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Easy Meat-A-Balls

Simple and delicious!

1 pound ground sirloin
3 cups pasta sauce
(your favorite - canned or homemade)
1cup Progresso italian bread crumbs
1 large egg

Combine beef, bread crumbs, and egg in large bowl. Add a little of the sauce for a juicier meatball. Roll into golf ball shaped meatballs, put in baking dish with sauce, and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve over favorite pasta or on your favorite Italian sub buns.
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Easy Paella

You dont need a paella pan to make this meal.
Use a wide, shallow saut pan with a lid.
If you are taking this dish to a party,
reheat it covered; add water as needed.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Makes: 8 Servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 package (12 ounces), chicken sausage, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1. In a heavy 12-inch saut pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.
Cook shrimp until just pink on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes (do not overcook).
Transfer to a plate.

2. Add remaining tablespoon oil and sausage to pan; cook over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add garlic and rice; cook, stirring to coat, until rice is translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Stir in paprika, turmeric, tomatoes, and broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.
Season with salt and pepper.

4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover, and cook until rice is tender and has absorbed
almost all liquid, 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Stir in cooked shrimp; serve immediately.

Paella is usually flavored and colored with saffron,
the worlds most expensive spice.
You can use paprika and turmeric instead,
which are less expensive and create an equally good dish.
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Fantastic Roasted Chicken - Jamie Oliver

This moist and tasty chicken with it's amazing combination of flavors makes a fabulous dinner for a special occassion or everyday meal. It's also easy to prepare and the veggies are fantastic. You can also put carrots, onions, and mushrooms in the pan and they come out tender and delicious.

2 pounds chicken, preferably organic
1 large lemon
8 slices prosciutto or Parma ham, thinly sliced
or thinly sliced bacon
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 good handfuls fresh thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces softened butter
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large celeriac, peeled

Preheat the oven and an appropriately sized roasting tray to 425 degrees F.

Wash your chicken inside and out and pat dry with kitchen paper. Using your fingers, part the breast skin from the breast meat. It's important to try to push your hand gently down the breast, being careful not to rip the skin.

With a peeler, remove and chop the fragrant yellow skin of the lemon, keeping the peeled lemon to one side. Chop prosciutto and add to the bowl with the lemon skin, garlic and thyme. Season, with salt and pepper and then mix it all into the butter.

Push this into the space you have made between the meat and the skin -- rub and massage any that's left over in and around the bird. It's all tasty stuff. I could tell you to tie the chicken up but I've decided it's a palaver and not worth it in this case. Slash the thigh meat to allow the heat to penetrate a little more, which makes it taste better.

Cut the peeled lemon in half and push it into the cavity. Then put chicken in the hot roasting tray and roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, parboil the potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes and drain. Cut the celeriac into irregular chunks around the same size as the potatoes. Remove the chicken from the oven, by which time the tasty butter will have melted, flavored and cooked out of the chicken into the bottom of the tray, awaiting your potatoes and celeriac. Normally I put a fork into the cavity of the chicken and lift it off of the tray for 20 seconds while I toss and coat the vegetables in the butter. Put the chicken back on top of the vegetables and cook for around 40 minutes. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Once the meat and vegetables have been removed, a little light gravy can be made in the tray with a splash of wine and stock, a little simmering and scraping.
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Fettuccine In A Creamy Mushroom Sauce

(Makes: 4 Servings)

1lb/450g. fettuccine
4oz./100g butter or margarine
6oz./175g. button mushrooms, wiped and finely sliced
4 slices smocked ham cut into thin strips
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
salt and ground black pepper
pt./300ml. double cream
4oz./100 freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in salted boiling water for 8-10mins.
Meanwhile melt the butter in a small saucepan,
add the mushrooms then fry for 3-4 mins.
Add the ham and nutmeg then season ,
stir in the cream and simmer for 3-4 mins.
Drain the pasta and stir in the sauce
and parmesan cheese mixing well,
transfer to a warm dish and serve.
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Filet Mignon With Mushrooms & Sauce Pinot Noir

This fabulous main course is easy to cook with simple ingredients,
huge flavor and great presentation. It's also perfect with less
expensive cuts of meat and you can omit
the demi-glace if you cannot find it.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 2 Servings

2 (8-ounce) filet mignon steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bacon strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake,
crimini, and chanterelle, stemmed and halved
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cups Pinot Noir or Cabernet
2 tablespoons prepared demi-glace
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Season both sides of the filet mignon generously with salt and pepper. Wrap a piece of bacon around the sides of each steak and secure with butcher's twine. In a large heavy, ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Place the steaks in the hot pan and cook until well seared on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over, there should be a nice crust on top. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary; give everything a good stir. Transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes or until the steaks are cooked medium-rare.

Remove the steaks, mushrooms, and rosemary to a platter; cover to keep warm. Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Deglaze with the wine, scraping up all the yummy bits in the bottom of the pan. Mix in the demi-glace, stirring to combine. Put the steaks and mushrooms back in the pan and coat in the pan sauce. Finish with a couple of tablespoons of butter to make it rich. Put the steak and mushrooms on 2 serving plates and cut off the butcher's twine from the filets. Pour the wine sauce on top and garnish each plate with a roasted rosemary sprig.
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Fisherman's Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes: 6 Servings

4 pounds fresh or 2 packages frozen spinach, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 whole carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 quarts water
Bouquet garni (parsley, oregano and marjoram sprigs)
24 ounces cod fillet, cleaned
4 teaspoons corn flour, or cornstarch
8-ounces white sharp cheddar
6 large potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
4 cloves fresh roasted garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
Oil, for greasing the casserole
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Steam fresh spinach for 5 minutes (or thaw frozen spinach completely). Drain spinach thoroughly, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Add nutmeg and lemon juice to the cooked spinach and set aside.

In a large pot add chopped carrots, celery, onion, white wine, water, and bouquet garni. Bring liquid to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add fish to the top of the simmering liquid and poach for no more than 5 minutes or until the fish becomes opaque.

Remove the cod from the poaching liquid. Strain and discard the vegetables. Reserve 2 cups of the strained poaching liquid and return to the pot and bring to a simmer.

Whisk the cornstarch into approximately 3 to 4 teaspoons of cold water to make a slurry. Add to the poaching liquid. Bring the poaching liquid and cornstarch mixture to a boil. Stir the mixture until desired thickness.

Add the cheddar to the thickened mixture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Peel and cube potatoes. Place in a small saucepan and cover with salted water. Boil approximately 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain, reserving a bit of the liquid with the potatoes, and mash potatoes to smooth, but not pasty consistency. Add roasted garlic, salt and pepper, to taste.

Oil a 13 by 9-inch ovenproof casserole dish. Place the spinach on the bottom of the casserole dish. Place the cod over the spinach. Spread the cheese sauce evenly over the fish layer. Top with all of the warm mashed potatoes that will comfortably fit in the dish. Add more grated white cheddar, as desired.

Bake uncovered in a preheated 400 degrees F oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the cheese and mashed potatoes are golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to stand for approximately 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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Foolproof Standing Rib Roast

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes: 6 to 8 Servings

1 (5-pound) standing rib roast
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows

Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F.

Rub roast with House Seasoning; place roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour.

Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours.

About 30 to 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees F and reheat the roast.

Important:Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
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Fresh Ham

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Makes: 12 to 15 Servings

1 whole fresh ham (uncured), 10 to 15 pounds
Soy sauce
House Seasoning, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Rub ham well with soy sauce and then thoroughly coat with House Seasoning making sure to cover all surfaces. Sprinkle seasonings liberally until the ham is completely covered (don't worry about over-seasoning). Place uncovered in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F on a meat thermometer. When done, let the ham rest for a few minutes before slicing.

House Seasoning:

(Makes: 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
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Fried Chicken, Macaroni & Cheese, Green Beans & Black-Eyed Peas

Fried Chicken:

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings

1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces
Kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, such as Srirachi Hot Chili Sauce
Peanut oil, for frying

Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Cover the chicken with water by 1-inch; add 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water used. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a large shallow platter, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne until well blended; season generously with salt and pepper. In another platter combine the buttermilk and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces, a few at a time, in the flour mixture, then dip them into the buttermilk; dredge them again in the seasoned flour. Set aside and let the chicken rest while you heat the oil.

Put about 3 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up more than half way. Bring the oil up to 375 degrees F over medium high heat. Working in batches, carefully add the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oil and place on a rack to drain; repeat with the remaining pieces.

Macaroni & Cheese:

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Makes: 6 to 8 Servings

4 cups (1 pound) elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups milk
1/2 medium onion, stuck with 1 clove
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups grated Cheddar, plus 1 cup in big chunks
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water until done, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and toss it with 2 tablespoons butter; set aside.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set it aside.

Put the milk into a saucepan and add the clove studded onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and mustard. Warm over medium low heat until the milk starts to steam, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the flavors infuse while you make the roux.

