Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuna Fish Gravy

Let's be honest. I think this is kinda gross. My husband, on the other hand, loves it! So consider this his guest post. As long as you've got tuna in the pantry and a loaf of bread, you can make this for dinner...if you really want to. :) This was made with 1 can of tuna, but if you like it more meaty, then use 2.

Tuna Fish Gravy
dedicated to Gavin
1 can of tuna, drained
3 TBSPs butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until thick and bubbly. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue to whisk until it starts to simmer and reaches desired thickness. Add tuna and salt and mix together.
2. Serve on buttered toast. Top with pepper...and sweet pickles, if you are my husband.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Brunch Party Food

I helped with the food at a friend's baby shower over the weekend. I tried a few new ideas and recipes and they all turned out amazing, if I do say so myself. :) I wanted to share them all together in one post. The recipes are posted separately and you can find links to them below the pictures. Most of the things I made were bite sized or in cute glasses because little finger foods are so fun!

 Mini Quiches - I made them ahead of time froze them!

Yogurt Parfaits - No recipe needed. Layer yogurt, granola, and berries in a glass. These are disposable wine glasses from Dollar Tree (6 or $1). The yogurt I used was ZOI Greek honey flavored that I bought at Winco. I tried 3 different kinds and liked this best. I made these gluten free with KIND granola.

French Toast Sticks - These were so cute! The sticks are in 2 oz. disposable shot glasses from Party City. Pretty heavy duty plastic too. I actually washed and kept them. I squirted a little syrup in the bottom, and had extra sticks on the side.

We also had Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole (gluten free), bagels, and fruit. It all was so good! There might have been some Snickers cupcakes involved as well, which will be posted soon. :)


Mini Quiches

Here's another brunch recipe that I made over the weekend. You can put whatever you like in these! The quiches pictured are half spinach and half bacon. These also work really well if you make them ahead of time and freeze them for later use.

Mini Quiches
1 pkg refrigerated pie crust dough (2 rolls)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Shredded cheese and other desired toppings e.g. cooked crumbled bacon, spinach, ham, green onion.

1. Remove pie crust from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the filling. Spray 48 mini muffin cups with non stick spray. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper.
3. Unroll 1 pie crust. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut as many circles as possible. Collect leftover dough and roll out and continue to cut out circles. Repeat with 2nd pie crust. You should be able to get 48 circles. Press circles into mini muffin cups.
4. Put a pinch of cheese and other desired toppings into each muffin cup. Pour egg mixture into each cup, being careful not to overfill.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until filling is puffed and pastry is golden. Remove from oven. Cool in pan for a few minutes, then carefully remove to a wire rack. Serve warm.

You can also make these mini quiches ahead of time! Bake them as directed above, then let them cool completely. Place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for an hour. Remove them and put them in a freezer bag and return to freezer. Then when ready to use, bake them at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes until heated through.






French Toast Sticks

Yum! These are so good! Perfect for kids, or a breakfast/brunch. They make for a pretty presentation. I came up with this version of french toast based on my Orange French Toast recipe. I made these for a baby shower and I wanted to do them ahead of time, so I prepared them 2 days in advance. I froze them, and then baked them straight from the freezer just before serving. They turned out great! No soggy french toast with this method! I found some day old sliced brioche bread at a nearby bakery outlet and knew it would be awesome as french toast. It didn't disappoint! I served them in 2oz disposable shot glasses (that I bought at Party City) with a squirt of syrup at the bottom. So cute!

French Toast Sticks
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 TBSPs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
dash of salt
8-10 slices bread (thick Texas Style or a bakery bread like Brioche)
1/3 cup butter, or margarine, melted

1. Slice bread into sticks about 1 inch wide. See pic below.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Dip each stick of bread in the egg mixture; place on greased cookie sheet. Cover lightly with foil, and then freeze for 1-2 hours or until completely frozen. To store, remove from freezer and place in freezer bag. Return to freezer.
3. To serve, heat the oven to 425° F. Remove the desired number of sticks from the freezer. Brush one side of each stick with melted butter. Place butter-side down on an ungreased cookie sheet; bake for 8-10 minutes, until bottom side just starts to turn golden. Brush top with butter then turn. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm with syrup. Makes about 40 sticks

If you don't want to freeze and bake them, just cook them on the stove top in a greased frying pan after dipping until golden on each side.



I got 5 sticks from this brioche bread, but a regular sized slice will give you 4.

Love this bread too. I buy this from Winco.

