Tag Archives: ina garten

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Over Cooked Green Beans

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Tonight I decided on a dinner of old, the good ole meatloaf, mashed potatoes and overcooked green beans. With the plan to later use the meatloaf for sandwiches. One of Jill’s favorite. Growing up, our family of six at a home cooked meal together every night up until high school when schedules got crazy. Three meals that whipped a smile from my face were meatloaf, salmon croquet and some hamburger corn bread pie thing my mom concocted. As I elbowed my way to the stove I learned to like them all because I avoid canned veggies and proteins and buy fresh.

This meatloaf recipe was adapted from Ina Garten. As for the green beans I saw an episode where Trisha Yearwood made cooked to death green beans that were like the canned variety we grew up on but these are fresh and cooked until super soft. I didn’t follow or even look at her recipe but got the idea from her.

2 lbs of Ground Beef (81%)
2 yellow onions diced finely
2 Eggs beaten
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (recommended: Progresso)
1/2 cup of ketchup
2 tbs tomato paste
1/3 cup of chicken stock (not broth)
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs good olive oil
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp of Pepper

Over cooked green beans
fresh green beans
chicken stock to cover
1 onion diced finely
1/4 cup of diced ham steak

Mashed potatoes
4 red potatoes
Milk or cream
2 tbs of cream cheese
additional cheese to taste (cheddar, parm, etc)

1. Meat loaf: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take a skillet or saute pan on medium heat and add your diced or pulverized onions with salt, pepper, and thyme and sweat them out until translucent (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and to the onions add Worcestershire Sauce, tomato paste, chicken stock and 2 minced garlic cloves. Stir until combined and set aside.

Take your protein and put it in a large mixing bowl. Add your bread crumbs, beaten eggs and the onion mixture you just made. With your hands combine well so that you have a well mixed meatloaf mixture.

Create a loaf shape on a sheet pan or in a loaf pan and top with ketchup. Cook for about an hour or until your thermometer reads 160 degrees.

2. Overcooked green beans. Add some olive oil or bacon fat to a pan on medium heat and sweat your onion and ham until soft and translucent. Add your green beans and stir for about a minute. Add enough stock to cover and let them simmer while your meat loaf cooks. About 40 minutes.

3. Mashed potatoes: Cut your potatoes equally and boil them in salty water and cook until tender. Pour and drain into a colander and put the potatoes back into the pot where you cooked them. Turn the heat off and mash them up. Add milk, cream cheese and other cheeses of your choice. Mix and taste and add milk or cream to get the consistency you like.

East Hampton Clam Chowder

East Hampton Clam Chowder

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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East Hampton Clam Chowder
Today was a snowy day that pretty much shut the city down so a perfect night in with a fire and a hearty bowl of something.  I decide to try something I haven’t tried before….clam chowder.

Ina Garten was in town recently and Jill went with some friends to hear her speak. One of the tidbits that Jill passed on was how meticulous she is with her recipes. She makes them several time and then watches someone make it to see what she missed in conveying how to do it.  This is one of the reasons her cookbooks are so beloved. If you follow the instructions you should get the desired outcome.

I hate to say it but that’s not me and I barely remember what I used or how much.

So this clam chowder is pretty freaking awesome.  I did depart from her recipe just a little because i had some leeks on hand I needed to use.  Seriously folks this stuff is to die for. Super creamy with onions, leeks, celery, carrots and that subtle clam flavor.

1 lbs of fresh shucked clams.
1 cup yellow onion
2 leeks (mostly whites and light green) cut and then wash well
2 cups of diced carrots
2 cups of diced celery
4 cups of boiling potatoes
1.5 tsp of fresh thyme
4 cups of clam juice
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup of AP flour
12 tbs of butter
Pinch of cayenne
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Bay Leaf

1. Wash cut and wash your veggies cutting everything a similar size. Optional: Chop up your clams (roughly) based upon how much clam you want in a bite. Your call. I just cut the bigger ones and kept mine on the big side.

2. In a large pot on medium heat add 4 tbs of butter and the onion. Sweat this out for about 10 minutes and then add the other veggies and the seasonings. Saute this for another 10 minutes to soften everything up.