In a large pot over medium heat add 2 tablespoons butter and the flour. Cook, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes; don't let the roux color. Strain the infused milk onto the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thick. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 the grated Cheddar and 1/2 the Parmesan; stir until it is melted and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour this over the macaroni, add the chunks of Cheddar, and mix until well blended; put this into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses evenly over the top. Bake until the top is golden and crusty, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Green Beans With Bacon & Onions:

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 Servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 pounds fresh green beans
2 quarts chicken stock or water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, bacon, and onions and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the green beans and chicken stock; season with salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low, and cook the green beans until they are soft but not mushy, about 30 to 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Black-Eyed Peas With Stewed Tomatoes:

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 Servings

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ham hock
2 quarts chicken stock or water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the peas in a pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let them soak for 1 hour. (Or cover the with cold water and let them soak overnight.)

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Hand crush the tomatoes into a saucepan and add the sugar and 1/2 cup of the liquid. Cook over medium low heat, being careful not to let it burn, until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are thick, about 30 minutes.

In a large pot over medium heat add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and ham hock. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the soaked peas and the stock and cook, covered, until the peas are tender, about 20 minutes. Add some water if you need more liquid. Remove the ham hock and fold in the tomato mixture. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

8 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced
4 small red potatoes, diced
1 cup diced Canadian bacon
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup prepared salsa
1 bunch chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until foamy.

Melt butter in a cast-iron pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and potatoes and cook thoroughly.
Pour the eggs over the mixture.

Pull the edges away from the sides of the pan
with a spatula so the eggs flow to the bottom of the pan.
When the frittata is half set, add the ham.

Transfer the pan to the heated oven.
Bake for 10 minutes until puffed and golden.
Top with sour cream, salsa, and chives before serving.
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Garlic Chicken Pasta With Prosciutto

This easy to prepare recipe has wonderful flavor
and is great to make for company.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 8 Servings

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
5 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 ounces prosciutto, cut into small pieces
4 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into strips or cubes 2 pounds
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced into small strips
3/4 pound linguine
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan or Romano
5 roasted pasilla chiles, peeled, seeded and cut into strips
2 roasted red peppers, peeled, seeded cut into strips
Fresh basil, chiffonade for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet and saute garlic until soft and light brown. Add tomatoes, proscuitto, chicken and butter; saute for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add basil, and saute for another 5 minutes. In a stockpot, bring water to boil and cook linguine until firm, al dente. Drain pasta and transfer to a bowl, add the chicken/tomato mixture, chiles, roasted peppers, and grated cheese; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with basil and serve.
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Glazed Baked Ham

1 ready-to-eat ham with bone, or boneless, or spiral cut
2 cups apple juice
1 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place ham in 9-by-13 Pyrex baking dish with apple juice.
Bake in oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix apricot preserves and mustard together to make a glaze. After 1 1/2 hours of baking ham, spoon half of the apricot/mustard mixture over the ham. Continue baking for 15 minutes; spoon remaining glaze over ham.

Continue to bake for 15 to 30 minutes, until ham is browned and glazed. Transfer ham to a large serving platter and skim the fat from the pan juices, and pour into a sauce boat.

Allow ham to sit 15 minutes before slicing.
Serve with pan juices and mustard if desired.
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Glazed Roast Duck With Brandy Orange Sauce

The orange sauce can be made up to a day in advance and reheated.

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Makes: 4 Servings

1, 4 1/2 lb. duck, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For The Glaze Combine:
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

For The Orange Sauce:
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 oz. brandy

Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity of the bird and discard. If necessary pluck any stray pinfeathers off the duck with tweezers. Trim the neck flap and excess fat from around the cavity. Rinse and dry the bird well.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Prick the skin of the duck all over with a fork. Tie the legs together; fold and tuck the wings under the body. Season with salt and pepper. Place breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Fill the pan with hot water to a level just below the duck. Cover and roast 90 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Uncover duck and brush with of the glaze. Roast 10 minutes more, and then brush with remaining glaze. Roast 10-15 minutes more, or until skin is nicely glazed and crispy.

Make the sauce by melting the butter and sugar in a pot over medium heat until melted and like caramel. Slowly and carefully, watch for splatters, whisk in orange juice, stock, zest, lemon juice, soy sauce and brandy. Bring to a boil and reduce by a 1/3. Mix cornstarch with 3 Tbsp. cold water. Whisk into sauce and cook until thickened, and then reserve sauce over low heat.

