A Great Cheater Tomato Pasta Sauce

This is an apology to our Italian friends, but it is good!

  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1/2 can water
  • 1 small tin tomato paste
  • 1/4 tin water
  • 1 spaghetti sauce mix envelope
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 6 frozen tomatoes

Put all in a medium saucepan and stir well to combine. Simmer for about 35-40 minutes and serve over ravioli, penne, or any pasta of your choice.

Simply add the garlic toast, crisp green salad and, of course, a glass of a chilled beverage.

Trust me, it is good.

Creamed Celery With Pecans

I know, you are scratching your heads over this one. It is tasty and it is really different from the norm. To me it is a great way to disguise celery. Give it a go. It is really simple to make and takes no time to prepare.

 

  • 4 cups celery pieces, string removed
  • 1 can cream of celery soup (Campbell’s is the best)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • buttered bread crumbs

Place celery in a greased baking casserole and add the soup, undiluted. Casually spread the soup around with a fork.

Sprinkle with salt and spread the pecan halves on top. Cover the surface with  buttered bread crumbs.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. This will serve 4-6 people as a side dish.

 

Friday Night Special – Sloppy Burger And Coleslaw

If your house is like ours, Fridays are always a little special and this is one way to make it fun. You can curl up in front of the TV and make it a movie night with popcorn to be made later. See if you agree.

 

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4-6 Kaiser buns, halved
  • 2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups baby spinach, stems removed

 

Heat the skillet on medium heat, adding the minced garlic, stirring for 60 seconds then add the rosemary. Stir until well mixed. Add the ground beef cooking until no longer pink, then add the ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper and stirring to mix well.

Halve the buns, butter them and place under the broiler until starting to bubble and brown on the rims. When ready to plate, add the cheese to the meat mixture and quickly stir together. Remove from the heat, pile equal portions on the bottom half of each bun, place a generous amount of spinach on top and place the top of the bun.

You can either serve the slaw on the side of the plate yourself or let everyone add their own. Either way, this is yummy. Pickles and a cold  beverage takes this over the top.

Scallops With Noodles and Asparagus

We made this up last week and I have to admit I am slow in getting it posted. It is truly delicious and not hard to put together.

 

  • 8 oz. no yolk noodles
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • about 16 large scallops, cut in half horizontally and ligament removed from the side.
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

Cook noodles in water until almost al dente, stir in the asparagus for about 2 minutes more. Drain and transfer to a platter, covered with foil to keep warm.

While cooking the noodles, rinse then pat the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it begins to bubble and the foam subsides then add the scallops. Increase the heat and sear, turning once and cook through (about 2 minutes in total). Transfer to the platter with the noodles and keep warm.

Add wine to the skillet and deglaze, making sure to scrape up any of the brown bits for 60 seconds. Stir in the water and cream and boil to slightly reduce for about 3-4 minutes.  Simply pour the sauce over the noodles and scallop/asparagus mix. You could also plate out the noodles and asparagus and then pour the sauce over each portion. Either way, you won’t have to wait long for all he oohs and ahhs.

Chili Stuffed Zucchini Burgers

Calling these burgers could be a misnomer but they sure are good looking when presented at the table and taste even better.

  • 1 recipe of “Chili-Don’s way” on this site
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernal corn
  • 1 cup (or more to taste) Tex Mex shredded cheese
  • 1 cup of your favourite marinara sauce

Trim the ends off the zucchini. Lengthwise, cut a thin strip just along the top of each one. With a melon baller, scoop out the pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch thick wall of shell. Discard the pulp.

Add the corn to your chili and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 of the cheese to the mixture.

Spoon the mixture generously into each shell and place in a baking dish. Cover with tin foil tightly and bake  for 30-35 minutes until shell as almost tender. Remove the foil and sprinkle more cheese over each one and return to the oven, baking for just a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.

Plate and top with your marinara sauce. Voila! It is delicious.

 

Maple Baked Trout For Dinner

Recipe  #1777

Yum…..this is a super, duper recipe for trout and sooo easy to prepare, bake and, of course, eat.

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • pinch pepper
  • 4 trout portions

Combine everything into a large, sealable container and add the trout.  Toss to coat well. Seal and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.

Remove the trout from the marinade and discard the marinade.  Place in a baking dish and bake in a 425 degree oven for about 7-8 minutes or until done.

Serve with a fresh potato salad and crisp green salad or garlic mashed potatoes and fresh corn. Simply add a warm dinner roll and a glass of the chilled ‘stuff’ and you have a wonderful meal.

Enjoy.