3. Add the clam juice to the pot and bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are soft or al dente.

4. At this point things go pretty quickly so you go ahead and get your bowls and plates ready and call everyone to dinner. So you have your veggies in the clam juice al dente. You have your clams the size you want and ready to go. You should have the flour, milk, and butter on hand.

5. In a second small pot you need to add the remaining 8 tbs of butter and let it melt on medium low heat. Stir in your flour to make a roux. Once the flour is well incorporated (5 minute whisk). Dip a ladle into the veggie clam juice stock and add that to your roux stirring constantly. Now add that stock and roux back into the big pot of veggies and clam juice. Stir to thicken up a bit. IMG_9461

6. Turn the heat down and pour in your milk. Stir for about 4 minutes and then add your clams to pot and stir for about 2 mins. Turn off the heat and serve with crackers or even cheddar cheese.

Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas

Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas

Ham Gruyere Leek & Spinach Empanadas

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Jill bought me Ina Garten new cookbook “Make it Ahead”. I’m not a make it ahead kinda guy but I see the point when you are entertaining etc… She has a Ham & Leek Empanada recipe that looked good so I decided to give it a go. Wow they were amazing. Ina has always had great recipes but I think her last two books are her best. She is doing such a great job with simplicity but special recipes. Can’t wait to try some more.

People..these are for real! Pretty easy to make and the payoff is off the charts. I changed it a little bit but these babies are automatically on my “best of list”. After one try. You have a flaky delicate puff pastry filled with shaved ham and creamy Gruyere with the soft onion notes that leeks provide along with some spinach. I think the spinach was added to satisfy “healthy” guilt. She added basil that I excluded. I also doubled up on the mixture amount for each. Typical dude move.

I can see the ladies serving them at parties, showers, bible studies, book clubs, Downton Abbey watch parties, Easter etc.. Guys will like them too because they are really tasty. Gotta give em a try. Ina nailed this one.
Frozen Puff Pastry(I used 1 package, Ina used 2)
4 oz of deli shaved ham
4 oz of shredded Gruyere cheese (I used a Cheddar/Gruyere)
1 1/2 cups of Leeks (small diced the white and light green parts)
2 oz chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbs of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of creme fraiche
AP flour for dusting pastry to avoid sticking
1 egg beaten with 2 tbs of milk for egg wash
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Defrost your puff pastry

2. Thinly cut your leeks (in half and then diced into fingernail looking pieces). Wash them well and drain the water. In a medium heated pan, melt your butter and add your leeks. Stir until soft and then remove from the burner and add the creme fraiche and stir for a minute.

3. In a large bowl add your ham and Gruyere and top with the leek mixture. stir until combined and then add the spinach and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
4. Dust a board or your counter with flour. Whisk your egg wash but adding an egg and milk and beat until well combined. Unroll your puff pastry sheet and cut into four squares. Roll each out. Add your filling. Apply egg wash to the outer edges. Given I used all the mixture and half the puff pastry as Ina, I packed mine pretty full. I balled up the mixture so it was tight and then lifted the pastry square in one hand and folded the edges and gave them a pinch. Once sealed, I put them back on the board and used a fork to seal the edges and make them look better.
5. Place your empanadas on the parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t crowd them or have them touch each other. Brush on the egg wash to the tops of each one and then lightly salt and pepper them.
6. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove and let them rest for 5 minutes.

Warm Fig, Blue Cheese & Arugula Salad

Warm Fig, Blue Cheese & Arugula Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Warm Fig, Blue Cheese & Arugula Salad
Tonight we had Ham & Leek Empanadas that were so amazing. Ina Garten has a new cookbook that I used for the recipe. I spotted a salad recipe a few pages earlier that I thought we be a great compliment to the Empanadas. The vinegar and sherry wine cut through the cheesy and salty puff pastry. The figs were also I nice touch of sweet.
Figs… I don’t eat them very much. I like them but we just don’t see a lot them around here and certainly not in the winter. So I had to resort to dried ones and heat them up in the pan with my walnuts. I think blue cheese works so well with fruits like figs, grapes, pears and apples.

3 tbs of cooking sherry wine
3 tbs of white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp of local honey
6 tbs of good olive oil (equal parts oil and vinegar/wine)
Handful of dried figs (my store didn’t have fresh)
1 cup of walnuts
Blue cheese
Cut spinach
2 green onions diced

1. Mix your dressing together and whisk until combined. Taste and salt and pepper accordingly.

2. Warm your walnuts on medium low heated small pan. About three minutes for four minutes. I removed from heat and added the figs and poured some honey over both the walnuts and figs. Shaken the pan so that it was well combined and coated and until the figs softened.

3. In a large bowl take your arugula and spinach and dress and toss well. Add the walnuts, figs and blue cheese and serve.


Hamburger Slider Party

Hamburger Sliders

  • Servings: gaggle
  • Difficulty: easy
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Hamburger Slider Party

Note: sorry about the photos I didn’t take any at the party. Oops. So I had to take some of the burgers by themselves at home.


Let’s be honest, if you don’t know how to cook a proper hamburger it may prompt questioning of your manhood or even patriotism. The keys are fat, heat, and time. Unfortunately fat is flavor and it is also kryptonite for a dry patty. If you opt out of fat then you need to watch how long you cook your patty.

My mom had a birthday and wanted everyone to get together. She like a good burger but didn’t want to go to a burger joint due to the noise and her desire for us to “visit”. Cutest southern Mom on the planet. Anyway, I volunteered to make burgers at her place. These sort of opportunities set my mind in a full on fixation of hunting recipes and menu planning. Should I do fries, smashed potatoes, chips and dip? What about sauces and cheeses? Inevitably I always want to do too much and never make it easy on myself.

One of my favorite burgers is Houston’s Hickory burger. Also on that list is Twisted Root’s Jalapeno Blue Cheese burger. My Mom loves In & Out so I made some sauce that resembles it and Shake Shacks in NY. I bought a bunch of different buns, cheeses, condiments so we could all try different combinations.

As for the burger itself I use a base recipe from Ina Garten and bumped it up to my liking. What I like about her recipe is that she uses egg yolks so it’s near impossible to end up with a dry burger. It’s genius because she is basically mimicking a meatball or meatloaf without the breading.

Burger Ingredients:
2 lbs ground chuck
1 ibs ground sirloin
½ lbs bacon
6 egg yolks
3 tbs of steak sauce
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
(Optionally you can add a little cayenne and or onion powder)

Blue Cheese Jalapeno Burgers

Equal parts mayo and blue cheese
Dash of Worcestershire
Dash of Tabasco
Black Pepper
Green Onions
Pickled Jalapenos

Hickory Burger
Fresh shredded Cheddar Cheese
Roasted Bacon
BBQ Sauce
½ cup Ketchup
2 tbs of Grainy Mustard
2 tbs of Adobo sauce
4 drops of Liquid Smoke
1 tbs of Molasses
1 tbs of Worcestershire
1 tbs of Chili Powder

Shake Shack / In & Out Animal Sauce
1/2 cup Dukes Mayo
1 tbs of Ketchup
1 tbs of grainy mustard
1-2 tbs of Wickles Pickles Relish
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of cayenne

Hatch Queso burger
Queso recipe on the blog
Roasted, Hatch Chili Peppers (skinned and seeded)

1. I roast bacon in an oven at 300 for 40-50 mins. Let it cool and then mince it.

2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients well and form in to patties. I made sliders so everyone could build a variety of burgers to enjoy all my sauces of course.

3. You could grill these but I heated a cast iron skillet to medium heat and seared them and then put the patties in a pan and placed them in an oven heated at 100 degrees until ready to serve.

4. BBQ sauce – add to small pot and heat on medium heat. Quick tangy and spicy sauce – super easy.

Green Goddess Bibb Salad

Making your own dressings is super easy and I really think it makes a difference as you can enjoy the freshness and brightness of the flavors. This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten where I reduced the amount of lemon and punched up with some spice. Serving with buttery bibb lettuce and topping with roasted crispy bacon bits.

1 cup of Dukes Mayo
1 cup of Sour Cream
1 tbs anchovy paste
1 lemon (taste and add more if needed)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 bunch of green onions
1 cup of fresh basil
pinch of cayenne
dash of tabasco
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Bibb lettuce
Diced Tomatoes
Crispy Roasted bacon

Place everything in a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust according to your taste. We quartered Bibb lettuce and drizzled with the dressing and topped with diced tomatoes and crispy roasted bacon.