Recipe: Easy Wine’d Guacamole

Since yesterday was the Super Bowl, I wasn’t in the mood for a big meal for dinner.  Maybe it’s just conditioning, but I felt like having “snack food” for dinner and decided to try my hand at making a quick guacamole.  Surprisingly, it came together much quicker than I expected and was so tasty that I’ll probably try it again soon.  See what you think of this “recipe”…

EasyWinedGuacamole (1)

I started with one whole avocado. I sliced it in half, removed the seed, and scooped out all the flesh of the avocado into a bowl.  Using a fork, I mashed the avocado until there were just a few chunks left.  I drizzled a touch of lemon juice, some James River Cellars Petit Verdot (since I didn’t have any tomato on hand), a touch of hot sauce, finely chopped cilantro, and finally some salt and pepper to taste.   I let it rest until the sliced crustini were warm and toasty, then served the bread as “dippers” for the guacamole.  It was delicious!

To those who make guacamole all the time, I do know that this recipe is not a good representation of a traditional guacamole.  There should be pieces of tomato and onion, bits of other unique flavors, and whatever else people put into guacamole to make it spicy, flavorful and tasty.  For me, however, this was a great way to get the basic flavor of the dip without having to make a special trip to the store for extra ingredients that I didn’t have on hand.  Feel free to play with this recipe, if you’re so inclined.  I loved it and thought it was “just enough”.  Happy Dipping!

 

Leftover Recipe: Leftover Breakfast Hash

Dinner recently consisted of roasted potatoes, chicken tenders, shrimp, bacon, and a few other items but I ended up with enough leftovers to play a bit with breakfast the next morning.  As you can see in the photo, this is a rendition of my previously posted Breakfast Hash recipe.  I didn’t have to run to the store for anything and it was a great start to my day.  Hopefully, you’ll find this to be a recipe that you can re-create for your family.

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I started by sauteing a singe leftover piece of bacon (honest… it really was left over) until it was crispy.  I then added a cup of leftover roasted potato and allowed it to crisp a bit.  The “fun” addition here was a bit of James River Cellars Petit Verdot red wine and some frozen pieces of peppers (red, yellow, and green).  Once I let the wine incorporate into the potato and the peppers cooked, I added 1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute and tossed that with everything so the cooked egg would end up all over the recipe.  The final addition was 1/8 cup of 2% milk shredded mild cheddar cheese.  Once the cheese melted, I plated my breakfast.

This was a fun and tasty way to use up leftovers.  Chopped peppers freeze very nicely, so it’s easy to have them on hand for a touch of color in a dish.  This is something that I’ll be incorporating more often, since I love seeing the bright additions to dishes that can sometimes become a bit bland.

Next time someone tells you the old joke, “what do you call a meal without wine… Breakfast”, feel free to share this idea for a yummy turn on using wine in your cooking.  Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Petit Goulash

I’ve been told that this isn’t really a goulash recipe, but since that’s what my husband called it, that’s what I’m going to call it as well.  This was a two-pot dinner… one medium pot for the pasta and one large skillet to brown the meat and mix everything together.  Simple and comforting… that’s what I was craving last week when the snow hit our area.

PetitGoulash

I started by dicing together a large onion and half a large green pepper and sautéing them together in a pat of butter.  Once the vegetables were browned, I added a package of ground turkey and cooked this until the meat was thoroughly browned.  To this mixture, I added a healthy pour of a dark Petit Verdot and cooked the meat mixture until the wine had been thoroughly absorbed.   The last “flavor addition” was a can of petit diced tomatoes, which added some great color to the dish.

While I was cooking the meat, I started cooking a pot of water with jumbo elbow macaroni and salt.  Once the pasta was cooked, I drained it and added it into the large skillet and stirred everything together, seasoning with garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika.  This recipe is very similar to the mazetti that my mother-in-law makes (which is absolutely delicious) and was a huge hit with my family.  The flavors melded together nicely and the dish was hearty enough to be filling without adding bread on the side.  A simple green salad would have been a nice addition, but not totally necessary.

