Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mr. Moffitt's Mushrooms

While on the subject of mushrooms I have to include this family favorite. This recipe originated from Sara's Dad, David's Grandpop, Dick Moffitt. If you like mushrooms you are going to love this recipe. Truly scrumptious!

Tip - Do not wash mushrooms by submerging them in water as that will make them rubbery in consistency after being cooked. Instead, wipe them thoroughly with a damp paper towel.

FYI...the big red mushrooms in the pictures are courtesy of our dear friend, Tricia Redding. We had so much fun making those with you. Thank you my sweet friend. We love you!

1/4 cup Bread crumbs
1 pack whole mushrooms
4 green onions, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Worcestershire sauce
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

add cooked and crumbled pork sausage.

Cut up stems, saving the caps. In a mixing bowl add bread crumbs, diced stems, onions, garlic and mix well. Stuff the stem mixture into the mushroom caps. Put a dollop of Worcestershire, Tabasco and butter on top of each stuffed mushroom cap. Top with finely grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Mom's Mushroom Croustades

My Mom has been creating these wonderful bursts of tangy, crunchy and savory delights for as long as I can remember. We always make these hors d'oeuvres when we have a party and they're always a hit! You can make these ahead of time, they freeze well for up to a couple of months.

3 tbsp minced green onion
4 tbsp melted butter
1/2 lb minced mushrooms
2 tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Parsley
2 tbsp minced chives
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice

For the Crust:
1 loaf of white sliced bread
1/4 cup melted butter

For the Crust or Croustades:
Trim the crusts from the bread slices. With a rolling pin flatten each bread slice and cut into 4 even squares. Using small-sized muffin tins, place 1/2 tsp melted butter into each muffin cup. Gently push each bread square into muffin cups. Bake croustades at 350 degrees until golden brown.

In a skillet saute green onions in butter. Add minced mushrooms and cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until moisture is gone. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring until well blended. Add the heavy cream, bring to a boil and simmer on medium-high heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Soak salt, cayenne, parsley and chives in 2 tbsp water and the lemon juice. Mix well and cool. Set aside.

Fill each croustades with about a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes.

Roasted Cornish Hens

The beauty of Cornish hens is that they are beautiful, inexpensive and taste great! Plus, they're super easy to cook. We roast hens quite often and like to serve it with roasted potatoes and a green vegetable.

2 Cornish hens
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 tbsp white wine
4 cloves of crushed garlic
salt & pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
dash or two of Tony Chachere’s Cajun spice

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Stuff the hens with a little of the lemon peel and the cloves of garlic. Place the Cornish hens on a rack in a roasting pan. In a small bowl combine oil, lemon juice, zest, wine and seasonings; brush onto the hens. Roast in the oven, basting frequently with the olive oil mixture. Roast approximately one and one-half hours or until golden brown.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shrimp Scampi

As requested, I prepared Dylan one of his new, favorite dishes last night. I made Shrimp Scampi for the first time for the family a month or so ago and everyone loved it. I use to cook this all the time before David and I had kids. In fact, I kind of forgot about this recipe until Dylan encouraged me to cook more dishes with shrimp in it. He loves Shrimp....he could be Bubba Gump's twin, he'll eat shrimp prepared any which way.

Serve this over hot buttered noodles, rice or linguine. Linguine is our favorite choice. Serve with crusty bread and your favorite salad to complete the meal.

Shrimp Scampi

4 TBSP butter
3 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup green onions, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb. medium raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
zest of 1 lemon
4 TBSP fresh basil, minced
2 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
1 TBSP fresh oregano, minced
Tabasco sauce, dash
Parmesan cheese
lemon wedges

Heat wok over medium heat until hot. Add butter, oil and wine. When butter has melted, add onion, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Stir-fry until onion is limp, about 30 seconds. Turn heat to high; add shrimp. Stir-fry until pink, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest, parsley, basil and Tabasco sauce. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and lemon wedge to squeeze over each serving.

2 - 4 servings

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sherri's Summer Salad

My sister, Sherri made this yummy salad for us last summer while we were having one of our fun girl's night out/slumber party at Mom's. Of course we always stay up into the wee hours playing MADLIBS and laughing hysterically. Good times!! This has been included in my repertoire of recipes ever since. It has such a nice mixture of flavors. The tangy sweetness from the oranges to the crunchiness of the almonds, which is a healthy substitute for croutons and the feta cheese is the crowning touch. This is one everyone is sure to love.

