Friday, March 17, 2017

♥ Corned Beef Hash and Eggs

























There are so many ways you can use leftover corned beef  and this is one of my favorites. I love this for breakfast, brunch or dinner! It is hearty and delicious and what I call comfort food!

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups potatoes, par boiled and cut into ½-inch pieces...
1 medium yellow onion, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice of bacon, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces 

1 pound corned beef, minced to ¼-inch or smaller
4 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Place the bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the fat is partially rendered, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and is slightly browned edges. Add pepper but not too much salt because your corned beef is probably already seasoned well. 


























Add corned beef and potatoes and stir to bring them together. Lightly pack down the hash with a rubber spatula so that the bottom starts to get crisp. Cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes, then, with the spatula, invert the hash, a portion at a time, and fold the browned bits back into the hash. Lightly pack the hash into the pan again. Repeat the process every minute or two until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, about 8 minutes longer.


Make 4 indentations (each measuring about 2 inches across) equally spaced on the surface of the hash. Crack 1 egg into each indentation and season the egg with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the eggs are just set, about 6 minutes. Cut the hash into servings, making sure each has an egg, and serve immediately.


























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Reuben Salad with Homemade Croutons

























Any leftover corned beef from your St. Paddy's day dinner? There are many ways to use it in a variety of dishes. I make corned beef hash with sunny side up eggs for breakfast. I always make that traditional corned beef on Rye or that wonderful Reuben sandwich. But this time I decided to turn my leftovers into a delicious hearty salad. The combination of tender corned beef on a bed of crisp greens with these incredible homemade croutons will take your taste buds to a whole new level!  The croutons are tossed in olive oil, which gives them a wonderful light crunch! 

Reuben Salad

Homemade Croutons

4-5 slices of pumpernickel or marbled rye bread, cubed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch garlic powder
pinch salt/pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine cubed bread, oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper; mix well. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet and place in oven for 8-10 minutes until crispy. Set aside to cool. 

























Salad

1 bag of romaine lettuce
1 bag of shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
1/2 pound sliced corned beef, cut into 1/2 wide strips
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound of sliced Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 carrot, sliced into thin strips
1 red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup canned sauerkraut, drained (optional)

In medium skillet, warm the corned beef in the olive oil over low heat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine romaine, cabbage mix, and sauerkraut if using.  Add corned beef, cheese, onions and carrots and toss to combine. Divide salad between plates, top each with croutons and thousand Island dressing. See my homemade dressing below. Top with shredded Swiss cheese if desired.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2-3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons onion, finely minced
1/teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste


Combine ingredients and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over salad.













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Irish Potato Candy!























When I was little we had a neighbor that used to make these little candies and take them door to door wishing everyone a happy St. Paddy’s day.  He would put them in a little white box tied with a bright green bow with a little card that had an Irish poem.  He would sign the card, “Your friendly neighborhood Leprechaun.”  Inside the box were these cute little candies made from cream cheese and coconut that looked just like little potatoes.  We just loved his gift and looked forward to his visit every year.  For years I thought Mr. Obrien was a real live Lepreprechaun! 

Irish potato candy

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
cinnamon, or sifted cocoa, for coating

With a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add the salt and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Stir until mixture turns into a thick and sticky dough.











Stir in the coconut and place the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and shape into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter. I make mine round but you can make them a little more oblong to look like a baking potato if you wish.  Place them on a baking sheet and put them in the refrigerator to chill. About 15 minutes or so.










In a shallow bowl, place cinnamon or cocoa. I used cinnamon for mine. Roll the potatoes in the mixture to coat all over. Tap off any excess.

Place the candies back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow them to “set” completely. After this, they can be kept in the refrigerator or at cool room temperature. Seal in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.



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Vanilla Mint Cupcakes

























A wonderful little cupcake with just a hint of mint topped with a delicious mint frosting with chocolate curls! Perfect for St. Patrick's day!

