Every New Year I start out on a new diet regime. But this year, i decided that this will be the year of breaking the molds for old ways. I want to have fun! So here is my all time favorite menu. I can start eating healthy next week! Start out with a Roasted Baby Beet Salad with warm Goat Cheese and Arugula, followed up by a Chocolate Milk Shake, with the best Mac and Cheese you will ever taste. The main course is an amazing Cheese Burger topped with a Red Onion Ring. The grand finale is a Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookie! Enjoy my friends and here’s to the New Year! Cheers!
ROASTED BABY BEET SALAD WITH WARM GOAT CHEESE & ARUGULA
1 1/2 lbs baby beets (assorted red and golden)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (drizzling plus 12 cup divided)
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar (divided) salt
black pepper (freshly ground)
3 tablespoons flour
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 tablespoon milk
13 cup bread crumbs (plain)
6 ounces goat cheese (chilled & cut into 6 even slices)
1/4 cup extra-virgin
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon shallots (minced)
2 teaspoons chopped parsley (leaves)
2 teaspoons chervil (chopped, leaves)
1 teaspoon chives (chopped)
3 cups arugula
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
Spread aluminum foil onto the work surface. Place beets on foil and drizzle olive oil generously over beets. Seal aluminum foil around the beets and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender.Remove from the oven, unwrap the beets and cool. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into wedges. Place the beets in a small bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sherry vinegar over the beets and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside to cool completely.
Place flour in a shallow dish or pan. Whisk together egg and milk in a second small dish. Place bread crumbs in a separate shallow dish or pan. Season chilled goat cheese rounds with salt and pepper. Dredge rounds in flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg wash, and finally in the bread crumbs, pressing to coat well. Allow the breaded goat cheese rounds to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Arrange roasted beet wedges on 6 salad. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar, Dijon, shallots, parsley, chervil, and chives. Drizzle 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil into the vinegar mixture, whisking to combine. Place arugula in a bowl and drizzle a little of the vinaigrette over the greens. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Divide the arugula evenly among the 6 plates in the center of the sliced beets.
Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Carefully place the goat cheese rounds into the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until lightly browned and softened, about 1 to 2 minutes each side. (since the goat cheese gets very hot, it maybe helpful to use a fish spatula to turn the goat cheese during cooking.) Removing goat cheese from the oil with a slotted spatula, and place on top of the arugula. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette on top of the sliced beets. Serve immediately.
CHOCOLATE MILK SHAKE
*Recipe is for one serving
3 scoops chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup of milk
In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into glass and serve!
MARTHA STEWART’S MAC & CHEESE
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
6 slices good white bread, crust removed, torn into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 1/2 cups grated Sharpe white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking 1 minute.
While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.
Fill a large saucepan with water, bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook to 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside in underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.
CRISPY RED ONION RINGS (for burger)
2 large red onions, peeled and sliced thin into rings
1/2 cup buttermilk
*Cripsy Coating Mixture*
1 3/4 all purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
Heat the oil to about 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk and eggs.
In a bowl mix together the coating mixture, then place into a shallow dish (a shallow dish makes for easier coating for the rings).
Dip/coat the onion rings into the buttermilk mixture.
Then coat generously into the dry coating mixture.
Fry briefly in hot oil (turning once) until onion rings are lightly brown on both sides.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds ground sirloin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 ounces pepper jack cheese, thinly sliced
4 brioche buns, split and toasted
Lettuce, tomato slices and pickles for serving
Gently shape the sirloin into four 1-inch thick patties. Season generously with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil. Cook the burgers over moderately high heat until deep brown outside and medium-rare within, about 6 minutes per side. During the last 2 minutes, top the burgers with the cheese and cover loosely with foil so the cheese melts. Transfer to the buns, top with the onion rings made previously. Serve with a side of lettuce, tomato and pickles.
GIANT CHOCOLATE-TOFFEE COOKIES
*makes about 18
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 1.4 ounce chocolate covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.
Using electric mixter, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets.