Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Morning French Toast

Holiday Morning French Toast
family recipe

1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
3 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon (divided)
3 Tart Apples (Such as Granny Smith) Peeled, Cored, and Thinly Sliced
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries or Raisins
1 Loaf Italian or French Bread Cut into 1-Inch Cubes (Or 9 Slices of Texas Bread)
6 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Combine brown sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a 13x9-inch baking dish. Add apples and cranberries, toss to coat well. Spread apple mixture evenly over bottom of baking dish. Arrange bread cubes on top. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, vanilla, and remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon until well blended. Pour mixture over bread, soaking bread completely. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Like I said, in the last post, I didn't do much cooking this Christmas. I didn't make this, but I ate it! My mom makes it every Christmas morning. And every time she makes it she forgets to make it far enough in advance to refrigerate it overnight (since that would be Christmas Eve, after all, so we'll forgive her) Side note: french toast is my favorite. So are dried cranberries. So is Christmas! Win-win-win!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Whipped Shortbread Cookies
family recipe

3 Cups Butter, Softened
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
4 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Cornstarch

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add dry ingredients (no need to premix dry ingredients before incorporating) Roll into 1 inch balls and dip the balls in the sprinkles. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-22 minutes.

Friends, since I'm still a 'kid' in the eyes of those who provide the big holiday family feasts I didn't do much cooking or baking this Christmas. However, I did help my mom make these little treasures. There are only four ingredients in the cookie - how awesome is that?! As for the sprinkles, you'll want to use ones that are the big crystallized ones... the ones that look like raw sugar. I'm not sure on the official name for those. Use red and pink sprinkles for Valentine's Day. Or stuff with a macadamia nut and dip in chocolate. Or add a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. Whipped shortbread cookies are so versatile!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

BV Week: Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar
serves 6

  • 16 Ounces Fresh Strawberries, Hulled and Large Berries Cut in Half
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • Pepper, to Taste
Place strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle vinegar over strawberries, and sprinkle with sugar. Cover, leave sit at room temperature at least one hour, but not for more than four hours. Just before serving, grind pepper over berries.
I saved dessert for last, also the best for last. This was my favorite recipe of the week by far, and it's such a bizarre combination! I served the berries over vanilla bean flavor ice cream from Haagen-Dazs. The saddest thing was, they weren't as great as leftovers :(

Friday, December 10, 2010

BV Week: Balsamic Viniagrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette
adapted from

1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
3/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix all ingredients together in a medium glass bowl. Pour vinaigrette into a glass bottle using a funnel if necessary. Store at room temperature.

I love making salad dressings... I feel so domestic! Balsamic vinaigrette pairs well with spring mix with a creamy cheese.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

BV Week: Roasted Potato Wedges

Roasted Potato Wedges
adapted from

2 Russet Potatoes (or Other Potatoes)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to Taste
1 Tablespoon Dried Rosemary

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash the potatoes, then cut into wedges. Toss the wedges with oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, stir and add rosemary, then roast for an additional 20 minutes.

These potatoes were spectacular. I drizzled a little extra BV just before serving for a little added kick. Potato heaven. Period. Served with tuna burger and a spring mix salad. 2 potatoes will make about 4 servings.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

BV Week: Chicken and Peppers with Balsamic Vinegar

Chicken and Peppers with Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 Cup Olive Oil, Divided
1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut into Strips
Salt and Pepper, to Taste
1 Each of Green, Red, and Yellow Bell Peppers, Thinly Slice
1 Medium Onion, Thinly Sliced
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder or 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar, Divided

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in skillet, season with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides. Add peppers, onion, garlic, basil, the rest of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Stir in remaining balsamic vinegar just before serving.

Serve over rice with soy sauce. Yum!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

BV Week: Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower

Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower
makes 5 servings
adapted from

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Head of Cauliflower, Chopped Into Bite-Sized Pieces

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Stir the olive oil, vinegar, salt and garlic powder in a bowl. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread the mixture on the lined baking sheet. Stirring occasionally, bake for 20 minutes or until tender.

