Slow Cooker Comfort

After a busy winter day there is nothing better than coming home to a delicious, ready-to-eat meal. Yes! It’s time to dust off the crock pot!

When gloomy weather has you feeling a little down, a warm and hearty meal can be so comforting. You can do all the prep in the morning, and dinner can be ready right when you walk in the door! Simply “Set It and Forget It”!

Slow Cookers are wonderful way to utilize tougher cuts of big-flavored meat. Think juicy brisket, flavorful chili, spicy pork, or a delicious lamb curry. My recipe for Curry Chicken Thighs with Apples and Yogurt is a household favorite – it’s bursting with flavor!

And crock pots aren’t just for entrees either – I also love to slow cook up a batch of overnight oats with brown sugar, orange zest and dried fruits. Top it with some Greek yogurt, or coconut milk – it’s the perfect way to start off a lazy Sunday morning!

And the best part about these cozy meals? They make incredible leftovers! So turn on your crock pot and let d’liciousness simmer away!
-Kathy

Curry Chicken Thighs with Apples and Yogurt
Makes about 6 servings

1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons curry powder
4 green cardamom seed pods, crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups plain yogurt
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup dried black currants or raisins
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and cut in 6 wedges each
1 large red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch dice
Fresh Italian parsley, cilantro and mint, very coarsely chopped or torn
Steamed rice or potatoes as an accompaniment

1. In a large bowl whisk together the apple juice, cornstarch and flour until smooth. Then whisk in the curry powder, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, chili flakes, salt, sugar and yogurt.
2. Add the chicken to the marinade and stir to combine. Place the mixture in the slow cooker and add in the following order: onion, celery, currants or raisins, apples and bell pepper. Cover, set cooker to high and cook for about 7 to 8 hours.
3. Garnish with the fresh herbs. Serve with rice or potatoes.

Recipe created by Kathy Casey Food Studios

Posted by Kathy on January 4th, 2018  |  Comments Off on Slow Cooker Comfort |  Posted in chicken, chipotle, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, garlic, herbs, Kathy Casey, meats, onion, paprika, pepper, peppers, pork, poultry, poultry, Recent Posts, roasted, seafood, seafood, seasonings, soups, spices, vegetables

Holiday Hangovers

For some, New Year’s weekend may involve a cocktail or two. (or three or four!) While there’s no harm in ringing in the New Year with a d’lish sipper, remember to always have one glass of water for every drink! But for those that have indulged a bit too much, I have some good ideas to help ease the day.

My go-to cure is what I call the Hangover Helper. Just empty a packet of Emergen-C into a juice glass and add a little vodka – or gin if you’re so inclined, a dash of bitters and soda water. Top with a few drops of olive oil — that’s right! Drink up! But if that sounds too intense, a glass of bubbly soda water with 4-5 shakes of Angostura bitters can help ease the tummy.

New Year’s Day entertaining? A Bloody Mary Bar for brunch will definitely help with that headache. A little hair of the dog! Set up a DIY station with lots of fun garnishes and let your guests mix up their own concoctions.

And don’t forget to eat! Boosting your metabolism will make you feel better faster than anything. For me…bacon is always the magic cure.

Wishing a happy start to your New Years! And remember to always have a designated driver. Cheers!
-Kathy

Hangover Helper
Over the course of testing recipes for my cookbook, Sips and Apps, I of course tried this one, too. I am pleased to say that it works.
Makes 1 drink

1 packet raspberry- or orange-flavored Emergen-C
1 ounce vodka
2 dashes Angostura bitters
4 ounces chilled soda water
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

Empty the packet of Emergen-C into an old-fashioned or juice glass. Measure in the vodka. Add the bitters and soda water and stir. Top with olive oil if desired. Drink and feel better!

Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps

Posted by Kathy on December 28th, 2017  |  Comments Off on Holiday Hangovers |  Posted in Cocktails, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio

A Bubbly New Year

New Year’s Eve celebrations are almost here! And it just wouldn’t be the same without a glass of champagne. A flute of champs is a classic go-to, but this year, why not switch things up by sipping on cocktails that are bubblicious!

My Bellini Manhattan combines two of my cocktail favorites. Just shake up bourbon, peach puree, sweet vermouth, and then top it with a splash of bubbly! And to make it extra swanky, garnish with Gold Cherries – just drain dark cherries and toss with gold luster dust. Ohh-la-la!

If a lighter spirit is more your style, try my Pear Thyme Sparkle– it’s a deliciously delicate holiday sip. Pear vodka, lemon elixir and fresh thyme, shaken ‘til icy cold, then strained into a martini glass – and of course topped with a splash of bubbly! The fresh thyme adds a lovely dry note to this cocktail and makes for a pretty garnish!

