Tuesday, July 21, 2015

BLT Stuffed Avocados

Another amazing Pinterest find that we tweaked and made even more delicious!!  How can you possibly go wrong with avocados and bacon??  It just isn't possible!!

BLT Stuffed Avocados

Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 Roma tomato, cubed
  • 2 slices sour dough bread, toasted and cubed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spinach leaves
  • 8 slices cooked crumbled bacon 
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic flakes or one fresh garlic clove, minced 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
 
Cut avocados in half, remove pit and carefully peel.  Try to keep in one piece.  Scoop out some of the avocado flesh to make the hole bigger.  Put extra flesh in bowl along with remainder of the ingredients.  Mix well.  Spoon mixture into the holes in the avocado.  Mound it up nice.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until browned nicely and serve!  The original recipe called for rubbing the outsides of the avocado with lemon juice to keep it from turning. We ate them immediately so there was no time for them to turn. If you are making ahead of time or a larger batch of them, you may want to do this to keep them pretty longer.  But really you are just going to want to eat them immediately. 



Adapted from Stepable.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Spanish Rice

We love rice in our house... and pasta... and potatoes.  Basically anything starchy and bad for you.  But what fun is life if you don't eat what you love?  All in moderation, of course!!

This simple Spanish rice recipe came from SimplyRecipes so so many years ago.  I think I have been using it for at least 3-4 years now.  It's easy and it never fails to produce the best rice.  You can double it for a huge crowd.  The original recipe claims that it serves 4 to 6 but unless they are eating a gigantic portion, there is no way.  I think it serves 8-10 and that is still a really good size portion.  

Spanish Rice
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 Cups Medium or Long Grain Rice (DO NOT USE MINUTE RICE!)
  • 3 Cups* Chicken, Turkey or Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 Can Rotel Tomatoes 
  • Pinch Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
*Check the instructions on your rice package for the proportions of rice to liquid.  Some recipes call for 1:1 ratio, some 1.5:1 or 2:1.  Use the amount of liquid called for in two cups of rice from your package. 

Preparation:
In a large skillet, add olive oil and rice over medium/high heat.  Toast rice slightly, being careful not to burn.  Just bring out the color in the rice.  Add onion and garlic.  Cooke, stirring frequently, until onions are softened.

In a separate sauce pan, bring stock to simmer.  Add tomato paste, Rotel, oregano and salt.   Once heated and onions are soft, add broth to rice.  Bring to a simmer.  Lower heat, cover and cook 15-25 minutes (look at your package of rice for cooking time).  Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Turns out moist and full of flavor every time.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Mushroom Pot Pie

This is absolutely one of those dishes that you eat with your eyes first.  It was so beautiful.  It didn't stop me from tearing right into it.  Someone in the room asked if we didn't need to let it rest first.  No way that was happening.  It was begging to be eaten!  I am so thankful to live in the internet age where we can share recipes with each other.  And thank goodness so many people love to blog about food!  The original recipe was for individual pot pies, which could be easily done by cutting the puff pastry.  We didn't have any small bowls that would work so we made a 9x13 version. 

Mushroom Pot Pie
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil.   (We used some rosemary flavored, but plain EVOO will be just fine!)
  • 2 pounds of chopped mushrooms. (I used a combination of white and baby bells. I also chopped them very small to appease the non-mushroom loving friends.)
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (again for the non-onion loving friends)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup broth (I used chicken, but to make it vegetarian, just substitute vegetarian broth or stock)
  • 1 16 ounce bag of frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (could definitely add more if you love garlic)
  • 1 package of puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large skillet heat olive oil.  Add chopped vegetables and cook until tender.  When mushrooms start to release their juices, add salt to move the process along.  Cook until juices start to evaporate.  Add the flour and stir for a couple of minutes.  Add broth and peas.  Bring to a boil.  

Spray 9 x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Add vegetables to the pan.  Cover with pastry.  I used the two sheets that came in one package of puff pastry. They overlapped a bit.  Press to seal around the edges of the glass dish as best you can. Brush egg all over the pastry.  I did not vent mine, but I probably should have.  It was not too watery but I think vents to allow the steam to escape would have helped the crust underneath get more crispy.  It turned out just fine anyway! 

Place the dish on a large baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. 

















Recipe adapted from 12 Tomatoes.  They have some really amazing recipes!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup with Boursin and Bacon

There are times when I think I have found my absolute favorite soup in the world... like the Sweet Potato and Andouille Bisque or my Roasted Poblano and Cheddar... but then I stumble across a new recipe and I find it hard to pick a favorite.  Perhaps it is like when you have more than one child?  Surely you don't love one of them more than the others?  They all have their unique qualities.  So for now I will just say that this soup is what is currently holding my obsession.  I have made it twice in the past two weeks. The first time I shared it too much and only ended up getting a couple of bowls for myself.  I made it again this week and it is all mine!  I think I did let the man have a single taste.  But that's it!!  