This was a very simple side dish that I served with Hamburger Helper. I substituted garlic powder, for minced fresh garlic because I thought the garlic might burn. The flavor of the cauliflower was a bit on the milder side. Next time I make this I'd add a little bit more vinegar and maybe a tablespoon of a seasoning blend. If you want to get really fancy, some fresh chopped herbs would look gorgeous on top!

Bagel Thins with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

Ladies and Gentlemen, I interrupt your regularly scheduled balsamic vinegar week to bring you this important announcement: Bagel Thins with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese.

At first, this looks like an ordinary bagel....

But it's actually thin! Thin bagels are much healthier for you than regular bagels. Only 110 calories and 25 carbs per bagel!

And then there's this cream cheese.... I think I already told you that I love cream cheese. Cream cheese and I have a love that some people just don't understand. Pumpkin flavor can be a hit or miss with me, but this was definitely a hit. A bomb. It blew up my world!

And together bagel thins and pumpkin spice cream cheese became the best snack I've ever had!

And now, back you your regularly scheduled balsamic vinegar week.

Monday, December 6, 2010

BV Week: Italian Olive Oil Balsamic Bread Dip

Italian Oil Balsamic Bread Dip
serves 4

3 Large Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
1 Pinch Salt and Pepper
French Bread, Sliced, For Dipping

Place the garlic, vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and salt and pepper in a shallow bowl in that order. To serve spoon a small amount on bread.

This bread dip is very similar to Johnny Carino's bread dip. It's a flavorful, easy, sophisticated appetizer! I did both toasted and untoasted
bread and I concluded that
I prefer untoasted because it
soaks up all of the wonderful juice!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Balsamic Vinegar Week!

New Theme Week: Balsamic Vinegar. I've had a bottle sitting in my cabinet since I made Honey Balsamic Bean Salad, so I thought I'd try some new recipes to use it up. I'm making some awesome dishes this week that include ingredients such as fresh rosemary, and strawberries! Get excited!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes
followed down to the letter from
4 Whole Medium Sweet Potatoes
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Pecans (Measured, Than Chopped)
1/2 Cup Flour
3/4 Stick Butter, softened
Wash the potatoes and pat dry. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven until fork tender, 45 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the potatoes. When they are finished cooking, let them cool for a little bit, then slice them open and scrape out the flesh into a large bowl. Add the regular sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla extract and salt. With a potato masher, mash them up so the mix is still a little chunky, not too smooth. In a separate bowl, add brown sugar, pecans, flour, and butter and mix together with a pastry blender until thoroughly combined. Spread the potato mixture into a baking dish and top with the pecan mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

This recipe I had to fight for. My mom wasn't happy about the idea of a second sweet potato dish for Thanksgiving or about the fact that this can basically be classified as a dessert. My potatoes took way longer than the recommended time before they became tender, then they leaked all over the oven. Then I had to stay up really late baking it because of my bad time management. But I have to tell you, it was all worth it :)

My mother wanted to share that at Thanksgiving we had a ratio of 1 pie per 2 guests.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shrimp and Pasta Primavera

Shrimp and Pasta Primavera
from my sister, who adapted it from a McCormick Recipe Inspirations package

1 1/2 tsp. Dill
1 tsp. Minced Garlic
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1/4 tsp. Thyme leaves
8 oz. Linguine
1 Pound Large Shrimp Peeled, Deveined, and Precooked ( I used 100-150 size shrimp, only because it was on sale!)
4 1/2 c. assorted veggies (Green Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Red Pepper, Broccolli, Onion, etc.)
1 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
3/4 cup butter (that's one stick and a half of another stick)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
Cook pasta according to package directions. Saute veggies in a separate pan with spices and a little bit of olive oil. Add shrimp to veggies. When pasta is cooked and drained, add pasta, veggies and shrimp back to the pasta pot and set aside. In the pan that the veggies were in, add the heavy cream, butter, Parmesan and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, whisking frequently, for about 5 minutes until sauce reduces. Mix sauce with the pasta and serve with additional Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