When the duck is cooked, rest 10 minutes. Carve and arrange the pieces on the platter and garnish with orange slices and parsley. Serve the sauce alongside.

What To Serve Alongside:
Accent the duck with a make ahead medley of vegetables. Individually boil or steam vegetables, such as sliced carrots, asparagus spears, red bell peppers, cauliflower florets, green beans, or wax beans until-firm tender. Chill in cold water and drain well. Place in a heatproof dish and toss with a little melted butter or olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Store the vegetables in the refrigerator until needed. Reheat in the microwave or in a 350 degrees F oven. To reheat in the oven, pour in a little water or stock to keep vegetables moist, cover and cook 20-30 minutes, or until heated through. If desired, just before serving sprinkle vegetables with chopped fresh parsley or chives.

For an even more orangey taste, pack the cavity of the bird with quartered oranges before roasting. If you would like an Asian-style duck, add two teaspoons of freshly grated ginger into the sauce when you add the orange juice; and rub the bird with one tablespoon of five-spice powder before roasting.
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Golden Oven-Roasted Capon

This recipe is delicious and perfect for a New Years or Christmas Dinner. You can baste the capon every 20-30 minutes and it comes out juicy and golden brown. This is a must try but remember 20 minutes per lb. Delicious!!

Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Makes: 8 Servings

1 whole (8 pound) capon chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
2 lemons, cut in half, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh chopped herbs, such as tarragon, thyme or savory
1 onion, cut in half
4 garlic cloves, smashed
Fresh whole herbs, such as tarragon leaves, thyme and savory sprigs
2 cups water
1/4 cup sherry

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity and rinse the chicken under cold water, inside and out. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Season the body and cavity of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, lemon juice and chopped herbs. Rub the herbed butter all over the chicken. Put the lemon halves, onion, garlic and whole herbs inside the bird. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape.

Place the chicken, breast side down, on a V-rack in a roasting pan. Cooking the chicken on a rack helps make its skin crisp and keeps it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pour water in the roasting pan to prevent the fat drippings from burning and smoking.

Roast the chicken for about 20 minutes, then carefully turn the bird over breast side up. It is best to take the pan out of the oven, close the oven door to maintain the temperature, and rotate the chicken on the counter. Baste the chicken all over with the pan drippings. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees F and return the pan to the oven. Continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees to 170 degrees F, count on this taking about 2 hours. Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 15 minutes so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.

Meanwhile, pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a gravy separator or measuring cup to let the fat rise to the top. Skim and discard the fat then return the pan juices back in the roasting pan. Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over medium heat. Add the sherry and deglaze, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with chicken.

How does a capon differ from a roasting chicken?

Even though a capon is similar in weight to an ordinary roasting chicken, it offers juicier and more tender meat.

A capon is a rooster that is neutered when it is about 3 weeks old. This procedure, along with special care and feeding, ensures full-breasted, fine-textured meat with lots of flavor. A capon is fed about twice the amount of rations given to a regular chicken, and a capon's growing period (about 5 months) is nearly 3 times as long as for a conventional chicken. Capons range in size from about 6 to 9 pounds; plan to buy about 1 pound per person.

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Greek Moussaka

The blend of flavors in this dish are wonderful & you do not even miss the bechamel sauce! If you don't have fresh herbs on hand or a cinnamon stick use dried herbs and ground cinnamon it will still taste fantastic!

(Makes: 6 to 8 Servings)

3 large eggplants
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lemon, sliced in thin circles
1 handful fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 pounds ground lamb
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup fresh bread crumbs

To prepare the eggplants: Cut off the stems, remove the skin with a vegetable peeler and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season all the pieces of eggplant with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat a large skillet with oil and heat over medium flame. Fry the eggplant in a single layer, turning once, until brown on both sides– you will need to do this in batches, adding more oil, as necessary. Drain the eggplant as they cook on a paper towel-lined platter.

Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in the onion, garlic, lemon slices, oregano, and parsley. Cook and stir until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb, stirring to break up the meat; season with salt and pepper, and toss in the cinnamon stick. Stir in the tomato paste and hand-crushed tomatoes. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with 1/3 of the eggplant slices; they should completely cover the bottom with no gaps. Remove cinnamon stick and lemons and spread 1/2 of the meat sauce over the eggplant, evening it out with a spatula. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the feta and Parmesan. Repeat the layers again, ending with a final layer of eggplant. Cover the top with a nice even layer of bread crumbs that are sprinkled with olive oil. Bake the moussaka for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Grillades & Grits

This recipe is for all the folks out there that like things hot, if you don't try adding just half a can of the Rotels. This dish can also be served with rice.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes: 8 Servings

1 (3-pound) chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Cooking spray
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup
4 tablespoons bacon grease
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup diced celery
3 large cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef broth or water
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons hot sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
5 medium or 4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1 (10-ounce) can extra hot stewed tomatoes (recommended: Ro-Tel)
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley leaves

Season beef with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Dust beef with about 1/3 cup flour and toss lightly. Spray a cast iron Dutch oven with cooking spray. Heat 4 tablespoons of bacon grease and 4 tablespoons of cooking oil (you may use all bacon grease, all solid shortening, or all cooking oil if desired). Brown meat in hot fat and remove to a large bowl using a slotted spoon. Leaving fat in Dutch oven, saute bell pepper, onions, celery, and garlic. Brown vegetables and remove to bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving fat in the pot.

Add or take away to total 3 tablespoons of fat to make your roux. To make roux, add about 1/4 cup of flour, stirring constantly and slowly until flour is a nice deep brown, being careful not to burn the flour. Slowly add 4 cups of beef broth or water and stir. Bring to a simmer and add back beef and vegetables. Add bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, dried basil and stir. Add fresh tomatoes and 1 can extra hot tomatoes. Simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, remove bay leaves and stir in 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Serve over your favorite hot buttered grits.

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Grilled Chicken With Creamy Fettucine

This dish is a great variation on a classic that is one of the most delicious and indulgent pasta dishes I know.

(Makes: 2 Servings)

Parmesan Cream Sauce:
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
1 small sprig thyme
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
salt and freshly ground white pepper

8 ounces fettucine pasta, fresh or dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely diced pancetta
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, grilled or broiled
Thyme or oregano sprigs for garnish

1. First, make the Parmesan cream. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine white wine, shallots, peppercorns and thyme. Cook about 7 to 8 minutes or until mixture is dry.

2. Add chicken stock; continue to cook until liquid reduces by half. Add heavy cream and cook for about 2 minutes more or until sauce is slightly thickened. Strain sauce through a fine mesh wire sieve.

3. Pour strained sauce into a blender. Add grated Parmesan cheese, thyme and oregano; blend until smooth. Strain one more time through fine mesh wire sieve. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook fettucine until al dente. (Time will vary depending on whether you use fresh or dried pasta.)

5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add pancetta, thyme and oregano and cook for about 2 minutes more. Stir in chicken broth and deglaze pan. Stir in prepared Parmesan cream. Cook only until heated through. Remove 1/2 cup sauce and set aside; keep warm.

6.When fettucine is cooked, drain and add to sauce in skillet together with chopped parsley and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt, if necessary.

7. Slice cooked, grilled chicken breasts on the diagonal.

Twirl or mound coated fettucine onto two hot plates. Fan out slices of chicken on top of pasta. Drizzle with reserved 1/2 cup of sauce. Garnish each plate with a thyme or oregano sprig.

Wine Recommendation:
I like a little crisp acidity with a rich pasta like this so I turn to Sauvignon Blancs, the grassy, fruity wines from Sancerre and the Loire Valley in France. Although today it may be better value to look homewards or down to New Zealand. In California look for Robert Mondavis Fume Blanc, Sanford, Kendall Jackson and Close du Bois. From New Zealand search for Cloudy Bay, Babich, Morton Estate and Villa Maria.
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Grilled Kielbasa

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 8 Servings

4 pounds smoked kielbasa

Serving Suggestions:
mustards, sauerkraut, and horseradish

Add kielbasa to a large skillet of simmering water. Cook for 15 minutes and drain completely.

Place kielbasa on a hot grill pan and cook until grill marks are achieved, turning often, about 10 minutes.

Slice the kielbasa into bite-size pieces and serve with a variety of mustards, sauerkraut, and horseradish.

Wine Suggestions:
Kendall Jackson Chardonnay Hahn Estates or
Glass Mountain Merlot Rosemount Shiraz

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Grilled Tuna Steaks With Japanese Marinade

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings

4 tuna steaks (3/4 inch thick and about 6 ounces)
Japanese Marinade (see recipe below)
Salt and pepper

1. Heat grill to high; oil grates. Place 4 tuna steaks (each 3/4 inch thick and about 6 ounces) in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag.
Add Japanese Marinade; turn to coat.
Cover; marinate 15 to 30 minutes in refrigerator, turning fish occasionally.

