Sunday, May 19, 2024

How Sweet Eat's Cheeseburger Puff Pastry Pockets {A Real Family Favorite}!

 Right now I have a passion for cleaning out my pantry, freezers, and fridges. I'm grateful enough to have an inside fridge with a freezer and a garage fridge with a freezer. This really allows me to shine when it comes to hoarding food. It's something I really excel at. Just ask my family. They love it when they're looking for popsicles or ice cream and pork tenderloins are falling on their toes.

I like to have just about everything on hand at all times, but I really seem to excel at hoarding chicken breast, ground beef, and puff pastry. Earlier in the week I cleaned out some chicken breast and made How Sweet Eat's BBQ Chicken Enchiladas. I had planned to share those, but the BBQ flavor was overwhelming and it just didn't work for us. So, I got out the ground beef and hit paydirt when I found this recipe for Cheeseburger Puff Pastry Pockets because it allowed me to use up some ground beef and some puff pastry! WOOHOO!! 

Warning: I'm feeling chatty today! Summer is about one week away and this school year was a total doozy so I'm really feeling a long break!

Very important: When you cook, you should make the recipe your own. The recipe here is simply whatever cheeseburgery filling you'd like stuffed in puff pastry dough and baked. The only hard rule is that you don't want your filling to be too wet.

Now, How Sweet Eat's cheeseburger filling was ketchup heavy and my family isn't really into ketchup, so I went easy on the ketchup. What my family does love is onions and pickles so I added chives and dill. Then I added extra cheese because we like it like that too.

Also important: How Sweet Eat's likes to top these pockets with sesame seeds. I would probably like that, but my gut wouldn't. Back in December I was diagnosed with acute diverticulitis and have been rather sick ever since so I stay away from seeds, nuts, corn, etc. 

I find all kinds of other ways to flavor my food now, and as I mentioned, we love pickles so I topped my pockets with this Seasoning In a Pickle Seasoning Blend from Trader Joe's. You do you! 

I don't have to tell you that these were delicious, do I? And oh so easy? I mean you just cook up some ground beef and season it with whatever you like, grate some cheese, make a house sauce, then stuff it in a puff pastry square, brush with some egg wash, fold and bake. It is crispy and flaky and buttery and savory and sauce, and cheesy, with all the flavors and seasonings that you love! Make this if you want your family to be happy!

Cheeseburger Puff Pastry Pockets

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 8-10, depending

For the Pockets

1 pound of lean ground beef

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated

2 sheets thawed puff pastry

1 large egg, plus 1 teaspoon water for egg wash

2 tablespoons, sesame seeds, for sprinkling* and/or various other toppings*

House Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoons favorite BBQ sauce

Disclaimer: All puff pastry is not the same. It isn't the same shape or size and doesn't produce the same results. Dufour puff pastry is the best, but also the smallest. I used Pepperidge Farm for this recipe and got four squares from each sheet, hence 8 pockets for the recipe. Everyone's results will probably be different based on the puff pastry you use.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Place each of the puff pastry sheets on a piece of parchment paper on baking sheets. You can only make one sheet at a time, but I like to have the other one ready to go too.

Cut both sheets of puff pastry into six squares (see disclaimer) on the parchment paper. Basically make your puff pastry work for you! 

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until browned, breaking it apart into small crumbles. Stir in the ketchup and mustard until combined. Turn off the heat and add in a sprinkle of the cheese - just an ounce or two. Let the beef cool slightly.

Make the house sauce by whisking all the ingredients together and giving it time for the flavors to come together!

Once the beef has cooled a bit, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons into the square of puff pastry. Drizzle on some house sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of cheese. Brush the edges of the square with the egg wash, then bring one corner to meet the other, making a triangle pocket. Press the edges down with a fork to seal them. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry.

Brush the tops of the pockets with the egg wash. Sprinkle all over with the sesame seeds, or the everything but the bagel seeds, or the pickle seasoning as I've show above. Again, make these your own!

Bake the puff pastry pockets for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffed and shiny. Remove them from the oven and let cool slightly - the insides are super hot! Serve with condiments, lettuce, tomato, pickles and anything else you love with a burger. Don't forget to dip in the House Sauce.

Shop Your Freezer @ IHCC

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Bittman's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

For the past few weeks I've been steadily working on shopping my pantry and using everything up. Today I'm using up some pasta and a loaf of bread to make Mark Bittman's Baked Macaroni and Cheese. 

