Starter Recipe: White Kielbasa and Homemade Kaiser Rolls

I have to say that this meal is probably one of my favorite recipes to pull out on a given night.  The recipe for the rolls is one that I have been making for decades and is both delicious and forgiving, which immediately makes it “fabulous” for me. The kielbasa is another component that is easy when trying to make a quick, healthy dinner that will please all the picky eaters in my house.  I’ve been making both of these things, together and apart, for so long that I was astounded to find that I’d never posted the recipe before.  Please forgive my error and let me rectify this as quickly as possible!

The “Kaiser Roll” part of the recipe:  WhiteKielbasa&Rolls (1)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T vegetable oil (but I’ve used most any oil I have on hand)
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 t yeast (I typically add a little more, especially if I already have the tablespoon measure in hand)

I use my bread machine to make the dough for this.  If you don’t have a bread machine, I’d suggest finding a basic bread dough recipe and following those instructions because I truly haven’t made bread without the machine for so long that *I* would have to look up “how to make bread dough” if I were going to make this recipe without the machine.  Once the dough is made, you’ll want to section off equal size pieces of dough and form them into rolls.  For a full recipe, I typically make 9-12 rolls, depending on how large I want the rolls to be when I’m done.  If I made a half recipe, I like to get 6 rolls out of the dough… everything depends on how big and what shape you want your rolls.

When forming the rolls, I like to pull the dough from the top of the ball and squish (technical term, right?) it into the bottom so I’m forming a very round ball.  I then pull the dough out from the center and stretch the roll to make it “flatter” and wider. Once formed, I place the rolls onto a greased cookie sheet and allow them to rise until doubled (maybe a half hour or so). Bake the rolls in a pre-heated 375* oven for 10 minutes, turn the rolls around in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. They should be nicely browned and come off the pan easily.  NOTE: I spray the rolls a few times (once going in, once inside the oven, and again after turning the rolls) with ice water.  I’m honestly not sure what this does, but my original recipe told me to do this, so I continue to do so.  The crust doesn’t get too crispy and the rolls are puffy and light.

The “White Kielbasa” part of the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Oil/fat (I like a mix of olive oil and coconut oil, but butter/margarine is fine too… use what you like)
  • Turkey Kielbasa (I use 1-2 packages, depending on how many mouths I’m feeding)
  • Onions (I use a half onion, sliced, per package of kielbasa, but use as much/little as you like)
  • Seasonings (I like granulated garlic, salt, and pepper)
  • White wine (I use whatever wine I have on hand… just don’t use anything that’s too sweet)

I like to first saute’ the onions in some variation of fat, until they’re lightly browned and toasty. If you want to do a full-on caramelization of the onions, go for it… they’ll be a terrific addition.  It’s all about what you’d like to have with your dinner.  Slice the kielbasa into “pennies”… I cut them slightly off kilter, so they look pretty, but it’s all about what works for you as the chef.  I’ve cut them into long slices, but the kielbasa tends to curl up so the “penny” shape works better for me. Add the kielbasa into the pan and season with garlic, salt and pepper.  Saute the kielbasa pieces thoroughly on one side before flipping them over and browning on the other side.

Once the kielbasa and onions are cooked thoroughly, I like to add some white wine to add a bit of a sauce to the pan.  The wine picks up the browned bits and adds a nice back note to the meal.  You certainly can omit this step and still have a delicious dinner… it’s all about what you’d like to make and how you’d like it to taste.

I hope you’ll consider trying this recipe sometime.  I love to keep turkey kielbasa in the freezer for that day when I want to make dinner but don’t have a ton of time… this meal fits the bill for me!  Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions or comments… I’d love to hear from you!

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Recipe: Red Breakfast Hash

I’m sending this recipe to The Today Show for a segment by Joy Bauer on healthy apple recipes. The writing below is a bit different than my typical babbling about how to make something (I thought this might sound more professional) but I wanted to share this recipe with you all first.  It’s just so darn tasty… I hope you agree!

I make a Red Breakfast Hash that is a great brunch recipe – full of flavor and color!  I’ve put a few variations on my wine blog (www.fromthebottomofawinebottle.wordpress.com) but this is one of my favorite offerings.  The recipe can be increased or decreased as needed and it uses up any leftover baked potatoes or extra veggies left in your fridge, so it’s healthy AND a good value.RedBreakfastHash

Basic Ingredients for two:

*1 tablespoon butter

*one baked potato, diced

*one onion, diced

*one apple, cored and diced (I like to leave the skin on)

*Red Wine (I use whatever is in my fridge at the time)

*Salt/pepper to taste

*2 eggs (plus some white vinegar to poach eggs)

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a non-stick skillet and saute’ potato, onion, and apple until browned and a little crispy.
  2. Add red wine to your skillet and give your potato mixture some time to soak up all that flavor and color. Add salt and pepper to taste
  3. While you’re working on #1 and #2, boil some water with some white vinegar added and drop the eggs in to poach just before your wine is totally absorbed.
  4. To serve, divide the red potato mixture onto two plates, top with the poached eggs and break the yolk to share that yummy goodness with the rest of your food.
  5. ENJOY!

