Well Dined

8Aug/167

SRC – Breakfast Risotto from Cookaholic Wife

Well Dined | Breakfast Risotto

It's Secret Recipe Club Reveal time!  This month I was assigned Cookaholic Wife, written by Nichole.  We are both married, in our 30's, on the East Coast, and cat moms.  I feel a connection!  We also must have similar tastes, because I saved more recipes than I have with any other SRC blog.  So bear with me for a bit here, and know that this is the edited down list!

Nichole loves s'mores just as much as I do!  Okay, maybe a little more.  The top s'more recipes that caught my eye were Vanilla Bean and Bacon S'mores, S'mores Pie, and Cinnamon S'mores Bark.

She also has some killer looking cupcake recipes like Orange Cream, Butterbeer, and Brown Sugar Butterscotch.

Other sweets that I liked the sound of were Sugar Cream Pie, Stone Fruit Eton Mess, Limoncello Cheesecake Bars, Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake, Lemon and Sour Cream Doughnuts, and Coconut Lime Cookie Bars.

On the more grown-up (read: boozy) side of things, we have Rum Punch and Limoncello Gelee.

My favorite apps were Philly Cheesesteak Spring Rolls, French Onion Puff Pastry Bites, and Corn Basil Cakes.

And, lastly, the entrees that had me drooling were Ham and Cheese Gnocchi Skillet, Drunken Italian Noodles, Doritos Casserole, Corn and Bacon Skillet Mac and Cheese, and Chicken with Creamy Orzo.

Well Dined | Breakfast Risotto

But the overall winner, the one I knew I had to make as soon as I saw it, was this Breakfast Risotto.  Creamy risotto with white wine and shallot, finished off with crispy pancetta, Parmesan, and a poached egg.  Simple and amazing.

Well Dined | Breakfast Risotto

There aren't a ton of ingredients here, just simple classic flavors.  And while risotto is a bit labor intensive (you gotta stir, stir, stir to release all that creamy starch), it isn't particularly complicated.  I love the bacon and eggs take on this that is reminiscent of carbonara; and who doesn't want breakfast for dinner?  Enjoy!

11Jul/1610

SRC – Golden Nectarine Cake from Smells Like Brownies

Well Dined | Golden Nectarine Cake

It's Secret Recipe Club time!  And this month I was assigned the blog I've been waiting for - Smells Like Brownies by my best friend, Melissa! Yay! You may recognize the name, because we cook lunch together every week, and I often blog about it.  Melissa is a stay-at-home mommy to a very active little boy, and a precious baby girl.  She is devoted to her family and God in a way that is truly inspirational, as well as being a phenomenal baker and photographer.  She's just the best and I am so excited to share her blog with you!

Eliminating SRC posts and dishes that we made together narrowed down the field quite a bit, but I still had no trouble finding a ton of things I wanted to make.  I actually intended to make several dishes and blog about each of them, but I kept getting sick and injured this month and had to narrow it down to the number one thing I wanted make - this gorgeous Golden Nectarine Cake.  Which is kind of hilarious because Melissa hates fruit, so I doubt she even got to try this cake.

The rest of my top "to-try" dishes (which are all vegetarian, because Melissa is a vegetarian) are Debby's famous Mac and Cauliflower with Ritz Crust (because I've heard her talk about it so many times), this Broccoli and Purple Potato Gribiche (that I've been drooling over since she posted it), Monster Green Pea Burgers, Lemongrass Coconut Noodles, and Couscous-Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce.

Well Dined | Golden Nectarine Cake

Let's get back to that cake!  I loved this recipe because it was easy for a non-baker like me to follow.  Start with two nectarines and slice them into wedges.  Is there anything more summery than stone fruit?

13Jun/166

SRC – Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread from A Spoonful of Thyme

Well Dined | Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread

It's Secret Recipe Club time again!  This month, I was assigned A Spoonful of Thyme.  I enjoyed the story she tells about her grandmother and the pies, and how she talks about mealtime being an important bonding time.  I can tell that family is very important to her!

