Tag Archives: butter

Easy Shrimp Scampi with Kale

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Serves: 2 | Total Time: 30 Minutes



Shrimp scampi is so spring.

Yes, I know, spring has been procrastinating this year. Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and even though I refuse to wear a winter coat this time of year, the puffer vest is still, sadly, a necessity.

This shrimp scampi recipe is so full of bright flavors and healthy greens and it is so easy to make that even beginners can join in on the fun.

Homemade Shrimp Scampi with Kale

Cold, windy weather? May you become an afterthought!

Healthy meals to cook don’t have to be hard! If you don’t know how to make shrimp scampi, don’t worry. All you need is one pan and 30 minutes. 

Traditional shrimp scampi sauce involves butter, garlic, and white wine.

That’s it.

Plus, it is really easy to make homemade scampi sauce!

Not convinced? Check out this video I made for you to show you just how simple it is!

If you are a novice, the only thing you need to remember is to turn down the heat (off if you have a gas range) when you add the wine. Slowly bring it back up to a simmer to cook off the alcohol without igniting it. If it does catch fire, pull the pan away from the stove and shake it until the flames die out, then act like the pro chef you are because you now just officially mastered the art of flambéing your food.

Woo hoo!

Shrimp Scampi Recipe

You may be wondering what the best wine for shrimp scampi may be. Although white wine is the rule of thumb, I prefer to use an off-dry white. You want it to be dry, but not too dry, because a hint of sweetness will bring out the rich flavor of the shrimp instead of competing with it. Too sweet, and your seafood scampi sauce will flop miserably.

Balance, folks. It is the number one secret to culinary success.

For those of you not into alcohol, the white wine can be substituted with something booze-free. Check out the Non-Alcoholic Substitution Chart to learn what you can use in place of the white wine. Just remember, not too sweet, so if you have to tone down grape juice with a splash of vinegar, please do so.

Scampi Recipe

I added kale to my shrimp scampi to give it some color and flavor. Plus, kale is so very good for you. The trick is to wilt the leaves and brighten their color without losing too much volume. You do this by searing it in the scampi sauce for – literally – 30 seconds to a minute. Have your kitchen tongs ready, because you will need to whisk that kale out of the pan almost as soon as you’ve dropped it in there!

Lemon essential oil adds a mild brightness, but feel free to sub in lemon zest if you don’t have any essential oil. Refer to the handy Essential Oil Conversion Chart for how much zest to use.

Now all you have to do is grab that bottle of white and your tank top…. er, light parka, and get that front porch furniture out. Before you know it, we’ll be having dinner outside again!

A Healthy Meal To Cook At Home

How to make Easy Shrimp Scampi with Kale:

What you’ll need:

  • 12 ounces fettuccini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2/3 cup good quality white wine
  • 3 ounces fresh baby kale, rinsed and spun
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil diluted in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (to use lemon zest instead, check the Essential Oil Conversion Chart
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Begin by boiling a pot of salted water for the pasta, then cook it al dente per the package instructions. When done, drain it and set it aside, reserving some of the pasta liquid.
The Best Noodles To Use For Shrimp Scampi Pasta

While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a skillet over medium until it is melted, smelling nutty, and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the shrimp and toss occasionally for 2 minutes, or until the shrimp just begins to turn pink. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.

How To Make Scampi Sauce, Begin With Browned Butter
How To Cook Shrimp Scampi
How To Make Shrimp Scampi

Add the wine to the skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp to a bowl and set aside.

Add the kale to the skillet and toss immediately until it wilts but is still bright green, about 30 seconds to a minute at most. Remove kale to a separate plate, set aside.

Shrimp Scampi Recipe With Wine
How To Cook Kale

Pour the essential oil mixture over the shrimp. Cover the bowl with a plate and toss several times to coat the shrimp with the essential oil mixture.

How Do I Make Scampi Sauce?

Turn off the heat over the skillet containing the scampi sauce. Add in the pasta, kale, and shrimp, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. If needed, add some of the pasta liquid to thicken things up a bit. Serve on plates garnished with lemon wedges.

A Healthy Dinner Meal


Shrimp Dinner Idea
Healthy Dinner Ideas
Quick and Healthy Dinner Idea
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Mulled Sweet Popcorn with Ham Drippings

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Yield: 3 Cups | Total Time: 15 Minutes

Popcorn is one of those things that I like to think of as a culinary chameleon – it will take on pretty much any flavor. The problem that you may run into when experimenting with new popcorn recipes, however, is how to keep popcorn crispy.

I wanted to use leftover pork fat in this sweet popcorn recipe (hello soggy…. we’ll address that unwelcome visitor later) because you just can’t throw that kind of goodness away!