1 bag 50/50 spring mix lettuce
1/2 bag spinach
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup Wish Bone's Raspberry Hazelnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Feta cheese crumbles
1 small bag sliced almonds

In a salad bowl toss lettuce mix, spinach, tomatoes, oranges and the salad dressing together. Toss in Feta cheese and almonds.

Mom/Mamaw's Vegetable Soup

We've enjoyed this recipe for so many years. This is one of my favorite soups that my Mom lovingly prepared for us while I was growing up. It's super easy and very nutritious. I enjoy serving this with a good, crusty bread and salad. Last night we served this with Sherri's Summer Salad (recipe to follow) and I roasted some chicken breast that was basted with Italian salad dressing. That may be my kid's favorite way I prepare chicken and again, it's super easy.

Above are pictures from my Mom's 82nd Birthday last Month. We love and appreciate you, Mom...More than you know! :-)

Vegetable Soup

3 - 16 oz cans diced tomatoes or homemade stewed tomatoes
6 cups water
1 large white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp herbs de Provence
2 - 10 oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables
3 - 4 med potatoes, peeled and diced
2 -3 bouillon cubes

Empty tomatoes into large pot. Add water, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to full boil. Add bouillon cubes, mixed veggies and potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until potatoes are tender and soup is tasty, about 1 hour. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

10 - 12 servings

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mr. B's Gumbo and Creole Seasoning

On our way back home from the lake house, we were listening to Jimmy Buffet's song called "I will work for Gumbo." Jimmy totally got us craving this flavorful dish. I'm including an awesome recipe from Mr. B's Bistro in New Orleans. If you're ever there I highly recommend you check it out. The food and service is impeccable. Here's their recipe for gumbo. Cook this with someone you love and who is willing to help with the stirring of the roux. I promise it's worth the hour it takes to get the roux just right. Perfect for a snowy day like we had for the first day of spring last weekend. Enjoy and remember: Laisse-Bon Temps Rouille!

1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
1 - 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 - 1/2 onions, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
10 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp Creole seasoning (recipe following)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
5 -6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 lb andouille sausage, or whatever kind of sausage you like, cut into 1/4' thick slices
1 - 3/4 lb chicken, roasted and boned
hot sauce to taste
boiled rice as an accompaniment
garlic bread

**We usually add deveined and shelled shrimp (at least 1 lb.). Mr. B's recipe does not call for shrimp.

In a large pot melt butter over moderately low heat. Gradually add a third of the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add a third more flour and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add remaining third of flour. Continue to cook roux, stirring constantly, until it is the color of dark mahogany, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add bell peppers and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add onions and celery and stir constantly 30 seconds. Add the stock to the roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add all the remaining ingredients except, chicken, rice and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered, 45 minutes, skimming off any fat and stirring occasionally. Add chicken and simmer 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning with hot sauce. Serve over rice and with some garlic bread.

1 - 1/2 cups paprika
3/4 cup ground black pepper
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated garlic
1/3 cup dried thyme
1/3 cup dried oregano
1/3 cup dried basil
1/4 cup granulated onion
1/4 cup cayenne

In a bowl combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

I cut this recipe in half.

Yield: 4 cups

Eggs McQuaid

Here's another breakfast recipe we love to cook at the lake house. This also happens to be another recipe from Sara. It's super easy and so good. Sara prepared this breakfast for us the first time I ever went to the lake house, which was back in 1985, almost 25 years ago. She would fix Eggs McQuaid and fried potato skins from the leftover baked potatoes we had with our steak the night before. Great food and great memories!

5 eggs
10 slices bacon, cooked
5 flour tortillas
grated cheddar cheese
sliced green onion
jalapeno slices

Fry the eggs, sunny side down. Set aside. On a foil lined cookie sheet arrange each tortilla with a fried egg, 2 slices of bacon, cheddar cheese and top with onion. Place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Heat until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Serve with salsa and jalapeno slices. Other garnishing's could include sliced avocado, sour cream and cilantro leaves.

Sara's Classic Caesar Salad

This is truly the best Caesar Salad recipe. We eat this at least once a week. Add some cut up roasted chicken to the salad, serve with your favorite soup and this makes for a wonderful, light dinner. My Mother-in-Law, Sara is a gourmet cook and this is our version of her recipe. Sara has taken cooking classes from France to Vietnam, to give you an idea of the diversity of the dishes she masterfully prepares. She's always inspiring us to try new and interesting meals. I will be including a lot of Sara's recipes in the future. She's not only my beloved MIL, she's a very dear friend as well. Thank you for always being there, Sara!

