Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011

Just over a week until all your shopping done? What about your baking? I haven't even started the holiday baking and I'm not sure what cookies I'll make. I am sure the kids will help me out when we get going on it this weekend, no matter what we bake.

This week was a pretty successful new recipe week! 2 side dishes, a main dish and a dessert; not bad! The most exciting dish of the week - you'll have to solve a riddle first. What is a vegetable and a side dish all in one? Cauliflower "rice"! It is ridiculously easy and so delicious. Even Liam loved it!!! This is going to be a regular in our home.

The pot roast was surprisingly flavorful, and with the leftovers later in the week we made individual Shepherd's pies. I forgot to take a picture, and there isn't a true recipe for this, but it was a great way to reinvent leftovers, and it was a hit at the table. Anything individualized, with initials piped in mashed potatoes on the top is likely going to be a keeper in our house.

I served mustard potatoes with the pot roast, and they were a huge hit. I had more stone ground mustard to use, so this was the perfect outlet for it. I was bit nervous because it seemed like a lot of the dressing for the potatoes was left in the bowl after mixing them, but the recipe said to leave it behind after you finish mixing them. I did leave it in the bowl, and cooked them as directed, and the potatoes turned out fantastic, and all were gone in a flash. The recipe I present here is half of the original, so clearly it will double well if you are serving more than 4 people.

Just a funny little story about Liam. When the pot roast was served, Liam looked at the meat on his plate and said "no no". But when we passed the gravy and asked him if he wanted some on his plate, he got on board. "More sauce" came out of his mouth a few times! I guess this baby just doesn't like dry meat! And he turned his nose up at the potatoes for most of dinner. By the time he finally tried one, and decided he did like them, they were all gone! I guess he learned the hard way - if you snooze you lose, especially with carbs like potatoes or pasta at our table!

Finally, the marbled graham crackers. My book club (and the monkeys) gave thumbs up all around on these - and even Ryan had a few pieces! It was a really easy recipe that turned out to have a beautiful presentation because of the marbling. You could break this into the natural pieces of the crackers, or break it more randomly for the traditional "bark" appearance - it is up to you.

Good luck with your baking and last minute holiday prep! Don't forget to put your feet up if you have time!

New Recipes
Cauliflower Rice
Marbled Chocolate Graham Cracker Treats
Cola Braised Pot Roast
Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

* Nonstick vegetable oil spray
* 1/4 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
* 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoons butter, melted
* 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
* 1 1/2 pounds 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter mixed unpeeled red-skinned and white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges

1. Preheat to 425°F. Spray 1 large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2. Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and salt in large bowl to blend.
3. Add potatoes; sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in bowl. Spread potatoes in single layer.
4. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Turn all the potatoes, roast about 20-25 minutes longer, until they are crusty outside and tender inside. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl.

Do ahead: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand on baking sheet at room temperature. Rewarm potatoes in 425°F oven 10 minutes.

The potatoes looked a little overdone (even some looked burnt) when I took them out of the oven, but they were all delicious and we ate every last potato. Do make sure to leave the excess dressing in the bowl and ignore the urge to pour it on the potatoes - it will just burn.

Cola Braised Pot Roast

* 4 1/2 pound boneless chuck roast
* 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
* 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic
* 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, or 3/4 teaspoon of dried
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 cups beef stock or low-sodium canned beef broth
* 12 ounces cola soda
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 tablespoons flour

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Season the roast well on all sides with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the pepper.
3. Using a small paring knife, make thin slits into the roast on all sides, about 2 inches apart, and fill the holes with the garlic and rosemary by rubbing this on the roast and getting it into the slits.
4. Heat a Dutch oven over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the roast and cook until very well browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Add the beef stock and cola and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits. Add the tomato paste and stir to blend. The liquid should be about 1/2 way up the sides of the roast.
6. Cover the Dutch oven, place in oven, and roast until the meat is fork-tender, about 2 3/4 to 3 hours, turning the meat every 45 minutes or so. Add extra water if necessary to keep the liquid level at about 1/3 up the sides of the roast.
7. When the meat is fork-tender, remove the roast from the oven and carefully transfer the roast to a serving platter. Cover loosely to keep warm.
8. Skim off as much of the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid as possible. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat in a small bowl and add the flour. Stir to make a smooth paste. Add 1/2 cup of the hot cooking liquid to the bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk this mixture into the hot cooking liquid that remains in the Dutch oven and place over high heat on the stove top. Cook, whisking frequently, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
9. Serve the roast with the hot gravy.

Marbled Chocolate Graham Cracker Treats

* Graham Crackers, broken in half, enough to cover your tray
* 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
* 1/2 cup creamy peanut Butter
* 3 ounces of white chocolate

1. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Place grahams on bottom of pan, cutting as needed to completely cover bottom.
2. Microwave semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter in medium microwaveable bowl on high 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring every 30 sec. Alternatively, you can melt this on the stove.
3. Pour chocolate peanut butter mixture over grahams; spread to completely cover.
4. Melt white chocolate on high 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring every 30 sec. Drop spoonfuls over semi-sweet chocolate; pull the white chocolate through the chocolate gently with knife to create the marbling effect.
5. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan; peel off foil. Break into pieces.
5. Store the treats in the fridge.

Talk about easy, and delicious. I put the chocolate peanut butter mixture on the crackers and then the kids did the marbling.

You need to cover your cookie sheet with graham crackers, so depending on what size cookie sheet you use that will determine how much chocolate, peanut butter and white chocolate you will need to melt. I used my largest cookie sheet so I doubled the ingredients for the chocolate, peanut butter and white chocolate.

Cauliflower Rice

* Head of cauliflower

1. Wash and remove the stem from the cauliflower.
2. Run the cauliflower through the food processor to create "grains".
3. Put cauliflower in a microwaveable bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
4. Microwave on high for 6 minutes.
5. Serve!

Wow! What a great side dish and vegetable all rolled into one! Everyone at the table loved this, and had seconds if not more. You can put salt and pepper and butter on this, or pour on the sauce from your main course. Owen loved it with Frank's Hot Sauce (though that wasn't surprising). Liam loved it with gravy. We will definitely be making this on a regular basis.