But my all-time favorite holiday cocktail is my Douglas Fir Sparkletini. Even the name is festive and fun! Made with Douglas Fir infused Gin, fresh lemon, white cranberry and of course- finished with a splash of bubbly…this zippy cocktail is a total crowd-pleaser. For a more herbaceous flavor, try making the Douglas Fir infusion with half gin, half vodka!

And for easy entertaining- you can pre-batch your Sparkletini by converting the ounce measurements to cups and storing in a sealed bottle. When you’re ready to enjoy, simply pour 3 ounces into a shaker tin, shake with ice, and strain into your favorite glass. Don’t forget the bubbly finish!

So break out the fizz and get ready to celebrate! Cheers to New Year!
-Kathy

Douglas Fir Sparkletini
This is absolutely my favorite holiday cocktail. The light essence of Douglas fir infusing the gin evokes a sleigh ride in the woods, and the pouf of Champagne adds a festive effervescence.
Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 ounces Douglas Fir–Infused Gin
3/4 ounce white cranberry juice
1 1/2 ounces Fresh Lemon Sour
Splash of brut Champagne or dry sparkling wine

For garnishing
Tiny sprig of Douglas fir
Fresh or frozen cranberry

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Measure in the infused gin, cranberry juice, and lemon sour. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass and top with a splash of Champagne. Garnish with a fir sprig and float a cranberry in the drink.

Douglas Fir–Infused Gin
Makes enough for about 16 drinks

1 (5- to 6-inch) sprig fresh-picked Douglas fir branch, rinsed
1 bottle (750 ml) gin

Put the fir branch into the gin bottle, cap, and let sit 24 hours. (Do not let it infuse for more than 24 hours.) Remove the branch and discard. The infused gin can be stored at room temperature for up to one year.

Tips: If fresh Douglas fir is not available in your area, then you can substitute a Douglas-fir tea bag. If using the tea, add the contents of the tea bag to the gin, let infuse, and then strain the gin through a very fine strainer. The infused gin also makes a good martini.

Fresh Lemon Sour
Makes 2 cups

1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup Simple Syrup
In a medium container or pitcher with a lid, combine the ingredients. Cover and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Simple Syrup
This is a bar staple and the most commonly used sweetener. Though you can purchase simple syrup, it is ordinarily sweeter than I prefer, so I highly recommend making your own. Proportions vary but it is easy.

Makes 3 cups
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Mix the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil 1 minute then immediately remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature before using. Store in a clean glass bottle or container, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks or, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps cookbook

Posted by Kathy on December 21st, 2017  |  Comments Off on A Bubbly New Year |  Posted in Cocktails, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts

Recharge with Green Smoothies!

Non-stop holiday parties and overindulging have you feeling a little sluggish? Recharge with Green Smoothies! They are the perfect way to detox your body and ramp up your energy.

Store-bought juices and smoothies might taste d’lish…but they can be super high in calories and sugar, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Try my favorite homemade Green Smoothie instead! Tear up 2 large leaves of organic Kale and toss in a blender. Then add 1/2 a banana and a tiny touch of honey or maple syrup, and some unsweetened coconut or almond milk. Add in a scoop of ice and blend it up until totally smooth and brilliant green! Looking for something a little creamier? Try my Jump Start Smoothie!

You can also jazz up your smoothie with matcha powder, flax seeds, goji berries, or even almond butter for an added energy and protein boost.

Try it as a meal replacement for a few days and you’ll be recharged in no time at all.
-Kathy

Jump-Start Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup frozen fruits or fresh fruits
1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or sub honey for another all natural sweetener)
1/2 cup ice cubes
1/2 – 1 tsp flax seed (the more seeds – the more “texture”)
1 cup spinach (a heaping handful)
Splash of almond milk, optional

Place ingredients in the order above and blend until smooth. Enjoy your healthy start to a great day!

Posted by Kathy on December 14th, 2017  |  Comments Off on Recharge with Green Smoothies! |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts

Eggnog

When you start to see eggnog everywhere, you know the holidays are here! Velvety smooth and rich with warm spices. YUM!

Great served warm or cold over ice – and even better with a splash of rum, whisky, or brandy! It always adds some holiday cheer to any gathering.

These days you can even find non-dairy and vegan options to satisfy the whole crowd. But guess what! There are lots of other ways to enjoy eggnog other than drinking it. Let’s try it in some desserts!

Like in my recipe for a light and fluffy Eggnog Chiffon Pie – OR if bread pudding is more your style, try substituting eggnog for the cream. So d’lish drizzled with a spiked caramel sauce.

You can even top your favorite holiday pie with eggnog ice cream!
-Kathy

Eggnog Chiffon Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

1 9-inch, baked, Spiced Graham Crust (recipe follows)

Eggnog Filling
1 envelope (1 tablespoon) Knox unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
4 eggs, separated *
1 cup sugar
1 cup half & half
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Rum Nutmeg Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/4 teaspoon rum extract

Pre-bake the Spiced Crust and cool.

