Mini Meat and Cheese Crescent Roll Munchies

ALDI has this pretty neat assortment tray of pepperoni and salami and stuff wrapped around bits of cheese.

Perfect for parties, right?

Of course, but

I had bought a tray for a family gathering, figuring that the kids would demolish the whole thing, but the kids couldn’t make it after all, and all us old folk had more than enough without adding a deli tray, so…

Back into the fridge, and because it is cured meats and cheese, after all, the tray will last a while, like, say, until we have a couple of good friends over for dinner.

I wasn’t feeling the love for just laying pieces of meat-wrapped cheese, and then recalled my crescent dough sheet in the fridge.

Eureka!

Like pigs in blankets, but better!

Easy, too.

INGREDIENTS
•1 tube crescent roll dough
•Deli meat wrapped cheese sticks
•Everything seasoning

Note: one tube of dough will make up to 12 munchies.

Heat your oven to 375º and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.

Open the crescent dough and lay out in a rectangle on the parchment.

Note: if you are using regular crescent rolls, just press the seams together lightly with your fingers.

Use a pizza cutter to divide the dough into 12 more or less equal rectangles.

Arrange one meat and cheese roll on each rectangle, then roll the dough up and over to cover and arrange, seam side down, on the parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle with the Everything But The Bagel Seasoning and pop into the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown and have puffed up a bit.

Note: my rolls oozed out some of the cheese while baking, making using that parchment paper all that much better for clean up.

Remove from the oven and serve warm, mebbe with a nice dipping mustard.

Oh, and that cheese that oozed out onto the parchment?

Still wicked tasty for munching, I mean who doesn’t love melted, slightly crispity on the edge cheese?

Pretty tasty, but next time I might brush a bit of mustard on the dough before adding the meat and cheese.

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Garlic Butter

When I first moved to Chicago in the late 90’s, I came across a strange – to my New England eyes, anyway – item in the markets around the holidaze.

Turkey Butter.

No. Not butter made, somehow, from turkey, but butter shaped like a turkey; perfect for gracing the holidaze table.

And, as the seasons progressed, there was Christmas Tree Butter, and Bunny Butter.

Of course, I had to have them.

And I did. I bought one each time, looking forward to the pleasure of holidaze dinner guests when they beheld the wicked cunning bit of shaped butter.

And then, I forgot it in the back of the fridge until well after the holidaze, and ended up using it in baking or something.

*sigh*

That will not happen to this butter!

Number one, it is not seasonal, so, no thematic worries there.

Number two, it is really, really nice. On grilled bread. On steaks. Potatoes. You have a plethora of choices out there; and all good.

INGREDIENTS
•1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
•2 garlic cloves, minced
•1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
•1 tsp chopped fresh chives
•1 tsp lemon juice
•1/2 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl, then use it as you will.

I spread mine on sliced sourdough that I then pan-grilled and served with French Onion Soup. Yum.

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Short Rib Multi-Pot Marinara

I really like this sauce.

Three beef short ribs are turned into a wicked nice marinara that reminds me of old-school Italian restaurants, and I particularly loved it with frozen breaded ravioli.

*SIGH*

I want more, NOW, but tonight is Onion Soup, tomorrow is takeaway, then chicken for Saturday, and, finally, ham for Easter on

Sunday; so it is sadly not gonna happen for us right now.

You, of course, are under no similar restrictions. If you don’t have breaded ravioli, might I suggest chicken, veal, or eggplant parm with this sauce?

INGREDIENTS
•1 lb beef short ribs (or more, if you like)
•1 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/2 cup diced onion
•1 cup shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1/4 cup red wine
•1 jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce
•1/2 cup water or low sodium veggie juice
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
•1 tbsp shredded cheese

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: did I mean to include coleslaw mix? Yeppers! It is one of my sneaky ways to bump up veggie goodness in sauces like this.

Set your multi pot to Sauté, add one tablespoon of olive oil,  and season your short ribs with salt and pepper.

Add the add ribs to the hot oil in the pot and cook for about three minutes per side, just enough to brown them.

Remove the ribs and wipe out the pot.