I love pasta, it's so low-maintenance, just like me. The original recipe calls for the veggies and shrimp to be boiled in the pasta, which isn't the best option here... my sis suggests sauteing them instead. However, my significant other thought that this made the pasta a bit oily, but still thought it was all-around awesome. You can decide what's more important here... :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010


from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1 Pound Ground Beef
2 Cups Chopped Onion
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
(2) 15 oz. Cans Dark Red Kidney Beans, Rinsed and Drained
(1) 15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
(2) 14.5 oz. Cans Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
4-6 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

In a large pan, cook beef, onion, pepper and garlic until beef is browned and veggies are soft. Drain fat. In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine meat mixture with the rest of the ingredients. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Serve with sour cream and cheddar cheese.

This recipe doesn't call for much liquid, so if you like to eat your chili with a spoon rather than a fork (the leftovers get especially thick) I'd add another can of tomato sauce and scale down on some of the other ingredients. This recipe barley fits in my crock pot... it makes me nervous every time! I froze some of the leftovers since this recipe yields a lot. Serve with cornbread muffins on a chilly night!

Tater-Tot Hot Dish

Tater-Tot Hot Dish
from my mom's kitchen

-1 to 1 1/2 Pounds Hamburger, Crumbled and Browned
-1 Can Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom Soup
-3 Tablespoons Sour Cream
-1 or 2 Teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet
-1 Package (12-16 oz.) Frozen Mixed Veggies (Carrots, Corn, Peas, Etc.)
-1 Package (24 oz.) Frozen Tater Tots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan, layer frozen veggies on bottom. Into the pan in which you've browned the hamburger, stir the can of soup, about 1/3 to 1/2 can of water, kitchen bouquet, and sour cream. Layer the meat mixture on top of frozen veggies, then tater tots. Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until bubbly and tater tots are golden.

Classic. Homey. Comfort food. Delish!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


special family recipe

Equipment needed: Lefse board, Lefse turner, Lefse Grill
Equipment needed: I heart lefse apron. Use those muscles to mix
the potato mixture, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt!
Ready the assembly line
"Roll the balls thin enough so you can see the writing underneath!" says the Lefse Nazi
Carefully transport the lefse to the grill. Sometimes it sticks
to the board and tears... and we don't' like our lefse holey!
It's all in the wrist
Let it cook on the grill for a minute on each side till you see spots.
Butter and Cinnamon sugar are a must.
Roll it up and eat it!
8 Cups Red Potatoes
1/2 Cup Butter (1 Stick)
1/2 Cup Cream
Prepare as like whipped potatoes, cover, refrigerate overnight

3 Cups of Potato Mixture
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Dash of Salt

Use a pastry cutter and work dough till it comes together. Form into 1/4 -1/3 cup balls. Roll thin and bake on lefse grill at 450 - 500 degrees.

(With a strong ND accent) Up here in Nort Dakota we make lots a lefse for da holidays, ya! (End strong ND accent) I have lots of memories making lefse with my mom (the 'Lefse Nazi')and sister. Serve with butter and cinnamon-sugar mixture and embrace Norwegian heritage.


makes 5 servings

1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Package Taco or Burrito Seasoning
(1) 16 oz. Can Refried Beans
1 Can Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 Medium Onion, Chopped (About 1/2 Cup)
(5) 10-inch Flour Tortillas
1 Can Enchilada Sauce
Cheddar Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in seasoning, beans, soup, and onion. Divide meat mixture among tortillas. Roll up the tortillas and place seam side down in a 3 quart greased baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle on cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the enchiladas are hot and bubbly.