Butternut Squash Soup with Boursin and Bacon

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (3-1/2 lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (5.2 ounce) rounds Boursin Cheese with Garlic and Fine Herbs (if you cannot find Boursin, you can substitute with Alouette Garlic and Herbs or you can make your own). 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Crispy cooked bacon, crumbled

Directions


  • In a large pot, melt butter over med-low heat. Add onion and celery and cook until slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add butternut squash and thyme leaves, cook for about 8 minutes more. Stir several times. Add flour and stir until fully incorporated.
  • Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Squash should be soft. Remove thyme sprigs and then puree squash mixture until smooth.  (I use my blender and do it in batches because I want absolutely no sign of the evil celery.  You can also use a hand blender, but they just don't seem to blend it enough for me.)  
  • Add soup back to the pot  and add Boursin cheese, salt and both peppers. Stir until cheese is melted.
  • Garnish each bowl with crumbled bacon.
 The first time I made the soup I didn't have any white pepper on hand and left it out.  The second go round I added it and it definitely adds a level of heat that you do not want to miss out on.  It is fine with just black pepper and you will still want to bathe in it... but the white pepper really gives it another element that you should not miss! 

Adapted from the Noble Pig...  You should really check her out!! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drimmel's Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

My daughter has been asking for spaghetti on the weekly menu for a few weeks now.  I have been known to doctor up some jarred spaghetti sauce and crank out spaghetti quickly.  However, I remembered our dear friend Butch and how he made a wonderful spaghetti sauce that was his dear wife Jean's recipe.  I love being able to use my slow cooker, especially in the fall and winter months so I adapted their recipe to make it work in my slow cooker.  It is so nice to come home to a wonderful smell and dinner practically ready.  So in honor of Butch and Jean and at Morgan's request, we will be having Jean's special spaghetti sauce this week.  No jars of sauce for us!

Drimmel's Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 lb ground beef (we use ground venison)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 -1 lb cans tomatoes, diced
  • 1 -14 oz can tomatoes, diced
  • 1 -6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup snipped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp MSG (this is in the original recipe, however, I do not add this)
  • 1 1/2 tsp, dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups water

Brown meat and onions on stove top, drain off fat, if any, and add to slow cooker.  Add the other ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove bay leaf.

Serve over al dente spaghetti noodles with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  It also freezes really well!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Warm and Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

We often eat this at restaurants but it is so easy to make at home.   I adapted this from a crock pot recipe.  You can certainly make it in the crock pot but it doesn't take long to do it on the stove top/oven.  I made it in less than an hour after work. 


Warm and Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  • 2 10 ounce packages of frozen spinach (I use Bird's Eye), thaw and squeeze out excess water
  • 2 14 ounce cans of artichoke hearts,drained and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounce cream cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Tortilla chips, pita chips, vegetables
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onion in olive oil until translucent and starting to brown in a large oven safe skillet or sauce pan.  Add garlic and saute for another minute until fragrant.  Add spinach and artichokes and combine well.  Add sour cream, mayonnaise, cheeses, milk, balsamic and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper and taste to adjust seasoning. 

Transfer pan to 350 oven and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and all cheeses are melted.  Serve with your choice of dippers.  We love tortilla chips.

Adapted from damndelicious.

Beef and Broccoli

I am blessed to have a child who loves vegetables.  Broccoli (or trees as she called them when she was small) has always been one of her favorites.  Her first choice every time we eat Chinese is Beef and Broccoli.  This week we made it at home in just half an hour.  She was happy to help and happy to eat it.  This will be one of those recipes she will be making on her own in no time.  

Beef and Broccoli

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 cup water, plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 lb boneless round steak cut into thin 3-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 4 bunches of broccoli crowns cut into florets
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • hot cooked rice
Blanch broccoli in boiling water for about 4-5 minutes or until it is bright green.  (You could also steam it in a steamer or the microwave for a few minutes.) 

While broccoli is cooking, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water and garlic powder in a bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add beef strips and stir to coat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir fry beef until it is done to your liking.  Remove and keep warm.  Heat remaining tablespoon of oil and stir fry broccoli until is is starting to brown around the edges and is done to your preference.  Should not be mushy.  Should be tender crisp.  Return beef to pan.

Whisk soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and remaining cornstarch and water until smooth; add to the pan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Serve over rice.  (Brown or white.)  Serves 4.

We like to make extra rice and then make fried rice the following night out of the leftovers.