Friday, December 16, 2016

Jaeger Schnitzel

Jaeger Schnitzel


3 large chicken breasts sliced across and pounded thin OR 
6 bonless pork chops, pounded thin
1C flour
2 eggs
1T dijon mustard
1 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
Canola oil
Quartered lemons for serving

1T butter

1 lb sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)

2 T flour
1/2 cup dry sherry or marsala
1 - 2 C chicken stock
1/2 C heavy cream

For the chicken:
Preheat oven to 200.  Over medium, heat enough oil to come about half way up the sides of a large cast iron skillet.  While the oil heats, get to breading your chicken.  In three shallow dishes - one for flour, one for egg and mustard, one for breadcrumbs.  Season all three liberally with salt and pepper.  Bread starting with flour, then egg, then breadcrumb then into the hot oil.  Don't crowd the pan, 2 or 3 at most in the pan at one time.  Fry until golden on both sides.  Remove from pan, drain on paper towel then remove to a rack over a baking sheet and pop them in the oven and get on with the next batch.  Once their all fried, keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce.

Pour all but 1T of the frying oil out of the pan.  Add the butter.  When it sizzles, add the mushrooms. *If you're feeling fancy, you can add onion now and caramelize it until it's golden brown THEN add the mushrooms.  Saute until browned.  Add S&P and 2T flour.  Stir around for about a minute.  Add the sherry and stir until it's absorbed most of the flour.  Add in about a cup of chicken stock.  Bring to boil and add more if it's too thick.  Turn off the heat and finish with the cream.  Ladle a generous portion over the chicken and serve.  

Note:  You can never have too much sauce, it's really good over spaetzle too.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese


1 lb. short pasta (Macarone, Ziti, Penne...etc.  I used Rotini)
2 C butternut squashed, cubed and steamed or roasted
4 T butter
3 T flour
2 C whole milk (approximate)
2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 C grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz. goat cheese
1 C fresh bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375.  Get a large pot of boiling water on to boil.  Cook for 2 minutes less than package directions, reserving a cup of cooking liquid before draining.  Set aside.  While that happens, get going on the sauce.  In a large, wide, ovenproof skillet (I used a cast iron enamel braiser but really anything goes as long as it's big enough and oven proof) melt butter.  Add the flour and whisk into a paste.  Add your milk and keep whisking over medium heat until the sauce thickens.  Season generously with S&P.  Add in 1C of the cheddar and the rest of the cheese.  Stir until melted and combined.  Add in the pasta and your squash (I cheated here...used the steam in bag from Target but I've also roasted fresh in a hot oven with S&P, which is obvi. better).  If it looks thick, add in some reserved water until it's a bit soupy.  Combine your bread crumbs, 1 T melted butter, garlic and reserved cup of cheddar and sprinkle over the top.  Bake until browned and bubbly, about half an hour.  

*If you don't have any breadcrumbs, like I didn't when I made this, just whizz up some bread with the garlic and butter.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Asian Spaghetti

Asian Spaghetti

1 lb Ground Pork
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 head broccoli OR 8 oz spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
 5T soy sauce
5T fish sauce
Olive oil
4 spring onions, sliced
Sesame oil  
12 oz Chinese egg noodles, like ramen

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat until almost smoking.  Add a little olive oil to almost coat the bottom of the pan and add the meat, season with S&P.  Let brown until it's almost all crispy crumbles.  This takes a little while...keep stirring and breaking it up. While your meat cooks, bring a large stockpot of water to boil for the noodles.  

Once the meat is browned, add in the mushrooms and broccoli or spinach.  Stir fry until the mushrooms begin to brown and give off some liquid.  Add garlic and stir just a few seconds until fragrant.  Add in soy and fish sauce.  Turn down the heat to low.  Cook noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain, reserving one cup of cooking water, and rinse under cold water.  Add noodles back to the pot and drizzle over sesame oil and stir to keep from sticking.  Add the meat mixture to the pot with the noodles and toss thoroughly, adding reserved water to thin if necessary.  Garnish with green onions and enjoy!    

