Patty Melt for Happy Tax Refunds!

Patty Melt 042RIP old ass washer and dryer! I got them from my sister Candy back in 2004, when I moved into my 2nd home. I left my 1st washer and dry set at my first house. The buyer asked if they came with the house, and I said they can. And that sealed the deal.

They are still working okay after 16 years, but it seems as though my clothes are not 100% clean. So it is time to move up to bigger and better things.

I will admit it is a bit stressful trying to pick out a replacement Patty Melt 009 (2)set. I am comparing prices with Best Buy, Lowes, Nebraska Furniture, Sears and Wayfair. I am trying to get a set that is $200 less than my refund, to allow for taxes. After all, buying a washer and dryer set only comes around every 10 years of so, unless you have buckets of money to upgrade, which I do not.

I wish I could get some fancy features, like the Smart Wi-Fi models they have now. And I have always LOVED the Red Washer and Dryer set. Not that having the color Red, would make the clothes cleaner, it just tickles my fancy. I probably will end up Patty Melt 010 (2)with the cheap white set again, but at the very least, I am going to get Front Loading, instead of Top Loading.

I have one week to pick out a set. And hopefully I will make my decision in enough time to have it installed on my day off, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Wish me luck.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Rye Bread, recommended: Farm to Market Bread Co., 2 slices per sandwichPatty Melt 010
  2. Ground Beef 80/20, 1 lb.
  3. Limberger Cheese, recommended: Champignon German, 2 oz per sandwich
  4. Red onion, 1 (thin) slice per sandwich
  5. Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  6. Liquid Smoke Mesquite, recommended: Wright’s, 1 cap or less
  7. Worcestershire Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  8. Granulated Garlic, recommended: HyVee, ¼ teaspoon
  9. Chicago Steak seasoning, recommended: Weber, ¼ teaspoonPatty Melt 014
  10. Granulated Beef Flavor Bouillon, recommended: Knorr, ¼ teaspoon
  11. Mushroom Rub Porcini, recommended: Manitou, ¼ teaspoon
  12. Truffle Zest, recommended: Sabatino, ¼ teaspoon
  13. Balsamic Vinegar, 1 teaspoon
  14. Bacon, 1 slice per burger
  15. Butter, 1 teaspoon, divided
  16. Mayonnaise, recommended: Hellmann’s, ½ to 1 teaspoon per patty, to your liking
  17. Sliced Dill Pickles, about 1 to 2 per pattyPatty Melt 015
  18. Mustard, German/Organic, recommended: 365 Everyday Value, as needed
  19. Parchment Sheets, Pop-up, recommended: Reynolds Kitchens, 3 (for easy clean up)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Freeze Limberger Cheese 20 to 30 minutes before cook time.
  2. Divide into the Ground Beef into 4 patties, using the Patty Melt 021Parchment Sheets to shape and flatten. Make sure the patties are room temperature. Polk holes in the patties with a fork.
  3. Mix the Liquid Smoke, Soy Sauce, Balsamic Vinegar and Worcestershire Sauce, then apply evenly on burgers.
  4. Mix the Granulated Garlic, Chicago Steak seasoning, Granulated Beef Bouillon, Porcini Mushroom Rub and Truffle Zest. Apply evenly on top of wet rub.
  5. Preheat a cast iron skillet for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Fry the Bacon and set aside.
  7. Cook Burger Patty for 3 to 4 minutes per side.Patty Melt 022
  8. Move to the back of the skillet and sauté the onion to your liking
  9. Add Mayonnaise to one slice of bread, and Mustard to the other slice of bread.
  10. Put half of the Limberger cheese on each bread slice
  11. Using a “cold” skillet, cut the butter slices into 8 pieces with one of the left and one on the right side of the pan.
  12. Put the bread slices on each side of the skillet and grill the bread for about 2 to 3 minutes on Medium Low, or until cheese melts. But I peek under the bread to make sure it is not burning.Patty Melt 024
  13. To one bread slice with the Burger, Onion and Pickles. If the cheese needs additional time to melt, I flip them back and forth to meld together, making sure it does not burn.
  14. Remove and let it rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
  15. I love this cut diagonally for flair!

The American Royal is having a BBQ Sauce and Rub contest. I love watching cooking competition shows on the Food Network.

I am so glad to see that women are now competing in the Grilling Patty Melt 030cook-offs. Wouldn’t it be cool, if my rub was good enough to enter? Life is short. I have until April 17th to decide. If I decide to, I don’t want to be in last place; hopefully I will rank within the top 50.

http://www.americanroyal.com/bbq/competition-information/?ct=t(2020-BBQ-Dates_COPY_01)&mc_cid=dcfe4f78b0&mc_eid=a24974d391

 

Patty Melt 027

THE VAMPIRE DANCER COOKBOOK IS COMING!

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:

SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON

Product Details

Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)

Product Details

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)

Product Details

The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)

TVDS3 Front Cover JPEG

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)

Front Cover ACX

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 @ Amazon Kindle (June 13, 2016)Patty Melt 033

SOCIAL MEDIA

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https://twitter.com/Shalimaral

FACEBOOK:
http://www.facebook.com/shalimar.ali.9

YOUTUBE:
https://www.youtube.com/user/ShalimaraliPatty Melt 035

BLOG:
https://learnbellydancewithshalimarali.com/

LINKEDIN:
www.linkedin.com/pub/shalimar-ali/3a/5a9/8a4/

 

 

Patty Melt 040

Rueben Groovin’ King Sandwich

Rueben 029I used to make my Rueben sandwiches the same way I made a grilled cheese. Butter on the outside, meat on the inside. Grill one side and flip it over.

