Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunshine Day & a Breakfast Skillet

Mike & I always take a week off in the spring. We go away for a few days & then spend the rest of the week working in the yard, planting flowers & our vegetable/herb garden. Evenings are spent on the porch with a tall glass of iced tea & a good book. Ahhh, the good life...

I wanted to make a nice breakfast this morning to celebrate our week off. Pam at For the Love of Cooking was once again my inspiration with this recipe. Potatoes, cheese, bacon, over-easy eggs...what more could you want for breakfast?

Breakfast Skillet
4 slices of bacon
10-12 red baby potatoes, diced into bite size pieces
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
1/2 red, orange or yellow pepper, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 eggs
2 green onions, diced*
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Slice the potatoes into bite sized pieces and place in a pot of boiling water to par cook. Boil over high heat for 7 minutes, remove from heat and drain. While the potatoes are boiling, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the bacon is cooked, remove from pan and drain on a paper towel then crumble into pieces and set aside. Remove all but 2 teaspoons of bacon grease from skillet then add the potatoes.

Cook the potatoes over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper to the potatoes and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 60 seconds then turn the heat to low.

Coat a small skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Crack the egg into the warm pan and season with salt and pepper. Once the white of the egg is no longer transparent, add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook for about 1 minute or until the yolk is clouded over. Don't over cook or the yolk will be hard.

Layer the potatoes on a plate, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, next add some bacon crumbles and green onions then top with an over easy egg. Serve with hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!

*I forgot to buy green onions, so my dish was minus this ingredient.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips & Toasted Walnuts

Who doesn't love banana bread? And banana bread with mini chocolate chips & coconut is even better. I found this wonderfully delicious recipe over at For the Love of Cooking and it is absolutely fantastic. I baked it Saturday afternoon & ended up baking a second loaf for my mom & sister. The unusual addition of cloves & the toasting of the walnuts all add to the flavor.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips & Toasted Walnuts
1 cup of flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas
1 egg
1/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
1/3-1/2 cup coconut*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently for 3-4 minutes, remove from heat and let cool.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and mix thoroughly, set aside.
In another bowl mash bananas, egg, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, butter and vanilla together then mix thoroughly. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well. Once the batter is well combined add the chocolate chips, toasted walnuts & coconut then stir. Pour ingredients into prepared loaf pan. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven & let cool for a few minutes before cutting. Serve while it's warm with butter. Enjoy!

*Coconut - I decided to add coconut when I saw it in my baking drawer next to the walnuts. It is not a part of the original recipe.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

My mom & I had lunch at Red Lobster a few weeks ago. I love, love, love the biscuits they serve. As we sat there sipping iced tea & nibbling (OK, devouring) the biscuits, we both agreed we could make a meal of them alone. This recipe comes pretty close to duplicating the original. I decided to add a bit of Old Bay seasoning & it works really well. They paired perfectly with the pasta I served for dinner today.

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits
2 cups Bisquick biscuit mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Preheat oven to 450. Combine biscuit mix, milk, and cheddar cheese & Old Bay until soft dough forms. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Mix melted butter & garlic powder; brush generously over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm. Make 10-12 biscuits.

Pigs in a Blanket (or Posh Piggies)

Oh, how Mike loves pigs in a blanket. When I came across this recipe on Sweetnicks a few weeks ago, I knew it would be a hit here. And it was. Mike and his brother devoured a plateful in no time & Mike took what remained for his lunch today. I did stray from the original recipe though. Instead of doing appetizer size pigs (hence Posh Piggies), I cut the sausage links in half & wrapped each one in a pastry square. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes on the top adds just a bit of heat, which combines nicely with the dipping sauce.

Pigs in a Blanket
adapted from Ladies Home Journal

Cut 5 links sweet Italian sausage in half. Lightly roll out a sheet of thawed frozen puff pastry. Cut into 10 squares. Wrap each sausage half in a square of puff pastry, securing with toothpick. Place seam/secured side down on baking sheet. Brush tops lightly with egg wash. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Bake in a 400 degree oven until pastry is golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Serve with Raspberry Mustard Dip: stir together 1/3 - 1/2 cup Raspberry preserves* and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard. Add more mustard to taste.
*microwave the preserves about 15 seconds for easier mixing

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chicken Parmesan with Penne & Spinach

I got home later than expected tonight, which changed my dinner plans. I needed something that wouldn't take too long, so I decided to try a new idea for chicken parmesan. This recipe is so quick & easy & the Italian seasoning really kicks up the flavor. Mike didn't even mind the spinach I snuck in. The secret to having this on the table quickly - Tyson frozen breaded chicken breast fillets.

Chicken Parmesan with Penne & Spinach
4 breaded chicken breast fillets, frozen
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2-3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
8 ounces penne pasta, cooked & drained
1 jar marinara sauce
1 can spinach, well-drained

Preheat oven to 425. Place frozen chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet lightly coated with non-stick spray. Sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning. Bake 15 minutes. Remove chicken from oven & sprinkle with parmesan cheese, return to oven 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted. Combine penne & marinara sauce, stir in spinach. Place pasta mixture on plate & top with chicken breast fillet.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chocolate Chip Toffee Crunch Cookies

Saturday was a day that just called for cookies. You know you've had those days. But I wanted something different than the usual chocolate chip cookies & I had some Heath bits that I'd been wanting to use up. I came across this recipe & knew it would be a winner. The cookies are so good & have a wonderful chewy texture. The perfect snack for canasta time!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Crunch Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of toffee pieces
1/2 cup of slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Beat butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually stir in the flour mixture then stir in the chocolate chips, toffee chips and almond slivers. Drop small spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Recipe courtesy of: For the Love of Cooking