The original recipe suggests adding rice to the enchiladas, but my husband said that that would be way too many carbs for him. So if you're carb conscious, omit the rice or serve it on the side. Campbell's Kitchen is a great resource for fast, easy, delicious, family meals... so check it out if you haven't already!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Egg Salad

Egg Salad

4 Hard Boiled Eggs
2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
2 Green Onions, Chopped
Big Spoonful Mayonnaise
Small Spoonful Mustard
Splash of Distilled Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste for flavor. Enjoy on saltine crackers, or on toast with a big piece of leafy lettuce.
When I made egg salad this time, I used Grey Poupon mustard... and it was spectacular. The end.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shopping Spree

Dear Trader Joe's
Where have you been all my life?
Love, BD

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken Pasta

  • 3 Whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
  • 3 Teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
  • 1 Pound Fettuccine
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • ½ Large Red Onion, Sliced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • ½ Cups White Wine
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Cayenne Pepper To Taste
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate. Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat. Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan. With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.

 I went to visit my sister last weekend, and this is what we cooked together! I even bought an iron skillet that day and got to break it in. This dish is suppose to only take 30 minutes to prepare, however I had no experience with a gas stove and thought "lite" setting meant "light" (or low)... and as a result the sauce never reduced and the chicken and veggies didn't brown properly because the stove wasn't quite hot enough. Even so, it turned out great and was even better the next day for leftovers. This recipe makes quite a lot, my sister will be eating pasta all week!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers

M did the one on the right!

Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers
serves 6
adapted from
  • 6 Orange Bell Peppers
  • 1 Pound Hamburger, Browned
  • 1 Package Taco Seasoning
  • 1/2 Onion, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Salsa
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 1 Package Spanish Rice (Make sure to vent before you put it in the microwave!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 baking dish. Brown hamburger and stir in taco seasoning. In a medium bowl mix together hamburger, onion, salsa, cheese, rice, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Wash the peppers and cut jack-o-lantern faces in the peppers using a pairing knife. Slice off the top of the peppers and scoop out the seeds and cores. Stuff lightly with the beef stuffing and place them in the prepared baking dish so they lean up against each other. Bake for 1 hour until the peppers are tender and the stuffing is cooked through and juicy.
These were so fun to make! Excellent Halloween night dinner!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exploding Chicken Tortilla Soup

Exploding Chicken Tortilla Soup

1/2 Medium Size Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Large Cans Chicken
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 (10.5) oz. Can Tomato Soup
1 (10.5) oz. Can Cheese Soup
10.5 oz. Milk
2 Cups Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Chipotle Seasoning and Lime Juice To Taste
1/2 Cups Cooked Rice Per Serving
Shredded Mexican Cheese, Sour Cream and Cilantro For Garnish

Saute onion, and peppers in olive oil on medium-high until soft. Add chicken and tomatoes and cook for about a minute. Stir in tomato soup, cheese soup, milk, and chicken stock. Season to taste (start off with 1/2 teaspoon of each seasoning, taste, and adjust). Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low and cover for 20 minutes. To serve fill each bowl with rice and ladle soup over rice. Top with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

Are you curious why is this called 'exploding chicken tortilla soup'? Because when I was nuking the rice I forgot to vent the bag and it exploded all over the microwave... and then I did the exact same thing when I made it for leftovers the next day!
Ever since I made the first version of CTS, I was keeping my eye out for a different recipe with a little somethin-somethin. I'm pretty sure this came to me in a vision because I didn't follow a recipe when I made it, and it was delish!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Black Bean Dip

Black Bean Dip

(1) 15 oz. Can Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
4 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Pimientos, Chopped
1/3 Cup Sliced Green Onions, Plus More for Garnish
1 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend, Divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash beans in a large bowl. Add cream cheese, sour cream, pimientos, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese and green onions. Spread into a lightly greased 8-inch baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with reserved 1/2 cup cheese. Bake and additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with reserved green onions. Serve with crackers and fresh veggies.

