M.I.A.

I’ve been missing in action for a few weeks.  I apologize to those of you following me.  I’ve been really busy with the family, work and then Doug and I had a weekend trip to the coast and the following weekend the flu found us.  So, I haven’t been cooking as much as I would like.  I have made a few things that were really good and I wish I had been blogging about them.  I am including the pictures for you to enjoy.  If there is something you see that you would like, let me know and I’ll try to get the recipe/instructions posted for you.

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Bread n’ Butter Pickles

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Thai Peanut Pasta

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Chocolate cake with raspberry butter cream frosting and chocolate ganache

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Breakfast Pizza

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Pulled pork with slaw and homemade sweet potato strings

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Easy spicy Rita with nachos

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Ribeye with eggs over easy with side of avocado and pico. Served with Bloody Maria.

Mexican Breakfast Pizza

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I’ve been cooking much more than I have been blogging.  Yesterday, I made two 1/2 sheets of meatballs, 2 loaves of French bread, banana poppy seed pecan bread, and dinner.  Dinner was crock pot pork chops, sweet and sour red cabbage, and mashed potatoes.  The pork chops were a Pinterest recipe and they were a hit with my guys.  I loved the sweet and sour red cabbage.  I think my Austrian, Slovakian, German roots make it it almost something my DNA craves.  My boys all love any cabbage.  Well, except for son #4, he pretty much refuses to try anything that isn’t fried or covered in cheese or ranch dressing.

So, this morning I woke up and wanted to cook breakfast but I had no idea what to make.  I first thought about some crescent roll dough I had in the fridge and I was thinking of making easy cinnamon rolls from that but then I thought I was in the mood from something more savory.  So, I went to the kitchen to see what I had in the fridge.  And that’s when I saw the pizza dough behind the crescent rolls.  Hmm… pizza for breakfast?  Then I thought about my husband’s offer to cook breakfast and to make breakfast tacos with chorizo and eggs.  That’s when I got the idea to make a Mexican breakfast pizza.  I didn’t want to use a pizza sauce as in traditional pizza so I thought, Rotel tomatoes!  Then is all came together.

What you will need:

  • Pizza dough (I used Pillsbury)
  • Monterrey Jack/Cheddar shredded cheese
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Fresh  chopped Jalapeno (depends on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (drained)
  • Pre-cooked Chorizo sausage chopped (or ground Chorizo cooked)
  • Chopped cilantro

Sides:

  • Avocado
  • Sour cream (can also mix in chopped cilantro to the sour cream)

Pre-heat oven to 425.  Roll out pizza dough onto floured pizza pan.  Whisk eggs and add in chopped jalapeno (I do not remove the seeds ) and about 1/3 cup Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheese.  Scrambled egg mixture and set aside.  Open a can of Rotel tomoatoes, drain and sprinkle about 1/2 of the can on the pizza.  Chop up the pre-cooked chorizo sausage or cook the ground chorizo and drain (if you are using uncooked loose type).  Add Monterrey Jack and Cheddar to the pizza on top of the tomatoes.  Then add the scrambled egg mixture and then sprinkle the chorizo on top of that.  Finally add the chopped cilantro.  I didn’t measure and this can be left off if you don’t like cilantro.  But I think the taste will be different with it left off.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown.  I placed the pizza in the center of the oven and then halfway through the cooking time I moved it to the lowest level in my oven to allow the bottom to crisp up.   Allow pizza to cool for about 5 minutes and then slice to serve.

Serve with slices of avocado and sour cream.

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Homemade Cranberry Almond Cereal

There are a couple of things that are a must when I am choosing a recipe to cook or bake.

1. it must be something that my family will eat (that’s actually easy with all boys in the house) and

2. it must contain ingredients that can be bought in the average grocery store (I don’t want to have to find some obscure market or take a trip to an exotic island for an ingredient – though the trip to an exotic island does sound tempting right now being that it’s mid January).

