Tag Archives: Cheese

Maple Sausage, Pepper, & Potato Breakfast Casserole

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Husbands ask for a lot of things…and some requests are harder to grant than others. Like when they try to convince you that entertaining the idea of them growing a mustache for a month will make them look cool or when they think its a good idea to watch television in place of folding laundry. Thankfully, one for a breakfast casserole was something I could happily oblige to. Not only does it make husband happy (and possibly more inclined to fold laundry while watching football) it’s easy to throw together and tastes amazing.

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mmmm cheese and sausage, what more could you ask for?

Here’s a little story for all of you, we’re friends now right? It seems as though we’ve had a pretty steady friendship for the past 6 months and I feel ready to open up to all of you. Anyhow, now that we’ve established our virtual relationship, here’s the story. This one time, my very sweet husband, thought it would be a great idea to cook me breakfast. He actually surprised me while I was still sleeping. I woke up to a very proud husband. Matt announced, “I made you eggs!” I smiled and was excited about his very thoughtful gesture. He poured me a glass of orange juice and said “Not only did I make you breakfast, but there is a secret ingredient!” Yeah, I was worried too. So I smiled, picked up a forkful of the mystery eggs. I couldn’t even chew it….it tasted that bad! I gulped it down. Care to guess what was in them? Maple syrup, hot peppers, and feta cheese. Don’t get me wrong, these are actually a few of my favorite things. Mixed into eggs together however, not so great. I politely ate my whole plate but I’ll tell you I sure didn’t ask for seconds…

The Ingredients: 

Makes an 8 x 8 pan

  • 8 0z frozen of potatoes  
  • 5 eggs scrambled
  • 1 lb of breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 red pepper & 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of freshly grated cheese, I used pepperjack (I actually roughly chopped a block of cheese and put it in my food processor to grate it; great time saving tip!)
  • Salt and pepper

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Corn Chowder and Parmesan Crisps

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It has been a lovely few weeks off from school but tomorrow classes resume. I look forward to the new challenges ahead but know that it does mean that my free time is about to be non-exsistent again. In order to prepare, I wanted to cook a few big meals which I could store in the freezer for Matt and I while we get back into the swing of things and our ever crazy schedules. Since corn chowder is probably one of my favorite parts of my New England heritage and because I was deeply craving some comfort food before all the stressors in my life return, I thought tonight would be the perfect night for it. Not only does this recipe take less than 20 minutes to throw together, it also feeds a crowd.  I had never made it in the crock pot before but I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to make and also how delicious the results were. I think you’ll love it and your family will too. It also freezes great and can be reheated in the crock pot without trouble. The parmesan crisps are also super simple to make and taste fantastic. Matt really enjoyed them because if you layer them on top of your soup it actually melts into the soup. Creamy soup and salty cheese? You can’t go wrong. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! I’m planning on reheating a big bowl of corn chowder tomorrow for lunch.

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Corn Chowder

The Ingredients:

  • 1 48 oz box of Chicken Stock
  • 16 oz bag of frozen sweet yellow corn
  • 1.5-2 lbs of new potatoes, cut into similar size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 pieces of bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup half and half, heavy cream, or milk of your choosing
  • 2 heaping tbs of flour
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Parsley for garnish

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Herbed Ricotta, Pistachio, & Lavender Bruschetta

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Happy New Year all! I hope that everyone was able to celebrate 2012 and welcome the beginning of a new year. Matt and I are looking forward to all that 2013 brings and welcome any new adventures that may arise. We are grateful for a wonderful family and for our quite amazing group of friends. We also look forward to celebrating our second wedding anniversary early next week! I can’t believe that two years have already passed! Time flies when you’re married to your best friend! I look forward to the new opportunities and challenges that will arise this year. I hope that everyone had a wonderful NYE and has a prosperous, healthy year ahead!

Anyhow, onto one of my favorite appetizers! We frequent a wine bar in Philadelphia called Tria that not only has fantastic wine, but delicious small plates. We are obsessed with their herbed ricotta and pistachio bruschetta. It is fantastic! We honestly order 3 small plates of the amazingness every time go in. Since our obsession seems to be insatiable, I thought that it was important that I figured out how to make an as delectable version at home. I think the true secret is the addition of the pistachios and since I’m a honey addict, it also makes the plate for me too. It’s so easy to make and is sure to please your family or any guests!