I found this recipe because I had 4 ounces of cream cheese leftover from the pumpkin bars. This dip was everything it should be... beany and creamy! The best part of this recipe is that it's a base recipe, you can switch up a few ingredients and end up with something totally different. Click the kraft recipes link above for the variations! Game day appetizer, anyone?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Girl Can Dream....

This dutch oven is at the top of my wish list. It's so beautiful. So functinal. So... expensive :( Le Creuset is top of the line cooking equipment. Sigh. Maybe someday!

Susan's Pumpkin Bars

Susan's Pumpkin Bars
from the kitchen of Aunt Susan

2 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Pumpkin
1 Cup Oil
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Mix by hand- don't use a mixer! Stir in flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Then add vanilla, pumpkin, oil, and cinnamon. Pour batter in a greased (or sprayed) 11x17 pan and bake 20-30 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting when bars are cool.

4 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Teaspoon Cream or Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Plus More if Needed

Combine with an electric mixer. Lick all utensils and bowl clean.

Well, I hope you have pumpkin saved up from when I first warned you about the shortage! These are AmAzInG! I ended up baking mine 40 or 45 minutes. I think it was because I used a different pan size than the recommended 11x17. When I checked it after it had been in the oven for 30 minutes, I saw that the edges and top was getting done a lot faster than the middle, so I turned the temp down to 300 and checked it every 5 minutes after that. The bars turned out more like a cake, but that's fine with me! Perfect for a fall afternoon with a cup of coffee. Thanks Susan!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches with Melted Provolone

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches with Melted Provolone

makes 4 sandwiches

(1) 10.5 oz. Can Campbell's French Onion Soup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 Pounds Thinly Sliced Deli Roast Beef
4 Hoagie Rolls
4 Slices Provolone Cheese, Cut in Half
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the soup and Worcestershire in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.  Add the beef and heat through, stirring occasionally.  Divide the beef evenly among the rolls.  Top the beef with cheese and place the sandwiches on a baking sheet.  Bake for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.  Spoon extra soup mixture onto the sandwiches.  Serve immediately.

It is now September, 2011 and I was looking back at old posts and I noticed that half of this post was mysteriously missing... hmm... Well, I don't remember what I wrote about this recipe but I do remember that it was good!
This meal takes like no time to prepare and it's so good! It's French dip, fast! The only thing I would do differently is smaller rolls, the servings are a little to big for me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roasted Cajun Chickpeas

Roasted Cajun Chickpeas
serves 2 as a snack

1 Can Garbanzo Beans
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Cajun Seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse beans under water. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the rinsed beans on the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on the beans and toss with your hands. Make sure they are spread out and bake for 30-40 minutes. Season with salt and Cajun seasoning to taste.

I'm all for snacks that taste good AND you can feel good about it.... this is beans for goodness sakes! And versatile beans, none the less. You can use any seasoning you fancy, even sweet seasoning! I did another batch with Ranch seasoning, but I think I prefer the Cajun. I dusted a little grated Parmesan on the Cajun batch and that was even better!

New Measuring spoons!

Perfect for getting into spice jars. I'm excited to use them! Here's where I got them on amazon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce
serves 8
adapted from

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Whole medium onion, chopped
5 Cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. Italian sausage
1/2 cup Red wine
(1)28 oz + (1)15 oz can Crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz. Jumbo shell pasta
30 oz. Ricotta cheese
8 oz. Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg
3 tablespoons Dried basil, divided
4 tablespoons Chopped fresh parsley, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and cook for one to two minutes. Pour in cans of tomatoes and stir. Add sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons dried basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 30-45 minutes. While sauce is cooking, cook pasta shells in a separate pot for half of the suggested cooking time on box. Drain and rinse in cook water. Set aside. Still while sauce is cooking, prepare shell filling. In a separate bowl, mix ricotta cheese, mozzarella, half the Parmesan, the egg, 1 tablespoon dried basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined. To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down in the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with leftover wine.

