Summer Garden Pasta

One of my favorite pasta combinations!

Summer Garden Pasta

4 pints colorful cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound angel hair pasta
2 cups grated parmesan cheese

In a large bowl combine the halved colorful cherry tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 4 hours but no longer.

When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add large pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil to the water and stir.

Cook angel hair pasta about 3 minutes. Drain. Add the pasta in with the tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with chopped basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese. Toss together. Sprinkle additional chopped basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese on top if desired.

Serve hot, warm, room temperature or cold.

CHEW THIS! Aunt Susie’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Aunt Susie’s Sweet Potato Casserole

img_0742.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 19th 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Thanksgiving Traditions and Memories
Blaise Doubman

I have such wonderful memories of Thanksgiving growing up and I wish I could share them all with you here in this column but the column would eventually turn into a book and that book is for a later time. Today I am going to talk about my memories of my Uncle Donald and Aunt Susie. Donald Davis, my Grandma Deloris’ brother, and his wife, Mary, “Susie” were always a staple at the Bolinger Thanksgiving. I remember Donald always wanting to shake my hand and Susie always giving the warmest hugs, the very minute we would step through the front door. Susie is also known for her warm and genuine laugh and caring smile. She is a super smart lady too! Every time we would get out the after Thanksgiving games to play, everyone always fought to be on her team! There would be a buffet table lined with anything and everything a person could possibly want to eat, the Christmas decorations would be up and on and music would be playing softy in the background. Things seemed to be so simple back then, nothing ever changed and everything stayed the same. My Grandpa Max would announce his dislike for the dumpings while all of us doubted him in his decision and bets would be made for the upcoming football game. The star of the show and the star attraction of the Thanksgiving table though was, without a doubt, my Aunt Susie’s sweet potato casserole. Every year it was the dish that was most looked forward to and always the first dish emptied. Nobody could ever get enough!

Years passed, and as time does, things changed and “new normal” traditions were created. People seemed to get busier, sometimes people couldn’t make it due to illness or plans created with other family members or friends. Thanksgiving seemed to change with each year that passed and along the way we lost some very special members of the family. Through difficult times it was times like I had described earlier, of times when I was younger and nothing seemed to change and everything was magical and happy, that I held on to, to get me through. Those times are still close to my heart and every now and then I get them out when I need them. Susie’s sweet potato casserole was always on the minds of my family and I with each Thanksgiving. I tried to duplicate the recipe, using lime juice and marshmallows, but nothing ever even came close. Even when planning my cookbook, this recipe was the “one that got away”. Skip ahead to just a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon Donald and Susie’s daughter, Carolyn Sue, in an address book. I took a leap of faith, sent a text and hoped the number was still active. Within just a few hours, she wrote back! That lead to a wonderful reconnection and a memorable phone conversation that brought forth the recipe I have so many memories tied up in. I made it and I was transported back to when times were simpler, the future was still yet unfolding and I could feel the warmth and remembrance of my childhood. I am so happy to share this recipe with everyone here today and a very special thank you to Carolyn Sue Kellams and her sweet family for allowing me to do so. This sweet potato casserole will always have a special place on the Thanksgiving table and in my heart.

Aunt Susie’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Some recipes are meant to be followed to the exact letter, especially family recipes that bring about a certain memory from days gone by, but feel free to experiment with this casserole and top it with your favorite cereal or nuts. Frosted flakes would be a modern twist for the topping, mixed with some sliced almonds. If you are not a fan of coconut, simply leave it off and replace with extra cornflakes and nuts. This recipe is very versatile and can be made ahead and then warmed up right before serving. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

For the casserole…
1 40 oz. can sweet potatoes, drained
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the topping…
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
1 cup crushed corn flakes
1 cup flaked coconut
½ cup chopped pecans

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F and by spraying a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl mash together the drained sweet potatoes with the soft unsalted butter. Add and beat in the large beaten eggs, white granulated sugar and ground cinnamon.

In a glass measuring cup combine the milk with the cornstarch. Add to the mixture and combine well. Pour into the prepared baking pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the casserole is starting to bake, make the topping by combining the unsalted butter, crushed corn flakes, flaked coconut and chopped pecans in a medium sized skillet over medium low heat. Stir often until everything is combined and warmed. The coconut will be lightly toasted, the butter completely melted and the corn flakes slightly brown and crisp.

Once the casserole is out of the oven, top the casserole evenly with the topping. Some of the topping may sink down, that is desirable, just be sure to spread evenly across the top. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and place the casserole back in to bake for another 30 minutes.

Remove the casserole, allow to cool slightly before enjoying. Leftovers may be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator. To heat up leftovers, place in oven safe container, uncovered, and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Ask and Answer: So many people write to me this time of year asking about what my Thanksgiving plan is going to be. People often feel overwhelmed, frantic and stressed out leading up to Thanksgiving and have no idea how or where to start with their Thanksgiving meal prep work. Let me give you some tips! Write down everything that you want to make for your Thanksgiving meal and then cross out half. There is always too much food prepared and you do not have to stress yourself out by making too many dishes that only a bite or two will be taken from. Second, start your planning backwards, starting at taking the turkey or ham from the oven, and work backwards. This will give you a better idea of when you need to start different dishes and give you a better frame of mind, time wise. Thirdly, make ahead what you can! Casseroles, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, deviled eggs and most desserts can simply be made ahead then warmed and served on Thanksgiving. My website is filled with hundreds of recipes for Thanksgiving and more than half can be made ahead! If you need more tips, suggestions or recipes please email me and I will get back to you right away.