You might be thinking; pork fat healthy? Oh yeah! Cooking with pork fat is not only tasty, but it packs a lot of heath benefits, too. (You can read more about the health benefits of pork fat by going to BBC Future). So if you are looking for healthy snacks, then you’ll love this popcorn not only because pork fat rules, but also because this is the crispiest, crunchiest popcorn you may ever eat. (Time to leave now, Mr. Soggy.)

When making popcorn on the stove, be sure your oil is at the right temperature before you add the kernels. This will eliminate most of those burnt, un-popped kernels sitting at the bottom when all is said and done. Using the ‘three kernel test’ is how you will know the oil is ready for popping. (I’ve spelled it out in the stovetop popcorn recipe directions below.) 

Less is more when it comes to pork fat, and if you are tempted to add more than 1 tablespoon, you will be horribly disappointed with the result. That one little tablespoon will add just enough smokey-pork flavor to be noticeable, but not overwhelming (or soggy). Trust me on this part.

Last but not least, the sugar seasoning. If you add it to the popcorn and shake it up immediately after you take it off the heat, you’ll get that fantastic crunch factor that makes this recipe so exciting. Oh, and don’t forget to scrape up any bits that get stuck to the bottom of the pan and toss them into the popcorn, too. 

Yum. Yum. And YUM!


Mulled Sweet Popcorn with Ham Drippings

Total Time: 14 Minutes

Prep: 7 Minutes / Cook: 7 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup plain yellow popcorn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon ham drippings or pork fat
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mulling spice powder, fine ground (or one mulled cider packet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

1. Add the vegetable oil and three kernels popcorn to a large pot or kettle with a tight fitting lid (preferably transparent) and turn on the heat to medium-high.

2 While the oil is heating, mix together the ham drippings and butter in a microwave safe mug. Melt for 45 seconds, stopping halfway through to swirl the ingredients together, set aside. Use a fork to thoroughly combine the brown sugar, mulling spices and salt in a separate ramekin, taking care to break up any sugar chunks. Set aside.

Mulled Cider Packets Sprinkled On Popcorn

3. When the first kernel in the pot pops, this means that your oil is at the right temperature to add the remaining kernels. (Doing it this way will nearly eliminate the problem of having un-popped or burnt kernels at the bottom of your pan.) Cover the popcorn (with a transparent lid, if you have one, so you can see what is going on in there!) When the kernels begin to pop, they will do so pretty quickly, so keep a close eye on them, shaking the pot every so often to evenly distribute the heat. When you only hear a pop every 5 seconds or so and you hear a whole lot of sizzling, immediately remove the pot from the heat.

Stovetop Popcorn Recipe

4. Drizzle the ham drippings and butter mixture over the hot popcorn as soon as you take it off the heat. Replace the lid and while holding it in place, shake the pot with the popcorn and fat until well coated. Immediately (and I mean, immediately – getting the seasoning into the hottest heat after the kernels are done popping is the only way that the sugars will caramelize) add the sugar seasoning, replace the lid and while holding it in place, shake everything vigorously for about 1 minute. The idea here is to evenly distribute the sugar and spice while caramelizing it into mini-chunks that coat the popcorn. Maximum crunch mission accomplished!

5. Serve hot. Crunch-crunch-YUM!

Homemade Popcorn
Learn How To Make The Crunchiest Popcorn
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Germanicana (German-American Potato Salad)

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Serves: 6 |  Total Time: 1 Hour

German potato salad?

American potato salad?

Can’t decide?

This recipe incorporates both in one fantastic potato salad dish! You’ll get the creaminess of American potato salad along with the tangy bite of German potato salad, plus it can be served warm, cold, or room temperature.

When cooking the potatoes in this recipe, resist the temptation to add water. New red potatoes have enough of their own natural water… and if you have the patience to simmer them low and slow, they will cook in their own juices to produce the creamiest, most flavorful potatoes. 

The only caveat is that you will need a good pot with a tight-fitting lid to keep all that steam from escaping.

Every time I make this for a party or get-together, it becomes a new favorite for someone.

Will you be next?


Germanicana

(German-American Potato Salad)

Total Time: 1 Hour

Prep: 15 Minutes / Cook: 45 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs. new red potatoes, skins on and halved (larger pieces quartered)
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

1. Melt butter and olive oil in a dutch oven with a fitted lid over medium heat. Add potatoes, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring only once in a while (not too much or you’ll loose that precious moisture), until the potatoes are soft all the way through and very slightly browned on the edges. Do not add water! The potatoes will cook in their own juices, maximizing flavor and creaminess. (If browning happens too early, reduce heat to prevent burning and uneven cooking.) Once cooked through (check with a fork), drain the potatoes. Discard the oil and transfer potatoes to a large bowl.

