Dilled Potato & Zucchini Cakes

Going to one of our local deli’s or to any of our abundance of festivals in Cincinnati, you come to expect a good potato cake.  The love child of hash browns and a pancake, it makes a great savory side dish that’s a little different.  We were blackening some halibut tonight and I wanted to try a rift on the traditional potato pancake with the addition of zucchini as well.  A little dill makes them even better.

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DILLED POTATO & ZUCCHINI CAKES

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Shredded Zucchini
  • 2 Medium Potatoes, Peeled & Shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Diced Onion
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 2 Tsp. Parsley
  • 1 Tsp. Dill
  • 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Place zucchini and potato in a strainer and squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible.  Place in a medium bowl.
  • Add diced onion, eggs and garlic salt, dill, parsley & black pepper.  Stir until evenly combined.
  • Sprinkle mixture with baking soda and flour.  Stir until just combined.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add two tablespoons vegetable oil.
  • Drop mixture into hot skillet by the spoonful.  Be sure to spread them out enough to make them as thin as possible.  Fry 2-3 minutes until golden brown, flipping once.
  • Continue frying cakes until you’ve used all of the mixture.
  • Serve immediately with sour cream to lightly top.

Crispy edges, savory flavor and a touch of cold sour cream will have your family asking you to make these often.  It’s not difficult to adjust the recipe with other ingredients if you want to change the flavors.  Try substituting shredded apple for the zucchini for a sweet touch – perfect to serve with breaded pork or smoked sausage.  Try some other combos and let me know what you come up with.  Dig in!

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Turkey & Stuffing Roll-Ups

I remember years ago when my wife and I were dating, we were stuck at my apartment during a snowstorm.  With not a lot in the house to eat and only a convenience store across the street I improvised to make her turkey roll-ups for dinner.  Here we are today and it’s one of our favorite cool-weather meals to make.  Using some store-bought ingredients combined with homemade stuffing, these Thanksgiving bites feel like you’ve done your due diligence in actually cooking something!

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TURKEY & STUFFING ROLL-UPS

Ingredients

  • 1 Lbs. Thick-Cut Turkey Breast Lunchmeat
  • 10 Slices White Texas Toast
  • 2 Small Shallots, Diced
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Diced
  • 1/2 Stick Butter
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 1-2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tbs. Parsley
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Poultry Seasoning
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Pepper
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/2 Cup Milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter and add shallots and celery.  Cook 5-7 minutes until translucent and soft.  Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, tear bread into 1-inch cubes.  If you don’t have Texas toast, 15 slices of regular white bread will do.
  • Pour 1 cup of chicken stock over bread to moisten.
  • Add shallot & celery mixture and all the melted butter that’s in the pan as well.
  • Add eggs, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Combine with your hands to fully incorporate ingredients.  Do not over-mix to crush bread.
  • Stuffing mixture should be moist all the way through, but not mushy.  Add as much additional chicken stock as needed to reach desired consistency.
  • Place two slices of turkey breast on top of each other.  Add a half cup of stuffing to one end and then roll up the slice.  Place in a 9×9 baking dish lined with cooking spray.  Repeat this process until you have filled the pan with rolls and used all of the stuffing.  Depending on the size of your turkey slices, you may need a larger pan or to roll the last one lengthwise to fit properly.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cream of chicken soup and milk until smooth.  Spread evenly over turkey rolls.
  • Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve immediately.

Who doesn’t love a little taste of Thanksgiving now and then?  With less than 30 minutes prep time, this is an easy dish that tastes like you spent hours making it.  It’s easy to adjust the recipe to your time and skill level too!  Use a prepared stuffing mix if you prefer and want to save time.  Do you make killer gravy?  Make your own instead of the chicken soup for another dash of homemade flare.  Making a larger portion?  Double the pan size, but make half the rolls with stuffing and half with mashed potatoes.  Dig in!

Creamed Chipped Beef

Fall is definitely here today and few things feel more like fall than comfort food and breakfast for dinner.  As a kid, I couldn’t get on board with the fresh-from-the-freezer version of chipped beef my mom used to microwave.  Sorry mom!  Once I married into a country-cooking family and continued to hone my skills, I learned how to make the real version!  When you see how easy this is, you’ll wonder why you ever had anything other than homemade.

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CREAMED CHIPPED BEEF

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbs. Butter
  • 4 Tbs. Flour
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk (Skim will work, but why not??)
  • 4.5 Ounce Jar Dried Beef
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cut dried beef into 1/2-inch squares and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add flour and stir until a smooth paste.  Continue to cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Removed from heat and slowly whisk in milk.
  • Return to low heat and stir constantly until desired thickness, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in dried beef.  Add black pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately over well-buttered white toast.

Whether this reminds you of grandma’s cooking or your time in the service, I hope you love making and eating it!  Schools of thought on the toast:  definitely white, regular is good, but Texas toast is even better, don’t forget the butter.  And this is also a great to serve on a buffet or for a brunch.  Elevate it with the addition of crustless toast points and/or a sprinkle of fresh parsley and chives.  Dig in!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Football season is in full swing and we’re constantly making snacks for a Saturday or Sunday game while we cheer on our favorite teams.  And while I love trying new things, it’s sometimes the old standby that makes for the perfect appetizer to watch a winner.  This recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip is hot and spicy and perfect to feed a crowd.  While I’ve had many variations, this is the one I like most.

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BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP

Ingredients

  • 2 8-Ounce Bricks Cream Cheese
  • 1 16-Ounce Bottle Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 2 12-Ounce Cans White Meat Chicken or 1 1/2 Lbs. Pulled Rotisserie Chicken
  • 1 16-Ounce Bottle Ranch Dressing
  • 1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cups Cheddar Jack Cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a 13×9 baking dish, spread cream cheese into an even layer.
  • Pour a thin layer of buffalo sauce over the cream cheese to completely cover.  Use your favorite brand here.  You will only need half to three-fourths of the bottle to cover.  Add more or use a hot version for spicier dip.
  • Cover buffalo sauce with a single layer of chicken.  Canned works fine here, but a store-bought rotisserie chicken is even better for more flavor and a mixture of white and dark meat.
  • Pour the entire bottle of ranch dressing over chicken in an even layer.
  • Sprinkle ranch dressing with garlic powder.
  • Top with cheese and bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered until cheese is melted and it’s bubbling on the sides.
  • Serve immediately with tortilla chips, Fritos and/or celery sticks for dipping.

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Yes, that’s all there is to it.  And it’s easy to change it up with different flavors of buffalo dip or blue cheese dressing instead of ranch.  Tailgating, on the sofa or by the pool, you’ll make this again and again for the big game – or even the not-so-important game.  It’s just that good.  Dig in!