Garlic Shrimp Bake

I save a lot of shrimp recipes, but I realized I don’t often MAKE shrimp dishes.  Likely due to the cost of fresh shrimp, which can be pretty high.  I am not opposed to cooking with frozen shrimp, but it’s not my preference.  It’s just too watery, I hate thawing it, and they don’t quite live up to their fresher cousins.  Anyway, shrimp is something I really enjoy when I do get a chance to make it and this dish is no exception.

It has SO much flavor it’s unbelievable, especially considering how simple it really is.  Everything goes into one dish and gets thrown into the oven.  Of course you will want to make some bread to go along and sop up that amazing sauce in the bottom of the pan.  I also chose to whip up some orzo (which I flavored with a quick gremolata) because as usual my husband wouldn’t have called it dinner without some form of starch.  They all went very nicely together.

_MG_1244-1 copy

The shrimp has such a freshness to it from the lemon, garlic and parsley.  Then you get that heat from the red pepper flakes that really kicks it up a notch, while still having a sweetness to it as well.  The tomatoes become little jewels that soak up that liquid in the bottom and they literally burst in your mouth.

Though the cost of shrimp often leaves me a bit shocked, I would gladly pay it a little more often to enjoy such fantastic dishes as this.  This dish would also be a great dinner party addition, perhaps justifying the cost even a bit more.  If that wasn’t enough to convince you, I would even go so far as to say it’s a pretty healthy dish, with most of the fat coming from the olive oil which is said to be good for you anyway.  So with those great excuses, you have no reason NOT to go out and pick up some nice shrimp and treat yourself to this dish!

_MG_1246-1 copy

Garlic Shrimp Bake

Ingredients :

  • 1.25 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (if you are making this for two as we did you could easily get away with a lb and not have such a crowded pan)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 T. lemon juice (I actually just used the juice of one lemon and the zest as well)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • splash of white wine (about 2 tablespoons or so)
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (I used one roma tomato)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Arrange all the ingredients except the parsley in an oven-safe skillet (cast iron works great for this).  Bake for 10 minutes, or until shrimp is done (depending on the size of shrimp you buy).
  3. Remove from oven, top with parsley and serve along side some bread or pasta.

Recipe from Nutritious Eats


Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

Tonight’s dinner is one of those super simple dishes that can be thrown together with little effort and very little actual cooking as well, which makes it the perfect weeknight meal.  It also makes great leftovers for lunch the following days.  This is yet another recipe that takes advantage of the ever-convenient and delicious rotisserie chicken…. one of my favorite cheats!  I suppose you could make your own chicken if you wanted, but last I checked there were no awards being handed out for causing yourself unnecessary hassle and making it from scratch lol.

_MG_1126-1 copy

The concept of this dish is pretty basic, with many of the usual Italian ingredients… and that’s ok.  Sometimes you just don’t need to mess with a good thing.  I really enjoyed this salad, and would definitely make it as is over and over again with complete satisfaction.  I can also see room for embellishments too if you wanted to mix things up from time to time.  Perhaps some crispy proscuitto, maybe some parsley or lemon… or whatever other Italian ingredients you like.  The only change I made to the original recipe was to use half kalamata olives just because they are my favorite and I happened to have some of both in the fridge I needed to use up.  Another area of versatility is in the dressing.  With so many options out there this could easily take on a lot of different flavors.  I used some Olive Garden Italian dressing I had on hand which I really love because it’s so creamy and cheesy.  You can also use whatever type of pasta you prefer.  I used some orecchiette, which is great for catching the dressing in the little bowl shaped centers.  The only downside is that they tend to stack up in there.

I cut the recipe in half and still had LOTS of food, so take that into consideration.  This would feed a lot of people, but like I said it can also make good leftovers.  I actually made mine earlier in the day and let it hang out in the fridge for a few hours before I served it.  I did sneak a taste right away before putting it in there, and I gotta say I really liked it with slightly warm pasta.  However, it’s still very good totally chilled.  It’s not a bad idea to reserve a bit of dressing to mix in later on just in case it seems a bit dry after sitting so long.

_MG_1131-2 copy

Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients :

  • 1 pkg. (16 oz) pasta
  • 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, diced
  • 1 can (6 oz) sliced black olives
  • 1 tub (8 oz) mozzarella pearls
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup torn or julienned basil
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bottle (16 oz) Italian salad dressing, divided

Directions :

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Rinse under cold water and drain well.  Pour pasta into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving about 1/2 cup of the dressing.  Mix to combine.
  3. Serve or refrigerate until ready to use.  (Pasta may dry out upon standing. Add reserved dressing if needed)

Recipe from In Good Flavor

Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter

So I know it’s been a while again since my last post, but what can I say….. I just get busy and unfortunately my blog and even making new recipes in general takes a back seat for a while.  But I always come back!  I left off with my first installment of a new project called Kids in the Kitchen, and though I haven’t had time to fit in another between busy school schedules, mini vacations and illnesses it’s still on my to-do list so be watching for that!  In the meantime I am hoping things have settled down enough that I can focus on making new and, in keeping with my current mindset of eating lighter and losing some of this holiday weight, healthier recipes.

First up on the menu is this Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter.  I will share my technique/recipe below, but this is one of those great recipes that has a lot of versatility.  All you’re doing is preparing a piece of salmon and mixing whatever flavors you want into some butter to top it off.  Super simple.  I served this with some grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, and some smashed potatoes.  This was my first time trying smashed potatoes and all I can say is now I am a believer!  So good, with a crispy outside, seasoned just right, and soft in the middle….. but let’s get back to the salmon lol.

