Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Quick Eats: Baked Mac and Cheese


  • Box of your favorite Pasta
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 3 Cups Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Half an Onion Diced
  • Shredded Chicken or Bacon
  • Bread Crumbs

Bring it together

Prep the Pasta: Fill a 2-3 quart pot 2/3's the way full with water. Season the water generously with salt, its really hard to put too much salt, and a splash of oil. Bring it to a boil and cook your pasta according to the directions on the package it came on. After the cooking time is over strain and set aside.

Make the Sauce: Start by making your roux. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted add your flour and stir making sure to incorporate all flour in to the butter. Lower the heat to medium and stir until the roux has a nice golden hue and a nutty smell. If it smells burnt, then the pan was too hot and you need to start again. Mix the Milk and Egg in a bowl until frothy. After your roux is ready reduce the heat to low and slowly add the milk and egg mixture. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent the egg from scrambling. Once that is incorporated add the cheese and once again stir until mixed.

Finish it: To an ungreased casserole dish add your pasta, cheese sauce, and fold in the chicken or bacon crumbles. Spread it evenly in the dish and top with bread crumbs. Spray the top of the bread crumbs with spray oil to ensure they get nice and crispy while cooking. Cook at 350F for 20-30 minutes.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dan's Beef Stew


  • 3lb Boneless Beef Chuck, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Package of Mushrooms
  • Salt
  • Pepper

To Bring it Together

Brown the Beef: Season your beef with Salt and Pepper. Then in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs or a fork, about 5-8 minutes per batch, adding one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let meat develop brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer meat to a large plate and set aside.

Cook off the small veggies: Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, and Worcestershire sauce; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape brown bits from bottom of pan, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook a few minutes more. Add beef with juices back to pan and sprinkle with flour; stir with wooden spoon until flour is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Add wine, beef broth, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar; stir with wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan and bring to a boil.

Bring it Together: Cover pot with lid, and simmer for 1.5-2 hours. Remove the lid and add carrots and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes more, or until vegetables are cooked and meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (freshly ground black pepper, salt, and a pinch of sugar go a long way). Let cool, then store in refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Baking in Bowties: Dutch Sticky Rolls

Authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cinnamon buns straight from Dan's Mom!


  • 1 cup Milk + 2 Tbsp Reserved
  • 5/6 cup Butter + Some for Brushing
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Packs rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 5 1/2 cup AP Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Pecans or Walnuts for Garnish

Dan's Mom's Directions

Scald 1 cup of milk and set aside to cool until lukewarm. Put 1/3 cup butter into the milk to melt. When the mixture is lukewarm beat 2 eggs into the liquid with a fork.

Proof 2 packages of rapid-rise yeast and 1/2 cup white sugar in 1/4 cup lukewarm water until foamy.

Mix the dry ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix everything above together in a very large mixing bowl. Knead well. Sprinkle with cooking oil and grease the top of the dough. Cover with cellophane so the dough stays moist. Oil the inside rim of the bowl as well.

Melt 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter and 2 Tablespoons of milk. Set aside to cool. (This is Grandma's style, but I always doubled the caramel sauce!)

In about 1 hour the dough should be doubled in size.

Oil your hands and punch down the dough. Moisten your counter top and line with cellophane. Sprinkle well with flour and turn out the dough. Flour the top of the dough as needed. Pat it down into a rectangle (or in 2 batches) until about 1/2 inch thick. You may need to rest the dough every few minutes and then try again if it is high-gluten flour and is very elastic.

Brush the dough with even more melted butter. Evenly cover the butter with sugar. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon. Roll up jelly-roll style by lifting the cellophane layer closest to you to help it roll evenly.

Cut into one-inch thick rolls.

Pour the melted sauce into the pan/pans. Grandma often sprinkled pecans or walnuts in the caramel sauce. Line with rolls and cover loosely with cellophane. Allow to rise and double again--about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 on the middle rack until brown--about 25 minutes, but check in 20.

After removing the rolls from the over, IMMEDIATELY turn over onto cookie sheets lined with heavy-duty foil. If you don't remove the rolls immediately they will be permanently glued into the pans. Trust me on this!

Part 1

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Part 2

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quick Eats: Grilled Chicken Salad

Can't get any simpler than grilling some chicken breast and putting it on top of your favorite salad combination. Dan shows us his take on just that in this episode of Quick Eats.


  • Chicken
  • Garlic
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Italian Dressing
  • Croutons
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Thyme

Potential Additions

  • Cucumber
  • Cherry/Plum Tomatoes
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Hearts of Palm
  • Nuts of your Choice

Bring it together

Prep the Salad: Break up your lettuce to the size you'd like and place it your holding container. Slice any vegetables you want to add to the proper size and add those to the bowl with the lettuce. Put any other additions you'd like in your salad into the container except for the croutons, those need to go in last so they don't get soggy. Set aside in a cool place.