To make the Eggnog Filling: In a small bowl soften gelatin in the water for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the 4 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar (reserve the egg whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar), and set aside.

Place half & half in a heavy-bottomed large bowl set over a pan of simmering water (a bain marie), and whisk in softened gelatin, filling spices and the 1/2 teaspoon rum extract. Heat until hot but not simmering.

Whisk half of the hot half & half mixture into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Add the tempered egg mixture into the remaining hot half & half mixture, whisking constantly. Cook slowly until the mixture becomes thickened, stirring all the while. This should take about 3 minutes.

When mixture is thickened, remove from heat and cool to room temperature, stirring often to release the heat.

When mixture is cooled, place the egg whites in a mixer bowl and whip on high until soft peaks form, then gradually add the reserved 1/2 cup of sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the cooled mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whipped egg whites until combined. Mound evenly into the cooled, baked pie crust and refrigerate until set, about 1 – 2 hours.

To make the Rum Nutmeg Cream: In a large bowl whip the cream, sugars and nutmeg until soft-peaked, then whisk in the rum and rum extract. Top chilled pie with the cream.

* Note: This pie contains uncooked egg whites. Raw eggs are not recommended for pregnant women, children, the elderly or anyone with immune deficiencies.

Spiced Graham Crust
Makes a single 9-inch crust

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons ice water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, graham cracker crumbs and butter with a pastry blender until mixture looks like peas. Gradually sprinkle in the ice water and mix gently with a fork until dough comes together in a ball. Do not overhandle dough. If dough is too soft to handle, press gently into a disk and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to a bit bigger than your pan. Brush excess flour off crust, then gently roll up crust onto rolling pin. Unroll into pie pan and press/fit crust into pan. Roll crust over at edges, trimming off any excess dough, then crimp with fingers to make a pretty crust edge. With a fork poke the pie crust all over so crust doesn’t bubble up when baking. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until pastry is golden and cooked through.

Eggnog Bread Pudding with Rum Caramel
If you won’t be serving it immediately, the pudding can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Remove 2 hours before reheating. Preheat an oven to 300°F. Heat the bread pudding, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just warm.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

8 cups packed 1/2-inch to 1-inch cubed, rustic baguette or French bread
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cups high-quality eggnog (not fat-free)
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup dark rum

Rum Caramel
1 cup high-quality caramel sauce
2 tablespoons dark rum

Whipped cream for garnish

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and drizzle with melted butter. Toss in the currants and dried cranberries.

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, whole eggs, eggnog, nutmeg, and rum until well combined. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir gently. Let the mixture sit at least 30 minutes, poking the bread down into the egg mixture often and stirring it up every 10 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the bread pudding mixture in a 7- x 11-inch or 9-inch square glass baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the center is just barely set and a knife comes out clean.

To make the Rum Caramel: In a small bowl, whisk together the caramel sauce and rum.

Serve the pudding warm, drizzled with some of the Rum Caramel. Garnish with a pouf of whipped cream. Serve additional Rum Caramel on the side.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy on December 8th, 2017  |  Comments Off on Eggnog |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts

Mixing Up Mashed Potatoes

The holiday season is all about get-togethers and potlucks. Traditional dishes are always comforting, but I think it’s time for a flavor upgrade. I’m looking at you, mashed potatoes!

There are tons of ways to get creative and mix up your mash. Instead of the traditional butter, sour cream, or milk – stir in a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt for a tangy kick. You could fold in some caramelized onions with blue cheese. Or how about adding a little wasabi, ginger, edamame and a dash of soy to your mashed potatoes to transform them into an Asian-inspired, d’lish dish – my Wasabi Mashed Potatoes will blow you away!

But if you’re a mushroom lover like me, then I have the perfect spin on mashed ‘taters for you…my Wild Mushroom Mashed Potatoes. Packed with a variety of ‘shrooms – the earthy flavor pairs perfectly with the creamy richness of the mash. Russet potatoes are the most popular choice for making a fluffy mash, but Yukon Golds also have a creamy richness to them.

But no matter what potato you use, be sure to always whip your spuds when they are piping hot to avoid the dreaded gluey potato syndrome!
-Kathy

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
If after you make the potatoes you would like them a bit hotter, just mix a little more wasabi powder with some water to make a loose paste and then stir into potatoes. You can also use wasabi paste that comes in a tube as well – just add about 2-3 teaspoons, or to taste. If you’re watching the calories loose the butter and add in some fat free sour cream or Greek yogurt instead.

Makes about 6 1-cup servings

2 – 3 teaspoons wasabi powder (depending upon the heat you like)
1 tablespoon water
3/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half (about 3 very large potatoes)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)

In a very small bowl mix together the wasabi powder, water and salt and set aside.