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This definitely fits my musts.  As I am typing this I heard someone in the kitchen.  Both younger boys had already had an afterschool snack of this cereal, so I knew someone was sneaking something.  I found my youngest son scooping yogurt in a bowl and the bag of cereal ready to be poured over the yogurt.  He said to me, “Oh mom its sooooo good!  can I please have a little more?”  What mom can say no to a healthy snack and a compliment to something she made herself?  LOL not me.  So, he got his seconds.  And I am a big pushover when it comes to my kids.  They know it too.

The base recipe for this cereal came from somewhere else and I’ve changed a few things about it making it my version.  I love this cereal and once again my kids do to.  It’s a nice change from buying store-bought cereal.  It tastes great in a bowl of milk, over yogurt (as son #4 can attest to) or even straight up!  I’ve never tried making cereal bars out of this recipe but I think it would be possible if added more honey to bind it better and pressed it into a pan.  I may try that someday.

What you will need:

  • 1/2 sheet pan
  • 4 cups dry oats
  • 1 cup of wheat germ
  • 2 cups sliced or silvered almonds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tspns cinnamon
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tspns almond extract
  • dried cranberries (about 1 cup – you can choose to add as much or little are you want)

Heat oven to 300 degrees,  In a large mixing bowl add in oats, wheat germ, almonds, sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  I didn’t take a picture of the sesame seeds.  These can often be hard to find without paying a fortune. I know I said this is a recipe that fits my muts and it is but I know sesame seeds can be tricky sometimes.  McCormick sells them in the spice section but you get hardly any in the jar.  There is a Spanish company that sells them in little bags for much less.  If you can’t find them or they are pricey, they can be left out.

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Mix well and make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

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In a small bowl put the oil, honey, water and almond extract, stir to slighty mix, but it will not completely mix.  Pour this into the well in the dry ingredients and mix it all together.

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Mix well and then spread evenly on 1/2 sheet pan.

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Bake for about 40 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Stir about every 10 minutes to prevent edges from burning.  Once done, let it cool add the cranberries and mix again.

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Store in an airtight container.  Gallon sized Ziploc works well or you can get fancy and buy one of the Rubbermaid cereal containers.

Making Hollandaise sauce

As I promised this morning, I have included a how to make Hollandaise Sauce.  I apologize for the lack of step by step pictures.  I needed a 2nd set of hands during the process to take pictures.  I hope the pictures I did take plus my directions are clear enough for you to follow.  If not, please ask.  These are NOT diet or heart friendly and these will make your doctor cry.  They are loaded with fat and cholesterol but they are quite sophisticated and you are required to eat with your little pinky sticking out – LOL.  Seriously though, these go great with Mimosas!  and your family and friends will bow at your feet if you serve them this.  You will be a cooking god to them! 🙂

What you need:

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Optional – Cayenne Pepper
  • Blender

Crack each egg and separate yolks.  Place yolks in blender.

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Place sticks of butter in a small saucepan and melt.

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While butter is melting turn on blender on low and break up egg yolks.  Once butter is melted, turn bender back on low and slowly pour hot butter into blender (make sure you keep the blender going).  Once all the butter is added, add the lemon juice and the optional cayenne pepper.  You can add quite a bit of cayenne before it will heat up the taste, so don’t be shy with it.   If while you are blending the sauce seems too thick, just add a little more lemon juice to it.

Any there you go, Hollandaise Sauce!  Sorry I forgot to take a picture of it as I was working hard at getting the other items together for Eggs Benedict and steamed asparagus.  You will see the sauce in the completed meal below.

So as I said, I was making Eggs Benedict.  What you will need for this:

  • Poached Egg(s)
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • English Muffin(s)
  • Canadian Bacon

Now the hardest part to making Eggs Benedict is getting the timing right.  Turn oven broiler on low.  Place 1/2 of an English muffin and the Canadian Bacon (its an international meal  hahaha) on a sheet pan.  Lightly butter English Muffins and place under broiler to lightly toast the muffins.

