Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cheesy Basil Garlic Bread

I meant to post this awhile back and totally forgot. I went to make it last week and couldn't find the recipe on my blog anywhere. So here it is now! This uses an entire loaf of French bread, which feeds more than my family. So if you're good with half a loaf, then half the recipe, unless you REEEEALLY like cheese garlic bread. The other food items pictured on my plate are Perfect Chicken and Creamy Garlic Pasta.

Cheesy Basil Garlic Bread
adapted from inspiredtaste.net
1 load of French bread
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice French bread in half lengthwise.
3. In a bowl, mix together garlic, salt, and butter. Stir until mixed well. Add cheeses and basil and stir until combined.
4. Spread butter mixture onto bread.
5. Place butter side up on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until bread is golden around the edges and cheese had melted.

If you want the top to be a bit toastier, then give the bread a quick trip to the broiler.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

I already have a sausage breakfast casserole recipe that I love, but this one has a few differences. It is cheaper and easier to make because it uses plain sandwich bread and less eggs, and also has a different texture. I made it for breakfast on Christmas morning. It goes great with candy canes and chocolate. :)

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole
adapted from ourbestbites.com
6-8 slices white sandwich bread
About 1/4 cup softened butter (for buttering the bread slices)
4 cups grated Colby Jack cheese
16 oz pork sausage, browned and drained if necessary
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard

1. Remove the crusts from your bread and lightly butter one side. Place bread, butter side down, in a 9×13 baking dish. My pan takes 7 slices of bread with one cut in half (see pic below).
2. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top of the bread. Spread the browned sausage on top of that, and top with the green onions.
3. In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk eggs. Add milk and then seasonings and whisk to combine well. Slowly stir the egg mixture while you pour it evenly on top of the assembled casserole. You’ll want to keep stirring or else the spices will all gather in one spot and drop onto one single piece of casserole.
4. Cover well and place in the refrigerator overnight.
5. In the morning preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pop the casserole in there and bake (uncovered) for 50-60 minutes. You’ll want the center to be set and the outside edges to be golden brown. It’s important to let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it or it will just fall apart.

 *Note: Original recipe calls for a small can of green chilies which I substitute with green onions and 12oz of sausage, but I use the whole package of 16oz. Also it suggests shredding you own cheese, but I just use pre-shredded.




Sunday, January 17, 2016

Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole

Here's another healthy dish we had last week. I served it with baked chicken that you can find here. Of course it would have been healthier without the cheese, but then there would be no convincing my kids to eat it. Three out of four ate it without complaining, which is pretty good for broccoli. I loved the option of cooking the rice in my rice cooker, which I did, and it saved me some time. 


Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole
adapted from smittenkitchen.com
3 TBSPs butter
1/2 large onion, diced
Salt
2/3 cup uncooked wild rice blend, rinsed
1 pound broccoli
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp ground mustard powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 TBSPs all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 TBSP butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice to onion and cook for 1 minute, then add 1 1/3 cups water and a few pinches of salt. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to lowest temperature and cook with the lid on for about 50 minutes (or whatever amount of time is suggested on your package of rice). If you’d like a rice cooker to do this for you, transfer onions, water and rice to the machine and set the machine.
2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel broccoli stems and dice them into large chunks. Cut florets into 1-inch pieces. Cook in boiling, well-salted water for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain; set aside.
3. You can use this same pan (after dumping out the broccoli water) to make the cheese sauce. Melt remaining 2 TBSPs butter in pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the mustard powder, a pinch of cayenne and garlic and let sizzle for 1 minute. Add flour and whisk until combined, cooking the butter-flour mixture for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in milk, whisking constantly, then broth. Bring to a simmer and cook mixture at a simmer, stirring the whole time, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in 1/2 of grated cheese until melted. Season generously with salt and pepper.
4. Combine cooked wild rice blend and broccoli in a broiler safe 2-quart baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over the rice and broccoli mixture, making sure it's spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake casserole for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly, then place under the broiler until cheese is toasty on top.

