Friday, September 16, 2011

Au Gratin Potatoes

This weeks side dish is Au Gratin potatoes. It's the perfect potato for a beginning cook, or for anyone that is tired of mashed or baked potatoes. It's a great comfort food dish, and there are so many variations of the basic Au Gratin, it's mind boggling.  But today, we are making basic Potatoes Au Gratin. You're gonna love em!
Au Gratin Potatoes
4 Idaho Potatoes
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 medium Onion
1/2 tablespoon Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 cup Half and Half
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Dry Bread Crumbs
Cut the potatoes in half.
Cut a piece off the bottom, so they will be flat to go
through the food processor.
Put through a food processor to slice the potatoes.
They should look like this. You can also slice the potatoes
on a mandolin if you have one.
Cut the half onion in half.
Slice the half onion.
Chop the slices.
Put the butter and the chopped onion in a saucepan.
 Cook until soft. Stir a few times.
Add flour, salt, & pepper. Cook over low heat,
until mix is bubbly.
Stir in milk and 3/4 cup cheese. Heat to boiling,
stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
Ready to go.
Place potatoes in a 1 quart casserole 
sprayed with pan spray.
Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 
1 hour uncovered.
Mix the rest of the cheese and the bread crumbs, and
sprinkle over the potatoes.
Bake for 15 minutes longer, until brown and bubbly.

Thanks for joining me today!

Please stop by tomorrow when we will be making
Fried Ice Cream!

Hope to see you then!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Club:Baked~Bananas Foster Fritters

This is my first post as a part of Club: Baked. What fun I had!! In case you are curious, Club: Baked is a group of food bloggers working their way through  the cookbook  Baked Explorations, Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. It's a great book! Lots of wonderful recipes, and from what I can see, all of them very useable.
This assignment for today was Bananas Foster Fritters. All I can say is Yum!! This recipe was elegant and down home all at the same time. You start with a Rum Dipping Sauce that is incredible. I'm not much for using alcohol in my recipes, but this was so delicious, that I don't think it would be half as good without it.
The Banana Fritters are deep fried. I used my deep fryer, but you could use a pan with oil in it just as well.
Don't they look gorgeous? The first batch I made were too large, and the fritters were getting brown before they were done. The second batch turned out great.I just made them a little smaller!
Sprinkled with confectioners sugar, and ready to serve.

This is a recipe I will be making again.

To see the Bananas Foster Fritters recipe stop by
Stephanie's Blog
Ice Cream Before Dinner

Club:Baked is a lot of fun. You get to test skills you might not even know you have, and you are making
delicious food to do it! Would you like to know more? Click here
You can see all the other participants recipe's also! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oven Roasted Chicken

This weeks entree is Oven Roasted Chicken. This is a main course item that every new cook should learn to cook.  It's simple and delicious. There are lots of variations you can do to make this recipe slightly different. We could have stuffed the chicken or we could have roasted it with different herbs. But we will start with the basics. A good thing about roasting your own chicken is that it is inexpensive. This chicken cost $5.00. I have gotten close to 6 individual meals out of the one chicken, plus the bones for chicken stock. Tasty and a deal!

 Roasted Chicken
Whole Chicken
Garlic Powder
Because I still don't have my roasting rack out
of storage, I had to improvise a little.
I used a metal rack from the deep fryer, took the handle off,
sprayed it with pan spray and set it in a roasting pan.
I washed out the chicken with water.
There were no giblets in the chicken.
I sprinkled it with garlic powder and pepper.
I added a stick of butter.
I put the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees. I inserted 
a thermometer in the space behind the top of the thigh.
You need the temperature to get to 180 degrees.
I basted the chicken every 1/2 hour during the
roasting time.
It should take about 2 hours for the chicken to
get to temperature. When it does, remove the chicken
from the oven, and let the chicken rest for about 
15 minutes.
Place chicken on plate for serving.

Thank you for joining The Freshman Cook today!

Please come back tomorrow when we will be baking
Au Gratin Potatoes!
They are delicious!

See you then!

Hummus w/ Mini Toasts & Naan Bread

Hummus is one of those recipes that everyone should have in their recipe box. It's a basic dip or spread that can be served at the fanciest dinner party or your weekend football bash. Also, everything on the menu can be kept in your pantry, ready at a minutes notice.
2   15 oz. cans of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
1/4 cup Tahini
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Cold Water
Naan Bread
Mini Toasts
Drain and rinse the beans.
Place the beans in the food processor.
If a food processor is not available, place the beans in a bowl.
Peel the garlic, and cut the ends off.
Cut the garlic in half.
Turn the garlic and chop.
Add the garlic to the food processor.
Add the salt & pepper.
Add the tahini, the water and the olive oil.
Pulse the ingredients together until the ingredients are
pureed. If you are not using a food processor,
mix all the ingredients with a large spoon or a 
potato masher. 
 Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When you are ready to serve, fill your serving bowl,
and arrange the naan bread and mini toasts.

Thank you for joining me today!

Please join me tomorrow for this weeks entree~
Baked Chicken!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Steamed Broccoli!

This week I switched the soup/salad portion of our weekly meals to include a vegetable. Today the vegetable is steamed broccoli. I chose broccoli because it has one of the highest amounts of antioxidants of all vegetables. It's just good, and good for you. This dish requires very little in the way of ingredients making it a good dish for a freshman cook. But it's not the easiest dish. Close attention is needed to the steaming process to produce the best tasting broccoli, because over cooking can ruin it.
Steamed Broccoli
Fresh Broccoli
The broccoli I used today is a broccoli crown. It means that the 
stalk has been cut down before you buy it. 
Crowns are generally a little more money, because you are not 
getting the stem, but unless you want to use the stem to make soup
they are usually thrown away.
Trim the crown by cutting bite size pieces of broccoli away from the crown.
I could not find my steamer anywhere, so I had to improvise.
All I needed was something to raise the broccoli above the water.
I used metal cookie cutters and made two layers.
I put water in the pan, about 2" of it.
Then I put the broccoli on the top of the cutters
It worked great!
Put a lid on the pan, and bring the water to a boil.
Let the broccoli steam for 10 minutes. Take a piece out
and check to see if it is tender by sticking a knife in a stem.
When the broccoli is done, top it with a pat of butter.

Thank you for joining me today!

Due to problems I had with obtaining some of the ingredients I need for 
the appetizer this week, I had to switch days, making the vegetable today and 
I will be making the appetizer tomorrow.

I appreciate your patience with my scatterbrain!

See you tomorrow!