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It may not look like a lot, but boy is it amazing!

This recipe is very variable, you can either prepare a little or a lot depending on what you are planning on serving it for. I often make a small batch and eat it in place of a sandwich for lunch. So there are no specific measurements but require you to go more on taste and the amount you want to prepare.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of french bread, sliced on the bias into half inch thick slices 
  • 1 jar of fresh or store prepared ricotta
  • Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade (aka small strips; it’s easiest to roll on bunch of leaves and then cut them into small strips)
  • Dried lavender
  • Honey
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper

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Lettuce Wraps…with a Mexican twist!

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Phew! Finals are over and I have a few weeks off before resuming classes. I am looking forward to getting back into the kitchen over break and trying all the recipes I’ve been stockpiling during my study breaks (aka periods of pure procrastination!) It is finally feeling a little bit more like the Holiday season now that I’ve caught up on sleep and feel like a real member of society again. I am in the preliminary stages of my Holiday shopping and have already brainstormed a few really great gift ideas. One of my gift ideas is actually a little bit of an at home project, so I look forward to sharing that after the Holidays! It seems like a great project and I can’t wait to get it started tomorrow morning. I’ll be sure to share after the Holidays when all of my gifts have been dispersed! I love giving personalized gifts because I feel that it really shows people just how much you care. I am also excited about creating all my favorite Holiday recipes! A particular favorite of mine is my candied almonds! I’m planning on making them this week and will be sure to share the recipe. They are to die for!

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On to today’s recipe:)  On a quick trip to Whole Foods I saw that Bibb lettuce was on sale for $1.99, avocados were on sale for $1.00, and ground chicken was also ridiculously on sale. I couldn’t resist any of these items and because of my underlying love of lettuce cups I knew I had all the makings of a very quick and healthy meal. If you know me at all, you know that I love all things spicy food. So naturally, I knew these ingredients would lend themselves very well to creating a twist on the traditional Asian inspired lettuce cup. It was undoubtedly a success and I’m not certain I’ll ever transition back to using taco shells after coming up with this recipe redo. One can’t beat tasty and healthy! Plus cutting the calories from the taco shells allows me to feel a little less guilty about having a small scoop of my homemade vanilla ice cream in the freezer (recipe to follow soon!).

I made a very simple guacamole to add on top. I used one avocado, a 1/4 cup of sweet onion which I rinsed under water to get rid of the pungent onion taste/smell, and a small handful of pickled jalapeños which I minced. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper and mashed it all together with a fork. I let it hang out in the fridge while I prepared to the rest of the meal.

The Ingredients: 

  • 1 head Bibb Lettuce, pre-washed and leaves separated
  • 1 pound ground chicken, turkey, or beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

To a small bowl, add:

  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  • A liberal pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2-1 tsp Sriracha or hot sauce
  • Fresh cracked black pepper 

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Pesto, Pine nut, & Prosciutto Pizza

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One of our favorite pizzas in the city is from a restaurant called Osteria. It is divine but…a little expensive (a small pizza goes for about 20 dollars). I knew I could come up with just as delicious version at home at a much, much, much cheaper price! It’s a really quick meal to throw together on nights that I’m too busy to spend too much time in the kitchen. With a little help of pre-made ingredients, you can have this meal prepared from start to finish, including cooking time, in about 20 minutes. It’s way better (in my opinion) then standard delivery. I know pine nuts can be a pricy ingredient, but if you store them in your freezer they will last for about 6 months! I often make my own pesto in the summer, but during the fall and winter months I rely on a very good quality store bought kind because it’s easier when fresh items aren’t as readily available (plus I’ve been so busy studying for exams as of late, I don’t have much time to make my own).