I was making some Rueben sandwiches that same way last week. They were good, but left a lot to be desired. If I did not watch it after 2 minutes, once side was burned. Also the Sauerkraut and pickles made the sandwich soggy

Then suddenly it dawned on me! Drain the Sauerkraut on a paper Rueben 001towel to remove the moisture, before adding to the sandwich. Now I have a “Groovin” Rueben King Sandwich!

Sometimes I use my skillet grill pan, medium skillet or large skillet. Another great idea: why not grill each side individually and then combine them?

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Rye Bread, recommended: Farm to Market Bread Co., 2 slices per sandwichRueben 002
  2. Pastrami, Ultra Thin Sliced, recommended: Hillshire Farm, 4 slices per side of bread
  3. Salami, Thin Sliced, recommended: Great Value, 4 to 6 per sandwich (or use Corned Beef Slices)
  4. Sauerkraut, recommended: Franks, 1 to 2 teaspoons, per your liking
  5. Muenster Cheese, recommended: Great Value, 3 per sandwich
  6. Thousand Island Dressing, recommended: Kraft, 1 to 2 teaspoons, to your taste
  7. Butter, 1 teaspoon, dividedRueben 005
  8. Seasoning for the Sauerkraut, such as Caraway Seeds, recommended: Tone’s, a pinch
  9. Parchment Sheets, Pop-up, recommended: Reynolds Kitchens, 1 (for easy clean up)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Strain Sauerkraut into bowl, season it with Caraway Seeds, Pepper, etc. and set aside.
  2. Add Thousand Island dressing on both sides of the bread.
  3. Put 1 Muenster cheese slice on one slice of bread, top with Pastrami.Rueben 008
  4. Put 1 Muenster cheese slice on one slice of bread, top with Salami.
  5. Using a “cold” skillet, cut the butter slices into 8 pieces with one of the left and one on the right side of the pan.
  6. Put the Pastrami bread on one side of the skillet and the Salami bread on the other side of the skillet.
  7. I have a Gas stove, so I grill the bread for about 3 minutes on Medium Low, or until cheese melts. But I peek under the bread to make sure it is not burning.
  8. Cut the 3rd Cheese slice in half and put one on each bread.
  9. Rueben 013Next top one bread side with the Sauerkraut and Caraway Seeds, top the other bread on top of this one.
  10. If the cheese needs additional time to melt, I flip them back and forth to meld together, making sure it does not burn.
  11. Remove and let it rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
  12. I love this cut diagonally for flair!

My new home is finally complete! Do you ever have that feeling that something is missing after you move? That something for me Patty Melt 002was my wall clock, due to laziness. I finally got around to changing the clock battery. The clock makes a chime sound on the hour. I didn’t realize how much I missed that sound, since it was heard at my previous home.

Speaking of homes and moving to a different home. I was house hunting 10 years ago, because I thought I was going to get a large sum of money.

So one house that I looked at became my favorite. The main house had 3 bedrooms; it had a 2 bedroom guest house over the garage, a pool, pool house, gazebo, hot tub, a detached outbuilding (for a dance studio) and 3 acres of land.

That house blew my mind. There were so many possibilities with a set up Rueben 009like that. I fantasized about all sorts of business ideas, like a day care, dance studio and winery. I could have used the outbuilding for a monthly dance Hafla show. It had a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping lofts.

I dreamed about starting a “catering” business there as well. I could have the customers sample the food via a Pool party or during the winter, using the indoor Hot Tub.

It was not meant to be, but after looking at that house, I gave me ideas of what I wanted in a future home.Rueben 014

I wanted to have a nice outdoor area with a water feature like a pool or hot tub.

My current home has that now, and with the low, low price of being $95,000 less than my dream home.

Life is so much like a game of Monopoly. Start with Baltic and work your way up to Park Place. I began with an inexpensive “starter” home, like Mediterranean sold it and kept moving up to homes that cost more. My “Dream” house was Boardwalk, but I am glad to stick with Park Place.Rueben 011

Less maintenance for the pool and outbuildings, less grass to pay someone to cut and lower utility bills.

I still consider doing catering, and I am glad that I waited to publish a Cookbook first. The Cookbook will showcase the meals that I can prepare for customers. This is a good way find out what a meal will cost to prepare, so that I can decide what to charge.

Also, 10 years ago, we did not have services like Uber, Postmates and Lyft to transport food, like we do now.

IRueben 018 HAVE A DREAM! Not like Martin Luther King. But I have always dreamed about having a “Test Kitchen” in my basement, like on Desperate Housewives. While doing some research, I found out about EzCater. ezCater is the only nationwide marketplace for business catering. ezCater’s online ordering, on-time ratings and reviews, and 5-star customer service connect business people to reliable catering for any meeting, anywhere in the United States.

Dreams can come true.