2. Just before grilling, remove from refrigerator; remove tuna from marinade.
Season with salt and pepper.
Grill fish until charred on the outside but still pink inside, 2 to 5 minutes per side.

Japanese Marinade

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons sugar

Besides chicken and fish, this marinade is good with steak, tofu, or vegetables.
In place of the vinegar and sugar, try mirin, Japanese cooking wine.
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Grilled Tuna With Basil Pesto

This delicious and versitile pesto sauce recipe is also great with pasta.
Just add 2 cloves of garlic instead of 1. Try using a combination
of Romano and Parmesan or completely substituting the
Romano for the Parmesan to give it added flavor.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings

2 (2-inch thick) tuna steaks (about 1 pound each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat grill to 400 degrees F. Wash and pat dry the tuna steaks. Season with salt and pepper and brush both sides with olive oil. Place tuna on hot grill and sear each side for 2 minutes for rare. If you prefer well done, cook the tuna an additional 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and let it rest.

Into the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, basil leaves, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. With the blender still running, slowly pour 1/2 cup of olive oil. Check for a thick, yet smooth consistency, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Slice the tuna across the grain and on a bias into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place the slices on a serving plate and drizzle with lemon juice. Sauce tuna with pesto.
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This wonderful gumbo with a taste of New Orleans is easy to make and tastes great. If you feel that the roux is too bitter tasting, try adding some tomato paste. This will add some sweetness and depth. For more flavor let it sit 1 day before serving.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Makes: 8 to 10 Servings

1 hen, about 6 pounds
8 cups water
2 medium yellow onions, quartered
2 ribs celery, each cut into 6 pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 pound andouille or other smoked sausage, finely chopped,
plus 1 pound smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons chopped green onions or scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Cooked white rice, for serving

In a large, heavy pot place the hen, water, quartered onions, celery pieces, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until the hen is tender, about 2 hours. Remove the hen and set aside. Strain and reserve the broth.

In a large, heavy pot or a Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the oil and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is a dark, chocolate brown color, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, celery and chopped sausage. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the reserved chicken broth and stir until the roux mixture and broth are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, remove the skin from the hen and pick the meat off the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Coarsely chop or tear the meat into bite size pieces. Add the chicken and the sliced sausage to the gumbo. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before skimming any fat that has risen to the surface.

Stir in the green onions and parsley and serve the gumbo in individual soup or gumbo bowls over hot, steamed white rice.
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Hamburgers & Ketchup Gravy

This is a homestyle dish. Which is easy to prepare and tastes out of this world! The secret is in the simmering! When the gravy simmers for a while, the flavors blend to make a thick delicious gravy. Serve with noodles and biscuits.

(Makes: 4 Servings)

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water, or as needed

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, 1/2 cup ketchup, bread crumbs, onion powder, steak seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Form into small fat hamburger patties, or meatballs.

2. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Place the patties in the skillet, and cook until browned on both sides.
Remove patties to a plate, and drain grease from the skillet.

3. In the same pan, slowly stir together the remaining ketchup and water if the mixture seems thin, add a bit more ketchup, or if it is thick, add more water.
Add the onion, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Return the patties to the pan, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir after the 30 minutes, and if the gravy is still thin, continue simmering with the lid off until gravy thickens.
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Hearty Havarti Reuben Potato Casserole

(Makes: 6 Servings)

4 cups firmly packed mashed potatoes (from 22-ounce frozen package)
1-2/3 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon caraway seed
3/4 cup (6 ounces) Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can (14 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
1 package (5 ounces) sliced corned beef, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup tomato (about 2 medium), chopped, seeded
2 cups Havarti cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Prepare potatoes according to package directions, using milk and sour cream. Stir in caraway seed, Cheddar cheese and sauerkraut. Mix well.

Spray 2-quart microwave-safe casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon half of potato mixture into dish. Top with corned beef, chopped tomato and Havarti cheese. Top with remaining potato mixture. Cover.

Microwave on high for 14 to 18 minutes or until casserole is thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. Or bake in a Conventional Oven in a preheated oven at 350F for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
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Herb-Crusted Snapper

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 snapper fillets (6 to 8 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup assorted fresh herbs, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375. Brush baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Place 4 snapper fillets (6 to 8 ounces each), skin side down, on work surface; season with salt and pepper; spread each with 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard.

2. Place 1/2 cup finely chopped assorted fresh herbs on plate; balance strong herbs, such as dill and thyme, with milder ones, such as parsley.
Press mustard-coated side of fillets in herbs to coat evenly.