Red Potato Salad

2. In a smaller bowl, vigorously whisk together the milk and lemon juice until the milk thickens slightly and resembles buttermilk. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salts, and pepper and whisk until well combined. Set aside.

3. Once the potatoes have cooled down a bit, gently stir in the the garlic, celery, scallions, and bacon bits with a large wooden spoon. Pour mayonnaise mixture over potatoes and fold it in carefully until the potatoes are coated, be careful not to mash the potatoes. They may break apart a little, and that is ok. Large chunks are good, however! 

4. Serve the potato salad chilled or at room temperature with Wisconsin bratwurst, sweet and sour bread and butter pickles, and a cold beer.

Germanicana German American Potato Salad
Best Potato Salad
German American Fusion Potato Salad

Germanicana (German-American Potato Salad)

This recipe incorporates both German potato salad and American potato salad in one fantastic potato salad dish! You’ll get the creaminess of American potato salad along with the tangy bite of German potato salad, plus it can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 470 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds new red potatoes skins on and halved (larger pieces quartered)
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 1/4 pound bacon cooked and crumbled

Instructions
 

  • Melt butter and olive oil in a dutch oven with a fitted lid over medium heat. Add potatoes, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring only once in a while (not too much or you'll loose that precious moisture), until the potatoes are soft all the way through and very slightly browned on the edges. Do not add water! The potatoes will cook in their own juices, maximizing flavor and creaminess. (If browning happens too early, reduce heat to prevent burning and uneven cooking.) Once cooked through (check with a fork), drain the potatoes. Discard the oil and transfer potatoes to a large bowl.
  • In a smaller bowl, vigorously whisk together the milk and lemon juice until the milk thickens slightly and resembles buttermilk. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salts, and pepper and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  • Once the potatoes have cooled down a bit, gently stir in the the garlic, celery, scallions, and bacon bits with a large wooden spoon. Pour mayonnaise mixture over potatoes and fold it in carefully until the potatoes are coated, be careful not to mash the potatoes. They may break apart a little, and that is ok. Large chunks are good, however! 
  • Serve the potato salad chilled or at room temperature with Wisconsin bratwurst, sweet and sour bread and butter pickles, and a cold beer.
Keyword american potato salad, best potato salad recipe, german potato salad, germanicana, potato salad
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Herbed Chèvre with Mushrooms in Phyllo Pouches

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Serves: 6 | Total Time: 50 Minutes

I first developed this recipe about 6 years ago. Mark and I were dating, and I wanted to treat him to one of my fancy appetizer recipes. He was kind enough to chop the mushrooms for me, and it did take quite a while. I was a beginner at working with phyllo dough as well, so that added even more time.

After a couple of hours, the phyllo appetizers were done.

I have come a long way since then!

To hasten up the chopping process, using the large holes on the grater attachment of a food processor shreds the mushrooms in a couple of minutes. As far as working with the phyllo dough… that just comes with practice. In time, you can get the process of preparing the phyllo cup appetizers down to just 10 minutes, but don’t rush this step if you are new to phyllo dough.

These mushroom and goat cheese appetizers are very filling, so if you serve them as an appetizer, two per person should be plenty. Mark and I sometimes have these as our entree – six of these phyllo dough appetizers makes a filling meal.

I like to serve these mushroom purses with a good red wine that has notes of cinnamon and clove over juicy berry flavors. My recommendation? Los Hermanos Manzanos Tempranillo – 2018.


Herbed Chèvre with Mushrooms in Phyllo Pouches

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Prep: 20 Minutes / Cook: 30 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves
  • 4 cups finely chopped assorted mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 7 ounces phyllo dough
  • chopped fresh chives, for garnish

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic until lightly browned, one minute. Add the herbs and continue to heat, stirring constantly, for another minute. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give up their juices and the pan dries out, about 10 more minutes.

2. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the remaining stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the Chinese five spice. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.

3. When the mushrooms are finished cooking, remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the goat cheese and using a wooden spatula, break it up and mix it into the warm mushroom mixture until thoroughly combined and creamy. Set the mushroom mixture aside.

Phyllo Dough Appetizer With Mushrooms and Goat Cheese.

4. Prepare the phyllo dough by removing it from the package and laying it flat. Cover the dough sheets with a tea towel that has been dampened with water and wrung well. (Phyllo dough dries out fast and once dry, it cannot be worked with. Keeping the dough covered with the damp cloth will prevent it from drying out.) 

