Meatloaf Ala Bah Bah (that’s me!)

I think I’ve been working on this meatloaf recipe since I was in my twenties. This is a tad labor intensive but it’s entirely worth it.

By now, we all know I’m a bit of a weirdo (and a perfectionist) when it comes to cooking. The way I make my meatloaf is a tad different than most in that I do not mix my ingredients in a bowl. (This is born from my experience with catering for large groups. It’s impossible to mix the ingredients for meatloaf for 100 in a bowl, so I always use a huge baking sheet.) The first time I tried this method at home, it worked so beautifully, I’ve not used a bowl since. The reasoning behind it is pretty simple. It’s just easier to get the meats and the seasonings uniformly distributed using this method.

This was last year at the start of the Pandemic. Making meatloaf for the masses!

I used to substitute oatmeal for breadcrumbs in my meatloaf recipes until that one time I forgot to put them in and it ended up being the best meatloaf ever. Now I skip them completely. Instead, I use extra eggs to hold everything together. Yes, the consistency going into the oven is slightly more wet, (and more work) but it works out just fine.

Wait. Did she just say, “…more work”? Relax. It’s just a couple of extra steps to siphon out the liquid as it builds up during baking. (Doesn’t that sound appetizing? Here, your turkey baster will be your friend.)

See how much easier it is to sprinkle all of the ingredients evenly?
Oh YES this is DELICIOUS!

Meatloaf Ala Bah Bah

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb. ground beef (80/20 for best flavor)

1 lb. ground sweet Italian sausage

1 lb. ground mild Italian sausage

1 Pkg Lipton Onion Soup mix

1 medium onion diced however you like it

1/2 c. minced fresh parsley (Take the time and use the FRESH stuff. It DOES make a difference!

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup Ketchup (I like Primal Kitchen’s Sugar free)

3 eggs

1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Rays Hickory & Brown Sugar is yummy)

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a large baking sheet, break up the ground beef and spread it, then break up the sausages so they are evenly distributed. If a baking sheet scares you, use a bowl, but trust me on this…a baking sheet allows for easier mixing and even distribution of ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle the soup mix, onion, parsley, Italian seasoning, olive oil, ketchup, eggs and salt and pepper evenly over the meat. (Basically everything but the Barbecue sauce.)
  4. Using your hands, mix all of it together and then spread it back out across the baking sheet once more.
  5. Drizzle thin streams of the barbecue sauce over the meat. Salt and pepper once more. Mix again and then form it into a loaf inside a standard loaf pan.
  6. Put the meatloaf into your freezer for 20 minutes.
  7. Put into preheated oven, uncovered for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, turn temperature down to 375.
  9. Using a turkey baster, remove the juices that have accumulated. Brush on a thin coating of Barbecue sauce. Return to oven for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, siphon the juices once more, re-apply the barbecue sauce, cook for 5-10 minutes more. Repeat siphoning juices and applying barbecue, then broil on high for two minutes.
  11. Let the meat rest on the counter for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Lemon Cilantro Baked Cod Fillets

I have always been that person who thought cilantro tastes like soap. That is, until I started living with my husband, who is a fanatic over the stuff…

I have always been that person who thinks cilantro tastes like soap. That is, until I started living with my husband, who is a fanatic over the stuff. At any given moment during the year, we have not one, but two bunches sitting in water on our counter; so over the summer I decided to give in and start using the stuff and now I am hooked.

I adapted this recipe from something similar that called for parsley instead of cilantro. I imagine it would also be great with fresh chopped basil or even rosemary.

I love this recipe because it’s unexpectedly creamy and it smells incredible! Prep time is just a few minutes and you can assemble this dish ahead of time if you need to- just pop it in the fridge until you are ready to bake.


Start off with with cod fillets. We buy ours frozen from Trader Joe’s. Once it’s thawed, be sure to pat it dry on both sides so the melted butter will adhere to it.


Next melt about 4 Tbsp real butter (none of that no fat, low fat, fake butter crap! Use the real stuff!) We buy Amish butter. You can’t beat the freshness.


