Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Re-Make Recap

Time for another Re-Make Recap. I can't believe another month has come to an end. I'm really loving these recaps. They've forced me to revisit old favorites, which makes SP very happy. While he generally likes whatever I make, he's always asking me to remake certain dishes.

This spicy pork and asparagus stir fry is something I prefer to make only when asparagus is in season, which means I forget about it for the rest of the year. Thankfully my friend Melissa reminded me about its fabulousness.

When I make sandwiches I tend to have two side dishes in mind - oven fries or this antipasti pasta salad. Simple to throw together and always delicious with bright, fresh flavors. It's so easy since there's no cooking aside from the pasta. This makes a ton so we always end up enjoying it for a few days.

Chicken Tostada 2

These chicken tostadas with avocado salsa are one of my favorite Mexican dishes right now. I can't get enough of the avocado salsa and the combination of flavors is perfect.


I've been on a sandwich kick lately and these ham and Swiss sandwiches were the perfect way to use up some leftover Easter ham.

I think these Hawaiian chicken sandwiches are my all-time favorite chicken sandwich. Which is saying a lot. I love everything about them and could probably eat them once a week.

broccoli pasta

This broccoli pesto pasta was such a hit the first time I made it I knew I wanted to make it again soon. I love that Baby Girl asks for seconds when I make it. This time I left some of the broccoli whole and I preferred it that way.

club salad2

Aside from sandwiches I'm also on a salad kick. We all enjoyed this California club blue cheese chopped salad, even Baby Girl which impressed me. It was her first time eating salad. Proud mama moment right there.
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Hot Ham or Roast Beef Sandwiches

I'm on a sandwich kick lately. I can't get enough of them and the possibilities are endless. The Pioneer Woman recently posted these Hot Ham or Roast Beef Sandwiches as yet another version of the ham and Swiss sliders that have been making the rounds lately. SP loves roast beef so I figured I'd make a combo of ham and roast beef sandwiches for dinner.


While SP enjoys the Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders, he doesn't really like the sticky, sweet glaze (which happens to be my favorite part). He was a big fan of these because they were individually wrapped, which does make them easier to heat and allows you to make only as many as you need, and the fact that the glaze was turned into a spread that goes on the inside of the sandwich. I made 9 sandwiches plus a mini one for Baby Girl using a leftover slider roll. We ate five for dinner and lunches the next day and the rest went in the freezer for another time.

I forgot to take a photo when we originally had these for dinner and since then I've taken to defrosting a ham sandwich and adding one egg, usually scrambled sometimes fried, for a quick breakfast sandwich that's incredibly delicious (see photo). The mustard-mayo is a great compliment to the egg. I've got some leftover Easter ham in the freezer that I'm planning to use to make more of these.

Hot Roast Beef/Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
As seen on The Pioneer Woman

12 dinner rolls or small sandwich buns
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 pound thinly shaved roast beef or ham (or both)
1 pound cheese (provolone, Swiss, mozzarella, cheez whiz)

Slice rolls in half. Mix together mayo, onion powder, poppy seeds, mustard, horseradish, and Worcestershire. Taste and adjust to your personal preference.

To assemble, spread mayo on top and bottom buns. Layer on roast beef or ham, then one or two slices of cheese. Wrap each sandwich in a foil square, and either keep in the fridge, freeze or bake right away.

To bake the sandwiches, put them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The buns should be slightly crusty and the cheese should be melted.
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Recipe Swap: Avocado and Cucumber Tartine

It's always fun to receive a new blog for the Blogger's Choice swaps. Obviously I'm familiar with Caroline's blog, The Barbee Housewife, since she's a member of my cooking board, but I haven't had a chance to really look through her blog. Since Caroline is relatively new to blogging I actually went through her entire blog to check out what she's made. I had a really hard time picking something to make - I actually made something for breakfast after seeing it on her blog, post to come soon - but in the end I needed something easy for lunch one day and this Avocado and Cucumber Tartine looked like it would fit the bill.


I bought a Portuguese roll from my supermarket the same day I made this for lunch, which I highly recommend. There's nothing like fresh-baked bread on a simple sandwich like this. Mincing the cucumber and mashing the avocado took about as long as my toaster oven took to toast the bread, which makes this a super fast lunch.


