Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pork Schnitzel Sandwiches

I love to cook with boneless pork chops. When I have prepared schnitzel before, I would buy a family sized package and go from there. But for these little sandwiches, I bought a pre-packaged one pound pork loin. It was about $7. But after slicing the loin into 1 inch pieces and then pounding the slices out thin, I had 18 pieces of pork! Talk about being able to feed a crowd on a budget!

The Dijon mustard mixed in with the egg wash portion of the prep adds a huge difference in the flavor. Set up a breading station with seasoned flour, egg wash, and then the bread crumbs. The pork will fry very quickly and you will be able to rotate the slices in and out of the oil easily as they cook.

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 - 2 pound), sliced into 18 - 20 pieces
1 cup self rising flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. Dijon mustard
4 pieces of white bread, processed into bread crumbs
2 - 3 T. olive oil
2 - 3 T. butter
Soft rolls or buns

Lightly flatten the slices of pork, one at a time, while layered between plastic wrap. 

In a shallow dish or plate, mix together flour, salt, and pepper.

In a shallow bowl, add eggs and mix in Dijon mustard.

In a shallow bowl or plate, place the breadcrumbs.

Coat each piece of pork in flour, then dip into egg wash, and then coat in breadcrumbs.

You will work in batches to cook the pork. Add 1 T. each of the oil and butter. Heat the oil and butter in a large cast iron skillet until it bubbles. Add a few pieces of pork at a time, and cook, 2 - 3 minutes per side. Drain on a rack placed over a baking sheet.

You can serve these as sandwiches like I did (with a whole grain or German hot mustard), or as a main dish alongside buttered potatoes or noodles.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Spiced Apples with Pecans

This is such an easy side dish for Autumn meals. It's ready in a flash. When served alongside a nice pork dish or roasted chicken...yum. The pecans can be omitted, if you'd like, but they certainly add a nice crunchy texture.

3 - 4 T. butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
4 - 5 apples peeled and thinly sliced (I used Jonathan apples, but any firm cooking apple will do)
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1 t. corn starch
1/3 cup chopped pecans

In a medium skillet over low heat, melt butter. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine with the melted butter. Add apples and mix in well with the melted butter and sugar. Add spices. Let apples cook for 30 - 40 minutes until they are softened.  Sprinkle with cornstarch and stir to combine.  The cornstarch will thicken the butter and sugar mixture.

Stir in pecans to mix well. Serve immediately.

Dilly Ranch Dressing and/or Dipping Sauce

If you have a bottle of ranch dressing in your refrigerator or pantry, go take a look at the ingredient list. Hmmmm. Are there lots of things you can't pronounce? I thought so. Now take a look at the ingredient list below. See? You can pronounce all of them can't you? I thought so.

Take a few minutes and whisk these ingredients together the next time you need a salad dressing or the kids need a dipping sauce for chicken fingers or veggies or even pizza crusts!

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 T. chopped fresh dill
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
1/2 t. granulated garlic

Whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you'd like it a little thicker for dipping, cut the buttermilk down to 3/4 cup and up the sour cream or mayo by 1/4 cup. Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Spicy Fried Dill Pickles with Dilly Ranch Dipping Sauce

While watching SEC football this past weekend, I decided to attempt one of my favorite snacking foods.....fried dill pickles! A quick check of online recipes, showed dozens of different versions. I combined several and added my own twists to come up with this recipe.  I hope you enjoy.

1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup self rising cornmeal
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/4 t. onion powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
4 - 6 T. pickle juice
2 - 3 T. water
oil for frying
pickle slices

Whisk together first seven ingredients. Add pickle juice and water and stir until you have a smooth batter.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. You will need enough oil in the skillet to allow the pickle slices to float, 1 - 2 inches depending on the size of the skillet.

Add a few pickle slices at a time into the batter and once oil is hot enough for the batter to sizzle, add them to the oil. Lower heat to medium high and let pickles fry until they are golden brown on one side and then, using tongs, turn them over to cook on the other side. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with Dilly Ranch Dipping Sauce.

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 T. chopped fresh dill
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
1/2 t. granulated garlic

Whisk together all ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

German Apple Cake

After the many courses we enjoyed for the Oktoberfest meal, I knew we'd need something not too heavy, not too sweet and not too rich for dessert. This is a delicious cake with an extremely thick batter. Apple slices are placed on top of the batter and the batter cooks up through the apple slices to give you a beautiful presentation. Filled with the Fall flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, this is a perfect Autumn dessert.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 t. baking powder
2 large eggs
1/8 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. allspice
1/8 t. ground cloves
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
2 - 3 large apples, thinly sliced (like a Jonathan or Granny Smith)
sugar for sprinkling on top
cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8 or 9 inch springform pan with shortening and lightly flour.