Add the onion and coleslaw mix and sauté until tender, six minutes or so.

Add the garlic and stir for one minute more, then turn the pot off and add the ribs, the jar of sauce, and the remaining ingredients.

Stir to combine.

Hint: use that 1/2 cup of water or low-sodium veggie juice to rinse out the pasta sauce jar, picking up any bits of sauce remaining.

Lock the pot lid in place and set it to pressure cook on High for 30 minutes.

Once the pressure cook cycle is complete, let the pot rest for ten or fifteen minutes before releasing the pressure.

Pull the ribs out of the sauce and separate the meat from the bones and gristle. There won’t be a lot of meat, but you really don’t need a lot – this sauce is hoooge on beefy flavor, which I think of as kindofa budget saving bonus – little meat, lots of flavor.

Skim any fat of the top of the sauce in the pot, then return the shredded beef and set to Simmer for 30 minutes, enough to reduce and thicken the sauce.

You are done.

Go ahead and enjoy your sauce.

This *might* even qualify as “gravy” in some East Boston homes I used to slouch about in. I think Helen and Jebby would allow it.

Oh, and do look for that frozen breaded ravioli at your market – it works a treat  in the air fryer.

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Check Out This Cheeez Sauce!

So, YEH.

Full disclosure: this cheese sauce is made with Velveeta.

And I am not really even all that put out about it; because it tastes that good.

Now… if you really cannot handle the thought of Velveeta Cheese Sauce, I have you covered there, as well. You can (easily) make your own, all real food Velveeta, I call it The Cheeez of Threes.

Only thing is, it will not sit safely on your fridge for a couple of months like the stuff in the yellow box does.

But enough about that. Let us get down to this tasty bit of melty cheese goodness from the nice folk at food.com.

INGREDIENTS
•1 tbsp butter
•1 tbsp flour
•1 cup half-and-half cream
•1-1/2 cup cubed Velveeta cheese
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp sugar
•1 tsp hot sauce
•1 tsp lemon juice

Melt the butter in a two quart saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in the flour, stirring for one minute, until your roux is golden and thickened.

Slowly whisk in the half and half, bring to a low boil, still stirring, until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cubed cheese and remaining ingredients until the cheese is melted and your sauce is thick and golden and oh! so tasty.

Do what you will with it; I added some lightly steamed broccoli, but I am betting that you will kinda love this on French fries or, mebbe add some chiles and stuff and use it for nachos.

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Un-Fussy Chicken Thighs

Giada De Laurentiis, from whom I happily stole this recipe (with a few changes) calls this “Pantry Chicken,” because it all comes together with ingredients that are more than likely already sitting there in your pantry.

Well… they were certainly hanging around in mine, anyway.

So, like I said, I replaced some of the Tamari with Worcestershire sauce, used hot honey in place of the called for wildflower, and am here to say… “delicious!”

AND, not fussy at all.

INGREDIENTS
•4 to 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
•1/4 cup Dijon mustard
•2 tbsp lower sodium Tamari
•2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 tbsp hot honey
•1/2 tsp ground ginger

Add the chicken thighs to a gallon-sized zipper bag and place in a rimmed container (for to catch any drippage).

Whisk the Dijon together with the Tamari, Worcestershire, hot honey, and ginger, then pour over the chicken in the bag.

Close the bag, then toss to coat all of the chicken evenly.

Stash in the fridge for at least two hours, turning the bag over once or twice.

About 30 minutes before you plan to start cooking, remove the chicken from the fridge and heat your oven to 400º.

Arrange the chicken in a baking pan, then add 1/4 cup of water to the marinade still in the bag, swish it around to mix, and pour over the chicken.

Pop into the oven and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, basting the chicken with the marinade every 15 minutes (this is the only fussy bit about this recipe) – until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the largest thigh reads 160º.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for ten minutes before serving.

Note:  you can, while the chicken is resting, add the juices from the baking pan to a small pot, bring to a boil, and reduce to thicken a bit, then serve over the chicken.

I didn’t, and really, our chicken was tender and juicy and flavorful as it was; with yellow rice and blanched asparagus.

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Air Fryer Chicken Tenders and Bonus Sauce!

