Tag Archives: recipe heritage

Happy Balls


Mega Meat Balls

Mega MeatyBalls!This evening I made meatballs subs, pictured are the ones I made previously. I changed things up a bit this time and edited my sauce. What I am discovering is finding the perfect ball size. Last time, as you can see, my balls were HUGE, these were stuffed with mozzarella cheese which of course made them quite a bit bigger than what they already were. This time I reduced the amount of meat mixture I used to make them as well as made them a bit easier to handle; previously I could barely make it through one ball let alone three that was called for each serving. They went from being the size of my fist down to fitting comfortably in my hand (about 1-1/2" diameter) and thus I actually made it through two balls, so I am making progress. Making the right size balls is quite the art and it actually does affect the way the dish tastes. When the balls were huge the only flavor one could focus on whilst eating was meat, it was actually overwhelming. With the smaller balls I could actually taste the delicious sauce I made AND the cheezy surprise hidden perfectly in the centre. It was delicious. So my dear flakies, when you make your dish make sure you make your balls the right size! Everyone will prefer a different size ball so play around with them until you find what works best for your table.What I enjoy about this recipe is that it uses italian sausages so you don't have to fiddle fart around with your meat mixture, it's already done for you.Amazing Meatball Subs!Feeds 5-6 (3 balls per sub)Kitchen stuff you will need:scissors, sharp knife, largish bowl, cutting board, oven or toaster oven, stovetop or hotplate, large skillet and rectangular pan, spoon, tongs (or fork would do it), can openerIngredients:Italian Sausages, I used mild flavored and 2 packets of 4 sausages @ about 4" in length, remove meat from sleeveMozzarella cheese cut into bite sized cubes, one cube per ballExtra Virgin Olive Oil1 onion chopped2 garlic cloves chopped6 mushrooms choppedone 28oz can of crushed tomatoesjust under 1 tbs of italian seasoning (a blend of rosemary, thyme, oregano) you can use fresh or dried.)1 tbs ketchupsalt & pepper to tasteAbout 1 cup of shredded fresh parmesan cheese or use the pre-shredded Kraft Italian Blend cheese.6 italian sub bunsDirections:Preheat oven to 425 degreesCut mozzarella cheese into cubes and set near the mixing bowl.Remove meat from its outer "shell" and place in bowl. Form into balls and place on the rectangular pan. Put one cube inside each ball and ensure it is completly encased in the meat. Drizzle the meatballs lightly with olive oil, roll them around a bit in the oil so they won't stick to your pan (I learned this the hard way) Once the oven is done heating up, stick your pan of balls inside and cook for about 18 minutes.Once the meatballs are in the oven put your skillet on the stove on about medium heat with about 1 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms stirring frequently for about 5-6 minutes, once the onions and mushrooms begin to soften it is time to add the crushed tomatoes, italian seasonings and ketchup (salt and pepper to your taste). Turn the heat down and keep an eye on it as it will bubble and spit at you if it gets to hot. Bring this mixture to a nice simmer. place your sub buns on baking sheets and toast them in the oven once the meatballs have been removed. Only keep them in there about 3 minutes or so as they will burn quickly.Now plate up one bun, top with 3 balls and goob the sauce over top quite liberally and top with cheese, repeat for each serving. Serve with a mixed green salad and your favorite bevvie : )Enjoy!Dinner is served!

Happy Eating!

 

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The potatoes were obscene….


Welcome to another instalment of Burned Cornflakes! Not a whole lot has happened since my epic feast was served on the big holiday however I nearly screwed up an “old faithful” of mine. Growing up I watched meal after meal with any leftovers they would be placed and labelled in a container and placed in either the fridge or freezer for future use, I was always lectured on the importance of NOT WASTING. Let me just say that this lecture didn’t really sink in (sorry mom… in ways it did! Promise!). I am absolutely NO SAINT in this area; I bin a lot of food, some of it is still good, some beyond rotten from the depths of a lunch bag or worse. I get upset about it, whine or nag only sometimes but mostly I just methodically toss things in the bin with a pursed lip and a guilty conscience.

After the “epic holiday feast” was done there were leftovers which we mostly took care of in the amazing turkey soup I helped hubs make. Further down the list of leftovers were potatoes, I didn’t know what to do with them and having a family audience (read this as “my mom has eyes like a hawk and would BUST me for wasting if I dared“) so I squashed them between 2 gently used pie plates (yay for recycling!) and tossed in the freezer. Yes, IN THE FREEZER. I figured they would be alright because I saw advertised a big company preparing mashed potatoes to whip out of the freezer on a whim and show off to your relatives. (side note: I do find the ads very annoying). That aside when in doubt I toss EVERYTHING in the freezer, if it ends up freezer burnt it will probably either have one of 2 fates… tossed into a dish that over cooks everything or in the bin. LOL.

Once that was all done I kind of forgot about them until hubs asked for dead shepherd for dinner. I could imagine the light bulb going off over my head as I remembered the potatoes. So I set on my merry way to preparing a beloved family dish. I sliced up 8 extra potatoes to ensure I had enough coverage as when I make my dead shepherd it is usually fit to serve about 10 people. There I was happily cooking away listening to my potatoes & parsnips boil, the meat brown and the microwave struggling to defrost 2 lbs of pre mashed potatoes. Once my meat & onion had browned completely I drain the fat off and add in the rest of my ingredients. I went to my faithful freezer of random food and started pulling out random chopped things to add in; I noticed this little Tupperware container in the back with something unknown in it, with a shrug of the shoulder and not a second thought I tossed the puppy in with my other random finds. Not until this mystery substance melted and created a large liquid content did I start worrying. Then came the aroma (it smelled pleasant) and I got to thinking….. what the heck did I just put in the dead shepherd?

I panicked.

Only slightly.

Promise.

Until I realised with a sweet wave of relief that we had saved of my epic experiments making Au Jus for gnarly beef dips, this one in particular was roasted garlic au jus (yum!). With a (small) leap of joy I happily finished up and served the “Frankenstein” dead shepherd. (I have a dear friend who calls experiments Frankenstein’s, I loved the term so much I added it to my vocab). So I got lucky….this time. It could have possibly still lead to disaster as one of the sauces I had put in as part of my “wild card” flavorings was a brown sugar flavour, so I passed this one by the hair on my chinny chin chin.

As for the potatoes they were a tad obscene, I may have made too many. Actually, I will admit it I did make too many as the topping was HUGE. I had about 2-1/2″ thick worth of potatoes (I had combined the left over mashed potatoes with 2 parsnips and 8 freshly boiled potatoes mashed with unsalted margarine). So a lesson learned from an old classic recipe we adore.

As a treat I’ll sound off my classic “un-Frankenstein-ed” version of Dead Shepherd.

NOTE: makes approx. 10 servings! (good for making a big batch and freezing mini meals for later).

What else is great about this is you can add or subtract anything you like and you’re almost guaranteed a great dish. Experiment with different ground meats, ingredients and toppings!!! Though I have no idea what one would do for a vegetarian version of this…. Possibly mashed beans/lentils and Portobello mushrooms (?)…. Have to brainstorm on that one!

Thinking about it, this is almost the un-recipe of recipe’s as there are no real set rules! Dare I say an anarchistic dish?! *gasp*

Kitchen Stuff you will need:

  • 2 largish pots
  • an ovenproof dish
  • strainer or lids to pots
  • stovetop or hot plate
  • oven or toaster oven
  • a spatula or spoon to stir
  • potato masher (a fork works but it is labour intensive)
  • cutting board
  • knife (sharp, preferably unserrated)