5. Very carefully peel away one sheet of phyllo dough and place it on a flat surface. Dip a pastry brush into the melted butter with the Chinese five spice, tap against the side of the pan to remove excess butter. With light, quick stokes, brush the melted butter onto the phyllo dough sheet. (The best way to do this without ripping or wrinkling the dough is to hold one side of the sheet down with your fingers while brushing it in a direction away from your fingers. If this is your first time working with phyllo dough, this may take some getting used to. Just take your time, you’ll get the hang of it!) You don’t need a lot of butter for this step, just enough to moisten the sheet. When the first sheet is completely brushed with butter, carefully remove a new sheet of phyllo dough and place it directly over the one just brushed. Repeat this process until you have four sheets stacked, but do not brush butter onto the fourth (top) sheet. 

6. Cut the stacked dough into four squares that measure about 3 by 4 inches. Repeat step four until you have 12 of the smaller squares. Place the squares into the cups of an un-greased muffin tin.

Mushroom Purses With Phyllo Dough

7. Fill each square with the mushroom mixture so that they are about half full. There should be about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons in each cup. Once all of the cups are full, lightly pinch the dough together to form a ‘purse’. Leave a small opening on the top for steam to escape. You don’t want to press the dough together too tightly, just enough to nearly cover the mushroom mixture but so that the dough is still somewhat loose.

8. Dip the pastry brush into the melted butter. Tap off the excess, then lightly dab the tops of the purses. It is ok if the dough layers separate a bit, in fact, you want this. This will create a lighter, flakier end result. You only want enough butter on the purses so that they brown while baking, you don’t need very much – too much and the dough will become soggy.

9. Drain the remaining melted butter through a stainer into a ramekin, discard the residue. Keep the butter warm by placing it on top of the oven as the mushroom purses bake.

10. Bake the purses for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F or until the tops are golden brown. When done, remove the pan from the oven and let the purses cool for a few minutes so that you can safely handle them. Carefully lift them from the muffin tin with a teaspoon and transfer them onto a serving platter. Be careful that you don’t break them! Sprinkle with sliced fresh chives and serve with the ramekin of the strained spiced butter.

Phyllo Dough Appetizer With Mushrooms and Goat Cheese.
Gourmet Mushroom Appetizer Ideas
Phyllo Appetizer Recipe

Herbed Chèvre with Mushrooms in Phyllo Pouches

Looking for fancy appetizer recipes? Impress your dinner guests with this phyllo dough appetizer recipe that includes mushrooms, goat cheese, and herbs. Make it in under an hour!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French, Gourmet
Servings 6 people
Calories 410 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter divided
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves
  • 4 cups finely chopped assorted mushrooms
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tetaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 7 ounces phyllo dough
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic until lightly browned, one minute. Add the herbs and continue to heat, stirring constantly, for another minute. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give up their juices and the pan dries out, about 10 more minutes.
  • While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the remaining stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the Chinese five spice. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.
  • When the mushrooms are finished cooking, remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the goat cheese and using a wooden spatula, break it up and mix it into the warm mushroom mixture until thoroughly combined and creamy. Set the mushroom mixture aside.
  • Prepare the phyllo dough by removing it from the package and laying it flat. Cover the dough sheets with a tea towel that has been dampened with water and wrung well. (Phyllo dough dries out fast and once dry, it cannot be worked with. Keeping the dough covered with the damp cloth will prevent it from drying out.) 
  • Very carefully peel away one sheet of phyllo dough and place it on a flat surface. Dip a pastry brush into the melted butter with the Chinese five spice, tap against the side of the pan to remove excess butter. With light, quick stokes, brush the melted butter onto the phyllo dough sheet. (The best way to do this without ripping or wrinkling the dough is to hold one side of the sheet down with your fingers while brushing it in a direction away from your fingers. If this is your first time working with phyllo dough, this may take some getting used to. Just take your time, you’ll get the hang of it!) You don’t need a lot of butter for this step, just enough to moisten the sheet. When the first sheet is completely brushed with butter, carefully remove a new sheet of phyllo dough and place it directly over the one just brushed. Repeat this process until you have four sheets stacked, but do not brush butter onto the fourth (top) sheet. 
  • Cut the stacked dough into four squares that measure about 3 by 4 inches. Repeat step four until you have 12 of the smaller squares. Place the squares into the cups of an un-greased muffin tin.
  • Fill each square with the mushroom mixture so that they are about half full. There should be about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons in each cup. Once all of the cups are full, lightly pinch the dough together to form a ‘purse’. Leave a small opening on the top for steam to escape. You don’t want to press the dough together too tightly, just enough to nearly cover the mushroom mixture but so that the dough is still somewhat loose.
  • Dip the pastry brush into the melted butter. Tap off the excess, then lightly dab the tops of the purses. It is ok if the dough layers separate a bit, in fact, you want this. This will create a lighter, flakier end result. You only want enough butter on the purses so that they brown while baking, you don’t need very much – too much and the dough will become soggy.
  • Drain the remaining melted butter through a stainer into a ramekin, discard the residue. Keep the butter warm by placing it on top of the oven as the mushroom purses bake.
  • Bake the purses for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F or until the tops are golden brown. When done, remove the pan from the oven and let the purses cool for a few minutes so that you can safely handle them. Carefully lift them from the muffin tin with a teaspoon and transfer them onto a serving platter. Be careful that you don’t break them! Sprinkle with sliced fresh chives and serve with the ramekin of the strained spiced butter.
Keyword date night dinner ideas, easy gourmet recipes, goat cheese recipes, how to cook phyllo dough, mushroom appetizers
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Savory Salmon Spread with Pickled Cherries

