Archive for April, 2010

April 24, 2010

BLT (and then some) Salad

A Friday night dinner after my daughter’s dance. I love BLTs so I thought it would make a great salad, but I had to add avocado and blue cheese because those go so well with tomatoes and bacon!

Iceberg lettuce (I used red leaf in the photo but iceberg is good BLT lettuce)
4 slices chopped cooked bacon
1/2 cup left over roasted chicken
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2c. chopped tomatoes
pine nuts
homemade croutons
sea salt
1c. Ranch dressing (your favorite or homemade)
1 green onion finely chopped
1/4c. blue cheese

Up close

Mix dressing, green onion and blue cheese.

Arrange lettuce on plate. Top with chicken, tomatoes, avocado, pine nuts, and bacon.

Top with dressing and a little coarse sea salt and croutons.

April 24, 2010

Homemade Croutons

Croutons

When I buy bread for garlic bread I never seem to be able to use it up as fast as it starts getting hard so now I turn that bread into something! Croutons. We can always use croutons for our salads and now I don’t have to waste bread or buy croutons!

The rest of a loaf of bread going stale
olive oil
salt
1t. garlic powder (or use garlic infused olive oil)
I have also used the Johnny’s Garlic Spread seasoning and it came out really good.

Tear or cut the bread into cubes. Let it get dry out over night (or you can skip this step and it will take a little longer to toast the bread).

Drizzle oil over croutons and toss. Add your seasoning or salt and garlic powder and toss again.

Toast the croutons until they brown – 5 minutes or so. turn and toast the other side for another 5 minutes or so. Or until the croutons are to your toastiness!

April 21, 2010

Salmon Spinach Salad

Okay I started this post and realized almost all the ingredients I used were left overs from two separate dinners! Well I’ll publish this post this with a bunch of “mini” recipes. Next time I’ll make a lemony garlicky vinaigrette.

Pesto Salmon
      1 piece of salmon
      spread homemade basil pesto and broil for 15 minutes

Roasted Asparagus and Potatoes
    (Dice potatoes into small pieces and trim asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper) lay on a foil covered baking sheet and put in oven with salmon, cook until done – 15 min.

Basil pesto
1 cup basil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
Chop basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a processor or blender until finely chopped. Add oil in a slow stream with processor running. Stir in parmesan.

Salad
Salmon
basil pesto
1/2 cup white beans
1/2 cup roasted asparagus
1/2 cup roasted potatoes
1 cup spinach, washed

Arrange spinach on plate. Top with potatoes, asparagus, white beans. Top with 1 T pesto and Salmon. (Add vinaigrette if you choose).

April 10, 2010

Zucchini and White Bean Soup

UPDATE: I put the rest of this soup in the blender and puree’d it and it was so much better!

After my casino food lunch with my friend I was feeling really yuck so I wanted some wholesome food. I made this soup and a salad and then sat down to watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and felt much better about my “real” food dinner!

This is a nice light flavored soup and I served it with a Wedge salad. I left this soup chunky but it would be really good as a puree too, topped with a toasted baguette slice for dipping.

White Bean and Zucchini Soup

1 T. each olive oil and butter
2 zucchinis, diced
1/2 white onion
2 cloves garlic
1 – 14oz can white beans, well drained
1 sprig thyme
2 sage leaves whole
2 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 slices crispy chopped bacon
1 T. butter

Dice the onion and zucchini, and mince the garlic. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse.

Heat oil and butter in soup pot on medium-low. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the fragrant. Add the zucchini and continue to cook until zucchini is soft (keeping the heat on low won’t burn your onion or garlic but will cook the onion and zucchini through).

Next add the chicken or vegetable broth, sage leaves, and thyme sprig. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beans and heavy cream and bring back to a simmer and heat the soup through. Remove sage leaves and thyme sprig. Add pat of butter and stir until melted.

Serve in bowl and top with chopped bacon pieces.

April 10, 2010

Wedge Salad

This salad is just so good whenever I see it on a menu I have a hard time NOT ordering it. You definitely need a knife and fork!

Wedge Salad

1/4 of a head of iceberg lettuce (a wedge)
3 slices bacon, chopped
blue cheese
pine nuts
1 small roma tomato, de-seeded, diced (or sundried tomato strips)
Croutons
kosher salt and pepper
Ranch or blue cheese dressing

Cut a wedge out of a head of iceburg lettuce and don’t separate the leaves.

Top with the rest of the ingredients and drizzle with ranch dressing. Serve with a knife.

Easy as that!

April 10, 2010

Spicy Pastrami

I am not a big fan of just plain sanwiches, they are sometimes a little boring to me. But Paninis are a whole other story! They are my favorite of all sandwiches, gooey cheese, warm toasty bread and warm inside. I’m playing around a bit with some combinations – part of creating “the Menu.” Here is a really good one.

Spicy Pastrami Panini

 I made this sandwich with the 12-grain bread I had, but I’m going to make a batch of ciabatta and try it with that bread (you could also buy some ciabatta)

2 slices bread (preferrable artisan type – ciabatta or foccacia)
generous portion of thin sliced pastrami
handful of sliced pepperocinis
handful of sliced roasted red peppers*
2 slices of cheddar cheese
2T. Sundried tomato spread (see recipe below)

Take one slice of bread and place the cheese, pastrami and the peppers.