3. Bake fish on baking sheet, skin side down, until opaque throughout, 12 to 15 minutes.
Serve with couscous.
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Herb & Pepper Crusted Rib Eye Roast

Serve this impressive roast for a delicious holiday dinner.

(Makes:8 Servings)

1 - 4 pound rib eye round roast
3 fresh garlic cloves cut into quarters
2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons pepper medley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef stock
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 425F.
Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut slits all over the roast and insert the garlic pieces into them.
Chop the dried rosemary leaves until finely minced. Place the chopped rosemary in a small bowl along with the basil leaves, pepper medley, salt and orange zest.
Stir to combine well. Coat the roast with the herb mixture, pressing gently to make sure it adheres.
Place the meat in a roasting pan. Roast the meat at 425F for 25 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350F and roast an additional 35 minutes for medium-rare meat.
Remove the roast from the oven and transfer the meat to a serving platter.
Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, place the roasting pan on top of the stove over low heat.
Skim the fat from the pan, then add the red wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits of crust from the bottom of the pan.
Add the beef stock and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Allow the sauce to simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
To finish the sauce, remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the cold butter.

Plan to allow 15 minutes per pound for medium-rare meat, therefore making the approximate cooking time for a 4-pound Rib Eye Roast about 1 hour.

Remember that cooking times vary dependant upon your oven, the temperature of your roast when it enters the oven, etc.

When preparing this recipe use the following roasting guidelines for better accuracy; For beef, an internal temperature registering 130F is rare, 140F is medium and well done registers 150F.
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Hot & Spicy Barbecued Chicken

(Makes: 8 Servings)

1 cup catsup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons water
2 garlic cloves - crushed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
8 skinned boned chicken breast halves (4-ounce)
Vegetable cooking spray

Combine first 8 ingredients in a 1-quart measure; stir well. Cover with wax paper; microwave at HIGH 3 minutes. Set aside.

Combine paprika and next 3 ingredients; sprinkle over both sides of chicken breast halves, and set aside.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray, and place on grill over medium-hot coals. Place chicken on rack; cook 10 minutes on each side or until done, basting occasionally with catsup mixture.
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Honey Brined Pork Chops With Creole Mustard Reduction Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 Servings

4 bone-in pork chops, about 12 ounces each
1 gallon warm water
3/4 pound kosher salt, about 1 3/4 cups
1 1/2 cups honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cloves
Creole Mustard Reduction Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the water, salt, and honey in a stockpot. Stir to dissolve the honey and salt. Remove from the heat. Add the thyme, pepper, and cloves, and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours. Once cool, submerge the pork chops in the brining liquid. Marinate for 2 hours, refrigerated.

Remove from the refrigerator and pat the chops dry with paper towels.

Heat a large, heavy, non-stick grill pan or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops in batches, as necessary, and sear on each side, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a roasting pan or baking sheet and roast until cooked through, about 18 minutes.

Serve with Creole Mustard Reduction Sauce.

Creole Mustard Reduction Sauce:

(Makes: 2 Cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup Creole mustard or other spicy, whole-grain mustard

Heat the oil a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the wine. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to a thick glaze, 18 to 20 minutes. Add the chicken stock and Creole mustard, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
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Honey Dijon Chicken With Capers

A recipe from a five star restaurant that is very quick and easy,
but sooooooo tasty.
Classy enough to impress any guests.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time:20 mins
Makes:2 Servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey

1. Salt and Pepper chicken on both sides to season.
2. Heat oil over med.
3. In a frying pan, cook chicken 5-6 minutes per side.
4. Pour in broth, capers, rosemary and thyme.
5. Return to simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Stir in mustard, butter and honey and immediately remove from heat.
7. Serve with spooning remaining sauce over each breast.
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Honey Mustard & Red Onion BBQ Chicken

Excellent, easy, refreshing recipe where the chicken just bursts with flavor! This sauce tones down on the grill and has a really pleasant tang. Great, versatile, alternative to tomato-based BBQ sauce and is a super summertime grilling condiment. The sauce can also be jarred up to use on sandwiches (eg: bbq pork sandwiches) or as a dipping sauce for pretzels. Goes great on grilled chicken legs, pork tenderloin, roast pork or with pineapple slices to glaze a baked ham shank. After 2 days in the refrigerator the sauce thickens and is even more flavorful.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, chopped or
vadilla onion or shallots
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar,
a couple of handfuls
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup prepared honey mustard
(recommended: Honey Cup brand)
1/2 teaspoon allspice, eyeball it
1/2 teaspoon curry powder, eyeball it
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Vegetable oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill pan or griddle over medium high heat.

