Meatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

Recipes in this PostMeatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

Meatloaf Stuffed Potato Balls with Dragon Sauce

One of my favorite things is to go to Porto’s in Glendale and get Papas Rellenas (Cuban Potato Balls).  They are very tasty, and make for a quick bite.  One day, I had left over meatloaf, and left over mashed potatoes, so I decided to try my hand at making them.  It’s pretty simple, and a good way to use up your left overs.  You could use other stuffing, I just happen to really like my Three Pepper Spicy Meatloaf.

A few words about mashed potatoes

Please use real ones, not the ones in the box, or the ones that are already made. Take a little time to make mashed potatoes.  I usually use one medium sized potato per person, unless I want extra for something like this, and then I add an extra potato. For this recipe, you will need to peel the potatoes. Unpeeled potatoes are great, but the peels would get in the way when trying to keep the shaped correctly.  I cut my potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters.  I keep the cut, peeled potatoes in cold water until they have all been prepped, this keeps them from turning brown.  Rinse the potatoes and put them in clean, salted water. Always use a good amount of salt in the water, about a half a teaspoon per potato. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium. Check the potatoes at about 15 minutes.  They are done when you can easily stick a fork or tip of a knife in them.  Don’t let them get over cooked, or you will have a soggy mess. Drain them in a sturdy colander immediately so they will stop cooking.  I like to add butter at this point, and mash them with a masher so the butter really gets in there, then I add milk and depending on how fluffy I want them, I either whip them by hand, or use a hand mixer.

Meatloaf – It’s all up to you!

To make this you will need about 2 cups of left over mashed and a few slices of left over meatloaf.  You can use your favorite meatloaf recipe, you are not tied to mine. You can even use – gads! – store bought meatloaf if you like it.

The Dragon Sauce

You don’t have to have a dip for these, they’re good plain.  But, if you like a extra zip, please try this Dragon Sauce. If you don’t like spicy foods, then you could always use Ranch or onion dip if you wanted.  This is one of those recipes that’s really up to you.  Use what you enjoy!

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Better Best Foods Parmesan Chicken

Recipes in this PostBetter Best Foods Parmesan Chicken

It’s Better than Best

So, the main point of this cooking blog is that I use fresh ingredients, mostly everything made from scratch. And yet – and yet, I use store bought mayonnaise. Why? Because I really like the way it tastes. My mother made home made mayonnaise once, and I didn’t like it because it tasted flat. I have been told that homemade is better, but, for now, I’m sticking with Best Foods.

Can I tell the difference between mayonnaises? Yes, I can. A friend of mine who thought that was impossible took my regular jar, filled it with another brand, and put it back in my refrigerator. The second it hit my tongue, I could tell it wasn’t the same.

I’m not the only one, either. When the Northridge earthquake happened, I was working at Dean Witter in Beverly Hills, and one of the brokers came to me and said he was moving back to Chicago because his wife said that even though the quake was frightening, not having Hellman’s was enough to make her hate California. I told him to tell her that it was Hellman’s in the East and Best Foods in the West – they stayed, and as far as I know, they are still living in the land of bovine foot massages.

Better Best Foods Parmesan Chicken

I have seen the recipe for Parmesan Crusted Chicken for years, and today, when I was running out of time, and hungry, I decided to try it. Of course, I have to change it to make Best Better.

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Pesto Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Thigh
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I love going on Pinterest and getting ideas for recipes. I saw a picture of Greek chicken that was made by dipping chicken in herb flavored yogurt and then grilling it. I always have plain yogurt in the house. We have it frequently for breakfast, and I love to make yogurt salad and yogurt soup out of it.

Coincidentally, I had made a batch of Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto that I needed to use up. I thought that Italian pesto with a yogurt marinade would be quite tasty, and good for you. I was right, the chicken was delicious. We had it with steak cut potatoes and a salad. Very nice.

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Supreme Baked Asparagus Fries

Supreme Baked Asparagus Fries Mis En Place

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A few birthdays ago, my friend Adel took me out to a lovely dinner at one of the new restaurants at the Americana at Brand. We ordered asparagus as an appetizer. Boy, what a surprise that was. Those asparagus were dripping in melted butter and Parmesan, and just delicious. I wanted to make them at home.

I had forgotten about them until I saw something similar on Pinterest, and pinned them to my Recipes I Gotta Try board. When I looked at the recipe, I knew that I could improve it, and I did.

The original recipe calls for and egg wash and a dip in flour, then dipping in cheese and Panko bread crumbs. I’m sure they are delicious, but asparagus CRIES out for butter. Butter also makes an excellent coating to which a variety of things will cling, so I decided to forgo the egg and flour, and go with butter.

These asparagus spears were supreme, and that is why they are called Supreme Asparagus Fries. My recipe is for 6 spears per person, but if you have asparagus lovers, you might want to increase the recipe.

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Fennel Cashew Crusted Pork Loin

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Fennel Cashew Crusted Pork Loin

We really like pork loin in our house. It’s small, and cooked correctly, tender and moist. The problem with pork is that it can dry out easily, so it is important to keep it moist, or cook it so that it retains its moisture.

I make Pork Chops with Fennel, and I wanted to do something similar with my pork loin, but still keep it moist since I was going to roast the meat.

I put all the ingredients for my crust in a small food processor, then mixed that with Panko bread crumbs. I washed my pork loin under cold running water, patted it thoroughly dry, then coated it liberally with olive oil. Coating it with the olive oil did two things:

  1. It allowed the crust to stick to the meat.
  2. It added a moisture that patting the meat had removed

I let the crusted roast rest in the refrigerator for a half an hour to let the crust harden and make a better moisture barrier. Knowing that it wasn’t going to be producing a lot of liquid, I put it on a rimmed baking sheet covered with foil, and cooked it in a medium oven while my Blue Cheese Risotto with Merlot was cooking. Then I let it rest for three minutes while a microwaved broccoli for our Oscar Party dinner. It was a show stopper!

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Cheesy Potatoes

Recipes in this PostCheesy Potatoes

I have been making this recipe for a holidays for quite a long time, and even made it for Ascencia when I was Guest Chef at Mother’s Day. I have pictures of it, but not of its preparation. So, I am putting it in again, and it’s changed just a little bit, for the better, of course.

I don’t usually use canned soup, but this is the exception. The original recipe calls for Cream of Mushroom soup, but Cream of Potato soup is much better. The original recipe also calls for hashed brown potatoes, but, I think the Southern cut frozen potatoes are better as well.

This is a very simple dish to make, and I always get raves when I make it. It makes a lot, and can easily be doubled or even tripled if you have a lot of people to feed.

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