I always buy way too many boxes of pasta and they quickly take over my pantry if I'm not careful. I also had half a loaf of rosemary garlic bread so I decided to make baked macaroni and cheese with a fresh rosemary garlic breadcrumb topping. It was a hit!

Mark Bittman calls for sharp cheddar and Parmesan, which are some of my favorite cheeses to use for baked macaroni and cheese. We enjoyed this dish today for our Mother's Day dinner. The sauce was very creamy and the flavors were on point.

The rosemary garlic breadcrumb topping added some good texture and flavor. I would definitely make this Baked Macaroni and Cheese again. It's a real go to recipe!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted from How To Cook Everything

 by Mark Bittman

Serves 4-6

2-1/2 cups milk

2 bay leaves

1 pound elbow pasta

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1-1/2 cups grated cheese, such as sharp Cheddar or Emmenthal

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt and black pepper

1/2 cup or more plain breadcrumbs, preferably fresh

1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Cook the milk with the bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn off the heat and let stand. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta to the point where it still needs another minute or two to become tender. Drain it, rinse it quickly to stop cooking, and place it in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the milk and add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk, and continue to do so until all th emilk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the Cheddar and Emmenthal and stir. 

Pour the sauce over the noodles, toss in the Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Use the remaining butter to grease a 9 x 13-inch or like-sized baking pan and turn the noodle mixture into it. Top liberally with bread crumbs and bake until the crumbs turn brown, about 15 minutes. Serve hot. 


Shop Your Pantry @ IHCC

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Mark Bittman's Roasted and Buttered Pecans

 The other day on Instagram, I watched someone shop their kitchen and create some really amazing dishes. So, I went through my pantry, fridge, and freezer and wrote down lists of things to make. I made some biscuit mixes I'd been saving, I made a Cheeseburger Macaroni, and I made a Jambalaya. Then I found a perfectly new bag of pecan halves, so I made these Roasted and Buttered Pecans.

Roasted and Buttered Pecans are as simple as can be, but they are a total treat that everyone loves. You can eat them as is, or add them to your morning oatmeal and/or a salad. 

Bittman says to roast the nuts at 450F for about 10 minutes, shaking and rotating the nuts every few minutes. I found my pecan halves only needed about 4 minutes. The roasting time will depend on the type of nuts you roast, so just watch them closely.

                                                               Roasted Buttered Pecans

Adapted from How To Cook Everything 

by Mark Bittman

Serves 4-6

2 cups (about 1 pound) unsalted nuts

1 tablespoon peanut oil or melted butter

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450F. Toss the nuts in a bowl with the oil or butter, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast, shaking occasionally, until lightly browned, checking every few minutes as nuts can burn quickly. Cool before serving, they will crisp as they cool. 


Sunday, April 28, 2024

One Pot Garlic Butter Shrimp and Orzo {Perfect For Busy Weeknights}!

We all need more quick and easy weeknight dinner recipes in our back pocket and this One Pot Garlic Butter Shrimp and Orzo is a good one to add to the list!

You need just a handful of ingredients: shrimp, garlic, lemon, olive oil, chicken broth, red pepper flakes, orzo, and parsley. 

All you need to do is marinade the shrimp in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. While that marinading you toast some orzo in a skillet with butter and more garlic. Then you cook the orzo with chicken broth, stirring so the pasta becomes creamy and almost risotto-like. When the pasta has absorbed the broth you simply add the shrimp, cover and cook a few minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

A quick, easy, one pot meal that is perfect for spring! We loved this and I would probably double the recipe next time so there was more of it! I would definitely make this again. 

 One Pot Garlic Butter Shrimp and Orzo

Recipe from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 2

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon, juiced and freshly zested

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

1 cup orzo

2 tablespoons butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

2-1/4 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

lemon wedges, for spritzing

Note: The recipe as written makes 2 nice servings. I highly suggest doubling it if you want enough for 4-6 people.

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp with the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, garlic, red pepper flakes and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet (a 12 inch works great) over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the orzo. Cook, stirring often, until the orzo is slightly golden and toasty. Stir in the 2 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the orzo absorbs all the liquid and is fluffed up, about 12-15 minutes.

Add in the shrimp mixture to the orzo and stir. Cover the pot again and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and opaque and cooked through.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley and a spritz of lemon. I like to stir in another 1 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter for optimal flavor, but this is up to you. Serve immediately!

 One Pot Wonders @ IHCC

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Michael Symon's Shrimp with Pineapple Glaze

Symon said this Shrimp with Pineapple Glaze was one of his favorite summertime grilling recipes so I wanted to give it a go. 