Foolproof Omelet

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” September 16th, 2017

My Grandma Deloris has been on an “omelet kick” at Glen Oaks Health Campus in New Castle, Indiana and it got me thinking about where the omelet plays a role in my life. It really does not. Gasp! I know – I know. I decided it was time to change that so I told Grandma my plans on developing my own foolproof recipe, went home and got to work.

Developing this recipe was really not as complicated as I had originally thought. Just a few simple steps and a couple of simple techniques and you have one giant foolproof omelet!

You can stuff your omelet with anything and everything you can imagine. I used shredded cheese in mine. Feel free to use green peppers and onions, sausage, ham or even turkey and green onion. The sky is really the limit here – reach for the stars!

img_9204.jpg

Foolproof Omelet

4 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat a large 10-inch skillet over medium high heat for about a minute. Add in the butter and allow to melt evenly.

In a large bowl whisk together the large eggs with the salt and black pepper. Really whisk here – you want to incorporate a lot of air. Whisk, whisk, whisk.

Once the butter is bubbly and hot pour the whisked eggs directly into the center of the skillet and leave alone.

Watch closely but do not move the eggs.

Once your eggs resemble a giant yellow pancake – you will be able to tell the color and texture just by looking – add in your fillings to the center of the omelet.

If you are having trouble getting the “yellow pancake” outcome, use a rubber scrapper and gently pull on one side of the omelet, tilting the skillet down so the uncooked egg slides from the top to the bottom – therefore allowing it to cook.

Wait 20 seconds after adding your filling and then gently use a rubber scrapper to fold the omelet over onto itself. Be careful here of the fillings used.

Hold the omelet carefully with hot fingers and or rubber scrapper to drain out some of the fat from the skillet.

Place on plate and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! BBQ Pineapple Chicken, Corn Pudding and Rice

BBQ Chicken, Corn Pudding and Rice

img_0080.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, April 17th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A complete southern-style meal, with perfect pairings…
Blaise Doubman

I love a good southern-style meal, and this one may be one of my favorites. Usually when someone mentions a southern-style meal, my first thoughts drift to fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, macaroni and cheese, dumplings, cheesy grits, buttermilk biscuits, green beans, fried corn and okra. Southern-style food is classified as a lot more than just fried chicken, loads of butter and carbohydrates believe it or not. The cuisine of the Southern United States consists of a lot of flavor, and food, combinations that I’m sure many of you aren’t aware of. Did you know that in the southern cuisine there are culture influences from Africa, England, and Scotland? Did you also know BBQ, rice and corn are all listed in the online food index as having “southern influences”?

I love hearing from my readers, and many of you have written asking for meal ideas, recipes for main dishes, and recipes for side dishes. I love to bake, but I also love to cook as well, so coming up with something like this isn’t anything out of my comfort zone. I did end up taking myself out of my comfort zone though, when I decided I wasn’t going to fry anything for this southern-style meal. I wanted to produce something southern, but not in the typical way a lot of people associate with the term “southern-style cuisine”. I wanted people to open their minds as to what could be classified as such, and with the combinations of BBQ, chicken, corn and rice – it was a perfect match!

BBQ Pineapple Chicken, Corn Pudding and Rice

If you don’t like pineapple, feel free to leave it out of the recipe, and just add the BBQ sauce to the chicken breasts – no need to do any recipe readjustments. The flavors in this meal compliment each other nicely and even better when served with a side of roasted broccoli. Roasted broccoli is a simple side dish. Take fresh or frozen broccoli florets and place on a sheet pan. Drizzle the broccoli with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a couple of teaspoons each salt and black pepper. Toss all together with clean hands, and place in preheated 425-degree oven for 30 minutes. This same recipe will work with all kinds of vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, squash… Flavorful – and healthy!

For BBQ Pineapple Chicken…

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 regular size bottle BBQ sauce
1 small can of crushed pineapple

For the Corn Pudding…

1 regular sized can whole kernel corn (undrained)
1 regular sized can cream style corn
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, beaten
1 small box “Jiffy”- brand corn muffin mix
1 (4 oz) stick of salted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

To make the BBQ pineapple chicken, spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the chicken breasts inside the slow cooker and pour over the BBQ sauce, and can of crushed pineapple. Be sure the BBQ sauce and crushed pineapple is evenly distributed over the chicken breasts.

Set your slow cooker on high for three hours, or low for five hours until chicken is done.

To make the corn pudding, start by preheating your oven to 350-degrees F and lightly spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine both cans of corn, sour cream, beaten eggs, corn muffin mix, melted butter, salt and pepper.

Pour this mixture into the prepared casserole dish, and place in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes until the top is dry and the interior is still slightly wobbly.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool slightly before serving.