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Yield: 2 1/2 Cups | Total Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

If you are looking for gourmet recipes and you want something easy, then this is the perfect appetizer recipe to dig into!

This savory salmon spread can also be served as a salmon dip if you want to keep the carb count low. Just sprinkle the pickled cherries, chives and salt on top of the whole bowl and place a platter of crudité nearby. The texture is a lot like hummus, but with salmon as the base instead of tahini.

I particularly like this spread on crisp breads, though. There is just something special about that healthy crunch! 

Feel free to make this easy salmon spread in advance to save time if you plan to serve it at a dinner party. Keep it in an airtight container (with the cherries and chives in separate bags) until ready to serve.

Pinot Grigio goes exceptionally well with the complex flavors in this salmon spread, so make sure you have a bottle chilled and ready to go!

This is truly gourmet made easy.


Savory Salmon Spread with Pickled Cherries

Total Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

Prep: 10 Minutes / Cook: 10 Minutes / Chill: 2 Hours

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces skinless salmon, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/3 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • WASA crisp breads
  • sliced chives, for garnish
  • coarse flaky sea salt, for garnish

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

1. Place the salmon in a blender. In a small saucepan over medium, bring the butter, cream, tomatoes, capers, paprika, dill and salt to a boil. Stir until the butter is completely melted, then immediately pour the butter mixture into the blender with the salmon.

2. Blend the salmon mixture beginning on the low setting, then gradually increase the speed to medium high. Blend until the mixture is thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and chill for 2 hours or until set.

3. While the salmon spread is chilling, heat the red wine vinegar in a small saucepan over medium until it is just beginning to boil. Place the cherries in a  mug and pour the hot vinegar over. Stir to coat and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Drain and chop cherries, set aside until ready to serve.

4. Spread the salmon mixture over crisp bread crackers. Top with pickled cherries, a sprinkling of chives, and flaky sea salt. Serve on platters, or set up a buffet with the salmon spread and garnishes in individual ramekins, if desired. Goes great with Pinot Grigio!

Savory Salmon Appetizer Canapé
Easy Salmon Canapé Idea
Savory Salmon Canapé With Pickled Cherries

Savory Salmon Spread with Pickled Cherries

If you are looking for gourmet recipes and you want something easy, then this is the perfect appetizer recipe to dig into! This make ahead condiment can be served as a spread for crackers or as a dip for crudités.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chill 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Servings 2 Cups
Calories 700 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces skinless salmon, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt fine grain
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/3 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • WASA crisp breads
  • sliced chives for garnish
  • coarse flaky sea salt for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Place the salmon in a blender. In a small saucepan over medium, bring the butter, cream, tomatoes, capers, paprika, dill and salt to a boil. Stir until the butter is completely melted, then immediately pour the butter mixture into the blender with the salmon.
  • lend the salmon mixture beginning on the low setting, then gradually increase the speed to medium high. Blend until the mixture is thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and chill for 2 hours or until set.
  • While the salmon spread is chilling, heat the red wine vinegar in a small saucepan over medium until it is just beginning to boil. Place the cherries in a  mug and pour the hot vinegar over. Stir to coat and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Drain and chop cherries, set aside until ready to serve.
  • Spread the salmon mixture over crisp bread crackers. Top with pickled cherries, a sprinkling of chives, and flaky sea salt. Serve on platters, or set up a buffet with the salmon spread and garnishes in individual ramekins, if desired. Goes great with Pinot Grigio!
Keyword canapes, easy salmon canape, easy salmon spread, gourmet appetizer recipes, gourmet at home, recipes with pickled cherries, salmon spread for flatbreads, salmon spread recipes
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The Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

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Serves: 4 | Total Time: 40 Minutes

Did you know that the healthiest mashed potatoes are the creamiest mashed potatoes?

What makes these homemade mashed potatoes so healthy is that the nutrients don’t get poured off with the water.

Because, well, there really isn’t any water!

Now how does this work?