Now for the dredging stations: 1) This is about 3/4 cup of flour, mixed with a generous amount of smoky paprika, salt and pepper and one of my favorite spice blends: Essence of Emeril.


2) Next, I zested one very large lemon and squeezed its juice (about 3 Tbsp, I said it was large!). For fun, I also zested a Meir Lemon. Then add about 1/4th cup chopped fresh cilantro. When your butter has melted, add it here.


Here it is with the melted butter.


Dredge each piece of cod, both sides in the butter/ cilantro mixture and then the flour. The original recipe called for dredging only one side but I always do both. I suppose you could leave out the flour entirely, but the dish will not turn out as creamy. (It will, however, still be delicious!)


Spray your baking dish with coconut oil (or whatever you have on hand-or leave it out. I forgot this step tonight. It made no difference.), then lay out your fish. Pour the remaining butter/cilantro mixture over the fish. Here, I usually toss in a little more cilantro and sprinkle a little more paprika.


PS: This stuff? It’s your friend when you don’t feel like chopping. Find it at the grocery where you buy fresh spices.


Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until flakey.


We made roasted butternut squash, zucchini and baby Roma tomatoes as our sides. These just go in at 400 degrees coated in olive oil, salt and pepper. All on one sheet pan. I make then before I bake the fish, the cover with foil and let them rest.


Fresh out of the oven.


The thought occurs to me that I could have mixed the tomatoes in with the squash. I like to keep the zucchini whole, however. It’s a texture thing for me.


INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tbsp smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

4 cod fillets (6 ounces each)

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Zest of 1-2 lemons

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°. In a shallow bowl, mix lemon juice, cilantro and butter. In a separate shallow bowl, mix flour and seasonings. Dip fillets in lemon juice mixture, then in flour mixture to coat both sides; shake off excess.

Place in a 13×9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with remaining lemon juice, cilantro, butter mixture. Sprinkle on a little more paprika & lemon pepper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until fish just begins to flake easily with a fork. Garnish with more fresh cilantro & lemon zest.

Bobbe’s Garlic Shrimp with Fresh Peas, Spinach & Tomatoes

I made this for dinner last night. It’s easy, healthy and takes very little time. Perfect week night meal!

NOTE: Today is your lucky day! I am sparing you a lengthy explanation about what I think about this recipe! The ONLY thing important to know is that my measurements for butter and olive oil are complete approximations. I tend to be very heavy handed with butter and this recipe can take it!

Garlic Shrimp with Fresh Veggies.

Ingredients
Half stick of butter (or MORE!)
4-5 TBSP (or 6 or 7 see my note above) olive oil
3 Tbsp chopped garlic
1-2 lbs raw shrimp (peeled & deveined) We like the Argentinian Red Shrimp from Trader Joe’s (find it in the frozen aisle)
1 package fresh English peas (Kroger has them now)
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (keep them whole)
4-5 cups fresh spinach
Salt & pepper to taste

Optional: Angel hair pasta (I used @ 1/4 of box, but use however much you want or leave it out)

Assemble your cast of characters

Instructions

Thaw and dry the shrimp well. Place in a ziplock bag with enough olive oil to coat it (not drown it) and the fresh garlic. Be sure and mix it around so the shrimp is evenly coated with the garlic. Let this sit on the counter while you’re sautéing the vegetables.

Boil and drain the pasta making sure to reserve one cup of the cooked pasta water. (Put a lid on it to help it stay a little warm while you continue to work.)

Place your skillet over medium heat, heat 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil, then add the peas and whole tomatoes. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Sauté for about 6-8 minutes, then add in half the spinach stirring constantly until the spinach wilts and turns bright green. Remove everything from the pan and set aside. (You will add it back after the shrimp is cooked.)