Holy yum, this is one amazing sandwich. Like cancel your lunch plans, go to the supermarket to purchase the ingredients and whip one up today amazing. You can't go wrong in my book when avocado is involved, but add a crispy baguette and tangy cucumber salad and you've got perfection on a plate. The creaminess of the avocado blended nicely with the tang from the rice vinegar and the nuttiness of the toasted sesame oil.

I'm already contemplating when I can make this sandwich again. So, so good. Thanks for sharing this one, Caroline!

Avocado and Cucumber Tartine
As seen on The Barbee Housewife, from Smitten Kitchen

1 6-inch baguette
1/2 cup cucumber, seeds removed, minced
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Salt and pepper
1 avocado, halved, pit removed
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Cut bread in half lengthwise and toast.

While the bread is toasting, combine the cucumbers, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and salt in a small bowl. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. Mash the avocado in a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Once the bread is toasted, spread the mashed avocado on each baguette half. Top with the cucumber salad, making sure to drizzle the liquid on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Overnight Ham and Cheese Breakfast Enchiladas

My mom warned me there would be a lot of leftover Easter ham this year so I figured I'd better have a game plan in place. As luck would have it, this recipe for Overnight Ham and Cheese Breakfast Enchiladas showed up in my blog reader right before the holiday. I love make-ahead casseroles and this was intriguing because it involved tortillas instead of bread.


I was worried the egg mixture would turn the tortillas into mush like a typical strata but I needn't have worried. This was so easy to prep since there's no cooking involved, just chopping/grating.


Since I was serving this for dinner I assembled it in the morning and then baked it off that night. Delicious, filling and a great way to use up some of the leftover ham. I'll definitely be making this one again.

Overnight Ham and Cheese Breakfast Enchiladas
As seen on The Girl Who Ate Everything

2 cups cubed and cooked ham
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
8 flour tortillas (6-8 inches)
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
4 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
salsa, sour cream, diced avocado and additional green onions for serving

In a medium bowl stir together ham, green onions and 2 cups of cheese (save the remaining 1/2 cup for later).

Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to scoop out cheese mixture onto a tortilla. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down in the baking dish. Roll up all tortillas and place them into the baking dish with the sides touching.
Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, salt, and flour. Pour over tortillas. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350ยบ. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over enchiladas. Bake for 10 more minutes or until tops are golden brown and the egg mixture is set.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, avocado and additional green onions.
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Graceland Eggplant Sandwiches

Last year we did a sandwich swap on my cooking board and my friend Lishie submitted her Graceland Eggplant Sandwiches, which my other friend Heather was lucky enough to make. I've had my eye on them for a long time, even adapting them with tomato sauce instead of the roasted red pepper, but I really wanted to make the original version.


These were so delicious, although SP told me he prefers them with the tomato sauce. Even Baby Girl ate a few bites of her sandwich and told me eggplant is yummy (she was much more interested in the antipasti pasta salad I served alongside - what can I say, the kid loves her carbs).

My lunch the next day was equally delicious but instead of the oil and vinegar I mixed some vinegar with mayo and spread it on the top and bottom bun. I need to remember to do that more often, it's easier than trying to get the right amount of oil and vinegar out of the bottles, as you can see from the photo my vinegar didn't cooperate.

Graceland Eggplant Sandwich
As seen on Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks, adapted from DeLish Lishie

1 medium eggplant
1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 sub rolls
1 jar roasted red pepper
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cut the ends off of the eggplant and then peel it. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into thin slices. Place in a colander set inside a bowl. Salt the eggplant slices. Allow to sit for at least an hour. Blot off any moisture on the eggplant.

Whisk together the egg and the milk in a shallow dish. In a second shallow dish combine the breadcrumbs, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice the sub rolls in half and place on a baking sheet.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and then coat with the breadcrumbs. Place 3 or 4 slices in the skillet and heat for 2-3 minutes per side or until it is golden brown. Remove from skillet and place on a sub roll. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and eggplant slices.

