Monday, July 9, 2012

Ground beef + crescent roll dough = I dunno what to call it

So I get home from work, and my wife tells me that there is ground beef thawed for dinner. Okay. Very versatile ingredient - but what do I want to do with it? Anywho, one of the local grocery stores was having a one day sale, so we went there to pick up some stuff. While we were in the dairy section grabbing a gallon of milk, inspiration hit me, and I grabbed a couple of cans of the Pillsbury crescent roll recipe sheets. I then backtracked to produce and grabbed a bell pepper and an Anaheim pepper.

Back home, I diced up the bell pepper, minced the Anaheim, chopped some onion, and rough cut some carrots. Sauted all of that in the cast iron skillet with a little vegetable oil, seasoned with fresh ground pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, Hungarian paprika and fresh rosemary from the garden.

Meanwhile, I put the two pounds of ground chuck in a bowl, added salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, dried thyme, ground marjoram, a beaten egg, and some whole wheat bread crumbs. My wife mixed it up for me. I then added the partially softened veggies to the meat mixture, along with some fresh chives from the garden. Wife mixed all that in, then i proceeded to fill the crescent roll sheets.

I unrolled the sheets, and then cut them in half. I spooned a healthy portion of the meat and veggie mix onto each piece, then closed them up and placed them on a buttered cookie sheet.

You'll notice the two on the right are larger than the two on the left. I hadn't refined my technique.

I spooned some melted chive butter over the tops of them, then sprinkled them with sesame seeds, stabbed them with a fork and stuck them in the oven at 350 for about 35 minutes.

After they were GBD and had come to temp, I sprinkled some shredded sharp cheddar over them and put them back in the oven for another five minutes or so to melt the cheese.

Turned out pretty tasty. The top was flaky and crispy, and the bottom was kinda soft and full of beef drippings.

I also made some imitation crab meat stuffed portabella mushrooms for my wife and daughter. (Faux crab cakes for me, but no pictures of those)

After Cheri cleaned the shrooms, I mixed up the filling: imitation crab meat, diced and some of it smashed with my fingers, garlic, salt, white pepper, cream cheese, Miracle Whip, shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, and diced portabella stems. Stuffed the caps with the filling, then topped with some Panko mixed with melted butter and garlic powder. In the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, and they enjoyed. (Not me, I can't stand mushrooms. I can cook 'em, but I can't eat 'em.)

Before baking.

After baking.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sweet & Savory Chicken Fingers

Well, it's been a while, but I'm back! My work schedule has been hectic for a while now, and I'm finally starting to get a handle on my schedule again. So, I thought I'd share this recipe for the super-delicious chicken fingers I made for dinner tonight. (Sorry, no pictures. The food didn't last long enough to get any.)

So, I wanted to use buttermilk, but I didn't have any. No worries. I just put three tablespoons of white vinegar into the 4-cup measuring cup, then added milk (1%) up to the 3-cup line. By the time the chicken is cut, presto-chango! Pseudo-buttermilk!

Anyway, I started with four pieces of boneless skinless chicken breast. I trimmed the fat and tendons, then cut it into strips. Threw it all into a bowl, then seasoned liberally with chicken bouillon powder, granulated garlic, Hungarian paprika, celery salt, freshly ground black pepper, onion powder, hot sauce, and about a tablespoon of honey. I tossed the chicken around to coat it with the seasonings and honey, then poured in the pseudo-buttermilk.

I let that sit while I heated up the deep fryer (with peanut oil) and got my flour ready. I used just regular old all-purpose flour, which I seasoned with granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, ground marjoram, ground thyme, chicken bouillon powder, and Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt.

Once I had the flour sufficiently seasoned, I started the breading process. I fished pieces of chicken out of the bowl with a fork, and added them to the flour, which was in a large plastic storage bowl with a lid. After I'd added five or six pieces, I put the lid on, then shook the whole thing like mad. Repeated the process until all the chicken was in the bowl and well coated, then let it sit while the fryer finished heating up.

I dropped the pieces into the 350 degree peanut oil in batches of about six pieces, cooked them for three minutes (or until GBD - golden brown and delicious), let them drain for a few seconds in the fry basket, then transferred them to a cookie sheet with a cooling rack and some paper towels. Once they were all cooked, the whole lot went into the warm oven while everything else was finishing up. My wife made microwave potatoes (thin sliced potatoes, cooked in the microwave then topped with melted butter, salt, pepper, and chives from the garden) and we cooked some frozen corn.

Good Lord, were those chicken fingers delicious! Savory, rich chicken flavor, with a slight pepper bite and just a hint of sweetness from the honey. No dip needed. YUM!