Put the pan back on the heat, add another pat of butter, let it melt, then dump in the shrimp. Spread it evenly over the pan, sauté for a couple of minutes, turn the shrimp over and continue sautéing until the shrimp is opaque. (About another minute) Quickly add the vegetables back to the pan along with the remaining raw spinach. Turn the spinach until almost cooked, then remove the pan from the heat and slowly add in the pasta. (Use the pasta water to help incorporate it.)

Poof. You’re a genius!

This is how it looks towards the end. You want some of the spinach to stay super green and just barely cooked.

Bobbe’s Vegetable Gratin

I made this one night on a whim and it’s become one of our favorite side dishes. It freezes well and is great left-over too!

Start by chopping all of your vegetables. I didn’t photograph all of them, assuming everyone knows what chopped onions and mushrooms look like as well as shredded carrots. The truth of why this photo is posted?  I think this is a pretty picture.

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I used two things in this recipe that you might not have readily on hand. The first is a basic thing you can get at the store: Arrowroot. This is thickening agent that I am told is paleo. You can also use corn starch or even a handful of panko bread crumbs. The second is from Trader Joe’s (and you can totally leave it out if you can’t get it). It’s Trader Joe’s “21 Seasoning Salute”. I really like it because it adds a little more depth of flavor with just a hint of spice. If you can’t find this, just use a Tbsp of Italian seasoning and some dried thyme.

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Then you start with sauteing your onions and carrots. I let them go a little and then add in my chives and salt and pepper. I would also add the mushrooms once these are starting to get soft. I didn’t have mushrooms when I made this last night, so you won’t see them pictured.

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I was using frozen spinach last night so I added it here. USUALLY I make this with fresh spinach. which I think is more fun. IF you use the fresh spinach, wait until the end to add it. Seasoned collard greens are delicious in this too.

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After your veggies are just turning soft, it’s time to add the squash. I wait until later to add the squash because it softens up pretty quickly and you don’t want to over cook it and have a squishy gratin. That’s never cool.

Put the squash in and do your best to incorporate it. Season it again with more pepper and your dry seasonings. I usually will cover the pan at this point and allow the squash to steam a bit.

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Then add the cream. Stir and let cook for about five minutes to heat through. Sprinkle on the arrowroot and stir until it dissolves.

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Once it’s simmering (takes about 5 minutes), remove from the heat and stir in your cheese. We like it really cheesy so I always add more than the recipe calls for but you do YOU.

Here is what it looks like with the cheese stirred in and transferred to a baking dish.

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 Then all this is left to do is top it with fried onions. We love spice, so we usually do a combination of fried onions and fried jalapeños. Then sprinkle a little cheese in with them (optional).

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This next photo is how we usually make it-completely covered with yummy goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 medium yellow squash, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick 
  • 3-4 mushrooms sliced (button or cremini work well)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating dish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 cups cream
  • 2 tablespoons Arrowroot 
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino/Romano
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (Use your favorite. I like Gouda or Gruyere)3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups prepared fried onions & jalapeños if you like (French’s or whatever brand you like)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  1. This dish can be made and baked in a cast iron skillet or you can sauté the veggies, add the cream and cheeses and then transfer it to a casserole dish for baking.
  2. Over medium heat, sauté onions in the olive oil until almost translucent. Add the garlic and stir, then add in the squash, zucchini and sliced mushrooms. Season liberally with salt, pepper, thyme and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. Cover the dish for about 4 minutes. Stir well, then stir in the fresh spinach.
  3. When the spinach has wilted a bit, add the cream bringing it up to a simmer. (About 5 minutes) Stir in the arrowroot. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in the cheese, reserving 1-2 Tablespoons for the top.
  5. Transfer to a casserole dish (optional), top with fried onions, remaining cheese and fried jalapeños (optional).
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes until the top is crispy, brown and bubbly.

Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken Breasts.

If you can’t have comfort food during the Apocalypse, when can you have it?

Do I really need to write something descriptive about chicken breasts stuffed with ooey gooey cheese and yummy jalapeño? Let’s talk instead about how long it took me to figure out how to get that little squiggley accent mark (it’s called a tilde, by the way) over the “n” in jalapeño. Good grief, and I have a degree in Spanish?