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Remember that if you are making more than 1 or 2 of these you can put the poached eggs in cold water and then dip back into the hot water using a slotted spoon or skimmer for a few seconds to warm eggs back up.  Place muffins on a plate, and then the Canadian bacon, and then the poached egg.  Top with the Hollandaise sauce.  I like to serve with steamed asparagus topped with Hollandaise sauce too.  Here is the finished product.  Sorry for the picture.  I didn’t realize I cut off the top part of the picture.  Hopefully, I’ll get better and I can get a better way of taking pictures.  I hope you try making these!  Bon Appetite!

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Egg Poaching

I had a request for how to make Eggs Benedict.  Since making these tasty little brunch deletables intimidates many, I thought it may be best to break up the process into steps.  So, I am starting with poaching eggs and next lesson will be making Hollandaise sauce.  If you have never had Eggs Benedict, it is a MUST try.  Of course, you must like runny yolks.  If you don’t and you want a cooked yolk you would end up with something more like a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin with Hollandaise sauce on top.  That is if you are aware that Hollandaise sauce is made with egg yolks.

If you don’t succeed the first time at poaching an egg, please don’t give up.  It’s just an egg.  Keep trying, you will get it.  Now there are many methods for poaching and you can even buy a fancy poaching pan.  I don’t own one and personally don’t want the extra dishes.  What I am going to show you is my method, which is sort of an adaptation of a couple other methods. I think my method is about as easy as it gets.  You will find other methods that say that the vinegar isn’t necessary.  I disagree.  The vinegar helps to denature the egg white proteins and keep the egg together better.  I don’t use much vinegar and I don’t find that the eggs taste like vinegar at all.

What you will need:

  • Medium sauce pot – I use an 8″ (mine is an old pan that isn’t a non-stick and I have no real problems with eggs sticking at all)
  • Large slotted spoon or stir fry skimmer (I prefer the skimmer)
  • Small Ramiken or bowl
  • Biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter
  • Paper towels
  • Egg(s)
  • White vinegar

Fill sauce pot with about 2.5″ to 3″ of water.  Add about a tablespoon of vinegar and bring water to a point where little bubbles are just starting.  Do not boil water.  If your water starts to boil just turn down the heat.

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While water is heating, wash eggs.  (I buy free range eggs and they sometimes have little gifts on the shells (aka chicken poop).  I also let the eggs run under hot water for about 30 seconds after I wash them.

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When the water is ready dip the whole egg into the water for another 20-30 seconds and remove with slotted spoon or skimmer. ( I did n’t not take a picture of this).

Crack egg carefully into the ramiken. (again no picture but you know how to crack an egg into a bowl or ramiken).  Place the biscuit cutter or cookie cutter into the sauce pot.  It is hard to tell in this picture but the water is hot and small bubbles were just starting to form.

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Then GENTLY pour the egg into the biscuit cutter.  You can see the bubbles better in this picture.

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Allow the egg to cook for a few minutes. Once you see the egg start to set up, gently remove the biscuit cutter.  The egg should be free and will slightly float in the water.  There is also a create a water whirlpool method but I find it un-necessary and increases the odds of breaking the yolk.  So, I will not show that to you.  But you can search online for it.

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If its sticking to the bottom of your pot, gently use a slotted spatula and persuade it from the bottom.  Allow it to cook until egg whites are done and them remove with your slotted spoon or skimmer and drain on a paper towel. If cooking more than one egg, I let the water warm up a bit for a few seconds, place the biscuit cutter back in the pot and start again.  If you are cooking more than 2 eggs, place each egg after it’s cooked into cold water,this will stop cooking process.  When all are cooked, place them back into the hot water for about 20 seconds.  This will warm them back up.

Oh here is the skimmer spoon I use. Sorry it’s not nice and clean.  I forgot to take a picture at the beginning so it has egg whites on it.

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Serve on buttered toast.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Dip crispy bacon into the yummy yolks.  Oh the list is endless as to what goes well with a poached egg.  Steamed asparagus with Hollandaise sauce is and a poached egg is simply a party in your mouth!

Voila! a Poached Egg!

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