Top eggplant with roasted red pepper, mozzarella slices, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Splash a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the sub roll and place in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is just melting. Serve hot with extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Grilled Chicken Caesar Flatbreads

You all know how much I love my friend Cassie's blog. She and I have a very similar cooking style and I know I can always rely on her for easy weeknight meals. I was making my meal plan recently and struggling to find a sandwich so I went to her blog and clicked on the sandwich tag. Voila! Up popped these Grilled Chicken Caesar Flatbreads. Chicken + Caesar dressing + flatbreads = deliciousness.


These really could not be simpler and the flavors are great. You're basically topping a flatbread with chicken Caesar salad. I got to use my new grill pan, although I need to remember that it's easier to slice chicken in half lengthwise when grilling so you aren't standing there waiting (im)patiently for the chicken to cook.


Baby Girl continues to amaze me with what she eats - she cleaned her plate (she had one quarter of a flatbread topped with the chicken and salad). I can't wait to make this one again.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Flatbreads
As seen on Cassie Craves

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup Caesar dressing, plus more for the salad
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Chopped romaine lettuce
Parmesan cheese
6 flatbreads

Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Combine dressing, lemon juice, and Worcestershire in a plastic food storage bag. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and grill chicken until cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and allow to rest, then slice. Butter both sides of the flatbreads and add to the grill/grill pan, turning occasionally until each side until marked and slightly crispy.

Combine romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, and Parmesan cheese. Add some of the salad mixture to each flatbread. Top with sliced chicken and more grated cheese. Serve immediately.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cannoli Cheesecake

I've had my eye on Melissa's Cannoli Cheesecake since she first posted it. I love, love, love cannoli and there's a place near my house that makes such awesome cannoli I end up taking one home since I'm always too full after dinner to eat it there. When my mom and I were figuring out the Easter menu I jumped at the chance to make this cheesecake.


I opted to leave out the orange zest to stay true to my favorite cannoli and took Melissa's advice about just coating the bottom of the pan with the cookie crumbs. You all know I'm not really a baker (I don't own a springform pan so SP had to drive to my mom's one night to borrow one of hers), but this was simple to make. Of course Baby Girl helped and loved sampling the batter before the eggs were added. She also enjoyed the mini chips.


We all enjoyed this - it tastes just like the cannoli filling I know and love, although I think I overcooked it slightly. The center was perfect but the closer I got to the edge of my slice the firmer it became. Something to remember next time.

Cannoli Cheesecake
As seen on I Was Born to Cook

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3 tablespoons sugar
7 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons AP flour
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Position oven rack to middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

Stir cookie crumbs and 3 tablespoons sugar together in a bowl, then mix in melted butter until crumbs get slightly clumpy. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly along the bottom. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly brown. Let cool on a rack. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Put paddle attachment on stand mixer. Mix cream cheese, ricotta, flour and salt on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure cheese has no lumps. Add sugar and beat until well blended and smooth.

Add chocolate chips and vanilla. Beat until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, also beating until just blended. Do not overbeat. Pour filling into cooled crust and smooth top.

Bake for about 55-65 minutes. The sides will be puffy and the center will look soft and jiggle. Set on rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

Unclasp and remove side of pan and run a long, thin spatula under the crust. Slide onto flat serving plate carefully (or leave it on the bottom of the springform pan). Garnish with confectioners’ sugar. Dip knife in warm water before cutting each slice, wiping in between cuts.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Linguine with Alfredo, Asparagus, Peas and Poached Egg

I love this time of year. Now that the weather is getting warmer I'm gearing up for the influx of fresh fruits and veggies, especially asparagus. I absolutely love asparagus and while we do buy them throughout the year they're always best (and cheapest) in season, of course.

Springtime pasta

Paula recently posted this gorgeous Spring Linguine with Alfredo, Poached Egg and Asparagus. Adding poached eggs to a pasta dish is pure genius, especially pasta that involves asparagus - because we all know eggs and asparagus are a match made in heaven.

spring linguine

I was worried my bunch of asparagus wouldn't stretch to a full pound of pasta so I added in another springtime favorite - peas. Asparagus and peas also go well together and they were a great addition to the dish.

spring linguine3

I was skeptical of poaching the eggs in advance and reheating them, worried the yolk would overcook, but I was proved wrong. What a great idea, especially for brunch parties. Being able to make a bunch of poached eggs in advance and then reheat right before serving is brilliant. This is a delicious spring dish I can't wait to remake during asparagus season.