Now to make the Tomato Spread!

The grocery store near me has an olive bar which consists of really good sundried tomatoes in oil (the ones in oil are soft and easier to use than in a dry package). Or you could take 3-4 roma tomatoes, slice them in half and roast them in your oven @ 450 for 30 minutes or until they are shriveled a bit.

Mix half a stick of cream cheese (4 oz.) and enough sundried tomatoes to equal about 3-4 small roma tomatoes.

spread should look like this

Now place the spread on the remaining slice of bread and place it on top of the pastrami side. Now I don’t have a fancy panini grill but if you do, heat it up. Instead I use the small George Foreman grill I have and it comes out just the same. You could also cook the panini in a skillet or cast iron skillet and use a brick wrapped in foil to place on top of your sandwich, part way through flip the sandwich so both sides are toasty and everything is melty. Notice I don’t use oil or butter but you can if you’d like.

And now you can dig in!!!

*I like to roast peppers slice them and put them in the fridge for a week or freezer if I won’t use them right away, this way I always have fresh roasted peppers.

April 8, 2010

Strawberry, Fluff and PB Sandwiches

Fluff!

Your kids will love this sandwich! I never knew of any use for fluff other than in a fudge recipe I love. Then I saw Kate (Jon and Kate Plus 8 – back when that show was good) making it for her kids and thought gross. Then I found a recipe for homemade fluff and thought – ok I’ll try it. It seems I have seen a lot about the Fluff sandwich since then. I believe it originated in Pennsylvania – my home state! Lots of things come from PA I’m finding!

FLUFF
3 large egg whites
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

NOTE: The fluff expands a lot, use at least a 5-quart (or larger) mixing bowl.

In large mixer bowl, use a whisk attachment to combine egg whites, corn syrup, and salt. Beat for 10 minutes until thick. (After only a minute or so, the fluff turns white and gooey)

Add powdered sugar at a low speed to thoroughly incorporate. Add vanilla extract and beat until well blended.

Store the fluff in a glass jar for easy access a ziploc gets all sticky and messy on your hands. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to a month. The fluff is very easy to use right out of the freezer, actually I think it may be easier to use frozen. Since this is not very healthy and we don’t use it very fast, freezing it allows me to store it longer.

SANDWICH TIME!
Two slices of whole grain bread
3 large strawberries thinly sliced
Peanut butter

April 6, 2010

Easter Breakfast – The Quiche

Quiche is a great dish. An all in one dish packed with protien and veggies (if you choose) and it is so versatile it can be eaten on a napkin with your hand, on a plate at a fancy table, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Always a hit at parties as well. These are two great ones.

Tomato Basil Quiche

Tomato Basil Quiche

6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 large basil leaves finely chopped
1/2 cup mozzerella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper
1 – pie crust (you can cheat and use ready made or make your own)
(You could also go crust free – still YUM!)

Heat oven to 375.
Whisk eggs, milk and cream until well incorporated.
Stir in salt, pepper, cheeses, tomatoes and basil.
Line pie pan with crust and crimp the edges. Pour the quiche into the crust.
Cook for 45-50 minutes until puffy and filling is set (does not jiggle).

Lorraine Quiche

Lorraine

6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
8 slices of cooked bacon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup spinach, torn
2 sliced green onions
1 – pie crust (you can cheat and use ready made or make your own)
(You could also go crust free – still YUM!)

Heat oven to 375.
Whisk eggs, milk and cream until well incorporated. Whisk in nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Stir in cheese, bacon, spinach, and green onion.
Line a pie pan with crust and crimp the edges. Pour the quiche into the crust.
Cook for 1 hour until puffy and filling is set (does not jiggle).

Don’t forget the Scones

April 6, 2010

Easter Breakfast – The Scones

Easter dinner is the only holiday dinner that my mom makes these days. Not because she doesn’t like to cook but because I love to cook and she lets me take care of food. After all she cooked for me and my family all those years – she’s due a break. Right? 🙂

However, I can’t resist and had to make something so I made breakfast…Tomato Basil Quiche, Quiche Lorraine, Maple Oat Scones, and Lemon Blueberry Scones…they were all terrific! If you like Starbucks Maple Oat Scones (which are my all time favorite), these tasted just like Starbucks! (My co-workers also gave them RAVE reviews!)…something to add to “the Menu.”

Scones

Maple Oat Scones
1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 1/2 tablespoons cold butter (small pieces)
1 large egg
1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Maple Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
5 teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Using a food processor or blender, finely grind oats.
In a mixer, mix flour, oats, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Add maple syrup and butter and mix well.
In a small bowl, beat the egg with the cream.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix well.
Add pecans and mix just to incorporate.
Place dough on a floured surface. Knead and pat dough into a 8 to 10 inch circle and cut into 8 wedges.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place wedges on top and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until light brown.
Remove scones from oven to wire rack. Let cool about 3 to 5 minutes.
Mix glaze ingredients until smooth. Adjust the amount of milk to get to the desired consistency. Spread lots of glaze over each scone and dry about 15 minutes before serving.

Lemon Blueberry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
5 teaspoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Add the butter and mix well. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Mix in the heavy cream.
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead just a bit. Fold in the blueberries and shape the dough into an 8 to 10 inch round. Cut into to 8 wedges.
Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Next…The Quiche