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Monday, February 23, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Appetizers

Mini Ruebens, Potato Pancakes and more for your St. Pat's Party

From Reuben Pizza to Corned Beef Dip, following are some ways to round out your St. Patrick's Day party with delicious and unique appetizers.

Hooray for St. Patrick's Day. It's a fun national celebration, a great way to welcome the hope of spring, and an opportunity for Irish folks to embrace their heritage and traditions. And a great thing about this holiday is that it's built around -- ok, green beer -- but also great food tradition. For the traditional St. Pat's party main course, corned beef and cabbage with potatoes is a delicious and easy-to-make dinner. If you're having a large party and need some appetizer suggestions, or are just looking for some ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day without the full main course, following are some delicious St. Patrick's Day appetizer recipes.

Rueben Pizza Recipe


  • 1 prebaked pizza crust
  • ¾ cup sauerkraut
  • 1/4 pound thin sliced deli corned beef , broken into pieces
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Parsley
  1. Spread mustard on pizza crust. Top with sauerkraut, beef and then cheese. Sprinkle with caraway seeds and parsley.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 15 minutes.

Mini Ruebens -- aka Rueben Sliders Recipe


  • 1 lb. corned beef
  • ½ pound Swiss Cheese
  • 2 sleeves mini rye toasts
  • One bottle Thousand Island dressing
  • 10 oz. sauerkraut
  • butter
  1. Thinly slice corned beef into 2 inch square pieces or smaller. Split cheese into four equal squares.
  2. Load corned beef, one teaspoon sauerkraut, 1 teaspoon dressing and one slice of cheese onto a rye toast. Top with another rye toast to make sandwiches.
  3. Either grill sandwiches in lightly buttered pan, or bake in oven on baking sheet for 10 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately, or individually wrap sandwiches in foil if transporting or to keep warm. Once in foil, sandwiches can be kept warm in warm oven.

Corned Beef Cream Cheese Dip Recipe


  • ½ pound deli corned beef
  • 1 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese
  • ¼ cup Green onions, diced
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • Rye toasts or pita or tortilla chips
  1. Dice corned beef into ½ inch squares.
  2. Mix beef together with cream cheese and onions.
  3. Spread in glass baking dish and top with Swiss Cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until cheese is golden.
  5. Serve on rye toasts or with pita or tortilla chips for dipping.

Mini Potato Pancake Recipe


  • 3 to 4 medium potatoes
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons diced green onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool, and remove skins.
  2. In a large bowl, loosely mash potatoes.
  3. Add bread crumbs, onions, lemon juice, and salt and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
  4. Form into 1/2 inch thick patties the size of a sausage patty.
  5. Add oil to a deep, medium-sized skillet or Dutch oven, and heat over medium-high heat. Fry pancakes 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside on absorbent paper while frying the remaining pancakes.
  6. Serve with sour cream and applesauce for dipping.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dreamy Filet Mignon

Last night I set out to make Food Network Star’s No Nightmare Beef Wellington. I am always trying to learn new things in the kitchen and expand my repertoire, and Beef Wellington is something I have yet to try. As the title implies, this particular recipe is a simplified Beef Wellington version that’s actually made with individual fillets. Great, I thought. I had some beautiful fillets in the fridge, and a package of button mushrooms, so I set out to learn something new. I don’t get a lot of opportunity to work with steaks because my husband loves to man the grill. But this recipe calls for baking the steaks for 15 minutes after a quick sear (using the same pan, which is always key in my kitchen… less mess, less stress). I thought, how easy!... and it was. The steaks turned out delicious. I highly recommend this recipe as a quick and easy preparation for filet mignon.

The Food Network recipe called for topping the beef with Duxelles, which is a mushroom pate, and then drizzling the plate with red wine sauce. (This was, after all, a variation of the ever-fussy Beef Wellington). As I am always trying to make recipes more accessible, sensible, time efficient and use less dishes (less to clean!) I combined the mushroom and wine accents, left out the pate (and the ever-fussy puff pastry), and made a delicious mushroom and red wine gravy to top the steaks. It was unbelievably good. I even used the leftover gravy sauce to make mushroom omelets this morning, making two delicious meals for the low-effort of one. Not only was it not a nightmare, it was dreamy.


Dreamy Filet Mignon with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce


  • 4 8-oz. Filet mignons
  • 2 tablespoons McCormick Steak Seasoning (Or and equal combination of rock salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder and paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil



  1. Remove all moisture from beef with paper towels. Rub steaks with seasoning. 
  2. Heat oil in pan on stove and over medium-high heat, sear steaks for one and a half minutes on each side. 
  3. Transfer pan to 375 degree F (185 degree C) preheated oven, and continue to cook 15 minutes more for medium steaks (25 for well done).


Mushroom sauce recipe

  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 package button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter


  1. Melt butter in saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Add onions and mushrooms, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until softened. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients, increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until some liquid evaporates and a slight gravy consistency is formed.


Morning After Mushroom Omelets with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce


If you are lucky enough to have some leftover mushroom sauce, (the above recipe is generous, so you should) you have the makings of a delicious, gourmet-quality, and effortless mushroom omelet.



  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • leftover mushroom sauce
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Melt butter in pan on stove. 
  2. Whisk eggs and milk together. Add eggs to pan and let set for one minute. 
  3. Top with three-quarters of your remaining mushroom sauce, and cheese. Let set one minute more, and then fold omelet and cook until eggs are set. Top with remaining mushroom sauce.