Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with a Creamy Balsamic Dressing

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I use to serve at a restaurant that had a side salad that was lettuce, carrots and red cabbage. I recently remembered how simple and good it was and started making it with a homemade balsamic dressing for a quick simple salad. Then one day I had no lettuce but I decided to still make it with the red cabbage and carrots. Voila! A new cole slaw was born that is refreshing and quick. And if you aren’t a fan of mayo, just substitute with sour cream and you have a mayo-free cole slaw that is friendly with everyone! (Half my family hates mayo so its always a concern when making family dinners….) Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 small head of red cabbage

4 carrots

balsamic sauce (recipe to follow)

Cut the cabbage in half through the core and then again through each half. Slice each quarter keeping the core intact and then cut off the ends off when done. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage. Place sliced cabbage in a bowl. With a vegetable peeler peel off the first layer of each carrot and then continue peeling into the bowl until you run out of carrots. Drizzle dressing and toss. Enjoy!

Balsamic Sauce Recipe:

1 clove garlic

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon mayo

1 tablespoon sugar

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Place garlic clove in the food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until minced. Add the rest of the ingredients except salt & pepper and pulse. Taste and season accordingly.

Grandma’s Mashed Potatoes

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Growing up my Grandma was famous in our family for her mashed potatoes. When the secret recipe finally got released to the family via the family cookbook I was shocked on how simple they are. Simplicity it king! Its just potatoes with butter, salt and milk. That’s it! The devils in the details of taking the time to correct as you go along. My Grandma always said, “You can always put more salt in but you can’t take it out.” So take your time with these delicious spuds and you are sure to not disappoint. Enjoy!

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Grandma’s Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs russet potatoes

½ cup whole milk (and more for correcting)

½ cup butter

1 tsp salt

 Recipe as my Grandma wrote it:

Peel and cut russet potatoes in small chunks. (They cook faster if not in too big of hunks). In a large pot, cover potatoes with water about ½ inch form the top. Simmer potatoes until they are tender, drain  and then add about ½ cups whole milk and mix with a hand mixer. Add butter and salt. Beat with the mixer adding a little more milk until it gets smooth. (Be careful so it doesn’t get too soupy!) Continue mixing until smooth and no lumpy at all. Season to taste!

 *A note from Anna:

To ensure your potatoes come out fluffy and light, make sure you put your potatoes into cold water before you start to simmer. Also, don’t over use the hand mixer or it will over blend the potatoes and make them gummy.

Roasted Corn, Bacon and Jalapeno Salad

There is a hilarious story that goes with this recipe. So we had some friends over for dinner and the husband was raving over the salad. He turned to his wife and said, “Honey, you should make this sometime!” and the wife (whose feelings were visibly hurt because she felt he was implying she wasn’t a good cook) replied huffily, “Its just corn!”  The husband promptly answered, “But it has bacon in it!” And then of course there was a 10 minute back pedaling conversation that proceeded where I tried to smooth it over by saying he was just trying to be polite to the hostess etc etc. It was a pretty classic “open mouth insert foot moment.” But this is a pretty delicious salad and its perfect for many occasions such as a picnic. bbq, side dish or just on its own. Make it for your next dinner party but be aware it might incite some heated table conversation!

Ingredients:

8 Ears of Corn Husks on

⅓ cup diced jalapeño (no seeds)

⅓ cup finely chopped chives

4 strips cooked thick applewood smoke bacon chopped

Vinaigrette:

1 tbs dijon mustard

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ tsp salt

¾ tsp ground pepper

½ cup olive oil

Turn gas grill to medium high and place corn with the husk onto the grill. Cook for approximately 10 minutes and then turn. Grill for long enough so the corn kernels get some nice roasted color. (If you don’t have a grill, you can boil or bake your corn instead)

In the meantime mix together the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Cut corn off the cobb and place corn in a large mixing bowl. Add jalapeños, chives and bacon. Drizzle vinaigrette on top and mix thoroughly. Serve!

Bacon Scalloped Potatoes

My Grandma often made scalloped potatoes for Sunday dinners. When my sister compiled our family recipes we found out that she made them out of a box! She totally had us fooled for years. Here is my “non-box” version of her scalloped potatoes. Oh…and I added bacon!