Anyway, this recipe was born out of a deep need for something yummy and different for dinner. Although this recipe is far from “different”, it’s not in our usual repertorio, so I am allowed to act like it’s brand new. It’s also great for people who are limiting carbs. I paired it with spaghetti squash mixed with peppers and onions and served it with a side of avocado (aguacate is one of my favorite Spanish words. Ask my husband.) and sour cream.

The instructions for this are very simple so I didn’t take photos of the process. Here is what ours looked like before it went into the oven. They remind me of little mummies:

jalapeno popper chicken

I did these in a square baking dish but hind site tells me they would have done better on a rack over a sheet pan. Next time, grasshoppah…..next time.

At the last minute I decided to drizzle maple syrup over the bacon to add a little bit more flavor.

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After they come out of the oven, let them rest before slicing, otherwise you will have cheese oozing out all over.

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Hungry yet? (¿Tienes hambre todavia?)

I intentionally bought more jalapeño’s than I needed and I doubled my stuffing mixture so I could make some actual jalapeño poppers at the same time. When they were all made, I put them on a sheet pan and froze them over night. This morning I took them out and put them in a freezer bag so we’ll have them when we want them later.

Adios Amigos!


 

Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken for Two

Ingredients:

Two large chicken breasts

Stuffing mixture:
4 oz. softened cream cheese
¼ cup sour cream (optional)
2 large jalapeno’s, diced
¾ cup grated Cheddar Cheese
¼ cup chopped cilantro (fresh)
1 garlic clove, grated
S & P to taste
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (Use what you like)

1 lb. bacon (Use what you like although thin slices work best)
Maple Syrup (Optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Rinse and the chicken breasts dry. Cut a deep slit in each one to make a pocket for the cheese mixture. Salt and pepper the inside and outside of each breast. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine all of the stuffing mixture ingredients. I usually microwave the completed mixture and stir well to combine. If it’s too runny, put it in the refrigerator before trying to stuff the chicken with it. You want it to be pliable but not loose.

Stuff the breasts liberally with the cheese mixture but do not over-stuff. You want to be able to close them.

Wrap each breast tightly with as many strips of bacon needed to cover. (It’s bacon! Use a LOT!)

Brush maple syrup over all over the bacon. (You’re welcome in advance.)

For best results place the breasts on a greased rack over a sheet pan. IF you don’t have this, use a baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes, then flip and bake 15 minutes more. If you are using a baking dish, you may want to use a turkey baster to suck out excess juices.

Finally, if you want the bacon to be very crispy, flip the chicken back over and broil it on high for 2-3 minutes. WATCH CAREFULLY so it doesn’t burn.

Let rest 10 minutes or more before slicing.

 

Kicked Up Beef Noodle Casserole. Comfort Food, How we love Thee!

In case you didn’t get the memo, you are supposed to be eating delicious comfort food during the pandemic. Here is an easy recipe that’s relatively inexpensive, too.

Warning: This recipe isn’t keto friendly; this recipe isn’t low-carb; this recipe isn’t low fat; this recipe isn’t loaded with vegetables and it doesn’t pack a huge nutritional punch. Haven’t you heard? We are in the middle of a pandemic and the best food to eat in a pandemic is COMFORT FOOD!

This dish is so simple to make I put it together from start to finish in less than thirty minutes. If you have children, I am certain they will love this. What’s not to love?

Since I am pretty certain most of you know how to chop veggies, brown ground beef and mix things in a bowl, I am sparing you photos of all of that. Instead, here is what your layers will look like.

Bottom layer:

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Middle layer:

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Next layer:

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Top it with the Cheese:

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Here it is out of the oven garnished with basil:

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Now IF you really wanted to, you could add some extra veggies to the meat mixture. Spinach and mushrooms would be great in there–even frozen peas. Use your imagination.

We served ours up with a drizzle of Sriracha and some more fresh herbs. I think a healthy dollop of sour cream (and even a little salsa) would be delightful as well.