When making mashed potatoes, I try to use as little water as possible… just enough to keep the pan from drying out. Potatoes have lots of liquid already in them, so I thought, why not let them cook in what they’ve already got to give? When you cook them in their own juices, you end up with the creamiest mashed potatoes, too.

Who doesn’t like that?

Even if you omit everything else (except the butter and olive oil) and make the mashed potatoes without the cheeses, you won’t be disappointed with this recipe.

Oh, and don’t bother with the gravy. 


The Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Prep: 15 Minutes / Cook: 25 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon blue cheese crumbles (optional, but great to add when served with steak)
  • salt and pepper to taste

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a pot over medium heat until the butter is just melted. Add the potatoes and water and cover with a tight fitting lid – you don’t want too much of the steam to escape!

2. Allow the potatoes to cook, stirring occasionally but not too often. If they begin to get too brown, lower the heat to medium low. Some browning is ok, and the potatoes will most likely stick to the bottom of the pan a bit. Just scrape up the brown bits, you’ll want them in there because they add wonderful punches of flavor. If the pot dries out, add more water a tablespoon at a time. There should be enough oil that the pot shouldn’t get too dry, however. The idea is to cook the potatoes in their own juices (and they have plenty of them!). This is why lower heat and longer cook time is so important. Be patient, it is well worth the wait!

3. Once the potatoes are softened through, after about 25 minutes, remove the pot from the heat. Mash with a potato masher, but not too much. Rustic is best with this guys! No need to drain the potatoes, you’ll be mixing all that butter and oil right in. Add the cheeses, mayo and sour cream, season with salt and pepper, and give ’em a good stir to mix everything up.

4. Serve plain. Yeah, hold the gravy, you won’t be needing it!


How To Make The Best Mashed Potatoes
The Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

The Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

To get the creamiest mashed potatoes with the most flavor, cook them in their own water. Making mashed potatoes this way is easy, and it is healthy, too.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 530 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes peeled and quartered
  • ¼ cup good quality olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon blue cheese crumbles (optional, but great to add when served with steak)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a pot over medium heat until the butter is just melted. Add the potatoes and water and cover with a tight fitting lid – you don't want too much of the steam to escape!
  • Allow the potatoes to cook, stirring occasionally but not too often. If they begin to get too brown, lower the heat to medium low. Some browning is ok, and the potatoes will most likely stick to the bottom of the pan a bit. Just scrape up the brown bits, you'll want them in there because they add wonderful punches of flavor. If the pot dries out, add more water a tablespoon at a time. There should be enough oil that the pot shouldn't get too dry, however. The idea is to cook the potatoes in their own juices (and they have plenty of them!). This is why lower heat and longer cook time is so important. Be patient, it is well worth the wait!
  • Once the potatoes are softened through, after about 25 minutes, remove the pot from the heat. Mash with a potato masher, but not too much. Rustic is best with this guys! No need to drain the potatoes, you'll be mixing all that butter and oil right in. Add the cheeses, mayo and sour cream, season with salt and pepper, and give 'em a good stir to mix everything up.
  • Serve plain. Yeah, hold the gravy, you won't be needing it!
Keyword best mashed potatoes, how to make the creamiest mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes recipe
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March 23 French Onion Soup

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Serves: 4 | Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

It is spring here in Wisconsin at last!

The sun is shining, the robins are sitting on the porch railing and singing, the cardinals are flitting around the trees in the back yard and the snow is gone – for now. It is still chilly outside, however, and winter coats (or at least a heavy puffer vest over a thick sweater) are still necessary when going outside. Soup weather, indeed!

Mark loves French onion soup, but since this can be more of a autumn or winter recipe, I decided to spruce it up with a little fruitiness to make it a spring soup. Instead of using white wine, I use red, which gives the soup a hint of pink. Apple cider lends even more fruit, but the thyme balances it out nicely. It’s a warm, hearty, velvety soup without the winter vibe.

It is really important to use a crusty bread for the croutons. I tried this once with regular white bread and ended up with mush beneath the cheese topping… eeew! Toast it so it is nice and crisp, and it will stay afloat to hold up all the gooey, melted cheese. I like using provolone because it is mild and it melts to the perfect consistency, but feel free to use mozzarella, or any other white cheese you want.

This makes a nice lunch, or you can have it for dinner with a glass of that red wine you used in the soup. I don’t think you can pair it much better than that!


March 23 French Onion Soup

Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Prep: 10 Minutes / Cook: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 slices Italian bread, toasted and crusts removed.
  • 2 teaspoons chicken base dissolved in 2 cups hot water
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 – 8 springs fresh thyme
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and ends removed
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups good quality dry red wine
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 36 ounces canned French onion soup (not condensed) or 4 cans condensed French onion soup
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • parsley and thyme leaves for garnish
  • fresh ground black pepper for garnish

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

1. Toast the bread and remove the crusts. Set aside.

2. Dissolve the chicken base in the water. Set aside.

3. Tie the herbs in a tight bundle with baker’s twine. Set aside.

4. Cut the onions in half vertically, then slice them, from root to end, about 1/4 inch thick. They should resemble half moons.

5. Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions in a single layer and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low after 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the onions from burning. They should be brown (not black) and deeply caramelized when done. Make sure to take in a good whiff of the goodness!

6. Add the red wine to the onions. Turn up the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. Once the liquid begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until the wine reduces by three quarters. It will be syrupy and will resemble cranberry sauce (and it will smell slightly fruity – think spring!)

7. Add the cider, chicken base in water, and canned soup. Drop the herb bundle into the soup and push down to submerge it in the liquids. Bring the whole thing to a boil and simmer for another 20 minutes, uncovered.

8. Preheat the broiler.

9. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, remove the herb bundle and discard it. Use a ladle to fill 4 soup crocks with the soup. Place one bread crouton on top of the soup in each crock, then lay one slice of provolone over each crouton.  

10. Place the crocks on a sheet pan. Transfer the sheet pan to the top rack of the oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the soup to cool slightly before serving the crocks on heat-proof plates (they will be piping hot!). Sprinkle each with thyme leaves, garnish with a sprig of parsley and a grind of black pepper.

Best French Onion Spring Soup Recipe
French Onion Soup

March 23 French Onion Soup

The perfect French onion soup recipe for crisp, early spring days. Aromatic and herby with a hint of fruit.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Soup
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 slices Italian bread toasted and crusts removed
  • 2 teaspoons chicken base dissolved in 2 cups hot water
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 yellow onions peeled with ends removed
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups good quality dry red wine
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 36 ounces canned French onion soup (not condensed) or 4 cans condensed French onion soup
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • fresh parsley leaves for garnish
  • fresh thyme leaves for garnish
  • fresh ground black pepper for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Toast the bread and remove the crusts. Set aside.
  • Dissolve the chicken base in the water. Set aside.
  • Tie the herbs in a tight bundle with baker’s twine. Set aside.
  • Cut the onions in half vertically, then slice them, from root to end, about 1/4 inch thick. They should resemble half moons.
  • Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions in a single layer and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low after 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the onions from burning. They should be brown (not black) and deeply caramelized when done. Make sure to take in a good whiff of the goodness!
  • Add the red wine to the onions. Turn up the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. Once the liquid begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until the wine reduces by three quarters. It will be syrupy and will resemble cranberry sauce (and it will smell slightly fruity – think spring!)
  • Add the cider, chicken base in water, and canned soup. Drop the herb bundle into the soup and push down to submerge it in the liquids. Bring the whole thing to a boil and simmer for another 20 minutes, uncovered.
  • Preheat the broiler.
  • After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, remove the herb bundle and discard it. Use a ladle to fill 4 soup crocks with the soup. Place one bread crouton on top of the soup in each crock, then lay one slice of provolone over each crouton.
  • Place the crocks on a sheet pan. Transfer the sheet pan to the top rack of the oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the soup to cool slightly before serving the crocks on heat-proof plates (they will be piping hot!). Sprinkle each with thyme leaves, garnish with a sprig of parsley and a grind of black pepper.
Keyword best onion soup, cooking with wine, french onion soup recipes, how to make french onion soup, spring soup recipes
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Tenderloin Steaks with Mushrooms in Onion Broth

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Serves: 2 | Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

I love the Outback Steakhouse. 

I was first introduced to the Outback, and it’s wonderfully Aussie-style fare, when I worked there as a server back in the late 90’s. Yep, that was back when we’d sit down in the booth next to you to take your order. I can’t even begin to tell you how nervous that made me feel at first, but the more I did it, the more fun it became. (Plus it helped me overcome my tendency toward shyness!)

This recipe is inspired by my fond memories of the Outback Steakhouse. I sifted together some spices, and in the interest of keeping things keto, used pork rinds instead of any kind of breading whatsoever. Not that the Outback uses breading on their steaks (at least I don’t think they do!), but because I sometimes like a little extra crunch with my sizzle. It’s like grizzle, but for steak instead of chicken.

So go ahead and grab that bottle of Shiraz (or a can of Foster’s) and toast to a great restaurant-style steak that you can make right in your own kitchen… because…. well, we are supposed to get a snowstorm tonight.

So much for dining out, but whoever said Saturday evening couldn’t be just as much fun when dining in?


