Well Dined

27Oct/160

Halloween Recipe Round-up

If you are in need of festive dishes, look no further!  I have collected my most relevant recipes onto one page for you.

Halloween Candy

Well Dined | Halloween Round-up

Halloween Candy Bark
Candy Corn Jello Shots

Apple Desserts

Well Dined | Halloween Round-up

Apple Oat Muffins
Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies
Cheddar Apple Hand Pies

Black and Orange
More like green and orange, but you get the idea.

Well Dined | Halloween Round-up

Butternut Squash and Kale Mac and Cheese
Sweet Potato and Chard Gratin
Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza with Smoked Mozzarella and Bacon
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna with Homemade Spinach Whole Wheat Noodles

9Oct/165

SRC – Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch Slow Cooker Tater Tot Casserole from Cheese Curd in Paradise

Well Dined | Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch Slow Cooker Tater Tot Casserole

The Secret Recipe Club is coming to an end, you guys.  This is both very sad and a huge relief to me, as I have had so much fun exploring other blogs, but also felt a lot of pressure to meet the timeline.  There will be one more seasonal post at the end of this month, and one more regular post in November.  I was assigned Cheese Curd in Paradise this month, written by Ashley.

I actually couldn't find a bio page on this blog, sorry Ashley!  But I could discern that Ashley lives in Wisconsin, has a son, and loves comfort food!  I found a ton of yummy looking stuff while scrolling through the archives.

The first thing a saw was a bunch of yummy looking dip recipes, like Creamy Spinach and Radish, Warm Bacon and Caramelized Onion, Crockpot Spinach and Artichoke, and Cheddar Bacon Ranch.

I also saw tons of casseroles, like Meatball Sub, Stroganoff, and Potato Chip Topped Tuna Noodle.

And slowcooker recipes, like Creamy Tex-Mex Chicken, and Swedish Meatballs.

And pasta recipes, like Homemade Beef-a-Roni, Bacon Cheeseburger Gnocchi Skillet, Creamy Chicken Pesto Gnocchi Skillet, BLT Tortellini Skillet, and Ham and Cheese Gnocchi Skillet (loving these skillet meals).

And some special occasion recipes, like Maple and Shallot Spaghetti Squash, Roast Duck with Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffing, Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Shallot and Thyme Crust, and Seared Scallops with Prosecco Herb Beurre Blanc.

I didn't even get to the desserts, y'all!

In the end, I was torn between this Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole and this Chicken Bacon Ranch Tater Tot Casserole.  So I decided to combine them!  By which I mean, use ranch seasoning instead of the seasoning mix in the slow cooker casserole.

Well Dined | Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch Slow Cooker Tater Tot Casserole

It is hard to take good photos of casseroles, y'all, especially in the slow cooker.  But the slow cooker was what I loved about this.  Throw frozen tater tots, raw chicken, cooked bacon, onions, cheese, ranch seasoning, and milk into the insert and forget about it until dinner time.  Perfect.  I did feel like it was missing a bit of a creamy element, but I don't know how sour cream would do in the slow cooker.

For ease an comfort, this just can't be beat!  Enjoy!

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.

21Mar/160

Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Mac and Cheese

Well Dined | Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Mac and Cheese

Some girlfriends and I have been taking turns making macaroni and cheese (after we got tired of soup).  I had been wanting to do something chicken, bacon, and ranch flavored for a while, and found a one-pot stovetop recipe that looked easy.  It used velveeta and powdered ranch mix, which I wouldn't normally use, but I knew it would be easy to make early in the morning when I was tired.

It turned out so good!  It was creamy and salty, with bacon and ground chicken in every bite.  This is really good as a once-in-awhile indulgence.  (But now I have 3/4 of a log of velveeta to deal with, hmm... More on that later.)  Next time, I would definitely try making my own ranch mix instead of using the packet; but I would keep the velveeta - it provides a totally different texture from a bechamel/mornay sauce.  Enjoy!

Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Mac and Cheese
adapted from What's Cooking Love
serves 4

1 lb ground chicken
3 cups water
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2/3 cup bacon, cooked and diced
2 cups of elbow macaroni (or other short pasta), uncooked
1 packet ranch dressing mix (dry)
1/2 lb (8 oz) of Velveeta Cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4-1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Brown the ground chicken in a large skillet or wide pot on medium heat, adding 1/2 tsp of garlic powder to season the meat.  Once the meat is browned, drain the fat.

Then add the water, bacon, ranch dressing seasoning, and remaining garlic powder to the chicken, mixing well.

Bring to a boil, then stir in the macaroni and cover.  Simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.

Stir in the Velveeta and cook until melted, stirring occasionally.  If the sauce is too thin, add shredded cheddar cheese until it is thick enough to your liking.

One Year Ago - Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs
Two Years Ago - Classic Pot Roast
Three Years Ago - St Patrick's Day
Four Years Ago - Japanese Braised Salmon
Five Years Ago - Couscous Dinners

15Jan/160

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Well Dined | Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

I actually made this Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie back in March for Pi Day with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies.  We made it with Irish Stout beer so that it would also be appropriate for St Patrick's Day.  But I was in the middle of moving, and so never actually posted about it.  The weather right now is making me crave warm comfort food, and I thought that this dish would be appreciated.  So here I am!

Well Dined | Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

One of the tricks to this recipe is to use grated tofu, which is accomplished by freezing the tofu, then thawing slightly so that it will be the right firmness.  So make sure to freeze your tofu at least a day ahead of when you want to cook.

Well Dined | Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Next, saute an onion, and add toasted walnuts and the shredded tofu.  Add soy sauce and lemon juice, and cook until the liquid is gone.

