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March 2013



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Mar. 26th, 2013

Wtf ape



I have been away....it has been a hard time for me heath wise, added to that the time suck of going back to college, this community never really got off the ground.  I am hoping to be able to add a few posts a month now but it may be difficult.

Sep. 24th, 2011


Learning To Cook

I would like to learn how to cook everything. I mean starting from the very basics. I really love food and would like to be able to express myself through food. So I really need to learn how to cook. Can anyone give me any hints, tips, a book to read, or maybe a website to go to? Thanks Ya'll!!!

May. 14th, 2011

Dancing Egg


Baked Ziti

picture to be added later

Baked Ziti

Recipe by: Nancy Fisher

Description: This Italian-American favorite has the taste of lasagna without all the work. This recipe is made with a jarred sauce to save time but does not lack in flavor. Perfect for a crowd or halved for a small family, serve with your favorite garlic bread and a salad for the perfect meal. Great for leftovers too!

Prep time: 30 min                   Total time: 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours
Oven temp: 375º                     Serves: 8-10 people

Ingredients needed:
2 lb of lean ground beef
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 10 oz can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies (original)
2 32 oz jars of Classico Tomato and Basil spaghetti sauce
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese (cheap stuff)
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 ¼ lb of penne pasta
¼ to ½ cup cottage cheese (or Ricotta for a richer taste)
1 lb Mozzarella (shredded or thinly sliced)
Non-stick cooking spray

Special equipment needed:
13 x 9 tall sided foil pan for easy clean up

Preheat oven to 375º.

Boil pasta for about 5-7 minutes in a large pot of well-salted water. Pasta should be pliable but not completely done. Strain, put back into pot and set aside.

Brown ground beef over medium heat in a large skillet with high sides until no pink shows. Add garlic and a few pinches of salt. Continue cooking until you smell the garlic (1-2 min). Add canned tomatoes and cook until excess liquid has evaporated (5-8 min). Stir in spaghetti sauce and add oregano (crush between your fingers to release flavor). Simmer for approx. 15 min. Remove pan from heat and add Parmesan cheese. Salt to taste.

Stir sauce into pasta until all the penne is well coated. This mixture should be fairly saucy to have enough moisture to finish cooking the pasta in the oven.

Spray foil pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour about half the pasta mixture into pan and flatten into an even layer. Spoon in cottage cheese and spread across the top of pasta. Add about 1/3 of the Mozzarella, also in an even layer across the whole dish. Add remaining pasta and top with the rest of the Mozzarella.

Bake at 375º for 40-50 min or until brown on top and pasta is cooked through.


Some pasta may take longer to cook and it may be necessary to cover the pan with foil to cook the pasta and then remove it and use the broiler to brown the cheese.

I use Rotel but you could always use a small can of green chilies and regular diced tomatoes if that is what you have. I do think it is best for this recipe to use Classico sauce though because it has the right blend of herbs. I buy it at Costco in packages of three jars. If Classico is out of your budget or you can’t find it, try Hunt’s Four Cheese Blend and add fresh basil and parsley to kick up the flavor. It’s not quite as good but it makes a good substitution.

It is very important not to over boil the pasta because it will become way overdone in the oven.

Apr. 19th, 2011

Chef Kirby


Fresh Baked Popovers

Fresh Baked Popovers

Recipe by:   Alton Brown from the Food Network

Description:  Hot buttery, creamy inside and crispy brown outside.  These make a beautiful addition to just about any hearty meal and with just a few basic changes can make a light dessert too.   

Prep Time:  10 min          Total Time:  50 min

Oven Temp:  400º          Serves:  6 large popovers

Special Equipment Needed:
Popover Pan

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 teaspoon room temperature for pan
4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a 6-cup popover pan with the 1 teaspoon of butter.

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the cups of the popover pan, each should be about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes.

Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce each in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm.