Score another win for the air fryer with these most excellent chicken tenders!

Not too, too fussy to put together, and pretty darned wonderful on Biscuit Waffles with  kicky Sriracha Maple Syrup drizzled on top.

When I posted to one of my facebook food groups, one member questioned how my tenders turned out so well when hers never seemed to.

The secret? Triple dipping!

Yep!

Seasoned flour.

Then lightly beaten egg.

Then the cracker crumb and bread crumbs.

INGREDIENTS
Seasoned Flour:
•1/2 cup flour
•1/4 tsp paprika
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt

Tenders:
•1 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 26)
•1/4 cup bread crumbs
•1 egg, lightly beaten
•1/4 tsp hot sauce

Sauce:
•1/2 cup maple syrup
•2 tbsp Sriracha
•2 tsp lower sodium Tamari

First, make the sauce by whisking the Sriracha and Tamari into the maple syrup in a small jug and set aside.

Whisk the Seasoned Salt and paprika together with the flour in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Whisk the hot sauce into the egg in another shallow bowl.

Then, combine the cracker crumbs with the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.

Note: these amounts are good for seven or eight chicken tenders. For larger batches, double, or triple the recipe.

Dip a tender in the seasoned flour, turning to coat both sides, then dip in the egg mixture, again turning to coat both sides.

Finally, dip the tender in the cracker and bread crumbs, turning to coat both sides and patting the breading into the tender.

Repeat with each of the tenders.

Lightly brush olive oil on your air fryer basket (or apply cooking spray) and arrange the breaded tenders in a single layer.

Heat your air fryer to 350º and lightly spritz the tenders with olive oil or cooking spray.

Air fry the tenders for six minutes, then remove from the fryer and turn over.

Pop back into the air fryer for another six minutes or so, until the chicken has firmed up and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165º.

Remove from the fryer and arrange a piece or two over your Biscuit Waffles, drizzle with the kicky syrup, and top with chopped scallions and parsley.

Or…

Just dip ’em in ranch dressing. That works a treat, too.

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Biscuit Waffles

Hmmm…

Waffled biscuits?

I will leave the naming particulars to the English department and the nice folk at Pillsbury, who emailed me this pretty terrific idea the other day just as I was thinking about trying a new chicken tenders and waffle recipe.

It is genius, really, and so simple, I am kindof  amazed it is not more widely known.

I used these Honey Butter Grands Biscuits and my new handy-dandy mini waffle maker, though, of course, a larger waffle iron would work a treat, too.

To start, line a baking pan with parchment paper and heat your oven to 200º (to keep your biscuit waffles warm while you are making the rest of them).

Apply cooking spray to your waffle maker and pre heat.

Divide your biscuit dough into eight pieces and place one on your hot waffle maker.

Close the lid (I had to weigh my mini waffle maker lid down) and cook for three or four minutes, until your biscuit waffle is nicely browned and cooked through.

Remove the cooked waffle to a tray and repeat with the remaining dough.

Note: the biscuit dough will puff up a bit in the waffle maker.

Once finished, serve as you will.

We enjoyed ours with those chicken tenders and Sriracha Maple Syrup (details to come), but really, these are fine as plain ole waffles.

But biscuits.

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Layered Salad – Lettuce Optional

Y’know what?

Ignore the Iceberg! Resist the Romaine!

A perfectly nice salad can get along perfectly well without lettuce – and – bonus! – using veggies that are not so quick to wilt means that you can make your salad well ahead of time, then stash it in the fridge to chill until it is time to serve.

Note: I prefer to chill my salads in glass; I think it makes them crisper and colder.

INGREDIENTS
•Cooked pasta (I used Ditalini)
Steakhouse Salad Dressing (or Italian)
•Shredded cabbage (from coleslaw mix)
Blanched Asparagus, cut in 2 inch slices
•Red onion, thinly sliced
•Crumbled Feta cheese
•Peperoncini, sliced

Note: you can make this salad as small or as big as you need, and feel free to add or subtract ingredients. Blanched green beans, sliced hard cooked egg, Greek olives, mebbe a bit of tuna, it is all good.

