Baked Bay Scallops Gratin

 photo 97E84761-B5C9-4421-8A5A-A33EB25D7CB6-3599-0000063F65AE3CF5_zps1ddec228.jpgWe love seafood and live near a fishing seaport for year round ocean treasures. Thanks to Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa from the Food Network for this recipe which I had to try.

I posted my baked sea scallop recipe a while back - they're large and expensive, but more often I find smaller sea scallops on sale and stock up. 

She uses prosciutto, but my frugal substitute is bacon.  The recipe calls for Pernod, a licorice/anise liquor, but it can be left out, or substituted with anise extract.

Her recipe serves 6, allowing about 5 oz. of scallops per serving, but allowing 4 oz. would extend her recipe to serve 8.  I adapted it to serve four. 

This could also could be made in a small flat casserole dish if not having individual ramekins.  I happen to have heart shape ramekins so adjusted her recipe for one pound which was ample for 4 servings.

Baked Bay Scallops Gratin
(adapted from Ina Garten)
4 Tabs. butter, at room temperature
4 garlic cloves, minced
 photo D78C01DE-02B6-4DCA-95FC-1499CEB0FF12-3599-00000644CF37AC98_zps64a00bcc.jpg1/8 cup onion or shallots, minced
1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto, minced, or 2 strips bacon lightly fried and minced
2 Tabs. minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 Tab. lemon juice
1 Tab. Pernod liquor, or anise extract, optional
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 Tabs. olive oil
1/3 cup Panko crumbs
4 Tabs. white wine
1 pound of  bay scallops
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Lemon for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Place 4 gratin dishes on a sheet pan.
 photo 25AE3045-23A4-46E9-B6C2-13682BD49B5B-3599-0000063F775509C9_zps691ddf8f.jpgFor the topping, place the butter in a bowl and with an electric mixer mix on low speed, add garlic, onion, prosciutto/or bacon, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. With mixer still on low, add  olive oil slowly as though making mayonnaise, until combined. Fold in Panko in with a spatula and set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of the wine in the bottom of each gratin dish. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and distribute them among the 4 dishes. Spoon the garlic butter evenly over the top of the scallops.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until topping is golden and sizzling and scallops are barely done. If you want a crustier top, place gratin dishes under a  broiler for 2 minutes, until browned. Finish with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan, squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with parsley. Serve with crusty bread to dip into juices.

Estimated cost: $5.50 or less; $1.40  per serving or less.
Foodie Friends Friday

Flavored Kale Chips

 photo B9419A69-308C-47A2-8B46-A837B0972F32-3599-0000062C17FF64A6_zps642c81ee.jpgI've usually made kale chips very simply using a little olive oil and sea salt, but then I came across this article for flavored chips and had to try. 

I baked one batch with French onion soup mix and an other with grated Parmesan and sesame seeds.  Now I'm hooked and plan to try others.

They won't last long, but extras can be stored in an air tight container.  These are great for dieting, with 2 cups have only 110 calories and no carbs.  

Enjoy as a snack, or serve like potato chips with a sandwich, burger or hot dog.  They're about half the cost of potato chips or other bagged snack chips.

I'm making them for game days with March Madness basketball coming up.

Kale Chips photo 00897D74-E028-4BED-A3FB-460AF7388966-1452-0000015B0FDB6E16_zpsae9c7610.jpg
Flavored Kale Chips
  • 1 head kale, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Seasoning flavors of choice.
  • Flavor Variations:

    Soy & Sesame: 2 tbsp soy sauce + 1-1/2 tbsp. sesame seeds
    Salt & Vinegar: 1 quarter cup sherry vinegar + 2 tsp. fine salt
    Lime & Chili: Juice of 1 lime + 1 tsp. lime zest + 2 tsp. chili powder
    Roasted Garlic: 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped + 3 tsp. garlic salt

  • Creamy Dill: 1 tbsp. sour cream mixed with base olive oil + 3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
    Cheese: 2 tbsp. Parmesan or Asiago cheese. Half mixed in the bag, half sprinkled on before baking. 
    French Onion: 1 packet (or two tbsp.) french onion dip or soup mix, combined with olive oil. 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Wash and dry kale completely.  I use paper towels. Remove ribs from kale and cut or tear leaves into bite size pieces, about 1-1/2-inch in size. Put oil and seasoning in a large plastic bag or bowl and mix thoroughly to coat all pieces. 
Lay pieces on 2 baking sheets and bake until crisp, about 20-30 minutes, turning leaves halfway through. Check pieces at 20 minutes and remove all crispy ones, returning any still soft to the oven to finish.  I used a convection oven and most were done at 20 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 cups or more. Serves 4-6.
Estimated cost of kale: $3.00 or less.

Italian Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls photo E1D80B33-74E5-46A7-A165-691DEAD02ACB-2580-000003B60550F517_zpsfb2c7550.jpg
There's many ways to enjoy stuffed cabbage rolls with different sauces, but this is a family favorite using a combination of beef and sausage with traditional Italian minced veggies and spices.

The sauce is simple: seasoned diced canned Italian tomatoes and some beef broth, The combination of seasoned tomatoes and beef broth when baked with the stuffed rolls seeps in and blends flavors.

These can be made ahead and baked the next day.  They also freeze well for reheating leftovers.

There will be leftover cabbage which can be used to make cole slaw, or cut into wedges and used for a future side dish, like roast cabbage and bacon.

Italian Cabbage Rolls
1 large head of green cabbage

1/2 pound of ground beef
1/2 pound of ground Italian sausage
1 cup cooked barley or rice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup of ketchup
3 tsps. minced garlic
2 Tabs. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. of salt
2 tsps. mixed Italian spice blend
2/3 cup chopped onion onion
2/3 cup chopped green pepper
2, 15 oz. cans of diced Italian tomatoes with juice
1 can of beef broth, about 2 cups
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
 photo 29CB51FE-1A63-4FA4-BDB5-B48B368C1FEB-2580-000003BDE44CBEAD_zps5eb2f4ac.jpg
Core the center of the cabbage and place in a pot of boiling water for about 20 minutes or until outer leaves are soft and pliable.  Cool slightly then remove outer leaves without tearing. You'll  need about 16 cabbage leaves.

In a large bowl, mix together meat, barley or rice, oil, eggs, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, onion, ketchup, green pepper, salt, pepper and spice blend.  

Take a handful of meat mixture and roll up in the cabbage leaves, tucking in sides. Repeat until all cabbage and meat is used up.

Spray bottom of a 9x12 casserole dish and place rolled logs in bottom. 
Pour cans of diced tomatoes on top, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. P
our broth over top. 

Bake 1 hour or until meat is cooked. Test for "done." Depending thickness of rolls, it may take longer. Half way through check for dryness, adding some water, if necessary. Serve covered with sauce and more grated Parmesan.  Serves 8 to 10 people.

Estimated cost: $7.20 or less; .90 cents or less per serving.

Fluffy Biscuits, Fresh or Frozen

PhotobucketBiscuits are handy to have on hand with meals to sop up juices or sauces, or use as a base for sausage gravy, chicken ala king, or horseradish beef gravy.

For breakfast homemade biscuits are great with scrambled eggs,  drizzled with honey, jams, jellies, or used for your version of Egg McMuffins, or Eggs Benedict.

This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled and baked, then stored in freezer bags; or mixed, cut then frozen and stored for baking later.

They can be easily reheated in the microwave in a few seconds. I discovered using lard, plus folding and re-rolling the dough several times produces flakier, higher rising biscuits.  Baking instructions are for using a 2-1/2-inch cutter, so if using a larger cutter, adjust baking time.  

Fluffy Biscuits, Fresh or Frozen
2 cups flour
1 Tab. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shortening or lard
1/4 cup cold butter
3/4 cup of cold milk
Preheat oven - 400 degrees
 photo 4D569B7D-3F20-4B27-A34A-E43346F41763-3461-0000044A16EFCD5D_zpsc884e57f.jpgAdd dry ingredient in a bowl, mixer with a dough hook or food processor and mix.  Add shortening/lard and butter, cut into small pieces, and fully mix in.  Mixture will appear crumbly.
Add milk, mixing until dough comes together into a ball. Place ball on a floured counter and knead, folding over on itself 4 or 5 times.

With a rolling pin, roll to a 9x5-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.  Fold over into thirds,(like folding a letter for an envelope)
 and roll again into a 9x5 rectangle; repeat folding and rolling 2 more times.  This will help with making fluffier layers. 

Cut with at least a 2-1/2-inch cookie cutter. Place on a sprayed baking sheet about one inch apart. Gather scraps, reform and cut until all the dough is used. Makes about  8-10 biscuits.
 photo FDDA725A-4AB2-4589-997E-619E2898C910-3461-0000044A51EF10D4_zps19e1fa76.jpg
To freeze and have on hand, place biscuits on waxed paper lined cookie sheet or silicone baking mat and freeze then store in freezer bags.
Bake at 400 oven for 10-12 minutes until golden and flaky. They will rise at least triple or more in size.
Frozen biscuits can be thawed in the refrigerator or the counter before baking, or baked frozen for 12-15 minutes. 
Cheese Biscuits: Adding a cup of grated cheese right before adding the milk. Bake as directed.
Bacon Biscuits: Add 1/3 cup of bacon bits.
Herb Biscuits: Add a few teaspoons of dry mix herbs.
Buttermilk Biscuits: use 1 cup of buttermilk instead of 3/4 cup of milk.

