Recipes in Rotation with Douglas E. Welch
Douglas' Christmas ChiliEvery Christmas, for our annual open house, I make a lots of cookies (80-90 doz) but I also make a huge pot of this chili (20 qts in 2009). It was originally designed to feed ourselves during the open house, but now it is as popular, if not more so, than the cookies. This recipe started off as one included with a crock pot I got when heading off to college in 1982 (The crockpot is still in use today!), but I have modified it extensively over the years. I serve this with extra sharp cheddar cheese. Some people like chopped onions on it. I usually eat this by itself the first day, then have it over some sort of pasta the next and then chili dogs after that. It freezes well so make as much as you want and then store it away in meal-sized containers for a quick dinners.
Gnocchi Au Gratin OrleansWhile we regularly make homemade gnocchi and red sauce (recipe to come in a future post, but this is a nice way to change things up. I am working on altering the recipe to use greek yogurt or some other thickener, but for now, we only have this about every 2 months or so due to the relatively high calorie count. Still, it is a nice treat. The slight heat of Emeril’s Essence contrasts nicely with the creamy sauce. To turn this into a complete meal, we poach or grill a couple of chicken breasts and then slightly shred or cut it up and add it to the sauce. We have made this with both homemade gnocchi and pre-packaged. It works well with both.
Mild Taco Sauce in the style of Taco BellI love Taco Bell mild sauce, but I really shouldn't be eating there. That said, I found this recipe which comes close to the TB version and gives me a bit of flavor for my own homemade burritos, tacos and nachos. I even love just dipping chips in this sauce and it is very low-cal on its own.
Taco meat seasoning for ground turkeyIn my mind, every family needs a decent recipe for making their own taco seasoning. Most of the packets you get in the store have quite a lot of sodium, so making your own allows you to cut back to the bare minimum. I have high blood pressure, so the less sodium the better. This recipe is used specifically for ground turkey, as that is our ground meat of choice, but it would work just as well with ground beef. You could perhaps reduce the amount of beef bouillon by half if using beef, as it will bring flavor of its own to the recipe. We use this taco meat in tacos, of course, but also in burritos, bowls, and even as taco pizzas. Additionally, I will add it to canned tomato soup, to give it a bit more flavor and substance. I also sometimes add it to leftover mac and cheese when I reheat it to create a cheesy taco mac dish. It is a great way to use up leftovers without feeling you are eating the exact same meal a second time.
Potato Soup with Add-insWe love soup at our house and there will be several more highlighted as part of this series. Even on the hottest Southern California days we will sometimes have soup for dinner, as odd as it might sound. This potato soup started with a recipe from our close friends of Irish descent, but I have fiddled with it for years, creating this somewhat "final" recipe. My family likes potato soup a bit chunky, so I have to be careful to not overcook the potatoes, so there are still bite-sized pieces of potato in the completed dish. This soup is great for using up leftovers, too. The ham can come from an Easter or Christmas ham, and the potatoes are often leftovers from other big meals. If you want to add a special kick, toss in the leftover mashed potatoes from last night's dinner. While I like meaty add-ins, there is nothing to say you can't use your favorite veggies and greens to kick it up a notch.
Parmesan Paprika PotatoesThese potatoes ended up being really tasty and easy to make. The edges were nicely crisp and browned and the combination of parmesan cheese, paprika and pepper lent a nice flavor. Next time I would probably add a bit more of each of the spices and maybe even a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper or a 1/2 tsp of cajun spice mix. If you have your own favorite set of spices, this would lend itself to a lot of experimentation. Maybe a curry flavored batch sometime? Hmmm. ** Recipe discovered in my RSS Feeds via Stephanie Cooks who re-posted it from What's Gaby Cooking? A few changes and additions by me.
No Fuss FocacciaLet me tell you, it lives up to its “No Fuss” name and also makes a great piece of bread. Look at the cross section here. Crunchy on the outside and wonderfully fluffy on the inside. We started tearing pieces off this load to try and had to stop ourselves before we had no room left for our actual dinner. On great use would be to cut off a good-sized square, then slice it in half cross ways and make a rockin’ sandwich. I have just such plans for some of the leftovers. To make, you combine all the ingredients in a mixer (I have one of the smaller KitchenAid models) and beat it for about 1 minute. This is a basically a “no knead” bread, so the dough is really shaggy and sticky. Don’t worry, though, just tip the whole thing into greased 13×9 pan and do your best spread it around to cover most of the pan. Leave it set for an hour and it will puff up and fill the pan. I followed the original recipe and topped it with a mixture of basil, oregano, onion and garlic powder. Bake for around 30-25 minutes or until golden brown. I know I will be making this Focaccia again, probably whenever we have friends over for one of our regular pasta dinners. You could dress it up in any number of ways, topping with whatever ingredients strike your fancy. I’m thinking you could even make a nice rustic pizza by letting it rise on a larger pan, maybe a half sheet pan and then lightly topping it with sauce and more. From my series, Recipes in Rotation on My Word on Food (http://welchwrite.com/blog/category/recipes-in-rotation/)
Buttermilk Cornmeal WafflesFrom Recipes in Rotation blog series on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://welchwrite.com/blog/category/recipes-in-rotation/) I have a couple of favorite waffle recipes, but since I really like crispy waffles, this is the one I usually turn to first. The addition of cornmeal lends a lot of flavor, but also a lot of crunch to the waffles. Since they are so crispy, they also re-heat really well in the toaster even after being frozen. The recipe makes a fairly good-sized batch of waffles, so I usually end up with 4-6 to freeze even after we enjoy our breakfast.
Douglas' Italian Red SauceThis is the homemade sauce I developed soon after I was married. My wife had lived with her grandparents for most of her life, and as the got older, their sauces got less and less spicy. I wanted something that would have a kick, please her tastes and also work well for pizza sauce and other dishes. I have never been one for "sweet" spaghetti sauces, many which call for the inclusion of white sugar in the recipe. I prefer something spicy, with quite a bit of oregano. You can see in the recipe where I add some vinegar, either white or balsamic to add a bit more bite to the sauce. If your tomatoes are already acidic then you can probably leave this out, but most canned tomato sauces, like those I use as the base, tend towards the sweeter side. We make this sauce probably every 3 weeks or so. We usually have it over pasta the first night, reserve a small amount for pizza or chicken parmagiana during the week and freeze the rest to be used as quick meals on those evenings when we are too busy or tired to cook an entire meal. Posted as part of Recipes in Rotation, a blog series on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com/blog/)
Turkey BurgersWhen you look at most turkey burger recipes, they are full of additions. Add bread crumbs. Add eggs. Add other fillers to bind them together. After trying a number of these recipes, I decided to take a step back in simplicity and just try to make "burgers", turkey or otherwise. My turkey burgers are so basic, it is almost laughable to call them a recipe, but I think I have hit upon something that is tasty and also open to interpretation by you. I'll put some of my variations below. This recipe is part of my blog series, "Recipes in Rotation" on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com/blog/)
Risotto Rosso with SausageWe originally ran across this dish as a microwave recipe in Sunset Magazine which then converted to a more traditional stove top version. Then I found a cookbook, Cucina Rustica by Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman. Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe to match our own preferences. Here is my adapted version. It is spicy and filling comfort food. Risotto can seem intimidating, but as long as you go slow and steady with the addition of the stock, it basically makes itself. It is this slow process that allows the rice to release its starch and make the risotto creamy without any real creamy ingredients. Remember, slow and steady win the race with this recipe. This recipe was originally posted as part of the Recipes in Rotation series on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com/blog/)
Italian Wedding Soup (Zuppa di Matrimonio)Despite it's name, Wedding Soup is not usually served at weddings, but rather, it is named this because it is a wonderful "wedding" of ingredients. This soup started out with a very basic stock base, but over the years we have made it more and more like our typical chicken soups, with lots of vegetables included. You can also include a piece of parmesan rind to kick up the flavor. We often do this with most of our homemade soups. We usually make this about once a month and there are always plenty of leftovers for lunches and dinners on night when we are too busy to consider cooking a complete meal. Originally posted as part of Recipes in Rotation on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://welchwrite.com/blog/category/recipes-in-rotation/)
Gnocchi alla CiociariaWe were invited over to cook in our friends newly remodeled kitchen last night, so I decided to make my favorite “pasta” dish, Gnocchi alla Ciociaria. I found this recipe year’s ago as part of Mario Batali’s Molto Mario show on Food Network. It is not something you would want to make every night, but I usually bring it out for friends as it is such a wonderful meal. Even better, the sauce is easy, too, as you basically just dump all the ingredients into a skillet and let it cook while you make the gnocchi. Gnocchi is one of the easiest pastas to make, but provides lots of “hands-on” fun. Our friend’s kitchen has a near-commerical stove and a huge expanse of granite counter which was perfect for pasta making. I was quite in “hog heaven” to be able to cook there. Everything is so much easier when you have the proper equipment and plenty of space. We are already planning another evening to make traditional rolled pasta here. I am certainly looking forward too it. This recipe was originally posted as part of Recipes in Rotation on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com/blog/category/recipes-in-rotation/)
Black Bean SoupIt is no surprise that we are soup fans here in the Welch household. Even in the heat of Summer we can be found over a bowl of hot soup, but Winter is when they really shine, of course. This soup is a great one for cold Winter nights as it is "stick to the ribs" hearty with black beans, smoked sausage, rice and a spicy stock. This recipe originally appeared as part of the series, Recipes in Rotation on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://welchwrite.com/blog/category/recipes-in-rotation)
Fluffy PancakesI have never been much of a pancake fan before, but lately I have been having cravings for them. I like my pancakes light and fluffy, so I went looking for a recipe with just those qualities. After looking at quite a few recipes, I developed my own recipe which combined a little of each. The secret of fluffy is to have enough leavening to make the pancakes pop. The "double-acting" baking powder used here develops fluffiness when mixed the the wet ingredients and agin when the pancakes are cooked. This photo is an example of a fresh batch just off the cast iron griddle that always sits atop our stove — perfect for just such a meal. If you have a hankering for pancakes, this recipe works very well. It only makes about 6 average-sized pancakes, but the recipes is easily doubled or tripled if you want to make a larger batch. I do add a bit more milk than the recipe calls for, just to make them a little bit lighter. This recipe was originally published as part of the Recipes in Rotation series on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://welchwrite.com/blog/category/recipes-in-rotation/)
This book is a special 3-ring binder that sits close at hand in the kitchen and contains those recipes that are in our regular "rotation" of family meals -- the family comfort foods we return to again and again.
It has been my experience that everyone has recipes like this, even if they are only held within the mind of the family cook. This cookbook is my attempt to collect them all so that my son -- and perhaps, his family -- will have the beginnings of their own Recipes in Rotation long after I am gone.
These recipes were originally posted as part of the Recipes in Rotation series on My Word with Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com/blog/category/recipes-in-rotation)