The Ingredients:

  • Pre-made pizza dough or your favorite homemade recipe (we buy ours from Whole Foods for around $2.50 and it’s made fresh daily)
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Homemade or store-bought pesto
  • Prosciutto
  • Pine nuts

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It’s finally here! Pasta Carbonara

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It’s finally here! Pasta Carbonara

I am so sorry about the long hiatus! I have been living in exam/quiz/practical world for the past few weeks. Busy life as a PA student! Fortunately I know that the day I become a certified PA and see my 1st patient the countless hours of studying will be worth it! I have been lucky to make some really great friends and am so fortunate to have a husband that supports me completely. He even has become a frequent dishwasher and laundry folder. I couldn’t ask for a better husband:)

Anyhow, a few weeks ago I promised a to die for Pasta Carbonara recipe and I’m finally going to deliver! This was the first time I used pancetta in place of bacon in my recipe and it was really delicious. If bacon is all you have on hand, you can’t go wrong! What is more comforting than a pasta dish with eggs, cheese, and bacon? mmm, it may be time for me to make it again!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 8 oz of finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs of fresh parsley
  • Lots of fresh cracked black pepper  Read the rest of this entry

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

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BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Sorry about the hiatus! Transitioning back to a full time student after some time off definitely takes a lot of time and effort! I have been exhausted but fortunately I have been learning a lot! We have been cooking at home a lot though..so despite the fact that I haven’t had much free time to post recipes lately, there are a lot of recipes to share in the near future. I hope everyone is enjoying the transition from summer to fall (although the weather has been pretty strange around these parts, so it hasn’t really felt like autumn consistently yet). I know I am looking forward to going apple picking, drinking cider, and making apple cider doughnuts! I love the fall and finally breaking all my favorite pairs of boots out of the closet!

I think you’ll observe a new trend in my approach to cooking…most of my recipes lately have been ones that I can throw together in less than 30 minutes. Today’s recipe was using some of the things that I commonly keep in my refrigerator! Whole wheat tortillas, precooked chicken or rotisserie chicken, and homemade BBQ sauce. I also always have fresh cheddar and mozzarella on hand. I recently purchased the Hot Pepper mix from Potbelly Sandwiches which I added to my quesadilla creation. The result was so so so good. I am actually looking forward to eating them again in the near future!

I hope you enjoy some of the quick, healthy meals I’ve been preparing lately and that you try to incorporate the recipes into your busy schedule as well. I made these quesadillas directly on my panini press and they came out fabulous and were prepared in a snap.

The Ingredients:

  • Precooked chicken
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Your favorite cheese: I used sharp cheddar
  • Hot pepper mix (optional)
  • BBQ sauce

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Spicy Mac & Cheese

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Spicy Mac & Cheese

Matt and I were watching the Best thing I’ve Ever Made: Comfort Food and when Sunny Anderson’s recipe came on for Spicy Mac & Cheese. Matt decided he wanted to help me make it and that he wanted it right away. Matt doesn’t spend too much time in the kitchen, so when he says he wants to help out I usually let him and try to supervise only and not take over (which can sometimes be a challenge for me in the kitchen). He even was responsible for making the list for the grocery and I let him do all the choosing when it came to the cheeses. He did a great job because (with just a tiny help from me) it came out delicious! So this recipe for sure is boy tested and wife approved! You should give it a try too:)

The original recipe called for something like 2 cups of heavy cream and I immediately nixed that idea. I told him there was PLENTY of cheese in the recipe and that it will taste just as great with 2% milk. I also told him that we could use Panko breadcrumbs for the top in place of making our own since we didn’t have any day old bread. At first he wasn’t too keen on that idea but after some explaining about fabulous breadcrumbs coming from day old bread he agreed that panko would be a better option too. I absolutely love a crunchy crust on Mac & Cheese and think that Panko has so far given me the best results! The top was perfectly brown and ridiculously crunchy! Oh, and don’t be too worried–the spiciness isn’t in a hot burn your mouth kind of way! It’s a much different heat from the dry mustard and the pepperjack cheese. A really delicious kind of heat.

The Ingredients:

Recipe adapted from Sunny Anderson’s Spicy Mac & Cheese 

  • 1 box elbow pasta, cooked until almost al dente
  • 8 ounces Cheddar, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 shredded
  • 8 ounces Colby cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces Monterey pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk–I used 2% and it came out great 
  • 1/4 cup finely grated onions
  • Panko Bread crumbs
  • Cooking spray

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