Salisbury Steak

Every once in a blue moon, I’ll get a hankering for a Salisbury steak TV dinner. But ugh, the sodium and all the other crap I can’t pronunciate that stares at me from the ingredient listing…I just can’t get passed it. So, when I came across a really great deal on ground beef this week – I thought why not make this retro classic at home?

Seasoned beef patties are browned in a skillet, then mushrooms and onions are sauteed down in the pan drippings to create a rich and delicious brown gravy, that the “steaks” simmer in for a few minutes to finish cooking. I love the flavor that the red wine lends to the sauce – it plays off of the beef and mushroom flavors so well. I used portobello mushrooms since I happened to have some gorgeous ones gifted to me recently (thanks, Donna!), but cremini or even white button mushrooms could be substituted.

I served alongside mashed potatoes and green peas to complete the TV dinner ensemble at home, but homemade macaroni and cheese would also be another classict choice. Everyone really enjoyed it!

This recipe makes about 6 steaks – enough for us to enjoy for dinner , and a couple lunches worth of leftovers for us. Which is a major score, considering that they reheat so darn well. Another one for the recipe box, I’m always happy to find something new and different to make with ground beef!

Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake

I know I’ve been a little AWOL lately. The holidays wore me out, and I found myself in a bit of a recipe rut afterwards. But over the weekend I got into the kitchen and made this insanely delicious cheesecake,  and I couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you guys!

Rich, decadent, and chocolaty – pretty much all the points I expect to be touched by a good cheesecake. It baked beautifully, not splitting or cracking. It had a nice height too, which I love…there’s nothing more pitiful than a severely squat cheesecake.

The addition of espresso and Kahlua added a real depth of flavor to the chocolate, which isn’t that much of a shock. Whenever I bake a chocolate dessert in the kitchen, the recipe almost always includes coffee, in one form or another…

I served with a Kahlua whipped cream and garnished with crushed up chocolate covered espresso beans. The little bites of crunchiness against the smooth creaminess of the cheesecake was divine!

Definitely a keeper.

Souce: adapted from Allrecipes

Hot Pepper Shooters

If I had to choose a favorite new food item of 2014, Pepper Shooters would be it. I first had them when I was in the hospital after having Nathan, from a sandwich chain called Primo’s

Their sandwiches are pretty much life-changing, as are these little bites of Heaven that they sell known as Pepper Shooters. From first bite I was hooked. So I thought it was only appropriate that I share this for my last recipe of the year!

Hot pickled cherry peppers that are hollowed out, then stuffed with chunks of sharp provolone cheese and proscuitto. You could also use other Italian deli meats – like capicola or thinly sliced salami. Whatever floats your boat! A little drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkling of dried oregano and you’re good to go!

They’re the perfect party appetizer. Either served alone, or with other cured meats, olives, and cheeses for to make a lovely antipasto platter. And, the best part is they only take a few minutes to throw together – which always makes for a winner in my book!

Homemade Peanut Brittle

Candy making, of any kind, was always something I was terrified of in the kitchen. I eased myself into it with Salted Caramel Sauce, then pushed myself a little further when I made Vanilla Bean Caramels for the first time. After those two things, I wasn’t scared of it anymore. The next thing I wanted to conquer was peanut brittle, which is one of the husband’s favorite thing on the planet.

My mom used to make cashew brittle all the time at Christmas, as a homemade treat for gift-giving, and it was delicious. But, I’d say my standard for peanut brittle was set when I first had See’s. Buttery, chock-full of peanuts, and tender to the bite – it was everything that a peanut brittle should be. After trying several recipes, I’ve narrowed it down to this one as coming the closest to what I’ve been searching for.

I like to use Spanish peanuts (still in their skins) for my peanut brittle. I usually find them around the bulk nut section of the produce department this time of year. But, I’ve also made it with regular old cocktail peanuts.

I usually make a couple batches to give as gifts, as it can be made well in advance. And folks are usually happy to receive something other than cookies. You can also swap out the peanuts for cashews, or even mix. Just keep a very close eye on it once you’ve added the nuts, as the temperature rises very quickly towards the end of cooking time!

Source: adapted from Food.com