I will admit, I have struggled to cook salmon in the past.  It’s not particularly hard, but cooking fish in general takes practice to get it done right where you get that nice crust on top and the fish is nicely cooked through.  I have either had it stick in my pan, or ended up with somewhat undercooked fish in the middle of a nice thick piece of fish.  With time, however, I have gotten the hang of it.  Although I switched over to stainless steel cookware some time ago to cut down on my use of non-stick and their chemicals. fish is something I pretty much always use nonstick for.  Specifically, I use a a Rachel Ray Anodized Nonstick skillet and it works beautifully for giving me a nice crust, but avoiding the dreaded stick.  Another very important tip when cooking fish to ensure it doesn’t stick and gets great crust is to leave it alone once you have placed it in the pan.  It may be tempting to lift the edges to check, or slide it around to see if it’s sticking but don’t.  Trust me.  And don’t forget to use oil or butter or something to grease your pan.  Once it’s done on one side according to your recipe’s directions flip it once and again leave it alone til it’s time to come out.  It also helps to take your fish out a few minutes early to bring the temp up just a bit before you start, and make sure it’s dry…. especially if you are cooking with previously frozen fish.  Of course, as with pretty much all food, seasoning is important, so don’t forget to season before you place it in the pan!

Now that we talked a bit about cooking a nice piece of salmon, let’s talk about the butter…. as I mentioned it’s a versatile method.  You could put whatever herbs or seasonings in this you like.  The butter will melt beautifully over the warm fish and give that richness that takes a boring piece of fish to a whole new level, imparting the flavors you incorporated at the same time.  For this recipe I used some fresh chives, dill, garlic, lemon and some salt and pepper.  It’s important to start with room temperature butter for this, so don’t forget to take it out in advance.  You could even make the butter in advance and either use it hard from the fridge, or take it out a little before for a softer butter…. and any leftovers can be used on other meats, bread, or whatever sounds good to you.

As a natural casualty to having to photograph my food before I can eat it my salmon had cooled a bit while I was setting up so my butter wasn’t melting over it right away as I would have liked for the photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination a bit.

_MG_1079-1 copy

Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter

Ingredients :

  • salmon fillets (about a lb) * I used salmon with the skin
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T. butter, at room temp * I just eyeballed how much butter so this is estimation
  • drizzle of olive oil (about 1/2 tsp. perhaps)
  • fresh chives, chopped (about 1 tsp. or so)
  • fresh dill, chopped (about 1 tsp or so)
  • salt and pepper to taste (separate from the salt and pepper above)
  • garlic clove, minced
  • lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges (for serving with the fish)

Directions :

  1.  Make your butter first.  To your room temp butter add your herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, lemon zest (by preference but about a tsp or so), and some salt and pepper.  Using a small spatula sort of stir/whip it up until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead put back in the fridge.  You can either use it straight from the fridge later on, or let it warm up just a bit so it’s a little softer.
  2. Prepare you salmon.  If you are using previously frozen salmon be sure to pat dry before you start.  Season your salmon with a bit of salt and pepper (I like to use coarse salt when seasoning meat).  If you are using salmon with skin you don’t need to season that side, but if not I would suggest doing both sides.
  3. Heat the T. of oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  If using skin-on salmon place it in your pan skin UP so you get the nice crust from that first bit of heat on the top of your fish first.  Once you have set your fish in your pan DON’T TOUCH IT for about 4-5 minutes.  You see the fish start to turn opaque towards the middle and the edges will start to brown.  Flip it and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.  Of course the cook-time depends on the thickness of your fish, so take that into consideration, and watch for the fish to become opaque all the way through.
  4. Remove from pan and top with a dollop of your prepared butter.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Note : Amounts for the herbs in the butter are estimations and I encourage you to use more or less to your tastes.  I like a nice punch of flavor and likely used more than stated above.

Skinny Capellini Carbonara

In my last post I covered that all too familiar scenario where you plan out your meals and realize when you’re at the store that you can’t get certain ingredients.  Similar to that, I often find that I can’t find a specific version of something.  This can become a major issue for a less experienced cook because if you do have to substitute you may find that you need to tweak the directions in order to get a good result.  In this case, it was proscuitto.  Although you can get thinly sliced proscuitto at nearly every store around me, I have yet to see it in a form that would allow me to dice it up.  I have a feeling you need a specialty store, or butcher for that sort of thing.

Anyway, with really no other options, I decided to just go with the thinly sliced stuff, which thankfully I am familiar with.  If you put a thin slice in a hot skillet it will sort of wrinkle and curl up and though it will cook, it won’t be very even.  I decided instead to pile it up and just roughly cut it up, allowing it to stick together and form bits.  I also don’t think you get the amount of fat in the skillet that you would if you were using a thicker cut, so I added just a bit of olive oil to my skillet to get it going.  As it cooked, I stirred it around pretty constantly as I didn’t want areas to overcook, which can happen quickly.  I cooked it over medium or even a little lower for about 5 minutes until it started to crisp up and all the fat pieces loss that chewyness I don’t enjoy.

The packages at my store came as 3oz, which I think is pretty standard, so I grabbed 2… and because I had nothing in mind for the leftovers I used it all.  I figured my husband especially would appreciate the extra in a pretty simple dish.  It was good that way, but the proscuitto does add a good deal of saltiness to the dish, so if you aren’t big on salty foods I would stick to 4oz as I am sure it would have been plenty.  The other substitute I made, if you can even really call it that, was to use shredded Parmesan instead of grated because I already had that and shaved and didn’t want to purchase a third variety.  I just ran my knife through it a bit until it was closer to grated texture and that worked out just fine.  The recipe states that you could need additional pasta water to thin your sauce, but I definitely didn’t find that to be the case, it was nice and thin with just the 1/2 cup.  For the capellini, I used thin spaghetti, and mine was actually a vegetable variety which I hadn’t tried before.  I have never seen capellini in my stores, but I am pretty sure there really isn’t much if any difference between the two, or you could even use angel hair pasta.

Now for the review…. I have to say I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did!  I had hoped I would of course, but I guess having the word skinny in the title just makes you assume it’s going to be bland at best.  The proscuitto adds so much flavor to this dish, and especially if you use 1 1/2 the amount like I did lol.  The peas give that nice counter balance of freshness to the decadent and velvety smooth sauce.  All in all, a fantastic pasta dish!  This is also a very quick dish to prepare which is perfect for most people on a busy weeknight.

_MG_0838-1 copy _MG_0840-2 copy

Skinny Capellini Carbonara

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 lb capellini pasta (sub thin spaghetti or angel hair)
  • 4 oz. proscuitto, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I doubled that)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, at room temp
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas
  • additional Parmesan for top

Directions :

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the proscuitto until golden, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Turn off the heat. (See notes above if you had to use thinly sliced proscuitto)
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Approximately 2-3 minutes (or according to package directions if you substituted another pasta)
  3. While the pasta cooks, whisk the eggs with the cheese, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of pasta water to the eggs to temper them. (So they don’t scramble when mixed into the pasta.)
  4. Remove the pasta with a slotted spoon and transfer to the skillet with the proscuitto. Mix the pasta with the fat and proscuitto and then slowly add the eggs to the pasta while stirring constantly. If the pasta still seems dry add another 1/4 cup of the pasta water and stir until cream. Fold in the peas and serve immediately.

Recipe from The Suburban Soapbox

Published in: on January 13, 2015 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Thai Quesadillas With Grilled Chicken

You know the feeling…. the one where you made the effort to plan well thought out meals for the week, made your grocery list and then find out the grocery store doesn’t have one of the ingredients you so desperately needed for that new recipe!  This happens to me fairly often actually.  Living in Portland, OR I could likely find whatever ingredient I needed by going to one of the many choices I have for markets around here.  However, as a busy mom, that is not always practical, so like most of the world I just make do and find a substitute if I can.

Tonight’s recipe called for red chili peppers.  I’ve seen them, and even bought them before, but apparently it wasn’t at my main store.  In the past I have just substituted serranos or even jalapenos, but I just felt like it wasn’t enough for some reason.  Maybe I just wanted more color… forgetting that it would be blended up anyway.  Anyway, for some reason unbeknownst to me I grabbed some habaneros….. if you know much about peppers you know they are HOT.  I apparently wasn’t think about that, and was surprised to find out they are more like doubling up on your jalapenos.  OOPS.  Too late, I decided to just go with them, and use less than the recipe called for.  Like a good chef I tested a piece before I put it in there…. yep, definitely hot lol.  It worked out though, as the rest of the ingredients in the sauce mellowed it out nicely and it really wasn’t hot at all.  My husband would have liked it hotter, but I like it where you can taste the heat at certain points but not be overwhelmed by it so it was great for me.

The dish in it’s entirety was AWESOME!  Great Thai flavors for sure, and a nice combination of textures with the bit of crunch from the peanuts and carrots.  Everything comes together very quickly, and even more so if, like me, you opt to use rotisserie chicken.  Why not take a shortcut when you can?!  I did taste my sauce after first mixing it and decided to add a bit more of the more acidic ingredients (vinegar and lime juice) because it was almost too peanut buttery still.  I also threw in some lime zest…. no sense in wasting it!  I used about 1.5 T of the sriracha.

Having a child with peanut allergies (obviously  he doesn’t eat things like this lol), means extra work.  I am not a minimalist cook, and use a lot of dishes/surfaces to create my masterpieces.  Especially if I am blogging the dish and want it to look as good as it tastes as there are sometimes extra steps to ensure that.  This means peanuts of some form likely touch MANY surfaces in my kitchen before I am done.  That means EXTRA cleaning up after it’s all done, and definitely not being able to take the lazy approach and swear to myself I will get it later.  But a great Thai dish with a peanut sauce is ALWAYS worth it for me!  Such a fantastic blend of flavors!  If you have never tried it, I suggest you dive right in and make this dish ASAP!

_MG_0818-1 copy _MG_0836-2 copy

Thai Quesadillas With Grilled Chicken

Ingredients :

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used about 8oz shredded rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 T. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T. peanuts, crushed
  • 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I used about like 6 oz)
  • 4 (10″) flour tortillas
  • 1/3 cup + peanut sauce (below)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • cilantro for garnish

Sauce Ingredients :

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili peppers, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 T. olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime (throw in zest too optional)
  • 2 T. water
  • 1-2 T. sriracha

Directions :

  1. To make chicken, preheat an indoor grill over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and place on the hot grill. Grill each side until cooked through and the juices run clear, about 4 minutes per side. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the grill and allow it to rest.
  2. While the chicken is resting, prepare the peanut sauce. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. Add additional Sriracha for a spicier sauce. Set aside.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with a little cooking spray and add the onions. Cook until the onions start to soften, then add the carrots.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for an additional minute, then remove from heat. Set aside.
  4. Cut the chicken into strips against the grain. Toss the strips with about ¼ to ⅓ cup of peanut sauce. Reserve the remaining sauce for drizzling.
  5. Assemble the quesadillas by topping a tortilla with half of the chicken in peanut sauce, onions, carrots, cilantro, and cheese. Top with a second tortilla. Place the tortilla on a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Once the quesadilla is golden on the first side, carefully flip the quesadilla over. Cook until the cheese has completely melted and the second side is golden brown. Repeat with remaining tortillas and fillings.  * a tip for flipping it is to slide it out of the skillet onto a flat surface so you can better get a spatula and hand under it without burning yourself.  This way you can also respray your skillet to ensure better browning on the second side, then just flip it carefully in.
  6. Top the quesadillas with cilantro, crushed peanuts, and a drizzle of the remaining peanut sauce. Serve immediately.

Recipe from That Oven Feelin’

Tex-Mex Taco Pasta

If you’re like most people you probably find a recipe you like and then make it over and over until you eventually know it like the back of your hand.  There’s nothing wrong with that!  As some would say, why fix it if it’s not broken?!  I, however, look at things a little differently and rarely do I make the same recipe twice unless it was just so amazing that there is no question in my mind of whether a different version could ever top it… and even then I still might try.  Because of this, I have found that though a recipe can essentially have the same ingredients and even be prepared similarly, it only takes a small change to sometimes make a more substantial difference in flavor.  This allows me to not only find “better” (or sometimes worse) versions of a dish, but I guess i get to enjoy many good versions of a good dish without it ever seeming too familiar or boring.

This dish is one of those dishes.  I have made plenty of taco inspired pastas or casseroles, and they use basically the same things, but each is a little different from the other.  Some are more punchy or spicy in flavor, some more cheesy and indulgent, textures vary, etc.  I would consider this version a family friendly version which we really enjoyed, with all the great flavors you would expect but somehow in a mild form if that makes sense.  This one is also quite simple to prepare, which I guess most are, but this one especially so, making it a perfect weeknight meal.  There was enough for us to have this two nights which is always a bonus during a busy week!  Even my picky child…. ok BEYOND picky…  said he didn’t totally hate this.  Which actually means he kind of liked it and just won’t admit it and eat new foods.

My only issues with the recipe were minor things.  The first being the rotel tomatoes… it called for 15 oz, and I could only find 10 oz cans.  No biggie, I just went with 2 and I think that worked out perfectly.  The second issue was during the step where it says to season the browned meat with the taco seasoning.  I have seen recipes that go both ways, and this one did NOT state whether I should use the water as directed on the packet.  However, it did say to simmer, which I imagine couldn’t happen very well without the water so I decided to go with it and I am glad I did.  Whether or not it was intended it worked out great that way and I would suggest for sure using it as directed on the packet.  The last small thing was that the recipe said to add the beans, corn, and rotel at the end of simmering the meat and turn off heat.  I wanted to be sure everything was heated through so I just left the burner on medium-low and kept it stirred until my pasta was done.

I used an organic 85/15 beef, and a taco blend of Mexican cheeses.  I also opted for the original rotel tomatoes, which I am sure has a lot to do with my mild flavors, but if your family is all ok with some heat feel free to use a spicier version. Of course I could add various things to this to make it better, or different at least to better suite our tastes…. but that would be a new recipe… and perhaps one I will come across later on!

_MG_0810-1 copy

Tex-Mex Taco Pasta

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet low sodium taco seasoning (plus water suggested on packet)
  • 12 oz. farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 15 oz rotel tomatoes (or 20 oz in my case), drained of excess liquid
  • 15 oz can sweet corn, drained
  • 15 oz. can black beans (low sodium), rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • cilantro

Directions :

  1. Cook farfalle according to package directions in salted water.
  2. Meanwhile brown your beef in a high-rimmed skillet over medium-high heat.  Drain the excess grease off.  Add taco seasoning (and water) and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add rotel tomatoes, corn, and black beans.  Reduce heat to a medium-low or low and stir occasionally to keep things heated through until the pasta is done.
  4. Drain pasta, and put back into pot.  Add the meat mixture, cheese, and heavy cream.  Stir until cheese has melted in. 
  5. Serve with chopped cilantro to garnish.

Recipe from catz in the kitchen

Published in: on January 9, 2015 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Meatloaf Burgers

Let’s say it’s the middle of the week, and you have a craving for meatloaf.  Let’s also assume you don’t have the time or patience it takes to cook a traditional meatloaf…… which in my experience is forever and even then I often get it wrong.  If this sounds like you, this is probably the perfect recipe for you!  It may not satisfy the pickiest of meatloaf fanatics, but my husband and I definitely felt it had a meatloaf taste without all the hassle.  In fact, I don’t even like meatloaf all that much…shhh…. but even I liked it in this burger form with the BBQ sauce slathered all over it.  Heck, this even saves all those people that end up eating their meatloaf as a sandwich a little extra time!

These definitely comes together quickly and simply.  I used my double burner cast iron grill indoors tonight because it’s Fall and not worth trekking out in the chilly, often wet, weather to uncover the grill and clean it just for a couple burgers.  I couldn’t live without my stove top grill!  Anyway, for some reason I tend to make my burgers rather thick, and occasionally have issues getting them to then cook all the way through, but these turned out well.  I did about 5-6 minutes a side, and then used a roasting pan lid to cover all of them at once with the cheese on at the end to get it nice and melted.  This also probably helped ensure I got them cooked through…. I do NOT like pink in my burger!

I have to admit I was kind of skeptic that these would resemble meatloaf all that much with so few ingredients added and so little of them, but somehow it worked.  The sauce is very sweet, so if you prefer your BBQ sauce a little less so, just adjust the sugar or even leave it out if you want.  I used some potato buns for ours and topped it only with the sauce.  IMO it didn’t need anything more, but I am sure you could add whatever floats your boat.  All in all these were very good and the perfect compromise between my meatloaf loving husband and I.

Not much to the picture… I got a little cheese happy and the burger was almost entirely encased it it lol.  But here is a little peek if you look closely….

_MG_0690-1 copy

Meatloaf Burgers

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used grass fed 85/15)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 8 saltines, crushed
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic sauce
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese

Sauce Ingredients :

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard powder

Directions :

  1. Mix burger ingredients, minus the cheese, together by hand and form into one big ball.  Score the meat with the side of your hand to make 4 even sections and form those sections into patties.
  2. Grill on medium heat until cooked through, about 4-6 minutes a side.  Once done, top each burger with a slice of cheddar and either close the grill lid or form a tent with a lid or foil if using a stove top grill to allow cheese to melt.
  3. To make sauce combine ingredients in a microwave safe dish and heat for about 45 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave until sugar is melted, Whisk to remove any lumps.
  4. Top each burger with sauce and enjoy!

Recipe from Noshing with the Nolands

Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Healthy One Pot Chili Mac

Look at me, two days in a row cooking… lol.

Anyway, if you can’t tell, I am ready for cooler weather and the kind of foods that warm your belly.  What originally drew me in to this recipe was the “one pot” promise.  Even though in our house the dishes fall mainly on my husband as a sort of way to show his appreciation for all the wonderful meals I make, it’s always nice to have LESS dishes, and especially on a weeknight.  This particular dish also comes together easily and quickly making it perfect for a busy work day.

You could definitely use beef in this recipe, the turkey just goes along with the “healthy” claim.  I didn’t plug the numbers or anything, but I imagine it’s not too bad, though I definitely added more cheese than it called for so that made it slightly less healthy.  Another change I had to make was to use a Serrano pepper because believe it or not my grocery store was completely out of jalapenos the other day.  I am not sure it really makes much difference though.

Chilis vary so greatly from person to person, and what is good to some may not be to others.  So with this in mind I will say I really liked this chili.  For me it had the right amount of chili powder and spices.  I also felt the additions were well balanced in this.  I did use 1.25 lbs of turkey, only because that’s what the package came as and I didn’t want to put .25 lbs back in the freezer.  I realize that the addition of macaroni to chili is probably a strange concept to some, but I grew up with my mom making something quite similar actually (though it was more of a soup) so it wasn’t new to me at all.

One note I would make…. the recipe says to use a large pot, and it shows them using a large saute pan…. I imagine things would be hard to fit in there without making a mess.  I used my dutch oven and it worked perfectly for this.

_MG_0672-1 copy

_MG_0676-2 copy

Healthy One Pot Chili Mac

Ingredients :

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (I used a Serrano)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 Cups water
  • 1 1/2 Cups macaroni noodles
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions :

  1. In a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat, add oil and saute the onion, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add turkey to the pot and break up, cooking until browned.
  3. Add the seasonings, tomatoes, beans, water and macaroni, stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer until macaroni is soft, about 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheese.
  5. Serve with additional cheese on top if desired.

Recipe from Oh, Sweet Basil

Marsala Mushroom, Spinach & Hazelnut Orzo

First things first… some of you may have noticed I took a rather long hiatus from this blog.  There were multiple reasons, it was just basically something I needed to do, but I am ready to get back into things…. I hope lol.  Life is a bit chaotic right now as I am adjusting to new schedules with my baby finally in preschool 3 days a week, but I have been having that urge to not only start meal planning and trying new recipes again, but to blog them as well.  The rest of you, maybe didn’t notice at all, and that’s ok too lol.  I hope in my absence everyone still enjoyed the many wonderful recipes already posted on my blog.

Now for the recipe…

This was definitely a winner in my book.  Such wonderful flavor and a great blend of textures.  I especially liked the crunch and nuttiness of the hazelnuts along side the mushrooms.  This does make a lot, so I am hoping the leftovers are just as good, which I think they will be.

I actually have never cooked with marsala wine before, and it was kind of funny… I was searching all over the wine section for it, when I had to look it up on my phone and realized it would be near the vinegars.  So there, I have saved you that bit of embarrassment if you have never purchased it before.  Anyway, I love a good mushroom dish and this is exactly that.  It called for 3 cups of mushrooms, but I honestly don’t know how you can measure mushrooms by the cup… so I just grabbed like 12-14 and eyeballed it.  I cut them fairly thick so they would stand up to the cooking and retain a bit of meatiness to them and that worked out well.  I actually simmered everything for about 9 minutes, instead of the 5, because I had a late start getting my orzo into the boiling water.  Everything came together very easily, and dinner was ready in a short time which is always a plus on those busy weeknights.

I tried something a little different from my norm, which is just taking a shot at the end… and attempted to get some ingredient shots and even some cooking shots, but it wasn’t hard to realize that’s not my forte!  Not only is the light in my kitchen not very conducive to that sort of thing, but I just don’t have the time while cooking to fiddle with it.  I am usually always doing SOMETHING, and more often than not I am a sweaty, frazzled mess and the last thing I want to do is take pictures lol.  I might try from time to time, but I can’t promise anything.

Because I was in a rush when copying the recipe down I forgot one of the ingredients (which I did put in the dish since I added it in the steps), so it didn’t make it in the picture.  Any guesses as to what it was?  I will give you a hint… it’s not the salt and pepper (though also not pictured) and it’s one of my FAVORITE and most used ingredients…..

_MG_0640-1 copy

_MG_0642-2 copy

_MG_0655-3 copy

 Marsala Mushroom, Spinach & Hazelnut Orzo

Ingredients :

  • 2 C. uncooked orzo
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 C. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 C. vegetable stock
  • 3/4  C. marsala cooking wine
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 C. fresh spinach
  • 1/2 C. marscapone
  • 1/4 C. pecorino, or an Italian blend like parmesan and romano like I used
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2/3 C. toasted hazelnuts

Directions :

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile saute shallot in oil over medium heat until softened (about 2 min.).  Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds or so until fragrant.
  3. Add mushrooms, cook until they begin to brown and soften.  This takes about 3-4 minutes.  Stir often.
  4. Add Vegetable stock, marsala, salt and pepper, making sure to deglaze the pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer at least 5 minutes (or longer if you are waiting on your orzo like I was).  Stir often and make sure not to overcook your mushrooms.
  5. Add mushroom mixture to drained orzo, then add your spinach, marscapone, and Italian cheese, stirring until cheeses are melted and spinach is wilted in.
  6. Stir in lemon juice and hazelnuts and serve immediately.

Note : it calls for toasted hazelnuts.  I find it best to do this BEFORE I start cooking so I don’t totally forget about them and end up burning them.  There are two ways to do this…. some people like to do it in the oven, or you can do it like I do, in a skillet over medium heat stirring almost constantly and watching closely.  Once they start to toast they will burn quickly if you aren’t careful.  I prefer the skillet method because I am not only watching them the entire time and not likely to forget them, but I find they cook less evenly when just left on a sheet in the oven and some will still burn in there.


Recipe from Orchard Street Kitchen


Broiled Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce

Rather than drag the kids to the store with me, which let’s face it is a nightmare, I like to wait until my husband is home before I go grocery shopping.  This is fine, except that by the time I am done it’s getting a bit late, and I often don’t feel like cooking anymore.  This is where super quick and easy meals come in!  Fish is a great option because if you buy fresh you need to use it right away anyway, and most preparations of it are fast.  I had planned to make some roasted potatoes with this, which admittedly would have added a good deal of time to the process, but luckily for me I forgot the potatoes.  I did get some asparagus though, and I knew between the two of us we had more than enough salmon so I just decided that would be dinner.  It ended up being plenty for me, but I am sure my husband would have liked to have the potatoes too.  Anyway, I sauteed the asparagus up while the salmon broiled and this meal came together lightning quick, and with very little work!

I actually can’t recall whether I have broiled fish before.  I have baked it plenty of times, but I guess I worried that the high heat of the broil on the top only would leave the middle uncooked before the top started to burn.  I am happy to report, at least this time, that is the not the case.  It was perfectly cooked through without being dry and had a nice bit of crust on top.   The recipe was originally for a much larger fillet of salmon, but for the two of us I halved the recipe.  That’s still 1.25lbs of fish!  Mine were cut into 4 individual fillets, so they cooked faster than the suggested time, so watch it closely when you put it in.  The sauce is easy to throw together, but if you want to save even more time, or allow for more time for the flavors to marry you could make it that morning and throw it in the fridge or even the night before.  Just make sure to give it a good whisk before serving it.

The flavors, though simple, were fantastic.  I was a little surprised by the step to rub soy sauce on the salmon, but whatever purpose it serves must be worth it because the salmon alone was great.  Combine that with the creamy sauce with that bit of grain and spice of mustard and the tang of the dill and you have a perfect pairing.  I used some of the sauce to drizzle on my asparagus as well.

Salmon isn’t the cheapest protein out there…. I think for 1.25lbs I paid close to 20.00!  To me that’s a lot, but we don’t eat salmon that often so I don’t mind splurging every once in a while.  Because it doesn’t fit into most people’s daily budget, however, I think it often becomes a “company dish”.  This not only has great flavor, but looks beautiful on the plate and would be great to serve to your guests.  I would just suggest rounding out the meal with something like… oh I don’t know… roasted potatoes and asparagus! lol.  Just don’t forget the potatoes like me and you’re golden.


Broiled Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce

Ingredients :

  • 2.5 – 3 lb salmon fillet
  • soy sauce for rubbing the salmon
  • fresh bay leaves and thyme sprigs for garnish (I didn’t bother)
  • 1/2 cup coarse-grained mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, or to taste

Directions :

  1. To make sauce, in a bowl combine the mustard, water, cream, oil, sugar, and dill.  Whisk together until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead be sure to chill in fridge, and re-whisk before serving.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Rinse salmon and pat dry.  Arrange skin side down (mine were skinless) on a foil-lined pan and rub thoroughly with soy sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and broil about 4 inches from the heat for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through.  Transfer salmon to a platter and garnish with herbs.
  4. Serve salmon warm or at room temperature with mustard dill sauce.

Recipe from A Chow


Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Green Apple & Bacon

For many years now I have heard people talk of putting cheese and apples together….. I couldn’t wrap my head around it, but I was definitely curious.  When I came across this sandwich I finally got up the courage to give this age-old combo a try.  Honestly I was nervous lol.  I had put it on the menu, bought the stuff, but because it was a busy week I kept pushing it out further and further and I was both anxious to try it, and worried that it wouldn’t be to my liking and we’d have to have a back-up plan.  Another thing that kept me from trying it earlier was my husband’s distaste for cooked apple anything.  Seeing the simplicity of the recipe, and figuring that bacon makes EVERYTHING better I went for it.

I was pleasantly surprised!  I actually found myself really enjoying the combination of flavors and textures in this simple sandwich.  The crisp and salty bacon, the gooey sharp cheese, and the slightly sweet/tart and juicy apple work really well with each other and you can’t go wrong with buttery toast.  Who knew!?  Oh yeah, most of the population lol.  Even my cooked apple hating husband enjoyed these.

I used the very large slices of sourdough from the middle of the loaf, so I just eyeballed the ingredients to cover the surface.  I think for two sandwiches I used about half the apple, and 3-4 slices of bacon per sandwich with 4 slices of cheese per sandwich.  I am just going to copy the recipe as listed below and you can make adjustments as needed like I did based on your bread size or preference.  I would definitely make these again, and maybe I will find other ways to try this flavor combo as well now that I am not afraid anymore lol.

Grilled Sandwich with Green Apple & Bacon

Makes : 1 sandwich

Ingredients :

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 T. butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 2 big slices medium or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 thin slices tart green apples
  • 2 bacon slices, crisp cooked and drained

Directions :

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Butter one side of each slice of the sourdough bread. If using mustard, spread mustard on the interior side of one of the buttered slices of bread.
  3. Place a cheese slice on the mustard, followed by apple slices and bacon. Add another cheese slice on top of that, and close the sandwich with the other piece of buttered bread.
  4. Grill the sandwich until crisp and browned on each side and until the cheese is melted (if your cheese is not melting, covering the sandwich with a lid can help, but turn down the heat so that the bread doesn’t over-brown). Remove the sandwich from the pan, slice on the bias, and serve promptly.

Recipe from Alaska From Scratch


Italian Chicken Bake

Don’t let the simplicity of this fool you, it’s full of flavor.  The fact that it’s super simple to throw together any night of the week is just an added bonus.  While it is great as is, you could take it a step further even and maybe add a little lemon juice or zest, or a few more herbs, or perhaps use a different type of cheese.  This is one of those great basic recipes that is perfect for making little alterations to best suit you and your family.

I served ours with rice, which was a nice combo.  The rice was perfect for the bit of sauce in this dish.  Instead of basil, because the store was out, I used parsley.  One issue I had though, was regarding liquid.  The recipe states to drain the artichokes and tomatoes very well, even going so far as to lay them on paper towels to ensure the flour would thicken up the liquids.  However I didn’t have any liquid left in my dish after draining them so well.  The recipe poster used thighs in her dish and I can only assume they let off more liquid than the breasts I used.  I didn’t want to end up with floury artichokes and tomatoes so I added a bit of chicken stock (maybe 1/4-1/3 cup) to the dish and that worked perfectly.  It was still a little thin after the first cooking, but I opted to use a combination of both the grated Parmesan and the Mozzarella, and the Parmesan helped to thicken it up that last bit.

One thing I would suggest if you are using breasts, is to pound them out somewhat thin or butterfly them.  Not only do they cook better/more evenly, but I just think it is a better balance per bite than a thick bite of chicken would be.  It’s all preference though.  Also the recipe called for 6 chicken thighs, but since I was using breasts I was left to guess at how much that might be.  I went with about 2 lbs, or just under.  You can use canned artichokes or the marinated kind, and the recipe poster suggests the marinated for more flavor.  That is what I used and I agree.  I also used a roasted tomato that had basil and some other Italian seasonings in it.

Italian Chicken Bake

Ingredients :

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 8oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained well
  • 1 14.5 oz can roasted tomatoes, drained well
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella or parmesan
  • basil – optional

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a 9 x 9 baking dish with non stick spray.
  3. Place chicken in baking dish.
  4. In mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients.
  5. Pour over chicken.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through.
  7. Top with cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.

** Be sure to read notes above regarding liquid.

Recipe from Laughing Spatula



Published in: on September 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole

If you are looking for simple, quick and delicious comfort food, casseroles are definitely the way to go.  They are such a versatile dish, with so many fantastic flavor combinations.  This particular one is a southwestern inspired casserole, and I promise your entire family will love it!  As long as they aren’t as picky as my kids who wouldn’t even try it that is lol…..

There is a lot of flavor in this casserole, but not a lot of heat which makes it even more family friendly.  It is nice and creamy from the yogurt and sour cream, but  has lots of texture from the beans, corn, chicken, and rice.  The cilantro adds a nice freshness to the whole thing, and the the cheese…. well you know how I feel about cheese lol.  As with most casseroles, this heats up beautifully the next day and could be a great thing to make ahead for quick lunches throughout the week.

I used brown rice like it calls for, but if you prefer white go ahead and use that. I did change things a little though and used a  Mexican blend cheese.  And, you can probably guess, I used rotisserie chicken.

As for low FODMAP or not…. you’ll have to be the judge.  I can handle some sour cream and yogurt so it was no problem for me, but it depends on your triggers.  Generally though this is pretty low FODMAP friendly.

Perhaps the one downside to casseroles, from a photographer’s standpoint anyway, is that it kind of just looks like a blob of stuff.  It’s pretty hard to get creative with the photographs for them, so bear with me if pretty much all my casserole images look the same lol.  I promise they all taste wonderful in their own unique ways!  And the smell…. you may want to have someone “conveniently” stop by for a minute so they can get a whiff and sing praises to your culinary skills.


Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole

Serves : 6-8

Ingredients :

  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or canned is ok
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped + more for garnish
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used lite)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar + more for topping

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9×13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and stir well to combine, and pour the chicken mixture into your prepared dish.
  3. Top with about a 1/2 cup of extra shredded cheddar cheese.  Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until nice and hot.
  4. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Recipe from Little B Cooks


Orzo Chicken Asiago

There are times when the simplest of recipes to prepare end up being some of the best to eat, and this is one of those times.  I could see this becoming a regular in anybody’s household.  It’s far within most people’s comfort zones, simple to make, and has everything most people look for in a meal.  You have your starch, your protein, your dairy, and your veggies all in one colorful dish!

While trying to get my husband’s opinion on the dish for this blog, as I often try to do because I feel like he is a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy and therefore harder to please when it comes to trying new things, I was given a rating of 8 out of 10.  When I asked him to elaborate on that, he simply said “the tomatoes weren’t terrible”.  Not exactly helpful if you ask me… I mentioned such to him and that my readers are not going to want to try a dish that is described as being “not terrible”.  He said that if someone like himself, who hates tomatoes, would say the dish was an 8 and that he liked it in spite of the tomatoes that it must be good.  So there you have it… the tomatoes aren’t terrible.

I, on the other hand, and I might add I also don’t like large pieces of tomato, thought they were not only “not terrible” but that they were a key ingredient in the dish, and part of what makes it so fantastic.  All the freshness added by the tomatoes, onions, peas, and parsley give this a light feeling not typical of most pasta dishes. This is also true because of the orzo, which is a small pasta, but seems a lot like rice in shape and texture.  The orzo is perfect for this because it gives it a risotto feel and leave it so creamy in texture with the Asiago.  The only change I made to this recipe was to pre-cook my chicken.  I did this mostly because it had been in my fridge for a few too many days and I was nervous to leave it in there a couple more until I was ready to cook it.  As often happens, I took my meat out with specific dates in mind, but plans changed, and things got pushed back a couple days.  Rather than waste the meat I just cooked the chicken with a little salt and pepper in the skillet and put it back in the fridge.  I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about boiling the chicken for so little time in this recipe (and especially now because my orzo only took 9 minutes to cook) from a raw state, and it being done properly.  So even when I make this next… and there will be a next time…. I will pre-cook the chicken as I did this time.  For the wine I again used the Moscato I had opened the night before and it worked very well for this….. and was also quite enjoyed straight from the bottle as I was cooking… shhh!  Good thing I was only cooking for my husband and I lol.

Anyway, I highly recommend EVERYONE try this recipe.


Orzo Chicken Asiago

Serves : 4

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces (see above, I pre-cooked mine)
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked Orzo
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup fresh grated Asiago cheese
  • parsley

Directions :

  1. Do your prep work ahead of time so you can keep your attention on the pasta, and stirring it.  You also don’t want to over cook your pasta into mush!
  2. In a dutch oven combine broth and white wine.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and orzo.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 9-12 minutes or until pasta is done, but still a bit al dente.  Mine took about 9 minutes.  Stir frequently the entire time.  About halfway through cook time add your dry herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. In the last minute add the tomatoes and green onions. 
  4. Remove from heat, add in the frozen peas and stir around to help cook the pasta.  Add in your cheese and parsley and serve.

Recipe from citronlimette


Published in: on March 9, 2013 at 9:19 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Croque Monsieur

First an admission… I chose this sandwich because of the name.  There is just something fun about making something that has a fancy foreign name.  Well it’s foreign to me at least.  I had heard the name before, but wasn’t sure exactly what it was.  Upon further inspection I realized it was a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but then it is topped with a bechamel sauce and more cheese!  I was intrigued, but slightly doubtful about putting sauce on top and it turning the sandwich mushy/soggy.  I was very pleasantly surprised however when I took my first bite and was hit by SO much cheesy, salty, creamy flavor, and was glad the sandwich not only held up to the sauce, but still had a bit of crust to it.  The sauce does soften the tops a little, but you still have your bottom crust and the sides, and as long as you make sure to get a nice crisp golden crust when you are making the sandwiches you will be good to go.

This was another one of those recipes that needed a bit of converting, and I hadn’t realized how much cheese I would be using when I put it on my menu plan.  So I would definitely say this is not “diet” food, but for those days you want to reward yourself for your efforts and indulge a little this is the thing to try!  It’s very simple to make, with the only touchy part being the bechamel sauce.  My advice is just to have your ingredients measured out and sitting next to you so you can give full attention to  your sauce the entire time and not be running around your kitchen trying to keep up.  Furthermore I made my sandwiches first and set them aside and THEN tackled the sauce so I wouldn’t get distracted.  I am a good cook, but I am not the world’s best multitasker in the kitchen lol.  I get a little frazzled at times.  Anyway, when making the bechamel you really don’t want to turn the heat up too high…. the recipe says medium heat and I went with a medium-low on mine.  Melt your butter, add the garlic until it’s just fragrant, and then when you add your flour watch is closely, and keep it moving.  You don’t want the flour to burn and it will quickly if you aren’t careful.  Then when it’s time to add the milk you want to pour slowly (like a drizzle) and whisk the entire time you are pouring to avoid lumps and then keep whisking the entire cook time so it doesn’t clump or stick/burn.  It sounds  harder than it is, but as long as you go at it with this knowledge and stay focused it will turn out perfectly creamy and thick.

My gruyere didn’t want to slice very well, so I ended up grating it all.  I then put some on both sides of the bread and sandwiched the ham in between.  When I put it on top and broiled them at the end I ended up with a lot of grease (I may have put a little too much) so I just took a paper towel and dabbed the excess grease off and put them back under for a while to start to brown the cheese slightly.  Now for the conversion…. I don’t know why but I was having a heck of a time to figuring it out, so I just bought an 8oz block of gruyere and used most of it, and eyeballed everything.  I didn’t even bother measuring the ham and just used about 5-6 slices per sandwich.  For the bread I used a nice large sourdough loaf already cut into slices from the store and used the middle (largest) slices.  Finally the recipe called for shichimi togarashi at the end (listed as optional) and I assumed it was some sort of hot sauce or spice but had no idea so I left it off, so I can’t comment on that addition.


Croque Monsieur

Serves : 2                

Ingredients :

  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. all purpose flour
  • 1 C. skim milk
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf ( I only now realize I forgot this entirely, but I guess it wasn’t necessary for a good result)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 4 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • 100 g. sliced gruyere (I used about 4oz. grated)
  • 100 g. thinly sliced ham of your choice (I used about 10-12 slices)
  • 1 T. melted butter
  • 1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
  • Dash of shichimi togarashi (optional)

Directions :

  1. Assemble sandwiches with half the sliced gruyere (or in my case grated) and ham each and brush with melted butter (I actually used spray butter).  Heat a non-stick large skillet over medium-high heat and cook sandwiches until deep golden on both sides.  Set on a baking sheet and start your sauce.
  2. In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat (see notes above).  Add in your garlic and stir around until fragrant.  Add flour and stir to work out any clumps, watching closely so it doesn’t burn for about a minute.  Slowly pour in milk whisking the entire time to avoid clumping.  Once all the milk is in stir in nutmeg and add your bay leaf.  Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Continue whisking the entire time, and allow sauce to thicken; about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat broiler.  Spoon sauce over tops of sandwiches and top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.  Place under broiler and allow cheese to melt and start to brown a little.  Serve with chopped chives and shichimi togarashi on top.

Recipe from sushi bytes