I came up with this recipe while working at a winery in VA.  There’s an old joke that goes “what do you call a meal without wine?  Breakfast”, so I decided that I had to fix that problem.  This can be made healthier by using more of the onion/apple mixture, but I really like using a 1:1:1 ratio so the flavors are easily recognizable.  You can also add sautee’d peppers into the mix, if you’d like.  If you’re not a “poached egg fan”, feel free to fry the egg or simply use Fat-free egg substitute as your egg choice.

Note:  the photo mashup I included was created on Picmonkey, using iPhone photos of the food in various stages of creation.  I like to use these on my website to entice people into trying to make my recipes, since they tend to be fairly easy and enjoyable to make.

Recipe: Beef Steak Sandwiches

Ideas for this sandwich kept popping up in my newsfeed all week, so I thought I would make my own rendition of this delicious recipe that Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) calls The Marlboro Man Sandwich.  It’s a fabulous-looking steak sandwich that isn’t anywhere near as expensive as it *could* be, since it uses cube steak as the main ingredient.   While I would highly recommend checking out the original recipe on The Pioneer Woman site – she’s very entertaining and, IMHO, the sort of personality to which *I* would strive as a cooking show host – this is my own version that recipe but includes WINE (of course)BeefSteakSandwich.

Ingredients:

  • Onions (I used one and sliced it for this recipe)
  • Butter (I used 2 Tablespoons, but will try coconut oil next time to see if that would work as a substitute)
  • Cube Steak (I used just under 1 pound of meat for 2 1/2 sandwiches)
  • Red Wine (I used a Pinot Noir from my fridge, but would typically use James River Cellars Rad Red)
  • Worchestershire Sauce
  • Lawrey’s Seasoning Salt

Directions:

  1. I started by melting a tablespoon of butter in a saute pan and then browned an entire sliced onion until it was soft.  I added a bit of red wine to brown with the onion to give it a bit more flavor, then removed it from the pan once the wine was absorbed.
  2. Once the onions were cooked and the pan was empty, I added the second tablespoon of butter to melt in the pan.  While it melted, I sliced the meat across the grain and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  When the butter was hot, I placed the strips of steak in the pan and allowed them to sear well before flipping them over and doing the same thing to the other side.
  3. As the steak finished cooking, I re-added the onions and poured in about a half cup of red wine to make a base for the sauce.
  4. Using the wine to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the saute pan, I seasoned the meat with a bit of worchestershire and some Lawrey’s Seasoning Salt.  The sauce reduced fairly quickly and was ready for dinner soon after.
  5. To serve this lovely sandwich, I toasted two hoagie rolls and spooned the steak/onion mixture onto half of the roll.  I love cheese, so I added some shredded mozzarella cheese to my sandwich while my husband had his without cheese.  The best part of this recipe is to drizzle a bit of the sauce down over the meat once it’s on the roll… I think it’s the sauce that makes this sandwich so very salty, flavorful, and deep.

I hope you’ll try your own version of this sandwich sometime.  Add peppers to the onions if you like – that would add some great nutrition to this meal as well as a bit of a fun twist.  I used the last bits of the meat in a salad, so I can safely say that this is a recipe that you can use in most any way you can imagine.  It’d be great in wraps, salads, over noodles, or just as the original sandwich… you just can’t go wrong!

Salud!

Recipe: Red Steak Stir Fry

The house smelled soooo good when I was making dinner last night…. a definite plus after a weekend of pizza and dinners out, no matter how yummy.  Since M asked me to make a stir fry, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work and was able to throw this delicious meal together without too much difficulty.  Picking up two sale packages of “stir-fry beef”, a package of sliced mushrooms, a small package of Haricot Verts (long thin green beans), a bag of onions, and a bottle of Korean Teriyaki sauce, I started cooking in “layers”.  Let me explain what I mean by that…

RedSteakStirFry

Start with the onions and mushrooms.  Slice half an onion and half of the package of sliced mushrooms, and saute them in a pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil until they start to brown.  To this mixture, add some Napa Valley Pinot Noir red wine (this is what I had in the fridge… any tasty red wine will work well in this recipe) and allow the veggies to soak up the wine (here’s your first layer of flavor).  Remove the veggies and add another pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil, allowing the pan to get hot.  Add salt and pepper to the beef and add to the melted butter/oil in the saute pan.  Brown the beef thoroughly and then add more red wine (this is your second layer of flavor) so the beef can soak up more of this flavor.  Once the beef is cooked, return the onion/mushroom mixture and bring everything to temperature.

While sauteing the vegetables and beef, take a moment to pull the stir-fry sauce together.  This sauce was a blend of 2/3 cup red wine, 1/3 cup of Teriyaki sauce, some garlic, some ginger, and a spoonful of flour.  Whisk the sauce thoroughly to incorporate the flour into the sauce and wait to add the sauce until the beef is thoroughly cooked and toasty and the veggies are returned to the pan.  This will be your third layer of flavor.