10 strips thickly sliced bacon

⅓ cup chopped onion

2 tbs butter

2 tbs olive oil

5 tbs flour

1/12 tsps salt

½ tsp pepper

5 cups milk

6 cups thinkly sliced potatoes (peeled)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a saute pan fry bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Chop up and set aside.

In a large saucpan saute onions in olive oil and butter until tender. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until sauce is thickened.

Place half the potatoes in a greased 3-qt baking dish. Pour ⅓ of the sauce over the potatoes and spread evenly. Sprinkle half the chopped bacon. Layer more potatoes, pour ⅓ more sauce and sprinkle remaining bacon. Layer final potatoes and pour remaining sauce. Bake, uncovered for 60-70 minutes or until potatoes are tender and top is lightly browned. Enjoy!

Crispy Brussel Sprouts with a Garlic Aioli

Crispy Brussel Sprouts with a Garlic Aioli 

Brussel sprouts have a really delicious flavor and are almost like a more flavorful mini cabbage. This recipe can be served as an appetizer (think updated artichoke) OR as a vegetable side. You can omit the aioli if serving as a vegetable side or you can offer it separate and your guests can spoon it over the top. I made this with pork chops the other night and my husband freaked out it was so good. He’s so sweet. :)

Also, you might be wondering why I’m using canola oil instead of olive oil. The reason is  because brussel sprouts have such a unique and bold flavor and I didn’t want it to compete with the olive oil. Canola oil also seems to crisp things up a little better too. I hope you enjoy!

For Brussel Sprouts:

20 Brussel Sprouts cut into wedges

Canola Oil

Salt & Pepper

For Aioli:

6 tbs mayonnaise

1/4 tsp garlic minced fine

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tbs flat leaf parsley chopped fine

For Brussel Sprouts:

Place brussel sprouts on a baking sheet and drizzle with canola oil. Crack some fresh salt & pepper to taste. Mix around brussel sprouts on pan to ensure they all get nicely coated in the oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown on at least one side.

For Aioli:

Mix together mayonnaise, garlic, parsley and lemon juice. Serve in a ramekin.

Place ramekin of aioli on a plate and surround with brussel sprouts. If serving as an appetizer, put some toothpicks on the side for your guests. Enjoy!

Hearty Ratatouille

My Grandpa came up with this recipe after eating something similar at a restaurant on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles. He constantly revising it so I’m not sure at what stage this recipe was written down but its delicious nonetheless. Grandpa LOVES food and is where I think I inherited my same love for the culinary arts. This recipe is hardy and comforting and I love to eat it when I’m hungry and in the mood for something fortifying. I added the ground turkey to the recipe to make it stick to your bones that much more.

My husband is NOT one for reheating already prepared dinners. Its funny because there will be all sorts of delicious already prepared meals in the fridge but he’ll just eat cereal or some bread with cheddar cheese melted on top in the microwave. (Don’t ask). But when I made this ratatouille he actually would return to the fridge for seconds, thirds, fourths etc. He cracks me up. If I take something out of the fridge, say leftover lasagna, and heat it up for him – he’ll eat it. Otherwise its too daunting. So basically this recipe is good enough to overcome the exhausting task of reheating food! Enjoy!

Grandpa’s Ratatouille with Ground Turkey

2 Cloves Garlic Minced

1 Pound Ground Turkey

2 Medium Zucchini

2 Medium Yellow Crooked Neck

½ Large Green Bell Peppers

½ Large Red Bell Pepper

2 Medium Yellow Onions

1 Tsp Basil

1 Tsp Oregano

½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Salt & Pepper

1 Large Can Diced Tomatoes

French Bread

Parmesan Cheese

Heat large skillet with 2 Tbsp of oil. Add minced garlic cloves and add to oil sauteing briefly. Add ground turkey and saute with garlic until turkey is cooked. Take off heat and set aside.

Slice all vegetables into bite size pieces but not too small. Add two Tbs olive oil to a large pot and heat on medium high – add vegetables. Add 1 Tsp basil, 1 tsp oregano. Stir all together and cook until slightly tender. Add large can chopped tomatoes and stir. Add turkey mixture including all pan juices. Add 1 Tbs Salt, a ½ Tsp Cayenne and Pepper to taste. Cover with lid and simmer until tender.  Serve on toasted French Bread with parmesan. Enjoy!