Cream the butte and sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add eggs, one at a time, into the butter and sugar mixture, stirring until each one is fully incorporated.

Add dry ingredients into the butter mixture, stirring until mixed.

Meanwhile, peel and core your apples. Thinly slice them 1/4 inch thick.

Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan. Place the apples on top of the batter and lightly press them down into the batter. Sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 1 hour and remove from oven. Place on a wire rack to cool. Remove outer rim of springform pan and gently slide onto serving plate.

Adapted from Glimmer Twin Fan

Oktoberfest Potato Skins

These delicious potato skins were the break out winner of the Oktoberfest meal. After trying these, my mind immediately went into overdrive thinking of all the possibilities of different variations. The combination of brats, caramelized onions and German cheese?  YUM!

Just think, pulled pork with BBQ sauce and white cheddar. Cubed ham, bell peppers, onions and shredded Swiss. Chorizo with fajita vegetables and pepper jack cheese.  Maybe I should start a series of these?

4 Russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T. olive oil
3 Bratwurst sausages, diced
1 T. butter
2 large yellow onions, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup Oktoberfest variety beer
2 T. melted butter
1/2 cup white cheddar
1/2 cup sauerkraut (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a little olive oil over the potatoes and coat with salt and pepper.

Bake the potatoes for an hour or so or until you can pierce the potatoes easily with a knife. Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool until you can handle them easily.

While the potatoes are baking, add olive oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add diced bratwurst and allow to cook, stirring often, until brats are browned. Remove from skillet and add the butter.

Lower the heat to low and add the onions to the skillet. Lightly salt the onion slices.  Allow the onions to caramelize to a deep golden brown.  This will take about 20 - 25 minutes. Stir them frequently to keep them from sticking.

When the onions are caramelized, add the brats back into the skillet. Add the pumpkin beer and allow the beer to reduce and the onions will become glossy and the mixture will thicken. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.

When the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice in half lengthwise and scoop out most of the potato leaving a 1/2 inch border. (I added the potato I removed to the Oktoberfest soup to help thicken it!)

Brush some of the melted butter onto the inside of each potato as well as the outside of the skins. Place back into oven, flesh side up under the broiler until the skin begins to brown. Turn the potato skins over and crisp the other side for a few minutes.

Fill each potato skin with a portion of the brat/onion mixture and then sprinkle with a little of the grated cheese. Place back under the broiler until the cheese has melted. Add a little sauerkraut, if desired.

Adapted from The Cozy Apron.

German Cole Slaw

I have had an epiphany. I have learned the secret to having crunchy slaw and a slaw which doesn't get watery and dilutes the dressing, but more on that in a minute.

If you don't like mayo-laden slaws (read: fat laden), this is the one you'll need to try.  

Now the secret.  Salt draws water out of vegetables. I know when I make tomato pies, I salt the tomatoes and let them drain. When I make eggplant parm, I salt the eggplant slices and let them drain. So.......this time I chopped the cabbage with the food processor, placed the chopped cabbage in a strainer and then added a liberal dose of salt and tossed it to coat. In about 30 minutes, I began to squeeze the cabbage by hand and let it drain through the strainer.  TWO CUPS OF LIQUID drained from one small head of cabbage.  The cabbage was extremely crunchy, even the next day.

1 small head cabbage, outer leaves and core removed
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. celery salt
1/4 t. celery seeds
1 T. caraway seeds

Chop the cabbage and place in a large strainer. Add salt and toss to coat. Let cabbage rest for about 30 minutes and then squeeze the cabbage to remove as much liquid as you can.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Place drained cabbage in a large bowl and pour the dressing over the cabbage and stir to combine.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Warm Spiced Apple Cider

This is one of my most favorite Fall beverages. The Fall pint jar glasses came from Dollar General for $1.50 each! Not only is this drink delicious, but while it simmers on the stove top your house will smell wonderful. You can also add the ingredients to your slow cooker set to warm or low for a few hours. Simmer up a batch of this spiced apple cider and enjoy the Fall season!

1/2 gallon apple cider
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
8 - 10 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
8 - 10 allspice berries or 1/2 t. ground allspice
1/8 t. ground nutmeg

In a large crock pot or 4 quart Dutch oven, combine apple cider, brown sugar and orange juice.  

In a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter, add the spices and tie with a piece of baker's twine. Place spices into cider.

Cover and let simmer on low heat for 3 - 4 hours until cider is hot and fragrant.

To serve ladle into mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick and an apple slice.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Oktoberfest 2015 Tablesetting

It's one of my most favorite times of the year:  Oktoberfest! I love using the bright and vibrant colors of Fall and rustic dinnerware and flatware. Vintage Hull plates, saucers and bowls are the perfect choice.  