Tenderloin Steaks with Mushrooms in Onion Broth

Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Prep: 10 Minutes / Cook: 1 Hour

INGREDIENTS:

  • Broth:
    • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
    • 1/3 cup red wine
    • 2 cups beef broth
    • 8 oz. whole button mushrooms
    • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
    • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Steaks:
    • 2 tenderloin steaks (6 oz. each)
    • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
    • 1/3 cup crushed pork rinds
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

For the broth:

1. Melt the butter in a medium pot. Sauté the onions in butter over medium-low heat until they are saturated and transparent, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them! Lower the heat if they begin to get crispy.

2. Add the wine and beef broth to the pot and bring to a boil, then add the mushrooms. Reduce the heat so that the liquid no longer boils but simmers vigorously. If using fresh thyme, add it now along with the bay leaf and allow to simmer, uncovered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until the mushrooms reduce to roughly half their size. If using essential oil, wait until just before serving to add it, but go ahead and throw the bay leaf in now. 

While the broth is simmering, prepare the steaks as follows:

1. Place the pork rinds in a ziplock bag and go over them with a rolling pin until they resemble panko crumbs. Add all other ingredients to the bag except for the steaks and olive oil. Shake to combine.

2. In a separate skillet, heat the olive oil until it is very hot and beginning to smoke.

3. Coat the steaks with the spiced rind rub and add them to the skillet. Sear the steaks on all sides to lock in the juices, about a minute on each side. While they are still in the pan, sprinkle them with the remaining rub. Allow steaks to cook through, about 8-10 minutes for medium. Some of the crumbs from the rub will fall into the meat’s juices and char in the skillet. Keep them! They will add great bursts of crunchy flavor to the finished steaks that are pleasantly surprising!

4. When the steaks are cooked to your liking, plate them. Next, deglaze the skillet with some of the onion broth, then scrape the charred bits from the skillet and sprinkle them over the steaks.

5. Remove the herbs from the mushroom broth and take the broth off the heat. (If using thyme essential oil, now would be the time to add it. Make sure it is diluted in the olive oil first, then stir the oil into the broth to mix the flavor throughout.)

6. Spoon the mushrooms over the steaks, then ladle some of the broth over everything on the plates. Drizzle some olive oil over everything for good measure. The meat will continue to cook as it sits on the plates with the hot juices. Serve it right away!


Pan Seared Tenderloin Steak Recipe Ideas
Pan Seared Tenderloin Steaks With Mushrooms In Onion Broth

Tenderloin Steaks with Mushrooms in Onion Broth

Restaurant-inspired tenderloin steaks with mushrooms in onion broth. Stay in for date-night tonight with this easy pan-seared steak recipe!
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people
Calories 1240 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 8 ounces whole button mushrooms
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 tenderloin steaks (6 oz. each)
  • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • cup crushed pork rinds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Melt the butter in a medium pot. Sauté the onions in butter over medium-low heat until they are saturated and transparent, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them! Lower the heat if they begin to get crispy.
  • Add the wine and beef broth to the pot and bring to a boil, then add the mushrooms. Reduce the heat so that the liquid no longer boils but simmers vigorously. If using fresh thyme, add it now along with the bay leaf and allow to simmer, uncovered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until the mushrooms reduce to roughly half their size. If using essential oil, wait until just before serving to add it, but go ahead and throw the bay leaf in now. 
  • While the broth is simmering, prepare the steaks as follows:
  • Place the pork rinds in a ziplock bag and go over them with a rolling pin until they resemble panko crumbs. Add all other ingredients to the bag except for the steaks and olive oil. Shake to combine.
  • In a separate skillet, heat the olive oil until it is very hot and beginning to smoke.
  • Coat the steaks with the spiced rind rub and add them to the skillet. Sear the steaks on all sides to lock in the juices, about a minute on each side. While they are still in the pan, sprinkle them with the remaining rub. Allow steaks to cook through, about 8-10 minutes for medium. Some of the crumbs from the rub will fall into the meat's juices and char in the skillet. Keep them! They will add great bursts of crunchy flavor to the finished steaks that are pleasantly surprising!
  • When the steaks are cooked to your liking, plate them. Next, deglaze the skillet with some of the onion broth, then scrape the charred bits from the skillet and sprinkle them over the steaks.
  • Remove the herbs from the mushroom broth and take the broth off the heat. (If using thyme essential oil, now would be the time to add it. Make sure it is diluted in the olive oil first, then stir the oil into the broth to mix the flavor throughout.)
  • Spoon the mushrooms over the steaks, then ladle some of the broth over everything on the plates. Drizzle some olive oil over everything for good measure. The meat will continue to cook as it sits on the plates with the hot juices. Serve it right away!
Keyword date night dinner ideas, outback steakhouse copycat recipe, pan-seared steak recipes, steak and mushrooms, tenderloin steaks in onion broth
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