Linguine with Alfredo, Asparagus, Peas and Poached Egg
Slightly modified from The Saucy Southerner

1lb linguine or spaghetti
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups half & half
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (this is about an ounce)
4 large eggs, poached to desired doneness

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. In the last two minutes add the asparagus to the pasta water to cook. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add pasta back to the pot and stir in the peas.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a pot, then add the cream, salt and pepper. Allow to thicken slightly, then turn off the heat and add the Parmesan cheese. Add the sauce to the pasta and vegetables and toss to coat. Thin with some of the pasta cooking water, if necessary.

Remove the pasta to plates, creating a nest in the center for the eggs. Reheat poached eggs for 15 seconds in hot (but not boiling) water and remove with a slotted spoon to the top of the pasta. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Recipe Swap: Chicken Suiza Pockets

Chicken was the theme for the latest recipe swap. It's such a versatile meat but like most people I get into a rut making the same chicken dishes over and over again. I was excited when I was assigned these Chicken Suiza Pockets from Jenna. We love Mexican food and these seemed simple yet different from anything I've made before.


I didn't read the recipe ahead of time so I didn't realize it called for mixing the chicken and other ingredients in a stand mixer to shred the chicken. While I really want to try this tip, I didn't feel like dragging my stand mixer out of the garage when I could just shred the chicken by hand and mix it with the other ingredients.

I ended up cooking the chicken and mixing up the filling a few days before I made this recipe due to a change in dinner plans. The next day I needed a quick lunch so I snagged some of the filling and made a quesadilla. It was good so I was really looking forward to dinner the next night.

Unfortunately I had some issues getting my crescent rolls to stick together. The perforated lines didn't want to cooperate and I only managed to get three pockets made, which was fine because that fed us all for dinner. Baby Girl was a big fan, eating half a pocket in addition to the salad I served on the side. These were good and I liked the concept but I think a different rolled dough would make it easier.

Chicken Suiza Pockets
As seen on Jenna’s Cooking Journey, originally from Cassie Craves

2 small chicken breasts
1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles)
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup salsa verde
1 tablespoons honey
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese
2 packages crescent rolls
Cilantro, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375.

Put chicken breasts and Rotel in a glass baking dish and bake until the chicken is done, about 35 minutes.

Place the chicken breasts, 3 tablespoons of the Rotel and all the other ingredients except the crescent rolls and the cilantro into a standing mixer. Turn on low and mix until all the ingredients are combined (this will shred your chicken and combine all the ingredients). Alternatively, you can shred the chicken and mix with the other ingredients in a large bowl.

Divide each pack of crescent rolls into 4 rectangles by sealing together two triangles of dough. Divide the filling evenly among the 8 rectangles. Seal by pinching the dough up and into the middle. Bake 20 minutes.

Top with cilantro, if desired.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Peas

I mentioned that I made two recipes from Katie's blog for the recent Blogger's Choice swap. This is the second, a version of the Panera mac and cheese I've made countless times - Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Peas. I think Katie is brilliant for adding bacon and peas to this recipe, two things my whole family loves and I always have on hand. This was the perfect recipe to make one weeknight when my planned meal went awry due to woody, thick, overpriced asparagus at the supermarket.


Once again Baby Girl impressed me with her eating, asking for multiple pieces of cooked bacon and snacking on frozen peas. Bacon was something she's tried before and kept claiming she didn't like. I guess she finally changed her mind. The frozen pea thing perplexes me - the kid loves eating things straight from the freezer.


I haven't been able to find pipette pasta in the store before (that's the shape Panera uses) but I was at a different grocery store recently, saw it in the pasta aisle and grabbed a box to keep on hand. I was so excited to finally use it. It holds the sauce so well and the opening was the perfect size for the peas to hide.