 

THE VAMPIRE DANCER COOKBOOK IS COMING!Rueben 020

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:

SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON

Product Details

Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)

Product Details

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)

Product Details

The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)

TVDS3 Front Cover JPEG

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)

Front Cover ACX

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 @ Amazon Kindle (June 13, 2016)Rueben 022

SOCIAL MEDIA

TWITTER:
https://twitter.com/Shalimaral

FACEBOOK:
http://www.facebook.com/shalimar.ali.9

YOUTUBE:
https://www.youtube.com/user/ShalimaraliRueben 026

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Rueben 032

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rueben 029

Breakfast for Dinner

20200303_191357Well, I am late to this party. Breakfast for Dinner Day was last Tuesday, February 25th. But I will still celebrate this anyway. A new cooking trend is using muffin mix for pancakes. The muffin mix is so cheap at $.78 per package, I thought, what the heck, why not try it.

When I was a kid, we made everything from scratch. I used to make pancakes all the time. The recipe was so easy to remember: Dry: Flour, Sugar, Salt, Baking Powder and Wet: Eggs & Milk. Those were sort of plain, but tasted really good 20200303_173651when topped with “Commodity” Syrup. One day, we got more money and could afford the Karo Syrup.

The benefit of using a muffin mix is that you can easily try new flavors, like Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Apple Cinnamon, Wildberry or Cheesecake – all for the low, low price of $.78!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Muffin Mix, Banana Nut, recommended: Martha White, 7.6 oz.
  2. Buttermilk, recommended: Anderson Erickson, 1 cup20200303_183957
  3. Butter, recommended: Great Value, 1 tablespoon
  4. Egg, Jumbo, 1 divided
  5. Cooking Spray of your choice, recommended: Pam for Baking
  6. Syrup of your choice, recommended HyVee Butter Pecan

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Divide egg white and yolk. Mix the egg white until frothy.
  2. Microwave the butter in the same bowl that you use for the muffin batter.20200303_183817
  3. Add the muffin mix and buttermilk and mix with beater.
  4. Fold in the egg white froth, but don’t over mix it.
  5. Heat the skillet for 2 to 3 and then spray it with cooking spray.

I used a 1/3 cup to measure the pancakes, cooking in batches. Because the mix has nuts in it, this took a bit longer to cook, perhaps 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Add a side dish, like bacon and eggs, and you have a tasty treat that is great any time of the day.20200303_184342

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE VAMPIRE DANCER SAGA 5 IS COMING!20200303_185858

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:

SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON

Product Details

Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)

Product Details

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)

Product Details

The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)

TVDS3 Front Cover JPEG

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)

Front Cover ACX

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 @ Amazon Kindle (June 13, 2016)

SOCIAL MEDIA

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20200303_191357

Kung Pao Pork Chops with Teriyaki Rice & Stir Fry Vegetables

Teriyaki Rice Stir Fry 019I used to work downtown and had the opportunity to choose a different place to eat lunch every day. One of my favorites was eating General Tso’s and Kung Pao Chicken at the Panda Express. So I want to use those flavors in my Asian-inspired Dinners.

One thing that I loved about my Mom’s cooking, was that she was not afraid to try new cuisines. I remember her making an “Asian-style” dinner using La Choy products. “East Meets West, La Choy makes Chinese food – swing American!” This dinner will include the Pork Chops and Teriyaki Rice.Kung Pao Pork Chops 037

RIP: Momma Bear slow cooker. I had 3 different slow cooker sizes to accommodate large, medium and small meals. So Papa Bear, Momma Bear and Baby Bear slow cookers. The Momma Bear slow cooker somehow got grease trapped inside the cooking unit, so she had to be banished to the basement. I was searching for a 4 Quart replacement slow cooker, and came across the Presto Indoor Electric Smoker/Slow Cooker combination. I cannot be trusted with either a gas grill or wood/gas smoker. So I gave my smoker to my brother and had planned to buy an electric one to replace it. They were in the $100.00 range, so I put it on the back burner.20200211_145509 Until, I came across the smoker/slow cooker for less than $60.00. Cool! I can kill two birds with one stone. Found a cheaper smoker and a replacement for the Momma Bear slow cooker.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Pork Loins, Chop Bone-In Brined Louisiana Style Griller, 3 lbs.
  2. Soy Sauce, recommended: Great Value, 2 teaspoons
  3. Sazón, recommended: Goya, 1 packet
  4. Kung Pao Sauce, recommended: Panda Express, ½ to 1 cup, per your preference **Teriyaki Rice Stir Fry 001
  5. Peanuts, Salted, recommended: Planters, two 1.75 oz. bags
  6. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, Recommended: Huy Fong Foods, 1 to 2 teaspoons
  7. Sesame Seed Oil, recommended: Imperial Dragon, 2 teaspoons
  8. Fish Sauce, recommended: Thai Kitchen, ½ teaspoon
  9. Rice Wine Vinegar, Natural & Mellow, recommended: Nakano, 1 to ½ teaspoons, as desired
  10. Liquid Smoke, Applewood, recommended: Wrights, 1 cap
  11. Hickory BBQ Wood Chips, recommended: Western, enough to fill “Charring” cup, or your favorit20200214_182823e brand. The Wood Chips are not required if you only want to pan-grill the pork chops, use a slow cooker or BBQ Grill. This is optional, depending on your preferred cooking method.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Marinade the Pork Chops with the Soy Sauce and Sazón, overnight or up to 30 minutes. I had to freeze the Pork Chops after this marinade, because I was not sure how I was going to cook them yet.20200214_183421
  2. After unthawing the Pork Chops, I added the Fish Sauce and Liquid Smoke to the marinade bag, 30 minutes before cook time.
  3. Preheat a skillet and add the Sesame Seed Oil, then cook the Pork Chops for 2-3 minutes per side. I used a “grill” skillet to get grill marks on them. Add a splash of Rice Wine Vinegar to de-glaze the skillet.
  4. Next, you can use a Slow Cooker to slowly cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. At this point, you can add enough Kung Pao sauce to your preference. I am going to “smoke” the Pork Chops for 4 hours in the Smoker/Slow Cooker combo.20200214_234106
  5. Then I will put them in the Slow Cooker and cover with the Kung Pao sauce, Peanuts and Sriracha for 2 hours on low.

** You can also make your own Kung Pao (pao = peanuts) sauce using soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, scallions and/or dried red peppers. To save money and time, I preferred to use a shortcut by buying pre-made Kung Pao. I have most of those ingredients, but not all of them. So it was cheaper to buy the bottled sauce.

Side Dish: Teriyaki Rice with Stir Fry VegetablesTeriyaki Rice Stir Fry 013

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Teriyaki Rice, recommended: Knorr, 5.4 oz.
  2. Stir Fry Vegetables, frozen, recommended: HyVee, 8 oz.
  3. Chicken Won Ton Soup, recommended: Campbell’s, 10 ½ oz.
  4. Chicken Broth, recommended: That’s Smart, 2 ½ cups, divided
  5. Ponzu Citrus Seasoning Dressing & Sauce, recommended: Kikkoman, ¼ to ½ teaspoon, or use lemon or lime juice to add freshness
  6. Soy Sauce, recommended: Great Value, 2 tablespoons
  7. Stir Fry Oil, recommended: Tsang, ½ teaspoonTeriyaki Rice Stir Fry 007
  8. Butter, 2 tablespoons, divided
  9. Chinese Five Spice, recommended Tone’s, ¼ teaspoon
  10. Wonton Strips, recommended: Great Value, as desired
  11. Sriracha Sauce, recommended: Huy Fong Foods, ½ teaspoon
  12. Kung Pao Pork Chops (leftovers, including the peanuts), optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare the Stir Fry Vegetables in a separate pot. Melt 1 tablespoon of Butter with Stir Fry Oil and Chinese Five Spice for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of Chicken Broth and bring to a boil. Add the Stir FryTeriyaki Rice Stir Fry 008 Vegetables and bring to a boil. Season with Soy Sauce and a dash of Ponzu Citrus Dressing. Cover and simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate pot combine Rice, 2 tablespoons of Butter and 2 Cups of Chicken Broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 7 minutes.
  3. Combine the Chicken Won Ton Soup with the Stir Fry Vegetables and then combine both pots together.
  4. Thinly slice the Kung Pao Pork Chops (or other meat, or keep it meatless). I warmed up the Pork Chops slices for a few minutes and then added the Rice/Vegetable mixture. Heated together for a few minutes.Kung Pao Pork Chops 033
  5. I dressed this All-in-one Bowl with Sriracha Sauce and crunchy Wonton Strips.

Since I have 4 Pork Chops, that will be 4 dinners made in advance. Then combine them with the Rice and Vegetables for the rest of the week.

It was delish and something different for a change. I usually have Salad as my side dish for 4 days out of the week. The Stir Fry Vegetables and Rice will be a great substitute, to get veggies and fiber into my diet on non-salad days.

 

PAPERBACK BOOKS BY SHALIMAR ALI:

SHALIMAR ALI BOOKS AT AMAZON

clip_image001

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 @ Amazon Kindle (June 13, 2016)

clip_image002

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 3 by Shalimar Ali (Apr 13, 2014)

clip_image003

The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2 by Shalimar Ali (Dec 11, 2012)

clip_image004

The Vampire Dancer Saga by Shalimar Ali, Shalimarali and N/A (Jul 25, 2012)

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Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program: Dance Lessons & Choreographies For Students, Troupes, Performers… by Shalimar Ali (Aug 17, 2011)Teriyaki Rice Stir Fry 014

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Broccoli Ham Mac & Cheese Casserole

Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 069I was planning my meals and had some Rye bread, Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese and mustard for a sandwich. With that, I had the makings of either Mac & Cheese or Broccoli with cheese for the side dish.

But my cat said otherwise. I forgot that I left the Rye bread on the counter. The cat tore into it and so I had to throw it away.

So now what could I do? Why not combine the remaining ingredients into a casserole?