Enjoy playing with this recipe if you choose to make it for your family.  A wonderful Hungarian smoked paprika would be fabulous – Think  I might be able to talk my local grocer into stocking this spice if I whine about it enough?  Have fun making your own family’s favorite “goulash”… after all, you’re creating something for those you love.  What could be wrong about that?  Enjoy!

Recipe: Petit Enchilada Casserole

 

Coming up with recipes is truly something that feeds my creativity.  I love when my manager asks me to “come up with a recipe”, because it sends me into my kitchen… one of my favorite rooms in our home.  This recipe came from a desire to create something using leftover chicken, yet have a meal that could be popped in the oven by whomever got home first that night.

As you can see, this looks like a “real” recipe, as opposed to most of my posts.  The reason is that I plugged this recipe into “My Recipe Builder” app so I could figure out the calorie count.  While I usually don’t do this when blogging, the written recipe will be included this weekend at James River Cellars’ Petit Verdot Vertical Weekend and I needed to have it look more official.

  • 12 ounces Salsa (I used Gunther’s Spicy Black Bean Dip)PetitEnchiladaCasserole
  • 10-1/2 ounces Soup, cream of mushroom (use your favorite)
  • 6 ounces Wine, table, red (I love the deep flavor of Petit Verdot here)
  • 15 ounces Beans, baked, canned, plain or vegetarian
  • 8 small tortilla (approx 4″ dia) Tortilla, corn
  • 1 Onions, sweet, raw, diced
  • 2 cups, chopped or diced Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, stewed
  • 2 cups, shredded Cheese, low fat, cheddar or colby

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Saute’ onion until softened, adding garlic if desired.
  2. Add salsa, undiluted soup, drained and rinsed black beans, and wine.  Stir in chicken and mix until flavors combine nicely.
  3. Spray the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Cut the corn tortillas in half, then slice each half into 4 pie-shaped bites.  Separate the tortilla pieces in half and spread half across the bottom of the baking pan.
  4. Layer salsa mixture on top of the tortilla layer, then top with half the cheese.
  5. Top cheese with the remaining tortilla pieces.  Cover the tortilla pieces with the remaining salsa and top with cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

I found this casserole to be really tasty.  I cut the casserole into 8-square shaped pieces and it was a really filling dinner.  As always, you’re welcome to swap out ingredients to suit the tastes of your family… that’s the best part of making your own dinners.  You can even make this into a vegetarian dish by using shredded zucchini or diced eggplant or tofu in place of the chicken.  Try this sometime and let me know how you, and your family, likes this dish.  We loved it!

Recipe: Petit Veggie Pizza

Since the winery is going to have a Petit Verdot Vertical weekend soon, I’ve been working on creating some new recipes that utilize this amazing wine.  This recipe is one of the creations I made when trying to come up with something that’s vegetarian.  You could easily add some sort of protein as a topping, but I thought this was really tasty by itself.  PetitVeggiePizza

I started with the whole-wheat pizza dough recipe that you can find on my blog.  If you have a pizza dough recipe you like, by all means, use that one.  If you don’t want to be bothered with making your own pizza dough, feel free to stop by your favorite pizza place and ask them for some dough – many are happy to sell you enough dough for a small/medium/large pizza.  I really wanted to know the nutritional analysis for the dough, so the recipe I used worked well for me.

Once I stretched out the dough to the size I wanted for my pizza, I started working on my vegetarian topping.  In this instance, I used Gunther’s Spicy Black Bean Dip (I had about 1/2 cup left over in my fridge), some salsa, a handful of frozen corn, some taco seasoning, and some James River Cellars’ Petit Verdot red wine.  After mixing this together, I realized that I needed something to give it more volume, so I grated one small green zucchini into the salsa mixture (see the middle photo on the left).  This is what I used as my base/topping for my veggie pizza.  I spread it over the entire crust and then topped it with a cup of pizza cheese before popping it into a 425-degree pre-heated oven to bake.

As easy as this sounds, it was just as delicious.  The zucchini gave enough volume to the pizza so my dinner was very satisfying as well as being really tasty.  Pizza is one of those meals where I could put almost anything on a crust and I can be happy, so this was a fun meal.  If you’re getting bored with your own meal planning, try putting something unconventional on a pizza crust…. you might find that you’ve created a new favorite dinner.

Have fun being creative!

Recipe: Petit Venison Chili

I confess…. I was a slacker over Christmas break and didn’t post any new recipes.  I made a few fun things that I’ll post ASAP, but spending time with my kids ended up taking precedence.   Since the winery has a Chili Cook-off coming up this weekend, I had chili on my mind when it was so rainy yesterday, so this recipe just came together for me.  As with all my recipes, I used “The Force” with regards to the amounts of spices and such, but this is a fairly standard way for me to make chili.  I do alter the meats, types of beans, and amounts of spices at times, but this is a workable recipe to use as a jumping off point if you have never made chili before.

PetitVenisonChili

I start with 2 onions, 2 spoons of garlic, and 1 large green pepper, diced well.  I saute them in a little bit of olive oil until they got slightly toasty and then added one pound of ground venison.  (Note:  I got the venison from a friend… I would have used a package of ground turkey if I hadn’t had the venison to use.)  Once the venison is thoroughly cooked, I add 1/2 cup of James River Cellars’ Petit Verdot red wine.  This wine is smoky and deep… a great pairing with the lean game meat in this dish.  Take your time here…. you want to allow time for the wine to be totally absorbed by the meat and vegetables before moving forward in the recipe.

Once the wine is totally incorporated, you can add the tomato/bean side of the chili.  I use one 28-oz can crushed tomatoes and four 15-oz cans of beans, undrained. For this recipe, I used one can each of pinto, light kidney, dark kidney, and white cannellini beans. I also like to add one 6-oz can tomato paste to thicken the chili.

Once your beans and tomato products are incorporated into your chili, it’s time to think about spices and seasonings.  I like to add a variation of spices… typically a blending of salt, garlic salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon, parsley, and a touch of honey or a little sugar.  I used varying amounts of these spices, tasting the chili after incorporating each flavor until it all meshed well and tasted the way my family likes.

I know many people who like to add chipotle seasonings, hot sauce, or spicy peppers, but since my family isn’t fond of too much heat, this is the way we like our chili to taste.  There are a multitude of “official” recipes for chili – some have specific ingredients while others simply give you generic ideas of what “should” be used.  Lots of people also have accompaniments that they like to have with their chili… corn muffins, cornbread, saltines, spaghetti noodles, cheese, onions… the list can be endless.    No matter what you use, or how you make it, enjoy the process of making chili for your own family.  What you choose to use in your chili is completely appropriate – as long as it’s what you and your family enjoy, that’s all that matters, right?

Happy Cooking!

 

 

Recipe: Breakfast Hash with Wine

People have been joking with me for years about pairing wine and breakfast… so that’s been my latest challenge.  To create a tasty breakfast food that somehow incorporates wine?  I couldn’t imagine it… until this morning.

I started with a pre-baked potato.  I diced the potato and began to saute it in a mixture of olive oil and margarine.  As it browned, I diced about 1/3 of a granny smith apple and added that to the pan.  In the meantime, I boiled water with a bit of white vinegar to cook a quick poached egg.   The picture on the left is of the potato/apple mixture as it cooked and browned.

To add a kick of flavor to this simple dish, I added 1/4 cup of James River Cellars Petit Verdot as well as a spoonful of House Sauce (from Take It Away in Charlottesville.  Note: this sauce can also be found at The Cheese Shop in Williamsburg).  The wine added a lovely tinge of pink to the potato and apple pieces and the House sauce brought its own smokey mayonnaise touch.  Using both in combination created a wonderful flavor that otherwise might have relegated this dish to the “ho-hum” list.

As I plated my breakfast, I sprinkled the potato/apple mixture with 1T of Asiago cheese crumbles.  I gently laid the poached egg on top and added a bit of cracked pepper.  It was amazing.Breakfast Hash

Nothing is “out of bounds” when it comes to cooking… try it and see how you like adding wine as a flavoring agent.  You might be inspired and totally surprised with a new favorite.   I certainly did!