Guest Post: Tips for Making Fantastic Red Wine Sauce

Do you want to surprise your guests by making fantastic red wine sauce at home? Highlight any meal or dish you prepare by adding sauce made from red wine! Wine sauces are perfect for enhancing the taste of any dish you make. With a wine sauce, the natural flavors of any dish are emphasized which makes them exceptionally tasty. Not to mention all of the proven health benefits of red wine!

How to make fantastic red wine sauce
Photo via Have Her Over for Dinner

Ingredients to Prepare the Perfect Sauce

  • A bottle of red wine (something you’d drink)
  • Unsalted butter
  • Can of stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • Flour
  • Pepper (freshly ground)

With a little planning, you will be able to make perfect red wine sauce. You don’t need a lot of experience, as it is simple and easy to put together. All that you need to do is to follow some basic principles and you will have your friends totally impressed with your cooking skills. This sauce is creamy and doesn’t overpower the flavors of any dish you choose for an accompaniment.

Steps to Make Red Wine Sauce

The first thing you need to do is choose the correct wine. This is important since the sauce gets the flavor of the wine. If you make a wrong choice you may not be able to get the desired taste.

TIP: Avoid wines that have a high tannin concentration as they can create a sharp, bitter taste. Peppery flavors should also be avoided as they can overpower the sauce and mask the natural flavors. You may be surprised to know that inexpensive red wines are the preferred choice in most restaurants as they do not have an intense flavor.

Reduction is the first step in making sauce from wine. Take a bottle of wine and pour it in a large container and let it simmer on low. You need to ensure that the pot does not get very hot as it may lead to scorching and a burnt taste. It’s best to let the wine simmer from low to medium low heat so the water boils away while the wine becomes consistently thick.

TIP: The sauce may be ruined if you let it get too hot or boil.

When the wine gets the consistency of cream remove the pot from the burner. Let it cool down.

When the bubbling stops add butter. After the butter melts, it’s time to add the flour and stir to blend together. Waiting for the right temperature is important.

TIP: If you add the flour when the pan is too hot, it may ruin the sauce by causing lumps.

Add the stock slowly and let the sauce simmer until it reaches a creamy consistency. Add pepper to taste. When you are happy with the consistency remove the pan from the heat. Let it cool a bit, five minutes or so before serving on meats or vegetables.

TIP: You may be able to save the wine sauce for later if it’s saved in an airtight labeled container—this will enable you enjoy it another time with any dish you like. If the sauce thickens while stored in the refrigerator, all you need to do is add a teaspoon of water or stock when you heat it up before serving. Add the sauce to your dish for a tasty enrichment to the main course. Use a red wine sauce in main courses and side dishes to help make a simple dish taste wonderful.

The amazing fact about wine sauce is it can be prepared within a short time period it preserves fairly easily. Although this sauce is thought to be a wonderful addition to red meat, it can be used with chicken, fish, pork or vegetables dishes too. Some dishes that red wine sauce enhances are coleslaws, burgers, salmon, lamb shanks pork chops and steak. Experiment to create your own variation with red sauce to make a new taste.

Guest Post

Nicole Nowlen Guest PostNicole Nowlen: Full-time businesswoman. Full-time DIY enthusiast. Living in old London town, but with a burning desire to go everywhere and see everything!

Check Nicole out at: nicolenowlen.com or follow her on Twitter @nicolenowlen87.

Cheese Stuffed Sliders

cheese stuffed sliders, cheeseburger recipes, inside out burgers, slider recipes

My 4-year old son isn’t a picky eater, but he does have a few odd food aversions that boggle my mind a bit.

MASHED POTATOES MAKE HIM GAG. (What??) It’s not my mashed potatoes. Really. They’re one of my specialties: whipped, skins on, no skins, hand mashed, cheesy, creamy – so many different, savory ways to prepare them. All gag-worthy to my son, whose issue seems to be related more to texture, than to the taste, of potatoes (he can kill some French fries or roasted potatoes).