Egg Mixture

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chicken and Dumplings

Can't get much better than this classic comfort food! Everyone should have a chicken and dumplings recipe to pull out during the winter. Especially my Texas friends during snowstorms. :) This is my sister Leann's recipe. We had it for dinner a couple of weeks ago. I loved it, and ended up eating it for lunch and a leftover dinner. A couple of my family members couldn't get over the dumpling texture. These dumplings (like most chicken and dumpling recipes) are made from dough dropped directly into the boiling soup. The soup cooks the dough leaving it moist on the outside and bread-like on the inside (see close up pic below). And by the way, this is my 100th main dish post! Hope you've been able to find some recipes for fantastic meals!

Chicken and Dumplings
Leann Crook
5 chicken leg quarters or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used leg quarters)
4 cans (14.5 oz ea) chicken broth
2 cups water
2–3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 cups Bisquick or other biscuit mix
1 cup milk

1. In large pot combine chicken, chicken broth, 2 cups water, carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Boil 30–40 min or until chicken is cooked.
2. Remove chicken and shred. Return shredded chicken to pot. Return soup to a boil.
3. In small bowl combine flour and ½ cup milk. Add to boiling soup. Add cream of chicken soup. Bring back to a simmer and stir 4-5 minutes until soup is slightly thickened.
4. In separate bowl combine Bisquick and 1 cup milk. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling soup. Boil 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep chicken from sticking to bottom of pan.
5. Serve hot with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6-8 servings.

Up close with a dumpling.

I love this! It saves me lots of time when chopping veggies!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spaghetti Skillet Dinner

I love when I can make a meal and only dirty one pan! No precooking the noodles for this spaghetti dinner, because it all cooks all together in one skillet. Believe it or not, this recipe comes to you from the back of my pasta box! I used Italian sausage and got to have a nice conversation with my kids about the strange taste of fennel. The canned tomatoes make for an easy sauce and of course everything is better with a little cheese. :)

Spaghetti Skillet Dinner
8 oz thin spaghetti, broken in half
16 oz Italian sausage or ground beef
1/2 - 3/4 cup diced onion
14.5 oz can Italian Style diced tomatoes
8 oz can Italian Style tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Brown sausage and onions in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain grease. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water.
2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Bring back to a boil. Stir in uncooked pasta, mixing well.
4. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring often to separate pasta.
5. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.
Serves 4-6

Friday, February 13, 2015

Palmiers

These are sweet, buttery, flaky goodness and you can make them with only two ingredients! Well, one of them is frozen puff pastry, but that's not cheating, right?! I am posting these just in time for Valentine's Day because I love how they look like cute little hearts! I don't usually do step by step pictures, but I thought it might be helpful with this recipe. So here goes!

Palmiers
adapted from icingdesignsonline.blogspot.com
1 pkg of frozen puff pastry
Sugar

1. Take one roll of puff pastry out of the freezer and let come to almost room temperature.
2. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar on table or flat surface. Unfold the pastry sheet and place it on the sugar. Sprinkle another 1/4 of sugar on top of the pastry sheet. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough just slightly. You mostly just want to work the sugar into the dough a bit.
3. Begin rolling the sides in starting with about 1/2 an inch. Continue rolling until they meet in the middle. Roll one side on top of the others so that the rolls are stacked. Slice the roll into about 1/2 inch slices.
4. Place the slices on a parchment covered baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Sprinkle the tops with a little more sugar. Place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake straight from the refrigerator for 8 minutes. Remove them from the oven and flip them over with a spatula. Return to the oven for 6-8 more minutes or until they are golden and caramelized. Cool on wire rack.

NOW for the step by step pics with instructions. I took the pics with my phone so they aren't the best, but you get the idea. :)

 Take your puff pastry out of the freezer and let come to almost room temperature. You want to be able to work with it but it still needs to be cold. Here is the puff pastry I used. It comes with 2 rolls. You only work with one roll at a time, so you can just use one and save the other for something else, or do the second one when you have finished with the first.


 Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar on table or flat surface.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet and place it on the sugar. Sprinkle another 1/4 of sugar on top of the pastry sheet.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough just slightly. You mostly just want to work the sugar into the dough a bit.

Begin rolling the sides in starting with about 1/2 an inch.

Continue rolling until they meet in the middle.

Roll one side on top of the others so that the rolls are stacked.

Slice the roll into about 1/2 inch slices. If they fall apart a little, just roll them back up. I got 16 slices from this roll.

Place the slices on a parchment covered baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Sprinkle the tops with a little more sugar. Place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After the 15 minutes is up, put the baking sheet straight into the oven and bake for 8 minutes.


After they have baked for 8 minutes, remove them from the oven and flip them over with a spatula. I had to fix a couple that unrolled a little but be careful because that sugar will burn you! Return to the oven for 6-8 more minutes or until they are golden and caramelized. Cool on wire rack.