Caesar Salad

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 coddled egg (boiled 1 minute)
1 tbsp Worcestershire
2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can anchovy filet's, minced, save the oil to add to dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
juice and zest of 1 lemon
fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 head of romaine lettuce torn and ribs removed
1/2 red onion sliced thin
Croutons (optional)

Mix the oil, egg, Worcestershire, garlic, anchovy's, and the oil from the anchovies. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, set aside. Shred the lettuce in a large salad bowl. Add sliced onion. Just prior to serving Toss the lettuce and onions in the prepared dressing. Top with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Toss and add croutons and Parmesan cheese to taste. Toss.

Cowboy Steak AKA Pan Seared Steak

A family favorite for dinner, especially when we're at the lake is grilled steak, baked potato and the classic Sara McQuaid Caesar Salad. Anyone who's a carnivore knows how to grill the perfect steak. The recipe I'm posting today is a twist on grilling a steak. David sometimes pan sears our steak on the stove and it produces a steak worthy of some of the high end restaurants in town. Usually, there’s nothing better than a great grilled steak, however, this recipe will make you question conventional wisdom. It will be smokey so if you happen to have an outdoor stove top you might want to opt for that.

The next recipe will be my Mother-In-Law, Sara's classic Caesar Salad.

Cowboy Steak

Three New York Strips, the thicker the better (go for the best quality meat, preferably from a meat market like Kuby’s or Rudolph’s Meat Market)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Brush the steaks with the extra virgin olive oil. Heat a cast iron skillet or pan to very hot
Put the steaks on the skillet for 2 minutes per side. It will sizzle and smoke heavily, so if you have a gas burner on your grill outside, that may be your best option. After searing the steaks for 2 minutes per side, brush each side with olive oil and garlic, and put them on a raised grate in a pan and cook in the oven for 12 minutes per side at 325 degrees. I know baking a steak goes against every grain in my body, however, you will end up with a steak as delicious and wonderful as any you can get in some of the finest steakhouses!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Desperado - Sausage & Potato Hash Topped with an Egg Over Easy

This breakfast is a family favorite.  I recreated this recipe from a restaurant chain in the Dallas area called "Le Peep."  It's a versatile dish, where as you can add some fried, corn tortilla strips (or tortilla chips to make it easier), substitute  the pork sausage with chorizo and serve with flour tortillas and you have Migas (recipe below).  This meal is good for a crowd, just double the recipe.  I especially love serving this at our lake house because I can have the sausage and potatoes all cooked and teed up and finish the process after everyone wakes up.  Even the pickiest of eaters will eat this up.


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 diced large russet potato
1 - 16 oz pkg Jimmy Dean's Sausage
1/2 cup yellow or red onion diced
4 minced garlic
Tony Cachere's Creole seasoning to taste or old bay
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp butter
5 eggs
Cheddar Cheese
jalapeno slices (optional)
Flour tortillas (optional)

To make Migas:
Substitute Mexican Chorizo for Jimmy Dean's Sausage.  Add fried tortilla strips or chips.

Microwave potato for 3 minutes or until cooked halfway through. In a frying pan heat oil add potatoes, fry until golden brown. In another frying pan brown sausage. After the meat is halfway browned add the onions and then the garlic. Drain the fat from the sausage. Season the potatoes with Tony Cachere's seasoning and pepper. Season the sausage with Worcestershire. Combine the two mixtures in one pan and keep warm. In another pan heat butter and fry the eggs. While the eggs are cooking prepare each plate with a heaping serving of the potato and sausage mixture. Layer with a little cheddar cheese. Flip the egg for just 30 seconds and serve on top of the cheese. Serve with Salsa, Tabasco for people to add to their liking.

Serves 4 - 5 people

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beef Stew - Happy St. Patrick's Day in honor of Olive Louise. Happy Birthday precious, baby girl!