To prepare the white rice, follow the package directions of your favorite rice. I also prefer to use the “stovetop” method, adding a little salt and butter to the rice.

Leftovers from this meal can be kept in a covered container, in the refrigerator, for up to three days and reheated in the microwave.

CHEW THIS! Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

slow-cooker-pot-roast-with-vegetables-chew-this-blaise-doubman.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 6th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

A warm and delicious slow cooker meal, perfect for cold weather…
Blaise Doubman

I have to admit that I’ve never been a slow cooker fan, until recently. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because of the “slow cooking” process? I’ve never been one to have an extreme amount of patience, and the whole concept of cooking something over the course of several hours never really appealed to me. If you feel the same way, let me reassure you of something that I’m sure will change your mind. When you cook food low and slow, especially meat, you will have the most succulent and tender piece of meat you can ever imagine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the process of “slow cooking” and this method can actually be used to benefit you in the long run by eliminating the clean up of several pots and pans, and by adding time to your day.

If you are like almost every single person in the world today, you need more hours in the day, am I right? You work a hectic job, try and get everything done for everybody else and don’t have that much time to cook when you finally get home in the evenings. And believe me, after a full, hectic and stressful day, a warm home cooked meal is exactly what is needed. Grabbing something from a fast food chain just will not warm and comfort the soul like something fresh and made at home where you control what goes in, and stays out, of the finished dish. Prepare this complete meal in the morning, go about your daily life, and come home to a meal that is warm, soothing, flavorful and completely satisfying. Try this worry and hassle free meal for a surefire hit!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

It’s essential that you cut the beef roast in half to ensure even cooking. This recipe is very versatile and can be made with a variety of vegetables other than potatoes and carrots. For something different try fennel with the onions, or even fennel, onions, celery and garlic. Experiment with whatever vegetable and flavors you desire. You can also experiment with the types of beef used, and use any boneless cut from the chuck or round – such as a rump roast or a bottom round roast. It’s really about preference. I have found, though, that the boneless beef chuck shoulder roast results in the most tender and succulent result. If you want to add even more flavor to the recipe, brown all sides of the roast in a skillet with a little flour before adding it to your slow cooker. This will develop a “crust” which will help lock in the final juices.

1, 4-5 pound boneless beef chuck shoulder roast
4 large potatoes, washed, peeled, and medium diced
4 large carrots, washed and medium diced
2 cups white pearl onions
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 ½ cups water
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 package brown gravy mix
1 package au jus gravy mix

Start by spraying your slow cooker liner with a light coat of non-stick cooking spray.

Place the diced potatoes, diced carrots and pearl onions in the slow cooker, and sprinkle them evenly with the salt and black pepper.

Cut the boneless beef chuck shoulder roast in half with a sharp knife and place it in the slow cooker, on top of the vegetables. Depending on the size of the roast, you may need to push it down into the center of the vegetables, to make sure the lid fits.

Pour in the water, and sprinkle in the dry onion soup mix, brown gravy mix and au jus gravy mix. Place the lid on the slow cooker.

Cook on high for 4 hours, or cook on low for 8 hours.

Butter and Milk Corn on the Cob

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” July 19th, 2015

Awhile back, I found a recipe on Facebook for “the best corn on the cob you will ever eat”. I saved it, and had not really tried it, until now. I made a few changes, and I wanted to share them here with you. All in all, pretty good! The milk and butter give the corn a “deeper” flavor, and it is a different way than just boiling them in water… Pretty interesting. I would recommend you try this…

butter-and-milk-corn-on-the-cob-blaise-the-baker-blaise-doubman.png

Butter and Milk Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob
1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter
1 cup white milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

Start by filling a large pot with water. Add the stick of salted butter and milk – bring to a boil over high heat.

Once boiling, add the corn on the cob, then reduce the heat to about medium-high. Allow to continue cooking for about 20-25 minutes.

Turn off the heat, allow to cool slightly and serve with butter, salt, pepper, cheese, etc.

Enjoy!

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” May 11th, 2015

Ok – I will admit that I might not be the first person you turn to for a good “salad” recipe, but you have to trust me on this one – this recipe is amazing! This was developed, by me of course, last summer when around the house I had more broccoli and cauliflower than I knew what to do with.

I was “saving” this recipe to go into my cookbook, but I have had so many of you write to me and ask for the recipe, I decided to go ahead and share it with you here. You CAN add some cooked and crumbled bacon to this recipe, but I prefer against it, because I am not that big of a bacon fan. This is one of my Grandma Barbra’s favorite salads – she absolutely loves it!

broccoli-and-cauliflower-salad-blaise-the-baker.jpg

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

1 head of broccoli, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Start by whisking together the mayonnaise, sour cream, white granulated sugar, salt and black pepper in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

Place the chopped broccoli and cauliflower in a larger bowl, and pour over the mayonnaise and sour cream mixture, and stir together to evenly coat the vegetables.

Next, add in the shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese and stir.

Keep covered in refrigerator until ready to serve. Leftovers can be kept, in the refrigerator, for up to four days.

Enjoy!