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fast, Easy Chicken & Dumplings

Fast, Easy Chicken & Dumplings

For the soup:
1.5 lb chicken tenders, chopped and seasoned with 1T salt, 1T pepper and 1T poultry seasoning
2T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 qt good chicken broth

For the dumplings:
2C AP flour
3t baking powder
1t salt
1T chopped parsley
2t chopped thyme
4T Crisco (cube then place on a plate in the freezer)
1C milk or buttermilk (or a mix of both)

In a large, heavy bottomed dutch oven, heat olive oil and saute chicken until browned and cooked through.  Remove with a slotted spoon a plate.  Add onion, leek, celery and carrots and saute until onion is translucent.  Add garlic, bay leaf and saute another 30 seconds to a minute.  Add chicken broth and a quart of water.  Cover and bring to boil, reduce to simmer while you get on with the dumplings.

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine and break up the flour.  Add in the herbs and stir to combine.  Add your semi-frozen Crisco (it never really freezes all the way) and using two knives of a pastry cutter, combine with flour until it resembles coarse sand.  Slowly add in the milk while stirring just until the dough comes together.  You will probably only use 3/4 of the milk.  Remove to floured surface and roll out until about 1/2 in thick.  Cut into strips and pop them on a tray and back into the freezer for about 15 minutes.  

Slowly add your dumplings to the soup, one at a time and without stirring.  Cover the pot and allow them to steam for another 15 minutes.  Very carefully stir, cover and turn off the heat.  Allow the soup to sit for a few minutes before serving.  Feel free to add more parsley or thyme to brighten it up then serve it up in big bowls to hungry children.



1lb. ground beef or lamb
1C uncooked brown or white rice
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1T olive oil
1/4C parsley, minced
4 bell peppers, any color
3 large, firm tomatoes
3 zucchini
2 lemons
Optional:  baby eggplant

Cook rice according to package directions and allow to cool.  Saute onion and olive oil until translucent.  Add in meat and garlic and continue to saute until the meat is brown and crumbly.  Be sure to season with S&P each time you ad something to the pan.  Set aside to cool while you prep your veggies.  

Remove tops and de-seed peppers.  Remove tops and carefully scoop out tomato pulp and seeds into a strainer over a bowl.  Remove tops and bottoms of zucchini and very carefully scoop out the inside.  I find a long somewhat sharp tea spoon works well for this. Same for eggplant, if using.  Season insides of your veggies.  

Combine your meat, rice, parsley and a squeeze of lemon, mix thoroughly.  Taste now and re-season or add more lemon to your liking.  Firmly pack each of your veggie shells with the meat/rice mixture and place them upright in a large enamel coated cast iron dutch oven.  Start with the peppers and fill in with smaller veggies so that it's tightly packed.  If you don't have enough room, it's ok if the zucchini hang out on top.  

OPTIONAL STEP:  Go back to your tomato juice - squeeze the pulp to get as much juice out as possible and add in the insides of the zucchini and eggplant.  Add a little water and whiz it up in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Alternatively, you can just chop the insides finely OR leave them out entirely.  I usually either blend it up or just add the tomato juice and about 1/2 cup of water.  It just needs some liquid in the pan so the veggies steam.

Pop a heavy lid on your pot, bring to boil and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes until the veggies are soft but not falling apart (see that pic above?  I went off and did something else and my tomatoes fell apart.)  Serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread.

Note:  If you have leftovers this makes a fantastic soup.  Just sort of mush up the veggies and add some beef or chicken broth and reheat.  Yummy with crusty bread.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mere's Homemade Ranch

Mere's Homemade Ranch

1C Mayonnaise*
1C Buttermilk
1/2 t black pepper (freshly ground is best)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1t fresh thyme leaves
1T finely chopped parsley

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl or large measuring cup and whisk until smooth.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use, up to a couple of weeks.

