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Cooking Concoctions

For your reading convenients below you will find all the Cooking Concoctions published in 2019

January 2019

Yields 6-8servings
This is an authentic New England clam chowder recipe. It is very creamy, and without the cream! Sure to warm you right up on a cold winter’s day.

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter divided 4T and 8 T
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, diced
8 boiling potatoes, medium diced(red ones are great)
½tsp. thyme
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 quart clam juice
½ cup flour
2 cups milk(I use ½ light cream &1 ½ milk)
3 cups minced chowder clams

Melt 4T of butter in a large stock pot.
Add onions, cook over medium low heat for ten minutes.
Add the celery, potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Sauté for ten minutes.
Add the clam juice, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered till veggies are tender about 20 minutes.
In a small pot, melt the remaining butter (8 T).
Whisk in the flour, making a rue here.
Cook over very low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Whisk 1 cup of hot broth (from big pot) then pour mixture back into the stock pot.
Simmer for a few minutes, so broth thickens.
Add the milk and clams, heat gently to cook clams.

Serve hot! Great with some fresh crusty bread or oyster crackers.

February 2019

This month I am sharing one of my daughter’s favorite comfort foods, homemade stuffed shells! I take a weekend day and make a whole bunch of these delicious pasta delights, (doubling the recipe below). Stuffed shells are both yummy and filling, a little goes a long way. Therefore, I have plenty to freeze and save for future dinners! This dish is also great if you have a number of house guests staying with you, and it will please vegetarians too!

1 box of jumbo pasta shells
1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon each basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme
1 26-oz. jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or your homemade sauce)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook pasta shells according to directions; drain and set aside to cool.
3. While pasta cooks, in a large bowl, stir together ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, and spices.
4. Spread 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce over bottom of a 13 X 9 baking dish.
5. Stuff each shell with cheese and spinach mixture, about 1 tablespoonful, and place in baking dish.
6. Spoon remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
7. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
8. Remove foil and bake about 10 minutes longer, until bubbly and cheese begins to brown.
Serve with an antipasto salad and fresh Italian bread for a great dinner!

Variations: Brown some ground beef or turkey to add to your sauce.
To freeze: Once the shells have completely cooled, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer, for about 15 minutes., or until frozen. Then remove the shells, separating any that may have frozen together, and store them in a large freezer bag. Then the next time you are craving stuffed shells or need a quick delicious dinner, take out the amount you need and reheat in the oven with more sauce on top.
Bon Appetito!

March 2019

Saint Patrick’s Day is around the corner and I have been saving this recipe sent to me from reader Ellen to share this month. This is a corn beef and cabbage recipe her grandmother used to make every Saint Patrick’s Day. Ellen now makes it for her family, and thinks of her grandmother every time. Enjoy, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Apple Corned Beef & Cabbage

1 (3 to 4 pound) corned beef brisket (not in a brine), cut into 6 to 8 pieces
1 small head of cabbage, cut in thin wedges
3 to 4 medium-sized potatoes, cut in chunks
2 to 3 cups baby carrots or sliced full-sized carrots
1 quart pure apple juice
1 cup brown sugar

Place corned beef in 5 quart slow cooker.
Place vegetables around and on top of meat.
Pour apple juice over everything. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Cover; cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until meat and vegetables are tender but not over-cooked.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

April 2019

This month not only am I sharing a family favorite comfort food, but it’s microwavable. So when you want a delicious dinner and don’t want to turn on the oven, try out this recipe!

Meatloaf Stuffed with Cheese

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup milk
3 slices fresh bread, cubed
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 small green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 slices fresh bread, finely crumbled
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Meatloaf; In large mixing bowl, mix together beef, bread, milk, parsley, salt and pepper.

Cheese stuffing; In 1-1/2-quart casserole place onion, pepper, celery and lemon juice, stir and microwave on high 3 minutes, until lightly sautéed.
Add egg to vegetables and stir to blend well.
Stir in cheese and fine bread crumbs.

Assemble the meatloaf; pat half of meat mixture in bottom of 9-inch glass pie plate.
Mound cheese filling over meat leaving about 1 inch uncovered at edges.
Spread remaining meat mixture over filling.
Seal around edges.
Brush assembled meatloaf with Worcestershire sauce.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap, microwave on high for 25 to 30 minutes.
Let stand about 10 minutes to firm before serving.
Serve in wedges with such vegetables as corn, green beans, or mashed potatoes.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

May 2019

This month I am sharing a recipe that came from our editor, Karen Santiago. She told me that she won the golden ladle in a crockpot cook off at her place of employment on Fat Tuesday, last month.

Tortellini Sausage and Kale Soup

4 links of sausage, mild or spicy (still frozen makes it easier to cut)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, diced
3(14.5 ounce) cans, fire roasted garlic diced tomatoes
12 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini (no need to thaw)
3 cups kale, roughly chopped
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
parmesan cheese for serving, if desired

Add sausage, garlic, onion, tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and crushed red pepper flakes to a slow cooker.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
30 minutes before serving stir in the frozen tortellini and kale.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and add in more crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.
Serve immediately, sprinkling parmesan cheese on top!

Note: This will fill your crockpot to the top!

June 2019

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s!
Here is a recipe that our very own Nat (author of the Braille Highway, and webmaster) has graciously shared with all of us. This just might be a great dinner idea for dad on Father’s Day!

Grilled Flank Steak with Chipotle Sauce
1.5 pounds flank steak, trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 large shallots, diced
2 cups beef stock
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 chipotle pepper, finely minced
¼ cup cold butter, cubed

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté shallots for 4-5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
Cool marinade.
Place flank steak in a Ziploc bag and add marinade. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove flank steak from marinade and place on centre of a preheated, hot grill.
Sear 5-8 minutes per side for rare to medium rare.
Remove from grill, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While steak is resting, strain marinade into a small pot and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Adjust seasoning and thicken with 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed.
Add butter one cube at a time until sauce is thickened and glossy.
Slice flank steak on diagonal, place on a platter and top with sauce.
Serve with a salad, potato wedges, seasonal veggies, and garlic toast!

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