Happy St. Patty's Day (a day late)! :-) It was an absolutely beautiful day in Dallas yesterday. And what a special day it turned out to be nephew, Chad and his wife, Maggie welcomed their daughter, Olive into the world. What a wonderful blessing is she! How fun would that be to have your B-day be on St. Patrick's day. Olive is my Mom's second Great Grand baby born in less than a month of each other. My niece, D'Ann and her husband, Andrew also welcomed a beautiful, baby girl named Arabella a couple of weeks ago. Mom currently has 3 Great Grandchildren and 12 Grandchildren or as she's lovingly referred to by the Grandkids as Mamaw. Arabella has a very proud 2 - 1/2 year old, big brother, Calvin who my Mom describes as very smart and incredibly sweet. Calvin, Olive and Arabella will no doubt be the best of friends. These two babies are precious gifts (as is Calvin) and we welcome them to our family with so much love. Congratulations to you all. I cannot wait to meet the newest additions to our family. Please know you're in our hearts, thoughts and prayers!

The top baby picture is Olive. 2nd picture is Charlene, my sister-in-law, Mom and Arabella. 4th picture is Calvin and my brother, Dick. 5th is Arabella. The rest speak for themselves. =)

I'm sorry I wasn't able to post my beef stew recipe as promised yesterday. As is usual in the McQuaid household, it was an action-packed day and I didn't have many opportunities to get on my computer. David and I went out for lunch and ate Corned Beef and Cabbage and Reuben Sandwiches at the Old Monk to celebrate St. Patrick's day. We both agree, the Old Monk serves the BEST Reuben Sandwiches in town and it has a great Irish pub-type of atmosphere. The perfect place to celebrate this festive day.

After lunch we packed up the family and headed to our lake house at Lake Texoma. It's a little too chilly to take out the boat, but it's so wonderfully peaceful and quiet out here. We have no TV, no land line and computer access is spotty at best. So we're going on lots of hikes, playing all kinds of games, we're doing a little fishing and of course, Dylan loves shooting the BB gun. I don't know that I will ever get comfortable with the idea of my son playing with guns, even if it is just a BB gun. We've made so many wonderful memories out here and I look forward to making many more.

Also, In honor of St. Patrick's day, we hit the Greenville Avenue Parade last weekend, which is an annual tradition for our family. It seemed to be one of the best years yet, but I think we say that every year. =) As always, it was a great time with the kids.

Here's a beef stew recipe that I tried on a cold day and it turned out really good. My Mom made something very similar to this when I was growing up and I absolutely loved it. Thanks Mom for all the wonderful home-cooked meals. I love you with all my heart!

Irish Beef Stew

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for frying, plus more to drizzle
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 6 - 8 TBSP flour, divided use
2 to 3 pounds beef chuck shoulder roast, cut into 2-inch pieces (this cut is also called chuck shoulder pot roast and chuck roast boneless)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup dry red wine
4 TBSP, fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 large containers of beef stock
8 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp allspice
2 TBSP worcestshire sauce
1 - 2 dashes tabsco sauce
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 bay leaves
3 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean, and cut into chunks
1 bag baby carrots
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
1 - 1/2 cups celery, chopped
fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
horseradish sour cream, recipe follows, for garnish
toasted peasant bread, recipe follows for garnish

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the oil and butter. While the pan is heating, mix the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large dish. Dredge cubed beef in flour mixture to coat. Shake off the excess flour and add the beef chunks in a single layer to the hot pan, being careful not to over crowd the pan, you might have to work in batches. Thoroughly brown all of the cubes on all sides. Once all the meat has been browned remove it to a plate and reserve. Add the wine, deglazing the pan and bring up to a simmer over medium heat while you scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon being sure to loosen up all those tasty bits. Slowly add the 6 - 8 TBSP flour, stirring constantly until the mix turns into a chestnut brown color, about 10 minutes. Add 2 large containers of beef broth. Mix well over medium-high heat. Add parsley, thyme, allspice, pepper to taste, worcestershire, tabasco, ground cloves, bay leaves and garlic. Add the vegetables. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to medium low. Simmer 2 - 1/2 to 3 hours. Serve with horseradish sauce and a crusty, french bread. To serve, place the stew in a soup bowl, garnish with parsley, drizzle with olive oil and add a dollop of horseradish sour cream. Serve with toasted peasant bread.

Horseradish Sour Cream:
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chives, finely chopped, as garnish

Combine sour cream, prepared horseradish and a drizzle of olive oil in a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add a dollop of the mixture on top of the stew and garnish with chopped chives.

Toasted Peasant Bread:

1 loaf peasant bread, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, halved
Chopped parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Put a sheet pan in the oven so that it gets good and hot. Place the bread slices on the hot sheet pan. Drizzle the bread with the extra-virgin olive oil bake for 5 minutes, until the bread is nicely toasted. Rub the bread slices with the garlic cloves, and discard garlic. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Kiss the Blarney Stone for me. =)