* You have to use actual, full fat mayo.  I prefer Hellman's or Duke's.  If you MUST go low fat, you can substitute half or all of the mayo for full fat Greek yogurt BUT the flavor and texture will not be 'ranchy.'  

The Chicken Pie pictured above is adapted from Jamie Oliver's Spring Chicken Pie with a couple of changes:
  1. I used small Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed.
  2. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in, skin-on. 
  3. I substituted lemon thyme for the tarragon.
  4. I substituted chopped baby spinach for the watercress.
  5. I forgot to add the mustard...Sophie and Mike loved this without it though. (Sophie loved it so much, she had leftovers for breakfast this morning.)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tri-Tip Roast

Tri-Tip Roast with Mushroom Sauce

For the meat:
1 2-3 lb. Tri-Tip Roast*
2-3 T fresh rosemary, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil plus more for searing

For the Mushroom Sauce
1 lb button or baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1/2 C dry sherry
1/4 to 1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 C beef stock

On a plate, mix the rosemary, garlic, olive oil and a good pinch of S&P.  Place the meat on the plate and rub the mixture all over.  Leave to marinate on the counter for an hour or two to bring the meat to room temperature.  

Set the oven to 400F.  While the oven heats, heat a heavy cast iron skillet on the stove to smoking.  Add olive oil to the pan and sear the meat on all sides then pop it into the oven for 20 - 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 130F for medium-rare or to your desired doneness.  Remove the roast to a cutting board, sqeeze over the lemon and cover with foil while you make your shroom sauce.

Put that cast iron skillet with the meat drippings back on the stove and turn heat to medium.  Add your mushrooms and stir them around in the goodness.  Saute over medium to high heat until browned on all sides.  Stand back and add the sherry.  Once it's reduced to about half, add the cream and beef stock and any drippings from the meat.  Let this bubble away until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. 

Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.

*Sometimes called a Sirloin Tip Roast, Newport Roast or Santa Maria Roast

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

1 lb. pasta of choice* 
12 oz. bacon, chopped into smallish chunks
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb baby spinach, chopped
4 eggs
1/2 to 3/4 C heavy cream
1C grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.  While you're waiting for it to boil, fry up that bacon in a nice big skillet** until it's nice and crispy.  Drain on paper towels and let the pan cool down a bit.  Also, grab a large measuring cup (I use a 4C) and beat the eggs.  Add enough cream to measure up to about 2C.  Season with S&P, nutmeg and add the cheese. Set aside.

Once the pan has cooled a bit, pour out all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon grease and add the minced garlic. Once it sizzles and is fragrant, add your spinach.  I turn off the heat at this point so it just barely wilts.  Leave it alone until the pasta is cooked, one minute less than the cooking time on the package for al dente.  Right before you drain the pasta, pull out about a cup of the cooking water and set aside.  

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the garlic and spinach.  Stir, stir, stir until all the noodles are coated in the loveliness.  Now is the tricky part...with the heat OFF, add the egg mixture and stir like crazy.  Turn the heat back on to low but DO NOT WALK AWAY, stand there and stir until the sauce starts to thicken.  If you go off and fold laundry or something you will end up with scrambled egg pasta, which isn't necessarily a bad thing...but not what we're going for here.  If the sauce gets too thick, add in some pasta water.  If it's too thin, cover the pan and let it think about what's its done for 5 or 10 minutes.  

Garnish with parmesan and lots of black pepper and eat.  Serves 2 adults and 2 greedy kids.

*I've used the traditional spaghetti, fettucine in the pic, kids favorite is fusilli or 'telephone cord' pasta.  This isn't exactly a traditional recipe but I add the spinach to sneak some veg into my kids.
**I use my favorite pan, a 5qt Le Creuset braiser (THANKS MOM!)

Welcome to Dinners with Mere

Welcome to my brand spanking new blog!  You may have already seen my Instagram posts about our nightly dinners. Long story short, I've had quite a few requests for recipes so I will post them here.  Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.