Friday, November 30, 2012

Broken Scales?!

Did a few pounds happen to appear out of nowhere
and cling to you over Thanksgiving???
I heard a radio DJ say the other day that
he gained SIX pounds over the holiday.  EEK!
Thankfully, we only had ONE day of feasting around here,
but if you'd like to drop a few pounds
before the next eating fest, you might want to try
this week's Free Recipe Friday.

It's not fat-free, but carb-free? I think YES.
Baked Italian Salad is it's name,
but it actually tastes like the toppings off of a pizza.
It is DELISH!  Grrreat with a salad and a baguette?!
(IF you're not too carb conscious)

Obviously this dish would be PERRRfect
in the summer when fresh garden tomatoes
are plentiful...but store bought Roma's
work just fine here!

appx. 8 Roma tomatoes (or your fav)
Sea Salt/Black pepper
2-3 teaspoons Garlic, minced
1/4 - 1/2 cup Green olives (and/or black) sliced
1 medium Onion, sliced thinly
Fresh herbs (parsley and/or basil) opt.
Red pepper flakes, just a few
1/4 - 1/2 cup Parmesan
drizzle of Olive Oil
splash of Red wine

Preheat oven to 425
Spray a shallow dish with non-stick cooking spray.
You could use a pie plate, individual dishes
or use a dish to accommodate
whatever serving amount you need.
With this recipe, you just layer
as much as you need - there's no right or wrong.

Begin layering ingredients
starting by covering the bottom of your pan
with some tomatoes, then onions, garlic
a few flakes of red pepper, salt/pepper,
and a bit of parsley and/or basil.
Now start all over again and begin
another layer of tomatoes
then onions, seasonings, herbs, etc.
Two or three layers should be plenty.
When you've reached the top,
toss on the sliced olives -
as much or as little as you'd like.
To finish, top with Parmesan,
give it a splash of red wine all over
and finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil.
Bake until golden and bubbly
approximately 30 minutes.

Mmm!  Serve this along side a salad
and maybe some good crunchy bread
and you've got an amazing meal
that will not leave you feeling deprived!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Wake Up. . .It's Time to Eat Again!!!

For all you late nighters that were
out there doin' your Black Friday thing
until the wee hours - this is for you.
An easy go-to breakfast that'll
get you goin' whenever you decide to get up.

This week's Free Recipe Friday
is something we played around with
to try and dodge a carb overload
first thing in the morning.
It's an all-in-one breakfast in a muffin cup.
You can tweak it absolutely any way you like -
there's about a million variations.
Give it a try sometime - it sure beats
standing over a hot stove with bacon grease
splattering all over you!

I've come to love a more 'adult' style
breakfast these days...maybe because
a good part of my life
I was all about anything sweet for breakfast.
Cinnamon toast, a pop tart, cereal,
cinnamon roll, cake, pie - anything sweet.
As the years have flown by
I prefer saving the sweets
for another time of day and
having something savory for breakfast
with my coffee drinking self.

Breakfast items all revolve around
pretty much the same ingredients, don't they?!
A bread/grain, a meat, an egg, maybe cheese and fruit.
Every breakfast is just a variation of these things
and how you want to put them together.
Since I've grown to love more
bacon and eggy type breakfasts,
it doesn't mean I want to spend my whole
morning cooking it.  The quicker and easier
I can cook bacon or make a meal
including it, the better.

1 dozen large whole eggs
(because we used a 12 cup muffin tin -
you can certainly adjust and make less)

1  12 oz. pkg bacon (thin, cheap stuff)

Shredded Cheddar


Green Onions (optional)

Preheat oven to 350
and coat your muffin cups
with non-stick cooking spray.
 Line muffin cups with bacon and pre-bake
(because we like our bacon
a bit more crispy - you could easily jump ahead
and skip this step).
Bake approximately 20-30 minutes.
 After the bacon has some time to
cook, remove from oven
and crack an egg into each cup.
If you like more of a scrambled egg,
by all means, you can whisk the eggs
before pouring in each cup.

 Don't worry, the bacon will lose it's shape a bit
but just pour your egg right over it and all will be well.
There will be a bit of bacon grease in each cup,
but you'll be able to pour that out
once the muffins are done.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
and return to the oven.
Bake for 5-10 minutes more
depending on what kind of egg you like.

