January 14, 2012


Most of us didn't like Brussel Sprouts when we were kids.  I was one of them.  Now that I am an adult with an improved palate, I love them.  Of course, the way Brussel Sprouts are cooked will be the deciding factor in how they will taste.  Boiled to the point of being gray and dull will make anyone not like to eat Brussel Sprouts.  Like most Veg, roasting brings out a lot of true flavor and adds a caramelized nuttiness that boiling can't touch.  Finished with a little fresh Lemon Juice, my Roasted Brussel Sprouts will taste so delicious and add a healthy dish to the plate.  If only I had Brussel Sprouts like this when I was a kid.  When you are Cooking The Amazing, even your kids will want to eat Roasted Brussel Sprouts.

Here is the recipe.

1 lb.  Fresh Brussel Sprouts
3 T  Olive Oil
1 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 T  Fresh lemon Juice

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.   Wash and dry your fresh Brussel Sprouts and then peel off the outer 2-3 dry leaves to reveal the fresh bright inner leaves.
2.  Cut the Brussel Sprouts in half through the stem and toss on the lined Cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Black Pepper and toss with your hands until all sides are covered well.  Then turn the Brussel Sprouts cut side down and space about an inch apart.  Roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until a fork easily can pierce them.  Squeeze the Juice from a Fresh Squeezed Lemon over the hot Roasted Brussel sprouts just before serving immeidately.

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January 9, 2012


When it comes the breakfast, Pancakes are a favorite weekend choice because we usually have more time to linger at the kitchen table and enjoy these fluffy and sweet treats.  They are perfect when they are drizzled with hot Maple Syrup and melting Butter or with fresh Berries tossed between the layers of a stack a mile high.  Or for a really special breakfast top them with my Banana Pineapple Foster recipe.  I use Sour Cream in these Pancakes to make them tender and add a little extra creaminess to the texture.  These are very light and fluffy Pancakes that are easy to make and will disappear as fast as they are made when you are Cooking The Amazing!

Here is the recipe.

2-6 T  Butter (For The Pan)
1 1/2 c  All Purpose Flour
1/4 c  Sugar
1 t  Corn Starch
1 t  Baking Powder
1 t  Baking Soda
1 pinch  Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 Large Egg
1 c  Whole Milk
1/4 c  Sour Cream
1/2 t  Vanilla Extract
2 T  Melted Butter

Makes About 7 Five Inch Pancakes.

1.  Use a non stick pan or griddle for best results.  Have 2 T of Butter in the cold pan and ready to go.
Don't heat up your pan until just ready to make Pancakes.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together the All Purpose Flour, Sugar, Corn Starch, Baking Soda and Powder and Sea Salt until well blended.  Set aside.
3. In another bowl use a fork and break up the Egg and add the Milk, Sour Cream, Vanilla Extract and mix well until Sour Cream lumps are gone.
4.  Melt 2 T of Butter in microwave for 25 seconds on high and add to the wet ingredients and mix well.

5.  Now heat up your pan or griddle with the Butter in it over medium high heat.  Have a spatula ready to flip and a plate to stack the finished Pancakes.

6.  Add all of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and using a large spoon mix well until no Flour is seen.  A few lumps are OK.  As soon as the Butter has melted swirl the pan to distribute the Butter all over or use the spatula on your griddle to spread Butter all over cooking surface.
7.  Using a ladle or measuring cup pour about a 5 inch round of Batter onto the hot pan and continue to add more rounds of batter.  Space about 2-3 inches between Pancakes to allow for room to flip them.  Cook until the center starts to bubble and edges are beginning to brown and when you peek under the bottom is well browned.  This takes about 2-3 minutes.  Flip and cook on the other side checking by peeking for even browning, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Stack on a plate and serve immediately or cover with a dish towel to keep warm.  Serve with warm Maple Syrup, Butter, and/or fresh Berries or Fruit.

TIP: For the Ultimate Pancakes top them with Banana Pineapple Foster Sauce.

