I haven’t blogged or cooked interesting things lately, BUT I’m getting back on track now that I’m tiptoeing out of the post-event craziness. 800 guests bidding on 62 complex auction packages then having dinner at 80 locations does not clean itself up. I’m tying up some hypothetical bows and have wrapped up a lot this week.
This week doesn’t count as amazing food, but I’ve been flying solo for a few days and had an evening meeting cancelled so this week has been all over the place. I’ve eaten a few food groups and the baby has eaten varied things. Hey, we’re clean, I have exercised, and we all feel rested, and I emptied the dishwasher…so bonus points to us.
Here’s what I hope is in my future for food & drinks:
I looooved Saloniki #newGreek a few weeks ago. I want to play with making some of the sauces at home…like the eggplant one!
‘Tis the season for rose! I want to sip this rose sangria, or something like it on the deck.
I love this blueberry topped pizza idea and would probably tweak the cheeses. It reminds me of this blueberry & brie stuffed waffle I made awhile ago. The little one would LOVE this since his obsession with blueberries runs deep.
I’m obsessed with trying to make a ramen burger. I love ramen, especially from my low blood pressure days when the cardiologist was trying to up my sodium intake! Best 17-cent dinner money can buy.
I might test out all the onion cutting hacks and report back what actually works for me.
April whizzed past me. I didn’t cook a ton nor did I get to blog much. I kind of spent the month either super busy at work, trying to keep up with everything, plus a sweet little vacay to Florida.
I was sooo into the cherry “cheesecake” yogurt breakfast I made. It was really good and prepping in advance, made for a more lovely breakfast on a weekday!
These Baked Monte Cristo pockets felt like the best-fast-dinner-ever. I was so happy with them. They added some fun-ness, variety, and an insta-dinner that I know I needed to get back into the groove. Weeknight dinners with minimal prep are the best!
Next month I’ll totally get back to normal and back into the kitchen once I come up for air at work!
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor ehh. nothing in April.
do something a different way: hmm. I’m not sure I did this.
drink more water: yup, I’m on it.
make more interesting side dishes: nope, nothing right now
cook more soups & sauces: I made lasagna soup!
watch more movies: you know, I don’t think we watched any!
make working out a higher priority: yup! I did an kick-boxing on demand & fit in a few morning walks before the alarm!
I was feelin’ lasagna but wanted to speed it up and not have to bake it forever. This soup was quick and hit all the flavors I wanted! I went a tiny bit heavy handed with the red wine, so I cooked it down a bit to mellow that out. The dollop of ricotta allowed me to gently swirl it around to melt with the meaty bites and the wavy noodles.
2 Italian Sausage links
4 lasagna noodles
28oz can Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes
1 tbs garlic, minced
3 tbs cup red wine
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbs ricotta cheese
In a large skillet, remove the casing and cook the sausage over medium heat. Break up the pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook just until cooked through.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add in the lasagna noodles.
Drain the sausage and add it to a heavy pot with the canned tomatoes, garlic, wine, and Italian seasoning over medium heat.
When the pasta is al dente, drain and cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/2 inch pieces (think spoon size).
Stir well and reduce heat. Taste and add salt as needed and Parmesan.
Serve with a dollop of ricotta. Enjoy!
This is totally the speedy way to have the taste of lasagna without all the steps. I made this just before vacation so I also appreciated not having a lot of leftovers, or filling up the freezer. I have a serious love affair with ricotta so this was right up my ally. I would also try it in individual ramekins with ricotta at the bottom and mozzarella on the top. How fun would those be?!
I do exist! The last two weeks were a mad-rush to get ready for our trip, then 5 lovely days in Florida, and a busy return. I opted for some sleep and a return to reality instead of blogging. I’m sure you can imagine.
Post-Easter, I used some leftover ham for crepes with swiss cheese and a little creamy marsala mushroom sauce. It was so good! This was leftover that wouldn’t ever even seem like leftovers.