 


Kicked up Beef Noodle Casserole (ala: Bahbah)

(Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:
8 oz. package egg noodles
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 ½ Lb. ground beef (can substitute ground chicken, turkey or pork)
1 large green pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
(1) 15 oz. can tomato sauce
(1) 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced (more if you are a garlic freak like me)
2-3 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2-3 Tbsp. Fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
S & P to taste
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 Cups Mozzarella, grated (don’t be lazy, do it yourself)
1-2 Cups sharp cheddar, grated (see above)

 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Over medium heat, brown the ground beef in skillet with 2 Tbsp. Olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, 1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning and garlic.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to package directions.

In a bowl, mix together soften cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese, 2 Tbsp. fresh chives, salt & pepper and a pinch of Italian seasoning.

When the meat has browned, add in the onions and peppers and cook about five minutes until softened. Then mix in the drained diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add another Tbsp. of Italian seasoning and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Simmer 2-3 minutes.

Remove meat mixture from heat and add in the drained pasta and 2 Tbsp. fresh basil. Stir well to incorporate.

Grease a 9 x 13” baking dish, add half of the meat and noodle mixture to the bottom as the first layer. Spread the cheese evenly over the layer, then add the rest of the meat and noodles over it.

Top with the remaining Mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses.

Bake 20-25 minutes until brown and bubbly. Garnish with the remaining fresh Basil.

Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. (Tastes GREAT the second day and it freezes well too!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon-Herb Roasted Turkey Tenderloin

Once upon a time I was shopping for groceries and I ran into a package of turkey tenderloins even though it WAS NOT Thanksgiving season. Experiencing a temporary bout of being sick of everything I was currently planning to make, I picked them up to see what new thing I could create.

Once home, I looked through a ton of recipes online and finally settled on an herb crusted roasted tenderloin but MY way.

Tuesday through Thursday of each week, my husband and I are busy until after eight PM, so I am always looking for healthy and easy, fresh, options for dinner. This recipe is so simple, you will gasp as you are putting it in the oven.

Ready?

I am going to spare you the commentary and get right to the recipe AND I will include your side items which can be prepared at the exact time you are cooking the tenderloins. The entire prep time takes less than ten minutes.

Here is a photo of what it looks like when it’s going into the oven.

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Herb Roasted Turkey Tenderloin (with lemon zest)

Ingredients:
1 package of Turkey Tenderloins (they come in two’s)
Salt & pepper
½ c. whole grain mustard (use whatever mustard you like. If you hate whole grain, use regular.)
1 Tbsp. honey
Zest of two lemons (If you hate lemon, leave it out, but you’re weird.)
¼ c. freshly chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. dried Rosemary
1-2 tsp. dried oregano

Instructions:

  •  Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  •  Rinse and dry tenderloins
  •  Salt and pepper both sides
  •  In a separate bowl, mix together the mustard and honey and then brush it onto both sides of the tenderloins.
  •  Sprinkle on the herbs and finish with the zest.
  •  Finally, wipe your brow. This is so hard, isn’t it?
  •  Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  •  Let rest for 10 minutes prior to slicing.

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EASY SIDES?

Go to Trader Joe’s and buy a bag of their multi colored baby carrots. Coat them in olive oil and salt and pepper and put them on a small baking sheet. Throw them in the oven at the SAME time you put the Turkey in. They will cook perfectly.

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SIDE ITEM #2

Fresh Asparagus! 

While your other items are in the oven, trim the asparagus and place in a microwave safe dish. I always use real butter but you can roll them around in olive oil and salt and pepper if you prefer. Cover in plastic wrap OR use a paper plate or covering of your choice.

Wait until just before your turkey and carrots are ready and then microwave on high for 1 and a half minutes.

Done!

Asparagus

ALSO, there are SO SO many frozen prepared (steam in bag) vegetables out there that are healthy. Just pick what you like and go for it. Below are some green beans I did the other night.