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January 3, 2012


Preparing Mashed Potatoes sounds easy enough but how many times have you eaten pasty thick under seasoned Mashed Potatoes?  Mashed Potatoes must be the ultimate of American Comfort foods.  They go with almost anything and if prepared right are flavorful and silky and often are the star of the meal, outshining the main dish.  Topping Mashed Potatoes with Homemade Gravy can only improve on perfection.  Mashed Potatoes go perfect with Butter Roasted Chicken and the ultimate classic Meatloaf . The key to a great Mashed Potato is not over mixing and using a ricer or food mill to mash the Potatoes.  Lots of Butter and Cream don't hurt either.  When you are Cooking The Amazing your Mashed Potatoes will be perfect and delicious every time.

Here is the recipe.

2 1/2 lbs  Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 T  Fine Grain Sea Salt
Water For Cooking
4 T  Cold Butter
1 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 c - 1 c  Heavy Cream or Half and Half

1.  Get a large pot of cold Water and set aside.  As you peel your Potatoes and dice them, place them in the cold Water.  Potatoes will be less mealy if you start them in cold Water.

2.  Peel and dice your Potatoes into about 2 inch chunks.  Place them into the cold Water off heat.
3.  Place the pot of cold Water and Potatoes on the stove and bring to a boil on high heat.  Once boiling add 1 T Sea Salt to the pot and stir and reduce the heat to a rolling simmer.  Simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the Potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.  Remove from the heat and allow the Potatoes to set aside in the hot Water while you heat the Cream.
4.  Dice 4 T of cold Butter into small cubes and set aside.  In a small pot bring the Cream or Half and Half to a gentle simmer and remove from the heat. 
5.  Drain the Potatoes well and place through a ricer or food mill or use an old fashioned hand Potato masher and mash the Potatoes then place them back into the original pot off heat.
6.  Add the cold Butter and 1 t Sea Salt and 1 t Black Pepper and 1/2 c hot Cream and mix with a large spoon gently.  Be careful to avoid over mixing or the Mashed Potatoes will be gummy.  Lightly mix until just incorporated.  Add more hot Cream if needed in small amounts until you get the desired consistency you prefer.  Taste and add more Sea Salt or Black Pepper if needed.  Serve immediately with  Homemade Gravy or a just a pat of Butter.

Serve your Mashed Potatoes with Butter Roasted Chicken for the perfect compliment or the classic Meatloaf.

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Meatloaf is one of those easy to prepare but not so easy to make taste so good recipes.  It is usually lacks flavor and is dry and dense, to say the least.  We all want easy to prepare recipes that taste Amazing and satisfy everyone in the family.  To make this Meatloaf very tasty I've added lots of flavor with savory Thyme, Oregano and sauteed Onions simmered in Worcestershire and traditional Ketchup.  A tangy Glaze on top that is lightly sweetened with Brown Sugar tops it, making it even more Amazing.  My secret, that I learned after a few dense Meatloafs while I was testing this recipe, is to not pack it in the loaf pan.  Meatloaf must be treated gently and it will be light and delicious.  None of a good Meatloaf will ever go to waste.  I mean, who can resist a cold Meatloaf sandwich slathered with a little extra Ketchup the next day?   Nobody can when you are Cooking The Amazing!

Here is the recipe.

1 T  Olive Oil
1 T  Butter
1 1/2 c   Onion, Diced Medium
2  Cloves of Garlic, Finely Chopped
1/2 c  Ketchup
1/4 c  Worcestershire Sauce
3 T   A1 Steak Sauce
3/4 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 t  Cumin
1 1/2 t Dried Thyme
1 t Dried Oregano
1 t Paprika
2 lbs  Ground Beef Chuck 80-81% Fat
1/4 lb Ground Mild Italian Sausage
3/4 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
1/2 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 c  Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 c  Crushed Ritz Crackers (20 Crackers)
1/2 c  Whole Milk
2  Large Eggs