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tbs butter, melted
2-3 slices of ham, chopped
1/2 cup shredded swiss
1 1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbs Marsala wine
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tbs cream cheese
Add crepe batter to a blender: egg, milk, water, flour, and melted butter. Blend for 15 seconds. Then refrigerate while prepping the filling.
In a large skillet, saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until soft and translucent over medium heat.
Add in the ham and cook for about 5 minutes to continue to caramelize the onion while warming the ham through. Then remove from the heat.
Slice the mushrooms and add to the still-hot pan with the broth, marsala, worcestershire, and cream cheese. Bring to high for a few minutes and then lower the heat to thicken a bit.
Cook the crepes in very thin pancakes in a large skillet, sprayed with non-stick spray, or with an electric crepe maker. Cook each crepes for about 3 minutes.
Assemble the crepes with some ham & onion filling, a sprinkle of cheese, and marsala mushrooms.
Fold the edges over themselves. Serve and enjoy!
I loved these. I haven’t made crepes in forever and they’re such great vehicles for any filling! I loved the ham cooked like lardons with onions and mushrooms! The babe ate his a bit deconstructed. He was very into the ham…for several meals!
I’ll always pick savory breakfast over sweet BUT I was inspired by all the yogurt flavors out there and I did pretty well to give the impression of Cherry Cheesecake without too much sugar. It’s just a fruit topping (thickened, without sugar), vanilla Greek yogurt, and a crumble as the crust (with some sugar). I prepped the crumble and the cherries on Sunday and this made for a delightful Monday morning.
Another way to speed this up even more, would be to use granola for the crumble.
2 tbs butter
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups dark cherries, pitted (frozen & chopped)
1 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp water (or skip and substitute 2 tbs fruit jam)
1 1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt
In a medium skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Then add the oats, flax seed, and brown sugar. Stir.
In a small saucepan, add the cherries and cornstarch mixture (or substitute fruit jam) over medium heat. Stir and cook for 5 minutes until gently bubbling. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Stir the crumble until coated and spoon onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper to cool and harden.
When the crumble is cool and not tacky to the touch (20-ish minutes) break into chunks. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag until serving.
Serve the crumble on the bottom, some vanilla greek yogurt, and cherries on top. Enjoy!
I loved this. I wish I had more cherry mixture and more crumble! I ate it twice and was so happy to wake up to it. This definitely feels like a treat! It has the impression of dessert, but I kept the cherry mixture tart and tasting like real cherries without any sugar. The crumble had a nice nuttiness without costing $1,000 for lots of nuts. I’d probably toast some and add them next time. It seemed a bit more filling than just yogurt for breakfast.
Winner winner with a cherry on top.
March was awesome. My birthday was great. Work has been so busy but I also know April is only going to get crazier. The little one is busy, active, and loving the toddler class at daycare. I am not loving that they make glitter crafts almost weekly. What. The. Heck. Who gives toddlers glitter? I thought I had years before that would happen.
I’m glad it feels like spring is coming though we’ve had a random mix of temperatures. I’ve been mixing the “have to eat the last wintery foods” with “bring on lighter and fresher flavors!” I have probably never been so ready for an April getaway we have planned to take the little one to Florida. I’m sad Downton Abby is over but we’ve really gotten into The People V. OJ Simpson show. The last week we’ve been super sick so I think now all of us are on the mend. So-over the runny noses x3.
One of my favorite things I made this whole month was a Nutella Cafe Au Lait that I didn’t really plan on, but was SO fun. I totally have to froth milk at home more often. Try it, 30 seconds of shaking in a jar and 30 seconds in the microwave.
Another fav was, hands down, this caesar asparagus. So good. I’d eat just this and be so happy.
The Year of the: Seasonal Decor My sis stocked me up with some Easter decor for my bday! I don’t even know what April should be.
do something a different way: I’m making sure not to apologize for things I’m asking for. At work I found I often started emails apologizing for things I am following up on because the other person never responded. Have you seen the commercials?
drink more water: I’m doing OK drinking more, I could always improve.
make more interesting side dishes: yes! This Caesar Asparagus was the best side. I tried a fried mashed potato cake that failed miserably.
cook more soups & sauces: I made chimichurri on shrimp for a salad.
watch more movies: we watched The Martian, Zero Dark Thirty, The Big Short, and Steve Jobs.
make working out a higher priority: ehh, not really but now that it is light out later, I’ve fit in a few more walks.