Beer steins are always a good choice for the Oktoberfest table!

Now about those chargers......I know you noticed them.  Are you wondering where you can purchase some just like them?

A dear friend made these for me for my birthday. Yes, they are made from a cherry log. He cut the log into 1 1/2" thick pieces, sanded, sanded and sanded, then finished them with a waterproof sealant. They are perfect for these rustic themed meals.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Children's Fall Table 2015

It's not quiet time to decorate the children's table for Halloween, but I was ready to get into the Fall season for them!  My #2 granddaughter loves squirrels.  Fall = squirrels, right?  

Hobby Lobby provided these cute divided plates with squirrels, foxes and hedgehogs.

And how about these adorable squirrels and scarecrow kids again courtesy of Hobby Lobby.

The pumpkin/jack-o-lantern sippy cups were only $1 each at Dollar General!

Tommy Bahama!

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Baked Cavatappi with Chicken in a Pesto Cream Sauce

This is comfort food at its finest.  I justified eating seconds in that it has SPINACH as a main ingredient along with boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  You can make the pesto beforehand or even use store bought if you're pressed for time.  Feel free to substitute penne or any other tubular pasta for the cavatappi.

1 lb. cavatappi pasta
Salt and black pepper
¾ cup extra virgin oil oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 cup diced onion
2 t. minced garlic
9 oz. spinach, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
½ cup toasted pine nuts
¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 ¼ t. lemon zest
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 T. unsalted butter
3 T.  all purpose flour
3 ½ cups whole milk
8 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions, but undercook it by about 2 minutes. Drain, drizzle with 1 T. olive oil, toss to coat, and set aside.

Grease a 3 quart baking dish and set aside.

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the chicken is opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the onion. Cook until tender, about 4 minutes, then add 1 tsp garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Now add the spinach and season again with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple minutes, until the spinach begins to wilt. Turn off the heat and add the chicken back in. Set aside.

Make the pesto: combine the pine nuts, crushed red pepper, ¼  t. lemon zest, and remaining 1 tsp garlic in your food processor. Pulse until blended. Use a rubber spatula and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper and turn the processor on. Stream in ½  cup olive oil through the feed tube until it’s well blended. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to broil.

In a medium stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the flour and whisk for a minute. Don’t burn it. Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, and cook until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the pesto, 3/4 of the Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, or in your saute pan, combine the pasta, chicken-spinach mixture, pesto cream sauce, and remaining 1 tsp lemon zest. Toss to mix well. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and broil until the top is bubbly and browned.

From Sizzling Skillets by Emeril Lagasse

Dining Out - Southeast - Jerusalem Grill, Rome, Georgia

This little hidden away restaurant was a tad difficult to find, but we're certainly glad we did. Jerusalem Grill is located at 223 Turner McCall Boulevard, Rome.  

We received a very friendly greeting and welcome when entering. A very clean atmosphere was also a big plus. To order there are large photos of the different dishes with prices listed alongside. There's also take out menus available for a more extended selection.

We started with a small order of hummus. The pita bread was served warm and was very tender and doughy. The hummus had a very fresh flavor and the oil was very light and slightly lemony.  We wished we had ordered a large serving.

Considering the food is prepared to order, we were pleasantly surprised to receive our entrees almost immediately after completing our hummus.

I could not pass up an opportunity to order the Falafel Platter. A generous serving which was perfectly cooked and served with home made Tzaziki Sauce.

Serve on top of yellow rice with additional pita bread on the side. The salad was extremely fresh and cold and lightly dressed with a lemon/olive oil dressing.

Harold chose the Kofka Kebab Platter for a sampling of chicken, stead and lamb served with grilled vegetables over rice and with the same amazing salad.

He enjoyed the chicken portion, raved non-stop over the lamb, but wished the steak had not been cooked quite as long.  It was a tad tough.

We will definitely stop in again while traveling through Rome. The menu includes gyros, many other Mediterranean dishes along with American selections for those  in your dining party who may not want to venture into Middle Eastern fare.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Club Sandwich Casserole

Club sandwiches usually consist of toast, tomato., lettuce, turkey, bacon and sometimes cheese.  This casserole is a little different.  It's basically your club sandwich with turkey, ham, bacon, cheese, tomato with the special addition of a Béchamel sauce.  If you've enjoyed those breakfast casseroles with the egg and milk mixed together and pour over the bread and meat and refrigerated overnight, you're set to love this casserole. 

8 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Two 1-pound loaves very thinly sliced sandwich bread, preferably Pepperidge Farm
1 recipe Bchamel Sauce
1 pound thinly sliced oven-roasted turkey breast
2 medium tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
8 slices thinly sliced honey-glazed ham
8 ounces thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese
For the Bchamel Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg - See more at: http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipe/13620_Emeril_Lagasse_Turkey_Club_Casserole/#sthash.HRB3zouA.dpuf
1 cup whole milk
½ t. salt
½  t. spicy brown mustard
1/  t. cayenne
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg
5 T. unsalted butter 

Two 1-pound loaves very thinly sliced sandwich bread, preferably Pepperidge Farm
1 recipe Béchamel Sauce (Recipe below)

1 pound thinly sliced oven-roasted turkey breast
2 medium tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
8 slices thinly sliced honey-glazed ham
8 ounces thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese

For the Béchamel Sauce:
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, salt, mustard, cayenne, and nutmeg. Set the egg-cream mixture aside while you prepare the sandwiches.

Grease the bottom and side of a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with 1 T. of the butter.

Using a serrated knife, cut the crusts off the bread. 

Assemble 16 sandwiches by combining the ingredients for each sandwich into this order, from bottom up: 1 slice of bread spread with 1 teaspoon of the Béchamel sauce.

Top with 1 ounce turkey, then 1 slice of tomato, then with 1 piece of the bacon (broken to fit the sandwich).

Then take another slice of the bread and spread with 1 teaspoon of the Béchamel sauce.

Next comes 1/2 ounce of the ham, topped with 1/2 ounce of cheese, then another piece of the bread spread with 1 teaspoon Béchamel (Béchamel side down). 
As the sandwiches are assembled, place 8 of them on the prepared casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches, placing them directly on top of the first layer.

When all the sandwiches are positioned in the casserole dish, pour the egg-cream mixture evenly over the top. Place a piece of the parchment or wax paper on top of the casserole and place a second casserole dish on top of the casserole dish on top of the paper to weight the casserole. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. The bread should absorb most of the egg mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 and remove the casserole from the refrigerator, slice the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter into 8 pieces, and place one piece on top of each sandwich stack. Bake the casserole, uncovered, until puffed and golden, usually about 40 minutes.
Set the casserole aside to cool briefly before serving. Serve the casserole warm. 

For the Béchamel Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes; do not allow to brown. 

While whisking constantly, add the milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and any floury taste is gone, about 8 minutes. 

Remove the sauce from the heat and transfer to a small heat-resistant bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the Béchamel and then set aside and cool. The Béchamel can be stored in a resalable container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

From Sizzling Skillets and Other One Pot Wonders by Emeril Lagasse

1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Two 1-pound loaves very thinly sliced sandwich bread, preferably Pepperidge Farm
1 recipe Bchamel Sauce
1 pound thinly sliced oven-roasted turkey breast
2 medium tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
8 slices thinly sliced honey-glazed ham
8 ounces thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese
For the Bchamel Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg - See more at: http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipe/13620_Emeril_Lagasse_Turkey_Club_Casserole/#sthash.HRB3zouA.dpuf

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Free Alaskan Travel Guide

Alaska is full of wonders. But it would take a lifetime to explore them all! So let us help you get started with 10 wild adventure ideas from Womensforum.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Warm Tuna Niçose Salad

Another great Sheet Pan Supper. This was amazing. I was pleasantly surprised how easily this warm salad came together and the amount of flavor was packed into these simple ingredients. The recipe calls for jarred tuna fillets. They looked so pretty placed on the roasted vegetables. An easily mixed vinaigrette added just the right amount of zip to this salad.

1 small shallot, finely diced
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. anchovy paste (sold in a squeezable tube, usually found next to the canned tomatoes at the grocery)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 pound haricots verts or green beans
1 pound baby potatoes, cut into wedges if needed....I used multicolored potatoes
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup niçoise or kalamata olives, pitted
2 jars (7 oz. each) tuna fillets in water or olive oil
4 hard boiled large eggs, quartered or sliced or a few of each
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.

In a small container, with a tight fitting lid, combine the shallot, mustard, anchovy paste, vinegar, olive oil, pepper and tarragon. Seal the container and shake it vigorously to combine and emulsify the dressing. Set aside.

Evenly spread the haricots verts, potatoes, tomatoes, and olives in a single layer on the prepared pan. Drizzle the veggies with 1/3 cup of the dressing and toss to combine.  

Bake the vegetables, rotating the pan halfway through, until everything is browned and puckered and the potatoes are knife-tender, 20 - 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the tuna fillets and place them in a bowl. Drizzle them with 2 to 3 T. of the dressing and toss to coat.  This is the type tuna fillets I used.

When the vegetables are done, remove them from the oven and while they're still warm, arrange the dressed tuna and the hard boiled eggs on top. Sprinkle the eggs with a pinch of salt and serve the salad immediately, with extra dressing alongside.

From Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert