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Bacon & Ranch Chicken Pizza Roll

April 3, 2017

This is a very simple meal or snack, and we loved that you could pick it up with your hands! We loved the gooey cheese, the savory chicken and, of course, all the bacon.

20170311 Chicken Roll 02

You will need:

  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough
  • 4 oz light chive and onion cream cheese, softened until spreadable
  • 3 c cooked and shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 c shredded chicken
  • 1 packet dried Ranch seasoning
  • 1/2 lb thick cut bacon, cooked until crispy and roughly chopped
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • ¼ t garlic powder

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly roll the pizza dough into a 12×16 rectangle.
  3. Spread the cream cheese on the dough.
  4. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese on top of the cream cheese.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the Ranch seasoning.
  6. Sprinkle the chicken on top of the shredded cheese and top with the chopped bacon.
  7. Reserve a handful of the cheddar cheese for on top of the pizza roll.
  8. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the bacon.
  9. Roll up the pizza dough so it is a long roll.
  10. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.
  11. Gently tuck the ends under to loosely seal the roll.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven.
  14. Combine the butter and garlic powder.
  15. Brush the top with the garlic butter and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  16. Bake another 5 or so minutes until cooked through and golden.
  17. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting.
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Baked Sausage and Beans

March 28, 2017

This is a play on hot dogs and beans, but we dressed it up with yummy sausage. It comes together very quickly and makes excellent leftovers.

You will need:

  • 16 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 T sherry vinegar
  • 2 t dried basil
  • 2 t dried parsley
  • ½ t ground pepper
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage (or your favorite sausage), each sausage cut into two pieces
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) low sodium great northern beans, drained and rinsed

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large ovenproof Dutch oven, mix together the cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, parsley, pepper and salt. (You can also use a 9×13 baking dish).
  3. Mix in the sausage.
  4. Bake 35 minutes, until the sausages are roasted and cooked through. Stir once in the middle of the baking time.
  5. Stir in the beans.
  6. Return to oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the beans are warmed through.
  7. Serve with crusty bread and a fresh salad!

20170314 Sausage Beans 01

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Turkey and Rice Stuffed Peppers

March 22, 2017

My mom made stuffed peppers for dinner when we were growing up. They are nice, since you can prep them in advance and then pop the pan in the oven after work. You could also leave them in a slow cooker while you are away…then dinner will be ready when you get home! Depending on the size of your bell peppers, you may end up with extra filling. Bake it about 15-20 minutes alongside the rest of the dish, and then use it for a quick breakfast or dinner by topping it with some fried eggs.

20170303 Stuffed Pepper 03

You will need:

  • 6 bell peppers
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce (we used an arrabiata)
  • 1 t ground oregano
  • 1 t ground basil
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 c cooked long-grain/wild rice
  • 2 c shredded cheese (we used our favorite cheddar)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the tops of the bell peppers.Remove the stem and chop the tops. Set aside.
  3. De-seed the peppers and place the pepper cups in a 9×3 baking dish.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  5. Add the turkey and start to brown and crumble, cooking about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped bell pepper, onion and garlic.
  7. Saute until the turkey is cooked through and starting to brown.
  8. Stir in the tomato sauce, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, scallion and rice.
  9. Allow to simmer 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  10. Stir in half of the cheese.
  11. Spoon the filling into the bell pepper cups. Top with the extra cheese.
  12. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the dish loosely with foil.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes.
  14. Remove the foil and bake another 20-25 minutes. The pepper shells should be slightly softened and the cheese melted and browned.

20170303 Stuffed Pepper 05

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Deconstructed Pierogi Lasagna

March 17, 2017

Pierogi are filled dumplings that often have some combination of potato, cheese and meat inside. Rather than making individual dumplings, we decided to try it in the style of a lasagna. This is a rich and hearty dinner, so consider a light salad alongside for freshness.

20170301 Pierogi 01

You will need:

  • 1 package fresh lasagna noodles (or 9 boxed noodles, parboiled)
  • 12 oz thick cut bacon
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 lb red skinned potato
  • 3 T butter
  • 8 oz reduced fat chive and onion cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 small bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 c shredded cheddar cheese

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Spread the bacon on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until starting to crisp up. Remove from the oven. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside. Crumble once cool.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  4. Cut the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Put them in a large pan and cover with cold water. Add some salt.
  5. Bring the potatoes to a boil and allow to cook until able to be easily pierced with a fork, about 7-10 minutes.
  6. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Add the butter and cream cheese, and mash the potatoes until mostly smooth.
  7. Mix in the scallions and half of the bacon.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Line the baking dish with 1/3 of the lasagna noodles.
  10. Spread 1/3 of the mashed potatoes and sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.
  11. Repeat two more times with the remaining noodles, potatoes and cheese.
  12. Sprinkle the top with the remaining bacon.
  13. Cover lightly with foil.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes.
  15. Remove the foil and continue baking until warmed through, bubbly and golden, another 15 minutes or so.

20170301 Pierogi 02

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Beef Stew with Red Wine and Cranberries

March 12, 2017

Beef stew was a staple in my childhood home. This version has some bacon for extra yumminess. We also added red wine and cranberries…this gives the stew extra richness and makes it a little unusual. If you have a Parmesan rind, feel free to add it to the sauce for even more flavor.

You will need:

  • 1 lb thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 lb steak, cut into 1-inch cubes (pick your favorite stew cut)
  • 1/3 c T all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 16 oz baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 3 c carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c port
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) dry red wine
  • 2-3 c unsalted beef broth
  • 4 T tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 2 c cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a diner plate with two sheets of paper towel.
  2. In a large dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium high heat until starting to crisp.
  3. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon. Place on the prepared plate.
  4. Pat the beef dry with paper towel.
  5. In a large ziplock, combine 1/3 cup of the flour with the 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the paprika.
  6. Toss the beef in the flour mixture.
  7. Add the beef to the dutch oven and saute over medium high heat until golden on each side, about 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer the beef to the plate with the bacon.
  9. Add the onions and mushrooms to the dutch oven. Saute for 5 minutes.
  10. Add the carrots and garlic. Saute another 5 minutes.
  11. Mix in the port, and allow to reduce by half.
  12. Stir in the wine, 2 cups of the broth, and the tomato paste.
  13. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  14. Return the beef to the dutch oven.
  15. Stir in the cranberries.
  16. Add the bay leaves.
  17. Bake for 2 hours. Remove the bay leaves.
  18. Stir in the potatoes and add more broth as needed.
  19. Bake for another 45 minutes to an hour, or until the potato is tender.
  20. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  21. Serve with crumbled bacon on top!

20170117 Beef Stew Cranberry

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Puff Pastry Quiche with Spinach and Cheese

February 27, 2017

There are many great things about this recipe. First, you get to use puff pastry, which is flaky and buttery. Then you get to make quiche that is portable and easily customized, which makes this perfect for brunch or households where tastes vary. You can always mix up the egg base and set out a “filling bar” so hungry diners can choose-their-own meal adventure.

This recipe will give you a dozen muffin-sized quiches and a dozen mini quiches. You will likely have some extra filling mixture at the end too, which is perfect for making a quick egg scramble!

You will need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 c fat-free half and half
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed with the extra water squeezed out
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 2 c shredded cheese (I used a cheddar-jack blend)
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed according to the directions

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Set a regular and a mini-sized muffin tin on the counter to the side. Lightly grease the tins.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together with the half and half, garlic powder, pepper, paprika, salt, and red pepper flakes until light and airy.
  3. Stir in the spinach, onion and cheese (or whatever fillings you want…be creative!).
  4. Set aside.
  5. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and cut into 9 pieces (3×3). Gently stretch each piece slightly and press each piece into a regular sized muffin tin well.
  6. Unfold the second piece of puff pastry. Cut one-third of it into 3 pieces; these should be roughly equal in size to what you just cut. Gently stretch each piece slightly and press each piece into a regular muffin tin well.
  7. At this point you should have a dozen regular-sized muffin tin wells lined with puff pastry. The next step will line a dozen mini-sized muffin tin wells.
  8. Cut the remaining puff pastry into 12 pieces (3×4). Gently stretch each piece slightly and press into the mini muffin tin wells.
  9. Pour a little water into any unused mini muffin tin wells to protect them while baking.
  10. Gently spoon the egg mixture into each lined muffin tin well. The egg will rise a little, so you do not need to fill it to the top of the well. I recommend filling to about 2/3 full.
  11. Bake until the egg center is not wet/jiggly in the middle and the puff pastry is golden. It will take about 12-17 minutes for the mini quiches and another 5 or so for the regular muffin-sized ones. Check frequently near the end.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing. Finish cooling on a wire rack until they are cool enough to eat.

20170225 Puff Quiche 02.JPG

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Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread

February 13, 2017

This sweet treat is a crowd pleaser. I baked it as a thank you for some coworkers, and the whole loaf was almost gone in the first few minutes.

You will need:

  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) light cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 c cranberries, fresh or frozen

20170110-cranberry-bread-02

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9×5 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the cream cheese and sugar.
  3. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Mix in the baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. Mix in the flour just until combined.
  6. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.
  8. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden and a tester inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before flipping out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
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