Cooking my way to happiness with Rachael Ray



What’s for Dinner….Steakhouse Sliders and Spiniach Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

Yes, I even cooked Rachael Ray on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  I am blogging about them together, however, because New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day seem to collide into one another the older I get.

I will start with New Year’s Eve.  I didn’t end up making what Rachael made on the show because I decided to save Thursday’s recipe for New Year’s Day.  Kayt & Foster (my 10-year-old twins) wanted me to make Steakhouse Sliders for the New Year’s celebration. This is one of my favorite Rachael Ray recipes so it still fits into my goal of cooking Rachael Ray everyday.  Sliders are basically a mini-hamburgers on dinner rolls. I think the rolls are like icing on the cake.  Who doesn’t love a warm dinner roll?

Steakhouse Sliders are really perfect to make for a large party and since the twins both had friends over and my sister and her husband were coming over for the evening I think that qualifies as a large enough party. Basically you use 3 lbs ground sirloin and season with grill seasoning ( I used Montreal Steak Seasoning), Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper.  Then you smooth it out flat in a 9 x 13 shallow baking dish.  Let it cook, then cut it into small squares with a pizza cutter.  Use dinner rolls as the buns.  They are the perfect size for kids or a great appetizer for adults.  Very similar to White Castle burgers.  I just set out an assortment of condiments and tell the kids to just fix their own slider……that is the best part, you can do that when they are 10.

The Slider recipe is on foodnetwork.com.  Super easy to make with minimal clean up and isn’t that the kind of dinner we are all going for in life?  These are also perfect to heat up for a mid night snack, not that I did that or anything because we all know that everything you eat after 9 goes straight to the thighs.

As I cook on New Year’s Eve I think about how I can’t believe I am still cooking Rachael Ray everyday.  I have really learned so much and found the real joy in cooking.  I think back on the journey of life lessons I have learned from cooking.  Here are just a few:

  • No need for exact measurment…perfection is not always needed.
  • Quality ingredients make a difference…..life is about quality moments, not always quantity moments.
  • Don’t let everything in life get in the way of doing something you enjoy everyday, because it will.  If  you are happy,  you make other people happy, and isn’t happiness the spice of life?

New Year’s Eve comes and goes.  Is it the end of the decade or will that be next year?  Or does the end of the decade happen once in a blue moon?  I think I will debate that with my neighbor over Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms, that is what I am making New Year’s Eve on very little sleep.

I have always been the person to just buy the mushrooms and fills them with some sort of premade cream cheese filling so this is a new experience for me.

I Google Cremini mushrooms.   They are closely related to the common white mushroom but they are a bit more flavorful.  The Portobello mushroom is the fully matured form of this particular mushroom.  So I bought baby Portobello mushrooms at the store since that is all I could find. Are baby Portobellos a matured mushroom?

The filling was made with EVOO, garlic, onion, nutmeg, spinach, egg yolks, artichoke hearts and Parmigiano- Reggiano.

You just put it all in the food processor and magically it makes an incredible filling for the mushrooms.  As easy as just filling with premade filling but soooooo much better.  Not to mention I like that I know exactly what is in the filling, no processed stuff.  A perfect appetizer that smells really good as it cooks.

Both the sliders and the mushrooms were incredible!

While I am cooking what am I thinking……I need a New Year’s Resolution.  I don’t want a typical resolution like losing weight or cutting out something that is bad for you that you love like Diet Coke.  I think it will be to be more present in life.   That is what cooking has taught me……..to slow down and focus on enjoying the present.  When I am cooking I am not thinking about problems in the past that I can’t change and I am not thinking about the future that I can’t predict, I am just thinking about how great fresh herbs smell, how good it feels to chop onions and grate garlic.  If I am cooking with white wine I am enjoying having a small glass while I cook. When it all comes together and dinner is served I will enjoy the present moments of eating dinner around the kitchen table with my family.

Happy New Year and here is to cooking Rachael Ray everyday for 5 more months! Cheers!

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