Marinate and Cook your chicken: In a plastic bag add your chicken and enough Italian Dressing to cover. Remove as much air from the bag as you can and let the chicken marinade anywhere between 10-20 minutes. Warm your grill pan to medium high heat and then cook the chicken until the center is roughly 165F on a meat probe. You can pull it off earlier if you let it rest, this will keep it from drying out and still get let the chicken reach the proper cooking temperature. Resting time varies but 10-15 minutes should be plenty. After your chicken has rested season it with salt and pepper to your liking and then cut into slices.

Finish it: To your salad container you can now add your chicken, croutons, dressing, and any additional seasonings or toppings. Give it a good toss through, check your seasoning, and then consume.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Quick Eats: Sliders

Tiny burgers made of pure awesome.

Dan's Sliders


  • Ground Beef
  • Spam
  • King Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Shredded Cabbage or Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Egg

To Bring it Together

Prep all the things: Slice up an onion to your desired size and place in a bowl for later. Either shred or slice your cheese and set aside. Tear off pieces of lettuce to about the size of the bun that you will be using, stack and set aside for later. Slice up your spam to the desired size and set aside. Cut your rolls in half if they aren't already.

Form your patties: In a bowl add your ground beef, egg, a few bits of onion, you can add some shredded cheese to this if you like, and a splash of teriyaki sauce to give it some flavor. Hand mix and make sure everything gets incorporated. Now take some meat and form it into a ball, then press flat. These need to be slightly larger than the bun because they are likely to shrink during the cooking process.

Cook the burgers and spam: Start with the burgers first. Cook them to your desired level of rareness. Two to Three minutes on each side in a hot pan would probably do the trick but just test it to be sure. Once cooked keep in a warm place and move to cooking the spam. For the spam we'll be adding a thin layer of teriyaki sauce to the frying pan and cooking the spam in the sauce. Make sure the teriyaki sauce is hot before you add the spam. Again it only needs to cook 2-3 minutes per side. Once done remove from the pan and keep in a warm place.

Assemble: Take your bun, add a slice of cheese, throw on some lettuce, add some onions to that, balance your patty on top of that and pray it stays, then add your condiment of choice to the bottom of the top bun and put it on the top of the burger. Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Homemade biscuits covered in a sausage gravy, easily a breakfast staple in many southern homes.

Dan's Biscuits and Gravy


For the Biscuits

  • 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the Gravy

  • 1 pound of sausage
  • 3 - 4 cups Milk
  • 1/3 cup Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, more to taste
  • Pepper to taste

To Bring it Together

Prepare the Biscuits: Heat the oven to 450°F. Grease any baking sheets you will be using. Sift or Mix the Flour and Sugar together and put into your mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork blend the butter into your flour mixture. The smaller the chunks of butter you start with the less work you have to do mixing it into the flour. In another small bowl mix the baking soda and buttermilk together and then add it to your try ingredients. Mix together and then transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick and begin cutting with a biscuit cutter or a round glass if you don't have a cutter. When cutting make sure to cut straight down and not twist your cutter if you can help it. This should help your biscuits rise better. After you've cut your biscuits place them on the greased baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Brush the tops with some melted butter if you just want to enjoy without the gravy.

Prepare the Gravy: Brown your sausage over medium high heat making sure to break it into small pieces with your spatula. Once the sausage is cooked off slowly start sprinkling in the flour so the sausage kind of "soaks" it all up. Keep adding little by little until all the flour is mixed in. Cook this for 1-2 minutes and then add in your milk making sure to stir constantly. Cook until thickened, roughly 12 minutes, and then season with salt and pepper to taste. If the gravy gets to thick just add some more milk and readjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Pour this over your biscuits and enjoy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Quick Eats: Twice-Baked Potatoes

We all love our potatoes, and this recipe is a celebration of both baked and mashed potatoes. Bake them to perfection, scoop them out, add your favorite toppings, mash them to your liking and then re-stuff. Potato skins have never been this good.

Dan's Twice-Baked Potatoes


For the Filling

  • Baked Russet Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Milk
  • Sour Cream
  • Butter
  • Cheese (Cheddar or Pepper Jack)
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper

To Bring it Together

Bake the Potatoes: Heat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the potatoes clean under running water and then stab them several times with a fork or cut a slit down the length of them with a knife. Place them on the middle oven rack and bake until a fork inserted into the potato meets no resistance, roughly 60-75 minutes.

Prep the Veggies: Cut the Broccoli into 1 inch florets and boil them in salted water for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately blanch them in cold water to stop the cooking. While the Broccoli is boiling melt some butter in a sauce pan and add the garlic and kale cooking it down until the kale is wilted, roughly 7-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside in a mixing bowl.

Make the Filling: Remove the Potatoes from the oven and let them cool. Once they can be safely handled cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides into a mixing bowl. Add the milk, sour cream, a handful of cheese and mix until somewhat smooth; how smooth is a personal preference thing. Once at the desired consistency season with salt and pepper to taste and then fold in the veggies. Once everything is mixed recheck the seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Finish the Potatoes: Spoon the filling back into the potato skins and place on a cooking sheet. Top each potato with a bit of cheese and any other garnish you like, then broil them until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, let cool, and enjoy. If you absolutely must of have onions for your potatoes adding some sliced greens onions at the very end as a garnish works nicely.