I conquered my fear of cooking with wine! And it was definitely worth it. The wine gave the sauce a very distinct flavor. This meal was so good. It does take a lot of ingredients and time, but it's so easy! I figure you can take a huge shortcut and use bottled tomato sauce if needed, but if you have the time, go for the gold!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Egg Week: Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

In a skillet over medium - low heat melt butter. In a separate bowl beat 3 eggs and 3 tablespoons milk or water. When butter is melted, pour eggs into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Use the back of a wooden spoon to scrape along the bottom of the skillet when the eggs are partially cooked on the bottom. Continue to scrape the spoon on the skillet every few minutes till eggs a done.

I learn a lot from watching food network, and one thing that I did learn was scrambled eggs need to be cooked low and slow... who knew? Also, if you are going to serve your eggs with fresh herbs, I suggest chives, not parsley like I did.

Egg Week: Breakfast Skillet

Breakfast Skillet

4 tablespoons Olive oil
Half of an onion, diced finely
1 Green bell pepper, diced finely
Half a bag of hash browns
4 eggs

Saute the onion and green pepper in the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until the onions and green peppers are soft. Add hash browns and cook according to package directions. The last few minutes of cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl (one at a time) and drop on the hash browns. Serve immediately.

This recipe is very versatile. You could easily add different vegetables or sausage, whatever you have on hand. It's breakfast in a skillet!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Egg Week: Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs

1 slice of toast
1 egg
splash of distilled vinegar
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water with a splash of vinegar to almost a boil. Crack an egg into a small bowl. With one hand, use a spoon to create a whirlpool in the simmering water and with the other hand drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. This helps to keep the egg together. Cook for a few minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with toast and salt and pepper. For best results, use fresh eggs, like chickens in your yard fresh. Again, not sure why that is?

Die yoke, die!

Poached eggs are new to my life. Had I known what I was missing.... you don't even want to know. Fun fact: no fat required in this cooking method! Unless, of course, you want to butter up your toast. I won't judge.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Egg Week: Popovers

makes 6 popovers
from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray the cups of a popover pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/2 teaspoon of the melted butter into each cup. In a bowl, wish together the eggs and milk, then whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. In a large bowl, wish together flour and salt, then whisk in the egg mixture. Whisk vigorously until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide the batter among the prepared cups and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve immediately with butter and a big bowl of soup.

Surprise! I bet you didn't expect popovers during egg week, but if you've ever had one you would know that they have a very egg-y flavor. Popovers are another one of my childhood favorites!

Egg Week: Egg in the Frame

Egg in the Frame

1 slice of bread
1 egg
salt and pepper

With a round cookie cutter or an inverted drinking glass, cut a hole in the center of the bread. Toast the circle to eat later. Butter both sides of the bread and cook over medium heat in a pan. Drop a little more butter in the hole and crack the egg into the center; season with salt and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side.

I use to eat this all of the time as a kid. Classic breakfast-for-dinner. I'm a runny yoke kind of person, but if that's not your style feel free to break up your yoke... and that's no joke!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Egg Week: Spinach Salad Featuring Hard Boiled Eggs

Spinach Salad Featuring Hard Boiled Eggs
inspired from

Half bag of baby spinach
Half red onion, sliced thinly
Half a cucumber, sliced thinly
3 Hard boiled eggs, sliced thinly

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons distilled vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Start preparing the hard boiled eggs. While the eggs are cooking, mix all dressing ingredients, set aside. In a large bowl, combine spinach, baco's, red onion, and cucumber. When eggs are done, slice thinly and top salad with eggs. Dress the salad, the serve immediately.

This salad is so tangy, I just love it! The egg balances out the onion and the dressing so wonderfully. Salad bliss.