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Bobbe’s Asian Inspired Turkey Meatballs

This is by far one of my favorite things to do with ground turkey & ground pork.

Meatballs

For those who asked for my recipe, it’s below. Truly this is one of my favorite things to make for dinner. It’s one of those recipes that just gets better the longer it sits, so I usually make double so I have some to take for lunch the following day.

There are two things I like to serve it over. The first is cauliflower fried rice which is basically just fried rice subbing riced cauliflower for actual rice. Use your favorite recipe or click here for mine. The other thing that is absolutely insanely delicious is green rice, which is basically rice made with a whole lot of green herbs (think cilantro, parsley, spinach) combined with other things like Poblano and jalapeno peppers and onions that have been pulverized and blended with liquid until smooth. (I will post that recipe soon.)

Until then, enjoy and if you try this recipe, please let me know how you liked it!


Bobbe’s Asian Inspired Turkey/Pork Meatballs (Makes about 14 meatballs)

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of one lime (or 3 Tbsp.)
  • ½ c. fresh cilantro finely chopped (use more if you love cilantro like I do!)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chives finely chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp. freshly ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. finely diced garlic
  • 1 small red onion finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Soy sauce
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • ½ C. Panko bread crumbs Use what you like. Regular bread crumbs work as well as crushed pork rinds (keto)
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper

Meatball Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  • Combine all ingredients, mixing well by hand.
  • Form the meat into 1.5” balls (or whatever size you like)
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until juices run clear

Meatball Drizzle Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ C. Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 C. Soy sauce
  • ½ C. brown sugar
  • ½ C. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh garlic
  • Salt & Pepper

Drizzle Directions:

  • Put all ingredients into a small saucepan
  • Stir well to combine
  • Bring to boil. Stir until brown sugar melts.
  • Reduce to simmer
  • Simmer until reduced by at least half.
  • Drizzle over meatballs.

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Hot Brown Casserole ala Bahbah (That’s Me!)

Here in Louisville, Kentucky, it’s Kentucky Derby week. Hubs and I are catering a Derby party next weekend, so last night we tested and perfected one of my new favorite dishes, The Hot Brown Casserole.

For those who are not from here, The Kentucky Hot Brown is a famous dish born long ago at Louisville’s historical “Brown Hotel”. (Google it, if you are interested.)

I confess that I have not been a fan of this dish in the past. I think when it was originally made by it’s Chef creator, it was probably delicious. Every rendition I have ever had, however, has left me feeling like something was missing or “watered down”. For this dish to be truly great, one really needs not to skimp on or take short cuts on the ingredients. This means taking the time to grate your own cheese, bake a fresh turkey breast (or a whole bird if you wish), seek out the best thick bread slices and seasonings!

Hot Brown Casserole ala Bahbah

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices thick bread, toasted (I used Texas toast)
  • 2 lbs turkey thinly sliced
  • 8 slices bacon crumbled (I used Wilson’s thick cut BBQ)
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1/4 cup butter (real full fat butter!)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Lots of freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (I used Bourbon smoked)
  • 1 1/2 cup freshly diced tomato
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour and let the flour cook about two minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk and cream. Stir 6-8 minutes until it lightly boils and becomes thick. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, beat the egg then whisk in 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sauce. Return to pan whisking constantly. Add in 1/2 the cheese, salt and pepper and keep whisking until incorporated. Add in 1/2 the remaining cheese & repeat. Return to the heat, but Do NOT BOIL. IMPORTANT: Taste this until you get the desired cheesiness /creaminess. Also, If it gets too thick, add more cream, but remember to season again if you do. Remove from heat.

Grease a 9 x 13″ casserole dish. I pre-slice the toast on the diagonal, then arrange it in the bottom of the pan. Layer the turkey slices over the toast, sprinkle some of the tomatoes and the bacon over the turkey, salt and pepper, add the sauce all over. Sprinkle with Paprika, bacon crumbles and the remaining cheese.

Bake 20-25 minutes uncovered.

Top with freshly chopped tomatoes and parsley.

Enjoy!