Since the Haricot Verts are so incredibly delicate and quick cooking, I would suggest adding the beans and the sauce close to the same time in the cooking process.  Toss everything together for a few minutes to allow the flour to cook and the beans to warm.  I did add 1/4 cup water to thin the sauce a bit, but the stir-fry sauce I had made was absolutely delicious.  Served over a bit of brown rice (I microwaved a package of brown basmati rice), it was a thoroughly satisfying meal… warm, tasty, and totally yummy.

Try your own version of this stir-fry at your house… chances are that it will become your family’s favorite as well!

Recipe: Roasted Mustard Pesto Potatoes

I was really lazy last week and wanted to make dinner without going through too many extra steps.  This recipe was born from my laziness (if you want to call it “laziness”, cuz I was *still* making dinner).  I started with the idea of roasting some Yukon Gold potatoes and this recipe emerged.  Please remember that you can always use whatever ingredients you like when making one of my recipes… I am only attempting to give you ideas from which you can branch out and create your own family favorites.

I started with four Yukon Gold potatoes and one onion.  I cut the potatoes into same-size chunks and cut the onion in half before slicing it into half-moon shapes.  I sprayed a baking sheet with cooking spray and then laid the potatoes and onions in a single layer on the sheet pan.   Being lazy, I simply plopped the ingredients on top of the potatoes, but next time I will probably mix them in a bowl and pour the sauce over top.  For the “sauce”, I used olive oil, dijon mustard, kale pesto, salt and pepper.  I tossed the potatoes and onions with these ingredients and then “thumbed” some James River Cellars’ Chardonnay over the whole mixture.  RoastedMustardPestoPotatoes

At this point, I realized that I had totally neglected to add any meat for our dinner… and that would never fly.  Since I didn’t want to roast a package of chicken tenders separately, I just added the individual tenders into the potato/onion mixture and turned them in the “sauce” to pick up some flavor.  This was my “easy out” way of making a two course dinner without any extra effort.

I roasted the entire baking sheet at 375 degrees for about an hour – this really was too long, but I had started making dinner so early that I was getting hungry before we were planning to eat.   Next time, I’ll adjust the oven temp and the cooking time so things don’t get quite so crispy but even so, dinner turned out really well.

BONUS RECIPE:  I found out that my husband isn’t as big a fan of roasted onions as my son, so I had quite a few left over to go with my extra potatoes for the next day’s lunch.  Since I had leftovers, here’s a quick way to use them up in a simple lunch-for-one.  I cut the remaining potatoes into smaller pieces, added the roasted onions and cut up two of the leftover chicken tenders, tossing all in one of my favorite salad dressings.  This became a really easy and tasty lunch for me and I didn’t feel like I’d wasted food.  Always a plus in my book!

Have fun making this recipe your own.  Use a different mustard… leave out the pesto… use a salad dressing or add balsamic vinegar with the oil… this is when you can let your creative juices flow to make something entirely your own.  I wish you a delicious meal… as always!

 

 

Recipe: Easy Merlot Steak Sauce with caramelized onions

I made a great steak sauce the other night… one that took my slices of steak from “tasty” to “wow” in such a short amount of time that even I was impressed.  I wanted to come up with something that would bump up the flavor of dinner and, while my non-wine loving guys were unimpressed, I thought it turned out really well.

I heated some olive oil in a saute pan, then added in some thinly sliced onions and let them cook for a good half hour, stirring occasionally.  There’s really no shortcut to caramelizing onions – time and low heat are needed to get that toasty sweet taste from an onion – but it is entirely worth the effort.  I started the sauce as soon as I walked in the door from work and made that the focus of the meal, time-wise.  I still had dinner on the table within 40 minutes, but it was the sauce that needed the brunt of cooking time and attention.  While this is an incredibly easy sauce, it’s not going to be quick.Merlot Steak Sauce

Once the onions hit that “toasty/caramelized” stage, I poured in some Merlot from James River Cellars Winery.  I was using The Force for this recipe, so amounts were going to be approximations no matter how much sauce I was making.  You might be able to tell by the pictures that I only used one onion and about a cup of wine… if you’re making this for a group of wine lovers, I would definitely increase everything for this recipe.

Once the wine was reduced to an acceptable thickness (by about 60% or so), I added a pat of butter to “gloss the sauce”, so to speak.  This bit of fat contributed a shininess to the visual presentation of the sauce on my steak and I later went back and topped some of my roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli with sauce as well.  Since I was the only one sampling, I had enough to spread throughout my dinner and, wow, was it ever tasty.  Whoever said that a sauce for your steak wouldn’t make other foods taste good as well was (IMHO) nuts!

Easy, simple sauce… that’s what I was hoping to create, and that’s what I got.  As I said earlier, it did take time, but the effort was truly minimal for the amount of flavor that I gained.

Feel free to mix up some of the ingredients in this recipe to cater to the favorites in your own family.  You could easily replace the onions with mushrooms… swap out the Merlot for a Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon… this is a basic recipe, meant to allow you to tailor flavors to your preferences.

Have fun playing with your food… that’s what makes cooking so enjoyable!