GRILLED SHRIMP MAY AS WELL BE LIVER. (Come again??) My 8-year old could inhale a plateful of shrimp if given the option. My son, however, only stomachs the “one bite you have to eat,” while his face is contorted in a grimace, complete with gags. We have a rule, you see. There’s no declaring, “I hate [fill in the food]!” and then refusing to eat dinner. Our rule is that you must at least try one bite of everything. And even though my kids don’t always love things on the first, second or fifth try, most of the time they come around. Those little taste buds just take a while.

CHEESE ON A BURGER? NO WAY! (Seriously.) For a kid who eats string cheese like it’s going outta style, I’m always surprised when he only wants a plain burger. No cheese, no bun. I’m not going to force cheese on the boy, but the rest of us are kinda cheeseburger fanatics, and this no melty, gooey, cheesiness on a burger thing is, well, odd.

My son, however, does like cheese inside his burger. Who wouldn’t like that?

Here’s how I make our cheese stuffed sliders:

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I mix ground beef, chopped spinach and parsley, dry onion soup mix, salt, pepper and one egg together (with my hands!) in a large bowl.

cheeseburger recipes, slider recipes, cheese stuffed burgers, inside out burgers

See? There’s the egg. Perspective is everything.

cheeseburger recipes, slider recipes, cheese stuffed burger recipes, inside out burgers

Then I pressed out slider-sized patties, about the look of a golf ball before flattening. My pound of ground beef made six sliders with a little left over to top the patties.

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Half a piece of white American cheese goes on each patty. I said “white” specifically because we’re trying to stay away from yellow dyes in our food, and the white American cheese doesn’t use any.

The rest of the ground beef mixture was pressed onto each of the six patties, sealing in the cheese. Then they were seared in a hot grill pan for a few minutes, flipped, and then seared on the other for a few more minutes.

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And as if THAT wasn’t enough cheese, all but one of the sliders was topped with another slice of white American. The middle one there? That’s my 4-year old’s, sans cheese (except for the gooey center).

cheese stuffed sliders, cheeseburger recipes, slider recipes

Cheese Stuffed Sliders
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Try the cheese on the inside for a treat!
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • ⅛ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 slices white American cheese (plus more if you want cheese on top)
  • 6 slider-sized rolls
Instructions
  1. Use your hands to combine the beef, egg, onion soup mix, spinach, parsley, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.
  2. Make six small patties about 3" in diameter with about ¾ of the beef mixture.
  3. Place ½ slice of American cheese in the center of each patty. It works best to make the shape squarish so it fits neatly in the middle.
  4. Use the remaining beef mixture to top the slider patties, and then gently press each to seal the cheese into the middle.
  5. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat, and let it warm for a couple minutes.
  6. Once it's hot, sear the cheese stuffed sliders on one side for 4 minutes. Flip the sliders, and then continue cooking them for another 4 minutes. (If you want to top them with cheese, you'll want to add it just after the flip.)
  7. Serve the cheese stuffed sliders on buns with ketchup, mayonnaise, fresh spinach and tomatoes.

 

Cheeseburger Sliders with Caramelized Onions

I’m a big fan of cheeseburgers, but unlike most people, I don’t like my burgers to be so fat that I can’t take a reasonable bite. I get the “gourmet” aspect of a perfectly cooked thick burger, patiently and carefully seared to an exact medium-rare. It’s not easy, and the techniques involved to get the point of patty perfection are quite intentional – the biggest being, don’t smoosh it.

 

One of my favorite ways to make cheeseburgers at home is to mini-fy them. Or, in other words, make cheeseburger sliders!

 

how to make cheeseburger sliders

 

I take 1 pound of lean ground beef and mix in an egg, dried parsley, grated onion and garlic, and generous amounts of sea salt and pepper. Then, I portion the beef into 7 or 8 patties – about 1/8 cup each, pressing them to about 1/4″ thick (a little thinner in the center, because they’ll puff up a while cooking). Then I let them sit for a bit to rest.