 

Trout Crusted With Pistachios

While at Costco a week or so ago, I bought a bag of shelled pistachios as I was making a few desserts that required them, then I thought why not use the trout fillets we have on hand as well. We did and they were delicious.

  • 6 trout fillets, skin removed, bones as well
  • 3 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground pistachios (toasted)
  • baby potatoes, steamed
  • lemon wedges

Place the trout on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the mustard over the tops and sprinkle liberally with the nuts, pressing to make sure they adhere.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake for about 13-14 minutes or until the fillets flake easily.

Plate a fillet on each plate, add a few baby potatoes, lemon wedge and, of course, a beautiful green salad, sprinkled with some pistachios.

Serve with warm dinner rolls and a glass of chilled white wine. Yippee!

Super Smooth Butternut Squash Soup

This is recipe #1775

 

What can I say? Don is on a roll again today. We had a large squash on hand and he decided to make this soup. OMG! I’m sure glad he did. Make it – try it and you will make it again and again.

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes. cubed
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 1/2 containers of chicken stock (44 ounces)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • grate a pinch of whole nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. butter

Melt the butter in a large pot and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes and squash for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low , cover with a lid and simmer for 60 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Add the nutmeg and cream.

Using a hand held blender (we called the motor boat) and blend until really, really smooth. If any stock left, add now and again, season with salt and pepper.

YUM!!!!!

Chicken Vol Au Vent

I always have a package of these shells in the freezer and this is a wonderful way to use them and enjoy a great light lunch or dinner before going out for the evening.

  • 1 cup chicken stock (homemade is best)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 minced large shallot
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped white mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2-3 tbsp. good white wine
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 Vol au Vent shells, baked as per instructions on package

In a saucepan, put in the stock and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat.

Melt the butter in a fry pan and cook the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook a further minute.

Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and golden in colour.

Sprinkle the flour  over and, stirring constantly, cook for a minute. Add the wine and continue cooking until it has all evaporated. Pour this into the stock and add the chicken breasts. Cook this for about 3-4 minutes, until thickened.

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Carefully spoon into the baked shells. If you wish, pour a glass of chilled white wine and Voila! a perfect meal.

Enjoy.

Real Italian Limoncello From Scratch

I made this years ago and the longer it sits, the better it is, (I think).

  • 9 lemons, peeled thinly, no white,
  • squeeze lemon juice into a bottle and place  in the refrigerator*
  • 1 bottle vodka, plain – not flavoured

Okay, that is the hard part….Pour this into a container with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool, dark place for 20 days. Only the vodka and lemon skins.

Once a week, gentle move the peels in the container (do not open, just gently shake).

After the 20th day, boil 6 cups of water and add 3 1/2  cups white sugar. Stir this really well to dissolve the sugar. Strain the lemon solution and discard the peel. Add the lemon solution to the simple syrup and pour into clean and sanitized bottles. Make sure you have corks or similar tops.

This should be served really cold, in small glasses and sipped following a special dinner. In a word: YUM!!!!

 

*this way you will have freshly squeezed lemon juice for any recipe you may be making.

Cheddar Apple Biscuits

When you are preparing a brunch for family or for a light luncheon on the deck, try these biscuits. Really quite nice.

 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped Granny Smith apple
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 tbsp. frozen butter, grated
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the apple, cheese, butter and pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk and egg. Stir slowly to mix together until combined.

Transfer dough to a floured surface. Knead until it just comes together. Gently pat out into a 1 inch thick square.

With a floured knife, cut the dough into 16 pieces and set out on the baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart.

Bake 15-18 minutes until the bottoms are a golden brown. Serve these warm with butter. Anything else is up to your imagination.

Enjoy!

Brown’s Social House

  1. You know when you haven’t been back to a restaurant you liked for quite awhile, you wonder is it the same. Well, the other day (Friday) I had my hair done and, as he always has for almost 30 years, Don took me out for dinner to show off my new ‘do’. He never fails this gesture and I very much appreciate it.
  2. I, of course, ordered my usual Hollywood Burger. I believe if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and, along with my meal, a glass of wine.
  3. Don ordered the 6 oz, steak and Frites and said it was really good and he would ordered it again. High praise indeed because when it comes to steak, he is one critical diner. It comes from the fact that he is one awesome cook himself.

The one thing that brings us back here albeit not as often as I would like, is the great servers they have. Ellie (Eleanor) was the lady of choice this time and she is one awesome employee. Always checking but not overdone to see if we needed anything, how was our meal and she even had them change the on TV over our heads so we could watch the baseball game with the Blue Jays. Yea!

Good food, good service and better yet, always on top and always caring. The customers who come here are of the same plane, out for a good meal with good company and never the rowdy group. Love it and just love this restaurant.