For best results, do this bit a day ahead: cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions, then drain and rinse (always rinse cooked pasta when using in salads). Toss with enough dressing to coat the pasta, then stash in the fridge for a few hours to allow the pasta to soak up any excess dressing – and some of the flavor.

When ready to put your salad together, stir the pasta and place in the bottom of a bowl (again, I like glass).

Top the pasta with the shredded cabbage, blanched asparagus, sliced onion, Feta cheese, and peperoncini.

Cover and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving, then, toss with your dressing of choice (the Steakhouse Dressing really is nice), and serve.

 

 

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Steakhouse Salad Dressing

I was watching a show on Food Network, and they were profiling this famous steakhouse that was famous for – yeh, of course, their steaks, but also…

their salad dressing!

While watching, I realized one of their secrets was that, while they were talking a lot about soaking chopped garlic in oil for however long before starting the dressing, they were basically making home made aioli (garlic mayonnaise) as the base.

Well… heck, I can do that!

Then, I googled copycat recipes and tweaked a bit here and there and came up with this really nice dressing.

Is it the same as the famous steakhouse?

No idea. Never been; more than likely not going – but it is nice. Just remember to dust your salad dressing with a bit of paprika on top of the salad.

INGREDIENTS
Garlic Mayonnaise:
•1 large egg
•1-1/2 tbsp white vinegar
•1/2 tsp dry mustard
•1/2 tsp kosher salt
•1 cup garlic infused oil

Salad Dressing:
•1 cup garlic mayonnaise
•1/4 tsp sugar
•1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/4 tsp sugar
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese
•2 to 4 tbsp milk

Place the egg, vinegar, mustard, and salt in the bowl of a mini food processor. Pulse briefly to mix and let stand for a few minutes.

With the processor running, slowly dribble the oil (mine has a handy dribble dispenser built in to the top) until your mayonnaise has emulsified.

Note: this will not take long, be careful not to over blend your mayonnaise.

Transfer one cup of the mayonnaise to a bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients, except for the milk. I used my immersion blender.

Whisk in enough milk to make the dressing the consistency you prefer – I used two tablespoons.

Transfer to a jar, cover, and chill for a couple of hours or, always more better, overnight, to let the flavors blend.

Makes 12 ounces.

When ready to serve, don’t forget to sprinkle a bit of paprika on top. It is a nice splash of color, but it also seems to really ‘finish’ the salad dressing.

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Meatloaf Pasta Sauce

Yeh, sure – most folk have more than likely turned leftover meatloaf into a spaghetti sauce of some sort, but…

What about if we start with the meatloaf mixin’s to make a sauce?

The original version of this recipe, from the nice folk at myrecipes.com, called for a toasted breadcrumb topping – kindof like a deconstructed Johnny Mazetti Spaghetti – but I skipped that, and ended up adding extra veggies and stuff.

In the end, this made a pretty nice sauce, even with the brown sugar (!) and it worked as nicely on pasta as leftovers did in a Detroit-Style Pizza.

INGREDIENTS
•Olive oil
•1-1/2 lb meatloaf mix
•4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
•1-1/2 cup diced onion
•1 cup shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
•4 garlic cloves, minced
•1-1/2 cup ketchup
•1 can (11.5 oz) veggie juice (low sodium)
•1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
•6 oz can tomato paste
•16 oz tomato sauce
•2 tbsp brown sugar
•1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•2 tsp cider vinegar
•1 bay leaf
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp dried basil
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•1/4 tsp ground sage
•1/4 tsp dried thyme

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Warm one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat, then add the ground meatloaf mix and cook, breaking up the meat, until cooked through and most pan juices are cooked off.

Transfer the cooked meat to a colander to drain and wipe out the pan.

Warm one more tablespoon of olive oil in the pan over medium high heat, add the onion and cabbage, and cook until tender, about ten minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, then add the remaining ingredients and reduce the heat to medium low.

Simmer, stirring often, for 45 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit and the flavors have fully blended.

Give it a taste.

Pretty nice, yeah?

I went with egg noodles instead of spaghetti, and air fryer garlic toast on the side.

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