Country Spoon

Garden to Table in Cayuga County

Provencal Bacon Wrapped Potatoes

When life starts moving, it moves! I am still here… just busily planning our wedding and we are also very excited to say we are buying a house!  Try these simple bacon wrapped potatoes that are quick to make and elegant for any meal.  Happy Spring everyone… Finally!

Provencal Bacon Wrapped Potatoes:

6  large white potatoes – cut into 1 inch wedges

1   1/2 t. herbs de provence

1 T. garlic infused olive oil

1/2 t. salt

1 t. freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 pound center cut bacon sliced, cut in half

 

Preheat oven to 425. Combine potato wedges, herbs de provence, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. You can make the garlic infused olive oil by heating regular olive oil with 1 clove of minced garlic and let it sit. Cut bacon slices in half and wrap each potato wedge with bacon and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Roast in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes. You may have to pour off some of the bacon fat half way through roasting. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels.  Serve while warm. The potatoes will be very tender and flavorful!

Southwest Tostadas & Avocado Crema

Beat the long winter and cabin fever with these festive and lively rolled tostadas. Loaded with chicken, black beans and a little heat… pair the tostadas with a light and cool avocado crema for dipping.  Perfect as a meal or a fun game day appetizer – Let’s GO Syracuse!

Southwest Tostadas & Avocado Crema:

12 small flour tortillas

1 large chicken breast – thinly sliced

1 t. salt

1/2 t. freshly cracked black pepper

1 T. olive oil

1 c. frozen corn

1 c. black beans – drained

3/4 c. roasted red peppers – chopped

1/4 t. cumin

1/2 t. hot Mexican style chili powder

1 t. chili pepper paste

2 c. shredded Mexican style cheese

olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 425. Prepare chicken and season with 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. black pepper. In a large skillet heat 1 T. olive oil, add chicken and brown on all sides.  Add corn, black beans and roasted red pepper to skillet.  Stir in cumin, chili powder and chili pepper paste.  Let simmer for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds or until warm and soft.  Spoon about a 1/4 of a cup of chicken mixture on each tortillas, top with a sprinkling of Mexican cheese mix.  Fold the bottom up and then roll each side in.  Place fold side down on cookie sheet.  Brush each roll with olive oil and bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve immediately with avocado crema.

Avocado Crema:

1 ripe avocado – pitted and removed from peel

1/2 c. sour cream

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. black pepper

In a food processor combine the above ingredients and pulse until smooth.

Spinach Meatballs

A childhood favorite of mine and the perfect comfort food for this bitter cold weather… Enjoy these meatballs loaded with salty cheddar and spinach.  My mother’s recipe calls for all ground beef, but I decided to add a little bit of a kick by substituting part of the meat with hot Italian ground sausage.  Happy New Year to all and stay cozy!

Spinach Meatballs:

Makes 12 meatballs

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. hot Italian ground sausage

1 c. chopped frozen spinach – thawed and drained

1 c. cheddar cheese shredded

3/4 c. panko breadcrumbs

1 small yellow onion – finely chopped

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 t. salt

1/2 t. freshly cracked pepper

1 t. parsley

1  28 oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes in thick juice

 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with hands. Roll meatballs into desired size and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375. Heat a shallow non stick lidded pan over medium heat.  Drizzle pan with olive oil to coat the bottom.  Once the oil is hot, place meatballs in pan and sear, turning several times until nicely browned and almost caramelized. Remove from heat.

Using a pair of clean kitchen shears, cut tomatoes up in the can - no need to dirty another bowl! Pour cut tomatoes with juice over meatballs.  Place lid over meatballs and bake in oven for 30 minutes. Serve over hot fresh pasta with freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese or with warm crusty bread.

 

Ricotta Christmas Cookies

Christmas is not Christmas without the usual sweets and cookies galore.  This recipe is one of my favorites, adapted from a close friend of mine, who always makes recipes her own by tweaking a few things.. a little more of this, less of that, how about I add this? Not wanting to change too much, I lessened the amount of butter, added an egg, a bit more vanilla and a dash of cinnamon for a cozy touch.  The rich ricotta cheese adds so much moisture and a unique old fashion flavor.  Share with family and friends to brighten their season. Happy Holidays to all and to all happy baking!

Ricotta Christmas Cookies:

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

2 c. granulated white sugar

1  1/2 sticks of unsalted butter – softened

3 large eggs – room temperature

1  15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese

2  1/2 t. pure vanilla extract

4  1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. salt

 

Vanilla Icing:

2 c. confectioners sugar

4 T. milk

4 T. butter – softened

1 t. pure vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350.  In a stand mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar and add eggs one at a time until combined.  Mix in ricotta cheese and vanilla.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Slowly mix flour mixture into wet batter until wet and just combined.  Be careful not to over mix.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and drop cookie dough by the heaping tablespoon full onto cookie sheet.  Bake for about 12 – 15 minutes or until just set. Remove and let cookies cool on a rack.

To make the icing, combine confectioners sugar and butter in a medium bowl using a hand mixer.  Gradually add milk and vanilla and beat until well mixed.  Frost cookies and decorate with your favorite sprinkles and sugar!  You can also add a drop of green or red food coloring to the icing mix it up.

 

 

 

 

Bacon Roasted Brussels

Everything is better with bacon – even Brussel sprouts!  If you think you do not like these little baby cabbages, try this recipe and it will change your taste buds for sure.  Bacon roasted Brussels is a great holiday side dish too with just 3 simple ingredients… Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

Bacon Roasted Brussels:

5 – 6 c. tender Brussel sprouts

6 strips of bacon

1/4 t. fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rinse Brussel sprouts and remove any damaged leaves. Chop off any thick stems and cut larger sprouts in half. Place all sprouts in a bowl and set aside. In a heavy skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, reserving 1 – 2 T. bacon drippings from pan.  Combine bacon drippings and freshly cracked black pepper with Brussel sprouts and spread out on baking sheet.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes.  Crumble bacon and add to sprouts.  Roast for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

 

Spiced Pumpkin Apple Pancake

Fill your kitchen with the comforting aroma of the holidays with this spiced pumpkin apple pancake – with much less fuss too in just one skillet! 

Spiced Pumpkin Apple Pancake:

2 T. butter

3 eggs – beaten

1/2 c. baking mix - I like to use the heart healthy Bisquick mix

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. pure pumpkin puree

1 t. vanilla

1/2 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. cloves

1/4 t. ginger

1 apple – chopped

Preheat oven to 425. Over medium heat melt 2 T. butter in cast iron skillet, swirling butter around to coat the sides of the skillet.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In a medium bowl, beat eggs with milk and then add baking mix.  Mix until just combined.  Add vanilla and spices.  Lightly mix in pumpkin.  Pour mixture into buttered skillet and top with chopped apple.  Bake until set and puffed – about 25 minutes.  Let cool slightly and cut into pie slices and serve warm with pure maple syrup, fresh berries and/or powdered sugar. Enjoy!  

 

Sea Salted Carrot Fries

As the cold settles in… comfort food is devoured.  Curb your cravings with these healthy and irresistible “fries” baked with just a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. 

Sea Salted Carrot Fries:

5 or 6 large carrots

1 T. olive oil

1 t. fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 425.  Start by slicing each carrot in half, then in quarters.  You may want to divide the quarter slices once more if the carrots are larger. Chop each slice in half to make sticks.  Combine carrot sticks, olive oil and sea salt in a bowl and toss to coat.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out carrot sticks evenly so that each stick is laying on the parchment paper.  Bake at 425 for 25 – 30 minutes or until the tips of the carrots start to brown.  Serve immediately with addition sea salt if desired.

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