Beef Medallions Marsala

Today was the first day of the next chapter of my career. After several years in corporate dining, I’m making a move to campus dining and will be starting my new position as executive chef for a local university next week. This week I’m going to relax and clear my head. So what did I do on my first day of this head-clearing vacation? I vacuumed the house, cut the grass and vacuumed and washed the RV for a little camping trip with my Mom I’m heading out on tomorrow.

I haven’t done any weekly shopping in two weeks, except for trips to the local farmer’s market the past two weekends, so dinner tonight is a real “chopped” mystery basket of ingredients on hand in the frig, pantry or freezer and since I’m overdo for a blog post I decided to share tonight’s dinner recipe with you. Although I’m using up ingredients already on hand, you could easily pick these items up at Publix. The medallions can be served over a number of starches, or with a potato on the side. I’ve got some leftover white rice from seafood gumbo I made last weekend, so that’s what we are having with ours.

beefmarsala

  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into cubes about 1-1/2″ square
  • 2 tbsp flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of heirloom mixed color baby carrots (or you can just get a bunch of carrots at Publix with the tops attached, although you trim off the tops)
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock (I made mine from “better than bouillion” beef base)
  • 3 bay leaves

In a large dutch oven (one that has a lid), heat the oil. Dredge the beef medallions in flour and brown in dutch oven over medium high heat. Turn to brown all sides, then add the onion, carrots and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the Marsala wine, then add the tomato paste, beef stock and bay leaves. Cover with the lid and pop into a 400F oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve over pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, etc or serve with starch on the side.

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Seafood Lasagna

 

I made this a few weeks ago for lunch and had rave reviews. Many of you emailed wanting the recipe. I’m sorry it took me this long to sit down and type it up, but a lot of my recipes are in my head and I have to sit down and put them to paper before I can share them. Once you make this recipe one time, you’ll see how easy it actually is and it can be whipped up on the fly in the future. It’s an excellent dish to impress friends at a dinner party and it reheats well so take the leftovers to work and make everyone jealous.

  •  1 box lasagna noodles
  • 1 package of pre-cooked, peeled shrimp, thawed, tails removed
  • 1 package or can of lump or claw crab meat, picked for shells *see my trick below*
  • 1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or any larger piece bread crumbs (not bread crumb dust)
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seafood seasoning
  • 1 cup button or baby bell mushrooms, sliced & sauteed in a little butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 package Italian shredded cheese blend (parmesan, mozzarella, asiago, etc)

Sauce:

  • 5 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups milk (or use half & half for richer sauce)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

First make the sauce as follows:

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring often, until roux turns sandy brown, 4-5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk/cream and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens (consistency of biscuit gravy). Remove from heat and stir in the salt, garlic powder and nutmeg. Set aside.

Prepare lasagna:

In a large, deep baking dish, pour enough sauce to lightly coat the bottom of the dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna pasta on top of the sauce (uncooked pasta). Top lasagna layer with shrimp, crab, bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning. Top seafood with 1 cup of cream sauce. Add second layer of pasta, then add the sauteed mushrooms and leaf spinach. Top with 3rd layer of lasagna pasta. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the dish. Seal tightly with plastic wrap, then cover plastic wrap with aluminum foil.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until sauce is bubbly and pasta has cooked. Remove foil and plastic wrap. Sprinkle top with cheese and allow to melt. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

** Trick to pick crab meat for shells**

Crab meat is cooked as part of the canning or packaging process. Therefore it’s ok to “heat it up”. Spread crab meat in a thin layer on a baking sheet and put in a 300F oven for 5-10 minutes. Any shells in the crab meat will turn bright pink/orange and can be easily removed. If you’re in a hurry, just work the crab meat in your hands and pick out any shells. These days, unless you buy really cheap crab meat, most of the shells have already been removed.

Whiskey Wine Pasta with Chicken & Mushrooms

The basis for this recipe came from another blog and we had it for dinner the other night. It was delicious, and simple, which is how I like my recipes. I tossed in some fresh spinach but you could also add some sun-dried tomatoes if you like. Give it a try the next time you need an easy, one dish meal for dinner.

  • 24 oz (by weight), thick sliced crimini mushrooms (a.k.a baby portobellos, baby bells)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken tenders (fresh), diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup whiskey (Jack Daniels is good but not necessary)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz (by weight) Mostaciolli or Penne, cooked al dente

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms with 2 tbsp olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil along with the butter over medium heat. Cook the diced chicken until done (4-5 minutes). Toss in the onions and saute for a few minutes until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the wine and whiskey and cook for 2 minutes, allowing to bubble and “flash” off the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the cream and reduce the heat to low. Add mushrooms, spinach, salt and pepper and simmer until the sauce thickens.

Toss in the cooked pasta, taste for seasoning. Serve with some shaved Parmesan and crusty baguette.