Monthly Archives: December 2018

Scallops on the Half Shell

Happy Holidays Everyone! Another successful Christmas passed and now looking forward to 2019. Coming from an Italian family we’ve always celebrated the “Feast of Seven Fishes,” on Christmas Eve. We do more shrimp and scallops vs some of the more traditional fishes that may be used. I’ve been doing different scallop recipes over the last few years and this year has been my favorite.

These scallops on the half shell are simple and can be done ahead of time which makes entertaining a breeze. This is my first time using the baking shells. It gives it a cool look and definitely makes serving easy. You should be able to find the baking shells from any online retailer. Make sure that they are shells that are used for baking, not just decorative shells.  Click link below after the recipe to see what baking shells I used.

Scallops on Half Shell

Ingredients:
1lb large seas scallops, rinsed and dry
1 ½ cups Italian panko bread crumbs
1 lemon, juiced (extra for drizzle)
2 t lemon zest
3 T dry white wine
3 T quality olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 t parsley
2 t oregano
2 t garlic powder
½ t salt
½ t pepper

Extras:
4-6 baking shells

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°. Lay out scallops on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit 15 minutes to remove any excess liquid and then pat dry.

In a sauté pan add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the garlic and shallot until tender. In a medium bowl mix together the panko bread crumbs, seasoning, garlic and shallot, olive oil, white wine, lemon juice and zest and mix well. The mixture should be wet. If not, you can add a little more oil.

Add 2-3 scallops to each shell depending on size of scallops. I used 3 per shell. You want the scallops tight together. Top the scallops with panko mixture. Bake in oven for 20 minutes until fully cooked. Drizzle with lemon and serve immediately. These are great for a crowd and easy to get ready ahead of time and then just bake when needed. The shells make it very easy for serving. Click link below for the shells I used.

BAKING SHELLS 11-12 CM, Set of 12

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Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

Who doesn’t like potatoes? They are so versatile and can be transformed into so many delicious dishes. I especially love potatoes with my steak. Steak and potatoes are 2 of my favorite combinations. This past weekend I made my Mom’s Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes. They are so delicious and so simple to make. She use to make them a lot while I was growing up for Christmas Eve but since have changed it up slightly. However, these are definitely about to make a comeback in my house.

Now I know blue cheese is definitely an acquired taste. Not everyone likes it. Feel free to use as much or as little of the blue cheese as you’d like. Or, you can skip it all together and use any other cheese just the same.

Give this recipe a try. It’s definitely great for a crowd and can be made ahead of time for dinner hosting. Less time in the kitchen when your guests arrive is always a bonus and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:
4 large russet potatoes
¾ cup sour cream
5 T melted butter
½ cup crumbled blue cheese (more or less depending on taste)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Directions: Clean potatoes and poke holes in the top with a fork so the steam is able to escape. Bake potatoes in oven at 375° for 1 and ½ or 1 hour and 45 minutes. To make sure potatoes are done, you’ll want to stick a fork in them to make sure they go in easily without too much pressure.

Once cooked, remove potatoes from the oven and let cool till you are able to work hold them. Easily slice off the tops of the potatoes and scoop out the insides and add into a medium bowl. You will want to leave very little potato inside so the potatoes will hold their shape. Don’t go to deep as to tear the potato skin.

In the bowl of the potatoes add in sour cream, melted butter, blue cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork to remove any lumps. You can also use a hand mixer if you’d like the really smooth and whipped texture. Once all mixed together you want to scoop the potato mixture back into the potato skins.

Place back in the oven at 375° for 30 minutes. Let sit a few minutes once you remove from the oven. So they can set. These are also great to make ahead of time. You can make the night before and put in the refrigerator until ready to use. Just add another 15-25 minutes cooking time as the potatoes will be cold when you bake them.

You can completely omit the potatoes skins all together if you are making for a large crowd. Just put the potato mixture into a deep oven safe dish and bake.

Note: My pictures only show 3 potatoes, that’s because one of them was not good. But this recipe is in fact for 4 potatoes.

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French Onion Soup with Garlic Crostini & Swiss Cheese

Happy December! I made French Onion soup for the first time in years. It’s a super easy soup to make. You don’t need a lot of ingredients or time to make this. I almost feel like it’s healthier compared to most soups because there is no cream and yes there is butter but I cut back on that as well.

This is perfect for lunches or with a salad for dinner. It’s nice and warm for those cold winter nights. What’s better than soup and bread? This recipe has BOTH!

French Onion Soup with Garlic Croutons and Swiss Cheese

Ingredients:
5T butter
6 large sweet onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large bay leafs
6 sprigs of thyme
3 T flour
1 ½ cups wine (I used white)
2- 32 oz cartons beef broth, no salt added
3 t salt
2 t pepper

Croutons:
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 loaf crusty French bread
2 T olive oil
½ T parsley
2 t garlic powder
Sprinkle: salt and pepper

Toppings:
Swiss cheese

Directions:

In a large soup pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add sliced onions and garlic and mix well. Add in the bay leafs and 3 of the thyme sprigs. The other 3 sprigs, remove the herb and sprinkle in the mixture. Cook on medium low heat until onions are tender and caramelized. This may take 30-40 minutes for the amount of onions we are using. I covered the pan and let them cook down mixing every 10-12 minutes. They will cook down, don’t worry if they seem to take up the whole pot. (That’s what happened to me.)

After onions have cooked down and are soft and starting to caramelize remove some of the liquid and add to a small bowl and mix with the 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix well to remove lumps. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Add in the flour mixture and the wine and whisk well. Cook on medium heat about 10-15 minutes mixing half way through with a whisk. A whisk will help make sure the flour mixture gets broken up. Add in the beef broth and salt and pepper and stir, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering make the croutons for the top of the soup. Slice the bread into ½ inch pieces. In a small bowl add oil, parsley, garlic powder, fresh garlic and salt and pepper and mix well. Single layer the slices of bread on baking pan covered with foil. Brunch the bread with olive oil mixture. Bake at 400° in the oven 12-15 minutes. It’s okay if they get hard, they will soften once added to the soup.

To serve ladle soup into bowl add 2-3 slices of bread and top with sprinkle of Swiss cheese. If you wish, you can add to an oven save bowl and put under the broiler for a few minutes to make the cheese brown and bubbly. I made this for lunches, so I just add in the bread slices and top with some cheese once the soup is heated through and the cheese melts perfectly. Enjoy!

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