Pour 2 tablespoons vegetable oil into a small saucepan over moderate heat. Add red onions and saute 3 to 5 minutes. Add vinegar and reduce by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook 1 minute to incorporate. Whisk in broth and honey mustard, allspice and curry. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to lowest setting.

Coat chicken with a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper, to your taste. Place chicken on hot grill and cook 4 or 5 minutes, then turn. Baste chicken liberally with sauce and cook another 5 minutes. Turn once again and baste. Cook 2 or 3 minutes more to cook through and transfer chicken to a platter and serve.

This chicken can also be cooked on the stovetop with added toppings. When the chicken is done, layer each piece with a slice of cheese (cheddar on some, swiss on others). Cook up 3 pieces smoked bacon and crumbled them on top of the cheese. Garnish with green onions.

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Hungarian Goulash

This tasty and easy to prepare goulash goes
especially well with the cucumber recipe given.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Makes: 4 to 6 Servings

1 strip bacon
2 onions, medium dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 garlic clove
Pinch caraway seeds
2 tablespoons good quality sweet paprika (see cook's note)
2 cups warm water
2 cubes beef bouillon
2 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper
4 or 5 potatoes
2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for plating
1 pound prepared spaetzle, as an accompaniment
Cucumber salad, as an accompaniment, recipe follows

Using good quality paprika is important. After about a year, paprika spice tends to lose its intensity. Use the best quality possible!

In a cold, heavy 6 to 8-quart stewing pot, fry bacon over low-medium heat until fat is rendered, and then discard bacon slice.
Saute onions in the bacon fat for a few minutes, do not allow the onions to brown. If bacon does not provide enough fat, add a little olive oil to prevent the onions from sticking. When onions become glossy, add the beef, sauteing with the onions for about 10 minutes, covered, until the meat is browned.

Meanwhile, chop and crush the garlic with the caraway seeds; add to meat and onions. Remove pot from heat. Stir in paprika rapidly with a wooden spoon. Immediately after paprika is absorbed, add the warm water. The water should just cover the meat, leaving room for potatoes.

Add beef bouillon cubes. Cover pot and cook over low heat for about 1 hour.

While stew is braising, prepare the tomatoes by cutting into 1-inch pieces. Core green peppers and cut into strips. After 1 hour of braising, add the tomatoes and green pepper. Add a little more water, if necessary and a little more salt if you need it. Simmer slowly for another 30 minutes.

Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized cubes and set aside in a bowl of water. Add potatoes, and cook another 30 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender and the goulash is done.

Once goulash is finished, dissolve sour cream and a little of the goulash sauce in a cup. Add to goulash, it should give a creamy consistency. Serve goulash with spaetzle on the side, adding an extra dollop of sour cream to each plate.

Cucumber Salad:
2 cucumbers
Seasoned salt
1/2 onion
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch dill, dried or fresh (optional)
Dollop sour cream (optional)

Peel and slice cucumbers very thinly. The side of a metal grater with the wide slots works best here, or you can use a mandoline. Place cucumbers in a flat dish and sprinkle throughout with salt, making sure that all the slices are salted. Leave to rest for 30 minutes. The salt will draw the moisture out of the cucumbers. Cut the onion into paper-thin slices and place in a container. Once the cucumbers have released water, use your hands to squeeze out the excess water and add to the onions. The cucumbers are supposed to be limp, but still crisp.

In a measuring cup mix vinegar, water, sugar and paprika to create a vinaigrette. Pour over the cucumbers and onions and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 hours.

Make the cucumbers before the goulash and it will be perfectly marinated by the time you are done making the stew!
Serve with a sprinkle of dill and a little dollop of sour cream if desired.
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Individual Meat Loaves

These perfect mini meat loaves are so much easier to handle than having one huge loaf and they cook faster! Don't overwork the meat, just use a fork to flake it until combined (makes a HUGE difference!)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 6 Servings

1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup canned chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (81 percent lean)
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (recommended: Progresso)
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup ketchup (recommended: Heinz)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don't mash or the meatloaf will be dense. Divide the mixture into 6 (10 to 11-ounce) portions and shape each portion into a small loaf on a sheet pan. Spread about a tablespoon of ketchup on the top of each portion. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees F and the meat loaves are cooked through. Serve hot.
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