Estimated cost: $1.00 or less; .12 cents a biscuit or less.

Chicken and Mushrooms with Sauce

 photo F3DCBB99-1BA1-4ECD-A773-75F533A42B3B-27595-000027D5FFA49803.jpg
Chicken - so versatile and affordable. This dish can be served over rice or pasta, or simply enjoyed all by itself.  It's an enjoyable dish that can be prepared very quickly - 20 minutes or less!

And if  low-carb dieting, (no pasta or rice) this offers a satisfying meal with plenty of flavor.  I keep a frozen bag of chicken tenders on hand to make a variety other recipes from chicken salad, to pot pie, soup, chicken nuggets or oriental stir fry.  They're so handy to have on hand at all times to solve that "what's for dinner?" question.

Chicken and Mushrooms with Sauce
1 pound of chicken tenders, or breast meat cut into bite size pieces
2 Tabs. olive oil
1/4 cup corn starch
2 to 3 tsps. minced garlic 
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. mixed dry Italian seasoning
 parsley, chives or basil for garnish

Season chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dust with corn starch. Add tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet heated on medium high and brown chicken for about 5 minutes or until it's no longer pink.  Set aside, keeping warm.  Add more oil then minced garlic, cooking a few seconds. Add mushrooms stirring until soft and browned, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, chicken broth and seasoning. Deglaze the pan by stirring liquids in the pan with a wooden spoon or whisk, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook a few more minutes to reduce liquid then add chicken to the mushroom sauce and stir to coat a pieces. Serve over cooked rice, pasta, or barley.  Garnish with parsley, chives or basil. Serves 4-6.

Estimate cost: $4 or less; $1.00 or less per serving.

Popovers for Breakfast, Dessert, or Anytime

Popovers, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppPopovers are fun and can be easy to make, but are also challenging, as instructions must be carefully followed. 

Most important: ingredients should be at room temperature and the pan hot when you pour in the batter.  They can be served alone as a buttery treat, or filled with meats, eggs, cheese, fruit mixtures or puddings.

A successful popover is tall, with a crispy outside and moist inside. Ingredients are nearly the same as my recipe for a Dutch Baby German Pancake or recipe for my gram's roll-up (crepe) pancakes

The fun part is watching them rise and pop or puff up while baking.  I bought a popover baking pan, as my first attempt with a muffin pan didn't produce a high enough rise for me, but they were still tasty.  Besides, who doesn't like having a new kitchen gadget tool to use?  This popover pan makes you feel like a profession baker!

3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk or 2% milk, warmed slightly
1 Tab. melted butter for batter

2 Tabs. melted butter for muffin tin or brush with canola oil
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

popover pan or muffin pan - for 6 large or 12 small popovers.
Popover Pan, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put pan in oven on middle rack for 5 minutes to heat before filling.

With a food processor, blender, or wire whisk blend milk, eggs, and one tablespoon melted butter until completely combined and smooth. Add flour and salt blending until smooth.  Let batter set while oven heats to 450 degrees. 
By putting batter into a pitcher or bowl with a pouring lip, it'll be easier to fill pan.

Remove hot pan and quickly oil cups, or brush with remaining melted butter. Stir batter again then pour into cups, filling 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes. Do not open oven door while baking.
Popovers, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 15 minutes.  Finished popovers should be golden-brown, dry to the touch, and sound hollow. Turn out popovers onto a rack. Pierce bottoms with a knife to let steam escape. Cool just enough so they can be handled and eaten immediately.

They're best when served freshly baked. But if making them ahead, or freezing, warm them in a 350 oven until warm and crispy again, about 5-8 minutes. Makes 6 large or 12 small popovers.

Variations: try adding other ingredients to the batter such as a few tablespoons of sugar for a sweet taste, or few teaspoons of herbs and spices for a savory taste. Or you can add cheese of choice to batter before baking.

For ideas on other recipe variations or how to serve popovers here's a
LINK  for suggestions.
This link offers Tips and Tricks for successful  popovers.

Estimated cost: $1.20 or less; .20 cents a serving or less for 6 large popovers.