Now that Halloween is behind us it’s time to think about the holidays ahead. I always feel that Halloween kicks off the holiday season, it does it my house. Once trick or treating is done and the Halloween decor has been put away I turn my attention to planning our Thanksgiving dinner and getting ready for Christmas. It’s a very busy time for me!
I think the weeks leading up to the holidays are busy for everyone, we need to shop, cook, bake, clean, decorate, and more along with all the daily work that we do. One this is certain holiday planning or not we still have to eat. Cooking and planning daily meals can be challenging during this season. I know many times we end up grabbing fast food on the way home or ordering in pizza just to have something to eat for dinner, but I really hate doing this. I get tired of eating out and I really do like my home cooking! So to make my life a bit easier I like to stock my freezer with pre-made dishes that we can pop in the oven on the days I don’t have time to cook.
One of the easiest things to work with are meatballs. I know, you can buy pre-made frozen meatballs at the grocery store, but my family hates them! I don’t like the spongy consistency, I find them very unappetizing. They don’t taste too good either. So I spend about 30 minutes one day and make my own meatballs which I freeze in ziplock freezer bags. They just need re-heating when I need them. Meatballs are great because they are very versatile; you can turn them into different dishes by adding just a few ingredients. I like to make meatball subs, Swedish meatballs, teriyaki meatballs, meatball soup, and of course spaghetti and meatballs. My grandkids love them with mac n’ cheese!
1 1/2 pound ground beef – don’t use the one that’s too lean, you need a bit of fat to hold it together and also give it a good flavor. I use ground sirloin or sometimes ground chuck which is a bit fattier.
1 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbls. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese – use the fresh cheese not the one in the green cardboard shaker
1. Place meat and spices in a mixing bowl.
2. Mix it all together using your hands. Make sure the spices are distributed through out the meat, but don’t over mix as it will get spongy.
3. Mix in cheese and bread crumbs.
4. Shape into ball. You can make any size ball you want, but don’t make them too big, they won’t cook in the middle. Try to make balls the same size so they cook evenly.
5. Place balls on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from from oven and cool before place in ziplock freezer bags to freeze.
My family, specially my grandsons Dion and Devon, love Katsu Curry. That’s what they order whenever we go to the Curry House for lunch or dinner. Their favorite, and mine too, is the Chicken Katsu Curry with cheese. OMG talk about comfort food! (and calories!)
You might be wondering what Katsu Curry is. Well it’s sort of a fusion of Japanese battered and fried food, the Katsu, and a spicy sauce that finds its origins in India, the curry. I guess you could say Katsu Curry is an Asian Fusion food that combines favorites from 2 Asian countries.
Judging by the number of franchised curry restaurants in Japan and the world wide proliferation of those franchises I’m reasonably certain the Katsu Curry is a favorite in Japan and in many other parts of the world. I know the Curry Houses here on the island are always busy. That’s why we hardly ever get to eat there. I hate long lines, specially when I’m hungry.
But Katsu Curry is so easy to make at home there’s really no need to stand in line. Or to go in search of a Japanese Curry house in your area. My recipe calls for store bought curry sauce mix, it cuts the prep time and you don’t need to stock your spice cabinet with expensive exotic spices.
My recipe just needs 4 other ingredients along with the concentrated cutty sauce. Chicken, Panko, Egg, and oil for frying. Try it out for dinner. Serve it over steamed white rice for an amazing meal!
If you prefer pork chops, batter and fry a thin slice of pork and you’ve got Tonkatsu Curry!
I’m pretty sure you know what Chicken Fried Steak is, although I’ve always wondered why it bears such a name. For those who’ve never heard of Chicken Fried Steak it’s basically a beef steak that’s been dipped in batter then fried. Sort of like fried chicken, I guess that’s where it gets its name. It’s usually smothered in gravy and served with mashed potatoes. Really it’s diner food, you know the place that serves up grease laden food. Anyway since I’m not a big fan of this dish I decided I should make it with chicken and call it Chicken Fried Chicken!
I know the name Chicken Fried Chicken sounds redundant, why not just call it fried c.icken. Well that’s because when we think of fried chicken we think fried and battered drumsticks and other chicken parts cooked with the bone. My Chicken Fried Chicken uses boneless skinless chicken thighs so it sort of looks like the ever baffling Chicken Fried Steak.
Like its beef counter part, Chicken Fried Chicken is served with gravy and a starch and veggie. It’s actually really good. My family loves it!
So here’s my recipe for Chicken Fried Chicken.
8 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 Tbl. Garlic Powder
1 Tbl. Salt
1/2 Tbl. Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Oregano
1/2 Cup Milk
Oil for frying
Rinse chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towel
Pound chicken thighs until they are about 3/4″ thick
Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl or dish
In a separate bowl whisk together egg and milk
Heat oil in a deep fryer or large frying pan to 350°
Dip chicken into egg and milk mixture, shake off excess liquid
Dredge chicken in the dry ingredients until it’s evenly coated
Fry chicken in hot oil about 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature is at least 165°
Place cooked chicken on plate covered with paper towels to drain oil
The other day I was looking for something easy to whip up to add to our Sunday night barbecue. I usually make garlic knots but didn’t have any frozen bread dough. I didn’t want to make a grocery run so I hunted around the kitchen to see what I could come up with. Well, I found a box of frozen puff pastry in the freezer and some shredded cheeses. That’s when I decided I’d make Cheese Straws!
These Cheese Straws are super simple to make and require just a few ingredients. Best of all they are too yummy!
For our Sunday night barbecue I served Cheese Straws instead of dinner rolls, the family loved them. But you can have them as a snack too! Because they’re made with puff pastry they’re light, buttery, and flaky!
Here’s how you make them!
makes 16 pieces
Pre-Heat over to 425°
1 Pkg. Frozen Puff Pastry sheets Thawed- each package comes with 2 sheets
1/2 Cup Melted Butter
1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/3 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Egg Beaten
Melt butter and stir in Garlic Powder
Toss together cheeses
Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and brush with butter mixture
Evenly distribute 1/4 of cheese mixture on half of the pastry sheet
Fold pastry sheet in half over the cheese and brush with butter
Evenly distribute another 1/4 of cheese mixture on the top – lightly press cheese into the pastry dough to keep it in place
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter cut the pastry sheet into 8 strips
Take the first strip in twist it a couple of times
Place twisted strip on parchment covered baking sheet
Repeat with the rest of the strips
Repeat this whole process with the other sheet of puff pastry
Brush beaten egg over all the strips°
Place twists in the PRE-HEATED oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.