To make these little beauties into a light and fluffy dessert, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the batter.  While still hot after venting the popovers, brush them all over with melted butter and coat liberally with cinnamon sugar.  Alternatively, coat with powder sugar and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Apr. 18th, 2011

Shrek, Big Kitty Eyes


Recipe: Oven Braised Pot Roast

Oven Braised Pot Roast

Recipe by: Nancy Fisher

Description: Slow braised beef and carrots. Served with mashed or baked potatoes with a silky beef gravy, it is more than any family could ask for. Easy to double or triple for crowds, this simple recipe will please just about anyone.

Prep time: 30-45 minutes                     Total time: 4 ½ to 5 hours
Oven temp: 275º                                     Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients needed:
1 chuck roast (approx. 4 lbs)
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely or smashed
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
3-5 large carrots cut into large chunks (or approx. 15-25 baby carrots)
½ cup dried mushrooms (reconstituted in hot water) or 1 cup sliced fresh (optional)
2 bay leaves
64 oz beef broth or stock (homemade or carton; canned is not recommended)
1 cup of red wine (optional)
3-4 tablespoons of cornstarch
Salt and Pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Special Equipment needed:
Large heavy-sided Dutch oven with heavy lid
Aluminum Foil

Preheat oven to 275º.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven and heat over medium-high to high heat. When the pan is hot, salt and pepper both sides of the roast and place it in the pan. Brown both sides of meat to a dark, crispy brown (5-8 min per side). Remove meat from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions and celery to pan. Stirring often and scrapping brown bits off of the bottom of the pan, cook until translucent (approx. 10 min). Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Stir in tomato paste, cooking for another 2 to 3 min (paste will darken slightly). Using a small amount of beef broth (approx 1 cup) deglaze pan until no more vegetables or tomato paste is stuck to the pan bottom or walls.

Place roast back into the pan and add the carrots (and mushrooms) to pot. Pour broth over roast until it is almost covered but the top is still exposed and reserve the rest for making the gravy. Bring liquid to a boil and add bay leaves.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place lid over foil making a very tight seal. Cook in oven at 275º for 4 hours.

Carefully, remove from oven and remove lid. Watching for stream, remove foil as well. Put meat and any veggies you wish to eat into an oven safe dish covered with foil to keep warm in a low oven. Discard bay leaves. Strain broth and discard icky bits.

If using red wine, set broth aside for now and put the pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add wine and bring to a boil, scrapping pan and reducing until little or no smell of alcohol remains in the steam coming off of the pan (5-10 min). Add broth back to pan. Pour in all but about one cup of reserved broth and bring to a hard simmer. Simmer and reduce liquid to about half (approx. 20 min). Reduce heat to medium.

Stir cornstarch into last cup of broth until dissolved and slowly add to pot. Stir continuously over medium heat until the gravy is thick and bubbly (about 5 min).

Serve with mashed or baked potatoes. Pour gravy over meat, veggies, and potatoes for a delicious meal the whole family will enjoy.

There will probably be extra gravy. I save it to use over meatloaf or Salisbury steak (it may be thinner but will still taste good). It also makes an awesome treat for pets over dry food. You can make less gravy if you wish though by reducing the amount of broth used to 32 oz and cornstarch to approx. 2 tablespoons.

The tomato paste, mushrooms, and wine all work to make the gravy beefier and richer. All three add-ons are not necessary for good results. I usually use one or two of them just to enrich the broth a bit. I tend to switch back and forth between them depending on what I have on hand.

An easy add on to this meal is popovers. I use a simple blender recipe from Alton Brown that I will post soon.

The meat can be made even more succulent by cooking a day ahead and soaking over night in its own juices. Cook with fewer carrots and mushrooms and discard them when finished. Make a side veggie to have with the meal. Cut the meat into nice size chunks while still cold and warm in the gravy before serving. 

Apr. 17th, 2011


Welcome one and all!

Welcome to 'The Family Gourmet'.  I hope you enjoy your time here.  Please review the rules on our profile page before posting.
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