This is a fantastic version of one my favorite stovetop macaroni and cheese with the added bonus of a veggie built right in. And everything is better with bacon.

Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Peas
As seen on So Tasty, So Yummy

1 pound small pasta (shells, elbows, pipette)
4 slices bacon
1/3 cup flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
4 ounces white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces
8 ounces extra sharp white Vermont cheddar, chopped or torn into pieces
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well. Return to the pot.

While the pasta cooks, cook the bacon in a medium-size pot. Drain the bacon on paper towels and crumble. Leave four tablespoons of the bacon grease in the pot and whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.

Remove pan from the heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce. Stir peas and bacon into the pot with the pasta, then add the cheese sauce. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce. Serve immediately.
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Monday, April 08, 2013

California Club Blue Cheese Chopped Salad

Lately I've been craving salad, not a simple side salad with a few veggies but a hearty dinner salad. I've been wanting to make a chopped salad where all the ingredients are cut to uniform size and this California Club Blue Cheese Chopped Salad sounded perfect.

club salad2

What a great salad. The dressing is so simple but deliciously tangy and I loved the combination of ingredients. I knew SP wouldn't be satisfied with just the veggies and beans so I bulked it up with a roasted chicken breast and frozen corn, my new favorite salad addition. I love the pop of the kernels when I bite into them.

club salad

Baby Girl helped me cut up all the ingredients and ended up snacking on everything. I was worried about her spoiling her dinner but how do you say no when your child wants to eat veggies (answer - you don't). I was anxious to see if she would eat the salad once it was assembled and dressed and get this, she did! I gave her a big girl bowl (read: a ceramic bowl rather than her plastic ones) and she chowed down. I was so proud.

California Club Blue Cheese Chop Salad
Modified from Lauren's Latest

2 large romaine hearts, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 chicken breast, roasted* and cubed
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/2 cup rinsed and drained black beans
1 cup frozen corn

2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 large lemon, about 3 tablespoons
2/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt & pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients for salad together and set aside.

For dressing, whisk all ingredients together and toss with salad. Serve immediately.

*Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread a piece of aluminum foil across a baking sheet, and arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the aluminum foil over the chicken breasts, and enclose them to form a "packet." Bake the chicken (on the baking sheet) 35-45 minutes, or until it is cooked through.

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Friday, April 05, 2013

The Ultimate Stuffed Potato

The other day I caught an episode of Tyler's Ultimate and he was making The Ultimate Stuffed Potato, basically a baked potato topped with a cheese sauce mixed with bacon and broccoli. I was practically drooling watching him assemble these potatoes (which were a side dish to a steak dinner, if you can believe it). I figured the potato alone was filling enough for dinner.

stuffed potato

I made some modifications to the cheese sauce after seeing that it called for 1/2 stick of butter and only 1/2 cup of milk. I dropped the butter and flour to 2 tablespoons each and upped the milk to 1 cup to make a thinner sauce. I had to add a few splashes of milk to thin it when we were ready to eat since I made it ahead of time, so use your judgement. I also ended up mixing together the ends of a few different cheeses because I only had about 1 ounce of cheddar left in the fridge. American and a little Pecorino mixed in well and the resulting sauce was drinkably good.

I loved these potatoes and, once again, Baby Girl was stealing pieces of broccoli, bacon and cheese as we were cooking dinner. I baked her a tiny potato and she was a big fan. These are so, so good.

The Ultimate Stuffed Potato
Tyler Florence

4 large Idaho potatoes, scrubbed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
About 1-2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
2 broccoli crowns cut into florets, blanched in salty water
1/2 pound bacon, medium dice, cooked until crisp
2 tablespoons chives, chopped (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place potatoes onto a baking sheet. Pierce with a fork, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Place into preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour.