The pineapple glaze consisted of pineapple juice, sherry vinegar, brown sugar, jalapeno, ginger, crushed garlic, toasted coriander and cumin seeds. I was a little worried the pineapple glaze would be too sweet, but it was actually on the mild side, both sweet and smoky.

We enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I'd make it again. It's hard to beat a good buttery garlic shrimp!

Shrimp with Pineapple Glaze

Michael Symon's 5 in 5 

by Michael Symon

Serves 4-6

1 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 jalapeno (split lengthwise)

1 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

24 medium shrimp (about 1 pound) shelled and deveined 

salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the pan

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.

Put a nonreactive large saucepan over high heat and add the pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to reduce until thickened while the shrimp is cooking, about 4 minutes.

Thread 3 shrimp onto each of 8 skewers (if wooden, soak in water about an hour before), season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Put the skewers on the grill, cover, and cook until the shrimp turn pink, about 2 minutes per side (I found that this took less time than the recipe called for).

Remove the shrimp from the grill and put them on a platter. Strain the pineapple glaze into a bowl, brush it on both sides of the shrimp, and serve.

Light & Easy @  IHCC

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Michael Symon's Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce


 I've been wanting to try my hand at making Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce for years, but I don't grill often and my son is allergic to nuts, so it makes things difficult.

Today, however, I had all the ingredients and my son was at work so I thought the timing was just right. I got my new cast iron grill pan out and whipped up the peanut sauce: peanut butter, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, and a jalapeno. 

I cut up the chicken thighs into halves and marinaded them in the peanut sauce for a little while before threading them onto skewers. Grilled them on one side for 3 minutes, then the other side for about 3 minutes and it was done! Easy and peasy oh so delicious!

This is a perfect recipe for this time of year, whether you like to grill indoors or outdoors. It's light and flavorful and quite healthy!

This version uses only about 5 ingredients, but I can see spicing things up with some red pepper flakes or spicy peppers. I liked serving the chicken on some warm and fluffy naan bread, but you could also serve it with veggies and rice.


Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Adapted from Michael Symon's 5 in 5

by Michael Symon

Serves 6-8

 2 tablespoons peanut butter

grated zest and juice of 2 oranges

1 jalapeno, minced

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

8 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved*

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, if desired

*Notes: I had a little over 2 pounds of chicken thighs and there was plenty of marinade to go around.

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, orange zest and juice, jalapeno, soy sauce and olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with half of the peanut sauce, mixing well to coat the meat.

Thread 2 pieces of chicken onto each of 8 skewers. Put the skewers on the grill, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the meat, cover, and cook until the meat is well caramelized, about 2 minutes.

Remove the skewers from the grill and put them on a platter. Drizzle with the remaining peanut sauce and top with the cilantro and jalapeno, if you wish. Serve immediately. 

Five Ingredients @ I Heart Cooking Clubs

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Michael Symon's Loose Sausage and Peppers Sandwiches

 Sausage with Peppers and Onions is a real favorite in the Cleveland area. You'll find this combination in a hoagie roll at nearly every ball game, festival, fair, bazaar or public event. You can pretty much guarantee it. 

It's always been one of my favorite things to eat, reminding me of home. Problem is, a whole sausage is rather time consuming to cook and the sandwich can take a bit of time. However, this version is made with loose sausage and is therefore much quicker to make. Ten minutes tops and you can have a very flavorful and delicious version of a sausage and pepper hoagie with onions.

I enjoyed Symon's quick version and am quite sure I will be making this on repeat from now on. This version is every bit as delicious as the traditional version. 

You can enjoy this sandwich without cheese, but why on earth would you want to do that? I like to added sliced or shredded mozzarella or provolone and melt it over the top. You might even chose to add some hot peppers or red pepper flakes to your sandwich. Either way, this is delicious, quick, easy, and satisfying!

Loose Sausage and Peppers Sandwiches

Adapted from Michael Symon's 5 in 5

by Michael Symon

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound Italian sausage, removed from casings if not bulk

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced


4 Italian rolls, split and toasted

*cheese, if desired

Put a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and then the sausage and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until browned, about 2 minutes. Scott the sausage to one side of the pan. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and a pinch of salt to the empty space and cook until the vegetables soften and begin to caramelize. Stir to combine the sausage and the vegetables and cook for about 1 more minute.

Spoon the sausage and vegetable mixture onto the toasted hoagie rolls and serve. Add cheese, if you wish.

Welcome Michael Symon @ IHCC!