 

how to make cheeseburger sliders

 

Allowing time for the patties to rest gives you a great opportunity to prepare other burger enhancements, like sauteing mushrooms and frying up bacon. Or, like in this case, caramelizing onions! See them peeking out from under the melty cheese?

 

how to make cheeseburger sliders

Cheeseburger Sliders

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
These cheeseburger sliders are the perfect quick-fix dinner for a busy weeknight!

Ingredients

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Large egg (beaten)
  • 1/2 Large onion (grated)
  • 1/2 Large onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove fresh garlic (grated)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 American cheese slices
  • 8 Small hamburger buns

Optional

  • mayonnaise
  • ketchup
  • field greens

Directions

Combine the beef, parsley, egg, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in a large bowl - use your hands to get it all mushed together! The mixture will be moist, but that's okay.
Make 8 even portions of the beef (about 1/8-cup each), and then make them into patties 1/4" thick. Press to make the center of each pattie slightly thinner - they'll puff up a bit while cooking. Stet the patties aside to rest.
Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small skillet to warm over medium heat. After about 2 minutes, add the sliced onions and a sprinkle of salt, and gently saute them until they're soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and let them sit.
Warm a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush each of the patties with a little olive oil. After about 3 minutes, place the patties (olive oil side down) into the hot pan. Let them cook for 3 minutes, and then flip them and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.
Top each patty with a bit of caramelized onions and a slice of American cheese, and then cover the pan with aluminum foil. The steam will help the cheese get good and melty - it takes about 30 seconds.
Serve the cheeseburger sliders with mayonnaise, ketchup and field greens.

How to Make Classic Beef Stew

How to make classic beef stew

Football season’s winding down, but the big games are upon us. Last weekend a local team played and won one of the playoff games! They’re headed to THE game in New Orleans, La., on Sunday, February 3.

For days like that, where football is on in the basement man-cave all evening, we don’t even attempt a family meal at the table. Instead, I like to make easy-to-eat one pot meals that can be served up ad-hoc.

Classic beef stew is a great option for a day like this because the longer it simmers, the better it gets. The beef cubes literally fall apart. {drool}

As an added bonus, leftovers reheat great! This beef stew is also freezable  so if you end up with with a large batch that can’t be finished at dinnertime, consider freezing it in single serving portions to reheat next month in lieu of take-out or a TV dinner.

Classic Beef Stew

How to make classic beef stew

Prep: 20 minutes | Cook: 2 hours | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
1 pound stew beef cubes
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 whole carrots, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
1/4 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 14.5-ounce can beef broth
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh parsley (optional)

Directions
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. While the oil is warming, sprinkle the beef cubes evenly with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the flour to a large zip-top bag, then drop the beef cubes in all at once. Seal the top and then shake the bag until the cubes have been coated with flour.

Add half the beef cubes to the pot and brown them on all sides – about 2 minutes per side. Remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel, and then repeat the browning process with the rest of the beef cubes.

(Depending on the size of your pot, you may be able to fit more beef cubes at one time. Take care not to crowd them, or else you won’t get a nice brown crust.)

How to make classic beef stew

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, followed by the onions, mushrooms, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, allspice, paprika and parsley. Cook the mixture until the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes, and then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the beef broth all at once, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits that were stuck to the bottom of the pot. Next, add the water, bay leaves and the beef cubes and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, then let it simmer for 1 hour.

After an hour, add the potatoes and carrots, then cover and cook for another 30 minutes.

Ladle out 1 cup of the hot liquid into a bowl and whisk in the cornstarch until the mixture is smooth. There might be a few small white lumps, and that’s okay. Pour the cornstarch mixture back into the pot, and stir to incorporate it fully – this will help thicken the stew. If you like a thinner, brothier stew you can omit this step!

Cover the pot and cook for another 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves, and serve the beef stew with a sprig of fresh parsley and a loaf of crusty French bread.

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