I know. I can admit. I’m caesar dressing obsessed and after making Caesar Brussels Sprouts, I thought it would be really good for roasted asparagus. It was! I jazzed up some creamy caesar dressing and added some hard boiled egg, but you could totally make your own caesar dressing. I loved it and could have had just that for dinner!
1 bunch asparagus
1 egg, hard boiled
1/4 cup creamy caesar
2 tbs grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
cracked fresh pepper
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Trim the asparagus then drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes.
In a jar, add caesar dressing, 1 tbs of parmesan, anchovy paste, garlic, and pepper. Shake well.
Lay the asparagus on a serving plate. Drizzle the dressing over the top, and the remaining Parmesan.
Chop the hard boiled egg and sprinkle over the top.
I loved this. The tiniest bit of anchovy paste makes this dressing so. much. better. Trust me, nobody will know what it is, but that tiny touch is necessary. Plus, it lasts forever in a tiny tube in your fridge. I love the salty, peppery dressing with the just-roasted asparagus and egg. It was such a great side dish and a sign that spring is on the way!
I mixed up these spinach squares last weekend thinking they’d be a good thing to pack for the little one’s lunch. Thennn I also munched it for my quest for savory breakfasts. I also was reminded that my mom makes this as an appetizer…such a multi-functional food! There are so few ingredients and I liked that they weren’t so eggy that it seems like square quiche. The trick making them so good is quality cheese and is that they get baked in a butter bath.
The little one liked it a few times, but seemed to tire of them. That’s a trend for him: a few meals something is good, then he kind of passes on it. If we give it a break, it is all good awhile later. I’ll probably pop some into the freezer.
3 tbs butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed well
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
optional: 1 small onion & 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
In a 13×9 baking pan, melt the butter by putting both into the preheating oven.
In a mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), add in the eggs, cheese, spinach, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Stir well to combine.
Pour into the buttery baking pan.
Bake 30 minutes.
Let cool, slice and enjoy at room temperature or warm!
I used more butter but thought maybe there was a bit too much (gasp!) it pooled a bit one mine so next time I’d use 3 tbs (as suggested above). I love these! My mom’s are a bit thicker and more fluffy…mine seemed a touch dense but I still liked them! Use the good cheese…these have so few ingredients they’re worth it!
This cheese ball has been awaiting the blog debut for. a. year. I made this last year for Easter and thought it was just so adorable. It takes 10 minutes to mix together and 5 minutes to look cute. Voila! Serve with some wheat thins and some carrots for the best of both worlds! I don’t make too many super theme-y foods for aesthetics but this one tastes so food as proof it isn’t just about looks! This carrot shaped cheeseball goes with your Easter brunchy foods, your Easter lunch spread, or an Easter dinner.
8oz package cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs Parmesan cheese
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 cup orange cheddar, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley
1 cup green onion, chopped
crackers (strong enough for cheese dipping)
With a hand or stand mixer, mix together cream cheese, sundried tomatoes, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Add in green onion (I originally had less sundried tomato and thought it needed more). Then mix well.
Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
Before serving, form into a carrot shape on a plate. Press cheddar around the outside and wipe away any from the plate.
Position the parsley under the top.
Serve with carrots and crackers. Enjoy!
This was so good and just so darn cute. I loved how easy it was to mix quickly, let the flavors combine, and then just a quick assembly before eating. Choose the crackers appropriately…ritz will crumble under the pressure.
There are some easy alternatives depending on what cheese ball flavors you fancy…caramelized onions & roasted red peppers; bacon and ranch mix; basil and garlic; jalepeno; or whatver combos you love. Go forth! Make a cutesy cheese ball!