Place potatoes in a very large pot and cover with water at least 3 inches above potatoes. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook on a low boil till fork tender, about 20 – 30 minutes. Test potatoes to be sure they’re tender all the way through.

Meanwhile, combine in a small pan over low heat the milk or half-and-half, butter and soy sauce. Heat till the butter is melted and the milk is warm. Remove from heat and stir in the wasabi mixture.

When potatoes are cooked, drain them well in a large colander, then return them to the pot. Shake pot over low heat about 30 seconds to dry out any remaining water. Remove from the heat and add half the hot liquid mixture. (Both the potatoes and the liquid must be hot.) With a heavy-duty whisk or masher, mash the potatoes. Then add remaining liquid and whip/mash up the potatoes till they are fluffy.

Mound potatoes in a large warm bowl. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley.

Wild Mushroom Mashed Potatoes
Makes about 6 (1-cup) servings

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut in halves or thirds, depending on size (about 3 very large potatoes)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
2 cups finely chopped assorted mushrooms (see note)
2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
Minced fresh chives or parsley for garnish (optional)

Place potatoes in a very large pot and cover with water at least 3 inches above potatoes. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook on a low boil till fork tender, about 20-30 minutes. Test potatoes to be sure they’re tender all the way through.

Meanwhile, combine in a small pan over low heat the milk, white pepper, 6 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Heat till the butter is melted and the milk is warm. Do not boil. Keep warm.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the 2 teaspoons butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute for about 3 minutes until thoroughly cooked and all moisture has evaporated. Add sherry and saute 1-1 1/2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

When potatoes are cooked, drain them well in a large colander, then return them to the pot. Shake pot over low heat about 30 seconds to dry out any remaining water. Remove from the heat and add half the hot liquid mixture. (Both the potatoes and the liquid must be hot.) With a heavy duty whisk or masher, mash the potatoes. Then add remaining liquid and whip/mash up the potatoes till they are fluffy.

Mix in the mushrooms and mound potatoes in a large warm bowl. Sprinkle with minced chives or parsley.

Chef’s Notes: Wild mushrooms, such as morels, chanterelles and fresh porcini, are preferable. Or use domestic mushrooms such as button and shiitake or a mixture of domestic and wild mushrooms. If fresh wild mushrooms are not available, then substitute rehydrated, dry ones such as morels and porcini. To rehydrate them, pour boiling water over to just cover and let steep till softened. Drain before using. (Soaking liquid can be used in sauces or soups.)

This recipe is extra-delicious made with the half-and-half. However, you can make it with low-fat milk and skimp on or omit the butter if you’re really “watching it.”

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on November 30th, 2017  |  Comments Off on Mixing Up Mashed Potatoes |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts

Lexington Herald Leader

The Lexington Herald Leader posted an article on our “Over 21” Real Fruit Cakes made with Maker’s Mark! The secret to making a fruitcake that people are dying to eat – lots of bourbon. Read the full article here.

Posted by Kathy on November 27th, 2017  |  Comments Off on Lexington Herald Leader |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Foodie News, Press

#ThanksgivingLeftovers

You have eaten the turkey and have now moved on to after dinner drinks, games and maybe lying on the couch… but what about that bird?

Ok – get your knife out and cut all the meat off the bones – then pick them clean and refrigerate ASAP (for delicious sandwiches later!).

Now it’s time to get that big pot down from the cupboard and start your turkey stock! Dust it off, add the turkey bones/carcass – breaking apart with your hands if needed. Add in some cut up carrots, celery and onion, and cover with water. Bring to a simmer then let it slow cook for about 2 hours. Your house will smell amazing by the way!

Once done, strain and then divide the delicious broth into a couple of containers to help it cool faster. Or if you have a lot of ice around the house, put the pot of strained stock in the sink and surround with ice – stirring often to cool. (PS – if you want a more concentrated flavor then reduce the strained stock by half.)

Once the broth is cool enough, pop it in the fridge for tomorrow’s yummy soup or gravy making.

To me, there’s nothing better than an epic Thanksgiving leftover sandwich – piled high with all the fixin’s…turkey, stuffing and grrrrrrravy of course! And we all know you can never have enough gravy, so why not make more! Below is a recipe for using up all that great turkey stock you made – it’s also a great base to use for soup too.

Happy Holidays! Gobble Gobble!
-Kathy

Thanksgiving Day After Turkey Gravy
Makes about 5 cups
6 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. minced onion AND/OR 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup flour
5 cups homemade turkey stock (see above for method using your leftover turkey carcass)
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the onions (and mushrooms if using) and sauté over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir vigorously until combined and smooth. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock all at once and whisk vigorously so as to eliminate any lumps. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the gravy is nicely thickened. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on November 22nd, 2017  |  Comments Off on #ThanksgivingLeftovers |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts
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