Melt the butter over medium heat and then whisking in the flour. Cook for 1 minute then add the milk. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then off heat fold in the cheese and stir until melted. Once melted, add the cooked broccoli and bacon. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the potatoes are done make a cut across the top and squeeze it from the bottom so a small pouch opens up and the bottom is squared off. Spoon the filling over the top of the potato and season with pepper, to taste.
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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Herb Buttered Potatoes

You know what I hate - waiting to make a recipe because you have a preconceived notion of how it's going to taste (not good) only to find out you were 100% wrong. And then you kick yourself for not making it sooner and lament all those wasted meal opportunities. That's how I've felt about the meal most people associate with St. Patrick's Day - corned beef and cabbage. I love corned beef, I love cabbage, so why did I think the meal was going to be bland, boring and tasteless?

SP has hinted that he'd like corned beef and cabbage on March 17 for years, but I always balked at it. This year I finally decided to make him happy and asked for recommendations on my cooking board. This Sandra Lee recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage with Herb Buttered Potatoes came highly recommended and sounded great.

corned beef

The only real change I made was to the cooking method. I've mentioned before that my slow-cooker and I don't get along, so I opted to make this in my trusty Dutch oven. I cooked it low and slow for 5 hours and when it came time to slice the meat was practically falling apart (in a good way). I snuck a taste off the cutting board for quality control and was floored by the amazing flavor.

Baby Girl asked for a taste of the raw cabbage and enjoyed it, so I was hopeful for the finished product. Result - she loved all of it, the corned beef, the cabbage, the potatoes and the carrots. My only complaint was the small size of the corned beef meant we had just enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch. Next time I'll buy double the size so we have enough for sandwiches.

The meat and vegetables were tender, the cabbage was flavorful and the whole thing (even the buttered potatoes) took next to no effort. I'll definitely be making this again next year - I'm a corned beef and cabbage convert for sure.

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Herb Buttered Potatoes
Slightly modified from Sandra Lee

Corned Beef:
3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet (larger if you want more leftovers)
4 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small head green cabbage, cored, roughly chopped
2 cups apple juice
1 cup water

2 pounds baby red potatoes, sliced in 1/2
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Put the carrots and onions on the bottom of a large Dutch oven, then put the corned beef on top. Arrange the chopped cabbage around the beef. Add the apple juice and water along with the contents of the spice packet. Cover and place in the oven. Cook 5 hours until the beef is tender. Remove the beef and vegetables to a platter and keep warm.

Add potatoes to a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and return them to the pot. Add the butter, garlic, parsley, and salt, and pepper, to taste. Gently combine so that all the potatoes are evenly coated. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with corn beef and vegetables.

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Monday, April 01, 2013

March Re-Make Recap

Two of my favorite bloggers, Cassie from Cassie Craves and Stephanie from Stephanie Cooks, have started doing a recap at the end of the month of dishes from their blogs that they've remade that month. What a great idea - incentive for me to look back through my blog and remake some favorite recipes.

I can't remember why I got it into my head that I needed to make biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast one weekend but I did and it was glorious. I love this recipe because of the addition of maple syrup - it brings the flavor over the top with just a little sweetness that's counterbalanced by the hot sauce. If only it wasn't so unhealthy I'd eat it more often.

Baked Chicken Burrito

These baked chicken burritos with sour cream poblano sauce are, hands down, my favorite burrito recipe. My favorite part is the sour cream poblano sauce, although the filling is also delicious. This time I made Baby Girl a little mini burrito by cutting a smaller circle out of the large tortilla. She was a big fan.

Oyster tofu

Oyster sauce tofu with bok choy is one of my favorite tofu recipes. The sauce is silky and rich and the flavors all come together beautifully. Plus it's chock-full of veggies. And the best part - Baby Girl really surprised me while we were preparing this for dinner. She's a good eater but lately she's been asking me if she can taste things when she's helping me cook, instead of me telling her she needs to try things. She sampled the raw mushrooms (I had to sub cremini for the shitake because our supermarket was out of the latter), the raw baby bok choy and the kid loves raw tofu for some bizarre reason. Then she cleaned her plate with no fuss.

Philly cheesesteak sloppy joes are, by far, the most popular recipe on my blog (thank you, Pinterest). It's been a long time since we had them so after two different blogger friends made and posted about them I figured it was time to make them again.

And every month until May when the weather gets too hot to turn my oven to 550 degrees we have homemade pizza with various toppings.

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