This is even better. Now I have an All-in-One bowl that includes everything but the bread.Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 065

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Broccoli Florets, frozen and steamable, recommended: Great Value, two 12 oz. bags
  2. Black Forest Ham slices, recommended: Great Value, 8 oz.
  3. Cubed Ham, recommended: Farmland, 16 oz.
  4. Elbow Macaroni, large, recommended: American Beauty, 16 oz.
  5. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, block, recommended: Great Value, 32 oz.Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 007
  6. Baby Swiss Cheese, recommended: Sargento, 9 slices
  7. Seasoning Blend with celery, yellow onion, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, parsley flakes: recommended: Great Value, 10 oz.
  8. Buttermilk, recommended: Hiland, ¾ quart
  9. Eggs, jumbo, 2
  10. Butter, 3 tablespoons, divided
  11. Panko Bread Crumbs, recommended: Great Value, ½ cup
  12. Black Truffle Oil, recommended: Roland ¼ teaspoon
  13. Truffle Zest, recommended: Sabatino, ¼ teaspoon
  14. Porcini Mushroom Rub, recommended: Manitou, ¾ teaspoons, dividedBroccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 024
  15. Ground Mustard, recommended: Tones, ¼ teaspoon
  16. Ham flavored concentrate, recommended: Goya, 1 packet
  17. Cream of Mushroom Soup, recommended: Campbell’s, 10 ½ oz.
  18. Broccoli Cheese Soup, recommended: Campbell’s, 10 ½ oz.
  19. Dijon Mustard, recommended: Grey Poupon, 2 teaspoons
  20. Parmesan Cheese blend, recommended: Kraft, 2 tablespoons
  21. Granulated Garlic, recommended: HyVee, 1 tablespoon
  22. Parsley Flakes, recommended: Spice World, 1 tablespoonBroccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 041
  23. Cornstarch, 1 teaspoon
  24. Oven Bag, recommended: Reynolds Kitchen, 1 Turkey size
  25. Aluminum Foil Sheets, recommended: Reynolds Wrap, 1 to 2

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut the Cheese block into 8 pieces and freeze 30 minutes before shredding with a food processor (or use pre-shredded cheese). Put the cheese chunks into a gallon bag with the cornstarch (or flour) to keepBroccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 046 it from sticking. Also freeze the Black Forest Ham package.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of Butter with the Truffle Oil. To that add the Truffle Zest, Porcini Mushroom Rub ¼ teaspoon and Ground Mustard for 1-2 minutes in a large stock pot.
  3. Add water and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the Macaroni and Ham concentrate packet and boil for 8 minutes. Add the Seasoning Blend and boil an additional 3 to 4 minutes and then drain.
  5. Whisk the Eggs in a large bowl. Add the Buttermilk, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup and Dijon Mustard.
  6. Brown the Ham Cubes in a skillet and set aside.Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 006
  7. Zap the Steamable frozen Broccoli in the microwave for a few minutes, according to the package. Also, microwave the Black Forest Ham for a few minutes, since it was frozen.
  8. Combine the Macaroni, Broccoli, Ham Cubes and Shredded Cheese into the large bowl with the Egg mixture.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Cut the oven bag, so that it fits into a casserole baking pan.
  11. The first layer is 1 bag of steamed Broccoli. Top with ¼ of the Porcini Mushroom Rub.
  12. The next layer is 1/3 of cheese.
  13. The next layer is the Macaroni mixture.Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 014
  14. Layer half of the Macaroni mixture.
  15. Top with half of the Ham slices (cut into bite-size pieces) and top with 4 Swiss Cheese slices.
  16. Repeat the layers, ending with the 5 Swiss Cheese slices.
  17. Cover with foil sheets and bake for 30 minutes.
  18. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of Butter and combine with the Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan Cheese Blend, Parsley Flakes and Granulated Garlic for the final topping.
  19. Bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes.
  20. Remove and rest for 10 minutes, then enjoy your “makeshift” Ham and Cheese sandwich!

Take that kitty cat!Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 064

Cooking shows always recommend shredding cheese from a block. And doing that made a big difference in the taste. I love me some “block” cheese. It did have a “sharper” cheddar flavor, compared to using pre-shredded cheese or Velveeta.

But it was way more work, than opening a package of pre-shredded cheese. I had cheese everywhere on my counter, LOL.

But eating the leftover cheese bites, was quite the treat.

Broccoli Ham Mac and Cheese 070The end result was so yummy! This “de-constructed” Macaroni & Cheese was packed with Ham and Cheese flavors.

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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Cajun Turkey Wings and Chicken Thighs

Turkey Wings 056About 10 years ago I got serious about baking the perfect Turkey. It took years of practice, because my mom usually cooked the Turkey for Thanksgiving. I purchased a large roasting pan and turkey kit with twine, injection needle, thermometer, etc.

Before I moved out on my own, I did not know how to bake a turkey. Turkey is an expensive meat, and I was too cheap to mess it up.

I had to start from the cooking basics. First learning how to fry and bake a cut up chicken. Then moving up to baking a whole chicken, a whole hen and finally, a whole duck.Turkey Wings 059

People loved my duck on Thanksgiving. So it was time to move up to baking a whole turkey.

But I had some secret weapons:

  • Bacon,
  • Butter,
  • Bag.
  • Smear the butter under the skin, and then stuff it with flavors like garlic, lemon and sage.
  • Bacon-wrap the turkey.Cookbook Recipes January 2020 022
  • Bag it in the Reynolds Turkey-size baking bag.

That Turkey was the bomb! It was tender, falling off the bone and finger-licking good.

But that meal only happened once a year for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Poultry for the rest of the year was baked or fried chicken wings or thighs.

One of my grocery stores had the turkey wings on sale for $1.34 a pound, while the chicken wings were $3.99 a pound. That was a no-brainer. Be cheap and buy the turkey wings! I also bought some chicken thighs, since they were on sale for $.65 a pound.Turkey Wings 007

Then I remembered my turkey kit from 10 years ago. I never used the injection needle, because I hate to get shots.

But then my grocery store had the pre-filled injection needle with butter marinade on sale.

That poor turkey has to get a shot from some who is nervous about getting shots.

I might have to have a beer first, to calm my nerves.

Paging Dr. Turkey Briner: It’s time to giveTurkey Wings 019 those birds a shot with a needle. Stat!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Turkey Wings, 2
  2. Chicken Thighs 6
  3. Honey, recommended: Sam’s Choice, 2 teaspoons
  4. Lemon (cut into 4 wedges), 1
  5. Chicken Bouillon Cubes, recommended: Knorr, 4 teaspoons, divided
  6. Herbs of Provence, recommended: Delish, 1 teaspoon
  7. Smoked Paprika, recommended: McCormick Gourmet, ½ teaspoon
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar, recommended: Heinz, ¼ cupTurkey Wings 040
  9. Creole Style Butter Marinade, recommended: Tony Chachere’s Injectables,
  10. Creole Seasoning, New Orleans Style, recommended: Zatarains, 3 tablespoons for the poultry ( ¼ tablespoons for the fries)
  11. Chicken Fry Seasoned, recommended: Louisiana, 1 ½ bags (about 15 oz.)
  12. Panko Bread Crumbs, Italian Style, recommended: Great Value, ½ cup
  13. Cooking Vegetable Oil, recommended: Great Value, 1 ½ bottles (about 72 oz.
  14. Shortening Sticks, Butter Flavor, recommended: Crisco, 1 containerTurkey Wings 017
  15. Buttermilk Dry, Cultured, recommended: Saco, 2 teaspoons
  16. Cornstarch, 2 teaspoons
  17. Eggs, Jumbo, 2
  18. Buttermilk, recommended: Hiland, ½ cups, divided
  19. Potato Wedges, Deli style, seasoned, recommended: Great Value, 16 to 32 oz.
  20. Grated Parmesan Three Cheese Blend, recommended: Kraft, 2 teaspoons
  21. Water and teapot
  22. Paper bag, large
  23. Disposal gloves (I used at least 8)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the Lemon-Honey Brine. Boil water in the teapot. In a large bowl add honey, lemon, bouillonCookbook Recipes January 2020 029 cubes, Herbs of Provence, smoked paprika, vinegar and boiled water. Stir and let cool. After it is cool, you can add the turkey wings & chicken thighs. I added 5 medium-size ice cubes to cool it down, before adding the meat. This can sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  2. The day before cooking, add the poultry to a large gallon bag and massage it with the buttermilk.
  3. Then season with the Creole Seasoning and inject the poultry with the Creole butter marinade.
  4. The day of cooking, beat one egg and add to the chicken bag. Beat the other egg and add to the turkey wing bag. Massage the beaten eggs with the poultry.
  5. Mix the cornstarch with the chicken fry, dry buttermilk blend and granulated chicken bouillon in a Cookbook Recipes January 2020 024large paper bag. This is a good time to get the plastic gloves.
  6. Dip the poultry in the chicken fry mixture and repeat, back to the egg bag, adding additional buttermilk as needed. And finally, one last dredge in the chicken fry mixture. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes in the chicken fry mixture (refrigerated).
  7. Heat the shortening stick and cooking oil in a large cast iron pot until 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  8. Preheat the oven to 350.
  9. Fry the turkey wings first about 10 to 15 minutes per side, until the meat is no longer pink at the bone. I used a cookie sheet with wire rack to drain the oil. Put in oven while frying the thighs and fries.Turkey Wings 024
  10. Next fry the chicken thighs, for 11 to 13 minutes per side to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Then rest in oven with the wings. Reduce oven to 180 to keep the meat warm
  11. Next fry the potato wedges about 5 to 7 minutes per side. I drain them in a colander and sprinkle with the Creole seasoning and parmesan cheese.

I love to make it “Buffalo” style with Louisiana Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese Dressing by Litehouse!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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Funkytown Limburger Burger

Limburger Burger 055I LOVE Disco music! It seemed like “funky” was popular back in the 70s and 80s. For example, songs like:

Play that Funky Music by Wild Cherry or Funkytown by Lipps, Inc.

Then came along “Once More With Feeling” the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical, Season 6, Episode 7 in Nov. 2001.

I must admit that I love all of the songs, but my favorite is when Limburger CheeseXander and Anya sing “I’ll Never Tell,” “She eats these Skeezy cheeses, that I can’t describe.”

I guess that Limburger can be considered skeezy, stanky and only for the brave. I have an “iron gut” so I think I will survive this. If not, someone call 9-1-1!

I remember watching the 3 Stooges a long time ago, in an episode with Limburger cheese. They cracked me up. So in the name of science, I will try it. Maybe it won’t be so bad. After all, I like Feta cheese, Chitterlings and Kimchee.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Prime Rib Beef Steak Patties, 4Burger Prep4
  2. Limburger Cheese, recommended: Champion, 1 oz per patty
  3. Soft Pretzel Buns, recommended: Pretzilla, 4
  4. Liquid Smoke, recommended: Wright’s, 1 cap or less
  5. Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  6. Worcestershire Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  7. Granulated Garlic, recommended: Hy-Vee, ¼ teaspoon
  8. Chicago Steak seasoning, recommended: Weber, ¼ teaspoon
  9. Granulated Beef Flavor Bouillon, recommended: Knorr, ¼ teaspoonLimburger Burger 018
  10. Mushroom Rub Porcini, recommended: Manitou, ¼ teaspoon
  11. Truffle Zest, recommended: Sabatino, ¼ teaspoon
  12. Butter, Unsalted, ½ teaspoon, divided
  13. Balsamic Vinegar, 1 teaspoon
  14. Red onion, sliced
  15. Beefsteak Tomato, sliced
  16. Bacon, 1 slice per burger
  17. Sliced Dill Pickles, about 1 to 2 per patty
  18. Mustard, German/Organic, recommended: 365 Everyday Value, as neededBurger Wet Rub3

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. I had to prep the burgers in advance and then freeze them. Make a well (indent) into each burger. Divide the Butter into 4 pieces, and place in the well on each burger.
  2. Mix the Liquid Smoke, Soy Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce, then apply evenly on burgers.
  3. Mix the Granulated Garlic, Chicago Steak seasoning, Granulated Beef Bouillon, Porcini Mushroom Rub and Truffle Zest. Apply evenly on top of wet rub.Burger Dry Rub2
  4. Bring patties to room temperature.
  5. Preheat a skillet and fry the bacon.
  6. Remove the bacon and fry the patties, 5 minutes, with butter-side down first, then 3 minutes on other side.
  7. Deglaze with Balsamic Vinegar.
  8. Add Limburger cheese to the 2nd side for 2 minutes and top with bacon.
  9. Remove patties and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  10. Toast the Pretzel buns in the same skillet
  11. Slice the Tomato and Red onion.
  12. Add Mustard, Pickles, Tomato slice, Onion slice and Bacon on the bun. Top with the Burger and enjoy the funk!Patties4

On the “Funk-O-Meter” from 1 to 10, with Chitterlings being the funkiest # 10, I would rate Feta Cheese an 8 and Limburger Cheese a 4. It adds just extra “Umami” bomb of flavor. Sort of like an aged Swiss Cheese. Give it a try. You might like it.

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).

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Beer Bratwurst and Kraut

Cookbook Recipes January 2020 020There was a fast food joint called Der Weinersnitzel back in the day. They had great Chili Cheese Dogs.

This meal reminds me of those good ole’ hot dog days.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Pork Sausage Cooked Bratwurst Craft Beer, recommended: Silva Sausage, 4
  2. Soft Pretzel Sausage Buns, recommended: Pretzilla, 4
  3. Swiss Cheese Aged, recommended: Sam’s Choice, 4 slicesCookbook Recipes January 2020 010
  4. Sauerkraut, recommended: Frank’s, 8 oz.
  5. Beer, recommended: Bud Light (or your favorite brand), 12 oz.
  6. Three Color Pepper & Onion Strips, frozen, recommended: Pictsweet, ¼ cup
  7. Liquid Smoke, recommended: Wright’s, 1 cap or less
  8. Celery Seeds, recommended: Tones, ¼ teaspoon
  9. Mustard, German/Organic, recommended: 365 Everyday Value, as needed
  10. Butter, Unsalted, ½ teaspoon
  11. Sherry Cooking Wine(or Vinegar), recommended: Holland House, 2 teaspoonsCookbook Recipes January 2020 015

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Melt Butter with dry Celery seeds for 1 to 2 minutes on low, in medium stock pan.
  2. Score Sausage and then brown for 2 to 3 minutes in butter.
  3. Add 3 Color Pepper and Onion strips and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.Cookbook Recipes January 2020 017
  4. Deglaze with Cooking Sherry (or Vinegar). I remove it from the fire first so there are no scary flames.
  5. Add Liquid Smoke, Drained Sauerkraut and Beer.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes
  7. Butter the Buns and toast them.
  8. Add the German Mustard and then melt the Swiss cheese on the buns.
  9. Add the Sausage and top with Sauerkraut, Peppers & Onions
  10. Enjoy your meal! (Guten Appetit!).

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GARLICKY GREEK LEMON CHICKEN

Greek Chicken Dinner 029The Umami Flavor Bomb!

On cooking show competitions it is always a compliment to hear that your food has Umami. You, know, that bold flavor bomb that comes from strong ingredients like garlic, bacon, onion, cheese, pepper, anchovies or lemon/lime, AKA the 7 wonders of the food world. u·ma·mi /o͞oˈmämē/noun: Umami

  • a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavor of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate.

I love food with Middle Eastern flavors such Sumac, Feta and Greek Chicken Dinner 026Greek Yogurt. I used to Belly Dance at the Kabob House. One of my favorite dishes was their Lamb Kabob and Rice, seasoned with Sumac. So here is my take on a baked chicken, marinated with Sumac and Greek Yogurt. Opa!

GREEK CHICKEN INGREDIENTS:

1. Chicken fresh bone-in, such as thighs or breasts, 2-3 ½ lb. (or use Frozen Chicken that you can defrost over 3 days)

2. Stubb’s Chicken Marinade Mix Citrus & Onion, 1 oz

3. Sumac, recommended Zamouri Spices, 2-3 tablespoons

4. Greek Yogurt Traditional Plain, recommended The Greek Gods, 8-16 oz.Samsung 309

5. Anchovies, recommended Crown Prince, 2 oz.

6. Feta cheese chunk, recommended President, 4 oz.

7. Feta cheese crumbles, recommended President, 4 oz. for garnish

8. Olive Medley (Kalamata pitted, whole and sliced, Green Salad sliced, Black Olives sliced) ¾ cup

9. Capers non-pareil, recommended Crosse & Blackwell, ¼ cup

10. Lemons, 2 (slice one and dice the other into 4 chunks)

11. Tomato, dice into 4 chunksGreek Chicken Dinner 014

12. Garlic, 5 cloves

13. Vinegar (your favorite, Red Wine, Apple Cider, Balsamic, etc.)

14. Rosemary Leaf, ½ teaspoon, divided

15. Tarragon Leaf, ½ teaspoon, divided

16. Naan Bread, 1 per meal

17. Truffle Oil, 1 teaspoon or less for Naan

GREEK CHICKEN INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Garlic Greek Chicken 015Fresh Chicken (add to Ziplock bag and cover with Sumac and Chicken Marinade). I was not baking my chicken that day, so I froze it.

2. For fresh chicken, add the Yogurt and marinade for ½ hour or longer

3. For frozen chicken, add the Yogurt to the bag and thaw in refrigerator for 3 days

4. Preheat oven to 325 when ready to cook

5. Season lemon and tomatoes with ¼ of Rosemary and Tarragon Leaf

6. Add chicken to baking dish and cover with Anchovy oil

7. Put the Anchovies beneath the chicken pieces and top the Anchovies with GarlicGreek Chicken 003

8. Add the Olive Medley with Capers between pieces and cover with Feta Cheese Chunk slices

9. Cover chicken with Lemon slices

10. Pour vinegar over the chicken

11. Cover with ¼ of Rosemary and Tarragon Leaf

12. Cover with foil

13. Bake at 325 for 1 hourGreek Chicken 006

14. Remove foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

15. Add Truffle Oil to lemon and tomato chunks

16. Grill Lemon and tomato chunks

17. Remove and grill Naan bread for 2 minutes per side to get grill marks

SAFFRON RICE INGREDIENTS:

  1. Yellow Saffron Rice, recommended Mahatma, 5 oz.
  2. Turkey Broth and/or water 1 ½ to 2 cups
  3. Chicken Bouillon Cubes, 2Greek Chicken Dinner 001
  4. Feta cheese crumbles, recommended President, 4 oz. for garnish
  5. Greek Yogurt Traditional Plain, recommended The Greek Gods, 2 tablespoons
  6. Saffron, recommended Sun Brand, 5 to 10 strands
  7. Truffle Oil, 1 teaspoon
  8. Truffle Zest, ¼ teaspoon
  9. Butter, 2 pats, separated
  10. Rosemary Leaf, ½ teaspoon
  11. Tarragon Leaf, ½ teaspoon

SAFFRON RICE INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add Truffle Oil, Truffle Zest, 1 Butter pat, Rosemary and Tarragon and heat for 2 minutes in your sauce pan
  2. Prepare according to Rice package directions.
  3. Add Bouillon Cubes and Broth/Water to pan and bring to a boilGarlic Greek Chicken 011
  4. Add rice, cover pan, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  5. Stir in Yogurt, Feta Cheese crumbles and 1 Butter pat

I am out of Tzatziki sauce at the moment. However, you can whip one up using Yogurt, Lemon juice (from the grilled lemons), Garlic and Dill. Perhaps, I will make that tomorrow, using my mini Chop Blender.

The baked Feta Cheese chunk slices mimic Greek Flaming Cheese: Saganaki! Even though it was baked, it did become crisp and benefit from the Olive Tapenade, Balsamic Vinegar and Anchovy Umami. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saganaki

  • In Greek cuisine, Saganaki (Greek σαγανάκι) is any one of a variety of dishes prepared in a small frying pan, the best-known being an appetizer of fried cheese. Garlic Greek Chicken 004
  • The cheese used in cheese saganaki is usually graviera, kefalograviera, halloumi, kasseri, kefalotyri, or sheep’s milk feta cheese. Regional variations include the use of formaela cheese in Arachova, halloumi in Cyprus, and vlahotiri in Metsovo. The cheese is melted in a small frying pan until it is bubbling and generally served with lemon juice and pepper. It is eaten with bread.
  • Other dishes cooked in a saganaki pan include shrimp saganaki (Greek: γαρίδες σαγανάκι, garídes saganáki), and mussels saganaki (Greek: μύδια σαγανάκι, mýdia saganáki), which are typically feta-based and include a spicy tomato sauce.
  • In many United States and Canadian restaurants, after being fried, the saganaki cheese is flambéed at the table (sometimes with a shout of “opa![2]), and the flames then usually extinguished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This is called “flaming saganaki” and apparently originated in 1968 atGarlic Greek Chicken 005 The Parthenon restaurant in Chicago‘s Greektown,[2][3][4][5] based on the suggestion of a customer to owner Chris Liakouras.[6].

That was the best and most flavorful rice I have ever made in my lifetime. It might be just as good as the Kabob House, but it will be just the Umami I need for dinner! Opa!

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

The Vampire Dancer Saga Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all Audiobooks now available at  Audible.com and iTunes (click the word Audible or iTunes to open link to store).Greek Chicken Dinner 025

 

 

 

 

 

 

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