 Vanilla Mint Cupcakes

1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 1/4 cup Sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup whole milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.


























In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla extract and mint extract and mix well. Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Add half of the milk and mix well. 

Next add another third of the flour, mix, and then add the remaining milk. Finally, add the remaining flour and continue beating until well mixed. Using a measuring cup and pour batter into a lined or greased cupcake pans. 


Vanilla Mint Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 tablespoon milk
2-3 drops green food coloring

Beat the butter and a 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and mint extracts and milk and continue beating. Continue to add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add green food coloring and beat until color is well incorporated.

Chocolate Curls 

Place a bar or block of chocolate on waxed paper. Make small chocolate curls by pulling a vegetable peeler toward you across the short side of the chocolate. When sprinkling curls on cupcakes, use the wax paper so your hands do not melt the chocolate. The curls will be easier to make if the chocolate is slightly warm.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Leprechaun Cookie Bars























With St. Paddy's day rapidly approaching, I wanted to come up with something special for my friends and family. These are so good. I love a chewy cookie or brownie and the center of these are super soft and chewy. I like to put them in little tins for St. Paddy's day with a little card that says "I'm so lucky to have you in my life." Always a big hit! 

Leprechaun Cookie Bars 

Cookie Crust Layer

10 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the sugar nad the cocoa and whisk to combine. Remove from heat and add salt, vanilla, and eggs and whisk until combined.  Then add the flour and continue to stir until smooth.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9 x 9 baking pan with foil and then spray with non stick cooking spray.  Press the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan forming your crust.  Set aside.


























Cookie Dough Layer

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup green mint chips

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine the butter, shortening and both sugars and cream together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour baking soda and salt. Beat this into the butter and sugar mixture.

Spoon the mixture onto the layer of dough in the baking dish,  being careful not to disturb the cookie crust. Using a rubber spatula or greased fingers press the cookie dough batter onto the crust.  Then sprinkle the chocolate and mint chips on top of the cookie dough batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown on top.  Cool slightly before drizzling with icing.

Mint Drizzle

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon mint extract 
2 tablespoons milk
3 drops green food coloring

Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and mint extract until smooth. Mix in the food coloring a drop at a time until you get the right color of green you want. Drizzle over top of cookie bars. Add more chocolate chips for garnish.

Cool completely at room temperature or chill in refrigerator before cutting into bars.  























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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Shepherd’s Pie





















For all you meat and potato people out there, this is the ultimate comfort food.  It is traditionally made with lamb but I make it with ground beef.  What is Shepherd's Pie?  It's basically a casserole with meat and veggies, topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven until golden.  Some make it without a crust. I make mine with a buttery crust for extra comfort!  When you dig into this rich wonderful dish, you get a spoonful of mashed potatoes, some meat and veggies all in one bite.  How good can it get! 

Shepherd’s Pie

Crust

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup very cold butter
2-3 tablespoons of very cold water

Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water with fork just until flour is moistened.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into un-greased 9-inch deep dish pie pan; unfold dough, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan. Crimp or flute edge. Set aside.

Unbaked Pie























Potato Topping 

1 ½ pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons parsley

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 


















Heat half and half and butter in a small sauce pan until warmed through.  Drain the potatoes very well in a colander and return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.  Set aside.

Meat Filling

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced very small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen baby peas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and carrots and saute for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. 




















Add the ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. 

Baked until crust is golden and potatoes have browned lightly.




















Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.  Add the corn, mushrooms and peas to the meat mixture and allow to simmer for five more minutes on low heat.




















Spoon the meat mixture into prepared pie crust.  Top with the mashed potatoes. Make sure you spread the potatoes with a rubber spatula all the way to the edges to make a seal. This will prevent the mixture from bubbling over into your potatoes.  You can use the back of a large spoon to create the design I made on top or just smooth them out.  Sprinkle top with parsley.




















Place pie pan on a foil lined baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.





















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