Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pan Seared Filet Mignon

Pan Seared Filet Mignon

When is the last time you had a perfectly done filet mignon?  For me it’s been a while.  Who can afford to pick up this cut of meat anymore?  My luck was about to change. 

The food gods smiled down upon me when I found a great price on a whole beef tenderloin.  I proceeded to quickly educate myself on how to butcher this beautiful piece of meat to yield delectable filet mignon steaks.  This recipe centers around how to pan sear the steak to get it just the way you want it.  If you scroll to the bottom of this post you’ll find my video on how to butcher the tenderloin.  

Pan Seared Filet Mignon
Prep time: 1 min
Cook time: 7 min (rare)
Servings: 1

  • 6 oz Filet Mignon Steak
  • 2 tsp Vegetable Oil
  • Coarse Grey Celtic Sea Salt
  • Cracked Peppercorns

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F if you want the steak medium to well done.  There’s no need to use the oven if you want a rare steak. 
  2. Brush the steak with vegetable oil and heavily season with salt and pepper.  Oiling the steak vs the pan will cut down on excessive smoke when frying.
  3. Place the steak onto a hot cast iron skillet and don’t move it for 2-3 minutes since it needs to develop a golden brown crust before it will release easily from the pan.
  4. Flip it and sear for another 2 or 3 minutes on the second side then sear the sides for 20-30 seconds per side.
  5. Once the whole surface is seared you've got the perfect rare steak.
  6. For medium rare place it into a 400 degree oven for 4 to 6 minutes, for medium well 6 to 8 minutes and for well-done 8-10 minutes.
  7. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Notes:  When cooking a steak it’s best to start with a room temperature piece of meat.  But if you like your meat blood rare you might want to bend those rules a little and start with a chilled steak.

How to Butcher a Whole Beef Tenderloin:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs - Review & Giveaway

Review & Giveaway - Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs

A few months ago I showed you how to make gluten free corn dogs.  Actually, at the time, I thought that homemade corn dogs were the only option for those of us following a gluten free diet.   

Turns out, I was WRONG!  I had no idea that Foster Farms was producing a gluten free corn dog until I was contacted by the company to see if I was interested in reviewing their new Gluten Free Honey Crunch Corn Dogs.  Wow! Had I heard that right?  Was there actually a gluten free version of this carnival classic now available right in the freezer section?    

Of course I was interested.  Who wouldn't be?

As a general rule, I've found that when a company contacts me to sample their wares, they’re usually confident about the quality.  After all, who on earth would volunteer to send out samples if they knew that the recipient would be disappointed and spreading the word.

To make a long story short, the confidence that Foster Farms exhibited was backed up by a fabulous corn dog.  I was actually a little shocked.  Truthfully, I didn't expect them to be good after reading the words “100% Chicken Frank”.  I figured that the gluten free corn dog coating would be pretty good since I had had a successful result in my own recipe.

But a chicken frank???  

Yes, they’re a lot lower in fat and calories but could they possibly taste as good as the all-beef hot dogs I've loved all my life.  In short, yes they can.  The corn dogs were delicious.  They were actually so good that I decided I’d throw a few boxes into the oven and serve them at my daughter’s 13th birthday party. 

Don’t you think they’d be perfect next to a huge pot of chili on game day too? 

I prepared them using the oven baked method and they cooked perfectly following their instructions.  The coating was crunchy with a sweet corn bread flavor and the hot dog was very tasty.  I would have never guessed that it was a chicken frank.  The package also gives directions for deep frying, which I didn't try, and microwaving which I did try.  The microwaved version cooks perfectly but the crust is not nearly as crunchy as the oven baked method.     

Beyond them being delicious, they have the added bonus of being a mere 180 calories per dog.  That’s about half the calories of the homemade version I did a few months ago.  But beyond them being lower calories, there’s practically no work or mess involved in making these guys.  

The next time I crave a corn dog, believe me, I’m heading for the freezer section.

They’re available nationwide at many retailers including:
  • Safeway (Safeway, Vons, Randall’s, Tom Thumb)
  • Kroger (Kroger, Fry’s, Smith’s)
  • Raley’s
  • Lucky
  • Albertsons
  • Giant Eagle
  • Woodman’s
  • Copps / Roundy’s
  • Schnucks
  • Food Lion
  • HyVee
  • Marsh

Shoppers can also call Foster Farms to help locate a retailer in their area at 1-800-255-7227

Some Additional Facts about Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs:
  • Each full sized corn dog is contains 180 calories and features a 100% chicken frank dipped twice in a delicious honey crunchy batter minus the gluten of course.
  • Each box contains 12 full sized corn dogs.
  • Foster Farms Honey Crunchy Corn Dogs are America’s top selling corn dog line.   
  • They’re certified gluten free by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) to contain less than 10ppm of gluten per serving.
  • As I understand it, the (GIG) evaluates each ingredient to ensure that each is gluten free.  They also audit production facilities to evaluate any risk of cross contamination. It’s a process that leaves me feeling confident that safety in being seriously considered. 

My Video Review:

The Giveaway:

Foster Farms has generously agreed to give away 5 vouchers for a free box of their gluten free corn dogs to members of my social media audience.  The giveaway is only open to US winners since the product is only available in the US.  It would be useless to send a voucher to a location where the winner cannot obtain the product. 

To Enter the Giveaway:

You MUST go to the Foster Farms Facebook Page and like their page then leave me a message either here or on my YouTube video announcement stating that you did.

To Earn Additional Entries:

You can go to my facebook page  Like & Share the post about the giveaway.