1 c  Ketchup
5 T  Dark Brown Sugar
1 T  Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1.  Prepare your Meatloaf pan.  Use a large loaf pan approximately 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" high.  Lining the loaf pan with aluminium foil and then make a sling of aluminum foil to lay over the lined part which will help remove your Meatloaf in one piece once cooked.  To make a sling tear off about 20 inches of foil and fold it in half long ways and mold it into the prelined pan.  Fold the ends down that stick out leaving a handle to use to remove the Meatloaf.  Also, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch all the fat that cooks out.  These steps will save you cleaning up a lot of mess because there is a lot of fat that renders as the Meatloaf cooks.   If you do not have a loaf pan you can free form the Meatloaf and circle it in a ring of foil to hold it's shape and place it on a lined rimmed baking sheet.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prep all of the chopping of the Onions and Garlic and measure all ingredients out and set aside, leaving the meat for last to avoid contamination.
3.  In a medium pan over medium heat on the stove, heat Olive Oil and Butter then add diced Onion and Garlic and saute until Onions just begin to soften.
4.  Add to the Onion: 1/2 c Ketchup, 1/4 c Worcestershire Sauce, 2 T A1 Steak Sauce, 3/4 t Fine Grain Sea Salt, 1 t Fresh Ground Black Pepper,
1 t Cumin, 1 t Dried Thyme, 1 t Dried Oregano, 1 t Paprika.  Stir in well and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.  It will bubble and thicken.  Set aside to cool some.
5.  Place 20 Ritz Crackers in a zip lock bag and seal it tight with all the air out.  Use a rolling pin or a big can and crush the Crackers into fine crumbs. A few big chunks won't hurt anything.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl (or the measuring cup you use for the Milk), add 2 large Eggs to 1/2 c Milk and mix well with a fork and set aside.
6.  In a large mixing bowl add all of the Ground Beef Chuck and Italian Sausage.  You want high fat Meats in your Meatloaf to prevent dry Meatloaf.  Add the 3/4 t Sea Salt and 1/2 t Black Pepper, 1/2 c grated Parmesan Cheese, crushed Ritz Crackers, Milk and Eggs mixture and the cooked Onion and Ketchup/Worcestershire mixture.  Use a large wooden spoon and "cut" across several times mixing everything together.  The goal is to not compact the Meat but to keep it "light and fluffy" and not dense.  I used to use my hands but I find it compacts the Meatloaf making a hard dense loaf that doesn't have a good mouth feel.  After you "cut" across a few times use the wooden spoon and mix everything well, still keeping the Meat "light and fluffy".
7.  Once mixed, scoop spoonfuls into the loaf pan gently.  Add scoops of the mixture filling the bottom but do not press it into the pan.  Lightly tap the mixture into the corners.  Once the bottom is covered begin layering the mixture by the spoonful until you have a mound and all the mixture is in the loaf pan.  Resist pressing the mixture down with the spoon because this is what makes a dense, tough Meatloaf.  Use the back of the spoon to lightly smooth the top and shape it into a loaf shape.
8.  In a small bowl make the Glaze by mixing the 1 c Ketchup, 5 T Brown Sugar, 1 T Worcestershire Sauce and 1/2 t fresh ground Black Pepper.  Spoon 1/3 of this mixture over the entire top of the Meatloaf.  Reserve the other 2/3 for later in the recipe.  Place the Meatloaf pan on the lined Cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
9.  After 1 hour and 15 minutes of cooking, spoon and spread another 1/3 of the Glaze over the Meatloaf and return to the oven and cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes more.   You will see all of the fat that has cooked out of the Meatloaf at this point and will be thankful when clean up time comes that you lined everything with foil.  Who's got time to scrub pots and pans all day? Not me!
10.  After 15 minutes remove from the oven and check the temperature using a Meat thermometer in the center of the Meatloaf.  It should register at least 165 degrees when done.  If not, place back into the oven at 350 degrees and recheck in 10 minutes or until it is 165 degrees in the center.  Once done, let the Meatloaf rest in the pan for 15 minutes on the counter before removing by the aluminum sling and allowing any fat to drain off before serving.  While it is resting, microwave the last 1/3 of the glaze for 45-60 seconds on high and use as extra Sauce to spoon on the Meatloaf for those that like more glaze when serving.

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