When you remove the breakfast muffins
from the oven, carefully tilt pan
over a large bowl and pour off
excess bacon grease and then
top with a little shredded cheddar
and some chopped green onions.
If your muffin pan is as pathetic
as mine is, you'll need to use a knife
to loosen each muffin before removing
from the pan.

These are great 'as is' or would be great
between some toast or an english muffin
for an on-the-go breakfast.

Hope everyone had a great
Thanksgiving and all you crazies
recover quickly from your overnight shopping!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh How Olive You!

Does anyone love olives as much as I do?!?
Oh my-lanta! I love them so much!
Combine them with an easy quick bread
and VOILA, you have a taste bud explosion.

Quick breads are so great -
just dump your ingredients into a mixing bowl
whisk a bit and you're done.
Try out Cheese and Olive, Buttermilk Quick Bread
it's a super easy recipe -
it'd be great to go along side
a pasta meal, a salad
or as an hor dourve.
We made this bread for the first time
a few weeks ago and took to our
daughter and son in law's
for a great family dinner night.
She baked a whole chicken
for the very first time
and survived the horrifying experience.
Check out her blog about
our fantabulous night.

2 1/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  1/2 cup parmesan
  1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup green olives, sliced
8 pieces sundried tomatoes, sliced thinly
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
(or substitute with milk -
use 1 1/4 cup of regular milk less 1 Tbsp
and add 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice.
Set aside for 10 minutes before using)

Egg wash - 1 egg yolk plus 2 tsp water, mixed
Extra Thyme and Sea Salt for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Generously butter a large loaf pan and either line it
with parchment paper or dust with flour. Set it aside.

  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda,
salt, pepper and mustard powder.
Whisk dry ingredients.
Add both cheeses, olives, sundried tomatoes
and thyme and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs,
then whisk in the oil and buttermilk
until they are well combined.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture
and pour in the wet ingredients.
Stir together to form a thick, sticky batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan
and spread it out evenly.

Brush the top of the batter with the egg wash
and sprinkle some thyme leaves and sea salt
on top of the loaf.

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a fine skewer
inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
If the top starts to brown too much, place a piece of foil
the top of the loaf and continue baking.
Remove from the oven but leave in the pan
for 5 minutes or so before turning onto a wire rack.
Serve immediately or wrap tightly
to keep it from drying out.
Warm in the microwave if serving another time.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Fixin' to Feast

Holiday time is right around the corner
which means feasting and fellowshipping 
with friends and family.

If you've never tried your hand at
Bread Pudding making
and want to start a family tradition
or maybe just try out a new recipe,
check out the November/December
online issue of The Wedded Bliss.
The Family Traditions - Bread Pudding
article will get you on your way.
Our family has made this recipe
for quite some time, even serving it up
in a local tea room years ago.
All of the photographs are
including step by step pics - 
so you just can't go wrong!

What a great addition this would be
to your holiday table!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Pop on Over

 Last weekend was taste test kitchen day at our house.
So sorry you missed it! :)
Trying out lots of different snacky recipes...
keeping some and tossing some.
These Bleu Cheese Popovers are about
the yummiest thing ever!
Ironically, the same time I was making our popovers,
unbeknownst to us, our daughter Shelby,
was trying out the awesome
Foreign & Domestic in Austin, Texas
and eating their famous Gruyere Popovers.
They are great for breakfast, brunch, lunch,
snack time, supper time...well, you get the idea.

You should whip some of these up real soon -
even if you're not a big fan of bleu cheese
 the flavor is so mild
you might not even know there's bleu cheese in them
(well, maybe)


2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 oz. Gorgonzola bleu cheese, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425.
In a medium size bowl,
lightly whisk together eggs and milk.
Quickly mix in flour and salt
without over mixing.
Batter will be slightly lumpy.
Unless you have a popover pan,
spray a large muffin pan
with non-stick spray.
(Popover pans generally make
the popover taller and more dramatic -
not changing the flavor in the least)
Pour batter into 10 muffin cups.
Sprinkle crumbled bleu cheese
evenly among all 10 cups.
Using a wooden spoon
pat cheese down into the batter
so it is not exposed.
Generously sprinkle black pepper
on top of each and bake for 15 minutes.
NO PEEKING - these are supposed to
be popovers and puff up.
Keep that heat in the oven!
After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350
and bake 12-15 more minutes
or until deep golden brown.
Immediately remove muffins from pan
(you can scrape edges with a knife
if they begin to stick)

Super yummy any time of day!