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg lean gr. Beef (or preferred ground meat, if using ground turkey you WILL need to use olive oil or cooking oil to ensure the meat doesn’t stick and burn to the pot)
  • 0.3 – 0.5kg of lean gr. Pork
  • 1 Medium to large red onion chopped
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning (to taste)
  • Worstershire sauce about 3 tsp (I eyeball it)
  • Barbeque Sauce or Fruity HP Sauce * optional* about ½ cup; in place of this you could put in about ½ cup of beef broth or French onion soup mix. Experiment and make it yours!
  • 1 can of Baked beans *optional* experiment with flavors! J
  • Vegetables of your choice you can use freshly chopped or mixed froxen vegetables. I use about 4-5 cups of frozen vegetables.
  • 7 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 parsnips peeled and sliced *optional* – I add these in for added nutrition and sneaking more veggies in to my resident picky eater
  • Water
  • Margarine or butter *optional* about ¼ cup
  • Sour Cream *optional* to taste or serve alongside your dinner if people like potatoes and sour cream!
  • Shredded cheese *optional*

Directions:

Set oven to “broil” (my oven defaults the broil temp to 500 degrees and I don’t change it.) ensure your oven rack is set to the right height to accommodate your oven dish.

Place potatoes and parsnips in large pot fill water to cover them and place on high heat to boil. Once they bubble violently turn down the heat to medium. The potatoes will be cooked when they slide off the fork.

While the potatoes are boiling brown the meat in the other large pot with the onion on med-high heat. Sprinkle with Montreal Steak seasoning (or not!). Once the meat has browned drain the fat into safe container and dispose of the fat safely. DO NOT POUR IT DOWN ANY DRAINS!!!!

Return the meat pot to the stovetop and add in the worstershire sauce, the bbq sauce (if you are using) and the baked beans. Stir. Add in your veggies stir and let them soften/warm through. Once this is done remove from the heat (turn off your burner). Slide all your ingredients into your waiting oven dish.

Once your parsnips and potatoes have finished boiling, remove them from the heat, drain and begin mashing. Once the mashing is on its way add in the margarine and continue mashing to your desired consistency. I like to sometimes add sour cream and mash it in too. It is up to you and your taste buds.

When you have your desired mashed potato awesomeness grab a spoon and top your meat base with them. I like to draw a pattern in mine so when the potatoes brown in the oven it makes a cute picture. If you so desire sprinkle the cheese top of your potatoes for a kid pleaser (and cheese lover!)

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes until the potatoes reach your desired browned/crispyness.

Serve.

This recipe is great to refine to your particular tastes and what your guests, family likes or make it the way your family did. Plus it is super easy!

Remember to label your leftovers (with everything) to avoid disasters in the future!

Happy Eating J

 

The 18 were stuffed like a Christmas turkey….


Well Christmas has come and passed, all that planning, prepping, cooking, stressing is over and I am almost at a loss without so many people inside my tiny little house. We had 18 people on Christmas day and what a day it was. I was SUPER stressed however for the first Christmas in my life I DIDN’t have a melt down. (Call the guinness book of world records, it is a date in history!!) I had a lot of help from hubs, my sister in law, my kids, thier kids, mom, dad, and probably even the cat!

It. was. amazing.

I am so grateful to have a great and supportive family and what made it even more awesome is I don’t think I said “Oh Sh*t!” once while cooking dinner…. but don’t quote me on that one. 🙂

Not all of it went down as smooth as ice however it went over pretty good. What helped was a few days before company arrived I cooked my “Clint Eastwood Style Chili (which mom aptly named “Chili for wimps” <– mom I have changed the recipe) and for the FIRST time ever it did not burn my face off. (Are you calling Guinness yet? There is another one for the history books)

Secondly ALL the help I had: My sister in law helping me cut, chop, prep, season, stir, mix, advise, check, double check, fix, refix everything I was doing. It saved my life. My mom doing Christmas baking so I would have enough cookies to go around, she even blessed us with her butter tarts AND melt in your mouth shortbread (I love you mom). My dad bringing over the extra stuff I decided I needed on Christmas day ON Christmas Day (a toaster oven, meat thermometer). Both my folks for helping me with the vegetarian dishes, turns out we had LOTS with what I added to it. The kids for helping stir, sort, organise, clean, check and recheck & smash things for baking. As well as clean up like taking out the gabages and dishes and so forth.

Thirdly and most importantly: The whole family having balls (and stomachs) of steel for being willing to eat something I had never attempted before.

For those about to rock (eat) we salute you.

So what did I make??

December 24 after dinner myself, my S.I.L. and kids from all families helped me do my Christmas baking…. 5 hours of it. (I am a slow one in the kitchen, mom will never let me forget!)

  • Gingerbread CupCakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Double Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate chips
  • Apple Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie (x2) made with ice cream

December 25 (the big day for the 18!)

  • Hors ‘d’ouvres –>Vegetarian Samosas, vegetarian spring rolls, spinach & feta spanakopia, mini meat balls, sausage rolls, chips and dip, veggies and dip, crackers with cream cheese and spicy red pepper jelly, assorted cookies and treats (homemade and store bought) Artichoke & Asiago cheese puffs (care of my sister)
  • Turkey – approx 7.6 kg. Cooked over root vegetables, fresh herbs and some broth. I also put an onion and more fresh herbs up its bum to add more flavor.
  • Stuffing – not from scratch. From a box.
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Corn, Carrots, Peas, beans.
  • Buns
  • Broccoli Casserole (Care of mom)
  • Roasted Veggies (Care of mom)
  • Fresh Gravy (made from the broth and drippings (not droppings!) from the bird)
  • Cranberry jelly

Dessert:

  • Pumpkin Pies (x2)
  • Apple Pie
  • Gingerbread Snaps (care of Sister)
  • Sugar Cookies (Care of Mom)
  • Gingerbread Cupcakes
  • Double Chocolate Brownies
  • Ice Cream – Vanilla and Stawberry

And that is how you stuff 18 people like a Christmas turkey!!!!

There were plenty of leftovers, so we could have fit about 4 more people at our table and had them well fed as well. I should mention 4 of the people at our table are older teens/young adults (male) with hearty appetites as well as all the members of the families having healthy appetites. So having left-overs and in the quantities there were is amazing.

We had a big setback, we  planned dinner for about 230 pm however I don’t think we ended up eating until past 4 due to the bird. Not sure what went wrong as everyone said they had never seen it happen before: One leg and part of one side of the bird did not cook on time so we had to keep taking it out and putting it back in again. We don’t know if it was an element, the way I cooked/positioned it in the oven, or if it was the oven itself (its not convection). Luckily we had enough nibbles to keep the hungry monsters at bay. A lot of patience and several people inside who knew a lot about cooking turkeys. A good back up plan is to get the Barbeque ready. Speaking of BBQ the one thing I defrosted and prepped for turkey dinner were ribs and cornbread however time and oven space dictated they be removed from the menu. Good thing we did or we would have been screwed for table and stomach space.

Other things I learned: I learned what a turkey baster was, what it does and how to use it. Yes I am 28 years old and had NO idea what that was. I also learned what the neck, heart and giblets look like from inside the turkey (I nearly fainted, I have an aversion to birds…cooking them… mostly because all I can see are them strutting around outside when I am trying to cook them). I also learned how to get the most out of your turkey thanks to advise from mom, the S.I.L and the people over at Stirr for posting on thier facebook page how to make Turkey Soup. But it was a big thanks to HUBs for making it. I don’t think I could have made it as the carcass was grossing me out.

This is what he did (I helped with the veggies):

What you will need:

  • leftover turkey carcass, GIGANTIC pot, stove, water. Anything you want to toss into the soup for flavoring.

He put the carcass in a HUGE pot of boiling water and just boil the meat off the bones. He had it on there for hours (I am pretty sure) remove the carcass and any fallen off bones.

Next add what you like for flavoring here is what we did:

  • leftover roasted root vegetables (carrots, celery, parsnips, onions)
  • leftover regular vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, green beans)
  • leftover gravy
  • added 4 more carrots, 1 parsnip, a turnip, and an onion
  • One outside Rind of Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • a sprig of fresh rosemary (just toss it in, the leaves will fall off in the cooking process)
  • a sprig of fresh thyme (again, toss it in the leaves will fall off and you can pull the stick out later)
  • one bay leaf (remove before consuming)
  • a sprinkling of Montreal Vegetable seasoning
  • a squished clove of garlic

Let this bubble for a while (30-40 minutes or until the veggies soften) then you can serve (this makes TONS OF SOUP) or what I did was I put aside a HUGE container of the soup for a healthy meal in the future and then put some in single serving dishes and froze for lunches. With a lot still left over I reserved the rest in a smaller soup pot and placed in the fridge which has given us several lunches and dinners of turkey soup.

What is great is there was no loss of nutritional value as everything was cooked with itself, nothing was strained or drained (granted the saturated fats are probably up there but so is the value of the good stuff) and it made the dollar value of Christmas dinner become VERY economical. So really it is an all around win.

Now with all the visiting relatives gone, I am missing everyone DEARLY. It is like the house (as small as it is) is empty. It really made me see how much I love and care about my family members.

I hope all your Christmas’s, holidays, festivities and food adventures are full of wonderful things.

 

From my table to yours, happy eating.

 

xoxoxo

 

Put your blindfolds on!


Well I did it. A feat on a rather simple dish, I cooked with out a recipe, no guidelines no referencing.

Just me, my ingredients and cookware.

In my world not only is it terrifying, it borders on disasterous.

However I lucked out, dinner was DEEEEEEE LICIOUS!

What did I make??? Well I made lasagne, but not my “usual lasagna.”

My usual lasagna is basically browning beef, tossing it in sauce, sorting out glued cooked noodles and putting an obscene amount of cheese on top (I think I maxed out one time at 3 packages of shredded cheese.)

So this is what I did with what I had:

What you’ll need: stovetop or hot plate, oven or convection toaster oven, sharp knife, cutting board, spoon, pot, 9×13 oven safe dish.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of ground turkey

1 red onion chopped

2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

fresh oregano (season to taste)

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach

1-2 jars of Classico sauce (I use these because they don’t add sugar to it and the ingredients are in English not strange scientific gibberish.)

2 cups shredded cheese (or 1 package of shredded cheese) preferably mozza

1 box of lasagne noodles (I used the “oven ready” kind however if you prefer the regular kind make sure you pre-cook the noodles)

Directions:

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a pot on med-high heat add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the cut up onion, the oregano leaves and the ground turkey. Once the turkey is browned add to the sauce, mix well.

Line the bottom of your 9×13 pan with noodles, top with sauce, then dollop the ricotta cheese on top, sprinkle the spinach on then place another layer of noodles, repeat in any order you wish. Once you have layered to your desire load up the top with as much shredded cheese as you like.

Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes and Voila! A delicious dinner.

Helpful tidbit: clean up the cookin dishes while the lasagnes a bubbling away in the ol oven.

Happy Eating!

 

 

Did you say “ribbed”??? and saying “Thanks”


Again it has been a while since my last posting here on burned cornflakes however I assure you I have been creating in the kitchen from delicious homemade soups, to chilli experiments and discovering how hard it is asking for help. Quite frankly when I get the help (whether asked for or not) I realise now just how awesome it is to have it. I broke my hand just 2 weeks ago, it has been a learning curve to get things done one handed and asking for help on the simplest of tasks and I have been dealing out gratitude by the truck load. Some of the many things I needed help doing have been cutting, slicing, grating, turning lids, pulling lids off, holding the plate/pot/misc item still while I work which probably looked a tad ridiculous….. Which is why sometimes the task was simply lifted from my fingers, which I gotta admit, is kinda nice.

