioners’ sugar

Now that flour is flying through the air in my kitchen and butter is getting seriously creamed, I am in full holiday baking mode.

You know from my blog and other social media accounts, most of what I post are entrees, side dishes and everyday food (Instagram @collardgreenscaviar).

Desserts are not my mainstay, but I have to admit I have a repertoire of confectionery offerings that I’ve mastered.

During Christmas is when I roll them out and bask in baker’s joy.

Yes, I can be a bit of a baker. It’s part of my Southern roots. I’ve had years of experience, nearly 40 to be honest.

This Pecan Tart has always been a part of my dessert gift repertoire.

When I was a young woman who was high on energy and low on cash, I baked all of my Christmas gifts for my family. I’d packed the baked goodies in decorated hat boxes because back then Broadway Department Store (now known as Macy’s) would give them away for free. And free fit my budget just fine.

What were some of the desserts that where piled into those coveted hat boxes? An array of my favorites: Lemon 7up Pound Cake, Mini Morsel Pound Cake, Almond Cookies with powdered sugar, Pecan Tart (thanks to Martha Stewart pie of the month calendar I got as gift in 1980), Deep Dish Sweet Potato Pie, Hello Dolly Bars, and sometimes Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies dipped in dark chocolate.

Plated Christmas delights I’ve been making for nearly 40 years.

When I finally got a real job that afforded me some “disposable income,” I flipped my skirt tail with joy. Now I could finally afford to buy my family proper Christmas gifts. But oh no, they wouldn’t have it. All they wanted was that hat box of goodies.

2017 Plated delights all dressed up and ready to deliver.

So to this very day, the tradition continues. Oh I’ve upped my game a bit. No longer do I pack the annual delights in a hat box.  I don’t think they exist anymore. Instead each year I buy a series of  various dinner plates (which is part of the gift) and pile the goodies onto them. I wrap them in cellophane and finish with a holiday bow.

One of my favorite recipes in the box or on the plate is the Mini Morsel Toll House Pound Cake. Back in the day, the recipe was featured on the back of the Mini Toll House Chocolate Chips bag.  Today, it’s no longer there. In fact, it’s not even on their website anymore.

Why do I love this cake so much? It’s moist, rich and not airy or fluffy. It is a substantial cake, one that is perfect with your morning cup of coffee, and the ying to your yang when you top it with ice cream (I prefer butter pecan).

Mini Morsel Toll House Pound Cake without powered sugar.

Sometimes I dust it with powdered sugar, and sometimes I don’t. But no matter how I finish it, it’s always a treat that makes me smack my lips.

I want to  wish you all a beautiful holiday season,  and also encourage you to think about adding this classic old school recipe to your holiday baking list. Now, get baking!

*Cook’s note: Know your oven. I have had to make adjustments in the temperature and baking times over the years based on my oven. For the past 15 years, I have had two electric ovens. I’ve learned that when using my oven, the baking time is the same, but the temperature was adjusted down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for the older oven. Now it is adjusted to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for the new oven I purchased two years ago. I would suggest if you have a gas oven, that you set it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake it for 70 minutes, then insert a tooth pick to see if comes clean (I use a wooden skewer) and adjust cooking time from there. This will help prevent over browning.

Mini Morsel Toll House Pound Cake

  • Servings: 12 to 16
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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This moist and delicious pound cake will be a must have at your next holiday gathering.


Ingredients


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3⁄4 cup evaporated milk
1 bag of mini morsel chocolate chips
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to *350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube/Bundt pan (I use a non-stick flour cooking spray).
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl beat the sugar and butter with mixer (I used an electric hand mixer) until creamy, then add the vanilla.
  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until each one is incorporated.
  6. Gradually mix in the flour mixture, alternating with milk. Then mix batter (about 1 minute) with mixer.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Pour batter into grease and floured pan. (Note: the batter will be thick)
  9. Bake 70-80 minute or until toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean.
  10. Cool 10 minutes, loosen sides and invert onto cake plate, cover with lid until cake is room temperature.
    (this will make for a moist cake). When there is no more moisture on top of cake, dust it with the confectioner sugar.

 

This Thanksgiving – I’m on your side

Holiday roasted turkey. Photo credit: Ralphs Website

There are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to preparing a Thanksgiving turkey.

Organic, natural or solution injected?

To brine or not to brine?

Oven roasted or fried?

It’s pretty head spinning.

By now, you’ve probably made the hard decisions about the bird. If you haven’t, these story links can help.

Talkin’ Turkey Tips with the folks at Ralphs
It’s brine time with Chef Daria
Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but does it have to be?

But what about the sides? Are you good?

Or –  with all that turkey talk and high figuring, are you in a lurch for one more side dish to make or take as your potluck contribution?

Well, I think this recipe from the good folks at Family Features is perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner. It’s tasty, satisfying and healthy too.  So relax, exhale, you got this. Happy Thanksgiving!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Balsamic Glaze

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Balsamic Glaze. Photo credit: Family Features

(Family Features) The holiday season is typically marked by gatherings of friends and family. Whether you’re hosting overnight guests, drop-in visitors or an important seasonal meal, taking a fresh approach to the menu can make the get-together more special.

As you prepare for the festivities, consider recipes that feature healthy ingredients such as versatile California grapes, which come in three vibrant colors – red, green and black – and can add a palate-pleasing crunch and plenty of taste to everything from main dishes to sides and even desserts. Heart-healthy grapes are also perfect on their own as a snack and their natural beauty can help enhance any table as an edible garnish or fresh centerpiece.

Using grapes as a featured ingredient in your holiday dishes can provide a fresh twist on seasonal dishes, such as this  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Balsamic Glaze.

Find more holiday recipes at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Balsamic Glaze
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup red California grapes
2 tablespoons ready-to-use balsamic glaze

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 450 F.
  2. On baking sheet, toss sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, until sprouts are well-coated.
  3. Roast until deep golden brown, about 17-20 minutes, turning sprouts halfway through roasting.
  4. Stir in grapes and roast 3-5 minutes.
  5. Transfer to bowl and drizzle with glaze or drizzle platter with glaze and pile sprouts on top.

Nutritional information per serving: 150 calories; 3 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 7 g fat (42% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 30 mg sodium; 4 g fiber.