17Aug/158

Food ‘n Flix – August: Osage County (Biscuits and Gravy Casserole)

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

It's Food 'n Flix time again!  Where we watch a movie and then make something inspired by that movie.  This month's flick is August: Osage County, hosted by Elliot's Eats, and boy is it a doozy.

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

I could tell immediately  from the dialogue that this was a play adaptation, and I was right.  The movie portrays the funeral of the patriarch of an extremely dysfunctional family, set in the desolate plains of Oklahoma.  The cast (including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Juliette Lewis) acted the crap out of some very dark and intense material - addiction, depression, suicide, abuse, and incest.  This is not a feel good movie (you know it's bad when incest is the best scenario), but it is very good and it will make you think.

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

As for the food inspiration - there was a ton!  Many of the most tortured scenes revolved around food, including the horrible funeral dinner and the infamous "eat the fish!" scene.  The moment that I was drawn to was Meryl Streep's character talking about her last interaction with her husband over biscuits and gravy.  She must have said the phrase "biscuits and gravy" ten times.  I'm not even that big a fan of biscuits and gravy, but that was what I wanted to make.

I wanted to make something special, not basic, so I went to Pinterest thinking I would find an herbed biscuit recipe or something.  But what came up were a ton of recipes for biscuits and gravy casseroles.  I had never heard of that before and it sounded awesome!  Some were just biscuits, gravy, and cheese; but I liked the look of one that included eggs (kind of like a strata).

23Dec/140

Holiday Round-up

If you are starting to panic because Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) is closing in and you don't have a dinner plan yet, fear not - I have you covered!  I have a round-up of all of my holiday recipes, from protein to sides to dessert, and even breakfast!  So please enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Well Dined | Holiday Meal

Perfect Roasted Turkey, Apple Sausage Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Cider Gravy

Well Dined | Brined and Roasted Pork

Brined and Roasted Pork

Well Dined | Slow Cooked Cider Ham

Slow Cooked Cider Ham

Well Dined | Dr Pepper Glazed Ham with Prunes

Dr Pepper Glazed Ham with Prunes

Well Dined | Garlic and Herb Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

Garlic and Herb Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

1Dec/140

Thanksgiving 2014

Well Dined | Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

You know, I tried to be good and blog about Thanksgiving stuff before the holiday so that it might actually be useful to somebody.  I even made a few dishes in advance, but I didn't post about them in time.  Oh well!  Prepare for a lot of Thanksgiving type posts!

Anyway, we don't have any family where we live so we normally travel for Thanksgiving.  But this year we decided to switch it up and travel for Christmas, so we were on our own for Turkey Day.  We had originally planned to stay at the Inn at Little Washington (!!!), but Jasper got sick and we had to cancel.  So then I had to figure out what to make at the last minute for 2 people - initiate panic mode.  But I got my menu together on Monday, went to the grocery store on Tuesday (which was surprisingly not that crazy), and prepped on Wednesday.

Well Dined | Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

I tried to cut it down to just the basics - turkey (breast only), stuffing (half recipe), mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce (bought), and rolls (bought).  It was still way too much food for 2 people so there are lots of leftover sandwiches in my future.

Well Dined | Thanksgiving Dinner 2014 Turkey Breast

First up, the star - turkey.  There was no way I was going to roast a whole turkey for 2 people, so I bought a whole breast on the bone.  I definitely could have gone with a half breast, but now we have lots of sandwich meat!  And guys, I don't want to brag or anything, but I am SO GOOD at turkey.  Brined, air dried, stuffed with sage butter, rubbed with avocado oil, and started at a high temp - this baby was PERFECT.  It was juicy and tender with crispy skin and super crazy flavorful.  Love it.  It's also really easy to carve - you just cut along the breast bone until the meat is released, then turn it on its side and slice.

21Jul/144

Tomato Cobbler with White Cheddar Biscuits

Well Dined | Tomato Cobbler with White Cheddar Biscuits

Through a combination of being really lazy and really busy, I haven't been cooking that much at home lately.  Or at least anything new or interesting (I mean, how many vegetable pastas do you want to see, right?).  So I haven't been posting very frequently, either.  Thank goodness for my lunches with Melissa, from Smells Like Brownies, or I wouldn't be posting at all!  We made this savory tomato cobbler on a rainy day with terrible lighting, and it was just the right kind of comfort food.

Well Dined | Tomato Cobbler with White Cheddar Biscuits

Caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes get bound together with the help of a little flour, and flavored with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil.  I love using multi-colored cherry tomatoes, so pretty!

Well Dined | Tomato Cobbler with White Cheddar Biscuits

Then the mixture goes into a baking dish and into the oven.  We used the same cast iron skillet that we caramelized the onions in.

Well Dined | Tomato Cobbler with White Cheddar Biscuits

While the tomato mixture cooks, roll out and cut out some biscuits.  The dough, made savory with the help of sharp white cheddar and black pepper, will have been resting in the fridge while the filling was put together.  You want that butter cold in order to achieve maximum flakiness.  We used whey in place of buttermilk, because we will never run out of whey (so much whey).

9Jul/141

Tomato, Corn, and Cheddar Quiche

Well Dined | Tomato, Corn, and Cheddar Quiche

Ah, summer - a time for all the fresh produce you can get your hands on.  I particularly like the combination of tomatoes and corn, which you can see here, here, and here.  Add in some herbs from the garden, eggs from the farmer's market, and a flaky pie crust for an awesome summer quiche.

Well Dined | Tomato, Corn, and Cheddar Quiche

Quiche is best served right around room temperature, so it would be pretty easy to bring this to a potluck or dinner party, as long as it doesn't sit out for too long (2 hours max) and isn't out in the heat.