I went in this month with a mission, because I was hosting a game night and needed an appetizer or snack.  I considered this Zahtar Flatbread and these Bar Eggs, and was even distracted by a couple of desserts - Coconut Cream Bars and Poached Figs.  But in the end it could only be the recipe that hooked me immediately - Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread.  I'd seen this floating around the internet and hadn't tried it yet; this was the perfect opportunity!

Well Dined | Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread

I ended up going shopping at 1:00 AM (long story) and there was no working the bread counter.  So when I saw that all of the crusty breads were pre-sliced, I ended up having to go with a baguette.  It worked out okay, but I would have preferred a regular loaf.  Anyway, cut the bread in a crisscross pattern (but not all the way through the bottom) and stuff with cheese slices.  This is a bit of a process, but I found it relaxing - kind of like meditation.

4Apr/166

SRC – Seared Salmon with Lemon Herb Butter and Pasta from Morsels of Life

Well Dined | Seared Salmon with Lemon Herb Butter and Pasta

It's time for April's Secret Recipe Club reveal! I was assigned Morsels of Life. The author is an engineer, and brings her desire for efficiency to her blog. She doesn't like to use any crazy complex methods, and is loose with measurements. She writes, "Generally, if you like something, use more; if you dislike something, use less, substitute something else, or just eliminate it altogether. You’ll probably be fine." I love that. Often when I'm writing recipes, and have to try and figure out how much of something I used, I just want to write - use your best judgement. She also has pretty extensive privacy and disclosure information on her blog, which I think is admirable.

CJ's blog has a lot of Asian influence, and I really like the look of this Pork Meatball Ramen, as well as this Cha Shao Chinese BBQ Pork.  For sweets, I was drawn to Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes, and Spiced Date Ice Cream (made with cashew milk!).  But I ended up running out of time before leaving on a last-minute trip; so when I saw this Seared Salmon with Lemon Herb Butter and Pasta, and realized that I already had all the ingredients for it - I knew that's what I needed to make!

Well Dined | Seared Salmon with Lemon Herb Butter and Pasta

This was incredibly easy to make - just toss hot pasta with lemon herb compound butter, spinach, and Parmesan, then top with seared salmon and more compound butter.  I used frozen Alaskan salmon, frozen spinach, and store-bought garlic butter spread (I added lemon juice and zest to it) - so this was really quick and easy.  Plus (with the salmon, spinach, and protein-plus pasta), it was really healthy!

16Feb/161

Valentine’s Day Beef Wellington

Well Dined | Beef Wellington

This year for Valentine's Day we decided to stay in, and we both agreed that I should make Beef Wellington - a very special occasion dish of filet mignon and mushrooms wrapped in puff pastry.  You can find many recipes out there for this dish, but mine has some secret weapons to keep the puff pastry from getting soggy, the beef from getting overcooked (look at how nice and pink it is, even after 20 minutes in the oven), and to add extra flavor.  It is not difficult, but it is time consuming with many steps - which is why it is a special occasion dish (plus it's soooooooo rich).  So read on!

Well Dined | Beef Wellington

First up, sear the filet.  (I made 4 servings because it would use a whole package of puff pasty - I have never had good luck with refreezing it.)  You want to get a nice sear on all sides, including around the edges, but don't cook the steak all the way.  Remove the filets to a plate and allow to cool a bit, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.  This step is what will keep the beef from overcooking in the oven.

11Feb/161

Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

In my last post, I talked about my February assignment for Secret Recipe Club - Jessie Weaver, The Vanderbilt Wife.  I decided to make the Honey Parmesan Pork from her blog, but also really wanted to make the Boozy Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies... so I did!

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

The cookies were actually really easy to make - just melt chocolate chips and butter together (it will be a thicker mixture); then add to a beaten mixture of brown sugar, eggs, butterscotch schnapps, and vanilla; then add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Let the mixture sit to firm up, then scoop onto baking sheets.

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

Bake for 10-15 minutes, and you're done!  I thought these tasted fudgey like brownies, and they were a big hit at my game night.

4Jan/162

Classic French Toast

Well Dined | Classic French Toast

I love to make French Toast this time of year.  My husband loves it, too, he says that my French Toast is the best (so sweet <3).  I think the secret is to definitely use brioche or challah, that plus a million ingredients in the batter - read on!

Well Dined | Classic French Toast

In addition to eggs and cream, I use vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange juice, lemon zest, and sherry.  So many flavors!  It is so worth it.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  First, either slice the bread (thickly, 1 inch) the night before and leave it out to get stale, or toast it slightly in the morning.  Then make the batter and soak each side of the bread for 10 minutes.  Just before you cook the toast (in butter, of course), sprinkle one side with granulated sugar - this will created a yummy bit of caramelization.  Do the same to the other side before you flip it over to cook.

Well Dined | Classic French Toast

Top with lots of butter and some maple syrup.  Yum.  This is definitely the perfect French Toast - custardy in the middle, little bit of caramelization, lots of flavor.

14Dec/154

SRC Pasta with Veal, White Wine, and Capers from Oh! You Cook!

Well Dined | Pasta with Veal, White Wine, and Capers

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Oh! You Cook! (Which is such a cute name.)  In addition to writing the blog, Dena has also authored The Everything Kosher Slow Cooker Cookbook - how cool is that?!  As you can imagine, her recipes are kosher, but that doesn't mean that you have to be in order to enjoy them!

I was, of course, very interested in the Challah Bread Pudding, and a couple of other desserts including Blueberry Pudding Pie, Raspberry Custard Pie, and Almond Rice Pudding.  But I really wanted to make something savory.  I loved that she had several recipes that used pomegranate molasses, and ingredient that I love and am always looking for uses for.  And the Picadillo Meat Loaf and Honey Mustard Chicken looked very weeknight friendly.

But in the end, I chose the Orecchiette with Veal, Capers, and White Wine.  It looked so good (and easy) that I couldn't pass it up.

Well Dined | Pasta with Veal, White Wine, and Capers

Start by sauteing onion and garlic, browning the veal, then adding the white wine and allowing it to cook out.

16Nov/150

Corn Pudding

Well Dined | Corn Pudding

Corn pudding (or spoonbread) is one of my favorite Thanksgiving sides, and I love this recipe in particular because of how easy it is.  There is a little bit of sauteing involved, but then everything goes into a blender, and then directly into the baking dish - easy.

Well Dined | Corn Pudding

Cream, butter, eggs, corn, sauteed onions, and a bit of flour and sugar - what's not to love?

Well Dined | Corn Pudding

It is kind of like a corn souffle that's a little bit sweet, and really buttery.  It's hot and soft and creamy and kind of melt in your mouth.  I made it for a friend that had never had it before and totally made a believer out of her.  So let's make this beauty!

13Nov/150

Sweet Potato and Chard Gratin

Well Dined | Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin

Are you looking for a new side for your Thanksgiving dinner?  Maybe something a little more grownup and sophisticated?  This gratin with sweet potato, chard, Gruyere, fresh herbs, and lots of garlic may be perfect for you.  You could certainly make it for a non-holiday dinner as well, though it does take quite a bit of time with pre-cooking, layering, and baking.  Luckily, I was with my dear friend Melissa (Smells Like Brownies), who helped with the prep-work.

Well Dined | Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin

Start with a big sweet potato (or two smaller ones) and a whole lot of chard (seriously - a lot)

Well Dined | Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin

Peel the sweet potato and slice thinly, then set aside.

Well Dined | Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin

Remove the stems from the chard, chop, and place in a big pot with some onion that has been sauteing in butter.  Look at those colors!  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; and cook until soft.