Serves 4-5 as a generous side




Saturday, January 9, 2016

Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers

This week I jumped right in to exercising and eating healthy so that I could get rid of some of that baggage that comes along with fudge, cookies, hot cocoa, scones, ice cream cake, and everything else that is good. This was one of the new recipes I tried and I LOVED it! The only change I made from the original was adding a little extra cheese. :) BUT if you are a real stickler you can even leave the cheese off and it'll still be great. If you're a fan of quinoa, you can use it as a substitute for the brown rice. I had a little bit of leftover filling that didn't fit in the peppers and 2 of my kids ate it in tortillas. So if you're making this hoping your kids will eat it too, tortillas might be a good option.

Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers
adapted from cookingclassy.com
3/4 cup dry brown rice (2 cups cooked)
5 medium red, yellow, orange or green bell peppers
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSPs canola oil, divided
1 lb chicken, diced into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tsp chili powder, divided
1 tsp ground cumin, divided
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (10 oz) can tomatoes with green chiles
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
3 TBSPs fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
Sour cream, optional
Mexican Style Hot Sauce. optional

1. Prepare brown rice according to directions listed on package.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut peppers in half lengthwise (through stem), seed and de-vein, then boil 4 - 5 minutes (fully immersing them in the water), just until tender. Drain well and place in baking pans, set aside.
3. Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large and deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until golden about 5 minutes, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer, transfer onion mixture to a plate; set aside.
4. Using the same skillet, heat remaining 1 TBSP oil, add chicken, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, the paprika and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low, add cooked brown rice, onion mixture, tomatoes, black beans, corn, remaining 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, cilantro, lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook just until heated through.
6. Fill each pepper half with a heaping 1/2 cup of the mixture, pressing slightly to fit. Pour enough water into bottom of baking dishes to reach 1/8-inch in height (careful not to pour it in peppers).
7. Cover baking dishes with foil and bake 30 - 35 minutes, until peppers are soft. Remove from oven, sprinkle tops evenly with cheese then return to oven to bake until cheese has melted, about 3 minutes longer.

Serve warm topped with more cilantro, sour cream and hot sauce if desired.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

This recipe is the same as my Foolproof Chocolate Fudge recipe, but with minor tweaking. Can't have Christmas without it.

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
Adapted from Eagle Brand
3 cups (18 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Dash salt
1 tsp peppermint extract
Crushed peppermints or candy canes for garnish (optional)

1. Line 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.
2. Melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in extract. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle on crushed peppermint, if desired.
3. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares.



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cranberry Lime Punch

Here's a holiday punch that I like to make. If you feel like the lime flavor is too strong, you can add a little water.

Cranberry Lime Punch
1 - 2 quart bottle of cranberry juice (or a cranberry blend)
1 - 2 liter bottle of lemon lime soda
1 - 12oz can of frozen concentrated limeade
Cranberries and lime slices for garnish (optional)



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sweet Potato Minestrone Soup

I LOVE the sweet potato in this soup! It adds to the heartiness and helps make this super filling. I had some at a friends house, then made it at home and decided to add the pasta and zucchini. My whole family ate it up...but someone might have picked out the tomatoes. It's hard to please everyone. :)


Sweet Potato Minestrone Soup
1 lb. ground sweet or spicy Italian Sausage (Italian turkey sausage works well too)
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
3/4 cup celery, chopped
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1 medium sized potato)
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup ditalini pasta (tiny tube shape)
1 cup zucchini, chopped
Parmesan cheese, shredded for garnish

1. Combine sausage, onion, carrots, and celery in skillet over med-high heat, and cook until meat is done.
2. Add sausage mixture, sweet potato, diced tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, and water to slow cooker. Stir to combine.
3. Cook on high for 4 hours.
4. During last 30 minutes, cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and add to slow cooker, along with zucchini.
5. Cook on high for 30 more minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
6. Serve hot with grated Parmesan on top.