So I have a recipe for you that hubs has recently perfected, taste tested by the family and has an overall 5 star rating for ease, simplicity and yumminess. It is a pork rib recipe I was taught by my cousins and hubs nailed the new cooking process.

This is how it goes:

Kitchen stuff you will need: sharp knife, cutting board, large bowl, tongs, grill, large pot, stove top (possibly hot plate depending on its heat abilities)

Ingredients:

  • Pork back or side ribs (bone in)
  • water
  • Fresh Ground Sea Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice (hubs used juice from 7 lemons)
  • Fresh Ground Pepper (if desired)

Directions:

In a large pot bring ribs to a boil and bubble on med-high heat for 45 min

During the last 5 (or so) minutes preheat your BBQ to high (about 500 degrees)

Remove ribs from pot and take out to your hot grill, cook 10 minutes per side for a total of approx. 20 min.

On cutting board slice ribs to individual pieces and place in large bowl. Douse in lemon juice and salt (and pepper), toss and mix (careful these will be hot)

Place on table and bask in glow of awesomeness as the “mmmmm’s” and “nom nom nomming” start rolling in!

I recommend serving with corn, green beans and mini potatoes.

Happy Eating!

Concerning Caterpillars, a cooking success and where some recipes come from…


My mom told me a story the other day over a soup I made that reminded her of being a little girl. The soup I made for the family and took over to my parents place reminded me of being a little girl, how much I hated it when mom made that soup and how much I crave it now as a grown up (or at least most days I am). It also reminds me of the first time I threw up because I think it was what we had for dinner that night….. which could also explain why I hated it so much.

Anyhow my mom came from a home where Mondays there was a little more food in the house and come Friday, dinners were made with whatever was left from the week. Hence soup made from fresh ingredients straight from the garden, to the cutting board and into a pot into what her mother called “Manestra” or as most know it as “Minestrone.” Like me mom didn’t like the soup all that much though for entirely different reasons, her mom put in many of the ingredients below, celery, carrots as well as cabbage all from the garden. Sometimes there were other additions to the soup which my mom and her sisters discovered on their own like noticing that celery when chopped looks like caterpillars and sometimes that spoonful of celery really wasn’t a spoonful of celery, it ended up being a spoonful of caterpillars thus beginning my mom’s distaste for the soup which as time passed on became a soup that became a reminder of home, being a little kid and being with her mom, dad and siblings.

And so I learn of this tale over a warm bowl of my own version of the soup, greatly enjoyed and has now nestled a little corner of my heart where I have warm loving thoughts of being a kid, sharing in our heritage, memories of my mom and nana all wrapped into one cozy and delicious package.

Happy Eating and Enjoy

Caterpillar Soup (Minestrone Soup)

Kitchen Gadgets required: Stove/hot plate, large pot, cutting surface, and knife, can opener, grater (unless cheese is purchased grated and a vegetable peeler if you have one.

Ingredients:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to your “heat” preference)
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 medium sized onions chopped
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 1 medium parsnip chopped
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 2 small-medium sized zucchini diced (I took the “skin” off too)
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can of 9 bean mixture (I used great value) rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can of Alymyer Italian Stewed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 boxes of Campbells Organic Vegetable Soup Stock
  • 2 cups shell type pasta
  • Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Flakey Butter Buns

 

Heat the large soup pot over med-high heat add Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 2 tbs) red pepper flakes, garlic, onions, carrots, parsnip, celery, cook until they start to go soft about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, add rosemary, bay leaf and zucchini until they soften. Add the beans, tomatoes and stock, put on the soup lid & bring to a bubble.

Cook soup for 8 minutes @ a rolling simmer add the pasta and cook until el dente’ (approx 7 minutes). Remove pot from heat, take out rosemary twigs (leaves will have fallen off while cooking) and bay leaf.

Ladle into soup bowls and serve with flakey buns and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Serves 5 with seconds and maybe thirds.

*optional – cook the soup with the rind of fresh parmesan cheese to create a cheesy taste, remove prior to serving.