Shrimp Pierogis w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Like many recipes with folk origins, pierogi dough can be made in a variety of ways with some people using eggs & sour cream & others don’t. Making your own pierogis is actually an easier job than you might expect (just a little time consuming).

Like all ‘dumplings’, pierogis can pretty much do no wrong. They’re great as a side, as the main event or you guessed it ….. in a casserole or even dessert.

What makes it even better is that the filling possibilities are endless ….. the pierogi knows no boundaries!

Brion & I always enjoy a seafood meal. On a quest to come up with something different it occurred to me I had never put shrimp in a pierogi filling before. If it works in seafood lasagna why not a pierogis?!

Last summer I had posted a meal using a sun-dried tomato sauce. The once, incredibly popular, sun-dried tomatoes have become an underrated, ingredient that few people stock in their pantries anymore.

Sun-dried tomatoes are very versatile & can be used in unlimited ways, Because they’re dried, the flavors of the tomatoes are intensified. This sauce, with its bold & rich garlic & herb flavors was the perfect accompaniment for these shrimp pierogis. Definitely a keeper!

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Shrimp Pierogis w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
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Ingredients
Pierogi Dough
Shrimp Filling
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Pierogi Dough
Shrimp Filling
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
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Instructions
Pierogi Dough ( Yield = 18)
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, beaten egg, butter & sour cream. Mix until dough comes together. On a work surface, knead dough for 3-4 minutes until elastic. Place in a plastic container with a lid & refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Shrimp Filling
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 1 Tbsp each, oil & butter. Saute leeks, mushrooms & garlic until tender.
  2. Stir in half of the bottle of clam juice & the 1/4 cup chicken broth; bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add shrimp & 1/8 tsp pepper. Return to a boil, then reduce heat & let simmer for 4-5 minutes. Drain the filling, reserving liquid. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter. Stir in flour & mix until smooth. Gradually add in the milk & reserved liquid (from filling), while stirring constantly. Sprinkle in the rest of the salt & pepper. Bring sauce to a boil & cook for about 2 minutes until thickened, continuing to stir.
  4. Remove the sauce from heat & mix in the heavy cream & Parmesan cheese. Take about 1/3 cup of the sauce & mix it with the shrimp filling. Place remaining sauce in a bowl & set aside to be added to the SUN-DRIED TOMATO SAUCE later.
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
  1. Add oil to skillet & heat on a medium heat. Add onion & saute until it starts to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, oregano & smoked paprika.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes, while stirring, then add remaining clam juice, sea salt & RESERVED sauce. Gently combine. Set aside until pierogis are cooked & ready to serve.
Roll & Fill Pierogis
  1. Remove pierogi dough from refrigerator & cut into 18 equal pieces (about 30 gm each). Roll each piece into about a 3 1/2-inch round. Place a heaping Tbsp of shrimp filling (about 30 gm) in the middle of pierogi. Dip your finger in a bowl of water & run it along the edge of the dough. Fold pierogi in half, carefully pinching together edges to seal it completely.
Cook & Serve
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully drop pierogis in & boil until all the pierogis float to the surface & dough becomes somewhat translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Remove pierogis with a slotted spoon, making sure to let as much of the excess water drip off as possible.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a Tbsp of butter. Place drained pierogis in skillet. Do not over-crowd so that they can all lightly brown on both sides. Reheat sun-dried tomato sauce & place in a serving dish. When pierogis have fried a bit, (blot on paper towel if you wish), then add to sauce on serving dish.
Recipe Notes
  • When making the pierogis, nothing wrong with rolling out all the dough at the same time & cutting your circles with a cookie cutter. I just personally like dividing the dough so I don't have to do any re-rolling with the scraps. Just personal preference.
  • If you happened to have any filling leftover, just add it to you sun-dried tomato sauce.

Hamburger & Caramelized Onion Pizza

Pizza is one of those foods that works for just about everyone. From meat eaters to vegetarians, kids, adults and everyone in between. Year-round, its the perfect entree for family or party events.

Brion & I always enjoy pizza, preferably homemade. Usually my go-to toppings would be veggies, chicken or seafood, but nothing says it can’t be ground meat.

One of the things that seemed to improve on the flavor of this pizza was the caramelized onions. It takes only a few extra minutes but is worth it. For the sauce, I tried a blend of prepared lite Alfredo & marinara and then used a combo of cheeses instead of just one. Its always interesting to me what develops when you ‘step out of the box’.

Of course, if you have time to make a full fledged pizza crust it will take it all to the next level. But, I never hesitate, when I’m too busy, to use a purchased, refrigerated pizza crust. Pizza is just good, so do what works for you!

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Hamburger & Caramelized Onion Pizza
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Instructions
Pizza Crust
  1. For my PIZZA CRUST RECIPE, you can find it in either JULY or AUGUST 2019 blog entries on this site. It is a yeast dough so it will take a bit of time to prepare (but worth it).
Pizza Toppings
  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter & add onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 20-25 minutes or until onion is browned & caramelized. Remove onion mixture from skillet; set aside.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp butter to skillet & saute mushrooms until tender & moisture has evaporated. Remove from skillet; add to onion mixture. Place ground beef & garlic in skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes or until browned. Drain off fat. Stir in caramelized onions, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper.
Assembly
  1. Spread Alfredo/marinara sauce blend over either homemade or purchased PIZZA CRUST. Sprinkle with a small portion of your cheese blend. Top with ground beef mixture, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced green olives & remaining grated cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is nicely golden brown.
Recipe Notes
  • To grill pizza, heat one side of gas grill on medium or charcoal grill until coals are ash white. Place coals to one side in charcoal grill. Place pizza onto grill opposite coals. Close lid; grill, rotating once 12-15 minutes or until heated through & cheese is melted.

Savory Layered Puff Pie

That expression, ‘what’s old is new again’, definitely can be applied to so many things in today’s world. Very often, when you think you have come up with a new idea its really just a modernized version of an old one.

As I’ve probably mentioned before, Brion & I really enjoy casseroles. I happened to recall a casserole that was published in Good Housekeeping in 1958. My mother made a version of it at that time. Being mostly vegetables, it had such a nice flavor. It was called Seven Layer Casserole consisting of vegetables, rice, tomato soup and sausage or ground meat.

With that ‘taste of a memory’ in mind, my recipe development turned into a savory layered casserole. I used vegetables, rice, cheese and ground pork with a layer of puff pastry. When you prepare it, the sheet of puff pastry is on top so it gets crispy, but when it is baked, you flip it over and it becomes a bottom crust.

Of course, we are talking about frozen puff pastry here. It seems it has become a supermarket staple, delivering all the glories of puff pastry without all the hard hours of work. This is a convenience food that’s perfectly useful for cooks of all skill and commitment levels.

All this talk of frozen puff pastry probably seems odd coming from someone who has made a living in the food industry. But lets face, to make it from scratch is either a labor of love or a sign of madness depending on who you are. So here’s my remake of that vintage 7-layer casserole.

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Savory Layered Puff Pie
Instructions
  1. Cook rice. In a skillet, saute onion in 1 Tbsp butter for a few minutes. Add ground pork, water & seasonings; scramble-fry until cooked. Drain well & remove from skillet. Add another Tbsp of butter to skillet & saute drained mushrooms then blot on paper towel.
  2. Grate cheese combo of choice. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line casserole baking dish with foil & butter.
  3. Start layering with mushrooms, cheeses, rice, meat/onion combo & frozen green beans. Top with puff pastry. Cut a few slits in the pastry for vents. Brush with egg wash.
  4. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from oven & allow to stand for about 15-20 minutes then invert on a serving plate. Remove foil paper & cut into serving pieces. If you wish, serve the casserole with a brown gravy.

Sausage, Pepper & Perogy Casserole

Perogy, pierogi, piroshky, pelmeni, paczki or whatever you choose to call them, they are basically all the same concept. Wrapping a filling with some kind of dough exists all around the world. Between these variations, however, are distinct foods from different countries making it nearly impossible to trace the base origin.

The one I remember from childhood, being of German heritage, was a dumpling filled with a slightly sweetened, dry cottage cheese. I think the dough might have been made from potatoes and flour. We just loved them, of course.

When it comes to Brion and I, we always favor the very basic potato and cheddar cheese filling.  This recipe is pure, unadulterated comfort food! As plain as it seems, the flavor is amazing. The contrast of the lightly browned perogies against the creamy sauce and spicy, Asiago/red pepper sausage is exceptional. I find there is no need to add any cream to the sauce when you use 100% pure mozzarella cheese. It gives the casserole exactly what it needs.


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Sausage, Pepper & Perogy Casserole

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Instructions
  1. Boil perogies in a pot of boiling, salted water until they float to the top & are cooked. In a saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp of butter with 2 Tbsp olive oil. When perogies are cooked, lift out of water with a slotted ladle & place them in a single layer in the saucepan. Fry until lightly browned on both sides; remove from pan & set aside.

  2. To the same skillet, add sliced raw sausage, stirring constantly until cooked through. Add green peppers, cooking until tender crisp. Remove sausage & peppers from skillet; set aside.

  3. In same skillet, melt 3 Tbsp butter. Whisk in flour & continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes until golden brown. Whisk in chicken stock & whole grain mustard. Continue to simmer mixture, whisking constantly, until sauce is thickened & bubbly. Return perogies, sausage & peppers to skillet; carefully combine to coat everything well in the mustard sauce.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place mixture in a 13 X 9-inch casserole dish; sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese & bake 10-15 minutes. When everything is heated through & cheese is melted remove from oven & serve.

Baked Nectarines & Raspberry Dessert

Nectarines & peaches are both members of the stone fruit family and are so close, only one gene is responsible for their difference. This unique gene makes the peach fuzzy and the nectarine smooth. For most part, nectarines are sweeter and juicer — in essence more nectar. 

Nectarines originated in China and spread across the continents until they landed in America. They thrive in warmer climates, as a result, many of the nectarines we see in the grocery stores here are unripe, hard and tough.  They are often harvested too early and therefore do not develop the aroma they should have. Baking will concentrate their flavor, while lemon, almond and vanilla draw out their more elusive variations.

This dessert idea originated from Sweden. Quite similar to some of the other roasted fruit recipes I have posted except this dessert uses wine in the baking of it. If you don’t care for raspberries, blueberries or blackberries will work just as well.

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Baked Nectarines & Raspberries with Almond & Honey
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Course Brunch, dessert
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Instructions
  1. In a small dish, combine wine & honey; stir to dissolve. Halve & stone nectarines, place them flesh-side up in a glass baking dish. Crush amaretti biscuits, add cardamom & mix well; add beaten egg yolk, 2 Tbsp of wine mixture & toasted almonds. Combine & divide mixture between nectarines, spooning into 'pit' holes.
  2. Sprinkle nectarines with brown sugar then top each with a bit of the butter. Pour remaining wine & honey AROUND but NOT over the fruit, add 1 Tbsp water & tuck in the vanilla pod.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake the nectarines for 30 minutes or until fruit is soft & the biscuit filling is crisp & golden. Remove vanilla pod. Carefully stir the raspberries through the pan juices. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, whip cream; when ready to serve dessert, top each with a dollop.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Garlic Shrimp

Shrimp makes for a unique and elegant twist on a stuffed baked potato. For most part, a baked potato with a pat of butter and a little salt is just great on its own. But stuff them, with an assortment of savory ingredients such as shrimp, oysters or ground meat and it easily constitutes a whole meal.

I think my first encounter with this idea came when the Wendy’s restaurant chain introduced the  Stuffed Baked Potato  to their menu in 1983. Their original goal was to give the customer another choice or alternative to the same old ‘fries’. I think it retailed for 99 cents at the time. The one I remember having a couple of times was with the cheese sauce and fresh broccoli. It tasted great to me, not being a fried food lover.  Of course, since then the whole concept has been ratcheted up in both flavor and eye appeal.

For Canadians, barbecue season lasts until the first snow falls (sometimes even a bit after). This is a meal that can easily be cooked on the BBQ as well as in the oven and it is soooo– good! 

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Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Garlic Shrimp
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Ecuador
Servings
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Ecuador
Servings
Votes: 4
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Rub potatoes with oil & place on a baking sheet. Bake about an hour or until soft to the touch. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut a slice off the top of each potato lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. Place pulp in a large bowl & mash.
  2. In a small skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel & crumble. Saute green onions in 1/4 cup butter until tender. In a small dish, stir Ranch dressing powder (mix) into sour cream & add to potato pulp along with milk, salt & pepper. Fold in half of the cheese. Divide mixture between potato shells & drizzle with remaining butter. Place baking pan on BBQ where the heat is lower & warm potatoes through while shrimp is cooking.
Garlic Shrimp
  1. In a foil BBQ pan, Gently combine shrimp, olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil, parmigiana-reggiano, salt & pepper. Roast until pink, firm & cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.
To Serve
  1. On each serving plate, place a stuffed potato, top with shrimp & garnish with crumbled bacon & remaining cheese.

Amigo’s Birthday

Today, December 21st, a very special member of our family is having his 13th birthday. He is ‘our’ little mini German Dachshund with the Mexican name. My sister Loretta, adopted Amigo when he was only two months old, so needless to say, they are inseparable.

Amigo is everything you could want in a pet. I’m pretty sure he feels his mission in life is to play ball. He has never been one to like being left alone or to play by himself. Being so incredibly smart, it only takes a few minutes for him to understand what you are doing, playing or even thinking!

On occasion, Loretta has put him in our care. He accepts Brion and I like going to stay with your aunt and uncle and very quickly adapts to our routine. Curious, charming, brave, stubborn and comical are all words generally used to describe Dachshunds and certainly they describe our ‘Miggy’. He has probably done more airplane travel than a lot of people. Although travelling in any mode is not his thing, if Loretta is going somewhere, no question, he’s going to.

Since this is supposed to be a ‘story and food‘  blog I guess I should get to the food part. Since Amigo loves  chicken I decided to post  STUFFED BREAST of CHICKEN with APPLES, WALNUTS & BRIE   today. Now that’s not to say he’ll be eating any but it kind of fits the occasion.

                                                   HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AMIGO!

 

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Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apples, Walnuts & Brie
That magic of combining sweet & savory makes these chicken breasts just a bit more special.
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
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Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, saute onion in 1 Tbsp. butter about 1 minute. Add apple; cook 2-3 minutes longer or until apple is golden brown. Remove from heat; add walnuts, rosemary & a dash of salt & pepper.
  2. Flatten chicken breasts to 1/4" thickness; sprinkle with garlic powder & remaining salt & pepper. Place apple mixture & Brie on half of each chicken breast; fold over. Secure with toothpicks if necessary.
  3. In same skillet, brown chicken in remaining butter. Stir in cider vinegar & 1/4 cup apple juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & cook for 15-20 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 170 F.
  4. Remove chicken to serving platter; discard toothpicks. Combine cornstarch & remaining apple juice; add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken.
Recipe Notes
  • This recipe is another one of my favorites I acquired from the tasteofhome.com site. 

Gourmet Stuffed Potatoes with Caramelized Onion-Apple Burgers

CELEBRATING FATHER’S DAY!

Father’s Day, a time to honor our fathers and father figures who have influenced our lives. Honoring your father on Father’s Day doesn’t require his physical presence. I feel what is more important is the just act of doing it

….. ‘Remembering you is easy, we do it every day.      Missing you is the heartache that never goes away’.

My father passed away in 2005 and Brion’s in 2011. The passage of time will never dim those precious memories we have of them. They followed very different paths in their life’s journey; my father was a farmer and Brion’s an army soldier. Both of them gave so much of themselves to their life’s work as well as to their families.

Since both of our Dad’s were ‘meat & potatoes’ kind of men, it seems fitting that my Father’s Day  blog recipes would center around just that. When I made the Caramelized Onion-Apple Burger combination for us, I made it with ground pork but I’m sure it would taste great with either ground beef or chicken. The Gourmet Stuffed Potatoes are definitely a tried & true recipe that has been around forever but are always enjoyed. 

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Caramelized Onion-Apple Burgers with Stuffed Potatoes
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Ingredients
Caramelized Onion-Apple Burgers
Onion-Apple Burger Filling
Gourmet Stuffed Potatoes
Servings
Ingredients
Caramelized Onion-Apple Burgers
Onion-Apple Burger Filling
Gourmet Stuffed Potatoes
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Instructions
Caramelized Onion-Apple Burgers
  1. To Caramelize Onions/Apples: Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions & apples; sprinkle with salt. Cook & stir about 15 minutes or until both are tender. Reduce heat; sprinkle with vinegar. Cook, stirring until golden. Stir in brown sugar; cook & stir until caramel brown in color.
  2. To Make Stuffed Burgers: Place ground meat in a large bowl & combine with spices. Mix well. Shape into 8 thin patties. Divide onion/apple mixture into 8 portions. Place one portion on each of 4 patties ( reserve other 4 portions for later use). Top with remaining 4 patties & press gently to seal enclosing filling completely. Place burgers on preheated, greased barbecue grill over medium heat, close lid & grill, turning once. Cook approximately 14 minutes total. Top with remaining onion/apple mixture. Serve on buttered, lightly grilled Ciabatta buns.
Gourmet Stuffed Potatoes
  1. Pierce potatoes with a fork; rub with oil if desired. Bake at 400 F. for 1 hour or until tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut a slice off the top of each potato lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. Place pulp in a large bowl & mash.
  2. In a small skillet, saute onions in 1/4 cup butter until tender. Stir Ranch salad dressing mix into sour cream & add to potato pulp along with cream, salt & pepper. Fold in cheese & bacon bits. Spoon into potato shells. Place on a wire rack in a foil baking pan. Melt remaining butter; drizzle over the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika. Place pan on barbecue to heat through while meat is cooking. If you prefer, you can always put them in the oven at 350 F. for about 20 minutes instead.