You can go to my twitter page and Retweet the giveaway announcement.

The Giveaway will end on Halloween 10-31-14 at midnight EST.  Once I have compiled all of the entries, I’ll conduct a random drawing then notify the 5 winners according to the way that they entered.  If you win, I’ll request your name and mailing address to forward to Foster Farms so that they can mail you the voucher directly. 

Good Luck 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Apple Banana Peanut Butter Snack Cake

Apple Banana Peanut Butter Snack Cake

What do you do with your overripe bananas?  I’m beginning to think I’ll never run out of ideas.

Today I stretched the boundaries a little with an Apple Peanut Butter Banana Snack Cake.  Honestly I wasn’t sure it would be very good.  Often as a snack I turn to apples and peanut butter.  The banana-peanut butter flavor combo often makes its way into my recipes too.   

But could all these flavors coexist together?  Would this loaf cake, that’s actually a spin on banana bread, be delicious or disastrous?   

In short the flavors complimented each other quite well with an end result that was delicious indeed.

Actually I was inspired by a jar of cinnamon raisin swirl peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Company.  One spoon of that yummy peanut butter and I was thinking … 


The daydreaming ensued and the Apple Peanut Butter Banana Snack Cake was born.

Apple Banana Peanut Butter Snack Cake
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 70 – 75 min
Servings: 8-10

  • ¾ cup of peanut butter, at room temperature (192 grams)
  • ½ cup butter, (softened)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 large overripe bananas, mashed (or 3 small you’ll need just over 1 cup)
  • 1 ¾ cups gluten free self-rising flour (or gluten free Bisquick)
  • 1 large apple sliced into 24-28 wedges

Ingredients for the Peanut Butter Glaze
  • ½ cup peanut butter (128 grams)
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (or whole milk or half and half)

Video Tutorial

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (or 175 °C) and grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. 
  2. Slice a large honey crisp apple into quarters then remove the core by cutting a thin slice from each quarter.  Slice each quarter into six or seven thin wedges and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl cream together the peanut butter, butter and brown sugar until well combined and fluffy. 
  4. Add the eggs and mashed banana and beat until well combined then stir in the gluten free self-rising flour and mix until you have a very thick dense batter.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top using the back of a spoon or spatula.
  6. Bake for 70-75 minutes (I baked mine for 75 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan then cool completely on a wire rack. 
  7. To make the glaze stir together the peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar until well combined then stir in about ¼ cup of whole milk or heavy cream adding 1 tablespoon at a time until you have thick consistency that’s thinned enough to be spooned over the cake.
  8. Cover the top of the cake with the peanut butter glaze, spreading with the back of a spoon allowing it to drip down the sides a little then refrigerate for a few hours to set the glaze and allow it to crust over then serve.   

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pan Seared Shrimp & Confetti Veggie Orzo

Pan Seared Shrimp & Confetti Veggie Orzo

Are you familiar with orzo?  Encase you’re not, it’s a small rice shaped pasta typically used in soups because it fits so nicely on a spoon.  Unfortunately this tiny pasta had been absent from my recipes for years since I wasn’t able to find a gluten free variety since beginning my g-free journey. 

Before that, for as long as I can remember orzo was an essential ingredient in my homemade chicken soup.  But what I really missed was using it as a substitute for Arborio rice in risotto-like dishes.  Like risotto it can be flavored in countless ways and serve as a first plate, main course, or side dish. 

When I discovered that Delallo had a gluten free orzo variety I was excited.  I picked up several bags and headed straight to the kitchen to whip up something delicious.  The end result is a quick pan seared shrimp with confetti veggie orzo.  It’s easy to make yet impressive enough to serve to company.

Pan Seared Shrimp & Confetti Veggie Orzo
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Servings: 4

Ingredients for the Orzo
  • 12 oz orzo ( I used dellalo)
  • 3 tbsp butter (divided 2tbsp & 1tbsp)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 ½  – 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream (optional)

Ingredients for the Shrimp
  • 1 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp sambal sauce
  • lemon wedges and parsley (for garnish)

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Stir together the shrimp, olive oil, and sambal sauce and set aside.
  2. For the orzo, be sure to have all the veggies prepped then drop the pasta into salted boiling water and stir periodically or it will all clump together.  The package says to cook it for 11 minutes but we will cook it for half that time then finish cooking it in broth with the veggies.
  3. In a wide skillet over a medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of butter then toss in all the veggies except for the peas and saute for about 4 or 5 minutes until the veggies just start to wilt and develop a bit of color. 
  4. Once the orzo has boiled for just over half the time of the package instructions, drain it and add it to the pan with the veggies.
  5. Immediately add 1 ½ cups of chicken broth (to start) and the white wine.
  6. Continue to simmer and stir for another 5 minutes or so to allowing the orzo to finish cooking in the broth.
  7. Add the peas 3 minutes prior to the orzo being done to keep them bright. 
  8. You may need to add up to another 1 ½ cups of broth if at any point the bottom of the pan starts to get dry before the orzo gets tender.  Make these additions in ½ cup increments.
  9. Once the orzo is fully cooked, turn off the heat, add another tablespoon of butter and the heavy cream then stir to combine, top with parsley and set aside. 
  10. For the shrimp, in a large skillet over a high heat, add a little oil to the pan then add the shrimp and sauté for a minute or two on the first side then flip and let them go for a minute on the second side.  Remove them from the pan so they don’t overcook.
  11. To plate the dish, spoon the orzo onto the plate, top with thespicy shrimp, garnish with parsley and a lemon wedge.       

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